Surprise, surprise there was an altercation at the BET Hip Hop Awards on Saturday. Make that two altercations, one backstage and one in the parking lot. Classy. The current tally of involved parties includes: Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, G-Unit security, and some guy named Gunplay (yes, Gunplay). At this point, the channel might as well add one of those weigh-in press conferences to the pre-show festivities.
As news of the confrontations reached the masses, the network issued a statement:
For the past 7 years BET has celebrated the true art form of Hip Hop. Due to some misjudgment of select attendees, it is unfortunate that certain incidents took place. BET Networks does not condone any type of violence.
What BET really meant was that while they condone violence in the music, videos, and brands that they honor, don’t bring it to their event. It’s nonsensical for the network to think they can separate the two.
Business is not exempt from the laws of karma. Karma literally means “action.” It is a Hindu and Buddhist principle stating that the sum of a person’s actions decides their fate. Put simply, you get back what you put out.
When applied to the business world, the laws of karma demand that the energy around the product or service you promote comes back on the brand. If your product promotes positivity, your company will attract positive customers, employees, and partners. If your brand promotes ego-driven male posturing that revels in violence, you get a fight at every award show.
Companies and business schools are paying closer attention to the energy they put out as highlighted in BusinessWeek’s Karma Capitalism.
The seemingly ethereal worldview that’s reflected in Indian philosophy is surprisingly well attuned to the down-to-earth needs of companies trying to survive in an increasingly global, interconnected business ecosystem.
…”You are the architect of your misfortune,” [Swami Parthasarathy, one of India's best-selling authors on Vedanta, an ancient school of Hindu philosophy] said [during an auditorium lecture at Lehman Brothers]. “You are the architect of your fortune.”
When anything involving hip hop is discussed, Jay-Z is never far from the conversation. The mogul was no where near the award show, performing at the freshly minted Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets in which he owns a minority stake. As social media reacted to the news, many stated that rappers should pay closer attention to how Jay-Z handles himself. He may have had skirmishes early in his career, but since he’s become a businessman, he has reached Huxtable levels of polish.
I don’t subscribe to the school of thought that every rapper needs to aspire to be Jay-Z. Nor do the Hip Hop Awards need to look like an Oprah Winfrey production. However, companies and artists alike need to recognize that the opportunities available to them reflect the energy they put out. A short temper and a penchant for violence may be hot in the streets, but it’s not what stable sponsors or partners are looking for. If you lead a hood lifestyle expect hood money, which, while plentiful, is temporary.