To the Black elite, this is my quality of life not a cash cow nor aesthetic

The Black elite has intentionally distanced themselves from populist Black issues at the worst time. Rape, death, police harassment and marginalized invisibility are pressing issues in our community, yet the same celebrities who stir controversy in our community are silently watching from their mansions.

Everyone wanted to be the next Malcolm X, but now that a mere hashtag won’t suffice, everyone wants to be silent or divisive. It’s too late for that. It’s time to lead and fight for those who have funded your career.

To be an effective leader, one must start with themselves. It is important to establish a purpose. Why do you want to be a public activist? Are you looking for change or sales? Do you practice what you preach?

It is best to avoid social awareness if it is not coming from a genuine place. People are actually dying and your empty words and botched attempts to be “woke” don’t help.

One must be a student before they are a master. After posting “by any means necessary” after acquiring your gun license, read Malcolm X’s autobiography, where he details his criminal past and journey to enlightenment. Learn to acknowledge your role in the Black plight, acknowledge it and grow. Be the change that you are advocating for.

Refrain from couching your sexism, homophobia, transphobia, rape culture and respectability politics in pro-Blackness. One who is truly educated would understand that many Black leaders didn’t see womanism and GSM (gay and sexual minorities) pride as an antithesis to Black power.

Someone being alive to recount their story doesn’t excuse non-fatal transgressions. Leave the buttons and hashtags at home if you are going to be complacent with rape, hate crimes, harassment, neglect, poverty and colorism. 

Understand that the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t exclusively about morbidity. Black lives can’t matter if we don’t include the Black lives of the GSM community, women and children.

In acknowledging all Black lives, it is crucial that you study the entirety of a leader’s ideology, not just what affirms your personal agenda and hold former leaders accountable. 

Acknowledge your economic privilege and how you benefit from it. Do not deflect ubiquitous issues just because you haven’t personally experienced them. Your fans and romantic partners of different races do not negate wealth gaps, abuse statistics, hate crimes, poor allocation of funds and policing of predominantly Black communities.

As a celebrity, arming yourself with knowledge is important, but it matters most to pour into your community. In the face of commercial adversity, many let the opportunity to fund Black businesses and programs slip through their fingertips. 

The next time a luxury fashion brand uses Blackface as an aesthetic or their employees, stalk Black customers. Instead of clamoring to the next White brand, seek out and give exposure to Black brands.

The money used for your “iced out” lifestyle could be used to fund the communities that birthed you.

Instead of soliciting your blue-collared fans to donate to infrastructure and relief funds, and later chastising them because they don’t have it, donate the money yourselves. It’s nothing to you, right? 

The key to being a leader is leadership, not division, not devil’s advocacy nor deflection. You can not lead cowering behind your subjects or reinforcing their plight. You’ve said enough, now act. 

If you are truly passionate about Black issues, share your platform and resources with those who need them. If you can not reinforce your message with action and inclusion, then do not speak as a leader. Sit quietly in the back, as you have always done.