I was just thinking about what could put this movement in second or third gear. What triggered this thought was listening to Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard thank god after a game. Its obvious that this guys gigantism and muscularity is what enhance his performance. Then it hit me that the majority of black people in the spotlight are there either because of sports or entertainment. Hearing a rapper thank god at the grammys after making an album about drugs, gun and hos, and sportstars thank god for winning a game but then lose the series. I wonder what would happen if one of these people with so much influence over our youth should say religion is nonsense and god if he exsist could never be as powerful a man claims he his. Someone like Jay z or Kobe Bryant or even Al Roker perhaps.

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In your country, I expect anyone depending upon mass record sales, box office returns, multimillion dollar sponsorships or votes would be extremely reluctant to publicly declare their atheism. It would cause major unwanted negative publicity, alienate many supporters/fans/voters and probably motivate the Christian Right to campaign against them. Until atheists are able to present a united front and show we have the numbers to support those who share our views, I expect that celebrities, sports stars and politicians - whether black or white - will continue to give at least token allegiance to Christianity.
The one exception is Hollywood. You can be well-loved at the box office and in the tabloids without paying lip service (best example is Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, admitted non-believers)
Al Roker? Now that would be hilarious.

The closest candidate I can think of would be Neil de Grasse Tyson, who is already a keynote speaker at humanist congresses. I think he is far more effective as a scientist with a highly visible presence in the media--that's also an image for a black person badly needed. I would imagine he would be fairly diplomatic given his response to Tavis Smiley in a TV interview a couple years ago.

I'm guessing the only person who would go out on a limb would be a black version of Bill Maher, whom I don't like much anyway, but I can't think of a candidate.
Ralph only nerds like us know who Tyson is
however you are right that a black verion of Bill Maher is the mesiah
I'm going to have to see if that episode of Tavis Smiley's show is online. Dr. Neil is a regular on the Colbert Report.
this is a really interesting point. one thing i despise most about religion is that it robs people of pride in their accomplishments and achievements.
RealType,

You have a great point. Your comment prompted me to do a google search, and there are matches on "famous Black atheists" and "famous Black freethinkers" but not a lot. Yes, a handful can be found in some listings for pioneering Black freethinkers from prior generations, such as this link which can lead you to a podcast with MIke Estes.

As with acceptance of atheism in general, there is precedent to be learned from increasing acceptance of gay & Lesbian relationships. In past generations, about the only way that people learned about who was gay was by being gay and learning about famous, and not so famous, dead gay people. Increased exposure, and coming out of celebrites and sports figures, led to much more acceptance. The same can be said for atheism (just beginning), and I suspect that the same would be true for Black atheism.

Not as famous as many, but here is Greydon Square:
It wouldn't happen, but it would be nice if it did. I just don't want it to come from a rapper, but maybe an acclaimed actor. Morgan Freeman or someone like that. If Lil Wayne said he was an atheist, we would just look at him crazy and wonder if he really knew what an atheist was.

The church will end up rallying against anyone who would proclaim this, so it would have to be someone who is established and is planning on retiring soon.
Well, since we have no idea of who that someone could be, whoever it is will probably carry his silence to the grave. Some veteran civil rights activist who's long been out of the public eye, perhaps? For the most part, the most vocal irreligious black public figures are denied a mass audience. No one knows or cares about Adolph Reed, Jr., for example, outside of left and progressive circles, and how much of his white audience bothers to process anything he says about the black community that shatters their illusions?

Organicism, Authoritarianism, Clericalism, and Black Politics
(from The Jesse Jackson Phenomenon)
by Adolph L. Reed, Jr.
http://www.autodidactproject.org/quote/reedjess.html
I remembered hearing an interview about black atheism on Point of Inquiry. The interviewee was Norm Allen, Executive Director of African Americans for Humanism.

Norm Allen has also written a book: The Black Humanist Experience: An Alternative to Religion
Whe need the attention

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