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The Faces (and Reactions) in the Audience as Mitt Romney Delivered NAACP Speech

mittscpeechnaacp02.jpg (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


faces-romney.jpg (AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM)

Spike Lee Releases Clip From his Michael Jackson Documentary ‘Bad 25’

Spike Lee Releases Clip From his Michael Jackson Documentary 'Bad 25'

The Estate of Michael Jackson announced Tuesday that Spike Lee’s documentary that looks the King of Pop’s “BAD” album and the subsequent worldwide tour is in the final stages of post production. The film’s release is expected to coincide on the 25th anniversary of the album and will be released on September 18th, 2012.

The documentary features over 40 interviews conducted personally by Spike Lee with Jackson’s confidants, choreographers, musicians and other collaborators, including Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Cee Lo Green, Martin Scorsese and Sheryl Crow. the project focuses on Jackson’s career around the time of 1987’s BAD album and tour, which both rocked the globe.

“I’m more than just a huge fan of Michael Jackson, and having the chance to actually know him and work with him, I deeply care about his legacy,” Lee said in a statement. “With this “BAD” project I was able to uncover just what made this such a huge, important coming of age in his career and unearth compelling stories surrounding the making of the album, the long awaited follow-up to Thriller - the best selling album of all time - the short films and the tour that may have never seen the light of day.”

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this week, Lee said the film includes a “treasure chest of findings” of never before seen footage.

“We have footage in this documentary that no one’s ever seen, stuff that Michael shot himself, behind-the-scenes stuff,” Lee said.

Besides the documentary, Lee also plans to hold his now annual birthday tribute to Jackson in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, on Aug. 25; Jackson would have turned 54 this year.

Watch Mitt Romney Get Booed at NAACP Over Obamacare Comments

Watch Mitt Romney Get Booed at NAACP Over Obamacare Comments

Republican Mitt Romney told black voters that he’s a better choice than President Barack Obama to improve black unemployment rates in the U.S. at the NAACP’s annual meeting Wednesday in Houston

But Romney was greeted with boos from attendees Wednesday in Houston when he pledged to repeal “Obamacare.”

On Tuesday Romney’s campaign acknowledged attracting black voters is a long shot. Visit a story published earlier today to read more about Romney’s comments at the NAACP meeting.

Romney’s Campaign Acknowledges Attracting Black Voters is a Long Shot

Romney's Campaign Acknowledges Attracting Black Voters is a Long Shot

Mitt Romney will address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization on Wednesday. Let’s hope it goes better than the interaction he had with the group of black folks in the video above.

Romney is expected to tell the NAACP audience they’ll want to vote for him when they see what’s ‘in my heart.’

“I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African American families, you would vote for me for president,” Romney will say, according to his campaign. “I want you to know that if I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color — and families of any color — more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I would not be running for president.”

“If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone,” Romney says. “Instead, it’s worse for African Americans in almost every way.”

In 2008, Obama captured 95% of the black vote, compared to to 4% for Sen. John McCain. A recent Gallup tracking poll showed just 5% of blacks supporting Romney, compared with 87% for the president. Romney’s campaign acknowledges that attracting more black voters is a long shot.

Jesse Jackson Sr. Says Son’s ‘Crisis is Deeper Than We Thought’

Jesse Jackson Sr. Says Son's 'Crisis is Deeper Than We Thought'

Rev. Jesse Jackson says his son, the Illinois congressman, is “slowly regaining his strength” but offered no other details on why his son has been on medical leave since June 10th.

“We’re with him and we hope that he’ll be fully restored to his health,” Rev. Jesse Jackson told NBC Chicago’s Stefan Holt. “Right now he’s going through a tremendous challenge.”

When asked exactly what’s wrong with the congressman, Rev. Jesse Jackson told NBC Chicago it’s “inappropriate” to disclose details.

“The crisis is deeper than we thought it was. But the good news is, he’s under good supervision. He’s been in touch with his mother and his wife, and he’s on the rebound. To me, that’s the good news about it all,” Rev. Jesse Jackson, the congressman’s father, told NPR’s David Schaper.

Jackson’s congressional colleagues are now pressuring Rep. Jackson’s office to release more information.

“As a public official … there reaches a point when you have a responsibility to tell people what you’re facing and how things are going,” Sen. Dick Durbin, the senior Democrat in Illinois, also told reporters yesterday.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. told NPR “the people of Illinois deserve it. If he’s going to stand for re-election, you guys [reporters] are going to demand it.”

“I think that he has a responsibility to give us more information, and I’m not demanding that information, but I think the people of his congressional district deserve it,” Gutierrez went on to say.

MillerCoors, HP, and Best Buy Leave ALEC

MillerCoors, HP, and Best Buy Leave ALEC

John Deere, CVS Caremark, MillerCoors, HP, and Best Buy have all made the decision to end their financial support for the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, ColorOfChange,org announced Tuesday. ALEC is the right-wing lobby group responsible for pushing discriminatory voter ID laws throughout the country.

“We continue to call on all major corporations to stop funding ALEC given its involvement in voter suppression and its work pushing policies designed to benefit rich and powerful corporations at the expense of people of color, workers, and the environment,” said the New York-based civil rights group’s executive director, Rashad Robinson, in a statement announcing the corporate withdrawals.

Under 48 Hours to Help BlackGirlsCode Teach 300+ Youth of Color to Code

Under 48 Hours to Help BlackGirlsCode Teach 300+ Youth of Color to Code

By reaching out to the community through workshops and after school programs, BlackGirlsCode introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch or Ruby on Rails.

The San Francisco based group has less than two days to raise $7,000 and reach their fundraising goal that will allow them to teach computer programming to more than 300 boys and girls from underrepresented communities in at least seven cities across the United States.

If BlackGirlsCode reach their fundraising goal they plan to visit Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco in the next 90 days.

For more information on how you can help visit BlackGirlsCode’s Indiegogo page.

Brooklyn Prosecutor Keeps Job Despite Blackface Photos on Facebook

Brooklyn Prosecutor Keeps Job Despite Blackface Photos on Facebook

Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Justin Marrus, son of NY Supreme Court Judge Alan D. Marrus apologized Monday for pictures that surfaced of him dressed in black face and simulating prison rape. Marrus, now 25, uploaded the photos to Facebook six years ago when he was an undergraduate student.

Gothamist.com published screen shots from Marrus’ Facebook photo album Monday. The pictures disappeared after the website contacted Marrus. “When we reached out to Marrus he ‘passed on speaking’ to us but did not deny the photographs were his—and the Facebook page quickly disappeared after we hung up,” wrote Gothamist’s Garth Johnston.

In one picture — from an album called “Halloween” — Marrus sports blackface, a wig made of what appears to be dreadlocks and a tie-dyed T-shirt.

“What part of Jamaica you from mon? da beach mon,” the caption reads.

A second photo — from an album called “Courthouse for 4th of July” — shows Marrus and another man simulating sex in what looks to be a cell with white bars.

“While in prison … made me do unspeakable acts with …” the caption reads, with the two names blurred out by Gothamist.

In a third “white trash brothers” photo — from an album called “Ahhh college” — Marrus sports a confederate flag tattoo.

“This is something he did about six years ago while he was in college,” DA spokesman Jerry Schmetterer told the NY Post. “He apologized. He admits it was childish and inappropriate.”

District Attorney Charles Hynes accepted Marrus’ apology, said Schmetterer. Marrus is expected to keep his job.

In October 2010, Marrus’s father sentenced a white cop who was driving while intoxicated and killed a black pedestrian to only 90 days in jail. Marrus cited “the alcohol consumption of the victim [and] the fact that she walked out onto a rainy street” in the dark as reasons the cop didn’t get a harsher penalty.

Fencing Team’s Ibtihaj Muhammad Hoped to Become First U.S. Woman to Compete at Olympics in a Hijab

A 2012 Olympic hopeful, Ibtihaj Muhammad fell just shy of qualifying for the Summer Games in London where she was aiming to become the first U.S. athlete ever to compete in a hijab at the Games. The 25-year-old New Jersey native appeared to be unstoppable at competitions last month and came pretty close to making it to London.

Muhammad started fencing at age 13 when she saw her high school’s fencing team practicing. “Because they were fully covered, my mom suggested that I should try it out when I got to high school. As a Muslim female, the sport was uniquely accommodating. “My religion requires that my body be fully covered and fencing did just that,” Muhammad said in her USfencing.org profile.

am-fencing-1.jpg (Photo: Courtesy of Team USA)

Earlier this year Muhammad ranked number two among U.S. women using her weapon, the saber. But despite her success Muhammad says she still deals with prejudice in competitions.

“Within the fencing community, there’s still a lot of apprehension when it comes to encountering a Muslim fencer,” she told theGrio last month. “I mean, there are very, very few.”

“When most people picture an Olympic fencer, they probably do not imagine a person like me. Fortunately, I am not most people. I have always believed that with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, I could one day walk with my U.S. teammates into Olympic history,” Muhammad said on her Olympic team online profile. Muhammad says that fencing has taught her “how to aspire higher, sacrifice, work hard and overcome defeat. I want to compete in the Olympics for the United States to prove that nothing should hinder anyone from reaching their goals — not race, religion or gender. I want to set an example that anything is possible with perseverance.”

Frank Ocean Performs with The Roots and a Live Orchestra on ‘Jimmy Fallon’

Frank Ocean Performs with The Roots and a Live Orchestra on 'Jimmy Fallon'

Frank Ocean made his national television debut Monday night on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” The 24-year-old R&B singer was joined by The Roots as his backing band as well as a full strings section to perform “Bad Religion.”

The song “Bad Religion” begins with Ocean asking a taxi cab driver to “outrun the demons” and climaxes with him singing “I could never make him love me”— lyrics that made international headlines earlier this week because few people knew Ocean’s first love was with another male.

Below is an excerpt from Frank Ocean’s “Bad Religion:”

[Chorus] This unrequited love To me it’s nothing but A one-man cult And cyanide in my styrofoam cup I could never make him love me Never make him love me No

[Outro] It’s a bad religion To be in love with someone Who could never love you I know Only bad religion Could have me feeling the way I do

Watch Nicki Minaj Break Down Sexism in the Entertainment Industry

Watch Nicki Minaj Break Down Sexism in the Entertainment Industry

“Donald Trump can say ‘you’re fired,’ but let Martha Stewart run her company the same and be the same way and [people will call her] an evil [expletive],” rapper Nicki Minaj says in the video above.

The interview was shot several years ago but it’s been making the rounds again this month. According to the tags on the YouTube clip, the interview appears to have been part of the MTV documentary “Nicki Minaj: My Time Now.”

Judge who Helped Popularize the Term ‘Driving While Black’ Hearing Texas Voter-ID Case

Judge who Helped Popularize the Term 'Driving While Black' Hearing Texas Voter-ID Case

The perpetual battle of whether states’ rights should trump civil rights continues in Washington today. A three-judge panel in a D.C. District Court will hear arguments this week on whether Texas can demand voters present certain types of photo ID in order to cast a ballot.

Texas, along with other states that have historically discriminated against voters of color fall under “covered jurisdictions” that must obtain pre-clearance before changing voting districts or regulations. The Department of Justice contends that more than 600,000 voters will be disenfranchised because of Texas’ law—most of whom are Latino—and denied The Lone Star State pre-clearance on the voter ID law under the Voting Rights Act. Rather than comply, Texas sued. The case challenges a cornerstone piece of civil rights legislation that protects the right of every citizen to vote.

One of the three judges on the panel hearing, and ultimately issuing a decision on the case, is no stranger to civil rights. Judge Robert Wilkins was a budding lawyer in 1992 when he was pulled over by Maryland State Police. The case set the term “driving while black” into the national vernacular, and resulted in a groundbreaking settlement that made it mandatory for Maryland officers to note the race and gender of drivers who were pulled over and searched. Other states followed suit, and an executive order on racial profiling was also issued. As a target of racial profiling by Maryland state officers, Wilkins is likely to understand what’s at stake this week when Texas insists its state’s rights are more important than the civil rights of marginalized voters.

Secrets Straight from Spiderman’s Stuntman: Spiderman is Asian

Secrets Straight from Spiderman's Stuntman: Spiderman is Asian

Ilram Choi, a stuntman on “The Amazing Spider-Man,” talks to “The Yo Show” about filling in for Andrew Garfield during some crucial and dangerous stunts. He also spills on which stunts Garfield did on his own, and exactly how long it takes to get into that spider suit.

“Me being Asian I never thought I’d ever be Spiderman because Spiderman is a white dude but he [the stunt coordinator] said you’ll be in the suit, they won’t see your face and you’ll be flying around,” Choi told “The Yo Show” host Michael Yo.

Beyoncé’s Letter to Frank Ocean: ‘Be fearless. Be honest. Be generous. Be brave’

frank-ocean-art-beyonce.jpg

Beyoncé showed her support for Frank Ocean this weekend by posting an online letter on her website dedicated to the R&B artist. The letter was posted just days after the singer opened up about his sexuality.

With handwritten words over a picture of Ocean, Beyoncé writes, “Be fearless. Be honest. Be generous. Be brave. Be poetic. Be open. Be free. Be yourself. Be in love. Be happy. Be inspiration.”

(image via Beyonce.com)

Holly Robinson Peete Rips 50 Cent Apart on Autism, Gets Him to Apologize

Holly Robinson Peete Rips 50 Cent Apart on Autism, Gets Him to Apologize

Last week rapper 50 Cent responded bitterly to an overeager fan on Twitter by saying “yeah just saw your picture fool you look autistic.” Actress Holly Robinson Peete, whose oldest son is autistic said her heart sunk when she read the tweets and she penned an open letter to 50 Cent that ultimately got him to do just what the letter requested: delete the insensitive tweets and apologize.

It all started out when a fan asked 50 Cent why his latest album took longer than expected to be released. The tweets upset the rapper he made the comments mentioned above and with a follow up that read “I don’t want no special ed kids on my time line follow some body else.”

Peete posted an open letter to 50 Cent on her website that blasts his “hurtful, immature and misinformed” comments. Peete’s letter is below:

Dear 50 Cent,

Since last night my twitter timeline is flooded with tweets and retweets about a response you posted to someone who insulted you. When I read it my heart sank. I thought maybe your account had been hacked. No such luck. Granted, his comment was completely out of line but your retort: “i just saw your picture fool you look autistic”- was so so disappointing. I mean, that’s your comeback?? And you didn’t stop there. You went on to joke about not wanting “special ed kids” on your timeline. Seriously, THIS is how you use your platform of 8 million plus followers??

I’ve met you in passing over the years and I know you are a bright, astute businessman and legitimate philanthropist so it is with a bit of sincere confusion that I ask you… Do you even know what autism is? And what exactly does “autistic” look like? Do you know how wildly prevalent autism is? 1 in 88 have it. That’s 1 in 54 boys. Families suffer a social stigma you will never know. It is a financial and emotional drain for millions, so our non-profit- HollyRod Foundation works hard to raise funds to help these families cope…

hollyrp_43_austims.jpg> I hope you can see how what you might see as a benign insult-or not- was so randomly hurtful, immature and misinformed. Maybe you are naive or indifferent as to how many of your fans might be deeply and personally offended by your insult. At the very least-can you please delete it? If you’ve read your mentions today I am sure you have felt the wrath of autism parents. We are no joke. Neither is autism. We are not about to let you attempt to make “autistic” the new “R-word” under our watch.

Finally, this is my son Rodney Peete. He has autism. So I guess this is what autistic looks like? He is in special ed. He loves rap music and is a HUGE fan of yours. He’s a tremendous kid. He has to deal with so much trying to fit in. This isn’t helping.

The rapper subsequently deleted the offending tweets on his timeline, and on Sunday, he took the extra step to issue an apology for his comments. “I realize my autism comments were insensitive, however it was not my intention to offend anyone and for this I apologize,” 50 Cent wrote.

American Indian Synchronized Swimmer Takes Spot at Olympics

American Indian Synchronized Swimmer Takes Spot at Olympics

Synchronized swimming fans will have their eyes focused on Mary Killman and her partner Mariya Koroleva at the Olympics games in London this summer because they are the only two U.S. synchronized swimmers to qualify. Killman, 21, is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and she’s known to occasionally place the letters CPN on her swimsuits to honor her heritage.

Killman and Koroleva will be competing in the duets category and will be the only two U.S. representatives in the sport at the London Games. Team USA did not qualify for the team portion of synchronized swimming.

“It’s not as easy as it looks,” Killman told Sports Illustrated earlier this year.. “Synchro is a theatrical sport, like figure skating, where we have the pretty makeup and the big smiles. But under all that—under water—it’s chaos. We’re kicking each other like crazy and trying to hold each other up.”

Killman says she’s dreamed of the day she would compete at the Olympics since the age of 10. She started out swimming competitively but ended up switching to synchronized swimming a few years later.

“I kind of was like I want to go to the Olympics. It’s just what I wanted to do and it’s just kind of been the path I’ve taken and the choices I’ve made, I’ve ended up in a different sport but still at the same goal.” Killman told Doublegsports.com.

The Olympic duet competition is scheduled for Aug. 5-7.

90 College Presidents Cite Patents in Call for Immigration Reform

Three quarters of the patents at top patent-producing universities in the U.S. had at least one foreign-born inventor, according to a new report by the Partnership for a New American Economy - a group made up of more than 450 Republican, Democratic, and Independent mayors and business leaders who support immigration reform.

The Partnership organized more than 90 presidents to call on the nation’s leaders to support immigration reform that would allow many of these students to stay in the U.S. after they graduate.

The letter addressed to President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, Republican Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Democratic Leader Pelosi is published in it’s entirety below.

The letter signed by the Presidents of Harvard, Cornell and UCLA, only addresses the “best and the brightest” and does not include unskilled immigrants (who are just as critical to our economy) in their call to leaders.

Janet Mock and Isis King Discuss Media’s Portrayal of Transgender Women

Janet Mock and Isis King Discuss Media's Portrayal of Transgender Women

America’s Next Top Model’s first transgender contestant, Isis King, sits down with People.com staff editor and transgender advocate, Janet Mock, for a conversation about representations of transgender people in media.

Mock will be joining the “Race, Gender and the 21st Century” plenary at the Applied Research Center’s (ARC) Facing Race Conference taking place November 15-17 in Baltimore. ARC publishes Colorlines.com.

George Zimmerman Released from Jail on $1 Million Bail

George Zimmerman walked out of jail once again Friday, according to reports from Florida’s Bay News 9.

According to reports Zimmerman had to go through a bail bondsman, and pay 10 percent of the bond amount, which is $100,000. The news comes just one day after a Florida judge said it was entirely reasonable to believe Zimmerman could be making plans to flee:

“Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee,” Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester in the 8-page order. “It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people’s money.”

Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Mara also told the Orlando Sentinel today that his team had secured a temporary safe house for Zimmerman.

Zimmerman Raises 20K in a Day After Judge Says He Was Ready to Jump Bail

Zimmerman Raises 20K in a Day After Judge Says He Was Ready to Jump Bail

The judge overseeing George Zimmerman’s murder trial set bail at $1 million on Thursday. And according to Zimmerman’s defense team, they’ve raised more than $20,000 in individual donations to help pay for bail.

The funds came after Zimmerman’s lawyers placed a call to action on Gzlegalcase.com:

For those who have given in the past, for those who have thought about giving, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman was justified in his actions, for those who feel they would do the same if they were in Mr. Zimmerman’s shoes, for those that think Mr. Zimmerman has been treated unfairly by the media, for those who feel Mr. Zimmerman has been falsely accused as a racist, for those who feel this case is an affront to their constitutional rights — now is the time to show your support.

The donations come after a Florida judge said it was entirely reasonable to believe Zimmerman could be making plans to flee:

“Notably, together with the passport, the money only had to be hidden for a short time for him to leave the country if the defendant made a quick decision to flee,” Seminole County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Lester in the 8-page order. “It is entirely reasonable for this court to find that, but for the requirement that he be placed on electronic monitoring, the defendant and his wife would have fled the United States with at least $130,000 of other people’s money.”

Frances Robles at The Miami Herald also points out the judge rejected the defense argument that Zimmerman, 28, was young and confused when he instructed his wife to transfer funds he raised online out of his name and allowed her to lie about it under oath at his initial bond hearing.

“Trayvon Martin is the only male whose youth is relevant to this case,” Lester wrote in the case.

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