Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Avoiding the Cult of Personality

Many have done it with MLK, Malcolm X, Tupac, Biggie, Jesus/Yeshua, and many others. They have fallen for a cult of personality, the overzealous praise, even to the point of worship in some cases, of an individual. This can give an individual an alarming amount of power over a large group of people, and if used the wrong way can cause a world of trouble. We did it, to a degree, during the Civil Rights/Black Power movements, and still do it today.

Tupac for example. Tupac was a conscious rapper (before going to prison or getting shot, and to a degree afterwards), but conscious or not he is seen as the "Greatest Rapper" in the history of rap (as far back as people of my generation, and a couple before that know or are concerned with when it comes to the history of rap). But for the most part his music was about addressing problems within the Black community and exposing the corruption of the government. Also, if you look for his work outside of what the mainstream media hows you he had many other books about/by him that have many of his poems and other things. 

Pac mentioned himself how he saw how much influence he had over a lot of people, and sadly he wasnt ready to take on that big of a responsibility. And it still holds true today, but not necessarily in a positive way. Instead of dissecting his songs and poems to get a better understanding of his message and what he was trying to say, people would rather dissect his songs to prove or disprove whether he is dead or alive. His being dead or alive doesn't change his message, so why bother trying to prove somethign that has no affect on what he said while he was here? Tupac served his purpose, which is why he is no longer with us. Neither Tupac or any other revolutionary could free us. We have to free ourselves. The purpose of the revolutionary or leader is to teach the people that we can free ourselves. Which is why they end up dying; so we can DO what they said we should do and could do, OURSELVES. The revolutionary is something like a mentor. He shows the people by example how to get the resources they need and the knowledge they need to have to take control of their lives. Likewise, a mentor is someone who shows a person how to identify their talents and capitalize on them, as well as the knowledge they need to do it. Without a mentor, people have to learn how to produce results the hard way. They may make costly mistakes, or pick up habits, methods, and ideas that are counter productive or destructive.

We all to often get caught up in the PERSON rather than the MESSAGE that the person was trying to spread. It's ok to love a person and remember people who have passed on, but don't forget what their purpose/message was while they were here. The memory of our mentors in the struggle live on through the actions that we take according to what they said, more so than any memorial, posthumous birthday celebration, or holiday can express.

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