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tavis-leather-jacket-good11 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.

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  • keke

    And let’s not get on the issue of black women within the context of advancing the black agenda and culture as a whole. Black women have done so much for the advancement of black people and our issues. Unfortunately, when we speak out or disagree, we get cast as “black females” putting the black man down. Black women have been held back and at times we have been told to keep quiet on issues that are important to us and wait our turn.

    Once again, it is important to not view black people as a monolith. We have varying opinions and ideas; and one person, no matter how big his pulpit is, does not speak for the entire black race! Please remember that. Tavis is a smart individual and he is well accomplished but it is important to remember that he does not speak for us all. And people can disagree with him if they please. That is something he is not used to. He does kiss butt of the old guard, and they in turn praise him. I can respect all that our elders have done for us. I can appreciate what Tavis has done for us but at the same time, we should not have to wait to be “annoited” by the professional and intellectual black elite in order to have our turn to push the black agenda.

  • I vehemently disagree. What Tavis Smiley should be doing is whatever the heck he wants to do – whatever his good conscience beckons him to do, and the same for you for that matter.

    I think the “Black Blogosphere” is generally speaking, submissive to the core and was blindsided, unable to fathom the notion of Smiley cutting against their proverbial grain – which is not at all about “serious change.”

    The irony is that I can’t say how many times I have watched T. Smiley facilitate discussions in which his guests articulated exactly most of the concerns indicated in this piece – sexism, homophobia in the church – you name it, he has tackled it.

    The writer here may not have known this, but a few minutes of research would have exposed these truths – which may be why Tavis didn’t tap dance for bloggers who are quick to critique absent the research required to speak . . . well I’ll stop, I’m sure you get my drift.

    Peace.