Seven words

Candace Owens explains what happens when you threaten the liberals’ lock on African American voters.

In April, rapper Kanye West tweeted, “I love the way Candace Owens thinks,” seven words that appeared to blow up the internet. Owens is a young African American conservative who first turned heads as a video creator and conservative activist, and continues to do so as director of urban engagement for Turning Point USA, an organization that educates students about free market values.

Within moments, the twitter-verse exploded, as liberal entertainers, politicos and pundits disparaged West, some even questioning his sanity. And they simultaneously targeted their personal attacks on Owens. Media reports said she was the consigliere of a mob boss, a KKK sympathizer, and a white supremacist, among other things.

“It was all just amazing,” Owens said during a recent stop in Minneapolis. “My favorite thing was reading that I was a rich girl from Connecticut. If I am rich, please let my parents know.”

Barely two weeks after the tweetstorm thrust her into sudden national prominence, Owens described her journey to conservatism before a sold-out audience at a quarterly lunch forum sponsored by Center of the American Experiment at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center. Her recent publicity swelled the audience to more than 550 people, one of the Center’s largest lunch forum crowds.

“Of course, none of these journalists reached out for a comment, because these are no longer journalists,” she said. “These are hitmen. Their job is to, when they see something catching fire, make sure that they kill it before anybody else gets the idea that this person might be telling the truth.”

She appreciated the call out from West because his music, she said, “advocates for individualism. He wants people to understand that you don’t assign yourself to the collective. Be an individual. You want to know why a seven-word tweet broke the internet? It’s because culture and politics are not supposed to mix in this way, especially when we’re talking about conservative ideas.”

Owens said the rush to discredit her was prompted by a liberal establishment that doesn’t want its grip on African American voters to be threatened by honest discourse. “Show me a black person, I can show you someone that is a conservative and just doesn’t know it. The truth is that there has been a system built to make us think that we’re liberals and Democrats. I certainly fell victim to it myself. My entire life, I thought that I must be a liberal, and I must be a Democrat because that’s what I learned growing up.”

This system, she said, is constructed on liberal control of families, culture, and education.

Family influence is absent because families were broken by Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” programs in the ’60s—welfare programs incentivized black women not to marry the father of their children. “The government said, ‘I will give you a bigger check if you don’t marry him,’” Owens said. “Over time, the single motherhood rate in the black community has jumped 72 percent since the 1960s, which is abhorrent. It’s terrifying to think that all of my cousins grew up without their fathers in the home. If you want to disrupt an individual, the first thing that you have to do is disrupt the family.”

In the absence of family, Owens said, “the rappers and the singers become mom and dad. That is why you see leftists and Democrats put up Jay-Z and Beyonce at every election cycle. They’re throwing concerts because they understand that we idolize these people. We say, ‘Okay, if Beyonce says I’m with her, then of course I must be with her, too.’”

The third influence, Owens said, is seen in how Democrats have locked down the education system. “I see this every single day at Turning Point USA,” she said. Owens described her visit to a college campus where a student verbally assaulted her by calling her a white supremacist because she advocated capitalism. “That’s a really scary place to be when capitalism and free markets are being considered white supremacy on campus, not only because she [the student] is saying it but because she has professors that are backing her up. These students actually believe that socialism is the answer. They can’t tell you why there are people fleeing from Venezuela to get to America.”