- Television broadcaster who has worked for several different networks
- Believes that American society is inherently and irredeemably racist, sexist, and homophobic
- Contends that the National Rifle Association secretly welcomes mass gun murders because “NRA membership booms in these moments”
Born in Boston on March 20, 1971, Touré Neblett attended Emory University from 1989-92. There, he founded the school’s black student newspaper, The Fire This Time, which heaped praise on numerous anti-Semites, black supremacists, and conspiracy theorists whom Touré helped bring to campus as guest speakers. These included such notables as: (a) Conrad Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan’s then-“hip-hop minister” and a Nation of Islam fundraiser who routinely excoriated Jewish “bloodsuckers”; (b) H. Rap Brown, the former Sixties revolutionary who had exhorted black people to “wage guerrilla war on the honkie white man”; (c) Lenora Fulani, who once wrote that Jews “had to sell their souls to acquire Israel” and then “function as mass murderers of people of color to stay there”; and (d) Frances Cress Welsing, a self-described black supremacist who preached that white people were the genetically defective descendants of albino mutants.
The author of five books, Touré has appeared on television as a pop-culture correspondent for CNN, MSNBC, BET, and other networks. Since June 2012 he has co-hosted The Cycle on MSNBC. He also teaches a course titled “Hip Hop History, Music, & Culture: The Pre-History,” at NYU‘s Tisch School of the Arts.
Early in his broadcasting career, Touré speculated on a number of occasions that the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon had actually been carried out by the U.S. government. In 2009, for instance, he posted an online tweet saying: “This fascinating video [see link] raises questions about the Pentagon attack: 757 or missle [sic]? http://bit.ly/12AOlN.” On another occasion he tweeted: “How could a plane crash into the Pentagon? And not appear on video cameras?? And leave little wreckage???”
Touré’s worldview is rooted in the premise that American society is inherently and irredeemably racist, sexist, and homophobic. When disco singer Donna Summer died in May 2012, for example, Touré suggested “there was a homophobic, and to a certain extent racist, response against disco … from large group of fans who wanted to proclaim the resurgence of white male power, of rock ‘n roll and punk.” “I have never seen a movement in America to crush a musical genre in the way that the sort of almost organized anti-disco movement rose up,” he added. “… [I]t reminds me of the discussion around marriage equality, that, ‘You can’t have this for yourself, you can’t have equality, you can’t be out and normalized in the public. You must be in the closest[sic] and quiet about what you love.’”
In a July 13, 2012 Washington Post article, Touré declared that hip-hop was “a music and culture whose undercurrent remains black male anger at a nation that declared young black men monsters and abandoned them, killing any chance they had at the American Dream.” That same month, he expressed his approval of rapper Killer Mike’s new song, titled “Reagan,” which claims that President Reagan’s administration plied urban blacks with illegal drugs and then profited from their incarceration. The song ends with the words, “I’m glad Reagan dead.”
When George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic man who had shot and killed a black Florida teenager named Trayvon Martin during a highly publicized 2012 altercation, was acquitted by a jury in July 2013, Touré said the acquittal demonstrated that “in too many ways, we still live in the same America that Emmett Till lived in, an America where blacks are often judged to be a threat to order and citizens are able to destroy their bodies and be protected by the justice system, and the black community is left in pain.” Stating that he had found it necessary to tell his own children that “your ability to mollify white people could be the difference between life and death,” Touré lamented “the lesser worth of black bodies and the inherent criminality ascribed to them by some in this nation and the killability of black bodies, by which I mean the ease we can be killed with no legal ramifications.”
Touré believes that voter ID laws are part of a concerted Republican strategy to “constrain the franchise of people of color” by placing an excessive financial burden on nonwhite minorities, much as a poll tax would do. Specifically, he contends that a disproportionate number of African Americans lack a driver’s license (which could serve as a form of identification at the polls), and thus would need to take “time off from work to get one.”
In June 2012 Touré asserted that many critics of President Barack Obama were racists. “This disrespect of this human being cannot be disconnected from the fact that he’s black,” he said. “…There is a basic, lesser humanity generally ascribed to black people.”
In August 2012 Touré was angered by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s recent claim that Obama was running “an angry and desperate presidency” and a “[reelection] campaign of division and anger and hate.” “You notice he says anger twice,” said Touré. “He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man. This is part of the playbook against Obama…. [T]his is niggerization. You are not one of us, and that you are like the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear.”
In September 2012, Touré claimed that words like “welfare,” “crime,” “Muslim,” and “socialist” were likewise anti-Obama code words: “These code words are ancient racial stereotypes in slick, modern gear. They are linguistic mustard gas, sliding in covertly, aiming to kill black political viability by allowing white politicians to say ‘Don’t vote for the black guy’ in socially-acceptable language.”
Three months later, Touré asserted that the National Rifle Association secretly welcomed incidents like a deranged gunman’s recent massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut. “NRA membership booms in these moments,” said Touré. “Gun sales boom in these moments…. So in a perverse way—they would never admit it this publicly—but in a perverse way, these moments are actually good for them. So then, how do we expect them to really not want these moments?”
In January 2013, shortly after the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, Touré suggested that there is “something undeniably misogynist about the impulse to deny a woman’s dominion over her own body and limit her ability to shape her life—and impose another sense of morality on her.” Reflecting on a time when he himself had unintentionally impregnated a girlfriend, Touré said: “She decided it was best to have an abortion and days later she did, we did, and in some ways that choice saved my life.”
In March 2013, Touré claimed that the prominent black conservative Ben Carson had “intellectual tumors in his mind,” as evidenced by his support for a variety of “unserious ideas” such as a flat tax. According to Touré, Carson has been cynically exploited by Republicans who “need” him to be their token “black friend” in order “to make themselves feel [that they are] not racist,” and to thereby “assuag[e] their guilt.” Moreover, Touré maintains that Carson benefits from “the GOP’s version of affirmative action, where black faces that can spit conservative game get raced to the front of the line.”
On February 14, 2014, Touré described Black History Month as a “sort of affirmative action for facts—that one month where black facts are ushered to the front of the bus, and then in March, it’s back to the back of the bus.” Regarding those who perceive a double standard and ask why there should not also be a White History Month, he said: “It sounds like fish not noticing water … [or] being a kid with all the toys in the world, and going to a birthday party and getting mad because another kid has a toy.”
“The lack of awareness is a big part of the problem,” Touré elaborated, claiming that if white people understood the degree to which their skin color advantaged them they would be more accepting of Black History Month:
“So I propose we shatter that lack of awareness. I’d say let’s do something entirely crazy. Let’s give white people their own race card! For some people, the term ‘race card’ has come to mean ‘a black person has mentioned race in an inappropriate way,’ but what I think it should mean is, ‘I’d like to use my race to get an advantage, please!’ And let’s be real, sometimes white people do that without even meaning to…. This race card can be used at job sites, shopping malls, police stops—wherever race matters! The genius of it is that it works just as white privilege does: you need do nothing to activate it. The advantage happens automatically, just like White History Month happens automatically.”
In April 2015 it was reported that between September 2013 and March 2014, New York State had issued tax warrants to Touré and his wife for more than $59,000 in unpaid taxes. In 2012, the broadcaster had criticized Republican politicians for being “afraid to vote for a modest tax increase of people who can totally afford it.” Similarly, in January 2014 he had tweeted that “regressive taxation & tax-avoidance” had “fueled inequality more than hard work.”
1 Till was a 14-year-old black teen who in 1955, after making lewd advances towards a white woman, was kidnapped by two white men in Mississippi who then beat him, gouged out one of his eyes, shot him in the head, and dumped his body into the Tallahatchie River.