[NOTE: At the end of this set of excerpts, Silk closes with a declaration that goes well past enthusiasm, and surpasses loyalty, to become an effusion of sheer devotion that sounds more religious than political. The clinical phrase “personality cult” hardly does justice to it. For outsiders, it should be food for thought: they are facing something more than illusion, beyond the pervasive grift (including that of the sisters), the inchoate politics, yet ready to go to the limit (if there is one anymore). And if half of D & S is now gone, the movement continues.]
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Lynette Hardaway, an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump and one half of the conservative political commentary duo Diamond and Silk, has died, according to the pair’s Twitter account. She was 51.
Hardaway, known by the moniker “Diamond,” carved out a unique role as a Black woman who loudly backed Trump and right-wing policies, earning fame first on the Internet and then as a cable television commentator. Her promotion of COVID-19 falsities eventually got her dropped from Fox News, but she landed on another right-wing cable platform.
She and her sister, Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, rose to prominence during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle when they appeared on stage in support of Trump, who embraced the two Black women amid widespread accusations of racism and sexism.
Hardaway’s cause of death has not been released. Trump, who called her death “really bad news for Republicans” in a Monday night post on his Truth Social platform, said it was “totally unexpected.”
“Our beautiful Diamond of Diamond and Silk has just passed away at her home in the State she loved so much, North Carolina,” Trump wrote. “There was no better TEAM anywhere, at any time!”
The pair’s verified Twitter account had asked people to “please pray for Diamond” in a November tweet but did not elaborate on the circumstances.
“The World just lost a True Angel and Warrior Patriot for Freedom, Love, and Humanity,” the account wrote Monday night, linking to a memorial fundraising page.
A memorial ceremony will be announced.
The sisters, who called themselves Trump’s “most outspoken and loyal supporters,” have said they switched political parties to support his first presidential bid, in which he carried only about 8% of Black voters in the 2016 general election. He invited them to his inauguration in 2017 and, later, to the White House.
In the introduction to their co-written autobiography “Uprising,” published in 2020, the pair wrote that they faced criticism throughout the 2016 campaign cycle from people who called them “sellouts” and worse names as they stumped for Trump. They said their time in the spotlight wasn’t planned.
“We were just going along with our lives as usual, then we were thrust into this political arena all because we dared to speak out and speak up for what we believed,” they wrote.
Raised in the Tar Heel state, the two amassed a following of 347,000 subscribers on YouTube and leveraged their Internet stardom to land many network television appearances and regular roles at Fox News.
The network removed them from its list of contributors in April 2020 after they came under fire for spreading false information about the pandemic and vaccines. The duo had falsely suggested the virus was man-made and that the rising death toll was a media conspiracy to make the Trump administration look bad.
Twitter briefly locked their account for violating its coronavirus misinformation policy after they tweeted the baseless claim that “quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick.”
Landing at Newsmax, a far-right cable news and digital media company, they hosted three seasons of their talk show “Diamond and Silk: Crystal Clear.”
Hannah Schoenbaum is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative.s.
More: Against Covid health measures
CNN — April 8, 2020
A seemingly small act from a pair of online personalities Wednesday spoke volumes about cable news’ highest-rated network and its supposed commitment to accurately informing the public amid this pandemic.
Fox News might be working hard to whitewash its past coverage and convince the public that it is taking the coronavirus pandemic with the upmost seriousness, but its actions — or apparent lack of action, in this case — speak louder than its words.
“Diamond & Silk” might not seem like a duo worth your attention, but the pro-Trump sisters command a sizable audience that includes the President of the United States. They are also paid by Fox, where the two have a Fox Nation show. And they appear on the network’s programming.
Over the last few weeks, the duo has advanced all sorts of misinformation and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. They’ve questioned the death toll. They’ve questioned whether the virus is being “deliberately spread.” They’ve suggested the “Deep State” is working “behind the scenes” and that it is “engineered.” On and on and on it goes.
On Wednesday, “Diamond & Silk” posted a tweet. “The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment,” the duo declared. “Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!”
Twitter promptly took action against the tweet for violating its rules against coronavirus misinformation. The suggestion from the Fox News personalities is clearly dangerous. People should not be “out in the environment.” Twitter required the two to remove the tweet in order to regain access to their account.”
[NOTE: Shortly after these comments, the duo was a dropped by Fox, but found a new home at Newsmax.]
– – – –
From Wikipedia notes: Diamond & Silk
Hardaway and Richardson were sisters. They were born as Ineitha Lynette Hardaway and Herneitha Rochelle Hardaway; however, they both went by their middle names. They have three other siblings.
Their parents are Freeman Hardaway and Betty Willis Hardaway, televangelical pastors based in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Freeman and Betty Hardaway sold purported weight loss cures and wreaths to ward off witchcraft. For a fee of $50, Betty wrote the names of customers in a Bible, telling customers that this would make God answer their prayers.
From Business Insider, August 2020:
After being dropped by Fox, in their book, titled “Uprising: Who the Hell Said You Can’t Ditch and Switch? The Awakening of Diamond and Silk,” the pair said race was a factor in their dismissal.
“Here is the crazy thing, y’all,” Richardson [Silk] wrote in the book, according to The Daily Beast. “Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham were questioning the same things we were questioning about the virus and pandemic. The very same questions we had raised were being discussed openly on Fox News.”
Hardaway [Diamond] added, according to The Daily Beast: “How in the hell was it OK for the white show host to ask the same questions and talk about the same things that we were speaking about, but our video content was dialed back for being overly political? We were all asking the same questions and talking about the same thing.”
For instance, Carlson has said on more than one occasion that the US death toll may be being inflated in some places by those with “an agenda.”
From Forbes, Black Conservatives Are Real: 5 Questions With Diamond And Silk
By Maryann Reid, October 29, 2020:
Diamond: Ditch and switch means ditch the Democrat Plantation, which is the liberal ideology that keeps the constructs of your mind stuck with your hands out, instead of wanting a hand up. It’s important more now than ever, that Black Americans realize that our ancestors were slaves, but we were born in this country free. We must stop allowing people to make us a project of victimization just to exploit us.
Silk: Ditch and switch is more important now than ever before. It means ditch poverty for prosperity. Ditch free stuff for your freedom and ditch the Democrat Plantation for President Trump. President Trump is the only one standing between us and tyranny. He is the only one standing between us and dictatorship. There would be no Republican party, if it wasn’t for President Donald J. Trump.
Reid [Forbes]: You mentioned in your book and online that most of your adversaries are other black people like television newsman Roland Martin. Why do you think that is?
Diamond: Black people are not our adversaries. Men like Roland Martin, who happens to be Black, are so caught up in the liberal ideology that anyone who dares think differently, he ostracizes, criticizes them, stigmatizes them. Understand that men like Roland Martin fear change and the unknown. He acts as the gatekeeper. His Master has taught him well.
Silk: There’s this stigma buried deep in the roots of the Black community that if you go against the grain of the Democrat ideology and choose to think outside of the black box, you will be criticized, vilified, traumatized and terrorized by, what we call, the gatekeepers of the Democrat Plantation. Instead of them sending out the dogs like they did back during slavery days, they send out dog whistles to intimidate and manipulate in order to dominate. It’s no different than the KKK from back in the day. Same script, different cast.
Reid: Many black people don’t know that some of famous black leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglas and others were Republicans. Some say it was a “different” party at that time? What do you think those black leaders knew?
Diamond: That freedom came because of those who sacrificed their lives to make sure we were free. Black Lives truly mattered when Abraham Lincoln freed the Black slaves.
Silk: Probably how corrupt, racist, and evil the Democrat party really truly are, and still is.
Reid: Is there anything else you think I should know?
Silk: Diamond and Silk love this country, and we love our President. We are humble and grateful to God for blessing us with this amazing opportunity. We were offered 150K to Stop supporting President Trump. We said ‘No, we can’t be bought’. We are President Trump’s most loyal supporters. We’ve been with President Trump since the beginning and we will be with him until the very end. We were created for such a time as this.