A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it annoys enough people to make it worth it.
MARYLAND, USA Civil rights activist, firearms instructor and podcaster known as the Black Man With A Gun ™ retires with over six hundred available episodes. Rev. Kenn Blanchard, also a Christian pastor has decided to pass the torch of gun rights advocacy to the next generation of social media influencers that have grown exponentially on the internet over the past five years.
The Black Man With A Gun persona emerged in 1999 with the release of the website of the same name announcing the self-published book of the same name in 2000. It was an ominous time to be pro-gun. There was a tragedy at a school named Columbine. Some were worried about the Apocalypse and Y2K.
Oprah Winfrey had a TV show and a Book Club that was making stars out of hacks at the time. Blanchard was elated when someone from her team requested a copy of his book for review.
“All I wanted to be is a resource for saving lives in the community. I could be the go-to guy to stop accidents in the homes, protect single mothers; and help boys become men.”
That didn’t happen.
Blanchard did begin speaking around the country to promote his book which with the website made him look authoritative. Websites were not common in 2001 unless you have a lot of resources. This website was created by a woman with a PhD that was a friend of a friend.
It was bigger than the NRA’s at the time. The Libertarian Party of Maryland liked Blanchard so much that they wanted him for a gubernatorial candidate.
Several websites around the country put his face and info on their websites. Some claimed him as a conservative, some a progressive liberal and even some a Black Nationalist.
African American themed book stores were the thing and they didn’t want to sell my book.
They said it didn’t promote the kind of values they wanted to reflect in their store. I thought it was odd though that a book about responsible gun ownership would be rebuffed while the books with the best placement in the store were about pimps, prostitutes and street hustlers. A book called “Monster,” the autobiography of a gang member had the most prominent spot in the window at the time.
I’ve been there and done that.
I got the NRA’s Eddie Eagle to do the one and only sold out appearance at an African American event in Washington, DC of 10,000 people. I received a Civil Rights Award from the NRA that got me a standing ovation at an Annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ.
Before the web presence, I was just as busy. I created a national gun club for African Americans called the Tenth Cavalry Gun in 1992. There are even more details on my bio page at http://kennblanchard.com/about
Tenth Cavalry at the new NRA range in 1992
May I continue?
I started the Urban Shooter Podcast after being interviewed by Mark Vanderberg on his podcast back in 2007 called Gun Rights Radio. Mark sparked my love of Old Time radio and the desire to be on terrestrial radio since a teen.
I tried everything on that podcast. We had a weekly audio drama called Zombie Strike! That some loved and some hated. We had a couple of burgeoning comedians. I have interviewed over 200 influential guests. And some not so. I stumbled, mumbled and sang to my heart’s content. I told stories and shared African American history with an audience I didn’t know would care. And I loved them for it. I told them my life, and they shared my time and experiences as the “pastor of patriots, pistoleros, and Paladins.”
The podcast helped me learn and focus my craft of speaking, preaching and reaching people. It helped me learn about myself.
The desire to retire from the gun rights movement grew after the 2019 Gun Rights Policy Conference in Arizona. I got a chance to see the heirs of my struggle. There are a handful of activist that are doing it right. They don’t have to chase advertisers or sponsors like I did. They have thousands of followers off the break.
And then there was the successful 2 A Rally in Washington DC. 2000 of my closest friends put on a major event without the usual foolishness. In spite of the naysayers it happened. This event again gave me the “warm and fuzzy” that I could depart this space and go on to other things.
I was tired of trying to convince others that I was still valuable. I was tired of watching people with no credibility or integrity –flourish. I was tired of re-introducing myself. I was tired of defending what I was doing to my wife, churches and a long list of connections.
I wanted to go out before I said something that got me into trouble. They old guys in the balcony on the Muppet Show were about to get a third.
Right after I announced my “retirement” my computer gave up the ghost. It was apropos.
I am not finished though.
My voice and passion for others is stronger. I plan to continue to podcast and write.
On guns, I am still pro-rights, pro-guns. I care more about the gun owner than the brand, model or reissue of a firearm.
I love the brother or sister that also cares about this nation, their communities and family enough to be a citizen.
For thirty years I have fought for the rights of gun owners of all colors, and categories. I am a part of the family that cares for and encourages the growth or development of someone or something.
One of my biggest regrets is not knowing how to use the ever changing search engine optimization. What I plan to do is to become a better storyteller that can share wisdom, good times and inspiration. I’m taking the name from an Old World French and African class of traveling poets, musicians, and storytellers that maintained a tradition of oral history called griots.
This new podcast will speak to and about elements of American history, culture, that help us do better. There will definitely be some gun stuff there.
The Second Amendment is so important to our nation, it’s in the Bill of Rights.
The American Grio is coming. I am hoping you’ll come along for the ride.
It’s everything that is you and me.
Check out these podcast: Black Man With A Gun Show , Speak Life church , and Indian Motorcycle radio The Books, Kenn has written.