Ebony Magazine Pens Article Criminalizing Mumia Abu Jamal

I’m reading about this sad scenario of some writer who sounds like he’s trying to spark things off by being ‘outrageous’..In this case he takes a shot at Mumia..which is not cool on a number of levels..Why add to putting a man’s life at risk? Would this same writer smash on say the neighborhood dope dealer who has a Suge Knight type rep and temper?  Would he pen an article lambasting, dry snitching or etc to a person like that?

 I guess one shouldn’t be shocked.. its all about making the bottom line for folks.. We saw that with Philadelphia’s new Black DA Seth Williams who campaigned on putting Mumia to death and got the endorsements of the policeman’s union. We see that with this writer who may be trying to make name for himself and doesn’t care if his words in a publication like Ebony Magazine carries weight and used to validate a course of action one might wanna take.. Here are some of the letters of objection that were written to Ebony Magazine..

-Davey D-



Sis. Fatirah and myself have raised our voices against Jam Donaldson’s recent column which appeared in Ebony Magazine’s February 2010 issue (viewable at http://www.conversateisnotaword.com/?p=167). Please read our letters and let your voice be heard as well! — Sis. Marpessa.

Jam Donaldson

Terry Glover, Managing Editor
Ebony Magazine
Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.
820 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

To whom it may concern,

I’m writing in response to the ‘article’ in Ebony magazine by Hot ghetto mess Jam Donaldson. As I read it, I thought ‘uh oh; here is another self hating young Black person, who thinks they are designated to point out our faults and present our failures to the world (ala hotghettomess.com), all the while appearing just a little bit better than the rest of us. I have seen the messes in various emails and while they bring a shake of the head, I wonder why someone would go to the trouble of exploiting the worst in our community instead of high-lighting the best?

Then I come to the last paragraph where Ms Mess states that “One day I’m like, ‘Free Mumia’ and other days I’m like, ‘That n***** probably did it.’ And I’m not afraid to admit it, and I’m not afraid to write about it.”

Of course you’re ‘not afraid to write about it’, you are aware that there is an audience for just such words: The FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) for one will probably use your words in some of their propaganda and I’m sure that will make you proud.

Self-serving pseudo journalism at it’s worst.

If you ever choose to be a responsible journalist, you will find that there is much information about Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case, done by upstanding reporters who have DONE THEIR HOMEWORK, and are not looking for a pithy little ending.

Mumia’s life is on the line, and for you to be so cavalier about it shows either your naivete, or your deliberate attempt to ingratiate yourself with those who are seeking to murder an innocent man.

If you find yourself looking for some excellent articles from a man whose body has been locked down for years, but whose mind and heart are as free as the wind, you can follow any of the links below for more information.

I doubt you will, there’s nothing ‘sexy’ about the truth.

Fatirah Aziz



Jam Donaldson

Terry Glover, Managing Editor
Ebony Magazine
Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.
820 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605

The Ebony Magazine February 2010 article entitled: “Sisterspeak – Did I just CALL YOU OUT? YEP. I did. Deal with it. One writer tells the truth,” by Jam Donaldson concludes by proclaiming, “One day I’m like, ‘Free Mumia’ and other days I’m like, ‘That n***** probably did it.’ And I’m not afraid to admit it, and I’m not afraid to write about it.”

You succeeded in ending your article with controversy but was the pay-off worth carelessly toying with a man’s life? This isn’t a Gen-X’er spreading your wings in defiance of the status quo or clowning somebody for having their behind hanging out and rainbow-colored weave as you regularly do on the web, you made a flippant and highly irresponsible condemnation purely for shock value!

“Free Mumia” is not a catchprase to be spouted according to your mood swings and supposings, nor a litmus test by which you should make reckless statements as a way to poke out your chest and feel special. To believe that Mumia should be free is to fight to uncover the truth that has been smothered by the courts for 28+ years. It’s not about a gimmick for your self-promotion by using Mumia’s name for flava, hype or to raise your google-ability — this is a demand for a constitutionally guaranteed fair trial before a jury of ones peers instead of a hate-filled feeding frenzy of racism, coerced testimony, fabricated, distorted and hidden evidence. It’s about trying to get justice in a court where an entire police union (FOP) carries picket signs in protest and packs hearings with t-shirts emblazoned with “Fry Mumia” over their highly visible guns — before a judge who himself is a lifetime FOP member! It’s about an outrageous frame-up of a Black man who the COINTELPRO targeted as early as his teenage years.

This zinger with which you ended your article crosses the line from an attempt at being clever to an outright attack. The slightest bit of research would have shown you that at this very critical juncture in history Mumia is in the midst of extremely intensified court pressures and the campaign to release him is in the midst of a knockdown, drag-out battle to stop his legalized lynching! Unfortunately your witless assertion now carries weight because it has been so incredibly elevated by Ebony magazine, of all places! The appalling way in which you chose to end your piece may have given you a smirk of personal satisfaction but the only people you have impressed are those who are salivating at the prospect of murdering Mumia, or don’t you get that?

As for Ebony magazine, has your more than half-century of publishing come down to this, such a desperate yearning to attract young readership that you showcase an article that debases a Black man fighting for his life on death row as a “NIGGER” (why bother with the asterisks at all?)! Is that really where it’s at with Ebony nowadays? Freedom of expression is one thing, but gross negligence is quite another! As one of the most well-respected Black publications in the US and world, surely you must realize that much of Black America views the case against Mumia with a healthy amount of skepticism, not to mention his being an internationally recognized author, scholar and champion of human rights. Someone with maturity should have pointed out to this “blogger and cultural commentator” that this was an extremely reckless and slanderous statement to make regarding anyone at all, let alone a colleague and fellow practicing journalist!

Right now there is a major campaign to urge Attorney General Eric Holder to open a civil rights investigation into the frame-up of Mumia. Ebony Magazine should agree to maintain at least the appearance of fairness and give space to the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal to provide balance to this smear against Mumia which you printed in your publication. They must, at the very least, be given the opportunity to discuss the current state of the campaign to free Mumia and be able to point your readers toward resources to reach their own opinions regarding his case as soon as possible to refute Ms. Donaldson’s commentary.

Marpessa Kupendua

Mumia Abu-Jamal on-line resources:
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal: http://www.freemumia.com
Academics for Mumia: http://www.emajonline.com/index.php?action=4&content_id=311
Information and Analysis: http://abu-jamal-news.com/
Some of Mumia’s journalism: http://www.prisonradio.org/mumia.htm

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20 comments on “Ebony Magazine Pens Article Criminalizing Mumia Abu Jamal

  1. “I’m reading about this sad scenario of some writer who sounds like he’s trying to spark things off by being ‘outrageous’..In this case he takes a shot at Mumia..which is not cool on a number of levels..”

    Really Davey D.? Really? Did you even read the piece? I’m all about accepting criticism but… really?

    Im thinking you must not have read the piece before you wrote this because there’s a big picture of me and I’m a female. So, hopefully thats it… Because… really?

  2. This is so tired on Jam’s part. But not entirely unexpected. I’ll say this: Before she goes off pontificating on things she doesn’t know much about, she needs to pay her writers (and I include myself in that) what they’re owed.

  3. Yeah I agree with the other two posters, this wasn’t really a shot (no pun intended) as much as it was a poor example to illustrate what type of person she is. To me the course of her article spoke more towards how she, and her generational ilk, show such little commitment to a true cause; or even to the cause of educating one’s self on issues that tear away at the very fibers of what she claims “her” generation never get their collective (but probably selfishly meant individual) voices heard on. Maybe nobody’s listening to her and her ilk because they are merely blogging loud and ain’t really saying, or better stated, doing much. Blogging is such a poor excuse for true activism.

  4. Ebony Magaizine – Who owns that magazine? Look at the advertising. Control the media you control the minds. I’m from Philly. I once wrote about getting Mumia one last fair trial. The racism is so deep rooted in Philadelphia for that time and people propelled from that case to like Govenor, they changed my article in favor of the “Police”. Racism is alive and well when it comes to that case in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Those white folks in Philly never went any where, except the beach, and will back the white cops against Black people everyday. That’s why people like me, bill Cosby, willSmith, and others won’t live there. Ignorance factor.

  5. hmm.

    well jam, i read the article. i was with you right up until the last paragraph. the Mumia reference seemed to come out of nowhere and read like a cheap shot.

    i’m not sure what point you were trying to make with this reference. you seem to be saying that black people contradict themselves because you contradict yourself. are you, then, a litmus test for blackness? or just one writer trying to stir up some controversy?

    i’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume you were naive to the implications of what you wrote. i think you could have used another example if all you were trying to say was that you flip back and forth between different sides of hot-button issues, or more to the point, that your penchant for talking shit often gets in the way of your concern for social justice. i also think you could have explained the “whys” of what you wrote what you wrote. without any context, it comes off as a superficial, specious comment with grave and deep-reaching implications.

    basically, you have just symbolically called every black man in prison a nigga. you have inferred indirectly yet emphatically that there are no innocent people serving time on death row. you have dissed a body of work which not only upholds the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, but shed a lot of light on the corruption and racism in the Philly police department — which is why Mumia was controversial in the first place.

    to sum up, you have stepped into a big pile of doo doo. hot ghetto mess, indeed.

    you have also undermined any point you might have made about a litmus test for blackness which reaches beyond ignorance, perpetuation of stereotypes, and self-serving attitudes.

    if we expect issues like incarceration and police brutality to be taken seriously by the mainstream media, it is completely irresponsible to make light of these same issues in ethnic media.

    you might as well be on the corner selling crack, because you are hurting the very community you claim to represent with your words.

    an argument against activism is an argument for apathy. if your goal was to seek the continued disempowerment of black people, you couldnt have done a better job.

    instead of bragging about your ambiguity and ambivalence when it comes to important issues, you should educate yourself so you dont embarrass yourself in print.

    maybe what you are not afraid of is being ignorant, which is a damn shame.

    we honestly deserve a lot better from you and from Ebony–which actually used to address issues of racism 40-odd years ago.

    forget being like “free mumia,” jam. instead free your mind, sista.

  6. e-scribbla couldn’t have said anything better. instead of putting a gun to their backs, harriet shoulda just left some “niggas” on the plantation. they seem happier there, because trying to search for freedom and equality for everyone is just too much work.

  7. Oh My!! What a shock that Ebony Magazine is trash..Jam Donaldson doesn’t know anything about the Mumia Abu-Jamal case.Such vile ignorance to say the brother did it. So you’re saying its ok to execute this innocent black man on death row who was framed by crooked cops from PPD.How SAD…Philly has always had severe racism and as for PPD ,they will always be a bunch of murderers and criminals with badges used for cover.Some so-called black journalists would sell their souls to the master for a pat on the back. Well done, thanks for demonizing your own people and making them look less than human to the rest of the world.Jam Donaldson, you’re pathetic house slave. Go back to the plantation where you belong with all the other uncle toms(Clarence Thomas,Oprah,Oj Simpson,Tiger Woods)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. “Im thinking you must not have read the piece ”

    For those who don’t know, that is the standard response for any author who has written something undefensable and gets called out.

    no substance or apology needed just play gotcha with Davey’s not seeing your busted photo and moveon.

  9. I didn’t respond.. to that Tim.. For me its simple you don’t make fun of rape, victims of pedaphilia, women being beat and political prisoners..Somethings are too serious and in the case of Mumia and other political prisoners not cool in the least.. A quote was sent to me with what she wrote..no need to go buy the mag.. or further engage..

  10. the sxo called writer needed to educated herself a lot more aznd did . more homework before she penned. She would have seen that Ebony magazine had honored Mumia one year of selecting Mumia as the magazines annual 100 people. also Susan Taylor of Essence magazine had also was a significant donor to a Ne York City fundraiser for Mumia that had taken place in the 1990s. There is way to much info to ggole on Mumia to be factual. BUT as DaveyD pointed this is the year that Seth Williams and the Pennsylvania Judicail systemhave exhibited their deeep rooted prejudice against MOVE and Mumia Abu-Jamal denying any type of justice. But let hope this does a lot to re-educate…..first the attack on Cuba for those that think they are scholarly then this… means we have to be on our toes…as Maripessa has said many times before” we that believe in freedom can not rest…

  11. Jailhouselawyer sends Mumia his regards and respect.


  12. how weak is it that jam shows up to address a typographical error and can’t address any of the other, weightier issues raised about her piece?

    guess what jam? you’re toast.

  13. I’m not sure what the problem is. The paragraph in question to me wasn’t meant to vilify Mumia, I read it as an attempt to show the internal conflict blacks face when confronted by what seems to be conventional thought in the black community. I’m sure we’ve all experienced it. Should she have chosen a different subject to make the comparison? Probably. But she’s right about the complexities of going against the status quo in the black community.

  14. I swear, nothing seems to surprise me anymore about some of our people and “our” publications and media. This Sista is ill-equipped to comment on the Mumia case, and it would do her well to find out more so that she can have an INFORMED opinion. Shame on you, EBONY!

  15. Racism had nothing to do with his conviction. Wesley was a complete lunitic in court. read the transcripts. This is why you should not represent yourself in court unless you are an attorney. His court appointed was doing a good job, and he should have stuck with him. anyone who disagrees with me either does not know the law or did not read the crazy things wesley was saying in court.

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  20. Honestly. Mumia did it and unlike OJ he wasn’t able to get away with it. Mumia is a very eloquent orator who seems to have accomplished quite a lot behind bars but he is also a murderer. If you get past the propaganda BS there is no question that he really did kill Officer Faulkner. If he expressed any regret I would respect him. But instead he, and his followers, have trashed the reputation of his victim and harassed his victim’s widow for decades.

    There is no doubt that racism has caused a lot of innocent brothers and sisters to be wrongfully convicted. But not in Mumia’s case. He earned his cell.

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