February 8, 2010 – February 14, 2010

Black leaders reflect on time at Duke
Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, The Herald Sun, February 15, 2010

Enrollment of black students in prestigious city schools drops 10% during Bloomberg reign
Meredith Kolodner, Daily News, February 14, 2010

California students do well on AP exams
Mitchell Landsberg, LA Times, February 14, 2010

Works That Testify to the Nurturing of Black Artists
Benjamin Genocchio, New York Times, February 12, 2010

UT to expand African American studies
Christina Rosales, Austin American-Statesman, February 11, 2010

Invest in at-risk youth and save money
Leticia Van de Putte, San Antonio Express, February 11, 2010

Teenagers in spotlight at Rising Stars Recital
Heather Dunhill, Herald Tribune, February 11, 2010

Grant aims to brighten black males’ future
Matthew E. Milliken, The Herald Sun, February 10, 2010

Child Obesity Risks Death at Early Age, Study Finds
Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, February 10, 2010

Black Opportunity Destruction
Walter E. Williams, Town Hall, February 10, 2010

Talking About Race In Suburbia
Susan Campbell, Hartford Courant, February 10, 2010

UCLA study finds increased segregation by race, ethnicity
Claudia Meléndez Salinas, Herald Salinas Bureau, February 8, 2010

NO PASSENGERS ON HER PLANE:How and why Beyonce owned the 2000's….

The best female artist of the 2000's

About a month ago, a YouTube video of a mid-November performance by Beyonce at the O2 Arena in London was brought to my attention. Performing in the round, and hitting the climax of a rousing rendition of her international smash hit “Halo,” the 28 year-old R&B phenom inexplicably makes a b-line for the edge of the platform and stagedives into the crowd. Wearing only what I can basically gather to be a diamond-studded, black leotard, stilettos (Beyonce’s trademark shoe ware), large earrings, and her hair out and wild, Beyonce completely submits to the will of her audience, a move that could have resulted in her hair and jewelry being snagged and pulled, her private parts being groped, or her body simply being dropped. Instead, the crowd catches her, and lifts her into an epic, Christ-like pose, screaming and applauding in total adoration and awe as she continues to sing the song, hitting almost every note perfectly.
It’s a beautiful, exhilarating, and decidedly surreal sight. You see, I have neither seen nor heard of a mainstream pop performer, ala Britney Spears or Rihanna, stagediving into an audience; it’s risky and dangerous, and requires the performer to not only trust their fans unequivocally, but to be moved and invested in the emotionality of performing to such a degree that one would basically throw caution to the wind and thrust oneself into the hands of their spectators. 

Of course, Beyonce is clearly not your average mainstream pop performer.

Tame Game

A short while ago I wrote about Tiger Woods’ fall from mixed-race grace. The same tumble Obama is currently taking. They are both–Barack and Tiger, two wildly popular individuals in powerful positions, in white male dominated fields–politics and golf. If only I could say the similarities ended there.

In my first column about Tiger Woods I wrote a bit about the implications of his transgressions and his text messages which suggested he was just another hyper-sexed black man. Pimp picture at Australian Open. Fair enough. Pimps have women and Tiger had about eight of them. However, the depiction of black men as pimps and abusers of women is thrown around far too often for its use to go completely under the radar. Even in Tiger Woods’ case where it seems an appropriate connotation, I can’t help but view it as code for black man–a new angle to shed light on his true colors. Pun intended.

Shades of Pretty Girls

Apparently Wale’s conditioning has been conditioned. I haven’t seen his newest video but it caused a bit of a ruckus on Twitter last night, for its apparent lack of color. The song, “Pretty Girls” pays homage to the feminine form, like every other song on the radio. The issue is that Wale’s pretty girls were all light skinned.

I never fit in with them light skins
I thought the lighter they was, the better that they life is
So I resented them and they resented me

The Ramification of Poetry Slam Part 1: The History

Jimmy Santiago Baca, a leading contemporary Latino poet writing in the United States, reminds us that “Poetry’s mission is to subvert, to question, to challenge, provoke, to flail one’s vulnerability and voice into the marvelous whirlwind of poetry’s awe, flagging at the horns of the raging beast that is societies gluttonous comfort…affirm poetry at any cost”

I am going to began yet another series. (for anyone who keeps up with my blogs, I’m sure you know by now I prefer to go in depth about one subject that I am passionate about). So far my series have been A Gay Man’s Struggle, The Ballroom Scene, and The Lies History Tells. This week I am beginning my series on The Ramifications of Slam Poetry. Over the course of the next month I want to explore and share the lasting impact that this art has placed onto my life, the simple skills it has taught me, the influence it continues to make in the media, and pop culture amongst youth of all races in the United States today. The titles of my next five blogs will be, The History, Brave New Voices, A Commercialized Art,  Skills Learned, and A Growing Art Form.

Its always amazing to me when there are worlds people don’t know about—especially when I discover a new one, realize how great it is and think more people should know about it. Slam Poetry is one of these worlds. There are so many different aspects to this art form and to this world that it is really a shame that many people have never gotten a chance to experience it. So I will start by giving a brief history lesson, and then explain how powerful this art can be.