Kevin Samuels’ Death Raises
A Simmering Debate Between
Black Men And Women
Wearing his signature glasses, suit, and tie, Kevin Samuels casually sat in his chair talking to a single 35-year-old Black mother who called into his popular YouTube show to ask for dating advice. The woman, who said she has a teenage son and makes six figures through her pet grooming business, explained that she wants to meet a man on her level who also makes six figures.
Suggesting that she lowers her standards, Samuels repeatedly insulted her appearance, her business, her age, and the fact that she’s a mother.
“Thirty-five, 13-year-old son, with a sketchy father, why would a man who is in the top 10 percent of earners, who women across the country want, want that?” he said in the December 2020 YouTube video that has since garnered 2.8 million views. After calling her “average looking at best,” he then told her to lower her expectations. “Women like you die alone, straight up. Because you think you’re better than the men that you qualify for.”
Samuels rose to social media fame for videos like this, with controversial relationship and dating advice, offering highly critical remarks about women — many of whom were Black — determining their “value” based on their appearance, age, income, and number of children.
So when news circulated about his death at 53 last week, it sparked mixed reactions from those familiar with his channel. On one hand, there were those who saw his viral comments as sexist toward women, stereotypical of men, and perpetuating a long-held divide between Black men and Black women. On the other hand, his many supporters saw Samuels as a relatable truth-teller — and the critical reaction to his death as disrespectful.
From fans to hate-watchers, though, Samuels’ appeal was his willingness to say what he wanted, however, he wanted to say it, said Julie Wadley, founder, and CEO of Eli Simone LLC, a personal matchmaking and coaching firm in North Carolina.
Wadley said many Black men feel they were always blamed for why Black men and Black women can’t have healthy relationships. Instead, she said, Samuels became known for laying this perceived blame on women, too.
While some Black men saw Samuels as a hero because he “said things to women that most men weren’t saying,” she said, his videos also further stoked long-held divisions in a manner that many found demeaning to Black women.
Popular culture started embracing Black women and celebrating Black love, “and then here comes Kevin Samuels, who blew that to smithereens,” Wadley said. “So now we’re back to being on two sides of the room, staring at each other like, ‘OK, we can’t come to an agreement because we just can’t see eye to eye.’”
“I get a rep of hating Black women,” Samuels said in a February interview with rapper Nicki Minaj, “and it’s far from that. There are over 50 Black women who report that they’ve gotten married as a result of watching my content.” Yet, they were still at the center of criticism from Samuels, who once said Black women exist at the “opposite end of the spectrum on all ranks.”
Samuels, an image consultant, started his YouTube channel in 2015 and gave advice to men, with one 2017 video explaining 15 things men should have, which included a tailored suit and a sense of humor. Eventually, he shifted his target audience to women — which proved successful, growing his online presence to nearly 1.5 million YouTube subscribers, 299 million video views, and 1.2 million followers on Instagram.
But much of his content took aim at the same Black women who grew his brand. Some of his recent videos are titled, “Women Should Let Men Use Them,” “Narcissistic Modern Women Are Driving Men In-sane?” and “Are Modern Women Proud to be Selfish?”
“I mean, it was disgusting,” Jacobschild said. “Whether you agree with him or not … you don’t have to follow him.”
“I mean, this man has a family. He’s got a mother. Like, you don’t care about how they feel?” he added.
Tamura Lomax, associate professor of African American and African studies at Michigan State University, said while she’s not celebrating Samuels’ death, it evoked feelings of “stillness.”
“It was relief, not that he was dead,” Lomax, 48, said, “but it was relief in that those that he terrorized would not be terrorized by him anymore — but that was even short-lived.”
Lomax, who disagreed with Samuels’ views, said he created an army of people influenced by his opinions. She surmised that someone else will continue his work, which she described as “aspirational Black capitalizing patriarchy.”
She also said many Black women found Samuels’ patriarchal statements attracti