I am an unrepentant capitalist. In theory I believe that people are allowed to do whatever they want with their money. If you are Johnny Depp and you want to buy 14 homes and spend $5 million dollars to shoot Hunter Thompson’s ashes out of a cannon or you are Floyd “Money” Mayweather and you want to spends tens of millions on automobiles, millions gambling, or additional millions making it rain at the strip club, far be it from me to tell how to spend or enjoy your money. So with the disclaimer done, what is my impending rant going to be about then?
America, and society in general, celebrates the materialism and excesses of the rich and famous. We covet the money and the lifestyles and for the most part, we do not negatively judge conspicuous consumption. I am not suggesting you change your perception. What I am suggesting/hoping is that more rich and famous people would allocate some of those resources on helping those in need and not just on “things” for themselves.
This is a slippery slope indeed, telling people how to spend their money. I have no formula or criteria in mind for what I would even suggest someone should do. It is of course relative to what someone makes as well as their actual family and financial obligations. But for those who flaunt their wealth via social media or otherwise, take the time to think that if you just curbed your materialism and excesses in the slightest, some of those funds could be used to help others or organizations in need.
If you are throwing away (literally) hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in the strip clubs, think about peeling off even a small percentage of that money to help local schools attain much needed resources, from computers to books to athletic equipment. So many schools have so many different needs, that if collectively the rich and famous bought one less Rolex, one less Rolls Royce, one less mansion, one less gold and diamond encrusted chain, organizations, like battered women shelters, could be better funded and supported to help so many people in real need.
I realize that the rich and famous often give anonymously, and for those that do I extend my hands to you. I would never attempt to quantify or compare people’s giving, because at the end of the day, all that ultimately matters is that as a society those that have been blessed the most must pay it back/forward. Recently Nicki Minaj was acknowledged for paying tuition and student loans for her fans. How much she gave is immaterial, what’s important is she helped others.
On a much less publicized note, I know that Jay Z has raised millions of dollars for his Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship Fund and after hiring a brilliant and dedicated woman to help his mother Gloria give his efforts focus and direction, the foundation now regularly extends the secondary school goals and ambitions for underserved students in need. Sean “Diddy” Combs is doing similar things with his founding of a charter school in Harlem. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated a million to Newark, New Jerseys public schools. We need more examples like this.
The reality is that none of us really know what all rich and famous people do with their money, including the extent that they do or do not give to others. It does not need to be publicized, but if you are one to flaunt your wealth, show you care as well… As much as you think you are supporting single moms working their way through college by making it rain in the strip clubs, remember taking a few of those dollars to give to the Boys & Girls Clubs or the Oliver Scholars Program (a program that for over 35 years has been placing economically disadvantaged, but gifted, students of color in private high schools throughout the northeast) will in fact have a real and substantive impact on improving lives not to mention the actual tax deduction you will receive by helping.
Capitalism is all about making money and being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I have no interest in changing that. I just want those that have to do more to help those that need. This is not welfare or socialism but simply part of karma and doing the right thing. If you are blessed, help others… sometimes it really is just that simple.
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