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.
It’s not enough to say that black people are fed up. With the murder of 46-year-old George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled into his neck until his body laid lifeless, as well as the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, a discussion about what needs to be done for black people to live in peace in America is much needed.
Hosted by Jemele Hill, the latest episode of “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” included Van Lathan, Amy Schumer, Shaun King, Stephen Jackson and Tamika Mallory, who spoke about police brutality and how to end it.
Historically, black people have been forgiving and slow to anger when wronged by their oppressors with a hope and a prayer for a better day. When avian enthusiast Christian Cooper went out to birdwatch in Central Park over Memorial Day weekend, he was met with aggression by a white woman named Amy Cooper who called the police on him to falsely accuse him of assaulting her because he asked that she put a leash her dog — a rule that is posted throughout the park. A few days later, on May 25, a call to authorities about an alleged counterfeit 20 dollar bill led to the murder of George Floyd — an action that Amy Cooper weaponized to her advantage with the understanding that the police’s arrival could result in death.
Before those incidents this year, there was Breonna Taylor, an essential worker who was murdered in her own home because authorities went to the wrong house, and the death of Ahmaud Arbery by vigilantes who chose to take the law into their own hands.
As Hill points out, “Police have become a tool of white supremacy.”
Sharing his thoughts on Amy Cooper’s intentions when she chose to call the cops to tell them that an African-American man was assaulting her, acerbated by curdled screams, Lathan put it simply: “She tried to put him to death.”
“We have to get rid of this compassion disease,” he added. “What could have happened to him and what happened to her, there is a gap that is Grand Canyon-wide.”
As an ally, stand-up comedian Schumer, who admits to looking like someone who would do exactly what Amy Cooper did, entered into the conversation about her thoughts on Cooper’s actions as well.
“It made me feel furious and I want worse for her,” she stated. “That kind of false information...could have led to true physical harm or death.”
She also pointed out the hypocrisy many white people have when supporting black people and other people of color with some of the things they may do to appear like a good person.
“The thing that annoyed me the most about her is that I bet if you looked at her Instagram page, I bet she probably had a Black Lives Matter post at some point,” Schumer said. “These people don’t even know even what’s inside them and it’s everyone together. It’s a systematic, deep problem that in my experience, the only way to really make change is to have people of color in the highest positions of power. That’s the only way.”
To be an ally, Schumer said, “No one has to tell how to do it. You just do it.”
As for herself, she has made a concerted effort to hire more women of color, and as a new mom and learning that black women are 12 times more likely to die giving birth in New York, she is penning a book titled “Arrival Stories” to help shed a light on the racial bias that happens in hospitals all across America.
“You grow up in school and they teach you slavery happened, the holocaust happened, but now everyone is equal and it’s all fine. But, that’s not true. You find out later in life,” she admitted. “Once you get the information to how bad it really is, it’s not enough to just post about it or text a number. You need to think about how you can be creative.”
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson and close friend of Floyd expressed his frustration upon watching the video of his “twin” die at the hands of a person who was sworn to serve and protect.
“I’ve been angry,” Jackson said. “Seeing my friend die like that has woken something up in me that I haven’t felt and had these thoughts since a teenager. Floyd was my friend. We had a 25-year relationship. He was as solid as they come.”
The two became best friends after a mutual associate said how much they looked like. Both Texas natives, for the length of their relationship, they were able to lean on each other in need and when Floyd did time in jail, he was able to help out his family.
Jackson’s anger is clear, albeit warranted. When Hill asked his thoughts on whether or not it is time for black people to better protect themselves with guns a la the Black Panthers, the 42-year-old said he is feeling hopeless not so sure.
“It’s still going to bring pain to someone my color,” he said. “It’s still going to be someone feeling the way I am feeling right now. If we tote big guns and go to war, it’s still going to be someone feeling the way I am feeling right now. The best thing for the world to see is how Floyd died from a cop with his knee in his neck and his hand in his pocket. We need to see that same cop in a chair for the world to see frying and for his boys to see, so they can treat us different. The only way they’re going to start treating us different is they start killing them.”
Community activist Shaun King chimed in adamant that justice will be served — just not as quickly as it should.
“We’re going to fight for justice for George Floyd, but we actually need for this to stop,” King stated. “The truth is, what is justice? Stephen had a good video that went viral; justice would be Floyd being alive.”
Organizing is key, according to King, and that is one thing he hopes that comes out of the current situation.
“These systems have to be torn down,” he added. “They are not systems that were well-designed that are now a little broken. They are fundamentally corrupt to their core. They are poorly designed. Poorly managed police systems and structures of mass incarceration are the least accountability systems in the country.”
King’s organization Real Justice has helped to make a change from the inside out with new district attorneys in San Francisco, California; San Antonio, Texas; and Jacksonville, Mississippi.
He will continue the fight to get justice for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. Justice For Big Floyd is the campaign King has set up to help aid in the fight.
As Minneapolis burns with rage and anger, activist Tamika Mallory chimed in from the precinct where the officers involved in Floyd’s murder were working with an update about is going on.
According to Mallory, it appears that the authorities have taken a clear side and it’s not with the people. Dressed down in riot gear and with plans to build a barricade around the precinct, it appears the Minneapolis police are protecting their own.
“Police officers have taken up the position that the people who are angry are the problem,” she noted. “They’ve taken up the position that they’re going to, rather than being humble, they are out here in position which is already adding insult to injury to what they’ve already done — the murder of George Floyd.”
As the protests have been going on with people reportedly agitating the cops by throwing rocks and starting fires, there has been whispers about alleged agent provocateurs taking a foothold on the grounds there and inciting the riots.
“I don’t buy that all those people are our people,” she added. “Sometimes, they send plants to disrupt protests, to create situations and antagonize…We’re not the ones kneeling in the necks of black men, we’re not the ones.”
Closing out the conversation, Hill offered some healing support of her own.
“Right now, it’s a heavy time for a lot of people,” she said. “Just in this moment, I think it might’ve been Shaun King who said this, we need to be able to sit and not just own this discomfort, but also in this rage and figure out a way we can use this rage in a positive way to continue to hold these systems accountable. As it was said before by a few of our guests, these systems are not working accidentally, they are working by design. This was the intention always.”
What is known is this: The same way George Floyd wound up is the same way Amy Cooper likely wanted Christian Copper the end up. It’s been glaringly obvious for a long time that the police are the glue that holds white supremacy and institutional racism together.
Dismantling the system and replacing high-powered individuals seems like one of the best answers to putting an end to police brutality.