Jennifer Hudson f/ Tennessee State University Mass Choir - I'm Here (From The Color Purple Broadway Play)
Dec 29, 2010
Jennifer Hudson f/ Tennessee State University Mass Choir - I'm Here (From The Color Purple Broadway Play)
Dec 27, 2010
"I was moving forward--we were planning shows, doing deals, creating programming, signing uppeople. But still I would wake up clutching my chest, like, Omigod. When I looked at it in terms ofthe vastness of what needed to be accomplished I would start feeling overwhelmed by it.
And then I read this article about Michael Jackson in the July edition of Vanity Fair, andthe author of that article spoke to his friends and said, 'The mistake that Michael Jackson made isthat he didn't recognize that Thriller was a phenomenon and he spent the rest of his life trying tochase the phenomenon.'
"I went, That's what I've been doing. I've been thinking that if I don't match what I'vealready done then I'm a failure. And I thought, I don't want to be Michael Jackson. This articlespecifically said that after Thriller, which sold over 100 million albums and is still thehighest-selling album of all time, when he then did Bad, which sold 20 million albums, he felt likea failure. Anybody today would bow down in prayer for 20 million.
"I didn't want to be that person who's been given this great opportunity of a network andthinking, but how am I going to make it what the Oprah Show has been for 25 years? What I recognizeis that it took me at least 10 solid years to build [that show]."
On being a "brand":
"I hate the word brand, but now I have succumbed to the fact that I guess I am one.
"I don't know her so I can't speak to [whether or not she'll be a candidate]. But I would saythat America's going to fall in love with her from [her reality series, Sarah Palin's Alaska]. WhenI saw that first episode, I went, 'Whoa! She is charming and very likable.'"
Asked whether the thought of Palin's running for office scaresher, Oprah said:
"It does not scare me because I believe in the intelligence of the American public."
No. I think that no one understands until you've been in that seat the enormous pressure toplease and satisfy everybody. And I think instead of being grateful for where we are and what hehas done, we've forgotten that we were on the brink of a depression when he took over thisoffice. And as everybody celebrates the holiday season and sits around with their families,regardless of your circumstance, we could've had breadlines. How soon we forget that.
And you would support him again?
Ms. Hill, who spent much of 2010 playing festivals in the U.S. and abroad, will appear with a live band on 17 North American dates. Stops include New York's Highline and Bowery Ballrooms, Chicago's House of Blues, and two dates in Canada, wrapping in her homestate of New Jersey on February 4.
Well aware that she "may never play venues of this size again," some of which she "hasn't played since the Fugees days," the reclusive star is excited "to see her loyal supporters up close and personal again." She will perform reworked versions of Fugees classics and hits from her breakthrough solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Tickets for the following shows are on sale now.
Dec. 27 – New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
Dec. 28 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
Jan. 1 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
Jan. 3 – New York, NY – The Blue Note
Jan. 4 – New York, NY – The Blue Note
Jan. 5 – New York, NY – The Blue Note
Jan. 8 – Charlotte, NC – Amos' Southend
Jan. 9 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
Jan. 12 – Charleston, SC – The Music Farm
Jan. 14 – Atlanta, GA – Centerstage
Jan. 16 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
Jan. 18 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Jan. 20 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
Jan. 22 – Toronto, ON – Sound Academy
Jan. 23 – Montreal, QC – Metropolis
Jan. 29 – Atlantic City, NJ – House of Blues
Feb. 4 – Montclair, NJ – The Wellmont Theatre
Fire and Desire
Ooo La La
Out On A Limb
I Need Your Lovin'
Deja Vu (I've Been Here Before)
Teena Marie and Rick James BET Awards
A Rose By Any Other Name w/ Gerald Levert
Dec 26, 2010
Marie, who rose to prominence in the '70 and '80s, was found dead by her daughter in her Los Angeles home on Sunday, according to her manager, Mike Gardner.
The cause of death was not immediately known but Marie's publicist, Lynn Jeter, told CNN that she suffered a grand mal seizure a month ago.
Born Marie Christine Brockert in Santa Monica, Calif., Marie released 13 studio albums over the course of her career, which spawned the 1984 hit "Lovergirl."
She was signed to Motown Records in 1976 and was one of their most successful white artists. Marie is perhaps best known for her musical collaborations with the late funk legend Rick James.
Dec 22, 2010
WASHINGTON — Declaring that members of the military will no longer be asked to lie, President Barack Obama fulfilled a campaign promise Wednesday and signed a landmark law repealing the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the armed services.
"This is a good day," a beaming Obama said. "This is a very good day."
The new law ends the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy that forced gays to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal. Its repeal comes as public opinion on such issues as gay marriage and gay rights in general has grown more tolerant.
"I say to all Americans, gay or straight, who want nothing more than to defend this country in uniform, your country needs you, your country wants you, and we will be honored to welcome you into the ranks of the finest military the world has ever known," Obama said.
The service chiefs must first complete implementation plans before lifting the old policy — and they must certify to lawmakers that it won't damage combat readiness, as critics charge. But Obama said: "We are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done."
RadarOnline.com has learned a judge ruled in favor of Antwaun Cook in his divorce proceeding against ex-wife Paula.
The court found the pair's separation date was September 14, 2009 -- not June, 2010, as Paula had claimed.
As RadarOnline.com first reported, Fantasia took the witness stand in the case last month, where she admitted to having an abortion with Antwaun's child.
"Did you tell Mr. Cook you aborted his child?" the singer was asked on November 22.
"I did, yeah," Fantasia responded.
The former American Idol winner was then asked when she aborted the baby, to which she admitted: "It hasn't been too long ago.
UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, never at a loss for words, was close Tuesday night.
"It's pretty amazing. It really is," he said.
No exaggeration there.
His No. 1-ranked Huskies topped the 88-game winning streak set by John Wooden's UCLA men's team from 1971-74, beating No. 22 Florida State 93-62. Playing with the relentlessness that has become its trademark – and would have made Wooden proud – UConn blew past the Seminoles as it has so many other teams in the last 2 1/2 years.
"I don't want my team to compare themselves to anyone," Auriemma said. "I'm not John Wooden and this isn't UCLA. This is Connecticut and that's good enough."
Maya Moore had a career-high 41 points and 10 rebounds and freshman Bria Hartley added 21 points for the Huskies, who have not lost since April 6, 2008, in the NCAA tournament semifinals. Only twice during the record run has a team come within single digits of UConn – Stanford in the NCAA championship game last season and Baylor in early November.
When the final buzzer sounded, UConn players sprinted across the floor to shake hands with the student section as fans held up "89" signs and "89" balloons bobbed in the stands behind center court. Two other fans raised a banner that read "The Sorcerer of Storrs" – a play on Wooden's nickname, "The Wizard of Westwood."
After a brief huddle in front of their bench, UConn players re-emerged wearing "89 and Counting" T-shirts. As fans roared, the players bounced around at center court before posing for photos.
It is one more chapter of history for UConn, and perhaps the grandest.
Asked what he would recall from the incredible run, Auriemma mentioned a pair of experienced stars on this team: "I'll probably remember Maya Moore and Tiffany Hayes. And how incredibly difficult it is to play that many games in a row and win 'em all."
Connecticut long ago established itself as the marquee program in the women's game, the benchmark by which all others are measured. The Huskies already own seven national titles and four perfect seasons under Auriemma, and they've produced a galaxy of stars that includes Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Jennifer Rizzotti, Sue Bird and Tina Charles.
The streak, though, takes it to another level, certainly raising the profile of women's basketball and maybe all of women's athletics.
Two days after beating No. 11 Ohio State to tie UCLA, UConn toppled the mark in front of a sellout crowd of 16,294 at the XL Center that included Wooden's grandson, Greg, attending his first women's game.
"My grandfather would have been thrilled. He would have been absolutely thrilled to see his streak broken by a women's basketball team," the 47-year-old Wooden said. "He thought, especially in the last 10 years, that the best basketball was played at the collegiate level – and it wasn't by the men."
John Wooden was 99 when he died on June 4.
The city gained almost 30,000 people since the last census, and more than a third are thought to have moved into the District in the past two years alone, amid a brutal recession. It was the biggest spike since the end of World War II, when the city had 802,000 people. Every census since 1950 has taken the District on a downward trajectory.
Growth has swelled the number of residents in every quadrant of the city and shifted the District's racial and ethnic mix. Whites and Hispanics have been moving in, while many African Americans have left and might be a minority before the next census is taken.
City officials were exultant at a population count that confirms the city's resurgence, repeating the exact count of 601,723, down to the last citizen.
Planning Director Harriet Tregoning called it a "huge milestone." Joy Phillips, associate director of the State Data Center, said it was "a dream realized." Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said it was an endorsement of the work his administration has done.
Dec 21, 2010
The Washington Post's Dana Priest and William Arkin issued a report entitled, "Monitoring America," which analyzes the exponential growth of Homeland Security in this country. The report looks at how Homeland Security is impacting localities throughout the country. The months-long investigation is based on nearly 100 interviews and 1,000 documents. Priest and Arkin write:
"Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing. The government's goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States. Other democracies - Britain and Israel, to name two - are well acquainted with such domestic security measures. But for the United States, the sum of these new activities represents a new level of governmental scrutiny."
One of the critiques of Homeland Security is that it sometimes fails to properly train those who are gathering this data and offers little oversight of local agencies and centers. What's more interesting than the extent of the reach of Homeland Security is some of the groups labeled as "potential" terrorists, like Historically Black Colleges and Universities which are thought to be a "potential" hub for terrorism. HBCUs were labeled as such by Virginia's Fusion Center. And here we thought that HBCUs were hubs for higher education and intellectual thought?
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, right, reenacts the swearing in of Roderick L. Ireland, left, as Ireland's mother Helen Ireland holds the Bible, Monday, Dec. 20, 2010, in Boston. (AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye)
BOSTON (AP) -- Gov. Deval Patrick has sworn in the first black chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Roderick Ireland replaces Margaret Marshall.
As chief, Ireland will oversee the state's sprawling court system, which has been plagued by high caseloads, budget challenges and allegations of political favoritism.
Gov. Patrick, the state's first black chief executive, says he is proud to have been able to name the first black chief justice.
Ireland, a Springfield native, says he'll seek more transparency for the courts while promising to do the best he can with current financial resources.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
At issue is the January 1970 integration of public schools in Barbour's home town of Yazoo City, when he was 20. Historical accounts confirm the schools integrated peacefully, as Barbour stated in a recent profile in the Weekly Standard magazine. Some liberal groups, however, said his comments skimmed over the segregationist role played by so-called Citizens Councils in the state.
Asked by the magazine why Yazoo City's public school integration avoided the violence seen in other towns, Barbour said: "Because the business community wouldn't stand for it. You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders. In Yazoo City, they passed a resolution that said anybody who started a chapter of the Klan would get their ass run out of town."
A January 1970 Time magazine article about Yazoo City said, "local white leaders began more than a month ago to prepare their city for the shock of final desegregation. A loosely knit committee of prominent whites met with the city's whites, urging them to support the public schools rather than abandon them."
Several liberal bloggers Monday said Barbour left an inaccurate impression of Mississippi's local Citizens Councils, which sought to thwart integration in many areas. However, the white supremacist groups had their chief influence in the 1950s and early 1960s, years before the Yazoo City schools integration.
In the Weekly Standard profile, Barbour said he remembered Martin Luther King Jr. speaking in Yazoo City in 1962, when he would have been 12 years old. He said he did not recall King's words.
"The truth is, we couldn't hear very well," Barbour said. "We were sort of out there on the periphery. We just sat on our cars, watching the girls, talking, doing what boys do. We paid more attention to the girls than to King."
A quick data base search found records of King speaking in Yazoo City in 1966, when Barbour would have been 16, but not in 1962.
Calls to Barbour's press office were not immediately returned. But his spokesman Dan Turner told other news outlets that the governor is not racist and he was commenting on specific events in Yazoo City, not on the broader Citizens Councils movement.
Dec 20, 2010
Man, why didn't y'all tell me about Cadillac Kimberly? This had to be some of the funniest tomfoolery I've ever seen in my life.
The 'Make It Rain' section (2:40) is just too much...LOL!!!
If anybody knows Cadillac Kimberly please ask her to send me an email. I would love to interview her.
If you wish to view more videos from Cadillac Kimberly please click here.
Eyes light. Heads turn. Faces brighten. Chins nod.
"It's good to see you, Ray,'' comes the warm and common refrain.
It makes this unlikely marriage -- a South Florida homeless man becomes the Mayor's assistant -- look like a natural fit.
Welcome home, Ray Williams. It's time to start over.
After 13 years of mostly bouncing anonymously through Florida from dead-end to dead-end -- the last 13 months sleeping in old faded vehicles in Pompano Beach -- Williams has returned to the town where he was born and raised and is still revered.
"We needed Ray back -- for a lot of reasons,'' said Mt. Vernon Mayor Clinton Young. "He's still respected and very much admired here. He can help us get things done. And he's a tremendous lesson on success, falling down -- then getting back up again. It was time for Ray to come home.''
Williams, 56, played 10 seasons in the NBA (1977-87). He was captain and point guard of the adored New York Knicks, the toast of nearby Madison Square Garden when he led them to their only 50-victory season in a 15-year span. Just a year later for the cross-river New Jersey Nets, he scored 52 points -- set a one-game franchise record that still stands -- against the Detroit Pistons.
Those memories never died, even if a part of him did.
When his playing career ended, he started a gradual, downward slide, spiraling through a series of bad choices, bad investments, bad advice. Life after basketball was like quicksand. He kept sinking.
He had no plan, no steady job, no real skills. He lost his home, his marriage, his health and his children, eventually leaving him broke, leaving him to fish off a Florida pier every morning just so he had something to eat every night.
That's where Mayor Young found him, after reading about his plight. Williams virtually had dropped out of sight, fighting through both physical and emotional issues. Convincing him to return wasn't easy.
"I just know there wouldn't be this many people in the room if we were chasing a woman's record," the Connecticut coach said Sunday near the end of his postgame news conference. "The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men's record, and everybody is all up in arms about it."
Already with no equal in women's basketball, UConn won its 88th straight game Sunday to match the men's mark set by coach John Wooden and his UCLA teams from 1971-74. Tiffany Hayes scored 26 points and Maya Moore added 22 to help the top-ranked Huskies rout No. 11 Ohio State 81-50 in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.
"All the women are happy as hell and they can't wait to come in here and ask questions. All the guys that loved women's basketball are all excited, and all the miserable (people) that follow men's basketball and don't want us to break the record are all here because they are (ticked)," Auriemma said.
The no-nonsense Auriemma had downplayed the significance of the streak as his team closed in on UCLA, promising that once the run was over he would finally open up.
But the Hall of Fame coach, known to rub folks the wrong way at times, has never been afraid to say what's on his mind.
"Because we're breaking a men's record, we've got a lot of people paying attention," Auriemma said. "If we were breaking a women's record, everybody would go, 'Aren't those girls nice, let's give them two paragraphs in USA Today, you know, give them one line on the bottom of ESPN and then let's send them back where they belong, in the kitchen."
UConn already owned the longest winning streak in NCAA women's basketball history. Next up, the Huskies (10-0) can surpass the UCLA men Tuesday night at home against No. 15 Florida State.
Connecticut matched the Bruins' mark before a crowd of 15,232 – the second-biggest for a women's game at Madison Square Garden. With 40 seconds left, the fans rose and chanted "88! 88!"
Members of South Carolina's NAACP will march in protest of a "secession ball" in Charleston later this month which will commemorate the 150th anniversary of South Carolina's secession from the Union.
State NAACP leaders held two press conferences Friday, spreading the word they will protest the ball and any other sesquicentennial events that they deem disrespectful.
"We are not opposed to observances," said Lonnie Randolph, state president of the NAACP. "We are opposed to disrespect."
NAACP members and supporters plan to hold a peaceful march in downtown Charleston the day of the ball, on Dec. 20, followed by a meeting and question-and-answer session focusing on slavery. Participants will watch segments of "Birth of a Nation," a 1915 silent film that portrayed Ku Klux Klan members as heroes.
Nearby at Charleston's Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, ball attendees, who will pay $100 a ticket, will don formal, period dress, eat and dance the Virginia Reel as a band plays "Dixie." The evening's highlight will be a play reenacting the signing of South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession 150 years ago, which severed the state's ties with the Union and paved the way for the Civil War.
"This is nothing more than a celebration of slavery," Randolph said of the event.
Members of the S.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans, a co-sponsor of the ball, say slavery was one of several issues that caused – but it was not the cause – of the Civil War.
The ball is a way to honor the brave S.C. men who stood up to an over-domineering federal government, high tariffs and Northern states that wanted to take the country in an economic direction that was not best for the South, said Mark Simpson, the S.C. division commander for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Simpson said his organization condemns slavery and respects the NAACP's right to disagree and protest. But that won't deter his group's plans, Simpson said.
"We could look back and say (the Civil War) wasn't something to celebrate – about 620,000 died in the North and South," Simpson said. "If you count civilians, you're up to about a million killed in that war.
"Do we celebrate that? Heavens no," he said. "War and death is never something to celebrate. But we do celebrate the courage and the integrity of 170 men who signed their signatures to the Article of Secession – the courage of men to do what they think is right."
Randolph said the Civil War was about states' rights, one in particular.
"The states wanted the right to sell human cargo," he said, adding the public would not tolerate similar disrespect of other minority groups – a Holocaust celebration or an event celebrating the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
"The reason this can take place so easily is we're still suffering the effects of the Confederacy in this state," Randolph said.
Height, the longtime president of the National Council of Negro Women, died earlier this year. The bill designates the post office at 2 Massachusetts Ave. near Union Station as the Dorothy I. Height Post Office.
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland says he was honored to join the president Wednesday night for the bill signing.
HEFLIN, Ala. — His wife riding beside him with their two children in safety seats in the back, John Fisher drove home toward South Carolina along a stretch of Interstate 20 covered with ruts, bumps and crumbling concrete.
Just ahead of the family, Crystal Marie Dick was heading to the other side of the Georgia line to give a friend a ride.
The pothole in front of her 1995 Toyota Camry had been fixed at least once already, and now the repair was breaking down, too. A pocket of jagged, brittle bits of concrete covered nearly half of the right lane, the slow lane.
Her Camry hit the hole, kicking a chunk into the air as the Fishers' green Ford pickup hurtled forward at 70 mph.
The glass directly in front of Fisher's wife exploded.
No one knows exactly how big the fragment was, but it blew a hole the size of a football through the windshield. It struck Jo Maureen Fisher in the head, sailed between her preschoolers, hit the rear window and shattered it too, flying out of the truck's cab never to be found.
Wounded in the most random of ways, John Fisher's 33-year-old wife died the next day. Today, he is a single dad trying to balance work with child care and all the things she used to do.
Back in Alabama, Dick is trying to go on with life too. It's not easy when you're a young mother and your only transportation is that old blue Camry, the one that still carries awful memories and a busted rear end from hitting a pothole at highway speed.
Dick knows she wasn't at fault — troopers decided no one was — yet she still is haunted by the accident.
"People told me, 'You're the one who killed that lady?' It hurts," the 23-year-old said. "I wasn't doing anything wrong. I wasn't texting. I wasn't talking on the phone. I wasn't speeding. I wasn't doing anything but driving."
Using federal studies, the Washington-based transportation safety advocacy group TRIP estimates the United States could save 145 lives over a decade for every $100 million spent on a variety of road safety improvements and maintenance.
The cost is high.
So is the price of letting just one pothole turn into a killer.
Dec 17, 2010
Facebook's popularity continues to skyrocket -- and not always in ways you might expect. The Washington Post's Marc Fisher says a burglar broke into his home on Friday morning, mainly targeting possessions of Fisher's 15-year-old son. The thief took the teen's laptop, iPod, some saving bonds and cash.
But the alleged burglar didn't stop there -- taking his escapade to the Internet. According to the journalist, before the burglar left the house, he took a picture on the laptop's webcam, posing in Fisher's new winter coat and pointing to the cash he was about to steal. Then he posted that picture to the teen's Facebook page, Fisher said.
"I've seen a lot, but this is the most stupid criminal I've ever seen," D.C. police officer Kyle Roe told Fisher.
But whether this guy is stupid or just plain arrogant doesn't matter much -- he still hasn't been caught. Fisher writes that he expected an apprehension to be easy, "a slam-dunk," considering the picture clearly shows the suspect's face. But two officers told Fisher that D.C. police rarely push burglary cases because most courts let people
According to Fisher, burglaries are up 11 percent in D.C. this year as most other crimes continue to drop. And nationwide, only 12 percent of burglaries were solved last year. But Fisher said Facebook is putting forth an effort to keep this pattern from continuing.
After Facebook learned of the posting, security investigators from the social network secured his son's account and began tracing any online movements of the thief. And if and when D.C. police ask for it, Facebook says it will hand over information about when and where the computer was used.
"Facebook strives to respect the balance between law enforcement's need for information to aid criminal investigations and the privacy rights of our users," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes told Fisher. "As a responsible company, we adhere to the letter and spirit of the law."
Instead, during a forum on WVON radio, he wound up making another round of controversial comments about race
Meeks was talking about the city's programs designed to benefit minority- and women-owned enterprises, which mandate that a certain share of city contracts go to such businesses.
"I think that the word 'minority,' from our standpoint, should mean African-American," Meeks said, as reported by FOX Chicago. "I don't think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title. That's why our numbers cannot improve, because we use women, Asians and Hispanics, who are not people of color, who are not people who have been discriminated against."
Later, when asked to clarify, he said that the City Hall programs should only stop their set-asides for "white women."
This is not the first time Meeks has raised a stir with some racially motivated remarks. A fiery sermon he gave at his Salem Baptist Church several years ago likened Mayor Daley to a "slave master" and called some black elected officials "house n*****s" who "are gonna fight you to protect that white man."
Meeks has also struggled with remarks he made about homosexuality, describing it as "an evil sickness" in 2006. During the campaign season, he's sought at leaset publicly to make amends with the gay community, though he continued to vote against a civil unions bill in the state legislature.
DETROIT (AP)– Music legend Aretha Franklin tells Jet magazine that she soon will reveal what prompted her recent surgery at a Detroit hospital.
Franklin told the magazine that friends know she is "a lot more than the girl in the pink Cadillac on the Freeway of Love who also sings about Respect" and that they have prayed for her "without ceasing."
The 68-year-old Queen of Soul underwent an undisclosed surgical procedure earlier this month. Franklin already had canceled concert dates and personal appearances through May.
Franklin said in a statement Wednesday that she had been home from the hospital for three days and that she has a private nurse.
She tells Jet she's "putting Aretha together first," and that doctors have ordered eight weeks of rest.
Dec 16, 2010
NEW YORK (AP) — Mariah Carey is going to be a mom twice over.
Nick Cannon announced on his radio show Thursday that his wife is expecting twins.
Said Cannon on New York's 92.3 station: "I haven't even told my wife I doing this so I'm probably gonna get yelled at for not getting permission. ... We are having twins!"
Mariah Carey's publicist Cindi Berger confirmed the news as well.
Cannon said two VIPs did get the scoop: President Barack Obama and wife Michelle. Carey told the first couple during a taping of a "Christmas in Washington" show.
Cannon added: "Both babies are healthy, in tiptop shape."
Carey, 40, and Cannon, 30, have been the subject of a baby watch since they got married after a whirlwind romance two years ago.
From the time she was a small child until she was a teenager, Annmarie Spellen chemically straightened her hair -- a process that left her nursing burns and scabs on her scalp afterwords.
The hospital worker, 37 and mother of two from Hackensack, NJ said she got burned "all the time" despite using no lye relaxers and having the stylist wash the relaxer out immediately after putting it in.
"I did it for as long as I could," said Spellen, who has worn her hair in dreadlocks for the past ten years. "I tried, and I just couldn't do it. It was just too devastating. It was like going through a trauma."
But the scalp burns weren't the only health problem she experienced following a chemical relaxer.
"I would go home with these massive headaches," Spellen said. "And I couldn't understand why."
Black women spend billions annually on beauty products, and many place special emphasis on keeping their hair styled. They buy a third of all U.S. hair care merchandise, according to industry statistics. The black hair care business has ballooned into a $9 billion a year industry.
But scientists and environmental justice advocates said the number of potentially dangerous chemicals used as ingredients in some hair care products can jeopardize women's health -- that the chemical relaxers, oil sheen, hair grease, and spray women apply to her hair and scalp could be laced with harmful chemicals.
Lye, phthalates, placenta and parabens are among the hazardous chemicals found in a multitude of hair care products marketed toward African-American women. Lye, or sodium hydroxide, can cause chemical burns, scars and blindness. Phthalates, sometimes listed simply as "fragrance" on product ingredient lists, is also linked to endometriosis, or when uterine lining grows outside the uterus. Phthalates, parabens and animal placenta can mimic hormones and disrupt critical processes in the body, scientists have said.
"African-American women, compared to their white counterparts, have higher levels of phthalates and they have higher levels of BPA," said Dr. Ami Zota, an environmental health researcher at the University of California San Francisco. BPA is used in plastic manufacturing and has been linked to cancer and reproductive abnormalities. "Nobody has really figured out why," Dr. Zota said. "But I think the hair care products are part of that story."
The hormone disruptors in beauty products may have already had an effect on a generation of young girls. The onset of puberty for all girls in the U.S. has gradually increased by a few months since the 1950s, while breast development has accelerated by up to two years, according to a 2009 report from the Collaborative on Health and the Environment.
To illustrate just how egregiously mistaken those editors are, let's play a little "Sesame Street" game called "Which of These Things Does Not Belong?" All these things involve American crimes.
1. The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
2. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
3. The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
4. The assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
5. Michael Vick and his dogs.
Yes, I'm pretty sure you all nailed that one.
Clearly, what Vick did pales in comparison to those other crimes, but those Life editors couldn't, wouldn't allow themselves to see how silly they are.
True, I can't be certain that all the editors involved are white. But had there been at least one black editor, I imagine the brother or sister would have told the others, "You know, you have a MAJOR problem here."
Nearly 60 crimes are listed in the issue, ranging from the assassinations mentioned above to the murder of O.J. Simpson's former wife and her unfortunate friend; the Oklahoma City bombing, the St. Valentine's Day massacre, John Lennon's murder and Lizzie Borden taking that ax to her parents.
Editors even included the 1863 New York City draft riots, in which scores of Irish immigrants conducted a veritable pogrom on the city's black population (Those blacks inclined to celebrate St. Patrick's Day would do well to remember that next March 17.). But even that inclusion doesn't make up for what editors excluded from the list.
How can the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sept. 15, 1963 NOT make this list? And by what logic do you, if you include what Vick did, leave off a crime in which four black girls were murdered?
So, let's recap so we can better surmise what controlled dangerous substance Life editors ingested before they came up with their list. Vick killing some dogs qualifies as one of the most notorious crimes in American history, but a bombing that snuffed out the lives of three 14-year-old black girls and one 11-year-old girl doesn't?
I imagine the surviving family members of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley must be absolutely livid. They should be. So should every other black American. But I think some of us are too quick to forgive when it comes to the deaths of Addie Mae, Denise, Carole and Cynthia.
Specifically, I'm talking about those folks at the NAACP. Way back during that Shirley Sherrod foolishness, the NAACP issued a statement that included this line: "The NAACP has long championed and embraced transformation by people who have moved beyond racial bias. Most notably, we have done so for late Alabama Gov. George Wallace."
Oh really? Sorry, I'm not as forgiving of Wallace. I don't care how much he claimed to have changed later in his life. During his early career, Wallace was a stone segregationist. During his later years, Wallace claimed he had nothing but love for black folks.
I'm sure his "transformation" was sincere, but that didn't lessen his culpability in the deaths of Addie Mae, Denise, Carole and Cynthia. That bombing happened on his watch as Alabama governor. The culprits were never caught, tried or prosecuted on his watch. And, most galling of all, five years after the bombing/murders occurred, Wallace had the nerve to run as a third-party candidate for president of the United States.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — Soul icon Aretha Franklin has been discharged from a Detroit hospital where she underwent successful surgery for reported pancreatic cancer.
Franklin, 68, has not made public her diagnosis, and a spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
"I've been at home for almost three days now," Franklin said in a statement. "My family and friends who brought me home are taking great care of me. I also have a private nurse who visits on a daily basis."
The spokeswoman added in the statement that Franklin was "in great spirits."
Both the Detroit News and the city's Fox TV station said this month that Franklin was battling pancreatic cancer, the disease that claimed actor Patrick Swayze last year.
A monumental figure in American popular music, Franklin dominated the soul landscape during the 1960s and 1970s with such songs as "Think," "Respect" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman."
The daughter of a preacher who was himself a recording legend, Franklin revisited her roots with several acclaimed live gospel albums, including her 1972 Grammy winner "Amazing Grace."
Despite her obesity and fear of flying, she has performed frequently over the years. But after a brief hospitalization in October, she canceled all appearances for the next six months.
Now, I'm definitely going to give Reuters the side-eye for that last paragraph on the Queen of Soul. Despite her obesity...WTF!!!! Are you serious right now? A beloved national icon maybe battling a potentially fatal disease and they have the nerve to throw shots at her weight. Either I'm being highly sensitive or this reporter has lost is mind.
Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones and Halle Berry are among the actors appearing in three separate covers of the Hollywood Reporter's 80th Anniversary "Legends Issue."
For the special year-end package, THR brought together the biggest names in the business, both on screen and off, who have made a mark during the trade magazine's 80-year history.
The covers feature three groupings of stars photographed together over the past two weeks. Consistently, the covers honor greats over the age of 80 with four exceptions (Debbie Reynolds, 78; James Earl Jones, 79; Larry Hagman, 79; and Halle Berry, 44).
The legends issue is available to subscribers now, and at newsstands nationwide Friday, Dec. 17.
The covers include the following:
* Cover 1: Ed Asner, Betty White, Larry Hagman, Eva Marie Saint, Mickey Rooney and Debbie Reynolds. Shot in L.A. by Art Streiber.
* Cover 2: Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, James Earl Jones, Gena Rowlands and Angela Lansbury. Shot by Wesley Mann in New York.*
* Cover 3: Sidney Poitier, with Halle Berry, represent the first African-Americans to win Oscars for best actor (1964) and best actress (2002). Shot by Peggy Sirota at Poitier's Beverly Hills house.
Dec 15, 2010
Robin Givhan is leaving after 15 years at the paper. In that time, Robin has demonstrated herself as an extraordinary talent, stretching the definition of fashion beyond the discussion of trends or runway flights of fancy. Thanks to Robin's Pulitzer awarded acuity, Washington Post readers have learned how to understand world leaders through the way they dress. A parka, a pair of stiletto boots, a pair of hiking shorts launched national debates on what political figures must have been thinking when they made such personal decisions, or whether they were thinking through their public image at all. She has not only explained the iconic status of Michelle Obama's inaugural gown, Madeleine Albright's patriotic pins, freshman Rep. Frederica Wilson's Stetsons, she made Washington understand something fundamental about how every public appearance is a self-expression. No one is more in command of her own powers of self-expression than Robin, as her reasoned, elegant columns have proven each Sunday and we will miss her.
But the Dafel Dolls and Bears shop in Block Arcade - where 110 of Oprah's guests will attend a cocktail party tomorrow night - will continue to display other golliwogs.
Golliwogs are deeply offensive to Americans because of their perceived links to slavery and racism.
"As a result, they won't have that particular doll on display. But there will be plenty of other gollies when they come through."
The golliwogs still on display at Dafel's have an explanatory note on the origins of the black dolls, a throwback to the toys enjoyed by Egyptian children when British troops occupied the country in the late 1800s.
Dafel's has sold dolls and toys, including golliwogs, in the Block Arcade since 1945.
Last year Australia faced international condemnation when American singer Harry Connick Jr expressed his shock at Hey Hey It's Saturday for broadcasting a minstrel sketch and asking him to judge the performance.
UK publishing company Macdonalds, which put out the Noddy books featuring a gang of golliwogs, decided in 1987 the dolls were racially derogatory.
But golliwog defenders say they have nothing to do with racism and are seen by children as just bright and friendly dolls.
A spokeswoman for Oprah's Ultimate Adventure declined to comment on the Block Arcade golliwogs.
The man, who is in his 40s, had a blood stem cell transplant in 2007 to treat leukemia. His donor not only was a good blood match, but also had a gene mutation that confers natural resistance to HIV.
Now, three years later, the recipient shows no signs of leukemia or HIV infection, according to a report in the journal Blood.
"It's an interesting proof-of-concept that with pretty extraordinary measures a patient could be cured of HIV," but it is far too risky to become standard therapy even if matched donors could be found, said Dr. Michael Saag of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
He is past chairman of the HIV Medicine Association, an organization of doctors who specialize in treating AIDS.
Transplants of bone marrow — or, more commonly these days, of blood stem cells — are done to treat cancer, and their risks in healthy people is unknown. It involves destroying the person's native immune system with powerful drugs and radiation, then replacing it with donor cells to grow a new immune system. Mortality from the procedure or its complications can be 5 percent or more, Saag said.
"We can't really apply this particular approach to healthy individuals because the risk is just too high," especially when drugs can keep HIV in check in most cases, Saag said. Unless someone with HIV also had cancer, a transplant would not likely be considered, he said.
When the Berlin man's case first surfaced two years ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the procedure was too expensive and risky to be practical as a cure but that it might give more clues to using gene therapy or other methods to achieve the same result.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit says the network and a production crew filming for "The First 48" cable television series were responsible for the May 16 death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was shot in the head during the raid.
The Associated Press left an e-mail message for A&E seeking comment Tuesday.
The Detroit Free Press says the lawsuit claims that A&E and the production company encouraged Detroit police "to conduct an illegal, overly aggressive, and unnecessary raid" on the home.
Aiyana was killed by an officer's bullet when police stormed her house searching for a homicide suspect. State police have been investigating.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Dec 14, 2010
WASHINGTON (AP)– America's neighborhoods became more integrated last year than during any time in at least a century as a rising black middle class moved into fast-growing white areas in the South and West.
Still, ethnic segregation in many parts of the U.S. persisted, particularly for Hispanics.
Segregation among blacks and whites fell in roughly three-quarters of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas as the two racial groups spread more evenly between inner cities and suburbs, according to recent census data.
The findings are expected to be reinforced with fresh census data being released Tuesday on race, migration and economics. The new information is among the Census Bureau's most detailed releases yet for neighborhoods.
"It's taken a Civil Rights movement and several generations to yield noticeable segregation declines for blacks," said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who reviewed the census data. "But the still-high levels of black segregation in some areas, coupled with uneven clustering patterns for Hispanics, suggest that the idea of a post-racial America has a way to go."
The race trends also hint at the upcoming political and legal wrangling over the 2010 census figures, to be published in the spring. The data will be used to reallocate congressional districts, drawing new political boundaries. New Hispanic-dominated districts could emerge, particularly for elected positions at the state and local level. States are required under the Voting Rights Act to respect the interests of minority voting blocs, which tend to support Democratic candidates.
Milwaukee, Detroit and Syracuse, N.Y., were among the most segregated, all part of areas in the Northeast and Midwest known by some demographers as the "ghetto belt." On the other end of the scale, cities that were least likely to be segregated included Fort Myers, Fla., Honolulu, Atlanta and Miami.
Hispanic integration was mixed. There was less Hispanic-white segregation in cities and suburbs in many large metros such as Buffalo, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, according to preliminary census figures. But in many smaller neighborhoods, large numbers of more recently arrived Hispanic immigrants are believed to be clustering together for social support, experts said.
The findings on segregation are partly based on a demographic index that tracks the degree to which racial groups are evenly spread between city and suburb. The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 60 or above generally considered highly segregated. That index found that for large U.S. metros in 2009, the black-white segregation reading was 27, down from 33 in 2000 and the lowest in generations.
After weighing a decision for weeks as challengers lined up, Steele alerted the 168-member Republican National Committee during an evening conference call that he would run.
"Yes, I have stumbled along the way, but have always accounted to you for such shortcomings. No excuses. No lies. No hidden agenda," Steele told the committee, according to a text of his remarks he e-mailed to RNC members afterward. "Going forward, I ask for your support and your vote for a second term."
"Our work is not done; and my commitment has not ended," he added.
Steele's troubled first term expires in January, and the committee must then vote on whether he should run the party's national operations during the 2012 presidential election cycle.
A former Maryland lieutenant governor, Steele was chosen to oversee the party in January 2009. He became the first black national chairman in the Republican Party's history just shy of three months after the nation elected a Democrat as the first African-American president.
Steele was considered an outsider because he wasn't part of the RNC's clubby environment. His brash style and unconventional ways irked establishment Republicans from the outset. Questions about his financial management of the RNC followed.
Republican victories up and down the ballot in November didn't quiet Steele critics. Complaints about Steele's stewardship of the party's national operations only mounted. And he has watched his once strong support within the RNC rank and file all but evaporate as GOP leaders on Capitol Hill and in states across the country signaled they desired new leadership.
No less than a half dozen Republicans are weighing challenges to Steele or have launched candidacies. The two latest to formally announce bids are Maria Cino, a New York native who served in the Bush administration and planned the party's 2008 nominating convention, and Gentry Collins, who headed the RNC's political department under Steele.
Others in the mix include: Saul Anuzis, a committeeman from Michigan who lost to Steele in the 2009 chairman's race; Reince Priebus, chairman of Wisconsin's GOP; and Ann Wagner, a former Missouri state GOP chair and a former ambassador. Kentucky committeeman Mike Duncan, who was an RNC chairman under President George W. Bush, also may run.
Dec 13, 2010
Lead author Arnold K. Ho, a doctoral student in psychology at Harvard University and James Sidanius, professor of psychology and of African and African-American studies at Harvard, say Americans tend to see biracial people not as equal members of both parent groups, but as belonging more to their minority parent group.
It's a lasting perception that dates back to the "one-drop rule" -- also known as hypodescent -- from a 1662 Virginia law on the treatment of mixed-race individuals. Biracials are viewed as members of their lower-status parent group, the researchers said.
The legal notion of hypodescent has been upheld as recently as 1985, when a Louisiana court ruled that a woman with a black great-great-great-great-grandmother could not identify herself as "white" on her passport.
"One of the remarkable things about our research on hypodescent is what it tells us about the hierarchical nature of race relations in the United States," Sidanius says in a statement. "Hypodescent against blacks remains a relatively powerful force within American society."
The findings reflect the cultural entrenchment of America's traditional racial hierarchy, which assigns the highest status to whites, followed by Asians, with Latinos and blacks at the bottom, the researchers say.
The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, finds people who are one-quarter-Asian are consistently considered more white than those who one-quarter-black, even though African-Americans and European Americans share a substantial degree of genetic heritage.
Suggestions include decreasing the scholarship's amount, raising the minimum grade-point average from a 3.0 to a 3.2 and eliminating remedial classes from what's covered, said Rep. Len Walker, R-Loganville, chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.
Deal said last week that the intent is to "salvage the program." Walker expects to have formal recommendations by Jan. 1.
"HOPE will continue for our deserving students, but it just won't be the same HOPE they've seen before," Walker said. "But it is not reasonable for us to expect the scholarship to cover 100 percent of tuition anymore."
The merit-based program has helped more than 1.4 million Georgians attend college since 1993, but lawmakers say the state lottery can no longer keep up with rising student enrollment and tuition costs.
Students are afraid any changes will make it difficult for them to afford college. The award currently covers tuition and provides some money for books and fees.
Joshua Delaney, president of the student body at the University of Georgia, said the scholarship is what kept him in-state for college.
"They may be pricing us out of college," Delaney said. "The state made a decision years ago to start this program, and they need to honor that commitment. Why not look for other ways to pay for this? They need to be creative and not just make cuts."
Not only is she the 'Queen of All Media' but she is also the 'Queen of Giving'. Once again Oprah Winfrey tops the list of most charitable celebrities.
Los Angeles, Dec 12 (IANS) Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey has topped the list of most charitable celebrities -- for the third time.
Winfrey is said to have donated more than $41 million through her Oprah Winfrey Foundation, which helps those in need of education. It also has programmes for women and children.
The second place went to novelist Nora Roberts, who gave away $4.45 million to her organisation supporting literacy, children's programmes and other humanitarian efforts.
She was followed by Meryl Streep and her husband Donald J. Gummer. They donated $4 million to the Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts.
The list was compiled by The Giving Back Fund, reports acshowbiz.com.
'There are many generous celebrities, but when you can top a list of celebrity philanthropists three out of four years, as Oprah has, that is saying something,' said Marc Pollick, president of the Fund.
American actress Jami Gertz and baseball player Lance Berkman and his wife Cara Berkman wrapped up the other top five slots with $2.9 million and $2.1 million of donations respectively.
The top 10 charitable celebrities are:
1. Oprah Winfrey - $41 million
2. Nora Roberts - $4.45 million
3. Meryl Streep-Donald J. Gummer - $4 million
4. Jami Gertz-Tony Ressler - $2.9 million
5. Lance Berkman-Cara Berkman - $2.1 million
6. Charles Woodson - $2 million
7. Madieu Williams - $2 million
8. Alec Baldwin - $1.6 million
9. Barbra Streisand - $1.4 million
10.Oscar de la Hoya - $1.3 million source
Washington, via Interactive One, the online component of Radio One, the company that owns the Detroit radio station that he works for, is speaking out to defend himself against accusations that he violated Aretha's privacy by putting video of his conversation with her online:
Aretha Franklin has been a dear friend and colleague for over 20 years. We've toured together, prayed together, and laughed together.
For the past six weeks, I have been hosting Kisses After Dark on Kiss 105.9 in Detroit. In addition to being heard on the radio, a big part of the job is social networking and live video streaming. When I am not talking on the air I am working the phones with listeners and friends. The live video stream is on during my entire radio show.
On November 8, while on a break from the on-air broadcast, I called Aretha Franklin because it had just come to my attention she had to cancel her tour plans for the next six months due to health issues. Since Aretha's been sick, I've been heartsick.
Our conversation was captured on the live video stream as are others but I was not aware her end of the conversation was audible to the microphone.
At no time was our conversation aired or broadcast on the radio – like many blogs and even reputable news organizations have claimed.
It is regrettable that anybody would characterize this as unethical when she is a dear friend. All I can say is that I've been talking about Aretha to my fans for years and me sharing my feelings about her with my audience was nothing unusual for me. I love her and her family dearly.
I am troubled by how the video has been received – not for myself, but for any pain it caused my friend.
I would never consciously do anything to hurt her or invade Aretha Franklin's privacy. Both Radio One and I regret any distress this has caused to Aretha Franklin, her family or the public.
Diva Whitney Houston, who has been rather quite lately, took to the stage and performed at the annual BET Celebration of Gospel show at the Orpheum Theatre in LA over the weekend. The show hosted by king of comedy's Steve Harvey saw the 47-year-old perform her R. Kelly written and produced anthem 'I Look To You' with the amazing gospel/jazz talent Kim Burrell.
Other performances included Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, El Debarge, The Rance Allen Group, Kelly Price and Chaka Khan. According to reviews, Whitney vocally smashed her performance! We will have to wait and see when the show airs on January 30th, 2011! source
Dec 11, 2010
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and rapper Lupe Fiasco were on hand at Drexel University to discuss the future of Hip Hop. There was a lot of thought provoking comments during the discussion. Lupe offered an insight into the music industry that many on the outside are rarely allowed to see. We, as consumers, see the end product, but rarely are we allowed the chance to hear what it takes to get to that point.
Please take note of the 360 deal Lupe was talking about. People go into the music industry and think it's all glamorous and what not, but actually there is some shady stuff going on. Just think about it, all the artists who refuse to go along with the machine we label them crazy i.e. Lauryn Hill and Kanye West.
Real talk...I think I just fell in love with Lupe Fiasco. I always knew the brother was deep (I own his music), but I was really impressed by hearing him speak.
Lupe Dicusses Women in Hip Hop and the Institutionalization of the Music Industry
Lupe on the affect of Consumerism on Music
Michael Eric Dyson on Kanye West
Lupe on the Illuminati