TavissmileyNow normally I try not to use my blog to lash out at other people, no matter who they are, but today I am particularly vexed.  After sending an email over to someone that I knew who worked with Tavis about the State of the Black Union and what I felt was lacking and getting a response that was less than acceptable to me (see below), I decided to write an article about what I felt was a missed opportunity.

Response from Tavis Smiley’s office regarding civil rights for gays

"J, I believe we have listed on covenantwithblackamerica.com the 10 issues that we will discuss as a part of the document. These 10 issues came from the people as to what was MOST important to them and we developed the document with several think tanks and experts in the 10 areas to create a document that would be useful for the average american. Gay civil rights in particular is not one of the issues, but civil rights for African Americans is one of the issues."

In the article critiquing Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union, which aired on CSPAN over the past week, I criticized Tavis and the organizers for not using their platform, that was beaming into the homes of over 83 million people, to address the socially critical issues that needed to be laid out on the table in black and white.

Those issues included immigration reform, civil rights for lesbians and gays, and HIV/AIDS.

Well low and behold, a few minutes after my op-ed was sent out on the newswire I get a call from a very irate Tavis Smiley accusing me of “misleading my readers.”

According to Tavis, “I obviously hadn’t read the book.” 

I explained to him that I did contribute to his fund and actually purchased the book over the weekend and was making my way through it.

(Side note:  To date, the words sexual orientation has only appeared once so far in my readings, but I’m not done yet.)

He said that if I read the book then I would know that he does address those issues.  I had to remind Tavis that my piece critiqued the nationally televised version of the State of the Black Union that was beamed into the homes of 83 million people.  Now even though his new book his a top seller on Amazon, it’s highly doubtful that 83 million people are going to buy it.  No, the big bang with the televised State of the Black Union, which did not address the issues I wrote about.

Tavis also went on to question what I do to help Black people.  What forums had I done?  He said that I needed to gather the people that he gathered to address those issues I wrote about since I felt so passionately about them.  I explained to him that in the course of my short life, I had organized and participated in many forums addressing the issues that felt passionately about.

He then went on to threaten to tell my boss that he should be ashamed of me.  My boss happened to be standing next to me while I was on the phone and for the record, I did offer to turn over the phone to my boss so that he could tell him, but Tavis said he’d do it later.

One thing I can’t stand is people who abuse their power of position.

So Tavis, I have two words for you…First Amendment.  If you don’t like it, get it changed. I may not have 1,049 Federal rights as a lesbian, but I do have the right to disagree and write about whatever I please, as do you.