William H. "Bill" Cosby and his life achievements were previously celebrated in the month of February.
Cosby was sentenced in September to three to 10 years in prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home in 2004. The case came after dozens of women came forward with accusations that Cosby had drugged and assaulted them in similar incidents over his lengthy career atop the entertainment world.
Responsible for promoting positive affluent black imagery on television, he has been canceled culturally.
Robert Sylvester Kelly inspired many with uplifting songs like I Believe I Can Fly and Step In The Name Of Love. However, an annulled marriage to a 15-year-old Aaliyah and predatory sexual behavior with underage black girls have given pause to the genius in his musical catalogue. The Surviving R. Kelly docu-series exposed an even deeper psychosis rooted in his toxic upbringing.
As a result, the #MuteRKelly movement has canceled him.
Never before has black culture faced a mass cancellation of achievement. Social media has created a culture where heroes are under a minute-to-minute microscope.
However, it begs the question: can #CancelCulture erase black achievement?
Kanye West and Beyond
When Kanye West donned a MAGA hat and began speaking about his love of Donald Trump, Black America swiftly canceled him. West's was a slow burn as his musical virtues became secondary to his highly polarizing opinions, deeds, and perceived selfishness.
As a result, a man formerly celebrated for "George Bush doesn't care about Black people", was now lampooned.
What amounted to being bi-polar and depressed became a meme-worthy spectacle of abandonment en masse. Today, the Yeezy's look tarnished and West's music is not playing as much.
There are many more cases where we have realized that the person we held up high was not who we thought they were. However, the contention is that we never really knew them anyway.
Should we really cancel their accomplishments as a culture?
History For History's Sake
The annals of time have a whitewashed history.
People rarely bring up Dr. Martin Luther King as a womanizer, however, there were tales of infidelity in his past. King's amazing civil rights advocacy changed the scope of America and he will forever be lauded for that work. If social media were around during King's day, would he have been muted?
Louis Farrakhan has lived with the speculation that he conspired to have Malcolm X murdered. Still, he is celebrated for his bravery and positive unification of Black people globally. If social media campaigns would have churned demanding answers from Farrakhan, would we have still had the Million Man March?
Frederick Douglass was married to a white woman. This was after his first wife, who was African American passed away. Does inter-racial marriage diminish the advocacy of his race?
There are no saints in this world, only martyrs.
There cannot be an annexation of a person's undesirable side in exchange for their achievements of excellence.
Today's millennial and digital culture has made it convenient to destroy a person's achievements for their real-world shortcomings. However, the more layers of Black history you pull back like an onion, you are bound to find something foul.
A continuation of cancel culture down this new dangerous path risks the belittling of black excellence. Reality is full of inconvenient truths. The question to ask is will Black America erase its greatest accomplishments as it awakens to a non-fabled truism?