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Help Us Celebrate Trayvon Martin’s 19th Birthday

Help Us Celebrate Trayvon Martin's 19th Birthday

February is a doubly bittersweet month for the family of slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin. It’s been nearly two years since he died on February 26, and today, February 5, would have been his 19th birthday. To commemorate the day and to honor a life cut short, Colorlines started the hashtag #19forTrayvon. We asked our followers to think about who they were and what they experienced at 19. Each tweet represented a possibility or opportunity now lost not only to Trayvon, but to all young people whose lives have been cut short by racialized gun violence. 

Happy birthday, Travyon. 


Take a Sneak Peek at Little Dragon’s Creative Process

Take a Sneak Peek at Little Dragon's Creative Process

Swedish electronic band Little Dragon is hard at work on their forthcoming album, “Nabuma Rubberband,” and decided to give fans a sneak peek at their creative process. Check out this video, which was shot in their home studio in Gothenberg, Sweden. 

Via Okayplayer.

The Deadly Logic Behind Piers Morgan’s Awful Interview With Janet Mock

The Deadly Logic Behind Piers Morgan's Awful Interview With Janet Mock

In case you missed it, Janet Mock made an appearance on “Piers Morgan Live” last night to talk about her new memoir “Redefining Realness.” But instead of asking about the actual issues that she lays out in the book, Morgan did what has become sadly predictable of mainstream media when it comes to covering trans communities and focused almost exclusively on Mock’s physical transition. 

As you can see when you watch the clip, the on-screen description of Mock was that she “was a boy until 18,” even though she’s identified as a woman since high school. Morgan’s Twitter account then asked its followers, “How would you feel if you found out the woman you are dating was formerly a man?”

It was upsetting to watch for many reasons, but especially because Morgan’s questioning implied there’s an inherent deception involved in being transgender. It’s a logic that says that being transgender is a choice, a costume, a scheme put on to dupe cis men. It’s also the same logic at the core of so-called “trans panic” legal defenses, in which cis men accused of killing trans women have, often successfully, argued in court that they were “provoked” to attack their victims after discovering their biological sex. It’s a warped sense of power cloaked in patriarchy that has dug early graves for women like Gwen Araujo and Angie Zapata, teenagers who were violently killed for being themselves.

Mock kept her composure during the CNN interview, but later told Buzzfeed that Morgan was “trying to do info-tainment.” She added, “he doesn’t really want to talk about trans issues, he wants to sensationalize my life and not really talk about the work that I do and what the purpose of me writing this book was about.”

Mock and her supporters voiced their outrage on Twitter last night which, once again, completely flew over Morgan’s head. The CNN host said that he wished he’d never booked Mock and then called Mock and her supporters “dimwits” before sending this threat: 

  

Farm Bill Passes Congress with More Food Stamp Cuts

Farm Bill Passes Congress with More Food Stamp Cuts

As expected, Congress today passed a farm bill that will further reduce stamp benefits by $8 billion over the next decade. It’s the first farm bill passed since 2008.

The 68-32 Senate vote registered dissent on both sides of the aisle. Some Democrats opposed any cuts to food stamps at all while, according to The Hill, some Republicans wanted more safeguards to prevent most of the subsidies from flowing to wealthy farmers. 

Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

Five Quotes to Celebrate Rosa Parks’s Birthday

Five Quotes to Celebrate Rosa Parks's Birthday

Rosa Parks became an icon of the civil rights movement after refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. Although she wasn’t the first black person to do so, Parks’s civil disobedience kicked off a massive boycott and Supreme Court decision that affirmed that Alabama’s segregation laws were unconstitutional. Here are five quotes attributed to Rosa Parks to remember her by on the day of her birth, 101 years ago today.recite-3525--25243370-p42um2 (1).pngrecite-21040--22895952-t5ng42.pngrecite-15243--23120051-12g28fi.pngrecite-15243--23044583-1yqkvjs.pngrecite-15243--23000000-18dfeua.png

Sweet Baby Girl Laughs in the Rain for the First Time

Sweet Baby Girl Laughs in the Rain for the First Time

Meet 15-month-old Kayden, whose family captured her first frolic in the rain on camera. It’s the stuff of pure joy and happiness, and will absolutely make your day.

 

TAGS: Kids Video

American Promise Premieres on PBS

American Promise Premieres on PBS

Two African-American boys enter kindergarten at the exclusive and predominantly white, Dalton School on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. One boy, Seun, leaves at the end of 8th grade. His friend, Idris, stays but struggles. “American Promise,” filmed by Idris’ parents over a 13-year period, looks at why.

If you didn’t catch last night’s PBS premiere, no worries. The film is playing online through March 6. And check out our Julianne Hing’s October interview with Idris, here

Tell us what you think!

In Immigration Court, a Family’s Fate Decided in Seven Minutes

In Immigration Court, a Family's Fate Decided in Seven Minutes

The nation’s immigration case backlog—the queue people whose fates are waiting to be decided by an immigration judge—is 350,000 people long. The Washington Post’s Eli Saslow spent a day in one Virginia immigration judge’s courtroom and produced a portrait as heartbreaking as it is infuriating. The backlog, steadily populated by aggressive immigration enforcement, means judges are forced to make rapidfire decisions that will affect the rest of whole families’ lives.

From the Washington Post:

“Farmville, Room 294, can you hear us?” a court interpreter asked. The screen seemed to freeze. The court took a short recess while a technician fixed the video feed. As the recess continued, Iraheta’s wife, Maria, and two sons stood up in the second row of the courtroom and walked toward the video screen. “There he is!” said Dylan, 9, an American citizen, tugging at his mother’s shirt. They stood within view of the camera so Iraheta could see them. “Oh, God,” Iraheta said, wiping his eyes as they smiled and waved. “You came. Thank you.”

He had not seen all of them together for seven months, since he got into his car to drive to his sister’s house for a Sunday barbecue and was pulled over by police for drinking and driving, a mistake that threatened to undo the life he had built in the Manassas suburbs. He had crossed into the United States illegally in 2000, and Maria had followed a year later. He worked in construction; she walked two miles each evening to wash dishes at IHOP for $8 an hour. They paid taxes, joined a church and raised three kids, now 19, 15 and 9. Two months after Iraheta was apprehended and placed into deportation proceedings, his family celebrated the birth of his first granddaughter — “an honest-to-God second-generation American,” one cousin said.

For 14 years, Iraheta and Maria had shared the same bed in a small apartment, but now they could think of little to say. He motioned for his boys to come closer to the camera so he could study their haircuts. “You look nice,” he said. “Grown up.”

 Read the rest of the story at the Washington Post.

Jerry Seinfeld on Diversity in Comedy: ‘Who Cares?’

Jerry Seinfeld on Diversity in Comedy: 'Who Cares?'

Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t care about diversity in comedy, a fact that he expounded this week during a Buzzfeed interview on CBS This Morning. “It really pisses me off,” he said about the question. “People think [comedy] is the census or something, it’s gotta represent the actual pie chart of America. Who cares?”

Well, actually, a lot of people do, and they have for decades. Comedians like Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle and Margaret Cho have found big audiences by focusing their comedic routines on race in America. And it works. But don’t tell that to Seinfeld, because he’s obviously not listening.

(h/t Gawker)

TAGS: 2010 Comedy Video

Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan Among Black Actors Featured in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue

Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan Among Black Actors Featured in Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue

Remember back when Vanity Fair’s Young Hollywood cover featured an all white cast of actors and we had to dream up a version that reflected the real America? Looks like they didn’t make that same mistake this year since they tapped two of the industry’s biggest young black stars for the cover shoot. Jezebel points out that this year’s cover, shot by Annie Leibovitz, tries to make up for past wrongs. In addition to Chiwetel Edjiofor and Idris Elba, the main cover also includes Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Naomie Harris and Chadwick Boseman (42).

The PTSD Crisis That’s Plaguing America’s Poorest Neighborhoods

The PTSD Crisis That's Plaguing America's Poorest Neighborhoods

The media is filled with stories of the violence that plagues America’s poorest black and brown neighborhoods, but a recent investigation by ProPublica’s Lois Beckett highlights one of its longest lasting side effects: hundreds of thousands of untreated cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Here’s Beckett:

Studies show that, overall, about 8 percent of Americans suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. But the rates appear to be much higher in communities - such as poor, largely African-American pockets of Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia - where high rates of violent crime have persisted despite a national decline.

Researchers in Atlanta interviewed more than 8,000 inner-city residents and found that about two-thirds said they had been violently attacked and that half knew someone who had been murdered. At least 1 in 3 of those interviewed experienced symptoms consistent with PTSD at some point in their lives - and that’s a “conservative estimate,” said Dr. Kerry Ressler, the lead investigator on the project.

“The rates of PTSD we see are as high or higher than Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam veterans,” Ressler said. “We have a whole population who is traumatized.”

PTSD, particularly when it’s untreated, can take a huge toll on relationships, parenting and finding a job. According to some researchers, it can also lead to increased aggression and violent behavior. ProPublica points out that most of the nation’s trauma centers aren’t equipped to deal with the problem.

ProPublica surveyed a top-level trauma center in each of the 22 cities with the nation’s highest homicide rates. Just one, the Spirit of Charity Trauma Center in New Orleans, currently screens all seriously injured patients for PTSD. At another, Detroit Receiving Hospital, psychologists talk with injured crime victims about PTSD.  

Read more over at ProPublica

Laverne Cox: Loving Trans Women is a Revolutionary Act

Laverne Cox: Loving Trans Women is a Revolutionary Act

This year’s National Conference for LGBT Equality: Creating Change wrapped up over the weekend in Houston and got off to stellar start late last week when Laverne Cox offered up a rousing keynote speech. In it, Cox talks about how loving transgender women is a revolutionary act. Watch the entire thing in the clip above.

(h/t Feministing)

That Time 4-Year-Old Bruno Mars Peformed as an Elvis Impersonator

That Time 4-Year-Old Bruno Mars Peformed as an Elvis Impersonator

While Bruno Mars’s Super Bowl performance gets mixed reviews, there’s no denying that he gave a pretty impressive performance as Elvis back when he was a 4-year-old living in Hawaii.

Andre 3000’s Jimi Hendrix Biopic to Premiere at SXSW

Andre 3000's Jimi Hendrix Biopic to Premiere at SXSW

We finally know when Andre 3000’s highly anticipated starring role in the new Jimi Hendrix biopic, “All Is by My Side,” will make its debut: SXSW in Austin, Texas this March! If you’re not already excited about the film, check out the above interview with Andre in which he talks about taking on the role of a lifetime.

h/t Billboard.

Here’s Why That Asian Privilege Hashtag Is So Problematic

Here's Why That Asian Privilege Hashtag Is So Problematic

What exactly does “Asian privilege” mean? That’s what a number of folks have been trying to sort out on Twitter lately, thanks in large part to online dicussions kicked off by Suey Park, the 23-year-old writer and creator of the hashtag #NotYourAsianSidekick. But the hashtag #AsianPrivilege has also popped up, and according to writer Adriel Luis, its implications are even more harmful than the concept of the model minority.

Here’s Luis:

The “Asian” in #AsianPrivilege is meant to refer to Asian Pacific Americans as they stereotypically exist in the American imagination — well-to-do communities who coast through the university system in droves and comfortably find roles as doctors, lawyers and engineers. But in a setting like Twitter — a global forum where context is all but surrendered — this doesn’t quite register.

When one says “Asian,” the baseline meaning is in reference to those originating from the greater continent of Asia. That’s a LOT of people. “Asian” does mean privileged members of Asian Pacific American communities, but also people in the Philippines who live in extreme poverty. It means the rising Chinese middle class which has made the globe its ground for tourism, as well as Tibetans who are legally barred from naming their home. It means South Koreans who enjoy the world’s fastest fiber-optic network, as well as natives of Bikini Atoll who can’t return to their homeland because of deadly levels of radiation left behind from American nuclear testing. To point this out in the conversation of #AsianPrivilege is not splitting hairs. It’s acknowledging the vast portion of the world population which the term marginalizes.

Read more over on Medium

SNL Kicks Off Black History Month: ‘28 Reasons To Hug A Black Guy’

SNL Kicks Off Black History Month: '28 Reasons To Hug A Black Guy'

Watch Jay Pharoah, Kenan Thompson, and SNL newcomer Sasheer Zamata celebrate the beginning of Black History Month in the most hilarious way possible.

Via HuffPost

The One Thing Native Americans Don’t Call Themselves

The One Thing Native Americans Don't Call Themselves

Just two days away from Super Bowl Sunday, the National Congress of American Indians has a friendly reminder of what Natives call themselves—to drive the point home of what they do not. 

Today at 2p.m., Pres. Obama Takes Questions About SOTU Speech

Today at 2p.m., Pres. Obama Takes Questions About SOTU Speech

The White House calls it a “virtual whistle-stop tour.” And it’s happening for a half-hour later this afternoon, as Pres. Obama takes questions about issues raised (or not) in Tuesday’s State of the Union. Get in on the conversation from 2pm-2:30pm, here. Follow on Twitter: #POTUSRoadTrip and cc: @Colorlines. We want to know what you’re talking about.

The Black Panther Party Had a Funk Band Called ‘The Lumpen’

The Black Panther Party Had a Funk Band Called 'The Lumpen'

Over at  Studio 360, Nishat Kurwa has a great piece up about a new book out called “Party Music” by musicologist Rickey Vincent that explores the history of the Black Panther Party’s funk band, “The Lumpen” — a name that comes from Karl Marx’s “lumpenproleteriat.”

But, as Kurwa explains, there was a lot more to the band than its predictable name:

Calhoun wrote some original songs, but time was tight. “I wasn’t able to write quickly enough to keep up with demand.” So the band would take hits and rewrite the lyrics to fit the revolution the Panthers were striving for. “Instead of saying ‘Dance to the music,’ it was, ‘Power to the people!’” remembers James Mott, one of the Lumpen members. They took Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” which says “You don’t need a ticket, you just get on board,” and changed the phrase to “You don’t need a ticket, you need a loaded gun.”

Finally, they went into a studio and made their one and only recording, “Free Bobby Now” — listen to the song below. (Bobby Seale, the Black Panther Party’s co-founder, was serving four years on a charge of contempt of court.) “I made pancakes, I sold papers, I did all kinds of things, but that was our singular contribution,” Calhoun said, to spread the message beyond the true believers. “If you won’t come to a rally, I’ll sing it to you, how’s that?”

Read more at Studio 360 and listen to the segment below. 

Melissa Harris Perry Talks With Harry Belafonte About Activism

Melissa Harris Perry Talks With Harry Belafonte About Activism

So it looks like live broadcasts featuring brilliant people are a thing now. A very good thing, to be sure. Last year, bell hooks and Melissa Harris Perry brought down the house (and the Internet) with a lively discussion about black feminism at the New School. Not too long after that, Junot Diaz interviewed Toni Morrison at the New York Public Library. And now, the NYPL is back with more live streamed brilliance as Harris Perry takes the stage to talk with Harry Belafonte about progressive activism in a discussion that will be moderated by historian Jelani Cobb.

You can tune in and watch the whole thing live at 6:30pm EST. And follow along with us on Twitter with the hashtag #MHPBelafonte

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