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Lil Wayne and Trump

Source: Lil Wayne/Twitter / Lil Wayne/Twitter

In the days leading up to the end of the election, on November 3, Black rappers, who’ve never been particularly politically inclined have jumped out of the woodwork showing their support for Donald Trump. Whether it’s a willingness to meet with him and not Kamala Harris like Ice Cube, or praising his tax plan, like 50 Cent or a full out endorsement like the one from Lil Wayne, there are a lot of games being played during this final hour.

While I’ve never been one to put too much stock into celebrity opinion; with the stakes as high as they are and the future of our democracy hanging in the balance, it’s infuriating and disheartening to see prominent Black men go out like this.

In an effort to understand why Black men like these and others might find themselves enamored with Trump, we spoke to Arisha Hatch, the executive director at Color of Change PAC,  who said that a lot of this newfound support may have a lot to do with toxic masculinity.

See what she had to say below.

MadameNoire: Why do you believe Black men are identifying with Trump and his messaging?

Arisha Hatch: I’m not confident that a lot of Black men are actually identifying with Trump and his message, although I understand that’s the narrative. The reality is a marginal percentage of an already marginalized voting block is not going to be the difference maker in whether Trump wins or loses this election. Trump will be reelected if white working class voters vote against their economic interests by November 3.

There’s often times a media narrative that blames Black voters for all of the negative outcomes in politics. We saw this after Senator Hillary Clinton lost the election in 2016 when in fact more than 50 percent of white women voted for Trump.

MN: How do you think Trump uses toxic masculinity and chauvinism to appeal to men and Black men specifically?

Arisha: As we continue to be in the #MeToo era, men, of all races, are either struggling a bit with what forward movement looks like in this sort of space or firmly accepted it. I do think there are a set of men in this country who are nostalgic for days long ago and are resistant to the idea that women should be equal partners, that women are competent decision makers, that we shouldn’t be harassed in the work place, those basic things.

MN: Is there something specific that rich, Black men are seeing with Trump?

Arisha: Yeah. Rich Black men can make an argument that they’re voting in their economic interests. That is not the case for most Black men. In order to vote as a rich person, in your economic interests, you do have to close your eyes to the other racist, cultural things that are being promoted by a Trump administration. Rich white people have the privilege of doing that. I don’t believe that rich Black men do.

MN: Ice Cube and I’ve seen other Black men ask for a “Black male agenda” from the Trump administration. What are your thoughts on that?

Arisha: I’d be so interested to know what was in a Black male agenda that wouldn’t be in a Black woman’s agenda or a Black families agenda. I think it’s connected to this set of men who feel like they are losing power and are struggling with that.

MN: Do you think support from Ice Cube, 50 Cent and other rappers has the potential to sway the vote of other Black men?

Arisha: I would like to think that people are independent thinkers. When I think Black people or other people meet with Trump, they become a part of a machine that enables his racist behavior. They might allow people to think that it’s okay to overlook some of the other atrocious things that happened under this administration. But fundamentally I think most Black men and Black voters are going out to cast their vote because they want someone who can competently handle this pandemic, which is disproportionately affecting our community. I believe that most Black men and most Black voters understand that the organizing dynamic is much better under a Biden administration, even if we don’t agree with everything the Vice President or Senator Harris has done in the past.

It is undeniable that we can make more progress with them in office.

MN: Why do you think Black men are more susceptible to Trump’s messaging than Black women?

Arisha: I think Black women are very clear on how racist and sexist Trump is and understand that we can’t thrive in that culture. We can’t live our best lives. We can’t be the people that we want to be.

MN: Does male privilege mean more to some Black men than racial equality?

Arisha: I’m sure it does to some men. But I think the men that I know understand that they can’t be fully privileged unless we live in a country that has reckoned with some of racial justice culture and policies linked to race in this country.

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