Today is the government observed holiday celebrating the life and legacy of Brother Martin Luther King, Jr. A holiday that is commemorated every year by the current President “resigning” of the proclamation officially confirming the observance. What some of you young people may not know is that the government arranged to have Brother Martin killed because he wanted to start focusing on economics. Martin many times contemplated whether or not the Black community at that time should actually integrate into the dominant or mainstream society. There was a time where Black owned businesses and entrepreneurship were cultivating a sustainable economic system and identity. In our attempt to assimilate we lost a large part of our financial independence and in 2018 we are trying to get it back but at this point with the way our government is setup we will never be able to be completely economically independent. However there are some ways we can exercise our voices economically and 4:44 wasn’t the beginning or the end.
How many Rappers wear clothes that aren’t manufactured by a business owned by a Black business? Is it Black owned? All I see are Nike sneakers designed by Virgil Abloh and Jordans designed by Don C. Pharrell has a line with Adidas and Kanye West doesn’t even have his own “big baller brand”. The young rappers love a nice Gucci belt, some Moschino, or a Louie V. backpack. No one wants to wear designs by a Black fashion designer or even use a manufacturer that is owned by a Black business person. I understand that there may not be a lot of us in that area but why not use your money to fund such a business for someone who wants to do it or needs the financial backing? We don’t give our community enough credit sometimes. Hip Hop and Rap music is a billion dollar industry and control is something we still don’t have as consumers and artists.
Whatever the Rappers wear the young people run out and get it. Instead of being a model for a company like H&M. Incorporate some patterns and prints from different Pan-African cultures. We need to support each other and we have to be willing to do so without question. We support GoFundme accounts for children that don’t look like us so fast but won’t do the same for our own friends. The money made by most Rappers doesn’t go back into the communities. They may do work in the community and even be a staple but that money goes to the areas where the Rappers live which is New York, Atlanta, LA, Chicago, D.C., and parts of Texas. There are fifty states and if Puerto Rico wouldn’t have had a hurricane we probably wouldn’t even be mentioning them and given the contributions Puerto Ricans and Latinos have made to the culture we must do better. Sometimes being different means being yourself.
“A Louis belt will never ease that pain” – Kendrick Lamar (Money Trees)