As someone with a massive platform and the ability to inform and influence the opinions of millions, after being in the public eye for about six years now, I completely understand the responsibility that comes with it.
No matter how well-intended I might be, things I do or say can easily be contorted or misinterpreted in order to propagate agendas I want no parts of. So whether it’s in my writing, or when I run my mouth on television, a podcast, a radio show, a panel, or wherever the hell else, it’s important that when I articulate my thoughts, I do so in a manner in which my intentions are crystal clear and you know exactly what’s on my mind when I open my mouth—which brings us to LeBron James.
After James demanded that Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon be held accountable—as in go to jail—for his decision to dismiss de-escalation tactics entirely in favor of shooting and killing 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant on April 20, he’s been on the bad side of bar owners, politicians, police officers, and everyone else who wants unjustified Black murders to go unpunished.
So in believing that he went about the situation all wrong (I’m inclined to disagree), the four-time NBA champ took to Twitter and attempted to redirect the conversation to where it belongs: on Bryant’s murder.
“I fueled the wrong conversation about Ma’Khia Bryant and I owe it to her and this movement to change it,” he tweeted. “Thank you @fabiolacineas for educating us about Ma’Khia and her story and why this needs to be about her.”
While I respect LeBron’s efforts, I’m gonna have to respectfully disagree. Because if I’ve learned anything over the course of my four decades of living in this racist-ass country that our ancestors built with their own two hands, it’s that a universally accepted way to address racial injustice doesn’t exist.
If we’re angry, our pleas fall on deaf ears. If we’re too kind, we’re either gaslit or outright ignored. Could LeBron have been more clear about the fact that he specifically wanted Reardon to go to prison for murdering Bryant? Absolutely. But do you really believe his message would’ve been interpreted any differently had he taken the time to do so? Of course not.
Because the same people who love our music, our style, our slang, and our immeasurable contributions to popular culture could give less than a shit about our humanity. In part because while they’ll mimic us every damn day of our fucking lives, they somehow can’t relate with who we are as human beings.
It’s a choice.
Because if they acknowledge our plight, then they’ll be held accountable to help rectify it. And where is the fun in worrying about Black people and “their problems” when they’d rather co-opt the latest TikTok craze?
So no matter how well-intended LeBron might be, they will always contort or deliberately misinterpret what he does or says in order to propagate agendas they know he wants no parts of.
It’s the American way.
So if you’re gonna be painted as an ungrateful nigger anyway, you might as well lift your fist in the air and tell the truth.
Yes, the conversation should absolutely be about Bryant, but how can we have that discussion without acknowledging the role of police accountability?
LeBron wasn’t wrong, and maybe one day he’ll learn that he’ll never be right either.