Kendrick Lamar’s Camp Is Not Happy With the ‘Racial Overtones’ of GQ Story

Kendrick Lamar's Camp Is Not Happy With the 'Racial Overtones' of GQ Story

GQ Magazine put Kendrick Lamar on the cover of its annual Man of the Year issue, but the rapper’s camp is now speaking out about the accompanying profile, calling it “offensive” and filled with “racial overtones.”

Lamar was one of the five celebrities to get covers for the issue, including Justin Timberlake, Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey and James Gandolfini. The Compton native was interviewed by GQ’s Steve Marsh and was slated to perform on November 12 at the magazine’s Man of the Year party. But Lamar pulled out of the performance at the last minute. Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, the CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar’s record label, then released a statement taking issue with Marsh’s portrayal of the rapper and his communtiy in GQ. Here’s a snippet:

Instead, the story, written by Steve Marsh, put myself and my company in a negative light. Marsh’s story was more focused on what most people would see as drama or bs. To say he was “surprised at our discipline” is completely disrespectful. Instead of putting emphasis on the good that TDE has done for west coast music, and for hip hop as a whole, he spoke on what most people would consider whats wrong with Hip Hop music. Furthermore, Kendrick deserved to be accurately documented. The racial overtones, immediately reminded everyone of a time in hip-hop that was destroyed by violence, resulting in the loss of two of our biggest stars. We would expect more from a publication with the stature and reputation that GQ has. As a result of this misrepresentation, I pulled Kendrick from his performance at GQ’s annual Man Of The Year party Tuesday, November 12th.

GQ’s editor-in-chief Jim Nelson responded with a statement of his own on Friday, saying that he doesn’t really understand why there’s a problem:

Kendrick Lamar is one of the most talented new musicians to arrive on the scene in years. That’s the reason we chose to celebrate him, wrote an incredibly positive article declaring him the next King of Rap, and gave him our highest honor: putting him on the cover of our Men of the Year issue. I’m not sure how you can spin that into a bad thing, and I encourage anyone interested to read the story and see for themselves. We were mystified and sorely disappointed by Top Dawg’s decision to pull him at the last minute from the performance he had promised to give. The real shame is that people were deprived of the joy of seeing Kendrick perform live. I’m still a huge fan.

You can read more over at the Atlantic Wire and Complex

DHS Halts Deportation of Certain Military Relatives

DHS Halts Deportation of Certain Military Relatives

new memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security will now halt the deportation of spouses, parents and children of active duty service members, reservists, and veterans. The memo also allows those relatives to apply for permanent residence, often known as green card status. 

Citing that soldiers face anxiety over family members’ immigration status, the memo explains that the nation has made a committment to service members that starts at enlistment and continues through once service members become veterans. The new rules outlined in the nine-page document apply on a case-by-case basis, and those relatives accused or convicted of criminal charges are not guaranteed relief. 

President Obama has already provided a temporary stay for certain undocumented youth under a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The new memo makes it so that a permanent stay—and path to citizenship—is extended for military relatives. But many immigrants who do not fit into these categories are still targeted for detention and deportation.

In a statement today, National Day Laborer Organizing Network organizer Marissa Franco said, “We applaud the step and it underscores the truth that the President can and should do more, for all families. The President has the legal authority and the moral obligation to significantly expand upon the memo released today.” 

Watch M.I.A.’s Trippy New Video For Her Single ‘Y.A.L.A.’

Watch M.I.A.'s Trippy New Video For Her Single 'Y.A.L.A.'

Here’s the official video from the lead single of M.I.A’s fourth studio album. Enjoy!

TAGS: Matangi MIA

Andy Lopez Case Still Under Investigation

Andy Lopez Case Still Under Investigation

Latino leaders came together in Sonoma, Calif. yesterday to continue pushing local officials to address the death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez. Among the members of the Latino leadership group Los Cien was Irene Rosario, who argued that police attitudes towards the Latino community were similar to a “war zone,” and are responsible for Lopez’s killing. 

The FBI recently opened an independent investigation into the shooting, and the Lopez family has also filed a civil rights lawsuit against Erick Gelhaus, the sheriff’s deputy accused of shooting Lopez seven times while he was walking home from school carrying a toy gun. Gelhaus remains on leave from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, and some say he’s unlikely to be charged. Lopez supporters have created a petition to call for the City Council to charge and remove Gelhaus from the police department, and continue to organize events and demonstrations via social media

‘Best Man Holiday’ Hits Theaters Today — Join Our Twitter Chat!

'Best Man Holiday' Hits Theaters Today -- Join Our Twitter Chat!

Nearly a dozen years after the original “Best Man” became a classic, the sequel finally hits theaters today. Got a favorite scene or character from the original? We want to hear all about it in our live Twitter chat today at 1pm EST. Follow the hashtag #BestManHolidayChat to join in. 

TAGS: Trailers Video

How Latino Activists Fought For Transgender Rights in Massachusetts

How Latino Activists Fought For Transgender Rights in Massachusetts

In the latest from filmmaker Frances Negrón-Muntaner, “Small City, Big Change” tells the story of the Latina/o activists who brought about the historic Transgender Equal Rights Bill in 2012. After a transgender woman was brutally attacked in the small town of Chelsea, Mass, the organization Mass Equality coordinated LGBTQ Latinos to organize social media campaigns, and speak directly with Chelsea representative Eugene O’Flaherty—who had opposed the bill for years. O’Flaherty was so moved by what he saw as the vulnerability of the LGBTQ community that he changed his position, and went on to champion and help pass the bill. The short film tells a powerful story of how grassroots activists can work with elected officials to bring about social and policy change.  You can view the entire short film online

Second-Degree Murder and Other Charges for Man Suspected of Killing Renisha McBride

Second-Degree Murder and Other Charges for Man Suspected of Killing Renisha McBride

The man suspected of killing 19-year-old Renisha McBride nearly two weeks ago outside of Detroit, Michigan, has been charged. In a press conference today, Dearborn prosecutor Kym Worthy announced that 54-year-old Ted Wafer will be charged with three counts: second-degree murder, manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. 

Worthy explained Michigan’s self defense law, and why it doesn’t apply in this case, stating that her office does “not believe that [Wafer] acted in self-defense.” Reporters asked several questions about that law in particular, but the prosecutor made clear that she did not want to make political statements at this time. McBride is black and Wafer is white—and activists have drawn similarities to this case and George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin. Worthy made clear, however, that she does not believe this case has anything to do with the race of those involved. 

Wafer, who Worthy stated has been cooperative with authorities, has not yet been arrested. He’s expected to turn himself in later today. 


Frida Kahlo Gets a Totally Unnecessary Cover Girl Makeover

Frida Kahlo Gets a Totally Unnecessary Cover Girl Makeover

UPDATE November 19 at 1:05pm EST: The “makeover” was apparently done by a Tumblr user with the handle “toonsketchbook.” The user alisonofagun, who reposted it and was incorrectly attributed as the original artist, has issued a statement condemning the makeover. 


An artist on Tumblr took issue with one of Frida Kahlo’s iconic self-portraits and decided to give it a totally unncessary makeover. Here’s the original:


The original artist’s statement was captured by Tumblr user alisonofagun:

“Okay so I know this is kinda taboo but anyways.

Frida Kahlo: Not too easy on the eyes. I mean she’s got the lady-mo and the monobrow thing going on. She didn’t know where to put her blush or what shade lipstick would obviously suit her skin tone. Really, she’s a bit of a wreck. So this got me to thinking. What would have happened if her girlfriends had done the right thing and taken her to a beautician, (which clearly needed to happen)? I did a subtle re-paint over the top of her original self-portrait to “conceptualize” what it would have looked like if she had been whisked off to Beauty Works or the likes….I didn’t want to alter the integrity of the original painting too much. What do you reckon?”

Here’s the re-make:


Needless to say, not everyone on Tumblr was pleased with the makeover. Buzzfeed rounded up some of the responses, one of which read: “Kahlo’s eyebrows and mustache were a purposeful rejection of white colonizer standards of beauty; she didn’t just leave them on her face the way they grew, she groomed them and darkened them with makeup. Her appearance was beautiful, and it was intentional.”

TAGS: Frida Kahlo

Obama Taps Top Voting Rights Lawyer to Lead DOJ Civil Rights Division

Obama Taps Top Voting Rights Lawyer to Lead DOJ Civil Rights Division

President Obama has nominated Debo Adegbile, senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, to take over as head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The former head of that division, Thomas Perez, is now Secretary of the Department of Labor. While Adegbile served as an attorney for the Senate Judiciary, working primarily on crafting a new Voting Rights Act bill, he’s more popularly known as the lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund who argued on behalf of preserving the Voting Rights Act before the U.S. Supreme Court. Adegbile defended it twice before the high court, successfully helping to protect it when it was challenged in 2006, and again this past February before Chief Roberts’ court gutted the landmark civil rights bill. Adegbile also represented Hurricane Katrina evacuees in a federal voting rights lawsuit shortly after the storm.  

“Our country needs someone like Debo with significant experience in voting rights to protect the deeply held American value that each person has the right to a voice in our democracy,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP LDF. “Debo has precisely the type of broad civil rights experience that is required at this pivotal moment in our country.”

If Adegbile is confirmed to serve as the Justice Department Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, he will lead in enforcing the remaining sections of the Voting Rights Act, along with those of the Civil Rights Act to protect people of color and other protected classes from discrimination.

Adegbile is the son of parents who immigrated to America from Ireland and Nigeria. As a child he coped with poverty and homelessnes before working his way through law school by way of loans, various jobs and scholarships. He is now considered one of the premiere civil rights attorneys in America.  


Peggy Noland’s Naked Oprah Dress All About Black Women as Objects

Peggy Noland's Naked Oprah Dress All About Black Women as Objects

Peggy Noland, a white designer from Kansas City who’s worked with stars like Rihanna and Miley Cyrus, has a deeply problematic new project out: a ridiculous line of t-shirts and dresses featuring Oprah’s head photoshopped onto nude bodies. 


Noland spoke with The Cut about the new dress:

Why naked Oprah?

There’s a David Nelson painting of the former mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington. He’s nude except for women’s lingerie. It caused this huge uproar in the late eighties in Chicago. It’s kind of an updated version of that. We feel very protective of our public figures. We don’t want them to be exposed that way, but we feel like they’re ours, too. The simpler, more lighthearted idea is that it’s like one of those bikini-printed beach shirts. I think there are some really meaningful philosophical layers. I can’t believe I just said “philosophical” when talking about a dress. We share a humorous underpinning to all our work. That’s why there’s naked Oprah with a KISS face. It can nod to how ridiculous the fashion industry is at times.

The dress is anything but “lighthearted.” She chose to use Oprah’s image — as the most powerful black woman in entertainment  who’s waged a very public battle over her weight throughout her career— instead of, say, an actual designer, because it’s something that will create a spectacle. Here’s more on Nolan:

Calle 13 Teams Up with Julian Assange on ‘Multi_Viral’

Calle 13 Teams Up with Julian Assange on 'Multi_Viral'

Puerto Rican rappers/rockers Calle 13 continue their fierce criticism of government systems and oppression in their latest track ”Multi_Viral,” a collaboration with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. Assange, who remains a controversial figure, seems to be making a habit of teaming up with hyper-political artists, recently giving the intro at M.I.A.’s New York City concert. The track, which also features Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine and Palestinian artist Kamilya Jurban, broadly connects NSA spying with racism, environmental justice, government accountability and militarism. You can download the track for free on Remezcla.

Lily Allen: Miley Cyrus Parody ‘Has Nothing To Do With Race At All’

Lily Allen: Miley Cyrus Parody 'Has Nothing To Do With Race At All'

British singer Lily Allen wrote a blog post on Wednesday responding to accussations that her latest video for the song “Hard Out Here” is racist. The video, which is supposed to be a making fun of Miley Cyrus’ twerking, has been panned for stepping over the line from parody to prejudice by objectifying the bodies of women of color. Mia McKenzie wrote at Black Girl Dangerous:

Here’s yet another video of a white woman performer using the bodies of black women as props. Smacking their asses and cutting away to their parts as though they are just pieces of people rather than, you know,whole people. All while singing about how she doesn’t need to shake her ass because she has a brain. The juxtaposition of that sentiment with images of black women gyrating and twerking is downright insulting. Here’s yet another white feminist throwing black women under the bus because she has some point she’s trying to make about…sexism? I mean, I can hardly tell, probably because my feminism includes black women. Because I don’t see black women, or any other women of color as tools, props, or background noise for white women’s self-expression. But that’s me.

On Wednesday, Allen wrote in a blog post titled “Privilege, Superiority and Misconceptions” wrote that the video “has nothing to do with race at all.”

The message is clear. Whilst I don’t want to offend anyone. I do strive to provoke thought and conversation. The video is meant to be a lighthearted satirical video that deals with objectification of women within modern pop culture. It has nothing to do with race, at all. 

If I could dance like the ladies can, it would have been my arse on your screens; I actually rehearsed for two weeks trying to perfect my twerk, but failed miserably. If I was a little braver, I would have been wearing a bikini too, but I do not and I have chronic cellulite, which nobody wants to see. What I’m trying to say is that me being covered up has nothing to do with me wanting to disassociate myself from the girls, it has more to do with my own insecurities and I just wanted to feel as comfortable as possible on the shoot day. 

But, as McKenzie wrote, “Satire works best when you are flipping the script on the oppressor…Not caricaturing and otherwise disrespecting the people who are oppressed by that system.

(h/t The Guardian)

How Immigration Reform Could Benefit LGBT People

How Immigration Reform Could Benefit LGBT People

The Williams Institute estimates there are one million LGBT immigrants in the U.S., 30 percent of whom are undocumented. While immigration reform remains stalled in Congress, and seems increasingly unlikely to pass this year, the Center for American Progress produced an infographic to map out what immigration reform could provide for LGBT immigrants. 


(h/t CAP)

Talking Transition: A New Way to Move from One Mayor to the Next

Talking Transition: A New Way to Move from One Mayor to the Next

Capitalizing on a campaign in which bottom up economic justice was at the fore, a coalition of New York-based philanthropies—led by the Open Society Foundations along with nine others—is hosting a citywide conversation to help shape the agenda for incoming-mayor Bill de Blasio. The monthlong event, Talking Transition, hopes to engage New York’s eight million residents in an open process to establish priorities and policies for the next four years. Through interactive discussions, panels, and activities throughout the month of November, Talking Transition seeks to make sure that the voice of everyday people continues to be heard after the next mayor takes office. Each day groups of New Yorkers will gather to participate in moderated discussions on the city’s future.  

With this effort to broaden the conversation on future policy, Talking Transition could serve as model for after-election activities in other municipalities and states by taking what is usually an elite conversation and transforming it into a more democratic one.

Yesterday I participated in a Talking Transition panel led by the North Star Fund’s Hugh Hogan on what the next mayor should learn from Hurricane Sandy.  My remarks focused on the fact that city needs to reimagine what’s valuable and who’s valuable, recognizing that the working poor are at the core of the city’s future. Recommendations from each panel will be compiled and passed on to the incoming mayor’s team. Other topics to be covered over the next ten days range from health, to public safety to economic justice to education.  A full list of what’s to be discussed with times can be found at

Along with these set piece conversations, New Yorkers are invited to come in and register their thoughts and priorities through Talking Transition’s interactive kiosks. They can also do so online through Twitter @TalkNYC2013, on Facebook and on Instagram with #talkingtransition. 

Is it Getting Tougher for Latinos to Own Homes?

Is it Getting Tougher for Latinos to Own Homes?

Black and Latino families have been hardest hit by “housing income segregation,” which is shrinking middle income neighborhoods across the country. And now it seems Latinos are also having a harder time qualifying for home loans than before the Great Recession, experts say. In a recent interview, Gary Acosta, CEO and co-founder of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals told VOXXI that Latinos are particularly affected by new, stricter rules. 

“Latinos are one of those sectors mostly affected by these new regulations because of their non-traditional ways of earning income and lack of credit history in many cases,” said Gary Acosta, CEO and co-founder of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP).

Some of the new rules could require as much as a 30 percent down payment for those “risky candidates,” which Acosta also says is difficult for Latino families whose non-traditional, often inconsistent income earnings make it hard to accumulate the money needed for such a large payment. And these same informal labor jobs also make it harder for Latinos to establish good credit. 

(h/t VOXXI

This Is Macklemore’s Plea For You to Join the ACLU

This Is Macklemore's Plea For You to Join the ACLU

Macklemore has joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union in an effort to get more people to join the organization.  

“I’ve got a lot of things to do during the day,” the rapper says. “So something like being beaten with a club, pepper-sprayed, and tased for expressing my political views would really slow me down. That’s why I carry the ACLU card.”

High Rise Condos to Replace NYC Graffiti Mecca 5Pointz

High Rise Condos to Replace NYC Graffiti Mecca 5Pointz

The New York City council recently approved a plan to for developers to replace an iconic factory in Queens with luxury high rise condos. For 20 years, the owner of that Queens factory has allowed artists to cover the building’s exterior in elaborate graffiti and the area, known as 5Pointz, has become an iconic draw for tourists from around the world.

From Atlantic Cities:

Developers Jerry and David Wolkoff offered to provide 10,000-square-feet of “art panels and walls” in the new buildings. But that arrangement did not satisfy artists, who immediately filed a lawsuit and were granted a 10-day injunction. On Tuesday afternoon, the court ruled against a permanent injunction.

That decision leaves the artists scrambling to re-apply for landmark status before the Wolkoffs rush in with the wrecking ball (a previous application to the Landmarks Preservation Commission was rejected in August). A spokesperson for 5Pointz insists, however, that the fight is not over. “The building is not going to go down before 2014,” she told The Queens Courier, explaining that a demolition permit still needs to be issued and tenants have until January to move out.

So far, the public has been split on the news. Banksy, whose New York residencyspurred street art mayhem last month, left these parting words on his website: “It’s been fun. Save 5pointz. Bye.”  But others support the plan, saying the current site is in noticeably bad shape and an inefficient use of space.

Stay tuned and read more at The Atlantic Cities

‘Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell’ Cancelled By FXX

'Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell' Cancelled By FXX

I guess the saying is true: all good things must come to an end. After a great two season run, “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell” will air its final episode this Sunday.

FXX has yet to comment on the cancellation.

(h/t Variety)

One Asian-American Mom Breaks the Silence About Postpartum Depression

One Asian-American Mom Breaks the Silence About Postpartum Depression

Asian Americans, as human beings, deal just like other people with the gamut of mental illness, including postpartum depression and anxiety. But that doesn’t mean it’s openly acknowledged, let alone discussed. In fact, while 14 percent of women in the U.S. report postpartum depressive symptoms, women of Asian descent were least likely of all races to report having been told about postpartum depression by a health care provider, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Cultural perceptions about mental illness, by both patients and providers, may have something to do with that.

In a frank personal essay published by Hyphen Magazine this week, Sharline Chiang takes a different tact, writing openly about her shattering experience with severe depression and anxiety after she gave birth to her daughter Anza. But she hasn’t told everyone. 

I didn’t know I had postpartum depression—postpartum anxiety to be exact. Even after I found out and was diagnosed with severe PPD a month later, I lied. Even after I was put on anti-psychotic medicine, even after I was registered at the mental hospital in Berkeley, I lied. I lied, because I didn’t want my parents to worry. It seemed the right, Confucian, filial thing to do, to protect one’s elderly parents from one’s own suffering. Most of all I lied because I didn’t want to be judged. I already felt like such a failure. I was failing as a mother and I was ashamed.

Four years ago I had three miscarriages. “You’re not careful enough,” my mother said. “You’re too active.” While I was pregnant with Anza, I learned I had balanced translocation, a genetic condition. We needed to get lucky. Even after explaining this to her, my mother would insist: “Go on bed rest so it doesn’t fall out.”

I couldn’t risk hearing words that sounded like blame. I already felt it was my fault: I was too soft.

My grandmothers combined had birthed and raised 15 children while fleeing the Japanese, the Communists, and poverty. What right did I have to fall apart?

So I took selfies of me and Anza smiling and sent them to my parents every day.

Read the rest of Chiang’s piece over at Hyphen

Appeals Court Rehears Key Affirmative Action Case Fisher v. Texas

Appeals Court Rehears Key Affirmative Action Case Fisher v. Texas

Affirmative action is back for yet another day of court today. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments today in Fisher v. Texas, the major affirmative action case which was sent back down to appellate courts by the Supreme Court this summer.

While the Supreme Court affirmed in its June ruling on Fisher v. Texas that diversity on college campuses is a worthwhile goal and allowed colleges and universities to continue to take race into consideration in admissions, the High Court sent the case itself back to the Fifth Circuit to take a closer look at the University of Texas’ admissions policies. The question before the Fifth Circuit right now is whether race-neutral alternatives could still advance the school’s goal of fostering diversity as well as its current program, under which the majority of students are admitted via a race-blind policy and a small percentage are admitted through a separate process which considers race, among multiple other factors, to complete its admissions.

Proponents of affirmative action argue that race-neutral alternatives can’t and don’t produce the same kinds of diversity.

Catch up on Colorlines’ affirmative action coverage, including Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the other major affirmative action case currently before the Supreme Court, here

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