Interview with Ex-Member of IUIC New Orleans

Title

Interview with Ex-Member of IUIC New Orleans

Format

Video

Subject

Religion: Hebrew Israelites in New Orleans

Description

This is an interview with a former Hebrew Israelite member from the IUIC camp. He talked about his experience and answered questions about what they believe and how they spread their message.

Creator

Sejal Rawls

Source

My Nola, My Story via YouTube

Publisher

Mass Communications department at the Xavier University of Louisiana

Date

5th May 2021

Contributor

Sejal Rawls

Rights

My Nola, My Story

Relation

My Nola, My Story 2021

Language

English

Type

Premiere Pro, video

Coverage

A Digital Humanities project by Xavier University of Louisiana's Mass Communication department students, led by Dr. Shearon Roberts

Original Format

Transcription

Intro(Sejal): “We are only as strong as our weakest link” Within the Hebrew Israelite (HI) community as with any other community, there are several camps that tarnish the overall name HI. HI believe they are the descendants of the Israelites of the Bible, and focus on teaching and living out the laws, statutes, judgements, and commandments of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. I interviewed Brother Manny who was once the leader of IUIC (New Orleans) a HI camp. This camp is one that uses a very aggressive approach when trying to draw people into their doctrine.

Q: What is a Hebrew Israelite? Describe your experience as someone who used to be apart of a camp.

Sejal: I kinda want to ask first, what is your experience as a HI and kind of describe like what they believe, what books they use, passages, etc.

Manny: Ok. You know I was apart of the IUIC and Im going to tells you what it means first. IUIC means Israel United in Christ. Its an Israelite group that believes pretty much what you just said: keeping the laws of the OT and following the laws, doing the feast days, high holy days, the sabbath, doing everything that Moses taught. At the same time believe, according to the book of Deuteronomy chapter 6 that we were the special, holy people of the Most High God, therefore we had to live up to that name and live up to the heights he expected us to live to and do exactly what he expected us to do. I got there I believe, well I was with them well Learned under them for probably four years before I actually got there. I watched YouTube videos; just learned online. Then we actually started a group out down here in New Orleans. They didn’t have no group at the time. I think we started it like 2012-2013 somewhere around that area. We found the problem. The problem came in when money started coming in.

Sejal: Mhm.

Manny: We actually started generating money and doing ration stations and Israel started knowing us, which means the camp started knowing who we were. As people started coming, I noticed that restarted having more problems because brothers were coming for the wrong reasons. They weren’t coming to keep the commandments, they were coming to move the ranks, move up in the ranks to have brothers listen to them, to be lords over the Most High’s flock. The brother that came from Orlando, this is my experience, the brother that came from Orlando, when the money started coming in got caught stealing.

Sejal: Mhm.

Manny: So once he got caught stealing, he was kicked out of the camp and that’s when I took the leadership role. And I did it. And from there stuff just started going downhill some more. The jealousy started coming. It seemed like every body wanted to be me. If they didn’t want to be me, they wanted to be over me or over the school basically. They just, everything just went downhill from there. You know the lies, the lying on brothers, the lying on sisters, the tape recordings, the pictures. So my experience, yeah, my experience with IUIC to be honest with you sis I cant think of one good experience I had.

Sejal: Wow.

Manny: Every memory I had is just full of pain, full of suffering, full of depression, full of anger, and full of vexed spirit.

Sejal: Wow.

Q: Since New Orleans is a predominately Catholic City, did HI use this to become more active on the streets?

Manny: New Orleans is a predominately Catholic City. We didn’t worry about the Catholics at all. We just knew that hey nobody knew this Bible like us. And we are going to prove, at least I knew that, and we are going to prove everybody a liar and show them who they are and who they are according to the Bible and let them know that they are not worse than the one true God.

Sejal: Right

Manny: Now I mean, we didn’t really worry about anybody, nobody. I can speak for me and the people that was in my camp. We welcomed all challenges. Dont matter who you are, but we didn’t go looking for you.

Sejal: Right

Manny: We mainly went for the brothers that come from a background like me. Like I come from, projects, out there not doing right, not treating their wives right, maybe selling drugs, maybe stealing, maybe homeless, maybe on drugs. Thats the brothers I mainly looked for. The younger generation. The youth.

Q: After Hurricane Katrina, were HI more active in black communities?

Sejal: After Hurricane Katrina hit, do you think the HI presence was more prominent in black communities?

Manny: Well you know what, that’s a great question because I was actually stuck in Hurricane Katrina.

Sejal: Oh, wow.

Manny: Yeah I was on the roof for like five days. When the hurricane hit, Im going to take you back to a little history. When the hurricane hit, I was here and when the hurricane was over you can go outside, I know you are in New Orleans now right?

Yes

Manny: You can go outside right now, and this is how it was when the hurricane was over [started], it was nothing. I mean it was absolutely no water or anything. I was walking around and I was saying “Is this the hurricane 5, category 5 hurricane they was telling us to be worried about.” So I was walking around in the streets and all of a sudden BOOM. Water just started coming into the city like a typhoon, like a tsunami basically. I was wondering what is happening, what is going on? So a couple of minutes later, a couple of hours later we was on the roof. Then in there I knew. I was like these white people did something. They put the water in the predominately black neighborhoods. I used to always say “they are trying to kill us”. Like my spirit just was like “they are trying to kill us, they are trying to kill us.” So that was a reason for me to even get deeper into the Israelite movement right there. So that’s what really drove me to the Israelite movement, with Hurricane Katrina knowing they were trying to kill us and save the white people that’s Uptown. If you walk around Xavier and go further back to Tulane and Loyola, those were the neighborhoods they were trying to save because the water was going to go to the predominately white neighborhoods and damage all of their stuff. So therefore they blew up the neighborhoods, our neighborhoods they let the water come into the black neighborhoods. That was the reason, even more of a reason for me to get into the Israelite movement. I said listen “I dont like these white people” because I seen first hand what they tried to do. They tried to kill me, kill my two sons, tried to kill my girl at the time, they tried to kill my family, and that was even more fire. I was already a big Malcom X head. Malcom X was already my hero, so that put me even more deeper into. Yeah I was about to do something about this. When I found the Israelite group movement, it was that much easier for me to jump into it because of what happened to me and my experience. Hurricane Katrina made me look at white people differently. I was like “you know what, maybe y’all are the devils IUIC says y’all are.” Yeah, thats the reason I got into it. We definitely used Katrina as a tool. I know after Katrina hit when I was the leader of the camp, I mean every time I got a chance I knew we were going to be in your face and we were going to let New Orleans know and let these white poeple know we out here.

Q: Do you believe HI camps help or tear down the black community?

Manny: These HI camps are tearing, I'm going to tell you why why they are tearing down the black community: because they are tearing down families. It came to the point where a man cant even trust his wife, or a wife cant trust her husband.

Sejal: Right

Manny: It's also tearing down communities also, not just black families but the black community because once they decide to leave IUIC or the Israelites, they separate themselves from the Bible. They stop believing in the God of the Bible. It scatters the flock. They don't want to touch the Bible. They don't believe in it anymore. They separate themselves. They think God is a [misogynist] because I did. They think God don't give a care. They think God is just rude. They say “I’m going to live my life the way I live my life, I don't want to touch that Bible. I don't want to touch that book. I don't need no guidance or anybody telling me what to do. I’m goin to do what I want to do.” So it’s actually tearing the black community down and it's putting us in a worse state than we were originally in by telling us we are cursed. So you feel like “well hell if I'm already cursed, I might as well keep doing what I'm doing because it seems like God isn’t trying to lift these curses off me. It doesn’t seem like he cares. He’s just sitting up there on the throne eating grapes telling us what to do. So that’s the mindset of the black community when they finally separate from these guys. At that time once you separate, you probably are going to divorce your wife. Probably on child support for your kids. Kids probably move out of state back to where they were from. I know because I almost went through that. I almost got a divorce. My wife almost picked up and moved back to Memphis. I had to relearn everything that I learned to get myself together and be a better man for her so she can actually stay with me. Because the IUIC Israelite movement messed my whole family up. So therefore I had to repair it. I had to work on it. It took a while and it’s still damaged. We still have some bumps and bruises from the IUIC but we getting there, we getting there. So yeah it damaged the black communities, not just the black communities but it damaged the black families also. Yes.

Q: Is the negative narrative of the HI camps fitting for all HI camps?

Manny: Well the think about the press is, right, is if you are going to talk about the israelites, the press will only talk about the bad things. There are some good camps out there. Right. So I cant speak for every camp because I wasn’t apart of every camp. I can only speak about the one I was apart of for many many years. But as far as there press putting bad information on the HI, I don't agree with it unless you are going to tell the good bad and the ugly. Don't just focus on the bad. If you going to do the bad go to IUIC. If you want to do the good why not go to your camp (IOG). Like the Lord says “I created darkness, I created light.” All things are balanced one against the other. So you cant sit up here and say they have a bad camp and don't have any good. I don't believe that. Thats just like saying everybody in the world is bad and there’s no good people. I mean the press is going to put out bad info why? They want the rating from the media. They want you to look at it. So they are going to put out the bad information. They are going to put out the juicy gossip. They are going to put out this sister come up missing and this brother doing this. They are going to put out all bad stuff on these camps because they don't agree with it. And these camps are teaching black people that they are the greatest thing that ever walked the face of the earth. So I mean if you are threatened by it then be threatened by it. But don't just sit up here and focus on the bad things because there are some camps that join together with white folks, or Chinese folks, or African folks and they build together. And I know a couple of camps that does that. But don’t just focus on the bad stuff. So the press do it like the young folks say “they do it for clout.”

Q: How do HI approach/treat women?

Sejal: How do the HI kind of approach women and think about women because I hear a lot about how they are very misogynistic and as a women that was kind of my first experience with them in that Clubhouse room. Telling me you know I can’t wear pants and everything and like that was hard to hear because that was the first time I heard something like that. So kind of like what is their view on women and how do they approach women?

Manny: They think women should just sit down and play their role and shut up and wear dresses and just learn and be a godly woman according to what their definition of a godly woman is. Right. Not according to scriptures. And if you notice whenever they talk about women, they never talk about the great women of the Bible and they always talk about the Jezebel. “You’re a Jezebel and have a man spirit on you and you’re rebellious like Eve. You don’t want to listen to Adam. You hate the Lord.” They’re [misogynists]. That group that you experienced I was apart of that group. They are [misogynists]. And they still keep their foot on the women’s necks, a woman’s neck. Its embarrassing for the women. Its very tiresome because sometimes I used to look at those sisters and look how all those sister’s spirit is gone out of them. I used to look at them sisters and it looked like them sisters be just like cant take it no more. They know their husband is a [misogynists]. I had one gentlemen that was apart of that camp. He was married. He used to make his wife, he took all the lightbulbs out of the house and wouldn’t allow her to cut the lights on. And he gave her just the nightlight, and she had to walk around with a nightlight on and carry it to every room that she was going to. And if she wanted to read, she had to read with that nightlight or that flashlight, to read her Bible. It’s a lot of abuse that’s going on there. It’s a lot of abuse that’s going on in this camp. I cant think of one man that was in the camp with me, not one that actually loved his wife and treated her like the Bible says treat her: submit to her like Christ submitted to the Church. I cant think of one. I’ve seen brothers put their wife on blast telling them to sit down or shut up. “I’m their Lord.” These sisters calling these men Lord. It's not what you say, it's your delivery. It’s how you say it. Like I always said, “you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar,.” So the rudeness and the disrespect that I see going on with the sisters in the camp. The sisters not being appreciated and I think we need to lift our women up a little more better than that. Our women deserve better than that. They deserve to feel the love of God through their husband. They deserve us to be emotional, affectionate, and compassionate to them. But I do believe that coming out of the black IUIC camp, I do believe that our people are damaged and we do need some kind of therapy or counseling. I do believe that. Because all of the stuff that we go through, we are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually messed up. So we do need counseling. We do need therapy. So anybody that was to come out of it, first thing I would tell them and my advise is go get some therapy, go get some counseling because it will not be an easy walk. It’s going to be hard coming up out of this. You have to retrain yourself. You have to reform your mind. You have to rethink yourself and rethink what you were taught about everybody else in this world. Somebody may help. I cant just sit up here and say this person is evil just because they are Japanese. I can’t sit up here and say this person is evil because he is a white man or white woman. I can’t sit up here and say this person is evil because he’s African. Who am I to judge these people? I done had more people that wasn’t black do things that help me then black people, that look like me. I done had people sit me down and say “Manny let me show you how to do this” that wasn’t my people. I had people that do it that was my people. So I don’t look at people from their outside appearance anymore. I look at them by their fruits. So if your fruits are sour, 10/10 you are a sour person. So I look at people totally different now. It took me a while to do it and I had to basically pray about it and meditate on it and go into a peaceful place where I had to learn how to love black women again. Learn how to be affectionate and compassionate and emotionally connected to my wife because the Israelites damaged that. They damaged me. She’ll tell you this is not the same man that was in the camps and I’m glad I didn’t leave him because now he is showing me who he really is. And I had to work hard because I had to realize I really loved her and if I don’t change I will lose what the Most High blessed me with.

Q: After coming out of that camp, are you or your family still affected?

Manny: Right now my wife suffer from anxiety. Her anxiety is so bad that her blood pressure is high. She suffers from high blood pressure and anxiety from being in that stuff. Everyday is a struggle. I have to struggle with her everyday with her pressure, with her blood pressure. In and out of the hospital, trying to get her pressure down. Praying to the Most High that she doesn’t have a stroke. Anxiety through the roof. It’s all kind of problems mentally and emotionally and spiritually problems she had from coming out of that cult. I understand how you feel because she cant sleep at night. She’s shaking and shivering. And sometimes she’s even scared that I'm going to go back. Sometimes she is fearful that I will return back to what I was doing and go back to the camps. My boys had that spirit on them and I had to get it off of them. We had to work to get that spirit off of them. One of my boys was treating women like that. Its a domino effect. One day she sat up there and told me “I’m not going back. I’m not ever going back.” I looked at her and seen all the pain in her eyes. And you know what I told her? I said “You know what baby, if you don't want to go back, you don’t have to go back.” Because any day I ain’t going back. I’m about to leave too. I started seeing the wickedness. I started knowing, I was in leadership I started knowing what goes on behind closed doors. I knew the hate that was going on, the envy, the jealousy, the stealing, the extortions, the murders, how men treat their wives and sort of that nature. So yeah we left. So now we doing alright. We are doing pretty good. We are living at peace.

Sejal: Right. That’s good. That is good.

Duration

21:27 (21 minutes, 27 seconds)

Producer

Sejal Rawls

Director

Sejal Rawls

Files

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Date Added
February 24, 2021
Item Type
Moving Image
Tags
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Citation
Sejal Rawls , “Interview with Ex-Member of IUIC New Orleans,” MY NOLA, MY STORY , accessed October 1, 2022, https://xulamasscomm.omeka.net/items/show/127.