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 (Nov. 19) “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode “The Transition” discussed Georgia’s position in the 2020 election and the victory of president-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Sibley Scoles, Dr. Bernard Ashby, Dr. Chris T. Pernell, and Kamilah Forbes.
The first topic of discussion was Bottom’s stamp of approval for Biden long before the general election. “I knew he would be the one who could beat Donald Trump out,” she said. The mayor continued to note his “very strong relationship” with the African-American community and his position “behind and beside” Former President Barack Obama, which were contributing factors to her endorsement.
She continued, “This year when you have someone as strong as Donald Trump who’s gonna be on the ticket, you have to have someone who’s equally strong, someone who our community knew across the board and thankfully the voters validated what I believed last summer.”
After the mayor addressed Stacey Abrams’ impact on Georgia turning blue for the first time since 1992, as well as higher registration and voter outreach for the Black vote, Williams transitioned the conversation to focus on the Senate runoffs. Bottoms expressed her personal endorsement for Rev. Warnock due to him being “entrenched” in the Black community especially around social and criminal justice reform, and added that “he is a voice that can reflect” the diversity in Georgia.
As the conversation came to a close, Bottoms quoted John Lewis and reminded the “on-the-fence” voters that their vote is the most powerful weapon during any election. “Elections have consequences,” she said. “Elections matter and this one matters in the same way. The work is not done. It was great that we went blue for Joe Biden, but to have the opportunity to have a senate to support and ratify his work and not make it difficult...is something that doesn’t happen often and the power is in our hands.”
Williams went through last night’s “Headlines,” which included pediatric cases of COVID-19 in the United States surpassing 1 million, Trump firing his chief of cybersecurity, and Michigan’s election board certification of Wayne County’s vote for Joe Biden. In international news, Williams brought up thousands of Ethiopians fleeing for Sudan in Tigray and violence erupting in Uganda after the arrest of presidential candidate Bobi Wine for violating COVID-19 campaign restriction. In sports news, the host touched on the rumors surrounding James Harden and Russell Westbrooks wanting out of the Houston Rockets “due to the owner’s support of President Trump.” Though both the 76ers and the Nets are gunning for Harden’s place to call home, Williams gave a nod to the reuniting of Harden and former OKC teammate Kevin Durant in Brooklyn. “Personally, I’d love to see it,” she said.
Dr. Pernell and Dr. Ashby were up next to discuss the current state of the pandemic and the impending vaccines. “Unfortunately, I was correct and I did not want to be, but anyone that knows the U.S. healthcare system would’ve seen this a mile away,” Dr. Ashby said referring to his tweet about the Black community in relation to COVID-19. He continued to highlight healthcare disparities, which he deemed as a “sanitized term” for structural racism, and the Black community’s inferior treatment when it comes to healthcare and lack of access to resources. “One thing that COVID has done was expose the healthcare system for what it is — another racist institution,” he added.
Dr. Pernell’s father passed away after his battle with COVID, Williams offered her condolences, and thanked her for her volunteer work and dedication to the Moderna trials for the pending vaccine. Though the “fast pandemic” is COVID-19, the doctor turned our attention to the “slow pandemic, which is systemic racism.”
“Racism is a pre-existing condition for why Coronavirus has been so detrimental and devastating,” she continued as she gave it credit as the fuel to her fire to “be part of the solution,” which meant finding the vaccine. “I knew that this opportunity was being done according to ethical guidelines, that informed consent was upheld, and the other flip side of the coin in equity that my people don’t get access or don’t participate in this type of opportunity at the levels that we need in order to say that something’s truly efficacious across a represented population. That’s why I did it.”
After briefly discussing the Black community’s distrust in modern medicine, which can pose as a threat for vaccine distribution, Scoles joined in for “Black Excellence in Entertainment.” The two ladies discussed HBO’s adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between The World and Me,” which both Scoles and Williams are “totally here for.” “I’m excited to see something that’s written for someone’s son that speaks volumes to everyone else and to use these strong human beings to voice those stories, it’s gonna be amazing to hear,” Scoles said.
Other entertainment headlines included Blumhouse tapping Anthony Sparks for a first-look deal on a developing series based around the Detroit choir, Keegan-Michael Key signing on for a 10-episode podcast series on Audible, and Megan Thee Stallion’s debut album announcement. “Watching her performances time after time and seeing what she’s done, you almost feel like the album was already here. But now, it’s even more exciting because this is the whole package,” Scoles said excitedly.
As an executive producer and director, Forbes dropped into last night’s episode to give more inside scoop on the HBO adaptation of “Between The World and Me,” which premieres on Saturday (Nov. 21). “This was so much of what I felt intrinsically, but never had the language for and he was able to put into words things I was never able to articulate,” she said about her personal connection to Coates’ literary work. Though she recognizes “Between The World and Me” as a “love letter to our people to celebrate our beauty [and] our resiliency,” Forbes dubs it as a space and opportunity to have “a conversation about our pain [and] our sense of mourn of what has happened in this country and how we got here.”
Dr. Ashby and Dr. Pernell returned to continue talking about COVID-19 and the Black community. With the winter wave of the pandemic approaching, Williams asked both guests about their takes on necessary precautions for this coming season. Dr. Ashby shed light on the need to redirect patients to available hospitals, as well as redirect resources to rural communities in order to avoid shortages in the middle of another crisis. “It’s about money and it’s about a racist ass system, and it’s fucked up, and they need to deal with that shit right the fuck now because people are going to die,” he said passionately.
As a closing word about holidays during COVID, Dr. Pernell advised against “mixing households.” She said, “It’s not worth it [and] you should stay within your bubble. Families across multiple addresses or residences should not be getting together. It’s just what we need to do in order for us to stay safe.” She continued to discuss at-risk multigenerational dwellings and cross contamination with those who may be asymptomatic and do not know if they are contributing to the spread of the virus.
“Let’s not forget wherever there’s an L, there’s always a W,” Williams said during her closing remarks as she went down the list of wins in Black America this year including exponential voter turnout. She noted that the 30th episode of “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” is a milestone to celebrate, but reminded the audience that the information is nothing without action behind it. “It’s only fitting that we take a break and step away from this for the holiday because our information means nothing if you don’t do anything with it,” she concluded.