Sellouts are the modern hustlers

Illustration by Miles Huffman

Sellouts are generally condemned in our society for misrepresenting themselves.

The act of going against one’s own beliefs or values for capital gain, and actually succeeding, can undermine the reputation of the most respected figures in American culture.

But is selling out always wrong?

Establishing monetary ties with professional marketing teams for promotional help can be an intelligent business strategy. Artists, athletes and entrepreneurs do it all the time.

Buyer’s seek out marketing teams to advocate to a wider, more diverse audience. A once struggling musician who is now famed is sometimes perceived as having sold his soul to the devil.

Different people perceive publicity in different ways.

That’s propaganda.

I do not encourage setting aside one’s beliefs for financial gain, but I understand it, because society has put so much value in money.

“I got bills to pay. I gotta exist in this society,” said hip hop artist J. Cole in an interview on selling out, “Anybody would do, for the most part, anything for the money.”

On the other hand, unsuccessful people are rarely labeled sellouts.

He who works a poor paying job that he despises because he needs the money to survive is representing the same so-called immoral concept that tarnishes the reputations of successful stars – misrepresentation.

Tony Hawk has been sponsored by McDonalds, Sony and Kohls. He has a video game under his name “Tony Hawk Pro Skater,” along with a clothing line and skateboard company called Birdhouse.

Hawk is a multimillionaire who owes much of his wealth to endorsements, yet he did “not change his morals to get paid,” as he describes in an interview with skateboard hub, The Berrics titled “Who You Callin’ A Sell Out?”.

Hawk has never misrepresented himself and society has continued to call him a sell out.

At worst, this term is a label that the envious have coined for those they don’t respect.

In reality, “sell-outs” are nothing more than cunning businessmen.

Miles Inserra can be reached at [email protected] or @m_inserra on Twitter.