The 2016 Republican National Convention was mostly a shit show.
While the convention had some very telling moments, like when Ted Cruz flat our refused to endorse Donald Trump for president, or when a room full of Evangelicals didn’t hurl insults or fists when Trump promised to protect LGBTQ citizens, it was still mostly a shit show. Perhaps it was because a stadium full of people were willing to be misled.
Or perhaps those same people wanted to ingest fear mongering.
Either way, watching the #RNCinCle made my skin itch every day that I watched it online. On top of that, the reinforcement of the eternal damnation and destruction that has already occurred under President Obama’s watch ran a little too rampant for my taste.
But what was worse than watching a group of Conservative voters willing to be misled was watching a celebrity willing to mislead a group of #BlackLivesMatter activists.
I’m specifically talking about rapper/actor/entrepreneur Nick Cannon.
In a video uploaded to Facebook, Nick Cannon went to Cleveland, where the Republican National Convention was held this year, and encouraged black people not to vote until issues of black men and women dying at the hands of public servants were properly addressed.
He told a DW News reporter who asked him why he was in Cleveland,
My community brought me down here today, and the lack of representation brought me down here today. We’re here to let people know that we will abstain our vote and withhold our dollars in everything that we feel in our community is valuable to others until our voices are heard…Both parties aren’t speaking to our issues, and they’ve been taking our vote for granted for way too long.
When asked why he thinks that no presidential candidates has taken on #BlackLivesMatter as a hot button topic, he said,
They believe that it doesn’t affect them getting elected or not. It’s not a hot button topic that they feel they can win. Again, they’d rather sweep it under the rug and act like it’s not happening, and use it as a negative sense. Ultimately, we’re crying for help. We’re losing lives by the hour, and no one is respecting it.
While I respect him so much for coming to Cleveland to help make changes, what I did not like was Nick’s rhetoric. I would have rather seen Nick encourage black residents to use their votes AND their economic power as a weapon for getting their issues heard. In Cleveland’s case, it could have turned some things around 10 fold, especially following the election of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O’Malley.
To catch you up to speed, Mike O’Malley beat the tar out of former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty in a landslide victory, after voters were fed up with McGinty’s shenanigans. Some of McGinty’s nonsense included him refusing to charge the cop who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and sending a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter serial killer Anthony Sowell’s psychiatric evaluation, which could have had a huge impact on the jury.
Since people were sick of McGinty’s shit, they voted him out and moved on with a candidate who is pushing to restore the public’s trust in the county prosecutor’s office. That’s a start for my hometown, but according to my family members who still lives there, we need more. In my opinion, Nick’s encouragement of residents to give away that power, especially when many of those same residents have not yet healed from the deaths of Tamir Rice, Ralkina Jones, and Cemia “Ce Ce” Dove, is harmful.
I’ve seen first hand what giving away your voting power in Cleveland actually does. It makes a city like East Cleveland – once a town where every black family who had a decent job moved their folks to for a better life – turn into a wasteland.
That’s why I’m wondering what was stopping Nick Cannon from encouraging #BlackLivesMatter supporters to put their money where their mouths were? I don’t even think he realized that asking residents to take $50 to $100 of their money out of their accounts, and opening new ones with the only black owned bank in Cleveland could have improved the community immensely.
Shameless plug: Visit Faith Community Credit Union, Cleveland’s only black-owned bank at http://www.faithcommcu.com/
Did Nick Cannon know how different the conversation of #BlackLlivesMatter would have been if he had encouraged economic growth and voting in the Glenville, Mount Pleasant, Buckeye, Hough, Collinwood, and East Cleveland communities, versus telling people not to vote, which easily translates to “do nothing”?
Did Nick Cannon know how many people he could have fed and employed if he started a plan to turn the once glorious streets of East Cleveland into community run gardens or grocery store co-ops that employed and fed our own?
Nick said in the video that the Montgomery bus boycott helped to fuel the Civil Rights movement. But he forgot that the leader of that movement, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., encouraged black empowerment through money as well. Dr. King once said.
“We’ve got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank. We want a “bank-in” movement in Memphis….
“Now these are some practical things that we can do. We begin the process of building a greater economic base. And at the same time, we are putting pressure where it really hurts. I ask you to follow through here.”
For Nick to gloss over this important fact is a damn shame, and it could ruin my hometown. He went to Cleveland and told people not to vote. That would certainly never get justice for the deaths of our men, women, or transgender people, and it’s definitely counterproductive to the needs of our communities, whether you live in Cleveland, Ferguson, Baltimore, or Atlanta.