If we, as a community, were to raise our standards of idolatry, would hold our peers accountable, should respect accomplishments over promises, then how would we describe the credentials of a man worthy of our wayward admiration? Something along the lines of the ideal images we hope and wish for our sons, he would likely be an athlete, like an All American High School Football player, and All Pacific Ten Academic scholar, having earned a Stanford B.A., Stanford M.A., Oxford Honors B.A., and Yale J.D. Some would clamor for an element of danger, confirmation of bravery and courage, someone who voluntarily lived in Newark’s Central Ward immediately following its designation as America’s Most Dangerous City, enacted change from within as a resident, volunteer, and council member before becoming mayor.
Yet more voices would ring in favor of entertainment value, something award winning to validate his rising star, like Brick City, a Peabody Award winner, and Street Fight, nominated for the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Still others may attempt to question the diversity of his network, weighing his influence on lobbying for hundreds of millions of dollars from Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg on behalf of the Newark school system, or turning down the offer to head the new White House Office of Urban Affairs Policy, citing a commitment to Newark. The fact of the matter stands that we keep asking for more from good men, and ask for less from men we need to liberally forgive; not enough is said about our positive influences, who do exist. Cory Booker is not a myth, legend, or face of a bygone era; if only we could appropriately appreciate people who deliver on their outspoken promises to uplift our community through hardworking representation. This is me campaigning for Cory Booker for universal role model.
Any sixteen year old with a double platinum debut album, scheduled television appearances and movie roles, is expected to drop out of high school, forgo higher education, and galvanize their adolescent fanbase with quips like, “[…] you can’t drive, so you steal a car or something.” While our young people take their cues from entertainers, our young entertainers are professionally handled to ensure a profitable return on their ability to dance or shuck, and sing or jive; and manage the occasional crisis, beating women for example, as insidiously covered by Fox News with apology in tow. Per the celebrity Brown surname tradition, Chris Brown’s illustrious forebears fared well after their domestic dispute convictions; as exhibited by Bobby Brown, James Brown, and even Ike Turner notoriously stayed out of jail until his cocaine possession charge. I propose we include the concept of sadomasochism into the discussion, and weigh whether Chris Brown simply needed a stronger safe word than ‘STOP.’
Having swept his recent Grammy Awards nominations, and issued his reclamation of love in a hopeless place, let me remind you to love the children we raise, to temper your expectations of the person behind the microphone, and recognize their diligent preservation of fame. Go forth Chris Brown, and entertain us with your professional and personal life, before we lose interest, and ignore you like we do with these serious issues about ourselves.
As we anxiously await the first athletic professional superstar to come out of the closet during their career (http://yhoo.it/ybeb0s), I would like to nominate Jeremy Lin. Aside from unmistakable talent, his immense popularity hinges on his differences from the typical NBA star, having graduated from an ivy league school, being of Taiwanese descent, etc.; add homosexuality and he instantly becomes an icon, only revealing he were a woman would produce a bigger story. Need a reasonable basis for my nomination? Google ‘Jeremy Lin Wife’ or ‘Jeremy Lin Girlfriend’ – nothing worth its salt; and this fabricated Kim Kardashian gimmick is too gimmicky.
So top or bottom? Probably long-term entertainment without a ring, the D’Antoni special, enjoy the ride Knicks fans.