A Little Advice For Keenan Thompson

A Little Advice For Keenan Thompson

Yesterday Saturday Night Live (SNL), cast member Keenan Thompson said (when asked about the lack of black female cast members at SNL), "Its just a tough part of the business", "Like in auditions, they never find ones that are ready". Seriously Keenan? You're one of only three men of color on the show, don't let it go to your head.

I’m a veteran of being “the only brotha in tha room” for over 20 years, including all of high school, most of my college years and virtually all of my professional career. Let me tell you something, the fact that there’s a lack of people of color working with us is actually something to be aware of but not for us to look down on anyone. Our job (as black men), is to out work everyone around us. Haven’t your parents told you that as black people we have to work twice as hard for half the credit?

Listen brah, people are critizing you for as much as what you said as well as your lack of being funny. In the big business world us brothas gotta fight everyday, we gotta prove our worth constanly and there’s little room for error. Even more so we have to keep our mouths shut and work like nothing is wrong around us, it’s just the way it is.

Moreso we can't criticize the sistas as not being up to par (just because we don't see them in our places of work), so what you're saying they are not good enough and not on your level? You better check yourself son.

I'm telling you from mad experience, don't get the false impression just because you may be the "fly in the buttermilk" (as my dad says), that it makes you great. No it makes you fortunate and you better be grateful for the gig you have and at this rate it might not be yours much longer.

I've been taught by my elders (and learned through hard experience), that us black men are judged differently than our non minority peers. I'm not saying we need to act like Stepin Fetchit but there's no place to put the sistas down. You & I know there are taleted people of color out there who are better than us but they didn't get the breaks or opportunities like we did. I often think about the people from my hood who didn't make it out or got caught up in the street or other distractions or drama.

I know my parents worked their asses off and other relatives and mentors did everything they could to keep me out of harms way and now looking back I'm downright humbled. A lot of those people didn't have to spend a minute or an ounce of energy on me.

I admit when I was younger I thought I was the man because of how far I had gotten but man but now I get humbled on the regular and recently have really had to prove I belong where I am.

Haven't you seen the last few weeks President Obama has had? He's the leader of the free world but first and foremost he's a black man and Keenan you oughta know there are some people out there that will go to great lengths to make you look bad. As a black man if we are a little too confident, its sometimes thought we are arrogant. If we are overly quiet, we have attitude or are angry. We have to walk a fine line of working hard, not making sloppy mistakes and never taking our success for granted.

Its like the old camera commericials, "image is everything". And I'm not trying to be superbrotha, trust me I'm a flawed black man and I'm more cautious than ever. Just yesterday I found out the KKK is possibly active and recruiting within 15 minutes of my house, think that won't make you think twice and remember what our ancestors went through?

I'm just a few generations removed from rural Southwestern Louisiana where people worked unbelivably hard and were treated like dirt. My grandfather came up to Chicago as a teenager and worked on the sheep killing floor of the stockyards and nothing more than a grade school education. He did that to better himself and us generations to come, that man worked very hard so I could achieve what wasn't possible for him.

So Keenan think about all this negative media coverage you're getting and remember how fast us brothas can fall and how many people helped you get to where you are. Its no joke for us professional black men in this day and age, even if you are in the funny business.

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    Charles W. Johnson

    I'm a lifelong writer (since I was 8 years old), and have been doing this blog in some form or fashion since 2004. I'm a DePaul grad (LA&S '99), and know and love Chicago. Writing is my passion, what I write is what I feel and there is no half steppin' with my work. I simply want to share my thoughts, experiences and opinions. And I appreciate you taking to the time to read what I have to say.

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