Thursday, August 13, 2009

President Obama, the NAACP and Flow

President Barack Obama spoke at the NAACP convention during the celebration of its 100th year last month. President Obama, in a wide ranging speech, touched on a number of issues confronting the African American community. Specifically, his message included an admonition to parents of young African American children. President Obama stated in referring to young black youth:

"They might think they've got a pretty good jump shot or a pretty good flow, but our kids can't all aspire to be the next LeBron or Lil Wayne. I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers. I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court justice. I want them aspiring to be president of the United States."

President Obama identifies a curious diffusion created in some ways by the media. Often, inner city communities are inundated with the notion that the career path that offers the most promise includes basketball or rhyming. Often, superstar black athletes and artists are overrepresented in the media while high acheivement in non-sports or non-entertainment careers are less highlighted. The truth is that many African Americans have acheived in spectacular ways including doctors, lawyers, engineers, Supreme Court Justices and Presidents of the United States. President Obama would like to see this focus become clearer.


  1. obama seems to focus much of his attention on personal responsibility when he addresses the black community. i do not hear him say much about continuing discrimination, racism and inequality. jobs and positioning are necessary for folks to change focus.

  2. I believe much of this can be curtailed if we can minimize exploiting children in youth sports and expose the fantasy of music video. As a youth football coach and a Hip Hop traditionalist, I have seen both sides how materialism and fame continues to be this "shiny dangling carrot." When you grow up as a "have not", which I have, this illusion of delusion is always thrown at you. Unfortunately, people like Lil Wayne is just a corporate "thug fantasy" project until his marketing runs out. Lebron was just a prodigy nobody could deny. Other than that there needs to be imagery on the power of franchising and education AND to minimize the objective to obtain material for self worth. People are more attracted by what they see then they will choose to hear and eventually LISTEN and DO.

  3. It is no secret that media runs the minds of our young "screen teen" generation. MTV cribs, 106 and Park, and countless other highly rated shows constantly broadcast the fabulous life of rich and famous athletes and entertainers. However it doesn’t stop there, BET has a show called American Gangster which glorifies various gang leaders and drug kingpins’ and details their rise to power. These programs are programming our kids to believe that there are only three ways to become rich and famous: Baller, Entertainer, or Gangster. Therefore that bright inner-city child who has a natural talent in math, now relates more to the drug dealer or number runner rather than the doctor or scientist because that is what he has been exposed to. Its funny how a kid can watch P Diddy go out and buy a new Bentley for everyday of the week and then have to watch his pastor host a fish fry just to buy the church a new piano, but we still expect that child to want to be a pastor instead of a Ok that example was pretty farfetched however its real, kids would rather become the image that they feel has the most power and respect. Until we get our doctors and lawyers on shows like MTV Cribs, and expose these kids alternative methods of reaching their goals and capitalizing on their gifts; we will continue to see them try to box their God given talent into those three areas: Baller, Rapper and Dope Boy. Hard but Fair; Sad but True!

  4. @anonymous...I would like to hear President Obama discuss racism, but I also believe that we absolutely must take more personal responsibility. Racism will continue to exist, but we cannot continue to make excuses for not overcoming it.

    Hip Hop's Financial Advisor


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