Urban radio personalities – they don't get it


Sadly, I listened to Steve Harvey’s rant and tirade against Tavis Smiley today (8/12) and yesterday (8/11). Harvey’s rant was sad because he didn’t learn a lesson that affected him personally about four months ago. Everyone remembers when Tom Joyner, his fellow nationally syndicated air brethren, made an embarrassing spectacle by inviting Steve Harvey’s ex-wife on the TJMS morning show and she aired Harvey’s dirty laundry.
I was among the first to publicly support Harvey when Tom Joyner invited Harvey’s ex-wife on the air. Why? Urban Radio shouldn’t be the place where these personal attacks take place. Urban Radio airwaves are simply too important as the primary source of information and entertainment for the tens of millions of African American consumers.
To Tom Joyner’s credit, he apologized for the spectacle and embarrassing debacle. 
Urban Radio pioneers such as Frankie Crocker, AD Williams, Rufus Thomas, and many more are turning over in their graves because of this gross misuse of the connection to the African American community.
Yesterday (8/11), Steve Harvey used the following words to attack Tavis Smiley including “petty, poverty pimp, and hustler”. Why? Harvey believes that Tavis Smiley has a personal vendetta against President Obama.
Steve Harvey’s personal opinion about Tavis Smiley doesn’t make his perspective factual.
My strong disappointment stems from the fact that Harvey used the sacred airwaves and landscape of Urban Radio to launch this sad personal attack.
Harvey didn’t use the airways to attack Tom Joyner, his on-air competitor and fraternity brother,. ( Harvey and Joyner are members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity)
No, he choose to use Urban Radio’s airwaves to attack a man who has proven that he’s willing to stand up for his principles.
Tavis, like all African Americans and Americans in general, has the right to make our political leaders accountable. That’s the American way.
I have misgivings about comedians becoming stewards of Urban Radio’s airwaves. Urban Radio shouldn’t your personal vehicle to attack fellow Urban personalities or your personal vehicle to sell your books, TV shows, concerts, clothing lines, credit cards.
Your presence on Urban Radio is a privilege not a right.
Urban Radio is a vehicle of empowerment for African Americans. It has enabled African American to elect local, state, and national leaders including The President of The United States.
As I wrapped up my op-ed piece on the Joyner Harvey debacle, I stated emphatically that Urban Radio and the African American community deserved and demands better.
Reflecting on Steve Harvey’s personal tirade against Tavis Smiley, I say it again. Urban Radio deserves better. To bad, Steve Harvey didn’t learn a lesson from the earlier experience with Tom Joyner.
–Sherman K. Kizart
Managing Director
Kizart Media Partners
(312)421-4803 – office
(312)371-4127 – cell
[email protected]