The Art of Macking
I first became aware of Tariq Nasheed when he appeared on the MTV show, Made. He helped coach an insecure, overweight kid into becoming a ladies man. What struck me is that Tariq told the young man almost all of the same things I would have told him. Tariq schooled the young lad on style, confidence, overcoming shyness, everything. I felt as if I was coaching the kid with Tariq! Not long afterward, I started listening to his radio shows and peeked at his book The Art of Macking and noticed that Tariq and I think a lot alike when it comes to picking up women. I became a fan almost right away.
In addition to offering relationship and dating advice, Tariq is also a social commentator, talking about things in society that people don't like to discuss. If you're wrong, Tariq would call you out. It didn't matter if you were white, black, male, female, whatever. Tariq told the truth and said the things that needed to be said. He still does.
The First Interview
The movie went on to become an underground smash despite a lack of public promotion. In 2012, Tariq announced that a second Hidden Colors film was in production. Sensing that the media would ignore this one too, I wanted to do my part in helping to promote this documentary about our history. I reached out to Tariq via Facebook. I sent him a link to my professional website so he could become familiar with my resume, and we planned a phone interview. Below is our phone conversation.
I got to ask him everything I wanted to. We covered Hidden Colors 1 and 2, Tariq's upbringing, self-confidence, women, etc. As he always is during interviews, Tariq was real smooth and easy to talk to. I must confess to omitting one question, however. There's a point during the interview when I asked Tariq to say whatever came to his mind first when I mentioned certain words. I was tempted to say Payroll The Pimp, someone who Tariq famously roasted for an entire radio show several years ago. When the show began, Tariq was playing 2Pac's diss song, Hit Em' Up, so you knew what time it was. Listen to it here.
But anyway, Payroll The Pimp is obviously not Tariq's favorite person. I was curious of what his reaction would be, but I did not want to make him mad!! lol.
One thing I learned years ago from Oprah Winfrey about interviewing people is that you don't wanna piss them off because A) It's bad journalism ethics, obviously. And B) It's really hard to get them back once you've asked an upsetting question. All that trust and bonding you've earned is suddenly gone and unlikely to return. Looking back, I don't think Tariq would have gotten upset if I mentioned Payroll The Pimp, but just to be on the safe side, I didn't want to take the chance. I didn't want one question to turn this into a disaster. Besides, I wouldn't want someone to mention my worst enemy to me if I were being interviewed. So I let that question stay in my notebook.
But anyway, we had a good chat and I was proud to be a part of promoting Hidden Colors 2. I was a fan of Tariq and glad to interview him. However, this wouldn't be my last time interviewing him.
Despite wearing my press badge, getting backstage to interview Tariq was almost as hard as getting backstage to interview Michael Jackson. His security was fierce; Mean-looking brothers standing all over the place wearing suits with bow ties. They blocked each exit and staircase. I assumed that they were from The Nation of Islam, but they said they were Masons. I wanted to interview Tariq before the lecture, but his handlers told me to wait until afterward because he was getting ready. I did get a few glimpses of him walking around in his street clothes 20 minutes before he went on. We exchanged glances and he gave me the "wassup" head nod. A good sign. He changed into a blue suit and hit the stage. I watched him speak and took a few pictures of him for the paper I was covering the event for. (The Tennessee Tribune).
Shortly after he finished speaking, I ran into him backstage. Imagine my big smile and dreads bouncing everywhere.
Me: Tariq! What's good, fam?
Tariq: What's up! You're with The Tribune, right?
Me: That's right.
"Let's head on back," he said, gesturing to follow him to his locker room. Before we went back, he quickly posed with a female fan and I snapped a picture of them on her cell phone. Seconds later, we went back to his room and chatted a bit as I got my voice recorder and cell phone ready. The result was this interview.
I'm sure you laughed quite a bit during this interview. I've fallen into quite a groove of chatting with celebrities, so I can be myself 100%. I aim for my interviews to flow more like conversations rather than a job interview or a damn police interrogation. This puts my sources at ease.
Yes, I shamelessly plugged my book, The Dealers: Then and Now. (Buy it if you haven't already!!! Great story!!!) Dang. I did it again. But anyway, this was a chance for me to plug my book AND get vital information about book promotion from Tariq all in one go. He's a best-selling author. Who better to get advice from? I got the desired results - got some extra book sales and many of Tariq's followers became fans of mine as well. This interview, coupled with my interview with former Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier's son Marvis a week later, resulted in my twitter and facebook followers rising pretty damn high over the next few weeks.
Back to the interview. Tariq towered over me. I couldn't help but note how big the guy was. When I told him he made me feel like Gary Coleman by comparison, I was being completely honest. We had a good chat and the people around really enjoyed watching our interview. Normally the saying, "A good time had by all," is cliche, but in this case it was true. There was a friendly family vibe backstage.
There was one thing that disappointed me: I was the only journalist there. I expected at least a few more. No photographers, no news cameras, nothing. Just me. You'd think the black press would be interested, at least. After all, Tariq is one of the few people out there pushing to tell the real story of African Americans and willing to speak up on things that other people, both white and black, remain silent about. Tariq is a best-selling author, film director/producer, and relationship expert who has appeared on Vh1, MTV, Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno. But I was the only reporter in attendance. It's sad to me that people don't consider this news. Tariq needs support. He gets a reasonable amount, but it should be twice as much as what it is.
Wait. I did meet another journalist there. He didn't cover the event but he did interview Tariq over the phone some time later. His name is Bryson Clark and his website is here.
While I'm at it, The Hidden Colors movies are not about racism, nor are they anti-white. The films just tell the stories about African Americans that are omitted from the history books in schools. It's education, pure and simple. But some people see it as a threat. Most education channels (like PBS, for example) refused to air it. If the films had been about black people suffering as slaves, I'll bet you anything that PBS would be more than happy to air them then.
My article about Tariq ran in The Tennessee Tribune a few days before the event to publicize his arrival. 90% of my articles headline on the front page, but for some reason this one didn't. Personally I think someone like Tariq speaking at TSU was worthy of the front page, but it's not up to me. Also, the article didn't run online either. I attempted several times to scan the article, but it's difficult to get it all on one page and get the words clear. So I'm posting the article and the picture that ran with it below.
September 19, 2013
By A.J. Dugger III
Best-selling author and social commentator Tariq Nasheed is coming to Nashville to speak at The Tennessee State University Gentry Center on September 21st at 8 pm. As he does in his lectures around the world, Nasheed will speak on a number of topics, including dating, relationships and history, particularly the insight of his two recent films, “Hidden Colors” and “Hidden Colors 2: The Triumph of Melanin.”
“I talk about dating and relationships from a real guy's perspective. Not only do I talk about dating and relationships, but I talk about a lot of social issues that really affect dating and relationships,” said Nasheed, who is also renowned for his internet radio show, The Mack Lessons Radio Show.
Nasheed was born in Detroit, MI but spent his childhood in Birmingham, AL. He moved to Los Angeles as a teenager and became heavily involved with women. He says that as a young boy he saw the best of women from watching his mother and grandmother, but in L.A., he witnessed how scandalous and dirty some women could be. As a result of this, he learned that not all women can be talked to the same way. “You have to tailor your game to the types of females you're dealing with. You can't be one way. I saw there was a science to this thing.”
Even as he traveled the world and spent time in countries where he couldn't speak the language, he could observe who was self-confident around ladies and who was not. “A lot of guys don't know how to come out of their shell and become extroverts,” said Nasheed. “I wanted to teach people how to get out of that shell and become less shy. The number one fear guys have is rejection. That's devastating to the ego, but I tell guys to brush that off. It's not the end of the world.” Nasheed put all of his observations into his book, “The Art of Macking” and watched the sales take off.
As his book racked up sales at the cash register, Nasheed found himself appearing on “Tonight Shows” with Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno, as well as making appearances on Vh1 and MTV shows such as “Made” and “Charm School.” He also gives lectures at Ivy League schools all over the world. Over the last ten years, Nasheed gradually became a role model for young people, both black and white.
However, some people really took notice of Nasheed when he directed and produced a brilliant documentary called “Hidden Colors.” The documentary is full of revelations about African Americans. Topics covered include the original image of Jesus Christ, the real reason slavery was ended, the history of blacks before slavery, and the fact that the famous composer Ludwig Van Beethoven was an African American. The revelations in the film are not generally taught in schools.
A history buff, Nasheed would watch the History Channel and frown in disbelief at the inaccuracies.
“It got to the point where I said, 'If no one will tell our story the way it needs to be told, then I'll do it myself.' That's exactly what I did. Hidden Colors is one of the best-selling history documentaries right now.”
“Hidden Colors 2: The Triumph of Melanin” was released the following year and got even deeper than the first film. Tired of recent movies that showcased African Americans in a negative light, Nasheed is proud of his films and wants to encourage other African Americans to follow his lead. “We need more self-sufficient black people. We used to be like that in the 1960s. There were a lot of people like me-- Muhammad Ali, Dick Gregory, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte-- they didn't care about the corporate powers. They were confident enough in themselves to speak out. People nowadays are so scared to lose money.”
Nasheed interacts with his fans on Facebook and Twitter quite often. In fact, his fans aided him in naming the film and helped spread the word. There was a lack of mainstream media promoting the movie, but it didn't matter—word of mouth was enough. Nasheed released a horror film last year called “The Eugenist” and has written other books including “The Mack Within,” “The Elite Way,” “Play or Be Played,” and The Art of Gold Digging.”
Doors will open at 7 pm. Tickets at the door will be $30. For more information on Nasheed, visit macklessonsradio.com.