There are now massive anti-racism protests around the world since the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery (Rest In Paradise). Hopefully, for the better. During this period race riots and COVID-19, sports, and music’s influence has been subdued. Now, these industries are being provoked to be our superheroes to save the day.
It’s evident that sports and music are two of the most influential markets in our society. If we are being honest with ourselves, we know that these industries are dominated by people of color. Those of which have emerged from impoverished neighborhoods. As a result, they have been masked as the only alternative to gang-related survival and underfunded school systems for these neighborhoods across the US.
The main questions now are; What exactly is systemic racism? What can the beneficiaries of the sports and music industry do to help? There are so many sections to break down, so let’s start with one of the catalysts to this system; The infamous NCAA collegiate sports program.
WHAT IS SYSTEMIC RACISM?
Systemic Racism is “inequalities in education, housing, employment, wealth, and representation in leadership positions”. – USCCB.org. It is the unconscious and conscious biases that plague our society and provides unfair disadvantages to minorities. Originally, the initial protest was to bring justice to George Floyd. Now that the officers have all been charged, overall systemic racism is now the focus.
The system starts with location. Quality school programs are guarded by territory zoning laws that often don’t allow people of color to get access to the various opportunities that come from living in those areas. With a lack of resources and information your capacity for growth is very limited. Thus, leading to unqualified children that pick up unreliable habits that are not associated with advancement in our society. We will take a deeper on this in a different article but I’m sure you can understand what happens.
YOUNG SUPER HEROES
One of those cogs in the systemic injustice machine is the exploitation of NCAA athletes. Since we can remember, athletes have been monetized to generate billions of dollars for leaders of school programs that hide behind exciting events like March Madness and The National Championship. That is now all over. Due to some new modern-day heroes, “student-athletes to receive compensation for third-party endorsements both related to and separate from athletics” – NPR.org.
This led to panic behind the scenes. Commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, was quick to implement the G League to give an alternative to going overseas and keep the media value in the US economy.
High School standouts Isaiah Todd, Jalen Green, and Daishen Nix are today’s student-athlete heroes to force the change. Instead of going to a collegiate program they courageously joined the NBA G League program which set the industry into a frenzy.
Todd is signed with the “SAC Sports Family” ran by rising star agent Seth Cohen. SAC recently formed a strategic alliance with Miami based Hybrid Marketing Agency and Members Club, “Drip Ninja”. This alliance includes “assisting in the development of their off-court lives and careers by supporting each athlete to have control of their own narrative and brand voice“. Pay attention to groups like these to see how everything unravels from here.
I want to be the first to say, let’s use this opportunity to help these new role models be successful in their roles by first promoting good media about them. Highlight their positive accomplishments and characteristics. They are the future leaders of the next generation. This is a fresh opportunity for us to have a positive influence on that outcome. Don’t mess it up.
BLACKOUT AND CELEBRITY RESPONSE
Following a controversial blackout demanded by the music industry on Tuesday, many actions have been taken in response to its backlash. Big donations came from “Warner Music“, Kanye West, “Apple”, and The Weeknd while others held strategic meetings for strategies for direct help. We are all grateful for this, but where are these contributions going, and what solutions are they providing?
Let’s also make sure that we skip the phase of having these celebrities make statements and instead hold them accountable to take ACTION. We always complain when they publicize their contributions. Let them do it in silence. Stop being hypocritical.
ACTION ITEMS AND SOLUTIONS
Now to good stuff. What should we do now? As our children wake up everyday to go play sports or work on their music craft, we should make sure that they are learning the tools to succeed in those industries. Not just on the field, stage, or court but to also be eligible for those jobs in these organizations. One of the main reasons for the continued exploitation is the people that make the decisions don’t come from these neighborhoods or understand what happens there. Here are a few suggestions to look into.
- Educating student athletes on business etiquette, marketing, and money management.
- More robust tutoring programs for all student-athletes.
- Inform our children and young adults about local laws and the importance of voting for those officials in their community.
- Recommend books and literature that will help expand their brain and learn key strategies from experts.
- Donate to charitable groups that are directly correlated to causes that matter to you.
- Self educate yourself on the many elements of systemic racism and pin point where you feel you can impact the most.
It’s extremely unfortunate that it took a global shutdown, unjust murders by our law enforcement, and thousands of businesses to be destroyed for the world to listen to the cries from the pain. The past has happened. What are we going to do NOW for a better future?
It is important to understand that this is an ongoing conversation and soon to be an ongoing practice of new implementations to combat Systemic Racism. By spending time educating our student-athletes they may be in a great position to force a new status quo. This status quo will not be about your amount of jewelry, or the expensive car that you drive. It will be more about investments, acquiring assets, and presenting yourself well in public.
For now, figure out where you fit in and do your best to stay consistent. The next time you feel that you are prejudging take a look in the mirror and understand what it may feel like if that was done to you. It starts with you. It continues through US.