Since election night in November, President elect Donald Trump has held meetings with a number of black public figures. The latest has been talk show host/comedian Steve Harvey. Harvey and Trump met at Trump Tower last Friday to discuss ways that Harvey could help Dr. Ben Carson run the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Harvey has not expressed any specific ways in which he can support Dr. Carson and emphasized that the meeting with Trump was very informal. Harvey deflected questions about Trump’s controversial comments and potential policies by simply stating that it is important to start a conversation to address issues that he was concerned about.
Harvey is not the first celebrity to meet with Trump. Shortly after Trump won the election he took meetings with NFL greats Jim Brown and Ray Lewis. Trump has also met with rapper Kanye West. The meetings with West, Lewis and Brown have received scrutiny because of Trump’s perceived lack of support for America’s minority population.
Trump’s most recent controversial tweet was aimed in the direction of congressman John Lewis. Trump tweeted that Lewis should focus on his “crime invested” district instead of focusing on the legitimacy of our most recent presidential election. Trump also said that Lewis was a man who is all talk and no action even though Lewis was on the front lines of the fight for civil rights in the 1960s. Either Trump was not aware of Lewis’ history and accomplishments or just does not care.
The question has to be asked, what are we supposed to think of these prominent black public figures who have accepted invites from our president elect.
Lewis, Brown, Harvey and West all mentioned that the meetings were informal where no in-depth plans for America’s marginalized population were mentioned. All also emphasized the need for dialogue between Trump and the community that has questions about his character and motives as president.
Trump may be initiating these meetings to appeal more to a group of Americans who did not vote for him. The public figures he is meeting with may be accepting these invitations to make headlines. However, neither of these reasons seem like they will benefit the minority population of America.
The only true sign of change in some of Trump’s rhetoric would be meetings with people like congressman John Lewis who are working directly with the public. A meeting with Kanye West could only be beneficial if the two discussed a way for West to rap like it was 2004 again.
Harvey and rest of the Trump meeting roster have received backlash for their perceived meetings with the enemy. Rapper T.I. believes Trump is using a divide and conquer theory when it comes to the select black public figures he meets with. T.I. also believes that black celebrities should not be meeting with Trump unless they are accompanied by someone like congressman Lewis.
Journalist Marc Lamont Hill went so far to say that Trump is having meetings with “mediocre negroes” who are not experts at anything. Hill also believes that these meetings should not happen without the presence of an individual who has a history creating policies and working towards empowering the disenfranchised.
The Trump meetings so far have produced no relevant dialogue or insight into Trump’s plans for our nation. The only thing the meetings have produced are photo opportunities and headlines for both Trump and his party invites. Going forward each invitee should actually come into the meeting with a formal plan that we can read or see or touch. Without that, we’ve just got to assume that Ray Lewis, Kanye West, Jim Brown and Steve Harvey are all trying out for a new season of the Apprentice.
Over the past 18 months Americans and citizens around the world have gotten a chance to see just how divided the United States is on certain issues. The knockdown, drag out 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and the victor Donald Trump inspired some scary rhetoric from some scary places. One public figure that hopped on the Trump train after he secured the Republican nomination for president was conservative commentator Tomi Lahren.
Lahren’s online show on TheBlaze has gone viral because of her inflammatory quotes on current social issues. Lahren has compared the Black Lives Matter movement to the Klu Klux Klan. During NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s in game protests of societal injustices, Lahren recommended that Kaepernick go somewhere else if he is not satisfied with America. Lahren has also suggested that Beyonce hates police after her most recent Super Bowl performance, criticized actor Jesse Williams for his outrage at the murder of unarmed black men and repeatedly denounced President Obama’s handling of national security issues.
Those are only a few of the misinformed and irresponsible things Lahren has said on her non-televised online show. However, now Lahren’s ideals have been spread to the masses through her appearance on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and a meeting she had with The Breakfast Club host Charlemagne Tha God. Even though Noah and Charlemagne do not agree with any of Lahren’s views, the question must be asked if it is even worth the time and exposure to have a conversation with her.
Jay Z once stated, “a wise man told me don’t argue with fools, cause people from a distance can’t tell who is who”. Lahren is the fool is this instance. Charlemagne and Noah are the ones we are confused about.
Lahren has no plans to retract statements that encourage divisiveness and offend the marginalized population of this country. The idea that conversation is necessary to understand different view points to spark unity does not apply in this case.
Having a conversation with Lahren about the plight of black and brown people in America is like trying to figure out why Lil Kim had all that plastic surgery. You will get the details from the doctor, but never fully understand why.
The worst part of this Lahren exposure is that it has been on her terms. After Lahren’s appearance on The Daily Show she was scheduled to appear on The Breakfast Club with Charlamagne but canceled and opted for an off air meeting. Even after Charlamagne appeared on her internet show through a horrible Skype connection a few months ago.
For some people and some viewpoints, there is no conversation that can be had that will lead to a positive outcome. Noah and Charlamagne may be genuinely attempting to understand her motivation for saying the things that she does or they may be trying to pop in her Google searches and expand their brand. In any case, it is borderline irresponsible to legitimize the opinions of anyone who profits from the division of American citizens.
New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose and a group of friends were recently found not guilty in a highly publicized civil rape case. Rose and two friends were accused by an ex-girlfriend of Rose’s of taking advantage of her while she was intoxicated. According to court documents, the woman invited Rose over to her apartment a few weeks after Rose had ended their relationship with a text message. A few hours later Rose and his two friends arrived and engaged in sexual activity with the woman.
The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, contends that she was too intoxicated (and may have been drugged) to consent to sex with all three. In this civil trail, the woman and her attorneys were seeking $20 million in damages.
Like in many rape cases, the details and accusations are very disturbing. However, the most disturbing comments and ideology may have come from Rose himself. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, Rose’s idea of sexual consent needs to be re-examined.
This all seems a bit fishy when you consider that when asked in his deposition if he had an understanding of the word “consent,” Rose replied “No, but can you tell me?” – Complex.com
During the trial Rose defended himself by stating that the racy texts he exchanged with his ex-girlfriend confirmed sexual consent. He also believes that the woman’s sexual history confirmed sexual consent. A lot of the testimony discrediting the plaintiff amounts to victim shaming.
Rose’s obvious ignorance when it comes to the definition of consent is scary. Also, his verbiage during the course of this civil trial makes it really hard to root for him this NBA season. Sports fans have had to wrestle with their morals a lot in the past year.
Last NFL season, football fans had to watch Greg Hardy suit up on Sundays with some horrible accusations hanging over his head. An ex-girlfriend of Hardy’s accused him of choking her, throwing her onto a couch of loaded assault rifles and threatening to kill her if she told the media about it.
After serving a lengthy NFL suspension, Hardy suited up for the Dallas Cowboys last year. Cowboys fans were torn between their love for their hometown team and their hate for the alleged actions of Hardy. Hardy’s baggage and diminished skills have him employed this season.
Another example playing out this NFL season includes New York Giants kicker Josh Brown. Brown:
Giants kicker Josh Brown admitted to physically and emotionally abusing his wife and called himself a sex-addicted “deviant” who viewed himself as “God” and his wife as “my slave”, according to entries in his own journals, emails to his wife, and a letter he wrote to friends, which were obtained by SNY – Sny.tv
The New York Giants have not commented on these discoveries from Brown’s journal. The next logical step would be to release Brown so that he can get the counseling and help he needs.
Although all three cases are very different, Rose, Hardy and Brown call into question whether or not an athletes treatment of women should affect their ability to earn such a lucrative living on a public platform. Also, as fans, how do we separate the athlete/team from the man.
In particular, Rose is in his first season playing for a Knicks team desperate to improve from last season’s 32-50 record. Rose’s ability to help a team win has never been in question (while healthy). However, each time he takes the court this season, his judgment and character will be.