You might have taken note of a fresh young face while scrolling through your Facebook feed.
It’s the lovely face of a young Black woman. Her gaze is intense, and her eyes are blazing. She’s got something she wants to say, and your friend really wants you to hear it.
“The media DOESN’T want you to hear this!” their post says.
You’re a little intrigued because your friend has had a lot to say lately about civil unrest and the Black Lives Matter movement, and none of it has been complimentary. It seems strange to you that your friend would choose to amplify the message of a young Black woman.
But that fresh young face belongs to Candace Owens, and she is one of the darlings of the conservative movement. If you take a few moments to watch and listen to her, you won’t hear a message that aligns with the aims of the #BLM movement. You’ll instead hear quite the opposite. She gleefully dismisses claims about systemic racism and insists that liberals want to keep Blacks dependent and marginalized. In Owens’ view, systemic racism is a myth perpetuated by the left, and the way out for Blacks is to be found in free-market capitalism and conservative values.
It takes moxie to offer a contrarian view, and Candace Owens has it.
Moxie can make a u-turn.
It wasn’t long ago that Owens was singing a very different tune. In 2015, she was at the helm of a now-defunct digital publication that frequently criticized Republicans, in particular, the Tea Party wing and then-candidate Donald Trump.
All that changed in 2017 when Owens “came out” as conservative via this provocative YouTube video.
Why the switch?
“The main issue is that we keep voting Democrat and expecting different results, and in every major city where democrats are running like Chicago, it’s a complete mess,” she said in a Fox News interview. “They make these false promises. They secure our vote with all these false promises, and the second they get into the White House, they do absolutely nothing for African-Americans but make sure we remember that we are black so they can play the same identity card the next election cycle.”
It’s not an unfamiliar argument. I’ve heard the same out of my conservative friends for years. What’s unusual this time is that a young black woman is making it.
Moxie gets critiqued.
It’s hard not to notice that since Owens “came out” as a conservative, she has rocketed to fame. She frequently appears on Fox News and other venues, and she’s a social media star. Some wonder how much of what’s on display is an act played by a young woman who understands how to perform and push buttons to get what she wants.
By parroting conservative lines, Owens and a few others like her are making money off conservative white folks who need or want to have their ideas validated by a person of color, some contend.
“And then, there are the Black people who have invested in the fictional version of America. The list of names is too long but some of the most notable include Jason Whitlock, Candace Owens, Terry Crews, and many more.
These people are not ignorant; they are charlatans. They have carved out a niche for themselves where they dutifully serve as white people’s examples of the rare Black person who escaped from the Democratic plantation and became a ‘free thinker.’ Their apparently lucrative grift depends on perpetuating the tall tale on which white supremacy has built its bedrock foundation,” said Michael Harriot in The Root. “And, because their myth-profiteering rests on this infrastructure, they shamelessly contort themselves into knots defending whiteness and creating a strawman chapter in the book of b******t that makes white people believe that the negro community has stripped the free-thinking outcasts of their Black card for not falling in line. But the truth is, no one has questioned any of these people’s Blackness. It is a myth made for the same white people who believe in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
In late 2018, Owens launched the Blexit movement, a social media campaign to encourage African Americans (plus Latinos and other minorities) to abandon the Democratic Party and register as Republicans. At the time, 8% of African Americans identified as Republicans. The term Blexit — a portmanteau of ‘Black’ and ‘exit’ — mimics Brexit, the word used to describe the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. At the launch in October 2018, Owens said that her “dear friend and fellow superhero Kanye West” designed merchandise for the movement, but the following day, West denied being the designer and disavowed the effort, saying “I never wanted any association with Blexit” and “I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in.
Moxie pushes buttons.
Owens is being handsomely rewarded for her controversial stances. In her latest viral video she attacked George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died when a police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest. Floyd’s death was among those that sparked worldwide protests calling for justice and an end to systemic racism. Owens’ video decried the depiction of Floyd as any sort of martyr or hero. She recited his past criminal record and downplayed reports that he was trying to change direction and mentor others.
While she received predictable backlash for her views, she also received a lot of clicks and shares and interviews. If getting attention is her goal, she has won the game.
She is on the right, but is she in the right? Is she a true believer, or a skilled deceiver? History will tell. Until then, she’s got the moxie to make some bank.
Candace Owens’ Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candace_Owens
Candace Owens’ Podcast on PragerU: https://www.prageru.com/series/candace/