Tavis Smiley: Shrewd, Misguided and One of the Biggest Whiners In The Business
By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com
One can be very smart and yet be terribly misguided. That appears to be the case with media commentator, frequent Obama critic, “poverty tourist,” and longtime crybaby Tavis Smiley.
I’ve been saying for years, that Tavis is one of the biggest whiners and crybabies in media. If you look at the body of Smiley’s work over the years, he has evolved into the “King of Smoke and Mirrors.” Tavis gives the appearance that he’s in the trenches with you for a good cause. Tavis can identify an issue and create a grand infrastructure that he believes is the solution to the problem. That grand infrastructure always seems to benefit Smiley financially.
Over the years, Tavis Smiley has leveraged his platform into a media empire via The Smiley Group, Inc., (radio, television, publishing, philanthropy) and has been able to extract what he needs from corporate donors in exchange for steering people back to the stores, banks and institutions that support him. This is not to say that he has not done good things in the community. Smiley has done some good things to help those in need. However, he’s also made millions off of his initiatives to help the poor and downtrodden. Is that a crime? No. Do I think that he would prefer that people not know about that? Yes.
Last month Tavis was a guest on the “Mo’ Kelly in the Morning,” radio show in Los Angeles. Mo’ whose real name is Morris W. O’Kelly, in addition to being a radio host is a noted opinion blogger. Mo’ has been just as critical of Tavis and Dr. Cornel West’s national anti-poverty campaign, as Tavis has been of President Obama and his administration’s policies. Mo’ used to work for as a producer years ago for Smiley’s TV show. Kelly claims to know Smiley very well both professionally and personally.
Kelly recently received a press release from the Smiley Group, Inc., advising him and the rest of the local media which received the release, that Smiley and Dr. Cornel West have scheduled another “poverty tour,” to begin in January 2013. The name of this tour is the “Poverty Manifesto Lecture Series.” The purpose of this series, which is slated to occur on college campuses, is to press President Obama into convening a White House conference on the eradication of poverty in America.
After receiving this press release, Kelly invited Smiley to be a guest on his radio show to discuss the tour.
In an article article by columnist Betty Pleasant in the Los Angeles Wave newspaper Kelly was quoted saying, “I took issue with his process. We all have a moral imperative to reduce poverty and I accept that. But Tavis has no plan, no program, no would-be law that he’s pushing. His premise does not validate his process and that’s what I was arguing about. “He’s just trying to trick people into believing he has a process; but he does not and I have the right to say so.”
Boom goes the dynamite! Score one for Mo’.
During the interview which one could describe as “blistering,” Mo’ reminded Tavis that he has called President Obama ‘a Black corporate plutocrat’ and ‘a Republican Rockefeller in black face,’ among other things he and West have said about the president.”
Apparently Tavis didn’t like the interview. Several days following the interview Kelly received a letter from Smiley’s lawyers advising him to cease and desist, or in other words, “stop talking bad about me,” on the radio, on your blog and on social media. (If you listen carefully, you might be able to hear some sniffling). The letter from the law office also reminded Kelly that he signed a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement with Smiley when he left his employ in 2010, and if he did not stop, all manner of bad legal things will happen to him.
Mo’Kelly does not appear to be scared. In fact, he says Smiley is “supersensitive.”
“He can’t stand to be criticized,” Mo’Kelly said. “He’s made some kind of stink about everything I’ve written or said about him.
Kelly’s official response to Smiley’s “lawyer letter” is: “I have a podcast available to everyone to hear and review. There was no privileged or proprietary information divulged and everything discussed on the air was factually accurate and readily available to the public.
Wow. Smiley has made a very comfortable living criticizing and talking about people. Now that people are “holding him accountable” and scrutinizing his work, he doesn’t seem to like it.
Game recognizes game. This dude will be getting rich on the poverty tour. Go figure.
Najee Ali, Director of Project Islamic HOPE and author of the critically acclaimed book “Raising Hell” has published an open letter to Tavis. You can read his advice to Tavis by clicking on the link below:
Gary A. 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.”