Part of President-elect Donald Trump’s appeal is that he says whatever the fuck he wants, when he wants. His supporters seem to love and encourage it, while the rest of us are praying that his filter-less language doesn’t get us napalmed.
But what’s interesting about Trump is the language he shares with the black community. As of late – with the exception of him telling Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga) what he should do with his time – Trump hasn’t done much talking to the black community. But he has, perhaps strategically, invited black celebs to chop it up with him privately. So far, he’s had private conversations with Kanye West, Jim Brown, Ray Lewis, and Steve Harvey.
After each of those celebs met with Trump, especially Steve Harvey, the “coon” calls immediately came out, and for good reason. Not that Steve Harvey is a bad person, but Steve isn’t exactly Martin Luther King either, in the sense that he would go up to Trump, and make demands for change.
For me, calling Steve a coon was my way of saying that I could not guarantee that Steve went up to Trump’s office and told him everything he needed to hear about “the black people.” I don’t trust it. I have lots of faith that the Honorable Louis Farrakhan would tell Trump everything he needed to hear, and then some. But Steve Harvey? Mmmmm…Maybe not.
The overarching question for me is what has kept Trump from meeting with black economists, like Ebonya Washington or Rhonda Sharpe? Or the board for the National Society of Black Engineers? Or Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant? Or National Association of Black Journalists President, Sarah Glover?
What’s keeping him from meeting with Cynthia Day, the president of Citizen’s Trust Bank, who opened more than 8,000 new accounts in less than a week following rapper Killer Mike’s #BankBlack challenge back in 2016? Also, where is Killer Mike’s invite to meet with Trump?
Why didn’t Trump meet with Ava DuVernay when she released her acclaimed documentary “13th” on Netflix, while he was on the campaign trail? Was he too busy putting people out of rallies?
What’s keeping him from meeting with “Hidden Figures” actresses Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, whose movie is smashing box office numbers by the week?
He hasn’t even stepped foot in office yet, so for me to expect for him to meet with all of these people now would be unreasonable. But with the people he’s chosen to meet with so far, it makes me feel like he’s serious about making changes in the black community.
Yes Steve Harvey has an organization that helps black boys, and I am thrilled that he is giving back. But to me, Steve is not the problem. Steve did what most people with a non-profit would do if they were invited to speak with the President-elect. #HateToSayIt
The problem is Trump. He’s had plenty of opportunities, especially on the campaign trail, to speak with change makers in the black community. But we didn’t see him talking about the ‘Art of the Deal’ with any black change makers, as much as he was closing the deal by putting protesters out of his rallies. If he wants to be believed by the skeptics, then he’s going to have to come harder.
I’m hoping that in the future, he will end up meeting all of the people that I’ve named above, and more. But so far, Trump is off to a really bad start. According to civil rights hero Malcolm X, it’s that way by design.
The first thing the cracker does when he comes in power, he takes all the Negro leaders and invites them for coffee. To show that he’s all right. And those Uncle Toms can’t pass up the coffee. They come away from the coffee table telling you and me that this man is all right.