Reflecting on the Rise of the Hoteps - An anthropologist looks at a U.S. subculture inspired by ancient Egypt and its effort to foster a particular Black identity.

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Vivere Militare Est.
Jan 22, 2018
Hoteps are a subculture of African Americans who use Ancient Egypt as a source of black pride. The community is Afrocentrist and has been described by critics as promoting false history. One of the group's more recognizable beliefs is that the Ancient Egyptians were black people, as opposed to the more reputable theory that the Ancient Egyptians were an extremely diverse society, consisting of people indigenous to the Egyptian Nile valley, ethnic groups that lived in the desert, Lybians, Sudanese, Greeks, Arabs, and others, rather than a racially homogeneous civilization.

A meme circulating on social media shows “the history of a Black male” through five men: It starts with an Egyptian pharaoh, moves on to a slave, an American worker, someone with a lynching rope around his neck, and finally, an orange-suited prison inmate. The message is that Black men have fallen from grace: now imprisoned, when they once ruled.

The image falls neatly into the category of Hotep subculture: a relatively new movement in the U.S. that uses Egyptian history as a parcel to wrap up messages of Black pride. People characterized as Hoteps tend to wear traditional African styles, create content about the history of Black people from before the transatlantic slave trade, and spread ideology about the place of Black men and women within Black communities.

In the current U.S. political climate, and globally, Black pride and social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter are critical to the resolve held by those who fight against systemic racism. Not all of the ideals expressed within the Hotep movement, however, are celebratory or progressive. Hotep memes often denounce homosexuality and interracial marriage, and spread conspiracy theories or inaccurate ideas about history. They also place women as secondary to men; Hotep memes often preach that Black men should strive to fight the oppression that has disenfranchised them, but they tend to be silent about the oppression of Black women.

The term “Hotep” comes from the ancient Egyptian word for “to be at peace” and is sometimes used in contemporary Black culture as a greeting. Despite the positive connotations of the word, the term has come to be used not so lovingly; the label was put upon this microculture by outsiders to “other” those seen to have problematic beliefs and opinions. The term belongs in the same category as other microculture labels, like “hipster” for someone who is pretentiously trendy or “WASP” for someone white, privileged, Protestant, and elitist.

Pinpointing when and where this definition of “Hotep” arose is difficult. Its popularity is growing on Twitter and Instagram, as Hotep content—iconic photos, cartoons, memes—spreads these ideas.


Hotep jewelry and clothing often feature ancient Egyptian iconography like the falcon god Horus (shown) and the ankhs (on the bird’s talons), a symbol of eternal life.

Within Hotep memes, Black women are often presented as “Nubian queens” or “mothers of civilization” through images celebrating their beauty and power. Claims are made that they have superhuman taste and superior breast milk. They are expected to serve primarily as support to their Black husbands.

Hotep art also often conflates African imagery (picking and choosing from Africa’s 54 modern countries and countless cultures) with stereotypes of African culture, such as animal skins, “tribal” garb, and ancient Egyptian royalty. Other Hotep memes juxtapose incongruous elements of African culture and contemporary life. One, for example, shows a Black man dressed in an African kufi hat, with an eye patch featuring an Egyptian design. His other eye glows with light, and he points to his temple, as if he is enlightened to some sort of truth. It reads: “Y’all working for Quicken Loans, but not QUICK to LOAN a brother a hand in the fight against oppression.”

The line between genuine Hotep posts and posts intended to poke fun at the Hotep subculture has become blurred. For example, one shows a Black man dressed as an Egyptian pharaoh with the caption: “After you’ve defeated all the Hoteps, this is the final boss. Becarful (sic), he will connect 9/11 to the Atlantic slave trade in one sentence.” This meme is clearly a satire of the conspiracy theories sometimes attributed to Hoteps, such as that the lab mice used in medical research are “albino” and therefore not suited to developing medicine for people of color.

An obsession with Egypt is not new; extensive cultural fascination with Egypt goes back to the late 1700s, when Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaign to North Africa inspired interest in Egyptian art and archaeological remains. Museum exhibitions starring King Tutankhamun in the 1970s kicked off a new spate of “Egyptomania” in the Western world: The 1972 show of Treasures of Tutankhamun at the British Museum was the first ever blockbuster exhibition, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors. Ancient Egyptian art has become both familiar and exotic in mainstream culture.

For a young Black person struggling to connect to their ancestral cultural heritage, ancient Egypt is a familiar, attractive place to start. Egypt is the most well-known and powerful cultural influence from Africa today, making it easy for many African Americans to adopt Egyptian culture and to use its legacy of royalty, artistic sophistication, and technological advancement to create a message of Black superiority.

For a young Black person struggling to connect to their ancestral cultural heritage, Egypt is a familiar, attractive place to start.
The trauma and loss of African heritage through the transatlantic slave trade arguably created a gulf that was filled by a kind of “therapeutic mythology”—a constructed heritage built around memories of the homeland. From Egypt to nations across the continent, the historic and renewed connection to Africa created the unique identity of “African American.” This identity encompasses a culture where African traditions (the ones that survived a long history of colonialism) have been altered to fit new, American environments.

In the early 20th century, at a time when Blacks were very much politically, economically, and socially disenfranchised in the United States, Afrocentrists like Molefi Kete Asante and Black scholars like W.E.B. Du Bois highlighted a relationship between ancient Egypt and modern Black Americans in order to instill a sense of pride for Black achievement. However, these links contain the implicit, inaccurate assumptions that all ancient Egyptians would have physically resembled those who self-identify as Black today, and that all modern Black people can trace their lineage to ancient Egypt. Nevertheless, these ideas have trickled down into the mainstream: Many of my Black family members and friends have Egyptian-esque decorations in their homes to celebrate Black culture and pride.

Ironically, perhaps, recent research has shown that early Egyptians were mostly lighter-skinned: Genetically, Egyptians did not mix with darker-skinned sub-Saharan peoples until the last 1,500 years, well after the end of native Egyptian dynasties. I have seen the ancient word for the Nile Valley, Kmt—which translates as “black land”—used as evidence that Black people lived in Egypt; actually, it refers to the black, fertile soil of that region.

When viewed through an anthropological lens, I understand how the Hotep subculture fosters positive identity constructions. The Hoteps movement is a testament to the uniquely painful and complicated history of African Americans. It is anchored in a long tradition of looking to Africa for points of needed pride. Yet it also risks propagating false histories and conventions, and, ironically, disparaging Black women and those who are LGBTQ in the service of elevating Black identity.


U.S. artists, such as Beyoncé, are inspired by and utilize African styles in their music and clothing.

There are plenty of positive examples of contemporary Afrocentrism: African culture has become influential in American media in the last few years, such as in the Afrofuturist movie Black Panther, the rise of Afrobeats in American music, or even Beyoncé’s increasing use of Egyptian aesthetics in her clothing line. I do not see the self-identification of African heritage by the Hotep subculture as problematic: The re-creation of a lost African heritage can often be therapeutic for the Black community.

What should be examined more deeply is the way the Hotep narrative could be damaging. Hotep memes, and the history and logic that underpin this subculture, reveal the ways that the movement depends far too often on misogyny, homophobia, inaccurate history, and stereotypes of the Black experience. A serious reflection on how modern subcultures create their identity is critical to ensuring that the same violence that created African American identities is not perpetuated in the future.

Partially inspired by this thread on A&N, I created this OP.

So I am sure many have noticed these "WE WUZ KANGS" memes floating around, and wanted to understand them a bit better,


I had no idea there's a whole term for it, "hotep". One other thing that the author mentions, is how problematic the "Ankh Right" can be because well, blacks don't like faggots and dykes. And in this fantasy, there's no room for troons or any kind of idpol either.

As for the Yakub memes, it turns out it comes from the Nation of Islam, supposedly he created the white race.


For a while I was under the impression that these were /pol/ memes just to troll blacks but as it turns out, they're doing a fine job undermining themselves with this crazy shit, basically flat-earth for blacks.

And then there is Tariq Nasneed with his whole "Buck Breaking" narrative but that's a whole 'nother can of worms altogether.

What do you think about hoteps? discuss.
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Jesus Christ, Denton.
Feb 3, 2021
Black supremacy movements have always been the absolute funniest shit to me. These are people who, mind you, will sit there and complain about alternative history that never happened (such as anything Tariq Nasheed shills) and then worship an ancient culture who; A) slaughtered hundreds of thousands of them as slaves to build the pyramids, and B) still hate them to this day, and see them as violent subhumans. Because it's on the African continent, though, it must be a "black" thing.

The conspiracy theory shit is the best, too, it's chronic schizoid numerology shit taken to the highest degree. If you have any channels, sites, sources, anything at all either posting content unironically of it, or documenting the craziness, please post it here and let people see and understand how absolutely lulzy Kangz are.

Male Idiot

Das rite!
Nov 6, 2014
We wuz kaaaaangz and shieeeet!

Also, so by nig's own admissuns, whitey got them as a cavemen while they had spaceships.

So what can they do now, where all they have is a gold plated gun they can't aim?

Noir drag freak
Dec 27, 2020
The funny thing is that the origins of hoteps has to do with a black gay man that was jitted by the white elite. Maybe homosexuality or being homosexual inclined whether suppressed, sublimated, or expressed leads to a kind of nationalism/fascism. He’s name is Alain Locke. He’s considered one of the principle founders of the Harlem Art Movement. He wasn’t the only one. There was also his friend, Lionel de Fonseka was a Sinhalese that thought the Western modernity had too much influence. They both were part of the cosmopolitan club at Oxford. The cosmopolitan club was full of effete dandies and homosexual or homosexual adjunct men that argued for a kind of national or cultural purity.
Anyway, Alain Locke argued that blacks should look to Africa to assert a black identity that wasn’t dependent on whites or the West. He chose Egypt, because of its grandeur and imperial past. Paradoxically, he also loved the West and made frequent trips to Europe.
Though, most black artist especially at a black school like Howard wanted to focus of painting without such framing. He insisted that the only way forward for black Americans in art was to assert that they were Africans in the West, instead of Americans or Westerns.

It’s funny how hoteps and Nazis are anti-gay, when most of their ideas came from disenfranchised gay men. A gay men will make a better Nazi, Hotep, or nationalist than a straight men.

Retired Junta Member

Currently riding the short bus to a Russian camp
Jun 9, 2021
While I understand how not knowing precisely where you come from and not having a certain heritage could fuck you up, I don’t understand why people don’t just go for the reasonable route: genealogical research (or DNA test if you’re that kind of person) and cultural research. At least you would have a “concrete” result.

Maybe it’s not special enough.
May 14, 2019
Funny enough happened to be reading about the Kangz earlier today

TLDR the Cushites/Nubians were a culturally/religiously Egyptian people (result of frontier being assimilated by earlier pharaohs) who launched an invasion to drive out the Libyans. They reigned a while, got ganked by Assyria, and then by Egyptian rebels who beat out the Assyrians and then them

All of this took between the Ramessides and Ptolemaic Egypt and LONG after the pyramids, so while Kangz did exist, they were not responsible for any of the great features of Egyptian history.