The farewell episode of The Montel Williams Show aired last Friday, a bittersweet goodbye for an Emmy Award-winning program that's been on the air for 17 years. "Wait!" I hear you cry. "Prince, why would you of all people even care about Montel Williams? You watch The People's Court every day at 1:00PM—the same time Montel is on. So why is the cancellation of his show such a big deal to you?"
Let me explain. I don't watch the commercial breaks during The People's Court, so during that time I either make lunch, read magazines, or flip through channels. And I'll frequently land on Montel Williams, a talk show that tackles heavy topics such as drugs, domestic abuse, rape, and murder—but also gave the audience some relief by presenting "renowned" psychic Sylvia Browne almost every Wednesday. I couldn't help but be mesmerized by Montel's honest concern for each issue he covered, by his shiny bald head, and by the fact that he cried more than anybody I had ever seen on television. Seriously. He seemed to be always crying about something. And when you see a tall strong black man crying, it makes you cry. That's just the way it is.
My relationship with Montel Williams goes beyond the talk show. In 1999, I bought—in hardcover—his memoir, Mountain, Get Out of My Way. Why did I buy Mountain, Get Out of My Way IN HARDCOVER?! Well, it's simple. The book was fucking called Mountain, Get Out of My Way, for Christ's sake! How could I not read that shit?!
The title is actually Montel's personal battle cry when facing challenges in life. This man has been though some tough times, including a grueling fight with multiple sclerosis, so I don't doubt the power of his words. I mean, you have to try it. Facing discrimination or disease or divorce or any other road block? Stand up and scream, "Mountain, get out of my way!" Sure, you'll look completely ridiculous and people will laugh at you, but, if you're going to be miserable, at least other people will be amused.