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14 RE-TELLINGS OF BLACK HISTORY ACCORDING TO SHAMEIK MOORE (PROBABLY)

“Harriet Tubman did all that huffing and running knowing there were horses and carriages. Who did she think she was? Jordan Peele in a parkour skit???” – Shameik Moore

Being Black in this world is simultaneously a wonderful, yet peculiar thing. Many times joyful, but often contradictory. Confusing. Sometimes rage-inducing (word to James Baldwin). But also beatific. Victorious. Triumphant. Indisputably perseverant.

You may be wondering why we’re currently abusing our friendly, neighborhood thesaurus right now. Well, it’s something we found apt, considering that even in the midst of COVID-19 picking the world up and dropping it on its ass, Black people still have to take our asses outside and protest for our very lives and justice for folks like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery.

Of course, this particular and ironic injustice has served to radicalize and re-radicalize a lot of us. Even celebrities who—as a collective—have been put on timeout due to attention-seeking during the COVID-19 pandemic. But oddly enough, this in turn has caused certain celebrities to speak out in line with that radicalization. John Boyega is a recent example of this and he turned out to be quite the example of doing it right

But, like many things in life, there is something to balance the scales, an equivalent exchange. So, of course, somewhere in the ether, actor Shameik Moore’s coon chip quietly activated and he thought it would be wise to mosey on down to Twitter to tell us all about it.

To be clear, mans went on a whole Twitter rant, before going live on Instagram—against his teams’ wishes, mind you—and because of this, we got this gem of a hot take from him, wherein he essentially suggests that Rosa Parks should have gotten her ass off the bus and Uber’d… TO FREEDOM:

See… there’s a lot to unpack here. Like the cavalier way in which he dismisses what was a STRATEGICALLY PLANNED bus boycott. Like the way people (like Iyanla Vanzant) keep abusing the fuck out of Harriet Tubman and now Rosa Parks’ names. Or the way that people pretend Parks wasn’t a whole Black activist/advocate herself who also happened to be a sexual assault detective. Again. Lots to unpack. And we will… eventually. But today? Today is the time to roast.

So, we give you 14 retellings of Black History according to Shameik Moore (probably):

1. “Nina Simone sang ‘Young, Gifted, and Black’, but what about gifted white youngsters???” – Shameik Moore

2. “Letters From a Birmingham Jail? Yeah, all that shit could have been an email. MLK doing too much.” – Shameik Moore

3. “Harriet Tubman did all that huffing and running knowing there were horses and carriages. Who did she think she was? Jordan Peele in a parkour skit???” – Shameik Moore

4. “Maybe they wouldn’t have hosed down protesters with water cannons in the 1960s if there were more Black police officers. Think about it.” – Shameik Moore

5. “If enslaved BLACKS would have gotten on Black-owned boats instead of willingly getting on slave ships, we wouldn’t be in this mess right now.” – Shameik Moore

6. “Jackie Robinson did all that knowing there was an All-Negro Baseball League. Pathetic!” – Shameik Moore.

7. “Ida B. Wells should have been worried about Black-on-Black crime!” – Shameik Moore

8. “Please. MLK didn’t have a dream. He was an insomniac.” – Shameik Moore

9. “‘I’m Black and I’m proud’. Really James Brown? What about being ‘Free, White and 21?’” – Shameik Moore

10. “Why didn’t Toni Morrison refuse to write about white people? Reverse racism. That’s why.” – Shameik Moore

11. “The Black Panther Free Breakfast Program was just their attempt at becoming restaurateurs, but their mistake was not catering to White Brunches and Brunch Blacks! And what a costly mistake it was.” – Shameik Moore

12. “Eldridge Cleaver was about to buy NBC.” – Shameik Moore

13. “Maya Angelou was talmbout ‘Still I Rise’ instead of trying to hold a Black man down. Coincidence? I think not!” – Shameik Moore

14. “Fannie Lou Hammer once said she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. But what if she just had the flu? Did y’all ever think of that? Huh???” – Shameik Moore

….And scene. We could go on, of course. But you get the gist. So, stay in school y’all. Don’t read history books published by McGraw-Hill Education. And always, always… listen to your PR team when they tell you to shut the fuck up.

The End.

With contributions from Da’Shaun Harrison, Sherronda J. Brown, and Lara Witt

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Clarkisha Kent is a Nigerian-American writer, culture critic, former columnist, and up and coming author. Committed to telling inclusive stories via unique viewpoints from nigh-infancy, she is fascinated with using storytelling and cultural criticism not as a way to “overcome” or “transcend” her unique identities (as a fat and queer Black African woman), but as a way to explore them, celebrate them, affirm them, and most importantly, normalize them and make the world safe enough for people who share them to exist. As a University of Chicago graduate with a B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and English, she brings with her over five years of pop culture analysis experience, four years of film theory training, and a healthy appetite for change. Her writing has been featured in outlets like Entertainment Weekly, Essence, The Root, BET, HuffPost, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and more. She is also the creator of #TheKentTest, a media litmus test designed to evaluate the quality of representation that exists for women of color in film and other media. Currently, Kent is working on finishing a novel about a Black female outlaw and a TV comedy pilot about an immortal familiar.

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