‘Nightline’ town hall in Decatur about successful black women having a hard time finding black men set to air Wednesday, April 21

April 21, 2010, by Rodney Ho

(ABC/Guy D'Alema)

(ABC/Guy D'Alema)
(ABC/Guy D'Alema)

Unless a big breaking story happens, “Nightline” is set to air a truncated version of its 2.5 hour town hall meeting in Decatur earlier this month on Wednesday, April 21 at 11:35 p.m.

More than 600 people crowded the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center in Decatur on Friday, April 9. Several hundred more were forced into satellite rooms or simply got there too late to get in. Clearly, moderator Steve Harvey's promotional pull showed. He talked about it on his radio show heard locally on Majic 107.5/97.5 that week.

And "The View's" Sherri Shepherd flew from New York City to take part as well. Vicki Mabrey, the "Nightline" correspondent moderated with Harvey, along with participants Jacque Reid ("Let's Talk About Pep"), actor Hill Harper ("CSI: NY") and author Jimi Israel ("The Denzel Principle").

The show revealed the misconceptions each gender has about the other. And the numbers are stacked against college-educated black women. The pool of comparable men is about half. Plus, many black women are unwilling to lower their standards while black men plead for more understanding.

I spoke last week with Shepherd about her experience. She originally didn’t want to do the panel because it was a topic that didn’t have any easy solutions. But she knew Harvey, Reid and Hill so she went along with it. She did have her nails out for Israel, who wrote a book she said bashes black women.

“I felt he kind of backed off once he was in a room full of black women and was held accountable for what he wrote,” said Shepherd, who clutched his book for much of the talk and picked at points he made in it. Indeed, Israel appeared to pull his punches.

The panel confirmed to her that the onus is on women more than men, that females have to “validate” guys a lot. “They say it’s not in their DNA” to be loyal or emotional, she said. “But what about our DNA?”

She did appreciate when Harvey said men are often shamed when they aren’t quite where they want to be, that they aren’t necessarily lazy miscreants. “We are ashamed to the fact that we have not gotten to where we thought we’d be by this age in life.  Have you ever considered that for a moment?” Harvey said. “But when you attach the term intimidation to it, you take on a superior role.”

Still, Shepherd said, there’s a point where she feels shame becomes an excuse.

On an unrelated note, I asked her about her Lifetime sitcom “Sherri.” She said she has not heard if it’s been renewed yet.

And I also wondered why "The View" did not invite Kitty Kelley to talk about her new "Oprah" book. Shepherd's response: "I know so much about Oprah, I don't really need to read Kitty Kelley's book. She has talked about her struggles and heartaches and victories. Princess Di was one thing. I didn't know her. I didn't know Frank Sinatra. I know Oprah."


“Nightline,” 11:35 p.m. tonight on ABC

You can watch more about this online at ABC News's "Face Off" page.

And our Wise Diva over on the "Misadventures in Atlanta" blog offers her own thoughts here.

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