Before I became a music photographer, I was into photographing sports. The first time I held a camera in my hands, I was courtside at a Bulls game, standing next to Lew Alcindor of the Milwaukee Bucks (I wish someone got a picture of that!!) He was one of my idols, because he stood for something. He wasn’t just a basketball player- he was a thinking citizen of the world. I have always admired the celebrity that puts his mouth where his money is, (so to speak) and shows the world what he feels. So my heroes were Lew Alcindor (soon to become Kareem Abdul Jabbar) Billie Jean King, and Muhammad Ali. I never photographed Ali, but did photograph the other two.
Ali’s anti war stance cost him years of his career, Billie Jean beat Bobby Riggs in straight sets in 1973, proving that women are equal to (or better than) men.
As we move through 2015, Kareem has become a voice for the black community. Last week, in a beautiful article in Time Magazine, he addresses the candidates for president.
Here is how it starts:
Dear presidential candidates:
With the first anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown this weekend, America needs to know how the tumultuous events of the last year have affected your stance regarding the needs of the black community. In order for African Americans to determine this, please select one of the following that best defines your current philosophy: a) Black Lives Matter, b) Black Votes Matter, c) Black Entertainers and Athletes Matter, d) All of the Above, e) None of the Above.
If you chose anything other than “a,” you probably don’t deserve any votes—black, brown, or white. You might get votes by default of being less bad than the alternatives, but getting votes that way isn’t much of an endorsement of your leadership abilities. And making things better for African Americans in a substantial and meaningful way in this country is going to require an outstanding leader.
Later in the article:
Courage is required in order to speak out in support of “Black Lives Matter.” So many Americans misunderstand the meaning of the phrase that there’s an outraged backlash against it. The popular misinterpretation, encouraged by some politicians seems to be that by saying “Black Lives Matter,” African Americans are seeking special attention. In fact, it’s the opposite. They are seeking their fair share of opportunities without receiving the “special attention” of being profiled, arrested, imprisoned, or killed.
Many of you candidates—including the only black candidate, Ben Carson—have used the more mundane phrase, “All Lives Matters,” which appeases racism deniers. This is cowardly because it completely ignores the problem and panders to the least politically informed constituency. Americans are used to candidates competing to see who can best ingratiate themselves to the demands of reclusive billionaire backers and fringe groups, but this goes too far.
Most Americans are already in agreement that all life matters—it’s just that blacks want to make sure that they are included in that category of “all,” which so many studies prove is not the case. In the future, think of “Black Lives Matter” as a simplified version of “We Would Like to Create a Country in Which Black Lives Matter as Much as White Lives in Terms of Physical Safety, Education, Job Opportunities, Criminal Prosecution, and Political Power.”
The man is brilliant- see the whole article here:
Maybe he should run for president rather than the morons that are running now!!