The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has deeply troubled singer and actress Cher, who has been battling illness and had to cancel part of her tour the end of 2015. On “MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall,” Cher is discussing spearheading the efforts to get fresh water bottles to Flint, Michigan and said, “When I heard that the effects of this water would be in these children forever and would keep them from having the same opportunities because of being given poisoned water by the Governor… it just killed me.”
For our international readers, Flint, Michigan is a town that has suffered economically and was one of many subjects of American documentary filmmaker Michael Moore (born in Flint, Michigan and raised in a suburb of Flint). Flint has not had clean water for more than a year, and tests have found lead in the city’s water supply that experts say has led to cases of Legionnaires’ disease and predict more long-term health issues.
Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder sent in the National Guard to distribute water to citizens and also asked President Barack Obama to declare a state of emergency and provide federal aid.
Cher added that for her, it hit “closer to home” because her former late husband, Sonny was from Detroit.
Corporate good citizen Los Angeles-based Icelandic Glacial is partnering with Cher to donate 181,440 bottles of water to the city’s residents, which will be distributed by the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan starting on Wednesday. On Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s recent apology for the Flint water crisis, Cher said, “It’s too little, too late. I — who cares? I mean, everyone’s sorry when they get caught.”
“MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall” Partial transcribed excerpts:
HALL: …listen, your tweets have gotten so much attention. You are very vocal politically on all platforms. Why did you feel the need to jump in right now on the issue of Flint and this water crisis?
CHER: …I heard about this story from Rachel. But when I heard that the effects of this water would be in these children forever and would keep them from having the same opportunities because of being given poisoned water by the governor and having people that knew about it, it just killed me. Also, Sonny is from Detroit and that was something – not that that did anything extra, but it was, you know, it was closer to home.
HALL: I think a lot of people like you could not believe what they were hearing, what they were reading, that every child in that community, somewhere around 8,000, all exposed to this poisonous water. The entire community just at a standstill waiting for help, and it took someone like yourself to contact this water company, this water bottle company and say, let’s do something, that it was coming from civilians like yourself, celebrity or not. These are the people who have been stepping up.
CHER: Well…also it wasn’t that easy. Thank god they came because they’re not even an American company. I went to American companies and I couldn’t get the help that I needed. And I’m not used to doing — well, I am actually used to doing these kinds of things, but not in this kind of way. So … it’s like Michigan is no longer a democracy.
…I mean, it’s insane. It’s like – it’s — the governor is now not a governor, he’s the dictator of Michigan.
HALL: When you hear Governor Snyder, as you did yesterday, say that he will fix this, admit that this is his Hurricane Katrina, and that he takes responsibility, does that mean anything to you?
CHER: No, absolutely not. It’s too little, too late. I — who cares? I mean, everyone’s sorry when they get caught. You know, you need to care before. You need to care when you know that the health — that the people that you have responsibility for, that you are taking care of them. You know, you are their public servant and you don’t get to push them around, and it’s always poor people.
Also the neighborhoods, the counties, they’re mostly black and they’re all poor. So he just took advantage of people that have no voice, you know? And it’s such a — that’s such a cheap shot. You can take advantage of people who have no voice because who’s going to hear them? And yet Rachel Maddow did, and then I did. And now I think — I think other people — you know, organizations can get together. People in the neighborhood can get together. There’s so much to do.
Also, these children, you know, I was talking to Karen about — the mayor, about – that — she said there were no markets in Flint. They don’t get fresh produce. And because – and I said, well, I bet there is, you know, a pawn shop and things that take people’s money and, you know, without giving benefits on every corner. And we were talking about how there needs to be a market.
Well, people could come together. They need fresh produce and we were talking about a garden but it’s winter there, you know? So there are things people can do…