“A Sprinkle of My Mama’s Cooking”: How Kwame Brown broke the internet, and what it means for the Black Gatekeepers

Before Kwame Brown was declared the People’s Champion of 2021, Kwame was an NBA player. Although Mr. Brown played in the league for 13 years, and had at the age of 18, bought a house for his mother, and eventually made 63 million dollars in salary, he was known to most of the public as an NBA bust. Instead of being the triumphant story of a young teenager raised by a single mother to help his family overcome poverty, Kwame’s life has mostly been portrayed as a cautionary tale for young men who dare to dream of going straight to pro as basketball players. Kwame Brown was drafted as the number one pick in 2001. For twenty years, this was the narrative– that Kwame Brown was known as “the biggest bust in NBA history”–that is until now.

A few weeks ago, other than his few thousand social media followers, and casual NBA fans, the general public had no idea who Kwame Brown was. On the court, the NBA journeyman led a mostly quiet career. Off the court, there were several narratives running among NBA executives and sportswriters that besmirched Kwame Brown’s talent, work ethic, and some writers even took shots at his intellect–writing things like “Kwame didn’t know how to order room service (shout out to Jonathan Abrams).

Kwame has been sitting quietly for the last 20 years, collecting checks and making the most out of his life. He wasn’t bothering anyone and somehow on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s podcast, All The Smoke, Kwame Brown (who hasn’t played an NBA game in several years) was made the punchline of a joke two episodes in a row (with two different guests). Well word eventually got back to Kwame and life hasn’t been the same since for a lot of people.

Kwame Brown’s emergence from the shadows seems like a recent phenomenon, but if you go back and look at his YouTube Channel, Kwame Brown Bust Life, you’ll see that Brown has been online for at least a year, posting videos and giving social commentary about politics and other topics that had nothing to do with basketball. What is phenomenal about this recent Kwame zeitgeist is that in a matter of one week, Kwame went from having a few thousand subscribers to his channel to over 367,000 followers on his YouTube channel. His videos average about 90,000 views and his live streams at one point were getting crazy numbers–his interview with Judge Joe Brown had at least 40,000 people watching it when it was live.

At first, people were just tuning in to see the Beef cook. Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes both had cutting remarks when Kwame first spoke up, but after Kwame started snapping on them and didn’t stop, Kwame’s viewership shot through the roof. People wanted to get some of his “mama’s cooking” and Kwame delivered video after video. Suddenly it was impossible to see Matt Barnes and not think “Becky with the Good Hair” and Stephen Jackson’s credibility went “up in smoke” as Brown would only refer to his former teammate as being *ahem* a “hypocrite.”

This did not end well for Barnes and Jackson, but it didn’t stop there. Kwame had old grievances to hash out. A certain sportswriter named Stephen A. Smith (the “A” is for agent–allegedly) made his bones from publicly focusing on a certain 18 year old Black kid, and finding ways to harp on any errors and gaffes that might’ve occurred during said Black kid’s tenure with the Washington Wizards. In real time, it was easy to dismiss and ignore, but if you go back and revisit Stephen A Smith’s resume, he has made a lot of money by publicly chiding and undermining Black athletes, while going out of his way to not say anything negative about white athletes (For example, media coverage of Chad Wheeler vs. coverage of Deshaun Watson). Kwame’s signature line to Smith is “Why where you at those colleges boi? Who sent you to those colleges and high schools to talk about me?” Smith is on record as calling Brown a “certified–bonified scrub” and went as far as to call Brown “the biggest bust in the NBA.”

Well, any vitriol directed towards Stephen A. Smith is definitely warranted from that alone. But the ripple effect doesn’t stop there. Old video resurfaced of millionaire troll, Skip Bayless, saying Kwame Brown didn’t deserve to make millions (imagine someone pointing out the money Skip Bayless makes to spout opinions that he himself really doesn’t believe–his on air presence simply serves a purpose) because he didn’t play basketball to the level that Skip deemed worthy of a big payday.

The beauty of all this so called “beef” is that it started a dialogue about the media that has only been whispered about or discussed in fringe areas of discourse. The corporate media has made trillions of dollars on the basis of disparaging Black people on television, and in films–but especially on the news. Sports media has been no different; historically. The manner in which this has been done has become more sophisticated as time has gone on, and now instead of white anchors painting Black athletes–especially Black men–in a poor light, its other Black people. Kwame has exposed these so called “gatekeepers” and put them on blast for being traitors to their own people–labeling these off code people as the “Go Along to Get Along Gang”.

Once this happened, suddenly people having nothing to do at all with sports started coming at Kwame. First it was Jemele Hill ( a former sportswriter and anchor now transitioning into political theater). Then the Breakfast Club’s Charlemagne the God “lesser charge” publicly doxed Brown and his family, putting out private (and partially untrue) details about their lives. When Kwame checked Charlemagne on this and countered with facts about Charlemagne’s own checkered past, Lenard McKelvey wanted to cry foul. This inspired Boyce Watkins, an economic lecturer, to go on the offensive about Kwame (while on his honeymoon mind you) in a series of nonsensical videos admonishing Kwame about the colorful language used on his platform. He too would soon to be exposed as a suspected huckster, and a hypocrite.

It was all fun and games when Kwame Brown was just name calling, but when he started pulling receipts, then that is when other people from the media started coming for him as well. And this is good. Kwame is a litmus test, one may not agree with his politics, or his language, but each of these case studies has illustrated that if you are an enemy to Kwame, then you are an enemy of the people. Interestingly, none of his detractors have been able to go after the man’s actions, or have even bothered to address the issues that he maintains are hurting Black society.

They talk about his basketball career, or his colorful language, or they call him names. None of these detractors have addressed the seemingly apparent agenda to demasculinize Black boys and men, no one has addressed why white athletes get the glove treatment for their off the field crimes, but if a Black athlete gets a speeding ticket, it becomes a headline. When Kwame speaks on the failing literacy rate among Black kids and asks for help, putting money back into the Black community, he is met with crickets.

Stephen A. Smith has the platform to publicly tarnish a player’s reputation to the point where teams can use his talking points during contract negotiations and pay these particular athletes less money (especially now in a media age where more is talked about what goes on off the playing arena than in it). Stephen A. Smith is a proxy for all the Black gatekeepers and bootlickers for corporations and media. In order for Blacks to maintain our objective for Black empowerment, we’ll have to get people like Smith out of the paint because they are incentivized to speak poorly of Blacks and keep us as a permanent underclass. People like Jemele Hill, Stephen A. Smith, Don Lemon, Tamika Mallory, Van Jones, and Joy Reid get rewarded handsomely for selling out Blacks and keeping us poor and destitute.

During the ten year revolution in Haiti, before the Haitians slaves could effectively fight off the French, they had to deal with the traitors from within. And Black Americans, this is what we must do. The reason Kwame Brown is so revered, I suspect, is that he is using his status to bring real issues to light, when he could easily just be going along to get along. But already, he has had some very opinionated and intelligent discussions with Ex NBA players, Etan Thomas, Craig Hodges, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. He has even had Charlemagne the Lesser Charge’s accuser’s family on his platform to discuss how negatively they’ve been affected by Charlemagne’s media success.

And this is why Kwame Brown is important, he’s bring to light all the issues we may have been suspected were true, but had only a feeling to go on (funnily enough, the viewership isn’t as high when he isn’t cussing someone out). This man, a very proud Geechie, his “momma’s son”, may be our version of Dutty Boukman, exposing all the coons and sellouts, so that we can get them out of the way, and fight our real enemy–these white supremacists.

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