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Dr. Stevie “View” Johnson, the co-executive director for the Fire in Little Africa music project, says it’s impossible for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission to be nonpolitical when race is involved. His statement comes after the Commission stated that it’s nonpolitical.
Dr. View boldly expressed his disapproval of U.S. (OK-R) Senator Lankford’s continued involvement as a 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commissioner on the Pod 4 Good podcast with host Jesse Ulrich. Calls for the Senator’s resignation began shortly after the January 6 Capitol insurrection, which many believe Sen. Lankford helped incite.
“Why isn’t Sen. Lankford removed from the Centennial Commission?” he inquired during the interview. “They [the Commission] are saying that this is a non-partisan situation. And I’m like there is no f-cking thing as bipartisan, nonpartisanship when it comes to race. Like, either you’re with us [Black people] or against us,” Dr. View explained.
Sen. Lankford’s involvement with the Commission has been the subject of controversy since he made initial public plans to contest the 2020 Electoral College votes in predominantly Black democratic cities. Sen. Lankford is a 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commissioner.
The Centennial Commission is also a sponsor for the Fire in Little Africa music project, as well as other projects set to launch later this year to commemorate 100-years since Greenwood was burned and bombed by an angry White mob, killing upwards of 300 Black people.
“I want to make sure that Fire in Little Africa’s brand is in alignment with everything that’s going on racially, whether it’s in Tulsa or the Nation. And if it doesn’t fit what we have, I don’t care who’s in power or who or what money people have given. I can care less. It’s about the alignment and the values that we represent. And a lot of people have a lot of push back with that. And I don’t care,” Dr. View stated.
Descendants of the massacre and supporters of the Black Tulsa community have been vocal about their disapproval of Sen. Lankford’s position on the Commission and have been calling for his resignation for weeks.
According to a recent statement released on the Commission’s website, Commissioners have seemingly decided to keep Lankford as a Commissioner.
Dr. View didn’t hold back his feelings about Lankford’s remaining on the Commission. “I’m not here to make people happy. Or, in the words of Derrick Bell — with critical race theory — I’m not here in relation to ‘interest convergence‘. That has nothing to do with what I’m here and doing with this project,” adding, “We are surviving being out here. No one is living. I’m just tired of it. I’m fed up. And I’m calling it out. I’m calling it what it is: It’s white supremacy. And people are afraid to say these things.”
Host Ulrich added, “I’ve never understood his [Sen. Lankford’s] ability to, sort of, play these roles. When you look at any of his actual policies, you can tell he was not really an ally of Black Oklahomans.”
Only two Commissioners have spoken-up publicly about Lankford’s position as a Commissioner: Oklahoma state representative Monroe Nichols and former Oklahoma state senator Judy McIntyre. Both have publicly called for Lankford’s resignation from the Commission.
Oklahoma State Senator Kevin Matthews, Commission Chair, and Rev. Robert Turner, who is also a Commissioner, of the Historic Vernon AME Chapel — who has also been publicly vocal in regards to reparations for the Greenwood community — have yet to state whether they stand with massacre descendants and the majority of Black Tulsans who are calling for Lankford’s resignation. However, it may be implied both Sen. Matthews and Rev. Turner support U.S. Sen. Lankford’s remaining on the Commission via the Commission’s statement released earlier this week.