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First of All with Victor Blackwell

New Documentary Explores Cultural Impact Of Freaknik; FSB: 11 People Detained In Connection With Concert Hall Attack Including All Four Directly Involve; Mississippi Officers Sentenced To Prison For Torture Of 2 Black Men; Legal March Madness Gambling Generates $2.7 Billion. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired March 23, 2024 - 08:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And of course, I'm going to have to ask him about that Super Bowl fit, so.

AMARA WALKER: Of course, you do. Yes. All right. Looking forward to it. Have a great show, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks so much. Let's start the show right now.

So those conversations are just a few minutes away. But first of all, the breaking news on the deadliest terror attack in Moscow in decades. More than 100 people are dead after attacker stormed the concert hall yesterday, shot people inside, then set it on fire. The U.S. says it has no reason to doubt a claim of responsibility made by ISIS-K. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is following this from Berlin.

So Fred, let's start with what you've been learning about who was behind this and how Russia might respond.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Victor. Well, first of all, the Russians are saying that that death toll that you mentioned is already well over 100. Now actually, the Russians fear that that is actually still going to rise. They say right now that the authorities are actually combing through that building the Crocus City Hall on the outskirts of Moscow in a place called Krasnogorsk. The roof of that building obviously partially collapsed, a lot of the place has been burned down. So the Russian authorities still going through that right now.

Now, as far as the attackers themselves are concerned, the Russians are now saying claiming that they have apprehended not just the four attackers that they say went inside the Crocus City Hall and started shooting people at point blank as eyewitnesses said, they also say that they have seven people who they say worked together with these perpetrators, so not 11 people in total in custody right now.

The Russians are saying that the alleged gunman fled Moscow in a white car and that they were stopped and apprehended in the Bryansk area. Now that's significant, because that area is very close to Ukraine. And as of right now, in all this still preliminary as far as the Russians are concerned, they claim that the attackers and their accomplices wanted to flee to Ukraine, wanted to go across the border and had quote, "relevant contacts inside Ukraine".

They have so far not confirmed that they believe ISIS is behind all of this. The U.S. obviously says that, at least says I have no doubt that about the claim that ISIS step it forward. ISIS, of course put forward their claim. The Russians at this point in time, appearing possibly to talk about some sort of possible link to Ukraine. The Ukrainians, for their part, of course, have vehemently been denying having anything to do with this, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Fred Pleitgen for us in Berlin. Thank you, Fred.

We're also following the continued outpouring of concern and support for Catherine, the Prince of Wales. She announced that she's now in the early stages of treatment for cancer. The princess says that doctors found the cancer during surgery in January. Her video message addresses some but not all of the questions about her health. CNN's Richard Quest is outside Buckingham Palace.

Let's start with the reaction to the announcement about the diagnosis. But also what is next for Kayden and the royal family.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the net what's next is coming to terms with it and actually dealing with the issues of chemotherapy treatment. You said what's in terms of her medical what's happening. I don't expect we're going to find out anymore. The palace, Kensington Palace have made it quite clear, they are not going to do a running commentary on the princesses medical condition and treatment.

We know that she has started the chemo that happened at the end of February. But what stage the cancer is out indeed what type of cancer? All we know is that she had major abdominal surgery, which was successful as far as it went. Why she had it, the symptoms, we just don't know. And that's the way I think it's going to remain because their priority, the family's priority now is with the children, obviously, George, Charlotte and Dewey, who are now on Easter vacation. It means they timed the reveal of her condition to the Easter holidays, so that the children did not have to be at school with everybody talking about what was happening to their mom.

Now they're on holiday, either at their Norfolk home or at Windsor or one of the other homes or maybe they're going away with other families we don't know. But this is really all about as the princess herself said, coming to terms with it, explaining it in appropriate ways.

And as for the mood victim, what is the mood? Well, I think if you look at the morning papers, you talk to the people, even my family just on our family WhatsApp chats, it's been a case of very sad, sympathetic wishing well, and you know something she's right, Victor. Leave the poor woman alone. And let her get well.


BLACKWELL: Yes. She has enough to think about and concern herself with other than the press hounding her for pictures and for details. I understand that. Richards Quest, thank you so much there for us in London. Now Kate ended her message with this.


CATHERINE, PRINCESS OF WALES: At this time, I'm also thinking of all those whose lives have been affected by cancer. For everyone facing this disease, in whatever form, please do not lose faith or hope. You are not alone.


BLACKWELL: I want to talk about this with Tricia Goddard. She is the host of this week or the week rather, with Tricia Goddard. Trisha, it's good to see you again. It's been a while since you and I have talked on air. And you posted on social media about your living with cancer. And about as you said, the added emotional burden caused by the responses to the diagnosis and the return. Help us understand what that is, especially on the scale of Princess Kate.

TRISHA GODDARD, HOST, "THE WEEK WITH TRISHA GODDARD": I'm so glad. Thank you so much for asking that. Actually, that's such an insightful question. People imagine how they would be in in the situation. So you often get and Catherine is going to get this unfortunately, everybody knows somebody. I mean, sometimes when you finally tell someone that you have cancer, they'll say, oh my God, I know so much about it. My aunt and my cousin Mike, they had this terrible death of cancer. It's -- the first person you do not tell about terrible deaths in your family from cancer is someone who's just told you about it.

The other thing is labeling someone brave. When you say someone's brave, you shut them down from being able to cry, be upset, et cetera. Unsolicited advice. Oh, I've been told if I drank dandelion tea, and if I, you know, use garlic, then the cancer will go. We -- we don't need um, you know, unsolicited advice about diet because the person give it -- giving it. However much they think they're an expert. They don't know what stage of treatment you're in. Your ethnicity, what your allergies may be.

You know, there are special oncologists nutritionists who have your medical notes who can do that. Now, Catherine, in that last message that you played, I'm so glad you played that. You notice she didn't say to all those battling cancer. She said people and people going through cancer hate that term battling. Many of us won't say anything, because it's said with the in the kindest way.

But really, Victor, how do you battle cancer? You know, we talk about this person won the battle with cancer. This person lost. I mean, what do we do go big, big. If we don't buy cancer. We get up. We are not our diagnosis.

There are currently millions of Americans, millions of Brits, and I actually want to reach out to black Americans who are going through this because we know you -- we don't show up in hospital. We don't show up for our tests enough. We're scared. There's too much, you know, rubbish surrounding you know, too many mad ideas about it. Please, if you see something a little bit scary or feel something a little bit scary, worry the hell out of your healthcare provider. But, you know, the thing is, we are not our diagnosis. We want to live we want to be moms. We don't want to be hassled. Catherine doesn't need to be hassled by people saying exactly what kind of cancer have you got? What stage is it? We don't need to be reminded of it.

BLACKWELL: I think you may --

GODDARD: I mean you and I have worked together. I worked with Anderson. I've worked with everyone. No one knew for 19 months. I mean, when I had my wig on, no one knew because I'm a journalist first.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And I think it's important you know about going to the doctor. We also have covered especially on this show the implicit bias that black people face once they get to these doctors. So make sure that you say you hound them and then get another opinion, because we have covered also misdiagnosis sometimes that have been tragic. And the terminology is so important.

I listened to this conversation you had with Erin Burnett, about survivor and one who won the battle and lost the battle does that suggests that the person who lost a battle with cancer was weaker or did not do everything necessary? We need to be very careful around that.

Let me get one more in here on Kate. And just really the last time we were together in New York, it was around the time of the Queen's funeral. We covered the tension with Harry and Megan. We have covered The King's diagnosis as well and now Kate's diagnosis. Just talked about if you will this difficult period for the family in royal family.


GODDARD: It is really difficult. And of course we forget, I'm Sarah Ferguson, who's still, after all Eugenie and Beatrice's mom, and she'd been welcomed back into the fold. She too, had a cancer diagnosis if you remember. It is a you know, King Charles talked about slimming down the monarchy. That's really difficult now, because there aren't enough people to fulfill, you know, things in the royal diary that have been planned sometimes years in advance. So, and we understand today that the Harry has just, you know, found out they didn't know before, that's understandable. You often keep it quiet from family members just while you try and come to terms with it.

This is an opportunity, and I am one of those people who likes to believe in Disney endings. But this is an opportunity for Harry and Megan to come back into the fold. Britain has already pitched to host the Invictus Games. So Harry was going to come to the U.K. anyway. This is an opportunity where it's a win-win. So I really hope that Harry and Megan are invited back in that conversations and refreshments start, and that the U.K. can start to see Harry and Megan, because Megan is so important to anybody who feels othered or people of color and black people etc. I'd love to see them back in the U.K.

BLACKWELL: Tricia Goddard, always good to talk to you. And thank you so much for spending some time with me this morning.

GODDARD: So welcome. Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead on First Of All. Should black college athletes reject offers from or transfer from schools that have eliminated DEI programs. The NAACP says they should consider it. They call it the bus boycott of our era. NAACP President Derrick Johnson is with us next.

Plus, if you know anyone who was at Freaknik here in Atlanta's in the 90s check on them. They might have made it into the new documentary. Jemaine Dupree is here to talk about why he helped make a film about that, at some point, infamous Spring Break Park.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greatest black gathering in a America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like an entry point into the black cultural experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be able to be in the middle of the street, dancing, laugh and play your music. It's a moment.




BLACKWELL: Texas and Tennessee men's teams play today in round two of March Madness. Now I don't talk sports often on this show. But this matchup is a relevant one because the NAACP says that black players on those teams and student athletes playing for any school that has restricted diversity, equity and inclusion programs should reach should consider transferring, 80 bill's targeting college DEI programs are pending in 28 states and in Congress.

And this week, Alabama, Georgia and Florida and Utah, North Dakota and North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee to restrict DEI programs and most of those states have iconic college sports programs at one of the big schools.

Well, here's the headline of a new CNN Op Ed from the NAACP is President and CEO for black college athletes. This is the bus boycott of our era. Derrick Johnson is now with us.

Good to see you sir. I just want to start with you making the case here that you call the ban to essential rejection of college and universities which have eliminated DEI the bus boycott of our era. Explain.

DERRICK JOHNSON, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF NAACP: Well, why should any student go to an institution that won't want to erase their history not provide knowledge of who they are and the contributions from their community. It is unfortunate that these various schools who are playing in the tournament, they're going to make tens of millions of dollars off the back of black athletes who they wanted to deny their existence.

BLACKWELL: Okay. So let me ask you about the choice that you're asking these sometimes 17, 18 year olds to make. If an Auburn or Florida State offers a black athlete, a student athlete, a full ride to come and play. You want them to say no, I'm going to go to another school that maybe has inferior facilities or is not paying for college because those schools don't have DEI programs.

JOHNSON: But let's be clear. If an athlete is being offered a full ride at Auburn, Florida, that same athlete has been offered a full ride at USC, UCLA, University of Michigan, Ohio State and many other institutions that have equal or greater facilities and will not have not decided to deny their existence. This is not slavery. This should be a scenario where schools who honor respect individuals also is a school that will say you know I can provide athletic programs for you but also expose you to diversity and critical thinking skills.

The most important thing about this whole debate is what is DEI in institution. Isn't saying that we're going to give you history but you're not going to learn about Martin Luther King. That we're going to provide you knowledge about literature, which we won't teach you about James Baldwin or Langston Hughes. What is DEI? When is being denied here?


It is so vague, that it is unfortunate that anything that could be alluded to blackness or Native American history, or Latino history or women history could be considered inclusion, therefore, it is banned. It is unfortunate that this political climate is trying to take us back to a 1950s existence where we are in a global economy, and we have more in a global economy is more diverse than we've ever seen in the history of this country.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And we've just learned with this bill that was passed through Congress and headed to the President's desk that the House, the U.S. House DEI office has been eliminated. That will no longer be funded. But on this question the requests for students, it is not always the case that a student who is that is recruited by a school in Florida that does not have DEI will also get a full ride offer from some other school. They're not all playing in March Madness. They're not all playing for a championship. Some of them might be on sports that have limited budgets at other schools.

But if the point of equity, considering equity -- you're asking them to make this choice, you make it --

JOHNSON: These are --

BLACKWELL: Go ahead.

JOHNSON: These are top tier schools. These are top tier schools. These are schools that have programs that fund the entire universities. When you think about University of Florida, or Arban, or Alabama, these are top tier schools, where people are highly recruited, because they have huge nodule --

BLACKWELL: But not all schools in those states have those budgets. We're talking about across all seven states.

BLACKWELL: Well, let's be clear. But not all states are doing this. There are 50 states. You have HBCUs in Florida that they can attend. You have top two universities in states that are not competing in the NCAA Tournament, because they don't have the talent, but they have the resources. So let's not give a false argument or to false (inaudible).

BLACKWELL: It's not a false arguments, because there will have to be a choice that is made between going to college where you can get a free education, or going to a place where you have to maybe incur debt. And if the point of equity is to take into consideration historical disadvantages in an aim to get to a more equal finish, do you want that black student who can go and play tennis at a university or baseball at a university for free and change the trajectory of his family instead for a point to go to a another school and leave with tens of thousands of dollars in debt?

JOHNSON: Let's be clear. We're not talking about tennis. We're not talking about soccer. We're talking about football and basketball.

BLACKWELL: You said student athletes in any of these things.

JOHNSON: Well, let me -- allow me to finish, sir. I will finish. We're talking about the revenue generating skills. Secondly, there are thousands of schools across the country who works who are starving for this quality of athletes attend their schools. If a student is confronted with a choice between debt and no debt, that's a different campus with that's not the reality here.

We're talking about seven states. We're talking about state universities, not private schools. And we're talking about the cream of the cream athletes who are funding the very institutions that are now positioned to deny their existence. We will still have skills on SEC.

BLACKWELL: I hear you on that. You make no exception for that in your argument.

JOHNSON: Allow me to finish. We will have schools at the SEC right now still flying a confederate flag. But four black athletes say you know, I'm not going to go to Ole Miss. I'm not going to go to a Georgia or Alabama or to have that flag came down. And as a result of that, we start seeing state flags and school flags and pep rallies changing from the confederacy to something that was more inclusive.

BLACKWELL: I heard you. You make no exception for that in your argument to athletes. You make no exception to that in your argument to the NCAA.

JOHNSON: Would you attend one of those schools today? BLACKWELL: I went to Howard University where I didn't have to think about it and wasn't a consideration to go anywhere else.

JOHNSON: It's also the privilege that you were speaking from that I'm speaking for, we went to HBCU. Don't lose (inaudible).

BLACKWELL: But if you're talking about privilege, you're also talking about the privilege to choose between, I can go to this school for free and play and change the trajectory of my family, but because you want them to make a point, you're asking them to go somewhere else potentially take on debt.

JOHNSON: Sir, sir, I put it this way. Any student who respect themselves and understand the impact of any school that deny their existence and still give their athletic ability to that school to generate revenue. We are talking about a system of borderline slavery. We should not support that or present whether we are dues compensated or anything else that fake argument. There are options.


BLACKWELL: It's not a fake argument. Derrick Johnson.

JOHNSON: There's any student --

BLACKWELL: I hear you.

JOHNSON: -- who have the ability to be considered by a top tier school for athlete, there are other options. We're not saying don't deny so (inaudible) trajectory.

BLACKWELL: I hear you.

JOHNSON: There are options. There always are.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. Always good to have the conversation. NAACT -- NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson thanks so much.

All right. Still ahead. What is next for community in Mississippi after members of a so called Goon Squad was sentenced for torturing two black men.



BLACKWELL: This week, six former police officers who torture two black men were sentenced to prison terms. In January 2023, the officers raided a house without a warrant after a neighbor reported that black men were staying in a white woman's home.

While they beat and tased Eddie Parker and Michael Jenkins while they were handcuffed. They shot one man at the mouth. All six defendants pleaded guilty receives sentences between 10 and 40 years. CNN's Ryan Young has been covering this case for us.

Since it was first reported all the way through sentencing. Thank you for coming in.


BLACKWELL: So let me start here with the survivors of this attack and their responses, their reactions to the sentences what have they said?

YOUNG: An emotional week. As you can imagine, the terror that they have felt the fact that they are still giving with this trauma. Michael Jenkins had -- has had learned to talk again, his tongue was severed when that gunshot went outside of his mouth, took out his tongue. And he was on the ground bleeding while they were discussing how to clean things up.

So for them, this pain has been continuous. And not everyone believed them. So it took months for people to get in line with this. The officers confess they pled guilty. So that helped. But listen to Eddie Parker just talk about the pain and what they've had to go through over the last few years.



EDDIE PARKER, "GOOD SQUAD" VICTIM: Not to have the same thing the other day where Twitter for sympathy was only me and Michael died, sympathy was only day we wanted, sympathy where we did not get. But we got sympathy today. We got appreciation today. We got joy today. Pain is still in his name, but pain is slowly, slowly running away.


YOUNG: Yes, watching him in court was very interesting because he watched his friend be shot. He was crying. He actually stood up during one of the sentencings and said I forgive you. So there was -- there was some forgiveness there. But at the same time you understand they've been brutalized over and over.

We've even talked about the fact that they were sexually assaulted during this. They had a sex toy stuck in their mouth. They tried to force it into the backside of one of the men and the only reason why it didn't go in is because he started dedicating upon himself.

Then they forced them to take a shower together as they were tasing them over and over.

BLACKWELL: It's torture, torture.

YOUNG: It was torture at eight minutes.

BLACKWELL: And this so called Goon Squad, they weren't shy about bragging about this. It wasn't official, but they had emblems where they had a noose and a confederate flag and the emblem of the Rankin County Sheriff's Department, the leader of that department, Brian Bailey was reelected last year. There have been calls for him to resign What's he say? YOUNG: Well, I've actually talked to Brian Bailey. I was one of the few reporters to get him in a one on one. And he stated that he doesn't believe he should step down because he says he had no idea this was going on. Even though his fourth in command was involved. He said he had no clue that these men were going this far.

But members of the community are saying they absolutely had to know because they used to brag about this going on all the time. And people in the community knew if the Goon Squad came for you, you would be in trouble.

BLACKWELL: Ryan Young, I appreciate your coverage of this. Thank you so much for coming in.

YOUNG: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you. All right. Still ahead. Jermaine Dupri is here in studio. We're talking about his new documentary about Freaknik. And I'm going to ask him about those Super Bowl socks. He's with us. Stay with us.



BLACKWELL: So if you believe the memes a lot of aunties and uncles are worried about a new documentary, the subject is Freaknik. The spring break party began as a picnic for Atlanta HBCU students in the 80s but then it became a lot more popular in the 90s and a lot more while.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The interstates, the highway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the street party. They weren't even a word called torque and it was called booty shaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will know social media barely had internet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doing Freaknik start stop coming in. You will see Tupac, Cookie Mob, Outkast, Usher Raymond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what heaven looks like. But this seems like a version of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The legacy of Freaknik is black joy, black self- determination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Black love, black excellence, black enterprise.

UNDIENTIFIED MALE: But the legacy of Freaknik is also the ugly side.


BLACKWELL: Jermaine Dupri is here. He's the executive producer of "Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told." Thanks for coming in.


BLACKWELL: So when I sat down to watch it, I expected one thing and it is so much more than I guess the Uncle Luke era of Freaknik.


BLACKWELL: He actually calls this Freaknik our Woodstock. You agree with that?


DUPRI: Yes, I mean, it's the first -- first of all, this is a first documentary that is done from the South to show the world the cultural explosion of Atlanta in the southern hip hop in itself, right. So if you if you take that you just start finding out things that that yes, it's moves like Woodstock. I didn't go to Woodstock. So I don't know much about Woodstock.

But what I can imagine from what I've seen is, yes, it's a, you know, it's so many things that came from Freaknik that is not even, you know, like the word freak. The word freak is not about Luke. It's not about a strip club. It's not about girls wiling. They got that from the song sheet with the love Le Freak song the Chic had.


DUPRI: And I just don't think people know, you know, what the history was. And me being in Atlanta, it was a lot of history that I didn't know. And I think that that's important that that's the only way we can move forward.

BLACKWELL: It's so well done.

DUPRI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Because it starts with just some HBCU students from the AUC, who decided to stay during spring break.

DUPRI: They didn't decide. They couldn't afford.

BLACKWELL: They couldn't afford. They couldn't to go excited to have an event --


BLACKWELL: -- to party together. So let's have a party.

DUPRI: Then that in itself to me as a, you know, as a person that's like, always looking for things to motivate myself, if I'm, you know, if you don't have anything, and you just put your mind together, then you think about the other people that's probably around in the same space that are feeling the same way. Like they probably felt really bad about themselves and not having no money to be able to go to any one of these places for spring break, or even go back home. And then they decided to throw this picnic. And now we on CNN talking about it, it's crazy.

BLACKWELL: Grew to hundreds of thousands of people coming from around the country to Freaknik and you talked about the cultural element, which I thought it was just going to be about Freaknik but also about the music.


BLACKWELL: And the southern influence on music, and culture and how you would use the event to introduce artists. Stuff like that.

DUPRI: Yes. Well, I mean, once I realized, because I mean, it's 16 I think that's when I, you know, got my license, and I started driving around I could actually see what was actually happening. That's when I started knowing a lot Freaknik. As I turned 19, 20, Kriss Kross came out which it was '92. And then I got my labels started in '93.

And then '93 is when I really started saying, wow, this Freaknik thing is something. We should try to use this as a marketing tool, right? All of these people in the streets, all these people walking around, let's give them music. Let's give them flyers, let's put up a social big (ph) billboard. Let's do everything that we can to be, you know, to use this as a promotional tool. And from '93, '94 to '96, you know, that was what I was doing.

BLACKWELL: And the two fed each other.

DUPRI: Yes. 100 percent.

BLACKWELL: So, how do you then reconcile because near the end, in the late 90s, it became, as I said, much wilder, and there were assault, sexual assault.


BLACKWELL: And it became known for that near the end. How do you reconcile the nostalgia of what people loved about Freaknik? And what it became the uglier side?

DUPRI: I mean, it's not really you think -- nothing you can really do to reconcile. I think it's just -- because one thing about it was that it wasn't just a block. I think what people don't -- that's another thing that people don't realize, like, people say, well, Greek festivals like this in Philly, and this thing was like this in Miami Beach, right.

And Miami Beach is just Miami Beach.


DUPRI: The kids don't go across that bridge.


DUPRI: In Freaknik, it was in college park. There was an indicator that was all downtown. It was everywhere. It was people everywhere. And I don't think you understand that back to. So also, it's hard to govern all of these areas at one time and make sure everybody's safe.


DUPRI: Unfortunately, and you don't know that's the energy that's -- that we're heading into.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And eventually the committee that created it or was in control of it, they suggested that it should end because of in the late 90s what it became.

DUPRI: Well, that was the city that -- then that's another thing, that was -- the disconnect to me was that the five people who create it Freaknik weren't talking to the city. And the city created a committee that wasn't talking --

BLACWELL: Talking to the creators.

DUPRI: Talk to the creators.

BLACKWELL: It's all Hulu.


BLACKWELL: So I suggest everybody go watch --

DUPRI: It's number one, by the way. It's number one on Hulu.

BLACKWELL: As it deserves to be.

DUPRI: Yes. Yes.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about the Super Bowl fit?

DUPRI: Of course.

BLACKWELL: You still stand by this? The look, you got a lot of ribbon online for it.

DUPRI: Yes. I mean, I don't know why.


DUPRI: It is what it is. I mean, you know --


DUPRI: I think that, you know, as a person who's an entertainer and as the person who made the world put the clothes on backwards with Kriss Kross --



DUPRI: -- I just put on clothes. And, you know, if it excites the eye, you'll see it again. BLACKWELL: Listen, I went to find those socks. I was like, I'm just as

a joke. Don't wear the socks. I can't afford those socks. I can't afford those socks. Let me ask you. We talked about politics on this show. 2020 you backed the Biden-Harris campaign did some work to get out the vote.


BLACKWELL: You back in Biden again 2024?

DUPRI: I don't know. I've been working so much. I haven't really been paying attention to make sure that, you know, they saying the right things and doing what they're supposed to be doing. I mean, I feel like, I do notice that we -- they need help, though. And I mean, I feel like Trump is using everything that he could possibly do to get everybody vote and try, you know, doing everything that he can do.

So, I haven't really got my head locked into it. But I have noticed the little things that I've been saying.


DUPRI: I mean I know that, you know, like I said, I've always been a supportive Democrat. So I guess, you know --

BLACKWELL: But you got to -- they got to earn it.

DUPRI: Yes. I mean, it can't be, you know, I think that was one of the big problems is that we keep, you know, if you support you got to make sure you do what you got to, you know, do what you tell us you're going to do. Talk about it. And let's see about it.

BLACKWELL: All right. Jermaine Dupri, thank you so much.

DUPRI: All right.

BLACKWELL: All right. "Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told" is out on Hulu and number one --

DUPRI: Number one.

BLACKWELL: -- right now.


BLACKWELL: Coming up, the sports betting boom, you may be surprised by which group is most likely to gamble, gamble more often and lose more money.



BLACKWELL: The American Gaming Association estimates that bets on the men's and women's college basketball tournament will exceed $2.7 billion. This was surprised me that the NCAA looked into who is betting on sports. And they found that white people are actually less likely to bet than other groups.

At the top of the list black people followed by Latinos and then Asians. The NCAA survey found that black people are also more likely to bet specifically on college basketball. And this is worrying, black people bet more often, wager more money and lose more money, according to the survey.

Dr. Timothy Fong is with us. He's a co-director of UCLA's Gambling Studies Program. Thanks so much for being with me.

I want to read more of these stats and then get your insight here. 68 percent of black respondents to the survey say they've engaged in sports betting, higher than any other racial demographic, black sports bettors are twice as likely to bet $100 or more, 10 percent of black betters are losing reportedly 500 or more than a single day versus the 6 percent of the general population. Is there any insight into why?

DR. TIMOTHY FONG, CO-DIRECTOR, UCLA GAMBLING STUDIES PROGRAM: Oh, absolutely. Thank you for having me. Well, number one, gambling is a human condition. But number two, we're certainly learning more and more that gambling is disproportionately affecting communities of color.

And this is same risk factors, poverty, lack of resources, all sorts other social determinants of health that are leading to communities of color, taking larger and larger risks and say other ethnic communities in America.

BLACKWELL: And so when someone has and when gambling reaches the level of addiction, and there needs to be treatment, do the concerns about disparities in health care applied to the treatment for gambling addiction to?

FONG: Oh, absolutely, if not even more. You think about what gambling disorder is, it's an addiction, but it's a highly shameful and stigmatizing condition. Pile on top of that communities of color, there's hesitancy and mistrust of going to health care providers.

And what you get are by the time folks of color come into treatment, it's really severe, the damage is phenomenally much, much greater than we see from other ethnicities.

BLACKWELL: Sports betting is legal in 38 states and DC now, how much does it look the legality of betting matter here? I mean, are people betting more in these states where it's legal than, you know, the side bets and I guess pools that people have in states where it's not legal?

FONG: Well, I think betting is expanded just exponentially in all parts of America, regardless of whether it's legal or illegal or regulated, unregulated, but certainly we know because of the expansion of gambling in the last five year, more calls of gabling helpline, more concerns from communities, more attention paid to gambling.

And of course, when you have all the advertising, it's very positive, very, very much. glamorizing gambling, you're going to get an increase in gambling.

Look at all the ads, it says gambling is a way out. Gambling is a way of achieving spectacular success. So of course, you're going to see a rise in gambling across the board, and essentially all communities in America.

BLACKWELL: Are these companies focusing on communities of color black potential betters, Latinos, Asians more than they are white betters?

FONG: Well, you know, in some communities they are in terms of things like casino buses and various advertising and just trends in the communities that drive people into the casinos and things like that.


When it comes to mobile sports betting, I have not seen culturally targeted ads, but I've just seen ads every worker and every platform where you turn. So certainly that's one of the areas of concern, but I think, absolutely, we need to do a lot more to understand how advertising, how gambling industry is working to get more and more communities engaged in gambling.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Timothy Fong giving us something to think about as we watch March Madness. Thanks so much.

And thank you for joining me today. I will see you back here next Saturday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern. Smerconish is up next.