Allimadi Tells It "Like It Is"
Mr. Allimadi expressed great concerns about corruption within the mainstream media. â€œThe shameful thing is that itâ€™s [corruption in the media] almost treated like business as usual by the major so-called mainstream media â€“ the ones that have enough circulation and coverage to flesh it out and hit on it on a regular basis â€“ but they donâ€™t. Itâ€™s like theyâ€™re part of the power structure, unfortunately.â€?
Story by Brenda Jeanne Wyche
Milton Allimadi, Founder and Publisher of The Black Star News, joined Gil Noble’s revered talk show, “Like It Is” this New Year’s Eve. Rosalind McLymont, Editor-In-Chief of The Network Journal and Herb Boyd of the Amsterdam News also joined Mr. Noble in a riveting discussion on the state of the Black community and strategies for solutions and empowerment now and for the future.
When addressing the issue of corruption in government, Mr. Allimadi boldly stated, “The biggest form of corruption is the neglect of the Black community. It is immoral and corrupt to be talking about reconstruction in Iraq and to be funneling billions of dollars into Iraq when we are facing 50% unemployment of young Black men here in the United States. It’s unconscionable. How do we generate enough outrage to address this and to change this? This is the kind of thing that I care about.”
We have less than a handful of people who are advocating for us in earnest.
Gil Noble’s “Like It Is” is one of our most powerful weapons in the fight for our rightful position of greatness in this society. For over 30 years, Mr. Noble has enabled us to bring The Truth to the community and beyond.
Milton Allimadi has been on the frontlines for decades fighting for human rights. “I have always believed that control over media and the manner in which the media portrays Africans and people of African descent is the key to our liberation as a people. The manner in which a people are presented in media conditions how others perceive them –and how they perceive themselves. Media can generate positive or negative perceptions, which in turn, conditions how we interact with one another,” he firmly stated.
In 1994, Allimadi decided to abandon his work as a freelance reporter for The New York Times because they would only allow him to cover crime stories in Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn; as if crime was the only activity our people were engaged in. So, he joined The City Sun where he was allowed to focus on real issues like police brutality and investigative journalism. When the City Sun stopped publication, Allimadi drew up a plan for The Black Star News, wanting to extend the Sun’s legacy. After he sent out dozens of business plans seeking support for his vision, Bill and Camille Cosby stepped forward with seed funding.
In the meantime, he published his own book, “The Hearts of Darkness, How White Writers Created the Racist Image of Africa,” which is based on his research of the history of white misrepresentation of Africa in Western media, from the 18th Century, to date, and also using exclusive documents from The New York Times' archives.
To Mr. Allimadi’s joy, the book has taken a life of its own. He has made several presentations on the topic, including Syracuse University, Columbia University, William & Mary, The London School of Economics, and other colleges and several bookstores.
Mumia Abu-Jamal wrote Allimadi a letter after reading the “The Hearts of Darkness” and said he believes it should be in every school and university.
Milton is working towards making The Black Star News the best news organization. Despite its limited resources, The Black Star News scored a major news scoop in 2000, which earned the newspaper coverage in several so-called mainstream papers, such as The Village Voice, New York Press, New York Observer, The New York Times, The Daily News, The New York Post; and an appearance on CNN financial news. On that occasion, The Black Star was the first paper to reveal that giant investment bank; Morgan Stanley had paid an informant $10,000 to entrap a young Black investment banker who had already been fired, before he could file a wrongful discrimination lawsuit. Lawyers working for Morgan Stanley threatened him, through phone calls at night and even in writing. At the end of the day, two senior lawyers at Morgan Stanley were fired for their role in the scandal, and The Wall Street Journal credited The Black Star with the news scoop.
Continuing its investigative journalism reputation, last year The Black Star revealed that an allegedly corrupt lawyer, Edward Fagan, who once wanted to represent African Americans for Slavery Reparations lawsuits, was being investigated for stealing money from his clients—he is now facing disbarment proceedings.
More recently, following a series of articles in The Black Star, the U.K. government has launched a probe into allegations that Home Office employee in London, John Guma-Komwiswa, who was at the same time spokesperson for Uganda’s ruling NRM party, also doubled as a spy who routinely rejected asylum applicants if he deemed they were opposition party supporters. Uganda and Guma-Komwiswa deny the allegations; Komwiswa has been suspended while the probe continues.
Another example of Allimadi’s valiance and commitment happened in 2003, when Zimbabwe was under relentless pressure from the West – as it still is – particularly from the United States and the U.K., both of which imposed economic sanctions against the Southern African country. This means that Zimbabwe has not been able to conduct normal business with several countries –including some African countries since several fear their Western benefactors. Moreover, Zimbabwe has not been able to secure loans, which all countries need. Mugabe’s “crime” was that he had had the audacity to seize white-controlled fertile farmland and return them to Africans. Of course the whites had stolen the land more than 100 years ago when they seized that part of Africa as a British colony. Fearing that there was a plot to have Mugabe assassinated, Allimadi introduced then Zimbabwe’s United Nations ambassador, Dr. Tichaona Jokonya, to Charles Barron, so that together the three of them could come up with a strategy to counter the demonization campaign against Mugabe in Western media. Dr. Jokonya invited Barron to travel with a delegation of New York’s elected officials including members of the City Council, so that they could observe the changes in Zimbabwe for themselves rather than rely on biased hysterical coverage in Western media. In turn, Barron extended an invitation to Mugabe to come to City Hall and address council members, knowing this would give the president an opportunity to direct address members of the media.
Mugabe addressed a packed City Hall and his presentation was so eloquent that most reporters, including those from The New York Post –a paper that routinely demonized Mugabe—were dumbstruck and couldn’t even ask questions. In their warped minds, they had come expecting to meet an African buffoon, not knowing that Mugabe possesses several degrees and was once a teacher before he became a guerrilla leader against white minority rule in his country.
Following the visit, for a period, news coverage of Zimbabwe was less hostile and even the New York Times’ coverage of Mugabe’s City Hall appearance was relatively positive, compared to their previous news stories. Subsequently, Milton Allimadi traveled with Charles Barron, the late James Davis, and Adam Clayton Powell IV to Zimbabwe, where they toured farms now being worked on by Africans, and met Mugabe again.
Rosalind McLymont made an execllent point: "There is serious corruption taking place in terms of the brutality that is meted out by the police on our communities and on our young men. So, in addition to the 50% unemployment rate on our young Black men, we have a community of youngsters who have to face a hostile police force when the police are supposed to be there to protect the community. This is morally wrong in a city that pretends to be the greatest city in the world and a mecca for diversity and multiculturalism and the financial capital of the world."
No one can host a roundtable discussion like Gil Noble. His no holds barred style of getting to The Truth is insurmountable. He asks the questions that are on our minds and with the most elegance and style, gets down to the nitty gritty.
I keep hearing people ask, where are our Black leaders? They are here – the chosen few. But they cannot fight alone – they can only make it so far if we don’t stand together with them. Stand up and fight for yourselves. Don’t wait for a chosen few to take on our battles alone. Everything is a weapon. Use your talents. Use your resources.
Mr. Allimadi expressed great concerns about corruption within the mainstream media. “The shameful thing is that it’s [corruption in the media] almost treated like business as usual by the major so-called mainstream media – the ones that have enough circulation and coverage to flesh it out and hit on it on a regular basis – but they don’t. It’s like they’re part of the power structure, unfortunately.”
Why isn’t The Black Star News “mainstream” media? The Black Star has been in circulation for 9 years now. It is one of the very few newspapers in which you can learn The Truth and share The Truth with us.
The Black Star News should be in every African, African American household and households of people of color. Take out a subscription. Send letters of support to us. Send letters to Gil Noble letting him know he is getting results. Let us know that you are ready for change for the betterment of our people. The time is now.
Every New Year, we make personal resolutions – “lose weight,” “fix my financial situation,” “stop cussing,” etc. What do you think would happen if there were just you and no us?
This year, let us resolve to help each other. Reach out and help your brother or sister – and most of all – support your Black businesses – even if they’re “ghetto.” We have to help one another. If they had our support, maybe they could grow and evolve. They certainly aren’t getting anywhere with criticisms and complaints. At least they’re trying. At least they’re off the treadmill. If we could stop criticizing for a moment, we could learn something from them. Ever wonder how that “ghetto” business owner got his/her own business and is not working for someone else?
Let’s make our New Year’s resolutions not about our individual selves. Let’s make it about helping ourselves as a people.
To get a copy of Milton Allimadi's enlightening and thrilling book, "The Hearts of Darkness, How White Writers Created the Racist Image of Africa" go to www.theheartsofdarkness.com .
Brenda Jeanne Wyche, Advocate for Solutions and Results, is Managing Editor of The Black Star News and Harlem Business News, CEO of Winning Strategies & Associates and VP of Public Relations for The Professionals. If you have a solution, contact Brenda@blackstarnews.com . Maybe we’ll talk.
To subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to Milton@blackstarnews.com
“Speaking Truth To Empower.”