One thing we all adore
Something worth dying for
Nothing but pain
Stuck in this game
Searching for fortune and fame
Tupac’s words haunt me today after hearing news of the death of David Bowie, British born rock star, who’s crossover hit “Fame” breathed that same spirit.
Bowie said that:
Fame, makes a man take things over
Fame, lets him loose, hard to swallow
Fame, puts you there where things are hollow
Fame, what you like is in the limo
Fame, what you get is no tomorrow
Fame, what you need you have to borrow
Tupac said he’s stuck. Bowie says there’s no tomorrow….
So why do we chase it? Why do we chase fame, cred, a name….
Read the lyrics, and both brothers talk about being what psychologists call “other directed.” Put simply, it matters to us more what other people think of us than what we think of ourselves.
I remember being in a group arguing about this, when one dude screamed: “I don’t care what none o’ ya’ll n****** think about me…” LOL, yes he did, because if he didn’t, he wouldn’t have said that. He wanted us to know he was independent, but expressed it through depending on us to know it.
What do you think of you? Do you believe in your own worth, or do you depend on the opinions of others. Is what you like in the limo or in your heart? Are you wrestling with “who controls our brain, who can I blame?”
The same newspaper who calls a Black man in Missouri with a protest sign a thug, calls a white man with a gun in Oregon a protestor. An employer calls you “unemployable” because of your record. Dudes on the street call you “soft” because you’re trying to get out of the game, the hustle, and live a productive life for you and yours. But what do you think about you?
In a class I teach at Howard University, I open one lecture by pulling out a twenty dollar bill. I ask the class who wants it. Everybody’s hand goes up. Then I crumple it up. “Who still wants it?” I ask. Everybody’s hand is still up. I throw it on the floor, I step on it…everybody still wants it. I ask if I put it in the toilet….some hands go down, but one student says, “maybe if it was a stack…”
You know why they still want it? Because even crumpled, dirty, stepped on, s*** on, it never loses its value. It is what it is, a twenty, a fifty, a hundred, a stack…it has value. And you have more value within you despite your past. Stop chasing fame and all its pain. How you are seen by others is far less important than how you see yourself. Fame ain’t worth dying for. But you are worth living for.