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July 6, 2015

To Whom Does the Fourth of July Belong?

Black Lives Matter ROBYN BECK via Getty Images

White supremacy asks us, on the Fourth, to consider ourselves one American people. But this too is an injustice, because it asks many to forget the ways in which the promise of America never applied to them and still remains largely incomplete. Perpetuating the myth of American independence, while it doesn't fully apply to all, cannibalizes the very hope of full emancipation and real equality.

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Mel B Pictures

    In this photo provided by Kraft Foods, Spice Girl "Mel B" poses for a photo wearing a T-shirt she designed based on the classic pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness, after a fashion show and launch of "Pose for the Cure" web site to help Kraft Foods raise money for the 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' fight against breast cancer in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. The shirt is for sale on the web site and the net proceeds will benefit the foundation. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, Ray Stubblebine) **NO SALES**

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    In this photo provided by Kraft Foods, Spice Girl "Mel B" poses for a photo wearing a T-shirt she designed based on the classic pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness, after a fashion show and launch of "Pose for the Cure" web site to help Kraft Foods raise money for the 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' fight against breast cancer in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. The shirt is for sale on the web site and the net proceeds will benefit the foundation. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, Ray Stubblebine) **NO SALES**

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    In this photo provided by Kraft Foods, Spice Girl Mel B, left, serves as the emcee at a fashion show and launch of "Pose for the Cure" web site to help Kraft Foods raise money for the 'Susan G. Komen for the Cure' fight against breast cancer in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. Mel B wears a T-shirt she designed based on the classic pink ribbon used for breast cancer awareness. The shirt is for sale on the web site and the net proceeds will benefit the foundation. The woman at right is unidentified. (AP Photo/Kraft Foods, Ray Stubblebine) **NO SALES**

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 09: Pop singer Melanie Brown and singer Aubrey O'Day (R) poses backstage at the Mel B With Ultimo Spring 2009 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at the Metropolitan Pavilion on September 9, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images )

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New York native Landon Dais joined the cast of BET's 'Harlem Heights' to further his political aspirations. The son of a political activist, Dais says would have run for New York City Council District 9 in Harlem regardless of whether he was on TV.

"I was very weary of joining the reality show," Dais confided. "In today's society, television executives believe the only way to get high ratings is through drama and enhancing the negative about people."

The Morehouse College graduate says his desire to be a positive role model and to "influence one kid to go to college" led to his decision to join the cast of 'Harlem Heights.' And though some Harlemites initially questioned his motives for running for office, "once they saw me walking the streets of Harlem at all times of the night, talking to the youth, they realized I was a legitimate candidate who really cared about the people of Harlem," he chuckles.

For Dais, becoming a quasi-celebrity has helped him win recognition in the community. Though he is second in the polls, he still believes going door to door and meeting people in his community has given him a real shot at winning.

"The young people gravitate towards me, and the older people in the community see that I am the only viable candidate who can get the young people to care about the political process. This has caused a lot of older people to support my efforts."

And then, there is Smalls.

This 'I Love New York 2' contestant is running for a New York City Council seat. Given his on-air persona, he's had a tougher time getting the people to take him seriously.

"People may not take me seriously, [but it is] also good because people don't see me as a threat," he told BV Newswire this week. When probed about his educational background, the jovial contender offered: "Let's just say, like Kanye West, I'm a college dropout. I learned that I didn't have to have a political education to run for city council."

In fact, his decision to run for office came after the reunion special for 'I Love Money 2,' another VH1 reality show, in which Smalls (also known as "It") was reunited with his 'I Love New York 2' competition, George 'Tailor Made' Weisgerber.

Weisgerber, who won Miss New York's love on the show, is now Smalls' campaign manager. The two have spent the last several weeks canvassing the district for signatures to get on the ballot.

"Yes, I'm a beautiful speaker. I'm an actor," Smalls explained. "I study the techniques of Malcolm X, following his speeches, and I love it!"

Although Smalls thinks he can win, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth -- a former White House staffer and 'Apprentice' star -- has some disappointing news: "You need a ton of money and a political mastermind [to win an election], and reality television stars don't have access to capital."

Dais agrees, but if these reality stars can prove the naysayers wrong what a story that will make, or perhaps provide fodder for another reality television show on life after winning

Manigault-Stallworth, who has appeared in over 20 reality television shows, continues to work in politics however; the 'Bitch Switch' author works as a fundraiser and believes her television persona has worked to her advantage, helping her become a "much more effective political operative."

Yet, Donald Trump's most famous reality TV protege will admit that running for, and winning, a political office is difficult. "I have not seen it done well, quite frankly," she added. "Being famous does not always translate into being an effective politician."

Her advice? "They need to hire me to be their campaign manager," she recommended. "I'm the missing key to their success."

The Democratic primary election for New York City Council takes place Sept. 15 for both Dais and Smalls.

Interested parties can find out more about Dais' campaign at www.LandonDais.com. Smalls, on the other hand, wishes for his supporters to check out his YouTube video.




Tagged as: DrRandalPinkett, HarlemHeights, ItILoveNewYork, KevinPowell, KwameSmalls, LandonDais, OmarosaManigaultStallworth, TheApprentice, TheRealWorld
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