Art Without Walls: I have been a TV viewer of the NAACP IMAGE AWARDS for many years; for the most part I have enjoyed the entertainment although I must admit, being occasionally mystified by some of the choices made when it appeared popularity and corporate support trumped talent. Last year was indeed, a historic one with the election of the first African American President, Barrack Obama. When the cameras panned the 150,000 faces of a divided nation—present in Chicago’s Grant Park-- to celebrate, it stopped long enough for a close-up shot of the Rev. Jesse Jackson with tears rolling down his face. One could only imagine what was going through his mind. The cynics thought: Rev. Jackson was envious because he was not in Obama’s place. After all, did he not make two unsuccessful bids for the office? The arrogance of the young voters were “high” on the moment, but “low” on the political history of the Civil Rights Movement could not get their “one time voter’s ego” out of the way long enough to appreciate the commitment to social justice made by persons such as the Rev. Jackson. Which brings me to the reason why I am writing this letter. The buzzword throughout Obama’s Democratic election campaign was “change.” And they worked it. The song, “A Change Is Goanna Come”, written and recorded by the late Sam Cooke over forty years ago is the unofficial Civil Rights Movement Anthem of the mid-60’s. It became Obama’s campaign mantra. Everyone was talking and singing but no one stopped long enough to acknowledge the geneses of the song, or acknowledged the legacy of one of the greatest artist in history. So, I decided to do something about it. The first thing I did was put in a call to the NAACP Hollywood office to inquire about a list of African Americans artists who had been acknowledged and/or received special recognition based upon their contribution as artist/activist. The receptionist who answered the telephone at the NAACP Hollywood office was abrupt in her response to my inquiry. She stated, “I don’t know.” I suggested she should find out. Despite the fact that I left my telephone number (with the expectation of a return call) I never heard from her. When after a decent amount of time had passed; it became crystal clear that the receptionist had no intentions of following up on my inquiry. With this revelation I wrote a letter to Mr. Bullock, Director of the NAACP Hollywood Branch. This letter was written on March 29, 2009. With respect to the organization, if they had not honored Sam Cooke in the past, would they consider honoring him in at their 2010 upcoming Image Awards. I never heard from Mr. Bullock . Nor was my parcel correspondence returned to me “addressee unknown.” It is reasonable for me to assume my parcel correspondence was delivered. To this date I have not received the courtesy of a response; particularly after sending at least two additional letters subsequent to my letter of March 29,2009, numerous telephone calls, e-mails and faxes to Mr. Bulluck. I am not a picky person or someone without experience. I am fully aware that Mr. Bulluck as well as the NAACP receives thousands of letters. , I do not expect them to personally respond to each and every letter, which would be unreasonable. However, in this day and age of technology there is absolutely no reason or excuse why I, or anyone else, should not receive at the very least a computer generated letter of acknowledgement. Succinctly, as the NAACP has ignored the contribution of the legendary Sam Cooke, so have my communications to Mr. Bulluck . Before I go any further, let me say that my complaint is not about “sour grapes, as I do not drink anyone’s kool-aid. This letter is to draw attention to the disrespectful, and condescending manner in which those who hold the public trust often times take their constituents for granted. When institutional white racism in the film industry continued to ignore Black artist the NAACP was in the vanguard of calling them out; the NAACP presented this industry with a long list of checkable grievances. When the industry failed to respond, the NAACP called for a boycott. I am following Suite. Your image as an organization has been greatly diminished in my eyesight starting with the receptionist who “didn’t know” and made no attempt to find out; to whomever reads your mail and determined that our suggestion did not warrant a reply. Had this request come from a corporation or some other organization with name recognition this letter would not be forth coming. This is why I am boycotting the NAACP 2010 IMAGE AWARDS. I will not support an organization that claims to speak for the people but is too busy, too elitist to do something so simple as to acknowledge a letter. Shame on you. Contact Person: Mae Jackson, Director Art Without Walls Telephone: 914-457-5369 E-Mail: Attia@aol.com Note: Art Without Walls is a community based activist organization that utilizes the talent of artist in various community projects such as After-School Programs, Communal Meals for People With Aids, Books-behind Bars and support for incarcerated mothers, their children and extended family members. It is one of the first organization’s in the country to provide support for incarcerated women with Aids, and the first to hold a Congressional Hearing on Health Care for Artist.
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  • NYMetro
    Here is my two cents on this "burning issue". The national N.A.A.C.P. organization, in its postions and policies on addressing the needs of African people here and throughout the diaspora, have been irrelevant and in retreat ever since the days in which Roy Wilkins was at its helm. Wasting good time and ink on denouncing the national organization may relieve the writer of a considerable amount of stressful tension but it will not change their behavior one bit.

    Long before Sam Cooke recorded his classic piece that the author refered to in his "Why I am Boycotting the N.A.A.C.P.'s Image Award, their were other great artists like Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins, Max Roach and Abby Lincoln who made more explicit protest recordings about the racial politics of the day and the N.A.A.C.P. was just as absent of any type of recognition of their contributions. But then again, most of our "so called revolutionary brethen" who are a member of the BlackList, do not know who the aforementioned brothers and sister were and are and therefore, if the power to communicate a message of mass appeal to the the larger population of black folks were available to them, they too would leave these most important African-American artist out of any sort of recognition.
  • NYMetro
    In these times of technology lest we forget, I would suggest that if you want to see your vision of Sam Cooke's contribution realized, consider flooding their mailroom with letters attesting to that fact. Gather your letter writing army and get to getting.
    My two cents
  • West
    Before I go any further, let me say that my complaint is not about “sour grapes, as I do not drink anyone’s kool-aid. This letter is to draw attention to the disrespectful, and condescending manner in which those who hold the public trust often times take their constituents for granted.

    Beloved brother, when it comes to disrespect, not advocating, demanding, commanding our enslaved Ancestors REPARATIONS is a disrespectful and ungrateful people. Who was it that said a Race without Power over their land is a Disrespectfull race. This means that 99.9 percent of our people who does not advocate, demand, command our enslaved ancestors REPARATIONS is a disrespectful, ungrateful...and then some people. How can we call others disrespectful when we who do do that which is Divinely right is disrespectful too? Is that the Pot calling the kettle black?

    Beloved, in this day and time the only thing we as true Black Afrikans or whatever we call our selves, if we are serious about our salvation, liberation, and freedom, the only thing we should be doing is advocating, demanding, and commanding our enslaved ancestors REPARATIONS. Any other boycotting, marching, protest is profane and is not in Divine harmony, order, and balance.

    How is boycotting NAACP going to bring about our people salvation, liberation, and freedom, if that is what our goal is. Anything we do that is not about our Divine goals, is profane goals.

    We haven't learned still what battles is ours and which ones is not.

    When we do not do that which is Divinely right, fighting battles that is not our true battles, we sick
    massa, we sick.

    We have been given Divine Intelligence from our Reveler, and still we waste that Divine Intelligent Essence (MIND ENERGY) going in the wrong directions.

    Boycotting NAACP and any other organization, those behind the scenes only laugh at those who do. we must cease from appearing like Cartoon Characters in the eyes of the World.

    A black Afrikan male who is not on the front line rescuing the Black Afrikan children, the women and beloved Afrika, is a Spiritual dead black Afrikan males.

    Divine Loving

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