Donald Trump’s Rich Black Friends Won’t Change the Election, but They’re Still Disappointing
50 Cent. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s Rich Black Friends Won’t Change the Election, but They’re Still Disappointing

Like clockwork, the wealthy and famous are being guided by their bank accounts, not principles

On Tuesday, 50 Cent took to Instagram to reveal that like other wealthy people, his choice for president in the upcoming election will largely be based not on Black folks’ subjugation, but on taxation.

First, the rapper-actor-Hollywood producer posted a screengrab from a CNBC news segment suggesting that under Joe Biden’s tax plan, he would be subjected to a tax rate of 62%. “🤷🏽‍♂️ don’t care Trump doesn’t like [Black] people 62% are you out of ya fucking mind,” he wrote. Right under it is a comment from Bigot Barbie, better known as internet troll Tomi Lahren: “Welcome to the Trump Train!” (I also spotted a “like” from actor Ryan Phillippe, whose bare ass in Cruel Intentions and 54 helped me on my journey to admit the obvious about my sexuality, but whose cosign has now left me flaccid.)

In a follow-up post, 50 posted a video from Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle — hosted by another blond bigot, Laura Ingraham — this time commenting, “Yeah, i don’t want to be 20 cent.” In his last post on the matter, he noted “it is what it is man,” along with a hashtag promoting the Starz app. I find it highly unlikely that the MAGA crowd wants to two-step to Joe’s crooning of the Power theme while hate-watching Tariq in Power Book II: Ghost like “The Blacks” do, but I’ll let the people actually paid to market and publicize the show deal with the potential impact.

Unless Robert Johnson wants to apologize for canceling Teen Summit, I couldn’t give a solitary damn who he plans to vote for. And neither should you.

It didn’t take long for others to point out the obvious: 50 may be adept at making hit TV shows and securing headlines for trolling, but like so many other Americans, he has been failed by our media.

CNBC is where rich businesspeople go to complain, and Fox News is nothing more than a propaganda network modeled in the spirit of state TV in countries like Russia (only with a whole lot more racism). They serve different purposes, but they use similar tactics: A quick Google search about The Tax Foundation, the institution whose tax analysis the networks cited, lets you know that it’s not exactly a reputable source of information.

But why stop reading just to Google? Here you go. In 2018, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that The Tax Foundation has serious flaws in its figures, thus “may mislead policymakers, journalists, and the public.” Politifact doesn’t rate the organization and their data well either. The same applies to economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

I invite 50 Cent and other curious rich folks to actually look at Joe Biden’s plan — like, read it — and see that their individual tax rate will actually be around 40%, which is what they were during the Obama era. Even better would be to compare the tax rates for the rich now as opposed to practically every administration pre-Ronald Reagan.

Then again, any taxation bothers the wealthy. Taxes give me a scare every goddamn year, but that’s because I’m a freelancer; the tax code in America has long favored the rich, so I’m sure 50’s accountant(s) will figure it out. Either way, I really don’t want to hear the 1% bitch and moan about taxes during the second great recession of my adulthood. A recession that may easily turn into a depression even if Trump is defeated.

But bitch and moan they will. And it’s not just 50.

Earlier this month, BET founder Bob Johnson said he was leaning toward supporting Donald Trump’s reelection for similar reasons.

“I will take the devil I know over the devil I don’t know any time of the week,” Johnson said in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “As a businessperson, what you want more than anything else, particularly coming out of something as horrible as this pandemic,” he added, is to know more about “who will be pulling the levers of economic growth, economic development, taxes, stimulus, regulation.”

The Trump administration is letting Black folks die during a plague. I would think some of that would factor into Johnson’s voting choice — it can’t be good for viewership for Johnson’s Urban Movie Channel. But do you, Bob.

The only time I ever hear about Bob Johnson is when he’s championing Donald Trump. Unless this man wants to apologize for canceling Teen Summit, though, I couldn’t give a solitary damn who he plans to vote for.

And neither should you.

50 Cent, Bob Johnson, and Ice Cube are all free to vote for whomever they want. However, rich Black folks’ presidential preference doesn’t necessarily mean much in the grand scheme of things. They may be good for headlines and additional content for people online, but it would go a long way if more of us in the media could be more forthright about the sway these types actually have — which is very little.

Most Black people are not multimillionaires, let alone billionaires. And in a year in which Black people are facing the greater burdens of both the pandemic and economic collapse relating to it, I would much rather hear from those hurting rather than those whose wealth will likely protect them. (So long as they don’t piss off the budding tyrant trying to save his campaign by calling on his already corrupt attorney general to charge Joe Biden with a crime.)

There are countless Black people who contribute far more to the political discourse than the rich straight Black male celebrities who don’t read enough and traffic in various prejudices, yet get immediate attention by virtue of their wealth and celebrity — and in select cases, are even coddled despite knowing little and having even less real sway. I get why some of us get riled up when Black people support a man who has made his disdain for Black people clear in his rhetoric and professional life in and out of politics. It feels like a betrayal because it is. I’m not telling anyone to change their feelings about that, but just remember: Their influence only goes but so far.

Black voters as a whole make up but a small portion of the electorate — 13%, up a single point since 2000 — and the rich ones an even smaller slice. This sort of attention plays into racist tropes about how Black voters operate writ large (goofy White people think older rappers have a magical influence on us, I guess), as well as providing much-needed cover for the voting bloc that truly deserves our collective scolding. Yes, Black voters will play a role in the outcome of the looming presidential election, and I encourage everyone reading registered to vote to participate in this election — ideally not for Donald Trump. But for those truly invested in how Black people are voting, a rich rapper and the man who sold BET a thousand years ago aren’t your best sources.

Ultimately, this election is on White people. Demographics are shifting, but as it stands now, White voters still make up 67% of the electorate. They’re the ones who need come to grips with their past support for a bigoted dummy who will finish burning the country to the ground if given the chance. Then maybe we can get to the rich Black men who want to vote like them.