The New Negro And The Lost Art Of Shutting The Fuck Up » VSB

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The New Negro And The Lost Art Of Shutting The Fuck Up

Richard Sherman (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

 

A few weeks ago, a reporter spotted one of Donald Trumps Make America Great Againbaseball caps in Tom Bradys locker. I wont derail this article by going on a rant about how their definition of when America was greatwas either when negroes were docile, or even better slaves. I wont even mention how Donald Trumps rich, old, White, grandpa yachting caps with block lettering and the twisted cord around the bill is the perfect emblem for his candidacy. The point is, Brady had Trump presidential paraphernalia in his locker.

When a reporter spotted the cap and asked Brady if he wanted Donald Trump to be President, the Malibu Ken-Doll quarterback responded, I hope so. That would be great.

Cue the well-I-neveroutrage.

Here is where the Patriotspretty boy flipped the script. He basically said, Youre right. I should probably shut the fuck up.

To be accurate, Touchdown Tommy relayed that he received the hat after judging Trumps Miss USA pageant, and his comment was offhanded fun. He valiantly added that he doesn’t “even know what the issues are. I haven’t paid attention to politics in a long time” and stated that no one should follow his political advice because he was wrong to comment on it.

In short, Tom Brady admitted that he should have shut the fuck up.

This is a direct contrast to the New Negro Black celebrity for a number of reasons. It is rare to hear anyone celebrity, preacher or even grocery store cashier willing to admit they could possibly be wrong about anything. Even when presented with factual evidence, todays ego-driven star will, at worse, admit that they may have been taken out of context. Serial sayer-of-stupid-shit Stephen A. Smith still hasnt admitted that there is never a good time to punch a woman, that Black lives do matter, or that he was lying about KD going to the Lakers. Its almost as if admitting a mistake in stringing his nonsensical sentences together lessens his credibility. As if he ever had any.

But Tom Bradys mea culpa also raises another question I have been contemplating for a while:

Whats wrong with shutting the fuck up?

I dont like to cast my sensibilities onto others and assume everyone thinks like me, but I am 98.34% sure that Black people aren’t sitting at home wringing their hands wondering when the Black dude from The Fantastic Four was going to publicly announce his position on Black Lives Matter. Do you remember when reading Letters from a Birmingham Jail or James Baldwins essays how you paused and thought:

Common can rap pretty good. I wonder how he thinks we can end racial strife?

You didnt? What a surprise.

The flip side of this argument, of course, is the Jordan Effect. There are scores of people who fault Jordan for never speaking out on relevant issues of the day, and often cite his quote Republicans buy sneakers tooas proof that he was only concerned about making money. I disagree. Maybe Jordan correctly thought someone who had only seriously studied Dean Smiths Four Corners offense and completed a year-and-a-half of college shouldnt be speaking on issues on which he has only cursory knowledge. After boasting the most diverse front office in the NBA and the Blackest collection of executives in any of the division of Nike, he might not have been disinterested in helping Black people, Jordan might have simply been a proponent of the lost art of shutting the fuck up. Perhaps he knew that the curators of the dominant culture (pronounced “?w?t ?p?-p?l) love to burden Black Stars with the hes-so-articulatetag so they can wait in the weeds to pounce on the first massa-validating statement the star makes. (See, Richard Sherman says Black people need to focus on Black-on-Black crime, and hes Black. Plus, he went to Stanford.)

I also dont want to further the perception that anyone who isnt radical, or simply chooses to be quiet is a sellout, but when talking about solving any issue in non-White America, everyone eventually arrives to the talking point of unity.This is where shutting the fuck up becomes most important. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the prevailing mindset of others. It is necessary to move ideas forward. However, there is nothing gained from taking a position directly opposite the people you claim you are trying to help. When one is on a team, you shouldnt go in the locker room after the game and tell the media, I think my coach and my team made the wrong call.Nah, man. You put on your aviator shades and weep thats my quarterback.Even T. O. knew that public disagreeing is only self-serving and he might be the grandest stander of them all. (Which gives me the opportunity to remind you, again: T.O. doing shirtless sit-ups in his driveway while talking to reporters is still the most nigga-rific thing EVER!)

I truly believe Don Lemon, Whoopi Goldberg and Raven Symone are pure of heart in their viewpoints. Their ability to contort themselves in a way that always ends up on the opposite side of negroes, though, is evidence that not shutting the fuck up is their occupation, and as the New Negro standard bearers, they would be hated less if they just said it. Shit, I loved Rick Flair even though I knew he was contractually obligated to play the heel because he acted like a villain. Mostly by not shutting the fuck up.

The conundrum is: Are Black stars obliged to speak out on social issues? Should they only do so when they are in lockstep with Black Americas thinking lest we label them a traitor and cast them onto the New Negro bandwagon?

Perhaps the answer is different for all of us, but until it is definitive, the New Negroes should just rap, cover wide-receivers, deliver the news, shuck-and-jive in the front seat of Floyd Mayweathers Rolls Royce or just simply, shut the fuck up.

Like Tom.

Michael Harriot

Michael Harriot is a podcaster, spoken word poet, editor of the daily digital magazine NegusWhoRead.com and one of the greatest peanut butter and jelly sandwich makers of our time.

  • Jessica

    The only person obligated to speak on Black issues is Jesse “Baby Daddy” Williams.

    • Madame Zenobia

      I logged in to facebook this morning and my friend had posted this: https://www.facebook.com/Africbook/videos/809014139215833/?pnref=story
      God Bless you this morning.

      • celinad6

        Wet @ usage of “algorithm”

        • Madame Zenobia

          #cosign

        • Tish Harris

          Soaked.

        • Andie

          He does use algorithm well.

      • I’m still trying to wife his brother since Jesse is married and all. I can’t break up his happy home.

        • ALM247

          He has a brother? How old is his brother? Pictures please……I was just hoping that he had a first cousin about Jesse’s same age who had the same face and the same activist spirit. I would like to see his family reunion pictures.

      • Britney McCoy

        Truth!

      • Siante

        He’s going “in.” I love it.

      • QuirlyGirly

        I love how he was talking- someone said hi, he says hi back, and without missing a beat he continues his thoughts.

      • Kim

        Yes Jesse, Come through!!

      • dmcmillian72

        Aaaaaand I just n^tted! Lol! #Swoon

      • beltainchild

        He’s so magical.

    • iamnotakata

      Girl yes! Jesse Williams is the sole exception to the rule. That brothas is the truth!

    • Tish Harris

      He is the ONLY person. Please and thank you for this comment.

    • ALM247

      and Kerry Washington

  • Guest

    There’s a good time to punch a woman, when she is threatening your life. You can punch everyone in a room if you’re escaping death.

    • So that’s literally the only thing you took away from that.

      • Guest

        Okay, I also got that the author is under the misconception that only black celebrities say stupid things about topics they aren’t qualified to talk about. But all celebrities screw up like this, he is just a Supernegro zeroing in on black people’s follies and foibles because we live in a bubble where us Enlightened negros put a microscope on blackness, compare it to whiteness aka rightness and report to the world all the things we are doing wrong in comparison. White privilege is the right to be normal, if you are black you should mirror your actions to white people because they are behaving in a correct manner……..okay I got it “Act more White” thank you author…….it’s not the first time we have received this advice.

        • Vanity in Peril

          I don’t think that’s wha……

        • Damon Young

          So, you just read a relatively tongue-in-cheek piece about how some celebrities who happen to be Black probably shouldn’t offer public takes on very nuanced and complicated social/racial issues if they don’t really know what they’re talking about, and you came away with the following:

          1. Woman deserve beatings sometimes
          2. The author is an Uncle Tom

          • Guest

            Okay were we all supposed to comment the same…..agree whole heartedly, say I never laughed so hard in my life……*I know right black people just be talking when dey need to shut up like dem white folks do….n**gas is no ignorant!* then worship the blogger, then cake each other….flirt…..then sit around waiting for the next post to do it all over again? You aren’t tired of doing that?

            • There are many avenues of conversation this topic on Black activism could of taken outside of “sometimes it’s okay to beat up women.”

              • Guest

                THAT is not a article on Black activism. That is an article pinpointing why white people act correctly in public and black people don’t. It’s been done. Dave Chappelle has done it to death. There’s nothing profound about it.

            • ReadyRoc

              I some time get the impression in many discussions there is a range of opinions here that can be voiced without being seen as a feral lunatic.

            • PunchDrunkLove

              I actually disagreed with the post. You can’t tell someone to shut up.

              Look at it this way (if I may), everyone is a free agent. Whether that’s free to stand alone, or free to group up. You have to know that’s the nature of folks…you have leaders, sheeple, followers, people that worry about what others think, and more.

            • For a “guest” you do have a pretty good grasp for the routine here.

              • Agatha Guilluame

                I was thinking the same damn thing. Also, I refuse to argue with a “guest”. I won’t do it. 1. It’s not polite to argue with company. 2. There’s something real cowardly about someone firing shots in disguise. I mean say it witcho’ chest lil’ nucca. Otherwise you’re just a troll and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

                • This ain’t no damn guest he walked in and his phone already connected to the WiFi…Twitter fingers knew what he was saying was dumb

                  • Agatha Guilluame

                    Listen…this comment section is like no other on the internet. So when it basically said “aren’t you guys tired of talking and flirting and agreeing”…I was like…you mean like people that get and like each other? You mean, how we can go hard about what it means to be bougie one day and show up the next and it’s water under the bridge? Because at the end of the day we’re all just talking and it’s not that serious! Yeah…that is gross how we do that. In fact, this comment section sucks, we should be more hostile like everywhere else on the internet. It’s stupid how we get and respect each other but will still drag each other when we say something dumb. We’re all stupid. “Guest” should stop coming here since it’s so upsetting.

              • (I do abhor lmaooo I cracked up comments)

              • Guest

                Seeing this in print made my day. At least you can admit that’s the case. There’s not much more to say then is there, color me satisfied.

            • Lea Thrace

              I am NOT here for your drive by commenting. -_-

              Stay awhile!

        • Charles Johnson

          oh lort

      • Dwight Johnson

        That reminds me of someone speaking on the issue of feminism on twitter stating that some men are so clueless as to what it truly means for women to be equal to men that they sum it up to being able to beat them without judgement.

      • Damon Young

        I had to re-read the piece just to see why he even brought that up

        • miss t-lee

          Also.

    • Aly

      sigh

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    I prefer that they speak up. When the revolution comes, I like for my list to be accurate.

    • ALM247

      Your list of socially aware celebrities?

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        If that floats your slave ship, well then sure.

        • ALM247

          ????

  • Its kinda like the Rihanna thing, it’s not that these people don’t shut the fuck up, they feel they can’t. They’re too special to not have an opinion. The point is if Cam Newton was out here like oh idk anything about politics, he would be branded a dumb black jock while Brady can feign ignorance and it’s just accepted.

    As for these new blacks speaking out of turn, what it comes down to is they feel obligated to take both sides and if one side is going to be offended they always choose the black side because I mean what do they have to lose. We tweet outrage, make some jokes and ultimately move on. White men sign Richard Shermans checks, he can poke at the NFL and some reporters… The police, nah he good.

    • Madame Zenobia

      “Its kinda like the Rihanna thing, it’s not that these people don’t shut the fuck up, they feel they can’t. They’re too special to not have an opinion.”

      Such a good point.

    • twitter made everyone feel like their opinion was important too…..and it really aint lol

      • Not at all…. Some of the “twitter faves” stay reaching because that’s their brand now

  • This all reminds me of the Dave Chappelle joke about MTV News reaching out to Ja Rule in I believe the wake of 9/11. Which begs the reaction, who cares what Ja Rule thinks at a time like this?! The problem is, no celebrity in the history of ever is just like “you know what…I’m not really the person to weigh in on this topic”

    • To my point, it’s almost like they aren’t allowed to. No one asks Taylor Swift as an American how she feels about anything. But a black person with any level of celebrity has to give their black take woefully misinformed as they are and of course it becomes the headline

      • Celebrities quite often refuse to answer questions when they don’t want people to know the answer. They don’t feel like they can’t, I feel they’re just salivating to weigh in.

        • Because it’s always lobbed to them as if they’re a special snowflake and they take the bait every time. Never in Pharrell’s 40 years had anyone asked his opinion on anydamnthing and suddenly he redefining what black is. It’s like damn you naive.

          • In other news…DAMN Pharrell is 40?! homie look a smooth 19. I can’t.

            • PunchDrunkLove

              Loving black don’t crack! Keeps the white folks chasing after secrets, when really there ain’t none.

              • DiamondIsMyRealName

                Its #TheButters lol

                • PunchDrunkLove

                  LOL

              • was reading Allure magazine, and the article was discussing makeup tips for different complexions…they got to darker skin and was basically like “brown skin ppl dont need makeup. Their skin naturally hides any imperfection or sign of aging” and that was that. I shxt you not lol…..

                • PunchDrunkLove

                  Wow. Our skin ain’t hiding nothing. They’re just made we’re beautiful. I’m telling you, white folks envy us for this.

                  • everyime i post a “black dont crack” meme i get angry messages from my white friends struggling with their anti aging serums

                    • PunchDrunkLove

                      That would make me do it all the more…lol I said it to an older white gentlemen camped outside our building who stopped me to explain the benefit of using beeswax to combat aging. He got the biggest kick our of that…..and agreed

                    • miss t-lee

                      *cackling*

  • Vanity in Peril

    I guess I am in the minority (hehe) because I wanna know what ALL the celebrities have to say on political and social issues so I can know who not to support w my hard-earned money. If you are a bird like Robyn Fenty, mi wan knoe!!! If you are a Paul Robeson, Harry Belafonte, Marvin Gaye type like Jessie Comeonhome Williams I wanna know. If you are a Trump supporter or you wear problematic -arsed white lady suffrage t shirts I want to know.

    • That comes off as a bit entitled. There’s a difference between like knowing the truth about Cosby and knowing your favorite artists political affiliation.

      • celinad6

        I don’t think it’s entitled. She’s just the kind of person that wants to know. She didn’t say it was a requirement.

        That being said, I have a low opinion of the intelligence and overall social awareness of most celebrities so I’d rather not hear what they have to say. Just entertain me! I don’t want Rihanna’s ignorance to keep me from jamming to “Diamonds.” Though, in all honesty, I’ve never actually purchased a Rihanna album so she’s not getting my money either way.

      • Vanity in Peril

        I don’t get it. Reg folks post their political and social leanings online all the time and it helps me to weed out those who don’t deserve my time (ex. friends on Facebook calling protesters “thugs” ) Almost all of us regular folks do this and maybe this is just me but I don’t fuque w ppl that want to keep their beliefs private for fear of retribution. Public figure or otherwise. I guess I’m just different.

        • I get you. I think the difference for me is I just don’t have that level of investment in celebrity. I don’t consider myself a fan giving support I’m a consumer purchasing a product. I appreciate J Cole, I don’t care for his last album. I don’t like Chris Brown, Fine China still jams. People in real life that’s a different story because if someone is a fuckboy than I cannot associate with them

          • BreezeJC

            I dig the “consumer purchasing a product” stance.
            But that’s the stance I tend to take for all my white celebs….for my Black public figures I expect a little bit more, simply because they expect us as the Black populous (even if we may not be their biggest financial backers) to give unconditional support.

            Speaking of rappers, hip-hop was bread as a sociopolitical vessel, it is their DUTY to be conscious and use the vessel in the most proactive way possible. I’m with you though on separating the music from the person..

            • There’s some people who have just turned me off completely (Lupe) but I just can’t see myself like oh I’m going to deprive myself because of a moral stand that doesn’t actually mean that much to me. (shout out all the people still refusing to see Straight Outta Compton, it’s an enjoyable film)

              • BreezeJC

                “(shout out all the people still refusing to see Straight Outta Compton, it’s an enjoyable film)” –
                Which was totally ME. There’s also a difference between refusing to patronize and refusing to consume. I refused and encouraged others to also refuse, to patronize this film.

                Black America does need to get some principals. (And stick to them!) The idea to refuse to patronize this film, is rooted in the exact same principles why people wanted to squash the messages in that type of hip hop. (Aside from some political exploitation) It really wasn’t a new idea. So to poke fun at the idea, as if being “care free” about these “morals” is like insignificant, is going to be contradictory to us encouraging “morals” in other areas.

                • IsitFridayyet?

                  “Black America does need to get some principals. (And stick to them!)”

                  This statement reads as an assumption that we are currently without principals and only works for a Black America that is a monolith.

                  • BreezeJC

                    You’re right. I can definitely see that.

                    Because we’re not a “monolith” of course different people as individuals and as groups adopt different principals. I was more so alluding to Black people coming to a consensus on certain truths – speaking very generally.

                • Val

                  “Black America does need to get some principals.”

                  If Black folks didn’t have principals there would have been a whole lot of dead White folks in this country.

                  And, there are plenty Black people who refuse to patronize lots of negative things but that doesn’t make for a good story so the media doesn’t give them/ us a voice.

                  • BreezeJC

                    Hey Val, I know this is old, but you’re right: I allowed myself to get in my bag and make a generalist statement. The types that I loathe from ladies in church hats talking about “this generation”.

                    My issue is that as a collective we do not recognize exploitation. And I wish that recognizing (and subsequently acting upon reversing) exploitation was something that we as a collective were more accurate at.

    • Aint no Paul Robeson. No Black celebrity is as radical as that today. No one is going to stand on their merits and beliefs like that today.

      • Vanity in Peril

        Why not?

        • He was a very rare caliber of man and people in general have a fear of being ostracized and blackballed.

          • Vanity in Peril

            I don’t think he was that rare. I wish more of us would be courageous. Sigh

            • miss t-lee

              He was pretty rare. Ain’t too many folks built for that life.

              • Vanity in Peril

                I think there are but the entertainment biz isn’t going to elevate those of us that would choose to use our platform/voice in that way. Sometimes we can sneak one by bc the person is hot a la Jesse Comeonhome Williams or they underestimate our outrage and we pull a George Bush doesn’t care about black people but mostly we just smile and collect those checks which with all our people have suffered and continue to suffer I think if you are just smiling and collecting your checks you do not deserve my dollars.

                • miss t-lee

                  I don’t think there’s many. If so, they would step on out.
                  Much easier to go along to get along, than to risk your career. That’s why I said earlier about Paul Robeson being a rarity. Few are willing to risk their careers, and/or lives for issues they believe in.
                  This is true even for us everyday folks out here.
                  I know that’s why I dig Jesse Williams, and the few others who speak out, because in the grand scheme of things, they really don’t have to say a word.

      • Jacqueline

        Actually, I think what you classify as radical is really pride and dignity.

    • BreezeJC

      “like Jessie Comeonhome Williams ” – lmaoo

    • Val

      I agree. Except Marvin Gaye impregnated a 16 year old girl when he was in his late 20s. So I would never mention him in the same breath as Paul Robeson.

  • iamnotakata

    I prefer they shut the whole entire hel l up. Because based on their track record, they are all dumb. Like not regular dumb, but so dumb it has you sitting there thinking did you actually say that thinking you were smart, because actually you’re dumb and you should stfu. But, this post is a good summation on the new negro who needs their citizenship revoked and to be deported to a different country where there are still some remaining people with f ucks to give about their opinions.

  • PunchDrunkLove

    “T.O. doing shirtless sit-ups in his driveway while talking to reporters is still the most nigga-rific thing EVER!)”

    Always when it’s really quiet I come across something that make me burst out laughing….

  • Vanity in Peril

    I don’t understand the, “I don’t want to know anything about your views so I can continue to like/enjoy you” stance. Tell me baby girl bc I need to know. Otherwise, you’re doing the Hulkamania while he’s backstage calling you a ninja.

    I need this for IRL folks too, though

  • PunchDrunkLove

    “Perhaps the answer is different for all of us, but until it is definitive, the New Negroes should just rap, cover wide-receivers, deliver the news, shuck-and-jive in the front seat of Floyd Mayweather’s Rolls Royce or just simply, shut the fuck up.”

    Negros should be seen and not heard?

    • Epsilonicus

      If you have uninformed opinions, Negro or not, you should be quiet

      • ALM247

        Exactly. Ignorance of the situation is often the issue…..

        • QuirlyGirly

          And no one wants to be seen as ignorant so they speak on things they know nothing about.

          • Epsilonicus

            Which provides an even more clear display of their ignorance than if they said nothing at all.

      • PunchDrunkLove

        Last time I checked, this was America, the land of the free, so….. That’s what’s wrong now, folks can say whatever they want. The only thing you have to do with that is like it or not.

        • Epsilonicus

          You can say and believe what you want. And you can be ripped to shreds for it. But like the author said, sometimes it is just better to be quiet, especially when that issue isn’t your wheel house.

          • PunchDrunkLove

            Better because you or the author think so? Look, what you eat don’t make me …… So, have at it. A person can say what they feel. It’s their right. I’m none the better or worse because of it.

            • Epsilonicus

              Because for many celebs it could possibly damaging for your brand. So you might want to be quiet.

              • PunchDrunkLove

                No….that’s their problem. You can’t censor folks, good, bad or indifferent, it’s on them.. There’s PLENTY I think should take a muzzle, but that’s me and my opinion.

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