The path to our current future is paved with selfish intentions and it’s our job to rectify this global injustice. We’ve experienced the effect of the “selfie,” become obsessed with documenting our lives for people to rate with blue thumbs and blue hearts, have had a surge in people becoming self-employed to help themselves out, and we’ve forgotten what it’s like to fight for what we believe in, yet have guides on how to climb the social ladder. We are more worried about why Kim Kardashian cropped North West out of her Instagram post than how we are going to keep the reverberations of the Ferguson decision on the national forum of discussion. There are people physically dying to better our world yet we sit and choose what filter places us in the best light. But there’s no better lighting than being a good person dedicated to helping and inspiring others.
I recently saw an interview with J. Cole on the Angie Martinez Show where he discuses modern day slavery. Not in the racial sense, but in the way that we still have not been freed from our owner and owed mentality. There’s an economical hierarchy where there are the “little” people who slave on the bottom, the middle managers who are in a slightly better position than those on the bottom, and then there’s the extremely power and wealthy few who have manipulated capitalism in there favor. What the people at the top of the ladder fail to realize is that it’s the foundation, the “slaves” at the bottom, are who made their job a possibility. I don’t think there is one person who hasn’t aspired to be the top dog, and there is nothing wrong with pushing yourself to succeed, but why do you want to prosper? Is it because you want to better the world we live in and progress our lethargic minds? Or is it because you’re after money and fame?
Cole describes our survivalist mentality as the catalyst to our selfish acts. We have bills to pay, tuition, rising food costs, gas, every day is a battle of its own sort. Consequently, our sentences begin to rest with “I”. “How am I going to eat?” “How am I going to make it to the top?” “How am I going to survive?”
We listen to music that promotes a lifestyle that the majority of people have never and will never live. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been surrounded by bottles of d’Ussé and an endless supply of strippers, but maybe I don’t get out enough. In no way is that music inspiring a nation to abandon materialistic successes. I respect this form of art, but what these songs do is not solving world hunger, it’s not placing orphans with an amazing family, and it’s not stopping abductions or domestic violence or drug wars. It’s distracting our thoughts from the real issues and validating a behavior that doesn’t portray the pinnacles of humanity. It’s assisting that musician’s bank account tenfold and increasing viral twerk videos on Youtube, but twerking isn’t solving the homeless population.
This is not to say I don’t have top 40 hits on my iPod, because I love to jam out just as much as the next person, but there should be balance between noise in the background and thought and discussion-inducing music, just as it should be with television. Music and television are two outlets of media that shape our perceptions drastically aside from the internet. We have to go back to illuminating our intellect and our dedication to evolving in to a world that isn’t geared towards overtly filling a few wallets, but elevating everyone mentally and equally, as Cole suggests.
The reality of the cycle of life is that we are only here for a short amount of time. We have the same amount of hours in the day just as Maya Angelou, Bill Gates and Martin Luther King Jr. Do you want to leave selfies and booty dancing behind or an empowered and positively changed world?
The power is yours.