by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Apparently some black journalists have been questioning Rev. Al Sharpton’s journalistic credentials. Reports say that Sharpton was offered a position on MSNBC after filling in for a few weeks in the 6:00 p.m. time slot. According to The Root, his coveted job offer is a hot discussion with the National Association of Black Journalists because they are currently discussing “with several civil rights organizations…what it calls a trend in cable news to pass over African-American journalists for prime-time programming positions.” Hence, the fact that Sharpton is being offered a job position on MSNBC despite his lack of journalism experience is a bit of a sore spot with other more qualified journalists of color.
Now, Sharpton is taking time to clarify some things concerning his new job offer. First he states that he and MSNBC have not finalized a deal yet. Secondly, he states that he is not a journalist and that the position he is being offered in not in news but to serve in the area of opinions and advocacy. In an interview with The Root, Sharpton proceeded to share:
“We can’t get into a crabs-in-the-barrel mentality. We cannot let them play us off one another. There is a history here. Kweisi Mfume had a talk show. Jesse Jackson Jr. had a talk show. If someone can advocate nationwide, we need to do that given the pain of our people. We need to do that on television, in newspapers and magazines. And all of us need to be united.”
For the black journalists out there getting hot under the collar, cool off. Based on the words Sharpton has shared, he is not trying to be what he is not — a journalist. He is simply being offered a more powerful platform from which he can do what he has done for many years — be an advocate for the African-American community.
This is a part of Ayvaunn Penn‘s Black And Making It series. She is also a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.