In some not particularly chill news, rapper and actor Ice Cube has apparently been working with Trump’s reelection campaign on issues pertaining to the Black community. The unlikely partnership was first made known to the public yesterday via Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser for the Trump administration, who tweeted, “Shoutout to @icecube for his willingness to step up and work with @realDonaldTrump Administration to help develop the #PlatinumPlan,” before including a link to the plan, which claims that the Trump administration will “increase access to capital” by almost $500 billion in Black communities, create 3 million new jobs, provide more affordable health care, improve access to better education and job opportunities, designate Juneteenth as a national holiday, and other promises that have not happened in the past four years, but will purportedly happen if Trump gets another term in office. Umm … sure, Donald.
Fans of Ice Cube were dismayed by the news that the rapper was aiding and abetting an administration that has been detrimental to the Black community, prompting Ice Cube to clarify his relationship with the Trump administration, admitting that he’s attempted to work with Republican and Democratic politicians on “Contract With Black America,” his plan for the nation to address systemic issues facing the Black community, which he introduced in early June. “Facts: I put out the CWBA. Both parties contacted me,” Ice Cube tweeted. “Dems said we’ll address the CWBA after the election. Trump campaign made some adjustments to their plan after talking to us about the CWBA.” For many, however, Ice Cube’s justification for working with the Trump administration was not good enough. One Twitter user, @dannymoshow, replied to Ice Cube’s initial tweet, writing, “My Hip-Hop HERO @icecube is working with the Darkside.” Ice Cube responded, tweeting “Every side is the Darkside for us here in America. They’re all the same until something changes for us. They all lie and they all cheat but we can’t afford not to negotiate with whoever is in power or our condition in this country will never change. Our justice is bipartisan.”
Throughout the 2020 election cycle, Ice Cube has been vocal about his distrust of both parties, demanding that each party directly address how they will help the Black community. In recent weeks, Ice Cube has made his nonpartisanship known, in an eight-minute-long video posted to Instagram on October 11 detailing his concerns with both parties. “No president has done right by us. So, I don’t trust none of them. Putting our hopes and dreams behind any of them just don’t work … I’ve been making contacts with them, trying to talk about these real issues. Straight up, I believe the Democrats have been nice … I don’t really see them pushing their policies in any different direction.” Later on in the video, he addresses his involvement with the Trump administration and expresses skepticism as to whether they will deliver on their many promises. “We also met with the Republicans … They’ve moved their agenda a lot because of what we’ve said. They put $500 billion on the table. But who knows what’s really gon’ happen. I just know one of them is gonna win. And I don’t know if it really matters to us.” While it may not matter to Ice Cube, it certainly matters to other Black celebrities and entertainers, who have made their disappointment with Ice Cube known. “Ice cubes are out,” tweeted Jackée Harry, with a picture of actual ice. “We’re using nuggets now.” And who are we to go against Lisa Landry?
Update Thursday, October 15, 11:30 a.m.: Ice Cube still hasn’t cooled down. He logged back on to Twitter this morning to defend himself from his past selves, who came in with some interesting points. “Black progress is a bipartisan issue,” Ice Cube explained himself. “When we created the Contract With Black America we excepted to talk to both sides of the isle.” But it still wasn’t really adding up for people. This is the guy who rapped “Arrest the President.” In response to a Washington Post article pointing out the 2018 anti-Trump anthem, Cube melted on the issue, saying, “I will advise anybody on the planet who has the power to help Black Americans close the enormous wealth gap.” Advise is the operative word here, apparently, because in another quote-tweet, he gets specific. When someone pulled up a tweet from August 2016, the good ol’ days, in which Cube said, “I will never endorse a mothafucka like Donald Trump! EVER!!!” Cube replies that he hasn’t “endorsed anybody.” Oh, okay. So his hope for the future hinges on a technicality?
Update Friday, October 16, 6:45 p.m.: In a new Rolling Stone interview with Jamil Smith published Friday, Ice Cube reiterated his assertion that he would meet with any administration currently in power, and that both parties have historically failed the Black Community, while also criticizing Biden’s criminal justice record. “One guy gave more things to destabilize the Black community than the other. [Biden] made sure that we got people still in jail, because of those policies in the Nineties,” he says. “He has actually hurt us way more than Donald Trump. Donald Trump might have hurt our feelings, but this dude hurt our bodies and put people in jail.”
The rapper also suggests it’s impossible to say whether Trump’s response to COVID-19 has been worse than what a different White House could have achieved. “We don’t know what any administration would have did to handle it, to be honest,” he says, calling the idea that the pandemic could have been managed better “hypothetical.”
As for how Ice Cube actually aided the Trump administration in crafting their so-called “Platinum Plan,” he says he advised them to specify funding will go to Black communities, rather than writing a more ambiguous “diversity plan.” Says the rapper, “Because the problem with all these plans, they say ‘minority,’ ‘people of color,’ ‘diversity,’ and ‘urban,’ and all these words that don’t necessarily mean money going into the hands of black families,” he explains. “They mean money going in a big old pot, and we still got to get our scraps from the bottom of that pot.”
Ice Cube, who again stresses he did not meet with Trump nor endorse either candidate, says he believes Black people need to leverage their votes and political power to demand real outcomes, no matter who is in the White House that particular term. “Whatever happens with this election, I know by the next one they’re going to take black people seriously, regardless. Nobody is going to take us for granted because I ain’t letting that happen. No party is going to be able to take us for granted.”