Rev. Al Sharpton has refused to duck despite having his perfectly coifed silver-and-black locks pelted relentlessly by a torrential downpour of insults after it was revealed he was an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the 1980s.
Instead of leaning back from the fierce blowback from contemporaries and admirers about being a “snitch,” as they derisively termed his cooperation with the covert agency crafted in the image of J. Edgar Hoover, Sharpton does what he usually does when he is posted up hard in the paint: he bucks back with authoritative aplomb.
The longtime civil rights leader and founder of the National Action Network used his weekly post on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” to return sniper fire at his haters and accusers and to clarify what actually went down. Some still have a problem with any person who cooperated with the organization that did much to destroy Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Marcus Garvey, SNCC and scores of others who fought for justice and equality.
Sharpton sought to clarify his role in bringing down notorious crime syndicates. Comedian Mike Epps was also on hand and sprinkled liberal doses of jokes in on the proceedings. Take a look at the transcripts from “TJMS”:
REV. AL SHARPTON: Good morning, good morning. Yes, I’m on the phone. I’ve been doing TV because today’s the opening day of the National Action Network’s convention and the dealing with this fabricated controversy of a 31-year-old story. But we expect that every time we have our convention they try to come up with something, particularly this year since President Obama is speaking Friday and the Attorney General is speaking today, but let me say this, Tom, with this informant story. Thirty-one years now they’re talking about, they come out with transcripts.
A guy named Sal came to New York when I was a leading a fight to make sure concert promoters from the black community [were] involved in the concerts of Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson who were getting ready to go on major tours, and black concert promoters have been cut out. This guy, who was a mobster, threatened to kill me and the other protestors saying that we didn’t know who we were messing with. I wrote about this in my first book in 1996, so this is nothing new. And I think that the whole inference that if you are threatened and you called the law, that you’re an informant, is ridiculous.
If I break into your house and I’m stealing your stuff, and you pick up the phone and call the cops, I say, no, you’re snitchin’ on me? You’re the victim, you’re not my partner, your partner’s snitching on you. So it’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard of.
I’m having the Attorney General of the United States speak at my convention today, not the head of the Costra Nostra. I’m not the bad guys. Of course we work with government against what’s wrong. What is crazy to me is why at that time, and Tom you remember that … they were going after disc jockeys in the black community, you know, and letting these mobsters go. I sat in Frankie Crocker’s trial. So y’all gonna tell me that you gonna try to conjure up cases of payola on black DJs and y’all are not gonna do nothing about these guys who you call mobsters doing something to us? I won’t force your hand and that’s what I did and I will do it again.
MIKE EPPS: So, Reverend Al.
TOM JOYNER: Go ahead, Mike.
MIKE EPPS: Reverend, you know what they say, you know what our mothers used to say, if they ain’t talking about you, you ain’t doing nothing; you still doing something.
REV. AL SHARPTON: That’s true, and but the point is that they don’t dispute the facts. They’re not saying, no these guys [weren’t] mobsters. No, these guys didn’t threaten. So what’s the problem? That I wanted to do something about it? And I think the last several years I’ve been all over this show every Wednesday and everywhere else telling kids to stand up against guns and the community and work with law enforcement. This only validates that I always stood and represented what I always said. So I think that it is really the continual criminalization of the black community to act like we supposed to be with the thugs rather than with the good guys, and I’m not …
MIKE EPPS: The fuzz?
SYBIL WILKES: Thugs.
MIKE EPPS: The fuzz? Oh, I thought he said the fuzz? I was like, man, that’s old school right there, the fuzz.
REV. AL SHARPTON: No, no, no. I’m not that old.
SYBIL WILKES: [Laugh]
TOM JOYNER: Hey, Reverend Al, you know, they showing old pictures of you and I don’t think that’s far. You’ve done all this work to lose all that weight, yet the pictures that they show of you are the old pictures of Reverend Al wearing the, you know, British Knight jogging suit.
REV. AL SHARPTON: You don’t have to describe it, we’ve got the point. [Laughter.] I mean that’s the only embarrassing thing, and the only thing that I’m worried about is they gonna come up that my code name was Jay Anthony. [Laughter.]
MIKE EPPS: Well, you know what, Reverend? You have changed in a great way, you look great. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the Dark and Lovely. You still go the Dark and Lovely in your hair.
REV. AL SHARPTON: And it’s a little dark and a little grey, and a little lovelier, but I appreciate it, Tom. [Laughter.]
TOM JOYNER: My man, Reverend Al.
SYBIL WILKES: Have a good convention, sir.
REV. AL SHARPTON: All right, thank you.
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