Huffpost Entertainment
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Dr. Johnny Benjamin Headshot

Lil Wayne and the state of Black America

Posted: Updated:

As Dwayne Carter (that's his government name), better known as Lil Wayne, prepares for his upcoming incarceration for felony gun possession his recently released CD Rebirth is poised to soar...funny how marketing works in urban music.

FYI -- 'urban' is a euphemism for Black.

Lil Wayne is universally known as the 'best rapper alive' and his recent album sales bear this assertion. He is a phenomenally talented rock star with a lifestyle to match. His catchy hooks are everywhere and 'swag' is undeniable.

I recently spoke to a group of children and their parents as part of a Black History Month celebration. The children ranged in age from kindergarten through the 12th grade. As in many celebrations of this type, there was the usual singing and litany of famous people and events: "We shall overcome," Dr. Martin Luther King, Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and the list went on.

When I finally spoke, I asked for all the children who could name a Lil Wayne song to please raise their hands. As you may have guessed, the auditorium erupted and virtually every hand, including those of the kindergarteners and first graders, was raised high in the air with great pride. I then asked those same children who could name the last African-American recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace and the room fell utterly silent. In a group of 200 or so children from K through 12 with some of their parents, other adults and local civic leaders in attendance, not a single child knew that Barak Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America, was the correct answer. In fact, there were several children, including high school students, who answered Beyonce.

I am not a sociologist but this recent experience speaks potential volumes about the current state of Black America. At some point, we must realize that exposing our children to information contained in books and museums is far more beneficial than most anything that they are likely to encounter on television, radio or online.

Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes and Lord Byron are poets. Lil Wayne and TI are very talented young men that like many need guidance and understanding.

"We shall overcome"...When?