In contrast to our conversation about dictators and drug lords, we speak a fraction better about celebrities. The past 10 years has allowed us, the general public, into the perceived excitement of celebrity living. Famous or “Fame-mistness” as Jamie Foxx once said on Oprah, is the concept of seeing human beings as anything other because they are celebrities. Their space, time, family and emotions have become public exhibits for us to critique, criticize and measure up.
The 1980s, the era in which I was born and placed into a pastel onesie, was a remarkable time for the well-known. Yes, the cameras were still flashing and limousines were all the rage. Think back for me if you can. You only knew of celebrity news in the ’80s and ’90s if it was broadcasted on television, or on the grocery store magazine rack with fictional titles such as “Michael Keaton Wears Batman Suit In Bed?”. Most of the time these stories were the talk in barbershops and beauty salons week to week. Who was Michael Jackson seen with at the Neverland Ranch? Was Pee-Wee Herman more than a Saturday-morning dancing machine? Did you see the OJ chase last night?
Today we attack celebrities using a tightly-wound network of peers. This network expands across relationships, degrees of separation and expands the country, better yet the world. What we say today can reach your favorite singer, actor or athlete in .3 milliseconds. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and now Periscope put us closer than ever to those who were formerly roped off and guarded. This proximity has made us familiar, in fact too familiar. Ropes might guard bodies and bodyguards might help with safety, but they can’t fight the emotions of negativity. Blac Chyna, a mom, ex-girlfriend to rapper Tyga and former exotic dancer, felt the wrath of this. I put these in this order for a reason. Because we tend to forget the humanity of people when a blue check mark on Twitter or Facebook appears next to someone’s name to state their media status. Blac Chyna posted a photo on Instagram last week of her new tattoo on her hand that says “Future” with the caption reading “Thought it was a drought.” Both are correlated to her supposed relationship with top-charting rapper Future and his hit records on DS2.
I am not here to defend the idea of placing another person’s hip hop pen name on your body forever. Nor am I here to say it was too soon being they have only been dating for what some say is two weeks.
This is a call for civility. Many people have lost control of themselves and the words they use against others. Remember when Blue Ivy was shown to the world? Her natural beautiful baby hair was castigated online like a trial against military soldiers at Abu Ghraib. Why was it so easy for anyone to speak with such voracity against a child they don’t know?
My assertion is that we are using our cell phone as a direct outlet from our hearts and emotions. People don’t think anymore before picking up their phone and typing away. Can you please not bleed on social media? Please refrain from spilling your mess onto the message of social media.
Civility is necessary now more than ever. President Obama has been racially demeaned since his campaign run in 2007. The world has developed a courage behind the keyboard. Drake was right, “Trigger fingers turn to Twitter fingers.” Our threats, foul words, and hatred are clouding the positivity of the information age. Online bullying continues to be rampant and contributes to suicide and depression in youth. We can pretend that celebrities make the big bucks to take it on the chin and subdue their feelings. The truth is many people look up to Blac Chyna, Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose, Kanye West, Lamar Odom, LeBron James, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and more. So when you tell Amber Rose on Instagram “You are a slut and you should die,” have you ever thought it’s possible a young woman struggling with confidence read that? Did you ever think your comment on Kim Kardashian’s latest pregnant picture saying “You fat attention whore” maybe sent a pregnant woman back to her dark room to deal with her image issues?
Stop feeling as if celebrities aren’t human beings. They aren’t a wall for your visceral and hateful language. They are humans like you. Humans like you deserve respect, too. Your classmates, friends-turned-foes and ex-girlfriends who trusted you with their intimate photos deserve respect. You can choose to build or destroy a life. Yes, guns are the topic in 2015 because when you shoot a gun at someone you see them fall to the ground. Blood spills everywhere and the legal consequences frighten you. But when you slay someone online, the damage is unseen, untraceable. No one knows why she committed suicide or ran away from home. We don’t know why he brought the gun to school. But remember that the things you say online make an impact.
If you’re shaming Blac Chyna for her tattoo, then address that lowe- back tattoo from ’98 you got after a wild night with those fraternities on campus.
If we’re going to shame Blac Chyna for the #Future tattoo then make sure you address that fading “strawberry” tat from your 20s that you hate now.
Use your words to build, not shame. Someone somewhere is in need of an encouraging phone call, text, tweet or post. You could save a life miles away or build on the pending disaster that is low self-esteem and pain.

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