It’s official: Roland Martin is out at CNN.
After a six-year run on CNN, Martin tweeted that the “new boss wants his own peeps.”
The “boss” Martin referred to is CNN President Jeff Zucker who chose not to renew Martin’s contract as a CNN commentator. Martin’s contract ends April 6.
“Roland I am really missing not hearing your view point on @CNN,” a Twitter follower wrote. Martin replied, “Sorry. Can’t book myself. My last day at @cnn is April 6.”
Martin is known for his straight-forward, in-your-face analysis and fans say Martin is one of the few television commentators who keeps it real by articulating a black perspective on-air.
“I’ve worked hard to ensure that my voice wasn’t heard in one place,” Martin told Richard Prince, who writes a popular diversity column, “Journal-isms,” for the Maynard Institute. “I will continue with my show on TV One, a network I was with before CNN; will continue my daily segment on the Tom Joyner Morning Show; and will continue my nationally syndicated column.”
“In my final days at CNN when I’m on the air,” Martin added, “I will to do as the Tuskegee Airmen did, fight to the last hour, last minute, last second, for what is right. And I will do that as long as there is breath in my body.”
Martin is CNN’s highest-profile African-American commentator and his followed by many viewers. Since rumors circulated that Martin could leave CNN, the network has offered more on-air opportunities to Van Jones, a former Obama administration adviser, for analysis of social issues. Jones is black.
Last month, Martin explained his situation at CNN to Prince:
“I’ve worked hard to build my company, Nu Vision Media, from one platform to several. We have CNN, TV One, Tom Joyner Morning Show, the websites, books, and speaking,” Martin told Prince.
“We are working on two new books and looking at other ventures, including documentaries,” Martin said. “I’m also looking to expand my portfolio at TV One. I recently appeared on ESPN’s First Take, and would love to do more sports stuff. My passions run well beyond politics; anyone who has seen Washington Watch on TV One could see that. I would love to do more sports stuff.”
“I don’t know what the future holds at CNN,” Martin added. “It’s not my call. My deal is up April 6 and I’ll know by then whether my six-year stay there will come to an end or I will continue to provide the kind of cutting-edge commentary on a variety of issues that has been well-received by many. I can’t control when I’m booked and on what shows. I just try to deliver something different and exciting each time I’m on, and do my best to make my work stand out.”
“In the past few weeks since all of this speculation began, I have [had] numerous people reach out to me expressing their strong feelings about my work. Many of them are in entertainment, sports, politics, business, and everyday people. Their feedback has been nothing short of amazing, whether it’s Sidney Poitier, Hank Aaron, Harry Belafonte, Charles Barkley, Stevie Wonder, to the brothers and sisters shouting at me as I walk down the streets of DC, New York, Houston, Detroit and other cities. I appreciate all of the love and support. It’s always amazing to me how you can be on for a short period of time but affect people in so many different ways.”
“I wake up with the same motto that has always driven me: If you do good, I’ll talk about you. If you do bad, I’ll talk about you. At the end of the day, I’ll talk about you!”