The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: The Last Hotep

Oscar Bustamante/GMG/The Root
Oscar Bustamante/GMG/The Root

If you enjoy our weekly roundup of emails, tweets, direct messages, comments and that one voicemail we did months ago, you probably won’t like this edition of the Clapback Mailbag. You might not even recognize it.


While it will be chock-full of clapbacks as usual, this week’s mailbag marks the first time no white supremacist makes an appearance. I know it seems racist to exclude white people, but don’t fret—we promise that today’s mailbag still contains so much prejudice, bigotry and all-around ignorance that you might not even notice the daunting lack of wypipo weeping about their anal injuries caused by the writers at The Root.

Although this episode may be short on caucasity, it is flush with the same tomfoolery you have become accustomed to every Friday. We take our clapbacks seriously, here at The Root. We don’t take days off.

Well ... Yesha Callahan does.

But don’t worry, she probably won’t even read this.

[Editor’s note: I, a person who believes in work-life balance, have no problem making use of unlimited vacation days. —Yesha]

From IsAllah Self Kingdom on Facebook:

This Feminist pro LGBT B3dWench is the Problem. Monique Judge for the record, Black Men have consistently explained the Gay Agenda, and if you like we can have a discussion about it. You and the other coon, Michael Harriot at need to fall back from attacking Confident heterosexual Black Men. Before you call me a Hotep, save it for the person that fit the description. I am a Humanistic Atheist, I don’t give a damn about any form of religion or Spirituality or the dumb Woke shit.

The Gay Agenda is just as real as your hate for confident heterosexual Black Men.


Dear IsAllah Self-Kingdom,

First, I’d like to congratulate you. Since I’ve been a full-time employee at The Root, we have been arguing about the Hotepest name ever, and you win hands down. While I’m sure you are a fine, upstanding citizen, your name has obviously done a nine-year bid in prison, where it converted to Islam. I bet your name wears a kufi, refers to pork as “swine” and fucks heavyset white girls on the low. I bet your real name is something like Parker Willoughby.


Setting aside the Hotepery that is your name, I want to offer my sincerest condolences, because I know your secret:

You have a tiny penis, don’t you, IsAllah?

Don’t be ashamed. It happens. That’s probably why you don’t believe in God, and I don’t blame you. What kind of god would allow his people to be tortured and oppressed for 400 years and then give one of his children a pinkie-toe-sized penis?


Even though I don’t know you, I know men like you. I know men who boast about being “confident black men,” but in real life, they suffer from the perpetual anger of erectile dysfunction because they can’t get a spoonful of blood to flow into their thimblelike phallus. I recognized your inadequacy because your attitude resembles that of a very stupid white supremacist who claims to be “the least racist person” we’ll ever meet. He claims to be very smart and says he went to the best schools. I won’t embarrass him by calling his name, except to say that he is a “very stable genius,” just like you are a “confident, heterosexual black man” who doesn’t believe in God or religion but calls himself “IsAllah.”

Earlier today, Monique Judge was giggling at guys who talk about the “gay agenda.” Trust me, I don’t giggle. The white man makes us believe that giggling is masculine, but I overstand because I use my fourth eye. Not my third eye, because the number 3 is a relic of Christian slavery from the Holy Trinity, the three wise men and the three blind mice. (Also, my third eye is what I call my penis.)


Apparently, you and others live in constant fear that “homosexuals” have a secret plan that could convince you to eat swine and engage in same-sex shenanigans. Don’t fall prey to the gay agenda. I can tell you are a weak-minded individual worried about the prospect that acknowledging the humanity of people whose love looks different from yours could magically render you semen-thirsty. Resist.

Stay strong, IsAllah.


A coon.

The next clapback stems from an article at HuffPost by Dwayne Wong (Omowale) entitled “Stop Using Hotep as an Insult.” In it, Wong says:

For those who don’t know, hotep is an ancient Egyptian term that means “to be at peace.” This is why it’s distressing to me when I see people trying to use hotep as an insult—some of the writers at the Root are especially at fault for helping degrade the term hotep. These people either do not know what the term means or they know and are deliberately trying to demean African history and culture. The term has been coming up a lot lately in regards to Umar Johnson. Umar has been in the headlines because he is currently under investigation and faces losing his psychology license. Umar has also been caught up in a feud with Tariq Nasheed, the director of the Hidden Colors series.

Damon Young gave this definition of hotep:

Over the past decade or so, the working definition of “Hotep” has morphed into an all-encompassing term describing a person who’s either a clueless parody of Afrocentricity—think “Preach” from Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood—or someone who’s loudly, conspicuously and obnoxiously pro-black but anti-progress.

As African people we have been subjected to having our history and culture degraded, distorted, and destroyed for centuries now. The people who have bastardized what hotep means are contributing to that problem. Take Michael Harriot, for example. Harriot is a writer at the Root and he is constantly using his platform there to criticize Umar Johnson. Some of these criticisms have merit, but other times they have gone so far that Harriot himself has had to apologize and admit he was wrong. In his latest article on Umar, Harriot ironically mocks Umar as being a “Hotepologist” and miseducator, even though Harriot is operating as a miseducator himself by distorting what the term hotep means. Another article mocks the fight between Umar and Tariq as being “The Real Husbands of Hotep”. Hotep means to be at peace, so how does that term fit in with the discord that we have seen being displayed between Umar and Tariq. When Umar and Seti had their feud in 2016, another writer at the Root described it as a “Hotep Hoedown”.


Dear Dwayne,

First of all, I want to say: You are right.

Even before I read your article, I had been conflicted about using the word “Hotep” as a pejorative. I fully recognize the origin and the meaning of the word. As someone who came to The Root partly because of my blog NegusWhoRead [Editor’s note: And because of me. —Yesha], I realize the importance of taking back words that have been used against us. There is only one problem that I have:

What will we call Hoteps?

Neither Damon Young, I nor any other writer at The Root created the term “Hotep” to describe the overly woke people who engage in misinformation and thievery against the black community. We use the word because people know what it means. But I readily admit that I fell into the trap of lazily throwing it at those who honestly seek liberation by connecting themselves with their ancestral heritage. While I do think that the default deification of everything Egyptian is problematic for a number of reasons, I recognize that “Hotep” is a desperate clinging to a history that has been stripped away from our people by a long legacy of white supremacy.


Therefore, I promise that I will no longer use it in a derogatory manner. I do not speak for any other writer here, but I’m going to do better. This pledge does, however, lead back to my original problem: What will we call Hoteps? (OK, that was the last time.) I have come up with a list:

  • Whore-teps
  • Umaricans
  • Poor Tariq-ans
  • Ankhologist
  • Quack Lies Matter
  • Wokeheads
  • Neo Not-Sees
  • Hidden Coloreds
  • Blacksliders
  • IsAllah Self Kingdom

Hopefully one of those will suffice.

From: Justin Other Nigga
To: Michael Harriot
Subject: The Root is anti-black

Hey faggot,

How much do they pay you to keep bashing black men like Umar? How many people do you mentor? What are you doing for the black community? have you done anything other tna tear black men down? Why do you have so much hate for men like Umar?


Dearest Justin,

Let me tell you a story.

I grew up poor as fuck. Not underprivileged—poor. Nights-without-electricity poor. Days-without-water poor. Cereal-and-water-for-dinner poor. I lived in a very religious household and was homeschooled until I was 12.


My first year attending school, I was excited to experience many of the things most people take for granted. I remember how incredibly pumped I was for picture day at school. When that day came, each student was supposed to bring $10 to have his or her picture taken. The night before picture day, my mother informed my sisters and me that she only had $30—not enough for pictures for my three sisters and me. As the only boy in the house, I told her to let my sisters take their pictures. I was heartbroken, but I was over it by the next morning.

Then a miracle happened.

I swear on everything that is good and true that I exited the house on the morning of picture day, and lying on the ground was a $10 bill! I could have taken that money and had my picture taken, but I knew that the reason I couldn’t take pictures was that my mother had to be dead broke. She was in her last week of college and wasn’t working, so I gave her the money.


That was a Friday. The next day at church (we attended church on Saturdays), I watched my mother put $10 in the offering plate. I still believe that my mother put that money in the offering because she thought she was “sowing a seed.” That’s how blind, desperate faith works.

After service that night, everyone gathered around in the church parking lot to gaze at the pastor’s shiny new car. (It was a shitty Chrysler New Yorker, but to me, it was a might as well have been a Maserati.)


Fuck Umar Johnson and all the thieving motherfuckers sucking the souls and money from anyone hoping to sow a seed for black people because we are desperate for something ... anything. I hope they die a fiery death in the depths of hell. I want my foot to be the one that kicks them over the edge. They are worse than white supremacists. I’d rather have a cross on my lawn than a hand in my pocket.

The Root is not making me rich. When I heard about Johnson’s hearing, I was going to go whether The Root sent me or not. I had planned on paying my own way the same as I had done when I went to Ferguson, Mo.; Baltimore; Jena, Texas; and Sanford, Fla. I didn’t ask a black person for a dime to go to any of those places.


Yes, I am a hater. I hate con men. The $10 I found on my way to school did as much good for people as the $400,000 raised by Johnson. He has never produced a business plan, budget or shred of evidence that he is starting a school. If he can prove where the money he collected went, I will take back every word I’ve ever said about him. I’ve done it before. I am not happy he is defrauding people who want a school for black boys. I want one, too.

As long as I have fingers to type and a platform, I will never leave him alone. So call me a faggot. I could care less about what you—wait ...


... IsAllah ...

Is that you?

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.


Raineyb1013, Misfit Black Girl Island Denizen

When hoteps stop spreading misinformation (like how a woman’s menstrual cycle is a sign of illness) I will stop using hotep as a pejorative. Until then, they can eat a dick about my choice of words.