Supreme Court Will Hear Case Challenging Affirmative Action

Today the Supreme Court announced they will once again hear a case challenging the constitutionality of Affirmative Action.

This particular case involves whether or not the University of Texas at Austin can consider race during the admissions process. The last time the Supreme Court heard a case challenging the policy was in 2003, regarding the admissions process at the University of Michigan Law School.

And proponents of Affirmative Action may have some cause to worry, as it is being reported that Elena Kagan, an Affirmative Action supporter, it likely to recuse herself from the case.

Rihanna and Chris Brown Release ‘Birthday Cake (remix),’ and the internet explodes…

Rihanna set off a firestorm of controversy last night when a remix of RiRi’s Talk That Talk mini-song “Birthday Cake” leaked, featuring none other than former boyfriend Chris Brown.

In case you forgot, Chris Brown is still on probation after assaulting Rihanna the night before the Grammys in 2009.

Needless to say, fans and critics are divided over Rihanna’s decision to be even remotely friendly towards Brown, let alone record music with him. And the overtly-sexual nature of the song doesn’t make things much better.

Brown’s first line: “Girl, I wanna fuck you right now/Been a long time, I’ve been missing your body.”

So is it RiRi’s prerogative, or is she setting a bad example for young women?

Chicago Charter School Fines Students for Untied Shoelaces and Chewing Gum?!

Chicago-based charter school network Noble Street College Prep is at the center of controversy over their costly method of disciplining students.

Noble Street students are charged fines for seemingly minor infractions like using a cell phone or having untied shoelaces. The school says that by sweating the small stuff, they have cut down on more serious infractions like fighting or drugs, and that grades and test scores are up.

Critics say fining students is just inappropriate, and that it disproportionately impacts (and potentially forces out) low income students.

Last year alone, the school collected over $190,000 in disciplinary fees from students.

Jesus, The Community Activist

Today I would like to talk about a very simple subject-conflict-and Jesus, the community activist. Although these concepts may seem diametrically opposed; Black liberation theology tells us that Jesus Christ was a community activist. Many of my self-proclaimed “educated” brethren consider themselves to be above religious teachings, especially Christianity, because they believe that it is a religion that was imposed on African-Americans, the same way Malcolm X said, “Plymouth Rock landed on us”. Some have expressed to me that it preaches passivity, especially in the face of oppression. However, Black liberation theology deals primarily with the African-American community, to make Christianity real for blacks. It explains Christianity as a matter of emancipation here and now, rather than in an afterlife. The goal of black theology is not for special treatment. Instead, “All Black theologians are asking for is for freedom and justice. No more, and no less.”

White Teacher Suspended For Using N-Word in Class; Suing Chicago Public Schools

White school teacher Lincoln Brown is suing Chicago Public Schools after he was suspended for using the n-word in front of his sixth grade class.

Brown had intercepted a note being passed while he was teaching, in which a student had written rap lyrics using the n-word. Brown says he wanted to seize the opportunity as a teachable moment, and engage his students on the history and implications of the word.

Brown’s principal happened to walk in during the ensuing conversation, heard Brown utter the n-word, and immediately began the process of issuing a suspension.

The Incredible Adventures of Jasiri X

I just got back yesterday from a 9 day trip to the West Coast that was one of the most productive, fun, and painful journeys I’ve ever experienced.  It started on February 10th in Portland, Oregon at Portland’s Sixth Annual Youth Summit. I was blessed to be a judge at the youth talent show competition, and do the keynote at Portland State University. I spoke to parents and youth about how the corporate influences in the rap industry are the real forces behind the mis-education of our youth and the necessity for us to create and control our own media. Later that evening I had one of the most memorable performances of my career at a house party on the eastside of Portland. About 50 people packed the living room of the home of Portland’s study group and we proceeded to try to tear the roof off that place. The energy was incredible!

Black Youth in the News: Feb. 13-17

An American Problem: Can Changing Culture End Youth Violence?
Sarah Garland, Huffington Post, 2/13/12

Halfway into The Interrupters, a documentary airing Tuesday night on PBS’s Frontline, Caprysha Anderson, an 18-year-old teenager from inner-city Chicago, rides a carousel for the first time. The seemingly mundane event is transformative for Caprysha and for the audience’s understanding of the depths of her violent upbringing.

She has just gotten out of jail. Her face is scarred from fighting. She looks old for her age. But wide-eyed as the carousel turns under the bright lights of a suburban mall, she seems briefly innocent and young.

A few moments later, she breaks down in tears.

The film, by Steve James, producer of Hoop Dreams, and Alex Kotlowitz, journalist and author of There Are No Children Here, is a year in the life of CeaseFire, an anti-violence program started in Chicago more than a decade ago.

Read the rest of this article here.

Color Of Change Calls For Firing of XXL Magazine CEO Over Too $hort’s ‘Fatherly Advice’

By now, you’ve probably heard about rapper Too $hort’s outrageous online video for XXL Magazine, in which he essentially coaches young men on how to force themselves on young women.

Entitled “Fatherly Advice,” $hort’s remarks are shocking in their blatant endorsement of behavior that is clearly sexual abuse.

Color of Change is now calling for the firing of XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten, and they need your help.

Spilling Whitney’s Tea Redux

Since I have done nothing but act like my mother’s child and mourn the passing of Whitney Houston for the last 10 days, I knew today’s post would be a return, in some way, to The Voice. Early last week, I had resolved to write a fun, lighter post, tentatively titled, “Whitney: Anatomy of a Diva,” where I post videos of Whitney singing with other, clearly lesser singers and offer commentary.

But that will have to wait.

After last Monday’s post, I got a really thoughtful and thought-provoking email asking about whether or not it was too soon discuss the nature of Whitney’s relationship with her former assistant, Robyn Crawford. It took me a few days to respond, because I thought I was deeply ambivalent about the matter. In reply, I questioned the impulse to posthumously out folks, and wondered if we had not found other ways to validate our own sexuality. I made that last claim with a little trepidation, because although I don’t find being able to identify with a celebrity in such a way helpful to my own self-esteem, I must acknowledge that others feel differently. (Moreover, I must readily confess that my addiction to poorly produced webseries starring lesbians of color does not stem solely from my thirst for things to hate on.)

The Problem with Speeches from “Great” Leaders

I’ve gotten the chance to hear a few speeches from a few “great” leaders of today, and I have a slight reservation about what I’ve been hearing. If you ask me, there are two types of great leaders and they give two types of great speeches.







The first kind of leader is the Dr.-Martin-Luther-King-Jr. type of leader (or feel free to insert your favorite transformative historical figure—I recommend those of the Jim Crow or decolonization persuasion). What characterizes these types of leaders is the sense of moral and historical brevity that seems to imbue the very words that come out of their mouths. The speeches they give seem to strike somewhere at the indefinable space between their passion, and the spiritual economy of our hearts and minds. In essence, there’s something greatly at stake when they speak. And we, as an audience, feel the weight of the stakes, and are compelled to act. The words of these leaders are not just words. They are catalysts for change, and you feel their weight. These speeches take risks. These speeches are change agents because they have no choice but to be.

Then, there are these other speeches that I hear as of late.