Dynamics of Trust & Respect in the Black Community

This past week I had the opportunity to attend two great events on the south side. A showing of the Kartemquin film, The Interrupters, and an all day event dedicated to youth activism past and present, which included a showing of The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. Both events were well attended by both community members and college kids, which made for some much needed face time as well as discourse. While the different participants came to both events to see the same presentation, it became clear in the aftermath that they came for different reasons and with prior assumptions in mind. It also became quite clear that some points regarding trust in the Black community hold so true for individuals that open discourse isn’t enough.

Specifically, I was struck by The Interrupters film itself and the cease fire strategy, which utilizes trust building as an integral role. As presented in the film, many of the interrupters are former street organization members and affiliates who have served time on the streets and behind bars. This grimmer past seemed to serve as motivation for the interrupters work and an identification point with those being interrupted. Again, trust becomes more than a desire but a bare minimum when acting in such a high stakes situation of gun violence. 

Reclaiming Power Through Hip-Hop



















This past weekend I had the honor of moderating a panel discussion on hip-hop and youth activism. The panel consisted of musical artists: Invincible, Rhymefest,  Jasiri X,  Dana Lynn, Fresco and BBU. The reason I call this opportunity an honor is because I had the chance to have a frank discussion with some of the industry’s most conscious minds about how hip-hop can be used as a tool to mobilize communities. During our panel discussion we debated intergenerational conflicts within social movements, misogyny, and agenda-setting all within the context of contemporary hip-hop.

12 year-old Victoria Pannell Leads Anti-Violence Rally in Harlem

What a remarkable young lady!

NewsOne’s latest installment of their “On The Corner” series features 12 year-old Victoria Pannell, the National Action Network’s Northeast Regional Director of the Youth.

Marching and rallying in protest of the illicit activities that are destroying her Harlem neighborhood, Pannell discusses her inability to play and move freely in her own neighborhood because of its criminal elements.

Guns and Our Community: Should Radio Stations be held Accountable?

“I left him dead in the living room/ get it, dead in the living room” -Lil Wayne from the song “9 Piece”

Recently on a trip to New York I had the radio tuned in to Hot 97, one of the most popular and well known urban radio stations in the country. I wasn’t surprised that the same songs were being played over and over. I was, however, surprised that the songs contained blatant references to guns, murder and drug dealing, and that these songs were being played every hour on the hour all day long. This struck me as, at best insensitive and at worst treasonous. New york had just been rocked with a wave of violence including the shocking murder of a woman who was killed trying to shield several children from bullets fired by a rooftop gunman. Instead of public service announcements about stopping the violence, what I heard was basically commercials for purchasing and using illegal guns to kill and intimidate your enemies and of course, “get money”.

Where Is Kalisha Madden, and Where is Media Coverage of Black Missing Persons?

26 year-old Kalisha Madden has been missing since November 28th. She was last seen leaving her job at the Sting Gentleman’s club in Detroit at 3am.

Her family is desperate for information regarding her whereabouts, yet Madden is receiving very little coverage from national media outlets.

As Madame Noire astutely points out, missing people of color receive far less media coverage than missing whites. Are our lives somehow less valuable?

From Madame Noire:

“Kalisha’s case is being covered by local Detroit media but national news outlets have yet to cover the disappearance as Scott feels they should.

‘It’s very disheartening and frustrating because large media outlets can get everybody looking. Those first few days are the most important time in situations like this,’ Scott said.

Rules of Engagement

Now that we have successfully gobbled our way through Thanksgiving, businesses may commence annoying us silly with a loop of Christmas songs pumping through their store speakers and a slew of emails advertising deals for Cyber Monday/Week/Month/Year/Millennium, since we are fewer than three weeks away from the big day. Although I will more than likely get my share of coal this year, I imagine that Santa will bring wonderfulness to the boys and girls who were actually good and didn’t spend their idle hours speaking ill of celebrities. And, despite the apparently dismal marriage prospects for (black) women, there will also be a number of young women who will become betrothed between now and the beginning of 2012, with numbers

spiking on December 24th, 25th and New Year’s Eve. At least, that’s what the Kay commercials say. If you or someone you know should happen to be one of those lucky women who receives a diamond engagement ring something during this holiday season, then the following message is for you:

Engagements should last no longer than two years.

60% of Black Girls Are Sexually Assaulted

This is very disappointing and alarming news.

According to a studying still being conducted by Black Women’s Blueprint, 60% of Black women have experienced sexual abuse from black men before the age of 18.

Even more chilling is the fact that these numbers are actually an increase from previous findings.

From NewsOne:

“Farah Tanis, Co-Founder of the New York-based organization and co-author of the study, says the issue of domestic and sexual abuse in the black community is rarely discussed and that a sixty percent rate should be a wake-up call to black women.

WHO WILL RULE 2012: Nicki Minaj, Lana Del Rey, Sleigh Bells and MORE!

I’m not a fortune teller. But as a lifelong music nerd, I’ve developed a knack for spotting the next big thing.

Don’t ask me how; it’s…a gift. And it’s one that I am more than willing to share (as long as you bitches cite me!).

Below are 5 artists that are going to be HUGE in 2012. Some you may know, some you may not. But I’m downright positive that these individuals will hit it BIG next year, just in time for the apocalypse.

So check ‘em out below. And if you’re feeling generous, let us in on some of your predictions, too.


Nicki Minaj

So I know what you’re thinking and NO, Nicki did not rule 2011.

Nicki Minaj had a breakout, star-making year. Big difference. Most people were just getting to know Nicki in 2011. And after selling almost 2 million copies, charting 7 singles, nailing an SNL appearance, winning a few AMAs, and touring with Miz Britney Spears, I’d say the American public knows Nicki pretty damn well.

2012 will be the year where Nicki goes in for the kill.

VIDEO: Craig Mack's "Flava In Ya Ear (REMIX)" f/ Biggie, Busta, LL and Rampage


In honor of it being Friday (FINALLY), we’re throwing it way back to 1994, with one of the most important Hip Hop singles ever!

Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear” REMIX is essential for many reasons (the least of which being Craig Mack himself). It basically launched Diddy’s Bad Boy Records. And who can forget Busta Rhymes’ batshit cray cray verse, or LL’s absurdly smooth yet deceptively clever rhymes.

But of course, Biggie’s star-making performance reigned supreme, kicking things off with one of his greatest lyrical offerings.

Check out the classic music video for “Flava In Ya Ear (REMIX)” below: