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

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    Paramount Pictures has released the TV spot to 'Captain America: The First Avenger,' which was shown during the second half of the NFL Superbowl.

    Directed by Joe Johnston, the film stars Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan, Toby Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Dominic Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, and Neal McDonough.

    Opening on July 22, 'Captain America: The First Avenger' will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America.


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    Two men opened fire after an argument occurred at an Omega Psi Phi fraternity house in Youngstown, Ohio this weekend. The two men shot multiple rounds into a crowd of people, killing a student and critically injuring a 17-year old with a head wound. The student who was killed was shot while trying to break the two disputing groups apart. The university said six of the injured were students.

    The murder victim was 25-year old Jamail E. Johnson of Youngstown. Most of the 11 injured were shot in the foot. The men were arrested and charged with aggravated murder, shooting into a home, and felonious assault, according to Chief Jimmy Hughes of the Youngstown Police Department.

    "These guys were in the location for a little while before the shooting occurred," he said. "Something happened that they became unhappy. They had some type of altercation."

    This tragedy takes me back to thoughts I've had after being on a college campus for the past 17 years. The challenge of surviving as a black male in America is that it's not simply a matter of making sure you make the right decisions, you are also affected by the decisions being made by people around you. My best friend was murdered in front of his daughter when I was in my mid-twenties, and he wasn't doing anything wrong. I've also had to dodge a life-threatening situation or two in my day. Even now, I have to avoid certain relatives or friends who might put me in harm's way.

    As you send your boys off to college, remember to teach them that almost nothing good happens at Saturday night parties in fraternity houses. Although homicide is incredibly rare on college campuses, it is not uncommon for students to be raped, arrested for rape, assaulted, caught drinking and driving or to die from alcohol poisoning, with frat houses being the most common scene of the crime. Of course the men who committed the crime (to my knowledge) were not members of Omega Psi Phi, so the fraternity should not be held responsible (although there may be some legal implications here). But the excessive alcohol consumption on college campuses has created an environment in which lives are ruined on a regular basis.

    This murder also takes me to the shooting of DJ Henry, a Pace University football player who was killed by police at a night club. This is not the first, nor the last shooting of a young black male on a college campus that I've written about this year, with the shooting taking place at either a party or a night club. We must take a second to reconsider the environment within which these young men are expected to live, help them to become more conscious of the risks, and bring back the old fashioned notion that it's OK to spend weekends in college studying instead of partying with volatile and questionable strangers. We must also find ways to confront gun manufacturers who somehow allow illegal weapons to flood the streets in black communities, undermining the safety of us all.

    When I was in college, I saw quite a few situations where someone was injured or could have been killed. I've seen guns carried into house parties, and I've had friends who died young. After seeing far too many of my friends become alcoholics or destory their lives in some other way, I decided that I would commit myself to breaking the cycle of dysfunctional behavior that I witnessed all around me. It worked out nicely, and that's why I encourage you to tell your kids that they don't have to follow the crowd.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and author of the book, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About College." To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.


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    obama on o'reilly

    President Barack Obama told Bill O'Reilly that he doesn't take the criticism against him personally and that he's not bothered when people say they hate him.

    In a disturbing interview that was filled with loaded questions, such as, "Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth?" and "Does it disturb you that so many people hate you?" Obama managed to stay calm.

    "The people who dislike you don't know you. The folks who hate you, they don't know you," Obama said during an interview with O'Reilly before the Super Bowl. "What they hate is whatever fun house mirror image of you that's out there. They don't know you."

    That response could have been leveled at O'Reilly and Fox News for some of the outrageous, false and incendiary comments they've issued at the president and his policies during the last two years. O'Reilly called Obama "Robin Hood Obama" in 2008.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Gayle King the question was completely inappropriate.

    "To hear this used in the presence of the president of the United States -- I think we all have to recognize that while we disagree with people and may think that they are wrong, the word 'hate' should never be used," Pelosi said.

    The question was inappropriate, amateurish and designed to invoke controversy.

    In September, Obama criticized Fox News, saying:

    "It's a point of view that I disagree with. It's a point of view that I think is ultimately destructive for the long-term growth of a country that has a vibrant middle class and is competitive in the world," Obama said about the opinions of Fox News.

    Obama probably agreed to the interview because it has become a tradition, and declining to sit with Fox News would have made more news than actually suffering through the interview.

    Obama said that he remains the same person, even as he looks to re-election in 2012:

    "I'm the same guy," Obama said. "And my practical focus, my common-sense focus is how do we out-innovate, out-educate, out-build and out-compete the rest of the world? How do we create jobs here in the United States of America? How do we make sure that businesses are thriving? But how do we also make sure ordinary Americans can live out the American dream, because right now they don't feel like they are?"

    Obama also described how difficult it is to be president:

    "I think that the thing you understand intellectually but that you don't understand in your gut until you're in the job is that every decision that comes to my desk is something that nobody else has been able to solve," he said. "The easy stuff gets solved somewhere by somebody else. By the time it gets to me, you don't have easy answers."

    And that's what Fox News should remember as it issues opinion after opinion from people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and then label it "news." There used to be a clear distinction between the two, and Americans have not taken the steps to force media outlets like Fox News to distinguish the difference between news and opinion.

    The nonsense continued this morning as 'Fox & Friends' hosts said Obama was trying to take credit for the Bush-era tax cuts in the O'Reilly interview. That clearly did not happen.

    O'Reilly said that he disagrees with the president but believes him to be fair:

    "I enjoy talking to you," O'Reilly said in closing. "I disagree with you sometimes. I hope you think I'm fair to you. I try to be, but I wish you well in the next two years."

    No one believes that nonsense but O'Reilly himself. President Obama may be gracious, but he sure isn't dumb.


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    Over the weekend, Naturi Naughton, who appeared as rapper Lil' Kim in 'Notorious' and in 'Lottery Ticket' with Bow Wow, was cast in an upcoming NBC drama pilot called 'Playboy.'

    Along with Amber Heard, who will star with Nicolas Cage in the upcoming 3-D film 'Drive Angry,' Naughton will star in the series, which is set in the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963, states Variety.

    Heard will play Maureen, a new hire at the club. Originally an orphan, she's an inquisitive young woman with an untethered sexuality and a dark past.

    Naughton plays Brenda, a stunning African American Bunny determined to become the first black Playboy centerfold.

    The show's release date has yet to be set, but it will air sometime during the 2011-2012 season.

    Naughton, who also played a pianist named Denise in the remake of the 1980 movie and TV musical 'Fame,' recently appeared in the 'Hands and Knees' episode of 'Mad Men,' as a Bunny at a Manhattan club who is involved with Jared Harris' Lane Pryce.


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    20th Century Fox has provided with an exclusive clip of the upcoming comedy film 'Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son,' starring Martin Lawrence and Brandon T. Jackson.

    Opening on Feb. 18, the film also stars Max Casella, Jessica Lucas, Mari Morrow, Faizon Love, Marc John Jeffries and 'The View' co-host Sherri Shepherd.

    In this third entry in the 'Big Momma's House' series, Martin Lawrence's cross-dressing alter ego, Big Momma, heads to an all-girls school with his stepson, Trent (Brandon T. Jackson), to hunt down a murderer.


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    At last night's Black Eyed Peas Super Bowl halftime performance, Usher popped onto the stage looking as pure as the driven snow.
    Was his all-white attire befitting for a pop icon, or did he just seem eerily reminscent of Kobe Bryant's hilarious L.A. Times photo shoot? Tell us!


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    Blame Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. They started this. And I'm not talking about wack pop music; that actually predates them. What I'm talking about is the entertainment equivalent of a migraine -- housewife reality television co-starring comically emasculated men schlepping behind their significant others. Watching this stuff makes my head feel like it's going to explode. And thank you, too, MTV, for being the first network to green-light the end of quality television as we knew it.

    (follow Mason Jamal on Twitter)

    But for members of BlackVoices Nation who enjoy quasi-celebrity couples getting their Jessica and Nick on, then you should be rubbing your hands together in anticipation of E!'s newly announced show, 'Khloe and Lamar.' Straight from the cookie cutter for shows like this, the two will share the hijinks that ensue in their everyday unscripted lives (wink, wink). Speaking of sharing, they're also rolling out a new unisex fragrance called Unbreakable (watch the ad here) that features the slogan "there's something sexy about a couple sharing a scent." Yeah, I'm not sure if I share that opinion, so allow me to double-down and pass on the 'Khloe and Lamar' show as well as their androgynous cologne/perfume.

    Meanwhile, rumors are that Vanessa Bryant is pitching her own housewife reality show to cable networks but has yet to find any takers. I'm guessing that Kobe isn't attached to the project or else it would have been picked up by now. Adding smoke to the crack pipe of the addictive housewife reality genre is word that Vanessa and Khloe actually hate each other in real-real life. Think Israel and Palestine, Verizon and AT&T, Sarah Palin and professional growth. There are irreconcilable differences that the two sides can't overcome.

    But instead of watching more celebrity couples jump on the reality bandwagon, I wish we could throw them all underneath it. Give me a bottle of top-shelf vodka and I'll drive it myself. Angst aside, reality shows will go on as the American viewing audience has proven to be agreeable to swapping smartly written, well-acted content for the guilty pleasure of watching fake reality. I mean, it's not even authentic; it's Vanilla Ice. And I'll turn it off twice, twice baby just to make sure the power button on my remote doesn't stick. I can't watch.

    Then again, I'm an unabashed pop culture snob. I'm the same media malcontent who can't even watch local television news without ranting about the abbreviated five minutes of actual news that simply serves as the opening act for 25 minutes of weather and sports.

    So what is it with the insatiable supply and demand of reality television? I understand that the participants in the shows are in it for monetary gain and other self-aggrandizing reasons, but what about us? What do we get out of train wreck television? Are viewers, particularly women, simply entertained by it or are some of them living vicariously through the cooked-up misadventures of the rich and infamous? Is the contrived drama a distraction from the monotonous daily routine of their real lives? I'm at a loss. For men, I get it though. We're hoping for a cat fight, a nip slip, some pixelated nudity. Yes, I know. It's head-shaking sad.

    Well, whatever the reasons are, gender-specific or not, one thing is true: All good things must come to an end (uhm...HBO's 'The Wire'). So I guess this bodes well for housewife reality television because it's not good and thus it's not coming to an end anytime soon. Go figure.

    Mason Jamal lives, observes and comments. He writes about issues pertaining to the style, substance and sensibilities of men, women and relationships. For more of his musings, you can visit To have his commentary delivered to your e-mail, subscribe here. Keep up with Mason's daily thoughts and observations on Facebook and Twitter @masonsays.


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    New Orleans Loses Black Population

    When a storm of biblical proportions washes away huge swaths of a major American city, should it be any surprise that people will be reluctant to return?

    That simple reasoning is what is depopulating the great city of New Orleans, which has seen more than 100,000 black residents leave and not return in the past 10 years.

    Whether black people chose not to return or wanted to go back but were denied aid to do so is an interesting question that lawmakers and community advocates will be sure to debate.

    A good portion of the residents lived in public housing in the eastern part of the city, said William Rouselle, a New Orleans political consultant. He said that since several public housing complexes were razed after the storm, their communities no longer exist.

    What is certain is that when Hurricane Katrina blitzed the Gulf Coast in August 2005, becoming one of the deadliest and costliest storms in American history, the storm caused a black exodus, with people settling in nearby cities in Texas and Georgia.

    For now, it seems like many have put down new roots and won't be going back to New Orleans.

    Can you blame them?

    To watch your city nearly be washed off the map had to be a horrifying sight. And once a survivor finds a decent job, a network of support, friends and affordable housing in a new city, can they really be expected to return to the place that holds so many bad memories?

    Sure, some folks drawn to the unique charm of New Orleans will never be able to get it out of their blood, but a new set of adventurers and young professional have decided to make New Orleans home in the wake of the storm. That's a good thing.

    But if I were just holding on in New Orleans before the storm, Hurricane Katrina might have represented the boost needed to try to do better somewhere else.



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    Emory University Acknowledges Racist Past, But Will Not Apologize

    Atlanta is a black Mecca, where education, segregation and religion collide, so it should come as no surprise that it has taken 175 years for Methodist institute of higher learning Emory University -- founded by slave owner and Methodist bishop John Emory -- to acknowledge that the school was built on the backs of slaves and sustained by pro-slavery rhetoric.

    I'm just glad it finally did.

    "We've talked about African Americans on campus before, but now we're talking about Emory and African Americans," senior Kyle Black said. "As a black student, I think it's good they've admitted mistakes from the past. Emory is a great school and this just shows it. Now we can talk about it, so let's just talk about it."

    Emory not only supported slavery in an abstract or physical sense, but in an academic way too.

    In commemoration of the institution's 175th birthday, senior Patrick Jamieson will present a paper at a four-day conference in Newton, Ga., where about 30 public and private colleges will examine the role of slavery at institutions of higher learning in the United States.

    With the theme "Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies," Jamieson will be discussing Emory's "intellectual investment in slavery." He will also address the shameful fact that professors and leaders used classroom lectures to legitimize "the peculiar institution."

    The conference will also serve as the introduction to Emory's new program designed to examine the university's past and its relationship with race and slavery.

    Apparently, a great deal has changed since 1902, when the university forced professor Andrew Sledd to resign after he published an article condemning lynching.

    Justifiably, some have questioned Emory's motives, pointing out that a renewed focus on diversity has opened up a well of increased federal funding; however, Emory has consistently led the way in green energy, scientific innovation and medical research while remaining one of the most selective schools in the United States.

    Clearly, the university can use all the funding it can get, but there was no need to actively address its shameful role in this country's turbulent past, which is honorable.

    "Emory regrets both this undeniable wrong and the university's decades of delay in acknowledging slavery's harmful legacy," President James Wagner said in a statement. "As Emory University looks forward, it seeks the wisdom always to discern what is right and the courage to abide by its mission of using knowledge to serve humanity."

    An apology, Wagner said, could be viewed as "inappropriate and an attempt to force today's value and our own words in the mouths of the dead."

    "If we think society must admit its mistakes so it can deal with future challenges, then Emory must live by those words as well," Wagner continued. "We want our students to lead, and we want to model on our campus, and in our community, what a better world could look like."

    On a campus with 13,381 students, only 10.4 percent are African American. So when in 2003, amid growing concerns over Emory's diversity, a professor reportedly uttered the N-word during a department celebration, Wagner knew something had to be done.

    "I will not guarantee that there won't be other racial incidents on campus," Wagner said. "If anything, there will be, but we will be better equipped to handle them."

    Wagner's brilliant decision to not patronize the African American community with an inauthentic, posthumous apology impresses me more than any politically correct program Emory could conceive.

    Hopefully, this is the beginning of a difficult national discussion that will potentially lead to tangible increases in equality and sensitivity on college campuses across the country.


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    Redskins' Haynesworth Charged With a Moment of Road RageTo say that Washington Redskins' defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth had a tumultuous season would be an understatement.

    With the changing of his team's defensive schemes, he tried to protest and head coach Mike Shanahan made him jump through hoops to get his starting spot back. The drama lasted through the season, ending with Haynesworth being suspended for the last four games. Now that the season is over, it appears the drama is still following Haynesworth.

    According to the Washington Post, a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Haynesworth on charges of assault stemming from a road rage incident with another motorist on the Fairfax County Parkway in Reston, Virginia.

    According to the complaint, the incident occurred on Wednesday morning when a man driving a Honda Civic gave a "non-verbal gesture" to Haynesworth for following too close, who was driving a pickup truck, at a stoplight. Haynesworth then allegedly got out of the truck, went over to the Civic, yelled at the driver, punched him, got back in his truck and drove off. Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, is denying all the allegations.
    "Albert did not put his hands on anyone," Speck told "These allegations are completely false. This is a case of someone looking to get his 15 minutes of fame at Albert's expense."

    Haynesworth plans to turn himself in this week.


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  • 02/07/11--04:30: I'm the Other Woman
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    Imagine meeting the perfect man. The one you have been looking for for as long as you can remember. He's handsome, attentive and chivalrous. Your family loves him, your friends want to meet him and the butterflies you feel when you see him are unparalleled. Now imagine Mr. Perfect belonging to someone else. How would you handle that? We found one brave soul willing to share her story. Here's the tale of the other woman as told to us by a Black Voices reader (names have been changed).

    I've known Jason my whole life. We grew up together and some of my oldest memories are with him. We were practically raised as family, but I'd lost contact with him and other people from my childhood for roughly 16 years. One day, I decided to attend a family reunion event back in the old neighborhood and he was there. At first glance, I didn't recognize him. Shortly after, a mutual friend reintroduced us to each other. Both of us, clearly excited, shared a few pleasantries and parted ways. A few days later the standard slew of Facebook friend requests started to come from a number of people at the reunion. I saw his name. I requested him. This is when the real talking began.

    It began innocently enough with messages back and forth solely on Facebook. The correspondence brought back a lot of memories for me. He was always really nice to me. I had a crush on him back then, but it was different now - we were both grown. He was much more attractive and a lot funnier.

    We began to realize we shared a lot of similar interests and got to reminiscing about the old days. I felt connected to him. He was friends with my family and knew my mother before she passed away, and the sense of comfort just in that was something I had never felt before.

    The longer we spoke, the deeper the conversations got. He admitted to me that he also had a crush on me when we were younger. He described me as the "unattainable one". He was undoubtedly pursuing me. He actually told me that he had every intention of wearing me down until I agreed to hang out with him. The flirty talking was mutual, but it was clear to me that he had a mission.

    I knew and had known for a long time that he was engaged... with two children. Actually, his children was one of our first conversation topics. In pictures, his family looked perfect - until he told me differently. He would tell me that he got engaged because it's what everyone else wanted and he felt sort of resigned to it. In fact, he said, "We have two kids; might as well."

    He told me he wasn't in love with her and he felt like he was raising his kids with a friend, not someone he wanted to marry. Throughout the whole ordeal, I took his side when he would tell me about conflicts they were having. I definitely felt more sympathy for him. She was portrayed as a lazy, greedy, unappreciative person who trapped him into this relationship. That is how he got me.

    I figured if he wasn't happy and he was pursuing me, then I may as well go along with it. He said he didn't want to hurt her by telling her the truth - that he loved me. In hindsight, I know he was lying, but at the time it seemed genuine. He was showing me, not just telling me, how he felt.

    He paid me a lot of attention. He would come over to my house after work (most of our time together was spent in my house) and I'd see him on some weekends. We would go out for brunch, go shopping or just go driving around my neighborhood. He picked me up from work to spend time with me on my birthday. He took me to a concert and we would go out dancing with his friends. There were days when I'd come home from work, dance class or a meeting and he'd be sitting on my stoop waiting for me.

    He called me on Christmas Eve and came over on Christmas day with something I had randomly mentioned I wanted. The relationship became sexual soon after we started talking, but now it was becoming more intimate. I didn't believe he had any intentions of leaving his fiancee and children for me until around this time, when he told me he loved me. I clearly loved him, too. He even started talking about our wedding, who would raise his children and how our future would look together. This is when the situation became more than I could handle.

    I was preparing my life to be with him. I was more than willing to turn my life around to figure out a way for us to be together. I was ready to take any heat that would come from my family about our relationship and trying to figure out a way to help him support his children.

    I helped him find a pet for his kids, buy a classic car and restore it, and I even helped him plan a family vacation for his daughter's birthday. I never told him no. I supported him on everything he ever needed or wanted help with. I was two heads of the same coin - a woman that loved him but was not dependent upon him and a woman who wanted to be with him but did not need to be with him.

    The longer the relationship went on, the harder things became. We had been together for six months and he was still very much living with his family. We communicated through facebook and email. When he would call me, it would be from a blocked home or cell phone number. At one point, he bought an additional pay by month phone to talk to me on, but later decided he didn't want to renew it. I wasn't allowed to call or text him.

    Little did he or I know, his fiancee had access to his phone records and got hold of the number he was calling most frequently - mine. Clearly, that did not end well. She confronted me about our relationship and I lied to protect him and myself. She stalked me on Facebook, and I left the site.

    In hindsight, I can empathize with her. Her life and family that she helped create was falling apart because of some unseen force: me. She knew that he had cheated on her in the past, but he never contemplated leaving her for any of them, so our situation was different; I was different. He defended me and my space in his life - as a friend, never anything more. He always denied our relationship and lied to her, and I helped maintain the lie.

    I started to feel bad. I thought I'd ruined his life. I remember he and his fiancee getting in a fight so serious, she took the kids and left the house. I felt guilty, not because he had someone else but because I was responsible for everything crumbling around their feet. We continued dating after that. When I finally started to end it with him, he berated me. I wanted him to man up, call me, be honest with me and make good on the things he had told me. This never happened.

    In all honesty, I didn't feel bad for "stealing someone's man". We were both equal parts in the situation and he was the one doing the pursuing. The relationship lasted from December to June and is now over.

    I regret the drama and double talk, but I do not regret being with him. He gave me something that I haven't had in a long time- a connection. I was able to be more honest with him than I have ever been with anyone else. He took care of me when I was used to being the caretaker in relationships. He provided me with something I have never experienced before and it was a function of who he was and not that he was involved. I'm certain that someone who is single will be able to provide me with that in the future.

    I've spoken to my ex recently. He has decided to maintain his relationship and is actually in the midst of planning the wedding. He told me his relationship with her has gotten better because he has been able to communicate with her - an attribute he says I helped him foster. Awesome.

    BV ASKS: Ladies, would you ever be the other woman?


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    An FDNY electrician who filed a race discrimination complaint against the department in December says a noose was left in front of his work locker last week.

    Gregory Seabrook, an FDNY communications electrician for nearly 20 years, found the noose Thursday at the FDNY facility at 87 Union St. in Brooklyn, his lawyers said yesterday.

    "There's an ominous message behind it," lawyer Stephen Jackson said of the nearly 3-foot-long noose, which he plans to display at a press conference today and then hand over to authorities.

    The noose is "elaborately constructed" and tied in a "monkey knot," Seabrook's lawyers say.

    "That was a type of weapon used as a flogging knot to beat slaves," Jackson said. "It's very thick and very hard and it's designed to cause injuries."

    Seabrook, who is black, and four other minority electricians filed complaints with the New York State Division of Human Rights, charging the Fire Department overlooks minority electricians for overtime opportunities and promotions.

    Four electricians filed complaints in October, while Seabrook filed in December, the lawyers say.

    An FDNY spokesperson said he had no knowledge of the noose incident or the discrimination complaints, which he said are kept private while under investigation.

    Source: New York 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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    Praise Party: Sherri Shepherd to Host Dove Awards
    'The View' co-host Sherri Shepherd will host the 42nd annual Dove Awards on April 20.

    The Christian music awards show will tape at the Fox Theater in Atlanta - a move from its usual home in Nashville, Tenn. - and air on GMC on Easter Sunday, April 24.

    The Dove Awards are sponsored by the Gospel MusicSherri ShepherdAssociation and, unlike the Stellar Awards, which place emphasis on black gospel music, the Dove Awards recognizes those who have made significant impact on the Contemporary Christian music genre, which has traditionally maintained a predominantly white base.

    Shepherd, who also hosts 'The Newlywed Game' on GSN and has a recurring role on NBC's '30 Rock,' has previously hosted the Daytime Emmy Awards and the Trumpet Awards.

    The Emmy-winning talk show host released a Christian comedy CD called 'No Refund, No Exchange' in 2003.

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    Black Unemployment

    From The Grio:

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The unemployment rate dropped sharply last month to 9 percent, the lowest level in nearly two years. But the economy generated only 36,000 net new jobs, the fewest in four months.

    The January report illustrates how job growth remains the economy's weakest spot, even as other economic indicators point to a recovery that is strengthening.

    African-American unemployment remained virtually stagnant going from 15.8 to 15.7 percent and black teen jobless figures, still the highest of any group, actually ticked up from 44.2 to 45.4.

    Friday's report offered a conflicting picture on hiring. Unemployment fell because the Labor Department's household survey determined that more than a half-million people without jobs found work. The department conducts a separate survey of businesses, which showed tepid job creation. The two surveys sometimes diverge.

    Severe winter weather likely reduced the number of jobs created. Harsh snowstorms last month cut into construction employment, which fell by 32,000, the most since May. Transportation and warehousing also fell by 38,000 -- the most in a year.

    In one bright spot, manufacturing added 49,000 jobs, the most since August 1998.

    Read more about black unemployment on The Grio.


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    Cee Lo Green 20 Questions
    He's rapped about 'Soul Food' in his Goodie Mob days, sang us 'Crazy' as the frontman for Gnarls Barkley and most recently had a pop anthem with 'F**k You,' the 2010 Grammy Award-nominated hit that gives the middle finger to gold diggers everywhere.

    In just a few days, the beloved chameleon entertainer known as Cee Lo Green will do the unexpected in an out-of-the-box Grammy performance.

    But first, the self-proclaimed 'Lady Killer' filled in on Atlanta's music scene, why he's not into men wearing high heels and just how great he's feeling while on the cusp of another major career moment.

    Here's 20 Questions with Cee Lo Green. How did you first feel when 'F**k You' became a hit?
    Cee Lo Green:
    I've answered this question a few times. I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't have any unrealistic expectations. I felt like there is a genuineness about the song, and if something is real then it resonates as such.

    BV: Do you think you were prepared for how quickly it became a pop cross-over hit? Gwyneth Paltrow performed it on 'Glee' and you two were on 'Saturday Night Live' together.
    It's taken me about 18 years to be an overnight success. It's not shocking. I am prepared and I am poised. I have become a professional over the last 18 years. I am very grateful about it all and gracious for it all. Just meeting Gwyneth was a pleasure. She is very kind and sweet in persona and personality. There are many different covers on YouTube, and people have really taken to the song. That's cool, because I believe I do music for the people and by the people, and a lot of my music has this "working-class hero" type of quality to it. I'm not surprised because I expect people to find it truthful.

    BV: With the Grammys soon approaching, is there one award that you really want to win?
    I'm in the categories that suit the song, and the acknowledgment is actually enough for me. It's also enough incentive to continue on -- in the event that I don't win. Of course, no art of mine is initiated off of some underlying need to win a Grammy. As long as I can be inventive and honest, edgy and alternative, accessible and efficient, then what more can you ask for as an artist? To be acknowledged by your peers is very grand. I'm grounded, so I don't have a hard time being humble about it at all.

    BV: How excited are you about performing?
    This will be my second Grammy performance, which is awesome. I am making an only son very proud of me, and my family is proud and supportive. They are living in the moment with me. I am very fortunate to have made a career out of something that I truly love, and I don't have to give off a visage or be a character that I have to play day in and day out. I am sure that is exhausting for those who do.

    BV: It's no secret that some of your music is heavier than others, particularly some of the Gnarls Barkley stuff. Was going to that place tough for you, and did you think your career was over during that time?
    Gnarls Barkley was deeply introspective of childhood and adolescence. Those were the most confusing times. But what triggered a lot was questioning and where I stood when I was going through a divorce. I wasn't dropped from the label; I could have renewed my contract and gone with Jive Records, but I didn't want to. I have to be clear with people because I've been misquoted on a couple of occasions now, and it's starting to become a nuisance. So I'm either going to try my best to be clear, and I'm going to have to talk a lot less or not talk at all. I'm trying to avoid that.

    BV: What have people misquoted you about?
    I've had misquotes become a part of my Wikipedia bio about torturing stray animals and all of this, which is completely untrue. I don't believe it has anything to do with the man and the whole person that I have become. I've mentioned in interviews, things that happened in my childhood that were very peculiar, but not abnormal for young kids or young boys, to be specific. Messing around in the woods or whatever. I've said something along those lines in a joking way, and they have been associated with me and I resent it. I also resent the assumption that I fell out of the sky.

    BV: Your current album, 'The Lady Killer,' is different from anything we hear on the radio. Are you inspired by today's modern music?
    I guess I am, but more indirectly. I guess I am inspired to go into a different direction. I consider myself to be attempting alternative music. I guess I am inspired by it. I don't want to do it because it is being done, so I think, "What can I do differently?" I would like for there to be more balanced listening and for today's generation to be influenced by our elders. The music was better and the sentiment was stronger to me. It wasn't just about it being product. Music has just become product, and I don't know if any of us have any emotional attachment to it.

    BV: Do you plan to hook up with Goodie Mob anytime soon?
    We're well into an album. Goodie Mob is very close to me and dear to my heart. I believe what we have to offer is necessary. It is a must-be-done. I would not be whole until we have succeeded at it.

    BV: Have you thought about doing a future collaboration with Outkast, Big Boi or Andre 3000?
    We've talked about it. I was actually supposed to be on Big's last record, 'Son of Chico Dusty,' but some of the things that were sent to me, I didn't necessarily connect with in time, and I didn't want to force it. I really wanted to do something special because I've always been able to nail it with Outkast and the things that I've decided to do with them. But I was glad that he got the opportunity to stand alone and show people that he was solid. I commend Big on a job well done on his album, but, of course, I'm a fan of Outkast. I would like very much to see them both together again. I hope they are announcing a new Outkast album soon.

    BV: What are your thoughts on the Atlanta music scene today? When you all first came out, there was so much diversity, but not so much anymore.
    My observation is that it isn't a scene anymore. It's something else other than what it was. That's not to insult it; there are quite a few people profiting from what it is, but it's not a culture or a community. That is a little disheartening because of the way we started. The city has become almost like a tourist attraction of some sort. It's very welcoming, this city of Atlanta, and I think there's a quality that many people have been able to appreciate over the years but also something that people have taken advantage of. After so much international acclaim and success, people don't even associate you with the South anymore. No one has to mention that I'm a Southern artist, but I would personally like for that to be acknowledged, but like I said, there's not a scene. There's reality in rap like there is reality in television. I'm not one for reality for entertainment.

    BV: Speaking of reality, what are your thoughts on 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta?' As a native of Atlanta, do you think that's a real representation of Atlanta?
    No, I don't. I don't know these people personally nor do I know them professionally. I don't know if they consider a TV show a job. It's not to insult them. I be trippin' off of it sometimes, and I don't watch a lot of TV in general. I don't think it represents Atlanta at all, but I don't know. I'm not going to judge. Everybody has to go about it the best way they can, but I don't think that reality television is reality because it's edited for perfection. The slander and mudslinging and all of that is in the mix for good reason.

    BV: Well, you knew Kandi Burruss before 'Housewives?'
    CG: Oh, I'm not singling Kandi out. Kandi is my homegirl. She really could be using it as a platform. There's quite a bit of recreation that goes along with it, but she is also in the studio, writing songs, promoting her own music and showing she is a Renaissance woman. That's her passion, and the TV show is a means for promoting and shining some light on her entire situation.

    BV: What's up with Danger Mouse? Are you all going to do more music together?
    Yeah. Danger Mouse is doing some other projects, and the next thing up for me is a Goodie Mob album and then another Gnarls Barkley album. It may be another year before that.

    BV: Explain your fashion style. You are always rocking some cool and eclectic look. Where do you get your inspiration from?
    On the urban end, I'm going to give it to Puff. He's a fashion icon in my opinion. He's not always acknowledged as such, but he has been impeccably dressed for the last two decades. You can buy clothes, but you can't buy class. I am one of those people who understands the fantastic -- the more outrageous things. I look to Elton John or Liberace or George Clinton or Parliament Funkadelic and Sly Stone, even LaBelle and Patti LaBelle's outfits. I want people to reference these things on YouTube, if you must, to see what's been done. My sense of fashion is inspired by revolt and breaking the rules. I could never be a slave. Ya feel me? At the end of the day, it's really to prove I'm one bad mother f**ka and I do whatever I want to do.

    BV: What are you drinking these days?
    As I mature, I'm starting to enjoy red wine a lot more often, but, on some cut to the chase, I'll take a top-shelf long island iced tea.

    BV: Are you still single and a ladies' man? If so, how do you go about pulling a woman you find attractive.
    I'm single, and I'm definitely a ladies' man. I don't go to every party I'm invited to. You ask, how do I pull them? It's got to be magnetism that attracts them. I have to be someone's type. I'm not everyone's type, but I'm definitely someone's type. If a woman is brave enough to express themselves or initiate a conversation and make clear what they want. That is attractive -- a bold woman, and I make it my business to prove her right. I plop right in and say, "You made the right decision. You've got great taste." That's on rare occasions and special.

    BV: What are your thoughts about men in heels?
    I'm not down with that metrosexual sh*t. I want to separate myself from it. I don't appreciate it being associated with my city. I don't see it because I'm nowhere near it. I don't have an aerial view or firsthand recollection of just how bad it's gotten, but ya know, I ain't with it. Then again, I'm not judging a person. Feel free to be yourself. I've been able to dress and do some very peculiar things all for the sake of art, but no one has ever questioned my manhood, and that I can appreciate.

    BV: Have you ever felt pressure to lose weight from anyone. Your family? Women? The record industry?
    Actually, I will tell you this. On TV, I appear a lot shorter and a lot heavier than I actually am. Just FYI for everyone reading this article, I'm solid. I am not out of shape. It just happens to be the shape that I'm in. I'm not no slouch. I'm not no sucker. I'm not to be disrespected. My good shoes are not to be stepped on. I am not the one to play with on no kind of level. I don't get no pressure from nobody because I allow people to be who they are, just like people allow me to be who I am. I'm comfortable in my skin and that's attractive. It may not be ideal and may be just as alternative as the rest of me, my music, my thinking, my dress. ...Wait, but you're the first person to ever ask me that!

    BV: Is that good or bad?
    I think it's cool. No, but to answer your question, I do want to say this. I actually am about to go hard. I believe that [getting fit] is the final level. I am going to be the Last Dragon when I get my health together. It isn't just for weight. It is for health and thinking more healthy, as well. This has been a conversation recently because I am about to be touring more, and I want to be able to supply the demand. I have stamina out this world, and I've been a big guy for the greater part of my career. I'm getting better, aren't I?

    BV: We haven't seen a drastic weight loss in following you career.
    My music is getting better. My career is getting better, but there hasn't been a drastic weight gain! My homegirl said a lot of people may be disappointed in me because I lose weight. I heard it from a fan before, too, who said, "Don't lose the playground." They don't like it, the women who mess with me are some damn good actresses. I'm a big man. Trust me, I don't want to be nobody but Cee Lo Green. I don't give a damn who looks better, who's cuter, who's finer. Nothing. I wouldn't trade with none of these n**gas. None of them.

    Cee Lo Green will perform his Grammy nominated single 'F**k You' alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and The Muppets this Sunday, Feb. 13, at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards, which air live on CBS at 8 p.m. EST.,feedConfig,entry&id=258936&pid=258935&uts=1275580208

    Black Music Notes June 2

    6/2/10: Ryan Leslie
    Singer-songwriter Ryan Leslie is set to make a special appearance at New York's Bowery Ballroom on June 22 and 23. Leslie, who recently wrapped up his international tour with Ne-Yo, will also give fans a preview of select songs from his third solo project 'Les Is More.' Doors open at 7 pm.

    Black Music Notes June 2

    6/2/10: Dr. Dre
    Hip Hop's favorite music physician, Dr. Dre will be honored with the ASCAP Founders Award at this year's Rhythm & Soul Music Awards. The 23rd annual event, which is set to take place June 25 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, will honor Dre for his musical legacy and influence. "Dre is one of the most important voices in modern music," said ASCAP president Paul Williams. "He created a unique, recognizable sound that dominated rap music in the early '90s...and continues to inspire artists and producers across all genres with his musical techniques."

    Black Music Notes June 2

    5/28/10: Kanye West
    Despite shying away from the media since his 2009 MTV Video Music Award tirade, Kanye West is slowing making his way back into the spotlight. Last weekend in Manhattan, West made a special appearance at club CV and it turned into a mini album listening party of his forthcoming opus. "Kanye leaned over and said, 'Play track three,'" DJ Scram Jones told MTV News. "They all went nuts, Kid Cudi was dancing on the table, and then we cut it off at about a minute-and-a-half ... By the end of the process, we played four records."

    Black Music Notes June 2

    5/28/10: Robert Cray
    Five-time Grammy Award-winner Robert Cray is set to release his new live album entitled 'Cookin' In Mobile' on July 27. The 13-song project , which features a bonus DVD with behind the scenes footage, was recorded earlier this year at the Saenger Theater in Mobile, AL. Longtime Cray fans can expect to hear classic hits such as 'Right Next Door' and 'Smoking Gun,' in addition to recent hits such as 'I Can't Fail' and 'That's What Keeps Me Rockin'.'

    Black Music Notes June 2

    5/28/10: Lil Kim
    While many people are making comparisons between Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim, the Queen Bee has reportedly inked a new deal with a fellow Brooklyn mogul. According to various reports, Kim is the latest signee of Jay-Z's record label, Roc Nation. Although details regarding the deal have yet to surface or confirmed, a rep for Kim and Jay's camp was unavailable for comment at press time.

    Black Music Notes June 2

    5/28/10: Miles Davis
    Miles Davis' landmark album 'Bitches Brew' drew critical acclaim throughout the music world during the early 1970s. In honor of the timeless classic, Columbia/Legacy will reissue the album as a super-deluxe Collector's Edition on Aug. 31. The all new collector's edition will find four bonus tracks from alternate versions of 'Spanish Key' and 'John McLaughlin.'

    Black Music Notes June 2

    5/20/10: Lionel Richie
    As Memorial Day steadily approaches, Lionel Richie and PBS are set to celebrate the holiday with the annual broadcast of the National Memorial Day concert. The May 30 event, which takes place on the West Lawn of the US Capital, will feature an array of performers including Richie, Yolanda Adams, and others paying homage to our fallen U.S. troops. This year's concert will also recognize the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

    Black Music Notes June 2

    5/20/10: Kelly Rowland
    Following her departure from longtime manager, Matthew Knowles last year, Kelly Rowland has inked a deal with Universal Motown Records. For label president, Sylvia Rhone, signing the former Destiny's Child member was inspirational. "I think Kelly is an immensely talented, gracious, and beautiful woman, and I am thrilled about the opportunity to work with her on what's turning out to be an amazing album," she explained. "For an artist whose career began as a member of a landmark group like Destiny's Child, Kelly has truly come into her own and I am deeply inspired by her incredible energy." Rowland's as-yet-untitled album features collaborations from Stargate, Salaam Remi, Ne-Yo, Rico Love, and Esther Dean. No release date was set at press time.

    Black Music Notes June 2

    5/20/10: Lil Wayne
    Lil Wayne has proven once again that he is "music" with his recent contraband jail incident. In fact, the Grammy Award-winning MC called his personal DJ, Scoob Doo to give him the details on what exactly happened, which surfaced online via YouTube. "Ain't too much, I got in a little trouble and whatnot, you feel me," Wayne explained about being caught with headphones and a MP3 charger. "Yeah, they tried to bang me with that. ... But I can't live without my music, Scoob. You know how it is, man. I needed my music. It's all good. I had to take my little slip up. I ain't trippin'. Players f--- up."

    Black Music Notes June 2

    5/14/10: Eminem/ Jay-Z
    Following collaborating on the popular music video game DJ Hero, hip hop heavyweights Eminem and Jay-Z are teaming up once again for yet another business venture. According to published reports, the rap kingpins will be apart of a two part Live Nation produced concert event to be held at each of their hometown's baseball stadiums. "These shows are like a dream come true," Hov said. "I've always hoped that hip-hop could play any stadium like other genres of music. How perfect is it that Eminem and I get to play our hometowns and show how far the live rap experience has come?" Eminem will headline a concert Sept. 2 at Comerica Park in Detroit, while Jay-Z will perform at Yankee Stadium Sept. 13.

    Black Music Notes June 2


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    Lionsgate is having a lot of fun promoting Tyler Perry's upcoming film, 'Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family,' with spoofs on several Oscar nominated films.

    Having done a lampoon on 'The Godfather,' and 'Black Swan,' which is up for this year's Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Madea now takes on another two more Oscar nominated films, 'The King's Speech' and 'True Grit.'

    Madea, everyone's favorite wise-cracking, take-no-prisoners grandma, jumps into action when her niece, Shirley, receives distressing news about her health. All Shirley wants is to gather her three adult children around her and share the news as a family. But Tammy, Kimberly and Byron are too distracted by their own problems: Tammy can't manage her unruly children or her broken marriage; Kimberly is gripped with anger and takes it out on her husband; and Byron, after spending two years in jail, is under pressure to deal drugs again. It's up to Madea, with the help of the equally rambunctious Aunt Bam, to gather the clan together and make things right the only way she knows how: with a lot of tough love, laughter...and the revelation of a long-buried family secret.

    Written and directed by Perry, 'Big Family' stars Shad "Bow Wow" Moss, Loretta Devine, Cassi Davis, Lauren London, David Mann, Tamela Brown Mann, Isaiah Mustafa, Rodney Perry, Shannon Kane, Natalie Desselle Reid, Teyana Taylor, and Perry (as Madea and her brother Joe)

    The film will be in theaters April 22, 2011.


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    Angela Burt-Murray Out: Former Essence Editor
    From Richard Prince's Journal-isms:

    Former Essence magazine editor Angela Burt-Murray, who was point person for the Huffington Post's new project targeting African Americans, has left the project, Derek J. Murphy, chief operating officer of the venture, told Journal-isms on Thursday.

    "I'm currently managing staff recruiting and site development with our partnership team. Angela Burt Murray is no longer part of these efforts or this partnership," Murphy said via e-mail.

    Before the GlobalBlack project, Murphy was Huffington Post's senior vice president, business development, joining the organization in 2009 from CNN, where he headed strategic partnerships for the CNN Interactive Group, forging alliances with companies that included Google, CareerBuilder and LG Electronics.

    Burt-Murray left Essence magazine in November after editing it for five years and surfaced at the Huffington Post project in January. She did not respond to a request for comment and Murphy did not explain Burt-Murray's departure.

    Read the rest about Angela Burt-Murray leaving HuffPost Global Black on Richard Prince's Journal-isms.


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    While thousands of football fans came out to see who would win this year's Super Bowl, it was the pre-parties and halftime show that had everyone in their best threads. Here are the celeb looks of the weekend.


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    (By Hydeia Broadbent)

    Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

    Yes, we have our own day during Black History Month. While people never think they are at risk for contracting HIV, that it's above them, that it is a dirty person's disease, or is only contracted by those who are gay, I am here to tell you that anyone who is negative is at risk for contracting HIV if they don't educate themselves on the disease.

    America has become very complacent when it comes to AIDS. We think AIDS is only a problem in third world countries. However, the total number of people living with an HIV infection in the U.S. is thought to be around 1.1 million, and of the more than 1 million people living with HIV in the United States of America today, around half are black.

    As African Americans, we should be outraged and disappointed in ourselves for being ignorant on this issue. We have chosen not to educate our children or ourselves; we are silent when our voices need to be heard the most right now.

    Why do you think it's everyone else problem? Because no one is talking about it? Well, I am!

    Because we are middle class, we feel safe or privileged. Are only people in the inner city or those who live in poverty are at risk of contracting HIV?

    Because you may have a college degree, does that make you smarter than the average Joe walking down the street? Does that mean you make better choices?

    When it comes to HIV we are all on an equal playing field; this disease does not discriminate.

    The H in HIV stands for human.

    HIV/AIDS has no face; it does not come with a flashing neon sign. If it did, do you think the estimated 33.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide would have taken that risk?

    Do you think you can spot someone with HIV/AIDS a mile away? Is someone who has AIDS skinny and wasting away with lesions all over their body?

    Please STOP. Shake your head and get those stereotypes right out of your mind.
    I am a size 7 with perfect skin and a pretty face living with full blown AIDS.

    I am not gay nor am I a girl who is promiscuous, but yet I am living with AIDS.

    Every nine-and-a-half minutes, a person contracts HIV. CDC estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV in the United States. One in five (21%) of those people living with HIV is unaware of their infection, and you may have had unprotected sex with one of them.

    Really, stop and think back to how many sexual partners you may have had, anal, oral or vaginal.

    How many did you use protection with?

    Did you go with them to be tested for HIV or any other STD?

    It's 2011. Sex isn't just sex anymore, and we must learn to talk to our sexual partners about HIV/AIDS like our lives depend on it because guess what: it does.

    We become ever careless when it comes to our sexual behavior; we have become complacent about HIV/AIDS.

    We need to change our mind frames and stop thinking we are invincible.

    Middle class African American women need to stop turning their noses up to the African American women in the club and stop thinking they are less at risk because they are picky about who they let in their beds and because they don't club hop every weekend. If you don't ask for an HIV test or go with your partner to get one, you are just as at risk as anyone else.

    I ask three things of you today on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
    1. Post an HIV/AIDS fact on your social media sites (Twitter/Facebook)
    2. Get tested for HIV. Early detection can be the difference between life and death! Yes there are lifesaving medications, but a lot of people are being diagnosed when it's too late for medication.
    3. Talk about HIV/AIDS when it's not National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, or National Testing Day, or World AIDS Day.
    Once we learn to take away the fear associated with bringing up the issue, we will move a great deal ahead in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

    To read about Hydeia's experience of living with aids, click here.


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    From Newser:

    Forget the usual advice on reawakening your love life: more foreplay, sex journals, role-playing. Instead, try economics. Today's couples can't afford "excess time and energy," write Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson in the Daily Beast. Drop the cost, and you'll increase demand, "as any economist will tell you." Tell your partner when you're up for it, and then "make it quick."

    Transparency is another key element of economics: it "keeps the wheels of the free market-and, coincidentally, your sex life-greased." Szuchman and Anderson interview hundreds of couples, and found that those reporting the best sex lives were those who were were clear about when they wanted to jump in bed. Boost your sex life, and you'll develop a "rational addiction": "Become a rabbit and you're upping the odds that you'll stay a rabbit."

    BV Talk Back Questions:

    -Does this sound like good love making advice for married couples, or is it too clinical?
    -Is the quality of your married sex life affected by the availability of time and energy more than most other factors?
    -Do you agree with these authors that quantity is more important than quality in love making for those who are permanently partnered, which is a common assumption underlying the economic law of supply and demand?
    -Will you be buying the book containing these theories, 'Spousonomics,' to learn more?

    Leave your comments below!


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