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

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    From PopMatters:

    In June 1943, in the midst of World War II, the city of Los Angeles erupted in violence. White sailors and soldiers, egged on by Anglo civilians, stopped streetcars and invaded movie theaters in search of young Mexican American men-known as pachucos-beating them, tearing their jackets, and stripping them of their trousers. With newspapers and radio adding fuel to the fire, the mayhem continued for more than a week.


    As some Mexican American youths fought back, the navy finally put the city off limits for shore leave, and the police appeared in force-arresting these young people as troublemakers, delinquents, and rioters. No one was killed, but more than a hundred individuals landed in the hospital with serious injuries. When the riot ended, investigators and journalists spun out numerous explanations for what had occurred. Many Anglos asserted that Hispanic youth were inherently violent and criminal, while liberal voices and the African American press charged racial discrimination, magnified by wartime tensions over adequate housing, the lack of jobs, and segregated recreational facilities. Some saw the influence of Communism guiding the riot, and others perceived the frightening presence of a fascist Fifth Column.

    In the weeks and months after the Los Angeles riot, racial conflict and urban conflagration swept across the American home front, in such places as Beaumont, Texas, New York City, and Detroit, leaving death, destruction, and heightened enmity in their wake. Only in Los Angeles, however, did a style of dress become the focal point of unrest or figure prominently in the response. Most participants and observers did not refer to it as a race riot, and even fewer saw it as servicemen's vigilantism. Rather, the unrest became enshrined as the "zoot suit riot," perhaps the only time in American history that fashion was believed to be the cause of widespread civil unrest.

    "Zoot," says Cab Calloway's Hepster's Dictionary, means something done or worn in an exaggerated style: the long killer-diller coat with a drape-shape and wide shoulders; pants with reet-pleats, billowing out at the knees, tightly tapered and pegged at the ankles; a porkpie or wide-brimmed hat; pointed or thick-soled shoes; and a long, dangling keychain. This was a striking urban look of the 1940s-a street style created by African Americans that extended conventional menswear to the point of caricature.

    The zoot suit was associated with racial and ethnic minorities and working-class youth, celebrated in the world of jitterbug, jive, and swing, and condemned by government authorities seeking to conserve precious textiles for the war effort. It was a style that sparked the imagination, whether as an object of fear or admiration. Where had it come from? What did it mean? Why did it evoke such visceral reactions? In the wake of the riot, journalists, social workers, psychiatrists, and police officers scrambled to comprehend the phenomenon, trying to fix its meaning within recognizable frameworks of social science, psychology, and common sense.

    Despite these efforts, the zoot suit, and the circumstances in which it was worn, had a bewildering strangeness that no one could quite explain. Frank Walton, who directed the government's wartime effort to conserve textiles and clothing, simply shook his head: "Many attempts have been made to analyze the idea and to see just what caused it and what was behind it but so far there is no good answer."

    Months before the Los Angeles riot, Ralph Ellison pointed to the zoot suit as one of many "myths and symbols which abound among the Negro masses" and offered clues to the state of black America, a puzzle the political class needed to decipher. Living in Los Angeles during the war, writer Octavio Paz pondered the style of Mexican American youth in the United States, whose "whole being is sheer negative impulse, a tangle of contradictions, an enigma. Even his very name is enigmatic: pachuco, a word of uncertain derivation, saying nothing and saying everything."

    Read more here.

     

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    black celebrities

    This week stars celebrated the success of black fashion designer Tracy Reese and attended numerous star-studded events, including the 2011 CFDA Awards, Samsung Hope for Children Gala and Glamour Women Of The Year Awards. The week was full of high fashion and hot hair, with taupe and black as trendy outfit colors.

     

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    From the New York Daily News:

    Tracy Morgan's latest stand-up routine is getting a lot of word-of-mouth buzz - just not the good kind.

    Homophobic comments the comedian made during a June 3 performance in Nashville have become a hot topic of discussion online after a disgruntled audience member voiced his disgust on Facebook.

    Kevin Rogers, who wrote in a Facebook note after the show that he's "been a big fan" of Morgan "since his days at SNL," went into the show expecting "a good ribbing of straight gay humor."

    "What I can't take is when Mr. Morgan took it upon himself to mention about how he feels all this gay sh-t was crazy and that women are a gift from God and that 'Born this Way' is bullsh-t, gay is a choice," Rogers said.

    Shortly after his on-stage rant went viral, Morgan issued a mea culpa for his actions.

    "I want to apologize to my fans and the gay & lesbian community for my choice of words at my recent stand-up act in Nashville," the "30 Rock" star said in a statement to Gossip Cop. "I'm not a hateful person and don't condone any kind of violence against others."

    Read more here.

     

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  • 06/10/11--06:05: Whodini
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    Whodini


    Whodini can be credited with a few hip-hop firsts. The Brooklyn trio (made up of rappers 'Jalil' Hutchins and John 'Ecstasy' Fletcher and Drew 'DJ Grandmaster Dee' Carter) was the earliest rap group to have a video accompanying one of their songs, 'Magic's Wand,' which was a promo song for pioneering New York radio DJ Mr. Magic. They were also the first to incorporate dancers (Dr. Ice and Kangol from UTFO, and even a young Jermaine Dupri) in their elaborate live shows.

    But more importantly, Whodini ushered in a more adult, quasi-R&B sound that was based on original instrumentation rather than samples of other records. Though the group's first self-titled album failed to make much of an impression when it was released in 1983, it was their sophomore effort, 'Escape,' which came out the following year, that catapulted them to superstar status.

    Of the album's eight tracks, four were major hits: 'Five Minutes of Funk,' 'Friends, 'Freaks Come Out at Night' and 'Big Mouth.' That album's runaway success had much to do with the business savvy of their manager Russell Simmons and the musical genius of Larry Smith, a bass player friend of Simmons who produced several of Run-DMC's early records like "Sucker MCs."

    Smith's beats had an epic quality to them, resonating like rich, stadium-filling productions but without managing to sound overwrought or complicated. Many of the songs on 'Escape' are just as captivating as instrumentals as they are with Jalil and Ecstasy's relatable storytelling. In fact, 'Five Minutes of Funk' was used as the theme song for 'Video Music Box,' the influential music video show on WNYC television in New York.

    In an interview with 'XXL' magazine, Jalil described how the idea for 'Freaks Come Out at Night' was hatched. "That was inspired by Rick James, Scorpio from the Furious Five and a Richard Pryor joke he had about being home early. When I first had the concept in my head, it was called 'We Live a Dangerous Life.' I don't know how it turned to 'Freaks,' but it did. I was a year too young to go to a party I had seen outside my window. All night I'd look at this crazy scene, and then I'd wake up in the morning and everything would be back to normal."

    After 'Escape,' Whodini had another platinum album with 1986's 'Back in Black,' which featured the killer hit singles, "Funky Beat" and "One Love." Three more albums followed including a comeback disc, titled 'Six,' in 1996, which was produced by Dupri.

    More recently, the group was recognized at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors in 2007.


    Influenced...UTFO, the entire New Jack Swing movement of the mid-90s, Dr. Dre, Nas, Will Smith, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Jermaine Dupri.





    'Freaks Come Out at Night'

     

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    From the Huffington Post
    :

    A jury convicted the leader of a financially troubled community group of three murders, including the shotgun shooting death of the first American journalist killed on U.S. soil for reporting a story in nearly two decades.

    Yusuf Bey IV, former head of Your Black Muslim Bakery, was found guilty Thursday in a month-long spree of violence that culminated with the August 2007 shooting of Chauncey Bailey while he walked to the newspaper where he was investigating the financial woes of Bey's group.

    Jurors also found co-defendant Antoine Mackey guilty in the murders of Bailey and Michael Wills, but deadlocked on a murder charge against him in the death of Odell Roberson Jr.

    "I hope that it sends the message that the First Amendment is not going to be murdered by murdering journalists," prosecutor Melissa Krum said of the verdicts. "You cannot kill the man and expect the message to be killed."

    Read more here.

     

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    Black Mega Church

    From Clutch Magazine:

    "I don't know what it is with the church. When you have a wreck, you expect for God to forgive you and everyone else. Don't let the preacher have a wreck, now. Then you become self-righteous and you become judgmental and you're gonna leave the preacher for his wreck, when you done had more wrecks. That preacher's still anointed to do what he was called to do. He just had a wreck. The blood will take care of his issue, just like it will take care of yours. And I just can't believe that people would leave their preacher cause he had a wreck, instead of praying for him." ~ Creflo Dollar, Pastor of World Changers Church International

    It's unfortunate to watch a historic institution slip by the wayside and disintegrate into an embarrassment. From the million dollar homes, cars, and yachts pimped off the wallets of black women to the blatant moral corruption, it's about time that the black community say "enough" to Bishop Eddie Long and Creflo Dollar. It's incendiary that four young men allegedly had their childhoods ruptured by Long's sexual abuse and Dollar audaciously declares the incident as a simple "wreck."


    While we'll never know if Long would've been declared innocent or guilty in a court of law, simple logic concludes that an innocent minister wouldn't fork out a multi-million dollar settlement on the backs of his congregants. He would fight to clear his name and the dignity of his church. But clearly, it's easier to shame people into supporting a minister after a sex scandal.

    Read more here

     

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    carmelo anthony

    Remember using that little blue jar of Ultra Sheen Conditioner & Hair Dress to slick down your ponytail when you were younger? Well, the Ultra Sheen brand has since updated and still sells the classic jars of grease but now also offers a variety of modern hair products for women and men. The company recently launched a line for men with moisturizers, conditioners and pomades, with NY Knicks player Carmelo Anthony sign on as its new face.





    ultra sheen products


    hair gel


    hair pomade

     

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    Eric Holder, US Attorney General, Department of Justice, The Wire, HBO, David Simon, Wendell Pierce, Sonja Sohn, Jim True-Frost

    All U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wanted was to see his favorite show 'The Wire' come back to television for one more season or to the big screen in a movie adaptation. Who knew honoring the request would come with conditions?

    David Simon, creator of the one-hour drama about the city of Baltimore's civic and drug operations that played out for five seasons on HBO, said he would be happy to oblige to Holder's request, but on one condition. In an emailed response to the 'Times of London,' Simon said: "The Attorney-General's kind remarks are noted and appreciated. I've spoken to [co-creator] Ed Burns and we are prepared to go to work on season six of 'The Wire' if the Department of Justice is equally ready to reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive and dehumanising [sic] drug prohibition."
    Recently, Holder held a presentation for the Justice Department's launch of a new website for the Drug-Endangered Children Task Force. Sitting beside him were three cast members from the cancelled series - Sonja Sohn (Detective Kima Greggs), Jim True-Frost (Roland Pryzbylewski, the cop who becomes a teacher in Season 4), and Wendell Pierce (Detective Bunk). It was there that he made the remarks to Burns and Simon. "I want to speak directly to Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon. Do another season of 'The Wire.' That's actually at a minimum....if you don't do a season, do a movie. We've done HBO movies; this is a series that deserves a movie. I want another season or I want a movie. I have a lot of power Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon."

    How much power Holder actually has in Hollywood or in the HBO offices has yet to be seen, but currently Simon is hard at work with his show, 'Treme,' set in post-Katrina New Orleans and starring former cast members of the 'The Wire' including Wendell Pierce. HBO recently renewed the show for a third season.

    Though many thought Holder's plea was somewhat in jest, the outspoken Simon used the opportunity to critique the job Holder and his team is doing at the Department of Justice. Simon said the anti-drug policies are "nothing more or less than a war on our underclass" and the current war on drugs is "succeeding only in transforming our democracy into the jailingest nation on the planet."

     

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    Black Angels Over Tuskegee
    : Winner of the 2009 NAACP Award for Best Ensemble, Layon Gray's historical drama tells the true story of the six men who became the first African-American fighter pilots in the U.S. Army Air Forces. The play goes beyond the headlines of popular stories and reveals the heart and soul of the Tuskegee Airmen. Read more.


    Jazz For Kids
    : If you're in the mood to spend some quality time with the kids this weekend, try jazzing it up a bit with 'Jazz For Kids.' Taking place at New York City's 55 Bar, Vocalist-pianist-saxophonist Amy Cervini introduces America's next generation to the magic of jazz. You can catch Cervini's smooth sounds for an hour beginning at 2PM on Sunday for $5. Read more.

     

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    Oscar Grant Memorial

    From The San Francisco Chronicle:

    A former BART police officer is expected to be released from jail Monday after doing his time for involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting an unarmed passenger on New Year's Day 2009, the victim's family said Thursday.


    Johannes Mehserle, 29, was sentenced to two years for shooting Oscar Grant in the back while the 22-year-old Hayward man lay face down on the platform at Oakland's Fruitvale BART Station after being pulled from a train.


    Read more here

     

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    Cory Booker

    From The Grio:

    Newark, NJ - Mayor Cory Booker won't 'rule out' running for U.S. Senate in 2014, he told theGrio's Todd Johnson in a wide-ranging interview Thursday.

    "I can tell you with 100 percent certitude that my name will not be on a Senate ballot in 2012," Booker said. "What happens three years from now...if I knew all that, I'd be a very wealthy man. The short answer is I'm never going to say never, I'm never going to close the door."

    This week, reports surfaced that Booker was considering not finishing his second term as mayor to focus on a possible 2012 senate bid. The mayor has since shot those reports down.

    On Monday, the Newark Star-Ledger reported the mayor had formed 'CoryPAC' a federal political action committee, which gives Booker considerable fundraising leverage for the future.

    On the prospect of becoming possibly the only African-American senator, Booker was philosophical.

    "I'd rather have a good senator than a senator of a certain race, background, gender - we need good people now in the Senate," said Booker, who admitted the Senate isn't diverse as it should be. "...To have such a paucity in the last 20 years of African-American representation shows that we as a country still have a long way to go. I think it's important that the African-American voice, just like the Italian voice, just like the Korean voice gets louder than it is represented right now in Congress."

    Booker also discussed the possibility of his state's governor entering his hat into the presidential race in 2012.

    Get all the details here

     

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    The hue and cry came swiftly and from almost every corner of the web. Black women, white women, Asian and Latino women all blasted evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa for his controversial article that claimed black women were scientifically less attractive than women of other races.

    Petitions were circulated. Anger was fomented. Even white guys in his field came out of the woodwork denouncing his flawed science. And soon Kanazawa's article, "Why Are African-American Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" was pulled from the 'Psychology Today' website where it was originally published, and he was fired from his blogging gig there and booted from his teaching job at the London School of Economics.

    The dust has since settled and the balance of the galaxy seems to have been restored.

    But there's one thing that continues to nag. As all heck was breaking loose, one group stayed largely out of the fray: Black Men.

    Perhaps it's because the clearly insane and indefensibly racist report Kanazawa attempted to cloak in "science" was so ridiculous that it didn't even warrant a response en masse from the fellas. Or, in some sadly self-loathing way, black men weren't overly riled because many might harbor a deeply internalized belief that black women are indeed universally less attractive.



    The even sadder reality is that our women's femininity, no less their beauty, has been attacked since way back. Long before the headscarf was a fashion accessory for the corner store set, slave owners and white gentry demanded that black women cover their heads because their hair was said to be so repulsive. And no offense to black women who prefer a weave or a relaxer to their own natural hair, but whole industries, billion dollar industries, have been built solely on providing ways for black women to appear other than their natural selves.

    There are countless anecdotes of assaults on black beauty - from the fetishization of Latin-Asian-Mediterranean-looking-light-skinned video models with the long hair and less than African features (as beautiful as these women might actually be), to the brothers who will only sport a white girl on their arm or the lingering vestiges of our colonial-inspired color complexes (re: Bill Duke's forthcoming documentary Dark Girls).

    But going back to the original premise, we spoke with three black men about Kanazawa's theory, the fallout and why black men didn't rise up en (virtual) masse in support of beautiful black women.

    First up, the Rev. Nicholas Richards, a single, 27-year-old assistant minister at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Richards said there was no major outcry from black men because of unresolved issues between black men and women, and an internalized perception of beauty driven by media and white society.

    "Black women to me are the most beautiful creatures in existence," Richards said. "However, I do believe there are tremendous strains on black male and female relationships and perceptions of each other."

    He continued: "We have a lot of work to do to change the perception that we have of our women and to reclaim the glorious image that we once held. When you see a black woman you see her as God saw her in Genesis 1:26, you see her as good, you don't see her as someone outside the normal, not someone that you're trying to make more normal.

    "The issue for us is that white is normal and anything other than white is not normal. And we live trying to be more normal. I think what black men have to do is really begin to see black women as normal and good and beautiful in themselves, not against the backdrop of any other race or identity, but that black women are good."

    Bob Meadows, 44 (pictured below), a deputy editor at 'Essence,' who has been married for nearly seven years to a black woman, said, "when you hear something so ridiculous there shouldn't be a response," and that "black women are very strong, they know ridiculousness when they see it."




    "I think that black men love black women," added Meadows. "Your mother is your first standard of beauty, not the white woman on TV." Datwon Thomas, 36, (pictured below) the editorial director of 'Vibe' and the founder of 'King' magazine (something of a 'Maxim' for black men), said that his initial response to the whole thing was, "this is some bull shit and I can't even give it my attention."


    Part of the reason he started King was because mainstream publications never showed sexy black women in the same light as the Claudia Schiffers of the world. He didn't address the Kanazawa issue publicly, but said he does his best at home to reinforce to his daughters that they are beautiful.

    "I just over love them," he said. "As long as they are going to know me, they're always going to know that my dad loves me no matter what, no mater how I look. They'll always have that."

    The mess that Kanazawa put out there is hurtful, and complicated. There are issues of identity, color and concepts of beauty, issues that are complicated further by a difficult history of discrimination and hate, burdens of being black (and a woman) in America.

    But as far as black men's response to a claim that black women are less attractive than other women, perhaps Datwon Thomas sums it up best: "I don't think it was for a lack of black men feeling the need to respond. There's no way you can feel like that if you are a black dude who grew up in a black household," said Thomas, who has been married to a black woman for 11 years and has "three beautiful black little girls" at home. "That's not something you think about. I don't think like that."

     

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    It was beautiful by many women's standards. He had music, a ring and all the right words, but he was also in front of a large audience that heard his girlfriend say no.

    Beyonce's "Single Ladies" might give men the impression that all women want to them to "put a ring on it." But some women aren't in a rush to walk down the aisle if it's not the right time or the right man. One lady's perplexed face at her boyfriend's proposal raised a few eyebrows but it serves as a lesson to men: Don't assume an over-the-top proposal will guarantee a yes.

    The Proposal from Mims Media on Vimeo.

    A proposal is important and should be memorable, but the health and stability of your relationship is what's most important. Perhaps this couple had serious issues that the women wanted to work out before jumping the broom. So, if you ever find yourself in the midst of an awkward and downright theatrical proposal, don't assume the status quo. It's okay to just say no.

     

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    From Mashable
    :

    Making the Twitter rounds on a super-sized scale today (under the hashtag of #seriouslymcdonalds) is this obviously fake sign that's allegedly in a McDonald's restaurant. It claims that "African-American customers are now required to pay an additional fee of $1.50 per transaction." The picture originated on twitpic and has gone viral from there.

    A tipoff that this is a fake? We called that 800 number you see at the bottom of the sign, and it connected to the KFC Customer Satisfaction Hotline. But really, think about it: Would any McDonald's franchisee or employee tape such a sign on the door of a McDonald's restaurant? It would be career suicide.

    Read more here.

     

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    From the Huffington Post:

    The fallout from Tracy Morgan's homophobic rant continued to play out on Saturday, as several celebrities and Hollywood titans issued statements and took to Twitter to debate free speech vs. hate speech in the context of the comments the comedian made at a standup show on June 3rd in Nashville.

    After "30 Rock" executive producer Tina Fey condemned Morgan's remarks on Friday, Cheyenne Jackson, an openly gay actor who plays Danny on "30 Rock," issued a statement to Out Magazine saying that he was "disgusted" by Morgan's words.

    "I am disgusted and appalled by Tracy Morgan's homophobic rant," he said. "The devastating repercussions of hate-filled language manifest in very real ways for today's LGBTQ youth. I've known Tracy for two years, spent many long hours with him on set, and I want to believe that this behavior is not at the core of who he is. I'm incredibly disappointed by his actions, and hope that his apology is sincere."

    Alec Baldwin, another "30 Rock" co-star, simply acknowledged the scandal Friday with a tweet that said, "Oh that Tracy," but said a bit more on Saturday, seeming to disapprove of his remarks by writing, "No one's making excuses for Tracy."

    Read more here.

     

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    From indieWire:

    The 2011 65th Annual Tony Awards celebration (essentially the stage equivalent of the Oscars - theater's highest honor) airs tonight at 8PM EST on CBS.

    This year's list of potentials has a decent representation of African American talent, some who just might actually walk away with hardware before the night ends.

    In the Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Musical category, Patina Miller is nominated; Chris Rock's The Motherf**ker with the Hat is nominated for Best Play; The Book of Mormon, the musical that centers on two young Mormon missionaries who are sent off to spread the word in Uganda, which features a significant black cast, the controversial The Scottsboro Boys, and finally Sister Act are all nominated in the Best Musical category; Joshua Henry is nominated in the Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance in The Scottsboro Boys (I should note that the musical earned a total of 12 nominations - including 2 in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for Colman Domingo and Forrest McClendon - which some may say makes up for its short run, given that its controversial subject matter turned away audiences).

    Read more here.

     

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    From LGBTQ Nation:

    On this day, 44 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia struck down laws that forbade African Americans and whites from marrying.

    The Loving decision was a watershed moment in the civil rights movement, and has deep implications today for gay and lesbian couples who want nothing more than the freedom to marry.

    To commemorate the anniversary, the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) co-counsel in the Prop. 8 case, Ted Olson and David Boies, recorded this message about how the Loving case set an important precedent for the current fight for marriage equality.

    Read more here.

     

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    From Pasadena Star-News:

    Scattergood was the appropriately named organization for African-American children in Pasadena. It was founded by one woman, Mae Reese Johnson.

    Mae Reese Johnson was born in Atlanta. Her father had been born a slave. She was educated in a Methodist mission school, graduated from Clark University, taught at Clark and then ran kindergartens for a Tuskegee University extension program.

    She married Master Sergeant George Johnson of the United States Army and after some time in Asia, they retired to Pasadena in 1926 to a cottage at 913 N. Orange Grove.

    She saw children of working mothers needed assistance, and created a center for them. It grew into the Scattergood Club and included older children as well.

    Read more here.

     

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    From the Huffington Post:

    Saxophonist Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band has suffered a stroke.

    A person who has worked with Clemons in the past confirmed Sunday night that Clemons had the stroke. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak on the matter. The person had no additional information on Clemons' condition.


    Clemons is known as the Big Man in the E Street Band and his sax has been one of the most defining elements of the band's sound. He has suffered from numerous ailments over the last few years. He had double knee surgery and even had to perform from a wheelchair at one point.

    Read more here.

     

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    Head to your nearest Gap or check out the online availability of a $29.99 Gap dress that Michelle Obama wore this weekend on her way to Camp David. The First Lady continues to wow us with her fashion sense and to prove that you don't have to spend a fortune to look great. For this outfit she decided to wear her dress as a tunic with a pair of white chinos, black thongs and a lime tote. Although President Barack Obama accompanied his wife, Michelle's summer brights stood out against his nice but standard business casual look.





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    michelle obama; michelle obama fashion

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    michelle obama; michelle obama fashion

     

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