What Our Love and Hate for Touré Teaches Black People
Reflecting on criticism of the provocative social commentator Touré, Clutch magazine's Evette Dionne worries about what she says is the constant characterization of some of us as "black enough," while others are relegated to the outskirts.
One of those commentators is Touré, a hip-hop fanatic who rose to prominence in the Village Voice-dominated 1990s. He has leveraged his beautifully-crafted celeb profiles into bestselling books, a TIME column and pioneering positions as CNN's first pop-culture correspondent and the host of Fuse's Hip-Hop Shop. The afro-clad wordsmith, who has shot hoops with Prince and wrote a provocative "I Hate Mary J. Blige" essay, is often tapped to provide the "black" perspective on social issues for cable news networks. He even debated the pros and cons of Tyler Perry on CNN.
His distinctive ability to combine wittiness with wisdom has made his entertainment value inextricable to his brand, so I wasn't surprised when he was hired to start in the afternoons alongside S.E. Cupp (a Republican that I adore), Krystal Ball and Steve Kornacki. On a network where Afro-Americans – sans Tamron Hall and Melissa Harris-Perry -- are often relegated to guest spots, it was exciting to witness Touré take a seat on an MSNBC set where his name is in the opening credits.
As a 23-year-old writer with huge aspirations, Touré represents the success that I strive to attain. But I'm beginning to realize that most other black folks aren't thrilled about his fame and aren't ardent admirers of his work. The black twiterati have blasted him for maintaining a "blocked" list, a place he's reserved for Twitter commentators that disagree with him. But it doesn't end there.
Boyce D. Watkins, Ph.D., an author, political analyst and academic with several esteemed scholarship appointments blasted Touré in an op-ed where he refers to him as the "Kim Kardashian of social commentary."
Read Evette Dionne's entire piece at Clutch magazine.
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