“I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”
A few years ago, two of Black America’s foremost intellectual giants – Michael Eric Dyson and Cornell West – had a huge falling out. Instead of merely agreeing to disagree over their views concerning the nation’s truly first Black president in Barack Obama, the falling out quickly metastasized into a full-on ugly mess – largely aided and abetted by an Apr 19, 2015 “word-orgy” of an article written by Dyson, called “The Ghost of Cornell West”. The piece ran on The National Republic website and can still be viewed to this day.
I never thought I’d live long enough to go through a similar experience, but here we are. On Mon, Sep 18, 2017, dating coach for men Alan Roger Currie, “Michael Eric Dyson’d” yours truly, in a similar word-orgy of a piece he wrote for the Negro Manosphere website entitled “Mumia Obsidian Ali: Sharing the Frustrations of the ‘Norbits’ of the World”. While Currie has implied and suggested various things about both me and my audience, in this article he more or less comes right out and accuses me of sour grapes, envy, jealousy and much more (and in a related YouTube video he accuses me of being “passive agressive”, of plagarism, etc.). Meant to serve as a response to my overall work and one of my more recent podcasts in particular, “The Marriageable Black Women Shortage”, which I will discuss in greater detail, Currie’s rant quickly devolves (or perhaps was intended?) into personal attack and wild-eyed speculation as to my “true motives” – to say nothing about that of my audience themselves.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, indeed.
As Currie rightly recounts, things were fairly chummy between us; although we got off to a rocky start, we became what I thought were “fast friends”. As Currie rightly recounts again, I did indeed publicly apologize to him after saying a number of things about him personally that were unfair and uncalled for. I stand by that apology, as I do all of my podcasts and writings.
I pitched the idea of being a kind of unofficial pitchman for Currie’s books to him and he agreed. At this point it must be noted that while Currie did offer to pay me, I declined; I felt it my duty to do what I could to promote his work, for reasons that I will explain below.
Over the course of the next year – and here I’m referring to 2016 – things went well. Currie and I would frequently discuss matters on the phone with him giving me updates as to his book sales and the like – and they were brisk. Currie was a frequent regular on my talk radio show, which came about in part by his own example, on Blog Talk Radio and we had a great time chopping it up about some of the very same “Black Female Fuckery” that he seems so averse to even acknowledging exists today.
But things took a turn for the worse earlier this past summer, when I posted a comment onto one of his YouTube videos. I had the termerity to suggest that Eliot Rodger, the severely mentally ill mass shooter from a few years back, had a right to his sexual preferences in women. This enraged Currie, who personally contacted me via email to accuse me of “empathizing” with Rodger and of “coming off like a Mode Four misogynist” type – and, along with a goodly bit of profanity, told me that he didn’t want to be associated with me any longer. Shocked and dismayed by his actions, my initial response was to acede to his wishes, despite not understanding why we simply couldn’t agree to disagree. After all, it was and still is my view, that he didn’t need to sell his wares as a coach by making naked appeals to fear and emotion rooted in the crazed actions of one or even a handful of individuals – Mode One and the like, really do sell themselves.
However, upon further reflection, I came to realize that people would begin to ask questions as to how and why Currie and I were no longer “thick as thieves”; and Currie would be free to craft the narrative as he saw fit if I simply remained silent. So, I changed my mind, and decided to go public, and let said public make up their own minds.
Annnnnd, we’re off.
For the next few months, over the course of the summer of 2017, Currie and I have traded barbs and jabs, mainly in the form of competing podcasts – I, armed with reason, facts and evidence; Currie, armed with personal attacks, innuendo, emotion and filibustering. To date, Currie has not responded to one single piece of evidence I’ve presented, not responded, directly, to one single claim I’ve made – as he aptly demonstrates in his “Norbit” piece. This, is what my own response aims to bring attention to.
Everyday Brothas vs. Respectable Brothas
To bolster his “arguments” against me that I am merely butthurt that Currie is “all that” and I’m not, Currie brings up a point I’ve made a number of times over the past two years in particular that I’ve been podcasting: one, that I do indeed see myself as “the voice of the everyday brotha”; and two, that I have a number of observations, some of them harsh, of what I refer to as “respectable brothas”. What is fascinating though, is that instead of Currie attempting to “paraphrase” what I said or divine by what I meant, he could have simply checked the Negro Manosphere archive. There, he would have found an Apr 23, 2017 column by yours truly, entitled, “How & Why “Respectable Brothas” Enable The Delusions Of Black Women (& Throw “Everyday Brothas” Under The Bus)”, where I am quite clear as to what I mean on the matter:
“What, do I mean, when I say “respectable brothas”? I mean the kinds of Black men Edgar rubbed shoulders with during her time at Harvard Law School: highly formally educated and credentialed, white-collar professional Black men, who often also tend to be conspicuously handsome – like the aforementioned Hill Harper, for instance. These are the “dreamboat” brothas that Black women like Edgar literally dream about, as she noted in her piece “The Grooming” (and which I copiously quoted in my last column). Black men like Harper, Obama and Banks, know and understand that to get along in their world, i.e., the white collar world of Big Law, Academia, Politics, Entertainment and the like, they have to “play the game” – say all the right things, never be an “asshole”, and so on. Because the white collar professions at at just about every level is permeated with women in general and for purposes of today’s discussion Black women in particular, Black men like the aforementioned understand very well that if they want to be successful in their chosen fields, it makes good sense to be very nice to Black women like Edgar – at the very least, not to get on their bad sides.”
Currie likes to spend a lot of time on the physical looks part of what I said (an irony indeed, since a man’s looks – height, facial features, etc., are something that is completely out of his control; Currie’s claim to fame, to let him tell it, is to focus on “personal self-improvement activities”. How can a shorter man, for example, “improve himself” along these lines? Currie never addresses this and for good reason: at 5’11” or so, he doesn’t have to), so let’s parse that out a bit more. Please note that I said, “often also tend to be conspicuously handsome” – as any Black woman who has attended college will readily attest to, all educated brothas ain’t “fine” (indeed, to let most sistas tell it, most educated brothas aren’t!). Hey Alan, ever heard of “correlation is not causation”? In truth, and this is something easily observed daily in Black American life, both handsome and not so handsome men can be found throughout the Black American social pecking order (the criminal turned fashion model Jeremy Meeks comes to mind).
While Currie asserts that due to his placing in the Black American social pecking order as the scion of Black educated parents, being educated himself and being blessed with leading man looks that he simply cannot relate to “everyday brothas like me”, the above quote from my column brings up yet another, very powerful point: that respectable brothas dare not “go hard in the paint” on Black women – lest they run a very real risk of putting their asses in a sling.
Which explains more of Alan Roger Currie’s behavior of late.
Enter “Mizz Thang”
Back in 2011, on Currie’s Blog Talk Radio show, he hosted a Black woman named Sophia A. Nelson – a lawyer, talking head and author of a book about Black women. Despite her subject matter not being in Currie’s usual wheelhouse, he agreed to have her on to discuss it. Nelson had followed Currie’s work and took great exception to Mode One in particular and was keen to let him know it. The interview went horribly awry as a result, with Nelson conducting herself, well, like a BITCH (which the online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines, and I quote, as a “malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman”) and ended with her abruptly ending the whole thing. Currie never called her on it – but I did, several years later with the start of my daily podcast talk show on YouTube. Over the course of roughly half a dozen segments, I laidout how and why Black women like Nelson were spinsters – NOT because of the “lack of eligible Black men” mantra – but because so many Black women like her were BITCHES. Nelson would get word of my handiwork earlier this year and after a few months of her trying to threaten and intimidate me (as well as attempting to get Black male YouTubers censured and outright banned), finally failed in her efforts; I forced her to remove all her derogatory content on her own YouTube channel about me, and for an added plus, I was proven vindicated in the process: around the same time, in the late summer of this year, Nelson had a HUGE blowout with Christelyn Karazin, with whom Nelson had previously closely worked. Falling out over essentially Nelson’s BITCHY BEHAVIOR, Karazin had to distance herself from Nelson. This, along with a fairly widely held view among Black women themselves on “Black YouTube” that Nelson was a BITCH, again vindicated yours truly to begin with.
If anyone had a right to be miffed by Nelson’s actions it was Currie, especially after the horrible things she said about him earlier this year – six years after she acted an utter BITCH on his show. (In fact, I even emailed Currie all of my Nelson-related podcasts from 2016 and his response was positive; “I can’t find anything objectionable about what you said”, was his response.)
Indeed, at one point, Currie was contemplating bringing his own legal action against her for defamation of character. But, Currie apparently had a change of heart, after having a run-in with another Black female social media personality – one Ms. Francesca Ramsey, on Facebook. After Currie’s account was briefly put in “Facebook jail” for daring to question a Black woman, he suddenly changed his tune. Currie was last seen on Nelson’s YouTube channel, apparently chummy with her against “guys like me”.
Ain’t that a kick in the head?
But, it does explain what I said in my Negro Manosphere piece earlier this spring all along, from which I offer yet another quote:
“That brings us to the second point about the “respectable brothas”: they often scapegoat everyday brothas by blaming them for phenomena and outcomes that, upon closer inspection, they have either a tangential or minimal role. Edgar’s situation is a case in point: her problem was that her appearance wasn’t amenable to what the dreamboat Black men wanted in a mate and therefore she had to lower her standards for a Black man who matched her in pure assortative mating terms – lesser attractive women as a rule, don’t tend to get the elite men. They have to settle for men who are less educated, less accomplished and of course, have less money. Even if said men are handsome – not at all unusual in Black America, I might add – he will often lack the social status and resources with which to vie for the better off Black women (read: those who are hot). Therefore, he must settle for less than he would like in a Black woman as a mate – and many of them do.”
The above quote points to a very, very important point, one that has become a flashpoint between Currie and myself; I argue strongly, that the current state of affairs between Black men and women is such in large part due to a smaller segment of “handpicked puppets” – respectable brothas – who are often paid quite handsomely both in loot and booty, to tell Black women what they want to hear, hence my phrase, “The Black Male Relationship Expert Industrial Complex”. These Black women – like Edgar and Nelson – can and often have made life difficult for those men, Black or otherwise, who dares to tell them about themselves. And, since more everyday brothas don’t have the means to be heard themselves, they make convenient scapegoats for them – and respectable brothas are complicit in this scapegoating, as noted in my quotes regarding Banks above. Currie has, if anything, confirmed and validated everything I’ve said earlier this spring along these lines, with his actions since the summer of this year.
Nelson has a reputation for trying to “throw her weight around” – frequently name-dropping, threatening legal actions against those she dislikes, etc. She tried to do this to me and, unlike Currie, I fought back with a bit of throwing some of my own weight around, AND I WON. When faced with the BITCHY behavior of Black women, I stand tall; Currie folds.
As so many respectable brothas so often do.
Bringing A Knife To A Gunfight
Currie spends the bulk of his missive “responding” to my aforementioned podcast, “The Marriageable Black Woman Shortage” with a retrospective of Eddie Murphy’s filmography – he honestly believes that it is possible, and proper, to counter the facts, reason and evidence of an interlocutor’s argument with citing fictional works and characters(!). What this proves, more than anything, is that Currie simply does not know how to forge an argument rooted in “objective truth”.
Oh, the irony.
Now, don’t get me wrong – like the rest of the world, I too marvel at Murphy’s pure comedic and dramatic acting genius; for a generation, he has blessed us all to watch him – the master – at work on the silver screen. His “Nutty Professor” film, which would later grow into a series in its own right, is one of those rarities of Hollywood fare that surpasses its original namesake – no small feat in this case, since the 1963 original starred another comedic and humanitarian legend in Jerry Lewis.
But to think that one can reasonably respond to citations of a mountain of governmental statistics, historical facts and the anecdotal observations and experiences of literally millions of Americans, with an armchair perusal of Hollywood films – even those of Murphy’s caliber – just beggars belief.
Not to be outdone, Currie then attempts to suggest, that not only am I representive of the “Sherman Klumps and Norbits” of the world, but so too is my audience – hence the title of his article. This, despite the fact that to date, Currie hasn’t offered one shred of evidence as to the demographics of my audience, to say nothing of having intimate knowledge of my personal life. No matter, all it takes is merely stating something is so, and stating it long enough, to where everyone will eventually believe it.
Interestingly enough, I received the following email from one of my longtime listeners and biggest supporters, who shall remain nameless of course, only a few days before Currie’s longwinded personal attack dropped:’
As I sit here awaiting the arrival of yet another weekend, I thought I would reach out to you and share a few things that’s been swirling around in my mind lately. First, I applaud and salute you on your acceptance of the charge for being the “voice of the everyday brotha”. As a boy, I initially wanted to be a carpenter. I thought those tool belts with all of those tools hanging off were cool back then…LOL!!! I realized soon that carpenters worked in all types of weather and personally, I have issues with being out in the sun too long….LOL!!! Eventually, I graduated from college and became a CPA.
Second, while I’m blessed to have been married for nearly 25 years, I can certainly understand and appreciate the struggle of the everyday brotha as it relates to this current cesspool of Black women here in America. While no Black man has ever been without its challenges, I would’ve never thought that I’d live to see the day when the pickings among sisters were so slim. Just from the standpoint of appearance, attitude and too many darn kids alone, many unmarried brothers are doing the right thing and are either stepping away or going elsewhere altogether. As I’ve shared with my wife, the average life span of a Black man in America is 72 years. That’s the shortest of any demographic by at least 7 years. As such, we don’t have the luxury of wasting time with any woman who refuses to provide a semblance of “heaven on earth” for the average brother.
Finally, I encourage you to keep calling out the foolishness and dysfunction of Black women. Social media has been a major game-changer and I couldn’t be more pleased. As often as I can, I will continue supporting your efforts.” (reprinted with his express permission)
So there you have it, folks – one of the biggest supporters of my daily podcast show, a professional, white collar Black man who has been happily married for more than two decades – a feat that Currie himself has yet to duplicate, I might add – agrees with my assessment as expressed in the aforementioned podcast Currie cites in his piece (and, to add further ironic insult to injury, my podcast begins by citing a recent conversation I had with my LADYFRIEND OVER DINNER, about the state of Black women today, AND HER PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS ABOUT BLACK WOMEN, YOUNGER ONES IN PARTICULAR. In that she has no “dog in the fight”, so to speak, what is Currie’s response to this fact? Oh yea, that’s right – simply cite some Eddie Murphy films! SMH)
Since Currie has yet to actually respond with countervailing evidence – facts, NOT fiction – to the aforementioned podcast (among a great many other things), there is no need to belabor the points made therein. I urge those so interested to listen to it for themselves, compare and contrast to Currie’s “Eddie Murphy argument” and come to their own conclusions.
A False Dichotomy
Finally, I want to address something that is a constant refrain from Currie since our “breakup” – the idea that we are wildly different men who have equally wildly different approaches to things – especially when it comes to Black women.
However, I reject Currie’s premise, of a dichotmy between us; to accept it, is to accept a rather sexist – and in this case, since we’re both addressing Black men – potentially racist – notion, that Black men are only capable of chewing gum or walking, not of doing both at the same time. Contrary to Currie’s contentions, there is no conflict between calling out Black Female Fuckery AND being devoted to personal self-improvement activities – and I defy anyone to give me fact-based, empirical evidence proving otherwise. The very fact that I have been among if not the biggest supporter and promoter of Currie’s work in particular and “pickup” in general, is a testament in that regard.
It is saddening indeed to see things devolve to the point where it is right now between Currie and myself. For my part, I have no problem with his personal opinions of me; he’s free to think whatever he likes. But he is not free to come up with his own facts. Simply put, Currie is a lot more ignorant about what he thinks he knows about me, my listeners, my audience, my life, than he attempts to “let on”. Worse, his dissembling, personal attacks and filibustering in the face of documented statistics, historical evidence and rafts of personal anecdotes, marks Currie out not as a formidable mind but an incredibly soft-headed one. Where things go from here, is anyone’s guess, present company included; but I want the record to know that I do not “hate” Currie, am not “jealous” or “envious” of Currie and have repeatedly said that I want him to succeed in his endeavors. Indeed, if anything, I am greatly saddened by what has transpired, because, as I noted at the very beginning of this piece by my citation of the “Great Falling Out” between Dyson and West, our own falling out – between Black men – only goes to prove yet again, the depths of the rot that has set in Black America. For whatever reason, Black people, Black men in particular, simply cannot “agree to disagree” and simply move on – no, we have to set about destroying each other.
“We had the best organization a black man’s ever had. Niggers ruined it.”
Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster and talk show host focusing on Black men’s issues. Listen to his daily podcast talk show, “Obsidian Radio” on YouTube!