Determining who our Black community leaders are is an ominous question when you really evaluate the criteria. The truth is that many of the individuals claiming to represent the Black community are self-appointed—often with a hidden agenda. Unfortunately, their esoteric objectives are not always in the best interests of the communities that hold them in high esteem.
The Black community seem to recognize some Black ministers, politicians, and businessmen as leaders representing the community. Often they are catapulted to this category based on visibility and media exposure. Unfortunately, many of these so-called Black leaders fall short of meeting the expectations of those who hold them in such high esteem.
All too often, we have people outside the Black community dictating who our Black community leaders are, according to their affinity for that particular person. These groups promote these Blacks verbally and through media exposure. Many times these Blacks fit a mold that their promoters personally find acceptable and can be manipulated to fulfill their promoter’s agenda in the Black community. Therefore, we have supposedly Black leaders who don’t actively support the issues prevalent in the Black community when it comes to health, jobs, education, and gentrification. These leaders are often out for ‘self’ and are only puppets finding excuses to justify their ineffectiveness in helping solve problems plaguing the Black community. They are not truly vested in the Black community. Some would say our White oppressors are represented by a Black face. Sadly, it’s a common practice.
The Black community needs to open their eyes and see the true soldiers and leaders who unselfishly put themselves out in the front lines, advocating for justice and equality when it comes to their communities. These are the true Black heroes and leaders, although they do not get much media attention. However, they work diligently and laboriously trying to better their communities for their people, especially the elderly and young children. These are leaders who are not afraid and don’t have to have permission from those in the White community who think Black concerns are trivial when compared to concerns in their own communities. In fact, there are some Whites who try to make Blacks feel bad for being too involved in the Black communities, saying “you should work in behalf of all people.” They really mean the White community, which often leaves Black concerns on hold.
True Black leaders advocate in the best interests of their communities just like their White counterparts and don’t apologize or trivialize problems or concerns in their communities. True Black leaders are not afraid to say their communities matter. They don’t want anything less than what is right and fair by anyone’s standards. The Black community matters, We don’t need any mealy mouthed appointed leaders afraid or embarrassed to speak up for our concerns.
Kudos to those unsung Black leaders who have taken the less traveled road at times, putting themselves out there. They are willing to suffer the ridicule and vilification of those trying to diminish their drive to improve the plight of our people. When we have Black leaders who love themselves and their people, it will speed up the time when we all can claim equality and love each other unequivocally. Let’s stop putting problems in the Black community on the back burner and recognize those who are not afraid to advocate for people who look like us. We should never consider anyone with an air of superiority, acting as if our concerns are inconsequential.
Unapologetic Black leaders are needed at the bat. We must dismiss the superficial Black leaders masquerading in the best interests of those seeking to oppress us. You know who they are. They are the leaders only available for photo opts, avoiding or refusing to aid the Black community when they are truly needed. These are the black leaders afraid to take issue with controversial or uncomfortable subjects in the Black community. Even our children would say, “We need leaders that are real.”
(I’m sorry if anyone feels offended, but you shouldn’t have to apologize for telling the truth—a truth which needs to be told).