Wednesday, February 17, 2016
By Raynard Jackson
This past weekend I had the chance to be part of a historic event in Washington, DC.
Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF) hosted their fourth annual Black Republican Trailblazer Awards Luncheon at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. We had a packed house for both the Saturday evening VIP reception with the honorees, as well as for the Sunday luncheon awards presentation.
We honored six phenomenal trailblazers: Ambassador Harold Doley, Fred D. McClure, James Jones, Allegra McCullough, Jennifer S. Carroll, and Robert L. Woodson.
The audience was totally mesmerized by the honorees and their stories about their personal and political journeys. These honorees truly met our definition of a trailblazer.
A true trailblazer is like a candle; the more light a candle gives out, the less it becomes. Likewise, each of our honorees has given of themselves to make America, the Republican Party, and the Black community better.
For two days the honorees hung out with the attendees and simply took photos and signed autographs for everyone. Business people made connections with likeminded entrepreneurs that will lead to business collaborations.
Multi-Grammy Award winning songwriter/producer, Carvin Haggins produced a night of entertainment that was extraordinary. The entertainment began with up and coming R&B songstress, BriaMarie. She is such a phenomenal talent. You will hear great things from her.
The headline artist was none other than the “Songstress of Sensuality,” Algebra Blessett. She is a multi-Grammy Award winning singer and more importantly, just a good person.
I have worked around many A-list entertainers, but none is more delightful than Algebra. Many artists, after they perform, go immediately to their room or if they have friends in town will go hang out with them.
But not with Algebra. After her performance, she stayed in the ballroom mingling and talking with people and signing autographs and taking what seemed like a million pictures. As if that wasn’t enough, she went to her room to change clothes and then hung out with the attendees at the hotel bar.
But one comment summed up the whole weekend kind of nicely. A member of Algebra’s staff said to me, “I am a big Hillary Clinton supporter. I have never been around a group of Black Republicans; but if this is how Black Republicans are, I could get used to this. You all are a lot of fun.”
Black Republicans are rarely seen in a positive light and the party seems incapable of using its vast resources to change this dynamic. Therefore, we at BAFBF will fill the void. In the next couple of months we will be announcing several major names in sports, entertainment, business, and politics who will for the first time publically declare their party registration as Republican.
They will be joining and working with BAFBF to go into the ten battleground states that will determine the next president. We will use their celebrity to get people registered to vote and to engage with BAFBF.
BAFBF will initiate a media campaign where we can begin to change how Black Republicans are viewed within the Black community.
Blacks have absolutely no relationship with Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders. The Black vote is very much in play if the Republican Party were to finally get serious about cultivating a real relationship with the Black community.
Every Black should be embarrassed and angry at the members of the Congressional Black Caucus who endorsed Clinton’s campaign for president last week. They are totally out of synch with the majority of the Black community.
Hillary can’t point to one substantive thing she has ever done relative to the Black community.
BAFBF has already begun to work on doing a business summit here in DC with our congressional leadership. We also have the backing of several Republican governors who are willing to host their own business summit with some of the most successful Black entrepreneurs in the country.
A representative of the African Diplomatic Corps announced that they will be hosting a reception for BAFBF to bring together one hundred Black entrepreneurs to DC to cultivate relations centered on building business relationships bilaterally.
We will also be sponsoring a series of basketball and football camps this summer for kids in underserved communities with our friends in the NBA and NFL.
As we begin to have our surrogates engage in the media, engage with our congressional leadership, and engage with our governors in a substantive matter; the Republican brand will slowly begin to be rebuilt.
But it will not take place from within the party; it can only take place outside of the party structure. Those inside the party structure have no clue on how to cultivate relations within the Black community.
All I know is that when the Black community engages with “real” Black Republicans, they are open to joining the cause to make America great again.
If you have any doubt, simply talk to anyone who attended our trailblazer event. Truly, the harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few.
Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC is an internationally recognized political consulting, government affairs, and PR firm based in Washington, DC. Jackson is an internationally recognized radio talk show host and TV commentator. He has coined the phrase “straticist.” As a straticist, he has merged strategic planning with public relations. Visit his website at: www.raynardjackson.com.