Who are you living for?

In all honesty, I’m not sure I’ve felt this way about the death of a celebrity since Sept 13, 1996 (#2Pac:) Did I know the man personally? Nope! Was I ever in his presence physically? Nope! Did he even care who I was? Probably not. But as a TRUE FAN of the Late Great Sherman Hemsley aka George Jefferson, I had to share this thought.

Now don’t misunderstand this. This is not some soak filled rant about the tragedy of celebrity death. I am a firm believer that “death is a part of life.” I even had my 1st heart to heart with my son about the topic when he was only 5 or 6 years old. This is about the lasting impression that celebs leave with us and why? Whether it was Whitney Houston’s untimely demise or the death Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez’s over 15 years ago, I had to take a moment an reflect on how many “icons” we have actually lost over the past decade. Wait, let’s make it two decades so I can include Tupac Shakur. I apologize in advance if I omit someone that touched your heart below, but don’t miss the point:

The King of Pop: Michael Jackson
The Voice: Whitney Houston
The Epitome of Class: Princess Diana
Pope John Paul II: Enough Said
Mr. Nascar: Dale Earnhardt
The GodFather of GoGo: Chuck Brown
The Man of Many Shows: Dick Clark
The King of Cool: Don Cornelius
The Blender of R&B/Hip Hop: Heavy D
A King of Comedy: Bernie Mac
Mr. Sweepstakes: Ed McMahon
The 1st African American Childhood Star: Gary Coleman
The Ageless One: Lena Horne
The Wonder Woman: Farrah Fawcett
U.S. Royalty: Ted Kennedy
The World Changer: Steve Jobs
Beyonce Before Beyonce: Aaliyah
Superman: Christopher Reeves
The Queen of Branding: Elizabeth Taylor
The Game Show Master: Merv Griffin
The Animal Lover: Steve Irwin
The End of 60 Min: Andy Rooney
The Legend: Ray Charles
The King of Soul: James Brown
Mr. Producer: Aaron Spelling
Mr. Yankee: George Steinbrenner

Honorable mention to Vesta “Congratulations” Williams…Mike “Beastie Boy” D…Heath “The Best Joker Ever” Ledger….Every “Golden Girl” (except Betty White)…but whether we want to admit it or not, the aforementioned people touched the lives of MILLIONS during their “physical existence” on the planet.

So why is my heart heavy for a sitcom actor who does not even know I exist? No let me rephrase, why in the HELL am I still thinking about “George Jefferson?”

I’ll tell you why: He/they represent reminders to you of certain stages in your life. Some represent what’s “impossible” to you. Others represent boldness to you! Some represent change to you, while others represent the pain that runs through you. Notice I speak in present tense and choose not to say “represented” because their existence still resonates IN you.

However, there’s a flipside!  In spite of aallllllllll the emotion, the life or death of an icon may conjure up, one thing is undeniable….even as you read the list (at least ONCE) you said to yourself, “Oh yeah, he/she did pass away a few years ago didn’t they?” What does this really say about the people we idolize and adore? What does this really say about those who had video cameras shoved in their faces for over 60% of their lives? What does it really mean when you’ve had more pictures of you taken than a 1980 Kodak booth, yet even those who ADORED you will one day say…..”Oh yeah, they did pass away didn’t they?” I’ll tell you what it means. On the surface, we are ALL “forgettable.” But on a deeper level it means stop living for other people anyway.  These people transcended pop culture and penetrated the souls of those millions and even BILLIONS, yet they still slip away into a distant memory over time.

In my 1st Mentor to Millions Volume (“Our Philosophy”), I talk about the harsh reality that after your funeral only 10% of the people will spend the extra hour driving to your burial, Sherman Hemsley’s death (to me) is a reminder of that.  We cringe at the thought of Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Bono, or Michael Jordan leaving us before we are ready.  But guess what, if it happened today, 6 months from now I’d need a “reminder” about “George Jefferson.”  This is proof that so many of us need to stop living our lives for so called associates who don’t even know you, don’t even like you, and truly don’t care as much as you think, about you.  It’s hard to believe that Steve Jobs LITERALLY changed the WORLD yet in maybe 10 years (depending on what this era’s future genius may conjure up), we may find ourselves saying: “Oh yeah….remember that guy from Apple?”

I think it’s time for you to start living FOR people who live FOR you.  Make no mistake about it, that list is short. Not even the title “family member” pre-qualifies one for such a description.  But for the most part: our sons, our daughters, our parents and our siblings and maybe 2 or 3 “BFFs” will claim a VIP seat at your burial; while others take a look at the forecast and make the “final decision” of whether they are going to the burial or not! – iamBB

6 replies
    • Selina 'Rae Saunders
      Selina 'Rae Saunders says:

      Wow!!! Its seems so unbelievable but it’s real truth.. It’s time for us to stop living our lives for so call people.. And start living for ourselves.. When you think you have someone on your side it turns out to be not so.. Most people can care less about what you think and what you are doing. So with it all being said it’s the ones that you thought was on the same page as you and see things eye to eye. mostly family and people you thought was so close to your heart are the ones that let you down the most. When it’s all said and done you begin to understand that it’s time to throw them feelings in the trash and start living for ourselves.

  1. Jonah
    Jonah says:

    Very deep, it humbles you knowing how easily forgotten you are to others so what really matters is the value you feel for your life and the lives of others closest to you.

  2. Simone Webster
    Simone Webster says:

    Great blog, B! I think what stands out to me most is when you said only 10% of the people at your funeral will spend the extra hour to go to the burial site! That is proof right there that one’s value is diminishing before even being put in the ground!


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