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Emails from Gil Noble's legion of fans

HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 4/5/2012, 3:03 p.m.

Vocalist and activist Karen D. Taylor said she rarely missed an airing of "Like It Is." "It was the best thing on television," she began. "During those days, over those many years, I would sit my son down from toddlerhood to when he was around 6 or 7. He and I watched Gil Noble interview heads of state, artists, musicians, actors and educators or present documentaries on them-the best the Black world had to offer and, generally, the most progressive or revolutionary.

"He had a clear agenda, which raised my head even higher. Seeing John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Hazel Scott, Kwame Ture, Miriam Makeba, Thomas Sankara, Sekou Toure, Abbey Lincoln, Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Bob Marley, Jerry Rawlings and Nancy Wilson made my love affair with the African Diaspora one that has lasted across my life forever."

Bankole Thompson, senior executive editor of the Michigan Chronicle in Detroit, said, "Gil Noble was a consummate journalist and trailblazer whose work and contributions to the Black experience will never wane in the corridors of time. His work inspired us all."

"Gil Noble let all of us know that our dreams-Black dreams-would be reality if we just stood up and united, never giving up on the struggle," wrote Lynnette C. Velasco, author and special assistant to New York City Council Member Inez E. Dickens. "He brought limitless possibilities of change into our living rooms each week. He held Black art and culture to the highest standard. My love of the arts and writing, in particular to create children's literature to empower our young, was nourished significantly by 'Like It Is.'"

Black Star News publisher Milton Allimadi has already written a powerfully eloquent essay on Noble and his legacy, but added these words recently:

"Gil is the kind of light and Black shining prince that Ossie Davis referred to when he spoke about Malcolm. Do you know Gil? Has he ever touched you? Has he ever cracked a joke with you even at your lowliest moments? Have you seen how his eyes twinkle when you bring up Africa?

"Have you ever met a gentler giant of a man? Have you ever heard him raise his voice, even when discussing the injustices against African peoples? Have you ever met anyone who seemed to love African peoples more than Gil? Gil exudes Africa from every pore. He breathes Africa. He thinks Africa; I'm sure he's dreams about Africa. Gil is the quintessential African human being."

"Gil Noble," said vocalist and actor Rome Neal, "has and will always be the epitome of Black power. If knowledge is power, then Gil Noble has been the vessel that has carried this knowledge and power throughout the world, enlightening folks as to who we are and how we should be treated as a people."

For Ron Scott, jazz historian and columnist for the Amsterdam News, Noble is a media warrior, "a revolutionary whose show speaks to the heart of the Black situation as it relates to America. Watching Gil's show on Sundays is an education in Black history and a Black perspective on New York City as it relates to the Black Diaspora. Gil inspired me as a writer and human being. His perseverance to always strive for excellence and truth separates him from today's TV hosts."

I agree with Imam Talib, who said, "Gil Noble is a treasure of incalculable value to [the Black world]." Noble is a jewel who has contributed a library of interviews, commentary and coverage of events and an informed approach to studying many of the challenges that have faced Black people for decades, as Brother Imam said. To review his work would remind the researcher of the energy cycle of athletes. Audiences have watched our journalist brother mellow over time.

"My prayers are with him, his family and all those who wish Big Brother well," said author and activist Lamont Muhammad.