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Competition between artists of the same gender and in the same genre will always come into play when it comes to music. It’s a natural reality that’s actually a vital part of helping artists stay on top of their game. However, what isn’t natural–and becoming quite counterproductive–is this newfound obsession we seem to have with constantly pitting black entertainers against each other in the worst of ways.

Ciara recently released her sixth studio album titled “Jackie” and it didn’t do too well on the Billboard charts, landing at number 17 with just under 20k units sold in the first week. Like clockwork, the Internets exploded with 876 memes, carefully crafted insults and disrespectful headlines all littered with reasons why Ciara will never be Beyoncé, why Rihanna is better, etc. etc. And then when she spoke out to defend herself and showcase pride in her musical journey in the face of her critics (Ciara was quoted this week as saying she’s had hits just as big as Beyoncé and Rihanna) she was thrashed even more. Consequently, fail or succeed, the very same people who are shaming Ciara now will turn around and make a laundry list of reasons why Beyoncé wouldn’t be allowed to breathe if Aaliyah were alive or why Rihanna will never be a bigger pop star than Whitney Houston was in 1992.

Am I the only one who thinks this is getting old?

I’m not here to act as if I’ve never laughed at one of those memes or found a shade-filled tweet a little funnier than I should have every now and then, but given the choice between seeing this trend of perpetuating hatred of one black artist to uplift another grow and seeing it end, I’d choose the latter everyday of the week and twice on Sundays. We’ve mastered the ability to identify the destruction being done to the black community by those outside of it, but an important part of that is to teach people to better value the significant contributions that our culture is making to history and our music is a big part of our culture. More and more, mainstream America is taking their cues from us. We are creating the trends; we are controlling the conversations. So the last thing we should want to lead with is being known as a people who thrive on the hardships of our own to the point where everyone watching begins to take notice and think it’s ok to do the same.

This is not to suggest that we as fans shouldn’t give artists honest feedback when they release music that we truly feel is subpar or not their best work. In fact, most good artists would prefer to know when their fans are unhappy with their music. But nowadays, there’s a very fine line between actually being dissatisfied and wanting to perpetuate dissatisfaction for public personal gain that ultimately serves no purpose whatsoever in the not-so-distant long run. We’re in a time now where African-Americans are excelling to the highest of levels across multiple industries and their history-making strides will serve to benefit future generations. It makes no sense for us to complain about our people not getting the credit or appreciation they deserve, only to turn around and give everybody reasons to laugh at their hardships or overly criticize their triumphs. We’re leading the way in this era whether we realize it or not, so let’s start leading with something other than negativity or recycled humor when we all know that there’s much, much more we can bring to the table.

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  • Anthony

    Perspective is needed. I would hope an artist would realize that trolls attack regular nobodies, of course they will swarm like flies over a cow patty when they attack someone famous. There are times in this life when we all need self esteem instead of worrying about the opinions of others.

    Off topic: I would bet the house she also looks better semi nude than the people criticizing her by a long shot too!

    • [email protected]

      Well, Ciara is a beautiful woman without question. She’s into fitness and she’s a very intelligent Sister too.

    • Staci Elle

      Hey Truth, I see you’re here with the positivity as always :)

    • [email protected]

      Thank you Staci Elle. :)

    • [email protected]

      Have a Blessed Day Sister Staci Elle.

    • Staci Elle

      You too :)

  • Jacqueline

    Actually this is not new. I was just looking at an old Ebony that had Janet Jackson, Anita Baker and Whitney Houston on the cover asking who was the best. That was in the late 80’s. It has been going on forever. I am just saying.

  • [email protected]

    There is nothing wrong with legitimately critiquing albums fairly. Yet, as this article says, the excessive disrespect of artists in vulgar, nihilistic, and slanderous ways, is totally wrong and unjust. Some folks in our generation make it a sport to use certain memes to ridicules others in the most sick, hurtful ways possible. That is totally wrong. This is nothing new. It is just that social media today has made it more widespread than decades ago. Many of these artists struggle through a lot of adversity to just perform or to establish their albums. So, these artists don’t need patronize. They need fairness and equity.

  • Ashley muffin

    The promblem is black people, seem to like to tear other black people down. I think we’ve all had are incidents of being attacked.

    • Ashley muffin

      Black female artist have always tended to have a silent feud between each other that fans tend to pick up on…….Unlike males, who more so tend to collaborate with the competition.

  • mmmdot

    My opinion about this? It’s not that serious. I can understand why others would feel differently, but it’s JUST not that serious to me. The
    individual successes of Black entertainers have no impact whatsoever on Black people
    collectively. Seeing a Black face doesn’t necessarily mean something for RACIAL PROGRESS,
    as much as for the progress of that particular entertainer. Unless a Black artist is
    socially conscious on some level and/or has something substantial to
    contribute, I really have to try hard to separate their individual success from
    the social conditions that most black people have to live under and whether
    they’re helping to make things easier for the black people coming after them.
    Black Tokens selling out and or making racist and misogynoirist crap so THEY can get rich represent absolutely NOTHING positive for me and my life
    as Black woman. Absolutely nothing. Period.