I’d be lying if I said that the last 24 hours have not felt kind of strange. Many of you may know what I’m talking about but for those that don’t I will try to put words to it. Before I do so, however, I need to tell you a short story about my day yesterday to truly frame this article.
It started as many of my days do. A shower in the morning and I was off to studio to work. I was reading an incredible essay by Bruno Latour, a French philosopher, anthropologist and sociologist, titled “Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime”. No – I’m not going to explain the article but only highlight that his entire piece was framed around the idea that we as a humanity have created the problems we experience. Whether social, political, or economic, our history will show us that through a very easily identifiable human story we have in fact created everything we currently struggle to overcome. The only difference is that now, the Earth is literally fighting back. Fighting for its life. There is also a reality that we simply don’t know how to respond to certain things, and that creates unrest. Latour said it perfectly… “how can we not feel inwardly undone by the anxiety of not knowing how to respond?”
Why am I telling you this? Well for one, the climate crisis is something we are all a part of whether you “buy” into it or not and understanding its factors as political, and economical is an extremely important reality to reach. Fact. The second reason has more to do with the above quote than anything else. How do we respond to something so critical and so terrifying when we literally are unable to find the appropriate action to do so? As I’m sure many of you have seen in the news, yesterday the world lost a legend. A hero. A father. A leader. A teacher. A visionary. An Athlete. A Champion. It goes without saying that I’m speaking about the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old Daughter Gianna Bryant, as well as the eight other precious lives that were lost yesterday.
I can not claim to be a basketball fan. I can not claim to know the extent of Bryant’s remarkable career. What I do know, however, is how he made people feel. While we lost him yesterday his legacy lives on in those he empowered and inspired, and those who will continue to look up to him as a teacher well beyond his life on this earth.
Forgive my dramatic rambling, as truly my mind has been racing since I saw the headline. The truth is yesterday taught me many lessons, among which is one that encompasses something much larger than me. Us. I think in times of crisis, or when we look at the world’s contemporary state of being we tend to lose hope. We tend to feel helplessly overcome by facts of our world, our climate catastrophe, our broken political systems, our failure to support those who struggle with mental health, our inability to contain disease and evenly distribute wealth to the places that need it the most in order to survive. How can we even begin to believe in our dreams in such a reality? How many times have you heard people say “The world is fu*ked”? I’ll repeat Latour’s words because they hit me hard. “How can we not feel inwardly undone by the anxiety of not knowing how to respond?”
I made a commitment a few years ago to the mission of ZULUECHO Initiaitve – To empower and inspire people to believe in the power of their dreams – and that’s hard sometimes, especially on days like yesterday. We complain about the systems that we as a generation have inherited. Blaming those that came before us and pointing the finger at them. I’m not saying we are wrong to do so, but what I am saying is that one day the tables will turn. One day we will be in positions of leadership hearing from the people who are directly affected by the decisions we’ve made, the actions we took, the causes we fought for. NOW is the time to decide how those conversations will go. NOW is the time to understand our responsibility to a global history, not only of our own tomorrow. As we learned yesterday life is extremely short, unpredictable and precious. The things that last forever are the impact we have on people. Real impact that affects real people in real ways. That’s why Bryant’s news hit me so hard.
I know, it shouldn’t take the death of an icon for us to realize these things, but such is life. Now tell me, what are you going to do about it? What change will you make in your life today to benefit the lives of generations to come? The world is not fu*ked unless we sit by and do nothing. The world is only fu*ked if we normalize a belief that we can not follow our passions and dreams because we’ve given up.
Become who you’ve dreamed of becoming. Chase the dream you’ve always had. Pursue the career that you’ve been itching to chase. Work hard for everything you want as nothing gets handed to anyone in this world. As a legend once said:
“You asked for my hustle, I gave you my heart” – Kobe Bryant 1978-2020