Is This As Good As It Gets for Mo’Nique and Gabourey?

Enjoy it now, Mo'Nique.  It may not get any better than this.

Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidibe don’t need my career advice.    If they were to ask me for it though, I’d tell them this:  enjoy the ride.  It won’t last.

The cold hard truth is there isn’t a lot of roles in Hollywood for plus-sized sistas.  Mo’Nique  and Gabourey are not going to have a career like Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock.   The movie industry is extremely harsh on women.  Ask Kathleen Turner.   Ask Angela Bassett.  Get a little older, don’t apply Botox to chase away the wrinkles and when gravity begins to take its toll, you’re scrambling for jobs on television, slob comedies and Tyler Perry schlock fests.   Plus-sized women catch hell when they’re White.   It gets no easier when you throw so color in the mix.

Mo’Nique’s Best Supporting Actress made her the fourth  Black woman to win the award, joining Hattie McDaniel, Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson.  Halle Berry took the little gold man home as Best Actress in Monster’s Ball, a movie widely despised by every Black person I’ve ever spoken to who’s seen it.   Not to say there aren’t Black people who love the movie.  I’ve just never met any that have.

Jennifer Hudson hasn’t made enough films to be included to determine what type of career she may have.   She apparently has dropped 60 pounds to play Winnie Mandela in a bio flick so good for her.   It’s just unfortunate actresses have to hire personal trainers and diet like mad in order to pursue a livelihood.   There’s the way the world should be and the way the world is and it doesn’t look to be changing around in favor of the fat folks anytime soon.

The funny thing about winning an Oscar is how it’s no guarantee of better scripts and better roles.   Mo’Nique has no new projects lined up.  Maybe she’s choosy and wants to do something special instead of another Martin Lawrence comedy.   Then again, maybe the silence is based on the fact that the phone just isn’t ringing for her.

There's what you deserve and there's what you get.

Whoopi won her Oscar in 1990 after being nominated for Best Actress for The Color Purple (1985).   Whoopi and Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange and Angelica Huston all had to sit and applaud as eight-time nominee Geraldine Page won for  The Trip to Bountiful.   Proving yet again the Academy Awards are about sentimentality as much as they are about quality.

Halle Berry’s career is a cautionary tale on how to completely squander your post-Oscar hotness.   Take on projects that either cater to your vanity (Perfect Stranger),  are supposed to show off your acting chops but nobody bothers to go see it (Things We Lost in the Fire, Gothika) or total stinkers  (Die Another Day, Catwoman).   Berry’s last movie, Frankie and Alice  where she plays a women with multiple personality disorder (one which is a raving racist) wrapped in January 2009 but has yet to be released.   Not a good sign for Berry’s continued status as an A-list star.

When Howard Stern ripped into Sidibe saying,  “There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie,”  he was being the same dick he’s always been.  Yet despite being wrong about Sidibe’s post-Precious film prospects (her next movie is Yelling to the Sky ), Stern isn’t completely off-base.

Precious is the little movie that could and Sidibe has benefited from the enormous good will it has engendered.   It seems though while everyone is cheering her performance, we’re supposed to act as if Gabourey Sidibe isn’t obese and her weight will definitely limit the roles available to her.

I’m the last guy to bash anyone over their weight, but the fact is fat is funny to Hollywood producers.  Would Eddie Murphy have a career anymore  if he didn’t have his fat suit flicks (The Nutty Professor, Norbit) that cater to wringing cheap laughs from morbid obesity?

Only White guys get away with looking like beached whales in Hollywood.  Jack Nicholson was a big star.  Now he’s just big.  Marlon Brando ate his way to mammoth proportions.  Jack Black and Philip Seymour Hoffman are far from hardbodies

Sidibe says “People look at me and don’t expect much.  I expect a lot.”

Black actresses toil in a business obsessed with image, celebrates gaunt skeletal women with enormous boobs on rail-thin bodies.   Good looks are not enough.   Acting chops are not enough.   Being in exactly the right place at the right time under the right set of circumstances won accolades and awards for Mo’Nique and Sidibe.   It isn’t enough to sustain a career.

It’s great that Gabourey Sidibe is comfortable in her own skin.   I’m skeptical if fat acceptance extends to the production offices of Hollywood studios.

Gabourey Sidibe has talent, but is that enough for image obsessed Hollywood?

A Couple of Things I Know For Sure (Absolutely Maybe)

Meryl and Sandy next flick? "Let's Play Les."

 

Tonight the Academy Awards are handed out, or “The Gay Man’s Superbowl” as a gay man once told me.   In the Best Actress race between Meryl Streep who gets nominated just by walking in front of a camera and Sandra Bullock,  both have put together an impressive body of work without possessing  impressive bodies.  

Meryl and Sandra are probably someone’s romantic daydream, just not mine.  Sandra is still rocking that pug-nosed cute chick thing and Meryl cleans up nicely, but as far as where either of them fall on the “hot or not” scale,  do either one of them make it past the elimination rounds to the winner’s circle.   Naaaah…not so much. 

After Mo’nique wins Best Supporting Actress, Morgan Freeman and Precious director Lee Daniels can settle back for the rest of the night.   This is not going to be a night for the brothers.  

I’ve seen The Hurt Locker and I haven’t seen Avatar, so I’m a bit more invested in one film over the other.  My feeling is Kathryn Bigelow wins Best Director while her ex, James Cameron takes the little gold man home for Avatar.    While Bigelow is well-deserving of the honor, her movie feels small like an indie flick that got the heart of critics jump-started but not audiences (as it’s $12 million haul at the box office indicates).   Hollywood likes to break down barriers and if Bigelow doesn’t end the shut-out of women directors,  how much longer will it have to go?  Plus,  The Hurt Locker is really good, so for Bigelow to win wouldn’t be an act of tokenism or political correctness. 

How it is a film can be named “the Best” while the person who directed it goes home a loser never made any sense to me.   Then again, forget it Jake.  It’s Hollywood.   It’s supposed to make cents, not sense. 

Kathryn, Oscar and James.  Three-way, anyone? 

A year ago, Ben Roetheslisberger was hoisting the Lombardi trophy above his head having quarterbacked the Pittsburgh Steelers to a Super Bowl victory.   these days he seems to spend most of his time being accused of behaving badly around women.  Like sexually assaulting them.  

What kind of moron do you have to be to put yourself in this kind of situation while you’re trying to fight civil charges on the same thing? Roethelisberger is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but his reckless behavior looks guilty as hell in the court of public opinion.  

Why did the “worldwide leader in sports” aka ESPN, wait some three hours before reporting on its website Roethelisberger was accused of sexual assault while SI.com, Fox Sports, Pro Football Talk, Deadspin, The Huffington Post and CBS Sportsline didn’t delay reporting the allegation?   There’s nothing wrong in exercising restraint before going with a story, but this isn’t the first time ESPN has sat on a story about Big Ben’s women troubles.  

Maybe if he were Black and played for the Cincinnati Bengals they would have.  

Roethelisberger hasn’t been charged with anything by authorities.  From what the accounts of some witnesses, he was a chick magnet (sex appeal is in the eye and loins of the beholder), so this may turn out to be nothing but a “he said/she said” scenario.    Tie goes to the quarterback. 

Big Ben Roethelisberger gets ready to show off Little Ben.

 

But if Big Ben wants to stay out of courtrooms  he might want to find more sedate forms of entertainment until he settles his pending civil suits.   Maybe stay home with a pizza and some brews and playing Madden.    Bad boys get spanked and Big Ben is being a very naughty boy.   Stay out of the bars,  carry any firearms, inject any steroids, buy any pit bulls or try to  make it rain on strippers and he should be reaching under center for the Steelers next season instead of bending for the soap.      

It’s been a rotten season for Allen Iverson. Busted out of two teams, injured most of the season and now finished for the rest of it and probably done as a NBA baller,  taking time off for sick daughter and now his wife is suing for divorce. A reason why might be this passage from “It’s No Secret” a kiss-and-more-than-kissing-tell-all by Carmen Bryan,  who used to ride both the jocks of Jay-Z and Nas and a self-described, “Hip-hop Helen of Troy”, (which sounds much classier than skank) took time out from screwing rappers to say about the tattooed baller: 

Allen was lean and muscled, a warrior, with tattoos and battle scars. Just looking at him got me excited. His body was scrumptious. His kiss was intoxicating and I felt like I was melting. Our antics took us from one side of the bed to the other. I couldn’t get enough of this man. He was so physically strong he thought nothing of picking me up and creating the most erotic of poses. When he finally possessed me I was so ready. He filled me completely and our rhythm was perfect. Allen was average in size but his gift was girth and technique. His sliding and swerving thrusts hit me in spots I didn’t know I had. And this was only round one.” 

“Girth and technique?”   “Sliding and swerving thrusts?”   

Yep. That might give wifey a reason to kick you to the curb. 

The Answer may have run out of them.

 

As an Iverson fan, it hurts to see the little big man limp away from the game he’s given so much to looking like an aging baller plagued by arthritis in his knees, his body breaking down and a stubborn inability to change his style of play to fit into a team concept of basketball.   Everyone but the clueless fans that voted A.I. on the All-Star team knew he didn’t really deserve it, but that’s a testimony to how popular Iverson is with fans.   Even when his game and star is in decline, he remains a name brand in a NBA full of “superstars” with all the appeal of cold pizza. 

There are reports Iverson has issues with gambling and alcohol.    Others say his body is too beat up and his mind too set upon only being a starter for Iverson ever to step on a NBA court again.   Whatever the reasons are behind it, the downward arc of Iverson’s career has been no fun to watch.    

I don’t  rule  out Iverson attempting a comeback next season.   But I’d rather he hang it up with some of dignity intact instead of  jacking up jump shots in some dead zone like Indiana or Sacramento because he can’t move on to the next phase of his life.   It’s better to be missed than for people to wish you’d just go away.

Shirley Manson and Garbage: The Trick Is to Keep Breathing.

The nice thing about catching up with a band when they’ve called it quits is you don’t have to suffer along with the fans in watching them start to suck.  I just read an article that Foreigner, Styx and Kansas are announcing a tour with tickets as low as $10 bucks.   That’s about $9.50  more than I’d pay to see the desiccated remains of three seventies arena rock bands.   If they paid me $20 bucks I’d consider going, but I wouldn’t stay for the show.  Once Styx starts doing “Lady” I’m looking for my car keys.

Garbage was never a big time band, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make a big noise.  They were three homely dudes backing up a really skinny chick singer from Scotland who shared a surname with America’s first hippie serial killer.  Shirley Manson is like the girl you knew in high school who wore out of style clothes that looked like thrift store leftovers and everyone treated like shit.    Maybe you were the one person who didn’t treat her like a complete loser and found her to be a little lonely, a lot misunderstood and just needing a little human kindness and maybe a better brand of soap and deodorant.

Garbage. The band. Not the stuff you toss out.

Manson, sounds like the red-haired prodigy of a one-night stand between Chrissie Hynde and Madonna and blessed with a voice that can sing dirty rock n’ roll and pure pop with a nasty twist to it.   She has a very pretty voice and with her clear diction you get the feeling she’d be equally at home belting out big ballads as she is doing the darkly subversive music of Garbage.

On only four albums, Garbage, driven by the studio wizardry of Butch Vig, Steve Marker and Duke Erikson and matched by Manson’s goth-on-steroids lyrics of doom, bad sex, and bad relationships, made interesting, if not overly successful music.

Garbage never had much in the way of  “hits.”  Songs like  “I Think I’m Paranoid”,  “Queer” and  “Bleed Like Me” are coming from places too strange for the Brittany Spears/Lady GaGa crowd.   What the band is best known for is the theme song from a mediocre James Bond flick,  The World Is Not Enough and “#1 Crush”, the creepiest tune about obsession since “Every Breath You Take.”   Only Manson is a lot more convincing as a psychopathic stalker than Sting when she intones when dead-eyed clarity, “I would die for you/I would kill for you.”

Even if recent James Bond movies have a pretty lousy track record lately of themes (Madonna, Chris Cornell, Jack White and Alica Keys), Garbage performing “The World Is Not Enough” is a highlight that has grown on me in a way Madonna’s “Die Another Day” never did.   Manson is paired off with a  60-piece orchestra and she’s got nowhere to hide.   She admitted to being intimidated by the setting, but you’d never know from how professionally she carries it off.

Absolute Garbage, the obligatory “best of” album is the best introduction to Manson’s enduringly bleak look at love, sex and relationships and a good jumping on point that the individual albums aren’t for someone just looking for the best of Garbage.  Most meat.  Less cereal fillers.

Manson wears her “not a pretty girl with double-d’s” persona like a badge of honor.  She knows full well she’s no centerfold and she’s not going to grace the cover of Maxim.   But she understands the power of sex, the appeal of bad girls and how to affect an air of bored indifference when she couldn’t be more  intently interested in everything going on around her.

I like Absolute Garbage a lot.  I played it for an entire week when I bought it and I need to hear it every so often.  The creepiness of “#1 Crush” contrasts with the subversive playfulness of “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)” and the bleakness of “Bleed Like Me” all appeals to me because Shirley delivers the goods with such authenticity that even when she’s weirding me out, it comes off as sincere and not the least bit contrived.

Garbage is supposedly reuniting for another album which means the possibility for more Shirley Manson strangeness will be seeping through my headphones.   I can hardly wait.

(Disclaimer: It occurs me that it’s the wrong time to wait until a musician, actor, athlete or comedian passes away before they get an appreciation.  Periodically,  I want to say something nice about the living.  Some of these shout-outs will be of interest only to me.  Then again, it’s my blog, so I suppose the first person I need to please is myself, right?)

Charlie and the Corruption Culture.

Charlie, you got some 'splainin to do."

“I really don’t believe making mistakes means you have to give up your career.”   ~ Charles Rangel, 2008

Maybe guys like Charles Rangel start with the belief that they’re going to go to Washington as an a reformer, clean up how Congress works and not succumb to the temptations of life in the Beltway.  But anyone who holds power for 40 years is no longer a reformer.  They have become the monster they came to Washington to slay.

This week, Rangel,  the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee “temporarily” stepped down after a House ethics panel found he broke House gift rules by accepting corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean.    Rangel hasn’t been charged with any crime and says he’s not going to resign from Congress (does any politician say they’re going to quit before they have to?) , but with voters already in an ugly, anti-incumbent mood, Rangel  becomes the poster boy for the Republicans who got hammered by the Democrats in 2006 and 2008 for their own corrupt Congresscritters.

Charlie cops some zzzz's at his Dominican Republic villa.

Every Democrat up for reelection that has even been photographed with Rangel, served on the committee with him or talked to him should expect to see themselves in an 60-second attack ad.    What makes it even more delicious is the Republicans don’t even have to lie.   Rangel’s ethical lapses include using a rent-controlled apartment in New York as a campaign office, not reporting income on tax forms and channeling favorable treatment for the Charles B. Rangel Center at the City College of New York.  The National Republican Congressional Committee has targeted 71 Democrats who have accepted funds from Rangel’s political committees.

Some commentators have floated the notion that Black politicians such as Rangel and New York Governor David Paterson are being targeted because of their race.   Isn’t it just as likely that Rangel and Paterson are just being scrutinized based on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin?

Black people have overcome to the extent that we’re comfortably entrenched in the halls of power in Congress.   Rangel is hardly some fuzz-faced rookie.  He’s done a lot of good for a lot of people in his four decades in Congress.  Now he’s a liability.   Rangel needs to not just turn in his gavel, but step aside before he morphs from liability to cancer.   We can’t keep looking at racism for the reason Black politicians get a hot spotlight turned on them.    Racism is among the reasons some Black politicians fall flat on their faces, but it’s also an excuse they hide behind.   When a Kwame KilpatrickSheila Dixon or Roland Burris screw up and embarrass themselves, they typically take themselves out with their own self-inflicted wounds and not from some evil conspiracy by “The Man” to take them down.

Democrats can’t wag their fingers in sanctimonious outrage at Republicans and pull a “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” to the transgressions of their elected officials.  Voters are willing to forgive anything except hypocrisy and stupidity.    Corruption is both non-partisan and colorblind.

Rangel may not want to resign his seat based upon vague allegations and rumors, but there’s enough smoke to send both him and a lot of other Democrats crashing down in flames.   If he won’t go willingly,  President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have to force Rangel out.  That’s a steel cage death match that would bloody all involved participants, but it’s a fight Obama and Pelosi can’t back away from if they have any hopes of maintaining control of the House.

In 2006, the Democrats wrestled control from the Republicans in the House of Representatives by campaigning on a theme of ending the Washington, “culture of corruption.”   They bashed the Republicans for the Jack Abramoff  influence peddling scandal, Mark Foley’s creepy cruising of male Congressional pages, and the  Tom DeLay campaign finance investigation and the public responded by sending Democrats to Washington.

The shoe is firmly on the other foot now.  In 2008, William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat is serving a 13-year sentence for bribery, lost his reelection bid to a Republican, Joseph Cao.  Cao captured a seat held by Democrats since 1890.

Rangel’s seat in Harlem is solidly Democratic, but the Republicans don’t need to beat Rangel to use him to beat other Democrats.   The longer he  hangs on the longer his troubles serve as a drag on the entire party’s November prospects.

Rangel has forgotten more about politics than a hundred political scientists and strategists know.  He’s created an impressive legacy for a successor to match.  Rangel should given them the chance to do so.   He should know it’s time to let go and find the “Exit” sign.

It's all smiles now, but will Obama have to pressure Rangel to quit?

Republicans to the Jobless: Drop Dead!

Jim Bunning: Major league pitcher. Major league asshole.

It’s real easy to find out what it feels like to be unemployed.   All you need to do is have a job.  Then the next day you don’t.

Welcome to your new life.  Your new job is to wake up every morning trying to find one.

Maybe it’s because you weren’t doing your job well.  Maybe it’s because you’ve become too expensive, too old, too hard to retrain or too inflexible.   Maybe it’s none of those things.   Maybe it’s just because the company up and moved to another country and took your job with them.  Or maybe one day you go to work and the parking lot is unusually empty,  the door doesn’t open, everything’s dark inside and  it suddenly hits you: You don’t work here anymore.

You have no job and you don’t know where your next dollar is going to come from.

Does Jim Bunning get how devastating that feeling of shock and helplessness is?    Does he care?

Or does he just say “tough shit?

Bunning, a particularly moronic Republican Senator, is blocking an extension of unemployment benefits until he’s satisfied  it is paid for.  An estimated 200,000 people will soon see their last check with no prospect for either a job or relief.   Despite pleas from fellow Republicans and to the exasperation of Democrats like John Kerry, Bunning, a former pitcher in the major leagues, stubbornly refuses to allow the extension come to a vote.

“I’m trying to make a point to the American people,” Bunning said.

We got the point Senator.  You’re a flaming asshole.

Speaking of flaming assholes, Bunning’s colleague,  Jon Kyl (R-Az.), piled on saying unemployment insurance was a disincentive for the jobless to find work.

“because people are being paid even though they’re not working.”    Kyl further criticized paying benefits saying doing so “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work.”

As of December 2009 the unemployment rate in Arizona was 8.8 percent.  In Kentucky, it’s 10.4 percent.  Right here in Ohio where I have a son and a brother both out of work, it’s 10.7 percent.  Maybe they should move to Arizona?

Get dressed. Look for work. Can't find any. Repeat.

Every so often guys like Kyl and Bunning let the mask slip and they make it clear how much they hate working people.  Are you out of work?  Can’t find a job? Gee, that’s tough shit.  It must really suck to be you. Looking for some “compassionate conservatism?”    Keep looking, because you won’t get any from Jon Kyl or Jim Bunning.

I’ve been unemployed and taken unemployment applications from people who worked all their lives. People are first shocked when they see how little they’re going to get on unemployment, then they’re grateful for the help.

I will never forget the man who called crying because of some bureaucratic snafu had his benefits cut off. I was able to help reestablish his eligibility and he was so grateful. Being able to get his check meant he would be able to buy a Christmas present for his little girl. I’m sure Jon Kyl and Jim Bunning would sneer that he shouldn’t be wasting federal money on toys.

ALL an unemployment check is is a life-preserver until you can find another job. Are there some lazy people who game the system, yes there is, but so what? The vast majority of people whom I spoke to hated having to accept help and want to find work as soon as they can.

Unemployment works differently in every state, but in Ohio, you only receive benefits for two children. It doesn’t matter if you have four, five or six kids; any extra money will only cover two of the kids and after that you’d better be able to make those dollars stretch.

Ohio was also one of the states where if you were collecting Social Security, your unemployment compensation benefits were reduced accordingly. Oh, and you’re enrolled in a state job search program where they try to match you with positions. Doesn’t matter if you were pulling down $80K or more in a job. If there’s a job in your field that’s only paying half as much, you have to apply for it.

Anyone who thinks unemployment subsidizes an extended vacation for lazy people has never been on unemployment. It ain’t no joke.

Every person who loses their unemployment check due to Bunning’s posturing and Kyl’s callous cheerleading must file this away in their memory banks until the November elections and ask themselves one simple question:   Who stood with working families and who stood on their necks?   These obstructionist Republicans need to lose THEIR jobs.

Waiting in line or just waiting in vain?

Accountable or Arrogant?

s

Smiley holds Obama accountable. Who holds HIM accountable?

Once upon a time there were two Black men who were considered our “leaders.”  Martin Luther King, Jr., was a soft-spoken, but eloquent Baptist preacher who spoke of  the content of our character meaning more than the color of our skin.   Malcolm X was the fiery acolyte of Elijah Muhammad who thundered about the wickedness of the White Man and “the bullet or the ballot.”

Martin and Malcolm had little in common with each other except neither of them ever enjoyed the universal support of  the people they purported to lead.   The true stress test of leadership  is does their stature diminish or grow over the passage of time.   On that score, Martin and Malcolm  have established themselves as two sides of the same coin and though their tactics couldn’t have been more different, they both wanted the same objective: freedom for Black people.

Once you’ve seen the real thing in action, how the hell are you going to settle for the clown act of  Tavis Smiley and Al Sharpton?   That’s like trading in Miles Davis for ‘Lil Wayne.    That’s why the recent bitch-slap between the two race hustlers is something I don’t take seriously.

Tavis pulled the plug on his State of the Black Union slumber party, but since he can’t go an entire year without some sort of pseudo “event,” he’s offering up instead “We Count!  The Black Agenda is the American Agenda.”    What exactly is this “Black Agenda?”  Apparently,  Smiley is expecting  a big dose of big spending by the Obama Adminstration on programs specifically targeted to aid and assist Blacks.   It’s also an excuse for Tavis to prove yet again his swaggering self-importance never takes time off.

The President and The Pundit: One is a leader. The other thinks he is.

Leaving aside how damn dumb do you have to be to think that Obama is going to screw his chances of reelection in the ass by making such an announcement, what makes Tavis think the problems of a Black family catching hell in Detroit are so much worse than a Latino family catching hell in Los Angeles?    We didn’t wake up the day after Obama won to any sort of post-racial America.   Neither did we enter a Black Disneyland where we got our 40 acres, a mule and an unlimited shopping spree at Wal-Mart.

I don’t see our problems as exclusive to African-Americans.  Certainly there are issues that effect us in disproportionate numbers, but it’s counter-productive to always cast Black people as eternal basket cases whose only recourse is yet another government “solution.”

The only good question Reverend Al asked Saint Tavis about this latest gabfest was, “Who made up the guest list?”

Well, of course Tavis did which means it’s top-heavy with his favorite Black intellectuals (Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson), representatives of the Civil Rights establishment (Jesse Jackson, Dorothy Height, Marc Morial,  Benjamin Todd Jealous,  Sharpton) a token militant, Louis Farrakhan, and several other members of the Tavis Smiley Black Pack.

What’s odd about these bull sessions Tavis loves to throw is who doesn’t get invited.   Black conservatives and libertarians are shunned.   So are lesbians and gays and discussion of LGBT issues don’t seem to be part of the agenda.   As for any thinkers, intellectuals, or prominent figures that don’t hang with Tavis, they’re left out of the mix.

Here’s a short list of Black folks you won’t see Tavis swapping war stories with:  Shelby Steele, Juan Williams, Leonard Pitts, Jr.,  John McWhorter, Marc Lamont Hill, Bill Cosby, Dr. Allen Poussaint, Roland Martin, Joseph C. Phillips, Melissa Harris Lacewell,  Manning Marable, Larry Elder, LaShawn Barber, Keith Boykin, Farai Chideya, Phill Wilson, Mark Anthony Neal, James Rucker, Star Parker or Stanley Crouch.

Does it matter if you recognize all those names or agree with what they believe in?  No, but what does matter is they represent a perspective that won’t be heard at the Tavis Talk-a-thons because Tavis doesn’t want to hear them.  There’s a range of political perspectives that never get an airing because they don’t fit into his agenda.

Tavis says, “It’s time for a choir rehearsal so that we’re all singing from the same page.”    Didn’t we just come out of Black History Month?  At what point were all African-Americans ever of one mind on anything?   You can find a few folks who can find something positive to say about slavery (full employment!) and even King and X never enjoyed universal support within the race, so what changed?

Tavis would love to be  the left-wing alternative to the Tea Party thorn in President Obama’s side,  but despite his obvious distaste for Obama, he lacks the vision to mount a sustained political opposition.   He’s not willing to damage his own standing with African-Americans by taking on the president with the fervor of a Sarah Palin.   Unlike Palin who has no pull with Blacks, Smiley knows in any competition with Obama he’s going to finish a sick second best.

If Sharpton shows up at the next Tavis Talk-a-Thon, will he play well with others?

If  Tavis wanted to up the ante on his attack on Obama, he’d bring in folks from both the political Left and Right wings to really rip into the President’s shortcomings.   That’s a move he doesn’t have the nerve to make or the stomach to fight.   Add that to the reasons why Tavis will bring the noise in this echo chamber, but it’s only cheap posturing and playing to the camera, not the fledgling signs of a grass-roots revolt against Barack Obama’s presidency.