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Articles on this Page
- 05/06/11--08:21: _Willie Mays turns 8...
- 05/06/11--09:45: _Chicago Public Scho...
- 05/06/11--10:09: _Sunflowers and Yell...
- 05/06/11--10:22: _Christina Norman Ou...
- 05/06/11--11:11: _Things to do This W...
- 05/06/11--12:53: _Director Salim Akil...
- 05/07/11--15:09: _Simone Honors Her M...
- 05/08/11--07:07: _Who Holds the Other...
- 05/08/11--23:03: _'106 & Park': Bigge...
- 05/08/11--23:04: _'Amazing Race': All...
- 05/08/11--23:05: _'Wendy Williams': T...
- 05/08/11--23:06: _'Celebrity Apprenti...
- 05/08/11--23:07: _'Khloe and Lamar: M...
- 05/09/11--03:55: _Venus Williams to C...
- 05/09/11--05:24: _Treme's Cheap, Ugly...
- 05/09/11--05:30: _Racist Telemundo Sk...
- 05/09/11--08:31: _Snapped: Michelle O...
- 05/09/11--08:34: _Hats & Horses Galor...
- 05/09/11--08:38: _'Jumping the Broom'...
- 05/09/11--09:16: _President Obama on ...
- 05/06/11--08:21: Willie Mays turns 80 Years Old
- 05/06/11--09:45: Chicago Public Schools Promote Reading with Black Role Models
- 05/06/11--10:09: Sunflowers and Yellow Roses: Mother Love
- 05/06/11--10:22: Christina Norman Out at Oprah Winfrey's OWN
- 05/06/11--11:11: Things to do This Weekend: Mother's Day Edition
- 05/07/11--15:09: Simone Honors Her Mother Nina Simone With A New Website
- 05/08/11--07:07: Who Holds the Other End?
- 05/08/11--23:03: '106 & Park': Biggest Fan
- 05/08/11--23:04: 'Amazing Race': All For Mamma
- 05/08/11--23:05: 'Wendy Williams': Tear Jerker
- 05/08/11--23:06: 'Celebrity Apprentice': Silent Exit
- 05/08/11--23:07: 'Khloe and Lamar: More Than Friends
- 05/09/11--03:55: Venus Williams to Comeback with Eastbourne
- 05/09/11--05:24: Treme's Cheap, Ugly Showstopper
- 05/09/11--05:30: Racist Telemundo Skit Goes Viral
- 05/09/11--08:31: Snapped: Michelle Obama's Date Night
- 05/09/11--08:34: Hats & Horses Galore: Stars at The 137th Annual Kentucky Derby
- 05/09/11--08:38: 'Jumping the Broom' Grosses $15.3M
- 05/09/11--09:16: President Obama on bin Laden Raid: 'Longest 40 Minutes of My Life'
SAN FRANCISCO - A trip to New York in January gave San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey a chance to spend time with Willie Mays, who joined a team delegation in taking the World Series trophy to the club's birthplace.
For Posey, the experience was akin to traveling back in time, through the game's history with Mays as a tour guide who learned not from books but from experience.
"It's almost like, if you were lucky enough to sit and talk to Babe Ruth when he was alive, or Mickey Mantle or (Joe) DiMaggio," Posey said, remarking on Mays' sharp wit and enduring passion for the game. "He's a living legend."
The legend turns 80 Friday, and the Giants will mark the occasion with a pregame ceremony that will include tributes from some of his former teammates with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League.
That was the team with which Mays made his pro debut as a 17-year-old high schooler in 1948, three years before he became the NL Rookie of the Year with the New York Giants.
He's one of four living Hall of Famers who played in the Negro leagues, along with Hank Aaron, Monte Irvin and Ernie Banks, and he harks backs to some of the game's signature moments.
Mays was the on-deck hitter when Bobby Thomson hit the "Shot Heard 'Round the World," sending the Giants to the 1951 World Series, and his immortal catch of Vic Wertz's drive in the 1954 Fall Classic has been regarded as one of the greatest plays in history.
Read more at USA Today.
When it comes to the Chicago Public School system, one often hears more negative than positive, but here's something the system is getting right: the "Real Men Read" program.
Once a month, black male firefighters, clergy, community leaders and doctors volunteer their time by going to schools and reading aloud to the children.
"I think it's important for kids to have somebody that looks like them do something positive."
While another said:
"[It's important to] have black males come in to the class and read to them, if they don't have that example anywhere else."
The program was developed in order to improve kids' reading skills while exposing them to black men who value education. Nicholson Technology Academy Principal Rodney Hall says that for some of these students, they are experiencing this for the first time:
"For many of our kids, it's the first time that they are having a male role model read to them."
While very little about public schools in urban areas gets celebrated, many kudos to the Chicago school system for finding a simple yet creative way to impact our children.
Watch the program here:
I know what it is for Mother's Day to be hard. When your Mama's broke, and I don't mean, when your Mama has no money, I mean when your mother has a heart so hurting she can't love herself, she can't love her child, she can't even like being black or stand being a woman, the second Sunday in May is not an easy day.
It's a day for pushing rocks up hills.
For years the biggest rock I pushed up the hill on Mother's Day was trying to get my mother to see herself the way I saw her, as the most beautiful woman in the world.
When I was about six years old I tried to tell her with homemade (from a box) chocolate pudding. I spelled out "I love you" in cereal on the top of the bowl of brown goo. She put the mess in the sink.
As the years passed I mastered some of the art of cooking. I learned to make French crepes with blackberries and raised German pancakes with strawberries and I made them for my Mama. I never learned how to make her see herself as anything but too round and too brown.
Eventually I stopped cooking for the lady. I got a job babysitting. I started buying her pretty things. I remember a silver-plated basket from Saks Fifth Avenue I filled with fancy florist shop roses. She thought it was pretty. And irrelevant.
There was a boatload of pain, a boatload of shame, and a boatload of void those roses couldn't drown. At the center of it was those roses couldn't make her forget about loosing her mother when she was five years old.
I spent my first Mother's Day as a mother in Yugoslavia. I thought I might be dying and I was on a much needed spiritual retreat with my best friend. My nine month old was in Maryland with her Daddy. I celebrated the day by writing letters proclaiming my love for my daughter's gorgeously brown and round infant self.
These last twenty-three years Mother's Day has become a favorite day. When my child was an infant there was some thought that she might not be able to see, some thought that she couldn't hear, some thought that she was far from the near perfect she turned out to be. It was then that I fell in love with flowers. I would hold sweet smelling ones under her nose and I would stroke her cheek with them. If all she knew of the world was going to be my lap and a silent darkness is was going to be a sweet scented silent darkness, it was going to be a soft lap.
I was mother. I was a mother of the most amazing person in the world. I had never been more bound or more liberated.
Years later that girl became a young woman who gave me a bouquet of sunflowers and roses. To my eyes the sunflowers were raggedy but right and the roses were exquisite. As I recall her card read, "the sunflowers are you and the roses me. We are the perfect bouquet. Happy Mother's Day."
And it was. From the very first flower we shared, something straggly picked wild in dusty garden, I let the present eclipse the past. I let the flowers matter. On the second Sunday in May, there are no rocks and no hills, round our way.
Maybe your Mama has passed. Maybe you never knew your Mama. Maybe your Mama didn't love you. Maybe you can't have a child. Find someone who needs a flower, give it to them, and let it matter.
Let it remind you of who your other mothers are and of who needs your mothering.
Motherlove is not inevitable. It is not conservative. It is a powerful love that transforms the lover and the loved one by celebrating and exalting the unique identity of both. It is unselfish and unending. It is brave and it is fierce. It proclaims, "even murderers have Mama's" and "I brought you into this world I'll take you out of it" while it means, "I will take on anything and everyone who stands in your way."
Risking death, and every birth risks death, mothers brings new life, assenting with every cry and push; or incision and tear; or signature and sigh; or hug and hand squeeze -- to the eclipsing significance of each soul entrusted to our care -- and of our own significance as nurturers.
Mothers let the flowers matter.
"Mother-love is not inevitable. The good mother is a great artist ever creating beauty out of chaos."
I wrote those words. They're on a few million Starbucks cups. The flowers remind us to keep making beauty out of the chaos. To keep being a mother, is to keep seeing the beauty. And much of it begins in the eye of the beholder.
Be somebody's Mama today. Maybe even your Mama's.
Alice Randall is the author of 'Rebel Yell,' 'The Wind Done Gone,' and other works of fiction. A Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University, she teaches Bedtime in the Briarpatch, an intensive examination of African-American children's literature from the seventeenth century to the present. Read her blog on Red Room.
Filed under: Around the Web
From The Hollywood Reporter:
The revolving executive door at OWN is spinning again.
Peter Liguori is stepping in as interim CEO of the Oprah Winfrey-Discovery Communications joint venture, taking over for Christina Norman, who has been dismissed after a slow ratings start and budget overruns. The news was announced Friday by Oprah Winfrey, chairman of OWN, and David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications.
Liguori also remains COO of Discovery Communications. But his main focus will be on getting OWN on track. The network had a strong opening weekend in January as curious viewers tuned in. But since then, OWN's rating are tracking only slightly higher than the network it replaced, Discovery Health. And the programming costs at OWN are much higher.
Read more of the story here.
Filed under: Celebrations
Brooklyn Museum Mother's Day Brunch and Tour: The Brooklyn Museum is offering a Mother's Day Brunch and a choice of one of four guided gallery tours, along with a 15 percent discount in the gift shop. Tours will begin at 12:30 p.m. $50 per person or $45 for museum members. Read more.
Give Mom the Gift of Relaxation: Give mom a day off and something you both can enjoy by taking her to a spa. The Queen Bee Waxing Salon and Spa is offering Mother's Day gift cards. Purchase a $100 gift card for mom and receive a $10 voucher for yourself. Read more.
Sweeten Up Your Love for Mom With An Edible Arrangement: You can never go wrong with a Sweetheat Bouquet from Edible Arrangements. The unique gift set comes complete with a balloon set, and a box of six chocolate dipped apple wedges. Not too mention that you can save $19.00 in celebration of mom's special day. Read more.
Filed under: Movies
If one were to do a Google photo search for Salim Akil, pictures of his wife, Mara Brock Akil, are just as likely to come up in the results.
For some less enlightened men, such a close association to one's wife might be bothersome. Not for Akil though. For years, the married couple has collaborated as directors, producers and writers on several projects, most notably 'Girlfriends,' the CW sitcom his wife created in 2000 and its spin-off series, 'The Game,' that now airs on BET.
As a matter of fact, Akil, 46, is the first to credit his wife for his success, admitting that the biggest adjustment came when he had to tackle directing 'Jumping The Broom' - which opens in theaters today (May 6) - on his own. Akil shot the bulk of the film, which is about two families who meet at a wedding in Martha's Vineyard, on location in Nova Scotia, Canada. His wife stayed home in Los Angeles, where the two live with their young sons, age 7 and 2. "After working with my wife for so long, it really felt like I was out there alone when she wasn't around," Akil said. "I had a great cast, a great crew, and great producers, but the biggest challenge was to trust myself."
A quick scan of husband and wife's respective IMDB.com pages shows how intertwined their careers are, but it's clear the man of the house is unquestionably the quieter of the two. If his wife is behind the scenes, Akil is even further behind the scenes. But it's a role he kind of relishes, an extension of who he is as a person. "Mara is the more gregarious person, so you've heard a lot more about her, I'm sort of the quiet one," Akil says. "To watch her and her name blossom out there in the public makes me happy because I know she's happy."
As Akil is quick to note, "A happy wife is a happy life."
Akil isn't just comparably quieter than his wife. In the continuum of black male directors, he is often associated with or compared to Tyler Perry and Spike Lee, two of Hollywood's most outspoken figures. But Akil has always maintained a level of anonymity. He doesn't act in his own projects now and up until 'Jumping The Broom,' he's done very little press or promotion for his work. Even on the set of his own film, where directors often call shots through a megaphone, a reel of behind-the-scenes footage shows Akil walking up to cast members to give direction.
"I actually modeled my character in the film after Salim," says Laz Alonso who plays Jason Taylor, a charming but stoic groom-to-be who must help his family get along with the family of his future wife portrayed by Paula Patton. "One thing I noticed about Salim has under no circumstances, regardless of what adversities we faced, he never, ever lost his cool. He was the coolest guy on the planet."
That cool demeanor was shaped during a rather rough childhood growing up in the Bay Area, where he learned early on how navigate a cruel world. "I literally saw my friends slaughtered - those who weren't were in prison," says Akil, who also has a son, 26, and a daughter, 32, and three grandchildren. "My mom spent some time in prison and my step-dad overdosed, and my dad for the most part wasn't around."
As a writer and director, Akil is very aware of the rich source-material his biography offers. Unlike other filmmakers who have used their lives as screen fodder (Perry's 'Madea' films; Lee's 'Crooklyn'), Akil chooses to keep that part of his life private, largely because he can barely get the details out of his mouth, let alone onto the page. "Emotionally, it's just challenging for me," he reveals. "This is the most I've ever talked about it. It just really becomes uncomfortable [to think about]. I start longing, literally, for brighter days and sunnier days."
He has slightly better memories about the path he took to get to Hollywood. In 1999, a year after he wrapped 'Drylongso,' his first indie film in which he starred and also co-produced, Akil decided to move from his hometown of Richmond, Calif., to enroll at UCLA so he could access the school's film resources. When he wasn't studying on campus, he worked at an outpatient facility for the mentally ill. Though the job weighed on him heavily, Akil managed to keep writing scripts and maintain his filmmaking ambitions.
The person most encouraging of his talent then was a young Mara Brock. The two started dating when he first moved to Los Angeles after a chance meeting at a furniture store. Three months later, she proposed to him.(!) They were engaged for two years before marrying.
During their early years together, they both struggled professionally. But that time was a bit harder for Akil. While Brock got various jobs working in television, Akil said his day job hindered his creative impulses. Although she often told him to quit, Akil was stubborn. "I said, 'That's odd, a black woman asking a black man to quit his job'," he recalls. "I can't quit a job, that just doesn't make sense."
A week later, Akil was fired.
Left with no choice but to follow his passion, Akil started to talk with people about a script he wrote called 'Undertow,' a story about a bi-polar schizophrenic detective. 'Undertow' was eventually optioned by Showtime, but never made it to the big screen. Instead, Akil landed an interview to write for the network's popular 'Soul Food,' a series based on George Tillman's 1997 film. By the show's final season, Akil was an executive producer and had directed two episodes. Later, he went on to direct episodes of 'Girlfriends' and 'The Game.'
These days, Akil is more than adequately skilled in his craft. He's developed a sophisticated touch and is able to tell nuanced stories about the different shades of romance. From 'Soul Food' to 'The Game' to 'Jumping the Broom,' there is a similar thread in all that addresses matters of the heart, specifically relationships between men, women and family. "I had a lot of love from my mom, but the life I was living [as a child] was not normal," he explains. "So now, when I can get into marriage, it's interesting to me."
The stories represented in his films are a symbol of his happiness: "It is me smiling."
His wife, children and the people around motivate him to continue making good work. The couple is preparing to shoot the fifth season of 'The Game,' and planning a remake of 'Sparkle', the classic 1976 film about the ups and downs of a R&B girl group in Harlem.
"We have a finished script that we have turned in the studio," Akil says. No actors have been attached to the project yet. The only names definitely attached are he and his wife. Whether only one of their names is in the final credits or both, Akil has no problem saying they did it together. "I don't question who's running things in our household," he says. "That's the perception people who are powerless need to have. I don't need to have that perception."
This year on Mother's Day, Simone, the daughter of singer Nina Simone, will pay tribute to the woman who raised her with a gift for not only her mother, but her mother's fans as well. Simone -- the late singer's only child, born Lisa Celeste Stroud (pictured as a child with her mother) -- is re-launching NinaSimone.com with a new design and a deep trove of content, including unreleased songs, video performances and "Nina Simone Radio," a 24-7 Internet radio station that will provide hundreds of recordings, interviews and guest commentary.
As the executor of her mother's estate, Simone has owned the rights to NinaSimone.com for over a year, but only began preparations for a re-launch about six months ago. "As her only child, I have a unique vision compared to anyone else walking this earth," Simone says. "So a lot of what we're bringing to the site is from my perspective."
Simone, 48, describes the relationship with her mother as "many things." She says, "I didn't even know who Nina Simone was until I was around 11 or 12 years old, then I was able to make the distinction that she was someone else to the world." Simone went on to work in civil engineering for the United States Air Force, but at 28 decided she wanted to follow in her mother's footsteps. The elder Simone was not sure her daughter was ready. "She said to me, 'They're going to expect you to sing protest songs,'" Simone recalls. "I said, 'Well, then I'll sing your songs.' So she realized I was committed to it."
And Simone is committed to and invested in clearing up whatever mistruths may exist out there about her mother. "As with any great figure there are rumors, there's gossip, there's assumptions, and I can't correct everything," Simone says. "But what I can do is make sure I have somewhere people can go to that they know when they hear something or see something that this is the truth and it's not going to change."
Never quite as popular when she was alive to perform and record it as it has been since her passing in 2003, Nina Simone's music has long been beloved and respected. A pianist first, Nina Simone's voice took the spotlight at many of her early shows where she was told in auditions that if she wanted the gig she would have to both play piano and sing. Her 1959 cover of George Gershwin's 'I Loves You Porgy' was her only Top 40 hit, going as high as number 20 on the 'Billboard' charts, but her cult-like following was garnered largely through her affinity for protest songs during the civil rights era.
Nina Simone's 1969 hit single, 'To Be Young, Gifted, and Black,' the title of which she borrowed from her close friend playwright Lorraine Hansberry, inspired many artists to do their own renditions, including Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin. In more recent years, hip-hop artists have created song using samples of her work. 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' was a sample used on both Common's 2007 album 'Finding Forever' ('Misunderstood') and Lil Wayne's 2008 album, 'Tha Carter III' ('Don't Get It').
In addition to the re-launch of NinaSimone.com, daughter Simone is also producing a double album of her mother's music to be released next year, as well as a follow up to her own 'Simone on Simone' released last year. Simone says many of her mother's fans never knew Nina Simone ever had a daughter, a disconnect she seems to have accepted. On a recent trip to Finland, where she was performing alongside singer Bobby McFerrin, Simone recalls McFerrin saying he wasn't aware of who she was. "I said to him, 'I get that all the time.'"
When I was a little girl, we sometimes found ourselves one person short when we tried to jump rope. One of us had to swing the end of the rope and the other was meant to jump -- but who was to swing the other end? Sometimes we'd make do by tying the rope onto a fence. Black feminists are like that fence -- nothing would happen without the fence, but who ever talks about it? You don't share photos of a fence or invite it to reunions.
Finally arrives 'Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Clinton' by Duchess Harris, and I realized what a tribute this book is to motherhood. It lionizes all the mothers -- literal or not -- in black activism (from Fannie Lou Hamer to Barbara Jordan, pictured below, to Dr. Joycelyn Elders). They were like that fence, holding up the other end of the jump rope and making everything possible.
They nurtured our movement, strategized our political growth and were guardians of our future. They are also too easily overlooked by the male dominated political movements and those who report on it. No matter how far black women march, no matter how big their afros, no matter how high the office they reach their history has always been told from the perspective of men, where the other end of the jump rope isn't that important.
As I read the Harris book, I'm reminded of my stepmother, Henrietta Walker. She was, in my mind, always grouped with those political women even though she was simply a cook in a slightly sketchy lounge in Boston's South End. She raised the children of other relatives, and me when I visited every weekend. She was so different from the quiet Native American/Bostonian great grandmother with whom I lived, that I was intrigued from the day we met when I was 8 years old.
Henrietta was from Gulfport, Mississippi and carried the art and culture of the south in her walk, and in her smoky voice, full frame and the red lipstick she wore. Both playful and commanding, she was as much a friend as caretaker. She believed in the Civil Rights Movement and was one of the few relatives who didn't have a fit when I started wearing my hair natural. She even wore an afro herself when she hit her 70s.
One story she told forever bound me to her and to the images of those black feminists who marched and sang and passed legislation. Henrietta went back to Mississippi for a family visit after the civil rights bill was passed and after the sit-ins and bus boycotts had died down. For the first time in her life she rode in the front of a municipal bus.
I'd watched all the southern marches and violence against the marchers on television and revered the people -- the men and the women -- who put their lives in danger to secure basic human rights like voting, schooling or drinking at a water fountain. They inspired me to be active in the more subtly segregated north.
Henrietta's bus ride echoed those heroic moments I'd watched anxiously on the nightly news and her description of that moment raised the hairs on my arms. This woman who'd taught me how to make peach cobbler, braid hair and wait on tables could have, despite the proclaimed new day, been in danger! All it took was one resentful racist sitting nearby.
She knew it and still she rode the bus. My usually cool teenage exterior dissolved and I cried as she expressed her own anxiety at sitting down in that strange place, that free place. She also revealed the mix of emotions she held inside when nothing happened -- exaltation, sadness and relief.
The world that has desecrated the image and idea of African American women from the moment the first slave was dragged in chains onto these shores has little space for these heroic women. The shameful lineage is long: from the mammy figure to the dismissive Moynihan Report that blamed black matriarchs for the demise of the black community, to the expletive filled defilement of black women that still fills rap and hip Hop music.
Yet it is millions of black mothers who shaded the children they gave birth to in cotton and tobacco fields and marched thru the civil rights movement; who still work night shifts to support families, and cry at the funerals of her gangsta sons. They serve in Congress and serve food just like Henrietta.
As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Southern sit-ins I think about Henrietta and her bus ride. She disproved all of the knee-jerk stepmother stereotypes with her black, Southern, no-nonsense, silky boisterousness that carried the history of who black mothers really are. They carried the other end of that jump rope that made all things possible.
Jewelle Gomez is the author of 'The Gilda Stories,' the only black, lesbian, feminist vampire novel that marries lyrical language to epic action over a span of 200 years. Additional works include two poetry collections, a book of personal essays, and a collection of short stories. Read Jewelle's blog on Red Room.
Filed under: Daily DramaMegan Good and her sister stop by to have a quick chat about a special woman in their lives.
The sisters share how their mother has been there for them and helped them strive to achieve the success they have obtained. They send their love her way.
106 & Park Weeknights, 9PM on BET
Filed under: Daily DramaIf you're not first, you're last. Two sisters cross the 'Amazing Race' finish line, securing the win and becoming 1 million dollars richer.
The two are only the second all female team to win the competition. They happily shared their plans to use the winnings to help their mother.
Amazing Race Sundays, 8PM on CBS
Filed under: Daily DramaSurprise, surprise! Wendy's producers air a video from one of her family members that brings her to tears.
The television host's thoughtful son recorded a heartfelt message for his mother to see on her special day.
Wendy Williams Weekdays, Syndicated
Filed under: Daily DramaThe constant bickering has become too much for one of the ladies. After continuous unresolved fighting with Star Jones, Nene Leaks decides to make a quiet exit.
The former Housewife silently slipped away from the group, caught a taxi, and headed home. Donald Trump had some final words for Nene.
Celebrity Apprentice Sundays, 9PM on NBC
Filed under: Daily DramaKhloe's best friend, Malika, wonders if there could be something more to her extremely close relationship with Robert. Is it a match made in heaven?
After much flirting and tension, it seems the two "friends" may decide to see what more this relationship has to offer.
Khloe and Lamar Sundays,10PM on E
From Live Tennis Guide:
Venus Williams has wrecked with tradition and entered a warm-up tournament before Wimbledon. The first African American woman has agreed to play at the June 11-18 Eastbourne International for the first era since 1998.
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus reached the Madrid Open final and ended Julia Goerges ten-match winning streak by beating the German 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals.
Williams has ranked World No. 15 in singles and also World No. 20 in doubles as of 2011 year. She has been ranked World No. 1 in singles by the women's tennis association on three separate events.
Williams started new 2011 by participating at the Hong Kong Tennis Classic; she has lost both her single's matches against Li Na and Vera Zvonareva. But, she handled to help Team America to win the silver group.
Read more here.
Let's talk about this week's "Treme." I found it disappointing overall -- unimaginative in most ways, and tone-deaf in others. Except for the hilarious scenes with Antoine (Wendell Pierce) rehearsing his new band and that splendid, wordless, musical opening, much of it was distressingly choppy and superficial, cutting scenes (and musical numbers) short as if with a hatchet and treating every subplot as equally interesting when in fact many of them were not interesting at all. ("On Your Way Down" was the episode title; James Yoshimura wrote it, Simon Cellan-Jones directed.)
But all those other flaws pale beside the hour's horrifying (and buzz-generating) showstopper: an act of savage criminal violence inflicted on one of the show's strongest characters. It was handled fairly tastefully by HBO standards, but also in a way that reduced its victim, a complex and steely character, to punching bag status, and that seemed, for a David Simon production, weirdly off-key.
If you haven't seen the episode, you should stop reading now.
If you have seen it, you know which subplot I'm referring to: the rape of Khandi Alexander's character, LaDonna Batiste-Williams, by two anonymous thugs who invaded her bar after closing time.
Read more here.
A racist telemundo skit (pictured) that actually came out in 2009 has most recently gone viral on YouTube.
In the skit, adults pretending to be grade school students insult and berate an "African" exchange student who is visiting Mexico. The insults are nothing new, with complexion, thick lips and his intelligence level all giving in to well-known stereotypes that have been circulated throughout the United States since the antebellum period.
In a dialogue that is poorly conceived, fellow students mock foreign-born Jhonny for having brown skin ("lightning turned [him] black") and coming from Africa.
A few minutes later, the script takes an illogical turn, when Jhonny proudly declares in Spanish that he is "purely Mexican." Immediately, the teacher, who brandishes what looks to be a ruler and never tires of hitting Jhonny and the other students with it, responds that he actually looks "full-blown Cuban," which, by the raucous laughter, seems to indicate that, that association is negative.
Jokes are also made about Jhonny's hair ("When he gets white hair, he'd look like an extinguished cigar"). Then another student decides to poke more fun at Jhonny's complexion, saying:
Student: "Hey, boy, you played for a long time in the sun, didn't you?"
Jhonny: Why do you say that?
Student: "Because you are burned."
Of course, the skit wouldn't be complete without the dusty monkey-in-the-tree reference. Jhonny appears to enjoy meeting his fellow classmates' stereotypical expectations by actually jumping on the teacher's desk ... (surprise, surprise) like a monkey. Throughout the video, Jhonny makes a number of self-deprecating jokes, repeatedly disrupts the class and conveniently drives home the point that all black people are both foolish and barbaric.
I covered Dr. Henry L. Gates' "Black in Latin America" series last week. His series underscores how and why a "comedy" such as this one could be made so recently. Obviously, Latin America is decades behind the United States in its treatment and perception of its darker-skinned population, and that is particularly disturbing given that America, with its treatment of this nation's first black president and African Americans in general, isn't exactly so post-racial either.
When I was growing up, one of my best friend's was from Columbia, and her mom watched Telemundo all day. In my time there -- and we played for a few years -- I never saw a black person on TV, so I thought there were no black people in Spanish-speaking countries.
We did have a Dominican hair dresser, though, who was darker than both of my parents, who are African. Even though she did our hair for years, I found myself very confused that she was black and spoke Spanish. I think I eventually just thought her and her family were an aberration of some sort.
In later years, my husband swung me by Spanish Harlem on a date and I was shocked to see how many "black" people were there. He had to explain to me that African people do indeed live throughout Latino countries and islands.
I soon began to understand that the African people of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and South America have had a similar experience to African Americans, but without Dr. Martin L. King Jr., the "black is beautiful" movement or the Malcolm X consciousness that exploded throughout the United States -- a freaky reality to consider!
In a way, it is positive for this video to go viral. Perhaps Mexicans and other Latin countries like it can be internationally shamed for their ignorance and legacy of humiliation and discrimination. On the other hand, I am more concerned for the "Jhonnys" of the region. How many Afro-Hispanics accept this marginalized and distorted imagery?
This question troubles me the most.
Watch the racist skit here:
This Mother's Day weekend President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle were spotted heading out to swanky Italian restaurant Tosca in Washington, D.C for some a private date. The President looked business casual cool in his checkered sport coat while Michelle was downtown chic in her leather blazer, one shoulder top, wide leg pants and bright purple clutch. Her keen eye for fashion is undeniable, just look at how the President's eying her!
At the 137th Annual Kentucky Derby held May 7 in Louisville, Kentucky, big hats, bright florals and and sexy summer dresses were absolute essentials. Check out some of the event's biggest hats and boldest outfits.
"Jumping the Broom" star Paula Patton arrives at the Kentucky Derby in a bright white summer dress and a gray and blue floral hat.
Black is a tough color to wear in warm weather but Tichina Arnold somehow pulls off a black on black ensemble with her small shear hat matching her dress to a t.
Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas
TLC's Chilli's basic black striped hat adds just the right touch to her strapless floral dress and pink peep toes.
Sandra Denton and Cheryl Wray of Salt-N-Pepa look like they stepped out of Alice and Wonderland's Mad Hatters Ball but they get kudos for going all out for the event.
Filed under: Around the Web
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Sony's 'Jumping the Broom' enjoyed a big boost from Mother's Day, up 13 percent on Sunday and earning $15.3 million for the weekend - instead of the estimated $13.7 million.
'Something Borrowed,' the weekend's other femme-driven comedy, also saw better than expected results because of Mother's Day, grossing $14 million, instead of the estimated $13.2 million. The movie, distributed by Warner Bros., was fully financed by Alcon Entertainment ('The Blind Side').
Targeting African-American moviegoers, 'Jumping the Broom' received an A CinemaScore grade across all categories, a rarity. Women represented 70 percent of those buying tickets, while 64 percent of the audience was over the age of 35.
Read more of the story here.
Filed under: Around the Web
From The '60 Minutes':
In his first and only interview since the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama talks to '60 Minutes' very own Steve Kroft about the intelligence and preparations leading up to the operation in Pakistan.
View more of the interview here.