Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A black man undercover in the alt-right

Theo E. J. Wilson, also known by his poet handle “Lucifury,” is a modern Renaissance Man. His award-winning career includes being a spoken-word artist, pianist, actor, singer, rapper, dancer, and activist.

Wilson found that his online presence led to users waging war in the comments sections—”dropping racial slurs and epithets from another time.” Curious about his haters, he went “digitally undercover” and joined their ranks.

In this TED Talk, Wilson says, “We have got to break out of these digital divides, because, as our technology advances, the consequences of our tribalism become more dangerous.”

“One of the best ways to actually overcome this is to have courageous [face-to-face] conversations with difficult people—people who do not see the world the same way you see the world.”

“These courageous conversations are the way bridges are built. It is time to start seeing people as people, not simply the ideas we project on them or react to.”

Wilson began his speaking career with the NAACP at the age of 15 and has always been passionate about social justice. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Shop Talk Live, an organization that uses the barbershop as a staging ground for community dialogue and healing.