#OscarsSoWhite Pioneer Says Ice Cube 'Engaged in Digital Voter Suppression'

In response to recent news that rapper Ice Cube had a hand in President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign's "Platinum Plan," #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign called him out, saying that he'd "actively engaged in digital voter suppression against Black folk" in a Twitter thread Wednesday.

Reign was responding to a tweet that someone had written, saying Ice Cube had told Black people to "withhold [their] vote and to question the Dems." While it's not entirely clear what the original Twitter user was referring to, it's possible that they were referencing a May 24 tweet where the rapper called for Black Americans to "Hold the Black vote hostage until one of'em comes with A Black Agenda that we're satisfied with."

As previously reported, controversy around Ice Cube came to a head on Wednesday, when Trump Campaign advisor Katrina Pierson shouted him out on Twitter thanking him for contributions to the Trump campaign's "Platinum Plan." While he didn't explicitly endorse the president, Ice Cube released a video on Sunday expressing skepticism about all politicians and singled out the Biden campaign. In a tweet Wednesday, the former N.W.A. member wrote that he was approached by both campaigns to discuss his "Contract with Black America" and the Trump campaign made changes to proposed policies.

In a later tweet, Ice Cube reiterated a distrust for politicians, writing "Every side is the Darkside for us here in America." He somewhat explained his reasoning for meeting with the Trump campaign. "[W]e can't afford not to negotiate with whoever is in power or our condition in this country will never change. Our justice is bipartisan," he wrote. He later responded to someone who had shared a 2016 tweet where he said he wouldn't endorse Trump. In his response, the rapper reiterated that he hadn't endorsed either candidate.

I haven’t endorsed anybody. https://t.co/kmP99DdZug

— Ice Cube (@icecube) October 15, 2020

Reign accused Ice Cube's explanation of echoing a Trump talking point, saying it was "the equivalent of '...very fine people on both sides.'" She then tweeted a link to the Biden campaign's website, saying that his policies to help Black Americans were outlined concretely.

Cube serving y’all the equivalent of “...very fine people on both sides.” 😒 It’s literally a Republican & Trump talking point.

Only one side is trying to take healthcare away from millions of people. Just... as an example. https://t.co/xOIzyEnWzK

— April (@ReignOfApril) October 14, 2020

Reign ended her thread by calling Ice Cube entitled, because he had "never really been political before," and received attention from both campaigns for his Contract with Black America. She wrote there are "Black Women who have been doing this work for years." She ended the thread with one tweet describing how she imagined the interactions went.

In my head:

Ice Cube: Hey. I wrote a thing.

Biden campaign: Great! Our plan is up already, happy to talk to you post election.

Trump campaign: Mr. Cube! You’re part of the black man demographic we’re desperately trying to siphon off. Will your plan help us with the blacks? pic.twitter.com/fSezqvOjKs

— April (@ReignOfApril) October 15, 2020

On Thursday, Reign responded to a Twitter user who had questioned why Reign had criticized Ice Cube for making a plan. She questioned whether Ice Cube had been inclusive for all Black Americans in his plan, and said that his status doesn't warrant his plan priority. "He's free to create a plan. It doesn't mean his plan should jump to the front of the line because he's rich and famous," she wrote.

Sure. A Black man can. But who are the “Black people in the USA” Cube talked to when creating the plan? Were they poor? Were they queer? Were they disabled?

He’s free to create a plan. It doesn’t mean his plan should jump to the front of the line because he’s rich and famous. https://t.co/a8ShlSjn4G

— April (@ReignOfApril) October 15, 2020

Ice Cube's publicist did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication. Newsweek reached out to April Reign via the Women's Media Center, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Ice Cube
Ice Cube performs during 93.5 KDAY Presents 2019 Krush Groove Concert at The Forum on April 20, 2019 in Inglewood, California. Getty/Leon Bennett