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

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    As a criminal attorney for 23 years, Muhammad Ibn Bashir has seen a lot, both in the courtroom and behind closed doors with clients, many of whom are young men of color.

    "There are basically three things to consider when discussing the incarceration of young black men,'' he said in an e-mail interview. "They are as follows: your own actions, the actions of others and the perception that young black male equals criminal.''

    'Raw Law: An Urban Guide to Criminal Justice'
    lays bare details behind America's criminal justice system. In 2009, 563,500 black men were housed in state and federal prisons, according to the Bureau of Justice's December 2010 report, the largest number were between the ages of 25 to 39.

    Additionally, Bashir has dealt with some of the nation's most difficult cases, including serving as co-counsel in the World Trade Center bombing trial. He talks to about his new book and his thoughts on the criminal justice system. To what do you attribute the large number of incarcerated black men, and why is mass incarceration so prevalent within the black community?

    Muhammad Ibn Bashir: Many of the young black males that I see in criminal justice are there based on their own foolish conduct. That conduct is usually based on their emotions and/or their ignorance of the system. No one is teaching our children to think critically, and thus, all they have as a frame of reference when confronted with a decision is emotion. Ignorance of your own plight and your surroundings is a recipe for disaster and since America has always fought against the education of young black males, incarceration is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Mass incarceration is the product of a very American legal concept, which was articulated by the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case that "A black man has no right that a white man is bound to respect." Slavery as an institution meant that white males did not have to compete for jobs, homes, land or families with their black male counterparts. White America profited enormously from that peculiar institution. What would make them want to change it? Morality has never trumped capitalism and it still does not.Look at the time when mass incarceration became en vogue. It happened directly on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement when white America was being forced by the courts to share the resources. For the first time in history, a black man could get a job, loan or college seat to the perceived detriment of white men. White America struck back by declaring "Law and Order," a "War on Drugs" and attacked the black community with the criminal justice system (the grandchild of slavery). The ultimate reality is mass incarceration and, thus, the continuance of white supremacy. As part of this attack, the perception was created that young, black and male meant criminal, and because young black males have no education about what is happening to them, they fall victim to their historical ignorance.

    BV: What are a couple of the most widely believed myths when it comes to people dealing with the criminal justice system? Please set the record straight for our readers.

    MIB: The biggest myth is that there is something called a fair trial. For example, in Illinois, the governor just repealed the death penalty. (1) He did so because he recognized that a trial can never guarantee that you convicted the right person. Three hundred-plus exonerations based on DNA evidence demonstrated that. (2) He did so because he could not guarantee that the police did not fabricate evidence to implicate people. The discovery that Chicago police officers tortured confessions out of black suspects also helped convince him. (3) He discovered that prosecutors charge blacks differently than they do whites, that penalties are enforced differently against blacks as opposed to whites. In other words, racism is alive and well in the criminal justice system. Frankly, he acted on something he should have known all along, but when your victim is black and valueless, why bother considering it as anything other than the cost of doing business?

    In Pennsylvania, it was discovered that judges were funneling offenders to particular juvenile facilities. These judges maintained the myth of being fair and impartial until it was disclosed that they were receiving millions of dollars in kickbacks to send kids to these institutions. There can be no justice without fairness and there can be no fairness with all the variables that the culture will never address, until the system begins to impact on the white community, as in this case of the white juveniles who were exposed in this scam at the Pennsylvania facilities.
    The second biggest myth is that a paid lawyer is better than a public defender. The issue is skill, access and heart. Just because you retained a lawyer, doesn't mean he/she has any of the qualities you need. And just because the public defender appears aloof, arrogant and often condescending, doesn't mean he or she does not have the skill to handle your matter. The best way to deal with this issue is to watch the lawyer work. Public or private is a question of your needs and your comfort level, but there are quite a few incompetent jerks on both sides of this debate.

    BV: As someone who has represented far too many young people who have either intentionally or unintentionally had run-ins with the criminal justice system, are there any cases in which you feel you've been able to make a difference? If so, what happened that allowed you to get through to that client, for him or her to actually hear you and change their lives?

    MIB: Once I represented a young black male who was acquitted at his criminal trial. During the time I represented him, he was your typical street thug charged with armed robbery. He thought he had all the answers even without knowing the question. We would debate and argue and fight about what it was like to grow up in the "streets" and I would tell him that the key to his future was his willingness to work for it. I also told him that education was his key to getting out of the hood or staying in the hood as someone who fights to change it, versus someone working to destroy it. His grandmother told me that he now has a bookstore with a section he calls "Bashir's Sayings.''

    The saying that I understand he loves the most is, "If you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing." His grandmother said that he told her that he changed his life because no one ever fought for him before. He said that while in court, I made him sound like someone important, someone worthy of respect. He also said that no one ever fought with him so hard. It was the fact that I would take the time to argue with him and discuss life that made him read so he could have a better argument whenever we met. The bookstore now satisfies his appetite for the same learning that he gathered from our arguments and discussions.

    BV: What do you think are the most important lessons that people will get from reading 'Raw Law'?

    MIB: There are two important lessons. The first is the cliché: "Knowledge is power." That simply means that you are in such a better position to make decisions about your own life if you have information. This book gives you information. And who does it empower? All ages and people from all backgrounds have found something they can identify with in this book. Teenagers and those who have been incarcerated are calling me or writing me saying they learned something. Parents and grandparents are calling me to say thanks for the information. Teachers are structuring their classes to include the book as a part of their curriculum. It's clear that when you know better, you can do better.

    The second lesson is that for everyone willing to read it, the book gives you something you can identify with personally. These are the stories that you hear at your barbershop or your front steps with the added bonus of learning how the law and the system really impacts upon you. When I say that the best way to avoid injustice is to avoid this monster called criminal justice, you now know the reason why.


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  • 03/31/11--23:00: How to De-Clutter Your Home
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    In the fast-paced world we live in today, there's no wonder why the organization of our homes can get a little out of hand. Whether you're just too busy or too messy to pick the shirt up off the bedroom floor or move the week-old cup from the kitchen table, clutter will do only one thing: keep you and your home from shining!

    Here are some helpful tips on how to make your home -- and, consequently, your mind -- clutter-free!

    Believe it or not, the environment we live in has a lot to do with how we function. It makes sense; it's the place you start and end your day. The clutter around you sends a message to run away, but your home should be the place you can't wait to retreat to, so you can unwind, let go and be inspired!

    Let's look at some easy ways you can get started on polishing up each room in your house.

    LIVING ROOM: The living room is a great place to start because it's most commonly the first room you see when you enter the home. One way to de-clutter this room is to maximize the space by moving furniture and/or accessories to other parts of the house. By doing this, you are re-organizing one room while adding an unexpected design element to another.

    KITCHEN: I'm sure what's in your kitchen cabinets would surprise you: expired canned goods, opened bags of food, chipped dishes and the list can go on and on. You would be amazed at how much stuff needs to be thrown out. Organizing your cabinets can do wonders for your kitchen and diet! Try cabinet shelves like this one by Interdesign -- you'll be able to see everything so items don't get lost!

    Lyra Expandable Cabinet Shelf in Bronze by Interdesign, $17.99,

    BEDROOM: Well, here's the place where it can all come crashing down after a long day: the bedroom. Clothes everywhere, bed unmade, dust is piling up. What to do? Start by clearing off the bed and dressing it. Making the bed first somehow motivates me to keep cleaning. If storage for your clothes is an issue, go through your drawers and get rid of the things that you haven't worn in a while. If you don't want to give them away, check out this great storage solution that can free up some space and look great on display.

    Bristol Storage Box, $59,

    BATHROOM: Now we're in the bathroom. In terms of your beloved toiletries, if it's softened, hardened or changed color, throw it out! The bathroom is where odor gets trapped, so keeping it clean is an absolute must. If you have space under your vanity, use plastic containers to organize your hair and body products. Also, remove and store some of the items that you don't use every day from inside the shower or on the edge of the bathtub. Bring these items out only when you need to use them. The bathroom is an important part of your home, so give it the attention it deserves!

    Check out this stylish storage solution.

    Silver 2-Drawer Mesh Organizer, $24.99,

    Well, now that we've cleaned up, organized and got rid of some things, don't you feel better already?

    No matter how big your space, or your design style, living in a clutter-free home is the most beautiful look there is, so get started and let it shine!

    Always... "Experience Something Beautiful"


    The Beautiful Experience


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    Spring is here (...well, almost)! Which means it's time to prepare for lighter outerwear. Nothing is more appropriate, or more classic, than a trench coat. It can be worn anywhere, from the grocery store to the ballet. Plus, curvy girls can truly capitalize on this coat's silhouette.

    An A-line shape below the belt and a cinched waist makes the trench the perfect way to accentuate a womanly shape. However, a poor fit can leave ladies with ample bosom or a bountiful backside out in the cold. So, to make sure you are well-equipped to do your spring shopping, we've taken to the Net to search out the best trench options for the curvy girl. And, of course, we've added some tips to help you find just the right fit.

    1. Don't skimp on the fabric. A close fit can be flattering, but don't purchase a coat that is too small. A trench that gapes at the bust or whose front panels only meet at the waist is a no-no. However, a baggy fit isn't any better. The right coat will fully cover the bust and the bum when it's fastened, but will not be slack at the waist -- even if the belt is untied.

    2. Look for single-breasted styles if you're busty. Most classic trenches are double-breasted, but know that they can add unflattering volume to women with large cup sizes. Enter the trench with a single row of buttons. It gives top-heavy curvy girls the timeless look without the spare material.

    DKNY Women's Belted Trench Coat, $69.99,
    3. If your waist is not as tiny as you'd like, look for styles that offer pleating below the belt. The flare at the bottom of the coat will give the illusion of a smaller middle.

    Laundry by Shelli Segal Belted Pleated Trench Coat, $168,

    4. Don't limit yourself to cotton. While khaki cotton trenches are the most classic, there are beautiful versions that come in everything from wool gabardine to leather.

    Spiegel Leather Trench Coat, $299,

    5. Consider length. There is no right length for a trench, although taller women may want to opt for coats that fall below the knee, as to not truncate themselves. Smaller women should select a style that has a close fit and stops above the knee in order to avoid looking as though they are wading in excess fabric.

    Calvin Klein Coat with Layered Hem, $119.99,

    Check out how some of our favorite curvy celebs rock trench coats in the gallery below.


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    Farrakhan Steps Up Attacks on Obama Administration for War in Libya

    In a wide-ranging two-hour speech, Minister Louis Farrakhan stepped up his anti-Obama Administration rhetoric for the second time in as many weeks, condemning officials for waging war in Libya on Moammar Gadhafi.

    Farrakhan warned that Obama's action could result in Biblical-like destruction of the United States for its arrogance of power and repression.

    The flamboyant Nation of Islam leader spoke before a packed house of mostly followers in the sprawling Mosque Maryam on Chicago's South Side. Dressed in a gray suit, white shirt and white bow tie, Farrakhan spoke in his stylized Southern preacher drawl:

    "I don't care what Gadhafi has done,'' he said before a roaring crowd. "He is not the mad dog you see on TV. Donald Trump sounds more like a gangster to me.''

    Farrakhan referred to the Libyan leader as "Brother Gadhafi" on several occasions and expressed sorrow for his predicament and invoked the Book of Revelation, which foretells of unprecedented natural disasters and war on unforeseen scales, to illustrate how God's wrath will destroy America because of attacks on his chosen people, such as Gadhafi.

    "The reason that judgment is on America is not because of America's bad policies and what she has done to other nations of the world,'' he said at first in a whisper then a boom. "But the reason that his anger is kindled against America and his threat to destroy America is because of what it has done, is doing and plans to do against the people that God has chosen.''

    He struck hard at President Barack Obama, whom he says to his peril is being used as a puppet to attack Gadhafi. Although the president is not allowed to make all decisions, he said Obama could be used to bring him down.

    Farrakhan, who has long been criticized as an anti-Semite, and the president used to have a working relationship when Obama worked in Chicago as a community organizer. All of that changed when Obama was elected senator and went on to the White House.

    "They've [the establishment] always wanted to find a black man to destroy me,'' citing that while Martin Luther King Jr. was sitting in the White House with Lyndon B. Johnson celebrating the passage of the civil rights law, someone was down the hall plotting his death:

    "What future does he [Obama] have, a brilliant, black giant?'' Farrakhan asked pointedly. "I warned him to be careful because the steps you are taking you will ruin your future with Africa and the Middle East.''

    This is not the first time that Farrakhan has defended Gadhafi.

    Earlier this year, during the Nation of Islam's annual convention, Farrakhan suggested that the United States should steer clear of the conflict in Libya. And last week in Mississippi, he said the U.S. lacked the moral authority to intervene in the uprising.

    Meanwhile, he urged everyone to stock their shelves with food and drink enough for three months in case of an earthquake that shuts down stores, chokes roadways and floods streets -- far worse that what the world saw in Japan.


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    Lisa Drouillard's parents had no idea when they arrived on these shores from Haiti that their only daughter (pictured) would one day be crowned Miss Teen New York. After dealing with the emotional aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Drouillards could actually be happy and enjoy the good news of their daughter's accomplishment.

    Thirty years has gone by since a Miss Teen hailing from the Big Apple has been crowned. Drouillard broke the dry spell when she won the crown. Not only did the 19-year-old beauty become a symbol of scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living and grassroots involvement, but she has also infused her Haitian community with a much-needed injection of pride.

    The aftermath of the earthquake that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and left the country and its infrastructure in shambles was strongly felt in the city of New York, which is home to the largest population of Haitians outside of Haiti. Since winning the pageant, Drouillard has become a major source of inspiration for Haitian immigrants who are still in the throes of relief efforts for their homeland.

    "The earthquake traumatized everyone, whether they are living in Haiti or New York," City Councilman Mathieu Eugene told the New York Daily News. "To see that young lady succeed and become who she is, is a remarkable thing, and it's a very strong and powerful message for the young Haitian people."

    Now with her eye on the biggest prize of all, the opportunity to compete in the upcoming Miss Teen USA pageant, Drouillard is focused on staying on track and more than ready to meet the challenge head on. The John Jay College of Criminal Justice freshman told the New York Daily News, "I'm proud of myself because I'm going to college, I'm being successful ... and that's very touching to me."

    Drouillard has made it very clear that she is not only proud of her Haitian ancestry but wants to keep the momentum going, serving as a beacon of hope to the children in her community:

    "I have a sense of pride being Haitian. I feel like I haven't gotten there yet, but I do know that I inspire every child in my neighborhood."


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  • 04/01/11--05:25: Spring's Hottest Handbags
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    It's time for you to put away your dark, drab winter handbags in favor of something a little bit lighter and brighter! A pretty purse is an essential part of any styling spring look, and this season, you get to choose from a range of cool colors, bold prints and sweet shapes.

    Whether you're on a budget or looking to blow your bank, BV on Style has rounded up the hottest handbags you definitely need to get this spring!


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  • 04/01/11--06:05: Hannah's Publicolor World
  • Hannah Bronfman with socialite Claudja Bicalho at a dinner hosted by Jacqueline Schnabel.The other night, I was hanging out in the same room with Naomi Campell, Helen Marden, Alek Wek, Frederic Fekkai, Marina Abramović, and Julian Schnabel -- I couldn't really grasp why I was there, but there I was, in my Suno jumpsuit and Chloe Sevigny-designed boots, along with Arden Wohl, Theo Wenner, and various Schnabel offspring. We all gathered in the home of gracious host Jacqueline Schnabel to raise awareness and funds for the World Bicycle Relief, which produces sustainable bicycles in Africa, immediately impacting everything from education to health care to the environment. There is so much poverty and disaster in the world, where do you start? Everyone, no matter what country or neighborhood, could use a little instant gratification.

    A few weeks ago, I hosted a dinner party at the home of quirky artist/designer couple Scott Taylor and Sylvia Heisel, so my friends and I could gather and gawk at the brilliant installation in their apartment. I happened to meet the son of Publicolor founder Ruth Shuman, who is trying to provide a little instant gratification for New York City's underprivileged kids. I emailed Ruth, because I liked the sound of what she was doing, and we set a date to meet on a Saturday morning. She told me to "wear clothes that can get dirty." As a Bard graduate who majored in sculpture, I had this outfit in the bag.

    Ruth picked me up bright and early outside of Russ & Daughters, where we got a bagel for me and a coffee for Ruth. I hopped in her red Jeep and we headed over the bridge to Brooklyn. Both of us wore paint-splattered jeans, though hers had several more years of stories than mine. Ruth founded Publicolor after learning about the appalling annual rate of high school drop-outs. Her organization brings a team of artists and volunteers into neglected public schools, where along with some of the students, they paints the school's interiors and exteriors to help revive the soul of the institution.

    As we pulled up to this particular school, in a neighborhood that might make most people uneasy, I felt excited to meet the kids and paint, but I really did not know what to expect. I introduced myself to everyone, then wrote my name on a piece of blue tape and stuck it to my L.L. Bean smock. All the kids who were there that Saturday are in Ruth's mentoring and college prep programs. They are there because they choose to be. My student partner for the morning led me down a hall and showed me where my painting station would be. I was instructed to paint the doors turquoise and my partner would paint the walls a hibiscus yellow. She told me she wanted to be a veterinarian, that she does well in school. She talked about the importance of working hard. I was inspired by her ambition, and it was so awesome to see so many kids there who shared the same enthusiasm.

    A few days later, Ruth told me about an other school being Publicolor-ized that was just a few blocks from my house. Though a little sore from my first Publicolor bicep work-out, I was still game and happy to participate. It was 3:15 in the afternoon and school had just let out. It was hectic in the courtyard and I walked right by the security guard, into the school and up the stairs. I was expecting that same enthusiasm from this group of kids that I'd seen from the kids at the other school, but this group was much smaller, only about six kids, and I immediately got the sense that these kids wouldn't be giving up their Saturdays any time soon. We got all the supplies, set up the painting station, brought out a radio and got to work. The girls started to ask me what I was doing there and why. I told them that I thought it was really cool what Publicolor is doing, and that I lived just a few blocks away. I could tell they questioned my motives, but were curious, too. They kept asking me questions and I kept giving them positive responses. I could tell that I was getting through to these girls, that they were really listening to me. And that gave me my does of instant gratification, I hope it gave them some as well.

    Whether your Jacqueline Schnabel hosting a dinner, Ruth Shuman taking a hands-on approach to changing the future, or a student who is effected directly by his or her own an act of curiosity, instant gratification never felt so good.


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    Having spent four years in Nigeria as a teenager, I'm no stranger to the scams, con artists and hustlers who make up a disproportionate amount of the criminal element. I remember my parents' friends belying tails of thievery and murder, warning you to never stop when driving across certain bridges at night even if there was a body lying in the middle of the road. A typical ruse: once stopped, a band of armed men would leap into action, kill the passengers and steal the car.

    My mother would regale me in tears with gory bedtime stories of a woman whose husband passed away, leaving her and her daughter his fortune... that is, until the ex-wife and her children showed up to ransack the house, steal his possessions and kill his wife and daughter. A typical Nigerian phrase that was bandied about the time: "A thief would sell his own mother for money."

    Summed up: The perception many people had of Nigeria's greedy underbelly left a lasting impression upon my young psyche.

    That was the late '80s, and today, 20-odd years later, it seems the Nigerian criminal element has taken their show on the road. Having done numerous radio shows with Albert Butler, a radio personality on 900am Wurd and a model in Philadelphia, I wasn't surprised when he reached out to warn the public of his latest battle.

    Every Wednesday for a year, we informed the public on issues of love on his special edition of the show 'Relationship Wednesdays.' An incredibly talented and entertaining personality, his looks are more suited to TV than radio, and it is this handsome mug that has led him to be exploited by a new type of hustling: the Nigerian Dating Scam.

    Unfortunately, both men and women are victims of this scam, and some might not even be aware they are in the midst of getting conned. A familiar pattern arises that everyone who is dating online should be aware of: You just signed up for an online dating site and as you peruse the profiles looking for love, you come across a very good-looking African-American male or female whose Christian values and kind words spark a flame in your heart.

    After reaching out to them, they usually want to leave the dating site and use their personal e-mail or IM to communicate. They will claim to be from the U.S. but are currently working/living/stationed overseas, and within a very short amount of time, they will profess their undying love for you. Some of these scammers will secure your trust through intimate conversation, while others will spend months passionately wooing you, spinning a web of lies that inevitably ends in their asking you to wire money.

    There is always an urgent need for money, with the caveat that it will be paid back once a big business deal goes through. Whether they need it to come and see you; for hospital bills for a sick child or relative; for visas or other documents; or just to help in recovering from a financial setback, the reasons are varied, but always end with the same message: "Give me your money."

    Some scammers will even make wedding plans, asking that their victims do them a favor by making a purchase online or forwarding a package to a foreign country. Unfortunately, the picture of the man you see has been stolen off the Internet, as is the case with Albert Butler's headshot, and is being used in a global Internet con. All of these scams end in heartbreak when the victim unwittingly sends money and never hears from their online love again.

    Some of you may be wondering how anyone could be fooled by the likes of an online dating scammer, but in a world in which love and emotional connection are the desired want, it's almost too easy to believe the lies a con artist will spin.

    Mike Connor (aka) Andrew Gerald Connor, Shielu Fatai, Gerald Darren, Faithislove12 -- the aliases change, but the con remains the same. As I read through the many letters these hustlers have sent, I can hear the old question being asked in a thick Nigerian accent, "Ah Ah! Whot are you going to do far me O!"

    Whether he claims to be a lonely widower, or professes you are the answer to his heart, the scammer is very smooth and acts like he cares, but his only intention is to part you and your money. The best way to protect yourself is to research the names of the men and women you meet, and never, ever, under any circumstance, send money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so do the work to make sure this person is actually who they claim to be.

    As for the real Albert Butler, if you cross paths, offer him your support. He is just as much a victim in this as you.

    Rebecca Brody is a relationship coach and columnist in NYC. She hosts and works with private clients. Send your questions to or visit her at


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    Lovely TV personality Lala Vasquez recently stepped out in NYC with her son Kiyan and husband Carmelo Anthony in the season's hottest trend: a Burberry Prorsum trench coat. LaLa accessorized the leather-sleeved trench with studded leather gloves, knee-high boots and her fabulous family!

    Paris Hilton's sister, Nicky, was also seen in the trendy trench. The stylin' socialite kept her look more casual, pairing the trench with black skinny jeans, simple ballet flats and an Hermès bag.

    But wait, there's a third contender in the ring!

    Supermodel Jourdan Dunn actually wore this coat down the runway for Burberry's spring/summer 2011 show. In the video below, you can see that Dunn skipped its belt and wore the trench with a wide lime-green belt instead.

    We think that all three ladies know how to rock a trench, but what do you think? Who wore Burberry Prorsum best?


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    From the LA Times
    : Almena Lomax, a journalist and civil rights activist who launched the Los Angeles Tribune, a feisty weekly newspaper that served the African American community in the 1940s and '50s, died March 25 in Pasadena. She was 95.

    Read her full Obituary here and share your respects and memories of this legend below


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  • 04/01/11--08:35: Fosberg's Incognito No More
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    From The Huffington Post: In short, Incognito: An American Odyssey of Race and Self Discovery by Michael Sidney Fosberg is riveting. This remarkable story begins with Fosberg's parents, a first-generation Armenian-American woman and an African American man. Sadly, as is the case with many interracial marriages, Fosberg's parents divorced. At age two he went with his mother to live with her family in a small town outside Chicago. She later remarried a white man and had two more children. Fosberg grew up as a part of this family, looking and thinking he was white. Yet he always seemed to stand out. Decades passed before he discovered why. Late in life Fosberg found out that his biological father is black, thus making him multiracial -- or much more than what appearances seem.

    Read more about the book and play at The Huffington Post


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    We all can't be as bold as celebrities like Cassie, who completely shave off the sides of their hair without a second thought. However, Tichina Arnold came up with a cool way to fake the look: tiny cornrows!

    The 'Everybody Hates Chris' star helped celebrate the release of Snoop Dogg's new album and the launch of BLAST by Colt 45 by showing up to Trousdale in West Hollywood in a casual outfit and eye-catching mane.

    By cornrowing half of her hair in teeny, tiny braids, the look can seem shaved from far away or innovative close-up.

    What do you think of Tichina's hair? Is it hot or not?


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    Jay-Z is a beloved musician, but not everyone is in love with his actions. The NBA, in particular, has a bone to pick with him because of his visit to the University of Kentucky Wildcats' locker room on Sunday.

    The NBA is investigating the rapper because as part owner of the New Jersey Nets, he's not allowed to have contact with amateur players who are not part of the NBA draft pool. The association sees it as a conflict of interest.

    A similar incident occurred in 2007 when Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations, was charged with "excessive contact" and fined $30,000 for sitting next to the mother of then prospect Kevin Durant at the Big 12 tournament.

    Jay Z's meeting with the players may have also seemed innocent because the rapper was reported to have been in the hallway as the players were heading back to the locker room and was invited inside by a player. UK spokesman said the visit was not planned in advance.

    Forward Terrence Jones told the Louisville Courier-Journal: "I said, 'Oh that's Jay-Z! We all gave him a handshake and he came in ... and we just kept screaming 'Jay-Z in the locker room!' He congratulated us, just said he was proud of us."

    Still, the hip-hop mogul may be facing a fine once the investigation has been completed.


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    Snoop Dogg-hosted parties are the place to be. The music is bumping, the drinks are flowing, and you can wear whatever you want and still look like you belong.

    So what can you say about Elise Neal's party wardrobe?

    The actress attended the Trousdale in West Hollywood for the celebration of Snoop Dogg's Doggumentary album release and the launch of BLAST by Colt 45 in a melange of textures and prints: a cropped leather biker jacket, asymmetrical leopard dress, short black sequined leggings, and silver sandals laced in metallic detailing.

    Elise is cute as always, but her outfit has a whole lot going on for a malt liquor fiesta.

    What do you think of Elise's outfit? Is it hot or not?


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    From the LA Times
    : The 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas shielded the New Orleans district attorney's office from being held liable for the mistakes of its prosecutors. The evidence of their misconduct did not prove "deliberate indifference" on the part of then-Dist. Atty. Harry Connick Sr., Thomas said.

    Read more about this ruling against John Thompsonat The LA Times


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    Manning MarableFrom the New York Times: Manning Marable, the author of a long-awaited new biography of Malcolm X to be published Monday and director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University, died Friday at the age of 60, his wife, Leith Mullings, has confirmed

    Learn more at the New York Times


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    While Best Celeb Style is usually just a glimpse of the celebrity threads we've had our eyes on over the past few days, there were more than a few looks that caught our attention this week!

    Check out our celeb style gallery and tell us who your favorite style star of the week was.


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    'Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family' arrives in theaters April 22.

    The movie stars Shad 'Bow Wow' Moss, Loretta Devine, Cassi Davis, Lauren London, David Mann, Tamela J. Mann, Isaiah Mustafa, Rodney Perry, Shannon Kane, Natalie Desselle Reid, Teyana Taylor and Perry as the pistol-packing, ankle bracelet-wearing grandma that America seems to can't get enough of.

    In the film, Madea's niece, Shirley (played by Devine), receives distressing news about her health and all she wants is to gather her three adult children around her and share the news as a family. But Tammy, Kimberly and Byron are too distracted by their own problems: Tammy (played by Desselle Reid) can't manage her unruly children or her broken marriage; Kimberly (played by Kane) is gripped with anger and takes it out on her husband; and Byron (Bow Wow), after spending two years in jail, is under pressure to deal drugs again. It's up to Madea, with the help of the equally rambunctious Aunt Bam (played by Davis), to gather the family together and make things right the only way she knows how: with a lot of tough love, laughter... and the revelation of a long-buried family secret.

    In this exclusive clip, the men chat about the problem they're having with the women in their lives. Check it out below.


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    Henry Glover

    On August 29, 2005, Henry Glover (Glover's mom, Edna, holds portrait above with family), 31, was shot to death by a policeman. A man looking to help, put Glover in the backseat of his car and drove him to a police station in order to get him care. Instead, he was beaten by police and his car was taken away from him.

    Glover was never seen again.

    Later it was discovered that the cop drove Glover to a Mississippi River levee and set him on fire.

    On Thursday, ex-officer David Warren and ex-officer Gregory McRae (both pictured below) were found guilty for their involvement in Glover's death.
    Henry Glover

    Glover, who was at the mall trying to get baby clothes for his child, was painted by police as an aggressive looter who appeared to have a gun. Warren testified that he was afraid for his life and acted appropriately for the situation.

    Former police partner Linda Howard, though, countered Warren's claims, testifying on the stand that Glover was unarmed and posed no immediate threat.

    For his part, McRae eventually admitted that he was responsible for setting Glover's body on fire and had his lawyer plead for leniency:

    ""I'm not saying what Mr. McRae did was right," said McRae's attorney, Frank DeSalvo. "It was foolish (but) there's no way he anticipated the pain and suffering it would cause another man's family."

    U.S. District Judge Lance Africk had little pity for the officers:

    "Henry Glover was not at the strip mall to commit suicide. He was there to retrieve some baby clothing," Africk said. "You killed a man. Despite your tendentious arguments to the contrary, it was no mistake. Henry Glover was gunned down because you believed he was a looter."

    Warren was found guilty of manslaughter for shooting Glover and received more than 25 years. Africk also ordered Warren to pay Glover's family $7,642 for funeral costs.

    McRae was convicted of burning Glover's body and then covering up the shooting. He received 17 years for his crime.

    Convicted of false reporting and lying to investigators, Travis McCabe (pictured above) will be sentenced independently from Warren and McRae. Other officers thought to have gone rogue in the investigation were Lt. Dwayne Scheuermann, who also allegedly burned Glover's body, and Lt. Robert Italiano, who was charged with obstruction of justice for submitting false reports and lying to investigators.

    Both Scheuermann and Italiano were cleared of all charges.

    While it is a relief to see both Warren and McRae get their due, I can understand why Glover's aunte Rebecca Glover would say this after the sentencing:

    "It's a joke and I'm very, very upset about it."

    Warren could have received life imprisonment for his crimes, while McRae could have gotten 50 years.

    From the time Warren and McRae signed on to be police officers, they were held up to a different standard than the rest of America's citizens.

    Any officer who takes it upon his or herself to break the law, and in turn use their rank and authority to oppress the very people they are supposed to protect, should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

    In other words, if Warren's maximum sentence is life for shooting an unarmed citizen, then he should serve out the rest of his days behind bars, and if McRae's maximum sentence is 50 years, he should be released from prison (surprise, surprise) 50 years from now.

    penal system is so quick to throw blacks in jail for getting caught with crack, but when two officers shoot an unarmed black men to death and then burn his body, they get a fraction of their maximum sentences ... and some want to argue that disparities in sentencing does not exist.

    But perhaps I'm being ungrateful.

    I mean, with the Amadou Diallos and Sean Bells of the world having officers get off scot-free, Warren's and McRae's sentences are a Godsend.

    Either way, this case is just one of nine civil rights violations facing the New Orleans Police Department. Twenty New Orleans officers were charged for crimes last year, with five officers already pleading guilty, so this is just the beginning.

    With hope, the remaining officers who are found guilty will actually get what they deserve.

    Watch the full Henry Glover story here:


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    I'm 49, never married, no real relationship in over 11 years and I'm tired of the single life. It's depressing having to add that up.

    I take absolutely horrible pictures; I hate glamour shots, and my lack of sleep shows on my face. I have a nice figure, but no money to go out, pay for dating sites or do a makeover.

    So are the broke and those striving to be successful according to God's word just supposed to forget about marriage? What website would you advise or what would you advise in general? I've done the grocery store, Home Depot (when I owned a house), etc., but continually run into married men.


    After so many years living the single life, dating can become an exhausting endeavor. You may feel like marriage just isn't in the cards for you, and you might be wondering if you should just give up. Love is an incredible force, though, and when it's missing from your life, its absence feels like a wound. In order to stay on the path, you have to enjoy the journey. Dating can be a fun, exciting, and hysterical endeavor if you approach it positively and choose to be a successful single.

    At this point, you need a shift in your personal perception. At present, you paint a poor picture of who you really are, and if that is who you believe yourself to be, then it's no surprise you aren't attracting the right kind of man. You need to refresh your self confidence and your image. People are attracted to those who exude self love, and right now the message you're sending the world is "I'm aight."

    Reach out to those around you and ask them what makes you great. What makes you special? What is unique about you? Make a list of these positive traits, and work on exuding them each day. The more you let your positive traits sparkle, the brighter you shine and, like a moth to a flame, you will attract others to you.

    You want your inner self to match your outer self, so do a budget makeover. You don't need money, but rather a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective. Think about how you want the world to perceive you and jot down a few key words that represent the image you want to portray. Then invite a friend, colleague or confidant who has an eye for style and ask them to help you create that look. Invite them into your closet and have them pick an outfit, hairstyle, and make up to complete the look. You'll be surprised to see that you have exactly what you need; you just couldn't see past your own limited perception of yourself.

    As for where to meet men, it's a good idea to get friends involved in the search. Friends are a great way to be introduced to available men, and they can personally vouch for the character of anyone they set you up with. Volunteer to do community service, and as you reach out to help others, you surround yourself with people who have similar values.

    Take part in speed dating events (e.g. that cater to your age group, because the more people you meet the more choice you have. There is an abundance of free online dating sites that specialize in matching singles of all ages, so take some new pics and start winking. (Photo tip: Tilt your chin up in pictures. It will make a tired face look refreshed)

    Being a successful single requires self confidence, the right attitude, and the will to get out there and meet new people. You are not limited by your money, so let go of the belief that you need it to find love.

    Follow Coach Brody on Twitter @LuvCoach

    Rebecca Brody is a relationship coach and columnist in NYC. She also works with private clients. Send your questions to or visit her at


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