Photo: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images
  /  08.28.2020

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.

Thursday night’s (Aug. 27) “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode titled “The Black Agenda: Vote For Justice” discussed the importance of prioritizing the Black agenda in order for politicians to understand and connect with the Black community more genuinely. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Van Lathan, Rep. Karen Bass, Tara Setmayer, Kimberly Klacik, Danielle Moodie and Dr. Wes Bellamy.

“The biggest story of the week is unfortunately the same old story in this country,” Williams said as she began to break the news of Jacob Blake’s police shooting earlier in the week. After clips demonstrating support from Jacob’s father, Jacob Blake Sr.; LeBron James, Letetra Widman and Kenny Smith to name a few, the host welcomed Lathan for the “Enough Is Enough” segment to discuss the ongoing police brutality and how it reveals the urgency for a Black policy agenda. “It’s a system that’s broken,” he explained negating the notion of people being broken and to blame when there is a higher system from where this trickles down. “Until we fix that system, until we fix those structures, we’re gonna be back here every so often and it’s gonna be a way of life until we decide it’s not.”

As he and Williams began to discuss the key components of systemic change, Lathan addressed holding the structural levels accountable. “They are not trained to maim or to de-escalate,” the host revealed about a conversation she recently had with a friend in law enforcement when encountered with a “reasonable risk of harm.” “They are trained to shoot to kill.” On the topic of the Black vote, Lathan emphasized the difference between “a chance at justice” and “ensuring justice” when it comes to casting our vote on Nov. 3 to finally see the changes we seek. 

“The answer to this problem in a real way is coordinated, loud and aggressive disobedience,” he expressed about methods to dismantle white supremacy systems. While he used the protests of the NBA as an example, Lathan broke down the impact of shaking America by disrupting their regularly scheduled programming in a major way that impacts all. When asked to identify three ideal components of the Black agenda, he listed divesting from the police, medicaid for all to cut down on infant mortality and protecting Black mothers during childbirth, and a combination of sustainable housing and basic income.

After a compilation of clips recapping last weekend’s BreonnaCon in Louisville, Kentucky was the “Headlines” segment. Topics of discussion included the U.S. Justice Department opening of a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting of Jacob, the weakening of Hurricane Laura to Category 2, and the arrest of Kyle Rittenhouse following two fatal shootings during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In sports-related news, Williams shared clips of Doc Rivers giving a heartfelt message about the shooting of Jacob and professional sports being paused as a sign of protest to police brutality.

Up next was the anticipated debate between Setmayer and Klacik, two Black Republicans with opposing views regarding the Republican National Conference. In response to Klacik’s viral video claiming that “the worst place for a Black person to live in America is a Democrat-controlled state,” Williams challenged her with answering where Black lives have improved in a red or Republican-controlled state. “That’s a great question. That’s not something I’ve looked up,” Klacik said. Klacik continued to hold the Republican party accountable for its lack of engagement with inner cities. “The Republican party has written off inner cities time and time again,” she reminisced about her personal experience while campaigning for her organization. She further explained the mindset of a Republican when it comes to engaging minorities. “We know they’re gonna vote Democrat, so why even try?”

Williams turned her attention to Setmayer, who has remained rather quiet this election cycle and distant from President Trump.  “What Donald Trump and Trumpism represents is not conservatism. It’s an illiberal, populist, nationalist, borderline authoritarian type of governing that is focusing on, and really cultivating, white grievance,” Setmayer explained about the difference between the conservative party and what Trump is claiming as conservatism. Though she agreed with Klacik about the Republican party not engaging inner cities enough, Setmayer shed a light on the bigger issue at hand, which were policies not being taken into consideration and properly engaging people of color about the benefits of the conservative policy approach.

Though Klacik disagreed with Setmayer’s defense of the GOP’s interest in minority communities, she credited media outlets for being divisive within the parties. Williams asked Klacik to reconcile the differences between Klacik’s ability to outright say that Black Lives Matter in her viral video, yet she unwaveringly supports a president and vice president’s inability to replicate. “I am for Black people. If people don’t like Trump, that’s fine. But, Trump’s administration is here to help us and I’m gonna do what’s right for us,” she ensured Williams.

Donald Trump doesn’t give a damn about people in Baltimore or in these opportunity zones,” Setmayer fired back at her opponent as she spoke on how political advisor Ja’Ron Smith does by demonstrating his passion to help the Black community succeed in this country.

Jason Carter joined Williams once again to recap top “Black Excellence in Entertainment” headlines. The talking points included the next Verzuz battle between R&B queens Brandy and Monica this coming Monday, Big Sean’s fifth studio album announcement, actress Garcelle Beauvais joining “The Real” as a new co-host, and Nike tributing the late Kobe Bryant with a commercial narrated by Kendrick Lamar and directed by Melina Matsoukas. “Nike gets it right every time when it comes to paying homage to its Black athletes,” Carter praised the athletic brand. “This is in alignment with what Nike does when they’re putting out visuals – they’re compelling, they’re factual, they tell the story, and they know how to hit you right where it matters.”

“There’s so much change needed, but there’s also a lot of change already taking place,” Williams said regarding Sen. Kamala Harris’ official acceptance of her vice president nomination. Congresswoman Bass was then welcomed back to discuss the evolution of women in politics, starting with her continuing the legacy of Shirley Chisholm through the Congressional Black Caucus. “We are a force to be contended with,” she said about the CBC’s role as a powerful voice for change in the Black community. She continued to list the ways in which the CBC has uplifted Black women through chair positioning while using Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. Barbara Lee as primary examples. “Black women are playing a huge role. Shirley Chisholm, I’m sure, is smiling down from heaven knowing that Kamala Harris will be the next vice president,”  Rep. Bass said while smiling from ear-to-ear with Williams.

“It is so important to have women in general in Congress because we tend to lead [differently], we tend to serve differently, we raise different issues, and we tend to be far more welcoming and collaborative,” she continued. Rep. Bass further encouraged REVOLT audience members who are Black women interested in becoming more involved in politics to connect with more organizations who work with women candidates and “take root in your community,” and hone in on the key issues that serve your people as much as they serve you.

Moodie and Dr. Bellamy kicked off their conversation with Williams by discussing the presence of Black people at the RNC. “Just because you have Black faces in white spaces does not mean that is inclusion and they should know better,” Moodie said. “Regardless of our political affiliation or our fraternal affiliation, Black people have to be put first,” Dr. Bellamy shared. 

When Williams asked Dr. Bellamy what components he’d like to see within the Black Policy Agenda, he listed economic equity and revamping the criminal justice system. Williams then prompted Moodie with the same question and she responded “serious criminal justice reform,” as well as recently released convicted felons to have their voting rights reinstated. “This has been a way to disenfranchise our community, to silence our community by having people ratchet up charges,” said Moodie when comparing a Black person and a white person committing the same crime where one is hit with a federal charge and the other with a misdemeanor.

“This is not a time to have debate about whether or not you should vote. They are using policy and police to actively kill us,” Moodie passionately vocalized to those undecided Black voters about “getting off the sidelines” and “into the voting booth.” She continued, “We can save these arguments, these very purposeful policy debates, after Biden and Harris’ inauguration. Then, we can be open for debate. Until then, I need every single Black person that is eligible to vote to vote.”

Williams concluded the episode by discussing the importance of developing a better understanding of the weight of the Black vote. “Casting our vote shouldn’t be up for question or debate. All we got to do is show up and show out – simple as that,” she closed.


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