Colorlines

NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

George Zimmerman Arrested in Florida for Domestic Violence

George Zimmerman Arrested in Florida for Domestic Violence

Authorities in Seminole County, Florida have arrested George Zimmerman on charges of domestic violence. It’s the second time in recent months that police have been called to handle a domestic violence complaint involving Zimmerman, who was acquitted over the summer in the death of Trayvon Martin. Details of the arrest are forthcoming. 

(h/t WFTV.com)

Jay Z Strikes a Deal With Barneys That’s All About Jay Z

Jay Z Strikes a Deal With Barneys That's All About Jay Z

After facing mounting criticism for his business partnership with Barneys after the luxury retailer was accussed of racial profiling, rapper Jay Z has brokered a compromise: Barneys will now donate 100 percent of the proceeds from A New York Holiday, a Christmas collection of luxury items, to the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation and the rapper himself will lead a review into the company’s actions. 

The Atlantice Wire detailed the story on Friday after Jay Z released a statement on his Life + Times website that detailed his plans. 

While I await the findings of the Attorney General’s Office, I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection under the condition that I have a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling. I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward. I am choosing to take this head on.

According to the New York Times, charges of profiling skyrocketed after a change in the store’s policy after the retailer hired a new security team to fight a recent rash of thefts. The new council will reconsider and revise Barneys’ current security policies, according to The Wire

Walmart and Forever21 Truckers Strike in Los Angeles

Walmart and Forever21 Truckers Strike in Los Angeles

It’s not just Walmart’s in-store workers who are demanding better pay. Up and down the Walmart supply chain workers are fighting back. Today, truck drivers who transport goods from the Port of Los Angeles to the Costco, Forever 21 and the retail behemoth’s stores are staging a surprise strike. 

Truck driver Jose Galindo told Salon’s Josh Eidelson he’s considered an independent contractor, which is a convenient classification which forces him to foot the cost for even work basics and allows his employers to pay him less:

“Like employees, they tell us where to go - we can’t negotiate on many things,” said Galindo. But “we pay for gas, tires, maintenance” out of pocket, “even though the truck is not ours.” Lacking minimum-wage protection, he added, “Sometimes I can be stuck at the ports for three or four hours” waiting in line, “and the company doesn’t pay us for the time.” Galindo told Salon that after he ripped a shoulder tendon while working on the landing gears of his truck, his disability payments were cut off early because the company told the government he was a contractor.

Walmart truck drivers, warehouse workers, and store workers have been organizing very public actions the last two years, including strikes, protests and civil disobedience to demand better wages and an end to the worker retaliation which has followed those who speak out. More are planned as the holiday shopping season heats up.

The Best Man Holiday Did Way Better Than Analysts Expected

The Best Man Holiday Did Way Better Than Analysts Expected

Fourteen years after the original hit theaters, the sequel to Malcolm Lee’s 1999 film “The Best Man” made a big splash at the box office. The Best Man Holiday collected $30.6 million on its opening weekend, more than twice what analysts projected, according to USA Today.

The film had a budget of just $17 million and was marketed almost exclusively to African American women. For compairson’s sake, the Marvel sequel “Thor: The Dark World” had a total budget of $170 million and took in $38.5 million over the weekend.

The original Best Man film, which was released in 1999, took in only $17 million on its opening weekend. USA Today also notes that it’s just the latest in a series of films with black casts that have done remarkably well this year at the box office, including Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”

But USA Today also managed to put itself at the center of the story over the weekend when it ran a controversial headline that read, “‘Holiday’ Nearly Beat ‘Thor’ as Race-Themed Films Soar.” The headline set off a social media firestorm with many people pointing out that just because the film sported a majority black cast — including Nia Long, Sanaa Lathan and Terrance Howard — it was a story of love and friendship, not racial injustice. The headline was ultimately changed to‘Holiday’ Nearly Beats ‘Thor’ as Ethnically Diverse Films Soar.” 

Eight Greatest Hits from W. Kamau Bell’s ‘Totally Biased’

Eight Greatest Hits from W. Kamau Bell's 'Totally Biased'

It’s no secret that we at Colorlines have a special place in our hearts for “Totally Biased,” comedian (and Race Forward board member) W. Kamau Bell’s FX show. The last episode aired this weekend, and it’s with deep sadness that we bid farewell to the show. Bell’s comedy on race, gender and culture is the rare combination of smart and actually funny, and he brought his refreshingly direct takes on all of it to television five nights a week. Here now, we offer a look back at “Totally Biased“‘s wonderful run, with the hope that we see these comedians on TV again very soon.

Stop-and-frisk has never been a funny matter, until Bell took it on in this classic segment.


Bell headed to Times Square to ask: What don’t people know about your culture? One man says: “The square root of one minute is 15 minutes.”


Beloved actor and activist George Takei chats it up with Bell about his family’s internment during World War II; what it’s like to be an Internet sensation; and knowing his base—geeks and nerds.

“It’s time to grab the world by the balls. And then rip ‘em off!” Janine Brito and Aparna Nancherla disagree on what progress for women means.

Dwayne Kennedy takes on the Washington, D.C. NFL team’s offensive name, and offers some novel solutions.

Unlocking the Truth is the Brooklyn metal band made up of pre-teens. Bell’s interview with them is somehow heart-warming and rock-and-roll badass at the same time.

Comedian Kristina Wong and Bell break down the Asian dating fetish which afflicts so many white men.

Hari Kondabolu’s segment on the National Spelling Bee (also known to Kondabolu as “the Indian Super Bowl,”) is full of comedy gems.

Mapping Cuts to Food Stamps

Mapping Cuts to Food Stamps

Nearly half of the estimated 47 million people who rely on food stamps are children, and a new interactive map from the Pew Charitable Trust breaks down those numbers state by state. SNAP benefits were cut by $5 billion on November 1, and the South, where close to 20 percent of the overall population uses food stamps, was the hardest hit region in the country. In Mississippi, 22 percent of the population relies on SNAP benefits, 370,000 of whom are children, and 119,000 of whom are elderly or disabled people. But states like Oregon, New Mexico and Maine also have high numbers of people relying on food stamps, and Congress is still considering even deeper cuts. Check out the map on Stateline

(h/t NPR’s The Salt)

Kendrick Lamar’s Camp Is Not Happy With the ‘Racial Overtones’ of GQ Story

Kendrick Lamar's Camp Is Not Happy With the 'Racial Overtones' of GQ Story

GQ Magazine put Kendrick Lamar on the cover of its annual Man of the Year issue, but the rapper’s camp is now speaking out about the accompanying profile, calling it “offensive” and filled with “racial overtones.”

Lamar was one of the five celebrities to get covers for the issue, including Justin Timberlake, Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey and James Gandolfini. The Compton native was interviewed by GQ’s Steve Marsh and was slated to perform on November 12 at the magazine’s Man of the Year party. But Lamar pulled out of the performance at the last minute. Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, the CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s record label, then released a statement taking issue with Marsh’s portrayal of the rapper and his communtiy in GQ. Here’s a snippet:

Instead, the story, written by Steve Marsh, put myself and my company in a negative light. Marsh’s story was more focused on what most people would see as drama or bs. To say he was “surprised at our discipline” is completely disrespectful. Instead of putting emphasis on the good that TDE has done for west coast music, and for hip hop as a whole, he spoke on what most people would consider whats wrong with Hip Hop music. Furthermore, Kendrick deserved to be accurately documented. The racial overtones, immediately reminded everyone of a time in hip-hop that was destroyed by violence, resulting in the loss of two of our biggest stars. We would expect more from a publication with the stature and reputation that GQ has. As a result of this misrepresentation, I pulled Kendrick from his performance at GQ’s annual Man Of The Year party Tuesday, November 12th.

GQ’s editor-in-chief Jim Nelson responded with a statement of his own on Friday, saying that he doesn’t really understand why there’s a problem:

Kendrick Lamar is one of the most talented new musicians to arrive on the scene in years. That’s the reason we chose to celebrate him, wrote an incredibly positive article declaring him the next King of Rap, and gave him our highest honor: putting him on the cover of our Men of the Year issue. I’m not sure how you can spin that into a bad thing, and I encourage anyone interested to read the story and see for themselves. We were mystified and sorely disappointed by Top Dawg’s decision to pull him at the last minute from the performance he had promised to give. The real shame is that people were deprived of the joy of seeing Kendrick perform live. I’m still a huge fan.

You can read more over at the Atlantic Wire and Complex

DHS Halts Deportation of Certain Military Relatives

DHS Halts Deportation of Certain Military Relatives

new memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security will now halt the deportation of spouses, parents and children of active duty service members, reservists, and veterans. The memo also allows those relatives to apply for permanent residence, often known as green card status. 

Citing that soldiers face anxiety over family members’ immigration status, the memo explains that the nation has made a committment to service members that starts at enlistment and continues through once service members become veterans. The new rules outlined in the nine-page document apply on a case-by-case basis, and those relatives accused or convicted of criminal charges are not guaranteed relief. 

President Obama has already provided a temporary stay for certain undocumented youth under a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The new memo makes it so that a permanent stay—and path to citizenship—is extended for military relatives. But many immigrants who do not fit into these categories are still targeted for detention and deportation.

In a statement today, National Day Laborer Organizing Network organizer Marissa Franco said, “We applaud the step and it underscores the truth that the President can and should do more, for all families. The President has the legal authority and the moral obligation to significantly expand upon the memo released today.” 

Watch M.I.A.’s Trippy New Video For Her Single ‘Y.A.L.A.’

Watch M.I.A.'s Trippy New Video For Her Single 'Y.A.L.A.'

Here’s the official video from the lead single of M.I.A’s fourth studio album. Enjoy!

TAGS: Matangi MIA

Andy Lopez Case Still Under Investigation

Andy Lopez Case Still Under Investigation

Latino leaders came together in Sonoma, Calif. yesterday to continue pushing local officials to address the death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez. Among the members of the Latino leadership group Los Cien was Irene Rosario, who argued that police attitudes towards the Latino community were similar to a “war zone,” and are responsible for Lopez’s killing. 

The FBI recently opened an independent investigation into the shooting, and the Lopez family has also filed a civil rights lawsuit against Erick Gelhaus, the sheriff’s deputy accused of shooting Lopez seven times while he was walking home from school carrying a toy gun. Gelhaus remains on leave from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, and some say he’s unlikely to be charged. Lopez supporters have created a petition to call for the City Council to charge and remove Gelhaus from the police department, and continue to organize events and demonstrations via social media

‘Best Man Holiday’ Hits Theaters Today — Join Our Twitter Chat!

'Best Man Holiday' Hits Theaters Today -- Join Our Twitter Chat!

Nearly a dozen years after the original “Best Man” became a classic, the sequel finally hits theaters today. Got a favorite scene or character from the original? We want to hear all about it in our live Twitter chat today at 1pm EST. Follow the hashtag #BestManHolidayChat to join in. 

TAGS: Trailers Video

How Latino Activists Fought For Transgender Rights in Massachusetts

How Latino Activists Fought For Transgender Rights in Massachusetts

In the latest from filmmaker Frances Negrón-Muntaner, “Small City, Big Change” tells the story of the Latina/o activists who brought about the historic Transgender Equal Rights Bill in 2012. After a transgender woman was brutally attacked in the small town of Chelsea, Mass, the organization Mass Equality coordinated LGBTQ Latinos to organize social media campaigns, and speak directly with Chelsea representative Eugene O’Flaherty—who had opposed the bill for years. O’Flaherty was so moved by what he saw as the vulnerability of the LGBTQ community that he changed his position, and went on to champion and help pass the bill. The short film tells a powerful story of how grassroots activists can work with elected officials to bring about social and policy change.  You can view the entire short film online

Second-Degree Murder and Other Charges for Man Suspected of Killing Renisha McBride

Second-Degree Murder and Other Charges for Man Suspected of Killing Renisha McBride

The man suspected of killing 19-year-old Renisha McBride nearly two weeks ago outside of Detroit, Michigan, has been charged. In a press conference today, Dearborn prosecutor Kym Worthy announced that 54-year-old Ted Wafer will be charged with three counts: second-degree murder, manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. 

Worthy explained Michigan’s self defense law, and why it doesn’t apply in this case, stating that her office does “not believe that [Wafer] acted in self-defense.” Reporters asked several questions about that law in particular, but the prosecutor made clear that she did not want to make political statements at this time. McBride is black and Wafer is white—and activists have drawn similarities to this case and George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin. Worthy made clear, however, that she does not believe this case has anything to do with the race of those involved. 

Wafer, who Worthy stated has been cooperative with authorities, has not yet been arrested. He’s expected to turn himself in later today. 

 

Frida Kahlo Gets a Totally Unnecessary Cover Girl Makeover

Frida Kahlo Gets a Totally Unnecessary Cover Girl Makeover

UPDATE November 19 at 1:05pm EST: The “makeover” was apparently done by a Tumblr user with the handle “toonsketchbook.” The user alisonofagun, who reposted it and was incorrectly attributed as the original artist, has issued a statement condemning the makeover. 

====

An artist on Tumblr took issue with one of Frida Kahlo’s iconic self-portraits and decided to give it a totally unncessary makeover. Here’s the original:

11_15_khalo.jpg

The original artist’s statement was captured by Tumblr user alisonofagun:

“Okay so I know this is kinda taboo but anyways.

Frida Kahlo: Not too easy on the eyes. I mean she’s got the lady-mo and the monobrow thing going on. She didn’t know where to put her blush or what shade lipstick would obviously suit her skin tone. Really, she’s a bit of a wreck. So this got me to thinking. What would have happened if her girlfriends had done the right thing and taken her to a beautician, (which clearly needed to happen)? I did a subtle re-paint over the top of her original self-portrait to “conceptualize” what it would have looked like if she had been whisked off to Beauty Works or the likes….I didn’t want to alter the integrity of the original painting too much. What do you reckon?”

Here’s the re-make:

11_15_khalo1.jpg

Needless to say, not everyone on Tumblr was pleased with the makeover. Buzzfeed rounded up some of the responses, one of which read: “Kahlo’s eyebrows and mustache were a purposeful rejection of white colonizer standards of beauty; she didn’t just leave them on her face the way they grew, she groomed them and darkened them with makeup. Her appearance was beautiful, and it was intentional.”

TAGS: Frida Kahlo

Obama Taps Top Voting Rights Lawyer to Lead DOJ Civil Rights Division

Obama Taps Top Voting Rights Lawyer to Lead DOJ Civil Rights Division

President Obama has nominated Debo Adegbile, senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, to take over as head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The former head of that division, Thomas Perez, is now Secretary of the Department of Labor. While Adegbile served as an attorney for the Senate Judiciary, working primarily on crafting a new Voting Rights Act bill, he’s more popularly known as the lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund who argued on behalf of preserving the Voting Rights Act before the U.S. Supreme Court. Adegbile defended it twice before the high court, successfully helping to protect it when it was challenged in 2006, and again this past February before Chief Roberts’ court gutted the landmark civil rights bill. Adegbile also represented Hurricane Katrina evacuees in a federal voting rights lawsuit shortly after the storm.  

“Our country needs someone like Debo with significant experience in voting rights to protect the deeply held American value that each person has the right to a voice in our democracy,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP LDF. “Debo has precisely the type of broad civil rights experience that is required at this pivotal moment in our country.”

If Adegbile is confirmed to serve as the Justice Department Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, he will lead in enforcing the remaining sections of the Voting Rights Act, along with those of the Civil Rights Act to protect people of color and other protected classes from discrimination.

Adegbile is the son of parents who immigrated to America from Ireland and Nigeria. As a child he coped with poverty and homelessnes before working his way through law school by way of loans, various jobs and scholarships. He is now considered one of the premiere civil rights attorneys in America.  

TAGS:

Peggy Noland’s Naked Oprah Dress All About Black Women as Objects

Peggy Noland's Naked Oprah Dress All About Black Women as Objects

Peggy Noland, a white designer from Kansas City who’s worked with stars like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus, has a deeply problematic new project out: a ridiculous line of t-shirts and dresses featuring Oprah’s head photoshopped onto nude bodies. 

11_14_oprahdress.jpg

Noland spoke with The Cut about the new dress:

Why naked Oprah?

There’s a David Nelson painting of the former mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington. He’s nude except for women’s lingerie. It caused this huge uproar in the late eighties in Chicago. It’s kind of an updated version of that. We feel very protective of our public figures. We don’t want them to be exposed that way, but we feel like they’re ours, too. The simpler, more lighthearted idea is that it’s like one of those bikini-printed beach shirts. I think there are some really meaningful philosophical layers. I can’t believe I just said “philosophical” when talking about a dress. We share a humorous underpinning to all our work. That’s why there’s naked Oprah with a KISS face. It can nod to how ridiculous the fashion industry is at times.

The dress is anything but “lighthearted.” She chose to use Oprah’s image — as the most powerful black woman in entertainment  who’s waged a very public battle over her weight throughout her career— instead of, say, an actual designer, because it’s something that will create a spectacle. Here’s more on Nolan:

Calle 13 Teams Up with Julian Assange on ‘Multi_Viral’

Calle 13 Teams Up with Julian Assange on 'Multi_Viral'

Puerto Rican rappers/rockers Calle 13 continue their fierce criticism of government systems and oppression in their latest track ”Multi_Viral,” a collaboration with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. Assange, who remains a controversial figure, seems to be making a habit of teaming up with hyper-political artists, recently giving the intro at M.I.A.’s New York City concert. The track, which also features Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine and Palestinian artist Kamilya Jurban, broadly connects NSA spying with racism, environmental justice, government accountability and militarism. You can download the track for free on Remezcla.

Lily Allen: Miley Cyrus Parody ‘Has Nothing To Do With Race At All’

Lily Allen: Miley Cyrus Parody 'Has Nothing To Do With Race At All'

British singer Lily Allen wrote a blog post on Wednesday responding to accussations that her latest video for the song “Hard Out Here” is racist. The video, which is supposed to be a making fun of Miley Cyrus’ twerking, has been panned for stepping over the line from parody to prejudice by objectifying the bodies of women of color. Mia McKenzie wrote at Black Girl Dangerous:

Here’s yet another video of a white woman performer using the bodies of black women as props. Smacking their asses and cutting away to their parts as though they are just pieces of people rather than, you know,whole people. All while singing about how she doesn’t need to shake her ass because she has a brain. The juxtaposition of that sentiment with images of black women gyrating and twerking is downright insulting. Here’s yet another white feminist throwing black women under the bus because she has some point she’s trying to make about…sexism? I mean, I can hardly tell, probably because my feminism includes black women. Because I don’t see black women, or any other women of color as tools, props, or background noise for white women’s self-expression. But that’s me.

On Wednesday, Allen wrote in a blog post titled “Privilege, Superiority and Misconceptions” wrote that the video “has nothing to do with race at all.”

The message is clear. Whilst I don’t want to offend anyone. I do strive to provoke thought and conversation. The video is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture. It has nothing to do with race, at all. 

If I could dance like the ladies can, it would have been my arse on your screens; I actually rehearsed for two weeks trying to perfect my twerk, but failed miserably. If I was a little braver, I would have been wearing a bikini too, but I do not and I have chronic cellulite, which nobody wants to see. What I’m trying to say is that me being covered up has nothing to do with me wanting to disassociate myself from the girls, it has more to do with my own insecurities and I just wanted to feel as comfortable as possible on the shoot day. 

But, as McKenzie wrote, “Satire works best when you are flipping the script on the oppressor…Not caricaturing and otherwise disrespecting the people who are oppressed by that system.

(h/t The Guardian)

How Immigration Reform Could Benefit LGBT People

How Immigration Reform Could Benefit LGBT People

The Williams Institute estimates there are one million LGBT immigrants in the U.S., 30 percent of whom are undocumented. While immigration reform remains stalled in Congress, and seems increasingly unlikely to pass this year, the Center for American Progress produced an infographic to map out what immigration reform could provide for LGBT immigrants. 

CAP_LGBTImmigration_INFOa_111413.jpgCAP_LGBTImmigration_INFOb_111413.jpg

(h/t CAP)

Talking Transition: A New Way to Move from One Mayor to the Next

Talking Transition: A New Way to Move from One Mayor to the Next

Capitalizing on a campaign in which bottom up economic justice was at the fore, a coalition of New York-based philanthropies—led by the Open Society Foundations along with nine others—is hosting a citywide conversation to help shape the agenda for incoming-mayor Bill de Blasio. The monthlong event, Talking Transition, hopes to engage New York’s eight million residents in an open process to establish priorities and policies for the next four years. Through interactive discussions, panels, and activities throughout the month of November, Talking Transition seeks to make sure that the voice of everyday people continues to be heard after the next mayor takes office. Each day groups of New Yorkers will gather to participate in moderated discussions on the city’s future.  

With this effort to broaden the conversation on future policy, Talking Transition could serve as model for after-election activities in other municipalities and states by taking what is usually an elite conversation and transforming it into a more democratic one.

Yesterday I participated in a Talking Transition panel led by the North Star Fund’s Hugh Hogan on what the next mayor should learn from Hurricane Sandy.  My remarks focused on the fact that city needs to reimagine what’s valuable and who’s valuable, recognizing that the working poor are at the core of the city’s future. Recommendations from each panel will be compiled and passed on to the incoming mayor’s team. Other topics to be covered over the next ten days range from health, to public safety to economic justice to education.  A full list of what’s to be discussed with times can be found at talkingtransitionnyc.com.

Along with these set piece conversations, New Yorkers are invited to come in and register their thoughts and priorities through Talking Transition’s interactive kiosks. They can also do so online through Twitter @TalkNYC2013, on Facebook and on Instagram with #talkingtransition. 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205