State Of Emergency

REVOLT Town hall Meeting

Tatiana Mackel, Webmaster

“I created this platform so we can talk about what affects us. This ain’t no MSNBC where they can moderate us,” said Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs during a live Instagram townhall he conducted last week. Combs founded Revolt (TV and Media) in 2013 as an alternative to white media networks that do not feature nor talk about black issues or people. During the live talk, he brought activists, economists, epidemiologists, other hip hop stars, and actors and more to talk about the seriousness of the new coronavirus and how it is affecting Black and Brown communities and what we can do to combat it or what we should be aware of.

Combs along with Van Jones moderated a panel that included Angela Rye, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Reverend Al Sharpton, Charles Blow, Ayanna Pressley, Fat Joe, and more with the common theme being that people need to stay home and heed the warnings that are coming down.

Van Jones and most people on the panel cited that the virus was a “pandemic on top of epidemics”. “We have to look at the Black experience,” said Jones.

“It really gives us a unique opportunity to come together and solve things like we always have since the beginning of our time here in this country,” said Angela Rye, a political lawyer, and liberal commentator for CNN. “This is our time to teach the masses what we need in disparities in health care, ways we are oppressed economically, racism and structural racism, systematic oppression. The virus gives us examples A through Z. When America catches a cold, Black America catches corona…. We need more than a stimulus plan. We need a community plan.”

“We have to do more than we’ve ever done before,” said U.S. Representative for New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Environmental racism, structural racism is a pre-existing condition…. We don’t have to wait to find out what people need in our communities. We are all we’ve got.”

“It is an insult to tell people in housing projects about social distancing when the elevator is built like a 4×5 if it works. How do you deal with those kinds of realities and environments?” said Reverend Al Sharpton. “ We need our own plans that work for our communities.”

“Black people need to show solidarity. Trading a selfish stance with your own health. Be selfish with our own personal health first. Make sure you’re inside and quarantined,” said Killer Mike, rapper and political activist for incarcerated people.

“Put that mask on first,” said Combs in reference to Killer Mike’s comment about being selfish about our own health. He went on to express his discontent with the way things in the United States were going. “We built America. I’m tired of being last. Look out cause we are coming for our fair share.”

Though much of the panel conversed about how COVID-19 exposed many of the disparities in black and brown communities there were some younger voices that were there to speak on how those who are younger felt on the subject and could do to help get the younger people to start taking the virus seriously.

“Walk around like you already have it and are protecting others,” Yara Shahidi, an actress. “Information needs to be disseminated, who is immunocompromised?”

“The youth is acting very ignorant. They don’t care about they grandparents,” said Fat Joe, a rapper from the Bronx. “ The young generation act like they can’t die from it and they don’t care who they are killing.”

All is not lost for the youth as young rappers like YBN Cordae, Big Sean, and Royce da 5’9” chimed in on how they are staying quarantined and have more alkaline diets and expressed wanting to come back on the panel to discuss health and things that can be done to make our bodies stronger against viruses like this one.

“We need to make health as popular as wealth,” said Jones. In the black communities, the Hoteps with their green juices were laughed at, and now that it is seen that we are hit so hard people are searching for ways to build themselves up and are looking to the people that they made fun of and laughed at.

As part of health, mental health was discussed.

“Use this time to be still,” said Dr Jess, a psychiatrist. Read a good book or use Audible. She suggested using this time to actually read books about what brought us to this point so that we can make better plans for the future like “Medical Apartheid” by Harriet A. Washington, “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, or “The Color of the Law” by Richard Rothstein.

“Use this opportunity to use technology to stay connected. Fight depression and be socially involved,” said Dr. Jess.

“There is a cure. The cure is love,” said Combs in closing. “Can’t love no one else if we don’t love ourselves. We have to break the cycle.”

“We’re just getting started,” said Jones. Combs and Jones plan on reconvening this panel and calling more town halls like this one to discuss the pandemic and many epidemics that plague the community.
Watch the whole town hall meeting here State of Emergency