With President Obama days away from finishing his two-term presidency, in comes President-elect Donald Trump.
Rapper, T.I. has been pretty vocal. The King of the South penned open letters to both Trump and Obama.
In his letter to Trump, T.I. said:
“Should it ever at times seem as though we are against you, I assure you it’s a result of you defining yourself as the representative for those who are and who always have been against us,” he wrote.“The deck has always been stacked against us in this country. With every generation, there have been strategic steps taken to oppress, imprison and control US. All we’ve ever wanted was equality and empathy as the historically disenfranchised citizens that we are, in a nation that we’ve contributed to just as much as anyone else who calls America their home.”
Additionally, T.I. created video messages via Instagram expressing his displeasure and giving insight to the entertainment industry as to why they should not be taking meetings with President-elect Trump.
In the videos, the Grammy award winning emcee breaks down why Kanye West and Steve Harvey‘s meetings with Trump are detrimental to the black community as a whole and why he feels they were chosen.
“Trump knew that young people were against him, so who does he get to appeal to them-Kanye West. Why? Not because they buy his shoes or listen to his music, but to sway the young people who are against Trump that he’s ‘not that bad’.”
T.I. also expressed his displeasure with both Steve Harvey and Rev. Martin Luther King III for their meeting with Trump, saying:
“Steve Harvey you should know better and Rev. King he called you in on your daddy’s birthday, you should know better than that. Willie Lynch, read on it.”
Vincent Peters, a technology exec and community organizer who also served as a deputy field organizer for President Obama in 2008 was a bit alarmed. “I cannot help but be confused and a bit disappointed,” Peters told RESPECT-MAG by phone. “In a letter where Mr. Harris speaks of, “creating a healthy dialogue that may hopefully unite US, addressing issues that have not be addressed, and asking the President Elect who are you and who do you want to be?” I ask myself what better way is there to create a healthy dialogue, address issues that haven’t been addressed, or understand who a person is outside of meeting that person face to face?”
What Peters finds more alarming is that he believes T.I. and others are using rhetoric similar to late civil rights leader Malcolm X as truth.
In his “The Ballot or The Bullet” speech delivered on April 4, 1964, Malcolm X challenged Black leaders saying:
“That same white man knowing that your eyes are wide open will send another negro into the community telling you to support him so he could use them to lead us astray…The first thing the [White racist] does when he comes to power, he takes all the Negro leaders and invites them for coffee, to show that he’s alright. And these Uncle Toms can’t pass up the coffee. They come away from the coffee table telling you and me that this man is alright.”
Malcolm X’s speech is said to have subliminally referenced leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his protege John Lewis who were friendly with politicians and were said to have a cup of coffee or two with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House.
“To put things into proper perspective if 2017 was the 1960s Mr. Harris would be the person telling Dr. Martin Luther King and John Lewis not to meet with Lyndon B. Johnson,” said Peters.
“If Dr. King and Congressman Lewis would have listened to those who shared the same or similar sentiment as Mr. Harris, some of the most substantial legislation for civil rights and the advancement of African Americans in the US would have never been proposed or passed.”
Lewis, now a Congressman, in Georgia’s 5th congressional district since 1987, made headlines on Friday for questioning the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s standing as the United States’ incoming president. Trump questioned Lewis’ action in his community. “I understand Mr. Harris perspective comes from a world of art and music where in one song you can have contradicting lyrics themes and ideas,” said Peters.
“As long as the beat is the new wave and the hook is nice no one will ask any questions or try to make sense of the song. In providing a framework in which others should move forward with Mr. Harris is in a very different arena where what you say and do have to actually make sense.”
So where do we go from here?
Well, Peters suggests defining an agenda for people of color to have been met over the first 500 days of Trump’s Presidency. “Putting together a defined agenda with our associated goals is the first step we should take before we accept any more invitations for coffee,” he said.