Open Letter to Snoop Dogg & Jamie Foxx

Snoop Dizzle and my man J-Foxx,

First of all, congratulations for your life achievements thus far. You’re both successful entertainers, and I have to say that I’ve enjoyed both of your work quite a bit from time to time. It’s been a pleasure seeing both of you make the transition from being cult favorites among Black audiences to mainstream sensations.

I’m also glad that you both have seen fit to get involved with what is a sensitive and politically polarizing subject, capital punishment. I’m sure that Stanley “Tookie” Williams was grateful to have stars of your magnitude shedding light on his predicament. And I’m sure that even those people who fully support the death penalty can appreciate the good attempts Williams made to dissuade young people from joining gangs, even if they don’t think those deeds outweighed the heinous criminal acts he was convicted of committing.

Nevertheless, Tookie couldn’t run from the past forever, and his number was finally called. As Ken “Hawk” Harrelson would say, “he gone.”

So my question to you is simple:

What are you going to do now?

Specifically, what plans do you have to carry on Tookie’s legacy?

If he meant as much to you as you’ve indicated, then I hope to see you both continue to advance his legacy by doing whatever you can to stop the influence of gangs on America’s youth. And it’s probably not as hard as you think.

It may be simply a matter of helping provide products with positive entertainment value that don’t glorify violence or perpetuate gangsta / playa ethos that help to perpetuate the spiral of crime and degradation. It could be as simple as committing time, energy and money to advance extra-curricular programs that can give kids something to do besides knock off corner stores and sling rock.

Or maybe it could be something as simple as continuing to speak out about the problem. An interview here, a speaking engagement there, etc. I don’t know what your publicists have in mind. But if this is something you’re serious about, then by all means, let them in on your convictions. Please continue your efforts to make a difference.

Because if you don’t, then it’s gonna look bad for you. Many people (myself included) will conclude that this whole Tookie Williams affair was a sham; not quite an elaborate set-up, but much worse than just a waning of interest. It’s gonna look like you were less interested in changing our communities for the better and more interested in grabbing the spotlight to push a cause in order to network with Hollywood leftist activists.

I’m not God, and I can’t judge your motives. But I like you both, so I’m hoping you can quiet my skeptical instincts by continuing to be diligent in your anti-gang activism. If you don’t, then you shouldn’t bother yourselves with any other forms of activism. Because by then nobody’s gonna take you seriously. Credibility is like currency — if you’re not careful, it can disappear in a hurry.

So Snoop, with that in mind, keep your mind on your money and your money on your mind. Think of where it can do the most good. Jamie, do like you used to say with your “Wanda” character from In Living Color. Rock my world. Be so bold and daring in your desire to create change that you’ll be willing to look silly and endure criticism for what you believe.

Don’t just do it because I’m challenging you. Do it ’cause it’s the right thing to do.

And if he meant so much to you, then do it for Tookie.

sincerely,

Jelani Greenidge
Blogger, “Mixin’ It Up.”

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