Imagining King’s Return: J. Anthony Brown

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j. anthony brownImagine, if you will, a dinner party with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. as its guest of honor. Whom would you invite to the table?

For J. Anthony Brown, it would an evening of laughter, wry observations and satire.

“You know I’ve got to bring back Richard Pryor,” Brown told BlackAmericaWeb.com. “Richard Pryor I would definitely bring back. I’d bring back just comedians: Moms Mabley, Pigmeat Markham.”

And one other guest to spice up the discussion: Scholar “Cornel (West) would definitely be in the group.”

BlackAmericaWeb.com asked Brown – with tongue firmly in cheek – to whom he thought King would reach out if he were alive today.

While King is revered as a preacher and civil rights leader, those who knew King best said he had a great sense of humor, and to lighten the mood during tense times as he and his aides prepared for marches and strategized on nonviolent confrontations with authorities, it was not uncommon for King to play the dozens.

There’s nothing like a good snap to break the tension.

“First of all, he probably would make several phone calls to Tavis (Smiley) to straighten him out,” Brown said. “And knowing Tavis, he wouldn’t take his first call, so Dr. King would have to call him back. And Tavis being Tavis, he’d probably hang up, and Dr. King would be patient and call him back.”

Wouldn’t that test the civil rights leader’s patience?

“He marched in Alabama and Mississippi and all those places,” said Brown, “so Tavis wouldn’t get to him that much. But I could see him making the calls. I can see him reaching out to the lost brother.”

The next stop for King, Brown said, would be the world of sports.

“I wonder if he’d be betting on (Denver Broncos quarterback Tim) Tebow … if he would be pulling for Tim Tebow or (Philadelphia Eagles QB) Michael Vick, you know, since Tim Tebow is a God-fearing quarterback.”

The tough talk, Brown said, would be the discussion with the King children, who have often been at odds – very publicly, at times – over the preservation of their father’s legacy.
An exasperated King, who would now be in his early 80s, Brown said, might have to resort to some tried-and-true parental guilt work to bring everyone together.

“First of all,” Brown said, “he’d have to do some bringing-the-family-together moments. You know the King kids don’t get along like they should. It’s been in all the papers. So he’d have to, you know, bring out the old speech, ‘I’m out here marching, y’all in here fighting’ … you know how parents do.

“’I’m too old for this. Y’all want to see me back in my grave?’ That kind of speech. ‘Y’all gonna kill me again’ … you know how parents do.”

But King would also have praise for some people, said Brown.

“I think he would be proud of what Rev. Al Sharpton is doing,” Brown said. “First thing he’d say is ‘I’m glad to see you lost some weight. When you were doing all that marching, you didn’t lose a pound; you get on MSNBC and you thinner than hell.’ I don’t think he’d say ‘thinner than hell,’ but something.”

Brown said he believed King would be especially …..

Read more at blackamericaweb.com

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