In a move that amounts to an act of political censorship, Governor Martin O’Malley flexed his muscles this past week and successfully pressured Morgan State University and its “public” radio station – WEAA 88.9FM to indefinitely suspend The Powers Report from its airwaves. The host of the Powers Report, Dr. Tyrone Powers, is a fearless activist and has often been highly critical of Martin O’Malley’s policies toward people of color in Baltimore. While Powers is venerated by many grassroots people, he is abhorred by those in power for his passion to bring awareness to bad legislation, publicly challenge politicians and community misleaders, and unearth long forgotten documents that shed light on the true causes for Baltimore’s dilapidating condition.
Apparently, O’Malley’s successful excise of Powers came with the assistance and support of Kweisi Mfume. Mfume was selected to serve on O’Malley’s transition team shortly after the election. In a move to endear himself to the new governor, Mfume is said to have contacted Morgan State University’s president, Dr. Earl Richardson, to express his desire to have Powers either “water down” his show or be removed from the air. Richardson would not be inclined to refuse this being that Mfume serves on MSU’s Board of Regents and was a former program director at WEAA. [The call letters ironically stand for: We Educate African Americans]
I’m not surprised at all by O’Malley’s appetite for Powers’ head. The message and information that Powers was providing to the community was directly in line with the honorable actions of my Ancestors who too were targeted by political leaders for harassment, persecution, prosecution, exile, or crucifixion. Anyone who truly studies history is not surprised when ambitious White men in power attempt to castrate powerful African men who have the ability to galvanize the strength of African people toward the goal of liberation.
However, I must say that I am seriously concerned by the alleged actions of Mr. Mfume. As a former U.S. Congressman and past president of the NAACP, I gave Mfume a level of confidence that at this point I am reconsidering. I had overlooked the allegations of sexual misconduct that have soiled his integrity with hopes that they were very rare lapses in judgement. This latest allegation, however has moved me to a different place. I must reclassify Kweisi Mfume as a man of questionable character with yet unsure motives. This is the same man who eloquently explained how the enemies of African people sometimes employ the services of those who look “like us” to attack us. I am disappointed to hear of his alleged involvement and baffled that he hasn’t been hitting the Black media outlets to denounce these allegations and defend his name.
While I believe that he has done things in the past in an attempt to support the African community and that he is a gifted orator; I fear that politics have corrupted him. In the words of a dear mentor of mine, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Through his long and storied career, Mr. Mfume just may have developed an appetite and addiction to power that makes him as dangerous as a wounded animal. He has my prayers.
In regard to the Powers Report which normally airs on Tuesday evening from 6pm to 7pm on WEAA – there is an online petition being circulated to express support for Dr. Powers and the show. For those wishing to contact him directly that option is available as well.
I close with a strong admonishment for those true lovers of African people and our collective desire for liberation to seek out and build independent media outlets to broadcast information. This unfortunate situation should further reinforce our belief that as long as the infrastructure of our community is controlled by the enemies of our collective empowerment; then we will forever be subject to what others allow us to do and say to each other. I’m trying to do my part by blogging and hosting an online video show, but we need a legion of bloggers, podcasters, reporters, journalists, and activists who have access to the tools of mass communication. In this technological era, we have no excuse not to successfully engage the hurdles of isolation. Don’t just read my blog, create your own blog, podcast, e-newsletter, booklet, video show, etc. and then let me know about it so that we can connect and together provide our people with life-saving information. The scriptural passage is true: “Our people perish for lack of knowledge”.