Not too long ago Russell Simmons was doing the circuits trying to convince members of the American public that buying diamonds was a good and responsible thing for the struggling people of Africa. By buying diamonds people will be funding all kinds of wonderful programs that will benefit the disadvantaged. The fact that Mr. Simmons had just launched his own jewelry franchise was supposed to appear as a philanthropic gesture.
But if the buying and selling of diamonds was going to help the people of Africa then they would’ve had all the help they needed long before Mr. Simmons entered the jewelry business. But the diamonds of Africa have brought the African people plenty of pain and suffering. The people who lived on land discovered to hold diamonds were lucky to simply be driven away. Unfortunately, some families would be killed or enslaved, legally and illegally, to work as labor in the diamond retrieval process. And the funds from the diamond sales are used to finance the purchase of weapons and employ ruthless soldiers ready to do whatever they’re told and some things they were never told.
But now Mr. Simmons wants to convince people that all of this is in the past. Now diamonds will build schools and fund other civic projects. So now we’re supposed to simply forget about the history and think only about the positive. The Kimberly Certification Process, Unfortunately it isn’t even close to being that simple.
For years the diamond industry has raped and pillaged the African continent of its diamonds for its own selfish profit. The DeBeers Company has long responsible for controlling the largest portion of diamond trading throughout the world enjoying as much as forty percent of the business. The company has entered controlling interest partnerships with countries like Tanzania, Botswana, and Namibia. Although the company played a key role in the development of the Kimberly Certification Process to eliminate diamonds used to fund wars from the world market, the process has gaping loop holes that are easily manipulated. But what can one truly expect from a company that has made its fortune off a natural resource so deeply entrenched in the blood of the African people. So now we have a half-assed certificates process to prove our diamonds come from areas free of conflict and are guaranteed to give a percentage of the proceeds to the African people. Whoopee goddamn do.
Diamonds are just another tool designed for the conspicuous display of wealth and privilege. Except for the industrial diamonds used for cutting and other processes of manufacturing, ornamental diamonds have absolutely no practical value. Their sole purpose is to do nothing more than make somebody look wealthier than someone else. And yet, people collectively spend billions and billions of dollars every year on the procurement of diamond encrusted jewelry for the sole purpose of artificially inflating their fragile egos.
To say that Mr. Simmons is a disappointment is truly a mild rebuke. If his participation in the promotion of the diamond trade is any indication, the celebrity hip-hop mogul has truly lost his money loving assimilated mind. To say that diamonds were bad then but now they’re good for black people is akin to saying racism was bad back in the day but now racism is good for black people. Each time we buy a product from a company with a history of engaging in racist business and/or hiring practices a certain percentage of the revenue from that purchase will go to schools and college programs so that more of our African children and young adults will learn how to become assimilated Africans Americans who abandon their black neighborhoods. No thank you.
People spending so much of their hard earned resources in the purchase of a diamond and justifying it by saying that it helps poor people in Africa is a foolish argument. If you want to help people in Africa then give the money to organizations whose sole purpose is to help the people in Africa. A diamond is forever, but it is also an expensive and selfish trinket with absolutely no practical application that we would do well to forget.