Friday, July 25, 2014

The Young and the Reckless

BH 442   
July 24, 2014
I know the title of the soap opera is “The Young and the Restless”, but I want to focus on the number of friends and family members I have lost to preventable diseases, especially diseases caused by smoking.  
According to The American Lung Association in 2010, the top five causes of death in the United States were diseases of the heart, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries. And men may be more at-risk for these diseases than women. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, including emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction, and diabetes.
On my current television program and on so many of my radio show over the years, I have had experts to tell us the danger of these illnesses and how we can prevent them, but most people find it hard to face mortality.
I can name eight of my disc jockey friends who have died as a direct result of smoking. I also lost a sister and a brother because of smoking. I am not an activist or a crusader taking on the tobacco industry, but it is shameful for us to know the dangers of smoking and continue to gamble with our health.
The American Lung Association informs us that cigarette smoking has been identified as the most important source of preventable disease and illness, and premature death worldwide. Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 443,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of "secondhand" exposure to tobacco’s carcinogens.
About 8.6 million people in the U.S. have at least one serious illness caused by smoking. That means that for every person who dies of a smoking-related disease, there are 20 more people who suffer from at least one serious illness associated with smoking
You must remember that African American communities have been bombarded with cigarette advertising. Since the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) in 1998, the average youth in the United States is annually exposed to 559 tobacco ads, every adult female 617 advertisements and every African American adult 892 ads.
Women have also been extensively targeted in tobacco marketing. Such marketing is dominated by themes of an association between social desirability, independence, weight control and smoking messages conveyed through advertisements featuring slim, attractive, and athletic models.
Once there were battles against these advertisements, as well as the malt liquor campaigns, but somehow after the government cracked down on the tobacco companies, after a barrage of law suits and settlements, some of us have drifted back to the same old harmful and destructive habit of smoking. 
Don’t think I do not recognize that you have a choice to live your life the way that you choose, and I know how hard it is to break away from the nicotine, but I will say, most smokers will quit one way or another.
Americans for Nonsmokers Rights state on average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke in the workplace is a health justice issue; everyone deserves protection from workplace health hazards, and no one should have to choose between their livelihood and exposure to an easily preventable cause of premature death and chronic disease.
African Americans experience greater health disparities than the general population, in part due to greater levels of exposure to secondhand smoke and its negative health effects, such as heart disease, lung cancer, and premature death.
The facts show not only that the African American community is in need of protection from secondhand smoke, but also that it is supportive of smoke free air. They suggest when developing a smoke free public education campaign, it is important to engage all segments of the community in support of this public health right. What do YOU think?
What about legalizing marijuana? That is another column.
Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24, and follow me on Twitter: @berhay and view my Blog  @

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!

Reviving our Culture!

June 19, 2014    
BH 441

Every month I am on a conference call initiated by radio pioneer Bob Law. On the calls are Dr. Malauna Karenga, author, college professor and the originator of the cultural holiday Kwanzaa; Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, author and professor in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University, and former professional football player Walter Beach, author and CEO of Amer-I-Can of New York, a life skills management program founded by his friend and former team mate Jim Brown. 
Celebrating culture became part of the overall mission of the conference call and this month the discussion concentrated on how we as a people can again gain the dignity and the respect that once prevailed in our community, and how do we recapture the pride and reverence we once commanded.
The central point was made that many African American women are returning to their natural hair styles and abandoning the Asian additions and weaves. Many have noted that, the different hair textures of African people ranges from deep ebony, kinky curl of the Mandingos, to the loosely curled flowing locks of the Ashanti. They accept that Africa has much to offer the world and we all agreed that this could be a movement encouraging people to take pride in being black.
Self- respect is essential because if you lack self-respect, you will allow others to trample on your dignity which will perpetuate the cycle, making you hate yourself and hate the person doing the trampling even more. On the other hand, when you have self-respect, you really, truly like yourself and have dignity. Karenga mentioned Malcom X who said ‘you can't hate the roots of a tree and not hate the tree. You can't hate Africa and not hate yourself.’
The exchange revealed that the rapper and actor Calvin Broadus known as ‘Snoop Dogg’ is changing his name to Snoop Lion, and hopefully will influence other rappers and entertainers to adopt his ‘No Guns Allowed’ campaign. From his website he proclaims ‘gun violence is affecting every community around the nation and many big names are supporting major initiatives to curb the epidemic.’ Snoop said he does not want to be considered a dog anymore.
It was asked how sagging pants, that was once a mark of shame in prison has become a fashion statement? It was also noted that the entire purpose of the way a baseball cap is made is specifically engineered to provide a shady area for the eyes, and yet many people, primarily young guys, insist on turning their baseball caps around backwards. This also has become a fashion statement, but does it show dignity or reflect pride?
Cultural awareness becomes central when we have to interact with people from other cultures, and these images are of misunderstood and misinterpretations occur primarily when we lack awareness of our own behavioral rules and project them on others. Some law enforcement department and agencies interpret these symbols in stereotypical ways and often young men and women lose their lives or are detained or incarcerated simply because of their attire or hair style. Many departments hold hidden assumptions or stereotypes.
People see, interpret and evaluate things in a different ways. What is considered an appropriate behavior in one culture is frequently inappropriate in another one. Do you remember the way Bob Law signed off of his radio program “Night Talk”?  He would always end by saying “respect yourself’’.  
So as a process for community-building and empowerment; promoting, perpetuating, and preserving the dignity and respect we are worthy of, let us again ‘respect ourselves’. 
Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24, and follow me on Twitter: @berhay and view my Blog  @

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!

Malcolm also had a Dream! Happy Birthday Minister Shabazz!

May 15, 2014       
BH 440
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech is among the most celebrated in the nation’s history, but as we celebrate the birthdate of Malcolm X, we should also know that Malcolm too had a dream. He had a dream of justice and self-determination for his people that was free of violence, with ideals and principles. 
He dreamed of equal access to education, tolerance, and consensus building, and above all, fairness and impartiality.
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1964 he changed his name to Al Hajj Malik El Shabazz, to signify his rejection of his “slave” name after he visited the Holy City of Mecca.
Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm had different opinions on integration and segregation, they initially struggled for the same objective. That goal was peace, freedom and equal rights, particularly and specifically for black and other oppressed people.
During the 60’s, Martin Luther King Jr's approach using non-violence attracted more people to the civil rights movement because Malcolm incorporated the richness of black history and culture, while completely rejecting white society and their subjugation and brutality.
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X existed at the same time and perfectly symbolized, respectively, the arguments for peaceful resistance and violent struggle as means for political change. King had urged his followers to bestow Christian love on white racists who abused them. Malcolm memorably asserted that blacks should seek any means necessary to achieve justice. At one time in history this was a part of Malcolm’s dream.
Arthur Lewin of simplified their differences when he wrote “In truth, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Minister Malcolm X were not that different. They were fellow travelers on the same road, the one headed toward fulfillment of the Dream America holds for all that she’s the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”
Dr. Kenneth R. Conklin reminds us that in the 1960s black people began saying "I'm black, and proud of it." But that pride was more an aspiration than a reality. To create a sense of separate identity and pride, black people began adopting African cultural customs, Muslim religion, and newly-created holidays celebrating their African heritage. The Nation of Islam religious group under inspiration from Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad began to demand the creation of a racially separatist independent Nation of New Africa. But with increasing affluence and equality, most black people followed the path of Martin Luther King toward full integration, and began calling themselves African-Americans.
Malcolm had many dreams as reflected in many of his quotes. He said ‘Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds. I have always kept an open mind, a flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of the intelligent search for truth.’
Malcolm did not trust the press. He said ‘The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses’. He told us that ‘power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action’. And let us not forget some of his more profound words ‘If you're not ready to die for it, put the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary. If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything’.
Yes, Minister Malcom had dreams. He had many dreams. He knew that people of color must unite with a single purpose to attain freedom and peace, so he sought wisdom and knowledge through dreams, visions, fasting, and prayer. Very few individuals are able to make such a significant contribution to their communities that they can claim much credit for its power and glory. Al Hajj Malik El Shabazz did.
Happy Birthday Brother Malcolm. Happy Birthday and may your legacy live on.
Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24, and follow me on Twitter: @berhay and view my Blog  @

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

White Lies and Black Spies!

 March 6, 2014
BH 439
After celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday and African American History Month, most of us will be fooled into believing we are rejoicing the freedom so many have fought and died for.
And because of some elected officials in the Republican Party, African Americans in some states are still suffering from the imbalanced world of disenfranchisement, segregation and various forms of oppression, including race-inspired violence, such as the Travon Martin and Jordan Davis killings.
During the MLK and Black History Month observations some of you remembered how many of our groups and organizations were infiltrated by enemies and spies. Some discussed Cointelpro, a government-initiated counter-intelligence program organized to disrupt and ultimately destroy the civil rights and antiwar movements and victimize or discredit civil rights leaders and activists during the 1960s.
 Under Cointelpro the FBI, CIA, and many local police and law enforcement agencies used informers to infiltrate these organizations. One of the stated purposes of this program was to "neutralize" Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Elijah Muhammad, in order to prevent the emergence, in the government’s terms, of a “Black Messiah” who would have the potential of uniting and leading a mass organization of Black Americans in their struggle for freedom and economic equality.
While these agencies and their tactics became known, there was another group that most of us were unaware of. One that used Black people to inform on the NAACP, CORE, SNCC and other civil rights and progressive organizations. The agency was The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission.
A new book and documentary film, Spies of Mississippi tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation and maintain “the Mississippi way of life,” white supremacy, during the 1950s and ‘60s. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (MSSC) evolved from a predominantly public relations agency to a full-fledged spy operation, spying on over 87,000 Americans over the course of a decade.
The Commission employed a network of investigators and informants, including African Americans, to help infiltrate these groups and was granted broad powers to investigate private citizens and organizations, keep secret files, make arrests, and compel testimony for a state that, as civil rights activist Lawrence Guyot says in the film, “was committed to an apartheid system that would make South Africa blush.”
Spies of Mississippi tracks the Commission’s hidden role in many of the most important chapters of the civil rights movement, including the integration of the University of Mississippi, the assassination of Medgar Evers, and the 1964 KKK murders of 21 year-old black Mississippian, James Chaney, and two white New Yorkers, Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24.
Most shocking to me were the African Americans who were the traitors. They are named in the film and I am sure you will, or perhaps not, be surprised. I am positive that similar activities are being conducted today, in St. Louis and other cities and towns around the country. We know that social, economic, cultural, and political independence is the only road to total liberation from oppression, exploitation, and racism but we have some of our own working against us.
Southern terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, developed ways of intimidating African-Americans who wanted to vote through lynching and destroying communities through fire. Like to what the  Republican Party is doing now through new voter ID and registration laws and by finding Black people who arewilling to sell out the entire movement for a few dollars and a pat on their head. 
I don’t know if Marcus Garvey and Carter G. Woodson were prophets but their words were certainly prophetic.
Carter G Woodson wrote “one can cite cases of Negroes who opposed emancipation and denounced the abolitionists. We do not show the Negro how to overcome segregation, but we teach him how to accept it as final and just.”
And Marcus Garvey noted ‘I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there’.
Garvey also said “The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness. Up, you mighty race, accomplish what you will.”
Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24, and follow me on Twitter: @berhay and view my Blog  @

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!

The period of African American Consciousness!

 January16, 2014 
BH 138    
It amazes me how much focus there is on African American history in the months of January and February, with programs and events relating to Dr. Martin Luther King’s Holiday and African American History Month. It seems to be almost sacrilegious or disrespectful for some descendants of slaves not to deliberate on these months to celebrate our legacy and spotlight contributions of past and present men and women of color. But how much are we missing by limiting our celebrations to approximately 60 days?
There is so much history and so many people who have sacrificed and died for us to be able to appreciate the limited amount of freedom and respect that we observe. What is alarming is that studies show that African American history is the least significant subject for American students, black and white, and our history books grossly distort history, and usually omit the story of our forefathers and of our culture.
There are so many that had an influential hand in the course of not only our history but the history of this nation. Each January and February we hear of the involvement and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, Daisy Bates, Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Stokley Carmichael or Kwame Ture, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Marcus Garvey, Martin Delaney, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. James Lawton, James Meredith, Angela Davis, Floyd McKissick, and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.
There are so many other historical figures that are not famous who have used their rights to freedom of speech and civil disobedience that have contributed important thoughts and teachings to let us know that we are inheritors of a precious historical legacy.   
There are remarkable historical speeches and actions of many great leaders we know nothing about because the textbooks exclude or neglect them, but there are authors who have dedicated themselves to revealing the truth. We should read of Marita Bonner who published short stories and essays from 1924 to 1941 in Opportunity, The Crisis, Black Life and other magazines; Daisy Bates who in 1952 became the Arkansas branch president of the NAACP. In 1954, when the Supreme Court ruled racial segregation of schools was unconstitutional, Daisy Bates and others worked to figure out how to integrate the Little Rock Schools; Charles E. Cobb, Jr. who from 1962-1967 served as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Mississippi. He is. a founding member of the Association of Black Journalists, and wrote the book On the Road to Freedom, a Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail.
Also we should read and teach about the many books, poems and speeches of the late Amiri Baraka.
There is such a long list that we could publish, and I hope that you will research these authors and others. We should understand their ideals and appreciate the work done by them, because we need to better demonstrate to our community and to the world what it is they are missing. 
Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24, and follow me on Twitter: @berhay and view my Blog  @

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Shall we Incarceration or Educate?

November 7, 2013   
BH 436

The Mathews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club have formed an alliance to keep children in school and out of the criminal justice system with a new program recently implemented at their North St. Louis location.

Last February Mathews-Dickey President, CEO & Co-Founder Martin Luther Mathews launched the “It’s Better to Educate than to Incarcerate” campaign at the Club’s 53rd anniversary celebration.  Fifty-three legal representatives and 53 educators inked a pledge signed, sealed and delivered by Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley supporting the Club’s efforts to keep young people on the right side of the law and achieving success in the classroom.

Mathews-Dickey spokesperson Barbara Washington said the tactic is committed to dismantling the pipeline to prison through education and by expanding programs that work in the community.
The ACLU, The NAACP and the Children’s Defense Fund have initiatives challenging the "School to Prison Pipeline," or the “Cradle to Prison Pipeline”, but according to Martin Mathews, the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren into the juvenile justice system must end and he and his staff along with the area leaders and educators will provide positive influences to direct them to the correct path.

Mathews noted that America now has the unsavory distinction of leading the world in prison population and on any given day, about one in every 10 young male high school dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention, and it’s a drag on America’s economic competitiveness, and while boys are five times as likely to be incarcerated as girls, there also is a significant number of girls in the juvenile justice system. He argues this rate of incarceration is endangering children at younger and younger ages.

The pledge reads: “As government officials, members of the St. Louis area education and legal community, we pledge our support of the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club’s important work to educate children on the front end to prevent them from falling victim on the back end to incarceration.

We pledge to instill within children the importance of giving respect to gain respect.  We will embrace the community’s children as if they are our own so we can provide positive influences to guide them onto the right path and encourage them to respect their parents and those in positions of authority within their communities.”

The oath also encourage youth to always use restraint regardless of the situation, and to teach youth the importance of being responsible to ensure peace and harmony, and to prevent violence in our society.

Cultural heritage is defined as traditions, beliefs, or a way of life practiced by a group of people, and passed on from generation to generation, so we must increase our  efforts to preserve resources of educational and historical heritage, such as The Mathews –Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ club.
 Mathews-Dickey offer hundreds of formal and informal learning opportunities for people of all ages and is more than merely a rite of passage. It is an exceptional place in the African American community.

It has been revealed that the club is currently facing a financial predicament that could cause some of the workers and staff to face layoffs, and the cancellation of several vital programs for the members. It would be a tragedy to lose such a needed and essential establishment. The Mathews–Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club must remain as the important and essential enriching institution that it is. The community must act.

The best way to preserve our cultural heritage is to share it with others. Sharing your cultural legacy helps to enrich the lives of others through the gift of discovering diversity so we must support this vital community resource and we must not let the Mathews–Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club close. They need your help and support.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24, and follow me on Twitter: @berhay and view my Blog  @

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!

Religious Entertainers!

September 26, 2013   
BH 434   

Has the African American Christian Church lost its influence? Has it become weaker? Do some pastors spend too much time hiding in their churches? These are questions many people are asking so it is time to examine and consider the power the Black church and the black preacher has had on our religious, urban, and social lives and history.

In this column I am writing about mostly African American Protestant denominations including the National Baptist Convention, the National Baptist Convention of America, the Progressive National Convention, the African American Episcopal Church, the African American Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Church of God in Christ and the United Church of Christ.

Theologian James Cone writes “The black church is the single most important institution in the black community. Beginning in the late eighteenth century and continuing to the present, it has been the oldest and most independent African American organization.  Its importance is so great that some scholars say that the black church is the black community, with each having no identity apart from the other”. My question is are African American clerics doing enough?

There are some black preachers on the battlefield daily, fighting for justice and freedom, administering to the masses and overseeing medical aid, but the numbers are too few. We know the few that concern themselves with these topics but are the masses leaving the work to a dedicated few?  Is your minister or cleric involved? Is he or she marching for liberating causes? Are they urging you to register to vote? Do they have food pantries?

Nearly every black preacher in America had comments and opinions and even preached sermons regarding the death of Travon Martin, but are they addressing a culture of violence, the phenomenon of sagging pants and disrespect to our elders and women? Are they attending and asking their congregations to attend school board meetings and addressing issues concerning black student transfers?

Some time ago major media outlets focused on and identified the black church as monolithic, and told the world that the symbols of leadership of the black community were Sweet Daddy Grace, Rev. Ike, Prophet Jones, Father Divine and Mother Divine. 

Those media very seldom, if ever, mentioned the fact the role the black church played in nurturing and shaping African American leaders such as Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Joseph Lowery, Jeremiah Wright,  Adam Clayton Powell, Malcolm X, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson Sr. and others. That apparently would not be to their mission or to their advantage.

The late Rev. James Bevel, an adviser to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who led the “children’s crusade” in Birmingham, Alabama, and one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was once a frequent visitor to St. Louis and he referred to Sweet Daddy Grace, Rev. Ike, Prophet Jones, Father Divine and Mother Divine as ‘religious entertainers’.
He suggested also that black preachers of today who preach on Sunday and are invisible the rest of the week are also religious entertainers. They are seen and outspoken mainly at conventions, and at home, promote their anniversaries and gospel programs at their own houses of worship.

The African American church has always focused on the message of equality and hopes for a better future. Sermons and lectures by African American preachers have persistently inspired, educated, and excited their congregations through slavery, Jim Crow and the various transformations of racism and that must continue. Today’s ministers must be strong and continue to lead respectfully and provide the leadership that is essential for a community to survive and flourish. 

We know and understand that there is no single set of beliefs to which all African Americans vow, and African American women leaders are emerging more in some denominational churches than in others and we must all work together. The preachers from their pulpits must address AIDS/HIV, teenage pregnancy, sagging pants, murder, education and politics. These are the African roots and the principles of black preaching. Is your pastor ministering? Is he or she involved? Are YOU involved? We all know the clerics who are activists, and we know those who are invisible. It is time for action, not entertainment. 

My column in The American of April 28, 2005 was titled ‘The Mockery of the Black Church!’ I hope I do not have to write another. I scrutinized the African American Christian churches this time but I will also examine other faiths and religions in future columns. Are you offended?

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24, and follow me on Twitter: @berhay and view my Blog  @

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or e-mail at:
Be Ever Wonderful!