Black Excellence is a Scam

Jade Scott
5 min readSep 16, 2021
Unsplash Photo Credit Jessica Felicio

I was listening to Spotify on my morning existential crisis commute. I began listening to my usual black podcast where everyone talks about black culture and hot gossip but then, it just got really elitist and everyone started talking about going to the Met Gala and making a ton of money. So I turned it off. Then I started listening to Beyonce hoping to feel connected to some song or something and everything was about having more money, and being married to Jay which I also wasnt in the mood for. So then I turned to Tyler the Creator who is my absolute favorite. I turned to his new album which under any other circumstance I would find it brilliant but today was just not the day.

As soon as I started hearing the lyrics my eyes began to roll in traffic. Another song about black people achieving wealth and that being the answer for everything.

Black excellence. What an unattainable mountain to climb.

The whole point is if you work hard enough, and are talented enough, and believe hard enough, as a black creative, worker, activist, anything you will win. You will be able to trancend your blackness once you reach peak talent and hard-workness. Everyone will worship you and you won’t ever have to worry again.

I believed this forever. I worked harder than anyone I knew. I acted harder than anyone I knew. And rather than lean into my destiny I exploded like a collapsing star under the pressure. Not very black excellent. Now I have so much trauma I can barely function. Beyonce would turn her beautiful nose up at me. Not very black excellent at all.

I sat in my car this morning on my commute to my normal job which is a blessing to have these days, dreaming. I dreamed I was in the ocean. I dreamed that I was falling deep down until I couldn’t see the sky anymore and everything was blue. There were no expectations, no one wanted me to be anything and just being me was okay. I wasnt letting my family down by being no one.

There are so many black no one’s. Uncounted by the census. Incarcerated. Homeless. Unseen.

I have a friend. Black like me. Hopeful for the future. Fought harder than anyone I know. He succumbed to alcoholism and is living in a city of tents. He had the talent, had the drive but wasn’t made for the pressure. He didn’t…

Jade Scott