When you read or hear, “Diamond and Silk,” you immediately know that is in reference to the dynamic sister duo from North Carolina, who were outspoken Black Republican political commentators and proud supporters of President Trump. That is why it was international news when Diamond passed away, unexpectedly at 51 years old, of heart disease due to chronic high blood pressure on January 8, 2023. She was famous and she had a public persona, but that was not even half of who she was as a person.
Diamond of Diamond and Silk became a successful brand, but Ineitha Lynette Hardaway was a single mother, a daughter, a sister, an auntie, and a friend.
The Crown Theater in her hometown of Fayetteville was filled with people not just from North Carolina, but from all over the country who came to celebrate her life. It was personal, soulful, emotional, funny, and yes, very political because Diamond was very political!
Her celebration was all things that embodied Diamond herself, wrapped up in a four of service to truly give her the sendoff she deserved. Why? Because Diamond was a history maker, she was Black girl magic, she was a trendsetter and she was an influencer of millions, whether the mainstream media liked it or not.
Black liberals were quick to discredit and demean Diamond because she was a threat, she was powerful because she was influential. Her “celebration of life” service reminded all of us that outside all those things, this woman had a family that loved and supported her deeply. This proud Black family stood together to honor her life and set the record straight.
The Hardaway family also reminded us about the humanity behind political personalities. To see her only son, Paris, stand there talking about the woman he loved was heartbreaking because he should have had at least 30 more years of memories. No parent should ever have to eulogize their own child, but that is exactly what her father, Elder Freeman Hardaway did after burying his wife and her mother, Evangelist Betty Hardaway in 2021.
There is a stigma and false narrative about Black Republicans that because one’s party registration is not Democrat, we are no longer invited to the BBQ or the cookout, or the family reunion. What does that mean in laymen’s terms? They incorrectly assume Black Republicans do not have a connection to their families, nor community because of their politics.
However, what was amazing to learn was that Diamond helped her family become registered Republicans by encouraging them to do their own research on the political parties, their platforms, and namely her choice for President back in 2016, Donald J. Trump. Not only did she encourage them to their own independent research, but she was open and willing to have these much needed conversations and debates with her own family about politics, just like she did with her sister on their show.
Her story is the American Dream personified and we should give credit where credit is due. Diamond never changed after reaching success with her sister. What was so endearing and infuriating to the left was that she was authentic, it wasn’t an act, she believed it. Diamond and Silk were going to be themselves no matter where they were or who they were with.
A few years ago, I was having lunch with Diamond and Silk and she confirmed that President Trump had encouraged them to monetize what they were doing, to make it a business, to create a bigger platform, not just for entertainment, but to create legacy wealth. They did just that. The show expanded, Diamond wrote a book with her sister, and they went on tour—always being their authentic selves.
Her celebration of life service humanized her and gave us a chance to get to know Ineitha Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway. Her life had meaning, and I was honored to be present at the service along with North Carolina notables, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Henderson, Lt. Governor and Mrs. Mark Robinson, the Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, Lara Trump, and the Everette Family Gospel Ensemble who sang “Stand,” “Old Ship of Zion,” and “I won’t Complain.”
Lt. Governor Robinson said, “I was proud to call her my friend, why because she was North Carolina in all its best forms. She was wise, she was strong, and she was beautiful. Just like North Carolina is wise and strong and beautiful, and when we remember her name, let us remember her name because of her wisdom and her strength and her beauty.”
You do not know the plan God has for you. Diamond could not have known that in 2015, Melania Trump would see her video with her sister, love it, and show it to her husband. President Trump said that much of his success in 2016 is due to Diamond and Silk. He never forgot the sacrifices they made to support him as much as they did together.
We can’t minimize the fact that a former President of the United States attended and spoke at her service and stayed the entire time. President Trump also told the family that he would take care of all the expenses and arrangements for Diamond because she was a loyal friend to him and his family.
As we celebrate Black History Month in a few days, I hope North Carolina will continue to celebrate Inethia Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway. She was an innovator, doing her shows with her sister in the comfort of their home in front of a single camera—long before the pandemic.
When the history books are written about the 2016 election, the rise of political influencers, notable Black Republicans, and prominent political brands and commentators, they will have to mention these two Black sisters from North Carolina named Diamond and Silk. Diamond achieved the American Dream, and we should celebrate that no matter what side of the political aisle, what she accomplished was impressive and historic.
Her celebration of life service was held at the Crown Theater. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” Diamond Hardaway was steadfast, she stood the test, she loved the Lord, and this country, and now has her crown of life, in heaven.
You might not have agreed with everything she said, supported, or for which she stood up against, but there is no doubt that Diamond was worthy of our respect and admiration, and we should, likewise, stand up against the attempts to diminish her bright light and legacy because she was a Black conservative woman.
Paris Dennard is a prominent communications and political strategist and consultant who has worked at all levels of government and Republican politics.