The culture of hustling — and hustling hard — is ingrained in the Black community. Most are taught to work harder, dress nicer and be better than the best as it’s the only way to get ahead in white-controlled America. But for some, the hustle culture is not a goal, and a Black man’s sermon against this ideology went viral in a TikTok video post.
Deante’ Kyle, who goes by the TikTok handle @deante_kyle, questions consumerism and the hustle culture, wondering why it’s not OK to just have a normal job.
“I can’t I just have my job, go home and enjoy my money and my time with my kids?” he asked in the video post that had been seen 472,100 views.
He continued, “Everybody just ain’t hustlers; people don’t think of how they can slide and connive…just to line their pockets.”
On Twitter, BoyuFit(Mercury) shared the video that was viewed 1.1 million times with the comment, “I feel like alot of people need to hear this.”
“The suggestion that Americans should still find a way to work even when there is an opportunity to rest is another example of how toxic ‘hustle culture’ is,” wrote Jael Davis, a student at DePaul University, in Study Break magazine.
In the Black community, “having a side hustle or starting up a small business was regarded as a means of building the financial success and liberation that had been denied to Black people for so long,” Davis wrote. But he pointed out, “In reality, relying on a hustle in order to create extreme wealth is unhealthy for a multitude of reasons and indirectly reinforces racism in America.”
The side hustle actually feeds on and into white supremacy, Davis suggested. “To use the tools of the oppressor as a means to gain financial liberation is not the key to success that some believe it to be.”
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Journalist Shama Saleh agreed. “As long as we live in a world of capitalism, greed, and white supremacy, governments and systems will fail us. Maybe the answer lies in our ability to reclaim what it means to rest,” Saleh wrote in the Waterloo Region Record.
“The idea that the obstacles Black people face were due to their own failures rather than systemic oppression became pervasive,” Saleh wrote. “Black people started to ‘hustle’ against systems such as those that perpetuated racial segregation and white supremacist violence.”
The hustle culture, today, Saleh added, is “based on capitalism — a culture that values profit over human life.”
That’s the point TikToker Deante’ Kyle is making. “This might be hard for some of you to believe but some people don’t wake up and the first thing on their mind is money…everyone don’t think about money 24/7,” he said.
Being vested in the hustle can be dark, unsatisfying and “ultimately empty, depressing, and destructive,” according to cultural historian and social critic Morris Berman, author of the book “Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline.”
“America is essentially about hustling, and that goes back more than 400 years,” Berman said in an interview with The Atlantic. “It’s practically genetic, in the U.S., by now; the programming is so deep, and so much out of conscious awareness, that very few Americans can break free of it. They’re really sleepwalking through life, living out a narrative that is not of their own making, while thinking they are in the driver’s seat.”
Photo: Deante’ Kyle, TikTok @deante_kyle