Almost any businessperson will tell you that the end goal of establishing any business is to eventually sell it for more than it’s worth. The biggest problem is integrity, and a lot of people in the entertainment business don’t have any. How can you guarantee that once you sell your business that it won’t be used for some ulterior motive? From tech patents to television networks, we’ll sell our blood, sweat, and tears away to the buyer with the largest check. The ability to maintain these companies is our only resource to employ, educate, and support our own communities. This is how also can control the narrative of our history. The diaspora built this country and we shouldn’t wait to learn about our contributions to this country by happenstance like Nathan “Nearest” Green and his invention of Jack Daniels whiskey. The toy company Hasbro recently acquired Death Row Records in a 4-billion-dollar deal! After being sold and bought multiple times the iconic Rap label ended up being purchased by eOne for $280 million dollars in 2013.
Suge Knight may not have been in a place to get the label back, but someone in the Hip Hop community could have. Owning the rights, the music, the images, and the name alone could have kept the lights on in any artist’s home. Was Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, or anyone formerly associated with the rap label willing to buy it? Even Ice Cube could’ve done something, maybe get together with some industry friends and buy it. Sell outs are everywhere and sometimes the more removed they are the more likely they are to choose cash over culture. Sometimes it’s clout over culture. Sometimes as Black and Brown people when we are in particular rooms we have to assimilate to “fit in” or be accepted by people outside of the culture. In those compromising positions we’re silent on certain things, like a Black cop in a predominantly white police department, or a Brown student in a predominantly white fraternity. Next thing you know, your “friend” or “business partner” is telling you what to do and how to run your business. The likelihood of you taking their advice is high because of what…the color of their skin.
When you sell your Black/Brown owned business you risk companies like Hasbro buying your hard work and bastardizing it for consumption by the masses. So the next time you hear 2Pac and Snoop’s “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” it’ll be in Star Wars: The Death Row Story in Space. Or maybe you’d like to hear Bazzi sing the hook on the pop version of “Regulators”. We really do know how to sell outsideof our own culture. The price we pay in the end is worse than missing out on a few extra bucks. Then when we run to the theater to see the Dogg Pound Gang Story starring the Pound Puppies, we point the finger at each other for being the sell-outs. The owner of Death Row Records owns the copyright and after that is gone, no one else’s “rights” matter. There is a myriad of scenarios that may come out of this four-billion-dollar deal, but I can guarantee you whatever comes out of it will be worth more than four billion dollars.
“Got enough toys, wonderin’ what’s my next pick.” – Vado (Christmas in Harlem)