The Curse of Kevin Samuels: Gender as Racism

Earlier this month, self-proclaimed image consultant Kevin Samuels went viral for an on-air session he had with a black female client. In the session, Samuels responded to his client’s want for a man that brings home a six-figure income. The client, a thirty-five-year-old woman who makes six figures herself, has a teenaged son. Samuels contended that the client did not qualify for the men that she desires. To clarify here, Samuel’s use of the word “qualify” speaks specifically to the client’s physical appearance and her status as a mother— a status he deems social suicide to her desired partner and lifestyle.

Now, Samuels is, of course, fully entitled to his opinion, but having an opinion does not make it correct. Nevertheless, there is some truth in what Samuels said, and there is a glaring issue with placing value on a man for how much he earns as the caller does early in the session. The caller’s erring is easily matched and nullified in the overemphasis this world places on looks.

In The Invention of Woman, Oyeronke Oyewumi underscores the visual as an important component in the exteriorization of European thought as a default way of thinking. The visual also plays a huge component in gender. Taken together, gender is a repository for racism. This is, in large part, the issue with Samuel’s rhetoric and prominence among his black male and black female audience.

I will be honest and say that few things make me feel as disappointed and upset as the inauthentic aesthetic that has engulfed much of the black female optic. From weaves to the false eyelashes and nails, this aesthetic betrays the drastic measures the western world has taken to assassinate the African-descended woman’s natural aesthetic. Nevertheless, participating in what I perceive as slave culture, is not grounds for disrespect. Particularly, it is the critical gaze and ridicule that Samuels renders that is the reason why black women don this aesthetic. It is this pervasive and normalized scrutiny espoused with general disbelief in black female beauty that creates an internal void, a deficit fictively oscillated with weaves, eyelashes, wigs, and other social depressants. Rather than using his words to lift a young lady knocked down by imbalanced standards, Samuels contributes to the epidemic facing black people with his words and ideology

This brings me to my next point. Black women remain held to impossible standards simply non-existent to women of other races. When African-adjacent women approach or interact with black men, the issue is not whether they are average, a mother, overweight, a high earner, under or “over” educated; rather, their appeal lies in their non-blackness. Samuels upholds this imbalance with his praise of mixed-race and non-black women of all ages and circumstances as better romantic investments than black women.

Thus, telling a black woman he deems average that she does not qualify for what women with less going for them could acquire with non-blackness adheres to the racism embedded in gender. Gender is not a sister to biology, it is kin to racism, and it functions as another means to globalize racism under a seemingly autonomous category. Moreover, Samuel’s implementation of gender as racism illuminates his plight to actualize the ways of a white man in a black male body.

Yes, we live in a visual world. But this visual remains vested in whiteness as a portrait of superiority. Moreover, Samuels did not inform the young lady as to what he calls a “high-value man” wants, he informed her what white men, and those, like himself, who want to emulate white men (and white women), value.

Samuels itemized this young lady and other female callers in a manner reminiscent to the way prospective slave owners examined the black canvass to decide whether or not they were worth the purchase. Samuels socially reproduces this dehumanizing gesture under the contemporary label “image consultant.” Mimicking the ways of the anti-black oppressors is indicative of personal defeat. To make this into a career is to launch and implement a collective assault against the black collective.

Samuels’s overt assault against black women is disturbing, so much so it becomes cause to question why this black man remains vested in restoring gender relations to a tradition that has never seen him as human. The most common explanations seem to be that Samuels wishes he were a woman himself, or that his efforts seem an effort to engender desire for and compatability with the “average” black man. Both prove resoundingly less significant to the internalized anti-blackness that fuels his platform. Nevertheless, because he identifies with his anti-black adversaries in his attempt to assassinate the self and esteem of she who keeps culture and births nations, his actions constitute social genocide against black people normalized in a social media culture.

Encompassed in said culture, the show appears to offer nuanced masculinity, a more blunt Steve Harvey approach to male coaching of black women yearning for improved relationships with black men. Though there are numerous issues with this dynamic, this culture of male coaching reinforces gender as another vessel to engender blacks to bend to standards that fail to advance us as a people. Specifically, the curse of Keven Samuels consummates a feat for gender: to convince systemized black men and women that we are our own worst enemies. Samuels socially reproduces the Moynihan report of the 1960s where a white man blamed black women for the systemically implemented conflicts facing the black community.

The cyclical disenfranchisement bestowed upon the black collective has taken an aggressively social form to which all black people should take note. Curses on our collective advancement have taken up diversity by appearing as cures. Samuel’s social reproduction of past evils foreshadows the promised place past problems maintain in the contemporary moment.

19 thoughts on “The Curse of Kevin Samuels: Gender as Racism

  1. C.

    This is the best observation that I have read today. Your poignant thoughts are moving. You did not waste one word. I agree with each and every one.

    Regards

    1. This dude racks up subscriptions from so many black men who clearly, hate their own black women. Value….sale price…purchase price…This guy sounds like those African slave traders from 400 years ago. Never have I seen any man from India or China trying to profit from the belittlement of their own women on social media at the same level as Samuels. The is no hope for the black community if so many black men worship leaders like him.

  2. You have a brilliant Counter Racist Mind! “Gender is closer to Racism.”

    “Nevertheless, because he identifies with his anti-black adversaries in his attempt to assassinate the self and esteem of she who keeps culture and births nations, his actions constitute social genocide against black people normalized in a social media culture.” Brilliant!

  3. This is an amazingly written article. I knew there was something not right about Samuels but I could not pinpoint exactly what it was or what he’s doing.

  4. It is unfortunate that it is written in a way that loses its point in academically-aesthetic and identity-political language.

    Kevin Samuels appealed to the average person. This is written in the tradition of white academia.

  5. Touche. I totally agree with your comments. As a male I don’t agree with his characterization of woman’s value based on her looks, vagina value and whether they have children or not..that is very shallow, and sexualizes women..which could be the reason why some women feel the need to wear all of the non natural items (make up, nails, weaves, etc) that he uses to value them lower.

  6. I could not find the words to express the range of thoughts, questions, and feelings Mr. Samuel’s videos stirred in me since being introduced to one of them about four months ago. Your article competently and objectively surfaces a myriad of complex issues facing black women, black men, the nuclear black family, and our community. Thank you for putting so much thought into this. An article such as this, could only be penned by someone who cares. Thank you.

  7. Brilliantly written and blatantly honest. A much needed perspective, yet those FOLLOWERS that subscribe to him men/women alike will most likely never READ your article, Can I read it in video format? Or maybe put it in a RAP song or a versus battle or anything that will reach the ppl that vibrate a little lower… THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSIGHT

  8. All of this! I agree with every word. He taking over, and rebranding himself as someone that is helping the black community. I hope that our voices will not be silenced and enough people wake up to all the points mentioned in this article. I lost respect for all the YouTubers that are aligning themselves with him for clout. He is doing great job leveraging publicity and trying to market and spread his hatred of black women to the masses.

    I lost respect for Iyanla from “ fix my life” going on his show.

  9. This is very well stated. Its very sad BUT I can’t help but wonder… is he “right”?
    By “right” I mean is he merely highlighting how (our) men really view us?? I know too many educated, smart, beautiful single black females who have never been married, no children and aren’t dating and not considered desirable by any group…Too Smart, Too much money, Too black,Too white, Too ambitious, etc. Is it in fact that being “overqualified” has made us not qualified- to be coupled?Of course I would like to say that his rhetoric is ridiculous [it is] and this is a way to capitalize on the growing chasm between black men and women but part of me has to wonder is he “right” Hopefully this will spark conversation that proves him WRONG!

  10. What an idiot.

    My 25 year old son listened this person which prompted me to take an interest in listening to this podcast. I listened in horror! I understand that my son is evolving into the man he will be and only hope that he takes what helps him from this person and discard of want is not needed which is a lot.
    Mr. Samuels is one of the most effeminate and narcissistic men I have seen and heard in awhile. A modern day self proclaim Rush Limbaugh for black men.
    It is so hurtful and distasteful how the women that object themselves to his inspection, ranking, and approval of them is shameful! Like being on the auction block and sold base on this idiots opinion of their worth. Women please stop drinking the Kool-Aid! Please stop answering this derogatory ass questions and believing that you have to justify your “Why” to this person. How pathetic that this black self proclaimed prophet to the black man and overseer to psychology of what a high dollar man wants and needs is comical to say the least. Wow! This why I don’t subscribe to the social media world because of the damage it can do to one’s psyche. Most developing young minds have not experienced enough to know better.

  11. I am so glad to have found this article – thanks for taking the time to write it. When I first listened to Kevin Samuels – I found it funny because I did not think it was serious; however, to my shock it is. I describe him and many other guys popping up on Youtube and other platforms as ‘woke’ misogyny intertwined with self-hatred. I don’t care how much as a man you declare your decision to choose…I do not believe that a man who is black would despise and denigrate a woman who looks like him and also his mother. There is something wrong. Social media platforms allow such individuals to deny this abnormality by excessively asserting their right to choose whilst airing negative comments towards the black woman. Many times and over and over people talk about black women being the most undesired – A damn lie. We are the most desired because the beauty standards of today aim to appropriate our natural assets. However, because of the assassination of the black women, there is a need to remove us from it. I would like to form a collective that is dedicated to black women space but I always fear that our space is forever infiltrated (!) I am so tired of the unprovoked attacks on black women.

    Women need to stop calling Kevin Samuels show!!! Please stop. I would like to see Kevin Samuels stop talking and a few others. He claims to be helping these women etc. etc but where is your wife or evidence of a successful relationship it doesn’t exist.

  12. Thank you for taking time to share these truths and reflections. I came across his videos and was disturbed by his demeanor on his IG Live recorded posts. He brings womxn on his live, asks if there is a complaint or something the womxn disagrees with, very closed off to feedback, then picks one thing the womxn says in their first sentences throughout the rest of the talk (there must be a name of his tactic/presentation but I can’t think of it right now). The misogny and racism in his messages is incredibly disappointing as he holds himself to high regard as a black man but does not show up differently for womxn. His extreme rudeness and reactivity has caused him to get folx attention.

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