Saturday, June 27, 2009

Getting to Know Dr Jeremiah Wright

Rather than letting Fox News sound bites define Jeremiah Wright for you, take a look at his bio.

Life, Love and Legacy

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. is a man of faith, a homiletic genius, a theological scholar and a pastor’s pastor. He is a family man who enjoys spending quality time with his wife, children, grandchildren, extended family and friends.

Steeped in Family Tradition and Educational Achievements

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dr. Wright is a son of the parsonage and hails from a family steeped in educational achievements. A third generation family member to matriculate at Virginia Union University, Dr. Wright followed in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, Dr. Hamilton Martin Henderson who graduated from Virginia Union with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the late 1800s and finished seminary at Virginia Union in 1902. His father, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., also graduated from Virginia Union with two undergraduate degrees and from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 1938. The senior Wright also received a Master of Sacred Theology degree (S.T.M.) from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

Dr. Wright’s mother, Dr. Mary Henderson Wright, also graduated from Virginia Union and earned her first master’s degree before age 19 from the University of Chicago. She also earned a second master’s degree and her doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Foundational Strengths

With four earned degrees, a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Howard University, a Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from the United Theological Seminary, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. grew up in a home where reading books was a daily way of life. Wright read a wide range of sources from the Greek philosophers and Shakespeare to African American authors such as Carter G. Woodson (the Father of African American History) to Sterling Brown (one of the Harlem Renaissance artists), as well as one of Dr. Wright’s college professors.

Click to read more about Jeremiah Wright

Pres. Obama Says 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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Thursday, June 25, 2009

BBall News: 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.

Dr Boyce Watkins: What Michael Bay Did Wrong – Transformers Racism

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 Attorneys: Elliot Millner On Trusting 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.

Click to read more on Your Black Attorneys

Monday, June 22, 2009

Black Fathers are Being Disrespected

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

Troy Davis: An Example of What’s Wrong with Our Prison System

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


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Black Politics: Rev. Al Sharpton Being Sued by Hotel


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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Dr Boyce Watkins: Rebuilding the Brand of Kobe

by Dr. Boyce Watkins

Syracuse University

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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Sunday, June 14, 2009

TI and Tupac: What do they 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.

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Movie Review: Denzel’s New Flick: Is it good?

Denzel Washington is back on the big screen and ready to take on the New York City transit system in 'The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3."

The Mount Vernon, N.Y., actor stars as subway dispatcher Walter Garber in the remake of this 1974 film.

Despite implausible contrivances left and right, the film moves quickly and is entertaining. Grab a seat and hold on. The movie, which is directed by Tony Scott, also stars John Travolta, James Gandolfini, John Turturro, Luis Guzman, Michael Rispoli and Aunjanue Ellis.

Walter is having a decent day, doing his job a train dispatcher, when he gets the call that will change his life. A train has been hijacked by a man named Ryder (Travolta) and his cohorts. There are 17 frightened passengers on board, and Ryder aims to kill them if a $10 million ransom doesn't arrive in an hour.  Lady Drama has words for Denzel here.

Click to read more on AOL Black Voices.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Usher Files for Divorce

Read the details below:

Usher and stylist Tameka Foster have been living apart for the past year, according to U.S. publication In Touch.
Divorce papers were filed in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday morning (11Jun09). The shocking news comes just four months after Foster suffered cardiac arrest during cosmetic surgery in Brazil. At the time, Usher, who flew to be by her side, insisted he had no idea his wife was there for the procedure. A source close to the couple says, “Usher’s primary concern is for his children. He is a great father and just wants to do what is right for them.” The couple has two kids together, Usher Raymond V, 18 months, and Naviyd, six months.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Child Support Gone Mad: 21 Kids, 11 Mothers: What Gives?

Desmond Hatchett is 29 years old and has 21 children with 11 different women. The Knoxville, TN native also works for minimum wage and can't support all of his kids. The state is only allowed to take 50% of his paycheck, which doesn't amount to very much for each child.

What do we make of Hatchett's decision? This is clearly a question for Financial Lovemaking.

Click to read.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Street Justice: Philly Mob Beats Man for Allegedly Raping 11-Year Old Girl

DEMETRICE REYNOLDS said she had one wish for the thug who brutally raped her 11-year-old daughter: "I want him dead."

Her wish may as well have been broadcast across Kensington.

About a dozen neighborhood residents flew into a rage yesterday afternoon when they cornered Jose Carrasquillo, who police said they had linked through physical evidence to the heinous Monday-morning rape of Reynolds' daughter.

The justice-seeking mob rained fists, feet and wooden sticks upon Carrasquillo, 26, for several minutes until police intervened at Front and Clearfield streets.

When the dust cleared, Carrasquillo, whose last known address was Orkney Street near York, was in critical condition at a local hospital, and police officials were thanking the locals for helping them catch a man they had pursued feverishly but identified only as "a person of interest."

"Justice, community-style. It's a beautiful thing," said a resident who declined to be identified.

Click to read.