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Black Entertainment, Money, Style and Beauty Blogs - Black Voices

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    Currently online is the trailer to Victoria Mahoney's 'Yelling To The Sky,' which stars Zoe Kravitz, Academy Award nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe, Antonique Smith, Shareeka Epps, Yolanda Ross, Tariq Trotter, and Tim Blake Nelson.

    In a depraved New York neighborhood, the youngest of three mixed-race sisters named Sweetness O'Hara (played by Kravitz), spends the better part of being seventeen navigating an identity between the known: a violent life of crime, and the unknown: a life of purpose and meaning.


    After premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, the film will also be shown at the upcoming SXSW Film Festival.

     

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    Stevie Wonder will be in good company when the Apollo Theater inducts him into its Legends Hall of Fame later this spring.

    The Motown Records icon will be honored during the famed venue's annual spring gala, which brings together the best and brightest in business and entertainment to raise funds in support of the non-profit theater's remarkable legacy and its current initiatives for emerging artists and community and educational programs.

    Officially billed as The Gala Benefit Concert and Awards Ceremony, this year's star-studded festivities will take place June 13. The event is the Apollo's largest annual fundraiser and all proceeds of the event will benefit the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc., a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

    "Stevie Wonder is a true Apollo Legend and an American classic, and we look forward to welcoming him home in June and presenting him with the Apollo's highest honor," said Apollo Theater president and CEO Jonelle Procope. "Stevie is irrefutable proof of the Apollo's continuing power as a transformative cultural force in America and around the world."




    Wonder, born Stevland Hardway Judkins in Saginaw, Michigan in 1950, joins past Apollo Legends Halls inductees, such as Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Patti Labelle, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, and Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, who was celebrated last year.

    Each Apollo Legends Hall of Fame Inductee is honored with a plaque installed in the Apollo Walk of Fame, installed under the Theater's iconic marquee.

    The 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' singer/songwriter first appeared at the Apollo Theater in 1962 when he was 12 years old. At that time, he was called "Little Stevie Wonder," and was already touring as a professional act (and was the only "child act") as part of Berry Gordy's "Motown Revue." Other notable Apollo appearances include the "Save the Apollo Concert" in the 1980s and sold out solo concerts in 2005.


     

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    Michel


    Maybe there will be a fair election in Haiti after all.

    Popular singer Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly (pictured) will appear on the country's final presidential ballot, according to Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council.

    The decision means that government-backed candidate Jude Celestin won't appear as a candidate in the March run-off election.

    The announcement will likely please the masses since it was widely believed that Celestin benefited from government fraud, which put him on the final ballot from the first round of voting in November.

    Martelly will face Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady, who finished first among the top three candidates.

    Maybe I'm being unfair, but it's hard for me to see how a showy island singer will be able to lead Haiti from the abyss. If that is who the Haitian people want to take the reigns of government, though, so be it.

    After all, we have picked all sorts of actors, comedians and action heroes for political office here and the world didn't come to an end.

    The difference here, though, is that the future of Haiti's earthquake recovery lies in the balance.

    International relief funds have been slowed for the past year, because donating countries have no confidence that their money won't line the pockets of corrupt leaders. Until Haiti gets a president the world can believe in, the money will likely remain bottled up.

    Shops closed early, banks shut their doors and people retreated to the safety of their homes in Port-au-Prince, fearing new violent protests ahead of the election announcement.

    The streets will likely be peaceful, however, with the announcement that "Sweet Micky" is on the ballot. Soon it will be time for Haitians to decide if he will be their next president.

     



     

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    While appearing last night on NBC's 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,' Samuel L. Jackson confirmed that he will make a cameo appearance and reprise his role as Nick Fury in both upcoming films, 'Thor' and 'Captain America: The First Avenger.'

    "In the next month or so, I have to do one day on Thor, and I gotta do another day on Captain America, and in April we start The Avengers - the big deal with everybody. Thor and Captain America are pretty much done, but I haven't done my part in them yet. I'm just connective tissue for them to join The Avengers."

    Jackson, who has a nine-picture deal with Marvel to appear as Nick Frost, made appearances in both 'Iron Man' films.

    The Kenneth Branagh-directed 'Thor,' which stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgard, Jaimie Alexander, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano, Idris Elba, Clark Gregg, and Colm Feore, opens on May 6.

    'Captain America: The First Avenger,' which stars Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, and Tommy Lee Jones, opens on July 22.

     

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    Diddy Gives Son a Custom Maybach Limo

    From PopEater:

    Diddy doesn't mess around when it comes to giving out presents. The Independent reports that he recently gifted his 17-year-old son, Justin, with yet another Mercedes Maybach for his birthday. The teen received his first Maybach, worth over $300,000 when he was just 16, but Diddy upped the ante this time around, giving Justin the limousine version of the luxury vehicle.

    "Justin has turned himself around and is now an honors student, which he wasn't before, so I wanted to treat him," Diddy explained of the lavish gift valued at $390,000. "It's a collector's car so maybe he will use it for special occasions like on a first date, but like all my kids, he prefers the simpler things than the expensive things. Simple tastes."


    Last year, the hip-hop mogul was criticized for giving his son such an expensive gift, which was chronicled on the MTV show 'My Super Sweet 16.' Diddy fought back at his critics, remarking that the opposition was based less around his finances and more around his skin color. "The whole thing about giving a Maybach to my son, that's really like a racist question," he said in response to an interview with journalist Martin Bashir, who questioned his decision to give his son the car.

    Read the rest on Diddy giving his son a custom Maybach limo on PopEater.com.

    BV Talk Back Questions:
    -Was it wrong for Diddy to give his son Justin a second Maybach just for making the honor role?
    -Is it racism for people to assume that a rich black man should not give his child a gift that he can afford?
    -How do you use money, gifts or other material incentives to inspire your children and reward them when they do well in school?
    -Do you approve or disapprove of this practice?

    Leave your comments below!

     

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    It seems Rihanna's hair has kept pace with every change, big or small, in her rapidly-evolving career. In fact, in just six months the singer can go through at least three color or cut swaps without blinking an eye! In light of her new shoulder-length, voluminous red hairdo, here are a few reminders of what she's been working with since "SOS."

     

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    Rent Payments Will Soon Be Added to Credit Reports

    From The Huffington Post:

    Consumers who struggle to build a solid credit profile may soon get a boost by simply paying their monthly rent on time.

    One of the country's three major credit reporting agencies is now incorporating positive rental payment data into its scoring methodology. Experian will track the information through its RentBureau division, a specialty credit bureau that gathers payment data from a network of property managers covering more than 8 million renters nationwide.


    Until now, only negative rental information would appear on a consumer's credit report, typically after a landlord sent the account to a collection agency. But the Experian announcement means millions of consumers can build and strengthen their credit by staying current with their rent.

    "Given that one-third of the U.S. population rents, we felt it was imperative to reflect the true creditworthiness of those individuals who responsibly pay their rent," Brannan Johnston, vice president and managing director at Experian RentBureau, said in a news release. "We are thrilled to be industry leaders in this initiative, and look forward to providing this credit-building avenue to residents."

    Renters should take heed, though, as this will soon become a two-way street. Experian plans to report only positive data in 2011. But negative rent information, i.e., late payments, are likely to become part of the mix in 2012.

    Read more about rent payments and credit reports on The Huffington Post.

     

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    NFL
    In this episode of our segment called "What the Hayell," I lay out some honest thoughts and facts about all the black boys who grow up wanting to be football or basketball players. This is a media-created epidemic that leads to far too many young men throwing away their futures for an athletic dream that will likely turn into a serious nightmare.

    I met a 16-year old kid who was about to drop out of high school. He couldn't read well enough to understand a billboard or menu at McDonald's. He'd already been arrested as a juvenile and didn't have a job. I asked the kid about his future and what he wanted to do with his life. He said, "I wanna be a football player."

    What was most interesting about the kid's remark is that he wasn't very tall or athletic. He'd never even played organized sports. But somehow, based on what he'd seen on television and how he'd come to define his role models, he made the interesting decision to pursue the NFL as his future career. Roughly two years later, he was in prison for armed robbery.

    The fixation that many black boys have on becoming athletes and entertainers is a partnership between the media (which is far more likely to feature an African American providing entertainment than one providing serious and intellectual discourse), the school system (which marginalizes black boys at an early age, making education undesirable to them), and all of us (who are more likely to show up for a child's basketball game than for a PTA meeting). This perfect storm of black male self-destruction leads to far too many black boys not growing up with a chance to become productive black men: A man who is unemployed, incarcerated and/or uneducated has a hard time being a good husband or father to anyone. We must change the way we raise our boys if we are going to save our community. Black History Month is a perfect time to start breaking the cycle.

    The video is below.
    PRODUCTION PLAYER! DO NOT DELETE.


    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.

     

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    Channel 13 Houston, abc13



    Houston police got caught beating down 16-year-old robbery suspect Chad Holley last March, and now a Houston television station is letting the world see just how bad the beating was.

    A fleeing Holley is shown running from officers and then falling, after being clipped by a Houston police car.

    While lying face down, officers are shown surrounding Holley. After a few seconds, things get interesting with one officer delivering several kicks to Holly's head and another punching him in the side. After a few moments, the same officer is shown stomping on the back of Holley's legs.


    After the beating, the teen is led off to a waiting police cruiser.

    Too bad no audio is provided with the video, because it might've helped explain why the cops took such a violent tact in subduing Holley.

    If Holley was mouthing off and otherwise making himself a pain in the neck when the handcuffs were being put on, I, and the public, could at least understand a little better why the situation spun out of control.

    And it's true that Holley wouldn't have gotten beaten up in the first place if he and his three friends hadn't been robbing a local home.

    But let's be clear: Nothing Holley might have said or done after he was surrounded could justify the cops' reaction. The polices' actions were egregiously unprofessional, and the Houston police department should be ashamed by this incident.

    Thankfully, the system actually seemed to work in the case of Chad Holley's beating: the four officers shown punching and kicking Holley were indicted on misdemeanor charges and fired; three other officers were fired without being charged and the remaining officers received suspensions, according to the Houston Chronicle.


    In addition, the city powers tried to block the release of the video to the public, but they failed.

    And now, with this video evidence, police in Houston and around the country can see how too many police officers hand out justice in poor communties.



    Watch the Chad Holley beating for yourself here:


     



     

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    Cedella Marley, founder of clothing line Catch A Fire and daughter of late reggae icon Bob Marley, just partnered with Puma to create the Olympic, podium, and ceremony wear for the Jamaican Track and Field team in the London 2012 Olympics.

    Cedella, the eldest Marley daughter who was once a track runner herself, is placed at the helm of creating performance-enhancing athletic wear for the entire Jamaican Olympic team, which includes record-breaking and ironically-named runner Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world.

    For the outfits, the designer plans to incorporate vibrant colors and patterns reminiscent of Jamaica as well as the country's African roots. She says the opportunity of creating the outfits for her home team is an unbelievable honor and something she never dreamed would be possible.

    Keep an eye out for her designs at the 2012 Olympic games in London! What do you think of the new collaboration?

     

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    Employees Allege Race Bias in Turner Industries Group Lawsuit

    More than 200 current and former workers at Turner Industries Group of Baton Rouge, an industrial services company, have filed a discrimination lawsuit saying that workers there hurled racial slurs and jokes and displayed drawings of nooses, swastikas and Aryan Brotherhood symbols.

    The company has flatly denied any harassment or discrimination and in fact stands for diversity and inclusion.

    The statements from each side leave no middle ground in observing the case. Either the black workers are lying or the white company owners are.

    It's hard to believe that hundreds of workers could all be under the same delusion of seeing nooses, racist graffiti and segregated bathrooms at their workplace.


    Yvonne Turner, who worked at the company, said a protective suit was stuffed, tagged with her name and hung from a noose. She said when she told a supervisor about it, he laughed.

    Another worker, Cheryl Falola, said employees were separated by race at another Turner facility and that she was harassed repeatedly by a white man who worked with her.

    Turner officials said many of the plaintiffs no longer work for the company and that some others never did. The Turner CEO Roland Toups said his company records show few of the plaintiffs ever complained to their supervisors about the harassment.

    Without benefit of EEOC records filed in the case, it's tough to decide which side is telling the truth.

    But the one factor that makes me lean towards the workers' side is that an April 2010 EEOC investigation found that black workers were in fact subjected to racist behavior at a Turner plant in Paris, Texas. The EEOC found that Turner managers knew about the hostile work environment but did nothing to fix it.



    Is it possible that plaintiff lawyers, smelling the chance for a quick buck after last year's EEOC ruling, engineered a campaign to further smear the company with new bias complaints?

    Anything is possible, I guess. I mean, didn't we all believe Tawana Brawley when she first made her accusations?

    But what seems far more likely to me is that Turner Industries was home to an environment poisoned by racism and did nothing to address it.




     

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    Sudanese Youth Use Facebook to Ignite Protest


    Sudan is one of the world's most repressive countries, but the winds of change appear to blowing -- with an assist from Facebook.

    Calling for peaceful political change in Sudan, a Facebook group called Youth for Change is holding the protests roiling Tunisia and Egypt as examples of how people power can bring change to powerful autocratic governments.

    Thus far, Youth for Change messages have stressed that their demonstrations won't involve acts of sabotage. But how long will the youth remain patient, especially if the government gets a little heavy-handed in its response to the protests?


    A New York Times report said that one protester was killed and thousands of young Sudanese have been beaten and arrested in recent weeks. The protests appear to be well organized and have ranged from a few dozen to several hundred people in cities across the large nation.



    It doesn't take much to turn disgruntled folks gathering in a public square into an international crisis point -- just ask Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak who has witnessed his 30-year rule engulfed in flames, violence and calls for his immediate resignation.

    The Egyptian protests got a boost early on because the military took a hands-off approach to the growing anti-government crowds in Cairo.

    It is unlikely that will happen in Sudan because the government of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is basically run by the military.

    But the time could be right for big changes in Sudan. They are already on the way since the vote by the southern part of the country for independence from the government controlled north last month.

    The vote to create a new government in the oil-rich south will open a whole new trend of thought in Sudan where personal freedom and open criticism of the government can be seen as realities.

    These could be interesting days for Sudan as long as the people keep demanding change.

     

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    It appears that those who've argued that people should wait till marriage to have sex have some data that proves them right (sort of). The Economist Magazine, which often studies family stability as a key to economic success, presented an academic study showing that couples who abstain from sex before marriage are more likely to remain married and also more likely to enjoy their relationships.

    Oddly enough, the study was done at Brigham Young University, which happens to be owned by Mormons who believe in abstinence. But the study has also been peer reviewed by the academic community and the results are statistically shown to have been controlled for the religious background of the participant. Whether the controls are entirely adequate is still subject to further review.

    Professor Dean Busby, the leader of the study, gathered 2,035 married people with ages ranging from 19 to 71, all of whom had been married for between six months and 20 years. Their religious affiliations varied across the board and many of them were atheists.

    The participants in the study were asked if they had sex before marriage, whether they have high quality sex lives today, how often they've thought about ending their relationships and a few other questions to gauge relationship quality. The questions were answered on a five point scale. The results are to be published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

    According to the study, those who waited to have sex after their wedding date were found to have better communication, a higher quality sex life, more satisfying relationships and a greater perception of relationship stability. The results were consistent across the board for both men and women.

    On first glance, the study surprised me a bit. But once I thought about it, I realized that perhaps the authors are onto something. Those who start their relationships without the powerfully-distorting drug called "sex" are likely to make more rational relationship choices. They may also be more likely to choose a partner who stimulates them in other ways, leading to a stronger and more lasting relationship.

    I present the results of this study as a man who neither goes to church very often nor believes in waiting until marriage to have sex. But the findings seem to argue that those who have the discipline to wait may have an added benefit that other people do not. At the same time, the idea of teaching abstinence-only approaches to controlling teen pregnancy have been shown to be relatively ineffective, for the powerful force of human attraction is almost impossible to control. At the very least, young people should be educated about safe sex so that if they do have a weak moment and choose to become sexually-involved, they don't have to pay a lifetime price for their decision.

    Another thought that comes to mind when analyzing these results is the risk that sexual abstinence during a relationship can cause people to rush toward marriage. The use of abstinence as a tool to persuade another person to walk down the aisle is typically a risky and futile relationship strategy. With divorce rates in America being as high as they are, marriage as the ultimate relationship solution is certainly open to question. Also, one has to wonder if a partner demanding abstinence in a relationship should be surprised if they find out that the person they love is having sex with someone else in order to pass the time.

    Overall, one can simply make the argument that the decision to abstain from sex until marriage certainly appears to have long-term benefits if the strategy is pursued in the right context with the right partner. That partner not only has to have a similar belief system, but also the discipline and willingness to commit to those beliefs in the face of significant temptation (we know how some church folk are not exactly living the way they pretend to live). By observing your partner's discipline and engaging in honest, open communication about this difficult decision, you may be able to utilize abstinence in a way that creates a lasting and meaningful relationship. But abstinence isn't for everyone, so you should make sure you're on the same page.

    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.

     

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    Last week, Steve Harvey may have been the subject of much scuttlebutt after his ex-wife Mary Shackleford released scandalous YouTube videos, but the multimedia kingpin is undeterred and continuing on his mission to mentor youth.

    The best-selling author, radio personality and 'Family Feud' host will hold a special Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men for 100 Los Angeles-area teenage boys at the University of Southern California.

    This program was created by the 'Straight Talk, No Chaser' author to bring guidance to young men who are without fathers in their lives, empowering them with the principles of manhood and dream building.

    "The Mentoring weekend is vital in LA," Harvey told BlackVoices.com today. "This is where it all really started for me in radio. Remembering our base and recognizing the need for mentoring worldwide and especially in this special weekend in LA, we extend the brand of mentoring to single mothers. We extend our helping hand by leaving the young men with a snapshot of manhood that they previously may not have had."




    The festivities will converge on USC's Davidson Conference Center, where 100 teenage boys will share in life-affirming activities including the 'You Can Be Me' session on careers, a session on image, a sneaker design workshop and chess challenge. Harvey will offer powerful words and lessons about manhood too.

    Other special guests, including TV veteran Stan Lathan, actor Lamman Rucker, BET personality Terrence J and fellow comedic icon Cedric The Entertainer, will share inspiration, insight and important tools during an three-day weekend.

    Attendants were selected from an array of personal essay submissions, and are all aged 13-18, between grades 9-12, and from single-mother households in the Los Angeles area.

    The program is the cornerstone of Harvey's community activities, which seeks to transform and empower teenage boys to build the future and life that they want.

    The 'Original King of Comedy' will host his annual Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend in Dallas during Father's Day Weekend for 100 teenage boys from across the country, and also host Regional Mentoring Weekends in New Orleans, Chicago and New York this year.

     

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    Just one year after his secret wedding, Terrence Howard is getting divorced.
    Howard's wife, Michelle, filed a divorce petition with a Los Angeles court on Jan. 27, the same day they separated, according to documents obtained by RadarOnline.com.


    In her petition, Michelle said she's splitting from the "Law & Order: Los Angeles" star due to "irreconcilable differences."

    The couple wed Jan. 20, 2010 but the 41-year-old actor didn't announce it until the Cannes Film Festival that May.

    "To come here and be with my wife, it's the best feeling in the world," he told Anderson Cooper in an interview with CNN.

    Michelle noted in her petition that "there are community and quasi-community assets" that they have yet to divide, though she wants "miscellaneous jewelry and other effects" to be declared separate property.

    She is also seeking attorneys' fees.

    This was, technically, Howard's third marriage. He married and divorced Lori McCommas, the mother of his three children, before remarrying her in 2005 and splitting again shortly after.

    In 2008, Howard spoke to The Guardian about his up-and-down relationship with McCommas, saying, "She's the only woman I know I could love for the rest of my life."

    "I'd marry her again, to tell you the truth," the actor said, before admitting he's been tempted by other women.


    "I'm always asking, 'Is this a temporary love?'" he shared. "That's the scary thing. I fall in love real quick, but out of love even quicker."

    Source: NY Daily News



    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.

     

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    It appears that the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar is getting the kind of traction that can make a difference. Since we first wrote about Kelley on AOL Black Voices, the entire nation has taken notice. Change.org and ColorofChange.org have launched petitions that have garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures. Also, the story has gained national attention as a clear example of all that's wrong with the educational system in America.

    In case you haven't seen the story, Kelley Williams-Bolar is the single mother of two who was sent to jail for sending her children to a school outside their district. In addition to being sent to jail, Williams-Bolar would have a felony record and not be able to ever teach again in the state of Ohio.

    The rapper P. Diddy took the initiative to send a message out to his 3.2 million Twitter followers.

    "MAKE #KELLEYWILLIAMSBOLAR a TT! I want all 3M of yall 2 hit up @johnkasich and tell him Moms shouldnt go to jail for protecting their kids!"

    In a related announcement, Ohio Governor John Kasich has offered to investigate Kelley's case. On his website, the governor had this to say:

    "Karen and I work hard to make a better future for our girls so when I first heard about Ms. Kelley Williams-Bolar's case last week it really struck me, as it has many other people. My legal team has been reviewing it in detail and is in the process of talking to her lawyer, the prosecutor and the school district, in order to provide me a complete briefing."


    I can't put into words how proud I am of Diddy. By taking a stand for a single mother under attack by the system, he is taking the lead on showing the amazing power of the hip-hop community when it comes to fighting for real change in America. It is my hope that in addition to speaking up on behalf of Kelley Williams-Bolar, young artists and their older managers will start to help the hip-hop music industry reclaim its rightful place among the great beacons of black American activism. The racial inequality which exists within the prison, educational and economic systems in America gives artists a whole lot of places to channel their talent and energy.

    In terms of what else is happening on the ground, Rev. Al Sharpton and I are planning a town hall meeting and rally in Akron, Ohio tentatively scheduled for February 9. My goal is not to simply make sure that Kelley is taken care of, but to work hard for the millions of other mothers and fathers across America who are being held hostage by an inadequate educational system. Having allies like Diddy and others speaking up on for these causes is critical, and utilizing all black voices across America is important as well. We change the world if we are not afraid to try.

    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.

     

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    It's no secret that the Super Bowl brings out the best in marketers. Some of the most memorable moments of Superbowls past (certainly the blowouts) have occurred during the timeouts. Poignant, funny or heartwarming there's a place near and dear to our hearts for the Superbowl commercials that manage to make an impression as deep and lasting as the actual game. We've narrowed all of the great down to the Top 5. Take a look and tell us what you think. Even if you don't agree you'll at least get a chance to wax nostalgic with this set of vintage Super Bowl commercials.

    1979 Coca-Cola: This spot proves that even menacing NFL defensive lineman have a soft spot-- even if it did take a bottle of Coca-Cola to loosen him up. Of course, this commercial technically aired before the Super Bowl, but we won't quibble if you won't. Reportedly it took a number of takes to get the commercial right because Mean Joe had trouble downing an entire bottle of Coca-Cola without burping during his final line.




    1993 McDonald's: Pitting two of the best NBA players of all time against each other for a Big Mac was brilliant. Their tongue-in-cheek game of HORSE was the icing on the cake. This Super Bowl commercial may have altered the nature of playground challenges ever after.



    1999 Monster.com: Wow! This ad managed to be poignant and funny at the same time. Perhaps it's because we have to sometimes have to laugh to keep from crying at the unfulfilled dreams of our youth. We challenge anyone to watch this and not give a split second thought to their childhood ambitions and how they've panned out. Even if you've outpaced your wildest dreams it still hits home. Monster hit where it hurts with this one.




    2003 Reebok: Reebok sticks to the workplace theme to hilarious effect. Imagine if you could send a Terry Tate "Tackle-gram" to the person who steals your lunch from the office refrigerator or never brews an new pot of coffee. How many managers would like to send just this sort of message to employees? We guess: a lot. Thanks to Reebok for giving light to our workplace fantasies. We admit, this is the extended version that didn't actually air during the Super Bowl (Complain and we'll send Terry your way).




    2010 Snickers: Seeing Betty White get tackled in the mud is jarring-- but funny. Ditto for her line about her teammate's girlfriend. The transformation that occurs after eating a Snickers is clever and memorable. Abe Vigoda getting tackled is a nice touch at the end.

    Those are our favorites. Use the comments to tell us yours.

     

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    Would you be OK if your husband had a girlfriend? Or what if your wife went on vacation with her male lover - without you- could you handle that?

    Most people admittedly could not, with such ideas often igniting feelings of rage, jealousy, a barrage of expletives or even cause windows to be busted. Yeah, it could get ugly.

    But Aol Black Voices found a married couple who are fine with those scenarios and even spent last July apart with their significant others. Meet Carl and Kenya Stevens, parents of three who, after spending 12 years of marriage monogamously, decided three years ago to try open marriage.

    What would make them switch up?

    Well, in 2006, Carl, 40, came home from work and told Kenya, 36, he'd fallen in love with another woman. No, he didn't cheat on her, as the relationship was nonsexual. But it didn't stop him from having feelings for his coworker. His honesty propelled them to explore the deeper meaning of their union and, at Carl's suggestion, contemplate an open marriage. Kenya admits that she wasn't down for it at first and it took two years for her to warm up to the idea.

    Before you write her off as another woman kowtowing to her man's lustful appetite, know that she was the first one to have sex outside their marriage once it was open. They say their open marriage has been spiritually and emotionally transformational, and even brought them closer together.

    As unconventional as the Stevenses' marital status appears, they aren't the first African Americans to engage in this lifestyle. Academy Award-winning actress Mo'Nique has spoken publicly on various occasions about the open marriage she shares with her husband, Sidney Hicks. Legendary Hollywood couple Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis admitted in their 1998 joint biography, 'With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together,' that they tried an open marriage but later decided it wasn't for them. Supermodel Naomi Campbell's Russian billionaire boyfriend Vladimir Doronin has an open marriage with his wife. And let's not forget the occasional rumblings surrounding whether A-list couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have an open marriage.
    Even though there isn't any statistical data pointing to open relationships as a growing trend among African American couples, you have to wonder with rampant cases of infidelity and marital dishonesty, reports of the single black woman's plight and nearly half of American marriages - a reported 70% for African Americans - ending in divorce, should African Americans consider this lifestyle?

    Black Voices sat down with the Stevenses to discuss how this marital arrangement is working for them and why others may want to consider it.

    Black Voices: How do you define open marriage as a couple?

    Carl Stevens: For us it's the ability to relate to other people, meaning we can have friendships, we can have intimate relationships, we can have any kind of relating with someone else that we feel is necessary for us as individuals. We also have to be able to be open and honest with each other, and we have a certain line of communication so that everybody is in the loop with how we're feeling and what's going on.

    Kenya Stevens: Oftentimes in marriage, parameters are set on even emotional friendships with the opposite sex. If my husband wanted to go and play checkers with the woman who lived across the street, that's deemed as 'not right.' In our marriage, we can have emotional relationships with people of the opposite sex.

    BV: Then why continue to stay married?

    CS: The fact is that it's natural and the realness is that you will have and desire to be in relationships with other people. Humans, by nature, are gregarious beings. It's more natural for us to love others and to be with others on a different level than it is for us not to. We actually have to close ourselves off, so to speak, in a traditional Christian-based marriage and stop ourselves from expressing our natural desires. So we're kind of going against the natural order of things by trying to control who and how you love. Love doesn't work that way.
    BV: How do you deal with jealousy without finding yourself resenting the other?

    CS: The thing is, it starts with understanding people's perspective on jealousy. It's valid to feel jealousy, but is it valid that it's accepted? So if somebody's jealous, do we accept that jealousy and change our behavior to accommodate it? The answer to that is no, you don't accept it and change your behavior. Instead we work with each other and support each other to overcome these jealous feelings.

    An example would be to say if Kenya goes out with her boyfriend and I have a feeling of jealousy around it, I, being able to be vulnerable and truthful, am able talk with her about how I feel.

    BV: You are love coaches who have a foundation in tantra. How has this influenced your ability to have an open relationship?

    KS: Tantra is the idea that sex is a sacred activity. It's the most grandiose meditation that two people can participate in together. So we don't think about sex in a pornographic fashion. We think of sex as connecting with another person. And so that separates the idea of just swinging and going out and just looking for sex and so forth.

    When we deal with a relationship outside of our marriage, it's a deep connection. The individuals that we are friends with outside of our marriage are also friends with our partners. So my boyfriend is friends with my husband. My husband's girlfriend is friends with me. So we have a tantric connection to each individual that we have an intimate partnership with.

    BV: That's a very evolved way of thinking, but it still can't be easy knowing that your mate now has another lover. How did you adjust?

    KS: Yes, there's a big adjustment period and we're still in it. We're very comfortable right now, three years in, but for the first year it was very, very rough because we're discarding all of these notions and ideas like jealousy. We're replacing jealously with ideas like compersion - the state of being actually joyous and excited if your partner is receiving pleasure and happiness outside your union.

    So replacing jealousy with compersion was a big, big thing for us. We're at the point now where we're actually very happy when our partner is satisfied outside our union. And we're very happy when we receive satisfaction with each other.

    BV: You spent the majority of your marriage as a monogamous couple. How do you become joyous and excited that your spouse is with another when your habits have been the complete opposite of that?

    CS: You have to be willing to ask, 'why do I have a problem with the way someone wants to live their life, even if it is somebody that I am married to?' Or, 'where is the source of my anger, mistrust and jealousy coming from?' If you're willing to do that analysis on yourself and really be introspective, what you'll find is that it comes from the cultural bias that we've been implanted with by society.

    It comes from us not being in touch with our own selves. So when you're willing to do that, that will bring you back around to being more at a place where you can express love for other people, be happy for other people, be OK with their choices and not feel offended or threatened.

    BV: You have three children under the age of 12. Do they understand your lifestyle arrangement? What's their reaction?

    CS: We basically talk to them openly about our lifestyle. We include them in it in terms of communication and they may meet our partners. The only negative effect I see is their being judged by other children or adults who want to pass judgment upon Kenya and I. I think overall, it's a positive thing for our children because they understand they can actually make a choice. They can live the lifestyle they want to live. They don't have to follow tradition or follow the 'cultural norm.'

    BV: Are you worried about your children thinking open relationships are the norm and then finding themselves perpetually single because the other half of their partnerships aren't down for sharing?

    CS: I don't have any worries about that. One of the essential things that we teach people is that you create your life. We think that our children will feel empowered to create the relationships that they want in life because everything we do is based on the law of attraction. So if they can't find a partner who is aligned with their belief system then they probably would have some internal doubts about themselves or internal guilt about something.

    BV: What about your other family members, how are they responding to your current marital status?

    KS: Our parents didn't really approve at first. But they see we're going to live this lifestyle whether they approve or not. And it's really their choice if they're going to accept it or not. Fortunately for us, they did accept it.

    BV: You discuss your open marriage in radio personality Michael Baisden's upcoming documentary, "Do Women Know What They Want?" Why did you decide to speak publicly about your open marriage?

    CS: We started doing relationship coaching in 2005 so we were already in a mode where we were open about sharing our lives. That was our whole approach when teaching couples about monogamy. Kenya started being open about her relationships on her blog and when the open relationship came along she started writing about it along with her other relationship experiences. Also, Michael Baisden approached us about being a part of his documentary.

    BV: What has been some of the feedback you've received about open marriage from the African American community?

    CS: We get a lot of feedback that's against open marriages, but at the same time, I think there's a very large group of people out there who understand that the current institution of marriage does not work. And instead, we need to focus on more of a universal love concept and focus on not being victims in our own lives. I think those people are open to the concept of an open marriage because basically they understand they create their life and have control of it.
    If a person isn't used to being open and honest in a monogamous relationship and is used to playing games there's no way they will be able to conceive of an open relationship that's built on trust and honesty.

    BV: Given the often dire statistics reported about marriage and infidelity relating to African Americans, is this a lifestyle choice that more of them should consider?

    KS: I don't think that this is a lifestyle choice that will benefit African Americans any more than monogamy will. What I do feel is that it will expand our awareness and aid us in really coming out of a system that does not work. But that doesn't mean that there won't be any difficulties coming into a new system.

    If we are able to make a real transition where we really feel that we don't have to own our partner, we don't have to own his penis, we don't have to own her vagina, if we actually get to that point, and we will find the benefits of that type of thinking. But it's a journey that I won't claim to be easy.

    BV: What are some of the joys and advantages that you've experienced as participants in an open marriage?

    CS: It's brought Kenya and I closer. We're able to talk about things that we didn't imagine we would be talking about, like our experiences with our other partners or things that we like or dislike on an intimate level. That's been a big benefit for us.

    KS: I feel very much more connected and more fearless. I feel free in my sensuality and happier on a daily basis. I feel like I have choices, options. I feel like I'm more willing to work things out with my husband because we have a real relationship based on truth and authenticity. Most people who are married do not have a choice or an option -ever - for the next 50 or 80 years to relate with someone of the opposite sex really intimately or emotionally. That's what we vehemently dispute.
    BV: What are some of the challenges that you've faced as an open marriage couple?

    CS: We're still trying to get through some earlier feelings we have around jealousy.

    BV: Kenya, last July you and Carl spent time with your respective lovers. Please tell me about that experience.

    KS: We spent the entire month of July with our significant others. Our kids go away every summer to my parents' home so we decided to spend last summer with our significant others. It was good. I was in New York and Carl was in Mississippi. Carl and I talked every day. We coordinated with each other every day and communicated with each other.

    BV: You obviously are OK with the other staying away overnight. Do you have any guidelines that you follow in your open marriage?

    KS: The most important thing is trust, which is really our only rule. I trust my husband to protect our family, to protect my heart, to protect himself and to be the type of person who will be a viable husband for years to come. He expects and trusts the same things in me. We don't have rules like 'you can't stay out late' or 'you can only go out on these days.'

    BV: Speaking of protection, some may wonder if this lifestyle puts you at risk for contracting diseases?

    KS: We don't have that concern because we protect ourselves. We use many different forms of protection based on what we think is necessary. There is using a condom, which is a very good idea if you want to have that form of physical protection. There's the idea that you are spiritually protected, meaning that you are not prone to a disease. And there's also the option not to engage in intercourse. We have used all three of those options.

    BV: Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee tried an open marriage but later decided monogamy was a better option for them. Do you think you'll always have an open marriage?

    KS: I hope so. I don't know what would change or make it different. You never know what life is going to bring.

    Carl and Kenya Stevens, who authored 'Tame Your Woman' and 'Change Your Man,' respectively, are love coaches who blog about their experiences at www.JuJuMamaBlog.com, where they also operate JuJuMama's Love Academy.

    Do you think you could have an open relationship or an open marriage with your mate? Share your thoughts below.

     

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    Fans of six-time Grammy Award-winning pop group The Black Eyed Peas seldom hear about what's going on behind-the-scenes with original group member Taboo. Things are about to change, however, when the MC releases his autobiography 'Fallin' Up: My Story' arrives in stores next week.The Simon & Schuster tome, which was co-written by Steve Dennis, follows the early days of the platinum-selling group before they were selling out arenas around the world.

    For the first time, Taboo opens up about having a son at 18, which he neglected, as well as how his wife, Jaymie Dizon, along with family and friends helped him to shed his drug and alcohol addiction, which almost ended his career.

    Born Jaime Luis Gomez, Taboo was raised mostly by his grandmother in the Mexican-American community of Rosemead, California. His love for break-dancing and hip-hop culture, led him to hip-hop clubs and resulted in meeting what would become half of The Peas - apl.de.ap and will.i.am.

    He particularly has an affinity for the Peas' front-woman Stacy Ferguson, affectionately known as Fergie, and discusses with wit and insight her unique contributions to the popularity of the group. Fergie, who herself battled drug addiction in her past, is proud of the man that Taboo has become.

    "I've seen a talented, sensitive, lost young boy become a strong man with integrity and dignity," Fergie shared. "'Fallin' Up' will give you an inside look at the life of this inspiring individual."

    In addition to the release of his debut book, professionally, Taboo continues to shine. This Sunday (Feb.6) The Black Eyed Peas will perform during the halftime show at the Super Bowl.

    Taboo has several book signing dates in New York and Los Angeles lined up to promote 'Fallin' Up.' He will drop by Barnes & Noble in Tribeca on Feb.8 at 7 pm and on Feb.9 at 7 pm, he'll stop by Brooklyn's The powerhouse Arena. Two days later, on Feb.11 at 7 pm, he will head to the West Coast to appear at Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles at 189 Grove Drive, followed by a Huntington Beach, CA signing on Feb.11 at Barnes & Noble before wrapping at Vroman's in Pasadena on Feb.20 at 1 pm.

     

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    Luther Campbell to Run for Miami-Dade Mayor

    Just hearing the name of Luther Campbell (pictured right) makes me smile.

    Way back in the 1980s, before silly debutantes like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian could make millions after starring in their own sex tapes and other nobodies could become rich somebodies thanks to reality television, rapper Luther "Luke" Campbell was the king of party time fun.

    The nasty (and I mean this in a good way) party videos from his rap group, "2 Live Crew," straddled the line between serious rump shakin' and straight up soft porno and were "must see" viewing for my social set.

    They seem almost innocent now, with all the sorts of debauchery available on televisions, computers and smart phones, but at the time, Luke was the man.

    That is why the news that Campbell, 50, is considering a run for mayor of Miami-Dade County thrills me to no end.

    If Arrrhhrnold Schwarzenegger can get elected California governor and former wrestler and biker Jesse Ventura can get elected Minneapolis governor, why can't Luke get his piece of the political pie in sunny South Florida?

    The idea isn't as silly as one might think.

    Something interesting happened to Luke, the writer of classics like "Me So Horny" and "As Nasty As They Wanna Be," while he was making hit recordings and spicy videos.

    Luke became a serious spokesman for freedom of speech when the conservative right and their stormtroopers, The Moral Majority, tried to censor Campbell's raunchy but Constitutionally protected speech.

    As a first-year newspaper reporter in New Jersey, it seemed odd that I would have much in common with a superstar rapper from Florida, but in a real sense, I felt his plight.

    If the Reagan-era sensibilities of the time could force Luke to censor his lyrics and videos, where would the censorship stop?

    Though his recording was ruled obscene by local Florida lawmakers, Luke eventually won a court decision upholding his right to make his music and videos. He also established himself as a defender of First Amendment freedoms.

    For that alone, I would be interested is hearing Campbell's platform for office to see if he is serious about running, but I know on thing for sure, there is a lot more to Luke Campbell than rump shakin' videos.

     

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