Rev. Al Shapton vs Tavis Smiley:
The Battle for Black Leadership Supremacy
"When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers"
Introducing in the red corner wearing the "Obama is My Homie" t-shirt, the reigning world champion of black leadership, the Rev. Al "Razor Sharp" Sharpton. And in the blue corner ,quietly sippin' on a Thermos of Obama Hata-aid, is the number one challenger, Tavis "Ain't Nobody Smilin'" Smiley.
After a long absence from the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Tavis Smiley made a comeback cameo appearance this morning as he came out swinging against against Rev. Al Sharpton, the NAACP and everybody else that has been ,unilaterally, supporting President Obama's policies. He feels that some of the Civil Rights folks have changed the lyrics from "We Shall Over Come" to "We Have Over Come," a bit prematurely by saying that it is not necessary for Obama to have a "black agenda." He also announced a meeting to discuss the Obama controversy to be held in Chicago on March 20th.
Later in the day, Rev. Sharpton had three hours, courtesy of his nationally syndicated program, "Keepin' it Real," to issue a rebuttal. Rev didn't have to do much name calling as his callers and Tweeters handled that. However, he did question whether the purpose of the March 20th camp meeting was for somebody to sell books.
Contrary to what Mr. Smiley says, The Prez does have a black agenda, if black kids would stay in school and stop listening to all that hippity hoppity music then they, too, could be the leaders of the Free world. At least that's the message that he gives when he's in front of a predominately black audience like the NAACP. I can't wait to see him perform the American Idol hit, "Pants on the Ground," at the next NAACP convention.
Many of us agree with Smiley, that it is not that simple. You can't talk about black pathology unless you put it in the context of global white supremacy.
It must be noted that members of the more black nationalistic community already beat Smiley to the punch as CEMOTAP and "The Family and Friends of Mutulu Shakur" already had this debate more than a year ago in Harlem. Unfortunately, most of the folks the were at the December 2008 debate will probably never be on that all-star panel at Smiley's "State of Black Union" meetings.
(Check out the audio courtesy of Voxunion.com)
It must also be noted that Glen Ford, of Black Agenda Report and members of the Black is Back Coalition have been raising the issue of Obama's responsibility to black folks for months.
So, the bigger issue that must be addressed is not only Obama but more importantly, the need for new voices to be heard in the black community.
For too many years, we have had the same old leaders discussing the same old issues. Yet, our condition seems to be getting worst.
It is a shame that we still have only a hand full of people (who most folks in the 'hood have never heard of) claiming to rep' for 30 million black folks. There are many questions that are relevant to everyday black folks that "black leaders" wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole, not the least being whether politics is a viable option for the liberation of black people in the first place.
It's time for new black voices blastin' from the grassroots.
So whoever wins the debate in March, as they say on the basketball court,
"We got next !"
Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots Fired.com. He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or firstname.lastname@example.org