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Joyner’s Backing of NAACP Draws Scrutiny from Pastor

Posted: 16 March, 2011 at 12:06 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Fly Jock: Syndicated talk show host Tom Joyner at last year's United Negro College Fund gala last year./Photo Credit: Dennis J. Freeman

 It must be something in the water. It turns out that the raging controversy over the NAACP’s decision to laud rappers and musical artists that use unsuitable language is not over.

At least in the eyes of one organization, the NAACP misrepresented its own mission to advocate for the advancement for colored people by nominating folks for an Image Award that some people may object to.

The public callout of the NAACP’s so-called hypocrisy by the “Enough is Enough!” campaign, has fueled debate about the subject nationwide. But not everyone is mad at the NAACP.     

During his nationally syndicated radio show on last week, Tom Joyner defended the country’s oldest civil rights organization to honor those artists. Joyner injected himself in the ongoing debate regarding the NAACP’s Image Award nominations of rap artists that sexually objectify and degrade women, use the “N” word, promote violence, drug use, and criminal activity, and portray Black and Latino men as pimps, gangsters, and thugs.

 In response to the public comments of Rev. Delman Coates, organizer of the “Enough Is Enough!” campaign and Senior Pastor of the Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Maryland, criticizing some of the NAACP’s nominations, Joyner took to the airwaves to provide a justification for the questionable Image Award nominations.

 Joyner commented to the effect, “Are you listening Rev.?  This is show business…and if you want them (i.e. the NAACP) to be prime time, and air their awards show on a major network, then you’re going to have to have the rappers.  You can’t have it both ways Rev.  This is entertainment.  See what would happen trying to have an awards show and it’s just you.”

 Then, in a failed and ill-conceived attempt to wax comedy about the matter, J. Anthony Brown compared the civil rights organization trying to have an awards show without rappers to “the Reverend” having church service without a choir.  “You and the first lady try having church without a choir.  It’s just going to be you in there.  So you got that Rev.?”

Turns out Rev. Coates, an admirer of Joyner and his work for HBCU’s, and many of his 7,000 parishioners were in fact listening.  Rev. Coates certainly was not pleased by what he heard.

 “These sad and unfortunate remarks represent a fissure among African-American progressives regarding the appropriateness of glorifying negative images and offensive messages of Black people in the public square.  It is quite unfortunate that Mr. Joyner thinks degrading women, using the ‘N’ word, and portraying today’s youth as pimps, gangsters, and thugs has entertainment value.  His veiled attempt to put me in my place was misguided.  When artists produce lyrical content that offends other groups, it is edited, remastered, or not marketed at all.

“Why is it, then, that when artists refer to Black and Latino women as ‘bitches’ and ‘hos,’ use the ‘N’ word, and negatively stereotype young men, we regard this as ‘entertainment.’  While individual artists have the right to make whatever songs they desire, I do not believe the degradation of black humanity in the public square should be celebrated by civil rights organizations and sponsored by American corporations.”

Rev. Coates states that Joyner’s comments represent the NAACP’s spin on why it gave Image Award nominations to artists whose lyrical content goes against the organization’s mission and past stances against offensive and demeaning rap lyrics.  According to Rev. Coates, Joyner’s on air remarks and the organization’s explanation that nominating such artists is a necessary part of making the Image Awards marketable for primetime television represents an identity crisis for the civil rights organization.

 “The NAACP is a civil and human rights organization,” said Rev. Coates. “It is not an entertainment company.  We are not talking about the Grammy’s or the AMA’s here.  We’re talking about the NAACP.  What the people expect of leadership is consistency.  They (i.e. the NAACP) are the ones who orchestrated an elaborate ceremony to bury the ‘N’ word.  They are the ones with a Stop Campaign designed to end ‘demeaning African American images in the media, particularly with respect to the portrayal of African American women.

“They are the ones claiming on their website to oppose this kind of content in the entertainment industry.  They are the ones claiming that the purpose of the Image Awards is to celebrate ‘individuals and groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.’  If a public personality used the ‘N’ word tomorrow, or referred to a Black woman as a ‘bitch’ or ‘ho,’ and the NAACP, and unfortunately, now Tom Joyner took a public stance against it, their credibility would be called into question.  We cannot celebrate artists who degrade us on radio, and then get upset when others degrade us on television.”  

Central aspects of this post are largely based on a press release by USPresswire. It has been edited to accommodate the news and editorial format of news4usonline.com.   

                                                                        

 

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