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Black Arts Movement, writer and actress S. Pearl Sharp


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S. Pearl Sharp, a writer and actress who was an influential player in the Black Arts Movement and co-founded the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition is interviewed by Tavis Smiley.  We need to see more people like Sharp gain media attention and exert greater influence on our culture.

Here Sharp is the author of The Evening News: Essays and Commentaries from NPR and Other Clouds.

We really need to see more people like Sharp gain media attention and exert greater influence on our culture.  I have to give Smiley props for continuing to interview people like this.

As an aside: I did not recognize this at first, but now I see that Smiley, along with Cornel West, have been marginalized by mainstream media.  This probably started before the riff with Obama, and is part of the whole process of marginalizing Black men who are trying to do something positive for Black people, and are becoming too successful at it--too powerful.

 

 

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I don't know if he's marginalized. He had a really strong platform with his Covenant, but he didn't continue moving forward with it. As a matter of fact if you go to the Covenant website the clickthrough goes to a porn site when you click for a check on progress. I don't think he made his movement enough of a grassroots movement where he involved people on the ground and continued to shape the project. He is also hindered by his time slot on PBS for his show. I don't think many people even realize he is still doing a television show. I think his marginalization happened due to his rift with Tom Joyner more than it does his opinion of Obama.

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Yeah we spoke about the Smiley Joyner riff back when it was occurring, but Tavis used to have a much more powerful and influential platform which is greatly diminished today. I wrote about what I percieved as Smiley's power and potential impact 5 years ago: http://aalbc.com/blog/index.php/2010/12/21/tavis-smiley-is-no-good-for-black-folks/ but agin this is greatly diminshed.  The status of the Covenant's site is just one example.  His publishing company SmileyBooks, is a faint memory.

Remember the State of the Black Union Gatherings which died soon after Obama refused to attend.  Imagine, it was politically expedient for Obama NOT to attend the most popular public gathering of Black leaders of the time, or since. Think about that.

state_33.jpg

Keep in mind Tavis' influence and footprint grew after he parted ways with Joyner.  The first clear sign perhaps was the complete evisceration of BET when Tavis and his program, the only thing worth a damn in BET, was canned.  The tiff with Joyner was symptomatic of the larger problem.

I agree I doubt many people know Tavis has TV a program.  I don't hear anyone talk about it.  The only reason I was aware of Sharp's appearance was because she told me about it. After listening to that interview I realized how important the work Tavis does is.  So no. the show is not listened to by the people who could stand to benefit from it the most, because we own not platforms and refuse the support what little we do have left.

 

 

 

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I just read your post from a while back and it still brings me back to my point that Tavis' reach is diminished due to a lack of creativity and integration with grassroots resources. He could quickly parlay his current platform into a national media outlet, but he won't. He must not be interested in doing any more than he is. When I look at the titles he published he did the same thing other publishers do and that's publish the same old stuff. In regard to his website, why not simply go in and turn it into a really nice Wordpress and begin blogging everyday? Why not make a call for writer's and become a small media outlet? Why not hook up with AALBC as it changes its platform and integrate/work with you? 

Tavis doesn't give the President a pass... I don't give him a pass. I only need a tenth of the reach that Tavis has and I could do incredible work and impact work. I know for a fact if you simply had the backing of 100 indie writers you would kill it! This dude has a huge platform and the President not attending doesn't mean a darn thing to me as the focus should have always been grassroots. If Tavis decided tomorrow to create a platform for Black tech startups he'd be funded a ridiculous amount of money. If he decided to do a "huffpost" type situation it would be huge. What hasn't he done this?

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Chris I don't disagree with single word you wrote.  The fact that you mentioned Tavis' lack of integration with the grassroots is perceptive.  I was trying to think of a way to describe it; elitist came to mind, but that did not seem to be quite it.

I've met the man a number of times.  We never really spoke or connected largely because he was not interested.  I was a HUGE supporter of his publishing company.  The only reason I had any connection with it was not because of Tavis, but because of the woman who actually ran the company an iconic figure in publishing Cheryl Woodruff.  Cheryl thinks more like you and I, but was burdened (my word choice), by Tavis' sensibilities, which are not nearly as conscious, in my opinion.

Chris active support of 100 writers would subsidize my support of 1,000 other authors.  I always envisioned that that support would from the likes of a Tavis Smiley, a Toni Morrison, an Oprah.  But people of that statue has never exhibited an inclination to support my efforts.  My support comes from people like you, Hickson, and folks like Cynique. 

Back in the day when Urban fiction was getting beat up in the media.  I would never say anything bad about urban fiction because they were were supportive of AALBC.com, and appreciated any and everything I did.  Seriously, the support of these so called "ghetto" writers helped give me the resources to promote the work the writers who were the most critical of urban fiction--writers who never lifted a finger to support an AALBC.com.  Do you see what I mean?

At the end of the day, we who unabashedly support Black writers are marginalized by those same very same Black writers once they reach a certain level.  Of course there are authors who are exceptions to this, but I think you see my point.  At the end of the day, the white man's ice is just colder to many of us.  Those writers will anxiously write for the huffington post, Goodreads and Facebook for free, and turn their nose up at the few dollars a Black independent could offer.

 

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Let's keep building it brick by brick. You have my total support. If you want me to write, you know I will. Just give me an account and I'm on it. I'm working my ass off right now to do something big this year. If I can figure it out, you better believe I will have AALBC in every conversation I have anywhere. That's a fact!

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