Gov. of Mississippi Has the Nerve to Talk About Being ‘Civilized’ After Black Teens Stage Controversial Halftime Show

Forest Hill High School students perform in controversial halftime show on Oct. 6, 2018, in Brookhaven, Miss.
Forest Hill High School students perform in controversial halftime show on Oct. 6, 2018, in Brookhaven, Miss.
Screenshot: WLBT

Gov. Phil Bryant, head of the state which ranks second to last in education in all 50 of these United States; a man who runs the government of a place with an actual Confederate flag in its state flag and where the poverty rate stands at an abysmal 20 percent, has the nerve, the unmitigated gall, the cajones, to talk about “what should happen in civilized society.”


Of course, the Republican’s dog whistling words referred to black people—young black teens in this instance.

On Friday, a high school band from Forest Hill in Jackson, Miss., performed a halftime skit that depicted police being held at gunpoint with rifles in a reported ode to the Denzel Washington movie, John Q. Unfortunately, the students from Forest Hill staged the show six days after two police officers from Brookhaven, Miss., where they played the game, were killed.

During the halftime show, a handful of the Jackson students dressed as doctors and nurses pointed fake AR-15-style rifles at other students dressed as SWAT team members.

And you know wypipo in Mississippi lost their collective shit. Including the gub’na.

Bryant must have heard the news on the dog whistler express and sent out a tweet the very next day, saying, “This is unacceptable in a civilized society. Someone should be held accountable.”


After that, it was a chorus of apologies to the police, who have apparently ascended their heavenly bodies into untouchable status, even though they routinely kill unarmed people, with rare consequence.


Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Errick L. Greene said that the skit was inspired by the 2002 film, John Q, in which a father holds staff at a hospital hostage to get a heart transplant for his dying son.

Greene also confirmed that Forest Hill High School marching band’s director, Demetri Jones, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.


“You have my commitment that we will investigate it fully and take additional appropriate action with respect to procedures and personnel,” Greene promised, adding:

(Jackson Public Schools) has a great deal of respect and appreciation for our law enforcement partners,” said Superintendent Greene in a statement. “The band’s performance does not depict the values and people in our community, and was incredibly insensitive to the students, families, law enforcement officials and the entire Brookhaven community. For this we sincerely apologize to all, and we pledge to do better in the future.


CNN reports that Brookhaven High School has also filed a formal complaint with the Mississippi High School Activities Association and put out its own statement:

The halftime show performed by the visiting band during (Friday) night’s game was an unfortunate issue that our district had no prior knowledge of and does not condone,” the district said. “Our main focus remains, as always, on the safety of our students and the student-athletes performing on our fields. We appreciate our community’s support as we continue working to ensure a positive environment of sportsmanship for our student-athletes and those visiting Brookhaven.


Two Brookhaven police officers, 31-year-old Zach Moak, and 35-year-old James White, were killed in a shootout early on Sept. 29. A suspect, Marquis Aaron Flowers, 25, of Brookhaven, has been arrested but not yet charged in the deaths.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba also weighed in:

I offer my sincerest regrets to the Brookhaven community for the insensitivity that portrayed during the Friday evening halftime show. There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance. While I do not believe that there was a malice intent on behalf of the students that participated in this halftime show, I understand that we are ultimately not defined by the things that we set out to do, but rather how we respond to the things that actually do take place. It is the responsibility of adults to offer guidance to youth. Our students should have been instructed that this was neither the time or place for that performance.


But back to the gub’na, and his thoughts on accountability.

I think it’s high time that you sir, Gov. Phil Bryant, should be held accountable for the fact that both of these high schools scored less than 15 percent proficiency in math, as compared to the rest of the state, and that both ranked within the bottom 50 percent of all the apparently shitty school districts in Mississippi (based off of combined Math and Reading proficiency testing data) for the 2015-2016 school year.


I think you should be accountable for the fact that Mississippi and Alabama are the only two states that celebrate Robert E. Lee Day during MLK weekend. Or how about the fact that your prisons are literal death camps?


What of the fact that there are people who are so poor in the Mississippi Delta that when I visited, I couldn’t believe I was in America; that Mississippi’s levels of child poverty are second to last in this nation, and its infant mortality rates are some of the highest. To me, that is the real tragedy. That is the true barbarism. That is what is uncivilized.

Not kids on a field doing a skit.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.


They elected a sexual predator president, and just put a sexual judge on the United States Supreme Court over the protest of the nation. They can’t tell me shit about civilization. They don’t get to tell us what is and isn’t “civilized.” They can go to the deepest circle of Hell with that bullshit.

Conservative white folks out outchea preaching to us about civility while acting a goddamn fool, lawdamercy. Not in this life, nor the next, no sir.