On January 20, 2017, president-elect Donald J. Trump was officially inaugurated as the new leader of the free world. The events surrounding his election were met with much opposition, (recently U.S. Representative John Lewis) and left most of the African-Americans in the country struggling with the options of how to move forward. In recent months, Trump met with some notable black celebrities, athletes and entertainers. With his long history of deception and money-mongering, many have questioned the true motive of these sit-downs; and the public opinion of why these events took place, have been extremely provocative.
One of the first high-profile meetings that Donald Trump conducted after his election was with Kanye West, the hip-hop star that in recent months has become more famous for his off-the-record rants and marriage to Kim Kardashian; than he has the music that ultimately made him a household name. It the past ten years or so, West went from calling out then-President George Bush's treatment of black people, to publicly proclaiming his support for Donald Trump. In subsequent weeks, he also met with Jim Brown, Ray Lewis and Steve Harvey. Surprisingly, all of the aforementioned people had nothing but positive things to say about the polarizing public figure, Donald Trump.
As stated earlier, most people questioned the Trump's reasons for these meetings; most pointing to ulterior motives. For the majority of his campaign, his rhetoric swayed toward either popular opinion, or the views of the silent majority. This practice has been commonly used throughout his career as a businessman, so it would not be far-fetched that one would think he would also use these tactics during his tenure at the White House. From a political standpoint, Trump's popularity with minorities (Blacks and Hispanics, specifically) is definitely his Achilles heel. So, being seen rubbing elbows with global icons of color could possibly boost his favorability with potential voters in the future.
Many news sources stated that the overall objective of these meetings was to discuss certain policies; so, why not invite African-Americans more knowledgeable in the political field? This fact, brings me back to my initial statement: Is Donald Trump really trying to move forward in a positive manner with the black community, or is he just using their celebrity to further popularize his brand with people who normally wouldn't support? History tells us it's the latter, but wishful thinking leads towards the first option. The goal of the President of the United States is to unite, not divide; to lead, not to conquer. Judging from Trump's first few days in office, I believe we are in for a long four years, but as African-Americans, we've been through much worse.
On a final note, the only problem that I have regarding the backlash towards these African-Americans meeting with Donald Trump is: why weren't we as aggressive at the polls in November? ...just something for you guys to think about. Below is some of the footage from the Inauguration on last Friday.
Become the change you seek.
- Okla (@coolhandoak)