While there were numerous African Americans who made us proud in 2011, there were a select few who were embarrassments. This “exclusive” group, while saddled with privilege and opportunity, squandered their blessings due to their own stupidity and arrogance.
1. Herman Cain
Once Herman Cain decided to run for president, he not only aligned himself with the Tea Party, but also defended them and the Republicans against charges of racism. And to add insult to injury, Cain proved that he didn’t have any knowledge of foreign policy and touted his “9-9-9″ deal like it was a special campaign for pizza. Then came his sexual harassment allegations, which he adamantly denied with his trademark hubris. What finally brought Cain’s sideshow to a close, though, was Ginger White saying she had a 13-year affair with the psuedo-politician.
2. Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne, a rapper who is marketed to young children, regularly brags about his gang ties, guns and use of cough syrup as an illegal drug. While he may occasionally have a politically significant song, such as “Georgia Bush,” the majority of his offerings are misogynistic and related to gangs and drugs. The biggest embarrassment about Lil Wayne is not just the rapper himself, but the mainstream media company that promotes and markets him to children.
3. Kwame Kilpatrick
Kwame Kilpatrick got out of jail this year but still remains in the news. While the once-promising “Hip-Hop Mayor of Detroit” was lucky to have his killing-a-stripper case thrown out, yet another stripper claims she was paid $1,000 to perform at his mansion for an alleged drug-fueled party. Rather than atone for his past transgressions, Kilpatrick continues to blame his troubles on a “conspiracy against him.”
4. Sam Hurd
As a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears, Sam Hurd had a signing bonus of more than $1 million. Yet, Hurd chose to allegedly enter the Chicago drug game in spite of his already lucrative career with the NFL. While many people in the inner city turn to drug dealing due to the lack of opportunities, Hurd had a job that put him on easy street. Hurd could have easily used his money to start a legitimate business, but instead, he reportedly decided to poison his community.
5. Brittany Smith and Jabrai Copney
Brittany Smith (pictured) was a senior at Harvard about to graduate with a world of opportunities waiting for her. One week before Smith was to graduate, boyfriend Jabrai Copney, a talented musician who had produced a song for New Edition at the age of 14, decided to rob a pound of marijuana from a local dealer. The robbery went bad and Copney wound up shooting and killing the man. Since Smith helped Copney hide the gun and escape from campus, she is serving two years in prison, and Copney is in jail for life.