Michael Baisden is an emerging figure on African-American radio with a syndicated drive time show. For reasons that appear at best, self-serving, he and another DJ have gone on the attack against the laudable leadership Color of Change has shown in bringing needed attention to the plight of the Jena 6 families. They have provided real on the ground support. Despite direct communications with Michael Baisden and his staff, Baisden has chosen to air falsehoods promoted by one of the Jena 6 father, Marcus Jones. Other bloggers like Prometheus 6 and Eddie Griffin have the dope.

This is a shame. It’s really a shame because it threatens to divide a successful organizing coalition that happened online among our own community and spread from there across the nation and the world. As a card-carrying member of Color of Change, I am outraged by the unjustified slander against them by a man known mostly for his advice to the lovelorn and not his civil rights activism. It’s ok if he wants to be like Tom Joyner when he grows up. But not by climbing on the backs of sincere brothers and sisters trying to make a difference.

You can see more about what’s going on here at Color of Change’s pages of documentation of exactly how they’ve worked side-by-side to provide real financial help pooling the lil bits and lil bits of your money and mine online to give to the families and their legal teams.

Color of Change is asking for help in pushing back on Baisden. If you have time, please send a message to him and to his bosses saying “This ain’t right!” Baisden may think he’s got the mike but let’s reverse the megaphone in the words of Seth Godin and talk right back to him. Please take a quick sec to send a message to ABC Radio and tell them to leash their dog, Baisden. Baisden — you still have a chance to rescue your credibility and Step Off. I just sent my message and dang it if didn’t feel good, y’all. This type of cynicism and exploitation cannot — will not — be tolerated.

Here’s more info from the email CoC sent out today to members like me:

Baisden’s claims and suggestions are completely false, and he and his staff know it. After you’ve read the facts below, can you take a moment to send Michael Baisden and his producers an email asking that he publicly apologize for slandering the movement we’ve built together?

You can listen to the damaging segments of the show, review the facts, and send him a message here:


The real story about your donations

Since July, 17th, ColorOfChange members have donated $212,039.90 for the legal defense of the Jena 6, six Black boys being unjustly railroaded by the criminal justice system in Jena, Louisiana. ColorOfChange has already sent $210,809.90 to the six legal teams defending these young men. You can view the cancelled checks here:


On Michael Baisden’s show this week, Mychal Bell’s father, Marcus Jones, made allegations on air that the Jena 6 families have had no contact with ColorOfChange and that we do not have their authorization to collect money. It’s simply not true. ColorOfChange has had contact with all of the families for several months. A member of each family has signed a letter authorizing the payments from our defense fund to their attorneys. This includes Marcus Jones. Marcus also asked us on air to stop fundraising for the Jena 6, and implied that he speaks for all of the families, but he does not – none of the other families have said they want this. All but Marcus are thankful and appreciative. Michael Baisden knows all this, yet he provided a forum for this attack and backed it up. You can view the authorization letters, and the full details, here:


ColorOfChange has not taken a single penny of these funds, not even for overhead or administrative costs. We absorb all the fees from every transaction, ensuring that every dollar donated goes directly to legal defense. Aside from the latest donations that are still being processed, every penny that has come in to help these young men is in the hands of lawyers who have been fighting hard to achieve justice.

Baisden has the facts, so why is he on the attack?

Michael Baisden and his staff know the facts. As early as September, we explained our procedures to Baisden and his staff. In October, we helped them contact the families and lawyers so that they could verify for themselves that the money was being distributed. By mid-October, Yvonne Gilliam, who works for Baisden, indicated by phone that every lawyer she’d contacted had properly received their checks from us.

So why does Baisden resort to slandering us on the air now, after seeing for himself exactly how funds were managed? He’s promoting his own fundraising effort this week and is trying to position himself as the only trustworthy source for fundraising around the Jena 6. He’s stated explicitly that he started his fund because he thinks other efforts are untrustworthy. Discrediting us is a great way to promote himself and his fund.

But there is no excuse for his behavior, especially from someone who claims to be part of a movement.

We hope Baisden can raise a lot of money for the Jena 6. The families need all the help they can get. But when someone with his reach builds himself up by spreading slanderous accusations about an organization doing innovative and powerful work on behalf of the Jena 6, it damages the entire movement. And it must be called out.

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