They Came, They Saw, And They Conquered Umar Johnson’s Hotepalooza In Brooklyn » VSB

Events/Campaigns, Featured, Race & Politics

They Came, They Saw, And They Conquered Umar Johnson’s Hotepalooza In Brooklyn

Dr. Umar Johnson via Facebook

 

Two weeks ago, Dr. Umar Johnson had an event in Brooklyn, where the Prince of GhostedGoFundMe was scheduled to give a talk, sign some books, and share beard maintenance tips. (He does have a pretty impressive beard.) Three brave people volunteered as tributes, to attend and report back on their findings. Here are their stories.

VSB: Who are you, and what compelled you to attend Hotepalooza?

Christine: Hi y’all! I’m Christine Curtis from Brooklyn. I went to that “meeting” because I heard a lot about Umar Johnson and some of his beliefs and I wanted to know who are the people that support him? Does he really have this large following? What will he do and say when speaking to a receptive audience? And to be honest, he shocked and did not disappoint me. I thought it would be funny, fun, sad and a true test of my anger management classes.

Joel: I’m Joel Philip. I’d like to say I was under the influence of cotton candy & quaaludes when I attended Umar Johnson’s Dashiki Dynasty Vol. 1 Mixtape Premier Party, but I totally chose this as a personal challenge to myself. I went in with an open mind that perhaps there’s a method to his madness, as I am not a fan of organized religion or snake oil salesman. I lucked out with a two for one deal. My assumption was the message would have some kind of gravity to it, and if I could put my ego to the side for a moment, perhaps it would resonate. It did. The way Taco Bell & White Castle resonate at 3 AM after a night of Jager Bombs and cheap coconut vodka. Pray for that toilet.

Malaika: My name is Malaika Aaron-Bishop, and I might be a bougie black person but I’m not sure cause I really, REALLY hate room temperature water. Still, the authenticity of my blackness gets called into question more times than I wanna admit. I’m an immigrant (born in Guyana, moved to the States in my early teens) so I often find myself clueless on the subject of even the most basic American pop cultural references. Still, even now I sometimes get caught slippin’. Ready? Confession time: a white person told me about Dr. Umar. *gasp* But I’m black and living in the US so I got schooled real quick on American-grade racism, race relations, racial politics, etc. No questions over here about who I am, and where I stand in the struggle.

That said, for me, Dr. Umar’s event was two parts social study and one part entertainment with a splash of masochism. I had all the questions Christine had. Is this dude for real? Does he actually believe the shit that comes out his mouth? Was that 45min YouTube stint last year a marketing scheme to generate an audience for something more substantial? And speaking of audiences, in this day and age where your cellphone can literally tell you everything you wanna know about anything, what kind of fancy, Santeria-esque shit does one have do to spin consciousness or as the doc would say “konsciousness’? But lo and behold the #MostRequestedScholar did the fucking thing. People came, paid their money, and clapped for ALL the shit. I won’t lie, if I weren’t so appalled I’d be impressed. I not-so-secretly, secretly like when black people do fuckshit and get their money, so I walked in, not so much with Joel’s open mind but kinda sorta ready to root for the nigga if he said just a few things that made some sense. He didn’t.

Christine: I was surprised at how normal everybody looked.

Malaika: Right?!? Every time Umar would say some particularly outlandish shit, I’d look around to see how folks would react! And everyone looked perfectly normal and composed. It was baffling.

Joel: I think what made it more ironic is the same kind of women he was speaking about stereotypically with hair and nails were in the audience, clapping like he was talking about everyone but them.

Like shorty….your weave was done 30 minutes ago and you spent cash money on your nails, HE IS CLEARLY TALKING ABOUT YOU WITH THE IMPOSSIBLE GHETTO BLACK NAME HE MADE UP TO TALK ABOUT BLACK WOMEN

VSB: Did he say anything that made you think “Hmm. This charlatan nigga might have a point.”?

Joel: 1) He spoke on the public school to prison pipeline for young black boys. Though how he went about it is ridiculous, a main point was true: the teachers are not your friend and your children are there to learn, not to be entertained.

2) Single parents have irrational fears when they go to school about their child’s conduct. Especially if they are being their child is not on par for their age appropriate grade and must go to a remedial course instead. He stated parents allow themselves to be backed into a corner and end up st the mercy of the school instead of fighting for proper proof.

3) The labeling of children as ADHD is outrageously rampant and doesn’t make sense.

4) Black people question other black people who have business ventures, ideas, or crafts while supporting white establishments without posing the same questions

Malaika: I think you might be giving him too much credit with those take aways. He spoke in enough cliches and gave enough half true illustrations that you being an intelligent, well read individual could draw reasonable conclusions from. If you took him at his actual word, white folks are “engineering” black boys to be gay so that they could “ensure” they get AIDS in ORDER to “infect our sistahs.”

Christine: No he didn’t and fuck that guy!!

He is a dumpster fire of nonsense and misogynoir.

He doesn’t have any developed ideas. He is like the ADHD kids he claims to believe don’t exist. He is the black Donald Trump when it comes to rambling and contradictory statements in the same speech.

He said that the schools try to intimidate parents by having a bunch of white people in the room to speak with the mother. Then he gave examples of people in the room like the school nurse and the counselor and the child’s teacher. Like they have no business being in a meeting about a child. Now Umar has a solution for you! Get a recently paroled nigga to sit in on the meeting. He said find a guy with visible jailhouse tats that looks like he will go off if the people say the wrong thing and take him to the meeting. Because you need a man in the room with you when you have to take care of things with you child.

He said that he is a psychotherapist and he has testified in court for plenty of cases. But in hour two and a half he said he doesn’t have a license or a degree from any college because he didn’t want to work for white people!!

I was so fucking DONE!!!

This no class thin polyester dashiki wearing piece of used toilet paper had the nerve to say that black women are bald headed because of relaxer burns and then shit talked Madame C J Walker!!!

This nigga said he was a direct descendant of Frederick Douglass. If Frederick Douglass was resurrected he would slap this hotep piece of shit.

He talks in circles to further confuse those lost souls. He is the worst kind of black man because he has billed himself as someone who wants to help people but is only trying to help himself by robbing the most vulnerable. He wanna act like he hates hoteps but then describes bougie black people and calls it hotep.

And he can’t count!!! He started out saying that he had a six point plan on how to help your kid and yourself through…some shit (shrug) but this spinning ass nigga never made it past the second point!!

Everything is because black woman are bad people spending all our time trying to be European and turning against black men because of our brainwashing. We are addicted to weave and burning our scalp with relaxer.

I wanted to just punch him in his Rick Ross light bearded ass face.

And he saddest part was that that auditorium full of sensible looking lost negroes clapping like that bitch was spitting knowledge.

This fuckshit ass nigga bitch had the nerve to open his mouth and say (I’m paraphrasing) that women let their children be affected by systemic racism in our public schools because when the time comes to see Little Ray Ray and Tay Tay’s teacher we double booked the meeting and our weave appointment so we trying to get in and out. (He really did say Ray Ray and Tay Tay.) And THE WOMEN!!! Them clueless women clapped!!!! They nodded their head and LAUGHED!! They stood from their seats!

Oh and don’t get me started on the Tupac Movie!

Malaika: There was one moment, for me, where he started with what had the promise of being a good point. It was when he talked about the link between educational institutions and gentrification. Actually, it didn’t start off making that much sense. He started off by saying that if he was a white man wanting to infiltrate a mostly black neighborhood he would open a charter school. And employ white teachers (Mrs. Lebronowski) who would then need to live the neighborhood, driving up property taxes and then take black homes using eminent domain. This point somehow got fused with another point about University-fueled gentrification which was when I found myself really tuning in. I think this thought resonated with me because it made me think of South Side Chicago and what happened when the University of Chicago started buying up properties. Over the course of just a few years, the neighborhood around U of C changed dramatically and there was some not so subtle animosity between the University and the few folk who managed to stay in the neighborhood after it changed. Needless to say, this was the one instance where even though Umar used a lot of overly-simplified logic, I had to grudgingly admit he had a point. But then immediately after he said all that, he launched into a tirade about black women and c sections and placenta and Shea butter and my “this nigga here” face came back swiftly and with a vengeance.

Christine: The placenta!!!!!!

I forgot about the placenta!!! He said the hospitals are stealing black women’s placenta because of Henrietta Lacks.

That was almost as bad as the whole Tupac movie part!

Malaika: Oh and then do you remember his thing about the Mormons in Utah stealing black peoples DNA because they own Ancestry.com? Actual. Tears. From. My. Actual. Eyes.

Christine: Yes I remember. He wanted to let you know that if you pay him $50 he will call you and give you advice. But if you talk too much he’ll take you money and hang up.

Sweet baby Jesus. He said that it’s a sham and Black people only do the test to prove they are 7.5% Native American.

Oh but remember the property he put a down payment on in North Carolina where he’s building his school? Where all the black boys will have all black male teachers and women can’t get a job if they have a weave or a perm? SMH!

VSB: What was the crowd like?

Christine: This is the shocker. They were normal black people! If you walked passed you would think it was a community outreach meeting or town hall. Most of them looked like they could be the neighbor you ask if it’s okay to accept your UPS package while you are work-type. Most people were well dressed. No “Ashy is the new woke” t-shirts.

There were a few outliers  that had me wondering if they were in the right place. Like the presence of LGBTQ supporters especially since he says things like (once again paraphrasing) that the Black Male Genocide is being perpetrated through a sophisticated plan that involves Black boys being raised without their fathers who then turn into secret homosexuals and move to Atlanta where they are exposed to AIDS through the high population of gay people with AIDS in the city who will then pass it to Black women.

Other than that the crowd was pretty cool. If I walked into iHop and saw this exact same crowd eating pancakes I wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.

Malaika: I second! If normal had a look, this crowd would be it. Black folks of various, shapes, sizes and complexions. Walking in I could hear a few folks speaking Spanish, others speaking Creole. There were some with accents I readily identified as Caribbean by way of Jamaica and Trinidad, but there were also others that I couldn’t place. There were maybe one or two people who could pass for white folks up in the second row. He noticed them too, because at a point while launching into one of his crazy anecdotes he said something about having some white people in the audience and not meaning to offend. This I thought was funny considering how many times he referenced some unspecified brotha with his proverbial “white wife.” Or better yet his constant reference to “Mrs. Lebronowski” the white teacher whose sole purpose in life is to make sure your black sons end up in jail by his 21st birthday so that her husband the white police officer could keep his job through retirement.

Oh and Christine there was one flag bearer, although I suspect she might have been in league with “the good doctor” because halfway through the night he made a pitch for people to go and visit the flag vendor outside. Included in said pitch? “If you got a white wife, go on get you a flag my brotha.” SMH.

But yeah, the audience seemed perfectly ordinary. I remember wondering to myself more than once if the folks in attendance were mostly members of Brown Memorial Baptist. I also remember thinking to myself that the folks who clapped most fervently for the bullshit seemed to be older.

Joel: To be honest, it was the same crowd you’d find at a Jay-Z concert. Same crowd you’d find at a Dave Chappelle show. Same crowd you’d see at the bbq on Saturday when your aunt with arthritis shit on the whole fam with her awesome potato salad (don’t asked who cut the potatoes, it’s rude).

No daishikis, black power fists, afro pics, etc in sight. Now I remember why. He does not consider himself a hotep, just like most hoteps do not consider themselves as such. We are talking men and women ranging from 25 to 70. An eclectic crowd to say the least. It was Christine who pointed out every time he talked shit about hoteps, he was referring to his critics. Meaning Black folks who don’t agree with him. US. WE ARE THE HOTEPS.

So if that’s true in the eyes of those who follow him, we are too bougie to be worth the time. And if you think about any marginalized group, that is generally the belief they have of folks who don’t sympathize with their plight.

Christine: He told the crowd that he hates hoteps more than once.

Malaika: There was definitely something hilariously/sadly circular about his logic. And I won’t lie, more than once I had to ask myself where I would fall on the scale of one to Hotep.

Joel: If anything, the odd thing about Umar and his base is I don’t believe for a second either side is stupid. He is intelligent. He’s full of shit, but he is intelligent. Cunning and slick even. We’ve all seen someone like him. We have someone like that in our families: a know it all dude who decided he will never be wrong so he’ll do anything you say he can’t do, and even if he can’t do it, he’ll go full Republican on you and ignore all your points until you are exhausted. And his base are people who are sick of being ignored so they go with the direction of hearing what they want to hear, and will probably defend these points tooth and nail, despite them going against their best interest.

Actually that’s it. Umar is Trump and his base is radical White America.

Christine: Joel I said that when we were eating Mexican. I said that he is very Trump-esque because he uses a small vein of truth to start an idea but goes on wild tangents that ends up making his whole statement false.

Plus he is taking advantage of the marginalized and disenfranchised. So yeah he is Trump with a Boondocks make over.

Joel: You’re right, you did mention that.

Only reason someone’s like him is worse than Trump is that he has no true success except what he’s getting other people to believe. And he knows that’s all he needs right now.

Malaika: Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii am not so convinced that either one of those two niggas deserve the credit of intelligence. A certain level of ruthlessness? Yes. A disturbing talent for manipulation? Definitely. A large dose of “Imma get mine by any means necessary”? Absolutely. But intelligence? I don’t think so. I think Umar and his Yin-Yang twin da Trumpinator fall short of real intelligence because they both have this puzzling mix of pridefulness AND shamelessness. When this mix kicks in all the smarts go out the window. Fuck logic, fuck proof, fuck evidence, fuck a point, fuck the shit you mighta caught me saying on video five minutes ago that completely contradicts what I’m saying right now.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Darkchloe144

    *Grabs ice cream and thick slice of marble pound cake*
    Gawd is Good! *reads*

  • Hugh Akston

    Ish was long …is this a record? Each person gets 140 characters

    But uhhm

    https://m.popkey.co/ed6865/xqZMW.gif

    • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

      Twitter rules were suspended.

    • Nametaken

      +1 for using a Stig gif.

  • miss t-lee

    First of all, bless y’all hearts for attending and coming back with this report.

    “Get a recently paroled n*gga to sit in on the meeting. He said find a guy with visible jailhouse tats that looks like he will go off if the people say the wrong thing and take him to the meeting. Because you need a man in the room with you when you have to take care of things with you child.”
    https://media.giphy.com/media/l0Iy2gzWnr0ZMtveE/giphy.gif
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c510cea6c7d8a1f2b0e4327a4fe41a3907ec49f90c505e5eeb3232844ea153b8.gif

    • MsCee

      He is totally right..,how dare I, a single mother,attend a meeting at my daughters school without an unknown recently released convict to back me up. Shame on me.

      • cedriclathan

        I haven’t been to prison but I stayed at a Holiday Inn once.

        • MsCee

          Are you black and male? Ok, you got the job!

          • cedriclathan

            Ima start hiring out to single black mothers. Just start trolling PTA meetings.

            • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

              I hope you ran that plan by your wife

              • cedriclathan

                Cash biness, she’ll like that car payment.

                • Sigma_Since 93

                  Break her off some of the proceeds and it’s all good. You do it long enough and she’ll begin to pimp you out to keep the cashflow coming!

                • Transbutter

                  LMAO

            • MsCee

              Lmfao “do it for the culture” as the young folk say.

              • Junegirl627

                ????

              • Jediyoda504

                I always attributed that to Jay Z….

              • BrownKitty289

                Which culture tho????

                • MsCee

                  According to Pimpalicious Umar…apparently, both.

            • Yahmo Bethere

              You could be another sort of “resource officer”.

              Black Male Conference Attendant.

              Mom: “…and you are?”

              Cedric: “I’m the Black Male who’s going to get this conference on track.”

              Mom: “I don’t know you.”

              Cedric: “If you didn’t have that weave, you would.”

              • Mary Burrell

                I don’t care if he has a degree in his field of study he’s still garbage.

              • TheUnsungStoryteller

                Lol!!!! Bahaha! Right. Cedric: “If you were an enlightened Queen that embraced your natural booty…I’m sorry beauty, you would.

      • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

        Because TopShop heiresses will snap them up. Go get yourself a man Ms Cee. Lol. How is minime?

      • miss t-lee

        Girl…I rolled my eyes so hard at that.
        Like Black mothers ain’t been out here wrecking shop since forever.
        FOH.

        • Junegirl627

          According to him you ain’t shizz.

          • miss t-lee

            Oh…I’m well aware…lol

          • Tashiahtomlin


            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !pl17d:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
            !pl17:
            ??
            ??;?? http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash307GroupUniversalGetPay$97Hour ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????:::::!pl17..,.

      • Transbutter

        Not only that but a recently released convict around your child! WTF is wrong with this man?

        • MsCee

          Beats tf outta me.

          • Transbutter

            LMAO

    • Junegirl627

      I told y’all that I would do it if rewind agreed to help keep me out of jail. He went and so did I.

      • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

        Lol. Rewind saves the day. Lol

        • Junegirl627

          Can you tell how pissed ? that man made

          • PourAShotinMeGlass

            Lol. Umar and his ilk are not worth your anger. Sad thing is that they are leading many down the road to perdition with them

      • miss t-lee

        Good work.

    • Cool

      Well well well. It looks like your favorite non-black owned news site(theroot) has apologized to Dr. Umar Johnson for slandering his name and credentials. Now how long until your leader Damon Young apologizes, if at all? His smear peace on this site has almost a thousand comments now all from people who supposedly know everything about PhD’s lol.

      ‘It turns out that Umar Johnson is a doctor of psychology. The National Student Clearinghouse verified it for me late last night after researching his files. You can view the certificate here(link in artlcle)’

      http://www.theroot.com/i-was-wrong-his-name-is-doctor-umar-johnson-1797016800

      • miss t-lee

        Um…thanks for sharing?

      • Reemo

        F * * k that apology, f * * k him and f * * k you for coming around begging for an apology.

      • Mary Burrell

        Suck it dude or whoever you are. Your idol is still trash.

        • Cool

          More from theroot: ‘Here is my problem with stupid people and narcissists. They will argue their side of a debate just to save face. They can know they are wrong, yet they will still belabor their point. They don’t want truth or understanding; they just want to be right. Dumb people do that. It’s why Donald Trump’s personal mantra is, ‘Never admit you were wrong. It shows weakness-‘

    • Yahmo Bethere

      Yes. The single mother is at fault. Not the male who made her one and is nowhere near that school.

      A male like Umar, who was taking a onsen dip on YT instead of being at school.

    • DeeWilli_85

      Folks sayin “Hoteps” jacking people for they money; they in our pockets. Pockets?! Pls Remind me of what money there is in spittin consciousness?

      • miss t-lee

        Have a seat.

        • DeeWilli_85

          That doesn’t answer my question.

          • miss t-lee

            Did you ask one?
            If you have beef with the author, ask your question there. Otherwise, you’re about to get blocked.

  • Alessandro De Medici

    I don’t care much for Umar…but there seems to be a reoccurring class (in terms of taste) thing going on here…

    https://media.tenor.com/images/f7735d5fee084eb0f91adcace28f79dd/tenor.gif

    • Brooklyn_Bruin

      I didn’t want to be the one to say it. Same folks probably couldn’t listen to NOI era Malcolm X.

      Rare
      You mean raw
      That’s the dog in ’em brother

      • Alessandro De Medici

        Yeah I didn’t catch it at first…but then I started asking, why does it seem they’re inflating his influence? If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he’s on TD Jakes level lol.

      • cysinblack

        Black speakers who say things to unseat us from complacency are always shown great resistance regardless of the sound logic of their stance.

      • Duff Soviet Union

        Most people didn’t listen to Malcolm back then either. The notion that most Black people were involved in the CRM is about as ridiculous as saying they’re all BLM supporters today.

        • Brooklyn_Bruin

          Malcolm wasn’t in the CRM if you’re trying to get technical. He didn’t believe in the soft approach at all. The Nation wanted a Blexit with back pay. Trying to get along with the existing majority seemed to be foolish.

          But since Spike Lee, Malcolm gained this mythic status. In my view it’s mostly because of the autobiography and the film.

          Boy was I surprised when I started listening to his early speeches, even more so his later ones. Malcolm was not only flawed, as we all are, his words and ideas would have many a talented tenth become uneasy.

          Yet we have deified Malcolm.

          Umar? There is a kernel of truth, but he’s spinning a story that we want to believe and playing to tropes that work. They don’t need to be objectively true to be enticing.

          Folks putting on these race blinders though. Like these folks that buy what he’s selling are supposed to look any different than “us”.

          The folks rocking with Dr. York looked like regular people too. The black Masons look standard as well.

          Yet other Ludicrous black charlatans, spouting all kinds of nonsense get all kinds of run, fame and accolades.

          To quote the latest profit, if I think everyone is crazy maybe that means I’m three crazy one for seeing this.

          *misspelling intended

          • Duff Soviet Union

            You’re right about Malcolm not being part of the CRM, my mistake.

            The point stands that all the “people wouldn’t like Malcolm now” ignores that people really didn’t like him then either.

          • Yahmo Bethere

            The York people drifted away from regular (trust me, I’ve seen it up close).

            • Brooklyn_Bruin

              Eventually. Heaven’s Gate were normal at first too.

              But there is this undercurrent of black classism in asking the question “what did these people look like?”

              Because if they looked crazy, they would be so much easier to write off. Just like PhD Gate, folks are looking for visual cues and signifiers so they don’t have to deal.

      • Brother Mouzone

        I said that last week.

    • Perhaps that’s his most powerful angle. Separate us from them and make us look cooler.

    • Epsilonicus

      Funny, I’ve been asking my self a parallel line of questioning. I have observed that Hotep movement has a very strong foundation in working class black communities. They not the only ones but it is where I see it the strongest. I have had to question my own critique to make sure it wasn’t some elitism. So I will critique the ideas, I stay away from shouting down followers.

      • Duff Soviet Union

        Their “movement” basically consists of yelling at women / gay men for not doing all their work for them. They’re basically the Black equivalent of MRA’s.

    • Question

      Pretty much.

  • Duff Soviet Union

    “Black people question other black people who have business ventures, ideas, or crafts while supporting white establishments without posing the same questions”

    I get the feeling he’s sensitive about being “questioned” about his scamming.

  • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop
  • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

    Me, whilst reading this whole thing: https://media.giphy.com/media/XQq8UMo254P16/giphy.gif

  • ~*V. von Schweetz*~

    Christine, girl you are my type of folk! I have no idea what your voice sounds like but I heard you loud and clear.
    When will black folk stop looking for someone to lead us somewhere?! The willingness to follow is what keeps nickel slick bastiches like Umar in business. And since all he’s doing is collecting money, it’s definitely a business.

    • BrothasKeeper

      Say that. Why do we always need to be shepherded somewhere?

      • Brother Mouzone

        I don’t believe in that “one great leader” thing either. I wish all of these people who have influence would put more effort into finding common ground with other infuential leaders and groups who share the goal of trying to help and uplift African Americans.

    • Brother Mouzone

      Problem is, that “willingness to follow” thing that negroes have, has hurt them more when the ones they were following were 2520s. What Black man has had enough trust from negroes to lead them down the wrong path in any great numbers?

  • MakesMeWannaShoopShoopShoop

    I have read this thing twice and I am puzzled, but I applaud the fortitude it took to attend. Bravo!. Now,

    while launching into one of his crazy anecdotes he said something about having some white people in the audience and not meaning to offend. This I thought was funny considering how many times he referenced some unspecified brotha with his proverbial “white wife.” Or better yet his constant reference to “Mrs. Lebronowski” the white teacher whose sole purpose in life is to make sure your black sons end up in jail by his 21st birthday so that her husband the white police officer could keep his job through retirement.

    tells me that either Umar is a coward or an evil genius who knows how to hedge his bet.

    The other thing that stood out to me and has been said by other commenters is that we are just the said as those people who voted 45 though we like to pretend. I am going for a third read

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