Zora Neale Hurston said it best: “All my skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.” From Ben Carson to Omarosa, we have seen people from our community share similar melanin tones but solicit conflicting interests to our overall progress.
KRON-TV sports anchor Henry Wofford can now join this problematic bunch, as he recently tried to publicly tear down his fellow brotha for the cheap thrill of making White America laugh.
On the segment “The World According to Darya,” Wofford mocked Sean “Diddy” Combs’ interest in buying the Carolina Panthers by suggesting that Diddy was drunk and on drugs while making the announcement on video.
“The guy looks high right there in this video,” Wofford said on the show. “He looks like he smoked a blunt and drank a 40. Come on, I’m not taking him seriously.”
During this fiasco, his white co-anchor, Darya Folsom laughs at Wofford’s remarks and threw some shade that Diddy might not even be able to afford it.
“The problem is, I checked, Diddy is only worth $800 million and the Panthers are valued at $1 billion,” Folsom said. Both of the anchors suggested that Diddy should stick to music, or essentially stay in his lane, with Wofford once again implying that “Diddy’s drinking and smoking right now. … The man was in another world.”
Perhaps Wofford is really the one who’s in another world. It’s a place we like the call the Sunken Place. It’s disheartening and quite pathetic how quickly Wofford deferred another Black man’s dream and ambition to improve a diversity-deficient league.
For another Black man to use racial stereotypes in media to delegitimize the work of another member of the community is a straight up code violation.
Why does a Black man have to be drunk or high to have the vision and drive to disrupt an industry that has often disenfranchised us? And why would anyone question the power of a Black man who has already defied the odds in several industries outside of music?
Just in case Folsom and Wofford forgot, it was Combs who was one of the first major Black hip-hop moguls that paved the way for others who looked like him. It was Combs who took that momentum and launched a clothing line that broke barriers for Black designers in a super-white fashion industry. And it was also Combs that helped lead the way for Black entrepreneurs to stop drinking liquor from companies that took us for granted, and instead create our own brands for the culture.
Diddy is currently the wealthiest man in music without having dropped much music in years. Suggesting that Combs should solely stick to the music is a quite a slap in the face to a man who has already excelled beyond.
But this is how white supremacy works in a system that repeatedly tells Black people they can’t ever look past go in navigating their own destinies.
Just because we’ve never seen a Black NFL team owner doesn’t mean it’s not possible. To actively try to shut down the mere thought of such a thing is Grade-A hating at its finest.
Diddy already got the support of Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry to back him in the deal, so why are some taking it as a joke?
Answer: Because racist sports fans, and their token Black enablers, don’t want to see Black people win — especially in the NFL.
Remember, this is the same fan base that cheered on the demise of Black athletes taking a knee and Kaepernick being blackballed as a free agent. Any thoughts of a Black NFL team owner would have them shook, and even more enraged that they can’t erase race from the conversation.
That being said, I’m personally here for Diddy and other Black athletes using their wealth and resources to become a boss. Especially after the Panthers’ current owner, Jerry Richardson, is being forced to sell it after he made financial settlements with four employees over inappropriate workplace behavior.
Rather than try to knock down a brother’s hustle with racially-charged falsehoods, perhaps we should spend more time trying to call out the mess that led to such a potential acquisition to begin with.
Let Diddy do his thing–and keep the haterade intake down to a minimum.
Ernest Owens is the Editor of Philadelphia magazine’s G Philly. He has written for USA Today, NBC News, BET, HuffPost and several other major publications. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and ernestowens.com.