It’s a sad day in history when we have charismatic charlatans siphoning money from the Black community… yet again! What’s even sadder is the fact that this time the allegations are factual, with the first time being with Marcus Garvey and his Black Star Line. How ironic we have the self-proclaimed “Prince Of Pan-Africanism,” “Dr.” Umar Johnson (the “Dr.” is in quotes because there’s still debates as to the authenticity of his supposed doctoral degree in psychology). The fact that he came on to the scene at a time when the social climate was ripe for Black folks, especially the demographic from millennial to middle-aged Black folks, to make being conscious sexy, is no accident. The danger in the selfishness of charlatans lies in their ability to capitalize on the hopes, fears, and ultimately the imaginations of a people.
This is exactly what Umar Johnson has done, probably almost since his inception on a national stage by way of Tariq Nasheed’s, ‘Hidden Colors’ documentary series. The documentary focuses on the idea of little known and obscure facts of Black history.
Umar parlayed Tariq’s platform to launch one of his own where he ran the Black lecture circuit on the premise of championing for the psychological well-being of Black boys and protection from the public school system. It was the public school that tends to railroad Black boys into detention, medicinal sedation, which will ultimately funnel these boys through the school-to-prison pipeline.
This is where things get sticky because he used logical rhetoric to present a pre-determined endgame solution to his argument of the mistreatment of Black boys in public schools; a school of his own! Because Umar is a gifted speaker he was able to drum up support and play at the heartstrings of the Black community who in those times as in these times are struggling for answers. As time went on I began to become turned off by Umar’s message and his ever-inflating ego. He once said something roughly to the effect of “I won’t allow any Black girls with perms in their hair in my school.” I couldn’t see any justification for denying a Black child, regardless of gender, a chance at a supposed better education based solely on the fact that the child’s hair doesn’t please your individualized aesthetic, is no different then when white teachers deny Black kids, girls, in particular, an education free from prejudice and or racism.
Needless to say, the supposed school was never built and some speculate may have never been in the making, to begin with. Umar’s delusions of grandeur and overinflated sense of self-worth have led him down the path of beefing with the very man who put him in the national spot, Tariq Nasheed. The senseless and baseless quarreling on Umar’s behalf is both unbecoming of a true pan Africanist and befitting of a charlatan who knows the jig is up! At the end of the day, what has Umar gained other than the disdain from Black folks, stolen funds for a school that was never built, and the sullying of Frederick Douglass’s name (Umar alleges kinship between the two… it’s since been unfounded)? If I could ask Umar one thing it would be, “was it worth it?”
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