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

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    In January, Essence Atkins and Terry Crews are returning to TV as the Kingston-Person family with all new episodes of the TBS comedy series 'Are We There Yet?'

    Featuring a couple whose blended family faces the challenges of everyday life, 'Are We There Yet?' will launch with back-to-back episodes Wednesday, Jan. 5, at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

    Produced by Revolution Studios and Ice Cube's Cube Vision, the show follows Crews and Atkins, who play Nick and Suzanne, a couple adjusting to life as newlyweds and the complexities of raising children, while also dealing with the everyday challenges of romance, friendship and the drama of extended family.

    Teala Dunn and Coy Stewart co-star as Nick and Suzanne's children, Lindsey and Kevin. Keesha Sharp is Suzanne's best friend and coworker, Gigi, who has a taste for men and the finer things in life. Special guest star Ice Cube will return as Suzanne's brother, Terrence. Recurring characters include Nick's best friend, Martin, played by comedian Christian Finnegan, and Suzanne's mother, Marilyn, played by Telma Hopkins.

    The series premiered last June, as part of TBS's enormously popular Wednesday lineup of original sitcoms. It went on to rank among ad-supported cable's Top 10 new series for the quarter, averaging 2.8 million viewers and 1.5 million adults 18 to 49. 'Are We There Yet?' was also the number-one show on television in prime-time delivery of African American adults 18 to 34 and 18 to 49 for the second quarter. After its successful first season, TBS ordered an additional 90 episodes.

    BlackVoices.com caught up with Atkins, who previously starred on the UPN sitcom 'Half & Half,' about the new gig.

    After doing a few independent films, what's it like to come back to TV in a different role than the ones you've played before?

    Essence Atkins: Exactly. Let's clear up the misnomer. We are not movie stars. We are working actors. There's a big difference in the pay scale. You still have bills even if the show ends. You still have that note. You still have that car.

    How is the show different from the movie?

    EA: The romance has been consummated and you're married. Now the reality sets in. The representatives have left the building and you are stuck with the actual person. I'm a newlywed myself, and these are conversations and issues that we are dealing with in real life. That's the reason the show has legs. That's the reason people can relate to it. It deals with things like credit and ex-husbands and children playing one parent against the other. He wants one child to like what he likes and the kid likes something completely different. It's all of those things.

    How's playing a mom?

    EA: This is a natural transition. At this point in my life, I'm not a mother yet, but I hope to be someday. I'm in my mid-to-late thirties, so this make sense to me. I didn't have an issue in playing a mother. I'm welcoming and relishing the opportunity.

    Not only are you playing a lead in the TV series, but you also had a lead role opposite Elise Neal and Lamman Rucker in the independent film 'N-Secure.' How challenging was that for you?

    EA: It was daunting. I was excited and then I was scared. There's a responsibility that comes with the role. You're leading the way on this project. People have put their blood, sweat and tears on this. Julius Lewis, who's the executive producer on this project, raised the money to get it done and put all the pieces in place for two years. He also co-wrote the script, and David Matthews, who was a producer on 'Half & Half', directed the film. I felt and knew that I would be in great hands, but at the same time, there was this overwhelming sense of responsibility. There's a lot of riding on this, not just for me, but for everyone involved.

     

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    Despite embarking on her first world tour in 10 years, Whitney Houston fans in Denmark were a bit unhappy with the diva's much anticipated return to the stage. During Houston's 'Nothing But Love' tour, various outlets reported that 'The Bodyguard' actress was hitting notes that were off-key and pitchy.

    The six-time Grammy Award winner's performance was reportedly so lackluster that fans gave Houston no love, leaving the venue prior to the concert ending. If you're still in disbelief see for yourself.



     

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    Floyd Mayweather Filmed Verbally Abusing Security GuardIt seems like Floyd "Money" Mayweather can't seem to stay out of trouble.

    There isn't any Pacquiao-Mayweather fight coming anytime soon thanks to battery charges Floyd's recently being investigated for. The current battery charges stem from an incident where a security guard in Mayweather's gated community claims that the boxer poked him in the face over a parking permit dispute. Now police investigating the case have received a video from a separate incident involving Mayweather and a security guard from the gated community.

    The video shows the guard asking Mayweather for identification and the boxer becoming belligerent about the questioning.

    "Let me in my motherf*cking house. You know who I am, man ... let me in my house," Mayweather said in the video. "Stop giving me a hard time."

    Check out the video:





    Every other week it's something new with you, and it's never good news. Get back in the ring because the more time you spend outside of it, the more trouble you get into. Come on Floyd, get it together!


     

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    Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes Baritone, Bernie Wilson, Dead at Age 64


    Bernie Wilson, a founding member of the legendary R&B group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, passed away Sunday due to complications from a stroke and heart attack. Wilson, 64, died at a health care facility in Voorhees, New Jersey. Since the passing of Wilson, the only remaining member of the original five man group is Lloyd Parks.


    Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes helped define the famed Philly sound of the 70's. The group was formed in the early 50's and named themselves The Charlemagnes. The group changed their name to The Blue Notes in 1954 with a lineup that consisted of lead singer Harold Melvin, Bernard Wilson, Roosevelt Brodie, Jesse Gillis, Jr., and Franklin Peaker. Although they recorded many songs for various record labels, they only managed to receive a little notoriety for two small hits "My Hero" in 1960 and "Get Out (and Let Me Cry)" in 1965.

    The quintet celebrated mega success when they recruited crooner Teddy Pendergrass and signed with the famed recording label of Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff's Philadelphia International in 1972. At this time, the classic Blue Notes lineup consisted of Harold Melvin, Wilson, Lawrence Brown and Lloyd Parks along with Pendergrass. Some of the group's most timeless recordings during their 70's musical reign-- "If You Don't Know Me By Now" (1972, their breakout single), "I Miss You" (1972), "The Love I Lost (1973), and "Don't Leave Me This Way" (1975), and socially conscious songs such as "Wake Up Everybody" and "Bad Luck" (both 1975).





    Throughout the years, despite having achieved much success, the group's lineup kept changing. Pendergrass left the group in 1976 after a money dispute and after his lobbying efforts to have the name of the group changed to Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass failed. He went on to have a chart-breaking solo career but met a cruel fate when he was left paralyzed after a 1982 car accident. The group never did match or surpass the success they achieved after Pendergrass departed.

    Wilson left the famed group in 1977 but kept performing up until a few years ago and had hoped to return to gospel singing.

    The famed baritone performed with Parks, Brown and John Atkins as The Blue Notes after leaving Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Parks and Wilson, with Gil Saunders -- also a former Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes member -- toured as a trio for a time in the 1990s.

    Funeral arrangements for Wilson are pending.




     

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    Ron Artest Announces Winner of His Championship RingEarlier this year, Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers announced that he was going to give away his championship ring he'd just earned.

    Everyone thought the idea was crazy, but Ron Artest was dead serious. He held a raffle and raised more than $500,000 for his Xcel University charity to benefit at-risk youth in terms of mental health. Artest got the idea after he shouted out his psychiatrist after Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. People laughed, but Artest hopes that people take mental health issues seriously.

    "It's a good feeling, because it got a lot of publicity, and that's cool," Artest told the Associated Press before the Laker-Heat game on Christmas Day. "I'm glad we can start over now and do some more work with charities."

    After the game, Artest announced that the winner of the raffle was Raymond Mikkael of Hawthorne, California. The entire event motivates Artest to do the whole thing again next year, starting with winning another championship with the Lakers.

    "I'm so anxious to get out at it again," Artest said. "I get more fuel, I burn it all up. I'm motivated."


    According to the Associated Press, the ring contains a piece of the ball used in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics; has a circumference of 16 oversized white diamonds representing the Lakers' titles and two championship trophies made of 16-karat gold. One side of the ring is a 3D-likeness of the player it was given to.

    Even if Artest doesn't win a ring this year, he hopes to donate a portion of his $6.79 million salary next year to mental health charities.

     

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    Maryland vs. East Carolina in an Emotional Military Bowl at RFK Tomorrow

    University of Maryland
    will represent the ACC in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman against the Conference USA representative East Carolina University tomorrow at 2:30pm EST.

    In an emotional season culmination, proceeds from the bowl will benefit the USO (United Service Organizations, Inc.) to support the families of troops and Ralph Friedgen, University of Maryland's legendary head coach (pictured above left), will be playing his last game tomorrow at RFK Stadium which will air on ESPN.


    "I have had 23 years of blood, sweat, and tears on the field. Today could be the last time I am on that field (College Park) ever and I hope we have a good practice," Friedgen said yesterday during a press conference to promote the game. "Working with the players has been very special. You know, it is kind of like you are dying. It is a slow death. Everything you experience is for the last time. It has been a very stressful week especially from an emotional standpoint. I am looking forward to one more time with these players."

    While acknowledging the sentimental aspect of tomorrow's game, East Carolina is prepared to come in to fight back: "Coach Friedgen has been a great football coach. Our team just needs to stay focused on the task at hand. We know we are going to face an emotional team," said Ruffin McNeill, head coach for East Carolina (pictured above right).

    The Terrapins finished the season one game shy of the ACC Championship game with an 8-4 record (5-3 ACC).

    "This has been emotional for us," said Torry Smith, University of Maryland wide receiver. "We want to go out and support coach. We know this is his last chance. We want to have the best experience individually, but we want to come together and support him.

    East Carolina (6-6, 5-3 C-USA) has been transformed by head coach McNeill into one of the nation's top offensive teams, averaging 38.2 points per game.

    Even the troops are choosing sides. Frank Thorp, senior vice president of marketing and communications at USO, says troops have been sending them letters rooting for one team or another.

    "I am not going to say who they are supporting," said Thorp. "But I will say that they are excited."

    And so are we.


     

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  • 12/28/10--04:10: Rapper Trick Daddy is Broke!
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    Rapper Trick Daddy is Broke!!!


    Thug rap recording artist Trick Daddy has just joined the ranks of celebs who just can't seem to pay their taxes.

    The Miami, Florida rapper whose real name is Maurice Young reportedly owes Uncle Sam over $157,000 in back taxes for 2002 earnings. The platinum-selling artist is not only delinquent in taxes but a bank foreclosed on his $320,000 Miami-Dade county home last May and sold it this past October.


    What's owed? According to the lien, the "Thug Holiday" hitmaker and his wife have an IRS lien against them for $85,366 which was filed on Sept. 3 for tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009. The feds also filed a $16,709 lien against the couple on July 29 in Miami-Dade County for income taxes from 2006. Finally, there is also a $54,979 lien against Trick also filed on July 29 in Miami-Dade County for income taxes from 2002.

    When it rains it certainly pours for Trick Daddy, who is battling the potentially fatal autoimmune disease lupus which makes the immune system attack the body's cells and tissue. Lupus affects all major organs in the human body, including the heart, kidneys and nervous system.



    The 37-year-old revealed his condition last year during a radio interview. Trick admitted he was diagnosed twelve years ago and has been battling it ever since. "My mama had 11 children from 10 different men. If she can live with that, I know I can live with this," the self proclaimed "Mayor of Miami" said during the interview.

    Trick Daddy, who was raised in poverty and considered to be a thoughtful thug by many, is currently promoting his autobiography Magic City: Trials of a Native Son.The book is an unsparing portrayal of life in a Southern ghetto.

     

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    Anyone following the worlds of sports and politics heard about President Barack Obama's decision to congratulate the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles for giving the embattled Michael Vick another chance to shine. The president called Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to tell him that he condemns the crimes for which Vick has been convicted, but believes that those who've paid debts for their crimes deserve a second chance to contribute to society.

    The symbolism of this moment can't be missed. Here we have an African American male going out of his way to express support for another black male coming out of the criminal justice system. While none of us knows Obama's true intentions, his public support for Michael Vick reminds us of the intricate connections that exist between many black males from all walks of life (Al Sharpton and I discussed this very same issue yesterday with regard to the arrest of the father of NBA star OJ Mayo): educated black politicians/doctors/lawyers who love sports have a great deal in common with athletes, who in turn have something in common with men in the criminal justice system, hip hop, etc. It's all connected at the end of the day (notice the close friendships between men like LeBron James and the rapper Jay-Z and the fact that many artists have friends who deal drugs).

    The reasons for these deep and compelling connections of black men from all walks of life stem from the pervasive and incredibly destructive nature of our criminal justice system. One of out of every three black boys born this decade is expected to spend time in state or federal prison during his lifetime. According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, black males are incarcerated at a rate that is over six times greater than white men. In fact, most African Americans have a friend or relative who has spent time in the criminal justice system. Therefore, unlike the rest of America, who sees Michael Vick as an animal, President Obama likely understands that he is a human being and an American who simply made a mistake. All the while, those who care so much about the dogs that were harmed by Vick could care less about the real human beings whose human rights are being stripped by a criminal justice system that profits from the "slavery loophole" provided by the 13th Amendment (stating that anyone labeled to be a convict can be made into a slave).

    While its easy to chalk up the glaring imbalance in incarceration rates to differences in culture and choices, it's not nearly that simple. Much of the disparity is due to differences in the rate at which black men are searched, arrested, convicted and sentenced relative to whites, even when they commit the same crimes. Also, economic inequality plays a role, since many black males go to prison because they were pressured into taking plea bargains by overworked and underpaid public defenders. Making matters worse is the fact that even after they've paid their debt to society, many of these men are not allowed to vote or work, making it nearly impossible for them to provide for their families. So, rather than having a system that is tough on crime, we have a system that simply creates more criminals, making the world more dangerous for us all.

    Barack Obama's statements in support of Michael Vick's right to redemption are symbolic for the other 1.4 million African American males who are disenfranchised as a result of felony convictions. We must stop presuming that the life of a felon is worthless and stop falling victim to the mindset of a society that has taught us that black men are animals who do not deserve access to equal rights. Instead, a system that is focused on justice, fairness and rehabilitation would open the door for those who want to contribute to society to have the opportunity to do so. If we were to throw away Vick's life the way we have millions of other men and women, we would never know how great he could be as an athlete.

    I am hopeful that the president can expand the logic he's used to defend Michael Vick to the other hundreds of thousands of black men who are victimized by the modern day slavery of the prison system. The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any country in the world. I was hoping that Obama, Eric Holder, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus would use the recent Georgia prison strike as an opportunity to re-examine whether it makes sense to allow our country to lead the world in such blatant human rights violations like prison rape, denial of rehabilitation and corporate profiteering from slave labor. Our nation has a consistent and storied habit of vilifying black men, which is why both President Obama and Michael Vick have been attacked by lynch mobs who've set out to destroy them. If we don't work together to change the collective reality of our world, we are all going to be affected by the very same inequality that has poisoned our nation for the last 400 years. Obama will hopefully find opportunities to speak up for other felons and not just Michael Vick. Their lives are not worthless and their families need them. We can't keep giving up on America.

    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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    A Look Back at Black...Ron Isley Released From Prison
    Ron Isley of The Isley Brothers has had quite a year.

    The veteran soul crooner was honored on Nov. 10 with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Soul Train A Look Back at Black...Awards, and on Nov. 20 he released a new album, 'Mr. I.' that featured guest spots from Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill and T.I.

    Isley served a three-year sentence for tax evasion and was released in April. BV Buzz had the details on the Cincinnati-bred singers return to the spotlight.



     

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    Michigan resident Leon Walker did what millions of other Americans have either done or have thought about doing: He snooped into his wife's email because he suspected her of having an affair. While it turns out that he was right, Walker now faces up to five years in prison for hacking into his wife's account.

    Leon's wife, Clara, was having an affair with her second husband, who'd been arrested in the past for beating her in front of her child (yes, you're probably thinking what I'm thinking). After finding the e-mail, Walker contacted Clara's first husband, the man who fathered the child, who then filed an emergency order of protective custody to get his child back. That was when Leon's wife filed a lawsuit against him.

    The criminal charges are contingent upon a Michigan law that makes it illegal to access protected computer networks "intentionally and without authorization." While prosecutors claim that the law can be applied, there are defense attorneys who believe that the law is being applied to the wrong scenario.

    "I've been a defense attorney for 34 years and I've never seen anything like this," said attorney Leon Weiss. "This is a hacking statute, the kind of statute they use if you try to break into a government system or private business for some nefarious purpose. It's to protect against identity fraud, to keep somebody from taking somebody's intellectual property or trade secrets."

    One point of contention is that while Clara claims that the computer belonged to her, Leon is the one who purchased it. He also says that she kept her passwords in a book next to the computer. Finally, Leon argues that he was justified in sending the e-mails to Clara's first husband because it was a matter of protecting the child from the man who'd battered his wife in the past.

    This case was interesting because it applies to the millions of Americans in relationships where one partner isn't sure if the other one is being faithful. It also reminds us that seemingly petty relationship issues can have very real long-term financial implications. While this situation is certainly a matter of the heart, it has now led to a prolonged and expensive legal battle that may land a man in prison. Yes, this was one of those sticky "Financial Lovemaking" issues.

    The age of the Internet has forever changed the way relationships work. While there was a time when women like Clara might never see her many ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends again, she now lives in a world where every ex-boyfriend is just an email or Facebook friend request away. Keeping up with all this can drive the jealous spouse insane, as there countless stories of people stalking out their partner's Facebook pages, breaking into their e-mails and checking their phones when they're not looking. Personally, I think it's just too much. The reality is that you can't keep up with everything your partner is doing or every relationship they have. You might as well accept the fact that this is no longer 1990, and you can't keep inventory on every aspect of your partner's life. If there is no trust in your relationship, then you may need to simply let that person go, it's really as simple as that.

    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's commentary delivered to your e-mail, please click here.

     

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    A Look Back at Black...LisaRaye McCoy Bounces Back After Divorce!
    Actress LisaRaye McCoy made headlines because of her scandalous divorce from Turks and Caicos Premier Michael Misick - a story that involved him being accused of cheating, domestic abuse and misappropriating governmA Look Back at Black...ent money.

    The former 'The Player's Club' star rebounded with a TV One reality series called, 'LisaRaye: The Real McCoy,' which broke network records as the first show to land more than one million viewers. In an interview with BV Buzz, McCoy talked about her hit show and why she only dresses in white clothing.



     

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    A recent interview with Nancy Sims, President of the Toigo Foundation, presents some compelling information about the perceived efforts of leading business schools to diversify their MBA programs. The Toigo Foundation was created in 1989 to increase the representation of minorities in the Finance industry. They argue that while the results are less than stellar, they show some degree of promise.

    According to the interview, leading business schools have been working for years to increase diversity. The foundation claims that 18 of the top 30 business schools have increased their numbers of minority students over the last 10 years. The average went from 9.3 percent in 2000 to 13.4 percent in 2010. The numbers include underrepresented minorities who are not Asian students.

    The results are peculiar and potentially misleading for a couple of reasons. First, the study claims that the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University led the way with an alleged 21 percent enrollment of underrepresented minorities in their MBA program in 2010. My brother graduated from the Johnson School MBA program this fall, and I was incredibly disappointed by the fact that among the hundreds of students graduating that day, I could count the number of black students on one hand. Of course, African Americans are not the only underrepresented minority group, but the black presence in this business school (as well as most other leading institutions) is virtually non-existent.

    The second point of contention is that there is a presumption that business school diversity starts and stops with the composition of the student body. All the while, no one spends much time discussing the fact that many of the leading business schools, Cornell especially, are woefully inadequate when it comes to the numbers of underrepresented minorities on the faculty. Even when faculty positions are granted, they are typically visiting positions or openings designed solely for window dressing, with no relevance within the pre-existing power structure. This was a large part of the reason that many accused Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan of being a racist, given that she didn't hire a single black, Latino or Native American faculty member in over 30 hires as Dean of the Harvard University Law School. Given the thousands of highly-trained black professionals in the United States, such results are disgraceful, unacceptable, and nothing more than Americanized apartheid.

    The disparities in minority representation in American business schools is symptomatic of white supremacy in quite a few ways. Most significantly, there is a perception that the lack of minority presence is due to African Americans simply being unqualified or unwilling to "step up to the plate" to take advantage of the opportunities in question. This is the "lazy black people theory," that presents the elitists who run such institutions as benevolent caretakers who are simply hoping that minorities will walk through the doors these universities have been gracious enough to open for them. The truth, however, is that many of these doors are closed, and I've got an email box full of notes from angry black professors who've jumped through all the hoops of qualification only to find that they're being consistently rejected by predominantly white institutions (one professor interviewed at a university in the southeast and was told that she didn't get the job because she talked too loudly during her interview).

    There is also the belief that minorities are simply not good enough to get jobs or attend many of these institutions. The truth is that we are just as qualified as whites, but because whites are the standard bearers on educational achievement with the ability to reward and punish, there is the mistake of presuming that being different means that you are somehow inferior. I've gone through that problem at Syracuse University, given that my work in the black community has almost never been acknowledged or respected by any of those in the university's administration (Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson also went through similar problems at universities that refuse to recognize black scholarship as being important). If I were a white guy doing work of similar magnitude, I'd surely be sprinkled with a long list of awards and accolades. Thankfully, my mother taught me as a child that when you're black, you should expect to do twice as much for half the reward, so being rejected as an African American male never really bothered me. But anyone who truly cares about creating real diversity in American business schools will realize that a diverse population implies that a heterogeneous set of ideas are accepted and not that the black people will simply "civilize themselves" and learn to behave like their white counterparts.

    As I looked on the stage of faculty at my brother's graduation at Cornell, I found myself amazed that some of the most brilliant minds in the world have been convinced that black people are absent from their ranks primarily because there is no black person on earth qualified to sit next to them. Rather than understanding that they live in a nation that has spent 400 years relegating people of color to the back of the socio-economic bus, some would rather believe that black people are simply just not good enough. That, my friends, is white supremacy at its finest.

    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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    Number of Americans Without Health Insurance Rises to 50.7 Million


    When you hear that the number of people without health insurance in the United States rose by a record 8.6 percent to 50.7 million, it makes you wonder why there was so much resistance to health care reform.

    The percentage of Americans without health insurance jumped to 16.7 percent from 15.4 percent over the last year, the Census Bureau reports. Of course, the large number of people who have lost their jobs over the last year is part of the problem. But a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the cost of health care is quickly rising. Employees now pay 47 percent more for coverage now than they did in 2005 while employers are seeing increases of 20 percent.

    The new health care legislation signed into effect by President Barack Obama will eventually provide coverage to another 32 million people. However, many of the provisions in the law do not take effect until 2014.

    "If ever one needed an affirmation about how essential the Affordable Care Act is, this is that affirmation," Ron Pollack, executive director of the health consumers group Families USA told USA Today. "The clear message for people now is that help will be on the way."

    The question is will it be fast enough? Instead of talking about repealing health care reform, incoming Republicans should be looking at ways to strengthen the bill.



    Simply put, these numbers are frightening. Of course, African Americans are affected more by the lack of health insurance. The United States can no longer sweep this problem under the rug. The wealthiest country in the history of the world must find a way to get people access to what is universally acknowledged as a human right.

    And contrary to the wide spread belief that those with health insurance aren't working hard enough, 75 percent of those 50 million people have jobs.

    It signifies a shift in American society. The Huffington Post writes:

    The study underscores the degree to which the recession has accelerated the loss of basic elements once viewed as inextricable pieces of a middle class life. The number of Americans lacking medical coverage now exceeds the population of Spain.

    But the only reason this is allowed to persist is that we let it. Americans have fallen for the false rhetoric being bandied about regarding the need for health care reform: We are heading toward a socialist society; Death panels will decide whether the elderly can live or die.

    This death panel issue came up again recently as Medicare regulations go into effect that will pay doctors to counsel patients about end of life planning. This is something that will help people plan in advance what they want to happen in emergency situations. It will also help cut down on medical waste. The New York Times reports:

    The administration also cited research by Dr. Stacy M. Fischer, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who found that "end-of-life discussions between doctor and patient help ensure that one gets the care one wants." In this sense, Dr. Fischer said, such consultations "protect patient autonomy."

    That's right. Far from the government controlling your life, patients are given the power to individually decide, with the proper information, what they want to happen during a time we all must face. That sounds like freedom, not government control.

    So, wake up Americans. Do the research and decide for yourself. Get in touch with your compassion. With 50.7 million people, one in six, without health insurance, some of them have to be your friends and families. Seventy-five percent of those who are not covered have jobs. Don't think it can't happen to you one day.


     

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    Darius McCrary and Karrine Steffans finalized their divorce in 2010, but claims of domestic abuse surfaced in December.

    The former-video-vixen-turned-best-selling-author filed charges against the 'Family Matters' star, claiming that he choked and shoved her into a car in November outside of an Los Angeles hotel. The couple's latest news of domestic abuse follows a string of previous claims.




     

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    It has been quite an interesting year for Sam Jones III.

    Before the former 'Smallville' actor pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges earlier this month, he nailed a deal of his own with porn giant Vivid Entertainment. Unfortunately Jones' X-rated debut with his Playboy Playmate girlfriend, Karissa Shannon, wasn't enough to overturn his ruling, but maybe you'll be convinced. See for yourself.


     

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    Bengals Receiver Chris Henry RememberedIt's been a year since Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry died from a head injury after falling off a moving pickup truck. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, his teammates still have pictures of him in their lockers.

    Chad Ochocinco
    still wears his number on his gloves and Carson Palmer remembers his smile. There won't be any special services or occasions to commemorate Henry's life on the one-year anniversary of his death, but friends and family will continue to remember the good things he did before his death and even after death.

    "You have a couple idiots who bring up the old stuff, the negative," Ochocinco told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "He turned that corner; he was doing right, especially on the field. He was getting ready to get married, the whole nine yards."

    In November, CBS Sports broadcast a special segment with Henry's mother talking about her son's death and her decision to donate his organs which saved the lives of several people. See the video again:


     

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    Things 2011 Should Leave Behind


    It's the end of the year. A time when we set goals and figure out all the wonderful, positive things we want to bring into our lives.

    But to hell with that. It's also a time when we should decide exactly what we DON'T want in our lives in the coming year. A time when we recognize exactly what you hated about last year and have no intention on repeating. A time when you look back and recognize that things that seemed cool to you at the time, were really just stupid.

    I will share with you my personal list.

    1. Sarah Palin

    This woman, who was unleashed among this society by grumpy uncle John McCain has been the bain of our collective existence ever since. Between her word salad tweets, made up words, Facebook postings, screwed up kids, and her attacks on Michelle Obama for trying to keep our fat a** kids from all dying of diabetes and heart disease, Palin is one person I would like to leave behind in 2010.

    2. Jay-Z, Beyonce & Rihanna

    I love you guys, but enough already. I am so sick of hearing about you people. I just don't care anymore.

    I'm not sure if it's too late, but I'd also like to add (insert name here) Kardashian to this list. Thank you.

    3. The words: "wow", "really?" "ballin'", and "swag."

    I think that says it all.

    (Just for the record we've been trying to leave "hating" behind since 2006 with little success.)

    4. Right-Wing Nuts/Birthers/Left-Wing Liberal Whiners

    OK, we get it. For some people, the thought of a black president just infuriates you. Though you reflexively hate him simply because of the color of his skin, can you please spare the rest of us from your idiotic rationalizations of your racism? Your wacky claims that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim and your outrage and opposition to ANYTHING he says? For example: OBAMA: "The sky is blue" YOU: "No it isn't, you just want it to be blue because you are a Muslim and want to destroy America." Enough already. He's black, he's here, get over it.

    On the other end of the spectrum, you die-hard liberals have no problems with a black president. But it's the part about him not being a magic king who can just wave a wand and have all your agenda items fall into place, that gets your panties in a bunch.

    Look, he's not a Kenyan terrorist from Nairobi City, Hawaii NOR is he "Barack the Magic Negro." Both of you, grow up in 2011.

    5. Women with Half-shaved heads

    Not a good look for 99.9% of the population. Period. Don't chance it.

    6. The terms "baby mama" & "baby daddy"

    Look, man or woman, you picked the idiot. Can you please dignify yourself and your now-begrudged family with the phrases, "my daughter's father" or "my son's mother." Even if you don't respect your one-time sex partner, please respect your son or daughter by not trivializing them as a "baby." I mean, damn, they're 15 now. Sounds awful.

    7. Celebrity clothing and perfume lines.

    OK, I like Usher. I'm a fan of Beyonce. But do I really want to wear their clothing lines or cologne? What happened to the days when only gay, accomplished designers sold cologne? I was good then. Chanel, Calvin Klein, Versace, Claiborne, Bulgari -- they were folks I'd buy fragrances from. But what in the sam hell would I want to wear a scent by train-wrecks like Britney Spears or Mariah Carey? I am never mad at the hustle and encourage all to make that money while they can. But damn. Take a hint from the legends. You never saw Michael Jackson or Prince or Janet Jackson or Aretha Franklin peddling clothing lines or perfume brands. Celebs, do what you know.

    8. Snuggies and all their Offspring

    OK, I was good when the Snuggie was a passing fancy. I even got a Snuggie for Christmas last year from my hunky man and was way more tickled than i should have been (though I am secretly concerned it will catch me on fire one day). HOWEVER, there have been a spate of Snuggie spin-offs and some really disturbing clothing trends, all somehow birthed on cheesy random cable channels. Yes, I'm talking to you: Slanket and Pajama Jeans. But your time is over. No longer will we be slaves to fashion advertised on daytime and late night television. In 2011, we will all be back lounging around in our jogging pants and old t-shirts and old blankets, exactly like we are supposed to. Plus most of our credit cards don't work anymore.

    9. Ginny Thomas Voice Mails

    Ok, sure, we all had a big laugh at Virginia Thomas, wife of sitting Supreme Court Justice and Black activist (ha! just kidding), Clarence Thomas. But I'm hoping as 2011 rolls around, Clarence reigns Ms. Ginny in and, like in some cars, requires her to take a breathalyzer before being able to place calls.

    10. Kwame Kilpatrick

    'Nuff said.

    11. Real Housewives of Everywhere

    The gig is up ladies. Everyone knows by now that anyone with any real money, power or influence would NEVER do this show. You all are a bunch of embarrassing also-rans who represent the empty, debt-fueled consumption culture that got us all into this mess. BYE!


    There is more to leave behind in 2011. Trust me, we can all enter next year with some dignity. Check back tomorrow for Part Two!


     

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    Florida Woman Calls 911 FOUR Times Over Her Bad Manicure

    I don't know what it is with women and their nails but with many state budgets already in the toilet do you REALLY think the police have the time and resources to devote to your bad manicure??

    Well, apparently one woman felt that her low-budget tacky nails deserved the full force of a Florida police district when she called 9-1-1 FOUR times to complain about her nail work. Her nails were too short and she paid too much, and what were the police going to do about it?

    And you know what the police did: arrested her. For 9-1-1 abuse. Yay!

    See the video below:


    Woman arrested for calling 911 to complain about manicure: MyFoxORLANDO.com



    Now I know we all want to look good for the holidays but dayum. There was probably some poor schmuck being assaulted cross town that the police couldn't get to because of this woman and her foolishness.

    For the record, the place to go when you are dissatisfied with your service provider is the Better Business Bureau.

    9-1-1 may be a joke, but it's for EMERGENCIES people.

     

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    Upon his 2009 release, rapper Shyne (born Jamal Michael Barrow) spent time readjusting to society following a 10-year prison sentence.

    Among his many transitions, the former Bad Boy signee, who was immediately deported to his native Belize, decided to move to Jerusalem to become an orthodox Jew -- not to mention legally changing his name to Moses Levi, which has many questioning his new beliefs. Dr. Boyce Watkins gives his analysis on Shyne's new lifestyle.


     

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    Billy Taylor, a pioneering jazz pianist, composer and educator who sought to bring a deeper understanding of jazz to the masses, died Dec. 28 of heart failure. He was 89.

    Dr. Taylor, as he liked to be called, sought to counteract the image of the jazz musician as unschooled. Taylor earned a doctorate in music from the University of Massachusetts. He wrote for magazines such as DownBeat and lectured at universities while also serving as a disc jockey and jazz correspondent for "CBS Sunday Morning."

    Taylor was the artistic director for jazz for the John F. Kennedy Center For the Performing Arts and taught at places like Yale University but also founded the Jazzmobile in 1965 to bring top jazz performers to black neighborhoods and housing projects throughout New York City. It is an effort that continues today.



    Born in Greenville, N.C. in 1921, Taylor was also a renowned performer. Over the course of his career, he performed with most of the greatest names in jazz, including Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Billy Holiday. His song "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free," became one of the theme songs of the civil rights movement.

    "It is almost indisputable that Dr. Billy Taylor is the world's foremost spokesman for jazz," critic Leonard Feather once wrote.

     

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