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The Michael Brooks Show Legacy

My relationship with Michael Jamal Brooks started off very contentious, but even through the controversy, I could see just what kind of man Michael really was. Michael was very smart, and he was very ambitious. He was funny. He knew who he was. He knew what he believed and why he believed it, and he knew what he did not stand for and why he did not stand for it. He was very detail-oriented and made it his personal business to get to the bottom of everything that mattered to him. Michael was very courageous and willing to risk all he had so that the truth would be told. One thing I have learned about people is you can be all of these great things and more, smart, wise, talented, creative, compassionate, charming, and so on, but it is what you do with everything you have that matters the most. Michael knew this. He was all of these great things but most importantly he was a hard worker. He put everything he had in him to do good and that is one of the things that I admired the most about him.

We are all different people, and we have all come from different walks of life. I grew up in a way where death was very prevalent. I grew up with an understanding that nothing is promised for today or tomorrow. I saw death so much as a child whether that was through drug violence, gang violence, gun violence, etc., but that is the typical life you live as a Black child growing up in the inner-city, but even though I grew up knowing what I knew and understanding or being acquainted with death, I now understand that no matter how much you know or understand death, you will never really be completely prepared for it. It will still hurt even if you are at peace with it. It still may shock you, and it still may leave you with so many questions and wonders of why it has to be this way. Michael Brooks was a good man. He was one of a kind and his legacy shows it. His life forces us to lean further into who we are as people, and it was cut off so soon, so I understand how shocking this is to some and how much of a loss this is to many.

If you were not privileged to know Michael or even know of him, you would not know he was a very popular political commentator who hosted his own show “The Michael Brooks Show.” He was 36 years young, and he spent a lot of his time fighting for those who are disenfranchised, poor, and those working but still struggling to live a quality life. Michael believed in bringing people together and not just people who looked like him and who were from his country. He knew the issues we still face today are global issues and that every voice, whether they be black, brown, white, purple, or green, needed to be heard.

Before starting the Michael Brooks Show to discuss politics, history, pop culture, and other topics that mattered to him, Michael was a contributor on “The Majority Report” since 2013 where he, again, spoke on politics and cultural issues. He was also an analyst for Al Jazeera English and Huffington Post, and he also contributed to Jacobin Magazine, Baffler Magazine, and Open Democracy. He wrote two incredible books, “Against the Web: A Cosmopolitan Answer to the New Right” and “The Buddha’s Playbook,” which featured Josh Summers as a co-writer. Michael was a son, a brother, and a friend. His death was sudden and his life was short, but his legacy lives forever. His family plans to release a statement in the near future regarding their plans to keep his work alive through a foundation that will be built to honor him.

Michael Brooks touched millions of people around the world, and today, we do not just mourn the death of a friend, but we also mourn a life that was cut off before its time, and we mourn an important voice that has now been silenced by death. Dr. Cornell West once said, “Decide to do some good before the worms get you.” Meaning, decide to do what is good before you are buried six feet under with the worms, and Michael did just that. His legacy will always be counted as a fight for the true left, the left that fights for human rights, voting rights, civil rights, and justice. Although his life was short, he fought a good fight, and that is how I will choose to remember him.

Thank you, Michael, for your bravery. Thank you so much for the countless hours you spent learning history and advising on how we can be better together. Thank you for all the laughs you gave the world, and thank you for the many lessons you brought. Your many sacrifices to doing what is right will not go unnoticed and you will be entirely missed by many. Thank you for leaving such a powerful legacy behind that not only will we, those who know you, will remember and enjoy it but for those who sadly did not know you will also be able to embrace.

To those of you who are reading this and mourning Michael’s death, go out there and honor him by fighting the good fight. Be on the right side of history and do what is right, just, and fair for all of mankind, and those you meet along the way that are also fighting a good fight, honor them, and give them your praise and flowers while they are still here. Death waits for no one and it does not always come with a warning. You never know how important moments are until they become a memory. Cherish one another and love one another. My condolences to the Michael Brooks family and the lives he touched. Let us celebrate his legacy by honoring him and being thankful to have known such a great guy. Thank you.

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  1. Jay Fortran

    Nice words, Tim. Michael wasn’t always easy on everyone. He was as critic and a comic, which makes for a lot of targets. Big of you to look past his jokes to see his real legacy.
    Solidarity forever!

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