My parents told me at a pretty early age, that just because a person is black just like you, not to assume they are socially conscious, identify with or care about black people as a whole. Further, many black people will reap the benefits of strides made as a result of marches, protests, petitions, boycotts but will personally do nothing to secure or maintain their own civil rights.
Today, many artists/entertainers still prefer to “stay in their lane” and often define themselves as apolitical. Problem is, most of our decisions are political whether we choose to be or not. We live in a social media age where consumers are readily aware of whom and what people support. Many consumers have come to reject those who don’t use their wealth and influence for the good of all people. Most of us don’t have the luxury of tuning out on who runs our city, state and government. For most of us, tuning out has direct implications and could mean the difference in many things such as healthcare, education, being deported, not being able to serve in the armed forces etc.
If you are a black and your career is suffering because you were dumb enough to admit you voted for Trump and/or performed at his inauguration, you get little sympathy from me. I don’t condone these vicious personal attacks on these artists. However, I am troubled by their need to make money and be famous at the expense of the black community and other marginalized people.
Chrisette Michelle has recently been in the news for a reported miscarriage and suicidal ideation, post-Trump inaugural performance. She couldn’t even meet Trump or shake his hand for all her troubles. However, this could have all been avoided if artists like her did these three things:
1) Know your fan base: This is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t alienate your fans. If black/brown, LGBTQ people buy your music, why would they be comfortable continuing to make you rich as you support and enable an administration which has promised to infringe on their civil rights? DUH?
2) Be knowledgeable of the issues: Anyone who has been alive and well the last 20 to 30 years knows there is NOTHING Christian about Trump or his views, nor has it ever been. Trump is merely using the endorsements of wealthy Christians for better political footing who simply want to dissolve the separation of church and state. This is very different than actually being a Christian or having Christian views. Further, Tina Campbell sealed her fate when she tried to defend hypocrisy, religious bigotry and “country club” Christianity. Few people have the stomach for this nonsense today.
3) Decisions have consequences: Even if an artist is “no political genius”, somebody on their team needs to be and should be able to tell them when a decision isn’t worth the risk to their career. Bottom line, if folks with all the money and fame in the world aren’t doing it, don’t you do it. That’s as simple as it gets.
I don’t care what you do for a living, or how much money you make, being black will never carry much privilege compared to being white. This is why despite minority communities falling back from these “Team Trump” entertainers, the Trump supporters haven’t come to their rescue with regards to their careers in the form of album and ticket sales. At the end of the day, nobody trusts folks who don’t value their own people. After all, if you’re not loyal to your own, you won’t be loyal to anyone.