It seems some folks need a history lesson. Or maybe a simple lesson on cultural dignity will do.

Images of fliers for events that are supposed to be honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, which falls on Jan. 15., and is celebrated on Monday, Jan. 20., are being circulated on social media.

That wouldn’t be a bad thing if those fliers included quotes from his speeches, and were adding a digital edge to the causes that King fought for before an assassin gunned him down 44 years ago.

It wouldn’t be a bad thing if those fliers were advertising seminars or parties with a purpose toward getting younger black people to believe in their own power to end rampant unemployment, mass incarceration, and other problems that disproportionately dog them.

But no.

What’s been spreading on social media like gangrene on a wound festering with ignorance and indifference are fliers that depict Dr. King in ways that glorify the shallowness that leads some black people to do things that fuel their own oppression and exploitation.

One supremely silly flier depicts King with a crown on his head and ropes of gold around his neck, accompanied by images of Nicki Minaj.

Apparently, whoever created that flier didn’t get the memo that one of the last efforts that King spearheaded was a Poor People’s Campaign. Or that King gave away most of his life’s earnings, including the $54,600 he won for the Nobel Peace Prize, to the movement.

That’s how much of a baller he was not.

Another flier shows King wearing a huge gold medallion and black T-shirt and pointing to an advertisement that says, “Freedom 2 Twerk… Martin Luther King Day Weekend Party.”

Seriously.

And yet another one says: “B.O.S.S.  N.I.G.G.A.Z.’s presents…Bad Bitch Sundays…The Official I Have A Dream Bash.”  It depicts King spreading a wad of cash in his fingers, with a stripper in the background.

Again, somebody didn’t get the memo. King liked women, but chances are he didn’t refer to them as bitches. And I’m almost certain he would have something to say about the N.I.G.G.A.Z. thing.

The cash he would have given away, not flaunted.

But while these folks obviously didn’t get the memo, chances are they wouldn’t have cared if they had.

Sadly, they probably believe it’s easier to make a buck by exploiting some black people’s immaturities than to come up with creative ways to educate and entertain them.

The net result is that by doing this, by wrongly depicting King as a baller whose life is defined by women and money, the people making these fliers and hosting these events feed into the mentality that tells young black people, and black men especially, to eschew education for the quick buck, or to rob or steal to buy expensive sneakers and jewelry, because materialism and foolishness is what should define them.

These depictions of King are also offensive in that they assume black people are so shallow that the only way they can relate to this civil rights icon is through events that are the polar opposite of what he stood for.

All I can say is that’s sad.

And that it’s a good thing that King had more confidence in the strength and intelligence of black people than the folks behind those fliers.

Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her @tonyaajw. Or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonyaajweathersbee.

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17 thoughts on “By ‘Honoring’ King With Bling and Ignorance, These Fliers Wind Up Disrespecting Him

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  3. Ivan Cohen on said:

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  6. Very disgusting and sad. I went to the NC A&T Fall graduation where 850 young black men and women received their degrees (bachelors, masters, doctorates) in everything from engineering to business to nursing to education and music. It was one of the most uplifting experiences I have ever attended.

    This is the silent story in our community which needs to be told. I’m not just singling out NC A&T. Graduations like this takes place all over our country at HBCUs but there’s very little TV media attention. Instead we get garbage flyers like those mentioned in this article which will probably make their way to some mainstream media airwaves. Very sad indeed.

  7. I am enraged about this kind of insensitivity, just as I was with the Ebony Magazine photo of President Obama with dark shades on, getting out a limousine as if he was a rock star. Images like those minimize both men.

    • Raleigh Delesbore on said:

      What do you base that opinion on?// If you look at all the past presidents and say he is the worst, means you don’t have a clue as to anything.

  8. Insomemaze on said:

    Our people need to view the video The BlackMan(State of Emergency) on youtube. Because it’s getting late in the day, and also watch the video “I Have A Dream” at Crozer Library also on Youtube. Peace!

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