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- 02/07/11--23:11: _Video Premiere: Rap...
- 02/08/11--01:05: _It's a Boy: R&B Sin...
- 02/08/11--01:09: _PHOTOS: Prince Take...
- 02/08/11--02:06: _Black Eyed Peas Joi...
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- 02/08/11--03:30: _Michelle Obama Set ...
- 02/08/11--03:53: _Eddie Long-Ephren T...
- 02/08/11--04:15: _Kevin Hart: Will He...
- 02/08/11--05:29: _Counterfeit S&M Con...
- 02/08/11--05:53: _Carlina White's Mom...
- 02/08/11--05:55: _Catching Up With......
- 02/08/11--06:22: _Apollo Legends Unve...
- 02/08/11--06:39: _Oil Company Sued fo...
- 02/08/11--07:24: _Michelle Obama: Pre...
- 02/07/11--11:21: Dr. Boyce Video -- Let Go of the Grease and Embrace Your Health
- 02/07/11--12:27: FDNY Electrician Suing Department Finds Noose in His Locker
- 02/07/11--12:57: Survey: 2 Out of 3 Women Offended by Pepsi Max Super Bowl Ad
- 02/07/11--23:11: Video Premiere: Raphael Saadiq, 'Good Man'
- 02/08/11--01:05: It's a Boy: R&B Singer Syleena Johnson Gives Birth
- Talk Show Tune: Maury Povich Inspires Syleena Johnson Song
- Buzz Exclusive: Heather Headley Has A Boy
- Mary Mary: One Gives Birth, Other One Pregnant
- R. Kelly: Singer Talks Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston & New Music
- 02/08/11--02:06: Black Eyed Peas Join Diddy in Fight for Obama's Attention
- 02/08/11--03:30: Michelle Obama Set to Visit Regis and Kelly
- Arsenio Hall: Is He Returning to Late-Night TV?
- Rickey Smiley: Raising 10 Kids Is No Laughing Matter
- Cover Art: J. Anthony Brown Spoofs Erykah Badu's 'Window Seat'
- Comic Rodney Perry Takes the Buzz Blitz
- 02/08/11--05:29: Counterfeit S&M Controversy: Rihanna, Bananas & Blowup Dolls
- 02/08/11--05:53: Carlina White's Mom Says She's Estranged From Daughter Once Again
- Carlina White Thought Mom Was a Drug Addict
- Carlina White Update: Alleged Baby Kidnapper Ann Pettway Now in Custody
- Alleged Baby Kidnapper Ann Pettway Held Without Bail
- 02/08/11--05:55: Catching Up With... Actress Nia Long
- 02/08/11--06:39: Oil Company Sued for Racist Graffiti, Nooses: Turner Industries
- 02/08/11--07:24: Michelle Obama: President Has Quit Smoking
Filed under: Dr. Boyce Money
Many of us in the black community are guilty of eating things that shouldn't be consumed by anyone. We love our grease, our fat, our salt and all the other things that kill us on a regular basis. In fact, Diabetes and heart disease are among the leading killers of African Americans, with many of us falling in love with the foods that put us in the hospital.
Drs. Keevin and Denise Davis are medical doctors who've been married for over 30 years. They work night and day to convince people of color to focus on what they eat so that we can find our way to healthy communities. Although the interview with this couple occurred before the holidays, the information is still relevant. The video is below, enjoy!
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the bookBlack American Money To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To suggest a subject for a Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight, please click here.
An electrician with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) found a noose in his locker recently, after he'd filed a complaint against the department for racial discrimination. Gregory Seabrook, who has been with the department for 20 years, says that he found the noose at an FDNY facility in Brooklyn.
"There's an ominous message behind it," said Seabrook's lawyer, Stephen Jackson, who plans to display the noose to the media during a press conference soon.
The noose is "elaborately constructed" and tied in a "monkey knot," his attorneys told the New York Daily News.
Seabrook and a group of four other African-American electricians filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights. They claim that minorities are often overlooked for promotions and overtime opportunities.
Seabrook's lawsuit is a good lesson for all of us, regarding how the legal route can shine light on the kinds of discrimination that many of us find in the workplace. Whether you're in academia, Hollywood, the White House or at the post office, there are multiple occasions in which African Americans are not given access to the "good ol boy" network, keeping us locked out of the same opportunities that are made readily available to our white counterparts.
At the very least, millions of black folks are forced to overcome blatant hostility in order to be successful. I've seen this form of discrimination up close in my own workplace and I'm certain many readers have as well.
With regard to the noose being found in Mr. Seabrook's locker, this should hopefully speed up a settlement from the city. It is an embarrassing reminder that there are quite a few Americans who still hate black people and many of these individuals are our co-workers and superiors in the workplace.
While the actions of this individual or group are not reflective of the entire department, it lets us know that we haven't made as much racial progress as we may like to think.
I hope Mr. Seabrook is successful. His struggle will create opportunities for others.
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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.
Filed under: Dr. Boyce Money
When asked if African Americans should boycott Pepsi because of the ad, women were more than twice as likely to advocate for a boycott than men. Thirty-seven percent of all female respondents to the survey said that a boycott is necessary, while 16.2 percent of male respondents agreed.
Another question was asked about whether or not black females are more controlling than women of other races. When asked, "Do you think that black women tend to be angrier and more controlling than women of other ethnicities?", men were nearly four times more likely than women to say "yes." A full 27.7 percent of the male respondents said that black women are more controlling than other women, while only 7.7 percent of female respondents agreed. Roughly half of all respondents of both genders claim that race has nothing to do with it. The survey participants were those who visited the website YourBlackworld.com, which features content for an African American audience.
This survey tells us a lot about the perception of black women in America. For good reason, black women are far more sensitive to their public image than other groups. It is not uncommon to see ads in which black women are either presented as angry, hostile creatures or shown to be meaningless sex objects. This is unfortunate, since most of us know quite a few black women who have amazing gifts to share with the world.
For Colored Girls: An In-Depth Look
But we'd be remiss if we didn't also consider the obvious. For some, part of being a black woman comes with a dysfunctional way of managing pain and disappointment, starting from the missing father in the household, and taking this hostility out on the world. What some call the "strong, intelligent sistuh" can sometimes be the woman who stomps on your feelings before you get a chance to disappoint her like her father did.
Some of us seem to think that life should imitate art, and I've personally seen a lot of black men and women who feel obligated to replicate the imagery being presented in the media. So based on the survey results, it appears that the perception of the "angry black woman" in the Pepsi Max commercial is also shared by quite a few black men and even some women too. Those black women who think that the woman's behavior in the commercial is somehow appealing or acceptable must quickly realize that being uptight, mean and abrasive is never an attractive quality for anyone in a relationship. I'd personally be turned off by any woman who "loved" me enough to throw a can of Pepsi at my head or shove my face into a pie. But fortunately, most of my black female family and friends would never do such a thing.
From a business perspective, it appears that Pepsi Max is trying to ensure that it's Super Bowl ads are being discussed the following day. In that regard, they've succeeded. But by not releasing ads that are a bit more racially-sensitive and respectful, they may end up losing quite a few customers in the African American community. What's even more disappointing about all this is that I wouldn't be surprised if the advertising agency that came up with the idea for this ad was run by an African American. By giving our racial stamp of approval to major corporations, we can end up with debacles like this one. I hope Pepsi Max didn't offend us intentionally.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Raphael Saadiq has decided to touch on the popular topic with his latest single, aptly titled 'Good Man,' which is set to be featured on his May 10 opus, 'Stone Rollin.'
BlackVoices.com has an exclusive first look at the song's thrilling visual clip, which stars former 'America's Next Top Model' contestant Yaya DaCosta and Chad Coleman of 'The Wire.'
"'Good Man' tells the story I've seen many times in my own life," said the former Tony! Toni! Tone! front man. "Everything around that man can be bad, his occupation, lifestyle, friends, but underneath all of it, he is...a good man."
Check out Raphael Saadiq's 'Good Man.'
In celebration of this year's 53nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony and Black History Month, Blackvoices.com takes a look at 53 black Grammy Award winning acts through the years.
Grammy by the Numbers: 53 Grammy Award Winners
"Being chosen to bring life into this world is the greatest gift God gave," the singer told BlackVoices.com.
Kingston weighed in at eight pounds and five ounces when he was born.
"It was a hard, terrible delivery," Johnson shared. "It was 13 hours of labor with three hours of pushing. We had to have an emergency C-section from complications. But thank God he is here and healthy!"
In 2007, Johnson got married for a second time to international basketball star Kiwane Garris, a point guard currently playing for Reyer Venezia of the Italian Series A2.
The couple also has a 3-year-old son named Kiwane Garris, Jr.
On the music front, the 34-year-old singer will soon be putting the final touches on her fifth CD, 'Chapter V: Underrated.'
After years of being signed to Jive Records, in 2009 Johnson released her last CD, 'Chapter 4: Labor Pains' independently on her own label, Aneelys Records.
That CD featured the hit song 'Maury Povich,' which explored the crazy relationship drama often featured on that talk show.
A frequent collaborator with R&B veteran R. Kelly, Johnson is best known for hits like 'Guess What,' 'I Am Your Woman' and 'Another Relationship.' She also has a duet with Kanye West on his 2004 single 'All Falls Down.'
Frank Micelotta, Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images
Jemal Countess, WireImage
Evening Standard / Getty Images
Santiago Llanquin / AP
Gilbert Carrasquillo, FilmMagic
Kevin Winter, NCLR / Getty Images
Meanwhile, his royal majesty, who turns 53 in June, dazzled that audience with a career-spanning set that never seemed to end.
The stage was shaped like Prince's trademark glyph, and it was there that he seemed to hold royal court -- whipping the audience into a fevered frenzy with classics such as 'Controversy,' '1999,' 'When Doves Cry,' 'Purple Rain,' 'Kiss' and 'Sign of the Times.' While the days of yore are long gone -- when he used to do countless splits throughout his concerts -- Prince proved to be an ultimate showman, even taking on ferocious power ballads such as 'The Beautiful Ones,' 'Nothing Compares 2 U' (with background singer Shelby J) and 'Adore.' He teased and titillated with shortened versions of rare faves like 'If I was Your Girlfriend,'Pop Life,' 'Raspberry Beret' and Sheila E's 'Love Bizarre.'
Prince Takes New York, February 7, 2011
Obama, who watched the Super Bowl halftime show with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, probably took note of the Black Eyed Peas switching up their lyrics to "Where is the Love?"
Obama supporter will.i.am sang: "In America we need to get things straight / Obama, let's get these kids educated / Create jobs so the country stays stimulated."
Ironically, in President Obama's White House pre-game interview with Bill O'Reilly, he talked about not being as plugged in as he would like.
"The biggest problem for me is being in the bubble," Obama said. "It's very hard to escape."
Obama might have also missed rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs -- another Obama supporter -- paving the way for will.i.am's halftime show by challenging the president to do more for blacks just last week.
"I love the president like most of us," Combs told the Source magazine. "I just want the president to do better. There's a difference between us voting for somebody and us believing in somebody. He's the person that we believed in so I pray night and day that he understands how God ordained his presidency. I feel there was a promise made to God to look after people that was less fortunate, and [some] of those people are African American.
"It's something he might not get reelected for, but we elected him. He owes us. I'd rather have a black president that was man enough to say that he was doing something for black people have one term than a president who played the politics game have two terms."
What's more, rapper Lupe Fiasco said in the same week that he did not vote for President Obama and would not in the future.
"Gaza Strip was getting burned, Obama didn't say...that's why I ain't vote for him, next one either," Fiasco raps on 'Words I Never Said.'
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.
A 17-year-old is in custody, after allegedly stabbing a girl repeatedly when she told him that she was pregnant. Cortae Diaz Kelly, a student at Ypsilanti High School in Michigan, is accused of stabbing the girl in a nearby wooded area. The girl is now in intensive care, after getting surgery at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
County Assistant Prosecutor Arianne Slay is saying that Kelly stabbed the girl 12 times in her head, back and hands. She played dead to get him to stop the attack. She also says that Kelly confessed to trying to kill her. He is being charged with assault with intent to murder and being held on a $1 million bond.
The girl was found on the trail by a passerby, who then called 911. Kelly allegedly told police that he not only intended to kill the girl, but that he thought she was dead.
"I am extremely concerned about the danger to the community," Magistrate Thomas Truesdell said before ordering that Kelly be held without bail.
The case of Cortae Diaz Kelly saddened me quite a bit. While most teen parents are stressed by hearing news of an unplanned pregnancy, there are obviously more socially acceptable ways to handle the disappointment.
My mother told me about my own father dismissing her after finding out that she was pregnant with me, and it hurts me to this day to imagine the pain she may have been feeling. A child is a blessing, no matter when that child comes in to our lives, and it's sad that men like Kelly don't understand that.
At the same time, this young man seems to have some obvious psychological issues, and that should be considered when the courts decide on his punishment. He has certainly proven himself to be a danger to society, which seems to imply that he won't be a free man for a very long time.
Our greatest sympathy must go to the young girl who didn't have anyone else to talk to about her pregnancy other than the man who tried to kill her. Let's all make sure we are there for our children, no matter what. We should also educate all teens properly and keep lines of communication open, so that they don't believe that getting pregnant is the end of the world.
I can't help but wonder whether Kelly, a man who's never before been accused of murder or assault in the past, would have done such a thing if he'd known that there are other alternatives.
Watch the sad incident here:
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Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce's commentary delivered to your e-mail, please click here.
In recent weeks, the disgruntled spouse released a series of viral videos accusing her ex-husband of leaving her with nothing, including custody of their son, Wynton, following their 2005 divorce.
"He turned my son against me, had me evicted from our house," she said in the clip, which hit the mainstream media in a flash of lightening. "I woke up and everything was gone."
Contrary to Shackleford's malicious accusations, the new document states that she was not left homeless by Harvey following their divorce, but was awarded three homes as a result of their property settlement. Adding to that, she was also paid $40,000 a month until March 2009 and then paid a lump sum of $1.5 million.
As for the basis behind Harvey's custody of the ex-couple's 15-year-old son, the legal record stated that Shackleford willingly put the unaccompanied minor on an airplane to visit his father without Harvey's knowledge.
Among Shackleford's other claims was that the burgeoning media darling also left her for his current wife, Marjorie Bridges Harvey, whom she blames for being responsible for the their 2005 divorce.
According to the document, the couple's divorce was granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. His current wife was not named in the original divorce proceeding nor was she the cause of the marital breakup.
Judge Dry of the District Court in Collin County, Texas, has temporarily lifted a gag order so Harvey can defend himself against Shackleford's inflammatory allegations.
Filed under: Fashion Files
Of Another Fashion is a site dedicated to highlighting past fashion of people of color - or, as their subheading says, "An alternative archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color." Finally, a site that shows what an extensive hand women of color had in the fashion world! We talked to website founder and Threadbared co-founder Minh-Ha T. Pham about how she came up with the idea to showcase the styles of yesteryear.
Black Voices: What is your inspiration for the site?
Minh-Ha T. Pham: Back in May 2010, there was an article that Robin Givhan wrote for the Washington Post about plans to transfer all 1,000 or so objects of the Black Fashion Museum to the Smithsonian. Givhan mentions that before founding the Black Fashion Museum in the 1970s, Lois Alexander Lane also "opened a dressmaking school in Harlem, wrote a book about black designers, ran two clothing boutiques and designed her own clothes."
The thing is, I had never heard of Lane or the Black Fashion Museum or her fashion school (which I later learned was the Harlem Institute of Fashion). I had spent the greater part of the previous two years researching fashion history for my book on fashion in the digital age-how is it possible that I had never come across Lane's name? And after a little bit of digging among my fashion friends in New York City (some of whom are also academics), I was really shocked to find that even some of them hadn't heard of Lane.
It was then that I started to wonder: how many other fashion histories aren't being represented or taught in fashion schools, universities, and museums? I started thinking about the fashion histories of women like my mom, who mostly made her own clothes inspired by the fashions she saw in the movies, on TV, and in the Sears catalogs that found their way to Viet Nam where she was living until 1975.
I've always loved looking at photographs of my mom in the 1960s and 1970s-her sunglasses, her cigarette pants, her long hair and side-swept bangs. . . anyway, I was sure that I couldn't be the only one with this history stowed away somewhere in family photo albums and in the back of forgotten closets. So I posted a call on Threadbared (a research blog on the politics of fashion that I co-founded) and the response has been amazing.
BV: In what ways have you noticed fashion differ among races in past decades? Do you think there is a cause behind this (financial, cultural, etc.)?
MP: While standards of beauty and style aren't universal, you'd be surprised at how many overlaps and interconnections there are in the fashion histories of women across racial differences.
Because the fashion industry has a long and ongoing history of being racially exclusionary and because these exclusions have economic consequences (less work and less pay for non-white models, for example), their access or inability to access fashion's material and symbolic resources is quite similar-though, again, not identical.
And in negotiating these limitations, marginalized women have had to develop similar creative practices of self-fashioning including making their own clothes, updating the styles of old clothes, and personalizing mass market budget clothes.
MP: Well, as evidenced by the huge racial disparities among fashion models as well as the ongoing stunts of blackfacing, yellowfacing, and redfacing by some prominent editors and designers, the dominant Euro-American fashion industry clearly still has a race problem. Even the "special" editorials and issues featuring all-Black or all-Asian models underscores that these are the exceptions to the rule.
At the same time, though, in the age of globalization and social media, individualism has never been more important. And fashion reflects this value as well. We're seeing more and more fashion retailers, magazines, and blogs dedicating themselves to specific identity market segments: Black women, Asian women, Native women, fat women, butch lesbians, femme lesbians, thrifters, etc.
Also, we're seeing more non-white fashion designers, models, and bloggers rising in the ranks of the industry. So if all these constituencies can find a way to use their new social and cultural power to actually transform the industry and culture of fashion rather than just "go along," then I think there's real reason to be optimistic.
BV: Are there any cool/distinct/interesting differences you've found while researching subjects for your site?
MP: Well, let's face it-Of Another Fashion isn't about unconventional style. The bulk of the images are of women wearing styles that are recognizably feminine and fashionable: poodle skirts, miniskirts, formal gowns.
What is unconventional about these images is the bodies and histories connected to fashionable clothes. In the most racially and ethnically diverse country in the world, we're still not used to seeing or thinking about women of color, particularly before the late 20th century, as fashion plates and style mavens. Of Another Fashion is an attempt to change that perception. And if you consider the close association of fashion and beauty in Western cultures with ideas of modern personhood and moral virtue, then you can begin to see some of the broader implications this project has for our understanding of the interconnections of race, gender, capitalism, and humanity.
MP: Most of the vintage ads come from the back issues of "ethnic magazines". I've also found images from archives like the Shades of Los Angeles collection of the Los Angeles Public Library, the Rafu Shimpo Collection of the Japanese American National Museum, the Calisphere digital library of the University of California, and the Black Studies database. With more public awareness, I'm getting more and more donations from private individuals, which is really exciting!
While the exhibition and blog does and will incude photographs and stories about lesser-known designers and models of color, at its heart, this project is about ordinary women who because of racial, class, and language differences have not been able to participate in luxury fashion markets and cultures that mainstream fashion magazines and exhibitions usually privilege. And because they've been excluded from participating in these arenas, they've also been marginalized-if not erased-from fashion histories.
What Of Another Fashion hopes to establish is that despite these institutional exclusions, minoritized women have a long, rich, and complex history of creative dress, design, and consumer practices that can (and do!) influence the sartorial sensibilities and fashion cultures of women today.
BV: What is your personal favorite style era/trend?
MP: I'm drawn to shift dresses and cigarette pants which were popularized in the 1950s and 1960s but I also love the look of strong shoulders that only just recalls-but doesn't get hung up on-the 1980s... so I don't think I have a favorite era. I like the dynamism of fashion. I like that it changes and evolves.
BV: What styles would you love to see resurrected?
MP: Hats - actually any hair/headpieces! I'd love to see more women wearing beautiful ornate hats and headpieces, not just on special occasions or as part of their Sunday Best but as an everyday accessory-like they did in the first part of the 20th century. I've been a huge fan of Philip Treacy's ever since I discovered Isabella Blow (his muse) in the early 2000s, but his price points are completely out of reach for most women including myself. Where are the mass market milliners?
MP: Threadbared is a research blog on the politics of fashion, beauty, and style that I began with Mimi Nguyen in 2007. We're both academics who approach fashion from a critical ethnic studies and feminist perspective, so our blog posts tend to be both scholarly and long. Yet, for an independent and unmonetized academic-leaning blog we have a surprisingly large number of readers. We're amazed to have as much support as we do among museum professionals, feminist scholars, fashion students, and others who work directly in the fashion retail and media industries.
Interested in being a part of Of Another Fashion? Click here for details on donating your images, print ads, or vintage pieces.
Lola Adesioye is a young woman with big dreams. She's traveled the world and sees the black experience from a multitude of angles. She has written for some of the most prestigious publications in the world, including the UK Guardian, The Economist magazine, and many others. She has a deep desire to use media to make the world a better place. It is for that reason that Lola Adesioye is today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:
What is your full name and what do you do?
My name is Lola Adesioye. I'm a British-born, Nigerian, New York-living Renaissance woman... What that really means is that I'm a writer-activist, media personality and inspirational/motivational speaker.
You have quite a bit of experience in new media. In what ways do you see media changing globally?
The speed at which a story travels the world is pretty amazing. It has sped up anyway due to 24 hour news media, but with tools like Facebook and Twitter it goes at an even faster rate. Many people now use Twitter as a news source, particularly when it comes to breaking news. Although you must be careful and verify stories when getting them from places like Twitter (for example, there was a false story last week about a shooting in Central London, which was mistakenly spread on Twitter through a misunderstanding. The shooting was actually a shooting of a commercial). I've been able to get hold of stories in the UK before people in the UK have become aware of them.
We are definitely living in a global news and media environment. This means that people around the world can have easier access to what's happening in places that we may not have really been so connected with before.
What are your long-term goals in media?
To be a global media brand myself and an owner and creator of media that makes a positive difference for people. I want to totally shift our understanding of what the media is for and what it can do, making it more of a tool and resource for the good of our world.
How difficult has it been to find a business and self-employment model in modern media?
What challenges have I faced thus far? I don't think it's difficult... business is business. One just has to be creative. Nowadays each media personality or writer is their own brand, is their own outlet, is their own media and business. You have to be willing to promote yourself, willing to put your name out there and to be creative with what you do.
What are some differences and similarities you've noticed between the black populations in Britain and in the United States?
There are a lot of the same issues quite frankly. The main difference is that people in the US are more honest and frank about the issues of race -- history has meant that you can't deny or ignore its impact -- whereas in the UK, we like to pretend that there are no issues.
I think the black population in the US has less of a glass ceiling than in the UK. Obviously that's a generalization but I think the idea of the American Dream gives black people in the US a lot more to aspire to as well as giving some sense that anything is possible. Sometimes I wonder what the overall vision for black people in the UK is.
The differences are that black people in the UK are a lot more aware of what it is to be black in different parts of the world and I would say are more open-minded than in the US. That's mostly because our parents were immigrants and also because the UK is a small place so we pay a lot more attention to what's going on in other places.
What projects are you working on and how can people follow you?
You can follow me on Twitter: @lolaadesioye. You can go to my website: www.LolaAdesioye.com Another project I'm working on is www.AwakeToAfrica.com.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our AOL Black Voices audience?
Yes! I've just released my first inspirational book. It's called 'Focus Your Thoughts, Change Your Life' and is now available as a download at my online store! www.LolaAdesioye.com/store. The book contains 52 focused meditations and inspiring, empowering uplifting daily pieces for you to put your mind to. These are all spirit-led, divinely-inspired meditations and pieces, which I use for my own success and spiritual well-being.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the bookBlack American Money To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To suggest a subject for a Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight, please click here.
First Lady Michelle Obama is all set to chat with exuberant talk show hosts Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa on 'Live! With Regis and Kelly' on Feb. 9 at the show's New York City ABC-TV studio.
Obama will visit the Big Apple to get the word out about a cause that is dear to her heart: childhood obesity. She is expected to discuss her already one-year-old "Let's Move!" campaign on 'Live! '
"Let's Move!" is a campaign that has ultimately defined the first lady and its goal is to solve childhood obesity within a generation. Children who are overweight, according to industry experts, are expected to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
Four pillars prop up the "Let's Move!" initiative: Empowering Parents and Caregivers; Healthy Food in Schools; Access to Healthy, Affordable Food; and Increasing Physical Activity. The campaign is unrelated to the fast-food industry and instead focuses on schools and having more nutritious education and offerings for children.
Obama has not resorted to finger-pointing with regard to the plague of childhood obesity. Instead, she has brought solutions to the table that will make a positive future impact on the health and life expectancy of future generations.
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Filed under: News
Dr. Boyce Watkins recently outlined the latest controversy rocking Bishop Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Church: Long accused finacier Ephren Taylor of defrauding his members of $1 million in investments, which Taylor then denied via a public statement. It turns out that the terms of the opportunity that Taylor brought to New Birth members, which Long endorsed, involved investing in a company selling gambling machines that has been charged for operating
an illegal venture. The web site Goddiscussion.com has the details:
Atlanta's Fox 5 aired an extensive investigative report last week about the latest controversy swirling around Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a mega-church based in Atlanta.
Earlier this month, Long posted a YouTube video asking that Ephren Taylor of Capital City Corporation reimburse Long's New Birth Missionary parishioners for $1 million in investments that they had made. Taylor shot back with a press release saying that parishioners had already been contacted regarding reimbursements and that Long was engaged in character assassination.
According to the Fox 5 investigation, Long allegedly told his congregation that everything Taylor said was based "on the word of God." Trusting churchgoers thought that their investments would be sound, based on their pastor's endorsement.
Taylor allegedly said that when he was in high school, he created a $3.5 million dollar company that was a website that sold job postings for high school kids. His new idea, which he sold as an investment opportunity to Long's congregation, was sweepstakes video game machines. While the paperwork stated that there was no guarantee about investment returns, investors from the church received certificates of guarantees that promised that they would receive revenue that was equal to or greater than the amount invested.
The company that sold the game machines was indicted for operating an illegal gambling enterprise. Last September, Fox 5 revealed that police in Virginia raided a number of sweepstakes store fronts and charged 11 owners and companies with illegal gambling.
Please read the rest regarding the latest twist in the Eddie Long-Ephren Taylor Investment controversy on Goddiscussion.com. The article goes on to detail that some parishioners "invested substantial sums of money, with some investments ranging from $10,000 to over $200,000, representing their lifetime savings." In the video above, we hear the sad story of an investor who was told he would receive proceed checks on a monthly basis based on revenue from the gambling machines of up to $1,500 a month. He only received a few checks for about $200 before the checks stopped coming, with no explanation, after investing about $14,000 dollars.
In addition to investing members' money in gambling machines, Taylor did use more traditional vehicles such as IRA accounts, but these apparently also declined substantially in value. As our resident black finance PhD, Dr. Boyce Watkins, pointed out in his previous piece, no matter what the financial vehicle may be, there is no way to guarantee that investors will receive positive returns. This is why saving is so important.
The eighth of 10 siblings in the gospel-singing Winans family, CeCe recorded music with brother BeBe. The dynamic duo scored two No. 1 R&B singles, 'Addictive Love' and 'I'll Take You There.' As a soloist, CeCe has won six Grammys and her collection of R&B hits includes 'Count on Me,' her duet with Whitney Houston from the 'Waiting to Exhale' soundtrack.
Money should only be invested -- which always implies risk -- if you can afford to lose 100% of the money invested. That's right -- 100%. Any ethically-minded investment professional would tell novice investors this, and make sure their clients included savings as part of their portfolios, plus a mix of investments they could afford to lose or hold until markets rebound allowing a partial recoup of losses.
The fact that both Eddie Long and Ephren Taylor assured the members of New Birth a positive rate of return is nothing short of criminal. City Capital, the firm owned by Ephren, promised people a 100% rate of return up front (while backtracking in the fine print), which is an almost impossible guarentee. Long should have been more responsible as a pastor and realized that anyone promising such a thing could not have been a wise steward of his flock's funds. It seems like an empty act for Long to try and get the money back after the fact. It would appear that both Long and Taylor are culpable in this case.
The Original Kings of Comedy.'
The top-grossing comedy tour, which featured Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, D.L. Hughley and the late Bernie Mac, kicked off in 1997 and was shot for a feature film directed by Spike Lee in 2000.
Now BlackVoices.com has learned that producers of the franchise have approached funnyman Kevin Hart about joining the roster of the forthcoming revival tour alongside Harvey, Hughley and Cedric the Entertainer.
A rep for Hart confirmed that discussions were underway with 'The Original Kings of Comedy' but would not elaborate on the matter.
Lathan Entertainment, which produces the tour, said they "know nothing about" Hart joining the show.
The 31-year-old 'Soul Plane' star has become one of the most popular African American stand-up comedians in the business.
Seriously Funny,' and the Philadelphia-bred talent has been approached by a major film studio about turning his stand-up tour "Laugh at My Pain" into a feature film.
On the acting front, he has starred in movies like 'Little Fockers,' 'Not Easily Broken,' 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' and 'Death at a Funeral.'
Hart is also the first comedian to land an endorsement deal with Brand Jordan and is currently featured opposite Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade in television commercials for AIR Jordan.
Once upon a time when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, recording artists attempted to boost sales by actually recording a decent record. Today? Not so much.
Somewhere Kanye West is fuming over Rihanna's recently released video 'S&M' (gee I wonder what it's about?), which has already been banned in 11 countries. Its a video chock full of Rihanna, pleather, chains, blow up dolls, licking, and a banana. Forget talent -- the key to commercial success is apparently pleather, and lots of it.
Rihanna is just the latest in a cluster of black women who apparently have thrown up the deuce to engaging in artistry or perfecting their stage presence in their careers. Now they rely exclusively on courting controversy to get attention... and Autotune. So sad that they think so little of their "talent."
A little over a month ago, Keri Hilson released her controversial video 'The Way You Love Me.' Apparently Keri's idea of self promotion is softcore porn. Before that Ciara decided to get "edgy" by putting on an eye-opening cabaret in 'Love Sex Magic' and its been down hill from there. Now here we are today watching the latest black pop "diva" show us her underwear to an overproduced track. I know this is supposed to be attention-grabbing and boost record sales, but...
My reaction to Rihanna wrapping herself in plastic and prancing around with a whip in 'S&M'? Am I clutching my pearls at the ball gags and simulated oral sex. No. I'm bored.
Top 2010 Beauty Blunders & Breakthroughs
I may not be the target audience, but seriously, this video is lazy and so is the song. Rihanna didn't record this song and video for any reason other than to be provocative. In fact she threw a fit when a UK radio station changed the name of the song from 'S&M' to 'Come On.' I guess you lose the meaning if the title changes. Now that's artistic integrity. Or maybe it's someone desperate to use sex, and sex alone, to sell a crappy record.
Didn't Madonna already do an S&M video like 20 years ago? Even Janet Jackson has her own S&M collection that she amassed during her whips and chains era. In addition, photographer David LaChapelle is alleging that Rihanna copied the imagery in 'S&M' directly from his work. Can you be "edgy" if you copy, verbatim, the work of someone else, that has already been done before? Twice?
If Rihanna wanted to be different she could have taken a completely different path, but the sad truth is that she doesn't think she can. Rihanna wants us to believe that she's empowered in her career --but, I don't believe her. Nope. If you want to talk about power, talk about why you feel so powerless to sell your records that you can't demonstrate your independence in a way that doesn't require you to flop around in plastic bras and panties. And where the heck do you go after bananas and blow up dolls? After going to the cutting edge, perhaps Rihanna has achieved her career pinnacle.
When everyone is courting controversy, is it really controversy or just conformity? In the end 'S&M' comes across as more of a cop out. It's trite. We've been down this route before. It's like Keri and Ciara -- Rihanna just gave up on her real talent, ironically using sex to sell out. I'd be angry about it if they all weren't so pitiful, sad and lost.
Gina McCauley is the CEO of the Blogging While Brown Conferenceand the blogsMichelle Obama Watch and What About Our Daughters. She is currently completing her first book, 'Michelle Obama Watch.'
We might want to put all those feel-good stories about Carlina White out to dry.
It seems Carlina, who was reunited with her birth family after being raised from infancy by her kidnapper, is having some trouble adjusting.
Should we be surprised?
The Carlina White story has been full of more twists and turns than a backwoods road.
Listening to an interview with her birth mother, Joy White (pictured above), on the 'Today' show reveals that White and her birth family are unfortunately going through a very tough time.
In the heart-wrenching interview, Joy described the joy of reuniting with Carlina after a 23-year separation and explained her new pain, involving the split between Carlina and her birth family.
Carlina, who has refused to grant interviews unless she is paid, seems to be going through an identity crisis: She's torn between Joy and her new family and Ann Pettway, the woman who kidnapped her as an infant, gave her the name Nejdra Nance and raised her as her own daughter.
The infant's disappearance triggered a massive manhunt in New York and a reward was offered for her return.
But it was Carlina who actually solved her own kidnapping with the help of a computer database of missing children.
As sad as it may be for all involved, it is understandable that White is having some problems adjusting to her new world.
She has to harbor resentment against her kidnapper-mother Pettway, but can that resentment wash away 23 years of the mother-daughter bond between them? I don't think so, even if the bond was built on a felony charge of kidnapping.
And now, Carlina is asking some uncomfortable financial questions of Joy White and her birth father, Carl Tyson.
Joy and Tyson received a $750,000 financial settlement from a lawsuit against the city, which runs Harlem Hospital.
On the 'Today' show, Joy said she and Tyson had put aside a portion of the money for their daughter if they found her by the age of 21; Carlina was found at 23.
When Carlina asked Joy what happened to that money, she was told it was spent raising the White and Tyson's other children.
How much do you want to bet some longtime friends and Pettway family members are in Carlina's ear asking her why her new family doesn't share some of the cash they received from her disappearance?
Joy said that Carlina has moved back to Atlanta and has been reluctant to have contact with her new family. Carlina has also returned to using the name Nejdra.
This story is becoming a sad mess.
That is why Pettway needs to be dealt the harshest penalty the law can give. She has screwed up Carlina's life, and it's impossible to tell whether she'll ever get through it mentally intact.
And don't forget what Pettway's kidnapping did to Joy White and Carl Tyson. It was about as close to murder as one can commit without producing a cold body: Every day for 23 years, Joy White and Carl Tyson believed their daughter was dead.
Pettway may have raised Carlina as her own child, but she gets no credit points from me for that.
She needs to go to prison for a long while.
Watch Joy White discuss her estranged daughter here:
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Filed under: Interviews
From 'Boyz n the Hood', 'The Best Man', 'Big Momma's House,' 'Are We There Yet?,' and the TV series 'Third Watch,' actress Nia Long has racked up an impressive list of hits over her 20 years in the business.
In her first big screen role since 2007's 'Are We Done Yet?,' the Brooklyn native plays a Muslim mom struggling to keep her family together post 9/11 in the independent film 'Mooz-lum.'
Written and directed by newcomer Qasim Basir, the film also stars Evan Ross, Roger Guenveur Smith, Danny Glover, Dorian Missick, and Summer Bishil.
Pulled between his strict Muslim upbringing by his father and the normal social life he's never had, Tariq Mahdi (played by Evan Ross) enters college in a state of confusion. New relationships with Muslims and non-Muslims alike challenge his already shaken ideals, and the estrangement with his mother and sister troubles him. With the help of new friends, family and mentors, he begins to find himself and open up to an Islam he hasn't been exposed to. But when the attacks of 9/11 happen without warning, he is forced to face his past and make the biggest decisions of his life.
Blackvoices.com caught up with Long as she talked about her role in the film, choosing film roles, and the hollywood system regarding this year's lack of black Oscar nominees. Here are excerpts from the interview.
What's your role in 'Mooz-lum?'
Nia Long: I play Safiyah, the mother of Tariq. She's a Muslim African American woman, obviously. She's a very contemporary, soulful, passionate woman who I think her main focus is on her children.
It's been a while since you did a feature film. The last film you appeared in was the Chris Rock documentary 'Good Hair.' Why did you take on this independent film?
NL: Honestly, when I pick my roles, I pick them based on the content and what moves me and what I feel like is a project that's going to be meaningful. When you don't see me in something it's usually because either I wasn't right for it or it just wasn't of interest to me. And to be quite frank, there hasn't really been a lot going on. It's a very difficult time.
The subject matter here is powerful. Did you do any research into the Muslim community and were there challenges you faced?
NL: I absolutely did. I spent a lot of time with the director's mother who really talked to me about their life and then also about the faith and sort of what she went through as his mom.
How's working with Q (Basir), who's a new director on the scene, and you're someone who's worked a lot of years with different people? What did you both bring to the table?
NL: Making a movie is so collaborative. You just have to be open to the process because everyone has a different way of doing things. As an actor who's there to support a first time director you want to really hear what they're trying to say or you want to hear what they really want because that's my job, to deliver what the director wants. With that being said I think that any actor who's vested in the project is going to come up with things and ways to enhance the character or build upon what the director has already requested. That works for pretty much every project that I've worked on.
How was working with Roger (Guenveur Smith) and Evan Ross?
NL: Awesome. Evan is a doll and Roger is amazing. He's such a real actor. When you have that theater background and you've been in all those iconic films like Roger has, he really makes it easy. He made my job very easy.
This film will lead to debate once people have seen it. What do you want people to walk with after they've seen the movie?
NL: A knowledge and a new perception...look, there are two things. There's the story which is great. And then there's all of the worldly issues that this film touches on. So I think if anything we need to understand that 9/11 was an attack on America and not an attack on Muslim Americans. All Americans were devastated by this. So it's not about once group of people being a bad group of people. It's about that we have good and bad in every group, every religion, every race. That's the world that we live in, unfortunately. I think that's important, that we start to see beyond what happened and to understand that it's a part of our history. But it's unfair to suggest that all Muslims are terrorists or that all Muslims are bad people or that all Muslims have some sort of vendetta against America which is not true.
What were your thoughts about the lack of minorities represented in this year's Academy Awards?
NL: I mean, isn't this the same thing that we say ever year? Maybe last year Black people were popular [laughs]. I don't know how to explain that. I know that it's annoying. I know that it's unfair. I know that we're still dealing with some of the very same issues that our parents were dealing with. The bottom line is that we don't run Hollywood. Black people don't run Hollywood. And it's that simple. That's why we have to continue to tell our stories and make movies that we believe in and not just make the big, fancy shiny movies with the big budgets, but do a very small film that's going to help get our voice out there. I'd rather be a part of the crusade any day. I'd rather be the underdog any day.
I recently caught you in an episode of NBC's 'Chase.' I didn't know that you were on the show.
NL: You know what was so funny is that they asked me to come and do an arch on the show and I was like, 'Yeah, great! No problem.
What's next for you?
NL: I have a development deal with ABC and I'm developing a show with them, producing and developing a show with them and I have no idea what the show is yet. But I'm excited about it. It's going to be great.
Are you appearing with Martin Lawrence in 'Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son?'
NL: Oh, no, no. I think my 'Big Momma' days are over.
Yesterday, the Museum of the City of New York unveiled it's Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment exhibit and R&B music legends Dionne Warwick and Chuck Jackson were on hand to pay tribute to the place that gave them their start.
Organized by the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in collaboration with the Apollo Theater, the exhibit explores the Apollo's rich history and seminal influence on popular culture. A combination of images, videos, costumes, artifacts, and text -- a flowing red dress worn by late salsa icon Celia Cruz, a signed gray suit worn by R&B crooner Smokey Robinson, an ankh pendant worn by members of the Universal Zulu Nation headed by the enigmatic Afrika Bambaataa -- bring together the personalities of the world's most influential artists.
Upon entering the exhibit and viewing Michael Jackson's signature black fedora, worn in 1984, there is a solemn feeling in knowing that it was at the Apollo where a young Michael and his siblings won the hearts of many under the moniker The Jackson 5 and also where many came to mourn the passing of arguably the greatest entertainer of all time.
Founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Lonnie G. Bunch III told BlackVoices.com that The Apollo is a "cauldron for creativity."
Warwick, who began singing in church as a young girl in East Orange, New Jersey, referred to the famed musical venue -- located in the epicenter of Harlem -- as her "beginning."
"The Apollo Theater strengthened me to no end. It gave me the confidence -- you had to have it when you walked on that stage -- and as was said, when you walk on a stage that was graced by the legends," she shared. "I still have a lot to go. I'm working on it. I'm a legend-ette."
During her teen years, Warwick and sister Dee Dee Warwick formed their own gospel group, The Gospelaires and while visiting the Drinkard Singers (which included Cissy Houston) at the Apollo Theater she was asked to sing backup during a session for saxophonist Sam Taylor. And the rest is history.
Jackson, who was "discovered" at the Apollo when he opened for singer-performer Jackie Wilson, went on to sign with Motown Records.
The list of musicians that have graced the legendary stage reads like a Who's Who in Music: R&B/Soul, Jazz, Hip-Hop, rooted in the African continent and cultivated in the diaspora. Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Nat 'King' Cole, The Jackson 5, Sarah Vaughan, Lauryn Hill, Chuck Jackson, and Dionne Warwick are just some of the artists who are solidified Apollo legends.
Its mantra of being the place where "stars are born and legends are made" is true to form.
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment is on view from February 8 through May 1, 2011 at the Museum of the City of New York.
Filed under: News
In this 2011 photo released by the New York-based law firm Valli Kane & Vagnini, a noose is seen inside Louisiana-based oil services company Turner Industries Group LLC. About 230 current and former employees at the company have filed a civil rights lawsuit, saying they were forced to work in facilities where racist graffiti, slurs and discrimination are commonplace. (AP Photo/ Valli Kane & Vagnini)
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230 current and former employees at Turner Industries Group, have filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Louisiana-based oil services company, claiming that they were forced to work in facilities where slurs, discrimination, and racist graffiti were passed off without concern.
The company, which is headquartered in Baton Rouge, denied any wrongdoing in the case.
Black employees said that they have been complaining to company officials for more than a decade about racist symbols in their workplace, including hung nooses, segregated bathrooms, racial slurs, and unequal treatment in Louisiana and Texas. Company supervisors, according to the workers, ignored the complaints or in some cases, retaliated against the workers for complaining.
Yvonne Turner, who worked for the company in both states, told the Associated Press, that she arrived to work one day to find a protective suit stuffed, tagged with her name, and hung from a noose.
"I'm fed up. I'm tired," she said after a news conference held with local civil rights leaders. "We're not here trying to get money. We're not here trying to cause trouble. We're here for justice."
Read more about the oil company sued for racist graffiti and nooses, Turner Industries Group, on Clutch Magazine.
President Barack Obama finally has kicked the habit, Michelle Obama said Tuesday.
"Yes, he has," the First Lady told reporters at the White House when asked whether her husband had finally done what millions of Americans can't seem to do and quit smoking. "It's been almost a year."
She said she didn't know exactly when he quit "because he never smoked a lot" and she never saw him light up.
The issue of Obama's smoking last surfaced in December, when press secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about it and said he hadn't seen Obama smoke in nine months. That would have put Obama's final puffs somewhere in March.
Read more of the story here.
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