It is sad and disappointing that Tavis Smiley and Al Sharpton are not getting along. This is another
indication of proof that Blacks will not stop fighting one another, and cannot come together as we
should. It is just another example of, ‘I am better than you and I will do whatever it takes to
remove or overpower you at all costs.’
I used to appreciate both of these Black men, but now I can only highly admire just one.
When Tavis - after 12 years – resigned from the Tom Joyner Morning Show, I knew something
was wrong. Oh, and then him being fired and/or voluntarily resigning from BET?
In Smiley's autobiography “What I know for Sure” he said that he did not speak to his mother for
two years when she told him he had to step down from his class president position due to his
declining grades. Wow! That says a lot about a person, or does it? What type of person takes
that stance against their own Mother?
Parents can have a tendency to make their children angry, sad, disappointed and even feel
unloved, but in Smiley's case, his mother and stepfather provided unconditional love and support.
The third of ten children born in Mississippi, Smiley said that although his family was poor, they
never had much of what they wanted nor was ever hungry. It sounds as though he and I had
similar families. There was seven of us. Both of my parents were born and raised in the South
and moved to other/better non-Southern States. While raising us, they made us go to church and
forced us to embrace education. They loved us, disciplined us and provided life's necessities, but I
suppose that is were our similarities differ.
While growing up with my parents, we not only feared them more than God, but we respected
them. They were the leaders and instructors of our lives. We respected them, and in every
situation, their power superceded everyone else's - sometimes even God's. As children, we knew
that love and respect went hand in hand, along with love, respect and fear. We obeyed them;
knowing they had the last word. I want to say that Smiley was different and brave, but the only
word that truly comes to mind, is stupid and selfish.
Now, do not get me wrong, I am not attacking Tavis Smiley, but am wondering why does his
actions seem more self-serving than those of the self-promoting Al Sharpton. Why did he see a
need to publicly call out Al Sharpton without calling Mr. Sharpton first?! It seems as though
Smiley was seeking some much needed attention that he had recently lost. And yes, Sharpton
called Smiley on his public rant, and I believe he should have, but both must act accordingly in the
best interest of The People. All of us are accountable, not just President Barack Obama, but
media guru, Tavis Smiley and community activist, Al Sharpton. However, I am accountable for
me just as everyone is accountable for their individual selves. We are accountable for, as my
mother used to say, acting out, showing out, or better yet, acting a fool.
The beef between Smiley and Sharpton is the same crabs in the barrel syndrome. Sadly, this
complex only hurts us. Sadly, it does not allow us to face the reality of what is true and that truth
is that Blacks are down and out because we hate one another. The reality and truth is, we are
jealous and envious towards one another. And the truth is, Whites do not have to do much to hurt
us, as we have been very busy as well as successfully hell-bent on hurting ourselves.
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| Tavis Smiley vs. Al Sharpton
long time ago because a long time ago, we were busy trying to prove to
one another just how great and important we were. We were too busy
competing against one another while we should have been uniting and
fighting the struggle – TOGETHER!
Blacks over darker skinned Blacks, the lighter toned Blacks ran with that
White-self-induced influence and began the rage towards dark skinned
It is just silly and dumb because Whites have other lighter skinned Blacks on their side – fighting "darky." My own father,
may God rest his soul, was a bigot and like it or not, I am my father’s child. However, I must believe and have proven
that I have evolved.
The lighter skinned Blacks are hating on the darker Blacks and the Whites hate us all. I hate to say it, but in that sense,
us Blacks are the idiots!
All of us Blacks have to work harder and fight harder against injustices and racism, why would we want to fight so hard
amongst and against one another when that only makes the battle that much harder? In a sense, we are in the same fight
but we are not the enemy. What sense does it make? I, myself was so dense about my experience with the bigotry from
my own Black people, that I failed to realize I was a victim.
I had no idea what was going on when a sista (a Black African American woman) was being unfairly mean and deceitful
towards me. I never lied to her, cheated her, gossiped about her or anything. Instead, in the beginning of our relationship,
we laughed, shared jokes, ideas, and all that other stuff and I assumed we were enjoying one another’s friendships. I
assumed we were sistas united. I honestly believed I was being "cool" and sincere while hanging out with another sista –
a Black woman just like me! I assumed we were sistas as one, however all that "assuming" got me no place and painfully
realized that I was wrong.
when this sista was mean to another sista. For a time, I wondered what
was wrong, but then it was revealed to me: it was the light skinned being
pitted against the dark skin Black African Americans. It is truly sad that
two, seemingly and fairly brown-chocolate-mocha colored sistas not
getting along because of the distaste of each others skin. What? We
both have the same color of skin tones! It took a darker skinned sista to
point that out to me. (Shaking my head.) I felt stupidity-silly and
dumbfounded when I found myself a victim of a Black person who chose
not to accept me because of the color of our matching skin tones.
We fight one another and it has gotten us nowhere fast and it will be the same thing with Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley;
they will both fail to reach their desired goals and agendas.
I was not reluctant towards Al Sharpton for the Tawny Brawley, no in fact, I felt sorry for him getting caught in a
situation that he failed to fully investigate. Certainly it was his fault just as well as it was not, but he should have known
better. However, at that time, I did presumably see him as self-promoting and not doing enough to serve the Black
community. Back then, I did not know Al Sharpton that well as I did not follow his actions; not being aware of his
motives. The only thing I knew about him was through news outlets, but when Al Sharpton ran for president, things
transformed [for me.] My views of him were different when he ran in 2004 and by the 2008 presidential campaign, I fell
in love with his ideas. Yes, perhaps they were just speeches and I was keenly aware of that, but if you watched, listened
and paid careful attention to the debates, he was the ONLY one who stuck to and with the issues. Forget Hillary Clinton
because I want to support a woman. Forget John Edwards because I think he just might be best for The People. Oh and
definitely, forget Barack Obama because of the color of his skin as it is good to support one of us – another Black
African American. I never considered either of those factors. I wanted the best person to win, and at that time, I really
and truly felt it was Al Sharpton.
him because so many things he said during the debates were legitimate.
Al Sharpton, a Black man who seemed to love The People, not the idea
of being the first Black president. He certainly did not appear nor sound
self-serving, but genuinely sincere.
arrogant just as well. Both have made mistakes, but they are human.
is president of the United States. One would think that President Barack Obama has enough problems with some
Whites, and Smiley's actions only brings additional obstacles.
receive some accolades for his hard work. (Who does not want to feel important, but on top of that, receive praise for
their labor while assisting another?)
Whether Tavis Smiley or Al Sharpton were the president of the Untied States, I would be hard on either of them if they
did not devote themselves to my needs. Notwithstanding, I would also praise them for their hard work, dedication and
attentiveness to the needs of The People.
I would hold each of them accountable, but if I could help either of them achieve their goals in the best interest of The
People, I would be there. I would not by any means, feel a need to consider or compromise my ego, but supply aid where
I would want to help the cause, not give some Wites more of a reason to attack another brotha – whether that brotha or
Black Brother be light skinned toned or darker skinned, he would first and foremost, have my support.
on TV from time to time,… but WAIT!!!!!!! Even then, during THAT
particular show, he was attacking president Obama while sitting with
Michael Moore! And I will say, that during that November 30, 2009
episode, it was Michael Moore – a WHITE man - who was supporting
President Barack Obama, while Smiley happily sat and belittled him.
Anyway as I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself, I had long forgotten Smiley, but it seems as though he is
deviously searching for some attention. Perhaps he's trying to replace or catchup or find that same love he lost during
those two years when he CHOOSE not to speak to his mother. How peculiar that he would finally return to the TJMS to
promote his Black symposium but only to bring with him his aggression towards other Blacks.
would never stand against nor ridicule everything he does and says.
When Smiley was on the radio, the only nice thing he could say about
Obama was that he glad he won. Since then… I always wondered if
Smiley resigned from the TJMS due to the aversion he received from the
listeners as the majority of them truly disliked the things he said about
President Obama. (Seems like someone needs a hug.)
better or anything successful he himself has not yet achieved. Perhaps
he hates to feel superior of other Blacks. I wonder if it is his ego and
loathing of other Blacks is so great that he cannot stand that a Black man
of a great majority of Whites.
I have to wonder, does he just hate himself and other Blacks that much. Oh the pain!
When I return in my next life, I am going to ask to be RICH and White and then I will say, "You Black people are your
own worst enemy." I will be able to use the same racial epithets and choice words when I say, "I do not have to do
anything to ya because you aggressively seek to do it to yourselves. My work here is done."
In the words of the beaten-down-by-whitey, Mr. Rodney Glen King, but filled with great desire and continuance to see
the hope, "Can’t we all just get along?" Oh, the pain!
while helping The People and with that help, comes along support for President
Obama. In the end, everyone wins. For just a brief moment, both Smiley and
Sharpton need to put their egos aside and help The People. Smiley can boast
that he helped The People of Black America and Sharpton can proudly boast
that he stood for and by The People.
hard the fight may be or the wounds we might suffer, we must unite; no matter
how hard and laborious.
And at the end of the day, we can just hug ourselves and say what a great job
we have done. We may even twist our arms by patting ourselves on the back,
but another Brotha or Sista will observe the other's pain and will reach out and
help the other all while massaging away our egos; building a stronger Black
We cannot afford to tear each other down as the consequences are too detrimental. We have children to lead and
because of our love for them, we must end this vicious cycle and stop being stupid, selfish as well as self-absorbed,
irritating, deceitful and callous.
Honestly, this is not a moment of make-believe, but is my hope and within that hope is a test of our courage without losing
heart or one another’s trust and assistance. We must remember and realize that we need one another. Yes, there will
always be obstacles, but we do not have to be that obstacle and burden - especially towards each other.
Everyone wants, needs and enjoys receiving praise and acknowledgement for doing good deeds, but we cannot always
count on that from non-Black Americans, so we need to turn to and support one another.
We can no longer fight each other but remember the struggle during the Civil Rights Movement and that the ongoing long-
lasting fight and struggle remains: the fight of racism of non-Black America....not ourselves.
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
"There are moments in our lives that make and sets the course of who we are going to be. Sometimes they are
little subtle moments, and sometimes they are big moments we never saw coming. No one asks his or her life to
change but it does; it is what you do afterwards that count. And at that very moment, we find out who you really
|Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Filed under Commentary
|This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 and is filed under Keeba’s Commentary and Political Notes.
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|Keeba Smith is a published writer and desired screenplay artist. She is the author of “Shades of Bright Pale,” and many other
unacquainted writings. Please visit www.Keeba.org to find out more about Keeba Smith, read additional critiques and her
unpublished autobiography, “Spirit in the Dark.”