By Sharieka Breeden
We must have leaders who won’t sign their names to contracts that sell us back into slavery. We must have individuals who understand that our cause is bigger than our cost.
In a country where money is the foundation of our creation and we are driven to be divided by classism and status, don’t add to the struggle by settling for exchanges from companies and from false allies that make it clear that their intentions are to carry out the works of the oppressors who caused chaos before them.
We can’t look to the these men and women who only see dollars and identify their perception as powerful.
To: Russell Simmons-To create such an ignorant portrayal of a hero like Harriet Tubman that helped to define freedom for many slaves, lets me know what you think about women as a whole. Russell Simmons, you’re a sexist with backwards intentions to equate the work ethic and abilities of women to laying on their backs. We are worth much more and are givers of life. We have served as assets to humankind and will continue to shape and influence the world. As a self-made entrepreneur, you more than anyone should understand what it means to build a legacy. I can’t understand why you would take it upon yourself to deliver your perception when there is nothing in history that shows it to be true. We as people, as women, as black women don’t have to trade sex to free ourselves from bondage. Our minds, our words, and our work ethic have been the fabric of this country and the stitching of the universe. Women have clearly helped to enhance the world we live in. From Sojourner Truth and Phillis Wheatley to modern day icons like Oprah Winfrey, Nikki Giovanni and Angela Davis, these women have all left an indelible mark on history and have been instrumental in our development as people. Don’t downplay their contributions by suggesting prostitution just because you pimp the game.
To Jay-Z “Sean Carter” We’re in a position and a place as people where the dollar sign shouldn’t define us any more. Cash, clothes, materialistic items that can be purchased shouldn’t define our souls. Hello Mr. Nice Watch… I’ve supported your work and your albums. That’s what fans do. I looked at you as a connector for the world. You were somebody who took the struggles of the streets, the culture, plight of some and made it relatable to all. As people we are so much deeper than man-made money. Our focus should be to uphold our legacy and to define our history. Leaders of today can’t be the same individuals who demean our race and only make music that perpetuates their concepts of foolishness. You’ve been blessed with a gift, a gift to paint images with words. I admire it. Be an engineer and create and lead without any attachments. Don’t be good, be great. I challenge you.
We still have people imposing methods of discrimination. Red-lining in communities, those who are working to eliminate us and thrive on the idea of minorities being non-existent. Don’t join them. Keep building Barclays centers and being an entrepreneur, you don’t have to red-line with them. You’re an innovator.
I’ve never envisioned you as a sellout so don’t sell us out. If you partner with those who won’t treat us equally in our endeavors, you’re no better than a slave master. We all need to eat, we all want to live and have access to the highest quality of life, but I don’t think that creating and contributing our skills to those who don’t have our best interest at heart shapes us and makes us heroes. Stand for the visions and dreams of those who have supported your dream and vision.
How can you use your voice to abuse our status and send us back into the dilemmas that the heroes before us have worked so hard to eliminate? In 2013, where the year means nothing and the only thing that can be heard are the voices of those screaming to tell us that we can change the definition of words that were used to demean us, we must have a dependable source and voice.
You can be that voice. It’s your choice. We don’t look to you because we need to. I suppose it’s your God-given ability to lead, but where will you lead people? What will you deliver? How can you shape and enhance the world when you sit at the table with people who won’t feed those in need?
Sit with us and travel through history as a leader and someone who helped to evolve the world we live in.