N’DIGO, a local weekly that focuses on “the black urban agenda,” said she has felt neglected by President Obama since he left Chicago for the White House…">
Carol Felsenthal
On politics

‘N’DIGO’ Publisher Hermene Hartman: Loyalty Not One of Obama’s Qualities

In a face-to-face interview Thursday afternoon, Hermene Hartman, publisher and editor in chief of N’DIGO, a local weekly that focuses on “the black urban agenda,” said she has felt neglected by President Obama since he left Chicago for the White House…

Hermene HartmanIn a face-to-face interview Thursday afternoon, Hermene Hartman, publisher and editor in chief of N’DIGO, a local weekly that focuses on “the black urban agenda,” said she has felt neglected by President Obama since he left Chicago for the White House. Hartman, who has known Obama since 1995 and fundraised for him in his 2004 Senate run, said the president has not invited her to Washington and that loyalty is not one of his qualities.

Her comments about Obama were in contrast with what she had to say about Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel, whom she called “very appreciative and very thankful.” Hartman—who ruffled feathers when she endorsed Rahm for mayor, dismissing the African-American “consensus” pick, Carol Moseley Braun, as “a lousy candidate”—said she has been talking to Emanuel and has agreed to serve on his inauguration committee. Here, some highlights of our conversation

CF: What’s your relationship with the Obamas?
HH:
It used to be good. It used to be superb before they got to the White House. I haven’t been invited, and I’m insulted.

CF: What’s the history of your relationship with the president?
HH:
I met Barack when he was trying to get us to review Dreams from My Father. He was getting ready to run for office. [Hartman says that Obama was considering a run for alderman, and she advised him to go for a seat in the state senate.] I told him how important it was for him to make speeches on the [legislative] floor, and I said, “You’re not going to get on the aldermanic floor; Daley will shut the microphone down. Your issues are probably served better in the state than they are in City Hall.”

CF: When he ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, were you one of his first backers?
HH:
Barack came to me, and said, “I need you to raise about $50,000 for me.” I said, “When do you need it?” [He said,] “Next week.”  I said, “You’re out of your mind. I don’t have $50,000 dollars, and if I did I wouldn’t give it to you.” [He said,] “But I gotta get it. I opened up the office, turned the phones on, the lights are on, and I gotta move forward. Don’t you know Oprah? C’mon, think of something. Michelle’s gonna kill me.” So I called a friend named Al Johnson, who was the first African-American General Motors car dealer—he was very involved with Harold Washington and John Stroger, in fundraising capacity, and over the years, we’ve done a lot of things together. I asked him to meet with Barack. [I said,] “He’s a cut above and he’s gonna be something.” They hit it off, and Al gave him $50,000. [Johnson died last year at 89].

CF: Give me an example of your work for candidate Obama in 2008?
HH:
Al Sharpton… was with Hillary. I got Sharpton to support Obama before Hillary dropped out. I called him every day for a week. [UPDATE: Sharpton spokesman Rachel Noerdlinger released the following statement on March 22nd: “Rev. Sharpton was never with Hillary Clinton, nor did he publicly support her. He did, however, meet openly with all of the candidates and nearly all of the candidates addressed National Action Network’s annual national convention in 2007, including then-Senator Barack Obama. So while Rev. Sharpton was encouraged by many people including Hermene Hartman to support Barack Obama, it was Lamell McMorris who set up the initial meeting. Rev. Sharpton was very impressed with the sincerity and sensitivity in particular of Valerie Jarrett as he met the President’s team. He and President Obama had several subsequent meetings, one that was quite public at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, New York, but after two or three meetings with him Rev. Sharpton conclusively decided on his own to support him."]

CF: Care to share more on your current feelings about President Obama?
HH:
There’s a whole backroom, black community story on Barack that the white media hasn’t paid attention to. Barack was not launched by Penny Pritzker for the presidency.  Barack was launched by black businesspeople. I call them the “Day One people.” We’ve not been to the White House; we’ve not had appointments. I have barked a little bit about it.

CF: Did you ever express your disappointment to old Chicago friends who went to Washington with Obama?
HH:
I said something to Valerie Jarrett. I haven’t seen Valerie since she has been in the White House. That whole group—they forgot… or they don’t care.  

CF: You mentioned that you’re a friend of [former White House Social Secretary] Desiree Rogers. I’m surprised that you didn’t end up at one of the White House parties before she was pushed out of the job.
HH: I am, too. We all are. Barack is not necessarily loyal. In Chicago politics, that’s rule number one: be loyal; dance with the one who brought you. I see that as a key trait. I see Rahm having it. Rahm is very appreciative and very thankful. I was very loyal to Barack, but he has not been loyal to some of the people who were there for him from day one. That’s my personal disappointment in him. Did you outgrow us, or did you forget?

 

Photograph: N’Digo.com

Share

comments
3 years ago
Posted by MrJM

I can't believe Barack Obama is dealing with the deficit, unemployment, overseas conflicts and healthcare reform when people like this haven't even been invited to the White House!

Get your priorities in order Mr. President!

-- MrJM

3 years ago
Posted by ODB

I campaigned and voted for Barack for president. Eventhough I knew he has never been a politican willing to fight for anything. So far, he has not diappointed me. He is more willing to smile and grin in order to when approval of those who will never accept him, than to show backbone and uncompromising loyalty to the principles of the Democractic party.

3 years ago
Posted by ODB

campaigned and voted for Barack for president. Eventhough I knew he has never been a politican willing to fight for anything. So far, he has not diappointed me. He is more willing to smile and grin in order to when approval of those who will never accept him, than to show backbone and uncompromising loyalty to the principles of the Democractic party.

3 years ago
Posted by ElleJae

Who cares??? Why is this worthy of news space?

3 years ago
Posted by SteveThomas

Well Duh! You couldn't tell Obama was a self serving empty suited marxist jerk when you could actually claim to know him? Shame on you. Maybe that will teach you to be a little less credulous and a little more discerning.

3 years ago
Posted by SteveThomas

Well Duh! You couldn't tell Obama was a self serving empty suited marxist jerk when you could actually claim to know him? Shame on you. Maybe that will teach you to be a little less credulous and a little more discerning.

3 years ago
Posted by SteveThomas

Gosh ODB, are you saying that his destruction of our economy, nationalisation of our manufacturing and healthcare industries, coddling and enabling of government unions, constant attempts to make energy unaffordable, all around lawlessness and disregard of the Constitution haven't been enough for you? He's in contempt of two federal court orders just to pander to the likes of you. The most divisive and fiscally reckless President in the history of the world should be making you jump around like a little girl with worms in her undies with joy. Just goes to show that the deranged are never satisfied.

3 years ago
Posted by Wake up america

First of all what has Obama done for the black community? Nothing. In fact Bush dis more foe them because unemployment among blacks is higher under Obama. However Obama knowes he has the black vote because he is black. However when he's inside the white house he's white. So black people wake up. Mr Obama is using you just like he used the people that gave him money to getinto the white house.

3 years ago
Posted by pol&pers

I understand Hermene's disappointment but it looks superficial in print. She isn't upset about issues but about invitations. I have lived in DC and I recognize how important that is to people, particularly those who helped early and often.

3 years ago
Posted by Letitcia

Barack Obama campaigned for "change". He did not run on a BLACK agenda. He stepped out on a "Change" agenda. He is the first to win under certain circumstances that have affected no other candidate. In a government screwed up by generations of dyfunction, corruption, maice and greed- I don't believe hat being "Black" is his firs priority. He had a small cadre of friends before, during and after the election. That dynamic ha not changed.

3 years ago
Posted by HypnotiqOne

This is laughable. And I'd venture to say that this article is disloyal. And, sadly, over a White House invitation. And whe wonders why EVERYBODY has turned on her? There may be a need to look in the mirror, Hermene. I guess I'll continue to get a RedEye and bypass that N'Digo box...

3 years ago
Posted by Orion

If I were Obama I would not invite this woman who singlehandedly caused the failure of a great black magazine, Savoy.

She is upset to learn that she is not in the Jack and Jill, LINKS, boule crowd.

3 years ago
Posted by WTH?!

We have abortion billboards popping up all over Chicago targeting Black women as co-conspirators in "Black genocide" and this heifer is having a damned tantrum because she hasn't gotten an invitation to the White House??? We have children not being educated properly in some of Chicago's public schools and this heifer is trippin' because she hasn't been invited to the White House??? We have food deserts in low income communities ridden with crime and poverty...people are losing homes and YET without jobs and this fool...is interviewing...about not being invited to the White House??? She couldn't come to MY HOUSE with that ignorant drama!...Hermene Hartman...VOICE OF THE INSANE! #getalifeandsomefriends...Dayum!

3 years ago
Posted by mizzone

The President is smart not to invite her to the White House. She is absolutely evil. He probably heard about her slapping her employees and all of her shady business and real estate deals. I'm sure she wouldn't pass the necessary vetting process to get into the White House.

Now she's trying to suck up to the Mayor elect. Give me a break. She should go somewhere and sit down. It's her and people like her that have contributed to the destruction of the Black community in Chicago. Her self serving nature is out of style as is she.

3 years ago
Posted by flwrchild23

Interesting. I've worked with Ms. Hartman for the past couple of years doing various photo shoots (covers for Ndigo included) and I'm yet to get paid. Really Hermene? You want to get invited to the White House and you can't pay the contributors to your local newspaper? Your comments are irrelevant until you handle your own business and show loyalty to those who have helped you.

3 years ago
Posted by Arnetta

I can not believe just because you have some dealings with the President before he became President he owes you an invite to the White House. I have been invited to the White House and I did not raise any funds for his Presidency but I voted for him He has invited many of his campaign workers to the his Cristmas Paries at the White House. How hard did you campaign for him? What has the Indigo done for the Black People. What have you done in the Black Communties to make it better? When you do have an affair it so expensive the poor cannot afford a ticket.Why is when Blacks get ahead we as Black people tear them down. He was voted President of the USA not President for the Black People. What he had to face in the White House when he got there is a wonder he has all of his senses and he has to listen the Whites tear him down and he has to hear his own people tear him down Give him a Break. Send his a Email and ask why he has not ivited you to thw White House why are you tearing him down in the press

2 years ago
Posted by Shell

I agree the POTUS as not been the Black President us radical Chicagoans would have preferred and supported. I'm constantly asking, what has he done specifically for the African American community. If anything, its not pronouced enough, him and Holder. I liken him to Jackie Robinson. With all that said, ain't no way in hell, I would vote for the alterative. I'm still proud that he broke the Color Barrier, that lived to see it. Don't let that slave mantality flare up with statements like,we tried a Black man once. That type of slave talk is what keep African-American unemployment so high, some Black business owners use that in their hiring practices. Most of my work experience was with Black Owned Business, but It took a ACT Of Congress for Whites to hire Blacks, but Blacks hire other races without Loyality to their race, so Obama does not have a monopoly and was not the first to betray. So, Ms. Hartman what does your staff and associates look like ?

Submit your comment