A Black man who went viral on social media after video footage showed him slapping a white man with a can of Twisted Tea for repeatedly using the N-word is telling what motivated him to do so.
In December, Barry Allen of Elyria, Ohio, got into a confrontation in a convenience store with a white man who kept using the N-word despite Allen asking him not to. The white man continues to carry on saying, “I say n—a all day, every day, are you kidding me? Where are you from, n—a?” the white man said.
The video shows Allen getting increasingly upset, and at one point he grabs his can of tea. When the white man asks Allen if he planned to hit him with it, Allen mistakenly dropped the tea on the floor and the white man kicked at it.
Then Allen picked it up from the floor and forcefully slapped the man with the can — exploding its contents with a loud “thwack!” and knocking him to the floor — and proceeded to punch him and restrain him. The white man shortly changes his tune, and then Allen asks him if he’s good.
In a interview with the “Mark One Sports” show published on Dec. 30, Allen — who’s become known as “TeaKO” — explained his actions.
He told the hosts the white man was calling the two Black employees the N-word when he first entered the Circle K where the incident happened. He said he initially tried to ignore it, but the white man remained belligerent.
“I’m like, all right. Let’s just hope he leaves by the time I get up there so I ignored it,” he said. “Head to the front and he’s still there, still saying the word like he was just a normal Black guy having fun with all his buddies, just chilling. And you could tell by their [the employees’] faces they wasn’t really feeling it, but they can’t say nothing ’cause that’ll put their job on the line. Me, I didn’t feel that way. I’m like, ‘Come on, bruh, stop saying the word. Why are you shouting out n—a, bro?”
A married father of five — one of whom has special needs — Allen said the man persisted. “He’s like, ‘Man, I say n—a whenever I want. Leave me alone,'” Allen continued. “I’m like, ‘c’mon, stop saying the f—ing word. You’re really pissing me off now.'”
Allen said it was also the day before his mother’s two-year death anniversary and the man also said “f—k your mama” during the altercation. “That really got me cuz I’m already in an aggravated mode … by that time, he said n—a, like, eight times,” Allen said.
Before he knew it, Allen said he’d snapped. “That’s when I pick it [the tea can] up and he goes to kick it. He really didn’t kick me, but I felt the kick coming. So I just reacted at that point,” he explained.
The bystander who recorded and uploaded the video gave him a high-five, Allen said. Social media lit up with memes and commentary on the video. Allen’s wife even created a Twitter with the handle @OfficialMrsteako.
Many social media users said Allen was their hero, especially since he shares a name with DC Comics character The Flash. There were some who said Allen wasn’t wise to commit “felony assault” on video, yet others said it was “self-defense” in their book.
“Black dude shoulda just walked away..It wasn’t worth it.Committing felony assault on video,” one user wrote.
“Thank your husband for all of us who feel the N word when they say like #TwistedTea felt when when he caught his hands. The law needs to allow us to defend ourselves from them weaponizing that word. That was self defense to me,” wrote another Twitter user, @_I_am_Joey.
Allen said the man did not press charges, and Allen has been on an unexpected press tour promoting anti-racism since the incident. The latest tweet from his wife’s account implies supporters have helped the family purchase a new vehicle. She also said the work they are now doing is in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Please stop instigating the situation. Spread awareness not hate! We are doing just that! Every interview we are doing is support for the blm movement! The fact we are in 2020 and this is still a factor and explaining it to our children! Open your eyes and be a example!” Allen’s wife tweeted.