I Will Not Be Raising Cain for Cain in 2012

A few days ago a friend asked me, “Sir Edward James III. If you watched the recent New Hampshire Republican debate, how did you feel about Herman Cain’s response to having Muslims in a potential Cabinet? More importantly, as an African American, what do you believe his comments will do to his candidacy?”


I simply responded, “Herman Cain is a bumbling buffoon. If the country were left in his hands poll taxes and the grandfather clause would be re-instituted. He publicly admitted that he knows very little about Islam yet and still he believes that it is ok to implement a Muslim Loyalty test. It’s sad that the Black Republicans who get the most media attention are the biggest imbeciles. Sometimes I wish Colin Powell had run for President so clowns like Michael Steele, Clarence Thomas, and Herman Cain wouldn’t be the faces of Black conservatism. It’s even sadder when Black Americans feel the need to marginalize other groups to make themselves appear to be more patriotic. What does that say about our country? Then again, what does Herman Cain know? He mixed up the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Rap Artist and Hip-Hop Pioneer found New Media Academy

Paradise “The Arkitech” Gray and Jasiri X

On June 28, 2011, One Hood Media, established by Jasiri X and Paradise “The Arkitech” Gray, in conjunction with August Wilson Center for African American Culture and a generous donation provided by the Heinz Endowments, will begin the New Media Academy. New Media Academy is a tool to help African American young men critically analyze media messages, broaden their experience of media, and develop the creative skills needed in creating their own media. All too often the young African American male is either underrepresented or misrepresented in media. Our mission is to improve self image, dispel stereotypes, and provide a positive forum of self expression.

The program is offered to young African-American men, ages 14-19, and will include, the art of blogging, video production, and social media. Guest speakers will come and talk with the youth about their success in this new media paradigm, including, CEO of Allhiphop.com, Chuck Creekmur, legendary Hip-Hop journalist and radio host, Davey D, award winning director and President of We Shoot First Films, Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed and social media guru, journalist, and recipient of several Black Blog Awards Jesse Muhammad. Applications for entry are now being accepted. Located at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, the New Media Academy will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays and conclude on December 8, 2011.

"YouthBuild's Got Talent" Video Contest

The national organization held a video contest for students to show their love for YouthBuild through 90-second videos.  Below is the winning group’s video.  Click here to watch the runner up video.

About YouthBuild:

YouthBuild is a youth and community development program that simultaneously addresses core issues facing low-income communities: housing, education, employment, crime prevention, and leadership development. In YouthBuild programs, low-income young people ages 16-24 work toward their GEDs or high school diplomas, learn job skills and serve their communities by building affordable housing, and transform their own lives and roles in society.


June 13, 2011 – June 19, 2011

New Black Panthers protest Jews and the white man June 25
Pajamas Media, June 19, 2011

Targeting Former Gang Members and Improving Police-Youth Relationships
Justin Chapman, ALT Patch, June 18, 2011

Are dark themes in youth fiction helpful or harmful to teenagers?
WSJ News, June 17, 2011

African-American farmers win compensation
Abayomi Azikiwe, Pan-African News Wire, June 16, 2011

The State of Black Theater in America … is it in Decline?
Don Saint James, June 16, 2011

Teens can give up soda to reduce calories
UPI News, June 16, 2011

Youth Day sees urgent call for job creation
Des Latham, Business Day, June 16, 2011

Black Activists Organize “Day of Action and Unity
Black News, June 16, 2011

The demise of the black community
Ron Mudd, Frost Illustrated, June 15, 2011

Banquet honors youth, community leaders
Tampa Bay Online, June 15, 2011

Youth learn to care for dogs and cats
Kathy Browning, Delta County independent, June 15, 2011

Sex, alcohol destroying youth
Times Live, June 14, 2011

Youth Leader Urges Elders to End Chieftaincy Disputes
Peter Clottey, Voice of America News, June 14, 2011

Pardon wrongfully convicted autistic youth Neli Latson
Bay View, June 14, 2011

Hit back at youth mobs with something stronger: sports
Rick Telander, Chicago Sun Times, June 13, 2011

Could More Interracial Marriages Cure Inequality?
Richard Norman, Miller-McCune News, June 13, 2011

Evaluating the Drug War on Its 40th Birthday, by the Numbers

Evaluating the Drug War on Its 40th Birthday, by the Numbers

Akiba SolomonStokely Baksh, Colorlines | June 17, 2011

On June 17, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one in the United States.” To eradicate this enemy, he called for “a new, all-out offensive.” But 40 years of get-tough policies haven’t ended substance abuse. Instead, as “The New Jim Crow” author Michelle Alexander recently told a crowd of 1,000 at Harlem’s Riverside Church, “The enemy in this war has been racially defined. The drug war, not by accident, has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color.”

At the estimated cost of $1 trillion, the War on Drugs has triggered the mass incarceration, mostly of black and brown people through harsh penalties for non-violent drug violations like simple possession. It has encouraged racial profiling in the name of enforcement. In addition, people with drug convictions (and their families) have been evicted from public housing, deemed ineligible for food stamps and college financial aid, and denied employment. This failed war has destroyed mothers, fathers, children, grandparents—whole communities.  (Read more)

We Must Educate All Our Young Men

We Must Educate All Our Young Men

Gaston Caperton and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Root | June 17, 2011

Since this nation was founded more than two centuries ago, there has been nearly constant tension between tradition and evolution. Yet over the years, from the Civil War to the civil rights movement, the forces of progress have haltingly advanced, and continue to do so today. After all, just 50 years ago businesses still hung signs that screamed, “For Whites Only”; universities openly discriminated; and the government struggled mightily to suppress the memory of “separate but equal.”

There’s no doubt that our country has come a long way. But few would argue that our progress is complete, and it continues to mask a deeper dysfunction of the status quo.

There is an education crisis facing young men of color. It’s not on the front page of the newspaper. People aren’t organizing on Facebook or Twitter. But it’s out there, and if we fail to address this crisis together, the education level of the entire American workforce will decline for the first time in our history.

President Obama has challenged our nation to reclaim its position as the world leader in college degrees, and young men of color are the key to achieving this goal. In the past, when a president called on us to act for the sake of our shared future, we responded. We built warplanes and rocket ships. We invested in science and the arts. We achieved prosperity unparalleled in human history. (Read more)



Tracy Morgan meets with LGBT homeless teens in NY, marks return to Tennessee after homophobic rant

Tracy Morgan meets with LGBT homeless teens in NY, marks return to Tennessee after homophobic rant

Henrick Karoliszyn and Jose Martinez, New York Daily News | June 17, 2011

Tracy Morgan tried to make nice Friday with gay teens at a Brooklyn homeless shelter, as the “30 Rock” blockhead continued his mea culpa tour for an on-stage anti-gay rant.

In a one-hour sitdown at the Ali Forney Center, the former “Saturday Night Live Star” kept up his steady stream of apologies for the vile cracks that landed him in hot water with gay groups.

Morgan spewed on-stage in Nashville that he would stab his son to death if he were gay – a comment that he later said was “really stupid s—.”

“So many people love Tracy and want to be just like Tracy and if he says he’s going to stab his son because he’s gay, that’s not okay,” said Raciel Castillo, 19, a fashion student at Kingsborough Community College. “It’s definitely not funny.”

Morgan was roundly jeered following his homophobic outburst, with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation demanding a public apology.

GLAAD organized the Brooklyn sitdown, which also included Elke Kennedy, the mother of a 20-year-old man killed in a 2007 bias attack.  (Read more)

Official Youth Turnout Rate in 2010 was 24%

Official Youth Turnout Rate in 2010 was 24%

Press Release, The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement | April 2011


New Census Data Confirm African American and Asian Youth Increased Their Turnout Rates in 2010 Midterms
Youth Turnout Overall Similar to Past Midterm Election

Interviews with Experts Available; Contact Sarah Shugars at 617-627-2029 or Sarah.Shugars@tufts.edu

Tisch College, Medford/Somerville, Mass. – An estimated 24% of young people (ages 18-29) voted in the 2010 midterm elections, according to newly released Census data analyzed by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.  While turnout declined slightly between 2006 and 2010, youth turnout remained similar to past midterm elections and tracks a similar decline in adult turnout.

In 2010, as in 2008, young African Americans led the way in youth voter turnout.  Young African Americans voted at a rate of 27.5% compared to 24.9% of young Whites, 17.6% of young Latinos and 17.7% of young Asian Americans.   Turnout among White youth declined more than that of any other race/ethnicity between 2006 and 2010.

“Youth turnout has stayed between 22% and 25% in all midterm elections since 1998, compared to an average of 30% in the 1970s and 1980s. We have to find a way to raise it,” said CIRCLE director Peter Levine.

The report also found a closing gender gap in turnout.  Turnout among young females declined between 2006 and 2010 by three points shrinking the growing “gender gap” in voting.  In 2008, for example, an eight point voter turnout gap existed between young men and women (54.9% of young females voted compared to 47.2% of young men).  In 2010, the gap shrunk to just slightly over one percentage point.

As in past elections, young people with at least some college experience voted at twice the rate as their counterparts without college experience.

Finally, the youth voter turnout rate varied greatly from state to state with a high of 35.7% in Oregon to a low of just 13.6% in Nebraska.

Download the full fact sheet with detailed tables and trends, including turnout estimates by state and estimates of the number of votes cast by young people over time.

Download the press release.




Last week, Atlanta-based fast food chain, Chick-fil-A opened its very first Chicago restaurant.  Although it does not counteract the negative effect of parking meters and winter, this culinary addition only helps the argument that Chicago is the greatest (American) city ever.  (New York, NOLA, I love you, but the City of Wind tops my list.)  I’ve not been yet, but please believe that Chick-fil-A may very well be the last meal I have before I go on my next detox.  Chick-fil-A nuggets–along with jibaritos and bleucheeseburgers–is what prevents me from actually believing I could ever permanently be vegetarian.

My Chick-fil-A love is well documented here and other places.  The simple mention of the place makes me all teary-eyed as I think about waffle fries and sweet tea and how every time you say, “Thank you,” to a Chick-fil-A employee, she has to respond with, “My pleasure.”  It’s true.  My sister told me.  You should try it.  Like, even if you said, “You’re a buster-ass mark, and I want to hit you in your face.  Thank you,” they’d probably have to say “My pleasure.”  Politeness is in the rule book or something.  It’s kind of awesome.  Especially when you consider how drive-thru people at other fast food institutions seem adamant about communicating as little as possible with their customers.  It’s Jesus chicken.  If Jesus served chicken (at the Last Supper or anytime thereafter), it would have tasted like Chick-fil-A.  And I say that not simply because it’s that good, but also because Chick-fil-A rolls hard for Jesus.  Like, not open on Sundays (boo!) hard.  Like, they should hire Davey and Goliath when those cows retire hard.

The Enduring Power of Tupac Shakur

Yesterday was Tupac Shakur’s 40th birthday. And though it has been 15 years since his untimely death, the continued fascination and adoration he conjures amongst black youth (and the world, at large) is a testament to an iconic, albeit brief career that truly transcended mere beats and rhymes. Subversive, contradictory and brutally honest, Tupac’s music told the story of the young black male coming of age in the 1990’s. It is a dichotomous story; one where an appreciation for unity and consciousness within the Black community collides with capitalistic ambition and the attainment of an American dream, by any means necessary. His work spoke truth to a racist, capitalistic power structure, while at the same time attempting to usurp and dominate that structure with its own values and tools.

And that’s what made Tupac’s music so powerful and dangerous.