The Return of Shahrazad Ali

Shahrazad Ali proclaimed in a recent phone interview: ”I’m back and in living color.”  Indeed she is. Twenty-three years after sparking controversy with her book The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman, Ali re-emerged in the media last month as a guest commentator on the HLN program Dr. Drew on Call. The former Philadelphia resident spoke out on racism, America’s history of slavery, fearful white people and reactionary black people: “We have a three-point program,” she told the Dr. Drew audience. “We complain, we march, then we throw a tantrum. You people call it a riot.”

Not surprisingly, Twitter, Facebook, and the network’s comment sections lit up, restoring the bestselling author to the throne as America’s most-talked-about social commentator.

She’s still wearing her crown—the one she sported in 1990 publicity photos as well as in appearances on Donahue and Sally Jessy Raphael Show. “I want our young people to see this,” she said, “a black woman on [TV] without fake hair, being Afrocentric and being myself.”

I last talked to Ali in 1990, when I was a business reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, about the impact her Guide had on the black publishing industry. It brought black bookstores new business, pissed off black women and provided men with such advice as strike your woman across the mouth if she talks back.

Since then, Ali has written five other books  including, How Not to Eat Pork: Life without the PigUrban Survival for the Year 2000How to Prepare for the Y2K Computer Problem in the HoodHow to Tell if Your Man Is Gay or Bisexual; and Are You Still a Slave? But none gained the traction her Dr. Drewappearance has.

Having reached out to her old television contacts during the George Zimmerman trial, Ali landed on Dr. Drewand elicited  intense viewer reaction.

This included comments on YouTube from Nagisa Tsujimotoon: 

“Ms Ali is a racists, how is she on TV!!! im half black and i like every race. she is a disgrace to my family to everyone. SHE is still holdin up about whites about slavery. ITS OVER, GET OVER IT. Someone needs to take her off tv, fire her, send her to jail or KKK cuz she is a RACIST AND NEEDS A CHECK UP!”

And from Guardiann1:

“Ali is awesome. Does anyone have a clip of her calling Crystal Wright ‘Conservative Oreo Chick.Com.’ BEST. INSULT. EVER. I rewound that about eight times, lol.”

Of the criticism, Ali said that if she can withstand the avalanche from her Guide,she can take it from television viewers.

So when can we expect to see her again, on Dr. Drewor elsewhere? She says they’ll have to wait until she calls them.  But I predict she’ll be baaaack.