After four years of reversing Obama-era policies, empowering white supremacy, and allowing the coronavirus to kill more than 200,000 Americans—a disproportionate amount of them Black—Trump is finally attempting to reach out to Black voters weeks before the election.
Ice Cube and Lil Wayne's ability to ignore all of the damage the Trump administration has done is a sharp reminder of not only class solidarity among the super-wealthy, but also the power disparity between white and Black people.
During the last few weeks of the 2020 election, the Trump campaign spent over $20 million on a last-minute grasp for Black voters. Part of this effort involved reaching out to Black celebrities like Ice Cube and Lil Wayne and unveiling what the administration called "The Platinum Plan," a part of Trump's second term strategy that would empower Black Americans by increasing "access to capital in black communities by almost $500 billion."
The plan also lists "Access to better education and job training opportunities" and "Safe Urban Neighborhoods with Highest Policing Standards," both of which implies some acknowledgment of the issues Black Americans face every day. But given Trump's stance on the Black Lives Matter movement, these promises ring hollow.
Ice Cube and Lil Wayne's willingness to associate with the Trump Administration is admirable if you consider their efforts attempts to insulate their communities against the possibility of a Trump victory in the 2020 election, but the promises Trump is making them are vague at best and hypocritical at worst.
After four years of reversing Obama-era policies, empowering white supremacy, and allowing the Coronavirus to kill more than 200,000 Americans—a disproportionate amount of them Black—Trump is finally attempting to reach out to Black voters weeks before the election. The amount of ignorance required to ignore all of that, when it's written on the page, is astronomical.
Ice Cube and Lil Wayne may have their own reasons for supporting Trump, but their ability to be independent comes from their wealth. They are allowed to choose sides because they are rich and are insulated from the consequences of the political world, while their Blackness gives them ties to communities that they have the ability to leave because they are rich.
In 2016, Ice Cube said during an interview with Bloomberg, "Do I think he's gonna do anything to help poor people or people that's struggling? No, because he's a rich white guy. He's always been rich, being rich don't make you bad, I ain't saying that. But I'm just saying, how can he relate?"
Uh oh. I have a sneaky suspicion that Donald Trump might win the demographic of wealthy Black male rappers who don'… https://t.co/e2QTZ3i9KX— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin)1604012122.0
This sentiment isn't too far from the mark. It's worth remembering that Ice Cube is a millionaire himself—a millionaire who is allowed to posture as a community leader due to his fame. The Blackness and wealth that these celebrities possess make them indispensable assets for people in positions of white power.
In American politics, Black people have been offered a choice between voting for a party that allies itself with their oppression and a party that promises to oppress them less. Reasonably, many have just opted to not participate.
But Ice Cube's alignment with Trump will not persuade people to vote. In fact, it may just persuade more people not to vote, as they see a rich Black man whose wealth and fame has given him the opportunity to stand side by side with white power be won over by some hollow words on a sheet of paper.
The thing that uniquely places all Black Americans into a community is that they are pinned under the same thumb. They have fewer opportunities for upward movement, and the opportunities at the bottom of the ladder don't pay enough to move up that ladder. They are killed disproportionately by their supposed protectors. Lil Wayne and Ice Cube are insulated from, not immune to, these facts because of their exorbitant wealth.
Ice cube is Black to everyone, a fact that overwrites his wealth. He, Lil Wayne and anyone else who falls under this umbrella can always have their wealth disregarded by whiteness, so in order to be validated in their accomplishments, they often associate with whiteness.
Still, their very real wealth fundamentally separates them from the middle and lower class Black people that they seek to represent.
A lot of energy being spent on telling me to stay in my lane. Zero energy spent on telling Biden/Harris they need t… https://t.co/ObBkGOUFNd— Ice Cube (@Ice Cube)1602949504.0
Every side is the Darkside for us here in America. They’re all the same until something changes for us. They all li… https://t.co/aa2hg4iT6N— Ice Cube (@Ice Cube)1602709073.0
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