Open Mic: OG Maco says "the culture" must step up in order to make America great

  /  10.04.2016

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is a sentiment ingrained into most American youths at an early age, meant to instill fairness and social acceptance of others based on qualities not derived from physicality. Is it any wonder then that our country should be forced to look at itself wholly and ask, “Who’s perspective of beauty are we embracing?” We have been berated with calls to “Make America great again” and yet left to ponder two poignant and pressing questions: When was America ever equally “great” for all of its citizens? From whom among us does this call for greatness come?

The answer to the first question is as obvious as it is troubling; America, the shining beacon of “freedom and equality,” has never been fair in its treatment of minorities and immigrants. Furthermore, America has consistently unified and rallied around violence against a seemingly common, foreign enemy, but rarely around obviously common injustices done domestically.

In response to the repeated and seemingly systematic murder of blacks by law enforcement, the power of social media gave rise to a number of high-profile athletes and entertainers making public stands against these injustices, but few have been met with more hatred than one kneeling quarterback. Never has such a disarming gesture, kneeling, been treated as such an aggressive and vile act. Never has silence been used to convey a message so desperately needing a continuous voice.

Real Talk | Jay Electronica

And yet, the voices heard day in and day out on every streaming platform and radio station have been largely absent or selectively vocal. As musicians, I believe we hold a certain ingrained responsibility to voice the frustrations of our listeners, to voice their fears, hopes, doubts, and goals as easily as their need for frivolous fun and opulence. As listeners, I believe it is essential to demand truth and perspective from the same people we spend our hard-earned money supporting. I believe it is essential to take a hard look at those who find it acceptable to profit from our daily triumphs and find it unceremonious to speak on our oppression.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it is obvious, now more than ever, that the beholder is the not-so-secret majority. If there is any hope for lasting and meaningful change, it must be as systemic and institutional as the forces against it. The voices of the musicians influencing the youth must be heard, and they must be as unrelenting as the ugly truth that we are faced with daily — America was never “great” to begin with and it will never see this greatness without more involvement from “the culture” and its youthful inhabitants.

Open Mic is an online editorial segment where celebrities and artists have a chance to speak freely on issues or matters that are important to them.

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