May 30, 2010

The Savvy Sista is going in vacation and so there will not be any new posts until next week.

May 28, 2010

The Savvy Sista can confirm the death of child star Gary Coleman at the age of 42. Mr. Coleman suffered an intracranial hemorrhage on Wednesday and he never recovered. Peace and blessings to his family as they endure this terrible lose.

Godspeed Arnold!

Iconic recording industry team, Organized Noize, joins a national initiative against youth violence and abuse: H.I.P. – H.O.P. (Healing is Possible-Helping Our People)
Atlanta's own musical trendsetters will produce songs for a long-overdue "Stop the Violence" project laden with some of Hip-Hop's biggest cultural influencers.

May 28, 2010 - ATLANTA, GEORGIA - Virginia-based recording label, Xrecords, announced today that the iconic music production team, Organized Noize, has signed on to a new project that is part of a national initiative to combat the growing epidemic of youth violence. Xrecords President and Founder of the H.I.P. – H.O.P. 2012 Project, Thomas "FAT Thomi" Hairston, is launching the community-driven initiative after years of working on events in the Richmond, Virginia area that were geared toward re-building families, encouraging education, and empowering kids. With statistics showing that violent acts against and by teenagers in this country is growing at alarming rates, Xrecords was driven to utilize the platform of music to send a critical message to both the music industry and the public.

Organized Noize is just as grounded in their home turf of Atlanta, Georgia where they trail blazed a path that has brought the world hit music from artists like OutKast, Goodie Mob, TLC, En Vogue, Ludacris and many others. The production team will work closely with Xrecords and oversee tracks from various artists that speak out against violence and shed light on the issues that are driving youngsters to the edge. The musical project is designed to exceed the task of raising awareness. The mission of H.I.P. – H.O.P., an acronym for Healing Is Possible – Helping Our People, is to procure real solutions [over a long term] for a problem that has superseded race, economic class and religious beliefs.

Organized Noize Co-Founder, Ray Murray, talks about why their team joined the project. "When we stepped into this industry, it was during a time when a lot of artists were on an afro-centric and conscious vibe. Back in '86 and '87 it was about stopping  the violence, and now it seems like the balance in the music—the creativity and inspiration—is gone," says Murray. "The youth have always been the barometer for what's happening in the hood—their voices and experiences are the encyclopedia of the streets…and they're showing us that they need help."

"The H.I.P. – H.O.P. 2012 Project has been in my spirit for a long time because I'm passionate about seeing kids excel…but I knew we had to build this the right way.  After hearing the reports about kids killing and bullying kids in Chicago and Florida—basically everywhere in this country—I knew it was time to move on this project," says Founder Thomas "FAT Thomi" Hairston. "As recording artists and executives, we have to take some kind of responsibility for these kids that are heavily influenced by our bodies of work.  This project is a call for the entertainment industry to create a positive change and be a part of the business of saving lives." 
Xrecords and Organized Noize are in the process of producing a full-length album, as well as a structured "on the ground" program that is designed to inspire, empower and motivate a culturally diverse new generation. Ray Murray continues by saying, "The H.I.P. – H.O.P. 2012 Project is about connecting the old with the new. We're letting these kids know that there are options out here and they don't have to take the route of being a stereotype—in jail or worse. You can be positive and progressive in your music and still reach people—you can stand up and stand out!"

To learn more about the H.I.P. – H.O.P. 2012 Project, the artists and how to join the movement in your area, please contact Thomas "FAT Thomi" Hairston at (804) 334-2262 or

About Organized Noize
Comprised of three innately talented musicians, writers and producers--Rico Wade, Ray Murray and P. Sleepy Brown are Organized Noize. With a track record for spearheading multi-platinum records for artists like the uber-successful OutKast, Goodie Mob, Ludacris and TLC, the team's decade and a half of creative works is still just the tip of the iceberg. With more film, television and artist projects in the works, Atlanta, Georgia's home-grown icons, Organized Noize, is poised to reach the multi-platinum ranks again in 2010.

About X Records
X Records was founded in 2001 and is manufactured and distributed by the Malaco Music Group. Founded by Thomas "FAT Thomi" Hairston after a ten-year career in the music industry with giants like Warner Brothers, American Records and Arista, X Records emerged as the creative outlet for his own roster of artists. After promoting major label projects for the Notorious B.I.G., TLC, Usher, Toni Braxton, OutKast, Tamia, Eric Benet, Tevin Campbell, Something for the People and the Wu-Tang Clan under FAT Thomi Promotions, Mr. Hairston has the knowledge and track record required to be an industry leader.
Gary Coleman has slipped into a coma and is on life support in a Salt Lake City hospital, his spokesman says.

Spokesman John Alcantar told KABC that Coleman, 42, suffered severe bleeding in his skull at his home south of Salt Lake City on Wednesday. He was rushed to a hospital and was conscious and lucid by mid- morning Thursday, but by afternoon, his condition worsened and was slipping in and out of consciousness.

ABC News says he suffered intracranial hemorrhage - bleeding in the skull.

The Diff'rent Strokes star has had a history of health problems. He has been battling kidney disease since his childhood, and also had heart surgery last fall.

Coleman, who was hospitalized earlier this year having having a seizure on the set of The Insider, lives in Santaquin, about 55 miles south of Salt Lake City.



Tyra Banks, CEO of Bankable Enterprises, and Executive Producer of The Tyra Show, America's Next Top Model and True Beauty which premieres Monday, May 31st on ABC, talks about "The Tyra Show," "America's Next Top Model," and her upcoming projects…
Looking Ahead
"I am so proud of the five years of The Tyra Show and I'm continuing to reach my audience through new projects across all platforms of my business – Bankable Books, Bankable Studios, Bankable Digital, and of course Bankable Productions.  I'll continue to be the girlfriend, big sister, and role model, in everything I do and through all of the projects we're cooking up at Bankable Enterprises.  I love the people who watched the show; we really did become friends over the past five years. You know the hot club or restaurant that is cool for about 5 years, and then a new place opens up that's bigger and more exciting. That's what's going on. All us friends are hitting up the new place together, and I've got some exciting things for us all. Oh, and there won't be any lines or cover charges – we're all V.I.P. in my book."
Favorite Talk Show Moments
 "There were so many amazing moments on- and off-camera. I had the opportunity to interview incredible people from our very own President Barack Obama like I mentioned earlier, along with presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and John Edwards. I spoofed Beyoncé in her "Deja Vu" music video when she was on my show giving her a big laugh on my stage, I had a Lady and the Tramp spaghetti kiss with Ryan Seacrest, I was in bed with Janet Jackson on her tour bus, I surprised Miley Cyrus at her sweet 16 in Disney World."
What She's Up To
"This week on the talk show I opened up the Bankable vault to show my viewers a preview of my upcoming projects, some of which have already been announced.  I recently launched Bankable Books with MODELLAND, a 3-part fantasy book series that I will be writing which is based on a concept I created three years ago and have been expanding on ever since; I can't wait to see it come to life!  Earlier this year I announced the launch of Bankable Studios which will house all of my film projects, and possibly the next home for MODELLAND. Who knows?  Anything's possible in the world of MODELLAND."

Cycle 15 of "America's Next Top Model"
"This fall will mark a new phase for America's Next Top Model – the show's getting a high-fashion makeover from H2T (or from head to toe).  After meeting with Editor-in-Chief Franca Sozzani earlier this year, I am thrilled to report that Italian Vogue is officially the magazine partner for Cycle 15.  Franca approached me at the start of 2010 to be a regular contributor on (Italian Vogue's website), and once we established this relationship, I knew Franca and I had to work together on a larger scale.  I wanted to take Top Model to the next level when it comes to fashion, and it quickly became clear that Italian Vogue was the perfect fit. Here we are a few months later with an Italian Vogue cover – yes I said COVER – and TWO in-book fashion spreads for the next winner of Top Model.  The show's transition to high fashion started with Cycle 14, when I brought my dear friend, the legendary André Leon Talley on the show as one of our fabulous judges.  His extraordinary presence, and unprecedented experience and expertise brought the show to the next level and after the word "Dreckitude" left his lips, it was official – he set a new standard for fierceness that will continue to elevate with Cycle 15 and beyond.
I look forward to the next cycle with André and Franca as strategic partners, and even more to working with each of them in the near future across multiple platforms of Bankable Enterprises."

Via People:
A wedding and a baby are on the way for Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz.

The musicians "are expecting a baby and are engaged to be married in a private ceremony later this year," reps for the couple confirm to PEOPLE.

The announcement comes after the two, together since fall 2008, attended Thursday night's Black Ball in London, which benefits Keys's Keep a Child Alive charity.

"They're very happy," says a friend of the couple.

Rapper Swizz Beatz (real name: Kasseem Dean), 31, has produced music for Keys, 29, and worked with artists including Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Gwen Stefani.

It will be the first marriage for Grammy-winner Keys – and their first child together. Swizz Beatz is father to Kasseem Jr., 3, and son Prince Nasir, 9, both from previous relationships.

May 27, 2010

Honey Hush!!! This woman didn't murder this song, she didn't kill it, but rather she assassinated it with a sniper's bullet.

If you ever needed or wanted a reason to watch BET then let me give you two words that should make you want to watch, 'Leandria Johnson.' Leandria is a contestant on the 2010 edition of Sunday's Best which airs every Sunday at 8 pm EST.

I've been a fan of hers every since she came to the auditions in flip-flops and sock. My pastor has always said, "Come as you are..." and that is exactly what Leandria did in her initial audition. Check it out:

****Side Note****

Elder Goldwire McClendon at 79 years old is giving the young'uns a run for their money in the competition.

Howard University can't find the Academy Award given to Hattie McDaniel, the first Black actress ever to win an Oscar in 1939 for her role in "Gone with the Wind."

According to AOL Black Voices, the historically Black college has not been able to find the plaque for some time and has made a few claims about the missing award, including saying that it never had the Oscar or that someone stole it and it may be at an instructor's home.
When she died of breast cancer in 1952, McDaniel left her Oscar to Howard's drama department. One theory is that students stole the award in the 1960's, protesting the "subservient" roles that she played, Black Voices reported. Another is that a thief snatched the Oscar, worth $550,000.

Keenon Hall

The Teacher of the Year at Shiloh High School has resigned after admitting to having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student, according to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Keenon Aampay Hall, 29, left a promising career as an English teacher at the Gwinnett County school amid allegations that she seduced a senior who came to her for homework help. An investigative file on the case compiled by the school system's human resources division contains the student's accounts of sexual trysts at a hotel, a friend's home and in the teacher's classroom during school hours. The report also says that pornography was found on Hall's Gwinnett County schools laptop.

The student, a player on Shiloh's football team who is to graduate Friday, claimed that Hall gave him gifts and pressured him to commit to their six-month relationship by giving her a baby, according to the file. When he declined, the student's family said, Hall gave him a failing grade, prompting him to report the relationship to school officials.

"The allegation of the inappropriate behavior came to light because the teacher decreased the student's grade," Gwinnett schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.

Gwinnett County Public Schools police are investigating the incident. The governor recently signed a new law making it illegal for teachers to have sex with students, even if the sex is consensual. In addition, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, which has the authority to revoke Hall's teaching certificate, is scheduled to review the complaint next week.

Hall, elected by her colleagues as Shiloh's Teacher of the Year, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

"I am very disturbed by this situation, I think she should have been terminated," said Ericka Pender, the teen's mother, from her North Carolina home. "She wanted the relationship to go further and was threatening my son. She said she was going to make him fail."

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not publishing the name of the student because it does not generally identify victims of sexual crimes.

Sid Camp, executive director of Gwinnett's Division of Human Resources, told the state that Hall "admitted to having a sexual relationship with the student." Hall wrote a brief statement to the school district saying that it was a "consenual relationship," misspelling the word. She said at least one other teacher knew about the romance.

Connie Hall said her daughter is a stellar teacher admired by peers who went out of her way to help students learn. Keenon Hall went to Shiloh in 2004 as a substitute and worked her way from a teacher's assistant to a respected certified teacher and cheerleading coach, her mother said. She said her daughter eventually became overwrought with stress caused by mouthy teens, pushy parents and administrators who failed to support hard-working teachers. She began to lose sleep and shed hair over her $35,600-a-year job, her mother said.

"She loved teaching and thought she could change the world," said Hall, who says she tried to push her daughter to seek a higher-paying profession. "My daughter didn't have any inappropriate relationship with no under-aged student. She resigned for medical reasons, that's what her paperwork shows."

The student recently told Shiloh administrators in a written statement: "One day in October I came after school for some extra studying with my teacher Kennon Hall ... She began touching me on my leg and then asked me when I was going to let her molest me. ... We began to laugh, then she asked me again, this time handing me a phone number and asked me to call. ..."



CHICAGO (AP) — Oprah Winfrey's charity, The Angel Network, is shutting down as her talk show draws to a close.

The network stopped accepting donations this week and said on its Web site that it plans to dissolve as soon as its remaining funds are disbursed.

The Angel Network was launched in 1998 with donations from viewers of Winfrey's talk show; its demise stems from her decision to end her Chicago-based show in 2011, after 25 years on the air, Angel Network spokeswoman Angela DePaul said.

The Web site notice said Winfrey and the network's directors are "extremely grateful" to the nearly 150,000 donors who gave more than $80 million to the charity.

Its best-known projects included funding rebuilding efforts for Gulf Coast communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina and building 55 rural schools in 12 countries.

The network Web site will continue and donors who still wish to contribute will be directed on that site to other charities, DePaul said.

DePaul said donations hadn't dwindled but that it made sense to end the network as Winfrey sets her TV sights in a different direction.

Winfrey isn't ending her philanthropic efforts. The Web site notice says her new cable network will highlight charitable organizations in coming years.

Winfrey announced her round-the-clock Oprah Winfrey Network earlier this year. It is to start next January. She revealed last month that she'll host one of its programs, a nighttime travel and conversation show called "Oprah's Next Chapter."

May 26, 2010

Janet performed 'Nothing' and 'Nasty' for the American Idol season finale. Man, Janet did the damn thing! I can't wait to see her in New Orleans at the Essence Music Festival.

I love that she is rocking the short hair.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

OB/GYN and host of the daytime show 'The Doctors', Dr. Lisa Masterson, was on 'The Early Show' to debunk some of the myths surrounding having sex after having a bab

Lumpkin County wasn't the only place where students dressed up in Ku Klux Klan outfits last week. It happened in Gwinnett County, too.

A spokeswoman for Gwinnett County schools told the AJC that Stephanie Hunte, an 8th-grade social studies teacher at Sweetwater Middle School in Lawrenceville, allowed her students to wear KKK robes as part of a re-enactment last Thursday. Another teacher saw the students preparing for the re-enactment and told an administrator.

"The administrator told [Hunte] that this type of activity was not appropriate and would not take place," spokeswoman Sloan Roach wrote in an e-mail.

However, school officials learned this week that Hunte had allowed "this same activity" in another class the day before, according to Roach.

"As a result of this information, we have launched a Human Resources investigation into the matter," Roach told the AJC. "Ms. Hunte, who has been with GCPS since August 2006, was told to report to the Central Office this morning."

Today is the last day of school. No disciplinary action has been taken.

Roach wrote that the re-enactment occurred as part of a social studies curriculum that covers "parts of our nation's history, including Reconstruction, key political and social changes and the civil rights movement."

The Gwinnett and Lumpkin cases are notable for their similarities, but also for one key difference: Hunte is black; the teacher in the Lumpkin County incident, Catherine Ariemma, is white. source

Again, I don't have a problem with this.  My only question is, "Where the hell are they getting the robes from?"  Did the KKK open up a consignment shop in Georgia and ain't nobody told me?  I'm just saying....

NEW YORK -- The hopes of many are resting on the shoulders of 12-year-old Aang.

Ever since he first came out of a block of ice in the Nickelodeon cartoon series "Avatar: The Last Airbender," the other tribes in his fictional, Asian-inspired world saw Aang and his power over the elements as their last chance for peace after a century of conflict.

Now Paramount Pictures and director M. Night Shyamalan also have high hopes for Aang: that he will attract audiences to see their big-screen - and big budget - version of "The Last Airbender," opening July 2.

Yet fans of the original TV series say whatever hopes they had for the live-action movie have been dashed by what is known as "whitewashing" - the selection of white actors to fill the main hero roles instead of the people of color they say the source material requires.

"To take this incredibly loved children's series, and really distort not only the ethnicity of the individual characters but the message of acceptance and cultural diversity that the original series advocated, is a huge blow," said Michael Le of, a fan site calling for a boycott of the martial-arts fantasy.

Paramount defends the film's casting, noting more than half of the credited speaking roles were filled by people of color.

"Night's vision of 'The Last Airbender' includes a large and ethnically diverse cast that represents cultures from around the world," Paramount said in a statement.

That doesn't impress the movie's critics, who claim most of that diversity is found among secondary characters and background extras.

They say "Airbender" casting is just the latest example of a long history in Hollywood of demeaning people of color - from having white actors in makeup portray minorities to sidelining them in second-tier roles to replacing them entirely, as they say is the case with "Airbender."

They point to examples like the 2008 film "21," which was based on a book inspired by the true-life story of a mostly Asian American group of card players, yet was cast with mostly white actors in the main roles.

They also note this weekend's release of "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," a live-action adaptation of a video game that stars white actor Jake Gyllenhaal in the title role instead of an actor with a Middle Eastern background.

"This part really needed to go to someone who's Persian," said Jehanzeb Dar, a blogger and independent filmmaker who is a fan of the video game but has no intention of supporting the movie.

"It's not only insulting to Persians, it's also insulting to white people. It's saying white people can't enjoy movies unless the protagonist is white," he said.

Disney did not return an e-mail asking for comment on the casting.

"It becomes very clear that it's part of the historical pattern of Hollywood and it's not an isolated incident and it's not because they happen to be fictional characters," Le said. "It's because this is the standard procedure for Hollywood films, and it really shouldn't be. It's 2010."

But 2010 is also a time of huge stakes in the movie business - when only a small fraction of the films that are released make the vast majority of the industry's profits, said economics professor Arthur De Vany, author or "Hollywood Economics: How Extreme Uncertainty Shapes the Film Industry."

Because of the financial risk, studios try to control anything that goes into a movie before its release in an effort to maximize box office receipts - from the storyline to the cast to the marketing, De Vany explained.

"They're trying to control the initial conditions of a chaotic process," he said. "There's only so much room at the top."

During the era of segregation in this country, Hollywood routinely considered race when making and releasing a film. For example, actress Lena Horne, who died May 9 at 92, saw her parts in movies cut out when those films were shown in the South.


WASHINGTON — Apparently, teachers aren't worth saving.

That's the cold political calculation that has taken hold in the halls of Congress, where a last-ditch effort to funnel extra education money to the states isn't getting much traction. Members of Congress are focused on saving their own jobs, and they fear giving teachers a lifeline could prove costly in the mid-term elections.

The White House and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have been lobbying for an additional $23 billion in aid to states, which would be used to prevent the layoffs of as many as 300,000 teachers nationwide — including thousands in Georgia. Duncan has called the layoffs, which would hit schools harder than at any time since the Great Depression, an "education catastrophe."

The teachers' pink slips have already roiled the Georgia governor's race, where a forum that featured three of the Democratic candidates last week was dominated by criticism of the cuts, according to the Savannah Morning News. Former Gov. Roy Barnes, who wants his old job back, vowed to stop the teacher reductions.

The money squeeze has also gutted an educational reform that Georgia introduced a decade ago: smaller class sizes. A state rule had limited k-3 classes to no more than 23 students, while grades 4-8 were limited to 28. But with the severe drop-off in funds, the state Board of Education voted on Monday to allow bigger classes, which inevitably means each child gets less attention.

Still, Duncan's proposal for more education money has run into significant resistance from deficit-weary Democrats, as well as from just-say-no Republicans. U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said school systems have hired too many administrators and staff (other than teachers), a model he called "unsustainable."

It's too bad that Congress' newfound fiscal austerity is so rigid than even teachers can't be saved. Already, American school children post lower scores on standardized tests than kids from a number of other countries; U.S. businesses clamor to hire foreign graduates in engineering and the sciences; and the U.S. has fallen from its perch as number one in college completion. How can the United States expect to maintain its economic competitiveness if it takes a huge step backwards with its public schools?

Most business owners understand the need to make costly investments in order to prepare their enterprises for the future. Without worker training, technology and infrastructure, they'd see little — if any — growth. American kids need that investment, too, or they won't be ready for a future of global competition.

There has been a lot made out of what happened when a history teacher at Lumpkin County High School allowed her students to don KKK outfits at school for a history project.  I personall think the only thing the teacher did wrong was not to inform her superiors or the parents about what was going on.  There are some very disturbing things that happened in the past and that continue to happen to this day, but I don't think the Klan is the biggest problem facing black people.  For me, I think activist John Evans sums this situation up the best: 
One older civil rights activist in that Atlanta area said the flap over the Klan clothing is a distraction from more urgent issues confronting African-Americans today.

Ariemma may have erred by failing to inform her superiors about her plans, said activist John Evans. But even blacks stage reenactments of killings by whites, he said by phone Tuesday.

"White folk murdered and raped and robbed black folk back in the day. It's part of history," said Evans, a former president of the DeKalb County branch of the NAACP. "Now, if you're teaching history, aren't you supposed to include that?"

Evans, 77, now heads an activist group called Operation Lead and is a current vice president of the DeKalb NAACP though he said he wasn't speaking for that group.

He said he could understand why a black student at the high school would complain. "But now, you get older, and things like that are not very exciting," he said. Instead, blacks should worry about making and saving money and building their own businesses, he said.

"To be influential in this country you got to have yourself some coins," Evans said. "We've got more important things to worry about than something that happened 100 years ago." source

You may disagree, but that's what we have the comments section for.  Please feel free to speak your mind.

WASHINGTON — Melting pot or racial divide? The growth of interracial marriages is slowing among U.S.-born Hispanics and Asians. Still, blacks are substantially more likely than before to marry whites.

The number of interracial marriages in the U.S. has risen 20 percent since 2000 to about 4.5 million, according to the latest census figures. While still growing, that number is a marked drop-off from the 65 percent increase between 1990 and 2000.

About 8 percent of U.S. marriages are mixed-race, up from 7 percent in 2000.

The latest trend belies notions of the U.S. as a post-racial, assimilated society. Demographers cite a steady flow of recent immigration that has given Hispanics and Asians more ethnically similar partners to choose from while creating some social distance from whites due to cultural and language differences.

White wariness toward a rapidly growing U.S. minority population also may be contributing to racial divisions, experts said.

"Racial boundaries are not going to disappear anytime soon," said Daniel Lichter, a professor of sociology and public policy at Cornell University. He noted the increase in anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks as well as current tensions in Arizona over its new immigration law.

"With a white backlash toward immigrant groups, some immigrants are more likely to turn inward to each other for support," Lichter said.

Broken down by race, about 40 percent of U.S.-born Asians now marry whites — a figure unchanged since 1980. Their likelihood of marrying foreign-born Asians, meanwhile, multiplied 3 times for men and 5 times for women, to roughly 20 percent.

Among U.S.-born Hispanics, marriages with whites increased modestly from roughly 30 percent to 38 percent over the past three decades. But when it came to marriages with foreign-born Hispanics, the share doubled — to 12.5 percent for men, and 17.1 percent for women.

In contrast, blacks are now three times as likely to marry whites than in 1980. About 14.4 percent of black men and 6.5 percent of black women are currently in such mixed marriages, due to higher educational attainment, a more racially integrated military and a rising black middle class that provides more interaction with other races.

The numbers reflect in part an internal struggle that Asians and Hispanics say they feel navigating two cultural worlds — the U.S. and their parents' homeland.

Hai Nguyen, 37, of Houston recalls the instant connection she felt after meeting her first Vietnamese boyfriend, Greg, in college. Nguyen says while she had to explain herself to white boyfriends, with Greg it was a feeling that "he so gets me, because we eat the same food, we like the same things, our families know each other and there is so little that needs to be said."

With the enthusiastic support of her parents, she and Greg married. But their connection soon began to fade, due partly to Nguyen's budding career as a business analyst, which clashed with more traditional expectations for her to "always have fresh food on the table." The two divorced and Nguyen is now remarried to Jon, who is white.

"My parents have prejudices, but they've accepted it," said Nguyen. She described occasionally feeling different with her parents and other single-race couples. "They know it's inevitable. My native tongue will eventually fade, and history will take its course."

The demographic shifts can complicate conventional notions of racial identity.

Due to increasing interracial marriages, multiracial Americans are a small but fast-growing demographic group, making up about 5 percent of the minority population. Together with blacks, Hispanics and Asians, the Census Bureau estimates they collectively will represent a majority of the U.S. population by mid-century.

Still, many multiracial people — particularly those who are part black — shun a "multi" label in favor of identifying as a single race.

By some estimates, two-thirds of those who checked the single box of "black" on the census form are actually mixed, including President Barack Obama, who identified himself as black in the 2010 census even though his mother was white.

Census figures also show:

—Hawaii had the highest share of mixed marriages, about 32 percent. It was followed by Alaska, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Nevada, which ranged from 15 percent to 19 percent. The bottom five states were Pennsylvania, Maine, Kentucky, Mississippi and West Virginia, each ranging from 3 percent to 4 percent.

—Mississippi had the fastest growth in mixed marriages from 2000-08, a sign of closer ties between blacks and whites, though it still ranked second to last in overall share of mixed marriages.

—Mixed marriages jumped from 2.25 million to 3.7 million, or 65 percent, from 1990-2000, as such unions became more broadly accepted in Southern states.

—Among U.S.-born whites, about 0.3 percent married blacks in 1980; that figure rose to about 1 percent in 2008. About 0.3 percent of whites married Asians in 1980 and about 1 percent in 2008. About 2 percent of whites married Hispanics in 1980, rising to about 3.6 percent in 2008.

Juan Thurman, 37, a Houston sales account manager, says both family pressure and a strong ethnic identity weighed heavily on him as a Hispanic when he was dating, even as he found himself interacting more with other races in school.

In high school and at Rice University, Thurman said, he had fewer opportunities to meet Hispanic women in his honors classes. Ultimately, he married Emily, who is white, based on shared life views of gender equity and a liberal outlook toward religion. He relishes having friends of many different backgrounds.

"Interracial marriage is not a big deal," Thurman said. "Still, from a family standpoint, I did feel culturally different and I continue to feel so."

The figures come from previous censuses as well as the 2008 American Community Survey, which surveys 3 million households. The figures for "white" refer to those whites who are not of Hispanic ethnicity. For purposes of defining interracial marriages, Hispanic is counted as a race.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A beauty queen known as the Dominican Cinderella for her rise from humble roots is trading pageants for politics and will serve as deputy mayor of the region where she was born.

Ada Aimee de la Cruz, who was the 2009 Miss Universe runner up, was voted to office on the ticket of Mayor Francisco Fernandez of the opposition Revolutionary Dominican Party in May 16 elections. She will represent Santo Domingo Norte, the country's fourth largest municipality with 445,000 residents.

"I'm here to shatter the myth that beauty queens are airheads," the 23-year-old told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "I want to help youth so they do not find themselves without anything to do because of a lack of plans and opportunities."

The six-foot-tall beauty starts work Aug. 16 and will become the first former beauty queen to assume an elected position in this Caribbean nation.

She said she would promote education and sports programs for children in a municipality where only half are enrolled in high school and where the illiteracy rate is 10 percent among those older than 10, according to government statistics.

She said most schools in her municipality offer only a fifth-grade education.

De la Cruz also envisions creating work programs for impoverished women and promoting her hometown of Villa Mella for its popular pork products.

"We're going to build a pork rind park as a tourist attraction," she said.

De la Cruz recently earned an accounting degree and recalled how she worked since she was 16 in a women's clothing store to pay for her studies and transportation.

She was crowned Miss World Beach Beauty in 2007 and Miss Dominican Republic in 2009. She stepped down from that position a month before it expired.

"At 23 I have achieved all my goals. From here to 35 you never know, I might even reach the presidency," she said with a laugh.

May 25, 2010

POMPANO BEACH, Fla -- Two Florida teachers allegedly poured holy water on another teacher because she is an atheist, WPLG-TV in Miami reported.

The station said that Leslie Rainer and Djuna Robinson have been removed from their classrooms. The veteran and self-proclaimed Christian teachers work at Blanche Ely High School.

In April, they were reassigned after another teacher, Schandra Rodriguez, who is an atheist, said they poured holy water on her during an incident at the school on March 11.

"Miss Robinson obtained a little bottle with some perfume in it in jest, and the students will all confirm she never went close to Miss Rodriguez. Miss Rodriguez was on the other side of the classroom and that was basically it," said Johnny L. McCray Jr., Rainer and Robinson's attorney.

The accused teachers said it was a joke. Rodriguez, however, said they did it because she is an atheist.

Rodriguez is still teaching at the school, and some said it's not fair.

"If we are going to ban talking to students about God, then the atheists should also be banned from telling kids there is no God," said the Rev. Kirby Thurston.

The Broward School Board is investigating the allegations. According to McCray, students are also being questioned about what happened.
Black Barbie Doll Portrayed As Highly Sexualized
In the words of Whoopi Goldberg, "WHAT THE HELL!!!!!"  Who in their right mind thought it was okay to come out with 'video vixen' Barbie for our little girls to play with.  Who thought this ish was cool.  The sad part of this thing is the fact that the only Barbie dressed like this is the black Barbie.  I'm just at a lose of words right now.  I don't even know what to say.

Kelly Motzko didn't set out to court controversy when she entered a Target to find a gift for a four-year-old girl. Naturally she found herself in the toy aisle but she was not at all pleased by what she encountered. Among the many Barbies of various races in that toy aisle, there was a black Barbie that stood out for all the wrong reasons. Her dress was cut down the front to accentuate her noticeable cleavage. According to Motzko, a St. Paul, Minn.-based behavioral specialist, there were Barbies of other ethnicities on the aisle but the African-American Barbie was the only one that appeared highly sexualized.

"The only Barbie wearing such revealing clothing was the black Barbie," says Motzko, who is white. "I found that upsetting. I was offended. It was just an offensive thing for the Barbie to be dressed like that [in the first place] and, then to be the only one of that skin color, I found that offensive."

Motzko, who has worked with kids for over eight years, is very well aware of how such images can impact a young girl's self esteem. "I have worked a lot with young girls to help build self-esteem and self-confidence so I know how many societal pressures there are and how they influence these girls' self-image so, when I walked in this aisle and...I saw this Barbie, I got angry and I was just upset," says Motzko.

The Minnesota native was so enraged that she contacted Mattel. They informed her that the Barbie was part of the Barbie Basics Black Label Collection, which is an assortment of 12 models, including three African-Americans, wearing variations of the black dress. The collection, they told her, was geared towards the adult collector and not little girls.

Still Motzko is unsettled because she found the collection in the toys section for kids and not for adults. "I've never had a problem with Barbie. I grew up with Barbie. I don't have a huge problem against them," says Motzko. "It was just that this particular doll just seemed so over the top."

"I understand a parent's point of view when they [criticize] the low cleavage but that doll was never intended for a three-year-old. It just wasn't," insists Dana Hill, founder of The Black Doll Affair, an Atlanta-based national organization of black women that works to promote positive conceptions of African-American beauty by distributing black dolls to impoverished youth during Christmas. "Barbie has had 50 years plus because she has 50-year-old women buying her."

The Black Doll Affair was founded in 2007 after Hill watched teenage filmmaker Kiri Davis on Oprah discussing her 2005 seven-minute film A Girl Like Me where she reduplicated the famous 1940s era doll test by husband and wife team, Dr. Kenneth Clark and Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark, that was critical in the landmark Brown v. Board decision that legally ended school segregation.

During the infamous doll test, black children overwhelmingly refused to identify themselves with the black doll. They also assigned positive characteristics to the white doll and not the black doll which they most closely resembled. By demonstrating that segregation did indeed foster feelings of inferiority and self-hatred in black children, the doll test became a critical tool in dismantling the "separate but equal" doctrine that served as Jim Crow's foundation. But more than 50 years after Brown v. Board, Davis, using children from a Harlem daycare as her subjects discovered that little had changed: black children still associated positive attributes with the white doll over the black doll.

For Hill, black dolls are critical tools in eradicating such perceptions. "A doll is more than a toy," she says. "It's a reflection of who and hue we are....The easiest way for us to relate to a child is through a doll. That's the conversation that a child relates to."

Recognizing that, members of The Black Doll Affair, known as black dolls, usually deliver the dolls in their respective playgrounds or areas dressed as living dolls. "We're a social club whose mission is to remind a black girl of her beauty," says Hill, who believes that seeing black women of varying hues glamorously dressed sends a powerful message to young girls.

But that beauty lesson isn't just relegated to little girls. The Black Doll Affair facilitates conversations across various age groups mainly online through its "dollhouse". Because black women are under such attack these days, Hill believes that The Black Doll Affair is more important than ever. She also believes in supporting Mattel, which is coincidentally celebrating the 30th anniversary of the black Barbie, and particularly its African-American designer Stacey McBride-Irby, creator of the African-American So In Style Barbie line, the first fully committed African-American effort in the Barbie brand by Mattel, by boosting sales.

"We have to be conscientious that we have the voice, the giant voice, listening to us. At the end of the day, Mattel is a retailer and they are not going to keep making these dolls if we aren't buying them," says Hill.


I have a serious gripe about the childhood experience in the new millennium.

It's absolutely and completely devoid of innocence. In fact, the concept of innocence as a basic right of childhood has disappeared. Whatever happened to the good ol' days when children were allowed to be children? They wore children's clothes. Played children's games. Talked about things children should talk about. And worried about things only children should worry about, like, How am I going to clean my room quick enough to go outside and play? Or, Will Johnny play with me when I get outside? Or, How fast do I have to pedal this bike to make it home before the streetlights come on?

Does anybody else remember these glory days?

Instead, today most parents are dressing their children like mini-adults, in smaller versions of the trashy stuff adults wear. I see little girls in miniskirts, tight jeans, high-heeled shoes and wearing training bras before they have anything to train. I see 4-year-old boys with pierced ears and diamond studs -- sometimes two. Everybody is in a rush for children to grow up.

On any given day in the parenting blogosphere, you'll find someone, somewhere asking if 10 years old is too young to start waxing legs, or some other mommy-angst over eyebrow- or lip-waxing for 8-year-olds. If a child is being teased because of excessive hair growth, then I may understand a parent giving it some consideration (depending on the child's age), but this excessive attention on grooming at such an early age is dangerous. It increases a child's self-consciousness rather than their self-confidence, as far as I'm concerned.

Meanwhile, our conversations, popular music and clothing have oversexualized our children and introduced them to "grown folk" concepts long before they are ready. Then we wonder why 14-year-olds are raping 7-year-olds, and what this world is coming to. My 10- and 6-year-olds barely watch any TV as it is, but when Disney Channel's Hannah Montana started kissing boys and Zack and Cody started "dating," I quickly cut those shows out of the approved rotation.

Residents attended a meeting Monday about a group of teens dressed at Ku Klux Klan members last week at Lumpkin County High School. Many there said the incident was part of an ongoing racial issue in Lumpkin County. School officials say the incident was part of class history project for which the teacher has been suspended with pay.
Residents attended a meeting Monday about a group of teens dressed at Ku Klux Klan members last week at Lumpkin County High School. Many there said the incident was part of an ongoing racial issue in Lumpkin County. School officials say the incident was part of class history project for which the teacher has been suspended with pay. Photo By:Marcus K. Garner,

Catherine Ariemma never intended for students to be offended by the sight of four Ku Klux Klansmen at Lumpkin County High School.

But that's how senior Cody Rider said he felt last Thursday when he looked up and saw the students -- dressed in white hoods and sheets -- walking through the school cafeteria.

"I was outraged," the 18-year-old mixed-race student told the AJC Monday night. "I was mad, so I started walking to them.

A coach, Josh Chatham, intervened by grabbing Rider by the arm.

Ariemma, a six-year veteran with the Lumpkin County school system, said the students, who were working on a film project for her advanced placement U.S. history class, meant no harm.

She admitted that she may have made a mistake by letting the students film the Klan reenactment on campus.

"I feel terrible that I have students who feel threatened because of something from my class," Ariemma told the AJC. "In hindsight, I wouldn't have had them film that part at school."

But the damage was done.

A report went to school officials, after parents of black students learned what had happened and called the district.

Ariemma was placed on paid suspension, and activist the Rev. Markel Hutchins was called to the town 50 miles north of Atlanta to help quell what seemed to be growing frustration among Dahlonega's small African American community.

"When we leave this issue, we want to leave this town a better place," Hutchins told a group of about 50 people who crowded into a tiny church Monday evening. "It seems to me that in many places around the country, we're not divided as much as (we are) disconnected."

And Rider, who was already in trouble for fighting at a football game last fall, needed help to calm himself.

"I wasn't going to say anything to them," Rider said, hinting he thought of taking other actions.

But Hutchins told reporters Monday evening during a meeting of concerned community members that Cody told him, "He wanted to swing on the students."

Hutchins said if that had happened they might have gathered in Lumpkin County for a different reason.

Ariemma's students were filming reenactments of various historical periods last week, and four donned Klan outfits, superintendent Dewey Moye told the AJC.

She said she walked with them through the cafeteria, but forgot students were there eating lunch.

"I told them, 'I don't want you to walk through the building by yourselves because I don't want people to get the wrong idea," Ariemma said. "I failed to think about that there was a lunch track in the cafeteria when they went by.

"Then I heard some students start giggling."

Students saw her white-clad students, and Rider's parents later complained about it.

"We determined, obviously, that she used extremely poor judgment," Moye said.

Hutchins told the group at Fortson Memorial Baptist Church on Monday he had spoken with the school superintendent.

During that conversation, Hutchins asked the superintendent that a meeting be convened between the mayor and police chief to address Cody's safety, as well as planning a diversity sensitivity training for the city, school staff and sheriff deputies.

He said he wants to make sure Ariemma is dealt with in a fair and just way. And that the situation is not taken out of context, but also not ignored.

"Good common sense should have told her this was not a good idea," he said.

Ariemma is an award-winning teaching. Last year, the Georgia Senate passed a resolution lauding her "dedication to her students and her profession" after she was honored as Lumpkin County High School's 2009 STAR Teacher. The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition program is sponsored by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and recognizes teaching excellence.

She said she continues to stand behind the video project and the lesson it was to convey to her students.

"This project was about racism in U.S. history," Ariemma said. "Not just racism against African Americans, but racism as a whole."

She said including the Ku Klux Klan was an essential piece.

"You cannot discuss racism without discussing the Klan," she said. "To do so would be to condone their actions."


Klan Kkk

ATLANTA — A North Georgia teacher is on administrative leave and could lose her job after she allowed four students to don mock Ku Klux Klan outfits for a final project in a high school class Thursday, administrators said.

The sight of people in Klan-like outfits upset some black students at the school and led at least one parent to complain.

Catherine Ariemma, who teaches the advanced placement course combining U.S. history with film education, could face punishment ranging from suspension to termination, Lumpkin County School Superintendent Dewey Moye said Monday. Ariemma has spent nearly six years teaching in the rural county about 75 miles north of Atlanta.

She told The Associated Press Monday that students were covering an important and sensitive topic – but one that she might handle differently in the future.

"It was poor judgment on my part in allowing them to film at school," Ariemma said. "... That was a hard lesson learned."

The incident happened at Lumpkin County High School. Ariemma said her students spend the year viewing films and later create their own films to watch in class. She said the students brainstorm and pick topics to cover. This particular class decided to trace the history of racism in America.

She said the class has 15 students of multiple races, but no blacks.

A group of five students took on the subject, which included covering the history of the notorious white supremacist group which had large chapters in Stone Mountain, Ga. and Tuscaloosa, Ala. One student filmed and did not wear sheets, she said.

"The kids brought the sheets in, they had SpongeBob party hats underneath to make it shaped like a cone," Ariemma said. "They cut out the eyes so they could see."

Ariemma said she led the students through a cafeteria to another location where they shot the scene. Later, she said another teacher approached her.

"That's when I heard there were a couple of students who were upset," she said.

Ariemma said she wasn't able to find those students to explain the project to them.

Monday, student Cody Rider told Atlanta's WSB-TV that his cousin was among those who saw the group in white sheets and was frightened.

"I got mad and stood up and I tried to go handle it," he told the TV station.

Moye said a black parent went to the school to complain that evening.

Ariemma has no history of missteps at the school, Moye said, but administrators of the roughly 90 percent white school system are taking the incident seriously.

"This stuff happened in history. Do you ignore it? No," he said. "But you certainly don't walk the hallway in the garb."

Ariemma says administrators will review the film and decide if it will be shown in the classroom. She said the students who wore the sheets were shaken when they realized that other students were upset.


Are you a role-model family?
Do you believe in instilling good old-fashioned values, discipline and boundaries in your children? Can you give two British teenagers the chance to have some much-needed structure in their lives?
The BBC are looking for role model families to take part in a third series of the hugely successful show, World's Strictest Parents. In each one-hour programme, two British teenagers will be sent to live with a family abroad, to experience life in their country under their rules.
We are looking for educated, disciplined, and loving, host families in the United States to act as a role model family to these teens. The family would need to be willing to accommodate the British teenagers for one week in June/July 2010 and instill in them the values and morality they demand of their own children. (Expenses would be covered).
Rather than "strict", which sometimes has negative connotations, the parents need to be disciplined and firm but fair with their children.  The best parents from the last series were loving, kind, caring and compassionate, but they felt that in order to be good parents, they needed to control the influences that came into their childrens lives, in the form of monitoring the TV, internet and music they listened to.
Most people do not go to that extent, but we are looking for parents who feel that it is important to maintain control over their teenagers lives and set boundaries in place which do not allow them to make bad choices.  Don't forget that in the UK it is culturally acceptable to drink, smoke and have a boyfriend or girlfriend at 16 – anywhere that does not allow this would be considered strict by our British teens!
We are particularly keen to include a single parent or biracial family to show that there is not one universal family type and to highlight the diversity of families today. Our previous series of this show have focused on cultures and traditions but we're hoping that this series will bring a broader perspective and explore different family set ups - which are often overlooked in television shows.
We would like a family (with at least 1 child in their teens) who are proud of their strong parenting and family values. The British teens will be expected to attend school/church/ family activities, complete homework and help with household chores; they will not be guests in the house but new members of the family.
Twenty Twenty Television is one of the UK's leading independent production companies with a reputation for producing intelligent and award-winning programmes.
If you are proud of your strong parenting and family values then please get in touch with us for more information about the series. Email: or call Paula on 011 44 207 284 2020 and we will call you straight back.

Missy Elliott, Murphy Lee, Mystikal, Nelly and Paul Wall are among the artists set to attend VH1's seventh annual "VH1 Hip Hop Honors," which will celebrate the music, the influence and the artists from The South.

As previously reported, Timbaland was the most recent addition to the list of honorees, which include Jermaine Dupri, J Prince of Rap-A-Lot Records, Luther "Luke" Campbell, The 2 Live Crew, Master P, and Organized Noize. All will be saluted through performances in collaboration with some of today's hottest talent.

Bone Crusher, Bun B, Chamillionaire, Dem Franchize Boyz, DJ Drama, DJ Khaled, Flo Rida, Gucci Mane, Juvenile, Lil Jon, Pitbull, Plies, Rick Ross, Slim Thug, T-Pain, Trick Daddy, Trina and Ying Yang Twins are on the performance bill.

Presenters include Chad Ochocinco, Chilli, David Banner, Donald Glover, Eddie Griffin, Kelly Rowland, Ken Jeong, Kid Rock, Taraji P. Henson and Terrell Owens, generations of hip hop will bridge the gap for one exceptional night to set it off with the original style and flavor that sparked and inspired the evolution of this now global music phenmenon.

"2010 VH1 Hip Hop Honors: The Dirty South" is the first time that the show has honored a particular geographic region for its hip hop celebration. The Southern style of music and its artists, have been significant on the NYC-born genre and helped to expand its appeal worldwide.

The show will tape from NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom and air on VH1 on Monday, June 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. source

I think for the most part this is a nice list of honorees coming from the South, but for me there are a lot of people I would have loved to have seen on the list such as Jam Pony Express, DJ Magic Mike, Clay D., Poison Clan, Outkast, Geto Boyz, Uncle Al, and countless others that I grew up on. 

May 24, 2010

Rodolfo Godinez was convicted today in the killing of three college students in the high-profile schoolyard slayings nearly three years ago.

The jurors announced they had reached a verdict shortly after 10 a.m. The eight women and four men reconvened today after roughly three hours of deliberations Thursday.

Shalga Hightower, mother of victim Iofemi Hightower, spoke today about the verdict outside the courthouse while holding a 2005 prom photo of her daughter.

"Justice is done for my angel and her friends," Hightower said. "It doesn't take away the pain, but justice was served."

Shalga Hightower said she planned to attend the trials of the other defendants. "That's one down, five more to go," she said.

Three college-bound students were lined up against a wall and shot in the head that night. Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harvey, both 20, and Terrance Aeriel, 18, all died. Terrance's sister, Natasha Aeriel, then 19, was shot but survived.

Godinez, 26, is one of six defendants charged in connection with the Aug. 4, 2007, triple killing. He was convicted on all 17 counts including murder, felony murder, attempted murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and weapons charges related to possession of a machete and a handgun.

His sentencing is scheduled for July 8.Before the verdict was read this morning, Superior Court Judge Michael Ravin told those in the packed courtroom they needed to stay quiet.

"There's no doubt about it: when this jury comes out...this is going to be one very tense room," Ravin said. "No matter what the verdict is...all must retain their composure."

Joan Harvey, Dashon's aunt, said she had a difficult time complying with the order as the jury foreman said "guilty" to 17 counts.

"That was hard," Harvey said. "I got a headache from keeping it all in."

During the four-week trial, Essex County assistant prosecutors Thomas McTigue and Romesh Sukhdeo called 26 witnesses to the stand, including Natasha Aeriel, now 22. More than 400 pieces of evidence were introduced during 11 days of testimony.

Roy Greenman, Godinez's attorney, had argued that his client was a helpless witness to the killings and played no active role. Greenman said he was disappointed in the verdict.

"(Godinez) is aware that an appeal will be filed on his behalf," Greenman said.

James Harvey, the father of victim Dashon Harvey, wiped tears from his eyes with a white handkerchief as the jury foreman read the guilty verdict.

He called the verdict "a truly jubilant occasion," and felt "truly blessed" after hearing the verdict.

"Now my head is on cloud nine," James Harvey said. "It was hard for us to see (Godinez) everyday coming into court with a smirk on his face. But we have the last laugh."
I was recently on the Black Voices website and ran across a very provocative article by Dr. Boyce Watkins entitled, Exclusive: Teen Prostitutes Prey on Athletes and CelebritiesNow of course you know the title alone piqued my interest, which I'm pretty sure was the point, and so I had to click the link and read.  What followed is something I could only describe as a patriarchal manifesto of blaming the victim in order to explain why some athletes and celebrities get caught up with underage prostitutes.
In the article, Dr. Watkins uses another article to highlight his thesis about how money hungry teenagers have come up with schemes to scam vulnerable athletes and celebrities out of their hard earned money and reputations.  The article focuses on a woman named 'Regina' (obviously not her real name) who explains how this ring of teenage prostitutes are on a mission to exploit any celebrity and/or athlete they can get their hands on.  Here is how Regina describes the girls:
"They have a list of men they plan to sleep with before they're 21 years old...athletes and celebrities are on it." Young girls, ages 15 and 16, pretending to be 18 and older. A woman named Regina has seen these girls even as naive as 13 posing as older women, sporting fake identities ordered from online vendors.
Oh and it gets better:
"They think...why make $100, when you can make $1,000?" said the woman.

The motto isn't indicative of the mind-set of every prostitute. Instead, it describes a different kind of lust for money, precisely the kind of lust that it takes to partake in this undercover world. The female predators that Regina spent time with specifically target men they know have money.

It's an elaborate plan. The money they gain supports the drugs, alcohol, shopping and partying. It's fun, it's foolproof, and --above all -- it is blackmail. After all, these men obviously involve themselves with prostitution, and therefore perceive themselves somewhat responsible for being there in the first place. They pay up to make it all go away.
I know you're saying to yourself, "I didn't know teenage prostitutes had such ingenuity."  Neither did I.  Who knew that these prostitutes were so savvy.  Here I was thinking that the majority of these girls were damaged human beings whose vulnerabilities and naivete had been exploited by adult men and women (and in some cases even kids their ages), but based on this article it would appear that I am sadly mistaken.  This article paints teenage prostitution with a broad brush as being nothing but a bunch of money hungry girls who want some extra cash to go shopping and the men who are naive enough to get caught up in their web of deceit are nothing more than victims.
There are many problems I have with both articles but one of the main problems I have with Dr. Watkins' article is that fact that he seems to be insinuating that some teenage prostitutes are not that of victims but instead that of predators and the grown ass men who wish to partake in their young flesh are nothing more than victims:
The woman's story also serves as a cautionary tale to those who think they can dabble in prostitution without facing danger. While you might be on the prowl sexually, and truly believe that you are the predator, you may wake up one morning after a long, forgotten night and realize that instead of being the predator, you are actually the prey. Men like Nushawn Williams, who knowingly spread HIV to the women he slept with, are out there as well. The idea of engaging in responsible sexual choices might seem a bit antiquated, but perhaps it's okay to get to know someone for a while before sleeping together. Not thinking carefully before engaging in sexual activity might possibly cost you your life. 
What young girls do you know that just decides to dabble in prostitution?  How many little girls you know say they want to be a prostitute when they grow up?  Come on think about it.  I'll wait for the answer.  Now, don't get me wrong. I'm pretty sure there are some manipulative people out there, but to pretend that this is the majority is completely misleading.
Dr. Watkins article is a fine display of the patriarchal mindset.  It finds a way to assuage men of their guilt when it comes to the arena of teenage prostitution because everyone knows that when sex is involved a man loses all critical thinking skills and thus there is no possible way he can tell the difference between a 15 year old girl and a 25 year old woman...SMDH.  For some reason men are always deemed the victims when it comes to women and sex.  The ownness always has to be that of the woman. 
Here's a concept for all the potential 'Johns' out there.  How about not soliciting people for sex and maybe you wouldn't have to worry about whether or not the person is of the correct age of consent?  I know that maybe a foreign concept, but trust me it would work better for you then saying that you were exploited by the prostitute when it turns out that she was underage.  You put yourself in a compromising position so how about you take responsibility for that.
The young girls involved in prostitution are all victims whether you deem them that way or not.  Trust me, any child who gets robbed of their innocence and only identifies their self worth through the selling of their body is a victim of something.

From the second to last pew at All Souls' Episcopal Church in Harlem on a recent Sunday morning, Sylvia Lynch, 80, lifted a hand toward the rafters and sang praises through a haze of burnt incense.

Her voice was steady and strong, as was her grip on the cane she leaned on as she stood and sang and peered over the sparsely populated pews, peppered mostly with older women with fancy hats and hair as gray as her own.

"I came up through Sunday school, and I'm still here," Ms. Lynch said, taking a step into an aisle at the 104-year-old church after the last hymn. "Back then, it was packed. You couldn't get a seat."

All Souls' Church, on St. Nicholas Avenue, and any number of the traditional neighborhood churches in Harlem that had for generations boasted strong memberships — built on and sustained by familial loyalty and neighborhood ties — are now struggling to hold on to their congregations.

The gentrification of Harlem has helped deplete their ranks, as younger residents, black and white, have arrived but not taken up places in their pews. Longtime Harlem families, either cashing in on the real estate boom over the past decade or simply opting to head south for their retirement, have left the neighborhood and its churches. Then there are the deaths, as year by year, whole age bands are chipped away.

Without a sustainable membership, and with no fresh wave of tithe-paying, collection-plate-filling young members, these churches have struggled to keep their doors open, to maintain repairs and to extend their reach in the community.

Some, like All Souls', cannot afford a full-time minister, let alone operate a soup kitchen or clothes pantry.

"We're seeing several funerals a year, and the new members aren't coming in," said Ann Mayfield, 58, senior warden of the vestry at All Souls'. "Sometimes we feel a sense of powerlessness in carrying out the responsibility we have for the community. It's absolutely frustrating."

The great historic churches of Harlem do not seem imperiled, and indeed, with their nonprofit housing and local economic development arms, some have fueled the demographic and economic transformation and resurgence of the neighborhood.

But for some of the smaller churches — which have served as anchors and havens in the shadow of the larger institutions — the fight to survive and stay relevant has been daunting.

"If we don't have the teenagers and the younger people coming into the church, as the older people pass, who is going to take over?" said Raymond Stevens, 57, a congregant at All Souls'. "It's an uphill battle. It puts a lot of pressure on the congregation because you have to dig deep into your pockets to keep the church open. Our congregation is older, many are sick, and I really don't know what the future holds."

The Little Flower Baptist Church, formerly on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, was forced to close because of dwindling membership and finances. At the Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church on Mount Morris Park West, leaders are struggling to fill the pews and the church's many programs and services. The pastor at Rescue Baptist Church on West 123rd Street said that his church was not drawing enough income to pay his salary, and that he had to take a second job working at a stand inside Yankee Stadium to make ends meet.


Apparently government isn't the only thing that's big in Washington, D.C.

After receiving complaints from high school students and college-age adults about the free condoms provided by the District of Columbia government being too small and too cheap, District officials have decided to go super-size and offer Trojans and its larger Trojan Magnum brand.

The additions were made following a study ordered by D.C. Council member David Catania, chairman of the council's health committee, into the sexual habits of the District's young people. The study revealed that most youths didn't like the Durex brand condoms handed out by the District, saying they were most likely to "pop or break."

"Youth feel that Trojan condoms are of better quality and offer more protection," the study said. "Youth also regard Magnums as the best extra strength and protection against (diseases) and 'do not break' during sexual intercourse."

Nat Carter, whose Washington barber shop helps distribute the city's free condoms, told The Washington Examiner that he's heard complaints about the Durex condoms from customers.

"They're saying these are too small," he told the newspaper. "Young'uns, man."

The Durex condoms were panned, despite Consumer Reports magazine giving the brand's Extra Sensitive and Performax condoms the same "excellent" ratings last year as Trojan's Extended Pleasure and Non-Lubricated models.

District officials suspect the preference for Trojans stems from the aggressive marketing that the company does.  Michael Kharfen, a spokesman for the city's HIV/AIDS administration, said Magnum's shiny gold wrapper is easily recognized by younger users.

"The gold package has a little bit of bling quality," Kharfen told The Washington Post.

The complaints about the free condoms being too snug may be more than just youthful braggadocio. A survey released last March by Condomania, a condom manufacturer, found that Washington had the second-most endowed men in the nation behind New Orleans.

"The men of Washington, D.C. apparently are more than just big talk, big egos, and big promises," the study said. "The Beltway boys claimed a close second place in the biggest average penis size in the nation."

Simon Monjack Dead Brittany Murphy Husband

LOS ANGELES — The husband of Brittany Murphy was found dead at his Los Angeles home late Sunday, five months after the Hollywood actress died, police said.

Firefighters responding to an emergency call found British screenwriter Simon Monjack dead at the Hollywood Hills residence, police spokesman Sgt. Louie Lozano said.

The preliminary cause of the 39-year-old Monjack's death is natural causes, he told The Associated Press.

"We concluded there no signs of foul play or any criminal activity involved," said Sgt. Alex Ortiz, another police spokesman.

Ortiz said that the Los Angeles Coroner's Office was taking over the investigation because criminal activity had been ruled out, and would provide more details later on the death and circumstances surrounding it.

Firefighters rushed to the home after receiving a call from a female occupant at 9:40 p.m. Sunday, but Ortiz said he didn't know who then name of the caller.

At his wife's funeral in December, a visibly emotional Monjack talked about their relationship and called her his best friend and soul mate. The two married in 2007.

He had said that they had been planning a family and contemplating a move to New York.

Murphy, best known for her major roles in "Clueless," "Girl Interrupted," and "8 Mile" in 2002, died Dec. 20, at age 32 after collapsing in her home. The Los Angeles County coroner's office concluded Murphy's death was accidental, but likely preventable.

The coroner's report said that the medications found in her system were consistent with treatment of a cold or respiratory infection. Monjack and Murphy's mother had reported the actress was ill with flulike symptoms in the days before her death.

An autopsy found no evidence that Murphy abused drugs. Investigators found numerous prescription medications in the actress' home.


May 23, 2010

"Police said they have made two arrests four months after a mother was found stabbed to death at her home in Conyers. Authorities announced Friday that they have charged the victim's twin daughters, Jasmiyah and Tasmiyah Whitehead, and said that the 16-year-olds will be tried as adults. Both are being held at the Rockdale County Jail. Jarmecca Whitehead, 34, was stabbed to death in January on Appaloosa Way in the Bridle Ridge Walk subdivision in Conyers, police said." - WSB-TV Channel 2 News
The Blood Done Signed My Name

R.I.P. to my Aunt Lorraine Jonas Brown. 'The Blood Done Signed My Name' was her favorite gospel song.

These are the kind of songs that remind me of my church back at home:

A Charge to Keep I Have

Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah

Rough Side of the Mountain

Join us Today, May 23, 2010, at 6 pm EST on Savvy Talk Radio as we discuss the controversial topic of immigration reform in America and the African American take on the issue.

If you wish to join the conversation please call 718-664-6383 or come to the live chatroom at

Remember Savvy Talk Radio is a Real Show seeking Real Solutions.

May 22, 2010

Halle Berry Who? Looks like Ms. Jackson is making a play for the short hair Queen title. To say I am loving her short hair is an understatement. I think it looks absolutely beautiful on her. I have nothing against weaves, but it's always nice to see sistas go weave free and realize that they can be just as beautiful.