Yesterday, Chris Kindred posted an online comic called “The Hotep Problem.” The comic illustrates the idiocy of the small but boisterous online community called “hotep twitter” and all its adherents. Now, such a movement is not constrained to Twitter only (nor is it solely an online phenomena). But Twitter is where most of these psuedoscientists and wannabe-philosophers spread their gospel to anyone willing to listen. Such prominent “hoteps” include Youtube’s Yada, author and self-described relationship expert Tariq Nasheed, and “Dr.” Umar Johnson, who has a charter school for Black boys for some reason.
(More on charter schools later. I promise.)
This space and its people are referred to as “hotep twitter” and “ankh niggas,” respectively, in reference to their obsession with certain aspects of Ancient Egyptian culture, such as the ankh symbol, Osiris, and the Pharaohs. This isn’t new, as black institutions such Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity has been using imagery of Ancient Egypt for the last century. They’re not worshipers of Egyptian polytheism, so much as they believe Black people (mostly men) are gods. Of course, they ignore the other less respectable aspects about Egypt (or Kemet) such as the pharaohs inbreeding, human sacrifice, and presence of slavery in favor of pyramids, gold clothing, and half-naked Black women. Nope, they just love that specific era where us Black men ruled our own kingdoms.
If you want a Rumpelstiltskin-esque spell to make them go away, just say the following: WEST…AFRICA!
Hotep Twitter dedicates itself to a sort of Black (man’s) self-determinism in the face of White supremacy. This is evident in Tariq’s commercially successful 4 part documentary series, Hidden Colors, which deals with “the religion of White supremacy.” They also believe in conspiracy theory peddling, historical revisionism, and psuedoscience. Yada went on a rant (famously lampooned by Jeffery Almonte) about how Black womencannot have periods. Also during his philosophizing, he decried that philosophy itself was the “White man’s” invention.
Conspiracy theories and revisionist history within the Black community (or anywhere) are nothing new. The Nation of Islam teaches that an evil Black scientist named Yakub created White folks on an island 6000 years ago. Dr. Leonard Jeffries claimed in the 90’s that Black people are sun people and White folks are ice-people all while supporting the notion that Jews financed the slave trade. We also offer our own conspiracies as to who shot JFK and MLK, why 9/11 “really” happened, or how the NBA rigged the 2016 Finals.
More infamously, there’s the Willie Lynch Letter – the Hotep Bible. The document purports iself to be a speech written by 1712 by William Lynch, Caribbean slave owner, to the American South on how to divide Black people and keep them enslaved mentally for 300 years (i.e., dark vs. light, man vs woman, and old vs young). This speech gained prominence in the 1990’s with the advent of the internet and as a result of the Million Man March speech, in which supreme proto-hotep godfather Minister Louis Farakhan quoted it to a million people. Yes, all of our problems today are the result of some genocidal mustache twirling White man who, as it turned out, didn’t actually exist. Of course, this document was actually created in the 1970’s (the anarchronisms gave it away). Yet that hasn’t stopped nearly every “woke” fake-deep Black person from quoting it with the same obnoxious fervor that some White guys do with Ayn Rand.
However, most Black people with a brain take extreme issue with the hotep community’s misogyny, homophobia, and antisemitism. Time and time again, Tariq Nasheed consistently bashes what he deems to be the negative influence of Black feminism on our community, as evident with his beef with Ebony Magazine editor Jamilah Lemieux (who rightfully referred to this charlatan as “the lowest of the low”). Despite offering no empirical evidence to support his position, he frequently demonizes Black feminists as being sexually enthralled with and/or manipulated by White men. In addition to propagating the same Jewish/Zionist/svengali theory from the White supremacists (with a hotep twist), Umar Johnson supports gay conversion therapy, which actual scientists have deemed to be psychologically harmful to all its subjects. They possess just as much intellectual rigor as a hustler preacher, albeit with the same goals (money, power, and pussy).
Like other hoteps, they both propagate a sort of respectability politics which demand that Black women support Black men (as if they already hadn’t been for over 4 centuries!) by being completely obedient to our will. As such, they cannot do anything that can be remotely pleasurable or mundane such as wearing bathing suits, wearing weaves, or (Osiris forbid) twerking. They have to cook our meals, clean our shit-stained underwear, and have sex with us as we lead our community to repel the ice people…er…the White man.
It doesn’t matter what they have as hopes, dreams, or desires. It doesn’t matter if they can “lead” our community (spoiler alert: THEY ALREADY DO!). In this sense, as Chris noted yesterday, they believe in a sort of nuclear family for Black people, with the patriarch on top, the woman subordinate, and homosexuality nonexistent. If Black women follow this formula, you will all be respectable Nubian queens of Kemet who will have a
no-job-no-lotion-havin’-ass brotha Nubian God kings who will definitely cheat on you-with-a-White-woman love you unconditionally.
Even more disconcertingly, multiple hoteps have defended the actions of Black male celebrities such as Chris Brown and Bill Cosby when they commit violent crimes against women. Their usual explanations range from the “White man’s conspiracy to take a powerful Black man down” to outright victim blaming (i.e,. she deserved it). This is where the “Bill Cosby tried to buy NBC and make it a Black network” gets its roots from, even though it was never possible for him to do so. Yet, like religious fanatics, they completely ignore obvious empirical evidence and rational thought to support their falsehoods. Never mind that court testimony from Cosby himself confirmed that he drugged women with Quaaludes. Forget the fact that Black women suffer miserable rates of domestic violence and sexual assault. They will give passes to abusers as long as they’re Black men with influence. It does not matter if their victims are Black women or even if those abusers care about Black people. Only some black lives matter in their eyes.
Hotep Twitter is not the only community where pseudo-intellectuals spread misinformation and conspiracy theories (re: Alt-Right, 9/11 truthers, and Alex Jones). If they were simply limited to the internet, they can be easier to ignore. Yet, like BBC did with extremist Anjem Choudary before his conviction or CNN does with Trumpists such as Corey Lewandowski and Katrina Pierson, mainstream media outlets are all too willing to provide these idiots a platform to spread half-truths and outright lies. After all, the competitive demands of capitalism compels these outlets to feature prominent hacks to say outlandish things that will garner a massive reaction. These statements attract viewers to watch their programming (i.e., hate watching) and play these clips on the internet for that advertisement money. In the meantime, other competing outlets will report their words to garner clicks and views and pundits will write columns agreeing or disagreeing with them (myself included). Meanwhile those same idiotic commentators will then respond to their critics before the next controversy supplants them.
We’ll see Umar and Tariq being broadcast on television networks such as CNN and radio stations such as Power 105 to talk specifically about racism. Like Charles Barkley, neither of them have demonstrated proficient thought or training when it comes to commenting on a complicated political issue that requires nuance. Instead, they offer meaningless platitudes about how Black feminism and homosexuality are a White man’s conspiracy to take down our community by weakening the Black male.
Of course, not everything they say is wrong. Sometimes, they make valid points backed by evidence as it concerns the prison industrial complex and the War on Drugs. But that can be anyone, even hacks such as Alex Jones who rightfully decried the inane Iraq War. Just as it’s rare for someone to be right all the time, it’s just as rare for someone to be wrong every single time. Yet, when someone spreads enough falsehoods and lacks any credibility in significant subject matters, it becomes downright irresponsible to advance their platform to a susceptible audience.
This isn’t an issue of freedom of speech or political correctness, but an issue of being factually correct. You cannot convey to an audience that a false opinion and a conspiracy theory weighs the same as a fact on the intellectual scale. It’s bad enough that media outlets will give a platform to egregious climate change deniers on the subject despite 99% scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming. It’s bad enough that folks can willingly lie on national tv about situations that require our utmost attention and respect. So let’s stop pretending that an intellectually bankrupt hotep twitter community are respectable scholars. Instead, let’s ridicule their beliefs deal with rational thought, empirical evidence, and, yes, online memes.
And remember the magic words folks: WEST…AFRICA!!!