Well, like most music lovers out there—I was tuned in to last night’s 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Of course, I was mostly live tweeting since Twitter always kills it with the funny jokes and the (now marketable) memes. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the show overall. However, I couldn’t help but to notice something interesting afterwards.
By now, you’ve probably heard that Adele took home quite a few awards including Album of the Year. As expected, some viewers were not too thrilled about her winning over Beyoncé (although Bey, herself remained graceful as usual). Now, allow me to play Devil’s advocate for just a minute. I find it pretty funny how we (African Americans) love demanding recognition from certain award ceremonies all the while (seemingly) ignoring or devaluing that from our very own platforms. Mind you—this isn’t shade but simply an observation; so try to stay with me and not come for my neck.
I think this problem initially stems from a support issue in the Black community that creates a chain reaction. Listen, many times when one of us has a project—be it a business or a product—that same we isn’t always excited about actually paying for it. I can say, from experience, it feels like we would rather support an outsider than someone who looks just like us.
Unless the service is free—we tend to overlook it or think twice about spending our money. So when people like the Beyoncé’s of the world (I’m only using her as an example) really become successful, they might feel that it’s best to stick with those who were there for them all along. Now, you can seem popular with one group of people but your sales might reflect something totally different. Are these really the people who keep food on your table and a roof over your head? Possibly not…
In the same instance, we also have this thing about price control. Now, if you are not a business owner yourself—then you wouldn’t really get it. It definitely takes money to make money. Hence the reason as to why entrepreneurs cannot afford to hand out freebies like there’s no tomorrow. As a business owner, you obviously have to pay taxes (unless jail is your idea of a nice vacation). You have to be able to pay those taxes in addition to making some kind of profit if you really want to prosper. There are no shortcuts, handouts, or easy buttons in these situations.
All I’m saying is change doesn’t come without sacrifice(s). Black people will never see it if we don’t become it first. This starts in our own communities. Instead of projecting your fears of inadequacy onto others, offer up some words of encouragement. Also, learn to use those smart phones to search for local Black-owned businesses and products in your area. Go to more open mic nights, more pop-up shops, and more indie artists’ shows.
All of these aspects play an important role in our communal development and will ultimately transform the world around us. Once we find value within our own population, others can begin to recognize our greatness as well. There’s power in numbers so let’s make it happen.