Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Hustle & Flow Lead Terrence Howard Nominated for Best Actor

Terrence Howard as DJay in the Paramount Classics release Hustle & Flow.
photo by Alan Spearman

Terrence Howard, who plays DJay, the middle age pimp with a heart in Hustle & Flow was nominated today for best performance by an actor in a leading role. The other nominees he'll be up against are Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote; Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain; Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line; and David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck.

Film gossip dame Anne Thompson from The Hollywood Reporter wrote on Dec 19th on her blog that, "Apparently, last year the Sundance jury almost gave the Best Actor prize to Terrence Howard for Hustle & Flow, but decided that the dramatic audience award winner was so big that they should give another smaller film some much-needed attention." She adds that, "Howard has been scrapping his way into the Actor race, because the movie was marketed as an MTV hip-hop movie, starring him as a pimp, and never crossed over to the art house crowd."


Coretta Scott King Dies at 78

AP Photo
Coretta Scott King, who died yesterday at age 78, is seen here with her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a march in Mongomery, Ala., in 1965.

Excerpt from NPR:
Coretta Scott King, who turned a life shattered by her husband's assassination into one devoted to enshrining his legacy of human rights and equality, has died. She was 78. The family did not release information about where she died. Scott King suffered a serious stroke and heart attack in 2005.

Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, the civil rights activist who is close to the King family, broke the news on NBC's Today show: "I understand that she was asleep last night and her daughter (Bernice King) went in to wake her up and she was not able to and so she quietly slipped away. Her spirit will remain with us just as her husband's has."

Coretta Scott King accompanies her husband the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., to Oslo, Norway, where he received the Nobel Peace Prize, December 1964. AFP/Getty Images
from wikipedia: "Mrs. King was vocal in her opposition to capital punishment and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, thus drawing criticism from conservative groups. She was also a vocal advocate of women's rights, lesbian and gay rights and AIDS/HIV prevention.

On August 16, 2005, Mrs. King was hospitalized after suffering a stroke and a mild heart attack. Initially, she was unable to speak and move her right side. She was released from Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta on September 22, 2005, after regaining some of her speech and continued physiotherapy at home. Because of complications from the stroke, she was apparently unable to make her wishes known regarding the ongoing debate as to whether her late husband's birthplace should continue to be maintained by the city of Atlanta or the National Park Service. On January 14, 2006, Mrs. King made her last public appearance in Atlanta at a dinner honoring her husband's memory."

Audio Linkage
From January 20, 2003: Tavis Smiley talks about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the future of black America with Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Lost Sounds: Blacks & the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891 to 1922

Click here to purchase
Lost Sounds:Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891-1922

"Virtually all history goes unrecorded. And what was recorded by African-Americans in the late 19th and early 20th century goes virtually unheard--stashed away for decades when not thrown away for good." So state the notes of Lost Sounds, focusing on the former situation rather than the latter, unearthing some century-plus lost sound documents on this amazing wellspring of long-gone voices and groups. Taking as its cut-off point the first recordings of Mamie Smith, widely hailed as the first recorded African-American, it delves into the secret history of all that came before her. It's hard to tell of all the hidden treasures here (54 cuts in all), from the days of minstrelsy on into vocal singing groups. Names of turn of the century minstrel performers like Bert Williams and George W. Johnson are here, not to mention the blow-by-blow account of Jack Johnson's title fight, as recounted by Jack himself! Gospel and jubilee groups are in abundance, and late in the set, ragtime jazz and blues make their appearance. Curated to coincide with the Lost Sounds book by Tim Brooks, it seems natural to have the Arioso from Pagliacci alongside "God Down Moses," which then moves into "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." A fascinating listen, to say the least. [AB]

Review reposted from othermusic.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Jamie Foxx's Unpredictable: Controversy or Counterfeit

Paul Drinkwater/NBC Entertainment
Jamie Foxx with Mary J. Blige on his NBC television special that was air on January 25th.

I recieved an email yesterday that is either a clever marketing ploy similar to fake beef in the hip hop world or is a real controversy...

Here's a bit from the missive:

NBC is not doing any marketing & publicity on Jamie's Music Special on NBC because he stood his ground and wouldn't have any white guest as they requested. To make it even worse he had two controversial guest stars, that do not fit the "NBC profile" on his show. Tune in to find out who they are."
(That last sentence made me think this is a marketing ploy.) If it were a real controversy, wouldn't they just tell us who the guests are? A quick google search uncovered a list of guests. Why be so hush hush about the guests in the email? Acutally, the show will feature guest appearences by Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, The Game, Snoop Dogg, Angie Stone and Common. (Where's the controversy?)

And wouldn't Foxx, who was quite vocal and public of his support of Tookie Williams, bring the controversy to light? If it is a ploy...they got me to tell you all about it. very clever little meme...very clever. They don't call him Foxx for nothing.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Black GLBT leaders say it's past time for black churches to embrace all regardless of sexual orientation

Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder

Rev. Flunder founded the City of Refuge Community Church UCC in 1991. City of Refuge is a thriving inner-city congregation that celebrates the radically inclusive love of Jesus Christ. Rev. Flunder will be a featured speaker at the National Black Justice Coalition's Black Church Summit: Creating a More Beloved Community which began last night in Atlanta.

A landmark meeting of African American clergy and members of the gay and lesbian community that begins tonight in Atlanta is the keystone of an effort to promote the acceptance of gays in black churches.

The push for acceptance is gaining momentum because of a growing number of African Americans, especially women, who are being infected with HIV and because measures to ban gay marriage will appear this year on ballots across the nation.

Former Democratic Presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton of New York and City of Refuge Ministries' Bishop Dr. Yvette Flunder, Senior Pastor of the United Church of Christ's City of Refuge Church in San Francisco, California will be featured speakers. Rev. Sharpton recently announced an initiative to vigorously challenge homophobia in the Black Church. This will be his first participation in a meeting that will deal directly with that initiative.

The involvement of well-known black politicians and church leaders has given new inspiration to the National Black Justice Coalition, the country's largest black gay civil rights group. The Washington coalition, which has been trying to promote just this kind of dialogue for years, says the summit is especially important because of the large number of black clergy across the country who support bans on same-sex marriage.

"It is so disheartening because African Americans have had strong social connections to their churches but have not been allowed to talk about AIDS or homosexuality, and (gays) are publicly ostracized by their ministers," said Keith Boykin, president of the coalition and author of the book "Beyond the Down Low." "It is especially profound for black folks because the church has been a place of refuge, to get salvation and redemption, not condemnation."

This post combines excerpts from SFGate and The National Black Justice Coalition's website.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Art vs. Racism: New Race Museum To Tour East Coast

Resposted from the CAN network

The Race Museum, a new traveling exhibition that aims to demonstrate the social significance of race through art, theater, and scholarship, will launch a tour of the east coast in March 2006. Throughout the tour, the museum will hold complimentary workshops designed to give participants tools to analyze institutional and cultural racism, as well as understand how their identities have been shaped by white supremacy.

From their website: "Race is a belief system created and used to enforce a social hierarchy among human beings. The dominant caste benefits materially from the system in terms of wealth and power and psychically through self-reflexive symbols of purity and Divinity. The dominant caste must debase and oppress those members of the human race excluded from the caste definition in order to justify its belief in itself as a new Chosen People, a White People.

"We believe education about race is not enough, but that people require an encounter with their identities that no longer allows the fictions of race to seem consistent and truthful. We deny ourselves the opportunity to truly understand the purpose and meaning of our lives when we believe in race."

Friday, January 13, 2006


MLK: "Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul."

Martin Luther King, Jr encarcerated in the Birmingham in the cell where he wrote his famour "Letter From Birmingham Jail" on April 16, 1963.

"WE HAVE ALLOWED THE MEANS BY WHICH WE LIVE TO OUTDISTANCE THE ENDS FOR WHICH WE LIVE. So much of modern life can be summarized in that arresting dictum of the poet Thoreau: "Improved means to an unimproved end." This is the serious predicament, the deep and haunting problem confronting modern [humanity]. If we are to survive today, our moral and spiritual "lag" must be eliminated. Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul. When the "without" of [humanity's] nature subjugates the "within," dark storm clouds begin to form in the world.

This problem of spiritual and moral lag, which constitutes modern [humanity's] chief dilemma, expresses itself in three larger problems which grow out of [humanity's] ethical infantilism. Each of these problems, while appearing to be separate and isolated, is inextricably bound to the other. I refer to racial injustice, poverty, and war."

Martin Luther King Jr., in his Nobel Peace Prize address, Dec. 11, 1964.

-Read the entire speech

-Listen to a two-minute excerpt (Requires RealPlayer)

THANKS: sojo.net for the linkups

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Basquiat Got Sole: Reebok's Reboppers

I'M NOT SURE HOW I FEEL ABOUT THIS ONE, but I suspect his mentor Andy Warhol would have approved. It's also probably old hat to all the fashion heads out there but it was news to me to hear that the estate of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has entered into a multi-year agreement with Reebok to produce a new collection of shoes as well as a new global ad campaign.

First released in October 2005 as a limited edition of 60 pairs and available only at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Reebok "Reebopper" Jean Michel Basquiat shoe is now available from select retailers. The shoe is limited to 1500 pairs with 3 different colorways and an intended 500 total pairs per colorway. The new shoe, designed by Maharishi of London, features the late artist's favorite colors -- black, red and white -- as well as his trademark crown logo. The shoe is priced at $140 and available at Karmaloop.

Reebok's "I Am What I Am" campaign (Reebok's largest advertising spending in 10 years) is including Basquiat along with other celebrities, including Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Allen Iverson and Christina Ricci. The deal was promoted by David Stark, president of the brand licensing agency Artestar and agent for the Basquiat estate.

thanks: agenda,inc. and artnet for the linkup

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Father Gerard Jean-Juste: Prisoner of Conscience

Jailed Catholic priest, Father Gerard Jean-Juste
Founder of Miami's Haitian Refugee Center, and a fierce critic of the US backed interim government, languishes in a Port-Au-Prince prison under trumped-up charges while the Bush administration does nothing.

IT WOULD BE CONVENIENT FOR THE HAITIAN INTERIM GOVERNMENT, with elections set for February 7, for Father Gerard Jean-Juste, Founder of Miami's Haitian Refugee Center, and a fierce critic of the US backed transitional government, to die in a Haitian prison of Leukemia. The interim government, which has come under fire for human rights abuses ever since assuming power last March, had the Catholic priest jailed in July on charges of alleged involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Haitian journalist Jacques Roche - a charge his supporters vehemently deny.

Jean-Juste, known as "Father Gerry" when he lived in Miami and led the nation's most powerful Haitian rights group, has been deemed a "Prisoner of Conscience" by Amnesty International and is, most likely, feared by the interim government because the urban poor see him as Aristide's natural successor and Lavalas, the political organization Aristide founded, has attempted to register him as a presidential candidate. The electoral council has rejected attempts to register him as a candidate because he is jailed. Again, convenient little loop of circumstances.

Not surprisingly, there has been no response from the Bush administration despite the fact that Rep. Maxine Waters , Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, Christopher Dodd, Human Rights First, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and demonstrations in Port-au-Prince, Miami, Boston, New York and San Francisco have called for his immediate release and urged President Bush to take action. In late December alone, hundreds of letters asking for his immediate release flooded the offices of Haitian officials and the U.S. Embassy.

In recent developments, Dr. Paul Farmer, the prominent American doctor working in Haiti, examined his friend Jean-Juste secretly during a visit on Dec. 23, took blood samples and had them tested in Miami. Farmer has since said that Jean Juste has chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a form of the blood and marrow disease that progresses slowly but can develop into a more virulent strain of cancer and requires treatment in the United States. The Haitian government at first denied that he had the disease and refused to allow him to be tested or to seek treatment. However, according to a story in The Mercury News today, "Jean-Juste was [taken to a] Port-Au-Prince laboratory for 30 minutes before he was escorted out and driven away in a convoy that included U.N. peacekeepers and police. He was then taken to another lab for more tests before he was returned to his cell in an annex of the national penitentiary." (Story)

It is heartening to see that the interim government has released Jean-Juste for testing. However, if he is not freed to be a candidate in the upcoming elections and to seek treatment in the U.S., in my humble opinion, the elections will be a fraud from the start, and the new government will take power without legitimacy. Jean Juste must be freed. President Bush should show his compassionate side and take action now to help secure the release of this beloved priest.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


We're gonna miss his love: Remembering Lou Rawls

The velvet voice of smooth elegance. That feeling that nothing could ruffle him. Memories of singing along with my mother. I was always shocked by the sound that Lou Rawls could make, both yearning and intensely emotional but cool, elegance and smooth simultaneously. It was his great artistry to pull this sound off and not sound sleazy...slick but not sleazy. I think his style of singing is based in gospel, but I also hear Nat King Cole and Billy Eckstine there as well. We're lucky to have his recordings.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Statistics are human beings with the tears dried off: How we ignore genocide

Today on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof and University of Oregon’s Paul Slovik discuss how it is possible for people to be overly concerned about their own health but ignore the plight of others in mortal danger. This timely and important discussion comes on the heels of the situation worsening in Darfur and Congress cutting funding for the African Union peacekeeping troops.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Virginity Testing vs AIDS

Ellen Elmendorp for The New York Times
Jabu Mdlalose, front, and elders in Lamontville, tested a girl and decided she was not a virgin.

Is virginity testing still right for young African women as a right of passage? The debate simmers as traditional elders denote this and other practices as right for the modern age while other decry the practices as unscientific and out of touch with modern women's rights norms.

from NYT:
" To many Zulus, such virginity tests are a revered custom, one that discourages early sex and, after falling into disuse, has been revived to fight the spread of H.I.V. But to many advocates of women's and children's rights, the practice is unscientific, discriminatory and - to girls who are publicly and perhaps falsely accused of having lost their virginity - emotionally searing. This month, their arguments persuaded South Africa's Parliament to ban some virginity testing, with violations punishable by up to 10 years in prison."

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