The Musings of Bryant Cross

Slam Poet. Author. New Media Activist.

Death over the new Air Jordan Gama Blue 11 – what Kanye has been saying all along…

Before reading this, put on your headphones and play Kanye West’s “New Slaves.” Trust me. You’ll enjoy this post sooooo much more.

air-jordan-11-gamma-blue-642x336

Before I get into this, lets all hop in the time machine and travel back 24 years…

The year is 1989 and 15-year-old Michael Eugene Thomas paid $115.50 for a pair of Air Jordans. His grandmother tells him not to wear his shoes to school because someone might like them. Michael simply responds, “Granny, before I let anyone take those shoes, they’ll have to kill me.”

On May 2nd, 1989 Michael was found strangled in the woods near his school…barefoot. His killer was 17-year-old James David Martin, a basketball buddy.

A month earlier, 16-year-old Johnny Bates was shot to death in Houston because he refused to give up his Air Jordan hightops. The killer was 17-year-old Demetrick Walker, who was later sentenced to life in prison.

Now lets hop in the time machine and return to present times…

We’re still in Houston and this time the victim is Joshua Woods (22 years old). He got one of the few vouchers to buy a pair of Jordans for himself and his 5-year-old son. The last text he sent to his mother read, “Mom I am okay. We are already headed home.” Of course, he never made it home because three young men shot him in an attempted robbery.

He died on December 21st, 2012 – four days before Christmas.

Joshua is one of many who were murdered for their pair of Jordans or sneakers. There was also 14-year-old Paul Sampleton Jr. and 16-year-old Juan Reyna. All across the country kids are killing kids over shoes. For some, this is a new world. Many are asking, “What is going on in today’s world where kids are killing each other over shoes?” Yet for others, particularly myself and others in the Midwest, this is a depressing repeat of history.

Can you imagine living in Chicago while Jordan was playing for the Bulls and releasing shoes? It was hell. In 1992 Jordan released the Air Jordan 7 and won another championship. Chicago also ended that year with 943 murders.

(Isn’t there only 365 days in the year? That’s almost 3 murders a day!)

Now don’t get things twisted. Jordan – the shoe or the man – is not to blame for the murders. I didn’t look to Jordan for answers back then and I certainly am not looking for answers now. But I am asking myself…

“Why does all of our respect & pride, as young black men, hang on what shoes you own?” I’m more interested in what the shoe represents, and what we need to do to deconstruct its importance. The only person that comes close to helping me understand what’s going on is…

Kanye West (don’t laugh).

Seriously, the brother is starting to make a lot more sense to me lately. I personally wish I could be his public translator (because he sounds a bit bipolar in his interviews) to help communicate his rants. Honestly, Kanye West has been speaking about this issue and ways to solve it for YEARS yet everything gets lost in translation.

Kanye’s most pointed statements, I believe, are in his song “New Slaves.” The story behind the song is just as pedagogical (yea, I can be smart like that and use fancy words) as the song itself. Let me give you the full story of Kanye and how I view his anger, for his pain and rants should be our own. I’ll start with the conclusion and work backwards.

The solution Kanye has been ranting and raving about is simple -

Empower yourself and others to become owners. F*ck being a consumer. In fact, consumerism is why we are slaves.

It’s a freakin’ brillant critique. In fact, one that has been shared by the likes of Dr. Cornel West himself. He writes in his book Race Matters:

But why is this shattering of black civil society occurring? What has led to the weakening of black cultural institutions in asphalt jungles? Corporate market institutions have contributed greatly to their collapse. By corporate market institutions I mean that complex set of interlocking enterprises that have a disproportionate amount of capital, power, and exercise a disproportionate influence on how our society is run and how our culture is shaped. Needless to say, the primary motivation of these institutions is to make profits, and their basic strategy is to convince the public to consume. These institutions have helped create a seductive way of life, a culture of consumption that capitalizes on every opportunity to make money. (p. 16, emphasis mine).

Consumerism is why we are where we are. Consumption simply means “to use up”. We’ve become users and like the saying goes – You are what you eat (or use). The problem with living in a culture of consumption is that your value is attached to the money you make or that can be made off you.

This is why America hates the poor. My heart hurts every time I see someone shame a person asking for money. I hate the way we shame and yell at poor people like we’re better. But that’s the culture of consumption we live in. A poor person doesn’t make money, which is the biggest shame we impose on them.

The culture of consumption we live in is also based steeply in manipulation. It plays on basic human needs to make a profit. What do I mean by basic human needs? Things like

-Respect

-Pride (or self-worth)

-Dignity

-Connectedness (or community)

These are not just values folks. They are not just desires. They are needs, something essential to humanity like air, food and water. Advertisers and marketers know this. So what do they do? Make commercials and ads that say “You are nothing and you are nobody unless you______.”

Fill in the blank: Wear this makeup, have this cologne, drive this car, go to this school, buy these clothes, own these headphones, live in this place, own this television, play this game system, or…

Wear these Jordans.

Dr. Cornel West further explains:

The impact of the market culture on black life has been devastating. The market invasion, including the ugly drug invasion, has transformed too many black neighborhoods into hoods, black civic communities into black uncivil combat zones. (pg. 17)

Once the market culture mixed with black culture, things went to shit. We used to see each other as people, fully dignified, no matter what shoes you had or clothes you wore. Then we adopted the values of the marketplace and ever since then people’s dignity has been called into question (unless you’re wearing Tom Ford with a pair of Jordans on your feet).

Realizing this now brings a whole new meaning to “New Slaves” when Kanye raps:

You see it’s broke nigga racism

That’s that “Don’t touch anything in the store”

And there’s rich nigga racism

That’s that “Come here, please buy more

What you want a Bentley, fur coat and diamond chain?

All you blacks want all the same things”

Used to only be niggas, now everybody playing

Spending everything on Alexander Wang

New Slaves

The point here is that the marketplace has saturated, and even enslaved black culture. We went from “don’t touch anything in the store” to “spending everything on Alexander Wang.” And what was in the middle? What was the middle man between the two contrasting ideas?

Rich nigga racism.

The kind that calls out to you. That draws you in. It says “Come here” and like zombies we follow. Once there, we exchange our dignity for cash. After that, it says “please buy more” and offers us “Bentley, fur coat and diamond chain.” It says, “you are somebody if you buy these things. You will be respected. You can be proud of yourself.” Next thing you know you’re spending everything on Alexander Wang

or killing someone over a pair of Jordans.

Kanye has been raving about the control of the marketplace on black folks for years now. Remember his song “All Falls Down” off his College Dropout album? It was the same message. The difference lately though is that  he has faced it himself. He thought that he would be welcomed in the world of design. Instead, he learned that he was still a nigga that corporations wanted to control. They had no interest in Kanye becoming an owner. They only wanted him to stay a consumer, so those that admire him would stay consumers as well. Therefore, Kanye is pissed. I’m realizing that maybe its not because he’s egotistical but because he has no power to do anything when black children start killing each other over  products that corporations are selling. Remember, Kanye is from Chicago. He knows what this is like…

So what’s the solution? This is where Kanye and I differ a little.

Kanye says we should become owners. Design our own shoes. Make our own clothes. That’s been his campaign for the last few years. He wants to be a owner like the fashion people he admires. He had a “Jodi moment” and decides to become a seller. Here is the clip from Baby Boy incase you don’t understand my reference

I think the solution is great for it empowers the self-respect you should have for yourself. But I also disagree because it only feeds the culture of consumerism that we need to break free from. 

I don’t believe in fighting fire with fire. I say, use water on that b*tch. Or in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” So instead of being users, we need to be givers. Instead of being haters, we need to be supporters. This is the answer to the culture of consumption that many folks live in.

We need to separate respect, dignity and worth from what we consume as people. We need to learn how to admire what people have, without feeling belittled about our own stuff. The best way I’ve done this in my own life is being in community with the poor.

After spending my life with the poor for years now, I could care less about Jordans. If I have them, cool. If not, cool. Either way, I’m content. Funny thing though, once I started to be a giver and not be caught up in the consumer lifestyle – people thought I was the coolest person since Shaft. I feel confident in who I am apart from my clothes and shoes even more now. This is something I constantly try to teach my youth. Who you are matters more than what you wear.

To forever end the killing of children, by children, over shoes we need to educate them on self-respect versus the kind that is dependent on the things you consume. We need to be givers instead of users. We need to honor the poor more. Let them teach us instead of viewing them as dirty folks to give money to. We need self-confident folks who are content with what they have.

In more practical ways, you can support the mother of Joshua Woods. Go to her website http://lifeoverfashion.org to support her campaign in raising awareness.

Also don’t forget, this Christmas spend a few minutes in prayer for our youth. In light of recent events, they sure do need it. You can view more information on my Facebook page http://Facebook.com/bryantcross.

Lets show our youth what life really is and this Christmas lets say a quick prayer over them.

Happy Holidays

-Bryant Cross

208 comments on “Death over the new Air Jordan Gama Blue 11 – what Kanye has been saying all along…

  1. Richard Feguson
    December 22, 2013

    You did an excellent job and i 100% back what your saying!!

    Like

    • Darnell Yancey
      December 23, 2013

      YOU’RE not your. Jesus Christ, is that so hard to figure out?

      Like

      • Anonymous
        December 23, 2013

        Do you understand what the message is here?? If so leave the grammar correcting to English teachers…

        Liked by 2 people

      • Dominic
        December 23, 2013

        Who the fuck cares you sensitive lil bitch..

        Like

      • smh
        December 23, 2013

        Is that all you got from this message? If so you’re part of the problem!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anonymous
        December 23, 2013

        You ignorant to even try to correct a person grammar when there is so much you could be doing line taking his advice.this is a intelligent post about what’s really going on in the world.but I guess you probably one if those NEW AGE SLAVES OF A FASHION TAG so you don’t see the big picture

        Like

      • Anonymous
        December 23, 2013

        Did you really just get that mad over a small grammatical error? Wow…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Anonymous
        December 23, 2013

        Your’re a bum stop going on multiple websites critiquing people you troll!

        Like

      • Anonymous
        December 23, 2013

        YOU’RE an IDIOT!!!!

        Like

      • Anonymous
        October 11, 2014

        Quit being assholes to each other, is that so hard to figure out?

        Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      Its the culture its based on consumerism and not utility

      Like

      • Anonymous
        December 23, 2013

        @darrnel yancy

        Like

      • Neji
        January 13, 2014

        Niggas in the club bitch go crazy I say bitch go crazy go crazy asa akira one jynx maze on me got that good bitch I fuck yea yea sex six sex money money trueblue 3s fire red 3s gloves yup got them Kobe’s. The 8s you I fuck people like. Asa akira jynx maze get mush ya ya

        Like

    • Anonymous
      December 24, 2013

      Didn’t Kanye produce a pair of sneakers that retail for 1000

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vincent Brevard
        December 29, 2013

        No, actually the retail stores sold it for $230-$250. It wasn’t until people had it in their hands the prices raised.

        Like

    • chuck
      December 26, 2013

      I agree with some of what is said in this article but all. There some fallacies located in this content.

      Like

    • Dylan
      March 18, 2014

      It is true But listen to Wing$ by Makelmore and Ryan Lewis it explains it even better

      Like

  2. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    Well said.

    Like

  3. Bruce G Nice
    December 23, 2013

    the writing for this is very profound. the driving points you use to shape your message are undeniable. yet, i have to respectfully disagree with your cure for consumerism. self respect isn’t going to end our economic turmoil, self respect isn’t going to give us power and influence within these vast institutions and systems, self respect isn’t going to change the climate of this nation. the only thing that will bring our impoverished people back to glory is group economics. period. once we become the suppliers of the demand, own our own and regain the influence and respect we generated from Black Wallstreet. then and only then will our problems end. help me, help you, help us ALL prosper.

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      good point

      Like

    • Justice
      December 23, 2013

      You are correct about group economics. AND self respect instils the type of values that cultivate the discipline it takes to sustain group economics. Knowledge is the foundation for wise action. Self knowledge is the foundation for self respect. Self respect is a matter of self preservation on a societal scale in these economic times. It took your self respect and respect for a sense of community for you to write that post about group economics.

      Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      Sorry buddy, that is wrong. The game is rigged. Have you not looked at the state of the world? Every life support system on this planet is in decline. Economics root meaning is to preserve. Nothing about our economy is to preserve but to use up for profit. If people think we can all be prosperous in this system or anything similar to it is gravely mistaken. The evidence of our situation is there for everyone to see but we don’t see it because it’s not something covered.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      I am in the middle where I think self respect will empower our youth to go to school to vs to look cool in their new J’s this in turn will produce more CEOS, and a generation or well educated youth who can change their famies situation etc.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      Very well put!!! Watch Hidden Colors 2

      Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      I have to disagree. Yes things might be better with more black business owners, but that wouldn’t stop consumerism. And it certainly wouldn’t stop economic turmoil for black people except for the fortunate few who own the business. You really think someone that works their way from the ground up, personally experiences how fucking hard it can be, will just turn around and hoist everyone else up the mountain once they reach the top? Fuck no. they reach the top and are king of the hill, then they do what they can to stay on top and not fall back down with the poor. That’s just how business, money, and greed work. It’s noble to think that by black people becoming owners that it would be better for everyone, but in reality it would only be better for the owners… the rest would still be economic slaves to those owners.

      Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      I am inclined to agree with both thoughts. If we obtain self-respect then we can understand that we are more that what wear and we will want more. Not more to consume but more to feed, feed our souls, neighborhoods, communities, fellow man, and our race.
      We can become the suppliers of our own demand, but first we must learn who and what we are.

      Like

      • nay banks
        January 4, 2014

        Greed is the reason for the turmoil. More black businesses in our communities is a great idea and I love the reference to Black Wall Street. That was a beautiful time. Not only were the black business owners prospering, they also gave back to the community. That’s they key. All money circulated through their community before it went elsewhere. People looked out for each other so much, if a neighbors house burned down, they knew the community would help build another. And yes, rich people were the ones who also helped build the house. No insurance was necessary. You can’t say there’s anything wrong with that. If people weren’t so for self and greedy it wouldn’t be so bad. Everybody needs a slice of humble pie

        Like

  4. J Gatsby
    December 23, 2013

    This was great to read. There’s a lot of positive brothers out there we all just need to unite.

    Like

  5. Will
    December 23, 2013

    Its all about the Have and Have Nots..and most of the have nots don’t Want to work for anything.They have a sense of entitlement…Which most of the youngsters have today…They don’t won’t to work hard for anything..No Respect for their elders..No up bringing..We need to get back to raising our kids as a community…

    Like

  6. Children dying over sneakers is heartbreaking and part of an American disease affiliated with the psycho-social-emotional-economic impact of poverty, Wall Street, and our values being all screwed up. “I don’t feel good about myself because I am poor. People in my community receive recognition for having Jordans so I need them to be recognized and feel confident. I’m one of the 80% fighting for the measly left over 20% in this world. I value objects over character.” Heartbreaking. We need teachers in schools and counselors in the community working with families to begin to stop this epidemic. Then we need to help folks get jobs!

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      TEACHERS in schools????? are you serious???? No, this is not about teachers, this is about parents and home life. I am a teacher and for goodness sakes stop putting the responsibility of EVERyTHING and EVERYONE on the backs and shoulders of teachers. Parents have to parent their children. Parenting includes instilling core values and beliefs. Teachers’ teach ELA, Math, Science, History/social studies, Art, Gym and Health. We have our own values and beliefs. Those values and beliefs may- not be those of the families of the children we are charged to teach how to read and write. Thus, those things are taught at home by parents…..See the problems for what they are. See solutions realistically, the parents

      Like

      • Anonymous
        December 29, 2013

        Thanks for defending the teachers!! We cannot raise your kids & teach the curriculum —which is the job we were hired to do. please parents raise your children so I can teach science! !

        Like

  7. Children dying over sneakers is heartbreaking and part of an American disease affiliated with the psycho-social-emotional-economic impact of poverty, Wall Street, and our values being all screwed up. “I don’t feel good about myself because I am poor. People in my community receive recognition for having Jordans so I need them to be recognized and feel confident. I’m one of the 80% fighting for the measly left over 20% in this world. I value objects over character.” Heartbreaking. We need teachers in schools and counselors in the community working with families to begin to stop this epidemic. Then we need to help folks get jobs!

    Like

  8. kgbethlehem
    December 23, 2013

    Excellent read!! Will share this one on FB. Great knowledge of action

    Like

  9. Mr Shank (@MrShizank)
    December 23, 2013

    One the realest blog posts ever….

    Like

  10. Snook
    December 23, 2013

    This was a good read. However i respectfully must say that the “only” way our ppl are going to be abe to reshape the culture and minds of our ppl is by returning to the creator. Its like if a deer had the mind of a human ,and that deer ran away into the forest and didn’t see any other deer, would the deer look to the trees for guidance and teaching on how to survive as a deer? Maybe so, but it wouldnt profit it much because trees don’t breed deer. So my point is in order to understand the problems and to find the solutions facing the “black” community we have to understand who we are and must return to the source “YHWH” so that our conditions change, which ultimately changes our thinking on consumption, self worth, and value of life. Peace

    Like

    • cole
      December 26, 2013

      man get that god crap out of here, YHWH, is a retelling of the Egyptian gods, tailored by a newly freed slave race of Jews, and the cult of one god spawned the rest of the cults of one god, the Christians and muslims and more bad than good came from that. Jews used religion to advocate the killing of those in middle east whose land they wanted, the Christians did the same with the new world, and we see what the muslims do everyday in the middle east right know so please leave that crap out of this.

      Like

  11. Rachel
    December 23, 2013

    I would also like to point out that Macklemore has a song (Wing$) that addresses the same issue, if not a little more specifically targeted at Air Jordans than Kanye’s song.

    Like

  12. PDuncan
    December 23, 2013

    Great article. I remember, the large gold rings and necklace, my grandfather wore when I was young. He would buy a new Cadillac every couple of years. He was very flashy. His family was dirt poor, during the depression, and his father left when he was young. Without a foundation, he thought being “important”, meant looking “important”. Don’t get me wrong , he was a good man, and we all loved him, He regularly gave his older cars to family members, but he clung to “shiny new things”, that others could “see”. By his death at 65 he had owned more than 12-15 Cadillac’s, but never his own home. My grandfather would have never killed for the things he had, but he would have died for them, and while at a glance, he had few similarities with the subjects of this article, he had a lot more in common than most would admit.

    Like

    • cole
      December 26, 2013

      so what he did not own a house, he lived his life and enjoyed it he bought himself a new car every few years and that seemed good enough for him, he was also fortunate to give family members some of those used cars, this article is about bum haters who see someone with something that they want, and always through history if someone likes something that you possess and they think they can take it by force they will, might makes right, if you can’t hold on to yours don’t buy these things that might bring danger or if your able buy a gun and wear it on your hip in full view of the crimminals then its 50/50 and the criminal has to think do I want to die for these shoes, also lets stop being P.C with these criminals a quick trial of one week and if your found guilty a quick death a month later for violent crimes, I said violent must be a weapon involve and if someone’s life is taken and its murder one, then death penalty one month later oh believe me that will stop a lot of this crap do you see these things happening in muslim countries, no because the penalty is high and quick.

      Like

  13. Jujubean
    December 23, 2013

    The issue with Kanye is that he wants to “own” a sneaker and products that has the same effect as the Jordans. I don’t see how that solves the problem. Kanye is a walking contradiction. Kanye’s rants are driven by his own greed. Kanye said he wants the type of wealth that is generational and will secure his children’s children’s future. We can’t fault him for that. However, those “revolutionary” speeches he’s making is not going to help our youth. It’s going to help Kanye secure his financial future. Martin Luther King died for his cause. Kanye is a slave himself so I think he should be the last person to speak on this subject. The blog was well written but I did laugh as soon as I saw your attempt to make Kanye sound reasonable.

    Like

    • Bonnie
      December 23, 2013

      Couldn’t have said it better Jujubean…

      Like

    • Tony McDay
      December 23, 2013

      Must have been reading my mind, I agree with your post 100%. Kanye West is a walking hypocrite. West has his name on the most expensive Nike shoes the;Nike Air Yeezy, is always covered in designer clothes from head to toe most of the time I have seen him,etc.If people work hard, and want to buy what they deem to be the best; they should be able to do so without being shamed, chastised, etc. People get killed everyday, for senseless reasons, thus getting killed over “Jordan’s while tragic is just another senseless crime..The likelihood of being harmed, and/or killed does not hinge on what shoes you wear. We should not be become a slave to our insecurities, nor take anything someone says at face value. IMO you should live your life on your own terms , and to the fullest always.

      Like

    • landa
      December 28, 2013

      I will post this so others can read because this is true. I watched him on u tube the breakfast club an this is what he really said…

      Like

  14. John
    December 23, 2013

    HOPEFULLY SOMEONE KILLS KANYE WEST FOR SOMETHING HE OWNS BECAUSE THAT GUY IS A DISGRACE TO SOCIETY

    Like

    • Tony
      December 23, 2013

      E tu Brutus?

      Like

  15. BS
    December 23, 2013

    I agree 100% about losers that want to rob or kill another person over something as pety as a pair of sneakers. Unfortunately this has been going on since man started to walk the planet. This ain’t a black thing its a human thing. Man has been robbing and stealing for like forever.

    As for Kanye how you going to listen to someone who does the same thingh himself? He just writes things that make sense to him but he is not living in the woods he is out here buying Versace. As for his aspirations on starting or designing a clothing line maybe his designs just sucked or were no where near where the company wanted to go. Just because you are a popular entertainer does not mean you can do anything you want in life.

    Like

  16. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    that was on point

    Like

  17. Bryant Cross
    December 23, 2013

    My apology grammar trolls. I free-write. This is a blog, not a academic journal. However, thank you all for pointing out my error on Joshua Woods’ case. I made the necessary correction. Now that all is handled…can we talk about how to create a better culture for our kids? Thanks.

    -Bryant Cross

    Like

    • Morgan
      December 23, 2013

      Keep doing what your doing, and I enjoyed reading this blog as much as I support it as well!

      Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      please check the timeline and facts before you name drop to support your point….its disrespectful to friends and family of the victims to rehash the situation in a erroneous way to support your point…..just a thought to help add validity to an otherwise completely understandable point.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. BuckleDownFinance (@BDFinance)
    December 23, 2013

    This was an awesome article. We’ve still got a long way to go. Last year I started a nonprofit at BuckleDownFinance to try and educate minorities on the importance of using your money to better yourself, your family and your community as opposed to buying more junk. I’ll definitely be sharing this with my followers.

    Thanks,
    @BDFinance

    Like

  19. Michael Jeffery
    December 23, 2013

    If all these “African Americans” weren’t so poor maybe they could actually afford the shoes. The release was basically GR if you couldn’t get your hands on them that’s the problem

    Like

  20. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    But Kanye still can drop a sneaker for $250 and its more limited than a pair of air jordans? Granted when he was with Nike there was only a a few releases, but its just a matter of time before people start killing each other over his sneakers. However, I do agree with what your saying I just don’t believe kanye is the person that is going to make a difference. You cant be affiliated with brands like Nike, Louis V, Adidas if your still going to sell products at an extremely high price. In New God Flow he even says how the yeezy jumped over the jump man. You cant change the game if you do exactly what everybody else is doing. I understand its not all up to him the company’s will make the final decision at the end of the day. We’ll see what he does at Adidas. I can almost guarantee his sneakers will be similar to jeremy scotts and will be even more limited than before. The yeezy red ocobers are also scheduled for release this friday at $250, with less pairs being produced than these jordans your talking about. You couldn’t pay me to wear these on my feet after they release. Anyway great post man i enjoyed it!

    Like

  21. Morgan
    December 23, 2013

    I couldn’t agree more! You hit the nail on the head and I myself was and still am in ways a consumer. I started to change that about myself before reading this article, and now I feel the need to be more aggressive about it. We as people of human nature just need to promote more positivity then negativity!! Great Job Bryant Cross!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    good write but lets not forget kanye is one of the largest influenses to these kids and while hes talking about new slaves this and that hes driving lambos, putting out even higher priced, more demanded shoes than jordan brand. He just left nike becuase he wasnt getting paid enough . Not a kanye hater or anything but if you going to preach to the kids at the same time set a better example.

    Like

  23. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    also paul wasnt killed for jordans….. but same difference

    Like

  24. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    The major flaw in your argument is Kanye…he sells T-shirts for $175 meaning that he is okay with you being a consumer…He just wants you to consume his stuff.

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      Thats APC. He couldnt price the T shirts

      Like

  25. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    unfortunately I couldn’t get through the article, you lost me with the statement “In the last week, 14-year-old Paul Sampleton Jr. and 16-year-old Juan Reyna were murdered for the Gama Blue 11 in their own homes.” as an Atlanta resident I’m familiar with the Sampleton case as it was BIG on the news here. The problem? that robbery/murder happened almost a year ago, (feel free to google for accuracy) it had nothing to do with the gamma 11’s, nike, jordan or any company in specific, it was a case of the haves and the have nots, a kid robbed by his peers (and one adult) because he simply had MORE (more EVERYTHING! check the pics) He didn’t have to hustle to get it and was proud to show it in person & online….. 4 words, dope shit brings hate …and we know where the hate goes from there

    Like

  26. Ricci Dats Me
    December 23, 2013

    There is an old phrase about people who continue to repeat the same unsuccessful actions over and over. We call these people INSANE. I look at AMERICA and see repetition everywhere… We are simply insane people.. http://youtu.be/kK62tfoCmuQ Spinning Wheels…

    Like

  27. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    It’s really sad that are young youth are killing each other over Jordon shoes ,Henly Hanson coat etc..and most that kill and rob are minorities. I had so many question as to why it mostly happened in minorities community. My heart aches each time I watch the news and read the news paper that a precious life is lost over absolutely nothing .the family need to instill real values that will mold your character to respect others , help in the community , and work hard and you shall thrive in your education. These things are what matters in life. We are so much than what we wear. At the end of the day know your self worth. Don’t let things define who you truly are.

    Like

    • cole
      December 26, 2013

      because the poor know they will be the last to get anything, the haves get first dibs, the musicians, the ball players, the entertainers, not counting the white rich and middleclass consumers, that’s a lot of people to trickle down to and then the price, prices out the poor. It’s a in your face, look what I can get that you can’t thing and some people are like these soft square azz people I can just take it from you because everybody is not built like that, to be a killer among sheep and they know there are a lot of sheep to take from and they know that in some instances the prospect of getting caught is low or the thug animals just don’t give a f***.

      Like

  28. James Gaston
    December 23, 2013

    Great read and job well done. Nike has been brainwashing our youth for decades. This time around they limit the production of shoes so they can raise the price to the highest value possible. It’s crazy how people do not realize that the same Jordan’s come out year after year and the price goes up and the quality goes down. It’s a shame that the celebrities and sports figures will not step up and take a stand for our communities and refuse to deal with Nike until they change their practices. They are killing our community with advertising 101 and we fall into the trap every time. Priorities are screwed up because the same motivation to camp out for a shoe is not the same to progress in life. I’m a case manager for a nonprofit organization and the people who reached homelessness or on the verge of homelessness has made decisions to purchase products instead of paying for rent or the necessities needed to survive. So there can be many solutions to the problems cure these issues but to stop the killing…Wouldn’t you think Nike will just make enough for everyone like they do other sneakers? Let me guess…too logical?

    Like

  29. konata365
    December 23, 2013

    Reblogged this on Welcome to Konata365.com and commented:
    I was scrolling through FaceBook when I saw this powerful piece on how bad consumerism has gotten in the black community and I wanted to share with you….

    Like

  30. jijuane
    December 23, 2013

    Jordan is very much the person responsible

    Like

  31. Gual ere
    December 23, 2013

    If you ask any kid why they want Jordan it’s because everyone has it or they just want it because of its popularity . Parents has a lot to do with this problem because they are the ones collecting every penny they have an order to buy these shoes. It starts in the home .

    Like

  32. aisha Smith
    December 23, 2013

    Well put together i hope someone see this message an have a change of heart on this kind of live they living!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  33. Deanna
    December 23, 2013

    Agree. Agree. AGREE. So tired of the consumerist requirements of society to “be somebody”.

    Like

  34. Calvin Whittaker
    December 23, 2013

    What I take from this article is that self worth should not be tied to the brands of clothing and apparel that we wear, but rather to the positive contributions that we make to society. I agree 100%. Like some of the others, I don’t know that Kanye is the best example, but your overall point hits home.
    Well written, Sir.
    Peace and Blessings.

    Like

  35. Anony
    December 23, 2013

    Kanye West cares so much he sold an all white v neck t shirt of his brand for 116$ -_- I’m convinced

    Like

  36. Heather
    December 23, 2013

    I really think you made some interesting points. I really think its important for people to go back into the communities to try and educate the youth and offer them an alternate perspective. I think that they are in a completely different world. In society these people are seen as garbage and are definitely treated that way. They see things like Jordans (something that is graspable, valued, and will make their peers ‘respect’ them) and that is all they can attain to get a miniscule amount of respect in life. They don’t understand (or think its impossible) that there are far more opportunities in life than owning a pair of shoes. Other things that warrant respect aren’t in their reach – material things are all they have. There definitely needs to be a change in their mindset and it’ll come from good people that do work with them :-) …hopefully

    All that aside, I find it extremely hard to respect or take seriously anything Kanye West says/raps. Besides his blatant disrespect of all blacks but using the n-word, the man consistently walks around in very expensive attire. And given his behavior if I was a major organization I wouldn’t want ANYTHING to do with this person. Further, I really have a problem with these generalizations. I know you’re speaking like everyone else, but as a black person who was taught the exact opposite of ‘worth=$ of your clothes/shoes/car’ I cannot stand generalizations. But its a very nice and insightful post.

    Like

  37. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    I don’t think you can blame corporations for exploiting consumers desire to have nice things. The problem is that people who don’t have the money for the nice things believe that they are entitled to having them anyways. There will always be expensive items, regular items, and cost-saving items. Not everyone can afford the expensive items. I know that I can’t afford to pay for every new pair of jordans that get released so I don’t try to. You say, Mr. Cross, that you don’t blame Jordan for this. That is interesting to me. The jordan shoes they release are released in such small numbers it forces the consumers to fight over who gets a pair before they are sold out. If there were enough jordans to match the consumers demand there wouldn’t be a reason for everyone to be fighting over them. Then again, Jordan wouldn’t be able to ask for $300-500 for a pair of sneakers either.

    Like

  38. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    I’m sorry but I can’t take kanye serious when he sells $250 plain white t shirts and doesn’t he also have a very high priced sneaker coming out soon with the same company as Jordan’s. kanyes comments don’t hold merit because he’s part of the problem.

    Like

  39. Joey
    December 23, 2013

    Well written article, BUT there will never be a solution to these issues until a movement towards FAMILY is pushed to the forefront. The things you mentioned, (Pride, Dignity, Respect, Community), they all originate from the family unit, and since the majority, yes over 50% of families are broken, the youth attempt to obtain these things through materialism, gangs, and the garbage music that Kanye West produces. Yes, i call his music garbage. Just because he can identify problems in the black community and put it to music in 2 out of 10 songs doesnt make him a freedom fighter. He’s part of the problem himself, but he cant see it, because when you become a master of criticism, you lose objectivity, hence is incessant nonsensical rants.

    Like

  40. Jay Bolden
    December 23, 2013

    It’s crazy how this world is just so filled with folks who idolize material that only takes a few cents to make but costs over $100 to buy. Granted I do have a few pair of Jordan’s. Not the most popular ones but a few pair I do have. It’s so crazy that people got mad at me because I took the Oreo cookie J’s back to the store for purposes based on my priorities. What’s so stupid about half these folks who buy these shoes is the fact that they’re willing to pay $200 on kicks but won’t have the money to handle the more important things in life. Consequently, what people also fail to realize is that those shoes will depriciate. So why get them?! I refuse to pay over $200 for a shoe especially when I know I can put that amount down on 4 brand new tires for my car. Like I said life is about priorities. As much as in want those 11’s I refuse to get them because I refuse to stand in line for hours and pay $200 for them just to get them hoes snatched from me once I walk out the store. Hell no

    Like

  41. Cynethia
    December 23, 2013

    Awesome message!!! Well said!

    Like

  42. Gavin Cherry
    December 23, 2013

    This article was the truth my brother

    Like

  43. XParker
    December 23, 2013

    I agree, but the part of MJ. It is know that it is part of the MJ release trend, but MJ refuses to demand Nike to release more than a few. Why, they are $160-200 everyone wants them why not let everyone who wants them buy them? Its not going to take away the want of them, most ppl have multiple pairs of the shoe. LeBron/Foamposits release 30 colors per shoe at 200 and they are still selling. Nike know what they are doing and Jordan knows also they are using his name and making him profits still he has some responsibility, not all but some.

    Like

  44. hiphop4youth
    December 23, 2013

    Agree, we are losing children and it hurts, I started by Hip Hop Educational Blog and use a lot of Social Skills in the lesson, one of the things our children are lacking, there so caught up in the image and not realizing its more to it!

    Like

  45. jvancollins.
    December 23, 2013

    Reblogged this on revealing eduHate and commented:
    “Why does all of our respect & pride, as young black men, hang on what shoes you own?” … “We need separate respect, dignity and worth from what we consume as people.”

    Like

  46. Kyle Mitchell
    December 23, 2013

    You can’t demonize an ad-campaign; these companies wouldn’t get anywhere saying things like, “You’re nothing, unless you buy this shoe.” What they do is to suggest, “You’ll be better if you buy this shoe.” They only have 30 seconds or a single page with which to express their feelings about their product. It isn’t the company’s fault if that message is misconstrued on it’s delivery: like you said, there’s a disconnect somewhere in the understanding of these messages, so the ideas about consumerism need to be better understood in our communities.

    The education system is itself a part of this consumerism, but it isn’t consumerism that is the enemy. The enemy is a lack of self-control, self-respect, responsibility for one’s self. Those things are learned in the home before a child can speak. We learn these things when people can stop stomping each other’s faces into the ground about things like grammatical errors: LOSE THE ANGER. Don’t get angry when someone is at fault, and don’t get angry when your faults are corrected. Use Love to understand these things, to be better. Understand that anger is okay to have, but not okay to act on. You should act in spite of your anger, in favor of having the freedom for existence: all of existence is not about one person, or one pair shoes.

    Like

  47. HUMMINGBYRD
    December 23, 2013

    Reblogged this on SwaNes and commented:
    I couldn’t have said it better

    Like

  48. The Scribe's Heart
    December 23, 2013

    Incredible, incredible post. Wow. So insightful and eye-opening. Thank you for sharing this.

    Like

  49. CD Burls
    December 23, 2013

    nigga please…

    Like

  50. Pingback: What I Have Sho… | SELVAGE SOCIETY

  51. Tell the truth....shame the devil
    December 23, 2013

    Lower the cost of this high profile sneakers so that more can afford them and it could possibly lower the crime rate. The price is so high that the average parent can’t afford to purchase Jordan. So I do blame the developer, Michael Jordan and all those whom are involved!!! You see the issue so make a change!! Its just that simple!! Beside you would earn more $$ with a high percentage of purchasing and satisfaction of more children being able to afford them. You should do a special price trial for your name Jordan’s which I’m sure are in the making……you would save lives! I do hear anyone killing someone over Adidas or Nike…..??

    Like

  52. NH
    December 23, 2013

    Is this some new epiphany that is being brought up because Kanye West said it, he’s about 20 years behind intellegent thought and regurgitating and rewording something he read long ago does not make him a genius. This all revolves around intelligence and maybe if the youth and parents gave a shut about it they would be able to think independently and not rely on ignorant ideals to make them feel better about themselves. Why arent all the rappers/stars that make huge impressions in the young black community, promoting education and being smart!? Instead of whining because the youth all want to run around with cool shoes, sleeping around and having bling!!? If people would pull their heads out of their ass this country could possibly move forward. INTELLIGENCE, INTELLIGENCE, INTELLIGENCE!!!!!

    Like

    • mariochheng
      December 23, 2013

      Shut ur pie hole. Not everychild has good parents or guardians. so wat if a message is reiterated. thats a good thing, u unanalytical peice of shit. Get off ur high horse ill take you in a debate anyday. theres being smart then there is also being ignorant to stupidity, which is what you are.

      Like

      • Yogomi (@goyogomi)
        December 23, 2013

        NH has a great point. Rappers are constantly beating down the already beat down; in Kanye’s case with self-righteousness and hypocrisy. He raps about these things and at the same time pushes product out into the same market. So much of rap today is negativity about the pain and suffering, you know all the pain and suffering Kanye deals with because someone won’t produce his leather sweat pants. Where is the talk of education and a positive future? The good thing about Kanye is he seems like one of the most transparent rappers out there. The bad thing about him is just about everything he says. There are much better people to reference.

        Like

      • Anonymous
        December 23, 2013

        Yogomi, Is Kanye not free to purchase and talk about what he can afford to buy? He’s a hypocrite….not sure I’m seeing how.

        Like

      • Anonymous
        December 24, 2013

        ha

        Like

      • I TOTALLY agree with NH and Yogomi. What Kanye said isn’t anything new and is part of the problem… not the solution. He desires to push the same product at the same price… he said so himself. The problem he has is that he wanted to make MORE money off the products, such as collecting royalties.

        Same thing when he released the song about blood diamonds, and educated some of the younger listeners about the process of mining diamonds to retail stores…. but STILL continues to buy diamonds.

        I like Kanye’s honesty which is hard to find in hiphop these days, but for everything he says that makes sense, he says two things that are completely ignorant.

        Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      Dude shutup

      Like

      • Anonymous
        December 24, 2013

        Kanye west??? Fuck that bump PAC and actually learn something besides wearing skirts Haha

        Like

    • Damon Brown
      December 23, 2013

      Couldn’t agree with you more. Having some education and knowledge of this World we live in would help many immensely! Unwrapping our brains from the crap that’s promoted at Us. Media, music, film etc. You put your point across calm and concise, and then there’s the response from: “mariochheng.” Who must be a Kanye fan. Clearly angry and taking your comment personally. How do you combat that level of ignorance? Folks forget these people are JUST entertainers. Smh

      Like

    • Samuel Small
      December 23, 2013

      I actually agree with him

      Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      True””!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous
      December 24, 2013

      You clearly missed the fucking point.

      Like

    • kiara
      December 24, 2013

      “Is this some new epiphany that is being brought up because Kanye West said it, he’s about 20 years behind ” .. there is nothing new under the sun, so I’m pretty sure whoever said it 20 years ago wasn’t the first to say it. I’ll tell you whats ignorant though: this article is a source of light and instead of absorbing and reflecting it, you decided to spit out negativity and darkness.

      Like

    • Anonymous
      December 24, 2013

      Ignorance at its best. Why complain over how u “feel” about another man (Kanye). Even if he’s repeating what’s already been said, at least he’s saying it. Isn’t that worth something?

      Like

    • Courtney Beach
      December 24, 2013

      Whether you want to believe it or not, Kanye brought relevance back to the topic. I agree it is a repeat of history like you said but most people in today’s world don’t care about a topic unless someone popular speaks on it. I think there is a difference between lack of intelligence and ignorance. What I took from the article is that people are being played like puppets in all facets of life and if you grow up being taught one way of living then there’s no way to recognize what’s going on. People are intelligent but our attention has purposely been mislead to make us feel like we need the best shoes and clothes. The more we keep digging into this whole of consumption, the more people will die as a result. This a just a more subtle version of the blood diamonds in Africa. It’s also hard for parents to teach their children the correct way when they have also been subjected to the same teaching. People value materials more than human life today- during Black Friday people will wait in line for 5 hours and still trample the people they had been conversing with the entire time just to get to the latest electronics. I think the solution is to not allow our youth to be brainwashed by television. We make out celebrities to be superhuman and without knowing we try to emulate them. We give them the power they have over us by glorifying them. That’s just a small part of the solution but I think the best way to set our youth up for success is to give them all the information and let them form their own opinions; as opposed to giving them a few ideas and guiding them into a certain direction.

      Like

      • Rich P
        December 25, 2013

        It’s impossible to reply to every piece of negativity online on a certain thread so I just have to try and commend people like yourself for making statements like this, and there were a few others… I wish I had the patience and resolve to elaborate on your comment further as well. I’m just hoping out of whoever may stumble across, someone may be inspired. It is truly ridiculous that our society has reached this point now where not one positive statement can be made, neither a concept or theory or school of thought entertained, nor a debate or discussion point be made about critically relevant issues concerning OUR SOCIETY… without some form of barberic mob basically witch-hunting the source to “shut the fuck up”… it’s really getting stupid these days. Like, life is not infinite, nor is it promised to MANKIND, and we’re destroying ourselves and each other with selfishness and negativity… truly, truly stupid. But thank you for being one of few with an open mind.

        Like

  53. Monte
    December 23, 2013

    This record further expounds on the same topic of this article… it was released last week by Village of Pharaohs and features inserts of Kanye West—> https://soundcloud.com/villageofpharaohs/here-we-are

    Like

    • Rich P
      December 25, 2013

      Thank you for the share.

      Like

  54. I agree with you, becoming owners is not the only answer, and it can move us into the same cycle of creating consumerism for others. I am finishing the first quarter of my MBA in Sustainable Systems. Capitalism is powerful and corporations are the most powerful entities on the planet, it makes sense to empower ourselves to take use of that power.

    If we want to move forward, faster, the. You are so correct, there has to be another component of business that brings compassion and community I to play. I would suggest looking at the Benefit Corporations that for the first time make it mandatory for businesses operating to have a stated material benefit to society. So far only 19 states have the legislation passed, but it is growing.

    We should be business owners, and we should lead the charge for businesses that are of social, economic, and environmental good!

    Like

    • Giselle
      December 23, 2013

      I agree with you. Companies should provide some explicitly stated benefit to the environment they operate in. Making that a reality for all companies however, not sure. Companies always find a way to get out of their obligations to the state and the people – taxes for instance.

      Like

      • Anonymous
        December 23, 2013

        It isn’t just blacks if it the middle class and below they are keeping our kids stupid just like slave owners kept their slaves stupid. So they could control them. We are not even In the top ten on education why, so the greedy 1% can keep their sheep in the herd.

        Like

    • brian
      December 24, 2013

      Capitalism is not nor has ever been a Sustainable System

      Like

      • d
        December 24, 2013

        What system is better. Please elaborate in your answer

        Like

      • Rich P
        December 25, 2013

        Oooh I got this!

        It’s not a matter of competing systems. As a matter of fact, there is no ideal economic system. There is no foolproof form of government either. Ideals are cute but not realistic. The reality is that corruption is a part of CONDITIONED human nature… keyword: CONDITIONING. Yes, brainwashing is real and it exists in almost all forms of media and communication. When a system of living is challenged, there is no progress made by retorting with rhetorical questioning and interrogation like “What’s better out there? Deal with it!”… just shows the effectiveness of the mental conditioning and already being bought out.

        If your life and your family is good by you, and you have no problems with society, then fine. Don’t chime in.

        Like

  55. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    Good for Kanye, but he’s with Addidas and Nike prior. Cite someone else next time.

    Like

    • Rich P
      December 25, 2013

      So the message means nothing to you then lol… okay…

      Like

  56. Sky
    December 23, 2013

    Very well written article,,I like Kanye West he’s ight,,he has definitely morphed over the years,,you know on his “FUFU” shit. Great message just not coming from Kanye,,and Kanye’s message is half ass because homeboy got $800 dolla white t-shirts,,therefore his credibility is shot out and he has half a brain. You could have the thought but if you ain’t backing it up then…

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 24, 2013

      If your listened to his interview he states that he did not Price those products. The company just used his name.

      Like

      • SelfRespectDefeatsConsumerism
        December 24, 2013

        The company used his name with HIS PERMISSION. Kanye coulda told them “fuk dat” when it came to pricing, but chose not to for his own profits. He doesn’t give 2 shhts about the people.
        Actions always speak louder than words.
        If Kanye wants to prove his point he should go into these neighborhoods and produce and hand out merchandise for free. He does that and the product loses its imaginary value and the kids stop killing for them.
        This defeats the corps that people like to bash too because they sure as hell can’t sell for hundreds what Kanye is givin away.
        To be even more realistic he can sell them for actual cost thereby actually making it affordable for the consumer and sustainable for the company at the same time creating jobs for the people.
        Nothing can defeat useless consumerism more than self respect and education on what is truly vauable. FREEDOM and FAMILY in my opinion.
        Live free, stop counting the riches of others, and start counting your own blessed family and friends and you will soon realize you are the richest man/woman alive.

        Like

  57. DCSuperSid
    December 23, 2013
  58. max555
    December 23, 2013

    I really enjoyed your post, you make many valid points, Kanye is a strange spokesperson against consumerism because he himself hawks $90 T-shirts and other ridiculous things, but as they say even a busted clock is right twice a day. Nevertheless, an excellent post, thank you for reminding us all of how many youths have already died just to have a status symbol, and they’re not even cute, I’ve seen many cheap generic sneakers that look about as nice or nicer.

    Like

  59. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    very good story. Well written! well done! we share the same views….

    Like

  60. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    Thank you for using your brain…

    Like

  61. I stopped reading this at the consumerism comment. I understand what you mean, that Kanye has been speaking those negatives in his music. But the SAME corporations he accuses of facilitating deadly consumerism, are the SAME corporations he whines about not being able to collaborate with to create the SAME products that will cause young black men with no values to kill each other over it scarcity.

    Good intentions, Bad comparison bro.

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      I second that motion gent. The intentions of this article I agree with wholeheartedly, but the example used to illustrate those intentions I question wholeheartedly. Yes it hurts much to see young men killing each other over a pair of shoes, but Mr. West is one of the biggest hypocrites of our generation. He creates “New Slaves” for blacks to blindly rally behind him, just as we do with Jordan shoes, then while he has our attention he pitches his own brand. I have heard him, for a fact, brag about his Nike shoe “Air Yeezy” being bid on eBay for $90,000. Then proceeds to rant against Nike for not giving him a shoe deal with royalties. He quotes truly inspirational figures, compares himself to some of this world’s most influential individuals, and considers himself a deity…….all for what? So we can buy his leather jogging pants. He doesn’t truly care about the life of that young man who will not get to experience the simple joys that so many of us take for granted, or the mother that has to bury her baby boy. So many are quick to praise “Yeezus” without even thinking to examine or question his character and intentions. His passion is HIMSELF, not the people. He is self-absorbed and it will be the downfall of him. Most look at him and see a genius, I see another “Nigga with a gold chain.”

      Like

      • Anonymous
        December 24, 2013

        Ex
        Exactly

        Like

      • Rich P
        December 25, 2013

        So what exactly are YOU doing to contribute to the cause? Made any public statements of awareness yet?……

        Like

    • Almosy_Fresh
      December 24, 2013

      I think those corporations do not want him to create for our people, he would basically be using them as a third party just to get his product out there. Remember it takes so much capital to start from the ground up, you end up losing millions; which would explain why he wants to go with an Established name first much like Marc Jacob did with Louis Vuitton, or whichever company her was creative director for.

      Like

      • Anonymous
        December 24, 2013

        You can’t bash the company that you wanted to work for. Many people started from the ground up.

        Like

    • Anonymous
      December 24, 2013

      Thank you! Kanye has no credibility when it comes to this. Where has this author been?

      Like

      • Rich P
        December 25, 2013

        I’m just wondering how this article all of a sudden became about Kanye West……… damn shame… crabs in a bucket.

        Like

  62. indiaaniya26
    December 23, 2013

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I had no idea there has been so many deaths due to a pair of gym shoes. I think it starts at home. We teach our children what is valuable and what is most important. If we are put trying to keep up with all of the named brands and make it a huge deal what someone else has on and our kids are observing this them what would you expect. You have some kids who go to school and make fun of the kids who’s parents can’t afford the name brand clothes. I personally think the hip hop culture is the lead motivator and supporter of consumerism. That’s all they talk about is what they have. And what the lames don’t. So there are many forces that work in favor of consumerism. I loved your article though.

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 24, 2013

      Thank you so much for touching on the parents. I understand the basics of this article however the answer is parenting. We as people are never going to get it together until men and women PARENT their children. It starts the moment we have children. The values you instill and lessons that go naught are killing us. So many people are lost in their own failed dreams and desires that the attempt to fulfill them through their children. Parents need to watch videos, commercials and television with their children and teach them the reality or lack of in the content. Their is a reason so many restrictions were put on things such as tv, movie ratings, alcohol, etc. These things should not be consumed unless you are a RESPONSIBLE ADULT. Generations ago when SOME parents stop parenting, lessons stopped getting taught, things like teenage pregnancy, fatherless households and welfare became exceptable. Which has sent basic life standards spiralling out of controll. There is a whole segment of our population that will not see these post or get the message you are all trying to relay. Kanye is just a man with a view. Some of his points shirt are valid, yes they have been said before, nothing any of say is original because this cycle has been run already. We just need someone to physically do what folks did back in the day, educate those that have no means of getting a proper education.

      Like

      • Rich P
        December 25, 2013

        On… point.

        Like

  63. NRH
    December 23, 2013

    Great post. I enjoyed your analysis, and think the Kanye West touch point is a wise and pivotal move to introduce the cultural criticism and analysis provided by Dr. West. Excellent discussion.

    Like

  64. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    Michael Jordan is to blame. These shoes are no where as expensive as the price he charges. The price should have been lowered so more of his fans and admirers could afford them. His ass is super rich and the price of these kicks just continue to go up although they are no longer made with leather. The price of these shoes compared to how much the workers are paid is ridiculous!

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      Jordan isn’t to blame my friend. He does NOT control pricing or anything except is name being on the shoe. He may have some input on the design, but he doesn’t control pricing. The market does. If no one would pay 200 bucks for the shoe, the shoe would be repriced to what consumers would pay. If in doing market analytics its found that folks will pay 300 bucks for the shoe, expect the shoe to cost 300 bucks

      Like

      • Anonymous
        December 23, 2013

        Plus these shoes could be 300$ and people would still stand in line the gamma 11 were an online exclusive and honestly I sat online for an hour or more trying to get through, why cAuse 2 mins After the sale these shoes were selling on eBay for over 400$

        Like

    • indiaaniya26
      December 23, 2013

      I agree with you but I think if he were to lower the price and make it more accessible to his fans that Jordans would no longer be as popular. I think what people like and know is that everyone clearly can’t afford to buy them so it then makes it appear that you have some status when you are wearing them. It’s that whole “get on my level” attitude. It is what rappers rap about being able to afford what the regular citizen can not so what do we do we go after whatever the label or item and feel like we are on a higher level. Nicki Minaj did that for Michael Kors. So really if Jordan did lower his prices there would be some other item that would be sought after that is relatively expensive. When I was going to high school in Detroit Carter glasses was the thing. Everyone wanted a pair. People were getting robbed for them. It is the attitude towards these material items and the belief that you are above another because of how much you spend on your belongings.

      Like

      • Rich P
        December 25, 2013

        BINGO……… Hip Hop and hood culture just simply becomes a smaller part of the whole when it comes to this cancer in our society. It’s just extreme free market capitalism, no ideals, no morals, just profits. Where does it end? Apple products, phones upwards of $500, game systems, flat screens, clothes, jewelry, expensive alcohol? Societal downward spiral.

        And the solution begins with all of us, THE CONSUMERS COLLECTIVELY.

        We don’t have to buy this stuff, but the sad reality is that most of the world around us just isn’t listening and just doesn’t care. It’s really just ingrained values at this point, and that’s dispersed among the few and far between, that DYING BREED that was raised properly enough to understand a life of value and worth beyond damn material BS. And places we’ve eaten at. And places we’ve been to. And just whatever ways else we can find to spend money.

        Like

  65. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    im not gonna make it seem as though kanye is a god, but he makes a lot of sense in his songs, nobody knew what blood on the leaves meant…it spoke about the blood shed from slaves as they were hung from trees… new slaves spoke about how we are slaves to these big corporations who teach what we should buy what we should wear and look like. It makes no sense whats going on but this is how we live

    Like

  66. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    The gospel is the answer. Sin is rampant, and we’re enslaved to it. Young men have made shoes their idols and it is costing them their lives.

    Like

  67. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    Kanye has pushed countless brands in his music! He talks about the brands of clothes has and cars he drives as well as how much he travels and everything else in this so-called glamorous life he says he lives. If him and other rappers, as well as many other people stop glamorizing this crap people will stop wanting it as much!

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 23, 2013

      Yeah…difference is that he’s rapping about the wares and services he can afford. He’s glorifying what he has the capability of purchasing. He worked hard for it using the talents and passion to drive his wealth.

      Why is it that the youth want what they want before working for it? Is that Kanye’s fault?

      Like

  68. Tyson
    December 23, 2013

    Let’s be honest. Personal responsibility has to play a huge part in this. As a society, everyone wants to blame someone else, or some ideal, rather than themselves for the awful situations they are in. The “market culture” does not make you buy anything. You as a consumer make the decision to buy what you want. No one forces anything upon you. I for one, never spend that much on shoes. There is so much more that $150-$300 can buy than a pair of shoes. At some point you have to become an adult and make adult decisions. Instead of spending $3000 on rims for a car, why not invest that money in something more? Instead of Air Jordans, buy a nice pair for 1/3 the price and use the rest of the money to put food on your family’s table, or buy clothes for your kids. The only person to blame is the one holding that money or credit card.

    Like

  69. Darnell
    December 23, 2013

    Consumerism itself doesn’t explain while why we are killing each other over tennis shoes. Think about it, when is the last time you heard of white people killing each other over Banana Republic or Abercrombie and Fitch ?

    Like

  70. SoleTakersReserve
    December 23, 2013

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  71. Rembrandt
    December 23, 2013

    The problem with Kanye is that he wants you to not be a consumer unless it’s what he is selling. while at the same time he talks about being a producer it isn’t for “us” as people, it’s for him as an enterprise who wants the power himself, so while there are kernels of truth, it isn’t coming from a place that wishes to see others move forward at all.

    Like

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  73. Mark
    December 23, 2013

    Yeah,but it is not the Jordan’s that make them kill,is the big jealousy vibez.

    Like

  74. Kwodwo Moore
    December 23, 2013

    Before people start talking about how Kanye West is selling expensive T-Shirts and things of that nature, keep in mind that he has no control over the pricing strategies the producers make. None at all. He has no control over the price of his albums either, neither retail nor wholesale.

    Like

  75. Anonymous
    December 23, 2013

    yeah but this comin from the same guy who charging like a few G’s for a pair of air yeezy’s….

    Like

  76. LayLay
    December 23, 2013

    I appreciate you Mr. Cross for writing this blog, post or whatever you call it. im not the smartest person in the world, but I do realize how petty some of these crimes are. Everything you stated in this article was 100% REAL. Im young myself(about to turn 21 in March) but I understand where your coming from. I know “they” say black people don’t read, which is true for the most part and I feel as if our people would just read more articles and informative papers and books, than we will overcome these new chains of slavery. Me, myself, I love looking cute and everything just like others but I refuse to give my precious life up over a product that will be out of style by next year or something that will break and tear down anyways. I value my life even though i may complain here and there but no product is more important than my life. When everyone dies…you cant take all of this SHIT with you in the afterlife. All of these materialistic things are distractions in many people’s lives and it is throwing them down the wrong track. Life isnt about how many pairs of jordans do I own or who is wearing the best weave. It’s sad to see the black culture get turned into garbage and bullshit but it isn’t entirely our fault. Willie Lychman or Lynch(i forget) I think was his name, came over here to Jamestown, Virginia( i stay in VA) and spoke to the white settlers about how to “tame” their slaves for 300 years and more. Willie taught the whites to seperate the slaves by age, shade, hieght, course/fine hair, work status(field slave or house slave), and by which master own them. The whites made sure to break us apart as best they could, they instilled in us this terrible curse to hate each other but “honor and love” the white man. They taught us how to fight each other to the death, they taught the light skin to hate the light skin and the dark skin to hate the light skin…Basically they turned us against our own and they succeeded well because its so much separation in black culture today that it isn’t even funny. Im glad i took my time to read this, i feel a bit more educated, and im inspired to change the way we think…i want to break this slavery chain off our people and bring us to the top so we can earn our respect. And I also want to achieve more peace between every person no matter what status you are or how much money you have. The world needs a different, mature, viewers point. thank you sir, i appreciate it if you get a chance to read this.

    Like

    • Rich P
      December 25, 2013

      Someone read it. More power to you sister. That kind of statement coming from a girl of your age is super inspiring to read and take in… it sheds light and brings hope. Not all younger people are lost to the media and “popular culture”… Hope you can move forward with strength and make a difference in people’s hearts.

      Like

  77. Terrestrial
    December 24, 2013

    Wow! people are still killing over Jordans??? SMH… Nice article i like the writer’s solution but we are all different. I think we should focus on giving but people like Kanye and I like to give things that please the eyes, stimulate the heart, and intrigue the mind.

    Like

  78. The more things change the more they stay the same
    December 24, 2013

    Ice Cube talked about this nearly 20 years ago in the song “Us”… Us will always sing the blues / cause all we care about is hair cuts and tennis shoes / and if you step on mine you push the button / cause I’ll beat you down like it ain’t nothing…..

    Kanye is just selling records…. Maybe he means his message, maybe he just knows that some conciousness in rap music sells so he chucks some “knowledge” in there now & then…. who really knows.

    Like

  79. Dhane Diesil
    December 24, 2013

    Excellent article! You made a great point when it came to the solution — be givers and supporters. But to be those things, you must be a producer/owner.

    Like

    • Rich P
      December 25, 2013

      You got it. Thank you for getting it.

      Like

  80. Anonymous
    December 24, 2013

    Kanye was also the one that had a aplain, white, cotton tee on his fashion line up for 150.00 dollars.

    Like

  81. Anonymous
    December 24, 2013

    This article is st8 up dumb first if your going to make a point it should be relevant to a case that has happened in the current year and second kanye west is the biggest hypocrite since his own sneakers people kill them self for if there parents don’t buy them. Think the blogger should do some research before posting irrelevant opinions on a matter they probably don’t know anything about

    Like

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  83. Anonymous
    December 24, 2013

    good blog…made me think!

    Like

  84. RD
    December 24, 2013

    To visit a blog, to have read it in its entirety and regurgitate anything is (unless I missed something) education / culture / life at its very core. Also to expand on ANYTHING here specifically has appeared to me to be less than productive in any manner.
    With that being said I live by a quote (Personally, nothing I am saying anyone should / should not do) When in fact the student sees the (proverbial) teacher and allows that teacher to appear with whatever the message is, is when the student is ready to learn.
    To further clarify NOONE can be pushed to learn something that someone else is not ready to understand or ready to grasp, further meaning that everyone has a different teacher, and everyone has different moments of what and of whom they will learn from.
    Who’s right or wrong to say or assume when someone is learning a lesson F**K where the lesson comes from and the time it is learned; the point is that the lesson was taught.
    #MESSAGE

    Like

  85. Kadian
    December 24, 2013

    If you can afford something enjoy it but do not let it become your idol or define who you are. People should be able to buy what they can afford and not have to fear someone may steal it. It’s society showing you have to have these items to be something. I don’t wear or have ever bought Jordans in my life. I could but I have other things to save up for. My point is whatever you own own it with pride.

    Like

  86. lwilsonjr
    December 24, 2013

    I wrote an article about the same topic (http://welcometoblackexcellence.com/2013/12/22/a-pair-of-jordans-and-230/). But I like Bryant’s better, this was poetic and beautifully honest. Thank you for your insight and writing prowess, my writing brother.

    Like

  87. lwilsonjr
    December 24, 2013

    Reblogged this on Welcome to Black Excellence and commented:
    Bryant did a better job than I did. So poetic and truthful. Enjoy.

    Like

  88. Mychelle
    December 24, 2013

    let them kill each other. uneducated idiots. Kanye, meanwhile pushes his clothing line to whom? consumers. Can you say hypocrite? All his anger and all his success is going to end very badly for him. He doesn’t get it. Where is the school he has started in his name? Where is his philanthropy towards the people trapped in poverty? NO WHERE. Kanye West if the biggest untalented fraud to walk the face of the earth and he’s damn lucky. And totally UNGRATEFUL. That never ends well for anybody.

    Like

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  90. Anonymous
    December 24, 2013

    I never owned a pair of Jordans but after reading this well written essay; I never will. Profound and movig words… I literally listened to New Slaves to see where you were going. Great analysis.

    Like

  91. SMN
    December 24, 2013

    My point of view is no matter the education level, there will always be a desire for material things. Black, Hispanic, or White, we all desire to have the best. However, it is to what length we will go to attain these material things such as robbing and killing. It’s terrible children and adults are being killed or robbed for a pair of shoes yet every year thousands of people rush to “cop” the new Jordan release. Which usually comes out in a rotation just in different colors. It’s not about who said it first or which version makes sense to the current generation. It’s about what will WE do as a people in order to stop senseless killings. Getting upset at Kanye for being hypocritical does NOTHING to help the issue. Bring about awareness to your communities because the majority of time they will not teach this in schools. Just a thought.

    Like

  92. Jeremy Thomas
    December 24, 2013

    Bruh… aside from the whole Kanye.thing… this is brilliant… it’s very well written and you support your ideas well also. A lot of the cats that have posted above could stand to read a bit more b/c their ignorance is showing…. but you are truly insightful. Just know that Kanye is little more than a egotistical lunatic… but everything else is righteous.

    Like

  93. MXCTRL
    December 24, 2013

    I think you miss the point just like Kanye, and you’re trying to create a sage for the times where one does not exist.

    The slavery is in thinking that you need “things.” Fashion, cars, jewelry… These all amount to nothing, and if you’re focusing on these things in life to the detriment of things which really matter (character, peace, love, people) then you have accepted the brain washing and you are the slave. This is true even if you are the boss, the owner, whatever. Wealth and things enslave just as effectively as fashion.

    Freedom does not lie in “becoming boss” or having your own company, those are hollow goals without something greater, something OUTSIDE yourself.

    Like

    • One who know
      December 24, 2013

      I feel u allow me 2 make an adjustment2 your statement. There is No-Thing outside yourself.all things dwell within. The Higher SELF is what we seek, there the human equation is tempered or brought into subjugation to the WILL of AMEN the hidden or self conceived one.That’s what the so called SPHINX(Pert Em Heru or Heru on the Horizon) represents the animal (lion body) subjugated to the WILL of higher SELF the god head. My people shall perish from a lack of SELF knowledge. The absence of this truth is why young black people r killing each other.
      A man kills another man over 25cents. His argument “I didn’t kill him over the money but the principle of not paying me the respect.” However the PRINCIPAL(money) the very reason the man was killed.Different spelling yet n still one and the same. Lack of SELF knowledge is the one and only problem we have ever had as a people.

      Like

  94. One who know
    December 24, 2013

    Truth is Ye ain’t saying anything new, however 2 a generation of youth that don’t read he is the next best thing, whether like him or not I am grown enough to seperate the person from the music.with that said rapper have always been hypocritical. Lots of our favorite rappers that were black wit pride now rock blonde weaves and straight hair among other things.At the end of the day people r not perfect we have to accept this as truth and take with us only the message and discard the rest these rapper r not your leader. Leadership comes from within not without.The helping hand u r look. 4 is at the end of your own arm. Seek only the divinity of ones words and remove the human equation because humanity itself is flawed or imperfect,but that which is perfect is Devine. Peace n Blessings

    Like

  95. iphone for sale
    December 24, 2013

    Kanye’s an idiot not some freakin Genius..Maybe you should watch some of his most recent interviews. He’s full of himself and compares himself to Jesus. Really?? Oh and since he’s so worried about the youth dying over shoes and money and being “slaves”, then why does he say he is the reason people are wearing Jordans these days? Oh and them not giving him enough money and blah blah blah…probably just a ploy for the media..and it’s society’s degradation of values and morals that has brought us where we are, and the ignorance of people unable to think for themselves. Kanye is irrelevant in my life so I could care less what shoes he or anybody else has. Especially when the dude’s a full blown asshole.

    Like

  96. Sheesh
    December 24, 2013

    First of all, Jordan sneakers are ugly. Secondly, they release the same shoes they’ve been releasing for the last 15-20 years but in different colors and people line up for that shit? It’s the same shoes ffs!

    Like

  97. bookoomoney
    December 24, 2013

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  98. Alen
    December 25, 2013

    http://nypost.com/2012/05/10/slain-girls-dna-bags-1998-killer-who-once-strangled-buddy-over-air-jordans/

    It seems like the “Air Jordan’s” incident back in 1989 was not the only time James David Martin had murdered or raped somebody…Im not sure how this scumbag ever even got a chance to even hurt anyone again, and i probably dont want to know.

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  100. Anonymous
    December 25, 2013

    Listen to “Loves gonna getcha” by KRS-one .The REAL TEACHER in hip hop. ;-)

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  101. Melvin Hall
    December 25, 2013

    How many ways are there to attempt to give meaning, understanding, are sensible reasoning to blatant ignorance and stupidity? Killing, robbing, harming another human being solely over a pair of basketball sneakers and/or any other broadly marketed and selfishly desired personal items is lower than snake shit. I don’t give a good fuck who you are, where you are from, and/or what your GodDamn life is, was, are is going to be. If your mind is so confused and screwed up that you conduct yourself in a uncivil, scandalous, and thug barbaric manner, you need to be removed from society. I do not blame Corporations, the media, HipHop artist, Basketball players, football players are any damn one else for someone having a thug, criminal, sick perverted mindset. I blame the pathetic, sickened, disgusting perpetrator. When will we stop making excuses for evil…and simply start eliminating it from our lives…one evil at a time if need be. We are dealing with mortals, human beings, not some superficial spirits. Enough already with the intellectual philosophical ” I sound so intelligent ” responses. Get real people…there are some real fucked up people in our society that simply need to be dealt with….end of story.

    Like

    • Walijan Abdul-Khaliq
      December 25, 2013

      Thank you Melvin! I totally agree with your statements. Nobody wants to tackle the REAL problem which is the sick, greedy, morally deficient perpetrators of the crime. I don’t care how old [or young] they are. It galls me to read these articles blaming corporations, advertising, and capitalism for the lack of decency of the criminally influenced mind. The question that needs to be asked is that why are they doing this? Why aren’t others who get the same advertising NOT doing this? The answers are VERY simple to me. The same reasons that some people receive an education in this country while others don’t. Lack of value for what’s important. THAT comes from the home, 1st. PERIOD!!! Then reinforced through society. If that lack of value then manifests as a criminal activity, then it should be dealt with.
      Stop the scapegoating, and deal with the real problem.

      Like

    • Rich P
      December 25, 2013

      Dealing with one criminal doesn’t stop the next kid from doing the same thing. That’s the problem being assessed here, fixing the issue FROM THE SOURCE… that hard ass mentality hasn’t done shit for society in how many decades… if it were for people like you, what would be of civil rights? “I don’t know, my rights are fine, you go deal with whitey” You’re being selfish and can’t even go deep enough to understand how.

      Like

      • Walijan Abdul-Khaliq
        January 1, 2014

        Oh please enlightened one, please explain the depth of my selfishness. Who said dealing with just One criminal? Sounds alot better than a pat on the head telling him someone else is responsible. Just when was the last time my “hard ass mentality” been used? What has been the result of your soft approach? DEAD Children over shoes, that’s what! Leave it to your ilk to bring up the sacred cow of Civil Rights. What about Civil Responsibility? Always crying that anyone with an opposing view is trying to take your rights away. Always crying that race is your biggest shackle. You tell me to “go deal with whitey”. Ha! We already see what happens as YOU go deal (pacify) with criminals.

        Like

  102. A concerned member of society
    December 26, 2013

    Melvin Hall u are extremely ignorant yourrself… seeing as no one is ever born evil these young men are merely being misguided from young and have not even fully developed yet but are being taken advantage of…. This has nothing to do with parenting because if a mother is too poor to provide for her children a gang leader will step in and provide the child with all his needs and wants for a price… and therefore the child’s whole outlook on life becomes distorted because he never experience real love and affection by people who had more than enough food to share but treated him like dirt because he was black, or poor, or from the ghetto … thus these young men become cold hearted killers because thats all they see in the ghetto and all they know… for them its a dog eat dog world and they do what the have to survive and in order to survive they need power and respect and pride and they are so confused and misguided they believe they can only get this from wearing brands or gold chains or whatever because of society and consumerism…all there favourite artistes who came from the ghetto like them wear gold chains and brands so they aspire to be like them…. Therefore the REAL problem is our society as a whole and how consumerism has affected it… and nobody wants to take a stand and do anything.. they just want to blame it on other people but if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem … we need to come together as a society and help out poo people in the ghetto and show them that life is more than killing or drugs or gold chains and brands and nice cars … show them how to love and treat people

    Like

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  104. Anonymous
    December 26, 2013

    Been this way for blacks since slavery, and across the world through history for that matter: the haves vs. the have nots. Passed down from generation to generation. Stems from the same issues as black on black crime, lack of black men in the home, etc. It’s not capitalism, it’s materialism. When we as blacks rap about money, cars, clothes, women and violence all the time, it’s no wonder our youth glorify the same thing. A sale is made when perceived value outweighs cost, and we have been sold. Economic parity. We need the ability to fail.

    Like

    • Anonymous
      December 26, 2013

      To heal the sick, clothe the poor, feed the hungry, educate the uneducated…someone has to stroke a check. It’s going to take money. Who cares if blacks are killing each other, they buy my products. If they dont care enough to make a difference why should I. Just listen to the radio for 20 minutes. That’ll tell you all you need, $1 circulates throughout the Jewish community for 21 days before its spent outside the Jewish community. It circulates only 6 hours in the black community. Why? We don’t know how to manage our money and there aren’t enough black businesses. Forget Reparations. All that money is going right back out. When Lil’ Wayne has more influence over our youth than the POTUS himself, we are in trouble. But theyre pockets are getting lined so why change my lyrics? I didn’t shoot him.

      Like

  105. Anonymous
    December 26, 2013

    To heal the sick, clothe the poor, feed the hungry, educate the uneducated…someone has to stroke a check. It’s going to take money. Who cares if blacks are killing each other, they buy my products. If they dont care enough to make a difference why should I. Just listen to the radio for 20 minutes. That’ll tell you all you need, $1 circulates throughout the Jewish community for 21 days before its spent outside the Jewish community. It circulates only 6 hours in the black community. Why? We don’t know how to manage our money and there aren’t enough black businesses. Forget Reparations. All that money is going right back out. When Lil’ Wayne has more influence over our youth than the POTUS himself, we are in trouble. But theyre pockets are getting lined so why change my lyrics? I didn’t shoot him!

    Like

  106. Tman
    December 27, 2013

    I completely agree what you said except the part where you and Kanye “differ” though only partially. I do believe you should end out being a giving but let’s be serious. The brainwashing is so strong that brands that don’t have a value won’t be supported.

    I believe that Kanye is on the correct first step in being a owner which would give better access to being the giver. Basically, be the light disguised as darkness to destroy the darkness from within the core.

    Like

  107. Anonymous
    December 28, 2013

    This was an amazing article (grammatical errors and all to the English majors).

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  109. bob williams
    January 3, 2014

    someone in Chicago was killed because of kayne shoes, get facts from his family smh

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    August 2, 2014

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    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a
    little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform
    like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so
    many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..
    Any recommendations? Bless you!

    Like

  122. Jaway
    August 29, 2014

    Man you preach on bro!

    Like

  123. Michael
    September 17, 2014

    You going to be one lost fucker is you depend on Kanye for answers.. You need to know this shit before a rapper gives you insight. Kanye himself tryna get you to buys shit. He’s wack..

    Like

    • Jaway
      September 18, 2014

      @Michael

      He’s whack true, but every rapper is known as an artist regardless. Yes he may release whack tunes from time to time, however he is human and does talk sense and logic sometimes. This is the realist shit he’s said since College dropout album times.

      Like

  124. Bitcoin slots
    September 23, 2014

    Hey would you mind letting me know which webhost
    you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different browsers and I must
    say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a honest price?
    Many thanks, I appreciate it!

    Like

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