Archive for August, 2017

Urban One, Inc. – History Maker — August 2017

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman August 14th, 2017

“History, when presented well, is transformative; it defines and interprets reality, it gives people hope, it makes us better. Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum for African American History and Culture.”

Urban One, Inc. is the largest African American-owned broadcasting company in the U.S., and the largest radio broadcaster targeting Black listeners. Urban One, Inc., with holdings in radio, cable television, and digital media, owns and operates fifty-five radio stations in sixteen U.S. markets. Founder, Cathy Hughes, is the first Black woman to own a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. Urban One ranked #9 on the 2016 Black Enterprise 100.

So why is Urban One not included in the National Museum for African American History and Culture? Before writing this article, I called the museum to ask Mr. Lonnie Bunch III that question but was unable to speak with him. I don’t know if he has a plan to include Urban One or not, but I truly hope he does. Meanwhile, many concerned listeners of the popular and highly acclaimed Carl Nelson Radio Show (1450AM WOL in Washington D.C. and www.woldcnews.com) have made calls and sent e-mails to Mr. Bunch to inquire about this glaring omission to Black History.

To be sure, this is not just about Urban One and Black history; this is about “Black business history” as well, for which I have advocated and taught for many years. Our young people and older ones too should know our entrepreneurial history. Black people in this country have been entrepreneurs since the 1700’s, despite the hardships they faced, and there are few things in our history that are more important than that.

Additionally, Black media have played such an important role in Black history. We have John Russwurm’s Journalism, David Walker’s Appeal, Frederick Douglass’ North Star Newspaper, Garvey’s Negro World, to Muhammad Speaks and The Final Call. Names such as Abbott, Sengstacke, Bogle, and John Johnson in print media, to radio stations like WDIA in Memphis, WCIN in Cincinnati, WERD in Atlanta, and radio personalities like Jack Cooper, Jack “The Rapper” Gibson, Dyanna Williams, Bob Law, and Gary Byrd, just to name a few. These media outlets are where many Black people actually learned our history.

Since the first “Black” radio station in 1948, to the first “Black-owned” radio station in 1949, we have seen many positive developments in Black media, not the least of which is Cathy Hughes’ rise to the pinnacle of her beloved industry. Determination, perseverance, tenacity, boldness, and sacrifice remain hallmarks of her journey toward continued success. She is a vital part of our history and is making even more history as we speak.

Howard University recently announced a multi-million dollar gift to its School of Communications from Alfred C. Liggins III, son of Cathy Hughes and President/CEO of Radio One, Inc., which led to the school being named in honor of Ms. Hughes, a former Howard University staff member. The “School of C,” from which my daughter graduated in 2015, is now the “Cathy Hughes School of Communications.” That accomplishment alone is an excellent reason for Urban One to be included in the National Museum for African American History and Culture.

Cathy Hughes has been and still is a “Quiet Storm” personified, in keeping with her radio show theme song early in her career. She has not been boisterous, self-aggrandizing, or selfish; she just went about her work building a business and preparing to leave a legacy rather than trying to be a legend. Her example is reflective of the “hope” in Mr. Lonnie Bunch’s quote at the beginning of this article. When visiting the museum our young entrepreneurs can derive “hope” from the Cathy Hughes chronicle. They will be buoyed by the strides Ms. Hughes made, in spite of the hardships, and some will take up the gauntlet to continue her legacy of excellence in business.

So why was Urban One omitted from the museum even after, as I was told, generously contributing to that edifice? I don’t know the answer, but I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Mr. Bunch for not including them in the inaugural year. However, the second year is upon us, and September must not arrive without Urban One having a prominent spot in the National “Black” museum.

As Mr. Lonnie Bunch said, “History, when ‘presented’ well, is transformative.” Cathy Hughes and Urban One have “transformed” the media landscape in this country, and Ms. Hughes has “presented” her history quite well. As the Curator of the museum—a Steward of Black history, Mr. Bunch should do whatever he can to “present” Urban One to the world.

If you want to help get Urban One included in the museum, please call Mr. Lonnie Bunch III, at (202)633-4751 and/or email him at NMAAHC-Director@SI.edu.

 

 

Under the Big Top – Featuring the Trump-pets — August 2017

Articles | Posted by Jim Clingman August 5th, 2017


The latest political circus is indeed the “Greatest Show on Earth.” Come one, come all! See the trained elephants, dancing, marching in perfect order, and balancing on relatively tiny stools, staying there until the ringmaster directs them to step down. There are monkeys doing all sorts of tricks, raging tigers that are made docile the moment the ringmaster puts his hand up. The fiercest among all the animals is one by the name of “Scary Moochie,” a roaring lion, always ready to tear someone’s head off. But even he has been tamed to slither off into a corner when ordered. What a circus!

The magician is amazing! Her name is Sarah “Huckster” Sanders; she makes facts disappear quicker than the eye can discern. Her talents are unlimited as she takes what the ringmaster says and turns it into something completely different, all the while saying she is “always honest” which, if that is true, means the ringmaster is lying. She performs exclusively in a small standing-room-only tent filled with reporters whom she treats like third-graders. She can tell them anything in answer to their questions, ignore them as she pleases, threaten them, and disappear in a heartbeat by abruptly walking out of the room, always leaving them wanting more. They never applaud for her performance though.

Then there are the cabinet clowns; they are so funny. They convened under the big top and made the entire world laugh by taking their individual turns to praise, laud, glorify, and thank the ringmaster for “blessing” them with the privilege and honor of being in his circus. Now that was really funny, strange but funny.

The trained dogs are especially hilarious. They jump through flaming hoops, run around in circles, jump on the back of the dog in front, and bark on command. They can push large heavy balls uphill on a narrow plank, and stand on their hind legs to beg the ringmaster for a treat. There is Spicer the Toy Poodle Lap Dog, Priebus the “blessed” Chiwawa, Conway the “alternative fact” Pit Bull, and Pence the Christian Bull Dog, who refuses to allow his professed morality stop him from salivating in response to his real “master,” Trump, otherwise known as Pavlov.

The dancing bears, Don Jr., Eric, and the Kushner’s are so cute and lovable, but upon closer observation the audience can see their ferocity, avarice, and their treacherous willingness to attack anyone on behalf of their “Trump-pet master.” Nothing is out of bounds for them; nothing is off the table. If they see something they want they take it, either by portraying their cuddly side or by activating their ferocious side.

The tightrope walkers and trapeze acts, comprising sycophants who just want to be in camera shot, even if it means falling, perform without safety nets; the trained seals do their balancing acts as well. They will lie, cheat, and distort reality right before our eyes; the main culprit in that group is Corey “…I have no clients whatsoever [in Ohio]” Lewandowski. It is a full-blown, three-ring circus, folks, whose purpose is to keep us amused and diverted from the important issues of our time.

The Trump circus characters have mad skills. Instead of a fire-eater there is a fire-breather named Stephen Miller. There are two court jesters to defend the ringmaster on CNN: Jeffery Lord, who has a Ronald Reagan séance each time he is on TV, and “Smiling Jack” Kingston, the former Congressman who cracks himself up trying to defend the indefensible. There are several strong men the ringmaster calls “My Generals,” an organ grinder and a dancing monkey named Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, a Trump-hater turned Trump-lover, named Nimrata “Nikki” Haley, who performs before the entire world, and there’s Chief of Security, Wayne LaPierre, just in case anyone in the audience gets too close to the performers.

The ringmaster, Donald Trump, is the Jim Henson of politics. Henson had his Muppets; Trump has his Trump-pets. He orchestrates his political circus with the aplomb of a master showman, reaching even into the hinterlands to entertain his Trump-pets in the remote corners of this nation. There are shows on a daily basis, and there is no admission fee.

Now let me give my disclaimer. I don’t have love for either political party, so please don’t think this is dump on Trump article. I’d write the same thing if Obama had carried on this way. Besides, I love a good circus every now and then. But I say Black people should follow the example of the UniverSoul Circus and establish our own political party and, thus, our own circus featuring our own performers. What say you? Meanwhile, watch my seat; I’m going to get some more cotton candy.