MetroFocus: January 5, 2023

Encore: January 16, 2023

EXPLORING HATE: REV. AL SHARPTON REFLECTS ON DECADES LONG FIGHT AGAINST HATE IN NYC

Rev. Al Sharpton has spent his life speaking up, loudly, against racism and racial violence.  The new documentary “Loudmouth” chronicles his path from a teenage preacher to a racial justice firebrand on the streets of 1980s New York City.  Rev. Sharpton joins MetroFocus to talk about his fascinating journey – from his days marching through then-hostile white neighborhoods like Bensonhurst and Howard Beach – exposing a racist side of New York many didn’t want to believe existed – to his current place as media elder statesman and presidential adviser.

“Loudmouth” streams on Amazon and Apple TV starting on January 13th.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, THE REVEREND AL SHARPTON IS BACK, AND HE'S OPENING UP ABOUT 'LOUDMOUTH,' THE NEW FILM ON HIS DECADES-LONG FIGHT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE.

HE EXPOSED A RACIST SIDE OF NEW YORK MANY DIDN'T WANT THE BELIEVE EXISTED.

PLUS, WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT?

AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

THE REVEREND AL SHARPTON HAS SPENT MOST OF HIS LIFE ADVOCATING FOR JUSTICE FOR BLACK FAMILIES.

IT'S A JOURNEY THAT STARTED RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, SPECIFICALLY IN BROWNSVILLE, BROOKLYN WHERE HE WAS BORN, BUT MORE SIGNIFICANTLY ON THE STREET OF HOWARD BEACH, HARLEM, BENSONHURST, CROWN HEIGHTS, AND EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN.

THAT'S WHERE IN THE '80s AND '90s, SHARPTON WAS AT THE SENTER OF A NEW NEW YORK CITY CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT BORN OUT OF DECADES OF RACIAL STRIFE.

IT WAS A CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT THAT PLAYED OUT ON THE LOCAL NEWS AND THE TABLOIDS, WHERE SHARPTON WAS A FIXTURE.

NOW A NEW DOCUMENTARY CALLED 'LOUDMOUTH' BRINGS NEW ATTENTION TO THAT UNIQUELY NEW YORK STYLE OF SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT AND OF SHARPTON'S ROLE IN SHAPING IT.

HERE'S A PREVIEW.

THERE'S A CONCERN OF A SHOOTER?

WE GET THREATS ALL THE TIME.

I'M NOT GOING TO NOT DO THE RALLY.

YOUR NAME?

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, CHAIRMAN OF NATIONAL YOUTH MOVEMENT.

WE JUST BURIED A BOY, AND THE ONLY THING HE DID WRONG IS HE WAS BORN ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS.

IN NEW YORK CITY IN THE '80s, WHAT WE WANTED TO SAY, PEOPLE DIDN'T WANT TO HEAR.

SO YOU HAD TO BE LOUD BECAUSE YOU WERE NOT INVITED TO ADDRESS THE PUBLIC.

THEY DON'T NEED TO RIDE!

THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN NEW YORK.

THESE THINGS SHOULD BE KEPT QUIET.

AL SHARPTON, GO HOME.

THEY WILL SAY WE ARE EXASPERATING RACIAL TENSIONS, BUT THE PEOPLE KNOW THE TRUTH.

GEORGE FLOYD'S STORY HAS BEEN THE STORY OF BLACK FOLKS.

WE TALK ABOUT CALLING FOR A BIG MARCH.

WE'RE GOING TO PUT 200, 300,000 PEOPLE IN WASHINGTON.

IF THE QUESTION COMES TO THE MEDIA ABOUT LOOTING HE WANTED TO CAST TO YOU FOR THE TONE.

I UNDERSTAND THE ANGER.

I HAVE BEEN FIGHTING THESE ISSUES FOR DECADES.

ANY TIME YOU START SHAKING THE ROOT OF THIS SYSTEM, THEN YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A DISCREDIT.

NO JUSTICE!

NO PEACE!

SENATOR SCHUMER, WE HAVE NOT HAD THE LEGISLATIVE RESPONSE TO THE LITANY OF CASES OF POLICING ALL THE WAY FROM RODNEY TO NOW.

2020, WE MUST DEAL WITH POLICE BRUTALITY!

WE GOT TO TURN THESE STATIONS UPSIDE DOWN.

ALL OF OUR LIVES, YOU HAD TO FIGHT TO MAKE SURE YOU CONTROL THE STORY.

I WANT TO FOCUS AT CBS TO KNOW THAT YOU CAN'T TELL THE STORY RIGHT, DON'T TELL IT AT ALL.

YOU GOT TO BE ABLE TO RAISE THE THEATER LEVEL TO WHERE YOU DON'T LOSE CONTROL, BUT IT IS DRAMATIC ENOUGH THAT YOU CAN'T BE IGNORED.

AND JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT THE FILM AND ABOUT HIS DECADES OF CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISM IN NEW YORK AND BEYOND IS THE PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF THE NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK, THE REVEREND AL SHARPTON.

REVEREND SHARPTON, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M GLAD TO BE WITH YOU, THANK YOU.

ONE OF THE THINGS I ALWAYS ASK, ESPECIALLY WHEN PEOPLE HAVE WORK ON A DOCUMENTARY THAT LOOKS BACK ON VERY SPECIFIC TIMES IN HISTORY, WHY NOW?

WHY WAS NOW THE TIME TO RETELL SOME OF THESE STORIES THAT WERE VERY TRAUMATIC FOR NEW YORKERS ACROSS THE BOARD?

WELL, KADAM MASSENBURG, ONCE PRESIDENT OF MOTOWN RECORDS CAME TO ME, SAID HE WANTED TO DO A DOCUMENTARY, WENT AND GOT JOHN LEGEND AND HIS COMPANY AND SAID TWO THINGS, IF WE DO IT, WE WANT TO GO FROM THE '80s IN NEW YORK TO WHERE YOU BECAME NATIONAL BOY IN THE 21st CENTURY AND SHOW WHAT YOU'RE FIGHTING FOR THEN, YOU'RE FIGHTING NOW, AND YOU'RE DEALING WITH IT AT A DIFFERENT LEVEL.

SECONDLY THAT YOU HAVE NO EDITORIAL CONTROL.

WE'RE GOING TO DO IT AND WE'RE GOING TO PUT IN WHAT WE WANT, AND YOU HAVE NO EDITORIAL CONTROL.

SO I THOUGHT ABOUT IT, I SAID, WELL, I THINK THE STORY NEEDS TO BE TOLD, IN PART BECAUSE FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND DONALD TRUMP CAME FROM NEW YORK.

ABOUT A MILE AND A HALF FROM HOWARD BEACH WHERE WE WERE MARCHING.

HE'S ABOUT NINE YEARS OLDER THAN ME.

BUT YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND -- HE UNDERSTOOD HOW TO PLAY TO THAT CROWD.

BECAUSE HE COMES FROM THAT CROWD.

SO, YEAH, I WANT PEOPLE TO SEE HOW IN NEW YORK, PEOPLE THREW WATER MELONS AT US AND CALLED US THE 'N' WORD FOR MARCHING FOR JUSTICE FOR A YOUNG BLACK THAT WAS KILLED FOR BEING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, OR IN QUEENS OR BROOKLYN.

AND A LOT OF PEOPLE ONLY THINK RACISM AND RACIAL CONFRONTATION WAS IN THE SOUTH.

THEY DID NOT LOOK AT NEW YORK.

AND A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY THAT ARE 20 YEARS OLD, THEY WEREN'T THOUGHT OF IN THE '80s WHEN THIS HAPPENED.

AND SO I SAID, YEAH, WE'LL DO IT AND I'LL RISK YOU PUTTING IN THINGS I MAY NOT LIKE.

AND THE LAST THING, THEY SAID, ONE MORE THING.

I SAID, WHAT?

THEY SAID, WE'RE GOING TO CALL IT 'LOUDMOUTH.'

I SAID, WAIT A MINUTE, LET ME THINK ABOUT THIS.

AND I THOUGHT ABOUT IT AND I CAME BACK TO THEM THE NEXT DAY AND I SAID, I'LL GO WITH THAT.

I SAID, BECAUSE WHAT YOU MUST UNDERSTAND IS A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT REACHED NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER STATUS CAME FROM THE SOUTH.

THE GENERATION AHEAD OF ME, JOHN LEWIS, JESSE JACKSON, THEY WERE ALL FROM THE SOUTH.

DR. KING, WHAT WE MODELLED AFTER.

I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, AS YOU SAID, AND IN NEW YORK YOU COULDN'T JUST HAVE A CHURCH RALLY AND PUT OUT A FLYER.

YOU HAD TO BE LOUD.

YOU HAD TO DO THINGS TO GET ATTENTION.

WE'RE COMPETING WITH BROADWAY LIGHTS, TIMES SQUARE, RADIO CITY, AND APOLLO THEATER.

SO IN NEW YORK YOU HAD TO HAVE A DIFFERENT KIND OF STYLE AND ADVANTAGE.

TOWARD THE SAME GOAL, RAISING THE SAME ISSUE.

BUT I'M NOT IN GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA.

I'M IN NEW YORK.

HOW DO I GET ATTENTION ON THIS?

'LOUDMOUTH.'

IT FITS WITH THE DOCUMENTARY IF YOU WATCH THE WHOLE THING.

BUT ONE OF THE THINGS I DO FIND INTERESTING IS THAT THE FILM COMES ACROSS NOT ONLY AS A DEPICTION OF YOU, BUT ABOUT HOW RACE AND ALMOST TRIBALISM WORKS IN NEW YORK CITY.

BUT THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE WAY NEW YORKERS DEFINE THEIR CITY, SO FOR YOU, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE FISSION THERE BETWEEN THE REALITY THAT YOU EXPERIENCED AND A LOT OF AFRICAN AMERICANS, BLACK PEOPLE LIVING IN NEW YORK EXPERIENCED VERSUS THE STORY NEW YORKERS LIKE TO TELL OURSELVES ABOUT OUR CITY?

I THINK THAT YOU HAVE IT EXACTLY RIGHT, TWO DIFFERENT VIEWS, AND I THINK THAT'S WHY YOU NEED PEOPLE LIKE ME AND OTHERS THAT SAY THAT THIS IS NOT THE WAY IT IS.

AND THE WAY TO TAKE THE VEIL OFF SO TO LET PEOPLE BEHAVE THEMSELVES IN A WAY THAT IT CAN'T BE QUESTIONED.

I REMEMBER WHEN HOWARD BEACH HAPPENED, 1986, AND A YOUNG MAN CALLED ME AND TOLD ME WHAT HAPPENED, AND HE WAS CLOSE TO THE FAMILY, AND I WENT AND SAW THE FAMILY, AND THEY TOLD ME THAT PEOPLE WAS ACTING AS THOUGH THEY WERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, THEY BEING THE THREE YOUNG BLACKS, ONE WHO WAS KILLED FOR SOME NEFARIOUS REASON, AND NOT BECAUSE OF RACE WAS WHY HE WAS KILLED.

I KNOW HOW TO MAKE IT CLEAR WITH RACE.

WE'LL TWO OUT THERE AND HAVE A MOTORCADE, AND THEN WE'LL COME BACK WITH A MARCH.

AND WHEN WE DID, THE NEIGHBORHOOD CAME OUT CALLING US THE 'N' WORD, TELLING THE MEDIA THE 'N' WORD.

I REMEMBER THERE'S A CLIP IN THE DOCUMENTARY WHERE ONE GUY SAID, IT'S NOT ABOUT RACE, AND THE REPORTER SAYS ON CAMERA, WELL, DID THE 'N' WORD GET USED?

OH, YEAH, WE SAID THE 'N' WORD, BUT THAT'S NOT RACISM.

SAME THING IN BENSONHURST.

SO I THINK WHAT I WANTED TO DO WAS LET THEM EXPOSE THIS TRIBALISM, THIS 'YOU DON'T RUN IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD AND WE'LL KILL YOU'. I COULD HAVE MADE A THOUSAND SPEECHES.

NOTHING DROVE IT HOME MORE THAN MAKING THEM HAVE TO PUT IT ON THE NEWS, THIS IS WHAT'S GOING ON IN NEW YORK.

AND IT ALSO FORCED THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TO STOP LOOKING THE OTHER WAY AND PROSECUTE.

SPEAKING OF THOSE PROSECUTIONS, WE DO HAVE A CLIP FROM THE FILM WE WANT THE SHARE.

IT'S YOU REACTING TO THE CONVICTIONS IN THE HOWARD BEACH CASE IN REGARDS OF THE DEATH OF MICHAEL GRIFFIN.

SO FIRST LET'S TOSS TO THAT CLIP.

THOSE THAT OPPRESS US HAD THE NERVE TO TRY AND ADVISE US ON HOW WE OUGHT TO TRY TO GET FREE FROM THEM.

WE ARE INTELLIGENT ENOUGH NOT TO LET YOU TELL US WHAT TACTICS THAT YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH.

YOU DON'T HAVE NONE OF US UNDER CONTROL!

[ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] AND YOU WILL NEVER HAVE US UNDER CONTROL AGAIN.

THAT WAS HOWARD BEACH.

IT FELT LIKE A VICTORY, BUT YOU KNEW THAT YOU WON A CASE NOT CHANGED THE SYSTEM.

I HAD BEEN IN THE MOVEMENT SINCE I WAS 12, AND I KNEW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MOMENTS AND MOVEMENTS THAT WEREN'T.

SO IT WAS A GOOD MOMENTARY VICTORY.

BUT I KNEW THERE WAS NO STRUCTURAL CHANGE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

FIRST OF ALL, CAN YOU JUST EXPAND ON WHY SOMETHING THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A HUGE RELIEF OR SOMETHING FOR THE FAMILY AND PERHAPS THE LARGER COMMUNITY, STILL WASN'T THERE, WASN'T, YOU KNOW, THE CHANGE THAT YOU FELT WAS NEEDED?

BECAUSE I DID NOT ENTER ANY OF THESE CASES AS A LAWYER DEALING WITH A CASE OR AS A JOURNALIST DOING A STORY.

I ENTERED IT AS A CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER THAT WANTED TO SEE LAWS AND POLICIES CHANGED.

SO I FELT THAT THIS CASE SHOWED THE CREDIBILITY OF THE CAUSE, BUT IF WE DIDN'T CHANGE THE LAWS, IF WE DIDN'T CHANGE HOW WE WOULD MAKE HATE CRIMES HATE CRIME, THEN THIS WOULD CONTINUE TO HAPPEN UNLESS YOU HAD SOMEBODY GO OUT THERE AND MOBILIZE MARCHES AND RAISE ATTENTION AND GO TO JAIL LIKE WE WERE DOING.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO HAVE ALL OF THAT TO GET WHAT OTHER PEOPLE GET NORMALLY IF THERE'S A KILLING IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD?

THAT'S WHY WE WANTED TO LAWS CHANGED.

I THINK THAT PEOPLE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THAT I SAW THE INCIDENT AS A MEANS TO AN END, NOT THE END.

IT'S SORT OF LIKE HOW DR. KING SAW THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT TO GET THE MEANS TO 1964.

HE DIDN'T END IT WITH ROSA PARKS ON THE BUS GETTING THE CHARGES DROPPED.

WHAT I TRIED TO DO WAS SAY, THESE INCIDENTS SHOULD BE MAGNIFIED TO RAISE A BROADER ISSUE AND LEAD TO SYSTEMIC CHANGE IN SOCIETY.

WAS THAT WHY -- THROUGHOUT THE FILM BUT DEFINITELY LATER ON IN THE FILM, WE SEE YOU INTERACTING A LOT MORE WITH SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER AND OF COURSE VARIOUS OTHER POLITICIANS IN NEW YORK.

CITY AND NEW YORK STATE, AND ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL, ET CETERA.

DID YOU INTENTIONALLY TURN YOUR ATTENTION OR PERHAPS INCLUDE IN YOUR ATTENTION THE CHANGING OF THE LAWS THAT WERE ON THE BOOKS IN THE FIRST PLACE?

ABSOLUTELY.

AND I THINK, AGAIN, COMING OUT OF THE THAT SCHOOL OF THOUGHT WITH OPERATION BREAD BASKET THAT'S WHAT WE WERE SUPPOSED TO DO, THE SAME DR. KING LEADING THE MARCH ON SELMA, WITH PRESIDENT JOHNSON AND PRESIDENT KENNEDY.

SO I WENT THERE WITH SCHUMER AND OTHERS.

I HAD A LOT OF ACCESS TO BARACK OBAMA.

BUT I STILL LED THE MARCHES ON TRAYVON MARTIN AT THE SAME TIME AND ON ERIC GARNER IN NEW YORK AND ON MICHAEL BROWN, BECAUSE THAT'S THE TRADITION I COME OUT OF.

IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET PERMANENT CHANGE YOU'RE GOING TO GO FROM ONE INCIDENT TO ANOTHER.

MOVEMENTS ARE NOT -- THEY MUST BE MOVEMENTS WITH GOALS AT THE END.

SO EVEN WITH GEORGE FLOYD, WHICH TOWARD THE END OF THE DOCUMENTARY HAS THE BIG MARCH THAT WE HAD ON WASHINGTON WITH OVER 200,000 PEOPLE DURING THE PANDEMIC, WE WERE CALLING FOR THE GEORGE FLOYD JUSTICE BILL.

AND THE JOHN LEWIS VOTING BILL WHILE WE HAD ACCESS TO BIDEN.

SO IT'S NOT THAT I JUST WANT TO MEET WITH BIG SHOTS.

I WANT TO BE ABLE TO MAKE BIG CHANGE BY TALKING TO BIG SHOTS, WHICH IS WHY WE NEVER LEFT THE STREETS.

I MIGHT HAVE GONE FROM TRACK SUITS TO TAILORED SUITS, BUT THE MISSION IS THE SAME.

I JUST GREW OLDER, SO YOU DRESS DIFFERENT.

SPEAKING OF GROWING OLDER AND DRESSING DIFFERENTLY, YOU ALSO -- THE FILM ALSO DEALS WITH A LOT OF THE CRITICISM THAT YOU GOT, AND THE BIGGEST ACCUSATION THAT SEEMED TO COME YOUR WAY WAS YOU WERE JUST DOING ALL OF THIS FOR ATTENTION.

YOU ADDRESS IT IN THE FILM, BUT IF YOU COULD ADDRESS IT HERE AGAIN, THE ACCUSATION THAT YOU WERE JUST SEEKING ATTENTION.

FIRST OF ALL, IT'S TRUE.

WE WANTED ATTENTION.

AND I KNEW THAT WITH THE ATTENTION COMES THE HEAT.

WITH THE SPOTLIGHT COMES THE HEAT, TOO.

THEY WOULD COME AFTER YOU, TRY THE DISCREDIT YOU.

BUT THE OTHER THING IS THAT IF I WAS JUST DOING IT FOR FAME, WELL, BY THE '90s, 2000, I HAD BECOME WELL KNOWN.

NOW I HAVE A TELEVISION SHOW THAT I HOST AND A RADIO SHOW THAT I HOST, SO WHY AM I STILL MARCHING IF IT WAS ONLY FOR FAME?

I HAVE BEEN HOSTING THE TELEVISION SHOW FOR 11 YEARS THOSE 11 YEARS I'VE DONE EVERYTHING FROM TRAYVON TO GEORGE FLOYD.

WHEN DOES THAT START TO GET TIRED AND PEOPLE SAY, WAIT A MINUTE, THERE'S GOT TO BE MORE THAN THAT, BECAUSE HE'S STILL DOING IT.

JUST LIKE THEY'RE SAYING, HE'S DOING IT FOR MONEY.

WHERE'S THE MONEY?

WHEN DO I GET THE YACHT AND ALL THESE OTHER THINGS?

HOW LONG ARE WE GOING TO RUN THESE NARRATIVES?

IF YOU READ HISTORY, THEY DO THE SAME THING TO DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING.

MARTIN LUTHER KING WAS INDICTED FOR INCOME TAX EVASION IN 1957 IN ALABAMA.

IT'S THE SAME PLAYBOOK.

TRY TO MAKE YOU A CROOK, ULTERIOR MOTIVES.

IF YOU CAN SURVIVE THAT, YOU CAN BUILD A MOVEMENT.

THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT MYSELF, NOT ONLY AS A BLACK WOMAN BUT AS A JOURNALIST I FOUND REALLY INTERESTING ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY IS YOU TALK QUITE PLAINLY ABOUT THE WAY THE NEWS ECOSYSTEM WORKS, THE WAY A LOT OF NEWS MEDIA OUTLETS WORK, SPECIFICALLY IN A CITY LIKE NEW YORK WITH SO MANY TABLOIDS AND THE EYES OF THE WORLD, ET CETERA.

SO I GUESS I HAVE A TWO-PART QUESTION.

WHAT WAS IT ABOUT -- IT ALMOST FELT AS IF FROM THE DOCUMENTARY THERE WAS A COLLECTIVE NARRATIVE THAT ALMOST ALL OF THE DIFFERENT MEDIA OUTLET, NEWSPAPERS, TABLOIDS, TELEVISION STATIONS, ET CETERA, AGREED TO SORT OF FRAME YOU IN.

FIRST OF ALL, DO YOU THINK THAT THAT IS A FAIR ACCUSATION?

I THINK THAT IT WAS A FAIR ACCUSATION.

I DON'T THINK IT WAS AS CONSPIRATORIAL.

I'M NOT SAYING THEY MET SOMEWHERE IN A BASEMENT AND SAID, WE'RE GOING TO DEPICT HIM IN A CERTAIN WAY.

I THINK THAT UNLIKE THE SOUTH, THEY WERE DEFENDING THEMSELVES.

IT WAS EASY FOR LIBERAL JOURNALISTS IN NEW YORK TO TALK ABOUT SOUTHERN BIGOTS IN THE OVERALLS AND BIBS CHEWING TOBACCO.

BUT NOW SHARPTON IS TALKING ABOUT US.

WE LIVE IN QUEENS.

THAT'S MY COUSIN IN BENSONHURST.

SO, IT WAS A COLLECTIVE DENIAL THAT THIS COULD HAPPEN IN NEW YORK.

HOW DARE YOU IN ANY WAY PIERCE THROUGH THAT CURTAIN THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE -- THAT VEIL THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO HAVE OF THIS GREAT HARMONIOUS METROPOLIS.

SO, YEAH, I BECAME DEPICTED IN CERTAIN WAYS.

BUT I WAS ABLE TO CONTINUE TO GO BECAUSE GROWING UP IN THE MOVEMENT, I UNDERSTOOD THAT'S WHAT THEY DID TO US.

AND I UNDERSTOOD IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME.

THE ONLY CHALLENGE I HAD WAS TO SURVIVE.

WHEN I WAS STABBED IN THE MARCH IN BENSONHURST, THE MAN TOLD ME SOME GUYS GOT ON THE TRAIN AND BEAT UP A WHITE GUY SAYING, THIS IS FOR SHARPTON.

I LAID IN THE HOSPITAL BED AND CALLED FOR NONVIOLENCE, SAYING I DID NOT WANT TO SEE THAT.

BUT YOU STILL HAVE THOSE WHO SAY, OH, THEY CAUSED DISRUPTION.

WHERE?

I MEAN, THE VIOLENCE THEY TRIED TO ACCUSE US OF IS ALWAYS SOME OTHER PEOPLE DOING, BUT I GUESS I WAS DOING IT BY REMOTE CONTROL.

BUT CLEARLY THERE WAS A NEED FOR PEOPLE IN THEIR SELF-DENIAL IN THE MEDIA TO TRY TO ACT LIKE WE WERE EXTREME RATHER THAN THERE WAS A PROBLEM IN NEW YORK, BECAUSE THEY WERE NEW YORKERS AND DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE BIGGER TRUTH THAT PEOPLE TOLERATED OR WERE INVOLVED IN THEMSELVES, INCLUDING THE NEWSROOM THAT WERE MOSTLY WHITE.

AND THE HIGHER UP YOU WENT IN THE NEWSROOM, WHETHER BROADCAST OR PRINT, THE HIGHER.

UH-UH WENT, IT WAS LIKE THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, THE HIGHER UP YOU WENT, THE WHITER IT WAS DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH PARTICULARLY THE NEW YORK MEDIA LEARNED ANY OF THOSE LESSONS, ADDRESS ANY ISSUES FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE?

BECAUSE FOR A LOT OF PARTICULARLY JOURNALISTS OF COLOR, THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT THE WEIGHT OF SOMETIMES IMPARTIALITY IN THE FACE OF SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T FEEL IMPARTIAL AT ALL.

I THINK THAT THERE'S STILL A LONG WAY TO GO.

I THINK SOME HAVE LEARNED, BUT IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF THIS PERSON LEARNING, THAT PERSON LEARNING.

IT'S THE INSTITUTIONAL ENTRENCHED KIND OF NARRATIVE THAT THEY'RE GOING TO PROJECT.

SO I THINK THAT THAT STRUGGLE STILL CONTINUES.

WE STILL DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF BLACK AND BROWN JOURNALISTS.

WE STILL DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT AMOUNT AT THE TOP OF THE DECISION-MAKING.

AND THEY ARE THE ONES THAT DECIDE THE STORIES.

THEY DECIDE THE SLANTS.

I READ STORIES ON MYSELF WHERE THE HEADLINE SAID ONE THING.

YOU READ THE STORY, THE STORY DOESN'T EVEN SAY THAT, BUT SOME GUY IN CHARGE OF THE HEADLINE GIVES A WHOLE PROVOCATIVE, NEGATIVE IMAGE, AND YOU READ IT AND SAY, WELL, THIS STORY DOESN'T SAY THAT.

WE STILL HAVE NOT GOTTEN TO WHERE WE HAVE BALANCE THAT REPRESENTS THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE CITY.

YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS YOU MENTIONED THAT THE FILM DOES COVER, THE INSTANCE WHEN YOU WERE STABBED.

AND I THINK SOMETIMES ESPECIALLY FOR LEADERS OF MOVEMENTS, ET CETERA, THEY GET BLOWN UP INTO CARICATURES AND ALMOST SUPER HUMAN.

I'M WONDERING HOW HUMAN OF A MOMENT DID YOU HAVE AS YOU WERE SITTING THERE BLEEDING FROM YOUR CHEST AS YOU WERE WAITING FOR AN AMBULANCE?

VERY HUMAN.

YOU'RE LOOKING AT YOUR OWN BLOOD, TASTING YOUR OWN BLOOD.

YOU DON'T KNOW IF THE GUY PUNCTURED YOUR -- A VITAL ORGAN.

YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING.

AND I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, THE DRAMA IN ALL OF THAT IS ONE THING.

WHEN I'M THERE WITH YOUNG KIDS, NEITHER ONE OF THEM -- BOTH MY DAUGHTERS, AND YOU'RE SATE ZITTING THERE SAYING THIS IS GOING TO BE FATAL.

WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO MY KIDS?

AND ALL OF THAT, IT IS AT THAT MOMENT YOU REALLY HAVE TO FACE, DO YOU REALLY THINK THIS IS WORTH IT?

IN THAT DAY THEY WERE TAKING X-RAYS AND HAD THE SURGERY TO DEAL WITH SOME THINGS IN MY CHEST, THAT I STILL HAVE THE SURGICAL SCAR, THAT'S WHEN I KNEW I WAS REALLY, REALLY COMMITTED, BECAUSE I SAID, IF I SURVIVE THIS, I'M GOING TO KEEP MARCHING.

AND I DID THREE DAYS LATER.

TO ALL THOSE WHO CALL ME AN OPPORTUNIST AND MAYBE SOME STILL DO, HOW MUCH COULD SOMEBODY PAY YOU FOR TAKING A KNIFE IN YOUR CHEST?

I WENT TO JAIL 90 DAYS.

AT SOME POINT YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOURSELF.

AND THE MORE YOU KNOW YOURSELF BUT YOU BELIEVE WHAT OTHERS WANT TO PUT OUT THERE --

WELL, GIVEN THE FACT THAT YOU ARE NOW AN AMERICAN LEXICON, REVEREND AL, BUT YOU ALSO MAKE IT VERY CLEAR THAT THE WORK STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE.

SO I WONDER, WHO DO YOU SEE, PERHAPS, AS PICKING UP THE MANHATTAN AND CARRYING FORTH THE WORK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?

IS THERE ANYONE ON DECK, FOR LACK OF A BETTER DESCRIPTION?

THERE'S A DECK.

WE HAVE 126 CHAPTERS IN N.A.M., AND THERE ARE SEVERAL CHAPTER LEADERS THAT I THINK HAS A LOT OF POTENTIAL.

AND I'VE ALSO MET SOME THAT ARE NOT IN NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK THAT HAVE A LOT OF POTENTIAL.

BUT YOU WILL NOT KNOW UNTIL YOU GIVE THEM THAT OPPORTUNITY, AND I SAID THAT I WANT TO LEAD N.A.N. INTO AT LEAST 2024.

AND MAKING SURE THAT WE GET OUT PAST THIS NEXT TRUMP ATTEMPT AND ALL, AND THEN I WANT TO PASS THAT ON.

I'LL CONTINUE MY MEDIA, RADIO, AND TV, AND I'LL STILL BE ON THE FIELD.

BUT I WANTED TO PASS THAT ON LIKE I WAS TRAINED BY REVEREND JONES AND REVEREND JACKSON.

I THINK THAT PEOPLE DON'T REALIZE -- I WAS TALKING TO REVEREND JACKSON ABOUT THAT ONE DAY.

REVEREND JACKSON AND JOHN LEWIS, A GENERATION AHEAD OF ME, ABOUT 15 YEARS OLDER THAN ME, THEY WERE THE FIRST GENERATION OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS.

THEY HAD TO LEARN HOW TO GET OLD.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, MALCOLM X, KILLED BEFORE THEIR 40th BIRTHDAY.

JESSE SAID TO ME, I HAD TO LEARN HOW TO GET PAST 45.

BECAUSE MY MODEL GOT KILLED.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT DR. KING WOULD HAVE DONE HAD HE LIVED BEYOND 39 YEARS OLD.

I'M JUST A SECOND GENERATION OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS NATIONALLY THAT HAS TO DEAL WITH, HOW DO YOU GET OLDER AND WHEN DO YOU LET IT GO?

AND WE'RE STILL LEARNING.

I AM TO BE PART OF THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LEARNING.

A SENSE OF I WAS RAISED BY THE GENERATION THAT HAD --

WELL, WE'VE GOT ABOUT A MINUTE LEFT, BUT MY FINAL QUESTION TO YOU, THE NEW ANSWER TO THE QUESTION, WHERE'S BROOKLYN AT IS NOW LEADING THE HOUSE.

THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS, I SHOULD SAY RKT IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SO, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR THE GOOD CONGRESSMAN WHO IS ABOUT TO STEP INTO THE LEADERSHIP ROLE?

I'VE KNOWN HAKEEM 20 YEARS OR MORE.

HE'S BEEN A MEMBER OF NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK.

WE TALK ALL THE TIME.

BE AUTHENTIC, BE REAL.

HE'S ALWAYS BEEN THE GUY THAT WANTED TO REACH OUT AND TRY THE GET A BIPARTISAN AND COLLECTIVE MOVES ON THINGS.

BUT DON'T LOSE YOUR GROUND.

BECAUSE THE GROUND YOU STAND ON IS STRONGER THAN THE HEIGHTS YOU WILL RISE TO.

WE WILL ALWAYS EXPECT YOU TO BE HAKEEM, AND I HAVE FAITH YOU ALWAYS WILL BE.

OF COURSE, OF COURSE.

ANY FINAL THOUGHTS, THOUGH, ON THE TAKEAWAY YOU WOULD WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE FROM WATCHING 'LOUDMOUTH'?

I WANT THEM TO KNOW THAT NORTH AND RACISM MAY HAVE BEEN MORE MAN CURED, BUT IT WAS JUST AS VICIOUS.

I WANT THEM TO KNOW THAT WE MUST CONTINUE TO FIGHT, NOT AS SOUTHERN BIAS, BUT NATIONAL BIAS, INSTITUTIONALLY CHANGE THINGS SO THAT OUR GRAND KIDS AND THEIR CHILDREN WILL SAY, YOU KNOW, NOT ONLY WAS THERE A TIME IN SELMA AND MONTGOMERY THIS HAPPENED, THERE WAS A TIME IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, THIS HAPPENED, AND LAWS CHANGED, AND SOME OF THOSE THAT MARCHED BECAME MAYOR AND BECAME THE HEAD OF THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS OF THE U.S. CONGRESS.

ALL RIGHT, WELL, WE'RE GOING TO LEAVE IT ON THAT NOTE, BUT REVEREND AL, YOU ARE A LEGEND IN YOUR OWN TIME, DEFINITELY A LEGEND OF NEW YORK.

AND THE FILM IS 'LOUDMOUTH,' A DOCUMENTARY.

PLEASE GO GET A CHANCE TO SEE IT, AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU.

GLAD TO BE WITH YOU.

ABSOLUTELY.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

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