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The Takeaway -- The Courage to Speak His Truth
jimi is open to discourse on a wide variety of topics including some of the most challenging
to navigate and that’s politics, race, religion and identity. I appreciate jimi’s ability to take
the heat, bring some new insight to an old way of thinking about a situation, and injecting
an appropriate sense of humor into a serious conversation while relating a story or
providing commentary. jimi offers a distinctive voice that makes us smile, laugh or get
angry. He gets people to listen or react at a time when people barely remember anything
because of media overload. jimi has the courage to stake a position, which is often
politically sensitive, and the aplomb to handle the reaction.
During our interview, he related how he was genuinely afraid on his book tour for The
Denzel Principle.” “I just came from Las Vegas. There was a table of fat women and they
were just appalled. They were like ‘Oh my God I can’t believe some of the things you said.’
They said, ‘Why do you think we’re single?’ I just shook my head. I said, ‘none of you can
figure out why you’re single? You’ve got three feet of weave in your hair. You’re sixty
pound overweight. You haven’t seen a treadmill maybe on TV.’” jimi is unrelenting and
notes, “You try telling that to people who don’t want to look in the mirror. This is one of
two times where I’ve presented this book and I was actually afraid there was going to be
physical violence. I thought I was going to be attacked because these women were so
angry. Nobody wants to hear that it could be you. These women don’t mind hearing how
fucked up black men are. We’ve heard that trope. It’s sexy. It never loses popularity since
antebellum times. You’ll never go wrong saying black men are fucked up. Nobody ever
turned to Topsy and said what’s going on with you? Here I come. . .”
In the CNN “Shameless Joe Jackson” interview, jimi stated that a quarter of the
respondents in his root.com editorial didn’t agree with him and responds, “they accuse me
of being another person just shilling for the white man who couldn’t understand the pain
that a lot of black people go through. . .” jimi then humorously and cynically adds, “it’s
hard out here for a white man.” Obviously, his candor deflects some of the negative
comments.
jimi’s Postscript
One year since our last interview a lot has changed for jimi. He recently remarried and his
wife works in Washington, DC. Although he does not want to leave Cleveland because of
his children, he is searching for a full-time teaching opportunity. Even with multiple
freelance venues such as NPR’s The Barbershop; providing content for newspapers,
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