Contrary to what Kanye West believes, there are plenty of Black people who identify as conservatives. Yes, there can be a certain stigma attached to African-Americans who divert from liberal ideals, but that doesn’t stop those who wholeheartedly believe in right-wing policy and practices.
Black conservatives are also a diverse group, with some more moderate than others. Here are seven who fall into different levels of conservatism.
Bronx, New York native Colin Luther Powell served under President George W. Bush as the 65th United States Secretary of State, the first African-American to serve in that position. Powell has stated that he remains Republican because he believes in “a strong defense and because I believe in the entrepreneurial spirit that is so typical of the Republican Party in the past.” However, he admittedly took issue with President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and endorsed both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for President. Overall, he feels the right has “shifted much further right than the country,” yet he remains loyal to the party he’s supported for decades.
Rice followed Powell as the 66th United States Secretary of State after serving as the national security adviser to President George W. Bush. The southerner shared with Wolf Blitzer in 2010 that she became a Republican after voting for Democratic President Jimmy Carter and believing he was too soft on foreign policy. She was also attracted to the strength exuded by Republican Ronald Reagan.
Like Powell, Rice has disassociated herself from Republican leader Donald Trump, taking him to task on her Facebook page back during the 2016 election cycle. “Enough! Donald Trump should not be President. He should withdraw,” she wrote. “As a Republican, I hope to support someone who has the dignity and stature to run for the highest office in the greatest democracy on earth.”
Steele was voted the first Black Republican National Committee chairman in 2009, serving until 2011. Former CPAC communications director Ian Walters once claimed Steele was only elected because he was Black following the election of President Barack Obama, a claim Steele called “painfully stupid.”
Today, Steele remains a Republican, but has no problem questioning his own party, calling Pres. Trump racist following 45 referring to Haiti and certain African countries as “sh*tholes.”
Dr. Ben Carson is a proud Republican who called out President Obama for the flaws within Obamacare during the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. For many, this was Carson’s introduction to the masses, with conservatives rallying around the surgeon previously best known for separating conjoined twins in 1987.
After an unsuccessful run for President in 2016, Donald Trump named Carson Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Thomas succeeded Thurgood Marshall as the second African-American to serve on the Supreme Court. Nominated by George H.W. Bush, Thomas is considered the most senior and most conservative judge on the court, ruling against liberal benchmarks such as gay marriage and affirmative action. Thomas draws much of his conservative philosophy from Russian-American author and philosopher, Ayn Rand,
While most mainstream celebrities lean toward more liberal ideals, actress Stacey Dash is a unashamed conservative who let the public know exactly how she felt when she endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012 against Pres. Obama. She went on to work for Fox News, being let go from the organization in 2017. The actress also attempted to run against Compton, CA Mayor Aja Brown for Congress, but withdrew from the race shortly after her announcement.
Candace Owens has become the face of young, Black conservatives in America, with her profile reaching new heights after receiving a shout-out from Kanye West via Twitter. Owens’ controversial statements include naming Pres. Trump “savior” of the free world, and referring to Black Lives Matter activists as “whiny toddlers, pretending to be oppressed for attention.”
Owens is also the communications director of Turning Point USA, who will be hosting the Young Black Leadership Summit Oct. 25-28 in Washington, D.C. The conference marketed towards young, conservative Blacks between the ages of 15 and 35.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.