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

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    Scarface Jailed for Back Child Support

    It appears that the rapper Scarface is the latest hip-hop star to get caught up in the child support system.

    The rapper has a federal charge against him on four back-child support cases. He was first held in St. Louis, Missouri, without bail regarding a charge that he had in that state. He also has outstanding cases in his home state of Texas.

    The artist is currently being held in the Montgomery County Jail in Conroe, Texas. XXL Magazine is reporting that he is being held without bail for incidents that have occurred in Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County and Missouri.

    It appears that Scarface has a lot of work to do when it comes to settling issues within his complex life. One of the most frustrating things about being famous is that others think that you've got an infinite supply of money.

    Rappers can sometimes bring this upon themselves by using the appearance of wealth as an aphrodisiac to attract women, who then expect the rapper to deliver the money they've been advertising.

    So when it comes to paternity suits and child support cases, men like Scarface get no sympathy from the system, their kids' mothers or the American public. They are also expected to be able to easily afford high-paid attorneys to get them out of any legal mess fairly quickly.

    Unfortunately, the perceived trade of sex for wealth doesn't work out the way either party planned (since most rappers are actually broke), so there are a whole bunch of disappointed baby's mamas out there.

    Additionally, there are quite a few celebs who once loved the female attention they were receiving at an early age, only to find that the financial hardship of several outstanding paternity cases ends up making their lives miserable. In fact, having a bunch of kids can create a financial hole from which you won't escape until the very day of your death.

    I am personally an 18-year vet of the child support system. I had one child when I was 18 years old, and I never got another woman pregnant after that. What I noticed about this draconian system is that they care far less about keeping families together than they do about making sure you pay on time.

    The same courts that would threaten jail time for non-payment were incredibly unsupportive when I asked for accountability, regarding how my money was being spent, or requested more access to my child. The system is terrible, so I vowed long ago that I would never make myself a part of that system again.

    While the child support system is critical for ensuring that children get what they need, there must also be serious reform. We can't produce productive families in America if one parent constantly has the threat of jail time hanging over his/her head.

    At the same time, those who are being stubborn about non-payment should have serious financial consequences for their behavior. There should be avenues to help both parents make things right without incarcerating them, and the most important part of the process should be to ensure that both parents have significant opportunities to have a presence in the life of the child.

    Those four kids produced by Scarface aren't going to be any better off with their father sitting behind bars.

    Allowing him to work and take 50 percent of his pay might be a better option. There should also be financial incentives for him to get to know his children better, and the Mothers should be required to clear a path to allow for a father-child relationship.

    This case is just one of millions of situations where children are losing a parent because we are refusing to create a system that actually makes some kind of sense. Perhaps it's time to think differently.

    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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    Senegalese-born French actress Aissa Maiga is never without some interesting piece to her red carpet ensembles, and her recent appearance at the Palais du Tokyo brought an interesting choice in attire.
    From the waist-up, the actress showed up to the Trophees du Film Francais sporting a cute blazer and bag with a gold chain strap. However, the skirt-and-tights combo transforms her look into an Outfit Mullet: business up top, party on the bottom.

    Readers: do you admire her creativity, or should Aissa have picked a tone and stayed with it?

     

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    Before reality shows and blogging became the "go-to gig" once the glitz and glamour faded, the radio industry was always a bastion for reinvention. Former hitmakers and chart-topping record artists found regional fame and supplemental monetary gain in the form of hosting radio shows in regional markets around the world. MC Lyte, Al B. Sure, Lil Mo, Miss Jones and Keith Washington are just a handful of bold-faced names who took over the microphone as on air personalities.

    Even before her Oscar glory, Academy Award winner Mo'Nique tried her hand at radio.

    Now, in what could be a first; a former music industry titan is taking over the airwaves.

    BlackVoices.com has learned that Andre Harrell, former president of Motown Records, is going where no other major record label chieftain has gone before.

    The man who can claim responsibility for launching the careers of Jodeci, Sean 'Diddy' Combs Heavy D & The Boyz, and Mary J. Blige (at Uptown Records) is the new host of the 'Champagne & Bubbles' radio show, which kicks off on New York City's 98.7 KISS FM (WRKS) Feb. 6 at 6pm.

    According to a rep for the Emmis Communications-owned station, Harrell's show will consist of him playing the biggest jams from the 80's and 90's along with giving access to the most exclusive inside interviews from the industry's greatest stars.

    A New York City native, Harrell originally sought fame as a rapper (half of the duo Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde) while a student at Lehman College. He founded and helmed Uptown Records in the mid-80s, bringing many in his stable of acts much success. It was at the New York City-based record label where Combs (known mostly as "Puff Daddy" or "Puffy" back then) cut his teeth as an intern, and helped shape the image of the burgeoning company.

    In recent years, Harrell, 50, helped launch the career of blue-eyed soul crooner Robin Thicke.

     

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    Amber Riley's really hitting it big these days! The 'Glee' star graces the pages of Essence with a new 'do and a hot attitude.
    The actress is featured in the magazine's March "Black Women in Hollywood" issue in new trends for Spring, and we're loving her confident sass.
    The magazine has also launched a Facebook page lobbying for Riley's idol, singing legend Chaka Khan, to appear on an episode of 'Glee'. Fingers crossed!

    Essence's "Black Women In Hollywood" issue drops on February 11.

     

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    There are usually at least two sides to every story, most of us know that. In this particular story, there is the side of Bishop Eddie Long, pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and that of Ephren Taylor, former CEO of Capital City Corp. In a recent video release, Long made a public appeal to Taylor, asking him to give back a million dollars that members of his congregation have invested with his former company. Taylor received the money after doing a financial seminar at the church as part of his "Financial Empowerment Tour."

    Since the investments were made, many members of the church have lost a great deal of money. Some have endured foreclosure and bankruptcy as a result of the financial hardship. Long spoke on behalf of members of his congregation in making the appeal.

    Since the video was released, Ephren Taylor and his representatives have responded with a statement of their own. In the statement, Taylor makes direct reference to what he feels to be a character assassination committed by Bishop Long, and attempts to set the record straight:

    "Due to many inaccuracies, and based upon what I view as a direct character assassination and an attempt to paint a picture of an inability, on my part, to take responsibility for the actions of City Capital Corporation during my tenure as CEO, I am extending facts relative to the aftermath of the Wealth Tour at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church," Taylor said in his statement.

    Taylor then states that Bishop Long personally benefited from the seminars, in addition to members of his church:

    "The church received a percentage of product sales, and stated their intent to sell videos from the presentations. I also operated on Bishop Long's behalf to secure certain media opportunities for him," said Taylor.

    Taylor goes on to state that his team has been meeting with New Birth members in an effort to resolve legal problems:

    "City Capital's legal team has connected via phone and e-mail with members of New Birth, per the list provided by the church. Paralegals confirmed that each member received a resolution package, and I personally reviewed an updated report on which clients were contacted, and when contact was initiated," said Taylor. "Since last year, the legal team has been working with individuals to legally and privately resolve, refund, and restructure any potential issues. To protect the integrity of the process, resolutions are confidential."

    Thus far, this appears to be a clear case of he-say, she-say between Ephren Taylor, Eddie Long and church members who feel that they've been swindled. At the same time, there are a few things we can learn from this situation:

    1) Ephren Taylor is not necessarily a crook just because his investors happened to lose money. The stock market goes up and down, and you're not going to automatically become wealthy because you've invested. That is the nature of risk.

    2) Investors may not have known what kinds of assets they were putting their money into. The risk could have been higher than they thought, leading to the rapid losses endured by their portfolios. So, there may be a disclosure problem in either the way Taylor presented the information or the investors' inability to fully understand the investments.

    3) The SEC investigation into Ephren Taylor and the fact that church members are clearly dissatisfied with their confidential resolution packages signals that there may be something inappropriate going on. Similar to the sexual misconduct allegations against Bishop Long, the public deserves to see official records on this case instead of relying on each person to give their own spin to the story.

    4) I find it hard to believe that neither Bishop Long nor New Birth benefited from allowing Ephren Taylor to do financial seminars on church property. Churches around the country are finding new streams of revenue by allowing financial advisors who leverage the power of the pastor's influence to convince their flock to do interesting things with their money. I'm not sure if financial advisors belong in the church, and if they are allowed to come in, they should be carefully vetted.

    5) At the end of the day, your pastor is not going to protect you and neither will anyone else. Make sure you have an expert look over any investments under consideration so you are fully aware of what you're getting into. You should also ensure that the company with whom you're investing has a solid reputation before giving them your money. Finally, you may want to avoid the temptation of giving all of your money to one financial advisor or putting it all into one investment. What sounds too good to be true probably is.

    The church is always full of drama, and now that money is being added to the mix, the drama will only keep getting worse. This whole situation is crazy.

    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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    Stars are going bold! Whether it's a blunt cut, a cute bun or a big 'fro, celebs are doing great things with their manes.
    Blowing up the black celeb scene, Amber Riley is nothing short of glam at the 2011 Screen Actors Guild awards with a beautiful Anne Barge dress and a straight style with long, blunt bangs.
    While encouraging fans to join the 'X the TXT' movement at her 4th annual Jordin Sparks Super Bowl Experience in Arlington, Texas, Jordin herself encouraged us all to play with temporary hair dye while sporting cute pink streaks.
    Solange Knowles pulled her long braids into a cute messy bun at the Hennessy Privilege Dinner hosted by actor Mehcad Brooks.
    Singer Chilli visits Planet Hollywood in New York City with a simple schoolgirl half-up-half-down do that makes her look youthful and cute.
    A well-manicured Afro makes for a really cute look. Here, Lauryn Hill channels Angela Davis at her performance at Highline Ballroom earlier this week.

    What do you think of this week's hair-raising pics?

     

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    Republicans to Slash Domestic Budget But Not Congressional Spending

    Republicans are out to cut the domestic budget almost 20 percent for the coming year in an effort to reduce our $1.5 trillion deficit. While they are treading too closely to some important programs that help Americans, some of the proposed cuts are necessary.

    For example, foreign aid would be cut 6 percent while veteran's health care benefits would remain largely unchanged. Republicans have also agreed not to cut the minimum $5,550 Pell Grant for low-income college students. Spending at the Pentagon would also rise only $10 billion instead of the $23 billion President Barack Obama has proposed.

    "Washington's spending spree is over," Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman told the AP. "The spending limits will restore sanity to a broken budget process," he said, returning "to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels."

    But Republicans are missing some important areas that can be cut and are targeting areas that should be left alone or increased.

    The AP writes:

    The White House says the GOP effort could cause widespread furloughs of federal employees, force vulnerable people off subsidized housing, reduce services in national parks and mean less aid to schools and police and fire departments.

    The hardest hit agencies would include the Food and Drug Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and the departments of Commerce, Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture, according to partial details released by the House Appropriations Committee.

    But here is the kicker: Congress' own budget would be barely touched, the AP reports.

    If Republicans are willing to cut federal aid to school districts from the Department of Education's budget, then they should also be willing to slash the Congressional budget.

    If conservative Republican budget hawks and Tea Party wannabes are so gung-ho about slashing our deficit, then the Congressional budget should be the first thing on the table.


    It just makes sense. We are all Americans and we should all share the pain. If we are making cuts that affect health care for Americans then maybe we need to look at the very healthy Congressional health care plan. Millions of Americans lack a pension. Maybe the Congressional pension should be reduced. Maybe spending allowances for Congress should be cut.

    Maybe the wealthy don't need more tax cuts. Maybe middle class Americans need some tax relief.

    "We're not burying our heads in the sand. We recognize that we have to do something," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Obama's most powerful ally on Capitol Hill.

    If that's true, Congress should look at their own house first. Both Democrats and Republicans should widen their search for places to cut in an effort to reduce our massive deficit. Republicans also must realize that millions of Americans are vulnerable because of the state of the economy. Stimulus spending and spending on unemployment benefits can actually help the economy.

    A "large budget deficit is helpful in that it's supporting demand," Till Von Wachter, associate professor of economics at Columbia University, said at a Senate hearing Thursday, ABC News reported. "Having said all of that, I think I would entirely agree that we need to reduce these budget deficits moving forward when the economy is clearly off and running. ... We should engage in the kind of discipline necessary to ensure that we do not crowd out private investment."

    In other words, a little sanity.


     

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    With this year's NFL season concluding this week, we thought it was the perfect time to look at some of the actors who have donned a helmet and uniform for roles on the big screen.

    From Denzel Washington to Cuba Gooding Jr., Blackvoices.com has compiled a who's who of black actors who have appeared in football films.



     

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    With an upcoming custody battle with her ex Gabriel Aubry regarding their daughter, Halle Berry's latest film, 'Frankie and Alice,' will not be released today in theaters as previously mentioned by the film distributor, Freestyle Releasing.

    Long before Berry's personal matter became public, the date had move from its original Feb.4 theatrical release.

    When Blackvoices.com called the company to find out the new date, a spokesperson stated that date was "undetermined" as this time.


    The film was released in one theater on Dec.10 at the Landmark Nuart Theater in Los Angeles for an Oscar-qualifying run. Unfortunately, the film, garnered none.

    Berry garnered a Golden Globes nomination for her performance as a young multiracial American woman with dissociative identity disorder who struggles to retain her true self and not give in to her racist alter-personality in early 1970s Los Angeles.

    She lost out to Natalie Portman, who won, and was also Oscar nominated for her performance in Darren Aronofsky's thriller 'Black Swan.'

    Berry did received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.

    The film also stars Stellan Skarsgård, Phylicia Rashad ('For Colored Girls') and Chandra Wilson of TV's 'Grey's Anatomy.'

     

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    BlackVoices.com was one of the few media outlets invited to the Baton Rouge, Louisiana set of Columbia Pictures' upcoming sci-fi thriller 'Battle: Los Angeles,' directed by Jonathan Liebesman - who helmed 2006's ambitious prequel 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning' - and co-produced by Neil Moritz of 'I Am Legend' and 'The Fast & The Furious' fame.

    The much-anticipated film -- starring Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez, Cory Hardrict, Michael Pena, Michelle Rodriguez, Ne-Yo, Bridget Moynihan, Adetokumboh M'Cormack, and Neil Brown, Jr., among others -- centers around a local marine platoon facing off against an alien invasion of the City of Angels.

    Hardrict, who plays Corporal Jason Lockett, told us that it was "the hardest job," he's ever been a part of, but yet his "most gratifying." The Chicago native, who has starred in a barrage of notable TV series including 'Heroes, 'Lincoln Heights' and 'The Game,' and also appeared in Clint Eastwood's critically acclaimed 'Gran Torino,' revealed that the intense boot camp and weapon training made him feel like he was, literally, going to war.

    "We all got really close during boot camp, I mean from setting up our tents, doing PT (physical training) together, sharing stories we did it all because that's all we had out there in them woods sleeping outside for three weeks," he revealed. "So it brought all 13 of us closer as marines and as brothers."

    The battalion was made of a new platoon of unseasoned soldiers who are America's last line of defense against extra terrestrial aliens never seen before. Details about the actual creatures were under lock and key during the set visit. During most of the intense five-month shooting schedule, the cast shot at moving targets. Computer graphics and special effects technology were added during post production.

    Like method acting techniques mastered by many Hollywood greats before them, Hardrict shared that the guys slept in mosquito tents, had no access to cell phones and lights were out by 9 p.m. "They wanted us in that mode of survival," he noted. "I said, 'We are doing a 'real' movie!"


    Shooting for the better part of a year in Louisiana's state capital and nearby Shreveport was a far departure from La La Land. "I mean location-wise, it was all real from the freeway scenes, to the homes that were built to make it look like L.A.,' but it was much slower being in the south but I made it work for me, and we really locked in on the task at hand," he added.

    "My most intense scenes where with Aaron," he reflected. "I mean we laid all on the line, everyday we would look at each other after some takes with blood, sweat and tears saying we got through that one"

    Could audiences be looking at the next Will Smith when they see the expecting young father-to-be go up against unbeatable odds in this apocalyptic epic? Perhaps. Not too many black men are handpicked to do battle in what is rumored to be a $100 million flick.

    Hardrict told us the film was the best working experience he's had to date. And he learned some great lessons in the process. "Jonathan Liebesman taught me how to be great," he added. "He brings out the best in you -- just gotta trust his vision."

    'Battle: Los Angeles' is set to arrive in theaters March 11.

     

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    No Race Mixing for You, Alabama Father Tells Daughter


    The father of a white girl in rural Alabama is blamed for stirring up racial tensions in the town of Millry for threatening to kill the black players on the local basketball team if they continued to contact his daughter.

    Latisha Mitchell, the stepmother of one of the boys who was threatened, said her stepson and the girl were only friends and had exchanged text messages. But it seems that wasn't good enough for the father, who has not been identified.

    His clear message to his daughter is no race mixing for you.





    Thus far, no weapons had been brandished nor any physical altercations taken place. So if such an empty threat causes local school officials and the NAACP to go into crisis mode and hold a public hearing on the incident, there are clearly some longstanding racial problems in that community that are surfacing.

    One of the residents said she heard a rumor that the local Ku Klux Klan would be organizing in retaliation. Retaliation for what??

    It sounds to me like people are getting a little too worked up over the ignorant comments of one parent.

    If every community came to a halt every time a parent said something without thinking, every neighborhood would come to a grinding halt.

    The school board has banned the parent from the school grounds. That's a good start. How about getting the local police to chat with this father and see if he is a true menace to society. It seems that threatening to kill a youth would carry some criminal penalty. Why hasn't he been charged?

    In all likelihood, the father is a simple-minded guy burdened by his own racism who was shocked to learn that his little girl actually talked to black boys. He started blowing off some steam and stupidly shot off his mouth.

    But authorities should make sure that is the case. Because if that father hurts any of those black kids he threatened, the controversy and pain that will visit Millry, Alabama will be immense.


     

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    There seems to be a growing rate of black actors being hired on soaps these days and it's all a good thing.

    From The Hubbards family on ABC's 'All My Children,' and The Evans clan on 'One Life To Live,' to 'The Winters' family on 'The Young and the Restless,' the actors are not serving anyone, playing anyone's best friend or used in secondary roles such as the maid or butler. They actually have primary parts and are showcasing their skills.

    On 'Y & R,' there's the recent casting of Julia Pace Mitchell, who plays the feisty Sofia Dupre, the former right-hand woman to billionaire Tucker McCall and current fiancé to Malcolm Winters, brother of Neil Winters.

    In the few months that Mitchell's been on the show, she's shown toughness and vulnerability. Her performance has garnered an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series. And we are rooting for her.

    As the daughter of actress Judy Pace and actor Don Mitchell, and stepdaughter of baseball great Curt Flood, the Los Angeles resident definitely has the genes to make it in this tough business.

    "I've always been an actor," she reflected to BlackVoices.com earlier this week. "That's been my trade. I was in the theater in New York. I've done Broadway, lots of regional theater and then my first feature that got a lot of talk was 'Notorious' where I played Jan. I was Biggie's baby mom. I've always pursued my love for the arts. I've been dancing on the table since I was little. That kind of thing."

    Between filming 'Faster' with Dwayne Johnson and doing theater in Los Angeles, Mitchell found herself a steady gig where audiences can see her blossoming her skills. Excerpts of our interview with her are below.

    It's very rare to see a casting call for a black actress to be on a soap opera. How did you land the gig?

    Julia Pace Mitchell: Honestly, I was just as surprised when I got the audition because a lot of times, from my type, you don't even get the opportunity to audition for soaps. So at first I was like, 'Really? Okay.' Then I went in and I kept getting called back and it kind of clicked for me on the third time that I might really have a chance to book this job. I was so grateful that CBS opened a door for me to be able to represent a different kind of woman on the soap. They have, I think, five or six actors under contract right now.

    Prior to your casting, were you a fan of the show?

    JPM: Oh, I was. My sister was an even bigger fan. She was like, 'Oh, my God!' She was telling me the whole Neil and Malcolm back story, so she talked me through it. I'm a really big fan now.

    How would you describe Sofia?

    JPM: I would say that she's actually been changing just in the seven months that she's been on the air. I hate to use the word bossy, but I definitely think that she's bossy. She's a big boss. She's running things in her relationship and in her business life. She recently got fired from the company, but I think she might be trying to get her way back into her job through her relationship with Tucker. I'll describe her as sensitive. A lot of Black women on television get to play one note a lot. Either your sassy and bossy and that's it, but you also get to see her soft side with her fiancée on the show, during their relationship.

    You get to act with some veterans who have been in the game for over twenty years. What's the joy of learning from Stephen Nichols, Kristoff St. John, and Darius McCrary?

    JPM: The one thing that I can say about Kristoff is that he will be acting so silly and playing around right before the take and as soon as it's time to shoot he just drops into his character so fast and is so professional that he's like a completely different person. Like, his personality is very different than Neil's and it's just really great to see him transform. I've been soaking it all up just trying to get to their level really. So it's really an honor to be a part of it and bring what I bring to the group.

    Besides this group of guys, the show has also brought other new blacks on the show with the casting of Angell Conwell and Evan Parke.

    JPM: Yeah, and the funny thing is that Evan and I met just the other day in the dressing room. I hadn't seen them at all because we live on two different sides of Genoa City, I guess. Hopefully our stories will start to intertwine a little bit, but I can't give too much away. Angell is just beautiful.

    Your storyline is starting to grow which is great because in a short period of time you've been given a lot to do.

    JPM: Things have heated up a little bit between Sofia, Malcolm and Neil. Me and Malcolm are on the outs, and that's all I'll say.

    Your parents are well known for the work that they've done. What kind of influence did they have on you in terms of being in this business and staying on the right path?

    JPM: My mother has been super supportive. My sister has been super supportive. Basically it's just a business. It's like the family business. It's not a hobby. This is what we do for a living. So the level of respect for it. I'm not really a partier or hanging out too late when I know I have to shoot the next day. I take it just like my job and I've always had that respect for it. Even my stepfather, he played professional baseball - Curt Flood. He looked at his job in the same way. He said, 'I have to put on my costume.' That was his baseball uniform. It was about the business of playing baseball. So, everyone is an entertainer.

    Looking at your background, I see that you are one hard working woman! How do you find the time to do films and theater?

    JPM: This year I have decided not to go on the road. It's the first time since I was 16 that I've been still, and that I've been in one place for this long. I haven't done any other projects in a while. I'm doing the show and my play that I wrote, 'The Hills Above The Hood'. I did it for one weekend and it was really close. I was supposed to start the show at eight o'clock in Hollywood, but I was still on set at CBS at eight o'clock. I had to race over to the theater to start the show. So I decided I'm just going to chill out and focus on 'Y & R' for as long as they'll have me. If anybody wants to let CBS know they're happy about having all of us brown people on, there they can go to CBS.com and send letters and tell them because I really do think that they listen to the fans.

    Congratulations on your recent nomination. Are you excited about the Image Awards coming up?

    JPM: I am so excited. I'm very excited that I get to meet all the other nominees. I don't know what I'm going to wear. It's like every young actress's dream to get to put on the beautiful dress and just be recognized for the work.

    What do you tell your actor friends who are still looking for work and may want to consider doing soaps after seeing the success you've had so far?

    JPM: I'd say the average things, like, get an agent, send in your headshot and resume. For any person I would say study your craft. When I was auditioning I started watching the shows on youtube.com. When you're audition for 'The Young and the Restless' it's different than when you audition for 'CSI.' TV shows have styles and you have to kind of learn the style in which you're going in for.

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    Black Actors & Their Daytime' Jobs

    Black Soap Stars: An Intimate Look
    Believe it or not, soap operas can be a good breeding ground for some of the greatest actors in Hollywood. From Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman to three-time Emmy Award winning thespian Cicely Tyson, many great black actors have cut their teeth on daytime dramas. While Shemar Moore, Victoria Rowell, Tichina Arnold, Tonya Pinkins, Debbi Morgan and Vivica A. Fox were beloved characters on popular serials, they've done well beyond them. Check them out.

    Charles Divins
    'Passions' (NBC)
    Prior to acting, Divins was a model who worked for Tommy Hilfiger and appeared in GQ, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Gear. When his attention turned to acting, he took on the role of Chad Harris-Crane on the soap 'Passions,' from 2002 to 2007. The Dallas native left the show when it moved from NBC to DirecTV.

    Cicely Tyson
    'Guiding Light' (CBS)
    A veteran of film and TV, this New York native had a stint on daytime television nearly 40 years ago. During 1966, Tyson also had a recurring role in the daytime soap opera, 'Guiding Light,' which ended its run this month after 72 years. Her character's name was Martha Frazier. Tyson soon went on star in 1972's 'Sounder,' for which she was nominated for an Oscar for best actress. After working with Tyler Perry in 2005's 'Diary of a Mad Black Woman' and 'Madea's Family Reunion,' Perry mention her name as part of his dream cast for his film adaptation of 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.'

    Victoria Rowell
    'The Young and the Restless' (CBS)
    Speculation continues about whether the Portland, Maine, native will come back to the role that she's played on daytime's number-one rated soap opera, 'The Young and the Restless,' for over 15 years. As Drucilla Winters, Rowell has occupied the longest-running African American female soap character in daytime television. She won 11 NAACP Image Awards. Rowell's first run as Drucilla was from 1990 to 1998. She briefly returned in 2000, and then returned on a regular basis from 2002 until early 2007. Rowell also played Dr. Amanda Bentley on the CBS series 'Diagnosis: Murder,' opposite Dick Van Dyke, and starred opposite Samuel L. Jackson in 2007's 'Home of the Brave.'

    Darnell Williams
    'All My Children' (ABC)
    The London actor was one-half of the first African American supercouple on 'All My Children' (along with Debbie Morgan) for his portrayal of Jesse Hubbard, from 1981 to 1988. Before he left the show, Williams won two Emmys. He returned to the soaps as Jesse's look-alike, Jacob Foster, on 'Loving' and 'The City.' In May 2007, Williams joined the cast of 'Guiding Light' in the recurring role of the villainous Griggs. After a 20-year absence, he returned to the role of Jesse on 'Children' in 2008.

    Vivica A. Fox
    'Generations' (NBC)
    Although we've seen the South Bend, Ind., actress make it big in roles in 'Independence Day,' 'Set it Off,' and 'Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2,' many may remember that she headline the first daytime black soap opera, 'Generations,' when it aired on NBC from 1989 to1991. She played Maya Reubens, opposite Debbie Morgan and Kristoff St. John. Fox later had roles on 'Days of Our Lives,' and 'The Young and the Restless.' In September 2007, she appeared in the sixth season of HBO's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' as the mother of a family displaced by a hurricane and taken in by Larry and Cheryl. Fox last hosted her own VH1 reality series, titled 'Glam God,' in 2008.

    Debbie Morgan
    'All My Children' (ABC)
    In addition to appearing in films such as 'Eve's Bayou' and 'Love and Basketball,' the Dunn, N.C., actress is best known for her role as Dr. Angie Hubbard on the ABC soap opera 'All My Children.' Her role on the show during the '80s was as one-half of the first African American supercouple on the American soap opera (along with Darnell Williams). In 1989, Morgan, in a tie with Santa Barbara actress Nancy Lee Grahn, won the Daytime Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series. After leaving 'Children,' she had roles on NBC's 'Generations' and ABC's 'Loving' before returning in 2008 to play Angie again on 'Children.'

    Charles Divins
    'Passions' (NBC)
    Prior to acting, Divins was a model who worked for Tommy Hilfiger and appeared in GQ, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and Gear. When his attention turned to acting, he took on the role of Chad Harris-Crane on the soap 'Passions,' from 2002 to 2007. The Dallas native left the show when it moved from NBC to DirecTV.

    Dondre T. Whitfield
    'All My Children' (ABC)
    Recognized as Robert Foreman, the love interest of Tempestt Bledsoe's character Vanessa Huxtable on 'The Cosby Show,' the Brooklyn, N.Y., native grew up and refined his acting skills as Terrence Frye on the ABC daytime drama 'All My Children,' from 1991 to 1994. The role earned him nominations for three Daytime Emmy Awards and two Soap Opera Digest Awards. Married to actress Salli Richardson, Whitfield will next appear in the independent film 'Pastor Brown,' which is directed by Rockmond Dunbar.

    Eva Marcille
    'The Young and the Restless' (CBS)
    As the first black contestant to win the third season of 'America's Next Top Model,' the Los Angeles native honed her acting skills with roles in 'Crossover' and Chris Rock's 'I Think I Love My Wife.' In 2008, the beauty began portraying Tyra Hamilton on the Award-winning soap 'The Young and the Restless.'

     

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    The video-taped beating of 16-year old Chad Holley had me fuming. It's one thing when police use excessive force, but this video was startling for at least a couple of reasons. First, the kid is only 16-years old, and kids that age don't deserve this kind of treatment. While he appears to be a viable suspect for burglary (he was convicted of his crime), the truth is that we must move beyond a society that believes that any child who makes a mistake is beyond redemption. Black children tend to be the ones most likely to be sentenced as adults, and those kids who are lost at an early age can be thrown to the wolves as if they are worthless commodities with abolutely no long-term potential value. Secondly, it appears on the video that Holley does nothing to warrant any form of physical retaliation by officers. He has his hands behind his back and surrenders to the police immediately when they surround him. Yes, Holley might have broken the law, but police officers should not be the judge and jury of this young man, as well as the ones to administer his (cruel and unusual) punishment.
    Here are a couple of other things to consider as the nation thinks about the Chad Holley beating by police:

    1) Police abuse is not simply a black-white issue. At least one of the officers indicted is African American, and police officer behavior can be more of a gang-like loyalty to the "blue line" than an interest in trying to hurt people of color. But given that the job of police is to basically protect the rich from the poor, African Americans are more likely than whites to be caught in the grips of police abuses of authority. So, while the problem of police brutality is more of an economic and authority-based phenomenon than a racial one, race is so highly correlated with wealth and power that it continues to be a significant factor.

    2) The Houston Police Department and the criminal justice system in the state of Texas need to be completely overhauled. In the book "Texas Tough, the Rise of America's Prison Empire," Professor Robert Perkinson lays out a set of facts to show clearly that Texas a) has the worst incarceration pattern in the world and b) works harder than any other state to incarcerate African Americans. In fact, the Texas prison system is the most obvious remnant of slavery in the entire United States. These abuses by the Texas justice system start in the streets, where black men are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested and incarcerated than any other group of people. The police shooting of baseball player Robert Tolan was a perfect case in point, as Tolan was stopped by officers in front of his mother's house (in a middle class neighborhood) after the police officers followed him and entered the wrong license plate into their system. Tolan was shot when the officer slammed his mother against the garage door (as she came out to see what was going on) and her son moved to help her. Tolan did nothing wrong, and in spite of all evidence that Robert and his family were law-abiding citizens, the mayor of the town attempted to insist that the officers had not broken the law. So, the attitude of racial oppression within the state of Texas is more readily reflected in the despicable corruption of its criminal justice system.

    My father was a police official for over 25 years, so I've had a chance to witness both good and bad police work up close. During this period, I also saw that there are quite a few police officers who deeply desire to do what is right for their families, their departments and the community. They are as hurt as the rest of us when police abuse is uncovered, and don't deserve to be attacked every time a suspect is shot or physically injured. Being a police officer is a difficult and dangerous job, and being too weak and hyper-sensitive can get you killed by those who carry weapons in our gun-totting society.

    At the same time, police abuse is rampant in cities across the country. Our society is one where we presume that anyone who's been arrested or incarcerated is undeserving of human rights or meaningful protections under the law. We believe the word of a police officer over anyone in their custody, which has opened the door to one horrific civil rights violation after another. Cases such as that of Terry Harrington, a man who spent 25-years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, are only the tip of the iceberg. For every case that is unearthed, there are literally hundreds of others that we haven't committed the resources to thoroughly investigating. The same kinds of officers who are quick to beat an unarmed 16-year old boy are the ones who might plant drugs on a suspect, present a fabricated story to the jury or torture a suspect to force him to confess to a crime that he didn't commit.

    The Chad Holley beating should be an opportunity for the city of Houston to clean out it's police department the same way the LAPD was dealt with after the beating of Rodney King. It is rare that the nation has the opportunity to see police brutality at its worst, with a young kid being beaten after clearly surrendering to cops. There's nothing that the defense attorneys can say to explain this one away, and that is likely the reason they were working so hard to keep the tape from being presented to the public. Those who thirst for equity within the Houston criminal justice system deserve credit for helping the truth come to light (namely activist Quanell X, who fought to get a copy of the tape to the public), and Chad Holley's suffering will not be in vain. It is also my greatest hope that Chad will receive the guidance he needs so that he will stop robbing other people and use his talents for a more productive purpose. The best way to keep from being abused by the criminal justice system is to stay away from it in the first place, but the system must be confronted nonetheless.





    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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    White Father Threatens Black Boys for Talking to His Daughter

    Millry, Ala., is a town where racial tensions have allegedly been running high for a very long time. The boiling point was hit recently, when a white father came to the town's high school and threatened one of the black players on the basketball team.

    The infuriated parent told one of the boys that if any of them made contact with his daughter, he would "kill him and his black friends," at least that's what was reportedly told to Latisha Mitchell, the step-Mother of one of the players.


    Mitchell claims that her son was only friends with the man's daughter and that they would text message each other. The NAACP took notice of the man's racial threats, and the town is in an uproar. There is even conversation about the Ku Klux Klan planning a retaliation against local residents who held a meeting to discuss what had occurred.

    Since the incident, the father has been banned from school property, but some parents are saying that the father should be arrested for his public threats.

    "If a black male stepped on campus and made that threat, other action would have been taken. It's just a matter of being fair," said Mitchell.

    When I was 15-years old, there was a white girl on my track team who was as cute as a button. I was pretty shy growing up (believe it or not), but I made an exception and reached out to tell the girl that I liked her.

    Well, fortunately for me, she liked me also. So, she and I continued to court each other, passing notes in the hallway, sharing a kiss under the bleachers and doing all the other corny stuff that kids do when they are too young to drive a car. I knew the girl's father from track meets, where he would tell me how fast I was and that I was a "good kid."

    After about two weeks, the girl just stopped speaking to me for no reason. She wouldn't return my notes and she wouldn't return my calls. Every time I called the house, her mother would tell me that she wasn't home. I didn't know what happened, and I was deeply hurt. I later found out that the very same father who admired me for my athletic prowess didn't feel that I was worthy of dating his daughter. His daughter also confirmed to me that, in the eyes of her father, I wasn't good enough solely because I had brown skin.

    That situation was among the first I'd experienced in the South that let me know that I was less of a human being than the white kids around me. After that day, I never dated another white female, primarily because the fear of inexplicable rejection tore me down to the core of my soul. I simply could not understand why this man hated me simply because I was black.

    When we analyze our broader society, we have to consider the fact that there are quite a few white parents in America who are happy to have black friends, will play sports with African Americans and even invite us in to their homes.

    But many of those same people would be repulsed by the idea of their daughter bringing a black man home as her boyfriend. This form of racial animosity, at its root, is built on the lasting American notion that whites are superior to blacks.

    In the case of the small town of Millry, Ala., the community cannot miss this opportunity to discuss the roots of racial division and oppression. This father said what a lot of other whites in town are already thinking, and these young men are likely scarred from having their lives threatened by a dangerous adult.

    The idea that he was simply doing what any father would do to protect his daughter is undermined by the fact that he mentioned the boy's "black friends," seeming to argue that being black is part of what made them unworthy of dating his daughter.

    Also, local officials and leaders should be scouring Alabama state law to determine if there is a way to justify arresting this man for what he did. Kids in public schools across America are regularly disciplined harshly for making threats on the lives of other students (thanks to the Columbine incident in 1998). Also there is the case of James Jones, the Florida man who confronted his daughter's bullies on a school bus last year. Jones wasn't sent to jail, but was charged with several offenses and given six months probation, a $1,000 fine and classes in anger management. This father should certainly be taught that his behavior is both inappropriate and disruptive to the community.

    So a parent who comes to a school and threatens to kill underage students should certainly be made to pay a hefty price. I am in agreement with those in the community who've stated that if a black man had come in to a school and threatened to kill some white kids, the authorities would not have been nearly as lenient.

    Watch the incident here:




    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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    Black Children 5 Times More Likely to Be Murdered in California Than Whites
    Despite making serious strides in education and politics, one disturbing fact within the African American community remains: Black children are living by the gun and dying by the gun at a highly disproportionate rate.

    A new report by the Violence Policy Center finds that in the state of California, black males have a homicide rate more than 14 times that of whites and nearly four times that of Hispanics.

    When young girls and women are included, African American children are nearly five times more likely to be killed than any other ethnic group in the state.

    Though all the findings are disturbing, what is truly heart wrenching is the fact that homicide is the No. 1 cause of death for African American youth and young adults ages 10 to 24, with more than half the victims being murdered by strangers.
    In the face of such startling statistics, one could reasonably assume that the state is working diligently to reduce gang violence, increasing efforts to fight recidivism while also utilizing preventive methods to stop the violence before it starts.

    That would be the wrong assumption.

    The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has recently shifted more than $70 million from the adult programming budget to bolster prison security. This is in addition to the $250 million slashed from education, drug rehabilitation and other programs.

    In a state where police officers are notoriously trigger happy, strangers are murdering people without provocation, and gang violence has witnessed a resurgence. Young African American children are stepping into a war zone every time they leave home.

    "The issue stems from a volatile environment and negative parental influence," says Edward Bradley, a retired corrections officer with the state of California for 22 years. "They get out of prison, fall back into their same patterns and their children emulate their behavior."

    "The remedy lies in increased parental involvement," Bradley continues, "and also in a renewed focus on the church. There are many faith-based programs available to our black and Hispanic families in the church to strengthen the family structure, as well as mentorship programs based in the community that parents can utilize to enhance the lives of our children. We just have to get them to take advantage of all the positive resources available to them."


    The Parent Accountability Act, a new California law sponsored by assemblyman Tony Mendoza, gives judges the option of sending parents for training when their kids are convicted of gang crimes for the first time. Eventually, though, parents already struggling financially will have to pay for the classes out of pocket.

    Sadly, in the face of this cultural carnage, the Republican Party would rather usher in a political age of "personal responsibility" (code words for "not our concern") while refusing to address any possibility that these fiscal reductions may be exacerbating the problem.

    Programs such as Homeboy Industries, which assists young people in transitioning out of gangs, are integral to providing a safer environment for our children. In South Central L.A., former gang members have formed an organization to ensure students walking to and from school in gang-infested neighborhoods arrive safely. From grocery stores in Crenshaw to Jamaican restaurants in Leimert Park, they are out there trying to raise money for their cause. We need to see this level of involvement modeled around the state of California and the nation.

    We must fight to ensure that our children receive a quality education and that our schools are equipped with metal detectors and ample security.

    We must support our businesses, supply our young people with employment and strive to have an open dialogue with them so they don't feel alone in a world.

    More importantly, as parents, we must raise our children, not just give birth to them. Just last week as I was walking to my car in East L.A., a young African American boy asked me what bus to take to get to his grandmother's house. He couldn't have been more than 9 years old. We have to break this cycle of neglect and apathy as it pertains to our children, or their blood is on our hands.

    It is imperative that we take responsibility for our own families, while also demanding that we are treated and protected like human beings in this country instead of some three-fifths variation.

    Our children's lives are at stake.

     

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    'Law & Order: SVU' star Tamara Tunie is not ashamed to tell us all who she's rooting for this Sunday!

    The actress turned up at the HBO Films/Cinema Society screening of Sunset Limited decked out in a whole lot of leather and some not-so-subtle love for her favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Are her team-emblazoned hat/bag combo a win, or does her team pride just make for a couple of overwhelming accessories?

    Tell us! And while we're at it, who are you rooting for this Super Bowl?

     

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    During a four-year college career, most students take roughly 40 courses. Personally, I went to graduate school for another 7 years after college, taking an additional 40 - 50 more classes. During my entire undergraduate, masters and doctoral experience, I never had one single African American professor.

    This experience made the educational process incredibly uncomfortable for me. I never experienced the privilege of my white classmates, who had teachers they could relate to, work with and connect with on a meaningful level. I did meet one African American professor (I never took his class) named Dr. Tommy Whittler. He is the sole reason I became a professor today because he was the first faculty member who'd ever taken time to mentor me as a human being.

    Unfortunately, Dr. Whittler was the only African American professor to ever be tenured in the history of the entire business school at The University of Kentucky (their business school has several departments and none of the departments, except one, had given tenure to a black man in over 100 years). Tenure is basically where the university gives a permanent job to a faculty member to replace the temporary position. If you don't get tenure, you're typically fired. The same promotion that had been granted to hundreds of white men before Dr. Whittler had only been granted to one African American, with all the rest either being fired or not hired in the first place. Another professor who mentored me during my doctoral studies at The Ohio State University, WC Benton, was at the time, the only African American to be tenured in the history of that business school as well.

    Unfortunately, my experience as a college and graduate student is not uncommon. According to an recent survey taken at YourBlackWorld.com, nearly half of all African Americans who attended a predominantly white university (42%) never had a single black professor during four years of college. Nearly three-quarters of these students (74%) only had one black professor in a field outside of African American studies.

    There are various theories regarding why black professors are missing in many of America's universities. To hear the story told by many campus administrators, black professors are missing because they simply don't exist or are all unqualified to teach at predominantly white institutions. "We can't find qualified minorities" is the typical comment made on many campuses who claim to seek diversity.

    In my experience teaching at the college level over the past 17 years, I cannot agree with this assessment. My email inbox is full of stories from black professors all over the country who either cannot get academic jobs, or who were released from their campuses because they "didn't fit" with the culture of the faculty in their departments. This form of racial discrimination is most prevalent in schools of business and engineering. There is a way of thinking and doing things that fits into white American culture that ultimately leads many white scholars to consider black professors to be inferior in large part because we are different. In other words, it's White Supremacy 101, or what Dr. Christopher Metzler refers to as "Academic Imperialism," where predominantly white institutions either punish black scholars for doing work that engages with the black community, or places them into Black Studies Departments in order to marginalize them from the mainstream of academic administration.

    When black faculty are hired on many campuses, most of them are not given tenure. The Harvard Law School, for example, just granted tenure to only the second black woman in the school's nearly 200-year history (I argued that this move was in response to national controversy about Harvard's racially-discriminatory hiring practices in light of the Elena Kagan nomination to the Supreme Court). Associate Justice Kagan, the previous dean of the Harvard Law School, helped to conduct 32 hires of tenured or tenure track faculty, and did not hire one single African American, Native American or Latino faculty member. This is in spite of the fact that there are thousands of highly-trained black and brown attorneys who'd love to teach at Harvard. Many campuses, such as the business schools I've attended, have tenured no more than one African American in any department in the last 100 years and most of them don't even hire black professors to begin with. What's most interesting is that the campuses are very quick to blame the victim, stating that black faculty would receive more opportunities if they would simply step up their game and make themselves more qualified. But given the struggles of leading black scholars such as Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson, the truth is that the devaluation of black scholarship and black scholars themselves is the most likely culprit in this tricky racial mirage.

    The Campus Accountability Project
    is an initiative designed to begin holding campuses accountable for their diversity numbers. Many universities refuse to share data on the numbers of African Americans who've been hired or tenured, primarily because the results are so embarrassing. Additionally, there is an interest among black college students and alumni around the nation to see the problem mitigated. Equally intriguing is the fact that many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) don't hire very many African American faculty either. Within the pool of survey participants who attended HBCUs, half (50.5 percent) didn't have more than three African American professors in a field outside of African American or Africana Studies during their four years of attending an HBCU. Professors from other countries are sometimes accused of using their powerful positions to lock out people who are not of the same ethnic background, so qualified African Americans sometimes have trouble getting access to black students at HBCUs, especially in the sciences. The lack of African American male professors on many HBCU campuses is even more disturbing; many universities have no more than one or two African American male faculty in their business schools or the sciences. I recommend you take a look at your own campus to see if the theory holds true.

    The presence of black faculty can make all the difference in the world when it comes to helping black students clearly visualize their personal goals. Black students and their parents should speak on the issue and ask universities the hard questions regarding exactly who will be educating their children. The lack of diversity on college campuses is a serious and persistent problem, and it serves to impede the likelihood of success for our children.

    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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    One year ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers were at the top of the NBA, on their way to possibly winning the finals. Everyone had high hopes for the Cavs, and we all marveled at the talents of the "chosen one," LeBron James.

    My what a difference a year makes. The Cavs have now lost 24 games in a row, tying the NBA record for the most consecutive losses. Given that Dallas is next on the schedule, they will most likely break the record.

    Since last year, the Cavs have lost their superstar to the Miami Heat, who are now title contenders themselves. The loss of LeBron was especially painful for Cavs fans, who were disgusted by the way he publicized his exit to the world. Then, there was the outburst of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who called James a quitter and said that James had engaged in a "cowardly betrayal" of his city.

    Gilbert's tirade should have been translated to "Do you know how much money we lost when LeBron left the team!" According to Forbes.com, LeBron's presence boosted the value of the Cleveland Cavaliers by an amount somewhere between $58 and $100 million dollars. In fact, Forbes makes note of the fact that the Cavs' financial valuation far exceeded the size of their market. The small number of NBA teams with higher valuations than the Cavs were in large markets like Los Angeles and New York. All of this was due to the LeBron Effect, which Cav's owners didn't quite seem to be able to appreciate. I'm sure they appreciate it now, since their value has likely hit rock bottom after James' exit and this dubious losing streak.

    Most laughably, Gilbert publicly vowed that his team would win an NBA Championship before LeBron James. Apparently, Gilbert underestimated just how hard it would be to replace LeBron. Well, the message is likely loud and clear, as Gilbert has now watched his team sink to the depths of legendary loss production. I actually feel sorry for Gilbert just a bit, and I feel especially bad for loyal Cleveland fans who've been dissed by their superstar and embarrassed by their owner. This is a bad day for the city of Cleveland.

    The transition of LeBron James out of Cleveland and into Miami serves as a valuable lesson on brand management, sports team valuation, and the racially-charged imagery of the black male athlete. Because LeBron stomped out of Cleveland, rather than tip-toe, he went from being the NBA golden boy to being characterized as another arrogant black male athlete. Morality judgements are typically thrust on black athletes, as sports writers love to say "He's really talented, but he doesn't have good values." Personally, such paternalistic evaluations make me sick, and it's not a coincidence that there is usually at least one black male athlete every year year who is thrust to the American people are public enemy number one.

    LeBron didn't deserve the treatment he received from the American public. But Cleveland fans didn't deserve to have their open wound salted with LeBron's ill-advised made-for-tv debacle. Perhaps if LeBron had better advisors around him, this mess would never have been as sloppy as it was. But if America were not such a racist society, LeBron wouldn't have been treated like a runaway slave. There were multiple culprits in the big Cleveland-LeBron James circus.



    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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    Pepsi Max Love Hurts Super Bowl Ad Black Women
    There is no bigger corporate money-maker than the Super Bowl. That's when potential sponsors are lining up to pay amazing amounts of money to advertise, primarily because they know this is the only televised special of the entire year when consumers actually enjoy watching the ads.

    In addition to being able to promote their wares to the world, advertisers often find themselves caught in the middle of controversy. Sometimes, the controversy is hilarious, like the little black boy who slapped the man dating his mother for taking one of his Doritos. This year's most interesting ad may have come out early in the game, and it has been brought to you by Pepsi Max. You may want to call this ad "The Angry Black Woman."

    In the commercial, a black woman is keeping her husband on a diet. When he eats the wrong food, she gives him an evil look and kicks his leg hard under the table. When she sees him standing over a pie about to eat it, she angrily slams his face into the pie. When she catches him sneaking a bite of fattening food in the bath tub, she violently grabs the food from his hand and stuffs a bar of soap into his mouth.


    The grand finale is when the couple is in the park. That's when the wife runs up to her husband sitting on a park bench drinking a Pepsi Max. He looks at her concerned, as if she's going to knock the hell out of him. Instead, she smiles and drinks a Pepsi Max of her own, indicating her approval of the drink for it's low calorie content.


    After the couple's brief bonding moment, a beautiful blonde walks by, with the husband taking notice. The wife's facial expression goes from content to hostile again, and she cocks back with the full can of Pepsi, aiming to nail her husband in the head. But her husband ducks right before the throw and the can hits the white woman in the head, who falls to the ground unconscious.

    The black couple becomes alarmed after harming the white woman. Looking at each other and realizing that there may have been witnesses, they grab hands and run away.


    Yes, the ad was hilarious. But I couldn't help but wonder "What will the sisters say about this one?" When I mentioned the ad on my Twitter page, I immediately got dozens of tweet backs from other concerned viewers. I have to say that even though opinions on the ad may vary, it would be hard to walk away from this commercial without thinking that someone leveraged the reputation of the "angry black woman" to make this ad work. In fact, it would be hard to imagine a white woman playing the same role.

    There is also the broader implication of a black woman physically abusing her man, as if domestic violence is funny. The man in me is willing to laugh it off, but there is another part of me that is disturbed. So, between the act of giggling away serious violence, perpetuating the image of the angry black woman, portraying the black couple to be violent criminals and re-igniting the stereotype of the black woman beating her man for wanting the white girl, this ad gives black America a whole lot to talk about.

    And it will certainly get Pepsi a lot of attention, and be worth the money.


    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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    Dreamworks Pictures released the TV spot to 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' which was shown during the second half of the NFL Superbowl between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Directed by Michael Bay, the film, which is the third installment of the 'Transformers' franchise. stars Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong, Patrick Dempsey, Alan Tudyk, John Turturro, and introducing Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

    Opening in 3D, 2D and IMAX theaters on July 1, 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' features Sam Witwicky (LaBeouf) taking his first tenuous steps into adulthood while remaining a reluctant human ally of Optimus Prime. The film centers around the space race between the U.S.S.R. and the USA, suggesting there was a hidden Transformers role in it all that remains one of the planet's most dangerous secrets.

     

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