Ice Cube, Tiffany Haddish and Don Peebles talk economic equality on ‘Vote For Your Life’
The Hollywood stars and businessman joined Byron Allen, April Ryan and host Natasha S. Alford for a lively discussion about voting and equity in the Black community.
For the third episode of theGrio‘s weekly Facebook live series, Vote For Your Life, a fresh trio of Black movers and shakers come to the panel to talk about the importance of the Black vote as the Nov. 3 election draws nearer.
Rapper/actor Ice Cube, comedian/actor Tiffany Haddish and real estate entrepreneur/activist Don Peebles all joined the panel. Returning once again was theGrio‘s owner, Entertainment Studios CEO Byron Allen, White House correspondent April Ryan and host, and theGrio‘s VP of Digital Content, Natasha S. Alford.
Right from the start, the focus of this episode revolved around economic equality. Alford asked each panelist what they felt was at stake in the forthcoming election. All of them had much to say about how much money played a role in the decision making for voting.
Peebles, founder and CEO his own real estate business, Peebles Corporation, pointed out that Black voters needed to understand how much money should be a factor in their choice on who to vote for. “With more money, we can serve our community and move our community forward,” Peebles said.
He would go on to point to economic disparities that Black Americans are enduring at a national level. “Today, the wealth gap is greater than it was in 1968. The income disparity is greater between Blacks and whites than it was in 1968. And homeownership rates are lower today than they were in 1968.”
The difference between the salary of average Black homes compared to white homes in America is quite staggering, and Peebles used them to remind voters that voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be a great starting point to close those gaps.
“According to the Federal Reserve, the average household net worth of a Black household is eight dollars, compared to $247,000 for a white household.”
Ice Cube touched more on Peebles’s points by insisting that Black Americans can only gain respect from white institutions through capital first and character second.
“I think in the past, we’ve really fought hard for dignity and set dollars aside,” Cube said. “But I think now is the time to fight for dollars, because we all know, and we all come from somewhere, we know once we got the dollars, people gave us the dignity.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer explained to Black voters that one of the reasons for the wealth gap is because “most communities that’s pulling ahead are pooling their resources,” while taking advantage of government provisions for Blacks. Therefore, the Black community needs to have a unified front in order to advance in the lines of opportunity.
“We have to make sure that we’re at the front of these lines, because the 13th, 14th, an 15th amendments were created solely for us, and everybody else is benefitting off those amendments. So, we have to get a little more serious on what we’re doing. It’s more than just voting; it’s uniting.”
Allen, who has been speaking extensively during the Vote For Your Life series about the importance of economically empowering Black and/or Democratic candidates by donating to their campaigns, said the country’s wealth was predicated on the backs of Black Americans since the days of the slave trade.
“That’s what it’s always been about: the money,” Allen exclaimed. “They brought us here, Black people, to make them rich. And we were assets. The moment we were free, we became a liability. And that’s when they started the genocide against us.”
Allen added that voters “have to be smart about” the power they possess and educate themselves to put an end to the afflictions beset on Black communities. “Participate in the political process to make sure we’re protected, to stop the genocide and start the economic inclusion. And we have the opportunity, with Biden and Harris, to do that,” he said.
Haddish also believes that getting more understanding about politics is crucial to the Black community, particularly when it comes to voting for various offices outside of the presidency and how that has a more direct effect on your life and environment.
As a longtime resident of South Central Los Angeles, the stand-up comic indicated that this upcoming election had some drastic implications on her neighborhood that refuses to leave.
“What’s at stake for me is the environment of my community,” Haddish said. “I’m very concerned about where live; I still live in South Central Los Angeles. Although everybody keeps telling me I need to be moving up into the Beverly Hills, but I love where I come from.”
“I feel like local government is super important. I think it’s more important than anything, because who the DA is, who the Sheriff is, and who my councilmember is, is super important to me,” Haddish stated. “Especially for Black people … we need to know who is in our community, who is over our districts, who our councilmembers are so that if someone is falsely arrested, we can call our councilmember and be like, ‘Man! Why they put my baby in jail and he was just crossing the street?'”
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