Hyattsville Mayor Candace B. Hollingsworth, as well as three other politicians and entrepreneurs, founded the Our Black Party Movement as a political agenda to address the needs of Black people. (Courtesy Photo)

By Mark Gray
AFRO Staff Writer

Hyattsville Mayor Candace B. Hollingsworth is juggling many things leading up to the Nov. 3 presidential election. She’s governing a significant racial divide. Hollingsworth is stepping out from the shadows of her community to affect change in national politics.

Hollingsworth is one of four co-founders and the national co-chair of Our Black Party, whose website explains its purpose is to “advance a political agenda that addresses the needs of Black people.”

“We envision an America where Black people are liberated and participate freely in the political, economic and social systems that work together for our benefits,” the site added.  

In the days leading up to one of the most consequential elections in American history, the Hyattsville mayor can’t sit on the sidelines and stare in the face of potential voter suppression. Prince George’s  County’s demographic is a societal bubble, where African-American wealth and political capital are the fabric of the community and the voting process would seem to be safer than in other parts of the nation. Despite the bubble, Mayor Hollingsworth hopes that the organization can emphasize to first time voters that voting truly matters and offset cases of voter suppression.

“I’m incredibly concerned about voter suppression to be honest,” Hollingsworth told the AFRO in an exclusive interview. “We are seeing a massive coordinated effort to suppress the vote by those in power against people who could potentially be voting for democratic candidates. When we are talking about consequential policy changes that are in the hands of people with a certain worldview, we should all be concerned about that.”

Our Black Party launched in July during the protests following the well chronicled death of George Floyd at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin that was captured by citizens in Minneapolis, Minn. on cell phone video that went viral. Hollingsworth and three other Black community leaders collaborated to start the organization including Dr. Wes Bellamy, the former Vice Mayor of Charlottesville, Va. 

Bellamy was in office during the violent, fatal demonstrations led by Ku Klux Klan members and White supremacist groups in 2017. Commonwealth Attorney (Portsmouth, Va.) Stephanie Morales, former Binghamton, N.Y. Council member Lea Webb and For(bes) the Culture Founder Rashaad Lambert, comprise the leadership team who founded the organization.

However, the movement got a major boost to its credibility from Sean “P-Diddy ” Combs last week when he rescinded a position that Black voters hold their votes “hostage” unless the candidates demonstrate a genuine commitment to keeping a new Black political agenda by bringing his name, brand, and resources to the organization.

In recent weeks leading up to the announcement that he was committing to the Our Black Party movement, Combs used his platform on the Revolt TV Network to galvanize the millennial and Gen-Z electorate. During the Democratic primary, former Vice President Joe Biden told his network personality Charlamagne Tha God that if people of color didn’t vote for him, “they aren’t Black” on the network’s signature morning show “The Breakfast Club.”

“Things have got too serious. It would be irresponsible of me to have us hold our vote hostage” Diddy said. “But it would also be irresponsible of me to let this moment go by and not make sure going forward we are doing what it takes to own our politics.”

The Our Black Party political agenda plans on developing a national coalition of people and organizations committed to building Black political power and “fiercely advocating for radical change that dramatically improves the quality of life for Black people in America.”