Monday, June 29, 2009

Time to Hold Fraternities and Sororities Accountable

by Lester Spence

Since Alpha Phi Alpha was founded in 1906 the nine major black fraternities (Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Phi Beta Sigma, Iota Phi Theta, Omega Psi Phi) and sororities (Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta. Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho) have been trailblazers, at the forefront of the fight against racism and at the forefront of the fight for African American empowerment. But over 100 years after their founding, are these organizations still doing the work that they set out to do?

To the extent that individuals have criticized these organizations from without they've attacked their membership practices--more specifically the practice of hazing. Almost all of the "Divine Nine" have had to deal with not only hazing allegations, but hazing related deaths over the past few decades.

But more recently members have severely criticized their organizations for their financial practices.

Most recently a case filed by a member is wending its way through the Nebraska courts alleging that the executive board of Alpha Kappa Alpha gave its International President an illegal stipend in the amount of $250,000, in violation of its Constitution and Bylaws, and without consulting the membership.

The case has not been decided, and the sorority is countersuing the plaintiff. However, this is not the first time in recent years that allegations of financial impropriety have been made against one of the "Divine Nine".


Click to read.

Obama Afraid to Publicly Acknowledge Michael Jackson?

President Barack Obama has written to the family of Michael Jackson rather than making a public statement, his senior adviser said Sunday.

Appearing on the NBC program "Meet the Press," Obama adviser David Axelrod said Obama believes Jackson was "an important and magnificent performer" who made an undeniable impact on music and entertainment.

Asked why Obama had yet to speak publicly about Jackson's sudden death last week at age 50, Axelrod said: "The president has written the family and has shared his feelings with the family."
"He felt that was the appropriate way to go," Axelrod said.

Posted by BallerGirl on Your Black Celebrities, at 11:02 AM 0 comments

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Black News: Pastor Prays for Obama to Die?

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From the Baltimore Afro-American:

A well-known minister of a denomination that once supported slavery and is firmly against a woman’s right to an abortion said recently that he is praying for President Obama to die.

The Rev. Wiley Drake, a former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told Fox News Radio earlier this month that he was practicing “imprecatory prayer” or seeking a divine curse that would cause the president to die.

“If he does not turn to God and does not turn his life around, I am asking God to enforce imprecatory prayers that are throughout the Scripture that would cause him death,” Drake said in an interview with Fox’s Alan Colmes, according to the Associated Press.

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Black News: Obama Says Almost Nothing about Jackson’s Death

Al Sharpton said it best: "Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of color. Way before Tiger Woods, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama, Michael did with music what they later did in sports, in politics and in television."

If there is such a thing as 'post-racial', Jackson was probably the first and most visible international post-racial figure that this country has ever produced. He made history uniting not only Americans, but the world through his music, much in the same way Obama has done with his campaign.

It's surprising therefore, that a day after the news of Michael Jackson's death and with the nation deep in mourning, President Obama has not personally acknowledged a man who helped paved the way for his election.

Although the president released a brief statement through his press secretary Robert Gibbs on Friday afternoon, much was left unsaid. He was characteristically cautious, aiming to strike a political balance when he called Michael Jackson a "spectacular performer" whose life was "sad and tragic."


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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Black News: The Latest from The Grio

The 'Mikaeel' Jackson you didn't know?

The 'Mikaeel' Jackson you didn't know?

By Keosha Johnson

7:02 AM on 06/27/2009

A music legend. An icon. A controversial figure. Media outlets around the world have widely reported on Jackson's travels in and out of countries, his suffering and recovering from various rumored illnesses, even informing the public about his visits to bookstores and antique shops. But there is one topic the mainstream...

full story


  • ACLU: Mich. zero-tolerance law unfair to black students

    By theGrio via AP

    9:50 AM on 06/27/2009

    Schools are not using enough discretion under Michigan's zero-tolerance expulsion law and are disproportionately kicking out black students who ultimately end up behind bars, according to a report from the American Civil Liberties Union.

    > MORE

  • Filipino 'Thriller' dancing inmates stage a tribute to Michael
    Filipino 'Thriller' dancing inmates stage a tribute to Michael

    By theGrio via AP

    7:29 AM on 06/27/2009

    The Filipino inmates who shot to global fame with a Youtube video recreating the "Thriller" dance swayed and stomped again Saturday in a behind-bars tribute to their idol, Michael Jackson. After being told of Jackson's death Thursday in Los Angeles, the 1,500 inmates...

    > MORE

  • Five members of Jena Six plead no contest
    Five members of Jena Six plead no contest

    By theGrio via AP

    5:58 PM on 06/26/2009

    Five members of the Jena Six pleaded no contest Friday to misdemeanor simple battery and won't serve jail time, ending a case that thrust a small Louisiana town into the national spotlight and sparked a massive civil rights demonstration...

    > MORE

  • Audio of emergency call for Michael Jackson released
    Audio of emergency call for Michael Jackson released

    By theGrio via AP

    2:45 PM on 06/26/2009

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An emergency caller from Michael Jackson's home says he wasn't breathing or responding to efforts to revive him. The Los Angeles Fire Department released the emergency call Friday. The caller reported that Jackson was on a...

    > MORE

  • Jackson's music flying off the shelves
    Jackson's music flying off the shelves

    By theGrio

    12:44 PM on 06/26/2009

    Michael Jackson's music is flying off store shelves. Gloria Washington loaded up on Jackson's hits at Best Buy hours after his death. "I'm devastated. I'm totally devastated. I'm a true Michael Jackson fan," said Washington. "I was there at his...

    > MORE

  • Hundreds gather outside Jackson's boyhood home in Gary, IN
    Hundreds gather outside Jackson's boyhood home in Gary, IN

    By theGrio

    11:44 AM on 06/26/2009

    Residents of Gary, Indiana are mourning the loss of their most famous native son. Hundreds gathered outside of Michael Jackson's boyhood home as news of his passing spread through the town where his musical career began. Jackson died in Los...

    > MORE

  • The King of Pop is dead
    The King of Pop is dead

    By theGrio via AP

    9:51 AM on 06/26/2009

    Michael Jackson, the "King of Pop" who once moonwalked above the music world, died Thursday as he prepared for a comeback bid to vanquish nightmare years of sexual scandal and financial calamity. He was 50. Jackson died at UCLA Medical Center after being stricken at his rented home in Holmby Hills...

    > MORE

  • Kid saves Superman
    Kid saves Superman

    By theGrio

    9:24 AM on 06/26/2009

    Hakeem is a student at P.S. 36 in Brooklyn. He hopes to one day become a doctor, but in the meantime he's happy to be a hero to a super-hero. "Hakeem saves Superman by pushing the kryptonite into the crevice...

    > MORE

  • Fans remember Michael
    Fans remember Michael

    By theGrio

    8:49 AM on 06/26/2009

    All over the country people are remembering, and celebrating the life of music icon Michael Jackson. In Los Angeles mourners gathered all over the city as news spread about the pop star's sudden death. In Jackson's hometown of Gary, Indiana is was a mix of grief and celebration...

    > MORE

  • Jermaine Jackson speaks on behalf of family
    Jermaine Jackson speaks on behalf of family

    By theGrio

    10:00 PM on 06/25/2009

    Michael Jackson's family has issued their first statement on the passing of the entertainment legend. Jackson's older brother Jermaine spoke briefly to reporters at UCLA Medical Center on Thursday, just hours after Michael's passing. "This is hard," he said tearfully...

    > MORE

The Great Jim Brown Tells the Truth about Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan

For years different people have always grumbled about the lack of activism and social change involvement of professional athletes. Specifically our most successful athletes like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Tiger Woods. In a recent interview with HBO's Real Sports, former NFL great Jim Brown went in on the lack of activism for social change from both Tiger and Jordan in recent years.
"There are one or two individuals in this country that are black that have been put in front of us as an example," Brown told Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel. "But they're basically under a system that says, 'Hey, they're not gonna do a certain thing.' Yes, that

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Dr Boyce: Why Michael Jackson Will Live Forever

by Dr Boyce Watkins

I was the guest host of a radio show yesterday. The show started at 3 pm (back when we all thought Michael Jackson would be going back on tour soon), and the producer asked me what kind of music I wanted to use for my intros and outtros. I said "Throw on some old Michael Jackson. The pre-nose job Michael Jackson." He did.
I then spent the next 2 hours reflecting on the air about Michael Jackson's talent, as well as his peculiar personality. That's when I got "the news."
While I was certainly shocked at the irony of a man dying right after I'd spent 2 hours talking about him on the radio, I wasn't surprised. Michael Jackson had that kind of effect on music and our world. In spite of the fact that he'd turned into something we couldn't quite understand, we always loved him.

Michael is going to live forever. The life and existence of such an impactful human being can't be captured in his physical manifestation. Most of us never knew Mike the man, but he was always present in our lives. He was nothing like Elvis, he was not the Beatles. He was too interesting for that. He is one of a kind, even beyond the fact that he sold 750 million records.

Here are 5 reasons Michael Jackson is going to live forever:

Click to read.

Your Black News: What Killed Michael Jackson?

One day after Michael Jackson's sudden death, speculation was already turning to what killed the 50-year-old "King of Pop" just weeks before a long-awaited series of comeback concerts.

A family attorney said on Friday he had been concerned that Jackson's use of prescription drugs for dancing-related injuries would eventually prove fatal and that the entertainer's inner circle had ignored his warnings.

Authorities scheduled an autopsy for Friday. But they cautioned it could take weeks to determine a cause of death, which will likely have to wait for the return of toxicology tests. Those tests will determine if Jackson had any drugs, alcohol or prescription medications in his system.


Click to read.

MJ’s Son No Longer a Baller

Jeffrey Jordan is Michael Jordan's son. That little proposition, as it relates to basketball, can not be an easy one for any offspring to undertake.

It's not just that your dad was a great NBA basketball player. Your dad was the single greatest basketball player who ever lived. Your entire life, you're not just a classmate to your friends. You're the son of their hero. Imagine that! For all of the sundry benefits of being Jordan's son -- the money, the basketball shoes, the unimaginably awesome toys you'd get as a kid -- the specter of anticipation, of "hey, that's Michael Jordan's son out there" would haunt you for as long as you played basketball.

It appears those days are over for Jordan's eldest offspring. Jeffrey Jordan, a walk-on-turned-scholarship-athlete at Illinois, has apparently decided to hang up his balling kicks for good:

"I loved playing for the Fighting Illini and appreciate the support I was given by my teammates, coaches and the great fans here," Jordan said. "But I have come to the point where I'm ready to focus on life after basketball. I will concentrate on earning my degree from the University of Illinois and the opportunities that await upon graduating."

Click to read.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Black News: Michael Jackson is Dead



Michael Jackson has died at age 50 after being rushed to UCLA Medical Center, NBC News has confirmed.

Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Steve Ruda told the L.A. Times that Jackson was not breathing when paramedics arrived at his home and CPR was performed. reported that he may have suffered cardiac arrest.

Click to read.

Your Black News Shocker: Michael Jackson Has a Heart Attack

TMZ is reporting that Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack.  We wish the king of pop a quick recovery.

Dr Boyce Watkins on Obama’s Black Unemployment Policies

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

8:33 AM on 06/25/2009

Obama's not good enough on black unemployment

In America, there are essentially two types of power: Political power and economic power. African Americans, relatively speaking, have always had very little of both. What's worse is that we tend to squander the little bit of power we have by giving it away to any sweet-talking candidate who makes us feel good. Obama has been that candidate, not because he is a "sell-out" or a "swindler"; but because he is a politician.

Obama's apparent lack of desire to create targeted policies for African Americans is driven by the fact that we "gave it up" without critically analyzing or challenging his commitment to our issues. No other candidate could have gotten away with this. Our commitment to political style over substance is similar to materialistic distractions toward "blinging, balling, flossing and shining" which lead many of us into bankruptcy. I say this as a supporter of Obama, but also as a man who'd like to see him do more.

I watched President Obama give one of the most uncomfortable press conferences he's ever had to deliver to the American people. The honeymoon is slowly ending, and "the chosen one" is now being forced to answer to angry Americans looking to stab their pitchforks into whatever politician they can find. President Obama has been spared this anger, in large part because he has presented himself as the man who can guide the country out of this crisis.

I still believe he can but the kryptonite is taking effect. President Obama's unemployment forecasts have gone from "nothing above 8%" to "surely above 10%". African Americans are even more concerned about the pinch, as our unemployment rates are expected to rise as high as 20% by the end of the year. The black family is additionally threatened by tangential issues such as mass incarceration, which serve to further undermine our social infrastructure during these difficult economic times.

Click to read.

Elliot Millner: Is Spike Lee Just a “Hater” on Tyler Perry?

by Elliot Millner, JD

Although I realize that we live in the internet-age, which means even the simplest of criticisms can be blown out of proportion, I am disappointed to see how some Black people are unable to intelligently respond to constructive criticism, even when it is not directed at them.

The person who is the latest target of the "He's just a hater" orchestra is none other than renowned filmmaker Spike Lee. In a recent interview that he did with Ed Gordon, Spike dared to criticize some of Tyler Perry's work(specifically Meet the Browns and House of Pain) and made references to the shows as "coonery" and "buffoonery" and compared them to Amos n' Andy.

For the record, let me say that I agree with a lot of what Spike Lee said. Although I liked a couple of the Madea plays that I saw years back(even though I generally have issue with Black men parading around in dresses, even for comedy-but that's another topic), these two shows don't do anything for me. That's just me, and I do realize that comedy is subjective; what's funny to one person is not funny to another. However, any person familiar with the historical 'coonery' and 'buffoonery' that Spike Lee was referring to(reference Bamboozled if you haven't seen it) would be hard pressed to argue his point that some of Tyler Perry's characters do harken back to that era. If "Mr. Brown" isn't the prototypical coon-type character, then what is? This is not to single Tyler Perry out, because there are other examples, and some of them aren't actors(Flavor Flav).

Click to read.


Dr Boyce Watkins: Racism in the Transformers

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I came to the latest release of "The Transformers" looking for what I saw in the first film: Jaw-dropping special effects and a story just interesting enough to hold you over until the next explosion. I didn't go to the film looking for racism or embarrassing minstrel shows. My "racial bias glasses" are designed to weed out harmless, inadvertent racism, which comes with living in a society that spent 400 years thinking that black people were less than human. But when racism is thrown in my face repeatedly in the form of ridiculous and disgusting stereotypes, that's when I start to get mad.
Michael Bay is one of my favorite directors, next to the Hughes Brothers (where are they by the way?). He's damn good at what he does. But on this occasion, Bay simply missed his creative target and I'm not the only one who's noticing.

Meet Skids and Mudflap, two Transformers who may as well have been called Lil Wayne and Random Black Male idiot. One of them actually has a gold grill, and neither of them can read. They are bungling buffoons and cowards with barely an ounce of intelligence. One of them rides around as an Ice cream truck with the words "suck my popsicle" on the side, yelling "get your ice cream bitches" to those who might want to buy from his dirty little truck. They also remind you in every other sentence that you are a "punk ass bitch" and that they want to "bust a cap in your ass."

Click to read.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Black News: Transformers Movie Racist?

Skids and Mudflap of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
That clunking engine noise you're hearing may be the sound of 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' rolling along on broken-down racial and ethnic stereotypes.
Movie critics and columnists from the Associated Pressto the New York Times are raising concerns about two newly added Autobots, described as "jive talking,""minstrelsy," illiterate and action avoiding. And of these bickering twins, Skids (Tom Kenny) and Mudflap (Reno Wilson), one even reportedly sports a gold grill, I mean tooth. Oh, you get the picture.

The only robots with any discernible personality traits, aside from bravery or antagonism, are the Autobot twins, Mudflap and Skids. These are shockingly crass and unfortunate black stereotypes, jive-talking fools who can't read and bumble their way from one mishap to the next. They are Jar Jar Binks in car form.
: 'Transformers' Shape-Shifts Into Noise, Nonsense, AP


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Elliot Millner: Should Black People Trust the Police?

By Elliot Millner, J.D.

In the past several weeks, there have been numerous incidents involving the police and Black people, that have resulted in serious injury and death on both sides. This includes several recent incidents in Oakland, California; in Seattle, a 15-year old girl brutally beaten for being mouthy and kicking a shoe; an off-duty Black New York police officer being gunned down by a white officer; and other incidents in places around the country.

These are some of the most recent and extreme examples of a problem that, in one form or another, spans the length of U.S. history. The reality is that police forces, in varying forms, have been traditionally used as a tool to preserve and promote white supremacy, and to keep Blacks (particularly those in impoverished communities) "in their place". The idea of "protecting and serving" as it relates to policing, had as its root and initial goal the same objective as most other laws and statutes enacted in this country: To protect the interests of property-owning white males. There are few areas in the United States(if any) where the police in some form or fashion have not actively participated in violating the rights of Black people, utilizing any methods deemed necessary, including murder. Although some things have changed, it is naive (to say the least) to think that the legacy upon which the idea of policing was built in this country(white supremacy and Black oppression) has been erased from its method of operation.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

President Obama’s New Plan: We Actually Need it

Obama's financial regulatory reform risky but necessary

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor Syracuse University

I have a friend who broke both of his legs climbing a dangerous mountain in Southeast Asia. This friend has nearly died 8 times, been chased by bears, and has had food poisoning too many times to count. After his latest injury, we presumed that he would understand that taking such risk simply doesn't pay. But he rebuffed our intervention, stating that the risk is what makes his life worth living. My friend seems to believe that pursuing and living the dream might be worth enduring the occasional nightmare.

The current financial crisis is certainly the worst of economic nightmares. Job losses have been enormous and the stock market has shrunk faster than Lindsay Lohan's dress size. A report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week reported that in May jobless rates were higher in all 50 states and in the District of Columbiathan they were a year ago.

The Black community has had a double dose of economic drama, as our unemployment rate is nearly double that of White Americans, standing at 14.9% according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Black urban centers such as Detroit have been hit especially hard.

Click to read.

Let’s Tell the Truth about Black Fathers

by Santita Jackson

To paraphrase Caesar, as he stood over the gallant Marc Antony, I come not to bury our Fathers, but to praise them, on this "Father's Day." Now, more than ever before, it is time to tell the truth about African American fathers.

I think of my own my father, who in my worst moments always made me feel as if I were the best thing that ever happened to him. He said it. I felt it.

I arrived in my parents' lives when they were college coeds and, although little more than children themselves, they made the very adult sacrifice and decision to marry and have me as well as my two brothers who arrived less than two years later. Still a student our father waited tables, stood in the food line at our church---in short, he did all that he could to provide for his growing family. And he and Mother took us everywhere.
I can recall one morning, before my father stepped into the pulpit to preach, being beckoned from my seat to sit with him and, as he scribbled the final touches on his sermon, he leaned over and said, "I love you, Sandy Boogie." I smiled as he kissed me and waited for...well, something else. I could not wait to get back to my seat as I was mortified to be before the entire congregation. I looked at him and said, rather quizzically, "Daddy, is that all you wanted to tell me?" His reply, as he smiled was, "Baby, saying 'I love you' says an awful lot." I nearly cried, having felt ashamed of my own insensitivity, and he simply smiled, kissed me again and had the usher lead me back to my seat.

His expression, even in that most public of venues was no surprise---it was a given in my life. My experience, though, is not unique. It has been replicated countless times in the African American community. Yet, every day we are fed a laundry list of the shortcomings of African American men; rarely, however, do we tell the society, or each other, of their triumphs.

We are told from the loftiest perches and the lowliest assignations that they must "Step up!" and "take up their responsibilities as men." All the while these critics ignore the myriad ways in which they must and do swim upstream against the strongest of currents. Currents which threaten and, too often, do sweep them into the undertow of our society. By ignoring their reality we turn our backs on a history, which has treated them with contempt. They are incarcerated more frequently, fight longer odds and live shorter lives; and yet and still, they remain strong, willing to love, survive and thrive. And so, on this "Father's Day", I'd like to expound upon their triumphs and contextualize their struggles. Any discussion which does neither, fails us all.


Click to read.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How do we protect those who testify?


Photo: Elliot Milner, Attorney at Law

Many of us have read about the traumatic beating of a woman in broad daylight in an Oakland beauty salon.  The woman chose not to testify, in part because she feared retaliation from her attackers.  The protection of witnesses is a serious issue and solutions are necessary.  Elliot Milner, an attorney, had this to say:

“This is a complicated issue, and there is no easy solution. Most police departments only provide protection in the most extreme cases, and this is usually a very rare occurrence. I am a proponent of self-help. I'm not speaking about vigilante justice, simply saying that if people in urban(and any other) communities want to make sure that their neighbors who speak out against those who commit crimes are not harmed, then it is necessary for people in the community to take the initiative to let it be known that they will not tolerate harm being done to innocent citizens who simply seek to have those doing wrong held accountable.

I completely understand that is easier said than done. However, community intervention is a must. The police(in Oakland or any other city/town) are not going to protect you. Even if they have the desire to, most police departments do not have the funding or personnel to accomplish that. In several cities, groups of men in urban communities have taken to policing the streets of their neighborhoods. It is imperative that people in the community show that they are not afraid and will not be imprisoned in their own homes, as is the case in some neighborhoods. Also, participating in dialogue with individuals who may be "in the street" or committing crimes is a must. The more you isolate a person or group of people, the more likely they are to react negatively to you.”

Troy Davis: An Example of What’s Wrong with Death Row

by Elliot Milner, JD.

" I have faced execution and the torment of saying goodbye to my family three times in the last two years and I may experience that trauma yet again; I would not wish this on my worst enemy and to know I am innocent only compounds the injustice I am facing."- Troy Davis, from Georgia's death row, on facing a fourth possible execution date.

For those who are unaware, Troy Davis has been on Georgia's death row for about 18 years, after being convicted of murdering police officer Mark McPhail(Mr. Davis has maintained his innocence from the very beginning).

It would take pages to give all of the details of Troy Davis' case, however I will say that there was no physical evidence found(including a murder weapon) connecting Troy Davis to the killing of Officer McPhail; he was convicted largely on the basis of inconsistent and often contradictory eyewitness testimony. The vast majority of those prosecution eyewitnesses have since recanted or changed their testimony implicating Mr. Davis, and one of those who hasn't is Sylvester Coles, the main alternative suspect presented by the defense during Troy Davis' trial. In addition, there have been multiple allegations of police coercion and the usage of unethical interrogation techniques.

(For additional information on Troy Davis' case, or to get information on how to act, check out and

Troy Davis' ordeal has been going on for nearly two decades now, and is nearing its end, one way or the other. He has had numerous appeals denied(most recently in April 2009), habeas corpus petitions denied, stays of execution granted and expired, and also had one request for clemency denied by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles(the same board that would decide any future request for clemency regarding Troy Davis).


Click to read more on YourBlackAttorneys.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Black Health Thought: Porn Star’s HIV Status was a Wake Up Call

Darren James

Stefano Paltera / For The Times

Darren James vividly remembers the 2004 phone call that changed his life. He hopes that by getting his story out, the porn industry will be moved to require condom use to protect the health of its stars.

Porn production shut down for a month after Darren James tested positive in 2004, changing his life. Now he hopes he can protect others by telling his story.

By Rong-Gong Lin II
June 15, 2009

Darren James saw the news flash on his TV screen last week: A porn actress had tested positive for HIV. James, 45, felt a moment of shock, then sadness.
"I feel really bad for this girl," he said. "One thing I can say, I just wish her well. It's the worst thing to get that call."

It's the call James got in 2004 when the well-liked porn star known for his courteous nature on set found himself at the center of an HIV outbreak in the San Fernando Valley's multibillion-dollar porn industry. His diagnosis, and the spread of the virus to three actresses he had worked with, shut down porn production for a month.
He had tested HIV negative just days before performing on screen.
"I predicted it would happen again," he said late last week in an interview at his attorney's Woodland Hills office, his second since his name became public five years ago.

James, dressed in trim black slacks and a fitted black T-shirt that showed off his muscular frame, said he decided to speak out now because he hoped his story would spur the porn industry to require condoms, rarely used in straight porn films.

Click to read.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What Do TI and Tupac Have In Common?

by Dr Boyce Watkins

We all know that the rapper TI recently began his 366 day prison sentence in an Arkansas prison. Merged with the brilliance of TI is the darker side of his existence, the part that makes him willing to risk losing his family and freedom in the midst of all of the chaos in the hip hop industry.

In this conversation for The Bottom Line with Dr. Boyce, we discuss the broader meaning behind TI's arrest, as well as how TI's experience reflects the state of rap music in America. There is also the question of whether or not "keeping it real" is actually good business, and whether TI is actually remorseful for his personal choices.

We can broaden the discussion to other issues in hip hop as well: Is it right that Rick Ross has been penalized for not being a criminal? Does TI have a lot in common with Tupac (beyond the fact that they are both talented artists)? If so, how can he be sure to avoid Tupac's fate? We explore all this and more.

Click to read more.

A Black Family Seeks Justice in Mississippi

The families of Jamie and Gladys Scott feel that they were victims of a wrongful incarceration in Mississippi.  They’ve written this letter asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the case.  Please feel free to copy this letter and send it in yourself.

For more information on this case, please visit:


Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

The Honorable Attorney General Holder:

I am writing to request that you investigate the case of Jamie and Gladys Scott. The Scott Sisters were given double life terms each in October of 1994 for armed robbery in the state of Mississippi. No one was injured or murdered. One witness states that about 11 dollars was netted in the armed robbery. All witnesses and victims of this crime have testified that the Scott Sisters were not involved in the robbery. Witnesses testified that they were coerced and threatened to lie on the Scott Sisters. Three post trial affidavits also state that the sisters are innocent.

A 14 year old witness testified that he signed a statement which was prepared for him before he entered Deputy Sheriff Marvin Williams' Office. This statement was signed by the 14 year old without an attorney present. He was told that he would be released from the local jail the next morning if he signed it. He was not released.

This is an egregious wrongful conviction and the Scott Sisters have suffered now 14 years 8 months of double life terms each.
Jamie and Gladys Scott are housed in Pearl, Mississippi. Their ID numbers are Jamie Scott #19197 and Gladys Scott # 19142.


(Your Name)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Black News: Al Sharpton Being sued


Rev. Al Sharpton's non-profit civil rights group National Action Network is being sued by the Peabody Hotel in Memphis.

Southern hospitality only goes so far.

A grand Memphis hotel slapped theRev. Al Sharpton's group with an $88,000 suit charging the nonprofit didn't pay bills from its national convention.

The famed Peabody Hotel is suing the National Action Network for $70,300 and $17,000 in attorney's costs and other fees, stemming from the April 2008 conference.

A complaint filed by the hotel in Shelby County Circuit Court did not clarify whether the charges relate to an unpaid final tab or other charges, according to the Memphis Daily News. The contract between Peabody and the National Action Network included a clause that the group would be charged for space it booked but didn't use, the newspaper reported.

Click to read.

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The “Chosen One” Leaves High School at 16 – Only Because he doesn’t play football or Basketball

Read below about Bryce Harper,  the 16 year old who is going to college next year only so he can be eligible for the 2010 MLB draft.  If he were a basketball or football player, he would not be able to do this.  So, not only does this story make a mockery of our educational system, it also points out the hypocrisy which exists in the way basketball and football operate relative to sports dominated by non-black athletes.

When big Bryce Harper made the cover of Sports Illustrated two weeks ago, I knew we'd soon again be hearing from the 16-year-old 'chosen one.'

But not quite this soon.

On Sunday, the sophomore from Las Vegas found his way into national headlines again when his father announced that Bryce will forgo his final two years of high school and use a GED to enroll in a community college this August. Though it more or less makes a mockery of our education system, the Harpers' plan would make Bryce eligible for the 2010 draft, where he could conceivably be the Nationals' No. 1 pick and eventually join forces with Stephen Strasburg to save Washington baseball from itself.


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$90,000 in the Freezer? Let the Trial Begin

Prosecutors say a Louisiana congressman was more than $60,000 in debt during the time he is accused of concocting a series of bribery schemes.

Opening statements started Tuesday in the trial of William Jefferson, a Democrat who represented parts of New Orleans. Federal agents found $90,000 in cash in his freezer, and he is charged with soliciting bribes, money laundering and other crimes.

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Kobe Bryant’s Long Climb Back to the Top

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Kobe Bryant started his career with the LA Lakers as a tremendous athlete with a valuable brand. His stock rose like an elevator, as Madison Avenue loved him as much as Laker fans. Then life took a strange twist. First, there was the nasty departure of Shaquille O'neal, which instantly reduced Kobe and the Lakers to "also-rans" in the NBA playoffs. A man who was used to winning championships was reduced to simply playing for pay.

Off the court, things got even worse. In 2003, Kobe was accused of a horrifically embarrassing sexual assault, a case that was later dropped. But even though the charges were dropped, the case still had a lasting impact on Bryant's reputation: Sponsors ran the other way and everyone wondered if Kobe might turn into another "coulda, woulda, shoulda" black athlete.

But he persisted. The Lakers got a little bit better every year, with that improvement culminating in what some believe to be Kobe's first "real championship" this year; a title without the boost of a dominant big man. For the first time, the Lakers are champions under Kobe's watch. He has proven that he is more than a replica of Anfernee Hardaway.

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Black Sports: ATL Falcons Release Michael Vick

“It’s a situation that we have been thinking about for quite some time,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “We did our due diligence. We’ve been searching around the league and were looking for some interest as far as a trade.

“In the very end, we came to a conclusion that it was time. It was best for both us and Michael Vick to move on, to turn the chapter.”

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Where does Kobe Stand in History?

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Where does Kobe Bryant rate among the modern superstar NBA champions? Here is a good place to start:

Michael Jordan -- 6 championships
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- 6
Magic Johnson -- 5
Kobe Bryant -- 4
Tim Duncan -- 4
Shaquille O'Neal -- 4

Bryant may now be viewed as being on the same tier as Shaq, who was the dominant force in basketball and MVP of the Finals during all three of their championships together with the Lakers from 2000 through '02. The tension that ultimately divided them was created by both of them, but one of the obvious issues was mired in Bryant's ambition to fulfill himself. He wanted to become more than Shaq's "sidekick," as he referred to himself disparagingly in Phil Jackson's book on their final season together.

"From the standpoint of responding to the challenge," Bryant said Sunday, "from people saying I couldn't do it without him, [winning the title] feels good because you prove people wrong." But he chooses to focus more on what they accomplished, as opposed to the additional titles they might have won.

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