Kanye and Kyrie Irving? African Americans have much bigger things to worry about

Weightier issues for Black folk like gunshots that will not cease. Like the ‘American Dream’ that for so many has been swallowed whole by the winds of violence.

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Kanye West (left) and Kyrie Irving.

Kanye West (left) and Kyrie Irving — two young, gifted and Black millionaires who ultimately will survive their current storms.

Getty Images, AP file

We have bigger fish to fry than Kanye and Kyrie. 

Weightier issues for Black folk in the 21st century that glare across this American landscape like a jagged lightning bolt flashing across a midnight sky. 

Bigger fish. Like gunshots that will not cease. And the bell of murder that each day tolls. 

Bigger fish. Like the “American Dream” that for so many has been swallowed whole by the winds of violence that turn tree-lined streets into nightmarish murder zones where our young Black sons are gunned down in front of their homes by our young Black sons in an endless, pathological gale with utter disregard for human life. 

We die daily. Black mothers grieve greatly. And yet Kanye West and Kyrie Irving dominate headlines and social media. 

We have bigger fish to fry. 

Like racism. Like the learning gap between Black children and white children. Like the earning and wealth gaps between Black folk and white folk. Like the crippling and lingering effects of centuries of racial discrimination on the psyche, souls and daily lives of Black folk. 

Like the corporate glass ceiling that, for Black folk, always hangs lower. Like the lack of racial parity — with the exception of a few tokens admitted to fill quotas and present the illusion of equality, a Black face. 

Bigger fish, even as the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned Roe v. Wade, now reconsiders affirmative action. 

Like the absence of resources for economic revitalization and housing rehabilitation in Black neighborhoods and their cannibalization by gentrification. 

Bigger fish. Like redlining, food deserts and affordable, quality health care. 

Like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and suicide. 

Bigger fish than two young, gifted and Black millionaires who ultimately will survive their current storms. 

But none bigger than this: the killing of our children. 

With each new sunrise comes news of another Black body maimed or murdered in an indiscriminate, incomprehensible pandemic of self-hate amid a kind of collective numbing acceptance. We sit mostly silent. Immobile. Seemingly impotent amid a murderous river, flowing with the bodies and blood of our sons and daughters, that crests each summer. Even with summer ended, recent headlines carry news of the carnage. 

“‘A nightmare.’ 11 of 14 people wounded in East Garfield Park…” 

“‘It was numbing’: 3 brothers shot in Auburn Gresham work with St. Sabina to combat gun violence” 

“1 dead, 2 wounded in shooting outside Chicago McDonald’s…” 

The number murdered this year through Nov. 6, according to Chicago police: 592. Shootings: 2,480 — or eight a day. 

And yet here we stand, in the absence of justice and peace, with an undeniable yearning for a mythical place called Wakanda as the sequel to the movie “Black Panther” opened this weekend. 

I, too, yearn. Stand in these times in America as a surviving descendant of slavery, Jim Crow, Southern lynchings and systemic conspiracies designed to break the Black body and soul.

Unbroken, we stand, though having arrived at this place in our history where it is not the KKK — notwithstanding rogue white cops — that slays us. We mostly slay each other. 

And I find it interesting that, amid the cancellation of Ye over antisemitic comments, I hear, for starters, no talk of canceling the murder-laced music that airs incessantly on urban radio. I hear no talk of harnessing our own collective power as African Americans to hold accountable a music industry that greenlights this anti-Black, anti-humane rhetoric. Hear of no Black artists vowing to not make songs that cast murder and misogyny into the wind. 

Neither do I hear of any backlash against the NBA for its attempted castration of Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving for posting a link to a documentary deemed as “antisemitic” while Amazon, the platform hosting and making money from that film, gets a pass. Which is the greater sin? 

Kyrie is low-hanging fruit. 

But I digress. We have bigger fish to fry: 

Losing a nation to murder. The unnatural, most inconceivable ceremony of burying our children amid this thundering storm of violence that surely must ring in the ears of a just and righteous God but that seems to fall deaf upon our own. 


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