Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The self-appointed czar of blackness has left the building

I will start off by saying that I never had a problem with Tavis Smiley. I don’t want this to be confused with me hating on the man. I don’t know what is going on with his abrupt departure from the Tom Joyner Morning Radio Show, but the timing is awfully suspicious. In recent months he has been giving Barak Obama the business, or for those that are more street affiliated “the bizness”, for not doing whatever it is that Tavis thought he should be doing. The list ranges from not going to the Tavis Smiley presents “State of the Black Union” to not speaking to “black issues”. Now I will admit for full disclosure that I do watch the State of the Black Union on C-Span. I will also admit that the program does need some re-tooling in its format. There are too many people on the dais and sometimes they tend to go off the subject. Sure, who doesn’t like Dick Gregory sticking it to “the man”, but when “the man” is sponsoring your program you might want to rethink who you invite. Even though the corporate heads of Wal-Mart are use to being called everything under the sun, I don’t think they like words like “cracker” and “white boy” being used while their logo is in the background. It’s hard being militant these days because it just doesn’t pay the bills. Craig Hodges wore a dashiki to the White House and you haven’t heard from him since. It must be hard trying to fund the revolution on a shoe string budget so I guess you would need a corporate sponsor. With an impressive sponsorship list such as Wells Fargo (home foreclosures), Exxon Mobil (high gas prices), and Wal-Mart (outsourced labor to foreign countries) you have the makings of a high profile event. I’m surprised Bob “pimping ain’t easy” Johnson didn’t come up with this concept. Oh yeah, he is not in the business of uplifting black folks, just tearing them down. Tavis brought this on himself with his perceived bias against Obama. I believe he did start out really trying to help black folks but somewhere after the books, television shows, and radio shows he lost focus. He became a brand. Which is a good thing if you are Dwayne Wade but if you fighting for the people, that is not your ultimate goal. You see what a lot of our so called “black leaders” don’t realize is you can’t be a Stokely Standiford Churchill Carmichael and an Earl Graves, Sr. at the same time. As the old saying goes “man can’t serve two masters”. You can’t verbally lambast Obama and then throw Hillary Clinton softball questions particularly after her husband’s outbursts in South Carolina. I know that the Clintons are near in dear to the hearts of some black folks. I will admit for a period of time, I even drank from the Clinton kool-aid. I know that people know what they are getting with Hillary versus the unknown. It just seems to me that if Tavis, who says he loves black people, should be more neutral in his commentary. I have been listening to him on the Tom Joyner Morning Radio Show and he never calls Hillary into question. He still hasn’t said anything about her “Secret Bosnia Death Trip” with Sinbad and Sheryl Crowe. Why can’t Clinton catch some of this “heat” as well? As John McCain would say “My Friends”, I don’t know but it’s starting to look like the fix is in. Lawd have mercy say it ain’t so Tavis is on the take. Tavis can’t be in the pocket of the Clintons. No! The man that loves his people is now being paid off by “the man”, or in this case “the woman”. This could be bad news for Tavis Smiley followers - individuals that buy his books and that go to hear him speak. They truly believe in him and if he is on the take it would be a shame. Again, all this is pure speculation and there is not a smoking gun to prove guilt or innocence. I hope that Tavis gets back to the grassroots level activism that his idol Martin Luther King, Jr. was a leader in. Leave the grandstanding to Puff Daddy because he is way better at it than you are. Don’t be afraid if Obama wins the presidency, because activism will still be needed. Racism, Sexism, and Classism are still running rampant more than ever. So Tavis, the next time you talk to Exxon Mobil let them know about the outrageous gas prices and what they should be doing to make it easier for us regular folks. The next time you take Obama to task, make sure you call Hillary out as well. Don’t become like so many of these civil rights relics living off their past glory and present day monetary gain. If you are upset because some black folks aren’t feeling you right now, don’t worry because they’ll come around. We are the most forgiving people on this planet. If you don’t believe me, ask O.J. Simpson. He doesn’t get down with black folks like that. The last time he was around black folks was in county lock up. If you look outside his last court hearing, you watched black folks protesting for his release and selling “the juice is loose” t-shirts. I don’t believe this will be the last time we hear from Mr. Smiley. Besides who else is going to let Al Sharpton, Cornel West, Dick Gregory and Louis Farrakhan on a stage together. All brought to you by Pizza Hut of course.

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