Nike’s Economic Wakanda And Negro Politics At Aretha’s Funeral

Jamarlin Martin
Written by Jamarlin Martin

Yesterday, Nike announced that Colin Kaepernick will be the face of the “Just Do It” campaign. It wasn’t a shock to me that MAGA fans started burning their Nikes in protest.

Some of the commentary on Twitter framed Nike’s move as being bold and new but I remember Nike rolling out “X” Air Raids playing off Spike Lee’s Malcolm X film.

When Nike embraced Spike Lee, he was thought to be controversial.

Before Black folks start crip walking to go buy more Nikes because the swish empire sees a big market opportunity and knows the influence of Black culture on their bottom line, we need to understand that Nike is a white Wakanda sportin’ a $233 billion market cap.

This massive market cap is built on the back of African-American influence. If we are going to bang against the government and the white folks all day, we can also look for opportunities to remix our cultural and economic power.

I own a pair of Nikes or two but if Nike’s embrace of Kaepernick is going to help their stock scale to $300 billion and leave our community with fewer dollars to save and invest, this is a massively lopsided trade.

It would be unfortunate if our kids promiscuously go out and start buying more overpriced Nikes from China.

If you just love Nike, you can buy the stock with a few dollars by setting up a mobile-friendly brokerage account at Robinhood. It allows you to invest in the stock market for free and has Jay-Z as an investor.

Negro politics and Aretha Franklin’s funeral

It was sad to see many folks criticizing Barack and Michelle Obama for not attending Arethas Franklin’s funeral. We can have disagreements with our brother Barack over policy and serious issues but let’s not get into negro politics trying to manage the Obamas’ time and priorities.

Maybe Barack didn’t want to sit next to Jesse Jackson, who said he wanted to “cut off his nuts” for mentioning personal responsibility within the Black community. Maybe Barack spent a lot of personal time with John McCain and thought two back-to-back funerals would be too much.

The same people crying over the Obamas not attending Aretha’s funeral probably didn’t say much on his recent trip to Kenya to open a new school — or how fast his private foundation is scaling up.

Many of our folks favor symbolism over substance. I may criticize Obama at times for being compromised by Silicon Valley elites but I believe this is one of substance and policy. We need to stop judging people on rules and allegiances they never signed up for.

Barack never said he wanted to be a Black leader in the framework of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or Louis Farrakhan. They showed up, he didn’t.

Barack never said he wasn’t raised courageously by a white woman. It is clear Barack sees his leadership as a global leader, an “American” leader, not necessarily a Black leader. We must accept his leadership gifts and contributions to our community based on what he signed up for.

If you want Barack to be a leader who can fit in your little nice box from the sidelines, you can either work to be that leader or support others who do fit your box on how things are supposed to be. Whatever you do, be a man or woman of action. If Bill Clinton was able to make the back-to-back funerals of John McCain and Aretha Franklin, good for him.