In Search of Black Jesus
In an excerpt from his new book I’d Rather We Got Casinos and Other Black Thoughts, The Daily Show correspondent explores Biblical signs of Jesus’ “homey heritage.”
For many blacks, the question of whether or not Jesus was black is not a provocative issue. They cite the passage in the Bible that refers to Christ’s olive skin and wool-like hair as evidence. Though this is enough to satiate the most ardent of conspiracy theorists, I find it lacking. At the most, it describes only the features of a man that were probably very common in that region. It does little to answer the vital question of true and authentic blackness. After all, the issue is not whether Jesus was dark but whether he was black.
I’ve taken it upon myself to look at other clues in the scripture. Clues that may give us a sense of not just his true hue but his homey heritage. I think you’ll find I’ve made my case.
Patrice Evans, the man behind the popular blog The Assimilated Negro, interviews Larry Wilmore.
Clue #1: From the moment of the immaculate conception, the question of “who the baby daddy” was already an issue.
I’m not saying this makes Jesus black, but without DNA testing in his time and no existence of a Maury Povich show, this open question brothafies him in my book.
Clue #2: He was born in a manger because his parents weren’t allowed to stay in any inn.
Weren’t allowed because they were . . . you can finish it.
Clue #3: His cousin had the first hip-hop name: John the Baptist.
This is a good 2,000 years before Cedric the Entertainer.
Clue #4: He walked on water.
There’s only one reason he would choose to walk on water: Brothas can’t swim.
Clue #5: He spoke in pre-Ebonics.
Blessed be the poor, blessed be the meek, etc., etc. These were even called the beatitudes. That’s a double bonus. It takes the black familiar use of “be” and couples it with “attitude.” And this doesn’t even take into account all the begats.
Clue #6: He had a large posse.
Even by today’s standards a 12-man posse is pretty big. In fact, some suggest the word “posse” is derived from “apostle.”
Clue #7: He turned water into wine.
On the surface, this may not seem black but the original texts suggest he actually turned water into wine cooler. Obviously a brotha move. To further prove the point, “Blessed is he who wants to get this party started” was deleted from the Gospel of John at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 A.D.
Clue #6: He had a large posse.
Clue #8: He fed 5,000 with two loaves and five fish.
There is only one way to do this: Make gumbo. I’ve seen brothas who started with less feed more than 5,000.
Clue #9: He cured a man of leprosy.
Wait a minute, Larry, how does this make him black? It’s simple: the Hebrew for leprosy allows for many skin conditions. It’s more likely the person had ashy elbows or razor bumps. Only a black Jesus would’ve noticed such a thing. There’s evidence he gave him an early form of cocoa butter.
Clue #10: He drank out of a chalice.
Once again, he did this a good 2,000 years before Snoop Dogg made it cool.
Clue #11: He didn’t have a job.
We all know Jesus was a carpenter but there’s no historical evidence to suggest that he ever had a job. Keep in mind, this was back in the day when everything was either wood or stone. It would seem to me that if you were a carpenter, you’d be turning down work pretty much your whole life. The fact that there’s no evidence Jesus ever had a job in 33 years can be attributed only to racism. No one wanted to hire a brotha carpenter.
Clue #12: He may have been involved with a white girl.
There’s a very large following of believers who insist Jesus and Mary Magdalene may have been married and at the least might’ve had an affair. Here’s my take. You’re the son of God, the prince of peace, the most important person to ever walk the earth and you’re black. Of course, you’re going to have a white girl.
Clue #13: He had street cred.
Yeah, he was born poor. Yeah, he didn’t have a job. Yeah, he had a white girlfriend. But Jesus never really took off till one of his posse betrayed him and had him killed. Instant street cred.
Clue #14: Like Tupac, he became more famous after he died.
And also like Tupac, years after his death, fresh material is still being unearthed.
Clue #15: He didn’t get a fair trial.
Clue #16: The Romans cast lots to see who would get his garments.
Lots were an early form of the game craps. Why would they do this in front of Jesus and no one else?
Clue #17: He rose from the dead in three days.
Why not two, or one, or instantly? Obviously, he was on cp time.
Clue #18: People wear bling around their necks in honor of him.
Even people you would not qualify as being particularly brotha-friendly honor a black Jesus in this way.
Clue #19: No one knows where he is.
He said he’d be back but no one’s seen him for 2,000 years. If this isn’t like a brother, then I don’t know what.
These clues are just the beginning. There’s a lot more evidence to prove the existence of a black Jesus but I will leave it up to you to find it. In your quest, I will only remind you to keep an open mind and to keep it real.
From I’d Rather We Got Casinos by Larry Wilmore. Copyright (c) 2009 Hearthstone Productions Inc. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.
Larry Wilmore is the senior black correspondent for The Daily Show. He has been a TV producer, actor, comedian and writer for more than 20 years. He has written for In Living Color , The Bernie Mac Show (for which he created and served as executive producer), The PJ’s (which he co–created), The Office, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air . He won an Emmy Award in the category of “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” and a Peabody Award for his work on The Bernie Mac Show.