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June 11th, 2020

5:07 PM

It Takes Commitment, Not Just Responsibility

A number of celebrities produced an anti-racism video. Social media is clowning them for this attempt right now. Not to say their intentions weren'€™t good but I have to ask: haven't we seen this before? No one is saying they shouldn'€™t have done this, but the optics may not look right. A group of privileged White people pledging, pleading they will do something about systemic racism in their lives. Excuse me for being the skeptic here, but this is a call I'€™ve heard before that sounds loud in the beginning, diminishes in the end.

Following the 1992 Unrest, our local news captured images of movie stars pledging to end the fight against racism. That pledge didn'€™t last. As we know by now, sports icons didn'€™t want to lose customers buying a shoe and these same movie and music stars didn't want to lose fans so there you go. Their voices weren'€™t as loud as the ones you see in the video. All this author can say is this: just don'€™t tell me, show me! Show me this fight is worth the commitment it will take to end America's Original Sin by how you treat people, how you stand up for the people you claim to fight for, how you will use your stature to convince The Powers That Be to make changes within the industry to create opportunities for Black themed projects and producers to be shown? That's not even much, but it's a start.

This generation much like the ones in the past faced with a '€˜crisis'€™ has individuals who feel they have a responsibility to 'step up to the plate'€™, use their voices and their platform to create lasting change in our society. Celebrities as far back as the Civil Rights Era were inspired to help their fellow men and women, yet once the marches, chants and television appearances all end, it'€™s back to business as usual, which is quite the norm in this circumstance.

The celebrities appearing in the video will not be '€˜hurt'€™ by this effort. They will be taken care of by producers and studio heads who count on these movie and television stars to bring in audiences. An actor like John Boyega has a lot to lose. Once he steps out and marches, takes a stand on the side of history, chances are his phone will remain silent, opportunities become fewer for roles. This is the reality. (According to this, maybe he won't, but we'll see)

What I am looking for whenever I see a video like this is shown is whether or not these celebrities will as mentioned before, be committed to the cause of ending racism in our lifetime. Will they put in the work? Will they look at others who look like the author of this piece as equal? Not as a homy from the hood who knows all of the cool slang to share with their White friends but actually as a fellow human being with two eyes, ears, arms, legs, active pumping heart, functioning brain? Will they pledge to see me as one a person or will I be always regarded as '€˜the other'€™? Just someone on the far side of the city.

I would wager it'€™s not up to these celebrities alone who volunteered to inform us this is the next stage of their racial evolution. That pledge belongs to everyone in this '€˜woke'€™ generation who doesn'€™t wear a darker shade of skin to put in the commitment to stay true to that pledge.

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