by CC Campbell-Rock
Black men are arming themselves to protect peaceful protesters.
When Sleep is for the Rich Clothing Company owner Nick Daniels, Jr. heard that black women protesters were being harassed during a protest against a Confederate monument in Shreveport, Louisiana on June 20, he gathered his friends, got strapped, and went to the protest site to protect them.
The “Lest We Forget Confederate” Monument in front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and bears the inscription: “1905, Love’s Tribute to Our Gallant Dead.” The monument combines busts of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson. Louisiana’s Civil War General and Governor Henry Watkins Allen and Louisiana native, General P.G.T. Beauregard. It is one of 91 public spaces with Confederate monuments in Louisiana.
Appearing on Cuomo Prime Time, Daniels explained the Sleep is for the Rich Gun Club’s motivation.
“The initial text message that I got, I was at my house screen printing t-shirts for my brand, when my friend Trey White who owns White Lobster Clothing, called me and asked me if I saw what those white boys are doing to those protesters. He sent me a video of a white woman ripping posters out of these protesters hands and she kept saying the N word, N word, N word. So, we got all the artillery, man, and went down there.”
Are White People Afraid of Armed Black Men?
“What do you say when people see this…you had good motives, you wanted keep it safe, you didn’t want to shoot anybody…and they say, oh, these black guys are scary, coming down with guns, they want a race war.. What do you say? Tv host Chris Cuomo asked.
“No, you got to understand, we didn’t just grab the guns just to grab them. We grabbed the guns because we saw that those confederate guys, they had guns on the sidewalk, and the video I saw, one of those confederate guys could have easily wired one of those kids’ mouth shut. They were that close; they were yelling in those kids’ faces. They had guns on their sides, and we weren’t going for that bro, not in Shreveport.
“Why are we still having to come out here to fight over a monument for people that fought against our country?” Daniels asked. “Y’all don’t understand the hypocrisy in that? And then you want to ask why we’re out here protecting these people? It’s about good versus evil—that’s why,” Daniels said in a video posted to the group’s Instagram account, which has nearly 2.4 million views.
Daniels said his group went to the protest because they didn’t see any police there. “Surprisingly when we got down there, we saw a couple of police, but we didn’t feel like they were going to stop what was going on. It ain’t so much about this statue. It is but it ain’t. It’s the symbolism and us being here and protecting the people who want to speak their minds. Wherever ya’ll at, if you’re evil don’t you ever think you’re going to come to Shreveport and have your way with anybody here.”
“We’re going to start a gun club and teach people how to protest themselves. That’s why we’re out here. We’re not taking no intimidation and bullying no more. It ain’t enough to be quiet no more. This is for protection,” Daniels explained.
A successful businessman, Daniels owns the SI4R Clothing brand, an auto-detailing business and a photography and video services company. The gun training program is his latest venture.
“We’re going to teach them (black people) how to protect their people. I’m calling every stepper, every so-called gangster in the city….send us all your soldiers. We’re going to give them a mind. I’m trying to incite some young soldiers to protect their people.”
Daniels also address the ongoing problem of black on black crime. “We’re going to teach them how not to do black on black crime. I tell my ‘lil partners down here in Shreveport all the time, don’t carry a gun with the thought in your mind that you’re a gangster; carry your gun as if that gun is a sword and every King carried a sword back in the day. You have to carry yourself in a royal fashion to be seen in a royal fashion. That’s what this whole Louisiana Kings movement is about,” Daniels said referencing the guiding philosophy of his approach to gun ownership. We’re going to teach them to protect their people.”
The sight of armed black men has galvanized the nation. That most whites, especially white cops, are fearful of black people with guns goes without saying. Philando Castile was killed by a cop for admitting he was licensed to carry a firearm, while sitting in the passenger seat of his girlfriend’s car.
But much has changed since Castile’s murder by cop four years ago. Attitudes have changed. The protests over the killing of unarmed black people, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David Atee, and other have created a worldwide Black Lives Movement where protesters are confronting police and speaking truth to power. Today, black protesters are not scared to stand up for justice or to carry weapons.
Comparisons to the Black Panthers of the late 1960s’ and 1970s, who were also armed to protect the black community, have been made regarding the Sleep is for the Rich Gun Club. However, this 21st century gun club is bringing a fresh approach, they are anti-racist, anti-black-on-black crime and they’re bringing black pride, gun rights, unity, and community wealth-building to the table.