By Mrinal Gokhale
Mike Bivins announced his endorsement for Joe Biden for president in 2020. Bivins is a member of Bell Biv DeVoe, a musical group, which was primarily active in the 90s.
Bivins said that he went “out of his way” to vote for former President Barack Obama in 2008 when Biden served as vice president. He believed that Biden would make a good president before he announced his campaign.
“My good friend was telling me Biden would be a good pick and he should run before he declared he would run. We just watched him on TV, and I realized the mood and feeling I had in ‘08 – he [Biden] was a part of that,” he said.
Specifically, Bivens admires Biden’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement, police reform and healthcare reform.
“There’s so many things in front of him, and then he’s dealing with a pandemic. Even if he’s dealing with his own policies, he needs to address the policies of the people first,” Bivins said.
In relation to how the Donald Trump administration is handling the coronavirus pandemic, Bivins feels the information given to the public is “misleading” and that more could be done to address the crisis.
“Not having ventilators and things people needed and getting the government to give those things is where it started. They didn’t get what they needed fast enough,” he said. “You can’t be the commander and not wear a mask yourself. If you don’t lead by example why should we listen to you?”
Bivins had a chance to meet Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate in Detroit a few years ago. He feels that she is “tough” and is “putting in hope as an African American woman.”
“From what I can see, and I don’t deal with her past, she seems very real and was very respectful to me and my wife. It was a great impression and I’m starting to learn who she is and how she talks, and now I’ll see how she walks,” Bivins said.
Harris’s record as California District Attorney has sparked much controversy over the years. She has received both praise and criticism for her work in criminal justice as several sources have cited a high African American incarceration rate under her administration.
When asked about this issue, Bivins said that he has felt the pain of seeing someone close to him being sent to prison, but he maintains faith in Harris.
“I can’t control someone else’s feelings towards that. That’s a part of her story and her route. Maybe she can make people feel differently about her now. I wasn’t there, and it wasn’t my family members. I can tell them she’s here now and maybe they can give her another chance.”
Bivins has been involved in the Biden-Harris campaign on a grassroots level in his Massachusetts hometown. He is particularly focused on increasing black voter turnout, and “staying in the streets to talk to people who need more pushing.”
“I’m trying to get these black men out here to understand that only 13% voted in 2016. I’m using my platform as a celebrity to listen to what they don’t like, find a happy medium and encourage them to vote. No matter what you feel, you must vote. There’s too many issues at hand.”