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Black Elephants (Pg. 2)

On Gay Marriage: “I am where the Black community is,” Scott says, careful to emphasize Black community, which, according to the Associated Press exit polls, voted 7 out of 10 in favor of overturning the decision to allow gay marriage in California. “I believe marriage is between a man and woman.”

Immigration: “The immigration issue is easy,” he says with a shrug. “We want to make sure the local law enforcement is empowered to enforce the laws of the country.”

Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: “We have to continue to pursue the folks we believe caused 9-11 and find Osama Bin Laden,” he says. “You always fight a war on someone else’s soil.”

It’s difficult to find any issues on the Republican platform with which Scott disagrees, or any details he is willing to share about his national positions. “All I know about is what I’ve experienced for 15 years. That’s been state and local politics,” he says. “Outside of the First Congressional District, the national issues don’t plague me.” 

Scott may be cutting a new path to national politics, but he is not alone. He is among a small class of celebrated Republican candidates–Tea Party-approved African-American conservatives who could redefine what it means to be Black and Republican. In 2010, there were about 32 Blacks running for Republican seats in primary contests. While most have fizzled out or have large odds stacked against them, the most prominent–Ryan Frazier of Colorado’s 7th District, Allen West of South Florida’s 22nd District, and Scott–have solid shots of making history in Obama’s “post-racial” America.

“If the outreach is done right, it could be quite influential in the long run,” says Thomas B. Edsall, author of Building Red America: The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Permanent Power. “The Black Democratic leadership has been dominated by very orthodox liberal leadership. And there has been no real challenge to this at all.”

Yet, the 2008 election–in which about 95 percent of African-Americans voted for Barack Obama–may have had the unintended consequences that emboldened Blacks on the other side of the political divide. And they just may be the best hope in capturing the elusive Black Republican vote.

Frazier, the 33-year-old candidate from Colorado’s Seventh District, says Obama’s win did not motivate him to run for Congress, but he admits it cleared some racial hurdles for future Black office seekers. “President Obama’s election to office was not only historic, but it sent a clear message through the country that we’ve now reached a time when a minority [candidate] can have broader appeal.”

But is the Republican Party committed to embracing Black candidates and aggressively courting African-American electorate? Or is this just another false start among many that was promised when J.C. Watts became the Black Republican face of the House of Representatives?

“I don’t believe we are in a post-racial society because we have a Black president,” says J.C. Watts. “And I am not willing to say that race is not an issue and that racism is dead no more than I am not prepared to say that the Republican Party has concerned themselves with establishing a deeper relationship with the Black community.”

BEFORE SCOTT RAN for office, he ran the football on a partial scholarship from Presbyterian College. He later transferred to Charleston Southern University in his hometown and graduated with a degree in political science. He was failing four subjects in high school, but managed to turn his life around. “I was fortunate to have a mother who knew how to dispense love at the end of a switch,” is a common refrain on the campaign trail. His father was in the Air Force and split with his mother when he was just 7. He often talks about his mentor, a white conservative who owned a local Chick-fil-A and taught him that he could “think his way out of poverty.” He worked for New York Life after college, and started his own insurance business (now Tim Scott Allstate).

By the time he decided to run for office in 1995, he was a born-again Christian, conservative on cultural issues (anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage) and pro-business on economic issues. Maurice Washington, a Black Republican who served on the City Council from 1991 to 1995, remembers when he had a talk with Scott about joining the GOP. “I told him if you want to do it, run as a Republican,” Washington recalls. “You would get better support and have a better chance as a Republican candidate. His views were already conservative, and he connected well.”

Washington also organized the meeting with the influential Blacks. “I said you’ve been getting a bum rap with the community,” Washington recalls. “We have to get you in front of them to dialogue.”

In the South, political machines are fueled by race-baiting and seemingly awkward alliances that can cut across race lines. As a son of South Carolina, Tim Scott knows this first hand. In 1996, Scott was co-chairman for the campaign of Strom Thurmond, an outspoken segregationist who claimed to have changed his stripes later in life. For his part in securing Thurmond’s win, Scott was criticized by local Blacks.

Scott bristles when asked about his affiliation with Thurmond. “Why did the Association of Black Mayors come out and endorse him?” he says. “And why did he get 30 percent of the Black support in his election before I became his co-chairman,” he continues. “When you are looking at it from a historic standpoint and you have not been around him then one’s opinion of Strom from 1920 is obviously very different than one’s opinion among Blacks in South Carolina in 1996.”

Today, the race issue continues to deter Blacks from joining the GOP, despite African-Americans’ conservative leanings.

“The main reason why Blacks don’t go over to Republican Party en masse is not because of some big policy initiative,” says Dr. Melissa Harris-Lacewell, author of Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought. “It is because of things like Black people being left on roofs to die [during Hurricane Katrina]. And what they perceive as racism.”

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A potential Sept. 13 concert at New Jersey’s Prudential Center was added to the venue's website and later deleted. The site listed Brown as the marquee act, while Minaj was a featured performer.

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Last Sunday, Minaj took the stage as a surprise guest for week one of Ariana Grande’s headlining set at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music Festival. It’s unclear if she will hit the stage when Grande returns to perform for week two of Coachella on April 21.

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Beyoncé performs onstage during 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 1 at the Empire Polo Field on April 14, 2018 in Indio, California.
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Homecoming: The 5 Best Moments Of Beyoncé’s Documentary

Once Beyoncé became the first African-American woman to headline in its nearly 20-year history, we knew Coachella would never the same. To mark the superstar’s historic moment, the 2018 music and arts festival was appropriately dubbed #Beychella and fans went into a frenzy on social media as her illustrious performance was live-streamed by thousands. (Remember when fans recreated her choreographed number to O.T. Genasis’ “Everybody Mad”?)

With a legion of dancers, singers and musicians adorned with gorgeous costumes showcasing custom-made crests, the singer’s whirlwind performance honored black Greek letter organizations, Egyptian queen Nefertiti, and paid homage to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Aside from the essence of black musical subgenres like Houston’s chopped and screwed and Washington D.C.’s go-go music, the entertainer performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as “The Black National Anthem,” and implemented a dancehall number, sampling the legendary Jamaican DJ and singer, Sister Nancy, to show off the versatility of black culture.

One year after #Beychella’s historic set, the insightful concert film, Homecoming, began streaming on Netflix and unveiled the rigorous months of planning that went into the iconic event. The 2-hour 17-minute documentary highlights Beyoncé’s enviable work ethic and dedication to her craft, proving why this performance will be cemented in popular culture forever. Here are the best moments from Beyoncé’s Homecoming documentary.

The Intentional Blackness

“Instead of me bringing out my flower crown, it was more important that I brought our culture to Coachella.”

Throughout the documentary, Beyoncé made it known that everything and everyone included in the creative process leading up to the annual festival was deliberately chosen. “I personally selected each dancer, every light, the material on the steps, the height of the pyramid, the shape of the pyramid,” says Beyoncé. “Every tiny detail had an intention.” When speaking on black people as a collective the entertainer notes, “The swag is limitless.” Perhaps the most beautiful moments in Homecoming are the shots that focus on the uniqueness of black hair and its versatility. What’s appreciated above all is the singer’s commitment to celebrating the various facets of blackness and detailing why black culture needs to be celebrated on a global scale.

Beyoncé’s Love And Respect For HBCUs

#Beychella — which spanned two consecutive weekends of Coachella’s annual festival — was inspired by elements of HBCU homecomings, so it was no surprise when the singer revealed she always wanted to attend one. “I grew up in Houston, Texas visiting Prairie View. We rehearsed at TSU [Texas State University] for many years in Third Ward, and I always dreamed of going to an HBCU. My college was Destiny's Child. My college was traveling around the world and life was my teacher.” Brief vignettes in the film showcased marching bands, drumlines and the majorettes from notable HBCUs that comprise of the black homecoming experience. In the concert flick, one of the dancers affectionately states, “Homecoming for an HBCU is the Super Bowl. It is the Coachella.” However, beyond the outfits that sport a direct resemblance to Greek organizations, Beyoncé communicated an important message that remains a focal point in the film: “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

The Familiar Faces

Despite being joined by hundreds of dancers, musicians and singers on-stage, the entertainer was joined by some familiar faces to share the monumental moment with her. While making a minor appearance in the documentary, her husband and rapper/mogul Jay-Z came out to perform “Deja Vu” with his wife. Next, fans were blessed by the best trio to ever do it as Kelly and Michelle joined the singer with renditions of their hit singles including “Say My Name,” “Soldier,” and more. On top of this star-studded list, Solange Knowles graced the “Beychella” stage and playfully danced with her older sister to the infectious “Get Me Bodied.”

Her Balance Of Being A Mother And A Star

Originally slated to headline the annual festival in 2017, the singer notes that she “got pregnant unexpectedly...and it ended up being twins.” Suffering from preeclampsia, high blood pressure, toxemia and undergoing an emergency C-section, the entertainer candidly details how difficult it was adjusting post-partum and how she had to reconnect with her body after experiencing a traumatizing delivery. “In the beginning, it was so many muscle spasms. Just, internally, my body was not connected. My body was not there.” Rehearsing for a total of 8 months, the singer sacrificed quality time with her children in order to nail the technical elements that came with the preparation for her Coachella set. “I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol … and I’m hungry.” Somehow, throughout all of this, she still had to be a mom. “My mind wanted to be with my children,” she says. Perhaps one of the most admirable moments in the film was witnessing Beyoncé’s dedication to her family but also to her craft.

The Wise Words From Black Visionaries

Homecoming opens with a quote from the late, Maya Angelou stating, “If you surrender to the air, you can ride it.” The film includes rich and prophetic quotes from the likes of Alice Walker, Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, and notable Black thinkers, reaffirming Beyoncé’s decision to highlight black culture. The quotes speak to her womanhood and the entertainer’s undeniable strength as a black woman.

Blue Ivy’s Cuteness

Last, but certainly not least, Blue Ivy‘s appearance in the concert film is nothing short of precious. One of the special moments in the documentary zeroes in on the 7-year-old singing to a group of people whilst Beyoncé sweetly feeds the lyrics into her ears. After finishing, Blue says: “I wanna do that again” with Beyoncé replying with “You wanna be like mommy, huh?” Seen throughout Homecoming rehearsing and mirroring Beyoncé’s moves, Blue just might follow in her mother’s footsteps as she gets older.

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