Archive for the ‘black social commentary’ Category

Global Council on Drug Policy Says What Black People Have Known For Years: “War on Drugs” Is a Failure

June 2, 2011 Leave a comment

 Elliot Millner, J.D.

In a recently released report, the Global Council on Drug Policy (which includes former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as former presidents of Mexico, Brazil, and Columbia) state that the decades long so-called “War on Drugs” has been a complete failure, resulting in almost no progress in decreasing the global demand for illegal drugs, while at the same time helping to destroy entire communities, in the United States and around the globe.

In addition the Council concluded that “arresting and incarcerating tens of millions of these people in recent decades has filled prisons and destroyed lives and families without reducing the availability of illicit drugs or the power of criminal organizations.” The report also references how drug cartels around the globe are thriving off of the profits made supplying illegal drugs to the world’s number one consumer..the United States.

Although the idea may be controversial to some, legalizing various drugs in some fashion should at least be given consideration. Continuing the failed drug policy of the past several decades is not an option. The devastation inflicted on poor Black communities by drugs is unspeakable, and the damage done in the supposed effort to remove the drugs from those communities has been worse. It would be naive to think that simply legalizing drugs will solve all of the problems of impoverished communities; however, alternatives to repressive policing and excessive sentencing must be enacted. The years of blatantly racially and socioeconomically biased drug policy must end.  If a white person in the suburbs receives treatment and support for their drug problem, then so should a Black person from a poor inner-city neighborhood.

Although changes in U.S. drug policy are desperately needed, we must remember this is only one part of a larger picture. The “War on Drugs” was just the most recent excuse used to target communities of color and people of color for excessive arrest and imprisonment (because we definitely aren’t the main drug users, or the main suppliers). Injustice in the criminal justice system as a whole has existed long before the drug war, and won’t simply disappear, even if every drug is legalized.



Black News: Rallies Planned for Heather Ellis Case

October 27, 2009 Leave a comment

To join the Your Black World Coalition, please visit

From Dr Boyce Watkins

To the Your Black World family:

When the children of my assistant Shauntay (Justin and Journi) brought the case of Heather Ellis to me, I was in disbelief.  I was shocked that in 2009, a young college student, with no criminal record, could face 15 years in prison for cutting line at Walmart.  I was even more appalled by the threats from the KKK and allegations by local leaders that the town went as far as blacking out the local news coverage during the minutes that the family held a press conference in support of their daughter.  We sent information about the case to CNN and other media outlets, and they covered it (along with BET, Essence, ABC News and others), but I don’t feel this is enough.  We’ve decided that we aren’t going to take this sitting down, and we hope you won’t either

In honor of Justin and Journi, the two young visionaries who convinced me to take on this issue, we’ve created the "Journey for Justice," set to take place in Kennett, Missouri on Monday, November 16 at 11 am.  On that day, we are going to meet at the Walmart where the incident took place (1500 1st St., Kennett, MO) and march to the steps of the courthouse(Square 200 Slicer St.).  You can find out more information about the case and rally on the site  Given that the prosecutor in the case (Stephen Sokoloff) has asked for a change of venue (to Bloomfield, MO – a town with less than 20 black people), some of the details of the rally might change (I have no doubt that they are scheming to make this as difficult as possible).  But I can guarantee you this: On November 16, we are heading down there to fight against the madness occurring in this county, no matter what the cost.

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Serena Williams Needs to Play by the Rules Like the Rest of Us

September 15, 2009 4 comments


Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

This past Saturday evening, on a second serve at 15-30, 5-6 in the second set at the U.S. Open semifinals, Serena Williams was called for a foot fault by the line judge. Based upon the judges call, Ms. Williams walked towards the judge, pointed her racquet at the judge and launched into an “f-bomb” laden tie raid saying in part, “If I could, I would take this @#$#ing ball and shove it down your @#$#ing throat…"

This exchange resulted in Ms. Williams being penalized a point for unsportsmanlike conduct. This penalty resulted in the match being awarded to her opponent, Kim Clijsters. Some are now questioning the chair umpire and tournament referee Brian Earley’s decision. With Ms. Williams being African American, many are crying foul based on race. Others are objecting to what some believe to be a ticky-tack call, especially at such a key point in a match.

First, the rule. According to The Rules of Tennis – Rule 8. b. “The Server shall throughout the delivery of the Service:…Not touch, with either foot, any area other than that behind the base-line within the imaginary extensions of the centre-mark and side-lines….If either foot touches the Court, including the baseline, or the imaginary extension of a line specified in Rule 8b. after his feet are at rest but before he strikes the ball, he has committed a foot fault.”

After her initial outburst Ms. Williams then said, “You better @#$#ing be right." Well, after viewing the video tape and reading Rule 8.b., the line judge was @#$#ing right. Ms. Williams was wrong for what she said, the manner in which it was said, and for trying to blame “the heat of the moment” for her reaction. Once Ms. Williams allowed her anger to go from questioning the call to making the verbal attack personal, the umpire did the right thing. Point awarded to Ms. Clijsters, match over.

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Hulk Hogan Says He Understands OJ’s Rage

April 16, 2009 4 comments

Pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, embroiled in a bitter divorce with his wife, Linda, told Rolling Stone magazine he can "totally understand" O.J. Simpson, the former football great found liable for the deaths of his wife and another man.

Linda and Hulk Hogan enjoy happier times at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards in New York in 2006.

Linda and Hulk Hogan enjoy happier times at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards in New York in 2006.

"I could have turned everything into a crime scene like O.J., cutting everybody’s throat," Hogan said in the interview for a feature that will run in Friday’s edition of the magazine.

"You live half a mile from the 20,000-square-foot home you can’t go to anymore, you’re driving through downtown Clearwater [Florida] and see a 19-year-old boy driving your Escalade, and you know that a 19-year-old boy is sleeping in your bed, with your wife… .

"I totally understand O.J. I get it," Hogan said

A spokeswoman for Rolling Stone magazine confirmed the quote to CNN.

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Genma Holmes: Nancy Grace Temporarily Breaks Her Obsession w Caylee Anthony

April 12, 2009 5 comments

by Genma Holmes, YourBlackWorld

In today’s world, many individuals can deliver the news. News anchors, reporters, journalists, bloggers and talent disguised as cable hosts and then there is Nancy Grace. Nancy Grace is in a genre by herself. She is the only person on television that covers missing kids with some facts and any rumor that can be found on the streets. I am convinced that CNN’s Nancy Grace is obsessed with Caylee Anthony and needs psychiatric counseling immediately. With little objectivity and even less professionalism, Nancy conducts interviews equivalent to face offs. Nancy Grace, a former prosecutor, makes me wonder if she believes she can bypass the courts and send anyone straight to jail via her TV show.
Nancy Grace has a special way of making you hate to watch her and hate to miss the next show. Since July, her acid tongue has been fixated on the Anthony family complete with swirling pictures and videos on the TV screen. As a self professed news junkie, I can watch any show on any network with an open mind. But I can only watch Nancy Grace in short intervals. Nancy has become as creepy as a pedophile showing the pictures of Caylee throughout her show. Speaking of perverts, she closes the show to Michael Jackson’s song “Gone Too Soon”. The irony of that is too long to discuss in this posting. I often find myself begging my TV screen to show a child of color missing as if it would answer back.

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Is Your Butt Too Big and In Your Own Face?

March 17, 2009 Leave a comment


How many of us just hates when someone stands in front of us blocking our view, especially when we are sitting down in a seat like at a concert?  Now, you really can’t see or enjoy your favorite music artist that you paid, let’s say $90, to watch perform your favorite hit.      Tell the truth.  How many of you would touch the person blocking your view and ask them to move out of your way?  Others might just sit there and complain while missing out on what is happening because for whatever reason, he or she decides to do nothing.

     Earlier today I had a meeting with a client.  We met to help her identify what she believed she wanted and needed to do to better herself and her situation.  I simply asked one question, “what do you want to do?”  She said, “anything, I just need a job.”   Her response was desperate and too vague.  After a little coaching and conversation she said, “I really want to go to school.”

     With this in mind,  I told her that at the college level she could apply for a ‘work-study position” where the school she would  attend pays her a small stipend and allows flexible working hours for her to successfully complete her classes.  She looked surprised and slightly relieved until SHE starting talking about all of the past bad things that she had experienced while in school.  Fifteen years ago, she was told by a teacher that she had a learning disability and needed more time to read and process her work.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t do it.  It would only take her a little longer to finish.


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Oprah Warns Rihanna Publicly

March 9, 2009 1 comment

Oprah Winfrey (left) has publicly warned Rihanna to stay away from Chris Brown, saying he will assault her again. HOLLYWOOD – OPRAH Winfrey has publicly warned Rihanna to stay away from Chris Brown, saying he will assault her again.

"Both Chris Brown and Rihanna, if I were your friend, I would call you up and I would say, ‘Give it some time, get yourself some counselling, take care of yourself, heal yourself first,’" Oprah said.

"Love doesn’t hurt. I’ve been saying this to women for years – love doesn’t hurt. And if a man hits you once, he will hit you again. He will hit you again. I don’t care what his plea is, he will hit you again.’

On the Other Hand: Dr Boyce and Madeline Talk Chrianna, Octomom and More

March 8, 2009 1 comment

Dr Boyce Watkins and Madeline Hatter discuss Chris Brown,  Octomom and other political issues in this episode of “On the Other Hand”.  Click the image to watch!


Black Politics: Michael Steele vs. Rush Limbaugh

March 3, 2009 5 comments

Over the weekend, Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele called Rush Limbaugh’s rhetoric "incendiary" and "ugly" and insisted that he, not Limbaugh, is in charge of the GOP.

"Rush will say what Rush has to say; we'll do what we have to do," RNC Chairman Michael Steele has said.

"Rush will say what Rush has to say; we’ll do what we have to do," RNC Chairman Michael Steele has said.

But that was two days ago. Monday, after a blistering response from the conservative talk-radio kingpin, Steele told the online journal Politico that he "was maybe a little bit inarticulate."

"There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership," Steele said. He added, "There are those out there who want to look at what he’s saying as incendiary and divisive and ugly. That’s what I was trying to say. It didn’t come out that way."

Steele’s original remarks came from an interview on CNN’s "D.L. Hughley Breaks the News," which aired Saturday. They came as Democrats, including White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, have tried to paint Limbaugh — who has said he wants to see the Obama administration "fail" — as the effective head of the opposition party.

Steele rejected the idea, saying, "I’m the de facto leader of the Republican Party."

"Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh’s whole thing is entertainment," Steele told CNN. "Yes, it is incendiary. Yes, it is ugly." Limbaugh and Steele show divisions in GOP

Limbaugh fired back on his radio show Monday, saying the Republican chairman appears to be supporting President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He said Steele appears "obsessed with seeing to it President Obama succeeds."

"I frankly am stunned that the chairman of the Republican National Committee endorses such an agenda," Limbaugh said. "I have to conclude that he does, because he attacks me for wanting it to fail."

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Dr Boyce: Chris Brown and Rihanna Back Together? What?

March 2, 2009 4 comments


By Dr. Boyce Watkins

Forgive me for diving into the crazy world of pop culture, but the fact that Chris Brown and Rihanna are a couple again is something on which I had to comment. I am not speaking on the issue because I love Chris Brown or Rihanna’s music (they are ok). I am commenting because young people need to have a serious conversation about relationships and domestic violence.

Here’s the deal: I don’t know exactly what Chris Brown did and did not do. From the picture I saw and police reports, it appears that he may have done some serious damage to Rihanna’s face. Again, I am not convicting Chris Brown and I am not pretending to know if he is a bad human being. In fact, Chris Brown could very easily be a good man who did a very bad thing. But if he did do this damage to Rihanna, then he should pay a price for his actions.

But it appears that Chris won’t be paying a price, since Rihanna does not seem to be interested in pressing charges. Rihanna’s actions are nothing new: Every day, across America, women are beaten to a pulp by their boyfriends, and then choose to excuse their inexcusable behavior. The prosecutor prepares a solid case that will send the guy packing for years, and the case falls through because the woman chooses not to press charges. So, as extraordinary as Rihanna might be as a performer, her behavior is actually quite ordinary.

Chris Brown, if he was the cause of the facial damage shown on pictures released to the media, seriously needs counseling. He needs to learn that growing up watching your father beat your mother (as Chris admitted on the Tyra Banks show) may establish a destructive social norm, thus making you believe that violence is appropriate in male/female relationships. He also needs to learn about the serious consequences for brothers who choose to beat up on their partners. Even if Rihanna is crazy, provocative or evil, you have no business laying your hands on a woman. Not only is violence wrong, but it will land you in a criminal justice system that destroys the lives of young black men every day. I understand young people making mistakes (I’ve made far too many to count), but you must learn from those mistakes, and we are not doing young people any favors by pretending that this didn’t happen.

Rihanna needs her own counselor. She needs one that will give her and other young women the self-esteem to realize that there are few genuine excuses for a man to put his hands on you. She needs to have someone who truly understands where all this is going, to make her realize that no matter how cute he is, how popular, how rich, or how charming, a man like this can eventually kill you. You don’t know domestic violence until you’ve seen DEATH. It starts innocently enough, and eventually escalates to the point that someone is in the morgue. Any self-respecting adult should, in my humble opinion, refuse to sit idly to the side and allow your teenager to ponder reasons that Chris Brown should have hit Rihanna. No, he should not have done this, and I encourage Chris to make sure he sends the same message.

Old people can be obnoxious. We pee on the parades of young love by writing articles like the one I am writing right now. I hate doing this, but I have my reasons. My friend, a professor in Florida, died at the hands of her husband, who then killed himself and left her two young children without parents. This happens every day, and most of these cases start out like the situation between Chris and Rihanna. In fact, your daughter, friend, sister or cousin may have that lovable boyfriend who only shows peeks and hints of violent behavior, but just enough that your gut is telling you something isn’t quite right. Listen to your instincts, for they’re trying to tell you something. Love should not end with anybody getting punched. Domestic violence is not a silent killer… usually warns you all along the way. Whether you choose to listen is up to you.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” For more information, please visit

10 Things You Should Consider about the State of the Black Union

March 1, 2009 5 comments

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

I love Tavis smiley and I love the State of the Black Union. I must also admit that my mouth (which my mother used to say will either “make me great or get me killed”) has probably burned any bridge I’ve had with Tavis, thus implying that you will likely never see me on a panel at The State of the Black Union conference. I am ok with that, since I don’t like traveling when I don’t have to, and I don’t like the idea of having to kiss pinky rings of old school leadership in order to fit in (once you accept someone’s support, you can become beholden to them, reducing your ability to be honest). Beyond that, I have a nasty habit of telling the truth, which is neither profitable nor popular. So, the Your Black World Coalition is going to be my venue of choice when it comes to matters of Black Public Policy. Our corporate sponsors are clean, which means that we have a green light to do what’s right without worrying about offending Exxon Mobile, Walmart, The Republican Party, or McDonald’s. Again, I say this with all love and respect for Tavis Smiley.

As a Finance Professor who has spent the last 20 years studying money, I want us to understand the nature of how financial incentives can play a role in the nature of a forum such as The State of the Black Union. This is especially true in the midst of a financial crisis, during which our financial challenges may lead us to make decisions that are not always in the best interests of our constituents. I want to make it clear that my commentary on the State of the Black Union in the past has not been intended to be destructively critical in any way, as I feel that the forum is an important and necessary component of the Black community. But I am going to propose some quick thoughts about the State of the Black Union that should be considered for the future. If this venue is to be considered an important component and gathering of some segments of Black leadership, it is critical that we understand how to properly manage the temptation by some to use the venue as a source of power.

1) Corporate sponsors should be properly vetted: If the State of the Black Union is to be presented as the pseudo-diplomatic forum that Tavis Smiley wants us to perceive it to be, then just any old sponsor simply won’t do. No banks accused of predatory lending using the venue to wash away their sins with a donation to the Tavis Smiley Bank account. No firms trying to sell liquor, tobacco or other products. No companies which appear to get rich from exploiting the poor. All potential corporate sponsors should be evaluated by an unbiased committee and careful consideration should be given to the nature of the donor, where the money is going and other ways that the sponsor must prove their interest in serving the community. President Obama would never allow his State of the Union address to be sponsored by enemies of his country, but that is what we are doing if we allow any dirty corporation to walk through the door to give us money for our forums.

2) Consider the political agendas: I went to a great conference a couple of years ago in Atlanta, and wondered why there were so many videos and speeches being shared that had nothing but good things to say about the Bush Administration. It didn’t take me long to figure out why – The Bush Administration was a major donor to the conference, and in exchange for their money, they wanted the organizers to persuade Black folks to become Republicans and to love George Bush. I don’t think it worked. The lesson to be learned is that taking care of the gatekeepers can mean that those behind the gate are being manipulated. Don’t let another man sell your brain. If your brain gets sold, you should get the money.

3) Be careful with the Obama-Haterology: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Tavis Smiley was a clear “homie” to Hillary Clinton. This close relationship, as well as some hope that he might be her Press Secretary, led to some “interesting” words being fired across the aisle last year as Barack Obama chose not to attend the conference. This forum is designed for the people and should not be used to reflect the personal agendas of a few powerful men. One must draw the line between carefully considered critiques on The White House vs. politicized attacks in response to being “dissed”. I too have critiqued our president, but I have always wanted him to succeed.

4) Kill the self-righteousness: There is no boss of the Black community. We are not children who need to be told what’s best for us. Being of a strong religious background, Tavis Smiley can sometimes become more of a preacher than a leader. There is this idea that he and a few others know the solutions and the rest of us don’t have a damn clue. Please get over your selves….we’re all smart people. This does not, for one second, imply that strategic and intelligent guidance cannot be meaningful. But this guidance must be balanced with mutual respect for the people you are serving.

5) Kill the “flossing”: Sometimes, when people get on their respective soap boxes, the forum can become a contest of who can make the most earth-shattering, slap-ya-leg, koolaid-coming-out-of-your-nose, “hoo-hoo-she-sure-is-funny!” moment. Due to the presence of media, which many people on the panel are seeking by attending this forum, we can be pressured to entertain more than enlighten. While entertainment is excellent, the focus must be on commentary which educates the public. I encourage the audience to watch the forum and listen to the content and substance of the rhetoric, and not be swayed by distractive inflections, body language or vocal tones. Some of us are very good at saying a lot and saying nothing, all at the same time.

6) FYI – Here is the source of Smiley’s power (for which I congratulate him): He gets C-span to show up and he has access to major White corporations. Were there no media and/or no corporate sponsorship, The State of the Black Union forum would cease to exist. This is not to disrespect the nature of the platform, but to help those who don’t understand business and media to see why so many of our leaders flock to the forum and why many Black leaders gladly appear on Fox News. Since they don’t have any other outlets for their work, this is one of the few provided. This gives a great deal of power to the owner of the platform, sort of like having the only grocery store or hospital in town. When Black folks get more ownership of media (even online media), the need to succumb to the power of others will cease to exist.

7) This is not the only forum in Black America: Kevin Powell, a man who will eventually be elected to Congress, holds Black male empowerment forums in New York City. The “Your Black World Coalition” has done amazing work in the past. “Color of Change” engages in meaningful, effective protest that is not sponsored by any of the corporations known for the exploitation of African Americans. “Dangerous Negro” is a group of young, intelligent brothers who are changing campuses across the world. Tavis Smiley’s insinuation that The State of the Black Union forum is the place you must be if you truly care about Black people is simply wrong. You can be in a lot of places and still care about Black people, which is why there are a lot of Black Bloggers, Black leaders and Black business people who are choosing not to attend The State of the Black Union.

8) The Money Makes a difference: I am a Finance Professor, which makes me the last person to criticize anyone for showing up to collect the cash flow. But the truth is that money is POWER. Money determines what we do and who we do it with. So, the idea that (what some consider to be) one of the most critical forums in the Black community is driven by corporate sponsorship granted by our historical oppressors is a very serious and problematic contradiction. I encourage us to find ways to sponsor other forums without sponsorship from mainstream corporate America so that we can speak real truth to power.

9) The Covenant with Black America: This is a great book. But it is still just a book. It is a book written to make a profit. When you see the book being advertised to you, there is a business model designed to sell the book. It is not the most important book in Black history, it is not necessarily a “must-read” for you and your kids. It’s just a book. Remember that. If the advertisers convince you that it is a “must-read”, then they’ve achieved their corporate objectives.

10) We need Tavis Smiley: Tavis, like most of us, has to make a living. He has done an amazing job with his work and platforms, and like the rest of us, he is not perfect. If you are compelled by his work, you should support him and support The State of the Black Union, I know I will. Also, just because Tavis seemed to have personal reasons for his attacks on Barack Obama, that doesn’t mean that his critiques were invalid. Yes, we have a Black President, but we need Black leaders. The greatest Black leader in the world is the one you see in the mirror. Get out there and do your thing.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” For more information, please visit

What Does Your Man’s Body Look Like?

February 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Nicole Spence

Ladies how important is it for your man or boo to be in shape, body right?

I’m wondering because I’m always obsessing about my body, more importantly my lack of muscle tone. Lol, seriously the people that know me, know me as the “Food Nazi”. Don’t even think about eating greasy fatty foods around me, I’ll go bizerick.
Oddly enough lately the “chubbsters” have been hollering. I think its because we’re making it too easy for them to feel sexy, “Oh Big Daddy”, well I’m just not into it.

So I’m pretty open about my body, its beauty and flaws. I dated this guy a while back, and he had a nice athletic build. I actually loved his body.

Anyway he knew that I’m all about fitness and eating right, even though sometimes I go weeks without squatting shit and eating emotionally. I’m Human! I just use my Joe’s jeans to keep me in check, when those bad boys don’t fit; it’s time to quit! {Like right now!}

So one day my little porn star surprised me with a gift. He bought me a P90X! Have your heard of it? It’s a set of intense workout DVDs; there are 13 DVD’s in the set that you have to commit to for 90 days! It’s supposed to really “transform” your body. I didn’t know what to make of this! Was this motherfucker calling me Fat?? I mean P90X ain’t no cheap shit, its expensive. So that really got me thinking, “He thinks I really have a problem?”OMG!! And I’m naked all time and he gives me P90X! Confused and convinced that we would have sex no more, I turned to my girls, who all assured that he probably got it for me because he knows how crazy I am are about my body! Of course we were still together after that, he thought I would have loved the gift. But I didn’t.

P90X is no joke, you are literally co-signing for this man, Tony Horton, to come up into your house and Kick Your Ass! No thanks! Please note that P90x is still collecting dust on top of my fridge, no less! Lol

This story has sparked my mission {our mission join me} of no longer rebounding. I’ll be 30 and I’m going to be super tight, with a fluffy round bottom of course!

Is this just some women shit? Ladies are you satisfied with the way your man looks, when he strips for you? Or is he leaving his tee shirt on to cover his double D’s or bird chest? Or is he soo hippy and doesn’t want you to see his girlie bottom so he sometimes leaves his boxers on, like we’re in high school sneaking a phuck! Lol.
As women I think we are so much more forgiving and tend to think his belly is cute, and adds character. Meanwhile, he isn’t smiling at those dimples on your ass, or that little muffin top you’ve been rocking.

So I’m saying today that I don’t like “Chubby”, I’m putting in the work and so should he! Women should be nice and soft to touch and men need to be hard and strong! Get it!

*** P.S. I’ve decided to get my Pilates Certification! So stay tuned to my fit tricks!

Posted by Nicole Spence at 9:23 AM 6 comments

Domestic Violence and Family Impact

February 24, 2009 9 comments

By Hugh V. Collins and Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

I know everyone is talking about the alleged domestic assault and battery that occurred between Chris Brown and Rihanna during the weekend of February 7 – 8, 2009. Recently, MTV, US Weekly and People magazine did specials or cover stories regarding the incident. Gossip organizations like and all had their spin on what transpired. Many people are expressing outrage and taking sides. Some people have stated that Rihanna must have done something and deserved to get beat by Chris Brown while others believe that Chris Brown had no right whatsoever to lay a hand on Rihanna regardless of the argument between them. Well, domestic abuse is more common and more people in the U.S. and in the world have witnessed some form of domestic abuse in their lives or among their families. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics report in 2005, one in 320 households were affected by intimate partner violence. Also, they report that female victims are more likely to be victimized by intimates than male victims.

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Chris Brown on Saturday Night Live?

February 23, 2009 1 comment

Kenan Thompson

Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson got into some trouble by stating that his show would be open to having Chris Brown as their special guest.

According to Kenan, "It’s not up to me, but I’m sure we would if he had another hit single. We don’t care about scandal. We just care about what brings us ratings!"

Black Love: Is He ready to Commit? How you can Tell

February 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Every woman knows how hard it is when she puts in serious time with a guy who refuses to commit… until he moves on to his next girlfriend, and then suddenly, he’s springing for a rock. Single women assume that a guy will pop the question once he finds someone he’s compatible with, i.e., The One. But that’s not enough to push him over the edge, according to clinical psychologist Alon Gratch, PhD, author of "If Men Could Talk." What, then, does it take?

"Being ready," says Gratch. "In my 25 years of experience working with men as a relationship therapist, it’s 49 percent the right woman, 51 percent his readiness to commit." That means that compatibility is hugely important. But if he’s not in a marriage mind-set yet, he’s not going to commit to anyone… not even Gisele.

In fact, 81 percent of the married men surveyed by the National Marriage Project said one reason they decided to wed was because it was the right time to settle down.

"Of course, even if a guy is ready to walk down the aisle, he still needs to find the right person," says Gratch. "But he is more likely to meet her once he’s in that marrying state of mind." To help us figure it all out, we asked Gratch to explain. Here, he divulges the five factors that make a man want to take the plunge.


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Your Black News: NY Post Apologizes for Obama Monkey Cartoon….sort of

February 20, 2009 2 comments

A day after publishing a cartoon that drew fire from critics who said it evoked historically racist images, the New York Post apologized in a statement on its Web site — even as it defended its action and blasted some detractors.

A New York Post cartoon has sparked a debate over race and cartooning this week.

A New York Post cartoon has sparked a debate over race and cartooning this week.

Many of those critical of the cartoon said it appeared to compare President Obama to a chimpanzee in a commentary on his recently approved economic stimulus package.

"Wednesday’s Page Six cartoon — caricaturing Monday’s police shooting of a chimpanzee in Connecticut — has created considerable controversy," the paper said about the drawing, which shows two police officers standing over the body of a chimpanzee they just shot.

The drawing is a reference to the mauling of a woman by a pet chimpanzee, which was then killed by police. In the cartoon, one of the officers tells the other, "They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

The Post said the cartoon was meant to mock what it called an "ineptly written" stimulus bill.

"But it has been taken as something else — as a depiction of President Obama, as a thinly veiled expression of racism," reads the statement. "This most certainly was not its intent; to those who were offended by the image, we apologize."

But the statement immediately swerves to fire back at some of the image’s critics.

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"However, there are some in the media and in public life who have had differences with The Post in the past — and they see the incident as an opportunity for payback," the statement says. "To them, no apology is due. Sometimes a cartoon is just a cartoon — even as the opportunists seek to make it something else."

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Eric Holder Says US Is a “nation of cowards”

February 18, 2009 8 comments

Eric Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, said Wednesday the United States was "a nation of cowards" on matters of race, with most Americans avoiding candid discussions of racial issues. In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder said.

Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, but "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race."

Holder’s speech echoed President Barack Obama’s landmark address last year on race relations during the hotly contested Democratic primaries, when the then-candidate urged the nation to break "a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years" and bemoaned the "chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races." Obama delivered the speech to try to distance himself from the angry rhetoric of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.


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YBW Family Member Kevin Powell: How do we end violence against women?

February 18, 2009 1 comment

Writer’s note:

Given all the hype and controversy around Chris Brown’s alleged beating of Rihanna, I feel compelled to post this essay I originally wrote in late 2007, so that some of us can have an honest jump off point to discuss male violence against females, to discuss the need for ownership of past pains and traumas, to discuss the critical importance of therapy and healing. Let us pray for Rihanna, first and foremost, because no one deserves to be beaten, or beaten up. No one. And let us also pray that Chris Brown gets the help he needs by way of long-term counseling and alternative definitions of manhood rooted in nonviolence, real love, and, alas, real peace. And let us not forget that Rihanna and Chris Brown happen to be major pop stars, hence all the media coverage, blogs, etc. Violence against women and girls happen every single day on this planet without any notice from most of us. Until we begin to address that hard fact, until we all, males and females alike, make a commitment to ending the conditions that create that destructive behavior in the first place, it will not end any time soon. There will be more Rihannas and more Chris Browns.

In my recent travels and political and community work and speeches around the country, it became so very obvious that many American males are unaware of the monumental problems of domestic violence and sexual assault, against women and girls, in our nation. This seems as good a time as any to address this urgent and overlooked issue. Why is it that so few of us actually think about violence against women and girls, or think that it’s our problem? Why do we go on believing it’s all good, even as our sisters, our mothers, and our daughters suffer and a growing number of us participate in the brutality of berating, beating, or killing our female counterparts?

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Roland Burris to be Investigated for Perjury

February 18, 2009 1 comment

U.S. Sen. Roland Burris’ admission that he tried to raise campaign funds for ousted Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is prompting calls for his resignation and a perjury investigation.

Burris told reporters in Peoria late Monday that he "talked to some people" last year about holding a fundraiser for the now-disgraced former Democratic governor. At the time, Burris was seeking the appointment to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

ILLINOIS GOP LEADER: Sen. Burris should resign

SEN. BURRIS: Insists he did not change his testimony

Burris did not organize a Blagojevich fundraiser, but his latest statements about contacts with the former governor’s brother and other advisers appear to contradict previous public comments, testimony and affidavits he had given to the Illinois General Assembly.

Burris originally told the Illinois House impeachment committee last month that he had no contact with Blagojevich or his representatives b


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Your Black Readers Comment on Chris Brown Situation

February 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Thousands of readers have been responding strongly to the article written by Dr. Boyce Watkins about the Chris and Rihanna situation.  The comments range from enlightening to flat out stupid.  Read the comments below and make one of your own!


Anonymous Anonymous said…

now if a man came to us and told us they had herpes w vwould try to fight them to but just because chris brown is a celeb everybody is making a big deal about it.Yes,if my man came tome and said he had herpes probably would have done the same thing.

February 15, 2009 12:00 PM
Anonymous La’Trina Jones said…

any nigga be hittin me get merked real qwick!!!

February 15, 2009 12:29 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

I feel that Rihanna was very wrong for giving her lover Chris Brown STD .People also need understand that is herpes Chris brown will have to live with that for the rest of his life. Rihanna should be a shame of her self.And yes i feel chris brown should have handle this matter in another way but u have to really think about how chris was feeling at that time. Now Chris have to live his life everyday Knowing he have herpes.I feel that Rihanna should be charge knowing the fact she had herpes. a was willing to give her nasty herper to a yong gentel man chris brown.I work as a nurse and my heart goes out to Mr Brown.All Chris Brown can do is give it to god and let god work it out for him.

February 15, 2009 2:02 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

I feel no man have rights to hit a woman . But Rihanna is very wrong and she should be charge too.Knowing the fact she been had that mess.That is herpesso that mean Chris Brown will have that mess for the rest of his life, who to say what else Rihanna might be hiding i think Chris need to check make sure he dos’nt have anything else .I feel there should be a law for people that walk around here in this world and knowing that they have herpes our what ever the case my be. if they can have the ball to give you there nasty STD they should be put away for the rest of there life.Because all they are going to do is go somewhere else and give it to somebody else.There is alot of sick people in this world.All you can do is just give it to god he can do all things.

February 15, 2009 2:38 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

1. You’ll don’t know if that’s the reason why they had the altercation.
2. Rhianna had an outbreak some weeks ago and during that time Chris was all over her. Go look for the pics. So, I don’t believe that there is any way that he didn’t know that she had herpes.
3. Even if he eventually found out she had herpes and transmitted it to him, who is to say that she always knew she had it. Herpes is a disease that if you don’t have an outbreak and haven’t gotten tested you wouldn’t know you have it. There are lots of people walking around with herpes passing it to others and don’t even know. You can use a condom and still possibly pass it to your lover.
Know the facts about the disease before you start making comments.
4. Who is to say Chris isn’t the one to give her herpes. Everyone doesn’t have the outbreaks so their is no way to know who gave it to whom.
That being said he still had no right hitting her like she is his damn child.
He better get it together quick before Jay or Tay Tay roll up on his behind and wear him out.

February 15, 2009 4:28 PM
Anonymous Strong Black Woman said…

Dayum yall some week-assed niggas in here! What "credible" source do you have stating that Rhianna gave Chris herpes. SHAME ON YOU DR. BOYCE! Glad to see sum of us thinks its okay hittin a woman.

February 15, 2009 4:29 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

Strong black woman, notice that he said "allegedly" gave him herpes. He didn’t say he knew it. He is not saying that he knows for sure. Plus, the story is being reported in all kinds of news outlets, so I believe it.

February 15, 2009 4:38 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

so you the type of nigga who listen to gossip huh? punk-ass trick!

February 15, 2009 5:19 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

The herpes thing was on The Tom Joyner Morning Show….punk ass trick.

February 15, 2009 5:25 PM
Anonymous Crabb Mendoza said…

who da fuc is tom joynner??? just another whiny azz neegro! cause that slob say so make it tru??? what "proof" do he got??

February 15, 2009 5:28 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

Leave it to Boyce to get some stupid shit going. Im telling you the brother works for Willie Lynch!

February 15, 2009 8:10 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

This article is right on point Dr. Boyce. It’s sad that there are black men on this listserv who think that women should be hit. You guys are pretty fucked up.
Thank you for speaking up for black women everywhere, well the ones that are not crazy.

February 15, 2009 8:16 PM
Anonymous Willie Horton said…

"Thank you for speaking up for black women everywhere, well the ones that are not crazy."

February 15, 2009 9:33 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

Wise words professor. Thank you Dr. Boyce

February 15, 2009 10:55 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

Totally agree with you!
OMG! Even celebrity can get STDs.
No wonder why more and more people join the STD dating site

February 16, 2009 1:51 AM
Anonymous paris bars said…

Chris Brown is so cute !

February 16, 2009 5:53 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

I just wanna say who cares if you think it’s scary people are on Chris Browns side. That’s what fans do lol. I’m almost thirty and have never bought either of their cd’s. We already have Beyonce and Nelly Furtado any thing in between is not needed. Rihanna will have tO stand up for herself before she can stand up for other women!! I hope she takes everyones advice and leaves him for good…for HIS SAKE!!!p.s Rihanna is loved…but not All around the world…sorry.

February 16, 2009 11:21 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said…

yeah it was wrong for chris brown to hit rihanna but if its true that rihanna gave chris herpes, thats wrong. no man should put his hands on a woman period. i’ve been in a abusive relationship that i got out of after 11 monthes. I like chris brown and rihanna but they need to work things out and whatever started the argument needs to stop and chris should of walked away or something then hitting rihanna. chris brown is cute and doesnt deserve to have a STD from anyone he’s too young for that.I say that chris brown needs help with his anger so things can work out between him and rihanna. i think that chris and rihanna is a great couple but not if chris continues to beat on rihanna for whatever it is. i also think that men who beat on women are pussys and do it cuz they are insecure with themselves and cant control nobody else but women. I like you chris brown but you need to quit your abuse on rihanna and try to work things out with rihanna then hitting on her and taking your anger out on her, try to talk things over about your feelings with rihanna it might work out between you two. i hope things work out between you and rihanna.

February 16, 2009 11:30 AM

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Your Black Celebs Give their Two Cents on Chrianna

February 17, 2009 1 comment

Among those who offered their comments on the subject were Hollywood acquaintances of the pair, including actress Gabrielle Union, who was reluctant to say if she thought Chris Brown was guilty.

"Unfortunately, no one knows all the facts yet… " she said to Warner Brothers’ TV extra website. The "Cadillac Records" star went on to add: "What I think is great about this unfortunate situation is it can get us talking about violence… violence is never the answer. It’s good to get that dialogue started. I wish this wasn’t the catalyst for that… it’s never good to use violence as a means to an end."


This opinion seemed to be nearly unanimous, Spice Girls star Mel B spoke out for her friend on Monday, saying "For this to happen to a superstar like her is eye-opening. If the rumours are true then Chris should be punished. No woman deserves to be treated like that – and I hope she knows there’s tons of support for her." According to Mel B the pair became friends in 2008 when they were working in neighbouring studios.

Musical act Aliaune Thiam, better known by his stage name Akon, offered his support for the ‘Umbrella’ star, saying "Keep doing what you’re doing baby. Keep things positive!" The pair collaborated on the song "Emergency Room."

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President Barack Obama to Sign Stimulus in Denver

February 17, 2009 1 comment

President Barack Obama is ready to sign into law the most sweeping economic package in decades, a rescue plan meant to reinvigorate job creation, consumer spending and public optimism. Add the bill to an ever-growing deficit.

Capping the biggest victory of his month-old administration, Obama will sign the economic legislation Tuesday in Denver.

The setting, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, is meant to underscore the investments the new law will make in "green" energy-related jobs. It also allows Obama to get away from Washington, where the bill’s passage was a mostly partisan affair, and be among people who may benefit from the huge government intervention.

The flailing economy continues to dominate Obama’s time.

Tuesday is also when General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which are living off a combined $13.4 billion in federal bailout loans, are due to hand in plans to Obama’s government about how they can remain viable.

And on Wednesday in Arizona, Obama will unveil another part of his economic recovery effort — a plan to help millions of homeowners fend off foreclosure.


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Black News: President Obama Disappoints Civil Libertarians

February 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Despite President Obama’s vow to open government more than ever, the Justice Department is defending Bush administration decisions to keep secret many documents about domestic wiretapping, data collection on travelers and U.S. citizens, and interrogation of suspected terrorists.

In half a dozen lawsuits, Justice lawyers have opposed formal motions or spurned out-of-court offers to delay court action until the new administration rewrites Freedom of Information Act guidelines and decides whether the new rules might allow the public to see more.

In only one case has the Justice Department agreed to suspend a FOIA lawsuit until the disputed documents can be re-evaluated under the yet-to-be-written guidelines. That case involves negotiations on an anti-counterfeiting treaty, not the more controversial, secret anti-terrorism tactics that spawned the other lawsuits as well as Obama’s promises of greater openness.

"The signs in the last few days are not entirely encouraging," said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed several lawsuits seeking the Bush administration’s legal rationales for warrantless domestic wiretapping and for its treatment of terrorism detainees.

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Why Chris Brown was Dead Wrong

February 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Dr Boyce Watkins

I’ve always liked the singer Chris Brown.  In fact, I still like him very much.  But I was, like everyone else, shocked to find out aboutChris’ alleged involvement in a boxing matchwith his girlfriend, singer Rihanna.  I was surprised because this kind of behavior doesn’t fit the good boy image that Chris’ managers work so hard to maintain. 

I read up on the story,  thought about it carefully, tried to remember my own mistakes and experiences at the age of 19, and came to a conclusion:  Chris Brown was DEAD WRONG.

Ladies, I know you love Chris.  The man can sing his butt off, and he has all the makings of a swoon-aholic.  I also think that, like Michael Vick and other brothers who have made bad choices, Chris deserves to be forgiven at some point.  But the fact that there are so many (mostly women) willing to immediately forgive and forget or even thrust the blame for all this on Rihanna, is a bit scary and significantly misguided.

Let’s be clear on this right now:  A MAN HAS NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER TO PUT HIS HANDS ON YOU.

The only exception is if you try to kill him or come at him with a deadly weapon.  No, Rihanna allegedly giving Chris herpes is not an excuse, since a) the herpes rate in America is about 48% in the Black community and people are passing it around all the time without realizing it (you may be getting herpes from your lover right now – you might wanna look into that), b) many people don’t even know they are passing it since most people don’t get tested, c) you are the one who chose to sleep with that person without having them tested, and d) assaulting someone physically is not the correct response to your disappointments.  There are more intelligent ways to handle disputes with your lover.

Here’s the deal to the brothers:  domestic violence or assault on a woman is not only wrong, but it will land you in jail.  If you are in a situation with a woman which leads you to feel the need to assault her physically, you should IMMEDIATELY REMOVE YOURSELF from the scenario.  Don’t talk to the woman anymore, and don’t allow anyone into your space who might lead you to feel compelled to destroy everything you’ve worked for.  Who you allow into your life is one of the most important decisions you will ever make and your entire world can go down in flames over one bad decision.

To the ladies:  some of you have to slow your roll on this whole "we can forgive everything if he sings well and has money" mindset.  With all the evidence of R. Kelly wanting to get freaky with 12 year olds, I found myself astounded that women were willing to laugh off his behavior as simply "artist eccentricity".   No, that is what they call CHILD MOLESTATION.  While I don’t consider Chris Brown to be nearly as deranged as R. Kelly, the facts remain the same: if a guy can sing, many women will forgive damn near anything.   The same way many men are tempted by (as Bell, Biv Devoe said) "a big butt and a smile", many women are equally sucked into bad decisions by a big wallet and smooth words.  As Martin Luther King might agree, there’s something to be said about analyzing the content of someone’s character.  If a man beats you today,  he will almost always do it again.  If he treats you like crap before you’re married, he’ll keep doing it after you walk down the isle.  If he cheats on you now, he’s probably going to keep doing it.  If he isn’t taking care of his kids when he met you, he’s probably not going to take care of yours.  Some concepts are pretty simple, but the elixir of love makes us blind, deaf, dumb and crazy.  The truth is that most people tell us exactly who they are if we are willing to listen and observe.

To Chris Brown:  I like your personality a lot.  You have tremendous talent and you appear to be a good person who made a horrible mistake.  But don’t ever make that mistake again.  Not only have you jeopardized everything you and your business associates have worked for, you did something that was flat out wrong.  You are a woman magnet like no other, but that doesn’t give you a blank check on irresponsible behavior.  Being a successful and powerful man does not imply that you have the right to put your hands on a woman, and if that were my daughter, we’d have a serious problem.  If Rihanna is as crazy as she sounds, then send her packing…..put her umbrella (ella ella) in her suitcase and just tell her to go "live her life" with somebody else.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and author of "What if George Bush were a Black Man?" For more information, please visit

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President Barack Obama Celebrates Stimulus

February 15, 2009 Leave a comment

US President Barack Obama early Saturday hailed a 787-billion-dollar economic stimulus plan passed by Congress, calling it "a major milestone on our road to recovery."

"This is a major milestone on our road to recovery, and I want to thank the members of Congress who came together in common purpose to make it happen," Obama said in his weekly radio address.

He promised to sign the package into law "shortly."

The comments came after the US Congress late Friday approved a 787-billion-dollar package of tax cuts and fresh spending to salvage the broken US economy, handing the president his biggest yet political victory.

The Senate voted 60-38 to pass the measure hours after it cleared the House of Representatives by a lopsided 246-183 margin, setting the stage for Obama to sign the measure into law before his self-imposed February 16 deadline.


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The Untold History of Black New Orleans

February 15, 2009 Leave a comment

By Leland C. Abraham, Esq.

Outside of the New Orleans, very few of Black Americans have heard of this historic place. Faubourg Treme (hereinafter called “Treme”) was one of the first communities of black free men during slavery. Treme began as a plantation like any other plat of land during the time. Near the end of the 18th century, Claude Treme purchased the land. Within a few decades of this purchase, a canal was built that split the land. Some developers then began to make the land into neighborhoods. These neighborhoods would go on to house whites, creoles and free people of color throughout the 1800s.
Louisiana was a little different from the other southern states in that blacks could purchase their freedom. In fact, some blacks had their own slaves during this time period. Treme was extremely unique in that it was a precursor to a lot of black history. For example, the first black newspaper publication came from Treme. The Tribune started out as a French language publication but later became bilingual. This was important because after the civil war, the Tribune urged it black readers to “boycott” the rail system until there was equal treatment among the races. This would have been in the latter portion of the 19th Century, well before the “Birmingham Bus Boycott.”

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Dr Boyce Money: Credit Card Companies Raising Interest Rates

February 14, 2009 1 comment

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

In case you weren’t sure, credit card companies are not out to help you. If you are financially illiterate and uninformed, they are going to exploit you. If you are worried about the financial crisis, they are going to prey on your fear to get money out of you. They are also doing exactly what the rest of us are doing: trying to remain protected in a fragile economy.

The stimulus is stymied. The bailout is a failout. The stock market has consistently given a “thumbs down” to every piece of legislation passed in response to this crisis. Our economy is like the sick man who won’t respond to antibiotics. While the results of the latest package are yet to be seen, the truth is that no one is sure what will work. Every company is out to protect their assets and hold on to their cash, which means they no longer have much interest in loaning money to you.

Yes, this is true even if you have a good credit score, which is the ironic part.

Customers are opening their monthly statements to find that credit card companies have started to either ration credit (give less of it) or raise the interest rate being paid on outstanding debt. This doesn’t even count all the dirty tactics used, like using your payments to pay off low interest debt first, quietly getting rid of the grace period or charging interest on your balance from the prior two months vs. the current one. Even when you’ve been making payments on time for years, banks keep raising the bar to maximize shareholder wealth. When liquidity is scarce, those giving out water demand a higher cost per bottle. Additionally, higher default rates have justified the increase in interest rates, but higher interest rates increase the likelihood of default. It’s a nasty cycle, really.

Lawmakers are trying to intervene. Congressional hearings have taken place. Banks are being scolded by senators who keep telling them that this form of business practice is unethical and that they are gouging the American consumer. All this might be true, but what is also true is that you can’t force banks to loan you money. Also, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to legislate a strong economy.

If you have a less than stellar financial history, there is an even greater opportunity for your credit card company to raise your interest rates. If you have defaulted on other loans or are a slow payer in other areas, then they have no problem telling you to pay up or ship out. The days of easy money are long behind us, and companies are dramatically shifting their business practices.

The bottom line is that THEY’VE GOT YOU. They know that you’ve become addicted to the debt they so readily offered in the past, and this debt has become the lifeblood for the lifestyle to which you’ve chosen to become accustomed. They know that they can charge you a higher interest rate because you can’t do anything about it. Like a drug addict who is angry about paying more for his product, you really don’t have any other choice.

Well, maybe you do.

Here is one solution: tighten your economic belt. That means putting together a financial fitness plan today that consists of getting rid of as much debt as possible. I’ve mentioned in prior articles and on our website that paying off debt can be one of the best investments you make with your money. This is especially true if you have a stable job and are paying a high rate of interest to your credit card company.

So, the Dr. Boyce Challenge for this month is simple: Create a budget which includes the steady elimination of credit card debt. That means you should list every single expense you have for the entire month on one piece of paper or a spreadsheet. Don’t leave anything out. Count the money you want to use for getting your hair done, your nails, paying your mortgage, car note, whatever. Count everything. That will be your first step toward obtaining financial fitness.

As you create the budget, allocate at least 10% of your monthly after tax income toward reducing credit card debt. So, if you earn $3,000 per month after taxes,$300 per month should be allocated toward removing credit card debt, not including interest. So, if you owe $5,000 in credit card debt, you can remove this debt in roughly a year and a half. While $300 may seem like a lot of money to find in your budget, it’s there if you look hard enough. In fact, if you spend $10 per day on lunch and/or coffee, you can find the bulk of the money by taking your lunch to work. Make this one of the first bills you pay, not the last. The last bill is the one that only gets paid half the time. It’s easier to negotiate with creditors if you don’t need them so much. Take small steps toward finding your financial freedom.

Next month, we will move to step 2 of the Dr. Boyce Financial Challenge. While I confess that this change won’t be easy, I can promise that it will be worth it in the end. Be strong and remain focused, this is your opportunity to shine.

Dr Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “Financial Lipo 101: From financial fat to fitness”, to be released in April, 2009. For more information, please visit

Black Sports: Michael Vick in Hot NFL Demand

February 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Let the Michael Vick sweepstakes begin.

In a report on today, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff stated that the team wants to trade away the rights of former quarterback Michael Vick. The team has taken small steps to rid themselves of the troubled player since his subsequent jail sentence in 2007.

The Falcons drafted Matt Ryan third overall in last spring’s NFL draft, and that pick has worked out well for the team so far. They made an impromptu playoff run last season and have not looked back.

Since the Falcons have been able to get past the Vick distraction, they are now ready to move on completely without him. But you may think, “What team in its right mind wants to trade for a former player that has been sitting in prison for the last two years?”

Try a team that is in desperate need of a quarterback or a difference maker on offense.

Let’s not forget that Michael took the Falcons to the NFC Championship game some years back, and they either led the league or were near the top of the league in rushing when he was under center. Your favorite team’s wide receivers may not like him, but your running backs will.

With Vick in the backfield, he opens up so many opportunities for your offense. He may not warrant being the starter for your team, but he can run a version of the wildcat offense and play a little receiver. Vick may be able to return punts and kickoffs if he gains a little more muscle when he comes back into the league.

But what teams would actually think about trading for him?


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Black Global News: Liberians Face Mass Deportation

February 13, 2009 Leave a comment

There is a deep sense of anxiety these days in Liberian community all around the United States. About 10,000 Liberians could face deportation come march 31, this year when a temporary protection status that allows them to stay here expires unless President Obama or Congress intervenes. The U.S. government contends Liberia is now a stable country and these migrants should return home.
Liberians have lived in the U.S. since the early 1990’s under a temporary protected status. Now that the Liberian government is showing some signs of stabilization, the U.S. government is trying to lift the temporary protected status and deport many of the 20,000 Liberians who are now living in the U.S.

I watched in complete disbelief Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform on CNN talking about how "It is time for people to go back and rebuild their country,"He said for Liberians to stay when their country is at peace would be an abuse of U.S. hospitality.

"It makes a mockery of the concept of short-term temporary humanitarian protection." he went on to say.
I would like to point out to Mr Stein however,that the State department own travel advisory is warning Americans to avoid travel to the country, because of serious security concern. so my question is, if its not safe for Americans to go there, how is it safe for thousands of Liberians with their U.S born children, who are U.S citizens to go there?

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Roland Martin: Obama’s Press Office Needs Diversity

February 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Roland S. Martin, CNN

A lot of media outlets made a big deal out of the mostly white White House press corps covering the first black president, and those stories were worth pursuing.

All of us in the business know full well that those are considered plum jobs and are steppingstones to greater things.
But while we hold the media accountable for the need to diversify their ranks, it’s quite telling to see the lack of diversity in the White House’s press office.

I got an e-mail Tuesday listing all of the various press folks and contact information, and hardly any African-Americans or Hispanics were listed. Granted, the deputy press secretary is African-American, and the director of broadcast media is Hispanic. But that’s not sufficient.

Unfortunately, this shouldn’t come as a shock because the campaign press staff of then-Sen. Barack Obama was just as weak on diversity.

Just because there is a black president doesn’t mean that diversity should be cast aside. President Obama should be held to the same standard when it comes to this issue as any other occupier of that office. I am a former national board member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and my support for diversity never wavers, no matter who is running the show.

One of the reasons this is important is ��” just like in the media, where there are bigger and better things awaiting White House correspondents ��” a position in the White House press office positions someone for the next level.

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Your Black President: 18-year old Tolu Olorunda Breaks Down Fox News and “Mainstream” Media

February 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Most would agree that FOX News, Rupert Murdoch’s crumbling empire, has not been exactly fair to Black people over the years. In fact, it has, whenever possible, vehemently attacked whoever it perceived to be an important factor in Black America. At any given opportunity, its multi-millionaire hosts have encouraged, entertained and enlisted the support of pundits who openly detest Black people, and feel undaunted in speaking out publicly about it. Occasionally, when the fruits seem too ripe to withstand, the hosts themselves, caught in the hysteria of race-intoxication, spill out their guts about their disdain for Black humanity.

An example of this occurred in September 2007, when FOX News’ top-rated host, Bill O’Reilly, narrated a recent encounter he had at a Black Harlem Restaurant – Sylvia’s. As O’Reilly claims, this experience was life-changing, because “there was no difference between Sylvia’s restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks, primarily black patronship.” O’Reilly later continued: “There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M-Fer, I want more iced tea’.” The host, undisciplined by the network, would thereafter suggest that not only were his words misconstrued, but he deserves an apology from his detractors, because their nitpicking plays a part in stalling ongoing racial progress.


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Dr Boyce Watkins: What Love Means to Me

February 11, 2009 Leave a comment

Brought to you by The Great Black Speakers Bureau – The #1 Black Speakers Bureau in the world.

To get financial advice from Dr. Boyce, please visit  To see video commentary from Dr. Boyce, please click here.

Dr. Boyce Watkins

FYI: I should be on the NPR show "Tell Me More with Michel Martin", a journalist for whom I have tremendous respect.  We recorded today with Shelby Steele, a conservative scholar out at Stanford and another scholar named Jon Powell, at Ohio State.  The conversation is interesting, and I recommend you give it a listen.  You can learn more about the show at this link:

I also got another call yesterday from "The Big O"…yes, you know who I am talking about.  Apparently, there is some interest in my Financial Lovemaking Book.  I’ll keep you posted on that one, since I am not 100% sure if my demographic matches that of the Great Ms. Winfrey.  While I feel that Financial Lovemaking can work well for her audience, my alignment with the hip hop community may make for an awkward fit.  The fact that I engage in critical analysis (meaning that no one is 100% good or 100% bad) means that I sometimes make enemies in this game because of my refusal to kiss anyone’s butt too much.  But I do give respect where it is due, and I consider Oprah to be an amazing role model for all of us.  The same goes for President Obama. 

In light of the fact that Valentine’s Day is coming, I was thinking about the whole idea of love.  I must also admit that I thought about love when I noticed the singer Chris Brown might have ruined his career in this mad situation with Rihanna (apparently, there may be some abuse in that relationship, I’m not sure).  Either way, I think that anyone who has been young and in a relationship understands how stupid and crazy things can happen.  I’ve never considered Chris Brown to be a bad person.  But he may have done a bad thing.

Seeing the huge loss that these two young people may have imposed on their lives (Chris and Rihanna), led me to reflect on love and what it means to me.  Here is my personal perspective on love….love it or hate it (haha).

What Love Should and Should Not Be

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

I’ve lived a bit of life and made my share of mistakes.  But as a professor, I am trained to learn from poor choices and grow from them.  Most processes have a purpose and a pattern.  If you think hard enough and honestly confront your failures, triumphs and observations, you can usually walk away with a bit of insight.  The term “No pain, no gain”, can certainly be applied in the game of love, and I intend to gain from my own personal portfolio of blissful heartache.

So, I’ve come up with some “Rules of Love” out of respect for Valentine’s Day.  It’s not scientific and not a fit for everyone.  But it comes from the head, the heart and all the other body parts I can’t mention in this article.  So, at least you know it’s sincere.

Love should be RESPECTED: One of the silliest things I see in some relationships is that people seem to be most interested in chasing the person who loves them the least, while kicking their greatest admirers to the curb.  They choose the best option they can GET instead of the best option they’ve already GOT.  There is something that people love about a challenge.  It can be a natural instinct to equate kindness with weakness and easy access with a lack of value. Many of us are guilty of crying over the person who ignores us and ignoring the person who cries for us.  Someone who gives you their heart can also take it away, so we must respect those who’ve truly earned it.

Love should be EXPECTED:   Part of the reason that some of us spend our time chasing the loser who doesn’t love us is because deep down, we feel that someone who cares for us must be flawed or unworthy of our time.  On the other hand, it is easy to feel sorry for yourself when you see that the one you usually want doesn’t want you back.  The truth of the matter is that if someone disrespects the appreciation you are showing toward them, then they don’t deserve your love anyway.  You should love yourself enough to walk away from those who choose not to treat you as you deserve to be treated.

Love should be given to YOURSELF: Part of demanding the love that you deserve is engaging in the difficult art of SELF LOVE.  Many times, we look in the emotional mirror and see blemishes, flaws, faults, mistakes and the ugliest sides of who we are.   Rather than greeting the world with our heads held high, we keep our heads down and hope no one notices that we are not as good as everyone else.  Loving yourself is similar to learning to love another person:  there is a point where you must simply accept the flaws.   You must realize that you are no more defective and no more perfect than everyone else, and that you too deserve to be happy.  If you can’t love yourself, then it’s damn near impossible to truly love someone else, since you are only offering them what you perceive to be damaged goods.

Love is meant to be CELEBRATED:  I’ve admittedly never been able to fully grasp the concept of homosexuality, but I’ve never had a problem with gay marriage.  One thing I believe is that love was created by GOD: that includes love between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman.  There should not be religious, social or racial boundaries imposed on meaningful love, for we do not get to choose the shape, size or complexion of the package.  When God blesses someone with such a powerful connection, this love should be celebrated by all of us and not judged or held in contempt.   Melting someone’s halo of happiness by dousing it with a flood of hate is a counter-productive use of our time and a wasteful spiritual endeavor. 

Valentine’s Day is meant to be YEAR ROUND:  You should not need a special holiday to show someone you love them.  You should tell them something good, positive, and affirming every time you see them, because this will make that person feel good.  You should not need corporate America’s permission and some hyper-commercialized holiday as your excuse to show affection.   I encourage you to say ten nice things per day to people you care about, which may include complimenting them on their clothes, their hair, their personality, their beauty or their presence.  It will make them feel good and leave a lasting psychological impact.  Our words are “emotional money” and we should be consistently making donations.

Love should be REFLECTIVE:  The hardest way to get what you want is to selfishly pursue it, take it or relentlessly absorb it.  That’s like waiting for your paycheck and never showing up for work.  If you are in a truly loving situation, you get what you want by REFLECTING IT.   If you WANT more success out of life, you GIVE more hard work.  If you WANT better grades, you GIVE more time to the library.  If you WANT more appreciation from your partner, you GIVE more attention and affection.  If you choose to share your love with someone who deserves it, then they will give the love right back to you, with interest.  Like a healthy economy, the cycle will become recursive and productive trade increases the value of each partner’s “Life Portfolio”.   In pleasure, pain and everything in between, to get more, you must give more.  You must also make payments in the currency deemed most valuable to your partner.  There’s no way around that fact.

Love should be PRACTICED:  Love is not just a feeling, an emotion, a whim or something that makes your skin shiver.  Loving someone is a DELIBERATE ACT and a series of habits designed to sustain and maintain the relationship you have with one another.  The work of the greatest writers in history was not always driven by inspiration and a desire to write…..sometimes, it was the act of sitting down each day and forcing themselves to write which eventually inspired them to do their greatest work.  In other words, love is a series of proactive habits, choices and behaviors that correlate with your desire to have a meaningful and stable relationship with another person.  It’s not something you just randomly “fall into” and “out of”… is something you choose to do.

Love should be CONTEMPLATED: When it comes to dating, I tell my daughter and God daughters the following: “If a man is not someone you can see raising your children, then don’t even go out on the first date.”  They look at me like I’m crazy, but the point is simple:  While you cannot easily choose to release yourself from the psychological grips of love, you have some ability to choose who you are going to fall in love with in the beginning.  Most of us don’t meet someone and decide that we are going to be with this person for years.  There is always the first glance, the first date, the first kiss, the first touch, and before you know it, you’re stuck in a situation that doesn’t make any sense to you.  So, if you don’t start with point A, you can never reach point Z.  This makes the most sense when you can see that point Z is not the place you want to visit with this particular person.

Love should be REMEMBERED: A big challenge for many young or single people (and even those who are married) is that we spend our time chasing the love and affection that is most intriguing to our hormones, while ignoring the love that is most tried and true.  A man might spend hours on the phone with a pretty lady who doesn’t even like him, but simultaneously ignore his grandmother who would gladly give her life for him.  Valentine’s Day is not just the day you send “sweets to your sweetie”.  It is also the day you shower love on your mother, brother, sister, father, best friend, homeboy, children, grand parents and all the people who will love you long after your sweetie has become sweet on someone else.   In the city of love, new buildings are shiniest and most appealing.  But the older buildings are the sturdiest and most enduring.  

Love is LIFE:  Not only does the act of love create and sustain life, it is also the greatest part of our journey through life.  We may or may not remember or be inspired by our professional or educational achievements, but we have an immediate and powerful emotional reaction when we reflect on the love we’ve experienced over the years.  Thinking about children, family or ex-lovers can create an emotional response that can’t be matched by a corporate job or advanced degree.  I tell my students that one of the most important decisions they will ever make is who they choose to spend their lives with.  I’ve seen many people drive themselves down the path to hell by choosing to share their love with someone who deserves it the least.  Like the most amazing roller coaster, the journey of love is long, complicated, exciting, scary and fulfilling.  So, while we’re on this journey, we should make sure we turn on the GPS.

Happy Valentine’s Day and I hope this day inspires you to find the love that exists in your life.  It’s all around you if you learn to look for it.  Even in an economy like this one, the love in your life can make you a billionaire. 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University.  For more information, please visit    

Kanye, TI Speak on Chris Brown and Rihanna

February 10, 2009 1 comment


Not only are all the blogs talking about the assault that Rihanna endured from Chris Brown, now their celeb friends are speaking out too. Rapper Kanye West expressed his feeling about the situation earlier today stating,
She (Rihanna) has the potential to be the greatest artist of all time and, in that sense,…… I feel like that’s my baby sis and I would do any and everything to help her in any situation,… I feel like, just as a person, I don’t care how famous she is or even if she just worked at McDonald’s, that should never happen. It should never come to that place"

Rapper T.I. also commented on the situation on the Last Call With Carson Daly Show. See what he had to say below.


Seems like they both are taking sides, and since Kanye said he would do ANY and EVERYTHING for Rihanna maybe he can whoop Chris for her!!!

Labels: black celebrity gossip, Chris Brown, chris brown and rihanna domestic violence, kanye west, T.I.

What? PETA Dresses as Klan Members

February 10, 2009 1 comment

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals knows how to grab attention. And show off its laundry.

The animal rights group, which every year stages a protest at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, had two of its members dress in Ku Klux Klan garb outside Madison Square Garden on Monday.

Their goal, according to a post on the PETA website, was to draw a parallel between the KKK and the American Kennel Club. "Obviously it’s an uncomfortable comparison," PETA spokesman Michael McGraw told the Associated Press.

But the AKC is trying to create a "master race" when it comes to pure-bred dogs, he added. "It’s a very apt comparison."

The group passed out brochures implying the Klan and AKC have the goal of "pure bloodlines" in common.

FIND MORE STORIES IN: Madison Square Garden | Ethical Treatment of Animals | Ku Klux Klan | Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show | Michael McGraw

"I can’t speak for everyone, but the vast majority of the people exhibiting and handling and showing at Westminster are more interested in the health of dogs than anything else," Westminster spokesman David Frei told the AP.

"We want to produce the next generation of healthy and happy dogs," he said, "not just for the show ring but for the couches at home."

Bystander Fatima Walden told the AP the KKK imagery was inappropriate no matter what the message.

"They could have used something else as an example," she said. "You should be considerate to everybody."

Other than a shouting match during the hour-long protest, police said the scene remained calm.


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Obama Pushes to Avoid “Catastrophe”

February 10, 2009 Leave a comment

President Barack Obama, pressuring lawmakers to urgently approve a massive economic recovery bill, criticized Republicans who have balked at the legislation Monday night and said, "I can’t afford to see Congress play the usual political games." Obama used the first prime-time news conference of his presidency to warn that a failure to act swiftly and boldly "could turn a crisis into a catastrophe."

With the nation falling deeper into a long and painful recession, Obama defended his program against Republican criticism that it is loaded with pork-barrel spending and will not create jobs.

"The plan is not perfect," the president said. "No plan is. I can’t tell you for sure that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope, but I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis as well as the pain felt by millions of Americans."

Obama addressed the nation from the East Room of the White House in a news conference that lasted almost exactly one hour. He hit repeatedly at the themes he has emphasized in recent weeks, including at a town hall meeting to promote his plan earlier in the day in Elkhart, Ind.


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A-Rod Loved Barry Bonds – Some Now Know Why

February 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Outside of Curt Schilling and Cory Lidle, very few Major League Baseball players ever dared criticize Barry Bonds, at least on the record. Either they were afraid of Bonds, afraid of the Players Association, or afraid of the possibility that their own lives would become subject to the same scrutiny as his. It was a kind of tradition when teams swung through San Francisco to play the Giants that opposing players would form a small receiving line before batting practice to greet Bonds and lavish him with praise.

But no player was more vociferous in his support thanAlex Rodriguez. Because Rodriguez has spent his entire career in the American League, and Bonds his entire career in the National League, they did not share the field often. But on June 2007, with Bonds less than two months from the all-time home-run record, the Yankees rolled into San Francisco for a three-game interleague series that Rodriguez turned into a love fest.

Before the first game, Rodriguez called Bonds "arguably the best player to put on a uniform," a standard line. But Rodriguez went farther: "I’m a big fan of his work. He’s one of a kind. Studying him is like studyingPicasso." When it was suggested that alleged steroid use had changed the perception of Bonds, Rodriguez looked startled. "That’s too bad," he said, "because Barry’s such a great and unique talent. He should be celebrated."


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Nicole Spence: Is 30 the New 20?

February 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Nicole Spence – Relationship Guru

I’m a sexy soon to be 30year old woman… not quite at that the age where I could be labeled a Cougar. So, of course the notion of dating younger men seemed like a big waste of time! Why, you ask? Because in my mind, I’m like WTF is he ready for? And when I say young, I literally mean anyone below two years younger than me. Pointless! But you know what? I’ll be 30 soon, so, I’m all about doing things differently and seeing what the outcome will be….

A girlfriend of mine, let’s call her "Renee" recently started dating (or let’s just say hooking up) with a younger guy. She is 30 and the guy is 26! Once she mentioned his age, I was like “Oh Please K.I.M {Keep It Moving}.” Then the story grew even more stereotypical…drum roll please…he wants to be a Rapper!! WTF?? Who has time to deal with that headache? "Not I" said the Cat LOL! The voyeur that I am found this story to be very interesting, because my formerly sex starved friend then began to describe a “sexcapade” of 10 rounds! Whew! Nice! I’m Jealous!

Apparently, this young lad never grew tired or limp (giggles). He wasn’t the dreaded "one nutter"! My girlfriend who once shared my same sentiments: " MF is too young K.I.M!" was now lying spooned up with this young buck! She felt comfortable, so she was honest about her initial reaction to his career aspirations {wack}! To her surprise, she found out that "The Rapper" has a degree in Marketing, and can write his ass off! Light bulb! He’s talented. Being that’s she’s in the entertainment field, they discussed other avenues where his skills could be used like "advertising". Then, they rested in between sessions and had a building dialogue. Now, this sex buddy doesn’t seem that pointless. They had a great weekend of; I repeat 10 rounds {still jealous}! You never know they could be really good friends, or dare I say, "future Boos!”
I don’t know but it has me wondering… Is Young More Fun?
Ladies, is young more fun? Hit me up and tell about your experience with younger guys…

Your Black President: Barack Obama Needs Support for His Plan

February 9, 2009 1 comment

President Barack Obama faces a barrage of questions on his plans to reinvigorate the economy with a massive stimulus bill and additional billions in bailout money for the financial markets.

Trips Monday and Tuesday to cities hurting under the economic meltdown and a prime-time news conference Monday night show that Obama and his advisers are worried about a looming Senate vote on the stimulus bill, which failed to gather meaningful Republican support during rare weekend debate. The question-and-answer sessions with citizens and later with news reporters will allow Obama to appeal directly for grass-roots backing of his plans.

Both trips were added to Obama’s schedule as difficulties with the legislation on Capitol Hill increased. Originally, aides had insisted his time would be better spent in Washington to shepherd the bill rather than traveling the more traditional presidential route around the country, pressuring lawmakers from his bully pulpit.

The $827 billion Senate version of the plan was expected to pass the Senate on Tuesday. However, it must be reconciled with the House version, which totaled $820 billion in spending and tax cuts. With Senate and House negotiators preparing to deal, Obama is likely to push for a bill on his desk for his signature by mid-month.


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Black Athlete Dies from Suspicious “Suicide” in Mississippi

February 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Billey Joe Johnson Sr. opens the driver’s-side door of his dead son’s Silverado and begins to examine some of the leftover splatter. It clings to the dashboard, leeches out of air conditioning vents. Some of it even found a resting place on the truck’s exterior.

“There goes a hunk of meat right there,” the father said, pointing to a nickel-sized fragment of his son’s brain. “How’d it get over here?”

In the back seat, a geometry book rests next to camouflage clothing and empty boxes of buckshot. Billey Joe Johnson Jr. often woke up at 4 a.m. to hunt before heading to George County High School, where everyone knew him as the football star who would escape crushing rural poverty by running from it.

Piles of recruiting letters litter the back seat, the remnants of life as one of the most sought-after running backs in the Class of 2010. Alabama wanted Billey Joe. So did Notre Dame. And dozens of other schools. He was ready to commit to Auburn. By many accounts Billey Joe was a popular, big-dreaming, clean-living kid. So it’s no wonder his father stands in the yard next to a single-wide trailer, trying to play forensic expert. Searching – like many in this rural community – for answers about who shot his son.

PhotoSheriff’s incident reports and radio reports.

Local authorities stopped Billey Joe for a traffic violation on the morning of Dec. 8, and they say the truck is simply the site of a terrible tragedy. But to the elder Johnson, it’s a crime scene.

Nearly two months later, only one fact is certain: Instead of running out of George County as a football hero, Billey Joe was buried beneath it at the age of 17.

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Black Texas Justice: Man Falsely Accused of Rape Dies in Prison

February 8, 2009 Leave a comment

A man who died in prison while serving time for a rape he didn’t commit was cleared Friday by a judge who called the state’s first posthumous DNA exoneration "the saddest case" he’d ever seen.
State District Judge Charles Baird ordered Timothy Cole’s record expunged.

Calling it "the saddest case" he’d ever seen, a judge exonerates Timothy Cole, who was convicted of rape in 1985. DNA evidence helped clear Cole — and pointed to Jerry Wayne Johnson instead. Here, Johnson walks into a Texas courtroom on Friday, past a portrait of Cole. This was the first case in Texas history where DNA cleared someone who had died in prison.

Cole was convicted of raping a Texas Tech University student in Lubbock in 1985 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He died in 1999 at age 39 from asthma complications.
DNA tests in 2008 connected the crime to Jerry Wayne Johnson, who is serving life in prison for separate rapes. Johnson testified in court Friday that he was the rapist in Cole’s case and asked the victim and Cole’s family to forgive him.

"I’m responsible for all this. I’m truly sorry for my pathetic behavior and selfishness. I hope and pray you will forgive me," Johnson said.

The Innocence Project of Texas said Cole’s case was the first posthumous DNA exoneration in state history.

"I have his name," Cole’s mother, Ruby Cole Session, said after the hearing. "That’s what I wanted."
Cole and his relatives for years claimed he was innocent, but no one believed them until evidence from the original rape kit was tested for DNA. Cole had refused to plead guilty before trial in exchange for probation, and while in prison, he refused to admit to the crime when it could have earned him release on parole.

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Your Black Doctors: Dr. Ben Carson Gets a New Movie

February 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Dr. Carson

TNT’s "Gifted Hands" is one of those longform projects that has Emmy written all over it.

It boasts near-flawless direction from Thomas Carter, a vivid teleplay adaptation by John Pielmeier and uniformly magnificent performances, particularly from star Cuba Gooding Jr., who puts himself back onto the Hollywood map here in a way he hasn’t since his Oscar-winning turn in 1996’s "Jerry Maguire."

Gooding portrays the real-life world-renowned brain surgeon Benjamin Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and author of a best-selling 1990 autobiography.

It’s taken nearly two decades to get Carson’s inspiring story to the screen, but Gooding does him more than proud with a portrayal at once sensitively wrought and quietly moving.

In lesser hands (if you’ll pardon the pun), this biopic could easily have drifted off into maudlin sap, but Gooding keeps the character of Carson centered and human and the film honoring him wise and surprisingly graphic. (The surgical procedures are showcased in all of their bloody glory, but not so much as to cross the line to gratuitousness.)

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Your Black President: President Obama’s Artist Arrested for Outstanding Warrants

February 8, 2009 Leave a comment

A street artist famous for his red, white and blue "Hope" posters of President Obama has been arrested on warrants accusing him of tagging property with graffiti, police said Saturday.

Shepard Fairey was arrested Friday night on his way to the Institute of Contemporary Art for a kickoff event for his first solo exhibition, called Supply and Demand.

Two warrants were issued for Fairey on Jan. 24 after police determined he’d tagged property in two locations with graffiti based on the Andre the Giant street art campaign from his early career, Officer James Kenneally said. One of the locations was the railroad trestle by the landmark Boston University bridge over the Charles River, police said.

Fairey, 38, of Los Angeles, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Brighton District Court, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney. Wark said Fairey would also be arraigned on a default warrant related to a separate graffiti case in the Roxbury section of Boston.

Fairey has spent the last two weeks in the Boston area installing the ICA exhibit and creating outdoor art, including a 20-by-50 foot banner on the side of City Hall, according to a statement issued Saturday by the museum.


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Your Black Sports: Judge may toss some evidence in Barry Bonds case

February 7, 2009 Leave a comment

A federal judge says she might toss some of the strongest evidence against Barry Bonds, a blow to prosecutors trying to prove the home run king lied when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said her "preliminary thoughts" were to exclude from trial three 2000-2001 positive drug tests that prosecutors say belong to Bonds unless there is a direct link that the urine samples came from the former San Francisco Giants slugger.

"If there’s no testimony to establish that, I don’t think any of them work," Illston said.

The only person who can do that seems to be Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, who spent more than a year behind bars for refusing to speak to a federal grand jury investigating Bonds. And Anderson’s attorney, Mark Geragos, has said his client will not testify against Bonds at the trial, scheduled to start March 2.

If her preliminary thoughts stand, the government’s case against Bonds will suffer a significant blow — but not a fatal one, legal analysts said.

"It hurts, but the government still has quite a bit of other evidence," Golden Gate University law professor Peter Keane said.

That includes a recorded conversation between Anderson and Bonds’ former personal assistant Steve Hoskins in which they discuss injecting steroids; a conversation Illston said she’s inclined to allow at trial.

Illston will issue a formal decision on the evidence discussed Thursday at a later date. She also will hold a separate hearing on whether to allow testimony from expert doctors the government hopes would persuade a jury that changes in Bonds’ body were due to steroid use.


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Your Black Politics: Obama Pushes Bush Faith-Based Initiatives

February 7, 2009 Leave a comment

President Obama established his own faith-based initiatives office Thursday, reversing a Bush administration policy that allowed churches to discriminate in their hiring practices.

"Whatever our differences, there is one law that binds all great religions together . . . It is, of course, the golden rule, the call to love one another, to understand one another, to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth," Obama said at the National Prayer Breakfast.

"It is an ancient rule, a simple rule, but also perhaps the most challenging, for it asks each of us to take some measure of responsibility for the well-being of people we may not know or worship with, or agree with on every issue or any issue," he added as he unveiled his faith-based agenda.

Obama signed an executive order creating the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Unlike ex-President Bush, churches with hiring policies that discriminate won’t be eligible for federal grants under the executive order.


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Your Black President: Barack Obama Gets His Bill Passed

February 7, 2009 Leave a comment

With job losses soaring nationwide, Senate Democrats reached agreement with key Republicans Friday night on an economic stimulus measure at the heart of President Barack Obama’s plan for combatting the worst recession in decades. "The American people want us to work together. They don’t want to see us dividing along partisan lines on the most serious crisis confronting our country," said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of two GOP senators who signaled support for the bill.

Officials put the cost of the measure at $780 billion in tax cuts and new spending combined. No details were immediately available, and there appeared to be some confusion even among senators about the price tag as floor debate continued late into the night.

The agreement capped a tense day of backroom negotiations in whichSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid, joined by White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, sought to attract the support of enough Republicans to give the measure the needed 60-vote majority.

In addition to Collins, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said he would vote for the bill. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, remained uncommitted.


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Dr. Marc Lamont Hill: The Future of Columbia University

February 7, 2009 1 comment


Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is a noted author, columnist, professor and member of the growing body of “Hip-Hop Intellectuals” in the country today. Giving voice to topics ranging from hip hop culture, politics, religion, sexuality and education, Dr Hill has become a much needed voice and representative for the African American community. His series of articles, ‘ Why Hip-Hop Sucks’ have sparked healthy debate within the hip hop community, holding a mirror up to music artists and consumers in attempts to improve our current state. Named as one of America’s top 30 Black Leaders Under 30 years old byEbony Magazine, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is indeed an intelligent, powerful figure with purpose and reason, the makings of a great leader.

Q: You consider yourself to be a Hip-Hop intellectual, what does that mean?
For me, the term “hip-hop intellectual” means several things. First, it means that my intellectual calling is prompted by the particular and often unique conditions faced by the hip-hop generation. Also, the term reflects my desire to link hip-hop culture, which is often seen as anti-intellectual, to a long and deep tradition of engaged intellectual activity. Finally, the term speaks to the ways in which hip-hop language, aesthetics, and values shape the way I approach my work.

Q: The Hip Hop generation has often been referred to as the “Lost Generation.” Do you believe this is true?
Oh God no! As every generation reaches maturity, there are people who talk about how corrupt, unmotivated, anti-intellectual, and hopeless the next generation is. Nevertheless, in spite of all the moral panic, that next generation manages to thrive and advance our struggle. The hip-hop generation is no different. Do we have our issues? No doubt. Do we have shortcomings? Of course. But those issues and shortcomings don’t mark our inferiority. Instead, they spotlight our humanity and define our agenda.

Q: Has Hip Hop become a scapegoat for many of the social problems that have arisen within the Black community?
No doubt. Every time a social issue gets raised, particularly one that implicates White people, hip-hop gets thrown into the mix. Don Imus disrespects the Rutgers girls and everyone is talking about Snoop. Dog Chapman uses the N-word and media commentators are bringing up 50 Cent. This is not to say that we shouldn’t challenge hip-hop artists to do better. On the contrary, we must demand that the hip-hop community set a better example for ourselves. Nevertheless, it is both naïve and disingenuous to suggest that the evils of the world start and end with hip-hop. For example, it’s safe to say that Don Imus didn’t get the term “nappy headed hoes” from watching BET. That type of hatred comes from a deeply racist worldview that existed before hip-hop was conceived. At the same time, we need to demand that BET stop calling us “nappy headed hoes”

Q: The Hip Hop community often perpetuates the stereotypes that we are continuously fighting against. Where does this stem from? Is it a lack of education, rebellion or claiming ownership over what is negative in an attempt to make it positive? For example, the use of “N” word.
It is important to remember that Black people have always struggled to reclaim, reshape, and rearticulate the things that have been so viciously used to undermine our existence. For example, Black people have always used the N-word in ways that were deliberate, thoughtful, and redemptive. The problem, however, is that our culture has been bought and sold in the open market. As a result, much of the complexity and nuance that used to accompany our use of “nigger” or a conversation about “snitching” have been reduced to sound bites and slogans. Such a space dilutes the conversation into something that is politically impotent or, in the case of the n-word, counter-productive and dangerous. This circumstance isn’t the result of Black ignorance, but an inevitable part of contemporary capitalist culture, which reduces everything and everyone to dollars and cents.

Q: There is a saying that goes “we should not follow the bouncing ball, but look at the one throwing it.” Should Hip Hop take the blame for disparaging remarks made by people such as Don Imus, Michael Richards and Duane “Dog” Chapman?
Yes and No. Whenever Black people have moral authority, we are better equipped to challenge the evils of the world. If we demonstrate self-love and an ethic of responsibility, it is considerably easier to challenge White supremacy and the things that emerge from it. Nevertheless, we are fooling ourselves to believe that racism can be eliminated from society if Black people “just act right.” After all, it wasn’t good behavior that ended slavery, Jim Crow, or Apartheid. Why? Because those things didn’t start because of bad behavior. This is why I get so frustrated when people suggest that hip-hop “confuses” White people into thinking that they can call me a “nigger.” If White people are that confused by hip-hop’s use of the n-word, why don’t they take note that Eminem, the pre-eminent White rapper of the day, never uses the n-word in his music?.” In reality, Imus, Richards, and Chapman knew quite well that Black people would be offended by their remarks. They also know that there’s a tradition of racism in this country that would protect them by allowing them to blame Jay-Z or Souljah Boy for their remarks. Still, I’m not trying to say that black people shouldn’t take responsibility for their own behavior. For me, the answer is for Black people to continuously challenge ourselves to do better at the same time that we acknowledge the pervasiveness of anti-Black racism in America. From this position, we can demand the best from our people without taking the blame for White misdeeds.

Q: When asked about the lyrical content of some of her songs, female rapper, Remy Ma said “I’m not here to raise anybody’s children”. We’ve gone from it takes a village to raise a child to disclaiming all responsibility. Is there such a thing as having free creative expression that is not offensive?
The question for me isn’t “should artists be able to make offensive music?” but “should artists want to make offensive music?” I have no desire to censor artists. After all, they have always told the most important, profound, and unwelcome truths within the public conversation. To me, the goal is to create a world where the degradation and destruction of Black people is no longer entertaining or profitable. This type of project is far different than censoring language or begging artists to be role models. What I’m talking about is the complete reconfiguration of a world that views Black bodies as inferior, worthless, and disposable. That said, Remy Ma and others must acknowledge that their work affects the values, beliefs, and self-esteem and millions of people around the world. To ignore that reality, even if they don’t like it, is to jeopardize the lives of the very people who make them who they are.

Q: Let’s talk about the images of women in Hip Hop. How do we, as a community, go about reinforcing positive images of women?
For me, the key to constructing positive images about women is to acknowledge their complexity. Instead of locking women into the “Bitch/Queen” binary, where every women is either hoe of the year or the Virgin Mary, we must acknowledge that women have legitimate perspectives, interest, and desires that must be taken seriously. On a concrete level, we must stop supporting television, radio, and magazine outlets that project dangerous images of women. Again, we must take the profitability out of degradation.

Q: Some people believe that Hip Hop culture is not Black culture. Rather it’s a street culture. Do you believe this, and if so, do you feel that the Black community has been wrongly targeted?
Hip-hop culture is a quintessentially Black culture: it emerged from the rubble of oppression and marginality and, without any help, fashioned itself into something that changed the face of American society. Now that very thing is being sold back to us and used to justify our suffering. If that isn’t a Black thing, I don’t know what is. Of course, there is more to Black culture than hip-hop. We can also look to a million other places, such as the church and gay ballroom scene, for other representations of Black culture.

Q: Is there a “street” element to hip-hop?
Of course. In many ways, this is what gives hip-hop its distinctive character. It is a culture created by people from the bottom of society. Unfortunately, many Blacks resist this association because they fear that it represents and reinforces the most vicious stereotypes about Black people that have operated against our interests. While I’m sensitive to this concern, I refuse to be prisoner to it, particularly because it is rooted in an unhealthy preoccupation with the perceptions of White people. Instead I accept hip-hop as quintessentially Black. This doesn’t mean that I don’t critique it. By the same token, I don’t allow the sexism, homophobia, and growing consumerism of the Black church to stop me from embracing it as part of our culture.

Q: There has been a shift in values over the last fifty years. The African- American family’s traditional values have been based on working hard, keeping family together and having a strong religious backbone, however in this day and age we have adapted a “get-over” approach in order to get rich quick. Do think this is one of the reasons Hip Hop is in a state of distress?
Again, I think that it is dangerous to link this description to Black people exclusively. In reality, all of America is divorced, in debt, increasingly secular, and obsessed with a “get rich or die trying” ethic. In many ways, hip-hop does reflect this sensibility in the same way that mainstream reality television or Paris Hilton does. At the same time, we cannot allow this to be an excuse for avoiding the hard work of making music that uplifts our condition rather than exacerbates our misery. Black people weren’t in great shape during Jim Crow or slavery, yet our music was much different. It’s not that we didn’t discuss, critique, or reflect our situation back then. But our dominant impulse wasn’t to glamorize the very things that were holding us down. Unfortunately, the combination of White supremacy and market forces are so overwhelming that Black suffering is a billion dollar industry. As a result, much of the quality music that gets made is limited to the underground or completely ignored. It is within this space that hip-hop suffers the most.

Q: Lastly, there have been many debates over the issue of snitching. Is the Hip Hop community valid in honoring the street code of not saying anything?
For me, the key is to make a distinction between snitching and witnessing. In an era of increased police terrorism, mandatory minimums, and judicial corruption, the hip-hop community is absolutely right to warn against snitching. For example, if a prosecutor encourages a convicted felon to trade information for a reduced sentence, that felon is likely to lie in order to better his or her position. This is snitching. This is what the “Stop Snitching” movement was about. At the same time, children are being raped or murdered in the streets, the person who reports good information isn’t a snitch, but a civically responsible witness. Unfortunately, once this system got reduced to a t-shirt and a slogan, it lost its complexity. As a result, we are now reinforcing an agenda that operates against our community in lethal ways.

Your Black President: Barack Obama Losing the War of Words Over Stimulus Package

February 5, 2009 Leave a comment

At this crucial juncture in the push to pass an economic recovery package, President Obama finds himself in the most unlikely of places: He is losing the message war.

Despite Obama’s sky-high personal approval ratings, polls show support has declined for his stimulus bill since Republicans and their conservative talk-radio allies began railing against what they labeled aspork barrel spending within it.

The sheer size of it — hovering at about $900 billion — has prompted more protests that are now causing some moderate and conservative Democrats to flinch and, worse, hesitate.

The anxiety over lost momentum seemed almost palpable this week as the president in television interviews voiced frustration with his White House’s progress and the way his recovery program was being demonized as a Democratic spending frenzy.

In Obama’s own words in an NBC interview, it’s his job to “get this thing back on track.”


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Your Black Love: Cheating on the Downlow – What’s Love got to do with it?

February 4, 2009 Leave a comment

By Syreeta L. McNeal, CPA, JD

Recently, New York Knick’s basketball player, Eddy Curry, a married father of several kids, received notice of a sexual-harassment lawsuit by his former limo driver, Kuchinsky. Kuchinsky is alleging that Curry tried to solicit gay sexual activity from him while working as a 24/7 chauffer for the NBA hoop star and his family.[1] With the national press coverage of this story, I am reminded of the movie,Cover, which explored the current situation that appears to be facing many black families. Cover is a film about a devoted, churchgoing wife, and mother whose faith is shattered when she discovers that her husband is living a secret double life.[2] Also, there is a 30-minute internet movie, Results, which tackles the same type of betrayal and shows how the couple tackles it in the span of one night.[3] So, as it relates to married men who happen to cheat on their spouse on thedown low, I ask, what’s love got to do with it? I understand the question is paying tribute to the hit single by Tina Turner. However, I think people should explore the reasons why married men choose to cheat on the down low and should a wife, who takes a vow of fidelity with her husband, continue in the relationship after discovering the betrayal.

People might ask why a lawyer would write an article on a social topic such as married men who cheat on the down low. Well, a lawyer is considered an attorney and counselor at law. When a wife chooses to get a divorce due to infidelity from their husbands cheating on the down low, it is important for lawyers to understand the origin of the relationship and what caused the heartache to their client so that they can effectively provide legal advice and counseling for their client. In a majority of states, infidelity is just one factor in how marital property is divided between former married couples. Even though a wife might want her husband, who cheated on the down low, to get nothing and pay dearly for the betrayal, the courts in a majority of states will not find fault (e.g. infidelity) a determining factor in the division of marital property. Therefore, it behooves the lawyer to try other methods of counseling to explain the law to jilted married clients.

This article will analyze the meaning of love, the reasons why people get married, and what actions people should take to minimize the potential of being married to men who cheat on the down low.

Meaning of Love

Love has many meanings. Webster dictionary defines Love as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (e.g. maternal love for a child).[4] Also, love is an attraction based on sexual desires (e.g. affection and tenderness felt by lovers).[5] Love is also an affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests (e.g. love for old schoolmates).[6] Also, love is a warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion (e.g. love of the sea).[7] Love can also be used as a term of endearment.[8] Love is also the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.[9] Love is a sexual embrace.[10] In all, love embraces a form that is erotic, romantic, familial, platonic, and religious.

Similar to Webster dictionary, Christianity embraces four forms of love: Agapē, Philia, Eros, and Storge.[11] Agapē means charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional.[12] It is parental love seen as creating goodness in the world.[13] It is the way God is seen to love humanity and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for others.[14] Philia is defined as the human response to something that is found to be delightful.[15] Also, it is known as “brotherly love”.[16] Eros is defined as sexual love.[17] Storge is defined as the needy child-to-parent love.[18]

One thing that is fascinating is the explanation of what Eros is. Eros is a very passionate love, with sensual desire and longing.[19] In the classical world, the phenomenon of love was generally understood as a kind of madness or, as the Greeks put it, theia mania (“madness from the gods”).[20] This love passion is best illustrated by a scheme involving “love arrows” or “love darts.”[21] The source of the arrows is said to be the image of the beautiful love object itself.[22] If the arrows arrive at the lover’s eyes, they would then travel to and ‘pierce’ and ‘wound’ his or her heart and overwhelm him/her with desire and longing.[23] This creates an image of an “arrow’s wound” where an oxymoron of pleasure and pain is created.[24]

As illustrated above, love has different meanings. Saying “I love you” to a person can mean a variety of things. The issue for married couples who are dealing with husbands who cheat on the down low isnot whether they love their wives. The issue is what type of love does husbands who cheat on the down low have for their wives. In my opinion, this is the heart of the conflict that exists between married couples who have husbands who cheat on the down low. Next, it is important to understand why people marry.

Why People Marry

Marriage is a social, religious, spiritual or legal union of individuals.[25] People marry for many reasons, but usually they marry for one or more of the following reasons:[26]
· legal, social, and economic stability;
· the formation of a family unit;
· procreation and the education and nurturing of children;
· legitimizing sexual relations;
· public declaration of love; or
· to obtain citizenship

In almost all Protestant forms of Christianity, they hold marriage to be ordained by God for the union between a man and a woman.[27]They see the primary purpose of this union to be to glorify God by demonstrating his love to the world.[28] Other secondary purposes of marriage include intimate companionship, rearing children and mutual support for both husband and wife to fulfill their life callings.[29]

Like love, people marry for a variety of reasons. What is extremely interesting is that when protestant Christians marry their primary purpose is for the union to glorify God. One example of the betrayal for protestant Christians is when married men cheat on the down low. This action is not one that glorifies God especially when the bible states that men (or women) who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God.[30] So, the conflict exists and men and women need to be aware of who their partners are before entering into marriage.

The Reality of the Conflict of Down Low Activity with Marriage

Some married men who cheat on the down low believe that down low activity is similar when men cheat with other women. I beg to differ. As these movies illustrate, a woman cannot compete with a man sexually. Women and men are not equal in physical form. Men and women have different sexual features and different purposes of use for these features. I equate the differences between men and women similar to placing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. Do like parts unite or do opposite pieces fit together?

If a married man cheats on the down low, they have a sexual attraction for another man. Sorry ladies. Physically, there is nothing you can do, except do a sex change, to sexually fulfill a man who wants to sleep with other men. A married man might love his wife, but the sexual love a wife is craving from her husband does not exist the way she wants or believes it should exist especially if this type of infidelity occurs after the coupled exchanged wedding vows to be married. There are always signs of men who have a sexual attraction for another man. However, you have to open your eyes and find out who your spouse truly is before you enter into marriage.

Attributes of Counseling Before Marriage

One way to discover whether your significant partner is ready to be married is to participate in marriage counseling. In essence, you are treating your marriage as a long term investment and gathering as much information about your spouse before you enter into marriage. As illustrated above, love has many meanings and people marry for different reasons. Just because someone says “I love you” is not all you need to know to venture into marriage. What a man and woman need to find out from each other is what type of love exists and is it reciprocally felt. If your potential spouse only feels an admiration for you and you feel romantic love for that person, then you need to find this out before you venture into marriage and not get married to the person. Also, what are the reasons why the man and woman are getting married and is it reciprocal. If your potential spouse wants to get married to obtain citizenship and you want to get married public declaration of love, then you need to find this out before you venture into marriage and not get married to this person.

Ideally, married couples expect their spouses to solely want them only. They believe their spouse will be the complement human being to help fulfill their needs mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. No one is perfect, but the union of a man and woman is expected to be one that works to perfection as seen in God’s light. When married men cheat on the down low, there is an erotic and sexual attraction for people of the same sex that their wife can’t fulfill. A potential spouse needs to know this before hand and not marry the individual especially if they seek their spouse to solely want them only.

Effective marriage counseling will be able to discover the compatibility of the couple. Marriage counseling should emphasize substance over form. The counseling should explore the type of love that exists and if it is reciprocally felt. Also, marriage counseling should explore the reasons why each person wants to marry and whether it is reciprocal. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with doing an extensive background check on people before getting married. When you choose to marry someone, you are making a societal and private contract that this individual is someone you will honor and cherish, to have and to hold, until death do you part. With any type of long term investment, you need to know what you are getting into. This is not to say that marriages will not have problems, but if you choose someone to be married to you, you are making a long term investment in that individual expecting that the good will outweigh the bad. Know what you are getting into so you canminimize suffering betrayals like having married men cheat on the down low.

Legal Disclaimer: This site provides information about the law designed to keep readers informed of pertinent legal matters affecting the African-American community. But legal information is not the same as legal advice — the application of law to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer in your specific location if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Id.
[9] Id.
[10] Id.
[12] Id.
[13] Id.
[14] Id.
[15] Id.
[16] Id.
[17] Id.
[18] Id.
[20] Id.
[21] Id.
[22] Id.
[23] Id.
[24] Id.
[26] Id.
[28] Id.
[29] Id.
[30] 1 Corinthians 6:9

Black Wealth Report: Subprime Lending Costs Minorities Over $213 Billion

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment

The social advocacy group United for a Fair Economy just released a study stating that the cost of the mortgage crisis has been $213 Billion to minority groups.  The cost was calculated over the 8 years of the Bush Administration.

“Millions of African Americans lost their homes as a result of predatory lending and complicated contracts,” says Dr. Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor at Syracuse University.  “This was a double whammy for senior citizens, including my own grandfather.”

The report was entitled “Foreclsure: State of the Dream”.  In fact, the study concludes that the impact of the crisis on the Black community was “the most massive loss of wealth for African Americans in U.S. history.”


Black News: Dr. Boyce Watkins Speaks on the Economy

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Brought to you buy The Great Black Speakers Bureau, the #1 Black Speakers Bureau in the World

Dr. Boyce Watkins

Hey peeps!

I am going to be on the Jesse Jackson Show Sunday morning at 8 am to discuss the Obama stimulus package.  The show is syndicated and you can click here to see a list of affiliate cities.  I’ll be joined by my good friends and respected colleagues, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill (Columbia University) and Dr. Julianne Malveaux (President of Bennett College for Women).  I have a lot of thoughts on this measure, and I plan to write about it a great deal in the coming month. 

I also want to give a shout out to our friends and family in the Kentucky storm.  Their power has been out for several days now and I wish you all the very best as you confront this ordeal.  We have a lot of YBW family members in Kentucky, so my thoughts and prayers are with you.

I should also quickly note that Juan Williams from Fox News, the man I labeled as “Bill O’Reilly’s Happly Little Negro”, has struck once again.  Making reference to the first lady, Michelle Obama, Juan referred to her as “Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress.” 

Most of you know how I feel about Juan, so there isn’t much else to say.  I will only end this by saying that as long as there is money to be made, people will always be willing to embarrass themselves on TV.  The same way that Juan refers to Michelle as “Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress”, I would refer to Juan as the “Flavor Flav who went to college”.  Your integrity should be of greater value than your paycheck.  Juan should be ashamed of himself.

I write on the state of the economy below.  Please enjoy!


To join the Dr. Boyce Money Advice List, please click here.

Could the Economic Downturn possibly be a GOOD thing?
By Dr. Boyce Watkins

I hate being the doctor who has to tell the patient he has cancer, but the truth usually sets you free (or so my mother told me): We are in the midst of an economic bloodbath. It’s tough to argue that an economy which shrinks by an annualized rate of 5% is still healthy. It’s hard to tell someone that 7.2% unemployment, with the most job losses since 1945, is a good thing. A 4,000 point drop in the Dow is nothing to sneeze at, even if you have plenty of tissue. Times are tough, we know that.

But if we focus hard enough, we might be able to find a few bright sides to all this. With hopes that no one chooses to kill the messenger, I am going to give it a shot.

1) It could always be much worse.

The United States has, according to some, the strongest economy in the world. Our economy could shrink like Rush Limbaugh’s body on drugs and still be disgustingly rich compared to the rest of the world. Don’t believe me? Consider the “fast-growing” Chinese economy, the one that everyone thinks is going to outpace the United States in the next few years. Our annual tax revenues are nearly 4 times greater than China’s ($2.5 Trillion vs. $670 Billion) and they have over 4 times more people than we do (300 million vs. 1.3 Billion). In other words, our per capita tax receipts are over 16 times greater than China’s. So, we’re far better off than most of the world, even when we’re broke.

2) If there were ever an argument for getting out of Iraq, this might be it.

It’s hard to declare war on random countries if you don’t have the money to do it. War is big business and attacking other countries is a huge financial investment. If you don’t think war is about money, then you may want to take a couple of Political Science and History classes. Perhaps these troubles at home will keep us from creating trouble abroad, since Americans have lost patience with irresponsible, arrogant war-mongering. The Obama stimulus plan is asking for over $800 Billion dollars to boost our economy. We’ve already spent nearly $600 Billion in Iraq. Rather than declaring War on Terror, President Obama has declared War on the Recession, which seems to be a far better investment.

3) If you want to buy cheap stocks or real estate, this is the time to do it.

When the market rises, everyone wants to buy stocks. People forget that you shouldn’t buy stocks when prices are high, you buy when the prices are low. Companies with plenty of cash are grabbing investment and real estate bargains that were hardly available a year ago. You should be doing the same if you can afford to do it. Investors who purchase stocks after major market declines tend to do much better than those who buy during booms. You hear me Warren Buffet?

4) Struggle makes us FOCUSED.

Although I tend to be a hardcore capitalist, a part of me misses the activism of the 1960s, when people cared about more than making a dollar. OK, I wasn’t around in the 1960s, but I’ve watched enough old movies. Going through tough times not only teaches one to pursue a higher purpose in life, it also leads individuals to more carefully scrutinize the state of affairs in our government. In fact, I dare to argue that the financial crisis was just what Barack Obama needed to secure his election over John McCain. Economic prosperity allows us the luxury of choosing our politicians based on silly issues, like gay marriage (as we did in 2004). When we are worried about putting food on the table, we look beyond the silliness and choose the most qualified and most intelligent person for the job (after ensuring that he knows Africa really is a continent). Finally, tough economic times make you more responsible in your own money management, as the threat of financial insecurity keeps us all on high alert.

Those are my points, so again, please don’t kill the messenger. I certainly do not celebrate a weak economy, but I am a firm believer that focusing too much on the door that shuts keeps us from appreciating the ones that just opened. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, and….well, you get the point. It’s the toughness of tough times that make the good times good. Keep hanging in there, it’ll be ok.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University. For more information, please visit  To join the Dr. Boyce Money Advice List, please click here.

Banks Get Bailout to Hire Foreign Workers

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Banks collecting billions of dollars in federal bailout money sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. for high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications.

The dozen banks receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households.

The figures are significant because they show that the bailed-out banks, being kept afloat with U.S. taxpayer money, actively sought to hire foreign workers instead of American workers. As the economic collapse worsened last year — with huge numbers of bank employees laid off — the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP’s analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in fiscal 2007 to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.


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Your Black President: Eric Holder Gets Confirmed

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Eric Holder won Senate confirmation Monday as the nation’s first African-American attorney general, after supporters from both parties touted his dream resume and easily overcame Republican concerns over his commitment to fight terrorism and his unwillingness to back the right to keep and bear arms.

The vote was 75-21, with all the opposition coming from Republicans.

Holder’s chief supporter, Sen. Patrick Leahy, said the confirmation was a fulfillment of civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s dream that everyone would be judged by the content of their character.

“Come on the right side of history,” said Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Holder becomes the only black in the Obama administration in what has traditionally been known as the president’s Cabinet. Three other African-Americans have been chosen for top administration positions that hold the same rank.

Holder was a federal prosecutor, judge and the No. 2 Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. Even his critics agreed that Holder was well-qualified, but they questioned his positions and independence.

The debate turned partisan in its first moments, when Leahy, expressed anger that a few Republicans demanded a pledge from Holder that he wouldn’t prosecute intelligence agents who participated in harsh interrogations.


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Your Black Money: Black Hair Should Be a Black Business

February 2, 2009 Leave a comment

The Black Hair industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. This industry has created other revenue generating vessels such as, conferences, schools, distribution, competitions, marketing, and even research. With an industry that is so huge and driven by the black dollar, one would expect that this industry would be under the direct control of those that make it successful, the black race. However, it is not. Though blacks still control many of the hair salons and barbershops, there is still a major disparity in many of the other businesses within this industry. Plus, recent trends have begun to emerge in the marketplace that threatens the ownership of those two entities. There is a new business model for salons, Korean-Owned and Black-Operated. This new model is growing rapidly and becoming a success among the community. While customers can continue to receive services from a familiar black stylist, the dollar ultimately goes to the Korean community.

It’s absolutely not a bad thing that Koreans are becoming fierce competitors and business owners in this black industry, so standing on the sidelines boycotting these establishments or calling for them to discontinue is a way that further perpetuates the blacks’ “right to survivorship” thinking. Blacks should not expect to be able to merely sit on a golden egg that was handed to them and not expect others to want a piece of it. The golden egg must be protected and guarded like the lion guards its kill from the hyena. Since the system we live under a capitalist system, the way a person or group rises to great wealth and sustainability is through competitive edges. Is this true? The retail segment of the black hair business is another entity that works to cipher the dollar from black community and be sent elsewhere. After research of over 800 black served beauty supply stores, we uncovered an ownership base of less than 5%. Of these same stores during a 6-month evaluation we found more than 97% of black consumers.
Is this a huge snowballing problem that should be addressed? Do blacks have the resources and opportunities within their communities but are simply not harnessing these opportunities? The problem of a low number of retail stores does not begin there. It begins at the distribution level. There is still a significant amount of black manufacturers of products but once these products leave the black manufacturers, they are placed in the hands of Korean distributors then the problem begins. Once the Korean distributors get a hold of the products they do two things: 1. They selectively distribute the products to retailers and sometimes at different prices. 2. They study the black products and soon create prototypes and begin marketing these prototypes to their huge Korean retailer base. Lucky White, CEO of Kizure Products, has boasted this as being one of her major dilemmas in her business slowdown. She is not only being competed against by other equipment manufacturers, the distributors are acting as lobbyist for her competitor.

In an industry that resulted in billions due to pioneer, Madame C.J. Walker, a black woman born into poor conditions in the early 20th century, one would expect the blueprint to this industry to be studied and executed by blacks across America but sadly this has not been the case. Why? It is not as simple as setting up shop and waiting for high profits anymore. Retail storeowners are facing many competitive obstacles such as capital, a large selection of products, and pricing. In most cases, getting an account with a Korean distributor as a Black person means you face an uphill battle. First, the distributor must approve your location before agreeing to supply your store. If they agree, now payments must be made in cash upfront with no delayed terms of payment. This is perhaps the hugest obstacle a new black storeowner faces. Then, this is a rippling effect. If distributors are consuming the capital instantly, then there is less available for the new black owner to obtain an abundant variation of products. Lastly, the pricing advantage many Korean stores are able to provide for the black consumer keeps them coming back over and over again, showing very little regard to a black storeowner down the block. This pricing advantage is also a resource for the Koreans because of the relationship they have with the Korean distributors.

However, the nail has not yet been driven into the coffin of the black lockout of their stake in this industry. I am living proof. I emotionally entered into this industry when I was thrown out of a Korean-Owned beauty supply store while I was attempting to make a huge purchase for my salon. The owner felt uncomfortable with me browsing and being selective. His frustration grew to rage so he then threatened me with a golf club eventually throwing me out of his store. Like many black men, I didn’t know of the huge lockout that took place in this industry until I had already signed a $5,000 lease for a location. My uphill battle began as distributors wanted cash and many didn’t even return my phone calls. Little did many of them know my persistence is abnormal. I took daytrips on airlines to physically walk into locations in New York and Miami until I got what I wanted. My goal was to give our community options in shopping while receiving the respect they deserved. My one location turned into three in 18 short months. Trial and error was my ally. As I learned, I perfected. Here a few things that an aspiring owner can implement.

Communicate with other owners – Find other owners willing to communicate with you in your market and even throughout the country. They are more than willing to share valuable information with you and you should do the same.

Automate the Store – In this fast-paced era, do not rely on spreadsheets and manual inventory tracking. This can slowdown your customer fulfillment process and tie up valuable time that could be used elsewhere.

Be a competitive and creative owner – Do not do what the next guy is doing, do what he isn’t. Establish store niches.
Establish Non-Competitive Clauses – Secure your market share within your mall at the least. Do not leave the gate wide open.

Manage the Cash Effectively – From your gross, pre-allocate percentages for capital expenditures, marketing, taxes, procurement, payroll, etc and have different bank accounts for each one with the monies being deposited systematically. Do not rely on self to divvy up or disburse the funds as you receive revenue.

Form Alliances Outside the Black Hair Industry – I once went to a children’s theme park with my sons and discovered that a local pizza franchise provided the pizzas for the business at a discounted rate. These opportunities exist for beauty storeowners as well. I established plenty. One place is funeral homes.

Seek Consulting – Never think you know it all. I had two beauty storeowners that acted as my mentors for the first year. I compensated them for intense assistance but for quick advice they were glad to help. Expect nothing for free. Allocate funds for this too.
Location, Location, Location – Do not pick a convenient location for you, pick a convenient location for the customer. There are moneymaking opportunities even when there is an existing beauty store. Don’t be afraid of the competition. The way you operate may be the way the customers in that market prefer.

Though I have highlighted distribution as the component needed, it is not the way to launching strategic efforts, and neither is boycotting. Building up the amount of black-owned retail stores is the first step in a strategic plan like this. The demand must first be created if a black distribution plant is to be successful. The black hair business is a cash cow but in its current state the cow is jumping over the moon with the moneybag heading to other communities.

Devin Robinson is the author of Taking it Back: How to Become a Successful Black Beauty Supply Store Owner who resides in Atlanta, GA. Visit his website at

Jesse Jackson’s Education Stimulus Plan

February 2, 2009 Leave a comment

By Rev. Jesse L. Jackson

One of the most impressive proposals advanced by President Barack Obama to aid college students is the creation of a new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth $4,000 in exchange for 100 hours of community service. While that program is still in the developmental stage, the Rainbow Coalition offers a plan that will immediately benefit students holding college loans.

We’re calling it “The Rainbow PUSH Education Stimulus Plan.” It is a simple-yet-sweeping plan to help families finance college costs that are steadily putting higher education out of the reach of most Americans. Our proposal is that students holding and applying for college loans should be offered interest rates that do not exceed 1 percent – the same favorable terms now being offered to large corporations under the federal bailout plan.

What we are seeking is fundamental fairness. Our nation’s largest banks and financial institutions – including Bank of America, Citigroup, and JP Morgan – are borrowing money from the federal government at a rate of less than 1 percent. However, students are generally forced to borrow for their education at rates in the range of 4 percent to 8 percent. Many are financing their education with credit cards that carry rates of 20 percent or higher

Before graduating seniors can launch their families and careers, they are already saddled with excessive debt. To make matters worse, if students miss payments in this fragile economy, their credit score declines, forcing them to pay the highest interest rates for cars, homes and other necessities — if they can qualify at all. Yet, financial institutions with what is tantamount to bad credit reports are being rewarded with tax-supported, low-interest loans.

Lowering student loan interest rates to 1 percent directly addresses affordability, one of the most pressing problems facing our country. According to a report issued by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, the cost of attending college has risen nearly three times the rate of the cost of living. After being adjusted for inflation, college tuition and fees rose 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, far outpacing increases for medical care, housing and food. During this same period, median family income rose 147 percent.

As financial aid shifted from direct grants to loans, borrowing for higher education has more than doubled over the past decade. Meanwhile, the U.S. is falling behind in the global economy. Approximately 34 percent of young American adults are enrolled in college, putting the U.S behind Korea – which has a 53 percent rate – Hungary, Belgium, Ireland, Poland and Greece.

Moreover, by the year 2020, the United States will need 14 million more college-trained workers than it will produce, according to the National Center on Education and the Economy. A report issued by the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at New York University observed, “We are losing ground and jobs to other countries – for example, China and India. Our nation’s ability to sustain long-term economic success increasingly depends on the very children we are not educating now.”

And the children we are not educating are mostly people of color. Every year, 1.2 million children do not graduate from high school. Of those, 348,427 are African-American and 296,555 are Latino. College graduation rates are equally dismal. Only 31 percent of Latinos and 48 percent of African-Americans complete some college, compared to 62 percent of Whites and 80 percent of Asians.

If we are to increase the college graduation rate for African-Americans, we cannot ignore economic inequality:

* The total median income for a White family was $64,427 in 2007. The total for a Black family was $40,143, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

* The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 6.1 percent of the overall U.S. labor force was unemployed in the third quarter of 2008; 11.4 percent of the Black labor force was out of work. Those figures are considered conservative by most economists and do not include discouraged people who have quit looking for work;

* 10.6 percent of the White U.S. population in 2007 lived below the official poverty threshold ($21,000 for a family of four), compared to 24.4 percent of the Black population, the data said.

Affordability takes on larger significance when one considers that the average annual cost of attending an in-state public university is $17,336. The figure for private universities is $35,374 per year.

The report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education found: “On average, students from working and poor families must pay 40 percent of family income to enroll in public four-year colleges. Students from middle-income families and upper-income families must pay 25 percent and 13 percent of family income, respectively.”

As we can see from the foregoing data, the issues of college affordability and access to higher education are inextricably linked to the very future of our nation. Placing a 1 percent cap on college loans will remove a major obstacle for millions of students who want to attend college but can’t afford it.

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson is president and founder of Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

Your Black Money: Could there be a Good Side to this Recession?

February 2, 2009 Leave a comment

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

I hate being the doctor who has to tell the patient he has cancer, but the truth usually sets you free (or so my mother told me): We are in the midst of an economic bloodbath. It’s tough to argue that an economy which shrinks by an annualized rate of 5% is still healthy. It’s hard to tell someone that 7.2% unemployment, with the most job losses since 1945, is a good thing. A 4,000 point drop in the Dow is nothing to sneeze at, even if you have plenty of tissue. Times are tough, we know that.

But if we focus hard enough, we might be able to find a few bright sides to all this. With hopes that no one chooses to kill the messenger, I am going to give it a shot.

1) It could always be much worse.

The United States has, according to some, the strongest economy in the world. Our economy could shrink like Rush Limbaugh’s body on drugs and still be disgustingly rich compared to the rest of the world. Don’t believe me? Consider the “fast-growing” Chinese economy, the one that everyone thinks is going to outpace the United States in the next few years. Our annual tax revenues are nearly 4 times greater than China’s ($2.5 Trillion vs. $670 Billion) and they have over 4 times more people than we do (300 million vs. 1.3 Billion). In other words, our per capita tax receipts are over 16 times greater than China’s. So, we’re far better off than most of the world, even when we’re broke.

2) If there were ever an argument for getting out of Iraq, this might be it.

It’s hard to declare war on random countries if you don’t have the money to do it. War is big business and attacking other countries is a huge financial investment. If you don’t think war is about money, then you may want to take a couple of Political Science and History classes. Perhaps these troubles at home will keep us from creating trouble abroad, since Americans have lost patience with irresponsible, arrogant war-mongering. The Obama stimulus plan is asking for over $800 Billion dollars to boost our economy. We’ve already spent nearly $600 Billion in Iraq. Rather than declaring War on Terror, President Obama has declared War on the Recession, which seems to be a far better investment.

3) If you want to buy cheap stocks or real estate, this is the time to do it.

When the market rises, everyone wants to buy stocks. People forget that you shouldn’t buy stocks when prices are high, you buy when the prices are low. Companies with plenty of cash are grabbing investment and real estate bargains that were hardly available a year ago. You should be doing the same if you can afford to do it. Investors who purchases stocks after major market declines tend to do much better than those who buy during booms. You hear me Warren Buffet?

4) Struggle makes us FOCUSED.

Although I tend to be a hardcore capitalist, a part of me misses the activism of the 1960s, when people cared about more than making a dollar. OK, I wasn’t around in the 1960s, but I’ve watched enough old movies. Going through tough times not only teaches one to pursue a higher purpose in life, it also leads individuals to more carefully scrutinize the state of affairs in our government. In fact, I dare to argue that the financial crisis was just what Barack Obama needed to secure his election over John McCain. Economic prosperity allows us the luxury of choosing our politicians based on silly issues, like gay marriage (as we did in 2004). When we are worried about putting food on the table, we look beyond the silliness and choose the most qualified and most intelligent person for the job (after ensuring that he knows Africa really is a continent). Finally, tough economic times make you more responsible in your own money management, as the threat of financial insecurity keeps us all on high alert.

Those are my points, so again, please don’t kill the messenger. I certainly do not celebrate a weak economy, but I am a firm believer that focusing too much on the door that shuts keeps us from appreciating the ones that just opened. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel, a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, and….well, you get the point. It’s the toughness of tough times that make the good times good. Keep hanging in there, it’ll be ok.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “Financial Lovemaking 101: Merging Assets with Your Partner in ways that Feel Good.” For more information, please visit

Tavis Smiley Catches Hell for Allegedly Bogus Blogging Contest

February 1, 2009 1 comment


The Black Blogosphere has taken issue with Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union 2009 symposium blog contest. The issue was brought to our attention by (who else) our fellow Texan Gina McCauley at What About Our Daughters. In her original post titled Black Bloggers Second Class Citizens Gina is one of the first to make us aware of Tavis’ intent.

Ironically on the day that we announce the second gathering of Black new media content creators in Chicago next June, Tavis Smiley made an announcement of his own. Y’all Tavis is getting with this century and in his own “special” way acknowledging the growing influence of Black bloggers.

Tavis is holding a “contest” to RANDOMLY select the next “Web Star”- His words not mine.

Gina then goes on to detail all that’s wrong with this contest; so does Black Web 2.0, so does Jack and Jill Politics, so does Global Grind. I agree with Jill Tubman who posts “The truth is that Tavis should be begging us to sit on stage with him not the other way around.”

Click to read.

Your Black Health: HIV Infection Rates for Black Men are "Alarming"

February 1, 2009 Leave a comment

The rate of new HIV infections among young gay or bisexual black men is significantly higher than new infections among whites and Hispanics of the same age, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday.

“The number of new HIV infections among young black men who have sex with men is alarming,” Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention said during a new teleconference.

Among black males aged 13 to 29, the incidence of HIV infection was 1.6 times higher than that of whites and 2.3 times higher than for Hispanics, according to findings published in the Sept. 12 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Forty-eight percent of new infections among black men were among those aged 13 to 29, compared with 31 percent for whites and 21 percent for Hispanics. This finding highlights the need to reach men at an early age and teach them about HIV prevention, Fenton said.

“There were more new HIV infections in black men who have sex with men between the ages of 13 and 29 than any other group of men who have sex with men, regardless of race or age,” Dr. Richard Wolitski, acting director of the CDC’s division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, added during Thursday’s teleconference.

Click to read.

African Americans More Religious

February 1, 2009 Leave a comment

An analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life suggests that blacks are considerably more religious than the overall U.S. population. You can see the whole report here.

While the U.S. is generally considered a highly religious nation, African-Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole, including level of affiliation with a religion, attendance at religious services, frequency of prayer and religion’s importance in life,” the report says.

Its highlights include:

– Nearly eight in 10 blacks (79 percent) say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56 percent among all U.S. adults.

– Blacks attend religious services and pray more frequently than the general population. While 39 percent of all Americans report attending religious services at least once a week, 53 percent of blacks report the same.

– Similarly, while 58 percent of all Americans report praying at least once a day, 76 percent of blacks report praying daily.

– The vast majority of blacks are Protestant (78 percent), compared with 51 percent of the U.S. adult population as a whole.

The findings, drawn mostly from data within  Pew’s Religious Landscape Survey conducted in 2007, have political as well as cultural implications.


Click to read.

Jesse Jackson, Dr. Boyce Discuss Barack Obama Stimulus Plan

February 1, 2009 1 comment

Dr. Boyce Watkins, a Finance Professor at Syracuse University is planning to speak with Rev. Jesse Jackson on Keep Hope Alive Radio to discuss the stimulus plan recently released by President Barack Obama. The $819 Billion dollar plan just passed in Congress and is set to be presented to the Senate for final approval.

Dr. Watkins is a Financial expert, and will also appear with Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President of Bennett College for women, to discuss the plan.  Watkins has written extensively about the Obama economic plan and finding ways to ensure that African Americans can get their piece of the economic pie.

“Obama might be a Black President, but he honestly can’t say the word “black” within 100 feet of the White House,” says Dr. Watkins, who is authoring a book on African American Wealth Building.  “The truth of the matter is that Black people and poor people must ensure that they get a piece of this pie.”

President Obama Speaks on Strong Middle Class

January 31, 2009 Leave a comment