In reality TV world, each week the members of said show gather around and the host or judges determine who must be eliminated in order for the others to make it to the next level. Contestants, I vote for Tavis Smiley. I asked Tavis and Co. to remove me from his mailing list because I no longer find him relevant to the culture. Almost immediately I received an e blast asking me to register for the 2009 State of the Black Union, which took place on February 28. For those who are unaware, Tavis majorly upset the Black blogosphere when during the end of 2008 he invited bloggers to compete to attend and be a part of a special online journalist panel that was to be featured at this year’s conference. Beside’s upsetting everyone from Gina McCauley of What About Our Daughters, to Jack and Jill Politics and Dallas South Blog — Tavis made a real mockery of bloggers, most of whom do more actual reporting on the state of Blacks in America and also are not afraid to use their reach to incite some serious change.
I guess Tavis and fam didn’t take too kindly to my email, because they have since bombarded my inbox with no unsubscribe link to be found. To put it simply, I want Tavis to go away, along with the entire notion there is one or several appointees who speak fully and broadly for Black America. I have attended Tavis’ annual event almost a decade ago when it was known as the Black Think Tank. I was mighty impressed by the lineup of the panelists including the next likely candidate for elimination, the RNC’s head ass clown, Michael Steele. These gatherings do little to truly advance the position or status of Black Americans who aren’t named Tavis Smiley. For a tenth anniversary of the State of the Black Union, not one single piece of legislation has ever emerged from this meeting of the minds or anything else that could be considered tangible, minus an uptick in Tavis Smiley’s book sales.
Like many others I’ve encountered online and in conversation, there was a moment, long gone, where Tavis was making attempts to do important work on the behalf of Black people. However, it truly is a new day in America, and Tavis’ continued lectures to Black America about what each of us should be doing have past its prime.
Tavis, what you should be doing, is using your vast media influence to promote education, raise money for local schools, redirection of resources to eliminate poverty -as the late Tupac Shakur observed, “we have money for wars but can’t feed the poor” – lobby for our government to end this illegal war and the persecution of people of color worldwide.
Why not start holding America accountable for police brutality in an injustice system and the nations’ flagrant refusal to invest in major urban neighborhoods in St. Louis, Detroit and other cities where unemployment, crime, and lack of infrastructure and services have ravaged once prosperous Black communities.
Tavis could call out churches and their mega mentality that is doing little to uplift or build Black people; churches that have conveniently kept silent while AIDS, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence and issues of gender discrimination continue diminish the capacity of their mostly female congregations to get ahead in today’s society.
Where Tavis could be the hinge that connects all walks of African-American life and ideology, he views us with as much as homogeneity as any mainstream white politician. His treatment of President Obama during the campaign was a clear indication. For the first time ever, there is a viable, forward thinking Black candidate for President, but in all of his commentary and public espousals Tavis could not and would not throw his support behind Barack Obama. Is this not the type of advancement for Black Americans you have been so diligently working towards all these years?
Like a middle class task force panel with no actual members of the middle class holding tenure, Tavis is highly removed from Black America, as we exist on the ground. With motives completely self-serving, Tavis Smiley is the snakey show contestant who you wonder about from week to week. Doesn’t everyone see how conniving and untrustworthy he really is? His attempts to camouflage a blatant come-up with a love for his people are totally transparent. It is why he is being called down to the carpet for the final time.
Mr. Smiley, please pack your knives and go.