Category: 2008 dem primaries

Dr. Maya Angelou Ten Questions; CNN Dumped Roland Martin

This week in the “Ten Questions” section of Time Magazine, the focus is on author Dr. Maya Angelou. She discusses her new autobiography, Mom & Me & Mom. You can check the book out here on Amazon.

Here’s a book description from Amazon:

The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.

For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights.

I will definitely be reading it and I’ll post a review about it soon. Maya Angelou is one of those authors…and there aren’t many for me…who’ve influenced me both as a writer and as a person. I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings many years ago, and over the years I’ve re-read it at different times in my life. Each time, I take something different away in the end. Sometimes it’s something personal; sometimes it’s something about the way Angelou writes…her technique. And most of the time it’s just because Angelou does something to me that I can’t even explain. It’s one of a kind.

If you haven’t read the interview in Time Magazine, you should try to check it out. This question is about as blunt as it gets:

You’ve endured some very horrible things, mostly at the hands of men. Have gender relations progressed?

No, I think men are as crazy as they were and women are as crazy as they were. I think it’s wise when women say what they like and don’t like and will and won’t take. I’ve never had a dislike for men. I’ve been badly treated by some. But I’ve been loved greatly by some. I married a lot of them.

And this question surprised me:

Did you inherit your mother’s fondness of guns?

I like to have guns around. I don’t like to carry them.

And, once again, if you haven’t read I Know Why the Cages Bird Sings, take a break from whatever you’re doing and make the time to read it.  I’ll also be posting something that happened during recent edits for one of my books that mentions Angelou very soon.

CNN Dumped Roland Martin

Evidently, CNN is not asking Roland Martin to return and he will be leaving the network this month. Roland Martin believes this is because CNN wanted to hold him back on purpose because of his race. From the way it sounds, Roland Martin truly believes CNN failed to recognize his great and abundant talents by not giving him a show of his own. And oh, how the mighty have fallen.

You have largely white male executives who are not necessarily enamored with the idea of having strong, confident minorities who say, ‘I can do this,'” he said. “We deliver, but we never get the big piece, the larger salary, to be able to get from here to there.”

Normally, I would tend to agree with Roland Martin on this. As an openly gay man I’ve faced the same brand of discrimination in publishing, and often…lately…within my own “gay” genre. However, I don’t personally think this is the case with Roland Martin. You see, Roland Martin failed to mention in his recent comments about getting fired by CNN that he made several slurs against gay men during last year’s Super Bowl game.

This is what he tweeted:

His tweet read: “Ain’t no real bruhs going to H&M to buy some damn David Beckham underwear!” and “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!”

This is what CNN did when they received complaints from GLAAD:

Roland Martin has been suspended by CNN after controversial tweets he made about an H&M underwear ad during the Super Bowl.

And this is what’s been happening at CNN for the last six years:
There just weren’t enough cruise crises to save CNN this month. CNN’s ratings slid in February, falling 5 percent in the daytime and 1 percent at night in the first full month since the high-profile arrival of new network chief Jeff Zucker at the beginning of the month. Fox News Network won the month with more than 1 million daily viewers, more than MSNBC and CNN combined. In February 2012, CNN came in second and MSNBC third—and, in even worse news for CNN, the network has seen a 10 percent decline in total daytime viewers and a whopping 18 percent drop in nighttime viewers from one year ago.

I’m no expert on TV ratings. But Roland Martin is NOT the first person to be let go from CNN and I don’t think he’s going to be the last. Joy Behar’s show was canceled, and so was Campbell Brown’s. There seems to be a long lasting pattern with the downhill slide of CNN since the 2008 coverage of the Democratic Primaries, and it’s virtually impossible to pinpoint any of it to race.
So Roland Martin might want to believe his great and abundant talents were overlooked and he was let go due to race issues. But it could also be that nothing at CNN other than Anderson Cooper has been worth watching for the past six years, most of all Roland Martin’s shows, Joy Behar’s debacle, and Piers Morgan’s lame attempt to fill Larry King’s shoes. And that’s not opinion. That’s based on ratings.