Who's Hot, Who's Not in 1989: Second Annual Ebony Readers Poll Identifies the Most Exciting Men and Women, the Greatest Athletes and the Key Political Issues and Social Concerns

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Second annual EBONY Readers Poll identifies the most exciting men and women, the greatest athletes and the key political issues and social concerns

EBONY'S 1989 Readers Poll produced some surprising responses from the thousands of opinionated readers who gave frank answers to questions ranging from "What is the greatest health problem facing Blacks?" (AIDS was chosen just ahead of hypertension) to "Who really is the sexiest Black woman and Black man?" (Jayne Kennedy-Overton and Philip Michael Thomas won despite very tough competition).

The poll revealed an important message for President George Bush: Curb the nation's unemployment problem. The issue of unemployment was cited as the most important concern affecting Blacks that demands the president's utmost attention. Next in importance were the issues, education, poverty and discrimination.

In sports and entertainment, the questions also produced interesting preferences, some influenced by age and sex. For example, EBONY poll participants age 35 and older chose Bill Cosby as their favorite comedian, while those under age 35 named Eddie Murphy as their favorite. Basketball emerged as the most popular spectator sport, with overwhelming support from our female readers.

What follows are the opinions and preferences of EBONY readers. The poll was tabulated by Market Facts, Inc., a national polling and marketing firm.

1. What issue should be the president's greatest priority concerning Blacks? Our respondents chose unemployment as the high-priority issue, with 39 percent of the tally. Education, poverty and discrimination followed as the second, third and fourth choices.

2. Who is your favorite crooner? According to the poll results, it is Luther Vandross. He took 57 percent of the vote. Teddy Pendergrass and Freddie Jackson were second- and third-place choices.

3. Who is the sexiest Black woman? Jayne Kennedy-Overton took 24 percent of the votes, edging out television's 227 co-star Jackee by almost two percentage points. Jasmine Guy, the star of A Different World, placed third to beat out sultry singer Vanity.

4. Who is the sexiest Black man? Philip Michael Thomas, star of TV's Miami Vice, led the pack as the top pick with 28 percent of the votes cast, followed by Eddie Murphy, actor Denzel Washington and Blair Underwood of TV's L.A. Law.

5. Who do you support in the Mike Tyson/Robin Givens affair? The champ scored an impressive knockout with 75 percent of the vote. Another 20 percent of the participants were "undecided," leaving television actress Robin Givens with little support and only 4 percent of the poll's tally.

6. What is the greatest health problem facing Blacks? AIDS and hypertension lead the list in an almost dead heat in the overall vote. AIDS received 34.8 percent, compared to hypertension's 34.7 percent. The responses varied with age; younger respondents chose AIDS as the greater problem and older respondents selected hypertension. Heart disease and infant mortality came in third and fourth in overall voting.

7. Was Tawana Brawley a victim of abduction and assault? Like the controversial case itself, there seems to be no definitive answer to this question as 46 percent of the participants voted "undecided." About 29 percent of the respondents said she was a victim of assault and abduction, while another 25 percent said she was not a victim of abduction and assault.

8. What is your favorite video of all time? The brother-sister combination of Michael and Janet Jackson led the field. Michael's Thriller video won 37 percent of the tally, while Janet's Control video took second place with 23 percent. Bobby McFerrin's Don't Worry, Be Happy came in third.

9. What is your favorite recent movie? Eddie Murphy's Coming to America was the favorite, gaining 55 percent of the count. Cry Freedom, starring Denzel Washington, was second and Spike Lee's School Daze won third place. …