Radio One and Rev. Al Sharpton – Talk Radio

You may have noticed my post Who is talk radio speaking to?, on my other blog, that discussed the abberation in listeners to talk radio. Part of that post deals with the choice by Radio One to have Rev. Al Sharpton host a political talk show on the radio.

My thoughts on the actual announcement by Radio One – Radio One Plans Black Talk Radio Network – aside, the issue of Al Sharpton and othe “Black Leaders” is one that should be mentioned. Besides the question of ‘Who made them leaders?’ and ‘When did we (Blacks in America) elect these people to represent us?’ is the one of what is their actual effect on politics and what is the perception of them? Taking Mr. Sharpton as an example in general and comparing him to say Malcolm X, what do we find.

Mr. Sharpton is from NYC, and was ordained as a youth. He was active in organizing groups early in his life and created the National Youth Movement in 1971. He attended Brooklyn College for 2 years and worked with Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1969. He ran for NY Senate, the first Black to do so, in 1978.

Malcolm X, by comparison, had his father killed as a child. While good in school, Malcolm dropped out and became a criminal for a period of his life. This led to his incarceration, and that in turn led to his conversion to Islam. Also during his time in prison he resumed his pursuit of an education.

Mr. Sharpton really became a regional, if not national figure in the mid-80’s. This was due to his presence and boisterous statements to the press during a series of reactions and protests on racially motivated crimes in NYC. Mr. Sharpton is noted for making incendiary comments to Jews, Koreans and Whites as well. More recently he has run for president in 2004 on a platform of increase political consciousness and awareness, affirmative action and anti-death penalty policy, and economic justice at home.

Malcolm X, upon leaving prison, was a devout practicioner of his faith. He helped create several Mosques across the nation, and promote entreprenuership in several communities. Malcolm X, along with the Nation of Islam, introduced thier beliefs to a nation that had never heard of them. Malcolm X, among others at the time, tackled issues of race (jim crow laws, et al.) and racial equality. Until the time of his death, Malcolm X was known internationally for his pursuit of his religion and equivalent treatment.

Which of the 2 abbridged summaries sounds like a leader? Who has done more? Who in the eyes of the masses, would have more respect even from his enemies? Both deserve respect for standing up and saying what they think, even when those statements were not positive to a group or political climate.

Yet, without the sensationalism provided by the newspapers, Mr. Sharpton would probably not have become a known figure. Even with the newspapers influence what has he acheived? Has his presence led to changes in the actions of police in NYC in 1987? in 1989 or 91? Has he helped to create legislation that improves peoples lives? Is he taken seriously politically when he speaks about a subject?

Leadership is both a factor of what is percieved and done. Leadership is the ability to lead. A leader is one in charge or in command of others. Black leaders, now-a-days, are arbitrary figures that only represent an aspect that the media wants to be popular. Anyone given the title of a leader should be expected to, at a minimum, lead.

What do you think?

About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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