Will Carlee Russell’s Kidnapping Lie Negatively Impact Black People Who Really Are Victims?
It has been just over a year since three sisters were found dead in a pond after going missing in Cass County, Texas, and “REVOLT Black News Weekly” is making sure no one forgets about the young victims. Another major subject of Friday’s (Aug. 4) episode was Carlee Russell’s hoax of a kidnapping and misinformation that continues to cloud COVID-19 vaccines, particularly when regarding Black celebs. Global news anchor Mara S. Campo once again guided viewers through these controversial topics while correspondent Kennedy Rue had a sit down with the legendary Miss Lawrence, who took REVOLT to the ball.
“RBN” looked at the “hidden secrets” behind the deaths of the Oliver/Hughes sisters, who were sexually assaulted and killed. Unfortunately, they haven’t seemed to be a priority for law enforcement. But REVOLT has learned that the police did zero in on Paris Propps — a family member who had been babysitting the girls when they went missing — as a suspect. The girls’ mother, Shommaonique Oliver-Wickerson, recalled the police taking DNA samples from underneath Propps’ fingernails. However, to her knowledge, the cops have not questioned Propps since immediately after the killings, and he has not been arrested.
When Black people are the victims of tragedies, it’s not surprising when the police and mainstream media neglect to pay attention. A recent case of a missing Black woman did get plenty of national coverage, but unfortunately, things went left when Carlee Russell eventually admitted she made up the story of her kidnapping. While there was relief when Russell returned home safely, her tale started unraveling as people began asking where she was and what happened. After an investigation, Alabama police discovered that Russell’s engrossing story about a wandering toddler on the side of a highway turned out to be a total fabrication. After admitting she lied, Russell was arrested and charged with filing a false police report and statement, which are both misdemeanors, and she’s out on a $2,000 bond. But many in the community think Russell got off light considering the damage she has done.
“Carlee was our first case to go viral and to get that around-the-clock media coverage,” said Natalie Wilson, a co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation. “There are thousands of other people of color that are reported missing and they are not getting the media coverage. We cannot turn a blind eye to them because of this one incident.”
Despite Russell, the legitimate numbers involving missing Black people are eye-popping. According to the FBI, last year, there were over 240,000 people of color missing in the U.S., and Wilson believes that number is much higher when you consider Hispanics are not included and the issue of communities of color not trusting the police. In 2022, there were over 97,000 Black women reported missing. The irony is it was Black women who rallied to get Russell’s story out there when it initially was not getting attention. “I don’t know if Carlee Russell really understands the impact of what she did,” added Wilson. The hope is Russell’s lies don’t somehow hurt the mission of getting missing Black women back home.
“RBN” then pivoted to examining seemingly healthy Black men, who happen to be celebrities — like Jamie Foxx, Bronny James and Deion Sanders — facing serious medical emergencies. This has added fire to the conspiracy theory, which is bubbling up on social media, that claims the COVID-19 vaccine is the cause for these health issues. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black community is still behind when it comes to vaccination rates compared to any other race in the United States. Many point to at least part of this being because of conspiracy theories that say the vaccines are dangerous to Black people. However, there is no evidence of this.
To help with addressing misinformation, “RBN” spoke to a cardiologist about whether the vaccine “changes” your DNA as some would have you believe. “It is an mRNA vaccine, meaning that is produced mRNA, particularly in this circumstance, spike protein and there is no alteration that we know of [to] the human genome or the DNA in any way that is documented,” said Dr. Bernard Ashby. “And so, there is simply no evidence whatsoever that it does that.”
On the other hand, “RBN” also spoke to Nathaniel Jordan, a minister of wellness, who has anti-vaccine views and is pro-immune system and holistic healing. He pushes a healthier lifestyle in lieu of drugs. Campos pointed out the underlying concern is a mistrust of big pharma and the healthcare system, which many in the community share. “We should mistrust them,” said Jordan. “Big pharma CEOs, they proudly declare they want everybody on drugs from birth to death. Vaccines [are] the best way to do that.” To say that this debate was passionate would be an understatement.
On a lighter note, Kennedy Rue got a lesson on ballroom when she caught up with reality TV star Miss Lawrence at Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman event in Atlanta. Ballroom grew from the underground LGBTQ+ subculture of dance, competition and pageantry. “It has saved lives. For me, specifically, I would not be who I am had it not been for ballroom,” said Miss Lawrence. “You learn a level of confidence in yourself and learn how to bring it to the forefront to meet the world on your own terms.