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Cam Newton Is A Role Model Too

Black media–including NegusWhoRead–is full of praise for people like Barack Obama, Serena Williams and Colin Kaepernick. We hold them up as shining examples of strong, determined people of color who are successfule while being unapologetic of their Blackness. They are role models for young people to follow if they want to become proud Black men and women. While these people are great, we sometimes forget the other people. We overlook those people who might have different aspirations.

What if a child wanted to grow up to be a coward? Why are there no role models for children who dream of one day becoming a sellout? Are there no examples for the faint-of-heart?

Yesterday, amid the violence and chaos in  Charlotte, North Carolina surrounding the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by police officers, Cam Newton had this to say

What the fuck is he talking about?

It’s almost like he said to himslef, “Sigh, I guess I gotta go out here and talk about this nigger shit.”

In the spirit of transparency, I have to admit that until about two weeks ago, I was a big Cam Newton fan. He played football and graduated from my Alma Mater (Auburn University) and I was born and raised in South Carolina, less than 80 miles from the stadium Cam plays in on Sundays. I have even written about him here.

I still hold him in high regard. He is now one of the people bold and brave enough to stand for nothing. You can see it in his eyes as he is talking. He is searching for the most inoffensive words he can find to say–absolutely nothing. That’s the point of that clip and the purpose of the entire press conference. He couldn’t avoid addressing the issues embroiling his city, but he didn’t say shit. He hemmed and hawed. That’s why I hold Cam Newton up to the little schoolboys and girls who want to make a career out of shucking and jiving. Let him be their hero, because Cam Newton is a perfect role model for them.

Because Cam Newton is a coward.

It is rare to find a grown man with such exquisitely selective fear. He is willing to take on oncoming 275-pound linebackers who can run like deer and are built like brick shithouses, but is terrified of the backlash he might receive from–and let’s just call it what it is here–white people. Cam Newton is afraid of White people.

But we should applaud him. Who else would future generations of fuckboy chicken-hearts who wanted to wear tight pants and clown hats while disregarding their people look up to? Lil Wayne? He’ll be dead from a sizzurp overdose in a few weeks. Pharell? We all know Pharell is a vampire who dines on the blood of virgins in the intermittent spaces between kowtowing to White America. All we have is Cam.

To be fair to Cam, he can’t risk all that endorsement money. He does have a family to feed, and you don’t know how fast the 13 million dollars in base salary he earns every year can disappear, or the $7 million dollars he earns every year in incentives. It’s hard out here in these streets for House Negroes. I know, I know–It’s hard out here for all negroes–which is why it is so beautifully courageous for Cam Newton to show his Stepin Fetchit characteristics to the world so young people would have a person to aspire to become.  Most people aren’t aware that long time ago, village medicine men would rub 30 pieces of silver on the bellies of betrayers until they figured out that traitors can only rest comfortably on piles of $100 dollar bills. Anything other than that bruises their yellow bellies.

Myself and others may have applauded too quickly when Cam pushed back on charges that he was too brash by saying he was a “A Black man” like they’ve never seen, because now he has transformed himself to an African American who doesn’t want to speak about injustice because it is a “lose-lose.” Perhaps we should not require this of our celebrities and superstars. Maybe it is too much of a burden. After all, Aaron Rogers and Tom Brady don’t have to speak out on social issues. They can pocket their millions and go home, so why should Cam?

Here is why: Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have a Black child. Tom Brady doesn’t have cousins, nieces and nephews who could be shot with their hands in the air. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady aren’t Black. Cam Newton is. He knows people will listen to his voice–even if for a second. And while he has no imperative to fashion himself as a modern-day Malcolm X, he bears the responsibility of not ducking and hiding from the monsters in plain sight. He owes it to his children. To his ancestors. To the Black people who bought his jersey as Christmas gifts for their sons. To the goddamned blood in his veins.

So, the next time you spot a commercial with Cam’s beautiful smile shucking and jiving in triplicate as he hocks yogurt, cell phones or some other product looking to capitalize on the elusive 18-35 jigaboo demographic, be thankful that tomorrow’s sellouts have someone who will set the mark. In fact, if you are raising a future fuck nigga, or an up and coming fraidy-cat, go out and buy him a Cam Newton jersey so that he or she won’t feel left out when their real negus friends are strutting around in their Kaepernick paraphernalia. Teach him to say “All Lives Matter” and to refer to themselves as “African American.” Be sure they point out–as Cam did–that we are “all the same color underneath.” Finally and most importantly, if you really want to raise a pieback, lemon meringue-ass coward either too afraid, too ignorant or too unwilling to see the truth, please make sure they never hear the following quote:

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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