Com­mu­nity lead­ers have their say about meet­ing

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By ALEXI COHAN — alexi.cohan@boston­her­ald.com

Bos­ton’s black com­mu­nity is sound­ing off about rap­per Kanye West’s re­cent meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Trump.

West met with Trump on Thurs­day in the Oval Of­fice, where he dis­cussed men­tal health, prison re­form, ed­u­ca­tion and pol­i­tics with the pres­i­dent. West, an avid Trump sup­porter, at­tended the meet­ing sport­ing a “Make Amer­ica Great Again” hat and said wear­ing it makes him feel like “Su­per­man.” West spoke for nearly 10 min­utes straight, of­ten jump­ing quickly and er­rat­i­cally from one topic to an­other.

Larry El­li­son, pres­i­dent of the Mass­a­chu­setts As­so­ci­a­tion of Mi­nor­ity Law En­force­ment Of­fi­cers, said he was not im­pressed by West’s speech. “It’s some­one who is clearly seek­ing at­ten­tion from some­one who is an at­ten­tion-seeker,” El­li­son said. El­li­son said West was “delu­sional” and he was seek­ing to “en­ter­tain” Trump.

“That is some­one who is not in touch with re­al­ity. That per­for­mance shows maybe he should con­sult with some­one who can di­ag­nose him prop­erly,” said El­li­son, who added that West should have used his plat­form to speak about gen­tri­fi­ca­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and high unem­ploy­ment in com­mu­ni­ties of color.

Wil­liam Dick­er­son, the bishop and se­nior pas­tor at the Greater Love Taber­na­cle in Dorch­ester, said the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Trump and West was “kind of awk­ward.”

“Any­one who has a chance to sit down with any pres­i­dent and rep­re­sent a group of peo­ple, they are not go­ing to want to waste their time, they’re go­ing to want to make sure their words res­onate,” Dick­er­son said.

He said West used the meet­ing as a “photo op.” “I think that if he likes the pres­i­dent, tell the pres­i­dent the truth about how peo­ple in black com­mu­ni­ties are deal­ing with the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and the ed­u­ca­tional sit­u­a­tion, tell him the truth about how black men and women are dis­pro­por­tion­ately in­car­cer­ated,” Dick­er­son said.

Af­ter West’s speech, Trump said it was “quite some­thing,” adding, “He can speak for me any­time he wants. He’s a smart cookie, smart. He gets it.”

Dick­er­son said Trump looked “like a deer in head­lights.”

Trump said West “could very well” be a fu­ture pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

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