Comedian Michael Blackson Called Out For Distasteful MLK Joke

This past Monday was MLK Day. The third Monday of every January is dedicated to the memory of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, and in the age of social media, this means that many flock to their application of choice to celebrate his legacy. This means sharing quotes, stories, and photos of Martin and his family and associates. Many take to Twitter to discuss aspects of his life and legacy. While most focus on his civil rights work, some try to highlight aspects of his personal life that may be deemed controversial. African comedian Michael Blackson took to account to question rumors about Dr. King having a white girlfriend while married.

In a since-deleted Tweet, Blackson said, “I don’t mean to start no sheet, but I heard that Martin Luther King had a white side chick. Is it true? I’m just a beechneega from a little village so please let me know.” While many understand his brand of comedy and the history behind his questions, others were not happy about him “disrespecting” Dr. King. Katt Williams commented, “coon question.”

Willie D chimed in, reposting the Tweet on his IG with a lengthy caption. “We ain’t cool with any form of disrespect. But disrespect from those outside of our American experience in particular will be not be tolerated. I have a lot of comedian friends and I like to laugh just as much as the next person. But everything ain’t funny.”

Stories of Dr. King having a relationship with a white woman have been prominent since before his passing. A 1986 biography about Martin Luther King Jr. titled Bearing the Cross spoke briefly about a woman named Betty Moritz that Dr. King met and dated in his early 20’s. According to the book, “They had met at Crozer Theological Seminary, in Chester, Pennsylvania, at the time, where King was a divinity student from the age of 19 until 22, when he graduated in May 1951.”

Moritz, who passed away in 2016, recalls that she and King were madly in love and that he almost walked away from his career to settle down with her. While the time of their relationship is not completely clear, King did marry his wife Coretta in 1953, two years after graduating. It is possible the relationships overlapped, and Moritz is the “white side chick” in question.

One thing for certain, rumors about Dr. King’s infidelity while out on the road have always been prevalent. Ralph Abernathy was a close personal friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his successor as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Abernathy penned a biography shortly before his passing in 1989 discussing his time on the road with King. Titled And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, the tell-all book was considered controversial because it talked in great detail about Dr. King’s extramarital affairs. In it, he claimed that Dr. King attracted women even when he did not want to and struggled with moments of weakness.

Was Blackson wrong for asking about Dr. King’s personal affairs? And do these stories take away from Dr. King’s legacy? One fan commented under Blackson’s question, “Right! Because what does that have to do with the legacy he’s left behind?!”

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