Next week as the season finale of K-Ci & JoJo…Come Clean airs, it leaves me with one thought—sex, drugs and alcohol has really damaged (or to be frank, effed up) our community.
I have met many greats and icons that have found themselves at the pit of their celebrity existence. They’re damn near broke, beat up and barely able to perform their hits let alone stand still for a two-minute interview. All resulting from bad choices and an inability to control their addictions. Like Rick James said, “cocaine is a hell of a drug.”
But it’s bigger than cocaine. Tiger Woods’ sex addiction cost him his marriage, endorsements and squeaky-clean image. K-Ci & JoJo have stated that their addiction to alcohol began at age 13 after a lot peer pressure and has haunted them their entire lives. Addiction is not a joking matter.
And celebrities are no exception. We all know or have family or friends who have dipped so deep into an addiction that they never returned the way they left or even worse, at all.
It has cost us, our community, our people a lot. A lot of families have been destroyed, a lot of great people have succumb to its power and lost everything. Ultimately, we as a people lose.
What have we done? Nothing.
If we were doing something, newcomers like Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em wouldn’t be found dead next to an accusation of cocaine use. ‘Cuz ain’t nothing cool about that. And maybe Usher wouldn’t parade around singing how he needs two or three freaks. At the end of the day, the risks outweigh the thrill. When will that mean something?
I’m a product of a family, community, environment destroyed by all types of addictions. I’m also a product of tuning out my surroundings and dreaming of a world where I ‘kicked it’ with the greats and icons because their life was nothing like mine. Imagine as an adult meeting everyone that you grew up admiring, only to learn that they were just as bad as the family, community and environment that you left back home. It’s very disappointing but real.
We need to find a way to fix the broken people who create broken homes and broken communities. In 2010, there is no reason why much of our communities still have zombies walking around. In 2010, there is no reason why celebrities are still flaunting addictions like a Gucci bag.
In knowing how much damage has been done and how much damage we can’t undo, I respect K-Ci & JoJo for coming clean because the ground work starts with them but has to spill over into our people. If not, we’ll never learn and we’ll always find ourselves pointing fingers at the newest addict. Maybe the world can’t exist without peer pressure but maybe we can start pressuring people to be better, do better and live better. I dare you to be the first.
-Ashley Charisma is the author of School of Black Love. For more info on Ashley Charisma and the novel visit www.ashleycharisma.com.
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