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Kendrick Lamar Spreads Love in First Official Video From New Album

Kendrick Lamar dropped the first official video from his forthcoming, untitled album this week. The track, “i,” has already been roundly praised by fans and was chosen as the theme song for the 2014-2015 NBA season. As Ambrosia for Heads points out, the video is just another extension of Lamar’s mission to “save lives musically.” It features Lamar leading a crowd of people dancing through everyday and sometimes heartbreaking scenes in Compton. Here’s more:

Kendrick clearly understands the grasp his music has within the Hip-Hop realm and even more importantly, he understands that the people who listen to his music believein it and look to him for direction. In his interview with Peter Rosenberg and Hot 97, K. Dot reveals that fans have personally expressed that the Top Dawg member’s music has prevented them from doing harm to themselves and even relieved them from the stranglehold of suicidal thoughts. With that knowledge at hand, Kendrick has taken it upon himself to continue that trend by delivering uplifting, lyrically driven content with his listeners in mind.

Read more. Still no word on a release date for Lamar’s sophomore LP.

Eva Longoria: ‘I Was Fortunate to Grow Up in a Family of Activists’

Actress Eva Longoria recently co-founded the Latino Victory PAC, which tossed its support behind a number of Latino Democrats who ran in the midterm elections. In this video from Fusion, Longoria talks about how her family inspired her activism. 

Listen to Georgia Anne Muldrow’s New Track, ‘Ciao’

Songstress Georgia Anne Muldrow dropped an instrumental LP back in September called “Oligarchy Sucks,” and now she’s following up with some vocals. Listen to the track “Ciao,” which Okayplayer says “packs an air of escapism that picks up where Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat” left off.”

Ava DuVernay’s ‘Middle of Nowhere’ Will be on DVD, On Demand

Fans of Ava DuVernay’s “Middle of Nowhere” are gonna be pleased to see her award-winning film on DVD and streaming on demand early next year. The film, which follows a black couple dealing with incarceration, will be available starting January 13, 2015, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment and Code Black Films. 

The film aired on BET earlier this year and was streaming on Netflix for a brief period, but its upcoming release on DVD will be the first time that it’s made widely available since showing in theaters in 2012. 

(h/t Shadow and Act)

Video: Rosario Dawson, Wilmer Valderrama Urge Young Latino Voters to the Polls

Latino voters could influence 18 Senate and gubernatorial races in today’s midterm elections, and have the potential to swing elections in at least six states, according to a poll by Latino Decision. VotoLatino, a non-partisan organization founded by Maria Teresa Kumar and Rosario Dawson, is using its star power to turn out thousands of young Latinos to the polls this election. 

“It’s really important for people to speak up because this is the time to make our voices heard,” Dawson told Fusion at a recent VotoLatino conference in San Jose, California. “It’s not just about complaining about things at home and then wondering how they don’t get better the next day.”

Valderrama put it this way: “You gotta clean your house, and we have to clean The House.”

Lupita Nyong’o Named Glamour’s ‘Woman of the Year’

It’s been one helluva year for Lupita Nyong’o. The actress won an Oscar for her supporting role in “12 Years a Slave” and became one of the most recognized young faces in Hollywood. Now she’s been named Woman of the Year by Glamour Magazine. In an interview, she talked about being a role model to young black girls:

GLAMOUR: You’ve become a role model for many girls—black girls in particular. Who were your role models, growing up? 
LN: Oprah played a big role in my understanding of what it meant to be female and to really step into your own power. I wouldn’t even call her a role model; she was literally a reference point. You have the dictionary, you have the Bible, you have Oprah.

GLAMOUR: Do you feel a responsibility to young women out there? 
LN: I feel a responsibility to myself and my parents and the people whose love has gotten me this far—people who were in my life before fame. That’s where I get my sense of self. It’s deadly for anyone to take on that role of a deity; it’s not sustainable. I’ve got tons of flaws. Call my mother—she’ll tell you! She keeps it real. Sometimes you don’t want to hear the truth; she’ll tell it to you out of love.

Read more at Glamour

Watch Prince Rock the House on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Prince offered up a thrilling performance with his band, 3rdEyeGirl, and singer Lianne La Havas on “Saturday Night Live.” ICYMI, check it out below. 

TAGS: Prince video

Thousands Protest Washington, D.C., NFL Team Name

Thousands Protest Washington, D.C., NFL Team Name

Thousands of protesters gathered at Minneapolis’s TCF Stadium on Sunday to tell Washington D.C.’s NFL team owner Dan Snyder: “We are not mascots.” The Minnesota Vikings played host to Snyder’s team amid the long-planned protests, which reportedly brought together more than 5,000 people.

Why Minneapolis? Three big reasons: First, it’s a NFL city with a sizable Native population. Second, the Vikings are playing at the University of Minnesota this season as they await their new stadium; campus activists and community members have been organizing there for months. Finally, there’s precedent. The Washington Post noted that in 1992, when the Buffalo Bills played D.C. in the only Super Bowl hosted in Minnesota, an estimated 3,000 demonstrators turned out at the now-demolished Metrodome to denounce the team’s name.

Amanda Blackhorse, a member of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, whose lawsuit led the U.S. Patent Office to revoke the team’s trademark in June because it disparages Natives, summed up the mood in Minneapolis on Sunday.

“It’s a good day to be indigenous,” Blackhorse told the Star Tribune. “I’m so glad to be here with you today. Minnesota Natives don’t mess around.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota also attended the protest.

“We are here to tell the NFL there is no honor in a racial slur,” McCollum told the Washington Post. “Here in Minnesota we have 11 proud tribal nations, but only 150 years ago, their ancestors, men and women, elders and children, were hunted and murdered for profit. This was a government-funded policy of genocide. The pain of this brutal and shameful history is still with us. If there is any decency in the NFL, the time is now — change the mascot.”

Spike Lee: ‘Post-Racial America is Bullshit’

Spike Lee made his case against a post-racial America to Jorge Ramos at Fusion. He also really, really hates “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Watch. 

(h/t Fusion)

Angela Davis Praises Toni Morrison’s Friendship and Editing

Angela Davis Praises Toni Morrison's Friendship and Editing

UC Santa Cruz’s Dan White sat down separately with Angela Davis and Toni Morrison and put together one gem of an interview about their nearly five decades of friendship. Before she earned her own place in the American canon, Morrison worked as an editor at Random House for 20 years and edited a stable of books by black writers, including Davis’ 1974 autobiography. The interview touches on everything from Morrison’s distaste for that era’s black memoirs to the “white gaze” and the importance of goodness in literature. But these thoughts from Davis on Morrison’s friendship and editing stand out:

To Angela Davis: During her time at Random House, Toni Morrison edited your [autobiography], which was published in 1974. How did that initial connection come about? 

AD:  She contacted me. I wasn’t so much interested in writing an autobiography. I was very young. I think I was 26 years old. Who writes an autobiography at that age? Also, I wasn’t that interested in writing a book that was focused on a personal trajectory. Of course at that time the paradigm for the autobiography as far as I was concerned was the heroic individual and I certainly did not want to represent myself in that way.  But Toni Morrison  persuaded me that I could write it the way I wanted to; it could be the story not only of my life but of the movement in which I had become involved, and she was successful. 

To Angela Davis: Your autobiography is very cinematic - I’ve read a lot of your more academic work, but this one is constructed like a novel. In the very beginning, you’re trying to get away from the FBI and there is this palpable sense of fear. The reader is right in the middle of a manhunt. I was wondering how much of that comes from the influence of your mentor, Toni Morrison.

AD: The decision to begin the story at the moment when I went underground and then would be arrested was an interesting way of drawing people into a story, the outlines of which they already knew because of course my being placed on the FBI 10 most wanted list was publicized all around the country, all around the world, so yes, there was the use of the kind of cinematic strategy of flashback and this was thanks to input from my editor, Toni Morrison. And I can also say that in learning how to write in that way for her - she did not rewrite things for me, but she asked me questions. She would say, ‘what did the space look like, what was in the room, and how would you describe it?’ It was quite an amazing experience for me to have her as a mentor. My experience with writing was primarily writing about philosophical issues.  I really had to learn about how to write something that would produce images in people’s minds that would draw them into a story. 

Morrison goes on to offer up some hilarious anecdotes about working as Davis’ handler on her book tour and setting boundaries for people. “People would come up to her, you know: ‘My brother is in prison, and I was wondering could we have a cocktail party (to raise money for him),’ and the thing was, (Davis) would stop and listen, and say, ‘where is he?’, and I would say, ‘Angela, come on!’”

Read more

ICYMI: Meet the Artist of Color Behind Those ‘Stop Telling Women to Smile’ Posters

We’ve covered Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh before, but her work is worth revisiting in light of the controversy that’s swirling around a new video that depicts street harassment faced by women in New York City. The video, which was released by anti street harassment group Hollaback and marketing agency Robert Bliss Creative, shows a seemingly white woman walking along Manhattan streets and being approached by several men of color — interestingly, all of the white men were edited out. Roxane Gay quipped on Twitter: “The racial politics of the video are fucked up. Like, she didn’t walk through any white neighborhoods?”

For the past few years, Fazlalizadeh has taken her message against street harassment across the country, opening up discussions about sexism and racism.

Is Your Halloween Costume Racist? Check This Flowchart

Are you worried that your Halloween costume may be a little bit racist? Don’t be this person. Or these folks. The good folks at College Humor found this handy little flowchart so you don’t make an asshole out of yourself this year. And, if you’re wondering, there are ways to dress up as a person from a different race and not be a jerk

racisthalloweenchart_103014.jpg

(h/t Angry Asian Man)

Powerful Short Film Captures High School Football Team in Oakland’s ‘Kill Zone’

East Oakland has a reputation as one of America’s most violent neighborhoods. It’s where a great deal of the city’s murders happen every year, a trend that’s earned it the dubious name the “Kill Zone.” Castlemont high school is in this area. It has a proud football tradition that’s taken a big hit in recent years due to the violence that’s kept many of the neighborhood’s kids from enrolling.

But Grit Media caught up with Ed Washington, a proud Castlemont alumn who’s trying to rebuild the program and, along with it, students’ committment to their community. Already, Washington’s team is meeting some success: After going winless over the past three season, the team’s overall record currently stands at 2-5.

TAGS: Oakland sports

Rapper Bambu Tackles Minimum Wage on New Album ‘Party Worker’

In the middle of touring with Brother Ali on the “Home Away From Home” tour, L.A.-raised, Oakland-based Filipino rapper Bambu just dropped a new album called “Party Worker.” He raised nearly $40,000 for the album on Kickstarter and kept fans connected to the production process throughout most of last spring. The new video for the track “Minimum Wage” was directed, edited and animated by filmmaker Paco Raterta in Manila and shot by “Welcome to the Party” director/editor, Kevin Vea. It looks at everyday life in the Philippines and follows one group of workers as they try to make ends meet.

Diverse Casting Leads to a Wildly Successful Fall for Network TV

Diverse Casting Leads to a Wildly Successful Fall for Network TV

From “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Black-ish” and “Jane The Virgin” and “Cristela,” racial diversity on network television is paying big dividends for industry execs. According to Deadline:

Both ABC’s HTGAWM and Black-ishare helped by strong lead-ins -Scandal and Modern Family, respectively. Still, HIGAWM has excelled, surpassing Scandal as well as NBC’s The Blacklist to rank as the highest-rated drama on television by a wide margin, averaging a 5.7 rating among adults 18-49 through three weeks of Live+7 numbers. That should be gratifying for star Viola Davis, who recently lamented the marginalizing of darker-skin black actresses like herself who usually are relegated to bit parts in movies and TV.

Read more at Deadline

J-Live Drops Song Against Police Brutality Called ‘I Am a Man’

Brooklyn-based M.C. and high school teacher J-Live just dropped what Okayplayer called his “most meaningful and heartfelt track ever.” The song is called “I Am a Man” and takes aim at police brutality. It’s also the latest song from his new LP “Around the Sun,” available on Bandcamp. Check out the new track below.

 

Watch George Clinton Talk to Questlove About Funk Music

Funk music pioneer George Clinton will be in conversation with Questlove tonight at 6:30pm at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.  From the Schomburg:

The funk musician George Clinton shares stories about his life and career on the occasion  of the publication of his new book, [“] Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You? A Memoir.[“] Clinton will be in conversation with the Roots’ drummer, DJ, writer, and producer Questlove.
Grammy award-winning artist George Clinton was the mastermind behind Parliament and Funkadelic, the two bands that virtually defined the funk genre. Clinton began recording solo in 1981, and has earned widespread recognition for his contributions to the music world. 

New York City Mural Honors Mothers Who Lost Sons to Police Violence

New York City Mural Honors Mothers Who Lost Sons to Police Violence

New York City visual artist Sophia Dawson decided to pay her respects to black and Latino mothers who lost their sons to police and extra-judicial violence. In a new mural called “Every Mother’s Son” on the Lower East Side, Dawson honors Kadiatou Diallou, Mamie Till, Constance Malcolm, Margarita Rosario, Gwen Carr, Lesley McSpadden and Iris Baez.

Dawson told Ideal Glass:

My art is a tool to bring people from different ethnicities, social statuses, beliefs and backgrounds together, to educate them and to develop a dialogue between them and the characters I depict. I want to highlight the significance of these figures and the relevance of their struggle today. They have been intentionally excluded from mainstream American History and their stories must not be forgotten… I always start working from black, as a conscious artistic exercise but also as a statement: it represents my opposition to the art education I received in institutions where I was taught that art had to begin on a ‘pure and white’ surface.

 

Every mother’s son. Complete. Made possible by @idealglass

A photo posted by Sophia (@iamwetpaint) on

(h/t For Harriet)

New Video Series Shows How Comedians of Color Turn Pain Into Laughter

Tanzina Vega and Channon Hodge of the New York Times launched a new video series today called, “Off Color.” It takes a look at how some today’s hottest comedians of color use race in their material. In Hari Kondabolu’s words, “It’s incredible how we recycle pain and turn it into laughter.” He’s featured in the new series, along with Kristina Wong, Issa Rae and Lalo Alcaraz.* Check out their interviews below. 

Hari Kondabolu:

Kristina Wong:

Issa Rae:

 

Lalo Alcaraz:

*Post has been updated to correct spelling of Lalo Alcaraz’s surname. 

Russell Wilson Doesn’t Care What You Think About His Blackness

Russell Wilson Doesn't Care What You Think About His Blackness

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson really isn’t moved by this newfound fascination with whether he’s “not black enough.” Amid reports of locker room strife and alleged complaints from other black teammates that put his racial identity into question, Wilson told reporters:

“I think it was people trying to find ways to knock us down, but we just keep swinging and keep believing in each other. We keep believing in the people that we have in the room and we keep believing in the coaching staff. We keep believing in our fans, we keep believing in each other and there is no doubt that we are together. There is no doubt that we are more together than ever before.

“And so, in terms of me, the ‘not black enough’ thing I think you are talking about, I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know. I believe that I am an educated, young male that is not perfect. That tries to do things right, that just tries to lead and tries to help others and tries to wins games for this football team, for this franchise. And that’s all I focus on.”

That didn’t stop NBA legend and current sports analyst Charles Barkley from blaming black folks in an interview on Philadelphia radio. “For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. It’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community.” 

But as Gina Torres writes at For Harriet, “there is no single definition of  ‘black people.’ Torres continues:

“Black people—including African-Americans and other descendants of the African Diaspora—are not a monolith. We are all shaped by our various experiences, socioeconomic backgrounds, and geographical location. But given the fact that mainstream society often uses the behavior of one Black person to represent us all, Barkley’s broad generalization is extremely myopic and disappointing. His statements allow for non-Black people to sign off on this highly problematic sentiment.”

Whenever a premiere NFL team hits a rough patch and loses a couple of games, there’s talk of trouble in the locker room. Obviously, this attack on Wilson seems deeply personal, but chances are, if his team keeps winning, the talk will die down significantly. 

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