Alabama GOP calls for Democrat’s censure over House floor comments

An Alabama Democrat is firing back after Republican lawmakers call for her to be censured.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 8:17 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Democratic state lawmaker is firing back after Republicans in the Alabama Legislature called for her to be censured over comments she made on the House floor.

During a debate last week, Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Jefferson County, quoted altered lyrics from “The Story of O.J.,” a rap song by artist Jay Z, during a debate with Rep. Kenneth Paschal, R-Shelby County.

“When you go to bed at night, you still one. When you look in the mirror at yourself, you still one. That’s the story of O.J.,” Givan said to Paschal. “Light-skinned, dark-skinned, you still one. You’re gonna always be one when you walk up in here and every day you wake up. Don’t you ever forget that.”

Both Givan and Paschal are Black, but Paschal holds the distinction of being the only African American Republican in the Alabama House.

The Montgomery County GOP passed a resolution in support of removing Givan from committee assignments and formally censuring her due to what they call obscene, harassing and morally crude behavior on the House floor.

“It’s a matter of interpretation as to how you want to interpret it or what your thoughts and beliefs are about the song, it’s art,” said Givan.

She said it’s not the first time she’s referenced the song on the floor and has used it when “even referencing it regarding myself. Again, not one time did I use the N-word,” she said. The N-word appear frequently in the original lyrics.

But this time the response was different. The Montgomery County GOP claims Givan violated House Rule 50, which says:

In a statement, Montgomery County Republican Party Chairwoman Connie Grier said, “Racism in any form is unacceptable and should be condemned immediately.”

“I’m not a racist,” Givan has countered.

Paschal released a statement saying, in part:

Paschal said he will not apologize for his beliefs. Neither will Givan.

“How many Republicans that are demanding me to apologize have said the N-word?” Givan said. “How many of them have sat in a room when their friends, families and/or foes have said the N-word outright, and said nothing?” she said.

The motion to censure Givan did not come up Tuesday on the House Floor, but still could at any time.

Not reading this story on the WSFA News App? Get news alerts FASTER and FREE in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store!