Earlier this week, 23-year-old Johari Osayi Idusuyi became an Internet sensation for perfectly trolling Donald Trump and one of his supporters while dishing up the neck snap of LIFE.
Don’t interrupt a black woman if she’s reading Claudia Rankine’s CITIZEN in the middle of a Trump rally: https://t.co/gGueoyXY45
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) November 10, 2015
But while many congratulated the young woman for her perfectly timed book-wielding protest, she didn’t set out to antagonize Trump, or his supporters. Instead, she went to the rally to hear him out.
“I came to the rally with genuine intentions,” Idusuyi told Jezebel. “I heard about it the night before and I wasn’t really interested in going, but my friend Gabby Chavez said, ‘My family bailed out on me.’ I was going to go to just see Donald Trump. It’s an opportunity to see a presidential candidate. We tried to take an unbiased stand. Maybe he’ll talk about something of substance, we thought.”
Instead of hearing a substantive policy discussion from the Republican candidate, Idusuyi said she watched in horror as Trump protestors were bullied and silenced.
“The way the supporters treated the protestors was really unbelievable and that’s what made me mad,” she explained.
After Trump instructed his security guards to “get them (protesters) out of here,” that’s when Idusuyi decided she’d had enough. She pulled out her book, and the epic confrontation ensued.
“That’s when I was like, I am now genuinely not interested in your speech. I wanted to leave, but I came, I’m in the middle, I’m on camera, so I might as well read because I don’t have anything else to do,” she said. “I’m not going to waste my time listening to somebody who I can’t respect anymore, so I started to read.”
Idusuyi pulled out her copy of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, which explores “the ways in which racism pervades daily American social and cultural life, rendering certain of its citizens politically invisible.”
The choice felt purposeful and deliberate, but Idusuyi said it was a twist of fate.
“I was just reading the book at the time. I actually wanted to bring two books. It was The Alchemist and that book, but I forgot The Alchemist on my table,” she explained. “I just started to read it. Then I was like, I’m in the middle, I’m on camera, so why not use the opportunity to promote a great book?”
It worked. Because of the confrontation, more people were introduced to Rankine’s book. But how did the whole thing begin?
The woman kept saying, “If you don’t wanna be here then leave. You didn’t even stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.” I said, “I do want to be here, that’s why I’m here. You don’t know who I am. I’m reading my book because I’m uninterested. Did you not just see what happened? This person disrespects women, minorities, everybody and you’re still supporting him. He’s not saying anything of substance.” If I met this couple at an event or a dinner party, I would think they were nice people. They probably are nice people. But I don’t think they have any right to tell me what to do. The lady, actually, she mumbled something. I didn’t hear but my friend told me the next day that she said, “I’m so glad you’re not my daughter,” or something along those lines. And I was thinking, “I’m glad I’m not your daughter either!”
So how did Idusuyi end up front and center, right in view of the cameras in the first place? Good optics.
I asked if anyone was sitting there and I didn’t know it was the VIP section. I just asked one of the volunteers and she said, “No, it’s VIP.” Then a gentleman approached us after I left the the original volunteer and he said, “Would you like to sit in VIP?” and I said, “OK.” I mean, why not? I think we were chosen for obvious reasons. We are minorities and there weren’t a lot of minorities there.
Idusuyi said she “definitely” will not support Trump’s presidential bid, but we’re so glad she decided to attend the rally because she definitely won that debate.