Following his advice was like ‘chewing through broken glass’: The short life of dating guru Kevin Samuels | Relations

ANAs a source of dating advice, Kevin Samuels would seem like the last resort for black women in America. On his YouTube show and podcasts, Samuels criticized black women for being old and out of shape, and for having children out of wedlock. He scoffed at “modern women” who boasted of their multiple college degrees and boasted of their independence. He dropped these bombshells in the softest of voices, wearing a tailored suit and bathed in ambient lighting. with a funky kinetic energy sculpture on your desk.

Yet many women not only tuned in to Samuels en masse, but reached out on Zoom on his show, some hoping to put the self-made image consultant turned relationship expert in his place. When Samuels died suddenly last Thursday in Atlanta at age 57, when his star was still on the rise (the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to release a cause of death), his many detractors reacted like Munchkins to feet of the Wicked Witch of the East. . The overwhelming lack of sympathy for Samuels, whose mother reportedly learned of his death due to online speculation, boils down to his profiting from dismissing single black women over 35 as “leftovers” whose desire unrealistic “men of high value” would condemn them. to a lonely death.

On a recent episode of Fox Soul’s streaming show Cocktails with Queens, actress Vivica A Fox called out karma’s revenge for Samuels’ death. “This man was a hypocrite, in my honest opinion,” she said. “He insulted African-American women on a constant basis.” In a Mother’s Day sermon, preacher and influencer Jamal Bryant indirectly singled out this “man of high power” for allegedly needing “a GoFundMe for his funeral.” The many women in Bryant’s congregation ate this.

Still, many black celebrities have been quick to defend Samuels. “Love him or hate him,” said actor Marlon Wayans, “he told the truth about him. if you hated [him] Why tune in? The rapper-turned-comedian TI dismissed the gleeful reactions to his death as a “fucking travesty” while calling Samuels’ enemies “despicable” and “thugs.” “Everything he did, he did, and [he’s] gone,” the Why You Wanna emcee said. “She got away with it.”

In addition to her mother and daughter, Samuels is survived by her legion of followers in the online community known as the “manosphere,” a kind of digital bathhouse for direct rejection of feminist ideology and retaliation of gender norms. traditional.

Casually basing himself on relationship and income statistics, Samuels enjoyed playing the role of market adjuster and berating “average” black women for going after black men in Talented Tenth: handsome men with six-figure minimum earnings, no children, no history, and no complexes in bed. According to Samuels, boys primarily wanted women who were “fit, feminine, friendly, cooperative, and submissive.” He barely had any patience with callers who defied that description, regularly playing those matchups with them for laughs. And this was in the context of black women having a pretty hard time being taken seriously online, let alone establishing themselves.

More than 30,000 people signed an online petition calling on YouTube and Instagram to take down Samuels’ platform, believing that he had “propelled a community of men of all races and nationalities into open hatred of women.” To many, Samuel’s polished, bespectacled presentation was little more than a pseudo-intellectual cover for misogynism. “I think it has had a huge impact in poisoning social discourse between black men and black women around issues of love, dating, and intimacy,” Rutgers women’s studies professor Brittney Cooper wrote in a recent blog post. Facebook, after Samuels used a clip of her talking about racism and fatphobia as an example of a low-value woman. “I hope the black women who liked Kevin’s work will stop letting the latest brother with relationship advice exploit her pain.”

Samuels’s public persona wasn’t always such a troll. Samuels, who graduated with a degree in chemical engineering and started a career in marketing, established himself on social media as a self-improvement coach and trendsetter (“the godfather of style,” he called himself), cheering men on with the best clothes, watches and fragrances.

But Samuels ultimately saw the larger audience for relationship content, and quickly distinguished himself by doubling down on the “denial” techniques that underpinned the pick-up artist craze of the early years. He is a model who released Steve Harvey’s main hit. Before becoming widely known as the fatherly host of Family Feud and the Miss Universe pageant, Harvey was writing simple relationship manuals for black women and turning them into the successful Think Like a Man franchise.

After a video evaluating a woman as “average at best” drew millions of views, Samuels was essentially rebooted as a relationship expert. In another oft-shared video, he qualifies a proudly curvy black woman by calling her a “back-sized runner.” Before her death, Samuels had amassed more than 1.4 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 1.2 million followers on Instagram. Mainstream popularity wasn’t much further away.

Samuels was already a fixture on black gossip blogs for her viral reviews and for her interviews with Nicki Minaj, Future and social media influencer Brittany Renner. Those same blogs were quick to hypothesize about the chaotic circumstances of Samuels’ death, echoing reports that the last high-value man died broke.

But his fellow YouTube village has come together to debunk those rumors and push back against what they characterize as efforts to smear Samuels in death. They mostly state that he was a tireless worker and shrewd businessman who could be tough, but all in the interest of bettering the community as a whole. In a YouTube eulogy, Melanie King, a Samuels protégé who credits him with helping her rebuild after an agonizing divorce, compared his advice to “chewing on broken glass.”

“We needed that impact,” said King, who thought of Samuels more like a tough dad. “Because let’s be honest, if he hadn’t been so shocking to so many people, would you know about him?”

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