On Sept. 25, political podcast host and Oscar-winning filmmaker Van Lathan moderated “Dear America, Run My Check” at the 2022 REVOLT Summit x AT&T. The conversation centered around reparations and why Black Americans should get them. Lathan was joined by featured panelists Killer Mike, Erika Alexander, Tariq Nasheed, Rizza Islam, Tezlyn Figaro and Kamilah Moore.

While speaking in front of an audience, Islam gave his opinion on the matter. “There has to be a point of division in order for us to separate and then unite among the like-minded of our people. So let’s make this very clear,” he began. “When we say we wanna call people out, let’s make this all the way clear. Everyone knows who is real and who is not because there are some of us who are banned from every damn where because of how absolutely legitimate we are. So when you wanna call people out, first they must be pointed out,” he said.

Islam continued building his case. “We cannot unite with slave makers, slave owners, traders, turncoats, nor collaborators. It ain’t gonna happen like that,” he argued. Audience members could be heard cheering in agreement. “Too many of us are Black people with white minds,” the author said while receiving a “That’s right” from one of his fellow panelists. He began to go a bit deeper with his message, seemingly addressing some of today’s leaders.

“When you put people in front who say they speak for us, but at this point, it is 2022 going into 2023, and we are still in the same position, if not a little backward from where we were when it comes to our overall progress, I call conspiracy,” the panelist added. Before addressing conspiracy theories, Islam made sure his audience understood the definition to be “two or more groups, organizations or individuals [who] come together to do something evil or wicked.”

“You have too many Black billionaires and millionaires who do not fund projects for Black grassroots organizations to come up out of the condition we are in,” he said with emotion. The activist received cheers from both the audience members and those who sat on the stage with him. As the energy in the room continued to grow, so did his message. “Too many people chasing the bag, but don’t get no damn respect because you sacrifice your people to be included in somebody else’s growth. So, let’s stop the nonsense. Cut the cap,” Islam said.

Before wrapping up that portion of the discussion, Islam left the room with a final thought: “I will never trade my place with someone who has a lot of money, but no respect for my own people. Too many of us get comfortable once we get a check and we forgot where we came from…those who are really about this, be about it. So that the enemy can say, ‘You know what? We need to stop playing with these people and give them their real respect.’”