The topic of wealthy black people giving back came up multiple times this week. It started with a video I saw of Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley on Oprah in 2005. Barkley told a story of Jordan swatting his hand when he tried to give money to a homeless person. The theory being that if he can ask for change, he can ask for a job application and work. We will not discuss that theory today, but it did make me think about the issues others have when someone does or does not give back.
This week #BlackCoffee on BET posed the questioned, “Are wealthy black people obligated to give back to the community?”. The panel had many opinions along with Laverne Cox’s statement, “It is rude to tell people what to do with their money.” A statement that I 100% agree with. Wealthy black people are not obligated to give back to their community, but I do think they should. Their contributions do not need to be publicized or be financial.
We have seen celebrities, and wealthy black people give generously to various charities, and there is almost always celebrations from the black community. During the 2017 hurricane season, we saw many celebrities get on social media and post about the x amount of dollars they donated. We also saw some challenging their peers or making it a competition as to who could give more because they "Got It Like That." While these acts benefit the charities themselves, it can also hesitate others from posting their donations as they fear of being shamed if the internet thinks they could have given more. A prime example would be, Kendrick Lamar buying his sister a new Toyota Camry for graduation back in 2017 and the internet was upset because he “should” have gotten her something fancier. I must refer to back to Laverne Cox’s statement again.
This could be the reason celebrities don't always announce and post their charitable efforts because they don’t want criticism. We also must remember giving back does not always mean giving money. You can give your time, your space, or your influence to better the community. Our community needs to celebrate all charity efforts from the cutting of checks to mentioning of social issues. All of these can affect our community and bring positive changes.
When it comes to giving back to the community, I think we all - wealthy or not - should do it. It does not always take money or power just a kind heart. You should not tell other people what to do with their money or resources, especially if you aren’t doing the same with yours or you aren’t 100% sure that they aren’t contributing in some way. Start or continue to support the organizations and charities that you believe in and make the changes you can.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.