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Jay-Z You Are Not My Hero

December 26, 2012


Jay-Z You Are Not My Hero


I’m sure I’ll catch heat for this but I stand by my position 100%.


In America today we are real short on leaders. Heck, we are short on just plain old fashion good reputable MEN who stay home and be Fathers. Scratch that. We are short on good men and role models in general. Wouldn’t want to leave out the bachelors et al. You see I grew up in the 80s in the hood. However I had role models; I had a dad. So maybe I’m wrong here, but I digress; perhaps it is you who is wrong. Hear me out.


Today I’d like to point out a systemic flaw that is best showcased by the acceptance of Jay-Z aka Sean Carter as a role model and hero.


In 2012, we have no shortage of fools, prancers, and perpetrators running amuck. However Sean has drawn my ire because the public and the media have catapulted this un-caught criminal into the stratosphere. To think, that a man who exhibits no remorse for selling drugs is held up as high as our first black president disgusts me. And I don’t care who you voted for, this rapper is not worthy of being held on the same pedestal.
Let’s do a quick recap. Jay-z came to the forefront of rap after a few living legends died. His presence existed before that but few cared for him or his thoughts. Admittedly I was a big fan early on – when Reasonable Doubt had the .22 on the disc, not his visage.
Jay-Z hit my dome harder than flight 93. It was amazing. Then he dropped


Reasonable Doubt (album)

Reasonable Doubt (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


vol.1 and I was hooked. Most people jumped on at vol.2 and didn’t even know about regrets, 22-2’s, or the treasure trove of raps and analogies found solely on the first album. This guy was nice. He was killing it during my formative years. However that is irrelevant. I can easily romanticize his resume and discography for two articles- but he isn’t worth it. So know that I’m a fan- damn near two decades deep, but I can’t reconcile myself with who he is as a man, especially when I work with teens and I see how far they are from what we need as a society (the last part is awkward, try to smooth it out).

Sold drugs.
Every time we give props to JZ– we denigrate the very men who are the glue in their communities. Ever seen Clockers? There is a cop in that movie who lives in the very projects where the rock is being ‘slang’ (hood term for selling). And he whomps ass when they cross the line. This kind of man puts it all on the line. He makes a stand and doesn’t leave his ‘hood’. He is there for the long haul. He makes it work at all costs. These men rarely step foot in the hood. They rarely exist from the outcomes I’ve seen. Not to belittle those who do it- but they shouldn’t be the majority.
Why are they? Simple- The hero’s kids have went from slangin rock to wicked jump shots or perpetrating pop music. They are no longer firemen and beat cops. They aren’t teachers or physicists. They are the guys who get bling the fastest. The guy who gets street cred asap. Sorry folks but street cred is trash. I never wanted to run the streets when there are states for options- feel me (governor Tony has a nice ring right?)?


So back to the thematic title- JZ sold drugs.
Wow. Cool. Not. He sold poison in his very area. He didn’t pitch on foreign mounds- he chose to sell death on his doorstep. Now his auto-bio Decoded says he went out of state too- but does that absolve him? I wasn’t a king in my classes but I grew my intellect. I didn’t take an easy route. We rode the train an hour each way, me and my sis- and we did it gladly. We never asked for handouts; we earned our spots. We didn’t sell drugs; we made do. And we came out the projects. And our folks and their folks were raised in the ‘jects or similar surroundings.


So I ask you: Why do we celebrate the success of a drug dealer who was never caught?
Why do we feel vindicated by his success when that success is predicated on the very death that he peddled?


No regret.
Your boy, ya man- JZ has never displayed remorse. This guy parades his current successes and hopes we forgive his past.


Nah bro- not happening. You made money talking about drugs. You got popular discussing your flouting of drug cops and the rules. And I’m not having it homie.
Our society seems indelibly linked with narcotics. No question. However I won’t support a mogul who feels he did it and it’s over with. This overt smugness is the very reason our progeny sees nothing to work for. Why be a doctor when ex-slangers make paper legit? Really JZ that’s your legacy? How bitter your mouth must taste.
Me, as a man, who is building a foundation for the family coming in my immediate future – I can’t get with that. I don’t want my kids seeing you. I don’t want them hearing you. If objectifying women and glorifying a criminal existence is the pinnacle of your words, then you are not a model.
The African griots- the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe crew, and the rappers who don’t sell out to the industry are heroes. The men who do it to do it- not for the reward – are the “bosses.”
That being said, how do you not make a public statement asking for forgiveness? I won’t assume your mother asked less of you.
I won’t assume Jay-z is so callous and ambivalent that he doesn’t care.
I will assume you think you are worthy and I’m not. I will assume you don’t feel guilty for killing your people. And your lack of remorse speaks volumes. You seek no forgiveness and make no recompense to the very community you spoon fed poison. If you and your lack of remorse are the best the USA has to offer I’d rather move to Cuba. Any man who doesn’t acknowledge his failure is a waste of skin. Smugness is worthless.

Thurgood Marshall.
Thurgood, Medgar, Martin and Malcolm all fought for what is now taken for


Polski: Thurgood Marshall

Polski: Thurgood Marshall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


granted. These men with the exception of Malcolm lead clean lives as far as drugs and community abuses go. And I think we could legitimately agree that Malcolm X more than made up for his past deeds. And this is where I boil. I’m not a Che fan, but he stood for something.


Malcolm X

Malcolm X (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Young Lords did too.


And nowadays we have drug dealers as role models? Am I the only one disgusted? When we #Salute the criminals who are flagrant with success, we tread on our societies moral fiber. And I know the 1%’s do it too- but JZ walked out our hood (stated in the pejorative) and in to theirs like it(what does this pronoun refer to? his transgressions?) was irrelevant. I refuse to celebrate a drug dealer’s success.

To sum up this diatribe, I’d simply ask you all to look at the facts. All men have faults- but JZ doesn’t own up to his. A man has no recourse beyond such or he isn’t a man. This weak, pathetic impostor seeks to remove real heroes and replace them with his visage. #disgusting. In this day and age, the dad who stays home and is a father gets special privilege- why? That’s his job!!! We are so askew as to be considered obtuse at this point. The men who do the right thing are in short supply. And when we allow men such as these to be heroes, they will multiply.
However the flip side applies as well: when we let bad men gain good credit, we lose the very moral fabric that keeps communities together for decades.  When we let a drug dealer become the accepted king, we denigrate those who have given extra and those who fought to get us where we are.

You can love who you want, but a guy who sold death to get his album out? Yuck.
Where are the men who want to lead?


Where are the men who stand and hold the line?

We are a dying breed and JZ is a waste of time.


I had a hero growing up. It was my dad. He was there. He worked. He went to church. He loved me obviously (big deal fellas, remember that). When I was 2, my parents lost it all. House, home, clothes- EVERYTHING.

And yet they made sure we had better than anything and anyone they knew.


We moved into the projects with fam and while I played they suffered and gave me a great life. No drugs. No cash off others’ misery. My dad used his hands and his know-how. My mom taught us to read and stayed home until budget constraints demanded otherwise.
Sorry folks, I can’t help but expect that every adult clearly demonstrates dedication to their kids’ growth. And when the dedication isn’t there, and the kids go astray, I blame the parents. Folks, make your choices wisely. Live sensibly. And be heroes. In your job, in your church, in every moment you can. Those few actions of leadership and kindness will shift outcomes. If we wait for others to do it, our children lose.

Be a hero. Be an entrepreneur. Be anything but Capt Cold-hearted.
I love the kids I work with. I love my job.


I won’t sell out. I won’t sell drugs.

Its time for people to lead.
Its time we teach our kids more than ‘as long as you make it’…
I’m sick of this.


Our history as African Americans and Latino/Hispanic Americans is too rich to not be better than the JZ’s of the world, and it is twice as useful. Imagine a unified front? We would succeed beyond our wildest expectations.
Do what you want folks, but I don’t support anyone who sold drugs. Kids, like the world, become what we expect of them. Raise your expectations.


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