In 2018, Kanye tweeted support for the vocal Black conservative and fellow Trump supporter, Candace Owens, saying “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.” Roseanne Barr, a month before her own freefall from grace would end with a rock-hard landing due to her own absurd and racist tweet, weighed in to agree.
Kanye, who sets a premium on stirring waves no matter what, likely identified with Owens in the same way he identified with Trump, identifying him as a kindred, dragon spirit (the kind of spirit that would cost him his marriage), while still insisting he didn’t support all of his “policies," Kanye’s catch-all for separating himself from the Donald’s racist form of existence.
Yeezy appreciates Owens and Trump because they, like him, attract attention for a certain level of audacity. Kanye has been very vocal that he appreciates the outrage and attention his antics can garner. However, walking out of an awards show because of a perceived snub is not the same as vilifying a marginalized community to generate political power.
Even Yeezy, who seemingly has no Bound, song aside, couldn’t maintain long-term support for Candace Owens. Months after showing his support for the conspiracy theorist, Kanye distanced himself from her after she released t-shirts in support of “Blexit,” the term she keyed to describe Black Americans leaving the Democratic Party. The t-shirts included Kanye’s name, but Kanye insisted he only introduced Candace to the person who made the logo for the shirts, but otherwise was not connected to Blexit and wanted no association with it. Candace released some long babbling blog posts in response, saying it was her personal failings that caused Kanye’s upset but also stating that his comments were like a personal dagger to the heart that she wouldn’t wish on her worst enemy. Candace’s statements indicate that she has completed her full transformation into a white woman, immediately embracing victimization as a way to avoid accountability for her actions.
Yeezy’s own unwillingness to embrace the Blexit movement is very telling for a man who has repeatedly alienated his own community in his embrace of Trump. It seems the spirit of Brexit is so outrageous it doesn’t even appeal to the ever-disappointing Kanye West.
In a universe where the old Kanye stayed wild yet reasonable, the mind that told us George Bush doesn’t care about Black people would never have identified with Candace Owens. She has repeatedly used her platform to spread conspiracies and state vile, hideous, and dangerous falsehoods. Both Trump and Kanye have celebrated her intellect, which is the lowest form of praise on the praise hierarchy, right after a compliment from Tucker Carlson and when men tell women they would be more attractive if they smiled more. Put simply, she is a disturbing person, here's a small accounting of all the ways.
Owens has described Black Lives Matter protesters as “a bunch of whiny toddlers, pretending to be oppressed for attention.” Owens maintains that Black Americans have created a false victim mentality in a country where 1 in 3 African American men go to jail, where black families earn 60% of their white counterparts yearly earnings and 70% of all families nationally, where the median wealth is one-tenth of white families and 1/7 of all families. Owens, who irony of ironies, once sued her childhood school board for racism, could have added an inadequate education claim on there too because it seems she’s yet to grasp mathematics at her big age.
Owens justified embracing nationalism, which advocates for an emphasis of one’s own country and cultural identity at the great expense of other countries and their citizens. In her efforts to justify assuming a nationalist identity, she equated globalism with the crimes of the Third Reich, seemingly indicating that if Hitler had limited his crimes against humanity to the borders of Germany his actions would have been justified. Owens stated:
I actually don't have any problems at all with the word "nationalism". I think that the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism. Globalism is what I don't want. Whenever we say "nationalism" the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. You know, [Hitler] was a national socialist, but if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay, fine. The problem is that he wanted—he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German. Everybody looks different. That's not, to me, that's not nationalism.
Candace’s comments on Hitler often feature as a prime example of just how deranged and dangerous her rhetoric is.
Owens, herself the victim of a hate crime in her youth, has ignored Trump’s support from the KKK, going so far as to call them a Democrat terrorist organization, although they have self-identified their support for her Republican orange thing. She had no problem beginning legal proceedings when faced with racism, but as a celebrated right-wing candidate she stated that concern over the rise of white nationalism after the violent and racist Unite the *White* rally in Charlottesville was misguided.
Candace battled the cousin of a murder victim who was killed by an undocumented person. The victim's cousin insisted that Owens had exploited his family's death for political propaganda. Later Candace’s organization, TurningPoint USA, would be accused of harassing the victim's family.
Owens downplayed the severity of the pandemic and spread conspiracy theories about a virus that to-date has 2.5 million people globally and left 1 in 1000 Black Americans dead.
She has publicly denigrated the MeToo movement and mocked victims of sexual assault for coming forward with their traumatic experiences.
After George Floyd was brutally murdered by police, Owens took the time to interrupt the outrage in response to his death to insist Floyd hadn't lived a moral life prior to his brutal murder, indicating that the public's response for justice wasn't justified in light of Floyd's past actions. She did the same after the horrifying murder of Ahmaud Arbery garnered public attention. Dave Chappelle put it rather kindly when he called her the most articulate idiot he knew in response to her heinous actions. Following Owen’s statements on George Floyd, GoFundMe shut down a page she was operating to raise money for a shop-owner who had also made denigrating statements about the murder victims. According to the site, they made their decision “because of a repeated pattern of inflammatory statements that spread hate, discrimination, intolerance and falsehoods against the black community at a time of profound national crisis.”
The same day George Floyd was killed, Amy Cooper broke the law and terrorized a Black man with racial violence when she called the police to make a false report about Christian Cooper. Owens defended the white woman's brazen actions, of which video footage indicates that the weaponization of Christian Cooper's Blackness against him was so pronounced that even some of Owens' sunken place cohabitants broke from her perspective. At its end, Candace has developed a pattern of basically justifying the harm of Black people in the country in order to promulgate her own brand. All of her vile comments have come alongside increasing popularity, immense media exposure, and the audience of the most powerful office in the nation. Candace is not alone. As Black people continue to point out that powerful infrastructure of racism binding the country together and the immense harm institutional racism continues to wreak on the Black community, a small minority of Black voices have been propagated by the Conservative right to drown out the voices for equality. The Right hopes that by using Black voices to advance their own racist agenda and resist structural change, they can avoid accusations of overt racism while also perpetuating it. These notable Trump supporters garner attention because they stand as the defense for every rightful critique of racism and oppression the Trump administration received. In the words of Trump, "Look at my African-American."
Oftentimes these Black Trump-supporting personalities reflect the nature of Trump and his presidency: a sensationalist performance bordering on sheer absurdity, much like a car wreck you can’t look away from if the car has crashed into the train carrying the Ringley Brothers Circus and the more you watch the wreck the more you believe racism isn’t real in modern-day America and healthcare shouldn’t be a universal right. Sisters Diamond and Silk, who utilize stage names for their platform, are a great example of these sensational Black Trump supporters. Like Owens, they gained a following on Youtube once they started making videos supporting the Trump campaign leading to them earning a weekly show on the major network, Fox News. Like Owens, they have promoted dangerous conspiracy theories, especially related to the spread of COVID-19, which lead to the termination of their contract with the channel. And that’s the tell, the sister duo, much like Owens, are not reasonable in their own right, and though have not made as purely disgusting comments as Candace, they were fired from Fox News for promoting dangerous misinformation which is like being fired from Jimmy Johns for making subs too fast.
No matter how absurd, these Black performances get propagated and promoted through Republican channels until they’re testifying to the potential merits of the Third Reich before Congress or telling millions of people that a deadly virus is really not as dangerous as it may seem. The absurdity of these personalities also indicates exactly what kind of Black American is supporting Donald Trump: the kind of person who parrots conspiracies or the type of absurdities that inspire an amazing blog.
One brilliant young Black girl recognized how the tokenization of Black Trump supporters could be manipulated for her advantage when she feigned that she had been disowned and financially ruined as a MAGAist, which led to a creation of a Go-Fund Me on her behalf. She made thousands of dollars before tweeting some of the most beautiful lines of prose I have ever encountered:
I’m just so mad this brilliant scam didn’t occur to me. If they’re going to commodify Black people, I would love to take some of their money in the process.
Black political leaders who have historically held allegiances with the Republican Party have also decried Trump’s version of the party in larger numbers. Some of these Black politicians include Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Convention who once told Newsweek, "This is not anti-Republican party… What I do not support is Donald Trump. And I do not support the brand of bulls--t—I can't put it any other way—that he has brought into the party. Because it is not real. It is fake. The most fake thing of the last four years has been Donald Trump pretending to be a president."
Both of George W. Bush’s Secretaries of State were Black Republicans who have demonstrated some sort of break with Trump’s politics. Prior to the 2020 election, Colin Powell stated that he would be voting for Joe Biden. Trump followed up with an insulting tweet, which was nice because it indicates that the president understands that people crave consistency and routine. After the president incited a violent riot on the nation's Capital, Powell announced that he could no longer consider himself a member of the Republican Party. Powell's successor, Condoleezza Rice maintained a more moderate posture, even following the attack on the Capitol Building, but has explained that she doesn’t understand the calls by some Americans for the maintenance of Confederate Memorials, a clear break from Trump’s own stance.
Black Republicans generally are a bit of a conundrum, and the confounding nature of their ideologies has been explored in recent writing, and brilliant bits, like the Key and Peele sketch where they really stick the landing, but Black Republicans, while goofy in themselves, are not to be confused with Black Trumpers, people who, like Yeezy, treat controversy like currency and then allow themselves to be treated like currency in return.