I’m sitting at a table just outside the Joe Barron Coffee House and Bistro in Staten Island, New York, sipping a mocha made with Columbian beans and goat’s milk. The day is brisk, owing to a weather front pushing it’s way up the seaboard, but rain isn’t expected for at least another three hours.
A stretch limo pulls up with the strains of N.W.A. drifting out it’s tinted windows, and the driver exits, opening the rear door for the Reverend Al Sharpton, now a charismatic figure at 66 years of age, who clambers out with his arms spread wide, as if to hug the world.
Sharpton has been a loud and often controversial figure in American politics, pushing for civil rights both in public and on his radio show, and even running for President of the United States in 2004. He orders a black coffee from the waiter and tells him to “make it snappy.”
The Reverend begins our interview by expressing relief that Joe Biden is now the commander in chief, and praises his recognition of the new federal holiday of “Juneteenth.” But more needs to be done.
“What we need to do, as a country, is begin the long-overdue process of reparations,” he says loudly. “For slavery, for the Tulsa Massacre, and for every criminal and murderous act against the black population. Amen.”
Sharpton believes the new holiday could function as a perfect date to begin and continue on a yearly basis.
“We should receive a check every year on Juneteenth. It can be done, and it needs to be done to heal this great rift in our nation.” He looks furtively at his cup. Then : “And stop crying about critical race theory. Makes me wanna slap you dumb bitches.”
Our interview (which can be seen in it’s entirety nowhere, since it was fictional), went on for another hour, touching on the cult of Trump, why the Flash TV show suddenly sucks so badly, and lemon cake. We both love lemon cake.
And we’re both willing to pay for it. I guess that’s progress.