Colorlines

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)

The Breakout Film at Sundance About Trans Sex Workers Was Shot on an iPhone

The Breakout Film at Sundance About Trans Sex Workers Was Shot on an iPhone

“Tangerine” is the movie that everyone’s talking about at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Some of it has to do with its storyline: It’s a narrative film that looks at the decidedly unglamorous life of transgender sex workers in Hollywood. But much of the intrigue surrounding the film also has to do with the recent revelation that writer and director Sean Baker shot it entirely on an iPhone5S. “It was surprisingly easy,” Baker told reporters. “We never lost any footage.”

Here’s more from The Verge:

At first, the cast wasn’t convinced shooting with the iPhone would work. “I had some hesitancy about it, more out of pride,” says James Ransone, who plays Chester, the pimp at the center of Tangerine’s love triangle. “I’m like, Jesus Christ, man, I was on The Wire. I’ve ended up in iPhone movies!” But Ransone came to appreciate the flexibility of the device. “There’s a lot that can be done with an iPhone.”

Read more

Embattled NFL Player Josh Gordon Tells Critics They Can’t Take His Pride

Embattled NFL Player Josh Gordon Tells Critics They Can't Take His Pride

Here’s what you need to know about the Cleveland Browns’ Josh Gordon: He’s one of the most talented wide receivers in football, but he has dealt with multiple suspensions in recent years for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. It wasn’t clear exactly how he’d failed the tests, but he’s been a constant topic on sports TV where media have cast him as a classic case of a tragically flawed black athlete. So he responded to critics in a beautifully written open letter published on Medium to commentators Charles Barkley, Stephen A. Smith and Cris Carter:

I failed myself when started using marijuana regularly as a young teenager. I failed myself when I ruined a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be Robert Griffin III’s running mate during his Heisman Trophy-winning season at Baylor. I failed myself when I didn’t check with the league office to ensure that my doctor-prescribed, codeine-based medicine was allowed under NFL guidelines. I failed myself when I was arrested for driving a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit. I failed myself when I missed a team walkthrough late in the season and was suspended for the final game of the year.

But you know what, Charles, Stephen A., Cris and everyone else? I also have succeeded.

I succeeded by escaping a youth riddled with poverty, gang violence and very little in the way of guidance or support. I succeeded by narrowly avoiding a life of crime that managed to sink its clutches into almost all of my childhood friends. I succeeded by working tremendously hard on my craft and my body to even have a chance to play professional football for a living. And, contrary to popular belief, I succeeded by overcoming my longstanding relationship with weed — because I knew I was risking my future over it.

This is probably the first time when a player of his magnitude has written a response like this in the middle of high-profile drama. It’s also important because of the way he, like many allegedly troubled black athletes, have been caricatured in the media for their use of banned substances. Read the letter in full

 

Oakland, Stand Up! Love to Marshawn Lynch

Oakland, Stand Up! Love to Marshawn Lynch

I’m OD’ing on Marshawn Lynch right now. Blame it on the Bay in me. But in the runup to this weekend’s Super Bowl, he’s put his blackness — and, by extension’s, Oakland’s — on full display. He sees right through the NFL’s media spectacle, and he’s making it his own. It’s a strategy that’s helped him win over plenty of NFL fans like myself, who are fed up with the league’s hypocrisy.

As Andrew Sharp pointed out at Grantland, “None of this is proof that Lynch is some kind of saint, but he’s never pretended he is. That alone makes him more honest than dozens of professional athletes… What we know about Marshawn Lynch already makes him more three-dimensional than almost anyone else we’ll hear from over the next few days.” Here’s a collection of my favorite moments:

“Shout out to my real Africans out there!”

 

 

“I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”

 

The next day: “You know why I’m here.”

 

Today: “I care about my family, not you.”

 

Stay true to your roots, Mr. Lynch.

Black Viewers Pushing ‘Empire’ to Historic Highs

Black Viewers Pushing 'Empire' to Historic Highs

“Empire,” Fox’s hugely successful hip-hop-flavored soap opera, had its biggest audience yet last night. It marks the fourth straight week of ratings growth. 

Here’s more from Vulture:

According to preliminary same-day Nielsen data, Empire ruled over 11.3 million viewers, up from last week’s overnight audience of 10.9 million and about 15 percent higher than the show’s January 7 premiere tune-in. Among adults under 50, the show’s growth spurt does appear to have ended, withEmpire notching 4.3 rating (the same number it did in last week’s preliminary ratings; it ticked up to a 4.4 in final same-day numbers). Fox projects that once DVR replays are tallied, last night’s episode will end up at a 6.1 demo rating, putting Empire on track to finish its freshman season in March as broadcast TV’s No. 1 drama. 

Josef Adalian wrote more about how African-Americans are pushing it to historic highs. “Nielsen reports that last week’s episode was seen in a jaw-dropping 33 percent of all black homes — or five times as many as the No. 2 scripted broadcast show last week, NCIS: Los Angeles.”

Read more

TAGS: Empire hip-hop TV

Watch Kanye West Serenade His Daughter in New Video

Kanye West premiered his music video for the song “Only One” on “The Ellen DeGeneres* show on Wednesday. It features beautiful scenes with the rapper’s toddler daughter, North. Take a look. 

(h/t Rolling Stone)

*Post has been updated to correct the spelling of Ellen DeGeneres’ name. 

WNBA Stars Brittney Griner, Glory Johnson Appear on ‘Say Yes to the Dress’

WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson are engaged, and you can now see some of their journey to the aisle on TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.” 

You can catch the episode this Friday, January 30 at 10 p.m. ET.

(h/t ElixHer)

J. Cole Turns Childhood Home into Free Housing for Single Moms

J. Cole Turns Childhood Home into Free Housing for Single Moms

Rapper J. Cole already paid homage to his childhood home in Fayetteville, N.C., by naming his latest album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” after it. But the rapper’s family later lost the home to foreclosure. After earning fame and fortune as an artist, Cole eventually purchased the home, and during an interview this week he revealed that he plans to house single mothers rent-free in it.

“My goal is to have that be a haven for families,” he said during an interview with “The Combat Jack Show.” “Every two years, a new family will come in; they live rent-free.”

You can listen to J. Cole’s interview here:

Denver Residents Protest Police Killing of Queer Latina Teen

Denver Residents Protest Police Killing of Queer Latina Teen

Residents in Denver are protesting the police killing of 17-year-old Jessie Hernandez, who was killed Monday after a confrontation with police. BuzzFeed’s Adolfo Flores breaks down what happened:

Jessica “Jessie” Hernandez was killed Monday in a confrontation with police who were responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle. Two officers approached the car on foot after they determined it was reported stolen, the Denver Police Department said in a statement.

Authorities said Hernandez drove the car, which had four other teens inside it, into one of the officers and struck him on the leg. Both officers then fired and shot Hernandez multiple times, she was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Both officers who were involved with the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure of offers involved in fatal altercations.

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Watch video of a recent vigil for Hernandez below:

Jordan Davis’ Parents Talk About Film ‘3 1/2 Minutes’ at Sundance

Director Mark Silver’s new documentary “3 1/2 Minutes” is already causing a buzz at Sundance. The film looks at Michael Dunn’s shooting of black teenager Jordan Davis and everything that followed, including his parents’ search for justice in a criminal justice system that’s notoriously biased against black people in America.

In this segment from “Democracy Now,” Davis’ parents talk with Amy Goodman about their son’s case and the impact of the film. 

Chipotle Finally Adds Latino Authors to ‘Cultivated Thought’ Series

Chipotle Finally Adds Latino Authors to 'Cultivated Thought' Series

After lots of understandable uproar about the fact that Chipotle’s “Cultivated Thought” series didn’t include any Latino authors, the Mexican-themed restaurant has added a crop of new writers to the mix, including Julia Alvarez, the Dominican-American poet and novelist, and Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho.

“Cultivated Thought” authors write short, two-minute stories that appear on the backs of Chipotle bags and cups. Other authors who are participating in the series are Chinese-American author Amy Tan and Indian-American comedian Aziz Ansari.

In addition to reading the work at Chipotle, people can also read the stories online. Here’s the full list of new additions:*

Julia Alvarez, Aziz Ansari, Augusten Burroughs, Paulo Coelho, Jeffrey Eugenides, Neil Gaiman, Walter Issacson, Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan and Carlos Ruiz Zafron 

 Authors who have previously participated in the series include Toni Morrison and Malcolm Gladwell. 
 
*Post has been altered since publication for style and brevity.
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