Congressman Hank Johnson, D-Georgia, represents a cross section of voters in the diverse 4th Congressional District. The recent Super Bowl performance by Beyoncé has a lot of conservative media up in arms. However, Johnson has a different view on the matter. Rolling out spoke with Congressman Johnson about Beyonce and the Black Protest moment.
From Beyoncé’s performance at the Super Bowl to Kendrick Lamar’s performance at the Grammys, many conservatives have been critical of this new Black music protest moment. What was your reaction to the performances when you saw them?
I think coming during Black History Month and coming after the Black Lives Matter movement has exploded onto the scene 50 years after the Black Panthers, which was spawned largely by the same conditions. Namely, police brutality and a need to protect the citizens and the same situation gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement. During this month of February the last year of an African American president [being in office], young people are again becoming socially aware and proud of who they are and understanding who they are. I have been proud to watch these displays of being Black and proud by young people.
What do you think of the negative conservative media’s reaction to these displays? Namely, blaming the performances as an attack on police. Recently Rutherford County, Tennessee, Sheriff Robert Arnold blamed Beyoncé for a string of national police shootings and a recent drive-by shooting at his home. Do you think her musical performance is to blame?
That’s just the same as people saying all police officers are bad people; that’s the same kind of thinking that is wrong [about] African Americans. So for some people who try to make the argument that being Black and proud creates difficulties for law enforcement, that’s ridiculous.