No More Idols: Introduction
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Some years ago, back in the MySpace days, a friend I met online decided to start a hip-hop blog/page called No More Classics. It was to be centered around the fact that there aren’t really classic rap albums anymore and that no one seems to be trying to craft one, only chase sales without the quality to back it. And while I loved the idea (it probably should make a return) it didn’t really take off and was mostly scrapped. Over the years, however, the No More... part stuck in my head and that’s where we’re at today.
Since the turn of the century we’ve seen a lot of our so-called idols deconstructed and broken down into parts while being the next target of (also so-called) cancel culture, where people and institutions are dismissed for a specific infraction. And while sometimes I agree with “canceling” some people over dumb things they’ve done, especially when it’s been a long running theme that no one cared about before, I’m not always keen on throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Prime example: Bill Cosby. For decades he ran rampant around the entertainment industry destroying the lives of a lot of women. He joked about his antics on several occasions and it was more of an open secret than just a regular one. He deserves to serve his time in prison regardless of his age. However...we cannot completely forget all the good that he did in the world leading up to his eventual imprisonment. Cosby brought positive things to the wider world and the perception of Black people. He championed HBCU’s, especially with the creation of A Different World, and educated the masses on being proud of Blackness and calling out those that diminish us. He is not, I repeat, NOT to be idolized, but his efforts shouldn’t be diminished. He just shouldn’t be championed for them as a person. You should be allowed to say the teachings of Cosby influenced you in good ways to make positive change without saying Cosby himself is a good person. No More Idols.
And this is separate from those saying to disconnect the person from their art. It’s hard to do something like that and I don’t think we should (Chris Brown is still trash but if you listened to him before he flew off the rails, that’s not a bad thing. Remember that fondly but when you continue to support him after the fact, you know better. R. Kelly, too.) A persons’ art is a direct reflection of who they are and the good things we got from them can’t be ignored. But I think we should evaluate people like that better in hindsight and talk about their ideas rather than them as people. We can’t pretend that we never watched The Cosby Show or A Different World, that’s impossible. But we are allowed to extrapolate the good qualities from them. Osama bin Laden was an international terrorist who should not be applauded for his heinous crimes but it was found out that he said we in the west should rise up over climate change. He is wrong for so many things but that idea is not. He should not be celebrated but that idea can be without his input.
No More Idols is about celebrating ideas and impact more than people. It’s saying that we should evaluate and rightfully critique people when they show us their true colors but also taking a look at why they were revered in the first place. Saying, “this part should continue, thank you for your contribution” while moving along with that movement. It’s looking at people or things that actually weren’t great to begin with and showing ourselves that we really never needed them and that we’re long overdue for change. But really, No More Idols is about ourselves. Taking a cold, hard look at the world, realizing that everyone is flawed, no one should be idolized to the point they seem infallible and then seeing that we can take the good from things and put them into ourselves. We need to be our own idols because no one is truly coming to save us all and have all of our best interests at heart. That can only be done as individuals.
This is also a series I’ll be doing with the header of No More Idols along with another person or institution I’ll be writing about to show that while they served their purpose, it’s okay to let them go and take the essence of our original perceived intent from them and carry that out in new, better and more meaningful ways. No More Idols.