Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Kevin Ross and The Ass Kissing Of Tavis Smiley

image I wrote a piece on the State of the Black Union which will appear on the blog shortly however, in the meantime I feel that it is absolutely necessary to address the issues raised by Kevin Ross of the blog 3 brothers And A Sister on the bloggers section of the show.  Clearly his relationship with Smiley has obscured his ability to approach this issue with any form of integrity.  I am writing this post because despite addressing my concerns to Ross directly in the comment section of his blog, he has chosen as is his right not to publish my thoughts. The great thing about blogging Kevin, is that you can avoid critique in your own space by choice however, because of the open the platform that the internet provides anyone can still have their say.

Smiley started out by wanting to hold a contest in which he promised to make us (read: bloggers) famous.  Yes, his lordship was going to share his fame with the lowly by allowing us to cover the state of the black union and be on a panel.  I have news for you Tavis, if you spent less time licking your lips like a snake and pimping your latest book at every opportunity, you would have realized that this approach was insulting and problematic to say the least.  When his lordship rightfully faced critique from the black blogosphere the big plan quickly faded into oblivion.

Tavis decided to establish a panel of what he obviously considered to be the best boot lickers that the black blogosphere had to offer.  This year he uplifted Carmen Dixon of All About Race, Lenny McAlister of Hip Hop Republican, and Kevin Ross of 3BAAS Media Group.  He also had a blogger from the Huffington Post (yeah you know the blog that makes millions but cannot seem to find a dime to pay those that work for it).  In a time of economic downturn why not spotlight a blog that seems to have no problem promising solely exposure as a source of payment. Hey, can you feed your child with exposure?  Can you pay the rent with exposure? It seemed Tavis was more interested in having each panelist declare their undying love and adoration of him, than engage in any legitimate conversation of what blacks are doing online to raise awareness, and speak critically about the issues.

In between asking us if we knew what twitter was and praising Tavis like he was the second coming, Ross decided to infer that blacks only concentrate on blogs like Bossip when we take the time to read online news.  Apparently checking to see if the “knuckle prints in Rhianna’s forehead” are real is our major objective.  We certainly don’t spend our time on politics and current events.

As a blogger that regularly focuses on the serious issues I am highly offended by what Ross had to say on this issue.  I may not spend my time licking Tavis’s boots however my commitment, and the commitment of other blacks in the blogosphere to sound the alarm and raise consciousness is above question.   When I look at blogs like Jack an Jill Politics, African American Political Pundit, Racialicious, Pams House Blend, The Electronic Village, What Tammy Said, The Black Snob, The Field Negro, Black Perspective.Net and the Michelle Obama Watch, it is more than clear to me that not only are blacks engaging, we are breaking new ground.   If we were not politically engaged why did black bloggers receive credentials for the Democratic national Convention?  If we were not engaged, why did we rally around Jenna 6?  The problem is not engagement it is equal recognition of the hard work that we do daily, and often for free.

Ross, you did all the black bloggers that work hard daily a disservice on that stage in a desire to obviously ass kiss.  We not only know what twitter is, we can be found sending our 140 character messages into the airwaves.  Every month more of us join the struggle and this can be attested to by the growing list that appears monthly at the villagers black blog rankings.  Of course you had no problem arrogantly puffing out your chest like an over stuffed Thanksgiving Turkey because you were one of the “chosen”.  What’s your ranking Ross, mine is 12?  I daresay many of the bloggers I mentioned are far more competent to speak about the black blogpshere than you. You may be willing to whore yourself out by dancing to Smiley’s particular drumbeat but some of us are more interested in being our own masters.


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