Most of us love stories like rags to riches, or David beating Goliath, but my favorite has always been the comeback story. I have always believed that a setback is just a setup for a comeback. A comeback takes resourcefulness, unwavering determination, laser-like focus, and herculean resilience. Many people drown after being thrown in the deep end of bad publicity and public ridicule. You do not drown by being thrown in the deep end; you drown by staying submerged. Way too often the public believes the scandalous headlines but do not always know or want to know the “real story.” One of our own was thrown in the deep end a few years ago but he refused to drown, and like a phoenix he is rising. His name is Tavis Smiley. Tavis was born in Mississippi, raised in Indiana, but calls Los Angeles his home. After going through legal trials and professional tribulations he has picked up the pieces and is reinventing his life, reimagining his career, and reinvesting in the community. A new chapter in his revised book of life includes KBLA TALK 1580AM Radio that just launched Juneteenth Weekend. This is Los Angeles’s first and only “unapologetically progressive” Black owned and operated talk radio.
I am aware of the accusations that were made against Tavis and as a born-again believer I believe if you judge or condemn someone else, you stand to be judged or condemned yourself. I cannot speak on how he treated others, but I can speak on how he has treated me. Many years ago, when I was starting my event planning business, he gave me an opportunity and hired me to help with some of his events. A few years later, when I wrote my first book, “The Preacher’s Daughter: A Memory” he graciously wrote a piece for the back cover. Over the years whenever our paths would cross, he was kind, gracious, respectful and a gentleman.
In the spirit of the pending Summer Olympics, Tavis has put together his own KBLA “Dream Team.” This strong roster of All-Star talent includes point-guard Dominique DiPrima, who I had the privilege of being part of her Front-Page Family when she was at KJLH Radio; at shooting-guard we have my friend and sorority sister, Dr. Melina Abdullah from Black Lives Matter, she was also my roommate when we traveled to Ghana; at center we have one of the legendary Kings of Comedy and political commentator D.L. Hughley, at power forward we have Last Comic Standing third season winner Alonzo Bolden, and at small forward we have former KJLH radio personality Don Amiche.
KBLA TALK will bring jobs, hope, and inspiration to our community. As America prepares to celebrate 4th of July, African Americans will have conversational fireworks and KBLA TALK will be front and center. It is important that we support and get behind the work they are doing in the community. If there ever was a time, we needed our voices to be heard and our support to be felt, now is the time.
Tavis, thank you for not giving in to the pressures of misinformed media, or giving up on yourself, your vision, and your belief in the power of talk radio and the viability of the Black community. I know once again you will command an army of listeners and learners and KBLA TALK 1580AM Radio will be LA’s new force and a potent and powerful weapon of mass instruction.
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on!