BET Founder Re-advises Black Lives Matter to Establish Political Party

June 23, 2020 Updated: June 23, 2020

Robert Johnson, the Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder, suggested again that the Black Lives Matter movement should establish a political party.

The nation’s first black billionaire said that breaking away from the Democratic Party will give African Americans leverage in the political arena.

“I’ve been convinced for a long time that 40 million African Americans who tend to vote as a bloc in one of the two parties, limit their leverage in getting action from both parties. And I think it’s time that African Americans form an independent party. Not be an appendage of one party or ignored by the other party, and using their leverage in a democracy,” he said during an interview with CNBC.

He first floated the idea of establishing a separate Black Lives Matter political party in a June 17 letter to leaders and supporters of the loose movement.

A controversial comment by the former President Joe Biden seems to have triggered Johnson’s idea of a Black Lives Matter party.

“Well, I tell you, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said during a May 22 interview.

He later said that he “should not have been so cavalier.”

Johnson claimed that Biden’s comment is the principal reason why he suggested an independent black party.

“It also reflects the need for a black independent party, that someone else can be so presumptuous that you have to vote for a Democrat or otherwise you are not identified as black,” he said. “We need a black party independent, to change that kind of behavior so that we’re not, as I said, taken for granted by the Democrats and ignored by the Republicans because the Republicans basically say: ‘they’ll never vote for us.’”

The Black Lives Matter movement acts as an umbrella movement for many related protests and usually takes a loose form. However, Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the movement, said back in 2015 that they do following a specific ideology.

In an interview shared on social media, Cullors said of the Black Lives Matter movement “actually do have an ideological frame.” She added that she and others at the organizer level are “trained Marxists.”

Former FBI Counterterrorism Director Terry Turchie told Sky News Australia that the Black Lives Matter movement is very similar to that of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, which he described as a “Marxist-Maoist-Leninist organization,” whose goal was the “total transformation—very important two words there—the total transformation of the United States government and America.”

Mimi Nguyen Ly, Zachary Stieber, and Tom Ozimek contributed to the report.

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