Colorlines

Kendrick Lamar’s New Track Played More Than a Million Times in Less Than a Day

Kendrick Lamar dropped a new track called “The Blacker the Berry” last night and, judging by how often it’s been played in less than 24 hours, it’s already a hit. The track is a seething look at racism in America, and perhaps even a response to critics of his ill-formed comments about activists. It’s been played more than a million times in less than 12 hours. 

On the track, the rapper openly embraces his contradictions. Check out the song’s lyrics below:

Six in the mornin’, fire in the street
Burn, baby burn, that’s all I wanna see
And sometimes I get off watchin’ you die in vain
It’s such a shame they may call me crazy
They may say I suffer from schizophrenia or somethin’
But homie you made me
Black don’t crack my nigga

[Verse 1]
I’m the biggest hypocrite of 2015
Once I finish this, witnesses will convey just what I mean
Been feeling this way since I was 16, came to my senses
You never liked us anyway, fuck your friendship, I meant it
I’m African-American, I’m African
I’m black as the moon, heritage of a small village
Pardon my residence
Came from the bottom of mankind
My hair is nappy, my dick is big, my nose is round and wide
You hate me don’t you?
You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture
You’re fuckin’ evil I want you to recognize that I’m a proud monkey
You vandalize my perception but can’t take style from me
And this is more than confession
I mean I might press the button just so you know my discretion
I’m guardin’ my feelins, I know that you feel it
You sabotage my community, makin’ a killin’
You made me a killer, emancipation of a real nigga

[Pre-Hook]
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
The blacker the berry, the bigger I shoot

[Hook: Assassin]
I said they treat me like a slave, cah’ me black
Woi, we feel a whole heap of pain, cah’ we black
And man a say they put me in a chain, cah’ we black
Imagine now, big gold chain full of rocks
How you no see the whip, left scars pon’ me back
But now we have a big whip, parked pon’ the block
All them say we doomed from the start, cah’ we black
Remember this, every race start from the block, just remember that

[Verse 2]
I’m the biggest hypocrite of 2015
Once I finish this, witnesses will convey just what I mean
I mean, it’s evident that I’m irrelevant to society
That’s what you’re telling me, penitentiary would only hire me
Curse me till I’m dead
Church me with your fake prophesizing that I’mma be just another slave in my head
Institutionalize manipulation and lies
Reciprocation of freedom only live in your eyes
You hate me don’t you?
I know you hate me just as much as you hate yourself
Jealous of my wisdom and cards I dealt
Watchin’ me as I pull up, fill up my tank, then peel out
Muscle cars like pull ups, show you what these big wheels ‘bout, ah
Black and successful, this black man meant to be special
CAT scans on my radar bitch, how can I help you?
How can I tell you I’m making a killin’?
You made me a killer, emancipation of a real nigga

[Pre-Hook]

[Hook]

[Verse 3]
I’m the biggest hypocrite of 2015
When I finish this if you listenin’ sure you will agree
This plot is bigger than me, it’s generational hatred
It’s genocism, it’s grimy, little justification
I’m African-American, I’m African
I’m black as the heart of a fuckin’ Aryan
I’m black as the name of Tyrone and Darius
Excuse my French but fuck you — no, fuck y’all
That’s as blunt as it gets, I know you hate me, don’t you?
You hate my people, I can tell cause it’s threats when I see you
I can tell cause your ways deceitful
Know I can tell because you’re in love with that Desert Eagle
Thinkin’ maliciously, he get a chain then you gone bleed him
It’s funny how Zulu and Xhosa might go to war
Two tribal armies that want to build and destroy
Remind me of these Compton Crip gangs that live next door
Beefin’ with Pirus, only death settle the score
So don’t matter how much I say I like to preach with the Panthers
Or tell Georgia State “Marcus Garvey got all the answers”
Or try to celebrate February like it’s my B-Day
Or eat watermelon, chicken, and Kool-Aid on weekdays
Or jump high enough to get Michael Jordan endorsements
Or watch BET cause urban support is important
So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street?
When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me?
Hypocrite!

Happy 71st Birthday to Womanist Warrior, Alice Walker!

Happy 71st Birthday to Womanist Warrior, Alice Walker!

Alice Walker has spent the better part of the past 50 years bringing a radical black woman’s consciousness into mainstream America. Born to sharecroppers in rural Georgia, Walker gained acclaim with her Pullitzer Prize-winning 1983 novel “The Color Purple.” But her life’s work has spanned more than three dozen novels, short stories, poetry and essay collections. Here are some words to remember her by on her 71st birthday:

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Beyoncé: ‘I Sing For Families That Have Lost Their Sons’

Beyoncé just shared a behind-the-scenes video of a rehearsal for last night’s Grammy performance. In it, the star talks about why she chose a chorus of all black men. 

“I wanted to find real men that have lived, have struggled, cried and have a light and a spirit about them,” said Beyoncé“I felt like this is be an opportunity to show the strength and vulnerability in black men.”

“My grandparents marched with Dr. King, and my father was part of the first generation of black men that attended an all-white school,” Beyoncé adds. “My father has grown up with a lot of trauma from those experiences. I feel like now I can sing for his pain, I can sing for my grandparents’ pain. I can sing for some of the families that have lost their sons.” 

‘Stop Telling Women to Smile’ Art Goes to Mexico City

'Stop Telling Women to Smile' Art Goes to Mexico City

Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh touched a nerve when she debuted her “Stop Telling Women to Smile” project in Bed-Stuy a few years back. She touched on the pervasiveness of street harassment that millions of women face everyday by glueing stenciled posters to neighborhood walls with defiant-looking women saying things like, “My Name is Not Baby,” “I Am Not Here For You,” and, of course, “Stop Telling Women to Smile.”

Now, as Anna Holmes documents at FusionFazlalizadeh to Mexico City:

Street harassment, also known as “acoso en las calles,” is an enormous problem in Mexico City and the country as a whole, where rates of sexual violence against women are some of the highest in the world. In Mexico, as elsewhere, says Laura Martinez, director of the Association for the Integral Development of Raped Persons, female bodies are seen as objects, as “something a man can have access to, even if the woman doesn’t want”; a United Nations report in 2010 ranked Mexico number one globally in sexual violence against women, estimating that 44% of females have suffered some sort of sexual violence, from groping to rape. The situation is so bad that Mexico City offers female-only cars on the city’s subways and, in 2008, introduced female-only buses, painted the color pink.

Read more and watch video of the project over at Fusion.  

Iggy’s Hair, Rihanna’s Quinceanera: Best Memes of 2015 Grammys

Last night’s Grammys were filled with brilliant performances and hilarious surprises, all of which got the proper meme treatment on Twitter. Here’s a look at some of the night’s best:

Post has been updated. Content added since publication.

Black Lives Matter at the Grammys, But What About Black Talent?

If you’re looking for one picture to sum up last night’s Grammy Awards, take a look at Prince’s, “bitch, please” face:

Prince made the look when he took the stage to present Beck — Beck! — with the award for best album of the year. Never one to be passive, the iconic singer took the opportunity to hammer home to importance of full-length musical projects over one-off songs that currently flood the industry. “Albums — you remember those? They still matter. Like books and black lives, they still matter,” Prince stated.

Kanye started to rush the stage, but then thought better of it. Still, he told reporters after the show, “[Beck] should’ve given his award to Beyonce.”

Pharrell added some drama to his exuberant hit “Happy.” During his performance, his dancers wore hoodies and raised their hands in a “don’t shoot” gesture as a nod to protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.

Blue-eyed soul singer Sam Smith was the star of the night, taking home four awards for best new artist, song of the year and record of the year for his tantalizing hit “Stay With Me” off his debut album, “In the Lonely Hour.” He also took the stage with Mary J. Blige to perform the track, and later gave a shoutout to the heartbreaker who inspired the album.

Beyoncé — not Ledisi — helped close out the night with a moving rendition of the gospel standard, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” Flanked by black male singers dressed in white and standing in a “hands up, don’t shoot” pose, the singer’s words and gestures easily made for the night’s most powerful moment. The singer also took home three awards for her self-titled album.

Kendrick Lamar’s single “i” won awards for best rap performance and best rap song, which made Taylor Swift very, very happy. Interestingly, the rapper wasn’t in attendance

But while black artists proved the point that black lives matter at last night’s awards, what about black talent? That was a question that seemed especially resonant in this year’s hip-hop category (which wasn’t televised), as Eminem beat out Iggy Azalea for best rap album for “The Marshall Mathers LP 2.” It was a moment that showed how white artists rob black artists of hip-hop culture, according to Renee Graham at the Boston Globe

Cultural appropriation is a scurrilous label older than Elvis, and as revolting as Pat Boone’s literally and figuratively pale versions of early rock n’ roll classics by Little Richard and Fats Domino. Such concerns center not only on who makes the music, but who claims its legacy and shapes its future. Nowhere is this discussion more fractious than in hip-hop where the music is culture and the culture, for many, is life. In a genre where its most devoted acolytes still believe authenticity is everything, newcomers are expected to earn the right to stand alongside legends.

Luckily for Iggy, she didn’t walk away completely empty-handed. Her braid damn near broke the internet. 

John Legend Backs Out of Performance Over Venue’s Anti-LGBT Stance

John Legend Backs Out of Performance Over Venue's Anti-LGBT Stance

Here’s John Legend doing some good in the world:

The magazine LA Confidential had planned to honour R&B musician John Legend at a pre-Grammys party at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Thursday night, but it will have to do so without him present. The Oscar- and Grammy-nominated singer and pianist has cancelled his appearance at the annual awards-season party in protest at the misogyny and homophobia of the venue’s owner

Read more at the Guardian

TAGS:

2Pac Had Plans to Collaborate With Outkast, E-40 Before His Death

2Pac is still regarded as one of the most prolific rappers of his time. He recorded hundreds of songs before his untimely death in 1996 at the young age of 25, many of which have been released posthumously. But he still had plenty of left to do.

Okayplayer published a handwritten letter in which Pac explains his desire to collaborate with some of the industry’s biggest names at the time, including Outkast, E-40, Scarface and Smif-N-Wesson, and The Roots on an album called “One Nation.”

tupac_020615.jpgRead more

TAGS: 2pac hip-hop

This People of Color and Mental Illness Project Will Move You

Nearly half of all Americans will develop some form of mental illness during their lifetime, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health. But people of color often face additional barriers to treatment, including the stigmas associated with mental illness in their communities and discrimination in predominately white clinical settings, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness

Dior Vargas, a Latina feminist mental health activist, is out to change that. Vargas launched a new photo series aimed at breaking the stigmas associated with mental illness among people of color. The project, hosted on Vargas’s website, is still accepting submissions. 

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Jay Smooth Has the Last Word on Marshawn Lynch

The Seattle Seahawks may have lost last weekend’s Super Bowl, but Marshawn Lynch is still winning. In a new video, Jay Smooth makes sense of Lynch and what he calls “the theater of disobedience.” Take a look.

Video: How ‘Broken Windows’ Policing Harms People of Color

When Eric Garner died from an NYPD chokehold last summer on Staten Island after being confronted by police for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, the concept of “broken windows” policing came back into the public’s consciousness. The idea is that law enforcement should strictly clamp down on petty crimes in order to prevent more serious ones.

As Kai Wright wrote at Colorlines shortly after a grand jury declined to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the officer at the center of Garner’s case, “For nearly a generation, it has been NYPD’s explicit policy to marshal a big response to small things, to treat the illegal distribution of 75 cent loosies with the gravity of a violent felony. This approach has been so widely recreated in cities around the country that broken windows policing, as it’s called, is now synonymous with effective policing.”

Fusion’s Molly Crapapple looks the history of broken windows policing and it’s oversized impact on communities of color.

Randall Park: ‘I Would Never Sign Up to Play a Stereotype’

Ahead of tonight’s premiere of ABC’s new comedy “Fresh Off the Boat,” actor Randall Park chatted with Jean Ho from the Center for Asian American Media about the new show. The sitcom, based on celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s 2013 memoir by the same name, is the most visible representation of Asian-Americans on television in two decades, though it’s been met with controversy over its fidelity to the book and racist digital marketing. 

For his part, Park, who plays the main character’s father, does feel the burden of representation. As he told Ho:

Yeah, for sure. It is who I am, so it’s something I keep in mind. Especially with these roles that have come up lately, it definitely plays into my choices, and my approach to things. How I approach the characters. I always think of the community, for sure.

Park, who’s Korean-American, also talked about his decision to play his character, who’s Taiwanese,with a faint accent.

It was something that I definitely thought a lot about. I even talked to the producers about it, like does he have to speak with an accent? And the fact of the matter is, Eddie [Huang]’s father speaks with an accent. It’s not a strong accent, so my character doesn’t speak with that strong an accent. But he has an accent. It’s true to the person. As far as the accuracy of the accent, that’s something I worked really hard on. I feel like I’ve gotten more confident with is, especially as the season progresses.

I feel like because the character speaks with an accent, it’s important to me the character not be stereotypical. I never want to play a caricature. I would never sign up to play a stereotype. Because the character speaks with an accent, I’m even more sensitive to that. 

Read more

Watch the trailer for the show here:

An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified CAAM contributor Jean Ho as CAAM content manager Momo Chang.

Watch Comedian Jenny Yang Respond to ‘Ask An Asian’ Questions

Last month BuzzFeed put out a call for readers to send in questions to comedian Jenny Yang about Asian-Americans. They got almost 7,000 responses and, as you can imagine, some are pretty ignorant. Watch Yang tackle 11 of them below.

(h/t Angry Asian Man)

TAGS: humor video

Ava DuVernay to Direct New Drama Series for Oprah’s Network

Ava DuVernay to Direct New Drama Series for Oprah's Network

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network is beefing up its scripted drama offerings by introducing a new series directed by Ava DuVernay called “Queen Sugar,” based on a novel by Natalie Baszile.

Here’s more from Shadow and Act:

Ava DuVernay will  write, direct and executive produce a new original drama series for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, inspired by the acclaimed novel “Queen Sugar,” by Natalie Baszile, which, per the press release, chronicles “a spirited woman who leaves her upscale Los Angeles lifestyle behind to claim an inheritance from her recently departed father - an 800-acre sugar cane farm in the heart of Louisiana. Her world and identity are turned upside down as she and her teenage daughter attempt to navigate a new and very different environment while rebuilding their farm from scratch. She is met with curiosity and community, with resistance and romance. It isn’t long before a transformation begins and she realizes that she’s been living a lot farther from her Southern roots than mere miles.”

Production is slated to begin later this year.

There’s a Marshawn Lynch Super Bowl Conspiracy Floating Around

There's a Marshawn Lynch Super Bowl Conspiracy Floating Around

After a week’s worth of unforgettable non-interviews and hilarious memes, the Seattle Seahawks lost last night’s Super Bowl to the New England Patriots in epic fashion. New England’s late-game comeback is being overshadowed by Seattle’s final possession of the game, one yard away from the end zone, when coaches opted for a pass attempt from Russell Wilson instead of a run by Lynch. The pass was picked off, sealing the Patriots’ victory.

But was Seattle trying hard not to make Lynch the hero because of the rebelliousness he’d showed on the run-up to the big game? According to rumors that The Nation’s Dave Zirin is hearing from inside the Seahawks’ locker room, the answer is “yes.”

The theory goes something like this. Russell Wilson is your young clean-cut God-fearing media-perfect quarterback. If one was creating a superstar face to market for the twenty-first century, chances are they would look, sound and basically be Russell Wilson. He’s Derek Jeter with a Bible, your “biracial angel” of our times. Marshawn Lynch is… Marshawn Lynch, and if you haven’t figured out what that means after the past two weeks, then you haven’t been paying attention.

The theory goes that there were major financial, public relations and football reasons for Russell Wilson and not Lynch to be the one who ends the game in glory. If he throws that touchdown for the victory, Wilson is almost certainly the Super Bowl MVP. He gets the commercial. He gets to stand with the commissioner. And oh, by the way, he also gets his new contract, one that will fasten his prime, at only 26 years old, to the Seattle franchise. Marshawn Lynch is also due a new contract. Marshawn Lynch, had he punched that ball over the goal line, would get to be the one handed the MVP trophy. Marshawn Lynch maybe gets on the mic to say Lord knows what.

None of this takes away from the fact that the game was one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory. But it does play into the underlying narrative centered on race and class that made Lynch’s pre-Super Bowl antics so fascinating to watch. As Jenée Desmond-Harris wrote for Vox last week, Lynch’s “selective silence is a power move for black athletes.” Here’s more:

Lynch is not simply trolling the media or his employer, the NFL (which has said it will fine him if he doesn’t speak to the press). He’s arguably redefining the traditional confines of a black player’s role. As Peter Odell Campbell, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert on public arguments about race and sexuality in the media, put it, this athlete’s selective silence has put him in control of his labor and freed him from the “racist double bind” that is black NFL players’ relationship with the press.

Read more at Vox

David Oyelowo Says Academy Favors ‘Subservient’ Black Roles

“Selma” star David Oyelowo didn’t hold back during a recent ceremony at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival where he was honored as one of the year’s best actors. When asked about his Oscar snub and this year’s overwhelmingly white list of nominees, Oyelowo responded, in part, by saying, “This is truly my feeling; I felt this before the situation we’re talking about and I feel it now — generally speaking, we, as black people, have been celebrated more for when we are subservient, when we are not being leaders or kings or being at the center of our own narrative.”

Watch his comments below.

Jessie Hernández’s Family Calls for Federal Investigation Into Police Shooting

Jessie Hernández's Family Calls for Federal Investigation Into Police Shooting

It’s been one week since Jessica “Jessie” Hernández, 17, was shot and killed by Denver police. The teenager was driving a car that was reported stolen with at least two friends when she was confronted by officers. She allegedly drove the car toward one of them. Officers responded by firing several shots into the driver’s side of the vehicle, killing Hernández.

The shooting marked the fourth time in seven months that Denver police have fired into a moving vehicle perceived as a threat, even though department policy encourages officers to move out of the way instead of using a firearm in such situations. Hernández’s death also comes amid national outcry over police shootings of unarmed people of color. In Denver, protesters gathered last week to voice their outrage over Hernandez’s death and call for a special prosecutor to look into the case. 

Over the weekend, Hernández’s family took that call one step further, saying that they “believe that a federal investigation is the only way to uncover the truth because we have little confidence in the Denver Police Department’s ability to conduct a fair and timely investigation.”

In a statement the teen’s parents, José Hernández and Laura Sonia Rosales, wrote the following:

We are aware of the DPD’s history of conducting lengthy and fruitless investigations that serve only to exonerate its officers. We are dismayed that the DPD has already defended the actions of the officers and blamed our daughter for her own death, even while admitting they have very little information. In recent months, police killings have torn apart communities across this nation, and the unjustified shooting of our daughter is only the latest sign of an issue that requires federal oversight.

We applaud the Denver Independent Monitor’s decision to investigate DPD policies and training, as Jessie is not the only recent victim of a deadly vehicle-related shooting. We urge the DPD to cooperate fully with the Independent Monitor’s investigation as well as any federal investigation that may occur.

We have been overwhelmed by the support of the community as we grieve the loss of our Jessie. Jessie was a beautiful girl who brought love and joy to her family and friends. We want to make sure that Jessie’s death is not in vain and that we can do our part to stop these senseless police killings. We continue to ask for the support of our local and national communities as we pursue justice for our devastating loss.

Read the full statement at Latino Rebels.

The family also wants an independent autopsy conducted. “I want another autopsy on my daughter so we can know how much damage they did,” Laura Sonya Rosales Hernandez, speaking in Spanish to CBS News, said inside the home where her daughter lived with five siblings. “I want to know, how did this happen? I want to know everything.”

The circumstances surrounding the shooting have been called into question. 

Denver Police Chief Robert White said as much, telling reporters: “As it related to shooting and vehicles, our officers are directed that we do not shoot into moving vehicles unless their life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger,” White said. “And I will tell you that even if they are in harm’s way for that particular time, if there’s any particular way that they can remove themselves from that dangerous situation they have a responsibility to do that.”

The officers responsible for the shooting have been identified as Gabriel Jordan and Daniel Greene. Witnesses to the shooting later told reporters that neither officer yelled commands before they shot Hernández. “They didn’t have no reason to shoot her. They didn’t even give her a warning, like say, ‘Get out or we’re going to shoot you.’ They just shot her,” one of the girls said. “We didn’t know why we were being harassed by the police, they came for no reason. They didn’t even have their lights up when they pulled up. And she tried to leave and they shot her. That’s when we wrecked and went unconscious, and that’s when supposedly a cop… got hurt.”

Officer Jordan was later taken the hospital with a broken leg, but those same witnesses also dispute whether he was actually injured during the altercation. “That cop wasn’t hurt because when I was on the floor, lying there, I saw that cop standing there and he wasn’t injured,” a witness told CBS News

 

ICYMI: D’Angelo Sang ‘Black Messiah’ Hits on Saturday Night Live

D’Angelo paid a visit to “Saturday Night Live” this weekend to perform two of his most popular tracks from his latest album, “Black Messiah.”

 

   

Missy Elliot Explains Why She Cried After Super Bowl Show

Missy Elliot rocked this year’s Super Bowl show as a special guest to headlining performer Katy Perry, with a little help from Lenny Kravitz. Elliot sang and danced her way through classics “Get Your Freak On,” “Lose Control,” and “Work It.”

After the performance, Elliot cried on stage, later tweeting about the emotions of the moment:

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Elliot’s singles were among the most popular downloads on iTunes in the hours after the performance. 

(h/t ABC News)

Eddie Huang Responds to ‘Fresh Off the Boat’s’ Racist Tweet

ABC’s new show “Fresh Off the Boat” keeps stirring up trouble. First, Eddie Huang, author of the book that the show’s based on, sounded off on how he felt producers had made the show worse. Then, Huang published his own firsthand account in New York Magazine, calling the production process problematic. And now, less than a week before the show’s set to premiere on ABC, someone on the inside felt it would be good to run this ad to promote the show:

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Huang later we tweeted, “maybe people are just fucking morons. you have to be a mouth breathing psycho to make that graphic.”

(h/t BuzzFeed)

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