How the Contract With Black America Empowers the Black Vote
By Ice Cube
Mic Drop is a recurring series featuring the thoughts and opinions of some of the biggest voices in classic Hip-Hop. Raw, uncut — and in their own words — these are the gems you've always wanted.
You can’t be scared of the moment.
A lot of people have been trying to talk me down from making demands of the Democrats. We have a Contract With Black America out there. And we need to check some of these boxes before you can have our full-throated support. Everybody is telling me "Nah, man — it’s not the time. We've got to get Trump out of there and then we can go ask." Nah, that ain’t how it works. You ask now and then. You get the Democratic nominee to commit now, while he needs you. After he gets in, he doesn’t need you! Why would he do anything he didn’t commit to? If we don’t get it now, we might not get it at all.
And no one wins this election without the Black vote doing a major move. Either the major move is us heading to the polls in record numbers, or that major move is staying home. Either way, it’s going to affect the election. So the Black vote is the most important vote. Now is the time to ask for what you want. You don’t get another time! You’re not going to be more important than you are between now and November. So, I don’t understand the theory of not asking for anything, just voting for the Democrats. Not asking for anything else? Or waiting and asking once we get him in; he might not take your phone call after you get him in there. My opinion is act now. If we want it now, give it to us now.
That’s what every group does. Anybody whose support they want, they make concessions to them. I’m not even asking for a special interest group; I’m asking for a major part of the population. If it's not numbers, it’s the impact. We’ve got to shore us up. Right now. While you’re spending trillions of dollars on other stuff.
But what's in it for us? pic.twitter.com/GOvptKnoF1
— Ice Cube (@icecube) August 22, 2020
After the protests of George Floyd, I knew there should be something that we’re asking for that’s concrete, that makes sense, that we need.
And I always had the hope that I would do something that would be kind of like the foundation or a jumping off point. And other people in these fields would chime in and replace my theory with a real plan. We’ve got economist Darrick Hamilton; Dr. Delman Coates, who has been working on economics. We’re going to take those theories and rearrange our financial ask and make it a little more specific – to what can actually be done. So, it goes from being broad to being specific in these different areas. It’s cool when you have people chiming in, jumping on and supporting it.
But I was like "Damn – something like this hasn’t been in place?" Nobody has really come up with a plan this broad for Black people. I’m like – what has everybody been doing all these years? Why’d it take me and people I know to come up with it? Chris Broussard has helped; Robert Jones; we've gotten advice from Andrew Young. Everybody believes in what we’re asking for and believes that it can be done and it should be done. Now it’s about support and hitting it from all angles.
Joe Biden and his team already know and already understand what we want; they’ve just been sending people at us to talk us down. “Joe is going to do great for the Black community – did you read his plan?” I did. The numbers are a little light in the ass. They’re telling me how great he’s going to do and "we can get a lot done after he’s elected." This stuff has to be done before we can vote for him or support him. He doesn’t just want people to vote for him; he wants you to drag your grandma and your cousin and your auntie and everybody else to the polls! He wants the whole family to stand out there for however many hours to vote – he’s asking people to do shit, but he's got to do something for that. You want me to have grandma and the whole gang out there? You expect somebody to campaign and work for you? So you know you need us. If you’re not going to give it up now, why would you give it up when you don’t need us?
I’m trying to figure out what the pause is about? Besides the same old shit: they don’t want to.
Trump is in there and Black people ain’t fell into no ditch. Trump can’t kill us. It’s been crazier dictators in our midst than this dude. They can’t scare us with the same boogeyman that we’ve got right now. These Republicans get on here talking about "Elect Trump because you’ll get law and order." Well, he’s the President now and shit is crazy! He ain’t got no law and order as President, so what’s going to be different on November 4? We're already dealing with him. We can’t be scared of “four more years of Trump.” To me, that’s what they’re scared of. We’ve got to be concerned about our problems. Who is going to give it up? Who is going to cut the check? Who is going to fund the program? I’m pushing private industry to do things and making progress here and there; but the government gotta kick in. The government is the key, because they can make all these things happen that would lift us up overnight. And the Democrats say they’re our friends, so to speak – so why are they hesitating?
South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn got Biden in. The Black vote is the only reason he's the nominee. So now, it’s still the same? We gave him 13 points of things he can just agree to. He could agree to it and still tell us “fuck you,” at the end of the day. He could do that. But to not even agree to it, and there’s no reason why you won’t agree to it? It starts to register in my head like you don’t want to do it.
Say Biden tells us “Fuck you.” Say Trump tells us “Fuck you.” That doesn’t mean you don’t go vote. You still want to vote for your local, state – the people who are down with us. You might leave that top line blank. But it’s not about not voting. But you might not want to vote for them. You do not have to vote for people who ain’t fucking with us. They’ve got to learn: you can do what you have to do and I’m going to do what I have to do. And I might leave that line blank on both of y’all.
It’s not like they don’t know this stuff is smart and right and they should do it. They just don’t have the political will. You have to make them do it. You have to bend their arm back and make them do it. Or they won’t – even if it’s the right thing to do.
We just have to make sure to watch the ones who are always trying to scare us – and they’re Black. Those who tell us to "wait." Some nigga probably told Harriet Tubman, "Let’s go on Wednesday, not on Tuesday! It’s raining right now, let’s wait until its sunny! Its winter, let's wait 'til the spring!" No – the time is right now, let’s go. We have to fight through those in our community who are always telling us not to "rock the boat." If some more of our ancestors had rocked the boat, we might not have even been here.
So rocking the boat? That might be that good shit.
You can read The Contract With Black America HERE
*HEADER CREDIT: Ice Cube performs during the "How the West was Won” tour. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)