Tavis Smiley posted an open letter on his website explaining the reasons why he quit his position on the Tom Joyner Morning show. Tom Joyner announced on the Friday morning broadcast that Tavis Smiley had called him the night before and resigned from his position. Listen to the TJMS broadcast where Tom Joyner explains that he believes the real reason why Tavis Smiley quit is because he couldn't take all the "hate" from Black people about his opposition to Barack Obama. Click here to read Barack Obama's letter to Tavis Smiley.
Tavis Smiley posted the following message on his 'Tavis Talks' website. Watch Tavis Smiley explain the Barack Obama backlash to Geraldo Rivera.
Tavis Smiley on Geraldo
Friends and Supporters:
There is no way to put into words the love and respect that Tom Joyner and I have for each other, or the love affair that I’ve had with TJMS listeners for almost 12 years now.
Due to the overwhelming amount of phone calls and e-mails I have received from listeners and other media, I wanted to briefly clarify a few issues that I will address more fully in my regular TJMS commentary on Tuesday morning, April 15, at 8:20 a.m. ET.
I did not "quit" the Tom Joyner Morning Show effective immediately. In July, I will celebrate my 12th anniversary with the show, and as I discussed with Tom, it is my intention to take on the issues of the day in my commentary twice every week with the same energy, passion and commitment until the end of June.
Contrary to what has been suggested, I have decided to clear some things off my plate so that I can devote my time and attention to some exciting and empowering projects that The Smiley Group, Inc. and other divisions of my company have underway this summer, this fall, and beyond. I look forward to continuing the dialogue on Tuesday and in the coming months. source
Watch Cornel West speak about Barack Obama at Tavis Smiley's 'State of Black America' forum. Senator Hillary Clinton was the only major candidate to attend the forum. However, many people believe her choice to attend was self-serving so she could build her support among African-American voters.
One of Sen. Barack Obama's toughest African American critics is quitting his long association with a national radio show after facing a backlash from the program's listeners.
Tavis Smiley said yesterday he will resign in June as a twice-weekly commentator on the syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show" after more than 11 years with the program. He cited fatigue and a busy schedule in a personal call to Joyner on Thursday night, but Joyner indicated otherwise on his program and in his blog yesterday, writing: "The real reason is that he can't take the hate he's been getting regarding the Barack issue -- hate from the black people that he loves so much."
Smiley has taken on Obama in a series of commentaries that began as the Democrat from Illinois emerged as the party's front-runner for the presidential nomination in early January. Days after Obama's win in the Iowa caucus, Smiley warned on Joyner's show: "Don't fall so madly in love [with Obama] that you surrender your power to hold people accountable. . . . I'm not saying overlook Senator Obama, but you now better be ready to look him over."
That commentary brought a hail of critical phone calls and e-mails down on Smiley, who replied two days later on the Joyner show that he stood by his criticism. "It's all about accountability," he said at the time.
Since then, amid mounting counter-criticism, Smiley has stepped up his critiques, contending that Obama wasn't sufficiently attentive to issues involving African Americans.
He was also critical of Obama's decision not to attend an annual forum, the State of the Black Union, that Smiley hosted in February in New Orleans. Obama's rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, accepted Smiley's invitation to the event. When the Obama campaign offered Michelle Obama, the senator's wife, as a substitute speaker, Smiley said publicly the offer was unacceptable.
He also rebuked Obama this month for not traveling to Memphis for the 40th anniversary ceremonies marking the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and for Obama's decision to distance himself from controversial remarks made by the Obama family's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.
Joyner's daily program, heard in the Washington area on WMMJ (102.3 FM), reaches a predominantly African American audience of about 10 million listeners weekly via more than 100 stations. The four-hour show features banter between Joyner and sidekicks, comedy bits, music and news; Smiley is the sole political analyst. source