COMMENTARY: Black History Hustlers and Hucksters

lucius gantt
Lucius Gantt is a columnist and commentator on political and social affairs. Buy Gantt’s latest book, “Beast Too: Dead Man Writing” and from bookstores everywhere. Contact him at “Like” The Gantt Report on Facebook
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Lucius is a contributing columnist to NNPA newspapers around the nation, and the author of “Beast Too: Dead Man Writing,” available on and from bookstores everywhere.

By Lucius Gantt

     Every February in every year African Americans look forward to enjoying the activities associated with Black History Month.

     Our schools, our churches, our community organizations, our media institutions rush to book, to interview and to host the usual suspects that get paid significant sums of money to talk to you about your past.

     No disrespect to the people that are paid to excite you in February with basically the same comments they shared with you year after year.

     Preachers like Martin Luther King, Jr. and his sister, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, educators like Umar Johnson and Eddie Glaude, pundits like Claud Anderson, athletes, entertainers and media personalities like Tavis Smiley go from city to city, school to school and place to place to get paid to give the same speeches at every stop.

      They travel like rock stars. Someone picks them up at the airport, maybe in a limo, they go to a hotel suite rented for them to freshen up, they speak for 30 or 40 minutes, pocket their checks and then it’s on to the next place.

     Black History speakers speak about Dr. King, they might mention politicians like Maynard Jackson, Carrie Meek or Shirley Chisolm and they may bring up a local activist or two before the talk is over.

     You won’t hear much talk about Denmark Vesey, Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Marcus Garvey or Malcolm X. They don’t want to talk about Tulsa, Tuskeegee or Rosewood and they will never even mention your glorious African ancestors that were kings and queens, architects and engineers, philosophers and freedom fighters like Nkrumah, Cabral and Lamumba.

     Let the routine speakers continue to give their routine talks. But switch the programs up a bit. Have some panel discussions, for instance, that will expose our community to new and different thoughts and ideologies.

     I have tried my best to get on someone’s stage to talk about a Black economic plan that will work and I’ll talk to any group for free, however, I won’t spend my own money to attend a Black History activity that pays charlatans, hooligans, poverty pimps and religious hypocrites.

     No, I don’t just write about politics. I know in a capitalist society Black Money Matters! I know most African Americans don’t have too many problems that money can’t solve.

     Why are the people that book Black History speakers afraid to allow the people you want to hear to speak in your community? Perhaps it is because the truth hurts and Uncle Tom and Jezebel can’t curtail America’s Black truth tellers.

     The Black History bosses don’t want this Black woman or that Black man to say something that may be unacceptable to the closet klansmen, proud boys and boogaloo brothers that contribute pennies to Black History events.

      I’m not afraid to appear next to your favorite Black History speaker and question their ideas and solutions and they shouldn’t be scared to sit next to someone like me.

     I’ll never forget when the late Arthur Teele said to a friend of mine, “Lucius is very professional. He does great work. But Lucius can’t be controlled!” 

      And, that is what Black History event organizers will say about any man or woman that will feed America’s Black masses that are hungry for information that will honor our ancestors, information that shows our people how to make money and will simply tell Black people the truth whether the community’s closet klansmen like it or not.

      Be careful about who you pay to speak at your Black History event. Black History puppets, pirates, hustlers and hucksters are dangerous to our health!