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A Diva Moment!

No, this is not about Natalie Cole’s Amy Winehouse comments (for the record, Nat, you have A LOT of nerve)! I am not even going to touch on The Queen of Soul’s self perceived slight (but y’all know she needs to STOP)…today’s Diva Moment is dedicated to the one and only Tavis Smiley. I have had this conversation several times over the past week or so, and I figured I’d bring it to Epiphany Blog, in hopes that you too would weigh in.

Basically it goes like this. Barack Obama is trying to win the democratic nomination. In order to do that he has to win as many votes as possible, FROM ALL RACES. Getting every black vote in America does him no good if he loses the nomination. Enter Tavis Smiley…..

Every year Tavis holds a State of the Black Union conference. It is covered on C-SPAN and attended by a who’s who of the political elite. Your Jesse’s, Al’s, Cornell’s et al are always in attendance. On the surface one might think Obama would break his neck to be there, but when you give it a little thought, can a man that MUST WIN Texas and Ohio afford to miss one day on the campaign trail? I am not trying to pooh-pooh Tavis’s State of the Black Union, but if Barack wants to be president of the entire United States, not just president of black people, doesn’t he need to actually get elected? Doesn’t he need to appeal to all voters, not just black voters? Obama is a black man, trying to take a job that historically has only belonged to white men. In order to do that he is going to need a lot more than “us” on his side. So back to the Diva….

Obama respectfully declined Tavis’s invitation. He expressed his regret, but informed Tavis that if he had any chance of affecting the kind of change the State of the Black Union hopes to spark, he would need to win Texas and Ohio. Talk about panties in a bunch…..Tavis was livid. He tried to downplay it after the fact, but for Tavis to say the man made a “critical miscalculation” in deciding that he should be campaigning in states he must win sounds a bit like sour grapes to me. (Actually it sounded like a bit of a threat to me). Majority of the leaders at this event barely endorsed Obama when they had the chance, yet he has managed to become the democratic front runner. People have tried to paint Barack as not being black enough and his failure to appear at this symposium is the icing on the cake for them.

Here’s my issue with that logic. Why are we so QUICK to hang another black man out to dry? If Tavis really felt like it was imperative for Barack’s campaign that he attend this event, couldn’t he have gone to him one on one and suggested a compromise? (I mean even the Grammy’s got Amy Winehouse there via satellite). If Tavis was really and truly so concerned with Barack hearing from these pertinent voices at his little shindig, he could have arranged something (again Barack via satellite for an hour is better than no Barack at all). But no, that was too much like right. He would much rather demonize the man and make it look like he doesn’t care about the “black agenda” all the while you have Andrew Young and Bob Johnson parading Hillary around in her red, black, and green dashiki. Give me a break! Question for Dweebie, Ms. Linda, and the rest of the Obama supporters reading this blog…..do you really need Tavis or anyone else to give you the okay to vote for Obama? Don’t we all see Hillary’s attendance at the event this year for the ploy that it is? She is trying to endear herself to the black community because the Clinton machine took our votes for granted for so long. They see there’s a new sheriff in town and they are desperately trying to regroup.

Tavis needs to slow his roll and stop acting like a diva. I know there are a lot of black leaders out there that think they owe the Clinton’s a debt of gratitude, but at what cost? Hillary can’t get grand-fathered in on Bill’s coat tails. And Barack should not be penalized for trying to win as many votes as possible. I respect what Tavis attempts to do as a journalist, but his diva moment has pretty much ruined his credibility with me! He looks foolish and at the very least a lot like an egomaniacal hater. So what Barack is not doing it the way you would, or the way Jesse did, or the way Al tried. Apparently he’s doing something right so either support the man or get out of his way!



February 21, 2008 - Posted by | Opinion, Politics, Race


  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tim Ramsey

    Comment by Tim Ramsey | February 21, 2008

  2. Tavis’s b!tch a$$ is still bitter about being fired from BET. Shut up Tavis…..we don’t believe you, you need more people!

    Comment by divastyles | February 21, 2008

  3. “How you doin’ Tavis???”

    I see that JerzeeChick is trying to play the politically correct card this week with her title selection(will you be running for President one day?). I guess I’m to ghetto/hood to be in the White House. Because I agree with Divastyles comment. You got to call a spade a spade. He played his self. More people have truly questioned his manhood this week then his agenda. It’s like he jumped out the closet with a dress on and mediatakeout/ TMZ were there with paparazzi. He was exposed with that move. People are going to be more concerned now with how he crosses his legs or does he hold his pinkie out when he drinks a cup of tea. People kill me, when they think their bigger then they are. Tavis your PBS and C-Span homie, your not Oprah. Your not even Jerry Springer, he’s on a real station. Obama is a movement and moving toward a historical goal. Something I thought I never see in my lifetime. The problem with our Black leaders is their “Crab in the bucket mentality”, their mad because it’s not them winning this race, instead of rolling there sleeves up and supporting. I’ve seen more influential whites endorse the brother then our Black leaders and that’s a shame. To Tavis Smiley, Bob Johnson and all the rest of you haters, cut it out!!! YOU LOOK FOOLISH!!!

    Comment by The Lone Wolf | February 21, 2008

  4. I am so outraged at Tavis! Tavis is acting like the mountain and he wants Mohammed to come to him. Barack Obama is waging a campaign to become Presdent of the United States. This is a movement that could elevate Black people around the world. The continent of Africa is exploding with pride that one of their own may be the Leader of the Free World and Travis is having a hissy fit that Barack won’t slam on the brakes of his campaign and show up on his show. Instead of Travis trying to tear him down, he should have endorsed him publically by now. Travis, Bob Johnson, Cornell West and the rest of the group should have been out on the campaign trail helping to spread his ideas of change since they think they have such a huge audience. Barack is not just a Black man running for President, he is the Best man running for President who just happens to be Black! As Barack has said….”We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome.” We all need to do our part to lift this man up and get him elected. If you are not a part of the solution then you are a part of the problem. Get on board this train people! This is history in the making. Travis Smiley needs to get over himself and see the bigger picture because he seems to be a part of the problem.

    Comment by Miss Linda | February 21, 2008

  5. I like Tavis. However, I do think that he is being impossible. He should also be careful with what is coming out of his mouth because he does hold a level of credibility with some black folks who are not critical thinkers that may sway them one way or the other. I think that it is important to hold our leaders accountable but I think we must also be flexible and give some slack for CERTAIN situations such as winning a party nomination. It interesting how Black leaders are still hyper-critical of Barack..Where were other presidential nominees? Why was Barack presence so imperative? Are we still calling on him to show us his Black card? Chile’ pleeeze!

    Comment by Jhaque | February 21, 2008

  6. I agree with all that has been stated. And I will ceratinly be one of those watching to see how Tavis crosses his legs and if he keeps his elbows close to his body. You know… the checklist we use!

    Comment by cant commit clover | February 21, 2008

  7. JerzeeChick, I’m going to have to agree with you on this one. Tavis seems to be upset with the fact that Barack isn’t approaching this race for the White House the way Jessie or Al did. Bashing ‘Whitey’ and throwing up every evil deed they’ve done since slavery. We’re not dumb as hell; we don’t have amnesia; and we don’t have to be reminded of it every time a black leader gets up to speak. So, why would he even consider following in their footsteps. News flash…white folks don’t like Jessie and Al. Barack must appeal to ALL RACES and just appealing to blacks won’t cut it. Barack is coming with a whole new strategy and formula and its working. And, I believe the fact that so many of our so-called Black Leaders are refusing to publically endorse Barack is actually helping. Do you’re thing Barack…you’re black enough for me!! Back off Tavis!!

    Comment by M. Guyton | February 21, 2008

  8. Give Tavis a break! I think this Barack and Tavis controversy has gone too far. Barack is not going to be at the State of Union Address because he feels he has to do what he needs to do to win the Democratic Nomination.

    Tavis will have his program, people will hear important issues and let the chips fall where they may.

    Why do we have to put two intelligent men against one another.

    Comment by Kendall | February 21, 2008

  9. Tavis,
    is that you sneaking on here to defend yourself?????

    Comment by divastyles | February 21, 2008

  10. JerzeeChick, I’m going 2 have 2 agree w/you on this. There is a bigger picture and at the end of the day, can he really count on the black vote? We are known as a race not to support our own, so he needs to step it up into high gear wherever need be. If that means, not attending a “BLACK” affair, so be it. Very disappointed w/Tavis but then again maybe Obama isn’t dark enuff for him?????

    Comment by JerzeeCook | February 21, 2008

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