Rapper Lil B has a message for Black Lives Matter: Give Bernie Sanders a chance.
“It might be uncomfortable for him to talk about the issues but he has a leg to stand on,’’ Lil B told CNN on Monday, after members of the Black Lives Matter movement effectively shut down a Seattle rally on Saturday.
A former member of the rap group The Pack, Lil B — also known as The Based God — has gained popularity on social media. He formerly endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, before switching allegiances last month to the Vermont senator.
The 25-year-old rapper thinks that Black Lives Matter should listen to what the 73-year-old Sanders has to say, citing his history of civil rights activism. As a college student, Sanders was arrested protesting segregated schools in Chicago, led sit-ins, and attended the 1963 March on Washington.
“I mean, if he was marching for civil rights back then, he was protesting against segregation … and all the youth, the black youth, should be able to hear him out,’’ said Lil B, admitting a generation or cultural gap may exist. “Of course, with age differences … he might feel a little weird talking to younger people that might look different … or might feel a little different.’’
At the Seattle rally celebrating Social Security, right as Sanders began to speak, two female protesters rushed the stage and grabbed the mic. They demanded “the crowd hold Sanders ‘accountable’ for not doing enough, in their view, to address police brutality and other issues on the group’s agenda,’’ per the Washington Post.
The demonstrators also held a moment of silence for the one-year anniversary of police shooting and killing Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. After Sanders was unable to regain control of the stage, event organizers ended the rally.
The rally in Seattle was the second time the Sanders campaign has been interupted by protesters identifying with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Both Sanders and fellow Democratic presidential contender Martin O’Malley were shouted down in July by activists demanding attention on police brutality at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Seattle protesters’ actions, which overshadowed the enormous crowds at Sanders’ weekend rallies, sparked diverse reactions online, among those who critcized protesters for their tactics, those who critcized critics for telling protesters how to act, and those who have been disappointed with the entire situation.
Nevertheless, the tactics seemed to have, if not coincidentally, achieved results. At a larger rally later Saturday in Seattle, Sanders campaign announced the hiring of Symone Sanders, a young black woman, as its national press secretary. She then opened a campaign rally in Los Angeles in front of an estimated 27,500 people, talking about how Sanders planned to address institutional racism. The campaign also released its racial justice plan Monday.
Perhaps Lil B had some advance info.
As CNN pointed out, the rapper has been an advocate for racial justice, both in his music and lectures.
“We all live in the jungle, remember that, we all live in a complex jungle, a complex beehive,’’ he told MIT students in a 2014 lecture. “We need to know that working together behooves us and is way better than anything.
Lil B also explained to CNN why he switched his vote from Hillary Clinton, to whom he once proclaimed in a song, “You gonna win that presidency.’’
Though he liked the idea of having a woman president and liked her husband, he changed his mind when he learned more about Sanders, as he told CNN:
“Once the people started telling me about Bernie Sanders and comparing what he was doing back in his younger days and what she was doing, it made me kind of look at her different — not really respect her as much as I thought,’’ adding that “she was doing some other stuff for some Republican,’’ citing Clinton’s support for Sen. Barry Goldwater’s failed 1964 presidential campaign as a “Goldwater girl.’’
“She didn’t have any part in trying to march against segregation. She was just a follower,’’ Lil B said.
Clinton’s campaign should just be thankful they at least have still avoided the Based God’s curse.
The 2016 presidential candidates