Mary J. Blige can sang. Not sing. Sang. The “i” only gets replaced with an “a” when someone has the ability to put their heart and soul into a song. To leave you feeling the emotion that the writer of the song may have felt when the song was penned. Not every performer has this ability and this skill is what has catapulted Ms. Blige as the reigning Queen of Soul. We come to expect this from her. So it is no wonder that when Ms. Blige performed in the Burger King commercial she brought the heat. Even if she was singing about a chicken wrap.
Black blogs around the net have shunned her for participating in what they define as a devaluing act. I mean, no one wants to hear the Queen of Soul sing about some damn chicken. Crying over a man is one thing but chicken? How passé.
The ad was only recently released and word on the net is that Burger King has since scrapped it, despite the rumored multimillion dollar fee that Blige supposedly earned. I can’t lie to you. I have yet to see the ad and have no interest in watching it. Not because I am disgusted by Blige’s passion for chicken and a check rather I am disgusted by the reaction of Black folks who are criticizing her decision. Where are your priorities people?
We live in a society where young Black men are gunned down without provocation. We also live in a society where the only male figure they have to look up to are the likes of people like Lil Wayne. We live in a society where young Black men are so lost, angry and cold hearted that they will take someone’s life over a cell phone thereby leading them to be feared and thus causing them to be gunned down without provocation. See the cycle that has been created?
We live in a society where young Black girls don’t have the role models of the past. People like Diana Ross, Diane Carroll, and Dorothy Dandridge have been replaced with Nicki Minaj and they not only wants to be a Barbie but will insert enough Blonde weave in their head in order to reach their goal. Hell, even 20 somethings would rather look like Nicki Minaj or a Barbie. We live in a society where teen pregnancy among young Black women is at a high. We live in a society where our young are lost and are crying for someone to guide them and are left with choosing from the latest Rappers to emulate.
This is just the tip of the iceberg people. I could go on but I don’t want to make this article into a sermon. The reality is that people of color are in trouble and it is not because Mary J. is singing about chicken. We were in trouble long before then. We are behind the curve compared to some of the other races. It may hurt to hear that but it is true. There are far more important issues happening in our world, to our people, to our children that we should be addressing that are far more urgent.
Mary J. Blige is a 40 something year old woman, who made her way out of poverty, off of drugs and an abusive relationship on to be a platinum selling recording artist. This not an easy feat by far. While some may be embarrassed or even disappointed by her decision and feel as though she sold her soul for some chicken and a check, keep in mind that Blige is not hurting. She is not in need of any coaching, guidance or help. She has paid her debt to her fans. She owes us nothing more than to be a great artist.
So to the fools that are focusing on Blige I think that it is time for you to get your priorities straight. Look around you at the people who really need your attention, guidance and help. Blige damn sure is not one of them. But the group of young men in white t-shirts who hang out on your block, on the corner all day selling drugs do. The 14 year old girl who is trying her hardest to dress like and imitate Nicki Minaj’s lyrics is who needs your attention. These are your kids. These are your nieces and nephews. These are your little cousins and neighbors. This is the generation that will be running things when we our time has passed. This is who your passion about how they are living their lives should be directed towards. They are the ones who truly matter and should be of greater concern than Mary J. Blige and a damn chicken wrap. Where are your priorities?
La’Juanda “LJ” Knight
“If You Don’t Say It, I Will”