Black Panther Party
Photo: David Fenton, Getty

“REVOLT Black News Weekly” dives into how the Black Panther Party became so iconic

“REVOLT Black News Weekly” returned on Friday (Feb. 25) to discuss the history of the iconic Black Panther Party, criticisms surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and more.

  /  03.01.2022
Black Panthers and Their Influence on Today's Black Lives Matter Movement
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Black Panthers and Their Influence on Today's Black Lives Matter Movement

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“REVOLT Black News Weekly” returned on Friday (Feb. 25) to discuss the Black Panther Party, the Black Lives Matter organization (BLM), Black TikTok creators demanding payment for their content, and the 2022 Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame ceremony held in Atlanta, Georgia.

New host Neima Abdulahi led the premiere episode titled, “The Black Panther’s Main Mission and the Misunderstood Movement.” Abdulahi was joined by Xavier Buck, Keith Strictland, Stanley Nelson Jr. and REVOLT Entertainment Correspondent Kennedy Rue McCullough, who spoke with Wyclef Jean, New Edition and more.

Abdulahi began the show by discussing the Black Panther Party’s importance to the Black community with aforementioned filmmaker Nelson, Co-founder of Black Youth Project 100, Fresco Steez, and former Black Panther Party member and Co-founder of Common Ground New Collective, Malik Rahim.

Nelson stated the Black Panther Party was revolutionary.

“[The Panthers embodied] the whole idea that came about that Black is beautiful — the afros and walking tall with your head up. They really started protesting in opposition to the incredibly racist police force in Oakland, California. In California, you could carry a gun as long as it was out in the open. So, they would follow the police — if the police jumped out to stop a Black person, they would hop out with their guns and observe the police,” Nelson explained.

“J. Edgar Hoover, [the former director] of the FBI, said the Panthers were the biggest threat to the security of the United States. That kind of gave a license to law enforcement all over the country to crack down on the Black Panther Party,” he continued. “The infiltration and the counter-espionage that went on, especially from the FBI, contributed to the breakup of the Black Panther party. You have to understand, there had never been anything like this before. Now we have the Panthers so we know the length the government will go to, to infiltrate and destroy organizations.”

Rahim said he joined the political organization because he had “never seen that type of love from people” before. “It wasn’t like we [were] a rich organization. We came together and started giving some brothers some meaning,” Rahim recalled.

Although the Black Panther Party and other Black organizations were disbanded, Steez proclaimed “[This generation has] a responsibility to preserve the culture and history and our lineage and our legacy, and we have to pass that information on to future generations so that they can build a future for Black folks that is rooted in liberation, freedom, joy.”

Later in the show, Abdulahi spoke with Xavier Buck, the deputy director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, and Hawk Newsome, an activist and the co-founder of Black Opportunities. The three addressed criticisms of the Black Lives Matter organization, which is accused by the California Department of Justice of failing to submit receipts for $90 million raised in 2020.

Buck stated that the organization’s finances are of the “utmost concern.”

“I’m not one of these activists who hang out in these social circles and spoken word lounges. I’m in the streets. I’m on the corner. I’m in the South Bronx. I’m out here with the drillers and the trappers trying to serve my people, so my people — the people in the streets are like, ‘Bro where the bread at? What happened with the money?‘ So, we have to address that. We have to address our people in a real way,” he said.

On the contrary, Newsome stated that the Black community should “tread lightly” when discussing BLM.

“[BLM] is getting a lot more attention than other organizations have. So, [I think we should be] really particular about how we talk about Black organizations in the news, how we comment on them — because I do feel like we are always under attack and I think, whether or not Black Lives Matter is doing everything right, we know they are getting attacked from all ends. So, let’s tread lightly,” he insisted.

Midway through the show, Abdulahi spoke with REVOLT’s Kennedy Rue McCullough about Black love and the role social media plays. McCullough stated social media has a lot to do with how we see ourselves, but we should not use it as a measuring stick for romantic relationships.

“I don’t think we should be aspiring to anybody’s relationship as a benchmark for what we should be emulating in our own lives. I don’t think we should be emulating celebrities because we only get a piece of the story. We don’t see their day-to-day, we don’t see their everyday life, we don’t see what they go through. So, I think that it’s limiting for us to have a mentality that’s focused on celebrity relationships,” said McCullough.

Abdulahi also spoke with Black TikTok creators who have been demanding the social media platform properly acknowledge and compensate them for their content.

Founder of the Influencer League Brittany Bright said Black creators “set the trends on social media” and are the ones who make “celebrities and their music go viral on TikTok.”

“Black influencers need to charge more because if we charge more, if we know our worth working with these brands, then they have no choice but to increase their budgets,” she continued, adding, “Because you’re either going to have an all-white campaign or you’re going to pay Black influencers what they’re worth.”

In the show’s final segment, McCullough returned to showcase her coverage of the 2022 Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame ceremony in Atlanta. McCullough called the event an empowering celebration during which the Black community “gets to uplift” its icons.

R&B group New Edition was honored during the ceremony, and McCullough had a chance to catch up with bandmate Ronnie DeVoe.

“Almost 40 years later and we get a chance to smell our flowers as we’re here, all six of us, in Black Mecca. This is the best place for this to happen. We are so elated and just grateful,” said Devoe.

McCullough also had the opportunity to speak with gospel singer Yolanda Adams. During the ceremony, the living legend was presented with a star on the Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame. “[My star] is cemented forever and I don’t think that I’ll really get the gist of it because I’m overwhelmed right now,” Adams said.

Watch a clip from the Black Panther Party discussion up top. Plus, be sure to catch the next episode of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” on Friday, March 4, 2022 at 5 p.m. ET on REVOLT’s app.

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