Black Producer: “Defending Jussie Smollett in the name of Civil Rights is Shamefully Ironic”



Recently Kevin Price, Host of the nationally syndicated Price of Business Show, interviewed filmmaker Warren D. Robinson (image below).

Last week actor Jussie Smollett, former star of Fox’s Empire, was sentenced by a Chicago judge for his role in perpetrating an alleged hate crime hoax on the people of Chicago and the nation at large. Smollett was sentenced to 30 months of felony probation, a $25,000 fine, $120,000 in restitution and perhaps most controversially 150 days behind bars. Upon the news of his sentence several civil rights leaders as well as his family and former co-stars have decried his sentence as a ‘miscarriage of justice’, and one former co-star Academy Award nominated actress Taraji P. Henson even compared Smollett’s plight to that of slain civil rights icon Emmett Till. “For her to compare him to Emmett Till, to me as an African-American male, is disgusting,” says attorney, entertainment executive and producer Warren D. Robinson, “anyone who even remotely knows the ghastly details of what happened to Emmett Till and why it happened to Emmett Till knows that these two situations should not even be a part of the same conversation.”  Robinson understands that people are free to have their own opinions about Smollett’s guilt or innocence and he applauds them for standing up for their friend in the face of criticism; however considering the nature of Smollett’s crime they should defend him without invoking the name of civil rights.  “It is shamefully ironic, at best, to use Smollett as the face of civil rights injustice since his actions have permanently hurt civil rights. His selfish decisions that day have created inherent doubt in any claim of a hate crime reported now and he has given cover for actual racists (and racism deniers) to spread a narrative that these types of crimes are all fictitious when we know that is not the case.”


According to a statement, “Entertainment executive and producer, Warren D. Robinson believes that when organizations are willing to have open and honest conversations about race and their own bias they can commit to meaningful change. We have seen this recently in the form of Hollywood award shows, particularly, the Grammys and the Academy Awards (Oscars). The Recording Academy and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have both taken concrete steps to diversify their ranks and address inherit biases in their voting processes. As a result we have the most diverse crop of award winners/nominees, respectively, we’ve ever seen. Contrast that with the scandal and production shutdown currently at CBS’s The Talk, which resulted because a co-host was unable to properly engage in a conversation about race, address her own bias and commit to doing better. ‘The key part to every conversation’ Warren says, ‘starts with listening. Listening and hearing are different and if you are unable to listen then you are unable to have a conversation.’


“Warren D. Robinson, is an avid and accomplished entertainment executive, motivational speaker, host, life coach and award winning producer who created the wildly popular series, Buried by the Bernards, which is currently streaming on Netflix.


“Warren has served as an entertainment consultant, manager and producer, facilitating, appearing and negotiating high powered deals on behalf of his clients in front of such companies as: Warner Brothers, BET, CNN, Freemantle, Best Buy, TV ONE, Netflix, Lifetime, Fox News, WE TV, E!, NBC Universal, Viacom and more. In addition, Warren’s entertainment prowess includes coordinating, partnering and/or producing events for: legendary actress Pam Grier, Taraji P Henson, Gabrielle Union, Vivica A Fox, Soul singer Eddie Levert (of the O’Jays), Comedian Mike Epps, Angie Stone, Flavor Flav, the Indianapolis Colts, Donna Joyner-Richardson, Stephanie Mills, Erykah Badu and Tom Joyner among others. Warren graduated from Indiana University (B.A.-Political Science) and Howard University School Of Law (J.D.).”

Learn more about Warren D. Robinson and his work here.



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