Six months after coming out as a conservative, YouTube personality Candace Owens is moving beyond her RedPillBlack profile and turning to activism for Turning Point USA.
Executive Director Charlie Kirk offered her a job when they met at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend in November 2017, after she spoke at the conference as a rising online personality.
Owens pushed the boundaries on Youtube for six months after her first video declaring herself as a conservative went viral, criticizing established thinking on Black Lives Matter, the Charlottesville protests, and challenging prominent black celebrities.
But like many conservative voices on YouTube, she became frustrated when YouTube started censoring her videos and issuing strikes on her account.
“When you’re by yourself that’s enough to sink you,” she said, explaining why the opportunity at Turning Point came at the right time.
Now she has a platform for promoting free speech as well as a mission to organize like-minded individuals. Her new job has her traveling the country, appearing on Fox News, speaking to young people, and appearing at conferences like CPAC.
I spoke with Owens at CPAC after her panel on “fake news” to talk about her new job and her new life as a conservative in the Donald Trump era.
“Right now CNN is pretending that black conservatives don’t exist, when in fact the truth is, it’s growing, we’re multiplying,” she says, with the topic of her panel still fresh in her mind. “Every single day a black person goes, ‘O.K. you know what, being a victim is boring.’”
She wants to reach out to the black community to help them discover freedom and self-empowerment, beyond the victim mentality sold by the aging left.
“Every black person is a conservative, they just don’t know it yet,” she laughs, citing her community’s support for traditional values and interest in improving their lives.
Critics of Owens remain skeptical of her conservative “conversion,” pointing to her previous efforts to work with liberals to expose anonymous “cyberbullies” online before coming out as a conservative. But she says that the experience helped her realize the hypocrisy of the left after they turned on her.
Charlie Kirk says her experience is exactly why he hired Owens.
“Candace is a once in a generation talent uniquely positioned to make one of the sizable differences in the battle for the future of America,” Kirk told Breitbart News in a statement. “She is a fighter, understands the left, and knows how to defeat them.”
Owens credits stories from Breitbart’s Allum Bokari about her dilemma from Gamergate activists as part of her eye-opening experience.
“At that point, I thought Breitbart was a bunch of white nationalists, so just imagine my surprise that the only people who were printing the truth was Breitbart,” she said.
Many of her conservative values, she explains, are derived from her relationship with her grandfather, who once worked as a sharecropper farmer in North Carolina.
“My Grandparents were super pious, every conservative belief that I have, my idol, my best friend, is my grandfather,” she said. “His values are considered conservative today.”
As an activist, she is currently working on starting a young black leadership summit for conservatives in November.
She has also spent some time with members of the Trump family, celebrating her new-found appreciation for what the president is doing for America and free speech.
“I love the guy, I love him, because what he represented to me is the death of political correctness, and you have no idea how necessary that death is,” Owens says about Trump.
She praises Trump for having an appeal that spreads beyond the “buttoned up” conservatives of the past, demonstrating a fighting attitude that appeals to young people.
“The truth is that Trump as an individual, appeals to younger people, his whole style is younger, it’s fresher, it’s not buttoned up, it’s authentic,” she said. “That’s the way we speak, we’re the LOL nation.”
She has a mission to “take down the idols” of celebrity — deconstructing the artificial personas of celebrities like Jay-Z and Beyoncé to break free from what she describes as the “plantation supervisors.”
She laughs at the hate she receives online, usually from fans of the celebrities she challenges.
“I literally don’t care what you think, and that terrifies them,” she says. “They can’t defeat me by throwing names at me because you can’t take away my blackness, I live it every day, it’s mine.”
Her relationship with her extended family, she says, keeps her grounded in the real struggles in her community: experiencing unwanted pregnancies, welfare, poverty, and unemployment.
She explains her desire to empower those she loves to self-improvement and economic opportunity.
“Black people have pretty much been conditioned for revolution … they need to focus on black evolution,” she says.