Hours after Kanye West was spotted entering the gold-plated elevators of Trump Tower in New York City, we now know what the president-elect and Yeezy were discussing. Apparently the pair weren’t talking about the emcee’s Spring fashion line or an inaugural ball performance. According to the rapper who once claimed George Bush “doesn’t care about Black people,” Trump and West met to discuss “multicultural issues.”
While it’s unclear how bullying or modernizing curriculums qualify as “multicultural issues,” it is quite curious that Trump would meet with the rapper to discuss education reform shortly after admitting that he doesn’t feel it’s necessary to receive daily security briefings because he’s “like, a smart person.”
West wasn’t the only African-American celeb to file into Trump Tower today to see the president-elect, football legends Jim Brown and Ray Lewis also met with Trump to discuss “Black issues.”
After the meeting, Brown, who runs Amer-I-Can, gushed about sitting down with the president-elect.
“We couldn’t have had a better meeting,” Brown told reporters. “The graciousness, the intelligence, the reception we got was fantastic.”
Lewis, who’s had some extremely problematic things to say about the Black Lives Matter movement, said he and Brown also spoke to Trump about jobs.
“We talked about what entrepreneurship really looks like from the individuals themselves,” Lewis said. “The bottom line is job creation and economic development in these urban areas to change the whole scheme of what our kids see … he’s wide open to really helping us change what hasn’t been changed.”
As people, particularly rich Black people, line up to take a seat at Trump’s table, it’s important we hold our leaders accountable to our needs, not those of the president-elect.
During his campaign Trump spewed harmful, even racist rhetoric, and later solidified that rhetoric by appointing people like alt-right champion Steve Bannon and Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who called civil rights groups like the NAACP “un-American,” to important positions in his administration. So, to paraphrase my mama, actions speaks louder than photo-ops.
Or as writer and activist dream hampton wrote on Fecebook: “We already know what Sessions will do about community violence in Chicago, exactly what Trump already said…more police. We already know how Trump will ‘help teachers,’ he hired Erik Prince’s privatizing ass sister. These are not questions that required a publicity stunt to answer.”
As we move ever closer to a Trump presidency, we cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by handshakes and a kind words from a few prominent African-Americans who may agree with Trump while ignoring the policies he’s instituting (and people he’s choosing) that can really do us harm.