Monthly Archives: June 2008

DC: Smithfield Workers, the N-Word, and North Carolina relatives

Thousands of people in the Washington, DC area have ties to North Carolina, especially African Americans.  Many of our family members migrated to the region for better work opportunities and–at times–to escape abusive working conditions.   I was suprised to see this sign in the Gallery Place metro station today.  Well, maybe not suprised…I do come from an area of the midwest where meat packing plants thrive and I’ve heard about how conditions can be.  However, the allegations are just something you would never want to hear about taking place in 2008.  Beatings???  Being called the N-word by your manager???  Dag!  Supporters of the Justice@Smithfield campaign say that horrible conditions persist at the world’s largest hog processing plant, in Tar Heel, NC.

smithfield justice

“This summer, DC area families of Smithfield workers are beginning to reach back to their loved ones in Tar Heel, with a major advertising campaign spotlighting injuries and abuses at the plant. In late June, we will unveil a series of adverstisements in select metro stations and bus routes putting a human face on worker abuses at the plant, and urging DC area consumers to consider alternatives to Smithfield products in their local supermarkets. The campaign will also include radio advertisements and voice messages from movie star Danny Glover, which will air in Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia.” – www.smithfieldjustice.com – Click here to see the other 2 ads

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“Black” is in fashion at Vogue in July

Black is really “the new BLACK”…but we already knew that. I guess Vogue magazine knows too.

Allegations of racism and discrimination in the fickle fashion world have surfaced after Franca Sozzani, editor of the global style bible Vogue Italia, confirmed rumours that July’s issue would be back-to-back black.

Using only black models, next month’s issue will run articles tailored for black women interested in the arts and entertainment.

American Vogue is following a similar path, using its July issue to ask why it is that there is a dearth of black models on catwalks and in magazines.

It’s nothing new. Like the fashion styles spruiked in magazines and on catwalks, the race debate is cyclical.

The first time a black model sashayed down the catwalk was in 1964, put there by designer Paco Rabanne. It was scandalous. Rabanne reported afterwards that American fashion journalists went backstage and almost spat in his face. “They said haute couture is reserved for white women and not those girls over there,” he said.

More than four decades later, the flamboyant designer Vivienne Westwood cried whitewash after a magazine editor refused to use a black model on the cover because “sales would halve”. Westwood, fuming, demanded a quota system to force magazines to feature more black and Asian models. If America can consider a black president, could the fashion world be about to finally get black beauty? Unlikely, according to The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn, who argues racism in fashion exists because tokenism persists.

The famed Los Angeles-based photographer Steven Meisel, who shot the images for Vogue Italia’s 170-page July issue, agrees black models are conspicuous by their presence. Best known as the man behind the camera for Madonna’s 1992 book, Sex, Meisel is a long-time critic of the fashion industry’s narrow view of the world, going as far as to label it discriminatory. [full article - theage.com]

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Filed under african american, beauty, black, black history, black women, change, culture, global, news, race, racism, Uncategorized, women

Karl Rove on Barack Obama

For former Bush mastermind Karl Rove to portray Obama as a Gatsby-esque smoothie, as he did to a group of DC Republicans the other day, was a fascinating piece of race and class voodoo. “Even if you never met him,” Rove said, “You know this guy. He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”

No wonder his wife’s so mad.

Rove’s comment translates in tactical terms as the weirdly implausible, “If we can’t portray him as an angry black man, what the hell — we’ll portray him as a privileged, elitist, white man.”

Wow…very telling. So what do you think of the translation?

Source

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Yearbook’s fake names make fun of black students

Officials at a California high school say they are trying to find out why students were allowed to have false names for black students put in the yearbook.

Clint Harwick, superintendent of Charter Oak High School in Covina, Calif., said it was a “regrettable mistake” that names including “Tay Tay Shaniqua,” “Crisphy Nanos” and “Laquan White” were printed in the yearbook for members of the Black Student Union.

LA Times has video – The embed wouldn’t work…CLICK HERE for the video.

Can you imagine…you’re child being noted as “the janitor” in his high school yearbook?? Sad. AND…how ironic is it that the newscaster got the name wrong of the African American young lady in the story. Extra sad. Evonne rhymes with Yvonne…right?

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Filed under academic, african american, angry, black, black men, black women, children, ghetto, injustice, media, news, opinion, race, slang, society, stereotype, student, white folks, why

Friday Question: Will the N-word ever go away?

Hello Readers!!! We’ve seen some healthy debate around the posting on NAS’s new song “Be a Nigger too”. The N-word tends to have that effect when opinionated people are around, and I love the dialog. So, this week’s question is “Will the N-word ever go away?”. [The question is late...my bad] I know quite a few African Americans who absolutely hate the word and think it should never ever be used regardless of the circumstances. I know quite a few African Americans who think the word has been somewhat “reclaimed” by the community and is not always used in it’s historical sense. Many embrace it, and many abhor it.

The question is, whether embraced or banned in some fashion, will it ever disappear from use. Do you think it will become illegal, passe, or just archaic?

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Is Maxwell back???

In case you didn’t catch it, Maxwell was a surprise guest to honor Al Green on the BET music awards. He’s still beautiful and sounds good. I really hope an album is coming soon…

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Were Black women in support of R. Kelly during the trial?

Here’s part of a recent Newsweek article titled “Why did so many African-American women support R. Kelly?Were we in support of R. Kelly, Sistas????

Letisha Harlins made sure she took her lunch break early last Friday so she could sit in her black Honda and listen to the live radio broadcast of the R. Kelly verdict. Kelly was once Harlin’s favorite musical celebrity. She plastered his album covers on her walls when she was in high school, and she saw him in concert nine times. But her support of the R&B crooner stopped six years ago when Kelly was arrested and charged with 14 counts of child pornography and child endangerment. The charges were the result of a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with an underage girl. Harlins, now 24, was crushed. “I just couldn’t believe it,” says the native of Chicago, which is also Kelly’s hometown. “I’d put him on this pedestal for years and then I saw the tape. I can’t even look at him anymore. I couldn’t stand it.”

Harlins was crushed again this month when Kelly was found not guilty of all the charges. But almost as disturbing to her was how African-Americans, and especially African-American women, reacted to Kelly’s acquittal. When the verdict was announced, dozens of black women (and some black men) cheered outside the courtroom as the singer made his way past them to his waiting tour bus. It wasn’t just in Chicago. African-American blogs such as Young, Black and Fabulous, What About Our Daughters and Essence quickly filled up with letters from women exclaiming their joy over Kelly’s freedom. “That had to hurt the most,” said Harlins. “Seeing black women who could have very well been that girl–or had a daughter that could have been that girl–cheer that he got off. How could a woman not support the punishment of someone who hurt another woman? I just can’t understand it.”

It’s important to note that the alleged victim herself refused to testify and had insisted that she wasn’t on the tape; Kelly, too, insisted it wasn’t him on the tape. Those factors undoubtedly contributed to Kelly’s acquittal. Still, the reaction to the case raises a host of familiar, difficult issues, starting with the role celebrity can play in a criminal trial. Fame has long affected–or perverted–the way justice is meted out by a jury. The celebrity effect is arguably more pronounced when the defendant is black, in part because African-Americans feel protective when one of their own achieves mainstream success. “It’s sick,” says Aaron McGruder, creator of the comic strip “Boondocks,” which featured a scathing episode focused on Kelly and his supporters. “The love we have for our celebrities in the black community no matter what they do is crazy, and there is no excuse for it. It’s just blind and clueless.” As the O. J. Simpson case demonstrated, some African-Americans believe that the criminal-justice system is so stacked against them, they almost don’t care if a defendant is actually innocent or guilty. “I know it sounds crazy, but it’s just nice so see a brother beat the system–the way I know white guys with money do all the time,” said Lamont Gillyard, 25, a loan officer in Los Angeles. “It’s not right, but there are so many black men in jail for stuff they didn’t do, it’s hard not feel like this is a way of balancing out the game that isn’t fair anyway.” Continue reading

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Letting my SOOOOUUUULLL Glow, Baby!!!

This is how I’m feeling today:

LOL LOL LOL (I stole this from Listen to Leon. It was so appropriate.  Hope you are having a good day too, My readers!!)

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“Wouldn’t you like to be a Nigger too?”

“I’m a nigger, he’s a nigger, she’s a nigger, we some niggers,
wouldn’t you like to be a nigger too?
They like to strangle niggers, blaming niggers, shooting niggers, hanging niggers,
still you wanna be a nigger too?”

NAS had my attention before, when he was going to name his new CD “Nigger”. That has been scrapped and the CD will be untitled from what I hear, but I’m loving his new CD cover. What I’m REALLY REALLY REALLY loving today is his new song “Be a Nigger too” and the video for it. You can check it out below. I’m so excited about this song. The song in the video is longer than the CD version, but I think they should change that. I know some of you won’t be able to get past the n-word. That’s ok. I know it’s painful. However, as a child of black revolutionaries…I love this s**t. I think it’s conscious and I haven’t heard much consciousness in hip hop music lately. In the video he says,

“They say we N-I Double G E-R, We Are, Much More, But still we choose to ignore the obvious/ We are the Slave And the Master. What you lookin for? You the question and the answer.”

Yes we really are.

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Filed under african american, black, black history, black man, celebrity, community, culture, hate, hip hop, media, n-word, opinion, race, stereotype, video, youtube

Friday Question: Do African Americans care about what is going on in Africa?

In light of the famine, civil war, genocide, food shortages, and civil/political instability on the mother continent I raise this question”

Do African Americans care about what is going on in Africa? If you feel that the answer is yes, please note how we show that we care.

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