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Meet Melina Abdullah, Cornel West’s BLM activist VP pick

The activist is a passionate advocate for Palestine. Credit: Getty

April 10, 2024 - 10:00pm

Cornel West, philosopher turned long-shot independent presidential candidate, tapped activist Melina Abdullah as his vice president on Wednesday.

Abdullah has a colourful past. She came to national attention in 2018 after she was charged with numerous criminal misdemeanours related to her activism against Los Angeles police. She had allegedly assaulted a police officer, and a woman with whom she was protesting threw a powdered substance at the police, shouting “That’s Wakiesha” in reference to a woman who had died in police custody.

Abdullah sued the city over the arrest, which her attorney said was an attempt to silence her, but a jury determined that it was lawful. It wouldn’t be the last failed lawsuit she carried out.

The now vice-presidential candidate was one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, but she distanced herself from Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation after the entity was found to have spent millions of dollars on high-end real estate, among other financial mismanagement. The activist has said she was lured into one such mansion under false pretences, where she was filmed talking with other BLM leaders over wine.

Abdullah eventually sued BLM Global Network Foundation, accusing the group of syphoning money into its leader’s consulting firm, but the suit was dismissed, leaving her on the hook for some $700,000 for her adversaries’ legal expenses.

The activist has been on X for 15 years, during which time she’s explicated her views on race and politics. The list of things Abdullah considers racist is long and growing: Pete Buttigieg, Trump voters, all Republicans, any mention of the nation Niger by a white person, and liking Taylor Swift. Her avowedly partisan views make her an odd pick for West, who has made a name for himself as someone willing to cross the political aisle and be friendly with conservatives.

Abdullah drew headlines for calling the late Queen a “racist, colonizing imperialist, responsible for the slaughter of people of color around the world” soon after the monarch’s death. The same, she said, applied to King Charles.

The activist also called the two men who were shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse “courageous, anti-racist, white comrades”. One of those men had spent time in prison for sexual conduct with five pre-teen boys, and the other had served time for strangling his brother and kicking his sister.

While Donald Trump was still in office, she also expressed scepticism about the Covid-19 vaccine. “Who’s gonna be first in line to get the rushed, untested COVID-19 vaccine? #NotIt”. This was not an unusual sentiment on the Left at the time: Kamala Harris made the same argument.

Abdullah, a Muslim and a passionate advocate for Palestine, could provide sceptics of Joe Biden’s Israel policy with an outlet for their frustration. Cornel West, for his part, doesn’t believe Abdullah’s BLM activism will be a political burden. “I wanted to run with someone who would put a smile on the face of Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King Jr. from the grave,” he said.


is UnHerd’s US correspondent.

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Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

Meh

Victor James
Victor James
1 month ago

Great piece. Racist fanatics, whatever their colour, need to be exposed. Always remember, the racists, whatever their ethnicity or color, don’t represent their entire race. So never let your critics smuggle their hate behind their race, like a shield.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
1 month ago
Reply to  Victor James

AKA The Melanin Forcefield.

Santiago Excilio
Santiago Excilio
1 month ago

Another coco loco pally ally, standing in here in her black hoodie no doubt fabricated by child slaves in some India sweat shop. Who cares anyway? She’s never going anywhere

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 month ago

GĂŒnter Reimann’s granddaughter. That is not quite Chuka Umunna and Sir Helenus Milmo, but it is not far off.

Andrew Morgan
Andrew Morgan
1 month ago

Sounds like a real winner. Maybe Diane Abbott isn’t so bad afterall.

Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Morgan

The difference is that one actually had a shot at power (if only briefly).

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
1 month ago

I always found West’s act to be more than a little tiresome, him picking this strident harpy doesn’t exactly make him look presidential. For truly intelligent black perspectives on socioeconomic issues, give me Thomas Sowell and Coleman Hughes anytime.

David B
David B
1 month ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

And Glenn Loury

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  David B

I look forward to reading his memoir, which comes out next month.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

I like all of your selected black American standouts, but I would maintain that Cornel West is truly intelligent too. This choice of running mate–or decision to make a futile presidential run in the first place–is just not an example of his overall intelligence. Dr. Shockhair Bluesman West had always been a wildcard. I think he’s insightful and goodhearted but he ain’t never been (sorry) a reliable source of sound judgment.

Ian_S
Ian_S
1 month ago

No doubt in her world, anyone who disagrees with her in the slightest is “extreme right wing”.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian_S

She’s a communist, so she’s a fascist.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago

Strangely enough, Frank Herbert ‘predicted’ women like this in his Dune series. They were called Honored Matres and they represented the worst of female excess – violent, power-hungry, and rabidly insane.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 month ago

Another day, another grifter heads to the top.

Chipoko
Chipoko
1 month ago

What a revolting creature!

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
1 month ago

And they say democracy is dead

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

Cornel West I want to put a smile on a dead man and stick it to whitey.
Pair of race grifters

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 month ago

She sounds fantastic. Let’s hope she can siphon a few democrat votes.

Howard S.
Howard S.
1 month ago

Professor West was on the shortlist of candidates of the Libertarian Party. That party is a prize because it has garnered enough votes over the years to be permanently on the ballot in 28 states, thus saving the party’s candidates from have to spend money to hire canvassing staff, get petitions signed and evaluated, etc. West blew his chance when, on a national podcast, he stated that he would work against, his own words: “Wall Street, Big Pharma, and the Jewish lobby”. Since the biggest contributers to the Libertarian party are a handful of very rich Silicon Valley Jewish entrepreneurs, that was it. West backtracked, or tried to, and said he was misquoted, he really said “the Israel lobby”, but the recording existed and he was toast.