On Thursday night, the MSNBC galaxy of stars, along with some other luminaries, gathered to join network president Phil Griffin in celebrating the one-year anniversary of Rev. Al Sharpton‘s PoliticsNation, the 6pm show that has enjoyed its best ratings ever this week. Join us as we go inside the festivities, find out who was there, what they said, what they ate, and what they smoked.
The party, held at New York City’s warmly-lit Hudson Terrace, had an intimate feel, as guests wandered to and from the open bar to the sounds of soul classics from the likes of Marvin Gaye and another famous Reverend Al, Green (curiously, I didn’t notice any James Brown on the playlist). The food consisted of fancified finger fare, like little ice cream cones with salmon mousse and edamame cream, and beef sliders for the working folk. The hot spot was an open-air cigar bar, featuring the hand-rolled, scotch-dipped, honey-dripped wares of Tony Santana.
In addition to familiar MSNBC personalities like Alex Wagner, Richard Wolffe, Martin Bashir, Tamron Hall, Joy Reid, Joan Walsh, Professor Michael Eric Dyson, and the Toure/Krystal Ball half of The Cycle, plus media reporters from The New York Times and The New York Observer, former New York Mayor David Dinkins was also in attendance.
MSNBC President Phil Griffin, who hosted the party, delivered warm remarks about Rev. Al, briefly explaining the genesis of PoliticsNation, touting its ratings, and revealing that the guest of honor has not missed an entire show in a year. “He’s the hardest-working man I know.”
Griffin also revealed that Rev. Al spent his entire Mother’s Day on the telephone, calling every one of the mothers he has encountered over the years who had lost children. “Every day, he makes phone calls to families and mothers who’ve had children who have either been hurt or killed, or unfairly prosecuted.”
“He doesn’t do it for money, or fame, and he doesn’t do it so he can get attention for himself, or a bigger contract, or a book deal,” Griffin continued, “On Mother’s Day, he told me he called up every mother who had lost a son who he’d ever been in touch with, and that’s how he spent his Mother’s Day.”
Rev. Al then took the stage to thank the attendees, his colleagues, and his family, and to give Griffin credit for taking a risk on him. “I don’t know if I would have put Al Sharpton on a show,” he said, to laughter from the crowd.
Following the toast, the guests mingled, ate, drank, and smoked, and I caught up with Reverend Al at the cigar bar awhile later for a relaxed, poorly-lit interview. Stay tuned for that.
Here’s the video of Griffin’s and Rev. Al’s remarks, followed by a slideshow of some of the attendees.
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