The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Craziest Cult Story of the Year (So Far)

Posted on | January 18, 2024 | Comments Off on Craziest Cult Story of the Year (So Far)

Say hello to Rashad Jamal White, who insists he is not a “cult leader.” He insists on this while apparently running his social-media presence from a prison in Georgia, which makes me wonder if state officials are aware that prison inmates are using the Internet to engage in such conduct. White’s online enterprise — which some might call a cult and others might call a scam — is the grandiosely named University of Cosmic Intelligence (UCI). What sort of “intelligence” do you suppose that Rashad Jamal White is dispensing via his website, his Twitter and Instagram accounts, and his videos on TikTok and YouTube? Is this “Cosmic Intelligence” useful in some way to his followers? And how did Rashad Jamal White obtain access to this “Cosmic Intelligence”?

Did I mention, by the way, that he’s in prison? Pretty sure I did, but what I didn’t mention is that Rashad Jamal White is serving an 18-year sentence for child molestation which, I dare say, would make most sensible people leery of accepting any advice or guidance from him.

Ah, but you see, if you were a sensible person, you wouldn’t be likely to become a patron/follower of this Definitely-Not-a-Cult Leader:

A self-described spiritual guru and prophet said from prison on Wednesday that he doesn’t know the six people who police say disappeared from a north St. Louis County home in August and that he isn’t the leader of a cult.

(Well, he denied it, see? That settles it. So whatever you do, don’t defame this “self-described spiritual guru” by calling him a cult leader.)

Berkeley [Missouri] police on Tuesday accused rapper and nationwide spiritual leader Rashad Jamal of being the leader of a cult that played a role in their disappearance.
But Jamal, whose full name is Rashad Jamal White, told the Post-Dispatch in a wide-ranging phone interview from a Georgia prison, where he is serving an 18-year sentence for child molestation, that his “University of Cosmic Intelligence” is simply a spiritual YouTube channel.

(Right, and Jonestown, Guyana, was simply a rural campground.)

“I’m just giving you my opinion on a plethora of different subjects: from metaphysics to quantum physics to molecular biology to marine biology to geography to Black history to world history. I’m giving you my opinions on these things,” he said. “That doesn’t make me a cult leader.”

(Whenever you need an opinion on quantum physics or molecular biology, just go to some random guy’s YouTube channel, especially if the random guy is a child molester serving 18 years in prison.)

Three St. Louis residents – 25-year-old Mikayla Thompson, her cousin 36-year-old Ma’Kayla Wickerson, and Wickerson’s 3-year-old daughter Malaiyah Wickerson — and three other people — Naaman Williams, 30, of Washington, D.C.; and Gerrielle German, 27, of Horn Lake, Mississippi, and her 3-year-old Ashton Mitchell — left a rental home in Berkeley after they were served eviction papers in August.
They were last seen Aug. 13 at a Quality Inn in Florissant, and police on Tuesday said they were part of a cult that might have played a role.

(What kind of people seek out opinions about quantum physics from Rashad Jamal White? The kind of people who get evicted and end up at a cheap motel near the St. Louis Airport.)

Jamal said Wednesday, in what he described as his first media interview in years, that he found out about the accusations from a TV report and wasn’t surprised that police had put a “target on my back.”
“I am pretty sure I have never met these people,” he said. “I get on my phone and I give a lecture. I go live, and then I get off the phone. I do not know the people that are in my live(stream). It’s too many people.”

(Again — are Georgia officials aware that they’ve got inmates “going live” on social media from their prison cells? Is this activity allowed under Georgia prison policy? If so, why is it allowed?)

Jamal grew up in Chicago, where he said he was surrounded by violence and poverty. He watched those around him deal drugs and struggle with addiction, so he turned to poetry and rapping to share his message.
He moved to Atlanta in 2017 in pursuit of a record deal.

(OK, time for the “Aspiring Rapper Update” tag.)

He said he wanted to give back to his community, but he became disenchanted with the record industry.
Still, he has released two studio albums — “Only the Real Gon Relate,” released in March 2022, and “Promethazine and Pain (Based on a True Story),” which dropped three months ago.
The album cover for “Only the Real Gon Relate” is a re-creation of the famous Malcolm X photo where the civil rights leader is dressed in a suit and peeking through a curtain with a long gun in hand.
Jamal’s most popular song on YouTube on his personal page is titled “God Talk.” The song, released in August 2020, has more than 300,000 views. The video bounces between scenes of Jamal rapping, news clips and Jamal meditating near a river surrounded by bamboo.
The opening scene in the video defines the song’s title as: “To teach someone the truth about the origins of humans, the Gods, the planet, the secrets of Black people DNA and to enlighten one about the esoteric wisdom of the cosmos.”

(Yes, of course — when you’re seeking enlightenment “about the esoteric wisdom of the cosmos,” not to mention quantum physics and so forth, the place to find it is a random dude rapping on YouTube.)

Jamal said he decided to be more vocal about his beliefs in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis. He said he felt compelled to be “a voice of all people who have been oppressed.”
That’s when he created a YouTube page called The University of Cosmic Intelligence, which shares a name with the company he founded to sell lectures, classes and paraphernalia, including crystals.
That page has almost 200,000 subscribers, and includes hourslong, sometimes rambling livestreams by Jamal about the nature of the universe, the power inherent in Black and Latino people, and the enemies he says are out to get him. . . .

OK, enough with the italic fisking mode because, while that St. Louis Post-Dispatch article tells you a lot about Rashad Jamal White, they don’t even mention that this isn’t the first time law enforcement officials have been interested in followers of his Definitely-Not-a-Cult.

In August 2022, Krystal Pinkins and Yasmine Hider were living “off the grid” — illegally camping in Alabama’s Talladega National Forest near Cheaha State Park — when they attempted to rob two visitors to the park, one of whom ended up dying of gunshot wounds. Pinkins and Hider were recently sentenced to prison in that case, which seemed mysterious to many people familiar with the area. What the hell were these two women doing out in the middle of the woods on a mountainside (Cheaha is the highest point in Alabama) with no means of support?

Little did any of us suspect what the answer might be.

Followers of Charismatic
New Age Influencer Accused
of Two Different Murders in Alabama

In case you haven’t already guessed, the phrase “Charismatic New Age Influencer” in that headline refers to none other than Definitely-Not-a-Cult-Leader Rashad Jamal White. In addition to the Talladega Forest murder committed by Pinkins and Hider, there was another 2022 murder in Mobile County:

The Alabama man accused of killing his mother and injuring two other family members with a sword was fascinated by Egyptian gods and watched TikTok videos made by a conspiracy theorist, his father said.
In the weeks leading up to the Mobile County slaying of 61-year-old Helen Nettles Washam in a sword attack that also injured his brother and uncle, suspect Damien Winslow Washam, was obsessed with TikTok videos made by Rashad Jamal, whose conspiracies include that NBA players are “synthetic robots” and that babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic are “ancient souls.”
“He had started listening to some crazy group of people, like a cult or something,” Hubert Washam, Damien Washam’s father, told Oxygen. “Evidently, he had sent links to his sisters and were telling them about it, talking about the sun, and getting energy from the sun. It was just something he got into four weeks, six weeks ago. I don’t understand it.”
Hubert Washam also said his son made “disturbing” purchases before the slaying, including a knife, spiked brass knuckles, a statue of an Egyptian god and a poster of the underworld Egyptian god, Osiris.
“When I opened it up I just was hurt because maybe it seemed like there was something disturbing going on with him that we didn’t pick up on,” Hubert Washam told Oxygen. “He ordered something he definitely has absolutely no use for. I can’t understand why he would order it unless he was planning to kill us all.”
Hubert Washam said his son recently became fascinated by Egyptian gods.
“I don’t understand it. Crazy stuff — Egyptian gods of the underworld. He ordered that sword, another knife, other stuff that looked like he was planning to kill us all and burn the house down,” he said. “I just wish I could ask him now what the heck was all this stuff for.”
Helen Nettles Washam was found dead in the 6700 block of Mausap Road in the Semmes area Sunday night after the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a deceased woman and two men suffering from lacerations.
There, they say Damien Winslow Washam, 23, used a sword to kill his mother who was pronounced dead at the scene.

So here you had two widely separated murder cases in Alabama — Semmes is more than 250 mile south of Mount Cheaha — in the span of a few months, and both of them involved suspects described as “followers” of Definitely-Not-a-Cult-Leader Rashad Jamal White. In the Talladega Forest case, “It’s unclear how Hider and Pinkins came to know one another, but both were linked to Jamal”:

Videos and social media posts from earlier this year show Pinkins with one of Jamal’s most vocal and devoted disciples, a Memphis woman who describes herself as a real estate agent and a “sovereign empress” and has a small following online as another self-styled New Age spiritual leader. . . . Hider not only began re-sharing Jamal’s videos in the months leading up to the murder and parroting some of his obsessions, but was also tagged into a group photo by the same Memphis woman.” . . .

Describing one of his jailhouse video lectures:

“The oppressors seek to label me a pedophile because I had the courage to speak out against them and expose their lies, plots, and plans within their Satanic kingdom,” he said, “as opposed to labeling me what I really am, which is a Black activist, scientist, philosopher, historian, philanthropist, author, revolutionary poet, and a public speaker working hard to raise the vibration of the collective consciousness.” He likened himself to, among others, Martin Luther King Jr., Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Left Eye, Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Bill Cosby, and Kobe Bryant—all of whom, he asserted, were assassinated, brought down by false charges, or “put under MK-Ultra” for trying to expose the unspecified Satanic plots and schemes he seeks to uncover.
“Rashad Jamal spoke out and now he gets falsely accused of child molestation,” Jamal added. “Let him who has eyes see clearly.”

Well, well, well . . . And now Missouri officials have linked this Definitely-Not-a-Cult-Leader to six missing people last seen at a cheap motel near the St. Louis airport. Remember what I said about the “Love Has Won”/“Mother God” cult?

[A]lmost anyone could have their own cult nowadays, because the Internet provides access to an effectively unlimited supply of gullible followers. Nearly all of [cult leader Amy] Carlson’s followers were the kind of dopeheads we used to call “burnouts,” people who’d done too much LSD and permanently fried their cerebral cortex. These wild-eyed kooks are interviewed for the documentary and let’s just say that none of them seem to have a very firm grasp on reality. . . .
What sort of lessons can we learn from this? To me, it’s about how the Internet creates niche echo chambers of like-minded people. Even the tiniest fraction of a single percentage point of the population represents an audience of thousands, when you realize that there are 1.2 billion English-speaking Internet users worldwide (one-tenth of one percent = 1,200,000). Given the basic mathematics of the equation, it’s not really strange that “Mother God” Carlson could get 20,000 online followers, of whom about two dozen moved to Colorado to join her cult IRL.

Some of Rashad Jamal White’s videos had hundreds of thousands of views, and while it’s impossible to know how many hard-core disciples this Definitely-Not-a-Cult-Leader may have, the available facts suggest that it’s not a small number. He’s got dozens, certainly, and possibly even hundreds of committed followers. Because everybody wants to know about quantum physics and “the esoteric wisdom of the cosmos,” and this random dude posting TikTok videos from a Georgia prison cell seems to know what he’s talking about, right? “Cosmic Intelligence”!

Here’s some wisdom for you: Crazy People Are Dangerous.



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