January 7, 2010

Tavis Smiley Quits on the State of the Black Union

I am glad to see that the annual State of the Black Union (SOBU) conference put together by Tavis Smiley over the past 10 years is over. [SOURCE]

I enjoyed it ... as I did the commentary of Tavis Smiley during the early years. In fact, I worked with Mr. Smiley on a similiar effort, Blacks In Technology, back in the day when I was national president-elect of an organization of Black IT professionals.

SOBU had some remarkable moments, including a rant by civil rights activist Dick Gregory. However, the entire conference ... and Mr. Smiley's reputation began to tank when he started pouting about the fact that Barack Obama wouldn't attend the 2008 SOBU.

It seems that Tavis Smiley has been criticizing Barack Obama on every television appearance since then. Obama was cool enough to appear by videoconference at the SOBU conference held last year.

Anyhow, Smiley apparently plans to spend more time in 2010 publishing the memoirs of R. Kelly.


Anyone willing to dig into the sewer of R. Kelly's mind is no longer worthy of serious consideration as an activist or journalist. I suppose that Smiley will continue to be a highly-paid speaker on the circuit of Black conferences, banquets and such. It just seems that he no longer as the respect of the Black community.

What are your thoughts about the end of the State of the Black Union conference? What are your thoughts about Tavis Smiley's future as an activist in the Black community?


Pablo More said...

Good afternoon, I agree with you.
10 years of SOBU is enough, the earlier years were great but then afterwards it just started becoming a forum where the same group of folks would appear and basically were preaching to the choir since only those "in the know" actually watched it on C-Span on Saturdays when it would come on. The large masses in need of the information
never tuned in. I too agree with you on your comment about Tavis over the past 2-3 years has been very critical of President Barack Obama much more so than he ever was of any previous administration. I respect his earlier work that he did and hope that he comes back around at some point, until then peace!

msladydeborah said...

Hotep Villager,

I find myself wondering what is really going on inside of Tavis' mind at this time?

It seems that he has had a difficult time recovering since the incident about Obama attending SOBU during the campaign.

I use to enjoy watching SOBU. But I found myself growing less interested as time went by. It became more of an annual gathering that was boxed into its own sense of importance. I did tune in to watch different speakers on the panel.

Tavis is definitely a very inspirational speaker. I went to see him when he was in Columbus. It was quite an enjoyable evening.

This latest turn in his career is not that interesting to me. I do not do R. Kelly. I would really like to know what the reasoning is behind this move?

SOBU never really lived up the potential that it promised. I am sure that there will be people who will miss the event.

Villager said...

Pablo - First, thank you for your visit to our village! Second, I no longer think that Tavis is capable of coming back. He went down the same dark road as Jesse Jackson. Neither of them will be relevant for Black people again (IMHO)...

Lady D - Do you have any lasting memories of SOBU? The only one that comes to mind for me is the rant by Dick Gregory a couple of years ago...

Beverly said...

Happy New Year,

I miss the Tavis of old. I try to watch the SOBU annually and look for actions that have resulted from the 'rants' and postulating by the panel but alas I missed them.

Ten years is a long to time to continue to rehash the wrongs and slights African Americans have suffered forever!

I ocassionally watch his PBS show -but most of his guests are not the ones I want to hear from nor do they address AA issues. I think he invites many guests of his personal interests (music, movies, etc.).

He has fallen into a childish reactive persona recently. From his departure from the Tom Joyner show and now. His strengths do not include receiving 'critisem' and responding appropriately and moving forward.

I am so dissappointed.

I also question if African Americans latch onto the few public
articulate persons and look for them to lead us to the promise land.

Villager said...

Beverly - Thanx for sharing your thoughts. I hope that others reading this post will share their comments as well. Heck, we may even get a personal visit from Tavis or a member of his staff, huh?!

I agree with what you've said, except the last paragraph. I don't think that the Black community is seeking out a 'messiah' leader any longer as we did in the past with MLK or Malcolm X. The mainstream media often tries to label someone as our leader ... but, I don't think we seek that out as individuals or as a community any longer. We know that these people become targets too easily ... and so we look for leaders to come from anywhere and everywhere...

Tavis Smiley simply lost his ability to lead...