Recently, the life of an innocent, un-armed black teen by the name of Tony Robinson, was taken as a result of yet another police shooting. As expected, social media has been in an uproar since and a couple of days ago protestors flooded the state capital building in Madison, Wisconsin. As I read my timeline to gather more details of the incident I came across several tweets from a few recording artists I follow that were venting their frustrations on not only the incident, but by the lack of commentary from mainstream Hip-Hop/Rap recording artists on the issue.
In an unrelated story, students of a well renown fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma were also in the news headlines for their despicable, racist behavior that was caught on video via smart device and posted online. Immediately, the video went viral and the internet exploded in disapproval and demand for immediate action by the university, which I’m pleased to say was taken just as quickly as the story gained traction. Once again, I read several disgruntled tweets from local artists/entertainers who felt the need to voice their dismay on not only the topic of discussion but on how those in the public eye failed to address the issue.
Our society never ceases to amaze me with how shortsighted we tend to be often enough. Its a wonder, considering the amount of statistical information available to show where we stand in regards to education in comparison to other developed countries, how people can be so upset when the masses don’t respond appropriately. If you take into consideration how recycled daily news coverage is across the board for every network, and the headlines across your online news home pages, its no surprise how various social issues don’t spark the public’s interest as lets say, celebrity gossip. You can ask, what most would presume to be, a reasonable question of basic common sense on any subject related to government, history, or economics to a passerby on the streets of any American city and receive a response of dumbfounded confusion much of the time. Let’s face it, we live an an extremely unaware and ill-informed society. We’ve been conditioned to focus on other issues.
Because of these observations, it confuses me to see how local/regional recording artists can get so upset when they see little to no response from the public’s idols in such cases as the OU fraternity incident or the case of Tony Robinson. Though celebrities in popular culture are held in such high regard by the masses in the United States, I don’t see how their opinions on social issues mean much of anything. Especially in the case of rappers. None of these people are highly educated in specified fields of discussion, nor have any experience in dealing with social issues of vast importance so I fail to see how commentary from someone like Justin Bieber, Big Sean, Ariana Grande, or Drake could be of any use or value. Over the years, celebrities have shown me they have little concerns outside of their own self-absorbed needs to ever provide us with valuable insight that would help us gain a more rounded perspective on, well… Anything.
Its understandable to see why we would hope rappers, or celebrities would show they care more about social issues considering their amount of influence over people’s lives. In Hip-Hop, artists were once revered as social commentators on the injustices the average citizen deals with in any given urban environment in this country. But, if recent trends show any proof at all, its that those days are long since dead and gone. Although I can sympathize with frustration that may occur as a result of the most admired and adored creative minds not showing any concern whatsoever or even that they care in the least bit what happens to “the little people” no matter how tragic and disheartening. To be honest, I can only imagine they’d rather turn a blind eye not to let such woes effect their sought after lives of success and luxury. And from what I gather, that seems to be the case more often than not.
Truth is, these people aren’t important. Whether you’re a rapper, singer, or actor, it doesn’t mean anything in actuality. No matter how many twelve year olds obsess over your public persona, unless you take an interest in public affairs you mean nothing. Your affect on the lives of the average citizen is nowhere near as prominent as a teacher, doctor, parent, scientist, physician, soldier, or even athletic coach. Why fans don’t see this, I’ll never understand, but I can only presume its because many of them are conditioned to be in a state of hypnosis caused by the music or art-form in itself. Sure, they may have an influence over an audience that may amass millions of people worldwide, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually going to use it to say something of importance that will move us in a way that will have some drastic effect on our culture or future. It would be nice if they did, but they don’t, at least rarely.
My question is, why do we believe rappers’ opinions or the opinions of any entertainer in the public eye mean anything at all? Who or what gave them the golden chalice of knowledge that we should hang on to their every word or action? Why are their thoughts or words so much more meaningful than let’s say, your sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or even best friend? Truth is they aren’t. They don’t know you, and in actuality, they probably don’t care about your troubles or problems. They don’t follow you on Twitter, and if they did, they still wouldn’t respond to your live’s most profound experiences with anything other than, “congratulations,” “I’m sorry to hear that,” or “good job.” So forgive me for saying, screw what they have to say about anything, because honestly, I could care less.
If these people cared at all about the important social issues that the masses face every day, they would’ve proven that to be the core of their overall message from the start. Furthermore, they would’ve been more involved than one or two public appearances every 6 months for charity functions when their publicists’ find time in their schedule to boost their profile. Its all a circus and they’re merely clowns to make you smile. And as demeaning as one may perceive that statement to be, its merely a metaphor to show you that what most of us think is important every day, can be much of the time be proven not to be with a few strokes of a keyboard; because that’s all I’m doing right now. The actuality of this article is to give you perspective so you may re-evaluate your priorities in order to give every day life more meaning than simply waiting for what your favorite rapper or singer has to say about certain events that mean absolutely nothing to them at all.