February 23, 2010

Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley: Fighting and Arguing on the Radio about... Barack Obama and A Black Agenda

Why are Negroes fighting during Black History Month anyway?

How did all of this start? Tavis talked about singing in a choir for Jesus and for Dr. King this morning on the Tom Joyner Show. He said something about choir rehearsal and not getting all the lyrics to a new tune. He also called out America's Black leaders like the Rev. Al Sharpton. Tavis said that Sharpton and others are saying (say it with me now in your best Sharpton voice --->)"President Obama don't need no Black Agenda".

Tavis was on the show to basically promote his latest gabfest called "We Count! The Black Agenda is the American Agenda", on Saturday, March 20 at Chicago State University (i.e. The State of the Black Union will not be held in February this year, but it's going to be held in 2010 but we will call it something else) Listen Here to Tavis' TJMS segment

Well, Rev. Al Sharpton caught wind of this and tried as he might to put Tavis on blast on his radio show this afternoon. Sharpton was put in a position to defend himself from quotes from a couple of New York Times article: Was Rev. Al misquoted?

full article from NY Times before the meeting from Feb. 9, 2009

"Many black leaders view this as wise. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who is working with Mr. Obama to close the achievement gap in education, says the president is smart not to ballyhoo “a black agenda.”

full article from NY Times after the meeting from Feb. 10, 2009

"But Mr. Obama and the three other black men who met with him for more than an hour in the Oval Office did not focus on programs for African-Americans or limit their talks to issues of concern primarily to blacks, participants said.

Instead, the group — which included Benjamin T. Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Marc H. Morial, president of the National Urban League; and the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network — discussed how the economic crisis was affecting all manner of poor people."

Click on the player and listen to the sparks fly

Remember this is all in love. You be the judge.

Source: Your Black World.com Dr. Boyce Watkins


  1. I'm not the biggest Rev. Al fan but he definitely stood his ground against Tavis. Tavis went on the Tom Joyner show and called out various black leaders for saying something they really didn't say. Tavis is up to his same old bash Obama program (and I liked that Rev. Al called him on that too). What has Tavis ever really done for black folk, whom he claims to love so much? He had the State of the Black Union, with the same guests every year, sponsored by Wells Fargo and WalMart. If the Black Agenda was still a pressing issue, why did he stop doing the SOBU?

  2. both are full of it!! our real leaders and advocates are kept away from the airwaves-period!!
    neither of them can hold a candle stick to marcus garvey; david walker; nat turner, or alton maddox jr.. charles hamilton houston said either you're a social parasite or a social engineer and neither of thes men are social engineers!! BLACK POWER

  3. The main point here is that Obama has put Black people on the back burner in fear of the right wing conservatives. That's all they need to say about Obama, I can hear it now "Obama is a socialist and a racist." I think Tavis was self-serving but he was right about Black leadership.

  4. I think Tavis is right to a point Black folf seem to protect the president against critics. We all know Obama is limited as to what he can do period. Behind the scenes we know white still rule.

  5. Ok obviously Tavis hit a nerve and Mr. Sharpton fought back. Both of them should have had the conversation off air -- hey but its radio so it’s good for ratings right? The real challenge that African Americans have is our inability to develop current strategy that is multi-generational for African Americans. We have been driving the same old conversation for 50 years and here it is: Education, Social Change and Economic Development. Here are the results of this conversation: High dropout rates, increased teen pregnancy, the break down of the black family, more crime, more homicides, etc. etc. This is what our 50 year old conversation is getting us.

    Would you drive a 50 year old car? No! If we don't develop strategy we demonstrate our inability to bring true genius to the market place of and for African Americans.
    This is our true challenge to be able to invent, designed, develop, think strategically continuing no, not continuing, but going back in time and reestablish the character of genius we once experienced through black leaders of the past.

    Right now we don't have black leaders who make us think, feel, dream, strategize and connect us together along generational lines. Now, when we do this then we'll flourish.

    Let’s make sure everything we do improves our position because “I” has become the enemy of “US”. As African Americans we can never forget our connectedness!

    I've got a lot more to say about this. To learn more connect with me at

    askmark@ftlleadershipgroup.com or
    Twitter me: Mark Hampton

  6. The SOBU lacked funding and corporate sponsorship for 2010. Specifically, Nationwide had a separate program/initiative with Tavis, that internally didn't go over well and wasn't continued.

    (The youth speak)



  8. we should air more things like this, if we can take and cheer the likes of wendy williams, jenny jones, riki lakes of the world, i dont see why black issues in dispute or questioned can't be aired out either, we condition ourselfs toomuch nonsence then when we see realness we get dramatic.

  9. Why don't we take the issue of Black people out of the equation and focus on disparities across America. If we look at the disproportionate number of individuals statistically affected the most - be it from an economic, social, educational, housing, financial, incarceration, or occupational perspective, in spite of race, which may be most frequently addressed? Notwithstanding the reality that Hispanics may out-number Black Americans, might these issues require looking at these groups and what can be done to help them. So let's pardon the Black Agenda (whatever it may be) and focus on the social and fragmented ills in this country. Trust me, Blacks will need to be addressed in order to deal with the essence of disparity.

    In addition, while the Census is around the corner, educating people that opting out of being Black simply avails others to have more funding funneled into their communities over the next 10 years. How individuals are paid, treated, and services, should come to mind when they pencil in their race. Granted, for those who want to consider that they may have some Native American or European heritage in their blood lines; at the end of the day, if you are observed and treated as, or less than, an African-American, opting out of being Black on Census Day will merely make matters worse for a group of people. Don't fall victim to this non-sense. It’s counter-productive in the worse way. This is one a critical day that Black should be proud to acknowledge they are Black – if not for yourself – for a sister, brother, mother, uncle, aunt, child, grandparent, or those waiting to enter this world full of disparity and injustice.


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