Friday, January 02, 2009
Pass The Courvoisier
So who passed the Courvoisier at your holiday party? Opps almost forgot this is a Christian blog and as such we don’t partake of such beverages in our celebrations. That’s cool, but it should be noted that cognac has made a comeback and that comeback is almost exclusively due to black folks.
Thanks to a few hip-hop artists the once stodgy upper-crust drink has landed on the tables and in the gullets of the black masses. What’s of interest to me is not the kind of liquor one used to celebrate whatever holidays one celebrated this past season, but of the pull that African-Americans have in the world marketplace. Here’s an industry somewhere in France that was languishing in relative obscurity until about eight years ago when Busta Rhymes told his crew to pass the Courvoisier. Since then and with the aid of other rappers cognac has found new life. You can call it the black factor. A product may be on its last legs and then in a quirk of fate a rapper takes a liking to it, tells his or her dutiful followers that this is now cool and voila sales a million.
Some will point out how this shows the enduring power of hip-hop culture to affect world culture and thus why the church should just throw away any and everything that smacks of tradition and go all in with a Christianized version of hip-hop culture. I personally disagree with this sentiment but that’s not the subject of this post. I want to focus on the double-edged sword wielded by black economic power.
Thanks to the pull of hip-hop a whole, whole lot of French cats are now doing quite well. Sales are up which means that they, their communities and their families can enjoy a better standard of living. That’s one edge of the sword. Black people in America may have the unique privilege of increasing the wealth of almost any other group of people in the world. Since we still get far, far too much of our identity from what we have instead of who we are there remains the possibility that some fortunate manufacturer of something will hit the blackpot and enrich his or her family, community and country from the pennies of black folks. That’s not all bad. There is nothing inherently wrong with one group of people supplying the wishes of another so that both benefit. France benefits by sustaining an industry important to their country and heritage and black folks benefit by enjoying the fruit of the vine at our Christmas/Kwanzaa/New Year parties. Of course one of the downsides is that the French can reinvest the profits from their product in any number of ways to benefit the rest of their society whereas black folks are limited to enjoying a few glasses of booze and then maybe recycling the bottle.
It’s the other edge of that sword holds some intriguing possibilities. What might happen if African-Americans began to wield that edge of the sword with much more purpose and precision? We could for instance decide to throw our collective economic weight behind a crucial product in a developing country and then seek to influence the country to move toward adopting basic civil rights for its people. For example the West African country of Nigeria has developed into a global economic player with its recently found oil wealth. But how much of that wealth is being reinvested for the good of the common Nigerian citizen? What could happen if black folks did a little research, determined which oil companies are responsible for refining and delivering Nigerian oil into our vehicles and then determined only to gas up with those companies provided they would work with the Nigerian government to improve the living conditions of all Nigerians.
I mean if Gov. Sarah Palin can get the Alaskan legislature to pass a windfall tax on oil profits to benefit the ordinary citizens of Alaska why can’t the Nigerian government do the same their citizens? And even if they didn’t want to cut checks to every Nigerian couldn’t they mandate a percentage of the profits be used to build and rebuild the infrastructure of their country? And all it might take is a few rappers filling up their Escalades at couple of select gas stations.
Impossible you say? You’re probably right. I mean we might have a better chance at having a black man elected president of these United States of America.
Oh well you know what they say… mind as well pass the Courvoisier.
To Him Who Loves Us…