The power of influence is an unwarranted responsibility. It is a gift and a curse that comes with societal pressures that force an oath of acceptance towards accountability. And for Black people, achieving that power has been our plight. It is the true acknowledgment of the weight that we carry throughout our lives. Our success is no longer just ours as people of color. We speak for the voiceless and we represent for the underrepresented. There is an obligation to be upheld by Black media, celebrities, leaders and social influencers. We all must assist with sculpting the Black presence in the imprint of America.
Social media has been a resourceful tool in bringing awareness to the Black experience. With one click, you are exposed to real-time accounts of LWB. That is living while Black. Social media has a vital role in how news spreads to the intended receiver and the overall messaging. Actor, comedian, and influencer, Andrew Bachelor, also known as King Bach, is among the growing class of celebrities using their platforms to speak out against racial biases, inequalities and systematic structures that are suppressing the Black community. “I feel that it’s important for celebrities to speak about social injustice because it affects us, it affects everyone. I don't care where you are now, everyone must be included in the message; even though some people may not experience some of the inequalities right now, there was a point when we all did. And it’s important to speak about that,” said Bach.
The Black man is under siege and there is a hidden target on his back. For centuries the Black man has faced unfavorable treatment. Oftentimes presumed as a threat and quickly disposed of. When King Bach was asked how he felt about being a Black man in America, he shared “It’s tough. It’s not easy. There are certain places you can go. There are certain places you can’t go. I’m always watching my back. I say this a lot, white people will never understand what we go through. I remember going to a restaurant and the lady said there were no seats available. And I looked and there were a whole bunch of seats, then she sat us in the back. It took us about 15 mins to get some water. What I ended up having to do was order my food and pay for it immediately. Once I did that we started getting the service really fast. It shouldn't be like that. I shouldn't be treated differently because of my skin color. I shouldn't be treated better because I’m a Black man with money.”
Black Lives Matter isn’t just a slogan or a mantra, although it is seen as a never-ending hashtag. Black Lives Matter are words of affirmation. It is a social construct to ensure that the stories of Black people are echoed, told authentically and decorated in truth. “I was fed up. Things haven't changed since the 60s. If you look at it, everything is still the same. We’ve done the hashtag. We’ve done the kneeling. We did all of that for so many years and it’s just a continuous cycle. We need to figure out a way to break that cycle,” stated Bach about his Black Lives Matter monologue shared on Instagram. Thanks to the digital age, the lives of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, and countless others will not be in vain. “The whole Breonna Taylor story is sad and unfortunate. It shows that it could have been any one of us. It shows that still, they don’t care. If there’s no justice then there will be no peace. We will keep fighting and we won’t stop.”
James Baldwin once said that “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” The principle of change starts with the recognition of an opportunity for improvement. The shutting down of America during this current pandemic has been the catalyst to the universal unveiling of a crisis that is deeply rooted in the foundation of this nation. For the first time, people got to experience what their life's currency is worth by the decision-makers that govern us. We have leaders denying the existence of systematic racism. We have leaders creating a false narrative of the people's response to systematic racism. We have leaders that are simply watching humanity dissipate and are okay with it.
We applaud individuals like Andrew Bachelor for using his power of influence to advocate for change. When we asked him about protests and marches happening around the world, he shared, “You can see that now the awareness is really there and people really care. Now we need to start making sure that the laws are changed and things are really being done. You want to grow up and see change, and the only way you can see change is if you make the change.”
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