Monday, May 19, 2008

Jealous, new NAACP Pres.

Introducing Benjamin T. Jealous, 35, the new and youngest President of the NAACP.

I doubt Jealous will be dubbed the 'hip-hop NAACP Pres.' as
when Kwame won Detroit.-- he doesn't have the 'swagger' of Kilpatrick. Carrying the 'youth activist' description to the NAACP helm will have everyone giving Jealous a second look.

Another 'young, gifted and black' leader emerging from the Hip-Hop generation is noteworthy for the 99-year-old organization, which is historically controlled exclusively by elders in the community. One of the reasons the national organization makes so many decisions that seem out of touch.

What I notice is the Barack effect, a movement of younger, Ivy League educated blacks with a pinch of social justice taking these
seats of influence and power. Whether in public office, private business, or political advocacy it's happening (slowly but surely).

Will it change anything?

From L.A. Times:

Benjamin Todd Jealous, a graduate of Columbia University and a Rhodes scholar, will become the youngest leader in the 99-year history of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.

"I'm excited to take the helm of the NAACP," he said. "I believe in the urgent need for strong civil rights institutions and strong black institutions in general."

The NAACP's 64-member board, however, was not united in its selection of Jealous. The vote, taken after an arduous eight-hour closed-door meeting that ended close to 3 a.m., came as some members complained that they were being shut out of the selection process.

Jealous received key support from NAACP board Chairman Julian Bond.

Besides his wealth of accomplishments, what caught my eye about Jealous was not his age. It was the fact that he was once a key player in African-American media as the former executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association/ Black Press of America (NNPA). The NNPA is
the largest association of publishers of black-oriented newspapers in the country with over 200-black owned papers under its umbrella.

It will be interesting to see if the NAACP will take a new position on issues from the substantive (felon voting rights) to the silly (burying the N-word) because of Jealous' generation perspective. Highly doubtful considering the organization is still controlled by its board, rank and file memberships and individual chapters.

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