Feb 28, 2011

How You Doin'? Looks like our favorite daytime diva is taking her talents to primetime. Daytime talk host, Wendy Williams, is joining the new cast of 'Dancing with the Stars'. ABC just announced the new cast, which is filled with some very familiar names such as Hines Ward (my personal favorite), Sugar Ray Leonard, Lil Romeo, as well as Kristie Alley.

Here's a list of all the participants:

Wendy Williams (Talk Show Host, Radio Hall of Famer)

Sugar Ray Leonard (Boxing Legend)

Kirstie Alley (Movie star)

Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid [The one with Mr. Miyagi])

Kendra Wilkinson (Playboy Playmate)

Chelsea Kane (Disney)

Romeo (rapper/actor, Master P.'s son)

Mike Catherwood (?)

Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers, Representing Ga (Georgia), amazing smile)

Chris Jericho (WWE)

Petra Nemcova (Supermodel)
Recent;y, Tom Joyner took to BlackAmericaWeb.com to pen an open letter to his fellow Omega Psi Phi brother, Steve Harvey, to apologize for having Steve's ex-wife Mary on his show to air her grievances with Steve. 
Here is what Tom wrote:


I was thinking about coming on your show to apologize for having your ex-wife, Mary, on the TJMS, but I knew that would upset at least 60 of the 106 radio stations that carry the show. So, I hope this letter/blog will do. At some point soon, I hope we can get together to hug it up. We are Omega men, where "friendship is essential to the soul." We are Q Psi Phi 'til the day we die! I feel a hop coming on. Give me some "Atomic Dog" right here.

I realize now that I made a big mistake. I heard it from everyone  - from high-ranking political icons to Huggy Lowdown. Male, female, old, young, black, white ... almost no one thought it was the right thing to do.

I honestly thought I could be "black 'Dr.Phil.'" I really hated to see you two become fodder for mainstream media. If you heard  the interview I conducted with Mary, then you know, I didn't bring her on to - nor did I allow her to  - trash you. Yes, she had negative things to say, but nothing that she hadn't already said publicly or that you hadn't already publicly denied. What I didn't anticipate - and  should have - was how much of what was said apparently had no truth to it. You tried to tell me, but I thought if I stayed neutral, I could allow Mary to at least represent her side.

Knowing that a large number of our female audience could relate to being divorced and angry about things not turning out they way they thought they would, I ultimately thought having her on would be good for everyone — well, maybe not necessarily you, but I sure wasn't doing it to hurt you in any way. And it didn't hurt you. It pissed you off - rightfully so - but it didn't hurt you.

So, will I promise that I will never have Mary on the show again? Can't promise that. What I will promise is that I know my limitations. I'm over trying to be a counselor, therapist or life coach. I'm back to being a DJ ... and a frat.


As a fitting close to Black History Month, actor Idris Elba was the featured speaker for the Lens Project's "Artist Spotlight" series. Held at the Paul Robeson Center of Rutgers University's Newark campus this past Thursday evening, the lecture was moderated by Ms. Baraka Sele, the current Assistant Vice President of Programming of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).

On his most prolific role as Stringer Bell on HBO's 'The Wire'

"I was a huge fan of Stringer Bell being killed off right at the height of his popularity. I commend the writers for a realistic view of living a life of crime…as a drug dealer you either end up dead or in prison."

On the Golden Globes and this year's Oscar 'white-out'

"Halle Berry and I were the only two black actors nominated for this year's Golden Globes (Idris for Luther and Halle for Frankie & Alice). The Oscars aren't designed for us…let's focus on making more films."

On the controversy surrounding his role as Heimdall, in the upcoming "Thor"

"It's so ridiculous. We have a man (Thor) who has a flying hammer, and wears horns on his head and yet me being an actor of African descent playing a Norse god is unbelievable? I mean, Cleopatra was played by Elizabeth Taylor and Ghandi was played by Ben Kingsley"

On the Spike Lee vs. Tyler Perry debate

"Can I be candid?" he asks before turning to face the audience directly. "I don't like all of Tyler Perry's films. Yes, I did work with Tyler for "Daddy's Little Girls" because it portrayed a positive image of a black father. I am happy for Tyler's success…we need Tyler Perry…by going to support his movies, we need to show economic strength. But we are also responsible for elevating film. I'm not with buffoonish characters like Madea or Big Momma."

By the end of the lecture, it was clear that Idris Elba hasn't been coasting on just his good looks. Thoughtful, resourceful, and humble, Idris Elba continues the legacy of strong and positive depictions of black masculinity in Hollywood.

In other news, Idris has just been cast in the, not quite Alien prequel,  Ridley Scott helmed Prometheus. He joins Noomi Rapace (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Michael Fassbender (X:Men First Class) and Charlize Theron (Hancock).

The Megachurch pastor of World Changers Church International is the latest in a long string of pastors coming under fire.  A video that recently went viral purports to show a person who sounds like Creflo Dollar suggesting that had he not been covered by the 'blood of Jesus' that he would have all non-tithers killed by firing squad.  Now I for one know how things can be taken out of context especially when you are just using a snippet of what they are saying instead of playing the entire sermon or speech.  One of the best examples of this is what happened to Shirley Sherrod and the debacle that followed.  So I'm not going to pass judgment.  I'm going to let you all listen to the audio and draw your own conclusions about this one.

Feb 27, 2011

Halle Berry

Halle Berry

Shaun Robinson

Robin Roberts

Jennifer Hudson looked exceptionally stunning in her tangerine Atelier Versace gown at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. From the dramatic updo to the banging body, J. Hud had it going on.
This is absolutely one of my all time favorite gospel songs. It's just something about the way the legendary Rev. James Cleveland sings it that makes me cry everytime I hear it.

Rev. James Cleveland - 'Jesus Is the Best Thing'

This song is a wonderful example of Rev. James Cleveland's wonderful storytelling ability. Dorothy Norwood is one of today's gospel singers who still continues the tradition of storytelling.

Rev. James Cleveland - Where Is Your Faith

Feb 25, 2011


The White House is set to make news and history this afternoon when it announces the new social secretary. Jeremy Bernard, currently the chief of staff to the U.S. ambassador to France, will become the third person to hold the job in the Obama administration. But he will be the first man and the first openly gay person to be the first family's and the executive mansion's chief event planner and host.

Desiree Rogers was the first social secretary under President Obama and the first African American in the position. But one state dinner and three party crashers later, the exquisitely grand Rogers was gone. "She is a star," as one friend aptly put it at the height of the Salahi controversy, "who has taken a gig in the chorus."

Julianna Smoot swooped in at the behest of the Obamas last March. She was the engineer behind the president's 2008 fundraising machine and a known Washington hand who focused the social secretary's office on the fundamentals. But she resigned last month to join the reelection campaign taking shape in Chicago.

And now comes Jeremy Bernard.

Bernard and his then-partner Rufus Gifford were early supporters of Obama in California. And they raised a ton of money for him through their company, B&G Associates. Gifford went on to become finance director of the Democratic National Committee. Bernard was the White House liaison at the National Endowment for the Humanities before dashing off to his Paris post in November.

Full disclosure: Bernard and I are friends. He will bring a certain warmth and irreverence to the job that will make him a joy for his colleagues to work with. His knowledge of the Obamas and his intense attention to detail will ensure that their vision for the people's house continues seamlessly. And he has a reverence for the presidency and the meaning of the White House that will make him an imaginative steward of their image.

The president and the first lady have made an excellent choice.

"Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth."
- Iyanla Vanzant

Wisconsin (AP) — The Wisconsin Assembly early Friday passed a bill that would strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights – the first significant action on the new Republican governor's plan.

The vote put an end to three straight days of punishing debate, but the political standoff over the bill is far from over. The measure now goes to the Senate, where minority Democrats have been missing for a week, preventing a vote in that chamber.

No one knows when – or if – the Senate Democrats will return from their hideout in Illinois. Republicans who control the chamber sent state troopers out looking for them at their homes on Thursday, but they turned up nothing.

Gov. Scott Walker's proposal contains a number of provisions he says are designed to fill the state's $137 million deficit and lay the groundwork for fixing a projected $3.6 billion shortfall in the upcoming 2011-13 budget. The flashpoint is language that would strip almost all public sector workers of their right to collectively bargain benefits and work conditions.

Democrats and unions see the measure as an attack on workers' rights and an attempt to cripple union support for Democrats. Unions have said they would be willing to accept a provision that would increase workers' contributions to their pensions and health care, provided they could still bargain collectively. But Walker has refused to compromise.

Tens of thousands of people have jammed the state Capitol since last week to protest, pounding on drums and chanting so loudly that police who are providing security have resorted to ear plugs. Hundreds have taken to sleeping in the building overnight, dragging in air mattresses and blankets.

While Senate Democrats fled to prevent a vote, Assembly Democrats had been filibustering.

After more than 60 hours in which Democrats threw out dozens of amendments and delivered rambling speeches, Republicans halted debate early Friday. In a matter of seconds, they had approved the bill. Only a few Democrats realized what was going on and managed to vote before the roll was closed.

The Democrats rose from their seats and rushed at the Republicans shouting, "Shame!" as the Republicans exited the chamber.

"I'm incensed. I'm shocked," said Rep. John Richards, D-Milwaukee. "What a terrible, terrible day for Wisconsin.

Republicans refused to speak to reporters, though Majority Leader Scott Suder did issue a written statement.

"The vote we took wasn't the easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do," Suder, R-Abbotsford, said.

The governor has said that if the bill does not pass by Friday, the state will miss a deadline to refinance $165 million of debt and will be forced to start issuing layoff notices next week. However, the deadline may not as strict as he says.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said earlier this week that the debt refinancing could be pushed back as late as Tuesday to achieve the savings Walker wants. Based on a similar refinancing in 2004, about two weeks are needed after the bill becomes law to complete the deal. That means if the bill is adopted by the middle of next week, the state can still meet a March 16 deadline, the Fiscal Bureau said.

Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach said he and his colleagues wouldn't return until Walker compromised.

Frustrated by the delay, Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Jeff Fitzgerald's brother, ordered state troopers to find the missing Democrats, but they came up empty. Wisconsin law doesn't allow police to arrest the lawmakers, but Fitzgerald said he hoped the show of authority would have pressured them to return.

Erpenbach, who was in the Chicago area, said all 14 senators remained outside of Wisconsin.

"It's not so much the Democrats holding things up," Erpenbach said. "It's really a matter of Gov. Walker holding things up."

Paul Broun
Paging Secret Service STAT!!!!!
During Rep. Paul Broun's (R-Ga.) townhall in Athens, Ga, the congressman. was asked what many considered a shocking question [not me because nothing out of the mouths of people who wish to 'Take Their Country Back' shocks me].  The congressman was basically asked, 'Who is going to shoot Obama?'  Now for some of us this question may come as a shock, but for us who see some of these people for what they really are this question wasn't shocking at all.  And just as unshocking as the question was the congressman's response.  Instead of condemning the question like any civil and patriotic person would, Rep. Broun chose to give the following response:
The thing is, I know there's a lot of frustration with this president. We're going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we'll elect somebody that's going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. source
This is just a reminder that they are who we think they are.  Just in case you choose to forget and allow yourself to get comfortable allow this to remind you of how much more work we have to do.
The controversial anti-abortion billboard in SoHo was removed after a storm of protest erupted.
NEW YORK (AP) — An outdoor advertising company has taken down an anti-abortion billboard that pictured a black girl along with the tagline, "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb."

Some residents had said they found the billboard offensive, and members of the black community were especially outraged by it.

A spokesman for Louisiana-based Lamar Advertising, Hal Kilshaw, said that while the company respects the right to freedom of expression, the decision to take down the billboard Thursday night was for "public safety." He said waiters and waitresses at a restaurant in the building where the billboard was placed had been harassed.

The Rev. Al Sharpton praised the decision and canceled plans to protest the billboard Friday. The civil rights activist said the billboard "depicted black women in an unfair way."

The billboard was placed in the busy Soho neighborhood of Manhattan by the group Life Always as part of a national campaign tied to Black History Month. The group said its message highlights Planned Parenthood's "targeting of minority neighborhoods."

Planned Parenthood called the ad a "condescending effort to stigmatize and shame African-American women."

Life Always said in a statement that it "strongly disagrees" with Lamar's decision to remove the billboard. The organization said "the intent of the board is to call attention to the tragedy and the truth that abortion is outpacing life in the black community."

Sharpton said he was open to discussing the subject of abortion in the black community and did not dismiss it outright. But he called instead for a "sober analysis" and said he would call a community meeting to address it publicly.

"The way you address that is not by demonizing black women," he said.

In December, the city's health department released statistics showing 41 percent of pregnancies in the city were aborted in 2009. The rate was close to 60 percent for blacks.


Associated Press writer Tom McElroy contributed to this report.

Feb 24, 2011

Oprah Rosie
Oprah Winfrey took to Twitter to dismiss rumors that there was an ongoing feud between she and new employee, Rosie O'Donnell.  Oprah must be really fed up with the haters because she's not known to address a lot of rumors about herself.  Bravo to her for calling out these fabricators (SAT word) who don't have anything else to do with their time besides making up things about other people. 
The President and First Lady will invite music legends and contemporary major artists to the White House on Thursday, February 24, 2011, for "The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House," a concert celebrating Black History Month and the legacy of Motown Records.

The program will include tributes to Motown's distinctive soul-infused pop music sound that solidified its popularity in American culture, and showcase Motown's impact on all music. The event will include legends from Motown's golden age and performances by artists from today, all in tribute to Motown's 50-year legacy. Performers include Smokey Robinson, Natasha Bedingfield, Sheryl Crow, Jamie Foxx, Gloriana, Nick Jonas, Ledisi, John Legend, Amber Riley, Mark Salling, Seal and Jordin Sparks with Greg Phillinganes as the night's music director. This concert will be held in the East Room at 6:30 p.m. and is a POOLED press event.

"The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House," which is produced by public broadcaster WETA Washington, D.C., in association with Bounce, a division of AEG, and the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), will be broadcast on PBS stations nationwide on Tuesday, March 1 at 8 p.m. (ET). The program will also be broadcast via the American Forces Network on March 11 to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.

As she has done with previous White House music events, the First Lady will host a special daytime event for students. The First Lady will welcome more than 100 students from California, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. to take part in an interactive student workshop event: "The Sound of Young America: The History of Motown." Beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the State Dining Room, The GRAMMY Museum's Executive Director Bob Santelli will lead the students in a discussion about the history of Motown's long-lasting legacy, ranging from its beginnings in the city of Detroit to its effect on the music industry. Featured performers from the evening event will share their experiences as well as answer student questions about the music and entertainment world. "The Sound of Young America" will stream live on www.whitehouse.gov, www.pbs.org/whitehouse, www.grammymuseum.org and www.blackpublicmedia.org. The event will be OPEN press, but space is limited so please RSVP to firstladypress@who.eop.gov.

Since 2009, the President and First Lady have hosted musical tributes to Jazz, Country, Classical, Latin, Music of the Civil Rights Movement and Broadway genres. Many of these evening events featured daytime educational workshops designed to educate and inspire talented young people to use their gifts and develop a future for themselves in the arts community whether as a hobby or as a profession.

Scott sisters too overweight to share kidney

HOLBROOK MOHR,Associated Press
MELISSA NELSON,Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Florida (AP) -- A proposed kidney transplant that won two sisters their freedom from prison can't take place until one quits smoking and they lose a combined 160 pounds (70 kilograms).

Jamie and Gladys Scott had served nearly 16 years of their life sentences for an armed robbery when they were released from a sprawling prison in central Mississippi on Jan. 7. Gov. Haley Barbour granted Jamie Scott an early release because she suffers from kidney failure, but he agreed to let Gladys Scott go on the condition she follow through on an offer to donate a kidney to her sister.

Jamie Scott told The Associated Press on Wednesday that she needs to lose more than 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and that her sister has to shed 60 pounds (25 kilograms) before their doctors will even test them for compatibility. Doctors are also requiring Gladys Scott, a heavy smoker, to quit.

"I have to stay on her about it, I am helping her to stop smoking," said Jamie, who moved with her sister to Pensacola to be with their mother and children.

A personal trainer works twice a week with the sisters. They've also been taking aerobics classes.

Jamie Scott, 38, said she hopes to have a surgery that will help her lose weight so she can get the transplant sooner, but her doctors don't know if she's healthy enough. Florida parole records list her at 5 feet (1.52 meters) tall and 254 pounds (115 kilograms).

Gladys Scott, 36, is listed at 4 feet 9 inches (1.45 meters) tall and 184 pounds (84 kilograms).

Barbour hasn't responded directly to numerous questions from The Associated Press about whether he'll send the sisters back to prison if the transplant doesn't happen. He's called questions about such a scenario "purely hypothetical."

When asked Wednesday about the sisters having to lose weight for the surgery, Barbour spokesman Dan Turner said: "That's a medical call, not something imposed as a condition of their release."

When he made the decision to let the sisters out, Barbour noted that Jamie Scott's dialysis was costing Mississippi about $200,000 a year. In granting Gladys Scott an early release, he attached the condition that she donate a kidney to her sister within one year.

Barbour's requirement alarmed some organ transplant specialists, who said it could violate ethical and legal rules. But Gladys Scott said it was her idea to donate the kidney, and she volunteered to do it in her petition for early release because she wants to save her sister's life.

The sisters' attorney, Chokwe Lumumba, said this week that he's hoping the sisters will be granted a full pardon. He's planning a demonstration April 1 to have supporters march through downtown Jackson to the state capital. An early release is not the same as a pardon or commutation. The sisters remain on parole.

Civil rights advocates had called for the sisters' freedom for years, saying their sentences were too harsh for the crime. They were convicted of participating in the robbery of two men on Christmas Eve 1993. Prosecutors said the women led two men into an ambush. The robbery didn't net much; amounts cited have ranged from $11 to $200.

The sisters claim they are innocent. Their supporters have also claimed that they received such long sentences because they are black. They were sentenced by a jury made up of five black jurors and seven white jurors. In Mississippi jurors have the option of sentencing defendants to life in prison, and the jury decided to do so in this case, court records said.

Jamie Scott said she and her sister have always struggled with their weight and got little exercise in prison. The doldrums of prison life led to their overeating, she said.

But she said they now have motivation to live from their children and grandchildren.

If Jamie Scott doesn't lose weight now, doctors have told her that she is putting her heart at risk.

Doctors haven't determined how they will pay for the transplant or the weight loss surgery. Jamie Scott said she is focused on losing the weight first and getting herself healthy for the procedures.

"I have my good days and I have my bad days," she said "Some days I can move around real good like there is nothing wrong with me and some days I can hardly get out of bed."


Mohr reported from Jackson, Mississippi.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Via Eurweb:
Warner Bros. has announced it will produce a remake of the 1992 hit "The Bodyguard," which co-starred Whitney Houston opposite Kevin Costner in her first film role.

The original, which spawned one of the biggest ballads of all time, "I Will Always Love You," centered on a former Secret Service agent (Costner) hired to protect a world famous pop singer (Houston). While initially uncomfortable in her glitzy world, the man eventually falls for her, compromising his ability to protect her.

The 1992 film was written by Lawrence Kasdan and was meant as a vehicle for Steve McQueen and Diana Ross.

In the remake, the story would be updated so that the man would be a former Iraqi war vet.

Warner Bros. has hired Jeremiah Friedman and Nick Palmer to write the script. Studio-based Dan Lin will produce.

I guess since Hollywood can't come up with any originial ideas it has to continue to rehash old ones.  My only question is who in the world are they going to get to sing those songs?  Even Whitney Houston can't sang those songs.  I guess if they are going to do it they need to go in a completely different direction and make it more modern by having it be a singer that has absolutely no talent and a pretty face or they could do even better and make the person a reality star.  Oohhhh.....I can see it now Kim Kardashian as Rachel Marron.  Hmmmm.....sounds like a hit to me...LOL!!!!!

The United States faces some serious medium-term fiscal issues, but by any standard measure it does not face an immediate fiscal crisis. Overly indebted countries typically have a hard time financing themselves when the world becomes riskier — yet turmoil in the Middle East is pushing down the interest rates on United States government debt. We are still seen as a safe haven.

Nonetheless, leading commentators and politicians repeat the line "we're broke" and argue that there is no alternative to immediate spending cuts at the national and state level.

Which view is correct? And what does this tell us about where our political system is heading?

Our main fiscal issues are three (see my testimony to the Senate Budget Committee earlier this month).

The most immediate problem is that our largest banks and closely related parts of the financial system blew themselves up in 2007-8. The ensuing recession and associated loss of tax revenue will end up increasing our government debt, as a percentage of gross domestic product, by around 40 percent. Very little of this debt increase was due to the fiscal stimulus; mostly it was caused by lower tax revenue, because of the slump in output and employment.

The financial system poses a major risk to our fiscal outlook over the next few years. Unless you think that the Dodd-Frank reform bill really ended "too big to fail" and the associated excessive risk-taking culture, you should worry a great deal about the assumption of boom, bust, bailout and fiscal damage that the Bank of England now refers to routinely as the "doom loop."

Of the national-level politicians now pushing for spending cuts, almost none showed up to fight to contain the fiscal risks posed by our largest banks. The Brown-Kaufman amendment to Dodd-Frank — which would have placed a limit on the size and debt (relative to equity) — was supported by 33 senators, only a handful of whom were Republican.

But then again, the Obama administration also fought hard against Brown-Kaufman. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner argues that the TARP bank bailouts will end up costing the taxpayer very little. He is forgetting the broader fiscal damage done by the collapse of the real economy and the loss of eight million jobs.

Second, we need to control health care spending as a percent of G.D.P. The issue is most definitely not about cutting the current level of such spending or immediately reducing the benefits in Medicare. But in the projections, by 2030 or 2040, the growth of health care spending ruins us all — whether or not we get the government to pay for it.

Feb 23, 2011


Does an anti-abortion billboard in SoHo targeting African-Americans veer into racism, or expose a societal issue crying for attention?

The three-story billboard purchased by a Texas anti-abortion group has stirred an outcry, all the more because of its loaded presentation. It features an image of a young black girl accompanied by the text: "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb."

Many New Yorkers were outraged at the sign, calling it racist.

"Tear that thing down!" said City Councilman Charles Barron (D-East New York), who plans to write a letter to Life Always about the billboard. "It needs to come down immediately."

But in defense, Rev. Derek McCoy, a board member of the group, Life Always, said the goal is to bring attention to abortion rates among African Americans.

"We do think we've gone too far, and we do think it's over the edge," he said. "But the city's abortion rates have crossed the mark and are over the top.

"We want to raise awareness and create the dialogue … and let women understand that there are alternatives, all throughout the city."

According to 2006 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans account for about 13 percent of the country's population, but for about 35 percent of its abortions.

Chris Slattery, president of anti-abortion organization Expectant Mother Care FrontLine Pregnancy Centers, agreed with McCoy.

"I think it's spot on the money," he said. "It is absolutely a completely factual truth … for anyone to say this is inflammatory or untrue is nonsense. It's just a plain fact."

The billboard also targets Planned Parenthood, which McCoy said uses "direct targeting" by putting clinics in minority neighborhoods.

Joan Malin, chief of Planned Parenthood New York City, called the sign a "reprehensible act."

"[The billboard is] an offensive and condescending effort to stigmatize and shame African-American women while attempting to discredit the work of Planned Parenthood," she said.

Some politicians in the city were just as outraged. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said the billboard is "nothing but a pathetic attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood."

Many New Yorkers felt the same way.

"I hate it. I think it's racist," said Scott Ettin, 45, of the Upper West Side. "Any woman who wants to have an abortion should be able to," he said, adding that the billboard is right outside his office window and he wants it taken down.

But others, such as Kat, who declined to be further identified, were surprised but ambivalent to the billboard.

"Honestly, I don't know quite know what it means," she said. "Somebody is speaking their opinion very loudly, and I think that’s their right, just as I have the right to speak mine."
Miss Colorado has no home to hang her crown in

DENVER - It's hard to take your eyes off of her. The reigning Miss Colorado USA Blair Griffith is an undeniably beautiful young woman. From appearances, it would seem as though she has everything, but there's one thing the 23-year-old doesn't have: a home.

"It was a difficult thing to go through to sit there and go, 'Where are we going to go now,'" Griffith said of the fact that she and her mother, Bonita, were evicted from their home in November of last year.

It was just one month after Blair won the title of 2011 Miss Colorado USA.

A series of life challenges led the Morrison native to her current situation. Now, for the first time, she is ready to share her story.

"I hope that people will see this and realize, 'Wow, she is a real person,' or 'Hey, I didn't think there was someone out there going through something similar as me,'" Griffith said.

Griffith's interest in pageants began with a tragedy.

"When I was in eighth grade, my father became very sick all of a sudden," she said.

Her father, Gary Griffith, was the one who had encouraged a then-tomboy Blair to enter beauty pageants. Doctors discovered that Gary Griffith had pancreatic cancer. He died one year later.

"I was sad. But I said, 'I can't spend my time being so sad about it because I know my dad,'" Blair Griffith said. "He wanted to see so much out of me."

That desire encouraged her to enter her first pageant, competing for the title of Miss Colorado Teen USA. She won in 2006 on her fourth try.

"I cried because I wish that he could've been there to see it," she said.

Griffith's next challenge came when her mother had a heart attack three years ago. The health scare, which led to major surgery, also took a toll on the family's finances.

"Financially, it became difficult for us. The home that we were in, we became evicted from [it] in November of last year," Griffith, a magna cum laude graduate of the Art Institute of Colorado, said.

She had just been named Miss Colorado USA weeks earlier on Oct. 31.

Griffith says her unfortunate experience has given her a new topic to discuss when she makes appearances at various schools and events.

"[People] are going to look and say. 'OK, if she can be Miss Colorado USA and have all this going on in her life and still be focused on her goals and dreams... then I can too,'" Griffith said.

Another challenge that lots of Coloradans can relate to: losing their jobs. Griffith is experiencing that too. She currently works at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center location of Saks Fifth Avenue, which is closing in March.

"I was telling my mother the other day, 'You know, what would be really shocking? To hear great news,'" she joked. "It seems to happen once a month. Something new is being thrown at me."


Last week, Fantasia Barrino let it be known that she stayed home from the Grammy Awards ceremony rather than sit and watch an Aretha Franklin tribute in which she wasn't invited to participate. Well, word got back to Franklin, who sent the following response to USA TODAY's Lifeline Live:

"I was sorry to hear that Fantasia was upset because she did not get the opportunity to participate in my Grammy Tribute this year. I recall that in the past, Fantasia participated in both my MusicCares Person of the Year Tribute and my United Negro College Fund Tribute. Fantasia is still young in the business and although we all love and appreciate her she must understand that in this business of show business she will not always get to participate in everything she would like participate in. I'm sure it was not an intentional omission. I will see Fantasia over the summer here in Detroit."

Ms. Aretha Franklin

Trump takes Rihanna to task for All-Star snubbing


Donald Trump would have fired Rihanna...if the singer hadn't already quit.

Instead, we have another famous feud on our hands.

Rihanna was hired to perform at a South Florida fundraiser hosted by Trump, but canceled at the last minute claiming she was ill.

But through the marvels of modern medicine (and an international audience), Rihanna healed up within 24 hours, just in time to take the stage Sunday at halftime of the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

"I thought that (Rihanna bailing) was insulting to everyone," Trump told the Palm Beach Post. "But for Rihanna to go to the (NBA) All-Star game and perform after she told us she was sick, that is just a lack of respect."

Trump, who could be (NOT!) president some day, is no stranger to picking fights with big names.

Rihanna can count herself among the fortunate to draw the Donald's fire, along with Rosie O'Donnell, Martha Stewart and Miss America.

Trump reportedly paid Rihanna $500,000 for a performance at a fundraiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on Saturday. But the popular songstress came down with a bout of NBA fever, or a bout of bronchitis (depending on whose diagnosis you listen to) and couldn't fly to South Florida.

Jennifer Hudson took the Trump gig on short notice and reportedly rocked the house. She also gave Trump more ammunition to fire away at Rihanna.

"Nothing was missed. Jennifer's a beautiful girl. She came on her day off even though she performs almost every night," Trump said of his super sub. "She is an unbelievable talent, and her voice is better."


Malcolm X daughter held on warrants in North Carolina
Man and I thought the King family was jacked up. 

MARS HILL, North Carolina (AP) -- The daughter of slain civil rights leader Malcolm X was being held in a North Carolina jail and could be extradited to New York to face charges on several outstanding warrants, authorities said Monday.

Malikah Shabazz was arrested Friday night after authorities responded to a call to a Mars Hill home, said Chief Deputy Michael Garrison of the Madison County Sheriff's Office. Investigators found that the 45-year-old had several outstanding warrants from Queens, New York, that include charges for grand larceny, forgery and identity theft.

Garrison and her lawyer, Sean Devereux, said Shabazz is the daughter of Malcolm X, who was also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. She was born months after Malcolm X was assassinated exactly 46 years ago Monday.

Shabazz is scheduled to appear for an extradition hearing Tuesday.

Devereux said the warrants appear to be from 2009 but that she was never served with the papers. Her attorneys are not sure about the circumstances of the charges. He said prosecutors in New York have known her most recent address in South Carolina, where she owned a home and had a driver's license.

"The notion that she fled New York is really not the case," Devereux said.

Devereux said Shabazz is not fighting extradition and is eager to go to New York and deal with the matter. She's mostly concerned about her 13-year-old daughter, who was in the custody of the local Department of Social Services, Devereux said.

Shabazz is being held at a jail in neighboring Haywood County because Madison County does not have facilities to hold women.

Devereux said she recently moved to the mountains of North Carolina to find a peaceful place to live. Authorities came to the house Friday night as social workers investigated a call that a child was not attending school, he said, noting that Shabazz's daughter is home-schooled.

Shabazz is not facing charges in North Carolina, Garrison said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

There's a chance that the Democrats may wind up thanking Scott Walker.

It seems that Wisconsin's GOP governor, in his zeal to carry out his party's anti-union agenda, wound up arousing the ire of tens of thousands of public sector workers. Workers who, as it stands now, aren't about to sacrifice their collective bargaining rights to salve wounds left by a financial meltdown that originated with Wall Street and not them.

I don't believe the governor saw this coming.

I don't believe he imagined that he was messing with folks driven more by principle than fear, or that Democratic lawmakers would go as far as to bolt to another state to deny Republican lawmakers the quorum they need to, in effect, strip away more power from them.

Yet Walker's overreach - and the 24-hour media coverage that has followed - could be the Democrats' salvation.

What it does is reveal yet another part of the Republican, Tea Party strategy that is aimed at silencing a segment of America whose subjugation Walker and his corporate benefactors, such as the Koch Brothers, believe is owed to them. Instead of silencing that segment of America, they could wind up angering – and awakening – it.

That America is largely Democratic, black, Latino and female. It's the America of the unions, which, in spite of their faults, have an essential core purpose: To ensure fair wages and that workplaces don't resemble Third World sweatshops and serve as a counterbalance to corporate power.

It's the America where, in 2008, black and Latino people lined up in the cold for hours to elect Barack Obama as the nation's first black president; where, in one historic night, a lot of white people saw how the democratic process that they claimed to revere betray their expectations of privilege.

They've never gotten over it. And they're making damn sure 2008 doesn't happen again.

First, there was the Tea Partiers, who, with the aid of Fox News, hyped deficit spending to the level of crisis just as the president was trying to get his health care law passed. Government became the enemy, even as it saved the hallowed private sector from ruin.

Now the Republicans have turned to attacking public-sector unions. They've managed to shift the ire away from the greedy Wall Street speculators to the teachers, aides and others whose salaries and benefits are a pittance compared to the bonuses that Wall Street executives are now giving to themselves.

And as Republicans, aided by Tea Party hysteria and ignorance, work to take away the voices of the unions, they're continuing to work to take away the voices of those who are likely to vote for Obama again.

A number of voter ID laws are now being introduced in states that have Republican governors. In Texas, for example, where the Latino population grew by 65 percent, the black population grew by 22 percent and whites grew by 4 percent, everyone must show some form of photo ID to vote.

Everyone that is, except for people over 70.
They just have to show a voter registration card. And they're more likely to be white – and to vote Republican.

We need to pay attention to this – and hopefully, the protests in Wisconsin will last long enough to get everyone's attention.

That's because the Wisconsin battle isn't just about whether the public-sector unions ought to pay their fair share in helping states resolve their fiscal crises. It is, in fact, part of a larger war funded by unlimited corporate money – thanks to the Citizens United ruling – to keep power in this country in the hands of people whose idea of freedom means being able to restrict others from pursuing their rights and freedoms.

Especially when they dare use their freedoms to put a black man in the White House.

CHICAGO (AP) -- Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago on Tuesday, easily overwhelming five rivals to take the helm of the nation's third-largest city as it prepares to chart a new course without the retiring Richard M. Daley.

Emanuel trounced all opponents with 55 percent of the vote - a margin that allowed him to avoid an April runoff. He needed more than 50 percent to win outright.

It was the city's first mayoral race in more than 60 years without an incumbent on the ballot and the first in more than two decades without Daley among the candidates. Daley and his father have led Chicago for more than 43 out of the last 56 years.

Emanuel called the victory "humbling" and said the outgoing mayor had "earned a special place in our hearts and our history."

But he added: "We have not won anything until a kid can go to school thinking of their studies and not their safety. Until the parent of that child is thinking about their work and not where they are going to find work, we have not won anything."

The other major candidates - former Chicago schools president Gery Chico, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and City Clerk Miguel del Valle - had hoped to force a runoff that would have extended the campaign for six more weeks. But they were no match for Emanuel's momentum and money.

Chico had 25 percent of the vote compared with 9 percent for both del Valle and Braun. Two other lesser-known candidates each got about 1 percent.

I take a mini vacation and this is the foolishness I return to.  So it looks like our friend Steve Stoute took quite the exception to the fact that Esperanza Spalding beat out Drake and Justin Bieber for 'Best New Artist'.  So piss was Mr. Stoute that he took out a $40,000 full page ad in the New York Times to express his frustrations with the fact that substance actually won out over fluff.  Mind you now, Steve Stoute has been in the industry for an extended period of time and this is the first time he felt the need to take out an ad taking the Grammys to task.  I guess he didn't feel a need to take it to task when India Arie was shut out or how about the fact that musical greats such as Diana Ross or Maze f/ Frankie Beverly have never won a Grammy nor been given a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Where's the 'Open Letter' for that Steve...SMDH!  I swear....
Via The Hollywood Reporter:
It took only 900 words for Steve Stoute to become the talk of the music industry. The marketing executive, who has connected the likes of McDonald's and Target with hip hop culture through his Translation agency, took aim at the Grammy Awards with a full-page ad in the Feb. 20 New York Times calling out the Recording Academy (NARAS) and president Neil Portnow for being out of touch with the mainstream and failing to give awards to such hipper acts as Eminem and Justin Bieber. (NARAS and Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich have not responded to the Hollywood Reporter's requests for comment.) With ratings hitting a ten-year high for the CBS telecast and reviews generally positive, the ad had many in the music biz asking: Why? THR spoke to the author himself the morning after his editorial went viral.

THR: What was the impetus for your open letter to the Grammys? Was it when Arcade Fire won for Album of the Year?

Steve Stoute: What honestly triggered it was sitting with some really big credible artists after the show, and hearing them complaining that, "This is crazy," "We need to start our own show," or "This doesn't make any sense." For me, it wasn't Arcade Fire winning that was the problem, it was them performing twice. After the backstage moment, the production was set for them to perform again. But if Eminem had won, would he have performed again? That's when it was, like, "This is fake now."

THR: But if you take issue with the results, aren't the Grammy voters to blame?

Stoute: When the voting system is not clear to all, things like this happen. Are people asking, what's the relationship like between the voters and the producers?

THR: Are you implying that the Grammys are fixed?

Stoute: I'm implying that the Grammys are flawed, and that they need to acknowledge it finally.

THR: And that was the intent of the ad?

Stoute: The intent was to point out that the popular artists are used to sell the show and to get ratings. In fact, NARAS publicized that it was the highest rated Grammys since 2001, yet those same artists are not getting the critical recognition they deserve. The Grammys didn't use Esperanza Spalding in the promos to sell the show. They used Justin Bieber and Eminem. Yet Eminem, who's nominated for 10 awards, doesn't win Album of the Year. Arcade Fire does. Like when the Marshall Mathers LP, which has sold 19 million copies around the world and is one of the greatest albums ever made, lost out to Steely Dan. Or when U2 lost to [the] O Brother, Where Art Thou? [soundtrack]. It doesn't stop.

THR: What would satisfy you and the unnamed artists you're speaking for?

Stoute: If the voting system was clear and the artists had a chance to vote on themselves in a way that was in fact true. In the film world, no one ever complains about the SAG Awards. People love that show. It's as credible as credible gets. Even with the Oscars, if King's Speech beats The Social Network, it's not like they asked the guys from Social Network to go onstage and perform, and then put the camera on them and say, "...and the winner is not you."

THR: But isn't that what awards shows do? There is that age-old mantra that says it's an honor just to be nominated.

Stoute: That's fine, but you can't ask people to perform and use those same performers to promo the show in order to get the ratings. That's where it becomes unfair. The whole thing just doesn't look right... Also, it's not like the Grammys pay for these performances. Those budgets come out of the managers' pockets and the label's. To go through that expense, it's only fair that the artists' expectations can be managed with a fair voting process that everybody understands.

THR: On the other hand, you have those artists who may call their managers asking, "Why am I not performing on the Grammys?"

Stoute: They've run out of that. Jay-Z was nominated and didn't show up for the awards at all. People are just going to start not showing up.

THR: You've taken Esperanza Spalding to task in particular...

Stoute: Because there are many people who hadn't even heard of her. By the way, this was her third album, not her first, but she wins Best New Artist over Drake and Justin Bieber? How did this happen? I was sitting there watching the awards show with very prominent executives, one of them had to Google her. And I'm not saying I don't like her music, because that's not the point. What Drake and Justin Bieber did to cut through and become global brands, it's hard for anybody to argue that they're not Best New Artist.

THR: Looking back at Grammy history, this isn't exactly a new phenomenon. The Recording Academy has long been notorious for awarding the odd man -- or band -- out. But you seem to hone in on hip hop specifically. Do you feel that it's being shunned as a genre?

Stoute: Well hip hop had been shut out for a very long time. The Grammys were so late on hip hop as an art form and they wouldn't give it on-air camera time for many, many years. Do I believe that as a result of that, they may not understand why the Marshall Mathers LP was brilliant? Probably. They might not appreciate Kanye West's Graduation, either. It sold a million copies in its first week, yet the Album of the Year [in 2008] went to Herbie Hancock, who had 55,000 units sold at that time. They're late to the cultural conversation on what really matters... NARAS voters are coming from an analog point of view, from yesterday. They're not taking the time to understand this new voice and where it's coming from.

THR: How has the response been to the ad?

Stoute: Great. It needed to be said, because the fans are saying it, but NARAS and the industry don't know this. And I'm not alone. I got an e-mail from [manager] Gary Gersh who said, "I could not agree more with your letter in the Times. I've been fighting with NARAS for 25 years. It started with me sitting in between Elvis Costello and the Cars, who were each up for Best New Artist off their first record. That year, A Taste of Honey won for their career-defining single, 'Boogie Oogie Ooogie.'"

THR: And this speaks to your argument that the Grammys are out of touch?

Stoute: You wanna know how out of touch they are? The photo they used for Jay-Z's Record of the Year nomination, it's 15 years old. That picture is from Reasonable Doubt, his first album in 1996 when Jay-Z looks 12!

THR: We're estimating that the ad cost around $40,000, care to comment?

Stoute: The ad was expensive, but the price pales in comparison to the torture that artists are going through. It wasn't about spending that kind of money. It's, how could you not make that statement

THR: Why the New York Times?

Stoute: If I wrote that in a blog, would it be taken seriously? The New York Times Styles section was the right place because when you see it, you have to pay attention to it. It can't go unnoticed. It's very loud when you put it in that forum. Now, it's become this open discussion online. I didn't want it to be music industry-specific. I think it's a larger topic, this generational divide.

THR: Have you heard from NARAS at all?

Stoute: No. I got a let's-talk-behind-the-scenes kind of thing.

THR: What do you hope comes out of this?

Stoute: I hope that this ignites the conversation so artists can use it as a platform to move forward and not tolerate things as they are any longer.

THR: What's next for you? Are you considering a career in politics?

Stoute: No, I'm not going into politics, though I feel like I'm having a Michael Moore moment. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing -- my marketing company and telling the truth.


Feb 22, 2011

So once again it's that time of year when I get to celebrate me. I am grateful to God for allowing me to see 31 years on this here planet of ours. I've been on a mini birthday-cation but I promise the posts will resume shortly. I would like to thank all my readers for their constant support of The Savvy Sista. It is much appreciated.

Feb 17, 2011

As we sit and watch the protest taking place in Wisconsin with the teacher's union, it brings back Education to the forefront of the national conversation. So the question is what is wrong with Public Education and why when budget cuts have to be made education is always the first to be cut? If this country is so serious about education why are we always cutting it?

Is public education the route our country should continue to pursue? Many other countries have to pay for primary and secondary education. Is this route that we as a country should be pursuing?

Finally, I want to say congratulations to the young men of Urban Prep in Chicago for getting 100% of their senior class committed to four year colleges for the second year in a row. Maybe their blueprint is one we should apply to our public schools. What do you say?


Here is what Ms. Goldberg said:

I said that I felt the reporting was shoddy and for that I’m going to apologize, OK? I personally found the article really confusing, and as I said, I was also quite hurt that Cuba Gooding Jr., Louis Gossett Jr., and myself were not included in this expose about black Hollywood. But for saying it was shoddy reporting, I apologize, New York Times."

I love Whoopi. God knows I do, but this is the first time she's mentioned the omission of Lou Gossett, Jr. or Cuba Gooding, Jr. I would have respected her more had she just said she read the article wrong, taken responsibility and just apologized. Instead, she still tried to justified her rant by saying the article was confusing. When you're wrong just admit you're wrong and accept the consequences of your actions. At the end of the day, we're still going to love Whoopi, but for this she is wrong.
It turns out Michael Vick will not be making an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Darren Rovell of CNBC tweeted on Wednesday that according to his sources, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has canceled his appearance on Oprah.

"After careful consideration, I will need to postpone the taping of the Oprah Winfrey interview scheduled for February 22," Vick said in a statement. "I admire and respect Oprah and hope to be able to participate in an interview in the future."

Don Halcombe, spokesman for Harpo Productions, told USA Today that Vick's representative "called last night to cancel his appearance for personal reasons."

It was announced on Monday that the Pro Bowl quarterback will be a guest on her show next Thursday, February 24.

The interview was supposed to cover Vick's time in prison, his work with the Humane Society and his return to the NFL.

Feb 16, 2011


The 2011 ESSENCE Music Festival® presented by Coca-Cola® celebrates the roots of R&B with Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, Trey Songz, Boyz II Men, Charlie Wilson, Fantasia, Jill Scott and more of the biggest artists and your favorite performers. The Festival is where we all come together July 1-3 in New Orleans for a weekend of entertainment, music, community and culture that you don't want to miss! And this is just the initial list! We've got more of the hottest artists to be announced soon.

In addition to those platinum-selling artists on the mainstage, some of your favorite performers including Doug E. Fresh, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Mint Condition, Rebirth Brass Band, Stephanie Mills, Tank and more will hit the stages of our Superlounges. See all the current line-up here.

Don't delay! Get your tickets now for the entire weekend and get the best seats in the house. We've got three great ways to buy including the PLATINUM VIP FESTIVAL WEEKEND PACKAGE where you can party at the Festival with our performers and celebrities. Get great center-stage floor seats with the GOLD PLUS WEEKEND PACKAGE. Find the WEEKEND PACKAGE that's right for you on the floor or other tier levels.

Stay the weekend! There's over 50 hotels in New Orleans ready to make your stay in New Orleans during Festival weekend memorable. Book today through our online system and get the lowest rates available. Click here and find the hotel that's right for you.

Who's your favorite performer? Tell us at #IGoFor on Twitter and Facebook.

Barack Obama, Maya Angelou
Barack Obama, Maya Angelou
Barack Obama, Bill Russell
Barack Obama, John Lewis

Feb 15, 2011

Via Essence:

Fantasia earned her first Grammy on Sunday night for Best Female Vocal Performance for "Bittersweet," but decided to stay home because she wasn't invited to participate in the Aretha Franklin tribute.

Call it what you want, but 'Tasia isn't too thrilled with being left out. "I'm going to be very honest with you. You know I wasn't at the Grammys last night," she told "106 & Park" hosts Terrence J and Rocsi on Monday evening. "I'm kind of going through my own thing... Last night they were honoring someone who is my idol, Aretha Franklin, and there is no way I could have sat there and not got the happy feet and wanting to jump on the mic because she is my favorite so I felt like, you know, at the end of the day I should have been on that stage so, I kind of did my own little thing last night."

Because her feelings were hurt, Fantasia missed out on the moment she'd been waiting for. She's been nominated 11 times and Sunday night was her glorious moment.

‘Pictures Don’t Lie’ zooms in on controversial legacy of Ernest Withers – Sun., Feb. 20, 8:00pm ET & PT

Photographer Ernest Withers documented the struggles and the victories of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s through shocking and inspiring images that evoke the injustice and the rage of that history even today. Along the way, he himself became an icon.

When Withers photographed the grotesquely mutilated body of Emmett Till, slain for allegedly whistling at a white woman, the photos rocketed across the country and around the world in magazines and newsprint – notably in JET and LIFE magazines, and the Chicago Defender – forcing the nation to focus on that amplified vision of injustice. Withers himself was so moved that he vowed to attend each day of the trial and photograph those accused of the lynching.

After Withers died in 2007, documents secured through a Freedom of Information Act request, submitted by journalists the Memphis Commercial Appeal, revealed that in addition to taking photographs, Withers was also a paid informant for the FBI. Withers even had a code name, “ME 338-R,” a designation for “Memphis Racial Informant.” A paper trail has emerged suggesting Withers gave the FBI sensitive information on leaders of the movement, their meetings, and their activities – part of the FBI’s official, “Ghetto Informant Program.”

CNN anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien tells the story of the secret life of Ernest Withers in Pictures Don’t Lie, debuting on CNN/U.S on Sunday, Feb. 20 at 8:00p.m. ET and PT; it replays Saturday, Feb. 26, at 8:00p.m. ET and PT.
King biographer David Garrow tells O’Brien, “There is no doubt whatsoever, the available documentary evidence, which includes both Mr. Withers’ name and his informant coding number – that matches up with dozens of FBI documents – nails it, 100 percent – case closed.”

Withers himself told no one of his contacts with the FBI, not even his family, and his now complicated legacy yields an array of reactions. Withers’ family members describe feeling “devastated” and considered cancelling plans to turn his former Memphis photography studio into a museum. Entertainer and activist Dick Gregory tells O’Brien, “This man...his danger was – he was all over the place,” referring to the physical danger that Withers may have presented to leaders in the Movement, specifically to Dr. King.

Former U.N. Ambassador and former Atlanta Mayor Dr. Andrew Young holds a different view, suggesting that even if Withers was an informant, his photographs were critical to the Movement’s success: “...it would not have been the Movement without the pictures...basically, he was the guy,” Young says.

O’Brien dissects the never-before-seen-on-television documents from the FBI with those who were there at the time of critical events. A digital feature describing the story of how the documents came to light will be reported on www.cnn.com/inamerica, along with a photo gallery of Withers’ iconic images and video excerpts of the documentary. An audio podcast of the documentary will be posted following the premiere airing of the documentary. CNN Student News is producing an Educator and Parent Guide for Pictures Don’t Lie, which will include discussion questions, and a learning activity. The guide will be available on www.CNNStudentNews.com.
You are featured on the new season of 'Celebrity Apprentice' and the charity that you compete for is The American Heart Association. The show is getting a ton of pre-press and mainly because NeNe Leakes has been doing interviews about you. What went wrong with you and NeNe?

This actually saddens me. Black women trashing other black women all for the sake of personal aggrandizement. When the cast was first announced, I was both excited and concerned. Excited that this was going to be the most diverse cast in primetime reality programming and concerned, because the media immediately started the drum-roll of "can this many black women get along?" The four of us actually chatted about the unique opportunity we had to influence the perception of black women and the way we interact. We each brought something different to the show, so I had hoped we could avoid falling into the typical "snake charmer in your face loud bombastic black woman" stereotypical box that was expected. Some of us were more successful at our quest than others. I knew I wanted to approach the game intelligently, professionally and strategically, while keeping in mind my true purpose for being there – winning money for my charity.
Star Jones, Latoya Jackson & NeNe Leakes on set at 'Celebrity Apprentice'
You have a great deal of Black female friends – Vanessa Bell Calloway, Natalie Cole and Holly Robinson Peete to name a few. Were you surprised at Nene's personal attack on you and the implications that you don't gel with other Black women?

Who are you telling! You know my girlfriend gatherings are legendary! But you'll see this season on the show, at some point Nene attacked all the black women on the show and scared the other women to death with her aggressive approach. But to be fair, it is an approach that works for her kind of television interaction, as evidenced by the great ratings they generate. But it isn't an approach that works in the professional environment and it isn't an approach that most sisters use in interacting with each other. I would hope, as she becomes more exposed to a variety of professional situations, she will tone down the vitriolic emotional reactions and learn to express herself in manner that is more reflective of the majority of black women in America.
I love how Star chose to keep it classy.

The Nation celebrates Black History Month with a new archival slideshow, presenting a small sampling of the many timeless articles highlighting issues of race and civil rights from The Nation's past 146 years.

Each slide links to a Nation archival piece, featuring articles written for the magazine by Martin Luther King, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Godkin on the Memphis riots in 1866, Williams Pickens on Marcus Garvey in 1921, Carey McWilliams on the Watts riots in 1965, Ishmael Reed on "black pathology," Pat Williams on the OJ Simpson trial, Howard Zinn writing from Mississippi in 1963, and much more. 

And, here's an associated ActNow blog post by Associate Publisher Peter Rothberg highlighting contemporary groups:
US Rep. John Lewis, shown at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service on Jan.17, is one of 15 people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom today.
Via AJC:
U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta is one of 15 people who will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, at a 1:30 p.m. White House ceremony today.

The 2010 honorees include former President George H.W. Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, poet Maya Angelou, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and sports legends Stan Musial and Bill Russell. The medal is given to individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.

Lewis said President Barack Obama told him he was being honored as a leader of the civil rights movement. The Democratic congressman led the student civil rights movement in the 1960s.

"I never dreamed of anything like this," Lewis, the son of Alabama sharecroppers who is serving his 13th term in Congress, told the AJC. "I'm deeply touched and moved at just the thought of it."

The ceremony, to be held in the East Room of the White House, can be seen live at http://www.whitehouse.gov/.

The Rev. Joseph Lowery of Atlanta was among the 2009 award recipients.


On November 15, 1866, Cathay Williams enlisted with the United States Regular Army in St. Louis, Missouri, for a three year tour of duty. She told the recruiting officer that she was 22 years old and a cook. She said her name was William Cathay and she was born in Independence, Missouri. She was illiterate and didn't know that her papers read "William Cathey" when she gave them to the recruiting officer. The records from the recruiting officer state that William Cathey was 5'9", black eyes, black hair, and black complexion.

An army surgeon examined her upon enlistment, and determined that the recruit was fit for duty. The exam had to be cursory, just checking for obvious and superficial impairments or abnormalities. If either the surgeon or the recruiting officer realized that William Cathey was female, well... 19th century U.S. Army regulations forbade the regular enlistment or commissioning of women.

Other than her birthplace, we know nothing of this woman prior to her enlistment in the U.S. Army. Even her age is uncertain. She might have been only 16 years old and, as do so many boys who lie about their age, she may have, too. The 1860's US Army hardly ever checked age claims, nor did they ask for proof of identity. As to why she might enlist in the Army, as a black woman in 1866 her prospects were pretty sad. But the army paid her more as a black male cook than she could have ever earned as a black female cook.

As women disguised as men had fought in the volunteer armies of the Revolution and of the Civil War, Cathay Williams may be the first to have served in the United States Regular Army in the 19th century. She is also the only documented African-American woman who served in the U.S. Army prior to the official introduction of women in 1948.

Upon enlistment, as William Cathey, she was assigned to the 38th U.S. Infantry, which had been officially established in August, 1866, as a designated, segregated African-American unit. (The 39th, 40th, and 41st Infantries were the other designated and segregated black units created that year.) The segregated African-American regiments were commanded by white officers, with the regimental headquarters of the 38th at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

From the records, it looks like she could march long distances as well as any man in her unit. When not on the march, all privates did garrison duty, drilled and trained, and went scouting for signs of hostile Native Americans. William Cathey participated in her share of their duties. There is no record that she ever engaged an enemy or saw any form of direct combat while she was enlisted.

During her entire military career, William Cathey was recorded as being in four different hospitals on five separate occasions, for varying amounts of time. And no one discovered that William Cathey was really Cathay Williams, am African-American woman. The fact that in five hospital visits, no one realized the sex of William Cathey raises a few questions about the quality of medical care available to the soldiers of the U.S. Army, even by 19th centuty standards, or at least to the African-American soldiers of that time. Obviously, she was never fully undressed during her hospital stays. There is no record of what kind of treatment was given to her at any of the hospitals. But whatever treatments she did receive, they obviously did not work.

On October 14, 1868, William Cathey and two other privates in Company A were discharged at Fort Bayard on a surgeon's certificate of disability. William Cathey's certificate included statements from the captain of her company and the post's assistant surgeon. The captain stated that Cathey had been under his command since May 20, 1867 "... and has been since feeble both physically and mentally, and much of the time quite unfit for duty. The origin of his infirmities is unknown to me." The surgeon stated that Cathey was of "...a feeble habit. He is continually on sick report without benefit. He is unable to do military duty.... This condition dates prior to enlistment." Despite the three-year enlistment, she served her country for just under two years.

After her discharge, she resumed wearing women's clothing and went back to being Cathay Williams. She worked as a cook for the family of a colonel in 1869 and 1870 at Fort Union. Then she went to Pueblo, Colorado and worked as a laundress for a Mr. Dunbar. In 1872, she settled permanently in Trinidad, Colorado, making her living as a laundress and part-time nurse.

In late 1889 or early 1890, she was hospitalized in Trinidad for nearly a year and a half but there's no record detailing the nature of her illness. She was indigent when she left the hospital, so in June 1891, based on her military service, she filed for an invalid pension. Her application brought out the fact that an African-American woman had served in the Regular Army.