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THE MO’KELLY REPORT: Essence Magazine – Officially Irrelevant

November 20, 2007 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( Essence magazine is officially a joke. Just in case you are already of the opinion the magazine had “joke” tendencies, it went on ahead and jumped the broom and made it official.

Having nothing to do with the fact that they played themselves, selling out to give Juanita Bynum a platform for more foolishness in the wake of her “new face of domestic violence” campaign, in the same issue they released their “Top 25 List of Most Influential African-Americans for 2007.”

Not that there aren’t some people on this list below who Mo’Kelly both respects and admires … but there are some absolutely ridiculous inclusions that just can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.

Props to my girl Gina McCauley over at she’s definitely movin’ and shakin’. She did and continues to do tremendous work in 2007 and Mo’Kelly is proud to have worked with her in fighting to chin-check BET. Nothing wrong with showing love for the next generation of leaders, Mo’Kelly’s all for it.

But there are some simply unconscionable inclusions in this list. Lord have mercy. Lord, Lord have mercy.

Barry Bonds? The one who was just indicted … THAT Barry Bonds? No, his syringe was influential, but not the ballplayer. His syringe owns the most hallowed record in baseball, not the baseball player. No syringe, no asterisk record. The syringe got robbed and should be given its due credit.

To include Barry Bonds but exclude Michael Vick and OJ Simpson is a bit … uh … curious Essence must concede.

The Jena 6?! Other than Mychal Bell who (let’s be honest) was already of questionable character and proven criminality on his best day … can anyone name the other five and/or their scope of “influence?” They beat someone up and got a raw deal in the prosecution of the case, that doesn’t make them heroic or influential. They might be the biggest “news story” of 2007 but that’s hardly anything to be confused with being “influential.”

Mel B. and Anna Nicole Smith were “big news stories” too in 2007 … doesn’t make them influential or even relevant either. The same applies to the Jena 6.

The Jena 6?! Are you serious?!

The Rutgers womens basketball team? Really? Mo’Kelly will listen to the argument for their coach, C. Vivian Stringer … but the other 12 women are nameless and faceless to 99.9% of the world. Name one player … Mo’Kelly dares you to be able to come up with one name out of the twelve.

Influential? Who do/did they influence exactly? Did Mo’Kelly miss something? Clearly he did.



Timbaland is more “influential” than Dr. Cornel West, Tavis Smiley and Michael Eric Dyson? More influential than the Hon. Louis Farrakhan? All of them? Really …? Honestly? Hell, if you want to be cynical, 50 Cent is more “influential” (albeit negatively) than Timbaland in 2007. If this were 1997 … maybe. But this list is supposed to be for 2007, right?

Cathy Hughes anyone … Radio One/TV One? Ever heard of her Essence? Mo’Kelly’s only guessing she has a bit more pull than the Rutgers women’s basketball team or the Jena 6.

Yes, Mo’Kelly knew there was a perceptible change in the “magazine” called Essence the moment it changed hands. The reason why Mo’Kelly would complain about such a list is that it gives the wrong impression as to who is making a real impact in the African-American community and it opted instead to elevate some who simply are taking up space.

Mo’Kelly never thought he’d live to see the day that Jet Magazine was more reputable than Essence. The end must be near.

Here’s the complete list.

25 Most Influential List

— Senator Barack Obama
— Gina McCauley- Blogger,
— Tyler Perry – Writer, Producer, Director
— Majora Carter – Environmentalist, Founder, Executive Director, Sustainable South Bronx
— Victoria Lanier- Former Youth Director, NAACP, Northeast Region
— Reverend Jesse L. Jackson – Civil Rights Activist, Minister
— Reverend Al Sharpton – Civil Rights Activist and President, National Action Network
— The JENA Six
— Beyonce Knowles – Singer, Songwriter, Actress
— Oprah Winfrey – Media Mogul, School Founder
— Timbaland – Music Producer, Recording Artist
— Cory A. Booker – Mayor of Newark, New Jersey
— Lovie Smith – Head Coach, NFC Champions, Chicago Bears
— Tony Dungy – Head Coach, Super Bowl Champions, Indianapolis Colts
— Deval Patrick – Governor, Massachusetts
— Don Cheadle – Actor, Activist
— Shonda Rhimes – Creator, Executive Producer, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice
— Venus Williams – Tennis Champion
— Charles Rangel – Chairman, House Committee on Ways and Means
— Barry Bonds – “Home Run King”
–Cynthia Tucker – Syndicated Columnist, Editorial Page Editor, Atlanta Journal Constitution
— The Scarlet Knights – Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team, NCAA Finalists
— Kiri Davis – Filmmaker, Youth Activist
— Bishop T.D. Jakes – Founder, Senior Pastor, The Potter’s House of Dallas
— Steve Harvey – Radio Personality, Comedian, Actor

Written By Morris O’Kelly

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