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The National Black Church Initiative has a stern message for folks who have been critical of Tavis Smiley and Cornel West: Leave them alone.

“Take your hands off these brothers,” the NBCI says in a statement. “They Are Our Black Princes.”

The National Black Church Initiative, (NBCI) a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African American parishioners, says it is “standing strong with Smiley and Cornel West as they continue to educate us on how the Obama administration has consistently ignored and vilified the Black community.”

Rev. Anthony Evans, President of NBCI, says he’s concerned about Smiley’s safety since Smiley has received death threats from black people.

“I am ashamed of my people that they will go after one of ours – Tavis and Cornel – as they defend the dignity of black people,” Evans said in a statement. “When I heard that black people and some black women have threatened Tavis’ life I stopped being ashamed and was horrified of the way that we have begun to treat one another. The Black Church will have none of this in our community.”

The NBCI also took aim at radio talk show host Tom Joyner, Rev. Al Sharpton, and NAACP President Ben Jealous, who the NBCI refers to as “so-called black leaders.”

According to the NBCI, Joyner, Sharpton and Jealous “have made the poor choice of cozying up to the Obama administration as the black community has literally gone to hell in a hand basket.”

“There is a dire need for them to stop criticizing Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West,” the statement reads. “These brothers are trying to force the administration to address the economic needs of the black community and to treat African Americans equally.”

Smiley and West have been obsessed with criticizing President Obama in recent years. Every few months West rolls out new material to beat up on Obama whenever he has an opportunity to meet with the media.

In an interview with the Financial Times, West insists that it’s Obama who is fanatical.

“I think at this point he’s obsessed with being on Mount Rushmore. He wants to be a great figure in the pantheon of American presidents,” West, the outspoken Princeton University professor, told the Financial Times.

“If you’re thinking about Mount Rushmore, you’re thinking about your legacy, your legacy, your legacy. Puh-lease.”

There was widespread speculation that West was upset because he didn’t get a ticket to the inauguration after campaigning hard for Obama in 2008.

For West, it seems, Obama can’t do anything right: He’s not black enough. He isn’t doing enough for poor people. He lacks foreign policy experience. He doesn’t listen to black folks.

West prefers to share his complaints about Obama with the media, perhaps in hopes that he will shame Obama into coming around to his way of thinking.

Still, West keeps piling it on. Last year, the attacks on Obama by West were particularly ugly.

“I think my dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men,” West told reporters. “It’s understandable. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he’s always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He is as human as I am, but that is his cultural formation.”

“When he meets an independent black brother, it is frightening,” West added. “And that’s true for a white brother … Obama, coming out of Kansas influence, white, loving grandparents, coming out of Hawaii and Indonesia, when he meets these independent black folks who have a history of slavery, Jim Crow, Jane Crow and so on, he is very apprehensive. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination. It is understandable.”

Meanwhile, the NBCI also said the black community has not been treated with the respect it deserves especially since the black community gave President Obama over 98 percent of the vote in 2008 and 2012.

“Sharpton is not the president of Black America; we have a God-given right under the Constitution to air our views,” the NBCI said. “The Black community is not monolithic in its thoughts. We have diverse sets of viewpoints just like all Americans.”

The NBCI said the black community is in crisis and listed inequities in the system:

•         We have lost 54 percent of black spending power during this recession.

•         Black unemployment rates vary between 13 and 15 percent.

•         Black businesses fell sharply under the Obama administration.

•         Black students are saddled with more debt under this administration.

•         The Black poverty rate increased under this administration.

•      Black home owners got little or any assistance from the president’s three foreclosure programs (all of the administration foreclosure assistance programs have been an utter failure of black families).

•         Black women, especially black poor women, who have supported the president at 99.8 percent have nothing to show for their single mindedness of support for President Obama.

•         Black youth employment numbers are worse under this president than under Presidents Bush or Clinton.

•         Black colleges and universities are experiencing the worst economic downturn without any resource support from this administration. Will President Obama let Howard University fall?

•         Africa was granted a five year $7.5 billion economic assistance package – pennies when compared to $200 billion in overseas investment in China.

“These are hard facts,” the NBCI said in the statement. “We have invested so much hope in President Obama and he has consistently failed us with his drone and spy programs, and his thirst for killing and talking down to our children, especially at Morehouse. He has and continues to be a moral embarrassment to the black church and the black family by not addressing their real concerns.”

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33 thoughts on “Black Church: Leave Tavis Smiley and Cornel West Alone, ‘They Are Our Black Princes’

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  3. The Rev. Anthony Evans, President of the National Black Church Initiative, says the following regarding those who criticize Tavis Smiley and Cornel West:
    “I am ashamed of my people that they will go after one of ours – Tavis and Cornel – as they defend the dignity of black people. When I heard that black people and some black women have threaten Tavis’ life I stopped being ashamed and was horrified of the way that we have begun to treat one another. The Black Church will have none of this in our community. The person who threatens and criticizes Tavis and Cornel is morally wrong and should be condemned. Beloved, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are defenders of dignity and what is good and honorable in the black community. They are not political opportunist who will kick these brothers and misrepresent their thoughts in the media and especially in the black press. Shame on anyone who will harm these brothers by words or action. These two brothers represent the Christ who cared and loved the poor. The church according to our Lord and savior must defend the poor—NBCI speaks for the poor-this is our job.”

    Rev. Evans,
    In response to your letter I’d like to say, without any equivocation, that Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, your representatives of “The Christ,” are quintessential frauds. West has a vested interest in promoting controversy, regardless to what he has to say to do it. He’s a part of the Tavis Smiley “gin mill” for controversy that includes television production companies, a book publishing company, a speakers bureau – which pays West $30,000 per speech – and a radio production company. They’re very livelihood DEPENDS on stirring up controversy. Without it, they’re out of business.
    And if you’ll notice, West has never uttered a word of moral indignation about Tavis Smiley’s involvement in the Wells Fargo “Ghetto Loan” scam, which victimized over 30,000 poor minorities, that Wells Fargo Bank settled in court for $175 million, and the Justice Department said was the second largest housing discrimination case in the history of the nation. Cornel West is the quintessential phony – both he and Tavis Smiley. And further, have you ever heard either of them utter one word of criticism regarding the abusive business practices of Walmart or any of their other ALEC- related corporate associates? Not a word! So take a minute to ask yourself, why?
    Rev., you said, “These two brothers represent the Christ who cared and loved the poor. The church according to our Lord and savior must defend the poor—NBCI speaks for the poor-this is our job.”
    I have two things to say in that regard. First, I doubt very seriously that Smiley and West represent “The Christ,” because from what I was taught about “The Christ,” he’s not in the habit of employing poverty pimps and hustlers. And secondly, if you support Tavis Smiley and claim to speak for the poor, you might want to ask Smiley, on behalf of the poor, to give them their money back. After all, he is Mr. Accountability, right?
    And finally, Reverend, get over yourself, and stop running around trying to lecture the Black community like you’re the Lord’s Chief of Staff, because you’re not. You’re a preacher, period – and based on your letter – and your seeming propensity to jump out front on an issue before investigating the facts – you’re one with very poor judgment.

  4. What has the NBCI done for the black community? What jobs have they created, job training have they provided, etc.? They can have several seats and stick to preaching the word of God.

  5. Fran H. on said:

    Tavis Smiley and Cornell West are an embarrasment to the Black community. Futhermore, there are more black churches in the Black community than any other community and MORE crime. So it seems to me that the NBCI should be trying to come up with ways to stop the violence in our communities presure the states for jobs and a better legal system instead of wasting their time defending these two previously respected men in our community who have turned into clowns. The POTUS needs the other two brances of gov. to govern without them it’s hard as everyone can see. The laws of our land were not designed that the President has complete power.

    • grayzz so who did you vote for? Who would have been your idea president, and what would they have done different than what President Obama has done, and is trying to do?

  6. So the black church is okay with Tacky Tavis being in cahoots with WellsFargo and tricking “their” people into those jacked up mortgages. Where was the black church and Wolfman Jack and his sidekick’s bus during the Bush Administration when things were getting jacked up. The church needs to worry about the church because their track record isn’t so great. And this right here is the prime reason why so many are turning away from the church!!

  7. Daniel Asamota on said:

    tavis smiley and cornel west are uncle tom negroes! There is no talking to them for they are not leaders but slaves to the rightwing cause. These so-called churches who purport to support two uncle tom negroes have no bearing on my life! It’s funny how this organization stayed invisible when George W. Bush was president and now that Barack is President dare to raise their cowardly heads! They’ve been paid off too! So they can take their organization and shove it! I didn’t even hear about these house n’s until recently! They dare to claim they represent the African American community! Well you don’t represent me! I support MEN, not uncle tom cowards!

  8. To the NBCI…’Black Princes”…U HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!! The NBCI said “The Black Church will have one of this in our community”….then what will you have in the community. I haven’t seen anything of substance that the “black church” (as a whole) has done for the black community for the last 50 years!!! Yes some people get hope by going to church…but churches are nothing more than social clubs and BUSINESSES collecting tax free dollars. Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets won’t do it. It’s time out for nonsense. Where is the NBCI in helping to make sure there are Black businesses in the community??!!

    • Oops meant “none” of this not one. Further regarding the black church; “Praise the Lord” “Wait on the Lord” “Have Faith”!!! Well time out because where has this gotten Black people lately? As for Tavis, and West….I think in their heart of hearts they really aren’t happy with themselves, and that’s the core issue. Remember… along doesn’t make one happy! And, NO….I’m not saying President Obama is perfect. None of us are!!

  9. “We have invested so much hope in President Obama and he has consistently failed us…” Note to NBCI: That the problem! You put your hope in man instead of God. And you call yourself a church! I don’t agree with the President on everything and I don’t worship him. But, I agree less with those two left-wingnuts Smiley and West.

    • Tim: Speak for yourself. President Obama hasn’t “failed” me because I didn’t have my hand out looking for anything from him besides running the country. Which by the way is what he’s been trying to do. Tim how has the President “failed” you personally? What were you SPECIFICALLY expecting him to do for you?

    • ewattree on said:


      Stop regurgitating what you’ve been told. Take 10 minutes and do some research for yourself. Just because Obama is not throwing his fist in the air doesn’t mean that he’s not working for the Black community. The President has to take precedent into account with everything that he does. So if he starts running around saying, “This is what I’m doing for my people,” what are going to be able to say when the next White president uses what he’ll call “The Obama Doctrine,” and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do for White people.”

      So, Like I said many times before, don’t listen to Tavis and West. They’re two self-serving idiots. Research the facts for yourself. Here’s a start:

      A List of Obama Accomplishments

    • Over the years I have attended seminars, and bought books, tapes, and CDs from both of them. But I lost respect for both of them a long time ago. Mostly because their philosophy seems to be to tell people to DEPEND ON THE GOVERNMENT…which I totally disagree with. I have LOTS OF SUCCESSFUL people in my family, and NONE OF THEM have stood back and waited, nor depended on the government!!

  10. I really don’t have issue with criticizing the President, I don’t agree with some things that he does. What I do disagree with is the way these black people feel the need to take up for us now when they didn’t feel the need to take up for us when Bush, Clinton, or anyone else was in office. Only now do we matter to them. I wonder why that is, is it so that they can sell more books or go on Fox News and talk about the President? It’s ridiculous. They would never have been spoken to by anyone on the right if they weren’t criticizing another black man. So sad that we haven’t gotten out of that slave mentality yet.

  11. Daniel Asamota on said:

    Are these people crazy? Who’s paying them off to disparage the good name of our President? It’s a shame that it’s so easy to find prominent blacks willing to sell one another down the river for a hot pan of cornbread! I guess that’s why they’re backing cornel ‘punk-assed’ west and his little bitch tavvy smiley! Instead of using their influence to try an further the black agenda they have sold us out and are trying to stir up the black community against the President instead of soldifying them as a solid base! These two uncle tom negroes need to have someone carry out those threats against their worthless lives because they are interfering in our progress! We need to isolate these two cancer cells and destroy them before they metastisize! Punk-ass bitches!

    • Daniel: Well alrighty then….I guess you got them told!! In my opinion the church (overall) are HYPOCRITES!! Both Tavis, and West are probably millionaires (and for the record I don’t have a problem with that); but what I do have a problem with is them telling people to look to the government. Did they make their money by depending on the government? Did they become successful by depending on the government? I Think NOT….so why are they telling other people to do so? Again…..the church, Tavis, and Cornell are HYPOCRITES!!

  12. the Timekeeper on said:

    Amos & Andy. thats a good one, Asha!! Seriously though, by some of these posts, it is obvious we have still not yet, gotten over our own self loathing which is evident by the way Tavis and Cornell have gone after Obama. Criticism is one thing. Making it your lifes work is another and that is what the 2 of them ( are doing) have done. It is easy to spin a story that is believeble and some here have fallen for it. Obama is far from perfect, but like someone esle said ” Where was all of thei rhetoric, while Bush, Cheney & Condeleeza, were committing ouot & out war crimes against this country. Dead Silence from both of them. It is always much easier to criticize a black man than anyone else. No, Obama is far from perfect, but Smiley & West. Go shave, get a haircut and take that ugly scarff off. Or, at least have some objective criticism, not Hate. If these so called black clergy think that is okay, they need to get on their knees as well. No wonder folks are getting aaway from organized religion. With leaders like that, who needs it.

    • tIME: You said “No wonder people are getting away from organized religion”….you are correct. I got away from organized religion years ago. My thing was, and still is that as a whole the church hasn’t REALLY DONE ANYTHING FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY. There are still lots of blighted communities. Why hasn’t the black church held seminars to teach people entrepreneurship skills, why hasn’t the church helped people start, and open black businesses, why hasn’t the black church STARTED MAJOR JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS??!! My take is because they are too busy collecting money for the ‘Building Fund” yet the same building is still standing…..AND THERE HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN ANY CHANGES. I’ve lost respect for the church.

  13. PS: I don’t need anyone telling me who is or is not my black prince. These two are more like Amos and Andy, a sideshow on display. But oh well, opinions are like back sides; everybody has one.

  14. Who gives permission for anyone to speak for the BLACK Church? I belong to a “black church” and most of us are perplexed at the continuous onslaught that these two have heaped upon President Obama since the first election. I keep trying to remember hearing such verbal displeasure during the 2 terms that Bush was in office. I keep trying to remember them going on tours around the country telling the masses how bad Bush was for black folks. But for some reason, I can’t recall this happening. I wonder why? Oh yeah, I know. It NEVER happened.

  15. This article hits on a lot of “real-truism” that the author mistakenly tries to parody in his/her criticism of Smiley and West. This platform (Black America Web) has become the platform for many of you House ‘nogroes’ to chastise brothers like Smiley and West. I was a staunch supporter of the President and I even atteneded the first inauguration, but that support started to wane much earlier than the love of Smiley and West. Smiley and West do not speak about anything that I have not seen for myself and talked about. As a matter of fact, ther eare many more African Americans talking about the same thing. Too often though many of us get caught up in the historical fact to the point that the “real-truism” escapes them.

    I challenge any of the supporters of the President and the TJMS to go point for point about the things that the President has done to show strong support (and a willingnest ot help) for Black America. The truth is, you all cannot find anything, but as soon as he is out of office, these same mis-guided ‘no-groes’ will be ready to hold the next President (a white presdient) accountable. Mis-guided, house-nogroes…still being miseducated.

    • Vicvents: Please stop using the words “House Negroes”……how ridiculous, and out dated is that!! I supported President Obama from day one, and I still do. Part of the reason is that I have common sense to know that we can only give a real perspective IF WE’VE WALKED A MILE IN A MAN’S SHOES. Is Obama perfect? H to the Nah!!! But neither was Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush…..but I don’t recall us Liberal/Democrats throwing the baby out with the bath water when Clinton was in office. To be fair as it relates to your comments regarding what has Obama done for Black people…..the only thing I’ve seen is that Holder is working on loosening up prison sentences for drug crimes (by the way….that doesn’t affect most black people…BECAUSE MOST BLACK PEOPLE DON’T SELL DRUGS). What I think Obama can do is put forth a MAJOR JOBS TRAINING PROGRAM…where people are paid while in training. I for one never thought, or expected Obama to be a savior…maybe some black folks did but I didn’t. I have LOTS OF SUCCESSFUL people in my family….and none of them sat back and waited on Obama, OR ANY OTHER PRESIDENT to determine their success. I’m a Democratic Liberal. NOT everyone is waiting on the government to do something for them.

    • Raleigh Delesbore on said:

      No reply to vicvents, but I wonder how many of the posters or reader understand the three branches of goverment, and how they work. It does not matte who sits in the big chair. Governing requires all three branches. The congress and the POTUS should work together, but we see that is not happening. My perosnal opinion, and that is all it is; is that black is not accepable in the white house. The majority voted for this brother and according to the rules he became the man. The people of the US made the selection, and some folks just don’t want to accept that.

      • Raleigh: Thanks. You are correct in that lots of people really don’t understand the government. They think that President Obama, and him along can make all decisions. The other piece of the puzzle is that MOST people that voted for Obama are life long Democrats/Liberals and would have probably voted for any Democratic candidate that was running on the ticket. But Ooooooooooh no….some people want to say people only voted for Obama because he’s Black. While that may be PARTIALLY TRUE….that’s not the entire reason. And, even if that is the reason (some) people voted for him….he was, and still is a qualified bi-racial (Black man). In the past did anyone say….old I’m not going to vote for Clinton because he’s a White man?? The whole concept surrounding President Obama being elected is utterly ridiculous!!

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