Everything that could have been said about Michael Eric Dyson’s 170,000 word critique of Cornel West has likely already been said. The forensic examination is near complete, the deconstructions have been deconstructed, and somewhere in America, Miley Cyrus is still twerking.
Still, one assessment remains. Really, the only assessment that matters.
On the list of notable beefs between lightskinneded Black men, where does it rank? Does it crack the top 10? The top five? Let’s see.
10. Drake vs Common
The world watched with bated breath as two of the top five or six light skinneded rappers ever threw some subliminal and some not-so-subliminal shots at each other. Why were they beefing? What happened? And then, once we all learned why — over the privilege to make Serena Williams breakfast — everyone was like “Yeah…I get it.”
9. Drake vs Chris Brown
Sometimes it seems like they’re beefing…and then they’ll make a song together. And then they’re beefing again…and then they’ll make another song together. And then they’re beefing again, and another lightskinneded icon almost loses an eye.
Of the lightskinneded beefs, this one is definitely the most lightskinneded.
8. Jimmy Jackson vs Jason Kidd
The world watched with bated breath as two of the top five or six light skinneded players in the NBA threw some subliminal and some not-so-subliminal shots at each other. Why were they beefing? What happened? And then, once we all learned why — over the privilege to make Toni Braxton breakfast — everyone was like “Yeah…I get it.“
7. Michael Jackson vs Prince
Although they never really appeared to be outwardly antagonistic towards each other, the cold war between the King of Pop and the Giver of No Fucks started before Michael Jackson was even lightskinneded and continued during Jackson’s journey through whatever it was that Michael Jackson was journeying through.
6. Charles Rangel vs Adam Clayton Powell
The rivalry between these politicians lasted so long that it now involves both families. Like the Starks and the Lannisters, but with texturizer instead of swords.
5. John Starks vs Reggie Miller
This feud involved it all. Headbutts, elbows, flopping, drama, shit talking, acrobatics, choking, Patrick Ewing’s sweat. Basically, exactly like the Gold Club.
4. Malcolm X vs Elijah Muhammad
Should probably be higher on the list, but, well…let’s just move on.
3. President Obama vs Cornel West
Much has been written and speculated about in regards to the beef between Dr. West and Honolulu Slim (ht Wu). And everything from inauguration tickets to Obama’s introversion has been blamed for it. But perhaps it’s much simpler. If it’s anything like the beefs between the lightskinneded men I know, it probably has something to do with brunch reservations.
2. Cornel West vs Michael Eric Dyson
Cornel West. Michael Eric Dyson. President Obama. Melissa Harris Perry. Cory Booker. Kamala Harris. Neil Degrasse Tyson.
I’m not saying that it’s odd that all of our most prominent politicians and academics happen to be lightskinneded, and that it’s not a coincidence, and that it was preordained, and that there’s a cold war brewing between them all, and that the cold war will eventually move to bloodshed, and that we’re all going to have to choose sides carefully or risk watching our loved ones die in a furious hellfire, but I’m just sayin.
1. Doug Christie vs Rick Fox
These two icons of lightskinnededness hated each other so much that they fought in a preseason game. A preseason game! Do you know how much you have to hate someone to fight them in a preseason NBA game??? And this wasn’t one of those “hold me back” fights. There was no posturing, just uppercuts, tunnel wrestling, Jackie Christie’s purse, and Shaq in a Burberry pants suit I’m 99.928273 percent sure he copped from a Korean bodega that also sells salami and homeowners insurance. No lightskinneded feud can ever and will ever be greater than this one.