What The F@%! Happened?!: LAURYN HILL

Over the next four weeks, I’ve decided to focus on some of my generations most-beloved Hip Hop/Soul artists that up and disappeared on our asses! Why did we love them, why did they fade into oblivion, and is there even a snowball’s chance in hell that they’ll come back to us one day? These are the questions I’ll attempt to answer for ya’ll.

So without further delay, let’s get into this week’s cry for help.

An obvious one….

Lauryn Hill

Women Her-story Month: Do You Have a Chosen Sister?

I speak as a – a sister of a sister. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated on my birthday. And for over 30 years, Coretta Scott King and I have telephoned, or sent cards to each other, or flowers to each other, or met each other somewhere in the world.

We called ourselves “chosen sisters” and when we traveled to South Africa or to the Caribbean or when she came to visit me in North Carolina or in New York, we sat into the late evening hours, calling each other “girl.” It’s a black woman thing, you know. And even as we reached well into our 70th decade, we still said “girl.”

I pledge to you, my sister, I will never cease.

Dr. Maya Angelou’s remarks at Coretta Scott King’s Funeral

So, I was watching the Monique Show last night and Taraji P. Henson was one of her guests. What was interesting about the show was not that they both were Oscar nominated actresses, but that they were girlfriends. I mean Sistergirl girl friends. Sistahfriends whose on screen chemistry spoke of countless nights of belly laughs and Girl, let me tell you . . .” call and response, “I almost had to take my earrings off,” black girl stories. So, inspired by their on camera friendship and Women’s Her-story month, today I pay tribute to Sisterfriends without whom many black women including myself would go crazy on what seems like an ordinary day. Yes, black girl friendships are a blessing.

Dear Governor Paterson,

I was sad to see Spitzer go, but I was still excited about you in office. I didn’t know much about you, but I have to admit the black and blind thing made you kind of interesting. My thoughts–a man with that much handicap must be good or at least have some progressive ideas. Spitzer had ideas too, some that could have helped us avert the whole crazy Wall Street thing, but he also had hos. And we all know, hookers and politics don’t mix well.

So alas, it was your turn. And I was desperate for you to prove yourself. Even said “ha” to all the naysayers when you and your wife emerged to admit to extramarital affairs. Can’t get ’em now, I said as I was dumb to think the only things tripping up politicians were camera women and interns. Anyway, a blind black man and his cheating wife. This is gonna be good and for a short time–it was. You scored major points with your support of stem cell research and I heard gay people weeping when you proposed a gay marriage bill. You were hitting all the right buttons and then you started slipping. Getting crushed actually, by that big ass budget deficit. So you thought, let’s just charge four percent on everything from music downloads to sleeping outside (camping). Of course, there was the 18% soda tax aka the “obesity tax” that has yet to be approved.

Rhythm and Blackness

“She dances like a Black girl.”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z5HYNqx3n8

What?

Is there something distinct about the way in which we move or speak that is noticeably…Black? Before, I would have denied this. There’s no way you can identify movement or speech as distinctly Black. Right?

Maybe.

Know Your Rights

Tonight I attended a forum at my school about racial profiling. I heard various opinions about what people think it is, how to confront it, and what should be done if it happens. The theme of the night was sustaining the energy and outrage—when profiling does occur—so that change can be brought to the situation. The idea of using situations of profiling (or other situations of that bring shock to the multitudes) to create opportunities of mobilization makes sense to me. It also seems to be a pattern that once a couple weeks pass by, people tend to forget about a situation and the occasion to bring positive transformation gets lost. I saw this happen a week after the earthquake in Haiti hit. Or when I think back to Jena 6, how no one really cared about it after it became “old news.”

Overall, the lesson from the night, at least when it came to racial profiling when dealing with the police was knowing your rights. When I worked with the ACLU last Summer we would explain to people what their rights were when dealing with the police. Here are some tips to take into account is you are ever stopped by the police.

What to do if you’re stopped by the police

Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions. Don’t get into an argument with the police. Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you. Keep your hands where the police can see them. Don’t run. Don’t touch any police officer. Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent. Don’t complain on the scene or tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint. Do not make any statements regarding the incident . You also should not lie to a police officer.

Women Have Things Covered

For a long time husbands had been notoriously recognized for outshining, outworking and “bringing home the bacon for” their wives. After a short marriage and divorce in 1991, followed by 19 years of hard work and accomplishment, Kathryn Bigelow has shown ex-husband, James Cameron, that she’s got things covered and won’t need any favors.

Her low budget production of The Hurt Locker wowed the critics and viewers at the Academy Awards, winning 6 Oscars out of 9 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Directing by Bigelow. She is the first woman to win Best Director at the Academy Awards and after 82 years, as Barbara Streisand declared when presenting the award, “It’s about time.” Bigelow accepted the award, hoping to be “the first of many” female Academy Award winning directors and advising any young filmmaker not to give up on dreams.

Jail vs. No Ceilings

I’ve always been a fan of Dwayne Carter Jr. Before Young Money Entertainment existed, before all the Carter albums, and even before the “bling bling” phenomena I liked Weezy.  The pint-sized rapper from Hollygrove, New Orleans had a guttural delivery that was edgy and catchy at the same time. I can recall watching Hot Boys music videos after school and quickly turning the channel when my Mom walked in the room. In all honesty, I wouldn’t want my ten year old watching the “Block is Hot” either.  Nevertheless, I grew up in the age of “Rap City the Basement” and “106 and Park”, it was hard to keep most of my friends from this music too.

I digress.  Back to Mr. Weezy F. Baby, please say the baby.  So today Mr. “No Ceilings” was sentenced to a year of nothing but ceilings and cinderblock walls in New York’s Riker Island.  Although he plead guilty to criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree in October of 2009 he has been more evasive than O.J. Simpson in a White Bronco. Well that’s not too evasive. He’s been more evasive than Amy Winehouse at a detox center.

March 1, 2010 – March 7, 2010

Kansas City wants to close half its public schools
Heather Hollingsworth, ABC News, March 7, 2010

Ludacris, Foxx target black youth in social media push on HIV
Steve Sternberg, USA Today

Local students win annual Black History Essay Contest
Hope Young, The News Star, March 7, 2010

On Their Own at 18
Tyler Hayden, Santa Barbara Independent, March 7, 2010

MTACC honors black achievers
Michele Angermiller, New Jersey Times of Trenton, March 7, 2010

Angry high school students put MTA to test on free Metrocards, Chairman Walder agrees to hearing
Albor Ruiz, NY Daily News, March 7, 2010

Minneapolis community leaders fear rash of violence
Richard Tsong, Star Tribune March 7, 2010

Youth show impressive skill at Black Knowledge Bowl
Milwaukee Courier, March 6, 2010

National campaign to recruit youth mentors arrives in West Palm Beach
Julius Whigham II, Palm Beach Post, March 6, 2010

The Lost Wages of Youth
The Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2010

Inspiring black Durham students
Crystal Crimi, Durham Region, March 5, 2010

Black churches commit to mentoring young black men
Adelle M. Banks Oklahoman NewsOK, March 4, 2010

School launches male-only academy
Liz Skalski, Maryland Gazette, March 4, 2010

Student apologizes for UC San Diego noose incident, claims no racist intent
Larry Gordon, LA Times, March 1, 2010

Church iSummit teaches youth about perceptions
Icess Fernandez, Shreveport times, March 1, 2010

Origin of ‘acting white’
Maureen Downey, Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 1, 2010

Video games tied to aggression
Sharon Jayson, USA Today, March 1, 2010