chapter  11
Big Pimpin'
Pages 12

I was pulling into the parking lot of my then rw-o-year-old's day care when I first heard the news that the contract of papulae talk-show host Tavis Smiley was not being renewed by Black Entertainment Television (BET). Tbc announcement carne courtesy of Tom Jayner, who is the host of the largest syndicated radio program targeted to AfricanAmerican audiences. The TomJoyner Morning Show is part of my everyday ritual: my daughter and I get to listen to some oId-schaol soul and I get to get my laff-on courtesy of J. Anthony Brown and my inform-on via Smiley's twice-weekly commentaries. For sure I was surprised by the announcement, even letting out a loud chuckle at the irony of the move, as I stood in the parking lot. Hell, it was only two years earlier that Newsweek said that Smiley was one of the twenty or so people who were changing how we get our news, and, of course, he had been the winner of the coveted NAACP ~I make Negroes lookgood" Image Award three years running. He had also achieved the distinction of being BET's highest paid on-air talent. But my surprise turned to reservation as I prepared for the inevitable "rally around the race" pitch that Joyner et al. were going to employ to get Smiley reinstated as the hast of BET Tonight. By the time I had rerurned to the car ten minutes later,Joyner was giving out the e-mail address and phone number to Viacom's (the parent company ofBET) CEO, Me! KarmaUn. ] had been here before.