Diamond and Silk

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Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, popularly known as Diamond and Silk, are American live-stream video bloggers, social media personalities, political activists and Fox Nation hosts.

They are known for their commentary in support of United States President Donald Trump. Since 2018, Diamond and Silk have traveled the country on their Chit Chat Tour. Hardaway is notably more talkative, while Richardson often just expresses agreement.

The two women received media attention during the 2016 campaign and again in 2018 when they alleged that Facebook had notified them they were ‘unsafe to the community.’ In response, they accused Facebook of censorship. There is, however, no evidence that Facebook ever blocked or censored Diamond and Silk’s Facebook page. That year, at Rep. Steve King (R-IA)’s invitation they testified in front of Congress about their perceived censorship. Subsequently, Republican members of Congress brought up the two women’s claims at Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before U.S. Congress.

While there is no evidence that Diamond and Silk were censored or that their page was blocked by Facebook, the pair continues to contend it was. They also stated that Facebook had not contacted them about their claims. Facebook said they attempted contact via email, Twitter, phone, and Facebook Messenger. The pair later said that messages sent to them through email should not be expected to be read, because they receive many emails.

Formerly lifelong Democrats, they became Republicans in 2015, soon after they saw Donald Trump announce his candidacy on television. According to Hardaway, ‘When he announced and we heard everything that he stood for, it was on and poppin’, and we’ve been on the Trump train ever since.’ They came to wider prominence in 2015 as Trump supporters after posting a video criticizing former Fox News host Megyn Kelly for asking what they considered irrelevant questions during the first Republican presidential debate.

Although officially unaffiliated with the Trump campaign, they urged support for Trump via social media efforts and rallies and traveled to three states for the campaign. The two women first joined Donald Trump as the ‘Stump for Trump Girls’ on stage at his Raleigh, North Carolina, rally in December 2015. They later warmed up the crowd at the Trump rally the following month in Biloxi, Mississippi. They initiated a ‘Ditch and Switch’ campaign to encourage Democrats to register as Republicans and created a website explaining to voters which states had closed primaries and when the deadlines were for changing party affiliations.

They regularly appear on Fox News shows including ‘Hannity,’ ‘The Ingraham Angle,’ and ‘Fox & Friends.’ In late 2018, Diamond and Silk were given a show on Fox Nation, the online Fox News streaming service. In 2019, during a ‘Fox & Friends’ appearance, Diamond and Silk falsely claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was a ‘non-functioning alcoholic’ who ‘slurs her words.’ This was in reference to a doctored and slowed down video that appeared to show her slurring her words. Shortly thereafter, ‘Fox & Friends’ had to clarify for its viewers that the video was manipulated.

Following the controversial ‘Unite the Right’ rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11 and 12, 2017, Hardaway and Richardson, appearing on ‘Fox & Friends,’ were critical of protesters on both sides in the event. Hardaway criticized Neo-Nazi groups and the Ku Klux Klan for ‘spewing hate and … creating violence’ declaring ‘all of them should be condemned and denounced. Period.’ In the same interview, she also said she does not ‘…  like Black Lives Matter and Antifa.’ They further noted that they feel statues of Civil War Confederate soldiers should be kept in museums.

Hardaway and Richardson, in December 2017, expressed support for Omarosa Manigault Newman following her controversial firing as White House liaison and assistant, faulting the treatment of her by African Americans and the media generally: ‘What I find appalling, to my brothers and sisters [is] how you … can laugh at, pick at, gloat at somebody because they either left the White House or you listened to a salacious story that Miss Piggy went around, running around telling everybody.’ In the same live-stream, they criticized ‘Good Morning America’ anchor Robin Roberts for saying, ‘Bye, Felicia’ to Newman during a segment on the ABC show. Addressing Roberts’ remarks, Hardaway said, ‘How is it that you want the community to come up and then when a sister is sitting at the table, ‘Well, she didn’t represent us’? Are you crazy?’

In 2018, when they appeared at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on alleged filtering practices of social media platforms, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee asked the two women if they had ever received money from the Trump campaign, to which Hardaway responded, ‘We have never been paid by the Trump campaign.’ Representative Hakeem Jeffries suggested that they could be committing perjury and showed them a Federal Election Commission filing which reported that the Trump campaign paid them $1,275 on in 2016 for ‘field consulting.’

Diamond and Silk then stated that the payment was reimbursement for the cost of airplane tickets. Following their testimony, ‘The Huffington Post’ reported that, according to Trump campaign treasurer Bradley Crate, the payment had been categorized incorrectly. Crate stated, ‘The Campaign’s payment to Diamond and Silk for field consulting was based on an invoice they submitted reflecting their costs for air travel to a Campaign event. The invoice was not supported by accompanying receipts, so as a technical matter, could not be reported as a reimbursement even though its purpose was to make them whole for their out-of-pocket costs.’ In the same article, it was reported that following a $7,025 payment from the campaign of Paul Ryan primary election challenger Paul Nehlen, Hardaway and Richardson made a campaign video and endorsed Nehlen.

In June 2019, House Representative Steve King joined with Diamond and Silk to introduce the ‘Diamond and Silk Act,’ an anti–sanctuary city bill. When Diamond and Silk were asked what they thought of King retweeting white supremacists, Hardaway responded, ‘I’m tired of you all playing the race card.’

Artist and activist Bree Newsome has described Hardaway and Richardson as ‘a modern-day minstrel show’ and stated in an interview that the pair’s presentation relies on ‘stereotypical images of black women.’ Columbia University professor Keith Boykin argued that, ‘the way they speak, the way they talk and act and behave [… if they] were saying anything that was contradictory to Trump, the Trump supporters who defend them would be the first to attack them.’ Boykin argued that conservatives give attention to Hardaway and Richardson because they ‘only want to listen to the people who reaffirm their narrow, limited vision of what blackness is all about and how black people should perceive white people and specifically how they should perceive Donald Trump.’

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