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

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    Kelley Williams-Bolar Pardon

    From AOL News:


    The governor of Ohio has received 165,000 petition signatures asking him to pardon Kelley Williams-Bolar, the woman who spent 10 days in jail for fraudulently enrolling her children in a more desirable school district.

    Three nonprofit groups -- ColorofChange.org, Change.org and MomsRising.org -- delivered the petition to Gov. John Kasich's office Monday, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

    The groups want Kasich to pardon Williams-Bolar, 40, whose felony convictions could disqualify her from becoming a school teacher.
    Summit County deputies escort Kelley Williams-Bolar out of the courtroom Jan. 18 after her sentencing.

    "She has been robbed of the opportunity to elevate her life and the lives of her family through her own hard work," the petition on Change.Org says. "She has been handed what equates to a life sentence for attempting to protect her children."

    Williams-Bolar said she registered her two daughters for school using her father's address because she feared for their safety at their home in Akron if they were home alone after school.

    The school district said the cost of educating the girls was $36,000 and prosecuted Williams-Bolar on felony charges of tampering with residency records.

    "We're still gathering facts on it," Rob Nichols, the governor's spokesman, said Monday. "People feel passionately about it, and we're grateful to them for expressing their concerns."

    Read more about the petition to pardon Ohio mom, Kelley Williams-Bolar on AOL News.

     

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    Halle Berry. So beautiful, so talented, so amazing, and still - so single. The Oscar-winning actress has become the poster child for fierce women everywhere who are extremely challenged when it comes to dating. Berry, 44, who has become known for her bad luck with men just as much as her movie roles, goes through the most turbulent times with the men folk.

    The latest? Gabriel Aubrey, 34, her estranged boyfriend and father to her 2-year-old daughter Nahla. The pair are facing legal battles in the days ahead that root in a custody issues over their daugther. Recently the French-Canadian model has been held under heavy scrutiny since reports were released that he used racial slurs, including use of the "N" word in reference to Berry.

    Can Halle ever catch a break? Her dating history includes domestic abuse, sex addiction, and now racial insensitivity and a paternity battle. Without question Ms. Berry continually gets dealt a bad hand, proving beauty and accomplishments have little to do with being successful with love. Many could even argue at this point Berry has every reason to feel scorned.

    You know the type. A woman so bitter by the lemons the world has handed her that they've lost faith in the institution of love itself. Woman well past their mid-twenties that had to live through so many hard hitting lessons in love that they now know only how to function with trust issues, over-independence, and problems with self esteem. And, as much as Halle could fit the bill, we respect she hasn't become "a woman scorned."
    Even in the attempt to justify their emotions, a woman scorned is always a sad sight to see. Women who only know resentment and unforgiveness can live with it for so long that it slowly becomes damaging not just to themselves, but to everything and everyone else around them. In the end, harbouring these emotions becomes extremely deadly to the soul.

    Both men and women are capable of doing the most unbelievably heinous acts in relationships, but more often it's women, who over-think and over-analyze the problem instead of trying to find a real solution. After being done wrong, women put more priority on trying to figure out "why" rather than accepting the situation for face value. The questions - "why would he do this," "why wouldn't he do that," or "why me" - usually lead to hate. Hating the person, hating oneself, and eventually longtime hatred that festers into resentment. Resentment, a lingering emotion that sheds a dark cloud of bitterness and/or rage, blocks any type of future because it keeps far too many women stuck in the past.

    Your're right - he should have never betrayed you and had two kids by that "other woman' after you gave him 10 years of your life - but at the same time, maybe you should have left the second time you caught him cheating. When unacceptable things happen in a relationship, you have to ask yourself how much of it you initially tolerated and accepted.
    Trying to figure out why something happened wastes valuable time that could be better used to realize you can only control one's own self, perception, and feelings. Resentment only gives you an excuse to place the blame elsewhere while you get nowhere. Accepting no one can "make you" feel a certain way, unless you give them permission, is the only way not to live with the suffocating effects of resentment.

    Resentment is a negatively-charged emotion that usually leads to unforgiveness. Forgiveness is not easy, but when you've become a scorned woman - it's required. The power and the energy it takes to love someone is just as much power and energy required to continually hate someone. If you don't forgive you never relinquish that power, and in many ways the man you choose not to forgive still has power over your life.

    Won't date the new guy because of what your ex did? Can't be happy for your girlfriend's new relationship because you think all men are dogs? Not forgiving is a damaging emotion that not only imprisons the person you refuse to forgive, but puts you in a cell right next to them.

    Before we shake our heads at Halle Berry and whisper, "she can't keep a man," she should be commended for not turning into a woman scorned, like many have. Berry keeps it moving and, bad guy after bad guy, Berry wins because she's at least still open to love. There is something to be said about a woman learning from her mistakes, but there's something even more admirable about a resilient woman that doesn't allow those mistakes to leave her damaged and bitter. Hell may hath no fury like a woman scorned, but who wants to live their life in their own self-created hell?

    Are you a woman scorned?

     

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    Dwaine Caraway, Michael Vick


    He might have won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year, led his Philadelphia Eagles to the playoffs, avoided scandal off the field and became the national poster boy for public character rehabilitation.

    But to some, Michael Vick will always be a dog-killing criminal unfit for any honors, awards or plaudits, and it seems Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is on that list.

    Last Saturday, Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway gave Vick the key to the city before Sunday's Super Bowl.

    Exactly why Vick got the key is a little cloudy to me. He had a nice season, but so did a lot of NFL players (not wearing Dallas Cowboy uniforms).


    What exactly did Vick do to deserve the key to Dallas?

    He avoided criminal behavior.

    He played well.

    Is that all it takes to get back in the public's good graces? Looks like we are setting the bar awful low for Mr. Vick.

    You would think Caraway would have gotten clearance from his boss before giving Vick such an honor. He clearly didn't.

    Leppert said that official keys to the city are reserved for elected officials of international status.

    "Clearly, this was not the case in this situation and done without my knowledge or approval," Leppert said.

    Vick was convicted and served his 19 months in prison. He paid for his crimes. He played well this year. Maybe he really has reformed.

    But that doesn't mean I or anyone else who cares about animals have to join the Michael Vick fan club or buy in to his public relation corporation-driven campaign to win over the public.

    The split between Mayor Leppert and Mayor Pro Tem Caraway underscores a racial divide I've seen in the Vick case.

    In general, I have found white folks like Leppert to be far less willing to give Vick a pass for animal cruelty.

    Meanwhile, brothers like Caraway seem far more willing to forgive Vick and his transgressions, which included wetting down and electrocuting one dog, hanging others and slamming another to the ground.

    Vick also put family dogs in to the fighting ring with trained pit bulls and found it funny to watch the pets fight for survival.

    What a guy!

    Earn you living, Michael Vick. Throw your touchdowns and win your awards.

    But I'm not cheering.



     

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    Gilbert Arenas Served With Child Support Papers During GameYou would think moving to a new city, getting a new job and being around new people would curb some of the drama of your former life.

    Not with Gilbert Arenas. It seems like the drama follows him wherever he goes.

    After his weapons possessions debacle last year, Arenas was traded to the Orlando Magic from the Washington Wizards.

    And in a recent game against the Boston Celtics, while heading to the locker room for halftime, a process server in the stands next to fans handed Arenas papers for child support and custody.


    According to RollingOut.com, Arenas' ex-fiance, Laura Mendoza, filed a petition for custody of their three children and an increase in child support.

    Mendoza claims that Arenas cut her off financially, so she wants $100,000 a month. Arenas claims that he currently pays $20,000 a month and says that Mendoza is just trying to get back at him because their relationship ended badly.


    "I don't pay much attention to it because this is who she is as a person," Arenas said after the Magic lost to the Celtics, according to RollingOut.com. "It's sad that it has to be in the public's eye. She gets money. I mean, when a girl asks for $100,000 a month, and you say no, that doesn't mean you're cut off. You're still getting $20,000."

     

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    Out on home video on Blu-ray and DVD is 'For Colored Girls,' the emotionally dramatic film from Tyler Perry, featuring a bevy of talent, including Janet Jackson, Loretta Devine, Michael Ealy, Kimberly Elise, Omari Hardwick, Hill Harper, Thandie Newton, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Tessa Thompson, Kerry Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Macy Gray, Khalil Kain, and Richard Lawson.

    Adapted by writer/director Tyler Perry from Ntozake Shange's acclaimed choreopoem, nine women are the central characters who share their lives and experiences. Each woman is looking for different things in their lives. Some are acquaintances, some are not. But all of them are brought together through crisis, heartbreak and support which ultimately allows them to find commonality and understanding for issues that affect women, and women of color in particular.

    Check out this exclusive clip featuring women telling real stories about 'colored girls.'

     

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    Homeless Man Names Every Nation AlphabeticallyFrom The Grio:

    A homeless tent city has sprung up near Hawaii's Kakaako Park, virtually overnight. Authorities have contacted its residents and told them they have until the end of the month to leave.

    48-year-old Douglas King is just one of the many men living there. He runs the electronic appliances in his makeshift home with old car batteries.

    King moved to Hawaii from Atlanta six weeks ago and has used the last of his Social Security disability checks. "I don't have any money. I bought this before my checks cut off," he says. King says he can work, but has difficulty holding jobs because he suffers from bi-polar disorder.


    He does have a talent that could draw more attention to the plight of the homeless, however. King can name all of the world's nations in alphabetical order. Those who work with the needy say crackdowns in other areas have forced more homeless to Kakaako, and the mainland's wintry mix has added to the impact. "We tend to see an influx of individuals or homeless people when it's cold. It's cold on the east coast. People want to come to Hawaii," says Marko Johnson, who works with homeless veterans.

    Read the rest of 'Homeless Man Names Every Nation Alphabetically' on The Grio.

    BV Talk Back Questions:

    -Is it wrong for Hawaii authorities to kick homeless men like Douglas King out of their tent city when they have no place else to go?
    -Do you think that local governments are doing enough to help those with the least among us?
    -Is it the responsibility of the government or private organizations like churches and charities to help the poor?

    Leave your comments below!

     

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    Census Study Confirms 'Darkening of America'

    I didn't need a study by the United States Census Bureau to tell me what my eyes have watched transpire in my suburban Washington D.C. community of Silver Spring, Maryland and beyond over the past decade -- young people are far more likely to be black and brown than white.

    This isn't just a Silver Spring thing. It seems wherever I travel these days, minorities and young Latinos in particular, are a rapidly growing segment of the population.

    And demographers at the Census Bureau confirmed that observation recently with a new report stating that the number of white youths dropped by 6 percent between 2000 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, blacks, Asians and Hispanics accounted for about 79 percent of the national population growth over the same time period.

    Due to a combination of immigration and high birth rates, Hispanics are expected to make up the vast majority of the minority population growth.


    Now at about 10 percent of the U.S. population, the number of Hispanics will triple to almost 30 percent of the population by 2050 if current trends continue.

    With fewer white youths being born, whites are expected to drop from 67 percent of the population to about 47 by 2050.

    Blacks are expected to maintain their 13 percent share of the population and Asian Americans, now at 5 percent, are expected to increase to 9 percent.

    Not only will America look very different, but the impact that the "Darkening of America" will have on issues like taxation, school spending, political representation and immigration laws will not be subtle.

    Here in the Washington D.C. area, early reactions to the Darkening of America by white folks vary.

    White people living just outside the city in liberal communities like Silver Spring and Takoma Park have barely raised a sound over the population shift.

    In fact, those communities are softest on illegal immigration and support immigrant "sanctuaries" where police are forbidden to enforce federal immigration laws.

    But travel a few miles south to conservative communities like Loudoun and Prince William Counties in Virginia, the reaction to the population shifts is very different. There, lawmakers put out a big "UNWELCOME" mat to Latinos by passing a resolution to limit illegal immigrants' access to county services.

    The only thing certain about the Darkening of America is that trembling federal lawmakers, scared to confront the issue, are going to have to come from under their bed covers and deal with illegal immigration.

    Otherwise we are going to continue to see a crazy quilt of local laws and greater confusion on the question of exactly who is an American.


     

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    BLACK ENTERPRISE's 2011 Women of Power Summit
    Black Enterprise always takes a leadership role in our community when it comes to business empowerment. In 2011, BE is out in front once again with one of the year's first major networking events -- a special gathering that focuses on African American women. BlackEnterprise.com reports:

    Do you know how to network? No, we mean really network?

    Whether you're just learning or you're leading the pack, join us at the ultimate networking event for women who mean business--BLACK ENTERPRISE's 2011 Women of Power Summit, taking place February 23-26 in Orlando, Florida. Join executives like Debra Langford, VP of Inclusion and Business Diversity at NBC Universal--who is also a facilitator of our networking event--along with hundreds of other powerful decision makers at this leadership summit created especially for women of color.

    As an incentive, we're offering you a discounted registration fee! Enter the code WEB995 at BlackEnterprise.com/wps and receive $200 off the registration cost. Offer expires on Friday, February 18, 2011. Still worried about the fee? Ask your company to sponsor you by submitting a sponsorship letter (click here for an example).

    As more and more black women seek to escape the limitations of the glass ceiling, it's wonderful that Black Enterprise is looking out for our interests. Networking with other African American women, and the companies who support our growth, is the first step towards creating a level playing field in corporate America. Visit the BLACK ENTERPRISE 2011 Women of Power Summit web site to determine if this festive meeting of upwardly mobile minds can assist you and your company towards reaching this goal. Business leaders interested in solid investments in diversity should support the BLACK ENTERPRISE 2011 Women of Power Summit, and other events like it.

    It's conferences like these that can help black women create a "girls" network to complement that of the "old boys." Will you be attending the the BLACK ENTERPRISE Women of Power Summit to help make that dream a reality? Leave your comments below!

     

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    Jamail Johnson, the Youngstown State University student who died at an off-campus party Saturday morning, has been reported to have died trying to save his friends from gunfire. Jamail was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

    The Trumbull County Conservative Examiner says that when the gunmen began to shoot, Johnson ran toward them and pushed them out of the house. This, according to observers, saved the lives of dozens of other students. He even fought with the gunmen after being shot.

    The two alleged shooters, Columbus Jones Jr. and Braylon Rogers, 22 and 19 years old respectively, are facing charges for aggravated murder.

    In response to the shooting, I received a statement from someone named Frederick Pollard, who appears to be connected to the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. The statement was, according to Pollard, written by Dr. Andrew A. Ray, listed as the Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

    In the statement from Omega Psi Phi, Dr. Ray claims that media outlets have been incorrect to state that the shooting occurred at an Omega Psi Phi fraternity house:

    "Some media outlets have incorrectly reported that the incident occurred at an Omega Fraternity house and that the gathering was a Fraternity sponsored event. The Fraternity does not own any Fraternity housing in the State of Ohio and the gathering was not a Fraternity sponsored event. The Fraternity brothers in their residence did nothing wrong and were the victims of this criminal act," the statement read.

    It seems that the fraternity is working to publicly disassociate itself from this incident, most likley to preempt any additional PR problems or legal liability. I agree that if the media has been getting it wrong, then the corrections should certainly be made. At the same time, when I emailed Mr. Pollard back to ask who owned the house, I didn't receive a response. I'd also be curious regarding how many members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity were at the house at the time of the incident. As most of us know, quite a few gatherings of fraternity members occur off campus in unsanctioned events.

    At the same time, Dr. Pollard is correct that Omega Psi Phi should not be held responsible for the shooting. The men who allegedly committed this act were not in the fraternity, that is clear. But what is also clear is that when we send our children off to college, they should be warned about participating in the plethora of alcohol-drenched and potentially dangerous gatherings that occur on and off campus. Most of the dangers of greek life and excessive alcohol consumption (which often include things like rape, homicide and assault) make themselves present when university officials are looking the other way.

    I am a fan of the many great things that black greek organizations do for our community. Those who are making good choices, including thousands of "Omega men" across the nation, add value to our society in numerous ways. But many of us also know about the legend of the "Q-dog," who takes pride in engaging in some of the most egregious, reckless and destructive behavior imaginable. I knew friends in college who started drinking in college and have now become 40-year old alcoholics and irresponsible adults.

    As it pertains to the shooting of Jamail Johnson, he wasn't shot by anyone in Omega Psi Phi. Also, these events can happen almost anywhere. But I encourage the parents of college students to remind their kids that they are less likely to be victims of violence when they are in the library on Saturday night. With the large number of black male college students I've written about this year alone who've been shot at some kind of party, we must revisit the culture and accept the fact that something has got to change.

    With that said, I consider Jamail Johnson to be a hero. He did all real Omega men proud and deserves respect from all of us. He was too young to die and I sincerely hope that he rests in peace.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    Marvin Sease


    Gospel singer Marvin Sease has reportedly passed away at the age of 64. Online sources are reporting that Sease died in Vicksburg, Miss., a little more than a week before his 65th birthday. His cause of death has not yet been revealed to the public.


    Sease started his career at the age of 20, when he moved to New York to join the Gospel Crowns. He then formed his own R&B group with his three brothers called "Sease." His two biggest successes were "Ghetto Man" and "Candy Licker." The explicit lyrics of the latter song kept it from getting airplay, but it also helped him to substantially increase his following.

    Sease is considered a legend on the Blues circuit, and he will be missed. His death is a firm reminder that life is shorter than we think, so living it to the fullest is of the utmost importance. Get out there and fulfill your dreams, even if they exist in New York.


    Watch Marvin Sease here:



    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    Singer Fantasia Barrino, the winner of the third season of 'American Idol' and star of her own VH1 reality-show star, has been tapped to play gospel music legend Mahalia Jackson in a biopic.

    The feature film will be based on the 1993 book 'Got to Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, Queen of Gospel,' which recounts the life of the late American gospel singer, a civil rights activist who was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, the project will be directed by Euzhan Palcy ('A Dry White Season') from a script by Jim Evering. She will portray Jackson on her journey from abject poverty in New Orleans to her rise as a global figure in gospel and early supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr. The singer died in 1972 at the age of 60.


    Since winning on 'American Idol,' the North Carolina native has released three albums, with multiple Grammy Award nominations. She's up a for Grammy this weekend for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her song, 'Bittersweet,' which appears on her last album, 'Back To Me.'

    As an actress, the 26-year-old performer starred as herself in the 2006 Lifetime biopic 'Life Is Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story,' which was based on her 2005 memoir. She also won rave reviews for her performances as Celie in the Broadway musical 'The Color Purple.'

    Before she died of heart failure and diabetes complications, Jackson was considered one of the most influential gospel singers in the world, and was heralded internationally as a singer and civil rights activist; entertainer Harry Belafonte called her "the single most powerful black woman in the United States."

    The film goes is set to go into production in April in Pittsburgh and Chicago for a December release.

     

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    Watch out, National Review.

    The Tea Party will launch its own national magazine on Thursday.

    The "Tea Party Review" is dubbed the first publication "for, by, and about the Tea Party movement" and will debut at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. this weekend.

    The monthly magazine will cost $34.95 for an annual subscription and will contain articles "reflecting the values" of limited government and taxes. The first edition will cover Tea Party lobbying, foreign policy, political corruption and appealing to Hispanic immigrants, according to a press release.

    Titles on the cover of the inaugural issue include "A physician on ObamaCare and what to do about it" and "What the left will never understand about the Tea Party."

    "This magazine is a response to demands from Tea Party members across the country for a magazine that we can call our own," said the magazine's National Grass Roots Director Katrina Pierson, a member of the Dallas Tea Party.

    Christina Botteri, of the National Tea Party Federation, who helped organize the group's Tax Day Tea Party protests in 2009, will be the editor of the publication, according to the news release.

    "This magazine will ensure the integrity and sustainability of the movement, and bring together Tea Party members who are interested not only in making a statement but in making a real change," said Pierson.

    Source: NY Daily News



    Kevin Eason is a freelance editorial cartoonist and Illustrator from New Jersey. His brand of satire covers news events in politics, entertainment, sports and much more. Follow him on Facebook.

     

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    Michelle Obama Will Not Allow First Daughters to Join Facebook

    Although the online social networking service Facebook is all the rage, First Lady Michelle Obama is putting her foot down when it comes to her two girls joining the craze.


    Facebook has been around since 2004 and boasts some 600 million users. Anyone over the age of 13 can join the Website. Last year, it was estimated that 41.6 percent of the U.S. population has a Facebook account, but the first lady is adamant about the fact that her daughters, 12-year-old Malia and 9-year-old Sasha, won't be added to these statistics.

    In a recent one-on-one interview with NBC-TV 'Today' show host Matt Lauer, Mrs. Obama did not mince words when she expressed the following: "I think we're lucky that there are a lot of real constraints, things like Secret Service and stuff like that," she joked before seriously adding, "I'm not a big fan of young kids having Facebook. It's not something they need; it's not necessary."

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    When Mrs. Obama was asked whether she will allow her daughters to open an account on the social networking service site after they leave the White House, she answered, "It depends on when we leave and how old they are."

    Interestingly enough, Mrs. Obama has found quite a bit of anti-Facebook supporters who are rallying around her decision to keep the first daughters off the site. Child safety groups have argued that Facebook does more harm that good and can promote cyber bullying and gossip. They also claim that Facebook is a major distraction from learning, fosters hate speech, undermines the value of interpersonal relationships, and is even a safe haven for stalkers and pedophiles.

    'Nough said.




     

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    One of Antonio Cromartie's Baby Mamas Writes Tell-AllLast year, sports fans were blown away by New York Jets' cornerback Antonio Cromartie's way with women. The New York Post wrote a story about how Cromartie fathered nine children with eight women in six states.

    The story talked about his numerous paternity suits, visitation agreements and child support orders totaling tens of thousands of dollars a month. It's safe to say that Cromartie is hoping there isn't an NFL strike next season because he really needs that paycheck.

    Now one of his exes, Rhonda Patterson, is dishing on their relationship, broken engagement and how she gave birth to his sixth child alone. The book, 'Love, Intercepted: A Tale of Football, Falling and Failing in Love,' goes in depth into about how they met, their sex life and breakup but never refers to Cromartie by name -- only as "he."

    "It goes nameless because the story is bigger than him," Patterson told the Post. "This is not a book to bash him. It's meant to help women avoid making the same mistakes I did."

    But even though the book may have a negative spin to it, Patterson does compliment Cromartie on his bedroom skills.

    "I will give it to the man -- he's talented, well endowed and . . . it was truly the best sex I'd ever had," she writes in the book. "He was one of those lovers who would caress you, stroke your hair ... look you in the eyes and ask you to have his child. I thought his asking me to bear his child meant he loved me."

    And Patterson isn't your run-of-the-mill groupie. She's the former Miss Black South Carolina and a corporate lawyer. She fell for Cromartie's charm. He once broke up with her at a party after he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2006 because he had another chick at the same soiree. But even though she knew Cromartie was a "playa," Patterson still said yes when he proposed in 2008. But nine days before the big day, he broke it off. You can get the book here.


     

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    Coming out this week is 'The Eagle,' starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, Mark Strong, and Tahar Rahim.

    A Roman epic adventure, based on the classic novel of the same name, set in the dangerous world of second-century Britain. In 140 AD, twenty years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Scotland, young centurion Marcus Aquila (played by Channing Tatum of "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and the upcoming "Dear John") arrives from Rome to solve the mystery and restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth. Accompanied only by his British slave Esca (Jamie Bell of "Defiance" and "Jumper"), Marcus sets out across Hadrian's Wall into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia - to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father's memory, and retrieve the lost legion's golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth.

    In speaking with Blackvoices.com, Tatum talked about his character and the research he did for the film.

    Also being released in theaters is the romantic comedy, 'Just Go With It,' starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Bailee Madison, Brooklyn Decker, and Dave Matthews.

    A plastic surgeon (played by Sandler), romancing a much younger schoolteacher (played by Decker), enlists his loyal assistant (played by Aniston) to pretend to be his soon to be ex-wife, in order to cover up a careless lie. When more lies backfire, the assistant's kids become involved, and everyone heads off for a weekend in Hawaii that will change all their lives.

    Out on DVD is the hilarious comedy film, 'Speed Dating,' starring Wesley Jonathan, Chico Benymon, Mekita Faiye, Leonard Armond Robinson, Vanessa Simmons, and Holly Robinson Peete.

    A high-energy romantic comedy that follows three bachelors, speeding through life and scheming on women. When it comes to the opposite sex, it's about the "chase" and "finish line." Dog (played by Chico Benymon) and Beaver (played by Leonard Armond Robinson) spend their last dime on a nightclub, while Too Cool (Wesley Jonathan devises the ultimate scheme to get women and money - SPEED - DATING!

    Jonathan, who was featured in Malcolm Lee's 'Roll Bounce,' stated in an interview his reasons why he took on the film.

    " The script. I read it and it was funny. I went in to audition for it then walked away and went about my daily business. They ended up calling and saying they wanted me to come in for another role. Many months later, after I had completely forgotten about this movie, I got a call from my agency saying do you remember the movie 'Speed-Dating?' They want to offer you the lead role. I was like I'll need to read the script again. When you read scripts all day you tend to forget what's what. So I ended up reading the script again. It made me laugh-out-load at moments. To make a long story short I said I'll do it but of course I asked them whom they already had in it. There were some people that I knew, who were actually friends of mine that I've worked with before. That attracted me as well. It was funny and the fact that some recognizable faces and friends were a part of the film helped."

     

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    Ravens Michael Oher Tells His Side of the StoryAlthough the film 'The Blind Side' was lauded for its inspiring story, and Sandra Bullock won numerous awards, including an Oscar, for her performance in the film, the person who inspired the film is saying there's more to the story than what you see on film.

    Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher, who was portrayed in the film as a soft-spoken, possibly mentally challenged homeless kid by Quinton Aaron, is gearing up to release his memoir 'I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond,' co-written by sports writer Don Yaeger.

    The book delves deeper into Oher's life. He talks about his relationship with his drug-addicted mother and how she would leave him, at 7 years old, and his siblings (one of them just over a year old) alone for days while she went out to use drugs.

    "We were always loved," he said of his mother. "When she was clean and sober, she took care of us."

    He also talks about his in and outs of America's foster care system and how he always longed for stability along with his fortune in the NFL. He loves buying gifts for his loved ones but says family members who were never there for him when he was homeless and looking for a place to stay have come out of the woodwork asking for money.

    "It's a great story. People who see the movie think they know all about me," Oher told USA Today. "I have more personality."

     

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    'Craigslist Congressman' Chris Lee

    EXCLUSIVE From The Loop 21:

    In the midst of an embarrassing scandal broken by the gossip and media blog Gawker, [Republican] Rep. Christopher Lee (R-NY) resigned from his seat in shame. In less than three hours from when the story broke on Wednesday he was suddenly in retreat. Denials of a computer hack turned into needing to spend time with the wife. But who was the woman at the center of the drama? And how did it all really go down?

    "Dating in D.C. sucks," she said as we chatted by phone late Wednesday night, mere hours after Lee's resignation. "You know the women outnumber the men and therefore the men have their way. It's like easy pickings for the men. They have so many options. They have people in Maryland. They have women in D.C. They have women in Virginia. They have women on the Internet. Therefore, living in D.C., everything is at your disposal. A lot of women take people's word as bond. They don't investigate."

    But she did. And the end result was a resignation from Congress.

    Anonymous D.C. dater agreed to talk to me, as long as she stayed anonymous. We'd met before through a mutual friend. She's a professional, single and successful, 34-year-old African American woman, dating and socializing in "the diamond district." Her weekends are spent sharing cocktails in posh spots and chatting about the latest news and gossip with friends. Having lived in the area for eight years now, she's a regular scenester in D.C. nightspots and didn't feel like getting her name dragged into the fray. After all, the leggy-glamazon works in government. No need to potentially freak out her employers.


    But truth is, she didn't know he was a congressman. After all, it had started out as a joke. She'd done the online dating scene. She'd done D.C.'s dating scene (which she described as abysmal) and lamented how so many men lied. About their height. About their jobs. About their age.

    And about their marital status.

    It seems Rep. Christopher Lee of New York had pulled three-out-of-four on her. At least his height seemed to match the media reports.

    Here's what she had to say:

    Read what Anonymous D.C. dater said about 'Craigslist Congressman' Chris Lee on The Loop 21.

     

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    Unemployed in 2010: Top Tax Tips & Deductions

    From The Network Journal:

    Many people fail to realize that they must pay taxes on unemployment benefits. For 2010 all unemployment benefits received will be considered taxable income. That is a big change from 2009 when a temporary exemption was granted for the first $2,400 received.

    Some states withhold part of the unemployment benefit so recipients don't get socked with a big tax bill, but that's not a requirement, said Melissa Labant of the American Institute of CPA's tax team. That means you might be on the hook for taxes on the full amount of your benefits.

    Fortunately, there's a host of deductions and tax credits that can help offset any tax you owe, or increase your refund.

    Tax deductions:

    - Job search

    Certain expenses can be deducted if you're looking for a job in your most recent occupation.
    That means similar job titles in different industries, like administrative assistant or customer service manager, would qualify. Costs for a search that enabled you to switch from being an elementary school gym teacher to a restaurant chef wouldn't make the cut.

    Fees for resume preparation, job counseling and employment agencies may be claimed. And, if you kept a log of telephone calls, you may be able to claim a portion of your phone bill.

    Also, the costs of travel to and from job interviews, both local and out-of-town, may qualify, so long as the trip was primarily for job-search purposes.

    You can't, however, claim the cost of an interview suit or a pre-interview haircut or nail salon visit.

    Taxpayers can deduct the job hunting expenses if the amount of all miscellaneous itemized deductions is more than 2 percent of their adjusted gross income. Scour your records to see if you had expenses that weren't reimbursed by your former employer, union dues, professional organization dues or fees for conferences or seminars. Together, these may help lift your deductions high enough to qualify. See IRS Publication 529, "Miscellaneous Deductions."


    - Moving expenses

    If you moved to a different city in order to start a new job, you may be able to claim your relocation costs, whether or not you've changed career fields.

    The catch is that your new job has to be at least 50 miles farther away from your former home than your old job was.

    So if you commuted 20 miles to reach your former employer, your new job would have to be at least 70 miles from your former residence in order for moving expenses to be deductible, explained Kathy Pickering, who heads H&R Block's Tax Institute.

    If you can meet that requirement, Pickering said you can deduct the costs for moving yourself and your family. And this is an "above the line" deduction, which means you can use it whether or not you itemize.

    Read the rest of 'Unemployed in 2010: Top Tax Tips' on The Network Journal.

     

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    Coming out this week is 'Cedar Rapids,' a comedy that premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and stars Ed Helms from 'The Hangover, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, Kurtwood Smith, and Isiah Whitlock Jr..

    Directed by Miguel Arteta, the film centers on Tim Lippe (played by Helms), who has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual insurance convention. It's there where he soon finds himself under the "guidance" of three convention veterans (played by Reilly, Heche, and Whitlock Jr.).

    For Whitlock Jr., who's known for his role as the corrupt state senator Clay Davis on the acclaimed HBO series 'The Wire,' this film gave the Indiana native the chance to travel outside of New York considering that most of the films and TV shows that he's been in, from Spike Lee's films, 'She Hate Me' and '25th Hour,' 'Pieces of April' with Derek Luke, 'Brooklyn's Finest,' with Don Cheadle, and several episodes of 'Law and Order,' were shot in the state.

    Although 'The Wire,' ended nearly two years ago, the screenwriters included a reference to the series in the film that will make the audience laugh and remember how good the show and Whitlock Jr. was when it aired.

    In speaking with Blackvoices.com, Whitlock Jr. talked about his role in the film and life after 'The Wire.' Here are excerpts from the interview.

    There's a lot of stuff that you've done, from theater work, the Spike Lee films, and 'Brooklyn's Finest,' that have been shot in New York. What's it been like doing a film outside of the state?

    Isiah Whitlock Jr.: In theory, pretty good. I mean, outside of the fact that the others you're at home and that's always nice, to be able at the end of the day to go home to your own bed, but we shot 'Cedar Rapids' in Ann Arbor, Michigan and what was really nice about that is that we were doing a film that takes place in the Midwest and we were actually shooting in the Midwest. That was a little different. But as far as I'm concerned it's in a good way because we got the flavor of the Midwest and we were able to hang in that environment for a long piece. But I had a great time there and it was sort of refreshing to get out of New York City for once.

    How would you describe your character in this film?

    IW: Well, he's a very innocent, protective guy, an insurance man from Minnesota who takes Ed Helms' character, Tim Lippe, under his wing. But he's very, very caring. He's a very sensitive guy. He likes to have fun to a certain degree, but not to the degree of John C. Reilly's character, Dean Ziegler, who's having a lot of fun. But he's just what we'd like to say a normal guy, not too up, not too down, but just kind of flat lining through life, if you want to call it that.

    How has it been working with this cast of characters, including these couple of comedians in Ed and John?

    IW: Well, that was great. It was really kind of nice to just kick back and watch them go to work because they're such pros and so skilled at what they do. I mean, you really get quite an education working with them. But you still have a job to do and you've got to make sure that the things that you're doing you're adding to the film. But working with Ed and John and Anne (Heche), I mean I really thought that we were able to create a really nice repartee and chemistry and make the characters come to life.

    Now, you're not so much of a comedian, but did you draw some laughs when you continued to reference 'The Wire.' How did that come about in the script?

    IW: Well, that was already in the script before I had come onboard, even to the point where they had considered taking those references out of the script because I was so entrenched in 'The Wire' that they thought that it would just be a little too weird. But I think that once we were able to set it up to where, especially with my character, that it really didn't matter that it was me because by that moment in the film you believe so much that I was this Ronald Wilkes character that it pretty much made everyone forget about Senator Clay Davis until you start to make that connection towards the end. But it was one of those moments that could've fallen way flat and a little too cute, but again, like I said, the way that you sort of set it up and get everybody going in one direction and then you lay that on them, I think that worked and played like gangbusters.

    For a show that never won an Emmy as the best show on TV, a lot of people still regard that as one of the best series ever. How has life been afterwards?

    IW: It's been good. It's been good. My sort of take on all of that is would it have been nice at the time to be recognized by your peers and by different societies award wise? Yes, that would've been great. I'm not going to sit here and lie to you, but what I will say is that at the end of the day the most important thing is that you're doing the best work that you can possibly do. And at the end of the day you know you were a part of something good and I think that will history will show, what little history there's been since 'The Wire' that people have come to realize that it truly was one of the great shows of all time. That makes me feel very, very good and very proud to have been a part of it. As for the rewards, you let that be and the people who didn't vote for you or whatever, well, they'll have to answer for that in another life.

     

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    One of the things we regularly see in the media are celebrities in the middle of crisis. The brand that others have worked so hard to build comes under fire because of some scandal, with sex usually being the sneaky culprit. Fantasia's decision to mess around with a married man, Tiger's seemingly infinite infidelity, and the scandal between Steve Harvey and his ex-wife Mary are just three examples of multimillion dollar baby mama drama.

    I brought in three black PR experts to break down the celebrity scandal issue and how to deal with it from an enlightened media perspective. The conversation is lively and educational. I certainly learned a great deal myself, so if I am ever caught up in some drama, I'll know whose number to dial. The interview is below, enjoy!

    PRODUCTION PLAYER! DO NOT DELETE.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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