I am officially labeling myself a recovering sellout thanks to conscious rapper J. Cole. The hour-long 2014 interview between POWER 105.1's Angie Martinez and rapper J. Cole has stirred up multiple conclusions. The biggest one: I am a sellout. The second: I can change that. The third: it will be hard to do while living in a capitalist society.
According to Urban Dictionary, a sellout only relates to those in the entertainment business. According to J. Cole, a sell out can be anyone at any moment for actions or possessions we are unaware of.
People all over have a daily routine. Mine, for instance, goes along the lines of:
1. Wake up
2. Check my phone
3. Shower/get dressed
4. Check my phone
5. Go to class
6. Check my phone
The list continues throughout the day. I am constantly checking my phone for texts and what's happening on social media. Now, am I aware as to what's happening in the world? I'd like to think so. But have I become immune to society's media manipulation? A question worth asking. Somehow, everything I've done in one day reflects everything I've done in two weeks, and there are no major changes. The only changes were my hair styles and clothes. Before I know it, a month has gone by and I can self-reflect and feel like I've been in hibernation.
Martinez and J. Cole discussed the music and television industry's use of power. They also went on to discuss one's power and how everyone has an effect on society. At one point, J. Cole responds to Martinez's questions with, "Everybody is so busy with themselves and their own lives, that they don't have the time to stand for something, fight for something." BAM! From that moment, I realized I wasn't utilizing my talents and passions to do greater. I am too busy "keeping up with the Kardashians" to write a conscious article.
They go on to discuss specific reality TV shows, or, as J. Cole puts it, "trash." Reality TV is pure entertainment, but it is manipulating the minds of children, teens, young adults and adults all the same. I have easily gotten sucked into watching my guilty pleasure shows, Little Woman LA or Real Housewives, time after time. J. Cole made me re-evaluate the types of shows I'm consuming. I'm not here to say if you watch reality TV you're a sellout - tick that off the box of signs. I am simply stating that it's worth questioning how much we care about the manipulation of our mind and how often we've missed out on our chance to produce something new and authentic and make a change.
Not only have I become a sellout from watching mindless TV shows or listening to gibberish lyrics, it's the food I am digesting, the expensive clothes or purses I am buying with money I technically should be saving. "We live in a society today where they want you to be flawless." I've been selling myself short and selling myself out to look the best I can, but has it been for happiness? By placing your value and self-worth on material objects, does that mean it's the most you have to offer and have been offering to others and to society?
Once again there is nothing wrong with wanting the finer things in life, nothing wrong with setting goals and having dreams of success, but when will enough be enough? At what point do you or I stop selling ourselves short and stop injecting mental poisons? "The monetary, the material, even the success and like, the things that you put your importance on never can satisfy you because it's never going to end...it keeps calling you it's like a drug".
I am a college student, I have dreams, I have goals, I want to be happy and I want a ton of money. How long have I been a sell out before I realized I had something to sell, something more to offer the world? We all have a contribution to the people we meet and the society we live in. So the question to ask yourself is: how often have you been selling out?