Monthly Archives: August 2007

Cornel West and Hip Hop

The Village Voice talked to Cornel West about his new spoken word CD, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations. He and “Brother Prince,” wrote the album’s first single, “Dear Mr. Man,” and have become good friends.

“Dear Mr. Man,” an organ-goosed open letter to the U.S. government in which most of West’s contributions consist of ad-libs like “Break it down, Brother Prince!”, finds the Purple One railing against environmental abuses, constitutional abuses, Geneva Conventions abuses, and institutional racism. We tired of y’all, he says. We tired of y’all spyin’ on fellow citizens, adds West. We tired of y’all lyin’ to justify war. We tired of y’all torturing innocent people. And though other Never Forget tracks like “America” (featuring Black Thought and Rah Digga), “Mr. President” (featuring KRS-One and M1), and “Bushonomics” (featuring Talib Kweli) tout similar sentiments, not all of the fire and brimstone here is directed at the White House. West also calls out his rap-artist brothers and sisters for “degradin’ other folk.”

“50 Cent, Snoop, Game, Nelly,” West says, as if he’s writing their names on the board. “On one level, I love those brothers, because their artistic and aesthetic work is a part of who I am . . . . On the other hand, I challenge those brothers because I’m just against misogyny. I’m against homophobia. So somebody can be in my house and in my community and I still have to present a moral critique, because I’m just against those things. I just think they’re wrong. “So the question is,” West continues, “how do I deal with the love and embrace of them as artists and at the same time respectfully challenge them? So in that sense, I’m not really with the crowd that trashes hip-hop. I can’t stand that. That’s ridiculous. And I’m not with the crowd that somehow tries to give some justification for misogyny or homophobia. I just think the critique of homophobia has to be more explicit on hip-hop records—that’s why I’ve addressed it on my album. Including the domestic violence and the misogyny and the sexism and so forth—it goes hand in hand with that. That’s true with anything—anti-Semitism, it could be racism, any form of bigotry. I just have to take a stand against that. It’s just who I am. Now that’s a little different from this post-Imus trashing of Snoop. Because I’m not part of that crowd. At all.”

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Bid ‘Em In

I saw the animated short, Bid Em In, by Neal Sopata, during “Hot Ghetto Mess”…I’m sorry I mean “We’ve gotta do better”. Wow…a name change. Anyway…I was moved and angered a lil. Angered in the same way that I was watching Roots, Beloved, and the Color Purple. Bid ‘Em In…an animated clip that depicts a the auction of a female slave is something that I wanted to share with the world, and I did…lol…but I had to take the clip down out of respect for the creator because it wasn’t an approved clip (Note: People, don’t tape things on your television and put them on YouTube.  You got me in trouble.  LOL).  I asked about an approved clip and will post one if there’s one available.

Oscar Brown, Jr is the writer, storyteller, and performer of the song, “Slave Sale Song”, and the animation short was created by Neal Sopata in 2003 and was widely acclaimed in film festivals. Brown is a very outspoken Jazz musician with social consciousness on his agenda and uses a spoken word, griot style to remind people of the truths that are often buried in the history books. Here is more info from Tavis Smiley’s show on NPR. You can also listen to an interview and watch an animated clip.

bid em inAt Comic Con, BET presented this video…here’s what “Ilustrator” Tatiana EL-Khouri had to say about it. (I echo her thoughts regarding the irony of BET showing this short film): “BET will begin playing animation shorts throughout their normal programming. The Shorts will range from 6 second parodies like a 6 second tribute to Notorious BIG to a very controversial short called Bid ‘Em In by Neal Sopata. The crudely drawn, naive style animation dealt with slavery and the auction block in particular. When the short was previewed, I was stunned. As a woman of color I was offended and uneasy by the animation. I didn’t know how to react, but the applause from the crowd blew me away. The short displayed the ugliness and demeaning nature of slavery and the objectification of women. It presented a view into the slave auction, but ended abruptly with no conclusion.

Directly following the panel, I discussed the short with other panel attendees. We questioned BET’s motive to display such a riveting short, on such a touchy subject. The issue that stuck out the most to us is the way the slave woman was objectified, much like the women in the music videos today. I thought this was an interesting choice for BET to make as an initial short, considering the content and depiction of the Video Girls in the rap videos. It spurred an intellectual conversation discussing the influence slavery still has in society, along with how this short will be received by America who will be watching this in the comfort of their home. Will it be well received? Will it spur the youth to question the effect slavery still has on society? Will it remind people of the injustice and objectification that took place during the formation of America?”


Filed under african american, angry, black, black women, culture, history, media, slavery, television

Remember the Storm: Hurricane Katrina Anniversary Events

If you’re in the NOLA, participate!

International Tribunal on Katrina & Rita

The Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund, the Mississippi Disaster Relief Coalition, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the US Human Rights Network and others are convening an International Tribunal on Katrina and Rita. This Tribunal will be held in New Orleans on August 29th through September 2nd 2007. We call on international governments, organizations and individuals to sign on as endorsers of the International Tribunal with contributions of time, resources and funds in support of this important event. To participate in the Tribunal organizing process and get further information by calling (504) 301-0215 or click here to send an email.

Aug. 31, Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home and Cemeteries in Louisiana will display 1,400 white flags with the hand-printed names of hurricane victims on the grounds of Metairie Cemetery, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd.


Several well-known local restaurants will join thousands of others nationwide in “Share Our Strength: Restaurants for Relief,” supporting Gulf Coast hurricane recovery efforts. A percentage of the Aug. 29 sales will be donated to the relief program, sponsored by American Express. For participating restaurants see

“In Loving Memory” is a photographic exhibit of photos submitted by New Orleanians of family members and friends who died during Katrina, along with written memories about each. 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Mississippi River Heritage Park, 1100 Convention Center Blvd.

Mayor Ray Nagin and other community leaders will ring ceremonial bells to mark the time of the first levee breach 9:38 a.m., at City Hall. Simultaneously, five City Council members will lay memorial wreaths at the St. Roch Playground at St. Roch and North Prieur streets, the 17th Street Canal breach on Bellaire Drive, the London Avenue Canal breach, atop the Claiborne Avenue bridge over the Industrial Canal, and outside Gate A at the Superdome. Councilman Oliver Thomas at the eastern New Orleans home of his deceased brother Renaldo.

A memorial ceremony and march begins at 10:00 a.m., at the 9th Ward Levee Break, Jourdan and N. Galvez Sts.

A Jazz funeral requiem march is scheduled at 11:30 a.m., from the Superdome to Congo Square.

The “One New Orleans” jazz funeral procession will begin at 2:00 p.m., from the Convention Center to the Superdome and will be led by Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré to honor first responders and all the lives lost in Katrina as well as acknowledging the rebirth of New Orleans.

The Official Interfaith Prayer Service will be held at 7:00 p.m. at St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square. 12 faiths will participate in the services, including Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will play in Jackson Square from 8:00-8:55, and at 8:55, the Katrina bell (twin to the 9/11 bell in New York City) will be rung to commemorate the lives lost in Katrina.

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Black women unite at U.S. Open


(Original publication: August 28, 2007)

NEW YORK – A Who’s Who of black female pioneers was in the hallway inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, including former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun, billionaire Sheila Crump Johnson and Tony Award-winner Phylicia Rashad. And despite all their credentials, they all started applauding when Venus Williams walked past on her way to the court.

“I wish I had more time to say hello, but center court’s calling,” Williams said. “It’s amazing, more than fantastic. Its very special.”

The women were in the hallway after taking part in an hour-long celebration of Althea Gibson, the daughter of sharecroppers in South Carolina who broke the color barrier at the U.S. Championships (now the U.S. Open) in 1950 and won the title 50 years ago. She was also the first African-American winner at the French Open (1956) and Wimbledon (1957).

After that, no black woman won any of those tournaments until Serena Williams took the U.S. Open in 1999 and Venus Williams followed with the Wimbledon championship in 2000.

The sisters followed the ceremony with first-round matches in front of a night-session-record 23,737 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

– click here for the rest of this article 

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White youngster dancing his a** off

Whoa, look at lil Justin Timberlake.  That lil boy can move

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lil something for the saints – Clark Sisters

I busted folks out yesterday.  Let me soothe your soul with a video of the Clark Sisters, vintage, classic Clark Sisters.  :)

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Wake up SAVED, Christian Negroes

I just need to express a couple of changes that I would like the whole of Christian “Negrodom” to consider in light of recent events. Those events being:

1. Major ministers and preachers having issues…Juanita Bynum, Paula White, etc.

2. Mega Church madness and Pulpit Pimpin’

3. Crimes being perpetrated by black youth (Dunbar Village) and against black youth (Jena 6)

4. Media portrayls of blacks (notably women), with an emphasis on the music industry and hip hop (or so called hip hop, because some of this music is just mess)

Stop letting these fake men and women of God run your life…think for yourself. Various preachers have “fallen from grace” recently, and all I hear is black people trying to defend them like they are defending the faith. Devotees are defending pimps who ask for huge offerings as a sign that the members of the church “believe”. Those same members don’t understand that the visiting preacher or “profit” is often times paid from that same offering…they get a percentage. So the more they raise, the more they get. Let’s just be real, these lofty people are not known for feeding the poor of America. They are not teaching African Americans how to gain socioeconomic and political power. They are actually part of the problem. They trick people out of their money, talking about how God has given them big churches, planes riches, and huge houses…then these same people go out, get subprime mortgages for big houses and cars so they can look “blessed” and prosperous too. What?!?!?! What bible is this from. What about the poor, the widows, the fatherless. All these fatherless black children running wild…are big name preachers talking about it and holding conferences about it? No, because that doesn’t make the membership shout and run around the church. Talk about money, homes, new business ownership, dreams, destiny, salvation, freedom from your past…you know…what they want to hear. Entertain them with the best gospel singers and musicians (many of whom are not saved and just employed by the church so that the praise and worship sounds really good. I know…I’ve been there…I’m a singer). Many of the young people committing crimes, being falsely accused, and embracing the negatives that come out of hip hop culture, like “Stop Snitchin”, are THE FATHERLESS that the word speaks of.

I would think that at least saved African Americans would care about what is going on in this nation with black people. The Black Church was the center of the Civil Rights movement. Without the “people of God” there would have been no movement. Where is the church with regard to the Jena 6 and Dunbar Village. Are preachers going to talk about the Vick case instead? Do church folk really think that the negative images of African Americans in the media don’t affect their kids. Church kids are some of the most worldly and crazy ones most of the time, because they rebel against the standards of their parents…just like other teens…but they’ve been held to high, moral, Christian standards. Where are the standards? Where is the compassion? Where is the responsibility? Where is God’s love?

No, it’s easier to let the word of another person that you deem as holy be the guide for your life. It’s easier to find you significance in your church membership, and not in being a good mother, a good father, a loving person…etc. It’s easier to strive for the goals of looking holy instead of living holy…living like Jesus would if he were walking the earth right now. I believe that he would be helping people, shouting about injustice, and appalled by the inactivity of his church toward the great commission.

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Is this racist? – Controversial Cartoon from Florida Times-Union

hoThis controversial cartoon was run in the Florida Times-Union and was meant to criticize “no snitching” movement in hip hop, however it has sparked outrage within the black community and has caused the newspaper’s editor to issue an apology.

I think it is very ironic.  This cartoon reflects what is going on in the black community.  We are in large part saying “I didn’t see nuttin”.  A Florida newspaper would know…the should see “summtin” with regard to the Dunbar Village case…but then that would take black outrage.  I wonder if they’ve received as many calls that they report on that story as they have about this cartoon.  If the African American community seeing anything with regard to the Jena 6?  What about seeing the ignorance and lack of learning in the schools that our children attend that makes them susceptible to thinking that not snitching is a good thing…an honorable thing.

Black people, this cartoon, for whatever it is…it does have a point.  Are we seeing what is going on or are we just seeing blatant ignorance and violence in our own communities and doing nothing?  Are we good lil hoes?  Who’s hoes are we?  A hoe…a prostitute must work and bring their money back to the pimp.  A hoe is used and doesn’t have control of their resources.   Are we hoes to the economy…ask yourself all you subprime mortgage holders…heading to foreclosure?  Are we in control of our communities?  No, not when our women have to live in fear of being raped.  Who’s hoes are we, I ask again?  Hoe-ing is not that much different than being a slave.  We can’t be enslaved…we must stand up and not just allow things like crime and ignorant movements based on a false sense of hood honor to degrade us.


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Dunbar Village Gang Rape – Black on Black crime ignored by the media and black leaders

After learning of the Jena 6 I was feeling a lot of things…outrage, disappointment, amazement. I’ve been reading as much as possible about the case, most information is online…I haven’t seen any TV news coverage, there’s been some print. However, my feelings about that case now have been trumped by the disgust regarding the Dunbar Village Gang Rape in West Palm Beach, FL.  I know I’m late writing about this crime, but better late then never.   The Washington Post did a piece on Aug 17, so that was a candle in the dark (I’m in DC so I looked there first).  Other papers are just stepping up, local TV in Florida.   What About Our Daughters has taken the lead on exposing and holding the media accountable on – Click here for their coverage.

Here are the basics of the story from Black America Web:

“The incident occurred at a public housing project called Dunbar Village in West Palm Beach, Florida.“After dark on June 18, the police say, as many as 10 armed assailants repeatedly raped a Haitian immigrant in her apartment complex at Dunbar Village … They took cell phone pictures of their acts. They burned the woman’s skin and (her 12-year-old son’s) eyes with cleaning fluid, forced them to lie naked together in the bathtub, hit them with a broom and a gun and threatened to set them on fire.”

As despicable as that sounds, it wasn’t the worst of it. The worst of it was when these vermin, according to Times writer Amy Goodnough, “forc(ed) (the woman) to perform oral sex on her 12-year-old son.”

If you’re wondering why the traditional gaggle of black misleaders didn’t dash before the nearest television cameras to condemn what might well hold up as the worst black-on-black crime of the decade, don’t bother. You already know the answer.”

Here is some additional information:

The video below talks about the rape, and notes that 2 other women (a teen and a 42 year old woman) were also raped in the Dunbar Village Housing Project with in a month’s time. Please do what you can…the video lists contact numbers for West Palm Beach officials and leadership.


Filed under african american, angry, black, crime, injustice, media, news, racism, rape, Uncategorized

The Jena 6 need your support – Racism in small town LA

We’ve heard this story before, from the Scottsboro boys to Marcus Dixon. I’d like to say that I’m surprised that there was a White’s only tree on a high school campus in Louisiana, but I’m not. I’d like to say that I’m surprised that the DA is a racist pig who threatened the lives of several black teen protesters (reported on Democracy Now.  They interviewed parents of the teens.)  However, what I am not surprised about is the lack of coverage that this story is getting.  The Duke rape case was in the news for a year, but I’ve seen nothing on this.  I’ll just add it to the list of news stories that have gotten “separate but equal” style coverage from major media, stories where white victims warrant more air time and black victims may get a quick side note…if any.  I guess you have to be “Nichole Richie” black (I assume she is black…biracial…although I’ve never really heard it mentioned much in the news) to get some air time.

Sign the Petition.  Call your local news station and tell them to do a story.  Email CNN, the major networks, your favorite bloggers, Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes…etc.  Tell your co-workers and friends about this outrageous miscarriage of justice.

Here’s the story:

Tragedy: Jena’s “White’s Only” Tree
By Kam Williams – August 18th, 2007

On August 31st of last year, a small group of Black freshman at Jena High School approached the assistant principal to ask whether it was okay for them to enjoy the shade under a big tree located in what had come to be considered the “white only” section of the schoolyard.

His response was that they could “sit wherever they wanted.” Relying on those words, they did just that, trusting that, should any controversy arise, the administration would support their effort to eradicate this offensive vestige of de facto segregation.

But Jena, population 3,000, is a backwards, backwoods Louisiana town, and when three nooses were found swaying from the tree the very next day, the African-American community complained to anybody who would listen that the hanging ropes amounted to a hate crime given the South’s sinful legacy of lynching. And although the culprits were caught, the city’s school superintendent excused the racist attempt at intimidation by saying “Adolescents play pranks. I don’t think it was a threat against anybody.”

So, on September 5th, the Black students organized a peaceful sit-in under the “white tree” in protest of the slap on the wrist doled out to the perpetrators. The next morning, an impromptu school assembly was convened during which District Attorney Reed Walters icily stared in the direction of the African-Americans, all sitting together, warning them not to stage any further demonstrations. Furthermore, he concluded by leveling this thinly-veiled threat, “I can make your lives disappear with a stroke of my pen.”

Starting on September 7th, the halls of Jena High were patrolled by the police, and on the 8th the school was placed under complete lockdown. Several dozen Black parents attempted to address the next meeting of the school board, on the 10th, but all were refused an opportunity to speak because the board considered “the noose issue” to have been addressed satisfactorily and fully resolved.

Nevertheless, over the Fall, confrontations continued to escalate, mostly a reign of terror on the part of white vigilantes, including an incident in which Black students had to wrestle a white adult wielding a shotgun to the ground. But rather than arrest the assailant, the prosecutor reportedly winked and returned the weapon to the latter-day Klansman. In fact, the officer of the law saw no reason to intervene until December 4th when he charged a half-dozen African-American students dubbed the Jena 6 with attempted murder after they allegedly got the better of some whites in a fight in the school cafeteria.

Mychal Bell, 17, the first of the classmates to go on trial, was quickly convicted in a kangaroo court by an all-white jury presided over by a white judge in less than three hours. Now, he’s facing 22 years in prison.

Before DA Walters follows through on his promise to ruin the lives of his co-defendants, too, let’s just pray that CBS’ 60 Minutes and the rest of the mainstream media intervene to question Walters’ motivations and embark on as earnest an effort to make mincemeat of his career as they did to disgraced Durham DA Mike Nifong for his overzealous prosecution of the Duke Lacrosse case.

Stay tuned for a showdown that is shaping up as a landmark decision on whether justice in America can be colorblind or if Southern trees will continue to bear strange fruit.


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