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 (July 9) “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode titled “America’s Pandemics,” guests discussed the recent COVID-19 spikes and false blame being placed on Black protesters, among other topics. Host and executive producer Eboni K. Williams was joined by Akon, Flo Rida, Danielle Moodie, Slim Thug, Dr. Savoy Brummer, M.D; Shermichael Singleton, Dr. George Tabi, Joy Taylor, Dr. Patrice Harris and more.
Williams opened up the show with some important COVID-19 updates. Before letting us in on the United States’ new record of reported COVID-19 cases just shy of 60,000; she began to walk us through the various pandemics the country — namely the Black community — is currently facing from racism to housing and capitalism. With the total of US COVID-19 cases well above 3 million with 130,000 deaths; Black people takes up a total of 26% of COVID-19 cases, which further proves that this pandemic is impacting the demographic especially hard.
Dr. Brummer noted that Black people are dying at a more rapid rate of one and a half times more than white patients. Some reasons being the direct relationship between health and wealth, and multigenerational health disparities. Dr. Brummer continued to stress the importance of isolation, social distancing, and avoiding going to the hospital if you’re only experiencing mild symptoms. “Take your time, isolate, communicate with those who [are] around you and you’ll be saving lives,” he said.
Rapper Flo Rida and Dr. Tabi, who collaborated on the Ask Tabs mobile wellness center, were up next to speak about the impact of the pandemics in the sunshine state. The two began to tell REVOLT watchers about the inspiration behind Ask Tabs, which is a wellness center that provides convenient care services for patients in the community. “I just thought it would be a great initiative to get into the community, establish this, and hopefully other cities can take heed and join us in this fight to help people at their convenience,” said Dr. Tabi. Flo Rida ended the segment by thanking REVOLT for its continued support and encouraging everyone to join Ask Tabs in their initiative to make a change.
“There is a narrative out there, mostly being totted by Republicans, that the spike is a result of Black Lives Matter protests,” Williams returned to speak on new COVID-19 cases. However, the National Bureau of Economic Research combated said assumptions with a 60-page paper that confirmed no concrete evidence that protests were the cause of the spikes.
“At this point, we should not be relating the increase in Coronavirus testing to the protest,” said Dr. Harris. She continued to educate viewers on various reasons for spikes, which range from being out during Memorial Day weekend at bars and restaurants to not wearing masks or gloves when going out with friends and loved ones.
For the discussion on “Black Housing Crisis & Unemployment Rate,” Williams was accompanied by policy analyst and podcast host Danielle Moodie, and political consultant and writer Shermichael Singleton to discuss monetary supplementation for rent, home ownership in Black and brown communities and more. “Obviously when we talk about COVID-19, we have to know that Black lives mattering includes the Black housing crisis that is upon us,” started Williams before turning to Moodie about evictions as a form of state violence. Moodie acknowledged that the Black community will “always bare the brunt” when it comes to housing discrimination. “I do think it is a form of violence, it is a form of purposeful ignorance,” he said.
On the cancellation of rent versus government paying the rent for Black and Latinx communities, who are predisposed to renting as opposed to home ownership, Singleton first viewed from the lens of policy perspective. “How do you preserve people’s livelihoods by making sure that people have a safe, comfortable and affordable home to live in?” he challenged the mission of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “I think one such way of doing that is making sure that people are not evicted out of their homes because they were affected by COVID-19 — economically, financially — and I think the government can, through a policy way, figure out a way to do that.”
In last night’s “Headlines,” Williams rounded up the important topics of the past week, including the released transcript of the killing of George Floyd, individual unemployment benefits being an additional $300-$600 and Brooks Brothers filing for bankruptcy. “Can’t say I’m crying too many tears for Brooks Brothers closing some stores because frankly Brooks Brothers has a long and storied history of being one of the original outfitters of Black American slaves,” our host said about this history of the well-known menswear brand. Other topics included the banning of Chinese apps for security concerns including TikTok, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of Trump Administration’s regulation for employers to opt out of birth control coverage, and Charlamagne Tha God’s new weekly talk show on Comedy Central.
In sports news, Williams pulled attention to the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians being under fire for their team names. “In general, if something has to be discussed this much about whether or not it is appropriate, you could probably lean towards ‘it’s inappropriate’,” FOX Sports news anchor Joy Taylor added about the controversy circling around the sports industry for the past decade. “In my opinion, we need to get away from teams that are named after people. I think there is a great lack of historical context when it comes to what Native Americans have endured throughout this country’s history and Native Americans are obviously still [a] greatly disenfranchised community.”
“We’re going to get into an important conversation about Black capitalism,” Williams said before introducing virtual panel-mates Aaron Ross Coleman and Slim Thug. “Large economic policies are what created the racial wealth gap, in addition to slavery and it will take some type of large economic policy intervention to stop it,” Coleman added.
“For the hip hop side, I think [there] needs to be a lot more rappers investing in these neighborhoods they represent,” Slim Thug said of the direct relationship between hip hop, Black capitalism and entrepreneurship. “With the same confidence [when] we go and buy these $100,000 chains; we need to get in the neighborhood and open up some of these businesses, and then we won’t have to worry about these people or depend on them.” Coleman added in addition to Slim Thug’s frame, the tax dollars being paid by professionals should be reinvested into neighborhoods to create better opportunities.
In conversation with entrepreneur, singer, activist and founder of Akon City, Williams was joined by Akon via phone to discuss Black capitalism of tomorrow. He began to tell our host more about Akon City and his plans to “bring Africa to the forefront from a futuristic standpoint” with his 2,000 acres of land. “Invest your passion in Africa,” Akon said. “I guarantee you, whatever your passion is, is a multi-million dollar business in Africa.”
When Williams pivoted the conversation to the importance of multiple streams of income for Black people, Akon agreed that is the best move to make, especially if you’re in sport and entertainment. “When it comes to sports, your last game could be the next game. In entertainment, you’re only as good as your last hit,” he expressed.
“Despite the pandemics trying to keep our people down, we’re too strong and too resilient, and we have been far too long for anything or anyone to take what we’re building,” Williams said in her closing remarks. “What will you do to ensure your true freedom in this moment, and be sure to ask [if] is it for good reason?”