In my 40 years on earth I would have never imagined seeing one of my black brothers or sisters place a noose around their own neck. Yesterday my Instagram was ringing with comments on a Meek Mill post from the Ellen Show, which glorified a black elementary school boy as he rapped a song from newly appointed criminal justice reform champion Meek Mill. The 8 year old sang versus about cooking crack in the kitchen as the Ellen crowd erupted in cheers and praise. Seeing an 8 year old black child being used to promote the same acts that are responsible for the mass incarceration of our young black generation was very disheartening. The new culture lead by the most influential black Americans has embraced a message that normalizes self degradation.

The recent allegedly staged hate crime by “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett is a dark symbol of how liberalism, victimization and entitlement have metastasized throughout American Black culture.

When I originally heard this story, it brought back some vivid memories of my teenage years dealing with skin heads, the KKK, and other white supremacist groups in Texas. During my senior year of high school, while playing football under the Friday night lights, I had to deal with nooses being dangled in the stands. In 1996, we were the number one rated team in the state. Our rivals would do anything to get the betters of us. Fans from one opposing team decided to “string up” black dolls with my jersey number on them. Specifically, these fans from Southlake Carroll High School even developed a theme for our highly anticipated rivalry game; “TANHO,” which stood for “tear a n-word’s head off.” Instead of playing victim, I used the other team’s racist antics to motivate me. Needless to say we beat the Southlake Carroll Dragons that night on the way to an undefeated season, and a Texas State title.

My experiences growing up black in the deep-south, combined with my extensive global travel have helped shape my perspective on race and equality in America. And I’ve vowed to always try to inspire others to transcend those who use nooses to intimidate and impede our race, including other black Americans.

No Self Accountability

Our outward cry for sympathy can’t be as strong as our inward pursuit of accountability and prosperity. Too often we rise up and protest harder against other races’ acts of oppression, than we do when we terrorize ourselves. Jussie Smollett’s alleged Chicago hate crime skit got more attention from America’s most powerful black leaders than the dozens of murders committed by black kids in any given weekend in the Windy City.

I was never satisfied with President Obama’s efforts to curb black-on-black violence, especially in Chicago — his home town. Now, we are witnessing Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker call Smollett’s skit — “a modern day lynching.” Prior to their comments on Smollett, neither had done enough to stand-up for the thousands of black kids murdered and their mothers who are burying their babies every week in inner cities across America. Most of these cities are run by Democrats, who base their agenda and talking points on what their constituents want to hear, not what they need to hear. This is how elected officials put a figurative “noose” around our necks.

Criminal Justice Hypocrisy

After Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill was passed, the number of black men locked up for non-violent crimes soared to the millions. Several black Democrats supported this bill then. Ironically 25 years later, many black Democrats were opposed to rolling back this toxic legislation simply because the First Step Act was backed by the Trump Administration.

Despite their tough talk against the broken criminal justice system, black leaders like Sens. Harris and Booker and Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and John Lewis all put their liberal agenda ahead of bringing freedom and reform to thousands of black men locked up for non-violent crimes. It’s unimaginable to think that the most prominent black leaders in America are using their voting power to keep “nooses” on the necks of our underserved prison population.

Money, Fame, Likes, and Followers

Money, and fame, along with likes and followers on social media, have too often replaced spirituality, love, and community service in the black community. This is caused by our disconnect with our roots and a mentality that has lead us to value money and fame more than helping our own people who are living without access to life’s basic needs. Blacks in America and abroad continue to be the sickest, the poorest, and the most under-educated. Living in America puts us in the upper echelon of the world, no matter your race. Most of my brothers and sisters tend to forget that a black person on welfare in America is wealthy compared to nearly a billion Africans.

Lebron James has recently chosen to compare NFL players to “slaves” and the owners their “slave masters.” Well Mr. James, I played 5 years in the NFL, had my masters degree before I got there, then went on to pursue another degree which was all paid for by the National Football League. As a matter of fact, the NFL gives former players up to $40,000 a year post-retirement to pursue continued education. To make ignorant statements like this about men who make an average of $2.1 million a year, while there are still up to 40 million people actually living in slavery around the world is toxic rhetoric for our young black kids to hear from the most popular black athlete on the planet. Lebron received overwhelming support for this idiocy, further proving that many blacks have completely lost the reality that hundreds of millions of our ancestors live without access to clean water and basic food and medicine, many still in slavery. Like the great Marcus Garvey said, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots” and that tree cannot grow.

The Hip Hop Effect

What about the self-proclaimed “leaders” — many of whom, unfortunately, have made their fortunes from promoting and marketing destructive behavior to the black community. I grew up on Hop Hip music and though I was sickened by Meek Mill’s support of an 8 year promoting cooking up crack and hustling, I like his music. I still love listening to the latest Jay Z or DJ Khaled track. As a 40 year old man who grew up with both parents, going to great public schools, I can keep music in perspective. We cannot expect a young black kid, with no positive father or mentor to fully understand why they can’t afford to imitate the lifestyle they hear in the lyrics of artists like Future, Jay Z and Beyoncé. Take for example, their recent hit song with DJ Khaled called “Top Off.” In it, the 49-year-old Jay Z repeats “I got the police behind me, ain’t gone stop” then “take the top of the Maybach, f*** these cops.”

In the midst of a national crisis of police shooting unarmed black men, we have our most respected African American entertainer and businessman spreading a message that could easily encourage black youth to hate and disrespect all law enforcement. This is like putting a “noose” around necks of these young black kids.

When I grew up, the Hip Hop culture definitely helped give me the courage to carry my first gun and to sell my first bag of weed. Fortunately, I had parents whom I feared and respected, so I never pushed my flirtation with the criminal lifestyle to the point where I faced serious consequences like jail time. I was blessed. Millions of other black men and women from my generation were not as lucky. They succumbed to the crack epidemic. Now crack baby boomers fill our prisons. Ironically, prison reform is now being cheered on by many of the same rappers who promoted a lifestyle which helped lead these people to prison. Now they are promoting 8 year olds to perform these songs.

I recently heard my 6-year-old son repeating the lyrics of a song called “Mask Off” — by the rapper Future. It was a platinum hit five times over. It promotes drug culture and the casual use of opioids like Percocet and “Molly” — a slang term used for the drug MDMA. This is just one of many hit Hip Hop songs glorifying drug use while we are in the middle of a nationwide opioid epidemic that is killing over 150 people a day. The same vicious cycle that I lived through in the 1980’s and 90’s is happening right before our eyes. Is anyone surprised to see a new generation of young black boys who kill each other by the thousands every year, don’t respect law enforcement and have embraced a Hip Hop culture that promotes the use of lethal drugs?

Today, about 50 percent of black boys drop out of school. Many of them go on to use or sell drugs. It’s the saddest form of life imitating art. The lessons are learned from the rappers they idolize. Where are the songs promoting education? Or calling out their peers who are polluting the minds of our kids? How about songs praising good police officers. This would give more credibility to the black community’s attempts to hold the bad ones accountable? It’s time to stand up and demand that these proclaimed leaders of the Hip Hop world stop putting nooses around our kids necks.

Jack Brewer possesses a unique combination of expertise in the fields of global economic development, sports, and finance through his roles as a successful entrepreneur, executive producer, news contributor, and humanitarian. Currently serving as the CEO and Portfolio Manager of The Brewer Group, Inc. as well as the Founder and Executive Director of The Jack Brewer Foundation (JBF Worldwide), active Shriner and Ambassador and National Spokesperson for the National Association of Police Athletic/ Activities Leagues, Inc. Other key roles include regular contributor to CNBC, Fox Business, and The American City Business Journals, Ambassador for Peace and Sport for the International Federation for Peace and Sustainable Development at the United Nations, Senior Advisor to former H.E. President Joyce Banda of the Republic of Malawi, and three time National Football League (NFL) Team Captain for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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