TV personality Judge Greg Mathis stopped by The View on Monday to discuss the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and said his good friend Aretha Franklin urged him to go back and help the people in their home state.
“She said, ‘Greg, you gotta go back up there,'” Mathis told View co-host Whoopi Goldberg about his last conversation with Franklin before she passed in August.
The Judge Mathis star said he was hesitant about returning to Flint because of the backlash he faced when he initially protested the water crisis in 2014.
“[Franklin] said, ‘Well, go up there, you’re from Detroit. You shouldn’t be scared, so get up there and sock it to ’em, sock it to ’em.’ So those were our last words,” Mathis recalled.
He said he worked closely with the musical icon to help get aid to Flint residents. Although $200 million was secured from the federal and state governments to help the city restore its pipe system, Mathis said progress has been slow.
Before pipes are fully replaced, the government will no longer provide water to residents.
“They cut off the water three months ago, prior to the pipes being repaired,” he said. “So now, the poorest city in America, those people have to buy their own bottled water. So I was telling Aretha about that. She and I would talk about every month about politics. She was deep into politics.”
To honor his promise to the Queen of Soul, the judge and his foundation plan to send caravans containing thousands of cases of water from Detroit to the residents in Flint on Thursday. “We’re gonna stop in a couple of other cities and collect water and then take it to Flint,” Mathis said.
He continued, “Where the government stopped, we’re gonna come in and deliver. And secondly, we’re gonna have a rally that evening to kind of challenge the state and city to get things done.”
Goldberg ended the segment pondering a way to get water from the ABC studios in New York City to contribute to Mathis’ efforts.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.