By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
To Sean Broadus and his brother Evan, Ice Cube was more than an icon. He was someone to admire… a hope for making it out of the hood.
The Broadus brothers live near the Gilbert Lindsay Community Center in South Central, Los Angeles, less than 20 minutes from where their idol grew up. Both are having a hard time processing the hip-hop icon’s revelation that he’s working with President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign on what Cube calls a “Contract with Black America.”
“We can’t say we understand why he would roll like that knowing the damage 45 has done to Black people, to Hispanics, to our women and children,” Sean, the older of the brothers, told Black Press USA.
Like Sean, Evan struggled not to criticize Cube heavily, often fumbling with his cellphone.
“I don’t want to say the dude is a sellout. Maybe we need to hear more from Cube because when I look around the neighbourhood, when I go to Compton, when I walk around our ‘hood, there’s nothing—and I mean nothing—that puts damn Donald Trump and freakin’ Ice Cube in the same breath,” Evan said.
Though social media heat has turned up on the star, Cube stood firm in his decision to work with Trump on a “Platinum Plan for Black America.”
Through a spokesman, Cube said he only wants what’s best for African Americans. He insisted that it’s always been his position, and nothing has changed despite a flurry of social media posts attacking the California-based mogul.
“I will advise anybody on the planet who has the power to help Black Americans close the enormous wealth gap,” Cube said. “Black progress is a bipartisan issue. When we created the ‘Contract with Black America,’ we expected to talk to both sides of the aisle. Talking truth to power is part of the process.”
Cube, whose real name is O’Shea Jackson, noted that while Democrats asked that he wait until after the election to discuss specifics of Joe Biden’s plan for Black America, the Trump administration embraced his demands.
He said the President had promised as much as $500 billion outlined in Cube’s “Contract with Black America.” The contract outlines 13 separate bills that Cube believes will greatly help African Americans moving forward.
In signing the deal, Trump agreed to support and demand an open debate and a transparent and fair vote within the first 100 days of the 117th Congress in 2021.
Among the 13 pieces of legislation demanded is a bill to guarantee Black opportunity and representation, bank lending reform, and federal funding for baby bonds.
The document also includes government pensions, guidelines regarding arrest records that allow equitable privacy and accuracy protections and the right to dispute and correct inaccurate credit reporting data.
It calls for abolishing privately run prisons, disallowing prison labor without consent, the immediate release of all prisoners convicted of marijuana possession and eliminating mandatory minimums and three-strike laws.
Cube asked for a requirement of mandatory malpractice insurance for police officers, making municipalities liable for unconstitutional actions by police, and the mandatory use of dashboard and body cams.
Additionally, the contract calls for eliminating chokeholds and “no-knock” warrants, establishing residency requirements for officers, de-escalation and other updated training and severe penalties for evidence tampering.
“I put out the CWBA. Both parties contacted me,” Cube said. “Democrats said we’ll address the CWBA after the election. Trump campaign made some adjustments to their plan after talking to us about the CWBA.”
Despite the explanation, the hip-hop legend received a firestorm of backlash.
California Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee said she fails to understand Cube’s decision.
“I’m sickened. There’s no consistency in this based on Ice Cube’s history,” Lee said in a phone interview with Black Press USA.
“When you look at what Donald Trump has or hasn’t done, for example, ending qualified immunity, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, each of which the Senate hasn’t voted on. Why won’t Trump take it up? Why won’t he make Juneteenth a holiday? Trump doesn’t want that. We have an anti-lynching bill Trump won’t take up.
“The fact that Donald Trump has not done or supported any of the priority issues shows he won’t [honor his deal with Ice Cube]. Donald Trump is not supportive of ending systemic racism, he doesn’t believe systemic racism exists, and he won’t condemn White supremacists.”
“Look at Ice Cube’s history… He’s been opposed to Donald Trump, so I can’t say that this makes any sense. When Trump was first elected, we sent him 100 pages that laid out policies that would create parity and justice for African Americans, and I don’t believe he’s ever responded to that, and that was four years ago.”
Lee dared Ice Cube to look at Trump’s comprehensive history, including his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, his elimination of diversity training in the federal government, and executive orders that have halted equal opportunity while supporting White supremacists.
“He dismantled offices of civil rights and those set up to promote equity and racial justice,” Lee said, before adding, “It’s very confusing as to how any African American can support Trump, and that Ice Cube can think that this man would do something for us.”
In an e-mail to Black Press USA, the Biden campaign noted that Trump has been President for nearly four years and does not have a record of standing on when it comes to the Black community.
“But we are supposed to believe he now all of a sudden has a plan three weeks before the election? COVID-19 is disproportionately killing the Black community, and his failure to have any plan to get the virus under control has made it worse,” declared Kamau Marshall, the Biden campaign’s director of strategic communications.
Marshall noted that since the beginning of March, one in 1,000 Black Americans have died from COVID-19. By the end of the year, it’s estimated that the number will climb to one in 500.
Further, Marshall responded that Black businesses are being decimated due to this virus’s economic devastation.
“If Trump wants to talk about his plan for the Black community, he first needs to explain why he has failed to get this virus under control,” Marshall said.
“Donald Trump believes that the economy is doing well; his friends on Park Avenue and the wealthiest Americans are doing well. Vice President Biden believes the economy is doing well when workers and families are doing well.”
He continued, “Donald Trump has shown us who he is, and the American people won’t fall for more empty promises.”
Others wondered why just weeks before the election, Trump is finally releasing a Black agenda, particularly when he’s failed throughout his presidency to show regard for African Americans and others oppressed by his Jim Crow Era-like policies.
On Oct. 15, CNN canceled a planned interview with Cube while diversity and inclusion advocate April Reign and Dr. Boyce Watkins joined the chorus of those blasting Cube.
“At some point we should discuss the entitlement Ice Cube exhibits to assume that he can create a ‘contract’ and immediately get the ear of presidential campaigns, having never really been political before. When there are Black women who have been doing this work for years,” Reign tweeted.
“I don’t care what Ice Cube says. Trump never apologized to the Central Park Five. He never apologized to President Obama for birtherism. He never apologized to Black NFL players. He never apologized to Black countries he called s-holes. He never apologized for Black lives lost to COVID.”
While there were supporters of Cube, many others said he’d gone to the dark side to which he responded:
“Every side is the Darkside for us here in America. They’re all the same until something changes for us. They all lie and all cheat, but we can’t afford not to negotiate with whoever is in power, or our condition will never change. Our justice is bipartisan.”