dr. umar johnson and Roland Martin

Did Roland Martin Ambush Dr. Umar Johnson on TVOne

Dr. Umar Johnson is one of the more controversial figures within what is often referenced to as the conscious community.   Some of his views and opinions come off a little strong, and are often the cause of debate within the black community as a whole.  Just last year, he got into a beef with another member of the conscious community General Serun Seti.  The people who already didn’t like Dr. Umar Johnson, used that fight as more evidence for why he shouldn’t be speaking on ‘our’ behalf.

But there was also the time he got into it with Dr. Boyce Watkins, who is also part of the conscious community from the financial side.  That dispute seemed to stem from a remark made about the School for Black boys that Dr. Umar has been championing and raising money for, since as early as 2012.  Unfortunately it’s almost 5 years later and there is no school. Just last week, Dr. Umar Johnson came on The Breakfast Club, and the things he said in that interview once again upset black people.

I’m not here to talk about any of that though, nor am I here to put down Dr. Umar Johnson. As you’ll see, back in 2013 I shared a ‘real conversation’ from him (the video is removed) in The Miseducation Of The Negro in Today’s Modern Age.

The conversation was about the School to Prison Pipeline, and how big a role Education plays in our conditions.  In so many ways, this is what often disappoints me about the conscious community. Literally all of the ‘spokespersons’ are talking about the same thing. However, seemingly are lack of education in the area of Conflict Resolution, continues to plague us as a people.

Carter G. Woodson, Miseducation

So, rather than discuss the topics, or ideas we disagree upon we fight. We try to speak over one another, we make faces and throw our arms … we judge and call each other names.

Roland Martin asked Dr. Umar Johnson to join him on his studio program for TVone.

In that interview, he also invited a Panel of black people to ‘question’ Dr. Umar Johnson about many of his statements. This was indeed, nothing more than a disappointing moment waiting to happen.   It ended up being several disappointing moments ….  Watch it below.

Clearly, Roland Martin should have had a full show if he wanted this panel to talk to Dr. Umar Johnson. There simply wasn’t enough time for the dialogue between him and each member on this panel. Also, Black Republicans are problematic in most of these conversations because they have different desired outcomes.  The black republican on this panel was called a Coon during the argument that broke out here, and unfortunately Roland Martin put his foot down there.

I get it to a degree. Name calling isn’t ultimately going to get us anywhere.

Cooning is dangerous to black people though, and coons need to be pointed out. As much as I enjoy Roland Martin, from time to time he also slips into sellout territory. Not wanting to allow anyone to be called a Coon, is one example.  Too many black people go there, and I don’t agree with their perspective. Many of them feel that it’s just as bad as a white person insulting us.

That is where our ‘miseducation’ and division on so many of these issues, also hinders us.

Dr. Umar Johnson’s school for black boys is a good idea on the surface.  He has however, clearly shown us that he’s not the ‘businessman’ to carry out the idea. That also, comes down to our lack of education as a people. Too often, we feel like we have to have our name on everything. Sometimes we just need to be involved to make sure something we envision gets done. We don’t need the credit, and yet I feel this is what gets Dr. Umar into trouble.

Roland also, should not have gone about this, in this manner because ultimately it doesn’t help the community.

Instead of discussing whether or not sending our children to white schools is good for us, we’re spending too much time focusing on tearing down the messenger. Sometimes the person with the vision, just isn’t the one the carry the vision out. Sometimes it is though. So the response to this interview hasn’t been all too positive.

Dr. Boyce feels it was an Ambush, and that’s saying something considering the two of them fell out a year ago.

Dr. Boyce Watkins, as usual gives us a great and honest commentary on two men, who he doesn’t really get along with. Mostly because they dislike the criticism that he’s shared about both of them.  That’s actually something I like about Dr. Boyce, is that he’s willing to share his comments, even if the commentary isn’t popular.  Dr. Boyce raises some great questions for us all, as we look for ‘lessons’ from what unfolded.

“What does quality black leadership look like? Sometimes, ego gets in the way.” – Dr. Boyce Watkins.

The commentary from Dr. Boyce on this is all the way on point. He even gets right to the problem we have as a people, Selling out. Black people are more than willing to go play for the highest bidder. We have been so impoverished that we’ll literally do anything FOR money. This is why the white man continues to exploit our community, and also why we MUST call out blacks who put MONEY over the well-being of black people.

TheBlackAuthority (Jason Black) also went into this as well….


Now, these videos combined are over 2 hours of information that frankly, a lot of black people aren’t going to listen to, but we should.  If we can spend hours watching Power, Empire, and real Housewives, or Love and Hip Hop, then we can do this too.

In spite of the negative, there is so much positive here as well. There are lessons to learn, if only we remain open to learning those lessons.   We have a lot of work to do, as a people to continue to move ourselves forward.   We live in a nation that enslaved our ancestors, oppressed us and literally kept us out of wealth, and education.  This is why, black people have to concern themselves with black people. Time and time again, we see that we cannot depend on anyone else. As Dr. Boyce pointed out… ‘at least’ Dr. Umar puts black people first.

So, most of us have had to pull ourselves up, by ourselves.

It’s okay too, but we have to understand this process isn’t supposed to be easy. It hasn’t been, and will not be as we all continue to pull ourselves up!