TheSource.com Interview with Dick Gregory
“In 1952, I was a welfare case, and in 1963 I was on a list of famous men. In America, with all its evils and faults, you can still reach through the forest and see the sun. But we don’t know yet whether that sun is rising or setting in our country” – Dick Gregory
TheSource.com had the opportunity- and the privilege to speak with legendary Author & Civil Rights Activist Dick Gregory. In this interview, Gregory relives the revolutionary spirit of the 1960’s, evaluates President’s Obama course for a second term, talks about Lil Wayne [yea I know, WTF?] and explains why today’s generation don’t deserve another Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The Source: What are your thoughts about Presidents Obama’s connection with young voters and will these voters support Presidents Obama’s 2012 re-election?
Dick Gregory: The young people that came out for Obama [2008 Presidential Election] did so because he was saying what we needed to hear. Now four years later, they have the right if they think they didn’t hear that is to choose someone else.
But who are they going to vote for, just look at the other Presidential candidates. Consequently, I believe young voters will either vote for Obama or not vote at all. So the problem is not Obama the problem is the system. If you think about how mess up this country is most folk really don’t have choices.
The Source: Do you think we’ll ever find a person who can address the inequalities poor people face like the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr?
Dick Gregory: We don’t need this now; we keep looking because it’s a cop out to say “Oh we need a Malcolm”. If there’s any god at all he would say you don’t deserve another Dr. King. When Malcolm X first came to the scene we were scared to walk down the street of New York City.
Did you know when Doctor Martin Luther King’s house was bombed that he couldn’t call the police. Can you imagine if your house was blown up that it doesn’t do you any good to call the fire department. Because the Klan members we’re also firefighters and possibly were the ones who bombed your home.
See all that is gone now, so we don’t need a leader like we did in the 60’s because it’s not necessary.
The Source: What are your thoughts for those who believe hip hop is a bad influence on young people, and how popular rapper’s like Lil Wayne are unfairly targeted, because of their saggy jeans and tattoos?
Dick Gregory: Have you ever seen a picture of [Adolf] Hitler, was his pants sagging? Bernie [Madoff] stole millions from rich educated people, was his pants sagging? If all you can do is judge a person by their appearance, because you don’t have the spirit to judge someone from within, you’re in trouble.
But here’s my problem or criticism that I have for rappers like Lil Wayne is that I never hear them say, “Thank god for the Nation of Islam” for helping brothers and sisters from different communities to stop drinking alcohol, drugs, or smoking cigarettes.
I never hear them people [rappers] push out dope pushers off the corner.
Dick Gregory: I’ve traveled all over the world and I take graffiti from all over the world and the one thing I notice about graffiti is that they all look the same. The graffiti in Japan was the same as the graffiti in Australia, the graffiti in Miami was the same as the graffiti in Chicago. Now have you seen graffiti’s on walls lately?
The Source: Not at all
Dick Gregory: Do you know where it is now, it’s on the body. See tattoos represent revolution and that’s what we’re in the midst of a big revolt. Revolution ain’t nothing but an extent of evolution; Evolution is a fact of nature.
So when old folks tell me that they don’t understand hip hop and the music is too loud, well I guess it means you’re not supposed to be in there (laughing).
The Source: Over the summer, Dr.Cornell West and Rev Al Sharpton had a heated debate on MSNBC concerning President Obama’s commit to the African American community. What are your thoughts on how they disagreed with each other publicly?
Dick Gregory: The reason why the civil rights movement accomplished what it did was because of Emmett Till’s mother. See death is personal; nobody wants you to see their son or daughter that was blown up because that would show you the horrors of war.
When Emmett Till’s mother request they open the coffin because she wanted us to see what this system did to her child is something to think about. Had he not been from Chicago it wouldn’t had the impact that it had, because other black folks would of said, “he knew shouldn’t do to that to her”.
The southern people felt sorry for him because he didn’t know. Even what they said he did he didn’t know that can’t whistle at a white woman. So when Emmett mother took what was personal and made it public. So to get back to the Cornell West and Al Sharpton incident there was a time where you couldn’t air your “dirty laundry” out…we did because we had dreams that we had to protect; we don’t have to protect now.
We’re at a part now when certain things happen…all we can do is our research to find out whether Tavis [Smiley] is a republican? Is Cornell West a Republican? We all know Al [Sharpton] is a democrat. You have husband and wife all in the house; you have family member’s one’s a democrat and one’s a republican. But we don’t know that, but we at least know that Al’s a democrat. But I don’t know whether Cornell West is a democrat or republican.
Walford Guillaume (wallywallstreet)