Earlier today TMZ broke news that Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa filed for divorce claiming “irreconcilable differences”. This is just the latest couple this year that has chosen to split after being married or together for some time. Rose and Khalifa join Ciara and Future, Mariah and Nick Cannon, French Montana and Khloe Kardashian and Michael Strahan and Nicole Murphy to name a few. In this day of social media and heightening knowledge of celebrities, it begs the question why are our celebrity couples not able to keep it together? In their own way each of the couples above have been put on a pedestal whether rightfully so or not as having an ideal relationship. And yet each and every one of them has faltered. Where are our Cosbys of 2014?
While concrete details for the reasons of the split between the couples is unknown we can look towards a trend in this country for answers. An alarming 50% of marriages in the US end up in divorce! 50%! That's wild. Young men and women are growing up without a mother or father in the household with frequency and they in turn do not know how to raise a child and the cycle continues. The top five reasons for divorce are pretty clear as well:
1) Poor Communication
4) No longer attracted to one another
Those are the main causes. There are no Cosbys of 2014 because most marriages and relationships lack all of these items listed above. The Cosbys were a successful couple that looked after one another, challenged one another and made each other better. They did this by working hard, being successful in their career and loving their family as much as they love themselves. Social media is one distraction that makes doing all these harder. People can no longer interact in person. People hide behind technology and lack personality or effective people skills to grow. People simply do not want to work on relationships and talk, but rather hide behind a computer screen. In turn, careers lack and things spiral out of control that could lead to abuse or infidelity.
Each and every day there are young men and women of whom look towards celebrities for guidance because they lack it at home. When they see their idols breaking up many accept this and that is unacceptable. As a whole we need to expect more from ourselves and our spouses and leaders of today and tomorrow. Push one another to be successful in our careers. We need to push one another to always communicate and appreciate one another. When you take care of yourself, you're leading by example for the other person to do the same. We don't have to be apart of a statistic, but we can motivate, cultivate and grow to defy that statistic.
The two have seemingly nothing in common. The first is an unarmed black teen shot dead by white ferguson, missouri cop darren wilson. The other is a video blog, home to salacious videos showing everything questionable, bone-crushing and ratchet in entertainment and hip-hop serving to a majority black audience. By comparing the two i hope to briefly explore their opposing impacts on society.
There is no denying that the death of michael brown has been felt around the world. From palestine, to tibet, to russia the international community has taken notice. The people from these far off communities do not know mike brown or his family, but they do share the compassion. They feel the injustice from thousands of miles away. The fact that an unarmed black teen was shot dead in the middle of the day and a white cop remains on paid leave for over a month after without explanation makes no sense.
On the other hand, worldstar hip hop capitalizes on everything wrong in black america by simply exploiting black america. Founded in 2005, the site has 1 million unique views a day. It’s a top 300 u.s. site and growing annually. There are great statistics to speak of, but the potential is riddled with videos in poor taste, a detriment to the hip hop and black culture. Videos of poor people fighting over a candy bar, or girls shaking their behinds to a music beat and people doing whatever they can to get on the popular blog.
We continue to fight an uphill battle to stop the michael brown incidents of the world from taking place once again and yet we allow ourselves to kill each other on a daily basis by not holding each other to better standards, accountable for “worldstar-like” actions. We cannot desire to succeed and ask the world to respect a culture that doesn’t respect itself in many ways. We are not all the reason for the problem, but we can all certainly be some part of the solution because we do not have to visit or promote what the site stands for. In one way or another you or i could have been mike brown. But we weren’t. For that, we owe ourselves the right to respect and honor our lives each and everyday. Michael brown is not worldstar hip hop and we are not world star hip hop.
Tonight "Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood" aired on VH1. To see how far reality TV has come and gone is nothing short of "exasperating" (just like the little boy from YouTube). This show over the last few seasons of Atlanta and New York has chronicled the lives of has-been artists and producers and helped them try and re-launch their careers or at the very least try and become relevant once again in the eyes and mouths of the public. Almost all have been unsuccessful in re-launching anything that can be classified as success, but they have been successful in driving home negative images and stereotypes of a culture and race. Instead of showing the positives of an industry, the show is filled with images of girls fighting, men not taking care of their children and making light of dysfunctional families and lives. When was this cool? What is exactly cool about any one aspect of the show?
I boycotted these type of shows for a while because of the lack of substance until I decided to give tonight's premiere a fresh chance. It didn't disappoint. It was the worst of any that I have ever seen. Rapper Soulja Boy has issues staying faithful to his current girlfriend, singer Omarion has problems with his 'baby-mamma' and mother getting along and singer Tierra-Mari and rapper Ray J have a tumultuous relationship that is broadcast for the world to see. And that's only half of the cast!
There is nothing positive about the show. My biggest problem with the show is the fact that public figures and black celebrities continue to sell themselves short with these shows and images. Forward thinking activists of the past have made such great strides forward. Many have worked for so long for our progression and yet we sell ourselves short time and time again. People unfamiliar hip-hop culture and the lives of black and Latino families use shows like this as ammunition for our lack of worth and class and it's not fair or right at all. Instead of being positive role models, the characters depict everything wrong with society. I can't help, but have a problem with how much progress we have made since the Civil Rights era, and the yearning for so many people to head back to those time because of a combination of ignorance and stubbornness.
Today is the 51st anniversary of the 16st Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama by the hands of the KKK. Four black schoolgirls lost their lives in that bombing. As a result, a fervor took over the south for pride and progression. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed as a result of the four lives lost. And yet we continue to take steps backward over 50 years later. People would rather be stuck in their ways of doing anything for what they see as quick money rather than work harder to be positive and spark positive change. There's violence in Chicago, there is poverty in urban cities across the country, there's young people risking their lives to cross the border from Mexico to America each and every day and yet celebrities worried about becoming irrelevant are fighting on-screen and demeaning themselves for a cheap dollar. When is enough, enough?
The National Football League is a $9 billion dollar corporation. It's comprised of billionaire owners, executives and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell who all work to make money for each other. The relationship foundations are grounded in this. Each year 16 regular season games are played followed by playoffs. Team owners and NFL executives make millions annually off of revenue from ticket sales to apparel to anything else that relates to the team. All is well in the world, right? Absolutely not. The recent stories of (former) Baltimore Raves running back Ray Rice domestic violence incident with his wife to Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy domestic violence pending case with his former girlfriend to the most recent allegations of child abuse against Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson shows exactly how removed the owners, commissioner and and many players are from their roles in society and as men. There is no place for violence or abuse EVER. Yet, recent NFL commissioner actions may lead you to believe otherwise.
It started with Ray Rice. Video first surfaced months back that the NFL admits to have seen that showed Rice dragging his wife, then fiance, out of an Atlantic City hotel. He admitted to hitting her and was fined and penalized 2 games by the NFL. It wasn't until this video surfaced by TMZ about a week ago showing the actual punch Rice landed on his wife that the NFL and the rest of the country took notice. As a result Rice was fired from the Ravens, suspended indefinitely by the league and became the poster child for ridicule against domestic violence with many players speaking out.
Rewind less than two months, and Greg Hardy was found guilty of 2 counts of assault against his ex-girlfriend. The NFL season came, the Panthers played their first game and Hardy suited up and started. Not a mum was heard. But when the Rice incident occurred now there was outrage across the board. How could one player be chastised and not the same happen across the board? Hardy was deactivated in the second game of the Panthers season as his case remains under review.
Now enter Adrian Peterson. Last last week Peterson was indicted on charges of child abuse for allegedly using a switch on his child to discipline him. He was booked Saturday and released. Many say that disciplining your child should be up to the discretion of the parents. Others say that a child should never be physically disciplined in any way. Whatever side you are on with respect to disciplining your child, no child should be physically beaten to the point of broken bones or continued ailment. Something went wrong with what Peterson did to his son.
These are three incidents for the NFL. Three incidents in less than three months that relate to violence. Three incidents that forces the NFL to do something, speak out and act.
What is the NFL going to do? I have purposely left out countless other domestic violence cases of the past or the ongoing problems of NFL owners Jim Irsay and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for the sake of space to focus on the three hottest stories that are most relevant. But the truth is, this is nothing new. The NFL has a terrible history of violence that has never been dealt with. The frequency with which these incidents are occurring may be lessening, but violence within the NFL is a problem. The NFL has its sites set on how it's going to get to $25 billion, but at what cost? It's about more and more money. Are the players at the focus of progress in the NFL or are they merely bobble-heads of executives and officials to move around when they see fit? The money in the NFL is out of control and the culture of what's right and acceptable is being watered down and downtrodden. All young men, regardless of color, need to know it's unacceptable to hit a woman. When it comes to disciplining your child, there needs to be some sort of discretion in teaching, but not crippling. And who are the real victims of domestic violence? Is it the ridiculed players, is it the public or the victims? I argue it's everyone involved. Our system of disciplining is all messed up. Ray Rice was kicked out of the league, his wife seen as the silly one for staying and the two have nothing left but each other. Where is the lesson learned? Where is the teaching? I can point to a lot of things like missing fathers in the household and looking for role models and right from wrong from the ill-advised sources, but at the epicenter of it all is what we, as a society, deem acceptable and cool and what is not. We cannot promote doing whatever to women in one aspect of life and not expect respect in another. We need to reevaluate as a society how we construct things and put them together. From commercials to television to video games, all the things young minds wrap their minds around and take as reality at a young age. There is no reason for violence, but it starts with each of us taking a look at ourselves and how we are contributing to the progression or the digression of it all. Everyone loses when these type of stories come out, but how are we going to deal with them all and bounce back is what I want to know. How is the NFL going to properly insure that these players are given proper help with their families and in how they handle situations? We all can do something to help, but what is our niche and how are we going to make something happen.
The Basiks is everything you need/want to know in the world of news, sports, politics and entertainment all told through the words and eyes of Marquise Francis. But who am I? Why listen to me? Currently, I am a producer on the 6 o'clock primetime show PoliticsNation with Rev. Al Sharpton on msnbc. Day in and day out I make sure the Rev has everything he needs before, during and after the show as well as make sure I contribute to the news gathering of the day. In addition, I usually write the final block of the show as a take away or compelling story about moving America forward and continuing to fight for justice amidst all of the injustice.
As a recent grad (Syracuse Univ. c/o '13) and a young professional there is so much in the world that affects our current and future lives. The sad thing is a lot of what reaches my generation and those younger than me is information or ideas that are clouded with misinformation or things that do not push us forward as a collective society. I plan on talking about controversial topics, fun topics and things that may be off the wall, but offering up an intellectual spin on it all. I hope you can join in on the conversation as well and let me know what you think. I am excited to take on this journey and can't wait to see where it takes me.
lives by one word: achievement. in anything and everything, achieve.