I don't think it's a secret that in the last five to 10 years, social media has opened up access to celebrities and media personalities like never before. MySpace allowed us the amazing ability to "speak" to our favorites and actually get replies back! How gratifying it was the first time you sent someone that you truly enjoyed a message, and they responded!
The trend continued on through Facebook to a degree, but especially through Twitter. Twitter has allowed for celebs to be open and vulnerable with their fans in a way that they have never been previously. This should be a great thing for us all right? I thought so, too, but not so fast.
Apparently, there is a price that celebs are paying for this access. I'm not talking about the clowns who tattoo food on their faces after a drunken weekend binge, or who marry hookers from an after party only to get it annulled two weeks later. They kind of have what they get coming to them for living foolishly in the public eye. I mean people that are not guilty of doing anything more than living their lives and minding their own business, only to find this new access to them a problem.
There is a phenomenon going on in social media and it needs to be addressed. This practice of calling legends within Hip-Hop/R&B out and berating them publicly, in order to gain some type of notoriety for one's own self is beyond disrespectful...it is, in fact, foolish.
If you are on Twitter, and you start tweeting foul names and terms to someone who has actually done something to earn respect among their followers, just to gain more followers for yourself, then you should probably spend some quality time on a couch with a therapist, figuring out where you are going wrong in life.
Class is something that a lot of people think they have, but sadly, they do not. Attacking people and calling them a "has been" or "irrelevant" only proves to those who encounter the "social media thugs" that they are classless, tacky, and flat-out thirsty for attention. If these people want "fame," they should do something worthy of applause. Maliciously ambushing someone who has already done something to make people cheer for them, does not qualify anyone for a virtual pat on the back. Actually, it deserves the opposite.
With that said, people need to quit rewarding these cowardly idiots with their follows, cyber friendships, or whatever else you are able to give a total stranger that is "thuggin" from behind a computer screen. This makes you complicit in the act, and possibly just as corny in the end. There should be no reward for going out of your way to make someone else feel bad about being themselves. Giving those people your vote of confidence won't make you any more popular or desirable. It just means you co-sign trashy behavior.
And while we are on the subject of popularity, let me be clear about one thing. If you are out of high school, and you are maligning someone with a famous name in order to fix that thing within you that is still sad because you were not a "cool kid" in school, again, I recommend calling a great therapist or Maury because there is help out there for folks like you.
However, dissing someone who has contributed to society in some way, will not and does not make you cool. It won't take you back to try outs and make you quarterback or head cheerleader. All it does is make you look like a virtual cornball that is dying for someone, anyone to notice your existence. I implore you, find something else to get attention, and leave those who have done something positive alone to enjoy the praise they have actually earned.
I normally wouldn't call out names, but I have recently seen someone who I find to be one of the kindest souls I have ever had the blessing of knowing being called out in this horrifying way, and it was simply the last straw for me, as it upsets me to no end. Anyone who has seen the A Tribe Called Quest documentary, Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest, has had the distinct pleasure of getting to know more about ATCQ member, Jarobi White, via the film.
In the documentary, the viewer is able to see what kind of genuine person Jarobi is. This is observed through his friendships he has maintained for over 20 years within his group. I can honestly say that Jarobi is that same kind of person off the big screen. He makes me laugh harder than my asthma can stand on most occasions, and is so humble that he will probably kill me for writing his name in this editorial in the first place!
But that aside, I think it's time to stand up to the grown up versions of cyber bullying. I realize that people give up certain rights to their anonymity when they are in the public eye, but sometimes enough is enough. And, when people target personalities for their own selfish gain, it needs to be called out. No one should be penalized for trying to keep us all entertained! Show people the respect they deserve and have earned.
Good manners are free, and being polite costs you nothing. It's something we need a lot more of.
Skyyhook is CEO/FOUNDER/General Manager of Skyyhook Radio and a contributor for AllHipHop.com. Follow her on Twitter (@SkyyhookRadio).