by G. Brown
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is in Singapore. Why is that news? Because he’s there for the big Trump/Kim Jong Un summit. The U.S. and North Korean leaders are set to have their first face-to-face meet. Actually, that’s a face-to-face-to-face meet because Rodman is the third face.
The Supreme Leader (Kim, not Rodman) is often referred to as “ruthless” despot who allegedly orchestrated the murders of his own brother and uncle to remain in leadership. His iron fist reign has turned North Korea into one of the most repressive states. And one of the most dangerous with a cache of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. He was long considered one of America’s biggest and most unstable enemies who even threatened once to nuke Washington D.C.
He’s also considered a skilled strategist…which means Trump may be way out of his depth at this summit. But why does he think Rodman can even the score?
Because for whatever bizarre reason, Kim has taken a liking to or at least a fascination with the 56 year old ex NBA star. In 2013 Rodman was one of the first known Americans to meet Kim and has had made three more visits, including this latest, to see the dictator he calls “a friend for life“. Rodman tried to get former President Barack Obama to meet with Kim, but that never came to fruition. Now that he’s friends with Trump, Rodman is again intervening and trying his hand as a diplomat. The Kim/Trump/Rodman roundtable was Monday’s talker on Twitter.
The year is 2018, IHOP is now IHOB, President Trump and Dennis Rodman are meeting with Kim Jong Un to discuss nuclear disarmament, Hawaii is being destroyed by a volcano and Sonic released the Pickle Juice Slush. This is the Twilight Zone. #NorthKoreaSummit pic.twitter.com/nX7Jj3OWl6
— Chris Dmytriw (@chrisdmytriw1) June 11, 2018
Thank God, Dennis Rodman has arrived.
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) June 11, 2018
Dennis Rodman is there?! This is some jacked up stuff…..
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) June 11, 2018
Celebrities can gain access to people and circumstances that elude the common man. For instance, Alice Marie Johnson is a free woman today thanks to the intervention of Kim Kardashian who used her celebrity to arrange a meet with Trump on behalf of the woman who was given a life sentence on drug charges.
Kardashian’s audience led to a presidential pardon for Johnson who served 21 years. While Johnson admits guilt on the drug trafficking conspiracy charges, she says her life sentence was extreme and calls her new found freedom “a miracle”.
Kardashian and Trump are being heralded by some as the new White saviors of Black people. But let’s put this in the proper perspective. It’s a political game…and even the best athletes like Rodman at the peak of their prime prowess are no match for this game.
Georgetown University professor and author Michael Eric Dyson told a little known story on “Real Time with Bill Maher” about a meeting between JFK’s brother Bobby Kennedy who was the Attorney General at the time with Black celebs. Kennedy wanted to discuss race problems in the 60s as extremists raged on both sides bringing America to the brink of a racial crisis.
Kennedy met with Black celebrities like author James Baldwin, actress Lena Horne and actor singer Harry Belafonte. Kennedy wanted to know ‘what’s going on in Black America?’ Dyson writes about the meeting in his latest book, “What Truth Sounds Like”. Kennedy wanted celebrities to sugar coat the truth, but these celebrities brought along a man who was on the front lines as a freedom rider. A man who had been beaten countless times in the fight for equality and told Kennedy he wouldn’t go to war for America because America was at war with Black people. Kennedy got upset reportedly at this truth and Lena Horne stepped in saying, “Don’t turn to us respectable Negroes, keep talking to that man because that’s who you need to listen to…”
Celebrities are not the common man, they don’t face what most people deal with daily. Sure Rodman is Black, but could the average Black man or woman waltz into N. Korea and sit down with the leader of that country if celebrity didn’t make it happen?
Celebrity has its advantages, but one of the most glaring disadvantages is it separates them from real life. Consider Kanye—money, luxury and celebrity keeps him out of touch with what’s real. His wife used her celebrity to help one Black woman, but the problem here is bigger than one woman. Race in America is not a political football to kick around when it’s reelection time to wins the Black vote. Racism in America is a moral problem that exists at the core of our judicial, economic and social system. Until we confront and overhaul the entire system, pardoning one Black woman or allowing a Black athlete to talks with a foreign dictator is nothing but the latest version of a minstrel show where celebs aren’t helping the bigger problem. They’re just being used purely for their celebrity status to win votes.