Weekly News Round-Up: Sept 12th-18th

Sept 12th-18th


Study finds more Latinos enrolling at colleges
Brandon Hensley, Daily Sudial, 8/11/11


Historically Black Colleges and Universities Rankings
Robert Morse, US News, 9/12/11


The Lion King’s Robert Guillaume Offers Sage Advice to Black Youth
Staff Writer, Rolling Out, 9/12/11


Nearly half of African-American youth report pressure to have sex
Jeremy Kryn, Life Site News, 9/12/11


PBS special asks: ‘Are black boys too important to fail?
Sylvester Brown Jr., St Louis Beacon, 9/12/11


Guns not the cause of violence
Len Lisenbee, Times Herald, 9/13/11


Young Black Scholars Program Aims to Close Black Student Graduation Gap
Jasmyne Cannick, Euro Web, 9/14/11


First black student becomes chairman of Board of Trustees
BDA Sun, Staff Writer, 9/14/11


Performances highlight black, Latino musicians
Staff reports, The Telegraph, 9/16/11


Powerful "I Will" Music Video Confronts HIV Stigma

Our community has a crisis on its hands.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates of HIV infections amongst gay and bisexual African American men rose 48% between 2006-2009. And nobody seems to know why.

According to the CDC, potential reasons for the continued increase in HIV infections amongst black gay and bisexual men include a lack of knowledge of one’s own status, as well as a lack of access to health care.

But one factor that stands out is STIGMA. Many are simply too afraid to know their status because they fear the stigma of being positive. But as these CDC statistics show, ignorance is not bliss.

As a community, we must be committed to loving ourselves and loving one another, regardless of sexuality or HIV status. True healing begins with love and understanding. How can our young people learn to thrive in an unforgiving world when they think they’ve got nowhere to go when life pulls them in an unexpected direction?

And how can we eradicate this deadly disease from our community when no one is willing to talk about it?

It’s time for a change.

Check out the video below. It’s a short film/music video directed by photographer and director John Gress, set to the song “I Will’ by Marshall Titus. The video tells the story of a young Gay man that discovers he is HIV positive. He fears not only for his mortality, but for the isolation sure to come with such an affliction.

His friends and loved ones prove him wrong.

Gress spoke with Rod 2.0, and had this to say about the film:

“For almost 30 years the focus solely on condom usage and fear has led to a rift in our society. People who are negative run from people who are positive, and people who are positive run from people who are negative to avoid rejection. People who think they are negative are afraid to be tested because the last thing any one wants is to be marginalized.

I wanted to show that although an HIV diagnosis can be a traumatic event, everyone has people who will love, support and accept them.”




MUSICNEWS: Ice-T Doesn't Like Hip-POP, Record Execs Trafficking COCAINE, and Rihanna's New Album

Gangster-Rap-Godfather Ice-T is really unhappy with the mainstreaming of Hip Hop. And outside the premier of his new documentary “Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation,” HE WENT IN.

On Rick Ross:

He thinks he’s [Freeway] Rick Ross, he thinks he’s Larry Hoover, he thinks he’s Big Meech, he thinks he’s MC Hammer, he thinks he’s Tupac. Like, who the f*ck are you really, dude?”


On Lil Wayne and Hip Hop Going Pop:

“Rap was a counterculture that went against pop. But when you have Rihanna singin’ on your records and you’re doin’ records with Katy Perry, that’s no longer rap. It’s pop music, pop using rap delivery. When you hear Lil Wayne sayin’ ‘I got a chopper in the car,’ you go, ‘Yeah, right you do.‘”


BYP MORNING NEWSFLASH: Tavis Smiley Brings Obama Critiques To Fox News, Kanye's Woman's Fashion Line Premiere In Paris, Olive Garden Has The First Lady's Back and MORE!

September 16, 2011

Michelle Obama’s campaign to eradicate childhood obesity hit a major milestone yesterday. Darden Restaurants, Inc—which oversees Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Longhorn Steaks, and others –has announced major changes to all of their menus. These include a reduction in calories and sodium on all meals, making a fruit or vegetable the default side for children’s meals, making 1 percent milk the default beverage for children’s meals, and ensuring that atleast one item on every children’s menu will provide no more than 600 calories.

This is a good thing. Especially since, according to a recent report, 50% of Americans will be obese by 2030. Don’t listen to Sarah Palin; this is not a commie, socialist plot. It’s never a good thing to be obese. Especially when you’re a 5 year-old.

The U.S. Supreme Court has halted the execution of 48 year-old Duane Buck, who was convicted of a double murder in Texas 16 years ago. Buck’s guilt in the case is actually agreed upon by everyone involved. The issue of contention involves his sentencing, which was unjustly influenced by the testimony of a (pseudo) psychologist that had the audacity to state that black people are more likely to commit violence. Utilizing racism as a means of making the case for a human being’s death is inexcusable and unacceptable. Kudos to the U.S. Supreme Court for getting right what that loser Rick Perry didn’t even seem concerned with.

If you oppose the death penalty, the past few weeks in America have truly substantiated your position. Our criminal justice system is unreliable and racist. What else is new?

A few days ago we told you about Tyler Perry’s number one ranking on Forbes “Most Powerful Men in Showbiz” list. Since then, the black blogosphere has been going around and around about the value of Tyler Perry’s films; are they good for black actors and black people, or were Spike Lee’s infamous “coonery and buffoonery” comments spot on.

Dr. Boyce Watkins has written a fairly nuanced op/ed on the subject at NewsOne, and she’s probably right:

“A man like Perry can tell the story of the Black maid, because it would likely be fused with that of the Black police officer, attorney, astronaut and prostitute. Perry does a reasonably good job of mixing it up and provides a message of love, family, and faith at the end. You can’t get too mad at that.”

Fair enough, fair enough. But what about the fact that all of his movies are bad? Just sayin….

Kanye West is set to premiere a  women’s clothing line at fashion week in Paris on October 1st. Co-helmed by Christina Centenera and Goldin, West’s line will apparently makes its premier right after Jean Paul Gaultier—which is insane.

I guess that’s Hip Hop, right?

And check out this video of Barack Obama fan club president Tavis Smiley on Fox News’ Sean Hannity show. There to promote his new book and his “Too Important To Fail” program, Smiley bashes Obama’s policies, laments the fact that he’s yet to be invited to the White House, and then admits that he’ll probably vote for him anyway. Hmmm…

Brand New Web Episode 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.

THAWRA MUSIC: Hip Hop & The Arab Spring

Behold, the power of Hip Hop.

MSNBC’s report regarding Hip Hop’s influence on the Arab Spring is mindblowing. It proves that the very idea of Hip Hop as an artform crosses all ethnic, religious, economic and geographical boundaries. Hip Hop is about speaking truth to power and holding it accountable. Hip Hop is about relaying your story, and the stories of your peers, without pretense and without a filter.

Hip Hop is about giving a voice to the voiceless.

Hip Hop is also dangerous. Many of these young Arab emcees face the threat of jailtime simply for emceeing, regardless of the content of their work. Still, Hip Hop songs are becoming anthems for the young Arab men and women that have taken to the streets over the course of this past year.

According to The Grio, “Hip-hop has become synonymous with ‘thawra’, meaning revolution, in the Arab world,” spreading from country to country, and embodying in form and content the rebellion raging in the streets, and the hopes and dreams of an entire generation.

For an intense music fan and Hip Hop head like myself, it’s damn-near impossible to describe the awe-inspiring beauty in such a development. Because it’s just further proof of what true diehards have always known about this transgressive music and culture.

The most amazing thing about Hip Hop is that, at its core, and at its most pure, Hip Hop is bigger than fame, money, MTV, or any Record Label on the planet.

Hip-hop music is rebel music.

Click here to check out some clips from MSNBC’s report on Hip Hop and The Arab Spring.

BYP MORNING NEWSFLASH: The Makers Of BLAST Think Your Racist, More Support For Troy Davis, J Cole's Disappointing New Single, and MORE!

BYP Morning NewsFlash
September 15, 2011

Have you ever tried a Blast? It’s kind of like drinking a 24 oz. of beer, except  it comes in all kinds of fun flavors, has 12 percent alcohol content, and its containers have a cartoonish, “Hip Hop”-inspired design. Oh, and Snoop Dogg is their add spokesman. Understandably, watchdog groups have called out Pabst Brewing Company for the drink’s kid-friendly taste, look and marketing campaign. Pabst’s response? People attacking Blast are just being racist.

Wrong answer, guys….

The family of James C Anderson, the victim of a heinous hate crime in Mississippi last June, has asked that federal prosecutors not seek the death penalty for the seven white teens accused of participating in his murder. According to the letter, their opposition is based on religious grounds, as well as Mississippi’s historically racist use of the death penalty. According to CNN:

“’We also oppose the death penalty because it historically has been used in Mississippi and the South primarily against people of color for killing whites,’ the letter states. ‘Executing James’ killers will not help to balance the scales. But sparing them may help to spark a dialogue that one day will lead to the elimination of capital punishment.’”

In pathetic news, Herman Cain’s Presidential campaign has marred itself in controversy with news that it has been trying to cover up the fact that one of the anti-gay candidate’s top advisors was a gay man named Scott Toomey. Apparently, Cain didn’t want people to think he was a hypocrite. Waaaaay too late for that, Herm.

According to former FBI director William Sessions, the execution of Troy Davis should be halted because of “pervasive, persistent doubts about his guilt.” Sessions’ plea for clemency comes less than a week before Davis is scheduled to be put to death for the murder of an off-duty Savanna, Georgia police officer in 1989. Be sure to check out the TEACH TROY DAVIS website, and continue to spread the word about this grave injustice. There is still time to save this man’s life!

And finally, check out J Cole’s highly anticipated new single “Mr. Nice Watch,” featuring a guest verse from his boss Jay-Z. It’s not a bad song. But is anyone else disappointed with such a shallow, unabashedly commercial single from someone as talented as J Cole? Fans are looking for the next Illmatic from this dude, not Nastrodamus. Check it out below…


BYP AFTERNOON ROUND-UP: Toure's "The Most Racist Thing That Ever Happened To Me", Weezy Thinks The Tea Party Hates Black People, Nas' B-Day and MORE

Afternoon News Round-UP
September 14, 2011

Toure’s latest book “Who’s Afraid Of Post-Blackness?” is starting a helluva lot of controversy, and I can’t wait to read it. The first chapter is called “The Most Racist Thing That Ever Happened To Me,” and it’s available at TheAltantic.com right now. Do yourself a favor and check it out. The most compelling passage?

“I asked my 105 interviewees, What is the most racist thing that has ever happened to you? The response I received most often was indicative of modern racism: The answer is unknowable. ‘I imagine it’d be a thing I don’t even know ever happened,’ Aaron McGruder said. ‘It would be that opportunity that never manifested and I’ll never know that it was even possible.’ A decision is made in a back room or a high-level office, perhaps by someone you’ll never see, about whether or not you get a job or a home loan or admission to a school. Or perhaps you’ll never be allowed to know that a home in a certain area or a job is available. This is how modern institutional racism functions and it can weigh on and shape a Black person differently than the more overt, simplistic racism of the past did.”

The realest shit I’ve read all week


Last week, we told you about a fascinating new documentary called “The Black Power Mixtape,” which uses never-before-seen, archival footage and interviews to tell the story of the Black Power Movement. Well according to The Huffington Post, the film was picked up by Danny Glover’s production company, loving titled Louveture Films, with Glover acting as executive producer. Glover spoke out recently regarding the film.

The Huffington Post writes:

“His best hope for the film is ‘that it will reinforce something people feel intuitively, instinctively in a way that makes them ask themselves, ‘Who do I have to be in my own transformation to make the world a better place?’’ he said. ‘That’s what I’m asking African American people to do. That’s what I’m asking all people to do.’”


With all the talk over today being Amy Winehouse’s birthday, the fact that it’s also Nas’ birthday seems to have been lost in the shuffle. Well the Black Youth Project are big Nas fans, and we’re honoring the legendary emcee by wishing him a happy and healthy 38th birthday. Meanwhile, Complex Magazine chose to honor Mr. Jones with a list of his top ten WORST songs. It’s really funny and true, so we’re providing you with a link…

…and we’re balancing the haterade out with a Nas classic. Love you, Nas.



Lil Wayne sat down for an interview with Vibe Magazine recently, and he had some very choice, controversial and likely spot-on words for the Tea Party:

“’You learn from what the right-wing is doing and you take something from it,’ he said. ‘I feel like as a people, the most that we can do is better ourselves and learn. Then look at yourself and ask, ‘Am I the person they’re talking about or am I not?’ You have to make the most of who you are because the Republicans are never going to like us.’”

He also mentioned that Tea Partiers probably hate President Obama because he’s black. So expect an annoying, vaguely racist, anti-Hip Hop rebuttal from Glen Beck or Bill O’Reilly by tomorrow morning….




Arizona State's "Blackout"

On any given Saturday it’s not unusual for a camera to pan a stadium full of fans and land on a group that has covered in body paint in their school’s colors. This body painting practice is ubiquitous and was probably never given a second thought until a few Arizona State University students showed up to support their football team in all black everything.

A couple writers have touched on the subject but it has gone otherwise unnoticed. Are these students simply supporting their school or is this another instance of the minstrel tradition showing its face on our college campuses?

Ari Berman's "The GOP's War on Voting"

Ari Berman’s “The GOP’s War on Voting”

American politics has never been messier. With Fox News, CNN and MSNBC relentlessly competing for our ears, the result is a cacophony of competing ideas. To be sure, our current political climate is a stormy, confusing one; with an endless array of twists, turns and doublespeak that make it nearly impossible for the busy, everyday person to keep up.

And that’s exactly what certain politicians and political power brokers want. A confused populace makes it that much easier to quietly pass devastating pieces of legislation like those currently coming down the pike in state houses across the country; each one expertly designed to keep American citizens from exercising their right to vote.

Rolling Stone writer Ari Berman’s phenomenal article “The GOP’s War on Voting” is a horrifying read. Berman delves deep into a coordinated campaign to suppress entire demographics of the United States electorate. And this campaign stands to succeed because the Republican Party has mastered the art of the trumped-up crisis. Under the guise of cracking down on alleged widespread “voter fraud,” inane restrictions on voting are cropping up in state houses across the country. And the stakes are high. Berman writes:

“All told, a dozen states have approved new obstacles to voting. Kansas and Alabama now require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship before registering. Florida and Texas made it harder for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Maine repealed Election Day voter registration, which had been on the books since 1973. Five states – Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia – cut short their early voting periods. Florida and Iowa barred all ex-felons from the polls, disenfranchising thousands of previously eligible voters. And six states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin – will require voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting ballots. More than 10 percent of U.S. citizens lack such identification, and the numbers are even higher among constituencies that traditionally lean Democratic – including 18 percent of young voters and 25 percent of African-Americans.”

Berman outlines four key areas central to their efforts to disenfranchise voters. These areas include (1.) unnecessary, bureaucratic barriers to registration, (2.) cuts to early voting, (3.) requiring a Government-issued photo ID, and (4.) disenfranchising ex-felons.

Their tactics will disproportionally impact young people, minorities, students, immigrants, ex-felons and the elderly.; demographics central to the historic turnout that opened the doors of the White House to Barack Obama in 2008. The GOP knows exactly what they’re doing. And they’ll succeed as long as we remain uninformed and uninterested in making our voices heard in America’s ongoing political discourse.

They want you distracted by Kardashians and Katy Perry songs. They want you watching ESPN instead of C-SPAN. They are betting on you not giving a shit. Prove them wrong.

We implore you to check out Berman’s article; get informed, get angry, and get turned on to the shady political dealings of the GOP.

Because in the words of Ralph Nader, “If you’re not turned on to politics, politics will turn on you.”

Click here to read Ari Berman’s “The GOP’s War On Voting”