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

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    You know that feeling? That moment when you finish decorating a room? When after countless shopping trips and consultations, you step back, only to realize something is missing?

    There's nothing like a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers to tie it all together. Flowers can be used to add that final spark of life to every room. Here are some colorful, lively floral decorating tips.

    Your supermarket, according to ShelterPop, stocks fresh-cut flowers that cost a fraction of what the florist charges, but the bouquets lack grace and style. If you take apart those banal bunches of blooms, however, and remember a few quick lessons, you'll be able to transform the most common supermarket flowers into charming centerpieces.

    Red roses and red carnations seem more vibrant when accented with a few sprigs of bright yellow solidago.

    Or you can go monochromatic. All the bouquet's pink blooms -- alstroemeria, carnations, lilies, and daisies -- are pulled out, cut short, and rearranged in a cylindrical vase.

    Contrasting textures also brighten up a room. Orange alstroemeria is paired with hypericum berries for a lush and bold autumnal bouquet. The marriage of smooth, round berries and spiky flowers proves that opposites attract.

    Always remember to be your own florist. Red roses are always available, and more often than not they're sold with unnecessary greenery and baby's breath. Feel free to cut out the extras.

    Bear in mind, though, that the minute the blooms are cut, it's a race to keep them looking their best. Follow these six simple tips -- courtesy of sister site ShelterPop -- to increase their longevity.

    Roses in an arrangement are known for drooping within days, while delicate flowers like gardenias and hydrangeas fade almost immediately. But there are a few ways to make flowers last longer, including selecting blooms that aren't prone to wilting and using a few tried-and-true methods for keeping them vibrant.

     

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    A true reunion is in full swing when two of 'Waiting to Exhale's favorite divas -- Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine -- come together during an early scene of the Bishop T.D. Jakes-produced romantic comedy, 'Jumping The Broom,' which hits theaters May 6.

    In the film -- directed by Salim Akil ('Girlfriends,''The Game'), Paula Patton plays a well-to-do corporate executive who has had no luck finding the right man. Laz Alonso's sharp and debonair Brooklynite-turned-Wall Street VP may be the answers to her prayers -- literally (she made a promise to God to not sleep with another man until she's married).

    All seems to go well up until their familial worlds collide during their quickie (but very lavish) wedding weekend festivities gets underway in Martha's Vineyard when their mothers (Bassett and Devine) get into the mix and little known secrets are revealed.

    The two acclaimed actresses first starred together in the 1995 blockbuster 'Waiting to Exhale,' directed by Forest Whitaker.

    Check out the exclusive clip below.

     

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    A few months before Manning Marable's sudden death, the acclaimed scholar and activist shot a series of videos to promote his long-awaited biography of Malcolm X.

    The videos were to be released as teasers, one by one, for what has become a controversial examination of Malcolm X's life. His death though, just days before the book was set for release, threw the final production of the videos into limbo, as his family came to grips with their grief.

    "It has been really hard," said filmmaker Michael Tyner, Marable's stepson and the producer of the videos. "The fourth episode was about two-thirds done when he passed."

    Marable died on a Friday, and the book was to be released on the following Monday.

    "And the next day I'm sitting there and I have to edit this footage, and it's like, a piece of him that's still living," Tyner continued. "In a lot of ways we all had to make sacrifices and not grieve as much and keep going the way Manning would want."

    The biography, 'Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,' will debut at #3 on 'The New York Times' bestsellers list on April 24, according to a publicist of Marable's work.

    Below, exclusively at AOL Black Voices, is the fourth installment of the Marable videos, which discusses the speech at the Columbia University School of Journalism that likely sealed Malcolm X's fate.



    The previous videos can be found on a Youtube channel called Malcolmology.

     

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    The Huffington Post Exclusive:
    WASHINGTON -- The newest health care advocacy campaign already has millions of dollars in the bank. Launched by Democratic lawmakers and reform proponents, the two-part program is meant to frame the debate around the law during the 2012 election cycle.

    On Thursday, Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Mass.), former Gov. Jim Doyle (D-Wis.) and several Democratic operatives launched the latest variation of a pro-health care, non-governmental organization. The project has a dual track: a 501c(3) group, called "Know Your Care," to promote the Affordable Care Act, and a 501c(4) group, "Protect Your Care," to lobby on the law's behalf.

    The project already has a healthy fundraising stream, a source familiar with the campaign told The Huffington Post.

    The $5 million launch figure gives an early indication that the organization will succeed where other health care advocacy groups have failed: primarily, in turning the tide of public and political opinion in the law's favor.

    In addition to the money, Know Your Care brings some high-profile names to its staff: Patrick and Doyle will serve on the board. Neera Tanden, who worked on President Obama's health care task force team, will be on the board as well; Paul Tewes, Obama's state director for the Iowa caucuses, will serve as senior adviser; Tanya Bjork, a former top adviser to Doyle, will serve as campaign manager; Jim Margolis, a top ranking communications consultant, will serve as the group's media adviser; Eddie Vale, a former top hand at the AFL-CIO, will be communications director; and John Anzalone, a major Democratic pollster, will do the polling.

    "Our efforts here are to really to make sure that this is a factual debate and that the facts are out there," said Doyle. "It is critical that people understand what the benefits of this act are, and I look forward to making sure those facts are known across the country."

    Read more at The Huffington Post

     

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    Samuel Jackson has been cast as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Broadway production of the play "The Mountaintop," a dramatic exploration of the Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader's final night before being assassinated.

    The production, which opened two years ago in London and won the prestigious Olivier Award for Best Play, will open in October in New York. Jackson had long been rumored to star; rumored co-star Halle Berry was unable to join due to her ongoing child custody issues with ex Gabriel Aubry.

    King was gunned down on April 4th, 1968, on the porch of his Memphis hotel. The night before, having earlier had his plane delayed by bomb threats, he gave a rousing speech, now known as the "I've Been To The Mountaintop Address."

    In the speech, King alluded to the threats on his life, and in the play, he examines his life and decisions as he unknowingly closes in on the last moments of his life.

    Read more at The Huffington Post

     

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    From The Grio: A former employee of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. has filed a discrimination complaint with Chicago's Commission on Human Rights, alleging that he was harassed by colleagues and by Jackson himself, and was terminated from his job at Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition based on his sexual orientation.

    The complaint was filed against Jackson and Rainbow PUSH in early 2010 by Tommy R. Bennett, 55, an openly gay Chicago man who is known for past appearances on The Tom Joyner Morning Show where fans know him as "Aruba Tommy."

    Read More at The Grio

     

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    With multiple charity events, awards dinners and basketball games, this was a great week for celebrity fashion. Take a look at our style gallery to pick your favorite look.


     

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    Lauryn Hill has announced that she will be adding 12 new dates to her Moving Target: Extended Intimate Playdate Series tour.

    The previously scheduled dates include less than intimate performances at the Coachella music festival this weekend and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in May. Hill has now added dates in Colorado, Oregon and Washington, along with four more dates in California and Texas, and even a show in Las Vegas.

    "I've never shied away from being musically adventurous, nor am I known for being a lightweight when it comes to lyrical content or musical exploration," Hill revealed in a statement about her tour.

    Read more at The Boombox

     

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    FBarack Obamarom The Huffington Post: President Barack Obama was caught on an open mic making some blunt and intriguing remarks about the actions of Republicans in recent budget negotiations that produced a deal to avert a government shutdown at a fundraiser in Chicago on Thursday, CBS News reports.

    In audio relayed by the network, the president can be heard addressing unsuccessful Republican maneuvering to roll back portions of health care reform, as well as restrict Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding, in reaching an agreement.

    "I said, 'You want to repeal health care?'" Obama revealed at the private event. "Go at it. We'll have that debate. You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'"

    Hear the audio at The Huffington Post

     

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    Condoleezza Rice has signed on to guest star on 30 Rock.
    The former US secretary of state will appear in one episode before this month's season five finale, star and producer Tina Fey announced during an interview on NPR'sLeonard Lopate Show on Thursday.

    The former member of George W. Bush's cabinet will play herself as an ex-girlfriend of Alec Baldwin's character Jack Donaghy.

    Donaghy has referenced his past romantic relationship with a "high-ranking African-American member of the Bush Administration" on the show before.

    Read more at Digital Spy

     

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    Denver, CO, United States (AHN Sports) - National and local tennis heroes, in particular African American tennis pioneers and stars, highlight an exhibit in Denver this month.

    The "Breaking the Barriers: An Exhibition in Courage" exhibit chronicles the origins and history of African American tennis.

    It is on display through June at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.

    The Colorado premiere is product of the partnership between the United States Tennis Association Colorado district and the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library.

    Read more at GantDaily.com

     

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    The above artwork is from an exhibit last year commissioned by PUMA, but it does adequately reflect the wonderful, otherworldly brilliance of artist Kehinde Wiley. His current exhibit, The World Stage: Israel, is at swanky gallery Roberts + Tilton in Culver City, CA through May. Peep it.

     

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    When the school now known as the Willie L. Brown Jr. College Preparatory Academy opened in San Francisco's predominantly black Bayview neighborhood some 18 years ago, it was at the forefront of an ambitious effort to address school performance and segregation without busing children out of the neighborhood.It was once even part of a Dream Schools program that brought millions of dollars in special aid, along with school uniforms, longer school days and Saturday classes.

    But those dreams have been thoroughly dashed, and the 160-student school is set to close May 27, largely as a result of chronic student underachievement and high truancy. And for those unfortunate enough to be a part of its final months, conditions have gone from bad to worse.

    Parents, teachers and some officials acknowledge a breakdown in teaching and discipline. Students roam the hallways during class time. One teacher has often shown movies rather than press ahead with science lessons. A pack of students looted the school store, with impunity.

    Jonathan Woahn, a seventh-grade math teacher, noted that few top district leaders had set foot in the school after announcing last year that it would close.

    "The kids rule the school," Mr. Woahn said. "I think administrators just want us to hold on through the rest of the school year; there are no expectations beyond that."


    Read more at The New York Times

     

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    Due to today's struggling economy, many young people are less inclined to believe in the "American Dream" than their parents and grandparents. "More than 4 in 10 predict it will be tougher to raise a family and afford the lifestyle they want," according to a poll conducted by an Associate Press-Viacom poll of Americans aged 18 to 24. But this has not prevented African Americans or whites from feeling hopeful that they will be able to adapt and cope with their circumstances.


    "Social Security may not even exist when I'm older. Health insurance is going up. Everything just costs more," said Ashley Yates, a nursing student at San Francisco State University. But students like her are not shaken by the dismal economy. 90 percent of the 1,104 participants surveyed actually believe that they will find a career that will bring them happiness.

    Young adults are willing to take on second jobs to supplement their incomes to make up for low salaries and there is a trend of optimism. More students and young professionals are determined to better their individual circumstances even if they believe that the general population will not be able to accomplish their goals.

    "Even if it never gets better permanently, we'll adjust to whatever it is," said Preus, 22, a linguistics and cognitive science grad from Cornell University who plans to pursue her passion for science in graduate school.

    A Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation-Harvard University poll discovered the economic crisis within the last few years has eliminated nearly a fifth of Americans' net worth. African Americans and Hispanics were more likely to be left broke, jobless and concerned that they lack the skills needed to gain profitable careers. But they also remained the most hopeful that they would eventually be able to prosper.

    AOL BlackVoices also reported that black teens were more optimistic about their economic futures compared to the general population. Seventy percent of black students ages 15 to 18 thought their standard of living would be better than their parents, compared with just 36 percent of white students, according to a Hamilton College poll.

    In contrast, white baby boomers were not as hopeful. "I think things are going to get worse before they get better. A lot of people are going to have to buckle down because we've got a generation now that doesn't work," said David Still, 54, a married, white father of two who works as an electrician in Sumter, S.C.

    Studies have speculated that the rise in optimism among blacks is due to the election of President Barack Obama despite the history of oppression and strife in America. Perhaps a generation where more students have seen traditional pathways to economic success feel they are more inclined to create their own road to accomplish their goals.

    "A lot of stuff in the news is telling everyone that they can't, that the economy is crumbling and there's no room for anyone to do anything," said 23-year-old Lucas Ward. "But I'm watching that being disproven every day.

     

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    (CNN) -- Nigeria goes to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president. But can Africa's most populous nation and the continent's major oil producer stage a free and fair vote to bring the changes it needs to strengthen stability both at home and across the region?

    Oil and economic muscle. Thanks to its size and abundant resources, Nigeria has both regional and global strategic importance. The country of 150 million people is Africa's most populous and its biggest market. Its booming economy is on track to surpass South Africa's next year to become the continent's largest.

    As the world's fourth largest oil exporter to the United States, Nigeria generates billions of dollars in oil revenues. As a key regional peacekeeper, Nigeria's democratic processes are also seen as a benchmark for other African nations.

    'The stability and success of its political process is crucial to the stability and growth of Africa," says Peter Cunliffe-Jones, author of 'My Nigeria: Five Decades of Independence.'

    Read more at CNN.com

     

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    Amidst of working on new albums, singers Solange Knowles and Cassie team up with Victoria's Secret model, Selita Ebanks to become the faces of the new Carol's Daughter multiracial campaign. The beauties can be seen gracing the cover of WWD Style magazine above the caption: Beauty in Diversity.


    Lisa Price, founder of the revolutionary hair and skin care line, designed the new campaign ad to reflect the recent demographic shift reported by the U.S. Census. The nationalities of each of the new Carol's Daughter spokeswomen -- Cassie (African American, Mexican and Filipina), Selita (Native American, Irish and African-American), and Solange (African American and French Creole) -- directly parallel Census figures showing at least 9 million people who identify themselves as bi- or multi-racial.

    Ebanks says, "Carol's Daughter doesn't have just one direct demographic. Solange's hair is a different texture than mine; so is Cassie's. Our skin and body types are different. Today, people are blended, and I think the three of us are a prime example. Women in my family range from vanilla to the deepest chocolate."

    Steve Stoute, lead investor and chairman of Carol's Daughter, says the brand is simply mirroring the new diverse America, "What we're doing now is moving into a polyethnic space. We want to be the first beauty brand that truly captures the beauty of the tapestry of skin types in America. When I say polyethnic, I mean women who are made up of several ethnicities. If you ask them what they are, they're going to use a lot of different words to describe themselves."

    Read more at Singersroom.com

     

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    The rapper took to the stage on Sunday night to bring the Indio, California to a close following three days of performances from bands including Arcade Fire and The Strokes.
    Kanye West began the show suspended high above the crowd on a futuristic crane, performing his first track, Power, as he was carried to the main stage, where he was greeted by 30 ballet dancers.

    He went on to thrill spectators with hits including Gold Digger, Stronger and Love Lockdown, while he was joined by Pusha T, his only special guest, for Runaway. He was watched from VIP area by celebrity fans including Usher, comedian Dave Chappelle and soul star Erykah Badu.

    Read more at Ace Show Biz

     

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    Republican Allegedly Sent E-Mail Depicting Obama as Monkey

    And they say many members of the Tea Party aren't racist.

    An altered photo depicting President Barack Obama as an ape (pictured below) with the caption, "Now you know why no birth certificate," was allegedly sent out by Marilyn Davenport, a Tea Party activist and Orange County representative, and then leaked to the media.

    Now GOP Orange County Chairman Scott Baugh is calling for her resignation:

    "It's just highly inappropriate, it's a despicable message, it drips with racism and I think she should step down from the committee."
    When newspaper OC Weekly first broke the story and asked Davenport to respond, she said,"It was just an Internet joke," but then reportedly retorted, "You're not going to make a big deal about this are you?"

    It's funny. Folks on both sides of the political aisle often agree that former President George W. Bush was one of the most incompetent commander-in-chiefs this country has ever had, but he was never disrespected (barring the shoe throwing incident by an Iraqi journalist) the way our incumbent president has been.

    And this vitriol has continuously spilled over to the First Lady. Michelle Obama was depicted as an ape on the Internet back in 2009; when Googlers inputted "Michelle Obama," they were served with the offensive ape image as the top-search result. The website that hosted the photos removed the image and issued an apology.

    Still, the shameful images of the First Lady resurfaced once again with the term "hail to the chimp," and a few months later, Glenn Beck thought it was clever to resurrect this age-old insult by calling President Obama's America a "planet of the apes."

    Republican Allegedly Sent E-Mail Depicting Obama as Monkey

    What's the significance of equating black people with apes?

    According to Assistant Professor of psychology Phillip Atiba Goff, this association -- both historically and currently -- makes it okay to abuse and or kill blacks.

    New York Post cartoonist Sean Delonas ironically brought this concept to life in his cartoon, where an ape is shown with two bullets and the words, "They'll have to find someone else to sign the next stimulus bill."

    Once the cartoon was met with stiff backlash, the newspaper released a lukewarm apology, with the editors insisting that "sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon."

    Goff's seven-year research on the "psychological phenomenon of dehumanization," though, reveals something much deeper. Participants in Goff's studies, which monitored how much of an association was made between blacks and apes and its consequences, tended to endorse police violence against blacks:

    "In one study, participants who were made to think about apes were more likely to support police violence against black (but not white) criminal suspects. The association actually caused them to endorse anti-black violence."

    Another study showed that in cases where black criminals were characterized in ape-like terms, they were more likely to receive the death penalty:

    "Looking at a sample of death-eligible cases in Philadelphia from 1979 to 1999, the more that media coverage used ape-like metaphors to describe a murder trial (i.e. "urban jungle," "aping the suspects behavior," etc.) the more likely black suspects, but not white suspects, were to be put to death.Not surprisingly, black suspects were much more likely to be described in ape-like terms. And they were more frequently executed by the state."

    Let's just let that settle.

    We all know words and images are never just words and images. They shape and mold how we see ourselves and the way we see others. So if you can dehumanize someone by taking away their humanity and turn them into a beast, it makes it perfectly reasonable to abuse and kill that beast, because he was never really human after all.

    Almost four years later, folks are still burning up about this nation's President and First Lady being black. I know four years doesn't compare to the 300-plus years of prejudice and social brainwashing that's occurred in this country, but it's time to really let this type of small-minded thinking go.

    After all, with the GOP presenting no serious competition to the Democratic ticket in 2012, these haters would make better use of their time by humming to Young Jeezy's joint below:





     

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    It's spring -- in other words, time to unleash your inner tree-hugger as you spruce up your space. And as it turns out, eco-friendly living doesn't have to be drab living. Here are a few suggestions for using your green thumb to create dazzling surroundings -- from furniture and clothing, to cleaning tools.
    Our sister site ShelterPop raves about HOM Escape in Style by Cisco Brothers (pictured above), a patio line that includes furniture, accessories and lighting -- all manufactured responsibly.

    The collection features basic, simple silhouettes made from local resources. The high-design aesthetic and exquisite craftsmanship only bolster the line's eco-sensibilities. HOM provides a greener way to decorate your space without compromising design quality. And unlike many that-arent-as-green-as-they-claim, HOM is genuinely eco-friendly, constructed using FSC-certified woods.

    Although the line was created as outdoor furnishings, HOM's end tables, chairs and chaises lounge double as indoor pieces. Ranging in price from $700 to $4,000, the HOM collection is an investment, but for many homeowners, price comes secondary to protecting our natural resources.

    For another take on eco-friendly design, Nimli is a go-to stop for earth-aware homemakers and closet-organizers.

    The wares from Nimli (pictured below) prove that green can also be grand. Founded in New York City in 2003 by Rajat Arora, the company specializes in clothing, accessories, beauty products and modern furnishings from independent designers.


    Natural, organic, recycled, sweatshop-free and cruelty-free, all products strive to conserve resources.

    An online-only retailer, Nimli perpetuates its eco policy by requiring designers to ship directly to the customers -- cutting out the extra shipping that the typical designer-to-seller-to-consumer sites entail.

    The owners of Nimli also care about style, dedicating themselves to encouraging a sustainable lifestyle that "embraces style and aesthetic."

    But it's hard to think about designer accents before a busy round of spring cleaning. Here are some some on-the-hunt-eco-friendly-cleaning-tools on how to green-ify your annual sweeping, scrubbing and mopping spree.


    CASABELLA Made from recycled soda bottles, this perky-green is part of the eclipse series by Casabella ($13). Also in the eclipse series is a set of interchangeable cleaning heads that snap onto a pole made from 30% recycled aluminum ($13); parts in the set include a wringer, broom head, microfiber floor duster head and microfiber hand duster (which only requires water -- no chemicals).

    GREENSWEEP Worn-out tires and plastic were transformed into the broom head of this broom ($18) by GreenSweep. Bamboo, considered renewable because of its rapid regrowth, is in the broom's handle. Rounding out this very green cleaning tool are bristles made from natural and recycled plastics.

    SCOTCH BRITE Adding more waste to the trash when cleaning up a floor or countertop -- such as a dirty rag or cloth after it's been used -- does not make ecological sense. That's where Greener Clean Natural Bamboo Cleaning Cloth from ScotchBrite ($6) comes in handy. It's biodegradable and made from 100% natural fibers.

    Voila!

     

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    At least someone in the Woods family is winning.

    Cheyenne Woods, Tiger Woods' niece, won the ACC women's individual title by seven shots with a score of 5-under on Sunday.

    The Wake Forest junior, who was reportedly followed by 50 fans throughout the course and sunk her final put in front of almost 200, said that she "really felt confident all day."

    Read more at The Huffington Post

     

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