Here’s your favorite rapper. You know all of his songs, all of his hand movements. You know what kind of car he drives, the names of his kids, where he lives and where he vacations. Not to mention his music, you know even the personal details of his life-right down to his favorite food and pair of jeans. As an adult, this information might just be a bunch of insignificant, minute details that you picked up from some random source. For a child or teenager, this information is extremely vital. Learning and becoming accustomed to an entertainer’s every move is nowhere near a haphazard practice, for our young people it is a way of life. Entertainers have a profound effect on our youth-they watch their every move. But what happens when these entertainers are sent to prison? What happens to their children and our children-both of whom look up to them? What happens to our society?
Lately, rappers have more prison relates dates than music release dates. T.I., Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane-just to name a few-have all been the latest of wildly popular black entertainers who have either been to jail, are on their way to jail, or on their way out. One minute they’re high, on-top of life and next they’re crashing back down to earth, at a press conference providing an explanation of their bad habits and apologizing. Ultimately this affects our children. Children see the glitz and the glamour but they don’t see the consequences of this fast moving life until something drastic happens-jail, death, or both and the mistakes made cannot be corrected. Black entertainers are equivalent to superheroes in our children’s’ eyes, and when they are taken away a part of a child’s innocence is taken away. They lose the magic of what could possibly be the only father/mother figure that they have in their life. Not to mention, their own children have to deal with being without a parent. The media will pick at the prison story and provide constant reminders to all children involved that just because you’re successful, doesn’t mean you are exempt from the law. Which is a great lesson to see, but must the high life always come at a price? Can we not, as black entertainers, be successful and secure on the right path without having to take steps backwards on the wrong path?
Of course society does not care how this affects our children or even entertainers and their children. We live in a society that would much rather see our black stars in trouble or in agony behind a modern day slave system as opposed to succeeding and bettering themselves and their communities. Why give them the gratification? This should be a warning to entertainers that you are being watched. Not only by the law officials that are awaiting your downfall, but the children (and your children) who are awaiting for you to rise. All parties are counting on you to be involved, and whether that involvement is contributing to the negative or the positive in our communities depends on you.