The TownhallSocial issues

Are you not entertained? How ‘celebrity’ came to define black leadership

By Curtis Scoon 

“Show me in the white community where a comedian is a white leader. Show me in the white community where a singer is a white leader – Or a dancer or a trumpet player is a white leader. These aren’t leaders. These are puppets and clowns that have been set up over the black community by the white community…” Malcolm X 

Particularly in the black community, ‘celebrity’ seems to qualify one for leadership status. In August 2020, Forbes Magazine published an article titled, “Diddy, Charlamagne tha God and other, ‘Black Male Leaders,’ tell Biden to pick black VP.”  

Over “100 black male leaders,” signed the letter. I’m willing to bet Biden didn’t know 97% of the signers and needed reminding regarding the remaining 3%. 

Nevertheless, Biden capitulated and selected Kamala Harris as his VP. Earlier, Biden told radio host and author Charlamagne tha God that “you ain’t black” if you vote for Donald Trump. 

Meanwhile, black “leader” Diddy is a bizarre representative for anything other than consumerism. His primary occupations are fashionista, music “mogul,” and purveyor of cheap spirits. Has the bar for black leadership ever been lower than Diddy? 

There are several, far more successful black businessmen in America, yet none are considered “black leaders.” Moreover, entertainers and athletes’ success relies upon white involvement in the form of agents, managers, team owners, and financial advisors.  

These same white liberals cultivate and exploit black entertainers’ relevance through access to mainstream media and corporate sponsorships. In this manner they are kept on “code.” They are controllable no matter how rich they become. 

A recent birthday celebration/fundraiser for Ahmaud Arbery underscores the importance of “celebrity” in drawing attention to black issues. The fundraiser helped at-risk youth become “influential figures.” The fundraiser’s promotional flyer included headshots of an assortment of “black leaders.” These included reality show stars, activists, rappers, and congresswoman Maxine Waters. The list of corporate sponsors was quite impressive too. 

A father and son killed Arbery on February 23, 2020. The killing’s timing during the last leg of a presidential election year eerily paralleled Trayvon Martin’s death. Almost eight years prior to the day. 

Interestingly, Arbery’s death breathed new life into Black Lives Matter, which went quiet after Trump was elected. It’s fascinating how victims of “injustice” become far more monetarily relevant in death than in life. The Grievance Industrial Complex has no class or conscience.  

Slavery and Clergy 

To understand how entertainers and celebrities became black leaders, we have to go back to slavery. The original black leaders were clergy. They wielded no real power, but their way with words let them speak to white America on behalf of less articulate members of their community.  

These were men like Richard Allen of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church). The church’s origins trace back to Philadelphia’s Bethel African Methodist Church in 1787. The Bethel African church members separated from the mainstream Methodist Episcopal Church in objection to the church’s segregation. 

In 1799, Allen, a freed slave from Delaware, was ordained its minister. From there, Allen sued in Pennsylvania courts to establish Bethel’s independence from white Methodists. He legally prevailed in 1815. Thus, in 1816, the independent AME Church was born. 

Considering the time period, this sequence of events and outcome is fascinating. However, the black clergy’s prominence was possible with the support of white abolitionists. There were also Northern Christian missionary allies. They saw slavery as wrong and against Christian principles.  

Approximately four million slaves were emancipated after the Civil War. Most were illiterate. Who but the black preachers were better qualified to represent newly freed slaves? After all, their white Christian allies advocated for them. Even the iconic Frederick Douglas was a licensed preacher in the AME Church network. 

Christian missionaries also helped start the HBCU (Historically Black College and Universities) system to formally educate blacks. 

In fact, DC’s prestigious Howard University started out as a seminary for black preachers. Soon after, the white Christian founders broadened their mission to include a liberal arts college and university. The school is named for Major General Oliver O. Howard, a white Civil War hero

Howard is the HBCU equivalent to Harvard. In Atlanta, the all-girls Spelman College began as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. Later, they renamed the school after significant financial contributors. Namely, Laura Spelman Rockefeller, wife of John D. Rockefeller. 

Overall, many argue that the black community’s love of great oratory and verbosity began with the historic emphasis on rhetoric in the church.  

The Birth of the Boule 

By the early 20th century, a class of highly educated black professionals emerged. They weren’t tradesmen or preachers and wanted to be more like their white counterparts. Some of these individuals were wealthier than the average white person and did not want their racial designation to limit them. 

So, in 1904, Dr. Henry McKee Minton and a handful of black professionals formed the first black secret society. Like the AME Church a century earlier, they formed Sigma Pi Phi, better known as the Boule, in the City of Brotherly Love. 

It was the first Black Greek Letter Organization (BGLO) and was modeled after Yale’s Skull & Bones. Soon, more BGLOs formed known as the “Divine Nine.” Members included Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. Dubois, Jesse Jackson and practically every prominent black figure of the 20th century. Nowadays, Kamala Harris is an Alpha Kappa Alpha and Stacey Abrams is a Delta Sigma Theta. 

In ancient Greece, the Boule were a council of nobles who advised the king. In the United States, the “king” they advise isn’t black, and the only advice a white king needs from black advisers is how to manipulate the black community. 

Post slavery, the perplexing question facing America was, “What to do with the Negro?” That question remains unanswered. However, the Boule maintained over 3000 archons and archousai (members and wives) to assist with this task, but they’ve outlived their usefulness.  

As detailed in Lawrence Graham’s Our Kind of People, many were mulattoes. They not only inherited DNA from wealthy slave owners, but a sense of entitlement accompanied by actual assets. 

One such family is the Syphax family in Northern Virginia. Long ago, slave owner George Washington Parke Custis and his house slave Ariana Carter had a child named Marie Custis. Marie’s father was the grandson of first Lady Martha Washington and owned her future husband, Charles Syphax

Upon her marriage in his home, Washington granted her and her husband their freedom. In addition, he offered 15 acres of land from a parcel that included what is today Arlington Cemetery. The rest of the parcel was given to his white daughter, Mary Custis. She later married Confederate General Robert E. Lee. 

Because of this, the black elite subconsciously yearn for legitimacy and acceptance from the elite “parent” that kept them a secret. They identify more with white elites than the black people who trust them to “lead.” This makes them dangerous and untrustworthy beyond measure. 

Film and TV 

The rise of black elite intellectuals coincided with the introduction of motion pictures and television. Unsurprisingly, modern celebrity culture began with film and TV. Black people could see and cheer on their heroes like Heavyweight Champion Joe Louis or Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel.  

People related to these pop culture figures far more than their black intellectual counterparts. Despite lacking pedigree, their fame-derived influence eclipsed the black elites. So, the elites recognized this and recruited them in their battle for equality. 

As early as the 1930’s, Alpha Phi Alpha member, singer, and athlete Paul Robeson drew the attention of the FBI for his Civil Rights stance and Communist sympathies. Black celebrities like Harry Belafonte, Aretha Franklin, and Sammy Davis Jr. heavily supported the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King too.  

“King believed that for the movement to succeed it had to reach more than one group and [Davis] was very valuable from that standpoint,” wrote Emilie Raymond in Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities and The Civil Rights Movement

In 1960, Sammy Davis Jr. enlisted fellow “Rat Pack” members Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford to perform free of charge. They raised $250,000 for the movement that day. Seemingly, being black and famous in the 60’s made social activism obligatory. 

At Jim Brown’s 1967 ‘Cleveland Summit’, premiere black athletes like Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor rallied in support of Muhammad Ali’s fight against the draft. The image of a defiant Tommie Smith and his “Black Power Fist” symbol at the ‘68 Olympics is forever etched in our consciousness. 

After Dr. King’s assassination, Boston mayor Kevin White asked James Brown to calm the black residents. Brown addressed the city on television and the community complied. The black celebrity had arrived. 


The Civil Rights Movement is the blueprint for black activism today with a notable difference. The black elite no longer control the entertainers – corporations do. The elite didn’t understand how reliance on entertainers exposed their limited influence. 

Their elitist mindset separated them from the only thing that made them relevant – the black community. Now we look to Jay-Z and Beyonce. 

For the elite, integration didn’t quite go as planned. In fact, it backfired on them. 

Now, when white politicians want to connect with the black community, they can go on The Breakfast Club, owned by iHeartMedia, Inc. Corporations like Nike can offer endorsement deals to activist athletes who align with their political interests. Publishers can offer book deals like the one Barack Obama or Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors has

What can the Boule offer? 

Self-professed Boule mascot Roland Martin spends his time arguing with people on social media. Kaepernick’s Kappa Alpha Psi frat brother, Professor Marc Lamont Hill, promotes male pregnancy and Palestinian rights wherever he has a platform. After trading financial independence for servitude, today’s black elite perpetually race to the bottom. They compete for corporate financing as political hacks and media shills. 

The Boule were once gatekeepers to the black population for the white elites. However, they never expected the same white elites bypassing them altogether. They miscalculated when they used celebrities like entertainers and sports figures. 

Meanwhile, Lebron James has a close likeness of the Boule’s lion logo tattooed across his chest. Perhaps, they concluded, if you can’t beat them, you might as well make them honorary members. 

When Cardi B interviewed Joe Biden ahead of actual journalists, it spoke volumes about how far we’ve fallen as a collective. For reference, Cardi B’s most recent hit was “WAP” (Wet Ass Pussy).  

To paraphrase Malcolm X, “These aren’t leaders. These are puppets and clowns set up over the black community by the white community…” 

The more things change the more they stay the same. Are you not entertained?


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Curtis Scoon

Editor-In-Chief | Founder

The editor-in-chief, executive producer, writer, and businessman. Curtis is active in helping the black community by employing and providing services in the Washington, DC and Detroit, MI areas.

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