Trump and African American men – what’s the appeal?

President Donald Trump is, to many, a divisive figure in the United States and the world at large. 

From his signature appearance, to his easily mockable voice, to his heinous, cruel, and downright racist policies over the past four years, he hasn’t exactly been a shining figure.

With this in mind, it should be pretty easy for people of color to resist agreeing with his ideas and working alongside him, or his Administration, right?

Right?

Apparently not, as somehow, two world-renowned rappers – Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson – not related – have indicated support for the Trump Administration and the President’s reelection campaign. 

While 50 Cent has since pulled back his endorsement in an Oct. 24 post on Twitter, and Ice Cube has explained the reason he collaborated with President Trump on the Platinum Plan – a plan that “commits to unlocking $500 billion in access to capital, creating 3 million new jobs, and bridging historic disparities in health care and education” for communities of color, according to a Bloomberg article, it is still baffling to me that they even got hitched to the Trump train in the first place.

In case you aren’t as well-versed in the realm of rap as I like to think I am, 50 Cent and Ice Cube were best known for being rappers who tackled harsh subjects, not only regarding poverty in urban neighborhoods, but also police brutality, gang violence, and a whole slew of other topics for which Trump wouldn’t catch himself showing sympathy.

I mean, one of Ice Cube’s most famous songs, alongside NWA at least, is explicitly titled “F*** tha Police,” which, if I recall correctly, goes against Trump’s appreciation for the “boys in blue.” 

So when news began to spread that the two men were working alongside perhaps the most prejudiced president we, as a country, have had in a long while, the word “hypocrisy” began to play loudly in my head, as many Black Americans on Twitter defended both men’s temporary decisions and, in doing that, backed Trump at the same time.

Of course, this begs the question: what do African Americans, men in particular, see in Trump?

Do they find him to have a kind of machismo they like? An aura of power? A promise of immeasurable wealth? Do they feel protected by him? All of those questions appeal to me.

In a report by Geoffrey Skelley and Anna Wiederkehr titled “Trump is losing ground with white voters but gaining among Black and Hispanic Americans” posted on the political analysis website FiveThirtyEight, they state, “Notably, young Black voters don’t seem to feel as negatively about Trump as older Black Americans do. For instance, an early-July African American Research Collaborative poll of battleground states found that 35 percent of 18-to-29-year-old Black adults agreed that although they didn’t always like Trump’s policies, they liked his strong demeanor and defiance of the establishment.”

Given how Skelley and Wiederkehr phrase it, one could say, “Fair enough.” With Trump’s recently unveiled Platinum Plan – again, the same one he collaborated on with Ice Cube – young Black voters might also feel more of an obligation to support his cause given the financial benefits of this plan for underrepresented communities.  

However, I’m not sure if I can vibe with that as an Afro-Latino man.

Brothers, both of this University and of this country, do not be fooled by the promise of a better economy or the power of a pose behind a podium. Trump should not be your image of “machismo,” either. He’s a frail 74-year-old man with the physique of a droopy, heavyweight wrestler. It might be somebody’s definition of “macho,” but it isn’t mine.

I understand that Black American men are invested in “getting their money up,” and, because of that, they see something in Trump’s way with “rebellion” or going against the expectations of how a president should act. However, I will never understand why someone like me would support an individual who wouldn’t care about them in return, unless you’re someone like Ice Cube or 50 Cent with a lot of money.

But, then again, Trump isn’t exactly “anti-establishment” – this is the same guy who has a tower in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, filled to the brim with gold-plated toilets. Being a “rebel” didn’t get him there – greediness did.

If you don’t have money, you’re nothing to Trump. Voting for a man who claims to have your “best interests in mind” won’t get you more of it, either.