Georgetown professor and author Michael Eric Dyson says he will not defend any Black celebrities who choose with President-elect Donald Trump.
“We love fame so much that we think famous people have more to say,” the esteemed scholar said during a Thursday, Jan. 19, appearance on “The Breakfast Club” radio show. “They can be just as dumb, just as ill-informed, just as ignorant, just as illiterate and God knows subject to criticism — and they deserve the critique.”
His comments come after recent meetings activist Martin Luther King III and comedian Steve Harvey had with Trump. Dyson’s sentiments echoed others like comedian D.L. Hughley, who took to Facebook last Friday to remind people that Trump was instrumental in stoking the birtherism movement.
This week, CNN political commentator Marc Lamont Hill suggested that Black celebs recruit experts like Michelle Alexander, Cornel West or Dyson to better articulate the needs of Black people. He sparked a firestorm of criticism in some quarters when he called the celebs “mediocre Negroes” because of their perceived lack of policy expertise.
Rapper T.I. also had a few choice words for Black celebs, like Kanye West. In a video rant posted earlier this week, the rapper claimed Trump knows he is wildly unpopular with Black people, so he’s using Harvey and others as a part of his “hidden agenda,” to gain Black supporters.
Dyson said Black celebs are trying to have it both ways and that’s not going to happen, not on his watch.
“I am not going to protect entertainers from being criticized when you are making money from dominant white supremacist, capitalist, American culture,” Dyson says. “And now you want to remain safely ensconced in your niche of protection. You need to feel the heat of Black people asking questions.
“If you go up there and then start saying how great he is, that’s how great he is as an individual. What’s that got to do with how he treats Black people en masse?”