Where does Steve Harvey get off calling Tavis Smiley and Cornel West “Uncle Toms”?
Steve Harvey, whose full name is Broderick Steven Harvey, was born in Welch, West Virginia and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.
Harvey is a devout Christian. I’m assuming he would call himself a Baptist, because in 2012, he tweeted:
#2012Hoodie Awards: Best Church : First Baptist Church of Glenarden – Washington, DC1
Regardless, Harvey is way into Jesus. Check out this video of him, where he gets into what he would say if he had the opportunity to “introduce” Jesus Christ to a room full of people. It shows an incredible devotion and an impressive knowledge of the Bible and Christian tradition.
Steve Harvey: True Uncle Tom
By Prince Solomon—(who makes sense)
Harvey has credited God for his success as an entertainer as well. He said at a stand-up show in Las Vegas:
God has given me a life far beyond anything I ever dreamed about. God is, man, God is something else man.2
His devotion to Christianity translates into an unapologetic, aggressive disrespect for atheists. He once said on the Tyra Banks show, giving dating advice to women:
You are sitting up there talking to a dude and he tells you he’s an atheist, you need to pack it up and go home. You talking to a person who don’t believe in God… what’s his moral barometer? Where’s it at? It’s nowhere.3
The comments were unsurprisingly controversial and Harvey was asked to expand on them during an interview with Joy Behar, who was filling in for Larry King on his popular interview show. Harvey didn’t back down, calling atheists “idiots,” expressing skepticism over the theory of evolution and the Big Bang theory and saying that if someone tells him they’re an atheist, he simply walks away.4
Guns blazing for Obama
Harvey is a Democrat, and most of his political activity involves endorsing, defending or hosting one Obama event or another. He interviewed Michelle Obama on his television show. He was incredibly moved to have had the experience:
Of all the shows, she came on mine. That was pretty important, kind of major for me. That kind of makes me feel very validated, because some other shows have put in requests for her, and she came here first.5
On his radio show, he talks about the “sickening” anti-Obama movement, defending the president’s health care program and calling out the president’s critics by name. Perhaps most controversially, Harvey called black activists/academics Cornel West and Travis Smiley “Uncle Toms” for criticizing Obama.6 That’s about the worst thing a black person can call another black person and Harvey, again, was asked to clarify/apologize for his comments. He sort of did, saying:
In retrospect, I probably should not have called these men ‘Uncle Toms.’ I wear so many hats that sometimes as a comedian, I cross the line, which I will continue to do. I apologize for referring to them that way. But everything else I said, good. I’m not retracting my statements, I’m just apologizing.7
Harvey’s got a mouth on him, and it’s probably what made him the celebrity he is today. Whatever works, right?