On the cusp of former Vice President Joe Biden’s vice presidential announcement, a group of “over 100 Black male leaders” – including rapper Diddy, TV personality Charlamagne Tha God, attorneys Ben Crump and Bakari Sellers and commentator Van Jones – penned a letter demanding he pick a black woman as his running mate.

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Makes Economic Address In Wilmington, Delaware
WILMINGTON, DE – JULY 28: Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe … [+] GETTY IMAGES

The letter asserts that the urgency for Biden to pick a black woman has “gone from something that SHOULD happen to something that HAS to happen.”

“For too long, Black women have been asked to do everything from rally the troops to risk their lives for the Democratic Party with no acknowledgement, no respect, no visibility and certainly not enough support,” it continues.

The signers also declare their solidarity with a group of over 700 Black women who penned an open letter on Friday decrying “relentless attacks” on Black women being vetted for VP and stating “the time for Black women in the United States is now.”

“Failing to select a Black woman in 2020 means you will lose the election,” the Black males’ letter claims.

The signers conclude, “We don’t want to choose between the lesser of two evils and we don’t want to vote for the devil we know versus the devil we don’t because we are tired of voting for devils–period.”

Biden pledged to pick a woman in March, and his shortlist is rumored to include governors, members of Congress, mayors and even state legislators. Biden has faced mounting pressure to pick one of the women of color on his list – including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Those calls grew louder in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests, which ignited a national debate over race and policing. 

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Biden has frequently said his top criteria for a running mate were being “simpatico with me, both in terms of personality as well as substance,” and the ability to govern if Biden, 78, were unable to perform the duties of president.

Some on Twitter noted that one of the letter’s signers is Nick Cannon, a comedian who said Saturday he would vote for Kanye West.

The new letter follows another letter from a group of women in politics called We Have Her Back on Friday calling on media outlets to give fair treatment to the eventual nominee and avoid “stereotypes and tropes” in their reporting. “We believe it is your job to, not just pay attention to these stereotypes, but to actively work to be anti-racist and anti-sexist in your coverage (ie: equal) as this political season progresses and this presidential ticket is introduced,” the letter states.

With the Democratic convention slated to start next Monday, Biden is expected to announce his running mate this week.

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