“Excuse me, excuse me,” the announcer said, preceding the words he was happy to say, and he prepared to introduce a celebrated woman who is phenomenal in every way. She had grown and blossomed right in front of our eyes, and she has done work in the community that might warrant — or is at least worthy of a Nobel Prize.
The humanity that we hoped to see someone express, Soledad O’Brien does with aplomb and finesse. The CNN correspondent had journeyed from the tsunami to Hurricane Katrina you see, and put a spotlight on wave after wave of that despair and that misery. She’d reported on “Black in America” and that reality, to a black man for president and how this had come to be. The eloquence with which she speaks and the cadence of her speech — it’s that confident delivery and fair reporting we beseech.
Running an organization every day, to broadcast the news in a particular way, the good the bad, and the ugliness of racism and black-on-black crime, she covers with sensitivity and brings the discussion to prime time. With news anchors in every major city not being able to say, with any real credibility what is happening in minority communities each and every day. They can’t articulate and make all aware of the pain, the indignities and the profundity of the despair.
What does the community want the news and its representatives to say? That our stories are more than clichés to bandied about, talk about our fire, our passion and the information available in rolling out.
How do we extricate ourselves from the valley of negativity, and keep from being mired in destructive images and that portrayal? Featuring those with uncombed hair and sagging pants is the ultimate betrayal.
But when Ms. O’Brien has the microphone we can rely on her accuracy and you can bring her into your home. Someone who would interview blacks in a respectful way, someone who would show how we feel and how we’ve been led astray. Someone who would reflect the fact that we want the information, the access and the intellectual capital, not just the ability to meet a quota.
And someone who won’t let other media erase, the fact that we are judged by the color of our skin that’s there in front of whomever’s face. And in that moment when they begin to traipse through their imaginations with their egos in tow, they will remember those images and reflect on how things did and did not go. Who could have imagined that we would still be talking about these issues in the present day, while newscasters distract us with tales of violence and the American way.
No, it’s no surprise that when we do dazzle in their eyes, it’s because we are special “Afroamericans.” But when we see the nightly news we are then Afoamerican’t. But when this particular person appears on TV, we take comfort in knowing that she knows something about you and me. With this bright star she stands beside us every day, she understands or at least is conscious of what to begin to say. How we are a people whose stories are aching to be told.
We are great and we will develop a strategy inside our minds of how to get to better times. We want to erase the feelings of despair and we need a person who can help us in this way to repair. We need someone like Soledad who understands what it is to be respected and attached to the dignity that we work for every day.
A person who walks into a room will choose carefully how and what they say. But don’t ponder too long, for they already know the “We Shall Overcome” song.
Overachiever, social defender, and guardian of images today … and oh, look in comparison at the others when they broadcast what they have to say. Our own mouthpieces interpreting the stories too long untold, and speaking in our language and a familiar tongue, reflect positively on you and me.
For that I smiled, and I took a moment to introduce this phenomenal woman that you see standing beside me. Soledad, we are proud of you. Continue to give this community dignity.