Documentary filmmaker Tariq Nasheed has been on a mission to build a museum focusing on Black history that has either been long forgotten or just not covered in other museums. For the effort, he raised $1 million through crowdfunding to create the Hidden History Museum in Los Angeles.
Nasheed considers himself a Foundational Black Americans organization. Foundational Black Americans are the descendants of the Black people who survived “one of the greatest atrocities” in recorded history–American slavery, according to the website.
There has been some skepticism as to if Nasheed would use the money he raised to create the Hidden History Museum, but on Sept. 16 Nasheed announced via Twitter in a video that he had just purchased a building in Los Angeles.
“This is the museum spot we just purchased out here in Los Angeles. Beautiful space,” he said showing of the site. “We’re going to put a lot of good stuff in here…Just got the place, we officially own this building here in Los Angeles on Jefferson….This is going to be real fly, so y’all stay tuned.”
Nasheed is used to stirring up controversy; he has done so with his various independent films, which cover Black American politics, dating, and systemic racism, among other topics.
Nasheed’s film “Hidden Color” docuseries uncovers “the real and untold history of people of color around the globe.” For the film, he interviewed historians, scholars, and social commentators to discuss why cultural contributions from African and aboriginal people were left out of history books. He also released a controversial doc called “Buck Breaking,” a project that delves into how, in Nasheed’s opinion, society strives to emasculate Black men through an “LGBTQ agenda,” NewsOne reported.
The Hidden History Museum has also stirred up controversy. In a YouTube episode called “Tariq Nasheed: Where is dat museum, Neega? prehistoric h00drat calls” posted in February on Nasheed’s NewBlackMedia Clips channel, a woman called in to talk to Nasheed and complained that the museum was taking too long.
She said she was one of the donors and screamed, “It’s taking a long damn time. It don’t make no damn sense.” She asked if Nasheed was trying to commit a scam before continuing to say, “The museum should have been up by now. People paid their money not for you to play around.”
While Nasheed tried to explain that the process of opening a museum takes time, he threw some insults at the caller. He suggests that she is on welfare and makes fun of what she might look like, going as far as saying, “You sound like your titties are down to your knees.”
But with his latest announcement of the building purchase, he has clapped back at the critics.
The Hidden History Museum project is presented by Melanoid Nation Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, SpectrumNews1 reported in 2021. The museum will be located in Leimert Park and explore the stories of African-American scholars, inventors, leaders and artists that American history tends not to recognize.
Nasheed spoke with SpectrumNews1 of a former slave named Biddy Mason as one of the stories the musuem would like to cover. There is a memorial where her home used to stand in L.A., but the history behind it has never been widely discussed.
“This used to be her actual home right here,” Nasheed said to SpectrumNews1. “And they did a good job outlining the way the home looked.”
Mason’s home was actually one of the wealthiest homes in LA at the time; and Mason was one of the richest self-made women in the city.
“The fact that she was enslaved and also illiterate all of her life,” Nasheed said. “All of the deeds that she signed, she would have to write an ‘x’ because at the time it was illegal for Black people to learn to read and write.”
He continued, “She was a major philanthropist. his woman was so important to the early stages of Los Angeles, but she’s never talked about.”
He added that people have supported the Hidden History Museum because they crave for stories like Mason’s to be uncovered and honored.
“I think we got so much support because so many people in our community are thirsty for information like this that will serve our needs, talk about our history and educate our children,” Nasheed said.