Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: The Rejected Stone by Rev Al Sharpton

Won Through a Goodreads Giveaway

Honestly, I've never really known much about Rev. Al Sharpton besides the fact that he seemed to be a pretty popular caricature. From the moments where Kennan Thompson parodies him on SNL to the scene with Adam Sandler in the movie Mr. Deeds, I never was inclined to take the man seriously. I dropped my name in the hat of giveaway hopefuls in an effort to circumvent having to pay for something I wasn't too sure I wanted to invest my money in although I had a newfound interest in Al Sharpton.

The reason I wanted to findout more about this man is because I watch a lot of MSNBC. I wake up with joe(Scarborough that is), play hardball with Chris Matthews, and usually hear what the last word is with Lawrence O'Donnell. Basically, I wanted to know who this guy hosting Politics Nation was, bringing to light the injustice of Voter ID laws. Up until then I was convinced he wasn't someone I should take seriously.

The Rejected Stone by Al Sharpton opened my eyes to the person he is, was, and wants to be remembered as. Long past are the days of his ill-fitting tracksuits and frumpy figure. He has a more refined look now but his views are still the same. He's simply a man who came from humble beginnings hoping for all the world to see the value in EVERY human life. Yes he has accumulated a rolodex full of some of the most successful people to ever walk the planet, he's still more interested in making a difference.

Sharpton has gotten a reputation of being only interested in the "black" agenda. Touted as being a person who only comes running when there seems to be some sort of racial injustice, seems to not be the only cause he fights for. The Rejected Stone chronicles his life as an activist, preacher, and celebrity. Many times this memoir seems more or less a self-help book which is pretty enjoyable seeing as he has lots of relevant ideas towards growth and changing.

One of the most interesting endorsements Al Sharpton has made is his support of LGBT rights. Most mainstream religious figures find this to be taboo and an abomination to the very basic Christian fundamentals. Initially he was against the idea of these rights but started to see how the world is changing. To keep up with the change, he had to focus on the argument from a different perspective. Sharpton deduced that he can't have a lifetime of leading rallies for civil rights then choose to discriminate at will.

The Rejected Stone provides a chapter heading that works as either a motivational message or guiding light for life. Define Yourself-Before Others Do it For YouEvery Life Has Value, and a few others are snippets of his advice. This helps the book remain focused and easy to follow. The structure of this book helps it not be repetitive.

Because every person has "haters" the fact that this book is published by Cash Money Content has been a source of claiming Al Sharpton to be one of the many, greatest liars. How can someone who has fought against the use of defamating language do a book deal with a music label that is its top exploiter? I only mention this because he even addresses in the book his constant fight for people to see themselves as something greater. He doesn't change his message to appease Cash Money Content. I'm sorry that I don't have an opinion on this. I figure if a convicted felon is in jail, then is turned preacher, does it sully his message of inspiration? If he were to come out with a rap album about civil rights on Death Row Records should it make the message any less important? He does have a chapter aptly named Be Open to Unlikely Allies.

Surprisingly, The Rejected Stone was great insight to a man's life that I really had no knowledge of and I appreciate finally knowing more about this man than what a Wikipedia page can say. Sure, I saw him at Trayvon Martin rallies, heard the words he spoke at Michael Jackson's funeral, and remembered the cartoonish ways he used to dress, but I never really followed his career. He speaks of his highs, his lows, and why he's the most unlikely of the rejected stones to be where he is today.  **** 

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