Six Years @ BlackElectorate.com: Ten Most Interesting People
Today, 6 years ago, I had the pleasure of launching BlackElectorate.com. As I have made clear previously, I had no idea it would evolve as it has. For that, I am grateful to God and all of those who have helped or in some way participated in our experience – whether as a viewer, writer, editor, supporter or critic. I think I could easily show that even those who have wished us the worst and done the most to oppose or hinder what we have done, have only helped us.
So, today, as has become custom, I wanted to say thank you to all of you who find this site worthy of your time, interest, business, and yes... your love and hate.
I thought this also might be an opportunity to share with our viewers some brief thoughts on another group of people that I am grateful for – those unique individuals who I have gotten to know through the private and public lens of this website over the last six years. This is not a list of the ten most beloved or important people in my life although I do absolutely either respect, favor, admire or love all of the people on this list. This is only a list comprised of some of those who are the most interesting to me and who, I think, as a group, reflect the nature of this website. All of these individuals have been featured, in some way or another at BlackElectorate.com - either in our news coverage, writings or interviews. So you should be familiar with them, in one form or another, at our site, not to mention through the impact these individuals have made in their own spheres of influence.
There are several other individuals who are not on this list who could have been.
Here they are (below), in no order other than alphabetical.
Again, thank you all for a wonderful six years.
Minister Lucius Bey. A valuable human being who so many people know so little about. I hope that changed a bit, and will continue to in the future, partly as a result of the two-part interview we conducted of him. His relationship to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, his sharp and incisive mind, and his 92 years on this earth, make him so very interesting to me. I just spoke with him a few days ago for over 90 minutes and am very grateful to be able to do that. It is riveting to hear someone offer a first-hand eye-witness view of so many of the influential figures in Black history that are misunderstood and whom intellectuals, in particular, have improperly thought about. Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz), Muhammad Ali, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed and Minister Louis Farrakhan, just to name a few, and their teacher, The Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He will be 93 in a few weeks, Allah Willing, and still quick thinking and fast moving. He is probably more valuable today than ever before. Take advantage of his witness.
Donna Brazile: For a while I have wrestled over whether or not to publish my account of my three-hour lunch with her in 2002, written only for clients. It captures so much of what I think of her and the interesting role she plays as Black America’s chiropractor, so to speak. For now, one can review our in-depth interview of her in 2004 and still probably see how unique and historic the perspective of Donna Brazile is. She knows where the bodies are buried and skeletons lay, but more importantly she understands the Black electorate’s relationship to the Democratic Party better than anyone I know. I think we have not even seen the best of what she has to offer the American political scene and I wish her entrepreneurial venture, Brazile and Associates nothing but ground-breaking success.
Reuven Brenner: He is far from Black but he is a genius and real must recognize real. Reuven Brenner, to me is scientist more than economist, more concerned with facts and proper interpretations than ideology. And his perspective is shaped more by real-life experience, wisdom, and the lessons of world history, than it is by a grasp of current events and trendy political models . The way he sees the world and himself – he is a very humble man - gives him insights into the state of Black America that would inform the majority of those styled as experts on the subject. We have the most interesting conversations and e-mail exchanges - covering political, cultural and - our favorite – entrepreneurial and economic subjects.
Rosa Clemente: I will never forget meeting her for the first time at the University Of Wisconsin in 2001. I thought shortly thereafter and still do, today, that she will eventually be remembered as one of the most important young leaders of our generation. A Black Puerto Rican who understands White people and Hip-Hop culture very well, she goes where few others can and she only cares about what her experience and contribution means for the poor and oppressed. Anyone who knows her will probably bear witness to her sacrifice, integrity, and enthusiasm on behalf of freedom, justice and equality.
Davey D. What would we do without him? He was among the earliest supporters of this website and to me, as I have said, for years, he is the most important opinion leader in Hip-Hop culture today. It is not even close. He is consistent, courageous, and informed – from study and personal experience. And the thing I find most interesting about him is his ability to bridge both the East and West Coast, and really all of the Hip-Hop nation. He speaks everyone’s language. And unlike many who position themselves as guardians of the culture - self-styled Hip-Hop intellectuals - Davey is an authentic Hip-Hop historian and a truly balanced active–ist, brokering peace, business deals and political action. You can read our early interview of him in 2001 and see why he is just about the best friend this culture could ever have.
Dr. Lenora Fulani There is no body like her. Always keeps it interesting, and full of twists and turns. Her decision to start a people of color caucus in Independent politics is just the latest. She is by far, to me, the most brilliant strategic mind I have encountered with a sensitivity to culture and courage that places her in a category of her own. If only her commitment, in recent years, to Independent politics – as a partisan – were not so strong and regional in nature, a broader cross-section of Black Americans would have benefited from her General-like maneuvers. I will always remember our interesting political discussions, in New York City, with one in particular in 2001 standing out. You can read about it in, “Lunch With Dr. Lenora Fulani.”
Matsimela Mapfumo (Mark Thompson): George Wilson was the first person to bring me on radio when I moved to Washington, D.C., and Matsimela Mapfumo was the first to make that a weekly reality with my BlackElectorate.com segment on his “Make It Plain” program. There is nobody like him in our generation. At just 39 years old, he is a walking encyclopedia of D.C., National and International activism. But just as knowledgeable as he is, he is talented. Anyone who has heard him on radio in the past two decades knows that Matsimela is one of the very best in the business capable of doing play-by-play major league baseball calls in between telling stories masterfully and delivering inspiring monologues. What else would you expect from a person who was trained in radio directly by Cathy Hughes and Dick Gregory and who is also a Minister? I have thoroughly enjoyed the interesting experience of laughing, almost crying and arguing on air with Matsimela and cussing with him off-air. God Bless you Nigga.’ (an inside joke only listeners to his show will understand, so, listen to him weekdays 4 to 7 on Channel 169 XM).
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney She gave me my first opportunity to serve as lead campaign strategist and we made history together in 2004, formulating and executing a strategy that even her worst critics bowed in respect over. Never before has a Black candidate come back after being taken out of office by the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), but that is exactly what she did. She has been a BlackElectorate.com viewer since 2001 and I have had the opportunity to observe her publicly and privately. She is a unique combination of intelligence, boldness and compassion. Without a doubt Cynthia is just about the hardest working person I know and she feels the pain and suffering of real people like few others. Our conversations about Black leadership, local politics and Congress have been about the most interesting I have had and plotting political moves with her was quite an experience. I look forward to more big moves from the woman I think would make for a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter.
Star: A god. On air and off. You will be hard-pressed to find someone who believes in the power of themselves more deeply. I once heard Lyor Cohen say that he felt Puffy was ‘necessary.’ From the first day we met, and built, in person, that is exactly how I have felt about Star. This man is necessary to the cause of raising the consciousness of the Hip-Hop generation - in a way that keeps Black, Latino and White folk honest. You meet some people and you know that they are ‘built’ to do what they are doing and they could not stop themselves from being themselves even if they wanted to. You can’t pay, threaten or ridicule them enough. They just say, ‘ I have got to do me.’ In being himself Star has found a way to do something that few others can – get paid, and ridiculously so. And that fact, what he says on-air, and how he has been able to, is something that should be studied, by young and old. To get a sample, read our, "Jimi Hendrix, Frankie Crocker and Radio – A Conversation With Star" and listen to his conversation With Tavis Smiley, "Suffering, Hate, and The Black Economy." I hope he gets that book out soon.
Jude Wanniski I still miss him. It has been six months since he passed away, but not a week goes by that I don’t think of him. That is because it was he, more than any other person I have known, other than Minister Louis Farrakhan, and my mother, who made reading the daily news so interesting and relevant to me. For nearly 5 years, he and I would spend time in e-mail, in person, and phone conversation dissecting articles, columns and op-eds in the world’s major newspapers. This activity alone, had much to do with my political education. We tested and challenged one another about the meaning of people, events and institutions all over the world and ever since he has been gone watching the nightly news and reading the morning newspaper is just not the same. Read, “Jude Wanniski, Were You Only A Supply-Sider?” and you will know why...
Wednesday, April 5, 2006