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!