Historically, the African American community could turn to black artists and entertainer for legitimate social direction. Celebrities often served as a moral compass. Authentic in genuine sense. Not prone to filth, thuggery, and outright buffoonery rationalized as cultural expressions of conditions “in the hood”. Beyond their craft, black celebrities have a profound legacy of efforts rooted in the traditions of a social pact that sustained African American through our nation’s most difficult periods.
One might argue that stage, recording booth, canvas, film, stadium, field, track, and ring were the prophetic pulpits that, at times, transcended slices of black life – whether religious, educational, geographic, vocational, etc. Throughout our journey, God has extended us the opportunity to encounter special people. Not perfect. But special, nonetheless. People who carried forth traditions that connected contemporary times to the traditions of past times including, but not limited to what we refer to as the “social contracts” whose roots formed in places like Tanzania in order to survive desperate socioeconomic conditions.