Jamie Foxx and Denzel Washington can take care of themselves. How about some media activism around some real issues

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My people, my people. In the last two days, like everyone else, my inbox was inundated with the "NBC-is-sabotaging-the-Jamie-Foxx-special-'cause- he-wouldn't-put-white-acts-on-his-show e-mail. The show airs tonight, and if whoever started it was just playing the race card to get the buzz going for the show, it worked. As St. Petersburg Times media critic Eric Deggans noted NBC's marketing push on the Foxx special did not seem to be lacking. Foxx is multi-talented, his "Unpredictable" CD is flying off the shelves, and he has an all-star line-up, and with this email, the ratings are likely to be spectacular.

The one virtue with the bogus Jamie Foxx email is that it's time-limited. I'm still getting the email about actor Denzel Washington's donation to build housing for families visiting wounded military personnel at Brooke Army Medical Center in December, 2004. The hotels in which the families stay are called "Fisher Houses." If you haven't received the email, here's the gist of the story that the press is supposed to have missed:

While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his check book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it.

Reporters found that while Washington did make what Army officials said was a "sizable" donation, the details in the email are not true.

I have nothing but love for Jamie and Denzel. But the next time I get a chain e-mail urging me to spread the word about something or take action, can it be on behalf of something real? Chris Rabb put it well:

"Why is [Jamie Foxx] what people have chosen to be up in arms about and leveraging the Internet to advocate for versus, say, Darfur, Haiti, Katrina, political corruption, corporate greed, the fight for a living wage, etc., etc.?"

If that's too broad, here are some more specific things to be upset about:

  1. At a time when President Bush is aggressively trying to convince us that his warrantless surveillance program is legal, why aren't more people joining law professor Patricia Williams in asking, "Well then, what limits do we have on presidential power?"
  2. Why is the mainstream press still ignoring the case of Cory Maye, a young black Mississippian who is sitting on death row for killing a police officer who appears to have barged into his home late at night, with scant warning, on a questionable search warrant? (One major regional paper in the area told me that the problem at the moment is that they're "all Katrina, all the time," but that doesn't explain the national media's silence.)
  3. As Black AmericaWeb.com columnist Debra Mathis pointed out, why was there so much attention to New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin's God-wants-Nawlins-to-be-a-Chocolate-City remark, when there had been so little attention to previous statements that the new Big Easy would be more affluent and less black?
  4. Speaking of New Orleans, how about calling for more attention to the efforts of the Congressional Black Caucus to ensure that environmental justice measures are included in the Katrina recovery effort?

Cross-posted at Professor Kim's News Notes
Tags:Jamie Foxx,Denzel Washington,Katrina,/Cory Maye/

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