Super star music couple Jay – Z and Beyonce quietly wired tens of thousands of dollars to bail out police brutality protesters in Baltimore. A writer who used to work for the couple tweeted that the couple also funded the Black Lives Matter protest organization.
Author, filmmaker and protest organizer dream hampton, who worked with Jay Z on his book, “Decoded,” said on Twitter that he “wired tens of thousands in mins” when she asked him for bail money for Baltimore protesters, according to Complex magazine.
The couple also wrote “huge checks” to help fund an expansion of the #BlackLivesMatter protest organization “and more stuff, too much to list actually…
CNN also quotes a writer at the Daily Kos
“He’s content, as he should be, to fund great leaders and organizations, help people out in their critical times of need, love on families behind the scenes every chance he gets…
The above is a perfect example of what a friend of mine has termed, “Cultural Revolutionary Defiance.” And it’s a problem — a big problem because it speaks directly to ideas of Black authenticity and identity.
You can read the entire article here.
A high profile couple donates money to bail out Baltimore protesters. What we do not read about, what was not tweeted or shared, what is not being celebrated (and so my guess is that it didn’t happen), is that this same couple donated thousands of dollars to repair businesses that were damaged during the riots.
The question is not whether protest is legitimate; clearly, there is a role for protest. Nor is the issue one of quiet compliance, something, in the macro world, I would never suggest. The question is, “What is the first instinctual response?”
The persistence of Cultural Revolutionary Defiance as a Black cultural meme means that the heroes in this story are not the hard working folks who built businesses in the area and contributed to the local economy. Rather, the exemplar are the protesters, the people who thumbed their noses at the man by looting, damaging property, and assaulting police officers. (And before you write me, I do not say all, or even most, but certainly some of those in jail were there for having committed those crimes.) The sentence from the Daily Kos is very telling. The writer asserts that Jay-Z is funding great leaders. Leaving aside, for the moment, the discussion about why a free people need to be led, were the Baltimore jails really filled with great leaders or potential great leaders? And from whence does their legitimacy come? why from having participated in the Baltimore protests and been locked up by the man. Are there really great leaders in the Black lives protest organization? (If they are associated with the brilliant campaign to annoy people eating brunch, I have serious doubt.) My question is: What offers a better return on investment? the funding of a protest organization OR investing in the businesses in the community that provide jobs, services, and recycle dollars back into the community? Clearly, the latter, except that there is little to no cultural cache to be earned by supporting local entrepreneurs who were burned out, at least not when great leaders or our great freedom organizations are in jail.