In 1968 MLK final words were a plea to fight white corporate America. He challenged us, "go out and tell your neighbors not to buy Coca-Cola in Memphis. Go by and tell them not to buy Sealtest milk. Tell them not to buy -Wonder Bread”. The following day after issuing this challenge MLK was murdered in cold blood. Forty nine years later after his sacrifice, Black America is once again being challenged - but this time the challenge isn’t to stop buying Coca-Cola or Wonderbread. It’s to stop supporting the NFL and American Football.
Colin Kaepernick, an ordinary football player decided to kneel during the national anthem last year out of protest for police brutality against blacks in the United States. That action, while be it unplanned and uncoordinated, has sparked a national debate on the issue of systemic racism against blacks in sports and entertainment. Like gender bias and the institutional lack of cultural sensitivity found in corporate America, racism in sports is not new. We all remember the struggles of boxing legends Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali. For years both boxers waged two wars, one in the ring and one outside it. Fighting tirelessly to find balance in satisfying a then segregated black America, and an America dominated by a privileged non-black majority.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr saw the writing on the wall. If we as a community continue to turn a blind eye to the institutionalized injustices and blatant double standards enforced upon us, how will we ever truly reach the mountaintop? What good is the promised land if we’re still treated as field hands and criticized for tending our own fields? Something has to change and that change must occur in us first. We can no longer continue to expect those in the majority to respect our causes, culture and beliefs - just because it’s the right thing to do. No, we must command respect by demonstrating not on street corners or in front of office buildings - but in front of television sets, super markets, clothing stores and Wall Street.
During this NFL season (2017-2018) the SMAART INCUBATOR like Dr King, is issuing a challenge to the black community. Starting September 18th, 2017, SMAART is challenging the black community not to watch, listen or read anything produced by or for the NFL for 10 months. We are also asking you to stop supporting fantasy football leagues online, NFL MADDEN or any other football based video game or activity. Let’s deal a blow to the ratings, sponsorships and total viability of the NFL. Let us stop buying food, clothing and beverages that advertise with the NFL. Let us abandon buying seats at their games, memorabilia in their gift shops and Jerseys in their stores. It is time to demonstrate our power.
For the first time since the fall MLK and Malcolm X, let us stop asking to be respected as masters of our own fields and be masters! Let us seize the moment and show the world, our culture, causes and beliefs will be respected. We fought, suffered and sacrificed to reach the promised land - but now it's time to claim it. #strike4theland
Khufere Qhamata, is the founder of the SMAART INCUBATOR, a serial entrepreneur, and dedicated futurist. He is chief executive of Leap72, a strategic innovation consultancy advising corporations on how to use startup economics to grow and compete for the future. He is also a co-founder and board member of Academy M, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit specializes in the mentorship and career development of millennials. You can follow him on Linkedin.