The Black Community’s Role Model Crisis: Aspiring for Excellence, Part 1

Positive role models are very important in life. Role models give people someone to look up to and emulate. In today’s society, celebrities are often treated as role models; however, they are not all an influence for good. Many celebrities remain such by constantly pushing boundaries and engaging in risky behavior, and those who seek to mimic their lifestyle are led to adopting a variety of negative habits and attitudes. In the black community, this role model crisis is particularly pronounced. Many young men look up to entertainers such as 50 Cent, Chief Keef, Tupac, Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne—many of whom promote values that are antithetical to uplifting the black community.

Similarly, female rappers promote excessive sexuality; for instance, Nikki Minaj advocates “twerking,” which is a sexually provocative  dance involving a woman shaking her butt in a man’s groin area. This bizarre behavior is promoted by entertainers, who completely ignore the consequences of behaving in an  immodest manner, and our daughters and sisters consequently learn to mimic this inappropriate behavior.

Rappers frequently talk about fornication, violence, and drugs. This normalizes what we as a community would otherwise perceive as immoral and wrong, and due to their celebrity status, rappers have the capability of reaching a worldwide audience. This works to continuously bring the African-American community down. Teens see how successful these rappers have become and they incorrectly assume that adopting a similar lifestyle would give them that same success.

I saw a real-life example of this when a friend of mine came to my house while high. He had been smoking pot. When I saw him in this state, I tried to convince him to stop using marijuana. He responded by saying, “Barack Obama used marijuana. Look at how successful he is.” I said, “Really? Do you know that the most successful man in world history never touched any drugs? Do you know where Barack Hussein Obama got his name from? He gets it from Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the man who is widely considered to be the most successful man in history: the Prophet Muhammad.”

​Below are two quotes that support my assertion that the Prophet Muhammad is considered the most successful man in history.

“My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.” [The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History, New York, 1978, p. 33]

Lamartine, Histoire de la Turquie, Paris 1854, Vol II, pp. 276-77:

“If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad?  The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls… Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?” (Edward Gibbon and Simon Ocklay, History of the Saracen Empire, London, 1870, p. 54)

Drugs & Alcohol

What did Muhammad do to achieve his greatness? Well, first let’s examine his daily habits to find out what he didn’t do. He didn’t do drugs. In a talk called “The Greatest Man – Muhammad,” the speaker notes, “The Prophet Muhammad never drank alcohol throughout his life although alcohol drinking was just as common in that day as it is today. The prophet never used any intoxicants and although the drugs that are used today were not known in his time, they had their own type of drugs.” Even before he became a prophet, Muhammad never touched alcohol or drugs.

​In contrast to Muhammad’s sobriety, rappers, who many youth look up to as role models, openly brag about their drug usage. For example, Wiz Khalifa advocates marijuana use in his “Still Blazin’” song. In this song, he raps, “Just gimme quiet place and lemme roll my weed. I’m here but my mind’s gone.” This is precisely what marijuana does: it impairs brain function, resulting in aloofness and lethargy. Those who habitually use marijuana are led to become completely unproductive, contributing nothing to society or their own lives.

​Because marijuana is not as dangerous a drug as heroin or methamphetamine, people commonly ignore or downplay its negative effects. This attitude is also found regarding alcohol; it has become a cultural norm to get drunk with friends or have a few drinks while on a date. Many people have difficulty with normal social interaction if they cannot drink alcohol. This can become a full-blown addiction, which takes a toll on the individual’s health, resulting in cirrhosis of the liver and even death.

Even with these consequences, it is legal for anyone who is 21 or older to consume alcohol, and drinking can quickly become a strong habit. Rapper Chief Keef promotes this lifestyle, stating, “I hate being sober.” He attempts to make alcohol consumption look “cool,” but in reality, it is a dangerous substance that can lead to domestic violence, addiction, and deaths related to drinking and driving.

​Instead of accepting the messages these rappers promote, we should consider the consequences of such lifestyle choices and choose to follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad, who abstained from drugs and alcohol. If everyone chose to live as he did, our society would function better, there would be fewer untimely deaths, and substance addiction would no longer chain us down. We would be able to improve our community.


In addition to bragging about substance abuse, rappers also openly brag about how many women they’ve had sex with. In doing so, they disrespect these women, treating them as sex objects. For example, Dipset rapper Camron states, “All I do is f*ck b*tches… Brought my niggas in the room, ran a choo-choo.”  Other rappers such as 2Chains doesn’t even call women by their real name but objectifying stereotypes. He raps, “She got a big booty. So I call her big booty.”  They focus on the carnal pleasure of fornication and try to use it as some sort of misogynistic status symbol, completely disregarding the real-life consequences of having sex outside of marriage.

They try to make this “player” lifestyle look cool, but all they’re doing is engaging in risky behavior that damages not only themselves, but others in society, too. In addition to their irresponsible behavior exposing them to potentially contracting STDs, they also contribute to the cycle of single parenthood. Their kids may never know who their father is, as they leave the women they’ve been with to raise their child, neglecting their duties as a father. Many people who adopt this mentality encouraged by rappers have to be hunted down for child support checks, which they constantly complain about. They don’t want to pay child support, but they don’t want to take responsibility and live a chaste life.

In contrast to this sexual irresponsibility, one author states that “Muhammad never committed fornication or adultery.” Sex is something pleasurable, and as men, we only deserve that pleasure if we first get married to the woman we love and then accept the responsibility that comes with having a family. Unless we adopt this mentality, we will never obtain excellence in our lives.

Instead of choosing rappers as our role models, we should choose the best role model to look up to: the Prophet Muhammad. Let’s adopt his teachings in our lives to become responsible citizens who are productive members of society. We can change society for the better if we each live by a higher standard, adhering to a moral lifestyle rather than mirroring the reckless, harmful lifestyle that the media encourages.


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