Questlove Fights Back Against ‘Black Erasure’ In Florida’s New African American Studies Guidelines

By now, you’ve probably seen a post on social media featuring a list of names of prominent Black authors, poets, and culture critics like Amiri Baraka, bell hooks, and Ta-Nehisi Coates with their names crossed out. (If you haven’t, I suggest you meet some Black people or at least start associating with people who care about Black people. You might not think we’re all that important, but in this country, we’ve been the canaries in the coal mine for 200 years.)

This list denotes recent changes being threatened by the Florida College Board to optional AP African American Studies classes as part of a wider effort in that state to suppress historical works or studies that paint the US in anything less than a flattering light when it comes to the government’s treatment of Black folks. You know, like how there were forcible, undisclosed medical studies performed on Black men at Tuskeegee, or how prominent Black towns were burned to the ground.

On Thursday, Questlove, whose directorial debut Summer Of Soul was one of those works that unearthed a vital piece of Black History, the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, after footage was shelved for over 40 years, called out the “Black erasure” that the changes represent on Instagram, warning followers that this changes could become widespread should Florida governor Ron DeSantis run for President. DeSantis has been described as a “sanitized” version of Donald Trump, but in actuality, he might be worse.

“For all of you kind folk who praised @SummerOfSoulMovie this is the exact kind of erasure that makes black erasure so easy to do,” Quest wrote. “It starts slow and benign….and before you know it—-it spreads and spreads & we ignore or hope it will fall on someone else’s hand to come with a solution. Then it’s too late. This is why local elections are important. This is why you can’t sleep for even a micro minute until the job is done.”

“If this is what is happening in Florida….what will happen when he runs for president?” he wondered. “Don’t wanna start the morning fear mongering but these are different times we living in. You can’t sleep for a second.”

You can see Questlove’s full post below.