Saturday, March 20, 2010

Did Tavis Smiley Get "Conference Blocked?"

Did Tavis Smiley Get "Conference Blocked ?"

Paul Scott

Rapper 50 Cent was once notorious for being able to push a rival's CD release date back. If Cam'ron or some other Hip Hop star planned to release a CD in March. 50 could make sure that their fans would not be bobbin' their heads to the latest beat until Labor Day.

I thought about this when I searched, unsuccessfully, for Tavis Smiley's "We Count: Need for a Black Agenda" Conference that was supposed to air on C-Span today and remind the Prez that a whole bunch of black votes voted for him, many of whom feel rejected.

I went to Smiley's website, "Tavis Talks," and saw a message that announced that because of the Health Care debate, the C-Span will tape the event and play it back on March 29th.

A couple of things wrong with that rationale.

First, the Health Care debate is tomorrow. I doubt if the conference would have interrupted coverage too much.

Secondly, C-Span has three channels. You would think that they could bump some shows on C-Span 2 to show the event live. Also, what about the other networks, CNN, MSNBC , BET and even Fox News, which I would think would jump at the chance to hear black folks bashing Obama.

Lastly, it's not like C-Span was bumping a Hip Hop awards show. It would have been good to show America that collective black thought is not monolithic.

Back during the Booker T Washington age in the late 19th-early 20th century, Washington was known to manipulate the media to silence his critics like WEB DuBois. I am not suggesting that somebody from Rev. Al Sharpton's (Smiley's chief rival for black leadership supremacy) camp pulled a Booker T but history points to the fact that tactics like this have been used to silence opposing voices.

More likely, since this is perhaps the most important weekend during the Obama administration, the producers at C-Span didn't think black political idealism was important at this stage in American history. Or maybe they did not want to upset the hegemony of dominant white thought.

Perhaps they feel that black people can only discuss basketball and Hip Hop?

Who knows?

Funny, I don't hear about anyone trying to push back the NCAA basketball tournament...

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or