Issue #2

Black women and the Democrats, jobs report, Public Enemy, Toni Braxton

This is The Dossier.

Each Sunday we deliver the latest developments in world affairs, political economy and culture straight to your inbox, served with a generous side of soul.

We spend the week scouring the internets for essential information and meaningful content to keep you informed, inspired and mildly entertained.

Today is International Women’s Day.

(The newsletter is going out 12 hours late today because of… daylight savings time? 🙃)

🗳 Good enough to vote, but not good enough to govern

“We are told to come to the polls, but we are not supported on the ballot. I am very concerned about the state and condition of black women in American politics.” 

- Rhonda Foxx, Congressional candidate

North Carolina is emblematic of Democratic politics.

Let us explain.

On Super Tuesday black voters gave overwhelming support to Joe Biden. If black voters in South Carolina rescued Biden’s presidential campaign, black voters on Super Tuesday firmly established the former Vice President as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Exhibit A: in North Carolina, 62% of black voters backed Biden.

But something else happened in North Carolina on March 3, 2020. 

Erica Smith was unsuccessful in her bid for the Democratic nomination for US Senate.

Monika Johnson-Hustler was unsuccessful in her congressional primary, as were Rhonda Foxx, Patrica Timmons-Goodson, Cynthia Wallace and Alma Adams.

What do these candidates have in common?

  1. They all ran in Democratic primaries in North Carolina.

  2. They are all black women.

It is common knowledge that black voters in general, and black women in particular, are the backbone of the Democrats’ electoral base. However, the loyalty Black women continually show to the Democratic party in the voting booth is not reciprocated by the Democratic party when they are running for office — especially in primaries where institutional support can make the difference.

🍯 Honey Pot 

Beatrice Dixon, Founder and CEO of Honey Pot, was featured in Target's, Founders We Believe In campaign. In her promo video, Dixon says:

The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well is so the next Black girl that comes up with a great idea, she could have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.

Some white Target customers were offended by this statement. They labeled Dixon a racist, vowed to stop buying her products, and began to give the products poor reviews.

But black customers stepped in and increased sales by 50% and increased Honey Pot’s Trustpilot ratings.   

The backlash from Dixon’s story not only showed the power of the black dollar, it also allowed a real conversation about the huge disparity black women entrepreneurs face with access to capital.  According to ProjectDiane2018 the number of black women led startups have more than doubled since 2016. Yet since 2009 black women have raised only .06% ($289MM) of the $424.7 billion in total tech venture funding.  

Dixon appeared on The Breakfast Club to discuss her company, the disparities in venture capital funding, the New Voices Fund and the power of the black dollar.

📊 3.5% unemployment for whom?

On the first Friday of each month the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Situation Summary for the month prior. Known colloquially as the “jobs report,” the Employment Situation Summary is what media outlets use to report the unemployment rate.

The US unemployment rate for February 2020 was 3.5%. But what the headlines won’t tell you is that black unemployment is at 5.8%.

Black unemployment is 65% higher than the national unemployment rate and almost double the white unemployment rate (3.1%). So while historically low, black unemployment remains relatively high when compared to the wider economy.

🎤 Don’t blame Bernie

(Take a deep breath because what comes next is a run-on sentence.)

In which Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign booked Public Enemy Radio for a rally in Los Angeles and Flavor Flav issued a cease and desist letter to the campaign on grounds that the campaign was implying an endorsement from Public Enemy and that such an endorsement is misleading because although Flavor Flav does many things endorsing political candidates isn’t one of them and then Public Enemy removed Flavor Flav from the group and people started saying Bernie wants to break up the big banks but he’s actually just breaking up Public Enemy which prompted the following tweet:

We’re not in it, and neither is Bernie Sanders. But anyone who has remotely followed Flavor Flav over the last few years knows the tweeted statement rings true.

Rolling Stone has a solid write up on how all of this went down.

🏛 Smiley v. PBS

In December of 2017, PBS canceled Tavis Smiley’s show after receiving a complaint of sexual misconduct. Smiley then sued the broadcaster in February 2018, accusing PBS of conducting a sham investigation and of dismissing him based on racial bias. PBS countersued, alleging that Smiley had violated his morals clause. 

This week a jury found Tavis Smiley to be in breach of contract.

So while Smiley had hoped to recoup payments he believed were owed him for 2017 (when PBS canceled his contract), he will in fact be on the hook for at least the $1.5m PBS paid to him in 2015 and 2016 while he was sexually involved with employees at his company.

💿 He wasn’t man enough 20 years ago

That’s right — twenty years ago (March 7, 1990 to be exact) Toni Braxton dropped her hit single “He Wasn’t Man Enough.” The song hit #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.