Archive for August, 2008

Unbelievable!

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Politics with tags , , on August 28, 2008 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

August 28, 2008 – Denver Colorado

History was made tonight. With a capacity crowd of approximately 85,000 (probably closer to 90,000) people watching and cameras flashing throughout Invesco Field’s football stadium, Barack Obama officially accepted the Democratic presidential nomination “with profound gratitude and great humility.” Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention was seen by more than 38 million people.

Nielsen Media Research said more people watched Barack Obama speak than watched the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final “American Idol” or the Academy Awards this year.

This was a history making moment. Millions more American citizens watched in house party’s across the country. Public parks and arenas such as Time Square in New York broadcast Obama’s speech live.

I have never seen any political event or any event for that matter like this. With a specific set of goals and objective, Barack Obama shared his plan for change with America. He told America that sacrifices will be needed and that each of us must do our part for these changes to make a difference.

This was a phenomenal political speech in that it was different. This speech had a different tone. It was serious and had more substance. At times Barack Obama looked into the camera and made a connection to every American watching. He also showed a toughness rarely seen before as he directly challenged John McCain by blasting his voting record and his association with George Bush.

On the biggest night of his political career and on the biggest stage, Barack Obama did not disappoint. This guy is something special and he showed it tonight.

If you missed Barack Obama’s speech you can watch a video of the entire speech courtesy of our partners at MSNBC politics. Click here to watch the speech now.

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

Photos courtesy Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Bill Clinton Says Obama Is Ready To Be President

Posted in Barack Obama, Politics with tags , , , on August 27, 2008 by Gary Johnson

August 27, 2008 – It was another night for grand slams. Former President Bill Clinton laid to rest any speculation tonight that he would not enthusiastically support Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for President by making a forceful call to action for voters to elect Barack Obama because “Barack Obama is ready to lead America and restore American leadership in the world.”

“I am here first to support Barack Obama,” Clinton said, opening his address in characteristic fashion by deviating from the prepared text aides distributed to reporters ahead of time.

Clinton acknowledged that his “preferred candidate” — his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York — had not won the nomination. But he said, “Like her, I want all of you to support Barack Obama in November.”

Bill Clinton did his job. He was focused and disciplined and gave the Obama campaign the kind of “back up” and reinforcement needed to defeat John McCain and the Republicans in November. In addition, Bill and Hillary can deliver victory among the key states needed to win the White House.

Job well done.

Is America Ready for a Black President?

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Men, Politics with tags , , on August 27, 2008 by Gary Johnson

By BMIA.com Staff

I was sitting the lobby of my bank today with my son. We were waiting to see an officer about getting my son an account for college. CNN was on the screen with their wall-to-wall election coverage. There were two older black gentlemen seated across from me in the waiting area. One of the gentlemen turned to me and said, “They gon kill dat boy. Part of me wants him to make history and the other part of me don’t.” I replied, “Sir, you sound a lot like my grandmother.” The gentlemen replied, “They killed Martin Luther King, John and Robert Kennedy, those 4 little girls, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers. What makes you think they won’t kill Obama?” I just stared at him and said to him with confidence, “I hope they don’t.”

I’ve heard these fears that Barack Obama would be assassinated from mostly older black folks for about 8 months when it became clear that he had a real shot at winning the Democratic nomination to be President of the United States.

Here it is August 27th, 2008, on a day in Denver, Colorado, when Barack Obama, a 47-year-old first-term senator from Illinois, became the first African-American ever nominated for President by a major political party after delegates to the Democratic National Convention chose him as their leader.

The nomination process ended when Obama’s chief rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, (who hit the ball out of the park with her support speech the previous night), asked her supporters to join in accepting Obama’s historic nomination by acclamation.

As I watch the convention coverage there were tears streaming down the faces of men and women of all races and ages. Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights hero was crying as he recalled the struggles of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.

Do you think America is ready for a black president?

Articles written by “BMIA.com Staff” are unsigned reports from a member of the staff.

Hillary Makes Strong Case For Obama

Posted in Barack Obama, Black Interests, Politics with tags , , on August 26, 2008 by Gary Johnson

By BMIA.com Staff

August 26, 2008 – On a night when the world was watching, Hillary Clinton approached the plate and hit the ball over the fence and out of the ballpark. Grand Slam! Grand Slam!

Throughout this election process this blog has not been let’s say “Hillary Friendly.” That being said, Hillary Clinton gave the kind of speech tonight that proved that under the most trying circumstances, she can be a team player, put politics aside and enthusiastically support Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States. To use a sports analogy, she was “major league” tonight.

Hillary Clinton clearly put her cards on the table “face up” and told her supporters “Obama is my candidate.” She stated her case in clear terms and acknowledged the supporters of her historic campaign. She also challenged her supporters when she told them that Democrats cannot afford to stay home in November and let another Republican administration ruin the economy.

“Whether you voted for me or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose.”

What was your reaction to Hillary’s speech? Did she say enough to convince her supporters and undecided voters to support Barack Obama?

Articles written by “BMIA.com Staff” are unsigned reports from a member of the staff.

The Bridge: A Hot Summer War

Posted in Black America, Black Men, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags on August 26, 2008 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

The so-called “Liberal Democracy” that America has been enjoying may be nearing its end. Two important signs that the current economic and political system may be breaking down are overproduction and underconsumption. I’ll deal with those in an upcoming column, but the fallout includes the widening of the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” which is signaled by the erosion of the so-called middle class.

Pay attention to the fact that there are not enough jobs and not enough demand for services that currently exist. When 600 Starbucks close, you should pay attention. At the end of the so-called “Liberal Democracy,” the “have-nots,” who outnumber the “haves” may just take it to the street when they finally realize that they are screwed beyond assistance. Especially when they are simultaneously blamed for everything bad and kept away from everything good.

America just may be headed to a Third World existence with the growing ultra rich and the growing ultra poor and few in between. When that happens, all hell will break loose, and just like in the 1960’s and the early part of the twentieth century, rioting will erupt, as the people on the bottom begin to express themselves in the only voice that can be heard without filter.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called riots the “voice of the unheard.” African Americans have been speaking with this voice since the days of slavery, even as American history pretends that we sat idly by waiting for good natured whites to come and save us. In many instances, we saved ourselves, or at least fought the good fight. It is important for us to study the history of rioting in America, so that we understand how we fought back before the 1960’s. Some of those riots will provide us with a look inside the lives of African Americans that just may return, even though some people can’t conceive of it happening in the new millennium.

While the rioting that may come to America soon will be essentially between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” it is important to realize who the majority of the “have-nots” will be. We were there before and if we return, Blacks will not only be mostly at the bottom, but blamed for the existence of others at the bottom, particularly impoverished whites.

Let’s take a look at a time in history that came to be known as The Red Summer. There were a multitude of riots in the nation in the twentieth century’s late ‘teens and early twenties that were significant in that they were “Race Riots,” or riots between whites and Blacks. The significance is that contrary to the history lessons taught in public schools, even though Blacks were often outgunned and overpowered, they were not sitting idly by while murderous mobs burned their communities to the ground.

Popular thought is that Blacks did little in this nation outside of peaceful protests prior to the turbulent 1960’s. The truth of the matter is that racial conflict was exploding all across the nation, all throughout the twentieth century and Blacks were fighting back and spilling white blood.

The race riots of the early part of that century were just that—riotous conflicts between the races. When the First World War ended, racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan were revived as poor whites again blamed Blacks for lack of available jobs and perceived lust for white women.

Racial conflicts intensified as Black veterans returned from the “fight for democracy,” more militant than ever, after finding that they were still hated on the streets of the nation they defended. The summer of 1919 was referred to as the “Red Summer,” for the bloody race riots that ran through the nation in more than twenty-five cities, including Knoxville, Tennessee; Longview, Texas and Phillips County, Arkansas.

Perhaps the bloodiest of all the race riots in the Red Summer occurred in unlikely places such as Omaha, Nebraska, as well as expected cities such as Washington, DC, with the most severe in Chicago, Illinois. The conflicts were fueled by the mass migration of Blacks to northern cities where they competed for jobs with whites and felt their own frustration in overcrowded depressed urban areas.

The Washington, DC Race Riot of 1919 began, as many racial conflicts did when a Black man was accused of sexually assaulting a white woman, but later released. The white woman was married to a Navy man. The conflagration began when drunken Navy men started buzzing about revenge. That buzzing picked up momentum from whites who were already looking at Blacks with ire. Blood was spilled in the hot summer streets when the mob encountered Blacks who had frustrations of their own and were not prepared to back down.

The second riot of the Red Summer of 1919 occurred in Longview, Texas, where racial conflict arose as a result of economic progression by the Black citizens of the rural community. Samuel L. Jones and Dr. Calvin P. Davis urged Black farmers to cease doing business with white cotton brokers and sell their cotton directly to buyers.

Conflict grew to violence when a Black man was murdered by a white mob for allegedly having an affair with a white woman. The incident was written about in the Chicago Daily Defender by Jones, a local correspondent for the paper, who was subsequently beaten. When a white mob showed up at Jones’ home, they were met with gunfire, which they returned. Three of the white men were injured and escaped, but one was found and beaten severely.

The mob returned after growing into a small army, and burning of Black homes ensued. Martial law was declared by the governor and both whites and Blacks were arrested. None were ever tried or convicted.

On the South Side of Chicago, racial tension was higher than anywhere in the city, as Blacks were jammed into unfit housing, with poor services. As migration continued from the South, the Black population jumped from 44,000 in 1910, to more than 109,000 by 1920.

On July 27, 1919, a young Black man named Eugene Williams was swimming in the Black beach area, when he drifted into the area reserved for whites. A white man began throwing rocks, refusing to let the young man swim to shore. One of the rocks hit him in the head, knocking him unconscious, until the youth could no longer hold on and drowned.

The police were called, but they refused to arrest the white man, and instead arrested a Black man who was vocal about the incident. Crowds of Blacks and whites began to push and shove and the news of the conflict spread throughout the city. Mobs of Blacks and whites sparked fights across the city, which lasted for thirteen days. The fighting was so bad and spread so quickly, that local police could not squelch it and the National Guard had to be called in on day four.

At the end of the thirteen-day riot, thirty-eight people (twenty-three Blacks and fifteen whites) lay dead, more than five hundred were injured and hundreds of Black families were left homeless.

The Chicago Race Riot was significant in that, for the first time, America had to face its horrible racial issues. That riot was so bloody that even President Woodrow Wilson labeled the whites as aggressors in Chicago and Washington, DC.

Rioting occurs when people reach their boiling points and need to make their frustrations heard, particularly when they are on the bottom and feel that those above them are ignoring them and harming them.

If America’s so-called “liberal Democracy” continues it’s downward spiral, we just may see people taking it to the streets.

Darryl James won the Chicago Book Festival Non-Fiction Award for “The LA Riots, 3 Decades of Revolution,” his book on Rioting in America. James is also the author of the forthcoming powerful anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Discounted Autographed and Numbered Pre-Release copies can be ordered at www.darryljames.com. View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

Race For The White House: Is Jesse Jackson Relevant?

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Gary A. Johnson, Politics with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Commentary by Gary A. Johnson

August 22, 2008 -I read an article today in the Chicago Tribune newspaper written by David Greising about Jesse “I Want To Cut His Nuts Off” Jackson. The article examined Rev. Jackson’s legacy and place in history. With Barack Obama firmly entrenched as a charismatic figure of “rock star” proportions and Jesse Jackson’s public gaffes, I think it’s a relevant topic for discussion.

How relevant is Jesse Jackson to the black community?

Make no mistake. Rev. Jesse Jackson has had several great days in the sun. I was working inside the White House in December 1983 when Rev. Jackson, traveled to Damascus, Syria without the U.S. State Department’s blessings and negotiated the release of Navy Lt. Robert O. Goodman, Jr., who had been shot down over Lebanon while on a mission to bomb Syrian positions in that country.

With Barack Obama’s nomination to be the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States only days away, Obama is clearly “the man” in politics, a place where Jackson ruled for almost two decades.In the arena of civil rights, Al Sharpton and his band of “New Jack” bloggers and syndicated radio hosts have proven to be effective, leaving Jesse on the outside looking in.

Jackson had expected to speak at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) prayer breakfast next Thursday that will commemorate the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington but the DNC has decided to focus attention on the role of the King family and Jackson will not speak. Al Sharpton is scheduled to address the breakfast. Ouch!

I remember Jackson’s speech at the 1988 Democratic convention. It made the hair stand on my arm. In that speech Jackson spoke of being raised by a teenage mother and brought the phrase “keep hope alive,” to mainstream America. That was one of the greatest speeches of my lifetime.

Jesse Jackson says he has no problem being out of the spotlight next week in Denver. I don’t believe him. His son, Jesse Jackson, Jr., an Obama campaign co-chair will make a prime-time speech Monday, the first night of the convention.

Can Rev. Jesse Jackson, a man many believe is an “all-star” grandstander, smoothly transition to being a classy elder statesman? (OK, what if I remove the word “classy?”). Jesse Jackson is still very much in demand as a speaker even if the reports of him asking to speak at high-profile events and funerals are true. He recently eulogized Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes and last year he eulogized Washington Redskins football safety Sean Taylor.

At 66-years old, Jackson has been out of the public’s view for the second time in about a decade following his embarrassing “open mic” episode when a FOX News microphone broadcast his conversation with a colleague as he expressed his frustration over Barack Obama’s ascension to prominence on the world stage.The “open mic” incident was so bad Al Sharpton felt compelled to publicly criticize Jackson for his remarks.

The last time Jackson withdrew from the public was when news surfaced in 2001 that he had fathered a daughter out of wedlock.

According to the Chicago Tribune, to help himself recover from the Obama gaffe, Jackson spent 10 days fasting and meditating in the Arizona desert. Jackson said he spent time “talking with Dr. King, reading the Bible and talking with myself” in an effort to sort out why he said what he said.

Jackson claims that he’s been an Obama supporter and says he speaks frequently with him by telephone.That doesn’t mean that they’re tight. Obama has never campaigned alongside Rev. Jackson since he launched his bid for the White House 18 months ago.

Jackson believes that the Obama campaign will need him to help Obama win the race for the White House.”When the Republicans come after him—and they will come after him—he will need [volunteers] who can rise to his defense,” Jackson said.

Syndicated radio talk-show host and author Michael Reagan, son, of former president Ronald Reagan had an interesting perspective on the Obama-Jackson relationship. In his article, published on the Human Events.com web site on July 11, Reagan writes:

“It’s no wonder Rev. Jesse Jackson wants to neuter Barack Obama — after all, that’s exactly what Obama has done to him.

He may be apologizing for his remarks, claiming lamely that he didn’t know there was a live microphone eavesdropping on what he said, but he meant exactly what he was overheard saying because that’s exactly what he’d like to do.

In his mind, he has every reason to want to take a cutting knife to Obama’s private parts in retribution for his own public loss of manhood at Obama’s hands.

Thanks to the ascendency of Barack Obama, Jesse’s long reign as THE Black leader — a position he more or less shared with the Rev. Al Sharpton all these years — has finally come to an end. He’s been dethroned by, and lost his political manhood to, an upstart politician barely dry behind the ears but clever beyond his years.”

In his analysis of the Obama-Jackson relationship Reagan further opines: “Rooted in the past, Jesse is mad. Jesse is angry. Jesse is upset. It drives him up a wall when Obama echoes Bill Cosby by demanding that his fellow African-American men assume the responsibilities of fatherhood.

By so doing, Obama neuters Jesse, who always blames an alleged racist white America for the failure of many black fathers to act like fathers.

That’s not talking down to blacks, that’s telling his fellow blacks what they need to hear. After all, all of us, black and white men alike, need to be real fathers in our homes. It’s not a race issue, it’s not a political issue. It’s a moral issue. Obama sees that. Jesse can’t.

Obama neuters Jesse when he echoes the hated George Bush in favoring a faith-based initiative. The fact that a black American is taking such positions which are counter-intuitive to Jesse’s, emasculates Jesse, especially when many black Americans applaud Obama for doing so.” You can read Reagan’s commentary at: http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=27461.

What do you think? Does the Obama campaign need Jesse Jackson to win the White House? Is Michael Reagan on point in his commentary? Is Jesse Jackson still relevant to the black community? Make your voice heard by leaving a comment below.

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

Master P To Launch New Cable TV Network

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Gary A. Johnson with tags , , , on August 22, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Commentary by Gary A. Johnson

Last week it was announced that rap impresario Percy Miller aka “Master P” is planning to launch a new cable network called Better Black Television (BBTV). Miller says the new network will be “family-friendly” with “positive subject matter.”

Now before you say, “Master P…?” This appears to be a new and improved Master P and this new network may just work.

Off all the Hip-Hop and Rap moguls, Percy Miller is probably the most self-made. As the Founder and CEO of No Limit Entertainment, Miller earned his fortune selling tapes of his music out of the trunk of his car to running a business conglomerate in the areas of music, film, TV, fashion, books and sports management. Miller has earned 5 Grammy awards and sold over 75 million records. He may be worth more than P-Diddy who has a higher public profile.

Let’s think about this. BET has sunk so far off the radar that it won’t take much to improve programming on the Black cable landscape. All Master P and company have to do is dust off the original BET blueprint and BBTV can be what BET was supposed to be.

A few months ago it was announced that a black news network spearheaded by former Congressman J. C. Watts, Jr., was coming our way in 2009. The Black Television News Channel (BTNC), would be the nation’s only African-American news network. The firm announced a multi-year carriage agreement with Comcast, the country’s leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services.

Make no mistake; there is a need for quality “black interest” programming. The programming on the forthcoming Master P led BBTV will be diverse and contain programs about health and fitness, animation, financial planning, reality TV, sitcoms, dramas, movies, responsible hip-hop music and videos, politics, sports and entertainment news, educational children’s shows as well as teen and family shows. In addition, BBTV is in the process of purchasing local cable channel affiliates across the country.

Miller seems to have done his homework and has surrounded himself with some very solid consultants which makes him the smartest guy in the boardroom—because he knows where all the smart people are located.

“Better Black Television has been a vision of mine for some years,” said Miller. I’ve done a lot to promote and change the way messages are relayed to our children and our families over the last few years. Promoting positive content and positive messages is so important to educate and preserve the next generation. Being exposed to positive content is what changed my life. I believe that there is a market in our community for a new diverse network that provides a new brand of superior programming that caters to all aspects of television from reality to original programming. In addition, I’m excited to be able to expose the urban community to a vast array of jobs in the entertainment community that they might not otherwise be privy to. I have a great relationship with BET and MTV and my son and I will continue to do work with them and support their networks. With BBTV, we’re spearheading the initiative to meet consumer demand for family friendly hip-hop content.”

The BBTV Advisory Board members consist of some of the most significant entertainers in the entertainment and sports industries including Denzel Washington and Will Smith.

The Better Black Television mission statement reads as follows:

Better Black Television (BBTV) is committed to being a leading African-American multimedia entertainment company by establishing a distinct, valued, trusted, and socially responsible consumer brand within the African-American and multi-ethnic, English-speaking marketplace. We plan to accomplish this mission by delivering quality, family oriented entertainment and information to the quickly growing urban consumer base of our target audience through the use of television and Internet resources.

For more information visit the network’s web site at www.BETTERBLACKTV.com.

What do you think? Can Master P deliver on his promise of providing a quality television network that serves the needs of the black community?

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

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