Monday, June 30, 2008

Black Men in America: Ruben Studdard Marries Girlfriend

rican Idol' winner Ruben Studdard got married this weekend.

The 29-year-old R&B crooner, dubbed "The Velvet Teddy Bear" by soul icon Gladys Knight, wed Surata Zuri McCants at Canterbury United Methodist Ch

urch in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala. on Saturday.

Studdard and his 30-year-old bride took out a marriage license at the County Probate Office in Columbiana, Ala., last Monday.

Studdard met McCants in October 2006, when he was signing CDs at a Wal-Mart in Atlanta. Captivated by her beauty, he followed her to the store's toy department, and requested her telephone number.

Studdard had 20 groomsmen by his side, and there was no singing during the 30-minute ceremony - just an exchange of vows, prayers and music provided by a string ensemble.

He and h

Season two 'American Idol' winner Ruben Studdard got married this weekend.

The 29-year-old R&B crooner, dubbed "The Velvet Teddy Bear" by soul icon Gladys Knight, wed Surata Zuri McCants at Canterbury United Methodist Church in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala. on Saturday.

Studdard and his 30-year-old bride took out a marriage license at the County Probate Office in Columbiana, Ala., last Monday.

Studdard met McCants in October 2006, when he was signing CDs at a Wal-Mart in Atlanta. Captivated by her beauty, he followed her to the store's toy department, and requested her telephone number.

Studdard had 20 groomsmen by his side, and there was no singing during the 30-minute ceremony - just an exchange of vows, prayers and music provided by a string ensemble.

He and his groomsmen wore custom-made black tuxedos by Joseph Abboud. The bride chose a white and ivory floor-length Casablanca wedding gown.


Click to read more.

is groomsmen wore custom-made black tuxedos by Joseph Abboud. The bride chose a white and ivory floor-length Casablanca wedding gown.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fox News Losing Viewers: Especially Black Ones

Fox News viewership drops by half in 6 months: From Wiki News

Since the United States presidential election in November of 2004, viewership in the 25-54 age bracket of Fox News has fallen from over 1,000,000 in October to under 450,000 in April, according to the Daily Kos, a liberal weblog.

Ratings for cable news stations have fallen globally since the election, but most have since stabilized, making Fox's continuing decline unusual. CNN's ratings, as an example, increased 27% in April. Fox still leads CNN in this demographic by nearly 35% however, with CNN only managing to reverse its viewership decline in March 2005.

The FOX News Channel is a US cable and satellite news channel. It is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. As of January 2005, it is available to 85 million subscribers in the U.S. and to further viewers internationally, broadcasting primarily out of its New York City studios.

According to the BBC, FOX News' profits doubled due to "patriotic coverage" of the Iraq conflict, with as much as 300% increase in viewership, with 3.3 million average daily viewers.

The 2004 election coverage by FOX News ranked higher than the next two cable news competitors combined. For President Bush's address, FOX News rated 7.3 million viewers. NBC, CBS, and ABC rated 5.9, 5.0, and 5.1, respectively.

Fox News viewership in the 25-54 age bracket (Source: Daily Kos):

Oct. 04: 1,074,000 Nov. 04: 891,000 Dec. 04: 568,000 Jan. 05: 564,000 Feb. 05: 520,000 Mar. 05: 498,000 Apr. 05: 445,000

The Pot The Kettle African? Bush Says Zimbabwe Election a Sham



Bush: U.S. pushing for Zimbabwe sanctions - Zimbabwe-

HARARE, Zimbabwe - The United States is developing penalties against the government of Zimbabwe, President Bush said Saturday, in response to the country's widely-condemned runoff election.


Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is accused of using violence to coerce people to vote for him in Friday's runoff, which was held after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the running amid cries of intimidation.


Bush, who called the election a "sham", said he is instructing his secretaries of state and treasury to develop penalties against Zimbabwe's government and its supporters.



Click to Read More

Black Sports: Top Ballers May Take European Money vs. College


A year ago, there was speculation that former shoe company czar Sonny Vaccaro was set to go barnstorming over in Europe with a group that would include O.J. Mayo, Bill Walker and a few other elite players coming out of high school. At the time, it seemed pretty far-fetched that an American-born player would bypass the college experience to play in anonymity outside his home country.


It didn't end up happening, but now it appears as though Brandon Jennings, arguably the top incoming freshman in the country, could become a trendsetter of sorts and opt for overseas money over a one-year college experience at Arizona.


"He's definitely considering it," said Kelly Williams, the father of New Jersey Nets point guard Marcus Williams and also a close advisor to the Jennings family. "Why wouldn't he?"


"If it's a sweet enough deal, why wouldn't he look into it?" Williams added. "But there's nothing definitive right now. They are in the process of investigating it, but he's not going to go just to become the first kid to go overseas. We're not going to put him in a bad situation. We'd try and put him in a situation where he can grow and develop."


Jennings first hatched the idea from Vaccaro, who is on a personal crusade against the NCAA and NBA because of the restrictions that those organizations impose on young basketball players.


Jennings' camp said that whether or not he achieves the SAT score (he's expected to get the results of his latest test any day now) that will make him eligible to play college ball at Arizona is irrelevant with regards to his decision to play overseas.


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Friday, June 27, 2008

Black Men, Black America, Black Fathers

Email from Justin White, a YBW Family Member from Cleveland, OH

A little personal background...This political process supports an hypothesis that I have submitted to students in classes for nearly 20 years while doing adjunct faculty work. Among other social science coursework, I teach social welfare policy and urban politics. Naturally, the current political culture, with respect to recent history, results in spirited discussion and interesting papers. I also speak as a brother; a baby boomer and; a resident of an almost exclusively black and not too prosperous suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.

The above mentioned hypothesis...It has been apparent to me for some time that African-Americans, for good reasons (and some not so good) do not understand the fundamental differences between electoral politics and protest politics. But, this election due to its duration and complexity, is becoming a graduate course for the community. Friends and colleagues are redefining themselves with respect to the manner in which they and other black folk should demonstrate civic participation. We are volunteering thoughts and feelings to each other unlike anything I have seen since the "rap sessions" of the early seventies.

Rather than applying the "conventional wisdom" that so frequently results in myths and derogatory conclusions, I believe we need dialogue and research that addresses the relationships between black civic/political participation and the existence (absence) of the types of institutions that engineer and support political participation. All the while remembering that African Americans are a minority people and the blueprint for these institutions generally reflects the dominant culture.

Today's political process, at least as we view the percentages of black voters who support Obama, indicates the utility of electoral politics as a factor in creating cultural bonds that offset social and economic divisions. (sounds like another hypothesis in the making)

I hope that of African American academics like yourself and Michael Dyson can assist us as we negotiate the political, cultural and social learning curves related to blacks taking on leadership responsibilities in electoral politics. This is not to place an unbearable onus on you. That would be unfair. The often amorphous, but real, "black community" must become engaged in every respect, by all forms of media to overcome the habit of ignoring its scholars. Your website is so important in that regard.

Barack Obama is living the "Jackie Robinson Syndrome" as he negotiates the dominant cultures' institutions in the absence of black institutions designed to support and strengthen him. Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton forewarned us 40 plus years ago in the classic book Black Power about the need to develop political institutions that are reflective of the culture. Again, I believe there is a a basic assumption to be considered...politics, whether they be electoral, protest or those politics associated with specified public policy, can and will define culture.

Additionally, Black Power's thesis was, in some regards, old wine in new wineskins if the messages of DuBois, Garvey and some others are carefully examined.

So now that we have all been caught unprepared by the politics of today, the leadership of academicians who still have a semblance of a resonating voice, is "so welcomed". We must support you and dialogue with you just as we make every effort to do the same for and with Barack Obama. I hope Obama's organization functions so that he can be reasonably receptive. I worry because I do not see the strong black institutions required to support this idea.

Personally, I cringed twice-over at Obama's politicizing of black fatherhood just as you expressed on your website. I heartily agree with your sentiments about that. I also believe that Obama, as a politician needs the fuel for more cogent commentary and that must come from all of black educators, researchers, teachers, social workers etc.

In addition, that unfortunate commentary was an example of the need for social science to provide us all with knowledge that countervails the current diatribe that currently prevails about black folks.

Again, I highlight the merits of your website as well as Michael Dyson's book that answered Bill Cosby . I just wish I could receive your beautifully thought out sentiments directly. I will sign on again.

Very Sincerely,

Justin White

Too Many Black Hair Salons Causes Problems


How many barber shops and salons are too many? For south suburban Calumet City, 57–in immediate proximity–is too many and city leaders are looking at ways to keep barbershops and hair salons from piling up on each other. But some business owners think the problem is not the number of hair care establishments, but the number of Black ones.

“It was suggested at a City Council meeting that we look at businesses that are rapidly expanding and those occupying a lot of commercial space,” said Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush. “There was no moratorium proposed for barbershops and hair salons, merely a suggestion of how to keep shops from over saturating the area.”

She added that there are a total of 57 barbershops and hair salons in Calumet City, which she does not see as a problem. But the fact that many of them are located next door or across the street from each other is a problem. Qualkinbush said there are 31 barbershops and 26 hair salons in Calumet City but did not know how many were Black-owned.

“We do not keep a record of what color business owners are here,” she said. However, a Chicago Defender analysis identified 23 Black-owned barbershops and 12 hair salons in Calumet City. According to the City Clerk’s office, the fee for a business license to open a barbershop or hair salon in Calumet City is $150. Some Black barbers and hair stylists in Calumet City think the city needs to look at zoning issues rather than a moratorium on business licenses for them.

“The problem is not too much competition but the fact that you can find two or three barbershops located in the same strip mall,” said Avery Miller, 34, a barber at George’s Barbershop, 1551 Sibley Blvd. Just three blocks away at 1086 Sibley Blvd. is Exclusive Barbershop. Paul Sanders, 30, has worked there for three years and since that time he said five barbershops have opened on Sibley Boulevard. “It seems like Sibley Boulevard is the place to be if you are a barbershop.


Click to Read More.


Dr Boyce Watkins to Appear on BET to Discuss Obama

From Dr. Boyce Watkins


BET is doing a special on Barack Obama and the Presidential election. I’ll be one of the academics brought in to provide the scholarly perspective on this. In my last project with BET, “The 25 Events that Misshaped Black America”, Michael Eric Dyson was my partner in crime. Mike is my friend, and was one of my greatest inspirations when I chose to pursue a career of public scholarship.

As you’ve seen, I don’t hold back on my own point of view, even if it is not popular (I am not a politician or in a popularity contest – I believe the role of the public scholar is to engage in sincere intellectual leadership). However, as I move forward with this project on Obama, I feel an obligation to be cognizant of what the black community is thinking.

We tape the episodes in July, and I expect them to start airing in September. So, in order to get my finger on the pulse of the community, I would like to encourage you to submit your opinions. Tell me: How do you feel as you’re watching this election? Are your feelings changing as time goes by? Has anything surprised, disappointed or angered you? I would really like to know.

I want to quickly give a shout out to the Atlanta Black Achievers. I’ll be keynoting their teen leadership summit on September 6. I wanted to mention this particular engagement, since I owe a life debt to Black Achievers. Had it not been for the Louisville, KY chapter of this organization, I would never have gone to college. In fact, I dedicated my first book “Everything you ever wanted to know about college” to the Black Achievers organization. If there is a chapter in your city, I encourage you to join or make a donation. It was my mama’s willingness to yank me by my afro and force me to go to meetings on Saturday mornings that changed my life forever. I encourage other parents out there to not give up on their kids and do the same thing. EVERY BLACK CHILD IS COLLEGE MATERIAL. Don’t let teachers, counselors or anyone else tell you different.

In case anyone is interested, I wrote an article on the feud between rapper Ice-T and Soulja Boy. As someone who speaks regularly to high school kids (all of whom seem to live and die for Soulja Boy) I felt like this was a chance to discuss the divide between older generations and younger ones. I am not sure if we always give our youth the respect they need to make them feel empowered to carry the torch. Yes, we are better drivers, but we need to trust them with the wheel, since we can’t drive forever.

I even witness this divide myself when I appear on shows with individuals from the Civil Rights generation. While many of them are open to the idea of new leadership, there are some who don’t seem to feel that any generation after their own has anything of value to contribute to the world. But I applaud the NAACP in their decision to elect Ben Jealous as their new president. I am optimistic that Mr. Jealous can inject fresh, youthful blood into the organization, while maintaining a sincere respect for the contributions of the past. Properly passing the torch requires a delicate and respectful negotiation between generations. Berating young people only marginalizes them. I am a fan of encouraging youth and empowering their desire to bring fresh, energized and educated perspectives. In return, when we sit at the table to give advice, we will find them quite receptive. Whether you realize it or not, the feud between Ice-T and Soulja Boy is no different from the divide between Bill Cosby and black teens, or what I’ve gone through with some (not all) Civil Rights leaders. As we work with youth, it is critical to remember that the phrase “tough love” also includes the word “love”. Love and hate can be reflective devices: the more you give, the more you usually get back. Let’s love our kids to greatness.

At any rate, be well and God Bless.

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Politicians Backing FISA May Have Been Paid To Do So

House Democrats who flipped their votes to support retroactive immunity for telecom companies in last week’s FISA bill took thousands of dollars more from phone companies than Democrats who consistently voted against legislation with an immunity provision, according to an analysis by

In March, the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity. But last week, 94 Democrats who supported the March amendment voted to support the compromise FISA legislation, which includes a provision that could let telecom companies that cooperated with the government’s warrantless electronic surveillance off the hook.

The 94 Democrats who changed their positions received on average $8,359 in contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint from January, 2005, to March, 2008, according to the analysis by MAPLight, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the connection between campaign contributions and legislative outcomes.

Retroactive immunity could squash about 40 lawsuits pending against telecommunication companies that helped the government monitor the telecommunications traffic of Americans without warrants. The telecom industry has lobbied hard to insure that the provision is included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act update Congress is currently considering.

Click to Read More.


Barack Obama Gives Heavily to Clinton


Obama donates to Clinton campaign -

Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, each donated $2,300 Thursday to the campaign of his former opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton, which is millions of dollars in debt.

Sen. Barack Obama will make his first campaign appearance with Sen. Hillary Clinton on Friday.


In addition, Obama's national finance chairman, Penny Pritzker, and her husband donated another $2,300 each, said Obama communications director Robert Gibbs. The $2,300 is the maximum individual contribution allowed.

"[Obama] wrote a check himself, as well as his finance chairman, so I got two checks in my pocket for Hillary," said Clinton adviser Terry McAuliffe.

Asked how much the checks were for, he responded, "They maxed out."

Obama communications director Robert Gibbs confirmed the Obamas' donations.

Black America Web: Barack Obama's Rise Increases Hate Groups

Quoted from


BAW: White Racist Groups Increase Membership, Activity in Wake of Potential Obama Presidency

The serious hatin’ on Barack Obama is in full force among racists in cyberspace and has spread to countless computers in homes across America.

Since Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary last month, clinched the Democratic presidential nomination and could become America’s first black president in November, racist groups, white supremacy organizations, neo-nazis and skinheads have all increased their activity on the Internet and stepped up their hateful online denunciations of Obama.

It’s a hate experts say is now reaching a fever pitch.

"I haven't seen this much anger in a long, long time," Billy Roper, a 36-year-old who runs a group called White Revolution in Russellville, Arkansas, told The Washington Post. "Nothing has awakened normally complacent white Americans more than the prospect of America having an overtly non-white president."

Black Money Advice: 5 Myths About Investing - Dr Boyce Watkins


When it comes to money, there is a lot of hoopla.  As I witness the financial frenzy that comes with each fad, I am reminded of the days of snake oil salesmen, taking advantage of the hopes and dreams of many to fill the coffers of the immoral.  When I watch the late night “Get rich quick” schemes, I wonder if anyone is getting rich other than the professional, perpetrator or pastor selling the book being featured.  Some of the advice shown on television isn’t bad, but as a Finance Professor, some of the advice makes me shudder.   Not to say that all of the self-proclaimed “financial experts” are immoral or incorrect, but it is not hard to find flaws in their perspective.


Being mislead causes the most pain to those who do not understand money.  Many people do not understand the basics, which can make them vulnerable to those who use long words to confuse them.  When I teach Finance courses to my students, I enjoy finding simply ways to communicate complicated concepts.  The ultimate goal is for the student to be able to discern the good advice from the bad.  


I have compiled a list of quick and dirty myths about money and finance that can help you to get started on your path toward financial understanding.  While this is just the tip of the iceberg, perhaps the ice will whet your appetite to learn more about the world of financial management.


Myth #1) An investment is only good if it helps you to earn more money


According to quite a few financial advisors, every penny you invest should be put into assets and ventures that are going to give you a financial return.  The “gurus” tell stories about how investing your money to make more money implies that you are smarter than the person next to you.  By virtue of your being smarter, you are therefore entitled to a happier life.  Money is also made into the most important thing on earth, and you end up feeling bad if you are not, as you are sometimes told, hoarding every penny and allowing those pennies to dominate your personal life.


There are quite a few scenarios in which money should be used to make more money, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But more money doesn’t always imply you will have a wealthier life.  There are times when buying a car or taking a vacation can be much better uses of your money than buying another stock, bond or piece of real estate. 


In fact, if the sole objective of money is to make more money, then that means you should just send your children to Dr. Kervorkian (the man who kills people for a living), since kids are expensive and don’t give you any of your money back.  Don’t be so hard on yourself when it comes to investing.  Investment is like working at the office or having sex:  it’s ok, as long as it’s done in moderation.   


Myth #2) Only some investors have a portfolio


What is a portfolio?  A portfolio is a set of valuable investments that give you something back.  When I ask my students “How many of you have a portfolio?”, only a few of them raise their hands.  I then explain that making an investment is equivalent to putting a scarce and valuable resource toward the creation of something more valuable over time.  Most of the students fail to realize that money is NOT the only scarce resource you can invest.  You can also invest your time, your energy, your health and even your love.  All of these amount to allocations of scarce resources, and most of us make these investments every single day.  The decision to get out of bed is an investment, since you could easily spend your time lying around watching TV.  The clothes on your back are part of your portfolio, since you have invested to obtain them, and they do provide you a return (your reward for investing in clothes is that you get the peace of mind of looking good and not having to walk around naked!).  


The point here is that you should have a more complete way of thinking about investing.  Money is only one type of investment, and it is sometimes the least valuable asset in our life portfolio.  You have probably heard people say “time is money”. Well, that’s not exactly true.  The truth is that time is MORE VALUABLE than money!  If you are 22 years old, and you waste your time, you will never get to be 22 years old again.  No amount of money can make up for being, say, falsely incarcerated for 15 or 20 years.  However, if you lose money, you can usually get it back later.  So, whether we have money or not, we are always investing. 


Myth #3) The stock market is one of the best places to make money

The stock market is not a great place to make money, at least not in the short-run.  It is a great place to keep the money you’ve already made.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are many people who’ve made their fortunes trading stocks, but that is not the norm.  Additionally, even though there are many who’ve made a fortune trading stocks, more fortunes have been made using other investments.  The stock market is what they call an “efficient market”, which means that it is tough to find a good bargain.  This is a lot different from some other markets, where you can find a pretty good deal if you look hard enough.

When looking for a place to invest your money first, you should start with the investments that offer the highest return for the lowest risk.  In other words, if you find something you are familiar with, you are likely to have a better outcome.  One place to start might be with an investment in YOUR SELF.  Do you have enough education to have the kind of career you would like?  How about going back to school for that college degree or MBA?  In my own research, I have determined that the returns to this kind of investing far exceed the returns generated from the stock market or other places.

You might also consider investing in Real Estate or even in the business of a relative.  If you have a friend that is going into business, and you have reason to believe that this person is fulfilling an unmet need, has a guaranteed customer base, and is reliably going to give you your money back, then this kind of investment might be better than going right to the stock market.  Just make sure that you sign a legal contract so there are no misunderstandings.

You can also make a lot of money by cutting your spending.  Consider the following two options.  Let’s say you have a credit card that charges 15% interest with a balance of $10,000.  You have $10,000 available for investment, and you can either use the money to pay off the credit card or invest in stocks.  Let’s also assume that you expect to earn 10% on the stock market (roughly what the US stock market earned during the 1997 – 2001 time period).  There are two things you must remember about this investment:

The amount you are paying on your credit cards is greater than what you would earn from the stock market.

  • The amount you would earn from the stock market is risky, so it could be higher or lower than the average.  The amount you are paying on your credit card is going to be the same, no matter what.

So, you have two choices:  You can either a) invest the $10,000 in the stock market, earning an average of 10%, or you can b) Use the money to pay off your credit cards, ridding yourself of the 15% interest expense.  If you go with option a) (investing in the stock market) and assume that you are guaranteed 10% on your money, you will earn $1,000 and have to pay $1500 in credit card interest (15% x $10,000).  This leads to a net loss of $500. 

If you go with option b) (paying off the credit cards and not investing in the stock market), you can save $1500.  So, there is a $2,000 ($1500 – (-$500)) difference between these two choices.

The point is simple:  “A penny saved is a penny earned”.  You can rephrase this statement as “A penny not paid in interest is a penny earned in interest.”  By using excess funds to pay off high interest debt, you have found one of the best investments around.

The point of this article is the following:  Investing in the stock market is nice and glamorous, but it’s not the way to make money.  If you really want to make money, you should start with investments around you:  Buying a home, paying off credit cards, or going back to school.  These investments give higher returns than the stock market and lead to a wealthier life. 

Monday, June 23, 2008

Black Men Insulted by Don Imus, Pacman Jones Situation

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I received a call today from a producer at WVON in Chicago. My good friend Roland Martin (the black dude on CNN) and I are going to discuss Don Imus tomorrow morning at 8 am. I like WVON, it's literally my favorite station in America. There is a great deal of tradition there.

I was involved with the first removal of Don Imus from the air, as I worked with Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton on the phone to talk about ways to deal with him. I mentioned that if African Americans engage in a unified effort to challenge his corporate sponsors, we can bring him down. That is what Jesse and Al did, and it worked. As a Finance Professor, I always look to the money first. That is the most critical element of power in a capitalist democracy.

You can imagine how disappointed I was to see Don Imus back on the air so soon. I admit that when I saw Imus appear on Al Sharpton's show, I really believed he was truly sorry for what he did. For him to repeat his actions is simply baffling, and I wonder out loud if Rev. Jackson and Rev Sharpton feel the same way.

I recorded some of my thoughts on Don Imus below. The fact that this man can do what he did the first time, get back on the air and repeat the same stunt one year later is yet another reminder of just how little respect African Americans get in white media. No, it's not mainstream media, because mainstream media should reflect viewpoints from all perspectives. The truth of the matter is that most media is owned by people who are not black, so people like Don Imus and Bill O'Reilly can get away with this stuff without being forced to engage in any form of respect or responsibility. The ownership structure of American media is an artifact of 400 years of slavery and economic exclusion of African Americans. Our grandparents never had the chance to own CNN, FOX or NBC and they also did not have a chance to own the corporations that financially support these media outlets. African American wealth was stolen from us and now lies, in part, in the hands of companies that support racism on the airwaves.

So, the networks continue to insult black people and there are no consequences. Personally, I am getting tired of this crap. What is most ironic is that no matter what anyone says about black people on the air (lynching Michelle Obama, killing Barack Obama, calling Mrs. Obama a Baby's mama, calling Barack a terrorist, or calling black women Nappy headed hoes), someone is always there from the right wing willing to rationalize this behavior (some of them, like Juan Williams, are even African American). It reminds me of a relative I had with a drinking problem. No matter how much you pointed out his weakness, he always had an explanation. America's addiction to racism is a lot like the addictions of my uncle.

It's actually kind of pathetic.

The video is below: