Dec 31, 2007

The title alone should have had people going to the movies in large numbers. However, "The Great Debaters" opened on Christmas Day and only made 13 million so far and only 6.5 million this weekend, it didn’t even make the top ten box offices draw.

I don’t know about you, but I find those numbers appalling, sickening, and disappointing. Because we as a people are always complaining about there’s no good Television, there’s no good Music and there’s no good Movies out there. But when a movie like The Great Debaters opened, we sat at home on a long holiday weekend and didn’t put our money, where I mouths are.

Instead we stayed at home and watched re-runs of Flavor of Love; I Love New York and Kimora Life in the Fab Lane. All those idiotic shows that offer nothing more than misguided, stereotypical, cooning and shining mess.

The type of television that networks would prefer you watch and have you believe is great entertainment. They would rather have you and your kids watching that mess instead of The Great Debaters. A movie which will instill in you and your kids a great sense of pride, give you a history lesson and who knew it‘s also entertaining. But, I digress. So here is a brief synopsis of what the movie is about without giving it away:

Tolson: Who is my judge?
Students: God is my judge.
Tolson: Why is God your judge?
Students: He decides whether I win or lose.
Tolson: And who are your opponents?
Students: I have no opponents … merely dissenting voices to the truth I speak.


As you would expect from an Oprah Winfrey's production company, Harpo Films, "The Great Debaters" is a story of self-actualization, self-reliance and triumph.

WITH: Denzel Washington (Melvin B. Tolson), Forest Whitaker (James Farmer Sr.), Nate Parker (Henry Lowe), Jurnee Smollett (Samantha Booke), Denzel Whitaker (James Farmer Jr.), Jermaine Williams (Hamilton Burgess), Gina Ravera (Ruth Tolson), John Heard (Sheriff Dozier) and Kimberly Elise (Pearl Farmer).

This film is based on a true story about a Debate Team at Wiley College in the 1930’s Texas. Prof. Melvin Tolson, the debate team coach is as unpredictable as he’s brilliant. For that very reason students come from far and wide to tryout for his debate team. One aspiring great debater is Samantha, who becomes the first woman to argue her way onto the team. Along with three other college students who are as equally astounding, find their way onto the Team that is inspiring, uplifting and courageous. They all give performances that is worthy of any award. They show society that black voices are equal to white voices in intellect, reason, determination and passion.

This film promotes literacy and articulateness, highlights the significant oral tradition in black storytelling, and depicts a society that, however impoverished and oppressed, valued knowledge and education.

The Team had to face racism, personality clashes, romantic rivalry and that defining moment that focuses them on the prize -- the arguments that will make America a better place to live. They debate, first other black colleges, then white ones, on such subjects as the welfare state and civil disobedience.

The Great Debaters is our history and is most entertaining, and a vivid reminder that we're all living in a country built and then rebuilt by people who turned their passion into logical, rational arguments that moved us, closer to the reality of justice we know today.

It can be a shock at times to realize the moments, and the issues that plagued America 70 years ago are still very much with us today.

Above all, the film illustrates the kind of people in which we came from. The ones we have long forgotten.

Educators and Teachers: I’m calling on you. Have your students to go see this movie. Give them extra-credit when they bring in their movie stub and an Essay titled “The Great Debaters how it made me feel and what I learned from it”.

Parents: I’m calling on you. Take your children to see “The Great Debaters” then return home and discuss it with them around the dinner table.

To All People: I’m calling on you. Go see this movie; you are always asking the question, “Why are Black Men (people) so angry?” this movie will give you just a glimpse of why Blacks in general are so angry. (Lest we not forget, but remember, so that we can move forward). Then you will just maybe, stop telling us we are too sensitive and we should just let our past go. I always find it very ironic that Blacks are asked to let go; but other races, nationalities and cultures can hold on, protect and get upset if somebody says anything about them.

Come on People, we made Tyler Perry’s movie “Why did I get married?” number 1 at the box office, (and personally I didn’t think that to be one of his great works). So I know we can and should do the same for “The Great Debaters”. Let’s prove to Hollywood and America that we are really ready for change. Let’s stop talking about it and actually do something about it. What’s the old saying; “Money talks and Bull**** walks”.


And to those of you who already saw it, go see it again and take a friend. It's worth it.

Lastly, here are some of movies in the past that we have been sleeping on. The Educator and The Icon both feel like any Savvy Sister or wanna be Savvy Sister should see: Akeelah and the Bee; Talk to Me; The Last King of Scotland; Eve’s Bayou; Antwone Fisher; Crash and Malcolm X (all by the way are on DVD) so you still have a chance to support these movies. That is if you go to the store and buy them. Not buy them from the “Bootleg” man.

Peace and Love to all of you as we approach the New Year together.

-TheEducator.

Dec 29, 2007

So here it is the top five stories of 2007. These are the stories that really had the people talking. So tell me what you think. Do you agree or disagree? I would love to hear your opinion. Oh, and just in case you missed the first five stories please click here.

5. Don Imus and the Rutger's Female Basketball Players


















This story was one for the ages. Who would imagine that some shock jock, that most African Americans had never heard of, could have caused such a stir when he had the audacity to refer to the female Scarlet Knights as "Nappy-headed hoes" (boy, will those words forever live in infamy.) Well, that was the case and the name of that shock jock was none other than Don Imus, someone who had made a name for himself by pushing the envelop of civility. This time he push things a little too far and he felt the brunt of the outrage that mainly stemmed from the African American community. But instead of simply admitting the error of his ways, he decided to blame his revile language on Hip-Hop (which leads us to our next story).








4. Hip-Hop Under Attack














It was inevitable that Hip-Hop would begin to take a hit on the content of it's lyrics and the imagery which is being perpetrated by it's most popular artists. As soon as Don Imus blamed Hip-Hop for his language, the spotlight instantly left Imus and fell on Hip-Hop.




Delores Tucker (R.I.P) and Essence Magazine has been at the forefront of this matter for awhile now, but with the Imus factor being added in a lot of new faces joined the debate such as Oprah Winfrey and the federal government.




Although this debate continues to rage on maybe '08 will see real dialogue take place between the opposing sides. I, personally, am not for censorship, but I do believe that we need to have and demand balance in our music and the images we see of Black Women. So hopefully in the next year we will see more progress in that direction.




3. The Emergence of Black Blog Power




Fed up with the lack of attention that our stories receive from mainstream media, we decided to take matters into our own hands and tell our own stories. From social issues to entertainment, we are at the forefront when it comes to reporting our stories. Blogs like Concreteloop, Afrobella, Bossip, and the Afrospear Think Tank have led the way when it comes to pushing our stories to the forefront. No where was this new emerging power more evident than in story no. 2.



2. The Jena Six



Who would have ever thought that a small town in Louisana could mobilize an entire country of African Americans? Well, that was exactly what happened when six black students at the local high school in Jena were charged with attempted murder for a school yard fight.


African Americans took to the streets and internet and made the world listen and hear the story of these six young black men. We decided that we were not going to take it anymore and this time we meant business.


And the No. 1 Story is:


BARACK OBAMA


So who ever thought they would see the day that there would be a person of color that actually had a chance to become the President of the United States of America. Call me a skeptic, but I never thought I would see the day. I mean let's be real here. This is the same country that gave us the Jena Six. But along comes Barack Obama, a first term senator from Illinois, who actually has a legitimate chance at being the first black to become President of this country. No matter your politics of what you may believe in, you have to admit that it would be wonderful to see a black person sitting in a house [the White House] that was built by slaves.

So I say more power to this brother and I truly wish him nothing but the best. I can't wait to see what '08 has in store for this brother.

Dec 28, 2007


The phenomenal woman that goes by the name of Susan L. Taylor is leaving Essence Magazine after being their for over thirty years. Ms. Taylor has decided to devote more of her time to the National Cares Mentoring Movement. I have to admit that this makes me really sad because this lady is Essence Magazine as far as I am concerned, but I can only wish her the best.


Although Essence, which is owned by the Time Inc. division of Time Warner, did not make an official announcement, Ms. Taylor chose to send out word of the change via e-mail.

“I am taking a break in South Africa and will have little access to e-mail,” she wrote in an automated out-of-office message this month. “When I come back to the states in mid-January, I will be leaving Essence to do what at this juncture in my life has become a larger work for me — building the National Cares Mentoring Movement, which I founded as Essence Cares and today is my deepest passion." (Source)

Dec 27, 2007


Am I the only one with this beef? Was I the only person who received like fifty million text messages on Christmas Day talking about 'Merry Christmas'? What happened to the good ole days when people actually called you and wished you a Merry Christmas? God, how I miss those days. You know the days when a person called you and you didn't even have to ask who it was because you recognized their voice. Yeah those days. I really miss them. Maybe I am just being nostaglic or I'm just upset that I just ended my 'text message' relationship with a man I have known for a long time. I mean let's be real. Men, you cannot send your woman a text message on Christmas talking about "Merry Christmas" and not expect her to be a little pissed. It just doesn't work that way. Pick up the damn phone and called the chick. Is that too much to ask for. Okay I digress, let me get back to the subject at hand.

So, I am really sick and tired of text messaging. Technology has become so dominate in the world that people don't even know how to relate or have a decent conversation with each other. I guess that is why I have resisted the temptation of Myspace or Facebook. I guess I like making my friends the ole fashion way. I am however comptemplating have a Myspace page for this site, but I don't think I could ever do one for myself personally unless it had something to do with business. I love interacting with people and being able to look them in the eye when I talk to them. I also like listening to their voice when we talk. A text can't tell you whether or not a person is joking or being sarcastic, but their voice sure can.

So in closing I guess I am using this to say that when New Year's come, please for God's sake do not text me wishing me a Happy New Year. Just pick up the phone and call me. If you are worried about your peak minutes just called me during your non-peak hours. I promise you I won't mind just as long as you call.


Today Benazir Bhutto the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan was assassinated. Her death has really had an affect on me. I was trying to figure out a way to talk about her on the blog and make her relatable to my readers. She was a great woman and I believe that we all should know her story. So the only way I guess I can introduce her to you''ll is to tell you how I became aware of this fascinating woman.

I was watching CNN one day and I believe it was Wolf Blitzer from 'The Situation Room' who was doing an interview with her. I was about to change the channel when something told me to continue watching and what I witnessed was one of the most impressive people I have ever viewed in my life. She was what you could only hoped that the leaders over here could be. She stood for something and she was willing to sacrifice her life for that and in the end that is exactly what happened.


The interview took place right before she was about to go back to her home country after an eight year self imposed exile. She knew the risks to her life was great, but yet she was willing to go back anyway. She was Pakistan's one real shot at Democracy and it was really sad to see her taken out in such a manner.

She said that she learned from her father "...that people must stand for principle and stand for what they believe in."

Her assassination has great ramifications for her country, but it's ramifications are just as great for the rest of the world.

Dec 26, 2007


If you are aware of the Nataline Sarkisyan case then like me you are truly enraged at the conduct of for-profit insurance companies such as Cigna. If you are unaware of this young woman's story then I suggest you google her and become enlightened. The fact that this young woman had to lose her life should serve as an example that things need to change with the insurance companies and we as Americans should demand this change. It just doesn't make sense that you have to pay a premium every month and when you get sick the insurance company can still deny you treatment that may save your life or refuse to pay your claim. Michael Moore illustrates this problem better than anyone in his movie 'Sicko'. If you haven't seen this movie I suggest you check it out because today it was Nataline, but tomorrow it can be you or one of your family members. Don't be complacent because you think that this has nothing to do with you when it fact it has everything to do with all of us.


Statement from California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee about the Nataline's case:



The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee today blasted insurance giant CIGNA for failing to approve a liver transplant one week earlier for 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, who tragically died last night just hours after CIGNA relented and agreed to the procedure following a massive national outcry.


On Dec. 11, four leading physicians, including the surgical director of the Pediatric Liver Transplant Program at UCLA, wrote to CIGNA urging the company to reverse its denial. The physicians said that Nataline “currently meets criteria to be listed as Status 1A” for a transplant. They also challenged CIGNA’s denial which the company said occurred because their benefit plan “does not cover experimental, investigational and unproven services,” to which the doctors replied, “Nataline’s case is in fact none of the above."


“So what happened between December 11, when CIGNA denied the transplant, and December 20 when they approved? A huge outpouring of protest and CIGNA’s public humiliation. Why didn’t they just listen to the medical professionals at the bedside in the first place?” asked Geri Jenkins, RN, a member of the CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents who works in a transplant unit at the University of California San Diego Medical Center.


On Thursday, CIGNA was bombarded with phone calls to its offices across the country while a rally sponsored by CNA/NNOC, with the substantial help of the local Armenian community, drew 150 people to the Glendale offices of CIGNA – all of which produced the turnaround by CIGNA to finally reverse its prior denial of care.


CNA/NNOC Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro called the final outcome "a horrific tragedy that demonstrates what is so fundamentally wrong with our health care system today. Insurance companies have a stranglehold on our health. Their first priority is to make profits for their shareholders – and the way they do that is by denying care."


"It is simply not possible to organize major protests every time a multi-billion corporation like CIGNA denies care that has been recommended by a physician," DeMoro said. “Having insurance is not the same as receiving needed care. We need a fundamental change in our healthcare system that takes control away from the insurance giants and places it where it belongs – in the hands of the medical professionals, the patients, and their families." (Source)

Simply being alive as another year closes and a new one opens to us is a gift from God. Out of sheer gratitude for God’s amazing grace, we are obligated to approach this folding of one season into another with hope. No matter what—or who—came and went during the past 12 months, no matter what transpired, we’re still here, moving and breathing. We must not overlook that fact, even as we are hemmed in by the demands of the season.

The holidays’ overemphasis on finances and family ties can cause some to fall into depression. Many of us have come to another year’s end feeling loss and lack. Some are without that significant other, though we had convinced ourselves he was going to show up in shining armor in 2007. Somebody’s child is overseas fighting a war. Maybe you’re succumbing to the temptation to buy a gift for every Jill, Jack and Jane while also trying to figure out how to pay the heating bill. All these pressures can make you go into a cocoon at the very time you are expected to marvel at the magic and miracle of what God does in this season—and every season.

God is the great architect, designating the periods in nature and the passages in our lives. And God has decreed that our spiritual liberation should not be a solitary venture. During a holy season that this culture, sadly, has reduced to a frenzy of acquisition, we must devote ourselves to something bigger and bolder than our individual selves or even our intimate circle. My own prayer is that we, as a people, begin to really tackle the ills of our communities, of the whole diaspora, because the holy season ought to be about repairing what’s broken.

We need to recognize those suffering with AIDS as our brothers and sisters and make sure they are comfortable. We have an obligation to go out and vote and be thoroughly informed on the issues, relying not on what candidates say but on what they’ve done. We have to look hard at the housing crisis and predatory lending. None of us can rest in our nice, neat McMansions until families battered and tossed by Katrina are out of those trailers and into healthy, clean homes of their own. We cannot rest until the Jena Six get due justice, and incarcerated African-Americans win the right to vote. And we must think globally about environmental crises, worldwide poverty and all else that affects God’s creation. We need to walk into this next year with a checklist of items crucial to our individual and communal uplift, just as we walk into a grocery store with a wish list of delicious things to fill up on.

Yes, it’s all right at year’s end to mourn unmet goals and dreams. But don’t dare get stuck on the 20 pounds you swore you would lose but haven’t, the wrinkle that’s more visible each time you look in the mirror, the money you didn’t manage to save. It’s important to be aware that flaws and failures have their own distinctive beauty. When I was a little boy, one Christmas I put a suede jacket on layaway for my mother. I cut grass and, from my earnings, paid on that jacket $5 at a time. I remember it had a tag that read, “The imperfections of this garment enhance its beauty. The imperfections are a natural part of the product.” The imperfections are what made that jacket pretty. God wants us to remember that our own imperfections add to our beauty. As the year closes, without punishing ourselves, we should embrace what has been, even as we rethink habits, relationships and objectives for the coming year. Meeting the new year with calm acceptance of what is—and excitement for what can be—is a wonderful thing, because our perfect God loves imperfect people and does His best work right there inside of them.

ALL THAT YOU CAN DREAM
Bishop Jakes suggests these steps to make 2008 your best year ever:

1 Stop replaying in your head what you didn’t achieve in 2007. This self-flagellation is destructive. Take a kinder end-of-year self-assessment: “What did I like about me in 2007? What did I learn?” Wait for the answers.

2 Take the focus off yourself by giving your time and your love. Volunteer in a prison, senior center or wherever your gifts can make a difference.

3 Be civil. Our society seems especially jealous and brutal these days, judging from sordid reality television shows and crime stats, including Black-on-Black crime. You can help change the tone.

4 Teach your children about managing life’s highs and lows. Leaving them a financial inheritance is a fine intention, but the greater legacy is the imprint you leave on their hearts and minds. (Source)

Dec 25, 2007

Here's Wishing You and Yours a Merry and safe Christmas!!!

Accused murderer, Phil Spector, had some pretty interesting things to say about Oprah, Whoopi Goldberg, and other black sisters during Ike Turner's funeral this past Friday. Now I'm not one to take the words of an accused killer serious, but even I thought these quotes were worthy of posting. Maybe someone out there needed a laugh just as much as I needed one because this sure had me rolling. It's one thing to try an honor a person when they pass away, but it's another thing to try and rewrite history. Just honor the man and keep it moving.

Veteran music producer and murder suspect Phil Spector also spoke at the service, and had much to say about Ike Turner's contribution to American music being overshadowed by his exposure as a drug addict and abusive husband following the publication of ex-wife Tina Turner's biography, "I, Tina," and biopic, "What's Love Got to Do With It."

Spector told mourners: "First of all, the things that were said about Ike, that were in that piece-of-trash movie they made about him were ... (applause), it was a piece-of-trash movie."

In the film, a scene shows Spector approaching Ike and Tina after a television performance and requesting that Tina, played by Angela Bassett, sing lead on his song, "River Deep, Mountain High," without Ike. The movie depicts the slight as causing Ike, played by Laurence Fishburne, to have even more jealousy against Tina, which manifests in further physical abuse.

"I haven't seen the movie but it was told to me, and [Barney] Kessel was the world's greatest guitar player in the world and the only reason that Ike didn't play on 'River Deep, Mountain High' was because Ike was the second greatest guitar player in the world," Spector told the crowd, according to a witness quoted by Fox.com columnist Roger Friedman. "I treasured him and everybody knew it except Ike. That's how good he was.

"Ike made Tina the jewel she was. When I went to see Ike play at the Cinegrill in the '90s after his absurd reason for being sent to prison for no reason other than being a black man in America, there were at least, and I counted them, five Tina Turners on the stage performing that night, any one of them could have been Tina Turner."

According to Friedman, Spector also lit into Oprah Winfrey for inviting Tina Turner on her talk show in the early 90s to discuss "I, Tina," her autobiography that includes accounts of the physical abuse she suffered during her marriage to Ike.

"She made Tina Turner's book into a bestseller, which demonized and vilified Ike," Spector reportedly said. "The book wouldn't have sold 10 books. It was badly written. It was a piece of trash and because Oprah idolized Tina, she didn't feel it wrong to vilify a 'brother.'

"Other black sisters did the same thing to Ike and there was a very famous story about Whoopi Goldberg, who had a television show for about five minutes, interviewed Ike. Ike had called me and said, 'Shall I do the show?' I said, 'You can't get hurt.' And he said, 'OK, I'm going to do it.' And we figured it would be good because it's Whoopi and Whoopi asked him, 'I understand before you were married when you were living together, you beat the hell out of her and she tried to commit suicide because she was so terrified of you and she tried to jump out of a window,' and Ike said, 'Yeah, but it's hard to jump out of a window from a basement
floor.'" (Source)

Dec 21, 2007

With the end of the year quickly drawing near, we here at The Savvy Sista decided to compile a list of things that we thought was most newsworthy in Black America for the year 2007. Now I know there is going to be a lot of discussion about what we place on this list, but just know it's our opinion. If you don't agree with us you can 'eloquently' tell us so in the comment section.

This year was a year that was full of lost, heartache, triumph, overcoming, and most importantly HOPE. We lost some heroes but at the same time gain others in the most unusual places. We took a stand on causes and made our voices be heard. So here is the list. I hope you enjoy and if we missed something tell me what we missed.

10. Missing Black Women



Stepha Henry




(l)Nailah Franklin (r) Latasha Norman


This year saw tragedy of all sorts, but none were more apparent than the disappearances of these three sistas, Stepha Henry, Nailah Franklin and Latasha Norman. Every year countless numbers of African American women and men go missing, but our stories are never reported on mainstream media. This year we finally took a stand and started reporting our own stories. Once we started telling our own stories the mainstream media quickly began to take notice.


9. Black Blogs vs. BET

When BET decided to create a show called 'Hot Ghetto Mess', based on the popular website, the black blogs quickly got to work to shut this down. BET was undettered and still went ahead with the show, but the definitely felt the heat that was brought by the black blogosphere most notably What About Our Daughters. Gina McCauley the founder of WAOD was the most vocal leader of the protest against BET. Her protests and those like her might not have stopped the show from going on, but it definitely stopped a lot of advertisers from putting their money into the show.


8. The Downfall of Michael Vick







This has to be one of the hardest stories for me to report on because I am such a huge Vick fan being that I am a Georgia peach, but anyway the show must go on and I have to face the truth.


Not in recent memory can I remember an athlete taking such a collossal fall from grace as No. 7. From his losing countless number of endorsements, being suspended from the NFL indefinitely, and basically losing everything he worked so hard for, no one has fallen as far as Vick.


Now he sits in a jail cell for 23 months because of his dog-fighting charges. Hopefully Vick is using his time wisely and hopefully he has some good people behind him that can help him stage a comeback like no one has ever seen. I hate he had to go down the way he did, but I am still rooting for the brother. I am a true believer in redemption.


7. Dunbar Village and the brutal attack of Megan Williams






(l) Census information on Dunbar Village (r) Megan Williams and her mother in the hospital after her apparent torture



There were many gruesome stories that came out in 2007, but none were more gruesome or horrific than the brutal gang rape of a mother in Dunbar Village and the torture of Megan Williams in West Virginia. These two brutal crimes sent shock waves through the black community that is still resonating to this day. Although a lot of media outlets are not giving these stories any coverage there are a few people on the ground who are still fighting for these women.



6. Genarlow Wilson


The case of Genarlow Wilson sent a firestorm of protest throughout the black community. When a then 17 year old Wilson was sentence to 10 years in prison for have what was reported to be consensual sex with a 15 year old young lady the community was left stunned.
Although Wilson has since been freed from prison, his case was just a mere indication of things to come.


To Be Continued


Be on the look out for the top five stories. Do you think you know what the No. 1 story was this year? Tell me your opinion?

Dec 18, 2007

Another year is drawing to a close, and though this year has been full of high notes and some low ones, for me one thing I will be more than glad to close a chapter on, is the ever probing demise of one of my true loves in this world....Music! Though many Record Execs blame the digital age for the slump in album sales, those of us with any clear consciousness of the art form would clearly recognize, the lack of creativity and diversity is what is keeping consumers from buying these days. So despite my dismay for what big business has done to our art form, I feel "Tis the Season for Giving", that's right giving back to artist who truly appreciate the gift they've been blessed with, and giving back to we the fans, some hope that there are non-ringtone artist that still exists! So if you love music, here are my Top Five Albums You Should've Bought this Year, don't worry it's not too late, this will be a great way to start the new year off right!


Bilal Salaam- "Blah"




Incredible Album from Washington D.C. native, Bilal Salaam. Soulful with Compelling Lyrics, with some jazz, soul, hip hop, and afro-beat production. This dude is should be winning Grammy's by now!


PJ Morton- "Perfect Song"


Son of well-renowed Bishop Paul S. Morton, PJ Morton didn't necessarily fall into his fathers footstep, however his gift is just as great. To be honest this is PJ's second release, and to be even more honest his first album..."Emotions" is a classic in my book, however that came out about 3 yrs ago, so considering I'm a fan, "Perfect Song" is just that...true honest music! So buy both, a dual treat ;-)

Emily King- "East Side Story"






I did a write up on this soultress a while back, and nonetheless, I believe she had one of the best debuts of the year. Poised for Greatness, unfortuanately she may get lost in the shuffle being signed to a major label in this musical climate. However, this was a great album, and when I say album I mean, you won't have to skip through half the CD in order to find that one good song!


Eric Roberson- "Left"




Considered the "Most Popular" out of the Underground Soul Movement, Eric Roberson, a.k.a "Erro", released his highly anticipated 4th album this year, and in no way was the wait not worth it. "Left" is an aptly title considering Eric Roberson is taking music in a different direction, one with soul and meaning. This is a must have in any soul lovers collection.


Talib Kweli- "Eardrum"



Probably one of the best, Hip Hop Albums of the Year, Talib Kweli delivered to hip hop purist a timeless album. No catchy dances, or annoying hooks, just good ol fashion straight Hip Hop at its best! Great music with an even better message. With Talib, Kanye, Common, and Lupe Fiasco, this year was the first in a long time in which Hip Hop had a strong balance. These artist proving not sticking to the status Quo was the way to go this year.

Well there you have my Top Picks, this was such a hard task, but the new year is around the corner, and if these artist are any indication, of the future of music, 08' is lookin much more hopeful. Since I could only do five, be on the look out for my Artist on the Rise!



So what do you think, What albums was the World Sleeping on this year?!!


Dr. Julianne Malveaux sent out a very sincere email asking for help for her students at Bennett College. If you are unfamiliar with Bennett College please click here to learn about this extraordinary school for black women. Most people are familiar with Spelman College, but Bennett is also a historical black college for women.

Being that I am a bleeding heart for all things related to HBCU's, I will definitely be doing my part.



Friends,

Please forgive this unconventional way of reaching out to you for a contribution, but as the year comes to a close, I’d like to offer you the possibility of supporting a young sister at Bennett College for women with scholarship funds in this coming spring semester.

I am writing from a blessed and hallowed space. On June 1, I began my work as president of Bennett College for Women. I assumed my duties on June 1. I’ve been buoyed and excited by the many congratulations, words of affirmations, and offers to help that have come in these few months.

Now that I have been at the helm for just a bit, I am better able to assess the status of this critical institution. Dr. Johnnetta Cole did a masterful job of bringing Bennett out of the emergency room of near-closure, raising millions of dollars to stabilize the institution.


While we are out of the emergency room, we aren’t yet out of the hospital, and my goal is to have us run a phenomenal marathon. To do so, I need your help.


Two weeks ago, I talked to a parent whose daughter does not have the money to come back to school this spring. Her financial aid package falls about $3000 short, and with her mother earning just $11 an hour, the prospect of debt is daunting. If I had money in my President’s discretionary fund, I could work with this student.

In November, two boilers burst! The college has survived partly by putting off much needed repairs, but these repairs can’t be put off indefinitely.

In order to continue the path from good to great, to transform Bennett into an oasis where we educate and celebrate women and transform them into 21st century leaders, we need support. Tuition, room, and board costs about $21,300. Ninety percent of our students are financial aid eligible, and more than forty percent are first generation. And if you got a chance to know some of these sisters, you would sizzle with pride.


Fifty of our students were in Jena. Our Student Government Association organized the bus trip in less than two weeks. Another busload, after hearing Marcia Dyson speak, went to Charleston, West Virginia, to support Megan Williams, the young woman who was so horribly sexually violated. A dozen rallied outside the Justice Department in November.

These Bennett belles are activists!

Any contribution you make will help me offer scholarships to these students. It’s tax deductible, too! If you send it before the end of the year, I’ll have some flexibility when students register in the spring. I have about thirty students who say they really can’t afford to stay if they don’t have help, and the few scholarship dollars we have to grant have already been awarded. I've set a goal of raising $100,000 for additional scholarship funds by the end of the year, and I hope you can help.

Please send your checks to me at

Bennett College for Women,

900 East Washington Street,
Greensboro, North Carolina, 27401.

If you put “scholarship” in the “for” line, I’ll make sure a most deserving student receives it. Please give as generously as you can.

I took on this role as President of Bennett College for Women knowing that I had the support of a generous, dynamic, and positive African American community. I write to you in this spirit. Please help me preserve our history, legacy, and vision and create the educational oasis that so many of our young sisters can thrive in.
Holiday greetings and sisterly best,

Julianne

Dr. Julianne Malveaux

President

Bennett College for Women

900 East Washington Street

Greensboro, NC 27401

336-517-2225

Essence.com just came out with it's Top Ten Celeb Hair Moments. Although I agree with some on the list I can't say I agree with all of them. As a matter of fact I can't even name ten celebs who I believe blew me away with their hair choices. So I present to you my Top Five (because that is all I could come up with):

1.) Kelis Rogers-Jones






You can just say that I am a fan of Kelis. This chick rides in her own lane and she owns it. She keeps you guessing. When she cut off all her hair in her '06 Bossy video people really didn't know what to expect. She is her own person and I admire that about this sista. She is one hell of a fashionista to me. People really need to stop sleeping on this chick.


2. Robyn Rihanna Fenty




I know I am not the only one who was rushing to the beauty salon talking about "Cut my hair just like this." Rihanna stepped out of the cookie cutter need hair down to my behind mold and came through with something refreshing. She might not have the biggest voice, but you have to admit this chick is stepping her hair game and fashion game up.



3. Alicia Keys

You can't mistake Ms. Keys for a tomboy any more. This chick is all woman and she isn't afraid to show it. Gone are the days of her signature braids and in their place are long flowing locks that she likes to wear straight, curly, or wavy. Whatever it is it looks nice and I hope she keeps it up.

4. Mary J. Blige





All hail the Queen! Ms. Blige came through with a platinum bob with blunt bangs that had me saying "You go girl!" The new look makes her look like the queen that she is and she owns the style.






5. Tichina Arnold



Tichinia began rocking the asymmetrical before a lot of people. She kept hers fun, funky, and fresh. It was definitely one of the looks that I was checking for.


Honorable Mention: Keyshia Cole


I know I wasn't the only one when Keyshia first came out asking "What in the world is up with her hair?" Well, evidently she was thinking the same thing because when she dropped her sophomore disc she cleaned up her act significantly. She began donning platinum locks and she looked classic and sophisticated. I expect big things out of Keyshia in '08.

So tell me what you think. Who do you think was rocking the hottest hair in the '07?

Dec 17, 2007

“One of the first things I think young people, especially now a days, should learn is how to see for yourself, listen for yourself and think for yourself. Then you can come to an intelligent decision for yourself.”

-Malcolm X


Wouldn’t it be nice if not only young people, but all people thought for themselves? In today’s society we often fall prey to anyone's or any thing's influence. If we started thinking intelligently, clearly, and independently we would spend less time reacting to the actions of others. We would start making choices that are right for us and not worry about what others think. As Malcolm X said "We are not truly free until we can think for ourselves".



The Savvy Sista is proud to have partnered with International P.O.W.E.R. Magazine in its race for a cure for breast cancer (as you can see from the picture in the upper right corner).

P.O.W.E.R Magazine was started by a very savvy sista by the name of Kimberly Stewart (we will be doing an indepth interview with her in the future).

Please check out the introduction to this very classy and well-done magazine. If you are as enamored with it as I am subscribe to it for only $6/year. I promise you will not see another online magazine done as well as this one.

Click here to subscribe.

Dec 15, 2007


INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (AP) -- Rep. Julia Carson, the first black and first woman to represent Indianapolis in Congress, died Saturday, a family spokeswoman said. She was 69.

Carson died of lung cancer, spokeswoman Vanessa Summer said.

Carson's death came three weeks after she announced she had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and followed years of health troubles.

She said days later that she would not run next year for a seventh term representing Indiana's 7th District, which covers most of Indianapolis.

She had not been in Washington since September, when she was hospitalized with a leg infection.
Carson was first elected to Congress in 1996. She championed children's issues, women's rights and efforts to reduce homelessness and was a staunch opponent of the war in Iraq.

"Julia Carson overcame much and accomplished much, and devoted her life to helping other people do the same," Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, said in a statement. "She was elected to important public offices, but never forgot who she was, where she came from or who she was there to serve."

Carson told hundreds of people at a rally in downtown Indianapolis just weeks before the 2003 invasion of Iraq that it was an act of aggression only to protect U.S. oil interests.

"Truly, it is all in the name of greed and truly in the name of war," she said. "We should have learned by the Vietnam War, but we did not."

Carson was born to a single mother who worked as a housekeeper. She graduated in 1955 from the same segregated high school as basketball star Oscar Robertson.

She began her political career in the 1960s when then-Rep. Andy Jacobs Jr. hired her to work in his office.

Jacobs encouraged Carson to run for the Indiana Legislature in 1972 -- the first of more than two dozen victories in local, legislative and congressional elections. She ran for Congress in 1996 after Jacobs retired.

She suffered in recent years from high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes. She missed dozens of House votes in 2004 because of illness and spent the weekend before the 2004 election in the hospital for what she said was a flu shot reaction -- but still won re-election by 10 percentage points.

Gov. Mitch Daniels will have to call a special election to choose a replacement for the final year of Carson's term.

Funeral arrangements were pending. (Source)

Dec 14, 2007



Interesting...Maybe I wouldn't be so skeptical if the brother didn't have a tell-all book coming out. Way to keep your name out their and promote your book brother. If he is really seeking this woman's forgiveness then he needs to do it on a private level the way they should have done with their entire marriage. Just because you are a public figure doesn't mean you can't keep your private life private...SMH.

Dec 13, 2007

In an interview that Gabrielle Union had with Essence Magazine not too long ago, she stated some of her grievances with some black-run blogs. Gabrielle followed-up that interview with an interview with Vibe.com in which she elaborates more about what she think is the problem with black-run blogs. I find the things that she had to say to be very interesting.

In your recent Essence interview, you touched on the media, mainly black-run blogs that spread rumors without checking facts. What can these outlets do differently if they don't have you or any entertainer per se to reach out to correctly?



It's like if you wrote for a major newspaper or a major magazine. If you can't substantiate your claims, you don't write them. We don't have enough black voices, [and] we certainly don't have enough people in entertainment who are trying to do good things for our community, so anytime you try to attack someone's character, you negate their voice for all the things that they're trying to do. I come out and speak about African American sexual assault survivors and what we can do to provide support and help to those survivors. I talk about African Americans and breast cancer. But people aren't going to listen to those things if you are spreading lies and rumors, you know what I mean? It kinda negates all the good things that you do. It makes me want to just work harder and do more good, but it's frustrating and it makes a lot of people in my industry say, "Screw it! If I can't even get my own people to listen and not talk ill of me, what hope do I have for mainstream media?"

If you look at what Perez [Hilton] does - and I don't advocate for Perez, you know, he can write hurtful things about a lot of people - but what he does as a man of color, as a Latino, is he never dogs Latinos, ever. He actually breaks artists on his website. They can go from "Who the hell is that?" to Number One on iTunes in a day, just from what he says. So he's trying to uplift his own people. I mean, he dogs everybody else, but as a man of color, I applaud you. I can't dog you for not dogging your own people. He never says anything negative about Latinos, ever, and I just wish that we had more of that kind of "raise up" mentality and pulled each other up instead of dragging each other down. Especially like... If I got arrested, say whatever you want to say. If I had kids and left them in the car while I partied, or I got out of cabs showing all my private parts, you have every right to dog me. If I came out and dogged my own people, kill me in your blogs. But don't make things up! I do enough, and if you really got spies everywhere you'd know what I was doing, you wouldn't have to make things up. And if you don't know your facts, then just don't print them. (Source)

So what do you think? Is Gabrielle legit in her beef or do she needs to understand that all publicity is good publicity as long as people are talking about you? Let me know what you think?

There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.

-Maya Angelou





***Thanks Monique for this quote

Dec 12, 2007

Rock pioneer Ike Turner has passed away at the age of 76 in San Diego, Ca.

Ike was most famous for his work with ex-wife Tina Turner. It was through Tina's autobiography and subsequent movie of her life that a very disturbing side of Ike was revealed to the masses.

Turner, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is credited by many rock historians with making the first rock 'n' roll record, "Rocket 88," in 1951. Produced by the legendary Sam Phillips, it was groundbreaking for its use of distorted electric guitar.

But as would be the case for most of his career, Turner, a prolific session guitarist and piano player, was not the star on the record -- it was recorded with Turner's band but credited to singer Jackie Brenston.

And it would be another singer -- a young woman named Anna Mae Bullock -- who would bring Turner his greatest fame, and infamy.

Turner met the 18-year-old Bullock, whom he would later marry, in 1959 and quickly made the husky-voiced woman the lead singer of his group, refashioning her into the sexy Tina Turner. Her stage persona was highlighted by short skirts and stiletto heels that made her legs her most visible asset. But despite the glamorous image, she still sang with the grit and fervor of a rock singer with a twist of soul.

The pair would have two sons. They also produced a string of hits. The first, "A Fool In Love," was a top R&B song in 1959, and others followed, including "I Idolize You" and "It's Gonna Work Out Fine."

But over the years they're genre-defying sound would make them favorites on the rock 'n' roll scene, as they opened for acts like the Rolling Stones.

The densely layered hit "River Deep, Mountain High" was one of producer Phil Spector's proudest creations. A rousing version of "Proud Mary," a cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit, became their signature song and won them a
Grammy for best R&B vocal performance by a group.

Still, their hits were often sporadic, and while their public life depicted a powerful, dynamic duo, Tina Turner would later charge that her husband was an overbearing wife abuser and cocaine addict.

In her 1987 autobiography, "I, Tina," she narrated a harrowing tale of abuse, including suffering a broken nose. She said that cycle ended after a vicious fight between the pair in the back seat of a car in Las Vegas, where they were scheduled to perform.

It was the only time she ever fought back against her husband, Turner said.

After the two broke up, both fell into obscurity and endured money woes for years before Tina Turner made a dramatic comeback in 1982 with the release of the album "Private Dancer," a multiplatinum success with hits such as "Let's Stay Together" and "What's Love Got To Do With It."

The movie based on her life, "What's Love Got To Do With It," was also a hit, earning Angela Bassett an Oscar nomination. (Source)

Dec 10, 2007



"A Beautiful Mess represents the balance between the many ups and downs that life has to offer, and finding the beauty and color in it all," ......Ra-Re Valverde

How can pain bring forth life, and sadness emcompass joy?

With the many perils of life, our answers are everchanging to these seemingly complex questions in life. However for this up and coming soul artist, Ra-Re Valverde, this is where the the beauty of life lies, somewhere in the middle, or rather...A Beautiful Mess. This glorious gem is not trully a new comer to soul music, considering she's been working with some of the Soul elite for quite some time, writing and arranging for the likes of Rahsaan Patterson, Lalah Hathaway, and most recently Jill Scott. Hailing from Harlem USA, music has been at the forefront of her existence, and with a broad aray of musical influences and collabratives Ra-Re may have finally found her own voice, in her current album.

As complex as the title of the album may sound, the music is simply powerful and introspective. On the track, "Love Will" , Ra-Re describes a couple in financial distress, and yet how to find a way to make it work when the money doesn't pay the bill, Will Love? .... Such lyrical dynamics are what sets this young artist apart from many of her counterparts, taking real life circumstances, and suggesting how those challenges are necessary in self growth. And if you're not careful you may find the sunshine even in a storm.......

"When dealing with love & relationships, or even when creating, there is always a space in between knowing and not knowing that feels good and safe. That to me is A Beautiful Mess."
-Ra- Ra Valverde

Please go support good Music, " A Beautiful Mess" is currently available on www.myspace.com/rarefootagemusic, http://www.cdbaby.com/, and http://www.itunes.com/......

RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) -- Michael Vick, once one of the highest paid players in the National Football League, was sentenced to 23 months in prison for financing a dogfighting ring and helping to kill pit bulls that did not fight aggressively.

Vick's stunning downfall from NFL superstar to disgraced dogfighting defendant culminated Monday in a 90-minute sentencing hearing in federal court in Richmond, Virginia.

Vick was dressed in a black-and-white striped prison suit and apologized to the his family and to the judge.

"You need to apologize to the millions of young people who looked up to you," responded U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson.

Vick also acknowledged he used "poor judgment" and added he was ready to accept responsibility.

Vick, 27, had faced a maximum of five years in prison. Federal sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence of 12 to 18 months.

Animal rights protesters lined up outside the courthouse. Some carried signs with photographs of dogs, while others read "Dogs deserve justice," and "Report dog fighters."

U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said after the hearing that the investigation "exposed a seamy side of our society." He added, "I hope Mr. Vick learned important lessons and that his admission of guilt will speed his rehabilitation." (Read more)

Dec 9, 2007

Full Speech (includes Michelle Obama's introduction)



If you tried to watch this on CSPAN like I did then you know the audio was pretty crappy. So this should be a real treat to people who didn't get to see it the first time around. You can actually hear the entire speech.

Dec 8, 2007






All Photos Courtesy of AP



"see through those people who try to convince you that experience with politics as usual is more valuable than wisdom born from years of serving the people outside of Washington."

-Oprah Winfrey in Des Moines 12/8/07



Something extraordinary happened today. Oprah Winfrey went out on the stump for Barack Obama today in Iowa. This is something she has never done before, but because her belief in the senator from Illinois is so strong she agreed to go out on the stump for him.



There have been a lot of questions coming out about whether or not Oprah's appearance out on the campaign trail would generate votes for Obama. I don't know if all of the 18,500 people who showed up today are supporting Obama, but I do know that once he speaks they will have an opportunity to hear what he stands for and why he thinks he is the most qualified person for the job of President of the United States.



So what do you think? Do you think Oprah's prescence on the campaign trail will generate votes for Sen. Obama?








Karyn McConnell-Hancock was found alive in Atlanta, Ga.


UPDATE:
Toledo police and family members are confirming this morning the missing pregnant attorney, Karyn McConnell-Hancock, 35, is alive and well in Atlanta.

A brief phone call was made to Karyn's husband, Lawrence Hancock, on Thursday. At that time, it was confirmed Karyn was alive.

A motorist was flagged down by Karyn McConnell-Hancock around 7 a.m. this morning northwest of Atlanta, Ga (Cobb County). She reports that she was kindapped by two males and a female. In Georgia, they put her out of her car, so she started walking.
Her father, Toledo Municipal Court Judge C. Allen McConnell, thanks the public for its support and prayers in the last few days.

McConnell-Hancock was reported missing Wednesday after she failed to pick her child up from daycare. She was last seen at her downtown law office.

She is six months pregnant. (Source)

“And I have seen enough to know that, no matter what people tell you, this mayhem is not a part of our culture, the way our music is. This violence is not a part of our culture, the way our literature is. And this vulgarity has never been a part of our culture before. I’m asking you to be a voice against that kind of thinking, a voice that will no longer be shut out or shouted down.”

-Bill Cosby


Bill Cosby and Dr. Poussaint have come out with a book that speaks to the Black community. They use language that is easily understood and anybody with half a conscience would want to do something different or at least try to make some kind of change. However the sad reality is that the people who need to read this book; never will.

I for one was really not interested in reading this book, (but the Icon wanted a review of the book for the blog) so I read it. I already know the ills of the Black community, and in my own small way am working on some of them. Moreover, since there are people in this world who seemed to think that everything is right with the world, “Come On People” is an eye opener.

For the last few years Mr. Cosby has been speaking out about our broken communities, fatherless families, children without direction and the demise of socially acceptable standards and the respect of our elders and ourselves. Mr. Cosby in turn has been accused of airing our dirty laundry, and not being “black enough”; and who is he to speak out now, after so many years. To address his not being “black enough” he opens the book by having a hypothetical conversation about getting his “Black Card” back.

In the book he addresses a number of topics like: What’s going on with Black Men, Community, The Media, Violence, Poverty and Prosperity. The two authors’ cite many statistics; and address the breaking down of the family and community, fewer opportunities and the loss of the English language and how the justice system seems to be “just for us” adding to the problem.

The book goes on to talk about the Rap culture and its negative effects. The low tolerance we seem to have to everything; and how revenge is first on the list of things to do; even if it includes death.

In the chapter “Teach Your Children Well” he discusses tools parents could use to help their children by keeping kids in school, keeping the faith, getting professional help when needed, finding adult allies, reinforcing standard English, respecting elders and talking to your kids about college and more.

Mr. Cosby, even though he practically grew up in television, understands that TV, Movies and Music should all be restricted when it comes to our children. These “Mediums” should not be used as babysitters or teachers of our children.

He also states that the N-word is a vile symbol of our oppression by slave masters. It was the word that empowered lynch mobs and emboldened them to mutilate black bodies. He cites examples of how some victims may have heard that word as the last word in their life. He says don’t get caught up in the nonsense that using it suggests they are some how making it a positive term.

Mr. Cosby closes the book by giving advice on how to work your way out of poverty.

Throughout the book there is a series of “Call-outs” which gives positive advice and interesting stories of people who have made it from “Victims to Victors.”

“Come on People” is a phrase that I find myself using a lot (even before Mr. Cosby’s book). Mr. Cosby and Dr. Poussaint just happen to write the book before me, (Smile) they did a great job however, I still think they are preaching to the choir on this one. Maybe, if we make this a mandatory class in schools dealing with these same issues addressed in this book, then just maybe a change will come within our lifetime.

Thanks Mr. Cosby and Dr. Poussaint for your effort. I hope that everyone will read this book; especially the ones who really need it.

Dec 7, 2007



TOLEDO -- Police in Toledo are investigating the whereabouts of an attorney who is six months pregnant.


Police say the woman's husband told them that she failed to pick up their son at a day care center yesterday.



Karyn McConnell-Hancock is a former city councilwoman whose father is a municipal court judge in Toledo.



Her husband tells police that she had been having trouble with a client and that she had received suspicious phone calls recently.



was last seen at her downtown law office Wednesday morning and had been scheduled to go to the juvenile courthouse after that. (Source)



The FBI is helping in the search to find Karyn McConnell-Hancock.



There is new information tonight in the case of a missing former city council woman. We have learned Toledo police are talking to the Karyn McConnell-Hancock's husband. The FBI is helping in the search to find Karyn McConnell-Hancock. Today her husband Lawrence came to the Toledo police department to talk with investigators. He has not been named a suspect.

Karyn McConnell-Hancock has been missing since Wednesday morning at nine. Her family's leaning on their faith that she's found. Her husband reported her missing after she didn't pick up their son from daycare. She was last seen at her law office on North Michigan. Her husband told police his wife has a client that has been aggressive toward her lately and that she has received suspicious phone calls.

After prayers last night, family and friends gathered again today at the Genesis Dreamplex to pray for her safe return.

Police say Karyn McConnell-Hancock was wearing a black-and-white checkered hat and a long khaki coat. She is driving a black 2005 Chrysler 300, Ohio plate DIA 6410. Toledo police say if you've seen her, call Toledo police investigations bureau at 419-245-3142. (Source)

Every time you state what you want or believe, you're the first to hear it. It's a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don't put a ceiling on yourself.

-Oprah Winfrey

Dec 6, 2007

SEEING THE LIGHT

Chicago Sun-Times Op-Ed

By Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.

During his historic run for the presidency in 1984, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. was dubbed "Thunder" by the Secret Service agents assigned to protect him. It was a fitting name for Reverend Jackson, whose electrifying oratory, energy and intellect shed light on critical issues as he took the country by storm.

In his recent column [Sun-Times, November 27th], "Thunder" struck again, criticizing today's Democratic presidential candidates for having "virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country." While causing quite a stir, Reverend Jackson's comments unfortunately dimmed -- rather than directed -- light on the facts. But, they should be clear.

As a national co-chair of Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign, I've been a witness to Obama's powerful, consistent and effective advocacy for African Americans. He is deeply rooted in the Black community, having fought for social justice and economic inclusion throughout his life. On the campaign trail -- as he's done in the U.S. Senate and the state legislature before that -- Obama has addressed many of the issues facing African Americans out of personal conviction, rather than political calculation.

It is a testament to his deep commitment and new vision that Senator Obama is poised to become the first Black man to make it all the way to the White House. Taking him there will be the character, the judgment and the principles that are propelling his rise.

So often, the place where a candidate begins a campaign points to the direction where he intends to take the country. It is a hint and harbinger of things to come.

After cinching his party's presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in 1980, Ronald Reagan selected the site for his first formal appearance of the campaign -- Philadelphia, Mississippi. As he stood before the cheering crowd of thousands on that August day, the "Great Communicator" was indeed sending an unmistakably powerful message about his future policies and priorities as president.

Philadelphia, Mississippi is infamous for one event. During the "Freedom Summer" of 1964, three volunteer civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney -- two Jews and a Black -- were killed by a mob of Ku Klux Klansman. Riddled with bullets, the men's bodies were found buried beneath an earthen dam.

Standing at this stronghold of civil rights resistance, Ronald Reagan declared "I believe in states' rights." The statement was clear and convincing. True to his word, President Reagan established a long record against civil rights and social equality in the Oval Office.

In sharp contrast, Barack Obama made another appeal, from a decidedly different stage, full of symbolism and hope.

Barack Obama launched his presidential campaign at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous speech calling on a divided nation to come together. Arguing that slavery was morally wrong, Lincoln professed this: "I believe that this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free."

Lincoln's words were not just poignant, they were prophetic. His campaign defined the challenge and changed the country, setting in motion an immortal, inevitable clash of armies and ideas. In the clamor and convulsion of the Civil War, President Lincoln rallied the nation, freed the slaves, and saved our Union, ushering in "a new birth of freedom."

Almost a century and half later, Barack Obama stood only steps away from where Lincoln warned of a "House Divided." Like Lincoln, Obama called on us to come together and "to face the challenges of this millennium together, as one people -- as Americans." He called on us to join with him to conclude a war without end, to solve the health care crisis, to build better schools, to create better jobs and to provide greater opportunity and justice for all. He said, "I want us to take up the unfinished business of perfecting our union, and building a better America."

Clearly, African Americans -- as all Americans -- are listening and responding. On the same day that Reverend Jackson's article appeared, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies released the results of its latest national survey of likely Black presidential primary voters. The study found that many African Americans were paying close attention, with nearly 75 percent having a favorable view of Barack Obama.

They see the light. (Source)

Dec 5, 2007

JENA, La. — The family of a white student allegedly beaten by six black classmates in rural Louisiana has filed a civil lawsuit against the teens' parents, the adult teens, an additional student and the local school board.

One teen, Mychal Bell, pleaded guilty to battery in juvenile court on Monday in the attack. Five other teens face criminal charges in the case and are awaiting court appearances.

Justin Barker, 18, and his parents, David and Kelli, allege in the suit that seven Jena High School students attacked Justin on Dec. 4, 2006, as he left the school gym.

The suit names the attackers as the "Jena Six" students — Bell, Bryant Purvis, Robert Bailey Jr., Carwin Jones, Theo Shaw and a juvenile — as well as a second juvenile.

Law enforcement officials have not named the second juvenile as one of the attackers.

"Petitioners show that Justin was singled out by Mychal, Bryant, Robert, Carwin, Theodore (and the two juveniles), and that the malicious and willful attack of Justin was of such extreme nature so as to require emergency medical care and treatment for the harm inflicted by the attack, and resulting in extensive and permanently disabling injuries," the lawsuit states.

Barker was hit by Bell, knocked unconscious and then repeatedly kicked and stomped by a group of students, according to testimony and court documents.

The beating was preceded by racial incidents, including three white students hanging nooses from a tree.

The beating was preceded by racial incidents, including three white students hanging nooses from a tree.

The civil suit was filed Thursday. The lawsuit alleges that the LaSalle Parish School Board, through its employees, was not adequately supervising students or maintaining discipline.

Lawyers for the Barkers and the defendants couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Bell, who pleaded guilty in juvenile court to second-degree battery, was sentenced to 18 months in the custody of the Office of Youth Development.

Bell and the other students were initially charged with attempted murder. In May, Bell was convicted as an adult of aggravated assault, but the conviction was overturned. The conviction led to a protest in September by at least 20,000 demonstrators. (Source)

Dec 4, 2007

Reports are coming out of Los Angeles that UGK group Member, Chad "Pimp C" Butler was found dead in a hotel room this morning. Firefighters responded to a 911 call placed from the Mondrian Hotel on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, CA.

Details are still emerging.....(Source)

Recently Mary J. Blige sat down with Reuters and she gave a very interesting interview. she discussed the creative process behind her 2005 Grammy-winning album 'The Breakthrough' and her follow-up album, 'Growing Pains', which is due in stores Dec. 18.

She also talks about her collaborative efforts with Ne-Yo, the current state of Hip-Hop, and the future for MJB.

Q: Was it more or less intimidating going back into the studio after the success of "The Breakthrough?"

Blige: "We were coming out of a valley, so to speak, with 'The Breakthrough.' Everyone had run away and turned their backs on us. And that was cool. We love them still, and we forgive them. But it's been easier doing 'Growing Pains' because now you don't have anything to try to conquer. It's like you've accomplished everything you set out to do. You've done the hard work to be where you are. Now, though, you've got to work harder to deliver based on that confidence. Not that I was lax on anything or taking anything for granted because "The Breakthrough" did so well. I worked just as hard, maybe even harder, on this album."

Q: Among your collaborators on this new project is Ne-Yo.

Blige: "Ne-Yo is an incredible kid. He nailed everything. I began writing for this album in February around the time of the Grammys and the (Academy Award) parties. I started out with this concept of growing pains because that's how I was feeling during the Grammys: 'Am I good enough for this; do I really deserve all this in my life?' But something in my head said, 'Yes, you are. Now you're forced to rapidly grow up in this area in order to achieve and get the things you want.' All this was in my poem and everything else I'd been writing. "I read everything to Ne-Yo. He came back with not only some of the words that were in my poem but with songs that matched up to where I'm going and where I'm at in my life. He's such a sweet man, a gentleman who respects women. When I got a chance to sit down with him and talk ... you know, men don't usually relate to or understand women on that level. He just totally understood."

Q: You're on TV now with a car commercial and have done some occasional acting in the past. Now that you've conquered the music world, is acting the next frontier?


Blige: "It's my goal to do more acting if it works for me. I'm not trying to get into the film business just because I'm Mary J. Blige. I don't want to make a fool of myself with everybody laughing and talking about me like a dog. I want to get it right (laughs). A lot of scripts have come my way. It's just about choosing the right one.
"I actually went to read for a film role and could have gotten the part. It was for a director who, being new himself, didn't want to take a chance on a new person. So he wanted to go with a more seasoned actress. But the feedback I got behind the scenes was that I was great at my reading. So the word is out that I can do this."

Q: Was it a dramatic role?

Blige: "Yes. I would have played the part of woman named Linda, whose husband was a crooked cop who got killed. In the role, I was mourning for my husband. So I had to go to dark places in my own life to do that. I remembered mourning over my cousin when he got killed; I remembered an abusive relationship. I had to rewind my life to play that role. The songs that made me go there were Roy Ayers' 'Everybody Loves the Sunshine' and 'Searching.' Those were the songs I was playing heavily when those events were happening in my life. I really didn't like to go there, but I had to (for the reading). I kept crying over and over when I was in the car afterward."

Q: Getting back to music, who is at the top of your wish list to still work with?

Blige: "When and if I do a jazz album, I'd want to work with Anita Baker. I love her. She's got to know I'm a huge fan. There's also the possibility that I'd do a gospel album. Everyone always asks that question, and I believe I would."

Q: Growing up, were gospel and jazz major musical influences?

Blige: "Not really. It was more whatever was playing in my house. When I was a little girl, about 4 years old, I remember hearing 'Everybody Loves the Sunshine.'
That's the reason why I know who Roy Ayers is. My father was a musician, a bass
player, and he had a band. ... From his end, it was all about everything from Parliament to the Grateful Dead. My mother was the soul chick. She had everything from Candi Staton and Gladys Knight to Dorothy Moore, Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack and Otis Redding. She'd be around the house singing all these songs."

Q: If you could use only one phrase or one word to describe the evolution
of Mary J. Blige the artist, what would that be?

Blige: "Then: Starting to wake up. Now: Aware." (laughs)

Q: Now that you're aware, what would you do differently if you were just
starting out?

Blige: "I would probably behave. (laughs) I can't change what I was because I didn't know any better. But if I'd have known then what I do now, I wouldn't have done any of that stupid stuff."

Q: Wouldn't that have affected your music, given that it's derived from your life experiences?

Blige: "That's true. But you know, showing up 10 hours late for an interview or not showing up at all? That doesn't have anything to do with anything. That's just stupidity. I wish I'd done that differently instead of (in a mimicking voice), 'I'm not going. I'm hung over. I'm staying home.' (laughs) Meanwhile, you've got interviewers and all these people at photo shoots waiting for you who don't care about any of that. They're just there to do their jobs and you don't show up. And now you're difficult."

Q: Early on, you were tagged "the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul." Do you ever tire of that moniker?

Blige: "There's nothing I can do about it because it's something I've earned. I would never disrespect it. Hip-hop is not something that you ultimately hear. It's a culture we grew up in, and it became us. This is the way we think, walk and talk. There's a lot of intelligence in hip-hop. "A person doesn't have to slump all over, curse or act stupid to do hip-hop. Look at Erykah Badu, D'Angelo or Jill Scott. They live in that culture and you can hear it in their music. It's what others labeled neo-soul, but which is an extension of hip-hop/soul. Jill Scott carries herself pretty nice. You can hear in her music those hip-hop influences. It's where she comes from in her heart. A Tribe Called Quest gave us jazz influences. And the Jungle Brothers was another rap group I loved. If you knew who they were, then you were really a hip-hopper. They made you feel good about the culture."

Q: What are your thoughts on the ongoing controversy about rap lyrics?

Blige: "Honestly, it's not just a song's fault or a lyric's fault. Parental guidance is very key with everything that's going on. You can have your child listen to all that, but it's up to you to say, 'Look, that's what they do, but this is what you're going to do. You can't knock or judge them for what they do. But as your parent, this is what I would like for you to do, and it's the right thing to do.' It's society as a whole that's the problem. It's not about a song doing the killing or making women promiscuous."

Q: So are children in your future?

Blige: "I have two young stepchildren, who are 8 and 9. They are my children, and I have to nurture them. I don't have room or time right now for a baby. At the end of the day ... I don't know. If it happens, it happens. But right now it's not something on my radar."

Q: Do you want to be singing at age 50 or 60?


Blige: "I don't know. That's up to the people. If they request it, I'll be there. But I'm not going to force myself into their lives." (Source)