Saturday, March 16, 2013

In the Observer's list of Top 100 influencers, Jay-Z and Sharpton but not Ratner

Oh, snap.

The Observer's Top 100 influencers, part of its 25th anniversary issue, includes nine people in real estate (among six companies), but not Bruce Ratner, who arguably deserves to be on the list.

Hey, hasn't Ratner done a lot more than Donald Trump lately? (Well, Trump has a higher public profile, and his daughter is married to the Observer's publisher.) It must rankle that his sometime rival Gary Barnett of Extell Development made the list.

Still, two Atlantic Yards backers made the list, Jay-Z and the Rev. Al Sharpton, with unflattering details buffed out of existence.

The Jay-Z citation

Jay-Z and Beyoncé: Musical artist and entrepreneur
Jay-Z famously rapped that he has 99 Problems, but let’s be honest, people: he’s a chart-topping, Grammy-winning rapper; his music is indisputably part of the cultural New York playlist; he is the face of the Brooklyn Nets and Brooklyn’s place in sports; he’s married to BeyoncĂ©, queen of pop culture; he’s even buddies with President Obama. Oh, and he’s also a total philanthropist. So Jay-Z, you can brush as much dirt off your shoulder as you want, because we’re pretty sure you’re unstoppable.
The Brooklyn native entered the music scene in 1989 with an appearance on MTV. In 1995 he co-founded Roc-a-Fella records, releasing his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, a year later. From there he exploded, turning rap rhythms into mainstream hits like Izzo (H.O.V.A.), Dirt Off Your Shoulder and Empire State of Mind. In total, the rapper’s rhymes have earned him 14 Grammy Awards and album sales of 27 million. His pride in his roots and love for New York have impressed his image of the city on popular culture. He also helped deliver the Nets to Brooklyn.
Jay-Z has also used his fame (and ample funds) to help people. In 2006, in partnership with the United Nations, his world tour became a platform to raise awareness about global water shortages. He donated a million dollars to the Red Cross in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
A proud supporter and loyal bro of Mr. Obama, Jay-Z actively took part in initiatives to increase voter turnout in the 2008 and 2012 elections. And if that’s not enough social consciousness for you, he publicly came out last year in support of same-sex marriage.
And don’t forget his famous family. Last year, Jay-Z and the Queen B gave birth to Blue Ivy Carter—arguably the most publicized delivery since that of baby Jesus—thereby ensuring that Jay-Z’s empire would expand across future generations.
But for now, we’re certain that Jay-Z will continue to Run This Town for decades to come.
A "total philanthropist"? Didn't his biographer portray a capable and sometimes cutthroat businessman? As his mentor from Brooklyn, Jonathan "Jaz-O" Burks, suggested, "His loyalty is to his money." Hasn't Jay-Z shilled for his business partners? And, um, doesn't his wealth--and his rap--trace back to the drug trade?

The Sharpton citation

Al Sharpton: Host, MSNBC’s PoliticsNation Host, Radio One’s Keepin’ It Real
Al Sharpton wants you to know what he thinks. With his stentorian style of speaking, his stirring of the media pot, Mr. “No Justice, No Peace” Sharpton is an expert at harnessing attention and becoming the public face, though sometimes controversially, of civil rights issues. Though the genesis of the Brooklyn-born minister’s activist leadership was in New York during the racial tensions of the ’80s, Mr. Sharpton became a national figure, lending his presence and voice to protests and race-relations dialogue across the country. The former James Brown tour manager-turned-organizer founded the National Action Network, a civil rights organization, in 1991. He gave politics a shot with runs for New York Senate and NYC mayor, and a 2004 presidential campaign. These days, Mr. Sharpton’s resting his megaphone, with a steady gig returning him to the proverbial pulpit, this time preaching to viewers of MSNBC’s PoliticsNation and Radio One’sKeepin’ It Real.
Yeah, "the racial tensions of the '80s" includes things like the Tawana Brawley hoax.

Hm, didn't Sharpton--whose organization got funding from Forest City Ratner--help deliver the Nets to Brooklyn, by dissing the anti-AY stance of mayoral candidate Freddy Ferrer, whom he ostensibly supported?

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