Kevin, Karine & Kendrick: Reporter's Message by Laura Onyeneho
Kevin Samuels (Instagram), Karine Jean-Pierre (AP) and Kendrick Lamar (AP).

Kevin Samuels’ Death sparks divide in Black community

Kevin Samuels’ death sent shock waves throughout social media when his mother Beverly Samuels-Burch confirmed to NBC news that he died of cardiac arrest earlier this month.

The self-proclaimed “relationship guru” was often criticized as a misogynist for attacking Black women and upholding “oppressive gender standards” against them. He popularized the term “High Value Man” to describe men who are successful, wealthy and of quality. The type of men he said “ordinary” Black women want to date but couldn’t measure up. Before his passing, he went viral for a post saying unmarried women over the age of 35 were “leftovers.”

His death sparked a huge debate, and honestly, some of the undercover Kevin Samuels stans came out of the wood works. And it was very telling. Some argued that Samuels’ messages were saving Black families and marriages, while others argued that he built a career feeding off Black people’s insecurities for profit and his legacy is a disgrace to the community. 

I personally haven’t cared too much for the opinions of someone who wasn’t an actual expert, but he did what his brand was supposed to do, and I can’t knock him if our people actually ate it up. It’s strategy. Regardless of what you might feel about his views, as polarizing as it might be, he hit a serious nerve within the Black community. He might no longer be here physically, but social media will never forget and there are actually men and women who subscribe to his points of view.

Karine Jean-Pierre and her relationship criticized for conflict of interest

Black Excellence has been the theme at the White House as Karine Jean-Pierre, the first the Black woman and openly gay person, earns the title of new White House Press Secretary. While Black America celebrates another win, Jean-Pierre’s personal relationship is being put in question. She had been in a long-term relationship and shares a daughter with prominent CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. This development raises questions on whether the network can offer impartial coverage. It wasn’t long ago when CNN fired Chris Cuomo over his involvement in his brother Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal and former CNN President Jeff Zucker’s resignation over his relationship with his co-worker Allison Gollust. Well, you can always count on social media to share its opinion on such matters. Questions about their relationship weren’t new. Some left- and right-leaning news outlets have been outspoken about this news. The associate editor of LGBTQ Nation, who had spent two years covering Jean-Pierre, insisted that “she is the best person for the job,” but was sure that there wouldn’t be any “Cuomo-level” conflict of interest violations. The world of politics is unpredictable, but like always we will see how things will pan out. Hopefully Jean-Pierre and Malveaux will make their critics eat their words.

Kendrick Lamar dropping heat we didn’t see coming

After four years, rapper Kendrick Lamar finally drops his first single “The Heart Part 5.” And in good old Kendrick fashion, you couldn’t listen or watch his artistry without thinking deep about Black culture. It dropped less than a week before the release of his long-awaited LP “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.”

The song came with a five-minute music video with Kendrick morphing into some of the most prominent Black men of our time, such as O.J Simpson, Kanye West, Will Smith, Nipsey Hussle, Jussie Smollett and Kobe Bryant. He opened up the video saying “As I get a little older, I realized life is perspective.” The lyrics delved into topics such as mental health, gang violence and religion. So far, the video racked up more than five million views in 24 hours since its release. 

He continues to raise the bar (no pun intended), and yes fight me if you want to… give some of today’s bubble gum rapper’s a run for their money. Kendrick shows intense care for his people and humanity and he doesn’t have to seek validation or attention at every turn to prove his point. If he has to disappear for another five years to drop fire like this, I’ll take it.

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...