Updated: Jan 8
A video has resurfaced on social media that shows a couple kissing the boots of black supremacists to apologize for their white ancestors’ presumed oppression of African Americans.
The clip appears to have been filmed in First Citizen's Plaza in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was uploaded last July to the YouTube page of the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge, a radical faction of the black nationalist Black Hebrew Israelite movement.
At the start of the video, the leader of the I.S.U.P.K., John Lightbourne, who goes by Commanding General Yahanna, is seen preaching on a stage in the middle of the square. A fat bearded man who is wearing a bandana and sunglasses, he is flanked by two black-clad acolytes, who stand at attention in military style.
Lightbourne bellows about how black men are allegedly being oppressed in the United States, by everyone from police to employers.
“And still white people walk around like there’s nothing wrong: There’s nothing wrong here in America. Everything is great. Everything is lovely,” he says.
Lightbourne goes on to recount the horrors of white supremacist Dylan Roof’s deadly 2015 shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.“
Dylan Storm Roof shot grandmothers, shot grandsons. He shot people while they were on their knees begging for their life,” he says.
Lightbourne then addresses the young couple, who are standing near the stage. He asks them to “prove that you are sorry for what white America has done.”
“Thank you, Missus White Lady,” he says. “Now, you know how you can prove that you are sorry for what white America has done? You know there's a way you can do it right?”
“If I show it in the scripture, would you do it?” Mister White Man, you would?” he asks. The woman nods vigorously, and her boyfriend responds, “Yes, sir.”
“They shall bow down to thee …”
At Lightbourne’s direction, one of his acolytes then begins reading from a copy of the King James Bible.
“My little children … let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed … and in truth,” the acolyte recites from 1 John 3:18.
“You can't just say you’re sorry for what black people’s gone through. You gotta prove it. You gotta do something with your deeds, D-E-E-D-S, deeds, your actions,” Lightbourne interprets for the couple.
“And kings shall be thy nursing fathers … and their queens thy nursing mothers …,” the acolyte next reads from Isaiah 49:23.
“We were the rulers of the earth. But we were made to come over here and pick cotton and serve you,” Lightbourne explains. “Now, the kings gonna be our nursing fathers like we were your nursing mothers.”
“They shall bow down to thee …” the acolyte continues. Lightbourne tells the couple, who later identify themselves as Seth and Skylar, that the Bible is commanding them to show submission to him.
“So now, the first thing you gotta do to show your deeds, that you are sorry for what has happened to our people, you gotta bow down,” Lightbourne says.
“You should be on your knees. That was a command.”
When the couple, looking confused, does not immediately react, he yells, “Ain’t nobody moving!”
“Hey, man, I got you,” Seth says, laughing nervously as he gets on his knees.
Skylar does the same, giggling and making exaggerated bowing gestures toward Lightbourne.
“That’s right. That’s the first thing you gotta do,” Lightbourne says.
Lightbourne calls for the couple to be applauded, and Skylar, kneeling on the ground, claps for herself along with some acolytes and passersby.
“You guys are awesome,” she says.
“And lick up the dust of thy feet …”
However, Lightbourne is still not satisfied.
“That’s the first part,” he says. “Now, here’s where it gets tricky. You gotta put your face toward the earth.” The couple immediately bends forward. “And lick up the dust of thy feet …” the acolyte says.
“Now, I’m not asking you to lick the dust from my feet,” Lightbourne assures the couple, before jumping down from the stage to place his boot on a donations jug. “I’m only asking you to kiss my boot. That’s it.”
“Hey, man, I got you,” Seth says again before crawling forward to do as he is told.
“Not only you, but your woman as well has got to kiss the boot,” Lightbourne says.
Skylar, who had stood to applaud her boyfriend’s act of subservience, follows his lead.
In a final assertion of dominance, Lightbourne orders the couple to do the same for the rest of the assembled I.S.U.P.K. members.
“Now, these are the prophets of the Lord,” Lightbourne declares, referring to his acolytes. “Get properly saluted. Get properly saluted, man. Everybody, come get properly saluted.”
Seth and Skylar kiss about a dozen more boots, one-by-one. At least one black nationalist returns for seconds.
“Keep on coming, Mister White Man. Keep on going. Keep on going, man,” Lightbourne says.
“This is a white couple right here that’s proving that they are sorry for what their forefathers have done.”
“We’re here for ya,” Skylar says.“Keep doing what you all [are] doing, man,” Seth adds.
Go to Bank of America for the I.S.U.P.K.
Lightbourne assures the couple that they have won a degree of divine mercy and asks them to go to the bank and bring him some money.
“Now, when Christ comes back and establishes him kingdom on the earth, you will receive some mercy, man, because you knew who you were in the presence of,” Lightbourne says. “Now, the next thing you definitely can do is right across the road Bank of America … come give a healthy donation man, so we’ll keep pushing this truth.”
“Yeah,” Seth and Skylar agree.“Thank you guys,” she says. “You’re changing everything.”
The Black Hebrew Israelites, who claim to be descended from the biblical Israelites and practice some Jewish rituals, have faced national scrutiny after men linked to the group were charged for allegedly carrying out two different attacks against Jews in December.
After the first attack, a shooting at a cemetery and kosher supermarket in Jersey City, Lightbourne told USA Today that the gunman’s actions do not represent the views of Black Hebrew Israelites and that he was unfamiliar with the two suspects.
“We are not into any form of violence or terrorism,” Yahanna said. “For us, that’s counterproductive. We have a bigger job, and that’s straightening out the lives of blacks and Latinos in the inner city.”
Black Hebrew Israelites also instigated the headline-making confrontation between Covington Catholic High School students and a Native American protester at the January 2019 March for Life, an anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C.