The 2021 Grammys went down this weekend, and if you chose to pass on it, you weren’t alone. This year’s Grammy show saw its record low in ratings. But the ratings are not the topic of conversation today. Instead, I want to focus on the performance of Lil Baby.
He sought to redeem himself in the eyes of the culture after that abysmal performance as 2Chainz’s basketball partner. The rapper performed his song “The Bigger Picture” to share a message and raise awareness of Black people and the police’s historical issues. Activists Kendrick Sampson, Killer Mike, and Tamika Mallory also made appearances in the performance. Lil Baby ended his performance by standing on top of a police vehicle. And, of course, the crowd went wild. Social media started calling the performance powerful and needed.
Why must our people fall for these antics every time? For the love of God, can we please stop being so gullible? Time and time again, we allow the most mediocre gestures to move us. This is why politicians believe all it takes is an entertainer’s endorsement to win the Black vote. We continue to allow people to persuade us with no natural substance. We see this all the time. Protest, concerts, photo-ops, and the list goes on and on. The most basic gestures have generated enormous Black support. And what do we have to show for it? Not a damn thing. At this point, we should be offended.
There will be no progress until we decide to accept these childish antics no longer. There is too much enjoyment of virtue signaling and not enough strategic action. I am so sick of listening to these celebrities telling Black people to march, vote, and hope for the best. This is a significant reason why Black people are not taken seriously. Practically every other group knows how to rally together and create equitable change strategically. Do you know what else they don’t do? Choose athletes and entertainers to be the face of the movement. Don’t get me wrong, everyone one of us has a role to play. I don’t believe celebrities should be the face of the movement. They could be so much more influential behind the scenes.
When it comes to these rappers and social justice, it’s time to pick a side. When they rap about negative things, they say they are just making music and have no influence on people. However, when they rap about change and activism, they acknowledge the platform and influence they have. They have to pick a side. For the record, I don’t think an artist should be accountable. I believe, like movies, music shouldn’t be responsible for parenting the world. Rappers, in particular, are asked to be parents. I think that’s wrong. But, these rappers like to pick in choose when to believe in their influence. It doesn’t stop there. Sometimes, they’ll manipulate the movement. YG had the audacity to make a music video at a Breonna Taylor vigil. What purpose did that serve? Was that his way of having the revolution televised? Can we sit these rappers down and show them how their resources can be used better? They can speak up but, please stop the antics.
The Black Lives Matter organization has been around for almost a decade, and we are no closer to where we need to be. Why do I bring them up? Think about it. They are the kings of performative measures. They form rallies, get people to march, spread hashtags, and call it a day. BLM and other celebrity activists have made money and garnered attention off the backs of dead Black men and their mothers for years, and the only ones who seem to benefit are them. Just ask Tamir Rice’s mother, Samaria Rice. She rightfully called out activists who use the attention for clout. We need more of that. You see, the issue with Black people doesn’t only deal with what’s happening on the outside. There’s a whole lot to address within as well. One way to start? Tell these performers to exit stage left.