A Legend, an Icon, a Leader Interview With Joseph Beasley

The Iconic Joseph Beasley

Written By: Timmesha- The Gypsy Empress

It’s a beautiful day in Atlanta, GA on January 23, 2018, as the camera crew and I make our way down MLK Ave to visit the private residence of award winning Human Rights Icon, Leader, Teacher Dr. Joseph Henry Beasley. I found it beautifully ironic that we were visiting a human rights icon that lived on a street named after human rights icon, Martin Luther King Jr.

As we’re granted access to this historical building, we’re greeted by an assistant who allows us to enter into Joe’s exclusive downtown loft. Artwork and sculptures from various artists all over the world line the walls from tribal masks to personal portraits; from hunting spears to a quilt mural that depicted cartoon images of black men, women, and children sitting on the porches of their slave quarters and tilling the land. It reminded me of Joe Beasley’s childhood; being born the son of share croppers in 1936, and living life on a plantation. I somehow gathered that he allowed this quilt to dress the largest wall in his home as a reminder of where he came from, and to never forget what began his life of activism.

Joe emerges from the back of his home well dressed in a thin pin-striped suit and a red-dotted tie; he smiles as he approaches our team while welcoming us into his home. As we exchange greetings; Joseph (who prefers to be called Joe due to his cool and humble nature) shows us his art collection and portraits of family members that included his wife whose now transitioned, children, grandchildren, and siblings.

Joe openly shares the time he stormed into a Coca-Cola Board meeting demanding fair wages and land ownership for the locals of Brazil. One thing is for sure amongst many when speaking of Joseph Henry Beasley; This revolutionary icon has definitely set the bar on breaking down racial barriers, and disrupting the status quo!

As our crew and I prepare to begin rolling cameras, Joe (now 81 years of age) with a smirk on his face mentions being a man that holds “Nothing Back”! And my response to that… “We surely hope not, let it all fly sir”, we laugh while taking a sip of ice cold water served by his assistant; he adjusts his tie, and I apply more lip-gloss while prepping in a mirror. As our crew counts down preparing us for the moment when our cameras begin rolling;

Joe looks over at me and says “Let’s do it”, I smile, closed my eyes, inhaled deeply, and took in all the powerful energy that only a moment in time like this could capture. The crew counts down… “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and cameras are rolling!”

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: What sparked the fire of activist in you? Was there an experience that made you say, “I’ve got to do something, I’ve got to make getting involved a part of my lifeline”?

Joe Beasley: Well I’ve always been sensitive to events, I could feel when things were not right, and growing up on a plantation… My parents being sharecroppers taught me the value of education and hard work. I remember when the bombs were dropped on Pearl harbor and I remember the day that Franklin Roosevelt died. Eugene Talmadge said “We’re gonna keep the niggas in their place forever”. And when he died; I had a sense of release that this devil had gone out of this world! I was able to read about the Hattian revolution, that gave me a sense that it is possible to change your situation. African people all over the world owe a great debt of gratitude to the Haitians because they really debunked the notion of white supremacy.

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: They were the first to set the example.

Joe Beasley: Absolutely! That set the course of a series of events that changed the western world.



Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: What sparked the fire of activist in you? Was there an experience that made you say, “I’ve got to do something, I’ve got to make getting involved a part of my lifeline”?

Joe Beasley: I’ve always been able to cover the ground I stand on. I shared a room with a private, once he had his feet on my bed. That was a real confrontation I said “Who does this white boy think he is putting his foot on my bed”. This issue is the residue that came out of the first globalism; and this is truly the second.

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: You mentioned a lot of this is playing out now; What do you think is one of the main contributing factors of socio-economic imbalance, not just in our communities but in our world…on this planet?

Joe Beasley: We live in a system of global capitalism, and was founded on buying and trading African slaves. That’s the foundation of our system, we use to be the commodity. After toiling here in the U.S for 246 years, we have to go back to get the answers to these questions. We must ask what is the genesis of this? There are things that happened in history that set all this in motion. It’s been the have and the have nots; occurring at the Vatican in Rome. Monarch in Europe came up with the Doctrine of Discovery. I see clearly that this was conspiracy! The essence of the Doctrine of Discovery states that whatever you find.. and if the people aren’t Christian; then take their goods, take their land, kill them, and treat them as savages. The Doctrine of discovery is still being played in in North Dakota with the pipeline. As soon as trump entered the white house; it was full speed ahead.

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: We broke Treaty!

Joe Beasley: Any treaty we’ve ever had we’ve broken.

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: I’ve heard some people say, that if it weren’t for slavery we melanin skinned people wouldn’t have the opportunities we do today?” What’s your take on that statement?

Joe Beasley: It really is IDIOTIC quite frankly… Human beings were born to be free. I hear people say these immigrants, these aliens.. This is Gods world, I’m not a citizen of the united states, I’m a citizen of the world. We’re not the only Africans that served as slaves in the Americas; we must get this clear in our heads. We’ve not been liberated! These are anecdotes not true freedom and opportunity! Just look the jails and prisons being predominately over populated with us black people. They see that beautiful black skin, and our power and are intimidated. We lived where they told us to live; it’s damnable and merely freedom within the constraints!

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: Let’s talk about your international relations, you spend a great deal of time out of the country… Great work in Brazil, Congo, and Somaliland? Exactly what is going on in these places that the rest of the world ought to know about and get involved in? Where have you decided to place your efforts? How can we get involved?

Joe Beasley: Well to free south Africa from apartheid and Nelson Mandela being incarcerated spending at least 27yrs in prison. Us that are Pan-Africanist; wherever we are in the world means we’re one people. We must get this in our head that we’re together. We’ve always welcomed these people, and gave them a seat a the table (whites), and they pushed us into the bantu stands, so the spotlight was on South Africa. We raised money for Mandela to raise money for his running for president of South Africa. I really appreciated Mandela towards the end of his life because he believed you don’t turn your back on your friends.

Joe Beasley reminisces on the days when Nelson Mandela was not welcomed in Miami, FL due to befriending Cuba’s so called “Bad Boy”, Fidel Castro. He explains the political ties between Cuba and the U.S., and how our world is still affected by its ties today.

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: So what is truly happening within the hands of Coca-Cola? You sit on the board with them right?.

Joe Beasley: No, I don’t sit on the board, I storm right into the meetings! We’ve been challenging coco-cola since the early 80s in regards to getting their act together. Coco-Cola would not allow black owners to purchase bottling plants due to the notion and essence of “We don’t sell Coca-Cola bottling companies to niggas”. Most of the coke bottling companies are owned by whites; We’ve been picked out to be picked on for at least the last 500 years. We found out Coca-Cola was paying blacks 26K less than other counterparts; so we were able to bill an empirical case of this discrimination!

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: Do you ever feel that you’re stretching yourself across the board to fight the good fight on so many different levels? Is it ever overwhelming to the point you have to turn things down or turn away?

Joe Beasley: Well one of the limiting factors is money. My board they want me to narrow it down to one or two issues. But all of these issues are coming at us and we have to find a way to address them.

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: Where would we begin to address some of these issues for those that may be interested in being the change of equality? What would you suggest the first step to be.

Joe Beasley: I think just being interested, a lot of people enjoy being ignorant; and it’s comfortable. That saying that ignorance is bliss is applicable… You have to be willing to put yourself on the line. What I say to young people all the time is, decide what you want to do, and do it! I set a plan to work closely with the Coalition it was not PUCH then; Jesse came to Kansas to organize Operation Push; and I joined as an executive director and we WORKED to build it!

Timmesha-The Gypsy Empress: Now you’re a man that holds nothing back so it’s clear that when you decide to get involved with any fight against injustice you hold nothing back… Did this full throttle enthusiasm, or passion for making sure that your community has a fair chance at winning ever affect your personal relationships?

Joe Beasley: When I get into something I’m all in. I have children, and my wife (she was an activist as well), but there was a bigger calling. I don’t think we need lukewarm people. I would say to young people is that you haven’t missed the civil rights movement; it’s really just beginning!

Ladies and gentleman, grab your popcorn and get out your note pads as Joe Beasley schools us all on what it means to be a true activist, fighting for equality! Through being arrested during peaceful protests alongside Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., and working closely with Mr. Nelson Mandela himself, Joe Beasley is a man that storms down kingdoms of inequality, and pushes the envelope of global change.

This black history month we recognize Dr. Joseph Beasley. for his tireless efforts, fearlessness, fortitude, and on being a true representation of what Loving, living Free, and living BOLD truly looks like.
To watch our exclusive interview, visit www.boldfavor.com, join our email list, and find us under the Leadership Column!


Timmesha The Gypsy Empress is an investigative Journalist uncovering stories meant to serve the greater good.

Photography by: Frozen Moment Media



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