Emails from Gil Noble's legion of fans
HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 4/5/2012, 3:03 p.m.
Apparently, despite all the good news delivered by Minister Louis Farrakhan about Gil Noble's health following a massive stroke two weeks ago, Noble's condition has taken a turn for the worse. According to a family member, Noble, the famous broadcaster and host, is back on life support. The family is once again asking for prayers and not visitors.
Meanwhile, as Noble fights for his life, hundreds of well-wishers have called, emailed or stopped by the Amsterdam News to inquire about Noble's condition and what they can do to help.
We thought it would be helpful to publish just a few of the emails received from people all over the world, many of them notable but most of them a part of Noble's legion of nameless fans.
"I met Gil in the mid-1960s at the beginning of 'Like It Is,'" said noted producer and director Woodie King Jr. "One of the early shows was produced by a student of mine, Richard Mason, about drugs and the effects on community youth. Gil hosted that show and many more where he has been a beacon to who, what and why the African-American community of New York is so marginalized."
Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc. said, "Gil Noble is a treasure of incalculable value to Black America, the American nation and the African Diaspora. A review of his archived shows, which span the decades, reveals a vast collection of gems of a social, historical, political and artistic nature. One day, such a review will be critical to understanding Black life in America in the 20th and early 21st centuries."
"Gil Noble is the contemporary historian of Afro-America," renowned poet-activist Amiri Baraka proclaimed. "He's our electronic griot. What he has built through the years with his distinctive 'Like It Is' programs record and archive the history of Black people in North America. What it should tell us is that not only must we collectively pray for Gil's recovery, but we must begin to watch the priceless archive of those programs like a hawk. This is the spirit he projected whenever we discussed that invaluable work."
Dr. Brenda M. Greene of Medgar Evers College claimed that Noble is the "embodiment of a strong intellectual thinker. He has stayed committed to the fact that 'Black is the Color of His TV Tube.' His tireless, selfless quest to provide us with a legacy steeped in Black culture, to bring our cultural memory to the forefront, to tell our stories, to raise critical issues on social justice, human rights, education and politics is a testament to the indomitable spirit of our ancestors who fought against all odds and who understood the nature of struggle.
"To understand the present, one must know the past, and Gil reminds us of the importance of creating legacies for the present and future generations. He is, in the words of the late John Oliver Killens, a true long-distance runner."
In the estimation of the Rev. Conrad Tillard of Nazarene Congregation Church of Christ in Brooklyn, Noble is the gold standard of Black television journalism. "He is unique-a mainstream journalist with Black press sensibilities and a Pan-Africanist agenda...For the expanse of his career, he made sure that the full range of the Black voice had a significant forum to be heard from, unfiltered, over major airwaves in this major market. May the Lord shine down upon him and grant him peace. Grace and peace," Tillard concluded.