I have no problem with my Blackness–I live in it and I enjoy living it. I do have a problem with the world having a problem with it. Considering there are those who are socially located in the same somewhat privileged identities as me, who think they are protected them from individual and institutional racism; it comes as no surprise to me that Black celebrities’ views and understanding of the nature of the Black experience in its entirety, often comment in a way that leaves much to be desired.
It wasn’t always like this. From Muhammad Ali to Sam Cooke and Ruby Dee and Maya Angelou, Black public figures who found themselves in the public eye used their celebrity status for activism. And yes one can argue that at the height of social change in the 60s and 70s, of course we had these public figures. But if you and I can barely go a day without hearing that some Black man or woman was killed or beaten in the streets, at a beach, in their neighborhood, in their home, in their sleep, etc., then it is quite apparent that activism from Black people and especially those who have voice and status, is necessary. The alternative is cowardice. The alternative is living on your knees, consumed by fear; afraid to continue the work of those whose blood, sweat and tears were shed so that future generations can endure.