Tag Archives: Activism

Chance the Rapper will be honored with the BET Humanitarian Award

Muhammad Ali, Alicia Keys, and Dwayne Wade are just a few of the celebrities who have received the BET Humanitarian Award. Now, 24 year old Chicago artist, Chance the Rapper will be added to this list of artist who have used their platform to bring change within the black community.

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Chance has been very adamant about helping out the city he was raised in. In March, he donated a million dollars to Chicago public schools and then raised 2 million dollars for the schools in the following months. Back in November, Chance led thousands of people to the polls to cast their vote, he frequently helps with solutions for violence in Chicago and he even started his own non-profit for the youth entitled SocialWorks. He’s shown that he’s more than a photo-op and is very deserving of this prestigious award.

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BET also announced that New Edition will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards are set to air on Sunday, 25 June.

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Black Lives Matter organizers set to post Mother’s Day bail for black mothers across the nation

This week dozens of black mothers who are currently awaiting trial and cannot pay their bonds will be released just in time to celebrate Mother’s Day. The movement entitled, Mama’s Bail Out Day, was organized by many groups including Black Lives Matter Atlanta, Healing Hearts of Families, Southerners on New Ground, Color of Change, and local churches and businesses. Joining forces, the groups raised $250,000 to pay bail for black mothers in 16 cities. These women have not been convicted of any crimes and have been jailed for low level offenses like loitering and small drug possession. 62% of people in jail are there because they cannot afford bail. The system has negatively affected women of color and poor women across the nation with black women making up 44 percent of women in jails.

Arissa Hall, an organizer for the event and project manager at the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, told The Nation that Mother’s Day, with its idealized notions of family and womanhood, is the right moment to force an examination of women in jails.

“All mothers are not celebrated, this is especially true of women who struggle with poverty, addiction and mental-health issues—in other words, the women who fill our jails.”

“Black moms especially have not been granted that title of motherhood,” Hall added going on to describe how slavery shredded kinship bonds. Black women, have historically taken on caretaker roles that have put them in charge of other people’s children and away from their own.

Mary Hooks, co-director of the Atlanta-based LGBTQ organizing project SONG, was one of the first people to brainstorm an idea with other activists on how to combat against the money bail and jail-related fine issues specifically for the LGBTQ community. The activist and organizers understood the ways race, class, and gender identity all play a role in criminalization so they decided to expand on who qualifies as a mother. “When we talk about black mamas, we know that mothering happens in a variety of ways,” Hooks said. “Whether it’s the mothers in the clubs who teach the young kids how to vogue, or the church mothers who took care of me.” Women who are birth mothers and chosen mothers are eligible to be bailed out.

The organizers are still raising money so they can release more women and are planning on possibly having a similar bail out for black fathers for Father’s Day.

To support the Mama’s Bail Out Day movements visit:

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Dear White People Review: Episode 1

Film Synopsis

Dear White People was first released in 2014 as a film directed by Justin Simien. The story followed four black students as they attended a predominately white institute named Winchester University. Each character represented a different perspective on what it meant to be black in a majority white space and each handled racism differently in a post-Obama country. The protagonist, Sam White, was a bi-racial, pro-black, film major with a provocative campus radio show entitled, Dear White People. The films main plot was Sam’s pursuit to become president of the black student occupied dorm, Armstrong Parker, and her fight against the integration of the dorm. Troy was the son of the Dean and the golden boy of the campus. Coco, short for Colandrea, was a bougie student from the Southside of Chicago who aspired to be the next reality TV star and Lionel was the gay, nerdy, black journalist who was too black for the white students and too white for the black students. Between Sam’s task to save the dorm house and Lionel being caught in the middle of the drama, a blackface party ensues and shit hits the fan on the campus. It is revealed that the party invite was not sent out from the racist magazine group, Pastiche, but in actuality was set up by Sam.

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The Netflix series returns where the party left off. Sam, Lionel and some of their friends crash the party, while Troy arrives with the cops, and Coco shamely defends the students for being able to be black for one night.

Chapter 1

The episode opens with the blackface party and the crash that follows. The camera pans around the chaotic scene to land on our protagonist, Sam and her handy dandy vintage camera. Sam is a junior studying film and the host of the controversial radio show, Dear White People. Many students listen to the show including the group behind the racist satirical campus magazine, Pastiche. In response to the party, Sam opens up with what the student body is allowed to wear to a Halloween party and what not to wear which is simply, “me” as in black face. This was the scene that was used in the date announcement trailer along with photos of white students dressed in black face and stereotypical “black” attire. This simple request in a fictional series enraged people so much that the YouTube video currently has 57,361 up votes and 420,728 down votes! Unsurprising comments of, “What if there were a, Dear Black People?”, and “I’m unsubscribing from Netflix”, fill the page which is odd because I thought most of these sensitive white people unsubscribed when Luke Cage was released. There is more outrage from the title of the series and not the fact that college students AND adults are still doing black face every year, crazy right?

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Sam’s best friend Joelle is introduced. She is played by the lovely Ashley Blaine Featherson who I was introduced to on the web-series, Hello Cupid. In the film, she was more of a side character but in the series she gets a deserving boost; I guess. It would be nice to see more of her story in season 2. Joelle comes off as the contradicting comic relief. She’s “woke” but watching, “some white bitch from Texas”, on how to be waist thin and ass phat. Sam reassures her that she is fine and states “is white bitch her name?” She also describes the guilt of re-watching the Cosby Show sitcom following the accusations which Sam deems a conspiracy because “Cosby was in route to purchasing NBC”. Right. It’s clear they have a fun relationship even though their focus does not always align.

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Then we see Reggie (heart eye emoji). I liked his character from the movie. He was serious in his fight against racism but let Sam lead the efforts which can be seen as admirable or a tad bit immature. Soon after, Sam is seen having sex with who we assume is Reggie but it is actually Sam’s secret white bae, Gabe.  Gabe is a T.A. in one of Sam’s classes; he’s is a little more scraggly/hippie looking compared to the clean cut Gabe from the film. He doesn’t seem as much of a condescending asshole as the films character instead he comes off as a carefree kind of guy. After their session, Sam gets ready to leave for a Black Caucus meeting. Gabe wants to come with but we know how this goes; Sam cannot be seen with Gabe or it will diminish her pro-black persona.

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When Sam arrives to Armstrong Parker for the meeting she is greeted by Lionel Higgins, a writer for the student newspaper, Winchester Independent. She begins to describe the four different black student unions at Winchester University. This is similar to the scene in the film where Sam describes the different type of black students at the university, the oofta, nose job, and “keeping it 100”, black student. Out of the four groups, there’s Sam’s group, the Black Student Union; they’re a good medium between aggressive action and organization. The African American Student Union (AASU) who is said to not contribute anything and consists of Kelsea, a super bubbly and naïve student, and Cordell, the resident pastor. There’s the Black American Forum (BAF) consisting of mediocre slam poets who throw great parties; picture dashikis, ankh necklaces, and fist in the air; hashtag stay woke! The last group lead by Troy Fairbanks (who interrupts Sam’s introduction) is the Coalition of Racial Equality (CORE). Think future black leaders of America. This group also includes Coco which is short for Colandrea. Coco was her way of sounding less “urban” than Colandrea. I wonder what her middle name is.

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As they are discussing the blackface party and how to take action, Coco’s phone chimes. A sinister look appears across her face as she begins to tag others in the post. While Sam is talking about the incident, everyone starts to look at their phones in shock. Sam stops and looks at her phone to see a photo of her sitting on Gabe’s bed, clothed with the caption, “hate it when bae leaves”. Scandalous! My mouth dropped. This was so disrespectful and violating. After the meeting, Sam finds her friends and Coco chatting about the photo. She and Joelle have a discussion about her secret bae. Joelle is frustrated that her best friend didn’t tell her and that he is white. She reminds her of how they met in the comment section of her article entitled, “Don’t fall in love with your oppressor”. Through all of this, Joelle gives Sam a reassuring hug of forgiveness and acceptance.

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Joelle’s honesty about her feelings with Gabe’s race was realistic. Everyday black women who are in interracial relationships get side-eyes but black women who are super pro-black get the ultimate side eye (and so do men). It doesn’t make one unauthentic when they date interracially but it can be a tad disappointing especially when there’s men like Reggie who are ready to give someone like Sam the world. The heart wants what it wants; we shouldn’t force someone to be with someone they don’t want to be with.

Later, Sam talks to Gabe about the photo in which he apologizes for but also replies with, “I’m only a millennial on paper”, which is hilarious. Anyone in their late 20’s to mid-30’s can relate to this. Sam invites Gabe to a viewing party at Armstrong Parker. This is their first time being seen in public and specifically being seen at the black student occupied dorm. She questions his laid back attire, suggesting he wear some “jays”, in which he replies, “Are you trying to My Fair Lady me for your black friends?” I haven’t seen this movie but I understood the joke. In general the series has a ton of film and TV references that if you’re not up on you’ll miss the joke entirely. Gabe’s question is fair. Does Sam want him to be something’s he’s not? So, they go to the dorm where they’re met with some side-eyes and a little shade from Joelle. They watch a parody of the hit show Scandal which is entitled, Defamation. It is hilarious and even though I’ve never been to a public screening of a show, I feel this was a realistic depiction of how black students come together to watch what some consider quality TV and some consider garbage.

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After the show ends, the black face incident is brought up. Gabe puts his foot in his mouth with the classic white liberal response of, “I can’t believe this is happening in 2017” and “I’m just as pissed as you”. Reggie’s not having it; he responds with, “It’s like you and I attend two completely different schools”. Which is very true. Gabe can try to relate but he will never know what it feels like to be black in America even if he attended an HBCU it still wouldn’t be the same. Gabe questions whether Reggie will hit him which is entirely absurd. He and Sam leave the screening where Gabe argues that he was uncomfortable, Sam replies with “Welcome to my world”. Gabe acknowledges this but states that he would never make Sam feel uncomfortable with his friends. Meh, I can see how he could be disappointed but at the same time, he needed to hear what Reggie was saying. There is a problem at the school let alone the entire world when it comes to racism so instead of responding with tired phrases, he should have asked how he could help or support groups fighting against these issues.

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After the convo, Lionel pulls Sam aside to tell her that the newspaper has evidence that someone else other than the group behind Pastiche sent out the invite; basically giving her a chance to confess instead of allowing the paper to break the news. The next day Sam arrives at her radio station to find her slot replaced with a show entitled, “Dear Abigail”. She rushes in to bump Abigail off the air and give the white students a piece of her mind. She eloquently states why her radio show is not racist compared to the actual racism that is plaguing black American schools, neighborhoods, and well being. She also reveals that she was the one who sent the invite for the blackface party and that she “considered it a sociological experiment” that the students passed with flying colors. She ends it with an apology to her bae, Gabe.

Overall

The first episode was a great recap of where the film ended plus the aftermath of the party. Logan Browning, as Sam is ok to me. She doesn’t play as commanding as Tessa Thompson did in the film; she’s somewhat laid back. This could be because the film was shorter, the personalities had to play bigger so since Sam’s story is stretched out in the series, she’ll have to tone it down a bit. Lionel and Coco’s characters were also re-casted but I’ll talk about them in their individual chapters. The cinematography and dark neutral colors were great. The introduction of each chapter for the students was creative as well. I love the set design of Sam’s room and the clothing worked perfectly for each character especially the different BSU groups. The writing for the different BSU groups and the screening of Defamation represents the type of specifics that can only come from black writers. It’s so realistic and detailed; it adds an extra layer of believability to the show. All of the haters who have or had something to say about the title should watch the show and pay attention to the last scene. This scene perfectly sums up why Sam has her radio show and why we need a series entitled, Dear White People!

New Social Justice Podcast in the works from Activist DeRay McKesson

Former professor turned activist, DeRay McKesson can add podcasting to his many important ventures. McKesson will host his own podcast entitled, A Word with DeRay. The platform will provide much needed info on activism, organization, and how individuals can contribute to movements fighting against racism, policing, and other important topics. McKesson signed with Crooked Media, the new liberal political network founded last year by former Obama aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, McKesson said, “I’m trying to figure out how we give people language that they can repeat. I think a lot of the media, not just podcasts, are doing a lot of the ‘Let me explain the world to you’ [format], but not in a way listeners can actually keep explaining the world to people.” He continued saying, “I want to be intentional about how I use platforms to amplify this work. I think a podcast will be a great opportunity to do that.”

The premier date for the podcast is to be determined. For now McKesson can be found on Twitter (@deray), Instagram (@iamderay), and Facebook.

SZA, Kaytranada, Soul II Soul, and more announced in the 2017 AfroPunk lineup

The 2017 lineup for AfroPunk has been released. The unique and unapologetic festival will be held on August 26th-27th in its annual location of Fort Greene’s Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn, New York. So far, the fest will include SZA, Sampha, Willow Smith, Thundercat, Gary Clark Jr., Dizzee Rascal, and more along with veteran artist like Macy Gray and Soul II Soul. Rising producer and DJ, Kaytranada will have his own stage, “Kaytranada and Friends”, which will include performances from Sango, Nao, and Jrocc & Karriem Riggins.

The festivals theme for this year will be, “WE THE PEOPLE”, which includes the following words from the fest:

WE THE PEOPLE:

We, the people built this land. Our flesh and blood is present in its buildings, its roads and its bridges. Our souls are its spiritual cornerstone. Our culture is its foundation. Our being nourishes this land — as our ancestors’ beings nourished it before us — yet the land has not always reimbursed us. We, the people recognize the bullshit of the powerful. The injustices they committed in the past have never disappeared from view. The inequalities they perpetrate are there for all but the blind. The inadequacies they’ve paid forward to a future age are appearing over the horizon. Unless…

We, the people have a code:

  • No Sexism
  • No Racism
  • No Ableism
  • No Ageism
  • No Homophobia
  • No Fatphobia
  • No Transphobia

We, the people commit ourselves to uphold and fight for the rights enshrined in our code. Let us honour those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, and hold accountable those who curtail our liberties. Let us walk in the footsteps of warriors who came before us, and strive to create a society based on fundamental human rights. Let us rewrite the universal laws and educate the errant minds. We, the people have the will to heal the divisions that threaten to reduce our dreams to ashes. We believe in resurrecting the creative power of our diversity. We open our hearts and minds, and dance to the rhythm of a brand-new future. Together. Brave and compassionate. And beautiful. May the Goddess protect we, the people.

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Check out the rest of the lineup below and visit www.afropunkfest.com for more info:

AFROPUNK BROOKLYN LINEUP (MORE HEADLINERS TBA)

ST HERON STAGE

FEAT SPECIAL GUEST

SAMPHA

THUNDERCAT

SINKANE

KING

& more

 

KAYTRANADA & FRIENDS STAGE

KAYTRANADA

NAO

SANGO

J ROCC & KARRIEM RIGGINS (LIVE)

& more

GARY CLARK JR

MACY GRAY

MICHAEL KIWANUKA

SOUL II SOUL

SZA

WILLOW SMITH

DIZZEE RASCAL

LITTLE SIMZ

BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR

THE COOL KIDS

PRINCESS NOKIA

PROTOJE

LEIKELI47

THE COOL KIDS

THE SKINS

KEVIN ABSTRACT

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SAM DEW

SHABAKA AND THE ANCESTORS

SON LITTLE

PURE DISGUST

QUIÑ

LOUDER THAN QUIET

& more

10 Quotes from 10 Unapologetic Women in Honor of Women’s History Month 

Check out some of my favorite quotes from 10 unapologetic women of different ethnicities, professions, and generations!  Happy Women’s History Month.

 

Nina Simone

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To me, we are the most beautiful creatures in the world—black people. So, my job is to make them more curious about where they came from and their own identity and pride in that identity.

Angela Davis

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The roots of sexism and homophobia are found in the same economic and political institutions that serve as the foundation of racism in this country and, more often than not, the same extremist circles that inflict violence on people of color are responsible for the eruptions of violence inspired by sexist and homophobic biases. Our political activism must clearly manifest our understanding of these connections.

Jane Elliot

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We are still conditioning people in this country and, indeed, all over the globe to the myth of white superiority. We are constantly being told that we don’t have racism in this country anymore, but most of the people who are saying that are white. White people think it isn’t happening because it isn’t happening to them.

Linda Sarsour

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Women are intersectional human beings who live multi-issued lives, when we are protected, when we are respected, when we are able to thrive and given the same opportunities as our male counterparts, when we are given space to lead and rise — our nation will rise.

Cree Summer

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I don’t know a single black girl who’s carefree because it ain’t easy being a girl of color, period. God, I wish we were carefree. A lot of political things would have to dramatically change in this planet for a woman of color to be carefree. But I think what they mean by that is more of an aware black girl, a conscious black girl.

Issa Rae

Premiere Of HBO's "Insecure" - Arrivals

It’s a bit cliché, but you can’t go wrong by writing what you know. Even if you’re a horrible writer, your own knowledge and experience is unrivaled. Nobody knows what you know like you know what you know. The way you see things is pretty unique.

Reina Gossett

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Historical amnesia is starvation of the imagination; nostalgia is the imagination’s sugar rush, leaving depression and emptiness in its wake.  Breaking silences, telling our tales, is not enough. . . Historical responsibility has, after all, to do with action – where we place the weight of our existences on the line, cast our lot with others, move from an individual consciousness to a collective one.

Sojourner Truth

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Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

Winona LaDuke

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I wanted to get out of Ashland, and I thought it would be pretty cool to go to school in the East. So I asked my guidance counselor what Ivy League schools were. And I applied to Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth – that was it. My guidance counselor told me I wouldn’t get into an Ivy League school. So as my act of resistance, that’s all I applied to.

Betty White

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Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!

 

Trailer released for the new Netflix series Dear White People!

It’s finally here; the trailer for the new Netflix series, Dear White People. The series, based on the 2014 film, Dear White People, will follow six completely different black students at a predominately white institute.

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The 2014 satirical piece, written and directed by Justin Simeon, starred Tessa Thompson as the no non-sense, pro black, Sam White but in the new series, actress Logan Browning (Hit the Floor) will portray the character. I don’t know how to feel; I really liked Tessa Thompson as Sam but she is busy inking major deals so Browning will do. Brandon P Bell will reprise his role as the token black political science student, Troy Fairbanks and Antoinette Robertson (The Haves and the Have Nots) will play the bougie, attention seeking, Colandrea ‘Coco’ Conners. DeRon Horton will play the reclusive, student journalist, Lionel Higgins and Ashley Blaine Featherson and Marque Richardson will reprise and expand their roles in the upcoming series.

The show will also introduce some new characters like Rashid Bakr, played by Jeremy Tardy. Bakr will be a student from Kenya who speaks 5 languages. He’ll discover what life is like as a Kenyan student navigating America and how African American students live as well.

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The short clip looks identical to the movie with a similar scene showing students crashing a black face Halloween party. I’m assuming there will be a lot more than copycat scenes to the project and hopefully there is more depth to some of the characters like Coco for instance; the writers left her hanging with next to no development or change to her character in the film. Needless to say, I am super excited for the show.

Check out the trailer below and catch the premiere on April 28th.