by G. Brown
As the nation tries to cope with what seems to be the new normal under the Trump administration, the dust is not settling over the immigration ban announced and enacted Friday.
Trump defended the rush job implementation of the ban saying he didn’t want to give ban targets time to rush into the country by announcing it and then implementing the ban a week or more later. Trump tweeted: “If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the “bad” would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad “dudes” out there!” An “alternative fact” that experts say was not really a possibility given the 18 to 24 months it takes for refugees to actually go thru the screening process to gain entry into the U.S. It also takes weeks to be granted a visa as well.
No one group has been more vocal about outrage over the ban than Hollywood celebs. At the 23rd SAG Awards over the weekend, many celebrities took a moment to denounce the ban.
Actress Taraji P. Henson accepted an award along with “Hidden Figures” cast members . In her acceptance speech, Henson said, “This film is about unity. The shoulders of the women that we stand on are three American heroes: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Without them, we would not know how to reach the stars.” Henson called the three Black female mathematicians portrayed in the hit movie “heroes” and noted their inspiration is especially needed in America now. Henson said, “This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside, and we come together as a human race. We win. Love wins every time … They are hidden figures no more!”
Director Ava Duvernay, actress Kerry Washington and Chrissy Teigen all posted their outrage over the Muslim ban as well…
Singer John Legend joined others taking a stand against the immigration ban and said, “Our America is big, it is free, and it is open to dreamers of all races, all countries, all religions. Our vision of America is directly antithetical to that of President Trump. I want to specifically tonight reject his vision and affirm that America has to be better than that.”
But one of the few Black celebrities taking Trump’s side is Azealia Banks. The rapper didn’t just defend Trump and the ban, but she tried to take down singer Rihanna while doing it.
Like many of her liberal entertainment contemporaries, Rihanna took a harsh tone after the ban was implemented. The Bijan singer tweeted of her “disgust” calling Trump an “immoral pig”:
That was pretty bad, but not as bad as what Banks had to say in response. She started by reminding RiRi that she isn’t even a U.S. citizen. Rihanna, like a number of other singers including Drake and Justin Bieber , may have reached the pinnacle of fame in America, but is not a citizen. Banks goes on to tell celebs to stop “using their influence to stir the public, you lot really REALLY need to shut up and sit down.”
Perhaps the irony of that statement blew pass Banks who is doing the same thing she’s slamming Rihanna and other singers of doing—using their celebrity to put their point out there. Banks ends with “Stop chastising the president. It’s stupid and pathetic to watch.” But again, Banks hypocrisy knows no bound since she used her celebrity to criticize former President Barack Obama when she disagreed with him last year over his comments following attacks on Baton Rouge police…
Banks is true to her m.o. which seems to be target someone on the opposing side instead of just saying outright ‘I support Trump and the immigration ban’ and list the merits she sees. Picking a fight with another celebrity who is a pretty big star will get you some needed publicity, but not sure it will earn her any allegiance especially from Trump’s administration. But stranger things have happened, like electing a president who lost the popular vote and whose low approval ratings plummeted even more during his first 8 days in office. According to Gallup, Trump had a low approval rating of 45 when he was sworn in–which is an all time low during Gallup’s history of surveys. On the day he signed the immigration ban into effect, that number dipped to 42. If you want something to compare that number with to gauge it, Barack Obama started with a 68% approval rating…and his predecessor George W. Bush started with a 57% approval rating.
So Banks isn’t alone in her approval or support of Trump, but neither are Rihanna, Kerry Washington and Taraji in their disapproval. Whether you approve or disapprove, it’s still legal to voice your opinion…at least, it is today.