Unbeknownst to the rest of the country, MSNBC's Tiffany Cross is a self-appointed "keeper of the [African-American] culture" and thus someone in a position to decide who is — and is not — an authentic "Black voice." Back in reality, one could deem her a racist for deciding whether fellow Black people are truly Black or instead treasonous to their race.
Saturday morning on her show The Cross Connection, her themes were ones of bitterness and jealousy. Cross dismissed the Blackness of people like Sage Steele, Van Jones, and Carlos Watson because they get financial support from wealthy whites and thus "have that gift of making white people feel comfortable."
Cross reserved particular rage for biracial ESPN host Steele. She was suspended for, among other things, in commenting on biracial Barack Obama having identified as Black on a census form: "'Well, congratulations to the President.' That’s his thing. You know, I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him. But, hey: you do you."
After declaring that Steele was not a "Black voice," Cross called Steele's remarks "half-witted" and "self-hating," and described her as a "modern-day minstrel show" saying "Stepin Fetchit on the airwaves, spewing her continued nonsense."
In contrast with Steele, Jones, and Watson, Cross described herself as someone who doesn't "prioritize [white people's] feelings over our actual equality." And Cross complained that as a result, "funding for our platforms is far less available."
She advised white investors to put their money behind people like her, "who make you uncomfortable."
Without disclosing it, Cross was clearly speaking from unhappy experience. She was the co-founder of "The Beat DC," which described itself as "highlight[ing] diverse political leaders in the nation’s capital and the policies that impact communities of color." The short-lived operation went defunct sometime in 2019. Add in the fact that she's a host on the deeply partisan and poorly-rated MSNBC and it's not a pretty picture.
This wasn't not the first time that Cross has used the minstrel metaphor to vilify African-Americans who dare stray from liberal African-American orthodoxy. Back in August 2020, NewsBusters caught Cross saying this about Black people who were apparently betrayals to their race for speaking at the RNC: "I watched the Republican convention, and seeing the slew of black speakers that they had, it really did look like a modern-day minstrel show to me."
Cross ended the segment by patronizingly informing white business leaders who thought they'd had honest conversations with black employees:
Let me just tell you: No, you didn’t. You had a meeting. And perhaps there was likely some candor in the remarks. But do understand there is a meeting after the meeting, and that’s where the honest dialogue took place. And for many, being a part of this culture shift is all well and good, until we start to talk about a power shift where we're not asking to be hired, but we're the ones doing the hiring.
No good deed — and the countless dollars spent on diversity training — goes unpunished!
MSNBC's Tiffany Cross vilifying Sage Steele as a "modern-day minstrel show" and "Stepin Fetchit" was made possible thanks to the endorsement of advertisers such as Amazon and Volvo. Their contact information is linked so you can let them know what they sponsored.
Here's the transcript.
MSNBC's The Cross Connection
10:50 am EDT
TIFFANY CROSS: Okay: Carlos Watson, Sage Steele, Van Jones. What do these three folks have in common? Well, they’re all people who have been prompted up by wealthy or powerful white Americans, and yet, we, the keepers of the culture, don’t really rock with any of them like that.
Now, obviously, the three of these folks are most definitely Black faces. However, they are not necessarily Black voices, and there’s a difference. Let me explain. Take a listen to these half-witted, self-hating remarks from Sage Steele.
SAGE STEELE: Barack Obama chose black, and he’s biracial. I'm like, "well, congratulations to the President." That’s his thing. You know, I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him. But, hey: you do you.
CROSS: What? So, that is undoubtedly a Black face, whether or not she knows it, but it is most definitely not a Black voice. Yet I’m sure someone is giving themselves a big diversity pat on the back by having that modern-day minstrel show Sage Stepin Fetchit on the airwaves, spewing her continued nonsense.
CROSS: Let’s be clear. Van and Carlos are far from being Sage, but there’s certainly something to be said about wealthy and powerful white people elevating certain voices over others.
By now I’m sure you've all heard about Carlos Watson, and the implosion of Ozy Media. In Ozy's eight years in the marketplace, the media company never really achieved prominence in the field of journalism, nor did it ever make an impact producing multimedia content.
But, that sure didn’t stop investors from filling Watson’s coffers with more than $70 million in funding. Why? Because he had that gift of making white people comfortable.
Now for those of us who don’t prioritize their feelings over our actual equality, funding for our platforms is far less available.
CROSS: So, a word of advice to the landscape of the rich and powerful. Perhaps, instead of investing in people of color who make you comfortable, you may want to give a second look to those of us who make you uncomfortable. After all, we’ve been uncomfortable for a mighty long time and we are actually the ones who likely rock with the communities you're trying to reach.
CROSS: Credibility is crucial and doing all things for the culture is key. So, while some of you keep reigning $100 million on people not invited to the cook out, you're starting to look more like the villains in Get Out. During the unrest the past few years, I heard from many CEOs and others in leadership positions say with confidence that they’ve had really honest conversations with their black employees. And, let me just tell you: No, you didn’t. You had a meeting. And perhaps there was likely some candor in the remarks. But do understand there is a meeting after the meeting, and that’s where the honest dialogue took place. And for many, being a part of this culture shift is all well and good, until we start to talk about a power shift where we're not asking to be hired, but we're the ones doing the hiring. And if that makes you feel uncomfortable, but this does not --
STEELE: Barack Obama chose black, and he’s biracial. I'm like, "well, congratulations to the President." That’s his thing. [SCREEN WIPE] You know, I think that’s fascinating considering his Black dad was nowhere to be found, but his white mom and grandma raised him.
CROSS: -- you should ask yourself why.