Editorial (societal) Featured — 15 May 2014
Bullet Points: Elevators At The Wrong Stop


By Juste J

Be clear, I do not give two flying fucks about Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Solange’s private affairs. The elevator footage of Solange assaulting Jay-Z is something to behold, though. Not because it is funny. Not because of what he did to “deserve” this barrage of kicks, spit and punches. No I find it fascinating because of how we, as a culture responded to seeing it. The internet, I know is a thing that really does play by its own rules and rule 1, 2 and 3 seems to be, if we can knock you down a peg, then motherfucker, no matter what, we are gonna knock you down, circumstances be damned.

I was ashamed really to see how gleeful people were in watching a disturbing act that plays out all too often in our communities. We were glad to witness it, happy to have a glimpse into Camelot and find that the king and queen are indeed lacking. There was a certain amount of joy that folks had, as if this was what they had been waiting for, for a long time, an opportunity to kick, stomp, throw dirt on people that we do not know intimately because, well, they deserve it. It was a referendum on them all and we could not have been happier to pass judgment because that is the American way; we pass judgment on the lives of people who we do not know because they sign up for that when we buy their music and make them wealthy.

While this was going on, I was too afraid to ask myself and others what would have happened if Jay-Z had punched Solange back? What sort of judgment would have been passed then? Perhaps we would have taken the Chris Brown route and vilified Jay-Z for being a motherfucker that likes to hit women? Maybe we would have all wondered how many times he had punched his wife. Or we would have delved back into his raps and her songs for a hint at the abuse that she must have been subject to. But he did not punch his assailant and yet judgment is still being passed.

While the black and brown folks were making jokes, the mainstream media was passing judgment. They were writing pieces, which I refuse to link here, asking us to question why it was we have Jay-Z on a “pedestal” given his drug dealing, gun shooting, bottle throwing, criminal past. I was upset at reading that sort of opinionated drivel but was more upset at to how the conversation was being had by Hip-Hop and mainstream culture. It was not about the woman who was assaulting another person but whether that person deserved not only to be assaulted but also if he deserved to be as successful as he is.

That to me is the takeaway from the elevator incident. We are not having a conversation on domestic violence in our communities. We are not having a conversation about how all too often, violence is the fall back and is a readily viable option when we have issues in our private lives. No, that is not a dope enough topic. That is not a topic that can gives us the memes or snarky posts that garner an abundance of “lols” and reposts. Nah, talking about the real shit, the things that people go through daily is not funny enough; not yesterday, not today, not ever. As a young savage, I was always reminded to watch out for the crabs in the barrel. Looking at the elevator incident, I guess no matter where you go in life, in America, you are in a barrel and the crabs are right there with you, waiting for a slip, so they can drag you right back down. Now that is some truth for your ass.

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