Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Bethany Storro made national news when she claimed she was the victim of a random attack. Storro told police that an African American woman walked up to her and suddenly decided to throw acid in her face. Storro received the sympathy (and financial contributions) of people all around the world. Even Oprah cleared a slot for her on her show.
It turned out that Storro was lying, making herself the latest in a long list of people who've falsely claimed that a black person attacked them. Her face is now blotched and red, where police say she allegedly put acid onto her own face, perhaps in a quest for attention. The story is quite sad, actually.
Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are two of the coolest brothers on the intellectual block. They've served as public road maps for the empowerment of black men everywhere, and their work does not get the recognition it deserves.
Well, Public Radio International is working to help change that by granting Smiley and West their own radio show. In fact, the show is going to be called "Smiley & West."
The announcement for the new show was made during the Public Radio Programming Conference, held in Denver, Colorado. When asked about the show, Smiley had this to say:
As the days have gone by since the start of the sex scandal involving Bishop Eddie Long, I've become more and more convinced that there needs to be a serious investigation. Something doesn't seem quite right with the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, and the world needs to hear more from the young men who've been speaking out in public.
While I've seen quite a bit of evidence and videos that have gotten my attention, nothing has compelled me more than the interview with Long's latest accuser, Jamal Parris. Jamal, who was chased down by Fox 5 in Atlanta, was reluctant to talk at first about the incident. But once he spoke up, his words were heard around the world. I'll lay out some of the quotes that Jamal shared with Fox 5, and give you my take after that.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Trying to get various black public figures to speak out for or against Bishop Eddie Long has been harder than getting four year-olds to go to the dentist. No one is talking, but everyone is noticing. They are all watching CNN and seeing that Long is on after every other commercial break. They are reading the newspapers where Long's face is plastered in every section other than Sports and Classifieds. They are seeing the websites that produce one Eddie Long article after another. The man is omnipresent.
Black leaders are also noticing the spandex outfit Long sported in those racy bathroom pictures. They remember the odd-looking wig Long wore when appearing before the church this past Sunday. Most significantly, they've noticed the long line of young men, in different states, who don't seem to know one another, who are saying that Eddie Long had sex with them.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I woke up early to go to the website for the New Birth Missionary Baptist church. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew that Bishop Eddie Long would be convincing. Every bit of his charisma and experience would be needed to manage the complex set of allegations against him for sexually abusing some of his members.
I'll lay out some notable quotes by Bishop Long this morning and let you judge much of it for yourself. What I can say, however, is that Bishop Long seemed to say a great deal without saying much.
"I'll be here next week."
Perhaps that means that he's not going to resign. I look forward to seeing if he is going to be preaching next Sunday.
"(This is) probably the most difficult time in my entire life. I want to talk to you for a moment about how to handle painful and difficult situations."
Friday, September 24, 2010
What do we do about gays in the church? Are there other pastors who spend their time engaging in questionable sexual activity? Dr. Boyce discusses these issues on MSNBC.
Please click here to watch.
It has been reported that the Bishop Eddie Long is going to step down as pastor after his sermon set to be delivered on Sunday. Long is currently the pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. He was recently challenged by three young men who filed suit against the pastor for allegedly coercing them into sex.
There are also reports that as many as 30 young men have contacted the plaintiff's attorney, BJ Bernstein, in an effort to file suits of their own or join the existing lawsuit.
This letter was written by Sheri Mitchell about the disturbing allegations against a man trying to become Sheriff in a community with a substantial African American population. To read more about Joe Price, click here. I, Dr. Boyce Watkins, do not support Price’s candidacy and believe that his hiring this week of a black campaign manager is nothing more than a publicity stunt. Sheri Mitchell’s letter is below.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
President Obama's top economic advisor, Lawrence Summers, is finally. out the door. The former Harvard University President resigned from Obama's Council of Economic Advisors amidst questions about his performance. Summers came to represent the very worst of the economic crisis. He was the man in charge, next to the man in charge, as the world came to associate Harvard University economists with the financial destruction of America.
Summers wasn't a bad economist, but he was hardly an adequate representative of the American people. He was part of the academic aristocracy, the nephew of (not one, but) two Nobel Prize winners and the son of two Yale university professors. Needless to say, Summers was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and doesn't know a thing about economic struggle. He worked hard for what he ultimately received, but quite a few doors were open to him from birth. He personified the white male affirmative action program that has been in existence since slavery. At the very least, the chances of a black man having two Yale professors in his family (let alone a Nobel Prize winner) are virtually non-existent due to Jim Crow. So, if Lawrence Summers had been born as one of "us," we wouldn't even know his name.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
CNN is reporting that two men in Georgia are suing Bishop Eddie Long in Atlanta, alleging that the powerful pastor used his power to force them into having sex. In DeKalb County, the suits claim that Long used his position of authority at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church to influence young male employees into various forms of misconduct.One of the plaintiffs, Anthony Flagg, is a 21-year old man who claims that some of the misconduct occurred during overnight trips to various cities.
"Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact," according to the lawsuit.
A black woman stood up in the Town Hall Meeting held by President Barack Obama yesterday and made a comment that got the attention of the world. She mentioned that she was "exhausted" from trying to defend the president to his critics:
I am one of your middle class Americans and, quite frankly, I'm exhausted... I'm exhausted of defending you. I'm exhausted of defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for. And I'm deeply disappointed with where we are right now.
I have been told that I voted for a man who said he was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I am one of those people and I'm waiting sir. I'm waiting. I don't feel it yet. And I thought, while it wouldn't be in great measure, I would feel it in some small measure... And quite frankly Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly: Is this my new reality? (Thelightnc.com)
When we use the word “intellect,” we don’t typically apply it to Lady Gaga. I’m not sure what to make out of her, primarily because I don’t think about her very much. But now, when I hear the name Lady Gaga, I’ll think of the terms “leader” and “role model.”
Since her brilliant and impressive stand on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Lady Gaga is officially an important and historical figure in America. In fact, she’s an icon. She is becoming a symbol of her generation, one who transcends petty fashion trends and dance moves. She has chosen to stand up for something she believes in, and as a result, has a whole legion of fans that she didn’t have before. She’s getting respect from the likes of Wolf Blitzer, who acknowledged her on his show and even sang some of her lyrics. She is using her power to change the world.
Monday, September 20, 2010
I was recently checking out some of CNN's special, "Black in America," the show they seem to do once a year. In the series, African Americans are analyzed like lab rats in a cage, with producers highlighting every dysfunction imaginable, as if we have a monopoly on counter productive behavior. Although I've always had a good relationship with CNN, I can barely stomach some of what I see. This is not to say that black folks are perfect: but the idea that we are somehow less perfect than whites is nothing short of paternalistic, White Supremacist thinking.
The segment that threw me through the roof was one covering the wealth gap between blacks and whites. In this particular Black in America segment, CNN shows that the wealth gap between blacks and whites is $28,000 to $140,000, with whites being the leaders. They then go on to state that African Americans save and invest less than whites. I give a "check" on most of these numbers, I have no problem with the data.
This is the second part of my interview with author Jamilah B. Creekmur. I enjoyed speaking with Jamilah and I found her book, "Raised by the Mistress," to be a compelling layout of what it might be like to be the child of "the other woman." I recommend taking a look at Jamilah's book and watching the interview. I think you'll enjoy what you see.
NewsOne.com is reporting that there are plans to launch a 24-hour network dedicated to HBCUs. The network is set to be focused on "edutainment" and lifestyle for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The company behind the platform, C3 Media LLC says that the network is set to fill a niche within the cable industry that has barely been reached in the past.
Much of the programming will also feature various sports teams sponsored by black colleges all across America. "The idea and vision behind the creation of the HBCU Network is to preserve and celebrate the African American colleges and universities, while also providing opportunities for their growth and further prosperity," CEO Curtis Symonds told NewsOne. "At the same time, we are passionate and excited about building a strong media brand and network from the ground up."
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I was in New York doing what I try to do best: show up for my little girls and support them in their endeavors. My daughter had a volleyball game at her university and I was pumped for the event. Although I do all I can to stay away from work when I am with my kids, I couldn't help but sneak away to appear on one of my favorite radio shows, "The Main Line" on 98.7 Kiss FM.
During the show, we discussed all the usual topics for a hot blooded Sunday afternoon: Politics, news, African American issues, Obama and more. Toward the end of the show, someone made mention of Robert Plant's appearance on The Today Show. My first thought was, "Who in the heck is Robert Plant and why does he matter?" It only took me a couple of seconds to figure out the answer to both of those questions.
Friday, September 17, 2010
I'm not a huge fan of the "vast intellect" of Charles Barkley. In fact, I usually turn the volume down when he's talking. All the while, I have to admit that I am one of those people who sometimes finds myself admiring Barkley's candid nature. He's the man willing to say the things that other people wont' say, and he's usually pretty honest about it. As someone who monitors the status, actions and treatment of black athletes in America, I've paid careful attention to Sir Charles for quite a while.
The world was fed a healthy dose of that Barkley honesty recently when Sir Charles decided to admit that he took money from sports agents in college. He didn't actually say that he took the money and kept it, he just said that he borrowed some money and paid it back when he got to the NBA.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Bethany Storro gained the sympathy of the world when she alleged that she was the victim of a random attack in which someone threw acid on her face. The story she was going to tell Oprah Winfrey on a planned appearance on her show was that a black woman with a pony tail walked up to her and said "Hey pretty girl, want something to drink?" and then proceeded to throw the acid.
Oprah would have hugged her on the air, and the show would have made us cry. We would have heard stories about how the woman had been courageous enough to fight on, in spite of this horrible thing that happened to her. The episode would have been glorious, moving, fascinating, and inspirational. It would have also been a big old butt-naked lie.
3:07 PMSep 16
Source: BV Black Spin
Boys as young as 14-years old should not have to worry about being shot in the street. Unfortunately, this is exactly what young men and their parents have to worry about in the city of Chicago. A 14-year old boy was murdered this Tuesday in a ... Read More
For NFL fans and those who have teams in their cities, there's something you should know. Like a dark cloud hanging in the sky on a bright, sunny day, a pending NFL lockout is waiting on the horizon. A lockout is sort of like a strike, but the workers aren't the ones calling for it. Instead, team owners are the ones calling for a halt in NFL activities, where the league will be shut down and games cancelled. Even if games aren't cancelled, we might be forced to endure another season of tacky replacement players, and nobody wants that.
The AFL-CIO has decided to put it's power behind the NFL Players Union in this battle with team owners. The organization sent a letter to the owners of NFL teams, warning them that a lockout could have a powerfully detrimental effect on workers and fans in cities all across America. They also warned that cities could lose $140 million in revenue.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Bethany Storro was once the target of the nation's sympathy. She is slowly becoming the target of the nation's suspicion. The 28-year old Storro, who is deaf, said that she was the victim of a random attack. According to Storro, a young black woman came up to her and said, "Hey, pretty girl," before throwing a cup of acid into her face.
The attack on Storro, which allegedly took place on August 30, grabbed international headlines. She was even scheduled to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show. That's when reporters started asking a lot of questions.
According to Storro, the injuries to her nose and face did not affect her eyesight because she was wearing sunglasses. But one reporter asked her why she was wearing sunglasses when it was nearly sunset. The reporter also asked how Storro could hear what the woman was saying when she is deaf.
The suspicions of the reporter were accelerated by the fact that many of the homeless people in the park on the night Storro was attacked said that she was all alone when she fell to the ground screaming. While the incident is still under investigation, it is known that Storro did cancel her scheduled appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show without giving producers a reason for her decision.
I'm a huge fan of hip hop music. In fact, I didn't even start to like music until hip hop came along. I will continue to be a fan of hip hop music, but as a black scholar, I feel that part of my job is to ask questions that we may need to answer as a society.
The question for today is, "What's wrong with hip hop music?" Perhaps the question I've asked is presumptuous, since many of us don't see a problem at all. I've sat in the car for hours with my teenage daughters, listening to one song after another, each of them returning to basically the same themes: Money, sex, weapons or drugs.
Varnette Honeywood was the artist who gave life to The Cosby Show. Her paintings covered the walls of the Huxtable home, adding flare to those colorful sweaters Cliff seemed to love. While not everyone is in agreement on their love for Cliff's sweaters, there's no denying that Honeywood's art was anything less than "tha bomb."
Sadly, Honeywood's life has ended at the young age of 59 years old. She'd been battling cancer for the last two years, finally succumbing to the disease. Now, the world is just a little less colorful than it was before.
I am not sure if Reggie Bush has ever read a word I've written. But after I mentioned last week that I felt Bush should give the Heisman trophy back, I was proud to see that he gave it away. Again, I am not one to say that he gives a you-know-what about anything I might say in public, but I can certainly say that I am proud.
Bush gave the Heisman trophy back this week after rampant speculation regarding whether or not he received inappropriate benefits during his time at USC. The speculation was bothersome to me, primarily because Reggie Bush was a human highlight film who earned millions for the NCAA and the university. The idea that they would even consider taking his Heisman Trophy after he'd given the NCAA so much was nothing short of offensive. If a man earns millions of dollars for you and you get angry because he took a few thousand to give his mother a place to live, then you've clearly got a problem with your value system.
Bush's statement about giving the Heisman back is below:
Monday, September 13, 2010
If you don't know the name Ernest Withers, I can guarantee that you know of his work. Remember the famous and horrible picture of Emmett Till? Withers took that one. Think about nearly every well-known picture of Dr. King you think of. Well, Withers probably took that one too.
Ernest Withers had access to Civil Rights leaders like no other. He was also found to have been an informant for the FBI.
The Commercial Appeal in Memphis conducted a two-year investigation into the life of Withers, who died in 2007. The investigation found that Withers allegedly worked with two F.B.I. agents to keep an eye on the Civil Rights Movement. Withers was known to have been very close to Dr. King and to have had his trust.
"It is an amazing betrayal," said Athan Theoharis, an historian, told the New York Times. "It really speaks to the degree that the F.B.I. was able to engage individuals within the civil rights movement. This man was so well trusted."
A video showing Philadelphia police officers beating a man for nearly two minutes has taken the Internet by storm. The incident is so shocking that the video has received thousands of views, and has also sparked an internal investigation by Philadelphia police.
The incident occurred in West Philadelphia and is two and a half minutes long. The officers are accused of attacking 29-year old Askia Sabur outside a takeout restaurant in the area on Friday. What is also interesting is that most of the officers appearing in the video are African American, reminding us that the power of the state is not just a white and black thing.
Allegedly, officers asked Sabur and his cousin to clear the corner, but they refused, stating that they were waiting for their food. Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman, claims that Sabur knocked one of the officers down. But he alleges that this occurred before the Youtube video was recorded.
1:24 PMSep 13
Source: BV Black Spin
This week, Tennessee state Attorney General Bob Cooper asked a judge to allow the state of Tennessee to take possession of a 101-piece art collection owned by Fisk University. The collection was donated to the university by the late Georgia O'Keefe ... Read More
1:15 PMSep 13
Source: BV Black Spin
When John Boyd steps before a crowd and talks about the indignities and discrimination that black farmers have had to endure from the federal government, he's not just speaking from a script. Boyd, who raises beef cattle, corn, wheat and soybeans in ... Read More
12:32 PMSep 13
Source: BV Black Spin
Could Nicki Minaj be the next Lady Gaga? Laurie Ann Gibson certainly thinks so. Choreographer extraordinaire Gibson worked with Gaga to create the dance chemistry in Gaga's MTV Video Music Award-winning "Bad Romance" video and also put together ... Read More
12:00 PMSep 13
New Orleans Saint Reggie Bush may be stripped of his Heisman Trophy soon for NCAA violations during the 2004 and 2005 seasons while attending University of Southern California. But, is that all? We can think of ten more ways the NFL can punish Bush ... Read More
11:48 AMSep 13
Source: BV on Money
PRODUCTION PLAYER! DO NOT DELETE. ... Read More
11:00 AMSep 13
Some people will say anything to get their rap career off the ground. Jennifer Hudson's brother-in-law and the father of her slain nephew is no exception to the rule. ... Read More
9:00 AMSep 13
Source: BV on Style
The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards -- one of the most anticipated awards show of the year -- has come and gone. However, many of the outfits from last nights show are still fresh in our minds. Fun, short and flirty dresses, high platform heels, and ... Read More
2:21 AMSep 13
Source: BV Black Spin
According to scientists, HIV research is undergoing a "renaissance." Recent developments can lead to a plethora of new drugs to fight a disease that has crippled the black community. The most interesting part of it all is that much of the progress ... Read More
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I woke up today to find that the sun would shine a little bit less brightly than it did the day before. The first email I read was one telling me that Ronald Walters, a noted black Political Scientist at The University of Maryland, had died. He was 72 years old.
Dr. Walters was the director of the African American Leadership Institute. He was also the Campaign Manager for the presidential run of Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1984. I knew Ron as a mentor and friend. He was also on the faculty here at Syracuse University at one point in his career, long before my own. He was one of the most respectable and accomplished black scholars I've ever met, and he was appreciated by nearly everyone. His advice on leadership, activism and black empowerment was second to none.
I reached out to a few friends to get their takes on Professor Walters and many of them were very happy to reply. They were saddened to see the end of Ron's life and career, but most of them understood the urgency of continuing his meaningful work. I haven't been able to catch up with Rev. Jesse Jackson yet, but I'll be on his show Sunday morning. Ron and I have been on Rev. Jackson's show together in the past, and few people were impacted more by Dr. Walters than Rev. Jackson himself.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Most of us can appreciate, on one level or another, the tremendous achievements of Tiger Woods, Venus Williams and her little sister, Serena. They have all been, in one way or another, a tremendous source of pride for the African American community. Much of the reason we are so proud of them is because they've dominated like no other in sports that are not typically played by "us." I am personally more impressed with the Williams sisters than with Tiger, in large part because they've made it into a family affair, and seem to more directly embrace the idea of making their success into a "black thing." Tiger, on the other hand, seems to want to make his success into a "Caublinasian thing." I admittedly can't get with that.
I have a theory that I've wondered would hold up to empirical scrutiny. My theory is that there are quite a few women who might be willing to settle for part of a good man rather than having 100% of a mediocre man. For example, men like Tiger Woods might have more girlfriends than most of us can count, and some would wonder if any of those women expect him to be committed to just one person. Not to say that I condone one lifestyle over another, but we all know how things go down in the real world.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Anyone even remotely familiar with the sports world is well aware of reports that former USC star Reggie Bush is at risk of having his Heisman Trophy taken away from him. The return of the Heisman would likely be related to NCAA violations that allegedly took place within the USC program during the time when Bush played for them. Bush didn't speak in detail on the issue when he was asked about it.
"At this point, it's kind of out of my hands," Bush said Wednesday after practice with the New Orleans Saints.
Bush would not confirm or deny whether he spoke with the Heisman Trophy Trust about losing the award. Executive Director Robert Whalen said that no decision has yet been made.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Since the Emmy ceremony, I have been going back and forth about whether or not I should compose this letter. I try hard in my daily life not to engage in uncomfortable situations regarding race. But sometimes it's very difficult to find other reasons that better explain why certain events play out the way they do. It is impossible for me to ignore the published statistics regarding the number of people of color mentioned, celebrated or honored in the history of the televised Emmys. Up to and including this year, there have been only 53 non-white actorsnominated for Emmys out of nearly 1,000 possible nominations in the top four acting categories for drama and comedy.
Monday, September 6, 2010
This weekend, I was on the radio with Rev. Jesse Jackson. He'd just completed a march in Detroit, for jobs, peace and justice, only to find that his SUV was stolen upon arrival. But when I asked him if he was OK, his response was quite telling of the leader that he is: He simply said that the car doesn't matter at all when there are so many people suffering across America.
Well, the nation-wide suffering for African Americans has just intensified with the recent unemployment data delivered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's most recent report showed that while white unemployment only went up from 8.6 percent to 8.7 percent, black unemployment went up from 15.6 percent to 16.3 percent. This increase of seven percent is at a rate that is 700 percent of the increase of white Americans.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
This week, Bennett College President and prominent black scholar Dr. Julianne Malveaux wrote a strongly-worded article about the economic suffering taking place in the city of Detroit. In the article, Malveaux describes Detroit as Ground Zero for the black economic experience over the past two years.
"Only one in four young black men graduates from high school in Detroit. The rest are lost and left out, swallowed by a city where urban blight, industrial desertion, and educational failure define daily life. Detroit is ground zero, exemplifying the absolute worst of urban life."
Dr. Malveaux goes on to highlight the problems that are caused in our communities by decaying schools and poor investment in urban infrastructure. She mentions that President Obama was quick to support the automakers in Detroit, yet there are quite a few urban citizens of the city who have yet to feel relief.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Maurice Clarrett, the embattled former superstar of the Ohio State Buckeyes, is getting another chance to play football. Clarett just signed a one-year deal to play for the Omaha Nighthawks in the United Football League. This is the first time Clarett has put on a football uniform since spending three and a half years in prison for having a hidden gun and holding up a couple outside a night club.
"I am humbled by the opportunity the Omaha Nighthawks have given me and will dedicate myself on and off the field to prove that I can be a valuable member of the team and the Omaha community," Clarett said. "I am committed to working hard to earn the right for a second chance in football and more importantly in life."
Clarett is now 6-feet tall, 220 pounds, which makes him 10 pounds lighter than he was when he played at Ohio State. The coaches were astonished at his physical shape, giving him credit for keeping himself prepared. He is allowed to be out of the state for 30 days at a time, but his attorneys are hoping that a judge will rule that Clarett can leave the state for the entire football season. He is now 26-years old, meaning that he is at his physical peak.