A group of over 100 Black male leaders featuring rappers, activists, preachers and celebrities penned an open letter to Joe Biden, calling on the presumptive Democratic nominee to name a Black woman as his running mate and failure to do so “means you will lose the election.”
“As someone who has said throughout the campaign that VP Joe Biden needs to choose a Black woman VP, the urgency for that pick has gone from something that SHOULD happen to something that HAS to happen,” the open letter reads, calling on the former Vice President to “recognize and seize this moment” by selecting a Black woman.
The letter was signed by hip hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, who has warned Biden during the 2020 race not to take the Black vote for granted
The co-signers include radio host “Charlamagne Tha God,” who has pressed Biden on the air during the campaign; CNN political commentator Van Jones; Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson; and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented George Floyd’s family were among the hundred Black men that signed onto the letter. The letter emphasized that they “stand in solidarity” with more than 700 Black women who also wrote a letter last week demanding Biden choose a Black running mate, while denouncing the “relentless attacks” potential Black contenders have faced being vetted.
“For too long Black women have been asked to do everything from rally the troops to risk their lives for the Democratic Party with no acknowledgment, no respect, no visibility, and certainly not enough support,” it reads.
However, it was reported that one man listed as having signed the letter, Eddie Glaude Jr., a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University that signed the letter but said he never saw the letter before his name was added.
On Twitter, Glaude said that he believes Biden should nominate “a Black woman for political reasons” such as “loyalty, skilled constituency, etc.,” but noted that he is more interested “in the policy than I am in easy racial/gender representation.”
“It is not enough to have a black woman on the ticket. We must have an agenda that speaks directly to the least of these and seeks to radically reimagine this nation,” Glaude wrote on Twitter.
Biden has pledged since March to name a woman as his running mate. The presumptive Democratic nominee has since been pressured to select a Black woman in the aftermath of George Floyd death. The shortlist is rumored to have several Black woman possible contenders, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) and former national security adviser Susan Rice.
The letter also lambasted how Black women whose names have been floated as vice-presidential contenders have endured intense scrutiny in recent weeks, calling the process “unfairly criticized and scrutinized” and a “blatant disrespect of Black women.”
“Why does Senator Kamala Harris have to show remorse for questioning Biden’s previous stance on integrated busing during a democratic primary debate?” the letter said. “So, Black women are the only ones required to stay in their place and to show remorse for even questioning their own oppression?”
“Was Joe Biden ever labeled ‘too ambitious’ because he ran for president three times?” the letter continues. “Should President (Barack) Obama not have made (Biden) the VP because he had to worry about his ‘loyalty’ when he clearly had AMBITIONS to be president himself?”
The letter also points out specifically Biden’s “tough on crime” measures that he once championed as a Delaware senator during the 1980s and 1990s. Such laws were known to unfairly target Black people and the letter questioned whether Democrats and Democratic Party leaders have “ever required Joe Biden to show remorse for the 1986 or 1988 Anti-Drug Abuse bills” or the 1994 Crime Bill that established mandatory minimum sentencing and subsequently crack-cocaine sentencing disparities, and by his own admission, led to mass incarceration?”
“Let’s be clear about the kind of remorse and reckoning that matters in 2020 when the Black community is still suffering the consequences for these oppressive measures,” the co-signers said.
The signers conclude warning Biden that “failing to select a Black woman” means “you will lose the election.”
“Black women are defining the future of politics, so it’s time you let one define the future of your campaign,” the letter concludes. “We don’t want to choose between the lesser of two evils and we don’t want to vote for the devil we know versus the devil we don’t, because we are tired of voting for devils — period.”