Ask Sermon: Is Respect An Outdated Currency?

Welcome back to the award-winning Ask Sermon series. That’s right in just two short weeks I already won my first award. The Greatest Series on Medium award at the You Had To Be There award show. It was held in a small town near the gulf coast. Don’t Google. Take my word for it.

Anyways, Songo brings us two of the most loaded questions in the series so far:

The answer to the first question is simple: we’re humans. Allow me to explain. As human beings, we all share different opinions and views. Some of us see the vision in one way, while some see it in another. Creative communities exist both in the real and digital worlds with a lot of it leaning toward the latter.

I was born and raised in Seattle, where we have a small hip-hop community. Being fortunate to be apart of it on the media side meant I was familiar with everyone making any noise, and trust there were plenty. Just because someone isn’t on your radar doesn’t mean their career isn’t flourishing on the indie circuit. Ryan Caraveo is putting up numbers and sold out shows all over, but his name might not be familiar to a lot of people.

For as long as I’ve been doing whatever it is I do, I’ve always believed in working for experience in the beginning. Would I love to be paid right off the bat? HELL YEAH. However, sometimes you gotta prove yourself. As a journalist, I never made more than a dime, but I created so many memories because I chose to work and build my name. I didn’t see a consistent amount of money with VMG until last year after three years of being with them.

I was also partial to giving people chances when I could. Covering an artist here or letting a writer join my blog, because I felt it was my responsibility as a journalist to pay it forward. Then again, I’ve had luxuries that other don’t. I worked a part-time job for years, so I made sure to use my free time toward writing and social media wisely. Some people can’t do that, hence why if it ain’t about the money they don’t wanna be involved. I understand it, I just wanted to take a different route.

Respect as a currency has taken a backseat in this generation. That much was clear when you see artists disrespecting Tupac and facing no backlash from their fans. Numbers are addictive, so when someone sees that they can get attention from trolling or saying disrespectful things — whether they mean it or not — they’re going to do that.

I don’t know when respect became more scarce, though. Somewhere along the road, the internet started acting like a desensitized world that doesn’t care if you beat or raped someone, or if you’re racist. Lacking sensitivity essentially opened the flood gates of people to chase clout a lot easier.

I’ve always valued respect over influence, but having both is a blessing. When you think about it, obtaining both is part of longevity. Soulja Boy has had a huge influence on the internet age of hip-hop, but do we speak on him from a place of respect? Most of the time, we don’t or it’s past tense. Artists like Kanye West, Drake, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are among the biggest names — future legends — for a reason.

So many people are figuring out how to get short term success, because it’s enticing to get in the spotlight. Fame is as much a drug as any physical usage. People create entirely new personas to fit into what gets attention nowadays. It makes the idea of slow burn seem like torture, but history is on our side. If you want a lengthy career, you’ll work for it.

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