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First of All with Victor Blackwell

CNN Poll: Trump Leads Biden Among Men Of Color 49 Percent to 46 Percent; Biden Campaign Ups Outreach To Voters Of Color; NYC Mayor Eric Adams Has Electronics Seized By FBI; House Speaker Johnson Is Running Out of Time To Avoid Shutdown. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 11, 2023 - 08:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: First of all, to solve a problem, one must first acknowledge that there is a problem. President Biden has discounted new polls from CNN and the New York Times that show that he's losing support amongst groups that he must win to be reelected. He cannot just win voters of color. He must win big. And right now, he's running even with Trump in one crucial Group.

Today, why more men of color are backing Trump and the states where those votes could be decisive. Plus, the White House hosted a Diwali event this week, but some guests rejected the invitation because of the administration's handling of Israel's war. We'll talk to one of them. And it's Veterans Day, we'll look at the push to further recognize the contributions of black veterans. I'm Victor Blackwell. Let's start the show.

There's a new CNN poll of registered voters this week. And the news is not good for the president. He's running nearly even with Donald Trump among men of color 49, 46 with Trump at 49. That's within the margin of error. But that's remarkable. In 2020 Biden one men of color by 34 points. He won black men by 60 points, Latino men 23 according to CNN exit polls. And sure, the election is not going to be held today. It's about a year away.

And is Biden ultimately expected to win with minority voters, men and women? Yes, but the margins are crucial. I got to let it a numbers coming to you now so stick with me. 4.9 million votes were cast for President in 2020 in Georgia.

According to our exit polls, 11 percent of them were black men. Biden won Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes. In Arizona 3.3 million votes cast. Our exit polls show that 9 percent of them were Latino men. Biden won thereby fewer than 11,000 votes. The President dismisses the new polling numbers from CNN and similar numbers from the New York Times, but they are consistent with the reporting on Biden softening support among nonwhite voters. And it also suggests that team Biden has a lot of work to do. And it's against the likely opponent who performed better with men of color than any Republican presidential candidate of the last 50 years Donald Trump. Democrats have started the outreach the Biden campaign aired an ad

targeting Latinos during the GOP debate Wednesday, and its first ad of the campaign targeting Asian American voters dropped this week too.


UNIDENFIED FEMALE: My parents escaped Vietnam during the Vietnam War. They started a small restaurant just before I was born, which is where I pretty much grew up and I learned what it takes to build a business and raise a family. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are investing in businesses like ours.

UNIDENFIED MALE: Getting ahead means getting the same chance to succeed as everyone else is why on his first day, President Biden signed an executive order to address racial inequity, working to narrow the racial wealth gap by creating millions of new good paying jobs, and more funding for black businesses. Getting ahead with the President, Joe Biden. He's putting in the work of black America.


BLACKWELL: Now that last ad launched the re-elections black outreach earlier this year. Here's where we started the conversation. Why are so many men of color appearing to choose Trump over Biden? And can he win them back? With me in studio are Andhra Gillespie, she's a polling expert and Associate Professor at Emory University. And Cliff Albright. He's the co-founder of the black voters matter fund.

Welcome to you both out there. Andhra, let me start with you. And listen, I don't know that anybody expects these numbers to be the same in November of 2024, where the President, the former president are running even with men of color, but what do they mean now? What does this poll mean?

ANDHRA GILLESPIE, FORMER POLLISTER: Well, it means a couple of things. One, the Biden campaign is looking at the sample size. It's also looking at people of color being grouped together. And it's important to keep in mind that while blacks are very, very democratic, Latinos and Asian Americans are democratic, but not as democratic as that. What I think this suggests in the long term is that there's work to do.

And so I expect that these numbers are going to stabilize. I expect that when the polls are looking at likely voters and non-registered voters, we're going to see some, you know, improvement for Biden. But what if I were the Biden campaign, I would be more concerned about making sure that those Democratic voters who are going to vote for you turn out to vote as I wouldn't be paying attention to what the horse race is.

BLACKWELL: Okay, so Cliff, let me come to you. You are working with voters. Trying to get folks registered. Protect their rights. What are you hearing about voter's thoughts on the administration and the President's work?

[08:05:12] CLIFF ALBRIGHT, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK VOTERS MATTER FUND: Yes. I mean, there's some frustrations there, Victor. And I think, you know, you've mentioned it, but I got to just reiterate. We're talking about a year out, right? I don't have any confidence that the folks that were wrong about the red wave one day before the election could be right about this one year before the election, right?

Second point, is that we've heard these polls before. We were told Trump was going to get 20 percent of the black voting in '20. He didn't. We were told Herschel Walker was going to get 20 percent in Georgia. He didn't. We were told Daniel Cameron would get 20 percent. He certainly didn't, right? And so we have to keep that in perspective.

But thirdly, and more specifically to the -- to the point about black men, what we're hearing is that there are at least efforts from Republicans to communicate. A lot of it is disinformation. And they're trying to take advantage of like gender differences. They're trying to cater to black men in terms of like grievances. They're trying to talk about, you know, religious conservatism, some economic issues, not matched by policies, right, just messaging that they are using disinformation to target.

So the real question isn't so much why there's been a marginal change. It's why is it with that attention that they're paying and what that disinformation is actually amazing that there haven't been bigger changes in the way that black men are voting. It hasn't happened yet. And I don't think that it will.

BLACKWELL: I mentioned Georgia. I mentioned Arizona as well. Where else could these both those votes be decisive in flipping a state one way or the other?

GILLESPIE: I think it's important to point out that particularly among black voters, that gender gap has been present. And so if you look at gender gaps that we think about broadly, they were actually bigger amongst blacks, and Latino folks in 2020. And it's actually pretty consistent that black men vote a little bit more Republican than black women do. What these numbers mean, and what the turnout numbers mean, because I think turnout ultimately is more important here is that in states where the margin is going to be 100,000 votes, like it could be in Pennsylvania, or the margin could be 50,000 votes or 10,000 votes, like it kind of was here in Georgia, that if you don't have people turning out, that could be the difference between winning and losing an election.

BLACKWELL: So when you say there are some issues, there are some concerns, what are you hearing clear from voters who, beyond what you say, are coming from Republicans, what they think about the first couple of years of the Biden administration?

ALBRIGHT: I mean, it's mixed reactions, right. You have some people that recognize that, you know, honestly, in terms of legislation, this has actually been a historic administration, right, and on issues that directly affect black folks. And so there are a lot of black voters, because keep in mind, we're talking about the margins, still the vast majority are supported. But there are some issues in terms of and particularly with younger voters that are frustrated about student debt cancellation, frustrated about voting rights, frustrated that there's not more action on gun violence. And right now, because one of these polls that we're talking about came out in these past three, four weeks, right in the middle of the Gaza conflict, there's a lot of particularly younger black voters that are very frustrated with the administration's response. I think you touched on it in your opening.

BLACKWELL: I think we need to pull that thread a bit more of the third option here between Trump and Biden is just staying home, right? And that could be an option that for people who don't think that the alternative is better than just staying out of it potentially is what they choose.

GILLESPIE: Yes. So I mean, I think particularly for Democratic leaning voters, the Biden message has to be don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Part of it is addressing misinformation about who does what in government. So President Biden can try to unilaterally cancel student debt. But if the Supreme Court says he can't, then we've seen kind of separation of powers, and checks and balances kind of get in the way. There are things that Congress has not passed. So the president can't implement what Congress doesn't actually put into law.

And so there is a big education process so that people can understand and are patient and then actually measure their expectations. But I think another thing that's also really important that I think a lot of young black people are saying here is they don't want to feel neglected by the Democratic Party because of the assumption that blacks are all democratic. So therefore, you don't have to do anything to earn their vote. So I think some of this is a battle cry and a clarion call for the Democrats to not ignore black communities and to campaign you.

BLACKWELL: Cliff, is there a generational difference? Imean, what you're hearing that we talked about young black voters and young black male voters? Are you hearing something different from older voters than you are from the younger ones?

ALBRIGHT: Definitely. There's definitely a generational difference. You've definitely got, you know, older voters that I mean, they're super voters. They're going to -- they're going to stay reliable Democratic voters. They're going to come out, but with younger voters, look, you know, Young folks always talking about you got to have the receipts, right? You got to show the tangibles. And if they're not seeing it, like you said, not so much switching over to Trump because, you know, not loving him or Republicans in general, but there is that option of staying home. There is that option I think he talked about you know these third party candidates that are coming out. There is an option that people might you know look at a Cornel West or --


BLACKWELL: Are you hearing people that are entertaining Cornel West or Kennedy or any of the others?

ALBRIGHT: Definitely. And it's, you know, again, it's not a huge amount, but you do have some people and especially over the past three, four weeks who are so upset about the President's response to Gaza, that they're like I will never vote for for him again. We also have to keep in mind that really, you know, the black enthusiasm for for President Biden wasn't really there in 2020. He got a lot of the black vote, right. But black voters are very pragmatic.

They've recognized that he was the best option to be Trump, right. But it wasn't out of some deep affection, some deep connection, some deep enthusiasm. So some of what the polls are showing is that fundamental flaw that was there from the very beginning. So when we talk about the polls, what I always say to people is look, the sky is not falling, right. But there are some issues. It just might be drizzling, and you've got to pay attention to that drills. You better go get an umbrella. You better start talking to folks more. You better start looking at some of these policies that again, younger voters and some older black voters want to see.

BLACKWELL: That's important. It's drizzling. There is no downpour yet. Cliff, Andhra, thank you so much.

All right. So after the break, you're going to hear directly from the Biden campaign. How are they working to bridge the gap heading into 2024? That's next.



BLACKWELL: So the Biden-Harris campaign has some trouble according to the latest CNN in New York Times polls with men of color and other groups they need to win and big to be reelected in 2024. What is the campaign going to do now? The campaign's communications director Michael Tyler joins us.

Michael, good to have you this morning.

MICHAEL TYLER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, BIDEN-HARRIS CAMPAIGN: Good morning, Victor. Great to be on. Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right. So let's start here. The President has discounted dismissed in some ways these news numbers from CNN and the Times. Do you see that there is a problem?

TYLER: Well, listen, I think as it relates to polls. We've had a lot of hand wringing over polls to cat to begin this week, right? We had folks speculating over how voters might behave over a year out. We saw that on Monday. We saw it on Tuesday. But then we actually got real data on Tuesday night.

You had a bunch of headlines to start the day saying that if Democrats lost in places like Virginia, or Ohio or Kentucky that it would spell bad news for Joe Biden. But then polls closed and we won in Kentucky. We won in Ohio. We won in Virginia. And the reason we did so was because of course, we had incredible candidates and incredible organizers putting in the work on the ground up. But the common denominator between all of them is they were running on the same vision, the same message, the same policies that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ran on in 2020. The same vision, the same messages, the same policies that Democrats ran on in 2022.

And so we're confident if we keep our heads down and put in the work that we're going to be successful in November 2024. Because what matters are results, not polls over a year out from election.

BLACKWELL: I'll say two things about that is that the President himself was not on the ballot on Tuesday, but also some of these candidates, especially Governor Beshear, in Kentucky, other Democrats were not running on close to Biden. They were running as you know, the local guy as I am for Kentucky. They weren't running on the Biden message, because the polls show that the President in these states is unpopular.

Let me ask you about the strategy, though. I had Congressman Clyburn on, who's the national co-chair for the campaign last week, and he said that the President doesn't need to do anything different. They just need -- the campaign needs to craft a message. It's about telling people what's done. Are you satisfied with the accomplishment that nothing new needs to happen? You just need to sell him better?

TYLER: Yes, I think what Congressman Clyburn is saying is that we have an incredible story to tell and we have to tell it, right? When this President came into office, we faced historic crises. We had the worst public health crisis in our lifetimes. We had the greatest economic crisis since the Great Recession, and we took action. He was able to get things done to talk about black America, for example, right? He was able to help us achieve record low unemployment. He's been able to deliver historic investments $7 billion in the HBCUs.

He has been able to deliver the fastest rate of black owned small business growth in a generation. And so we have to talk about that. We also do have to talk about the stakes as well, right? We have to talk about the mag extremists who want to roll back the progress that we've been able to achieve. And so our focus on a campaign has to be on telling this message over the course of the next 12 months. That's why we've gone up, for example, with the earliest investment in black and Hispanic media, for any campaign in history, right? We've got a $25 million ad campaign so that we can tell our story, communicate with these core constituencies over the course of the next 12 months in order to get the job done on election day.

BLACKWELL: You mentioned jobs and the President, the White House touts 14 million jobs created since the start of the Biden administration. I want to talk about a specific element of jobs and that's the minimum wage. This is President Biden, then candidate Biden, in October of 2020. Here in Georgia, here's the promise he made.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to pass a national $15 an hour minimum wage. Nobody. Nobody should have to work two jobs to be above the poverty level. It's wrong. We're going to change it.


BLACKWELL: So that's the promise. Didn't get $15 an hour. Everybody knows you need Congress to do that. I want you to listen to Gabrielle Martinez. This is a Latina here in Georgia this week, in the context of the President's promise there.


UNIDENFIED MALE: Are you happy with your vote for Joe Biden?

GABRIELE MARTINEZ, GEORGIA VOTER: Will I see something like rarely change? Like no, I didn't see it changes. Right now I work in three jobs because I have to like pay more things like my house is more expensive.



BLACKWELL: The President said nobody should have to work two jobs to stay out of poverty. This woman has three. Yes, 14 million jobs. But how many people have to work two of them to stay afloat? The Labor Department numbers came out for the third quarter, nearly 8.4 million people in this country are working at least two jobs. That's the highest number since 2019. So when people are looking for that economic shift, they don't feel it. To that woman, you say what?

TYLER: Yes, I'd say that that's precisely why we need another four years to continue to finish the job, right? I think it's important, too, that the President, of course, wants to get all of this done. But we have to be honest about the brick wall of mag extremism that we continue to run into when we're trying to get things done for the American people. Those are precisely the stakes when it comes to what's going to be on the ballot in 2024. Are we going to continue the work to build an economy that grows and the middle out and the bottom up? Or do we want to return to the failed trickle down economic policies that Donald Trump and mega Republicans put into place for generations.

This is the work that we have to do over the next four years. The President understands the challenges. He understands people's concerns, and he is doing the work to solve them. And so we have to make sure that everybody gets out and votes on November 2024, so we can get the work done.

BLACKWELL: I'll repeat that. It is not -- you suggest that you need another four years to finish the job. This is the highest number of Americans that have to work two jobs or are working at least two jobs since before the President got into office. So it seems like those numbers are going in the wrong direction. But you keep mentioning MAGA extremists, as you say the President's -- the former president's party or supporters.

President Biden often says, "Don't compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative." There is a third option of people just staying home. So how do you excite people who may not want Trump but aren't sold what they've gotten out of Biden?

TYLER: Yes, we have to put in the work, right. This is we have 12 months ago here until the election and I think right now --

BLACKWELL: But what's the work? What's the work? Is it just ads?

TYLER: No. So it's obviously inclusive of ads, but it's also good old fashioned organizing on the ground. We've already launched a couple of pilot programs both up in the blue wall and down at some of the expansion states. So we're directly communicating with core constituencies not just on the airwaves, but on the ground with -- with -- with staffers, right? We're doing things that are focused again on in Milwaukee, for example, we got folks on the ground, organizing the black community. In Phoenix, we got organizers on the ground, talking with Hispanic Americans. And so that's the work that that necessarily has to take place right now so that when we turn the page into 2024, we have a clear choice between Joe Biden and whoever emerges from the MAGA Republican primary, that we have done the job of communicating with people about what this administration has done for them and their families and what our opponents want to do to roll back the progress that we have made.

This is what a campaign is all about, right? It is a marathon, not a sprint. And so we're putting in the work to get it done.

BLACKWELL: Michael Tyler, communications director with the Biden- Harris campaign. Thank you so much.

The Red Cross says the health care system in Gaza has passed the point of no return. The Palestine Red Crescent says a hospital in Gaza just hours away now from closing. The Al-Quds hospital will soon run out of fuel.

One humanitarian group says that 500 patients could lose vital medical care and babies and people in the ICU would likely die. And this morning we're seeing protests around the world calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. This is video from London where protests kicked off a little more than an hour ago. And last night protesters marched through the streets of New York City snarling traffic blocking roads demanding a ceasefire as well in Gaza.

Now we saw the frustration with the White House play out this week. Canadian Poet, Rupi Kaur, who gained a cult following on social media said Monday that she declined an invitation from the White House to attend a Diwali event hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris. And she was joined by a number of prominent South Asian business leaders and artists and social media influencers in declining our invitation. Our next guest told The Wall Street Journal this.

"At this very moment, at a time of war, I find that their specifically one-sided stance is creating even more devastation. The fact that there's little or no support or acknowledgement of the pain that Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims are facing at this moment, it's really been disappointing." Joining me now is award winning filmmaker, Shruti Ganguly. She was on President Obama's echo committee of 30 Entertainment leaders, and also chaired its Asian caucus. Thank you so much for being with us. I want you to talk more about why

you declined this invitation in the context of what's happening in Gaza.

SHRUTI GANGULY, AWARD-WINNING FILMMAKER: Thank you so much for having me on. I mean I've respected this administration in many ways especially Kamala Harris who's done a lot to increase the visibility of South Asian and the Bikepark community. And I went to celebrate the volley at her residence and the White House last year. But at this moment, while I could support this administration, in many ways, simultaneously, I am absolutely disheartened by its failure to do something about the suffering that is happening on all sides of this incredibly tragic situation. And they need to take more humane stance on in their policies. More people are dying.


BLACKWELL: You know, we read from Rupi Kaur's statement that she's surprised that the White House would celebrate Diwali considering it is a celebration of the victory of goodness over evil, light over darkness. Is it a direct conflict for people who don't know much about the holiday? Is -- do you see it as a direct conflict of the principles of the celebration?

GANGULY: Well, as Rupi outlined, that is really what Diwali is about. It's about, you know, it's about finding the light through these dark times. And right now, we are continuing to be in dark times. I don't think this administration is bringing us to this light anytime soon. And I think this was a very personal choice for me.

I also do think that the South Asian community needs to not only be defined by Diwali celebration. We are incredibly diverse. We celebrate a range of religions and come from a range of backgrounds. And it's important for us to keep holding this administration accountable towards you know, fighting against injustice.

BLACKWELL: Has there been any response and reply from the White House and the Vice President's office?


BLACKWELL: Do you expect one?

GANGULY: No, not at all. I mean, when the Vice President also had a luncheon for the Indian Prime Minister, I chose to not attend that either. And at the same time, I can support the administration in different ways and community building. But in times of crisis, when it comes to, you know, either upholding, people who don't follow democratic principles, or are furthering a war and the murder of innocent people or the prolonging of people returning home to their families. It's really hard to celebrate.

BLACKWELL: Yes. There was another invited guests and I should say, as we said, at the top, there are several who decided to boycott the event after being invited. But there's one who agrees with you, Nina Davuluri, who told The Wall Street Journal this and let's put it up on the screen. "The logical side of my brain tells me not to attend the event and join my peers in the boycott, but the activist in me knows that if I don't go, I would not be leveraging my strength and experience in navigating the American Government." What about that? What about going to the event, telling the vice president exactly how you feel, and bringing it to the administration instead of the boycott, and then potentially coming out here and talk to -- talking to us, too. Did you consider that as an option?

GANGULY: I mean, I think that, you know, everyone can react to an invitation in a different way. And I think if there was an opportunity to actually have a meaningful conversation, if there seemed to be a window where there was the possibility of, you know, a discussion that could change the opinion and the stance. But when there have been, you know, public declarations of no ceasefire, or in this case, like before our window of like gardens leaving their homes. I don't think that from in my case that it was going to be the space for a conversation where my voice could be heard in that capacity.

BLACKWELL: Shruti Ganguly, I thank you for your time and sharing your thoughts with us. Thank you.

GANGULY: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So what will the U.S. population look like in the next decades to come? What a new projection from the census reveals? That's coming up next. Plus, rap lyrics allowed to be evidence in a major gang trial happening here in Atlanta, by some critics are calling it a racist double standard.



BLACKWELL: What's going on today CNN has learned that federal agencies electronic devices belonging to New York Mayor Eric Adams. Sources tell CNN the FBI agents approach the mayor in public on Monday evening.

It happened a few days after federal agents raided the home of Adams' chief fundraiser. This is part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of illegal donations from the Turkish government during Adams' 2021 campaign.

House Republicans are scheduled to meet this morning to reveal details of a government funding bill that would set up a potential for vote on the plan as soon as Tuesday. But a source tells CNN that things are still fluid and that timeline could change.


REP. MIKE LAWLER (R) NEW YORK: I don't know yet exactly what the Speaker is going to put forth. My advice and, you know, opinion on this is to do a clean CR with a to Israel so that we can move the ball down the field here and that we give ourselves more time to finish the appropriations work.


BLACKWELL: It's still not clear what direction the new House Speaker Mike Johnson is deciding to go but the government runs out of money in just a couple of days November 17 at midnight.

The Big 10 conference is sanctioning the University of Michigan football team over sign stealing violations. Now, as part of those sanctions, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh is suspended for the last three games of the regular season, but ESPN host Stephen A. Smith called the punishment a slap on the wrist.


STEPHEN A. SMITH, TV AND RADIO HOST, ESPN: Why should they be allowed to go to the college football playoffs hiding behind some wheat three games in the regular season suspension. By the way, still, you can still coach the players during the week by the way, you just kept you on the sideline for the day of the game and he could come back for the college football playoffs. How in God's name is that A Bible punishment that is nonsense. I stated it then and I'm stating it now.



BLACKWELL: Previously denied his program illegally stole signals and said he was fully cooperating with the investigation.

All right, so this caught my attention this week, take a look at America's future. The U.S. population is aging, and will soon start to decline. That's according to the U.S. Census Bureau and put out a new analysis this week, but their latest projections show the major role that immigration will play.

Now look at this right now, roughly one in five people in the U.S. are Hispanic. According to the Census, it could grow to one in four people by 2060. They call that the most likely scenario, but the projections vary with Hispanics being as much as nearly 28 percent of the population in this high immigration scenario.

So what does that mean, and why does it matter? Well, immigration could mean the difference between whether the U.S. has a population of 435 million people at the turn of the century. Or if it drops to 226 million. That's also according to the census bureau.

William Frey over a book at Brookings. He's a demographer. He says this, these emphasize that immigration is an even bigger contributor long term to our demographic growth and stability than perhaps it was in the past.

The census says that higher immigration levels would make the country more racially and ethnically diverse. Sure, but also younger on average. So we'll have to wait and see.

Coming up. It's been 25 years since a blank woman one album of the year. Do you know who that was, and you should be glad that she's even showing up on stages. That's your hand.

The artist with the most Grammy nominations this year is SZA, Album of the Year is one of them. I still have some competition though, including from my favorite of the year, Janelle Monae.




SZA, AMERICAN ARTIST: I'm so mature, I'm so mature. I'm so mature, I got me a therapist to tell me there's other men. I don't want none, I just want you. If I can't have you, no one should I might --


BLACKWELL: SZA leading the Grammy nominees with nine nominations female artists are running, Record of the Year, Song of the Year Album of the Year. All those categories. Entertainment reporter Jewel Wicker is here. She's also the former interim managing editor for Teen Vogue. Good to have you in studio.


BLACKWELL: So let's first talk about, I mean these women are doing some fantastic work getting acknowledged and recognized. Let's put up Record of the Year first, because some of what we've seen I have been I mean listen to all year.

WICKER: It is exciting. I mean "Oh My Mama" by Victoria Monet getting a Record of the Year nomination.

BLACKWELL: Right. She's got really good year.

WICKER: And the thing you know, a few months ago, she said that the MTV VMAs that that she wasn't quite ready to perform at the VMAs. And now she has seven nominations right the second leading nominations for this year. It's incredible.

BLACKWELL: Yes. SZA here with "Kill Bill."

WICKER: Oh yes.

BLACKWELL: You can play too. I mean, that's all and she had a really good tour. She was at number one for how many weeks. I mean --

WICKER: SZA ran the charts this year. And it's funny. I talked to her in December right before the album came out. And she was so nervous. And so to see her leading the Grammy pack is incredible. I'm so happy for her.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about Album of the Year. And I have a favorite here because Janelle Monae's "Age of Pleasure, had me in a choke hold all summer, and I turned 42 this year. So I only have eyes for two --

WICKER: It's so good.

BLACKWELL: -- was my thing. It's just lush.

WICKER: It's a fun album. And you can play it front to back and you almost want to start it over.

BLACKWELL: That's what I did.

WICKER: And it's such a good album. Yes, I'm so happy to see her in that category. And again, of course, this is well.

BLACKWELL: Let's put those nominees back up. Because again, as I say, the ladies are running all of these categories. You got Miley Cyrus there, Lana Del Rey as well. Olivia Rodrigo.

WICKER: Olivia Rodrigo.

BLACKWLEL: And Taylor Swift. I mean, she now has a record for the most nominee -- nominations as a song writer. We know how great her year has been. And for people who are looking for Beyonce, the Renaissance year was last year, right? So please.

WICKER: We can't.

BLACKWELL: Yes. We can't. We can't do it this year. There's also a new category, African Music Performance. Amapiano has really hit in the US. And so this is a moment of inclusion.

WICKER: It is. You know, and I think we always have these discussions with the rap, the R&B, the genre specific categories of if people get kind of relegated to those categories versus being nominated in the big four. But it's really great to see that category included.

BLACKWELL: You've been watching, we take another angle of music, the Young Thug trial and YSL Gang in Georgia. And the judge has now decided that the 17 rap lyrics will be included because the prosecutors say that they were talking about committing crimes would you learn when you watch the trial?

WICKER: Yes. So the judge said they will be conditionally admitted, right. So prosecutors still have to show that there is a reason for these lyrics to be brought up in court before they can be brought up. But prosecutors say listen, if you have a lyric that says I shot it, I shot at his mommy now he no longer mentions me and then we can prove that you shot it someone's mother that's a rival. Well, they maybe we should be able to use that lyric. So that's really the debate that they're having here.

BLACKWELL: I said trial, we should say pre-trial because we have been watching pre-trial for how long now?

WICKER: The indictment came down in May. We started trying to see the jury last -- May of 2023 -- 2022. We started trying to see the jury in January of this year. So nine months for jury selection alone.

BLACKWELL: What's the defense saying about these lyrics? WICKER: The defense is saying that is a complete violation of the

First Amendment and that it also will likely prejudice the juror against their clients unfairly that, you know, rap lyrics and black artists are the only ones that have their lyrics brought up in court in this way.


BLACKWELL: Jewel Wicker, good to have you.

WICKER: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much. All right. There are more than 2.3 million black veterans in the United States. I'm going to speak to a man who says they do not get the recognition they deserve. And he did something this week that's changing that. We'll will tell you what it is.


BLACKWELL: Well, today is Veterans Day, and we celebrate the service of men and women in our armed forces. But on Tuesday this week, local leaders in Buffalo, New York celebrated the city's first Black Veterans Day. It focuses on the often forgotten sacrifices and contributions of African American patriots.

Joining me now is the chairman of the Black Veterans Day, Dewitt Lee.


Dewitt, good morning to you. You know, as I was reading that, I realized that I said African Americans but the first black people who fought for this country when they did it weren't considered Americans. They were not still -- they were not citizens at the time. Tell us why you created this day.

DEWITT LEE, CHAIRMAN, BLACK VETERANS DAY: That's an amazing point. But if you give me just a moment to give thanks to my Heavenly Father and His Son, Yeshua, the Prince of Peace, whose name I pray for protection of our troops around the world, and of course, thanking all our troops for their service and sacrifice, including my children's grandfather, Abul (ph), my brother, maybe still Donald Lee and my black Veterans Day co-founder, Khalilah Megan Campbell.

That's an amazing question. Because I think we felt differently. We felt there was those who decided to fight for the -- on the American side, they felt like this was a way that they can establish their citizenship. You know, there was a advocacy done prior to these proclamations being put out forth by the British who were present in America, who offered citizenship in their country, and hungry for freedom and hungry for an opportunity, we had a very tough decision to make.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this was celebrated in Canada before now. This is the first time it's been celebrated in the US. Talk about the significance of November 7. LEE: Well, it is historically significant. 1775 of the first of two proclamations went out by the British army to entice those who were enslaved and free to fight for freedom. There was actually a couple of years prior to that there was a court ruling in Britain, where a black man was able to negotiate for his freedom. So there was a rumor that Britain was the land of the free.

So, I think people were really inspired to join that force, to support and to fight for their freedom. But ultimately, Canada, is a place that we've always known as Freedom. And with November 7 being that first day in 1775, we were able to fight for our freedom, it made sense to celebrate the day where we were able to actually be in control of our emancipation, and not necessarily wait on, you know, wait on a bill to be passed.

But Canada is first, in a lot of respects. Brampton particularly has been supportive of a lot of different initiatives in lieu of the national decade of people of African descent.

BLACKWELL: You know, when Carter G. Woodson, created Negro History Week, almost a century ago now, and it's now Black History Month, the way I understand it was the goal was to infuse the contributions of black people in this country and to the broader American narrative into academia and to everyday life not to isolate it to a week, which has now become a month.

How does that happen with black veterans? Isolating or saying there is a day for black veterans that we celebrate the contributions, but how do we greater include the narrative of those contributions into the larger story of service?

LEE: That's an amazing question. And I think we actually see this as an opportunity to appreciate the growth of this country, you know, seeing the transition, seen where we've come -- how far we've come. Obviously, veterans see themselves as comrades today, but it wasn't always like that.

And it's very important for us to dig back in history and actually take advantage of all of the research that researchers have dedicated their lives to, to produce and make available online. So now we can actually pair closer and deeper into what it means to -- what it was like to actually to fight for a country that wasn't essentially fighting for them.

And, you know, speaking of the history is important, Canada is a place where if since 1994, they've had their own Aboriginal Veterans Day. So they've always created -- they're used to creating space and room to talk about the growth of the country and the depth of the sacrifice of people of color.

And you know, what Veterans Day is the day where we celebrate those going to war, and where we all support those families and those individuals, but Black Veterans Day is an opportunity to talk about what happened when we came home from the war and all the broken promises, I bill to two more. BLACKWELL: Dewitt Lee, co-founder of Black Veterans Day, now celebrated for the first time in the United States. I thank you so much for your time. Thank you, Dewitt.

LEE: All right, I acknowledge, it's got to be hard to be the editor of People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue, but as it said, we got a few picks, some that you should consider. That's next.



BLACKWELL: So this week, People Magazine announced their 2023 Sexiest Man Alive and it is Patrick Dempsey. You remember him from Grey's Anatomy. So good. Patrick Dempsey. As its magazine said, Hold up, hold up, hold up. Hold up. Have you seen Method Man?

I mean, Method Man they say should be on the list. Essence magazine said hey, People, you might come in through a different door. But Jalen Hurts is standing right here. You didn't see him. No? OK. All right, yes, comes in.