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Just Do It: Buy Sneakers That Fit Your Agenda
By Willam Reed
The Nike campaign and collusion hearing could make Colin Kaepernick wealthier and get Americans talking. Through the Nike apparel company’s 30th anniversary ‘Just Do It’ campaign, the nation can focus on issues that guide and divide us. Nike executives’ decision to use Kaepernick in this unique way can help reignite discussions across the nation about social and racial inequality. Talk about “pride and “patriotism” is far afield of what the campaign and protests were actually about.  Like so much in America when you’re dealing with issues that are about race, the message gets lost.

 

American controversy does two things well: divide people and generate revenue.  In 2016, as quarterback for the National Football League's San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2016, Kaepernick became known for protesting injustice toward Blacks by choosing to kneel on one knee rather than stand while the national anthem was being played. That act ignited a firestorm of negative responses that included suggestions that players who protest be fired; others displayed their disapproval by leaving the stadium immediately after protests or refusing to watch games at all.  

 

Through it all, Kaepernick has become a world-wide symbol for the aggrieved. In November 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding to not hire him. In 2018, Amnesty International awarded Kaepernick with its Ambassador of Conscience award Kaepernick is set to receive Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois medal “in recognition of contributions to African and African American culture and life."

 

Nike should be praised for the ads. One Wall Street analyst is calling the move "genius" and a "sign of strength."  "We believe Nike's ad campaign was a stroke of genius," wrote stock analyst Camilo Lyon to his Wall Street clients. Lyon reasons that the campaign "struck an emotional chord with people that incite conversation." He deemed it "courageous" that Nike “took a stance on a social issue”, and said it spoke to Nike customers "in a way that shows it understands them on issues that matter to them." Lastly, the ad campaign strengthened ties with Nike-sponsored athletes. "To us, this premeditated move was a subtle but significant sign of Nike's strength and confidence in its position in the marketplace.”

 

This issue continues to divide fans and vex owners. But surely Blacks support Nike’s actions too: "Believe in something: Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The Nike apparel, footwear and sports equipment company is estimated to earn over $36 billion in 2018.  Mainstream members tweeted images of Nike shoes being burned, while others praised the brand for supporting Kaepernick's protests against racial injustice. In addition, Nike signed Kaepernick to a new multi-year endorsement deal.

 

Who qualifies more as Blacks’ “Company of the Year” than Nike, Inc., an American multinational corporation engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services? The company is run by Phil Knight and headquartered near the Portland metropolitan area. It's time we saw Nike in a better light. Nike's favorability has declined among millenials, Democrats and African Americans. High-profile athletes and celebrities are speaking out in support of Nike and Kaepernick, including tennis star Serena Williams and Kanye West, an endorser of Nike rival Adidas. 

 

Colin Rand Kaepernick was born Nov. 3, 1987, in Milwaukee, Wisc. He was just weeks old when he was adopted by a White couple, Rick and Teresa Kaepernick. Currently Colin is worth $20 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.1:

 

Nike made $15 billion in 2017. In spite of the controversy, Nike still has a partnership with the NFL providing teams with game-day uniforms and apparel that runs through 2028,


William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com



Stop dallying around about "the debt" (reparations)

“An apology to African Americans is meaningless without reparations payments.” - Randall Robinson

 

By William Reed

As Black Americans entered 2017, their unemployment rate was double that of whites, 9.2 percent to 4.4 percent. Starting the year, the wealth rate of whites was almost 20 times that of blacks, $111,146 in holdings compared to $7,113.  Despite this, black political leadership in the person of Atlanta Cong. John Lewis is operating as a loyal Democrat, presenting incorrect and politically-biased interviews.

 

In contrast to growing political power, blacks in the United States continue far behind whites in key areas of economic well-being like wealth, income and homeownership. It’s time blacks recognize and pass judgment regarding disparities between blacks and whites that has persisted over centuries. While their politicians play “mainstream politics, the meter of progress is running backwards on Black America, toward greater inequality. At our current pace, it will take 228 years for Blacks to amass wealth to be equal with that of whites

 

Shouldn’t there be an outcry of rage among African Americans for justice? Why don’t blacks make a formal demand regarding the racial inequality since slavery in the distribution of wealth, power, and life opportunities. Affluence in the country remains overwhelmingly white. Only 1 percent of black families have a net worth above $1.4 million, compared to 9 percent of white families who have that much wealth.

 

The majority of Blacks seem to think that Lewis’ antics represent “political empowerment.” The civil rights icon’s behavior prompts the question: how relevant is the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to black life in America today? While Lewis dominated the mainstream news alleging Donald Trump an “illegitimate president,” most Black Americans aren’t aware of legislation presented to the 115th Congress that will impanel a commission to study slavery and its effects that could get each black family a million dollars.

 

How relevant is the CBC to blacks and their causes when the black group is one of the most reliably Democrat operations in politics? Blacks have succumbed to a “go along to get along” mentality that often fails to serve blacks interests. The mainstream media and far too many blacks pays more attention to Lewis’ blatant party political move than to Rep. John Conyers’ H.R. 40 legislation that would set up a commission to consider whether reparations should be paid to Black Americans as compensation for slavery.

 

African Americans have been outside the nation’s economic orbit, wealth-wise, on a trajectory that can never achieve parity with whites. As the race’s political prospects declined, black politicians have been useful tools to the Democratic Party. Politically-sophisticated African Americans will have to move beyond partisan “colorblind” politics and platforms to conversations about the $14 trillion owed descendants of slaves. It’s time Blacks take the lead on more conversation and attention to the reparations issue. Black politicians are part of the Democratic Establishment. More blacks need to see that their support of the Democratic agenda has enhanced blacks’ inequity and demand members of the CBC “take care of home”.

 

Mainstream-oriented blacks cower and view reparations advocates as “delusional” with “ill-conceived efforts to force whites to pay for the sins of slavery”. Barack Obama disparaged the concept of reparations and caused blacks to subscribe to “mainstream thought” to their own detriment. Surely a substantial debt is owed. The legacy of slavery hinders the economic progress of Blacks in America. Reparations would rectify a historical wrong and help more Blacks lift their communities and increase their living standards.

 

The country still has work to do for blacks to achieve equality with whites. Four-in-ten whites believe the country will eventually make changes needed for blacks to have equality, while 38 percent say enough changes have already been made. Getting our amends in America will require Blacks to realistically access “who is carrying water on our behalf.”  Blacks need to take possession of the politics within our communities by telling candidates for office to represent blacks’ collective interests. H.R. 40 needs CBC co-signers.  Call the CBC offices via 202 224-3121 and say, “I want to get paid.”

 

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com