Nat King Cole was the first African American man to have a network television variety show in prime time in 1956. At the time American south was fully segregated and plagued by Jim Crow laws; much of America was uncomfortable with any idea representative of Blacks in positions of power or thought. Though the show was popular and the guest were vast, sponsors were not jumping on board in drolls for advertising space. The writing in the wall, Cole cancelled his own after one year and was said to have iterated, “Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark.” How poignant. How relevant. How true.
When Susan Rice decided to withdraw her bid for Secretary of State, the GOP’s campaign to discredit her handling and execution of the events in Benghazi attack was made abundantly clear. The big guns were cocked, locked and ready to shoot. Their assessment and attack was vehement and intentional – we don’t want you! Yet it was deeper than that. Rice could have been squeaky clean without blemish or concern, her appointment would have still been problematic. At the end of the day the White House is becoming inundated with color that was not indicative of only maids, cooks, butlers and janitors. The leader of the free world is a man of color; and for a Black woman to maintain that much power in the free world, the silent contention was that one Rice (Dr. Condoleeza) was enough…the GOP would be damned to have to go through working with a competent, intelligent African American woman again; and admit that Black women are more than maids, mammies and mamas.
To accuse the GOP of being afraid of the dark may be going a little too far…let’s just say the eclipse is on the horizon: and they are scared…