Jul 31, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Michael Jackson's estate has acknowledged it has limited some relatives' access to the home shared by the singer's mother and children in the wake of a family feud that turned into a driveway argument last week.

The estate's statement released Monday afternoon does not specify which members of Jackson's family are no longer allowed at the home and says the list is subject to change. The statement says an approved guest list was requested by an attorney for TJ Jackson, the son of Tito Jackson who was appointed temporary guardian of the children last week.

"It is imperative to the estate that from this point forward a safe and appropriate environment be provided for Michael Jackson's children and his mother," the statement reads. The children and Katherine Jackson live in a gated community in suburban Calabasas that is more private than the family's longtime home in Encino, which is on a public street.

The statement was issued in response to an online report by journalist Roland Martin that Jackson's siblings Randy, Janet and Jermaine have been blocked from visiting the home. The trio was present in a July 23 scuffle that the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is still investigating as a possible battery.

The Jackson siblings followed a vehicle carrying Jackson's children, Prince, Paris and Blanket, through security gates and "ambushed" the children and their caretakers, an attorney for family matriarch Katherine Jackson said last week. The elder Jackson was out of contact with the children for roughly 10 days while at an Arizona spa, which prompted a missing person's report and concerns about her health.

TJ Jackson, the late singer's nephew, plans to become a co-guardian in an agreement reached last week after Katherine Jackson returned to the home.

Katherine Jackson's attorney Perry Sanders Jr. said last week that TJ Jackson would take over day-to-day operations and staff oversight at the Calabasas home. The move will free Katherine Jackson to focus on the upbringing of the children, who range in ages from 10 to 15, Sanders said.

Siblings Randy, Janet, Rebbie and Jermaine Jackson have signed a letter calling on the executors of Jackson's estate to resign. Randy Jackson has accused the executors, attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain, of trying to isolate Katherine Jackson from relatives who are critical of them.
"It is my fear and belief, that they are trying to take my mother's life," Randy Jackson wrote last week.
Randy Jackson has also claimed his brother's will is a fake, a claim the estate denies.
What is it about girl groups?  Why can't they get along and make this money?  I realize there are going to be clashing personalities, but why can't people just get outside their egos and make that money?

En Vogue had the potential to become one of the greatest girl groups of all time.  They had the talent, the looks, and the swag.  They were the epitome of what a girl group should be.

Assembled in Oakland, California in July 1989, the group launched with original members Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones, Dawn Robinson and Terry Ellis.

With songs such as Hold On, Never Gonna Get It, and Free Your Mind, these ladies were bound for legendary status.  But somehow they just could not manage to keep the group together.

Dawn Robinson went on to do her thing with R&B supergroup Lucy Pearl while embarking on a solo career, Terrry Ellis managed to get a top ten hit on her solo debut with her song Wherever You Are, and Cindy Herron went on to star in movies such as Juice.

After recently managing to get all the original members back together, the group has decided to split up again.

Dawn Robinson went on Twitter (yes, Twitter) to announce the break up:


Later, she added:

Max & I are thrilled at all the love we are receiving from each of u! This is gonna be FUN. We appreciate being lifted up so high…blessings to each of you,”

In response to what Dawn wrote, Cindy and Terry put out a joint statement:

Dear EnVogue fans,

In regards to the recent twitter and facebook posts alleging that Terry and Cindy have replaced Maxine Jones with Rhona, we would like to respond. Terry and Cindy are not replacing Maxine Jones. We have however asked Rhona to fill in temporarily so that we can continue to bring live shows to our fans. Thus far, Rhona has only done three shows with us since June 2012. The group has always added someone whenever a member has been unable or unwilling to perform or has left the group. Terry and I have not kicked Maxine out of the group. There are always two sides to a story and many internal facts that you the fans aren’t hearing about. In an effort to not air dirty laundry, or appear to point the finger at anyone, we respectfully choose to remain silent on the internal issues. We appreciate you the fans continuing to support EnVogue individually, and as a whole.

Thank you,

Cindy and Terry

In the words of my friend David, "This is just a hot ass mess." 

This definitely has the making of a killer episode on TVOne's UnSung series.  I definitely can't wait to watch.

Jul 30, 2012

This morning I skimmed through an article about the implications of the Fisher vs. University of Texas case on the presidential race, which will go before the US Supreme Court in August. A few days from now actually. The case was on my radar screen but not glaring. I didn’t finish the article because I became more intrigued about the actual case. So I started searching online to learn more about the substance of the case. The young lady suing the university is claiming that she was racially discriminated against and thus denied admission for fall 2008. I began to wonder about the concrete evidence that she has to prove her allegation. How could she obtain such evidence? How could she clearly know that of the 12, 843 admitted after 29, 501 applications were reviewed for fall 2008 admission that she was discriminated against based on her race? Just merely looking at the figures, what caused her to think that her race was the sole factor for her admissions denial when she had to compete with thousands of students; thousands of other white students at that?

After a little time searching the internet, I really did not find anything discussing every detail of her argument.  Plus I figured since I am not in the legal profession I probably would get lost in the legalese and become confused; so I stopped searching for that piece of information.  What is clearly stated though is that the crux of her case is that the university already achieves sufficient levels of diversity through its race-neutral admissions practice through its Top 10% Rule.  Thus factoring in race for those that were not in the top 10% of their high school graduating class (as was the case for this young lady) applying to the university violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.  Even though back in 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that race can be a factor in admissions policy and the state of Texas, in 2004, determined that in some cases race can be a factor as well.  The lower courts have ruled in favor of the university and as I mentioned earlier, the case is headed to the US Supreme Court.
Enough of the background details…what struck me is the phrase sufficient levels of diversity.  What authority determines whether or not there are sufficient levels of diversity?  And why can’t those levels be exceeded if achieved?  A logical response to the first question is that sufficient levels would mean that the compositional diversity of an institution should be proportional to the compositional diversity of the general population.  Assuming that the gripe really is against the admittance of black and Hispanic students over white students at the university, 26.1% of first time freshman entered in fall of 2008 were black and Hispanic compared to 51.2% that were white (page 19).  Assuming that the census figures for 2008 are similar to 2011, 50.3% of the Texas population are black and Hispanic.  These data show that the diversity levels are not proportionate to the general population.  Looking at Texas high school graduates data, just over 252,000 students graduated in 2008, with nearly 54,500 attending a 4-year public institution.  Of the 54, 500, 51.2% were white, 13.5% black and 27.4% Hispanic. So based on the minor data research that I performed, the Top 10% Rule is not achieving sufficient levels of diversity. From my assessment, factoring race into the admissions process for remaining applicants seems like a fair practice and even with employing that practice, UT Austin still did not have sufficient diversity levels.    
Onto my second question…this paragraph should not be as filled with hyperlinks as the previous three…even if the “levels” were achieved why can’t they be exceeded?  I did not know there was a diversity cap for higher education.  I am reminded of the idea of quotas.  Even if quotas were imposed, they are just minimal requirements.  Going beyond is not a crime.  I am really trying to find an answer that is not cynical.  But I do not know that I can.  What I do know is that in light of Chief Justice Roberts “compromise” on the Affordable Care Act, and the fact that Justice Kagen has recused herself from this case, I do not expect a favorable ruling for diversity advocates.  This case is one to watch.  Over the past few years I have heard arguments about the relevancy of HBCUs and other minority serving institutions of higher education, depending on how the high court rules in Fisher vs. University of Texas there may be more proven reasons that such institutions are now more relevant than ever.

Former CNN news Anchor, T.J. Holmes, relayed his very own 'Driving While Black' experience on Twitter for all his followers to along.

Here's how Huffington Post is reporting the story:

Former CNN host T.J. Holmes was pulled over on Monday, and documented the experience over Twitter.
Holmes did not indiciate where he was driving, but tweeted that he was pulled over one mile from his house with two cop cars behind him. He snapped a photograph of a police car in his rear view mirror with the caption "Driving while black ain't no joke!"

Holmes tweeted updates from the side of the road over the course of ten minutes. He wrote that the officer was "stumbling over his words trying to explain" why he was pulled over. "This is a damn shame," Holmes wrote.

Holmes later added that the officer said he "wanted to make sure [Holmes] had insurance on the car." Holmes commented, "I kid you not." He then mocked the experience, tweeting that he "managed to avoid jail time" but his "relationship with _____ County police may have been soured a bit."

One thing you will not do is come for the Queen of all Media and think she's not going to come back for you.

That's exactly what happened when a Twitter follower of Oprah decided to take it upon himself to question Oprah's commitment to Black America.  I guess he never imagined she would responsed back.  And respond back is exactly what she did.

The follower who goes by the name AWALK asked Oprah when she was going to give back to the ghettos of America and she promptly reminded him of the 500 Morehouse men she put through college.

The questioning of Oprah's commitment to Black America has become a lot of Black Americans favorite past time.  There is nothing this woman can do with her money that's going to satisify the people that have their mind made up on the fact that she does absolutely nothing for Black people.  Nevermind the fact we'll never know the vast majority of things that Oprah does.

Instead of asking what Oprah does with her money maybe we should put the mirror in front of ourselves and ask what are we as a people doing.  If we're waiting for one woman to save us then no wonder we're in so much trouble. 
WASHINGTON — Former President Bill Clinton is set to play a central part in the Democratic convention, aides said, and will formally place President Obama’s name into nomination by delivering a prime-time speech designed to present a forceful economic argument for why Mr. Obama deserves to win a second term.

The prominent role of Mr. Clinton, which is scheduled to be announced on Monday, signals an effort by the Obama campaign to pull out all the stops to rally Democrats when they gather for their party’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C. An even more important audience will be the voters across the country who will see the address carried by television networks.

“There isn’t anybody on the planet who has a greater perspective on not just the last four years, but the last two decades, than Bill Clinton,” David Axelrod, a top strategist to the Obama campaign, said in an interview on Sunday. “He can really articulate the choice that is before people.”

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will appear on the final night of the convention, making the case for Mr. Obama before the largest audience of the week during an outdoor speech at the Bank of America Stadium. The vice president and Mr. Obama will appear together on stage before they accept the party’s nomination for a second term in the White House.

It is unusual in recent election cycles, although not without precedent, for the vice president not to get the stage to himself during a night at the convention. But in his speech, aides said, Mr. Biden is expected to remind Americans about the last four years and the administration’s accomplishments in a difficult economic climate.

The invitation for Mr. Clinton to be center stage at the convention signifies another milestone in the complicated and evolving relationship between the two presidents.

At the party’s convention in Denver four years ago, all eyes were on Mr. Clinton as he offered a full-throated endorsement of Mr. Obama in a speech that served as something of a truce after a contentious primary fight with his wife.

For Mr. Clinton, who has become one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party, the speech will be among the most high-profile roles yet that he has assumed for Mr. Obama. The address is intended to offer a strong contrast with the Republican ticket and will be closely watched, particularly given a string of blunt statements — and retractions — that Mr. Clinton has made this year when talking about the Obama administration.

For example, Mr. Clinton called for temporarily extending all of the tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, including the Bush-era rates, which put him at odds with the president. He later apologized for those comments, but not before the Republican National Committee seized on the controversy.

Cheney on ’08 Palin Choice

Dick Cheney said on Sunday that Sarah Palin was not ready in 2008 to be his successor as vice president and that Senator John McCain’s decision was “a mistake” that Mitt Romney should seek to avoid making in his own choice of running mate.

Speaking to ABC News in his first interview since undergoing a heart transplant in March, Mr. Cheney said Mr. McCain’s choice clearly reflected considerations other than Ms. Palin’s ability to serve as vice president.

Asked whether a presidential candidate should consider how well a vice-presidential nominee might appeal in a particular state or to a demographic group, Mr. Cheney said, “Those are important issues, but they should never be allowed to override that first proposition.”

Jul 29, 2012

You may have noticed that there is a new site address.  The new address is www.thesavvysista.com.  I realize that a lot of people link to this site and the change is definitely causing a problem for people who are regular readers.  I am truly sorry for the inconvenience.  The change was out of my control (it's a long story), but I'm trying to make the best of a horrible situation.

I want to thank everyone for their continued support.  I would greatly appreciate it if you could spread the word about the change.

This site has been my pride and joy for five years.  July 17th of this year was our fifth anniversary and I could not be prouder of the work we've produced. 

I pray the next five years are as productive and fun as the first five have been.

Thank you again to all my readers who have supported this site.  If you know anything about running a website then you know this is not easy.  It is a labor of love, but it's still Labor.

I do this because I love it.  I love spreading knowledge to my people.

Thank You Again.


The Savvy Sista

Jul 27, 2012

A while back, I read a post on my Facebook news feed about Jalen Rose starting a school in Detroit.  A pretty interesting story that I thought I would read but the very next line annoyed me to a point that I rolled my eyes and ultimately did not read the story, at least not that version of it.  The next line was a question about whether more black athletes should do the same?  Now that I am writing this I seem to recall another post directly asking about how black athletes should donate their money.  That irritated me even more.
While working out this past weekend, I watched The Melissa Harris-Perry show about sports, politics and black athletes.  One of her panelists was the legendary Dr. John Carlos, who is famous for his, along with Tommie Smith, Black Power salute while on the medal stand in the 1968 Olympics.  This particular gesture is heralded as a courageous moment in the struggle.  I appreciated the thought provoking discussion on the MHP show. Yet there was a moment in the conversation where I again became annoyed.  Michael Jordan's comments about Republicans buying shoes too was referenced and contrasted with the efforts of other athletes both prominent athletes and the not so prominent.

Why the irritation?  Perhaps with MJ, I am a little biased.  Growing up next to Chicago in Gary, Indiana, during his tenure with the Chicago Bulls, I was a big fan.  A mega Bulls fan as a matter of fact.  Even though I lived in a different state with its own NBA team, the Chicago teams were considered our home teams because of the proximity and the fact that Gary is in the Chicago area media market.  Those were the only teams we actually saw.  So yes I like MJ.  He has his flaws but I like the guy.  The Republican-shoe comment was not his finest moment, but he is now caricatured as if he has no conscience regarding the black struggle?  As I was leaving the gym, one of my first thoughts was "Didn't he help bankroll the production of Malcolm X?"  When I got home, I looked it up and sure enough he was one of the investors.  I started recalling his celebrity golf tournament, which continues to this day.  A tournament that raises millions of dollars for worthy causes, including causes that help under served communities.  Yeah his in-artful comments rubbed some people the wrong way.  He stepped in it but to say that he hasn't left a positive legacy or that his actions has taught others to be "benign" is not a fair assessment of him as a man nor of his accomplishments as professional athlete, in my opinion.

The intent of this essay is not to defend MJ, but to use this recent discussion as an example that not every one contributes to the cause in the same manner.  Why are we asking if other folks should build a school like Jalen Rose did?  Why are we trying to tell other people what to do with their money?  That is insulting on a number of levels.  Whether your income is little or great, how you spend it is your business and not left to any one's judgment.   It is great for some to make large donations to worthy causes.  It is great for some donate their time to worthy causes.  It is great for some to actually create organizations and erect buildings for the purposes of serving under served communities.  It is great when an athlete uses his/her platform to affect social change.  We need all of it.  Why is one act deemed greater than another?  Why is there an expectation of cookie cutter activism?  Why is there conversation about how someone else should spend their time and money? How about a conversation that encourages all of us to contribute?  A conversation that compels each of us to give of our time and resources.

It saddens me to hear people be so critical of other people, especially prominent people as if nothing they do will ever be good enough.  We have clear examples of the not-so angelic athlete.  We also have examples of athletes whose talent and skill inspires youth to become involved and persist in sports, even though the odds of becoming a professional athlete are not in their favor.  Some may deem that as a waste of time.  But they do not consider all of the other life skills and qualities (that we actually value) that are developed as a result of playing  a sport like: discipline, teamwork, leadership, confidence, resilience, sportsmanship, healthy competition, fairness, mental toughness, etc.  Young girls are less likely to tolerate abuse.  Add on the fact that the field, the court, the gym, the mat, the pool often times becomes a place of refuge when the rest of their world is not optimal. Add to that the fact that many have unlocked a talent that could send them to college, which can lead to additional opportunities.  What about the escape these athletes provide to many of our adults that just need a break from the daily grind?   What about the unifying power of sport?  Really consider the impact sports have had on the advancement of race relations and inequality in this country and around the world.  If an athlete never utters a word in support of human rights and social change, I posit to you that their talents have a far reaching impact perhaps beyond what we can describe.

Two groups have filed a complaint with the Department of Education, arguing that Latino and black students are disproportionately underrepresented at Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, one of the most prestigious schools in the nation.

Filed by the Fairfax chapter of the NAACP and the Coalition of The Silence, the federal complaint alleges that these minorities are discriminated against when it comes to admission to Thomas Jefferson, known as TJ.

“Enormous disparities in the admission of Black and Latino students to TJ – a public high school currently ranked among the best in the nation – is simply unacceptable.” former Fairfax County School Board member Tina Hone, founder of the Coalition of The Silence, said in a statement.

Click here to read the entire article.

(Salon) -- In the debate over new laws meant to curb voter fraud in places like Florida, Democrats always charge that Republicans are trying to suppress the vote of liberal voting blocs like blacks and young people, while Republicans just laugh at such ludicrous and offensive accusations. That is, every Republican except for Florida’s former Republican Party chairman Jim Greer, who, scorned by his party and in deep legal trouble, blew the lid off his what he claims was a systemic effort to suppress the black vote. In a 630-page deposition recorded over two days in late May, Greer, who is on trial for corruption charges, unloaded a litany of charges against the “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” in his party, including the effort to suppress the black vote.

In the deposition, released to the press yesterday, Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He also said party officials discussed how “minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party,” according to the AP.

The comments, if true (he is facing felony corruption charges and has an interest in scorning his party), would confirm what critics have long suspected. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is currently facing inquiries from the Justice Department and pressure from civil rights groups over his purging of voter rolls in the state, an effort that critics say has disproportionately targeted minorities and other Democratic voters. One group suing the state claims up to 87 percent of the voters purged from the rolls so far have been people of color, though other estimates place that number far lower. Scott has defended the purge, even though he was erroneously listed as dead himself on the rolls in 2006.

Click here to read the entire article.
Kristen Stewart is an actress who’s definitely at the top of her game.  She's starred in some of Hollywood’s biggest movies while being engaged to one of the biggest movie stars on the planet.  But even with all that, she still fell into the trap of ‘Dumb 22’.

During a visit to ‘The Wendy Williams Show’, actress Holly Robinson-Peete shared one of her memories of the late, great Whitney Houston.  Robinson-Peete had just come out of a bad relationship when Houston told her to not worry about it; she could just blame it [the relationship] on being ‘Dumb 25’.

That’s exactly how I feel about Kristen Stewart. 

Do you remember your twenties and some of the dumb stuffed that you did?  I’m not trying excuse Kristen’s behavior, but I can understand how she got caught up in an affair with an affluent man who happened to be twenty years her senior.

I’ve never been involved with a married man, but in my twenties I did get caught up with a man who was twenty years older than me.  The relationship was intoxicating.  He was this older man who made me feel like I was the best thing going.  He knew all the right things to say and all the right places to touch.

I was completely enthralled with him.  So much so that I started to be careless with things that normally I wasn’t so careless about.  I was neglecting my work and my friends.

Here I was an educated, 24 year old female who had everything going for me, but yet I still fell into the trap of ‘Dumb 24’.

This man had completely taken over my life.  Everything I did was based on what he wanted me to do.  The person that I was slowly began to morph into the person he wanted me to be.  I had lost my identity and everything I held sacred about me.

This is the type of stuff that happens when a person doesn’t completely know herself.

I don’t know if this is something that happened to Kristen, but I won’t rule it out.

The man she cheated with was a married man who also happened to be 20 years her senior.  You may not think that a twenty year age difference mean anything, but take it from someone whose been  there; it means a lot.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts is planning to take a medical leave around the end of August for her bone marrow transplant.

But during her absence from the ABC morning show, she'll be getting a little help from her friends, she said Thursday.

Roberts listed Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric among her "wonderful, wonderful friends at ABC News" who will be subbing for her. Others mentioned: talk-show host Kelly Ripa and panelists from the ABC talk show "The View."

Roberts announced last month that she has MDS, a blood and bone marrow disease once known as preleukemia.

On Thursday, she told reporters gathered for the Television Critics Association conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., that her leave would "most likely" start at the end of August or early September.

"It's fascinating-slash-scary how to prepare yourself for something like this," she said, appearing by satellite from ABC's studios in New York. And when asked how she's feeling, she replied, "I do go through moments of fatigue."

But citing the continuing resurgence of "Good Morning America" against its long-dominant NBC rival "Today," she brightened.

"The run that we've had has truly energized me," she said. "It's pretty good medicine, I gotta say, to be taking!"

In particular, ABC was crowing Thursday that, for the first time in 17 years, "GMA" had seized first place among total viewers (almost 4.6 million vs. 4.25 million for "Today") as well as tying "Today" for first place in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic, each with 1.74 million.

ABC News President Ben Sherwood was inspired to frame the victory in Olympic terms.

"For 852 straight (weekly) races, the 'Today' show won the gold medal, going back to 1995," he said. Then, several weeks ago, "GMA" snapped the "Today" winning streak, "and stood there alone for the first time in 16 years to get its own gold medal."

"And after 879 weeks running behind in younger viewers, 25-to-54," Sherwood went on, "GMA" is "standing there at the gold-medal podium, unbelievably in an actual statistical tie with the previous champs."
Meanwhile, Sherwood acknowledged a mistake ABC News made last week during coverage of the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 people and injured dozens more.

ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross speculated on the air about the political ties of the alleged gunman, James Holmes, erroneously identifying him as a member of the tea party.

"It was a mistake," Sherwood said. "We recognized it immediately. We owned it immediately. We corrected it immediately. We apologized for it."

Declaring, "That particular moment didn't live up to the standards and practices of ABC News," he said, "I take responsibility for it. The news division knows how displeased I am about it. And we will do everything we can to prevent it ever happening again."
Reports are circulating that controversial Essence fashion director, Ellianna Placas, has been fired after butting heads with editor in chief, Constance White.

Sources report that White and Placas disagreed on the direction of the fashion coverage in the magazine.

Placas was hired at Essence two years ago by former editor in chief, Angela Burt Murray.  Her hiring instantly became controversial because Placas happens to be white.  The controversial even prompted notable culture critic, Michaela Angela Davis, to write and tweet about the hire.

I'll be honest I've been wondering what happened to Placas.  I am a subscriber to Essence.  Since the hiring of Placas, I always purposefully go to the fashion section to see if there was something that was styled by her.  Since the controversy, I've always been curious about her work.  But in the past few editions, there hasn't been anything with her name on it.  I guess the firing now explains why that was. 


Jul 25, 2012

(ThinkProgress) --- An adviser to Mitt Romney told a London paper that Obama has not been an effective partner for Britain because he doesn’t “fully appreciate” America’s “Anglo-Saxon heritage.” The racially tinged comments come hours before Romney lands in London for a series of high level meetings and the opening of the Olympic Games.

Jon Swaine of the Daily Telegraph has the story:
In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
The comments were the latest attack by the Romney campaign on Obama’s multi-cultural heritage. Last week, Romney campaign co-chair John Sununu said Obama didn’t understand the “American system” because he “spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia.” Sununu also said Obama needed to “learn how to be an American.” (Sununu later apologized for that remark.) Later that day Romney called Obama’s policies “extraordinarily foreign.”
There are certain television sitcoms, that long after they go off the air, remain in the African American zeitgeist.  These shows are comprised of such iconic series as The Cosby Show, Good Times, Sanford and Son, What's Happening, Different World, Amen, and Martin.  Along with these shows stood another iconic and groundbreaking series (which just so happened to have the greatest theme song every to grace a television show) called The Jeffersons.

Sherman Hemsley, a gifted actor from Philly, led the mostly black cast of The Jeffersons playing family patriarch George Jefferson.  The show was spin off from another popular series called All in the Family which featured another very popular character by the name of Archie Bunker.

The Jeffersons centered around an affluent African American family that moved from Queens to the Upper East of New York after George's dry cleaning business became very successful.  The show tackled racism and other social issues of the time.

On Tuesday, Hemsley was found dead in his El Paso, Texas home.  The cause of death is still pending.

Hemsley was 74 at the time of his death.

R.I.P. Mr. Hemsley.  You truly are an American icon and you shall be remembered forever!

Jul 23, 2012

Now let me be honest, I haven't listened to Eric Benet since he came out with 'Femininty' (that's still my song).  He just doesn't do it for me.  I figure if I want to listen to a guy sang in falsetto then why not just put on a Maxwell record.

So imagine my surprise when I learned about this controversy surrounding this new song Benet came out with entitled "Redbone Girl".  Evidently a lot of people where not happy about the singer professing his love for a 'caramel cream' clolored woman.

A lot of the criticism comes from the fact that people think the singer is perpetuating the European standard of beauty when it comes to this song.

Well, Benet is not taking the criticism lying down and he decided to speak out against what he finds to be 'racism'.

In a recent interview with CBS Local, Benet responded to critics who called him out for playing to conventional standards of beauty that value light skin over dark.

“I think it’s its own form of racism,” he told CBS Local of the controversy. “I did a song called “Chocolate Legs’ about my experience with a dark skin lady. There was no anger or uproar of ‘How dare you.’ So ‘Redbone Girl’ is one song about one experience about a girl who happens to be light complected but there was quite an uproar.”
As far as Benet is concerned, there is a double standard when it comes to how society and singers can express themselves about a woman’s beauty in the black community.

“You can talk about how wonderful it is to be with a dark complected person but how dare you talk about having an experience experience with light skin person,” he said. “By no way is ‘Redbone Girl’ me professing my preference for any type of skin color. It’s just the songwriter talking about one experience. When people look into it much deeper than that, it’s on them.”

To be sure, Benet is not oblivious to the longtime issues of race and colorism within the black community. He opens ”Redbone Girl” with a type of disclaimer that he hoped would inoculate him against such charges.

“I love all women,” he says on the song’s introduction. “I love them dark and light. Short, tall, thick, thin and back one more ‘gain.”

“He’s very specific about saying this is about one woman,” said Akiba Solomon gender blogger for Colorlines.com. “But he’s not taking into consideration the climate surrounding black woman and skin tone; the long history and what has been said about dark skin over time.”
So do we care about Eric's explanation?


On Monday, the president of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, presided over a press conference announcing punishment for Penn State University in light of the Sandusky Scandal that rocked the school to its core. 

The punishment includes sanctions, including fines, postseason ban, and loss of scholarships.

Penn State Punishments:
  • $60 million fine, representing approximately one year of football profits.

  • 4-year bowl game ban.

  • Scholarship reduction, cap lasting four years.

  • Any entering, returning football student athlete can transfer immediately. Presuming academic requirements are met, these potential transfers can play immediately.

  • PSU vacates all wins from 1998-2011.

  • PSU begins a five-year probationary period, with the NCAA reserving the right to implement further punishments.
The punishment being issued out, by all accounts, is said to be worse than the death penalty in the amount of money it's going to cost the university.

With the vacating of 111 PSU wins, Eddie Robinson of Grambling State University returns to the top of the mantle as the most winning Division I football coach with 408 wins.  Prior to the NCAA's announcement, Joe Paterno had surpassed Robinson by 1 win.


WASHINGTON (AP) — As the pastor of a mostly African-American Baptist church near Houston, Timothy W. Sloan has known for years that he needed to talk about HIV and AIDS with his congregation.
He worried the 3,000 parishioners at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church in Humble, Texas, could be offended and leave the church or curtail their giving.

“On a scale of 1 to 10 it was a 6,” he said of his concerns.

Then, a year and a half ago, he joined a group of pastors organized by the NAACP to write a manual for church leaders like himself on talking to their congregations about a disease that has a disproportionate effect on the black community.

Sloan spoke to his congregation about the issue soon after. They surprised him with a standing ovation.
Now Sloan hopes others can use the manual he helped create to talk to their congregations. The NAACP this month released it and a 61-page activity manual at the group’s convention in Texas.

Shavon Arline-Bradley, the director of health programs for the NAACP, who helped oversee the manual’s creation, said it makes sense for the nation’s largest civil rights organization to be involved in the discussion of HIV and AIDS.

“People look at us as just civil right rights, and what they’re missing is that health is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time,” Arline-Bradley said.

Religious leaders who helped with the manual said black churches have been reluctant to talk about the disease. That’s in part because the topic is wrapped up with sex and homosexuality, often taboo to
pics in the church.

“Sex is not something church people like to talk about. It’s something they like to do,” said the Rev. Joseph Smith, the assistant to the pastor of the Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., and one of the people who worked on the manual.

Despite the squeamishness, the NAACP says black churches can play a role in combatting the alarming impact of HIV on the black community. African-Americans make up almost half of all new HIV infections, and blacks are less likely to get treatment and more likely to die of complications from AIDS than any other race.

Sheridan Todd Yeary, a Baltimore pastor who helped with the manual, said he believes the NAACP’s involvement in the project will reassure some leaders that talking about HIV and AIDS is OK. He compared the organization’s approval to the “Good Housekeeping Seal” of approval for household products.

The NAACP, which has its national headquarters in Baltimore, says the manual and an accompanying activity guide are intended to help pastors to learn more about HIV and encourage them involve their churches. The guides suggest pastors talk about HIV in sermons, connect their churches with groups that serve people with HIV, promote safe sex and access to condoms, and organize church-based HIV screening drives. The manual also includes facts about the disease and passages from the Bible to serve as inspiration.

Over 250 faith leaders gave input on the manual during an 11-city tour conducted by the NAACP. A total of 400 of the manuals were printed, and they are also available online.

Earlier this month, Sloan, the Texas pastor, got a rapid HIV test in front of his church. After services, more than 160 people waited in line, some for two hours, to get their own tests at a church-organized testing drive. Sloan said he hopes other ministers have similar success.

“It’s imperative we begin this conversation,” he said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Jul 22, 2012


Kile Glover, 11 years old, died Saturday morning after heart failure.

Reports are circulating that Tameka Raymond has made the heartbreaking decision of removing her 11 year old son Kile Glover from life support.

Words cannot even describe how much my heart breaks for her and the rest of her family.  I cannot even imagine having to make such a decision.  My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Kile was critically injured during a jet ski accident at Lake Lanier in Georgia.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Katherine Jackson, the mother of Michael Jackson and the guardian of his three minor children, has been reported missing, but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says she is with family members.

Paris Jackson, the 14-year-old daughter of the late legend, tweeted early Sunday morning that her grandmother was missing: "I haven't spoken with her in a week I want her home now," she posted from her Twitter account. She also tweeted a number for people to contact in case they saw the 82-year-old matriarch of the famous singing clan.

The sherriff's department said another family member officially reported her missing Saturday night because he couldn't speak with her and was concerned. While the authorities are trying to reach Katherine Jackson, they also say she is with family members.

The family drama unfolded days after it was revealed that some of her children had written a letter to the executors of Jackson's estate, alleging Michael Jackson's will, which left his fortune to his children, his mother and charity, was a fake.

The undated letter, signed by Janet, Randy, Tito, Rebbie and Jermaine Jackson, alleged that Katherine Jackson was being manipulated by the executors, John Branca and John McClain, and said her health had been affected, and she had suffered a mini-stroke.

The veracity of the letter was confirmed by Randy Jackson on Twitter; Janet Jackson retweeted his post (The estate has denied the accusations).

However, Paris Jackson lashed out at her uncle on Twitter, saying her grandmother was fine: "I will defend my beloved family member with all I have, even if it means from other family members." She later apologized, saying she just wanted to let people know that her grandmother did not have a stroke.

On Saturday, Jermaine Jackson tweeted that his mother was resting on the orders of a doctor in Arizona: "This is our mother and her health is paramount. We are not inventing or plotting anything. We are following doctor's advice. Period.""

However, Paris Jackson tweeted on Sunday: "The same doctor that testified on behalf of dr murray saying my father was a drug addict (a lie) is caring for my grandmother ... just saying."

Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the June 2009 propofol overdose death of Jackson at age 50.

Katherine Jackson has been caring for Paris, Prince Michael and Blanket Jackson since their father's death. It is unclear who is taking care of the children in her absence.

A representative for the Jackson brothers Jermaine, Jackie, Tito and Marlon, who are on a nationwide tour, did not immediately respond to an early Sunday morning request for comment, nor did a representative for Janet Jackson.

Jul 20, 2012

AURORA, Colo. — A neuroscience graduate student in a gas mask barged into a crowded Denver-area theater during a midnight showing of the Batman movie on Friday, hurled a gas canister and then opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.

When the smoke began to spread, some moviegoers thought it was a stunt that was part of the "The Dark Knight Rises," one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. They saw a silhouette of a person in the haze near the screen, first pointing a gun at the crowd and then shooting.

"There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead," Jennifer Seeger said, adding that the gunman, dressed like a SWAT team member, fired steadily except when he stopped to reload.

"Every few seconds it was just: Boom, boom, boom," she said. "He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed."

The suspect was taken into custody and identified by federal law enforcement officials as 24-year-old James Holmes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. Authorities did not release a motive. The FBI said there was no indication of ties to any terrorist groups.

Holmes had an assault rifle, a shotgun and two pistols, a federal law enforcement official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck to reach Holmes' apartment in Aurora, police Chief Dan Oates said. They put a camera at the end of a 12-foot pole inside the apartment, and discovered that the unit was booby trapped. Authorities evacuated five buildings as they tried to determine how to disarm flammable and explosive material.

Victims were being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman. Some of those injured are children, including a 4-month-old baby who was released from the hospital.

Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania on ABC's "Good Morning America" said he didn't know yet if all the injuries were gunshot wounds. He said some might have been caused by other things such as shrapnel.

Police released a written statement from Holmes' family: "Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved."

The movie opened across the world Friday with midnight showings in the U.S. The shooting prompted officials to cancel the Paris premiere, with workers pulling down the red carpet display at a theater on the famed Champs-Elysees Avenue.

President Barack Obama said he was saddened by the "horrific and tragic shooting," pledging that his administration was "committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded."

It was the worst mass shooting in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas, when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians and more than two dozen others wounded.

In Colorado, it was the deadliest since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, when two students opened fire at the school in the Denver suburb of Littleton, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves.

The mall in Aurora, the state's third-largest city, has been the scene of violence before.

In July 2001, two men were shot and wounded inside the mall following an argument. In June 2005, a woman was killed and her boyfriend and a bystander were wounded following an argument inside the mall. Two men were arrested in that case, at least one of whom was sentenced to life in prison.

Friday's attack began shortly after midnight at the multiplex theater.

The film has several scenes of public mayhem — a hallmark of superhero movies. In one scene, the main villain Bane leads an attack on the stock exchange and, in another, leads a shooting and bombing rampage on a packed football stadium.

It was the final installment of the "Dark Knight" trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Christian Bale as Batman. The series has a darker tone than previous Batman incarnations. It is the follow-up to "The Dark Knight," which won Heath Ledger a posthumous Oscar for his searing portrayal of The Joker.

The gunman released a gas that smelled like pepper spray from a green canister with a tag on it, Seeger said.
"I thought it was showmanship. I didn't think it was real," she said.

Seeger said she was in the second row, about four feet from the gunman, when he pointed a gun at her face. At first, "I was just a deer in headlights. I didn't know what to do," she said. Then she ducked to the ground as the gunman shot people seated behind her.

She said she began crawling toward an exit when she saw a girl about 14 years old "lying lifeless on the stairs." She saw a man with a bullet wound in his back and tried to check his pulse, but "I had to go. I was going to get shot."

Witness Shayla Roeder said she saw a young teenage girl on the ground bleeding outside the theater. "She just had this horrible look in her eyes .... We made eye contact and I could tell she was not all right," Roeder said.

Police, ambulances and emergency crews swarmed on the scene after frantic calls started flooding the 911 switchboard, officials said. Officers came running in and telling people to leave the theater, Salina Jordan told the Denver Post. She said some police were carrying and dragging bodies.

Hayden Miller told KUSA-TV that he heard several shots. "Like little explosions going on and shortly after that we heard people screaming," he told the station. Hayden said at first he thought it was part of a louder movie next door. But then he saw "people hunched over leaving theater."

Officers later found the gunman near a car behind the theater. Oates said there was no evidence of any other attackers.

Holmes was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver graduate school, university spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said. University officials earlier said he was a student at the university's medical school.

Holmes enrolled in the program in June 2011 and was in the process of withdrawing at the time of the shootings, Montgomery said.

At least 24 people were being treated at Denver area hospitals.

"Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time," the studio said.
Associated Press writers Kristen Wyatt, Steven K. Paulson, P. Solomon Banda, Ivan Moreno and Mead Gruver in Aurora, Dan Elliott and Colleen Slevin in Denver and Alicia A. Caldwell and Eileen Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.

Jul 19, 2012

(CNN) – Actor Morgan Freeman, currently starring in the latest installment of the Batman franchise, donated $1 million last month to the super PAC supporting President Barack Obama, the group's filings with the Federal Election Commission will show on Friday.

In a statement, Freeman listed the accomplishments he said spurred his donation to Priorities USA Action.

"Pres. Obama has done a remarkable job in historically difficult circumstances," Freeman wrote. "He ended combat operations in Iraq, put in place sensible reforms of Wall Street, saved the auto industry and protected the health care of every American. He has led our nation to be more tolerant and placed impressive, accomplished women on the Supreme Court."

The actor said he was "proud to lend my voice – and support – to those who defend him. Priorities USA Action is doing a great job of protecting the values I believe in. I am happy to help them and I hope others will join me."

Other Hollywood names have also donated to the pro-Obama super PAC, who has lagged behind rival groups supporting Republican challenger Mitt Romney in fund-raising. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the chief of DreamWorks, has donated $2 million to Priorities. Steven Spielberg and Bill Maher have also donated to the group.

Freeman, who won an Oscar in 2005 for his role in "Million Dollar Baby," currently stars as Lucius Fox, the man who builds Batman's armor, in "The Dark Knight Rises." He donated $2,300 to Obama ahead of the 2008 election, according to filings with the FEC.
DETROIT (Detroit Free Press) – A 9-year-old boy leaped or fell to his death from a bedroom of his family's ninth-floor apartment unit Wednesday, Detroit police said.
After the fall, no paramedics arrived on the scene and the boy was transported to the hospital in a police car. A state lawmaker is blaming city budget cuts for the lack of EMS response.

According to police, the youth had threatened to commit suicide several times recently. The incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. at a low-income housing complex, about one-half mile west of Henry Ford Hospital.

"It's real sad. There's too many young people doing this," said bystander Sheila Bowman, 35.

Wednesday's apparent suicide comes less than two months after the May 23 death, later ruled a suicide by the Wayne County Medical Examiner, of a 7-year-old Detroit boy. He was found hanging by a belt from his bunk bed after he locked his bedroom door, following weeks of complaining about being bullied at school, according to a police report.

At the time of the May suicide, psychologists at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit and at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor said children's threats of suicide should be taken seriously. Experts said that children considering suicide do not show the usual signs of depression but instead may act irritable or angry.

Outside the brick high-rise where the boy died Wednesday, Michele McCray said she was sitting in the shade when "I heard a thump and then someone moaning."

McCray, 56, said she turned and saw the boy's crumpled body a few yards away, on the grass next to the building.

"I really didn't feel I should go over there," she said. Instead, McCray ran into the apartment building's lobby and shouted for anyone with a phone to call 911, she said.

"He was a good kid — he was a skateboarder," said Faith Tucker, 35, who lives on the second floor of the 10-story apartment tower.

Because no EMS truck arrived at the scene, the boy was taken to the hospital in a police squad car, bystanders said. State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, confirmed that Wednesday night.

"It's just unbelievable," Tlaib said. "Can you imagine the family of that child — not seeing any ambulance come?"

She blamed city budget cuts for what she said was an unprecedented shortage of EMS trucks in Detroit. On July 7, a father whose 14-year-old son was fatally shot in southwest Detroit had to drive his son to the hospital because no EMS truck was available, Tlaib said.

She notified state officials Wednesday of both incidents and requested an investigation. Both incidents occurred in Tlaib's 12th state House District, which covers the south end of Detroit and once was patrolled by five EMS trucks.

"As of today (Wednesday), we have none. They have to dispatch one from the east side now," she said.

"The state needs to request a full investigation of this" through the agency that licenses ambulances in Michigan — the Crime Victims, EMS and Trauma Systems Division of the Michigan Department of Community Health, she said.

Reports are confirming the death of 'Golden Era' rapper Ms. Melodie of the Boogie Down Productions.

Ms. Melodie, real name Ramona Parker, is the ex-wife of Hip Hop legend KRS-One.  The two were divorced in 1992.

In 1988, she was a part of the iconic anti-violence song, ‘Self Destruction’.

She released a solo album in 1989 entitled, Diva.  It was her only album.

Cause of death was not released at time of reporting.

Jul 18, 2012

I may not be a huge fan of Juanita Bynum, but at least I can admit the woman is very transparent when it comes to her life.  Unlike other members of the clergy, Bynum is not afraid to share things from her past nor does she walk around with a holier than thou attitude.  So it doesn't come as a surprise that she would admit that she had affairs involving women. 

I'm sure there are some who wish to sensationalize this, but honestly it doesn't come as much of a surprise.  Rumors have been swirling for years regarding Bynum’s sexuality, but somehow she’s managed to stay quite about the situation until now.

Bynum made a rare appearance on the Frank and Wanda Show on Atlanta’s V-103 radio station.  During the visit, she gave her testimony in which she admitted to having relations with women.

Of course the fact that she’d been with women didn’t go over well with some in the faithful.  Many people took to Twitter to criticize the high profile motivational speaker prompting her to send out a response of her own on the social media site:

“If my life’s testimony offends you then good. Now you can go serve Christ for real because he will never disappoint you ever!!!Testimony is what you get after something has been put to death, Maybe that’s why we don’t see a lot of them. You got to kill it to tell it. A real Christian is not ashamed of the gospel nor what the Gospel has done and will do!! Remember that!!!”
Source: http://v103.cbslocal.com/2012/07/13/juanita-bynums-inspirational-vitamin-the-power-of-purpose/
Reports are circulating that actress Halle Berry was rushed to the hospital after sustaining a possible head injury after she fell on the concrete on the set of the new movie 'The Hive'.

Berry was brought to Cedars Sinal Medical Center in Los Angeles reports, TMZ, after the accident which happened around 10 p.m.

The injury occurred after Berry fell and reportedly hit her head on the concrete ground.

No statements have been released on behalf of the actress. Her health status is unknown.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration unveiled plans Wednesday to create an elite corps of master teachers, a $1 billion effort to boost U.S. students' achievement in science, technology, engineering and math.

The program to reward high-performing teachers with salary stipends is part of a long-term effort by President Barack Obama to encourage education in high-demand areas that hold the key to future economic growth — and to close the achievement gap between American students and their international peers.

Teachers selected for the Master Teacher Corps will be paid an additional $20,000 a year and must commit to participate multiple years. The goal is to create a multiplier effect in which expert educators share their knowledge and skills with other teachers, improving the quality of education for all students.

Speaking at a rally for his re-election campaign in San Antonio on Tuesday, Obama framed his emphasis on expanded education funding as a point of contrast with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, whom he accused of prioritizing tax cuts for the wealthy over reinvestment in the nation.

"I'm running to make sure that America has the best education system on earth, from pre-K all the way to post-graduate," Obama said. "And that means hiring new teachers, especially in math and science."

The administration will make $100 million available immediately out of an existing fund to incentivize top-performing teachers. Over the longer term, the White House said it plans to launch the program with $1 billion included in Obama's budget request for fiscal year 2013.

But the House and Senate both voted down Obama's budget earlier in the year, making it far from certain that Obama will be able to get congressional approval to spend $1 billion on master teachers.

An aide to Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, noted that the federal government already has more than 80 teacher quality programs and said it would be foolish to pump money into programs that may be duplicative or unproductive.

"Republicans share the president's goal of getting better teachers in the classroom," said Kline spokeswoman Alexandra Sollberger. "However, we also value transparency and efficient use of taxpayer resources."
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he expected the two parties to come together to support achievement in areas of high demand.

"This initiative has nothing to do with politics," Duncan said. "It's absolutely in our country's best long-term economic interest to do a much better job in this area."

A report released in February by the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology found that the U.S. must increase by 34 percent the number of students receiving degrees in science, math and related fields to keep up with economic demand.

The program will start with 2,500 teachers divided up among 50 different sites, the White House said, but will grow to include 10,000 teachers over the next four years. Obama, in partnership with a coalition of groups including the Carnegie Corporation of New York, has set a goal of producing 100,000 additional math and science teachers over the next 10 years.