Hip hop artist and activist Talib Kweli defended protesters Mara Jacqueline Willaford and Marissa Johnson during a conversation with Bill Maher on HBO’s Real Time, saying that “the job of activism is not to be liked, not to be polite.”
Maher and Kweli were discussing the actions of Willaford and Johnson, who had taken over a rally for Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders in an attempt to draw attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. Maher pointed out that Sanders has a strong record for civil rights and that therefore he might not have been the proper target for the protesters. But Kweli countered, saying that Sanders “is somebody who — just because someone has a record of civil rights doesn’t mean they are automatically entitled to the black vote.”
“The job of activism is not to be liked, not to be polite… Black women vote more than anybody in this country, and you have young black women who started Black Lives Matter and they are forcing this discussion,” Kweli continued.
The hip hop artist further noted, “It’s very possible to be progressive and have no understanding of racial issues.”
Since drawing attention to herself during her appearance at the Bernie Sanders rally, Johnson has come forward to say, “I feel good. I helped launch a national conversation around race and electoral politics and respectability that’s still going strong two days later. I could not be better.”