America is often called the “Land of the Free” We hear this phrase almost from the time we’re born, in our anthems and our sacred constitutional documents.
This weekend, I came across two news items that caused me to ask: “What is the cost of freedom?”
First, as most of you know, Lauryn Hill announced her return to music with a new deal with Sony in the midst of legal troubles stemming from tax evasion charges.
In an open letter to her fans, she said:
“I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.”
Think about that for a minute. The woman who took the world by storm and earned great fame and fortune ―what others would surely regard as ‘The American Dream’― is basically saying she felt enslaved by her success and by the government.
Hill is not the only one, think Dave Chapelle, who walked away from $50 million, think about that controversial book on black athletes entitled 40 Million Dollar Slaves.
Okay, the second news item was an article from CNN called, “Is Big Brother coming to your job?”
In it, contributor Bob Greene discusses how software developed to allow college professors to monitor students’ work will likely be adapted to the U.S. workplace to allow bosses to monitor workers online.
Greene describes such software as a tool “corporations everywhere have been waiting for… a way to stand over the shoulder of every employee, 24 hours a day, and keep track of exactly how much time he or she is really spending on his or her work.”
This goes beyond just when you log in or log out of your workstation. This software tracks page views, time spent on a document, notes taken, bookmarks used, and whether or not you even opened a document at work or at home.
All of this makes me wonder, here in the Land of the Free, how free our freedom actually is.
Yes, Lauryn Hill certainly owes back taxes, but what does it say about our society that she may lose her physical freedom because of her artistic desire to be free?
Why does David Chapelle feel so much more free without an extra $50 million? And why do we have to pursue our own American Dream in a monitored corporate environment where we are constantly reminded how un-free we really are…?
So, my question today is this: Would you accept a million dollars if it locked you into a situation where you felt unhappy, trapped and unable to express yourself freely?
I’ll leave you with this from writer William Faulkner… he says:
“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
1 of 31
2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
2 of 31
3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
3 of 31
4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
4 of 31
5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
5 of 31
6 of 31
7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
7 of 31
8 of 31
9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
9 of 31
10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
10 of 31
11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
11 of 31
12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
12 of 31
13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
13 of 31
14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
14 of 31
15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
15 of 31
16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
16 of 31
17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
17 of 31
18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
18 of 31
19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
19 of 31
20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
20 of 31
21. Bae #retailtherapy
21 of 31
22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
22 of 31
23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
23 of 31
24. Diggy Simmons
24 of 31
25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
25 of 31
26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
26 of 31
27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
27 of 31
28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
28 of 31
29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
29 of 31
30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
30 of 31
31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
31 of 31