Aug 21, 2014

Here's the Open Letter to America:
"Look at us....America has created a monster. The result of ignoring & mishandling an already fragile spirited, recently enslaved, presently oppressed race/generation of people. Look at us. We're the monster that now refuses to be dismissed, overlooked and ignored. We were brought to this place, unaware of our own cultures, religion & traditions therefore, we created our own. Now look at us.

For years we've been crying out for the nation to address the substandard education systems & disparaging treatment of our citizens in communities across America. Our people have had an increasing lack of opportunities for generations. There have been homes broken, lives shattered and futures lost on your watch....unanswered. Look at us. How long can u expect a nation/race/generation of people to be blatantly disrespected? Spoken to and treated with arrogant tones of insignificance. Our fathers, uncles, brothers and role models were killed and imprisoned more often than educated. Now look at us. Our friends and relatives murdered and cast aside without thought, as though your human life is more valuable than ours. How long can that go on without consequence? Now Look at us.

How long can u continue to pass the buck & make excuses of why u can't do today what should have been done yeste-year? Although I DO NOT support the negative responses & actions of my people in light of this tragedy....I WILL NOT condone your lack of effort to show any urgency to improve the treatment of our people, nor the living conditions in our communities. Your refusal to address these life altering issues makes events such as these seem inevitable. Although I too am at fault to a degree and I admit that I may not have all da answers... I do have a fun fact for you. Insanity is...Going about things the same way, expecting a different result. U wanna different result? U must take different action. What else do u expect? Look at us!!!"

Here's the Open Letter to 'His People':

"Look at us. Rebels without a cause. Soldiers without a general. A lost generation. Ready For War. No strategy…no training. Armed only with our grief, aggravation and passionate disdain for our treatment in America. Sick and tired of everything...especially ourselves. We'd rather use the tragedies of our environment as an excuse to act-out, go-off, or turn-up, rather than use our education, talents and future opportunities to get-out, speak-up and make-a-change.

Look at us...Too Enraged to sit around and do nothing. But Too Entrapped in da cycle of vengeance/hostility to do anything WORTH doing. Look at us. So upset with our conditions that we've gone into "F***-it" mode... "F***-the-world" "F**-the-Police" and even "F***" the wishes and requests of a grieving mother, father, family who lost a son...who's memory they would NOT like to see tarnished by OUR negative ACTIONS/DECISIONS. Naaah G, that ain't the code, this ain't da way.

Notice I say, 'Look at US.' Because make no mistake now.... I AM ONE OF YOU!!!! My life experience, execution of talent/opportunity, and use of education are the only things that separate US. I TOO know what it's like to be stereotyped, profiled, and feel hopelessly stuck in unbearable conditions with no signs of prosperity. I’m just as enraged, frustrated and overwhelmed with despair as everyone else. I just refuse to take any action that will contribute to any outcome other than change (for the better).

Look at us. We're giving them every excuse and justifying all action necessary taken against us. We're making it easier for the young black man in America to be just as excusably profiled as a middle-eastern man in an airport (no offense).

When faced with opposition, we must take what our opponent gives us, not fight against them using their strengths. All action taken MUST contribute to a more desired outcome. What I see us doing is just as futile as swinging wildly into the wind, waiting on the air to get tired. One question to MY PEOPLE: What are we changing...Really?

Look at us. Destroying our own community, but continuing to spend money in theirs. Refusing education...revolving in the same cycle of ignorance instead of evolving out of it. I must admit that I TOO am disgusted wit America's treatment. I TOO demand change. But Goddddaaaaamn man.... Look at us!!!!! Although I too am at fault to a degree and I admit that I may not have all da answers... I do have a fun fact for you. Insanity is...Going about things the same way, expecting a different result. U wanna different result? U must take different action. What else do u expect? Look at us!!!"


Aug 20, 2014

One woman with one sign signified what a lot of us are feeling when it comes to what is going on with the ensuing war against Black and Brown bodies.

When France Francois (pictured) held up her sign last week at a vigil in Washington, D.C. she instantly went viral.

Her sign read, "I CANNOT BELIEVE I STILL HAVE TO PROTEST THIS SHIT!! #toomanynames #ferguson #dontshoot #mikebrown."
I'll say this perfectly sums up how I feel about everything that's going on.
I swear I'm falling in love with Jesse Williams.  He has become one of my favorite actors based on the stances he bravely takes against injustice and the impeccable intelligence he displays in smacking down ignorance.
Williams, a graduate from Temple University with a double major in African American Studies and Film and Media Arts, displayed his impeccable intelligence when he place a verbal takedown of one of his Twitter followers who accused him of inciting people.  He gave me all types of life when he wrote the following: 
Please disabuse yourself of the notion that my purpose on earth is to tuck ignorance in at night.

That's why he gets my TWEET OF THE DAY!!!!  Love him!

Aug 19, 2014

Actors like Jesse Williams continue to restore my belief in some of our black entertainers.  Williams is the type of entertainer that is cut from the same cloth that brought us the likes of legendary figures such as Ozzie Davis, Ruby Dee, and Harry Belafonte.  He's the type of black entertainer who is not afraid to speak truth to power.  He is the type that sees an injustice and is not afraid to speak on the injustice unlike most of our other entertainers who have remained remarkably silent except for an occasional social media post.

During an appearance on CNN's State of the Union, Williams took the mainstream media to task for it's choice of narratives when it came to the murder of Mike Brown.

Here is what he said:

“We also have to talk about the narrative and making sure that we’re starting at the beginning. You’ll find that the people doing the oppressing always want to start the narrative at a convenient part, or always want to start the story in the middle. This started with a kid getting shot and killed and left in the street for four hours. I’ve never seen a white body left in the street for four hours in the sweltering heat. The cop doesn’t call in the shooting, the body isn’t put in an ambulance, it’s shuttled away in some shady unmarked SUV.

This idea that because he stole a handful of cheap cigars, what’s that $5? I’ve lived in white suburbs of this country for a long time, I know plenty of white kids who steal stuff from a convenience store. [There's] this idea that every time a black person does something, they automatically become a thug worthy of death when we don’t own drug crimes. We’re not the only ones who sell and do drugs all the time. We’re not the only ones that steal and talk crazy to cops.

There’s a complete double standard and a complete different experience that a certain element of this country has the privilege of being treated like human beings, and the rest of us are not treated like human beings, period. That needs to be discussed, that’s the story. That’s what gets frustrating for people — because you don’t know five black folks, five black men in particular, that have not been harassed and felt threatened by police officers. You can’t throw a rock and find five of them. We’re not making this up.”

AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ST. LOUIS, Mo (CBS St. Louis) – It’s been a little over a week since Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown, causing nationwide protests. Now a Facebook page  in support of Wilson has been created.

The page, “Support Darren Wilson,” has amassed over 28,000 likes in less than 10 days. The about section on the page explains, “This page is a way to show our Support for Officer Darren Wilson! We believe in all of our LEOs and want to publicly stand up for him!”

One of the links on the page is for a company that is selling a “Support Officer Darren Wilson” t-shirt. On the front of the navy blue shirt, it has a police officer’s badge with the phrase “Officer Darren Wilson, I Stand By You 8-9-14.” The back of the shirt features the phrase “We’ve Got Your 6″ in bold white letters.

According to, the proceeds from the sale of the $18 shirts will go directly to Wilson and his family.

“We appreciate everyone’s support and hope that you are able to wear this shirt with pride knowing you are helping an officer both financially and by spreading our support worldwide,” a statement on noted.

So far, more than 400 t-shirts have been sold. The website lists that the goal is to sell 1,000 t-shirts and less than 8 days remain to meet that goal.

In addition to the t-shirts, a gofundme fundraising campaign has also been launched with a goal to raise $100,000 for Wilson and his family. The account was created Aug. 17 by Allison Wilson and has already raised more than $10,000 from over 280 donations. It isn’t clear if Allison Wilson is related to the police officer.

According to The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the South Carolina-based New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan said its Missouri chapter is offering its support and raising money for Wilson.

“We are setting up a reward/fund for the police officer who shot this thug,” the Klan group said in an email to the SPLC. “He is a hero! We need more white cops who are anti-Zog and willing to put Jewish controlled black thugs in their place. Most cops are cowards and do nothing while 90% of interracial crime is black (and non-white) on white.”
A woman who says she witnessed the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown has released video to CNN that shows Brown lying in the street as officers stand by.

The shooting has spawned a week of protests in which demonstrators have demanded an explanation for Brown's killing. Police in Ferguson, Mo., say officer Darren Wilson opened fire because Brown tried to take his gun during an altercation.

Piaget Crenshaw said she has waited until now to release the video because she feared for her safety and was waiting for police to release Wilson's name, which they did Friday. She also said police could have released her video Friday — when they also released surveillance footage that they said showed Brown stealing cigarillos from a convenience store before the shooting. She said police had her video because they confiscated her phone.

She shared her video with CNN's “New Day” the morning after police again fired tear has and rubber bullets on demonstrators, as well as children and reporters. The shooting and protests have raised questions about police targeting young black men, the risks of militarizing local police, and freedom of the press.

“From it all initially happening, I knew this was not right,” Crenshaw told “New Day” anchor Michaela Pereira, explaining why she started recording. “I knew the police shouldn't have even been chasing this young boy and firing at the same time, and the fact that he got shot in his face, it was something that clicked in me, like, somebody else needs to see this.”

Crenshaw said she witnessed Wilson trying unsuccessfully to force Brown into a car. She said they tussled, and Brown was able to get away because he was “a bigger fella.” Brown's escape “seemed to have upset the officer,” who began chasing Brown, she said.

She said she believed Brown was grazed by a shot near his arm, turned, and was then shot multiple times.

A private autopsy conducted at the request of Brown's family and released Sunday indicated that he was shot six times, twice in the head. All of the shots were to his front, and one was at the top of his head, suggesting he was leaning forward when it hit.

Crenshaw did not indicate that she saw Brown try to take Wilson's gun. Brown's alleged attempt to take the weapon has been the Ferguson police department's main justification for the shooting.

Crenshaw said it took her about 30 seconds to run and get her phone, which she used to film Wilson standing over Brown's body. She said she captured footage of Wilson “pacing in disbelief” at what he has done.

“It's like he understands that he just shot this boy in the face and that this boy was unarmed,” she said.

Though police released the surveillance footage at the same time they released Wilson's name, they later conceded that Wilson was unaware when he stopped Brown that he was a robbery suspect. He and a friend were stopped for walking in the middle of the street, police said.

Aug 18, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — An unarmed black teenager killed by a white officer in Missouri was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, a preliminary private autopsy has found.

The New York Times reported that the autopsy by Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City chief medical examiner, found that one of the bullets entered the top of Michael Brown’s skull, suggesting that his head was bent forward when he suffered a fatal injury.

Baden said it was likely the last of bullets to hit Brown, 18, whose death has spurred a week of rancorous protests in Ferguson, in suburban St. Louis.

Police have said little about the encounter between Brown and the officer, except to say that it involved a scuffle in which the officer was injured and Brown was shot. Witnesses say the teenager had his hands in the air as the officer fired multiple rounds.

Baden told the Times that Brown was also shot four times in the right arm and that all the bullets were fired into his front. The newspaper said the bullets did not appear to have come from very close range because there was no gunpowder on his body.

That determination could change if there were residue on Brown’s clothing, which Baden did not examine, the newspaper said.

Some of the bullets entered and exited Brown several times, the newspaper said, including one that caused at least five wounds. It said one shattered his right eye, went through his face, left through his jaw and re-entered his collarbone. The last two shots in the head would have stopped him in his tracks and were likely the last fired, the Times said.

Baden told the newspaper Brown would not have survived even if he had been taken to a hospital immediately.

Baden did not return a message left by The Associated Press earlier Sunday.

Earlier Sunday, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on Brown, citing the “extraordinary circumstances” surrounding his death and a request by Brown’s family.

Aug 15, 2014

After almost a week, Police Chief Thomas Jackson has identified Darren Wilson as the officer who fatally shot unarmed, black teen Michael Brown on Saturday in Ferguson, Missouri.

Jackson also announced the department would be releasing video of a strong-armed robbery that took place in the area. He outlined events that took place beginning at 11 a.m. the day of the shooting and offered an account of the incident that implies officers confronted Brown in connection with the robbery.

Although Jackson initially said the name would be released on Tuesday, the police department later announced it would not be releasing the officer's name out of fear for his safety.

Julie Bosman, a correspondent for The New York Times said Wilson is a six-year veteran of the force with no history of disciplinary action.

Aug 12, 2014

(Chicago Tribune) -- W. Hunter, the great grandson of Anna Short Harrington, the woman who became "Aunt Jemima," has filed a class action lawsuit against PepsiCo Inc., its subsidiary Quaker Oats Co., Pinnacle Foods and its onetime suitor, Hillshire Brands Co., on behalf of all of her great grandchildren..

He is seeking $2 billion, plus punitive damages to be determined at trial.

Hunter alleges that the companies conspired to deny that Harrington had been an employee of Quaker Oats, all the while exploiting her image and recipes for profit, while refusing to pay an "equitable fair share of royalties" to her heirs for more than 60 years.

The claims come on the heels of the defendants allegedly receiving a certified death certificate for Harrington that listed Quaker Oats as her employer.

Hunter further alleges that the companies have lied while claiming they could find no employment records for Harrington, or images of her, and yet they had her image deposited inside the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to the document.

Harrington took on the role of the pre-existing character of Aunt Jemima in 1935. In 1937, the company first registered the trademark for the brand. She was allegedly selected because of her own pancake recipe, which the company recreated for the mass market.

According to the suit, Quaker Oats sought out Harrington's youngest daughter Olivia Hunter in 1989, ultimately using her likeness to update the look of Aunt Jemima. It is this image that is used today on Aunt Jemima-branded products, the suit suggests.

The suit further alleges a racial element to the exploitation of Harrington and the other women who portrayed Aunt Jemima, going so far as to accuse the company of theft in procuring 64 original formulas and 22 menus from Harrington.

It further alleges that Harrington was dissuaded from using a lawyer, exploiting her lack of education and age, so that the company could not pay her a percentage of sales from her recipes.

Chicago-based Quaker continued to use Harrington's image for years, and licensed it out to other companies for ancillary merchandise like mugs and clothing, the suit alleges.

The lawsuit cites Screen Actors Guild residuals and standard policies in the entertainment industry regarding revenue statements, which neither Harrington nor her heirs ever received. It wasn't until they uncovered in 2013 that Quaker Oats had trademarked Harrington's likeness and picture in 1937 that the family determined that they were owed royalties.

The lawsuit alleges that Pinnacle Foods has sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Aunt Jemima products. Pinnacle sells Aunt Jemima-branded frozen pancakes, waffles and French toast. Chicago-based Hillshire dropped its bid to buy New Jersey-based Pinnacle earlier this year.

In a statement, Quaker said that while it could not discuss the details of pending litigation, it does not believe there is any merit to this lawsuit.

“People associate The Aunt Jemima Brand with warmth, hospitality and comfort, and we stand by this heritage as well as the ways in which we do business,” the company said.

Pinnacle Foods declined to comment.

The suit was filed on Aug. 5 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Aug 11, 2014

This really must be the season of the biopic.
So far two of my all-time favorites have been pegged for biopics: Whitney and Aaliyah.  I can't say I'm excited about either of the movies.  I mean how excited can you really get about a film of one of your favorite artists when the people who knew these people best i.e. their families have no involvement in the film.  Then you throw up the fact that some of the casting is also very suspect.
Just look at the latest casting for the Aaliyah biopic.  Below are the pics of the two actors that were chosen to play Missy and Timbaland. 
Now, I don't expect the actors to look exactly like their character reference, but damn can you at least make me think you took the casting serious.  I'm going to give you pass on the guy that's been cast to play Tim, but do you really expect me to look at actress Chattrisse Dolabaille and see Missy Elliott?  I hope not.
Are you looking forward to the Aaliyah biopic?  What do you think of the casting choices?

(NY Daily) -- Barneys has agreed to pay $525,000 to settle allegations that the upscale retailer deliberately targeted minorities entering its Madison Ave. flagship store.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigators heard from customers and former employees that a pattern of racial profiling began last year when the high-end store tried to crack down on a dramatic spike in shoplifting and credit card fraud.

Complainants told Schneiderman’s civil rights division that the store’s security team — known as the “loss prevention unit” — made a habit of keeping watch over black and Hispanic shoppers in disproportionate numbers.

“This agreement will correct a number of wrongs,” said Schneiderman, “both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated.”

In a 27-page settlement document signed by both parties Friday, Schneiderman released a series of findings from a nine-month review based on interviews with nearly a dozen complainants in the so-called shop-and-frisk case, including shoppers and former employees.

They alleged that black and Hispanic customers were unfairly targeted when they entered the pricey store at 660 Madison Ave.

The store’s own data showed that from October 2012 through October 2013, black and Hispanic shoppers were detained “at rates far greater than their percentage of the store’s customer base.”

The review began this past October in response to a series of Daily News articles exposing numerous complaints about racial profiling at Barneys and Macy’s.

Schneiderman’s review of Macy’s continues, but Barneys executives last week agreed to the settlement.

As part of the deal, Barneys agreed to pay the $525,000 in fines and legal expenses, to hire an “anti-profiling consultant” for two years, to update its detention policy and to improve training of security and sales personnel.

The problems apparently started in March 2013 when Barneys hired a new security executive, the review found. In the ensuing months, door guards “exclusively identified minority customers as warranting surveillance,” complainants told the attorney general.

In-store detectives regularly followed minority customers even after sales associates identified them as frequent patrons of the store, complainants alleged.

Former Barneys employees told Schneiderman the store detectives were regularly pressured to “be more proactive in making stops and getting more ‘cases,’ ” the settlement states.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

(Huffington Post)-- Kendall Capers found no hope at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church after the death of his husband, Julion Evans, who died at age 42 from amyloidosis. Evans' family are members of the New Hope congregation in Tampa, Florida, and Capers arranged to have the service there.

However, the funeral was abruptly canceled the night before it was scheduled to happen. The family was informed with a phone call from New Hope that said that it would be "blasphemous" to hold the service at the church, reported KCCI.

The cancellation came after members of New Hope noticed Evans' obituary, which named Capers as the "surviving husband," according to WFLA.

T.W. Jenkins, the pastor of New Hope, told WFLA over the phone that his church does not believe in gay marriage. "I try not to condemn anyone's lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God and have to stand upon my principles," he said.

Evans' family members were devastated by the news, with his mother too upset to speak to reporters on the phone. "Regardless of our background, our sexual orientation, how can you wait that long and put someone in a bind when they're going through a loss?" said Capers.

Evans' funeral took place instead at the funeral home which handled his wake.

FERGUSON, Mo.—A day of anger over a fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in suburban St. Louis turned to mayhem as people looted businesses, vandalized vehicles and confronted police who sought to block off access to several areas of the city.

The tensions erupted after a candlelight vigil Sunday night for 18-year-old Michael Brown, who police said was shot multiple times the previous afternoon after a scuffle involving a police officer, Mr. Brown and another person in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb of the city.

Afterward, a convenience store was looted. Several other stores along a main road near the shooting scene were broken into, including a check-cashing store, a boutique and a small grocery store. People also took items from a sporting goods store and a cellphone retailer, and carted rims away from a tire store.

TV footage showed streams of people walking out of a liquor store carrying bottles of alcohol, and in some cases protesters were standing atop police cars or taunting officers who stood stoic, often in riot gear.

Other witnesses reported seeing people vandalize police cars and kick in windows. Television footage showed windows busted out of a TV station van.

Police were having a hard time catching looters because crimes were happening at several locations in Ferguson and spilling into neighboring communities, Mayor James Knowles told KTVI-TV. It wasn't immediately clear how many arrests were made. Authorities set up some blockades to try to keep people from the most looted areas.

While St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said that there were no reports of injuries as of about 11 p.m., there also were scattered reports of assaults into the early morning. Pat Washington, a spokeswoman for Mr. Dooley, there was one instance she knew of in which tear gas was used. There were scattered media reports of gunfire but authorities didn't immediately confirm any.

"Right now, the small group of people are creating a huge mess," Mr. Knowles told KTVI-TV. "Contributing to the unrest that is going on is not going to help.…We're only hurting ourselves, only hurting our community, hurting our neighbors. There's nothing productive from this."

As the investigation of Mr. Brown's death progresses, "we understand people want to vent their frustrations. We understand they want to speak out," Knowles added. "We're going to obviously try to urge calm."

Earlier in the day, a few hundred protesters had gathered outside Ferguson Police headquarters. At one point, many of them marched into an adjacent police building, some chanting "Don't shoot me" while holding their hands in the air. Officers stood at the top of a staircase, but didn't use force; the crowd eventually left.

County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooting occurred after an officer encountered two people—one of whom was Mr. Brown—on the street near an apartment complex in Ferguson.

Mr. Belmar said one of the men pushed the officer back into his squad car and a struggle began. Mr. Belmar said at least one shot was fired from the officer's gun inside the police car. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said authorities were still sorting out what happened inside the police car. It wasn't clear if Mr. Brown was the man who struggled with the officer.

The struggle spilled out into the street, where Mr. Brown was shot multiple times. Mr. Belmar said the exact number of shots wasn't known, but "it was more than just a couple." He also said all shell casings found at the scene matched the officer's gun. Police are still investigating why the officer shot Mr. Brown, who police have confirmed was unarmed.

Mr. Jackson said the second person hasn't been arrested or charged and that authorities aren't sure if that person was unarmed.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told KSDK-TV there is no apparent video footage of the shooting from a nearby apartment complex, or from any police cruiser dashboard cameras or body-worn cameras that the department recently bought but hasn't yet put in use.

Mr. Jackson said blood samples have been taken from Mr. Brown and the officer who shot him, with those toxicology tests generally expected to take weeks to complete.

Mr. Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, said he had graduated from high school and was about to enter a local college. She said she doesn't understand why police didn't subdue her son with a club or Taser, and she said the officer involved should be fired and prosecuted.

"I would like to see him go to jail with the death penalty," she said, fighting back tears.

The killing drew criticism from some civil rights leaders, who referred to the 2012 racially charged shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was acquitted of murder charges.

"We're outraged because yet again a young African-American man has been killed by law enforcement," said John Gaskin, who serves on both the St. Louis County and national boards of directors for the NAACP.

St. Louis County Police Department is in charge of the investigation, and Mr. Dooley said he would request an FBI investigation. The U.S. Justice Department said Attorney General Eric Holder had instructed staff to monitor developments.

The race of the officer involved in the shooting hasn't been disclosed. He has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Aug 6, 2014

After reading this article I now understand why so many of my friends were not happy with the movie. They said the acting was phenomenal, but the story was very disjointed and not worthy of the Godfather of Soul.

By: Gregory Allen Howard

There were several meetings. Eight white men and two white women. Was this a meeting of the Mormon Glee Club? The New White Citizens Council? Perhaps a Klan meeting? No. That meeting was the creative team for the new James Brown movie, "Get On Up."

Welcome to post-racial Hollywood where if you host a fundraiser for Barack Obama, you're freed of the burden of hiring black writers. And where a rich white producer can jokingly declare, "I'm black."

Indeed, all the producers, writers, and the director of the James Brown movie are white. No black people were hired until a few weeks before the cameras started rolling, the actors. In fact, several of the people involved in this whitewash are British. The Brits have a fetish for black projects.

This is the Donald Sterling message: don't bring them to the game. There are over fifty black iconic biopics and black-themed movies in development in Hollywood, including multiple Richard Pryor projects, five Martin Luther King projects, multiple Marvin Gaye projects, and civil rights projects, and only one or two have an African American writer. Our entire history has been given over to white writers.

When the late David Wolper was producing "Roots" thirty-something years ago, he hired no black writers. When asked why, he was quoted as saying: "They're too close to the material." I guess we're still too close.

This Hollywood apartheid against the African American writer could be understood if the writers being hired were of such quality as to be beyond reproach artistically. With rare exception, that is not the case. Sift through the morass, and you'll find a group of hacks, insiders, and drinking buddies. The executives are trading our icons around like baseball cards.

How do these insiders, pals of the executives, become experts on black culture overnight? Wikipedia. In case you didn't know, the entire black experience is on Wikipedia. Here is a typical day in Hollywood. Agent calls a writer, tells him he got him an interview for "this black guy who was really important." The writer says cool, goes to the wiki pages, memorizes them, takes the meeting and wings his "knowledge" of the black icon. That's it. He gets the job.

You see, the first thing people do in this town before hiring someone is look in the mirror. What I see in front of me is beauty, brains, and competence, Oh, and hipness. Yep, that's who I'm gonna hire: me!

If ever a project required black creative involvement, it was this one. James Brown was the blackest entertainer in the history of America. The blackest. There was nothing integrationist about his art, at all. He never tried to crossover. You had to come to him. He was iconic and not just musically.

And yet, where did producer Brian Grazer hire to embody this blackest of black men? Three white writers, two of them from England. Then more producers were added, all white, and a white director, who has said that he sees this as a movie about singing and dancing. Bingo. Now we're ready to make a black movie. It doesn't matter a bit that one of the producers is a famous rock star who played with Brown a few times and lifted some of his moves. James Brown belongs to us, the black masses, and for us to be excluded from the creative team that made this movie is an obscenity. I'm aware that Spike Lee was involved briefly, but the finished product looks like a Mitt Romney family reunion.

Let me tell you who James Brown was, really, not the Wikipedia James Brown.

He was a civil rights icon. Put James in the pantheon of the most impactful black men of the 20th century, and he would not be out of place. How can I make such an assertion? One song: "I'm Black and I'm Proud."


Did you watch the movie?  If yes, what did you think?

Jul 30, 2014

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith will be warming the bench this week.

The sports network suspended Smith for one week on Tuesday for televised remarks he made last week seeming to suggest that victims of domestic abuse sometimes shared responsibility for physical assault.

“Stephen A. Smith will not appear on First Take or ESPN Radio for the next week,” ESPN said in a brief statement. “He will return to ESPN next Wednesday.”

Smith has apologized several times for comments he made Friday on the sports debate show First Take, where Smith and fellow ESPN personality Skip Bayless discussed the two-game suspension the NFL levied on Ravens running back Ray Rice. Surveillance cameras from an Atlantic City casino showed Rice dragging his unconscious bride-to-be, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator, days before their marriage.

“Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” Smith said. “If we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn’t negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let’s try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn’t happen.”

In a long and sometimes confusing soliloquy, Smith went on to concede that Rice “probably deserves more than a two-game suspension.” Then Smith said “we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation.”

Smith tried to quell the outrage in a series of posts on Twitter, then in a longer statement, and finally in an on-air apology broadcast on Monday morning. After ESPN’s decision, Smith (@stephenasmith) tweeted out: My apology on @ESPN_FirstTake Monday morning speaks for itself. I accept ESPN’s Decision. See you all next Wednesday. God Bless!

Smith had made similar comments in 2012, when NFL receiver Chad Johnson was charged with domestic battery following a dispute with his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada. In response to that news, Smith suggested Lozada was exaggerating the incident and that “her actions have been completely glossed over.”

“I am sick and tired of men constantly being vilified and accused of things and we stop there,” Smith said. “I’m saying, ‘Can we go a step further?’ Since we want to dig all deeper into Chad Johnson, can we dig in deep to her?’ ”

Stephen A. responded on Twitter to his suspension