The tension between these two is about as thick as a big Uncle Rolly slice of mama's Red Velvet cake and there ain't a glass of ice cold milk big enough to make any of this ruckus go down smooth. The 'ruckus,' for those not following along in class, is Smooth Barack's second consecutive declination to speak at Tavis Smiley's well regarded, annual State of The Black Union summit - a gathering of the who's who in southside intelligentsia and entertainment to dialog on current issues facing the southside nation.
Last year, as Melissa Harris-Lacewell notes in her article on the ruckus on theroot.com, Smooth was busy that weekend announcing his bid for the presidency in Springfield, IL. This year? Smooth's a little busy trying to break through in either Texas, Ohio or both to secure the democratic nomination for President of The United States. In both cases, I'd say that Smooth has some pretty good justification for taking each pass. Smiley feels differently and has said so publicly and, in doing so, is taking a beating normally reserved for a four year old actin' up in a southside grocery store...
Here's what I do know - in the arena of southside pubic opinion on this issue, Tavis, the de-facto crown prince of the new jack, southside agenda is takin' a standing eight count. No, I take that back. In this case, Tavis is wakin' up on the ground, lookin' up at Chris Tucker who helpfully explains to him that he just got 'knocked the fu#k out!'.
Don't believe me? Check out the comments to Roland Martin's blog post on Essence titled, 'Why Obama should skip Tavis Smiley's State Of The Black Union'. By my count, sentiment is running 5-to-1 against Tavis on this one.
Smiley himself admitted to the backlash - a sting he never thought he'd feel from his own - when he said, I'm catching hell. This is the first time in my entire career that I have found myself in this kind of relationship with some folk in black America. I now know what it feels like to have the weight of the Internet world bearing down on you. Man, it's an eye opener when you get caught in the middle of it." Whatever.
Here's my point about all this, y'all. We got no time for this madness. All this, 'Smooth should send 'Chelle', 'Tavis don't want 'Chelle', 'Hillary's goin' so why ain't Smooth goin'' jibber-jabber is clouding the larger issue - the Democratic nomination for President.
Is all this helpin' or hurtin' that cause? My view is it's hurtin' because it's easy for an opponent to portray this as the southside candidate not supporting the southside nation that's overwhelmingly supporting him.
You think the producers of the "Eyes on The Prize" documentary chose that name randomly? Our eyes need to be focused in one direction and our minds free of divisive issues that don't move the cause forward.
Man, next year Smooth could give the SOTBU a prestige bump by joinin' in by satellite from the Oval Office. Tavis could collect his kudos and the sun would keep shinin'. I know it's an ego thing, T-Smile. That's okay - we all have one, but in this case, my vote is for you to put that joint in your back pocket for a few. The moment is too big and the stakes are too high.