As I write this article today, I am reminded of the uneven journey I took to get to my destiny and because of it I empathize with young men today who make decisions in their youth based upon environment and culture, not realizing that those decisions are both unnecessary and tragic and to some extent easily avoidable, which leads us to our subject today.
Most adults probably do not know who Kodak Black is but for those who are unaware, he is a young man of Haitian decent from the South Florida area who rose to prominence relatively quickly as a rapper. His stock rose quickly but like many other young men today, he was misled into believing that rap or hip hop music needed to correlate with personal participation in the overhyped lyrics. He touted his Z (Zoe Pound) affiliation and emphasized that he was not one of the rappers who just sung about violence and gang banging, he was a “real” one and an active participant in the culture.
Somehow, he did not get the memo that if you become rich and famous, it is your golden parachute out of the senseless shenanigans of street life, gang life and the associated culture. Many artists have seen the light and found better use of their time and money. Artists like Jay Z have taken their fame and fortune and parlayed it into investments, business ventures and legitimate enterprises seldom even visiting their old neighborhoods except to help those left behind or if they do visit, they do so with appropriate security and cautious activity.
Kodak Black is currently incarcerated for four years and is facing another possible 50 years in jail. He became a multimillionaire, a global music icon and yet his decision led him to being prisoner number xxxxx in a South Florida jail. Somebody (I am not sure who) needs to have a meeting or mentoring program for young rappers and educate them on life, perhaps some of the more successful rappers could lead the way in explaining to the up and coming rappers that the purpose of a legitimate career is so that you don’t have to languish in prison for the rest of your life by buying into the notion that you are more validated if you continue in senseless gang and crime activity to boost ratings. This has been proven to be a dumb decision and yet here lies Kodak Black, exhibit A in who to be an unwise, overhyped tragedy at a young age.
It seems unlikely that he will be out of jail anytime soon, perhaps for a decade or more. One of the charges he was convicted of was lying about his criminal past on an application to purchase a gun. I am assuming the gun was considered necessary for protection but if so, why did he not know what another rapper pointed out recently? The rapper stated that for someone of Kodak’s stature, why would he ever buy a gun under his own name? With his money and fame, he could have his security team purchase the gun for him or someone with a clean record purchase it and his security team could protect him without him having to need to carry a gun.Interesting questions that he should have asked a long time before being convicted and sentenced.
How many more examples of this type of outcome will we witness before the light goes off and young rappers see that to achieve success a logical separation needs to be made between what they sing about and what they live? Perhaps they will eventually come to the conclusion that singing about violence and perpetuating the elimination of young black men in their prime is not a productive exercise.
The Bible has an interesting phrase that seems appropriate in this situation, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is destruction”. Sometimes a dose of wisdom from the Bible is the pill needed to prevent an unceremonious decline or even death. Hopefully Kodak Black will find his way and if he is ever released, show others the folly of his ill-fated, but very common journey.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to email@example.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.