Archive for July, 2008

Black Men Challenge CNN Data

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , , on July 29, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Reaction to CNN Presents “Black In America” featuring Soledad O’Brien has been critical. There is a small group of mostly black male digital media owners who have come together to restore truth and balance to the image of black men and their families. This blog is a founding member. Together we can tell our own story. You want to know what black men think and how we feel about the CNN Special? Read this blog and watch the two videos which are the brainchild of filmmaker Janks Morton, Director of the film “What Black Men Think.”

To read more reaction on the CNN “documentary,” click on the links below.

People Sound Off About The CNN Special “Black In America”

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Gary A. Johnson with tags , , , on July 23, 2008 by Gary Johnson

My Reaction To CNN Presents “Black in America” by Gary A. Johnson

Part II of CNN Presents Black in America focused on “The Black Man.” I hate to sound like a broken record, but this show fell short of my expectations. It was so negative that at one point I thought I was having a heart attack. If I was wearing a blood pressure cuff it would have blown off of my arm. Would it have been so bad to show one black male success story from start to finish?

Here is CNN’s official description of the show: “In Black in America: The Black Man, Soledad O’Brien evaluates the state of black men in America and explores the controversial topics of black men and fatherhood; disparities between blacks and whites in educational, career and financial achievement; and factors leading to the dramatic rates of black male incarceration. The documentary also examines the achievements of black men and the importance of the positive influences of black fathers.”

There are tens of thousands of black men who don’t have children out of wedlock. There are tens of thousands of black men who have children out of wedlock and take care of their children financially and are involved in their lives.

Some of CNN’s portrayal of black men included showing brothers married to white women, a marketing executive with mostly white friends and whose black friends say he’s not black enough, a lower-tiered rapper and a 32-year old high school graduate with some college finding a part-time job after months of searching.

The segment featuring the Reverend/Doctor/Professor Michael Eric Dyson started off well and ended with a negative showing his brother going back to jail cell to serve his life sentence. I know this is life for many folks in America. I can accept this. Let’s also show the other side. There are positive aspects of life for black men that were not shown. Let me repeat my earlier question:

Would it have been so bad for the show to have one segment featuring a black man without any negatives?

I’m assuming that CNN would argue that the segment featuring the brother who was an Assistant School Superintendent in Arkansas married to a Circuit Court judge was very positive. They had three sons. OK, let’s look at that segment through my lenses. They lived in a 6,000 sq. ft. home in a mostly white neighborhood. (I have no problem with that). One of the three sons was married to white woman, the other son had a white girlfriend and was involved in a shooting where he escaped jail time. When asked about the incident both the son and the father refused to discuss the matter. Again, that’s their choice. (I’m sure having a mother who is a judge and a brother who is a prosecutor didn’t hurt).

My main complaint has to do with the issue of balance in the coverage of the challenges facing black men. This show did not show the full range of black men in America and their families as they claimed in their promotional pieces that preceded the show. If they did, we would have seen more “positives” than “negatives.”

Having seen both shows, I saw a clear and consistent “common thread.” Every segment that started out with what appeared to be a “positive” story ended with a “negative” outcome.

Am I wrong on this?

The only segment that I could stomach was the segment with filmmaker Spike Lee who talked about the impact of the negative images of black men in Hollywood and his challenges of making films other than comedies that perpetuate negative stereotypes.

Let me state for the record that I applaud Soledad O’Brien for this effort. I believe that her intentions starting out were honorable, however, somewhere along the way either she and/or CNN got off track. This was not an accurate and full portrayal of life in Black America. It focused way too much on the negative aspects of black life for my tastes.

CNN Presents Black in America is the perfect argument for why we need strong black owned media outlets. Perhaps if there was a black owned media outlet with the capability and “reach” of a CNN a different story would have been told. It’s not good enough to have just the outlet. You have to have strong leadership willing to exercise courage to tell the whole truth. You need a company willing to resist the temptation to lean toward the negative and portray more of a balance of life in black America.

There was a time when we had such a media outlet, it was called BET. However, I don’t think the story would have been any different under the leadership of Bob Johnson. We need black owned media outlets willing to tell our story. Some will argue that Bob Johnson formed a film company to tell “our story. Yeah right. Let’s take a closer look at this argument.

This is the same Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), who sold BET to Viacom, and became this nation’s first male black billionaire. You are correct. Johnson did form a film company called “Our Stories Films,” which debuted its first film on July 27, 2007, entitled Who’s Your Caddy?” starring actor/rapper Big Boi and Sherri Shepard. WTF?

Bob Johnson and Tracey Edmonds (the former Ms. Babyface) said they want to produce films that show black people in a positive light. So they give us Who’s Your Caddy? as their first film. (I stopped using the N-word. Where’s Jesse Jackson when you need him? Bob Johnson, talking down to black people, I’d like to …) “_________ Please!” Don’t start me cussing up in this camp.

This is Bob Johnson’s way of telling “our” story. Making a film that even Stevie Wonder could see that the characters in the film depict racially offensive stereotypes and the jokes are stupid and crass.

Folks, it is time for solutions. What are we going to do for ourselves to help break these cycles of violence, poverty and apathy?

A good friend of mine helped me calm down today and put this whole thing in perspective. He said to me, “Gary, the reason you’re upset is because you expected too much from CNN. CNN is a news organization that does not have the perspective to tell our story.” Thank you Janks Morton, you of all people should know “What Black Men Think.”

Am I being too hard or critical about the CNN series? What are your thoughts?

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

Commentary: What Black Men Think

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on July 16, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Do you want to know what some black men think? Do you want to get a sense of the logic that drives their behavior? Do you want to witness a series of “critical conversations” and dialogs minus the excuses? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions then continue to read this article. If you answered, “No,” simply return to what you were doing but just know that we think you’re a part of the problem.

Fear not, there are still a critical mass of people who are willing to get involved and commit to the process of implementing “strategic solutions” to solve some of the challenges that plague black men and spill over and affect our families and our community.

In the most provocative black film since “ROOTS,” filmmaker Janks Morton presents a searing examination of the role that myths, stereotypes and misperceptions have played in the decimation of modern era black relationships.

The film also explores how the symbiotic relationship between the government, the media and special interests groups perpetuates misinformation to further marginalize the role of black men in society.

Click here to visit the CNN web site to see clips from the award winning documentary What Black Men Think by Janks Morton.

Are there more black men in jail or in college? If your answer was jail, think again.

To purchase a copy of this thought-provoking call to action DVD click here to visit the official “What Black Men Think” web site. You can also learn more about this film on the WBMT page on Black Men In

This has been a mini-commentary by Gary A. Johnson. Gary is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

Don’t Get Mad, Get Strategic: The Intrinsic Value of Commerce

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags on July 15, 2008 by Gary Johnson

This blog (along with others) has been promoting CNN Presents: Black in America. This two-night special is part two of three, two-hour documentaries anchored by CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien. (CNN’s examination of Black America is part of a four-month on-air and digital initiative).

This special reportedly takes a look into the lives of Black Americans by adding some new voices and perspectives to the discussion. This blog along with a core group of syndicated bloggers have deliberately and strategically come together to present alternative views to “get things done.”

Many of us complain about the negative images that bombard us from “black owned and black interest” media outlets in addition to the negative images promoted by the mass media. We bitch and we moan. How many of those who complain do anything of substance beyond complaining?

Well there may be a solution. Some bloggers and black media entrepreneurs are suggesting a new way of raising our collective voices to ensure that the we don’t get mad and stay mad. We must be “strategic!”

Many of us have been conditioned to react to what we won’t tolerate and we’ve forgotten how to support what we want. The most valuable commodity we posses is time, and what we do with our time is critical as it relates to this effort by Soledad O’Brien and her team at CNN.

To disprove the all too often myth by advertisers that Blacks inherently do not understand the intrinsic value of commerce and won’t support the positive and that our “I got the hook-up” mentality will not translate into bottom-line sales numbers), the “New Jack” bloggers and black media entrepreneurs propose the following:

1) Watch or TIVO or DVR the show.

2) Buy the product or service of the first advertiser on the first day of each show. THE NEXT DAY (as long as it isn’t TOYOTA, a little pricey), demonstrating what Bomani Armah has deemed a BUYCOTT.

Remember that whole Black Boycott thing a few months ago? What were the tangible and measurable results from that idiotic and 60’s throwback proposition?

In the 21st century you demonstrate your power and influence through consorted economic acquisition.

Are you still with us?

This sends a message to CNN, the advertisers, the sponsors and the corporations that we watch, we buy and we support those things that reflect our ideals, hopes and struggles in this country.


Black Media Power Brokers-Coming To A Media Outlet Near You

Click here to preview the CNN television special “Black in America” (The Black Woman and Family) — June 23, 2007.

Click here to preview the CNN television special “Black In America” — (The Black Man) June24, 2007.

Thanks to Janks Morton and Bomani Armah for the thought spark.

Obama Vows To Press On With His “Personal Responsibility” Message

Posted in Barack Obama, Politics with tags , , on July 15, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Barack Obama speaking at the 2008 NAACP Convention urged blacks to take more responsibility for improving their lives, despite being criticized by some blacks for speaking out.

“Now, I know there’s some who’ve been saying I’ve been too tough, talking about responsibility,” Obama told the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. “I’m here to report, I’m not going to stop talking about it.”

Jesse Jackson and others have criticized Obama for discussing the problem of absent fathers in many black families and urging black men to become more involved in their children’s lives. In his public speeches Obama often talks about his own experience being raised by a white single mother and his grandparents after his black Kenyan father left the family when he was two years old. Obama received a standing ovation from the NAACP crowd for his “personal responsibility” speech.

Some people who visit this blog feel that Obama does not fully appreciate the struggles of the older generation of civil rights leaders such as Jesse Jackson and that is what Jackson so crudely and clumsily was trying to say in his comments caught on the “hot mic.”

What do you think?

Black Media Outlets Hope To See an Increase in Advertising Revenue During Presidential Race

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Politics on July 14, 2008 by Gary Johnson

TV Week has an article by Ira Teinowitz on their web site that explores the hopes of black media outlets that the Barack Obama campaign will spend more money with them. Tenowitz correctly points out that the Obama campaign has done relatively little spending with media and programming aimed at African Americans.

According to the article, an Obama spokesman said African American media has been “a high priority to the campaign, and will continue to be in the remaining months.” He said the campaign is not in a position to disclose its strategy for use of the media going forward.

Here’s what I say. Talk is cheap. I judge people (and organizations) by their behavior. So far Obama has not had to spend money with black media outlets. During the primary season, black radio appeared to be so happy to get an interview with Barack Obama that most of the outlets would give him FREE air time.

For the folks in charge of media in the Obama camp exploiting this relationship made smart business sense. Maybe they didn’t view it this way at the time, but FREE radio air time during a hotly contested political primary campaign is worth money. The money you saved can be devoted to further your lead or catching up to your opponent.

Think about all of the local and syndicated radio programs that gave Barack Obama FREE air time. How much money do you think his campaign saved? Advantage Obama!

Click below to read the TV Week article by Ira Teinowiz:

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Children Involved In Legal Battle Over Parent’s Estate

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on July 13, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Commentary by Gary A. Johnson

Bernice King and Martin Luther King III filed a lawsuit Thursday in Fulton County Superior Court against Dexter King. Bernice and Martin allege that Dexter King took “substantial funds” out of their mother Coretta Scott King’s estate and “wrongfully appropriated” money from their father’s estate.

The lawsuit says that Dexter King, the administrator of his father’s estate, refused to provide information and documents concerning the operations. and that Martin Luther King Jr.’s estate’s assets are being misapplied or wasted.

Wow! I don’t know why I thought the King family would be different. This is sad.

Jock Smith, a lawyer due to represent Bernice and Martin, said the pair’s decision to sue their brother was not an easy one.

“This was very heartfelt on their part and very, very taxing on them to have to do this,” Mr Smith said. “They are not happy that they had to bring this action. All they’re asking for is … to be included in their daddy’s legacy.”

Speaking from his home in Malibu, California, Dexter added that he was “shocked” and “blindsided” by the lawsuit and claimed his siblings had given him no warning. “I think maybe it was a reckless attempt to express their grievances,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They are false claims and I will addressing that accordingly.”

If Dr. King and Mrs. King were alive I don’t think they would be happy with this situation and having it play out in public. Once again, money appears to be the divisive issue that serves as a wedge between family members.

What do you think?

Source: Various media outlets.

Photo credit: Getty Images

The Bridge: Black Men Hate Black Men and Black Women Hate Black Men

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , , on July 13, 2008 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

A Two-Part Series on Hate

Part I: Black Men Hate Black Women

Now that I have your attention, you have to know that the title is far from the truth.

At least it is for any sane person, but not for a growing number of Black women who are now using the R. Kelly acquittal to bolster their claim that Black men hate Black women.

Before I deal with that, let me tell you a story.

It was the mid-nineties and I was hanging out with Jermaine Dupri at the Santa Monica airport in California, where R & B group Jagged Edge was filming one of their videos.

It was Summertime and the honeys were out in big numbers–legs, breasts and butt cleavage on display for all to see.

These honeys were in line to be chosen for participation in the Jagged Edge video and what happened next stayed with me for a while.

Jermaine pointed to the line and said: “DJ, watch this, man.”

I watched as the young Black women in the line foisted breasts, hiked up skirts and exposed as much flesh as possible the closer they got to the front of the line.

I asked Jermaine if this was usual and he shook his head and replied: “It’s like this all the time.”

Over the years, I learned that such is the behavior of the so-called “Video Hoes,” who are painted by some as strong independent women and by others as victims of sexism.

While I always have problems with such labels as “Video Hoes,” I have an even bigger problem with blaming their behavior on sexism. Particularly knowing that their avocation is an unpaid one.

I have yet an even bigger problem when Black women pretend that the existence of “Video Hoes” is only at the behest of the Black men who make the music. It leaves so many people out of the loop.

It leaves out parents, educators, the media and of course, the women themselves who participate in the degradation of their own image and standing in society.

It also ignores the dichotomy of public opinion regarding music videos, music and sexism, which frankly draws a line down the middle of Black womanhood. Some Black women celebrate the sexual imagery in entertainment, while others decry it and blame it solely on Black men.

But, if Black women can not reach a consensus about crucial issues including sexism and misogyny, then how can anyone expect a consensus from Black men, particularly if they are only watching?

I guess I could have put the cape on and flew to the rescue of those poor “victims” at the Jagged Edge video, but anyone with half a brain knows that none of those women would have come with me to safety. In fact, I would have been laughed at and cursed out and possibly even assaulted.

So why do some Black women continue to blame Black men for any and everything that happens to any of them?

And why do some Black women claim that because Black women are subject to sexist views and sexist behavior it is only because Black men are failing to protect them or because Black men actually hate Black women?

Simple: Because it is the path of least resistance since anyone can say anything about Black men and very few will come to their defense.

I mean, really, we must ask ourselves: Has it been open season on Black women, or on Black people?

Now, back to R. Kelly.

I tried to stay out of the discussion about whether he was the man in the video and whether the young girl was a victim and whether he should be jailed, because, for me, the man deserved a trial before being convicted and punished.

Some people compare it to the OJ Simpson case and claim that African Americans don’t care if a Black person is guilty or not-they just want to see them go free.

That’s asinine.

And it’s also a damned lie.

African Americans are not so unsophisticated that they just want any famous Black person to go free simply because they are famous. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Black people who cheered for OJ did so because the “evidence” was not evidence at all. They cheered for his acquittal because whites with the same level of evidence had been acquitted. In fact, most Black people don’t really care about OJ, because they know he’s an idiot.

It’s just that we understand the justice system and if “they” can get off, so should we.

For example, there was and still is no moral outrage over filmmaker Roman Polanski, who admitted to raping an underage girl and then fled the country to evade prosecution. There are no extradition efforts and no outrage from women who want his art boycotted and/or to use him as an icon for the sexual abuse of women. Further, he was given a standing ovation at the Academy Awards a few years ago.

The people who cheered for R. Kelly understood that no matter how much people became emotionally involved, he could not be convicted simply because people wanted him to be convicted.

The tape was not evidence enough, as demonstrated in many cases involving police brutality caught on tape.

And the witnesses, including the alleged victim who swore she was not the person on the tape and the woman who stole from Kelly and admitted to extortion were not enough.

For all the crowing about Black men not protecting Black women, this case shows clearly that apparently many Black women aren’t willing to protect themselves, as evidenced by the cheering of Black women over Kelly’s acquittal.


What is also sad and very confusing is that in light of Black women’s failure to stand up for Black women, groups of Black women are still willing to give too much focus to chiding Black men about standing up for Black women., a site run by Black women, admitted that during the R. Kelly trial, it was Black women and not Black men who acted the most disturbing in their defense of R. Kelly.

Yet, the site has posted and is promoting a petition targeting Black men and their need to stand up for Black women by battling the exploitation of their daughters, sisters and wives.

Something is wrong with that. Where is the petition for Black women to stand up, or the petition for Black women to stop participating in their own exploitation?

It’s not that I am opposed to the protection of Black women. I just think it is a mistake to lay the burden of protection solely at the feet of Black men.

I also think it is a grave mistake to link the defense of Black women and girls to the allegedly unjust acquittal of one man. Leave R. Kelly alone, because there is nothing there.

We would do better to launch unified defense campaigns of Black women and girls, simply because it is the right thing to do. We should do so because we love and cherish Black women and girls and they should be defended.

It’s said that some people think we need an icon.

Why not go after all the media outlets that facilitate the soft porn of Black women?

Why not go after-and I know this won’t be popular-the very Black women who participate in and facilitate the destruction of Black women and girls?

And while we’re at it, why not go after the Black women who participate in and facilitate the destruction of Black men and boys?

Really-who’s hating whom?

Part II: Black Women Hate Black Men by Darryl James

I think that it is sad indeed that R Kelly’s case is being compared to the Mike Tyson rape conviction. In that case, I still maintain that Tyson was also a victim, not just the woman who allowed him to perform oral sex on her while menstruating and then emerged from a locked bathroom with a phone to continue engaging with her “attacker.”

Muddied and confusing.

Do I think R Kelly is guilty?

The answer is: “Does it matter?”

I ask if it matters because out of all the positions that people hold, few want to take the position I hold, which is that if Kelly is to be held accountable, then other people, including the women who enabled him must be held accountable as well.

How about Sparkle, the young girl’s aunt, who allegedly served her up in order to get Kelly’s support for her own music career?

How about the girl’s parents who failed miserably as parents and had no idea what a freak their little girl had become? Why was a thirteen-year-old girl alone with a grown man? Why was she having sex like a Porn Star? Is all of that Kelly’s fault?

How about a society that allows and even encourages young girls to dress and act like adult hookers and then flashes righteous indignation when grown men look and interact with those young girls inappropriately?

There are plenty of young girls with super tight clothing pushing and pressing sexual flesh into the public eye and there is no moral outrage over it. In fact, when I wrote about it in this column, some ignorant asshead Feminatzis accused me of hating women and being a sexist for my own moral outrage.

Go figure.

You see, there are a lot of people who enable the abuse of Black women, including some Black women. It’s counterintuitive and counterproductive to lay the blame squarely at the feet of Black men or to ever claim that Black men fail to protect Black women and yet expect Black men to lead in the protection of anyone, when many members of that group fail to protect themselves.

It’s like Black people supporting the Wayans family, Martin Lawrence, Flavor Flav or many of the Buffoonish Black Coons of Comedy and rap sellouts who make Black people look bad on the world stage and then expecting white people to protect our image.

If you want respect, you must first respect yourself.

And, it’s difficult for Black women to make demands of Black men, when far too many Black women are far too willing to toss Black men under the bus for personal gain or for nothing at all.

This includes the proliferation of the Down Low myth, propagated by Black women more than anyone; the myth of more Black men being in prison than college and the ever-popular claim of Black men’s undying love and lust for white women. All popular myths that fall from the lips of Black women more than any other group of people in this nation.

The ignorant bag of crap J. L. King has recently released a DVD designed to educate people on how to recognize a Down Low Black man. Instead of challenging this asshole to do some real research or shut up, many Black women are passing his promotions around as though he is speaking from the Bible.

So, before we get to shaming Black men into standing up for Black women more than Black women are apparently willing to stand up for themselves, we must address the question of why too many Black women fail to stand up for their brothers, sons and husbands.

Really, we must ask ourselves: who’s hating whom?

Do Black women hate Black men?

We know that during the primary election, many Black women decided that it was in their best interests to support Senator Hillary Clinton because she was a woman, as opposed to supporting Senator Barack Obama because he was Black. So, if in fact the choice was made to assert womanhood over Blackness, doesn’t that also mean that the choice was made to assert their interests as women over the interests of their husbands, sons and brothers?

Take the case in point in California. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and LA County Supervisor Yvonne Burke both represent constituencies that were overwhelmingly pro-Obama, yet both decided to go sharply against their constituency and support Clinton.

Were they hating on Obama?

But, really, let’s go back to the R. Kelly case and examine some of the messages that came from it.

What we heard from many of the Black women who were outraged over Kelly’s acquittal is that Black men fail to protect Black women and girls, particularly from the oversexualization of modern entertainment.

But what we did not hear was that the same oversexualization of modern entertainment adversely affects Black men and boys. It’s as though having young Black boys growing up watching themselves marginalized as hungry sexual animals doesn’t do damage to their psyche or sense of self-worth.

Or it’s as though no one cares, because the focus has been on saving and/or protecting Black girls.

If Black women can challenge Black men to protect Black women and girls, then why is it wrong to challenge Black women to protect Black men and boys?

Why do people want to view the young girl in the R Kelly sex tape who was overly comfortable getting freaky with a grown man as a victim, but not the grown man who is sick enough to be sexually drawn to young girls?

Wasn’t R Kelly once a child? And if he is damaged, wasn’t he damaged as a young Black boy? Even if no one cares about him, what about other Black males like him?

I already know the answer. Damn the male, save the female.

Really, we should be concerned about both males and females.

But, sadly, we see far too much focus on the uplift of Black women and girls, as opposed to Black people.

For example, organizations such as Black Girls Rock exist to raise the self-esteem of Black girls, where we used to be concerned about the condition of all Black children. Why wasn’t the organization named Black Children Rock? And why is their propaganda only aimed at getting people to view Black girls in a different light?

Ashley Dunn, a board member of that organization draws a clear line in the sand.

“The type of education Black women and Black men have had about the importance of Black women has been pretty much non-existent, and what they have seen hasn’t been positive,” said Dunn. “With that in mind, why would anyone get upset about a Black girl being abused and urinated on? She was nothing anyway, and that is how both women and men feel in our community.”

Really? Are Black girls being abused and devalued or are Black children-male and female-being abused and devalued?

Where is the education about the importance of Black men? Isn’t much of what we see negative?

In nearly every corner, young Black boys are being devalued. They are told that they are destined to be gang members, drug dealers, prisoners above college students, harbingers of AIDS, lovers of white women and haters of Black women.

And, in efforts to protect Black women and girls, Black men and boys are typically thrown under the bus as the perpetrators of all things bad and absent from all things good in the Black community.

What the hell does that do to the psyche and self-esteem of Black boys?

Where is the outrage? Particularly since some of that anti-Black male propaganda comes from Black women?

If Black men and boys are doing so horribly in society, why then are there no Herculean efforts to save them?

And why are there so many Black women telling us how horrible we are?

We hear far too many stories of single Black mothers telling their Black male children that their destiny is to become the same kind of garbage as their father who abandoned them.

Talk to Black men who were educated in public schools and you will hear plentiful stories of how they were devalued by Black female educators.

I have one of my own.

Even though I had good grades, I was a discipline problem after the death of my stepfather, grandmother and brother all during my sophomore year in high school. I managed to pull things together by my senior year (thanks to some strong Black men who stepped in), yet the Black female college career counselor at my school tried to discourage me from going to college. She told me that I was not college material, that I would never amount to anything and that I should instead join the military.

Delivering such messages is abusive and devaluing.

The problem is that if we only focus on one side and not both, we end up tacitly diminishing the one side not given focus.

The question that must be asked is whether Black women actually hate Black men.

Or we must at least ask whether they are concerned about the plight of their brothers, sons and husbands.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the forthcoming powerful anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Discounted Autographed and Numbered Pre-Release copies can be ordered at He released his first mini-movie, “Crack,” and this year, will release his first full-length documentary. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at

Jesse Jackson Apologizes for Remarks About Obama

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Men with tags , , on July 9, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Updated July 18, 2008

Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized for the second time in a week to Sen. Barack Obama for making what he describes as “regretfully crude” comments about Obama during what he thought was a private conversation three days ago.

Jackson, during a break from taping “Fox & Friends” was heard responding to a question from a guest about Obama’s speeches on morality at black churches. Apparently, not aware that his microphone was on, Jackson whispered, to the other guest that Obama had been talking down to black people and later remarked: “I want to cut his nuts off.” Jackson also reportedly referred to blacks using the “N-word.”

On July 9, 2008, Bill O’Reilly aired excerpts of Jackson’s comment on his show and said the following: “I want to tell the audience, and I want to tell you, that we held back some of this conversation, and we did that because we didn’t feel it had any relevance to the conversation this evening. We are not out to get Jesse Jackson. We are not out to embarrass him and we are not out to make him look bad. If we were, we would have used what we had, which is more damaging than what you have heard. What we are trying to get at here, is that there are some people who believe that the victimization here goes to hell if Barack Obama is elected president. The accusation that we live in a racial society, unfair to blacks, all blows up if you get Obama into the White House.”

Jackson declined to repeat the comments, but said he decided to apologize publicly after hearing from Fox that it would air them. “For any harm or hurt that this hot mic private conversation may have caused, I apologize,” Jackson said in a written apology. Jackson also said he called Obama’s campaign to apologize.

Jackson’s comments sparked something of a family feud. His son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who is who is an Obama national campaign co-chair said of his father’s statements: “I’m deeply outraged and disappointed in Reverend Jackson’s reckless statements about Senator Barack Obama. His divisive and demeaning comments about the presumptive Democratic nominee — and I believe the next president of the United States — contradict his inspiring and courageous career.”

Jackson, Jr, also said, “Reverend Jackson is my dad and I’ll always love him,” he said. “He should know how hard that I’ve worked for the last year and a half as a national co-chair of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. So I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric. He should keep hope alive and any personal attacks and insults to himself.”

Some in the media are trying to make this a race issue. I don’t see this as a race issue. I see this as a generational issue. Jesse Jackson got caught being Jesse Jackson. What I mean by that is that it appears that in what he thought was a private moment we saw more of the real Jesse Jackson than the carefully crafted image he has tried to control and portray.

What do you think?

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

CNN’s Look At Black America

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , , on July 9, 2008 by Gary Johnson

There’s a lot of buzz about CNN Presents: Black in America. July’s two-night special is part two of three, two-hour documentaries anchored by CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien. CNN’s examination of Black America is part of a four-month on-air and digital initiative.

This special reportedly takes a look into the lives of Black Americans by adding some new voices and perspectives to the discussion.

“As we developed this series, it was critical to go beyond what viewers believe and already know to introduce them to the real people behind the headlines that we report every day on our assignments,’ O’Brien said.

Click here to preview the CNN television special “Black in America” (The Black Woman and Family) — June 23, 2007.

Click here to preview the CNN television special “Black In America” — (The Black Man) June24, 2007.

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