The Current State of Criminal Justice Reform: An Interview with Shaka Senghor

From POTUS, to the Hill, and even sheriffs, America’s legal and political powerhouses are finally confronting our overly punitive and discriminatory criminal justice system. The ever-growing list of the Department of Justice’s investigation into local policing practices has revealed a fuller realm of the effects of the 1994 crime bill. But as the wave of criminal justice reform takes the country by storm, will it reconcile racial injustice along the way? I spoke with Shaka Senghor, a formerly incarcerated man who is now an activist, author, and Director of Strategy for #Cut50, to get his perspective.

In New Johns Hopkins Study, Black Women’s Hair Can’t Win For Losing

Last week, a research team from Johns Hopkins Medicine published a review of 19 studies titled “All Hairstyles Are Not Created Equal”, in which they analyzed the relationship between “scalp-pulling” hairstyles and hair loss among Black women. The takeaway, according to Dr. Crystal Aguh, is to offer both Black women patients and dermatologists tips for how to better prevent traction alopecia by avoiding high and moderate risk styles, like weaves, locs, tight ponytails, chemical treatments and braids.

Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ Is Equal Parts #BlackGirlPain and #BlackGirlMagic

“You remind me of my father, a magician. Able to exist in two places at once.”

I was barely three minutes into Lemonade and already craving more. But I could not have possibly imagined the vulnerability that was yet to come throughout the remainder of the HBO premiere of Bey’s visual album. I watched it to the very end, engrossed in both the imagery and the sonic overload of the hour-long exclusive.

Of Course We Should All Be Critical of DeRay’s Mayoral Run

School district administrator turned-activist-turned mayoral candidate DeRay Mckesson’s recent interview with the New York Times conveys the hope (and simultaneous frustration) behind his bid to become mayor of the beleagured city of Baltimore, Maryland. McKesson pins his dismal poll numbers on voters’ (particularly those within the city’s organizing circles) inability to conceive of someone like him occupying such a powerful position.

Quite the contrary.

Harvard Owned Up to Its Role in Slavery. When Will the Others?

Last week, Harvard University officials announced a plan to create a plaque commemorating slaves who were forced to work on the campus during the 1700s. The Boston-based institution follows in the footsteps of fellow Ivy League member Brown University’s Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, albeit considerably later. Yet they are far outnumbered by the army of institutions who, Ivy League or not, remain steadfast in their decision to continue operating under the assumptions that their institutions came to be without complicity in American slavery.

How To Get Away with Murder and Its Complicated Representation of Blackness

Even though How to Get Away with Murder (HTGAWM) is a brilliant show in terms of its character development, casting, and plot structure, it still has fewer viewers than Scandal, a show that’s been on its last leg for the past couple of seasons. HTGAWM, unlike Scandal, is unflinching in its complex representation of Blackness.