Black Intellectuals are not Black Leaders.


It is evident the Black Community reveres black intellectuals for their contributions to the overall social, spiritual, behavioral, and economic enhancement of our people. Tariq Nasheed is highly respected in our community for his Hidden Colors documentary series and his no-holds-barred perspective during his live streams. His radio show (i.e., IZM Radio) does a deep dive into social issues. When I look for material from Tariq, my goal is to be educated from a historical perspective. However, if you listen to his live stream, you will hear the occasional unfavorable language and ridicule segments.

I’ve noticed, particularly with this Cynthia G vs. Tariq Nasheed online quarrel, that we want the black intellectuals to be our black leaders. To my knowledge, Tariq never professed to be a black leader. Heck, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. never declared to be one either. I’m sure they took action or spoke up on what they felt was the right thing to do for their people. We the black viewers and listeners that decide if we want to show our support to their cause. However, due to this recent upsurge in opinionated outtakes on Tariq vs. Cynthia G (which seems to have caused an online civil war between woke black men and woke black women), there is one crucial concept that is continuously ignored. When you follow a black intellectual, follow them as they are and not how you want them to become.

In my opinion, this is the result of being psychologically duped by the concept of a White Jesus. When we were introduced to White Jesus, we were presented an imaginarily perfect human being to look up to and hold standards towards others. White Jesus could do no wrong, and it is this mythical persona that was built by white people but re-cultivated by black people. When you learn about a pioneer, you learn to relish in the history presented in front of you, not their everyday norms. Of course, MLK seems like the perfect Christian that wanted everyone to hold hands. Some Blacks wish to make Tariq Nasheed their leader. Thus, they keep him to standards he doesn’t want to be attached to. Just because you “follow” him doesn’t mean he has the intent to lead you. Mainly you want all Black Intellectuals to have MLK qualities at a minimum but hold them to the standards of White Jesus. This is an unfair and flawed comparison.

I’m certainly not a Tariq apologist. I’m not going to resort to the cliché rhetoric of “nobody is perfect” or “let ye who is without sin cast the first stone.” Unfortunately, it is long past due the time to understand the archetypes of a black intellectual and a black leader. By the way, these are terms we give them whether they exhibit it or not. I hold firm in saying Tariq is a Black Intellectual, even if some of his actions or comments I do not agree with. That won’t stop me from watching his DVD’s or occasionally checking out his YouTube page.

I was prompted to write this article because I came upon several YouTube reaction videos of Tariq “roasting” Cynthia G. I’ve concluded that the “we have to do better as a people” talking points should be retired, not recycled. For the record, I’m not insinuating its okay to be petty, I’m attempting to illustrate the point of critiquing someones every unfavorable move, while not giving enough credence to the good things they do. When is the last time somebody came out with a video thanking Tariq, Boyce, Cynthia, Umar, or any other Black Intellectual? I’m sure it’s very rare or indirect, but we sure can criticize his behavior. It’s our self-hate that makes it so easy to tear our own down. Hopefully, this article can make you rethink your next twitter critique.