Ice Cube’s photo op with Trump did little to help Trump’s reelection. For sure, it damaged Cube’s legacy. It branded him a sellout. Cube was willing to make a deal with Trump, a man in direct conflict with our humanity, and Black America doesn’t know why.
Ice Cube can’t understand why all the pushback from Black America. He was willing to make a deal with a hoodwinker that would allegedly infuse $500 Billion in government contract opportunities into the Black community. Black America could see clearly that the deal sounded too good to be true because it wasn’t true. We tried to tell Cube, but he couldn’t see beyond the fog in his prism. We believed this, but there might be another explanation.
Cube’s Contract with Black America may have been an attempt to save his American dream, Big3. The timing of Cube’s altruistic need to support Black Americans is suspect considering Ice Cube, aka O’Shea Jackson, and Big3 have been tangled up in a mess of lawsuits as early as 2018, and some filed this year.
Cube and his business partner Kwatinetz filed a 1.2 Billion dollar lawsuit against one of the Big3 funders who reneged on a promise to fund Big3. League investor Trinity Sports, LLC, filed a motion seeking access to financial records and claimed that Cube and Kwatinetz deceived them from the outset about the league’s finances, leadership, and corporate governance.
Then Roger Mason, Jr., NBA guard, and Big3’s former Commissioner, sued Cube and Kwatinetz after being fired. The suit in a Delaware Court, case No. 2018-0263, alleges Big3 had not produced its books and records as required. Mason accused Kwatinetz of calling the league’s players “rich N—rs” and that he had an insensitivity to matters of concern of people of color and immigrants. The case was moved to arbitration.
Cube sued his former lawyers on May 28, 2020, in New York Supreme Court. He claimed they had ulterior motives while representing Big3 Basketball in an employment dispute. The case was abandoned on June 8, 2020, by Cubes lawyers.
On June 11, 2020, Kainoa Henry, a former friend and the league’s chief creative officer, sued Cube in Superior Court of California case no. SC129404, alleging breach of contract and wrongful discharge. Kainoa contended that he was forced to resign his position because Kwatinetz created a hostile workplace. Kwatinetz continually talked about the greatness of Donald Trump’s former political advisor Steve Bannon and that investors were tied to Jared Kushner.
What’s more revealing is that Big3 took out an ad in the New York Times on April 20, 2020, with the headline “Hey President Trump, When you meet today with Putin’s new friend, the Emir of Qatar, please tell him not to threatened the Big3 and American athletes.” It was signed, “Sincerely, Ice Cube, Jeff Kwatinetz, Clyde “The Glide Drexler,” and the players and coaches of the Big3.”
Cube leveraged his trademarks as collateral for investors. COVID-19 sidelined the Big3 league. Is Big3 struggling like so many other businesses in America? If Big3 falls, Cube loses big time.
Maybe that’s why Ice Cube pimped the voting power of 13 percent of the population for his benefit. Why Cube reduced all Black people to a monolith without our consent, without allowing us to vet him or ask about his business conflicts of interest or legal problems, his financial success and fame as a rapper fed his notion that he was a broker, a dealer on behalf of Black America.
West African Caboceers in the late sixteenth century and beyond were dealers that paddled around Lagos’ ports to trade their kith and kin to European colonizers. Caboceers piloted canoes, acted as interpreters and brokers in trade deals. Caboceers selfishly traded Black bodies for gifts and benefitted at the expense of their captives who suffered the torture and terrorism of the slave trade. Cube is no different. Although he may not deserve to be at the top of the Caboceers List, he does deserve an asterisk by his name for trying. (Somewhere after Kanye, Lil Wayne, Fifty Cent, and Lil Pump).
Caboceers dealt with Europeans cunningly and ruthlessly and customarily received gifts or custom fees for their work called the “dash,” a word that also means, “thank you.” What was the “dash” for Cubes photo op with Trump? What was his “gift” for playing into the apathy of Black men and women days before election day? What was his “thank you” for baiting vulnerable Black men and women into thinking Trump would actually do more for Black America than his own base?
Indeed, Big3 was an ingenious idea. To Cubes credit, he came up with something unique that would serve athletes, fans, and the sports industry. Ice Cube owned his trademarks. Kudos to Cube for his vision. Cube partnered with Jeff Kwatinetz, a Harvard educated man with relationships with Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, and deep-pocket investors. Cube brought a brilliant project, international fame, and a face to the project. Cube had every right to believe that his access to power entitled him to be treated fairly in his business dealings. He had every right to believe that he’d be given the same privilege and opportunities as a white male in society. He had every right to believe that he could access power to overcome the burdens of being marginalized by racism. We can’t really fault him for this. However, bailing out Big3 for a deal gone wrong is not worth sacrificing Black America.
Cube didn’t stand up to the patriarchy. Didn’t confront it. Instead, he pushed up a seat at the table. Like the dutiful Caboceers of West Africa, Cube was used as a tool to drag Black America into the hull of a ship.
Cube has a chance to turn his boat around and use his platform to create a solid “Platinum Plan” that truly benefits Black America. That should be his “dash” to Black America.
Alice T. Crowe- Opinion columnist
My passion is correcting the missing pages in our history books. Secrets of the Hollow is my latest film series. The first segment, Last Disintegrated School, the untold story of Thurgood Marshall’s fight to desegregate the Brook School in Hillburn, NY, in 1943. This untold story happened eleven years before Brown v. Board of Education. Infobase distributes Last Disintegrated School. Visit my website for information at www.acroweflyz.com. I am currently editing the revised edition of my book, How to Get Black on Track. Follow me on Twitter.