Professor Afrika Jackson had just finished a two-hour lecture in front of a packed house discussing how African American parents could prevent their sons from dropping out of high school when someone handed him a strange note warning that “they” were out front waiting for him. Fearing that he was surrounded by the KKK or the Skinheads, Professor Jackson, cautiously headed for the auditorium door. But when he got to the parking lot he didn’t find Neo Nazis, just a bunch of Bougie Black folk in throwback Gordon Gartrell shirts and ascotts yellin’ “ Go Back to Africa. …”
Recently, popular lecturer and Black youth advocate Dr. Umar Johnson, made an appearance on The Breakfast Club Morning Show. In an era when the airwaves are filled with either violent or barely decipherable lyrics, you would think that a Black man droppin’ knowledge on a Hip Hop radio station would be a breath of fresh air.
By the time Dr. Umar had even left the studio, the attacks had begun. The first shot was fired by the Root.com, as the site launched a vicious attack on Dr. Umar’s credibility. Next came the now infamous triple team on Roland Martin’s show on TV One. And that was followed by, yet another attempt by The Root to throw shade at the good doctor. Looks like the “Bad and Bougie” have declared war.
Now, don’t get it twisted. I am not a cheerleader for #TeamUmar. But I am a strong proponent of Black Nationalism and I refuse to let an ideology that has meant so much to so many be disrespected under the guise of a petty, personal attack on an individual.
Historically speaking, the attack on Black Nationalism did not start with Umar Johnson, it goes back almost a hundred years.
During the early 20th century, the Honorable Marcus Garvey was attacked by WEB Dubois and his Talented Tenth team. Members of this squad started a “Garvey Must Go” campaign which contributed to the fall of Mr. Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association.
The attack on Black Nationalism was peppered with Black classism, which, besides the works of Dr. E. Franklin Frazier (Black Bourgeoisie) and Harold Cruse (Crisis of the Negro Intellectual) has been rarely discussed in the Black community.
There was even some serious hatin’ going on during the Black Power Era. This is best exemplified by the treatment of the militant “Abdullah” by “Daddy Rich (Richard Pryor) and the Wilson Sisters (Pointer Sisters) in the 70’s movie Car Wash as they danced around him bashin’ his revolutionary ideology.
However, in recent years the cries of a more White liberal friendly Black Lives Matter have replaced calls for Black Power in the media, And as aging civil rights leaders such as Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton no longer dominate the news shows, there has been a mad scramble to be the new spokespersons for all Black folk or as the older generation would say “the new HNIC.”
In the past, it has been pretty easy for the pseudo-revolutionists to have a monopoly on the media and sell their White corporate sponsors on the idea they are the authentic voice of African Americans. They have served as gatekeepers, blocking anyone with, as Dr. Umar would say, an “unapologetically Black” ideology from reaching the masses. But thanks to YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms, the playing field has become somewhat level. Examples of this are the popularity of YouTube Channels such as BlackNews102 and the blockbuster-like success of Tariq Nasheed’s Hidden Colors series, which owes much of its popularity to social media promotion.
So, as we see with the attack on Umar Johnson, the Bad and Bougie have been engaged in an uncivil, civil war against those who they, unflatteringly, refer to as “Hoteps” or “Dashiki wearers.”
But what the attack on Dr. Umar has done is unify the Black Nationalist community in ways not seen since the Million Man March. Even those who have not exactly been fans of Johnson are taking exception to the blatant attack on a Pro-Black ideology. Looks like the Bad and Bougie have told one ankh joke too many.
So, don’t worry about it Dr. Umar, we are ridin’ with ya. As the rap group Migos might say, you keep throwin’ up the Black Power fist and “dabbin’ on them like the usual.”
Min. Paul Scott is founder of the Black Messiah Movement. He can be reached at (919) 972-8305 or [email protected] or him follow on Twitter @truthminista