On Moral Obligation

What happened at Penn State was a great travesty. None of us doubt that. I hope that each of the boys and families involved, some of whom were probably black, have gotten or soon get the care they need to recover from this abuse. (Granted, race is not necessarily central to this situation. But since I tend to have an image of white boy scout troops when I hear news like this, I thought the race of at least some of the victims was worth noting.) Each person involved in covering up these horrendous crimes failed to meet his moral obligation to those young boys.

But let’s stop acting like not meeting a moral obligation is surprising.

While SNAPBACKS Take Over…


If I must have something that I don’t like about having locks, it would be that I can’t rock a snapback. Had there not been so much of a conversion in the herds of Black youth—fitted caps are nearly extinct among the heads of the coolest kids—my lament over snap backs would not even be an issue. No one can argue that the switch is another life-imitating-art fanatic, since none of the mainstream rappers—Drake, Maybach Music, J. Cole, etc.—wear snap backs. Besides, those types of perspectives, that restrict trends to imitations of media, demonstrate lazy thinking; instead, I think that the appeal to snapbacks connects to its forum for creativity.

New Web Episode of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl: Part 2 of "The Unexpected"


I have written previously on how much I love the web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. The show is original and features a young black woman who navigates her way through seen and unseen awkward situations on her job and in her relationships. Well, I am happy to report that the show is so popular that in a matter of a month, the creator, Issa Rae, and her cast mates where able to raise $44,000 dollars to continue the web series for another 5 weeks with a grand finale.

To read more about her inspirational fundraising story, please read below.

Trauma Center Campaigns & the Perpetual Struggle for Healthcare in Communities of Color


This past spring was the first time I attended a meeting for an organization that is mobilizing youth to stand up for their rights and be heard. The organizations name is FLY (fearless leading by the youth). Fly is now in the middle of a Trauma Center Campaign that continues to grow on the South Side of Chicago. The lack of a trauma center on the south side is a symbol of how many communities of color are continually ignored and pushed into the margins. It is a tangible and measurable representation of how poor communities are deliberately silenced or at least unconsciously forgotten. As the trauma center campaign continues, I believe it is an opportunity to discuss the larger issues of healthcare in black communities.

MJ's Doctor Found Guilty of Ending a Troubled Life

Six nights a week at the secluded Neverland Ranch, $150,000 a month, and an insomniac pop legend pleading “just make me sleep” were enough to cloud the ethics of Dr. Conrad Murray. A combination of isolation in a strange environment, inadequate qualifications, monetary incentive, and the borderline insanity of one of this country’s most famous, most questionable celebrities ever.

Michael Jackson having been performing since early adolescence, awkwardly entered the adult world and never truly assimilated. By age 8, he had a full-time job in show business and continued to experience various forms of abuse. As a young boy, he was noted for his “old soul,” but in adulthood, it seemed Jackson sought to recapture the youth he was deprived of, leading to a plethora of dramatic disturbances throughout his life and successful career.  Molestation scandals, numerous cosmetic surgeries, questionable parenting. However, Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” was a legend. And so despite the oddities of his personality, he had (and has) adoring fans and an even larger mass of people who retain a nostalgia for the music and performances he created. Jackson made some of the most remembered pop classics as a prepubescent child. As music producer Rick Rubin so accurately put it: “Regardless of anything else, he’s still Michael Jackson.”

The Problematic Project Of African-American Education?

This past Wednesday I attended a discussion entitled, “What is problematic about the project of African-American Education?” The Keynote speaker, Adam Green (Associate Professor of American History at the University of Chicago), raised important points surrounding how we discuss, practice, and envision African-American education. The talk was effective in illuminating the fact that we still have a distance to travel before we can say that African-American students are receiving the equal education Brown v. Board of Education sought after.

One point I’ve been pondering since the talk is his charge for us to be honest. This honesty unfolds into acknowledging the hyper segregated community, unstable home life, and stresses that young children may deal with before they enter a school building each day. Being aware and honest about the framing of young people’s minds by their environments is pivotal when trying to understand their experiences and aspirations. Green explicitly warned against being sensational in this attempt to be honest. The acknowledgment of hardship should at no point become a focal point or reinforced as an impossibility for young African-American students.

This charge to be honest is an important one in a society that borders on the omission or the sensationalism of issues attributed to the African-American community. My question is how do we as mentors, allies, and educators of young children strike a healthy balance between validating their experiences without dwelling on those ills they encounter outside the classroom? How can the spaces in which we interact with children serve as a safe haven for them to envision possibilities that exceed their realities?

VIDEO: Adele "Hometown Glory" LIVE


Check out a phenomenal performance from Adele; 19‘s gorgeous “Hometown Glory” LIVE!


According to Spin Magazine, Adele recently underwent laser surgery on the injured vocal chords that forced her to cancel her remaining 2011 tour dates last month.

She is expected to make a full recovery!

From Spin.com:

There is no such thing as a "Hispanic Political Agenda"

Campaign season is in full swing and politicians are courting voters harder than R. Kelly at a middle school dance. Sorry, maybe that wasn’t  the best comparison. Both Republicans and Democrats are doggedly vying to woo an important voting bloc- Latinos. The Census Bureau—in its first nationwide demographic tally from the 2010 headcount—said Thursday the U.S. Hispanic population surged 43%, rising to 50.5 million in 2010 from 35.3 million in 2000. Latinos now constitute 16% of the nation’s total population of 308.7 million.The Census Bureau has estimated that the non-Hispanic white population would drop to 50.8% of the total population by 2040—then drop to 46.3% by 2050. These numbers have candidates tripping over themselves in attempt to seem passionate about “Hispanic issues”. This problematic language and campaign approach is the reason I believe elected officials continue to do a poor job serving communities of color. To paint the Latino community as monolithic is folly. The voting patterns, key issues, wants, and desires among Latinos are as varied as Mitt Romney’s views on health care.

What Happened in Connecticut

I was recently invited to perform at the University of Connecticut on November 4th as the principal performer for a “Political Awareness Rally”. About a week before the event I got an email from the organizer, who ironically I met at Occupy Wall St, saying people were concerned about my performance, particularly the song “Occupy (We the 99).”  I thought this was very strange because this is supposed to be an institution of higher learning that welcomes all types of ideas, plus the event was a rally for political awareness. The organizer said he would not censor me, but if I performed it I might not get paid. Then I received an email directly from the comptroller of the Undergraduate Student Government saying specifically I could not perform “Occupy (We the 99).”

(More) Sad Black Girls

Last week, this site featured a trailer for the documentary, Dear Daddy, about young black women who grew up without fathers. In these last few months, it seems to me that documentaries about black women and their relationships to men and their relationship to the standards and mores of larger society have been of interest to documentary filmmakers. There was Bill Duke’s Dark Girls, which I discussed previously; there’s also a new film, Black Girl in Suburbia, whose subject matter I’m sure you can infer from the title. (See each trailer at the bottom of this post.)