Self-proclaimed, “anti-racism strategist,” Tariq Nasheed has caused a series of firestorms on social media since the start of the year. Nasheed, whose mission is for racial parity and justice has begun hitting from a number of fronts.
His initial campaign began with the #FirstThem hashtag, meant to combat the one-sided #MeToo movement, which initially focused on ousting powerful Hollywood moguls and men of high stature in workplace settings, that has shifted to black celebs as their main priority and underhandedly associating black manhood with “toxic masculinity.” The continuous #FirstThem hashtags, bringing to light stories of whites accused of sexual degeneracy, caught the attention of #MeToo founder, Tarana Burke, who clarified that her mission was to protect black girls, but only if the perpetrators were black. Burke stated, “why is it my job to go after white men?” By that statement, Burke substantiated that #MeToo is in the business of targeting black males, while alluding to not bringing white accusers to justice, who may have abused black girls. When called out about her comments by Dr. Boyce Watkins and many Twitter users, Burke proceeded to clarify her position:
You're not a traitor for wanting to protect #blackgirls, I have daughters. The issue is that your #MeToo movement has been co-opted by white women who want to destroy #blackmen. You didn't just take down #RKelly – you used a white media platform to cast suspicion on all of us
— Dr Boyce Watkins (@drboycewatkins1) January 21, 2019
I did not say that – I said why is it my job to go after white men – meaning I’m accountable to my community first. CLEARLY white men have been called to task this past year. And now you’re saying get more of them forget about us!
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) January 21, 2019
However, the damage may already be done, as Nasheed has turned Tarana Burke’s words into a meme:
Nasheed has also been unfairly attacked on social media for simply pointing out the common tactics that democratic candidates employ to win over the black populous. We’ve seen democratic politicians dance, attend churches, and use black entertainers and athletes to vouch for them as opposed to talking about instilling SPECIFIC policies that will have a positive effect on the black community. Nasheed took to social media to elaborate on this when he posted an image of Kamala Harris Wakanda signaling on the Black Panther movie poster. He then went on to post a video of Kamala Harris sitting at what appears to be a conference room, randomly dancing to Cardi B’s music, in an attempt to sistergirl her image. It was apparent that Kamala was trying to give viewers the impression that she was relatable to the urban demographic
In the tweet shared by Tariq, which went rival, he also made mention of her hair being pulled back during the “impromptu” recording, as tactics to appear hip, ordinary, and as relatable as possible to young black voters. Instead of the focus being on Harris’ deliberate campaign strategy, deflection tactics were used by Tariq’s critics to make his tweet about her hair and appearance alone to label him as a misogynist; the opposers purposely ignored his point about Kamala’s instant blackness immediately after announcing on MLK day that she would be running.
The biggest voice of opposition came from former Democratic presidential nominee and former Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean, who was applauded by many of Tariq’s opposition when he wrote “STFU. she gets to do whatever she wants with her hair.” Broadcast journalist, Soledad O’Brien also responded, tweeting out, “You’re a disgusting person.”
STFU. she gets to do whatever she wants with her hair https://t.co/y7lkiVrJtr
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) January 25, 2019
Howard…the whole "fake-deflection-outrage-over-hair-to-avoid-discussing-substantive-policies-that-affect-Black-voters" routine has pretty much been exposed at this point. No one is falling for it.. You need to get with those liberal think tanks and come up with some tangibles
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) January 25, 2019
The #FirstThem hashtag by Tariq – to redirect the lack of focus on white perpetrators that have seemingly gone under the radar – is what started the momentum in January. In the wake of the Surviving R.Kelly docu-series and Sundance premiering, Leaving Neverland, Nasheed has taken to twitter about the concerted media effort to only highlight and vilify black men with cases of abuse, meanwhile little effort to bolster public outcry has been devoted to the hundreds of accused white perpetrators. This caused a slew of objection and accusations of Tariq “protecting black men and black sexual predators,” for simply pointing out the racial disparity in #MeToo media coverage. This avalanche rolled onto the topic of toxic masculinity that many media outlets are not so subtly pushing as a narrative onto black men – propaganda that Tariq has fought tooth and nail against for quite some time. In a twitter back and forth between Tariq and Terry Crews, Tariq is implicit about Terry Crews trying to appease to white liberals by pointing fingers at black men for being “toxic,” despite being groped by a Caucasian man. You can see some of the exchange below:
well knock yourself out with the "hey guys, I'm big and Black but Im non-threatening" routine, and I hope it works out for you, fam
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) January 24, 2019
— terry crews (@terrycrews) January 24, 2019
well don't let none of that toxic masculinity get on you on your way out the door
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) January 24, 2019
I don’t know why actor Terry Crews is so mad at me.
He sure didn’t have that same energy when he let that white man grab his crotch pic.twitter.com/2uandGTVwG
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) January 24, 2019
Terry Crews is on some plantation buck sh**, where he is constantly coping pleas for white racism.
He talked about:
*forgiving Donald Sterling
*forgiving Gina Rodriguez for her anti BW remarks
*forgiving the white man who assaulted him
But when it comes to other Blk ppl, he’s pic.twitter.com/4cHzZz8YoP
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) January 27, 2019
It didn’t stop there, as later down the line, Tariq reported on Jussie Smollet’s attack in Chicago, deeming it as racially motivated. He then took the opportunity to lecture many black LGBTQ members to use the Jussie Smollett incident as a teachable moment, citing how black LGBTQ members shouldn’t be disillusioned to let their homosexuality supersede their blackness. Many of Tariq’s opponents have accused him of being homophobic, yet oddly enough, he is one of the first and few outlets to use the #FirstThem hashtag to bring a spotlight on the mystery of black LGBTQ males dying in the presence of Democratic fundraiser and donor, Ed Buck. Not to mention, Tariq is one of the only people to bring to light about how being gay doesn’t exempt one from their blackness, consistently speaking on racism within the gay community and questioning why the white LGBTQ community has yet to tackle those social issues.
Despite all of this, Tariq has been painted as homophobic, insensitive, misogynistic, and toxic, which makes him an easy SJW target. When Tariq surmised that Kamala Harris’ campaign may try to fuse the hot topics of Jussie Smollet and “toxic masculinity,” to push an intersection agenda, Tevin Campbell, an 80s and 90s R&B star, decided he had enough and jumped in. His reason for chiming in was that he felt that Tariq himself was trying to make a political spin out of the situation by invoking Kamala Harris and her campaign into Smollet’s hate crime. LGBTQ advocate, Tevin Campbell, tweeted that Nasheed was an “insufferable ass.”
“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain. I was born to sing. Seems to me like you, sir, were born to be an insufferable ass. https://t.co/9RY4XHfdJo
— Tevin Campbell (@tevincampbelll) January 30, 2019
Nasheed faces a lot of name-calling, but none of them ventured to intellectually counter his points, which he pointed out in his response to Dean. In terms of his biggest backlash, regarding the critique of Kamala Harris, none of the opposing forces can refute his points. The condescending pandering towards African Americans has been a pattern that politicians have employed for years, causing Nasheed to lead the brigade to put an end to the benign neglect policy. Democrats feel that simply focusing on entertainment while not addressing SPECIFIC black needs is enough, which is very demeaning to black voters. Nasheed has called for direct policy and has called to end the benign neglect policy. The benign neglect, in simple terms, is a strategy that politicians have used since the passing of the civil rights act to no longer address the needs of black people by promising anything discernible; instead they use vague diction and terminology like ‘minority’ and ‘people of color’ to avoid addressing the needs of African Americans. Through this, Tariq gave birth to the #Tangibles2020 campaign, highlighting a black agenda for politicians to understand the needs of black people in the US. He even brought up the idea of running as an independent to get black issues on the ballot.
Spoke On The Wheel
With every movement launched that Tariq deems unfair, he has found a way to call it out and become a disruption. So far, he has disrupted the #MeToo movement, spoken for the black LGBTQ community, made everyone leery of those who use terms like “toxic masculinity,” and is trying to shake the political landscape by mobilizing the black voter bloc to exercise their right not to vote if there is not a specific black agenda, as he’s done with the Kamala Harris campaign. Due to all of the above, especially the latter, Tariq has warned his followers about the media doing their best to drum up hit pieces on him and he hit the nail on the head.
He has been bombarded with onslaughts by many outlets for being an outlaw and going against the status quo. Over the past week, many “urban” publications have all galvanized against him in an attempt to discredit him and quiet him for being the most standout voice in new age black media. The fact that so much effort has been devoted to counter his resistance is telling of his impact that continues to grow.
But what exactly has he done wrong? Is it an offense to engage about Kamala’s involvement with the prison industrial complex, covering up for police corruption, and maintaining unfair convictions against black inmates? Why is it such an offense to be vocal about the media’s unfair depiction of black celebs who have had their day in court, meanwhile the media continues to undermine so many white perpetrators by barely keeping their name alive in the news cycle? Is it so bad to ask why there is an uptick of black male toxic masculinity articles to coincide with the constant bombardment of Bill Cosby, R.Kelly, Chris Brown, and now MJ again being the face of abuse? Can he not address racism within the LGBTQ community? These topics are worth discussion, but instead, an entire circus is created to vilify those asking questions, pointing deceitful tactics, and redirecting social and political discourse as what Tariq has been doing.
The big picture in all of this is for the betterment of all black people, especially African Americans, who made the United States as inviting as it is today. If not for the political push back around 60 years ago, this would be a totally different world. There is no fight for justice and inequality without strong opposition, which is why Tariq should be admired. He is following in the footsteps of being fearless in order to push humanity forward. Nasheed looks to push forward by not being a leader, but by enlightening the masses using today’s media and technology. In fact, his biggest contributions may be the legendary Hidden Colors film series – chronicling a plethora of African and black history not so widely known or taught in education –which can be probably be credited as the start of the new black enlightenment and awakening era. Outside of film-making, Tariq has used his voice to re-introduce the term ‘white supremacy’ back into the lexicon and into social and political discourse. But most of all, he uses his platform as a social media activist, informing and invigorating his followers to no longer sit idle against white supremacists indoctrination, white supremacists themselves, and white supremacists forces and underlings. It’s only fitting that this article is being written in February on Black History Month, as Tariq Nasheed may one day be recognized among great black contributors for his powerful voice in 21st-century black media.
Nasheed, who may arguably be the most influential voice in the new black media, will continue to make noise as a true progressive should. To support his movement, you can visit firsthem.com and https://firstthem.com/tangibles-2020 to show your support for the movement.