Sellout for Survival?


"Black people include everybody in everything they do but never get included by other races." 

       This statement and similar ones are stated many times when Black folks participate in allowing other races into music, businesses, culture, and other activities. Some even claim it's "selling out". This act of "selling out" seems to be very common once Black people reach a certain point of success or on their way up the ladder of success. While I do agree that it's upsetting that many of us Black people are so quick to want to include everyone when we are not always included or wanted, I also feel that many Black people see this tactic as a means to survive. 

       African Americans are the largest demographic of consumers in the U.S. but ironically, the "Black dollar" barely is circulated throughout Black businesses. This is the opposite in various ethnic and racial communities. The problem is apart of where the theory of lack of Black support comes from, therefore having to gain the support of other races in order to gain financial stability.

     One example where I have personally Black inclusion of other races is in the fashion industry. I personally noticed how some Black designers have no issue having non-Black models in order to draw non-Black audiences, while many White and non-Black designers will.not look twice and a Black model. Perhaps there will be one Black model for some designers. This is not to state that all non-Black designers do this, but it's noticeable in the fashion industry. 

Now, take the music industry for another example. It's no secret that White and audiences of other races are investing money into Black artists by purchasing their music while many claim Black people are not purchasing music. Power 105 "Breakfast Club" host, Charlemagne even pointed this out during an interview with "VLAD TV". Using the example of rapper Nicki Minaj, he discussed how so many people express she should go back to her rap roots instead of pop music. Charlemagne stated that the same people who make these claims (mainly Black audiences) wont even purchase her music, while pop music fans (sometimes predominantly White) will. In a sense, this issue can even be compared to certain Black owned businesses. Some business owners feel that they have to branch out to other racial and ethnic demographics due to the fact many Black people will not support them for whatever reasons whether it be price or just seeing another Black person in an attempt to rise above in "Amerikka". 

In laments terms, is it necessarily "wrong" for Black people to want to branch out and include other racial/ethnic audiences in advertising, marketing, or as a target audience due to a probability of lack of support from their own? If it seems that including other races to engage in music or business can be the only way for some Black people to strive, what lines should not be crossed? I do feel there is a difference between branching out and selling out, but many times Black artists, entrepreneurs, etc end up selling their brand in order to make it which keeps them in a cycle of a employee-boss/slave-master relation they were probably trying to escape. Of course these factors of success depend on branding, hard work, marketing, and not just feeling that you have to "sell out" to make it. 

My post is not to suggest that Black people do not support one another, that races and ethnicities of people only have to support their own, that there is something negative about including all peoples as a target audience, or that all Black people had to get support outside of their communities to make it. This is to examine and ask the question if including other races in activities such as music, fashion, business, and so forth is problematic for Black people since many races are not including. This also challenges if many of us have the mentality we need to gain support of non-Black audiences in order to live comfortably. 

Hope you caught my drift. Please share your thoughts. Thanks for reading. 



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