Tag Archives: Interview

A Bit of BLM History

How the movement started, some of its philosophy, and future…

Jelani Cobb“>An Audio of this interview is here

‘The New Yorker’ Charts The Rise Of Black Lives Matter


Before Black Lives Matter was a hashtag, before it was a slogan chanted by protesters in cities across the country, before it was a national movement, it was a Facebook post by an Oakland-based activist named Alicia Garza. She wrote it after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. It read in part-

JELANI COBB: (Reading) I continue to be surprised at how little black lives matter, and I will continue that. Stop giving up on black life. She ended with black people, I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.

MCEVERS: That’s Jelani Cobb. He’s written an article in this week’s New Yorker magazine about Black Lives Matter, how the movement started and where it stands today. And he details how those three words were later adopted as a rallying cry by protesters from around the country who came to Ferguson, Mo. after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. And, Jelani Cobb says, there’s still tension about who speaks for the movement.

COBB: I think there’s been a conflict that’s played itself out publicly in terms of the people who founded the idea or came up with the name and the people who really did the pivotal work on the ground in Ferguson. And – I mean, I think in some ways, it’s an entity that has two births. I mean, it’s conceived after one tragedy and really comes to fruition after another. And we’ve talked about the Internet and social media and the ways that those things have really revolutionized and changed the way social activism happens. And in some ways that’s a plus, but, you know, it can be a really big liability as well because a good bit of the conflict between the various factions of Black Lives Matter has played itself out in public and on social media.

MCEVERS: Give us an example of that.

COBB: A little more recently, Alicia Garza was going to come to St. Louis to give a speech at Webster University, and…


COBB: …A great deal of social media chatter erupted about this and whether or not she had any place coming there, and whether it was more appropriate to think of the people who were in St. Louis and Ferguson as the founders. And when I spoke to Alicia Garza about it, she said that she got death threats and, you know, threats of violence, and she wound up canceling the talk. And so that became kind of a crucial moment in, I think, the history of this organization where a person who is organizing about African-Americans and their lives is really not giving a talk because of threats to her own.

MCEVERS: One of the main principles of the Black Lives Matter movement is that it is without a leader. This isn’t just some flaky leftie thing. It’s this idea that in the past, we had great black men in history leading us through the civil rights movement and that that’s not necessarily the way to go. Can you explain that?

COBB: Yeah, the great black man theory of history. We associate, you know, whole blocks of history with, you know, W.E.B. Du Bois or Booker T. Washington or Malcolm X or Dr. King. You know, entire constellations of history are distilled down to two individuals, almost always male. And there’s been a certain kind of fatigue, and I think Black Lives Matter represents that. And they find a more horizontal ethic of leadership to be more important, and they find inspiration from Ella Baker, who was one of the most central figures of the civil rights movement in – partly due to her belief in kind of grassroots and local leadership in her aversion to the spotlight. Her story wasn’t as well known. And so they have kind of resurrected her idea that it’s better to have 10,000 candles than a single spotlight.

MCEVERS: Do you think that trying to fit more than one idea, though, under the Black Lives Matter tent – including not just police violence against men, but also talking gender politics – do you think that’s something that’s a liability?

COBB: I don’t think it is. You know, movements tend to pick up where the last one left off. And when people look back at the civil rights movement, one of the most glaring shortcomings that emerges is in many ways the marginalization of women within the movement or, you know, things like Bayard Rustin, who was the pivotal organizer of the March on Washington, but also faced discrimination as a gay black man. And so those are the things that Black Lives Matter look at and say, we want to not replicate those things. We want to not replicate the errors of the past.

MCEVERS: It seems like one of the consequences of Black Lives Matter being this kind of diffuse organization where you can – you have several chapters across the country – is backlash, right? I mean, you’ve got one group you talk about in your piece chanting about dead cops, and you have police departments talking about a Ferguson effect, you know, that these protesters are making it so that police are afraid to go do their jobs. And – what did some of the founders tell you about that?

COBB: Well, when I talked with Alicia Garza, she was very clear about making a distinction between Black Lives Matter the organization and Black Lives Matter as a movement. But it’s been almost kind of like a franchising effect. And, you know, the fact that there’s a low barrier to entry has been useful when there are people who have never participated in a political protest before and they’re willing to come out and say, OK, I can be part of this Black Lives Matter thing, and I agree with, you know, what’s happening here. At the same time, it makes it a little bit more difficult to have a kind of discipline within the ranks. And then you have a third element, which is the tendency of people to refer to any statement by a disgruntled black person as – somehow, now they’re connected to Black Lives Matter.

MCEVERS: At the end of the piece, you write Black Lives Matter may never have more influence than it does now. Do you think the movement has already hit its peak?

COBB: Potentially. I don’t think it’s easy to predict these things. But one of the things that I think we ought to take note of is the circumstances that allow Black Lives Matter to flourish. One is the existence of a black presidency and these sorts of egregious racial problems continuing in the context of a black presidency, which contributed, I think, to a climate of frustration. And, you know, we’re in the last year of the Obama presidency, and so that will change. And in addition to that, precisely because we’re in an election year, we’ve seen the movement to be able to leverage influence and – helping to shape and push the direction in which these two candidates on the Democratic side, at least, are moving. I don’t think that necessarily will happen after the presidential election. Or at least it’s not as easily achieved. …Read the Rest Here


Posted by on March 9, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter


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Tavis Smiley Takes on Megyn Kelly on Faux

Megyn interviews Tavis Smiley. Tavis masterfully turns Megyn’s arguments back upon themselves again and again, as Megyn confuses symbols with reality.

Did President Obama miss opportunities? Yes, from the beginning in not realizing the depth and scope or Republican racism, and acting to counter that directly. Leading to the losses in 2010, based on his party’s perceived inability to lead, and allowing Republicans to dominate the megaphone. Are black folks worse off today because of that strategy failure…Yes. But it misses the point of who engineered that situation – and that in vast majority rests upon the shoulders of a Republican led Congress.

Watch Tavis Smiley brilliantly deflect Fox News talking points on race on “The Kelly File”

Megyn Kelly kept trying to talk about the political optics of race, Smiley kept on returning to the substance

On “The Kelly File” Monday evening, host Megyn Kelly spoke to PBS’s Tavis Smiley about the state of race relations in America today, which according to a recent Gallup poll are worse now than when the president first took office.

Smiley opened by noting that this is largely the Republican’s fault, as they have made the president’s race a divisive issue by other means.

“But people were crying the night he was elected in Chicago,” Kelly replied, “and I don’t want to say he was ‘The Messenger,’ but this was a guy who could change things.”

Smiley said that we will “debating unto time immemorial whether or not the right move was to go after jobs or healthcare first.”

“The healthcare was divisive,” Kelly replied.

“It’s not just divisive, I think it was the right thing to do ultimately, I’m just not sure I would have led with that,” Smiley said.

“That one cut to the heart,” Kelly agreed, “people were scared — but on the subject of race, are we better off now than we were seven years ago?” Kelly seemed intent on speaking about race relations as a political issue, but Smiley deftly returned to the subject to the actual lives of actual black people.

“On every major economic issue, black Americans have lost ground,” Smiley replied. “For the last ten years, it’s not been good for black folk. The debate’s going to be whether he wasn’t bold enough, or whether he obstructed.”

“I think the answer’s ‘both,’” Smiley added. “Historians are going to have a field day juxtaposing how in the era of the first black president, the bottom fell out for black America. Black people are still politically marginalized, socially manipulated, and economically exploited.”

Kelly again attempted to goad Smiley into a conversation about the optics of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying that Obama’s “tried to walk a line on that,” referring to the president’s support for police and “law and order.”

“I think law enforcement has diminished itself,” Smiley replied, explaining that turning the subject of police abuses into a racial issue is precisely the problem with the conversation Kelly was attempting to have with him.


Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Faux News


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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, talks with Killer Mike of Run the Jewels

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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, Democrat Primary


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Roland Martin Destroys black Trump Preacher

This is painful. Another one those uneducated black ministers (apparently claiming to have a “Doctorate”) turns out to be basically illiterate.


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Nina Simone Interview 1968 – On Black Pride

Blast for the past! The shadow of the events of 1968 still afflict America. The serial murders of both King and Kennedy, the rise of the right – and “The War”.

Nina Simone Talks Black Pride in This Rare, Beautifully Animated Interview From 1968

Through the ’60s and ’70s, Nina Simone essentially soundtracked the American civil rights movement, emerging as one of the era’s most brilliant, bluntly political artists, and one who was reluctant to speak to white interviewers for fear of misrepresentation. A rare exception to that rule came in 1968, when European jazz singer Lilian Terry talked with the legend at her home in Mt. Vernon.

That interview, which never aired in the United States, has been beautifully animated in the latest installment of Blank on Blank. In it, Simone and Terry start with some light, discursive chat before segueing into a sober discussion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s recent assassination. Simone concludes by noting that “it’s a lot of hell and a lot of violence, but I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life.”


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Rhiannon Giddens on Nina Simone biopic, Music, and Racism

Rhiannon Giddens is an emerging crossover star (former Opera star), as welcome at the Grand Old Opry as the Kennedy Center Stage.  Here she discusses the impact of discrimination as well as the new Nina Simone biopic.

Rhiannon Giddens: “Songs don’t change anything; they inspire people to change things”

This is her newest release –

And something a bit more “folksy”

And if you don’t believe “The Grand Old Oprey”…Here she is there…

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Posted by on November 9, 2015 in Music, From Way Back When to Now


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Uncle Ruckus Does a Meltdown on Faux News

Michael Whaley, whose tirade against BlackLiveMatter on Youtube, and mentioned in my post “Uncle Ruckus Syndrome” earned himself a interview on the racist trolling Faux News…

As discussed by several folks in my comment section – there were some questions as to whether the boy in the YouTube indeed had a full set of marbles. Faux News, willing to give an audience to any Uncle Tom willing to go on camera criticizing the Black Community, BlackLIvesMatter, or any other thing racial snapped up Whaley…

To their regret.

“We need to teach kids to overcome diversity!”: Megyn Kelly gets more than she bargained for when #AllLivesMatter advocate goes off the rails

On “The Kelly File” Tuesday night, host Megyn Kelly spoke to Michael Whaley, an African-American Marine whose anti-#BlackLivesMatter video went viral over the weekend.

In the video, Whaley accused the movement of “encouraging black people to kill white people” — encouragement to which he attributed the murder of Officer Darren Goforth in Houston last Friday. That wasn’t the only Fox News talking point/marching order Whaley indulged in, as he also claimed that “black people can’t accept the truth about themselves,” and need to focus on the fact that “all lives matter.”

Given that Whaley’s video essentially repeated everything that Fox News’ white hosts and guests have been arguing for weeks now, it’s not surprising that Kelly’s producers booked him for an appearance. After all, there’s just something different about him that could lend their arguments the appearance of greater credibility. But back to the interview with Kelly, in which Whaley briefly recapitulated his/their argument before noting that the black community is even more complicit in its own destruction than Kelly assumed.

“What about the ‘no snitch rule’?” Kelly asked. “This was the first I’ve heard about that, for why black people in the inner cities don’t speak up more about black-on-black crime.”

Whaley expressed disbelief, saying “the ‘no snitch rule,’ you know, you’ve probably heard of it before, so I don’t understand why you say it’s your first time hearing about it. There’s been a ‘no snitch rule for a long time.”

“But in this context, it was new,” Kelly clarified, wholly unconvincingly. Even if she had heard of the rule, the fact that she hadn’t thought about the context of the black community enough to consider its implications in this context speaks volumes about the depth of her concern with the plight of black communities in the inner city.

Her inability to make this simple, obvious connection seemed to unnerve him, so after explaining the rule to Kelly, Whaley went on a bizarre rant that began by noting that Jesus’ people had him crucified, but he loved them anyway, and ended by him asserting that “black people and white people aren’t enemies, there’s somebody else behind closed doors, that’s actually pulling the strings, that’s actually causing racism in America.” He didn’t specify who this someone or someones is, but from the look on Kelly’s face, she was clearly afraid he was going to name names. Instead, Whaley veered off in yet another direction.

“It starts with education,” he argued, “we need to teach our kids to overcome diversity, to accept criticism of our races. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is encouraging black people to throw away their lives for something most white people of this generation weren’t a part of, and can’t control. That’s history, let’s not look at the negative things in history. History tends to repeat itself.”

At this point, an uncomfortable Kelly had tried to cut him off three or four times, and finally did so successfully, saying “I hear you, I hear you. We appreciate you coming on, telling us your perspective.”



Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Black Conservatives, Faux News


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