Davey D, a hip-hop journalist and community activist, is no stranger to political conventions. This year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, is his fourth time attending, so not much about the political theater that has occurred on the stage — including Donald Trump‘s WWE-esque entrance the first night and Melania Trump’s apparent plagiarism — surprises him.
But this RNC feels different. Dangerous. And that concern is not stemming from the militarized police forces surrounding the convention center, no matter how unsettling.
“The burgeoning of a lynch mob, that’s what it seems like,” Davey told radio host from WKYS-FM EZ Street in Washington D.C.
“To see people yell, ‘USA!’ followed by ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ and to see Rudy Giuliani give his brilliant speech — I think most of us don’t agree with it — but brilliant in the fact that it was effective in bringing together a large body of people around the issues of hating Blacks, hating immigrants, hating Muslims and really uplifting White power. That ethos…that was scary,” he said.
The theme of the RNC’s first night was “Make America Safe Again,” but speech after speech seemed to do one thing — demonize the Black Lives Matter movement. The most obvious example was an intense address delivered by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr., who roused the crowd with a Blue Lives Matter rallying call — a clear appropriation of the Black liberation movement — before leading the crowd in a wave of cheers for the cop who was acquitted in Freddie Gray‘s death.
Lt. Brian Rice was acquitted of all charges in the April 2015 incident. Gray, a Baltimore resident who was wrongly arrested, shackled, and placed inside a police van, died from a severed spinal cord. The officers involved, who were accused of taking the 25-year-old on a rough ride, failed to properly secure Gray in the police van.
The cheers, Davey said, are indicative of a more insidious outcome.
“Those things can easily become policies, nationally and locally, and that’s what we’re going to have to contend with for years to come,” he said.
While the anti-Black rhetoric may be hard to recognize or prove for some, the deliberate choosing of speakers to grace the RNC stage are easier to identify. On Monday night, former NYC mayor Giuliani — who has long aligned the Black Lives Matter movement with racism and violence against police officers — offered this to the crowd: “What I did for New York, Donald Trump will do for America!”
“Folks better watch out and see what Rudy Giuliani was talking about. He could be Attorney General and the reign of terror he brought on New York City can be scaled up with no apologies,” Davey warned.
“Black Lives Matter is put in a box of being a domestic terrorism organization, which is very dangerous because it justifies aggression against anybody who defends it,” he said. “The demonization of an organization is effective but we’ve got to be students of history and know they did it to the Black Panthers, know they did it to SNCC, know they did it to a lot of other organizations that were challenging the status quo. We don’t need to run from that, we need to be more effective in pushing back and uplifting them.”
As for allies in the fight for Black liberation?
“They need to be speaking out just as aggressively,” Davey concluded.
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PHOTO CREDIT: Getty