Before her appearance at the Orpheum Theatre for the city’s #IAmMemphis commemorative event Saturday morning, Rye met with local activists and advocates who have been on the ground fighting for causes such as #BlackLivesMatter, education and economic inequity.
The pre-speech meeting where @angela_rye talked to several activists. Here’s where she committed to give $5K to two local orgs. C3 Land Cooperative and Official Black Lives Matter Memphis chapter. #IAmAMan #IAmMemphis #MLK50NCRM #MLK50 pic.twitter.com/HS2q47Jmy1
— MLK50: Justice Through Journalism (@MLK50Memphis) February 24, 2018
Today @angela_rye, who had never met us before today, put herself and her coins on the line for the work we are doing on the ground in Memphis. Im still speechless.
— shay_d_lady (@shay_d_lady) February 24, 2018
It was all downhill — or should we say uphill — from there. Rye took her insight from the prescheduled meeting and delivered a message that surprised the city and the event’s organizers.
— Andre E. Johnson (@aejohnsonphd) February 24, 2018
In the words of Blu Cantrell, Rye “hit ’em up style.” Her words were — as the church says — sharp like a two-edged sword.
— Jerica Phillips (@Jerica_Phillips) February 24, 2018
“Memphis, be true to what you said on paper,” said Rye before rolling down a checklist of unresolved issues city officials and civic leaders haven’t addressed while it promotes “tough on crime” policies.
Those familiar with Rye’s style — from her CNN appearances and her work with the Congressional Black Caucus — know she’s a hard hitter, familiar with speaking truth to power.
In an interview with The Commercial Appeal, Mayor Jim Strickland (13,000 Twitter followers) pulled a Mariah Carey on Rye (298,000 followers).
While Strickland feigned ignorance about who the city’s invited guest actually is, as shown in several posts and reactions on the interwebs …
Why am I not surprised that the Mayor doubled down on plantation owner-esque paternalism and defensive deflection? pic.twitter.com/75IhegQIMs
— Kenneth T Whalum Jr. (@kwhalum) February 24, 2018
… in the end, Rye kicked it with her crew at the famous Charlie Vergos’ Rendevous in Downtown Memphis, unbothered.