Saturday, August 19, 2017

As A Black Man, Should I Boycott The #NFL?

Okay, so we've all been hearing about the controversy behind Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the National Anthem last season.  It's been discussed for a year now, but it's reared its ugly head once again because a new season is about to start.

For those who have been living under a rock, let me explain what's been happening over the past 365 days or so.  Kaep, who was a member of the San Francisco 49ers at the time, decided to take a stand against police brutality.  Unlike most athletes these days, Kaep decided to use his platform as an NFL player to raise awareness to his cause.  He said that he would take a knee during the National Anthem until this country took a stand against the treatment of black and brown people by the police.

The response from the media?  "Colin Kaepernick hates the troops!"

Of course, that same rhetoric came from the fans as well (since we take instruction from the media on where and how to direct our outrage).  Fans said that Kaep was disrespecting the veterans because he would not stand for the Star Spangled Banner.  Rarely was police brutality mentioned at all during the many weeks and months of this controversy.  It's been Kaep vs. the USA.  The whole message of police brutality was lost thanks to the media's spin.

Well, now that the controversy is a hot topic again, thanks to a new season kicking off, I started receiving a video link on Facebook about boycotting the NFL.  You may have seen it, but if you haven't, then peep it here:

First, I want to applaud the people who put together the video.  Any time black people get together to do something positive, then I'm all for it...  in most cases.  This one, I still can't get with the message.

The focus of this video, to me, is that once Kaep gets his job back, then everything is good.  No, it's not.  The message has been lost again.  Boycotting the NFL to get Kaep's job back will not fix police brutality against black and brown people in this country.  Does the NFL need to be brought down a peg?  Absolutely.  These 32 "owners" are undoubtedly blackballing a player who could contribute to just about all of the teams in the league.  But not watching games won't hurt anyone other than the TV stations, who may lose some ratings.

The best way to boycott the NFL is to boycott their sponsors directly.  That's what happened with Michael Vick.  People boycotted his sponsors and they dumped him faster than you can say "Hector 'Macho' Camacho".

Do you think Budweiser cares if you don't watch an NFL game as long as you're getting a six pack on your way home?  Do you think Nike cares if you're watching Kaep play as long as you keep buying their apparel?  No, they won't.  Because they would still be getting your money.

And would you stop your son from watching the games, too?  Especially if he is an up and coming star looking to play in the NFL some day?

Don't get me wrong.  So much has to be done to right a lot of wrongs in this country.  But, our approach will determine if it works or not.  Keep boycotting and not voting and you won't see very  much change.  Be mindful of where you spend your money if you want to promote change.

In fact, encouraging the players to do more is the best route to go.  If 70% of the NFL is made up of black players, then wouldn't that be the best place to start?  No players, no games?  If it worked for the University of Missouri's football team, then it can work for the NFL players, too.

So, will I "black out" the NFL games this season?  Nope.  I will watch like I always do.  Will I buy a Budweiser, Nikes, Gatorade, or something else that sponsors the NFL?  Nope.  And I don't think that you should either.

Consumer sponsorship boycotting is the way to go.  History agrees with me.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Jerrod Carmichael Quits

The Carmichael Show is one of my favorite TV shows.  It is a sitcom that features a family of black people who discuss every day topics from "Plan B birth control" to "the N-word".  They take the topic of the show, no matter how controversial, and do a masterful job of making the topic hilarious, while exposing the audience to different perspectives on it.

Well, the show is coming to an end after 3 seasons.  Not because of ratings.  Not because of protests.  Because the creator and star of the show has decided that 3 seasons is enough and that he wants to quit.

First of all, I totally understand that Jerrod Carmichael has the right to do whatever it is that he wants.  However, this is yet another black-created show, within the past decade or so, that I can recall, that has suffered an unceremonious death.

Chappelle's Show (2003, 2004, 2006)

This show was ground-breaking.  Like "In Living Color" before it, it took stereotypes and racism and turned it into something comical.

Dave Chappelle pushed the envelope on what was offensive and what was funny.  For three seasons, he ruled the airwaves as the funniest man on TV until he walked away from the show and a $50 million dollar contract from Comedy Central.

A lot of people speculated on why he left, but in the end, a very creative show, that opened people's eyes to racism, double standards, and more, was no more.

For years, people waited to see if Chappelle would ever bring the show back, but the closest we got was him reviving some characters from his show on a Saturday Night Live appearance last season.

What could he have done with Obama's election, Tiger Woods scandal, or other things that occurred after his show went off the air.  We'll never know.

The Boondocks (2005-2008, 2010, 2014)

This show started as a hilarious comic strip, that I sometimes wonder how it even got printed in most newspapers.

The show featured a radical, modern day, young Black Panther known as Huey Freeman (named after Huey P. Newton).  The story centered around his family (granddad and little brother) and their new surroundings in suburban America.  From the hood to a white environment, the family dealt with everything from racism to the LGBT community.

This show hit on a ton of topics surrounding the black community, including a number of topics that tend to make black people uncomfortable (our idolization of celebs, gay rappers, etc.).

The show never seemed to get traction as each season always appeared to the last.  The show would take hiatus so much that most viewers thought that it was canceled, when it was indeed not.  Whether it was creative control issues with the creator, Aaron McGruder, or problems finding the right people to voice the characters, the show ultimately disappeared.

I could add another show in Key & Peele, which lasted from 2012-2105 until they decided to move on to bigger and better things.  And now add The Carmichael Show to the list.

Another show greatly appreciated by deep thinking fans that has gone the way of the dinosaur just out of the blue.  I was not a fan of Jerrod Carmichael prior to the show, but I hope to be a fan of his in the future.  All of that remains to be seen as he moves on to his next project.  However, my question is: why are these people quitting?  Why are black creators walking away from their work?  Are we doomed to see Issa Rae drop "Insecure" after three or four seasons?

Looks like I'll be focusing on "Black-ish" again until Anthony Anderson walks away from it.  After all, Season 4 is coming up.

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