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

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    From the Huffington Post:

    The bulging Mississippi River rolled into the fertile Mississippi Delta on Tuesday, threatening to wash away stately homes and shotgun shacks, and destroy fields of cotton, rice and corn in a flood of historic proportions.

    The river took aim at one of the most poverty-stricken parts of the country after cresting before daybreak at Memphis, Tenn., just inches short of the record set in 1937. Some low-lying neighborhoods were inundated, but the city's high levees protected much of the rest of Memphis.

    Over the past week or so in the Delta, floodwaters along the rain-swollen river and its backed-up tributaries have already washed away crops, forced many people to flee to higher ground and closed some of the dockside casinos that are vital to the state's economy.

    Read more of the article here.

     

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    From the Detroit Free Press:

    Derrick Rose scored 33 points, Luol Deng added 23, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks, 95-83, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead.

    Taj Gibson scored 11 points -- all in the fourth quarter. Rose also scored 11 in the fourth, and the Bulls pounded the Hawks, 26-15, in the quarter.

    Game 6 is Thursday in Atlanta, and Chicago is one win from its first conference finals appearance since 1998, when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen wrapped up their second championship three-peat.


    Read more of the article here
    .

     

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    From the Washington Post:

    Sony said Tuesday it aims to fully restore its PlayStation Network, shut down after a massive security breach affecting over 100 million online accounts, by the end of May.

    Sony also confirmed that personal data from 24.6 million user accounts was stolen in the hacker attack last month. Personal data, including credit card numbers, might have been stolen from another 77 million PlayStation accounts, said Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. spokesman Satoshi Fukuoka.

    He said Sony has not received any reports of illegal uses of stolen information, and the company is continuing its probe into the hacker attack. He declined to give details on the investigation.

    Read more of the article here.

     

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    On August 2nd, 18-year-old Latisha Frazier (pictured as a child with her father above), who is also a Mother of 3-year-old Diamond, was lured to a D.C. apartment and attacked by four teens and one adult.

    According to Lawrence Kamal Hassan, 23, who was eventually charged with kidnapping, Frazier had allegedly stolen $200 from 17-year-old Johnnie Sweet, and she had been brought to Sweet's residence in order to "teach her a lesson."

    After incessant stomping, Frazier died.

    Not knowing what to do with her body, Sweet, along with Anneka Nelson, 16, and Cinthya Proctor, 18, all helped to put Frazier's body in the closet.

    Eventually, they would attempt to dismember her, but when they weren't able to do it, they decided to throw her remains in the garbage.

    Frazier's parents would report Frazier missing two days later on August 4th.

    Now, almost nine months later, even after all involved parties have been charged as adults with first-degree felony muder, with the exception of Hassan who was charged with felony murder (or kidnapping), Frazier's parents still have been unable to locate their daughter.

    Hassan, who admitted during the trial that he was the one responsible for strangling Frazier by putting her in a chokehold, insists that Frazier's body was indeed left in a Washington garbage bin, meaning that Frazier's remains would have had to be taken to a landfill in Richmond, Virginia.

    And while this seems like an easy case for authorities to close, the drama and heartache for the Frazier family has only intensified:

    Authorities ruled that they would NOT look for Frazier's body in the landfill (pictured below) because they deem her retrieval too dangerous and expensive.

    According to the AP:

    "Police and prosecutors said the search would have exposed officers to toxic levels of methane, needles and other dangerous refuse and would have cost millions of dollars and taken at least six months. They say officers would have had to dig through 500,000 cubic yards of trash just to reach the search area - Frazier's remains are believed to be 60 to 70 feet below the surface - and that even if they found them, it wouldn't greatly aid their prosecution."

    D.C. police also say that even if they retrieved the body, Frazier's remains would be so severely compromised that it wouldn't help the investigation.

    Still, many beyond Frazier's family are up in arms that police and officials aren't doing all that they can -- as has been done in other cases -- to lay Frazier's body to rest.

    Former New York police officer and prosecutor who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Eugene O'Donnell says police spared no expense in retrieving as many bodies as possible during the September 11th attacks in New York:

    "
    The police took great risks and spared no expense and literally people got injured while they stood on a pile in Fresh Kills Landfill" on Staten Island, N.Y., searching for remains of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks."

    Frazier's father, Barry Campbell (pictured below right with Frazier's mother, Caroline), thinks his daughter is getting different treatment because he and her mother are regular blue-collar workers:

    "[You have the] big world ....
    Then you have the Latisha Fraziers, that's the small world - helping people as far as at McDonald's or working the Metro. The blue-collar workers, the blue-collar people. They're looked upon in a different light."

    Even experts in the field say D.C. officials treatment of this case is unusual. According to the AP:

    "
    Experts say the decision not to excavate is unusual in a profession conditioned to do all it can to recover victims' bodies, but they also said it reflects the long odds of success the police felt they faced and the tricky calculus involved in any missing person case."
    Latisha Frazier
    While having officials go 70 feet below the surface to find Frazier's remains is dangerous, it is by no means unheard of.

    In 2009, seven-year-old Somer Thompson (pictured below) disappeared. Authorities immediately knew that if she had been killed, her body would most likely end up the Flokston, Georgia, landfill.

    According to ABC News:

    "
    Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said it was a "matter of routine course" in a missing person case that police "begin following garbage trucks" and search nearby landfills."

    Georgia police went through 100 tons of trash and spent three days relentlessly looking for her over land and around lakes with the use of helicopters and heat-sensing technologies.

    And when they still couldn't find her, authorities went the extra step of interviewing more than 70 registered sex offenders that lived in the area.

    Eventually, Somer was found in that same landfill that authorities had been eyeing all along.


    Georgia authorities were committed to finding Somer and spared no expense until they actually did. In the case with Frazier, one of her attackers has directed authorities to where her body is, yet there remains no action to excavate.

    Watch the case here:

     

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    From Clutch Magazine: NFL player Albert Haynesworth is under fire. Not only because he was arraigned this morning for allegedly groping a waitress at the W Hotel in Washington D.C. back in February, but because his apparent defense against the sex abuse charges is pretty pathetic-he can't possibly be guilty, Haynesworth asserts because he "doesn't even like Black girls."
    According to The Root, Haynesworth refused to accept a plea deal for simple assault, which would have kept him out of jail. Instead, he was arraigned on sex abuse charges for allegedly "sliding his credit card into the bra of a waitress and touching her breast during a birthday party," and may face up to 180 days in jail if convicted.


    Aside from Haynesworth's ridiculous, "I don't even like Black girls" defense, the troubled Washington Redskins player went on to claim the waitress was just mad because his girlfriend is white.

    "I didn't touch her. I don't even like black girls. I know what this is about, she is just upset I have a white girlfriend. I couldn't tell you the last time I dated a black girl. She was trying to get with me, "
    Haynesworth said.

    Perhaps sensing the stupidity of his client's defense, Haynesworth's business manager, told reporters that the "real" reason the waitress filed charges against his client was because she was upset over her tip.

    Read more at Clutch Magazine, tell us what you think below

     

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  • 05/11/11--07:32: Freedom Ride 2011: Day 3

  • CHARLOTTE -- As tears tumbled down the old man's face, he wrapped his arms around the young man and held him close, so close that his gray beard bristled against his cheek.

    The young man closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

    And so did I, from where I stood a few feet away.

    "I didn't want to let him go," Bakhrom Ismoilov said, a few minutes later. "I felt like, a fatherly love. The last time I got a hug from my own father was a long time ago, when I was very small."

    Ismoilov and the old man, J. Charles Jones (pictured) stood in the middle of the basement cafeteria at the United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday morning (May 10), and shared something familiar, yet so very far away.

    And it looked like fatherly love, too.

    I don't think I ever shared such a moment with my own father, let alone a stranger. This kind of embrace between the men in my family is usually reserved for weddings or funerals, not a random Tuesday morning.

    But truth be told, this meeting was anything but random.

    Ismoilov, 22, is an exchange student from Tajikistan studying at Eastern Oregon University, and since Sunday he has been traveling with 39 other college students and nearly a half-dozen original Freedom Riders recreating their courageous journey into the Deep South some 50 years earlier.

    Jones, who lives in Charlotte, is a legend of the Civil Rights Movement, a pioneer of the sit-ins, a founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and one of the more than 400 Freedom Riders who challenged the Jim Crow laws of the day. These days Jones is a lion in winter -- his roar still the protest and freedom songs that spill from his lips in long waves with laughter and sometimes tears.

    "This is a blessing, man. This is a spiritual connection with the ancestors, with the slaves working 12 and 15 hours a day hoping that at some point we'd be here in this way," Jones said. "How can I not reflect and let it flow through to each and every one of you."

    "And I don't care if I got tears in my eyes," he said. "I'm 73 years old and I don't have to be macho on nothing. But maybe this is the highest macho, when you can let your tears flow every now and then."


    When he pulled away from Ismoilov, he whispered something into his ear, and then went on to embrace the other young men and women who by then had gathered around him.

    "Everything he has been through was in his eyes," Ismoilov said. "And when he hugged me I just felt all these feelings like, I was feeling those experiences."

    Back in Tajikistan, Ismoilov's own father is an out-of-work entrepreneur, and his mother, a pediatrician, started a small pharmacy. It has been a very long time since he has seen them -- Ismoilov has been traveling the world since he was 15, the globe has been his classroom. His parents are proud, he said. They have good reason to be.

    That day in the church basement, I watched as Ismoilov and student after student fell into Jones's arms. I listened as he lead them in old freedom songs and, I watched them cry. And I saw what could only be described as love. I'm convinced it was what Freedom Rider Diane Nash called "agapic energy."

    I wonder if Jones felt any of that same energy back in late January of 1961, when he joined a group of nine students from Friendship Junior College in nearby Rock Hill, South Carolina, later known as the Friendship Nine, at a prison work farm after they'd been arrested during a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter. In refusing bail, they forced the jailers to foot the bill for their incarceration.

    The men sparked a new tactic known thereafter as "jail, no bail," and it would be adopted nationally where activists were filling jails to put pressure on the system. Organizations such as C.O.R.E and S.N.C.C. were going broke bailing out their members.

    "A lot happened in South Carolina. The riders experienced the first real violence, the first real trouble," said Ray Arsenault, civil rights historian and author of the book 'Freedom Riders,' the basis for the Stanley Nelson documentary by the same name. Arsenault is somewhat of a guide for this group's trip.

    Back on the bus outside of the church yesterday, as the group prepared to leave Charlotte for Rock Hill, Lily Astiz, a student rider from New York University, and Erica Shekell, from Michigan State University, were both in tears.

    "It's just amazing how, during the movement they fought such violence with love, a philosophy of love," Astiz said. And like Ismoilov, she was also deeply moved by Jones. "It was like, he filled me with light."

    The engine roared and the bus slowly pulled away. Jones, the old lion waved and faded in the morning light.

     

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    Common, White House

    Hip-hop artist Common's invite to participate in the White House poetry series created quite a stir yesterday. Some conservative media outlets questioned how appropriate it was for the First Lady to invite a rap artist who curses and talks trash about the political establishment in his music. Shocking.
    Lost in the madness, however, were the names of the other participating poets. Rita Dove
    , the second African American to win a Pulitzer for poetry will be there. Elizabeth Alexander who recited her original poem 'Praise Song For The Day' at President Obama's inauguration, has been invited for the series as well. Jill Scott, the renowned R&B singer, is also attending. Scott began her career as a spoken-word artist in Philadelphia and published a compilation of her poems in 2005 called 'The Moments, The Minutes, The Hours.'

    But surprisingly, of all the participants invited, Common drummed up the most controversy. Fox News called attention to his lyrical content on their website yesterday with this headline: 'Michelle Obama Hosting Vile Rapper At White House.'

    The news outlet posted a video of Common's appearance on HBO's 'Def Poetry Jam' performing a poem titled 'A Letter To The Law,' and noted that his work is "quite controversial, in part because his poetry includes threats to shoot police."

    The lines in question include: "Tell the law, my uzi weighs a ton/ I walk like a warrior from them I won't run..." And later he adds, "I got the black strap to make the cops run/ they watching me, I'm watching them..."

    Though Common takes a black militant stance in the poem, it's just not accurate to characterize him as a dangerous, gangsta rapper. The guy has appeared in various rom-coms like 'Just Wright' and TV shows such as 'Girlfriends,' and typically raps about black empowerment, community, family, love and his share of good-natured sex. In fact, as the Nation points out, if the neo-cons really wanted to get picky, a closer examination of Common's lyrics reveals that he could just as easily be a poster boy for pro-lifers. On his song 'Retrospect for Life' with Lauryn Hill, Common questions abortion. He raps: "Knowing you the best part of life, do I have the right to take yours?"

    White House press secretary Jay Carney added some much needed clarity to the debate when he told ABC News that critics would be better served to look at the rapper's entire body of work and how he's generally regarded in his public life.

    "While the president doesn't support the kind of lyrics that have been raised here," Carney said, "some of these reports distort what Mr. Lynn stands for more broadly," referring to Common by his given name, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. "Within that genre of hip hop and rap he is known as...a conscious rapper."

    Carney cited a 2010 FoxNews.com interview with Common in which the reporter told the hip hop performer, "your music is very positive and you are known as the conscious rapper - how important is that to you and how important do you think that is to our kids?"

    But while the president opposes those lyrics, Carney said, "he does not think that that is the sum total of this particular artist's work which has been recognized by a lot of mainstream organizations and 'fair and balanced' organizations like Fox News, which described his music as positive.

    The White House has not rescinded their invitation to Common, and the rapper made no statements on the matter. We just have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

    Elizabeth Alexander Performs 'Praise Song For The Day' At the 2008 Presidential Inauguration'


     

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    Black Hair Care Facebook Page Overrun By Racist Posts

    Padricia Norfleet'
    s Facebook page for her natural hair care business NaturalistaCosmetics.com has recently become the target of racist insults, images and videos since last Thursday. Ku Klux Klan cross-burning videos, inappropriate images and comments, such as [black women are] "nappy headed," "greasy" and "disgusting," are just a few of the abuses Norfleet has suffered since the assault on her page began almost a week ago.

    The threats reached a new low, though, when one cowardly poster said:

    "You [black women] deserve to be raped by white men."

    Norfleet describes the insults further as being " ... very derogatory, hateful. [The insults are] about our beauty, what type of hair we have and about our heritage."

    Virginia police took a report this past Sunday, and the case is currently being categorized as a computer harassment case, which warrants 12 months in jail or a $2,500 fine. If investigators determine that Norfleet and her co-owner are afraid for their lives, though, the case could be escalated to a hate or biased crime.

    Of the racist abuse, Norfleet says:

    "[Those messages] cut deep because that's a part of my history. My grandparents and great-grandparents were part of the slave movement, and this is what they had to endure. So having to see this up close and personal in 2011 is just mind blowing."

    I wish I could say that I am really surprised.

    While some of the comments did make my eyebrows move, the tension-filled climate of Tea Baggers, Birthers and the zany Sarah Palins, Glenn Becks and Donald Trumps of the world ensure that race baiting, stereotypes and fear reign supreme.

    It would be nice to know that our society was above these types of extremist elements, but it simply isn't. Honesty, clarity and the desire to observe the things that connect all human beings to one another unfortunately isn't the order of the day.

    On an even more serious note, though, if I were Norfleet, I wouldn't allow myself to be taped on camera. The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords proved that many of these hateful people will act on their combative thoughts. May the cowards that defiled Norfleet's Facebook page get the highest punishment.


    Watch the unfortunate situation here:

    Northern Virginia Hair Care Business Overrun By Racist Posts on Its Facebook Page: MyFoxDC.com

     

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    Robert 'Tractor' TraylorFrom Huffington Post: Former NBA player Robert "Tractor" Traylor was found dead in his apartment on Wednesday in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico.

    He was 34 years old.

    According to multiple reports, the former Michigan Wolverines star died of an apparent "massive" heart attack.

    Read more at the Huffington Post

     

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    ""To be honest, I don't like Spike Lee. Spike is worse than any one of the mans [sp]. Because back in the day...and I hope Spike is listening cause I'll beat your punk a**. I don't like Spike. I have never said it publicly out, but Spike is a hater...I shouldn't have said it like this, but I'm going to tell you the truth. I'm from the streets and you got to take care of your people...Spike needs to go sit his punk a** down and stop talking about Tyler Perry. Tyler Perry was homeless about 10, 12 years ago and Spike wasn't writing him no checks. I don't like Spike Lee because I don't like his politics as it pertains to how he deals with African-Americans. I auditioned for Spike several times, he kept all of us waiting for hours. It was insulting, he made people fly across country, pay for themselves and come to auditions. Spike is the worst and he needs to go sit his punk a** down!"


    -- Actor Clifton Powell voices his opinion on the ongoing feud between Tyler Perry and Spike Lee. (The Russ Parr Morning Show)

     

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    bob marley fashion

    30 years ago today the legendary reggae singer and cultural icon Bob Marley died of cancer. The Jamaican singer's music was internationally beloved and his laid back rasta style left an imprint on the fashion world. This summer add a few items to your wardrobe that are reminiscent of Marley.

     

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    Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Jaden Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Willow Smith

    It can be argued that Will Smith, his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and their two children -- son Jaden and daughter Willow -- are the one of the most powerful families in show business. Now behold, proof of their supremacy: Will and Jada will be featured guests on the last episode of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,' according to 'The Daily.' Not even President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama can boast such a claim. Instead, the First Couple had to settle for a regular slot as guests on her show last week.

    Since Oprah announced in November 2009 that this would be her final season, fans have speculated about who would sit beside the talk show queen in her last episode. Would it be Winfrey's longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham? Would it be Dr. Phil, the dorky pop therapist who became famous off the strength of Winfrey's co-sign (as so many others did)? Would it be a guest who never appeared on the show before? Does such a person even exist?

    It hasn't been confirmed if the Smiths will be the only guests, or whether Jaden or Willow are also invited. (Although that would seem like a missed opportunity for the family that brands together.) Still, it's clear that Winfrey has a soft spot for Will. Long before his first appearance on her show in 1999, she made a guest appearance as herself on 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.'

    And last year, Smith returned the favor, bringing his entire brood on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,' including Trey, his eldest son from a previous marriage. (Perhaps he does not aspire to be famous, or has plans to make his own mark without the aid of nepotism.) On that episode, Will and Jada explained how they stay on top of the family business. "I tell them all the time: 'Mommy and Daddy are rich. You all are broke," he told Winfrey. "We don't allow them to just sit around. We talk about the concept of the group and the necessity of you adding to the family. Then you have to add to your neighborhood, and then you have to add to humanity."

    In the 25 years of doing her show, Winfrey has created an empire built on the ideals of spiritual upliftment, self-improvement and inspirational messages to the point where she has arguably gone from a household name to a household belief system that asserts: "YOU CAN DO IT!!"

    Fittingly, Smith has echoed a similar message throughout his career. During an appearance on 'Oprah' in 2006, when he was promoting 'The Pursuit of Happyness,' a film based on the true rags-to-riches story of Christopher Gardner, Smith said, "The promise of America is such a great idea, because this is the only country in the world that Chris Gardner could exist."

    And it's pretty clear that America has done right by Smith and Winfrey too.

     

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    For me, writing about myself is hard. Writing about my hair is even harder. It seriously might feel less revealing to publish my bank balance.

    So when my editor suggested that my coverage of the Atlanta Natural Hair Health and Beauty Show include a personal blog, naturally I cringed.

    I'm a black woman. My hair has been the source of both joy and pain, frustration and fascination, for much of my life. It has preoccupied my thoughts, eaten away at my time and that aforementioned bank balance in ways that I am ashamed to admit.

    How did I get here?

    Let's see, I've had long, pin-straight, blow-in-the-wind, no-it's-not-a-weave hair. And I've had huge, afro-black, I'm-trying-to-embrace-the-African-in-me hair.

    I've had boyfriends who made it quite clear that they were dating me and my hair. And, I have a father who read Kenneth and Mamie Clark's famous black doll study and understood the depths of black self-loathing it revealed. He decreed that my sisters and I should only own and play with black dolls.

    I had a grandmother who sat with her sisters and mixed up hair tonics made from lard and lavender around the time that Madam C.J. Walker and Madam Poro started mass marketing black hair products. And, I had a mother who rocked a shoulder-grazing Afro though the 70s and early 80s. She forbade the use of terms like "good" and "bad" hair in our home.

    I've listened to a dear friend's struggles with alopecia. And I've sat with my best friend during a 14-hour sew-in weave appointment. In the end, it cost somewhere between the per capita GDP of Niger and Sierra Leone. But, she seemed happy. Even with that knowledge, I've reached judgmental conclusions about the self-esteem and finances of women who live every moment of their lives shrouded in weaves.

    I've read 'The Autobiography of Malcom X,' and knew all about the poetry and pain of colored girls long before anyone heard the names Tyler Perry or Talib Kweli. I also have a personal collection of hair products that would make both Sally and Ricky jealous. And, I know that just two weeks ago a haircut brought me to tears.

    I know where I am supposed to be when it comes to my feelings about my hair and where I really am.


    But as I walked around the hair and beauty show at the Georgia International Convention Center about a week or so back, I was struck by the fact that there were women like me everywhere.

    The place was, quite literally, packed to capacity with women who might secretly hate or love their hair, and those who likely vacillate between the two. And there were women seeking congress around their struggles. There was even as one women told me, a "money changer in the temple" trying to sell something her company calls an "organic weave."

    I couldn't help but wonder how many women were there to, as one woman said, "finally put hair in its proper and somewhat unimportant place."

    There's really no way to know. But there was one moment that gave me a little hope that it might be possible.

    I met a 5-year-old girl named Tylar Nunally Williams in a kids play area. Tylar's mother brought her to the show to check out products and see the growing world of black women who have opted to embrace and wear their natural hair.

    Tylar and I have something in common. Like me when I was Tylar's age, she is one of very few black kids at her school. She gets lots of uncomfortable questions about her hair. And, last year, when Tylar started asking her mother when she was going to get hair that hangs (instead of puffing up), Tylar's mother and grandmother decided to stop relaxing their hair.

    Back at the show, a young black woman had been stationed near the kids play area. To capture attention, she was wearing a big, sparkly white dress, a tiara and a collection of short dreads in an updo. Her employer, she told me, really wanted her to wear what they considered a more princess-like wig, but Tylar and the other kids who stood in line for a photo with her didn't seem to have any problem determining who and what this woman was about.

    There, in the middle of a two-day event devoted to hair, hair products and black women's obsession with both, Tylar got her turn. And it turned out her personal preoccupation wasn't about hair at all.

    "Since you are a princess, did you ever have to kiss a frog?" Tylar asked.

     

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    From the New York Times
    :

    The Justice Department is investigating claims that brutality, baseless searches, intimidation and false arrests are commonplace in the Newark Police Department, officials announced on Monday.

    The reported abuses closely parallel those alleged last September by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, which called for a federal inquiry - a request that officials said helped prompt the investigation.

    Federal officials took pains to describe the inquiry as a cooperative effort with the city, not a punitive one, and Mayor Cory A. Booker and his top police officials stood shoulder to shoulder at the announcement with Paul J. Fishman, the United States attorney for New Jersey, and Thomas E. Perez, who heads the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

    Read more here.

     

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    "Road Trip" actress and plus-size model Mia Amber Davis (pictured) died on Tuesday, after having routine knee surgery in Los Angeles. Davis, who was only 36 years old, was said to be dizzy and feeling sick the morning after she had an operation on a past basketball injury. Davis' husband and comedian Mike Yard (pictured below with wife), said:

    "When she got home she complained that she was feeling dizzy and sick. She was taken to hospital the following morning before she passed away; her cousin called me in New York and I could not believe the news.

    "They are going to have to have an autopsy into the exact cause of her death. The doctors think it might have been a blood clot."
    Mia Amber Davis

    Standing at 6-feet, Davis had a successful career as a plus-size model, serving as the face of Jill Scott's Butterfly Bra and a model for plus-size fashion line Ashley Stewart. She's also been a vociferous voice for curvy and plus-size women and made appearances on BET's "Rip the Runway" and was the creative editor-at-large for Plus-Model Magazine.

    Plus-Model Magazine Editor-in-chief Madeline Jones released this statement on her blog:

    "Mia was a super model and industry leader because it was her love for the women she represented that kept pushing her when the industry itself did not embrace her. Anyone else would have given up, but Mia remained steadfast in her career, knowing that she was not just doing it for her own benefit, but for women of all ages. Never one to put anyone down, Mia was about lifting up people and connecting them with others to help them on their journey and never asking for anything in return."

    Jones also told the Huffington Post:

    "Davis was a wonderful wife, caring daughter and loyal friend who will be missed dearly. The PLUS Model Magazine family is deeply saddened by the loss of our sister and want to thank our readers for their support and prayers. Our June issue will feature Mia on the cover as a very special tribute to our angel."

    According to the British Metro site, Davis posted only a week ago:

    "Excited about the future."

    In April, it was announced that Davis was selected to receive this year's Full Figured Fashion Week Plus Runway Model of the Year Award.

    Shocked by the sudden death of his previously healthy wife, Yard added:

    "I want to know what happened to my wife."

    Watch Davis discuss why obese people are not the reason for today's health crisis:



    Also watch her here in the "Road Trip":



     

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    From The Huffington Post

    In one of the worst cases of flooding since the Great Depression, the bulging, swollen Mississippi River is overflowing in record proportions, blanketing thousands of square miles across Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, negatively impacting the environment, and causing billions of dollars in damage.

    After weeks of intense rainfall, the water level is breaking records across Mississippi. In Natchez, Miss., the water now stands at 58.3 feet, shattering the 1937 watermark of 53.04 feet. And the National Weather Service says that the flooding is just getting started.

    While residents scramble to reach higher ground, the rest of the country has focused on the economic and environmental impacts of this last round of severe weather, which comes in the wake the devastating tornadoes that swept the Southeast two weeks ago.

    The water is flooding some of the most fertile areas in the country, so damages to agriculture alone could easily top $2 billion, according to estimates by economist John Michael Riley, a professor in the department of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University.

    "Crop lost estimates are definitely around $800 million for Mississippi alone," Riley said. To that $800 million, Riley added another $500 million in estimated losses in Arkansas, and several hundred million more caused by flooding in Louisiana, Missouri and farmland north of Memphis in Tennessee.

    But agricultural losses could just be the tip of the iceberg.

    Read more here.

     

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  • 05/12/11--07:16: The Future of Tiger Woods

  • From the LA Times:

    Will Tiger Woods ever be the same?

    For years he dominated golf in such a way that most players figured they were continually playing for second place. Now after Thursday's development at the Players Championship in Pontre Vedra Beach, Fla., the question becomes even louder: Will the new Tiger Woods ever become the old Tiger Woods again?

    Woods, after shooting a six-over-par 42 on the front nine of his opening round, withdrew from the tournament because of a lingering knee injury that has become such an issue since his dramatic win in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines that questions of his return to the top can't be brushed aside.

    Woods told reporters after he made the decision, "The knee acted up and then the Achilles followed after that and then the calf started cramping up. Everything started getting tight, so it's just a whole chain reaction."

    Woods has not won a major championship since the Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 and has not won a tour event since September 2009. He has played in five PGA Tour events this year, but not since finishing tied for fourth at the Masters.

    Woods didn't indicate Thursday when he might play again, saying he'd have to confer with his doctors, but this development certainly doesn't bode well for his chances to play at the second major of the year, the U.S. Open at Congressional just outside Washington, D.C., June 16-19. That's a course -- compounded by always-challenging Open conditions -- that will not be kind to any player who hasn't gotten his game in shape beforehand.

    Read more here.

     

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    From PAPERMAG:

    To say Maya Rudolph has had an eclectic career is putting it mildly. She's played keyboards for '90s alt-pop band the Rentals, starred on 'Saturday Night Live' for nine seasons and delivered a critically-acclaimed performance in 2009's 'Away We Go.' Rudolph's latest turn, as the bride-to-be in the Apatow-produced 'Bridesmaids' (opening nationwide on Friday), helps kick off a trend of raunchy, female-driven comedies invading cineplexes this summer. Rudolph recently talked to PAPERMAG about her experience making 'Bridesmaids,' her craziest costumes and wedding tips for Kate Middleton.

    In 'Bridesmaids,' you wear a wedding gown by the fictional designer Lady St. Petsois JuJu. Where does that gown rank in terms of the most hideous costumes you've had to wear on screen?

    I've worn so many hideous costumes. The more hideous the better. I can't say my Donatella costumes from 'SNL,' because they were all masterpieces. I guess the craziest costumes I've had to wear are my Nuni costumes, which were really fun to help create. The Nunis were these strange Germanic art dealers who were both named Nuni that Fred Armisen and I played. Fred always wore the same purple jumpsuit, and my lady wore a flapper dress on one side and a ball gown on the other. It was always something asymmetrical, confusing and difficult to sit down in a chair in. Completely nonsensical.

    When 'Bridesmaids' hits theaters, it will instantly enter the pantheon of wedding comedies. How is Bridesmaids different from the pack?

    Everyone's saying "wedding comedy," but I don't feel like we were setting out to make a wedding movie. For me, the movie is about this great friendship that is put to task through people moving on with their lives. I love how honest the friendship is in this movie. Amidst all the great jokes, there's a real friendship in there, and it's actually really sweet.

    Read more here.

     

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    According to the NY Daily News, President Barack Obama's step-grandmother, Sarah Obama (pictured), is under 24-7 surveillance, because Al-Qaeda wants revenge for Osama Bin Laden's murder. The Somali-based Al-Qaeda group, Al Shabaab, is said to be furious with the death of their leader. So much so, that Kenyan authorities had to step in to provide protection for her.

    Police chief Stephen Cheteka told the African Review:

    "We received reports of plans to attack the home of Mama Sarah Obama, and we immediately put in place adequate security measures."

    According to the NY Daily News, though, this particular threat is just one of many that was communicated after bin Laden's death:

    "The threat was one of many issued by bin Laden loyalists after the decade-long hunt for the World Trade Center mastermind ended with his death."

    While Sarah Obama is the second wife of President Obama's grandfather, and isn't biologically related to him, President Obama has visited her in Kenya and she came to America to attend Obama's inaugural ball.

    President Obama anticipated backlash from bin Laden's followers after announcing bin Laden's killing, but to his grandmother? Seriously? I mean, were folks trying to get a hold of George W. Bush's relatives after he hung Saddam Hussein? This just seems wrong ... and ridiculous.

    Mama Obama is damn-near 90 years old. Do they really gain terrorism points by threatening a senior citizen? Respectable targets must be hard to come by.



     

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    Pharrell Williams, Karmaloop, Karmaloop TV

    With at least two new television networks set to launch this year, it looks there will be loads of must-see programming for multicultural audiences. Bounce TV, a channel aimed at African Americans, has announced its entry into niche-network television and now comes Karmaloop TV, an off-shoot of the popular online urban fashion retailer. Earlier this week, Deadline.com reported that Pharrell Williams, the poly-hyphenate musician and entrepreneur, has been named creative director of the new television channel which is set to premiere in the latter part of 2011.
    Karmaloop TV, which is partly funded by Insight Venture Partners and has an equity and representation deal with United Talent Agency, is headed by Katie McEnroe, former president of AMC network. Karmaloop entered the online fray with its Web video site KarmaloopTV in 2008. The company's channel is the 18th most viewed on YouTube. The forthcoming Karmaloop TV network, much like its website, will focus on the 18-34 demographic, specifically those who are into the latest technology, and urban culture trends, thus making Williams' appointment to creative director a natural choice.

    In a press statement, Karmaloop CEO Greg Selkoe said, "Pharrell is, without a doubt, one of the most influential cultural creative and business minds in America today." Selkoe also said with Williams' position, Karmaloop is in a prime position to "excite cutting-edge youth culture about TV, just as MTV once did in the 1980s."

    Williams, who has equity stake in the venture, added to Selkoe's sentiments on KarmaloopTV.com in a video announcement of his new position. "These kids tell us that we've changed their lives," said Williams. "And we want to continue to do it, by bringing programming that's effective...not only changing their mentality, but lifts their mentality. "

     

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