Saturday, April 19, 2008


I am an avid movie watcher. I like the art as much as I like a good song. It bugs people that here I am knee deep in to the Arts; written, performance, graphic, underground expressive and then on a turn will sit and watch PBS, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel and then talk about the intricacies of calculating the probability of Cosmic Strings in the Universe and Nuclear Clusters being attracted to Dark Matter in space. As an unpredictable Nerd, I can see how I could clear a room in one of my typical Schizophrenic Gemini Sybil Brain Farts but then again, I always made good company in my head anyway. It takes a unique mind and a lot of patience to understand and be around me much less, keep up in a conversation. So it is safe to say that when watching movies, I get the chance to rest my brain and just go with the flow. (even though while doing that I am dissecting the parts from beginning to end just to make sure all the elements of a good movie were in place. I can’t help it, I took a few film classes back in the day). This one film came to mind recently and I had this burning desire to Blog about it because as much as it is fantasy, its message reaches at the very foundation of human existence.

Recently there was a Lord of the Rings Marathon, which I watched. Anyone who has seen one of the three movies (Trilogy) knows that these films are not in the tradition of your 90-minute cinema. Besides the whole “epic” thing, what stands out through out the whole film is that there is a HUGE problem that is affecting everyone in the movie; EVIL, and that one thing that can prevent EVIL from winning, is by destroying a single ring. Thus the title, "Lord of the Rings". Well I won’t bore you with all the details but for the most part, what stood out is that throughout the Trilogy there was a Fellowship, a handful of “Warriors” who committed to help one individual, Frodo, to destroy the Ring of Power and defeat the raise of EVIL from conquering Man. A pretty simple premise don't you think?

As a teacher, the whole creating of the Hero and Adventure motif would be the obvious to concentrate on but I like the concept of the selected; the Fellowship, or as I would like to refer to as The Critical Mass needed to get the job Done.

Critical Mass, a theory taught in Sociology, Management and Political Science is a product of “group dynamics” and or “sociodynamics”. Critical Mass defined as the sociodynamic term describing the existence of sufficient or a minimum amount of people creating a momentum in a social system, which by its actions becomes a self-sustaining movement. Much of what Barak Obama's Campaign represents is an example of this.

I watched as this practices was exercised very early in life from my family’s involvement in the community and watching people gather and protest in the streets. It wouldn’t be until I became an adult that I truly understood its impact on a grander scale. Often in discussion groups and in my days at a teacher I would explain that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 60’s was just that, an exercise in pockets of critical mass movements. Not all Black Americans were actively participating. In some cases, many were too afraid to take action and others were just too critical to be involved period. Regardless of the reason why people did not participate, a small number of bodies were only needed to begin “a movement” which was enough to shift a nation’s attention into the right direction.

When it comes to activism, those people NEW to the practice always make the mistake in thinking that one need hundreds of thousands of people to impact change when the reality is you only need ONE. In the film, “Lord of the Rings”, the character Frodo was told that there only needs to be One person who could save them all and if HE did not bear the burden, no one will. I mean, just think, you wake up in the morning and someone tells you that your Single Sacrifice MUST and WILL save the World? Kinda Jesus Like Don’t You Think?

So why my need to Blog about saving the World? It’s not about the saving of the World but how the pressures of being a single person doing positive things can be adversely affected by a Critical Mass of people. It is just as important to understand that just as a few people or ONE can do extraordinary things, the net opposite can break it down as well. Take the recent events with Tavis Smiley for example.

Pull back from THE BANQUET TABLE of the people because I know you are hungry, we really need to see the full bounty that is on display. The big picture is this, Tavis Smiley is a Doer in a World where people fit in three categories; those that Do, those that Don’t and those that Complain. He also is a good man with GOOD INTENTIONS. Now I have made note that people with good intentions do need to be watched, critiqued and held accountable when their intentions fall on the side of personal gain, abuse and or “evil” but in the case of Tavis Smiley, the Brother’s intentions are as transparent as a Glass of Arctic Water in Spring. The beauty of his Good intentions is that he is willing to be the ONE that will ask the questions that Black folk either do not think about or are afraid to ask due to this Nation’s unique political climate.

As a journalist and social analyst, Tavis Smiley has to ask the questions that will make people think, laugh, cry, become retrospective, introspective, create a pro-active consciousness and even make a person uncomfortable with accountability. His, like all good journalists, actions allow for TRUTH in character. In politics that is paramount. In American politics it is not only a must, at its core, character will be the glue that will determine the very nature of the US Super Power Status in the World. As a journalist, Tavis MUST walk as straight a line of non-bias practice as humanly possible for fear of being prejudiced towards the subject matter, showing favor and or doing an Oprah (catering to a specific audience or demographic). As a Black Man who has a non-negotiable COMMITMENT to Black People as well as having a proven commitment to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION OF AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA AND THE AMERICAS, prior to the Obama phenomenon, Tavis Smiley was, without question, a dynamic individual. So as a fan, a political analyst, supporter, and a writer, I see Tavis Smiley as being one in a few who is truly dedicated to what he does and not loosing his way along the way within his own community YET when his own people turn on him for doing what he has been praised for doing for years, one has to wonder, "What if Frodo had kept that ring"?

No, serious I asked, What if Tavis did not do his job property and allowed certain People a pass on answering REAL questions or just fell in line with Corporately Run Journalism and read from the same TOP 10 Questions List of safe political questions and ignored the other questions, 11 through 50?

Fast-forward a few months in to the primaries and now we have a major violation committed by Tavis Smiley. Tavis’ crime against Humanity is he dared to do his job and asked or wanted to ask Political Questions 11 through 50 to Barak Obama. This, in our unique state of Politics is Taboo for Black folk in mass support of Obama. The temperament for doing this is somewhat a betrayal to RACE and looking even deeper, the Democratic Party, the Economy, the War, Immigration, Africa, Legal Issues, Prison Systems, Corporate Profiting, Labor, Universal Health Care, Education, Selling-Out to Hillary Clinton, Religion, Women, The Drug Trade, Gun Control, Trade and Exports, Political Fundraising, Terrorism and a whole host of American ills. What amazed me is that in the Black Community’s public ridicule of Tavis Smiley's attempt to ask or even criticize All the candidates (All meaning Obama would also be included in his critique) the very questions that each candidate had and has not answered to this very day. These are also the same unanswered questions that are frustrating the whole of America, Tavis included. So if one cannot ask the source, then asking around the source to get to the center is a necessary and professional process at getting to information and or the truth. When Tavis did this, he crossed into Taboo territory once again. So what happens when this occur? Black People complained and those complaints took on a movement to silence that “anti-Obama” hypocrite.

I personally am SICK of Tavis Smiley, he claims to love Black people and I certainly think the (un-appointed) black spokesperson should be compensated for his work but he was beginning to pontificate his opinions as if his and only his opinion counted. I started to turn TJMS off when Tavis had his commentaries; he was preachy and full of self-importance. I say GOOD RIDDANCE Tavis.” – Dililia from Blog: BlackMenInAmerica

A movement developed in the form of phone calls, e-mails and Blog attacks on the very person that in Public and Private stated and displayed he has more LOVE for Obama than the Hate directed towards him personally. One day, Tavis Smiley is a product of the very best that the Black Community has to offer into the next where he had become the most Stuck-up, Arrogant, Self-Centered Opportunist to wear the mantle and badge of Sellout. Tavis’ Annual State of the Black Union once hailed as a positive event for Black representation and focusing of Black America towards a National Mission and Agenda, now is the Tavis Smiley Soapbox for Personal Grandeur. So the Tipping Point (also know as Critical Mass) of the movement was to limit Tavis Smiley’s exposure and speech.

Tavis got hammered not because Obama supporters are crazed cultists operating in zombie mode, but because he insisted on trying to pull Obama's black card for trivial reasons, and TJMS listeners and many others called him on his crap.” – Political Session from Blog: Black Agenda Report 4. 16-22, 2008

"Barack Obama's campaign must come first. Hate mail is reprehensible, but Smiley's ego started most of it. If he really cares about the future for all races instead of his puffing ego, he'd shut up. Maybe he'd better go see Bill Clinton. Two blowhards in a state of denial." -- NoMugwump from the Blog: The Trail 2/16/2008

Although many people (knowingly or not) who participated in this addictive protest on Tavis’s journalistic style, now cheer in his radical bid to go into a self censoring from commercial radio where he spoke the most about the State of Black Liberal Politics. This Critical Mass of self-styled activist, feeling vindicated that Tavis Smiley has decided to leave Tom Joyner’s Nationally Syndicated Radio Talk Show. Actually what they did was become successful in maintaining the current status quo for keeping the REAL ISSUES off the table for any discussion from Black Americans as well as the Whole of America thus placing them deeper in limbo, possibly never to be asked of by Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton or John McCain. It is no accident that Tavis Smiley prefers PBS to Commercial media outlets where the pressures of Commercial Advertising Dollars cannot interfere with his honest reporting.

I wrote not too long before the New York Democratic primaries in relation to the Cultural Group Think Mentality towards each other and how there was a vicious line draw between Black Clinton and Obama supporters:

Some people are Liberal-Conservatives (Hillary Clinton) and some are Democratic Socialist (Barak Obama). The differences are slight but it is in that difference which is enough to be divisive and pit one Democratic ideology against the other. This is what we see now between Obama and Clinton supporters, the differences are that slight enough to split a Party in half and the national vote. The truth is, Blacks on a whole are voting on Racial Lines and it makes me crazy that NO ONE WANTS TO OWN UP TO IT. There has yet to be a dialogue that brings to question IF Black folk voted for Obama because he is Black? Just the same, people are slowly allowing for the reality that Women are voting on Gender Lines and are truthfully saying as much.” -- Shazza Nakim from the Blog: Mirror On America 2/29/2008

Tavis, the professional that he is was bold enough to have this Dialogue with Black America but as the Critical Mass dictated, it was a conversation that was not going to happen. Either now or later, if ever. One could argue that the conversation was trivial in comparrison to the importance of what is at stake. True enough, but what about the other questions not asked; Political Questions 12 through 50? From the very beginning Tavis Smiley have stood by his principles, his responsibility and dedication as a journalist to get at the REAL ISSUES. In his defense, he has often had to distinguishing himself from Celebrity or Entertainer and the Tabloid Reporter from that of the serious Journalist. In parting from the Tom Joyner Show, Tavis was noted as saying the following, "My job is to ask the critical question, to raise these issues and keep these guys focused. There are some people who are disappointed that I'm not jumping up and down saying, 'Vote for Barack Obama.' That's not my role as a journalist. That's not what I do.

And there lies the difference between a Tavis Smiley and an Oprah Whinfrey, Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner or a Whoopie Goldberg on MX Radio. Tavis is a Journalist with a stated Journalistic Ethic and an established and clear line that cannot (should not) be crossed and an Oprah and Whoopie which are more Media Personalities than Journalist hosts shows dedicated to demographics and specific audiences. For either Oprah or Whoopie (whom have Publicly endorsed candidates), to ask bias questions, the reactions would be slight or non-existent. For Tavis, his credibility as a legitimate, non-bias and honest journalist would always be called into question. Once that happens, he might as well do Access Hollywood or go back to BET.

For now, Tavis Smiley is taking an active break and waiting for the fever to burn itself off. Once the Body that is the Black Community cools, Tavis will returrn to ask the one question he has asked from the start, "What if Obama doesn't get the Democratic nod for President or even looses the election? What now? Where does all the energy and inspiration go for Black America and the Greater Nation?" I have an idea that this is a Contingency Plan Tavis is not hoping for but as a journalist, is preparing for.


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Shazza Nakim said...

Muito obrigado para seu apoio. Visitei sua página e eu o adicionarei a meus lugares ler também. Espero visitar Brasil e talvez o vê no futuro.


Thank you very much for your support. I did visit your page and I will add it to my places to read as well. I hope to visit Brazil and maybe see in the future.

One Man’s Opinion said...

Hey, I went to cast my vote for you as soon as I saw you were nominated, but could not figure it out to save my life. HELP, please.

Shazza Nakim said...

You can click on the Nomination Icon and then fill out the online form under Personal Blog or Political Blog. I consider my Blog more personal but I do throw up in here my political and Social views.