Africa with Bare Fists

Boxing as a sport is a combination of attack and defense techniques with the fists. With roots in Ancient Greece and Rome and more modern forms of the sport originating in England, boxing has been a very widespread phenomenon for a long time.  In the United States, the most skilled and best known boxing athletes are from Black and Latino communities.

I recently had the opportunity to visit a photo exhibition called “Africa with Bare Fists” contrasting the cultures around boxing in different parts of Africa at the European House of Photography in Paris. It was the photos that first caught my eye, but then the content drew me in.

I was struck by two very different boxing traditions from two regions of Africa. Photos from slums in Nairobi, Kenya, where boxing was most likely introduced by white missionaries, showed a school classroom converted into a boxing gym.  This contained, indoor boxing style resembles how the sport is played  in the United States and emphasizes a specific winner. It is also largely a spectator sport. The point of the converted school house we see through these images is to be an alternative to the crime that goes on outside in the slums these athletes all live in. The series on Kenya ends with photos of two Nairobi boxers who ended up competing in the Olympics, escaping from the slums, and moving to the U.S. For these boxers, those who eventually left the slums and for those who were only able to get away while inside the school house as well, their sport was an escape whether temporary or permanent.

The Wrong Direction Of The Right

As President Obama continues to calmly navigate through unchartered territories, I continue to be amazed. Although his campaign oozed with hope,
promise, and change, it was hard for me to envision an America that would embrace such a drastic overhaul of the status quo. In the depths of my soul I
hoped that Americans would coalesce around ideas of freedom, equality, and diplomacy. However, this nation’s troubled past forced my cynicism to outweigh my optimism. For every time I saw a glimmer of Gandhi, I saw Adolph Hitler lurking in the background trying to undermine any remnant of social equality.Every time I heard the eloquent words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I heard the echoes of Governor George Wallace’s 1963 Inaugural address.

March 29, 2010 – April 4, 2010

Project celebrates promise of black youth
Kimberly Melton, The Oregonian, April 4, 2010

Youth of the Year had to be man of the house
Michael Paul Williams, Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 4, 2010

Youth Super Day 2010
Jeff Barker, Northwest Florida Daily New, April 3, 2010

Black colleges stay relevant
Gregory Lewis, Sun Sentinel, April 3, 2010

Ways parents can protect their kids from joining gangs
Andrea Clurfeld, Ashbury Park Press, April 3, 2010

National radio personality encourages youth mentoring
Mason Snyder, South Carolina Now, April 3, 2010

SCLC backs private school vouchers
James Bush III, The Tampa Tribune, April 3, 2010

Minority high school youth nurture middle-schoolers in a Tigard-Tualatin mentor program
Melissa Navas, The Oregonian, April 2, 2010

Drifting Back Towards Segregated Schools
Marian Wright Edelman, Black Star News, April 2, 2010

Charter schools and segregation
John Powell and Erica Frankenberg, Free Press, April 2, 2010

Obama signs reconciliation bill with major student loan change
Christi Parsons and Janet Hook, LA Times, March 31, 2010

$8B to go towards youth unemployment
Defender Staff Report, Chicago Denfender, March 31, 2010

Students step to success
Cassi Toney, Oklahoma The Daily, March 29, 2010

Jobs bill could provide boost for youth employment
Vicki Needham, The Hill, March 29, 2010

Teens talk it out
Hilary Bentman, Philly Burbs, March 29, 2010

What Black Writers Should Be Taught in Schools?
Katherine Schulten, The New York Times, March 29, 2010

Today in Post-Race History: Stripes

Dear Tiger Woods,

Welcome back, sir! We have missed you. Your re-emergence will undoubtedly help the multiracials get their swagger back, and just in time for the 2010 census! (How many boxes do you check, Tiger?) 2009 was definitely a bummer for the American mixed-race, but now, with BHO passing health care reform and your return to the golf course, 2010 will be the year of Mo’Nique, Tyler Perry, and the racially ambiguous. The post-race universe is back in order.

Last year was tough for world’s most famous Cablinasian. You experienced every part of that portmanteau, Tiger. You started off as the best golfer in the world, dominating the sport so thoroughly that only Benjy Compson wailed louder than those good ol’ boys yearning for the days of yore as you raise yet another trophy over your head [Ca]. Yet the sex scandal combined with that Vanity Fair cover darkened not only your future, but your skin tone, and we wondered if you’d been hanging out in the driving range in the midday sun too often, or had visited Jack Johnson’s grave while on the tour [bl]. Embarrassed, you disappeared for three months [in], only to hold a press conference and remind us that you were a Buddhist, and thus not sexually predatory [asian]. Working your way through all those stereotypes in a matter of months must have been tiring. I’d take a long vacation, too.

WHAT THE F@%! HAPPENED!? (PT. III): Amy Winehouse


On March 17th, 2009, Amy Winehouse made international headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Charged with assault after allegedly punching dancer Sherene Flash in the eye at a charity event, Winehouse walked into a media circus when she showed up at a London courthouse that day. Paparazzi were everywhere, scrambling to grab a quality shot of the embattled soul superstar. The court date forced Winehouse to cancel her “comeback gig” at the Coachella Music Festival in California, and would not be her first or last brush with the law.

In comparison to our previous cases (D’Angelo and Lauryn Hill), Amy Winehouse has only dropped out of site musically; all you have to do is hit up a celebrity news/tabloid blog site to find the latest happenings in the twisted, dysfunctional world of Amy Winehouse.  

Four years after an unprecedented and controversial rise to fame with the masterful Back to Black, It seems that Amy Winehouse is hopelessly lost in a sad, never-ending maze of drugs, violence and heartbreak. The obvious question arises…


Seven Women at the Cross: A Black Feminist Speaks of Widows

This week I had the opportunity to speak at Spelman College’s 8th Annual Seven Women at the Cross. For those who are not familiar with Seven Women at the Cross Services it is a time when women preachers and speakers recount the last seven days of Christ living on Earth through the stories of the women he met on his way to the Cross. So, I thought I would share with you the speech I gave about the widow woman in Mark 12:41. Of course, it is a black feminist interpretation of the text.

“A poor widow came and put in two small cooper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciple and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mark 12: 41)

The story of the widow woman in Mark 12:41 is fundamentally a story about women pursuing their purpose . . .  their most burning desire  . . . that which calls them back to their center . . . irrespective of what it may cost them. And because they are widows the cost is high. You see, it’s a miserable existence to be a widow woman in a patriarchal culture because you are not valuable. To make you valuable in Biblical times as a woman you had to fulfill your purpose of first being a good daughter then a good wife, and most importantly being a good mother meaning you spent most of your time catering to the wishes of your father, your husband, and your children. That was your purpose.

I am not black!


I am tired of race, of gender, of sexuality, of women, and gays, and immigrants, and old people, and mixed-race people, and the disabled and so I have no desire to deal with the Census. But I am also tired of getting fined, so I will turn in my form with as little information possible. I will not check my race and I will probably not tell my age. And I damn sure will not follow my girlfriend’s lead and put a sticker on my form marking my house as a gay dwelling. For all intents and purposes related to the Census I want to be seen as only human. Of course, this isn’t because I have some false hope for a race/gender/age-blind society–I actually like hierarchies. It is simply because if there were ever a logical time to push for everyone to be seen the same, now is the time. The Census truly only needs to know how many people live in my household. That’s it. Count me as one person and keep it moving.