Tavis Smiley

Update on Tavis Smiley’s comments 02/15/2008 

Vee gave me this link from Mo’Kelly’s page to clear up what Tavis Smiley said. 

Tavis Transcripts

Tavis Smiley is upset because Obama had to decline his invitation to the State of Black America Forum.  Obama apologized and Michelle Obama offered to come in his place; and Tavis rejected her offer.  I think Smiley needs to calm down. 

Obama and Clinton are running neck and neck and the fight for delegates is crucial, so I understand why Obama declined the invitation. 

For the past 3 years I have watched the State of Black America Forums that Tavis hosted and they have been ok, but not really productive in my opinion.  There were great talking points, but not enough talk about mobilizing and taking action on what they were speaking of at the forum. 

Then there were some people on the panel who were over the top.  I won’t say her name. but this person kept making off the hook comments.  If Obama showed up, all it would take was one person on that panel to say something, that could change his run for President.  I know some people don’t want to hear that but its true.  In a political race all it takes is one thing to sink your ship; ask Howard Dean…

Here is an audio clip of Michelle Obama’s tasteful response to Tavis Smiley turning down her gesture that she appear in place of Barack to appear at The State of Black America Fourm. (Audio Clip)


17 Responses

  1. It is almost amazing which little spats and riffs gets discussed and addressed in the media.

    I pretty much think that Tavis is smart enough to move on with his agendas. I doubt he’ll linger on the subject for long.

  2. MAybe, but the seed has been planted; let’s see if any of the panelist who are participating in the State of Black America say anything ignorant out of their mouths about it. And so far main stream media has not picked up on this story, I hope it stays that way

  3. It’s begining to spread.
    I think he turned down Michelle Obama going to the SBU just to stir more mess, knowing it will seep into the mainstream. But what for?

    Like someone else said on another blog, Tavis is SUSPECT.

  4. Tavis is cool level-headed brother. Whether or not people want to declare that he has hidden agendas is another story. For the most part I know that he’s working and he is very much involved.

    Check out his response that squashes everything completely.


  5. I’m not a big Tavis fan. Plus, consistent with my previous posts, I don’t think that there is such a thing as a coherent “Black America”. If there is, and if I’m a so-called citizen, I don’t recall electing Tavis to be the leader.

  6. Native Son

    This is the problem with our community. We do not want to get off our butts when we can and then expect someone else to do all the work. These are the folks that do not realize that Obama is for uniting the community.

    I am pretty pissed at Tavis. Why is not Michelle Obama good enough. Tavis should stop trying to put people down. He should have run for President in 2004 if he wanted to be the next Obama.

    Right now people are living in these glass houses and throwing stones. If they all were doing the stuff that they would want Obama to in one year that they failed to do in 10 years then

    He is putting the wrong person on blast. Why doesn’t he ask the Government why we are concentrating on baseball rather than the state of Education. When is the Government going to just work on that? We are falling victim to this baseball propaganda and losing sight of the prize.

    Tavis needed to be a man about it and talk to Senator Obama about it personally (man to man) and stop hating. Then the rest of us stop acting like crabs in the barrel and go out and make phone calls and register people. Clear out the SUV and the BMW and take folks to the polls. Let us not keep taking us out of the game.

    Think of the message sending to black women and America that no matter how educated and grounded a black woman is that is still not enough.

    Tavis apologize, be a man, and help unite our people. We have other problems.

    Smiley: He’s ‘Catching Hell’ in Flap Over Refusal to Allow Michelle Obama to Sub for Barack
    Smiley: He’s ‘Catching Hell’ in Flap Over Refusal to Allow Michelle Obama to Sub for Barack
    Date: Friday, February 15, 2008
    By: Michael Cottman, BlackAmericaWeb.com

    The role African-Americans will play in the 2008 presidential election and the mobilization of 2,000 volunteers to rebuild the hardest hit areas by Hurricane Katrina will be the focus of this year’s annual “State of the Black Union” symposium, hosted and presented by commentator Tavis Smiley in New Orleans.

    Smiley will host a conversation with 24 noted politicians, educators, social scientists, business leaders and clergy, exploring the theme, “Reclaiming our Democracy, Deciding our Future,” on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Ernest E. Morial Convention Center.

    “In this history-making presidential election year, we want to have a conversation about how to leverage our votes and how to empower everyday black people,” Smiley told BlackAmericaWeb.com, “and black folks will make the difference.”

    Smiley said his forum, which is now in its ninth year, will lead a discussion of “the nitty-gritty politics of the day.”

    The race for the Democratic presidential nomination between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama remains close, with Obama building momentum after sweeping victories in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia last week.

    But it’s the Obama-Smiley controversy that has generated recent discussion on black radio and on the Internet where some blacks have taken Smiley to task.

    “I’m catching hell,” Smiley acknowledged in an interview.

  7. Bequiessence:

    I agree with you 100%. The delegate race is really tight right now. I have watched every State of Black America Forum and there is always one person on the panel that goes over board with their opinions and if Obam were to show up and someone said seomthing ignorant out of their mouths, that could ruin his chances.

    Would I would like to see Tavis do with the State of Black Forum is make an action plan and actually start doing something. Every year they have the forum the problems are always put out there but no plan of action. We know what the problems are in the community so now do something about it!!!!! Now Tavis is claiming that the Obama camp never told him that Michelle Obama wanted to come. But he said that he still would not have accepeted her offer. I applaud Tavis for all he has done, but he too can be wrong, and he was wrong on this.

    Why don’t some of us understand that politics is a social science. Political campaigns are cut throat and strategic; all it takes is one wrong move and your finished. We are trying to make history and some of us are only concerned with ourselves and our own agendas; yeah I said it!!! some of us are selfish!!!!

  8. “…I don’t think that there is such a thing as a coherent “Black America”. If there is, and if I’m a so-called citizen, I don’t recall electing Tavis to be the leader.”

    Afripino, I feel you on that.

  9. A couple of things.

    Native Son, and other commenters,

    Did you read the link I provided above from the Mo’Kelly Report? If so, do you realize that there was a huge misunderstanding of some sort going on?

    First, what source did you get your information for this post?
    Was it MediaTakeOut? I am really curious about your source for this post? It is definitely showing up in many places and no one appears to have a handle on the truth of what was actually said.

    Who’s assuming how he’s feeling about Obama declining the offer to appear at the event?

    As Tavis stated, “This was simply an invitation, nothing more. There has not been, there is not now, nor will there
    be, any effort on my part to snap on the Obama campaign”

    Do you realize that he has a relationship with Barack and Michele prior to this presidential race?

    So how can people then state, that he’s hating on Obama? I understand emotional responses but there’s a huge difference between what he actually said and someone judgement of Tavis Smiley’s feelings. Respectfully though, do the research and stop making assumptions.

  10. Vee:

    Thanks for the update. I am glad that it was all a misunderstanding. I heard the Michelle Obama interview on the Michael Baisdan show. I never said Tavis was hating on Obama, maybe someone else did. I like Tavis and have much respect for him.

    P.S. I would never rely on media take out for info like this. I got it the same way other people did; from other bloggers.

  11. I generally like Tavis Smiley as an individual, but he really needs to check himself on this whole issue. Michelle Obama is the first-hand source for everything Senator Obama is working to achieve. He is locked in a tight race at a very crucial time, so Senator Obama can’t make every appearance. The fact that Michelle Obama wanted to take her time out and participate is amazing, in light of all the appearances that she makes! The refusal to let her serve on the panel was a slap in the face to her contributions as a woman who could be the next First Lady of the United States!

    Why do some black people think everything is all about them? I think the reason why Obama initially had problems at the beginning of his campaign was because so many black “leaders” doubted him. They didn’t have to support him per se, but there were black leaders saying the most idiotic things (like how Obama at the top of the ticket would make every other Democrat in the country lose). Tavis has made a lot of contributions to his particular causes, but black people are not indebted to him. Obama isn’t indebted to him, and frankly, his “forums” haven’t been that impressive the past few years. Everyone does a lot of talking, but things still haven’t changed.

    Where are the declining out-of-wedlock rates in our black communities? Why does Bill Cosby get blasted for trying to help some in the black community who need it the most? How come the black high school graduation rate is somewhere near 50% in some of our cities, and even lower among males? Other than talking every year trying to be “seen”, what are these so-called leaders actually doing to stop these problems? Have they adopted any children to help them become productive citizens, or became teachers, or do they just buy books to make themselves feel better at the end of the day?

  12. John, I think you hit the nail right on the head. The majority of black leaders do absolutely nothing except for being “seen.”

    They, like so many others (politicians and the like) are too busy stirring up nonsense than coming together and developing sound solutions.

  13. Tavis had a good point, but it was mute when he singled out Obama. Tavis had nothing to leverage in saying he represents or is putting himself out there for black people, because Obama already has the votes.

    If this was the general election and Obama was already the nominee, then Tavis would have been right on point. But SOBU comes in the middle after most states have voted.

    Lastly, Obama had a good point. Last year on the same day as SOBU, Obama was making his official announcement. When SOBU resumed, panalists did not have encouraging or supporting words for Obama.

    Looking to now. Can we ask the panalists what have they done over this last year? You know its gonna be the same people. We know what obama has spent the year doing.

  14. ^DryerBuzz,
    He is not singling out Obama. He made that clear in the opening paragraph.

    In addition to that, I used to spout the exact same thing that I often hear until I did some research on those “so-called” leaders. If you would like to know what they did in the past or are currently doing LOOK IT UP!!
    Just like many bloggers are taking their time to educate with thoughtful, insightul and newsworthy post, the brothers and sisters that are at the forefront of these conferences, making an argument, planning are in fact doing something. They may appear to be self-serving politicians trying to get air-time but they are in fact doing more than the regular joe going to work, paying their mortgage, taxes, etc.

    MARION BARRY although his character has been destroyed in the national public HAS DONE SO MUCH for his community. Say what you want to say BUT do the research and check out his track record.
    People can say what they want to say about Cosby, but he has done a whole lot and then some. And the same goes for brothers like Tavis, Julian Bond, etc.

    Whether you agree on all of their actions, words or approach is another thing, but in an age where information is readily available (including misinformation) before you claim that all they do is talk-talk-talk-talk, I urge you to take the time to see what they have done and ARE doing. If you do in fact see many errors in their ways, then simply do something better. And you can always start with your local community.

    I help folks put together resumes, and get jobs from time to time. It’s not a big deal, but it is a little-lil-something. Those so-called leaders do waaaaaaay more and put in waaaaaaay more time and effort.

    Native Son, sorry for the rant but I felt it was needed. The man said he knew and WORKED with OBAMA before many people knew HOW TO PRONOUNCE HIS NAME. Now what will you infer from that, and the rest of his statement?

  15. I hope we can soon get beyond the disserations between what Tavis said or implied against Senator Obama. We are in a very crucial point of our lives with regard to our country and the direction we need to go in. Every voting aged man and woman should be reading and involving themselves in a positive way toward the progress of our nation. I, for one, am tired of anyone who is negative. This is a time where more history is being made and we are part of this. Let’s move our thoughts and actions toward doing something positive in our communities, our homes, our schools, and our churches in order to make our lives and the lives of our children and their children better. Time is of the essence and we have no time to waste.

  16. Tell that to Tavis; everyone else seems to be tracking.

  17. As a 45 year old black male that was a young child when Dr. King was assasinated, but listening to his speeches and reading about the civil rights movement, left me with the idea that solidarity and unity important to protecting all people, especially black people. I thought as a people we could unite on this race, I have supported everyone one of the past black candidates that has vied for the office of President, even when many people said that to support a black candidate is like throwing your vote away, they’ll never get elected to run, I cared not. I hate to see what has happened between these gentlemen both are loved by black folks obviously, and the impact that this public squabble is and wil have on so many others whom have not made up there minds about Sen. Obama. The Senator may or may not fulfil all of his campaign promises, as with so many other Presindents of the past, surely if elected he will be bird-dogged by the opposing party, as usual. Most assuredly, for my young adult children and my yet unborn grandchildren, black america needs a President, this in-turn will inspire generations of black children to better in school and take academics much more seriously. Believe/accept it or not Sen. Obama is vital to us all, let’s put away the crap and press on with the business of representing black people on a worldwide scale

    Sen Obama is not the best we have to offer, but he is close to it, the first to do anything is always the hardest path to walk, love and peace to you all!

    Dwight Graves, Indianapolis, IN

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