Social activism is a career. You can study it for an undergraduate or master’s degree and activists need to earn a living from their work.
But activist Tamika Mallory recently came under fire for accepting corporate sponsorships. The former co-chair and former national chairwoman for the Women’s March, Mallory appeared in a paid commercial for Cadillac.
Mallory was called out after her appearance at 63rd Grammy Awards broadcast by Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year old boy who was shot by a Cleveland police officer in 2014 while playing with a toy gun.
Samaria Rice accused Mallory and other contemporary activists of being “clout chasers” and profiting from the death of her son and others.
Mysonne, Mallory’s co-host on the podcast “For The Record: Chasing Freedom,” came to her defense for accepting a corporate sponsorship.
“White Supremacy is A structure Controlled by billionaires who’s job is to keep it going, You can’t dismantle it with poor people who’s Hobby is to fight it. Activism is work!! Lifetime work and Activist have to pay bills..Sorry,” Mysonne tweeted.
A Twitter user clapped back, “I’m sure there are better ways to pay bills than doing Cadillac commercials A structure Controlled by billionaires”.
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Another posted, “If @TamikaDMallory was a real activist and grassroot for Black folks, she wouldn’t be doing commercials. Darren Seales is a real activist, Danye Jones was a real activist, Tamika Mallory has monetize off the death of Black men, our struggle, this is sad!”
But others on Twitter agreed with Mysonne. “Our Activist have to die broke like malcom Martin garvy Hampton Huey…..etc those are just the famous ones. Are we not supposed to be compensated for hard-working dedication to the struggle????????????????”.
There are several careers under the umbrella of social activism including law and public policy, social work, and environmental and community organizing, Madamenoire reported.
Felicia Davis, who directs the Building Green Initiative at Clark Atlanta University and is founder of HBCU Green Fund, noted, “Activists can work in virtually any field, some work within advocacy organizations or even establish organizations, and some of the most impactful activism takes place within mainstream organizations of all types, including corporations.”
Davis added, “Money may not be the primary objective but it is an important consideration for any effective activist or organizer, especially when working in under-resourced communities. Activists have families and they need health care, housing, transportation, etc. just like anyone else, therefore they must manage their work in a way that enables them to take care of these essentials. There is nothing wrong with living well.”