Jan 31, 2009

Get your urban news at DimeWars.Com

Ciara looks beautiful in this video. Here's hoping she finally releases a CD especially since 'Fanasy Ride' is constantly being pushed back.

Serena Williams defeats Russian Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-3 to claim her 10th Grand Slam title. Serena can also proudly boast about becoming the no. 1 rank player in the world as she replaces another Russian, Jelena Jankovic, at the top of the heap.

Jan 30, 2009

Via Huffingtonpost.com:

Winfrey, who turned 55 on Thursday, announced the selection of MTV veteran Christina Norman to run her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

The former MTV president will take over business and creative aspects of the network on February 17, and will be based in Los Angeles.

Fortune's Pattie Sellers reports that Oprah's first choice was former Viacom CEO Tom Freston, whose wife Kathy is a regular on Oprah's show. Instead, Freston joined Oprah as a consultant and steered her towards many Viacom veterans for the CEO post, including Norman, who praised her former boss.

"I love Oprah. God knows I do..." but I don't know about this pick. We are talking about the same sista who headed up MTV. Now can you name one show on MTV that's worth anything. I realized she will be working with a different demographic working for Oprah and that Oprah will be calling the shots, but I don't know if I am convinced. I'm going to wait and see what Ms. Norman does, but I'm not very hopeful right now.

First Lady Michelle Obama joined Jill Biden, Michelle Fenty, and D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty for lunch at Georgia Brown.

Yeah, you read the headline correctly. There is a black man in charge of bringing the Grand Old Party back to prominence. Michael Steele is the former Lt. Governor of Maryland and now he is the Chairman of the Republican Party. Now I don't know if that's a promotion, but I still want to wish the brother luck because he sure is going to need it. I guess this is the Republican Party's way of showing that they are being inclusive and are embracing the era of Obama.
Part 1

Part 2

One of the most interesting exchanges during this video was when Sherri Shepherd asked Dr. Rice about Katrina. I really wonder if she would decide to run for President? I think it would make for an interesting election and you know I am all for interesting elections.
AP/Rick Stevens

When I think of the Williams' sisters Plies song "Who Hotter Than Me" always seem to pop into my head. These dynamo sisters have managed to pull it off again by winning the Australian Open Doubles competition. They constantly amazed me. Here's hoping Serena is able to pull off the same feat in the singles' final when she goes up against the Russian Dinara Safina.


Sorry Cardinals' fans. It looks like the President has chosen a side and it's not yours. President Obama is definitely rooting for the Steelers. I mean let's be honest Pennsylvania is way more important a state in the electoral college than Arizona. Besides, do anyone really expects Arizona to become blue anytime soon. Not saying that President Obama made his pick for political reasons, but if he did it was definitely a smart move.

Via Blackamericaweb.com:

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said he's pulling for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Arizona Cardinals in football's biggest game on Sunday - and he did so with a politician's touch.

Obama said Thursday that he would root for Pittsburgh against the "long-suffering" and "great Cinderella story" Cardinals. His spokesman also said the president would have friends as well as a bipartisan group of lawmakers over to the White House to watch the game.

"I have to say, you know, I wish the Cardinals the best," Obama said diplomatically. "You know, Kurt Warner is a great story, and he's closer to my age than anybody else on the field."

Warner, Arizona's 37-year-old quarterback, came out of nowhere about a decade ago to take the St. Louis Rams to two Super Bowls, including a title in 2000. Just when he seemed washed up, Warner rose to the top again this year with a stellar performance. His team was not expected to make the playoffs, let alone get to the title game.

Steelers owner Dan Rooney, a longtime Republican, endorsed Obama's presidential bid and campaigned for him. During Oval Office remarks, Obama noted that one of the Steelers most beloved former players, Franco Harris, had campaigned for him in Pittsburgh, too.

"Other than the (Chicago) Bears," Obama said, "the Steelers are probably the team that's closest to my heart."

Jan 29, 2009

Jazmine Sullivan - Lions, Tigers & Bears

Between this song and Hurricane, I don't know which is my favorite song off of Jazmine's album. This girl can really blow and she is definitely worthy of the Grammy nominations she received last month. If you don't have that Jazmine Sullivan album Fearless make sure you pick it up. We need to start supporting real talent and this young lady right here is the real deaal. Don't get it twisted.
Maxwell, John Legend, Anita Baker, Ne-Yo, Salt 'N Pepa, Teena Marie, Robin Thicke, En Vogue and Al Green join Beyoncé at the 2009 ESSENCE Music Festival and you're the first to know! We've got a full line up in our Super Lounges with your favorite artists including Solange, Eric Benet, Raphael Saadiq, Lalah Hathaway, Ledisi and more. The best seats are selling fast! Buy now and get a 15% discount until February 15.
Here's a little background on the video from Huffingtonpost.com:

Barack Obama admitted to Beyonce that like millions before him, he too liked "Single Ladies" and could do at least some of its famous choreography.

Caught on camera by John Legend while greeting participants at the Concert on the Mall, then-President-Elect Obama gets called out by wife Michelle about his fondness for her song (the video of which is below).

Michelle Obama says, "Mr. President, you didn't tell Beyonce about 'Single Ladies'? Your rendition?"

"I'm not like Justin [Timberlake]" Obama says laughing, referencing the SNL spoof. "I didn't put on the outfit... [but} I didn't want my girls thinking that I couldn't, you know... I got a lil something."

And with that, he did the hand flip and added, "This part I get."

Via AJC.com:

Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate jumped to 7.6 percent in December, a 3 percent one-year increase that reflects the economic downturn’s dramatic effect in Georgia, the state Labor Department reported Thursday. The jobless rate in metro Atlanta rose .07 percentage point from a revised 6.9 percent in November.

Georgia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent in December, the highest rate since 1983, the department said. The jobless rate was up 3.6 percentage points from 4.5 percent at this time last year. The December unemployment rate was up .07 percentage point from a revised 7.4 percent in November.

The last time Georgia saw an unemployment rate this high was in March 1983, also 8.1 percent. Georgia’s jobless rate remained above the national rate of 7.2 percent for the 11th straight month. There are currently 393,168 unemployed Georgians looking for work. Of that number, 156,719, or 40 percent, are drawing unemployment insurance benefits.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is signing into law an equal-pay bill that is popular with labor and women's groups and is expected to make it easier for workers to sue for decades-old discrimination.

Obama was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on Thursday during an East Room ceremony, a move that effectively ends a 2007 Supreme Court decision that said workers had only 180 days to file a pay-discrimination lawsuit. Obama and fellow Democrats campaigned hard against the court decision and promised to pass legislation that would give workers more time to sue their employers for past discrimination.

"This bill will be a big step forward not just for women, but for families," the White House said in a statement announcing the bill signing. "It is not only a measure of fairness, but can be the difference for families struggling to make ends meet during these difficult times."

The law is named for a woman who said she didn't become aware of a pay discrepancy until she neared the end of her 19-year career at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden, Ala. She sued, but the Supreme Court in 2007 said she missed her chance.

Click here to read article in it's entirety.

Via BlackAmericaWeb.com:

LOS ANGELES - Awash in debt, behind on his mortgage and recently fired from his job at a hospital, Ervin Lupoe was planning on leaving California.

The 40-year-old father of five pulled his children out of school, packed his SUV with snow chains and winter clothing for him and his family and appeared ready for the trip to his brother-in-law's home in Garden City, Kan.

It's not yet known if he was planning on leaving for good in a bid to flee his mounting money problems or if the trip would have only been temporary.

Whatever his intention, Lupoe never got to Kansas.

Instead, police say, he shot his five children and wife to death before turning the gun on himself.

"Something happened in the last 48 hours that made him snap," said Detective David Cortez of the Los Angeles police department, the lead investigator in the case. "(He saw) no other way, no other direction."

Investigators found evidence of spiraling financial woes, including a bounced check to the Internal Revenue Service. Lupoe owed at least $15,000, as well as thousands of dollars on a home equity line of credit.

He also was at least one month behind on a mortgage for his home in Wilmington, near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Cortez said.

But Cortez said it was Lupoe, not the stagnant state of the economy, that was to blame.

"Being there and walking through the crime scene, it's a lot easier to see him as the suspect that did this to other people than the economy did this to him," Cortez said. "It's how he chose to respond to the circumstances; he had options."

Police found the bodies of Lupoe, his wife and five children Tuesday morning. The bodies of two-year-old twin boys, Benjamin and Christian, were beside their dead mother, Ana. In another bedroom, the bodies of five-year-old twin girls, Jaszmin and Jassely, and their eight-year-old sister Brittney lay on a mattress pad next to their lifeless father.

He appeared to have attempted to muffle the sound of gunfire by shooting a semiautomatic handgun through a pillow.

"It looked like they were all caught by surprise," Cortez said.

Neighbors' reports of firecracker sounds indicated the family might have been killed the evening before and Lupoe shot himself the next day, Cortez said.

This story just makes me want to throw up. I knew there was more to this story than what was being reported. I'm pretty sure as time goes on their are more things that will come out. I just have a hard time believing a mother lion would be complacent in the deaths of her children. I just find this entire stroy to be a bunch of BS. I think Ervin Lupoe planned this entire thing and threw his wife into the mix so he would not look like a complete evil bastard when it was discovered what he had done. I really don't think Mrs. Lupoe had any idea something like this was going to take place. She probably really thought she was going to her brother's house in Kansas and now here she is dead and the rest of world believes that she was one of the maserminds behinds this horrendous tragedy.

Jan 28, 2009

The only thing I can say is, "It's about damn time." You can call me a hater all you want, but I have always like Kelly and thought she should be a much bigger star than what she is. Don't get me wrong. I can't blame Matthew for putting the interests of his own child before others, but dang did he have to be so obvious. It's obvious that Destiny's Child was a vehicle for Beyonce, but damn Kelly is actually a pretty talented chick and she deserves a chance to shine. I think under the right management she could do just that.

Here is a joint statement that was put out by both Kelly and Matthew:

Via ThatGrapeJuice.net:

Joint statement from Mathew Knowles and Kelly Rowland on their amicable professional split:

"After a very positive meeting between Kelly Rowland and myself, we have amicably agreed to end our professional relationship. My company, Music World, will continue to manage Destiny's Child as a group. As an artist Kelly has incredible talent and I only wish her the best. We will always be family first and foremost, and as a dad I only have love for Kelly." ----Mathew Knowles

"Mathew Knowles has been a positive influence in my career. I have had great success under his guidance — both as a member of Destiny’s Child and with my solo projects. Although we have decided to part ways professionally, the Knowles family and the entire Music World Entertainment team will always be my family." ---Kelly Rowland
As some of you may already know, I attended the inauguration. I was fortunate enough to have a blue ticket. My friend Karen and I arrived at the Blue Gate a little after 4 in the morning. It was bitter cold and I paid for it later with a sore back and tighten joints, but after watching some of the videos that describe the drama that went down I am definitely glad we got there as early as we did. The Metro police of DC definitely need a lesson in crowd control. I could tell how they were lining us up that it was going to be a problem. First, we were in a single file line when we got there, but then all of a sudden out of no where they announced that we had to go to another area in order to enter the Gate. So you can imagine the chaos that ensued as everyone took off running to get in line. Fortunately for us we ended up at the front of the line and didn't have any problems getting in. But the same cannot be said for a lot of people. I cannot imagined how I would feel if I was one of these people. I would be beyond pissed. Here are some of the videos that I've found of some of the problems ticketholders encountered trying to get into the Blue and Purple Gates:

Blue Gate

Purple Gate

Is this really what the world is coming to? I just don't know what to say. Someone is really going to have to help me figure this one out. How can anyone kill those precious children? Such a beautiful family. I just don't understand. You mean to tell me that instead of just downsizing your home and doing odd end jobs, you would rather kill your family. Please somebody help me understand this. This is not the first time people have gone through economic struggle. Hell, black people are the ultimate survivors when it comes to struggling. We made it through so many things and now you telling me we can't survive this. You killed your family because of your shame. There is more to this story I know it. So tragic...

Via CNN:

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- It was described as one of the most grisly scenes Los Angeles police had ever encountered: the bodies of five small children and their parents, all shot to death, in two upstairs rooms of the family's home.

But even more incomprehensible to some was the story that emerged after the bodies were found Tuesday: A father who, after he and his wife were fired from their jobs, killed all six family members before turning the gun on himself.

In a letter faxed to Los Angeles television station KABC before his suicide, Ervin Antonio Lupoe blamed his former employer for the deaths, detailing his grievance against Kaiser Permanente's West Los Angeles Medical Center, where he and his wife Ana had worked as technicians.

Lupoe claimed the couple was being investigated for "misrepresentation of our employment to an outside agency for the benefit to ourselves's [sic], childcare." He said the initial interview was held on December 19, and when he reported for work on December 23, "I was told by my administrator ... that 'You should not even have bothered to come to work today. You should have blown your brains out.'"

"Oh lord, my God," the letter concludes. "Is there no hope for a widow's son?"

Kaiser Permanente said in a statement Tuesday night that while the company is "saddened by the despair in Mr. Lupoe's letter faxed to the media ... we are confident that no one told him to take his own life or the lives of his family."

The Lupoes' employment was terminated over a week ago "after an internal investigation," the company said.

"While we may never fully understand why today's senseless deaths occurred, everyone who worked with the Lupoes is shocked and terribly saddened by the tragedy," said the statement. "It never should have happened."

Lupoe wrote in the fax, "after a horrendous ordeal my wife felt it better to end our lives and why leave our children in someone else's hands ... we have no job and 5 children under 8 years with no place to go. So here we are."

Armed with a degree from Wellesley and an MBA from Harvard, new White House social secretary Desiree Rogers is definitely more than qualified for the position. Ms. Rogers sat down with Vogue Magazine and discussed her new position and what it is she hopes to accomplish.

"DesirĂ©e is so poised and so charming, so substantial and capable, but nonetheless I told her how important it is to always stand up to the West Wing," Baldrige recounted later. "The West Wing is the men's side, and they will want to push you to put all those politicians on the dinner lists, and you've got to be strong and say no. Always represent what the First Lady and the president want. In the case of the Obamas, it's an exciting mix of people—not paybacks."

Rogers's appointment, in late November, did not come as a surprise to anyone in the Obama inner circle, including Valerie Jarrett, one of her best friends and a senior adviser to the new president. Days before the announcement, Rogers had hosted a small birthday party for Jarrett in Chicago attended by Barack and Michelle Obama, who rejoiced in being able to spend some downtime with a few of their closest pals, including Rogers, after the campaign's long haul. "My party was perfect," Jarrett told The Washington Post later, adding that Rogers "has extraordinary flair and exquisite taste."

On mandate from the Obamas:

The mandate the Obamas have given her, Rogers said, "is about instilling pride." Her job "is helping people visualize what the Obama presidency is about, the feelings Americans voted for—inclusion, transparency, embracing people you might never otherwise learn about—and also translating the splendor, that sweetness, that comfort of the White House to everyone." She paused and smiled. "Enormous task."

Indeed, in these troubled economic times, how exactly will the Obamas revitalize the White House? "Using the assets already there," Rogers said. "We have to be balanced. People think that being 'social' means hosting a lavish party, but that's not true. We all thrive on social interaction, and we must continue to," despite the economy.

Read more about Desiree Rogers in the February issue of Vogue.

Jan 27, 2009

Via CNN.com:

The story
President Obama said his administration will offer a hand of friendship to the Muslim world, but will hunt down terrorist organizations that kill innocent civilians.

"My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy," Obama said in an interview with the Al-Arabiya satellite television network. "We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect."

In his run for the White House, Obama pledged to improve ties with the Muslim world, draw down U.S. troops in Iraq and close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The president has also pledged to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital in the first 100 days of his administration. No location has been announced.

PINK has added five HBCU's to its exclusive Collegiate Collection on vspink.com. In honor of the exciting new collection, PINK will be paying a special visit to the HBCU with the most gear purchased. Purchases made between January 26 and February 22 will up your schools chances of winning. Happy Shopping!!!

Here is a list of participating schools:

1. Florida A&M University
2. Howard University
3. Hampton University
4. Southern University
5. North Carolina A&T

Jan 26, 2009

AP Photo /Tammie Arroyo

Via ABCnews.com:

Illinois' beleaguered Gov. Rod Blagojevich said today that when he was deciding who would take President Obama's Senate seat he considered appointing talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, a suggestion that Winfrey says left her "amused."

Blagojevich made the revelation to Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning America" on the day his impeachment trial began. That trial is expected to toss him out of office.

The governor said that Winfrey's name came up as a potential successor to Obama in the Senate.

Oprah commented on the governor's consideration of her on Gayle King's radio show:

As for Winfrey, she unfortunately didn't catch Blagojevich's comments live, but said on BFF Gayle King's Sirius XM satellite radio show, "If I had been watching as I normally watch, from the treadmill, I would have probably fallen off the treadmill."

In a seemingly rare attack of good sense, however, Blagojevich said on GMA that he ultimately decided against offering the political post to Winfrey as "she probably wouldn't take it, and if I offered it to her, how do you make sure it doesn't look like a gimmick and embarrass her?"

A question for the ages, if ever there was one.

"I'm pretty amused by the whole thing," Winfrey told King later, before making clear that she would "absolutely not" be interested in the position.

"I guess you're under consideration but no one tells you you're under consideration...I would have to say: Where would I fit it in with my day job, my night job, my radio job, my magazine job?"

Not that she's not qualified.

"I think I could be senator, too," she said after King asked if she was flattered that people actually believed she would be a capable politician. "I'm just not interested."
"Lady Marmalade"

"Somebody Loves You"

Fantasia is the bomb!!!!

I for one personally believe that people should be able to define themselves however they wish to. President Obama defines himself as African-American whereas Tiger Woods defines himself as "Caublasian." Who are we to tell anyone how they should see themselves? At the end of the day the vast majority of African Americans in this country are of Mixed Race, but at the end of the day we all descended from Africa and thus we really are only one race. Some of us just left Africa earlier than others.
CNN reporting set out to find why is all the emphasis by the media being placed on Michelle Obama's fashion and her extraordinary life or accomplishments. Being a black woman I already have my opinions on this, but let's see what Don discovered in the video below:

Via AJC.com:

Perry tells the story in the fading sunlight of a cold afternoon outside his new house, a 30,000-square-foot palace atop a hill overlooking the Chattahoochee River. It is the filmmaker’s way of rebutting an alternative narrative that emerges from documents filed in Fulton County courts — the claims by several construction firms that Perry gave them the same kind of treatment his father received.

Six construction firms have filed liens against Perry’s house and his new movie studio, the first established by an African-American.

The court papers show that Perry’s unpaid bills from the two projects total slightly less than $200,000.

The contractors allege Perry refused to pay their final bills either for no apparent reason or because their work met with his arbitrary disapproval. They say he ordered work redone on impulse, deciding he wouldn’t like the stones purchased for an outdoor fountain, for instance, or deeming newly planted trees too short.

“He wanted to do it his way,” said Brooks Hilton, a landscaping contractor who said Perry owes him $17,635. “He wouldn’t take any advice. I guess in Hollywood it works that way, but not in real life.”

Perry, though, said he withheld payment only for shoddy work or for undocumented charges and then only for a handful of the dozens of construction companies he hired. Even those, he said, still got paid hundreds of thousands of dollars each before he dismissed them.

He sees the contractors’ complaints as a form of extortion and as part of the burden of celebrity.

“There’s a Tyler Perry tax that’s put on things,” Perry said in one of two interviews last week.

“I’ve seen the worst of what people can be, the worst of what family members can be,” he said.

“I pride myself on taking care of my business. I pride myself on being able to pay the bills.”

But “I’m not sympathetic to anybody who’s trying to rip me off. Just because I’m a Christian, just because I’m a nice guy, it doesn’t mean I’m a wimp.”

Via Hip Hop Crunch:

Michelle Obama’s inaugural outfits are being met with discontent from African-American members of the fashion community. The Black Artists Association is upset that America’s new First Lady did not wear any designs by an African American designer during Tuesday’s historic inauguration of President Obama.

The new First Lady choose a gold dress and coat by Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo for her husband’s swearing ceremony and a white one shoulder dress by Jason Wu for the evening’s always buzzworthy inaugural balls.

Both designs have received mixed reviews.

“It’s fine and good if you want to be all ‘Kumbaya’ and ‘We Are the World’ by representing all different countries. But if you are going to have Isabel Toledo do the inauguration dress, and Jason Wu do the evening gown, why not have Kevan Hall, B Michael, Stephen Burrows or any of the other black designers do something too?” Amnau Eele, cofounder of the Black Artists Association and former YSL model told WWD.

She added, “It’s one thing to look at the world without color but she had seven slots to wear designer clothes. Why wasn’t she wearing the clothes of a black designer? That was our moment.”

Now it didn't take a rocket scientist to know that there were going to be some pissed off black folks when it came to the selection of Mrs. Obama's inaugural outfits. I'm pretty sure Kevan Hall, Kai Milla, and other prominent black designers submitted designs to the First Lady and she went with the designs that she liked best. I know there are some that wished she would have chosen a black designer (Kevan Hall would have been my personal choice), but she didn't and we should respect her choice after all she is the First Lady of the United States of America. Rightfully so, we want to claim the Obamas as our own, but we have to remmeber that they belong to all of us. It is what it is.

Jan 25, 2009

"Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire" scored a rare triple victory Saturday night at the Sundance Film Festival, winning both the grand jury prize and the audience award for drama as well as a special jury prize for acting.

Directed by Lee Daniels, best known for producing the Oscar-winning "Monster's Ball," and adapted by Damien Pearl from the 1997 novel, "Push" tells the raw, nightmarish story of a 16-year-old pregnant girl who tries to escape from the domination of her terrifying mother (played by Mo'Nique, who won that acting prize) and make something of her life.

I hope this movie makes it to the big screen because I love the fact that Lee Daniels always present us with African American characters that are multi-dimensional. So I am definitely looking forward to this film.

Jan 24, 2009

Chivalry is defined in the dictionary as:

1. The qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women.
2. A manifestation of any of these qualities.

When I saw the above picture of the Obamas the first word that came to mind was chivalry. As a modern day woman I must admit that I haven't encountered a lot of chivalrous men (go figure). There have been a few along the way but they've always been older gentlemen. I don't know of too many men my age that I could consider chivalrous. Maybe it has something to do with the generation that I am apart of, but male/female relationships of this generation seem to be much different than that of my mother's or even my grandmother's generation. Maybe it's just me, but when a brother holds a door open for me or comes to my side of the car to open the door I am always taken a back. It's just not the type of behavior I expect from brother's these days (I know poor me, but I'm just keeping it real). Hell, I've read about chivalry and even heard some sistas talk about it, but never once did I think I would actually experience it. I mean really, do any sistas these days really expect to encounter a chivalrous brother? I for one believe the art of chivalry is dead. I think it has a way of manifesting itself here and there, but the full artform is a thing of the past. I can't say what happen although I have my opinion, but I would love to hear what you think about this topic.

Is chivalry dead? Will having the Obamas in the White House renew interest in the art of Chivalry? What Say Thee...

Jan 23, 2009

There was another shooting involving a Giants' football player and this time his name wasn't Plaxico Burress. Taye Biddle was shot while visiting his family in Decatur, Alabama. This is what AJC.com is reporting on the story:

DECATUR, Ala. — New York Giants receiver Taye Biddle is recovering from gunshot wounds to his hand and leg after being shot while visiting family in his hometown.

Decatur police said in a statement Thursday that Biddle was shot outside a residence and was treated and released from a hospital. Police said there was no evidence Biddle caused or provoked the shooting.

"He had surgery on his hand today," Biddle's friend, Bruce Jones, told The Decatur Daily Thursday. "He told me his leg is OK, and he ought to be fine."

The 25-year-old Biddle grew up in Decatur and played college football at the University of Mississippi.

Police have not made any arrests in the case.

Biddle was promoted from the Giants' practice squad after receiver Plaxico Burress was suspended for a game in September.

Jan 22, 2009

Has to go to The Nation for this very witty cover. This is how the magazine described the cover:

It was on August 28, 2008, on the forty-fifth anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, that Obama accepted the Democratic party's nomination, becoming the first black American to be a major party's presidential candidate.

And on January 20, 2009--one day after Martin Luther King Day--Obama will be sworn in as the first black president of the United States. No doubt the spirits of the civil rights movement, and of movements for racial justice everywhere, will be with him then.

Artist John Mavroudis's cover illustration for this week's print edition of The Nation imagines this inauguration--one witnessed not in flesh and blood, but in the bonds of justice and peace. To identify the historical figures, match the list of names below with the diagram at right.

Click here to check out The Nation's key on who the people are in the illustration.

I just want to say congratulations to Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis for their respective Academy Awards nominations for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. You go girls and here wishing you luck.

Check out the other nominees by clicking here.
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PETA has a change of heart when it comes to former NFL player Michael Vick. Upon his release from prison the animal rights organization was going to do a PSA with Vick abou the horrors of dogfighting, but Vick's attorneys insisted that PETA supports Vick's reinstatement into the NFL. That little piece is where PETA drew the line:

“Saying sorry and getting his ball back after being caught enjoying killing dogs in hideously cruel ways for many years doesn’t cut it,” said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “Commissioner Goodell knows that he has an obligation to the league and to millions of fans, including children who look up to ballplayers as idols, to make sure that Michael Vick is mentally capable of remorse before he can touch, let alone wear, an NFL uniform again.”

PETA is urging that Vick undergo a brain scan and a full psychiatric evaluation.

I will say it now and I will say it again, "Michael Vick, would have been better off raping a woman than killing dogs." I think what he did was heinous, but why is it that when an athlete assaults a woman whether it is by raping her or hitting her he is treated so much better than Vick. I just find the whole siuation sickening.

Via AJC.com:

ALBANY, N.Y. — Caroline Kennedy has ended her quest for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, halting a campaign that began with popular support but withered quickly over criticism about her experience and her reluctance to answer questions about her finances.

Kennedy made the announcement in a terse statement released early Thursday, ending hours of uncertainty surrounding her intentions as she appeared to waver in her decision to seek the office.

“I informed Governor Paterson today that for personal reasons I am withdrawing my name from consideration for the United States Senate,” she said in the one-sentence statement.

Her spokesman, Stefan Friedman, wouldn’t comment further. A spokesman for Gov. David Paterson, who will make the appointment to the open seat, also would not comment.

I think Caroline made the right decision. Although, I think she is a highly intelligent woman she still needs a little more seasoning when it comes to the public arena. I still think she should run for public office though because it would be really nice to see a Kennedy sitting in the seat that was once held by Bobby Kennedy.

Via Eurweb.com:

Richmond, Indiana's Pal-item.com is reporting that Aaron McGruder, creator of "The Boondocks" comic strip and animated series, left an audience at local Earlham College a little upset over comments he made about President Barack Obama.

Appearing at the college Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, McGruder answered questions posed by the audience and by associate professor James Logan. On the topic of race and ethnicity, McGruder said that to him, Obama is not black because he is not a descendant of a slave.

"The person who is one of us in the White House is Michelle Obama and her momma," McGruder said. Obama's father was Kenyan; his mother white.

McGruder, a Howard University graduate, went on to express an overall pessimistic view of the incoming Obama administration.

"I don't think you're going to see any dramatic change from Barack Obama," said McGruder, who wore a "Boondocks" T-shirt over a black long-sleeve shirt and jeans. "I'm hoping he proves me completely wrong."

McGruder bases his opinions of the U.S. presidency on the 2000 election and how nothing has been done since then to change the election system. "It was a sham then ... It's got to still be a sham," McGruder said. "I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but it's what I tend to do."

Check out McGruder's statment on this situation after the jump.

"For a long time now, I have tried to keep my opinions on the election and Barack Obama to myself. I occasionally do speaking engagements, which are not open to the press, and unfortunately some of my comments have been twisted around in a silly manner. The claim that I asserted our new President was not Black is categorically false.

"I have seen an endless stream of Black pundits on TV pontificating about the significance of President Obama's election - many of them making reference to the 3/5th's clause in the constitution regarding slaves. The point I was making is that this is not an accurate comparison.

"Barack is the son of an immigrant, not the descendant of slaves. It's like comparing a half-Japanese man to the oppressed Chinese who built the American railroads. Yes, they are both Asian, but it is not an honest or accurate comparison. We all share the common experiences of being Black in America today - we do not all share a common history. A history that in part makes us who we are - and in some cases (as with the psychological damage that still lingers from slavery) holds us back. These are not, I believe, insignificant distinctions.

"I did say I was cautiously pessimistic about Obama's Presidency - but this is simply acknowledging the reality of an American Empire that is out of control and on the verge of collapse. Let us not forget that on the eve of the election, we witnessed a near-trillion dollar robbery of the US treasury. That robbery is still taking place. I do not blame President Obama, but I do not believe the financial and corporate interests that own and control this country will fold so easily. I do not question the integrity of the man as much as the power of his office - which I believe has greatly diminished over the years. I believe the Federal Reserve Bank, the Military Industrial Complex, and the massive corporate interests that run this country have more power than our new President. I hope I am wrong.

"After 9/11, I witnessed most of this country become obsessed with squashing dissent and silencing critics. I hope this election does not turn Black America towards this same, fascist mind state; but already I am starting to see it, and it saddens me greatly. I absolutely wish our new President and his family success and safety. But after all I have witnessed in my lifetime, and especially in the last eight years, I am not ready to lay down my skepticism or my outrage for this government. To do so would be unwise and, ironically enough, anti-American."

Jan 21, 2009

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I am still in D.C. enjoying the festivities but I thought I would share this video with you. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama had their first dance as the First Couple during the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. The First Couple danced to Beyonce's rendition of Etta James' classic "At Last." Simply wonderful!!!!

Jan 19, 2009

ashington, D.C. - Today, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) released a list of participants in the Inaugural Parade in the order of planned appearance. Over 10,000 people from all 50 states will follow the President and Vice President from the Capitol down the 1.5 mile route on Pennsylvania Avenue. Music and cultural groups will join representatives from our Armed Forces in the historic parade, which concludes at the presidential reviewing stand, where the President and Vice President will watch the processional with their families.

The list below reflects the planned order for the Inaugural Parade. Please note that the participants and their order in the Inaugural Parade are not considered final until the parade begins.

To stay informed of any changes in the parade line-up, follow the twitter feed http://twitter.com/aficpao. This requires signing up for a free Twitter account if you don't already have one.

Planned Parade Order:

Representatives from the US Army, United States Military Academy & US Army Reserve
Punahou School JROTC
Punahou School Marching Band
Whitney M. Young Magnet High School Navy JROTC
Isiserettes Drill and Drum Corps
Jesse White Tumbling Team
Florida A&M University Marching 100 Band
Crow Nation of Montana
Paul Laurence Dunbar Senior High School Marching Band
Illinois Home State Float
Brooklyn Music and Arts Program
Theodore Roosevelt High School Marine Corps JROTC Color Guard and Drill Team
Colts Drum and Bugle Corps
Klein Collins High School Air Force JROTC
Cleveland Firefighters Memorial Pipes and Drums
Southern Ohio Ladies Aside
Redwood Middle School Marching Band and Auxiliary Units
Representatives of the US Marine Corps and US Marine Corps Reserve
Delaware Volunteer Firemen's Association
University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hen Marching Band, The Pride of Delaware
Delaware Home State Float
Alexis I. duPont High School Band
Comfort Carriages
Tuskegee Airmen
Delaware State University Marching Band
Special Olympics Inc.
Sanford High School Marching Band
Peace Corps Community
Adams Central High School Patriot Band
Oneida Nation Veterans
Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps
Idaho State Leadership: State and Tribal Representatives
Roosevelt High School Marching Band
Suurimmaanitchuat Eskimo Dance Group
South Cobb High School Blue Eagle Marching Band
Representatives of the US Navy, US Naval Academy & US Navy Reserve
Brattleboro High School Marching Band
George Washington University
Petal High School Marching Band
Freedom Riders
Bonnie Brae Knights
Federal Protection Service
Trumbull High School Golden Eagle Marching Band
American Workers Contingent
East Greenwich High School Avenger Band
Commanding General's Mounted Color Guard, First Infantry Division, Fort Riley KS
Green Valley High School Marching Band
Angel Drill Team
Manning High School Golden Pride Marching Band
Wind River Reservation Youth Council
Lincoln Highway National Museum and Archives
University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Band
Tempel Lipizzans of Tempel Farms
University of Arkansas Marching Band
Representatives of the US Air Force, US Air Force Academy & US Air Force Reserve
Mountain Ridge High School Pride of the West Marching Band
United Tribes Technical College
Montana Delegation
Hampton University Marching Force
AmeriCorps Alums
North Allegheny High School Tiger Marching Band
World Famous Lawn Rangers from Amazing Arcola
Blue Springs High School Golden Regiment Marching Band
McCrossan Boys Ranch
Colony High School Knights Marching Band
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, Company A
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment
Espanola Valley High School Mariachi Sol Del Valle
1965 Mustang of the DC Metropolitan Police Department
Grambling State University World Famed Tiger Marching Band
Nicholas County Army JROTC, the Wilderness Battalion
J. P. Taravella High School Band
Representatives of the US Coast Guard, US Coast Guard Academy & US Coast Guard Reserve
Morton High School Marching Band
U.S. Border Patrol
Harding University High School Marching Band of Gold
Hawaii Home State Float
Howard University Showtime Marching Band
Pennsylvania Home State Float
Lesbian and Gay Band Association
Mobile Azalea Trail Maids
Londonderry High School Marching Lancer Band and Color Guard
T.C. Williams High School Army JROTC
Windsor High School Marching Band
Michigan's Multi Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard
Ohio State University Marching Band
Boy Scouts of America, Troop 358, Philadelphia, PA
Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capital, Troops 1803 & 382
Fergus Falls High School Marching Band
Representatives from the US Merchant Marine Academy
Evergreen High School Marching Band
Culver Academies
Carl Sandburg High School Marching Eagles
USO Float
Carnaval de San Anto, the URBAN 15 Group
Prevention Partnership, Warren County, KY Sheriff's Office
Siloam Springs High School Band
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association CCBA
Get a Life Marching Band
Union High School Air Force JROTC
University of Utah Marching Band
Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets
NASA Astronaut Crew and NASA Lunar Electric Rover
Due to the fact that I am in D.C. enjoying all the inaugural festivities I will not be posting on the site. All the activities is wearing a sista out. It just hit me yesterday that I am actually getting old when I fell asleep in the outfit I was supposed to go out in...LOL!!! I need to learn to pace myself. Well, I should be back in full swing come Thursday. I'm sure I am going to have some stories to tell and I'm sure you guys are going to have some stories to tell me. I hope everyone is enjoying the inauguration as much I am.

Jan 16, 2009

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Now this is one reality show I will definitely be watching.

Now imagine my surprise when I was watching America's Best Dance Crew last night and on comes The Striker All-Stars. I can remember being a kid and watching The Strikers. Watching this latest incarnate was interesting. It looks as though they've taken the Strikers in more of a step direction. I can remember when they were some straight dancing machines...I mean Luke dancers (if you from the south you know what I mean) had nothing on them. It's nice to get a chance to see the evolution of this dance crew. I definitely know who I will be voting for but I guess I'm a little bias....

Via MTV.com:

Tallahassee, Florida

Tallie "Ace" Brinson III (24)
Otheus "O" Manuel (25)
Peterson Thelisma (23)
Edwin "Bowling Ball" Bennett (25)
Michael "Money Mike" Washington (24)
Welton Maurice Nance (23)
Joel Daley (20)

Established in 1989 at Florida A&M University, Strikers All-Stars’ motto is, “If you can survive being a Striker, you can survive anything.” It's beyond notable that most of the members of this crew chose to attend FAMU in order join this famous stepping family because The Strikers aren’t merely a dance crew; they are a legacy.

This crew -- an elite seven-man unit comprised of the FAMU Strikers' strongest performers -- has won competitions on BET's 106 & Park and won over the notoriously fickle Showtime at the Apollo audience. They are, in short, considered one of the top stepping crews in the South.

"Many people think it's all the same," Ace says of stepping. "but we have created this style that is mimicked by numerous dance crews." That style comes from all seven members contributing to The Strikers' choreography and adding a freestyle hip-hop element to the more widely known precision elements. "We're unpredictable, full of energy," says Peterson. Adds Money Mike: "Our urban soul matched with our energy -- it can get ridiculously crazy!"

To that point, the crew lists a lot of hip-hop on among musical favorites, including OutKast, Flo Rida, T Pain, T.I., Rick Ross, Jay Z, Timbaland and Swizz Beats, along with some contemporary pop from the likes of John Legend, Chris Brown and Justin Timberlake.

"In a way, we have played through our season and we're about to play in the Super Bowl -- America's Best Dance Crew," says Bowling Ball. "Our advantage is that everybody on our team is a Pro Bowl-er."
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Via BlackVoices.com:

This week Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy announced that he was retiring from football. He was the Colts' head coach for seven years, becoming the first Black coach to win a Super Bowl in the 2006-07 NFL season.

"My wife and I talked, and we just felt it was the right time," Dungy said at a news conference. "I think I've got a chance to do some things down the road. I think I've got a responsibility to be home a little more. I've been tremendously blessed to play three years in the NFL and coach for 28, and those 31 years have been fantastic. Don't shed any tears for me. I've got to live a dream that most people don't get to live. What phase two is, we'll see. . . . I have a real peace about it that this is the right time."

Dungy still hasn't decided on what he wants to do, but for the immediate future, he's probably going to just kick it. He will be replaced by associate head coach Jim Caldwell, who was pretty much guaranteed the HC job when Dungy decided to step down.

The Hall of Fame talk is already buzzing around his name. He doesn't become eligible until 2014, but is a sure-fire candidate?

Preparing for this inauguration has left me so busy that I completely missed that one of my favorite coaches in the NFL is retiring. I was a student at FAMU when Coach Dungy was at Tampa Bay. I can still remember some of the PSA's he did with his family. My heart ached for him win he lost his son a few years back and I cheered for him when he won his first Super Bowl as a coach. I know whatever he has planned for the future will be a success. Here's wishing the Coach luck in his next endeavor. I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing him on television as a sport's commentator.

Jan 15, 2009

Via CNN.com:

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A US Airways plane with more than 150 people aboard went down in the Hudson River on Thursday after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, and everyone aboard apparently got off the plane alive, officials said.

Flight 1549, headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, may have experienced a bird strike, according to FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown.

Passenger Alberto Pinero said that within a couple minutes after takeoff, "you just heard a loud bang and the plane shook a bit."

Passengers could smell smoke, and "the plane just started turning. ... We knew something was going on, 'cause look, we were turning back," he said.

Somehow, the plane stayed afloat and we were all able to get on a raft," Pinero said. "It's just incredible now that everyone's still alive."

The plane had 148 passengers, Brown said, and either five or six crew members on board when it took off at 3:26 p.m. It was airborne for less than three minutes, she said.

Everyone on board is believed to have exited the Airbus A320, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The Coast Guard rescued 35 people, according to Coast Guard Cmdr. Ron LeBrec.

Roosevelt Hospital said it had received four passengers who were being treated for hypothermia, but had no further injures. Other hospitals were on alert.

The temperature in New York was 20 degrees about the time of the crash off Manhattan's west side.

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Via AJC.com:

Run-DMC once hailed themselves as the Kings of Rock, so it's fitting that the pioneering rappers have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Run-DMC joins the heavy metal band Metallica, guitarist and former Yardbirds member Jeff Beck; soul singer and guitarist Bobby Womack and doo-wop group Little Anthony and the Imperials as this year's inductee class.

Though Run-DMC wasn't among the first rap acts, they were the first to achieve widespread mainstream success, and the first to notch a platinum album with 1986's "Raising Hell." The rapping duo of Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels — plus their DJ, the late Jam Master Jay — were rap's first rock stars. They had hits with songs like "My Adiddas" and "It's Tricky," but had their greatest success when they remade Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" with the rock act for a groundbreaking collaboration.

In an interview Wednesday, McDaniels called Run-DMC's induction "inconceivable."

"I'm a rap dude, I'm an MC from Hollis (a neighborhood in New York's borough of Queens), just rockin' the mic, and to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with the Beatles, and (Bob) Dylan, and the rock 'n' roll gods? It's ridiculous! Ridiculous in a good way," he said.

He also gave a nod to the predecessors who paved the way for the group's success: "I share this nomination and the induction and the whole award with those cats, everyone from the Bronx and Harlem who started this."

Jam Master Jay — whose real name was Jason Mizell — was shot to death in his recording studio in 2002. McDaniels doesn't consider the induction bittersweet — "because Jay isn't here to celebrate doesn't mean he's not partaking in this event" — but said he couldn't see the duo performing during the April 4 induction ceremony in Cleveland without him.

"We can't do it without Jay," he said. "I want people to remember the last time they saw us together, the three of us."

Man I am so happy for them. I must say that this recognition is fully deserved. Oh, and if you don't have a clue as to who Bobby Womack is I suggest you get your google on because this man is The Man and if you grew up listening to all music like I did then you will understand why Bobby Womack deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Bobby Womack - If You Think Your Lonely Now

I bet some of ya'll thought this song originated with K-CI and JoJo.

Parade Magazine asked President-elect Obama to get personal and talk about what it is that he wants for his children and what came of it is this very touching and thoughtful letter:

Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have. But I also know that it hasn't always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me-about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential-schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college-even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity.

I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other.

Sometimes we have to send our young men and women into war and other dangerous situations to protect our country-but when we do, I want to make sure that it is only for a very good reason, that we try our best to settle our differences with others peacefully, and that we do everything possible to keep our servicemen and women safe. And I want every child to understand that the blessings these brave Americans fight for are not free-that with the great privilege of being a citizen of this nation comes great responsibility.

That was the lesson your grandmother tried to teach me when I was your age, reading me the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence and telling me about the men and women who marched for equality because they believed those words put to paper two centuries ago should mean something.

She helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better-and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It's a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be.

I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much-although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.

These are the things I want for you-to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure.

I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace, and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House.

Love, Dad

It has been confirmed that Mrs. Deshawn Snow will not be returning to Real Housewives of Atlanta. I guess homegirl didn't have enough drama for the producers of the show. Although, I didn't completely like some of the things that she did I could tell she had a good heart and really was trying her best. Here is what Deshawn told Essence.com about her shocking removal from the show:

ESSENCE.COM: What reason did they give for not inviting you back for the second season?
SNOW: [One of the producers] called and said that I was "too human for a circus show" and that because the show did so well, they are about to pump up the drama and they didn't think that I would fit in. He gave me an example, saying that during the reunion when I found out what a few of the other ladies said about me, they were expecting me to say more, but I'm not the type to go "television" and start acting crazy because somebody's talking about me. I'm fine with the decision. It wasn't my decision. They let me go and there are no hard feelings. I am thankful for the opportunity.

ESSENCE.COM: So were you at all shocked by the decision?
SNOW: I didn't see it coming. I was shocked because I just talked to them in December about the new season. It's not like they came to me and gave me an option by saying, "We're going to take a new direction and we want to know if you could be more like this." I was a little hurt, but I just look at it like I am what I am. [My personality] didn't seem to be a problem before, but I suppose the show took a different direction and they no longer see me as the right fit. If you look at all the other housewives, they are all different. I believe God moves people out of your way. It's about God having his hand upon you and doing things for you. I'm not judging my situation. I look at the show as just a shutter-glimpse of what God has in store for me. I enjoyed being on the show and hanging with the girls. At the end of the day, I was the same person throughout the show. I never changed. I was authentic and true to myself and I can't control what other people do.

ESSENCE.COM: There are rumors that Tameka Foster might replace you. Is that true?
SNOW: Yes, I heard that, but I don't know. I wouldn't say that they are replacing me because they didn't think I was real enough or too real enough for the show, so I doubt they are going to bring in someone who has a similar personality as mine.

In related news it looks like Tameka Foster will not be replacing Deshawn Snow on the show. She also reported to Essence.com about the situation:

Despite whisperings that Usher's wife, Tameka Raymond, will be the latest Georgia Peach to join ATL's "Real Housewives," the celebrity fashion stylist will not seize the opportunity to show America what a true southern belle is made of.

"Although [Bravo] approached me, and I was flattered by the offer, I will not be joining the 'Real Housewives' cast," said Raymond.

Raymond, the CEO of Swanky Image Group and owner of Hides & Dungarees Denim Collection, welcomed her second son, Naveid Ely, with her pop star hubby last December. The couple had their first son, Usher V, in November 2007.

Man, that's too bad Tameka won't be joining the show. Her joining the show would have definitely set it over the top.

This is the picture you will be seeing in all federal offices. It is being reported that Obama's official picture is the first to be taken by a digital camera.

Jan 14, 2009

Via CNN:

As the inauguration of the first African American president approaches, the national news is full of race-related stories.

Rioters have been arrested in Oakland, California, in protest of an police officer allegedly killing an unarmed black man; the Centers for Disease Control report that Mississippi has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country, predominantly among black and Hispanic teens; and the journal Science reports that "many people unconsciously harbor racist attitudes."

Combine these issues with continuing demonstrated disparities in health care, education, housing and criminal justice, and it would be productive to admit the obvious: the election of Barack Obama did not end the America's problems with race.

It is important to note what has changed, due largely to the successes of the black struggle for freedom, especially during the 1950s and 1960s. Because of these hard-won gains, the narrative that "if you work hard, you can be anything you want to be, no matter how many obstacles racism and poverty might place in your way," is now more appropriate than ever before.

A new generation of young people, for many of whom legal segregation is an almost unbelievable part of history, reached across racial and ethnic lines to help elect a president and even now work to engage in substantive community service wherever they live.

Challenges, however, remain.

The U.S. Census notes that the United States will no longer have a white majority by 2050. Social Security payments for an aging white population will have to be paid by an increasingly brown and black work force, which may resent such support.

Clashes over immigration and tensions between blacks and Latinos suggest that we have much work to do to fulfill the vision of "a more perfect union."

While news media and the Internet often sensitize us to these issues, it can also often overwhelm us. It is important, therefore, to understand not only the potential obstacles we may face but also how we might respond to them.

Sherrilyn Ifill offers the most useful characterization of successful solutions in race relations in her book "On the Courthouse Lawn." Ifill argues that conversations on race are often stymied because they attempt to include the whole of racial history in one conversation.

Thus we try to discuss the Middle Passage, Jim Crow segregation, and Don Imus' comments simultaneously and therefore end up solving nothing. The most productive conversations -- and the ones that occur the least, Ifill suggests -- are local ones.

The need for such locally focused, community-based conversations is tied to a basic principle of social change: effective social change occurs by focusing on local issues, using grassroots, nonviolent strategies.

This brings us to another stumbling block on the road to creating a more perfect union. We are quick to laud leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy for their contributions, which were very significant. But much of what we have been taught about those contributions is a myth perpetuated by the most egregious shortcoming in teaching history: the savior narrative.

We have all been told that a charismatic leader transformed the South and brought everyone to freedom. For example, everyone knows the story of Rosa Parks. Most students are taught that Rosa Parks was simply just too tired to get up from her seat on the bus that day in Montgomery, Alabama. She was a simple, brave woman who answered the call to stand -- in this case, sit -- for the Greater Good.

It's a great story.

The reality, however, goes something like this:

In the spring of 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested for violating the segregation ordinance of Montgomery, Alabama. A group of local activists debated using her case to challenge segregation on buses there but decided to wait for a more appropriate case.

That opportunity came in December of that year, when a secretary of the local NAACP, who had been attending leadership and organizing training sessions at Highlander Folk School, chose to remain in her bus seat with the goal of being arrested, allowing the Montgomery group to launch their challenge to the segregation code. That woman was Rosa Parks.

Today, we call that woman the "mother of the civil rights movement."

The savior myth suggests that social change occurs only from a charismatic leader; and that in the absence of such a leader, we cannot accomplish social change on our own. The opposite and more accurate characterization is a more useful model for change.

As we hear near-messianic descriptions of President-elect Obama, we would be mindful not to deify him and assume he can fix all problems.

The reality of social change during the civil rights period is more complicated and more accessible than any savior myth. Social change begins from the bottom up, with everyday people joining together to make a change. They learn the necessary tools for investigation as well as for resolving conflicts in a nonviolent fashion and for engaging the community.

These first steps are followed by careful analysis of the problems and negotiation with stakeholders who can make a difference. Massive protests are actually a final step when all previous work has failed, not a first-strike response. In the absence of such work on the ground, massive protests fail.

Obama tapped into this rich legacy and changed the course of electoral history.

The challenges we face in race relations remain difficult but are not insurmountable. And we have, within our own histories and communities, the tools to secure a more equitable and inclusive future for all of our children.

Susan Glisson is director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, based at the University of Mississippi. It helps communities cope with racial issues and promotes research on race. Glisson is co-author of "First Freedoms: A Documentary History of First Amendment Rights in America."

Via AJC.com:

In a statement, she said: "The film studio and producers involved were more concerned about painting me as a 'character' to create a more interesting story line instead of a person with talent, self-respect and who was able to achieve her own career success through hard work."

She added: "Even though my relationship with Big was at times very difficult and complicated (as with most relationships we have all experienced at one time or another), it was also genuine and built on great admiration and love for each other. Regardless of the many lies in the movie and false portrayal of me to help carry a story line through, I will still continue to carry his legacy through my hard work and music."

But Wallace's mother, Voletta Wallace, dismissed Lil Kim's criticisms of the movie in an interview on Monday.

"This is not a Lil Kim movie," she said. "This is a Christopher Wallace movie. It has nothing to do with Lil Kim. If she's disappointed and upset, that is her problem."

Lil Kim may have a legitimate gripe. Her relationship with Biggie was something sacred to her and the only people who truly understands that relationship is she and Biggie. I do think she should at least see the film first before she completely condemns the movie. But I can understand how someone can be upset when something precious to them is exposed to the world and they don't think it's being depicted correctly.

People can say they know all about the relationship between Kim and Big but they weren't there in the bedroom when bro was whispering in her ear. So I think we should give Kim a little slack on this one. I don't always agree with what homegirl does, but she's still human none the less.

Via BlackAmericaWeb.com:

OAKLAND, Calif. - A jail official says a former transit police officer who allegedly shot dead an unarmed man on an Oakland train platform on New Year's Day has been arrested in Nevada.

A Douglas County jail official confirmed that 27-year-old Johannes Mehserle was in custody Tuesday night under a fugitive warrant issued in California. The official would not give their name because the arrest had not been announced.

Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff is expected to announce details of the arrest Wednesday. There was no immediate word on what the charges of Mehserle faces.