Wake up, Kanye West

Wake up, Kanye West
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The Oval Office has historically served as a hallowed space where presidents deliberated with world leaders and authorized resolutions on national matters,  that was not the case Thursday afternoon.

Rather than address timely affairs, such as the tragic disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi or Hurricane Michael recovery efforts, the Oval Office was relegated to a platform for misguided celebrity bluster courtesy of Kanye West.


What was scheduled to be a conversation on critical issues affecting communities of color immediately turned into an incoherent rant laced with profanity and damaging stereotypes about black Americans. The same celebrity who once proclaimed on live television that a sitting president did not care about black people chose to embrace Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMajority of Americans in new poll say it would be bad for the country if Trump ran in 2024 ,800 bottle of whiskey given to Pompeo by Japan is missing Liz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party MORE, a president whose actions and policies prove time and again that he actually does not care for black people.

Let’s review Trump’s track record.

Trump is the same man that was sued by the Justice Department in 1973 for discriminating against blacks.

Trump has yet to apologize to the “Central Park Five.” The five teenagers of color who were wrongfully convicted after the cruel forced confession of the sexual assault of a white female jogger. During this contentious trial in 1989, Trump stoked the flames of fear by purchasing full-page ads in The New York Times and the Daily News declaring “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!”

Trump emboldened the white nationalist movement by referring to some of those who joined the neo-Nazis who wreaked havoc in Charlottesville as “very fine people.” Even David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, thanked Trump.

And let’s not forget, Trump was one of the architects of the “birther” movement, avowing that President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden nominates Mark Brzezinski to be U.S. ambassador to Poland On The Money: Trump asks court to block release of tax returns to Congress | Private sector adds 330K jobs in July, well short of expectations Biden wishes Obama a happy birthday MORE was born in Kenya — a country our current president considered a “shithole.”

Trump referred to black athletes — many whom were fans of Kanye — as “sons of bitches” simply because they sought to shed light on racial discrimination and police brutality.

Admittedly, I owned a pink Ralph Lauren polo shirt. And Kanye’s “College Dropout” and “Late Registration” were classic albums that shaped my college experience. But I will no longer support Kanye, nor will I let him off the hook for validating a president whose policies continue to burden our most marginalized communities.

Racism might be an invisible wall to Kanye West, but I can guarantee that communities of color that are forced to deal with the painful reality of this administration would beg to differ.

There are many white conservatives applauding Kanye for endorsing Trump in the Oval Office, but let me be clear: Kanye is not the voice of black America. Nor should we raise Kanye to the same status of iconic athletes and entertainers of yesterday.

Kanye is not Samuel L. Jackson, who once held Morehouse College board members hostage for two days to protest the lack of blacks on the governing board of the institution.

Kanye is not Sidney Poitier or Harry Belafonte. Both were entrenched in the civil rights movement and the fight for equality — domestically and abroad. Belafonte even bailed my father, Cleveland Sellers, out of jail after he was arrested during a civil rights demonstration.

And despite the comparisons, Kanye is not Sammy Davis Jr. Yes, Davis embraced Richard Nixon in a similar fashion, but he also marched on Washington and shutdown a Broadway show to march in Selma, Ala. And whenever Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. needed bail money in the 1960s, King knew he could count on Davis.

To be clear, this is not about politics. I do not care if Kanye is a registered Republican. But I do care about Kanye perpetuating dangerous stereotypes that position blacks as the face of welfare. I care about Kanye claiming slavery was a choice, and calling for the 13th Amendment to be abolished.

If Trump was serious about holding a substantive discussion on timely matters such as opportunity zones, urban revitalization or clemencies, there were several African Americans — conservative and progressive — who could have received an invite.

But Trump extended an invitation to Kanye — a “proud non-reader” who is only an expert in himself.

President Barack Obama called it in 2009: Kanye is a jackass. And until this jackass reads a history book or commits to a worthy cause to uplift folks that look like him, I would appreciate if he took seat , but not in the White House, especially the Oval Office.

Bakari T. Sellers is an American politician and attorney. He is a former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.