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If you don’t know who Diamond and Silk are, you’re missing one of the most entertaining and downright unexplainable elements of Donald Trump’s campaign for president.
Diamond and Silk are people—sisters from North Carolina, to be exact—and outspoken surrogates for Trump. Such a description obscures, however, what has made the pair a must-see act on the campaign trail. Indeed, more than anything, what distinguishes Diamond and Silk from your run-of-the-mill pro-Trump talking heads is not just that they’re black women (that is pretty remarkable itself), but their undeniable gifts for debate and punditry.
Lynnette Hardaway (Diamond) and Rochelle Richardson (Silk) didn’t seek out the limelight. The two say they launched their YouTube channel, The Viewers View, simply because they were tired of being talked at by media elites and wanted to talk back. The first video posted to “The Viewers View” was a Black Lives Matter tribute, but it didn’t take long before the sisters set their sights on Trump. Weeks after Trump announced he was entering the presidential race, Diamond uploaded her first pro-Trump video entitled, “Dump the rest of those Chumps and vote for Donald Trump in 2016.” Diamond was joined by Silk for their next video, a discussion of the investigation into Sandra Bland’s death in police custody. It was their second video together, however, that went viral and eventually led to Diamond and Silk joining Trump on the campaign trail.
In late July, the sisters published, “Lets stump for Donald Trump: he is the only one that will secure that damn border,” a takedown of Montel Williams, psychic Sylvia Browne, and Lindsey Graham in defense of Donald Trump. The video to date has more than 330,000 views on YouTube.
"Listen! We lookin’ at Donald Trump,” Diamond says directly to the camera in the video. “Republicans (Silk: Yes!), Democrat (Silk: Yes!), Independents (Silk: Yes!), we are looking at Donald Trump (Silk in unison: Donald Trump), and let me tell you why (Silk: Why?): because people are tired of the media (Silk: Yes!) and we’re tired of the Democratic Party holding people hostage (Silk: Oh yes we are!), always trying to be politically correct (Silk: Mhmm, mhmm.) Listen! (Silk: Listen!) Donald Trump don’t wanna be political correct (Silk: No); he wanna state facts (Silk: Yes!); he wanna tell the truth (Silk: Oh yes!). Let him tell the truth because that’s what’s going to set us all free (Silk: Set us all free).
Even if their stated values don’t always reconcile with their support for Trump, Diamond and Silk really are impossible to look away from. The sisters present a dynamic mix of black rhetorical flair and straight-up carnival barking that takes their special brand of political punditry to the next level, even if what they actually say is filled with contradictions, diversions, and baseless claims.
To hear them is to experience something as inexplicable as America itself. They talk like Ann Coulter with a dash of Jesse Jackson, Bill O’Reilly mixed with the loudest guy in the barbershop and if you’re not paying attention you could almost be persuaded that they’re right. Almost.
Complex interviewed Diamond and Silk to get a closer look at Trump’s most outspoken supporters. For about 30 minutes, they discussed urban crime, Hillary Clinton’s record, and locker room talk, among other topics. The conversation was confounding.
How did all of this get started?
Diamond: How did this all start? We had a YouTube channel. We would talk about media bias, things that we really didn't like. Off and on, we put out maybe one or two videos. That was like back in 2014. We had about ten subscribers so we just sat there and entertained them. Then comes 2015. In the middle of 2015, out pops Donald Trump announcing that he’s running for president. I was in my bedroom watching it and I called Silk. I said, “Silk, girl, turn on your TV. Donald Trump is announcing that he’s running for president.”
Silk: And I turned on my TV.
Diamond: And then she called me back halfway through. She said, “Girl, this is going to be the next President of the United States.” We started talking about Donald Trump when we saw how the media started bashing him and calling him derogatory names. When he said he wanted to secure the border, we thought that was a common-sense approach. Because don’t we secure our house? Ain’t the White House secured? Then why isn’t America’s house secured?
And then I want to bring back jobs. Well damn! You know, here in North Carolina, when it comes to manufacturing, it's just about obsolete because when Bill Clinton signed NAFTA into law and Hillary Clinton supported that, that took a lot of jobs away, especially here in North Carolina. Manufacturing went across the river somewhere, overseas, those people had those jobs. So what we were getting paid making 14, 15, 16, 17, as high as 18 dollars an hour, they other there making the same product for a dollar an hour. So that makes sense? Why are we negotiating these dumb deals where we’re outsourcing our good jobs, and leaving Americans riding dirty, turning our whole country into a service country, where people are underemployed, or even unemployed. That made sense when he said I’m going to bring our jobs backs. And then I’m going to bring back spirit and unite this country because as you know, especially for the past eight years, we’re not a country that’s unified anymore. We don’t realize we are the United States and-and it’s united we stand. So we liked everything he was talking about. Unfortunately the media, they didn’t like it. So we started talking about him because we didn’t like the way the media started treating him.
Have you all always felt this way about the media? Where does this tension with the media come from?
Diamond: Well first of all, for the past eight years, if you notice you cut on your TV you see a lot of stuff play out on TV. Stuff that we’ve never seen before in the history of my life. So when I see people rioting in the streets, burning down communities, being disrespectful, stepping on our flag.
Silk: Burning up our flag
Diamond: Burning up the flag. You know, that really struck a chord in me. I didn’t like that. I just didn’t like that. We wasn’t taught to do that when we were coming up. So the blatant disrespect and disregard for America.
Silk: As you get older, you get wiser. You begin to see some things. Especially how the media uses different tactics to trick your mind, to make you think and believe it or see it this particular way, when a lot of times, it's a lie. And when we saw that and started to see that, and we created the Viewer’s View, our channel so that we can talk about, because there was no place for the voiceless. There was no place for us to voice our opinion about something. The media, they have their place to voice whatever they want to voice and make it appear the way they want it to appear.
Diamond: And if you don’t go along with the media, you tell them you don’t go along with them, well your voice ain't gonna be heard. But YouTube, they let you curse and say whatever you want. It's the perfect platform. We were lifelong Democrats. We were so behind Donald Trump and it was in the primaries. And when we saw how the media and the left and even some in the party was trying to stop him, we said, you know what? We have to vote for him in the primaries. Not just the general election. But the primaries. So what we did, we started something called the Ditch and Switch Now Movement back in September 2015. Not only did we switch our party to Republican, but we had Democrats or Independents switch their party to Republicans just to vote for Donald Trump in the primaries and then we would go on and vote for him in the general election. And baby, it worked. If you notice, he had about 14 million people to come out and vote for him in the primaries.
Silk: And there are a lot of Democrats right now that want to vote for Donald Trump but they're not aware that they can vote for Donald Trump in the general election even though they’re under the Democrat Party. So I just want to let them know that you can vote for Donald Trump even as a lifelong Democrat, if you hold the lifelong Democrat status. And we’re not voting for the party, we’re voting for the person.
Diamond: So we switched our party to Republican, so now we’re Republican. And we’ve been behind this man ever since the day he announced that he was running for president.
Okay. So let me ask you this: I’m not always satisfied with the Democratic Party, though I tend to vote Democrat. I wish I had another option but that option can’t be Donald Trump, just in terms of things I value in a politician, in a man generally. Tell me why I should be considering Trump.
Silk: Donald Trump is an outsider. He’s not a career politician. He’s not rehearsed. He’s going to disturb the status quo. Let’s look at Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton has never ever done anything for the minority community. Another thing that they’re not talking about that they are deliberately keeping out of the media—Bill Clinton and his black son Danny Williams. You go into black churches with your hot sauce bottle and try to pander for black votes. But here it is, you may have a black step-son out there, which is Bill Clinton’s son, that you all have ignored, discredited and act just like you don’t see him. That bothers me as a black person.
I could never vote for a woman that backed a crime bill that has thousands upon thousands of black men locked up, where they can't raise their sons. Then we wanna know why our black boys are living in men’s bodies but they are still boys out in the streets acting crazy. I can never support a person that called our black men superpredators and told them they need to go heel like an animal. I can never do that. I can never support a person like crooked Hillary that marginalized black people like this was the hand they was dealt, they will never come up. Look at the Wikileaks email. I will never support her. She’s not for America. She’s for her own self. She has her own agenda.
I could never support Hillary Clinton, the person that wants an open globalized system. That means she wants borders wide open where anybody can just cross our borders. Do you know how many people are on drugs? Do you know where those drugs come from? Across that border. But she wants people to come in like that. You want a globalized system. And then she wants a globalized system where our jobs can be outsourced anywhere. Do you know what means? Whatever job you got, somebody can take it. You know when the news media start talking about that? When somebody come in and take their jobs. That’s when they will start looking at this bigger picture. We’re looking at the bigger picture. I’m looking for the outsider Donald Trump to come in and change this whole damn system.
Silk: Also, you want to take and compare your life right now to see which will benefit you? Under Hillary Clinton, she wants to raise your taxes. Under Donald Trump, he wants to lower your taxes. Which one will be beneficial to you? Under Hillary Clinton, she wants open borders. Even though she knows we can't vet different people that coming into our country, she don’t care. She wants open borders. She’s not for your safety. With Donald Trump, he wants to vet people, he wants to know who’s walking among us. He’s for your safety. He does not want people walking around here headless because they’re chopping off Christians’ heads. Hillary Clinton does not care about your religious liberty. She wants to take all of that away from you. Donald Trump, he wants you to keep your religion. He wants the value of your religion to be safe. Hillary Clinton, she wants PPP. She don’t have a problem with outsourcing American jobs. With Donald Trump, he wants to negotiate deals that benefit you as an American citizen. So that you can work, pay your bills and be able to take care of your family and not have to be government-dependent. I just gave you four different reasons that you can compare and look at yourself as a man, or a black man or any type of man, or woman and see which one will benefit you? If you wanna pay high taxes. If you wanna be government-dependent. If you wanna be sitting somewhere and fear wondering if someone is gonna chop off your head or gun you down, then you’re gonna vote for Hillary Clinton. Me, I’m voting for Donald Trump because I wanna feel safe and secure. We need jobs and I want to pay lower taxes because I want to have more money in my pocket and in my bank account.
Diamond: And then don’t forget about what he’s doing for the inner and urban cities. He’s addressing something that I’ve never heard in my lifetime. Even crooked Hillary won’t address the inner and urban cities. He is the voice for the voiceless. The ones that’s living in poverty. He’s a builder. He can go back and build up those communities. I always say this, if you ever want to know what’s going on with a body of people, look at the heads. If the heads are prosperous and successful, then that’s gonna trickle down to the body of the people. And that’s why I tell you to vote for Donald Trump. Vote for Donald J Trump. He’s an outsider. The insiders are playing these games because they are afraid their gravy train is coming to an end. Baby, this politics is about power and how much money crooked Hillary can tunnel through that Clinton foundation and how much money they can make and they can pocket from these foreign leaders. They are not concerned about the American people. They’re concerned about their own interest, their greed.
But a lot of things about Donald Trump are offensive—things he’s said and proposed. He said that he wanted to ban Muslims from coming into America...
Diamond: Let’s stop right there. That’s not what he said.
That’s not what he said? What did he say then?
Diamond: He said he wants to place a temporary ban on Muslims that’s coming from countries that want to chop off our heads because our government cannot properly vet these people. The reason why he said that was because that horrific shooting that happened in San Bernardino, where those people came in on a visa. They were radicalized. He said since this administration does not know how to properly vet these people, then maybe we need to place a temporary ban. Meaning not long term, temporary. Until we can come up with a way to properly vet these people.
Silk: The sad thing about all of it is that Donald Trump can say something and the media will take his words out of context. And then, unfortunately, especially black people start believing what the media said he said instead of listening to directly and exactly what Donald Trump said and what he meant by what he said. They take the whole thing out of context and then here we are. And we wonder, why do they keep all of this stuff in the media? Because they know that people are ignorant enough to believe it. Why do the media keep feeding us all of this BS that’s not gonna benefit us because they know people are ignorant enough to keep eating the same BS that’s not gonna do nothing for them. So it’s time for us to start doing our own investigation to see what is being said. For the readers that read your magazine, for those readers, they need to start doing their own investigation and stop just looking at what the media says and look at what the person says.
Diamond: One more thing. We have a Muslim here, Louis Farrakhan, we don’t agree with half the stuff he says. But one thing he did say, “Donald Trump is right. These people don’t like Americans. They want to chop off our heads and gun us down. And we do need to properly vet these people and if we don’t know how to properly vet these people, maybe we do need to do a temporary ban until we know how to properly vet these people.” That’s what Donald Trump has said. And guess what, Donald Trump has Muslims that agree with him. And Muslims that’s voting for him. So we’re above that, give me the next one.
Okay. So, you both seem to be very respectable ladies. Are you not at all taken aback by some of his behavior and the way he talks about people, the things he has said to and about women?
Diamond: How old are you, sweetie?
I’m 29 years old.
Diamond: So you’re 29 years old. What if I went back to when you were 15 and maybe you called a girl a name. Maybe you called her a ho. What if I went back and used that against you?
But the thing is that I would have been 15, though...
Diamond: Wait a minute! When you wasn’t a politician, when you wasn’t running for something. He without sin, cast the first stone. I see all of these people pointing their finger, but there but for the grace of God something wasn’t caught with you on tape. We can take that and use that against you too. Let me tell you something. The first thing that they said that he said about Rosie O'Donnell...Rosie O’Donnell got what she deserved because she started that on The View. She started that foolishness. I’m not concerned about what Donald Trump has said. I’m more concerned about what crooked Hillary Clinton has done. That’s what I’m more concerned about. I’m not concerned about words. I’m looking at this woman, crooked Hillary. I’m looking at Hillary Clinton’s actions. Honey, her actions speaks way louder than Donald Trump’s words. That’s what we’re looking at.
Silk: At the end of the day, we only have two choices, it’s either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And with Hillary Clinton, six billion dollars went missing when she was Secretary of State and they still ain’t found it. Over there in Haiti, a $100 million was raised to build a hospital that was never built. Money was donated to the Clinton foundation for those black folks over there in Haiti to build houses and those people were still living in tents when this last hurricane just came through. Up in Detroit, Michigan, Hillary Clinton wanted to bring in Syrian refugees to fill those empty houses where black people used to live, where black people used to be able to afford to be there. Hillary Clinton now wants to bring in Syrian refugees to replace those black folks. And it's a day when black folk don't even get to open their eyes and see what's going on and see how they're being replaced by Syrian refugees.
Diamond: And another thing: How is it that all these people can come over here and they can obtain the American dream but black people, been here the longest, can't attain it. That's a problem. That's why we need the outsider Donald Trump, the businessman, the builder, the person who took a million and turned it into ten billion. That's who we need running.
Silk: And let me make another point: Let’s talk about illegal immigrants right quick. With you being a 29-year-old black male, if you do something illegal right now and you break the law, what’s gonna happen to you?
I’d probably go to jail...
Silk: Your ass is going straight to jail. Now if you have any children, and you don't have any family members to keep those children, what's gonna happen to your children?
Those kids would end up in foster care.
Silk: They're going to foster care aren't they? How is it that a person can cross our borders illegally, and when we say illegally, meaning that they did not do it the proper way. They did not pay the proper fines or fees. They did not obtain a Social Security number. How is it that they can cross our border illegally—they broke the law when they did it—we give them food, we give them housing, we give them medical. But as a US citizen, if you right now being a black man break the law, you going straight to jail. And then they come over here and they work our US jobs, they get our U.S. money but they pay no U.S. taxes. So you as a black man working right now you are paying taxes for these illegal immigrants to live the American Dream while you live the American nightmare. How is that okay? How can anyone be okay with that?
Those are...points. I can’t...But, when it comes to fixing it, what makes you think Donald Trump is the person for the job?
Silk: Let me tell your other option. Hillary Clinton has had thirty years to try to do something and she ain't did nothin’ yet. The outsider shouldn't hurt.
You don’t think so?
Diamond: How you gonna give somebody that's been talking the same talk for 30 years, you wanna give them a vote but they ain't done nothing in 30 years. Then you give me the I don't like what he said twenty years ago about somebody. Thats stupid to me. Thats ignorant and that's crazy. Hillary Clinton has had her time to do it ok? She's been in public service for 30 years. She has never ever created a job. Do you know when she was running for senate she promised those people of New York 200,000 jobs. She didn't even create one job. As a matter of fact, more jobs left the state of New York. Hillary Clinton is a liar. All she does is pander for votes and Obama was right. One thing I do agree with the president about, Hillary Clinton will say and do anything the get a vote. Anything to get elected.
Silk: If she couldn't create one job in thirty years, how she gonna create 10 million jobs in four.
Diamond: She’s not.
Silk: Her track record speaks for itself.
Diamond: Im looking at her actions. I ain't worried about his words. Let's look at her actions. She ain't done nothing. She ain't done a thing.
Silk: Her actions speak louder than his words.
Diamond: And black people will be a fool to vote for her. She is crooked, she is corrupt. And they're trying to silence WikiLeaks. They trying to silence them because a lot of stuff is leaking out about them and their corruption. She doesn't really like America, she don't like Christians, she marginalized Muslims and black people. Bill Clinton called us rednecks. Hillary called us a basket of deplorable. She also called Bernie Sanders supporters basement dwellers.
Silk: She called us racists.
Diamond: How she gonna work for people as a whole? Who's doing the name calling? Read the emails, baby.I don't trust her as far as I can see her. Donald Trump has my vote all the way to the White House. And black people should get behind Donald Trump because at least he's concerned about your hood. At least he's concerned about those communities coming up.
So, what do you all say to someone who just doesn’t want to vote for either, someone who doesn't like Hillary Clinton’s record but who also doesn’t like the way Trump talks and presents himself?
Diamond: I would say he without sin, cast the first stone. Listen to me. It's not about the words, it's about actions. Donald Trump is a doer. The one thing, when Donald Trump sees a need, he fixes the need. He has solutions. He's gonna fix it. There was a hurricane that hit here. Right here in North Carolina. You know what Donald Trump did? He sent a truckload of supplies right down here to North Carolina to help the people here in these areas where these people have been killed and pushed out of their homes. To help them. Something that the media is not talking about. He's about action. His actions speak louder than his words. That's why you have to get out and vote for him. He asks kindly and goes ahead and takes care of the problem. And see how he's going to fix the problem.
Silk: With Donald Trump, this is something that they don't want you to know. They don't want you to know his heart. They don't want you to know just how humble of a man he is—how he loves to help people. They don't even want you to know that he donated millions of dollars to Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharpton for the Rainbow Coalition to help with the inner city. Now where did the money go after it reached Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson’s hands? That's another story for another day. He also allowed Jesse Jackson to rent out one of his buildings, rent free. He donated his space to Jesse Jackson for the Rainbow Coalition. Also, Jennifer Hudson, he put Jennifer Hudson up in one of his towers, one of his hotels rent-free with security around her for free, when that tragedy happened to her family. There's so much Donald Trump has did, has helped people. People don't even know, especially black people. He sent this black man over ten thousand dollars just for this black man for stopping a bus to help save this white lady from jumping off of a bridge, and a lot of people don't even know that. Donald Trump has done so many things in his thirty year span to help people of all races, also he hires black people. His employees are black people. Not just black, white, and Hispanic. He’s hired more black people than Hillary Clinton has. And a lot of people don't even realize that.
Diamond: If you look at her emails, she was like so we can look good in front of black people, it'll be good to hire somebody black. Duuuuh. Listen to what she wrote in her emails about black people. She do things for the look, Donald Trump don't do things for the look, he actually tries to help people.
Silk: Black people, please understand. Your vote is your power. It's time to take your power back. Because you been suppressed, oppressed and depressed for too long by voting for the same system that has rendered you absolutely nothing. So use your vote. You can sit back in the cut and say you're not gonna vote for either. So that means getting in a rut even more deeper. I don't want to hear you complaining and talking about what somebody is gonna do for you. Another thing. Black people. Stop looking at yourself as the minority and join the majority. Minority is less than. Stop being less than and considering yourself less than. And stop allowing people to label you as less than. You can be part of the majority because you are an American first. People need to understand that.
Diamond: And they gotta stop voting for the same system that keeps handing you crumbs. It's time to vote for somebody that has the ingredients that can show you how to make the whole cake. And then you can sit down and have a slice of your own cake. When somebody is giving you something, that means they can control you. When you getting it for yourself, that means you're in control of your own self.
Silk: So it's time to wise up and take a chance on something different because what we've been doing for the same thing, we've been getting the same thing, and getting the same results. Only a fool would fight in a burning house.
Diamond: And that's why we tell people to stop following the okey-doke. And go vote for Donald J Trump.
Well, Alright. One last question: Are y'all going to continue to be Republicans after this election?
Silk: I'm never gonna be a Democrat again, I can tell you that. I'm not doing the Democrat thing. Right now we are Republicans. I don't know if I'm gonna switch to independent but I know I will never be a democrat gain. I'm telling you the truth, I'm tired of both parties. That's why I want an outsider. That's why we're not voting based on the party, were voting based on the man.
Silk: If you look at it, both parties have done absolutely nothing for the inner city. We decided to switch to Republican in order to be able to vote for Donald Trump. Because we want him in the White House.
Diamond: We had to switch to Republican because in the primaries, you had to be a Republican to vote for him. So that's why we switched to republican. After this is over with, we may go Independent, we may stay republican. But I don't plan on ever going back to Democrat. I don't like the way they rule, it's almost like a dictatorship. It's almost like they wanna wanna give you crumbs to keep to quiet. They only give you enough to keep to quiet but they don't give you enough to make a difference. And I'm tired of dealing with people like that on both sides. That's why we’re looking at the outsider. I believe he can come in and shake it up. I believe he can come in and change things. Yes, he may be bout it bout it, but that's what I love about him. He doesn't waver nor does he back down. And he's real. He’s real.