Black celebrities from Ben Vereen to Wilt Chamberlain have identified themselves with Republicans and survived. But this is different.The latest ratings for Steve Harvey’s show are bad. He’s lost his audience, and he blames his meeting with then President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on Jan. 13 as the cause of his plummeting ratings. Back then, Harvey had nothing but glowing praise for Trump and high hopes for Trump’s presidency.
“I walked away feeling like I had just talked with a man who genuinely wants to make a difference in this area. I feel that something really great could come out of this,” said Harvey of his meeting with Trump.
Harvey basked in the glory of meeting with a man who rose to prominence as a “birther” and elevated white supremacists to the highest levels of power. For months, Harvey defended his decision to meet with Trump and only now that it could potentially ruin his career he has seen the error in his ways. Harvey’s no longer a person worth listening to.
Frankly, Harvey had already stopped being funny back in June, after he told a man from Flint, Michigan, who called into his radio show to “enjoy your nice brown glass of water.”
Harvey gets it now. “Meeting with Donald Trump was the worst mistake of my life,” he recently said on his radio show. But he has a lot of work to do to win back black support.
Ben Carson was loved by black America when he was the brain surgeon from Johns Hopkins who wrote inspirational books for black children. But all of his credibility quickly evaporated once he started criticizing President Barack Obama. His clueless political statements, stunningly moronic presidential campaign, and friendship with Trump only further solidified his exile from and ridicule within the black community. Carson seems uninterested in making amends and working to earn back the support he once had. He’s chosen a new team.
Harvey and Carson deserve their ostracism. But not everyone does. In recent years, the most dramatic and controversial shunning a black celebrity has received from the black community is also the most tragic and unjust.