Katt Williams Mania Sad Testament to Black Failure

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

In one week, video footage was released of a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff gunning down a young Black woman, stats were release that showed homelessness and poverty among Blacks continued to soar, and Black incarceration continued at record highs. Yet in that same week there was no stir from Blacks over these crisis issues. The stir was over the inane, frivolous ramblings of a second ratee comedian Katt Williams.

Williams ignited passion, chatter, and endless debate over such earth-shattering issues as the foibles, his beefs, jealousies, personal and sexual gossip, and innuendoes about a pack of other comedians and entertainers. This wasn’t just a passing chit chat diversion by Blacks. His digs sparked relentless, impassioned back and forth debate about the relevance, importance, and alleged profundity of a comedian, of all persons, alleged profound social truths.

The Williams inane flap struck to the heart of a larger problem. The bread and circus keep em transfixed with the pap and frivolity of the utterances of sports and entertainment figures. Their antics are debated and discussed endlessly. A word from them is treated in many circles as tantamount to a word from on high.

They are the living embodiment of the perverse obsession many Blacks have with the frivolity of their generally vapid lives. Why this intense identification with them, their lives, and their utterances? This question has puzzled many. That celebrity power can be such an elixir, tranquilizer, and source of mesmerizing, unthinking fascination for the multitude.

Yet at the same time real world, life and death, survival problems and issues that impact Black lives fail miserably to generate any focus, discussion and God forbid action. The ultimate slap is that many Blacks will rip to pieces anyone who dares ask the question: What would happen if you spent half your energy, time and resources discussing and doing something about police abuse and political disempowerment as you do worrying about what a Katt Williams has to say about anything?

Celebrity obsession is a pervasive trap and prescription for the even further slide down of a people, Black people, into the pit of increased marginalization and irrelevancy. But take heart Katt for many is your antidote.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His latest book is The Myth of Black Capitalism (New Edition) NYU Press. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network. He is the publisher of thehutchinsonreport.net

1 thought on “Katt Williams Mania Sad Testament to Black Failure”

  1. Yes it’s true. The Black community for the most part is memorized by the entertainment world and those who are invited in it. Ditto for sports. Far too many of us live vicariously through those in these two industries. What a distraction from the less than adequate reality most of us live.

    The Roman Emperors were correct. The masses of Romans were poor and tax burdened. The Empeorers
    gave them the Coliseum with lots of bloody entertainment. So it was then. So it is now.

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