Paying Homage: Should We or Should We Not?
As the 2012 Summer Olympics came to a close a few weeks ago, many athletes turned into superstars overnight, such as Gabby Douglas and Ryan Lochte. But with some positivity in every breakthrough, there is always some controversy brewing nearby.
Shortly after winning the gold medal for the 100 and 200-meter races for the second consecutive time in the Olympic games, Usain Bolt went on record calling himself "the world's greatest athlete," as well as saying that he lost all respect for Olympic-legend Carl Lewis. Lewis, a past Olympic great and staple in Track & Field, was the target of this verbal attack as a result of him hinting that Jamaica (the country Bolt represented in the Olympic games) has doping controls that aren't as strong as other countries.
Even though Bolt emerged as the new world record holder, a lot of people accused him of not paying homage to the athletes who paved the way for all minority track athletes who emerged and conquered before him. Once this issue began to rise, I couldn't help but to think about how the industry works today. It seems as though today's generation are making huge breakthroughs, and don't care whose toes that they step on the process.
Who's right? Who's wrong?
For example, the infamous Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim feud. When Minaj emerged in the game as a rap powerhouse, Kim instantly felt that she should've been given respect for paving the way and being the originator of the styles and techniques that are present in Nicki's music and image, just like Kim did to Salt N' Pepa and MC Lyte. After hearing about Kim's words and feelings about the situation, Nicki unleashed a bunch of songs and lyrical attacks directed to Kim--something that I'm sure Kim would not have done to her predecessors back then.
These situations help me bring my life into perspective. Since the age of 16, I've made a mark for myself in this game by walking in fashion shows, filming commercials, hosting shows and starring in over thirty music videos with principal roles. While doing this, I've made it my duty to let people who've paved the way for me know that they matter. Not because I need to, but because I want to. Without seeing my idols thrive, I couldn't have possibly pushed myself to conquer my own goals.
How do you feel? Should we thank those who've paved the way for us, or should our predecessors just relax and let the new talent emerge unbothered?--Erica Mena