This week on the K[no]w Mercy podcast, host Stephen A. Smith sits down with legendary entertainer Ice Cube to discuss including some details surrounding his 'Contract with Black America,' and more.
Back in 2020, following what he described as a lot of "hands waving in the air," at the Democratic National Convention, Ice Cube posted a video genuinely asking, "What's in it for us?" As a Black American, he asked why the community as a whole has been getting "the same old thing," from the country's leading political parties, with no mention of a 'Contract with Black America.' After seeing $3 trillion dollars in Paycheck Protection Program taxpayer money be given out while at the same time, 42% of Black owned businesses close shop, Ice Cube said at the time it was "one of the most comprehensive reform documents" that has ever been proposed; one "that could really address the problem."
Stephen A. remembers how people from all sides, including their own community, criticized Ice Cube for his willingness to speak with both sides of the political aisle in order to find some kind of way through. "In a lot of ways I understood where people were coming from because they have their team; they're either Team Blue or Team Red, and that's just it," Ice Cube says, reflecting back. "But that's never how you get anything done; to just go to your corner and never engage. Even enemies at war get on the phone and have conversations to try to solve it and bring it to an end. It never makes any sense not to talk to whoever is in power when you're trying to get something powerful done."
"For anybody who understands negotiating," he adds, "they understood what I was doing. And to be honest, I didn't ask to talk to any of these people, they came to me after I put out the 'Contract for Black America.' I was minding my own business and both sides reached out to talk to me and wanted me to explain what it was all about, and I was willing to do that."
The pushback he received, he says is likely due to "some people [who are] kind of hardened into their ways; some guys have been voting the same way, some families, for generations. So, I think we're in a position where we have to go wherever somebody's willing to help. We just can't afford to just pick sides; we have to figure out who's going to help us, where they're at, where their heart's at, and hopefully, they follow through on what they promise. But... nobody's coming to the rescue, so we have to rescue ourselves at the end of the day."
In 2022 it was announced that the NFL would be making good on the Ice Cube's contract by pledging $100 million to Black-owned businesses to combat the growing wealth gap in the U.S. With help from other organizations, "we help find those businesses, vet those businesses," says Cube, "and make sure that we were putting people in front of the NFL who could handle the workload, so to speak."
Listen to the full conversation with Ice Cube above on K[no]w Mercy with Stephen A. Smith with discussions on his BIG 3 basketball league, performing with rap supergroup Mount Westmore, and more -- now playing on Audacy.
Stephen A. Smith knows mercy… when it’s warranted. On K[no]w Mercy Stephen A. will give you his straight shooter point of view beyond the world of sports, breaking barriers and pulling back the curtain on politics, entertainment, and business. Three times a week, you’ll hear his unfiltered opinions on front-page news and pertinent cultural events, as well as interviews with outspoken celebrities and thought leaders across the societal arena. You’re guaranteed to be entertained, informed, and motivated. And one thing will be clear: you don't need to know sports to know mercy. K[no]w Mercy with Stephen A. Smith is a presentation of Cadence13, an Audacy studio.
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