Melina Abdullah (l) cornel west (r) abstract coronavirus background

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Cornel West’s new VP pick is going viral for her past takes on Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and COVID-19

'Why do I feel like it’s slightly racist to be a Taylor Swift fan?' she asked in one post.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Apr 11, 2024

The internet can’t get enough of social media posts old and recent alike made by Melina Abdullah, the newly minted vice presidential pick of independent presidential candidate Cornel West, where she criticizes Taylor Swift fans and expresses doubt early on about COVID-19.

West announced Abdullah as his pick on Wednesday, commending her “record of deep commitment and investment in ensuring that poor and working people are at the center of her vision.”

But it’s social media posts from Abdullah, a Black Lives Matter organizer and professor of Pan-African Studies at California State University-Los Angeles, that is keeping the internet chattering.

One such post drawing attention is from Super Bowl Sunday when Abdullah wrote: “Why do I feel like it’s slightly racist to be a Taylor Swift fan?”

“Cornell [sic] West’s campaign just awakened a machine far more powerful than the Biden campaign; the swifties,” quipped a prominent political memes account.

But it wasn’t just Swift the vice presidential candidate took aim at—she also criticized choices made by Beyoncé over her latest album “Cowboy Carter.”

“The #AmericanFlag symbolizes the genocide of Indigenous people, the theft of their land, the enslavement, dehumanization, and exploitation of Black people, and settler colonialism,” she said. “Critique around Beyoncé’s artistic choice is important and healthy, not hate.”

The posts drew a joking reply from NBC News reporter Alex Seitz-Wald, who wrote: “Taking on BOTH Beyonce and Taylor Swift is certainly a bold political strategy in 2024.”

Seitz-Wald also shared a number of posts from Abdullah, including that stepping aside three times during a 30-minute walk for white people and their dogs to pass had her “feeling like gentrification is Jim Crow revisited” and that “no self-respecting Black person should be singing the White National Anthem.”

“Having to restrain myself from posting too many of these because the take hotness level would make a thermometer melt,” Seitz-Wald joked.

Other posts highlighted by social media users include a 2020 tweet that “Nobody White should ever refer to the nation of Niger. Periodt.” and tweets that “only white people can be racist” and “virtually everything is racist.”

“Searched Cornel West’s VP’s twitter for the word ‘fuck,'” posted another reporter, who shared screenshots of Abdullah expressing that sentiment toward the pilgrims, Trump supporters, the police, and the Olympics for their handling of track star Sha’Carri Richardson’s marijuana usage.

A separate reporter shared an old post of Abdullah backing actor Jussie Smollett weeks after he was indicted for staging a fake hate crime.

“Not exactly a take that aged well from Cornel West’s VP candidate,” he wrote.

But perhaps the most eyebrow-raising posts circulating show Abdullah’s early takes on COVID-19.

“In general if you’re running for office you should definitely delete most of your social media posts,” one person wrote in response to her September 2020 post asking, “Who’s gonna be first in line to get the rushed, untested COVID-19 vaccine?”

“Cornel West’s VP pick is very interesting,” another user wrote in response to a March 2020 post in which Abdullah questioned if the “pandemic is all a capitalist ploy to keep Bernie Sanders from becoming president.”

West is polling at an average of 1.7% nationally.

His website states that his campaign’s aim is “to unite in solidarity with movements of truth and justice, who seek a choice beyond empire, white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, and the confines of the corporate-dominated two-party system.”

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*First Published: Apr 11, 2024, 9:41 am CDT