Panel - West Point Cadets' Raised-Fist Photo

May 10, 2016 - Lecrae 05/10/2016 Views: 1,287

Lecrae, Ricky Velez and Holly Walker discuss the uproar over a photo of 16 African-American West Point cadets posing with their fists raised. (6:38)

All right! Welcome back!I'm here with my panel.

First up, Nightly Show contributor Ricky Velez.

(cheering, applause)

And Nightly Show contributorHolly Walker.

(cheering, applause)

And his memoir Unashamed is in stores now,

and his current album Anomaly

debuted at number oneon the Billboard Top 200,

please welcomeGrammy Award-winning rap artist,

-Lecrae! Yeah!-(cheering, applause)

And for everyone at home,join our conversation right now

on Twitter @NightlyShowusing the hashtag #Tonightly.

Okay, so we were talkingabout this earlier in the show.

A group of young, black femalecadets at West Point

came under investigationafter posing for a photo

in a clenched-fist salute.

Some people were saying theywere taking a political stance.

Uh... I thinkthey definitely knew

what they were doingin that moment.

Does anyone here thinkthey were making

a political statement, though?

I mean,they could have been making

a political statement,we don't know,

but the army makes politicalstatements all the time.

Remember"Don't ask, don't tell"?

-Mm-hmm.-You know what I mean?

Um, so I havea political statement:

-Lighten up. Lighten up. Lightenup. -(applause, whooping)

-WILMORE: Yeah.-Yeah.

I feel like a...a bunch of girls got together

to take some pictures,it was like, hey,

we're gonna go this way, okay,then we're gonna go...

diva pose, then we're gonna goSoul Sista number one,

-Right. Yeah.-and... you know what I mean,

have a good time.First of all, I mean,

let's be clear, they...this is a group

of young black ladies who are...not only went to West Point

-but graduated, so, like...-Yeah. -Right.

-You know what I mean?-WILMORE: Very proud of it.

And, uh,gonna take some pictures.

I mean-- before I say thisI would just want to say

I love the military,they're amazing,

-LECRAE: Uh-oh.-I've done shows for them,

I mean, I have familythat was military--

but the picture is concerningto a point.

I didn't knowwe were still using swords.


WILMORE: That... that's the partyou have an issue with, Rick.

I knew the militaryhad some cutbacks,

but I didn't knowwe went from...

drone to sword.

WILMORE: You got to getreally close to people.

Like, now I understandwhy ISIS is such a problem.

-Like, you know? It's...-Yeah. That's...

We're over there,"En garde, (bleep)!"

-Like, come on.-WILMORE: I know.

-It's stupid.-Why do you think people...

why do you think peopleuse the word "divisive"?

Why would someone think thatthat would be divisive, though?

-Come on, they're 21.-Sure.

-LECRAE: They graduated.-Yes! -Exac... Agreed.

-They were having a good time.-Agreed. -WILMORE: Yeah.

Their mentor says theywere doing it as a shout-out

to Beyoncé's "Formation"--let's see that picture.

Everybody remember, this wasafter, I think, the Super Bowl.

They were... they were doing...

Now let's see the pictureof the girls again.

-VELEZ: Those are two differentoutfits, though. -Yeah.

Okay, so... can... can we justblame Beyoncé for all of this?

-(laughter)-What do you think?

I blame social media.

WILMORE: It is... it'skind of social media's fault.

-VELEZ: It has to be.-Whoever social media is,

I blame you, wherever you're at.

WALKER:The only... the only person

that needs to be blamed--not Beyoncé--

Jay Zand Becky with the Good Hair.

Now, those are the only peoplethat need to be bl...

-VELEZ: It's Becky's fault?-Yup.

VELEZ: Now, I am telling you,if you didn't listen

to that Lemonade album,you can't keep up

-with politics anymore,it's ridiculous. -Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Every time whensomething happens in politics,

-it goes back to Beyoncé.She's... -Yes. Yes. -I know.

She's mad at Jay, not America.


-(laughter)-LECRAE: I just want to say...

-WILMORE: Yeah. -the Bey Hiveis gonna sting you tonight.

-Just... Watch your back.-WALKER (laughing): Yeah.

It wouldn't be the first time.

Bring it.

WILMORE: Oh, see, they'renot kidding around, are they?

-Okay. Okay.-VELEZ: Why do you guys turn?

-WALKER: Yeah, I know. I know.-Jesus Christ!

-But they are powerful.-Have a backbone!

The Bey Hive is powerful.

Who should they bemore concerned about,

the Bey Hive or the military?

-(laughter)-WALKER: The Bey Hive.

The Bey Hive will come at you.

Y'all don't understand,I grew up before the Internet.

I can turn off my phone.I'm not afraid of it.

-(cheering)-Okay? I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

-(applause, whistling)-It's bull(bleep)! -Yeah.

-I'm not afraid of Twitter.-Touché. Touché.

WILMORE: So, do you thinkthe chatter about it

is much ado about nothingor do you think these girls

are actually gonna get punished?

Uh, they'll probably get a...I hope they only get

a slap on the wrist.I hope that that's all they get.

-Slap on the fist? -Because...Uh, a slap on the fist.

-Mm-hmm.-Because... uh, because...

-I'm still gonna do this.-Because they had to work

too hard to get in, they had towork too hard to get through,

and they had to work too hardto get out, so...

-they deserve to graduate. Yeah.-Yeah, I agree. -Agreed.

Agreed, and I do thinkit's amazing--

-I mean, there were16 out of the 17 that... -Yes.

-Or 16 out of 18.-Yeah, that one girl... -Right.

She took the picture. You know?She's all, "I'll take this.

-Don't worry about it." Yeah.-WILMORE: Yeah, exactly.

-But, uh... -No, y-y'alljust get over there,

-make a fist, make a fist.-Y'all get together real quick.

-Black power, right?Black power. -I'll take it.

I'll take the picture,I got you.

What-what filter you wantto use? What filter you want...

No, but... it's amazingwhat they did,

but at the endof the day, uh,

-the military doeshave its rules. -WILMORE: Yeah.

And it does, uh... onceyou are a GI, that, I mean...


You guys got to kind ofplay by the rules.

-and, um, ex...-Absolutely.

But you can be proudof your accomplishment

-without makinga political statement. -Yeah.

It's-it's not the same thing.

I don't think it wasn't political.

-I don't think so either.-But we live in such a...

a racially and politicallydivided country right now,

where something like that comingout of... the 16 girls

that are in this graduatingclass doing this

-means something now. -It meanssomething to all their people,

-not necessarily...-Yes, but why would you say

it's not political?'Cause I don't think

there's anything wrongwith it being political.

Like, I haveno problem with that.

I think there's a problemwith punishing them for it.

-LECRAE: Yeah.-But-but I don't have a problem.

-(cheering, applause)-Well, I think...

I, like, I, like, I don't buy...I think it's (bleep) they said,

"We were just excited, yeah."No, no, no, no, no, no.

Some people were like this,some were like this.

Well, I mean, mind you,the fist alone--

the fist is a symbol of unity,it's a symbol of-of resistance,

it's a symbol of strength. So ithas all kind of connotations.

When the Black Panthers,particularly, used it,

that was a party, that was apolitical party. I don't b...

I d... You know,some people would say,

"Oh, that's domestic terrorism"or whatever they would say

about the Black Panthers,but maybe some of 'em were,

but all of 'em weren't.

Um, some of 'em fed my motherlunch on-on Mondays

-when she didn't have any food.Um... -(cheering, applause)

but... but outside of that,I would-I would just say,

you know, you-you don't...we don't know

what these girls meantwhen they put their fist up.

We have no idea.You're-you're punishing them

for what someone elsemay have done,

may have used the fist for.But we don't have...

We have zero ideawhy these girls

-had their fist up.-I put it like this:

-I don't care. I ain't madat them either way. -Yeah.

-I really don't care. -Yeah.They are going to defend us.

-Exactly. -They are going to betaking care of us.

-Whe-When you put your lifeon the line... -Yup, yup.

When you put your lifeon the line for the country,

if you do a little bit of this,I ain't mad at you.

-I ain't mad, either. Yeah.-We'll be right back.

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