Thursday, November 10, 2005

"We Are All Witnesses": Lebron

Nike has posted a ten story high billboard of King James AKA Lebron James, the next coming of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. The slogan, "We are all witnesses" refers to the unique opportunity of watching the birth of a legend.

From this photo, I thought that the American flag and others (anyone recognize the other two?) were part of the billboard. What is Nike doing? Are they referencing our collective responsibility for what America is doing around the globe?

We are all "witnesses" and complicit to the loss of individual liberties and the anti-American sentiment in the world. So many people I know are still in shock that Bush got re-elected and are exhausted over it.

David Brooks in todays NY Times column about the recent riots in France:
One of the striking things about the scenes from France is how thoroughly the rioters have assimilated hip-hop and rap culture. It's not only that they use the same hand gestures as American rappers, wear the same clothes and necklaces, play the same video games, and sit with the same sorts of car stereos at full blast. It's that they seem to have adopted the same poses of exaggerated manhood, the same attitudes about women, money and the police.

America's rebellious countercultural heroes exert more influence around the world than the clean establishment images from Disney and McDonald's. This is our final insult to the anti-Americans; we define how to be anti-American, and the foreigners who attack us are reduced to borrowing our own clich├ęs.

Sorry, I just think it's important to note:
  1. Hip-hop is not all about Gangsta. That is one of the most annoying misnomers for me-- when I meet someone who assumes all rap and hip-hop are misogynistic, violent, etc.
  2. Americans often forget how influential our counter-culture is. We still define what is hip and cool in the world. More specifically, I would offer the over-generalization that it is Black America that still decides what is cool.
  3. Being anti-american is different than being anti-US government... the second of those has been a message from much conscious hip-hop: Public Enemy, Poor Righteous Teachers, Paris, X-Clan...
I went on to find these other images. Looks like the billboard is just placed behind flagpoles.

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