Pray For Gil Noble As He Battles From Stroke

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[Tribute To A Legend]

My dear brother and friend, Gil Noble, renowned journalist and long-time host of "Like It Is" suffered a stroke last week, people in contact with his family inform me.

Several people in close contact with the family say brother Gil Noble is hospitalized. Some people in contact with the family say his condition is serious enough that relatives are traveling from Jamaica to be near this beloved chronicler of African stories everywhere.

Bother Gil Noble's family, understandably, has been dealing with this profound health setback in a private manner. At the same time, millions of people love Gil Noble, for the honesty, love, dedication and devotion he brings to covering all issues that impact Africans and people of African ancestry everywhere in the world. He has also invited renowned historians on his show to remind the world of Africa's rich history and culture and he's also interviewed some of the greatest musicians who have walked this earth.

Indeed, because Gil Noble's show airs Sundays at noon on WABC channel 7, many people complain to me about their weekly dilemma; should they attend church services or stay at home and watch "Like It Is."

So, today, I humbly invite all those who love Gil Noble and what he's done to educate the world about the African experience --on the continent and in Diaspora-- to take a moment and say some words in prayer for brother Gil Noble in this his hour of need.

I have been an admirer of Gil Noble and fan of "Like It Is," for many years, even before I received my own journalistic training in the early 1990s at Columbia University. Later, I was very extremely humbled and even taken aback, when Gil invited me to appear on his show. After having watched some of the large figures who had been guests on "Like It Is," --including some of the earlier interviews that he replayed, with Kwame Ture, Dr. Ben-Jochanan, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Robert Mugabe, NOI's Louis Farrakhan, Michael Manley, Fannie Lou Hamer-- I did not believe that I had yet earned such honors.

Brother Gil Noble has had me on "Like It Is," several times.

Now, often, when I enter an MTA bus, drivers refuse to accept my fare, saying they are happy to drive someone who has been on "Like It Is." Countless people have stopped me on the streets of Harlem just to shake my hand. Young ladies on the subway have asked permission to leave their seats and come sit next to me--all because of my appearances on "Like It Is." This is how much Gil Noble and "Like It Is," are admired and loved.

On "Like It Is," I have often shared the floor with: the tireless and philosophical reporter, historian, and educator, Herb Boyd; the people's political champion, New York City Councilmember Charles Barron; South African-born Pan-African and entrepreneur, Shikulu Shange, and; the peerless brilliant journalist and former Newsday editor, Les Payne.

Beyond journalism, what most people may not know about Gil Noble is that he has the largest heart of any living person I know. He has a
profound and infectious love for African peoples. This is a very busy man who still always finds the time to call me to check on how I'm
doing; especially during the recession when he wanted to make sure my refrigerator was not empty. He even found time to visit, twice, with my Guerrilla Journalism class.

On many occasions, I also stop by his offices at WABC at Lincoln Square to chat and to admire his collection of books and African art. During a recent visit he showed me a breath-taking bust that he had sculpted himself years ago. We sometimes chat about his love of music; he once played the piano and might have become an accomplished professional musician. He says after he heard the musical legends, he settled on journalism.

Muhammad Ali is one of Gil's heros. He says as a rookie reporter Ali spotted him and granted him an exclusive interview and waved off established reporters from so-called mainstream media. Ali told him to always "give back" to the community; Gil Noble has made that his life's mission. He says Ali taught him not to be "afraid of being Black."

Whether we speak on the phone or in person, Gil's first words are always: "Milton, what's going to happen to our people? Our people are
catching hell here and in Africa." Another thing he always says is: "How can you know where you're going if you don't know your history?" He mourns the demise of Black History courses in schools throughout the country.

Whether documenting the historical achievements of Black people, or celebrating their great music and arts, or inviting a guest to critique the contemporary public schools system, I'm sure most viewers will agree that "Like It Is," is simply the best program of its type. Gil abhors fluff and his show delivers the best in analyses and critique.

Fans of "Like It Is" also know that WABC's management has in the past reportedly tried to cancel "Like It Is" and would have succeeded had it not been for rallies to support the show that were organized by the Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African Peoples (CEMOTAP) under Betty Dopson and Dr. James McIntosh.

Gil Noble could have turned his back on the African community --like many other reporters who were let into the upper floors in corporate
journalism-- and worked like a media "star" promoting his own career by ingratiating himself towards his employers. He refused and he stands out as a great inspiration to young journalists everywhere regardless of their gender, race or nationality.

Of course, Gil Noble has the greatest appreciation for the history of the suffering and exploitation of African peoples so he's devoted his life
and career towards seeking and sharing information to help uplift their conditions on this often cruel earth.

Gil is a beautiful man who has made me a much better human being.

As brother Gil Noble today gallantly fights to recover his health -- a challenging battle whose outcome is unpredictable-- it's important for people who love him and "Like It Is," to let WABC management know that they expect the show to continue. The station mustn't be allowed to use Gil's health setback as an excuse to eliminate the show.

There are several very worthy hosts who can warm the seat for brother Gil Noble, including Les Payne, who brings profound intelligence and brilliant analytical capabilities to journalism. Les Payne has been a "Like It Is," guest on numerous occasions. Les Payne would do an excellent job --and make it impossible for WABC to get rid of the show-- until such a time when its host, our creator willing, resumes his great mission of Speaking Truth To Power.

This is the time for every person who cares about serious journalism to call WABC at (212) 456-7777 or (212) 456-7000; tell the show's producer to let WABC management know that they expect "Like It Is" to continue. Also contact CEMOTAP at (718) 322-8454 and see what help Sister Dopson and Dr. McIntosh need in keeping the flames of "Like It Is" burning eternally.

This is the very least that people can do in return for the love and devotion that Gil Noble has shown for African peoples everywhere.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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