Here’s Wu-Tang’s Raekwon rapping over New Zealand teen sensation Lorde’s hit song, “Royals.”
(h/t Paper Magazine)
Here’s Wu-Tang’s Raekwon rapping over New Zealand teen sensation Lorde’s hit song, “Royals.”
(h/t Paper Magazine)
Out Magazine’s annual list of LGBT power brokers is out and includes some of our favorite queer people of color. So who made the list? Terrel Alvin McCraney, playwright and McArthur Genius; Guillermo Diaz, actor on ABC’s ‘Scandal’; Janet Mock, transgender advocate and writer; Brittney Griner, WNBA star; Shayne Oliver, designer; Laverne Cox, transgender actress; Billy Porter, actor; George Takei, advocate and actor.
Watch stand-up comedian Michael Che pokes fun at the gentrification that’s transformed his Lower East Side neighborhood.
(h/t Huffington Post)
Kendrick Lamar has shown that he’s not afraid to take chances in his music. Earlier this year he teamed up with Sweedish singer Emeli Sandé to release an “international remix” of his hit song “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe.” But now a South African producer and DJ has taken the song in an entirely different direction.
DJ Spyke of Johannesburg’s Tainted House Records recently dropped his own version of the track, stripping it of the rapper’s vocals but keeping its laid back essence and Sandé’s sultry hook.
Last year Florida’s Broward County made over 1,000 school-based arrests. But Broward County school officials, together with law enforcement and civil rights advocacy groups like the NAACP and the Advancement Project, are vowing to do better, and in doing so to get rid of their top spot producing the highest number of school-based arrests in the state. This week the county and its community partners announced a groundbreaking collaborative discipline agreement with the aims of increasing school safety by reducing the number of youth who are arrested and introduced to the criminal justice system.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Broward County kids were being arrested for things like showing up to school even though they were on suspension (considered trespassing), or throwing a spitball (considered misdemeanor battery) or tossing a lollipop at another student (battery). Six-seven percent of arrests fell under the umbrella category of “disorderly conduct,” which could include behavior like taking out a cellphone in class or using profanity toward a teacher. All of this eager arresting of students gave Broward County the distinction of producing the highest total number of school-based arrests in the state in 2011-2012.
With the new agreement, nonviolent offenses—even those which include drugs or alcohol—will be handled in school without the involvement of police. It’s an important step in a county which, like elsewhere in the nation, has disproportionately punished black and Latino students with its school discipline policies, pushing many of them into the arms of the criminal justice system and further from school.
Read more at the Sun Sentinel.
The law firm that successfully convinced the U.S. Supreme Court to upend a key civil rights protection in the Voting Rights Act is now looking to collect $2 million for their work. According to The Blog of Legal Times, U.S. Department of Justice lawyers are trying to fend off the law firm Wiley Rein, the attorneys who represented Shelby County, Ala. in the Shelby v. Holder case. That SCOTUS hearing led to a ruling that VRA’s Section 4 “coverage formula” — which determined where the Act would apply — was unconstitutional.
DOJ is arguing that the law firm isn’t entitled to fees at all. As explained by Legal Times, Rein feels entitled because, “Under the voting rights law, a party who sued to enforce the ‘voting guarantees’ of the fourteenth or fifteenth amendments could seek legal fees if they won.”
The conflict is over whether Shelby County’s case constituted enforcement of voting guarantees.
Wiley Rein’s logic for why they are commanding millions is a glimpse into how firms arrive at what some consider such exorbitant fees. From Legal Times:
The firm said its rates were in line with what other major law firms charged. Rein, for instance, reported charging $920 per hour in 2012, which the firm noted was less than the $1,250 hourly rate charged by certain partners at Dickstein Shapiro, according to a survey by The National Law Journal. This year, Rein’s hourly rate went up to $950. …
The firm argued its request for fees was reasonable given the complexity of the high-profile litigation. Between 2010 and 2013, Wiley Rein reported spending more than 4,600 hours on the case. Rein, in a court filing, said he reduced the firm’s fees by more than 15 percent to avoid disputes about inefficiencies in how the firm managed the case and to account for clerical work by lawyers and paralegals.
Rein said today the firm’s rates were reasonable. “We think they’re what the market justifies and what we charge to our other clients,” he said.
Hope this isn’t a growing market to justify.
The newest addition to the Marvel Comics family is not just a female superhero. And she’s not only a teen, she’s Pakistani and Muslim and living with her family in Jersey City. Her name is Kamala Khan (or Ms. Marvel) and she’s a 17-year-old with the ability to change shape. Khan’s character represents the first time someone of Muslim faith has headlined a Marvel comic.
Khan is the creation of Marvel editors Sana Amanat and Steve Wacker and the creative team G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona. Wilson and the team spoke with Marvel about what readers can expect from superhero teen Khan, whose book will be released in February 2014:
The Ms. Marvel mantle has passed to Kamala Khan, a high school student from Jersey City who struggles to reconcile being an American teenager with the conservative customs of her Pakistani Muslim family. So in a sense, she has a “dual identity” before she even puts on a super hero costume. Like a lot of children of immigrants, she feels torn between two worlds: the family she loves, but which drives her crazy, and her peers, who don’t really understand what her home life is like.
This makes her tough and vulnerable at the same time. When you try to straddle two worlds, one of the first things you learn is that instead of defending good people from bad people, you have to spend a lot of time defending good people from each other. It’s both illuminating and emotionally brutal. That’s what makes this book different.
This week, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Chief Mike Fisher told the Associated Press that agents would continue to shoot at people throwing rocks at them, despite a recommendation from the Police Executive Research Forum that they stop using deadly force in these cases. In September, CBP announced they would test out car cameras and overhaul basic training in response to criticism about their use of deadly force. But these most recent statement by Fisher seem to indicate they’ll continue using tactics that have resulted in at least 20 deaths, eight specifically from rock-throwing incidents, since 2010.
Last week, reporters at Fusion—working with the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute— broke a story confirming that Mexican citizen Guillermo Arevalo was shot dead by border agents while at a family picnic on the Mexico side of the border, after someone allegedly threw rocks. According to Fusion, six of the 20 people shot by CBP were on Mexican soil. Steve Shadowen, a civil rights attorney working with the Arevalo family, shed light on how CBP continues targeting Mexicans at the border.
Imagine if a family of Caucasian Canadians was having a family picnic just across the border in Mexico. Can you imagine the outrage there would be if U.S. border agents took a rifle and indiscriminately shot into the crowd and killed someone?
Chief Fisher says that changing their policies around firing on rock-throwers would put CBP agents in danger, and that it is the “agency’s long-standing position that rocks are lethal weapons.”
A renewed version of the hit 1977 miniseries “Roots” is in development by the History Channel. The show, based on a book by historian Alex Haley, follows several generations of a slave family in the United States. When it aired it drew 100 million viewers and earned an unprecedented 37 Emmy nominations. It won nine of the awards.
The History Channel has also acquired the rights to Haley’s book, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.”
Looking at state and local races around the nation, it appears that the nation’s electorate has begun to officially reject the Tea Party’s extreme, conservative platform. Top conservative candidates have not been able to hold up against more moderate Republican challengers, and in Virginia, the Tea Party candidate Ken Cuccinelli was soundly defeated by a true-blue Democrat, Terry McAuliffe. This tells us that voters are responding positively to issues like climate change and marriage equality, while rejecting the austerity and anti-choice measures of conservatives. Turnout is typically low during these election off-years, but yesterday we saw surprisingly higher-than-average results in some races, which means get-out-the-vote organizing is growing more effective. We’ll see if elections in 2014 and 2016 continue these trends.
1. Virginia Governor’s Race
Winner: Terry McAuliffe Significance: McAuliffe’s victory signals that this might be the beginning of the end of Tea Party season. His task now is to keep moderates happy, keep Sen. Mark Warner’s seat safe and deliver the state for the Democratic Party in 2016, which might have been why the Clintons were all up in this race. Turnout: Above 37 percent, the first upswing since 1989. A good sign.
2. New Jersey Governor’s Race
Winner: Chris Christie Significance: Right now Christie is probably the only challenger who stands a chance against Dems if he runs for President in 2016. He picked up 20 percent of African-American votes in the state. Turnout: Numbers still pending
3. New York City Mayor’s Race
Winner: Bill de Blasio Significance: Colorlines’ Imara Jones said it best— “Throughout his campaign, de Blasio encapsulated his point with the theme of a “Tale of Two Cities,” and constantly hammered away at the fact that half of all New Yorkers—six out of 10 of whom are people of color—are either poor or near poverty. The economic orientation of Bill de Blasio when compared to that of Michael Bloomberg is as different as chalk from cheese.” Turnout: About 25 percent.
4. Houston Mayor’s Race
Winner: Annise D. Parker Significance: You knew it was a big deal when The POTUS, who rarely gets involved in local races, stepped in to endorse Parker. All eyes are on Texas now, with that big race for governor coming next year featuring Wendy Davis against Attorney General Greg Abbott, the chief enforcer behind the state’s controversial voter ID law. Turnout: About 13 percent
5. Atlanta Mayor’s Race
Winner: Kasim Reed Significance: Reed has survived his freshman round as one of the nation’s few remaining black mayors of a major city. His next huge project: Finish the new NFL Atlanta Falcons stadium. His new tenure won’t be all peaches and cream, though. His pick for city council at-large member, H. Lamar Willis, the incumbent, was upset by Andre Dickens, who was heavily supported by former mayor Shirley Franklin. A power struggle may ensue. Turnout for Mayor’s Race: Roughly 46,000 voted. That’s about 15 percent of the active voting population.
6. Harrisburg Mayor’s Race
Winner: Eric Papenfuse Significance: After a rocky ride with the Pennsylvania capital’s first black female mayor, Linda Thompson, the city returns to white, male rule. Eric Papenfuse won the race by picking up 3,618 out of 7,285 ballots cast. He said the results send a “clear message” that Harrisburg is “ready for change.” His task is to bring the city back from the brink of bankruptcy though the state will have most control over the city. Turnout: With less than 20 percent turnout, perhaps the real “clear message” was that no candidate was inspiring enough to vote for.
7. Detroit Mayor’s Race
Winner: Mike Duggan Significance: Another city in bankruptcy has elected a white mayor to replace black leadership. Duggan will take over for Dave Bing, who decided not to run for re-election. Like Harrisburg’s mayor, Duggan will have little to no power over the city, which is run by the state due to its financial insolvency. He is the city’s first white mayor in over four decades. Turnout: Less than 20 percent.
8. Boston Mayor’s Race
Winner: Martin Walsh Significance: From the city of Whitey Bulger, the Boston Marathon bombings and the Boston Red Sox comes Walsh, and Irish-American labor leader who cruised to victory on a progressive platform and coalition of supporters across race, ideology and background. Does this mean labor is making a comeback? Turnout: More than 40 percent, estimated.
9. Pittsburgh Mayor’s Race
Winner: Bill Peduto Significance: This race was really decided earlier this year during the primary. No Republican challenger ever fares well in Steel City, try as they might. Peduto, a stalwart progressive had been gunning for the mayor’s seat for years and now finally gets his shot. The question now is if the city can build upon the momentum and coalition that elected him to help replace Gov. Tom Corbett, a.k.a. the most vulnerable governor in the nation, next year. Turnout: 20.54 percent.
10. Seattle Mayor’s Race
Winner: Ed Murray Significance: The city elects its first openly gay mayor in former state Sen. Murray who helped lead the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage last year. He defeated the incumbent mayor, Mike McGinn, who had developed a reputation for political brawls with city council members. Turnout: 57 percent. Seattle cares.
Back in July, M.I.A. asked fans for help with a documentary that she said was being blacklisted. But it looks like the project is now back on track. The Hollywood Reporter notes that the film has begun shooting in London.
Steve Loveridge is directing the project, which will explore M.I.A.’s life and music, from her arrival in the United Kingdom as a child fleeing war in Sri Lanka to her dominance of the pop charts. The U.K-based non-profit group BRITDOC will co-produce the project along with Yala Films.
Watch a clip of the film that M.I.A. circulated over the summer on Twitter:
Jazz favorite José James recently recorded a cover of “Who Loves the Sun” to honor rock pioneer Lou Reed. It’s a nice cross-genre tribute. Watch.
Elle Magazine recently caught up with Brittney Griner, the gender-bending, slam-dunking sensation who’s swept through women’s basketball. Griner’s become a trailblazer since at least last spring, when she nonchalantly came out of the closet. Elle’s profile takes up from where Griner finds herself now, amid the whirlwind of attention. And, in typical Griner style, she refuses to be anyone but herself:
[Griner] retreats into the tiny bathroom to change from her low-slung jeans and Nike T-shirt—the company has signed her to model its menswear, the first time a woman has had that gig—into her suit for Conan. Once the stylist has fussed over her, including rolling her pants cuffs to just the right height, lest they hike up if she crosses her legs—“I never cross my legs,” Griner assures her—Kagawa Colas calls her over for a quick makeup session. “See, it looks like nothing,” she says as she puts the slightest smudge of foundation and undereye concealer on Griner’s smooth, flawless skin.
At the WNBA’s rookie orientation, Griner says she declined to participate in a session about makeup application and how to dress. “I don’t need that shit,” she says without rancor, adding that the only lecture she appreciated was one on 401(k)s. (Yes, new WNBA players are taught how to apply makeup while NBA rookies learn to beware of gold-digger groupies who might prick tiny holes in condoms.) Now, peering at herself in the makeup mirror, Griner approves of her agent’s handiwork. “Looks like nothing,” she agrees.
On Nov. 6, 2013, our publisher, the Applied Research Center, officially became Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation. Why the name change? Check out today’s column from Colorlines Publisher and Race Forward Executive Director Rinku Sen to get the full story. But it boils down to this: You can’t fix a problem you won’t name, and after more than 30 years of working for racial justice, we are still determined to directly and openly confront racial inequity. Our name needed to reflect that urgency. Watch (and share!) the video above to learn more about Race Forward’s work.
Apparently, the creators of AR Wear only read one study on rape before creating this product. The new “Anti-Rape Wear,” which they’re fundraising for on IndieGogo, promises women can protect themselves from rape with super reinforced panties. According to their marketing campaign, rapists aren’t people you know, but rather someone you might encounter on a run, a first date or out at the club. And the message they’re sending: You can still wear a short, tight dress or go running and feel safe because potential attackers won’t be able to get into your panties (even using scissors).
Although aiming to protect women from potential sexual assault is admirable, the product and messaging perpetuate a disturbing number of rape myths. Alexandra Brodsky at Feministing posed some great questions, a few of which I’ve included below:
- AR Wear, if the whole point of your magic anti-rape underwear is that an evil rapist can’t take them off, is it going to take me a really long time to undo all the secret locks if I have pee?
- How does this protect people who have an intimate relationship with their assailant?
- What about all the forms of sexual violence that don’t require removal of underwear?
- Do the inventors of this know what sexual violence actually looks like outside of Law and Order?
- Where are the rapists in this calculation?
- Haven’t we been over this before?
And, I’d like to add—Where are the women of color in your advertisement? But perhaps more disturbing is that people are actually funding this product. It seems they’ve successfully tapped into stranger-rape panic by creating what—as Slate puts it—seems like a modern “chastity belt” for potential rape victims.
In the years since community groups started tackling Los Angeles Unified’s youth ticketing policy back in 2006, the district has cut way back on its use of the discriminatory policy. Five years ago the district was handing out upwards of 3,000 tickets a year. Tickets come with stiff fines and requirements for both child and guardian who miss yet more school and work to show up in court. In the 2012/2013 school year, LAUSD handed out 209 tickets, an 80 percent cut.
But, according to a new report from the Labor Community Strategy Center (PDF), the improvements have been made alongisde increasing racial disproportionality in who gets punished. Back in the 2010/2011 school year a black LAUSD student was 3.8 times as likely as a white student to get ticketed. But the following year it jumped to 4.5, and in the 2012/2013 school year black students were nearly six times as likely as white students to get ticketed. As the report authors write, “Statistics like these raise the question of whether it has become social policy to criminalize Black and Latino youth for behaviors that are considered normal and acceptable for white students.”
Read the rest of the report (PDF) for more, including a discussion on overpolicing of students of color in the nation’s schools.
Inspired by the recent mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary and Aurora, Colo., researchers from Australia’s Monash University and Britain’s Manchester University produced a study in the hopes of better understanding the relationship between racist attitudes, gun ownership, and support for gun laws among white people in the U.S. Using data from the National Election Study, they found that what those who felt “symbolic racism” were 50 percent more likely to own a gun, and 28 percent more likely to support concealed handgun policies.
In an email to the New York Daily News, researchers explained what prompted their study:
“There had already been research showing that … blacks are more likely to be shot, so we thought there must be something happening between the concept of being black and some whites wanting guns,” Monash researcher Kerry O’Brien said…
Researchers also said they were confused by how people in the U.S. could be so resistant to gun policy reforms when the rates of gun homicide are so high, and this study helped them better understand the role of racist attitudes in fueling violence. According to a recent Gallup Poll, 50 percent of gun owners in the U.S. are white men compared to just 21 percent of all black people, even though they are disproportionately effected by of gun-related homicides.
(h/t NY Daily News)
The Kansas City Star has the sad story of a 19-year-old woman who’s gotten a long-awaited — and unusual — early Christmas gift from her white mother: a name change.
The woman, formerly known as Keisha Austin, said that she faced bigoted bullying from classmates and teachers because of her name, which people associated with “video vixens, neck-rolling and Maury Povich tabloid fodder.” In short, having a recognizably “black” girl’s name would up being an emotional and social hazard. ”In our society, names like Abdul and Muhammad get flagged for security checks,” noted the writer, Jenee Osterheldt. “Tran and Jesus get labeled illegal immigrants. Deonte and Laquita? People see baby mamas, criminals and affirmative action hires. Billy Bob and Sue? Hillbillies and trailer parks.”
For years, Keisha begged her mother to change her name.
“It’s not something I take lightly,” she told the paper, crying. “I put a lot of thought into it. I don’t believe you should just change your name or your face or anything like that on a whim. I didn’t want to change my name because I didn’t like it. I wanted to change my name because it didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t connect to it. I didn’t feel like myself, but I never want any girls named Keisha, or any name like that, to feel hurt or sad by it.”
Mexican-born actor Diego Luna directs the upcoming biopic about influential civil rights activist Cesar Chavez. The star-studded cast includes Michael Peña, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, and John Malkovich, who will tell the story of Chavez’s rise from farmworker to labor leader, and the evolution of his non-violent protest strategies and role in building a union for farmworkers. The film is set for release in April 2014.
The ratings are in and it turns out that Kerry Washington’s guest host spot on this past weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” brought in close to four million viewers, the show’s highest metered market rankings since Justin Timberlake guest hosted an episode last March.
(h/t Shadow and Act)