Owning Up


Nothing on here shocks me, since I knew about most of them. I am always surprised, however, at how we (read: black folks) respond, when we find out that what we thought were black products are not owned by us. Some of it is bad financial management, but I believe majority of it is a result of our lack of support of one another and our ventures.

I have never been a supporter of the idea of buying black simply for the sake of it being black. As I look around however, and increasingly see us losing more and more control over the images and ideas that uniquely represent us, I’m compelled to adjust my original stance. It is important for us to support each other, and yes, just for the sake of being black. It’s not a color thing. It’s a culture thing. We often gripe about the way other communities stick together, but it is because we have literally given up our power to influence industries to do otherwise.

Intellectuals griped about the quality of Tyler Perry’s plays when he begin to gain notoriety (I admit, I did too). But I also pitched and got him his first major national magazine coverage in an article back in 2004. I even go buy movie tickets to stuff I KNOW I don’t want to see, because I think the diversity in voices are important and necessary. I don’t dig “urban lit” in the base sense of the word, but if I have a platform to promote it I will, in most cases, because it is important to have ALL aspects of our experiences told.

You don’t have to be interested in EVERYTHING, but sometimes we have to step out of ourselves and realize that it really isn’t about us. There is a bigger picture here. Keep in mind that Tyler starting out on Chitlin’ circuit allowed him to start a cultural revolution, resulting in him being the ONLY black studio owner in the WORLD. Oprah didn’t even swing that.

Don’t complain about the circumstances if you have done nothing to change them—even if it is a decade later (shout out to my big sis for FINALLY discovering Lauryn Hill!).


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