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Entertainers need to accept more social responsibility

By Stephanie Julmiste
On March 4, 2014

Rick Ross has put his designer clad foot in his mouth once again. In his new song,"BLK & WHT," he compares the death of Trayvon Martin to his achievements in life:

"Trayvon Martin, I'm never missing my target
B----h n---as hating, tell me it's what I'm parkin
Wingstop owner, lemon pepper aroma
Young, black n---a, barely got a diploma"

Those who have lost a loved one know the grieving process. The pain may subside, but the hurt of losing someone will be etched in your mind. Using that painful memory for commercial gain is arrogant and insensitive. 

Martin's death rocked the nation. The result of his killer's trial showed the world how the death of a black boy was seen as insignificant and didn't deserve to be addressed. His loss and Stand Your Ground set precedent for killings to come.

So many people rallied to motivate policymakers to make changes to Florida's law. For Ross to use it in his song makes a mockery of the situation, a mockery of the passion, hard work and determination many put forth.

One of the privileges of being an American is the First Amendment: freedom of speech.  However, one must be cautious of how that right is exercised. We are held accountable for what we say, even if it is foolishness.

Ross's actions have rightfully sparked a reaction. This is not the first time he has attracted negative publicity. In April, Ross was dropped from Reebok for his ignorant actions. In his song "U.O.E.N.O," he alludes to date raping a woman by drugging her with molly, then taking her home:

"Put molly all in her champagne, she ain't even know it
I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain't even know it"

Ross never professed to be a role model, but he does have an obligation to society. Because he is well known and influential, his music affects many. His words are powerful, and people try to emulate his lifestyle. 

There are so many young African-American males who don't have an education, who are incarcerated or dead because they are trying to live a certain way of life, a way of life that rappers who claim they live it in their songs don't live themselves.

Ross, Lil' Wayne, Drake and so many others have the power to change the cycle through words. They feed off violence, crime, money and disrespect for ourselves and one another. It only takes one person to make a change. That one person can cause others to stop and look at what drives the world of entertainment.

Education, a career and family have been replaced by money, cars and women. So many before us have sacrificed their lives so that we could have the freedom, rights and opportunities we have today. We have privileges many don't take advantage of because they are chasing the limelight. 

No one's creativity should be stifled, and you can't please everyone. But at some point, entertainers have to be held accountable for their actions.

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