Michael W. Twitty Profile picture
Jan 13, 2018 24 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
After some consideration I took down my screenshot tweet of me crying in reaction to the #shitholecountries #ShitHole commentary. I didn't want to but I was getting so much vocal abuse for it I had to let it go. The abusive language went from being 100% Trump troll to 100% Black.
I reached thousands of people and my message was simple. Some of us are getting to breakdown stage over the undoing of a liberal democracy in America. Words will never hurt me does not apply we are facing policy changes that are not easy to undo.
I want to be a positive light for young Black folks. I have tried hard to be a mentor and role model on social media. But the commentary I received for showing myself vulnerable was vicious and smacked of self hatred.
This isn't why I'm on Twitter....
While I received hundreds of tweets from non-Black followers demonstrating empathy and solidarity, a vocal minority just saw this support as sinister and conspiratorial. None of my detractors researched me they simply judged me based on a single tweet.
They read me as much younger (thanks I guess) fat (I am what I currently am), weak, needy and emotional unstable but mostly symbolically unhelpful. They quickly constructed memes using my image to ridicule me and put me in my place.
The barrage of messages and memes got to be too much. These were people who might never buy my work but they were determined to destroy my message by consensus. A "weak Black faggot like you" needed to be slaughtered on the altar of hypermasculine theatrics.
Those tweets didn't hurt me but they did bring up ugly feelings in me. It was like the tingle of an addiction...the sudden feeling of needing to shift camps bc I wasn't being heard or respected. I was feeling like a grumpy older man...edging respectability politics conservative.
This really started when I was used as an image of Black subservience by Tariq Nasheed. I was doing historic interpretation but a few ignorant people assumed I was enacting some sort of weird cosplay where Black ppl desired to be slaves. A simple Google search would have fixed...
Fingers that nimbly find Vine videos on YouTube and cheap porn could not seem to research me or my mission. Again...I was everything they seemed to hate...fat, gay, intellectual, vulnerable and emotionally available. I was "weak" because I wasn't numb.
I attempted to dialogue with people, I just got more abuse.
I don't think it's appropriate to list my resume to ask for respect or validation. I would never ask anyone else this just to justify their worth. The minute I give into that I lose my values.
Black men can cry if they want to.It is not effeminate to cry.It is human. U don't owe anyone the keys to your emotional stability or mental health.Nobody has the right to police your behavior in the name of "racial" symbolic theatrics.U have the right to be an individual.
None of these fools would dare cross James Baldwin if he was still with us. James is often used to model our righteous anger and rightfully so but he was also iconoclastic and refused to wholly embrace separatism or carte blanche integration. Most of all he had white lovers.
When you make that movie about this man who saved me in my teenage years...dont forget the scene where "ugly" James Baldwin is lying naked with his longtime white Swiss lover Lucien. Then shift to him laughing over tea with Malcolm X or dancing with Maya Angelou.
I came out when I was 16. I used to hide Giovanni's Bedroom in my dresser until I came out to my parents and in my school newspaper. From 16 to 40, from converting to Judaism to teaching about slavery I am grateful I have learned to live an unflinching life.
It is not nor has it ever been my job to make other people happy through compliance. My mother once read to me a letter from Theo to Vincent Van Gogh basically saying "do you and own it."
I know I'm not always 100% soul. I know I'm not 100% kosher. But you will never say I'm not 100% Michael Twitty.
If you don't like my tears you will hate my laughter. If u don't like how I walk my path u will be livid over my dance steps. If my handshake offends you u will wretch at my kisses. If u don't seek community with me that's a consequence I'm willing to take to live authentically.
My favorite Yoruba folktale from Nigeria goes like this...a man, a beast and a child are traveling from village to village. In each village they are discouraged for their actions. The child must not ride..then the man finally the beast is riding them both. The moral:
You cannot make everybody happy. Upon seeing the beast ride the man and the child the last villagers laughed. The father then goes "It is the way of the world (ile aiye--the world as marketplace of ideas) that you can't make everyone happy with you.
If you've been supporting me and my work I want you to know something. I really love you and I don't care what phenotype (cokor and features) you have, about your abilities or who you love or what you believe in. I'm glad we share this planet for this brief moment.
I believe the diversity of human lives are the words in Gds prayerbook.In our daily struggles, successes& dreams are the blueprint for the World to Come. We are the books on the shelves of Gds yeshiva (house of study) Our rainbow of being made in Gds image is how Gd knows Itself.
Sorrow may endure this night, but joy will dance in on the clouds at dawn. Take care of yourselves. I am.

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More from @KosherSoul

Sep 2, 2018
I was a Revolutionary In Residence at @colonialwmsburg I take exception to this part of the Atlantic article. The voices of Black living history professionals matter. I agree with the majority of the piece but this part needs context.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 29, 2018
Nah. I have serious issues with this article. I am not sure whether or not I was approached but yeah....I see issues. m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5b…
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Aug 28, 2018
The ppl I celebrate splashed on Florida water cologne&crushed dark bricks for blush.They chose their children's names by Bible prophecy or by season or day of the week. They resisted white supremacy by making irresistable music genres.Their doors were painted "Haint Blue..."
Their grandparents were the Antebellums.They had hog bladders for firecrackers.Names were based on whispers frm Africa.Jesus wasn't official&spirit in the trees weren't obsolete.Cotton tobacco rice&sugar defined life.They fought&prayed.They paid an enormous price for our freedom.
Their great grandparents were the African exiles.They were America before America.They brought the light of the supposed "Dark Continent."They seeded a civilization w/ other untouchables.They left treasure maps in words, ingredients, DNA, names and talk of pots silencing laughs.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 23, 2018
I really cannot stand it when people obscure the histories of Washington D.C. and Maryland and call them Northern. To do so is to obscure the powerfully deep role that enslavement and segregation had in shaping not only the region but American History.
I would argue we stop making the word "Condederacy" synonymous with "The South."
Many Southern folk cultural elements dominate Maryland's Appalachian Highlands, it's Southern coastal plain and The Eastern Shore. Central Maryland was built by trade in enslaved grown tobacco, wheat, corn and later the export of Black bodies to the west and south.
Read 5 tweets
Aug 16, 2018
Let's talk about #Omarosa for a second time...
Cut the dumb broad narrative out. It's misogynistic b.s.
If you truly understood code switching you'd get the underlying game she's working
Read 13 tweets
May 11, 2018
When I was in an abusive relationship my ex who is white would use the I'm going to call the police on me all the time and did once and even started screaming that I was attacking him even though I was outside and was screaming for help and called the cops myself.
The dispatcher was Black. She told me to have empty pockets and hands. She saved my life.
I was terrified of this man and now I'm really angry I allowed him to use a particularly vicious aspect of systemic racism to try to kill me.
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