Film: Black Olympians Dominate Because They’re Descendants of Slaves

Film: Black Olympians Dominate Because They're Descendants of Slaves

It’s been over thirty years since the last white male won the Olympic 100-meter sprint so the UK’s Channel 4 decided to make a documentary that argues black Americans and Caribbeans do well at the Olympics because they are descendants of slaves who were bred well.

The documentary titled “Michael Johnson: Survival of the Fastest,” follows four-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Michael Johnson who says it is a fact that slavery has benefited descendants like himself. The documentary premiered in the UK Thursday night and the pitch to viewers takes cues from the Henry Louis Gates, Jr’s. PBS series “Finding Your Roots” that explores race, culture, and identity through genealogy.

Below is Channel 4’s description of the documentary:

Why is it that all the athletes that lined up for the men’s 100m final at the Beijing Olympics could trace their ancestry back to the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

In this landmark documentary, Olympian Michael Johnson embarks on a personal genealogical and scientific journey in a bid to understand if he and other world-class African American and Caribbean athletes are successful as a result of slavery.

Michael Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold medallist and the finest sprint athlete of his generation. In this remarkable authored film he discovers some disturbing truths about the lives of his enslaved ancestors.

From the mass murder of those on the slave ships to the nightmarish breeding programmes of the plantation owners, Johnson confronts this appalling history.

He speaks to leading voices in the world of sport and science to examine the link between the trans-Atlantic slave trade and genetic selection.

He investigates the role slavery may have played in altering the genomes of their descendants. He speaks to experts whose research has led them to conclude this has contributed to the success of African American and Caribbean sprinters.

“All my life I believed I became an athlete through my own determination, but it’s impossible to think that being descended from slaves hasn’t left an imprint through the generations,” Johnson told British newspaper the Daily Mail after he learned a DNA test confirmed he is of West African descent. “Difficult as it was to hear, slavery has benefited descendants like me — I believe there is a superior athletic gene in us.”

‘It’s a fact that hasn’t been discussed openly before. It’s a taboo subject in the States but it is what it is. Why shouldn’t we discuss it?’ Johnson is quoted saying in the Daily Mail.

The real fact is discussions and the study of the “black superior athletic gene” are nothing new.

Jeremy Lin’s on His Way to Being Highest Paid Asian-American in NBA History

Jeremy Lin's on His Way to Being Highest Paid Asian-American in NBA History

Linsanity is worth approximately $28.9 million million dollars, according to dozens of sources who say that’s what the Houston Rockets have offered the Taiwanese-American to sign a four-year deal. If the reports are true Lin could become the highest paid Asian-American player in the NBA.

New York Daily News is reporting Lin has already agreed to the deal:

Lin agreed on Thursday to sign a four-year, $28.9 million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, hours after Jason Kidd, 39, turned down a deal with the Dallas Mavericks and agreed to spend the twilight years of his Hall of Fame career as a Knick.

Sports Illustrated has more details on the deal:

Sources confirmed that Lin, the 23-year-old undrafted player who was waived by the Rockets and Golden State last season before becoming a Madison Square Garden star and later having his season cut short by knee surgery on April 2, plans to sign Houston’s offer sheet for four years and $28.8 million when the free agency moratorium ends on July 11. The deal, which has a team option in the fourth season, is expected to be matched by the Knicks. They will have until July 14 to do so.

We’ll end this post with a public service announcement: Lin is not the first Asian American to play in the NBA. Asian American Journalists Association with the accurate history below:

Raymond Townsend, who’s of Filipino descent, was a first-round choice of the Golden State Warriors in the 1970s. Rex Walters, who is of Japanese descent, was a first-round draft pick by the New Jersey Nets out of the University of Kansas in 1993 and played seven seasons in the NBA; Walters is now the coach at University of San Francisco. Wat Misaka is believed to have been the first Asian American to play professional basketball in the United States. Misaka, who’s of Japanese descent, appeared in three games for the New York Knicks in the 1947-48 season when the Knicks were part of the Basketball Association of America, which merged with the NBA after the 1948-49 season.

Of Course, none of this is official yet. The Knicks are expected to match the Houston Rockets’ deal so Lin could be staying put after all.

*This article has been edited since publication.

Justice Kennedy Never Used the Term ‘Illegal Immigrants’ in SB1070 Ruling

The Supreme Court ruling on SB 1070 written by Justice Anthony Kennedy last month never used the terms “illegal immigrants” and “illegal aliens,” except in cases when quoting other sources. Charles Garcia, a businessman who has served in the administrations of four presidents has written an opinion piece for CNN that explains why the court’s decision to Drop the I-Word “established a humanistic approach to our current restructuring of immigration policy”

Below is an excerpt from Garcia’s opinion piece on CNN:

When you label someone an “illegal alien” or “illegal immigrant” or just plain “illegal,” you are effectively saying the individual, as opposed to the actions the person has taken, is unlawful. The terms imply the very existence of an unauthorized migrant in America is criminal.

In this country, there is still a presumption of innocence that requires a jury to convict someone of a crime. If you don’t pay your taxes, are you an illegal? What if you get a speeding ticket? A murder conviction? No. You’re still not an illegal. Even alleged terrorists and child molesters aren’t labeled illegals.

By becoming judge, jury and executioner, you dehumanize the individual and generate animosity toward them. New York Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes says “illegal” is often “a code word for racial and ethnic hatred.”

Mónica Novoa, campaign coordinator for the Drop the I-Word campaign, a public education campaign working to eradicate the term “illegals” from everyday use and public discourse, supports Garcia’s statement and issued the following statement. 

“Illegal alien” appears in the Arizona v. United States (SB 1070) court syllabus and in the dissenting opinion by Justice Scalia. But in the final court decision by Justice Kennedy, he only uses the term from quoted material and uses other descriptions like “unauthorized alien” “undocumented alien” and “unauthorized worker.” While archaic and clearly dehumanizing “alien” language is deeply embedded in our country’s immigration code and the SCOTUS narrative about immigration, the move away from using the i-word in the court’s opinion is a significant change because Judge Kennedy is choosing not to conflate criminality with undocumented status.

We’ve explained before why practicing attorneys do not use the i-word. This is the most recent and prominent SCOTUS opinion not to include the i-word. Recent opinions by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Sotomayor have not used it either. This is tremendous for our efforts to get the media to Drop the I-Word. Now that SCOTUS opinions are not using the i-word and making it clear that being undocumented is not equal to criminality, journalists will have a harder time claiming that the i-word is neutral or precise.

The Drop the I-Word campaign is a project of the Applied Research Center and

Border Patrol Detains 96-Year-Old Former Arizona Gov. in 100-degree Heat

Border Patrol Detains 96-Year-Old Former Arizona Gov. in 100-degree Heat

Former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro was traveling from his home in Nogales, Ariz., to celebrate his 96th birthday in Tucson when his vehicle triggered a radiation sensor at a Border Patrol checkpoint just north of Tubac. The former governor was detained in 100-degree heat for more close to 45-minutes.

Castro explained that he had undergone hospital testing on his pacemaker the previous day, likely triggering the sensor, but border patrol agents still made him wait outside of his car in the 100-degree weather while they conducted their investigation, AZ Central reports.

Anne Doan, a family friend from Nogales who was driving Castro to the birthday luncheon in Tucson, wrote a letter to the Nogales International newspaper recounting the incident:

Last week I was honored to accompany former governor and ambassador to Bolivia, El Salvador and Argentina under two U.S. presidents, Raul Castro, to his 96th birthday celebration in Tucson. Gov. Castro and his wife Patricia could live anywhere in the world and they decided to live in Nogales, and the community is flattered. When we went through the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on I-19 north of Tubac, we were detained after an agent said we had appeared as a nuclear threat. The agent asked if anyone had had a medical treatment lately and Gov. Castro said he had one the previous day. She said the solution he was given might have triggered their alarm system.

We were sent to secondary inspection and were asked to step out of the car. When they asked the governor to stand under the tent, I asked if he could remain seated in the air-conditioned car because it might be too hot for him. The agents said he could not and that they had a fan under the tent.

I explained to the agent he had undergone a medical treatment the previous day and it must be the solution that set off their system. They said he had to stay under the tent, in 100-degree hear, while dressed in a suit. They offered him a chair. I felt totally frustrated and I was worried about the governor. […] At that point I was begging them to leave him alone. They brought out a document for him to fill out and sign. They had a machine they ran up and down his body front and back. Finally they released us and as we were walking back to the car they stopped him and said they had to see his identification. We were standing out in the sun, by this time, and Gov. Castro reached for his identification and showed it to the agent, they registered the information they needed from his identification and they released us, again.

I was helpless and overwhelmed by the incident. I felt the agents had no regard for the governor’s background or age or physical condition. I was embarrassed as I watched the governor being needlessly treated like a nuclear threat, especially because they knew he had just had a treatment at Tucson Heart Hospital the day before. I felt he was being disrespected as a senior citizen, much less the amazing statesman that he is.

Biracial Athlete Hoped to be First Out American Gymnast at Olympics

Biracial Athlete Hoped to be First Out American Gymnast at Olympics

Openly gay gymnast Josh Dixon was not named to the men’s gymnastics team after the 2012 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials in San Jose this past weekend. Dixon finished 13th out of 15 competitors and was not named as one of three alternates either.

The 22-year-old gymnast—who is Black and Japanese—publicly came out last month and hoped to become the very “first out American gymnast at the Olympics”.

Below is an excerpt from an interview in which Dixon discusses homophobia in his field of sports with

In fact, Dixon said he has not had a single negative response “in any way, shape or form.” If anything, the only homophobia he has encountered has been from within himself. He acknowledges he once felt internal pressure about being a gay man in what some label the “gay sport” of gymnastics. He didn’t want to fall into a stereotype. But he’s come to embrace it, and he says his sexual orientation now makes him stand out more at the elite level. While he stands out, he isn’t the only one. Dixon knows of at least three more gay gymnasts still competing in college, and he says he is not the only elite-level American gymnast who is gay.

One concern that remains is the judges. Gymnastics is one of only a handful of Olympic sports hand out medals based on the scores of judges. While some claimed figure skater Johnny Weir’s perceived sexual orientation hurt him with the judges in the 2010 Winter Olympics, it certainly did not play a factor when Matthew Mitcham posted the highest-scoring dive in Olympic history in 2008.

When asked about the timing of this article and how it may affect his performance in the eyes of the judges or Olympic selection committee, Dixon had no fear.

George Zimmerman’s Second Bond Set at $1 Million, Could Walk Free

George Zimmerman's Second Bond Set at $1 Million, Could Walk Free

This morning, a Florida judge set George Zimmerman’s bond at $1 million. It’s unclear how long it will take for Zimmerman to be released from the jail in which he’s been held since his previous bond was revoked amid allegations that he had lied to the court about his finances.

Here’s more from Loop21:

Zimmerman will be free for the duration of his pending trial on a second-degree murder charge for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, which he claims happened in self-defense, is he pays the bond.

After more than two hours of testimony last Friday, [Florida judge Kenneth] Lester adjourned a bond hearing to weigh several pieces of evidence presented by the defense during the proceedings.

Zimmerman, who appeared in court unshackled and dressed in a suit, did not take the stand to explain why he and his wife misled the court about their personal finances, presumably to get a lower bond amount, prosecutors argued.

Frank Ocean’s Mom Calls Son ‘Incredible Human Being’ After Coming Out

Frank Ocean's Mom Calls Son 'Incredible Human Being' After Coming Out

Frank Ocean’s Def Jam debut, “Channel Orange,” won’t be released for another two weeks but the album is already making headlines everywhere. Everyone from the LA Times and the New York Times to hundreds of blogs are discussing the new album because in it Ocean uses pronouns like “him” in lyrics that include references to love.

Rumors that Ocean was bisexual began to circulate this week after a BBC1 writer who listened to an album preview took to her personal blog to point out “you can hear him [Ocean] sing about being in love and there are quite obvious words used like ‘him’ and not ‘her’.”

In a matter of hours the post went viral and Ocean responded through his blog on Tumblr.

“4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide,” Ocean wrote in part of the letter. “Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence … until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless…”

One of the first to back Ocean was fellow Odd Future member Tyler, the Creator, who’s own lyrics include some of those most violently homophobic rhymes in the industry. “My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That,” tweeted Tyler on Wednesday. “Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. I’m A Toilet.”

The Civil Rights Act Celebrates 48th Anniversary

The Civil Rights Act Celebrates 48th Anniversary

Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964, the landmark Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination and segregation regardless of race or color. It was originally introduced in congress by President John F. Kennedy before he was assassinated in 1963.

mlk-civilrightsact.jpg Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Among the guests behind him is Martin Luther King, Jr.

President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, with Martin Luther King, Jr., looking on. (Photograph by Cecil Stoughton, courtesy of National Archives and Record Administration, LBJ Library #276-10-64)

Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez? Play ‘Pick Out The Immigrant’ Game Online

Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez? Play 'Pick Out The Immigrant' Game Online

Last week Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) presented a short quiz he called “Pick Out The Immigrant” on the floor of the House of Representatives. 

Now Rep. Gutierrez has taken his game online to his Facebook page asking everyone: Who is Sheriff Joe Arpaio more likely to stop: Drake or Pitbull?



U.S. Citizen Wrongly Imprisoned Due to Secure Communuties Sues FBI and DHS

U.S. Citizen Wrongly Imprisoned Due to Secure Communuties Sues FBI and DHS

A lawsuit filed by James Makowski on Tuesday claims he was wrongly imprisoned for two months as a result of the Secure Communities immigration enforcement program. The Plaintiff, a U.S. citizen, argues the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) violated his rights under the Privacy Act.

Insiders say the lawsuit fundamentally messes with the fed’s assertion that Secure Communities is a controlled, systematized program that DHS operates with proper discretion.

“ICE claims that S-COMM avoids racial profiling or other rights abuses—ie. the unlawful detention of US-citizens—because it does not function out on the streets, but rather through mechanized and equal opportunity immigration checks processed through a computer. In fact, as we’ve often reported and as this case demonstrates, Secure Communities is a reckless system that feeds off the (in)discretion of local street cops,” said Seth Freed Wessler,’s investigative reporter.

“The Privacy Act forbids the government from sharing data regarding U.S. citizens, unless it has some indication that a law is being violated. Since the launch of Secure Communities in 2008, the FBI has indiscriminately distributed the fingerprints of millions of U.S. citizens to DHS, which also stores the fingerprints in its database,” said Mark Fleming, a litigation coordinator at the National Immigrant Justice Center and co-counsel in the case. “Worse, as DHS has aggressively deployed Secure Communities, it has taken woefully inadequate steps to ensure the accuracy of its records or to implement simple measures to prevent U.S. citizens from being caught up in the net of immigration enforcement.”

Watch 8-Year-Old Actress Tell Jay Leno He’s Asking the Wrong Questions

Watch 8-Year-Old Actress Tell Jay Leno He's Asking the Wrong Questions

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” took the top prizes at both Sundance and the Cannes Film Festivals earlier this year. The film’s brilliance is in large part due to director and co-writer of the screenplay Benh Zeitlin but it’s the 6-year-old heroine of the film that made it a cinematic experience.

The film’s star Quvenzhané Wallis was a regular five-year-old school girl in Houma, Louisiana when she auditioned for the role of Hushpuppy in the film. She was six during production and now that she’s out promoting the film she’s eight. (And as you’ll see in the clip above from the “Tonight Show” Wallis isn’t afraid to tell a man seven times older than her how to do his job.)

In the final review in the New York Times, A. O. Scott described Wallis as the “inheritor of a proud literary and artistic tradition, following along a crooked path traveled by Huckleberry Finn, Scout Finch, Eloise (of the Plaza), Elliott (from “E.T.”) and other brave, wild, imaginary children.”

Those are big shoes to fill and Wallis goes above and beyond. There’s a moving long shot in the film in which you see Wallis’ eyes begin to water up and then the tears stream down her cheek. Those were real tears and a pretty incredible scene if you recall Wallis was only six when she shot the film. Not to mention she describes herself as someone who never cries.

At a screening in Hollywood Friday, Wallis explained the director had “a line of people” sit down and tell her sad stories about losing loved ones to help her prepare for the scene.

“Beast of the Southern Wild” is currently playing in Los Angeles and New York. Fox Searchlight plans to open “Beasts of the Southern Wild” in New Orleans on Wednesday, then Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C, Chicago, and Dallas on Friday.

One of NYC’s Last Black-Owned Bookstores is Closing

One of NYC's Last Black-Owned Bookstores is Closing

One of New York City’s last black-owned bookstores, Hue-Man Bookstore and Café, is closing at the end of the month. CEO Marva Allen told Publishers Weekly “we’re going to be around somewhere, somehow,” but the brick-and-mortar store will close July 31st.

In an open letter to the Harlem community, Allen laid out those plans as she explained her decision to close the bricks-and-mortar store. “We all know that there is a season for everything under heaven and the season of ‘traditional book’ selling has come to a close,” wrote Allen. “Closing the existing format of Hue-Man is forward thinking on our part and as we take pause to re-imagine the future of books and how to ensure that their purpose of entertaining, imparting knowledge and honing creativity is preserved, we find no viable alternative but to go back to the drawing board.” With her lease ending, Allen noted that “there is no way to re-imagine the bookstore of the future in our current space.”

Internet Advocates Unveil Declaration of Internet Freedom‎

Internet Advocates Unveil Declaration of Internet Freedom‎

Free Press and a large coalition of over 100 advocacy groups, human rights organizations and technology companies launched the “Declaration of Internet Freedom,” a set of principles providing a positive vision to preserve the Internet as a platform for speech, innovation and creativity.

“Earlier this year, a big-tent, post-partisan coalition came together to fight against SOPA and PIPA, two bills that threatened to cause irreparable harm to the open Internet. Now members of this same group are fighting not just to stop bad legislation, but to secure and protect our universal freedom to connect online,” Free Press Internet Campaign Director Josh Levy said in a statement.

The Declaration has already been signed by organizations around the world, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla and, as well as individual open Internet advocates like Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Deanna Zandt and Baratunde Thurston, as well as reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

“It’s easy to forget that the Internet is a fairly new platform. Its relative youth has opened the door to innovation and made it possible for communities of color to carve out our own unique spaces where we can represent ourselves and truthfully talk about the issues that matter — think or ‘Awkward Black Girl.’ But that youth has also made the Internet ripe for corporate intervention,’” said Jamilah King, news editor and media reporter at “Companies stand to make a lot of money by offering consumers fewer choices in what they can and can’t do online. This Declaration of Internet Freedom is a crucial step in the fight to keep the Internet a free and creative space.”

You can sign on to declaration by visiting

#NoShameDay and the Fight to Eradicate the Stigma of Mental Illness

#NoShameDay and the Fight to Eradicate the Stigma of Mental Illness

Mental illness is a leading cause of disability, yet nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment and people of color in the U.S. are even less likely to get help, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The Siwe Project, a group that works to promote mental health awareness in the global black community, is organizing the first annual No Shame Day today and giving people around the world a neutral forum to discuss mental health.

The SIWE Project describes No Shame Day: >The Siwe Project, a global non-profit dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the international black community is launching a campaign that focuses on stigma reduction through storytelling and community building. The first annual No Shame Day is an opportunity for people around the world to rally around mental health care. The Siwe Project website will host candid discussions about mental illness stigma, diagnoses, and treatment options. The purpose of No Shame Day is to encourage more people to seek treatment without shame.

Siwe Monsanto, The Siwe Project’s namesake, would have been sixteen on March 8th of this year. Instead, she chose to take her own life on June 29, 2011. It was Siwe’s suicide that prompted Bassey Ikpi, a family friend, to found the non-profit. As a mental health advocate and a noted writer, Ikpi has maintained a transparent look into her own life with Bipolar II Disorder. “The aim is to create community. People with illness forging with those who support or have loved ones with an illness,” says Ikpi. The Siwe Project believes that sharing stories not only fosters individual healing, but community transformation. The Siwe Project strategically uses new media to cultivate safe spaces to share new stories. Additionally, the organization works to widen the public dialogue regarding the experiences of people of African descent living with mental illness.

No Shame Day will be held on July 2, the first Monday of National Minority Mental Health Month. We are asking people to publicly share their mental health journeys or speak as allies for loved ones in their lives. Individuals can log on to The Siwe Project website and participate in the ongoing conversation about self-care and mental health options.”We’re encouraging people to tend to their mental health that day without shame,” Ikpi explains. On No Shame Day people are encouraged to unabashedly seek out community in order to empower their quest for mental health wellness.

For more information visit SIWE Project.

Black Gymnast Gabby Douglas Grabs Top Spot on U.S. Gymnastics Team

Black Gymnast Gabby Douglas Grabs Top Spot on U.S. Gymnastics Team

On Sunday, Gabrielle Douglas earned the guaranteed Olympic women’s gymnastics spot by winning the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials over reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber. Douglas has also earned the nickname “Flying Squirrel” because of her height-defying gymnastics skills.

“Everyone was telling me you have this great potential and you can be on top,” Douglas told ESPN. “I didn’t believe that, but everyone was just telling me to believe in myself. I did and I’m kind of up on top and it’s amazing.”

Douglas is quickly becoming one of this year’s favorite Olympic athletes. Just take a look at how the Associated Press describes the 16-year-old Olympian: “With cover girl looks, a personality that leaps through the TV set and a nickname you won’t soon forget, Douglas has all the makings of the next Mary Lou or Shawn.”

“I could never have imagined this scenario,” Natalie Hawkins, Douglas’ mother told the AP. Douglas has been living away from her mother in Virginia Beach, VA for the past two years so she could train with her coach in Iowa.

“I knew the talent was there because everybody, anybody who came in contact with me, coaches, other gym parents, always told me how talented she was. So I knew that. And I knew if she had the right pieces of the puzzle that she would have the potential. But all of this? No, I never saw that,” Douglas’ mother went on to say.

Douglas is the first African American since Dominique Dawes in 2000 to join the women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team. Douglas hopes to be only the second African American woman (women’s gymnastics) to win an individual medal. Dawes won a floor exercise bronze in 1996.

Cullen Jones to Swim in Three Events at London Olympics

Cullen Jones to Swim in Three Events at London Olympics

After only swimming a relay in the 2008 Summer Olympics, Cullen Jones will be returning to the games in London to compete in the 4x100 relay and individually in the men’s 50 and 100 freestyle. Jones is the third African-American to make the US Olympic swimming team after Anthony Ervin and Maritza Correia.

“I’ve been dreaming of this forever, of qualifying for two individual events in the Olympics,” Jones said at a press conference. “The only thing different is that, in my dream, I’m giving better answers.”

In 2008 Jones became the second African-American in history to win an Olympic Gold medal in swimming.

According to Jones’ biography one of his goals is to shatter stereotypes one lap at a time, eager to spread his message that, “yeah, black kids can swim, too.”

Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Rodney King and Trayvon Martin Remembered at BET Awards

Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé were all present at the BET Awards ceremony Sunday but the highlight of the show everyone is talking about today came from Cissy Houston.

The most emotional moment of the evening came as Houston’s mother Cissy Houston sang “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” as part of a 20-minute tribute to the late singer that included performances by Monica, Brandy and Houston’s brother Gary Houston.

The night also included tributes to other notables that left us in the past year. Chante Moore performed a medley of Donna Summer’s hits and Valerie Simpson sang a song in honor of her husband and writing partner Nick Ashford. Don Cornelius, Dick Clark and Hal Jackson were remembered. Also, right at the end of Kanye West’s performance, he name-dropped Rodney King and Whitney Houston.

Actor Jamie Foxx also wore a red shirt featuring a black-and-white photo of Trayvon Martin to the awards ceremony Sunday.

Jamie Foxx Wears Trayvon Martin T-Shirt to BET Awards

Jamie Foxx Wears Trayvon Martin T-Shirt to BET Awards

Actor Jamie Foxx wore a red shirt featuring a black-and-white photo of Trayvon Martin to the BET Awards on Sunday.

Foxx was one of the first celebrities to show support for Trayvon Martin’s family after the 17-year-old was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February. On March 23, 2012 Foxx released a picture of him wearing a hoodie in support of Martin. “My hoodie will be on forever,” he wrote on his blog when he shared the picture.

Mitt Romney May Have Just Changed His DREAM Act Position

Mitt Romney May Have Just Changed His DREAM Act Position

Mitt Romney has said dozens of times he would veto the DREAM Act dozens of times but in a recent interview with the conservative site Newsmax on Friday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee suggested he favored a path to permanent status for young undocumented immigrants through higher education.

“For those that are here as the children of those who came here illegally, I want to make sure they have a permanent answer to what their status will be,” Romney told Newsmax.

“I’ve indicated in my view that those who serve in the military and have advanced degrees would certainly qualify for that kind of permanent status,” Romney went on to say.

Benjy Sarlin at Talking Points Memo points out this a major departure from Romney’s previous stance that only military service should be considered as a valid path to permanent status.

Talking Points Memo contacted Romney reps and report the following: 

A spokeswoman for Romney, Andrea Saul and Ryan Williams, referred TPM to Romney’s longtime position that legal immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in the United States should have a green card stapled to their diploma. A second Romney spokesman pointed to the same legal immigration position. But Romney states quite clearly in the latest interview that he’s referring to the children of illegal immigrants — meaning that he either misstated his own position on who should qualify for the DREAM Act, or came up with a new one entirely. They did not immediately respond to follow up questions regarding the apparent inconsistency.

Lauryn Hill Pleads Guilty in Income Tax Case, Could Face Prison Time

Lauryn Hill Pleads Guilty in Income Tax Case, Could Face Prison Time

Lauryn Hill, the Grammy-winning singer, has pleaded guilty in New Jersey to charges that she did not pay income taxes for three years running, The Associated Press reported.

More details, via the Associated Press:

Appearing in U.S. District Court in Newark, Hill admitted failing to file tax returns from 2005 to 2007. She faces a maximum one-year sentence on each of the three counts. She was charged three weeks ago. … After the charges were brought, Hill posted a long statement on her Tumblr page that decried pop culture’s “climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism.” She explained that she hasn’t paid taxes since she withdrew from society to guarantee the safety and well-being of herself and her family.

Hill hinted Friday that she might expand on those comments at her sentencing. When Shipp asked her if anyone had directly or indirectly influenced her decision to plead guilty, she replied, “Indirectly, I’ve been advised my ability to speak out directly is for another time, at sentencing.”

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