OUR COMMON GROUND Opens 2013 Season with Political-Cultural-Social Commentator Playthell Benjamin

OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

2013 Season Opening

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 Playthell Benjamin

February 2, 2013 10pm ET

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2013 Season Opening

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GUEST: Playthell Benjamin, Author, Commentator, Scholar and Broadcaster

Commentaries on The Times

“Praising Saints, Celebrating Heroes, Unmasking Charlatans, Defending the Defenseless and Chastising Scoundrel

“He characterized Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West as misdirected and Marvin X of Oakland, a recovering left coast crack head and shameless sophist with an alter-ego bearing the curious name of “Plato Negro;” a pompous wag who confuses mindless mumbo jumbo with profound wisdom, alas I have been dragged back into an ethnic kerfuffle of the sort they love to wallow in but I eschew.” He writes about all the great issues of our time, and he is interested in the whole world. From the issues of SandyHook to Syria, the White House and the UN, there is no argument that Playthell Benjamin is a learned scholar and street smart analyst.”


About Playthell Benjamin

Playthell George Benjamin is the producer of “Commentaries On the Times” which he writes and delivers on WBAI radio in New York City. He is a producer with The Midnight Ravers, a long running show exploring the world of art and politics which has won several radio awards for excellence in programming. He is an award winning journalist who has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in two different categories: Explanatory Journalism, Village Voice 1988, and Distinguished Commentary, New York Daily News 1995. As part of the production team for The Midnight Ravers, Mr. Benjamin won a 2011 award for excellence in radio programming, given for The Curtis Mayfield Special.

playthell benjaminIn addition to major political current events, he has extensively written about the differences in political approach within the Black community on issues related to the Obama presidency, administration policies and achievement. Playthell has been an OUR COMMON GROUND Voice since the late 1980s and we welcome his voice back to our microphone. Our discussion will focus on issues related to Obama administration achievements, the inter-community discourse on Obama, and class struggle in America. His provocative, well-informed commentary is hard-hitting and sure to invite serious consideration of our positions and direction.

He characterized Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West as misdirected and Marvin X of Oakland, a recovering left coast crack head and shameless sophist with an alter-ego bearing the curious name of “Plato Negro;” a pompous wag who confuses mindless mumbo jumbo with profound wisdom, alas I have been dragged back into an ethnic kerfuffle of the sort they love to wallow in but I eschew.” He writes about all the great issues of our time, and he is interested in the whole world. From the issues of SandyHook to Syria, the White House and the UN, there is no argument that Playthell Benjamin is a learned scholar and street smart analyst.

He writes that he has spent “a half century chronicling the triumphs and studying the problems of the black world. Indeed I was a co-founder of the first free standing, degree granting, Black Studies Department in history – the W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Mass, Amherst. I also spent quite a few years as an activist trying to solve those problems, beginning with the explosion of the black student movement in the south during the spring of 1960. Since then my life story would make a spectacular read even by the standards of a romance novel.”

Playthell has won several prizes ranging from The Unity Award presented by the School of communications at Lincoln University in Missouri for distinguished commentary on race relations; the Griot Prize for excellence in covering a story requiring an exploration of African American history and culture: “Who is Listening to Louis Farrakhan?” It was awarded by the New York chapter of the Association of Black Journalist in December 1989. In 1991 Mr. Benjamin won the NYABJ Magazine Awards for Feature Stories, and in 1996 he won the first Annual Tom Forcade Award “for honesty and accuracy in drug reporting” awarded by High Times magazine for his columns on drug use and abuse in the New York Daily News.
From 1991 – 1996 Playthell was a regular contributor to the Guardian Observer of London, where he wrote on politics, culture and sports. He also wrote for the Sunday Times of London, particularly in the prestigious magazine, The Culture, which addresses cultural matters high and low. In the London Guardian he wrote feature stories ranging from the television coverage of the Los Angeles race riot sparked by the Rodney King incident, to the courtroom genius of the great First Amendment Lawyer Martin Garbus, as well as the O.J. Simpson Trial, The Mike Tyson Rape Case, The Inauguration of Bill Clinton, Concerts at Lincoln Center, and the Sista Souljah vs. Bill Clinton incident. Mr. Clinton’s saxophone playing was also subjected to serious critical evaluation in an essay titled “He may be the Leader of the Western World…But will he ever be President of the Saxophone? For The Sunday Times he wrote about the Youth Jazz festivals convened by the peerless jazz vocalist Betty Carter, Michael Douglass’ movie on the desperation of displaced white workers, Gangsta Rap, Jazz, etc.

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OUR COMMON GROUND with Janice Graham

“Speaking Truth to Power and Ourselves”

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One thought on “OUR COMMON GROUND Opens 2013 Season with Political-Cultural-Social Commentator Playthell Benjamin

  1. Pingback: OUR COMMON GROUND Opens 2013 Season with Political-Cultural-Social Commentator Playthell Benjamin | OCG

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