So this week, two things happened that shook the African-American community: the first was Bishop Eddie Long passed and the second was Steve Harvey met with President-Elect Donald Trump. People are losing it. And I kinda understand. One of my favorite poets, Tupac Shakur (for whom this post is named), wrote a poem called “When Ure Hero Falls.” The poem is about the sadness of one whose idol has fallen from grace and the pangs that accompany it. At this age, (41 to be exact), I cannot relate. Long gone are the days where I look to a human as someone who supersedes flaws.
Didn’t we learn our lesson with Bill Cosby? I digress.
I never liked either man. Now, let me be the first to say that in the case of Bishop Eddie Long, I believe that once a man dies, all of his debts are erased. However, memories are not. Eddie Long was probably a good man in some areas. However, that does not erase the fact that he was accused of molesting young men. I don’t think that should be on his tombstone, but I also give a hard side-eye to the people who want society to only delete these accusations from their memory. I call bullshit. We can talk about the good he did in the community and also talk about the idea that if he did commit this heinous crime, that he is also guilty of scarring people. This kind of abuse usually takes years of therapy to overcome. And even with that will come the shame of having helped to “bring another black man down.” Because as someone said oh so long ago, Black people have so few heroes that they cling for dear life to those who can barely even spell the word. I am sorry he’s gone, and most importantly, I am heartbroken if those allegations are true.
Steve Harvey is another story altogether. I do not even include the fact that my first impression of him was not good. He struck me as someone whose ignorance (he’s not by far the funniest guy I’ve ever heard) along with being at the right place at the right time made him famous. My disdain for him is strictly personal. In an article posted about him related to his divorce, his ex-wife alleged that he hired her lawyer, duped her out of her well-earned alimony, and got the children. This-this is a man who we are disappointed in, but why? Yes, he has done some wonderful things in the community with our young boys, donated some suits, but what made us place him in such high regard? And if he weren’t held in such high esteem, his meeting with Donald Trump wouldn’t have hit so far below the belt.
We have to get better. This black pedestal does not deserve everyone’s footsteps. Some worthy names I could think of would be Dr. King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, DuSable, ya grandparents, etc. And even they are not without their faults. Instead, what we do is throw any old Steve, Eddie, and Bill on board when what they have actually promised us is nothing. They have, at the most, temporarily distracted us from the really pressing issues within our own community. We don’t need preachers to tell us what the Bible says, we can read that and interpret it for ourselves, really. Nor do we need Steve Harvey to write a book telling us how to act. Our parents, grandparents, and many of our neighbors have already given us those instructions if we dare to think of them as important.
We have to learn to be our own heroes. Yes, I know that it is scary to believe in yourself, but how bad could it be? Could you do any worse than any of these aforementioned people? Yes, there are many people worthy of our admiration, but we must remember that they are just people. And sometimes they can do some terrible things.
What I would advise us to do is to re-create our own villages and structures and stop siding with folk we only know by tv personas and a few poorly written books.
Forward. Onward. Upward.