Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron Dies

Gil Scott-Heron was a poet, musician, songwriter and author. Born in Chicago, he lived with his grandmother in Jackson, TN and after her death, he returned to his mother in the Bronx, New York City. Scott-Heron attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, as it was the college chosen by his biggest influence Langston Hughes. Although Scott-Heron never received his undergraduate degree, he had a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Scott-Heron was the author of the song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, one of his most well-known compositions and contains hip hop elements such as rapping, cultural and political references, heavy drumbeats, and minimalist production. Be sure to take the time to check out the song. recorded in 1970 in Harlem.

Scott-Heron died in New York City at the age of 62.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

McCain, King Resolution to Pardon Jack Johnson

Sen. John McCain and Rep. Peter King again are pushing a congressional resolution urging a presidential pardon for Jack Johnson, who became the world's first black heavyweight champion a century ago.

"A full pardon would not only shed light on the achievements of an athlete who was forced into the shadows of bigotry and prejudice, but also allow future generations to grasp fully what Jack Johnson accomplished against great odds." The original resolution overwhelmingly passed Congress in 2009. McCain and King have introduced virtually the same resolution in Congress to pardon Johnson since 2004.

President Barack Obama refused to act on the call for a pardon in the last congressional session, even after the resolution passed both houses of Congress. The Justice Department told the lawmakers that such requests are best used for the living.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Black Women Are Less Attractive": Psychology Today

Nearly 20 years after a black parent documented how hard it was to hear, "Mommy, I want to be white,"1 Psychology Today reinforced the false and hurtful sentiment that Black women aren't attractive.

Last week they published an article claiming it to be scientific fact that Black women are less beautiful than women of other races,2 penned by Satoshi Kanazawa, who is notorious for hiding behind pseudoscience to promote discredited racist and sexist ideas.3

By giving Kanazawa a platform and validating his ideas, Psychology Today dehumanized Black women and girls everywhere. After widespread public outcry, they removed the article from their website.4 But that alone won't erase the damage they've done by validating these discredited ideas — the editors need to apologize, explain how this happened, and let us know that it won't happen again. Please join us in demanding they do so immediately, and then ask your friends and family to do the same:

Related Articles's a Fact that Black Women are unattractive

The Data's In: Satoshi Kanazawa is a Bad Scientist

Satoshi Kanazwa's racist nonsense ...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bristol Palin's Plastic Surgery

NEW YORK - MAY 6:  (NO SALE, NO ARCHIVE) In th...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Jack Stuef, Wonkette blog reports that Bristol Palin had all the fat sucked out from underneath her face and suddenly has a new Jay Leno chin. This allowed her a chance to once again tap some food money from US Weekly, by denying the procedure was plastic surgery. The problem, she says, was that her snowbilly teeth were all screwed up and her jaw was about to rot off or something. Even better!

“Yes,” she admits, “It improved the way I look, but this surgery was necessary for medical reasons…so my jaw and teeth could properly realign…I don’t obsess over my face”

Still, “I am absolutely thrilled with the results,” she gushes. “I look older, more mature, and don’t have as much of a chubby little baby face!”
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Happy Birthday, Malcolm X

May 19 was the birthday of Malcolm X, (he would have been 86) and as someone who lived through the turbulent '60s I remember him as one of the driving forces in the civil rights era. His autobiography, written with Alex Haley, is was a compelling tale of his journey from street hustler to religious and civil rights leader.  His original name is Malcolm Little ; his Muslim name was el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz.

Democracy Now! hosts a roundtable discussion about Dr. Manning Marable's controversial new biography,Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. Dr. Marable used material for his book that was recently made available, thus providing a new insight into the famed civil rights leader. His biography, however, has also refueled the debate on many controversial aspects of Malcolm X's life and interpretation of his politics and legacy.

Only minutes into the discussion, Amiri Baraka and Michael Eric Dyson spared off about Manning's research on the life of Malcolm X and conclusions about the political legacy of the famed civil rights leader.

Check out the excerpt of what Amiri Baraka, an acclaimed poet, playwright, music historian and activist based in Newark, NJ,  and Michael Eric Dyson had to say:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Denzel Gets Honorary Degree

Denzel Washington made remarks during the University of Pennsylvania's 255th Commencement Monday, May 16, 2011, in Philadelphia.

The 56-year-old star of "Malcolm X" and "Philadelphia" delivered a humorous speech with a sobering truth: Failure is inevitable. Yet instead of having something to fall back on, he said, graduates should "fall forward" -- learn from their mistakes and keep going.
Thomas Edison had countless failed experiments before succeeding with the light bulb, he said.
"Do you have the guts to fail?" Washington said. "If you don't fail, you're not even trying."

Washington received an honorary doctorate at the ceremony. In granting the degree, Penn President Amy Gutmann said that his moving performances have "entertained us, inspired us and often enlightened us." She also praised his off-screen work with charities and social causes, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
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Dougie Rapper Killed in Drive-by

M-Bone of the rap group Cali Swag District, which scored a hit last year with the song "Teach Me How to Dougie," was killed in a weekend drive-by shooting as he sat in a car outside a liquor store, police said Monday. The motive for Sunday night's shooting was under investigation, Lt. James Madia said.

The 22-year-old Inglewood man, whose real name is Mante Ray Talbert, was sitting alone in his car shortly after 10:30 p.m. "Another car pulled alongside, gunshots were fired, and the victim was struck twice in the head," Madia said.

Talbert died at a hospital. Talbert was "the victim of a random act of violence," said a statement from Cali Swag District's publicist, Greg Miller.

Cali Swag District's hit "Teach Me How to Dougie" is based on the Dougie dance, which first appeared in Texas and is noted for its leaning stances and shoulder and arm movements.

The dance was performed not only in dance clubs and the streets, but by celebrities as well, from Wolf Blitzer to Washington Wizards star John Wall. Even first lady Michelle Obama recently performed the dance as part of her Let's Move initiative.

"He was a hardworking, passionate artist and dancer that will be deeply missed," Miller said.

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Don Lemon:"I Was Born Gay"

Last year while interviewing young people from Eddie Long’s Atlanta church CNN  anchorman Don Lemon shared with the audience that he had been molested as a child and today he has chosen to share another personal truth.

“Today I chose to step out on faith and begin openly living my own truth. And let me say right up front that I hope many of you will be inspired to do the same thing in your daily lives. Some of the things I’ve chosen to reveal in my book Transparent were very difficult to share with even those closest to me. There was a time when I was terrified of revealing these things to the person I love most in this world – my own mother. But when I finally mustered the courage to tell her that I had been molested as a child and that I was born gay, my life began to change in positive ways that I never imagined possible. Yet I still chose to keep those secrets hidden from the world. I, like most gay people, lived a life of fear. Fear that if some employers, co-workers, friends, neighbors and family members learned of my sexuality, I would be shunned, mocked and ostracized. It is a burden that millions of people carry with them every single day. And sadly, while the mockery and ostracizing are realized by millions of people every day, I truly believe it doesn’t have to happen and that’s why I feel compelled to share what I’ve written in Transparent. As a journalist I believe that part of my mission is to shed light onto dark places. So, the disclosure of this information does not inhibit in any way my ability to be the professional, fair and objective journalist I have always been. My book is dedicated to the memory of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who jumped to his death from a bridge after his dorm mates streamed his private business over the Internet for the world to see. Tyler might still be with us today if more gay men and women had chosen to live proudly and openly. It is also dedicated to the millions of young, gay people who believe they are alone when dealing with their own sexual identities. You are not alone! There are people, like me and many others, who are thriving in their personal and professional lives and although we sometimes have a hard time with it ourselves, we are here to show you by example that you too can overcome any obstacle as long as you stay strong and, most of all, stay alive.”
With love and honesty,
Don Lemon
May 16, 2011

Lemon's new book, a memoir titled "Transparent" comes out next month.  The book covers his jornalism career and, as he writes in his book, the "dark, ugly secrets" he brings to light today. The 45 year old correspondent and anchor of "CNN Newsroom says he expects the public to have strong opinions about items in his book and about his announcement. Lemon says "it's important for everyone to be truthful about who they are".

So, now you know Don Lemon was "born gay".  But, what else do you know about him? Here's some additional information.  He earned a degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College. He has also attended Louisiana State University. He joined CNN in September 2006.  Lemon reports and anchors on-the-scene for CNN from many breaking news stories, including the Inaugural of the 44th President in Washington, D.C., Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana (2008) and the Minneapolis bridge collapse (2007).

Lemon serves as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College, teaching and participating in curriculum designed around new media. He has won an Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the capture of the Washington, D.C. snipers. He won an Emmy for a special report on real estate in Chicagoland and various other awards for his reporting on the AIDS epidemic in Africa and Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, he won three more local Emmys for his reporting in Africa and a business feature about Craigslist, an online community.

This year, Ebony named him as one of the Ebony Power 150: the most influential blacks in America.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 06: Congressman John Lewi...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

This week marks the start of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights "Freedom Riders", who traveled by bus to confront segregation in the South.  On a recent show, Oprah Winfrey honored 178 original Freedom Riders and retold personal stories and memories from some of them.

PBS will air a documentary on the Freedom Riders on May 16. I won't miss it and neither should you.
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Waiting To Exhale Sequel Coming

Fans who have been anticipating the sequel to Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale can finally breathe easy. After more than 15 years the author/screenwriter will be collaborating with director Forest Whitaker to bring her follow up novel Getting To Happy, to the big screen.

During a recent appearance on CBS's The Talk, Angela Bassett confirmed that all the original cast members including Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon will be returning for the sequel and Whitaker will once again direct. "[McMillan] wrote Getting to Happy and she's written the screenplay. Forest is working on the script now, " Bassett said.

Waiting To Exhale; the story of four African-American female friends searching for "Mr. Right", was a significant box office success. Although the movie received mixed reviews from critics, fans considered it a groundbreaking phenomenon.

In Getting To Happy audiences will get to revisit the lives of Gloria, Bernadine, Savannah and Robin fifteen years later. According to McMillan's website, "All four are learning to heal past hurts and to reclaim their joy and their dreams; but they return to us full of spirit, sass, and faith in one another. They've exhaled: now they are learning to breathe."

Will Smith Takes "The Heat"

Will Smith, sorry for the red eyes!Image via Wikipedia
Fans of the highly anticipated Men in Black III sequel are thrilled that filming is underway in New York City. But some city residents aren't so thrilled with the man in black himself - Will Smith
Smith has parked a 1,000-foot double-decker trailer near the movie set in Manhattan's bustling Soho neighborhood.

The specially designed trailer has a gym, a movie room with a 100-inch screen, and marble floors throughout. There are offices for Smith's assistants and and a large bedroom, too. All told, this luxury apartment on 22 wheels is about 53 feet long and weighs around 30 tons.

According to the New York Post, the trailer even has its own nickname -- "The Heat." The paper reported that some Soho neighbors don't like the exhaust smells from "the Heat" - or its massive presence on the neighborhood's narrow streets. Apparently, Smith is renting a five-bedroom luxury apartment less than a mile away.

Men in Black III is schedule for release in May 2012.
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WH Poetry Night Draws Right Wing Criticism

President Barack Obama spoke about the importance of poetry and the arts at an event hosted by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. The whole event — part of Michelle Obama’s White House Music Series — was a PG-rated PSA for poetry and arts education, but the media conjured a controversy before it even happened.

The Washington Post Lifestyle reports this week, Common was deemed a “vile,” “cop killer rapper” in headlines on Fox Nation, a Web site run by Fox News. Criticism sprang from other conservative fountainheads, including former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (who tweeted her disapproval), the Daily Caller (which excerpted lyrics through which Common bemoaned police conduct and President George W. Bush’s initiation of the war in Iraq) and Fox News anchor Sean Hannity (who Tuesday devoted 10 minutes of his show to what the network branded “The Invitation”).

The media tug of war ensued despite Common’s reputation as a morally engaged lyricist who condemns violence and has written children’s books and started a foundation to promote leadership among urban youths.

As the president put it during his opening remarks: “A great poem is one that resonates with us, that challenges us, and that teaches us something about ourselves and the world that we live in.”

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