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

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  • 05/26/11--08:15: Happy Birthday, Miles Davis
  • Miles Davis

    Miles Dewey Davis III would have turned 85 today (May 26). Despite his death in 1991, he's considered one of jazz music's greatest players. It's hard to say whether Davis would still be making music if he were still alive. The last studio album he ever recorded, 'Doo-Bop' (released posthumously in 1992), was an indicator that his best years were well behind him. But it never really mattered what Miles Davis put out, his stature in American music remains at Mount Rushmore status.
    Because the music was instrumental, and so painstakingly beautiful, the Miles Davis albums I owned never needed a parental advisory sticker. As a result, my mother allowed me to listen to any of his albums. For reasons I still don't know, I wanted to be a jazz musician as a child, a rare thing growing up as a part of the hip-hop generation. Jazz's golden years were way before my time yet there was something about it that felt more right to me. I think my mother took some comfort in the fact that unlike most of my peers, I preferred to hear 'Kind Of Blue' rather than Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic.'

    My love for Miles' music spawned a deeper curiosity about the man behind the horn. I was either in 8th grade or a freshman in high school when I decided to pick up 'Miles: The Autobiography' co-authored by Quincy Troupe. And though the book did not come with a parental advisory sticker, it probably should have because the things I read in it were not for kids my age. Had my mom known what I was reading during the full week I spent devouring that book, I'm sure it would have had a similar fate to the Playboy she found underneath my bed.

    I had enough life lessons before I opened the book to recognize there were certain things about Miles I was never going to emulate. He was raised in an affluent home - his father was a dentist, his mother the household caretaker - but he rebelled from an early age. He attended The Juilliard School, but dropped out to play jazz with his heroes Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.


    He was a heroin and coke addict, a pimp and abuser of women. Throughout the memoir he recounts the numerous times he beat his wives Frances Taylor and Cicely Tyson. I could not relate to these parts of his character partly because I was too young to be messing with women on any level. But more importantly, I was raised to know better and do better.

    By the end of the book, I found myself at odds with Miles. Here was a man whose music I adored, a man who released masterpieces like 'Birth of The Cool,' and personified cool with his signature style of playing with a Harmon mute. Yet I understood parts of his personal behavior were just plain wrong.

    Eventually, I recalibrated my hero-worshipping to something more levelheaded. I've reread Davis' autobiography three times, and admittedly, still find myself having a difficult time squaring up the man with the music. Given the way artists are often crucified in today's media for drug use and domestic violence, I wonder how the media would treat Miles now and what would we do as fans of Miles' music. It might be hard to find someone who considers his personal demons before praising his music. I can't help but wonder why he gets a pass from even the most casual fans.

    Perhaps it is because Miles himself was so candid about his flaws. Maybe it's because the music he played was so inoffensive - except for his jazz fusion opus 'Bitches Brew,' whose title turned off many critics and fellow musicians - and just so stunning. I still think Miles is a giant in the annals of American music. And it is his music we should focus on in celebration of his born day today.

     

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    Yesterday it was announced in the 'Hollywood Reporter' that Golden Globe-nominated actor Idris Elba will host and produce BBC America's newly branded drama franchise 'Dramaville,' which will include three BBC original series.


    The franchise will premiere on August 17 at 10PM with the hour-long 1950s espionage-themed thriller, 'The Hour,' followed by Elba's 'Luther' on Oct. 5, while the crime drama 'Whitechapel' debuts on November 2.


    "British drama has long been a standard bearer of great scripted television and 'Dramaville' will showcase the very best of British creativity in a clear destination drama fans can easily find," says BBC Worldwide America GM, Perry Simon. "It's a real pleasure to welcome Idris back to the BBC America family as the host of 'Dramaville.'"

    Elba's role on the dark psychological crime drama 'Luther' finds the London native portraying John Luther, a detective struggling to balance the psychological demands of work while trying to keep his marriage intact.

    As far as the public's perception on similarities between John Luther and any of Elba's previous characters, the actor noted that many will likely make comparisons to his role as Russell "Stringer" Bell on 'The Wire.'

    "People compare Luther to Stringer, as if those are the only two characters I've ever been," he told 'Entertainment Weekly' last October. "To be fair, those two characters appeal to a certain audience. For me, it's entertainment."

    "Every single film I've done, it's about the character," he continued. "I chose these roles, whether it's 'Obsessed,' whether it's 'The Gospel.' Not everything is going to be as powerful as some of the more iconic roles."

    Check out the trailer of the series second season below.



     

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    Dove's new VisibleCare body wash print advertisement has prompted cries of racial insensitivity. The ad promises, "visibly more beautiful skin from the most unexpected place - your shower." Standing in an art gallery, three smiling towel clad women - one black, one Latina, and one white - exude a satisfied afterglow, presumably from the body wash. Behind them displayed like works of art on the wall are two large canvases. One depicts a close-up of cracked dry-skin "before" using VisibleCare, and the other shows the smooth, healthy and tan "after" skin. The blogosphere erupted in response.
    As The Huffington Post reported, "Copyranter's takeaway: 'Dove body wash turns Black Women into Latino Women into White Women.' Jezebel refers to it as 'unintentionally (?) racist,' adding, 'Bye-bye black skin, hello white skin! (Scrub hard!)'" But, in the context of the impending browning of America, there is another reading of the ad, which caused me to chuckle.

    When I saw the awkward composition, I could not help but imagine the Dove executives engaged in an uncomfortable negotiation about the color of the skin canvases that would be placed behind three women of different skin tones. Let me say, that I've seen the commercial, which illustrates the broader narrative a bit better.

    A group of fully clothed women of all colors gasp and twitter with delight at a gallery opening to celebrate their new healthy skin after weeks of using the body wash. They dash about the room to view the evidence of their transformations: the many-hued - but decidedly medium toned - "before" and "after" photographs displayed like works of art.

    The print ad had a much more difficult objective - to send the message in one image. The gallery full of clothed women was reduced to three women wearing towels, which is totally unrealistic, but presumably to make the point of their individual skin transformations. There was only enough space on the page for one "before" and "after" comparison. The Dove executives split the skin-color difference. The company chose a toasted brown that is closest to the Latina's mid-range skin-tone.


    The census numbers have shown a decided population shift to toward "majority minority" in the U.S., which is predicted to tip by 2042. According to the data, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, New Mexico, California and Texas are already majority minority, and eight more states are expected to follow soon. The minority population has been surging based on new births, particularly Hispanic, and more people who have identified as multiracial.

    In 2005, Dove's marking director Kathy O'Brien told 'Newsweek' that the company wanted to "change the way society views beauty," and "provoke discussion and debate." O'Brien was then responding to the controversy caused by the "Campaign for Real Beauty," which was criticized for glorifying being over-weight by featuring full-figured real women. The comment also holds true for the VisibleCare debate.

    In fact, you could say the Dove brand has maintained the company's commitment to diversity and, albeit awkwardly, has embraced the future. The ad could have run with just the white woman and, ironically, there would not have been any hullabaloo. Since Dove kept both the black and Latina women in the VisibleCare campaign, I'd prefer to congratulate the company for choosing to acknowledge and target a multiracial America.

    To paraphrase the ad copy, Dove delivers a visible reminder of what is to come from the most unexpected place - a beauty ad.

     

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    From Jezebel:

    Salon's Joan Walsh dissects many of the recent stories about how white people feel that anti-white sentiment is on the rise. Look: It's not a competition. But when it comes to white people feeling discriminated against (Gothamist headline: "Regarding Racism, Whites Think They Are the New Blacks"), white people have no idea how soul-stomping, heartbreaking and difficult it is to be black in America.

    Especially if you have dark skin. The clip above is from Dark Girls, an upcoming documentary "exploring the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color - particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black American culture." Directed by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry, this clip is moving, powerful, emotional, and completely upsetting - yet an absolute must-see. Read more here.

    Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.

     

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    pam grier

    Pam Grier turns 62 today. The queen of our favorite 70s flicks has continued to land movie and television work over the past few decades. But if you take a look at Ms. Grier and the various hair styles she has trotted out over the years, you'd barely know she'd aged at all.

     

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  • 05/26/11--10:12: Hoop Dreams in Harlem

  • Most would call East Harlem a rough neighborhood. I call it home.
    Like many kids in my community, I grew up playing ball. Basketball transcended the sometimes tough reality we lived in. It was a constant truth in our lives and a source of positivity. In 2009, I co-founded Hoops By the River (HBTR) as a way to use my passion for basketball to better my community and provide that constant flow of positivity.

    We've been working closely with a large group of boys and girls, including my own children, to provide programs to sharpen skills on and off the court. Rooted in basketball, we offer practices, tournaments and regular season games but we also focus on school work and the importance of education.

    This week HBTR was announced as the newest addition to the A.T.R. Project (Assisting The Rise)[TM] - Above the Rim's (ATR) community-based youth development grant program. We feel privileged and blessed to be working hand-in-hand with a brand that shares the same values as HBTR. By working together my players will get closer to making their dreams a reality.


    This Saturday, May 28th, HBTR and ATR are hosting a basketball clinic and tournament, "Stop the Violence," from 9AM to 5PM at Jefferson St. Park in East Harlem, NY. The tournament will showcase some of Harlem's finest young basketball players and raise awareness for anti-violence behavior in the community.

    From 9AM-12PM we will host a skills clinic hosted by the Harlem Jazz coaches and from 12:30PM - 5PM we will have competitive tournament games for ages 10 and up. The day-long event will have a special guest appearance by Corey "Homicide" Williams, internationally known as the "King of NYC Streetball." Corey will be helping out at the skills clinic and available for photo opportunities throughout the day.

    In addition to this weekend's event, ATR is also helping us plan a preparatory school visit in upstate New York, a yoga session, a behind-the-scenes tour at a New York-based sports facility and a group visit to Dime Magazine's office. Our goal is to show the players how they can translate their passion for the game into a career or hobby.

    Look out for more HBTR events this summer and we welcome all to join us this weekend!

     

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    Columbia University, Black Graduation

    HARLEM--They were there because they wanted to be, not because they had to be.

    Fifty-five Columbia University graduates - all black, though multihued - gathered in the foyer of a chapel at Union Theological Seminary, located across the street from the school they'll refer to as alma mater following the next day's commencement. That night, however, they came together to celebrate Black Graduation, a tradition university officials say started in the late 1970's.
    The students walked (some danced) into the chapel for the processional to Cameo's 1987 R&B hit, 'Candy,' as a slideshow of pictures from their campus years played on a mounted projector. The ceremony was filled with music, award presentations, dedications and speeches focused on a group of students who bonded over not just their university experience, university experience as black students. Even the ceremony's theme, 'Success By Any Means Necessary' - a nod to the phrase popularized by Malcolm X - was rooted in black culture.

    Jana Johnson, a 22-year-old psychology major from Tulsa, Oklahoma, took the stage to welcome friends, family and peers. "These are the people who've been the crutch of our support system," Johnson said. "We've all been away from family and it can be stressful here, so we've had each other."

    Separate black graduation ceremonies have become commonplace at colleges and high schools across the country. The Mitchell Kapor Foundation will hold its College Bound Brotherhood Graduation on June 8, a ceremony that started in 2008 and honors African-American male graduates throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Princeton University began its Pan-African Graduation ceremony in 2006 and will hold theirs on June 1. And the University of Pennsylvania started its Makuu Senior Celebration, an awards ceremony where the students are given leadership awards named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, among others, in 2001.

    But given that some are quick to claim we're living in a "post-racial" era, and our president is a black man, these types of ceremonies have been viewed by many as unnecessary. Some might point to their low turnout as proof. At Columbia's Black Graduation, there 55 students, but almost 200 were listed in the program as not in attendance. If just a fraction the school's black students participate, why hold black-only graduation ceremonies at all?

    Columbia University, Black Graduation

    Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin, the keynote speaker at Columbia's Black Graduation, posed the same question in her speech. But then reminded the audience that black graduation ceremonies are not so much a race-based mandate as they are a way to celebrate segments of student life. "It doesn't mean that they're separatist, " Griffin said.

    Black students are not the only contingency that believes in holding separate commencement ceremonies. Columbia's Office of Multicultural Affairs works in conjunction with Latino, Asian and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) student populations to coordinate ceremonies of their own. As a recognized office within Columbia's Student Affairs department, OMA provides each group with a budget for its ceremony and a faculty advisor to assist students.

    For this year's Black Graduation, the budget was $6,000, which helped Johnson and her planning committee with expenses that included the customized Black Graduation sashes students draped around their shoulders, catering and the cost of securing a venue. One expense the planning committee did not have to incur: the gift given to all the students who participated in the ceremony.

    With the assistance of Columbia's Black Alumni Council, each student was given a copy of 'Malcolm X: A Life Of Reinvention,' the voluminous tome written by Manning Marable, founding director of African-American Studies at Columbia and director of Columbia's Center for Contemporary Black History, who died in April.

    Marable was originally scheduled to deliver the ceremony's keynote address - instead, his name appeared in the program as such: "In Loving Memory of Professor Manning Marable." During the ceremony, graduates Terrell Winder and Hank Oliver sang Donny Hathaway's 'Someday We'll All Be Free' in tribute to the Marable, with a slideshow backdrop memorializing the beloved author, activist and author.

    Although Marable played a critical role in diversifying Columbia's curriculum, there was no special mention of him at the school-wide commencement the next day, according to a university spokesperson. For Johnson and the others who gathered at Union Theological Seminary the night before, the noticeable omission helped legitimate the need for affinity groups to have separate ceremonies. "It's something that's very relevant today in a less overt way," Johnson said. "It's OK for people to have things they can come together on with people like themselves to celebrate their own accomplishments."

     

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    From the Huffington Post
    :

    The abrupt decision by Senate leadership on Thursday to reconsider their opposition to a controversial Patriot Act amendment came as a bit of a surprise to Congress followers.


    But a likely explanation for the reversal began to emerge hours later.

    With the national security law set to expire at midnight on Thursday, the Obama administration has applied intense pressure to congressional lawmakers to finalize an extension without any lapse. The pressure, apparently, has caused Senate leadership to bend to lawmakers critical of the bill and streamline the procedures needed to get the law passed.

    On Wednesday, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warning about potential national security hiccups should the Patriot Act not be extended before its expiration. In his message, Clapper detailed the operational procedures that would be disadvantaged as well as to note the heightened threat that exists following Osama bin Laden's death.

    Read more here.

     

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  • 05/27/11--01:48: Clyburn: Obama Faces Racism
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    From Politico
    :


    Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) knows why President Barack Obama is having so many problems. The answer is racism.


    "People don't like to deal with it, but the fact of the matter is, the president's problems are in large measure because of the color of his skin," , the third-ranking House Democrat said Wednesday in response to a question about Obama's reelection prospects, McClatchy reported

    An African-American himself, Clyburn, 70, grew up in the segregated south and was active in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He said Wednesday that Obama must be aware of the racist messages that come from some in the country. "When he sees his face being put on a chimpanzee's body - do you think he didn't see that?" Clyburn said, referring to an e-mail that a member of a local California Republican party sent to friends last month. "And I suspect they send the same faxes to his office they send to mine."


    Read more here.

     

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    From PC Mag:


    Two African-American men have filed a federal lawsuit against Apple that accuses the company of racial discrimination at an Apple Store in Manhattan.


    The plaintiffs, Brian Johnston, 34, and Nile Charles, 25, claim a white Apple employee in his 50s told them, "I don't want 'your kind' hanging out in the store" at Apple's retail outlet at 1981 Broadway on Dec. 9, 2010, according to court filings cited by Apple Insider Wednesday.

    Another Apple Store employee allegedly approached the pair, who were wearing "baggy jeans and large sweaters with hoods" according to the lawsuit, and said, "Now you have to go. If you want to know why, it's because I said so. Consider me God. You have to go."

    Johnston and Charles entered the Upper West Side store to purchase headphones, the suit said. They recorded the incident on their cell phones, according to Apple Insider.

    The first, unidentified employee, reportedly about 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, confronted the pair at about 3:20 p.m., the plaintiffs alleged. The employee allegedly approached Johnston and Charles in an "intimidating fashion" and invaded their "personal space," saying, "You know the deal. You know the deal."

    Read more here.

     

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    From the Hollywood Reporter:

    Don McGlynn's 'Rejoice and Shout' is probably the first documentary ever to look comprehensively at the 200-year musical history of African-American Christianity - which is to say gospel music - and may well be the last. It certainly doesn't seem like McGlynn or his producer, Joe Lauro, who owns a vast collection of old records and music film footage, missed anything significant. The doc is exhaustive in its compilation of the major acts and personalities in gospel music - to the point the narrative thread almost gets buried under the weight of names, dates, musical styles and vintage performances.
    For anyone with a keen interest in this unique American musical form, 'Rejoice and Shout' is a must-see and see-again. It's also a must-have for the home libraries of gospel-music enthusiast. For those whose interest is more casual, the film is almost as exhausting as exhaustive.

    You've heard of documentaries that preach to the choir? Well, in this one, the choir preaches back!

    McGlynn situates this history in the deep-rooted, hardcore religious beliefs of black American Christians and in the highly participatory Pentecostal church services. The historians and artists who accompany the viewer on this tour of musical history speak first of their abiding faith in the Almighty and the spiritual and communal joy of church-going. Then they talk about the music they grew up with.

    Read more here.

     

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    will and jada

    From Madame Noire:

    While there are no official statistics on Hollywood marriage, a fool can see that the celebrity divorce rate is even more out the box than the already-high one for us regular folk. That's why these long lasting Black power couples give us the 'warm fuzzies'. We salute them for keeping their love strong in an industry that makes healthy relationships almost impossible to sustain. If you need a little inspiration when it comes to love today, check out our list of long-lasting Black Hollywood couples!

    Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance
    The thespian couple met at Yale Drama School and ran in similar circles for many years before finally falling in love. They will also celebrate 14 years of wedded bliss this year. The two stuck together through career highs and lows and two tragic miscarriages (they were able to welcome twins into the world in 2006 with the help of a surrogate) and released a book about their relationship- Friends: A Love Story- in 2007.

    black celebrity couple

    Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith
    One of Hollywood's most beautiful couples, the Smiths have been married for nearly 14 years! They tied the knot two years after meeting on the set of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; Jada auditioned for a role as Will's girlfriend; she didn't get the part, but obviously landed something far better! While there have been some...interesting...rumors about the couple's relationship (i.e. the alleged 'open marriage' thing and the 'they're both gay' thing), there has never been an indication of trouble in the Smiths' paradise. Whatever the happy parents of three are doing, it seems to work for them, so all we can say is "cheers"!

    will smith and jada


    Denzel and Pauletta Washington
    Unfortunately, there have been a good number of rumors regarding the couple, who have been married for nearly 28 years; however, we've never heard either party confirm anything, so we'll go on pretending that Denzel Washington is the perfect husband that we've dreamed of since his "Glory" days. What we love most: while many would consider the smoldering actor to be one of the biggest catches on the planet, Washington always makes a point to say in interviews how lucky he is to have landed a woman like Pauletta. Awww!

    denzel washington and wife

    See what other couples made the list.

     

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    Black Celebrities

    This week the stars brought out their whites and brights at the 2011 Billboard Music Award, The Fragance Foundation's FiFi Awards and even Buckingham Palace. See which famous fashionistas made the best dressed list this week.


     

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    Georgia megachurch preacher Bishop Eddie Long has settled out of court with four young men who accused him of sexual misconduct, Long's spokesman said Thursday.

    In a statement posted on the Web site of Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, church officials said, "This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry."

    "This resolution is the most reasonable road for everyone to travel," the statement said.

    BJ Bernstein, attorney for the plaintiffs, was similarly tight-lipped. "The matter has been resolved," read a statement. "Neither attorney Bernstein nor the plaintiffs themselves will be available for interview on this matter, now or in the future."

    Back in September, the Associated Press reported on allegations that the pastor "abused his spiritual authority to seduce [teenage boys] with cars, money, clothes, jewelry, international trips and access to celebrities." Later details reported in the Christian Post said that the married father of four "admitted to mentoring the men and sharing rooms with them while on trips, but denied any sexual activity took place."

    Read more here.

     

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    "I feel the sexiest when I'm by myself, walking around nude. I have this new obsession with nudity, it's really weird. It may sound weird, but I just really love embracing the body."



    Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Ciara opens on her obsession with nudity. (Us Weekly)

     

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    From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

    To find enough money to help the School District of Philadelphia, the city would have to cancel a police academy class, lay off probation officers, and not pay for snow- removal or literacy programs.

    Those are just some of the drastic measures the city would have to take to find the $75 million to $110 million Mayor Nutter pledged this week for the cash-strapped schools, according to a letter from Clay Armbrister, his chief of staff.

    Armbrister's letter, sent to City Council on Thursday, was an attempt to douse the idea of finding money within the city's budget. Some have suggested giving the schools more money by increasing their share of the property-tax pie. That would occur by shifting the millage rate, which determines how property-tax revenues are divided between the city and the schools.

    Several Council members have expressed support for a millage shift, which could provide millions for the schools without affecting taxpayers.

    But such a move would take money from the city and "open a painfully large gap in the city's budget," Armbrister wrote.

    "The administration believes that a millage shift is not a wise course for the city to pursue," he said.

    While Armbrister did not suggest how the city otherwise would raise the money, the administration is trying to move the debate toward some kind of new revenue - a tax increase.

    Many Council members, including most of those in leadership, have stated a public opposition to raising taxes.

    "I don't understand what the administration position is," Councilman Bill Green said. "They've said what not to do, not what to do."

    Nutter pledged to raise money to prevent the school district from making cuts that would devastate full-day kindergarten, transportation services, class size, and alternative schools.

    The school district, which gets about 30 percent of its $2.8 billion budget from the city, faces a $629 million deficit for the next fiscal year.

    The district also is counting on the state to restore some funding, as well as concessions from the teachers union.

    Read more here.

     

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    From VOANews.com:

    The United Nations reports thousands of people are fleeing the conflict in the disputed Abyei region between north and south Sudan. Aid agencies describe the situation as volatile, with sporadic shooting and looting reported.

    Before northern Sudanese troops marched into Abyei and fighting erupted last week, an estimated 110,000 people lived in the town. Now, air and road patrols by UNMIS, the U.N. Mission in Sudan, report few civilians are present.

    The United Nations says humanitarian organizations in Abyei have had their offices ransacked and stocks of emergency relief items looted. Many aid workers have left the area because of insecurity.

    Tens of thousands of internally displaced people reportedly have poured into Southern Sudan's Warrap, Unity and Northern Bahr El Ghazal state. A spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, Jambe Omari Jumbe, says it is difficult to get an accurate count of the numbers fleeing.

    "Many of them are still on the move and some of them are actually hiding in the bushes. But, according to some estimates ... we know that between 20,000 and 30,000 people are actually on the move. Many are in need of food and water and with recent heavy rains may be vulnerable to water-borne disease and infections," said Jumbe.

    IOM is coordinating the delivery of emergency assistance to the internally displaced people. It is providing trucks, essential non-food relief items, fuel and medicines to support humanitarian operations.

    Jumbe says a mobile clinic has been put on standby in Wau to provide help if requested by other humanitarian organizations in the area.

    Read more here.

     

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    By Patricia J. Williams for The New York Times:

    The finding that white Americans see blacks' progress as an insult or a diminishment of their status is not entirely surprising. Zero-sum formulations of prejudice tend to emerge in lean economic times, fueling cultural or historical rivalries of all sorts.

    I have a hunch that if the study had included questions about whether whites feel threatened by "reverse racism" among Asians, Latinos and immigrants, the results would be much the same. Those perceptions notwithstanding, data show that white Americans remain the most privileged human beings on the planet.

    The world is changing, however, and the realignment of wealth, power, jobs and resources has been deeply challenging to the notion of American exceptionalism. That exceptionalism, consciously or unconsciously, is infused with racialized hierarchies -- normative whiteness and masculinity still marking the "worthiest" inheritors of the American dream.

    Moreover, the downturn in all our fortunes has been relentlessly and poisonously exploited by certain segments of the media. The language of "us" versus "them" dominates far too much of our radio and television discourse. The litany of scapegoats who are supposedly fouling "our" trough includes not just blacks but those of Mexican, Japanese, Korean or Hawaiian descent, non-born-again Christians, the entire People's Republic of China, Canadians, the French, liberal elites and the elderly.

    The trickiest thing about prejudice is that it is so malleable, so capable of reinvention. Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology at Princeton, has documented the varied and fluctuating presentations of social biases like race, class, disability, gender.

    She points out that there are nuanced differences in how prejudice is expressed against the disabled as opposed to Asian-Americans, or as against high-status blacks versus poor blacks, or the homeless or those with low-status accents. Elements like pity, resentment, competition, revulsion, paternalism, or fear play against one another in complicated ways.

    Read more here.

     

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    As I write this, it's I'm wrapping up a fifteen-hour hour work day and at 9 pm, it's an early night.

    In those hours I've attended four market appointments with fashion brands, spoken to high school students from East New York, read a chapter of 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,' produced a feature on Emilio Pucci for Essence.com where I'm fashion editor, and researched another on Michelle Obama. But the most productive thing I managed to do today? Dedicate some time to watch the finale of the 'Oprah Winfrey Show.'

    As she floated on to the set in her peach ensemble and perfectly coiffed hair, I braced myself for a star-studded extravaganza. But the Queen of Daytime had a more dazzling presentation in store: a tete-a-tete with me "and you and you and you too."

    In her hour long "love letter," Winfrey emphatically stated something that struck me: "Find out your calling and stick to it." For those who have yet to find it, Oprah's call to action must have been akin to dim light on a dark road. For many, finding what one was meant to do is an undertaking as dazzling to the ear as it daunting to the soul. Yet for others like me, who have been crystal clear from youth about what that calling and passion was, the road can be equally difficult.

    After years of working in media and earning the title of Fashion Editor, I find myself in an interesting place: the very place I started. Just like the years I spent as an intern, I am always the last to leave, always working on weekends, always trudging through mountains of mail and always focused more on perceived failures than apparent successes.

    On nights like this I'm besieged by questions: am I working too much? Am I working too little? Am I totally not efficient? How do I find balance? And if all this doesn't have the direct service aspect as say, volunteering at a shelter would, is it even worth it?

    Yet reflecting on Oprah's hour-long monologue puts some of these questions to bed. As she showed in her review of her 25-year journey, nothing but dedication, persistence and an unrelenting desire to make others better is what helps you walk the talk.

    So as I pack up my bag and head home, I -- like millions of people who watched the finale -- am inspired to continue Oprah's legacy by remembering not just what she said on that finale, but how she lived it for twenty-five years.

    Published also at The Huffington Post.

     

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    As I write this, it's I'm wrapping up a fifteen-hour hour work day and at 9 pm, it's an early night.

    In those hours I've attended four market appointments with fashion brands, spoken to high school students from East New York, read a chapter of 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,' produced a feature on Emilio Pucci for Essence.com where I'm fashion editor, and researched another on Michelle Obama. But the most productive thing I managed to do today? Dedicate some time to watch the finale of the 'Oprah Winfrey Show.'

    As she floated on to the set in her peach ensemble and perfectly coiffed hair, I braced myself for a star-studded extravaganza. But the Queen of Daytime had a more dazzling presentation in store: a tete-a-tete with me "and you and you and you too."

    In her hour long "love letter," Winfrey emphatically stated something that struck me: "Find out your calling and stick to it." For those who have yet to find it, Oprah's call to action must have been akin to dim light on a dark road. For many, finding what one was meant to do is an undertaking as dazzling to the ear as it daunting to the soul. Yet for others like me, who have been crystal clear from youth about what that calling and passion was, the road can be equally difficult.

    After years of working in media and earning the title of Fashion Editor, I find myself in an interesting place: the very place I started. Just like the years I spent as an intern, I am always the last to leave, always working on weekends, always trudging through mountains of mail and always focused more on perceived failures than apparent successes.

    On nights like this I'm besieged by questions: am I working too much? Am I working too little? Am I totally not efficient? How do I find balance? And if all this doesn't have the direct service aspect as say, volunteering at a shelter would, is it even worth it?

    Yet reflecting on Oprah's hour-long monologue puts some of these questions to bed. As she showed in her review of her 25-year journey, nothing but dedication, persistence and an unrelenting desire to make others better is what helps you walk the talk.

    So as I pack up my bag and head home, I -- like millions of people who watched the finale -- am inspired to continue Oprah's legacy by remembering not just what she said on that finale, but how she lived it for twenty-five years.

    Published also at The Huffington Post.

     

    Permalink | Email this | Linking Blogs | Comments


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