Black Beyond Borders

travel

By Rachel Hill

The first time I went to China, I was stared at with no shame. People enjoying a bowl of soup would put down the bowl and simply gawk. There was even a time when an elderly woman came up to me and rubbed the brown skin on my hand. My translator told me that the lady once “read” about black people in books but never actually saw a black person in real life. Her rubbing my hand was to ensure that I was, in fact, real.

Surprisingly, I was not mortified or offended. I understood the cultural context. Much of the outside world was cut off from China until the late 1970s, so many people growing up during this time had never been exposed to foreigners.

While the encounter with the elderly woman was the most extreme case, people stopping and staring at a young black traveler is not uncommon. Here are three suggestions that will make your “traveling while black” experience more comfortable:

1. Be open

Let’s be honest, the majority of the non-Western world does not see a large group of young, black travelers on a regular basis. Seeing young white travelers backpacking is rather common — we, unfortunately, are not. Keeping that in mind, be open to the possibility that you may be the first black person an individual has ever seen. Typically, the stares and gawking is out of sheer curiosity and not meant to be offensive and rude.

2. Do your research

Before traveling anywhere do research on the culture. Learn what different hand signals and gestures signify. Look into social norms, and current events. This will help you gauge how to interact with locals. Unlike in the United States, in China, it is not considered rude to stare. To mitigate this, I would smile and say hello in the native language. With that, I would either make a new friend or the staring would cease.

3. Reach one, teach one

Do not allow what outsiders see in music videos and pop culture to define the perception of young black travelers. Be willing to share your culture with others. There is much to learn from everyone and everywhere we go. I remember being called a “nigger” by a Kenyan man while in Nairobi as if it were a term of endearment. His perception of the word was from American rap music; my perception was very different. Over a beer and burger, I politely explained the true meaning and impact of the word in my society.

This article originally appeared on Rachel Travels

Photo: Generic/gtpete63

In Support of Bobbi Kristina

Bobbi Kristina

By Candice Iloh

I don’t know Bobbi Kristina. Most of us don’t really know Bobbi Kristina. But we, as fans and spectators of her mother and fathers careers, have watched her development for years from the sidelines. We have watched her grow in the shadows of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston and, therefore, many of us have wrongly felt we had the right to negatively comment on the trajectory of your life.

I have heard it. The snide remarks about her presentation. The lacerating projections suggesting that she lacked a promising future due to the decisions her parents made.

The blogs and news media taking jabs at her physical appearance and public behavior.

That poor baby. She thinks she’s grown. What is going to happen to her?  The whole world almost pining for your fall.

And she grew up a Hollywood baby, where the kids grow up too fast and nobody really knows who they are beyond their family’s name but I see Bobbi Kristina. She is a young black woman who has never gotten to stand in the sunlight of her own name in peace.  Instead she seems to have still been mourning; still fighting to live anything resembling a normal life while trying to come into her own within the throngs of grief. She is now approaching the three year anniversary of her mother’s death and holding on to her father—both of whom she has witnessed suffer the public castration of the media as flawed artists in the limelight. To say she has been through a lot is an understatement. Probably more than any of us will ever know.

Even now it seems the newspapers and social media feeds are feasting at Kristina’s sudden illness while she lays in that hospital bed with her father by his child’s side and family hoping she gets to keep her life. If anyone has not told her this yet, I hope she is now allowing herself to break. It is okay to feel no other option but to crumble under the venomous expectations of this world that has always had too much of nothing to say when all you have ever done is try your best.

Without regard for what anyone thinks or what anyone has to say about us, before all, we are all trying our best to just be people and to survive this world. We want to be happy and whole and free to do the things that make us happiest. I honestly can’t imagine what it would be like to live my entire life under a magnifying glass for public consumption simply because my mother is Whitney Houston; because my father is Bobby Brown. I can’t imagine just anybody—people that I have never seen or spoken to a day in my life—using their tools and platform to speak about me and my family and our pain for their entertainment.  I couldn’t imagine the world theorizing over my family’s destruction and rarely hearing anything good about the love we share for each other.

I think undergoing such a torturous public existence would have the potential to destroy me too. Feeling like I was unable to escape this matrix that is my life in every newspaper, on every blog, and on every social media website has the potential to tear down anyone. I can only hope that in this difficult time for the Brown and Houston family that the world displays some humanity by giving them space and silence. Whichever way this goes I wish Bobbi Kristina peace and solitude.

New PETA Ad: Morally Reprehensible, Racially Insensitive, and Remarkably Selfish

peta ad

By Arielle Newton

PETA, the powerful and widely recognized animal rights group, wants us to know how terrible kennels are. So, they did so by equating kennels with the Ku Klux Klan. Yea…that Ku Klux Klan; the same domestic terrorist organization that, for centuries, raped, mutilated, and lynched Black people with the blessing and support of local, state, and even federal government.

Do I really need to explain why this ad is remarkably offensive? Guess so, because we live in a society in which decision makers with time, capacity, and funding at their disposal, green light a lazy project that relies on egregious racial contention to deliver its message.

 

To even suggest that animal abuse is on par with centuries of racialized terrorism that Black people faced at the hands of the Klan is beyond disconcerting.

That’s the core issue with the animal rights movement; a force that is largely crafted by and targeted towards upper middle class people. Animal rights entities project this notion that animals are equal to human beings, without profoundly considering, that Black lives and bodies are routinely and systematically treated harshly, and at times worse, than animals. Black bodies, in a not too distant past, were viewed as property, in a manner very similar to animals. Black people, not too long ago, were considered cattle, a means of production to ensure profit for landowners.

In short, slavery.

And then, when it was illegal to designate us as property, a transformative racial hierarchy (Jim Crow) was established and reinforced through mob violence and intimidation. Ku Klux Klan. And ever since their founding, they’ve been synonymous with extreme racial terror and grotesque brutality.

The idea of Black bodies as cattle exists today. Today, millions of Black people are forced to work for free, while capitalist landowners make obscene profit off free labor. The prison system is a 21st century plantation.

By having a Klan member attend an American Kennel Club meeting, the PETA video—which has subtitles that misspell the white terrorist organization’s name as the “Ku Kluk Klan”—attempts, in a comedic way, to compare dog breeding with the Klan’s trademark white supremacy. While the ad doesn’t mention or depict the beating, castrating, hanging and burning of black people, the image of a Klan member in full regalia conjures up this violence.” –Aura Bogado, Colorlines.

To conflate the racial terror of the Klan in a facetious manner devalues and downplays the seriousness of their formidable racist hate. To further compare their racist philosophy to that of a dog kennel is privileged foolishness.

Once again, the pain of Black folk is relegated to the margins, while our stories are used to promote an upper middle class white ideal.

 

This post originally appeared on Black Millennial Musings

Photo: Screenshot/Youtube

#YouTriedIt: Complicating Comparisons of Drag and Blackface

drag

By Jay Dodd

A recent post from Mary Cheney (Fmr. Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter), she positioned the work of drag in comparison to that of blackface.Before we get any further, I think it is important to reiterate this comparison is sloppy and not needed. There are a variety of ways to critique drag (which we will get to) but to position it in conversation with such explicit anti-Blackness is intellectually lazy and erases many intersections of gender and race. Though there is a question underneath the sweeping sentiment. As Slate contributor Miz Cracker (a white/white-passing drag queen) already propositioned:

Is drag degrading to women?

I believe inherently, no, however with the rampant misogyny in the queer/gay community, I’m am slow to believe that we are doing enough to combat degradation. An often misguided rhetoric around drag is that performers all want to be women, or are committed to replicating women. Yes, there are many trans drag queens/kings, but the performance aspect is the critical feature. Like theater, dance, music and most art forms there are a variety of drag styles. The vocabulary of drag is so expansive there many entrances of empowerment and subversiveness to notions of femininity.

An often used critique is that drag queens, mock femininity / women. As part of Cheney’s original critique she mentioned that drag artists often “act out every offensive stereotype of women (bitchy, catty, dumb, slutty, etc.)”. This doesn’t address the problem of how personality traits are gendered and misogyny colors our adjective use. This thinking points at the symptom of (some largely uncreative) drag performances and not at the misogyny that permeates such creations. A problem with the cis-queer community is misogyny (not to mention racismtransphobia, among others). This is why many drag performances feel mocking or condescending.

The work of blackface, however, is only violent.

 Mockery and shame and historical violence are rampant throughout blackface. From America’s first film to Hollywood starlets looking “halloween fun,” minstrelsy rests on reproducing Black subject available for demonization and ridicule. The history of blackface as part of American theater paints how violently un-human, Black folk are seen and read. There is very specific white supremacist power in minstrelsy’s long popularity that drag will never attain.

The politics of queer performance are too nuanced and multi-faceted to be compared to the archaic and vehemently damaging act of minstrelsy.

Discussions of why blackface is the worst are long catalogued and researched and the one aspect of this discussion that has yet to surface ishow many drag queens adopt certain minstrelsies under the guise of “performance”. White queens can often be clocked fetishizing Black men, using AAVE, utilizing coded Black (and Latin@) tropes for their acts/characters, not to mention blatantly tanning + blackening their skin for performances. Like the underlying misogyny, there is a unsettling current of racism that can permeate drag and those are the only places were a comparison can be drawn.

The politics of queer performance are too nuanced and multi-faceted to be compared to the archaic and vehemently damaging act of minstrelsy. There are ways to critique drag, but any reading must direct its accusation to the misogynistic and racist centers of the offense.

 

This post originally appeared here.

Queering Black History & Getting Free

marsha

By Dominique Hazzard

I am a queer black woman. By this I mean that the words to describe my sexuality exist outside the margins, between the approved boundaries, beyond the limits of most imaginations. A queer thing is a thing that existing words cannot yet adequately describe, a thing that our language and our boxes have not yet evolved to capture. And what does “queering” something mean? To me it means turning the thing on its head: questioning its assumed narratives, reworking its categories, and upending its status quo.

Let’s queer black history.

Lifting Up the Stories of Black LGBTQ People

Queering black history means lifting up the stories of black LGBTQ people. It means resolving that not one more child (or adult) learns about the “I Have a Dream” speech without learning about Bayard Rustin, the man who led the planning of the March on Washington- at least not on our watch. It means really learning about him- knowing his contributions to the Civil Rights Movements, reading Time On Two Crosses right next to The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, having discussions in our classrooms and on our Facebook pages about Letters from the Birmingham Jail while also discussing why Bayard Rustin too was arrested, how he was relegated to the background by his peers, and what we must do to prevent that from ever again happening in the black freedom movement.

Queering black history means canonizing Marsha P. Johnson as a matriarch of black America. Putting her face on those calendars and poster collages right next to Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Coretta Scott King, and Michelle Obama.  It means studying her ACT-UP campaigns in high school classrooms. It means mourning her too-early death just as we mourn deaths of cisgender men like Malcom and Medgar. It means examining why it took 20 years for the NYPD to investigate that death as a murder, and having conversations about the role of the black freedom movement in bringing about trans liberation today. marshapjohnson.jpg

Complicating the Stories of The Historical Figures We Know

Queering black history goes wider and deeper than the inclusion and recentering of queer folks. Remember that “queering” also means re-working. We must rework and complicate the stories we tell about the black figures we are familiar with.

Rosa Parks, for example, was not only told to get to the back of the bus. She was also told by an NAACP supervisor, for whom she later worked as a secretary, that women should stay in the kitchen. As we study her resistance against both attacks on her black womanhood, a queering of black history requires us to ask why we leave that piece out of the story, and how we can ensure that our contemporary movements are safe spaces for people living at the intersections.

Billie Holiday was a prolific jazz singer. She was also a heroin addict and the first major target of the federal government’s war on drugs. Henry Anslinger, virulent racist and first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, intentionally turned a blind eye to the addictions of prominent white entertainers while obsessing over Holiday and his dream of bringing the full force of the federal government down upon her head. She died shackled to a hospital bed, denied appropriate treatment by the federal government, with police officers in her door. Billie Holiday has an important place not only in the history of black music, but in the history of black people, the police, and resistance.

Seeking Out New Stories

But if we are to queer black history then we must dig deeper, do more than adding nuance to the narratives of those we already know and love. We also have to study and celebrate the black people who have been erased, hidden from our collective memories.  We have to move beyond the shiny negroes- the astronauts, entrepreneurs, athletes, entertainers, and organizers who have been deemed respectable enough to be worthy of our memory. We have to look between the cracks and find our incarcerated heroes, our undocumented leaders, our luminary sex workers, the people that systems of oppression most desperately want us to forget. And we have to teach those stories to each other.

We have to do the work of intentionally remembering people like Carol Crooks. I just learned her name while doing research for this post. She doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. But she is worth remembering. Carol Crooks was a woman who became an organizer while incarcerated at Bedford Hills, a maximum security prison in New York.

In February of 1974, Carol Crooks had a severe migraine and asked to be taken to see the prison nurse. When her guard denied her request, she tried to push past her and get to the nurse anyway. In response to this incident, Crooks was beaten, stripped naked, and placed for into a solitary confinement cell for three days. Crooks later filed a lawsuit challenging the practice of sentencing inmates to solitary confinement with no trial or formal charges. She won her case, and the warden was found guilty of unconstitutional treatment of a prisoner.

That August, Crooks was returned to solitary with no formal charges. The next morning, a group of women went to the warden and demanded Crooks’ release, alleging that the solitary confinement of Crooks was retaliatory. The women were ignored and told to go to bed 3 hours earlier than usual. They refused to comply. The guards began to assault the women in response to the insubordination. The women seized the guards’ weapons and fought back. They took over the prison, in what is now known as the August Rebellion, until state troopers subdued them about 4 hours later.

Carol Crooks is part of a queered black history.

Disrupting the Centralized, Charismatic Leader Narrative

Next we must question the very ideal of black history through the lens of the individual. We must ask ourselves: why does the history we choose to remember so often come in the form of charismatic and solitary pioneers, centralized leadership, the folks out front?

Queering black history means remembering everyday people, the struggles they faced, and the work they did. It means recognizing the extraordinary in the ordinary black people who were told their lives didn’t matter, but still contained a fierce will to live, and love, and fight for freedom. It means valuing all different types of black leadership- the folks who were behind the scenes, who were quiet, who were less than charming, who didn’t win but set the stage for those who later would, who rose to the occasion because they had to and then when back to their regularly scheduled lives. It means celebrating collectives, and group efforts, and conglomerations of movers, shakers, and neighbors whose names we won’t ever know.

I want us to upend the status quo by including the Contract Buyers League of the South Side of Chicago in our Civil Rights Movement narrative. The Contract Buyers League was a group of over 500 people living on the Southside of Chicago in the 1970s who had bought their homes through predatory loans after being shut out of the mainstream home loan market by racist laws. They banded together, filed suit against the speculators who were cheating them, and demanded their money back. They lost. But the Contract Buyers League is part of a queered black history.

I want us to queer black history by teaching about the residents of the Arthur Capper Public Housing community in Washington, D.C. These residents saw businesses, and particularly grocery stores, disinvest from their Southeast community in the 1970s. They decided to take matters into their own hands. As the mythology of entitled black welfare queens and lazy project thugs was gaining steam across the country, the residents worked together to start a community owned small business. They built the Martin Luther King Food Co-Op and harnessed the power of cooperative economics to nourish a black community trying to survive in a hostile white world. We don’t know the names of everyone who accomplished this feat, but the residents of the now-demolished Arthur Capper Public Housing project are part of a queered black history.

Acknowledging Our Dirt, Holding Our Pain

A queered black history cannot be sanitized. Filing down black history’s sharp edges would make sense if the only point of studying it was to make ourselves feel good. Sweeping the flaws of our black icons under the rug would be reasonable if the goal of black history was to convince a white society that black people are good and smart, that we can be honorable too, that our lives matter. But I don’t believe that either of these goals are what black history is about.

I believe that we learn black history because doing so will help us to get free. And in order to accomplish this goal, to be able to learn from the fullness of our past, we have to approach it with a queer lens. We have to bring to black history a quality that the black queer community embodies at its best- the unconditional acceptance of people’s full and real selves.

Our history is what it is. Sometimes we didn’t overcome. Sometimes our faves were misogynists. Sometimes our idols were reckless and led movements into the ground. Sometimes effective and powerful black leaders were on crack. Sometimes our stories are not glistening stories of hope and triumph and movin’ on up, but stories of mistakes made. Sometimes they are stories of pain and loss, death, and things being taken from us.  But they are stories that have something to teach us nonetheless.

Let’s queer black history. Let’s reimagine it as an opportunity to celebrate black heroes, leaders, and everyday people. Let’s use it to remember and mourn the black lives that white supremacy has ripped from our arms. Let’s use it as a chance to learn from the lives of black people at all different intersections, black people whose sweat and tears, laughter and joy, victories and mistakes have brought to where we are today. Let’s make learning black history about getting free.

Miss. Judge Indicted 9 Months After Reportedly Hitting Mentally Disabled Man and Yelling ‘Run, N–ger, Run’

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From The Root:

Nine months ago a now-former Mississippi judge is alleged to have smacked a mentally disabled man before yelling, “Run, n–ger, run.” In response to that incident, a grand jury has “served an indictment for simple assault on a vulnerable adult,” the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports.

There was no word on why the process to indict former Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger took so long, but Weisenberger’s attorney told the newspaper in an emailed statement that the former judge has been cooperative since the alleged May 8 incident.

According to witnesses who spoke with news station WAPT, 20-year-old Eric Rivers, an African-American man with special needs, was working as a traffic monitor and parking attendant at a Canton, Miss., flea market May 8, when Weisenberger reportedly smacked him and yelled, “Run, n–ger, run.”

On Thursday, Weisenberger turned himself in to the Madison County sheriff and was released on $10,000 bond.  

Read the entire story at The Root.

Photo: Screenshot

Kanye: Prophet or Punk

Kanye Grammys

By Keevin Brown

Kanye West’s playful almost interruption of Beck at the Grammy’s was an homage to his actual 2009 Grammy award interruption of Country artist Taylor Swift. The irony of the situation was meant to instill humor and to some level, show a sense of growth and maturity. We as Americans supposedly live in a “post-racial” society, but once again racism rears its ugly head and seems to be the inescapable lens in which we view society.

Due to the antagonistic and outright racist history of America, every interaction between Black and white people is seen through a racialized lens that forces us to question each others intentions. When Kanye faked us all out during Alternative artist Beck’s acceptance speech for Best Album at the Grammy’s, his actions were automatically read as “a Black man picking on a defenseless white guy.” No matter how much Kanye explains that his actions were in jest and that the voices in his head told him to do it (another joke Kanye made that was in jest) he will still be demonized as the “Black bully” who is selective in his victimization to only innocent and unassuming white people.

In an attempt at scolding the Black boogeyman, Garbage singer Shirley Manson in an open letter uses coded language to reprimand Kanye. “You disrespect your own remarkable talents and more importantly you disrespect the talent, hard work and tenacity of all artists when you go so rudely and savagely after such an accomplished and humble artist like BECK.”  Manson’s comments were said in reference to an E! Entertainment post-Grammy’s interview where Kanye espoused his opinion that the Grammy’s don’t respect artistry. Black people have been called “savages” since before the inception of America and for Manson to posit Beck, who is white, as “humble” and Kanye, a Black man, as a “savage” is nothing more than reinforcing tropes of uncivilized Black people who threaten the purity and sanctity of whiteness by virtue of simply existing.

If we are to truly move past America’s bigoted past and present, we need to level the playing field. What Kanye did is exercise his First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech. Kanye did this is 2009 with Taylor Swift and contemporarily with E! Entertainment. Manson also expressed her opinion, which she has every right to. The only difference is when a powerful Black celebrity like Kanye says something it is viewed as savagery, but when white people in the entertainment industry do it, they are touted as heroes e.g. Seth Rogan and his film The Interview. When Seth Rogan wanted to release his controversial and satirical movie that depicts North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a less than favorable light, Hollywood stood up for him, but when Kanye feels a Beyoncé should win an award over another artist, which is extremely less controversial he is berated in the media. Hollywood backed Rogan, who will stand up for Kanye?

 

 

Jackie Robinson West & Black “Border-Jumping”

jackierobinsonwest

 

By Elizabeth Todd-Breland

“I wanted to reach out to you to thank and encourage you to continue to speak out against border-jumping families.”  This was the message delivered from a former Little League official to Chris Janes, the white Vice President of the Evergreen Park Athletic Association who accused Jackie Robinson West’s all-black Chicago youth baseball team of violating neighborhood boundary rules in route to winning the 2014 U.S. Little League World Series.  Little League International stripped Jackie Robinson West of its title after an investigation, prompted by Janes’ allegations, found that players did not live within the necessary neighborhood boundaries to play for the team.  The Little League official’s invocation of “border-jumping” was chilling.

In the U.S., border crossing summons powerful images of race, class, and repression, from deported Latino migrants who crossed into the U.S. in search of economic opportunity to African American parents jailed for forging addresses so their children can attend better-resourced schools.  For those fluent in American history, white anxieties about black “border-jumping” are nothing new. However, the former Little League official’s reference to “border-jumping” is also grounded in a white middle-class suburban ideal that links the idea of community to property ownership and residence.  This notion of community is different from the ideal of community that the black families of Jackie Robinson West created in a park on the far south side of Chicago.  In one of the most segregated cities in the country, the borders between black and white Chicagoland have long been contentious and governed by racism.  These borders also generated different types of communities.

Chicago has a long and well documented history of border-creation through segregation in housing and education.  For decades government policies, contract mortgages, restrictive covenants, and racial redlining reinforced segregation and restricted black residents to specific areas on the south and west sides of the city. When these were ruled illegal, less formal geographic barriers including viaducts, highways, railroad lines, and parks continued to serve as convenient lines of racial neighborhood demarcation.   For much of the 20th century, whites defended these borders and barriers to exclude black residents, at times violently.  Despite this, during the latter half of the 20th century many white neighborhoods on the city’s south and west sides increasingly transitioned into predominantly black residential neighborhoods.  This change was the result of duplicitous blockbusting practices and white flight to the suburbs, which was aided by federal subsidies.  This history produced the predominantly black communities around Jackie Robinson West’s park on the far south side of the city.

This history also produced the predominantly white suburb of Evergreen Park, IL.  Like many suburbs, Evergreen Park developed as a homogeneous white suburb with a history of racial exclusion.  After World War II, Evergreen Park’s population increased as whites fled the city and its growing black population.  Today, the community is still predominantly white, but is surrounded by Chicago communities with significant black populations.  Recently documented cases of racial profiling in Evergreen Park demonstrate an enduring commitment to policing the racial borders of the community.  So, for many African Americans, the Evergreen Park Athletic Association’s policing of Jackie Robinson West’s border crossing is all too familiar.

Little League International and Chris Janes mobilized white middle-class suburban notions of community and neighborhood that defy the histories and lived experiences of black urban communities.  Little League International projected a concept of neighborhood that “embraces policies designed to preserve traditional community-based leagues in which classmates play with classmates, friends with friends.”  This romantic construction of community is premised on property ownership and residence and was used to punish Jackie Robinson West’s “border-jumping” families.    It obscures the profit-motive imbued in youth sports and imposes a notion of community that is often not possible in black urban neighborhoods.  A sense of community based on property ownership and residence is difficult to sustain black communities that suffer from systemic disinvestment: closed schools, foreclosed homes, commercial flight, and shuttered mental health clinics. This, however, is not to suggest that black urban neighborhoods are void of community.

If anything, the remarkable success and deserved praise of the Jackie Robinson West baseball team showcased the strong sense of community that continues to exist in black neighborhoods.  The families who participated in Jackie Robinson West’s baseball team created community in that park on the south side of Chicago while navigating blended families that straddle the city and suburbs, gentrification and abandonment, neighborhood violence and long-standing block clubs. The social and economic forces that created predominantly white racially exclusionary suburbs like Evergreen Park also fostered the conditions of disinvestment that require black Chicagoans to create a different understanding of community beyond property ownership, residence, and school attendance areas.

When people exclaim that #BlackLivesMatter, they are also declaring that black culture and black communities matter. I stood with my child on the corner of 63rd and Halsted Street this summer with other black parents and grandparents, children from local daycares, and black students and workers from nearby Kennedy-King College, waiting anxiously for the Jackie Robinson West team’s victory motorcade to pass.  The people assembled on those corners did not necessarily live on the nearby blocks, but we were part of a broader community that day: a black community, a community of Chicagoans, a community of “border-jumpers.”  As that crowd swelled with pride, we felt that black lives and black communities, however constituted, mattered.

It is ironic that black kids from segregated black communities are being punished for “border-jumping” onto a team named after Jackie Robinson, a man who is venerated precisely because of his “border-jumping.”  There are many lessons to be learned this Black History Month, but I hope we remember that the black children and families of Jackie Robinson West brought a community and city together on their own terms.  For that, they will always be champions, regardless of others’ attempts to patrol borders.  

 

Photo: Jackie Robinson West/White House

Nikisha, One Half of Urban Bush Babes, Talks About Her Struggle With Mental Illness

From Afropunk:

Watch this enlightening video on a subject many of us shy away from, suicide and mental health. Nikisha, one half of the Urban Bush Babes (the online beauty and culture publication) lets all bare as she discusses her history of ADHD & Anxiety Disorder, and her son’s diagnosis with the disorder.

h/t Afropunk

Watch: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Trailer

From Clutch:

In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.

Starring O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, Straight Outta Compton is directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, Set It Off, The Italian Job). The drama is produced by original N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, who are joined by fellow producers Matt Alvarez and Tomica Woods-Wright. Will Packer serves as executive producer of the film alongside Gray.
h/t Clutch