Insight News

Wednesday
Dec 17th

No need to dull Barbershop’s cutting humor

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Unlike the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., I decided to see the hit movie, Barbershop, before commenting on it. Unlike the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., I decided to see the hit movie, Barbershop, before commenting on it. After seeing it, I wonder what all the fuss is about. Yes, there are some lines I would never utter about Rosa Parks or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But get a grip—this is a movie about a barbershop, a Black barbershop at that.

Anyone who has spent any time in a barbershop knows that everyone and everything is fair game. If “Saturday Night Live” can lampoon presidents, both Republican and Democrat, why can’t we laugh at ourselves?

Overlooked in the criticism of “Barbershop” is that, for the most part, it is historically accurate. Critics attack Eddie, the cantankerous character played by Cedric the Entertainer, for saying that Rosa Park sparked a bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala., on Dec. 1, 1955, because she was tired and wanted to sit down.

He also says, “I gotta give Rosa her props in that her act helped start the movement. But you know what, she damn sure ain’t special cuz a whole lotta Black folk sat down on them busses and got thrown in jail, and they did it before she did it!”

It wasn’t that Parks set out to desegregate the buses in Montgomery. She had sat in the “colored” section that day and objected when the driver ordered three African-Americans to give up their seats so that Whites could have them. The other two complied, leaving only Parks to run afoul of the law.

In her account, “Quiet Strength,” published in 1994, Rosa Parks said she was “tired of giving in.”

Two Pultizer Prize-winning accounts of the Civil Rights Movement, “Bearing the Cross,” by David J. Garrow, and “Parting the Waters,” by Taylor Branch, note that Rev. T. J. Jemison, who would later become president of the National Baptist Convention, led a bus boycott in Baton Rouge, La., during the summer of 1953, two years before the Rosa Parks incident.

As for Dr. King, like I said, I wouldn’t call him a “ho.” But some of his sexual exploits were tape-recorded by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and his closest aides have confirmed many of his indiscretions.

In his autobiography, “And the Walls Came Tumbling Down,” Ralph David Abernathy, King’s closest friend and confidant, wrote: “Martin and I were away more often than we were at home; and while this was no excuse for extramarital relations, it was a reason. Some men are better able to bear such deprivations than others, though all of us in SCLC headquarters had our weak moments. I don’t think it had anything to do with our respective views of what was right or wrong. We all understood and believed in the biblical prohibition against sex outside of marriage. It was just that he had a particularly difficult time with that temptation.”

Georgia Davis Powers, a former Kentucky state senator, has even published a book about her affair with Dr. King titled, “I Shared the Dream.” Powers says she was with Dr. King in Memphis shortly before he was assassinated, a fact verified by Abernathy.

Sexual indiscretions do not detract from Dr. King’s contributions any more than they distract from the contributions of President John F. Kennedy, also a notorious womanizer.

Jesse Jackson, who has his own personal problems, did not wait to see the movie before telling “USAToday” that “filmmakers crossed the line between what’s sacred and serious and what’s funny.” He asserts, “There are some heroes who are sacred to a people.”

If Jackson is truly interested in preserving the “sacred” Civil Rights Movement, he should start by admitting that he has been lying for more than 30 years about being the last person to hold Dr. King before he died.
Abernathy recounts in his autobiography that Jackson and another aide, Hosea Williams, had agreed not to talk to the media immediately following King’s assassination until they could learn more details. However, moments late
 

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