On Sunday, longtime “SportsCenter” anchor and ESPN personality Stuart Scott died after a long battle with cancer.
Smith told Martin that Scott was an inspiration to him and to many others who are “trying to do this job the way he (Stuart Scott) did it so successfully and so illustriously throughout the years.”
“To know that he’s gone, to see somebody so vibrant, so full of life — to be gone from us at the age of 49 — it’s hard to put into words how heartbreaking it is,” said Smith.
Martin and Smith also talked about the challenges as well as the criticisms that Scott faced for bringing his style of sportscasting to ESPN.
Martin said, “I don’t think people really understand what it feels like to be an African American man in mainstream media, when you are trying to be your own person and folks are giving you resistance. There were still people [at ESPN] who felt a bit put off or a bit uncomfortable with [Scott’s] delivery or presentation.” Smith added Scott had to “endure that at the very beginning.”
“I constantly tell folks in White America and beyond time and time again: White folk come to work with a job to do, we come to work with a responsibility. When we are in the public eye and we are one of the few that have a voice as an African American, the pressure emanates from your own community.”
“Make sure you do this, make sure you do that, don’t let us down, etcetera, etcetera. We don’t have the luxury of just going to work everyday and just doing our job. We have to do it in a way that our own community feels it’s representative in a very good way of who we are and what we want projected about ourselves. And as a result of that, obviously Stuart Scott had an immense amount of pressure because in the process of recognizing that responsibility and understanding it, he still wanted to make sure that he was himself, not because of the pressure, but because he wanted to be who he wanted to be and he wanted that to be ok.
Smith told Martin, “The perseverance, the due diligence, the work ethic, everything that he’s put forth, you just can’t say enough about it.”
In a recent op-ed, Joseph A. Califano Jr., a top aide for President Lyndon B. Johnson, found fault with how LBJ was portrayed in the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic, “Selma,” directed by Ava DuVernay.
In his Washington Post piece, Califano wrote:
The makers of the new movie “Selma” apparently just couldn’t resist taking dramatic, trumped-up license with a true story that didn’t need any embellishment to work as a big-screen historical drama. As a result, the film falsely portrays President Lyndon B. Johnson as being at odds with Martin Luther King Jr. and even using the FBI to discredit him, as only reluctantly being behind the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and as opposed to the Selma march itself.
Califano also stated in his opinion piece that “Selma was LBJ’s idea” and also said that the movie should be “ruled out” during award season., causing many involved in the Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s to cry foul.
On Monday, Ambassador Andrew Young spoke with Roland Martin and the “NewsOne Now” Straight Talk panel about the true nature of the relationship between Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as set the record straight about how LBJ was depicted in the movie “Selma.”
“Selma was Amelia Boynton’s idea,” said Young. “Amelia Boynton was a Black woman who went to Selma in 1929 with George Washington Carver; she registered to vote in 1932.” Young said that Boynton was a member of Delta Sigma Theta who “lead a march across the “Black Belt” to get Barack Obama elected in 2010 when she was 100-years-old.”
“This is the woman that nobody knows who came to see Martin Luther King, just before Christmas in 1964 and said, ‘You need to come and help us in Selma,’ and that is where the Selma movement started,” said Young.
Rock Newman, host of “The Rock Newman Show,” called the controversy over whose idea the march on Selma was the “tempest in the teapot” and said the debate over Selma takes away from the impact of the movie.
Newman said it was unfair for the discussion about the movie to be focused on this controversy. He added, “Everyone should see this film. If White people would see it, they would see the insanity that is fostered with a sense of White supremacy and take some responsibility. If Black folks see it they would see the struggle and be inspired.”
Roland Martin sat down with David Oyelowo to talk about the Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic, “Selma” and the actor shared his thoughts about playing the role of MLK.
“Selma,” directed by Ava DuVernay, opens nationwide in theaters on January 9, 2015 was nominated for four Golden Globes, including nominations for Best Motion Picture and Ava DuVernay for Best Director in the Motion Picture category.
Oyelowo, born in Britain, told Martin, “When I first read the script in 2007, I wouldn’t cast me as Dr. King, between being English and at that point I’ve done very few American movies, but I felt a call of God to do this thing.”
When he auditioned for the part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the director onboard at the time didn’t feel as though he was right for the part and as a result of that, Oyelowo began a 7-year journey that has culminated to this point in time.
In speaking about the film Oyelowo still gets emotional because he took pride in the completion of the project. “I see indicators everywhere I look that this was indeed a divine endeavor because of the timing of it. You think this is 50 years since these events happened. This film could have happened at anytime in history, but it happens now when literally outside this very room there are protests.”
Oyelowo added, “Protests the like of which Bernice King told me only on last week she hasn’t seen since the Vietnam War and this is when this film is dropping.”
Oyelowo went on to mention how the Tamir Rice police shooting has affected him being the father of three sons.
“It hurts me to know that my son is under threat from law enforcement. It hurts me that we have had huge indicators of progress and yet there is still very real racism, very real injustice against us a Black people and particularly Black men.”
The star of “Selma” quoted some disturbing statistics about law enforcement and African American males saying, “you are 21 times more likely to be killed by the police as a Black man than a White man.”
Oyelowo said he “likes to think we have come further than we have,” but is also optimistic because he sees this as an “opportunity to do better.”
All that and more in this edition of the NewsOne Now Audio Podcast.