Is the “Bling” really for US?

Below is an attempted letter to Mr. Steve Harvey regarding his guest Sean Combs and his entrepreneurial pursuits. 


Dear Mr. Harvey,

Recently your morning radio show was graced by the presence Mr. Sean Combs aka, Diddy, aka Puff Daddy.  I’m assuming your invitation to Mr. Combs was not only about his celebrity but also about his endeavors as an upcoming business tycoon.  While I admire any of my fellow African American brothers and sisters who are striving to aspire our community, I am somehow poised to question their sincerity of exactly who are they aspiring.

As I heard Mr. Combs describe his business model of providing an upscale lifestyle and apparel to the African American community, I could not help but wonder with our demographics of inner city poverty, it almost seems contradictory of the very community he is intending to aspire is not the resulted audience at all.  To put it frankly Mr. Combs along with other rap moguls introduce a lifestyle and clothing merchandise at prices that your average African American can not afford.  As you stated Mr. Harvey, he can sleep late with his 100s of millions, while many of us have to get up early and hit that 9-5.  My question is, when these rap moguls promote their additional endeavors they always say I’m doing this for our people, yet has anyone ever surveyed our people to find out if they can afford these items; especially with young impressionable children/teenagers who are their primary market. How can your average African American family afford a Sean John shirt, when we’re trying to save for college, pay bills, some of us are paying our own student loans.  Have these rap moguls who constantly voice their mantra of “keeping it real” forgotten what real really is to your average African American family.  Now, I’m not saying we’re all poor and destitute, but many of us certainly do not have that old “white” generational money that just keeps growing and growing.  It is no secret that the African American family is usually in more debt than it’s counterparts. Yet, we have these so-called, I come from the streets people who made it big, saying I’m doing this for ya’ll.  I wonder HOW?? or are they just being political?  The only people in the ghetto who can afford Sean John without it being on a clearance rack are the Pimps and Hustlers.  Is Mr. Combs and his colleagues saying that this is their targeted audience, because we all know for sure the kid who’s working in McDonalds can’t afford a Sean John anything, unless he spends his whole check and then some. 

Personally it is not the responsibility of Mr. Combs and his colleagues to ensure that the average community of their people can afford their product, but it is their responsibility to be honest of  who this is for and who’s benefiting.  I hope their true targeted audience are not the Pimps and Hustlers and it’s actually individuals like yourself Mr. Harvey who can afford this, but if this is so, then I plead to them to “keep it real” themselves.  Are they so disconnected that they forgot what a struggle is everyday life in your average African American community. The reality is some of us are living pay check to pay check and to say I’m doing this for you without the prospect of affordability is disconcerting.  I am not an authority of how to advise anyone how to promote their business, but I do know one thing, if you’re going to say it’s for me, then let it really be for me.  If we can’t afford these items, then how in the world can it be for us

Lastly, I may be premature in somewhat judging the motives of these successful entrepreneurs; I’m sure their philanthropic activities are not as publicized as much it should be throughout the media.  For all we know a percentage of their proceeds are being replenished into our communities, if not there’s a little suggestion (hint, hint). Bottom line if they are truly in the business of aspiring our people I plead with them to aspire the “real” audience, make this lifestyle touchable to US, if not then please stop saying this is for US.