It is not about throwing away the individual or what they gave to us in the form of their art, but the worship of who they presented themselves to be. We, the public, are only offered a short glimpse into the mind, body and heart of who they are. And we should not be so naive to learn that we may have cashed in fool’s gold. We did not fall in love with their totality, but with what we thought it should be.
If anything, the last week of April 2018 has broken the proverbial back of accountability. We lifted Kanye, Nas and Bill because of their gifts, through words and emotion.
But it is now roosting time. Time to ask ourselves glaring, triggering questions.
Do you lash out in anger at your partner, whether it be physically or emotionally? Do you let the fear of the white gaze affect your work and your creativity? Do you pander to hate to lessen the weight of your self-loathing? Do you pursue women, whether it be sexually or in conversation, without their consent? Do you let money and privilege strip you of your capacity to empathize?
Who do you choose to be when confronted with the depths of the dark?
For Kanye, Bill and Nas, they chose to let their rage, shame, pain, money and power consume them. To literally manifest as the exact opposite of piety, of a deity.
The past week will be known as a time to put to rest false Gods. For there are other holy wars we have to fight.
Black women were being manhandled by police, Black men and women were being shot and killed. Black people with lack of access. Black people in pain.
These injustices should live on our mantles. The burdens of our ancestors should be enough to make us kneel in admiration of their sacrifices. And as we engage in the worship of diverging from trauma constantly inflicted on us, we self-care it away. Sometimes in the form of a trap lyric, or a shot of Hennessy, or in a twerk, a joint, or in a TV show. We do what we need to do, what we have always done, to wade through the coldness of our trauma. And while the three men mentioned above may have been a part of that self-care regime, they no longer fit the space.
The last week of April 2018 will be a time where we allow the ghosts of Mr. West, Mr. Jones and Mr. Cosby to die. We have to disarm the need to sanction these men as anything but men.
“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them,” Psalm 115:4-8 reads.
These men aren’t Gods. Their flesh is weak and innately, human.