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Prince Pulls Off His Pajama Party

Prince Pulls Off His Pajama Party

10-21-prince-2.jpgAs promised to those who made a $50 donation, Prince welcomed fans to Paisley Park, where people lounged around in fashionable pajama wear, ate pancakes, and got to hear the coolest 55-year-old play a set and an encore. 

Dubbed The Breakfast Experience, the entry line to Prince’s pajama party was long—but well worth it, at least for some fans. One Instagram user said he made new friends and had pizza during the four hour wait, and seemed happy to enjoy the pancakes, and especially enjoy the encore. But one Minnesota City Pages reviewer grew annoyed at the few refreshment options and left after one set, wrongly assuming there was no encore.

What do you think? Would you have stuck around through the whole pajama party, the pancakes, the show and the encore? 

(Fan photo: swisslara/Instagram)

Obamacare Website Will Get Fixed, Says POTUS

Obamacare Website Will Get Fixed, Says POTUS

Now that the noise of the government shutdown has subsided, the nation is now more attuned to the deep flaws in the POTUS’s Obamacare web portal Healthcare.gov. In fact, had Sen. Ted Cruz and his fellow enemies of Obamacare gone radio silent during the time since Obamacare’s online rollout, they may have seen more of the damage to the Affordable Health Care act’s public buy-in that they hoped for given all of the glitches in accessing the website

At first, President Obama chalked those glitches up to a flood of web traffic, saying it was evidence that there was massive demand for the healthcare products. Three weeks later, though, millions still have not been able to work Healthcare.gov and its affiliate state sites. While the White House’s goal is to sign up 500,000 people for healthcare by October 31, only about a quarter-million of people have done that, according to CNN’s analysis (of 14 states).  

Which is why Obama addressed the nation today, to acknowledge that there have been problems, but also telling them to Keep calm and continue to buy Obamacare

“There’s no sugarcoating it,” said Obama from the Rose Garden today. “The website has been too slow, and people have been getting stuck during the application process.”

Obama said that he recruited the “best and brightest” information technicians from across the nation to come work on improving the website, but he also encouraged people to sign up for Obamacare over the phone or in person. The Healthcare.gov website has been updated with information on how to access Obamacare through those offline avenues, which of course is still a problem if you don’t have a computer or wi-fi. 

As for the frustrations with the website, Obama said, “Nobody is madder than me that the website is not working as well as it should, which means it is going to get fixed.”

About halfway through his speech, one of the women standing behind him at the Rose Garden almost fainted. The president helped catch her and responded, “This is what happens when I talk too long.”

TAGS: Obamacare

A List of Every Theater That’s Playing ‘12 Years a Slave’

A List of Every Theater That's Playing '12 Years a Slave'

Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” had a limited release opening last Friday in 19 theaters across the country. That list expands a bit this Friday on October 25, and then the film opens nationwide on November 1. Here’s where it’s playing now:

OCTOBER 18:

Los Angeles
Cinemark Baldwin Hills
Arclight Hollywood
The Landmark 

New York
AMC Empire 25
Lincoln Plaza
Regal Union Square

Chicago
AMC River East 
Landmark Century Centre
Cinemark Evanston 18
Showplace Icon

Washington, D.C.
Regal Gallery Place
Landmark Bethesda Row
Majestic Silver Springs

Atlanta
Regal Atlantic Station 
AMC Phipps Plaza
Landmark Midtown
AMC Southlake Pavilion

Toronto
Varsity

OCTOBER 25 (Theaters TBD—more cities to be added soon)
Boston
Dallas/Ft. Worth
Detroit
Houston
Philadelphia
Baltimore

ESPN Hosts Laugh as Lee Corso Dances Around in ‘Redface’

ESPN Hosts Laugh as Lee Corso Dances Around in 'Redface'

America’s worldwide leader in…bigotry? ESPN analyst Lee Corso took redface to a new extreme on “College Gameday” over the weekend. Bill Murray makes an appearance. It’s awful.

(h/t The Atlantic)

Happy Birthday Celia Cruz

Happy Birthday Celia Cruz

The legendary Cuban singer widely known as the “Reina de la Salsa” or queen of salsa music, Celia Cruz was a pioneering voice in the salsa movement and paved the way for future generations of Afro-Latina artists. Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1925, her music frequently referenced African Yoruba roots in Cuban culture. She died of brain cancer in 2003 in New Jersey, where she’d spent most of her life in the U.S. 

Celia_Cruz_102113_a.jpgToday, Google honored Cruz with a dreamy cerulean blue doodle on their search bar. She would have been 88 years old. 

Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ Tour Features a Jesus Christ Lookalike

Kanye West's 'Yeezus' Tour Features a Jesus Christ Lookalike

Kanye West kicked off his ‘Yeezus’ tour in Seattle over the weekend. Fans were treated to a 27-track songlist, Kanye rapping from atop a giant mountain and, reportedly, a (white) Jesus Christ lookalike. 

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(Photo credit: ChildishvGambino, h/t Consequence of Sound)

Wanna Touch a Black Woman’s Hair? This Short Film Explores Why

Wanna Touch a Black Woman's Hair? This Short Film Explores Why

A few months ago, a group of black women caused quite an uproar when they stood in New York City’s Union Square with signs that read, “You can touch my hair.” Billed as an “interactive public art exhibit,” the event allowed anyone to “explore the tactile fascination with black hair by” touching real-life black hair on real-life black women. 

Turns out that event was part of a short documentary series that also included a panel discussion with writer Michaela Angela Davis, model Autumn McHugh, Un’ruly Founder Antonia Opiah and moderated by filmmaker and former Miss Black Massachusetts Safiya Songhai. 

(h/t Urban Bush Babes)

‘12 Years a Slave’ Has Big Opening Weekend With Diverse Audience

'12 Years a Slave' Has Big Opening Weekend With Diverse Audience

Steve McQueen’s ‘12 Years a Slave’ made an in impressive United States debut over the weekend. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film grossed $960,000 from 19 theaters in six top markets for an average of slightly more than $50,500 average at each location.

Fox Searchlight distribution chief Frank Rodriguez said that the success went far beyond the opening weekend box office numbers. The film “reached an incredibly diverse audience. Playing in theaters including Lincoln Plaza in New York and the Showcase Icon in Chicago, we have been attracting both the art/specialty cinephile crowd, as well as the African-American audience,” Rodriguex told the Hollywood Reporter. 

LA County Sheriff Baca Found Personally Liable for Inmate Beating

LA County Sheriff Baca Found Personally Liable for Inmate Beating

A federal civil jury concluded yesterday that Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is personally liable for an inmate abuse case from 2009. And it could cost the sheriff $100,000. This marks the first time Baca has been held personally and legally responsible for a beating in his jails. 

Tyler Willis alleged that sheriff’s deputies brutally beat him as he was awaiting trial at Men’s Central jail—punching, kicking, shooting him with a stun gun, and striking him with a flashlight, which caused multiple injuries. The plaintiff’s side argued that Sheriff Baca ignored warnings from studies that indicated a harsh level of brutality at his jails. The sheriff was one of five named defendants, and Baca will reportedly pay up $100,000 for his part—unless the decision is overturned by appeal.

The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence in LA County Jails released a statement today welcoming the jury’s finding, but added that the decision indicates the need for civilian oversight. “Those in custody and their families should not have to take their cases to the Federal level to receive justice and ensure accountability,” the statement read.

The federal jury’s decision comes on the heels of a federal investigation into Sheriff Baca’s department—particularly for its use of force. 

A Snapshot of an HBCU That’s 90 Percent White

A Snapshot of an HBCU That's 90 Percent White

Tune in to the conversation around historically black colleges and universities and it’s easy to think the institutions are in a state of perpetual existential crisis. NPR’s Code Switch reporter Gene Demby’s deep dive into one West Virginia HBCU doesn’t do much to allay that perception, but he does offer a compelling, multilayered snapshot of an institution which has adapted to the changing times by enrolling more whites. So many that today, the student body of Bluefield State College, originally Bluefield Colored Institute when it was founded in 1895, is 90 percent white. It didn’t come about by accident. Structural forces—namely Brown v. Board of Education and the upheaval of the Civil Rights Movement, along with key decisions by white administrators—were instrumental in the shift.

Demby’s descriptions of life at Bluefield State College today are fascinating, if you’ve an attachment to the original mission and historical legacy of HBCUs. From: “The Whitest Historically Black College in America”:

Most of the current students we spoke to knew about the school’s status as a historically black college, but treated it like a bit of trivia. The players on the women’s basketball team, who were planting seeds for a homecoming event, joked casually about there not being step shows or marching bands or black fraternities and sororities.

TAGS: HBCUs

Area in East New York Renamed ‘African Burial Ground’

Area in East New York Renamed 'African Burial Ground'

When it was unveiled in 2010, the African Burial Ground Visitor Center in Manhattan’s Lower East Side became a significant monument to New York’s history of slavery, and it continues to commemorate those buried in the Ground Zero Slave Graves. That same year, the remains of previously enslaved people were also discovered in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. A group of advocates officially unveiled “African Burial Ground Square” this week on the site of the New Lots African Burial Ground, in honor of those forgotten African slaves. Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron, who was part of the renaming initiative, says the effort was also a way to replace street names that honor Dutch colonists with one that speaks to the legacy of slavery. According to New York’s Amsterdam News, there are 70 streets in New York named after former slave owners.

In addition to the square’s renaming, Schenck Playground in the square will also be given an “Afrocentric” renovation, which will include artifacts and a monument that will tell the story of the burial ground, along with new lights and equipment.

(h/t Amsterdam News)

San Francisco Activists Block Deportation Bus

San Francisco Activists Block Deportation Bus

Some 100 people—many of them undocumented youth—blocked a deportation bus Thursday evening outside immigration headquarters in San Francisco. For the next two hours or so, about 20 people placed themselves in front of and in back of the bus. Many of those involved recently attended a convergence in Arizona, which included trainings and civil disobedience actions, including the blocking of another deportation bus. 

Federal immigration police told demonstrators that they would face felony charges if they didn’t clear the way—but activists held their ground. They were eventually escorted away from the bus, which was packed with immigrants preparing to be deported or heading to detention centers, and the bus took off.

It’s likely that demonstrators will hold similar actions in various cities in the coming days, as they demand President Obama halt record-setting deportations.  

M.I.A.’s New Track ‘Y.A.L.A’ is a Dedication to Second Chances

M.I.A.'s New Track 'Y.A.L.A' is a Dedication to Second Chances

M.I.A.’s new album, “Matangi,” drops on November 5, and to help build hype for her third LP, the singer released a preview to a track called “Y.A.L.A” (You Always Live Again) in response to the YOLO (You Only Live Once) credo that’s been around for a few years.  The singer wrote on Twitter this week, “If you only live once why we keep doing the same shit?”

Listen:

(h/t Afropunk)

TAGS: MIA

Juana Villegas Receives Settlement After Immigrant Detention Abuse

Juana Villegas Receives Settlement After Immigrant Detention Abuse

A five-year legal battle is finally over for Juana Villegas, an immigrant who was forced to give birth shackled to hospital bed while being detained by Davidson County police in 2008. That summer, Villegas was pulled over in Nashville, Tenn., for “reckless driving.”  She was nine months pregnant, but instead of being given a traffic citation she was taken into custody and then detained after police discovered she was undocumented, because federal authorities had given county police the right to enforce immigration policies. Villegas then gave birth to her son in prison, was shackled to a bed throughout her labor, and prevented from seeing her newborn son for two days after.

She has been awarded $490,000 in the settlement by a council representing both the city of Nashville and Davidson County. She has also been given the opportunity to apply for a U visa, which are made available to immigrants who have been victims of crimes in the U.S.  A federal judge in Tennessee ruled in Villegas’ favor in 2011, but city officials have spent the last two years disputing the amount of damages she should receive. Because of this case, Davidson county no longer restrains women who are giving birth while incarcerated.

Biggie Too Fat, Misogynist and Criminal for Brooklyn Honor

Biggie Too Fat, Misogynist and Criminal for Brooklyn Honor

It’s been 16 years since Biggie Smalls’ death, but his memory is still alive and well in his hometown of Brooklyn. Passing cars still blast his music and murals dedicated to his short life seem to pop up every year or so. But there will not be any Brooklyn streets named after the slain hip-hop icon — at least not for now.

Several members of a local community board in Clinton Hill — where Biggie grew up — objected to the idea of re-naming St. James Place and Fulton Street “Christopher Wallace Way” after the rapper’s birthname. Lucy Koteen, one of the board members, said that she “looked up the rapper’s history” and was disturbed by what she found.

“He started selling drugs at 12, he was a school dropout at 17, he was arrested for drugs and weapons charge, he was arrested for parole violations, he was arrested in North Carolina for crack cocaine, in 1996 he was again arrested for assault, he had a violent death and physically the man is not exactly a role model for youth,” she said. “I don’t see how this guy was a role model and frankly it offends me.”

Ken Lowy, another board member and the owner of a local cinema, added that Wallace referred to women with derogatory names in his music. 

Councilwoman Letitia James, who’s locked into a battle for the city’s public advocate, has yet to issue a letter of support for the petition, which is necessary for it to move forward. 

LeRoy McCarthy, the 45-year-old man who started the effort to rename the street after the rapper, said that “board members should not hold Wallace’s physical appearance nor how he died against him.”

“There are many artists that share stories in a vernacular that their audiences understand,” said McCarthy in response to the complaint about misogynistic lyrics.  “Biggie used the language from the streets he grew up in to convey what he wanted to say.”

It’s worth noting that Clinton Hill has been in the midst of intense gentrification for several years and there aren’t as many men who physically look like him left in the neighborhood. Case in point: his old apartment at 226 St. James place was recently on sale for $750,000.

(h/t DNA Info)

Black and Latino Families are Hardest Hit by Housing ‘Income Segregation’

Black and Latino Families are Hardest Hit by Housing 'Income Segregation'

In 1970, 65 percent of U.S. families lived in middle-income neighborhoods. By 2009 that number had dropped to 42 percent. A recent study from researchers at Cornell University and Stanford University says middle-income neighborhoods are disappearing as it’s becoming more common for people to live in either extreme. The researchers use the term “income segregation,” which “denotes the extent to which families of different incomes live in different neighborhoods.” 

From 1970-2009, the percentage of people living in the poorest neighborhoods increased from eight percent to 18 percent, and those living in the wealthiest neighborhoods increased from seven percent to 15 percent. Strikingly, the divide is much greater for black and Latino families. Increases in housing inequality appear to have spiked in 2000 and have continued to make a sharp upward climb, only recently leveling off in 2009.   

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This data follows similar reports that income inequality is growing nationwide, and is having a multitude of negative  effects, including decreased life expectancy and education opportunities, and stifling the nation’s economic growth. The dangers of income inequality are so extreme that economist Robert Shiller—who was among the three to win the Nobel Prize for economics and also predicted technology and housing market bubble bursts—says it’s the most important challenge this country faces.

Morehouse Alum Jeh Johnson Tapped to Head Homeland Security

Morehouse Alum Jeh Johnson Tapped to Head Homeland Security

Those of us who were concerned that President Obama might tap New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly, aka the P. Diddy of stop-and-frisk policies, as the next head of Homeland Security can rest easy. The Daily Beast is reporting that soon Obama will announce former Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson as the new Department of Homeland Security chief secretary. From The Beast:

Johnson, a well-known and trusted figure in the Obama White House, was a central player in many of the administration’s most sensitive national security and counterterrorism policies, including the ramping up of the drone program, the revival of military commissions to try suspected terrorists, and the repeal of the Defense Department’s ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces.

Johnson’s experience dealing with counterterrorism and cyber-security threats will comfort many on Capitol Hill. He is less versed in the areas of disaster relief and immigration enforcement, also key elements of the DHS mission. Still, administration officials do not expect the nomination to be especially polarizing and are hopeful Johnson will receive a relatively warm reception in Congress.

Civil liberty groups will probably take issue with his role in the controversial drone program. It also won’t be very comforting for coastal communities and many Latino Americans that he “is less versed in the areas of disaster relief and immigration enforcement,” as reported in The Daily Beast. 

Johnson, who is an African American, is a graduate of Columbia Law School, and attended the HBCU Morehouse College for his undergrad. His father is the civil rights activist and sociologist Dr. Charles Johnson, also the first black president of the HBCU Fisk University in Tennessee. Before this Johnson practiced at a private law firm in New York and once served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the state in addition to his role in the Department of Defense.

A couple of years ago, Johnson caused a lot of head-scratching when he said in a speech that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have condoned today’s wars. “He would recognize that we live in a complicated world,” said Johnson, “and that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.”

We’ll see how he explains that in the Senate confirmations. 

Is an Increasingly Multicultural America Changing the Way We Eat?

Is an Increasingly Multicultural America Changing the Way We Eat?

So-called “ethnic” foods are more available than they’ve ever been (remember Rhianna’s ubiquitous coconut water ads), and experts say this reflects the shifting taste buds of an increasingly multicultural U.S.  Marie Callender, once famous for frozen chicken pot pies, now makes chipotle shrimp street tacos, and Campbell’s soup has turned up the flavor on its classic tomato soup with lemongrass

Latino foods in particular are dominating the market. According to an Associated Press report, salsa beat out ketchup as the No. 1 condiment in the U.S., and tortillas are outselling chips and burger and hotdog buns. Asian foods are a close second, reflecting the largest growing immigrant communities in the U.S.  Food companies seem surprised by what they can get away with flavor-wise, but overall it seems like a positive shift in the American palate. In a recent New York Times report, which also highlighted the growing popularity of Mexican Jaritos soda, a representative from Frito Lay says eating patterns are changing as well, and people are grazing or eating throughout the day more often.

Perhaps it’s silly to try to distinguish a uniquely American cuisine since, after all, pizza is commonly considered American. But this food trend certainly highlights the expanding Latino population in the U.S., and suggests that the growing Latino consumer base has the power to shift markets. 

Really Racist Video Proclaims White Girl’s Love of Chinese Food

Really Racist Video Proclaims White Girl's Love of Chinese Food

The Asian Girlz video from a few months back was bad enough. But now we have Alison Gold’s song and video called “Chinese Food.” It features a black rapper dressed up as a panda bear and Gold wearing what’s supposed to be traditional Chinese garb. Disgusted yet?

But who exactly is Alison Gold? It’s hard to really tell. She’s got a Twitter account and the single is for sale on iTunes

TAGS: Racists

Imara Jones Discusses What’s Next for Government in #ShutdownChat2

When the government shutdown began, Colorlines engaged its Twitter community in a chat with Imara Jones about its worries, ideas and expectations for the impact and resolution. As the shutdown ended today, we reprised our discussion with Imara using the hashtag #shutdownchat2. The results were enlightening, as followers weighed in on everything from the impact of race in the shutdown and the racially coded langage used for public assistance to the various ways in which individuals were affected by loss of pay and services.

Here’s the Storify:

TAGS: Reader Forum
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