Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

‘It’s Black History Month, Charlie Brown!’ with David Alan Grier [Video]

'It's Black History Month, Charlie Brown!' with David Alan Grier [Video]

Unclear if this is actually a David Alan Grier project (because he couldn’t remember it) but Jimmy Kimmel presented “a clip of a new project [Grier] is working on for Black History Month.

TAGS: Videos

Adele Impersonator Serenades Newt Gingrich at Grammys [Video]

NYPD 2011 Data Reveals Highest Number of Stop-and-Frisks Ever

NYPD 2011 Data Reveals Highest Number of Stop-and-Frisks Ever

New data released to the City Council by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) summarizing stop-and-frisk statistics for 2011 revealed the highest yearly total stops to date - 684,330 - with no meaningful change in huge racial disparities.

The 2011 stop-and-frisk numbers are 14 percent higher than the number of stops in 2010, and it represents a more than 600 percent increase since 2002, the year the NYPD began keeping stop-and-frisk figures. Eighty-seven percent of those stopped in 2011 were Black or Latino, and the low rates of correlation between stops and actual arrests persist: nine out of ten persons stopped were not arrested, nor did they receive summonses.

The new data builds upon eight years of previous data showing that race is the main factor determining NYPD stops, according to a statement released by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR.) This is true even after adjustments are made for other factors including crime rates, social conditions, and allocations of police resources in various neighborhoods. Most stops occur in Black and Latino neighborhoods and, in all neighborhoods, Blacks and Hispanics are significantly more likely to be stopped than Whites. Also disconcerting, stop-and-frisk data has repeatedly shown that NYPD officers use physical force at a significantly higher rate during stops of Blacks and Latinos.

More from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

Police stops-and-frisks without reasonable suspicion violate the Fourth Amendment, and racial profiling is a violation of fundamental rights and protections of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Further, this kind of heavy-handed policing promotes mistrust and fear of police officers in communities of color—rather than serving those communities, police end up occupying them.

The personal impact of stop-and-frisk is hard to overestimate. For many children, being stopped by the police on their way home from school has become a normal afterschool activity. As described by one person who has been stopped-and-frisked four times, for young people in many neighborhoods, getting stopped and frisked has become a rite of passage, something young Black and Brown youth constantly expect will happen to them. The data demonstrates that the egregious, racially-discriminatory practice of stop-and-frisk is a daily reality for many New Yorkers.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, with co-counsel Covington & Burlington, LLP, and Beldock, Levine & Hoffman, LLP, represents victims of the NYPD’s racially discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices in a federal lawsuit, Floyd, et al. v. City of New York, et al., which stems from the Center for Constitutional Rights’ landmark racial profiling case, Daniels, et al. v. City of New York, et al., which led to an agreement requiring the NYPD to provide stop-and-frisk data to CCR on a quarterly basis.

TAGS: nypd

Hundreds Petition to Fire XXL Mag. Editor After Too Short Sparks ‘Rape’ Talk

Hundreds Petition to Fire XXL Mag. Editor After Too Short Sparks 'Rape' Talk

XXL magazine and rapper Too Short produced a video about the ‘birds and the bees’ to teach middle-school-aged boys how to “turn girls out.”

“Push her up agaisnt the wall” and “take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens,” Too Short told viewers in the video published last week.

The video has been removed from XXLMAG.com but Donovan X. Ramsey at The Grio watched the video and describes it below:

XXL magazine teamed up with rapper Too Short recently to give “fatherly advice” that involved teaching middle-school-aged boys how to “turn girls out.” Calling it a process of “mind manipulation,” the aging rapper advised boys to digitally stimulate girls to get “whatever [they] want.” While the video has been removed from the XXL site, the fact that it was published at all is still drawing outrage.

Then, the 45-year-old rapper, whose real name is Todd Anthony Shaw, asks women off camera to “cover their ears” to avoid being offended. Short then describes a scenario in graphic detail. “You push her up against the wall,” he continued. “You take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens.”

Whie Shaw is giving his graphic “advice,” upbeat, child-themed music plays in the background.

Allhiphop.com has published an apology from Too Short and Vanessa Satten, XXL’s Editor-in-Chief:

“I want to apologize to anyone I may have offended with the XXL video interview I recently did,” $hort stated. “When I got on camera I was in Too $hort mode and had a lapse of judgement.I would never advise a child or young man to do these things, it’s not how I get down. Although I have made my career on dirty raps, I have worked over the years to somewhat balance the content of my music with giving back to the community. Just coming from a man who wants to see young people get ahead in life, I’m gonna do my best to to help and not hurt. If you’re a young man or a kid who looks up to me, don’t get caught up in the pimp, player, gangster hip-hop personas. Just be yourself.”

“In a culture where 44% of rape victims are under the age of 18; in a society where someone is assaulted every 2 minutes; with 2/3 of victims committed by someone known by the victim and 38% of rapists being either friends or acquaintances of the victims, and 15 of 16 rapists will never spend a day in jail, we stand together in condemnation of this video,” reads a petition calling on Harris Publications (Publisher XXL Magazine) to fire Satten.

“Too Short should and must be held accountable for his deplorable rhetorical violence. Ultimately, however, the decision to post this video sits with the magazine’s EIC, Vanessa Satten.”

Satten says she made orders to have Too Short’s video taken down after she had a change to watch it, according to jimromenesko.com. She’s placing the blame on an “employee:”

“I was truly offended and thought it crossed the line. …I am disappointed that an employee decided to post it and I am putting internal procedures in place to make sure content like this does not go on the site.”

The petition is still calling on her removal. “In the name of justice, in the name of decency, and in the name of our children we call for her immediate removal and an accounting for the ways in which XXL treats women,” the petition’s statemet reads.

“We are appalled that this video was disseminated, further contributing to a culture of sexual violence.”

Whitney Houston’s Death a ‘Teachable Moment,’ Says White House Drug Control Director [Video]

Whitney Houston's Death a 'Teachable Moment,' Says White House Drug Control Director [Video]

Seems like everyone is jumping on the Whitney-died-because-of-substance-abuse bandwagon even though the Coroners toxicology reports won’t be coming for weeks.

“[Houston’s death] also tells you that the drug problem crosses almost every demographic and economic barrier,” he says. “So, we can use this as a moment to help people understand, remember there are literally millions of Americans who are struggling with this problem, either themselves or a close family member. So, we can use this as a chance to move forward,” Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, told CBS News.

“I think it’s what we might call a teachable moment when someone passes, particularly someone that was as highly thought of and was such an incredible performer as Whitney Houston,”  Kerlikowske said.




Viola Davis is Totally Oscar Dress Shopping at Vera Wang Fall 2012 Fashion Show [Photo]

Viola Davis is Totally Oscar Dress Shopping at Vera Wang Fall 2012 Fashion Show [Photo]

Oscar nominee Viola Davis sat next to fashion royalty Andre Leon Talley and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Anna Wintour, at the Vera Wang Fall 2012 fashion show on Tuesday.

“Oscar prediction alert: Viola Davis front row at Vera Wang,” tweeted the New York Times fashion reporter Eric Wilson.

Davis has not been spotted at any other show during this seasons Fashion Week.

Photo Caption:

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 14: (L-R) Andre Leon Talley, Julius Tennon, actress Viola Davis, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Anna Wintour and professional tennis player Maria Sharapova attend the Vera Wang Fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion at The Stage at Lincoln Center on February 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

ICE to Open Immigration Detention Facility Touted as Model for Reform

ICE to Open Immigration Detention Facility Touted as Model for Reform

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is set to open a new “model” detention facility in Karnes County, Texas. The facility will hold detainees in “more normalized conditions” with such luxuries as privacy in toilets and showers and expanded access to outdoor recreation.

The facility, built and operated by Geo Group, is expected to hold up to 608 detainees, according to a press release sent by Human Rights First.

“Geo Group is in the private prison industry and they have invested in the creation and lobbying of harsh, anti-immigrant and ‘tough on crime’ laws that promote racial profiling and help keep their prisons and pockets full,” said Mónica Novoa, Drop the I-Word Campaign Coordinator.

“There is nothing humane about profiting from human suffering,” Novoa went on to say.

The Karnes County detention center is the first facility designed and built based on ICE’s 2009 commitment to reform the immigration detention system and shift away from its longtime reliance on jails and jail-like facilities.

Colorlines.com’s investigation reporter Seth Freed Wessler described the plan in a story published last month:

In late 2009, the Obama administration announced plans to reform the detention system. The reforms included stated efforts to decrease the number of immigrants and asylum seekers held in penal jails or jail-like facilities, and to detain people closer to their homes by building new facilities near urban centers. The announcement also suggested that more people could be released or placed on supervision without being locked up, which is a more fiscally prudent option than mass detention. Yet, according to an October 2011 report by Human Rights First, about half of ICE detainees are still held in actual correctional facilities and most of the rest are held in jail-like facilities. Rather than expand alternatives to detention programs, ICE under Obama has moved to build more facilities, which it says will be “humane.”

In “Dispatch From Detention: A Rare Look Inside Our ‘Humane’ Immigration Jails” Wessler writes about his visit to six immigration detention centers as a researcher, working for Colorlines.com’s publisher, the Applied Research Center. His visits included The T. Don Hutto Residential Center that ICE has touted as a model facility. More from Wessler:

Indeed, Hutto is a softer place than the other detention centers. The women can wear their own clothes and as we walk down the halls, there are women walking in small groups without guards accompanying them.

Behind the main building where the detainees sleep in jail cells from which the locks have been removed, there’s a row of prefab trailers. Twelve women sat in plastic chairs in the back of one of them. They stared blankly ahead or looked down at the ground. A Corrections Corp. employee called them up one by one to a desk at the front of the trailer. The women slowly approached the desk and picked beads and long pieces of string from a plastic tub.

“You know the bracelets you sometimes see kids wearing. They can make those here and then send the bracelets to their kids,” said Melissa. “They get the beads by trading in fake money like monopoly money they earn through their English classes. The better they do on their English classes, the more beads they can buy. It’s an incentive to learn English.”

We walked to the back of the trailer where there was a shelf on which sat a pile of knitted blankets. There were three women knitting blankets out of artificial yarns in bright colors. “It’s amazing what they can do,” she said, as she smiled too big and looked at me for validation.

Melissa told me that they donate the crafts and the blankets to local foster kids. The research project that I was conducting at the time of these visits discovered that there are thousands of children stuck in foster carewho can’t be reunified with their family because the mother or father is locked in detention or was deported. Almost all of these women are separated from their own children, and the detention center has them making gifts for the local foster children.

Read Seth Freed Wessler’s complete investigative report: Dispatch From Detention: A Rare Look Inside Our ‘Humane’ Immigration Jails”.

*This story has been updated since the original time of publishing. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the new ICE facility opened Tuesday. ICE officials announced earlier the opening date has been postponed after learning that a contract employee had been diagnosed with meningitis.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is postponing its planned Feb. 14 opening announcement for the Karnes County Civil Detention Center in Karnes City, Texas, after learning that a contract employee had been diagnosed with meningitis.  The employee is hospitalized in stable condition.  As a precaution, preventive medication has been made available to ICE and contract employees who had been working at the facility.  ICE will reschedule the announcement event at a later date.  The facility does not yet hold detainees.”

An All Whitney Houston Valentine’s Day Playlist [Audio]

An All Whitney Houston Valentine's Day Playlist [Audio]

Whitney Houston Praises Her Mother 






Soul Train Line - So Emotional, Whitney Houston



Whitney Houston - Love Will Save The Day Live 1988



The Dubai Fountain - Tribute to Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You 2012



90-Year-Old Grandma Dances to Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance with Somebody




I Will Always Love You - The Harp Version



Whitney Houston’s ‘I have nothing’ by 3-year-old Astrid and 2-year-old Ingrid



5th Grade Class Sings ‘Greatest Love’



Soul Train Whitney Houston “How Will I Know”



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Bill O’Reilly on Whitney Houston: Obvious She Destroyed Herself by Taking Drugs and Expired [Video]

Bill O'Reilly on Whitney Houston: Obvious She Destroyed Herself by Taking Drugs and Expired [Video]

Perhaps now that it’s a non-partisan issue Bill O’Reilly fans will understand the Fox News news anchor presents his opinions as complete facts. On Monday night O’Reilly told his viewers that Whitney Houston “obviously destroyed herself” and that her death was caused by drug use.

“Ms. Houston was found with a variety of legalized drugs in her room. Apparently she took some of them and expired,” O’Reilly said, presenting his opinion as factual news.

Although many news outlets have alluded to Houston’s history of substance abuse few have gone so far as to say that’s what actually ended the R&B pop star’s life… because no one actually knows that yet, not even the Los Angeles Coroner.

Houston’s autopsy was finished on Sunday, but the Los Angeles County coroner’s office said the official cause of death would await toxicology tests to determine whether there was alcohol or drugs in Houston’s system. Those tests could take several weeks to complete.

A coroner’s official says some prescription medicines were found in the hotel room where Whitney Houston died but not in large quantities, the AP reported Monday.

Obama Will Cut 287(g) to Expand Secure Communities in 2013

Obama Will Cut 287(g) to Expand Secure Communities in 2013

In the Homeland Security Brief released Monday the Obama administration announced it intends to cut funding for the controversial 287(g) program that deputized federal, state and local law enforcement to carry out immigration enforcement.

Below the Security Brief describes the planned funding cuts to 287(g):

In light of the nationwide activation of the Secure Communities program, the Budget reduces the 287(g) program by $17 million. The Secure Communities screening process is more consistent, efficient and cost effective in identifying and removing criminal and other priority aliens. To implement this reduction in 2013, ICE will begin by discontinuing the least productive 287(g) task force agreements in those jurisdictions where Secure Communities is already in place and will also suspend consideration of any requests for new 287(g) task forces.

“What the Obama administration is signaling with its proposed 2013 budget is that it’s getting what it wants out of the comparatively less pricey Secure Communities program,” said Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com’s immigration reporter. “The two local enforcement programs have identical goals but a slightly different design. Where 287(g) allows local law enforcement to enforce immigration policy and initiate a person’s deportation proceedings, S-Comm instead allows the federal government to check out the arrest databases of local police and request that people be detained remotely.”

S-Comm is cheaper, Hing said, and deserves a great deal of credit for helping the Obama administration reach its record-breaking deportation records.

“The Department of Homeland Security is basically saying that it’s confident enough in S-Comm’s ability to help it meet its enforcement and deportation goals. 287(g) may be being phased out, but aggressive enforcement at the local level is not going away anytime soon.”

LA Sheriff’s Letter to Miramonte Parents: ”We Will Not Ask About Your Immigration Status’

LA Sheriff's Letter to Miramonte Parents: ''We Will Not Ask About Your Immigration Status'

Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca on Friday mailed a letter to an estimated 1,400 parents of students at Miramonte Elementary telling them “not to worry about immigration status” if they had any information on the sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the school.

Two teachers have been charged with multiple counts of lewd conduct against several students at Miramonte Elementary—a school in South Los Angeles who’s student body is made up of 98% Latinos and 2% black students. The majority of the students at the school are English-language learners. The letter was sent out in both Spanish and English.

The letter was mailed out on the same day a lawyer announced he knew about at least three alleged victims that have not been interviewed by law enforcement because their parents fear deportation.

“Our investigators will continue to work with everyone who is willing to share information.” L.A. County Sheriff Leroy Baca wrote in the letter.

“Please know that we will not ask about your or anyone’s immigration status, nor will any information be shared with immigration,” he continued to write in the letter.

“He is so adamant about this that he has put this in writing,” L.A. County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told KABC news on Friday.

Baca closed his letter by reminding parents his department is only interested in making sure they “gather all the available facts and make a safe environment for your children while they attend school.

“As a result of stepped up immigration enforcement programs like Secure Communities, undocumented immigrants, even those who have absolutely no criminal record, regularly get deported. It’s also further complicated because Sheriff Baca actually defended his county’s use of the immigration enforcement program Secure Communities just last year in an L.A. Times op-ed,” Colorlines.com’s Julianne Hing explained last week.

LA County Sheriff sent a copy of the letter to Colorlines.com on Monday afternoon. The letter is published in it’s entirety below.

leroy-baca-miramonte.png

Linsanity: MSG Shares Climb to Record High, Lin’s Jersey NBA’s Best-Selling

Linsanity: MSG Shares Climb to Record High, Lin's Jersey NBA's Best-Selling

Jeremy Lin is turning in to the NBA’s new cash cow and the stock prices for the Madison Square Garden Co., are at a record high.

Business Week has more details:

Jeremy Lin has helped drive shares in his boss, Madison Square Garden Co., to a record high and produced the National Basketball Association’s best-selling jersey just over a week after he was a substitute at the end of the New York Knicks’ bench. […] The jersey is the NBA’s top online seller since Feb. 4, when Lin first dazzled NBA fans. Sales of Knicks merchandise are higher than any other team in the league since then, with the team accounting for five of the 10 most popular items.

Linsanity is also trickling down to re-selllers:

“Just last week I was reading in the paper about him for the first time,” Miguel Gutierrez, the 28-year-old assistant manager at Modell’s, said in an interview. “I didn’t see this coming. We’re pretty much going to be getting new stuff every day.”

And then there’s the serious money:

Shares in Madison Square Garden, which also owns the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers, climbed 3.7 percent to $32.31 today at 12:00 p.m., after trading at a record-high $33.18 earlier this morning. It’s up 10 percent since Feb. 3, the day before the team’s winning run began. Madison Square Garden, now valued at $2.44 billion, was spun off by Cablevision Systems Corp. in February 2010.

Full article at BusinessWeek.com

TAGS: Linsanity

Victor Cruz Dances Salsa at Grammy’s — But It’s No Longer a Category [Video]

Victor Cruz Dances Salsa at Grammy's -- But It's No Longer a Category [Video]

New York Giants’ Victor Cruz danced his way through the Grammys last night. He was seen doing his signature Salsa number before the show, the ceremony stage and telecast and then again backstage. The irony of it all is the Best Latin Jazz and Best Tropical Latin Album categories in which Salsa qualified for are no longer categories in the Grammy competition.

On April 6, 2011, the Recording Academy announced its decision to consolidate Grammy Awards categories from 109 to 78, leaving more artists of color competing for fewer Awards.

victor_cruz_salsa_redcarpet-grammy.jpg victor-cruz-grammy-salsa-stage.jpg

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

P.S. 22’s Denise Gets Stars in her Own Target Commercial [Video]

P.S. 22's Denise Gets Stars in her Own Target Commercial [Video]

If you were watching the Grammy telecast last night you may seen a talented teen singing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” during commercial breaks.

P.S. 22’s Mr. B confirmed Sunday the amazing singer that stars in the Target commercial is his former student Denise.

And stay tuned for more updates on the upcoming “PS22 Chorus Documentary-Once in a Lullaby .”

Check out the Denise’s original performance that caught casting directors’ eyes and ears:

TAGS: Videos

Apple’s iTunes Accused of Raising Price of Whitney Houston Albums by 60% Within Hours of her Death

Apple's iTunes Accused of Raising Price of Whitney Houston Albums by 60% Within Hours of her Death

Sony Music purportedly raised the cost of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits set on iTunes by more than 60% within hours after news of her death.

It’s no business secret that once musicians pass away album sales increase but what’s different in this case is that the actual price of the album increased for many visiting Apple’s iTunes music store abroad.

The UK’s Guardian has more details:

The music giant is understood to have lifted the wholesale price of Houston’s greatest hits album, The Ultimate Collection, at about 4am California time on Sunday. This meant that the iTunes retail price of the album automatically increased from £4.99 to £7.99 ($7.87 to $12.61 USD.)

Houston’s The Ultimate Collection, originally released in 1997, was the second top-selling album on iTunes on Monday morning. Apple returned the album to its original price late on Sunday.

Music fans described the move as a cynical attempt to capitalise on Houston’s in-demand greatest hits records. The price hike came as tributes flooded in for the singer, whose catalogue includes hits such as I Wanna Dance With Somebody and I Will Always Love You. Houston was found dead in her Los Angeles hotel room on Saturday afternoon, local time, at the age of 48.

The change happened when Sony Music, which owns the rights to much of Houston’s back catalogue, increased the wholesale price of The Ultimate Collection. This automatically boosted the retail price of the popular album, although Apple is responsible setting the price paid by music fans.

Houston’s Greatest Hits album was #2 on the iTunes Music Store at the time this story was published. Her single ‘I will always love you is #1 in the singles category.

Next Stop for ‘The Help’ Broadway? [Video]

Next Stop for 'The Help' Broadway? [Video]

Music, lyrics and editing of this parody video done by Jon Kaplan and Al Kaplan.

Jeremy Lin Doesn’t Need Anyone to ‘Teach Him How to Dougie’ [Video]

Jeremy Lin Doesn't Need Anyone to 'Teach Him How to Dougie' [Video]

This 2010 video of Jeremy Lin showing of his ‘dougie’ is making the rounds again now that he’s the NBA’s latest star.

Cali Swag District’s “Teach me how to dougie” hit has another huge celebrity fan: The First Lady.

Chris Brown Fans Tweet ‘He Can Beat Me’ During Grammys

Chris Brown Fans Tweet 'He Can Beat Me' During Grammys

A number of women took to Twitter Sunday night to celebrate Chris Brown’s return to the Grammys by tweeting their hopes of getting beat up by the rapper. What’s striking of course is that within these jokes, they’re on the receiving end of violent sex and they’re identifying Brown as a brute—something he’s attempted to dispel.

What’s even stranger is that the tweets come on the third anniversary of Brown’s high profile arrest for assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna. The assault happened early in the morning that he was slated to perform at the Grammys in 2009.

Examples of the tweets are below.

(h/t buzzfeed)

Of Whitney Houston’s 6 Grammys, 4 Were Won in Now-Eliminated Categories

Of Whitney Houston's 6 Grammys, 4 Were Won in Now-Eliminated Categories

On April 6, 2011, the Recording Academy announced its decision to consolidate Grammy Awards categories from 109 to 78, leaving more artists of color competing for fewer Awards. Outside of the Grammy Awards ceremony on Sunday were demonstrators calling on the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARA) to reinstate the 31 categories.

The castaway categories include: Best Latin Jazz Album, Best Contemporary Jazz Album, Best Cajun & Zydeco Album, Best Native American Album and Best Hawaiian Music Album. Seven Latin categories were cut to four, citing duplicate categories in the Latin Grammy Awards ceremony and the English-language awards.

The three R&B vocal performance awards for males, females and groups have been merged into a single R&B performance award.

The irony is that of Whitney Houston’s 6 Grammys, 4 were won in now-eliminated categories: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance (awards 1-3), and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (6).

(The Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album that Whitney’s mother, Emily “Cissy” Houston, won two Grammys in has also been eliminated.)

“The Grammys have taken the route of greed and inequity,” Roberto Lovato, co-founder of the Latino advocacy group presente.org, told Colorlines.com “Greed and inequity is not what gave birth to Whitney Houston who started off as a gospel singer, one of the categories eliminated. We’re happy that she’s being embraced, but we also embrace Whitney Houston as one of our own. She started in our communities, in our churches, in our neighborhoods before she entered the limelight of the Grammys.”

After the demonstration outside of the Grammy ceremony organizers held a concert at nearby at Mama Juana’s nightclub in Studio City. The concert featured music representatives of the 31 genres eliminated.

Latin jazz artist and educator Bobby Matos, the spokesperson for the Los Angeles GRAMMY Watch Group who organized the event, said: “We are holding this concert to remind music fans about all the great music that has been eliminated from the Grammys.”

“To paraphrase what Frank Sinatra said at the first Grammy Awards in 1959, ‘Remember, the awards are about excellence, not popularity.’ It is part of NARAS’ mission to support the diversity of all American music. The current NARAS administration, under Neil Portnow, is failing that one. The category cuts NARAS made in 2011 eliminated from this year’s awards many of the genres that are the roots of American popular music.”

Nicki Minaj Walked Grammy Red Carpet with Pope Impersonator Then Levitated on Stage [Video]

Nicki Minaj Walked Grammy Red Carpet with Pope Impersonator Then Levitated on Stage [Video]

Nicki Minaj had the most bizarre (and perplexing) performance at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday. Her performance included a man dressed up as the Pope—who she also walked the red carpet with—her levitating and a whole bunch of fire antics.

No word from the Vatican yet but critics say Minaj is trying to out-Gaga Lady Gaga.

What say you?

lady-gaga-2012-grammy-red-carpet.jpg Nicki Minaj arrives at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

lady-gaga-2012-grammy-stage.jpg Nicki Minaj performs onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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