2Pac’s Mother Afeni Shakur Producing Biopic of Slain Rapper

2Pac's Mother Afeni Shakur Producing Biopic of Slain Rapper

There’s been a Tupac Shakur biopic in the works since 2011, but the project recently gained some momentum thanks to a new deal to finance the film. From Deadline:

Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films is teaming with Morgan Creek Productions to co-finance and co-produce Tupac, creating a new urgency for the long-gestating biopic on the hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur. They are working with a script by Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft, and a new draft is expected in two weeks. Several companies battled for the rights to partner on the film with Jim Robinson’s Morgan Creek before MCP president David Robinson sealed the deal with EFO. They are eyeing a February start date and a $45 million budget. They have the rights to exploit Tupac’s musical catalog, and his mother, Afeni Shakur, will be a producer on the film.

No word yet on the cast, but Deadline notes that “Fruitvale Station” actor Micheal B. Jordan or Anthony Mackie could be good fits for the leading role. Read more over at Deadline.

Hari Kondabolu Demands TSA Reparations

Hari Kondabolu Demands TSA Reparations

Just another reason to watch “Totally Biased.”

(h/t Angry Asian Man)

Parents Complain After Child Forced to Reenact Slavery on a Field Trip

Parents Complain After Child Forced to Reenact Slavery on a Field Trip

During a Nature’s Classroom field trip organized by Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy last year, a 12-year-old black girl was forced to pretend she was a slave as part of a historical reenactment. During the simulation she was called the N-word, chased through the woods, and threatened with physical violence including whipping and cutting her Achilles. Nature’s Classroom has been criticized for this same reenactment in the past, but continues do it. 

Now, Sandra and James Baker—the girl’s parents—have taken their complaints to the Connecticut School Board and the Human Rights Commission after 10-months of trying to get an apology from their daughter’s former school. Other students who went on the same trip were recently debriefed, and described being similarly horrified by the experience. 

Has Stop-and-Frisk Been Replaced by Youth Surveillance?

Has Stop-and-Frisk Been Replaced by Youth Surveillance?

In an article published today in the New York Times, the NYPD seems to be beefing up social media monitoring as a tactic to replace the once common stop-and-frisk, which was ruled a violation of rights by a federal judge earlier this year.  According to the article, the NYPD says 30 percent of shootings over the past several years can be connected to youth gangs known as “crews” or “sets,” and Facebook is a particularly reliable source for connecting people with these groups. 

Police also claim people involved in gang activity often threaten people or boast about past actions on Facebook, which enabled the NYPD to thwart a potential violent incident earlier this spring. Now it seems they will be relying more heavily on “Operation Crew Cut” to root out potential crews. The officers are also using Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, often disguising their identities to gain access to individuals.

This strategy has been applauded even by staunch stop-and-frisk opponent Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, among others. But the increased use of this tactic also brings up some serious questions about internet privacy and government surveillance. While internet bullying should never be condoned, could an idle threat by a teen somehow link him to gang activity? What’s your take?  

(h/t New York Times)

Navajo Star Wars: Coming to a Theater Near You

Navajo Star Wars: Coming to a Theater Near You

Some 150,000 people speak Diné bizaad, or Navajo language. Yet no major film has ever been released in Diné. That means that monolingual speakers—who mostly live on the Navajo Nation that spreads out over Arizona, Utah and New Mexico—have been unable to simply go to a theater to enjoy a film. 

That all changed recently, after Navajo Nation Museum director Manuelito Wheeler set out to get Star Wars dubbed in Diné. Before the casting call could even be made, the film first had to be translated—and that’s not an easy thing for a language that’s so precise in its descriptions when compared to English. Wheeler explained the process to NPR in June:

We had a team of five translators and in my mind they pulled off a miracle. You know, there was some talk out there … like, ‘How are you gonna say robot because there’s no word for robot in Navajo?’ It’s such a powerful language, that it’s very descriptive, very descriptive. If you ask for an object in Navajo you will know you’ll be getting a round object, you’ll be getting a skinny, soft object, you’ll be getting a flat rigid object. So, the trick was choosing from the variety of definitions that the group came up with. So for example: “robot.” It’s a thinking machine; a machine that thinks for itself.

Navajo Star Wars was shown on and near the Navajo Nation this summer with glowing reviews from Diné speakers. And now, it’s hitting major cities, too. Arizona State University will host an exclusive screening in about two weeks (do yourself a favor and click on that last link for an awesome poster image!), and it’s coming to New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles soon, too. 

Seth Green Insists ‘Dads’ Isn’t Racist, It’s Just Comedy

Seth Green Insists 'Dads' Isn't Racist, It's Just Comedy

FOX’s new sitcom “Dads” has been criticized for its bad racist jokes, but costar Seth Green insists that those critics just don’t have a decent sense of humor. During an “Ask Me Anything” forum on Reddit, Green made his case.

“There have been some groups who through their own cultural sensitivities feel that jokes that we’re making are inappropriate for television, but I don’t think any of those people have really seen the show as a whole and are solely focusing on singular jokes without considering them in the context of the entire show,” Green said. Later, he added, “

The creators of the show are smart and clever, and we all grew up loving this kind of TV for being both a mirror to what we’re all going through, and also provocative enough to ask questions about why we behave the way we do.”

“Everyone needs to remember, this is a comedy, it’s not about making fun of people but it’s about having fun with the situations these people get into.”

“Dads” premieres Tuesday.

(h/t Los Angeles Times)


New York City Has Widest Income Gap According to American Community Survey

New York City Has Widest Income Gap According to American Community Survey

To complement the Census Bureau’s recent release of annual poverty, income and health insurance statistics, today the bureau released data from the American Community Survey. The survey’s findings, which can be difficult to navigate for the average person and will likely emerge in the coming days, have already highlighted some interesting state-specific information.

Among them, New York City is found to have the widest income gap of any U.S. city, with a poverty rate of nearly 15 percent and a median household income of $64,000. Overall, the Census Bureau found there were not significant statistical variations from last year, aside from increased health coverage nationwide in particular for children and teens. And so, despite economic stimulus efforts in the U.S., women and people of color continue to earn lower wages, and are at higher risk for living in poverty.

Want the Washington Redskins to Change Their Name? You’re Racist

Want the Washington Redskins to Change Their Name? You're Racist

ESPN’s Rick Reilly pissed off a lot of people this week by writing in support of the Washington Redskins’ team name. For decades, team executives have stubbornly clung to the name despite growing outrage from fans and, notably, prominent Native groups who point out that the name is an obvious racial slur.

Reilly wrote at ESPN:

White America has spoken. You aren’t offended, so we’ll be offended for you.


…The 81-year-old Washington Redskins name is falling, and everybody better get out of the way. For the majority of Native Americans who don’t care, we’ll care for them. For the Native Americans who haven’t asked for help, we’re glad to give it to them.

Trust us. We know what’s best. We’ll take this away for your own good, and put up barriers that protect you from ever being harmed again.

Kind of like a reservation.

Dave Zirin offered up a scathing criqiue of Reily over at The Nation:

Every poll shows overwhelming support for preserving the name as is. But saying “white America” is imposing this name change on the Native American community is not only ass-backward. It is incredibly insulting to every Native American—people like the original activists of the American Indian Movement, Suzan Harjo and Vern Bellecourt—who have organized to change it in the face of constant abuse by high-profile, invariably white sportswriters like Rick Reilly. By not giving even token mention to the long history of Native American organizing or agency, Reilly makes them invisible or implies that they are just pawns of this PC liberal elite just looking to be offended for the sake of being offended.

It’s going to be a very long football season. 


Edwidge Danticat Talks About Writing Her First Novel in 10 Years

Edwidge Danticat Talks About Writing Her First Novel in 10 Years

Edwidge Danticat sat down for an interview with PBS’s NewsHour to talk about “Claire of the Sea Light,” her first work of fiction in more than a decade. In the video above she talks about her writing process. Below, she reads an excerpt from the book.

(h/t PBS NewsHour)

Like Janelle Monáe? You’ll Love THEESatisfaction, KING, and Ebony Bones

Like Janelle Monáe? You'll Love THEESatisfaction, KING, and Ebony Bones

If you’re looking for a little something to add to your fall playlist (especially now that those new iOS 7 updates are out with iTunes radio!), then look no further. Janelle Monáe’s successful release of her second album has shown that there’s a market for new, quirky black songresses, and she’s not the only one in it. Below are a few acts who, whether in style or substance, are changing music both here and across the pond.

THEESatisfaction (Seattle, WA & Brooklyn, NY)

This talented duo started their careers in Seattle when they met at the University of Washington.  Since then, they’ve been on a roll, performing with Erykah Badu, releasing new music, and hosting Brooklyn’s popular Black Weirdo party.

KING (Los Angeles, CA)

What’s better than one talented singer? Twins songstresses who decide to form a group together. A few years ago, Paris and Amber Strother caught the industry’s attention when their 2011 song “The Story” went viral. Now they’re on tour with with British soul singer Laura Mvula.

Ebony Bones (London, UK)

This writer, producer and actress does a little bit of everything, but gained a following in the states after performing at SXSW a few years ago. She just released her second album, “Behold, A Pale Horse,” which got rave reviews from the good folks at NPR’s First Listen.

Eight Lessons From Erykah Badu’s Vine

Eight Lessons From Erykah Badu's Vine

Know your history.


There’s a movement behind every individual.


Take it slow.


You won’t get everything right on the first try.

Make time for your family.

Be patient.

Don’t be afraid to confront the opposition.

Don’t forget to have fun.


The Story of the Black Pitcher Who Threw a No-Hitter While on LSD

The Story of the Black Pitcher Who Threw a No-Hitter While on LSD

You may have heard of Dock Ellis. He’s the Major League Baseball pitcher made infamous for throwing a no hitter on June 12, 1970 while a member of the San Diego Padres. What makes his story even more interesting isn’t just that it happened, but that it’s been illustrated and put on YouTube. After his career ended in the late ’70s, Ellis entered recovery, counseled people battling addictions, and became an outspoken advocate for players’ rights. So much so, in fact, that Jackie Robinson had to tell him to take it easy. Ellis died of lung disease in 2008 when he was only 63 years old.

This illustrated short is an interesting look into the drugs that were a prominent part of professional sports in that era, long before today’s concerns over performance enhancing drugs and stories of current players like Lamar Odom battling high-profile addictions.


Watch ‘Sailor Moon,’ ‘Wonder Woman’ Compete in an Epic Vogue Battle

Watch 'Sailor Moon,' 'Wonder Woman' Compete in an Epic Vogue Battle

This year’s Streetstar Vogue Femme Battle took place in Stockholm, Sweden and featured Sailor Moon and Wonder Woman in an epic vogueing battle for the ages.

(h/t Queerty)

TAGS: Vogueing

Watch Mister Cee’s Thoughtful Coming-Out PSA

Watch Mister Cee's Thoughtful Coming-Out PSA

Embattled DJ Mister Cee has released a public service announcement through his long-time radio station, Hot 97, to talk about his decision to open up about his sexuality. It’s an incredible four minutes from one of the pillars of the hip-hop community. Mister Cee speaks candidly and honestly about how he struggled with the decision to come out after being kicked out of the closet when one of his latest sexual encounters with a gender non-conforming person was caught on tape and made public.

“The decision I made this week to open up about my sexuality has definitely been the most difficult thing that I have ever had to do in my life,” the legendary DJ says. “But I felt like this was the time for me to do it personally and professionally. For me, I felt worried about how my family would be affected, how my coworkers and my friends and even my fans would be affected by this decision because in this hip-hop community of ours, it’s not cool to be gay.”

Take a Sneak Peek at the New Marvin Gaye Biopic ‘Sexual Healing’

Take a Sneak Peek at the New Marvin Gaye Biopic 'Sexual Healing'

Jesse L. Martin (aka the dude form “Law and Order”) is starring in an upcoming Marvin Gaye biopic called “Sexual Healing.” Here’s a four minute sneak peek at the film, which is due out on April 1, 2014, which would have been the singer’s 74th birthday.

(h/t Shadow and Act)

J. Cole Wants You to Reconsider the War on Drugs

J. Cole Wants You to Reconsider the War on Drugs

In a gripping new video for his single “Crooked Smile,” rapper J. Cole takes a pretty strong stance against the War on Drugs. It’s dedicated to Aiyana Stanley-Jones, the seven-year-old black girl who was shot and killed during a raid by the Detroit Police Department.

Minimum Wage and Overtime Extended to Home Care Workers

Minimum Wage and Overtime Extended to Home Care Workers

The Obama administration announced yesterday it will extend labor benefits and overtime pay to health care workers providing home care. This ruling affects nearly 2 million health care workers, who daily manage the needs of elderly and chronically ill people, as well as people with disabilities. One of the fastest-growing professions in the U.S., these workers have been exempt from benefits provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act since 1974

The new regulations won’t take effect until January 2015, in order to give families and states time to adjust. While advocates have been working on this initiative for some time, some lawmakers are concerned that new regulations will limit the amount of care people receive since the regulations will cap hours and some families may not be able to afford the minimum wage. But currently, health workers—the vast majority of whom are women and about half of which are people of color—make just $9.70 per hour. The new regulations are a step towards ensuring these workers are receiving a fair wage for work that is often critical for families and individuals nationwide. 

Undocumented Immigrants Handcuff Themselves to White House Gate

Undocumented Immigrants Handcuff Themselves to White House Gate

President Obama made clear he would not halt deportations for those undocumented immigrants whose children are eligible for temporary relief under the president’s deferred action program. In an interview with Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart Tuesday, Obama blamed House Republicans for not moving forward on comprehensive immigration reform. 

But Obama’s own administration continues to deport more than 1,000 people per day, many of whom have not been accused of any crime. Obama made clear what worries him is that some advocates think that because Congress hasn’t moved forward to pass a bill, the president will issue some type of executive action to halt deportations. He’s planning no such thing. Instead, Obama urged people who want immigration reform to remain focused on Congress.

This morning, seven undocumented immigrant leaders—some of them already in deportation proceedings—handcuffed themselves to the White House gate in protest of Obama’s record deportations, which they say are tearing communities apart. The seven, who are active leaders in their communities across the nation, were arrested and taken into custody by Federal Park Police about a half hour after they started the action, as supporters screamed in solidarity a few yards away.

Narciso Valenzuela Siriaco, who identifies as Yaqui and lives in Tucson, participated in today’s action. He’s currently fighting deportation after spending time at Eloy Detention Center following a stop at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Arizona. “I don’t want there to be more deportations,” he said. “Our children suffer.”

Just In Case You’re Already Over This School Year

Just In Case You're Already Over This School Year

While the school year’s just begun, for some folks, it can’t end quickly enough. That’s especially the case for grad students who’ve spent the better part of two decades in and out of classrooms. If you’re feeling frustrated or in a bit over your head, you’re not alone. To revisit some tips from Madison Moore, the Ph.D. candidate who made waves with his concentration in fierceness, here’s a Thought Catalogue list of 10 people you’re probably going to school with:

1. The know it all who tells you you’ve misinterpreted Marx.

Bitch, please.

2. The overachiever.

The overachiever is always the first person in the seminar to use words like “hermeneutics.” They have completed the entire semester’s reading in advance and even have suggestions for further reading. They come to class with detailed notes, typed, of course, so as to more easily access their flashes of brilliance. Whenever the professor asks a question the whole seminar table looks at the overachiever, awaiting morsels of genius to drip from their lips. Privately, everybody hates the overachiever but you also rely on them because you know that they help carry the seminar all those times you didn’t do the reading.

3. The one who dates undergrads.

Undergraduates have no clue what graduate students do. For many, graduate students are not even real people — they’re just “creepy,” clueless robots there to grade midterms. But see, therein lies the fascination. Some undergrads get excited about the possibility of dating a graduate student, and that’s just music to the undergrad-dater’s ears because they can’t wait to get to campus so they can start banging sophomores. It’s also kind of against the rules, so don’t do it/keep it on the DL!!

4. The person who thinks the world is an awful place and it’s all society’s fault.

This person is a member of the campus graduate student association and they are always trying to get you to join, and you do because you care about the causes. They use terminology like “Prison-Industrial Complex” in everyday parlance. They rally and protest and have absolutely awful things to say about the world and its numerous problems. Capitalism is bad, universities are bad, everybody is oppressed and we are all doomed. And yet, here they are, in a Ph.D. program.

5. The walking stress bomb.

The walking stress bomb seems to always be nervous or worried about some looming deadline or thing to accomplish. They are worried about talks or papers or journal articles or the job market or what so-in-so professor thinks about them. Graduate school is one giant stress bomb, but you have to learn to prioritize!

6. The chronic masturbator/partier/decadent/Netflix obsessive.

The chronic masturbator/partier/decadent/Netflix obsessive always puts readings and assignments off till the last minute so they can do fabulous things like skip their Hannah Arendt seminar to go to Coachella. Knowing a paper is due in five days, this person spends three of those five days downing 78 episodes of 30 Rock while eating popcorn and Nutella with a spoon. This person puts pleasure first and doesn’t take any of this graduate school stuff so seriously, but in the final hours before the assignment is due delicate genius emerges as if out of thin air.

7. The freeloader.

The freeloader goes to conference talks and departmental brown bag lunches for the free wine, cheese, and meals. They are not all that interested in the panel discussion on “Feminism as Practice — And Praxis.” They have come for the free Indian food from the best Indian restaurant in town. Will also be seen taking a plate home for later.

8. The insanely accomplished.

Possibly a genius, there is not an accolade they don’t have, nothing they’ve never accomplished. The insanely accomplished was born with a book deal from FSG. The insanely accomplished is different from the overachiever, though, because nobody really likes the overachiever and the insanely accomplished makes you want to be better. He or she is relatively coy about their accomplishments, coy in the sense that they only casually drop hints about what they’ve done at every pause in a conversation. But it’s OK — they’re fabulous!

9. The elitist.

The elitist judges you because you don’t spend every waking moment in the library, because your project is in a sexy area like performance studies, visual studies, or celebrity studies. They say things like, “You’re writing a dissertation chapter on Beyoncé? That’s not a real topic.” Gurl….

10. The person who got a better job than you.

By the time you make it through your graduate program and go “on the market” for that coveted assistant professorship at your dream school, you’re sending out dossiers and cover letters and writing samples and all of your self-confidence. You went all out — 50 applications. How many interviews have you scored? Zero! Inevitably people will ask you where you applied but you’re not telling because you don’t want any added competish. And yet, the person who got a better job than you applied to one job and that’s the one he got. WHY!

How People Use Google Street View to Indulge in Poverty Porn

How People Use Google Street View to Indulge in Poverty Porn

VICE does some great work, but it can still have a pretty problematic view on the world. Case in point: a recent photo essay in which a writer uses Google Street View to explore the “bad part of town,” from Los Angeles’ Skid Row and Houston’s Fifth Ward to favealas in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. From writer Glenn Coco:

The great thing about Google Street View (aside from generating the occasional murder scare,) is that it allows you to visit parts of your town that you would usually be too terrified to set foot in. The “bad part of town.”

Below is a collection of Street View images taken in the worst parts of a bunch of cities around the globe. 

I wish I had some kind of scientific method for finding these places, but I just contacted people I knew in cities that have Google Street View, asked them what they consider to be the sketchiest part of where they live, then dragged the little orange Street View guy down at a random spot in that neighborhood. 

Apparently, poverty is fun. Who knew?

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