The quote, “Your crown has already been bought and paid for. All you have to do is put it on your head,” from James Baldwin partnered with the notion to stand on the shoulders of those before you have been replaced with, “do you” and “I’ll get mine and you get yours”.
This illusion of separate greatness has created a divide amongst the most close knit of communities. It has also been a proven success for the late 1990’s national educational campaign of everybody being winners so even at mediocre or failing, everybody wins. Our children did not have to set goals or strive for better. The agency to thrive was taken from the youth and their current social, political and economic status was deemed as success. Therefore, this subconsciously taught them the way they live is acceptable even if it was high rise/low income or concentration camp compact “housing project” living.
This instant separation from their genius past put them in a mode of desperation of “hustling hard and grinding in the streets”. They were no longer connected to standing on the shoulders of those before them to continue a legacy. All of a sudden everyone was striving to be the best in poor situations because thriving outside of the community wasn’t necessary because our ills are being accepted as a people. The “keeping it real “campaign allows our current growing generation to create art, and life choices, with no allegiance to the work already done simply because they don’t care or don’t know. Most likely the reasoning is not knowing because the current historical time frame is as far back as five months. Any further reference or link might threaten to connect generations and previous genocidal work would’ve been done in vain.
The saying, “you become the words defined in your world” may have plagued this generation termed as the microwave kids. They are satisfied with instant gratification. Today’s artists have a goal for an instant $5,000 instead of the steadfastness of studying the ancestors and having the possibility of garnering $500,000 over a lifetime.
The drums, our voices, our crowns, our successes, our lineage and our stories have been strewn alongside the road for the sake of “Keeping It Real”.