Here’s a Black History question for you; what do DMX, Game, and Lindsay Lohan’s father all have in common? Give up? They were all on a list of 15,000 “celebrities” who want to fight George Zimmerman, killer of Trayvon Martin. Full disclosure, before you read any further. I’m Black and this is Black History Month. Pause and let that soak in a bit before you continue on.
Hypothetically speaking, what if this was instead the murder of Mark Carson, allegedly because of his open homosexuality, on the streets of New York city in May of 2013? What if Mr. Gutierrez, the primary suspect in the case was found not guilty and then staged a boxing match with a celebrity member of the gay community? Then, Mr. Gutierrez’s camp announces the fight in the beginning of Gay Pride Month, the day before the birthday of the victim, Mark Carson. Let that soak in as well for a moment, before you continue on.
Celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman made the fight announcement on February 4th, the day before Trayvon’s birthday. A press release surfaced February 5th, the day of Trayvon’s birthday, reporting a scheduled date of March 15th. There is a press conference scheduled in Philadelphia on February 12th at 1PM to officially announce the fight.
Feldman has a history of fixing fights and holding matches without a license. 43-year-old DMX is the unconfirmed contender and told TMZ he wants to fight Zimmerman for “every black person who has been done wrong in the system.” He also went on to say “I am going to beat the living fuck out him … I am breaking every rule in boxing to make sure I fuck him right up.” DMX also promised to piss on George Zimmerman after pummeling him.
As of Thursday morning (February 6th), more than 10,000 people agree: this George Zimmerman celebrity boxing match is a bad idea. 10,000 digital signatures on the White House website, urged lawmakers to stop the match. Rev. Al Sharpton understands Feldman’s “business” stance, but agrees with the petitioners; Zimmerman is not a celebrity.
“We must be very careful not to glorify or in any way sidestep the implications of making someone whose only claim to fame was killing an unarmed young man named Trayvon Martin into a cultural celebrity or hero,” he said, according to The Grio.
“[Zimmerman] has the right to pursue whatever he wants in life, yet we also have the obligation to be discerning about who we lift and to what level. It is perfectly legal for him to exploit his fame but we should never forget what he is famous for and not behave like he is a celebrity based on gifts or talent or contributions to society. I am concerned about the precedent that it sets.”
As a Pay Per View event, there is a lot of money on the table; while proceeds are reportedly going to charity, salaries get paid before proceeds get distributed. This means if you pay for this fiasco, you will actually make Zimmerman a celebrity and increase his earnings, probably exponentially. By giving in to the notion that George Zimmerman is indeed a celebrity, you are accepting the subtle message that what Zimmerman did deserves to be celebrated.
I also have to draw issue with the timing of this event. Feldman is promoting this during Black History Month, a disrespectful slap in the face to my ancestors. He is using controversial and insensitive timing to create media buzz about the event. I urge you not to tune in, or give this any of your dollars. In America we vote with our money and every dollar spent on this is a vote for the actions of George Zimmerman.