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Black History Month 2024: Power without Purpose is Annoying

Black History Month 2024: Power without Purpose is Annoying By Don C.

As we close out Black History Month here in America, I was looking around this week and searching for inspiration to convey the frustration I have with our current state of the Black Union. Again, it seems like we have come so far in terms of income, spending power, Black wealth, and influence. However with every step forward in those areas are the steps backward: increase in Black on Black violence, deterioration of Black leadership, lack of mentorship in the Black community, and lack of accountability of our current state by our most influential Black “leaders”. 

That caused me to look at the term “leader” more closely to see why there is a lack of accountability for the current state of the Black community from the so-called leaders. I would argue the leaders of the Black community are the most affluent members, the entertainers, the sports stars, the pop stars, and the elected officials. These are the people, no matter if they agree or disagree, are the chosen or as W.E.B Dubois would say, “The Talented Tenth” who are magnified to sit at the throne of our perceptions as people to hold in high regard. We watch these people everyday, listen to them on our devices, pay to go to their concerts, movies etc. We hold them as the Kings and Queens of our communities, so it would only seem fair that if we give them our time and attention, then they in turn can do something for us besides entertain, because as we exchange our money for entertainment, this creates power for those individuals as people who are financially independent and at the table with power players of our collective society. 

So where are these leaders? I looked to my radio station, and one of the programs I listen to on the regular for leadership during Black history month, and all I heard most of the time was corny jokes about black history that got on my nerves. I’m thinking damn, I listen to these folk all the time and the jokes are funny, but on Black history month they hit different, on some shit like bro, you have a platform, you getting paid to be the voice of the people, yet on the only month we have you kicking some ol watermelon jokes during your Black history segment. On some real S#!T GTFOH with that dumb stuff…lol

Then I looked at the music scene, and some of my favorite performers are silent on our history, too focused on their next bag to care about the progression of the culture. Some were caught up in legal issues where they abused their power, while others were focused on creating music for other cultures, (I’m sorry country music is not our music) instead of nurturing what we already have and adding a consciousness component to it, i.e. soul music, something that is currently missed. I glanced at the sports stars, and remembered how Jim Brown, Ali, Bill Russel, all of those players used to be a voice of the people during trying times in the Black Nation, and I think to myself what the hell happened? Who is picking up that torch? 

Then I heard a sermon from my pastor this weekend and he mentioned that “Power without purpose is annoying”. I thought about my purpose, and my power and how to make sure I’m not annoying people with my gift. I understood his perspective on how when you have power without purpose, it can come off as annoying. He used an example of a person with an amazing gift of singing, singing songs while working at a cash register at WalMart. A person with extraordinary power and range singing wonderful songs, and instead of using that gift for purpose, it is just wasting itself in a powerless condition. The gift has no purpose, so it is almost useless. 

I thought about this when thinking of my gift and decided that I do not want to have a gift without a purpose attached to it. I decided to think about my purpose and how it relates to my gift and making sure they align together. Like the OG’s say, it’s easy to point the finger, but it’s hard to make sure it ain’t you displaying the same behavior. I want to be the change I want to see in the world, so I gotta look at myself and make that change. I’m not trying to preach this morning, I’m just starting with the man in the mirror. 

—Don C. 

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