A gilded gift

Practical Politics

David L. Horne, PH.D. | 10/17/2013, midnight
Giving further compelling evidence that Black culture is waning steadily and speedily into oblivion, ushered there by this generation of ...

Giving further compelling evidence that Black culture is waning steadily and speedily into oblivion, ushered there by this generation of Black folk, recently Dr. Dre (Andre Young), in collaboration with Interscope Records mogul Jimmy Lovine, announced a $70 million donation to the University of Southern California, a school Dr. Dre could not have gained admission to ‘straight outta Compton.’ He went to Centennial High and transferred to Fremont, before attending Chester Adult School.

Clearly, Dr. Dre, who has made a mint and then some from astute packaging of urban Black cultural beats, can do whatever he chooses to do with his money. He earned it, parlaying a specific creative talent for hearing and harnessing rhythms into a highly successful career that is still breathing strongly.

But it is a fact that one of the reasons he got to do what he did is because other Black folk did what they did beforehand. Our lives and careers are standing on the shoulders of others who pushed the train further down the track, and one of the fundamental lessons of Black American culture is that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Common sense alert! Dre, USC did not need the money. USC is sitting on a reported $3.5 billion nest egg of an endowment. There are certainly more needs for your largess, Dre, within that same Compton community out of which you came and utilized for your first recording successes.

Picture a small group of people—maybe 10—hunched around an overly full dinner table, with dressing, meat and potatoes falling onto the floor from the crowded table, which is surrounded by armed guards. Also in the surrounding space are hundreds, maybe thousands of desperately hungry souls, some of them gagging from lack of food and drink and twisting the flowers and plants in the room in an attempt to squeeze out some nourishment.

Along comes an armored tanker truck full of more food and liquids, taken briskly by armed personnel to the already brimming table, where the fat, puffy arms of the 10 occupants try to make room for it all.

That’s a metaphor for this USC gift amid many more desperate needs. USC hires but a few and admits/graduates but a few African Americans, and it certainly can get by without this added windfall from Dr. Dre.

What is it with so many Black celebrities who decide to share their wealth and success with those who already have a lot, when just a little of that generosity would go a very long way toward helping raise the sights and the opportunities for so many more of the have-nots and have-less?

Denzel did a similar thing a few years ago. And more power to them all for being able to fly through the open door and take advantage of what is presented to them.

But can we please get a little give-back? Isn’t there some sense of obligation for the help provided to them in their sojourn forward? None of us make it alone. Many sacrificed to create the environment for us to succeed.

Hey, Dre. Can you champion a few of us too on your magic carpet ride? Black culture made you famous, can you show it a bit of appreciation before it dies? Just askin’ . . .