Killer Mike Demands Black People Stand With Byron Allen In Discrimination Fight Against Comcast Going To The Supreme Court
Atlanta born and social justice-centered, Killer Mike is clear about our responsibility as African Americans to one another. Killer Mike Demands Black People Stand With Byron Allen In Discrimination Fight Against Comcast Going To The Supreme Court
Without a doubt, the rapper/activist believes that as a community, our focus should be one that builds the African American dollar, supports institutions that cultivate Black leadership, and influence Black entrepreneurs to shift culture through deals.
This is especially true in 2019, as the facade of post-racialism that the Obama administration painted fades away, and the potential of a legal decision that could put race relations back at least a century looms.
Comcast and Charter Communications and the U.S. Department of Justice are currently attempting to dismantle the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and deny media mogul Byron Allen (owner of Entertainment Studios) a seat at the table, resulting in a case that goes before the conservative heavy Supreme Court on Nov. 13. Killer Mike first became aware of the case when attorney Antonio Moore broke it down for him.
In an exclusive interview with theGrio, Killer Mike explained his thoughts about the impending Supreme Court review and what other Black people should be doing to ensure our rights won’t be violated.
As a long-time fan of Allen’s, Killer Mike has studied his career for years, even calling him a “genius.”
“I’ve watched Byron Allen and how he works since I was a kid. I love his TV shows and how he eventually started programming shows in those late-night slots. He would purchase the time slots that used to be for infomercials, turn around and sell those ads for his shows. Genius!” says Mike.
As a follower of his work, the rapper understands the usual challenges that Allen has faced over the years as a successful Black entrepreneur. However, he also believes that these challenges must be met with an iron fist.
“If everything does not go as planned in this case, Black people have to pull out of Comcast all together,” says Mike.
“We also have to look at the political parties that aren’t supporting him and pull our support from them. We cannot look at this as if we are only fighting for Byron Allen. This is bigger than that.”
It is bigger than just the Entertainment Studios’ head honcho. This is about precedent, and if the Comcast has their way, it’s a decision that will affect Blacks as a whole.
“The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (the law that Entertainment Studios and Allen are using to argue their case) came about right after slavery ended and before Reconstruction. It was supposed to ensure that Blacks had fair shake in business,” explains Mike.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t always happened. Case in point, there’s only one Bob Johnson, America’s first and only Black billionaire, when there could be many more. Systematic racism has put huge hurdles in the way causing the playing field to be far from equal.
“If Allen is playing fair, and he has the capacity to produce quality programming, why would they not allow him space at Comcast? You can’t say people are not interested- everyone needs the weather,” Killer Mike says of Allen, who acquired the Weather Channel for $300 million last year.
“There is quality control with his networks, so what more do they want.”
We anticipate the answer will become clear during trial, but there are some things that Mike does believe can help this cause outside of the legal system. When we see that Black moguls are not being treated fairly, the community cannot let them fight alone.
“We have to ask ourselves, are we willing to withhold our vote? If he is going to win, the community simply has to stand firm behind him.”
If no one else has Allen’s back, it seems as if the “Ric Flair” emcee does.
Democrats Court Black Voters in Hopes of Picking Off Biden’s Support
African-American voters account for about a quarter of Democratic electorate.
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren held rallies at historically black colleges in Atlanta. Former Vice President Joe Biden convened with African-American mayors nearby, while Sen. Kamala Harris met with black business owners. Civil-rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton hosted Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar.
Democratic presidential candidates this week appealed to black voters with renewed urgency in a campaign lacking a clear front-runner with less than three months before Democrats vote in the first nominating contests.
Polling has shown Mr. Biden maintains a commanding lead among black voters, who account for roughly a quarter of the Democratic electorate. His rivals hope to siphon off some of that support, which surveys show is strongest among older African Americans. They also hope to appeal to younger black voters, who are traditionally active in primaries but largely undecided.
“You can’t win without a solid black voter turnout,” Mr. Sharpton said. “It’s the core of the Democratic Party.”
The Democrats’ dueling events with African-American voters in Atlanta this week, where the party held its fifth presidential debate, made clear the candidates are aware of the challenge they face.
Ms. Warren anchored her remarks at historically black Clark Atlanta University around an 1881 strike by black washerwomen in Atlanta.
“I’ve been called persistent in my time— and I love it,” Ms. Warren said. “But understand this: The persistence of generations of black women, and black people in America, up to and including many people in this crowd tonight, is the true story of American persistence.”
Mr. Sanders has made a more concerted effort to reach black voters after losing them to Hillary Clinton by 50 percentage points in the 2016 Democratic primary. His campaign this week detailed a new plan to invest billions of dollars in historically black colleges and universities.
At a rally at Morehouse College, a historically black school from which the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. graduated, Mr. Sanders cast himself as a candidate who knew the threat of discrimination, pointing out that his father came to the U.S. from Poland fleeing anti-Semitism.
“A lot of people in my father’s family did not make it out of Poland,” Mr. Sanders said. “They were murdered by the father of white supremacy, Adolf Hitler.”
Josiah Leonard, a 19-year-old freshman at Morehouse, said he was leaning toward voting for Mr. Sanders after hearing his speech.
“He hasn’t felt what it’s like to be a black man,” Mr. Leonard said of Mr. Sanders. “But he knows about racial injustice and mass incarceration.”
A similarly personal effort by Mr. Buttigieg, in which he cited his background as a gay man to empathize with black voters, drew pushback after the debate Wednesday. Sen. Harris of California called the comments “a bit naive,” saying civil-rights activists “know that it is important that we not compare our struggles.”
Mr. Buttigieg told reporters he wasn’t trying to equate the two experiences, adding: “This is a time for solidarity, and anyone who has experienced whatever personal struggle we bring to this fight needs to reach into that as motivation to help others.”
Mr. Biden has taken heat during debates for his positions on race-related issues, from his role in crime legislation in the 1990s to his opposition to federally mandated busing to integrate schools. But his support has remained strong among black Democrats.
On Wednesday, he again stumbled, earning a rebuke from Mr. Booker and Ms. Harris, when he erroneously claimed to have the endorsement of the only black woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate. Ms. Harris, the second black woman elected to the Senate, threw her hands in the air.
“The other one is here,” she said.
Mr. Biden’s slips have prompted at least one more candidate to enter the race with an eye toward making inroads on the former vice president’s coalition.
Deval Patrick, the former two-term governor of Massachusetts, started his campaign last week in a long-shot bid centered in part around the notion that he can cut into Mr. Biden’s African-American support.
Campaigning in South Carolina this week, Mr. Patrick, who is African-American, courted voters in majority-black neighborhoods, where he introduced himself by reflecting on his roots on the South Side of Chicago. At a community event with about a dozen black female business owners, most of the women didn’t know who Mr. Patrick was, but they pulled out their cellphones to document the visit of a presidential candidate.
Asked by The Wall Street Journal about Mr. Biden’s dominance in the state, Mr. Patrick dismissed the polls as “a moment in time.”
“I respect Vice President Biden,” he said. “He has huge name recognition and he’s been a friend of mine. But I think it is also true that in black communities, in South Carolina and elsewhere…people don’t feel seen and heard, if at all, between elections and between campaigns.”
Mr. Patrick is nonetheless learning that mounting a campaign at this late date in the race may prove a herculean task.
His campaign canceled an event Wednesday at Morehouse when only two people came. A photo of a room full of empty chairs circulated on the internet.
Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Slams GM For Not Supporting Black-Owned Media
Musician and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs criticized General Motors Co. and other companies for failing to support Black-owned media, saying Corporate America could no longer “manipulate our community into believing that incremental progress is acceptable.”
The rapper, who founded the Revolt cable network in 2013, posted an open letter on that company’s website Thursday calling out companies for spending less than 1% of their advertising on Black-owned media.
He singled out General Motors because it recently cited Revolt as a company it supports. “While Revolt does receive advertising revenue from GM, our relationship is not an example of success. Instead, Revolt, just like other Black-owned media companies, fights for crumbs while GM makes billions of dollars every year from the Black community,” he said.
“Corporations like General Motors have exploited our culture, undermined our power, and excluded Black entrepreneurs from participating in the value created by Black consumers,” said Combs, who first rose to fame in the 1990s as a hip-hop artist and record producer.
In response, GM said that the company is currently meeting with Black-owned media enterprises as the automaker works on its plan to spend more with those properties. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra will be in some of those meetings. Company spokesman Pat Morrissey said that for this year, GM doubled its spending with Black-owned media groups to 2%.
“We will increase our spend with this important segment to 4% in 2022, and will continue to grow our spend thereafter with a target of 8% by 2025,” Morrissey said in an email. “We already have the highest diversity media spend in our industry and we believe this furthers that leadership and commitment.”
Pressure has mounted on companies to diversify their ranks and reform policies since the killing of George Floyd last year sparked nationwide protests. GM and Barra have come under particular scrutiny, with Black media entrepreneurs such as Weather Channel owner Byron Allen saying the company refused to meet with them. They took out a full-page ad in the Detroit Free Press saying Barra was ignoring them and spending less than 0.5% of the company’s advertising dollars on Black-owned media.
Morrissey said that GM executives have meet with Allen, that Black-owned media “are a vital component of our marketing mix, and we evaluate our spend for media partners through several core metrics, including transparency, innovation, ad quality, audience delivery and brand safety.”
In his letter, Combs also slammed distributors for not carrying Black-owned media brands “in an era where our impact and influence is undeniable.”
Corporate America should invest the same percentage that it gets from the Black community back into Black-owned media, he said.
“If you love us, pay us!” he said. “The time is now! Radical change is the only option. You’re either with us or you are on the other side.”Go back