The ongoing reactions to the sudden death of Kevin Samuels have been the epitome of polarizing: It would appear that either women loved him or they hated him, with very little apparent middle ground.
That has been particularly true among Black women, a group that was the constant target of his divisive commentary that appeared to vilify them for the same reasons Samuels celebrated men: being single at a certain age and the ability for those so-called “low value” individuals to attract “high value” romantic partners.
If women were unmarried at 35, Samuels said he considered them “leftover” women. However, the twice-divorced self-proclaimed “image consultant” and relationship adviser who had millions of followers on social media often lent a sympathetic approach to men who found themselves in the same situation of being single by that age. Barely a week after making those comments, Samuels died on May 5.
It all added up to, in some cases, women celebrating and rejoicing at Samuels’ death, as evidenced by the meme treatment he’s been given across social media since rumors that he died were ultimately confirmed as true.
Actress Vivica A. Fox, for instance, held no punches during a recent televised interview when she referred to Samuels’ death as “karma” and even called him a “hypocrite” for his apparent inconsistency to keep the same energy with men that he had against women.
“This man was a hypocrite, in my honest opinion. He really was,” Fox said on the “Cocktails With Queens” show that streams on FOXSOUL. “I didn’t find anything about him to be healing. He insulted African American women on a consistent basis.”
The fact that Samuels died after a night with a non-Black woman only seemed to energize Fox, who went on to suggest that his death was at least brought on in part by mystical forces of nature responding to the influencer’s rhetoric.
“I hope this is teaching folks a lesson about the karma that you put out, the negativity that you put out in the world,” Fox added. “That when karma comes knocking at your door, she might not be so kind. So, the fact that he keeled over real quick and was supposedly with a woman that we don’t yet know the nationality, rest in peace.”
Fox’s cavalier attitude toward Sauels’ death stood in stark contrast to that of Brittney Cooper, an author and women’s, gender and sexuality studies professor at Rutgers University. Cooper penned a moving piece on her Facebook page in the hours after Samuels’ death was confirmed to discuss how “his death just doesn’t bring me any joy.”
Cooper, however, did admit that “perhaps” Samuels’ death brought her “a perverse form of relief” from his divisive views that presented an opportunity for opposite sentiments to be spread among Black folks.
“There is a small window of opportunity here to try to reset Black social discourse(s) around love and intimacy again,” Cooper wrote optimistically. “There is an opportunity here, in the silence left by Samuels’ absence to detox from the poison. There is an opportunity to not rush to fill the space with more noise and nonsense.”
For Ekemini Uwan, a theologian and co-author of “Truth’s Table: Black Women’s Musings on Life, Love, and Liberation,” the way Samuels is viewed in death is a direct, unfiltered reflection of the “disreputable legacy” left behind from the life he chose to live.
“Kevin Samuels preyed on the desires of Black women and built his platform by making us the target of his misogynoir and sexist views. As a result, he poisoned the discourse between Black women and men,” Uwan said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “As a Black woman, whom he describes as a ‘leftover woman,’ I take no pleasure in his death. Death is final, and it is our common enemy. None of us know when our lives will be demanded of us. Therefore, we ought to live how we’d like to be remembered. It’s a shame that Samuels leaves behind a disreputable legacy.”