Negus (noun): king, ruler—used as a title of the sovereign of Ethiopia, according to Merriam-Webster.
Former NFL quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick was 2017’s undisputed winner for America’s blackest man with his protest against the killings of unarmed black, men, women and children by police (from 2008 until 2016, the title was held by former President Barack Obama). It didn’t hurt that during this time, Kaepernick emancipated his hair from the bondage of cornrows to unleash an Afro crown that made Angela Davis call him for hair-care advice.
Since leaving the NFL, Kaepernick has become the embodiment of walking the walk and talking the talk. And not just the part where he donated a million dollars of his unemployment money to charities and causes that empower children of color (let’s not forget that Kaepernick is still without gainful employment). At times, he literally looked like he could’ve been an extra in Migos’ “Walk It Talk It” video.
Seriously, look at this gloriousness below:
Kaepernick’s public persona has become reminiscent of that picture of Huey P. Newton posing in that wicker chair that everyone’s grandparents had in their basement. He’s a throwback to a movement where the message meant more than the money. He’s a throwback to the era when men like Malcolm X would put their foot in a person’s ass for coming at them wrong.
This is our king.
Even though Wakanda-born, Zamunda-raised Kaepernick called the owners on their shit by filing a grievance charging that NFL owners were colluding to keep him out of the NFL, he was spotted working out in Houston last week. On the surface, it appeared that Kaepernick might have been auditioning for a job, but as with most superhero storylines, that was just his cover.
It turns out that our hero was preparing to face the evil villain ... namely, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair.
McNair is so vile that he reportedly claimed that he wouldn’t sign kneeling players and compared the movement to stop the police killings of unarmed blacks to “inmates running the prison.” He is reportedly so racist that his bastard ass would’ve been fine fielding an all-white team, according to Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle.
Like all NFL owners, McNair was being deposed for Kaepernick’s grievance. McNair was set to meet with lawyers from the NFL Players Association to dispute Kaepernick’s assertion that the owners colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league. We know they did. You know they did. But unfortunately, “Just look at these racist motherfuckers” is not a valid legal defense.
And get. This.
Because Kaepernick is the walking spirit of all those slaves who said “Fuck this boat” and jumped to their deaths, my nigga showed up to Bob McNair’s deposition ... wearing a KUNTA KINTE T-shirt!
The evil McNair was the first to be deposed, but he won’t be the last, and I expect Kaepernick to be present for all of them because this is what a stand-up black man looks like. Plus, a doctor once told me that white people get nervous when they have to look into the eyes of black people. It was Dr. Dre, but still.
This is what it looks like when you want off the plantation at all costs. This is why Kunta Kinte was willing to take lashes to his back to be called by his birth name. Sometimes, kneeling is the best way to stand for something, and all the owners who’ve been hiding their racism behind a veil of mediocre, washed-up white quarterbacks now have an opportunity to deny it, but Kaepernick’s going to be there wearing his full Afro like a crown, and I’m willing to bet they won’t say it to his face.