And, please don’t say you are just informing people about what’s happening when you share the exploits of people like Ice Cube because we know that’s not true. There are people all around us doing consequential work to organize our people to wage serious struggle against our oppression and many of us never share not one of those genuine efforts. So, we are really not concerned about educating our people, at least not nearly as much as we are interested in spreading the type of information that we believe will bring attention to us as individuals. Meanwhile, the masses of our people continue to suffer.
Quoting a former football coach, Ice Cube is “exactly what we thought he was!” For anyone who studies his history on even a cursory basis, you know his petti bourgeoisie origins. Yes, he has petti bourgeoisie origins in Compton, California, U.S. In fact, had his hip/hop career stalled without advancing, O’Shay Jackson, his actual name, was headed to drafting school to study in the field of architecture. He was never a gangster, never a Crip, never even in the streets of Compton. This has been confirmed by everyone around him during the 1980s. Los Angeles recording industry folks in African hip/hop music, described Jackson as a “nice kid.” What he gave us with his lyrics while in NWA was drama designed to inflame the racist stereotypes of European youth who had never been to Compton and who will never go to Compton. The entire so-called gangsta rap industry was focused on creating imagery for these white youth, who represented upwards of 70% of the rap record buying public. Creating an image for white youth from Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, etc. An image that Ice Cube may have observed pieces of, but that he never participated in and/or apparently had any intention of participating in.
The above is important because it demonstrates Ice Cube’s business acumen for creating and sustaining a money making image that he was able to translate into a multi-million dollar career. In other words, when it was profitable to project the image of gangsta rap, Ice Cube did that. When he saw a benefit in manipulating the growing consciousness that was fueled largely by militant organizing efforts on college campuses in the late 80s and early 90s to win the hearts and minds of the African intelligentsia, he became a Black Nationalist rapper. And, just like he was innovative and powerful in portraying a Compton gangsta in NWA lyrics, he was even more convincing in portraying himself as a soldier within the Nation of Islam and a colleague of the late Dr. Khalid Muhammad, but it was all nothing except an act. An act designed to bring in the benjamins. And, this guy was great at capitalizing on the emotions of our people. I never listened to NWA, but when Ice Cube became the narrator/lyricist of albums like “Death Certificate” where the struggle of African people was his thesis, I bought each and every album he produced with this focus between 1990 and 1995. Once he realized that the focus of hip/hop had transitioned from Black Nationalism to gangsta/partying, he formed the Westside Connection and changed from rapping about clubbing our oppressors to clubbing, period. Then, when his opportunity came to practically abandon hip/hop (except to rake in money touring, from which he completely negates those political songs from the early 90s), he easily transitioned to big screen movies like the “Are We There” and other movie features which propelled his career and opened him up to an audience that would never listen to a hip/hop record of any type.
Ice Cube is today what’s he’s always been. A shrewd businessman. A supporter of the capitalist system. A reactionary opportunist who rides the waves to ensure his best economic interests are developed. And, consistent with anyone in this mindset, he now promotes his course of action as the solution to our oppression in this backward system.
We believe that its absolutely despicable how often these bourgeoisie celebrities manipulate the African masses around capitalist inclusivity while lining their pockets through our ignorance. What’s even more offensive though is those of us who continue to wittingly or unwittingly support these bourgeoisie efforts. Some of us do it, constantly sharing and talking about these people, because we secretly believe that we one day will occupy the same privileged position of capitalist advancement that we see people like Ice Cube benefiting from. Others of us promote people like him because we just don’t have the political sophistication to understand how the capitalist system actually functions and how it engages us. Included in each group is the belief that there is a seat for us at the capitalist table and these folks use the individual examples of people like Ice Cube to justify this backward and long disproven belief.
For once and for all, Ice Cube is not a representative for African emancipation. He cannot be that because the only people qualified to play that role are people who are committed and physically involved in the struggle for the collective advancement of the African masses. What he is – is an individual representative of the court jester class of African buffoons and clowns who entertain the masses of people for the capitalist system in order to keep people focused on making light of the suffering we experience in neighborhoods like “Friday” or “Barbershop” instead of us organizing against those conditions.
As for who some of you thought Ice Cube was after “Death Certificate?” You wonder where that guy went? I recall years ago when we were making copies of flyers in Kinkos Copy Store when the manager asked me questions about the African Liberation Day material we were copying originals to work from. The guy asked to read our anti-capitalist, pro-socialist Pan-Africanist literature and then he began to tell us how Kinkos could help us make our best presentation. Of course, we turned this offer down, but I have never forgot the logic of capitalism where it was willing to work with us to produce our literature and even make it more marketable if doing so ushered in profits. When being a Black Nationalist was profitable for Ice Cube and no other messaging was more advantageous, he was that. When broader and more profitable messages presented themselves, he abandoned Black Nationhood faster than Candace Owens switched from using the NAACP to win a discrimination lawsuit against her to becoming an arch right-wing critic of the existence of white supremacist discrimination.
So, enough of Ice Cube and any of these bogus celebrities. They are what they are. Opportunists. Stop looking at them like they are anything more than that. And stop being free advertising for their pimp efforts against our people. Instead, start helping those who could really use your help in spreading the word of significant and valuable work for our people. Think about how you can do whatever you can to share independent and revolutionary work designed to build capacity for our people and all oppressed humanity. If you are unwilling to do these things and if you continue to just be another bridge for bourgeoisie confusion, then if nothing else, it becomes clear that you have no true interest in advancing our struggle. What you are really interested in doing is trying to find a niche to join people like Ice Cube in what they are doing at the expense of the masses of our people who all of us, owe every single breath that we take.