The Viral Video, EBT: We Have Failed You, Chapter . . . An Open Letter


Dear Chapter,

Once upon a time when I was a little brown girl and the economy was really bad because of Reganomics, my “employed” and single black mother received food assistance to help feed her two daughters because her minimal wage check could not fully cover rent and the daily luxuries of milk, eggs, meat, beans, and rice. Yes, we were the working class poor. Yes, we were on food stamps. Yes, we needed help. And, yes, we received the EBT though I prefer to call it the Electronic Benefit Transfer because EBT sounds like some viral disease that must be stopped instead of something that has helped to feed many families including a large majority of white families.

To say the least, I found your video deeply troubling. And, not necessarily for the reasons people have listed in your YouTube’s comment section about displaying stereotypical images of black people. Chapter, I found your video troubling because it shows how we as a community of black women have failed to educate you. We have failed to tell you about your history, dearest. We have failed to tell you about National Welfare Rights Organization which was founded in the 1960s and lead by poor Black women who understood the interconnections between food justice, a living wage, racism, and poverty. You see, Chapter, our foremothers, as my grandmother would say, “fought tooth and nail,” to ensure that we would have access to federal assistance because it was our right not only because we were citizens, but because we were human. And, based on our god-given humanity, we deserved the option of being able to seek help when needed.

Five Years Natural

A couple weeks ago marked my fifth year with fully natural hair. Five years of split ends, single strand knots, tangles, detangling, home remedies, expensive conditioners, cheap conditioners, no-pooing, pre-pooing, more detangling, oil rinses, tea rinses, moisturizing, sealing, baggying and reading every blog, forum and article about natural hair I could find.

And here I am today, almost five years into this journey and I still don’t fully understand my hair and what it takes to make her happy.

Nostalgia for Activist

Over the past couple of months I have been working for an Organization called Equal Education, more commonly known as the movement of and for learners, parents, teachers and community members working for quality and equality in education, through analysis and activism.

I humbly declare that the activism and community leadership that I’ve seen over the course of my time here has conjured up, inside of me, nostalgia for historical movements that I was not alive to see. I figuratively look back into movements that literally set legal and social precedents of where I am presently allowed to walk, or buy a house, or eat in public restaurant, or use a public restroom. These were movements that declared their humanity and the rights that come with it, regardless of whatever discriminatory factor society would want to pull that day. This summer I am reminded of those elementary days in class when I would learn of those movements and where I would hear the echoes of Martin, Sojourner, Malcolm, Zora, Bayard, Corretta, Langston and many countless others. I have pondered the names that those activists my generation will hear 50 years from now. Possibly, Lwando, Nokubonga, Nthutuzo, Thoko, Cettu, Ngawethu, Afika, and countless others. This summer I have humbly dined with activist and tried to learn everything I could from them, before their names are entered into a history book.

Christine O'Donnell Vs. Piers Morgan

In my 21 years of existence there have been many things that have perplexed me: Mike Tyson’s face tattoo, why Trix are for kids, and who framed Roger Rabbit. However, Christine O’Donnell’s interview on the Piers Morgan show may take the cake as one of the weirdest things I’ve seen. O’Donnell, already known as a political hack, witch doctor, and all around crazy lady went on the Piers Morgan Show to promote her new book ‘Trouble Maker’. With a title like that, you think she’d be accustomed to fielding hardball questions. After last week’s interview she proved that she can’t even field a slow pitch softball question hit off of a tee.

This bizarre reaction from O’Donnell was sparked by a simple question from Morgan: “Right now I’m curious about whether you support gay marriage or not. After he asked the questioned all hell broke loose. O’Donnell evaded questions about as good as O.J. Simpson evaded the LA Police in the white Bronco.  What seemed so interesting to me was that she seemed clueless that [she] ghostwriter wrote about gay marriage in her book. maybe she needs to get a new communications team

Bomb the Throne, the Aftermath

Honestly I had reservations about posting “Bushes” (Bomb the Throne). I knew a million rappers had already done freestyles over the “Otis” instrumental, and with the release of Jay and Kanye’s Watch the Throne I thought I may have been too late. I also wasn’t sure if people wanted to revisit the Bushes and their failures with so much disappointment in politics period right now. I’m genuinely amazed at the reaction and truly feel like a change is taking place as far as the type of Hip-Hop people want to hear.

The only backlash came from people who feel like I made the song to protect President Obama, or let him off the hook, and that’s simply not the case. I was writing about the Bushes so I was attempting to show the hypocrisy in the media and politicians who are screaming about debt, but were quiet while George W. took a surplus and almost destroyed the entire economy. It’s a fact that President Obama came into office under the worst conditions of any other President in history. Now we can argue whether or not he’s made “change we can believe in”, but I’ll save that for my next video…stay tuned

Commercial Break: Athlete Slash Musician

It seems I’ve been more polemical than usual these last few weeks. So how about something completely worthless and asinine–ok, more worthless and asinine than what I usually post here–this Monday? Because, frankly, all I have to say about The Help‘s (and The Smurfs’) continued box office success this weekend is: Effing really (God bless the interrobang.)

Anyway, in case you missed it, the NFL lockout ended, and I’m using the breaks from dissertating to prepare for the upcoming fantasy football season. I’m ready to defend last year’s title (and take that money); I’ve also started a women’s fantasy football league (because that’s why feminists burned their bras in the 70s). In an effort to find enough women to participate, the homie, Liz and I Twitter-stalked ESPN’s Jemele Hill trying to get her to take one of our slots. Despite the hilarity of our tweets to her, she eventually declined due to schedule (or so she says #notbitter). One of tweets I sent her was a mash-up of the New York Jet, Bart Scott’s now hilariously infamous post-game interview and Nu Shooz 80s hit, “I Can’t Wait.” My foray into technological prowess combined with Deion “Must be the Money Sanders’ induction into the NFL Hall of Fame a few weeks ago got me thinking about athletes and their musical careers. And so, instead of the scathing pop culture criticism you’ve grown used to, I present:

Weekly News Round-Up: Aug 15th- August 21st, 2011

Aug 15th- 21st


Northwestern principal maintains high achievement standards
Shawn Cetrone, Herald Online, 8/14/11


It’s ‘Blackademic: young and black in academia
Chetachi A. Egwu, The Grio, 8/14/11


These four also have a dream
Janel Davis , The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AJC


A tepid response to race-based school bullying
Milton W. Hinton Jr. , New Jersey News, 8/14/11


A good change at Shaw?
Barry Saunders, News Observer, 8/14/11


How to Stop Flash Mobs
Zack Isaacs, Huffington Post, 8/15/11


Teen Arrested In Wisc. Flash Mob Attack; City Blames Black Families
Johan Thomas, News One, 8/15/11


Mentoring brings satisfaction
Staff Writer, Vindy News, 8/15/11


Philly Mayor Michael Nutter Joins Bill Cosby in Bashing Black Teens and Parents
Jorge Rivas, Colorlines, 8/16/11


A shared responsibility
JS Online, Earl Bracy, 8/16/11


THE WEEKND Continues To Astound With New Mixtape "THURSDAY"

Our prayers were answered yesterday, people.

Last night, Toronto-based R&B mystery man The Weeknd unleashed his brand new mixtape Thursday.  You can follow the link below to snag the free download.

Things have changed drastically for The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) since the release of his first tape House Of Balloons earlier this year. For one thing, there was absolutely no pressure. But since then, House of Balloons has been the most positively-reviewed album of the year thus far. Tesfaye now releases his follow-up to an audience hungry for another dose of a dark, haunted and debauched majesty that we now come to expect (i.e. demand) from The Weeknd.

And our hero does not disappoint.

The Internet Popularity of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl


I have written previously on how much I love the web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. The show is original and features a young black woman who navigates her way through seen and unseen awkward situations on her job and in her relationships. Well, I am happy to report that the show is so popular that in a matter of a month, the creator, Issa Rae, and her cast mates where able to raise $44,000 dollars to continue the web series for another 5 weeks with a grand finale.

To read more about her inspirational fundraising story, please read below.

Eating TV Dinners During Racial Zoo-Keeping

On top of America’s legacy of racism there’s nothing more upsetting than the absence of guilt, from the racists of course. Not even the first sentence describes the severity of our situation, especially when there are tv shows, Bait Car for instance, that broadcast the hatred of Black youth. Every time I’ve watched Bait Car, a reality series that shadows police in their bait care operations, I’ve witnessed the perversion of innocence through successful set-ups. The living room screen reveals to us a sorry moment: this is a point in time in which we see injustices against us and we won’t even scratch a finger across our foreheads, at least that’s a “startin’ sumthin’” gesture.