Monday, December 31, 2007

on the black hand side has moved!

Thanks for stopping by but this blog has moved to See you there.

on the black hand side Vanessa: Unplugged! Blogging Black Miami

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Atlantic Records Tries to Turn 14yr Actress Into Lil Kim

By bruce Banter

Keke Palmer, is the 14 year old girl who played Akeelah, in the movie, Akeelah and the Bee. She and her mother Sharon have a huge problem with the upcoming record deal they signed with Atlantic Records in March of 2006. The problem is that the record label wants to market the 14 year old as a sexpot but she does not want that image.

Keke admits "From the very beginning Atlantic's A&R representative tried to get me to record inappropriate music, and my parents and I resisted."

Soon Keke and her mom became tired of fighting the negative images that the label kept trying to force on her, and they started looking for a management company that could deal with the situation. They settled on DAS Entertainment, a management company out of New York.(John Legend label. One problem, the label has been blocking the efforts!

Atlantic kept telling them that "Keke is "urban", and should be singing urban music". Keke's mom Sharon got her in touch with Mr. Edmonds
(Babyface) and he and Keke worked really well together and came up with a good commercial R&B song, but when it came time to pay for the song the label said no, he was "too expensive".

Paul Porter of says "Keke Palmer is the poster child for what's wrong with the music industry. Imagine being 12 year's old and Atlantic Records trying to mold Keke in the mold of Lil Kim or Foxy Brown."

The problem with the corporate hip hop machine is more than black and white. Unfortunately white America enjoys seeing and hearing about cultural misogyny, sex and violence. They honestly believe black America is the mix of lyrically challenged artist they promote.

The industry spin on Keke is nothing new. When you fail to promote or market a new artist they often fail. If Keke recorded a Jibb type "Chain Hang Low" or say a Plies "Shorty" BET and radio would be all over it. In my eyes Atlantic Records for now has simply passed on one of the most talented artist to come around in decades. Keke Palmer is no one hit wonder.

Who's behind this nonsense? Well the Senior A&R rep, Mike Caren, was the main antagonist, he kept on saying, " Keke is urban", so as long as they refused to record the raunchy tracks that he sent them, he refused to pay for the good clean music they brought him.At one point he even stopped Keke from recording by not paying for studio time.

Unfortunately, Das Entertainment the Management co was also ineffective in dealing with the label, they now began to codify the intent by repeating , " we will not promote her unless she records urban music".
This statement confused Keke and her mom.They are unsure of what is really being said indirectly.

Just for the record Keke is from the south side of Chicago. She began singing in her church's choir at the age of five, and she auditioned for a stage production of The Lion King at the age of nine. She grew up listening to Brandy, Aaliyah and TLC, so it was not like she was recording rock music! She was recording good music, with great beats, with good positive lyrics, her music is what all kids want to hear no matter where they live. She was blessed to have worked with some of the top producers in the business, some even cut their price down so that the label would not have an excuse not to pay for the songs.

The only thing she and her parents could figure out was that the subject matters that she chose to sing about were not as, " urban " and they would have preferred.

She is only 14 years old, and when she signed the deal she was only 12 years old, "what did they think she would be singing about?" Anyway, they kept their word and did very little to promote her cd. They refused to provide marketing reports, even when Das management kept asking.Then on Sept 14th they received the report, 4 days before her cd release date of Sept 18th.

Needless to say, it was not a good report, there was absolutely no plans to pay for a national announcement to tell kids that her cd was even being released! They kept their word and did not promote Keke because she was too clean, she refused to go " urban", and sing words that disrespect her and other young girls.

Keke's parents tried to promote the release in Chicago(her hometown), they called the press on their own, and managed to get on some morning shows, but that was only in Chicago. Her debut cd that she worked so hard on sold 1,325 copies, the label supposedly shipped 69,000 copies.
She was on a Disney Channel movie called, JUMP IN, that over 8 million households tuned in to watch it's debut, also the soundtrack to that movie debuted at #5 on Billboard. She was the only artist to have 2 songs on that soundtrack(she can sing). The Akeelah DVD sold 1.2 million copies and on that DVD she has a music video, so her audience, kids from 8-15 know who she is. She also sung the end title credit to the block-buster movie NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, which grossed over 270 million, her voice is the first voice you hear coming out of the movie. Fox tried to get Atlantic to go half on a music video for Keke, but Atlantic declined stating,

"that song is NOT "Keke's image" so we will not pay, of course they regretted that after the movie grossed so much! This was way back in February, 2007, this was a forshadowing of events to come!

Last week Keke's mother, Sharon, received a call from an employee of Atlantic Records, a confidential call off the record. The caller told her mother that the president of the label is so disappointed with low sales that she may pull Keke's cd off the shelf. The caller was so upset by this statement that she wanted Keke's parents to know what was being said behind closed doors. She was disappointed that the label refused to promote Keke, and now they are blaming her for poor sales!
Keke was informed that Congress was working to make the labels promote positive music, well her music is positive, but the label will not spend a dime to promote it because she refused to sing raunchy lyrics, and dares to call herself Pop/R&B and not urban / Hip-Hop.

Keke admits "I am only a kid, my parents would kill me if I sang stuff like that". Ask yourself would they want their daughters to sing negative music?

They knew her age when they signed her, they came to her after seeing Akeelah and the Bee, and begged her to sign, so why did they not think that she could really be like Akeelah, a good girl?

In closing, we are asking our audience, should Keke just let it go, accept the fact that this label will not promote this album. Or should they try to get the message out on their own?

Keke wants to try to get the message out because they worked extremely hard on this music and it is good, and the early reviews online are good.

Go to and listen for yourself.

I think the kids would like it if they knew that it was out. Her parents are so tired of fighting the label. They are not rich and to launch their own promotions would cost a lot of money , so her parents don't want to go broke trying to push a cd that the label should be pushing, they go broke to break the album, and the label just becomes richer.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mychal Bell Jailed Again

The Jena 6 situation is getting uglier and uglier.

Louisiana State District Judge J.P. Mauffrey Jr. sentenced Bell to 18 months in the juvenile facility for four previous offenses, including two counts of simple battery and two pertaining to criminal destruction of property that occurred before the beating of classmate Justin Barker, according to The Associated Press.

This is yet another shameful move that continues to show the terror under which Blacks live in, not just in Jena, but the entire United States of America. Nooses being hung on college campuses on on job sites, it's way past time for this madness to stop.

Just so there's an accurate picture of the judge's decision, Bell has been placed in a juvenile detention facility. It's not an adult prison but he's still incarcerated.

on the black hand side Vanessa: Unplugged! Blogging Black Miami

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fort Pierce Police Officer punches and pepper sprays 15 year-old girl in Florida

Video of a Fort Pierce, Florida police officer subduing a 15 year-old girl with a punch to the face and pepper spray has led to calls for the officer's suspension. The incident occurred in July of this year as Shelwanda Riley was arrested for a curfew violation. No one 17 years or under can be out on city streets in Fort Pierce from midnight until 6 a.m. seven days a week, unless accompanied by an adult. The young woman is set to face charges of resisting arrest and battery on a police officer.

It's easy to second guess how the officer should have handled the situation but I don't think the girl will prevail in this case. I've never been a cop but it's discomforting to know that the he couldn't easily subdue a petite 15 year-old girl.

Monday, October 8, 2007

How safe is the food you eat?

Ecoli E. coli and an extensive beef recall have forced the closing of the Topps Meat Company. Topps was one of the largest meat processing companies in the United States. If the safety of the food supply in the United States doesn't cause you some concern, I don't know what will.

If there was ever a time to consider the switch to vegetarianism, this would be it. If Topps sold tainted beef, isn't is reasonable to assume other companies are guilty of the same? It wasn't the company, it was the beef.

I know of a gentleman who died recently from e. coli tainted beef bologna. After a hospital stay and surgery, he was sent home and died a few days later in the arms of his daughter. I'll spare you the description of his body's reaction during his last moments but let's just say that it was horrific and disgusting to the point that I'm considering the ultimate transition to a vegan lifestyle.

By far, the most comprehensive and informative site is sponsored by the folks at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Yes, those are the same folks that went a tad overboard regarding the Michael Vick case but be sure to check out their website for shocking facts on nutrition and the food industry.

Going vegetarian is easy. Grocery stores are always stocked with colorful vegetables and plenty of other vegan foods. Almost all grocery stores now carry delicious faux meat products, too—from veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs to vegetarian chicken nuggets, ribs, steak strips, and more. With all these great products available, it's easier than ever to whip up delicious meat-free meals at home. Going out to eat couldn't be easier too! With more and more people becoming vegetarian these days, most restaurants now offer great-tasting, healthy vegetarian selections.

Making the Transition

Watch more videos at

Pledge to Be Veg for 30 Days!

Famous Vegetarians



on the black hand side
Vanessa: Unplugged!
Blogging Black Miami

Jena, Take Your Nooses Down

I've seen blog posts about John Mellencamp's powerful song about Jena, Louisiana and the Jena mayor's unhappiness about it. Now that I've seen the video, I can understand why the mayor would be upset. When a major recording star such as Mellancamp pens such a critical song, the story of the negative environment blacks endure in Jena finds an even larger audience.

The fact that Mellencamp is Caucasian also frames Jena and the trials and tribulations of the Jena 6 as a wrong or right issue, not just a black or white issue. Unfortunately, many will think the song is only about Jena when it's actually about any situation of racial injustice.

The news has been filled with too many reports of racial violence and threats. As in the previous post, "Here a Jena, there a Jena…"

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Here a Jena, There a Jena…

James Clingman writes an excellent commentary on the environment Black folks are dealing with lately…

Here a Jena, there a Jena, everywhere a Jena, Jena

By James Clingman, NNPA Columnist October 8, 2007

In case you haven't noticed, Black people are under full attack in this country. The Jena Six case is just another in a long line of travesties heaped upon Black people by our so-called criminal justice system. All over this country there are cases of gross injustice against Black people, so much so that we could conduct a march every week if we chose to deal with them all. Maybe that's the point: I wonder how many of those who went to Jena, Louisiana, have similar situations in their own cities. I also wonder if they have marched and protested in their own backyards about that injustice.

Let's put it right out there, brothers and sisters. Black folks are a mere afterthought in this country. The following is an excerpt from my book, Black Empowerment with an Attitude - You got a problem with that? Read it and think about our standing in the U.S.A. [Continue reading…]

Friday, October 5, 2007

Why Is this Song so Popular?

I'm for anyone getting their fame when the opportunity arises but just why is this song so popular?

Are we all under a spell or something? I don't get the Soulja Boy viral video and dance. I can't understand most of the lyrics and those that I can understand are not all that cool to repeat.

I hope the young man behind Soulja Boy, DeAndre Ramone Way, is being properly compensated because his song and dance are number one in the country. Soulja Boy was on The Jimmy Kimmel show Thursday night. I could only feel as the young man is being exploited. He may be "getting paid" but the concern for developing him as an artist and a human being was obviously lacking.

On the bright side, watching so many people enjoy dancing is fabulous. The group dances are especially pleasing because of the creativity, coordination and teamwork involved in the presentation. Go to You Tube to see what I mean.

on the black hand side Vanessa: Unplugged! Blogging Black Miami

13 year-old Kills Brother, 8

A 13 year-old Orange County, Florida boy beat his 8 year-old brother to death over a dessert. Demetrius Key beat his brother, Levares, because the younger boy ate a dessert that he wasn't supposed to eat. Demetrius, fearing he would be blamed, beat his brother's head against the floor and hit the boy with the metal broom among other violent attacks.

The boys' mother, Tangela Key, was arrested in the incident. She has seven children and left Demetrius in charge of the children while she visited another apartment. Tangela has a less than stellar history as a parent. She initially lied to police about what happened to Levares.

The deceased boy's body bore signs of repeated physical abuse. The other children are in the care of the State. Demetrius may be charged as an adult.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Marion Jones Admits to Steroid Use

Olympic track star Marion Jones admitted to using steroids. Surprise…surprise. Jones is one of my favorite female athletes but her steroid use was apparent when she started looking so masculine a few years back.

Since I'm not a professional athlete, I can't fathom putting those foreign substances in my body to win a competition. Although Jones blames her trainer for giving a substance referred to as "flaxseed oil" she had to know something was amiss.

No amount of weightlifting or other exercise would have caused Jones' breasts to dissolve into the mass of muscle that became her chest. Jones sued Victor Conte, head of Balco, for defaming her character when he publicly accused her of steroid use. Now, she had to admit to her family and the public that many of the awards she won were the assistance of performance-enhancing substances.

That's such a shame but as you sow, so shall you reap. Marion Jones may have to do time for lying to investigators and for accepting funds that may have been a part of a financial fraud ring. This does not look good for Jones but at least she's finally being a woman about it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Missing Black Women Matter Also

Today's Chicago Sun-Times points out the typically disparate media coverage given to missing Black women. The search for missing pharmaceutical sales rep, Nailah Franklin just may be the tipping point for change in media coverage for missing women who are Black.

Before Nailah's case, a blog authored by Deidra over at Black and Missing but not Forgotten, was posting information on many Black women who'd been reported missing. Thanks, Deidra.

Nailah means "one who succeeds." In a very bizarre way, Nailah succeeded in capturing the hearts and minds of many so that missing Black women will matter to the media also.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Nailah Franklin Update

The remains of Nailah Oliani Franklin were identified today. There was obviously trauma in her transition from the physical world. I am so deeply saddened by this loss of life that there are no words to convey the myriad of feelings I am experiencing.

Nailah's death is yet another reminder of how sacred life is and how we must cherish each moment and each other. As her family prepares to celebrate her life, let's keep them in prayer. More information will likely be released as the homicide investigation progresses. I pray that her killer is caught. Ashe'

on the black hand side Vanessa: Unplugged! Blogging Black Miami

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Racial Politics of College Newspapers

By Justin Elliot, September 14, 2007

Why college newsrooms are often neither diverse nor racially sensitive.

(Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on

When the Kansas State Collegian failed to send a reporter to cover the Big 12 Conference on Black Student Government in 2004, the school's Black Student Union didn't take the snub lightly -- after all, the event had attracted 1,000 participants to K-State's campus. The controversy soon escalated. Meetings were held between minority groups and the white editors of the Collegian, who apologized repeatedly for their misstep. Complaints about a pattern of poor coverage persisted and eventually the administration reassigned the paper's longtime faculty advisor. That action led to a free press lawsuit against K-State that is still pending.

"The staff can be all white, for all I care," Natalie Rolfe, the Black Student Union president, said at the time, "but they need to be diverse in their minds."

Was she right? Can a college paper composed entirely or mostly of white reporters and editors ever adequately cover communities of color on campus? Today that's a very real question for student dailies across the country. [Continue reading…]

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Two students shot at Delaware State University

Delaware State University administration quickly shut down access in and out of campus after two students were shot early Friday morning. Both shooting victims are 17-years old.

The shooting occurred on the Campus Mall between the Memorial Hall gymnasium and Richard S. Grossley Hall, an administrative building. It is likely that the male victim may know the shooter. The female victim is in serious condition. Click here for info from Yahoo News. Click here for photos.

on the black hand side Vanessa: Unplugged! Blogging Black Miami

Southern Illinois University Students March for Jena 6

Black balloons marked the site and a message was sent.

Injustice will not be tolerated.

Operation Hope for Jena 6 was seen throughout campus Thursday evening as about 100 Carbondale community members marched in support of the six black high school students from Jena, La., who are being charged with second-degree aggravated battery and second-degree attempted murder, after many racial incidents beginning in August 2006.

The highly publicized ordeal began when white students hung three nooses from a tree on the high school campus after seeing black students sitting underneath it the day before.

The SIUC chapter president of Generation Change, Christina Colon, said she was upset that she only heard about this a few weeks ago.

"We get five minutes, if that, about racial discrimination going on," Colon said. "We felt we needed to do something about it."

Melodi Green, a third-year law student from Peoria and partial organizer of the march, said this injustice will not be tolerated.

"Stop the injustice. Stop the injustice now," Green said.

Organized as part of the Jena 6 National Day of Action, the march began at 6 p.m. The group gathered on the front lawn of the School of Law, where participants were able to take signs to carry and sign petitions for the support of the Jena 6. These petitions will be sent to the Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and the Jena District Attorney, Reed Walters.[Continue reading…]

Friday, September 21, 2007

MISSING: Nailah Franklin


DOB: 04.12.79










Nailah (Nigh-eel-luh) Oliani (Oh-lee-ahni) Franklin, 28, has been missing from her University Village (near south side of Chicago) condo and from her job as a pharmaceutical sales representative for Eli Lilly since Tuesday evening, Sept. 18, 2007. She has not been heard from since Tuesday afternoon/evening, missed an important "ride-around" meeting with her sales manager on Wednesday, and has not responded to numerous attempts to contact her via phone, email, text message and visits to her condo. Her company car, a BLACK 2005 Chevy Impala is missing, as are her personal and work laptop computers.

Nailah is a graduate of 1997 Homewood-Flossmoor High School and a 2001 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a successful professional, home owner, doting aunt, loving daughter, sister, cousin, niece and friend and would NOT just up and disappear on her own, or go without contacting anyone for days. Please spread the word about this case, especially if you live in the Chicago area. If you have any information, call Chicago Police at 312-746-9259.

Related links:

Family, Chicago police looking for missing woman

Forensics team combs missing woman's condo

After the Jena 6 March: Now what?

Today is the day after the big protest in Jena, Louisiana. Now, what happens? When will Mychal Bell be released? What happens to the people of Jena? Surely, these incidents, considered blown out of proportion, have affected residents forever.

Prayerfully, the U.S. Department of Justice will investigate this situation. There is something very wrong when the DA threatens students by telling them he can ruin their lives. How is it that Jena residents see no problem with that? It is mind-boggling.

Everyone in Jena needs to check themselves. It is a racist town. Is every white person in the town racist? Probably not but when a student at a public school feels as though he must ask permission to sit under a tree considered to be the "white tree", that's evidence of a racist environment.

When nooses are hung on that tree and principal's decision to suspend the white students is overturned, that's a racist environment. It's important to note that those students received a three-day indoor suspension according to CNN. Indoor suspension means they came to school every day but not allowed to attend their regular classes.

Justin Barker was attacked by black students but Robert Bailey was attacked by whites two days before the attack on Barker. Barker attended an activity hours after the attack so how severely could he have been beaten? Two wrongs don't make a right but sometimes you just get tired of being sick and tired.

The black teens were subjected to guns drawn on them and whites not being punished. How can that be justified?

After these incidents, the parents of some of the Jena 6 allowed their sons to play in the championship football game for Jena High School. Why? What's the lesson there? The teens were not arrested until after they helped win the championship for the school. That's a shame; talk about misplaced priorities.

I've lived in a small Southern town so I understand the mindset. The white Jena residents actually believe they've done nothing wrong and this incident is blown out-of-proportion rather than seeing it as exposing the ugly truth.

There's a saying that "you can't fix what you don't face." All of the folks in Jena need a reality check and an honesty session. Jena needs to live what it professes because it's not happening now and it wasn't happening back in August 2006 when racism reached a boiling point.

I was so moved by the historical pilgrimage made by blacks and whites. Eyes must remain on Jena; let's not allow it to become the cause of the moment.

To the people of Jena, I pray for understanding, tolerance and respect in your town. You can overcome this if you truly open your hearts and minds.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

How the Black Blogosphere Has Driven the Jena 6 Protest

Today, protesters will descend upon Jena, Louisiana by the thousands. Those unable to attend in person will wear black to symbolize support for the Jena 6 and unity with the marchers. The awesome significance of this latest demonstration may be lost on many but is captured by Howard Witt's latest article in the Chicago Tribune. Do click here to check it out. You see, the methodology of civil rights protest has forever changed and the internet is the reason for the paradigm shift.

I joined a group of bloggers, the Afrosphere Jena 6 Coalition, in the Day of Blogging for Justice back on August 30. I've never met these folks in person or even talked to any of them on the telephone but the positive change effected, without a "meeting", was awesome. Witt is so correct in framing the position of traditional civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and organizations like the NAACP. For them, the Jena 6 issue was a game of catch up.

Well before the traditional civil rights leaders got involved, folks like Yobachi over at Black Perspective and Villager at the Electronic Village had sent up the drum call to black bloggers and black bloggers answered. Similar actions were the reason Paris, Texas teen, Shaquanda Cotton was released.

I will not be in Jena, Louisiana today and I will try to keep abreast of the day's happenings. Most definitely I am wearing black. I send up prayers of love and peace for those who make the journey to Jena.

Here's an excerpt of Howard Witt's article...


Bloggers inspire new civil rights wave

Jena 6 protest nurtured on Web

By Howard Witt

Tribune senior correspondent

September 19, 2007


There is no single leader. There is no agreed schedule. Organizers aren't even certain where everyone is supposed to gather, let alone use the restroom. The only thing that is known for sure is that thousands of protesters are boarding buses at churches, colleges and community centers across the country this week, headed for this tiny dot on the map of central Louisiana. What could turn out to be one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in years is set to take place here Thursday, when Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, popular black radio talk show hosts and other celebrities converge in Jena to protest what they regard as unequal treatment of African-Americans in this racially fractured Deep South town. Yet this will be a civil rights protest literally conjured out of the ether of cyberspace, of a type that has never happened before in America -- a collective national mass action grown from a grass-roots word-of-mouth movement spread via blogs, e-mails, message boards and talk radio. Jackson, Sharpton and other big-name civil rights figures, far from leading this movement, have had to scramble to catch up. So have the national media. As formidable as it is amorphous, this new African-American blogosphere, which scarcely even existed a year ago, now includes hundreds of interlinked blogs and tens of thousands of followers who within a matter of a few weeks collected 220,000 petition signatures -- and more than $130,000 in donations for legal fees -- in support of six black Jena teenagers who are being prosecuted on felony battery charges for beating a white student. [Click here to read more…]

Related links:

Chicago Tribune articles on the Jena 6 case: Trouble in Jena

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Alpha Kappa Alpha Demands Justice for the Jena 6

Chicago, Illinois – September 17, 2007 - The decision by the Louisiana Court of Appeals to overturn the conviction of Mychal Bell, one of the "Jena 6," confirms the long-held belief by Alpha Kappa Alpha's international president, Barbara A. McKinzie, that the charges levied against the young man were motivated by "prosecutorial overzealousness." She said the dramatic turn of events should strengthen the resolve to demand "justice in Jena."

To that end, she urged Alpha Kappa Alpha's 200,000 members—and all fair-minded citizens—to fire off letters to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Attorney General Charles Foti and demand that they wield their constitutional power to call for a new trial. McKinzie said that on behalf of the membership, she is sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice asking that federal officials intervene and investigate this issue to make sure the constitutional rights of these young men are protected.

She also asked all members to wear black on Thursday, September 20—the day of unity set aside to show support for the Jena 6.

McKinzie cautioned those hailing the decision to "stop celebrating" since the fates of the six young men still hang in the balance.

"Driven by a racist dynamic in the city of Jena, Louisiana, the district attorney who levied the charges is guilty of prosecutorial overreach," declared McKinzie. "Because lives are at stake, we demand that the governor, the attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice launch an immediate investigation and right this judicial abuse of discretion. These boys are entitled to their constitutional right to fairness. Right now, the scales of justice are heavily tilted against the young men."

McKinzie said the meting out of punishment that is disproportionate to the "crime" has marked the entire Jena 6 saga.

She noted that the decision to lower the punishment against the white youth who hung nooses on a tree in an apparent protest of a black youth sitting under the "whites-only" tree set the tone of unfairness that has marked the entire series of events surrounding this case.

"Levying a light punishment against these whites and dismissing it as a 'prank' while imposing harsher charges against the black students illustrates an unfair mindset of which school authorities and prosecutors are guilty," McKinzie said. "An investigation will, hopefully, expose this imbalance and will result in a reexamination of this matter and a dismissal of all charges."

She also took the occasion to place culpability on school authorities, the district attorney and parents for relinquishing their responsibilities and allowing this matter to escalate to a "national disgrace."

"The Jena 6 case illustrates misplaced values, erosion of morals and relinquishment of parental responsibility. Because these principles lie at the core of Alpha Kappa Alpha's platform, we must address these issues if we are to engage in an honest dialogue and learn the lessons that this case presents."

McKinzie said that lost in the furor swirling around this case is the fact that the incident for which the students were eventually charged happened prior to the football championships.

"Some of the students charged were members of the winning team and were allowed to play so they could be used for their athletic prowess," she noted. "Once the championship was secured and the trophy hoisted, the boys were no longer of use to the school. That's when the prosecutors descended upon them and the charges were levied."

McKinzie said that the "glorification of athletics" outweighed the alleged crime and minimized the incident until the boys had been used for the school's athletic gain.

"If the charges had been that severe, the LaSalle Parish district attorney would have arrested the youth prior to the game rather than wait until afterward. This is symptomatic of a larger societal dynamic that glorifies athletes when it's convenient and then derides them when their purpose is met. It is a double standard that sends a mixed message about our priorities."

McKinzie also faulted the parents on both sides of the issue for not being vigilant and for not monitoring their sons' behavior.

"Parents are empowered with the task of raising their sons and teaching them character and infusing in them values that would help them avoid situations like these. If the parents had been doing their jobs, this would not have imploded to the level where the boys' lives and futures are at risk," she said.

McKinzie declared that "as a community, we must reclaim our value system."

These realities notwithstanding, McKinzie said Alpha Kappa Alpha is committed to uplifting youth through its Black Male Initiative. The Sorority is also devoted to strengthening the black family. Inspired by this, she said that the specter of these six boys spending years in jail is a dire outcome that is disproportionate to the alleged crime. She also noted that the young men have promising futures and their lives deserve to be spared.

McKinzie said, "The future of the black family hinges on the African American male being an integral part of the family unit. If the judicial system removes these young men from their families and sends them to prison on suspect charges, more than six families will be impacted.

An entire community will be affected and a nation that could benefit from their talents will also be victimized by these actions."

McKinzie added that New Orleans has been the beneficiary of the world's humanity. With chapters in Louisiana and driven by the Sorority's credo to "provide service to all mankind," members donated money to Katrina survivors. Responding to the call to address the need to rebuild homes in the region, Alpha Kappa Alpha members recently sponsored and built two homes for evacuees in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. She added that, in collaboration with the organization Feed the Children, members passed out food to 400 residents. Most significantly, she said Alpha Kappa Alpha decided to cancel a Hawaiian cruise and instead host its Leadership Conference in New Orleans. In making this change, the Sorority pumped $5 million into the economy.

"Louisiana has been the beneficiary of Alpha Kappa Alpha's treasure, time and talents and we have provided a boost to its economy," she said.

McKinzie said that the Jena 6 scenario threatens to cast a bad light on the state. "This can be reversed with a commitment to fairness and with a resolve by officials to see that justice prevails for the Jena 6."

Addresses for the principals:

Hon. Kathleen B. Blanco

Governor, State of Louisiana

P.O. Box 94004

Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Hon. Charles C. Foti, Jr.

Attorney General, Department of Justice

P.O. Box 94005

Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Website:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Kanye West Lost It in More Ways than One at the VMAs

I didn't watch this year's MTV Video Music Awards. From reports, Kanye West was nominated for five awards but didn't win any. Here's raw footage of his rant. Can someone provide more background on this? I'm not understanding why this is that a big of a deal to him.

This is not the first time West has spazzed out in public. It's so unprofessional and denigrates his talent. West is not the best rapper or hip-hop artist. He sells truckloads of albums and that should be enough for him. Common is a far better rapper than Kanye yet he did not react this way when he's been shut out of well-ddeserved awards.

When an artist creates to win awards, we end up with the so-called music we have today. Anyhoo, somebody fill me in if I missed a salient point behiind the VMAs and Kanye's public meltdown.

on the black hand side Vanessa: Unplugged! Blogging Black Miami

Monday, September 10, 2007

Did Oprah give up her right to endorse a political candidate? I don’t think so.

Regardless of whether you're an Oprah fan or not, she is one bad sister. Wanna know how bad she is? Some White folks are ticked off at her for endorsing Barack Obama's candidacy for president of the United States. Oh, yeah, check it out.

I expect such talk from All-Spin, All-the-Time, FOX News but I was shocked to hear "The View" co-host Joy Behar actually say that Oprah shouldn't endorse a candidate because she's "too powerful." Huh? Talk about a double standard, I expect such a statement from the pregnant blonde chick on the show…what's her name?...Elisabeth? Anyhoo, I would not expect such an asinine statement from Behar.

So, let me get this straight…it's quite acceptable for Michael J. Fox or Jon Bon Jovi to endorse John Kerry and it's perfectly fine for Ron Silver and Stephen Baldwin to endorse George Bush, it wasn't a problem when Madonna endorsed Wesley Clark but Oprah shouldn't endorse anyone? In the words of Whitney Houston…hell-to-the-naw! Oprah has as much of a right as anyone else to endorse whomever she pleases. Oprah is a talk-show host and businesswoman, not a journalist.

New co-host of "The View", Sherri Shepherd, jumped in when she could on that topic and others. With Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg at the table, I predict more fireworks for the women on that show. That's the way I see it and I'm out!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Spotlight on Spelman College

Spelman at a Glance

Profile: Private, independent, liberal arts, historically Black college for women, founded in 1881.

Goal: Spelman ALIVE is an initiative that promotes: Academic Excellence, Leadership Development, Improving Our Environment, Visibility of Our Achievements and Exemplary Customer Service.

Atlanta University Center: Spelman is part of the largest consortium of historically Black institutions of higher learning in the world. Its four partner institutions include Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine. Spelman shares cross-registration with its undergraduate partners. They also share the Robert W. Woodruff Library.

Campus: A historic campus of 32 acres, dating back to 1883, five minutes west of downtown Atlanta. There are 25 buildings, including Sisters Chapel, Giles Hall, Packard Hall, Rockefeller Hall and Reynolds Cottage. The Camille O. Hanks Cosby Academic Center was dedicated in 1996, and a new state-of-the-art Science Center houses classrooms and labs.

Student Body: More than 2,100 students from 41 states and 15 foreign countries.

Ranking: As a result of the dedication of its faculty and staff, Spelman College has gained an excellent national reputation and consistently high rankings in the media's annual college guides.

The College ranks among the top 75 Best Liberal Arts Colleges according to U.S. News & World Report, 2007 edition. Washington Monthly Ranks Spelman No. 1 for Social Mobility; and Black Enterprise ranks Spelman No. 5 on its list of best colleges for African Americans. Read more on Spelman's Rankings

Faculty: More than 84 percent of full-time faculty hold Ph.Ds or other terminal degrees. Student-faculty ratio is 11:1.

Women's Research and Resource Center: The first of its kind on a Black college campus devoted to curriculum in women's studies.

Special Provisions: Spelman College admits qualified student candidates regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, or physical challenge.

Financial Aid: Financial aid is available from a variety of sources and is awarded in the form of grant, loan and/or work-study assistance. Approximately 87 percent of students receive financial aid. Scholarships are available from a variety of sources and are merit and/or need-based. All completed first-year applicants are considered.


Bachelor of Arts: Art, Child Development, Comparative Women's Studies, Drama, Economics, English, French, History, Human Services, Independent Major, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Spanish, Sociology, Sociology and Anthropology

Bachelor of Science: Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer and Information Sciences, Engineering/Dual Degree, Mathematics, Environmental Science or Physics

More facts about Spelman College

Notable Alumnae:

TINA McELROY ANSA (C'71) - Novelist whose works include Baby of the Family (1989), Ugly Ways (1993), The Hand I Fan With (1996) and You Know Better (2002). She and her husband, Jonee', are producing their first feature film, the movie adaptation of Ms. Ansa's best-selling novel, Baby of the Family.

PEARL CLEAGE (C'71) – Fiction writer, playwright, poet, essayist and journalist; Her books include Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do (2003), I Wish I Had a Red Dress (2001), and her debut novel, What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day (1997), which was an Oprah Book Club selection in 1998 and appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for nine weeks. Her articles have appeared in Essence magazine and other publications.

LATANYA RICHARDSON JACKSON (C'71) – Stage, film and television actress who starred in the comedy, The Fighting Temptations, and appeared alongside her husband, Samuel L. Jackson, in the thrillers, Kill Bill Volume 2 and Volume 1. Other movie credits include Losing Isaiah, Malcolm X, and U.S. Marshals. She also appeared in the HBO movie, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge , and the documentary, Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives; Television guest star roles include Boston Public, NYPD Blue, Judging Amy, Once and Again and Ally McBeal. She made her directorial debut with the Lifetime film, Hairstory; Member of the Spelman College Board of Trustees.

VARNETTE HONEYWOOD (C'72) – Internationally renowned artist; Creator of the image of the Little Bill character for the award-winning children's book series authored by Bill Cosby, and the animated series currently seen on the Nickelodeon Network.

ROLONDA WATTS (C'80) – Noted journalist, actor, writer and talk show host; President/CEO of her own production company, Watts Works Productions. She has guest starred in several television shows from West Wing and The District to Yes, Dear and The Bold and The Beautiful. She also landed the role of "Jena Rutherford" in Rikers, a feature film starring DL Hughley.

SHAUN ROBINSON (C'84) – Actress and weekend co-anchor and correspondent for Access Hollywood, a nationally syndicated entertainment news magazine show. She co-hosted NBC's coverage of the 2004 Tournament of Roses Parade and has made cameo appearances in the movies, Bruce Almighty, America's Sweethearts and Dr. Doolittle 2.

TANIKA RAY (C'94) – Host of the Head 2 Toe, a beauty and style show airing on Lifetime Television and a co-host of Lifetime Now; She also has served as host of SoapCenter, on the SOAPnet, designs her own eclectic jewelry and contributes to US Weekly's Fashion Police column.

KEISHA KNIGHT-PULLIAM (C'2001) – Actress; Played the role of Rudy Huxtable on the '80s television hit, The Cosby Show.

DANICA TISDALE (C'2001) -- Named Miss Georgia 2004, becoming the first African American to wear the crown in the pageant's 60-year history; The former Miss Atlanta competes for the title of Miss America in September 2004; Doctoral degree candidate in English at Emory University .

Related Links:

Spelman University

Giving to Spelman

Getting into Spelman

on the black hand side Vanessa: Unplugged! Blogging Black Miami

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Eddie Griffin’s Routine Halted for Use of N-Word

During a recent performance at the 14th Annual Black Enterprise Magazine Golf & Tennis Challenge in Miami, stand-up comedian and actor Eddie Griffin was summarily dismissed because his routine was heavily peppered with the word "nigger."

More than 1,000 registered for the event and BE publisher Earl Grave received an ovation when he had Griffin's mic shut down and apologized to the audience.

"We at Black Enterprise will not allow our culture to go backward," Graves said. "Black Enterprise stands for decency, black culture and dignity."

The NAACP "buried" the N-word at its annual convention this past July. Whatever made Eddie Griffin think he could get away with such a performance before the high-brow is crowd is a surprise.

While Graves is to be commended for axing Griffin's performance, It's also time for Graves and his associates to seriously move toward building a hotel owned by blacks. Donahue Peebles' attempt to do so on South Beach was doomed for so many reasons but that is another post for another time. Miami's black community could also benefit from outreach activities by the BE participants.

Friday, September 7, 2007

“All-American Presidential Forums on PBS” moderated by Tavis Smiley - Ticket Information

Thank you for your interest in the "All-American Presidential Forums on PBS" moderated by Tavis Smiley. The Republican Forum will be held on Thursday, September 27th at 9pm at the Carl J. Murphy Fine Arts Center on the campus of Morgan State University. Because the Forum was created to address the issues most important to all of us, a limited number of free tickets are available. To attend the Republican Forum, each audience member must have a ticket. • Tickets will be available for pick up on a first come, first served basis at 10am on Monday, September 17th at the Murphy Fine Arts Center box office located at 2201 Argonne Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21251. LIMIT 2 TICKETS PER HOUSEHOLD. • Out-of-Town guests may request/obtain tickets, by calling the Murphy Fine Arts Center box office at (443) 885-4440 during business hours (Mon-Fri: 10 AM - 7 PM; and Saturdays: 10 AM - 4 PM) starting at 10 AM EDT Monday, September 17th. To be added to the ticket "reservation" list, you will be required to provide your name, phone number, and address (name and address must match name and address on government-issued photo ID). Tickets WILL NOT be mailed. LIMIT 2 TICKETS PER HOUSEHOLD. All guests must show a valid government-issued photo ID (i.e., driver's license, passport, etc.) in order to pick up tickets; all reserved tickets not picked up by 6pm, Thursday, September 27th will be made available to the general public. Once again, thank you for your interest in the "All-American Presidential Forums on PBS" moderated by Tavis Smiley.

on the black hand side Vanessa: Unplugged! Blogging Black Miami

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Power of the People and the Campaign to Free the Jena Six

I am pleased to have been a part of the Afrosphere Jena 6 Coalition and the Day of Blogging for Justice. I know that we'll never capture the actual breadth of the campaign because many of my friends over at Yahoo 360 participated but didn't add their names to the list of Bloggers for Justice. My research also showed folks from throughout the U.S. blogging about this injustice.

As of this post, more than 139,000 people signed the petition on and almost 130,000 have signed the petition over at

Surely the powers that be are trying to figure out the win-win situation that satisfies blacks and the supporters of the Jena 6 while not alienating the racist whites that obviously influence Louisiana politics and politicians. Three nooses hanging from a tree is not a prank, it's a terrorist act. Call it what it is and punish the culprits.

The Jena 6 situation makes the U.S. look bad especially in light of other injustices such as Genarlow Wilson, Martin Lee Anderson, Marcus Dixon, Shaquanda Cotton, etc. As much as I love animals, when so much coverage is given to Michael Vick and animal cruelty and the Duke Lacrosse Case, why doesn't the media cover the Jena 6 and Genarlow Wilson?

Well, just as the mainstream can get on board when movements take a life of their own, so will traditional journalism. Remember how many times you received that hoax e-mail about Sinbad dying or that Tommy Hilfiger said he didn't want black to wear his clothes? Well, it will take that kind of enthusiasm to share independent news but we can do it.

Before I end this, I must give props to Yobachi over at for spearheading the Day of Blogging for Justice and keeping us updated with info.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Day of Blogging for Justice: Free the Jena 6!

Most of this post is from one of my entries a couple of weeks ago I am re-posting it today as August 30th has been established as a Day of Blogging for Justice to focus attention on the disparate, shameful punishment of six black students in Jena, LA.

This case of the Jena Six began almost a year ago and the media coverage has been abysmal, at best. If you are not familiar with this case, read the enitre post below and be sure to check out the videos. After you've done that, sign the petition online (I'm #24417) and spread the word about The Jena Six.

The Jena Six: An American Tragedy and a Shameful Reality

Six black students from Jena, Louisiana have been incarcerated since December of last year because of a protest and violence that ensued as a result of one black student sitting under the "white tree" at their high school. The "white" tree --- such a throwback in time. Many using the internet today will not understand or even get the significance of asking "permission" to do something that one takes for granted in the United States. We live in America where we all have rights, don't we?

Yeah, many of you black and white, especially if you're 40 years old or younger, probably thought 'old people' were just tripping behind all this racial stuff. You probably didn't want to read 'Roots', forget about watching it on television. Black people have Oprah with her millions of dollars, top-rated television show and other enterprises, right? Shoot, Denzel, Queen Latifah and Will Smith make millions from the big screen and Barack Obama is positioned to become the next president of the United States.

Then the reality checks kick in. Remember the derogatory words of Don Imus, murder of Martin Lee Anderson, incarceration of Genarlow Wilson, Marcus Dixon, Shaquanda Cotton and the Jena 6. Wake up. This is the real deal. This is the same shameful treatment of black Hurricane Katrina survivors portrayed as 'looting' for food and white Hurricane Katrina survivors 'finding' food. Give me a break. Remember Rosa Parks? Well, the Jena 6 is this century's Rosa Parks.

In Spike Lee's movie about Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke, actor Wendell Pierce made a statement about a permanent underclass in Louisiana. By this Jena 6 situation, I understand how the blatant, inhumane mistreatment of blacks occurred so easily in the New Orleans area immediately after Katrina. The courageous young black people in Jena took a stand. Right-minded folks must stand with them. Expose this shameful situation to the world. Ask the presidential candidates about the Jena 6 and Genarlow Wilson.

Watch the videos below for background information and to get brought up to speed on the Jena 6 case. Take action and spread the word about this story.

Call and write. Let your voice be heard. The Jena 6 Defense Committee PO Box 2798, Jena, LA 71342

Murphy McMillan, Mayor P.O. Box 26 Jena, La. 71342 Phone (318) 992-2148

To contact District Attorney Reed Walters directly:

Reed Walters, District Attorney 28th Judicial District PO Box 1940 Jena, Louisiana 71342-1940 (318) 992-8282 Fax: (318) 992-4731

Please contact: Senator Mary Landrieu webpage contact link (202) 224-5824 Senator David Vittner webpage contact link Phone:(202) 224-4623 Rep Bobby Jindal webpage contact link Phone: (202)-225-3015 Rep William Jefferson Phone: (202) 225-6636 Rep Charlie Melancon webpage contact link Phone: (202) 225-4031 Rep Jim McCrery webpage contact link Phone: (202) 225-2777 Rep Rodney Alexander webpage contact link Phone: (202) 225-8490 Rep Richard Baker webpage contact link Phone: 202-225-3901 Rep Charles Boustany webpage contact link Phone: (202) 225-2031


Jena High School bans 'Free the Jena 6' T-shirts

JENA, La. (AP) - The LaSalle Parish schools superintendent says T-shirts supporting six black students accused of knocking out a white student, then kicking and stamping on him are a "threat to the order of the campus" at Jena High school. [MORE]

Did Civil Rights movement pass Louisiana by?

Racist incident leads to harsh justice for black students

August 30, 2007

When I ran across a tale on the Internet about six African-American teens from Jena, La., who are facing decades of prison time for allegedly beating up a white classmate, I couldn't believe their ordeal started with a tree.

A tree holds powerful symbolism for black people. While traveling in the South, legendary singer Billie Holiday saw a tree that inspired her to write "Strange Fruit," a song which contains references to lynching.

Still, it is difficult to comprehend that in 2007, black students at any high school in America felt compelled to go to a school official and ask if it would be OK to sit in the shade of a tree usually enjoyed by white students.

There's no dispute that is what happened on Aug. 31, 2006 in Jena, a town with a population that is about 85 percent white and 12 percent black.

A vice principal apparently told the students they could sit "wherever they pleased." And the next day, Sept. 1, 2006, three nooses were found hanging from said tree.

Just three years ago the nation celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruling that declared racial separation was inherently unequal. Yet, Jena High School seems stuck in the pre-civil rights era. [MORE]

Afrosphere Bloggers Ask Media to Cover Jena 6

The Afrosphere Jena 6 Coalition “ask that the mainstream traditional media step forward and discharge their duty to provide coverage of this vitally important event to their viewers and readers and act as “the fourth institution” of governmental “checks and balance” that constitutional framers intended the press to be.”

List of Bloggers for Justice

1. Wayne Hicks Cincinnati, OH

2. D. Yobachi Boswell Nashville, TN

3. Daz Wilson

4. Francis Holland

5. Jim D. Walton

6. Cooper

7. Yolonda

8. Vanessa Byers Miami, FL

9. Sincere

10. Pia

11. Adrianne George Sweden

12. Eddie Griffin Fort Worth, TX

13. PB Kansas City

14. Tom Autopref

15. Dave J. Haslett, Michigan

16. B. Medusa

17. Shawn Williams Dallas, Texas

18. Deidra Baton Rouge, LA

19. AAPP &

20. Invisible Woman San Fran, CA

21. Plez Atlanta, GA

22. Shanikka

As expected, the media picks up Mychal Bell's juvenile history to distract from the nooses hanging from the "white" tree and the punishments applied to the black students and no punishment for the white students.

Prosecutor: "Jena Six" defendant had four juvenile convictions

8/25/2007, 6:36 p.m. CDT The Associated Press

JENA, La. (AP) — The teenager convicted of beating a student at Jena High School in December 2006 had been convicted as a juvenile for attacking someone a year earlier, then committed three more crimes while on probation for that one, prosecutors say.

That makes Mychal Bell's aggravated second-degree battery conviction his fifth conviction for a violent crime, state District Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. said Friday.

Because of that record, the judge said, he will not reduce the $90,000 bond he set for Mychal Bell, one of six black students arrested in the attack which left a white student bleeding and unconscious.


"We shall have to repent in this generation , not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.” --- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

on the black hand side Vanessa: Unplugged! Blogging Black Miami

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