The Perils of Desegregation

Integration, while necessary, cost us more than we might have initially thought. I’m not the first person to make this statement and I won’t be the last. Simply put, the costs of integration were high. Before integration became federal law, Black people lived in tight-knit communities where they went to school with familiar faces, patronized each other’s businesses and, out of necessity, supported their own.

Once White institutions opened their doors to Black people, those tight-knit communities were diluted. Slowly, Black business owners moved their operations elsewhere and the middle class moved into White neighborhoods. And slowly, Black communities started to decline, forgotten by their own middle class, and neglected by local governments.

Leave it on the Floor


Some cringe when they hear their high-pitched voices

Speaking out in individuality.

In a world invested in aping heterosexual-identities.

Idolizing hyper-masculinity,

Causing downlow men to hide the truth from their family,

Causing feminine men to be ostracized within our community.

As mothers frown at the thought of tolerance

and fathers yell at their sons that its not natural.

So what makes you a man,

Accepting who you are,

Or hiding in the shadows?

Shadows Kill.

D.C. Pastor Says MLK Jr. Would Champion LGBT Rights (and that black people should, too)

D.C. Pastor Says MLK Jr. Would Champion LGBT Rights 

Dr. King with openly gay mentor Bayard Rustin

Washington D.C. pastor Dr. Dennis W. Riley has made quite a few headlines this past week with an impassioned series of essays entitled “Gays R Us,” in which he argues for an inextricable link between the the LGBT and Black Civil Rights movements, and asserts emphatically that if Dr. King were alive today, he would be an unequivocal supporter of the Gay Rights struggle.

He writes:

If Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today at the ripe old age of 82, I believe his consistently evolving consciousness would have removed his blind spots of 43 years ago. Just as he was a trailblazer in protesting the Vietnam War, I contend that he also would have been a pioneer in the struggle for women’s rights and LGBT equality. This is why so many of his former associates who are still alive—including Congressman John Lewis and the NAACP’s own Julian Bond—are unequivocal in their support of gay rights, including marriage equality. The same was true of his late widow, Coretta Scott King. They have understood that LGBT oppression is not some alien or superfluous concern that has little or nothing to do with other justice issues critical to the black community and that, in fact, it is a critical issue of civil rights.

Reactions to the “Gays R Us” series has been unsurprisingly mixed (just check out some of the reader comments posted at’s write-up regarding the pastor’s statements). And that’s incredibly sad. Especially since young black gay men are overrepresented in regards to a plethora of bad things…like hate crimes, homelessness and HIV, just to name a few.

They could probably use the support of their own community.


Click here to check out Parts I & II of Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley’s

“Gays Are Us” series

Our Imperiled HBCUs

Our Imperiled HBCUs

Della Britton, President and CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, has written a fascinating article at, shining a spotlight on our imperiled HBCUs.

Entitled “HBCU Blues: America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the 21st Century,” Britton asserts that the state of our HBCUs may go from bad to worse as the current economic downturn persists. She writes, “…budget cuts, aging buildings and failing infrastructures, not to mention the preference of many students to attend other colleges and universities, have undercut the once vital role many of these schools played in educating and uplifting the black community.”

Historically Black Colleges and Universities served a vital purpose in the late 1800’s and early-to-mid 1900’s, empowering African Americans with a top notch education and an inclusive academic community at a time when access to most mainstream, white Universities was largely denied.

And while things aren’t exactly the way they were at the turn of the 20th Century, we are still overrepresented in America’s prisons, disproportionately impoverished and disproportionately jobless. It goes without saying that racism is still a major factor in the lives of black youth.

But according to Britton, with their numbers and academic accolades dwindling, “appeals made on behalf of legacy, which was once one of the bedrock defenses for maintaining HBCUs, are far less compelling.”

So what can be done to save our HBCUs? Are they not doing enough to reel in more black students? Is the quality of education at many HBCUs beyond repair? Or is the idea of attending college “among people with the same cultural background and values” no longer palatable to a generation of black youth raised in a post-Civil Rights, post-Obama era?

Click here to read Della Britton’s fascinating article.

Michael Vick Beyond The Gridiron

There is a popular saying “that you can run, but you can’t hide”. This applies even if your speed was rated at 95 on Madden NFL 2004. One of the most elusive players to ever touch an NFL gridiron couldn’t duck and dodge public scrutiny and international lampooning for almost 3 years. Whether it was animal rights organizations, ESPN analysts, or everyday haters, Michael Vick has probably been called every derogatory name under the sun. Some of it was warranted, but most of it, in my opinion, was overkill. Despite all of the negativity Vick persevered, and as of yesterday, is at the very least $40 million richer. Not to mention, Vick has again been endorsed by Nike.

Vick’s 2010-2011 highlights


Did 3 Little Girls Inspire Lil Wayne's "How to Love?"

I know the big topic in regards to Lil Wayne is his “beef” with Jay Z and whether Jay will respond and blah, blah, blah. But I want to reexamine a older “diss” that I believe actually lead to Lil Wayne responding albeit in a different way. I like most of you, especially if you listen to urban radio have heard Lil Wayne’s “How to Love”. It’s an OK song and definitely a departure for Wayne, in that he’s not degrading woman, but it wasn’t until I saw the video that I put 2 and 2 together.

The video is an incredibly powerful visual of how a woman’s decisions and personal self esteem can effect the choices she makes in her life which can lead to dire consequences. It made me wonder what would inspire Lil Wayne, a artist that has made millions objectifying woman in almost every song, create such powerful and uplifting imagery? Then I remembered this video.

Yes those adorable little girls who took Lil Wayne’s “I’m Single” and created an irrefutable argument about how Wayne’s music made them feel as young women around the same age as his own daughter. I spoke briefly to the father of “Watoto From The Nile” Jabari Natur, he had yet to see the video for “How to Love” but he heard the song and felt Wayne didn’t go far enough. He wanted a pledge from Lil Wayne and other Hip-Hop artists to no longer debase women in their music, and he mentioned Wayne’s new song with Drake as evidence that Lil Wayne has a long way to go towards that end.

I believe the moral of the story is to keep up the pressure on mainstream artists and demand that they talk about more than “money, clothes and hoes” and if you get really inspired, make a video about it, you’ll never know what effect it might have. In fact “Watoto From The Nile” have a new letter directed at Rick Ross and P.Diddy.


What's Your Fantasy?

I keep trying to come up with reasons to justify my addiction to (fantasy) football. I praise the parity of the NFL and argue that the helmets help create anonymity that makes football the ultimate team sport. I discuss the elegance of a tightly thrown spiral arching through the air, landing in the hands of wide receiver walking the tight rope of a sideline. Those things may all be true. But what is also true is that football is America’s gladiator sport. It is violent and boorishly brutal. And homoerotic as hell. I love it.

Last Friday marked the inaugural draft party of the Dirty Dianas Fantasy Football League. A small group of women gathered at my homie, Maeg’s house to get drunk get in on the nerdiest way to watch sports. As the commissioner of this new league, I wanted a few things to happen: our league would be all women, we would throw a party (and there would be cake!), and despite my ophidiophobia, we’d hold a snake [!!!!] draft.

Hood Cinema: Hipsters and Cameras

There’s nothing cooler than a snap-back wearing sneaker pimp (Black hipsters) and anyone that wants to keep up with the cool will need to add a camera around their neck. Remember how Chris Brown’s video for “Beautiful People” made you want to create a cinematic collage of your greatest nights while you imagined that your friends were all celebrities? Now that I think about it, one of the coolest videos employed a visual style that was first dissed by Banksy in “Exit Through the Gift Shop”; describing such a piece as the creation of “someone with mental problems who just happen to have a camera.” Hipsters, Black ones in particular, are developing an aesthetic appreciation for randomly jig-sawed, but thematic, video clips. These hipsters—that end up contributing films to this breaking genre—are packaging young Black consciousness into art. In other words, they are expanding the space in which Blackness can be nurtured.


Weekly News Round-Up: Aug 22nd – 28th, 2011

Aug 22nd – 28th


Racist curfew instituted in Philadelphia
Walter Smolarek, Liberation News, 8/20/11


Blacks and Latinos Will Suffer When the Student Debt Bubble Bursts
David A. Love, Huffington Post, 8/24/11


Millenials still searching for racial equality, diversity
Megan Bannister, Times-Delphic, 8/22/11


A tale of two schools: Who’s to blame for the differences?
Valerie Strauss, Washinton Post, 8/23/11


The black church must respond to disaffected youth
Marcia Dixon, The Voice, 8/24/11


Do Flash Mobs that Rob Reflect Poorly on Blacks?
Jeneba Ghatt, Politics 365, 8/22/11


Bullying Should Not Be Part of Back-to-School
Heidi Renner, Burr Ridge Patch, 8/23/11


Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has put his finger on a problem that the Legislature should address when it returns.
Staff Writer, JS Online, 8/23/11


More than 90% of black and Latino students pass California high school exam
Sharon Noguchi, Mercury News, 8/24/11


Burden of Diversity Yields Benefit of Attention for HBCUs
Jarrett L. Carter, Huffington post, 8/24/11


Latinos now outnumber African Americans at college
Staff Writer, News Desk, 8/25/11


Federal Grant Funds Study of Black Students’ Learning in Algebra
Staff Writer, News Wise, 8/25/11


Expense May Be Causing Fewer Young Blacks to Smoke
Staff Writer, US News, 8/27/11



Tha Carter IV, And Why LIL WAYNE vs. JAY-Z Needs To Happen…

So Lil Wayne’s highly anticipated (and routinely delayed) Tha Carter IV leaked onto the internets earlier this week. And it’s pretty damn good. But thus far, all anyone can talk about is that Jay-Z diss.

Confused? Well, it all started in a 2009 interview where Birdman declared that Lil Wayne is a better rapper than Jay-Z because he “do the most and make the most money.” Perhaps you’ll recall Jigga’s response earlier this year on the song “H.A.M.”:

“Like these rappers rap about all the shit that I do daily/I’m like really, half a billi, nigga, really you got Baby money/ Keep it real with niggas, niggas ain’t got my lady money.”

Clearly, Wayne was not impressed with Jay’s not-so-sublte double entrendre. And that brings us to C4’s most controversial track, “It’s Good.” “It’s Good” is essentially a traditional, solid slab of hardcore Hip Hop, opening with a flawless verse from Jadakiss. Drake does his best to keep up before Wayne hits the ground running with a closing verse.

Then he says this:

“Talkin’ bout baby money?/I got your baby money/Kidnap your bitch, get that ‘how much you love your lady’ money”

This is a clear and direct jab at Jay-Z (and Beyonce, technically haha).