At first I had the popular reaction to Lavar Ball, the way he markets his son(s), and the Z02 sneaker starting price. Then, like many trending topics, I examined it through my Recruiter lens which led to an alternative perspective. Depending on the level of education, Black men earn between $0.73 and $0.80 on the dollar as compared to their white male counterparts. Regardless of how annoyed I am by his approach, I appreciate and commend Mr. Ball for insisting that his son not diminish his value and accept less than he believes he is worth.
There is a thin line between helicopter parenting and encouraging your child to reach their full potential. I’ve had the wonderful misfortune of dealing with Helicopter Parents who negotiated on behalf of their children to their detriment. This is why I think Mr. Ball is on the encouraging side of the line. Instead of DEMANDING that a potential employer or business partner accept what he believes as a parent, he created his own brand and became his own employer.
To address the criticism, as I opined in one of my #BlackBlogsMatterChallenge posts, not every Black person wants to be labeled #woke nor do they possess an elevated level of #BlackConsciousness. Mr. Ball tweeted that his product is not marketed to young people in the Black Community who can’t afford the #BigBallerBrand. But given the disproportionate levels of consumerism that exists, there’s a high probability that young Black kids will want and find a way to buy the sneakers. Even still, we shouldn’t automatically attach a responsibility to be community-minded to someone who doesn’t desire to be. At the end of the day, community starts at home. If he is teaching his sons, his Black sons, to know their worth, have pride, to be lenders not borrowers, and how to build wealth; then he’s doing his job as a father.
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