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- 01/14/11--05:53: _Join the '100 Shows...
- 01/14/11--06:50: _Did 50 Cent Cheat t...
- 01/14/11--09:24: _Notable/Quotable: N...
- 01/14/11--09:30: _Arizona Congresswom...
- 01/14/11--10:17: _Is College Always a...
- 01/14/11--10:19: _Presidential Candid...
- 01/14/11--10:40: _'The Green Hornet' ...
- 01/14/11--11:00: _Phylicia Simone Bar...
- 01/14/11--11:21: _The Michael Steele ...
- 01/14/11--11:41: _ESPN Has Town Hall ...
- 01/14/11--17:45: _Schools Chancellor,...
- 01/14/11--22:00: _Gloria Govan: I Don...
- 01/15/11--02:40: _'The Social Network...
- 01/15/11--04:02: _Check Out Trailer T...
- 01/16/11--15:37: _Halle Berry, Idris ...
- 01/16/11--17:19: _In Honor of Dr. Mar...
- 01/16/11--18:04: _Chevrolet Presents ...
- 01/17/11--01:00: _Golden Globes Red C...
- 01/17/11--03:53: _Dr. Martin Luther K...
- 01/17/11--09:05: _20 Questions With A...
- 01/14/11--05:53: Join the '100 Shows for Haiti' Grassroots Relief Effort
- 01/14/11--06:50: Did 50 Cent Cheat the System by Pushing Penny Stocks on Twitter?
- 01/14/11--09:30: Arizona Congresswoman Making Remarkable Progress After Shooting
- 01/14/11--10:17: Is College Always a good Financial Investment?
- 01/14/11--10:19: Presidential Candidates Now Set For Nigerian Election
- 01/14/11--10:40: 'The Green Hornet' Film Review: Surprisingly Enjoyable
- 01/14/11--11:21: The Michael Steele Experiment is Over
- 01/14/11--22:00: Gloria Govan: I Don't Play Games
- 01/15/11--02:40: 'The Social Network' Wins Top Prize At Critics Choice Movie Awards
- 01/16/11--18:04: Chevrolet Presents the 2011 MLK Reading Project
- 01/17/11--01:00: Golden Globes Red Carpet Recap
- 01/17/11--03:53: Dr. Martin Luther King and the Dangers of 'Hero Worship'
- 01/17/11--09:05: 20 Questions With Actor Pooch Hall
In the old days, neighborhood kids would gather their resources and talents to put on a show for the community when an overwhelming need struck the less fortunate.
Today, with the power of the Internet at hand, grassroots outreach for the community good has taken a global direction.
One need look no further than the "100 Shows for Haiti" campaign that is bringing together musicians, artists, activists, cooks and everyday people for a series of events designed to aid the people of earthquake-torn Haiti.
The best part of the campaign is that anyone can participate. If you would like to hold an event for the benefit, simply contact the organizers at email@example.com and get information on how your concert/bake sale/viewing/etc. can be part of the event.
The "100 Shows for Haiti" idea was developed by community organizer and punk rock artist Maurice Mitchell. He and his friends began organizing the power of the Internet to create a website and Facebook page for their efforts.
The group began organizing small events, pooling their news media contacts and spreading the word. Events are planned or have taken place in more than 10 states, including New York, California, Michigan, Ohio and Washington D.C.
Participants in Ireland, England, Canada, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines have or will host 100 Show for Haiti events.
All of the proceeds will go to benefiting the work of Dr. Jacques Denis who is providing free medical care to Haitians and Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, a group helping displaced Haitian families.
This effort demonstrates that you don't have to have the celebrity firepower of a Sean Penn or a Wyclef Jean to help the people of Haiti. Just hold an event, make a few bucks and become part of a great effort to help Haiti.
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Filed under: Lynnette Khalfani-Cox50 Cent's recent tweets urging his 3.8 million Twitter followers to invest in a start-up company that makes headphones. It seems the rapper, actor and businessman made a fortune - around $8.7 million to be exact -- after he promoted the company, known as H&H Imports on Twitter.
(But let's not forget that those millions that 50 Cent supposedly reaped were paper profits. You don't make money in stocks until you sell. That's when you lock in a real profit (or loss). And it doesn't mater if those shares are penny stocks, Nasdaq stocks, or shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange.)
In any event, some people are calling 50's social networking prowess a strike of entrepreneurial genius. After all, who wouldn't love to leverage their name, fame and brand to make millions in a single day? Others are speculating about whether 50 Cent broke the law or violated SEC regulations in Tweeting so enthusiastically about H&H, a company in which in he owns 30 million shares, or roughly 13% of the business.
The only sure-fire way to know if 50 Cent crossed the line is if the SEC takes action against him or H&H, which goes by ticker symbol, HNHI. And the SEC isn't talking, as reporters from Esquire magazine recently found out. But the SEC never comments on pending investigations -- even those that wind up without any action being taken.
The hip-hop industry has had tremendous influence on the film industry over the last 25 years, from 'Krush Grove' to 'ATL.' Here's a look at some of the hip-hop films that have been influential over the years.
Hip-Hop At The Movies -- Through The Years
In my opinion, however, the biggest risk to 50 Cent right now isn't the prospect of drawing heat from the SEC. It's the risk of alienating fans and or raising the ire of irate shareholders who bought shares of H&H only to see the stock come crashing back down in recent days.
Before 50 Tweeted about H&H, company shares were selling for about 10 cents apiece. After the tweets, they rose by as much as 240% and have since fallen dramatically.
Personally, I don't think 50 Cent was in any way trying to promote H&H as some sort of classic "pump and dump" scheme, as some have implied. First of all, no one knows whether 50 Cent sold any shares after they peaked. There's no evidence that he did. And if he did, we'll only know if he or the company comes out and says it, or if it's made public in an SEC filing. However, it would be really bone-headed for someone like 50 Cent to risk intentionally burning his fans financially, while he makes out like some rich, Wall Street bandit.
I do think, though, that some of 50's tweets were in a gray area that he should have avoided. For example, in one of his tweets, he told his followers that they could "double" their money. That's a no no. You can never guarantee profits in the equities market and no one should ever promise an investor an exact return on stock -- especially not a 100% return, which is what you net when you double your money.
That's why CEOs, CFOs and others in the C-suite at publicly-traded companies always refrain from making specific promises to investors about how big a profit they'll net. I don't know if 50 Cent is on the board of directors or has a managerial role at H&H. Turn on CNBC or take a look in the Wall Street Journal and you'd be hard-pressed to find an executive from a major public business touting his company's shares the way 50 did.
Also, in one of 50's tweets, he mentions that H&H will be coming out with 15 new products. Was this information already publicly available, or disclosed in SEC filings? If not, some people might perceive a major shareholder and investor like 50 Cent as having "inside information" about H&H's business plans.
Again, this is territory 50 Cent shouldn't have waded into. It was likely careless enthusiasm in promoting a business in which he's involved, though, as opposed to some grand scheme to try to defraud investors. Apparently, 50 knows that he was a bit too exuberant in his public proclamations, and he seems to have been schooled in the past few days. His most recent
tweets about H&H have been far more conservative, suggesting 50 may have lawyered up a bit.
Instead of promising investors and fans juicy returns, 50 tweeted:
"I own HNHI stock thoughts on it are my opinion. Talk to financial advisor about it,"
"HNHI is the right investment for me it may or may not be right for u! Do ur homework."
Did you buy shares of H&H? If so, are you still holding them? Or if you sold your stock, did you make or lose money? Sound off about it here.
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, an award-winning financial news journalist and former Wall Street Journal reporter for CNBC, has been featured in the Washington Post, USA Today, and the New York Times, as well as magazines ranging from Essence and Redbook to Black Enterprise and Smart Money. Check out her New York Times best seller 'Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom.'
"The whole sneaky, back stabbing, forming alliances, I just don't like...she may have a new body, but she doesn't have a new brain. You still think the same even though you lose weight so I don't know."
--'Real Housewives of Atlanta' star NeNe Leakes talks with TODAY's Hoda Kotb and guest host Curtis Stone about co-staring alongside Star Jones on the forthcoming season of 'Celebrity Apprentice.' (The TODAY Show)
Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is on her way to making a remarkable recovery. After being shot by Jared Loughner last week, Giffords is now opening her eyes, moving both legs and responding to friends and family.
Her recovery is remarkable given that she was shot through the head at point blank range less than a week ago.
Giffords big breakthrough came just after President Barack Obama visited her before his well-received speech in Arizona. Some of Giffords' friends from Congress were in her room when she began to struggle to open her eyes.
"It felt like we were watching a miracle," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was at the bedside. "The strength that you could see flowing out of her, it was like she was trying to will her eyes open."
Doctors said they are "actually confident" that Giffords is recovering. She could soon have her breathing tube removed.
I hope Giffords is able to make a recovery that returns her as close to her normal state of functioning as possible. Giffords stands to be a powerful symbol of what happens when we let things get out of hand.
We've allowed the idea that being able to easily get a gun is a freedom that is more important than the right not to be subject to deadly violence. Giffords is the most prominent example of what happens because guns are so prevalent in our country.
Every day, young people are being killed on the streets of this country because it is so easy to get a gun. People who might not commit suicide are doing so because of their access to a gun.
And how long will it be before some other sick person buys a high-powered weapon and shoots up 15, 20 or 30 people? Is it going to take a massacre where one person with high-powered weapons kills 200 people at once for us to be outraged?
The other issue we've allowed to get out of control is our political rhetoric. It's chilling to see Giffords talk about how Sarah Palin putting out an advertisement with a gun sight over her district would have "consequences."
The tone of our rhetoric has changed in just a few short years. When the lies spread on the Internet that former President George W. Bush was responsible for 9/11, they did not reach the mainstream media. But the myth about President Obama being a Muslim and health care being a step towards socialism were spread by mainstream media organizations.
Health care reform did not mean the end of our country. We are now not a socialist state. Government has been involved in the distribution of health care for decades. President Obama is not an illegitimate president. He is not a Muslim. There is nothing wrong with being a Muslim.
Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck did not direct anyone to shoot Giffords and murder six others, including a 9-year-old girl, however, the rhetoric that they were spewing helped to set the tone.
I sincerely hope Giffords recovers completely. I look forward to hearing her voice on these important issues affecting our country.
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Filed under: Dr. Boyce Money
Right after going through the painful experience of writing a tuition check for my daughter's next semester of college, I had to remind myself of exactly why we choose to dole out money for a post secondary education. Not that I've ever questioned any investment I've made in my kids (I am glad to get my daughter through school), but we have to make sure that the thousands we invest in sending our kids to college is the best use of our money. As a college professor and staunch advocate for education, I am typically inclined to always endorse college for any American who wishes to pursue a better life. In fact, going to college was the best decision I've ever made. My grades were very poor in high school and I only chose to continue my education because I didn't have anything else to do.
But after speaking with NPR's Michele Martin about the matter, I decided that the issue warranted a deeper discussion. After all, there are some kids who go to college and party the entire time. There are some who choose a major that doesn't pay the bills, and there are also students who simply don't believe they belong there. So, while the whole idea of a student being "college material" is debatable, there are certainly those who don't get the most out of their education and/or choose to exclude themselves from the group of students most likely to succeed academically.
With that said, there are ways to ensure that a) college is the right investment for you, and b) that you're getting the most out of that investment. Also, I should note that if you want to be college material, you can be. Even students with significant learning disabilities can be accomodated at most universities. Also, if your high school didn't adequately prepare you for college, there are remedial classes you can take, either at a four-year school or local community college. You must always remember that where you're going matters far more than where you are, so working consistently every single day always yields long-term benefits.
With regard to ensuring that your educational investment is the right one, there are a few things to remember. First, if you plan to use college as an avenue for economic fulfillment, you should ensure that your career is going to hook you up with a salary that will be high enough to pay off any debt. Fields like Business and Engineering are money-makers, along with Law and Medicine. Other fields, such as Sociology, English or Philosophy, are incredibly worthwhile endeavors, but aren't known for paying the big bucks. I am not saying that you should only go to college for the money, but if you are going after the dough, make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.
Secondly, college is NOT a good investment if the campus is used as party central or the place to spend all your time engaged in things that have nothing to do with education. While most of your learning does happen outside the classroom, the truth is that spending all your time wrapped up in greek life, gossip, hanging out, playing sports or partying does almost nothing to help you to achieve your long-term personal goals. So, the student is using the university as an expensive social gathering, then college is not the right investment.
For those who are thinking about going back to school, I argue that it's never too late to learn. In fact, learning should be a lifelong choice and empowers you in unimaginable ways. In that regard, I recommend seeking out fields that are in alignment with your career goals, and weighing the amount of debt you must incur against the long-term benefits. For example, if you have to borrow $30,000 in a field where you expect to increase your income by $12,000 per year, that might be a good financial investment. This doesn't even count the added benefit of having more career flexibility, job security and personal satisfaction. Debt is not fun to carry, but it's not nearly as difficult as spending your life in a career that you find to be psychologically draining. You deserve to be happy, no matter what the cost. But I recommend that you be responsible in the process.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the book, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About College." To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.
With a former anti-corruption minister selected to battle President Goodluck Jonathan (above, left) for the presidency of Africa's most populous country, the table is set for what promises to be a wild exercise in democracy in Nigeria.
Hold on because it will likely be a bumpy ride.
Nuhu Ribadu (above, right), a former government official who is praised by some as a tireless reformer and panned by others as a political pawn of special interests, was selected in a field of several candidates to face the incumbent Jonathan in the April election.
The incumbent is a heavy favorite to win another term as Nigeria's president since his ruling People's Democratic Party has the funding and reach to control the election.
But Ribadu is well-known in the country and since being appointed in as anti-corruption czar in 2003 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo has gained strong popularity in some quarters even though he left Nigeria for the U.S. after being targeted in a drive-by shooting.
Elections in Nigeria can be interesting affairs.
Attahiru Jega, chair of Nigeria's National Electoral Commission, has already warned Nigerians not to expect "a perfect election" in 2011.
Someone should tell Jega that anything approaching fair and open in a national Nigeria election would represent a great victory for the people.
The 2007 national election was greatly flawed and the country fell further into crisis two years later when President Umaru Yar'Adua took ill and left the country and no one was certain who was in charge.
Then Vice President Jonathan stepped in and provided some level of stability. But only time will tell if his party will allow a credible election to take place.
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Filed under: Reviews
Prior to its film release, the only thing famously associated with 'The Green Hornet' was the fact that the legendary martial arts expert Bruce Lee played Kato, Hornet's trusted sidekick.
More than decades later, Sony Pictures has decided to do a big screen adaptation with Michel Gondry directing Seth Rogen as Britt Reid/ Green Hornet and Jay Chou as Kato.
While Rogen may not have been the ideal choice to play the masked avenger he does provide a good chuck of action scenes and comic relief to make the film surprisingly enjoyable.
Written by Rogen and his writing partner Evan Goldberg, Britt Reid (played by Rogen) is your average spoiler rich kid brat who hasn't lived up to any of his father's expectations. James Reid (played by Tom Wilkinson) is the publishing magnate of a daily newspaper who dies mysteriously at home, leaving Britt to assume to the top of the throne. The problem is that Britt has no clue how to run a business or even his life without the guidance of an authority figure.
With his father's mechanic and coffeemaker Kato, Britt enlists his skills to help him do something meaningful and rid the city of vagrants. When the reports of their efforts make them out to look like the criminals they are after, Britt uses his newfound power to his advantage. This greatly angers the true criminal at-large, Chudnofksy (played by Oscar winner Christoph Waltz), who refuses to acknowledge that the Green Hornet is putting a dent in his business.
With newly hired assistant Lenore (played by Cameron Diaz) beefing up the Green Hornet's profile, Britt and Kato try to find out exactly why crime is disregarded in their city and try to stop Chudnofksy's business without getting themselves killed.
Seth Rogen and Jay Chou will have you have laughing the minute the film starts. I went in with low expectations, but I was actually surprised by how funny and action packed this film is.
The cars, or rather the Black Beauty, looked amazing. Gondry has a flare for visuals, and the split camera scenes are his specialty.
One of the few drawbacks is the casting of Cameron Diaz, who looked lost. This is beneath her. From doing 'Knight and Day' with Tom Cruise and then taking a back seat in TGH' with Seth Rogen, it's time to switch agencies!! She should have done this when right after she did 'The Mask,' back in '94.
The 3D isn't as eye-popping at 'Alice in Wonderland,' or 'Avatar,' but there are enough humorous moment and clichéd action scenes to keep one entertained.
As soon as they were called in on the missing persons case of Phylicia Simone Barnes, Baltimore Police knew something was gravely wrong.
A gifted student from North Carolina who was visiting family in Baltimore over the holidays, Barnes was scheduled to graduate early from high school. She did not have a history of running away or being a troubled child.
"Based on the timeline and background we were pretty certain she did not run away and we expected foul play almost immediately," Baltimore Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told Aol. BlackVoices in an interview.
Police thought that Barnes might have been abducted and taken out of the state of Maryland. The now-17-year-old was reported missing on December 28. They wanted to get her face on as many televisions and billboards across the country as quickly possible.
"In the event someone picked her up in van and drove outside of Baltimore no one knows she's missing unless we get the word out. If they drove her to Conneticut, no one knows she is missing," said Guglielmi.
That's when police reached out to the national media for attention. The response was less than enthusiastic.
"I noticed the reaction from national media was a bit anemic. It was very frustrating to turn on cable news channels and see the big story of the day was birds dropping out of the sky in Arkansas and dead fish. Meanwhile Phylicia is missing and could be in danger. I just wanted them to flash her face out there for a few minutes," said Guglielmi.
The reason soon became clear to Guglielmi when he thought about other missing persons cases such as that of Natalee Holloway, a white girl who went missing in Aruba in 2005.
"I didn't feel Phylicia's case was being treated the same way as Natalee Holloway. Phylicia is a wholesome, good student. She's not in a gang and not into drugs. She is a beautiful young lady who graduated high school early and is going to college," said Gugliemli. "The only difference between Phylicia Barnes and Natalee Holoway is that Phylicia went missing in Baltimore and is African-American."
Critics have long said that missing people of color get less attention in the media. It's ironic because blacks made up 33 percent of the total number of people listed as missing in the FBI's database. Blacks only make up 13 percent of this country's population.
"We have been hearing about the disparity in coverage from the families we've been working with," said Natalie Wilson, one of the co-founders of the Black and Missing Foundation told Aol. BlackVoices in an interview. "Black families have asked me if their loved one would be getting more attention if they were white."
Part of the problem, said Derrica Wilson, CEO and founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, is a lack of diversity in the news media. The lack of diversity has only grown worse with the massive downsizing going on in the media industry.
"If we are not putting the information out there how do we know the person is in danger?" Derrica Wilson asked. "When it comes to missing persons we are not considered a priority. Missing persons of color are put on the back burner," she told Aol. BlackVoices
It was only after Guglielmi began voicing his concerns did Barnes' case begin getting national attention on shows such as Nancy Grace and CNN. She was also featured on some of the national morning shows but on their weekend editions.
By then, almost 10 days had passed. The time to get information out would have been in the first few hours and days that Barnes went missing.
"I don't know what makes news attractive for a national audience but we are talking about someone's life," said Guglielmi.
Police are still at square one, said Guglielmi. The FBI is involved as are Baltimore Homicide. About 100 law enforcement personnel are involved in the case. Clear Channel Communications has donated billboards along the I-95 corridor.
"She's an all-American girl. She's smart, educated, young and beautiful. We always hear about missing white woman syndrome but Barnes has everything normally needed for national media attention except for the color of her skin. The only difference is the color of her skin," said Derrica Wilson.
Police are asking anyone with information about Barnes to call 1 855 223 0033.
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Republicans catch a lot of hell from black people in this country - and with good reason.
For decades, the Republican agenda on issues of concern for most black folks wavers somewhere between apathy and downright hostility. But I'll step out on a limb and give the old GOP some credit.
The party that hasn't received more than 20 percent of black votes for any of its national candidates in my memory took a huge gamble and put Michael Stephen Steele, a Maryland lawyer, failed businessman and former brother-in-law of Mike Tyson at the helm of its party.
But the Michael Steele Experiment is over with his announcement that he would not seek a second term as Republican National Committee chairman. Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus will take over the debt-ridden GOP.
At first glance, its easy to see why Steele got the job in 2009.
Tall, elegant and well-spoken on many topics, Steele, the first black elected statewide in Maryland, had the looks of a guy who could attract black folks to at least listen to the Republican message.
Unfortunately, Republican kingmakers didn't look beneath the surface.
If they had, they would have found a man with a penchant for putting his foot in his mouth, spending lots of money and offering few solid results. It takes a lot more than throwing around a few hip-hop terms at ritzy GOP fundraisers to build a black presence in a political party.
That is not to say that Steele is a bad man. He isn't. The former seminary student showed great courage, but a heap of political naivety, in taking on Rush Limbaugh two years ago in a dispute over who speaks for the Republican party.
In the end, Steele was simply not up to the task of bringing black folks to the Republican message. Perhaps no single person is.
If so, that would be a shame because black people, if considered a monolith, will never gain political power giving all of its votes to a single political party.
Maybe if Republicans are serious about bringing blacks into the fold, they would rethink their opposition to issues like affirmative action and funding of job training programs that turn off so many black people from the jump.
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I was sitting in front of my TV set flipping through one channel after another, and I found something that both intrigued and concerned me: An ESPN special about the image of the black athlete. I was curious to see what they had to say about black athletes, especially males, since that's something I think about nearly every single day of my life.
The panel consisted of Jalen Rose, John Calipari, Randy Shannon, Spike Lee, Robin Roberts and others. The crew seemed to be mostly an ESPN bunch, with Spike Lee thrown in for good measure. I was hopeful that a black Sociologist, an expert on race and media or a Sports Psychologist could be brought in to help put the experience of the African American athlete into perspective. Most of the members of the panel were sports journalists, which produces one point of view, but may not be broad enough to understand the entirety of a complex problem.
I was also secretly hopeful that none of the panelists would not succumb to the temptation of taking the paternalistic viewpoint that black male athletes are somehow destined to be ignorant and need to be told what to do. For example, unlike any other sport, men's basketball and football are the only ones in which there are age limits before the athlete can become a professional. The reasons for these regulations are driven primarily by the argument that the men are too young to go out and support their families by doing what they do for the NCAA without being compensated.
I couldn't help but notice John Calipari's presence on the panel. Calipari, the men's head basketball coach at The University of Kentucky, is one of the leading beneficiaries of the NCAA sweatshop. He earns millions from the University of Kentucky while maintaining one of the most abysmal academic performance rates in the country. He runs his teams like professional sports franchises, and universities hire him because he wins games. His presence on the campus of the University of Kentucky is the single greatest indicator of the university's lack of commitment to educating its athletes.
Some of the advice that the panelists gave presented accurate and sound reflections on the most common mistakes committed by black athletes in America. Calipari, to his credit, said that he advises all of the athletes who leave his program for the NBA to take a financial management course. He also said, which I scream at the top of my lungs, that if you're not educated about your money, you're simply begging for someone to take it away from you. So, as much as I might criticize Calipari, it appears that he might be relatively good at preparing his athletes for the real world. I must give him credit for his honest, working-class approach to confronting the realities that many athletes face at home.
Professor Richard Lapchick, the Director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, brought up a very compelling point. Lapchick noted that when it comes to shaping the images of black athletes in America, most of those images are being constructed by sports journalists and editors throughout the country, most of whom are white males. Lapchick also mentioned that while many of these individuals have something to say about the decisions of black athletes, most of them don't know what in the heck they're talking about.
My favorite part of the discussion was when Spike Lee, Jalen Rose and Mike Wilbon made an excellent point about athlete compensation. Jalen Rose started the dialogue by noting that even if he had a 4.0 GPA, if his coach had decided that he didn't belong on the team, he'd be asked to transfer. Wilbon and Lee jumped on Rose's point by noting that universities do not encourage (and sometimes disallow) athletes to choose majors that interfere with their sports schedules. That led to Spike noting that collegiate athletics is already a full-time job for these athletes and that college athletes should be paid. Way to go Spike for bringing home that important point.
I found myself slightly concerned by how the panelists addressed the holy trinity of black male destruction in America: The educational system, athletics and the criminal justice system. When a woman in the audience asked how she can convince her 17-year old nephew to consider career options other than athletics, several panelists mentioned the obvious: to expose the young man to viable alternatives. The problem, however, was that when the conversation was extrapolated into black male graduation and incarceration rates, the entire discussion was framed as if it's simply a matter of telling these men to "get it together." To be sure, personal responsibility plays a key role in the outcomes of the black male in America, but black men do not have a monopoly on irresponsible behavior.
To properly assess systemic problems, we must also collectively discuss broader societal and institutional factors, such as the lack of funding for inner city education, the explosion of the mass incarceration epidemic over the last 40 years, the lack of media access and control for those who seek to portray more positive and diverse African American imagery and the fact that black men are more likely to be arrested, convicted and sentenced than members of other ethnic groups, even when they commit the same crimes. There's no question whatsoever that many of our brothers do need to get it together, but I can tell you as a black man who nearly dropped out of high school and also saw his best friend shot in the head, things aren't always simple for black men, even when they try to make the right choices. America is a country that has been designed since birth to exterminate African American men, so the number of landmines we face are seemingly endless.
At the end of the day, I was happy to see ESPN evaluate the state of the black athlete right near the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All of us should carefully evaluate the state of the black athlete in America, in large part because this defines a substantial proportion of the experience of the black male in general. If you go through most neighborhoods across the country, you'll notice that a large percentage of black boys want to become either athletes or rappers. So, this experience speaks to all of us, and it's important that the mothers and fathers raising these boys understand what's going on inside their heads. We've all got to do much better.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the Athlete Liberation and Academic Reform Movement (ALARM). To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.
Filed under: News
Just two weeks after she took the job of schools chancellor, Cathie Black has already put her foot in her mouth -- reportedly telling parents that her solution to overcrowded schools is "birth control."
"Could we just have some birth control?" Black said during a meeting of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's school overcrowding task force on Thursday in lower Manhattan.
"It would really help us out a lot," she added.
In another bone-headed comment, Black told a parent after the 35-minute forum that the impending budget cuts she had to make are like trying to decide which child should be killed.
"I don't mean this in any flip way. It is many Sophie's choices," she said, in a reference to the book in which a mother in the Auschwitz death camp has to decide which of her two children will live, The Tribeca Trib reported.
Parent Tricia Joyce said she was appreciative that Black came to the meeting, but that her answers -- and her comparisons to the Holocaust in the case of the 'Sophie's Choice' reference -- were worrisome.
"Everybody's face fell. You don't want to hear that reference when you're talking about children," said Joyce, whose kids attend the perennially overcrowded PS 234 in Tribeca. "She could have been nervous, it could have been the first thing that came to her mind. ... I just hope she chooses to do something much better than what she says."
Some who attended the meeting said Black's comments were especially inappropriate given the serious context of a community that for years has fought to overcome a lack of access to public school seats.
"The parents I spoke with after the meeting were very concerned about the comments she made because we're grappling with real issues," she added.
Mayor Bloomberg's controversial pick drew criticism last month from critics who said the former Hearst Magazines chairwoman had no experience in the field of education to successfully do the job.
Black took over for former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein last week.
"For me, this is a dream. It's a dream job, a dream opportunity, a chance to make a difference," Black said at Public School 262 in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the first stop on her five-borough tour on Jan. 3.
Despite Bloomberg's backing, many New Yorkers opposed the appointment of a publishing executive with no background as an educator to head the school system.
Source: NY Post
Kevin Eason is a freelance editorial cartoonist and Illustrator from New Jersey. His brand of satire covers news events in politics, entertainment, sports and much more. Follow him on Facebook.
Gloria Govan, fiance to LA Laker Matt Barnes, made her dramatic final exit a few weeks ago on VH1's hit show 'Basketball Wives,' after calling Shaunie O'Neal (Shaquille O'Neal's ex-wife) every word in the book, including a c*nt. We weren't shocked to see Govan, 24, go out fighting, considering that from day one, her fellow cast memeber's animosity was difficult to ignore, forcing Govan to always be on the defense.
We chatted with the Bay area native about why the other basketball wives -- many 10 years her senior -- dislike her, the detriments of telling your business, and why she's convinced her fiance baller Matt Barnes would never cheat on her.From your time on the show, do you agree that you're disliked because many think you're trying to paint a perfect picture of your relationship with Matt?
If my life is perfect I would hate to see a dysfunctional relationship. My parents have been married for 35 years, Matt's parents were married for 26 years before his mother passed. It's just we have the same priorities and values when it comes to family.
With a family values like that why call off your wedding?
We were engaged six months after dating, and a lot has happened in the last five years we've been together. I'm a big believer in marriage, but I don't think you should rush into it. I don't ever want to get married twice, and when you choose someone to be your life partner, like I've choose Matt, I want to stay together. So knowing that I'll be with Matt however long God permits makes me OK with not being married right now.
On the show the other women despised you because you didn't open up about your relationship issues, do you feel women have a tendency tell other women to much?
Relationships can be difficult, and you have to have an outlet other than your significant other, but you have to watch what you say. Your friends can be loyal to you, and not really be loyal to those conversations. Personal information given to the wrong person can be bomb that could literally blow up in your face and ultimately ruin your life.
So then should your spouse be your best friend?
Your significant other has to be your best friend to make the relationship work. You get mad at your best friend, you argue, and then your friends again, relationships should be similar.
When dating an athlete are most of those arguments about cheating?
I have six brothers, so I understand the game. It might be easier for basketball players because of all the access, but it isn't just basketball players out here cheating. Just because a person plays a sport, you can't blame them for choosing a profession they love or are really good at. The sport isn't who the person is, it's what they do. Understanding what I will and will not deal with has made our relationship a whole lot easier.
What won't you deal with on the show?
I won't accept looking like a fool. I won't accept walking into a room with everyone laughing because the joke is on me. Call it Inspector Gadget or whatever, but women have intuition and we'll get to the bottom of things. I know Matt knows not to do anything in which I'll feel disrespected. I may not be God's gift to earth, but he'd be a damn fool to cheat on me.
Why do you feel Matt could never cheat on you?
There is no way in America that Matt can look me in the eye and say he cheated on me. I would be the next Lorena Bobbit. Anger is an understatement, I would phone out. I work hard, he comes home and the house is clean, food is cooked, events are booked and the kids are cared for. If I was cheated on, I would throw deuces up so quick it's not even funny. If I say it's okay, I'm not setting any type of boundaries, and a man will feel like it's okay and take advantage, and then do it again. Hell naw! Don't get me wrong, there are times when some things are able to be forgiven, but you still have to make them feel that punch.
Wow. Do you think women go overboard with their anger?
When women go, we go. I know there is that whole forgive and forget, but when you start arguing, everything comes out. I'll follow you to wherever you are to finish an argument. I know how to push Matt's buttons, and sometimes I can push one too many.
Would you say you're overprotective of your relationship?
I'm a little protective, I just make sure he knows that there is nobody else in my life that would ever take his place, and I want the same. There are rules and guidelines we set for each other. For example, he tells me where and what room number he's in when he's away at practice. These aren't things I ask for, but he knows it would bring a calm to me.
Since you're not going to be on the show this season, what's next?
We have our foundation, Matt has a clothing line, and I'm writing a cook book.
What would you say is the hardest part of dating an athlete?
The media is brutal. I'm always like why are you going to tear me apart when you don't even know me?
Filed under: News
Last night, 'The Social Network' came out as the big winner, taking home the prize for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Score at the 16th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California.
Directed by David Fincher and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer and Justin Timerlake, the film gives a fictional account of the establishment of social networking site, based around the story of internet site Facebook.
Christopher Nolan's psychological thriller, 'Inception,' was also a big winner, taking six awards, including Best Action Movie, Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, and Best Sound.
Colin Firth and Natalie Portman were named Best Actor and Actress for their roles in 'The King's Speech' and 'Black Swan,' respectively.
Portman's win was the only one for the Darren Aronofsky-directed pic 'Black Swan,' about a ballerina dealing with deep psychological issues. It came in with the biggest noms tally (12) from members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
Co-stars Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards for their roles in David O. Russell's film, 'The Fighter.'
Historically, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.
Complete List of Critics' Choice Winners:Best Picture: The Social Network
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Best Original Screenplay: The King's Speech (Seriously, freaking serious, ORIGINAL, based on real events, real people.)
Best Young Actor/Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Best Acting Ensemble: The Fighter
Best Cinematography: Inception
Best Art Direction: Inception
Best Editing: Inception
Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland
Best Makeup: Alice in Wonderland
Best Visual Effects: Inception
Best Sound: Inception
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Foreign Language Film: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Best Documentary Feature: Waiting for Superman
Best Song: "If I Rise," music by A.R. Rahman, lyrics by Rollo and Dido Armstrong, 127 Hours
Best Score: The Social Network
Best Action Movie: Inception
Best Comedy: Easy A
Best Picture Made for Television: The Pacific
VH1 has released the trailer to their upcoming 2-hour series premiere event 'Single Ladies,' a comedic drama that asks the question: What do women really want in a relationship?
Executive produced by Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Entertainment, the comedic drama follows three best friends (played by Charity Shea, Stacey Dash, and LisaRaye McCoy) with three different relationship philosophies living in Atlanta.
Premiering Monday, May 30th at 9 PM ET/PT on VH1, the series will be the basic cable network's first foray into the hour-long scripted genre.
Stacey Dash plays Val, an ambitious aspiring fashion mogul who wants to find a true partner, LisaRaye McCoy is Keisha a former video dancer in search of a sugar daddy to keep her laced in riches and Charity Shea is April, the married friend who learned that finding your true love isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
"I am thrilled about 'Single Ladies!' going to series as Queen Latifah is an icon and a pioneer," Dash told BlackVoices.com last October. "It's a blessing to be on her team and VH-1 is the perfect place for us to shine."
Lauren London, Eve, Common, TLC's Chili, and Kim Porter will also make guest appearances.
'Single Ladies' was originally shot as a movie in the summer of 2010, but VH1 decided that the film was so good it needed to be a new television series.
"Once we saw an early cut of the movie we knew right away we needed to make this a series," Jeff Olde, VH1 EVP of Original Programming and Production, said in a statement.
Both the movie and eight-episode series will premiere in July 2011.
Filed under: News
While they were the only Blacks nominated this year, Idris Elba nor Halle Berry were never expected to win in their categories, respectively, at the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards.
Elba, who was nominated Best Actor in Miniseries for his role in the BBC series 'Luther,' lost out to Al Pacino, who won for his role as Dr. Jack Kevorkian in HBO's 'You Don't Know Jack.'
Berry, nominated for Best Actress in a Drama for her role in 'Frankie and Alice,' lost out to Natalie Portman for her performance in Darren Aronofsky's film, 'Black Swan.'
Following the pattern as the Critics Choice Movie Awards, the Globes, which are run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, awarded The Social Network' the big prize, including Best Picture - Drama, as well as Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Score.
Along with Portman's win, Colin Firth won Best Actor - Drama for his role as King George IV in 'The King's Speech,' while 'The Fighter's Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.
Here's the complete list of winners (in bold):Best Motion Picture, Drama
'The King's Speech'
'The Social Network'
Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
'Alice in Wonderland'
'The Kids Are All Right'
Best Director - Motion Picture
Darren Aronofsky for 'Black Swan'
David Fincher for 'The Social Network'
Tom Hooper for 'The King's Speech'
Christopher Nolan for 'Inception'
David O. Russell for 'The Fighter'
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Jesse Eisenberg for 'The Social Network'
Colin Firth for 'The King's Speech'
James Franco for '127 Hours'
Ryan Gosling for 'Blue Valentine'
Mark Wahlberg for 'The Fighter'
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Halle Berry for 'Frankie and Alice'
Nicole Kidman for 'Rabbit Hole'
Jennifer Lawrence for 'Winter's Bone'
Natalie Portman for 'Black Swan'
Michelle Williams for 'Blue Valentine'
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy
Johnny Depp for 'Alice in Wonderland'
Johnny Depp for 'The Tourist'
Paul Giamatti for 'Barney's Version'
Jake Gyllenhaal for 'Love and Other Drugs'
Kevin Spacey for 'Casino Jack'
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy
Anne Hathaway for 'Love and Other Drugs'
Julianne Moore for 'The Kids Are All Right'
Annette Bening for 'The Kids Are All Right'
Emma Stone for 'Easy A'
Angelina Jolie for 'The Tourist'
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Christian Bale for 'The Fighter'
Michael Douglas for 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps'
Andrew Garfield for 'The Social Network'
Jeremy Renner for 'The Town'
Geoffrey Rush for 'The King's Speech'
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams for 'The Fighter'
Helena Bonham Carter for 'The King's Speech'
Mila Kunis for 'Black Swan'
Melissa Leo for 'The Fighter'
Jacki Weaver for 'Animal Kingdom'
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
Best Animated Feature Film
'How to Train Your Dragon'
'Toy Story 3'
Best Foreign Language Film
'I Am Love'
'In a Better World'
Best Original Song - Motion Picture
Bound to You from 'Burlesque'
Coming Home from 'Country Strong'
I See the Light from 'Tangled'
There's a Place for Us from 'Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader'
You Haven't Seen the Last of Me from 'Burlesque'
Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplot for 'The King's Speech'
Danny Elfman for 'Alice in Wonderland'
A.R. Rahmin for '127 Hours'
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross for 'The Social Network'
Hans Zimmer for 'Inception'
Best Television Series, Drama
'The Good Wife'
'The Walking Dead'
Best Televison Series, Comedy or Musical
'The Big Bang Theory'
'The Big C'
Best Actor in a Television Series, Drama
Steve Buscemi for 'Boardwalk Empire'
Bryan Cranston for 'Breaking Bad'
Michael C. Hall for 'Dexter'
Jon Hamm for 'Mad Men'
Hugh Laurie for 'House'
Best Actress in a Television Series, Drama
Julianna Margulies for 'The Good Wife'
Elisabeth Moss for 'Mad Men'
Piper Perabo for 'Covert Affairs'
Katey Sagal for 'Sons of Anarchy'
Kyra Sedgwick for 'The Closer'
Best Actor in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical
Alec Baldwin for '30 Rock'
Steve Carell for 'The Office'
Thomas Jane for 'Hung'
Matthew Morrison for 'Glee'
Jim Parsons for 'Big Bang Theory'
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Hope Davis for 'Special Relationship'
Jane Lynch for 'Glee'
Kelly McDonald for 'Boardwalk Empire'
Julia Stiles for 'Dexter'
Sofia Vergara for 'Modern Family'
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Scott Caan for 'Hawaii Five-0'
Chris Noth for 'The Good Wife'
David Straithairn for 'Temple Grandin'
Eric Stonestreet for 'Modern Family'
Chris Colfer for 'Glee'
Best Actress in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical
Toni Collette for 'United States of Tara'
Edie Falco for 'Nurse Jackie'
Tina Fey for '30 Rock'
Laura Linney for 'The Big C'
Lea Michelle for 'Glee'
Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
'You Don't Know Jack'
'The Pillars of the Earth'
Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Dennis Quaid for 'The Special Relationship'
Ian McShane for 'The Pillars of the Earth'
Édgar Ramírez for 'Carlos'
Al Pacino for 'You Don't Know Jack'
Idris Elba for 'Luther'
Best Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Claire Danes for 'Temple Grandin'
Hayley Atwell for 'The Pillars of the Earth'
Jennifer Love Hewitt for 'The Client List'
Judi Dench for 'Return to Cranford'
Romola Gara for 'Emma'
The League of African American Women, a nonprofit organization, and several other groups came together to use women's soaring voices to help lower skyrocketing violence. King's birthday celebration is the perfect time to draw attention to the nagging problem because of his legacy and commitment to peace. Speakers urged one another to fight against the violence and to act as a solution.
Carrying placards, holding hands and chanting, "They killed the king, but they can't kill his dream,'' an estimated 100 people came together for the hour-long rally at one of the city's most dangerous intersections at Natural Bridge Rd. and Newstead Ave. on the North Side. Residents, young and old, battled a temperature of 20-degrees with a slight wind to participate in the emotional event that drew tears and shouts of hope. Dozens thrust signs in the air, including some that read, "be the peace,'' and "black life is valuable.''
"I had a flood of emotions," Zekita Tucker, executive director of the League, who is photographed on the right, said before the rally. "Participants brought their children and thanked me for holding the rally. I was just happy so many people showed up for such an important event. It was very emotional.''
St. Louis, which has been struck hard by the recession, was named "America's Most Dangerous City'' based on an FBI report for the first half of 2010. At year's end, the city saw 135 homicides, eight fewer than 2009.
One person who lost his life amid those grim statistics was 17-year-old Rahmel McNeil, a high school student known among friends and teammates as a positive role model. He was gunned down after walking away from a neighborhood brawl. Sixteen-year-old Terron Pool was charged in the killing that was precipitated by encouragement from friends who urged him to shoot McNeil as he walked away from the fight.
In another senseless killing, John Thornton, known as the mayor of Washington Park, was murdered after giving a ride to a hitchhiker, who robbed him and then shot him twice in the chest. Police arrested Aaron "Chill" Jackson in the murder after a month-long manhunt.
"It's important that black women in this town have a voice,'' said Marsha Cann, who participated in the rally and serves as director of 40 Corners, a program for teens that offers a series of studies and performance workshops to help them develop a perspective on the civil rights movement, and Dr. King and his dream. "We hope to increase the peace in this city. Through 40 Corners, we hope to catch teens before they get incarcerated. Poverty is a big factor in violence in the city among our young people. Because they lack resources, they feel disconnected. We want to let them know that they can be part of the problem or part of the solution. We claimed this corner for peace.''
Tucker said it was the first time African-American women in St. Louis tackled violence in a uniform voice. "Most of these things are led by men,'' she said. "We want to work beside them and bring women to the forefront, which is not something we see all the time.''
But the real work begins after the rally, she said. The League used the rally to join forces with groups like 40 Corners and others based in dangerous communities in the hopes of developing constructive programs to combat violence. One of those programs is the Green Therapy Youth Program, whose goal is to keep teens off the streets and away from violence by beautifying neighborhoods through horticulture. The League offers stipends to teen as an incentive to remain involved in the single-gender program, which helps them keep their focus, she said.
"We want to help transform them,'' Tucker said. "It's been a long time coming and represents what Dr. King's dream was all about.''
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On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. revealed his dream to America during the historic March on Washington. With feet firmly planted on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the Civil Rights icon delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech to an estimated crowd of 200,000 people. This transcendent message emboldened Americans to release the shackles of hatred, oppression, and fear, and embrace the "fierce urgency of Now".On Monday, January 17th, in honor of Dr. King's birth, Chevrolet is encouraging all of us to embrace that urgency by participating in The MLK Reading Project. This interactive digital platform provides Americans with an opportunity to browse through a wide selection of Dr. King's quotes and record one that inspires us to live The Dream. By breathing life into the message of the man who sacrificed himself in the trenches of racial warfare and civil unrest, Chevrolet reminds us to never underestimate the power of words spoken into the souls of people yearning for change.
While there are many of Dr. King's quotes that resonate with me, at this moment in history, it would have to be the prophetic words spoken on the eve of his death that I find most relevant to today's socio-political climate:
"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation."
Please visit: The MLK Reading Project to let your voice be heard.
Our next leaders walk among us. This small gesture may be all that's needed to ignite the flame.
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The 68th annual Golden Globes aired last night, and while many tuned in to see who took home an award, we all knew the best part of the show would be the fashion. It was unusally hot in LA last night, but our favorite stars of film, TV and music were even more red hot on the red carpet!Glamour and glitz are great, but it wouldn't be a red carpet without a few examples of "what were they thinking?" Take a look at Black Voices' picks for the Golden Globes' biggest fashion hits and misses of the night.
Halle Berry, a Golden Globes nominee for her movie 'Frankie and Alice,' gave new meaning to the word sexy. The stunning starlet rocked the red carpet in a lingerie inspired black Nina Ricci gown that was really a mini covered in sheer fabric. While most couldn't pull off such an interesting trend, Halle Berry is one of the few women with the body to pull it off. She added several diamond bangles and simple diamond studs to up the glam factor.
Amber Riley looked irresistible when entering the Golden Globes. The gorgeous star of 'Glee' literally shined in her one-shouldered silver sequined Oliver Tolentino gown, which she cinched with a black belt and accessorized with simple diamond earrings and a chunky ring. This budding fashionista is one to watch!
Alicia Keys was one hot mama in a red, flowing Michael Kors gown at the Golden Globes. The songtress wore a sleek glamorous updo, making it easy to see her vintage 1940s gold and diamond necklace from Fred Leighton.
Sure, Shaun Robinson is practically wearing the same gown as Amber Riley, but that doesn't mean she wasn't foxy and fabulous. The TV commentator wowed in her metallic sequined, one shouldered gown, the perfect background for her old Hollywood hairstyle.
Vanessa Williams always works the red carpet and her look at the Golden Globes was no exception. She dazzled in a soft pink, sequined column gown, drop earrings and smokey eye makeup.
Blair Underwood and his wife Desiree get our vote for best dressed couple of the night. The pair looked fabulous, with Blair in a handsome traditional tuxedo suit and Desiree in a blush colored, embellished gown.
Gabourey Sidibe graced the red carpet in a youthful, printed Marc Bouwer gown that was covered in sparkles and butterflies. The actress skipped jewelry this time around and complimented her look with a sweet curly bob. We loved that the up-coming diva tried something new, but her look was a bit too casual for such a fancy award show.
Seal and his wife Heidi Klum are normally stunning stars of the red carpet but tonight it looks like they were tired of being voted best dressed. Seal opted for a two-tone shoes and a shiny suit, which while perfect for someone like Lenny Kravitz, seemed dated and all types wrong for the soulful singer. His wife did slightly better in her patterned Marc Jacobs dress, but she should have saved the maxi for day at the beach instead.
When I was a little boy, my mother used to make me put on a suit and recite the "I have a dream" speech in her bedroom. She even had me wear a burnt cross necklace around my neck to emulate Dr. King. It was an uncomfortable process for me, but I'm sure my parents got a kick out of it. Either way, the first stamp on my brain had been made and it stayed with me for life.
As I got older and studied the life of Dr. King, I quickly realized that his life was very different from my own. He accomplished far more at an early age than I did. He had far more respect than I did. He was a better student than I was. How could I ever match up to that?
But it was OK that I couldn't match Dr. King, primarily because it had been confirmed to me in one celebration after another that I couldn't be anything like that man even if I'd wanted to be. He was superhuman, and I was not. So, rather than having the confidence to continue his legacy, I figured that I would just sit back and enjoy the celebration like everyone else. Why try to match up with perfection?
So, years later, after the celebration of the King holiday has become a great American tradition, I've noticed that Dr. King the legend has escaped even further from the grasp of our children. He has been elevated to live among the Greek Gods, as if he walked on water and could turn 'chitlins' into kool-aid. He was clearly, without question, more ethical, intelligent, creative, brave, focused and capable than any of the six billion human beings on earth could ever try to be.
Maybe it's time to take a second to reconsider just how much damage we've done to King's memory by making him into a excessively commercialized, sloppily-quoted deity. First, Dr. King would be furious that we're teaching our children that they are not as capable as he once was. He started his work for it to be continued, not for it to be relegated to the history books. With African Americans lying at the bottom of nearly every socio-economic quality of life measure, there is much work to be done. Dr. King knew he wouldn't get there with us, but he left it to us to finish the struggle. Instead, the closest any of us think we can come to Dr. King is the picture on our living room wall. When one soldier shows bravery in battle, the last thing he wants is for the other soldiers to stand around applauding and singing "Well shall overcome."
Secondly, by pretending that Dr. King was perfect in life, we are making his legacy vulnerable to those who can prove that he made mistakes. For example, there are some who simply wish to pretend that there was no possibility and no reason to even mention the fact that Dr. King was not always faithful to his wife, Coretta. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy that African Americans keep on our religious figures has not only ruined lives, but it makes all of us look silly. It also heightens the impact of the scandal when the truth finally hits the light of day. I had a friend in the south whose 19-year old mother was impregnated by a 45-year old married pastor. The pastor forced my friend's mother to keep the love child secret, which she did for over 20 years. So, my friend grew up watching her "sanctified" daddy walk right past her in public places without even acknowledging her. You think that might have affected her psychologically? Yes, it did.
If Dr. King cheated on his wife, then so be it. Let the historians analyze it the same way they will discuss the life of former President Bill Clinton. But also like Clinton, once the scandals have been processed, they will remember King's positive contributions to society. The world still loves Bill Clinton, even though he slept with Monica. The last thing we need is to try to maintain a flawless and artificially polished image of King, only to watch the world turn him into another Tiger Woods.
When I recently wrote about how African Americans might want to process King's alleged adultery, I got a lot of angry responses from people who felt that the subject shouldn't even be touched. I quickly found out that no matter how respectfully something is brought up, some issues are off limits when it comes to Dr. King or Barack Obama. But by closing our eyes and ears to the truth of who Dr. King really was, we are only further committing ourselves to ignorance and doing King the disservice of putting him on a pedestal on which no man can comfortably survive. If we want to support the memory of Dr. King, we must support it with truth and full acknowledgement that he was human like the rest of us. We must remind one another that not only can we become every bit as great as Dr. King, we should aim to build off his mistakes and exceed him. There is a Dr. King inside all of us, and even if we are less than perfect, we can still do something great for the world.
This is what I'll be teaching my kids on King Day: Dr. King was a great man who made mistakes like everyone else. But in spite of his mistakes, he kept his eye on the prize and did amazing things. My kids must understand that they will fall on their faces, embarrass themselves and find obstacles at every turn. But by maintaing a commitment to their value systems, becoming educated, courageously striving for their goals and pursuing their purpose with passion, they can continue the outstanding work of Dr. King and all the others who died to give them an opportunity. We don't have time to sit and worship anyone, there's too much work to do.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.
Fans of 'The Game' might have grown up seeing Tia Mowry-Hardrict alongside her twin Tamera on 'Sister, Sister' or have enjoyed Wendy Raquel Robinson as the feisty Principal Regina Grier on 'The Steve Harvey Show before they were cast in the dramedy, but few knew who the man born Marion Hall, Jr., better known as Pooch Hall, was.
Just days shy of getting the news that BET broke records with their fourth season premiere of 'The Game,' BlackVoices.com sat down with the hottie who plays quarterback Derwin Davis on the Mara Brock-Akil created dramedt. During the conversation, 34 year-old actor talked about his humble upbringing in Massachusetts, what he's learned from Spike Lee and how his daughter has changed his life.
BlackVoices.com: First, congratulations on that amazing fourth season premiere of 'The Game.' BET pulled in 7.7 million viewers. How do you feel basking in the good news?
Pooch Hall: It's overwhelming. My dad said when I was a kid, 'You better be a son of a gun.' That's kind of how I feel -- something like that. It's so interesting to see people respond to me like, 'You're the man,' and 'I watch the show and you made me cry,' to have that affect of so many people. It's really cool.
BV: What is the craziest reaction you've gotten from a fan? Has anyone tried to fight you for acting up on the show?
PH: Oh, no nothing like that. The craziest reaction was a girl fainting at the Hawks game. Just crying. You know when you see videos of Michael Jackson performing and people yelling 'Oh my God.' That's probably the biggest reaction.
BV: How do you deal with the pressure of your breakout role on 'The Game' and playing someone that fans of the show all have an opinion about?
PH: For me, it's about making sure I stay true to the character so I don't cheat the fans. I don't want to not be prepared or focused and I have to give Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil a huge 'Thank You' because they trust me to be able to do what I do on the show and have alot of range. There are people in the industry doing it for 30 years and don't get half the range that I get. I don't do this for money or fame. I do this for the fans.
BV: Give us some insight into your background. People don't really know a whole lot about your story.
PH: I grew up in a family that didn't have much but we had each other. I had a brother and a sister and a mom and my dad. My dad was the backbone of my family and gave me the weaponry and know-how to become a big man.
BV: Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
PH: Well, I used to play with my super hero figures and drawing. I loved to draw and set up my action figures and create scenes. It's like doing pre-story board in a sense. I think that connects to who I am now and certain things that I did it, it makes sense that I'm doing what I am doing now.
BV: Where'd the name "Pooch" come from?
PH: I was Pooch since I was in my mom's pooch. That wasn't a fake name that I made up. I was Poochy. My dad is from down south and the next door neighbor used to ask how Pookie is doing, but my dad would call me Poochy.
BV: When did you decide to become an actor? Was that when you were enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth?
PH: I was playing football [in college] and the wide receiver and running back. I didn't even try to go into acting. I was on the bus when we went to play other schools making people laugh. People used to say, 'You need to be on TV. You're so funny.' I always entertained. I never thought you could become an actor from Massachusetts. Let alone what I've become.
BV: So when did you get your first break?
PH: They posted flyers around school for a movie being filmed outside Providence and I went down and I actually got a role in a movie. I was one of the only ones who got a role outside of hundreds of people to show up. I always wanted to do something special, but I thought my way of getting out of Massachusetts was sports because I boxed and played football my entire life. When I went to college, I fell into the acting thing. I thought with that role here's an opportunity since Hollywood was coming to me and giving me a role.
BV: Your breakout role was definitely in the television miniseries, 'Miracle's Boys.' How was working with Spike Lee on that?
PH: That's where my career really began because Spike made me a better actor and a better person. He made me understand what it meant to put in hard work and do good work and be the best that you can be as far as having every area covered. Acting is about being and creation and Spike said that 'You have to be one with your character so that if I don't yell cut, we can keep going.' That's what was cool about working with him. Spike is so small, but has such a presence but I wasn't intimidated because he believed in me and took a chance with me.
BV: The story with 'The Game,' is that you were really close to not getting your breakout role because you and your fellow castmate Hosea Chanchez have a similar look. Is that true?
PH: People always say me and Hosea resemble each other. I knew him before i knew anyone in the cast. Me and Hosea used to go out. We didn't come from many known projects, but I used to audition for a lot of commercials and he ended up commenting on 'Miracle's Boys' and how good of a job I did at one of the auditions. After that we kept running into each other and auditioned for 'The Game.' At first I went in for Derwin and then they brought me back to audition for Malik. Then they brought me back for Derwin.
BV: Did you get the role immediately after coming back to play Derwin?
PH: Oh no. The process was so hard it got to the point where I said, ' I don't even want this job. I don't even want to play this character.' I played football for 11 years and I felt like Hollywood doesn't know what football is or the choices that the character is going to make. I felt like I didn't know what [the network] wanted when I auditioned. Then, I got a chance to have a role in 'Pepper Dennis' with Rebecca Romjin Stamos and at the same time, they said they were going to go in a different direction. I wanted to do 'Pepper Dennis' anyway. We did our run and we only did 12 episodes.
BV: So, that show was short-lived, how'd you get back to 'The Game?'
PH: After the pilot of 'The Game,' they re-cast and I got a call, and went in. I felt the same way before and didn't know what to expect. I did a screen test with Tia where they narrowed it down between me and Chaz [Lamar Shepherd] who plays Trey Wiggs. Chaz is darker than I am and him and Tia were rubbing elbows in the lobby and laughing. I thought, 'They already got the chemistry going on. They're gonna pick him.' Well, I messed up and then Tia came out and said that Chaz messed up. They said,' Tia and Pooch could you stay a few minutes to re-do the scene?' and usually in Hollywood when they say 'Stick around,' they are interested in you. I said 'Yea, what?' in my mind...not out loud. (laughs) I went back in and killed it and the next day I got a phone call saying I got the part.
BV: Did you do you research when you first got the part and ask any established athletes about their stories so that you could play Derwin Davis as real as possible?
PH: When I got the role, it wasn't too long after I had been a college rookie. So, my research was my experience in college playing football. In terms of the show, I was a rookie in the NFL. Remember, I was doing rookie stuff on the show. I was being Malik's flunky in a sense or being hazed and trying to have a voice. It was more about the relationship between me and Tia. Athletes came up to me and said how good I was and how believable I was. I'd tell them it was because I played football and that was where I was pulling from. I did watch ESPN and Sports Center faithfully but I wasn't basing my performance on any one T.O. or OchoCinco or Sean Jackson. I felt Derwin Davis was his own man and own brand.
BV: In the hiatus, you booked gigs. Were you ready to let 'The Game' go?
PH: I have a great agent Marni Rosenzweig who is my friend and like a big sister. She gets me and she also gets this business. She said, 'Here's a fact, Pooch, 'The Game' will end. We are living for your career and your family. I wouldn't be doing my job unless you go beyond 'The Game' and get you out there.' I did a pilot for FOX and other great things that didn't see the light of day. I also did 'Accidentally on Purpose.'
BV: Thankfully, it all worked out with you getting back on 'The Game,' but many people don't know in real life, you're a family man with a wife and kids. How do you balance that with being a Hollywood actor?
PH: I try and keep my family life private. I don' t like to bring work home but it is coming harder the more popular 'The Game' becomes because I will be with my kids and they are wondering 'Why do people want to take a picture of my daddy?' My oldest daughter is developmentally delayed and handicap. A lot of people don't know that about her because I'm sensitive about her and protective of her and all my kids, but that really changed my life. My oldest daughter requires a lot of attention and work and that's where my wife comes in and is a strong woman. She can't be as great as she can be because she has to make sure that my daughter can be her greatest.
BV: What do you think your daughter has taught you?
PH: She is a gift and a beautiful being. A lot of people complain about stuff that is really dumb. My daughter can't walk or talk and is one of the happiest people on the planet. All she knows is love. I take a page from her book. The world would be so much better if we don't judge. I don't complain about dumb s**t. I don't complain about all red M&Ms or if my water is room temperature.
BV: You're not one of those actors that comes across as really egotistical, though. That's not you.
PH: As far as my acting, I don't know any other way to be but real. Acting for me is being. Like [on 'The Game'] when my wife is telling me it's not my son [or if] I'm being Laz Alonzo's best friend in 'Jumping the Broom' and wanting him to make the right choice [or if] I'm being Ty'ree the older brother who wants his younger brothers to be better than him [in 'Miracle's Boys']. That's what acting means to me. I never want anyone to walk away from what Pooch Hall did and say, 'He didn't put it down.'
BV: 'The Game' will get another season. I think you're popularity is going to only grow. Believe it.
PH: We're walking down the streets like 'Say something.' (laugh)
BV: What's going on with Brittany Daniel? She didn't do much press like the rest of the cast, but just did a big Vibe magazine story on her recurring role status this season and talked about her frustration with shooting 'The Game.'
PH: Brittany Daniel is one of the most underrated white actresses in Hollywood. She is my friend, she is my sister and she is a soldier with us. When I see certain things not happening the same for Brittany Daniel, I get a little upset like 'Come on. We're a team.' There is no isolated incident, but if it's promoting 'The Game,' it should be Mara Brock Akil, Salim Akil, Pooch Hall, Tia Mowry, Coby Bell, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Brittany Daniel and Hosea Chanchez and Kelsey Grammer whenever he provides us with a nice spread from craft services (laughs). If someone's going to get something, all of us should get something. People were saying, 'I hear Brittany Daniel is making the most money,' and 'The white girl is on a black show making the most money.' I'm not saying that is true, I'm just happy for Brittany. All I can say is if Derwin has a voice I can't wait to have more scenes with Kelly Pitts next season.
BV: Looking back, is this the biggest payback to The CW ever?
PH: I have no ill will towards those people. I'm going to be honest. Two of the producers put me on 'Accidentally on Purpose.' They treated me right and for three years I had a wonderful job working on 'The Game' and a wonderful paycheck. Some people give their children up for adoption not because they don't love them but because they can't give them the life that they need. As far as The CW, it could have been a combination of a few things, but they didn't hate us because they allowed us to stay on for three years. I don't think that they could give us the home that we needed. I have two great parents The CW and BET. I treat them both like family. I don't judge them. I say, 'Thank You.' Plus, Dawn Ostroff, the head of CW, sent an email to [BET chief] Debra Lee saying 'Congratulations and that she is really happy for us.' That's a class move in my opinion.
'The Game' airs on BET Tuesdays at 10 pm EST.