The Good, The Bad & The Not Quite Right Celebrity Responses To The Racism Discussion In America

August 16, 2017  |  
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The fact that an innocent and righteous White woman was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia exposed a problem Black people have been pointing to for centuries. America has a problem with race. It’s practically laughable to spell it out in those terms; because for Black folks, that’s like stating the sky is blue. Water is wet. It is not only something that exists, it’s something we see, feel and interact with on a daily basis. But Charlottesville and y’all’s president’s lack of proper response to the incident has the mainstream (well-meaning White folks) shook and it’s propelled revolutionary Black folk into action– working themselves to remove Confederate flags and statues.

As a result, there’s been a lot of discussion, particularly from celebrities and public figures about what’s been going on. See the good, the bad and the not quite there of what they have to say.

Solange

Leave it up to Solange to express the depths of our feelings right now. All of this foolishness just further reiterates how much this country, the very same one that we built and keep thriving refuses to be here for us. No one thought racism was erased with the election of President Obama but perhaps we felt that things would be a bit better for our children. And while that will still likely be the case, the election of Donald Trump was certainly a step in the wrong direction.

Don Lemon

Chile. Don Lemon has gotten it wrong on more than one occasion. (i.e. his coverage of Ferguson, his discussion of the key to racial equality being linked to littering.) But he delivered this commentary on CNN. It’s high time we stop dabbling in minutiae and point the fingers at the real enemies. More of this please, Don.

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Zendaya

I appreciate Zendaya. So much. When the initial reports of the attacks at Charlottesville were first released, news media refused to identify them as who and what they were, terrorists committing acts of terror against all people of color. Just because the terrorists look like the people in power in this country doesn’t mean they deserve a pass.

Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon has been apolitical throughout his time as “The Tonight Show.” That’s the nature of these late night television shows on major broadcasting networks. You know, light and easy. Still, he felt the need to deliver this message. A message that made it appear as if tears were caught in his throat.

Still, there were those who felt it was too little, too late. Someone argued that after Donald Trump had called Mexicans rapists, Jimmy tousled his hair on when he appeared on his show. That was problematic. But for me, his message is at least a step toward reconciling that lapse in judgment. I particularly enjoyed this line.

“It’s important for everyone, especially White people in this country to speak out against this. Ignoring it is just as bad as supporting it.”

Clay Aiken

I have nothing but a side eye and a tea sip for Clay Aiken. Yes, better late than never. But also, how was he able to effectively ignore this many voices? Again, it wasn’t until a White woman died that he realizes ‘Oh, perhaps Trump is racist and is inciting those like him.’ Boy, bye. In Aiken’s defense he always believed Trump would make for a terrible president and endorsed Hillary. So…welcome but step to the back.

LeBron James

I wanted to ride with Bron Bron for this. But it’s just not all the way there. The statues are symbols of the hate this country still has for us. It’s a symbolic f*ck you to every person of African descent, a constant reminder that the South and some other White folks are proud to have enslaved fellow human beings. It’s a symptom of the racism we still experience. So yeah, them statues are linked to our present day oppression and they need to come down.

Lady Gaga

I see what Gaga was trying to do here. Be solution oriented. But this racism thing is not Black people’s problem to fix. White people got us into this mess and it should be their duty to help get us out of it. Not saying that we shouldn’t work together or that Black people can’t help to educate her. But her first steps need to be doing research on her own, listening, without interjecting to what Black folks have been saying. Some times, most times, when you arrive late to class, your approach should be to listen first and see what you can learn, not request to be immediately caught up. The rest of us have been doing the work.

Amanda Seales

And Amanda Seales had the reasons why Gaga’s tweet was tone deaf. 

Soledad O’Brien

I think it’s so important that O’Brien has been consistent in calling out the media’s role in giving credence and credit to the White supremacists who support Donald Trump. To put it in proper context, no news network would think of sitting down with a brown skinned terrorist to listen to his or her views about why they hate America. It’s deplorable. But when terrorism has a White face, it’s easier for the American people to swallow.

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