The untold truth of Nessa Diab

The untold truth of Nessa Diab

“Known for her quick wit and great personality, Nessa is one of the go-to media hosts in the industry,” Nessa Diab’s bio on New York City’s HOT 97 begins. Indeed, having forged a career in radio and television, Diab has appeared on several MTV shows and has also hosted NBC’s Talk Stoop.

Perhaps better known professionally by her mononym, Nessa, this activist and media personality began dating former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, in 2015 — and played a big part in influencing his views toward social and racial justice, The New York Times reports. During an interview with Starcasm, the Girl Code star explained that growing up Muslim and living in Saudi Arabia because of her father’s job shaped her activism at a young age. “Here is the thing, I was a young girl fearing for my life — I wore gas masks to school,” she said of her time in the Middle East during the Gulf War. “I heard war sirens constantly and I knew at this point I had to break out of this lifestyle.”

But what else do we know about this powerful voice for change? Here’s the untold truth of Nessa Diab.

Colin Kaepernick isn't the only activist in the relationship

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is a household name due to his tireless work for racial and social justice — but he isn’t doing it all on his own. During a 2019 interview with Paper magazine, Kaepernick and longtime girlfriend Nessa Diab — inspired by the Black Panthers’ 10-point platform, and urged to action after the shooting death of Mario Woods at the hands of the San Francisco PD — came up with a plan that would eventually become the Know Your Rights Camp, “a traveling youth-empowerment initiative.” 

According to the camp’s website, its mission is to “advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization, and the creation of new systems that elevate the next generation of change leaders.” During their joint interview with Paper, Diab revealed that Kaepernick was voraciously reading books on Black liberation and freedom. “If Colin wasn’t reviewing a playbook,” the Teen Mom after show host said, “he was reading a history book.”

Once the interview dropped, the former San Francisco 49er tweeted out a link to the article and his thanks to Diab. “Thank you @nessnitty for representing the @yourrightscamp pillar – The Right To Be Loved!” the athlete-turned-activist wrote in part. “Keep showing us the power of love! Love you Queen!”

Nessa Diab had no problem calling out Jay-Z

In August 2019, the NFL partnered with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation in an effort to improve the league’s live music entertainment strategies and social justice initiatives. The legendary rapper entered into this partnership while Colin Kaepernick was still being blackballed by the league. 

“I think we’ve moved past kneeling. I think it’s time for action,” Jay-Z said about the controversial partnership. Yikes. As you might have guessed, many NFL players had a problem with Jay-Z’s decision and comments. “When has Jay-Z ever taken a knee, to come out and tell us we’re past kneeling?” former Carolina Panther safety — and Kaepernick’s best friend — Eric Reid, for example, told reporters after team practice. 

However, nobody pushed back on the “Can’t Knock the Hustle” rapper like Nessa Diab. “I don’t mind you doing a business deal — but I do mind you wrapping it in social justice when you’re working with an organization that denies someone an opportunity,” she said on Hot 97 radio (via Complex). Explaining that Kaepernick “didn’t just take a knee,” but “put the work behind it” and “lost his career” over his activism, Diab added, “Jay has phenomenal music, he’s done so much nobody’s taking that away from him! Do your business! But don’t talk to me about that league when they’re doing dishonorable things. This person working with this league wore Colin’s Jersey — but some people don’t understand what’s going on.” 

Nessa Diab forced the NFL to make an update

When the NFL updated its website in the spring of 2020, Colin Kapernick’s player profile page listed him as “retired” — even though the former San Franciso 49er hadn’t retired and still considered himself to be a free agent. This didn’t sit well with girlfriend Nessa Diab, so she took to Twitter to blast the league’s decision.

“The @NFL @nflcommish @NFLPA lying on their website claiming @Kaepernick7 ‘retired,'” Diab tweeted, along with a screenshot of the NFL’s update. “Colin did NOT retire. You cowards blackballed him [because] he peacefully protested against police brutality. He’s a Super Bowl QB [and] should be playing [because] his stats show that.”

A day later, NFL.com changed Kaepernick’s player profile to label him as an unrestricted free agent. After the adjustment was made, Diab took to Twitter again to write, “Thank you to everyone who held the @NFL accountable for falsely reporting that Colin ‘retired’ on their website. They heard you loud & clear bc the NFL put the accurate description that @Kaepernick7 is an Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA). Tell them to stop denying him employment.”

Nessa Diab faced backlash after her MTV VMAs tribute to Breonna Taylor

Red carpets and award shows are no strangers to social or political statements. After months of Black Lives Matter protests, audience members tuning into the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards should have expected to hear about Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old first responder who was killed in her home while asleep by police in Louisville, KY. At the time of the event, Bustle reports, “no formal arrests or charges [had] been made” since her death that March. 

Nessa Diab’s tribute? Wearing a pair of custom earrings that read Breonna Taylor’s name — and the gesture did not go over well in the Twittersphere. “She really spent all that money-making Breonna Taylor custom earrings instead of donating the money to the cause,” one viewer wrote, while another person called for “an apology” and “several donations” from Diab and the network to make up “for this extremely disgusting behavior.” Another Twitter user added: “@MTV @vmas whoever approved for one of your hosts to wear earrings that said ‘Breonna Taylor’ needs to be talked with. Breonna isn’t a piece of jewelry, she was an innocent woman who was killed. She’s been made into memes and merch and now JEWELRY? Have y’all no shame??”

As of this writing, Diab has yet to respond to the controversy.

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