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Happy Man

Don’t let that face fool you!  I’m actually exhausted.

I’m embarrassed that I haven’t updated my website with a post of any kind in months!  You might have noticed that I’ve been busy lately.  Still, no excuse.  I’m back in the blogging game now!  Look for updates to come more frequently.

T. J.

On the move

I want to confirm what many of you have already noticed:  I will no longer be appearing on MSNBC.

I served as a contributing anchor to the network for the past 2 years, and in 2014, I’ve appeared on the network practically every week, predominantly anchoring the weekend afternoon newscasts.  Many viewers naturally assumed my continuing affiliation with the network.

I have relationships with the NBC/MSNBC family that go back over a decade, and I will forever value those.  I can’t thank MSNBC enough for the opportunity to be a part of their team.

T. J.

Survive the Moment

This is what I do whenever I see flashing lights in my rearview mirror:  put on my hazard lights and pull over as soon as safely possible.  Then, I put the car in park, roll down both front windows fully, turn off the engine, take the keys out of the ignition and dangle them high in the air out the driver’s side window before placing them on the roof of the car.  Next, I cross my arms at the wrist, spread my fingers, and display my empty hands out of the window and wait for the officer to come to the door to give me instructions.  When the officer asks for my license and registration, I explain that they are in my pocket and my glove compartment, and I ask if it’s alright to move my hands in order to retrieve them.  I don’t make any movement without first getting the officer’s blessing to do so.  READ MORE

Teen dead days before college

He was supposed to start college tomorrow.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the MSNBC newsroom, prepping for the afternoon newscast, and I’m waiting for a press conference from the St. Louis County Police Department.  They are expected to give an update about the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black kid shot by police Saturday night in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis.

He was supposed to start college tomorrow.

We don’t know a lot at this point about why police opened fire.  Here’s what we do know:  Brown was unarmed, he was blocks from his grandmother’s house when he was shot, and it was a Ferguson police officer who shot him.

And, he was supposed to start college tomorrow.

After a heated protest in the neighborhood last night, police are asking for calm.  The outrage is understandable as this story reopens wounds not quite healed after recent high-profile cases of young, unarmed black men being gunned down.

We don’t know all the circumstances surrounding Brown’s death yet.  I will wait to hear all the facts.  But no matter what the facts turn out to be, the way I’m feeling won’t change because of one detail in particular that we already know:  he was supposed to start college tomorrow.

We talk so often about the plight of young black men in this country.  We emphasize the importance of education and urge them to stay away from violence.  There are people out there putting extraordinary effort into putting and keeping young black men on the right path.  That path often includes getting them into college.  I don’t know Brown’s journey, but somewhere along the line, someone did a good job with him and had him on the right track.

He was supposed to start college tomorrow.  That’s a cruel cosmic irony.



My First Same-Sex Wedding. (Not Really)

I LOVE weddings.  And one of the best weddings I’ve ever attended took place last week in Brooklyn.  The whole evening was a perfect blend of elegance and casualness.  Rose petals strewn about a wooden deck and a Julliard-trained musician bowing her violin as 100 well-dressed guests sat underneath the setting sun, sipping wine and cocktails while the couple exchanged vows.  This was a fun, intimate affair punctuated by the couple’s unmistakable bond.  I was happy and proud to be a part of something this special.

Oh, and one more detail about the wedding:  there was no bride. READ MORE