There is no greater fascination that we have as humans than for people who have resources to waste. Although a multicultural nation, Money is truly the language America speaks. We don't want to do away with the wealthy as we are more interested in acquiring our own piece of the "American Pie." Blowing money fast is associated with reckless richness, or living for today. In most cases with celebrities this is true. We love those that amass enough collateral that they don't have to count; the ones that keep the money coming in and going out. Overt materialism is mesmerizing.
The term celebrity comes from someone who is celebrated. Puff Daddy is a celebrity, we love Puff. I love Puff. He created something great -- he invented the remix. Take Paris Hilton, she's a celebrity too, but what has she given us? Other than a peek into her lifestyle I can't name anything. Yea, her life is attractive, but there's not a lot of substance in it. She has made a change for the better recently, speaking at homeless shelters and youth programs and has even made some interesting television. But I'm afraid we don't consider her an artist at any level. People who are born rich just aren't interesting to us, unless they are doing what rich people should do -- Blow Money Fast!
We absolutely adore those that have made something of themselves coming from nothing, it intrigues us. "Rag to Riches" is deeply embedded into the American "psyche" and much of what this country was built on. Of all entertainment cultures, this is most prevalent in hip hop. About 95.5 percent of prominent rappers are coming from meeker beginnings, low-income households where tragedies have befallen them, yet they were able to ascend to upper echelons.
There is a high turnover rate of successful celebrities. Being a Black celebrity in America is different than being a white celebrity. Our need for "recognition" comes from a different place. In a country that cares more about opportunity than equality, we need and desire to prove ourselves to an America that has been taught to hate us, and taught us to hate ourselves. The externalization of perceived wealth is our proof that we have reached success (and thus some sort of acceptance). There are very few of us who survive. We often ask ourselves as a collective, "How did he/she wind up broke after all that money they made?" When I get a check for $200,000 I know it usually cost me more to make than it did my white counterparts. Once we get money, we loan it out, as a Band-Aid to those we love who are in financial trouble. We loan out $35,000, $10,000 even $500 and usually we never get it back. It's hard to keep the money we're making when the people that we grow up with and love need our support so much. We often confuse "having money" with "wealth" and although they may look the same at first glance, they are fundamentally different. Money is just a component of Wealth- which is usually comprised of investments, properties, generations of flipping that "money" and most of all "wealth" comes in the form of connections and networks (in short POWER). The basic rule is this; you can lose money, but wealth always continues to grow. Jay- Z is rich, but the Rockefeller family is Wealthy. New money can open almost as many doors as "old money," however it doesn't carry the same stability or weight to it.
My definition of poverty is when your responsibilities stretch further than your resources. My mother didn't give a fuck, and my father was too busy trying to feed us. I come from a large family that never had enough. Having more than I need means showing it off to prove my success, and sharing what I've created. The feeling of success based off financial gain can be overwhelming. You can only know what you've been taught. It's hard to know what to do with excess money when you were raised by people who never had excess money. Financial literacy is new for the ghetto entrepreneur, not how to count money, but how to spend it. Like most things, financial literacy is passed down; if you have never seen your mother balance a check book or work out a budget (because there was never enough money to even budget in the first place) chances are those are skills you will not possess as an adult. Things like risk management and long term investments are things that are inapplicable when surviving the horrors of the urban jungle/modern ghetto. Resources are non-existent or scarce at best, and a large number at people are at play trying to make it 'til tomorrow. Living in the ghetto is like living in a house on fire. It's dangerous and it will kill you, so you got to escape via any and every available portal. Imagine having only what is necessary with you, taking as little as you can for just right now. Sports and entertainment are most readily accessible in the ghetto, where little prep or equipment is needed to get hugely successful and make it out.
The hip hop generation needs a mechanism they can identify with, in a language they can understand to help them manage the windfall of popularity and stardom. For a lot of people, being in the hip hop industry is a second chance at childhood. They get to live with little to no scrutiny for their actions-things they would have done if they grew up with money. As Sade said, "Everyday is Christmas and every night is New Year's Eve." As ridiculous as it sounds, this is how money affects the brain.
My team has been able to stay hot in the game-but nothing lasts forever. We still gonna stunt and blow money, just not as fast.
Thank God I am finally learning how money works: Bottle service = $5,000 Outfit for the night = $3,500 Good music chain = $100,000 Not going to a club unless their paying me to be there = Priceless!
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