screenshot from The 13th official trailer

Review of ‘The 13th’: When Art Imitates Life, We Have to Ask “What’s Next?”

Regardless of where you are in your political education, Ava DuVernay’s documentary The 13th was pretty well done.

Weaving the staggering numbers of rising incarceration rates with the insights of prominent activists, journalists, and academics coupled with a soundtrack that highlights the connectedness of mass incarceration to Black realities, it is a signature piece of art imitating life. The 13th brought many conversations around systematic racism that usually happen in select circles to a potentially larger audience, but I’m not sure if anyone besides the usual “woke” circle sat in on this one, and if they did – what now?

Photo from Twitter

Here’s What You Need To Know About Build Black Futures Advocacy Day

Earlier this year BYP100 released the Agenda to Build Black Futures, followed by A Vision For Black Lives policy platform that they signed on to this summer, both of which spread wide in the digital space. Last week BYP100 and the National Black Justice Coalition joined each other in Washington, D.C. to take both platforms from the digital space to the congressional space for the first Build Black Futures Advocacy Day. This was a huge step in the Movement, as members of congress on both sides of the aisle have struggled to understand the Movement and it’s asks of our government.


642 Million Reasons Chicago Doesn’t Need More Police

Since 2004, Chicago has spent $642 million on police-related legal claims. Between 2012 and 2015, the City paid out a total of $210 million to settle police misconduct lawsuits, many on the receiving end of the settlements were Black and Brown folks. This is now the same city that will be hiring more police officers, putting more Black and Brown Chicagoans at risk. There is no nice way to say this, but Chicago is wasting its time – and money – hiring more police officers.


How Much Can a Black President Really Do for Black People?

Diddy was the first rapper that influenced me to vote, even though I was too young I always appreciated a Black entertainer reaching out to me to tell me that my vote matters, and I very much recognized his Vote or Die campaign as outreach to young Black people.

In 2015, Diddy came out and said that voting is a “scam” and that our votes probably won’t change anything, followed by his comments earlier this week: that he expected Obama to do more for Black people in office. It sounds like Diddy has been receiving a strong dosage of political education and is now disappointed by the truth. This begs the question though: how much can a Black president really do for Black people?

Photo courtesy of Bing

Don’t Celebrate Just Yet, The Private Prison Industry Will Still Thrive

On Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced in a memo that, over time, the DOJ will end its contracts with private prison companies that operate 13 facilities within the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). While this is a significant move given the times we live in, these contracts, with Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group Inc., only account for 7% of the industry’s revenue.

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New ‘Melanites’ Doll Line Offers Different Images Of Black Boyhood

As we’ve seen through the influx of data and media coverage on Black boys, they often lose their innocence at the hands of someone else, someone who has stereotyped and criminalized their Blackness continuing the mindset that because they are Black, they don’t deserve innocence. And, while this won’t be changed overnight, Jennifer Pierre is taking the issue of Black boyhood into her own hands and is releasing a new line of dolls for boys of color called “Melanites.”

ava duvernay

Ava Duvernay’s New Documentary on Mass Incarceration Will Change The Game

Ava Duvernay’s documentary, The 13th, will be the opening film at the New York Film Festival’s (NYFF) 54th Festival. It’s the first non-fiction film to open the event in the NYFF’s history; if you haven’t already, let us toast to Duvernay’s #BlackGirlMagic. I want to take it a step further though, I want to uplift Duvernay’s message.

The documentary is appropriately titled to address the ironies between the 13th Amendment that simultaneously “abolished” slavery and also created mass incarceration over time.

Black Lives Matter

This Is What Can Happen When Data Meets The Movement For Black Lives

On July 5, the number on The Guardian’s police killings ticker The Counted went up. On July 6, it went up again. The Guardian, like many other news outlets, with genuine intentions has made the effort to look at the numerous surveys, polls, and research behind racial disparities in policing in the country. My question is: who does the data usually benefit? Even more importantly: what is being done about it?