by Bruce Dixon, BAR
Sean “Diddy” Combs, with accomplices Iyanla Vanzant and privatization hustler Steve Perry are fronting the Capital Prepatory Harlem Charter School. When black celebs put their names on a charter school what does that mean? Are they “giving back” or are they cashing in on the drive to convert public assets into their private property? Are they siding with parents, teachers and communities, or with their own investment portfolios?
Celebrities they say, are people who are famous for being well known, while entrepreneurs, in popular lore, are those with a talent for detecting opportunities to get paid, in much the same way crocodiles and sharks smell blood in distant waters. So the celebrity entrepreneur is all about finding ways to leverage that celebrity to get paid.
In this neoliberal age of privatization, the surest way for the well-connected to get paid is to bribe public officials to help you convert public assets into your private property. Look at entrepreneur Ervin “Magic” Johnson, who gave Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel a perfectly legal $250,000 campaign donation and received an $80 million contract to replace the formerly unionized janitors in Chicago Public Schools. That’s entrepreneurship. Now principals in some of those schools are buying mops and brooms out of their own pockets to keep the filth at bay.
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