You know what I think of when I think of Sammy Davis, Jr.? No, not the Candy Man, Kanye West. The outcry over the sneezy or the wheezy or the eezy or whatever name he’s answering to today appearing at the White House and doing the equivalent of a verbal soft shoe is reminiscent of a similarly cringe-worthy moment from nearly 50 years ago.
Now, many of you reading this weren’t born yet, but I was. And I remember Sammy Davis Jr. He was a singer/ dancer/ entertainer and Hollywood royalty as famous for being the Black – or should I say negro – member of the Rat Pack as he was for his considerable stage talent.
Richard Nixon aka King Richard was president of these never been United States, and his favorite darkie was Sammy Davis, Jr. If you Google both names together, one of the first images you’ll see is a diminutive Sammy Davis hugging Richard Nixon as though he were a long lost brother – or maybe as if he were the father Kanye never knew.
Folks in the ‘hood and on the AM radio network that used to be Black radio were outraged. Here we had one of the most overtly racist presidents in history (and the competition, believe me, is tough) being embraced by someone whose people he was putting the mush on with one hand, while rubbing the head of his pet negro for luck with the other.
Fast-forward about forty-eight years to the Kanye Trump Show, live from the Oval Office. Here we have a president who thinks Kanye and everyone who looks like him ultimately came from shithole countries, who wants to make America white again (and this time, let’s send the darkies back to Africa and let’s build a wall to keep out more brown ones from getting in).
We have a president who has elevated divisive politics to an art form, all the while allowing as how the KKK has some good people in it too, along with the neo-Nazis and the skinheads. Here we have a president who questioned the birthplace of our Black president, not because he really believed it, but to stoke the fires of racial hatred against people who looked like that president.
And we have Kanye West, all but genuflecting at the Great White Father he has finally found, while simultaneously slamming every single mother who ever struggled to raise a child without benefit of the father.
One has to wonder if Kanye has been awake these last couple of years, or perhaps he’s deluded himself into believing that he’s an exception to the hate-mongering his new daddy has instigated. Perhaps he believes that, having married Reality TV Royalty, and being besties with the Reality TV President, he is somehow immune to the racist bile spewing from the mouths of the Head Fool and his Court Jesters.
But then again, perhaps that’s what passes for success in Kanye’s mind. All he needs now is a fez and a set of cymbals and he can become the official pet monkey for the president.