When you think of the term “sell-out” – what comes to mind? Rappers making Pop songs? Politicians changing laws to suit their friends in big business perhaps or maybe even your favourite footballer leaving for a bigger club. Chances are though, that you, much like me and everyone we know never thought about the man(or woman) in the mirror.
That’s right! We’re all sell-out’s! You, me and the guy across the street!
This “revelation” came to me just yesterday as I watched a perfect example of “selling out”; this awful Mary J Blige Burger King advert. WARNING : NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED…..
Thanks to the thousands who took to twitter and other sites to voice their disapproval of the “stereotypical” ad, Burger King have removed it from TV and say that it was “Unfinished”, a claim backed up by the singer herself. According to a statement released by Ms Blige the advert was supposed to feature a “dream sequence” which was not included but dream or no dream, finished or unfinished – she was singing about fried chicken!!
What’s wrong with that I hear you ask?
Well, aside from the fact that she’s reinforcing a stereotype,Fried Chicken is one of the primary reasons why so many people suffer from ill-health particularly in the black community. Considering the fact that she’s a cultural icon and thus has strong influence among the black community, she’s pretty much sending her people to the slaughter house for a fat pay cheque and that’s what we call selling out.
Now, yes it’s probably true that most black people like fried chicken and you could argue that her endorsement of it wouldn’t make much of a difference but that would be missing the point. She was prepared to throw her weight behind something which is undoubtedly detrimental to the health of her many fans for a couple million dollars.
Reading through the comments on YouTube and various other sites discussing the issue though, I realized that the majority of people couldn’t understand why it was a mistake for her to endorse such a product. After all – “she was making her money” and that’s when it hit me – We’re all sell-outs.
In our society, it’s every man for himself. It’s not about building communities, it’s not about having principles or morals – money is the bottom line. Even those of us who criticised Mary J Blige have to be honest with ourselves. Which of our principles or beliefs would we put above a couple million quid? Very few….if any.
That’s the sad reality of the world we live in. It’s the reason why rich nations can rob 3rd world countries of their resources and watch as the inhabitants starve. It’s the reason celebrities endorse products and negative behaviour without thought of their effect on viewers. It’s the reason why we sacrifice our dreams and dedicate ourselves to dead end jobs without thinking about building something tangible to pass onto our children and their children.
Here’s the catch though – if in our scramble to attain “success” we’re willing to trade our core values than what have we really gained? Perhaps that’s why many a celebrity has attained everything one could possibly want and yet found themselves battling depression.
So let us promise the man (or woman) in the mirror – that as we strive to attain our goals in life, we stay true to ourselves and keep hold of the principles and beliefs which make us who we are.