Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Azealia Banks Performs at Karl Lagerfeld’s House in Paris [Video]

Azealia Banks Performs at Karl Lagerfeld's House in Paris [Video]

I wrote about 21-year-old Harlem rapper Azealia Banks last Wednesday, the day she signed on to Universal Music. And just one week later she’s in Paris during couture week. And performing in Karl Lagerfeld’s house (to a tough crowd.)

Video was uploaded to YouTube earlier today by Derek Blasberg, Editor at Large of Harper’s Bazaar.

Bulldogs Lose Recruit as Georgia Demands He Prove Immigration Status

Bulldogs Lose Recruit as Georgia Demands He Prove Immigration Status

When Chester Brown learned he had been recruited to University Of Georgia’s football team he was so excited that he got the commitment date tattooed on his left forearm. That tattoo will now also serve as constant reminder of the date the Samoan-born offensive lineman had to decommit himself because he couldn’t prove his immigration status in the United States.

An anti-immigrant measure passed by the state Board of Regents in 2010 requires “the verification of a student’s lawful presence in the United States” in order to enroll in any of the state’ public universities. Brown’s family is unable to produce any documentation, according to ESPN’s college football blog.

And it gets more complicated because most people didn’t know Brown was undocumented and he suffered humiliation when he decommitted. More details from ESPN:

Brown, who attends the Bradwell Institute in Hinesville, Ga., initially cited “personal reasons” for decommitting, saying that he didn’t want “anything bad to happen to me, anything bad to happen to my family and most of all I don’t want anything bad to happen to Georgia.”

But Brown had no choice, said a family spokesperson, who added that the decision left him heartbroken after developing relationships with Georgia recruits, coaches and members of the team. He had been talking up the Bulldogs to other would-be Georgia commitments for the Class of 2012 for months.

“It has been rough on Chester,” the Brown family spokesperson said Tuesday night. “He went to school today and he just got bashed from all of these teachers calling him dumb and stupid for decommitting. He came home and just cried. And they don’t know the situation.”

Brown’s family emigrated from Samoa in the mid-1990s and lived in Long Beach, Calif., upon arriving in the United States. “They moved to Hinesville in 2004, attempting to escape the crime and gang activity that was prevalent in their community,” ESPN reports.

“As far as inside the state of Georgia, there is no way. It is just going to run into a dead end. There is nothing else we can do,” a family spokesperson told ESPN about Brown’s college options. “What I am hearing, and (what) coach Ball told Chester today, was, ‘Get ready, because big-name colleges are coming after you. You will see what I am talking about.’ “

Georgia is the second state, after South Carolina, to enact a ban on undocumented students at public colleges.

Caption Contest: What Did Brewer and Her Wagging Finger Tell Obama?

Caption Contest: What Did Brewer and Her Wagging Finger Tell Obama?

bre-w.jpgThe picture of President Barack Obama being welcomed “intensely” by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer yesterday has gone viral. And it’s begging for a good caption.

And if the New Yorker can have their caption contests, so can we. Comment below (or via Facebook or Twitter) and we’ll post the best captions tomorrow.

PS: Keep it classy! (That means don’t post any misogynist captions because your comments will likely disappear.)



Univision to Obama: Explain to Latinos Why You Didn’t Keep Immigration Promise [Video]

Univision to Obama: Explain to Latinos Why You Didn't Keep Immigration Promise [Video]

Univision’s María Elena Salinas asked President Obama yesterday to explain to Latinos why he didn’t keep his immigration promise to them.

“It’s very simple. We couldn’t get any republican votes. Zero. None.”

Even though he couldn’t keep his promise, Obama says he’ll win the Latino vote no matter who he runs against because of his stance on issues that matter to Latino like the economy, healthcare and the DREAM Act.

“On a whole range of issues, whether it’s Mr. Romney, Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Santorum or wherever else they might decide to select they represent a fundamentally different vision of America and it’s not the bold, generous forward-looking optimistic America that I think built this country,” Obama said.

Latinos still favor President Obama over all the Republican candidates by a wide margin, according to a new poll conducted by Latino Decisions for Univision News and ABC News.

While some Latinos have complained about Obama’s failed promise to take up immigration reform and bring down the country’s unemployment rate -53 percent say they are less excited about Obama than they were three years ago — for the most part they remain supportive of the president.

Junot Díaz to Keynote at Colorlines.com’s Facing Race 2012 in Baltimore

Junot Díaz to Keynote at Colorlines.com's Facing Race 2012 in Baltimore

Facing Race is the largest national, multi-racial gathering of leaders, educators, journalists, and activists on racial justice. It’s taking place November 15-17 in Baltimore, and yesterday, Colorlines.com’s publisher, Applied Research Center, announced the keynote speaker is Junot Díaz!

ARC’s mission to popularize racial justice led to the selection of celebrated Dominican-American author Junot Díaz as Facing Race keynote speaker. From his Pulitzer Prize-winning, NYTimes bestselling novel, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, to his short stories and essays, Díaz is renowned for his bold, nuanced depiction of immigrants and people of color, moving far beyond stereotypes to deal with different degrees of historical and intergenerational trauma, issues of diasporic displacement, and immigration. Through Díaz’s writing, the impact of internalized and structural oppression is revealed in a way that makes a discussion about racial justice accessible and engaging.

Join Colorlines.com and the Applied Research Center and be part of the discussion. Define justice. Make Change.

Visit arc.org/facingrace for more information and to register to attend Facing Race in Baltimore November 15-17.

According to Mitt Romney, God Created the U.S. to Lead the World [Video]

According to Mitt Romney, God Created the U.S. to Lead the World [Video]

At the second and final “Meet the Candidates” event organized by Univision on Wednesday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney told news anchor Jorge Ramos the role of the US is to be a leader in freedom among nations.

Romney told Ramos the U.S. is “a leader in freedom and in the free world and I believe that’s a mantle that still rest on the shoulders of United States of America.”

Groups Want NYPD Chief’s Job Over Anti-Muslim Propaganda in Trainings

Groups Want NYPD Chief's Job Over Anti-Muslim Propaganda in Trainings

On Thursday, the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition held a press conference is front of City Hall calling for the NYPD Chief Raymond Kelly’s resignation after news surfaced that an anti-Muslim documentary he appears in was being was being played on a loop at police trainings. According to documents uncovered by the NYU’s Brennan Center, the NYPD showed the anti-Muslim film to nearly 1,500 officers during its training curriculum, reports The New York Times.

According to the film, the goal of “much of Muslim leadership here in America” is to “infiltrate and dominate” the United States.

Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne told Times on Monday that the filmmakers had relied on old interview clips and had never spoken with Kelly, but on Tuesday Browne admitted the police chief had personally cooperated with the filmmakers of “The Third Jihad” — a decision the commissioner now describes as a mistake.

The film, according to the documents obtained, was shown on a “continuous loop” for between three months and a year to officers receiving antiterrorism training. The film, amid images of assassinations, bombings and executions, portrays many mainstream American Muslim leaders as closet radical Islamists, and states that their “primary tactic” is deception.

“It has become increasingly clear in recent years that the NYPD is engaged in systemic and unapologetic practices of surveillance and racial and religious profiling of Muslim communities. The practices have long raised serious civil rights and civil liberties concerns and create a climate of fear in New York’s Muslim communities,” said Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines.com’s investigation reporter.

“Relations between police and the diverse Muslim community are already tense after The Associated Press uncovered aggressive surveillance of Muslims, including American citizens. The propaganda of this film will only damage those relations further and make law enforcement more difficult,” the New York Times editorial board wrote on Tuesday.

Along with the call for Kelly’s resignation, the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition this morning demanded that the City Council institute an independent community control and oversight mechanism for the NYPD. They also called on the NYPD to retrain all 1500 officers who watched The Third Jihad during cadet training.

2-Year-Old Black Scientist is Here to Give You a Physics Lesson [Video]

2-Year-Old Black Scientist is Here to Give You a Physics Lesson [Video]

Thoughtful little Scientist Romanieo Golphin Jr., 2.5 years old, reviews subatomic particles with his dad in the video above. Below he aces an astronomy pop quiz.

(h/t News One)


We’re ending the day as often as possible by celebrating love. We welcome your ideas for posts. Send suggestions to submissions@colorlines.com, and be sure to put Celebrate Love in the subject line. You can send links to videos, graphics, photos, quotes, whatever. Or just chime in to the comments below and we’ll find you. Be sure to let us know you’ve got the rights to share any media you send.

To see other Love posts visit our Celebrate Love page.

Racist Tabloid Wednesday: Heidi Klum Divorcing Seal Due to his Inability to Control Temper

Racist Tabloid Wednesday: Heidi Klum Divorcing Seal Due to his Inability to Control Temper

This is a public service announcement, some of the most racist stories that are mostly based on stereotypes are available at your local grocery check stand.

In this edition of racist tabloid Wednesday Heidi Klum is divorcing Seal largely because she has had it with his “volcanic temper.” It’s unclear what the details are or if the reports of the divorce are even true but what’s clear is that everyone is painting Seal out to be a jealous, drug and sex addicted black man that can’t control his anger.

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According to US Weekly Heidi Klum is in “private hell” because Seal has mood swings that stem from jealousy of her fame and fortune. And it doesn’t help that she’s an “upbeat, happy person,” while Seal has a troubled, sad background.




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He’s a cheater too, according to inTouch.


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And a bully, y’all!


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Star is alleging there was actual fight between Klum and Seal.

But if Klum and Seal thought they had it bad, Angelina Jolie has the ultimate disaster combo, according to Star she’s “98 lbs, pregnant and headed for rehab!”


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And then there’s the National Enquirer…they’re reporting Seal is sex crazed and drug addicted.

The Enquirer loves themselves some Oprah and Star Jones. (Sometimes Whitney Houston too.) This week they’re reporting Ms. Winfrey was saved by Hinduism.

No mention that Oprah’s bodyguards beat a few Indian photographers though …because that’s actually true.


Artist Reimagines ‘The Help’ Poster: ‘White People Solve Racism’

Artist Reimagines 'The Help' Poster: 'White People Solve Racism'

British movie review site TheShiznit.co.uk has taken the advertising for ‘The Help’ to a whole new level.

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East Haven Immigrant Rights Group Launches Twitter Campaign to Send Mayor Tacos

East Haven Immigrant Rights Group Launches Twitter Campaign to Send Mayor Tacos

After four East Haven police officers were arrested Tuesday for allegedly profiling members of the Latino community, the city’s mayor said he was going to have tacos for dinner that night to help Latinos.

East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo has since apologized, but the group Reform Immigration for America has launched a Twitter campaign encouraging people to text their delivery order and get the mayor a taco for each text.

“East Haven Mayor Maturo thinks tacos will help the Latino community fight racial profiling. Let’s find out - text TACO to 69866 to send one.”

Gingrich Would Support DREAMers Only if They Join the Military [Video]

Gingrich Would Support DREAMers Only if They  Join the Military [Video]

In a heated interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said he was for “half the DREAM Act” and that if young students who were brought here by their parents “want to become citizens they can join the military.”

“In recent days undocumented youth I’ve spoken with have asked why it is that the only way they can serve the country they’ve grown up in is by joining the military. Undocumented youth argue that they are fully capable of serving the country in many other ways,” Colorlines.com immigration reporter Julianne Hing said about Gingrich’s comments.

Hing went on to comment about the rest of the interview:

“Newt Gingrich, unlike most Republicans including Mitt Romney, is actually willing to acknowledge the logistical and political impossibility of trying to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. That’s a big deal these days, especially given the right-wing anti-immigrant rhetoric that’s seeped into the mainstream discourse. But his actual policy ideas are not exactly realistic, or humane either. These local citizen review boards seem especially suspect.

In the latest Univision News/ABC poll, Gingrich would lose against Obama by a 48-point margin.

(h/t Univision News)

‘Fishing Without Nets,’ Film About Somali Pirates Told from Pirates Perspective Wins Sundance Jury Award [Video]

'Fishing Without Nets,' Film About Somali Pirates Told from Pirates Perspective Wins Sundance Jury Award [Video]

The Sundance Institute’s Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking was awarded to “Fishing Without Nets” — a story of pirates in Somalia, told from the perspective of the pirates themselves.

Director Cutter Hodierne, 25, tells the Washington Post more about his film:

Hodierne and Hibey, a Georgetown Prep graduate, traveled to Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city, in late 2010 and early 2011 to do research and maybe make a trailer for Hodierne’s feature (they were joined along the way by co-producer Raphael Swann, another Woodlawn alum). “When we got there, we knew we wanted to make a short,” Hodierne said from his home in Los Angeles. “We basically wrote it the first couple of weeks we were there and used the people we met to inspire what it was going to be about.”

Although many of the cast members of “Fishing Without Nets” are people the filmmakers met on the streets of Mombasa, the lead actor, a 17-year-old ­named Abdi, was cast after a formal audition at a local nightclub. But if casting was relatively easy thanks to Mombasa’s large Somali refu­gee population, shooting was another story. With government corruption, the production’s microscopic budget and gun-permit issues that briefly landed the filmmakers in jail, Hodierne said, “putting this project together was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.”

Award recipients will be honored at the Festival’s Awards Ceremony on Saturday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m. MT and live streamed at www.sundance.org/live.

Immigrant Family Detention Could Return to Texas

In 2009, the federal government stopped detaining families in Texas and cancelled plans to build new family detention facilities as advocates made clear that the practice was inhumane. Now, despite the administration’s stated commitment to reforming the detention system, plans are underway to build at least ten new detention facilities, including one to hold children with their parents.

The ACLU of Texas sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2007 for detaining immigrant children at the T. Don Hutto Center in Texas. As a result, the facility for families was shut down and the only detention center in the country still housing families is in Pennsylvania is scheduled to close in March.

But last November, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement put out a request for proposal for 100 new family detention beds in Texas, according to KUT.

“There is no reason why families must be detained while their immigration cases proceed and the administration could easily release children and parents to community based alternatives to detention,” said Seth Freed Wessler, Colorlines.com’s investigation reporter.

“Detention centers are dismal places, no matter how humane the administration tried to make them. They are no place for children,” Wessler went on to say. 

Immigrant rights advocate interviewed by KUT,  say probation-like alternatives should be used instead, including ankle bracelets, home visits and home-like community shelters.

Director Ice-T Interviews 54 Rappers in ‘Art of Rap’ Documentary [Video]

The rapper/actor interviewed MCs like Immortal Technique, Raekwon and Chuck D about their lyrical styles and the cultural importance of hip-hop music for his new documentary ‘Art of Rap.’

“I was looking at the terrain of hip-hop and where it’s going… A lot of the kids don’t even know where it started, and I said, ‘I wanna go and document the craft — not the money, not the cars, not the girls, the craft,’ Ice-T explained to Billboard Magazine.

The film premiered at Sundance this weekend but there’s one or two more screening that have a waitlist open.

NDLON on Obama: ‘He Can’t Offer DREAM Act to Students and Deportations to Parents’

NDLON on Obama: 'He Can't Offer DREAM Act to Students and Deportations to Parents'

We’ll be bringing you responses from different organizations to President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union Address throughout the day.

Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network statement focuses on the President’s immigration comments.

“We are disappointed the President had so little to say about immigration, a topic that is so central to the country’s future. President Obama has become known for the dissonance between his rhetoric and reality on immigration. In a few short sentences, tonight’s speech showed the President’s strained attempt to straddle two opposites that cannot be bridged. He cannot pay lip service to legalization while backing policies that criminalize immigrants. He cannot offer the Dream Act to students and deportations to their parents. As the Republican debates reach new levels of toxicity, we need a President who will stand as a counterpoint not a compliment to their xenophobic drumbeat. The President has in the past claimed that he feels our community’s pain. We’ll know he’s sincere when he ends the programs that are inflicting it.”

According to their mission statement, NDLON aspires to live in a world of diverse communities where day laborers live with full rights and responsibilities in an environment of mutual respect, peace, harmony and justice.

Read more SOTU 2012 Responses.

President Obama’s Three SOTU in Pictures and Wordclouds

President Obama's Three SOTU in Pictures and Wordclouds

A visual look at how the President (and themes) have changed in the past three years.


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2011: P012511PS-0738 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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2012: obama-sotu-2012.jpg (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

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(Wordclouds created with the help of Wordle.net)

Viola Davis Tells Charlize Theron She Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About

Viola Davis Tells Charlize Theron She Doesn't Know What She's Talking About

Regardless of how you feel about the “The Help,” you gotta give it to Viola Davis for consistently shining light on structural issues in the film industry that make it harder for actors of color to get work.

During Newsweek’s Oscar roundtable, Davis tried to speak about the difficulties of being a black actress in Hollywood—but a well-intentioned reply from Charlize Theron illustrates just how disconnected Hollywood can be.

Theron’s response to Davis makes it look like she’s just never considered that there are less roles for black women in Hollywood.

Watch the video and check out our past coverage of Viola Davis, she’s delivered a few gems before.

Obama’s Big Shift: Let’s Truly Investigate the Banking Sector’s Crimes

Obama's Big Shift: Let's Truly Investigate the Banking Sector's Crimes

President Obama said many things at last night’s State of the Union, but the speech really boils down to two very big statements—one about values, the other about policy.

The values statement is rightly getting lots of play this morning: Obama’s core message between now and November will focus on economic inequality, specifically, and equal opportunity broadly. Obama grabbed hold of the debate over taxes and reframed it as a debate over opportunity and fairness. That’ll be a welcome change for the broad swath of communities from which Democrats are seeking support, not just for Obama, but for congressional races as well.

The policy statement last night is an equally huge deal. Obama announced a new task force to investigate financial industry crimes surrounding the mortgage crisis; the unit is to be led by the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. That appointment alone is a big deal: Financial reform advocates love Schneiderman because he’s been one of few public officials to insist that someone still must be held accountable for the multiple forms of fraud that large financial players committed during the housing boom. Moreover, he’s insisted that the people who lost their homes and their hard-earned wealth in the process deserve restitution. That’s a conversation the White House has avoided like the plague since the day it took office. Last night’s announcement marks a dramatic shift.

The question remains whether Schneiderman’s unit will be window dressing for a get-out-of-jail-free settlement with banks that are currently facing heat from state attorneys general over fraudulent foreclosures.

Here’s the reaction from the New Bottom Line, a relatively new coalition of homeowner advocates and community groups that had been making this very demand loudly for years:

President Obama has heard the calls of the 99% and announced a full, federal investigation into the fraudulent activities of big banks…. We will continue to make sure that this investigation uncovers the truth about the activities of the big banks. And in order to provide real and meaningful relief to millions of homeowners, the end result must be at least $300 billion in principal reduction and restitution for those who have lost their homes, especially targeted at the most hard hit communities. This will reset the housing market and the economy.

I’ll have more on the unit and what it means later this week.

First Lady’s Box at State of the Union Address and the Model Immigrant Narrative

First Lady's Box at State of the Union Address and the Model Immigrant Narrative

“An auto worker, a mayor, and a teacher—find out who else is sitting with the First Lady tonight at the #SOTU,” First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted hours before Tuesday’s State of the Union.

Turns out a few immigrants sat next to the First Lady including a software engineer, a physicist and a lawyer.

“Being proud of our contributions as immigrants is important, but putting highly-skilled workers on a pedestal reinforces the thinking that some immigrants are better and more worthy than others. That’s dehumanizing,” said Mónica Novoa, coordinator of Colorlines.com’s Drop the I-Word campaign which is seeking to get the media to stop using the pejorative “illegals” and related terms to describe undocumented immigrants.

“Framing that heavily-favors merit-based immigration reform for highly skilled workers takes us away from solutions that are about family reunification for all and ending the shattering of families.”

Below is a brief bio of the First Lady’s guest this evening:

Mike Krieger is the co-founder of Instagram, the fastest growing social mobile startup in the U.S. today, with over 15 million registered users. Mike was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and moved to California in 2004 to attend Stanford University, where he studied computer science and cognitive science. After graduation, Mr. Krieger worked for a year on his student F-1 visa, later applying for and receiving an H-1B visa as a high-skill worker. Mr. Krieger wants to permanently stay in the U.S. and has applied for a green card.

Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita is founder, president and chief executive officer of Quality Electrodynamics (QED), in Cleveland, Ohio. Coming to America from Japan in 1988 and after receiving his Ph.D. in physics from Case Western Reserve University in 1998, Dr. Fujita chose to continue his professional training in America. In 2006 he started his own company, QED, which is a developer and manufacturer of highly proprietary state-of-the-art MRI radiofrequency antennas.

Juan Jose Redín was born in Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico before coming with his mother and younger sister to the United States at the age of 10. After enduring many challenges throughout his journey to achieve his dream of higher education. Juan benefited from California’s Assembly Bill 540 and was able to enroll, and excel, in his studies at UCLA. He received both his undergraduate (with honors) and law degrees from UCLA. Now a US citizen and a practicing attorney, Juan is as passionate as ever about ensuring educational access to all.

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