Success: Leaves Your "Friends" Behind


When I make it big, the first thing on my list is to get rid of my “friends.” This past year, we have witnessed several events where friends became foes and cost a celebrity a great deal of money, a career and even their lives.

When jealousy rears it’s ugly head it can be devastating and there are three black celebrities who got a taste of that this in 2006. Michael Vick, T.I. and the saddest case Washington Redskins Sean Taylor. Celebrities of all colors think it’s a good idea to bring old friends along for the ride on the rise to the top of the success ladder, after all, who better to deal with and trust? They know them and have known them before they endured any success. They trust them with information, access to their money, homes and whatever they want in return for their loyalty… unfortunately, the loyalty comes into question when the shit hits the fan. Micheal Vick virtually lost EVERYTHING to support a business endeavor with his “friends” that he KNEW was wrong but he trusted them, however, Vic failed to realize that a Black man who goes from rags to riches is going to suffer scrutiny. In his case, he was given so many warnings and so much leeway. There was always someone who came and saved him, after all he was a star football icon and to many around him, his game was much more important than his personal life could ever be. He was being used, and I’m sure he knows that now, perhaps he knew it then, maybe not, but if he thought he could seek refuge in his “friends” he soon found out that they may have had his back initially, but when the shit hit the fan, they used him too. When feds questioned them and gave them an option to plea out, they sang on him like birds in the morning. Tweet, tweet tweet. I would say THEY made him lose everything but as we all know, he did that to himself. He went from a rags to riches hero to a riches to rags inmate who is now serving time. It’s very hard to feel sorry for Vic or to blame anyone but him for his extremely poor and ignorant business decisions that totally lacked savvy.

T.I. At the top of his career as a rap artist, spending years in the shadow of his once famous girlfriend Tiny from the group Xscape, now he has a chance to shine. He is obviously a man who remembers those who looked out for him as he is still with Tiny even though the tables of success have turned but are his “friends” still with him? His recent arrest for allegedly trying to purchase machine guns could literally destroy his career and he could spend a good amount of time in jail as the charges are quite serious. Now under house arrest and awaiting trail after his bodyguard snitched on him and set him up. This book is still being written, but it’s a good thing he has the money to get top notch beasts on his side (lawyers) and that he has a current project the record label can keep selling. I’m willing to bet he is questioning the people around him now.

Finally the most tragic case happened this past week with Sean Taylor. With friends and family over for the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m sure Taylor had no idea it would be his last. Ironically thieves breaking into the house the first time didn’t alarm him enough to get a security system installed on the house? Even with his girlfriend and young 18 month old daughter living there. Something is wrong with that picture. Did he know who was doing it? Then, they were bold enough to come back and do it again. Obviously sloppy with their work but displaying a bit of familiarity with the layout of the house, they were just shooting blindly when they entered his bedroom. A star of that magnitude and that background and no security on his house would have certainly faired better with a gun under his bed but a machete? Unfortunately, one bullet proved fatal after hitting Taylor in the groin. When this all comes out, I’m willing to bet you he knew the perpetrators and they have been in the house before under different circumstances.

There is one thing that is common in all three situations. You have to ask yourself “What was he thinking” and perhaps we’ll never know but it proves that you can’t take people that you knew when you had nothing into a life where you have everything without being extremely cautious. My mother always told me, your best friend can be your worst enemy because the know the most about you. Could that be the case here?

As of the last few years, it seems the violence that has permeated the rap community is making its way into the sports arena. Many of the young brothers involved in both arenas have often common backgrounds and it seems the culprit or the cancer of their success almost always boils down to keeping the people around they should simply let go of.