“Nappy-Headed” Imus III: Gone! Now What?



This afternoon, MSNBC, which simulcasts Don Imus’s syndicated radio show, announced it was suspending the host for two weeks for remarks he made last week regarding th eRusterg’s women’s basketball team. Soon thereafter, CBS radio and WFAN announced they were doing the same. The suspensions begin next Monday. The actions followed a day of further protests for Imus calling the young women “nappy-headed hos” during his show. The post below was written prior to the suspension announcements.

Now that everyone has had a chance to smack each other around, can we all take a deep breath, embrace sanity and figure out how to move ahead? Today, Don Imus appeared on Rev Al Sharpton’s radio show and took his lumps with the host, NABJ President Bryan Monroe, the head of the Congressional Black Caucus and other guests. Imus dished it out a bit too, refusing to stand idly after Monroe characterized his early career by saying Imus “did commercials selling used cars.”

Boy, boys…

The most occured when Imus said he had no clue how he should pay for his vulgar and deplorable statements. We all know he won;’t be fired. He means too much to the bottom line for WFAN or his CBS, which syndicates his show, “Imus in the Morning.” So what should happen?

Imus thinks a face-to-face apology to the Rutgers women’s team and their parents is enough.

I don’t. Here’s what I think he (and his way-too-silent employers) should do:

1) Imus and Producer Bernard McGurk, who instigated the offensive conversation, should be suspended for at least two weeks. Sports fill-in Sid Rosenberg should fired, this time for good. He should never appear on the show again.

2) Imus should immediately hire a producer who is African American – someone to sit at the table and help shape his daily show whose presence would remind Imus and his minions that the rest of the world does not look and sound and think like they do. (NOTE: On Tuesday, Imus said “there should be an African-American on this show every day.” We’ll see, starting with his firt show following the suspension.)

3) Imus should immediately include a politically savvy African American journalist to his mix of regular contributors to debate the issues of the day right alongside Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, et al.

4) Imus, MSNBC, WFAN and CBS MUST create a scholarship fund for minority women who want to pursue careers in the media. The group should also create a minority internship progam for the show.

It could take awhile but these changes – along with Imus’s stated promise that his show would change going forward – will ultimately change the culture of the popular radio program. Imus must stop telling us what he’ll do next and start showing us.

Who knows. I might even start listening again.


8 thoughts on ““Nappy-Headed” Imus III: Gone! Now What?

  1. As I said on our NABJ list, this whole Imus thing seems like it was taken from the 1957 masterpiece, A FACE IN THE CROWD. A national personality is shown for who he is and then loses it all.

  2. paul says:

    Don Imus

    Has anyone who wants Don Imus fired, purchased a hip hop record that contains similar lyrics to what Imus stated on his show?

    Well, why does the African American community still support and contribute to the financial windfalls of these so called “talented artists” with African American backgrounds. When in fact they have done an even greater misdeed…mindful and planned misdeeds using those same exact words. Compared to a person commenting in real time on a comedy show that lets him or herself follow the rolling dialogue in an ad hoc manner.

    Why is Al Sharpton “only” appearing to make such a strong case on behalf of African Americans…what about finally taking a strong stand for diversity with “true” equality? Or will he only stand for the rights of a few “privileged” NACCP candidate cases. Al Sharpton has done more to create havoc than bring people to together. After all, USA stands for “united” states, not the “privileged” few African Americans.

    I believe greater good for the whole can be done by empowering Imus to stay. If you remove someone, we are not always better with the replacements.

  3. J Money says:

    Roy –

    You say:

    “Imus should immediately include a politically savvy African American journalist to his mix of regular contributors to debate the issues of the day right alongside Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, et al.”

    By your own admission, you do not listen to the show. Are you sure he doesn’t do this? Also, you say they “must” start a scholarship for minorities… and that’s a fine stance to take, but are you aware of the charitable givings of Imus’ ranch? He has raised and donated millions to improve the lives of children afflicted with cancer. Let’s not go actling like he’s some awful person who doesn’t care for anyone out there, simply because he made fun of the Rutgers women…. he makes fun of everyone and throws his hollow insults at everyone. And seemingly everyone he insults is aware that it’s meant to be funny and not to be taken seriously.

    I bet you were offended at the Richard Pryor-Chevy Chase janitor interview sketch on SNL way back in the 70s, too, right Roy?

  4. Bill Haskell says:

    Re comment made by Dom Imus on his radio show, If their was ever a case of the pot calling the kettle black this is it.
    If you check the past history of the things done by Al Sharpton it makes Don Imus look like a Saint.

  5. Derek Wrtight says:

    I love how white people try to turn this whole thing around by trying to take the spotlight off of Don Imus’ racist behind and talk about Al Sharpton.
    THIS ISN’T ABOUT AL SHARPTON!! This all started because Imus seems to have gotten too old and maybe feeble to understand that this is 2007 and his bigotry isn’t going to be taken lying down anymore. I’ve been a New York Police Officer for over 20 years and I well know how Al Sharpton moves people. All I can say is THIS time, I’m glad he’s around to speak up for the throngs of black folks that can’t or won’t!

  6. John Kaiser says:

    “Imus, MSNBC, WFAN and CBS MUST create a scholarship fund for minority women who want to pursue careers in the media. The group should also create a minority internship progam for the show.”

    I don’t see how a racially exclusionary scholarship or internship are the answer to racist comments. It seems to be more of the same, just from a different angle and with supposed good intentions .

    If I might include an antecdote. While in law school our law program set up two seperate study groups- one for black students, one for everyone else. A friend of mine- a good guy but rather scatterbrained- attempted to go to the “black” study group- not realizing which group it was. After a few moments of silence when he entered the room, he was promptly told that he was in the wrong group. Befuddled, he asked what was wrong? They told him that he couldn’t be part of the study group since his presence would intimidate group members.

    So he kindly left the room. He went and checked on the study group meeting times, only to find out that the “everyone else” study group conflicted with his family responsibilities. I think that group missed out of having a rather brilliant contributor in a misguided effort to enforce some kind of ideological/racial purity.

    Your suggested solutions seem to have the same kind of problem. I would like to see a solution that doesn’t employ racial exclusion as a means of correcting the problem of racist comments. Regarding Imus’s staff lacking an African American member, I would be curious to see is Wendy Williams staff (or Tom Joyner’s morning show) had a similar racial make up (although flipped in the opposite direction).

  7. Joeffrey says:

    Once again the line is clearly drawn. There are TWO Americas (at least two). Although there were several whites to speak out against Mr. Imus, I still believe there is a great divide on the “true issue”. I say until we truly decide to deal with the issue of SLAVERY this will happen over, and over, and over again. Israel has and does receive millions, the japanese have been paid for the detention camps, the indians have been given resorts and finanical compensation, (I will not say any of those compensations were adequate), but for the Black American of African discent there has been NOTHING!!!

  8. terrence says:

    Don Imus is a “Nappy Headed Ho”

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