When 22-year-old Los Angeles rapper Blueface posted a video of himself on Christmas Eve standing on a car parked on a street in the middle of the homeless capital of America throwing money with the caption “season of giving”–I thought good for him.
And no sooner did he post the video on social media did the critics surface calling him out for his “degrading” and “dehumanizing” behavior.
Throwing money at people who are homeless–how dare he!
Having to urinate or take a crap in public because you have nowhere else to go and because of how you look and smell, no business will let you use their restroom—that’s degrading and dehumanizing.
Eating out of trash cans, being walked past like you don’t exist, and sleeping on the ground with roaches, rats and God only knows what else–that’s degrading.
Knowing you smell so bad that people walk across the street just to avoid you and what they don’t want to acknowledge—now that’s dehumanizing.
Grabbing money being thrown at you when you have none–nah.
I don’t remember any of this criticism when the late Father Maurice Chase, also known as Father Dollar Bill, a Roman Catholic priest, regularly came to L.A.’s Skid Row on holidays to hand out money to those who needed it–which was everybody he came across.
No bashing of the Larry Stewart known for years as Secret Santa who would roam the streets handing out money–sometimes $100 bills two or three at a time, to people in thrift stores, diners and parking lots. Legend has it, that before he passed he anonymously gave out more than $1.3 million.
But a 22-year-old Black rapper from South Los Angeles who comes from a generation of young people not known for their selfless caring of others–y’all want to criticize him for giving money out to homeless people for Christmas. Get the—out of here.
Blueface comes from a generation of entertainers seemingly more concerned with the public display of gold chains, big houses, and luxury cars. The fact that the “Thotiana” rapper put all of that aside for a short time to give to others should be commended not belittled and criticized.
All I see in that video are a lot of Black men on Skid Row being blessed with a few dollars by another Black man. There’s no rule that says the only place you can make it rain is up in the strip club.
For every dollar, Blueface threw out, had it been donated somewhere more than half of it would have gone to support administrative needs leaving very little to go to the people who it was actually intended to help and who actually need it. Hey, at least this way they got all the money with none of the red tape.
What I’m not going to do is sit up here and act like him throwing money at folks on Skid Row is more dehumanizing and degrading than those same folks’ daily existence and neither should you.
Jasmyne Cannick is an on-air contributor who writes and speaks about collisions at the intersection of politics, race and social issues. Bylines aplenty. Find her at IAmJasmyne.com