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 (Oct. 1) “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode titled “Against The Clock” held a conversation about the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Rev. Al Sharpton, Shar Bates, Diamond DeShields, Shermichael Singleton, DonJuan Clark and Dallas Austin.
“The most important question I ask you is not if you watched the debate,” Williams began, “but are you watching everything?”
Austin and Bates jumped right into discussing the debate with Williams, which received 4.4 million views on CBS News’ YouTube account alone. “It was a trainwreck,” Austin chimed in about the candidates’ overall delivery. He continued to call the debate “sad” as he argued that it wasn’t the way one was supposed to be conducted because both sides were not heard respectably. “Trump kind of over bullied his way through the conversation and it was getting aggravating. I don’t think I got any sense of what he was gonna do as a president if he stayed in office,” Austin said, while calling Trump’s portion a bunch of “rhetoric.”
“I don’t think he did good,” Bates said when Williams asked how she believes Biden dealt with Trump’s antics throughout the night and even referred to it as “painful to watch.”
“While Biden was talking and Trump was interrupting him, he literally would stop what he was saying,” she continued. “He was feeding into it instead of ignoring it, staying focused and staying on topic.”
One of the most notorious moments, if not the most, from Tuesday’s debate was when Trump told “The Proud Boys” to “Stand back and stand by,” which caused major commotion. “By Trump standing behind them, he made it very clear that he is going to protect them when it comes down to it,” Bates said passionately after Austin pointed out that the far-right group took to Twitter to confirm their “green light” from Trump.
Williams also brought up the observation of both candidates ignoring the usage of “Black Lives Matter” during the debate. Though it was no real shock that Trump didn’t vocalize it, Biden sidestepped as well, which didn’t sit well with Williams, Austin or Bates. Moreover, the conversion of defunding the police was never truly addressed during the debate and it remains unclear where the candidates truly stand.
Afterward, Williams asked her digital panelists about their thoughts on who the real winner of Tuesday’s debate was. “I can’t remember anything Trump said towards working, towards anything. At least I could hear some of the things Biden was saying,” Austin said jokingly. Before transitioning into the next segment, Williams, Austin and Bates excitedly discussed the anticipation for the debate between VP candidates Mike Pence and Kamala Harris.
Last night’s “Headlines” included the grand jury’s delay in the release of transcripts from the Breonna Taylor case, Florida governor Rick Desantis signing an executive order to lift COVID-19 restrictions for businesses statewide; the city of Newark, NJ launching the $100 million “40 Acres and a Mule Fund” for Black and Latinx business owners; and California Governor Gavin Newsom forming a task force to research and develop proposals for descendants of American slaves.
“Aside from what the data reveals about President Trump’s tax returns, we have to talk about the fact that this man refused to release his tax returns before taking office,” Williams said as she reminded viewers of Trump’s tax returns totaling $750 in 2016 and 2017. “This is one of many examples where President Trump breaks precedent from all the presidents that came before him.”
Sharpton and Singleton took another stab at cracking down Tuesday’s debate for the continued discussion. Williams shared Singleton’s most recent tweets on the debate explaining that he wished he could have moderated it himself. He shared recent statistics from an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll about a majority of voters knowing where they stand, a small percentage of voters will most likely be a determining factor as to which way the election will swing.
“Those people need to be able to hear Joe Biden as much as they heard Donald Trump,” Singleton said referring to the 1% of undecided voters, “and you cannot do that when someone is behaving like a child, continuously interrupting, [and] being antagonistic towards the moderator.”
Singleton and Sharpton continued to chat about the blatant hypocrisy in the first official presidential debate, Trump failing to denounce white supremacy, and Singleton threw in a few words of advice to Black Trump supporters. “As an African-American, I would argue you have more of a moral and ethical obligation, if you will, to be more critical of the Republican party,” he advised speaking from his conservative perspective about his feeling of greater responsibility to articulate the concerns of the Black community.
On the relationship between the presidential debate and the forthcoming debate between Pence and Senator Harris, Sharpton told Williams that he has confidence in Harris coming in “tight and ready.” “I think it will be an intelligent debate,” he said.
“Black Excellence in Entertainment” was co-hosted this week by Clark to discuss the latest and greatest in entertainment, television and Black culture. Clark and Williams touched on various points such as Yara Shahidi being casted as Tinkerbell in the forthcoming live action Peter Pan film and Mattel launching a “VOTE” Barbie in her honor, Nicki Minaj becoming the first female rapper to be nominated for a Latin Grammy, the Netflix debut of Mo Abudu’s Oloture, and Jesse Collins becoming the first-ever Black executive producer of the Super Bowl halftime show.
“In addition to her great work as an actress and an artist, she’s extremely active in her political activism and engagement,” Williams praised Shahidi’s advocacy. “This Barbie for sure let’s people know you can look like her, be on TV, you can have a Barbie, you can have all of these amazing things and I think it’s just an amazing thing for little girls of color,” Clark added.
DeShields was welcomed for last night’s sports headlines. In sports news, DeShields and Williams addressed the Tennessee Titans players and personnel members contracting COVID-19, and the NFL gearing up to allow limited amounts of fans into the stadium for games. “At the end of the day, you’re talking about NFL football [where] fan interaction and reactions is such a huge part of sports,” DeShields shared. In more NFL news, after sharing the pivotal moment with three women actively on the field at the same time, Williams asked DeShields about her thoughts on the league making the “appropriate progress” when it comes to women inclusion.
“I think that they’re a little behind. Obviously as a female, we’re always given the short end of the stick” DeShields responded in comparison to the WNBA and NBA when it comes to these social justice issues. “It is nice seeing females involved in the game [and] I look forward to seeing more women making an impact in the NFL.”
Following the breakdown of Charles Barkley’s backlash after his comments on Breonna Taylor, the NBA finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, and the upcoming WNBA finals, Williams closed out the episode by reminding watchers that only 60 percent of the Black population voted in the 2016 election. “That’s barely better than a coin flip,” she said.
“What if 80, even 90 percent of eligible Black voters cast our ballots in this election? That’s what a collective political action looks like and that actually gives us a chance at seeing what happens when we all vote,” she closed. Register to vote, vote early and track your ballot at WhenWeAllVote.org and let’s see what happens when we come together in large numbers to demand the change we’ve been waiting for.