By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Independence Party leader and psycho-therapist Lenora Fulani doesn't pull any puncheseven with a group of tired teenagers. That was the vibe in June of last year when Fulani met with a group of teens from Oakland, California, and lectured them about life, white people, and her mentor, Fred Newman. The account was provided by Molly Hardy, a theater producer hired by a Fulani-tied group in Los Angeles and dispatched to New York for training, and who later filed official complaints against the organization.
Fulani, introduced to the kids as "one of the most important women in the world," told the puzzled youths about Newman, whom she called "the most influential person in my life," according to Hardy. Fulani said Newman changed her life when she was a young graduate student. He had asked her if she wanted "to end up just another poor black woman" in the field of education.
How did she feel about a white man telling her that? one teen asked. "Well, first of all, if any of you think that white people care about you, think again. They don't," Fulani said, according to Hardy.
The teens had arrived the day before on a red-eye flight, so one girl began to doze. Fulani snapped at her: "You're performing tired. Get up and go put some water on your face and get back here and perform differently." When the embarrassed teen returned, Fulani insisted that she ask her a question. "The poor girl didn't know what to say," said Hardy. "She looked like she was going to cry." Fulani then turned to Hardy. "How about you? Do you have any questions?" Hardy said she just smiled and said, " 'No, no questions.' I was thinking, 'Wow, I am so out of here.' "