everything you wanted to know about the umar/seti beef but were afraid to ask

January 4, 2017

Yesterday the Black section of the internet was abuzz with the “Hotep Hostilities” about this video from “General” Sara Suten Seti and this video from “Dr.” Umar Johnson. They are calling it the “Woke War,” the “Uncle Ruckus Fracas,” The “Kemet Conflict.” Although the dueling videos are entertaining enough in and of themselves, many people don’t know the backstory about this feud. That’s why NegusWhoRead is here.

Who is Umar Johnson?
Jermaine Shoemake aka “Dr. Umar Johnson” is a school psychologist and the self-proclaimed “Prince of Pan Afrikanism.” Johnson is a speaker and lecturer on the education of Black boys and an advocate for African-centered education. He rose to prominence by claiming to be a “blood relative” of Frederick Douglass. The descendants of Frederick Douglass issued a statement clarifying that Johnson was not a descendant of Douglass.

After historically Black St. Paul College closed its doors in 2014, Johnson began a campaign to raise money to open a school for Black boys on the property, which gained him more prominence in the conscious community. Then there was a scandal with a “conscious stripper.” Then there’s the fact that no one has been able to verify his degree. Oh, and you should know that homosexuals are behind all of Black suffering and his vilification, according to Johnson.

By Michael Harriot*/NegusWhoRead, AFROPUNK contributor

How is the school doing?
It isn’t. After raising what he claims was over $100,000, no one knows what happened to the money. Johnson says PayPal froze the money. Others say he spent it. It is hard to pinpoint what happened because there was never a business plan, nonprofit status or any legal or financial framework set up. There was no certifying educational agency. There was no board of directors. There is still no financial disclosure for the donors.

But people still donated.

Who is the Seti dude?
Sara Suten Seti is a Black revolutionary and an African philosopher. He is the founder of the RGB (Red/Green/Black) Movement. Many of his ideas line up with Dr. Umar Johnson, and he is also a prominent figure in the conscious community of “woke” people. He admits to snorting a little coke every now and then, but…

If you want a clear understanding, just scroll through this video.

Is RBG really a movement?
Everything is a “movement” now. Whenever you want to coalesce ignant people into doing anything that requires the suspension of critical thought, just call it a “movement.” The RBG “movement” capitalizes off people searching for self by reducing 12,000 years of an entire continent of disparate tribes of people to a stereotype that followers who don’t mind forgoing fact checking and extensive research can have siphoned into their brains in hourlong doses for $18 at the local VFW.

So what are their educational credentials?
Please do not ask these questions. Simply raising this point means you have succumbed to the white man’s idea of education. When anyone does research on Dr. Johnson’s doctoral degree, they come up empty. Someone once found a doctoral student with the same name and credentials, but it turned out to be a middle eastern student who earned his PhD years after “Dr. Johnson” achieved his degree.

Unlike Umar, Sara Seti does not claim to have a traditional educational background. He simply says that he has studied and taught African history around the country.

Do you question the White man’s credentials? That’s the first question you’ll be asked–as if there is anything wrong with questioning everything. Skepticism is not a character flaw–sheeplike acceptance of anything a charismatic, dark-skinned charlatan tells you, is. That’s how you end up in a church with a blonde, blue-eyed Jesus on the wall. That’s why you believe that boyfriend was at the hotel with his “cousin” last week. That’s why we walked onto the slave ships.

So why do people listen to them?

That is the simple answer.

The complex answer is:


A people stripped of their culture, language and history will sometimes cling to hucksters in the same way that people with terminal diseases will buy liniment from slick-tongued snake oil salesman. $20 lectures from charismatic con men make people with no identity feel good about themselves. In a convoluted way it is proof of the inferior education system these men rail against. It is easy to fool some people when they want to believe you. Ask the president-elect how dumb people suck down lies like Jonestown Kool-Aid shots. Desperation doesn’t give a damn about peer-reviewed studies or primary sources. It’s how Daddy Grace bought his fur coats. It’s why Creflo Dollar rides in a Rolls Royce. It’s why Eddie Long can rape boys and walk free. Blind trust.

Why are they beefing?
For the same reason Crips beef with Bloods. For the same reason Trump called Hillary a liar and Hillary called Trump a liar. It’s why all men have fought since the beginning of time: Ego and territory.

Why is everyone paying attention to it?
Have you even watched the videos? They are entertaining as fuck. Not since Macho Man Randy Savage railed against Ricky Steamboat to Mean Gene Okerlund in the “Cream Of The Crop” speech has anyone given such a passionate spiel on video. Umar went full Ric Flair on Seti’s ass. Here are a few of the best excerpts:

How does this affect the Black community as a whole?
This raises some very pertinent questions, such as:

  • Are Black people so desperate for leadership that we are willing to get in line behind buffoonery?
  • Do you think Dr. King and Malcolm would’ve been on YouTube blasting at each other about their muscles?
  • Will another line of flim flammers fill the shoes when these men disappear from the stage with fat pockets and Hotep dreams?
  • Most importantly–why does this nigga have a flip phone? Is he using Cricket mobile? Does he still text by pushing the numbers on the dial?

So What Now? The same shit. There are people who will always believe these men are scholars, lost prophets, or whatever they claim to be. You can’t shake the faith of the faithful. There are others who will dismiss them out-of-hand. Here is the thing:
These men are important.

As long as there are traveling confidence men vampire-sucking the blood and money out of communities who genuinely want to contribute to the well-being of Black people, we will always be at a deficit. We can never cauterize the wounds of oppression and supremacy as long as we look to bunco doctors to stitch the gash. Instead, they rub dirt in the sore for a few dollars in their GoFundMe accounts. The videos are entertaining because they are monkeys pounding on their chests at the zoo. They are Yaks clacking horns on the frozen tundra. They are the silly, shuck-and-jive irreverence of gold-toothed Ol Dirty Bastard dancing with a 40-ounce, waving food stamps. Just remember:

Hey, Hey Hey. Baby they got your money.

This post was originally published by www.NegusWhoRead.com

*Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot