Inspired by Sean “Diddy” Combs’ successful “State Of Emergency: The State of Black America & Coronavirus” town hall, “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” is a platform that is designed to report news from the perspective of Black people for Black people.
Last night’s (Sept. 17) “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode “The Power of Black Representation” discussed the importance of Black representation through various industries. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Ray J, Shavone Charles, June Ambrose, Claire Sulmers, and Stacey Abrams.
Charles and Ray J were presented first to have a conversation with Williams on the power of representation in the tech industry. “Tech is the heart of it all and we have to establish what our bridge to it is,” Charles said on the intersectionality between Black culture and the technology industry through music, fashion, and the auto industry. “What is there to gain and how are we part of profitability and ownerships versus being on the consumer side?”
“If you gotta say ‘no cap’ in your meeting after an idea, then run it,” Ray J said on tips to entrepreneurship and evolution in the field. “They’re gonna respect anything that you have, especially if it’s great. The more you’re yourself, the more you’re aggressively trying to learn, and you’re asking questions and looking people in the eye, and they can see you wanna be here.” Ray J continued to express the importance of being ready to learn and placing your ego aside to get the most out of an experience.
As she thanked Ray J and Charles for making the tech industry “better and Blacker,” Williams went through last night’s “Headlines” including Breonna Taylor’s family receiving a $12 million settlement. “It’s the only thing available to them in this moment while there’s an epic failure for real justice, which would only come about when this officer is arrested and convicted,” Williams said. Other topics included the developing investigation around the two sheriffs’ fatal ambush in Compton, CA; Los Angeles County’s $100,000 reward pledge for information about the gunman with a challenge to LeBron James to match; the wildfire spread between California and Oregon; and Congress working on yet another stimulus package.
Next up for a discussion on Black representation in fashion were Sulmers and Ambrose. “Both Claire and I are avidly supporting young Black talent,” Ambrose said as she disclosed the name of their designers for last night’s looks. While speaking on her experience working with Missy Elliott and dismantling stereotypes of Black women through fashion, Ambrose mentioned how her look went hand-in-hand with her cultural impact.
“It was not about trying to fit into a circle and she’s a square peg. It was really about allowing everyone else to conform and accept what they were seeing and experience the creativity and the art,” she said acknowledging that Missy’s influence was more focused on art than hyper-sexualization.
On last year’s New York Fashion week being “one of the most diverse showings of fashion shows of the major fashion cities,” according to our host, Sulmers chimed in with a few notes on what really goes on behind-the-scenes. “We have come a really long way,” the Fashion Bomb Daily founder said. “We still have a long way to go, but we have come a really long way when you think of the diversity.” In comparison to her days of remembering Baby Phat being one of two shows to today’s reality of the CFDA award winners including Telfar and Pyer Moss, Sulmers gives a round of applause to the evolution of major fashion houses to include Black designers.
“Black Excellence in Entertainment” was co-hosted by Justin Sylvester last night alongside Williams to discuss the latest in Black entertainment news. Topics of discussion ranged from Charlamagne Tha God and Bakari Sellers winning a regional Emmy award for their documentary to Charlamagne announcing his “Black Effect Podcast Network.” Other points of conversation included Netflix acquiring Malcolm & Marie starring Zendaya and John David Washington; Jonathan Majors being casted to play in Marvel’s Ant-Man, and the premiere of Janelle Monae in Antebellum.
“That man is like the Wayne Brady of radio,” Sylvester praised of Charlamagne’s work ethic. “What he’s doing is saying, ‘There are more people like me. I’m not gonna be selfish. I’m gonna hand this baton to up-and-coming guys and people who have been in the industry that have not been heard.’ That’s what giving back is about and that’s what it means when you continue the legacy.”
Black representation in politics is the discussion topic with Abrams and with only six weeks out from the general election, the conversation couldn’t be more timely. After recalling her experience serving in Georgia’s House of Representatives and her responsibility to represent Black, brown and multicultural communities; Abrams addressed the challenges that come with increasing Black representation in the government.
“When we get to the statewide level, there is not a single state in the United States that’s majority Black,” Abrams pointed out, “which means what we’re asking of candidates - and what we’re asking of voters - is to understand that while we’re deeply embedded and trenched in terms of representing our own racial heritage, we’re capable of representing the broadest swath of Americans.”
Williams brought up the topic of voter suppression, which Abrams was more than equipped to speak about. From firsthand experience with her run against Governor Bryan Kemp, Abrams brought us back to the election. “We have to be very clear that what we saw in Georgia in 2018 was textbook voter suppression,” she recalled by listing examples of the purging of one and a half million voters, the oversight of closure 240 precincts, the holding of 53,000 registrations; and the rejections of ballots. “We know that there were people who wanted to be heard who were denied agency and denied their citizenship right of being able to vote.”
“On that note, we’ve got to keep our foot on the gas for Nov. 3,” Williams said after thanking Abrams for joining the show. As she reminded viewers that Election Day is not just a day, but a season, she urged viewers to vote. To end with a bit of homework, Williams said to visit Youtube.com/REVOLTTV to tune into Killer Mike’s speech at last year’s REVOLT Summit after fast-forwarding to the 43:30 mark.
“We have way more resources today than we did then,” she said referring to the 1870s. “That only matters if we’re willing to start the work of Nov. 3 today. If we wait until Nov. 3, it’ll be too late.”