Alabama's Hate Bill Drags the State Back to it's Ugly Past.

Che “Rhymefest” Smith and Jasiri X outside 16th St Baptist Church in Birmingham (Photo by Paradise Gray)

State Senator Scott Beason, one of the principle architects of Alabama’s anti-immigration bill HB56, is a racist. That’s not just my opinion, that’s what he was called by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson. Beason was a key witness in trial recently and was asked by the FBI to wear a wire. The wire picked up Beason making blatantly racist statements, calling Black people “aborigines,” “illiterate” and implying we can be enticed to vote with buffets. This lead Judge Thompson in his ruling to single out Beason. The Judge said Beason’s statements “demonstrate a deep-seated racial animus and a desire to suppress black votes by manipulating what issues appeared on the 2010 ballot” and added, “Lawmakers who harbor such sentiments lack the integrity expected from elected officials.”

It’s no surprise that Beason’s name is attached to a piece of legislation that singles out a specific group of people for racial profiling, harassment, and arrest. Alabama’s HB56 is not only the harshest anti-immigration law, it’s inhumane. HB56 requires schools to verify the immigration status of students upon enrollment, allow law enforcement to check the status of people they suspect are undocumented during routine stops and arrests, and prohibits renting property to undocumented immigrants. It also makes it a felony for undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver’s license, license plate, or business license. In other words if you’re a human being in Alabama with no papers, it’s a crime to live.

?uestlove was Wrong — Kinda

Last week, The (Legendary) Roots crew, ?uestlove in particular, got into a bit of trouble for choosing to play Fishbone’s song, “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” as the walk-on music for Republican presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann during her appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

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

Brother ?uestion was wrong.

Ludacris Makes Entire Music Video For His Wack Drake/Big Sean Diss

So Ludacris has decided to press the issue.

Earlier this month Luda released the track “Bada Boom,” rumored to be a direct diss to both Drake and Big Sean. Well, now we have a full-blown music video to accompany the track.

Featuring stock footage of famous emcee battles, video stills from “Hit ‘Em Up” and “Dre Day,” and some girl with big hair and smudged lipstick lip-synching his insults, Ludacris aims to embarrass those young whippersnappers with an old-school, lyrical ass-whopping.

Instead, he looks like Lil Kim he’s making a hell of a big deal out of not very much.

Check out the video here:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFw9h-L4Az8

Confused? Here’s a little background:

Post Thanksgiving Thoughts on Black Feminism: "My Great Aunt Made Me Go There"

So, yesterday was Thanksgiving and all I can say is that my great aunt pushed the ultimate button and questioned why I consider myself a feminist. I tried to ignore her comments about feminists being lesbians. I tried to take the higher ground when she said, “Our men need for women to help them, cook for them . . . be their neck and that’s the only way the black community will survive.” I tried . . . but then she said feminists have not done anything for the black community, but to divide it. And, then I said, “If it was not for black feminism I could not tolerate let alone love your alcoholic abusive nephew (i.e. my father).” Yes, I said exactly that and the whole house became quiet. And, of course, she was very offended and left. But, all this got me to thinking about why I am a black feminist.

Bodies Diced Up On Drum Machines: Knowledge From New Choreographers

Our parents figured that their generation saw the end of “real” dancing. You know, they tell you that they danced artistically and romantically and that we have pioneered a tasteless substitute for sex. I’m embarrassed to say that I was starting to believe the hype, but this was before I paid attention to our generation of choreographers. Never has there been such a style that is so sensitive to both music and lyrics as that of our young people of color. Artists such as Ian Eastwood, Kenzo Alvares and Pat Cruz represent a new heritage of dance that brings the body, as an object of creative contortion, to the incomplete music of Hip Hop and R&B.    

Tis the Season…For Gathering Around the Domino Table

Here we are again at the start of another Holiday season and while some of you are thinking of turkeys and Christmas trees, all I can focus on is the copious amount of shit talking that will occur around the inevitable domino games. So while my family is busy scouring Black Friday ads, I’m practicing my slam.

The games always start innocent enough when I team up with one of my cousins to play a game of dominoes with my grandmother and her sister. “Big Six” is played and then my cheek-kissing, pie-baking, church-going, sweetheart of a grandmother reverts to the way she was before she found the Lawd.

Pizza is a Vegetable? Congress Seems to Think So

If you haven’t heard from a pizza fanatic, like myself, last month Congress wrote a bill that continues to allow the tomato paste on pizza to be counted as a serving of vegetables. While you may have heard this argument circulating for a while, the Obama administration and the Department of Agriculture have proposed to make school lunches healthier in recent years. In opposition, schools with tight spending budgets argue that the government should not regulate what their students can or can’t eat. The proposal for healthier lunches was based on the fact that childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years and future health care costs will suffer because of it.

If pizza and potatoes, served daily in many schools, continue to bombard the school lunch lines, the majority of students will choose these unhealthy options while passing up the selection of other vegetables. I know how it feels to walk through the lunch line, knowing your parents aren’t watching over your shoulder and telling you what to put on your plate. It is irresponsible for schools to serve so many unhealthy options, knowing that the majority of students will choose them. Without the responsibility of the schools to implement healthier lunch options through cutting back on pizza and potato options, children will fall into the trap the frozen food and salt industries want them to.

HIV/AIDS Impacted Communities & Happy Thanksgivings

At certain moments, especially when cultural expectations require you to reflect on thankfulness, it becomes difficult to know exactly how to process certain events that take place in life. As I continue to try and understand privilege, struggle, and resilience the two things that continue to surface are the themes of place and environment. Specifically how these things impact the developmental process of human beings. I heard one of my friends say it makes them angry when “people were born on third base and feel as though they hit a triple.” This is my tension with individuals with privilege.

It is also my recently found privilege that I have somehow stumbled upon somewhere between high school and getting my masters degree, that I’ve had to recognize, be thankful for and figure out how to use that privilege to support others. Regardless if it is based on your race, gender, or socio-economic status (or all three for those wealthy white men out there), the important thing is to know your position in society and how that impacts the people around you. This is what I am forced to think about daily as I work for the HIV/AIDS impacted community. How does power and privilege impact their daily lives?

Who Do You Serve? "Occupy Wall St." Met with "Occupy the People's Rights"

I’ve grown up hearing stories from my parents, many of which were about their political activism, and many of which highlighted the lack of police support the experienced. In the summer of 1975, my dad participated in a desegregation protest on a beach in Boston where blacks had been excluded. While some protesters threw rocks, others remained peaceful. The police, viewing all of the protesters as outsiders, as troublemakers refused to intervene. My dad had a broken nose in the summer of 1975. The police had refused to intervene. It is that type of opposing mindset which so often has inhibited police from protecting protesters, and often led to antagonizing them.

Mindless Behavior LIVE in concert 12/23 w/ R. Kelly

On a rare occasion, such as this past weekend, I happened to be listening to the radio. I was tuned into 107.5 WGCI and there I heard an ad for their annual concert, The Big Jam. This event takes place next month on 12/23 at The All State Arena. The lineup includes Mindless Behavior, Young Jeezy, L.E.P Bogus Boys, and headliner, Chicago’ own, R. Kelly. Growing up as a teenager, GCI was my favorite radio station and I made it my duty to attend several Big Jam concerts. They always featured some of my favorite artists and stars including Beyonce, LL Cool J, Ciara, Ludacris, Shawnna, Twista and others.

 

I was very excited to hear that Mindless Behavior is performing because I’m actually a supporter of their music. These are young pop/R&B boys whose music and message is directed towards young people and teenagers. I’m a HUGE supporter of Young Jeezy and would willingly go to his concerts, any day of the week. However, I must admit that I found it disturbing that Clear Channel (parent company who owns 107.5, 103.5 and 102.7) would book a concert featuring R.Kelly as the headlining artist especially with his controversial background with young women. R. Kelly was acquitted of all charges brought against him based off pictures found in his Florida residence, as well as the infamous sex tape that floated around the country in 2002 which showed someone that resembled the singer having sex with an underage girl. This past is not to be overlooked.