Listeners Speak Out on Imus and 'Sweet Honey'

Hear about conversations from the program's blog and other listener reactions to recent stories on Don Imus' return to radio, and how the new president of a historically black college in Texas is shaking things up on campus. Also, hear listener reaction to the program's performance chat with Sweet Honey in the Rock.

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MICHEL MARTIN, Host:

And now, it's time for Backtalk, where we lift the curtain on conversations happening on the TELL ME MORE blog and get a chance to hear from you, our listeners.

Lee Hill, our Web producer, joins me here in the studio.

Hi, Lee.

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, listen, by now, plenty of folks have heard that Don Imus will return to the airwaves next month. Now, some of you out there remember that in April he was fired by CBS and MSNBC after making racially insensitive and disparaging remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team.

Well, we had a few of those conversations here on TELL ME MORE about his big return to radio. And one of them was with Don Imus' new boss, Phil Boyce of WABC Radio in New York.

PHIL BOYCE: I think everybody should follow the example of the Rutgers women's basketball team. If you want to set an example for young people, look what they did. Yeah, they gave him - grief for it. They - he went down, he met them. They told him personally - one-on- one, face-to-face - that they were offended by what he said. He apologized. They accepted the apology, and that should be the end of it.

HILL: Well folks, Rodney is one of our bloggers. And for him, it's not the end of it.

RODNEY: I am very disappointed to know that Imus is coming back. All he had was a vacation. His punishment can't even be considered a slap on the wrist. I will not be tuning in. However, I want to know who will be sponsoring his program so I know which brands to avoid.

MARTIN: Thanks, Rodney.

Switching gears. On this program, we've had a number of conversations about the saggy pants fashion trend.

This week, we talked with Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, that's a historically black college near Dallas, Texas. Now, among the ways he's shaking things up there is by implementing a new dress code that includes no saggy pants.

MARTIN: As a graduate of an historically black college and mother of a current college student, I am fully supportive of President Sorrell's changes at Paul Quinn, from the dress code to the decision to eliminate the football team. I believe that desperate times mandate desperate measures. Keep up the good work, President Sorrell.

Lee, what else?

HILL: Well, let's see. NPR launched its new music site this week, and we were glad to make a significant musical contribution to that launch. Now, in case you're wondering, no, Michel and I did not release our debut album - at least not yet, be on the lookout - but we did bring you sweet sounds from Sweet Honey in the Rock. The a cappella group performed for us. Many of you checked out their performance on our Web site, making it among the most e-mailed stories on the Web. So you know we're proud about that.

But, Michel, someone posted a message in our blog, giving us props. Hey, Michel, see if you can recognize this voice.

TAMIKA: This is my first time ever hearing Sweet Honey in the Rock. I actually saw myself really getting into the song that Michel asked them to perform, "Breaths." Thank you for the introduction and this will be on my Christmas list.

MARTIN: Was that Tamika?

HILL: Hey, you're good. To folks tuning in, that was Tamika. She is a former intern at TELL ME MORE.

MARTIN: Oh, see, that isn't right. So you can call our comment line, but you can't call to talk to us. These young folks today, I tell you. Well, thanks, I guess.

And thank you, Lee.

HILL: Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: Remember to tell us more about what you think. Go to npr.org/tellmemore and blog it out. And we will leave you with "Breaths" by Sweet Honey in the Rock."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BREATHS")

SWEET HONEY: (Singing) When the fire's voice is heard, choose the ancestors' breath in the voice of the waters.

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