Return to Transcripts main page

First of All with Victor Blackwell

Clyburn: Phillips Disrespecting SC Black Voters By Going To NH; Minority Students On Campus Report Higher Rates Of Depression; Israel Admits Strike On Ambulance Near Gaza Hospital; Missy Elliott Makes History At Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 04, 2023 - 08:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: First of all, Arab American frustration with President Biden is a major political problem. Some leaders say that if he refuses to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, they are willing to campaign against him. And that could hand the Oval Office back to the man who proposed the Muslim ban, Donald Trump. Today, can the President maintain his support for Israel and keep his 2020 coalition together or is this a moment of political reckoning? Plus, Congressman Dean Phillips pins his presidential hopes on New Hampshire and immediately runs into trouble in South Carolina. One Democratic leader even accused him of disrespecting voters, that Democrat Congressman, Jim Clyburn, will join us.

And when your college kids are coming home from break eaten up all your food in a couple of weeks, take a second to check in on their mental health because a new study says that students in the minority on campus are more likely to suffer depression. I'm Victor Blackwell. Let's start the show.

We begin with Israel's war with Hamas and the outrage in response to its bombing campaign in Gaza. This morning, the Israeli military admits that it struck an ambulance just outside the hospital. At least 15 people were killed according to the Hamas Foreign Health Authority.

Now it denies IDF claims that the ambulance was being used by Hamas. They say the ambulance was part of a medical convoy. Egyptian sources say that more than 700 foreign nationals are expected to evacuate southern Gaza today. Now among that group, nearly 400 Americans like this 11 year old.


FARAH SALOUHA, AMERICAN NATIONAL EVACUATED FROM GAZA: My dad told me to be safe and he hugged me and he kissed my forehead because he's very worried about me. He told me that he loves me and to stay safe and always remember. I'm very sad because I love all of my friends, especially -- especially in school because I was always happy with them and I miss being happy instead of just worrying about my sister all the time.


BLACKWELL: Well, now the IDF is giving Gazan's three hours to travel south. They posted the message on social media. It's not clear how many Gaza residents have access to the internet to see it. The Israeli military has repeatedly called on civilians to evacuate as they intensify assaults on densely populated areas in Gaza City and in northern Gaza.

Well, now here at home, the first national poll of Arab Americans since the Hamas attack shows a massive rejection of President Biden and his handling of the war. Just 17 percent of Arab Americans now say they'd vote for Biden in 2024. That's down from 59 percent in 2020. A quick math for you, a staggering 42 point drop according to the poll by the Arab American institute. Now, if Arab American turnout reflects those numbers next year, that could jeopardize Biden's reelection because and we know this. Arab Americans live in all 50 states, but more than two thirds are in just 10 including the swing states of Pennsylvania and Michigan, two states crucial to Biden's 2020 win.

Now, Biden won Michigan by about 155,000 votes, just shy of three percentage points. A poll out just days before the Hamas attack showed Trump within one percentage point of Biden. The largest concentration of Arab American communities in the country is just outside of Detroit. Let's go to Pennsylvania. You know, the -- the President's been there over and over. Pennsylvania was so close on election night that it was called three days after for Biden, after those votes were cast.

82,000 votes separated Trump and Biden in Pennsylvania in 2020, out of more than 6.8 million votes cast. And two polls released just before the attack showed Trump ahead in Pennsylvania. Can prize -- President Biden maintain his support for Israel and convince dejected Muslims and Arab Americans that he is worth supporting in 2024?

Let's get perspective now from Edward Ahmed Mitchell. He's the National Deputy Director of the Council of American Islamic Relations. Good to have you in studio.


BLACKWELL: Let me start with this video that Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib posted overnight online in which she says that the country is not with the President here. We see the videos of the protests across the country. And there are more than Muslims and Arab Americans at these protests obviously. She ends the video with this you remember, in 2024?



REP. RASHIDA TLAIB, (D-MI): We will remember in 2024.


BLACKWELL: The accusation that the President is supporting genocide. Is that what you believe?

MITCHELL: Look, I've been speaking to most Americans across the country as well as Arab Americans. And disappointment does not begin to describe what the community is feeling. I'm hearing anger, disbelief, even disgust. The American Muslim community is seeing video footage of children being pulled out of the rubble, ambulances being blown up, marketplaces being targeted and then they're seeing President Biden saying that Israel just has the right to defend itself with very little qualification of that and even questioning the Palestinian death toll. So we have seen immense anger in the American Muslim community over the past three weeks. And unless the President calls for a ceasefire, I think that anger is only going to grow.

BLACKWELL: And so calling for the ceasefire that would -- appease is the wrong word. But satisfy a large number of Muslims and Arab- Americans, even if Netanyahu does not incite one.

MITCHELL: Look 9,000 people have been killed in -- in Gaza and most of them civilians, women, and children. Those lives cannot be brought back. So the damage is done. But for the President to continue supporting what Benjamin Netanyahu's far right government is doing while these images of violence continue to come out. It's just untenable. And I -- you know, I've heard from Muslims who say that the tipping point was the murder of young Wadea. That 6-year-old boy in Chicago was stabbed to death by his landlord because his landlord was -- was upset about what he was seeing. There's a feeling that President Biden has been dehumanizing the American Muslim community, Palestinians overseas, and that that has contributed to this atmosphere we're seeing of Islamophobia just unleashed like it was 10 years ago.

BLACWELL: Let's listen to a leader in Minnesota, talking about his dissatisfaction with the President. Let's play that.


JAYLANI HUSSEIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CAIR MINNESOTA: As American Muslims, we have suffered under many Presidents through different types of policies. But this particular is a big red line. We believe by not electing Biden and him losing, it will reset the political discourse on the American Muslim vote.


BLACKWELL: Okay. So two parts of that the President is often heard saying that do not compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative. The alternative is likely Donald Trump. So if you want President Biden to lose, do you want the man who proposed the Muslim ban in office?

MITCHELL: Well, it's important to know, we're a civil rights organization. We don't tell people who to vote for or who to vote against. But we do tell people you should turn out and vote and make your voices heard and we analyze those voters. And what I'm hearing is that some Muslim Americans just say they cannot bring themselves to cast their ballot for someone who is justifying what they believe is ethnic cleansing and -- and mass murder. But you're right elections are between two people. And so we'll have to see who the people on the ballot are next year.

But I would just emphasize, if people keep seeing these images of people dying and being killed, civilians, all bets are off in 2024. I have no idea what's going to happen. I know we're going to tell people to turn out to vote. It'll be up to them who to vote for. And I think there's going to be a surprise for major political parties next year.

BLACKWELL: Also in this poll from the Arab American institute, they found that not only are people who responded, not in support of the President, they have left the party or they're no longer affiliating themselves with the Democratic Party. It's the lowest number since I believe 1996, when they started this. We've seen only a few demographic political realignments in history, black voters leaving the Republican Party in the 1960s. We've also seen Asian American voters in the late '90s, the early aughts moving away from Republicans as well. Is this that moment for Muslims and Arab Americans, you believe?

MITCHELL: It's important though, that Muslims actually have changed their political allegiance. Back in 2000. Many American Muslims voted for George W. Bush. And then when he went to war with Iraq and unleashed Islamophobia, they switched to the Democratic Party. Is it possible to see an alignment back to the Republican Party? I'd be surprised by that given how hostile some Republican leaders are to Muslims. I think you might see the independent vote rising in 2024.

But again, the next few weeks are critical. It all depends, I think, on how this plays out, you know, in Gaza because we cannot. The American-Muslim union is not going to tolerate this level of violence being deployed against anyone, especially our brothers and sisters overseas. So -- so I think the next two weeks are critical one way or another.

BLACKWELL: Edward Ahmed Mitchell with CAIR. Thanks so much.

MITCHELL: Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right. Cornell University is the latest college campus to see a flare up in antisemitism since the beginning of the Israel- Hamas war. A student was arrested accused of making threats against Jewish people. And yesterday classes were canceled at school administrators say the campus is under extraordinary stress.


Now the Anti-Defamation League says that it is that it is tracked nearly 400 anti-Semitic incidents since the Hamas attacks on October 7th. More than 100 of them were rallies according to the ADL, where the group says that there was explicit or strong support for violence against Jews in Israel. Well, now some of the nation's most powerful law firms are warning elite universities to crack down on anti- Semitism or the schools and their students will face real consequences. And we're talking top schools like Cornell and Yale and Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford. Joining me now is Jacques Berlinerblau. He's professor of Jewish

civilization at Georgetown University. He's also a co-author of blacks and Jews in America, an invitation to dialogue. Jacques, thanks for being with us. So I've read what you've written about this and you say that you don't blame the colleges and universities. But you think that they're handling this the wrong way, mishandling the the public narrative. Explain that.

JACQUES BERLINERBLAU, PROFESSOR OF JEWISH CIVILIZATION, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Good morning, Mr. Blackwell. I think American colleges and universities are in a really difficult space right now. This is not something that they've necessarily created but it's happening on their campuses. And my feeling is they've lost control of their optics, and they've lost control of their narrative. They're going to have to take some aggressive steps to reestablish what it is that happens on an American college campus and what it is that we do as professors.

BLACKWELL: Okay. So let's go through some of your suggestions. And let's just start with it reasonable and rational people can say that there is no place for violence. There is no place for a threat of violence in these protests. But you write this that it extremely difficult to make sense of complexity or to even discuss it against a backdrop of nonstop protest, petitioning and disruption. But I wonder, would there be as passionate a conversation that you're looking for without these protests? I mean, we look at 2020; the -- the protest across the country about race and policing created many conversations. We saw this in Hong Kong, even in Jerusalem, Israel, as it relates to the -- the judicial changes there. Does the spectacle, then create the environment where these conversations will happen?

BERLINERBLAU: You know, colleges are unusual places. And I've always felt that too much passion in a learning environment is counterproductive. I totally agree with you that passion creates conversations, people start to talk, and they get interested. But at a certain point, what we do or what we should be doing on American college campuses is establishing a sense of critical distance of empathy, of seeing positions that we never even thought of before because we weren't familiar with the research. So I feel this explosion of incendiary rhetoric is not necessarily helpful for -- for what we as professors are trying to do.

BLACKWELL: Okay. So -- and you call on the campuses to employ the experts, the professor's there to create conversation. Campus administrators have to fix -- find out ways to get their experts to speak and reflect on all of this complexity, both with the students and with the public. That's one suggestion that it's not happening but also from what I've learned from having conversations with some of these protesters is it it's not for lack of information. It is in part because of the history that you layout in your piece that they are so passionate. Do you believe that -- that they're just uninformed and that's why they're, they're having these emotions?

BERLINERBLAU: No, not at all. But we -- and again, as professors, we traffic in complexities. And what we do is very different from what happens in the entertainment industry perhaps or definitely in politics. And it's our job to raise to our student's attention what the great German sociologist Max Weber called inconvenient facts. That's what I try to do as a professor. When I build a syllabus, I try to read scholars with whom I could not possibly agree, less or more, could not possibly agree less with.

What's really important is that students get to see a professor dealing with opinions that she or he or they might not necessarily feel comfortable with. And I feel that's the process that universities have to encourage in the classroom and that's very, very hard to do.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And, you know, though, that that's not the trend everywhere for people to engage with thoughts and opinions and analysis that they do not agree with. Let's look at Florida where in Florida, the governor there six months ago just got rid of the DEI offices at public campuses and now has ended the pro-Palestinian groups on several public campuses. So the offices, the -- the agencies in the school that are supposed to, one, draw the the line to say what is appropriate and what is not and to foster these -- these conversations, they're just not there in some places so what then?


BERLINERBLAU: So we have government officials telling universities what they should be doing. We have university administrations telling professors what they should be doing. And as you might know, Victor, over the last 20 years, there's been a tremendous loss of control by professors, a loss of faculty governance. So I feel maybe the solution forward is professors have to reclaim the narrative. That's the best that we can do and on a very local level, class by class syllabus by syllabus. We have to be able to present our students with these complex, unpleasant, dense arguments, which is what we are trained to do and I'm with you on that. I find it really problematic that government officials are intervening in college classrooms and setting college curricula and that's definitely a problem.

BLACKWELL: All right. Jacques, good conversation. Thank you so much.

BERLINERBLAU: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Black voters have new power in Mississippi, and next week when they go to the polls, it's going to be tested in the governor's race. Why the Democrat running thinks that black support could help him pull off a red state upset. Plus Mr. Meter in the house and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Missy Elliott gets her flowers, why her induction last night means so much.



BLACKWELL: Here's what you need to know today. We could soon know what will happen to a Colorado police officer charged in Elijah McClain's death. Jury deliberations will resume on Monday in the trial. Now McClain was walking home from a convenience store when police responded to a call about a suspicious person. In body cam footage, police wrestled McLean to the ground, put him in a chokehold, and then paramedics injected him with a powerful sedative. Officer Nathan Woodyard was -- is charged rather with reckless manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

This is the third of five trials related to McClain's death. One officer was convicted of negligent homicide while another was acquitted of all charges.

The City of Fort Worth could settle a lawsuit brought by the family of Atatiana Jefferson. Police officers conducted a welfare check, shot Jefferson through the back window of her home, and her nephew who was eight at the time watched his aunt died. The city says that a $3.5 million settlement would be placed in a trust for the boy. But a lawsuit filed by Jefferson's estate will continue. Former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean was convicted in Jefferson's death and sentenced to more than 11 years in prison.

President Biden again called for gun reform while visiting the grieving community of Lewiston, Maine. Now the president the First Lady, they left flowers at a memorial to 18 people who were killed in a bowling alley at a restaurant there. The President called on members of the Lewiston community to embrace the survivors of the shooting spree. And he also said that he still has hopes that Congress can pass comprehensive gun legislation. No state has a larger share of black voters than Mississippi; more than 36 percent are black. And next week, Democrats are hoping their votes can help elect a Democratic governor for the first time there in more than two decades. Republican Tate Reeves is the Governor right now. The Democrat, Brandon Presley, is running against Reeves.

Now the latest reliable poll conducted back in August had Reeves up by 11 points. But there's one big change that could help the Presley campaign. This year for the first time thanks to voters, a candidate must win with the majority of the popular vote or else face a runoff.

Now up until 2020, the way Mississippi elected statewide officials dated back to a Jim Crow era system. Candidates need to win a -- a majority of the popular vote and a majority of the State House districts, kind of like the electoral college. Well, a lawsuit filed in 2019 argued that, "The architects of this system for electing candidates to statewide office had one goal in mind: Entrench white control of state government by ensuring that the newly enfranchised African-American citizens who at the time constituted a majority of the state's population and some of whom had been elected to statewide offices would never have an equal opportunity to translate their numerical strength into political power."

Well now the calculation by Democrats and the Presley campaign is that this renewed political power for black Mississippians levels the field in their favor. Presley has been pitching himself with a message aimed at black voters. He's campaigning on black radio stations and historically black colleges.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me tell you about the man that is our governor. He looks down on us thinks Mississippians have no good sense was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. And he spent his entire time as governor looking out for his big shot friends instead of us. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Of course, we've seen how black voters can impact elections before. Think of 2020 when the Biden campaign looks doomed after poor finishes that were early on. It was black voters in South Carolina who rescued him. According to a CNN exit poll, Biden one about three in five black voters in the state in the 2020 primary. Well, now South Carolina voters will be the first to cast ballots in the 2024 Democratic Presidential primaries so we know the power of black votes.

And that gets us to South Carolina's Jim Clyburn. He's calling out fellow Democrat Dean Phillips for not respecting black voters and silliness as he challenges President Biden in the 2024 primary. Congressman Clyburn is here to explain next.



BLACKWELL: I'm sure by now you've heard all this that President Biden's plans for a second term are in trouble because of his age, his forget progressives, and independents in the migrant crisis inflation. You get the point. Well, all of it is leading Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips to launch a primary challenge against Biden and at least in the early stages, Phillips is betting all of his White House hopes on New Hampshire. There's a problem though. The DNC and team Biden wants South Carolina to go first in next year's primary. And that boots New Hampshire from a spot it's held for a century.

And that's why Phillips plans are a problem for the man who helped Biden turned his 2020 bid around, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn. He says in part that Phillips is not respecting the loyalties of some of our party's most reliable constituents. And Congressman Clyburn, a co-chair of Biden's reelection campaign joins me now.

Congressman, thank you for being on. That was interpreted to me that you were talking specifically that he was disrespecting black voters. Is that what you meant?

REP. JIM CLYBURN, (D-SC): Well, thank you very much for having me and congratulations on the new show.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, sir.

CLYBURN: And that's part of it. The other part of it is that Brown voters in Nevada, there were a second in this primary window and as far as I can determine, he has not made any attempt to file in Nevada. So you're ignoring Black votes in South Carolina, ignoring brown voters in -- in Nevada, you're ignoring the process that was carefully put in place by President Biden and the Democratic -- National Democratic Rules Committee.


They went through all of this. They studied it. They looked at our constituents and they decided to the lineup that would give due respect to all of our voters was in order and they did that. And now, we've got someone who decided to violate that and she has no respect for all of this work.

BLACKWELL: All right. So Dean Phillips has responded now to your statement that -- and I've got other things I want to get to. But I want to play what he said about your statement that he's disrespecting the voters of South Carolina. Let's play that.


REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm disappointed. Mr. Clyburn, a man I admire and respect knows better. Those who are participating in dividing by casting blame and shadow on people like me, that's part of the problem. And I can't wait to get to South Carolina introduce myself. And I have respect for Mr. Clyburn. But I think that's exactly what's wrong.


BLACKWELL: Exactly what's wrong part of the problem, you're responsible what you heard there from your colleagues in the House.

CLYBURN: I don't quite understand what he's talking about what's wrong. You put a process in place, and you ask everybody to play by the rules. What's wrong is when people refuse to play by the rules. What's wrong is when people disrespect all the work that goes into doing this.

The Democratic National Committee did a lot of work. The President gave a lot of concern to it. And he's decided to go around that. And so, I don't understand what he means that that's exactly what's wrong. What is always wrong is not following the rules.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about voters in South Carolina, your constituents there and the comparison from 2020 the exit polls that we have, versus the latest polling on the job approval. There's a pretty big disparity there. Exit polls show in 2020, President Biden won 90 percent of black votes in South Carolina. His job approval in a CNN poll out this week is now at 63 percent among black voters.

I don't know that anybody expects him to win the state in the general. But what's your assessment of this drop off in approval or support for the president among black voters?

CLYBURN: Well, you know, Victor, I have been puzzled by all of this polling because I do a lot of polling. You mentioned Mississippi earlier, I spent the weekend for last two, maybe three days in Mississippi. I've been in other states as well, on my way to Virginia, on the Sunday, tomorrow, or Monday, and I'm not getting that.

I go throughout South Carolina all the time last weekend. I was in Charleston, in Colombia, in Orangeburg, I'm not getting that. So I don't know what's going on with this polling. But I guarantee you.

BLACKWELL: What are you getting? CLYBURN: I'm getting that African Americans are very pleased with this

president, and what he has done. We know how we're connecting every home and business in South Carolina to the internet. We know that this because the this infrastructure bill that he did. We know that seniors are now paying much less for their medicine, most especially for the negotiations going on with Medicare, that cap of $35 a month for insulin. We know who is responsible for all of that.

BLACKWELL: Well, Congress. Let me just jump in here because one more thing I want to bring to you. And you know, nobody's going to challenge your connection to the people of South Carolina and Mississippi as you're going over there to help the Democratic candidate run for governor.

But we've got a scientific poll that shows that there's been this drop off and also our John King was in Milwaukee this week speaking with black voters there. I want you to listen to what they say as of course, we know Wisconsin is crucial if the President is to be reelected.


JOANNA BROOKS, MILWAUKEE VOTER: Black people in general think tend to be pretty loyal to the Democratic Party. And sometimes I wonder just based on how that party has performed thus far for people of color, if we should continue to be.

If you're Joe Biden you want to be reelected?


You'd have a problem today, right?


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: If with just Biden and Trump. Who would you vote for?

JOHNSON: That's a tough one.


BLACKWELL: So hearing that is your suggestion that the President does not need to change what he's doing if you have these black voters who seem to be underwhelmed?

CLYBURN: I don't think the President needs to change what they're doing. I think that those of us who are helping to run this campaign need to change what we're doing. That's where the problem is, we are not making these connections. You cannot ask for a more productive presidency than Joe Biden has had.

You can go through all of the deals with these paths, nothing has come close to it, since the Great Society programs of Lyndon Baines Johnson. So the question is, how do we get people to understand it and to feel

it? That's the problem is not Joe Biden's problem. It is our problem. Those of us who must get this message out and get him connected to the voters. That's the problem, not the president.

BLACKWELL: All right, Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn, thank you for your time, sir.

Students of color at predominantly white schools, and white students at historically black schools, there's a new report out on the impact of depression on college campuses. And we'll talk about how there is this shared anxiety between those two groups. Stay with us.



BLACKWELL: And just a couple of weeks college students across the country will be going home for Thanksgiving break. Now if you have one coming home, while you're asking about grades and social life check in on their mental health, especially if they're minorities on campus.

Because a new study from experts at the University of Georgia shows that there's a common depression line and anxiety among that group. Janani Thapa is the lead author of the study. She's an associate professor at the University of Georgia's College of Public Health. Thanks for coming in.

We've been talking a bit about this during the break, because I find it fascinating that there is not just the feelings of depression and anxiety between black and Hispanic and Asian students at predominantly white schools, but white students at HBCUs. Explain that.

JANANI THAPA, ASSOC. PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA'S COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Absolutely. Victor, thank you. So we when we did this study, and the study was done in 2021, during COVID, we were collecting data from all student. We reached out to about 45,000 students from a predominantly white university and historically black university. But how we looked at the data is so let's look at students that are minority context specific.

So as you said, a black student in a white university would be minority, but a white student in a historically black university would be a minority, and we do find higher odds of anxiety among white students in a historically black university. So yes.

BLACKWELL: Yes, so what once these students come home, we're not talking just students who are homesick, right? Some of these say that they have severe symptoms. What should parents ask? What should they look for?

THAPA: So we as administrators, faculty, and staff are there for students to come in and ask and that is our day to day. We -- we try to talk to our student I work with a research group about eight students, we are to keep talking to them about how it's going, you know, what is the research pressure, there is academic pressure and all of that.

So when they are home to see for signals, if they are -- how they are talking about their college campus life and what's going on just to be a friend for them, when they are coming home and talking about that because mental health is common. And we do find that, in the recent years mental health among adolescent and college students is going up.

BLACKWELL: Is the answer as obvious as it might seem as to why we're seeing this occurrence of depression and anxiety?

THAPA: Yes, Victor, there is a lot of research on why and we find that social support and academic achievement is a factor among college students primarily. And especially during COVID, one of the reasons why we saw majority of our students of our all of our survey participants had some form of depression and anxiety and I think most of what we saw during our study was we were doing our study during COVID.

So they were in social isolation, not hanging out with their, you know, friends as they were talking about their day to day activities, assignments, requirements. So that must have mattered and research backs up their social support and the academic achievement pressure does matter.

And one thing that we also found in our study is first generation student for example also report higher rates of depression. So the college campus and adjusting to the new life of college campus is a fact and when students are coming in new to the college without having a family member who has gone through the college and talking about college life, but not having that at home does matter.

So, what -- how can we support students we are there in college campuses as faculty, staff and administrators and that is our priority, but at home to also talk to your child about how call is life is how they are adjusting, how -- who are they hanging up with the feeling of belonging --


THAPA: -- and sense of belonging is what we want to develop a culture of.

BLACKWELL: Janani Thapa, thank you so much. I find it really interesting and, you know, have those conversations when these kids come home. All right, next. Getting into formation without going into debt. Get together because we need to talk about this. Beyonce comes for our coins every other month and now she has a new fragrance out to sell us.


BEYONCE, AMERICAN ARTIST: All right. My first spray. I actually sprayed this during the show a few times. Got to keep it fresh.




BLACKWELL: Listen, if that doesn't make you want to put your thing down flip and reverse it. I don't know what to tell you. Missy misdemeanor Elliott, the best-selling female rapper in music history hit another milestone in her career. Last night she became the first female rapper to make it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and talked about the honor this week.


MISSY ELLIOTT, FIRST FEMALE RAPPER TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME: Rock and roll to me is a gumbo of different styles of music because I think we get this thing where rock and roll you got to have a good top. That would be like saying, you know, hip hop is just wrapped when it consists of, you know, we have incorporated jazz. We have incorporated blues.


BLACKWELL: CNN digital senior entertainment writer Lisa France is with me now. Fewer than 100 of the close to 1,000 artists who have been inducted are female. So this is a big moment, but it's missing like Missy, she had to be in there.

LISA FRANCE, CNN DIGITAL SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT WRITER: And before we recognize her big moment, I've got to congratulate you first of all.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. First of all --

FRANCE: First of all, I congratulate you on your show.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

FRANCE: Making history Baltimore in the house.

BLACKWELL: Yes, indeed. Thank you.

FRANCE: Yes. What Missy Elliott is incredible. She did it up big last night. She gave a production she had on a gold suit, gold bucket hat, it was so impressive surrounded by like 30 dancers, DJs, I mean, you know, she's incredible. And she really in hip hop which is known to be misogynistic on a lot of levels to have the first female rapper be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is so major.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and you know, I just so many of the good memories I have from high school and college and 20s and 30s are two Missy's music.

FRANCE: You can't not jam.


FRANCE: I mean, who else can make popular? I mean only Missy Elliott.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Yes. All right. So let's talk about Beyonce.

FRANCE: Yes, please.

BLACKWELL: And you know, I remember the Beyhive.


BLACKWELL: But it has never been as expensive to be a member of the Beyhive first tax season comes she's like, Oh, I got to tour, you know buy these tickets. And then when you go to the concert, everyone's going to be in silver or chrome or whatever that is. Then the movie comes.

FRANCE: The new movie.

BLACKWELL: OK, the movie is announced. And now she has a new fragrance.

FRANCE: She has perfume.

BLACKWELL: Tell us about it.

FRANCE: Ce Noir.


FRANCE: And say it's going to be expensive because is I feel like you should start a Christmas club find for Beyonce any and all things just keep putting money in there or just give her your whole check.


FRANCE: It is going to have they say, you know, notes of honey and Jasmine. And basically, I think it's going to smell like Beyonce. Because I feel like she smells like all our hopes and dreams.

BLACKWELL: $160 for that bottle.

FRANCE: $160.

BLACKWELL: Let me just say not only and I brought these, because when I went to the Renaissance Tour, you had to wear silver and this was my silver.

FRANCE: Get into the shoe.

BLACKWELL: I don't like have a chrome sneaker lifestyle. But check that heel out.

FRANCE: But you need to get a chrome (INAUDIBLE).

BLACKWELL: So I don't have anywhere else to wear them. Every time there's a Renaissance story, you're going to get these shoes.

FRANCE: See, first of all, like you have got to build yourself into those shoes. So did you have to become the shoe? Yes. BLACKWELL: I mean, so yes, anytime we do a Renaissance we'll just create a little graphic little pop up in the corner. You got to see Victor's Renaissance shoes again.

FRANCE: Please do that.

BLACKWELL: I'm getting my money's worth.

FRANCE: Yes. And the perfume is going to be a huge sell.

BLACKWELL: Oh, of course. The last one sold what, $400 million.

FRANCE: I mean anything that she comes out with.

BLACKWELL: First, heat was huge.

FRANCE: Right. Even though she didn't give us visuals. I mean, I guess she's technically she's giving us visuals.


FRANCE: Right.

BLACKWELL: Like you said you are the visual.

FRANCE: You are the visual.

BLACKWELL: All right, Lisa France. Thank you.

FRANCE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So listen, this is a hard turn. But after the weeks that we've had, we need to talk about this facing trauma. There's been a lot of it. We cover it daily in the news. I want you to meet a painter that is putting a face to that pain with his art. His work really spoke to me so I'm going to share that with you next.



BLACKWELL: First of all, thank you for joining me for this first show. This is a big moment for me, I've got my own spot. And I want to spend just a couple of seconds with you to tell you what this space is.

The goal for me every week is to add context to the big stories that you care about. I'm trying to fill in the picture. And that means diversifying the voices and broadening the perspectives. So when you come here, you should expect new faces. You should expect an angle that you've not considered when you watch this show.

And also stories that you have not heard other places, I want to take you some places that maybe you've never heard of. Often the stories in the places impact and are places of people of color. And you know, I'm going to try some new things, some new approaches, and I hope you liked them. Here's one. So I'm an art lover. And I think art enriches life and when an

artist's vision or the work is applicable to the news of the week, or is influenced by the news. I want you to meet that person. I hope that enriches you and your day as well.

So this week, I'm introducing Tariq Oliver. You ever heard somebody say Thank God, I don't look like what I've been through. Well, after weeks of the stories of the terror attack in Israel, and the crisis in Gaza, and the mass shooting in Maine, and even the Category 5 that hit Acapulco, Tariq's work explores what if we did look like what we've been through?


TARIQ OLIVER, PAINTER: My name is Tariq Oliver, originally from Nigeria. I'm based in New Jersey, and I'm a painter.

One of the first paintings that I made was my feelings on the day I received the call that my dad passed away. I was in a very dark place for a long time. We tend to hide and we're not comfortable with showing these very deep emotions.

I think the abstraction of the facing says a lot in terms of pain, in terms of loss. We all go through trauma at some point in our lives or going people going through trauma right now. I'm just basically trying to make people understand, hey, it's OK to express yourself this way. Is OK to show the side of you that you might feel you're not comfortable with.


BLACKWELL: There's a lot of beauty in that work too. Now, if you are in South Florida next month, you can check out Tariq's work at the 1969 Gallery in Miami.

Thank you for joining me today. I will see you back here next Saturday at 08:00 Eastern. Smerconish is up next.