America's Next Top Model: You're In Our Box or You're Out.

Last week, America’s Next Top Model brought an All Star Season of previous ANTM contenders onto the catwalk in the season premier. Ratings of ANTM having been sinking for a while now, this is clearly a pull-out-all-the-gimics twist on the series infused with all types of contradiction. Tyra persists with her usual persona, self-mocking and overdramatic, and enforcing the lot of female stereotypes under a superficial premise of empowerment. The opener is equipped with blindingly inflated caricatures of models and celebrity, embracing the frivolousness of it all.
The season features Isis, the only transgendered to have been on the show. (Tyra actually paid for her sex reassignment surgery since the season she was first on the show). And Kayla, the only lesbian to be a finalist on Top Model and who posed wearing a rainbow flag in the first episode. To it’s credit the group is quite diverse. What  all of the girls do have are big personalities, many of them former “mean girls” of their respective seasons and each bringing some level of personal drama to the table.

I quote Tyra in what was probably her most eloquent moment ever in that “with representation comes opportunity.” This is the premise for the show as a whole she says and she is striving to change the industry and ‘make dreams come true’ for women who would likely not have a heel in the door of the fashion industry otherwise. Sure, making an industry laced with sexism, narrowness about beauty, and superficiality more fair makes the industry better, but I would argue that it isn’t good.

My Life As A Blogger

This month marks my 2year anniversary as a blogger for the Black Youth Project. When Dr. Cathy Cohen suggested that I share my thoughts with the world on this digital platform I was a little apprehensive to say the least.  I wasn’t quite sure if anyone would care to read, nor was I sure if my words could actually impact someone’s life. However, over these past 2 years I received countless emails, letters, and even phone calls from loyal readers who have expressed to me how my blog posts have enlightened, challenged, and even changed the way they think about certain issues.

"It's a New Day but the Same Old Lynchings"

Despite almost a million signatures being collected on petitions to halt the execution of Troy Davis, it’s still scheduled to take place on September 21. We made the above video to encourage as many people as we could to get involved.

If you need anymore convincing, please read Brenton Mock’s excellent article on Loop 21 Troy Davis: Murder Was the Race That They Gave Him, which breaks down how race plays a huge role in prosecution and sentencing.

“Defendants charged with killing white people were given the death penalty 11 times more than those charged with killing black people; also, that Georgia prosecutors sought the death penalty in 70% of cases involving black defendants and white victims while seeking it in less than 20% of cases involving white defendants and black victims.”

If I could do the video over again, I would have included the number to the Georgia Parole Board at the end.

Please call the parole board on Monday Sept 19, morning or afternoon. Leave a detailed message on why Troy Davis’ execution needs to be stopped.
(404) 656-5651
(404) 657-9450

It only takes a few minutes to get involved. Please click and sign the petitions below and encourage your network to do so, a man’s life depends on it. #toomuchdoubt

http://www.naacp.org/pages/too-much-doubt

http://www.colorofchange.org/campaign/save-troy-davis-life/

http://blog.amnestyusa.org/deathpenalty/dont-let-georgia-kill-troy-davis/

AN EQUATION FOR DISASTER: Black Youth + Poverty – Jobs = Screwed

AN EQUATION FOR DISASTER:

Black Youth + Poverty – Jobs = Screwed

By Deven D. Anderson, Black Youth Vote!

Deven D. Anderson is surrounded by civil rights leaders Wade Henderson (right) and Jesse Jackson as he represents black youth during a recent press conference in DC
Washington, DC – It is a critical time in America. The recession has been tough,especially for young black American’s who are faced with bleak job prospects, exorbitant student loans and overwhelming hopelessness. With and unemployment rate for young black males over 18 percent, young black men are still hemorrhaging and the people we put in office to represent us are just starting to take notice. 

If that’s not enough, earlier this week the US Census Bureau released “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010,” a report thatunderscores the spiraling rate of poverty and decline of the median household income for Americans, especially Black American’s. This is the third consecutive year that the household income for African-American’s declinedand, according to the report, 10.7 million African Americans lived in poverty in 2010.

As for young people, as usual, we’re the hardest hit by a depressed economy. The New York Times recently reported that young people between the ages of 25 – 34 are depending more on their parents for financial support; of that age group without family support 45.3 percent of them live in poverty. This is the same population experiencing high unemployment at 45.6 percent. That’s right, almost half of the 25 – 34 year-olds are unemployed. We need help now.

Earlier this week President Obama sent a much-needed American Jobs Act to the Hill for swift passage. This jobslegislative package is a criticalattempt by the Obama administration to address the economic hardships faced by Americans across the country and is expected to cost $447 billion.

President Obama’s American Jobs Act includes the “Pathways Back to Work Fund” which provides summer jobs for programs for low-income youth and year-round employment for economically disadvantaged young adults. Additionally, the extension of the payroll tax will help 20 million African-American workers and the new tax credit for hiring the long term unemployed will have a significant impact on the Black community.

The American Jobs Act also takes a step in the right direction in preventing employers from discriminating against the long term unemployed, which will benefit young adults as well as black males – the members of the black community who are chronically unemployed.

Black Youth Vote! is cautiously optimistic about this bill. We’re happy to see our elected officials finally prioritize job creation and hope that this bill will begin to create jobs with livable wages for our community. However, one thing we know is the political process; and sending the American Jobs Act to Capitol Hill is merely a step in an on-going journey.

Below are four simple and effective ways to be involved: 

1. For more direct action on the “American Jobs Act” please connect with our partner organization The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights by visiting http://www.civilrights.org/action_center/america-needs-job.html
2. Connect with a local community organization(s) and leader(s) to serve as “community watchdogs” to ensure that once funds are sent to states that those most impacted are benefiting from the “American Jobs Act” and to prevent wasteful spending.
3. Register to vote and Educate members in your local community on social policy issues that affect your community as a conversation with action ahead of the 2012 election.
4. Stay updated on our iThink2012 campaign by following us on Twitter: @blackyouthvote, Facebook: Black Youth Vote!, Email: blackyouthvote@ncbcp.org, or TEXT iThink2012 to 69302

It’s time for young folks to take control of our own future. You need to read about the pros and cons of the “American Jobs Act” and I’m sure you will see how it benefits young people – especially young black men. In order to get swift passage of the “American Jobs Act” to put our brothers and sisters back to work with livable wages black youth must be proactive. Without action, we will continue to lead in economic and social disparities. Enough is Enough.   It’s time to get busy making the government work for us.

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Deven D. Anderson is Senior Program Associate of Black Youth Vote!, a Youth & Young AdultInitiative of The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (www.ncbcp.org). blackyouthvote@ncbcp.org

Black Youth Vote! is a national grassroots coalition of organization and individuals committed to increasing political and civic involvement among Black men and women aged 18-35. The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation launched Black Youth Vote! to empower Black youth by educating them about the political process and training them to identify issues and influence public policy through participation. Over the past 15 years, BYV! has been leading the movement to increase black youth voter participation and engagement for black youth.

BYP MORNING NEWSFLASH: Mayweather's The New Kanye, Sweatshops In The Hood, and The REAL Rick Ross Doesn't Like The Fake One

BYP Morning NewsFlash
September 19, 2011

Everyone is still talking about that insanely bizarre Mayweather-Ortiz fight. AllHipHop.com thinks you need to stop hatin’ on Mayweather and recognize his talent as a boxer. I’ll let you make that call. But they do have a point; regardless of what everyone might think, Mayweather did nothing illegal. And he’s still an incredibly talented fighter. But he’s also a douche.

Floyd Mayweather is officially the Kanye West of Boxing.

In other strange sports news, Ron Artest is really in the process of changing his name to Metta World Peace.

Yes, you read that right. His new first name is “Metta,” which is apparently a Buddhist word that means “love and kindness to all.” The “World Peace” part is self-explanatory.

Is it ok to make fun of this? Artest has said that he hopes the name change will inspire young people around the world, which is nice. But couldn’t he have just started a charity and named it Metta World Peace instead? Just sayin

According to the Bureau of Justice, violent crimes in the U.S. fell  by a whopping 12% last year, and no one really knows why. The assumption was that in a bad economy, crime would only continue to go up. That definitely did not happen. In fact, between 1993-2010, rates of violent crime have dropped by 70%. So why are prison populations still exploding? Hmmm…

Prepare to be horrified by a Clutch Magazine report on an article printed in the Wall Street Journal by a conservative writer named Arthur Laffer. Laffer thinks he has the solution to skyrocketing black unemployment; Urban Enterprise Zones, which would “encourage development in blighted neighborhoods through tax and regulatory relief to entrepreneurs and investors who launch businesses in the area; where companies can locate free of certain local, state, and federal taxes and restrictions.

Sounds great, right? Until you realize that what he’s talking about is essential building a sweatshop in the middle of the hood. We live in the richest country in the world. Our people deserve to be paid a decent wage.

And in case you missed it, VH1’s new documentary “Planet Rock” premiered last night, and it was fantastic. Recounting the inextricably-link between the rise of Crack-cocaine and the rise of Hip Hop, the doc was well-researched, well-presented, Ice-T’s narration was on point, and the many insights from guys like RZA, Snoop, Raekwon and B Real were incredibly genuine and heartfelt.

Rick Ross was also interviewed. No, not the rapper, but the real Freeway Ricky Ross; the one that oversaw a massive crack empire in the late-80s and early 90s. And according to him, Rozay is a complete and utter fraud and he wants his name back.  Check out the clip below.

I don’t know what’s worse; the fact that the guy who revolutionized the crack game is exalted to the level of a deity within segments of our community, or the fact that someone who’d previously had a wholly legitimate job as a corrections officer felt the need to hide and lie about his previous life in order to make it in Hip Hop.

Sad.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ezHX8UlaCQ

Game Theory #Pause

Not that I pay that much attention to hip-hop anymore, but rapper, [The] Game (when did he drop the article?) spoke out recently about gays and hip-hop, and I noticed. And by “notice” I mean someone mentioned it to me and I bothered to Google it. Call it preparation for LGBTQ History Month.

In case you were wondering or concerned, “Game don’t have a problem with gay people.” Let’s all take a moment and release that collective sigh of relief. I wish I could follow that quote with “The Game don’t have a problem with not making albums anymore,” but that would be a lie–or a wish. Take your pick. But I digress. So, yeah, The Game don’t have a problem with gay people, but he does have a problem with believing myths and spreading them as if they are factually correct. The Game may not have a problem with the gays–and by gays The Game seems to speak exclusively about gay men–but he does have a problem with closeted men sleeping with straight women and consequently spreading AIDS to straight men who, I guess, would otherwise not have gotten caught up. This theory, as many of us know, has gained the appellation, “The Down Low Myth,” and several blogs have responded to The Game’s comments by refuting his argument. I support those efforts. And I hope those fans of The Game (because, seriously, who else was paying attention) who believed his words read those responses and gained some clarity. There was, however, something that the pundits missed, and I’d like to address it here.

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.”

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLY28BXSgm4