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.

16 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.


    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. She misses his point. This is the type of lady he is describing…. we’ve been brainwashed to think men and women are they same. Embrace our differences.. celebrate full time mothers which is hard work !

  5. This is a nonsense article. Many women who go on the show say they are exclusively looking to settle down with rich wealthy men. Believe it or not, one nonchalantly stated that a man earning $500,000 a year was her ideal salary for the lifestyle she wants…As women, we cannot get upset if someone questions our standards. Kevin Samuels is not a racist. This clearly was not a well researched article. Many of the women on the show “itemise” men in terms of assets and financial prowess and we need to stop getting “triggered” when we are on the receiving end of it.

      1. 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.

      2. This comment suggests an unfamiliarity with academic writing, but also, if the blog doesn’t speak to you, just don’t read it.

        You, like Kevin Samuels, delineate issues with black women, who read and have an education, a shoulder chip delineated in the mislabeling of this piece. I receive similar comments from whites who dislike blacks who they are unable to confine to stereotypes of cultural illiteracy.

        This behavior results from an over-prioritization of white ideology. That’s the irony here, you’re accusing me of what both KS and his following, like you, embody with every word you speak.

        As a KS advocate, I hope you give his channel and postings as much attention as you gave this post. Thanks for reading.

    1. 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. having just discovered Samuels today, i googled him to see if anyone was criticizing him and here we are. first i think its ridiculous to use the word racist in relation to gender or anything else that’s not race. Second. i heard the episode where the woman did indeed say she wanted a partner that made A HALF A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR (for crying out loud!) so she could live her (materialistic) “ideal lifestyle”. to be ok with that but not ok with a man saying “girl you better be smoking ass hot” is also beyond the pale. i don’t think “the caller’s erring” was at all “matched or nullified”
    Asking men to stop (naturally) valuing looks while allowing women to continue unnaturally overvaluing salary, while they also overvalue themselves is keeping people single. mostly the women.
    also, i’m sorry we can appreciate the tough job single moms do, i do, but it doesnt make them more dateable.

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      Your comment proves that so many skim articles to validate their beliefs and challenge what they think they read rather than what’s being argued.

      Ironically, your comment also elucidates the crux of this article, which you clearly didn’t read.

      Nevertheless, I thank you again for your comment.

      And as I said to a previous commenter, I hope you show KS and his videos the same attention that you showed this post. 😉

  7. 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s