Generational gaps have been around for a minute. And it’s crazy to be on the other side of the argument, on team “Y’all kids today have no idea,” but by the blessings of Mother Nature, I’ve joined that club.
One of the repercussions of the divide is the perceived lack of respect the youth harbor toward the elders. Reluctantly, I have to admit that perception is sadly morphing into reality. The shame is it does not just manifests itself in the obvious. And yeah, the sagging pants foul–mouthed block huggers are the easiest targets, but perhaps an even more devious culprit revealed itself this week.
News from the sports pages came into play as a prominent former player from the 2005 National Championship basketball team of the University of North Carolina, Rashad McCants, revealed that although his exploits on the court were real (as the 14th pick in the 2005 NBA draft, his NBA career was less than stellar, however), his academic career as a college student was totally fraudulent. McCants was the subject of a report on the ESPN program “Outside the Lines,” where he matter-of-factly attested, “I thought it was a part of the college experience, just like watching it on a movie from ‘He Got Game’ or ‘Blue Chips.’ When you get to college, you don’t go to class, you don’t do nothing, you just show up and play. That’s exactly how it was, you know, and I think that was “the tradition of college basketball, or college, period, any sport.
You’re not there to get an education, though they tell you that. You’re there to make revenue for the college. You’re there to put fans in the seats. You’re there to bring prestige to the university by winning games.”
Yet in 2005, the year the team won it all and McCants was the second leading scorer, he made the dean’s list. He told ESPN that he made the dean’s list in spring 2005 despite not attending any of the four classes for which he received straight-A grades. That in and of itself is par for the course. The disrespect comes through when his course load was revealed. It turns out that the four A grade classes were in African-American studies. REALLY dude?
The show disclosed an unofficial copy of McCants’ transcript and showed in his African-American Studies classes, 10 of his grades were A’s, six were B’s, one was a C and one a D. In his non-African-American Studies classes, McCants received six C’s, one D and three F’s. Turns out that the McCants dude was part of a pipeline. The African-American Studies program has been at the center of the school’s investigation, from the years 2007 to 2011. North Carolina found that “54 classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies were either ‘aberrant’ or ‘irregularly’ taught,” per ESPN. Only the football team, which pales in comparison to the prestige of the basketball program, has been sanctioned by the NCAA, which in 2012 forced the Tar Heels to vacate all their wins from the 2008 and 2009 seasons, cut their team’s scholarships by 15, placed the program on three-years probation and banned the team from the postseason for one year.
Brothers with an opportunity to excel and later enlighten future generations to the rich history and accomplishments we made across the globe treated the opportunity–and ultimately the struggles it took to get them in position to even WALK on that campus–with disrespect. Damn, homie! In high school you was the man!
So here’s what we’ll do. Let’s look at the history that was made this week. Actress Audra McDonald took down her sixth Tony Award for her performance as Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,” and in doing so broke the record for the most Tony wins by a performer.
In her acceptance speech, McDonald told a national television audience, “I am standing on Lena Horne’s shoulders. I am standing on Maya Angelou’s shoulders. I am standing on Diahann Carroll and Ruby Dee and, most of all, Billie Holiday.”
While we’re at it, director, Kenny Leon (Best Direction of a Play) and actress Sophie Okonedo (Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play), were honored for their work in Lorraine Hansberry timeless classic “A Raisin in the Sun” (Best Revival of a Play). James Monroe Iglehart won for Best Actor in a Featured Role in A Musical for his work in “Aladdin.” Wayne Carlyle received two trophies for Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography for “After Midnight,” but the show got a bigger look as Fantasia, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight set the show off.
Knight also celebrated a homecoming of sorts as she appeared at the Apollo Spring Gala and 80th Anniversary Celebration. Appearing also were Natalie Cole, Edwin Hawkins, Savion Glover, Joss Stone and the newest inductees into the Apollo Hall of Fame, the Isley Brothers. Dick Parsons, a renaissance man in the business community, was given the Leadership Award in recognition of his many years of service to the Apollo.
This Saturday, vying for his spot as a future Apollo Legend, comes the eclectic Cody ChesnuTT, who plays the Apollo Café Saturday, June 14. Showtime is at 10 p.m.
Outta time and space, but will holla in a week. ’Til then, enjoy the nightlife.