Emmanuel Acho has attracted media attention and a celebrity following as the host of the controversial YouTube series, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” which focuses on racial issues.
His guests have included former President Barack Obama, Lil Wayne and actress-comedian Chelsea Handler. Oprah Winfrey called Acho a “dynamic” force in conversations about race and he has been praised by Jada Pinkett Smith, among others. Winfrey tapped Acho to be the first guest on her show, “The Oprah Conversation,” when it debuted on AppleTV in June 2020.
Acho’s show tackles such issues as mental health, defunding the police, police brutality and the national anthem protests.
A former linebacker for the NFL, Acho retired in 2015 and went to work at ESPN before moving to Fox Sports 1 as an analyst.
He was born in Dallas to Igbo immigrant parents, Dr. Sonny and Christie Acho from Isuikwuato, Nigeria, The Players Tribune reported.
A New York Times Bestselling author, Acho wrote the “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” before launching the YouTube series of the same name in 2020. The series has had more than 80 million views to date and is a 2021 Emmy nominee for Outstanding Short Form Non-fiction or Reality Series, according to the show’s website.
Despite Acho’s popularity, some Black Americans say he doesn’t represent them and that he’s being positioned as a new race leader by elites.
Acho’s recent tweet about track and field star Sha’Carri Richardson, who was banned from competing in the Olympics due to a failed marijuana drug test, earned him some less-than-favorable responses.
Acho has been accused in the past of obsessively bashing Richardson.
Richardson finished last in the recent 100-meter dash at the Prefontaine Classic. After the race, Richardson congratulated the winners but said people weren’t “done seeing her.”
Acho tweeted on Aug. 22, “You can’t tell people, ‘they gotta see me’ in a race and then be behind them the whole time. They literally can’t see you.”
Kiara @25kWatts tweeted back at Acho, “Does this mean Emmanuel Acho gave up the farce of speaking FOR Black Americans. He ain’t still pretending to be a buffer between Black America and white America, is he? Cause that post is straight up, nasty, mean-spirited, anti-Black American garbage”.
ADOS co-founder Yvette Carnell @BreakingBrown tweeted, “Acho‘s ‘getting comfortable’ agenda has netted him car commercials, a book deal, and a podcast. Race relations is not redress tho. Race relations is about making white people comfortable. Redress is about about making Black ppl whole.”
In 2020, Acho called out controversial Instagram posts by former Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher, who criticized NBA players after playoff games were postponed in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “On the 65 year anniversary of Emmitt Till’s murder. Allow me to educate Brian Urlacher, and anyone else still unaware, as to the depths of black people’s pain. Love yall” Acho tweeted.
AADL – ADOS Anti-Defamation League @ADOSADL called out Acho in return. “How arrogant and ignorant? @EmmanuelAcho deceives himself and others saying he understands the “depths” and the pain of Black American #ADOS when his people were some of our original oppressors. How can you explain a pain your people helped cause without justice or remorse?”
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