Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

Tavis Smiley Quits Tom Joyner Show

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Activist Said to Be Hurt by "Hate" Over Obama Issue

After nearly 12 years as a fixture on radio's syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show," activist, commentator and broadcast personality Tavis Smiley has quit the program, Joyner told listeners on Friday.

 

"He called me yesterday and said, 'I quit,'" Joyner said on the air.

Joyner said Smiley told him he was working on too many projects, but believed the real reason was that "he can't take the hate.

"He can't take the hate he's taking over this whole Barack Obama thing. People are really upset with him. He's always busting Barack Obama's chops. They call. They e-mail. They joke. They threaten. You know Tavis like I do. He needs to feel loved.

"We're so emotional about this Barack Obama candidacy. If you don't say anything for Barack Obama, you're considered to be a hater. . . . It's just that it hurts so deep when the people you love don't agree with you.

"He loves black America and black America has been very critical of him," Joyner said of Smiley. "It hurts. It hurt me to hear black Americans criticize him."

Joyner said Smiley's resignation was not effective immediately, but Joyner considered it to be so. "I asked him to reconsider," Joyner said, and although Smiley agreed to do so, "he had pretty much made up his mind."

Late Friday, Smiley issued a statement saying "it is my intention to take on the issues of the day in my commentary twice every week with the same energy, passion and commitment until the end of June." (See next item).

Smiley had been critical of Obama for not attending Smiley's annual "State of the Black Union" symposium on Feb. 23. Of the presidential candidates, only Sen. Hillary Clinton accepted the invitation. Obama said he would send his wife, Michelle, but Smiley insisted that was not good enough.

"I'm catching hell," Smiley acknowledged in an interview then with Michael H. Cottman of BlackAmericaWeb.com.

"Who Died and Made Tavis King?" asked a headline on theRoot.com over a column by Melissa Harris-Lacewell. "Does Tavis realize that Obama is trying to win an election?"

Joyner explained to Journal-isms Friday night that Smiley's 2006 "Covenant With Black America" was written with the idea of challenging candidates in 2008 to take a stand on its proposals, and in that spirit Smiley had challenged Obama. The "Covenant" Web site says, "As we move toward the national elections of 2006 and 2008, Black Americans are entitled to have questions answered and visions shared of where our leaders want to take this country and a blueprint for how we get there."

Others, such as the Web site blacktalentnews.com, noted that in February 2007, Smiley complained when C-SPAN's broadcast of the "State of the Black Union" gathering at Hampton University was interrupted for the kickoff of Obama's presidential campaign, and that when the controversy erupted over the sound bites aired from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons, "Smiley charged that Obama should have defended his pastor, not condemned him."

Paul Farhi noted in Saturday's Washington Post, "Days after Obama's win in the Iowa caucus, Smiley warned on Joyner's show: 'Don't fall so madly in love [with Obama] that you surrender your power to hold people accountable. . . . I'm not saying overlook Senator Obama, but you now better be ready to look him over.'"

"Boys and girls, Mr. Smiley has had a problem with Sen. Obama for quite a while," Laura Washington wrote April 7 in the Chicago Sun-Times, in a column called, "Slams at Obama show Smiley is out of touch."

Joyner co-hosted the "State of the Black Union." Not only have Joyner and Smiley been friends and allies, but Smiley's twice-weekly commentaries brought political analysis to the Joyner program, which also serves up music and comedy.

Joyner's "decision in 1996, to hire former Black Entertainment Television host Tavis Smiley to provide daily political commentary on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, was pivotal in raising political activism and awareness among blacks via the airwaves," Chandra R. Thomas wrote on Time.com last Saturday, in a story called "How Black Radio Found Its Voice."

Joyner urged listeners to call or e-mail Smiley or even their friend, professor Cornel West, who has been a part of Smiley's forums. "I think we should all let him know that black America still loves him."

Smiley addressed the Obama controversy in a Feb. 14 commentary on the Joyner show, but it apparently failed to persuade listeners.

Among the projects Smiley is working on are a documentary, a bus tour and a book publishing company. But Joyner said both he and Smiley have always been multi-taskers.

Joyner asked one of the show's comedians, Huggie Lowdown, to make Smiley the "'Bama of the Week" for resigning.

 

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Smiley: I'm Not Leaving the Joyner Show Until June

Tavis Smiley issued this statement late Friday:

There is no way to put into words the love and respect that Tom Joyner and I have for each other, or the love affair that I've had with TJMS listeners for almost 12 years now.

Due to the overwhelming amount of phone calls and e-mails I have received from listeners and other media, I wanted to briefly clarify a few issues that I will address more fully in my regular TJMS commentary on Tuesday morning, April 15, at 8:20 a.m. ET.

I did not "quit" the Tom Joyner Morning Show effective immediately. In July I will celebrate my 12th anniversary with the show, and as I discussed with Tom, it is my intention to take on the issues of the day in my commentary twice every week with the same energy, passion and commitment until the end of June.

Contrary to what has been suggested, I have decided to clear some things off my plate so that I can devote my time and attention to some exciting and empowering projects that The Smiley Group, Inc. and other divisions of my company have underway this summer, this fall and beyond.

I look forward to continuing the dialogue on Tuesday and in the coming months.

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David Aldridge, "Tired," Leaving Philly Inquirer

Sports columnist David Aldridge, hit by layoffs at the Philadelphia Inquirer a year ago, then reinstated after protests that a disproportionate number of journalists of color were affected, is leaving the paper, he told colleagues on Thursday.

 

nba.com

David Aldridge

"I'm just tired," Aldridge told Journal-isms. "I've been full-time with the Inquirer and Turner since the fall of '04 and it's been a grind," referring to Turner Network Television. "I really enjoyed my time in Philly and I've come to really respect the fans there, who only want to win. I don't have anything else lined up other than continuing to work with TNT, which continues to be an excellent place to be."

Aldridge becomes the third black columnist to leave the Inquirer sports department recently, following Stephen A. Smith, who was reassigned to be a reporter and instead left the paper, and Claire Smith, assistant sports editor and baseball columnist, who went to ESPN.

Sports editor Jim Cohen said in a memo, "David Aldridge will be leaving The Inquirer after next week. As many of you know, David has been juggling responsibilities for The Inquirer and a television network for a number of years, and that has become untenable for him. We will miss him for his reporting, maturity and professionalism. As someone who has worked with David in newspapers and television, I have always appreciated his dedication to doing journalism the right way, regardless of the medium and of the industry trends. At this time, David plans to devote his full attention to television. We wish David and his family well."

Cohen told Journal-isms on Friday, "I feel very strongly that diversity is very important to our newspaper and our readers. I am committed to making us more diverse. I understand that actions speak louder than words, and I hope our actions in the future will speak positively for themselves."

In January 2007, Aldridge was one of 71 members of the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia in the Inquirer newsroom who were notified that they would be laid off. After further negotiations between the Guild and management, he was reinstated.

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Feedback: Why is Pat Buchanan Tolerated?

Shouldn't MSNBC and NBC be asked to explain their rationale for employing Pat Buchanan as a political analyst, a man notorious for his racist, anti-Semitic rants and writings, especially during a season when a leading candidate for president is a member of a group that Buchanan takes great joy in disparaging with false "data"?

The very responsible Southern Poverty Law Center has taken notice. Shouldn't NABJ and/or Unity be interested in NBC's response to the question I posed above? I mean, if NBC can hire Buchanan as an analyst, why won't they offer Minister Louis Farrakhan a spot on some of MSNBC's frequent political roundtables?

How can these anchors and commentators on MSNBC sit next to Buchanan, listen to the garbage he spews, then say nothing to refute him? Yet they wonder, oh so innocently, why Rev. Jeremiah Wright is so angry; why Sen. Barack Obama didn't just walk right out of his church. Hell, I don't see any of those commentators walking right off the set (and leaving their paychecks behind) to protest the outrageous lies Buchanan foists off on the public. Many of them — Tim Russert included — have said they would return as guests on Don Imus' show, if asked. How does this hypocrisy go unchallenged?

No doubt the network suits will invoke freedom-of-speech arguments. The proper response to that, it seems to me, is that Buchanan can say whatever he wants, but that he has no constitutionally guaranteed right to say anything at all on a mass medium that reaches people he routinely trashes with insults, innuendos and outright lies.

I'm a bit befuddled about why black journalists took on Imus, who is basically an entertainer engaging public policy issues on public media, while remaining strangely silent about the likes of Buchanan, a faux journalist with a history of rank racism entertaining the multitudes on television, morning, noon and night.

Just asking . . .

John H. Britton
Nashville, Tenn.
April 10, 2008

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Feedback: Smiley Needs to Thicken His Skin

Tavis Smiley is quitting Tom Joyner because he can't stand the "hate"? Give me a break! I've long admired Smiley's hustle, consider him a friend and have written favorably about him, but he has become the most overexposed Negro in America in recent years, a self-appointed czar of black legitimacy.

Who, besides Tavis, really believes that Obama or anybody else is duty bound to drop whatever they're doing because Smiley sent them a racial solidarity subpoena? Thicken your skin, old pal, and get real.

Who made you the HNIC?

Jack E. White Jr.
Richmond, Va.
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Smiley's Ego Was Bruised

Tavis Smiley is an intelligent and talented commentator and observer of the political and social scene. These attributes, however, do not make him an infallible arbiter of black correctness or protocol.

His snit about Obama's decision not to attend his forum was not about an affront to black people. It was really about Tavis being personally affronted and his ego being bruised.

Both Smiley and Obama are valuable members of and contributors to black America.

Hopefully, Smiley will get over this nonsense, place his ego in check, and continue to be the valuable asset to dialogue about black concerns that he has been in the past.

Joseph Boyce
Indianapolis
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Tavis Needs to Press On, Get a Hug

Many people are tired of Tavis and his know-it-all, preachy personality, not to mention that he can't make up his mind about whether he is a journalist. We're just plain tired. Listeners don't have to agree with him. And if a grown media personality can't accept that people won't always take what he shoves down our throats, so be it. Press on and get a hug from somebody's grandma.

Jamesetta M. Walker
Assistant features editor
The Virginian-Pilot
Norfolk, Va.
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: When Did We Become So Unforgiving?

Since when did we folks in Black America become so unforgiving of another brother? Tavis was out of line pounding Obama for not coming to the State of the Union Forum. But we have these Black America forums because of Tavis. They certainly put things in perspective and educate a lot of folks. A year ago, some of these folks who are critical of Tavis for criticizing Obama were asking was Obama black enough.

Gregory Lewis
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
April 11, 2008
Lewis is senior reporter and author of Old School Blues blog at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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Feedback: Here Are Two "First Rules"

Note to Tavis:

First rule of covering politics: It's never personal.

First rule of covering black people: There's no pleasing us.

Learn this, and let it go.

Sonya Ross
News Editor — Regionals
The Associated Press
Washington
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Smiley Put Himself in Precarious Position

Well, I can't say I'm surprised this happened with Tavis resigning because of the heat. He took a stand against the only legitimate Black candidate America has had in 20 years and wanted the Black community to embrace his theory of "be responsible."

I've been listening to the Tom Joyner show for years. Tavis has been very opinionated, and a lot of the time I don't agree with him. Maybe it's his sermon style, which is condescending. He speaks as though it's more fact than opinion. So when he hit on a larger-than-Tavis subject, Barack Obama, he put himself in a precarious position with the Black community.

He bailed so he could still keep his other adventures afloat. Who would support him if Obama loses and he had bad-mouthed Obama during the election?

Our so-called Black leaders need to support the efforts of Obama. He may not be the answer, but the brotha is trying, instead of just talking about change.

So if you have a negative opinion of that, then maybe you need to put the microphone down and show us the road to change instead of criticizing those Blacks trying to really make it happen.

Ken Dozier
Kansas City, Mo.
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Local Columnists Learn About Criticism

As a columnist, it's hard for me to fathom how Tavis Smiley could dish provocative commentary, but not have the skin to take it when it ricochets.

Being able to accept criticism and admit when you've made a bad call or screwed up actually empowers you. It validates you with your audience. They appreciate that your opinions are not so heavenly bound that they do little earthly good other than to line your own wallet.

I believe Tavis got his start doing local radio commentary in L.A. He talked mainly about politics and race, which is basically easy to rant about. Perhaps he would have benefited from being a local news columnist covering a variety of subjects. A guy with his face in the newspaper— particularly in a small town where everyone knows everyone and keeps tabs on the issues — and living IN that town. A community where people easily recognize you and know your address and who your wife and children are. A place where folks will confront you in Walmart or threaten to wait in the lobby of the news building to "bus a cap in your a---" because of a column you wrote.

I know these things personally. If you're true to what you do, It doesn't make you want to quit. Rather, it thickens your skin and makes your pen even sharper.

Wil LaVeist
Norfolk, Va.
April 11, 2008
LaVeist was the first black metro columnist of the Hampton Roads Daily Press (Tribune Co.), former executive producer of Blackvoices.com and current editor of MIX Magazine in Norfolk.

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Feedback: Move on, Tavis; Move on, Tom Joyner

Be for real. Send Tavis a "we still love you" e-mail? Here's the lowdown in the opinion business: You take your hits and keep moving. You take the heat from blacks, whites, and any and everybody else who disagrees with your view. That's the way it is. Too bad Tavis only now found that out.

And true: Senator Obama is not trying to win a popularity contest. He's trying to win his party's nomination so he can move into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in January, the perch from which he will run the country as the most powerful man in the free world, as we journalists like to say.

Move on Tavis, and move on TJMS. There are plenty of black commentators out here. The Lord didn't throw away the mold when He made Tavis.

Rose Russell
Columnist
Toledo Blade
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Anyone Could See Trouble Brewing

The problem with Tavis Smiley and Tom Joyner is that they helped cultivate a mindset in the Black community, and now when the community voices its displeasure toward either of them, they think they are hated by the community.

Smiley should have realized the error of his ways the moment he criticized Barack Obama a couple of months ago.

Smiley knew he was going to take heat and deservedly so.

The mindset that both he and Joyner have shown over this topic is indicative of why the Black community is not taken very seriously.

Instead of praising Obama for running a campaign and understanding that he may not be able to appear at the State of the Black Union function, Smiley ripped him on national airwaves.

And he wonders why so many people were against him?

Even Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles could see that there was trouble brewing from that posture.

Tavis' Union platform is pretty much a farce in many eyes of the Black community. Look at the sponsors this year. Many have been "enemies" of Katrina victims, of Black homeowners and the like. Yet he catered to them.

If anyone really wants a good reason why Smiley has quit his post at TJMS, one only has to realize that Smiley is not a journalist.

He's a pundit.

That's it.

A true media professional in the Black community would have realized that there are certain battles you do not want to engage in.

Smiley didn't realize that and it humbled him. If Joyner, Smiley and anyone else in the camp that tried to bring down Obama learns from this, it could make them better voices in the Black community.

Even Dr. West realized how foolish it was to criticize Obama.

Why didn't Joyner or Smiley realize it?

Gregory Moore
Managing Editor
San Antonio Informer
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Go on Home, Baby Boy

Since when did a "leader" NOT get flak from all sides? Since when did a "leader" not feel like he's/she's NOT loved? Since when did a "leader" NOT feel hatred and scorn from even their closest friends and wonder if what they are fighting for is really worth the fight?

Pick any "leader" with conviction, with character, with a cause and you will find all the above. Tavis may have felt that he wanted to be a "leader," a "spokesperson," a "voice of the people," but when it got hot, when what he dished out came back in his face, he turned tail and ran. He picked up his marbles and flounced home sucking his thumb and whining.

When you are the "point man," you can expect to get shot at and bombs will be lobbed your way. That's what it means to be in front. If you are too thin-skinned or, worse yet, too proud, then leadership is not for you. To lead one must serve and sometimes when you serve you don't get a "thank you." Sometimes when you serve, you get the meal tossed back at ya because people ARE ungrateful and fickle. A leader must stick to his/her guns NO MATTER THE STORM and know that it WILL get ugly. How dare he think he should receive nothing but accolades! How dare he think that no one should dare express opinions while he expresses his!

Shame on you, Tavis! Go on home, Baby Boy, and when you become man enough to take the heat, then you can come back into the kitchen. Until then, go get your teddy bear, drink some warm milk and take yourself nice nap.

Suzanne Smith-Wigfall
Atlanta
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Focus on Obama's Platform, Not His Race

Tavis a quitter? Who'da thunk it? Tavis has taken his ball and gone in the house. He's not playing anymore.

First of all, I didn't appreciate anyone making Barack Obama to be the BLACK PRESIDENT. He's running for president of the UNITED STATES, not of THE UNITED BLACKS IN AMERICA.

Never was the issue of race discussed when white men were running for president. Wouldn't it have been racist to constantly address the white issues? Tavis and Tom Joyner put him in a horrible position. He can't be the president for only people of color. Tavis went overboard, Mr. Obama's platform should be the focus, not his color or racial makeup. After all, if we get right down to it, he's not all Black anyway. I am very disappointed in Mr. Smiley for not being able to accept criticism. Being in your line of work, you'd think it was expected. You are not as strong as you pretended to be after all.

S. Diane Shamburger
Chester, Pa.
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Love Does Hurt Sometimes

Bro Tavis,

I too am a brother who speaks out for justice, but on a small level. My friends and co-workers don't agree sometimes, but it's HOW deep is your LOVE. Bro Tavis, I hope that you look DEEP and know that you are a STREAM that flows. Coming from you flows justice, equality, and what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong.

Now is time for your DEEP LOVE to keep FLOWING. I run to my truck every Tuesday and Thursday to listen to your FLOW. I pray that the wrong FLOW doesn't replace you. It's BAD flow that is killing our race and the U.S. Tavis, you've got the right FLOW.

I am a nobody trying to tell everyone — just like you. Remember, LOVE does HURT sometimes. We are sorry for hurting YOU, but keep the flow my brother.

Roosevelt Sculark
Kansas City
April 11, 2008
Sculark adds that he was born in Clarksdale, Miss., that his mom raised a family of seven kids, and that he is a graduate of Jackson State and Howard universities.

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Feedback: We Can't Afford to Let Tavis Go

I listen to the Tom Joyner show every day, and I have listened to Tavis’s commentaries. Although I may not agree with everything he says, I do support him and admire his dedication, intelligence and strength. If he is leaving the show due to the “hatred,” then we need to gather and show him that Black America does love and support him.

Maybe we all need to start calling his offices and start a writing campaign similar to the ones that he has encouraged us to do many times.

What Tavis as been saying is simply the truth. Although I am an Obama supporter (or an Obama Mama, as I like to say), we shouldn’t all be blindly voting for Obama just because he is Black. Heck, just because someone is Black doesn’t automatically mean that he or she is going to fight the good fight for the rest of us Afro-Americans; take Clarence Thomas as an example.

If it were not for radio shows like Tom Joyner, where people like Tavis are given an open mike to share insights and knowledge, most of us would still be in the dark about a lot of things that affect us as a people!

All Tavis was trying to suggest was that we need to be paying more attention to what each candidate is saying and, more important, hold them to it and make sure that they take our (Blacks) collective needs into consideration when making decisions.

What’s wrong with that?

I get so angry when I hear other Blacks stating how they are Obama supporters but can’t tell you a thing about his platform. If anything, we all should be giving Tavis our love and support for trying to slap us all awake. We can’t afford to let him go.

Anitra Brown Reed
Public affairs specialist
Philadelphia School District
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Come On, Tavis, Please Don't Detach

Come on, Tavis. WE NEED YOU and your invaluable contributions to the political landscape —as well — to the fabric of our cultural discussion surrounding this monumental presidential election season. I was never more proud of you (not that you need an endorsement from me) than your last appearance on Bill Maher's show, taking Pat Buchanan to task. Confession time: I take in so much of this election coverage trying to stay in the loop of what's being said, and to date, I have never heard anyone "check" Pat. Kudos to you, my brother.

Frankly, we do not get the Joyner Morning Show in my market (San Francisco/Oakland/Bay Area) so I have not heard the dialogue and discussions regarding your stance on Obama. Yes, I was hoping Michelle Obama had spoken during your State of the Black Union 2008, not because Obama couldn't, more so because, in our lifetimes, when have we had a black woman accorded this level of exposure talking about a U.S. presidential election?

If you need time off, and, deservingly so, take what you need to regroup but, please, don't detach. At least not from the Joyner community of avid listeners. All of this fuss demonstrates (to me) how enlivened we are about the current state of affairs and that is A GOOD THING.

For years, my late father used to say, "Where black folks are concerned, it didn't matter if we had a frog in the White House." He, too, was an avid consumer of political fodder, and what he meant by that was that black folks had and have to make our on way in this world. Honestly, I don't see that changing anytime soon, but for the first time in our lifetimes, notwithstanding the commendable efforts of Revs. Jackson and Sharpton, "we" are actively engaged in an election at levels heretofore unprecedented. YOU, Mr. Smiley, factor greatly in this national, and dare I say, international engagement.

As your brother and mentor Dr. Cornel West says, "Race Matters" and so do YOU!

Sandra Varner
Oakland, Calif.
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Face-Saving Arrangement Needed

I do admit that I was surprised when I heard that Tavis was bothered by Obama not showing his face at Tavis' event. It is a critical time, therefore Obama has to be in many places basically at the same time. Then I think about the other appearances that Obama has made and how many times he made them.

It would've been a good gesture to have Mrs. Obama on in his absence with the agreement that Barack would show at a later time. Everyone could've saved face.

Shawnre Tieuel
Writer and Filmmaker
Houston
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Tavis Made His Bed . . .

For years, I appreciated listening to Smiley on the TJMS, offering a black perspective on the national news. It was both enlightening and encouraging to hear him, because the black community at large NEEDS to hear national news and analysis from someone they can identify with.

Smiley was dead wrong on Obama. For two consecutive State Of The Black Union forums, Smiley was taking potshots at Obama. Last year, the subject was why Obama announced his candidacy in Springfield, Ill., on the same day as the SOBU. Smiley and panelists felt Obama should have came there and announced there. The tone was almost spiteful, in my opinion. I was taken aback by the reaction felt that day, because here was a man trying to do the seemingly impossible, and one of the biggest voices of black people in the current media had started slighting Obama.

This year, most of the SOBU was hovering around Obama not being there. Smiley made it a point of pointing out Obama's absence at every turn. Sure, Hillary Clinton would come. She thinks she knows how black people are. Smiley gave her maybe 10-15 minutes of airtime after the panelists were dismissed, which seemed odd to me, because if he wanted them there, why not have them sit in on the forum itself? Instead, Hillary used her time to make an attempt to endear herself to black people. The crowd appeared to be inattentive. then Tavis sat down with Hillary to give her some soft questions. She came off as the white woman that was going to "save y'all" from them bad peoples.

Apparently not many people remember that the TJMS and Tavis were very familiar with the Clintons during their time in office. Bill often called in and shot the bull with Tom. When the Clintons went to Africa in the latter years of his term, they took one camera crew with them: Tavis Smiley's. I viewed his tactics with Obama as settling his debt to them.

I never down a man for doing well, but I have to say Smiley has assumed a persona of CHIEF AFRICAN AMERICAN NEWS MAN. This persona is preventing him from being the man he was: inspiring, intelligent and articulate. Here's an example. Last year, Smiley had a follow-up book called "The Covenant In Action." After the SOBU, he and various panelists traveled to cities sharing this offering. He came to my city, and I made my way to see him. When he came to the pulpit (we were in a church), he prefaced his talk by saying that he was going to have a slide show, and it would be hard to understand it if you didn't have a copy of his book, so he'd wait and at this time, go buy a copy in the hallway.

To me, that was an insult. Does he think so little of the average black man's intelligence that I would need directions to follow his SLIDESHOW? After his speech, he and Eddie Glaude, a Princeton professor, did a Q&A. I felt I had to ask a question: How can we bring this message to the actual people who need to hear it, because the audience in the church was a captive one, and the targeted people have more faith in the word of 2 Pac than the word of God?

The two of them focused on my mentioning the word of 2 Pac versus the word of God, then told me that they wrote the book, it was up to ME to make it work. "Do as I say, not as I do" never flies well with black people. That demeanor led him to where he is today. He made the bed, lie in it.

Tony Young
Louisville, Ky.
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Never Take Anything Personally

Dear Mr. Tavis,

I know I was a bit dismayed to read about your reaction to Barack Obama's turning down your invitation. Frankly, I thought it was inappropriate. But I can see your side of things, I believe, and I feel it is time for all of us, including you, to simply forgive and move on.

We all know how hard to please black folks can be. One of the most powerful lessons we can learn here is to never take anything personally. As a wonderful spiritual teacher (Don Miguel Ruiz) has written, "Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering."

I know how so very many of us appreciate your tremendous love and dedication to the furtherance of the quality of life for the minorities of this country (and the world.) You have done great works on behalf of people of color for many years, and for this I gratefully acknowledge you, as I'm sure do countless others. Please take this acknowledgement to heart and continue your heart's pursuit. We need you in our lives.

Respectfully, and with love,

Rehna Alcyon
Grass Valley, Calif.
April 11, 2008

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Feedback: Stay Strong and Keep the Faith

The problem with Negroes who think Smiley should go is that they do not understand what it really means to be an African American in this country. Smiley knows and so do many of us who are of the darker hue. I say to Bro. Smiley, the love is there and it will continue to come your way, whether you stay or go to handle your business. As one who is so proud of the work you have done and will continue to do for our people, I say be strong, keep the faith and may the God of our forefathers bless your efforts. Peace!

Dr. Jimmy McJamerson Ph.D.
Owner
www.hjmcradio.com, a black history Internet radio station
Ruston, La.
April 12, 2008

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Feedback: Stop Busting Brother Obama

Brother Tavis, you should just stop busting Brother Obama. If you can't agree with him, just leave him alone. If you love that white girl so much, just concentrate on her and leave Obama alone. We BLACK people want a BLACK President and Obama is it!

Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade
yeyeolade.wordpress.com
Yorubaland, Nigeria
April 12, 2008

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Feedback: Smiley, Joyner Like "Crabs in a Barrel"

The audacity of Tavis and Tom!!! A few years back when we were attempting to nationally empower and organize black club owners, we invited both to our annual conferences for their "drawing & credibility" power — they both were too busy and declined. Mind you that was before the Covenant but not before our collective understanding of networking and empowering black entrepreneurs.

Tom and Tavis have always been self-serving and I shall not condemn them for that. But they have proved they do fit the "crabs in a barrel" mold of pulling other blacks down.

Good luck Tavis, we KNOW not to call on you. Now you too know "the call is not always answered" — move on.

Libby Anthony
National COPE Conference
Club Owners, Promoters, Entertainment Executives & Entrepreneurs
Atlanta
April 12, 2008

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Feedback: Get Your Bum Back in the Saddle

Would SOMEBODY PLEASE give Brother Smiley a BIG HUG and tell him to sit his hind parts down and be a journalist and not another wounded black man. Do your job, Tavis! Question Barack Obama's stance. We want him to be PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, not just the first Negro to reside in the OVAL OFFICE.

Iron Sharpens Iron. You two black men NEED one another to keep all of us honest.

Fire up your Ed Bradley candle and get your bum back in the saddle, young man.

Yolanda Y Williams
Missouri City, Texas
April 12, 2008

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Feedback: Tavis Should Research Clintons, McCains

If Tavis Smiley cannot see that without killing himself, Barack Obama cannot cover all the territory needed to be covered, then blind is not an adequate description.

There are 3 (three) Clintons out there stumping for Hillary. When I learned math, I learned that 3 were greater than 1. There is no one more capable of representing Barack Obama than his brilliant and gifted wife, Michelle; and we, the Americans of African descent, would have been proud to see her present her husband's views, policies, positions on issues and his overall platform. She would not have been so RUDE as to answer a question with "That's none of your business," as the bobbing head Chelsea did when asked about Monica Lewinsky. That is our business because Bill made it our business by disgracing the American people in our house, the White House.

Tavis needs to get his ego in check and use some common sense. We all have our priorities. Barack Obama's priority at this time is to get elected without stretching himself so thin that he is not effective. Remember the old "3 is greater than 1" rule.

I am suspicious of Tavis's attitude toward Barack Obama and my suspicions are based on observation.

Obviously, Tavis has not done his research about either the Clintons or the McCains. Bill's involvement with Colombia is a cause of grave concern, especially in view of all the monies he has received from the Colombians. Hillary is supposed to be opposed to the trade agreement with Colombia. Yes, I guess that's just like dodging bullets in Bosnia. Cindy McCain has some very dubious drug problems with a medical organization that she's affiliated with. Why hasn't Tavis questioned those things?

Not to attend a forum is not a serious indictment of one's character; but the situations cited above about the Clintons and McCains are questionable character flaws.

Stop talking so much, Tavis and do your due diligence.

Helen L. Burleson
Doctor of Public Administration
Olympia Fields, Ill.
April 12, 2008

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Feedback: Don't Make This Black vs. White

The last thing Obama needs is for a bunch of "talking heads" to muddy the racial waters more than they already are, thereby making his task of "reaching across the racial divide" even more impossible than I think it already is.

Do the math. WE can't elect him solely with Black votes, so shut the f... up and stop giving Rove and other propaganda spinners ammunition.

Turn this into a black vs white contest, and he loses. It's that simple, that complex.

Robert Thomas
Los Angeles
April 12, 2008

Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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