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

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     The Obama Administration: A Reflection on the Last Two Years


    It has been an eventful six years for President Barack Hussein Obama.

    From the moment he burst into the political arena in 2004 with his electrifying keynote address during the Democratic National Convention, his rapid ascension from senatorial candidate to the highest office in the land has been fraught with strident opposition and racial tension.

    The election of the first African-American president in U.S. history peeled back the superficial layer of harmony in this country and exposed the bitter dregs of slavery and Jim Crow, as black and white citizens alike wrestled with inner prejudices and presumptions ingrained in the fabric of our society.

    Yet, after grasping the reins from a flailing Republican Party left diminished in the wake of the immoral actions of George W. Bush, Barack Obama has overcome a level of intense adversity previously unseen in American politics to accomplish the majority of his campaign agenda in two brief years.

    These include Senate approval of the ratification of S.T.A.R.T. (a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia), the repeal of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- allowing gay and lesbian troops to serve their country openly, an $858 billion deal to extend tax cuts and unemployment assistance for suffering Americans, and the approval of $4.3 billion for 9/11 First Responders facing illnesses stemming from the wreckage of the World Trade Center.

    That's just in the last thirty days.




    Since his historic election in 2008, the Obama Administration has also saved the auto industry from the brink of ruin, diverted the country from a second "Great Depression" with an immense stimulus package, passed the largest health care legislation since Lyndon B. Johnson's Medicare, ensured through student loan reform that millions of students have the opportunity to seek higher education, and suppressed the reckless and negligent greed on Wall Street with a sweeping reform bill.

    In a Bloomberg article, Alan Brinkley, a historian at Columbia University, said the last two years has likely been "the most productive session of Congress since at least the '60s" while in a Rolling Stone article earlier this year, Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, noted that "If you're looking at the first-two-year legislative record you really don't have any rivals since Lyndon Johnson - and that includes Ronald Reagan."

    Rachel Maddow added to this chorus on The Rachel Maddow Show, by listing several accomplishments achieved by our 44th POTUS that fly under the radar, including:

    "The fair pay act for women... new hate crimes legislation they said could not be done, tobacco regulation, credit card reform, the largest investment in clean energy ever, the improvements to the new G.I. Bill, and the most expansive food safety bill since the 1930s."

    Radical right-wing opponents can spew their vitriolic hate-fueled speech from Dixie to the Heartland attempting to discredit his achievements, and radical left-wing opponents can attempt to decimate his character, but the facts cannot be denied.

    President Obama has accomplished more in two years than most presidents achieve in two terms.

    His faith has faced unprecedented scrutiny, and everything from his place of birth to his choice of pet, has been dissected and found lacking. His young daughters have been mocked by conservative paragons such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, and his wife has been portrayed as either an Amazon ape, or a radical, afro-wearing terrorist. Obama himself has been depicted as an illegal immigrant, gambler and homosexual all in the same Colorado billboard, and his entire family has faced death threats.

    Yet, when lesser men may have wavered, our President never lost his focus.

    It is true that Obama has flip-flopped on oil drilling, failing to further energy reform; he has also reneged on a major campaign promise not to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich. He has softened his stance on the removal of ground troops in Iraq, while increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan, and still wavers on the closing of Guantanamo Bay.

    At times, he has appeared inept and unprepared for the political warfare pervasive in D.C. and his poll numbers have slipped as a result. The President underestimated the strength and cunning of those dedicated to the status quo, and he has undermined his own achievements with a blatant disregard for the political games as necessary in Washington as breathing.

    Yet, he has succeeded in spite of the fickle, unreliable support of his base, and the strategic opposition of a Republican Party committed to his failure, even if it means voting against legislation they originally introduced, such as the DREAM Act. Winning by a landslide margin of 9,124,522 votes in 2008, the largest ever by a non-incumbent, President Obama's epic progress has proven that America got it right.

    However, what I find disheartening is the unprecedented shift of African Americans to the GOP for fear of being seen as a supporter of Barack Obama. Many of them regurgitate Conservative talking points, painting the liberals of today with the same brush used to color the Dixiecrats of the 50s and 60s. They conveniently forget that due to Nixon's Southern Strategy, the racist, closet Klansmen prevelant in the Democratic Party defected to the GOP in opposition to Civil Rights legislation introduced by President John F. Kennedy.

    Perversely, it was acceptable to be a Democrat when a white man was president, because then it was just opposing ideological philosophy, not racially motivated or influenced. However, once Conservatives formulated their point of attack, craftily labeling Obama the "Affirmative Action" president, black Republicans fell in line like dominoes.

    African Americans are not all of one mind, and I would never suggest that we collectively support a politician based on his ethnicity. There are those of us who disagree with our president's politics, and that can be respected. However, it speaks ill of our brothers and sisters who are so uncomfortable in their own skin that supporting Obama is not even an option. The Sambo mentality didn't elevate our status during slavery, and it's even less beneficial to us now.

    On a blistering night in Chicago during Obama's acceptance speech, he spoke of the "setbacks and false starts" and the fact that all citizens would not agree with "every decision or policy [he would] make as president." He spoke of the cynicism, doubt, and fear that forced us for so long to believe that change was impossible, and that politics as usual would always prevail, and for two years he has challenged our self-imposed low expectations paving the path for America's return to greatness.

    We should continue to support our president when we agree, and challenge him when we do not, because he has proven that he will listen, compromise when acceptable, and stand firm when it is not. As Maddow stated, "Whether you agree or disagree with what Democrats have done in the first two years of President Obama's presidency, they have freaking done it."

    That, they have, and on the grandest scale this country has ever seen. If this is what the first two years of Obama's presidency reflects, the possibilities and potential for the next six years are limitless.

    Job well done, Mr. President. I salute you.


     

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    Ahhh... 2010 was a very good year for news stories galore. Folks and their shenanigans never gave us a news-less day. Life-altering situations, pearl-clutching gasps, history book fodder, and moments that were world-changing made 2010 a year that many of us will never forget!

    Here are some of this year's scandalous and off-the-beaten-track headlines that made you couldn't get enough of...


    1) Seattle Officer Punches Girl in Face During Jaywalking Stop: I Would Have Punched Her, Too

    Seattle Police Department got put on the map when an officer punched a young girl right in her smacker (pictured above). The teen and her friends were jaywalking, they were approached by a cop, some words were exchanged, and the rest was caught on video. The NAACP got involved, the police chief defended his employee's actions, the victim probably nursed a sore lip and the lesson that is supposed to be learned here was probably ignored.


    2) Four Teenagers Charged in Beating Death of Chicago Student

    Senseless murders are commonplace practically everywhere on the map. But last September, who didn't tear up after reading about the murder of 16-year-old Chicago resident Derrion Albert, an honor student and all-around nice guy, who was brutally beaten up by four hooligans for trying to help a friend who had gotten caught up in a melee. The beating is a true example of self-hatred taken to entirely obscene and pitiful level.



    3) Students Punished With Paddling, Suspension for Prom Dresses

    So you think you've heard everything? WRONG! Were you as angry as I was when you read the story about the 25 students at Oxford High, in Calhoun County, Alabama who violated their school's strict prim and proper, anti-hustler's ball, prom dress code (pictured above). The teens were allowed to party but had to pay a steep price after all was said and done. The head honcho at the school principal, Trey Holladay, gave them a bizarre choice -- either a three-day suspension or a paddling for breaking his rules. Which would you have chosen?



    4) Kim Kardashian's Sex Tape Comes Back to Haunt Her...Reggie's Mom Says, 'No Marriage!'

    We all seem to love those Kardashians, especially Kim. Okay confess, how many of you ate it up when you heard that Kim's ex, Reggie Bush didn't put a "ring on it" because his mommy forbade him? Reportedly, Reggie's mom and his family are pretty low key, conservative folks and the sex tape starring Kim and her other ex Ray J, did not exactly set well with them all. Apparently, Reggie's mom just couldn't forgive and forget the tape. It doesn't matter now, Reggie and Kim are kaput and the sex videotape has probably been transferred onto a DVD. Rewind, rewind, rewind.


    5) Britain's Brainiest Family is Black and Has 9-Year-Old High School-Bound Twins

    These kinds of stories just make you proud! A set of 9-year-old twins, Paula and Peter Imafidon, prodigies who are about to enter high school and make British history as the youngest to do so. The couple's oldest daughter, Anne-Marie, is now 20, but at age 13, she won a British government scholarship to take undergraduate courses at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Christiana, 17, their other daughter, is the youngest student ever to study at the undergraduate level in any British University at the age of 11. Youngest daughter, Samantha, now 12, passed two rigorous high school-level mathematics and statistics exams at the age of 6. When brains were handed out, the Imafidon family were certainly out there front and center.


    6) Inner City School Gets 100% of Its Black Men in to College

    Just think, a public, all-male, all-African American high school in the city of Chicago called "The Urban Prep Academy for Young Men," located in Englewood was able to get all of their 107 seniors accepted in to 72 different colleges across the country. The model school that nurtures young minds and breaks down all mental barriers should serve as a blueprint for especially urban learning institutions. All you need is a dream and it can be done.


    7) Bishop Eddie Long Pictures Paint an Uncomfortable Image

    There were some interesting photos which surfaced of poor Bishop Eddie Long (who looks great in spandex BTW), who has been accused of luring four young men into sexual relationships when they were teenage members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Bishop Long who is long known for not holding his tongue when he speaks of his revulsion of gay people was depicted on cell phone photo shots wearing clingy spandex that outlines his muscular frame. Did he allegedly send the accusing victims the shots because he wanted to show off his good fashion sense or did he want to drive the point home that working out is a must? Whatever the case, the mega church leader is still in a sink or swim situation. Someone throw the good bishop a life-preserver!

    8) Love Handles Save Woman's Life

    Here is an interesting case where being overweight can actually be a good thing. Samantha Lynn Frazier was strolling into a local Atlantic City, New Jersey bar when she heard two loud blasts. The 35-year-old woman suddenly felt a sharp pain on her left side. When the baffled woman grabbed her midsection and gazed down at her hands, she noticed that they were bloodied. When she was taken to a nearby hospital. the attending physicians told the Florida resident that the extra fatty layer deposited around her waist was actually her saving grace. No sirree, no more Weight Watchers anything for Ms. Frazier, fat is where it's at baby!

    9) I Married a Loser: Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me?

    Successful women who get betrothed to, then eventually marry men who, well, aren't exactly the pick of the litter eventually do come to realize that they married losers. Take famed 'Stella Got Her Groove Back' writer Terry McMillan and her ex Jonathan Plummer, celeb Star Jones and Al Reynolds (hmmm...now what do these two ex-hubbies have in common besides failed marriages?), Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown; these women who have great careers and big social circles ended up with men who were not on par with them. It's unfortunate that when it comes to logic versus emotion, the latter seems to win out all of the time!

    10) Father Fights to Overcome Stroke for Son

    At only 43 years young, Reginald Thomas (pictured above with son) suffered a massive stroke. Talk about drive, determination and a overwhelming devotion to his 8-year-old son, Thomas, a single dad who was left paralyzed on one side of his body and speechless, was hell-bent to get himself well enough to care for his child. The prognosis was bleak. Yet two months later, and after exhausting therapy sessions, he began walking with a cane and could speak again. He lost his job but all is not sunk; Thomas can see some light at the end of his tunnel. He is considering a North Carolina move to start over and will continue to be there for his son whom he adores. Who says there aren't enough good black men out there?


    11) Woman Stabs Husband Over Bad Sex

    Michelle Thomas, 26, had sex with her common-law husband and was not satisfied, so she stabbed him with a pair of scissors. Her man refused to press charges or seek medical treatment. I betcha this won't be the last time ole Shelly goes for those paper cutters!

    12) Aimee Michael: Daughter and Mother Get Long Prison Sentences for Hit and Run

    Aimee Michael (pictured above, left) was the cause of a massive car accident in Atlanta, a chain reaction that caused the deaths of five people, including a newborn baby, a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old. After being sideswiped by another car, Michael's BMW hit another car, causing it to collide head-on with another vehicle. Michael is going to prison, because after causing this terrible accident, she fled the scene and tried to cover up the evidence. Aimee Michael's mother, Sheila (pictured above, right), was given eight years in prison for her role in the cover up. The lesson learned here is that driving is a privilege which should never be abused.

    13) Fitness Chain Sues Tiki Barber, Calls Him 'Worthless'
    Cad-about-town Tiki Barber was hit with a $1-million lawsuit by a fitness company that has rendered him "worthless overnight" as its spokesperson, because he cheated on his pregnant wife Ginny. The couple is now history and Barber should hold his head down in shame whenever he steps into the light of day!
    14) Maia Campbell Arrested
    Beautiful, talented and the product of a privileged family, Maia Campbell (pictured above) somehow took a very wrong turn from an acting career that could have spiraled upwards. She wound up on drugs and everything in her life faded to black. The 33-year-old has seen the inside of a jail cell more than once and if she does not try to get some help pronto, she might just meet a fate that is tragic.
    15) Haitian Parents Reunited With Baby Rescued From Rubble
    Four days after Haiti's earthquake, infant Jenny was rescued from the rubble and pulled from the arms of a dead woman. The baby was brought to the University of Miami medical center in terrible condition, and doctors did not expect her to survive, even though doctors called her "a miracle." On April 7, Jenny was reunited with her parents, who had believed she was dead. Talk about chills!

    16) Old White Man Beats Young Black Man on Bus: Video Storms the Web

    An allegedly racist comment by an elderly white man (pictured above) sparked a fight on an Oakland, California bus that spread all over YouTube. The comment involved the 67-year-old man asking a young black man to shine his shoes. There was a great deal of yelling back and forth before the elderly man moved to the front of the bus. The younger man followed him, and before long, a fight broke out, but it didn't quite go as expected. To the surprise of everyone, the older white man landed a flurry of punches that caused numerous injuries to the face of the younger man. The old man has become a legend on YouTube since the incident took place. Everyone is the age of their heart and this senior was about the same age as his young opponent!

     

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    With all the holiday food you have to prepare, the drinks should be easy, right? While guests usually come with wine, beer, or champagne in tow, it's nice to have a festive party drink already made to greet friends and family at the door. Here are six of our favorite holiday cocktails to cool you down, warm you up, and finally make use of that lonely mistletoe.

    1. King Cider
    It's not a holiday without warm apple cider, especially when you live in a cold climate. But while the kids sip from their mini-mugs in the living room, you and your guests can enjoy a more grown-up version of the old classic! This recipe is for one glass, but you can multiply it for a giant pot of warm apple goodness.

    1.5 oz. Crown Royal Deluxe
    2 oz. heated cider
    .25 oz honey
    .25 oz lemon juice
    dash cinnamon
    • Serve warm in a coffee mug. top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

    2. Campari Sparkling Passion
    If you can't make it to the beach this winter, channel your hula dancer with this sparkly, festive drink. Created by mixologist Giovanni Denigris, this drink is a big hit at Trattoria Trullo in Chicago.

    2 oz. Campari
    2 oz. Prosecco
    1 oz. grapefruit juice
    Splash passion fruit puree
    • Shake all ingredients together and strain into an ice cold champagne flute. Garnish with raspberries, orange, and fresh mint on a toothpick.

    3. Tradicional Paloma
    You can take hostess out of Cabo, but you can't take the Cabo out of the hostess! This drink is great for the tequila lover that's way too busy to make a bunch of super-fancy cocktails. This one's so simple that you can mix it in a large pitcher and spend more time socializing!

    1.5 oz Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver
    4.5 oz. grapefruit soda
    • Mix in a highball glass and serve over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

    4. Hot Gin Gin Toddy

    No, that's not a typo - the hot gin gin toddy is great for those who love a warm winter cocktail, but could stand the change from traditional apple cider. But don't go too crazy - gin makes you sin!

    1.25 oz. Tanqueray gin
    .75 oz. fresh lemon juice
    .75 oz. ginger syrup
    3 dashes Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters
    • Mix ingredients in a tall mug. top with hot water and stir with a cinnamon stick. Leave cinnamon as garnish, and top with extra dash of fresh cinnamon, if you prefer.

    5. The Tides

    The Brazilian rum Cachaca is a staple in Brazil. However, though known for being the key ingredient in Caipirinhas, Cachaca can also make for a fruity, sexy holiday party cocktail. Mixologist Joe Swifka of Lani Kai shows us how it's done with The Tides.

    2 oz Leblon cachaca
    1 oz Falernum
    .75 oz fresh lime juice
    .75 oz fresh grapefruit juice
    .5 oz cane syrup
    2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
    • Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with a grapefruit and lime twist.

    6. Red Rosay

    This cocktail is for the champagne lover that likes to get inventive with cocktails. Ciroc Red Berry vodka makes a multi-ingredient drink suddenly simple, but only make this around your most responsible friends - red cocktails + white furniture = hazard!

    1 oz. Ciroc Red Berry vodka
    1 oz. cranberry juice
    .75 oz. Moet Rose champagne
    • Shake and strain into a chilled champagne fruit. Garnish with a strawberry slice or fresh cranberries.

    What's your favorite holiday cocktail?

     

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    I met a great guy at work that's very funny, well-liked and respected. We hit it off the instant we met. We work in different divisions, but I see him at meetings and office functions. We talk and text at least 10 times a day. We get along well, joke around a lot and have similar tastes. If I need help with something he'll go out of his way to help me, even when I forget that I needed the help. He also describes me as lovely, says I'm his 'little buddy' and has called me 'hot'. Sadly, he also says he wants to stay alone. He says he's not looking to get married, is fine with cheating and content with having a bunch of meaningless affairs. He also drinks a lot. In the year I've known him, I've taken serious heed to what he had said about relationships and I haven't made any moves or acted interested in anyway. I may flirt a little, but I've simply continued to be his friend. Obviously I write because I'm interested in him. He always calls or texts me first everyday except for our days off. I was off for a week and he said he really missed his little buddy. I'm scared I have low self-esteem for liking someone like him and I feel, because he likes a bunch of girls, that I'm just part of the crowd. Is there anything I can do other than "just get over it?" I'm confused and want to do the right thing. Any advice would be helpful.
    -Lisa


    It sounds like you have made a very good friend, and even though you are developing deeper feelings for him, he isn't ready to be in a serious and committed relationship, and frankly does not want one. He is telling you his truth and you have to accept that no matter your feelings for him. He will be unable to be the type of man you want in your life.

    It is easy to want to convince yourself into believing that maybe you will be the one to change him, and that he will want to be a better man just for you, but it is this type of thinking that leads you into the 'I can change him' trap. This is a tough dating trap to be in, because you will realize that he won't change, and that he'll be the the non-committal, cheating drunk he told you he was. At that point you'll be emotionally attached and physically involved, and the pain of a break up would be excruciating. You'll end up hurt, disrespected, and you'll eventually lose the friendship you once had.

    Don't sell yourself short! You can't wait around in the hopes that a guy who is unavailable will suddenly change his mind and decide he wants what you want. You'll be waiting forever, will catch the crazy, and will grow resentful in the process. Start by setting some boundaries for yourself so that you don't cross the friend line into flirtation or something more. You have to make a concerted effort to make sure you don't end up in compromising positions with him (i.e. don't go drinking and partying together, don't hang out at his home, stay away from overtly sexual conversation).

    What you can do is keep yourself open to meeting new people. You want a man who wants the same things that you do, so you need to continue dating. Once you shift your attention elsewhere, you will open yourself up to finding someone who is ready for an honest, loving and committed relationship.

    Rebecca Brody is a relationship coach and columnist in NYC. She hosts ImprovDates.com, and works with private clients. Send your questions to Brody@TheLuvCoach.com or visit her at www.TheLuvCoach.com.

     

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    Ellia English: Actress Offers Love Lesson For Christmas
    She's best known as the loving Aunt Helen on the sitcom 'The Jamie Foxx Show.' More recently, actress Ellia English had a recurring role on HBO's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'

    The Covington, Georgia-bred talent told BlackVoices.com that Christmas time is a time of love.

    "During the holiday season, I have often observed many souls beginning to operate in a spirit of 'peace on earth and goodwill towards men, also known as, the spirit of love,' she expressed.

    The 50-year-old actress/singer, who released a tome of life lessons titled 'I Am That I Am: A Journey Through Add-Ol-Less-Sense' (Xulon Press)' in 2009, said she often wishes that holiday love could be extended all year long.

    "Even as a child I found myself pondering why we don't exercise more love throughout the entire year and not just during the holiEllia Englishdays, especially at Christmas time," she shared. "So, what the holidays have come to mean for me is an opportunity for us all to gather a greater understanding of love, in order that we may embark upon a more liberal application of it, year, after year, after year. Because no matter what we say or what we believe or what we do during this holiday season, without love, the greatest gift of all, we are all bankrupt."

    English, who has also appeared in films like 'Semi-Pro,' 'Good Luck Chuck,' 'My Sister's Keeper' and 'Woman Thou Art Loosed,' said that reflecting on the importance of love throughout the holidays will hopefully challenge many of us to carry that spirit over into the new year.

    "What a wonderful time the holiday season is, for us to recall to the forefront of our hearts, what we know about love," she challenged. "We know that love embodies patience and kindness, and we know that love is slow to anger. And, it prefers truth and honors truth. We also know that love is 'not' rude, arrogant or envious. Yes, we know that love respectfully cares a great deal for others, without sacrificing the whole of itself. In addition, love never keeps record of wrongs. It is very protective and it consistently trusts, hopes and perseveres. All in all we know that 'Love Never Fails,' no matter the season!"

    The actress believes that no matter what you actually celebrate during the holiday season, extend love while doing it.

    "That's what the holidays mean to me, a reminder for us to love," she closed.


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    Procter & Gamble's Gillette brand is ending its endorsement deal with golfer Tiger Woods as of Dec. 31.

    The men's grooming company will not renew its sponsorship deal with Woods as part of a plan to phase out its Gillette Champions marketing campaign in the first quarter of 2011, said Gillette spokesman

    Under the strategy, Gillette is cutting ties with Woods, soccer players Thierry Henry, Kaka, Rafa Marquez and Lionel Messi and other athletic endorsers around the world, said Norton. However, it's keeping other athletes who served as Gillette champions in global or local marketing efforts. They include: shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees; tennis star Roger Federer and Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

    Woods, Federer and Henry launched the Champions campaign in 2007 and it became one of the most successful global marketing efforts in Gillette's history. Eventually, Gillette used 38 different athletic endorsers from seven different sports to reach consumers in 180 countries.

    In an e-mail to USA TODAY, Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg of IMG Worldwide, said: "The contract between Tiger and Gillette expires at the end of this year. Gillette is ending their 'Champions' campaign. That is the reason for not continuing."


    Source: USA Today

    Kevin Eason is a freelance editorial cartoonist and Illustrator from New Jersey. His brand of satire covers news events in politics, entertainment, sports and much more. Follow him on Facebook.

     

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    Dr. Boyce Watkins on AOL Black Voices: Economic Prosperity
    Zachary Rinkins is serious about money. He's been running a very popular financial blog for the past several years, and has positioned himself as one of the most respected financial bloggers in the black community. I love what Zachary is doing because he reflects a generation of young people who are interested in seeing themselves empowered through economic success.

    Zachary's blog features interviews with respected figures in the black economic community, including Russell Simmons, Hill Harper, and others. He also provides meaningful advice on things that matter to all of us, like keeping a strong credit score, managing student loans, getting out of debt and starting a business. The next step in our civil rights struggle is to find a way to economic freedom and Zachary is a part of that process. The interview is below, enjoy!

    PRODUCTION PLAYER! DO NOT DELETE.


    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the bookBlack American Money To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets was dealt a terrible holiday blow this week as his sister Michelle suddenly died at the age of 36. Michelle died of a pre-existing medical condition and leaves behind four children. Anthony announced that he is leaving the team to be with his family and will re-join them after Christmas.

    The Nuggets organization released the following statement:

    "Our entire organization supports Carmelo during this difficult time for him and his family. It is heartbreaking news, particularly during the holiday season."

    I've followed Carmelo's career closely since he spent a year here at Syracuse University. Although my salary was higher than Anthony's, he brought far more revenue and recognition to the campus. Fortunately, he has been able to earn some portion of his economic value as a professional athlete. I am also glad to see that he's made the most of his opportunities.

    Anthony's tragedy is sad and reminds all of us to appreciate those we love during the holidays. You never know when it might all come to an end. I wish Carmelo and his family the best.


    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    BlackVoices.com is ready to bless one last lucky reader with some holiday gifts. Could you be that person? See what the contest instruction is for today, and then enter to win! Also, check back next week for a full list of winners. Happy Holidays!

    GIFTS OF THE DAY
    USD Val
    ue ($32)



    In addition to Miss Jessie's products, one lucky winner will also receive (1) 'West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology'; (1) 'Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; (1) Q Parker 2011 Fitness Calendar; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD concert package. The total value of the package is $265.92.



    "How do I win?" you ask?

    All you have to do is follow @blackvoices on Twitter and tweet the hashtag #BV12Days to us today by 11:59 p.m. PST for your chance to win. Winners will be selected at random. One winner will be announced via our social network platforms each day at 3 p.m. EST. Check out more contest details below.
    -Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
    -Enter to win by simply following the contest instructions for that specific day. Only winners who follow the contest instructions in full will be selected.
    -All winners will be announced on BlackVoices.com and via our social networks on Monday, Dec. 27.
    -Winners will be selected in a random drawing. A team member from BlackVoices.com will contact you for detailed contact information.
    -The giveaways will be sent to the winners before Dec. 31, 2010.

     

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    Memphis Grizzlies star OJ Mayo got an unpleasant surprise this Christmas when his father was charged with attempted murder and crack possession, among other things. Mayo's father, 39-year old Kenneth Maurice Ziegler, allegedly hit a police officer and dragged him several feet, according to police.

    The officers approached Ziegler when they saw him hiding inside his car. They were not looking for him, but walked toward him nonetheless. That's when Ziegler hit the gas and drove into one of the officers. He was chased by vehicle for several miles and then on foot.

    Ziegler has been charged with attempted murder, two counts of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, fleeing in a vehicle and obstruction. Police say they found 85 grams of marijuana and pieces of crack cocaine in the car. He also has several outstanding warrants.

    Mayo says that he didn't grow up with his father, but his dad was seen helping his mother, Alisha Mayo, hand out turkeys and hams at Thanksgiving. They live in Huntington, West Virginia.

    I admit that a part of me feels for OJ Mayo. When a young man is working to make good decisions and do something good with his life, bad choices by his mentors can serve as a huge distraction. I recall my older brother figure (who was technically my uncle) getting arrested and running from the police when I was in college trying to make a better life for myself. His arrest was sad for me because I looked up to him and spent years trying to help him get his life together. It can be disappointing to spend two decades hoping that someone you love "gets it together" and only watching them continue to make worse decisions over time. It's a very difficult process and I can't imagine the challenges OJ is having as a young millionaire trying to manage family members who might feel that he owes them something.


    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    The Miami Heat showed up in Los Angeles to deliver a Christmas message: We are for real and there's nothing you can do about it. LeBron James played the role of delivery agent, dropping a ferocious triple double on the Lakers on prime time television. The Heat dominated the game for the entire time with a decisive 96 - 80 victory on LA's home court.

    LeBron James had 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, delivering yet another outstanding performance on Christmas day. He did the same thing to the Lakers last year on the same day in front of the same national audience (except he was a Cleveland Cavalier at the time). It appears that the Heat are finding their synergy: Their 23 - 9 record puts them near the top of the NBA, and they are clearly the hottest team in the league, losing just one out of their last 14 games. Anyone who wondered if the Miami Heat could win a title isn't asking that question anymore.

    Kobe Bryant wasn't a slouch, but didn't play very well. Bryant had 17 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds on his way to a loss. Magic Johnson, who worked as a commentator after the game, made a very clear point that America needs to stop attacking LeBron James and support him for what he is: arguably the best basketball player in the country and one of the greatest players in history. James makes that point over and over every single day.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    From Nikki Giovanni and Eric Jerome Dickey to Isabel Wilkerson and Randal Pinkett, we reached out to some of our favorite authors and asked them to share the books that touched them in 2010.

    Giovanni writes an unparalleled jazzy review of Jay-Z's 'Decoded,' while Wilkerson delivers a moving review of one doctor's exploration of cancer. Superpublicist Patti Webster stayed true to religious form with her pick about two clergymen from different faiths. Pinkett tackles Tom Burrell's forward-thinking book about how racism in the African American community is not really a problem but rather a response. And street-lit diva Nikki Turner offered up a title about personal finances that will definitely stand the rest of time.

    Join us for a look at the books that mattered in 2010.

     

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    2010 had its share of exciting entertainment news. From the GOOD (Chris Brown's moving tribute to Michael Jackson), the BAD (T.I.'s return to jail after making a career comeback) and the UGLY (Former R&B chart-topper Keith Washington recording a private call with the ailing Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin), there was no shortage of events to talk about.

    Here's a look back at the Top 30 Entertainment News Stories of 2010.





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    Allen West out of Florida is a Tea Party pick for Congress who was recently elected this past November. Even before being sworn in, West has already reached out to Republican leadership, stating that Congress takes too many days off this year.

    Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor has put out the calendar for next year. In a letter to Cantor, West explained his frustration with Congress having too many days off. "I believe this schedule does not sufficiently reflect the concerns of the American people as expressed on November 2nd," West said.

    Eric Cantor tried to explain the schedule:

    "In total, it contains 123 days and 32 weeks of session," Cantor wrote. "While the number of days in session is consistent with first sessions in years past, the number of weeks in session represents an eleven percent drop, resulting in less travel for Members and potential savings to the Member's Representational Allowance."

    Cantor and his supporters argue that a shorter calendar reduces the amount of waste in Washington and the size of government. West argues, however, that legislators missing so many days of work means they aren't getting anything done. This is especially true in a legislative body that spends more time arguing than being productive.

    Brad Dayspring, the spokesman for Eric Cantor said, "More days in Washington has historically resulted in bigger government, greater waste, and more spending - not more production. What's important is who's in charge and the process put in place, not the number of days in session."

    West also mentioned that he has a problem with the retreats taken by members of Congress.

    "There's a retreat that starts on the 7th, which is...you know, really a nice family time to go to Williamsburg," He said to CNN. "But I don't think that that is something that the constituents of the 22nd district wanted me to come up there and do. Because, there's a lot of people that cant have taxpayer-funded vacations - a lot of people down here that have not had the opportunity to have vacations."

    Ironically, being a military man, West says that he doesn't like the word "retreat" in almost any context. He seems to be all about business as he heads into Washington, and might be the refreshing change his constituents are seeking. Although I am not a fan of what the Tea Party represents, it seems that Allen West presents the "no-nonsense" approach to government that reminds people of a younger version of Colin Powell. His military record puts his patriotism beyond reproach, and there are likely quite a few Democrats and Republicans willing to cheer on any politician who seeks to challenge business as usual in Washington.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    Rapper Talib Kweli was thrown out of an after-party for his own record-listening event after he got into a fight with his wife, DJ Eque. Spies tell us Eque "flew into a rage and launched herself at Kweli" after she spotted him flirting with other women at the bash at West 14th Street bar Snap.

    Brooklyn-based Kweli has collaborated with stars including Kanye West and Mos Def. Our source said, "Kweli made a joke thanking the sponsor, Hennessey, for paying for his wedding in 2009, saying otherwise he wouldn't have got married.

    The party later carried on in a private room. When his wife saw him chatting and being friendly with other women, she flew off the handle. She went at him and they were almost wrestling before they fell back on a table, smashing some glasses.

    Security then asked them to leave, and they carried on the argument outside as they got into their car." Kweli and Eque couldn't be reached.

    Source: NY Post



    Kevin Eason is a freelance editorial cartoonist and Illustrator from New Jersey. His brand of satire covers news events in politics, entertainment, sports and much more. Follow him on Facebook.

     

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    Prior to the start of Bravo's top-rated reality show 'Real Housewives of Atlanta,' there were reports circulating that original cast member Lisa Wu Hartwell opted out of season three.

    Well, another season has aired and there's no sign of the 38-year-old real estate mogul. Check out Jawn Murray's exclusive scoop on why Hartwell declined to appear on Bravo's hit series.

     

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    What once appeared to be band of genuine friendship and brotherhood has taken a turn for the worst for former members of B2K. Over the years, group member De'Mario "Raz-B" Thornton has made several allegations that his ex-manager and cousin Chris Stokes, along with singer Marques Houston, sexually molested him.

    And in spite of his former group mate Omarion calling him a liar and bipolar, Thornton made it clear in an exclusive interview that he's sticking to his story.


    Former B2K Singer Raz-B Continues Molestation Accusations Against Chris Stokes, Marques Houston



     

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    This holiday season, BlackVoices.com decided to spread the holiday cheer by surprising twelve (12) of our avid readers with gifts courtesy of the season. Check out who the lucky winners are!


    DAY 1
    Winner:
    Kaicheal Hawkins of Arlington, TX
    Prizes:
    A $100 Walmart gift card; (1) West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology; '(1) Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; (1) Soul Train3- DVD set; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD Concert package.


    DAY 2
    Winner:
    Tracey Hanks of Southfield, MI
    Prizes:
    An autographed El DeBarge 'Second Chance' CD and poster; (1) 'West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology'; (1) 'Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD concert package.


    DAY 3

    Winner: David Johnson of New York, NY
    Prizes:
    I AM KING from Sean John eau de toilette (1.7 oz.)
    ; (1) West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology; '(1) Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD Concert package.


    DAY 4
    Winner:
    Miles Crutchfield of Nashville, TN
    Prizes:
    An AKOO Cardigan; (1) 'West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology'; (1) 'Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD concert package.


    DAY 5
    Winner:
    Jessica Worthy of Stone Mountain, GA
    Prizes:
    A pureDKNY Fragrance gift set and a jar of Miss Jessie's Curly Pudding; (1) West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology; '(1) Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD Concert package.


    DAY 6
    Winner:
    Robert Tillman of New York, NY
    Prizes:
    An Every Man Jack DIY Shaving Kit; (1) West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology; '(1) Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD Concert package.


    DAY 7
    Winner:
    Krystal Soojeong of Newport, MN
    Prizes:
    A 30 Days At 100 Percent (Crystal Wright audio and motivational book); (1) Mariah Carey's Christmas CD;(1) 'West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology'; (1) 'Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD concert package.



    DAY 8
    Winner:
    Anthony Thompson of Albuquerque, NM
    Prizes:
    A Lab Series Skincare for Men Shave Kit; (1) 'West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology'; (1) 'Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD concert package.


    DAY 9
    Winner:
    Ericka Horne of Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Prizes:
    A Calvin Klein faux Python tote; (1) Keri Hilson 'No Boys Allowed' CD; (1) 'West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology'; (1) 'Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; (1) Q Parker 2011 Fitness Calendar; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD concert package.


    DAY 10
    Winner: Damon Roberson of Casselberry, FL
    Prizes:
    A Ralph Lauren Polo Gift Set; (1) 'West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology'; (1) 'Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; (1) George Wallace Comedy DVD, and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD concert package.


    DAY 11
    Winner: Larry Balfour of Lake Worth, FL
    Prizes:
    An Every Man Jack DIY Shaving Kit; (1) West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology; '(1) Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD Concert package.



    DAY 12
    Winner:
    Winfrey Oribhabor of Houston, TX
    Prizes:
    Miss Jessie's products; (1) 'West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology'; (1) 'Christmas with The O'Jays' CD; (1) Soul Train 3-DVD set; (1) Steve Harvey's new book 'Straight Talk, No Chaser'; (1) Q Parker 2011 Fitness Calendar; and (1) Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 3-DVD concert package.

     

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    As we work our way through the holidays, I am finding that life is never short on teachable moments. So, as you're taking down the tree, celebrating Kwanzaa, or doing whatever else floats your boat during these excessively commercialized holidays, I thought I would share a few fun and interesting lessons I've learned over the past week. Some of these items are things I've always known, but being slapped upside the head with holiday stress has reminded me of the obvious.

    1) Kids are expensive as "hayell":
    All the brothers out there who are making babies without keeping count may want to stop and take notice of just how expensive kids can actually be. Not only are kids expensive, they become more costly as they get older. Now that my daughter and god kids are in college, the cost is through the roof. I keep wondering when it's all going to end, and the older I get, the more I learn about the high cost of reproduction. I don't recommend having sex without an 18-year financial plan.

    2) Educational toys are a must for infants: When buying gifts for your child, always make sure you buy something educational. African Americans have to continue learning to embrace the value of education and push it like nothing else. This starts when your child is the cradle. We've got to teach our babies something before they start learning from Lil Wayne.


    3) Cash is the best gift certificate on earth: Rather than trying to guess what my relatives want for Christmas, I just give some of them cash. Don't get me wrong - I'll take some trips to the store or give gifts of love that don't cost a thing. But I also enjoy just reaching into my pocket and saying "Here ya go." This avoids the challenge of trying to guess what they want for Christmas and also allows me the comfort of knowing that if they don't enjoy their gift, it's their own fault. OK, maybe I'm just lazy, but you have to give me credit for being honest.

    4) Each year is a chance to re-invent yourself: As I took a look over my achievements during the past year, I wasn't completely satisfied. Sure I held down some of the things that mattered and I believe I became a better father (which is a consistent goal of mine), but there was something missing. So, I realized that with the start of a new decade, there is a chance to leave the past behind and do a better job at being me. This applies to everyone, so I encourage you to use this year to find the greatness that lies inside of you. After you finish reading this article, you'll be a little closer to death than you were just a few minutes ago. Get started on fulfilling your dreams before time runs out.

    5) Start saving for next year: I find that Christmas spending is less painful when I've spent the year planning for it. Well, I haven't actually done that before, but that's the plan for 2011. Spending so much money on such short notice can be painful, especially when your family size is expanding. I haven't had additional kids myself, but with my God children having kids of their own (effectively making me someone's God Grandfather - whoa!), I can hear the cha-chings coming from their little voices already. I better start prepping for next year right now.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the bookBlack American Money To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    Long before she was whippin' her hair back and forth, pre-teen singing sensation Willow Smith was stepping onto the scene with star parents Will and Jada. We were enamored with her after her big-screen debut in 2007's 'I Am Legend,' but it's her role as a songstress that skyrocketed her to fame. And while she's only 10, she's had enough hairstyles to make even Janet Jackson jealous! Here are some of Willow's cutest and coolest looks.


     

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