“So, Tavis Smiley has been officially “Outed” as the hustler he really is, and needs to drink his six pack of STHU about holding President Obama accountable when his ass is probably going to have to testify in that Wells Fargo discrimination lawsuit. He has never said jack about predatory lending, and now, we have an idea WHY.” - The Christian Progressive Liberal (The “Outing” of Tavis Smiley)
No but seriously, I'm having a hard time with this one. Yeah I know some of “our folk” are still mad at my brother from Indiana for supporting Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries. Plus I heard he said some shit about bloggers or something sometime or another. But is he really a Slave Catcher? I don't know about you, but the brother doesn't strike me as the type to pimp Black folks for profit as some people assert. Which is funny when you think of it because Negroes talk shit about people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton etc. as being race pimps who profit off the backs of Black folks? But yet these very same people go to church every week and drop money in “Rev. Do Dirty's” collection plate like it ain't nuthin'. Oh well, lemme stay on topic and avoid the hate mail.
So, anywhichaways, Tavis Smiley has come under some heat recently and The Christian Progressive Liberal over at Jack & Jill Politics let it be known just why she thinks, well, that he's Slave Catcher material [read it here]; the debate that followed the post was quite interesting. You see, Wells Fargo was a well known sponsor of his annual State of the Black Union conference, or as some put it “The Negro Superbowl”. Just in case you've been living with your head up an Atlanta housewife's ass on Bravo, lemme tell you: Wells Fargo has been implicated in several lawsuits for predatory lending practices. Well as the story goes, Tavis served as the keynote speaker at so-called “Wealth Building” seminars conducted by Wells Fargo beginning in the year 2005, which targeted minorities. These events were held in various cities across the country and according to the Illinois Attorney General in a recently filed lawsuit against Wells Fargo: Tavis Smiley was the bait employed by Wells Fargo to rope Blacks and other minorities in only to become victims to their predatory lending practices:
Wells' plan for the seminars all along was to target black borrowers for higher-cost subprime mortgages, not for wealth-building, the suit charged. And the seminars were a part of the bank's overall illegal and discriminatory practice of steering black and Hispanic borrowers into riskier and more expensive loans, the suit said.Listen, do you remember when the housing bubble burst, and the eventual economic shitstorm of epic proportions of which we are all witnesses came about? Do you remember who the fall guys for the financial crisis became? Oh you don't remember? Well, in short, minorities were blamed. Yep, it was those irresponsible Negroes and Hispanics [Read: Let's Blame the Negro]. Yeah, never mind that many financial institutions and Hedge Fund Managers on Wall Street profited heavily from the exploitation of those irresponsible colored folk; never mind that; what else is new in our culture. Don't tell me we're supposed to stop blaming minorities for anything because we're post-racial now. Maybe it's just me and my ever present racial prism through which I see things. But, to make Tavis the fall guy just seems like more of the same.
According to a former Wells Fargo Home Mortgage employee, one of these "Wealth Building" seminars held in Maryland was planned for an audience that would be virtually all African American, the suit said. The plan for the seminar was for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage employees to talk about subprime mortgages, although they were directed by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to use the term 'alternative lending' when marketing these products." The former employee, who is white, was scheduled to speak at the seminar, but was told by a manager that she was "too white," and that only black employees could make presentations, the suit said.
Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders and a recipient of $25 billion in government bailout money, has denied all the charges in the Illinois suit, as well as other allegations of unfair lending. The bank did not respond to requests for comment on the seminars. Smiley, an author and advocate who hosts the late-night talk show, 'Tavis Smiley,' and who organizes the State of the Black Union symposiums each year, also declined comment. [Source: The Washington Independent]
OK, yeah, so Wells Fargo may have had this plan all put together to reel in minorities. But, can anyone prove to me that Tavis Smiley had full knowledge of said strategy or design? No you can't; not right now at least. That said, why even believe the hype, or put it out there and make Tavis some sort of a pariah? I mean I don't know the brother personally, but I'd like to think, putting his financial best interest aside (which would be his radio and TV show), that what he did was well intentioned for the Black and minority community considering that he had a sponsoring partnership with Wells Fargo. Let’s be real, Tavis is no Oprah Winfrey and he has to rely on corporate sponsors more than she does, right?
Listen, this thing is bigger than Tavis Smiley; Wells Fargo is just one company in a long list that profited from predatory lending. Last time I checked, Tavis Smiley wasn’t the one responsible for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act just before the turn of the millennium. What good is it to crucify Tavis when he's just a small fish in a big pond filled with hungry piranhas that has done more damage to minorities all across the nation? Why make him complicit when there's no proof that he himself got fat like “certain people” on Wall Street.
Believe you me, I'm always on the lookout for the Slave Catcher types among us - you know, the Negroes who should know better? You know, like Ervin "Magic" Johnson? I don't know if you've seen or heard his commercials for Rent-A-Center in the media lately, but to me, that's Slave Catcher behavior. As a wealthy and successful businessman, the last thing "Magic" should be doing is promoting ghetto rip-offs as opposed to saving. I’m sorry, but find this “outing” of Tavis Smiley to be quite egregious, but that’s just me. One good thing, is that Tavis has cut ties with Wells Fargo since this lawsuit hit the airwaves. Hmm, now that doesn't sound like Slave Catcher behavior, now does it? But then again, Black folks would see this as a move too little too late and still think of him as a sellout pimp hustler. This is America, isn't everybody hustling?
Check out the following clip to see how Tavis screwed up the economy...