A Moment With Marc
Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, That Is!
By Danielle Sposito
AUTHOR, ACTIVIST, SCHOLAR, INTELLECTUAL
Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is the positive change agent needed for the here and now! Rapidly becoming one of the most important voices in the African American Community, Dr. Lamont Hill is resurging the civil rights movement with an intellectual tenacity similar to the late Stokely Carmichael. Hill recognized early on how important it was to fight for the rights of his people.
I was able to catch him before he went on air and get a moment to find out a few of the reasons why his voice does indeed matter!
Living in North Philadelphia, he was surrounded by death, drugs, and poverty, but yet the love and nurturing he received from his community compelled him to believe that his role in life should be a part of changing the huge gap from the world view of the African American community and what the truth is. From that moment since,
MM: You have been recognized by various outlets, but the award from Ebony magazine had to feel like quite the acknowledgment.
DLH: I honestly do not put too much stock in lists because some of the most important work someone does may go unnoticed. But with that said, the award resonated with me due to Ebony magazine being such a staple in my household growing up, Ebony and Jett! My brother and I would read it at the barber shop as we checked out the beauty of the week. LOL
MM: You seem to have managed to create a platform for yourself which enables you to speak truth but yet be inclusive, ultimately educating others.
DLH: A white student who took one of my classes in 2006, came back to visit me five years later to express thanks for helping him look at everyday life differently. He stated the way he interacted with blacks and his analysis of their struggle was different because of what he was taught and chose to learn. The key was it changed him on a daily basis and when people choose to make a concertive effort like that, it can positively help change the world.
MM: Is this what lead to you writing a book? And is one book more special than the next?
DLH: Every book is special to me because each one is different. The first book was special simply because it was the first. I didn’t know I could actually write a book. But if I was to describe each book and what I thought was unique, The Classroom and the Cell was my first collaboration. Working along with political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal enabled the book to be very authentic. The new book, Nobody is special because it’s not academic and just was very fun to write.
MM: Do you have many more books in the pipeline?
DLH: My belief is a person could write many books in their lifetime and not have as much impact as someone who may just write one book in theirs. So I would like to fall somewhere in between.
MM: I’ve watched you debate and you appear to maintain a calm head. With the level of ignorance thrown at you, how do you manage this?
DLH: I operate in good faith and engage every individual with respect, always expecting the best. I never want to assume the worst, which is sometimes to my own peril. But I don’t concern myself if misunderstood; I stay focused on the biggest issue which is ultimately freedom and justice for Black people.
MM: I understand, but how do you handle the ignorance?
DLH: Executing patience, which takes time, and I can take being disrespected or misconstrued especially in the light of what our ancestors and everyone in the civil rights struggle experienced.
MM: Your new show on VH1, what can we expect?
DLH: It’s a pop culture show that is smart, which is rare to have those two share the same space! It is everyday life, so people will be able to relate and it’s a fun show.
MM: What are your thoughts on Colin Kaepernick?
DLH: I am extremely proud of Colin Kaepernick and I admire the fact that even though he is less likely to be affected by the brutality that continues to have such a negative effect in this country, he still chose to use his voice to speak out about it. He has a lot more to lose than to gain, and has brought more attention to a problem that is being overlooked. He is someone I am proud to call friend.
MM: What does the future hold?
DLH: I plan to continue to do work with 1930 Production, work on BET, VHI, prepare for the release of my new book, Gentrifier, and then happily take a nap.