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 “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode titled “A Black Political Party, and the Black agenda with Trump and Biden” held a town hall in partnership with Our Black Party to discuss Gen Z, Black political power, and the needs of the African-American community. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Jeezy, Sen. Nina Turner, and Our Black Party Co-Chairs Dr. Wes and Mayor Candace Hollingsworth.
In her opening remarks, Williams clearly identified the two core needs of the Black community: “Our needs essentially boil down to two things: freedom and liberty. Now freedom. That’s an internal job. It’s the right to act, speak or think without hindrance. But liberty. Liberty is about the outside. It is the external. It’s the freedom to move about this society autonomously. Free from the authorities weighing in and impending our very way of life.”
In part one of the town hall, Mayor Hollingsworth explained the mission behind Our Black Party. “We aim to change the laws and the lawmakers that undermine Black existence, and we do that by holding elected officials accountable but by educating the voters — that’s you, the everyday person — about what it means to own our politics, what that looks like in our communities and how we can use that education to move forward a Black agenda for all of us,” she said.
Dr. Wes then asked, “What does a Black agenda look like for Gen Z right now in 2020?” to the panel of five community leaders. Ty Hobson-Powell, founder of Concerned Citizens DC, responded first. “It looks like a commitment to resources for these young Black people. It’s not enough to say Black Lives Matter without a commitment to showing that those lives matter,” he said.
He went on to reference his personal success story of becoming the youngest student to be admitted to Howard University at 13 years old as an example of that commitment in action. “That was only possible due to a commitment from educators to really affirm the value of my life. To tell me that I could be more than what the news would have us portrayed as. All too often, they’ll show us as the victims or they’ll show us as perpetrators of great atrocities, but never as the kings and queens that we are,” he said. “The single most important resource is to give young people confidence.”
Tiffany Lofton, NAACP’s national director for the youth and college division, believes that the key is to make sure the next person is in position to succeed from your work: “I’ve been serving for 12 years now. I’m 31 so I’m a millennial, and it’s my job to make the space for Gen Z, my job is the make sure that they have the platforms, the resources, the titles, the agency, the job experience, the resume, the relationships to build that agenda that we’ve been talking about.”
Representative Kalan Haywood, a 21-year-old member of the Wisconsin state assembly and one of the youngest legislators in the country, urges that Gen Z must be welcome to contribute to the conversation rather than only being advocated for. “The patient’s got to be in the room when you’re talking about what’s wrong,” he said. “If it wasn’t for youth-serving or youth-led organizations, I would not be where I’m at today. At all.”
In conclusion, Dr. Wes summarized: “At a certain point it’s not only a marathon, it’s a relay with the baton being passed from generation to generation. Many of us have snatched that baton from previous generations and said, “We’re just going to lead our way and we’re going to do what we need to do.”
Up next, Williams talked about “HEADLINES.” Topics included Ice Cube reportedly working on Trump’s “Platinum Plan,” the conclusion of hearings for Supreme Court nominee judge Amy Coney Barrett, Megan Thee Stallion’s New York Times op-ed, and encouragement for early voting despite some sites with 10-hour or more wait times. “We knew this would happen. These types of voter suppression tactics would be employed to keep our voices silent in this election. We will not allow it,” the host said.
In part two of the town hall, Our Black Party discussed Gen Z’s demand for authenticity and and transparency from elected officials for a real commitment to change. “Look at the conversations around things like college debt forgiveness, housing and healthcare as a human right,” Hobson-Powell said. “We’ve been told so many times, ‘We can’t do this. We can’t do that.’ We’ve also witnessed during our time Wall Street be bailed out. We’ve witnessed during our time massive military expenditure. [We want to see] a commitment to things that stand in alignment with what we care about.”
The show progressed to another panel about the distribution of resources to benefit unprotected groups within the Black community that are often overlooked and underserved. Black trans lives, multi-ethnic people from within the diaspora, faith and spirituality’s role in the movement, and the LGBTQ community all deserve to have their concerns considered and voices heard, too.
In conclusion, Holllingsworth conducted a final conversation on how we can truly own our politics with rapper Jeezy, Conway and Senator Turner. The discussion led to an exploration of homeownership and the devaluation of our neighborhoods, entrepreneurship and bringing Black businesses to our communities. “You cannot change the master’s house using the master’s tools,” Conway said.
Williams presented the premiere of Yellopain’s newest music video for “My Vote Will Count” featuring Sevyn Streeter. The visual depicts what it’s like everyday to be Black in America, overlooked, over-policed and pushed aside, all while Yellopain is rapping the social studies lessons we should’ve learned in school.
Finally, Dr. Wes encouraged viewers to join Our Black Party in your local community and to vote on Nov. 3. “The time for talk is over. It’s time to own our politics,” he said.