NeNe Leakes' Hollywood Hustle

I wonder what Ebony’s founder, the late John Johnson, would make of seeing the loud-mouth reality TV star, NeNe Leakes, appearing half topless and covered by a sea of diamond-esque baubles on the latest cover of his pride and joy.

Maybe editors of the venerable magazine geared to African Americans were looking looking for a fresh face for the cover of their money and power issue which Leakes graces. Maybe they didn’t want to use the faces we’ve all come to associate with mega-money such as Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce Knowles, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Tiger Woods and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter.  I understand that.

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But why not put on the cover someone who represents true black wealth like, say, real estate moguls Quinton Primo III and R. Donahue Peebles, both of whom are estimated to be worth at least $300 million? Or Janice Bryant Howroyd, who along with her family, is worth an estimated $250 million? Those are the kind of people I think of and look up to when I think of black wealth.  

Leakes, who came to fame not that long ago as the sassy, in-your-face co-star on Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” doesn’t come close to being in their league.

I’m not trying to knock her hustle. She's out to get paid, as they say. But to have her as the face of black money in America sends the message that acting the fool on TV is a quick road to riches. Yeah, you can make money as Leakes clearly has, but the real bucks typically come the old-fashioned way, from paying your dues the way that Primo, Peebles or even Winfrey and the rest did.

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