Sunday, January 18, 2015

Do YOU Really Want to Know?

Hello Glorious Readers, 

I bet you thought I forgot this weekend's blog post? Welp, I hadn't forgotten, just a day behind that's all. How many of you watched the movie premiere of Whitney on Lifetime last night?  It was pretty interesting stuff.  I still feel the casting director got some of the characters wrong, but outside of that, I felt it was a pretty good depiction of what I've read and heard about the iconic star.  I do miss her presence in the R&B scene and with a voice quite like hers, I'm pretty thankful I got to be here to experience it.  She's one of those artists that only come around once in a lifetime.  There will never be another Whitney, much like there will never be another Luther Vandross.

And while I'm on the subject of legacies, recently I've heard there's a fire chief who was fired from his job because of a book he wrote.  Forgive me if I don't know exactly all the facts, but from what I've listened to, this guy was first suspended for his actions and then it was decided he should be fired, as some speculate, due to the author's view of homosexuals. From the way I understand it, the rules and guidelines on this man's job prohibited an employee from doing the very type of thing in which he did, and although he was supposed to follow protocol and check with his employer before writing the book, he went ahead and did it anyway, and the fire department decided to end his employment.

When I first caught a glimpse into this story, immediately I was angry.  Not because of what this man wrote, but because he was being ridiculed for having done so.  He has a certain type of belief and feelings about a subject and he spoke out about it.  I feel his job did the right thing in the beginning by suspending him for not following proper procedures, but it gets a little sticky with me when I learned they fired this man.  What was the point of having done that?  The suspension should have sent a clear enough message to him, so what is the deal with the firing?  This would cause one to think that perhaps his firing wasn't so much to do with his lack of following procedure, but more so on what he wrote about in his book--his views of homosexuality.

I'm sure if you don't know by now my views on freedom of speech.  For some reason, it always seems to rear its ugly head from one time or another.  I agree that this chief should have been suspended for his actions in not following the rules, but being fired after the fact causes me some concern.  As much as I hear and see so many things that I feel should never be spoken, written or movies made about, those who wish to do so should be able to do it without having to worry about the repercussions--hence, Freedom of Speech, Expression, Creativity, etc.  

Which brings me to another point I've made many times on this blog.  When you're the creative type, you have so much responsibility in the art you project to the world.  No matter how much you are the artist and have a right to your personal views, once you release your creativity out there, it's there for the world to see.  You open yourself to judgment and opinionated people, haters, and the like.  You have to have a thick skin to be creative.  You may receive lots of heat for what you say and how it's perceived.  You may, unfortunately, lose a job because of your creativity.  

There's a fine line when it comes to freedom of speech.  Many of us hover right in between and we use it to our advantage and other times we want to run over the line and be done with it.  So you see, that's where the problem lies.  You can't have it both ways.  This is why I say regardless as to how I feel about anyone's creativity, how ignorant, vulgar, stupid, irresponsible an author's words may be or appear to you, I will always side with the author--ALWAYS!   If what I've heard about this fire chief is true, I agree with his job that he should have been suspended for not following procedure, but if he was fired simply because of words they didn't agree with or his views, that fire chief should fight them with as much fire as he can muster.  And I'd say he has a damn good case.  It certainly does look rather suspicious that he was first suspended, and then the department turns around and fires him. Hmm, that doesn't look so hot, now does it?

Being true to yourself comes with a heavy price sometimes.  Not everyone is going to share your way of thinking.  There are some pretty powerful people who run the world, and when they speak, the Powers that Be will listen.  When your creativity hurts a conglomerates bottom line, you better trust and believe you'll get gone when they want you to.  Don't believe me, ask Mona Scott-Young and VH1 about the cancellation of Sorority Sisters.  Think social media isn't powerful?  Think the Greek organizations aren't powerful?  A popular Reality show was cancelled due to some people's views of another's creativity and despite the show's disclaimer that it wasn't affiliated with any particular sorority or Greek organization. Do you see the line I'm talking about?

It's a mad, mad world we live in!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

If YOU aren't ready to wear the creative 
'Suit of Armor'. . .Then Don't Get Dressed!