He’s been there for a while, but he finally caught the attention of the media and the world. The very obvious lone Black man was at Pres. Donald Trump’s rally in Phoenix earlier this month. Positioned right off the Prez’s right shoulder, he could be seen enthusiastically waving his hand made “Blacks for Trump signs.
He calls himself Michael the Black Man and he’s appeared at a number of political rallies over the last two years. He sports a perm and a ponytail, and almost always plugs his website, Gods2.com, either on his trademark t-shirt, the sign he’s waving or both.
People question if he’s a plant, but Michael says he arrives early to make sure to get a good spot. He says he arrived early in the a.m. for the Phoenix rally and was sixth in line.
At a campaign rally in late October 2016, down in Sanford, Trump even gave the “BLACKS FOR TRUMP” signs an approving shout-out.
“Look at those signs behind me,” Trump said to the roaring crowd. “Blacks for Trump. I like those signs.”
The candidate, wearing a camouflage “Make America Great Again hat,” turned to the sign-holders and offered a thumbs-up. Michael the Black Man, standing behind Trump and grinning widely, gave a thumbs-up right back.
Who is he?
He’s variously known as Michael Symonette, Maurice Woodside and Mikael Israel he gets a prime position near the Prez. The Miami New Times reported that Michael is a former member of the Yahweh ben Yahweh cult that was based in the predominately Black Liberty City section of Miami.
The two men met when Woodside was 21 years old and he followed the fiery teaching for years. In the early 1990s, Woodside, Yahweh and 14 other members of the cult were arrested by federal agents and charged with racketeering and conspiracy in 14 murders – at least one a beheading — and a firebombing.
Ricardo Woodside, Michael’s brother who had once been in the cult, testified in court that his brother had helped beat a man named Aston Green, who argued with Yahweh and was taken to the Florida Everglades and beheaded with a machete. He also testified that Michael Woodside was the cult member who stabbed a Louisiana man named Leonard Dupree in the eye with a sharpened stick.
Yahweh was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Michael Woodside, who denies the cult was violent or murderous, was acquitted along with six others.
Michael’s website claims, among other things, that Cherokee Indians are the real KKK, and that ISIS is teaming up with Hillary Clinton to start a race war.
At an Obama campaign speech in Coral Gables in 2008, he and a group of other protesters loudly interrupted the future president, shouting “Barack, go home!” and waving signs that declared “Obama endorsed by the KKK.” reported the Miami New Times. One sign, held by Michael the Black Man, read: “Blacks against Obama.”
In Phoenix Tuesday night, as supporters chanted “build that wall!” Trump turned again to the roaring crowd behind him and flashed a thumbs up.
Michael the Black Man flashed one back, smiled and mouthed, “I love you!”
The presence of Michael the Black Man —— has inspired not only trending Twitter hashtags but a great deal of curiosity and Google searches. Internet sleuths find the man’s bizarre URL, a easily-accessible gateway to his strange and checkered past.