Monday, February 16, 2009
Al Sharpton Speaking @ Howard University's "Refresh Black America" on Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday: 19 January 2009
January 19th, 2009, was truly an amazing day. It marked the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, who would have been 80 years old (his birthday is actually January 15th). It was also the day before Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of The United States. This historic confluence of events not only boggles the mind, but it reinforces the words of Dr. King, who quoted abolitionist Theodore Parker; "The moral arc of justice is long...but it bends towards justice."
It should also be noted that on January 19th, 2009, legendary filmmaker Spike Lee--along with Howard University and Pepsi--sponsored a compelling series of symposiums titled "Refresh The World", at Howard's Cramton Auditorium. These frank discussions covered a wide range of topics--gender, education, the economy, Hip Hop, and Black America. Some of the luminaries who participated were Arianna Huffington, MSNBC's Michelle Bernard, and former US Treasurer Bay Buchanan. I was honored to be the moderator of the "Refresh Hip Hop" symposium--which featured Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Lana "MC Lyte" Moorer, Christopher "Ludacris" Bridges, Chaka Zulu, attorney L. Londell McMillan, and Dana "Queen Latifah" Owens--which was a lively, thought provoking examination of the Hip Hop culture, and how it may need to retrofit its image in with America's first Black President. A Black President who grew up during the first and second generation of Hip Hop. After my symposium, CNN's Roland Martin moderated "Refresh Black America", which was nothing short of incredible. The panelists--including Jesse Jackson, Donna Brazile, Al Sharpton, Dr. Cornel West--created a powerful, moving, and indelible discourse on the state of Black America, and a Black America about to enter into the age of Obamica. This is some footage of Al Sharpton speaking during the "Refresh Black America" symposium. Recorded on my Palm Centro, it's not the greatest clip, but you can get an idea of what an incredible day 19 January 2009. And it must be said: once again, Spike Lee did "The Right Thing".