plans with attitude

What Ice Cube Actually Contributed to Trump’s Plan for Black America

Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for REVOLT

On Tuesday, Trump campaign senior adviser Katrina Pierson tweeted a shout-out to Ice Cube, thanking the entertainer for helping the president develop his “Platinum Plan,” a two-page campaign promise to “increase access to capital” in Black communities by almost $500 billion. In doing so, Pierson triggered an avalanche of criticism of the 51-year-old entertainer for collaborating with Trump. “How … does the guy from NWA become MAGA?” asked writer Roxane Gay.

Ice Cube defended himself, saying that both the Trump and Biden campaigns had reached out to him about his Contract With Black Americans, a 22-page detailed proposal Ice Cube released in August to address “Black opportunity and representation, bank lending and finance reform, judicial and public policy reform, expansion of 13th Amendment rights, police reform, reform in Hollywood, and an approach to our confederate past.” According to Ice Cube, the Biden campaign told him it would circle back after the election, whereas the Trump campaign was open to his input sooner.

What came of Ice Cube’s advice?

A source familiar with the back and forth between Ice Cube and the White House said Ice Cube’s biggest push was to get Trump to commit to a $500 billion investment, considerably more than what was initially proposed in the Platinum Plan. Ice Cube also pushed the Trump campaign to consider labeling the Ku Klux Klan a terrorist organization and to declare Juneteenth a federal holiday. It appears Ice Cube was successful, as the Platinum Plan includes promises to increase access to capital by $500 billion (though it provides few details on how it will go about doing so), to prosecute the KKK as a terrorist organization (legally dubious given the FBI doesn’t have that power), and to declare Juneteenth a national holiday (which requires an act of Congress).

While Ice Cube’s CWBA is a substantial document, loaded with detailed proposals on reparations and Black representation in government and industry, the Platinum Plan is a leaflet packed with vague commitments and promises, covering housing, criminal justice, Black-owned businesses, jobs, education, religious freedom, health care, and more. Like so many Trump announcements, it is both wildly ambitious and remarkably sloppy. The plan lumps antifa into its commitment to prosecute the KKK as a terrorist organization and seems to refer to second-chance homeowners as “second change [sic] home comers.”

According to Politico, the connection between the White House and Ice Cube was engineered by Ken Kurson, former editor-in-chief of Jared Kushner’s New York Observer and longtime friend of Ice Cube’s business partner, Jeff Kwatinetz — who also happens to be a former business partner of Steve Bannon’s. Kwatinetz reportedly visited the White House in early September to discuss policy details. Though Ice Cube did not attend that meeting, he did attend a follow-up at a Washington hotel with Kushner and Trump advisers Ja’Ron Smith and Brooke Rollins.

On Sunday, Ice Cube released a video saying that he wasn’t endorsing Trump or Biden, but he was thankful to the Trump administration for taking his advice on the Platinum Plan. The video was also critical of Biden and running mate Kamala Harris. “I don’t really see them pushing their policies in any particular direction,” Ice Cube said.

Much of the blowback this week has included accusations of hypocrisy, pointing out that Ice Cube has previously said he would “never endorse” Trump and that, in 2018, the rapper released a song called “Arrest the President.”

Ice Cube seemed unfazed by the criticism. “Every side is the Darkside for us here in America,” he tweeted in response. “Our justice is bipartisan.”

What Ice Cube Contributed to Trump’s Plan for Black America