America’s current Immigration Policy is tarnishing the American brand, African Americans Cultural Appropriators or Survivalists? In this episode of What’s The 411, Kizzy Cox, Onika McLean, and Keisha Wilson are talking about accused sexual predators, R. Kelly and, Jeffrey Epstein; Donald Trump’s immigration policy, African Americans migrating to Africa, African Americans and cultural appropriation, and the backlash surrounding Halle Bailey’s selection to star in the Disney remake of The Little Mermaid. ACCUSED SEXUAL PREDATORS JEFFREY EPSTEIN AND R. KELLY Kizzy: Hey, all right, so guys, it was not a good week last week if you were an accused sexual predator because they’re just sweeping up, scooping up them sexual predators. So, singer, songwriter, and producer R. Kelly, he got swept up on sex trafficking charges again now. Um, and also the financier…Have you heard of Jeffrey Epstein? He also got swept up on federal sex trafficking charges. It's worth noting that Jeffrey Epstein back in 2008, was convicted, he was convicted of soliciting a 14-year-old girl for prostitution and… Onika: He knew she was 14? Kizzy: Of course, of course. And, he served 13 months, get this, 13 months in custody with work release, that that's what he got. So, he got six days. He could go off and go to work and then come back into prison... Onika: …New York…has John School, well I don't even know when you get caught soliciting prostitution and instead of going to jail, you got to go to schools on a Sunday, not Saturday. Cause most of them see the Jewish men and um, and they just talked to them about how it's wrong. Kizzy: This was way worse. I mean, and this, I mean this is 36 victims that he had here and that was the plea deal. So, you just mentioned him, Alexander Acosta, who was just now the former US Secretary of Labor. He was the one who gave him like this kind of sweetheart deal. Cause at the time he was working for the United, he was working as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida where they brought the charges. Now part of that was that he got immunity from all federal criminal charges. Right. And so that's what his, you know, team, is now sitting on. They’re like, oh no, no, no. He can't get federal charges. Onika: Double jeopardy. Kizzy: They're (Southern District of New York) like, nope, nope. Not in our state. This is New York, womp, womp. So right now, Jeffrey Epstein is trying to get bail. He's putting up his mansion, $77 million. He has a jet that he's trying to put up as well. He's saying he's going to pay for his own guards around the clock. He's trying to do anything he can to stay out of… Onika: All of this because he had sex with children and youth. Kizzy: Woo, Lord. But listen, listen, listen. Now nobody knows him. Nobody knows Jeffrey Epstein. Before, he was hanging out with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and now, plane, what plane. I don't know about a plane. What are you talking about a plane? Now, nobody knows him. But my thing is, what do you ladies think, because you know, Onika, we've had conversations. People are like, oh my God, they threw Bill Cosby in jail, right. We got Harvey Weinstein running free. Jeffrey Epstein is a very wealthy, white, well-connected man, and he's going down in this. So, what do you guys think about these charges? Wow. They're pretty disturbing when you think about it. Um, and it's just interesting how money and power can really buy you freedom. Even though it's been reported. R. Kelly doesn't have as much money that he might be in financial straits, dire, dire straits. Um, he still has some power. He has recognition. He could probably still afford better lawyers than some, or maybe even most. So… Kizzy: He got off, back in 2012 was it when they finally call the case and he got off. Keisha: He got off and then allowed to walk around and, and allegedly, almost definitely still commit these heinous crimes. So, I'm just, I'm curious with the Epstein case as the pressure mounts on him, when he's going to start singing and how many people… Onika: Singing what, like taking other people down. Keisha: Yes. Because there’s the notion is that the reasons why he got that nice deal because he was connected to Bill Clinton and other powerful political figures. So if he starts, if the pressure gets to him and he started singing, we may find out who really had more of an active role and knowingly participated in his like… Onika: There are going to be so many presidential hopefuls like, no, I'm good. Forget that presidency. Keisha: And one other thing, that I will, I'm interested in knowing is if both R. Kelly and Jeffrey Epstein are found guilty, what's the sentencing going to be for both of them? Because money can be a really good equalizer in terms of leveling the plane. But now you have a racial aspect going on here. Will R. Kelly get a sweetheart deal or something similar to that of Jeffrey Epstein? Onika: But, he won’t. Kizzy: Because now he doesn’t even have bail. They’re not even setting bail with R. Kelly. Onika: The way things are set up. We try people in the media. He’s got that documentary. He’s got all that other stuff going on. They’re going to try to throw the book at him. Now, Jeffrey Epstein is going to be different because his connections are going to be on the back end, a lot of stuff you’re not going to know about. Keisha: But, are they going to be allowed to touch him? Onika: They’re going to touch him because they gotta save him. Some things are just too big to fail. Kizzy: I don't know. Let's see how this plays out because I actually think Jeffrey Epstein is going to serve some time. I don't think he's going to get off scot-free the way he did before, or almost scot-free. Onika: So, why is Harvey Weinstein still in these streets. Kizzy: Harvey Weinstein is actually in court. He's having his court cases still playing out. Onika: So, he'll still be in the streets. We still, Kizzy: We'll see what happens. AMERICA’s NEW IMMIGRATION POLICY Onika: Switching from a Trump associate to Donald Trump himself, his new policies regarding the treatment of immigrants…, like Central American immigrants in particular. He is going bat shit crazy. Kizzy: Onika, you know this is not my topic. Onika: What do you think it's going to take to turn this around? Like, it's so much going on, he's saying so much stuff now. He's like, oh, well if you're trying to get asylum then you should seek asylum in the country that’s right adjacent to your country. Kizzy: Which is Mexico. Onika: It's like, get the hell out of here. No, we're in, Kizzy: Did you see his most recent tweet? Calling out (Congresswomen) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar… Onika: The squad? He said, go back home if you don't like America… Keisha: Go back where you came… Kizzy: Crime infested place. Onika: You know who should go back to where they came from, Melania, are you crazy, all your ex-wives, well, except, except Marla, but you know, Marla. But, come on. Kizzy: And, that's what's so funny. It's like everybody, even, um, Ilhan Omar, she's been a citizen longer than Melania Trump has and how can you say… Onika: I know Melania is saying, I can't wait until they take him to jail. I just can't wait until this is over. Come on Baron, get your toys, get your toys. Kizzy: I mean when you have people saying, I mean the immigration policies are horrible. We already knew that. He kind of rode in on the whole immigration thing, saying Mexicans are rapists and we've got to get them out of the country and its invaders. All this stuff. He's already established that. But for him to even say now that people who are here are ready, people who are American citizens, you don't belong here because they're black and brown, that is ridiculous. Onika: He knows that. What he's saying is if you don't love America, you should leave. Kizzy: No, that's, that's, that's the gloss he's putting on it. What he means is, you don't really belong here because you are, but he's black. Onika: This is going to heat up because he has to win this election, and that rhetoric wins the elections. Kizzy: That is what he thinks, but think about it when you look at the midterm elections when he doubled down on the immigration, he lost a whole bunch of house seats, so it didn't really help him as much as he thought it was going to. Onika: Guess what, Billy Bob is going to come down out the mountains. They all gonna be like, get your possum and your handguns. Kizzy: Onika McLean. Onika McClean. Onika: Okay. I'm just saying what do you guys think needs to happen to turn this thing around? Like, America has lost so much street cred, like America's like… Kizzy: We’re supposed to be that shining city on the hill, the land of opportunity. Onika: How do we get it back? Keisha: Ideally, you get him, and all the people of his ilk and you send them out on a remote island where they can live out the rest of their ignorant lives together. However… Onika: But then there would be nobody here. It would just be us. Like there'll be a good one good meal. Keisha: But, in all seriousness, I think, I mean, he's definitely got to go. Onika: He's got like four more years. Keisha: No! Agent Orange, gone. He's got to go. And I think, I mean, I'm not professing to be a political expert at all, but I feel as though there has to be more unity between the Democrats and Republicans on what vision they want from America's for all Americans, not just the rich, not for the poor. Onika: But that's not happening. Keisha: I know, but that's the problem. Onika: That's like that statement. I want to see like five like little kids singing behind your singing swing low, sweet chariot. But because it's a capitalist society. Keisha: But I said the only way that's ever gonna move. Because every, both sides have their own agendas and they're not there to staunch on it. Right, right. Kizzy: And I think Republicans, you know, they have that proximity to power. Yes, their man is, it has the presidency. They have all these statehouses across the country. They have the power and trading higher than it's ever. Right. Onika: The money is happening. Like, the Dow is trading high as it ever…the money is happening. Kizzy: But, at what cost because you know, you're doubling down on who you think might be okay with this kind of rhetoric, this kind of white identity politics stuff. The white population is shrinking. The people of color is what's growing in this country. By 2050 we'll be… Onika: But not the white dollar. It's not strong. So that's the thing. Kizzy: So, it's not, it's not sustainable. It's not sustainable. It's not sustainable. Onika: It is. Kizzy: But, not long-term. Onika: Oh, it is and it goes to another story I am going to talk about later because what we have, what we have bought into is, white culture in a way that that... Kizzy: Who? Onika: Non-white people, the makeup, the hair, the nails, everything to be like this lily-white thing. So as long as we're not gonna, we're not gonna, we're not gonna... Kizzy: I know where you're going with this. But we're not going to vote for that at the ballot box. I don't know. A whole lot of black people are gonna say, Trump. Onika: No, but you're going to know a whole lot of black people that don't vote still. Same thing. Cause they still don't feel like they are part of (a seat at) the table. They still, they don't feel like eating at that table still. Right. Okay. So, I know that you guys have comments on this subject. Like give me a break, please comment below, let us know if and then share this video because this is like a topic that we really need to start like really circulate it. Kizzy: Yes. And we need to vote. Guys hope, vote, vote, vote, vote, vote. Onika: But they have to feel like they're part of it. That's the thing. Kizzy: But that's what I saw. Like 25 people running for president. Right. So everybody's like, I represent you, I represent you. I represent, you know, so there's, there's a lot of options this time. Hillary Clinton just wasn't popular. Onika: We had a lot of options last time before they dwindled it down to Hillary, we had a lot of options. Kizzy: No we didn’t. We had Bernie (Sanders), we had Bernie and we had Hillary. That's it. Onika: No. Kizzy: We had a gazillion Republicans running. Onika: Oh. Well, maybe Kamala (Harris). Kizzy: We'll see. We'll see what happens. But yeah, you know, hit us up in the comments and let us know what you think. AFRICAN AMERICANS MIGRATING TO AFRICA Keisha: As more people want to come into the country, we will discuss people who want to leave the good old United States of America. Many African Americans here in the United States are very pessimistic about the mood and the direction in which this country is going. And they have decided that they are going to return home, quote-unquote, to the African continent. Recently on Al Jazeera English, they sat down and spoke with a black South African and African Americans who moved from the United States to Namibia and Ghana to share their experiences. Before I ask my questions, I'll ask both of you and you at home, have you ever been to Africa? Would you consider migrating to Africa or maybe another country? And what would it take for you to make that big move? Kizzy: Onika, you first. Onika: So I have? I've not been to Africa, so, I really, I don't know. I don't think so. I like Brooklyn. Is it like Brooklyn? Cause I like Brooklyn, not the gentrified Brooklyn, like old school Brooklyn. Kizzy: I've been to Africa several times. I've been to South Africa, which is a lot like I'd say, Harlem, it's a lot like Harlem. There are…it's a mix of people. There are so many places. Onika: is there a Red Rooster? Kizzy: No. They have their own version though. They have all of their rooftop bars. Um, it is very easy, I'm telling you, South Africa was lit. I loved South Africa, so I went to Kenya, which is very different, but it also has a lot of things to do. Onika: Trevor Daly is from... Keisha and Kizzy: Trevor Noah. Onika: Right, Trevor Noah, from The Daily Show. Kizzy: I've been to Egypt, which I loved. I love Egypt. You know what it was, what was so interesting, I felt really connected to the continent in Egypt. I don't know whether it was because there are so many different pyramids and all that stuff. I felt connected to history there. It just, it just felt, it just filled me up in a very different way. Onika: Would you move? Kizzy: So I, you know what, because I've had friends who actually have lived there and diplomats who've lived there for years and years and years. I could see myself living in Africa. Absolutely. I could see myself living there. I don't know if I lived there forever because I do love Brooklyn, Brooklyn. But I'm, I definitely would like, Onika: I think it’s a boy in Africa does not make sense. It's… Kizzy: No, I mean it's just, it's a beautiful, beautiful place. And it's sometimes nice to just be in a place where you feel like you have the majority. And I'm not saying it's not good here. I love it here. I love the diversity here, obviously. But just feeling sometimes that it's not like you're not singled out because you're black. Everybody kind of looks like that. Onika: Right. So, in Paris and, actually in Spain, I didn't feel black. I felt like a person. Mm. If that makes sense to you. What I was like, wait, I don't feel black. Like I don't have anything that I felt black and in America until you leave America. And I was like, wait, what's this? Kizzy: Exactly. And I'm saying, wait, go to Africa. Okay. That's, you know what I mean That's that feeling in it and it's a good feeling. Onika: But what are we going to do about Brooklyn, though? Kizzy: Oh, we’re going to come back to Brooklyn, we’re going to be here, we’re going to be right here. Yeah. So, I would, I would do that. I would definitely move to Trinidad. I would definitely do that. Yeah. So, definitely moving around and just being you places where, you know, feel like home. Onika: Maybe I'll go to Africa with you. Kizzy: You need to come to Africa, you need to come to Africa, we need to go to Nigeria. Onika: I keep feeling they might keep me, they’re gonna keep me. They’re going to be like, oh, our queen and then I'm going to be there. Keisha: Well, then you'll be a queen. Kizzy: Oh, Lord. Onika. You remember…remember what I'm saying, Keisha and Kizzy: Don’t say, “Coming to America.” Onika: You remember in “Coming to America,” and they saw him in the stadium. They were like, oh, hailing. I wouldn’t even know what to do with that kind of power. Keisha: You would get used to it. Kizzy (to Keisha): Would you, go, would you go? Keisha: Oh Gosh. I've been to, Africa. I've been to Egypt and I loved it. I just thought I loved it. Onika: I feel left out, I’m mad. The jealous part of me, okay, I'm going to go. Keisha: I didn't speak a lick of Arabic, but I found the people to be really warm and the history, I mean it was just really great. And I have a friend who currently lives in Johannesburg and she loves it there and I'm trying to visit. I think it's, I think the question is, there are a couple of questions, what am I leaving the U.S. for? Am I trading one set of problems for a different set of problems? You know, at this point. In the video, Al Jazeera English, at least one of the women described this pull to go back to Africa and feel connected. Onika: What’s his name? Kizzy: You are so cynical, Onika. Onika: I’m just saying, I felt a pull… Keisha: Yeah, I didn't, I don't feel that pull, I mean not that I don't have an interest to or desire to learn more about Africa and African culture, but I just don't feel like I need to uproot my life to gain that knowledge. Right. Keisha: And then, also I am very much a creature of habit and I'm a sports junkie, so I need ESPN in my life and everything. Kizzy: It's a cricket, you know. Keisha: I told them I need my football I need my basketball. Kizzy: You know, they have soccer. Kesha: No, no, it's not the same. Onika: You know, soccer players are hot. Keisha: I'm not saying that they aren’t, I wouldn't mind dating a couple. However, Onika: You could date Carmelo in Africa, and LaLa, she wouldn’t know, she wouldn’t know anything. Maybe you could do that. Keisha: I think he does some work in Africa. Onika: Um, maybe he'll do some extra work. Keisha: Oh, maybe so. Kizzy: She’s not ready yet. Keisha: So yes, as I was saying, as a sports junkie, you know, I'm used to having my ESPN and there are just certain comforts that I'm used to being here, that when I travel outside of the country that I don't get, and I think I would really miss, but never say never. You never know what circumstances life would bring. Maybe it's Carmelo for me or my African prince… Onika: You might like eggplant… Keisha: maybe an amazing job opportunity. Who knows? Onika: That's true. Kizzy: You know what, Onika, stop the madness. Let’s bring it back. Let's bring it back. CULTURAL APPROPRIATION Onika: Okay. Hey, what's up! We've seen many articles. This is my kind of a call back from what I was talking about earlier. So, we have seen many articles about black people just being outraged about, cultural appropriation. Like, oh, Kim Kardashian, take those braids out, un-pout your lips, take the butt down. So, they’re, you know, up in arms about culture. “Cultural appropriation, it's real, mom.” I have like a whole joke about that because my daughter says that all the time. So, this is my thing. Why do black people have selective outrage over cultural appropriation when we are the ultimate appropriators? It's like, think about what we do. And I know y'all gonna think I've come for your edges because I'm about to talk about weaves, but y'all got weaves. Kizzy: I don’t have a weave. Onika: Okay. Cosmetics. Right. Even gels, we’re trying to soften up all the things that are, that are inherently ours. Right. So, we're doing the same thing, right. We're, we're doing the same thing. Kizzy: It's different. I think it's different because, you know, again, going back to being a minority in a country that for years told you that you are not good enough, that you know, the...the width of your nose was too big, that your hair was too kinky, that your body wasn't right. And then we grew up having to maneuver that. And so, we, we took on those trappings of white culture to fit in better. I think that's very different than now. Onika: Okay.so now we got it, right? Keisha and Kizzy: No Onika: But we’ve got it enough to say that you're appropriating my culture. You got it enough to say that you've been brainwashed. Kizzy: It’s very funny that a Kim Kardashian will be celebrated for her body type and cornrows much more than we are doing the exact same thing. Onika: But guess what, who is celebrating her? We’re supporting them. Kizzy: And other people as well. If we're wearing cornrows and, and we go to work or something and we wear our natural hair, there've been plenty of stories where we've reported on where people are like, oh, your hair is not professional. Or, take a kid out of school because you're your cornrows are not professional. A white person will more quickly get, um, accepted for that, than we will. KEISHA: Two states have passed legislation banning discrimination against natural hairstyles. California was the first. New York was the second. So that means there were enough incidents where people were having issues because of their hair because they chose to wear a more natural hairstyle. One that's more like an African descent. Onika: But now it's more acceptable for us. We're accepting it more so, so, so the numbers are increasing. So, all of us, you, if everybody had the damn Afro, then it just is what it is. Right? Keisha: But when you think about who has a lot of decision-making power, it's not African Americans. When you go for job interviews, chances are you're sitting in front of a non-minority. You're sitting in front of a white male of a white woman and they have the decision-making powers. So, if I go in with my with dreadlocks or braids, cornrows, whatever, an Afro, I'm looking at them and they’re like, umm, I don't like that look, that's not appropriate when there's nothing wrong with what I'm wearing or how I wear my hair, but the decision-maker doesn't like it, so, therefore, I lose out on an opportunity. So I think sometimes for us, appropriation is a means of survival. It's a means of surviving and advancing in life. So, whether it's your hair or living in a certain neighborhood, because unfortunately a lot of resources are pumped into neighborhoods where black, and minorities are not, are not predominate. So, for myself, if I had a child, the better school system might be in that white neighborhood. Onika: I did the same thing for my children. They went to school in East New York, like hello, yeah. Keisha: Yeah, you wanted to give your children better opportunities. So that means you had to get them into a school that didn't, where the library, you have to test them and then you had to guide, not even busted him. You had to transport them someplace far. Onika: I get it. But those dollars can totally be spent, our dollars can be spent with black businesses to build that up. So, so eventually when you're sitting across from the interviewer, they look more like you. You understand. So, what happens. Well, what happens, we still buy non-black. We still need to have the latest Gucci, Fendi, all those companies. Keisha: Not, me I can't afford that. Onika: Then, we’re really quick to say, we’re poor. Like, that's the thing in our culture, we're poor. Oh, like that's the thing. We don't embrace wealth, power and success, we are like, oh, I don't have that, that I wouldn't do that. You know, I'm trying to say, it's like so accepting for us to feel like that. No. Keisha: But, just because I can't afford Gucci or Fendi, it doesn't mean that I can't and I can't or I won't support a black (owned) business. The place where I get my nails done. It's a black-owned business. Onika: But they have black couture, like, high end. Keisha: I can’t afford that either! Don’t judge me Onika. Just because you got edges, you want to act brand new. Onika: So, you see how she’s coming for my edges. HALLE BAILEY TAPPED FOR LITTLE MERMAID Keisha: Halle Bailey is tapped to take the lead role in Disney Freeform’s remake of The Little Mermaid. Everyone: Yay!! Onika: I knew that. I knew that. Kizzy: You did not know that. Keisha: Entertainment Tonight posted on their Instagram page that despite the criticism that Disney Freeform has received for choosing Halle, they've got their girl and they're standing by their decision. So now, Onika and Kizzy, there are a lot of people on Instagram who are still livid over this choice. One person saying that the mermaid is a white character with red hair. And that Disney should not be so lazy and create a new character. What do you guys think? Kizzy: I think it's ludicrous because she is a mermaid, a mermaid is not real. Onika: She's a cartoon first of all. Kizzy: Cartoon, mermaids don't exist. Onika: They should make Mickey Mouse black. That will piss them off. Wait, Mickey Mouse is black. Keisha: Mermaids, don't exist. So mermaids could be any color. So who decided that mermaids are white? So, you know, I think it's interesting that you know, there's this outrage over this. Onika: Shout out to white people, shout out to white people. I like how white people do stuff, right. They be, like, this is our stuff. Tell me, different. And then that's the thing. Y’all are going for it, y’all are going for it. Kizzy: Are we back to the appropriations thing, again? I don’t know. Onika: Yes. You’re smart girl, you’re a smart girl. Keisha: I'm just gonna say, just going to say that it's really ironic that there's outrage for this when there were plenty of white actors who played minority people. Onika: Shout out to Liz Taylor! Keisha: I Googled this and there were at least 25 cases. There were four that I popped out. Onika: Please say, Liz Taylor. Keisha: It was Liz Taylor, Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl. Mariane Pearl had curly hair. She had a darker complexion, Afro-Cuban descent, and Angelina is not that. Onika: Sigourney Weaver was going to play Rosa Parks….I’m lying. Kizzy: Girl, that doesn’t make sense. Onika: None of it makes sense. Keisha: Joseph Fiennes played Michael Jackson, Lawrence Olivier was in full blackface for Othello (Shakespeare) who is a Moor, and then Jake Gyllenhaal was the lead in the Prince of Persia. No Persian heritage whatsoever. Yet there is no outrage. So white people, the ignorant white people, because not all white people are the same. Get your life together. Kizzy: Not all white people. Keisha: just like all black people don't do they buy, buy, buy, buy Onika: All anything doesn't do... Keisha: So that clarifies Kizzy: Exactly. Exactly. SHOW CLOSE Kizzy: That’s going to do it for this week’s edition of What's The 411! Yes, your smart source for urban lifestyle and entertainment. I'm Kizzy Cox and on behalf of my co-hosts Onika McLean and Keisha Wilson. Thank you for spending your time with, What's The 411.