Tom Joyner is Soo Done with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West

July 5, 2011  |  

Black America’s favorite morning show host Tom Joyner had a few…or more than a few choice words for his former colleague Tavis Smiley and scholar Cornel West.

Joyner wrote that he’s wanted to express something to Smiley for some time now; and ironically, it was Time Magazine’s editor-at-large, Mark Halperin, calling President Obama a “package” on MSNBC that provided the ammunition Joyner needed. He took to to express his frustrations.

Joyner mentioned that he wanted to be harsh in this post and he didn’t disappoint. He began by referring to Cornel West as Smiley’s “side piece.” And while the rest of the post left Smiley’s sexuality out of it, it was still pretty brutal.

Joyner wrote that not only did Smiley and West “set the tone” for people like Halperin to blatantly disrespect President Obama, they “must take the blame for creating a climate that would make a white professional journalist feel comfortable verbally and vulgarly attacking the first black president of the United States.”

Joyner wrote that while he was appalled by Halperin’s statements, he had no expectations for him like he did for Smiley and West. He once considered both men to be of strong character but wrote that Smiley’s “primary goal became selling books, and later selling out.”

Joyner ended the post by saying that “There’s nothing either can ever do for me or with me again.”

Whew! Strong words, right? And that’s not all. You can read the entire blog post at When you’re done come back and let us know what you think about Joyner’s comments.

Did Smiley and West’s comments make it possible for the Halperins of this country to disrespect the president or is he trying to stifle black people from speaking out against President Obama simply because he’s black too?

Let us know what you think.

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  • natalie

    ….If I here substantive criticisms of the president by people (black men particularly) continue to be reduced to "jealousy" I am going to lose my mind. I rarely hear anyone address West and Smileys critique of Obamas policies.

  • chavonne

    If I could… While I love our president he has occasional impules control issues himself. I can recall Presidents without hesitation weighing in on the West/Swift controversy where he referred to Kanye as a "jackass". Not a very presidential moment. My issue with him is I have noticed that while he sidesteps issues of race he has demonstrated a consistent pattern of calling out brothas.. He clearly has been socialized like much of society to emphasize accountability for black men with little compassion..thats ruthless and it is respecting our brothers but not loving them.. while on the other hand emphasizing compassion for women with little accountability..that infantilizes is loving us as women but not respecting us.. It comes as no surprise that his biggets voting bloc is women, particularly sistas.

  • Wayne King

    We are the most confused and stupid of all races. Why can't we just realize that there is no one black agenda. We are allowed to have different opinions. A brotha from California isn't necessarily gonna agree with the brotha from South Carolina or New England. But we still try to bully each other with taunts of "sellout" and "uncle tom" when we cant come together on the same page. Who is Tom Joyner? A radio DJ. Does he go on the talk shows and talk about black agenda? Not that I'm aware. But now he wants to call out a scholar and a tv journalist? As for Smiley and West, they're obsessed with the president's inaction for black people. This is where I have a problem with them cuz otherwise I have no problem with them voicing an opposing opinion from all those sheep who just voted for Obama based on his skin color alone. Despite his race, Obama is NOT in office to help black folk get a job. He's not there to help you keep your kids in school (though kids should already be learning that lesson from the fact that a black man was able to become president through hard work and academics. ) Most of the problems we're looking to Barack for are things we can and should have been doing ourselves all along. It hasn't stopped every other race of people including fresh-off-the-boat Africans and West Indians from reaching for The American Dream so why are we standing around waiting for handouts? Stop making out-of-wedlock babies you can't afford (or don't want) to look after and stay in school and get that paper credential so you can compete for good jobs. Or be prepared to wear a paper hat or sling suitcases at the airport.

  • To blame Tavis and Dr. West for this incredibly stupid incident is ridiculous! It started when John Boehner yelled out "You Lie!" during the President's speech and Mr. Obama didn't address it! That was the first bully move by White America and the President flinched. It's like someone coming up to you in the lunchroom and taking your sandwich and you do nothing about it! That's what opened the door for Dr. West and Tavis Smiley to have the audacity to say what they said! If someone is soft in a hard situation it's easy to lose respect for them and to disrespect them. The President got punked in a national setting and it opened the flood gates for everyone else to pile on! White and Black! And then he showed his BIRTH CERTIFICATE!! REALLY!!

  • Monica

    All of this stuff is a distraction anyway! There's so much more we could do with our time than discuss this. We are distracted talking about this fluff when we could be addressing real issues like the little tyrants who are being bred by sisters who don't want them. You know, the mommas who talk so horribly to their kids on the bus that you can't help but think how f*cked up they will be in 10-20 years.

  • pfft…

    Even if these two men had never uttered a word of discontent with the president, I think our president would have still been subjected to a degree of hate never before experienced by a US president. That said, I don't understand the mentality of some black folks. What's with the messiah complex we have with certain black figures? What happened to calling a person out if they're not doing what they should be doing. Honestly, I never expected anything from this president. Not one single damned thing. I figured early on he'd be no different from the rest. Aside from making history as the first black president, and I use the term black loosely, what has he done to deserve such unfaltering loyalty from blacks. Furthermore, do we really expect him to do anything? At the end of the day those men are as entitled to their opinions and disappointment as anyone else. I'm not saying what they said was right or wrong, as I honestly have no clue as to what they've said against the president. However, I don't know why it is they're expected to simply go with the flow because the person in question happens to share their skin color.

    • pfft…

      Also, forgive my poor punctuation. I was rushing through this post. XD

  • real rap

    @ syreeta: while you may think that the criticism of g.w. bush was much harsher then the criticism of barack, you like many of us, have missed the point. it is not an issue of criticism but one of RESPECT. we are not upset because they criticize him. despite running this country into the ground bush was NEVER referred to as anything other then ‘president’ or ‘mr. president’ despite lying to the world to get us into a war that killed our sons and daughters among other asinine things. if he was called anythging derogatory it was behind closed doors and NEVER in public forums print or electronic. for decades, prior to barack’s administration, white america’s position has ALWAYS been that you can criticize the president but you MUST respect the office…that is not an option nor is it negotiable. with all due respect, let me put it in terms you can undrstand…my grandmomma always told me ‘its not WHAT you say but HOW you say what you say’.

  • Andrae Williams

    Tom Joyner is nothing but a sycophantic fool. Asskissing Steve Harvey, Eddie Long and Barack Obama as if they are immune of all criticism. The best argument he can come up with is that Tavis is a "sellout" who is "jealous of the president"? Seriously? You're that highschool with this whole thing?

    F*** him! I'm getting sick of this guy.

  • Berean Sistah

    We (African-Americans) need to grow up. President Obama is a man, he's not a god. He is an elected offical. Tavis and Dr. West have the right (this is America) to criticize the president if they disagree with his policies. White people have the right to disagree with him and openly criticize him if they don't agree with him. Disagreement with him does not necessarily equal racisim. I am disappointed. I thought Tom Joyner was more intelligent than that

  • Mimi

    I disagree with Tom. The reason why Halperin felt comfortable enough to call the president what he did is because of white privilege. He felt he could say or do whatever he wants without facing reprocussions. The REAL story is what's the deal with Tom and Tavis? At one point I thought Tom and Tavis were lovers the way Tom was always co-signing and backing up EVERY SINGLE THING that Tavis would say. Then something happened and the lovefest was over. Yeah, they disagreed about Barack during the 2008 campaign, but I think it's more to it than that.

    Tom's commentary was rather scathing. Interesting that he put it out the day that they left for vacation. Next Monday's TJMS should be interesting!

  • Kayla

    Nothing wrong with expressing how you feel about the president if you're black. But being disrespectful of another black person is a totally different story. Politics are and always have been corrupt so just because out president is black doesn't mean he's our savior.

  • BP

    Smiley & West appear to be more talk than anything. They always speak about the problems they see, but I’ve yet to see fruitful solutions come from either camp. As far as them fueling Halperin’s statements, I’m neutral: People are going to say sideways things regardless of who says what, but when there is a lack of civilness or unity, it can leave the door open to such occurrences. As far as if Obama had been any other race, and would there be same defenses, I’d have to say there would be defenses, but it would not be as noticeable b/c some of the other ethnicities named tend to show a better united front than blacks in general (which saddens me as a young black woman), so the united interest wouldn’t be anything new.

  • DeVon

    I have to agree with Tom Joyner on this issue. Tavis has been against President Obama since the 2007/8 primary season. And Cornel West has jumped on this same band wagon. Those two remind me of the talking heads that were always sitting around on Saturday morning/afternoons in the barbershop. Just non-stop talking about foolishness. If their eyes the President can never do anything right. Tavis seems to forget that President Obama is President of the United States of America, not just President of black folks. I find Tavis' shows unlistenable.

  • Tamar

    No I dont think that Tavis Smiley's and Cornel West's views about the President made it possible for others to disrepsect him. I dont know why some African Americans feel as though just because President Obama is black that all blacks have to like him, be on his side and vote for him. Everyones entitled to their own opinion

    • Just Saying

      I understand where your coming from but you have to ask yourself this: If Obama were Hispanic or Asian do you think America would be mad if the rest of the hispanic or asian community loved him just because he was the same race as him? I doubt it. It's only when black people do this is when society calls people out on it. I feel like Black people don't have to like everything Obama does but i think their is some sort of unity that we have in protecting the first black POTUS.
      You hardly ever hear people get mad when Jews back other Jews, Asians backing other Asian, Hispanics backing other Hispanics, but America has a huge problem when Black people want to back other black people.

      • Tamar

        No, I disagree. There isnt any unity between ordinary African Americans so why would it change just because we have a black President? America isnt mad because blacks are backing President Obama. Other races are backing him as well. Come on, President Obama would not be president if it were left soley on the black vote. I personally dont agree with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West or even that guy that called him a d##k however it is their opinion and they are entitled to it just like Tom Joyner is. Also, not all white people supported our past presidents either.

  • Gayna

    I am done with all three of them and more. All those in the business of black victimhood. Their livelihood is predicated on making sure we are fully mired in our perceived victimhood. The more we are "victims", the richer they become. I will include Gates, Sharpton (a master in this business), Dyson in with the rest of their cohorts. My eyes are open to scam that is the current day "black rights" gurus.

    • Guest610

      AMEN Gayna!

      I stopped listening to Tom Joyner every morning when I was driving my child to school one day & after hearing 20 minutes of the TJMS, he said "Mom, why do you listen to that? If we (his bothers and he) spoke like that or said any of that stuff, we'd be grounded?" My son (then 12) had a point. Prejudice is prejudice & victimhood is victimhood. Hate is hate – regardless of who is spewing it. Two wrongs NEVER make a right!

      • TMcCain-Morales

        Hate indeed be hate but telling the truth about racism in America does not translate to hate.
        As for the Bushes who gave us that buffoon Clarence Thomas, enough said. And furthermore, I can't think of one instance that Laura Bush was hated on and disrespected the way Michelle Obama has been. If you're going to take the high road make sure you're crossing a reliable bridge to reach it. Pointing present day unfair treatment does equal victim hood. I don't believe in making excuses from anyone that's capable of doing for him or herself and wants to play the blame game but the effects cannot be ignored or excused by apologist like you.

  • gspeak

    I totally agree with Tom joyner. Tavis smiley is in for a hard fall. The small circle of people endorsing him are rich and powerful and are behind the scenes. Their motives are obvious: defeat obama. If you look at the Gop and what they have to offer should be enough to open your eyes. Shut up tavis

  • Syreeta

    I remember when Bush was president and he got it harder than Obama! I think we are just overly sensitive because Obama is black. Bush and his family was disrespected in every way – he wasn't black so there were no racially charged insults but still insulted none the less.

    • Mark

      you do have a point. Remeber Bush had a SHOE thrown at him. Obama's a tough guy he can take a little name calling from his haters. I just feel like black people have a need to protect him since he is the first black president so when people say things about Obama we step in to help him out.

      • MrCommonSense

        Bush had a shoe thrown at him by a NON-AMERICAN. Obama was called a D by the American Press. Obama's wife was called a GORILLA by the American media. Bush DID NOT have it harder, having nothing to do with bailing this country out of the worst economic crisis in 80 years and two wars he inherited, not started.

        • Twinkle

          So racism was going to disappear just because we have a black president? Bush was disrespected though he was called stupid and people did say he looked like a baboon. People talked about his father and his mother especially when those levies broke in LA. The point that I think that Syreeta is trying to make, not that she needs my help in expressing this, is that when you are the President your are not off limits to people verbally expresing their dislike for them or what they do in office. Every President to hold office has been disrespected but is seems some in the African American community takes it personally because our President is black. They are oversensitive. Its called freedom of speech. Not everyone is going to agree with each other.

  • SisterSarah

    I don't listen to Tom Joyner much though I am aware Tavis Smiley was a regular fixture on his show. And though I know who Cornel West is, I don't follow his comments at all. So I feel like I am missing a huge chunk of the story. Can someone break it down and explain exactly what Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are doing (or have done) that's got Tom Joyner so upset?

  • Tam

    forgot to add;

    "Did Smiley and West’s comments make it possible for the Halperins of this country to disrespect the president ?"

    YES! i believe it does. let me explain why.

    i think it's similar to the controversy behind the use of the 'n-word' by non-black people. because rappers and them use the word freely and at times as an endearment (like other ordinary black folks) the word has gone mainstream and now nonblack folk use it as an endearment as well, and if one tries to tell them that they (non-black folk) should not use the word some have the audacity to ask ' but why not when ya'll (black folk) use it freely?'

    and we (black folk) have to admit that if we hadn't started using the word loosely the other races wouldn't use it either…if black folk wouldn't deny and denigrate Obama so easily i doubt somebody non-black would have the galls to insult him that easily. they would insult him (i ain't stupid) but they wouldn't do it as badly as they doin' it now…


  • Madeline

    *World BANK

    And let me just clarify: if you disagree with the president fine. Express that. But if you wreak of opportunism please sit down and shut up.

  • Tam

    finally someone speaks out against these people.