As we all know, black celebrities can be a great representation of what black people are about. They are out there entertaining, inspiring, doing what they love, and living very passionate lives. They are in the spot light all of the time and needless to say, most live public and fierce lives. To be honest, I really don’t know how they balance it all: their professional lives vs. their personal lives, which happen to be very public for the most part. I, sometimes look at certain celebrities we have like Rihanna, for example, and wonder how she keeps sane while living her private life very publicly on instagram or on other social sites. They definitely have tough skin, that’s for sure. Otherwise, I’m not sure how one is equipped to handle all of the baggage that comes with fame and all of the people that are living with you all of a sudden.
Aside from having tough skins, black celebrities often get asked about black issues, because hey they are black and their opinions about the black community matters.The thing that upsets me most is when these moments happen and the answers they give do not have anything to do with the real struggles black people face in the US. Their answers are usually so infused with privilege, it hurts my soul to listen to any of their views on identity struggles. To give you few examples of this: Zoe Saldana, a Black Latina actress, when asked about race, articulated she didn’t think there was any need to categorize people as “people of color”, matter of fact, she didn’t think people should look at her as anything but “Zoe” as her mother once did. When Raven Symone, a Black American actress was asked about race, pointed out a similar perspective stating she didn’t want people to see her as anything but an American, most importantly- a human being. Another instance was when Common was asked about racism tying to his recent amazing performances at the Oscars, and he answered that racism has the ability to end if black people lend a loving hand to white people (I don’t know about that one Common), and the most shocking one was when Terrence Howard (after his fame on Fox’s newest TV show hit Empire) made a statement stating he didn’t mind if white folks used the n-word casually and in fact he even allowed his white wife and her friends to say it.
So you ask, what do all these black celebrities have in common to make them respond to race and racism in similar ways: wealth and money privilege. Some how rich folks think that having money can automatically erase the struggles that people of color/ minorities have been going through for decades. Their solution that we can just move forward by not dealing with these issues or by simply ignoring them (identifying ourselves only as human beings or lending a loving hand to white folks) is a slap on the face for those who are dealing with these issues.
I, in turn, would like to suggest to all of the black celebrities that feel in these similar ways and to even go a step further to publicly announce their very misguided and full of privileged thoughts, to please read some books that deal with identity issues before you say problematic things that does more harm than good to the black community. You are doing more harm to the black community by not acknowledging the issues and/or choosing not to see race because you are wealthy. Please see race, its okay to be black, its okay to propose effective solutions like change of systems/ cultures to accommodate black people as well as everyone else, and also, please stop allowing your white spouses/friends to say an offensive word that’s been used to demean generations of people for a long, long time, and no not all black people say the word.
Peace and Love,