Screenshot: @MichaelRapaport (Twitter)

Full disclosure: I’m black.

I also come from a large black family, grew up in the hood, taught in the hood, watched, like, 27 different movies about the hood and even married someone who is literally from the projects.


Of course, when attempting to determine my “grade of blackness,” none of this matters, because grades of blackness don’t exist. I could’ve come from a tiny black family. I could’ve grown up in Bel-Air. I could’ve taught in the suburbs. I could’ve never seen Menace II Society. I could’ve married the actual Jill from Jack and Jill. None of that would make me any less black. I’m just providing context. I know black people. They’re in my house. They’re on my couch. They’re in my hall. They’re on my wall. They’re in my fam. They are my friends. With proper blends. And ashy shins.

I am a maven of black-person knowing. A nigga-acquainting expert. And I have never met or even seen a black person as black as Michael Rapaport is trying to be. I mean, that tweet ... oh my God. That’s not even blackface. It’s five exits past that. It’s dipping his face in a vat of tar. On Facebook and Instagram Wednesday, I joked that he sounds like a Russian bot impersonating Pusha T, but that’s not even far enough. The only people I’ve ever heard say things like “Will Crack Dat Ass” unironically are mid-’90s black porn stars. He’s a Wesley Pipes cosplayer.


Also, he challenged me (and, presumably, Panama) to a game of two on two: something I have zero interest in doing because there’s no upside for me—an actual black person who actually played actual college basketball—to play against a jar of mayonnaise. If I win, its like, “Well ... good for you for beating that jar of mayo, I guess.” And if I sprain my ankle it’s, “You should’ve known better than to try and dunk when all of that mayo is spilled on the court.”

We are, however, curious about who his teammate would be. Panama suggested Billy Hoyle. But I think it just might be a fat-free jar of Hellmann’s.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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