“Most Young Kings Get Their Heads Cut Off…”
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Do you remember when your family used to talk to you about people that existed way before you were even thought of? Do you remember all the stories and archived footage we watched of the people that stood up in a time when they were supposed to sit down? The people that chose to educate rather than just entertain. I’m talking about the ones that fed you hope when you needed to get over the hump. Now that they are all gone, who do we have left? Most are dead or too old to carry on the challenge, so where are the ones that carry torch for them now. In times of social strife, who rallies us together to fight injustice? When we show our ignorance as a Nation, who reprimands us to the point we feel ashamed of our actions? I guess like others I’m looking for specific people that lead in a way that is best suitable with today’s World. I’m not talking about the opportunists; I’m talking about the leaders that know how to operate within and without the media. I’m talking about the messengers/deliverers.
As far back as I can remember, one of the worst duties to have is working in delivery or being a messenger. Being left in charge of passing along news to someone else was always seen as an unflattering task. Now to some people that are struggling to relate as to why this is such a shitty responsibility, I want you to take yourself back to a time when you were relied upon to deliver something for someone else. Your delivery could be either seen as good or bad news, it really depends on the recipient, but you’ll never know their reaction to such until you do your part and deliver that message. A deliverer is a thankless task no matter how you look at it. No one cares what obstacles they must go through on their journey to reach their recipients and when they reach them most times they are met with hostility, aggression and unconventional disrespect. The popular saying when delivering something seen as bad, we usually say “Don’t kill the messenger!” Flash forward to today and that statement still stands today although it mostly goes unfollowed. But we’ll get to that later… In music, a singer or lyricist must have a unique delivery in order to stand out as an act worth paying attention to. As a lawyer, one must deliver their case in a way that convinces a jury to see their argument as right and their counterpart as wrong. In politics, your speech delivery must be strong enough to hold the attention of your city, state, nation or the whole world for that matter. The inflection and rhythm of your voice helps emphasize your thoughts and points of view enough to captivate your audience. In most case a simple delivery style is all it takes to make or break your career or in some ways even your life. But I’ll get to that in a minute. In America we used to joke about people that worked for the post office, FedEx or UPS because of how their delivery services went through the most arduous work days daily. It was this understanding that resulted in many mail carriers losing composure, often in violent outbursts. No matter what, anything being delivered is met with some resistance from someone for whatever reasons. If you consider the plight of this task you can see why and where I am going with this by now.
I often wonder which stands out more when I stand in front of an audience and speak or when I write any WGMG’s for the website. Am I getting through to people and are they even listening? If they are listening then is it because of what I am saying or is it because of how I am saying it? I pride myself as a perfectionist when it comes to conveying my thoughts into a way that entertains and educates because all good humor contains hard truths in it. How many messengers had to perfect their delivery in order to inspire others with their ideals? We have come a long way from Franklin D. Roosevelt, to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to Cesar Chavez, to Malcolm X, to John Lennon, all the way to Maya Angelou just to name a few that had such a profound message for their time and had such a unique delivery that kept them on people’s mind after the fact. For some of those mentioned died for the messages they delivered and in some cases for how they delivered them. Can you imagine being murdered for spreading your ideals on the importance of civil rights? What if you were shot for spreading a message of peace, equality and love? What if you were gunned down in front of your own children for changing your delivery on uplifting your community to protect and better themselves? Mogul Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter was inspired by the quote used above from the late great artist Jean Michel Basquiat in a song with Coldplay front man Chris Martin called “Most Kings”. In this song Jay uses the quote to elaborate his views on how success and fame build you up just to watch you fall whenever they’re done seeing you accomplish so much so fast; Which is true in the majority of the situations you read about and see on the news. I remember back in the 80’s there was a power struggle over who’s the next black leader behind the Rev. Jesse Jackson to fight racial injustice. Yeah, it got that serious! You had Roy Innis taking on Rev. Al Sharpton on The Morton Downey Show inside of the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY of all places, they had people cussing each other out and calling each other crackheads, there was fights between the leaders and audience members. It was just a circus act that became the footprint for Jerry Springer later on except on this day, this venue became polluted with jheri curl juice, Dapper Dan track suits, Kangol hats, some Newport smoke and gold chains all over the place slowly dissolving all of the achievements made to lead us away from such buffoonery. But back to my point, there has always been a fine line between the message and your delivery. Like the story of the late journalist Gary Webb, a man that was the first reporter to break the Iran/Contra drug trafficking scandal of the CIA. Webb’s reporting of this cold, hard and unsettling truth resulted in the loss his career, his credibility and ultimately taking his life in the end. What should have happened was that he should have been praised as a hero and as a quintessential investigation journalist, instead he was shamed into obscurity to the point he felt it was necessary to take his own life. Some messengers are not welcomed anymore. If you look at the evolution between leaders then and the leaders now, you can see the regression of those that would openly criticize and create alternatives to solve the different types of social and economic crisis going on in America. One could even make the case that the once crowded pool of inspiring leaders and the quality of public figures are so diluted, mainly due to all the martyrs before that gave their lives to deliver messages of hope and change, nobody is eager to make that kind of sacrifice for people that are more inclined to remember your delivery than the actual message itself. You can talk about justice but it better be in a short video, with stunning visuals and shared among 1k already, at least. That’s not to say there is something wrong with having those things but it takes much more substance to make the kind of impact the leaders of the past made. Even the role of a President of the United States is now known as just another job where your message and delivery can be compromised, corrupted or disrespected; when you really look at the history books, who really want to stand up on the front lines for anything in this country anymore. Even late Pres. John F. Kennedy took a bullet in broad daylight in front of the entire Nation standing up for his agendas and beliefs and to this day not one detailed answer has been allowed to be made as to who all was behind it and why? In other words, a king lost his head in front of his subjects with no valid explanation still to this day, so what would someone do to a regular Joe or Jane citizen trying to change the world for the better?
“Little Caesar’s never sending pizza out y’all way
Papa Johns never get delivered where y’all stayed
The ghetto was a physical manifestation
Of hate in a place where ethnicity determines your placement
A place that defines your station…”
In fact, one night during our previous winter storms I found myself roaming social media, being nosey to what other people had going on during the messy weather. I saw several different people had ordered from pizza places only to be stood up. Was it due to the weather? It’s possible. It could have been the dangerous conditions outside were too much for the delivery men/women to provide people with the food they needed and wanted to get their families and themselves through the snowy nightfall. Who knows? This was a time that people found themselves left to fend for their own and find their own way through the storm. That’s when I realized that this was our time now. With all of the race baiting non-sense going on inside of our country maybe this is why no one has really bothered to step into the forefront either side because we all know what storms like this are capable of. We believe in right and wrong but we are more, if not too, particular over what we are willing to die for. Whatever the case may be at some point we are all going to face a choice of where we stand on whatever issue that presents itself to us, and instead of looking for someone to step in we’re going to have to accept that we are the messengers/deliverers of the future we clam to want for our children and our children’s children. My mom always said that no matter where you go on this planet, the world is really one big ghetto and it will be that way until we change it for ourselves and others. You can try feeding your people by delivering a brighter future or you can stay silent, still struggle unfairly and settle for a slew of many nights eating DiGiorno. The choice is yours. Do not forsake your fallen Kings & Queens…