Summer Walker’s recent Instagram post aims to remind us all to step away from the superficiality of social media and remember we’re only human.
In an age where people exploit “Love, Light, and Positivity” through discussions involving mental health and support, toxicity toward those affected has never seemed more prevalent. Conversations regarding self-care, emotional maturity, and navigating anxiety or depression seem to flood social media in ways that both normalize and trivialize the conditions. While the public perception of mental health is changing for the better, it seems our behavior does not match.
Social media has allowed us to become more accessible to one another but over time we forget there’s a living, breathing, feeling entity on the other end. We become crass, callous, and act without regard for another individual. In that ignorance, we forget that access to each other is a privilege and not a right. For someone like Summer Walker, who has reached their limit with public criticism, denying others access is no massive effort.
“Y’all Can Have The Music & Imma Just Head Out”
Summer Walker has always been candid about mental health. During her concerts, she often pauses to address her social anxiety while encouraging others to push toward their goals. Although she’s continuing to navigate the music industry and face her challenges head on, she recently made the decision that her first tour will be her last – partly due to social media criticism. Saying, “I’ve decided y’all don’t deserve me” Walker intends to distance herself from the public’s gaze upon the conclusion of her tour.
Following immense criticism for her Tiny Desk performance and hygiene practices, Summer penned a caption on Instagram in an effort to remind people she’s “just a regular person.” Believing people’s values are skewed, Summer said public expectations of her are too high and she has no desire to be in constant competition with the world. “Everyday/everything isn’t a Miss America bad b*tch contest and I don’t feel the need to put others down to stay relevant.” Adding that people are really disconnected, she said we’re hiding behind apps, filters, clothes, and other things that distract us from who we truly are. Imploring others to apply equal effort in enhancing their spiritual appearance along with their physical, Summer exposed the lack of self-acceptance and performative empathy that has affected so many.
Girls Need Love
It’s great to place so much emphasis on the importance of mental health care and showing up for your “strong friend”. But it isn’t truly being applied when your solidarity is so visible in theory but not in practice. People who experience social anxiety are not exempt from what causes it through the use of social media. For creatives, the irony of their work providing so much happiness while they often struggle with mental health issues is not lost. While Summer’s fans are hoping she does not refrain from producing music in the future, she’s made it pretty clear she has no obligation to shrink her emotional boundaries to please anyone besides herself.
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Jay-Z, Colin Kaepernick, and Toxic Black Capitalism
Jay-Z’s recent decision to align himself with the NFL has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. And for good reason. Colin Kaepernick has been blackballed by the league for 897 days. With no sign of him returning, despite maintaining a rigorous fitness regime, many are wondering why Jay-Z did not consult Kaepernick before signing on.
Five am workouts five days a week for three long years. Colin Kaepernick has been waiting in the wings since the NFL colluded to bar him from playing amidst player protests. Eric Reid, who stood beside Kaep in solidarity, has been subjected to excessive random drug tests for just as long. As season after season dredges on, Eric says he has no desire to refrain from protesting and has pledged to kneel during the national anthem this year as well. With NFL viewership in steady decline due to boycotts within the Black community, the league has reached out to an unlikely partner to repair their image and boost their ratings, Jay-Z.
A one-time supporter of the national anthem protests that brought awareness to blatant police brutality, Jay-Z has decided that there’s no time like the present to profit from his brother’s struggle. Billionaire rapper Jay-Z has brokered a deal with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The Roc Nation mogul is now positioned to serve as a gatekeeper, deciding who’s worthy to take the stage as a Super Bowl halftime act. As the internet reflects on Jay’s very vocal criticism of the NFL and recent Super Bowl Halftime Show performers, the irony and hypocrisy of this situation is lost on no one.
“Don’t Do This”
When news of Travis Scott’s participation in the 2019 Halftime Show reached Jay-Z’s ears, he was quick to ask the “Sicko Mode” rapper not to perform. Citing the poor treatment of Colin Kaepernick as the league turned a blind eye to police brutality, Jay-Z urged Travis to change his stance. But now, the “4:44” rapper is the one that’s turned the other cheek. Stating, “we’re past the point of kneeling”, Jay has all but embraced the ideals of his peers. Considering this partnership an opportunity to change the beast from the inside, Jay said in a recent interview that “this is the next phase.”
“We forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice. In that case, this is a success. This is the next phase. There [are] two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest, and then the company or the individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?”
Ever the capitalist, Jay-Z has turned the ostracism of Kaepernick and scrutiny of Reid into a means of personal profit. While preaching Black solidarity, he cradles the all-mighty dollar. To onlookers, this poses a moral dilemma, but we forget billionaires often lack morals and have questionable ethics. While it is unlikely that Kaepernick will respond with his thoughts on the matter, his longtime girlfriend, Nessa, and Eric Reid have made their thoughts known.
You can’t trust a man who cheated on Beyoncé to make good life choices
Eric Reid took to Twitter yesterday afternoon to chastise Jay-Z for his decision. Stating, “Jay-Z knowingly made a money move with the very people who’ve committed an injustice against Colin and is using social justice to smooth it over with the black community,” Reid says the fight is on. He believes that it is “unjust” that the NFL is now “championing” social justice to cover their own systemic oppression in blackballing his former teammate. What Nessa has to say was much more scathing.
Sharing a video on Instagram of her boyfriend, Colin Kaepernick, training with his ally, former 49er Eric Reid, Nessa included a lengthy statement regarding Jay-Z’s decision.
Knowing that Jay-Z is helping the NFL rebrand itself is disheartening but predictable. After all, he is a prominent figure in the Black community. It was inevitable that the league would reach out to a “respected” rapper to leverage his image to increase viewership. In fact, it’s the same strategy they used when they reached out to Travis Scott. The only difference here is that Jay-Z is well within the ranks of the wealthy, privy to those dubious politics, and versed in the manipulation of exploiting his own community for financial gain.
Do you believe that Jay-Z’s efforts will lead to further dissension in the NFL? Or will his position as a gatekeeper lead to a fitting resolution? Do you think his relationship with Robert Kraft influenced his decision?
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