Entertainment & Culture
Five things Black America Should Let Go

By Michael Harriot

Every now and then I like to drop some knowledge. Here is a list of things the Black community needs to stop embracing.

1.  THE VIP SECTION – Event organizers have figured out a loophole to siphon money out of the pockets of attendees by sectioning off the part of the club no one wants to sit in and calling it “The VIP section.” It appeals to that narcissistic part of the new millennium brain that wants to let everyone know they’re a little bit better than you. “Look, I’m an important person because my friends and I put in $35 apiece to chill behind the velvet rope on faux leather Ikea love seats.” Everyone wants to be on stage, even if they can’t sing. Here’s who never has to pay for VIP:

Very important people.

If you walk in through the same door as everyone else who attended, you’re not very important.
If your drinks aren’t comped by the club owner, you’re not VIP.
If you’re paying twice the price for something everyone else is getting for free, you’re not VIP/

I have owned two nightclubs in my lifetime, and trust me, VIP is a scam. Did I have a VIP section in my nightclubs? You bet your ass I did. If I owned a Burger King and people offered to pay triple the price for a Whopper with cheese, but only if they could cram 12 people in the tiny booth by the bathroom, of course I’d say yes. I know you’re reading this thinking I forgot about the perks of VIP–Bottle service and a dedicated waitress. Listen, as one of the most prolific consumers of alcohol in American history, I have done the complex algorithms of bottle service vs going to the bar and waiting for the bartender to notice me, and the wait time is about the same. VIP waitresses are never prompt because the flaw in the design of the VIP system is that once you have paid for your bottle, you aren’t obligated to tip any more. Besides, what is the appeal of buying an entire bottle and having to fix your own drink?

If you enjoy doing that, you should come to my hypothetical Burger King. for $195 we will give you two buns, a beef patty, a tomato and a head of lettuce and say “be out, VIP.”

2. TRYING TO STOP DONALD TRUMP – You know who’s scarier than Donald Trump? Ted Cruz.

Donald Trump is just a blowhard who is blowing the racist dog whistle because he has figured out the people who are listening for it will give him their votes. Donald Trump doesn’t care about keeping out Muslims or building a wall any more than he cares about “two Corinthians.” Ted Cruz, on the other hand, has the experience and knowledge to do that shit. Ted Cruz is smart, ambitious and filled with enough politician doublespeak that he could possibly beat the Democratic nominee in a general election. Plus, I think the man we call “Ted Cruz” is actually a Russian Terminator robot sent from the future to destroy America.  Under Ted Cruz’s skin is just a reptilian lizard body over a Pentium processor. Donald Trump is just the crazy, batshit bait who everyone in America hopes will lose to Cruz. Even if Donald Trump wins every state, all his support combined adds up to about 15% of the electorate. He can’t win a general election.

But Ted Cruz can.

When they perform the ol’ switcheroo and we end up with Ted Cruz who actually believes all the dog-whistle “small government,” anti-Muslim pro Christian bullshit, everyone will be sitting around wondering “wha’ happened?”

We are falling for the oldest trick in the book, that’s what happened. Stop watching the crazy rabbit.

Watch the hat.

3. FLIP FLOPS* – When the Illuminati or the Bilderbergs or Ted Cruz and Antonin Scalia came together to institute the global conspiracy to undermine the strength and integrity of the Black man, I promise you the first step in their nefarious plot was to somehow get Black people to start wearing flip flops. When the shit jumps off, those of us wearing plastic thongs between their toes will be the first ones whose heads they chop off.

When she was leading slaves to freedom on the underground railroad in mud, through forests and across rivers, you think Harriet Tubman wore flip flops?
If you look at photos of the March on Washington–not one pair of flip flops.
Have you ever read John Lewis talk about being attacked on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and how many of the protesters wore flip flops?


There will one day come a great reckoning when our people of color will stand up to the powers that be and remind them how strong and powerful we are when we band together.

Except for the people wearing flip flops. They’ll be rendered immobile by foot stomps.

Protect ya neck, but watch your toes.

*This also applies to grown men wearing sandals.

4. TAKING ADVICE FROM BULLSHITTERS – There is a long line of bullshitters who prey on Black people because they think we’re dumber, or more prone to romantic thought, or more Jesus-conscious. Whether it’s waist trainer salesmen or Steve Harvey self-help books, many of us love a good bullshit story. I might be the biggest Run -DMC fan of all time, and as a board certified member of team dark-skinnededededed and team bald-headededed, I have an affinity for Tyrese Gibson, but I am not taking my life or dating advice from a reality show star who wears a priest collar in the summertime or anyone who was in the Too Fast Too Furious movies. Answer me this: Have you ever been to Reverend Run’s church? What are his credentials? What Are Tyrese’s (I’m sure he’d counter with “I got bitches, man!” And I’m some people consider that a qualification). The same with Steve Harvey’s “Think Like a…” series. It is just snake oil for slow people. Has Iyanla Vanzant ever fixed anyone’s life? Even hers?

Our souls and mental stability are just as important as our physical bodies, and if I suggested that you let an unlicensed doctor perform open-heart surgery, you’d think I was crazy, but we will give permanent space in our heads to anyone with a slick enough tongue, smart enough book title or enough con game to add “ministry” onto the end of their movement.

By the way, you should join my new buy-Michael-Harriot-a-drink ministry and my new book “Someone’s Gotta Drink It. Why not Me?” will be available in bookstores soon.

5. EATING CHITTERLINGS – I understand the appeal of pork chops, bacon and even hot dogs, but chitlins man? Come on people. No one should eat anything whose preparation requires more time scraping dookie off of it than it does to actually cook. Aside from the possible bacterial infection, the smell and the high blood pressure, there’s also the fact that there are 1,038,048 other cuts of meat that one can choose from before finally landing on pig intestines.

I know that chitlins remind some people of simpler times when we didn’t have that much to eat, so we ate the discarded animal parts on the plantations. That is an honorable and noble tradition, but I’d rather you just tie me to a tree and give me a few lashes from Massah’s whip than to feed me fried pork asshole. Maybe it’s just me.

There is a verse in the book of Hosea that reads:

“My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge… and swine turds.”

…or something like that.




About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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