Mar 31, 2010

David Mills, a writer on TV shows such as "The Wire", "The Corner", "NYPD Blue" and "Homicide" has died, just days before the premiere of his new show "Treme." Mills is also well known for his incendiary 1992 Washington Post profile of Sister Souljah (you know the one that led to Bill Clinton's 'Sister Souljah Moment)
Read the infamous article below.

Sister Souljah's Call to Arms
The rapper says the riots were payback. Are you paying attention?

By David Mills
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 13, 1992

"Souljah was not born to make white people feel comfortable. I am African first. I am black first. I want what's good for me and my people first. And if my survival means your total destruction, then so be it. You built this wicked system. They say two wrongs don't make it right, but it damn sure makes it even."

- Sister Souljah, from the song "The Hate That Hate Produced," 1992

After the Rodney King verdict and its fiery aftermath, Sister Souljah, a rapper and orator, appeared on NBC's "Sunday Today" with Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). And she sat alongside black professors from Yale and Columbia on Bill Moyers's PBS series "Listening to America."

She calmly explained that African Americans are "at war," and that the explosion in Los Angeles was "revenge" against a system of white oppression.

But during an interview in Washington last week, Souljah's empathy for the rioters reached a chilling extreme. Forget the statistics emerging on the racial variety of looters and people who died. Forget the economic motives of those who plundered stores. To Souljah, this was a black-on-white "rebellion," plain and simple and righteous.

"I mean, if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people? You understand what I'm saying? In other words, white people, this government and that mayor were well aware of the fact that black people were dying every day in Los Angeles under gang violence. So if you're a gang member and you would normally be killing somebody, why not kill a white person? Do you think that somebody thinks that white people are better, or above dying, when they would kill their own kind?"

As she said on "Sunday Today": "Unfortunately for white people, they think it's all right for our children to die, for our men to be in prison, and not theirs."

Sister Souljah will be back on "Today" this morning, live from Burbank. Consider it a wake-up call.

Whose analysis of the violence in Los Angeles, in the months and years to come, will matter more? The conservative pundit's, placing blame squarely on young criminals who "terrorized" a city? The liberal politician's, bemoaning poverty and the neglect of our cities? Or the radical rapper's, asserting that white people and Korean merchants had it coming?

Ask the kids who watch MTV.

The King verdict and its backlash have shown America the power of hip-hop music as a political medium. Television coverage of the crisis confirmed, as never before, the status of hard-edged rappers as spokesmen for the black lower class, delegates of America's angry youth. Opinion-makers. Leaders.

"Whoever wants to speak to young people will have to come through the corridor of hip-hop," says Sister Souljah, whose debut album, "360 Degrees of Power," came out last month. Born Lisa Williamson twentysomething years ago, she was a New York community activist and established public speaker before launching her rap career under the auspices of Public Enemy, standard-bearers of hip-hop's militant wing. As rap has grown in popularity among black and white listeners, offering everything from cute kids (Kris Kross) to professing Christians (Hammer) to raunchy comedians (2 Live Crew), political rappers have come to be considered its conscience.

"When it was really understood that rap music makes millions of dollars, and that rap artists represent the voices of millions of young people," Souljah says, "I think that's when all the institutions of America came to their senses about having to involve a rap artist in their analysis. {With} a rebellion carried out primarily by African youth, how could you ignore African youth? It would be impossible. Not if you were a serious journalist."

Bill Moyers showed a clip from one of Souljah's fulminating videos -- The time for scared, lip-trembling, word-changing, self-denying, compromising, knee-shaking black people is over! -- then asked her, "How would you like me -- I'm white -- to interpret your work?"

"Well," she responded politely, a bit of the Bronx in her voice, "I don't make my work for you to interpret it. I make it for black young people so that they can understand that we are at war, that we have to be strong-minded, that we have to be productive, that we have to be unafraid of expressing ourselves and getting what we want in this society."

Rappers like Sister Souljah are shattering the boundaries between performer and audience, and between entertainment and politics. When a jury acquitted the four Los Angeles policemen who'd beaten Rodney King, X-Clan, a Brooklyn-based activist rap group, was performing at San Francisco State University. The rappers got the news, stopped the show, then led an impromptu march of about 200 people, chanting "Whose streets? Our streets!" and "{Expletive} the police!"

FILE - This March 16, 1988 file photo shows Jaime Escalante, center, teaching math at Garfield High School, in Los Angeles. Escalante is the teacher on which the character in the movie "Stand and Deliver" is based. Escalante died Tuesday March 30, 2010. he was 79. (AP Photo, File)

Jaime A. Escalante, the most famous and influential American public-school teacher of his generation, died March 30 of cancer at his son's home near Sacramento. He was 79.

A lively, wisecracking Bolivian who did not begin teaching in the United States until he was 44, Mr. Escalante transformed one of the lowest-performing high schools in the country into a model for raising the achievement of disadvantaged children. A 1988 film about his success, "Stand and Deliver," with Edward James Olmos playing the East Los Angeles math teacher, spread his story around the world and inspired teachers in hundreds of inner-city schools to copy his methods.

Mr. Escalante pioneered the use of Advanced Placement, a program of college-level courses and tests designed for high-achieving private schools, to raise standards in average and below-average public schools. His success at Garfield High School, where 85 percent of the students were low-income and few parents had more than a sixth-grade education, suggested that more time and encouragement for learning could trump educational disadvantages.

Calculus was one of the most difficult of the AP subjects. The three-hour final exam, written and scored by outside experts, was considered an impossible goal by many Garfield teachers, familiar with the academic weaknesses of their mostly Hispanic students. Mr. Escalante's first calculus class in 1978 did poorly. Five of the original 14 students lasted the entire course. Only two passed the exam.

But each year's calculus class did better than the previous one. When in 1982 all 18 students passed the exam, Mr. Escalante hoped he had a thriving program that would only get bigger.

Then the Educational Testing Service, which administered AP exams for the College Board, accused 14 of the students of cheating on the exam. Outraged Hispanic community leaders suspected ethnic bias and called for protests. But Mr. Escalante urged his students to retake the exam, an option allowed under AP rules.

Twelve accepted his advice. The exam this time was heavily proctored. The results gave the film its dramatic high point and guaranteed Mr. Escalante's celebrity: All 12 passed the exam, including five who earned top scores.

Gunfire broke out on a street near the southern tip of D.C., police said. DC Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, center, puts her hand on the back of a grieving person's back.
Three people were killed and at least six others were wounded Tuesday night at the District's southern tip in an outbreak of gunfire that may have left the city's largest number of victims in 15 years.
A 10th person was found shot several blocks away, but police said they were unsure whether he was a victim of the same flurry of gunfire, which one witness likened to a war zone.

Of the three who were killed, two died at Washington Hospital Center, a spokeswoman there said. Three other victims were listed in critical or serious condition. Shooting victims included six men and three women, possibly including a 16-year-old, authorities said. The other victims appeared to be in their 20s and 30s, fire officials said.

Three people were in custody late Tuesday night, but no charges had been filed, said D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. Four police officers were injured while pursuing them.

The shooting occurred about 7:30 p.m. in the 4000 block of South Capitol Street as people stood outdoors and a gunman began "spraying [bullets] into a crowd," Lanier said.

Two people said the victims were clustered in front of a brick apartment building on South Capitol Street. Accounts provided by witnesses and neighbors indicated that the shooting may have been a drive-by.

Police sources said an AK-47 assault rifle may have been used. A man who said he was in the area at the time recounted the sounds he heard as "pat, pat, pat, pat, pat," followed by a loud boom.

Then, "all I saw was bodies dropping," he said. "It was like Vietnam."

Another witness said that as bodies fell, "it was like a pileup at a football game."

About the same time, a shooting victim was found a blocks away. Authorities said it was possible that he had been hit in the South Capitol Street outbreak.

The motive for the gunfire could not be learned immediately and was part of an intensive police investigation.


Mar 30, 2010

Via AJC:

A House Republican on Tuesday filed a resolution to bring articles of impeachment against Attorney General Thurbert Baker, for his refusal to file a legal challenge to the new federal health care law – as directed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.

State Rep. Mark Hatfield, sponsor of HR 1886, says Baker is bound by the state constitution to file legal at the request of the governor. Says the measure:

“By failing and refusing to perform his constitutional and statuatry duties, Attorney General Baker has abdicated his authority and has committed an act against the state of Georgia….

Attorney General Baker’s shameful abdication of his lawful duties shows him unfit to serve the state of Georgia in the position of attorney general.”

Hatfield said 30 other House members have also signed onto the bill of impeachment, all Republican. Baker is a Democratic candidate for governor.

With only nine days left in the legislative session, and a tremendous budget gap yet to be resolved, the Waycross lawmaker said whether the bill would move would depend on the wishes of the Republican leaders of the House and Senate.

Baker, in a telephone interview, said: “It’s very disappointing to see some members of the Legislature respond in a way that’s not beneficial to the state. This is not productive – it’s not going to solve any of the crushing problems we face – water, transportation and education.”

The 13-year attorney general said he was confident of his legal footing and said past court decisions have declared that the attorney general, who is elected statewide independently of the governor, has the authority to make legal decisions for the state.

“I’m willing to debate this impeachment matter should the situation require,” Baker said.

A spokesman in the attorney general’s office couldn’t say when the last statewide-elected official was impeached — if ever.

A majority of the 180 members of the House would have to approve what basically is an indictment – which, in political terms, is possible. A trial would be conducted in the Senate. Conviction would require a two-thirds vote in that chamber – unlikely, given that Democratic cooperation would be required.

But there’s another good reason Republicans might hesitate. The state Constitution declares that “in cases of impeachment, judgments shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit within this state or to receive a pension therefrom.”

So conviction could remove Baker, the only viable African-American in the race for governor, from that contest. And an attempt to impeach him could be portrayed as such.

Hatfield said he’s not concerned with the politics of the situation.

“It’s our position that the constitution is very clear, in [the] obligations that it places upon the attorney general to file suit on the request of the governor. He’s basically abrogated his constitutional responsibilities,” Hatfield said. “We feel very strongly that the attorney general has dropped the ball and failed to follow through on the mandates that are placed upon his office.”

The governor said today, as he has said earlier, that a decision to impeach should be left solely to the Legislature – he would not comment on it. Perdue said last week he would file – on his own authority – a lawsuit challenging the health care law passed earlier this month by Congress.

House Speaker David Ralston, significantly, is the second signer of HR 1824, a resolution that would direct the attorney general to file the lawsuit – but the resolution would lack the force of law. State Rep. Austin Scott of Tifton, the lead sponsor, is a Republican candidate for governor.

NEW YORK, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Multiple Grammy Award-winning, recording artist, actress and songwriter Janet Jackson will now add another first to her iconic career when she makes her ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL debut this Fourth of July weekend--July 2, 3 and 4--in New Orleans as the third and final headliner. Janet Jackson will perform on July 2, the opening night of the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL. The announcement was made today in celebration of Janet's iTunes release of "Nothing" the theme song she performs, co-wrote and co-produced for Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too? opening nationwide April 2, 2010.

Janet Jackson is an Academy Award nominee, who has also sold over 100 million records worldwide and is one of the best selling artists in contemporary music.  She joins Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys on a bill that features some of today's greatest African-American artists.  This marks the superstar's first-ever appearance at the annual event and Janet Jackson's first full performance since her 2008 concert at Madison Square Garden in New York.  

"This year's ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL line-up is headed up by three of the most talented and powerful women in music today," said Michelle Ebanks, president, Essence Communications Inc.  "With the return of both Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys, and the first-ever performance from Janet Jackson, I can't think of a better way to celebrate Essence's 40th anniversary."

This year's multi-generational list of ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL 2010 performers not only celebrates ESSENCE's 40-year commitment to music, but also honors the local music of New Orleans.  The full list of acts confirmed for this year's weekend-long celebration of music, culture and community--set for July 2, 3 and 4--is as follows:  Alicia Keys, Arrested Development, Big Sam's Funky Nation, DJ Soul Sister, Estelle, Hot 8 Brass Band, Irma Thomas, Irvin Mayfield and NOJO, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Lalah Hathaway, Leo Jackson and the Melody Clouds, Little Freddie King, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Mary Mary, Mint Condition, Monica, Rebirth Brass Band, Ruben Studdard, Sam & Ruby, Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs, Soul Rebels Brass Band, Trey Songz and WAR.

In addition to adding Jackson to the bill, the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL can now confirm actor, writer, comedian, and entrepreneur Thomas W. Miles II--known to millions of radio listeners as "Nephew Tommy" on the number one syndicated rated radio show, The Steve Harvey Morning Show--as the master of ceremonies for the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL's nightly concerts at the Louisiana Superdome. Prior to developing his career as a radio personality, Tommy was chosen as the exclusive opening act to tour with the legendary Luther Vandross for three years. Throughout his career, Tommy has built a following as a stand-up comic and his comedy shows are sellouts in venues across the country.

For additional information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL, visit

Last year, the ultimate destination for entertainment, empowerment, culture and community celebrated its 15th anniversary with a record-breaking 428,000 attendees.  What began in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of ESSENCE magazine has now grown into one of the country's "Top 10 Leading Brand Events" by Advertising Age.  

The ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is the nation's largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture; in its 16-year history, it has featured an array of performers including Alicia Keys, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce, Chaka Khan, Destiny's Child, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gladys Knight, LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, John Legend, Kanye West, The Isley Brothers, Lionel Richie, Luther Vandross, Maxwell, The O'Jays, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle and Yolanda Adams.

The presenting sponsor for the 2010 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is Coca-Cola.   Other 2010 sponsors include Coors Light, CoverGirl Queen, Ford, McDonald's, Olay, Pantene, Tide, TV One, U.S. Army and My Black is Beautiful.

The 2010 ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL is executive produced by Essence Festivals LLC and produced by Rehage Entertainment. Essence Festivals LLC is a division of Essence Communications Inc. (ECI).

Get your tickets now to see one of music's biggest icons JANET JACKSON live for the first time at the 2010 ESSENCE Music Festival® presented by Coca-Cola® July 4th weekend in New Orleans.

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of ESSENCE with a one night only performance by JANET JACKSON - the multiple Grammy® Award-winning, multi-platinum recording artist, actress and songwriter – for her ESSENCE Music Festival debut. Janet joins Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys and more of the hottest artists for this year's Festival – the ultimate July 4th weekend – July 2, 3 and 4.

This marks Janet's first-ever appearance at the Festival and her first full performance since her 2008 concert in New York. This is the Festival and the one night only performance you don't want to miss! Get ready as the Who Dat Nation now becomes the Rhythm Nation!


Okay, now I know I'm going for real.  I never got to see Michael so I be damn if I never get to see Janet perform.

Mar 29, 2010

The Rev. Mimi Walker is co-pastor of Druid Hills Baptist Church.

The Georgia Baptist Convention wants to remove Druid Hills Baptist Church from its rolls because its co-pastor is a woman.

At the center of this latest controversy over the role of women in the ministry is the Rev. Mimi Walker, ordained in 2003 and co-pastor of the historic church on Ponce de Leon Avenue since 2008. Her husband, the Rev. Graham Walker, 54, also is co-pastor.

"It seems sad that they decided to go backwards in time," said the 52-year-old Mimi Walker, a former missionary in the Philippines. "I'm not sure what the value is of trying to go back in time when women were held in subservience."

The GBC's executive committee made the recommendation to sever ties with the church at a March 16 meeting. If its recommendation is approved at the annual convention in November, the GBC would no longer accept money from Druid Hills for missions and programs, nor would the church be able to send delegates — called messengers — to future annual meetings.

"...Druid Hills Baptist Church of Atlanta is not a cooperating church as defined in Article II, Section 1 of the constitution because a woman is serving as co-pastor of the church," the GBC said in a statement.

"We are keeping faith with the Baptist Faith and Message with regard to women serving as pastor," GBC executive director J. Robert White said in a statement. "The GBC has never been opposed to women serving in ministry positions other than pastor."

The Georgia Baptist Convention, an affiliate of the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention, has roughly 3,600 churches. There are 41 state conventions throughout the country. The Georgia convention is one of the 41 affiliates, but it has its own constitution and bylaws.

The church will prepare a response if the GBC should "dis-fellowship" it, the Rev. Graham Walker said.

The recommendation did not come as a total surprise to some church members.

"I kind of half expected this," said Jim Wright, who has been a member for six years and is the activities facilitator. "Mimi does a great job here. I think they're [GBC] being foolish about the whole deal. A woman can lead as well as a man."

Another church member, Kimberly Charles, who is also chairwoman of its personnel committee, said, "We're not backing down. We will continue to affirm her call to our church and be open to calling women as pastor in the future."

The Walkers do not plan to leave the congregation, which was established in 1914.

"I've seen women in the ministry and worked with women in Presbyterian and Methodist churches," the Rev. Mimi Walker said. "They are moving forward in the process of keeping women involved in the ministry and moving toward equality. ... Our disagreement is related to how you interpret Scripture."

She pointed to Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

David W. Key Sr., director of the Baptist studies program at Emory University's Candler School of Theology, said many people cite St. Paul's words from 1 Timothy 2:12: "I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent."

"I don't support the idea that men should have authority over women," Key said. "Women have been taking on more and more significant roles in church life as they have in community life, and this is a reaction to that change. I think that's why the Georgia Baptist Convention leadership feels threatened."

It's important also, he said, because the Rev. Mimi Walker serves over a church that was significant in Georgia Baptist history.

Druid Hills, for example, was once led by the Rev. Louie D. Newton, known as "Mr. Baptist," a major figure in the Baptist church. "For women to now be in those pulpits is a huge statement," Key said. "A female is now in the same pulpit that Louis Newton was in in the '50s and '60s."

"Ever since I had my son, I feel like there's a stitch of lava in my spine.  I feel like I can do anything."--Jill Scott


With a string of lead movie roles under her belt and on the eve of a new album, the inimitable Jill Scott covers ESSENCE's May issue--looking and feeling better than ever! In "And Baby Makes 2," Jill is photographed at home with her 9-month-old son Jett, as she opens up about the difficult road that led her to single motherhood, the sister circle that helps her get by, and the perfect life she enjoys today.

A woman cries as Interior Ministry officers block her way in ...

MOSCOW – Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up Monday in twin attacks on Moscow subway stations jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 37 people and wounding 102, officials said. They blamed the carnage on rebels from the Caucasus region.


The blasts come six years after Caucasus Islamic separatists carried out a pair of deadly Moscow subway strikes and raise concerns that the war has once again come to Russia's capital, amid militants' warnings of a renewed determination to push their fight.


Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing late last year on a passenger train en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who built much of his political capital by directing a fierce war with Chechen separatists a decade ago, vowed Monday that "terrorists will be destroyed."


The first explosion took place just before 8 a.m. at the Lubyanka station in central Moscow. The station is underneath the building that houses the main offices of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the KGB's main successor agency.


A second explosion hit the Park Kultury station about 45 minutes later.


"I heard a bang, turned my head and smoke was everywhere. People ran for the exits screaming," said 24-year-old Alexander Vakulov, who said he was on a train on the platform opposite the targeted train at Park Kultury.


"I saw a dead person for the first time in my life," said 19-year-old Valentin Popov, who had just arrived at the station from the opposite direction.


The iconic Moscow subway system is one of the world's busiest, carrying around 7 million passengers on an average workday, and is a key element in running the sprawling and traffic-choked city.


Russian TV showed amateur video from inside the Lubyanka station of wounded and possibly dead victims sitting and lying on the floor. The train platform was filled with smoke.




Mar 28, 2010

Now, Rep. Cleaver proved to be a better man than I am a woman because God only knows what I would have done if I was in that situation. Watch the video for yourself and tell me what you think. Let's see if the Tea Party pay that cash reward.

Erykah Badu has done it again. She's made us open our minds and think. So tell me what you think. Do you understand the concept and if so how many times did you have to watch it before it sank in? Do you understand 'Group Think'?

Man, I miss Def Poetry!!!!

A naturally gifted athlete from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, Zakiya Randall was winning Tennis junior tournaments before deciding that Golf was her passion.

Zakiya began Winning and Accruing Golf Titles the Very 1st year she started playing at age 10. She joined the Atlanta Junior Golf Association in 2002 and Won "Player of the Year" and Won the Championship.

Z in golf continued her dominance in the 2002-2003 Season on the Plantations Junior Golf Tour by winning majors Nationally(Duke University, Harbour Town in Hilton Head, S.C., University of North Carolina and Chateau Elan). She was named and selected as part of ALL-AMERICAN team. She went on to Win the Championship on the Plantations Junior Golf Tour at the Disney Resorts in Orlando, Florida.

In just a few short years Zakiya was able to dominate the sport. Zakiya has Won Player of the Year and the Championship in several junior leagues(Plantations Junior Golf Tour, Atlanta Junior Golf Association, US Kids GA Tour). In addition, Zakiya was awarded "Player of the Year", Winning overall champion and Winning every tournament played in her division. She went on to Win the Championship in her division for 2005 on the Georgia PGA Tour.

She has been recognized by Sergio Garcia, Stewart Cink, Calvin Peete, Lee Elder, Chris Tucker and American Business, Political and Civic Leaders around the nation for her accomplishments. source

Today is 'Black Marriage Day.'

Black Marriage Day 2010, March 28... Join us as more than 300 communities and neighborhoods across the country organize events to celebrate marriage in the Black community.

There are many things you can do for Black Marriage Day 2010. Go to the You Saved Me page to find a city near you to see this debut movie. Go to the Why Did I Get Married Too page to see where you can participate in the vow renewals happening in five cities to promote Tyler Perry’s new movie. Visit the Resources page for ideas and documents you can download to enhance your event. Listen to Super Bowl winning Coach Tony Dungy speak about Black Marriage Day.

Gifted singer, songwriter, and actress Jill Scott took to the pages of this month's Essence magazine to discuss her feelings as they pertain to interracial dating and marriage. What she brings forth is a very honest and compelling essay that speaks to the heart of what is going on in the mind of many sistas.

My new friend is handsome, African-American, intelligent and seemingly wealthy. He is an athlete, loves his momma, and is happily married to a White woman. I admit when I saw his wedding ring, I privately hoped. But something in me just knew he didn't marry a sister. Although my guess hit the mark, when my friend told me his wife was indeed Caucasian, I felt my spirit...wince. I didn't immediately understand it. My face read happy for you. My body showed no reaction to my inner pinch, but the sting was there, quiet like a mosquito under a summer dress.

Was I jealous? Did the reality of his relationship somehow diminish his soul's credibility? The answer is not simple. One could easily dispel the wince as racist or separatist, but that's not how I was brought up. I was reared in a Jehovah's Witness household. I was taught that every man should be judged by his deeds and not his color, and I firmly stand where my grandmother left me. African people worldwide are known to be welcoming and open-minded. We share our culture sometimes to our own peril and most of us love the very notion of love. My position is that for women of color, this very common "wince" has solely to do with the African story in America.

When our people were enslaved, "Massa" placed his Caucasian woman on a pedestal. She was spoiled, revered and angelic, while the Black slave woman was overworked, beaten, raped and farmed out like cattle to be mated. She was nothing and neither was our Black man. As slavery died for the greater good of America, and the movement for equality sputtered to life, the White woman was on the cover of every American magazine. She was the dazzling jewel on every movie screen, the glory of every commercial and television show. She was unequivocally the standard of beauty for this country, firmly unattainable to anyone not of her race. We daughters of the dust were seen as ugly, nappy mammies, good for day work and unwanted children, while our men were thought to be thieving, sex-hungry animals with limited brain capacity.

We reflect on this awful past and recall that if a Black man even looked at a White woman, he would have been lynched, beaten, jailed or shot to death. In the midst of this, Black women and Black men struggled together, mourned together, starved together, braved the hoses and vicious police dogs and died untimely on southern back roads together. These harsh truths lead to what we really feel when we see a seemingly together brother with a Caucasian woman and their children. That feeling is betrayed. While we exert efforts to raise our sons and daughters to appreciate themselves and respect others, most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It's frustrating and it hurts!

Our minds do understand that people of all races find genuine love in many places. We dig that the world is full of amazing options. But underneath, there is a bite, no matter the ointment, that has yet to stop burning. Some may find these thoughts to be hurtful. That is not my intent. I'm just sayin'.

For Kenny and Lynette Seymour, last weekend's black marriage gala was about celebrating their seven-year marriage. They got to meet other black couples while spending a romantic evening together.

"Every time you meet another couple, you learn something new about yourself and relationships in general," said Kenny Seymour, a 39-year-old Broadway music director who lives in Queens. "It was beautiful to be around a bunch of married people in love."

Other black couples will be marking the eighth annual Black Marriage Day this weekend, by attending workshops, black-tie dinners and other activities. Some groups have held events throughout the month, although Black Marriage Day, which celebrates matrimony in the black community, falls on the fourth Sunday in March.

The founder estimates more than 300 celebrations are being held this weekend. The aim is to try to stabilize, if not reverse, the trend of non-commitment within the black community. According to 2009 census figures, 41.9 percent of black adults had never married, compared to 23.6 percent of whites. Studies show blacks also are more likely than other ethnic groups to divorce and bear children out of wedlock.

Experts blame the disparities in part on high black male unemployment, high black male imprisonment and the moderate performance of black men in college compared with black women.

They also note the lack of positive images of black marriage in the media and several misperceptions about matrimony — that it's for white people, that it's a ball and chain, that fatherhood and marriage are not linked.

"They have either seen really bad examples of what marriage looks like or no examples at all," said Yolanda "Yanni" Brown, 42, a divorced mother of two in Chicago, who is hosting black marriage events. "They are saying, 'Why bother? This works for us,' not knowing there are so many other benefits of being married."

Brown says she wishes she had fought for her marriage.

Joseph Arrington II, a 38-year-old black entertainment attorney in Atlanta, said there was a time when he wanted to get married, but his interest has waned. He hasn't had a girlfriend in 15 years. His parents celebrated their 50th anniversary last year. He said he focuses on his work.

"It's a combination of two things," he said. "I haven't found anyone, and I'm not actively seeking someone."

Gerard Abdul, 45, a who lives in East Orange, N.J., and runs an entertainment company, has never seen himself as the marrying type. He has nine children by five women. He said he cared about them all, and each wanted to marry him. But he wasn't interested.

"Because I'm so independent and on my own, I really didn't see the science of marrying them when I really didn't have to," Abdul said.

"I'm a great father," he added. "But I probably would have been a lousy husband."

Despite those attitudes toward marriage, there are a handful of campaigns to get blacks to walk down the aisle, from the federal government's African American Healthy Marriage Initiative to Marry Your Baby Daddy Day, with 10 unwed couples with children tying the knot later this year in New York.

"You Saved Me," a documentary that explores the marriages of eight black couples, will be screened in more than 20 cities this weekend as part of a Black Marriage Day premiere.

"We want people to take away that successful positive (black) marriages do exist," said Lamar Tyler of Waldorf, Md., who produced "You Saved Me" with his wife, Ronnie. The Tylers started their blog "Black and Married With Kids" in 2007 and released "Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage" last year.

Don Lee and his wife, Joan Griffith-Lee, of New York's Staten Island, who have three children, will be watching "Happily Ever After" Friday night and participating in a discussion at a coffeehouse. The couple have been married almost 20 years.

Several of their friends are divorced, and Griffith-Lee, 45, who works at Columbia University, said she and her husband often talk about why.

"We hope to leave there with a new awareness and maybe some tools that can help as we get older," she said.

Black Marriage Day founder Nisa Islam Muhammad is encouraging couples to renew their vows in front of friends and family in honor of Tyler Perry's movie "Why Did I Get Married Too?" which opens April 2.

Muhammad points out that many black children come from single-parent households and contends that the media are not helping. There's never been a black "Bachelor" on the popular TV show, and the star of the 2008 movie "27 Dresses," about a 27-time bridesmaid, was white.

"We're going to focus on the positives," said Muhammad, executive director of Wedded Bliss Foundation, which helps people develop healthy relationships and marriages. "We're going to show ourselves and our community that marriage does matter and we have some fabulous marriages in our community worth celebrating."

Those include the marriage of President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, said Roland Warren, president of the National Fatherhood Initiative in Germantown, Md. He credits the couple with setting a positive example and creating more discussion about the issue. In a way, their marriage is evidence of the importance of marriage in the African-American community, he said.

Most blacks already think that marriage is a good thing, said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. But many can't find anyone they think would make a good spouse.

But at least Black Marriage Day will get people thinking about marriage, says Tammy Greer Brown, 43, executive director of Celebrating Real Family Life and organizer of the Staten Island event, who said she hopes to spark a discussion about marriage. She said she grew up in a single-parent home and didn't want that for her kids. She has been married for more than 10 years.

"My daughter is already talking about getting married," she said. "She wants to be like my husband and I."


This is beyond sad and tragic. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family members and friends of these young men.

Via AJC:

Two 19-year-olds from Douglasville were killed early Saturday while trying to change a flat tire.

Four young men were traveling in a Honda Accord that got a flat tire on I-185 in Harris County, north of Columbus, forcing them to pull over, according to Gordy Wright with the Georgia State Patrol. The car was stopped partially in the northbound travel lane and straddling the fog line, Wright said.

Three men got out of the car to change the tire, and were standing on the driver's side when they were struck by a Chevrolet, Wright said.

Steven Anthony Hudson and Janques Dorvelus died from their injuries, Wright said. Another man, identified by WSB-TV as Chris Brown, was seriously injured. The fourth man, Justin Walker, was not hurt. He was rolling the flat tire to the trunk when his friends were hit, the station reported.

The accident happened around 3:35 a.m., police said. The Chevrolet driver stopped as soon as the crash occurred, Wright said.

The investigation will take several days, Wright said.

Mar 26, 2010

Imagine the hip shaking, hair flying, singing diva Beyonce as being pregnant. Yep, think about that for a minute.

Also think about the fact that this item comes courtesy of the notorious

The site claimed to have "learned from a ROCK SOLID source" that the pop superstar is expecting. She reportedly "is doing fine and resting (for now)."

The site also said Jay-Z is "EXTREMELY happy to be having his first child with Beyonce."

While Bey's spokesman, Alan Nierob,  told the NY Post, "We don't respond to private-matter inquiries," a rep for BeyoncĂ© at her record company Sony tells that the report is simply "untrue."
Gabourey Sidibe
People are really trying to come for Gabourey Sidibe, huh?  Vogue has no problems showcasing emaciated females, but yet they have a problem showcasing Gabbie.  Got to make you wonder.
Actress Gabourey Sidibe will not be appearing in Vogue magazine any time soon, PopEater reports. Industry insiders had some harsh words for the talented young star. One remarked, "She's a joke in the fashion community. What she wore on the red carpet at the Academy Awards wasn't a dress, it was a tent."

Another explained, "Vogue is venue where designers debut their best new pieces. All of which are one of a kind and sample size. It would be impossible to get a regular-sized girl in those clothes, let alone Gabby."

No one from Vogue has publicly commented.

Dr. Maya Angelou flanked by Rev Michael Pfleger (l) and Herman Ware (r)

Maya Angelou's voice rose and fell, reciting words now synonymous with black pride.

"You may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise," the 81-year-old writer, actress, civil rights activist, producer and director began.

Angelou, who uses a wheelchair, was on stage at St. Sabina Catholic Church on the South Side, her face, now deeply furrowed, offering a canvas for the poem's range of emotions.

"Up from a past that's rooted in pain, I rise. . . . Leaving behind nights of terror and fear," she went on in that gritty, iconic voice, her chest heaving under a flowing black gown, the 1,000 or so in the audience clinging to her every word.

"Into a daybreak miraculously clear, I rise. Bringing the hope that my ancestors gave. I am the dream and the wish of the slave. Ah! ha! ha!" She cackled. "And so I rise! Ha! Ha!" Belly laughter now. "I rise. I rise!" And arm waving, she rose, unsteadily, to thunderous applause.

It was the sixth time Angelou had made the trip to the church presided over by the Rev. Michael Pfleger to mark Women's History Month. As always, she packed the place.

But billed as an hour to share life lessons and poetry, the performance -- coming in the wake of a rash of shootings -- became an exhortation of the black community to stop the killings.

"I know that the children are being murdered," Angelou said. "It's happening in Chicago. It's also happening in St. Louis, in New York and Savannah.

"At some point, we have to stop this madness. We have to stop it! We have to say, 'Wait a minute. Hello! Hello! Hello! No! No! Stop it!' "

Angelou recalled working with gangsta-rapper Tupac Shakur on the 1993 movie "Poetic Justice," and how everyone else was cowed by his persona and his mouth.

"I asked him, 'When was the last time anyone told you how important you are? Do you know that our people stood on auction blocks so you could stand here? Let me speak to you.' He quieted, and the tears started rolling down.

"It's come to me to say to each of you, that each of us, we have the possibility of changing somebody. Remember it. Stop it. Don't pretend that you've always been free. We have a responsibility to those who went before us, and those yet to come. If you really know who you are, that you've been paid for already, you'll be a kinder person. You'll be more generous. You'll look after the children."

Thurbert Baker
Via AJC:

Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue said Thursday that he will bypass Democratic Attorney General Thurbert Baker and create a "special attorney general" to sue the federal government over the health care overhaul, an order Baker refused.

"Constitutionally, I believe he is obligated to represent the people of Georgia in these issues," Perdue said at a morning news conference. "He's refused to do that. I can't force him to do that."

Perdue, however, said the state constitution permits him to work around Baker and appoint a special attorney general to file a lawsuit against the health care legislation President Barack Obama signed into law earlier this week.

The attorneys general in 14 states have announced they will file health care suits, and the governor had asked Baker to get on board. But in a two-page letter earlier this week, Baker told the governor the lawsuit would fail and would be a waste of taxpayers' money in a time when every dollar is needed.

Baker, who is in a crowded field of Democrats running for governor, said he stands firmly by his position. But he agreed with Perdue that the governor can appoint a special attorney general to pursue the lawsuit.

"That will be the governor's prerogative," Baker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an interview. "He can do that under state law."

The governor said lawyers have lined up to represent the state pro bono (for free) in any case against the federal government over health care. Perdue said he will create a team of attorneys to file the lawsuit in coming weeks. He and his spokesman, Bert Brantley, declined to name the attorneys stepping forward.

"We have about a dozen names of people who have called and said they want to take the lead or be on the team," Brantley said. "We have to sit down and go through those."

Baker said he doubts that strategy will come without a cost when staff time and other factors are considered.

"There will always be costs involved somewhere," Baker said. "It's hard for the governor to argue this is purely pro bono. Somewhere money will be spent."

The Perdue-Baker spat has made national headlines and was even featured Thursday on the liberal news site The Huffington Post. That site picked up a story by a Republican blogger in Georgia who said there was a move (no names attached) afoot in the state House of Representatives to impeach Baker.

House leaders dismissed that notion later in the day, saying there was no serious GOP movement to push for Baker's ouster, though some backseat Republicans had mentioned the prospect.

"I don't think that will amount to much," said state Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs).

Perdue and Baker are not strangers to conflict. They tied up in 2003 when Perdue ordered Baker to drop a redistricting fight and Baker refused. The state Supreme Court backed Baker in that case.

The governor, however, said the court ruled only on legislation that was under way and was ordered to be terminated. In the health care fight, Baker refused to initiate a lawsuit ordered by the governor.

Perdue cited Article 5, Section 3, Paragraph 4 of the state constitution, which states:

"The Attorney General shall act as the legal advisor of the executive department, shall represent the state in the Supreme Court in all capital felonies and in all civil and criminal cases in any court when required by the Governor, and shall perform such other duties as shall be required by law."

The Perdue-Baker fight could have major implications in the Democratic race for governor, where Baker was a long shot before the dispute. Prominent Democrats, including former Gov. Roy Barnes and House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin), are running against Baker to replace Perdue, who has served two terms and cannot run again.

Baker's fight with Perdue, which kept him in the news most of the week, has elevated his name recognition and strengthened his standing in the black community, University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock said.


A teenager who allegedly made an announcement earlier this month ordering all black people to leave a southern New Jersey Walmart has been charged in a similar incident at the same store just after Christmas.

The 16-year-old Atlantic County boy, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, was charged last week with harassment and bias intimidation in the March 14 incident.

Washington Township police said Thursday that the teen did the same thing Dec. 28 at the Gloucester County store. Police were not initially notified of that incident, but store officials turned over surveillance video this week.

Walmart has apologized and made changes to the store's intercom system to prevent future incidents. source

Mar 25, 2010


While Tyler Perry reprises the fictional tale of a group of vacationing African-American couples in "Why Did I Get Married II" this April, Tyler New Media brings eight real-life Black couples to the big screen in 25 cities this weekend for the Black Marriage Day premiere of the documentary "You Saved Me". A follow up to Essence bloggers Lamar and Ronnie Tyler's 2009 best selling documentary, "Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage", "You Saved Me" explores marriage's trials, changes, successes, and ultimately the individual healing that comes out of true love and commitment.

A 2009 census report recently caused a stir when it showed that 31 percent of Black women have never been married by their early 40s in comparison with only nine percent of White women, 11 percent of Asian women and 12 percent of Hispanics. Troubled by low marriage numbers, high divorce rates, and negative images of Black marriage in the media, Lamar and Ronnie Tyler set out to counter negative stereotypes and show that marriage is still a viable option in the Black community.  African-American couples nationwide have embraced the Tyler's efforts, making their website, Black and Married with Kids, the largest independent Black marriage and parenting site on the web and turning their first film into a best seller. The couple produced the highly anticipated "You Saved Me" in response to the overwhelmingly positive reaction to their first film, and the continued need to show real-life representations of marriage to Black audiences.

Stories in the movie range from the five year marriage of The Wire's Tray Chaney and wife Ayesha to a couple married 22 years that was able to revive their marriage after nearing the brink of divorce. Through each heartfelt account, the audience will receive one constant message: Black marriage has staying power.

Select venues in DC, New York, Dallas, Chicago, and other cities across the United States will feature the film this weekend.  A full list of screenings is available at "You Saved Me" will be released on DVD at on Monday, March 29th. The movie trailer is available at
Cynthia Shackelford with her dog, Bailey.
Cynthia Shackelford's story could have been no different than that of any other aggrieved wife: The North Carolina woman, 60, thought her husband Allan was deeply in love with her. Then came his late nights at the office and suspicious charges on his credit card and cell phone bills. And finally, a private investigator confirmed what she had feared: Her husband, she said, was having an affair.
But Shackelford's story has a $9 million twist. Under centuries-old North Carolina case law, Shackelford sued her husband's alleged mistress, Anne Lundquist, for "alienation of affection," charging that the woman broke up her 33-year marriage.

Last week, Shackelford won. A jury awarded her $5 million in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages to be paid by Lundquist.

"She set her sights on him. ... She knew he was married," Shackelford said of Lundquist Monday. "You don't go after married men and break up families."

Lundquist, 49, did not respond to requests for comment from, but told The Greensboro News & Record last week that she planned to appeal the case.

In a post to the newspaper's Web site, Allan Shackelford said his marriage didn't fail because of Lundquist.

Shackelford, 62, wrote that he had had "numerous affairs going back to the first two years" of his marriage and that the couple had "significant problems in their marriage for years, including three rounds of marital counseling that failed."

Shackelford did not respond to an e-mail from

The large dollar figures surrounding the Shackelford case are unusual, but the lawsuit itself is not -- at least not in North Carolina. The state is one of just seven states to recognize alienation of affection claims, in which spouses can sue third parties that they allege interfered in their marriages.

The state sees some 200 alienation of affection claims a year, according to the Rosen Law Firm of Raleigh, N.C., and firm founder Lee Rosen said that he handles about six to a dozen such cases each year.

Black lawmakers are urging black football recruits to reconsider playing for the University of South Carolina because the school could lose its lone black trustee.

State Rep. David Weeks, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he doesn't think there are enough votes in the Legislature to get lawyer Leah B. Moody appointed to a full term on the 22-member board next month.

She is the board's only black member and is finishing the term of a trustee who resigned before pleading guilty to bank fraud.

"We are asking young athletes to be aware ... there are folks in this state who say it's fine to play ball but not be on the governing board," Weeks said.

He and several other lawmakers, including former Gamecocks lineman Anton Gunn, a black Democrat from Columbia, said members of the black community were calling recruits and their families and asking them to rethink playing for the school.

While the Gamecocks have been mediocre for years, the football team and coach Steve Spurrier draw massive fan support in a state with no professional sports. The Southeastern Conference team is the subject of radio talk shows and media coverage year-round, and home games at the school's enormous stadium in the capital city draw tens of thousands for hours of tailgating each week during the season.

The team had a 2009 record of 7-6 and an average attendance of more than 75,300 at its seven home games.

After practice Wednesday, Spurrier said he had been told about what the Legislative Black Caucus was doing, but didn't have all the details.

"That's not into my control. Worry about what you control," Spurrier said.

The coach quickly cut off a second question on the topic, saying he had to leave immediately for a booster club meeting in Spartanburg.

Lawmakers would not say how many recruits had been called or whether any were reconsidering their commitments. They also would not identify the callers.

Click here to read the entire article.

Mar 24, 2010

I am so hurt. This was one of the best looking couples to come along in a long time. Hopefully they'll get back together because they really made a cute couple.


Five months before their July 17th wedding, model/actress Eva Marcille, 25, and actor Lance Gross, 28, have split up. When reached out to the couple's representatives for confirmation about the break-up we were given this official joint statement.

"Lance Gross and Eva Marcille have mutually decided to end their relationship. The split is completely amicable," the statement reads.

Last month the blogosphere buzzed that Marcille and Gross, who had been together for nearly three years, were on the rocks, due to an alleged argument between the two during Super Bowl XLIV weekend in Miami.

The couple got engaged on Christmas Eve 2008, while vacationing with family in the San Bernardino Mountains outside of Los Angeles, after dating for a year and a half. The couple announced their engagement to

We reported: "Marcille and Gross decided to open gifts after dinner in their rented cabin. When Marcille opened her gift--a pillow with a note attached that read: 'Hope you like it. Give this pillow to the man you love and he will explain.' Gross used the pillow as a cushion and got on bended knee and popped the big question with a 3.36-carat 1895 Pave Cartier ring at 11:30 PM PST."

"She took full control of my heart and is the only woman that has ever made me feel that way," Gross told during happier times. Ironically, Gross stars in the recently released movie "Our Family Wedding," which he said was like rehearsing for the couples upcoming nuptials.

"I was in love with him before we ever met. He's my dream guy!" Marcille told after Gross popped the question.

According to the joint statement from their reps, "both parties remain friends."
Antron Reshaud and Marvelyn Brown were typical young people, seemingly invincible.

He was a college freshman and she was a popular high school athlete.

Then one day not only were they forced to face the ultimate betrayal, they had to finally deal with the possibility of death.

“I was told I wouldn’t live through the night.” Brown recalled.

In different places on different dates the teens’ lives converged on the same story line: They were HIV-positive, two more added to an epidemic that until then amounted to just so many numbers, not people with names.

“I was really ignorant,” Reshaud said. “I didn’t think it could happen to me.”

Such is the case with many young people, but not only does HIV happen to them, it happens often, said Donna McCree, a behavioral scientist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of HIV-AIDS Prevention.

Indeed young people ages 13 to 29, McCree said, account for more than a third -- or 25,000 -- of new HIV infections each year.

What’s worse, she said, is African-American youths such as Reshaud and Brown, who make up only 14 percent of the U.S. population, account for half of all new HIV infections in the 13-29 age group.

In an effort to get them talking about the epidemic both online and off and hopefully slow the spread of the deadly virus, the CDC earlier this month launched “i know,” a social media initiative aimed at African-Americans ages 18 to 24.

“We can’t ever end the epidemic in the African-American community until we end the epidemic among our young people,” McCree said. “We want them to talk about HIV. We have to break the cycle.”

A big part of the problem, McCree said, is concern about HIV among this group has declined.

A study of 18- to 29-year-olds by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, showed that concern about HIV declined from a high of 54 percent in 1997 to 40 percent in 2008.

“That’s why we’re concerned and why this effort is so important,” McCree said. “We have the science, but we need their voice to make a difference.”

To make sure those voices are heard, McCree said the CDC decided to take its message to the places where young people go to connect, talk, share and take action. The initiative will use Facebook, Twitter, a new Web page, public service announcements with celebrities and text messaging (44144).

“The whole effort is designed to get them talking about HIV so we can share lifesaving intervention, reduce stigma and increase their knowledge” McCree said.

Click here to read the entire article.

One of two men accused of burning five New Jersey teenagers to death in an alleged dispute over stolen marijuana in 1978 has pleaded not guilty.


Fifty-three-year-old Philander Hampton appeared in court in Newark on Wednesday in front of several dozen relatives of the victims and entered a plea through his attorney.


A judge continued bail for Hampton at $5 million. He and co-defendant Lee Evans are charged with five counts of murder and one count of arson.


The break in one of the state's longest missing-persons case came when a relative of one of the victims said Evans confessed to him 18 months ago.


Essex County prosecutors believe the boys were herded at gunpoint into an abandoned building and the building was set on fire. source

Via NewsOne:

Google offered "Why are black people so ugly?" as a search suggestion after hackers avoided the firm's filtering process.


The question appeared when internet users typed in the word "why" and Google offered the question in full as one of its suggestions for what you may be about to write.


The firm has extensive filters which are intended to remove offensive suggestions but hackers appear to have got around the controls and web users picked up on it.


Warren Degallerie, 23, said: "I was helping my nine-year-old niece with her homework. Before she knew it that line had appeared. We are both black and I couldn't believe how something like that could be allowed to happen.


"I had to try to explain to a young girl how Google could let it appear."


He contacted The Sun newspaper which alerted Google and the glitch was fixed.


By Monday morning the automatic suggestion had disappeared. Users typing in "why" were offered options including "why am i tired" and "why do cats purr".


However, there remained the race-related question "why are michael jackson's kids white".


Oprah Winfrey has settled a defamation lawsuit filed by a headmistress she had accused of performing poorly at her South African girls school, where some students claimed they were abused, lawyers said Tuesday.

The lawsuit by former headmistress Nomvuyo Mzamane claimed Winfrey defamed her in remarks made in the wake of the 2007 sex-abuse scandal at the school. Mzamane said she had trouble finding a job after Winfrey stated she had "lost confidence" in her and was "cleaning house from top to bottom."

A trial had been set to start next week in federal court in Philadelphia. Winfrey and several schoolgirls had been expected to testify.

A joint statement released late Tuesday by lawyers for both sides said Winfrey and Mzamane met to resolve their differences.

"The two parties met woman to woman without their lawyers and are happy that they could resolve this dispute peacefully to their mutual satisfaction," the statement said.

Winfrey was visiting her school last week when U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno refused to dismiss the lawsuit, concluding Mzamane had presented enough evidence to go to trial. Court papers suggest Mzamane is again working at a school in Africa, but a Winfrey spokeswoman declined to say if the meeting took place during Winfrey's trip.

The parties do not plan to discuss terms of the settlement, according to the spokeswoman, who works with Winfrey's production company, Harpo Productions, which also was a defendant in the suit.


Mar 23, 2010

I love this sista!!!!!

In response to the imminent passage of health care reform protesters spat on Representative Emmanuel Cleaver. They hurled homophobic obscenities at Representative Barney Frank. They shouted racial slurs at Representative John Lewis.

Democratic leadership responded by marching to the Capitol in a scene that looked more like a 1960s demonstration than a morning commute for the majority party.

The attacks on black and gay members of Congress immediately mobilized lefty mainstream media. On Monday night both Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow drew parallels between the health care battle and the civil rights movement. I like, respect, and appear frequently on both programs, but I think both have missed the mark in their racial analysis.

Crafting a metaphor that connects the civil rights movement and the bigoted language of this weekend's protesters is seductive. It seems so obvious given that Representative John Lewis plays a critical role in both. A young Lewis was severely beaten 45 years ago when he tried to lead a group of brave citizens across the Edmund Pettus bridge in an effort to secure voting rights for black Americans.

This weekend he graciously rebuffed his detractors in a perfect example of nonviolent, direct resistance. Representative Lewis said he harbored no ill will against those who called him names and insisted that we are all citizens of this nation and that we must learn to live peacefully and respectfully together. It was the kind of response that makes Lewis a hero to many.

But there is a very important difference between Bloody Sunday of 1965 and Health Care Reform Sunday of 2010. In 1965 Lewis was a disenfranchised protester fighting to be recognized as a full citizen. When he was beaten by the police, he was being attacked by the state. In 2010 Lewis is a long time, elected representative. When he is attacked by protesters, he is himself an agent of the state. This difference is critically important; not because it changes the fact that racism is present in both moments, but because it radically alters the way we should understand the meaning of power, protest and race.

I often begin my political science courses with a brief introduction to the idea of "the state." The state is the entity that has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence, force and coercion. If an individual travels to another country and kills its citizens, we call it terrorism. If the state does it, we call it war. If a man kills his neighbor it is murder; if the state does it is the death penalty. If an individual takes his neighbor's money, it is theft; if the state does it, it is taxation.

To the extent that a state is challenged as the sole, legitimate owner of the tools of violence, force, and coercion, it is challenged at its core. This is why "state's rights" led to secession and Civil War. The legitimacy of the central state was challenged, then reestablished. It is also why the Civil Rights Movement was so powerful. The overt abuse of state power evidenced by the violence of Southern police called into question their foundational legitimacy. The federal government had to act or risk losing its authority as a state altogether.

Which leads us to March 2010.

The Tea Party is a challenge to the legitimacy of the U.S. state. When Tea Party participants charge the current administration with various forms of totalitarianism, they are arguing that this government has no right to levy taxes or make policy. Many GOP elected officials offered nearly secessionist rhetoric from the floor of Congress this weekend. They joined as co-conspirators with the Tea Party protesters by arguing that this government has no monopoly on legitimacy.

I appreciate the parallels to the civil rights movement drawn by the MSNBC crowd, but they are inadequate. When protesters spit on and scream at duly elected representatives of the United States government it is more than act of racism. It is an act of sedition.

John Lewis is no longer just a brave American fighting for the soul of his country- he is an elected official. He is an embodiment of the state.

Commentators and observers need to move their historical lens back a little further. The relevant comparison here is not the mid-20th century civil rights movement. The better analogy is the mid-19th century period of Reconstruction. From the end of the Civil War in 1865 until the unholy Hayes-Tilden compromise of 1877, black Americans enjoyed a brief experiment with full citizenship and political power sharing.

During this decade black men voted, held office and organized as laborers and farmers. It was a fragile political equality made possible only by the determined and powerful presence of the federal government. Then in 1877 the federal government abdicated its responsibilities to new black citizens and withdrew from the South. When it did so it allowed local governments and racial terrorist organizations like the KKK to have the monopoly on violence, force and coercion in the South for nearly 100 years.

As I watch the rising tide of racial anxiety and secessionist sentiment I am not so much reminded of the Bloody Sunday protests as I am reminded of D.W. Griffith's Birth of Nation. This 1915 film depicts the racist imagination currently at work in our nation as a black president first appoints a Latina Supreme Court Justice and then works with a woman Speaker of the House to pass sweeping national legislation. This bigotry assumes no such government could possibly be legitimate and therefore frames resistance against this government as a patriotic responsibility.

There are historic lessons to be learned. But they are the lessons of the 19th century not the 20th. We must now guard against the end of our new Reconstruction and the descent of a vicious new Jim Crow terrorism.


Black Voices has learned that writer/director/producer Tyler Perry has selected the cast for next film, ''For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.'

At last night's premiere for his latest film, ''Why Did I Get Married Too?,' the black box-office maverick revealed that the cast will include Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Jurnee Smollett, Kimberly Elise, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine and Macy Gray.

Based on Ntozake Shange's award-winning 1975 play, the film is scheduled to shoot in June in New York with a possible winter 2010/ 2011 release date

The riveting play, consisting of a series of poems performed through a cast of nameless women, known only by a color -- deal with such subjects as love, abandonment, rape, and abortion, garnered much acclaim, becoming the toast of Broadway when it opened at The Booth Theater in 1976.

It later morphed into an Emmy Award nominated television special and is still being performed around the world.

Elise and Carey are the only two that made the cut from Perry's initial wish list that he mentioned back in September 2009, which initially included 16-time Grammy Award winner Beyonce Knowles, Academy Award winner Halle Berry and media queen Oprah Winfrey.

"Making a film of 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf' is a dream come true for me," Perry said about the project. "Ntozake Shange's play is a magnificent tribute to the strength and dignity of women of color, and I think audiences of all generations will be able to recognize and embrace the experiences these women represent. Creatively, this movie is one of the most exciting undertakings of my career."

As previously reported by Black Voices, 'For Colored Girls' will be the first project for 34th Street Films, Perry's new production company, which is housed at Lionsgate.


The once mighty community activist group ACORN announced Monday it is folding amid falling revenues — six months after video footage emerged showing some of its workers giving tax tips to conservative activists posing as a pimp and prostitute.

"It's really declining revenue in the face of a series of attacks from partisan operatives and right-wing activists that have taken away our ability to raise the resources we need," ACORN spokesman Kevin Whelan said.

Several of its largest affiliates, including ACORN New York and ACORN California, broke away this year and changed their names in a bid to ditch the tarnished image of their parent organization and restore revenue that ran dry in the wake of the video scandal.

ACORN's financial situation and reputation went into free fall within days of the videos' release in September. Congress reacted by yanking ACORN's federal funding, private donors held back cash and scores of ACORN offices closed.

Earlier this month, a U.S. judge reiterated an earlier ruling that the federal law blacklisting ACORN and groups allied with it was unconstitutional because it singled them out. But that didn't mean any money would be automatically be restored.

Bertha Lewis, the CEO of ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, alluded to financial hardships in a weekend statement as the group's board prepared to deliberate by phone.

"ACORN has faced a series of well-orchestrated, relentless, well-funded right wing attacks that are unprecedented since the McCarthy era," she said. "The videos were a manufactured, sensational story that led to rush to judgment and an unconstitutional act by Congress."

ACORN's board decided to close remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1 because of falling revenues, with some national operations will continue operating for at least several weeks before shutting for good, Whelan said Monday.

For years, ACORN could draw on 400,000 members to lobby for liberal causes, such as raising the minimum wage or adopting universal health care. ACORN was arguably most successful at registering hundreds of thousands of low-income voters, though that mission was dogged by fraud allegations, including that some workers submitted forms signed by 'Mickey Mouse' or other cartoon characters.  source

Mar 22, 2010

Reading Rainbow


Via HuffingtonPost:

"Reading Rainbow," the popular children's show that ran from the mid-80's until 2006, may return, according to the show's host LeVar Burton via his Twitter account. The Emmy Award winning television show, which aired on PBS, featured celebrities reading books as well as other segments about books and reading, and each episode would include brief recommendations by kids for kids.

In a tweet on March 19, LeVar Burton said:

You heard it here first... Reading Rainbow 2.0 is in th[e] works! Stay tuned for more info. But, you don't have to...
In a photo from video, Tiger Woods speaks during an interview near his Windermere, Fla., home with ESPN that aired Sunday, March 21, 2010. Woods said he's a "little nervous" about the reception he'll get at the Masters when he returns to play golf next month. (AP Photo/ESPN)
Tiger Woods acknowledged "living a lie," saying he alone was responsible for the sex scandal that caused his shocking downfall from global sporting icon to late-night TV punchline.

"It was all me. I'm the one who did it. I'm the one who acted the way I acted. No one knew what was going on when it was going on," Woods told the Golf Channel in one of two interviews Sunday night.

A second one was aired on ESPN, which will also televise the first two rounds of the Masters. Woods plans to end four months of seclusion and return to golf at the tournament next month. Talking about those plans marked the only time he smiled during either interview.

"I'm sure if more people would have known in my inner circle, they would have stopped it or tried to put a stop to it," he told the Golf Channel. "But I kept it all to myself."

Later in the same interview with reporter Kelly Tilghman, Woods refers to his serial adultery by saying, "I tried to stop and I couldn't stop. And it was just, it was horrific."

Woods answered questions on camera for the first time since his early morning car crash last November, yet again divulged few details about the crash, his marriage, his stint in a rehabilitation clinic or his personal life. Woods insisted those matters would remain private, just as he had in a statement on his Web site right after his crash and again Feb. 19 when he apologized on camera in front of a hand-picked audience but took no questions.

"A lot of ugly things have happened. ... I've done some pretty bad things in my life," he told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi.

Last week, a woman who claims to be one of Woods' mistresses released an embarrassing transcript of text messages she said he sent her.

Woods admitted that four months of nearly nonstop public ridicule had caused him shame.

"It was hurtful, but then again, you know what? I did it," he told the Golf Channel. "And I'm the one who did those things. And looking back on it now, with a more clear head, I get it. I can understand why people would say those things. Because you know what? It was disgusting behavior. It's hard to believe that was me, looking back on it now."