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. 10) “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode “Suppression Can’t Stop Our Vote” addressed the importance of the Black male vote, voter suppression in the Black trans community and why you should cast your vote. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Jermaine Dupri, Papoose, David Johns, Nicco Annan, and Erica Davis.
Williams introduced hip hop legend Dupri first for a conversation about the importance of the Black man’s vote in America. “I don’t think they cared for the choices that we had, which is the reason why I’m more vocal this time because I feel like it’s even worse,” he said regarding the decrease in Black voter turnout between the past two election cycles. As the conversation continued, Williams highlighted the controversy in the Black community surrounding presidential candidate Biden earning the Black vote. “Anyone that’s willing to listen and willing to have conversation with people that have problems with you,” Dupri added, “I believe that’s the place we should be going to and that’s the direction we should be going to.”
After uncovering the conversation between Biden, the famed producer, and other key influencers in Atlanta from Mayor Bottoms to T.I.; they moved on to the reports of Trump gaining more Black male voters. Dupri shared his theory that people may be leaning toward Trump because of his blunt nature and “he doesn’t hide it.” He continued to explain that he won the first election due to his unapologetic non-politician nature and is using that same humanizing appeal to win for a second term. “Most of the time when somebody speaks to people like that,” Dupri said, “this is the person they listen to because the person is trying to tell you, ‘They’re fake, they’re just being fake and they’re not saying it the way they should say it.’”
Moving to last night’s headlines, Williams touched on news topics including Trump’s damage control for the military’s support and audio recordings being released of him downplaying the severity of COVID-19, the postmaster general being accused of incentivizing employees to donate to Trump’s campaign, and the return of the NFL season that raised questions about the social justice impact. “Here’s what I think about Jerry Jones and his supposed green light,” Williams said, “Black men and women do not seek the permission of the oppressor to do exactly what we need to do to stand up for equality and justice in this nation.” Other headlines included R. Kelly’s recent attack in prison for which prison guards are being blamed, and Apple announcing its stream of a special digital event surrounding the upcoming iPhone 12 series.
For the special “Hip Hop Fights Back” segment, Papoose joined Williams for a conversation around the state of Black people in America in relation to Trump’s presidency. “I feel like a lot of lives could’ve been saved if this guy would’ve [taken] that route,” Papoose said about Trump’s failure to listen to experts during initial warnings in the first three months of the Coronavirus pandemic. Williams brought up Papoose’s recent tweet about how “some people are undercover Trump supporters” and we have to “read between the lines” to identify them. “We’re in a situation where it’s either Biden or Trump,” Papoose said bluntly as Williams agreed. “If you’re saying, ‘Hey, I’m not voting for either one of them,’ then you’re voting for Trump, that’s more power for Donald Trump.” He continued that while everyone is respectfully entitled to their own opinion, we should not be “accepting rants from celebrities” if they don’t vocalize who they’re casting their ballot for.
“I think it’s the same manipulation tactic that he used in his initial election,” Papoose added about the postal service, voter suppression, and Trump’s efforts to ‘undermine the ability to vote by mail,’ as stated by our host. “I feel like he’s bluffing again… Donald Trump is a big lie and he tries to intimidate and manipulate. I just think it’s another tactic of [his] to keep himself in power.” In order to see the change that voters wish to see, early voting and registration is an option, but some young Black men do not understand the true power that their vote holds. As Papoose listed Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, Jr. as prominent leaders in the Black community who “sacrificed and laid down their lives” for us to vote, he left his brothers with a message. “Of course corruption does exist and the suppression of the Black vote, it’s real. But, in reality, the United States voting system is the fairest in the world. Don’t let your great leaders of the past die in vain,” he said.
After releasing more information about his forthcoming album, Endangered Species, Papoose made room for the “Black Excellence in Entertainment” segment featuring actress and web series host Erica Davis. Topics included Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” going double platinum, the premiere of “Power Book II: Ghost,” Tyler Perry wrapping up a BET+ shoot for new series “Bruh” in four days, and Ciera Payton being casted to play Wendy Williams in her Lifetime biopic. “They’ve been getting them right lately,” Davis said as she expressed her excitement in anticipation for the film. “I want to get to the bottom of the Wendy Williams story. She lives her life out loud, but I feel like there are so many layers about Wendy that we really do not know.”
Voter suppression in the Black transgender was the next topic of discussion. “Can you imagine the challenges when you are Black and transgender and trying to vote, and your gender as you show up at the polls doesn’t match the gender listed on your driver’s license?” Williams challenged as she introduced David Johns and Nicco Annan. Annan broke down the documents necessary to bring to the polls to prove your identity, which you can get visiting your county clerk and getting your gender marker change. Furthermore, he suggested TransEquality.org through the National Center for Transgender Equality to obtain more information about getting your ID gender changed. Johns shared that there are over 100,000 new voters who are transgender; many of which live in states who make it pretty difficult to get the appropriate identification in order to vote.
“This is a problem in a general election,” said Johns using the 40,000 trans community members from the last election cycle who were unable to vote as an example. “There’s nothing about this current election cycle that’s traditional. We should all account for the fact that this administration in particular has targeted trans people.” He continued to express the importance of all Americans, including Black transgender American, deserving the equal opportunity and right to vote by mail and in-person even if their gender expression does not match the gender on your legal ID. “There have been concerted attempts to deny that ability since the Three-Fifths Compromise,” Johns said about transgender voter suppression with the notion of “until all of us are free, none of us are free.”
Annan came back into the conversation with a word for left-wing Democratic viewers who claim allyship, but may not necessarily be educated about the transgender community. “As long as you got breath in your body, you need to be evolving,” he said about combating ignorance and biases against the LGBTQ+ community. “As we continue to evolve, we have to make sure that we’re doing the mental work and the social work to make that happen.”
Johns further ensured viewers to put their health first, and practice safe measures to vote during COVID-19 — even if that means voting by mail and social distancing. He also urged people to lobby and push legislators to make the changes you want to see for non-binary voters. “If you have the option to vote by mail and/or to safely vote in-person in ways that allow you to use IDs that will not invite any of these forms of violence, then I think you should do that,” he suggested.
“Vaccine or no vaccine,” Williams said powerfully in her closing remarks, “one thing we know for sure that helps prevent the spread of Coronavirus is simply wearing a mask. Though COVID-19 is a large obstacle for voters who practicing social distancing, she reminded us that our votes are too essential to create excuses and bail out of this election cycle. “Wear a mask and register to vote early,” she closed.