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PoliticsNation, Friday, May 15th, 2015

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Date: May 15, 2015
Guest: Paul Butler, Holly Bailey, Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle, Gladys

CRAIG MELVIN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: That`s "the Ed Show" for this week. I`m
Craig Melvin in for Ed Shultz. "Politics Nation" with Reverend Al Sharpton
starts right now.

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Craig. And thanks to you for
tuning in.

We start tonight with breaking news. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced
to death for his role in the Boston marathon bombing. The jury deliberated
for little over 15 hours in the penalty phase of this trial. Tsarnaev is
the first person sentenced to death in federal court since Timothy McVeigh,
the Oklahoma City bomber in 1997. Appeals will likely go on in this case
for at least a decade. Family of several victims were in the courtroom
today, including the parents of the youngest victim, Martin Richard. The
U.S. attorney from Massachusetts spoke after the verdict.


CARMEN ORTIZ, U.S. ATTORNEY OF MASSACHUSETTS: Our goal in trying this case
was to insure that the jury had all of the information that they needed to
reach a fair and just verdict. We believe we accomplished that goal.
Today the jury has spoken. And Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will pay with his life
for his crimes.


SHARPTON: Joining me now from Boston is Holly Bailey, the national
correspondent for Yahoo! News. She was inside the courthouse today and
former federal prosecutor Paul Butler. Thank you both for being here.


SHARPTON: Holly, I want to start with you. Can you describe the scene in
the courtroom today when the verdict was read?

and I think every time that we ever see Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in court, we look
at him for any kind of reaction or any kind of emotion. And throughout
this trial he has shown very little of it. And it was not any different

The verdict was read. He just stood there with his hands crossed in front
of his -- his hands clasped in front of his body. He just stood there and
didn`t really have much of a reaction. I mean, afterwards, his attorneys
asked for each of the jurors to be polled on what they have voted on this
verdict. And as they each rose and said that they voted for death, I mean,
some of the jurors cried and Tsarnaev looked at them but still he didn`t
have much emotion.

SHARPTON: Holly, what was the mood in Boston outside of the courthouse?

BAILEY: I would describe it as very somber. It was actually very strange.
There was a huge media presence here obviously. When I came outside after
being in the courthouse for the verdict, it was just eerily silence in many
ways. I mean, there was lot people waiting for survivors to come out,
looking for a juror that they wanted to talk. I mean, it was just very
somber I would describe it. Afterwards I saw the Richard family leave and,
you know, there have been sort of the poster family for what, you know, the
crime. I mean, their family was ripped apart in a way that can never be

SHARPTON: Their son was the youngest victim.

BAILEY: Yes. And they just -- I mean, they looked stricken. I mean, I
don`t think anything changes for them after this.

SHARPTON: Paul the defense team tried to spare Tsarnaev of the death
penalty largely by arguing he was under the influence of his older brother
but the verdict form read in court shows only three jurors believed that to
be true. Why did this jury have a hard time buying into that defense,

BUTLER: Reverend, the prosecution was relentless in presenting Mr.
Tsarnaev as this cold-blooded calculated jihadist who showed no remorse and
on the basis of his killing, four people including an 8-year-old boy, did
not deserve to live and the jury was ultimately persuaded. Ironically,
there was so much attention put by the prosecution on the 8-year-old
because that`s an aggravating factor, the jury has to find factors that are
aggravating. So that`s -- if a victim is unusually vulnerable like a kid
or a senior citizen, that`s an aggravating factor.

But in fact, this 8-year-old boy`s parents did not think that Mr. Tsarnaev
should receive the death penalty. They were advocates of life without
parole, but the jury wasn`t allowed to know that.

SHARPTON: Now. Holly, the families of several victims spoke today after
the verdict. One mother was asked if she felt closure. Here is what she


put a leg on every day. So I mean, I don`t know closure but I can tell you
it feels like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulder. So I think
there is some form of a good feeling.


SHARPTON: Holly, a lot of these family members and victims were in the
courtroom every day. Did this provide the motional backdrop for the entire

BAILEY: Definitely. I mean whenever we would see it, this is a trial that
has been just horrific testimony. I mean, we have seen horrific pictures
and video and we saw them again and again. I mean, the prosecution just
really hammered in just how awful this crime was. And we saw, I mean, you
know, Martin Richards` bloody clothes. We saw pictures of people`s limbs
hanging off. It was completely terrible. And when these things were
shown, we would see the jury sort of glance in the direction where the
families were sitting and many families were crying along as they saw this.
And it was a very, very tough trial.

SHARPTON: You know, Tsarnaev`s defense attorney, Judy Clark, has
successful spared several high profile defendants the death penalty in the
past call (ph) including the unibomber and Jared Lee, the man who shot
Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. The defense was unsuccessful in this phase
of the trial. But what will the strategy be going forward to likely
appeals process, Paul?

BUTLER: You know, Reverend, you`re right. Judy Clark is one of the best
lawyers out there. Really her strength is getting plea bargains before the
trial in which the government agrees to life without parole. But here the
prosecution was relentless from the attorney general on down at only going
after the death penalty.

So, there will be a long appeal process. Timothy McVeigh, last terrorist
to get the death penalty, it took him four years to be executed. That was
actually pretty quick. There are other people who have been on death row
for 10 years, 20 years is not unheard of. So this is, you know, it`s not
the beginning, but it is not anywhere near the end of a long legal process.

SHARPTON: Holly Bailey, not Berry as I mistakenly said, Holly Bailey and
Paul Butler, thank you both for your time tonight.

BUTLER: You`re welcome, Reverend.

BAILEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We also have breaking news in the deadly train crash in
Philadelphia. The NTSB interviewed the train`s engineer and two other
employees today and say they will call in the FBI to review the damage.
They say the engineer, Brandon Bostian has been extremely cooperative. But
listen to how he described one of the employee statements just moments ago.


ROBERT SUMWALT, NTSB BOARD MEMBER: She also believed she heard her
engineer say something about his train being struck by something. Our
investigation is not independently confirmed this information but we have
seen damage to the left hand lower portion of the Amtrak windshield that we
have asked the FBI to come in and look at for us.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is NBC news correspondent Rehema Ellis.

Thank you for being here, Rehema.

REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Rev. You know, what you
were just playing there was the NTSB official telling us about an assistant
conductor who was in the fourth car of Amtrak train 188, talking about a
radio conversation she heard between the engineer of her train, the fatal
Amtrak 188 and a local Philadelphia commuter train, they call them septa.
And the engineer said what you just heard from the NTSB folks. That some
kind of a conversation was going on and the septa engineer said that he
thought that his train had been hit by a rock or shot at and he saw some
damage to his windshield. The engineer of the Amtrak train 188 responded
saying something similar had happened to him as well.

NTSB now says that they are going to bring in the FBI to examine that front
of the engine to see if there is any kind of damage to it consistent to a
rock damage or any kind of shot being fired at it.

We should also point out that out of this news conference you were saying
that indeed they did interview the engineer of Amtrak train 188, that he
was cooperative, that his lawyer was with him. But he has no recollection
of what happened after he left Philadelphia station, 30th street station,
blew the whistle as was the normal procedure and after that he just doesn`t
remember what happened.

SHARPTON: Now, we can also look at the thoughts that Bostian, the
engineer, reportedly posted on a train discussion board. He reportedly
said quote "I wish the railroads had been more proactive in adopting safety
technology and it shouldn`t take an act of Congress to get industry to
adopt common sense safety systems on their own."

The NTSB just said he is being extremely cooperative as you said. How can
he help with the investigation, Rehema?

ELLIS: How can he help meaning the engineer?


ELLIS: I suspect what he is doing right now. And that is not hiding
himself or shielding himself from authorities, but coming forward with his
lawyer present and answering the questions to the best of his ability. At
some point, they are going to have to match what he says with what
happened. They are going to be looking very closely at the front of this
train. Did he suffer a traumatic experience that made it impossible for
him to remember? Questions they are trying to find answers to, Reverend

SHARPTON: Rehema Ellis, thank you for your reporting tonight.

Coming up, President Obama`s powerful statement today about police officers
killed in the line of duty. And the need to restore trust in the

Also, Jeb Bush`s awful week and what it`s done to what is now a very
crowded GOP presidential race.

And remembering a king. The world honors the blues legend. I will talk
about his life and legacy with some legends in their own right. Gladys
Knight, Dionne Warwick, and Patty Level (ph). Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Coming up, Jeb Bush has had a tough week and he has plenty of
GOP rivals eager to knock him out of the race before he officially gets in.
It`s a crowded field and we`ll talk about it with former RNC chairman
Michael Steele ahead.


SHARPTON: It seems like every day another Republican is running for
president. The latest? Former Texas governor Rick Perry. He`s making a
special announcement about it on June 4th. Joining the six other
Republicans who made their campaigns official. But there`s more. The
Republican national committee is running a 2016 straw poll on its Web site
and it has 36 potential candidates, 36. It`s like an entire baseball team
plus half of another one. And today, a party official admitted they don`t
know what to do with all of them during debates.


SEAN SPICER. CHIEF STRATEGIST, RNC: There`s no cap. What there is some
realities. There is some logistical realities that you could only fit x
number of people potential on the stage.


SHARPTON: Some think it`s surprising that they`re at this point because
Jeb Bush was supposed to scare everybody else out of running. Instead he
stumbled again and again. Luckily the architect of his brother`s campaign
can see the bright side.


KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The good news for him is he`s had a bad
week and he`s got 36 more weeks until we start voting in Iowa.


SHARPTON: Yes, he`s got 36 more weeks but he could have 36 more bad weeks
and he`s got a whole lot of competition trying to knock him off stage.

Joining me now is former RNC chairman and MSNBC political analyst Michael
Steele. Thank you for being here.

good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Michael, I want to get to the crowded field in a second. But
first, can Jeb Bush recover from his mistakes when there are so many other
candidates who would like to see him fail early?

STEELE: Well, you`re right about the candidates who want to see him fail
early. Particularly those that have carved out the right flank on foreign
policy. The Marco Rubios of the world. They like to be at the whole of
that space. And this flab, this real big mistake this week really helps
them and plays to that particular narrative.

But I think Karl Rove is right. I think at the end of the day, Bush will
weather this. Getting his sea legs if you will. Keep in mind, he has not
been a candidate for office for close to 13 years. The dynamics of
campaigns have changed, the 24-hour news cycle. So I think there is a lot
of adjustments that his team has got to get him up to speed on. And this
was a good first test of that. They failed it but it still a good test for
them to see what they need to do in order to get him ready to roll out in

SHARPTON: You know, a "New York Times" reported on some of the strategies
the RNC is considering to deal with all of the candidates. And Governor
Bobby Jindal`s allies have come up with an interesting idea. Quote "one
idea they have floated back to back debates with seven to eight candidates
chosen at random in each. Could that go completely off the rails, Michael?

STEELE: Yes, you think? Yes. Can you imagine the country tuning into
three days of debates with Republican candidates? I don`t see that
happening. They are going to probably figure out a way to narrow this
thing down a little bit and allow for as many as possible, probably
somewhere between 12 and 16 on the stage. Because after a point, Reverend,
as you know, having run for president, you are standing on the stage, you
want more than 30 seconds to answer a question. And that`s what you`re
getting close to the more candidates you have up on the stage. So I think
the party has got a good problem. They have got a big bench that they can
go to unlike the Democrats who are trying to figure out who they can get
into the campaign. Republicans are trying to figure out who we can keep
off the stage. So it`s an interesting dynamic for sure.

SHARPTON: Let me go back to Jeb Bush because he really stumbled when
trying to talk about the Iraq war. But "the New York Times" points out
there are a lot of other questions about his brother`s policies and
presidency, Jeb Bush could be asking. Like would you support water
boarding as an interrogation technique? Would you have cut short your
vacation to oversee the response to hurricane Katrina? Would you have
supported the trouble asset relief program which bailed out banks during
the 2008 financial crisis. I mean, can he handle these questions, Michael?

STEELE: Yes, I think he can for the most part, Reverend. I think this --
like I said before, this first step -- misstep, I think probably awakened
him to certain new realities for the campaign. But I rather -- I mean, he
answers those questions to what point. I mean, that`s history. You`re
saying what you would have done seven years ago. I think the country wants
to know are you prepared to take us to war again over the next seven years,
over the next four years, over the next three years.

So I think, you know, there is going to have to be that balance of wanting
to figure out what he would have done the same or different from his
brother`s policies versus what he`s going to do in his own right as
president. You will get some sense of that in how he answers those other
Bush questions.

But the questions I`m interested in is how does Jeb Bush distinguish
himself? What is Jeb Bush want to do as president particularly given the
threat of ISIS. And particularly given that when the economy is. That is
going to be a very interesting conversation for Republicans to have.
Because now you don`t hear people running around talking about the Obama
economy the way they were three years ago. The numbers are changing.
People`s attitudes are changing so there is going to be some real
interesting pressures going to be brought to bear on that front as well.

SHARPTON: Michael Steele, thank you for your time tonight. Have a nice

STEELE: You, too, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a blues great dies. I will talk to music legends Gladys
Knight, Dion Warwick and Patty Labelle about the legacy of B.B. King.


SHARPTON: Hitting a nerve. President Obama talks about poverty and the
right wing media and gets an ugly reaction.

Plus the thrill is gone. Music legends Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and
patty Labelle on B.B. King.



regular basis, it is a constant menu, they will find folks who make me mad
that I don`t know where they find them. Like I don`t want to work. I just
want a free Obama phone or whatever.


SHARPTON: President Obama going after right wing media this week for
depicting low income Americans as lazy and leeches. And John Stewart
reviewed the record.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Let`s demonstrate FOX`s contempt for those in
poverty in our first course of this meal in a (INAUDIBLE) if you will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America`s poor are actually living the good life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just call him pennies from government heaven.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United States of entitlement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A nation of takers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Entitlement society.


STEWART: We have nothing against the poor. It`s just that their ravenous
greed bursts through America`s chest like the monster and alien.


SHARPTON: It`s one thing for the right wing media to live in denial. It`s
another thing to see the reality of right wing policies around the country
like in Wisconsin where lawmakers passed a bill preventing welfare
recipients from buying seafood and forcing people to take drug tests. Are
the leading GOP contenders pushing trickle down policies railing on
entitlements and calling for cuts to the safety net? It might start out as
just more ugly rhetoric on the right but it ends up having serious real
world impact.

Joining me now is Clarence Page from the "Chicago Tribune" and MSNBC
contradictor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Clarence, the President was talking about the impact the media
can have on how Americans think about low income Americans. How critical
an issue is this?

PAGE: Well, I was actually surprised to see the FOX News folks getting
defensive about this. All of the sudden they are sounding ashamed or
embarrassed by the notion that they portray the poor as being leeches and
free loaders who don`t want to work. This is a constant narrative and of
course that has an impact on people who listen, who either desire or
innocently wander into having their perceptions of the poor distorted.
Yes, there are people who cheat here and there on government benefits.
That`s also against the law and people do go to jail for that sort of
thing. But for the most part, as President Obama said, we`re talking about
like say, low income working single moms who are waitresses or other
minimum wage jobs who are trying to get by on minimum wage. That`s a very
different picture than what you see on FOX most of the time.

SHARPTON: Victoria, Clarence talked about the right wing getting
defensive. Here is how FOX News reacted to President Obama`s comments.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think the President is spinning the failure of his own
policies and I think he`s blaming us and I think we are an honest

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s a distorted view of FOX. It`s not the first time,
it surely won`t be the last.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: President Obama takes a swipe at FOX News
today for showcasing low income folks who are gaming the system on his

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What he`s trying to do is shield Americans from the

arrogance knows no limits.


SHARPTON: Victoria, is the right wing media living in a state of denial?
I mean, how do you pierce the bubble?

SOTO: Well, what is striking to me, Reverend was that level of
defensiveness. Because there is a there there when they get so prickly
about the comments the President made and one of the problems I think that
the President is tapping on is the lack of consistency in the GOP. So, the
GOP is very quick to refer to Christian values and what would Jesus do and
this is a Christian way when they`re talking about abortion or when they`re
talking about gay marriage. But they forget that the Christian world view
is also one about providing for those who are not as fortunate thinking
about social justice, and they can`t square that with their ugly rhetoric,
and it`s not just rhetoric but it`s also the imagery, they pick those
really bad examples of those few people who game the system and they play
that over and over again. So, they know that they are in the wrong and
that`s why they are getting so defensive.

SHARPTON: You know, Clarence, an NBC Wall Street Journal poll found 63
percent of democrats believe poverty is caused by circumstances beyond a
person`s control. Only 27 percent of republicans believe that. How much
of that is a result of the depictions and the right wing media of the poor
as lazy moochers just looking for a handout?

PAGE: Well, whatever doesn`t originate with that right wing view is
certainly reinforced by it. We`re talking about a defining issue between
right and left in America today, Reverend. On the right you have folks who
say that if poor urban blacks, for example, didn`t have so many children
out of wedlock we wouldn`t have the poverty problem. On the left the
argument is that structural changes in the economy have changed. You know,
we have so many industries that brought jobs to urban dwellers that aren`t
here anymore. They have moved overseas or otherwise or else you need
higher skills that are being provided by the system right now. So, that`s
a defining issue of American politics today. That`s why the way issues of
poverty are covered is so important.

SHARPTON: You know, Victoria, we also hear this ugly rhetoric from right
wing lawmakers. Sound recently surface to Scott Walker in 2008 using the
term poverty pimps to describe government assistance. Listen.


say this as a fairly aggressive term but I think there are too many poverty
pimps in our society, too many government officials who rely on poverty as
a way of means of political control, too many community based organizations
who rely on their existence by perpetuating that cycle of dependency.

SHARPTON: You know, Mitt Romney`s 47 percent comments ultimately doomed
his campaign. Do republicans in 2016 risk the same backlash if they use
this kind of ugly language, Victoria?

SOTO: Well, regrettably, Reverend. I don`t think this is going to be the
last of the poverty pimps that we hear from Scott Walker. He`s going to
use it its read meat in the primary but then he`s going to be in a lot of
trouble when he gets into the general and he has a larger pool of people
and they`re not going to stand for it.

SHARPTON: Clarence Page and Victoria Defrancesco Soto, thank you for your
time tonight and have a great weekend.

PAGE: You, too Reverend. Thank you.

SOTO: Thank you, reverend.

SHARPTON: Next the legacy of a blues legend. I will speak to Dionne
Warwick, Gladys Knight and Patty Labelle about BB King. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today we mourn the loss of a legend and a king, B.B. King, king
of the blues and legendary guitarist passed away today at the age of 89.
From his childhood as a sharecropper`s son, B.B. King rose to become one of
the most influential artists in popular music. He started recording in the
1940s when he became known as Blues Boy King or B.B. King. Over four
decades he won 15 Grammys. In 1995 he was the first blues musician to be
honored with a Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award. Later playing at
the White House for President Obama.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The king of the blues, Mr. B.B.




SHARPTON: And he never stopped perfecting his music.


B.B. KING, MUSICIAN: Today for a sound, you know, like the guy -- I
haven`t been able to find that completely. I`m satisfied at times with the
sound of my guitar. Not all the time but sometimes I`m satisfied with the
way that it seems to sing a bit, but it is a little something there that I
hear but I can`t tell anybody about it. I don`t know how. But I if ever
get it I will know.


SHARPTON: B.B. King impacted musicians across generations including some
of the biggest stars of Rock and Roll.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I wanted to thank him for all the inspiration and
encouragement he gave me as a player over the years and for the friendship
that we enjoyed. There are not many left that play in the pure way that
B.B. did. He was a beacon for all of us who loved this kind of music and I
thank him from the bottom of my heart.


SHARPTON: B.B. King continued touring all the way up until last year with
his famous black Gibson guitar which he named Lucille. He is no longer
with us but his music will live on.

Joining me now on the phone are some legends of the music industry, Dionne
Warwick, Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight and a disciple of B.B. King`s Blues
musician Joe Bonamassa who first opened for B.B. King at the age of 12.
Thank you all for joining me.





SHARPTON: Dionne, let me begin with you. It`s such an honor to have all
three of you together and Joe. Dionne, what did B.B. King mean to you?

DIONNE WARWICK, SINGER (on the phone): Oh my goodness, to me he was
probably the epitome of the word gentleman. He was a kind human being. He
always had kind words for me and words of encouragement. And it is just a
shame that he has made his transition already. But, you know, he`s in
better hands right now.

SHARPTON: Patty, you performed with B.B. King, what do you remember most
about being on stage with him?

PATTI LABELLE, SINGER (on the phone): Just his wonderful spirit and we
were both diabetic, and so we would talk about our problem and I just, I
loved him so much and I know that he is resting in a better place because
when you`re not feeling that well, it`s time for you to leave. You know,
and I pray for the family. But he is such a memory. I mean, he`s one of
the best ever.

SHARPTON: Gladys, you performed with B.B. King and you called him a
brilliant man. Why do you think his music resonated with so many people?

GLADYS KNIGHT, SINGER (on the phone): Well, for one thing he touched the
spirit. Any time you touch the spirit it`s going to resonate. He was
uncle B.B. to us. And you know how we talk all the time especially among
our people about the village?


KNIGHT: I was 12 years old when I first went on my supersonic retractions
tour with the -- okay?


KNIGHT: And we have been knowing Uncle B.B. way before that because he
used to play in Atlanta all the time. So, he and my mom got to be friends
because we would perform in Atlanta. And whenever we would go on the road,
he would just show up even if he wasn`t performing on the show, he would
just show up and say you kids hungry? He was more than just a performer to
us. He was a family member and he extended that village that my mom and my
dad and my uncle and all of those. So you will get a sense of knowing who
the man really, really, really was. And plus he lived in Vegas for such a
long time and we were at his house just about as much as we were at our


KNIGHT: You know, he was really really a family member. Taught us about
the industry and how we used to perform it. If we did something not too
cool on the road, Uncle B.B. would come and chastise us. What are you
doing? Why did you do that? You shouldn`t do that. You know, he was an
amazing human being. We know the masterful musician that he was. And is.
He going to be playing up there in heaven. Okay?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You got that right.

KNIGHT: But that`s the way he was. And we used to wonder how my mom knew
about everything we did on the road and her and Uncle B.B. be talking, you
know the kids did so and so today. Or they did good. Or they didn`t do
this. And that`s what was happening. He was an amazing human being that
cared that much.

SHARPTON: Dionne, you collaborated. What are the memories that stick out
with you about B.B. King?

WARWICK: You know, I was asked to do a duet with him and I kind of
scratched my head and said B.B. King wants me to sing with him? He gave me
the studio and the time to be there, I was there two hours before he even
showed up. I was so honored that this man asked me to sing with him the
song called "Humming Bird." And I just, I mean, he was -- half the time I
wouldn`t know when to come in because I was so busy listening to him.



WARWICK: He was just the perfect, perfect musician, entertainer, man.

SHARPTON: You know, Patti?

LABELLE: We toured together a lot.

SHARPTON: Oh really?

LABELLE: Yes, all the time.

SHARPTON: Patti, you are known for your outstanding presence on stage and
all, but what advice did B.B. ever give you that stuck with you? Did he
ever give you guidance or advice?

LABELLE: Advice for the -- of that show, it was about the illness.
Diabetes. You know, take care of myself. And just always kind. Such a
graceful man.


LABELLE: We talked about that. We had that in common. And of course, he
appreciated my talent and of course I appreciated his. So it was like, you
know, playing whenever we performed to, like playing with a friend.

SHARPTON: You know, one of the things that struck me about him, Gladys, is
you know, I met him through my civil rights work and being close with James
Brown. He was a real gentleman. He wasn`t like the rough and tumble guys
you would meet in the music industry.

KNIGHT: Right. Absolutely. Nothing like that at all. He had a spirit
and light about him that whenever you were around him you wanted to do
right. You wanted to do good. And when you did good he let you know, you
did great, baby. You know? Stay true. Stay this way. Stay that way.
You know? And he was a great example. So many talk out of their mouths
and don`t live it, Uncle B.B. lived it, you know, and that`s what made him
so special. You could see his light.

LABELLE: Uh-huh.

KNIGHT: And work ethic like you would not believe.

LABELLE: Uh-huh.

KNIGHT: The man was working all the time. Say Uncle B.B., when you going

SHARPTON: That was part of my conversation with the queens of soul,
remembering the legendary B.B. King. We have more ahead on his influence
on young musicians and how he inspired a generation. That`s next.


SHARPTON: We`re back now for more of my conversation with legendary
singers Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle and Gladys Knight remembering the
amazing life and legacy of B.B. King.

He also had a very unique at least for the music industry especially in his
error. Unique appreciation and respect for women, Dionne. And I thought
that was something very striking about him, Dionne.

WARWICK: Absolutely. That was something I adored about him. Whenever he
walked into a room, you had no choice but to smile.


WARWICK: He brought that out of me. Every time I saw him, the first thing
I did was I grinned. You know, a big old grin on my face. He was, as I
said, the -- of a gentleman, he cared about women and he did not allow any
disrespect when he was in that room with women. Just a magnificent man.

SHARPTON: What would be his legacy Patti to musicians for years and years
to come?

LABELLE: To stay true to your craft. Believe in yourself. And as the
lady said, respect women. And respect the world. And he did that. He was
loved by everybody. You know --


So, I believe that would be something that we will -- you know, that is the
legacy that B.B. is leaving with us. And then we lost Benny King.


LABELLE: You know, and we`re losing so many of our wonderful talent.

SHARPTON: The giants.

LABELLE: I did say too in Benny, you know, that he was probably also
misery and wanted to get out of here.


LABELLE: But you know, they all left us with great thoughts of gentlemen.
They were both gentlemen. They were wonderful people to perform with and
to be around.

SHARPTON: Joe, give me, Joe, a sense of him as a guitar player. You are a
guitarist and brought a lot of what you learned from his influence into a
new generation. Give me a perspective as a guitarist.

JOE BONAMASSA, BLUES ROCK MUSICIAN: As a guitar player, you know, when
B.B. played one note you knew it was him and that was his fingerprint. And
it`s so hard as a guitar player to find your own sound and your own style.
And to be able to identify yourself musically with a single note was
intrinsically only B.B. King, maybe Freddie King and Albert King, the three
kings could do that. And it`s important to remember that, you know, B.B.,
I met him 25 years ago and he helped me get started in the music business
and I`m not the only person that he did that for.


BONAMASSA: And his legacy in my life, he gave me a stage and he allowed me
to play to his audience and his audience became my audience and I could
never repay that debt of gratitude that I have for the man who befriended
me and gave me that opportunity.

SHARPTON: You know, one of the things that Joe, I have heard all day is
how he would help younger artists and as you hear these three queens talk
about, they were all much younger than him but he never tried to hog the
spotlight. He kind of pushed young people.

BONAMASSA: He always wanted to see the blues flourish and his outlook was
the more people, young people that are involved in it, the healthier the
music is. And you see that now with a bunch of, you know, I call them
kids, they are 20 years younger than I am, you know, out there making
records, touring, all in the legacy and the foundation that B.B. King laid
over the last 60 years.

SHARPTON: Patti, you talked about how he stayed true to his craft. Blues
becoming a real authentic American music, it was really rooted in our
community and he rooted it in the nation and the world. How important is
that to what he would want to be remembered as?

LABELLE: He would want to be remembered as just what you said. I mean he
started. He kept it clean. He kept it honest. And there are so many
people who are -- I have a guitar player who sounds just like him and we
call him little B.B, you know? And there are so many people, you know, not
just blues people, people of all music love B.B. King.

KNIGHT: And there are so many things that we don`t get credit for as a
people, you know, blues and jazz started right here at home with us and
with him being so pure with his music and to be able to reach all
audiences, all kinds of people and that kind of thing is quite an honor and
we respect him for it. Most people do. And I think it`s quite something
that he deserves that honor that he kept it all this time. You know what
he used to do with us before we got to be headliners, talking about being
unselfish in the industry, getting back to that. When we toured with him
like after the first maybe a week out there, we used to do like 65 one-

SHARPTON: Sixty five one nighters?

KNIGHT: Yes. Sixty five one nighters. That was the tour back in those


KNIGHT: And before we got through the first week he would say and y`all
closing tonight.

SHARPTON: Wow! That was unheard of.

KNIGHT: So unselfish and we got our feet wet with him watching us. You
know, him saying that was great. See how you did this. See how you did
that? I can`t tell you enough about Uncle B.B. Yes.

SHARPTON: Do you think that anyone can appreciate this? I mean in the
music business it`s so competitive but he seemed not to be full of that
competitive spirit. Seemed like he knew who he was and he was comfortable
with that.

WARWICK: Undoubtedly.

KNIGHT: Absolutely.

WARWICK: You know, I mean, you look at people like Eric Clapton who would
jump a mountain to be next to B.B. and has.

KNIGHT: Absolutely.

WARWICK: Within the rock -- I mean, every arena of music, B.B. was revered
and deserved being revered.

KNIGHT: Uh-huh.

WARWICK: He`s magic.

KNIGHT: Right. In or out of the country.

WARWICK: Uh-huh.

SHARPTON: All over the world.

WARWICK: All over the world.

SHARPTON: He`s certainly made his mark and the whole world remembers him
and remembers his music forever. And I`m honored that you all would take
time to remember a man that never forgot all of us, Dionne Warwick, Patti
Labelle, Gladys Knight, and Joe Bonamassa, thank you all for your time this
evening and for sharing your memories of B.B. King with us.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Thank you. We love him then and we love him now.


SHARPTON: Bye, bye.




PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We hold them up as heroes because
that`s what they are. It takes a special kind of courage to be a peace
officer, to be the one that people turn to in their most desperate moments,
to be willing to run into a dangerous situation when everybody else is
running the other way.


SHARPTON: President Obama today on Capitol Hill speaking on the final day
of national police week. He met with families and loved ones of officers
killed in the line of duty and he said we owe it to them to work on
bringing the police and community together.


OBAMA: We can work harder as a nation to heal the rifts that still exist
in some places between law enforcement and the people you risk your lives
to protect. We owe it to all of you who wear the badge with honor. And we
owe it to your fellow officers who gave their last full measure of


SHARPTON: Powerful words. And I want to close tonight by thanking once
again Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight and blues musician, Joe
Bonamassa for calling in and remembering B.B. King. Let us remember if we
just embrace ourselves and be authentic you can start as a sharecropper`s
child and end as a king that the world respects. That`s what B.B. King

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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