Category Archives: Police

Officer Roy Oliver fired for murder of Jordan Edwards but will he be charged?

Police Chief of the Balch Springs Police Department, Jonathan Haber, announced on Tuesday, 2 May, that after conducting an internal affairs inquiry, officer Roy Oliver will be fired after killing 15 year old Jordan Edwards. The incident began when police were called to a party in Balch Springs, Texas on reports of underage drinking. While Jordan Edwards, his two brothers and two friends were leaving the party, shots were fired outside of the house. Teens started to flee the scene in response to the shots and the group started to leave in their car. As they drove away from the party, officer Oliver used his rifle to shoot into the vehicle, striking Edwards in the head and killing him.The group was not involved in the violence and were not intoxicated. Oliver lied about the situation, stating that the vehicle reversed aggressively towards him. The next day, after reviewing the body cameras, the police department recanted this statement stating that the vehicle was actually moving away. To make matters even worse Edwards brothers and friends say they were intimated and aggressively arrested by police after witnessing Edwards death. They were later released.

The Edwards family said in a statement that they were grateful for Chief Haber’s decision, but added that there was “a long road ahead” and called for Mr. Oliver to be arrested on a murder charge. The statement, released by S. Lee Merritt, a lawyer for the family, criticized the department’s treatment of Jordan’s brothers and friends after the shooting. A criminal investigation is currently being conducted by two Dallas County agencies, the sheriff’s department and the district attorney’s office.

Will this murderer be charged? On Tuesday, it was also announced that Michael Slager, the North Charleston cop who shot and killed Walter Scott as he fled, plead guilty to violating Scott’s civil rights. He could face a life sentence but as part of the plea, murder charges were dropped against him. On the other hand, charges will not be filed against the cop who shot and killed Alton Sterling.

I will continue to provide updates on the story in hopes that Jordan Edwards and the cop who murdered him do not get swept underneath the rug. Rest in peace to Jordan Edwards and I hope him, his family and friends get the justice they deserve!

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Joey Bada$$ Releases All-Amerikkan Badass

It’s here! All-Amerikkkan Badass from one of hip hops young lyric driven and passionate artist, Joey Badass. Joey teased us with his radio friendly single, Devastated back in May 2016 then he dropped, Land of the Free the beginning of this year. The visuals and lyrics for Land of the Free, the three k’s in Amerikkka, and the red, white, and blue bandana patterned cover art symbolizes Joey’s unapologetic stance on race and politics in America. He’s unafraid to speak on the ill-wills of this country and use his platform to speak the truth. The album should hit these dark but truthful issues with features from ScHoolboy Q, J. Cole, Chronixx, and more.

Check out the visuals for Land of the Free below and buy the album to support Joey!

17 Films and Series to Watch in Honor of Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, check out my list of films and television series celebrating and exploring black life throughout history including captivating documentaries, quality biopics, and recent theatrical releases. Remember to celebrate Black History beyond these short 28 days!

 

I am not your Negro (2017)

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The potent words of writer, activist, and playwright James Baldwin on race still rings true decades later. This 2017 documentary, directed by Raoul Peck and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, explores race throughout the years and visualizes Baldwin’s words about close friends, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers. Look for this film in your local theaters or local art house.

African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr (2013)

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Follow scholar, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he ventures back in time to discuss the history of African-Americans from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Civil Rights era to the Nations first black president.

Black in Latin America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2011)

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Henry Louis Gates Jr. travels south to explore the largely hidden history of black Latin Americans. Through interviews and discussions in countries, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and Peru, Gates tackles issues of race, colorism, and the slave trade that still affects the black community in the present.

Paris is Burning (1990)

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The birthplace of, “throwing shade” and O-P-U-L-E-N-C-E. Paris is Burning is an early look at the underground LGBT scene centered on fashion, sex appeal, and voguing. Created by people of color, this film delves into the energetic scene and how class, family, and illness affected young gay people of color in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Hidden Figures (2016)

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This blockbuster hit was deserving of its $100 million earnings at the box office. The film tells the seldom heard story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson, the three black women who were the brains and strength behind the US sending a man to space.

The New Edition Story (2017)

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BET and the creators of The New Edition Story took their time with this amazing biopic. The 3 part miniseries follows the iconic group from their humble beginnings in Orchard Park projects to their most successful sold out tours. The series doesn’t sugar coat the intense drama that went on behind the scenes, detailing financial rip-offs, drugs, and physical altercations between the members. The acting, story, and of course the music are all on point.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)

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A cultivation of found footage and interviews of Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Louis Farrakhan and others associated with the black power and anti-war movements, all from the perspective of Swedish journalist and filmmakers.

The 13th (2016)

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Ava Duvernay explores America’s exploitation of the 13th amendment and how policies throughout time have disproportionately targeted black men and women in America.

Dark Girls (2011)

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A discussion and stories about colorism and how it immensely affects the lives of black women across the nation.

Barry (2016)

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Follow Barack Obama as he enters Columbia University to world of self discovery, love, and perseverance.

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

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Unapologetic, talented, and beautiful describes Nina Simone. Through vintage interviews, performances, and stories from her family and friends, you’ll learn the vibrant yet dark story of the legendary artist.

Queen of Katwe (2016)

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Based on a true story, Queen of Katwe follows 10 year old Phiona as she overcomes huge hurdles to become a world chess champion.

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

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Shirley Chilsom was not only the first black woman elected to Congress but the first African American and first woman to run a high profile campaign in the US! Watch as she challenges sexism, racism, and patriarchy in this untimely piece.

 

Unsung and Unsung: Hollywood (2008-present)

Unsung opens the door to all the trials and tribulations of some of America’s most talented but underrated black artist. Debarge, Xscape, Big Daddy Kane, The Whispers, Yo-Yo, David Ruffin, and Al B Sure are just some of the artist who have been documented on the show. Also, check out Unsung: Hollywood for stories on black actors, films, and series who were deserving of more recognition.

Madiba (2017)

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This six hour mini-series chronicles Nelson Mandela, played by Laurence Fishburne, and other leaders of the African National Congress who fought to end apartheid in South Africa.

Fresh Dressed (2015)

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Remember Kangol hats and gold rope chains? What about Cross Colours? FUBU, anyone? Fresh Dressed digs up the influential contributions of black style throughout the years and the ups and downs of clothing brands that were for us and by us.

Race (2016)

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Race, the story of American track star Jesse Owens, exemplifies courage and strength in the face of white supremacy. Not only did Owens battle racism in the US but he challenged and then crushed Hitler’s Aryan supremacy fantasy in 1930’s Berlin.

Unapologetic and Proud: Photos of Women of Color at the Women’s March on Washington

The Women’s March on Washington was a monumental event that not only filled the streets of our Nations capital but the entire country and world including Melbourne, London, Nairobi, Paris and Cape Town. People from different religious affiliations, sexual identities, and ethnicities attended the rally to address dark future of the upcoming presidency. Speakers included newly elected California senator, Kamalah Harris, Angela Davis, America Ferrera, Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, Janet Mock, Scarlett Johansson, Van Jones, Michael Moore, and many more.

The diverse group of speakers addressed issues related to African Americans, police brutality, environmental issues, Native American rights, Hispanic American rights, the LGBT community, and more. What wasn’t so diverse were those in attendance. Majority of the 500,000 attendees were white women with pink hats that stereotypically represented women’s rights. I attended the march and felt like a true minority amongst all of these women. Between the, “I’m with her” signs and the “We are all equal” shirts, I wondered if these women really cared about the other women and men that are not only affected by this presidency but have been affected by sexism, racism, xenophobia, ableism and homophobia throughout their lifetime.

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The diverse group of speakers addressed issues related to African Americans, police brutality, environmental issues, Native American rights, Hispanic American rights, the LGBT community, and more. What wasn’t so diverse were those in attendance. Majority of the 500,000 attendees were white women with pink hats that stereotypically represented women’s rights. I attended the march and felt like a true minority amongst all of these women. Between the, “I’m with her” signs and the “We are all equal” shirts, I wondered if these women really cared about the other women and men that are not only affected by this presidency but have been affected by sexism, racism, xenophobia, ableism and homophobia throughout their lifetime.

In this sea of white women, I managed to get beautiful photos of unapologetic women of color and other attendees at the historical march. Check them out below and visit http://www.womensmarch.com for more info on the event.

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2016 in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Side Eyes of 2016

2016, a year of celebrity deaths, protests, a horrible election outcome, Olympic history, and unapologetically black movements, films, television, and albums. Let’s a take a look back!

The Bad…let’s start and end this one real quick.

He who shall not be named

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He didn’t win the popular vote but enough Americans voted for him and that’s an issue! It did however open some of America’s most ignorant and blind to the rooted racism, xenophobia, and sexism in the USA. If Hillary would have won, the same mindset would continue to prevail.

The Obama’s Leaving

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So much progress and achievement from Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and their family. The Obama’s showed how poised and mature they were in a firestorm of racism and ignorance. Obama ended the 2008 recession, provided affordable health care, lowered gas prices, brought diversity in ethnicity and gender identity to the White House, all with no personal scandals. Michelle Obama was one of the most influential first ladies to step foot in the White House. Her may initiatives towards food reform and education caused many to wonder if she would run for president in 2020 (she denied and I don’t blame her). It’ll be hard to see them and their legacy leave the White House.

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Police Killings and Mass Shootings

2016 brought more murders at the hand of the people who are supposed to protect us. Philando Castille,Korryn Gaines, Alton Sterling, Keith Scott, Janet Wilson were some of the high profiled cases along with the many who were not reported in the media. 2016 also brought no charges to the officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.

The Pulse Nightclub Shooting

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The mass shooting at Pulse Night Club, a gay bar in Orlando, FL, took the lives of  49 innocent people. This and countless killings of LGBTQ individuals in the country showed the pervasive homophobia that is still widely ignored.

The Birth of a Nation and Rape Culture

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I, like many, was excited for the film adaption of America’s controversial figure, Nat Turner. The directorial debut from Nate Parker was about the famous slave revolt led by Turner in Southampton County, VA. There was early praise and accomplishments attached to the film; it was the highest selling film to date at Sundance. Then, a past rape case involving a fellow female student, Nate Parker and friend Jean Celestin, who was also a writer on the film, resurfaced. Parker was acquitted while Celestin was convicted and then the case was later overturned.

The whole situation opened the gateway to continued lack of empathy for women and rape victims, a dialogue of possible racism, and a moral tug of war in supporting the film. Some felt as though there was a witch hunt against Parker because of the topic of his film. Tons of black people suddenly sided with the very broken justice system when it came to Parker’s “acquittal”. Of course, compared to other controversies surrounding white filmmakers, the backlash was stronger. Case in point, Casey Affleck continued to receive praise towards his film, Manchester by the Sea while having multiple sexual assault and harassment accusations against him. Parker didn’t help the situation by giving a roller coaster response to the incident; one minute he was apologetic, the next he didn’t understand what was going on. One of the only organizations to show the film love was the The NAACP Image Awards.

Celebrity Deaths

I’m just gonna leave this photo collage here. Listening to Purple Rain, Dear Mama and watching Martin won’t be the same.

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Phew! That was a bad rewind…Now

The Side Eyes of 2016

The halt of the Dakota Access Pipeline

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The protest against the North Dakota oil pipeline, demonstrated how unifying together to protect humans and nature can go a long way. Thousands of indigenous people of America along with people of different ethnicities banded together to protest a greedy initiative that could potentially poison the water of many. The protectors were met with dog attacks, mace, and freezing water while demonstrating peacefully. In early December, the Obama administration halted plans for future construction. Time will tell whether the pipeline will continue especially under a new bigoted administration.

Possible Solution to the Flint Water Crisis

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The unfortunate Flint Water crisis has made national news for the past few years. To save money, Flint officials made an unethical and dire decision to switch its water source from the Detroit Water Department to the untreated water of the Flint River. This resulted in a high level of lead in the water which caused death and sickness amongst the Flint community. On December 8th, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act passed Congress with $170 million for Flint. Hopefully, it resolves the situation and the rest of the world does not forget about Flint and the other cities affected by pollution.

Ok, I want to end on a positive note

The GOOD of 2016

With devastation came tons of amazing and unapologetic black work from artist, filmmakers, writers, politicians and athletes.

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Colin Kapernick and multiple WNBA players used their platform to stand against racism in 2016. In true American fashion, a barrage of insults, threats, and “protest at another time” comments followed the events. Kapernick also held multiple events including the, “Know Your Rights” camp for underprivileged youth. He was not alone in 2016; many NFL players, high school players, and other athletes kneeled in support of the movement.

The 2016 RIO Games

The 2016 Summer Olympics brought the world the first competing refugee team, the first woman to compete wearing a Hijab (Ibtihaj Muhammad), and the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in an individual swimming event (Simone Manuel). Gymnast, Simone Biles showed up and showed out winning four gold medals and one bronze. Usain Bolt continued as the reigning gold medalist in the men’s track and field races, the US Women’s 4×100 defended their Olympic Gold title, and Michelle Carter became the first American Women to win gold in the shot put.

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Unapologetic Music and Legendary Releases

Artist who have relatively been on hush mode about social justice let it loose in 2016. America’s favorite R&B/Pop Queen Bee decided to make a statement with her liberating project, Lemonade. She collaborated with talented artist and filmmakers to bring forth a project that celebrated Yoruba culture, paid homage to police shooting victims, and uplifted black people specifically black women. Let’s not forget her amazing super bowl homage to the Black Panther Movement.

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Solange dropped her third release, A Seat at the Table, with stunning visuals and performances to follow. The project represented her creativity, vocals, and her unique sense of style. 2016 also brought us the highly anticipated release from Frank Ocean and albums from hip hop legends, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Vic Mensa, J Cole, Abdu Ali, Chance the Rapper, Rihanna, Princess Nokia, Anderson Paak, Kaytranada, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino all released stellar projects as well.

Film and Television

There were so many great television debuts this year. Donald Glover’s, Atlanta, took a unique and sometimes bizarre look at the music scene in Atlanta, Marc Lamont Hill debuted his talk show on VH1, and Luke Cage brought enough soul to fill the entire Marvel Universe. Issa Rae’s Insecure gave black millennials so much life; between the humor, the music and the realistic code switching, Insecure brought it every Sunday.

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Queen Sugar brought such great talent and diverse characters. It shined a rare light on activism, farming while black, and mental illness in the black community.

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We can’t forget about one of the saddest losses in television history, Poussey Washington! I never cried that hard for a fictional character in my life. The entire time I thought “why her!”. After reading that Poussey’s death symbolized the high profile police fatalities in recent times, I thought differently. The way fans felt about a fictional character’s death is the same way families around the world feel with their own loss but quadruple the emotion. We also lost Glenn and Abraham in a gruesome season 7 opening of The Walking Dead. RIP to them all.

Diverse Representation in Cinema

Along with great television came more diverse stories from talented writers and directors. Moonlight continues to gain praise throughout the award season for its dark but uplifting story of a young black male struggling with his identity. The film introduced some very talented new actors (hey Trevante 😉 ) and proved that our stories can be presented with quality and artistry.

Hidden Figures reveals one of America’s best kept secrets, unheard and unseen in cinema; black women contributing to the field of science and math. Fences, Queen of Katwe, and the 13th also showcased diversity and will continue to make waves in 2017.

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Politics and Activism

Not everything related to politics was a circus act. Many black and brown men and women were elected as mayors, senators, and representatives. 21 year old Jewell Jones was elected as the youngest state representative ever in Michigan, Michael Tubbs became Stockton, California’s first black mayor and youngest at only 26 years old, and Kamalah Harris became California’s new Democratic senator-elect, and only the second African American woman to be elected to the Senate.

Here’s a glass for your white tears

It’s so refreshing when black folks not only stand up for their people but do it unapologetically. No “all lives matter” bs, no “all cops aren’t bad” bs, and no “can we all get along” bs. Jesse Williams did just that at the 2016 BET Awards when he accepted his Humanitarian Award. He thanked black women, organizers, and got right to the point about Americas racist actions against African Americans.

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Taylor Amari Little perfectly summarized what most “woke” black people have known or deal with in regards to the colonization of black culture. Her presentation entitled, “white people stay colonizing” took a historical look at American “slang” and “dance crazes” rooted in black culture. This goes for music, fashion, and hairstyles as well. Little also started “The Temple Project” which services the homeless in Detroit and “Queer Ummah” an organization for queer Muslims.

Ericka Hart represented so much in 2016. After being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Hart realized there was little visibility and knowledge of black queer women with regards to the disease. She wanted to show that she was no victim and felt just as sexy as anyone else. Her photos from Afro Punk 2016 were liberating and inspiring.

Oh yeah, one last thing!

The creation of Neon Fade. I started this blog in the summer of 2016 and I hope to continue to bring unapologetic, fun, and informative articles in 2017. Thank you to everyone who has contributed, liked, or followed NeonFade!

Here’s to a great 2017!

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Alicia Keys releases short film, “The Gospel”, directed by A.V. Rockwell

Alicia Keys releases short film, The Gospel, featuring music from her new album, Here. The visuals were directed by A.V. Rockwell. The film explores police brutality, young love, and womanhood in the inner cities of New York. Check it out below.

Today marks 37 years since legendary activist Assata Shakur escaped prison

Today marks 37 years since members of the Black Liberation Army helped activist Assata Shakur escape the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey.

In 1973, Shakur was involved in a shootout with two New Jersey troopers. One of the troopers along with a Black Liberation Army member, Zayd Malik Shakur, were killed. Shakur was shot twice in the arm. She was convicted of first degree murder even though evidence proved she was innocent. Shakur was a prominent member of the Black Panther Party and various social movements so the she was under FBI watch.She spent 6 1/2 years in prison until her comrades helped her escape on Nov 2nd, 1979. In 1984, she fled to Cuba where she was granted political asylum.

Since May 2, 2005, the FBI has classified her as a domestic terrorist and offered a $1 million reward for assistance in her capture because they ain’t shit! Kudos to Cuba for keeping her safe.