Black Youth Most Impacted By Dating Violence

When news broke that Rihanna had at the very least collaborated with ex-boyfriend Chris Brown on new music, and at most reconciled with him romantically, the blogosphere exploded with a variety of questions; is Rihanna’s career in danger, is her health in danger, should we forgive Chris Brown, and so on.

Those questions remain up in the air. What we do know is that dating violence is an all-too-common reality for Black youth. If anything, the saga of Rihanna and Chris Brown can at least be used as a teachable moment for young people.

According to a report from the CDC, 1 out of 11 high school students have experienced physical violence from a boyfriend or girlfriend. Chillingly, Black teenage girls are 80 percent more likely to be intentionally assaulted by their boyfriends.

Reconsidering Natural Hair

On the heels of a study that suggests a connection between hair relaxers and uterine fibroids, actress Viola Davis decided to leave her wig at home and take to the red carpet at the Oscars in a stunning gown and an even more stunning teeny weeny afro. Of course when the moment happened, I was busy celebrating Thanksgiving but all of a sudden, my Twitter timeline went nuts and I just had to see it.

And there she was, in all of her natural beauty; glorious brown skin, dazzling smile and a crown of tightly coiled hair that excited me. It was a big fucking deal, this woman, this Black woman taking such a chance and telling the world that she didn’t care what was “in” or trendy at the moment.

MISSY ELLIOT’s Top Ten Greatest Music Videos

Has there ever been anybody quite like Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot? We could compare her to the likes of Grace Jones, Madonna, Queen Latifah and maybe TLC or En Vogue, but none would truly do her justice.

Missy thumbed her nose at a plethora of standards – beauty, femininity, decency, racial and ethnic performance; you name ‘em – to craft some of the freakiest, stankiest, dirtiest, weirdest, most memorable music videos of the 1990’s and 2000’s. And unlike the many artists she’s influenced (Gaga and Nicki Minaj, to name a few), Missy’s music was always just as unique, innovative and bizarre as her visual presentation, consistently pushing against the stylistic boundaries of Hip Hop music. Her ability to both rap and sing has set the standard for the generation of female artists that proceeded her, and her collaborations with Timbaland (musically) and Hype Williams (visually) forever-altered the landscape of popular music.

Do yourself a favor, and check out my list of the greatest Missy Elliot music videos of all time;  just a quick refresher course on all things Misdemeanor.


For Young Adults Outgrowing Their Parent’s House

You never really get the experience of independence until you move out of your parent’s house. When you leave that house for the last time, as a grown child, you feel the gravity of self-reliance. I recently took that walk at the conclusion of my winter break and suffering, although small, has never been so benevolent. Of my suffering- feeling pressure to budget my money, or making life-changing decisions without guidance near- a new pride has emerged.

Fascinating Article: ‘Colonialism Helped Launch HIV Epidemic in Africa’

A stunning article in the Washington Post shines a light on the connection between the early growth stages of HIV, and its coinciding with the West’s “Scramble for Africa” during the late 1800’s/early 1900’s.

Scientists have been able to trace the origins of HIV to Central Africa; and its initial outbreak to a bustling port city called Kinshasa. Colonialism in Africa created large, chaotic, bustling cities like Kinshasa; perfect breeding grounds for an epidemic.

The article asserts that without Colonialism, it is likely that HIV would never have reached even a fraction of the tens of thousands of people that is has reached.

Black Youth in the News: Feb 20-26

Suspensions, Expulsions of Black Students: The School to Prison Pipeline?
Lisa Loving, The Skanner, 2/23/12

“Who knew such little kids could be kicked out of school? But a 2005 study by Yale University found that in Oregon, preschoolers are expelled at twice the rate of school-aged kids, and that black toddlers are expelled at about twice the rate of white tots – even higher than the national average.

REPORT: Child Poverty Up 25 Percent Over Last Decade

According to a new study released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the number of children living in areas of concentrated poverty in America has grown by 1.6 million in the last decade.

An “area of concentrated poverty” is defined as a census tract where over 30 percent of the population live below the poverty line. In 2000, 6.3 million children lived in areas of concentrated poverty. Today, that number has grown to a whopping 8 million.

The study shows that children growing up in urban or rural areas, as well as children who are Black, Native American and/or Latino are more likely to live in poverty-stricken areas. Detroit, Cleveland and Miami are the highest ranking cities regarding child poverty.

According to experts, the ramifications of these numbers are serious, long-lasting and multi-faceted.

Why Are There So Few Black Students at NYC’s Specialized High Schools?

The New York Times ran a fascinating article on NYC’s flagship specialized public school Stuyvesant High School, and its dwindling number Black and Latino students.

3,295 students go to Stuyvesant; yet only 40 of them are Black. Black students make up 1.2 percent of the student body, while Latinos are just 2.4 percent.

Admission to Stuyvesant is based solely on a candidates scores on an entrance exam; race and ethnicity are not considered. But one has to wonder if more should be done to attract a more diverse student body, or to least make sure everyone is even being made aware of the entrance exam at all, not to mention the many (oftentimes expensive) tools and resources of which many canditates take advantage to better their chances of admission.

And the Oscar Goes to…

When Octavia Spencer won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress last night, I thought this blog had written itself. All I needed to do was list the names and roles of black women who had won Oscars, make a few comments about some very obvious things, and keep it moving. However, Meryl Streep’s shocking win over the presumed winner of the Best Actress award, Viola Davis, threw a bit of a wrinkle in that plan.

I’ve made it very clear that I was neither in support of The Help nor black actresses only being awarded for their craft when they reinvigorate old stereotypes that are both problematic and troublesome. I wonder, though, how many understand Davis’ unexpected loss. It seems like there are a few ways to interpret it: