The short version of the story Jamarcus Purley told to Latino Rebels is that after working as an aide in California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office on Capitol Hill for five years — and determining that she and the rest of the staff weren't doing enough for black people — he let them know about it no uncertain terms.
On Jan. 24, Purley told the staff during a meeting — among other things — that Feinstein “cares more about her dog than black people," the outlet reported.
What happened next?
Purley noted to the outlet that a number of fellow staffers offered him quiet support for his words, but on Feb. 8, Feinstein fired him for performance issues.
With that, Purley posted his termination letter to Instagram and paid to promote it, the outlet said, adding that Instagram pulled the promotion after it reached 7,000 users since it was about "social issues, elections, or politics."
Then he made one last stand.
Purley told the outlet he "ate some shrooms" then hatched a plan: He told Latino Rebels he ironed his suit and "walked to the Hill. I was standing in front of the Capitol. My heart is racing. I had a joint in my pocket. I’m talking to cops. It made no sense to anyone but me, on shrooms. I put on some trap music. I thought of my family. I looked at my sister — she’s my screensaver on my phone. She puts up with so much s**t as a black woman. I knew no one would ever know the s**t Feinstein does to black people if I didn’t make it impossible to ignore.”
And then, after making it past security and into the Capitol complex, Purley did his best to make sure folks couldn't look away.
“I get to the Senate, the building where I worked for five years. I still had the keys to my office," he told the outlet. "I get in there. I get into the office, and I can’t breathe. I’m on shrooms in an office where white people touch my hair and do racist s**t."
Purley added that he walked into Feinstein's office, which "triggered a screaming white noise sound. I had only been in her actual office like twice in five years, and I couldn’t figure out how to turn off the white noise sound. It was giving me so much anxiety because it sounded like when the cops show up. So then I was like, f*** it. I just gotta do something for 10 minutes, and I can finally leave. So I’d brought my Bose speaker. I used her bathroom, then I go sit at her desk. I turn on my speaker and start the music. I start smoking that joint, an afghani, a heavy indica, because I knew I needed to be calm. I thought about how special my mom and black women would feel seeing me dance to [DeBarge’s 1982 hit “I Like It"] in particular, in a space where they aren’t welcome at all. Then I started the video.”
Here's the clip:
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Purley's background prior to gaining attention for his infamous video is pretty eye-opening as well.
Hailing from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Purley received his undergrad degree from Stanford, the outlet said, adding that during his senior year, he studied abroad at Oxford University in England.
He added to the outlet that he was denied admittance to the Oxford library because he didn’t look like a student.
Purley then went to Harvard where he received a master’s in education policy and management, as well as high praise from faculty and fellow students, the outlet said.
He then applied for an entry-level job as a staff assistant in Feinstein’s office and had a memorable first meeting — for all the wrong reasons: "The first time I met Sen. Feinstein, there were two black dudes in the meeting, and she called me the other black guy’s name ... We look nothing alike. We are two different shades. He wears a beard."
Purley added to the outlet that "multiple white coworkers in my office touched my hair without my permission," repeating that "my coworkers touched my motherf***in’ hair."
He added to the outlet that he was passed over for promotion twice because his supervisors said he didn’t write well enough.
“I had gone to the chief of staff twice because I told them that the way they write alienates black people,” Purley told the outlet. "I mean, I studied English and African American studies — I know what the f*** I’m talking about. They said it’s not my role to tell us what or how to write. It’s my role to reflect the senator’s voice. They kept telling me I work at the pleasure of the senator.”
Then Purley's father died of COVID in December 2020 — and he was finally promoted from staff assistant to legislative correspondent, the outlet said. He would work in that position for the entirety of 2021.
“Working as a legislative correspondent, that’s when it hit me just how little resources black people in California have,” he told Latino Rebels. “The senator wouldn’t allow us to help people directly. People on the Hill are scared of losing their jobs. What made me fearless was this moment: my father was dead. Other black and brown families were losing their loved ones as well and Feinstein didn’t give a f***."
On Jan. 17, 2022, he addressed the issue in a staff meeting — and then did so again the following week when he made the remark about Feinstein caring more about her dog than black people.
MSNBC interviewed Purley last week about what he experienced. The cable network reported that a representative from Feinstein's office said they weren't permitted to speak about personnel issues.
(H/T: Louder With Crowder)