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Feel The Funk / Cardi B given award in Detroit: Scandal Ensues
« on: November 14, 2017, 05:15:07 pm »
What's up Cardi.  Holler at me when you come back in town.. We can hit up Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles.. go to Belle Isle..  :-* :-* :-*

UPDATE: Who gave the Spirit of Detroit Award to Cardi B?

It was a big weekend for New York-born hip-hop artist Cardi B. She got engaged, and she received a Spirit of Detroit award from Detroit City Council. Both events were a surprise, only one is controversial.

The verified Twitter account for Detroit-born hip-hop artist Kash Doll, who previously received the award, tweeted that she "just thought u had to put work in the city to get it like other artist in Detroit."

The award, as described on the city's website, "can be requested from any Council Member for a person, event or organization being honored for an outstanding achievement or service to the citizens of Detroit."

Cardi B thanked Hot 107.5 FM on Instagram "for making it happen." But Kamal Smith, producer for the station's Morning Heat, said the radio station presented the award, and he doesn't know who may have nominated her, or which city council member was involved.

"We're actually excited that she got it," he said, adding previous recipients such as Xscape, Dru Hill and Bow Wow show that you don't have to be from Detroit to receive it.

He also said Cardi B "is doing a lot for the city that the public may not know," and that she's "actually helping schools." Not every celebrity does good things to take credit in public, he added: "You do it out of the kindness of your heart."

This morning's radio show took calls from listeners on the controversy of whether she deserved it, and Smith said the mix was about 50/50, with some people " a little upset" but others weren't worried about it.

Other Spirit of Detroit recipients include James Robertson, the commuter who garnered international recognition after the Free Press shared his story of walking 21 miles to and from work. And southwest Detroit's Harms Elementary students received the award this spring for the "outstanding and noteworthy accomplishment for being one of the top schools for attendance in Detroit Public Schools Community District on Count Day," according to the Southwest Solutions website.

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones' office didn't immediately respond to a Free Press request for detail on why -- and by whom -- Cardi B was nominated.

Cardi B performed Oct. 28 at the Masonic Temple. She appears to have received the award a day after Offset, another musician, proposed to her.

Read more:

Cardi B is engaged! Watch her adorable reaction to rapper Offset's onstage proposal

Cardi B's hit "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)" is No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart after peaking at No. 1 and spending 16 weeks on the chart.

"Cardi B is huge to every audience right now," Smith said. "She's definitely big in the Detroit market."

Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield posted on Facebook that her office wasn't the one that presented the award to Cardi B.

Vox Populi / Donna Brazile and the DNC
« on: November 03, 2017, 04:28:50 am »
Uhhh.... Dang!!

Hillary Clinton’s campaign took over the Democratic National Committee's funding and day-to-day operations early in the primary season and may have used that power to undermine her rival Senator Bernie Sanders, according to the party's one-time interim chairwoman.

The DNC official, Donna Brazile, now a political analyst, wrote in Politico Magazine on Thursday that she discovered an August 2015 agreement between the national committee and Clinton’s campaign and fundraising arm that gave Clinton “control (of) the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised” in exchange for taking care of the massive debt leftover from President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.

It wasn't illegal, Brazile said, "but it sure looked unethical."

"If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead," Brazile wrote. "This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party’s integrity."

Brazile wrote that she had “promised” Sanders to find out if the DNC had intentionally “rigged” the primary system in order to prop up Clinton and assure she became the nominee. That assertion first popped up after the DNC’s emails, hacked by Russians, had been published online and showed former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others may have tipped the scales for the Democrat Clinton versus Sanders, an independent seeking the Democratic Party nod.

“I had tried to search out any other evidence of internal corruption that would show that the DNC was rigging the system to throw the primary to Hillary, but I could not find any in party affairs or among the staff,” Brazile wrote. "I was happy to see that I had found none. Then I found this agreement.”

a close up of Hillary Clintons face© Provided by IBT Media 
Brazile, a former CNN contributor who was later dismissed after it was discovered she had forked over debate questions to Clinton’s campaign, claimed when she took over as party chairwoman, the DNC was $24 million in debt. Clinton’s campaign, according to Brazile, assumed that debt with its own fundraising.

“Hillary for America (the campaign) and the Hillary Victory Fund (its joint fundraising vehicle with the DNC) had taken care of 80 percent of the remaining debt in 2016, about $10 million, and had placed the party on an allowance,” according to Brazile.

Normally, candidates take over their respective party’s operations after securing the nomination, but Brazile wrote Clinton had done so almost 15 months before last year’s election.

The timeline of when all this allegedly occurred was not fully explained by Brazile, but she wrote that the discovery was made “weeks” before the election. She said she told Sanders what she found out and that he took the supposed information “stoically.”

Brazile took over as interim DNC chair, a spot now officially held by Tom Perez, back in July 2016 after Wasserman Schultz resigned.

Vox Populi / The US War in Africa
« on: October 27, 2017, 12:43:41 pm »

The deadly ambush of U.S. troops in Niger this month has pulled back the veil on Washington’s growing military footprint in Africa but has also underscored the lack of senior diplomats on the continent. The level of empty Africa posts this late into an administration is unprecedented, several career State Department officials with decades of experience told Foreign Policy, speaking on condition of anonymity.

President Donald Trump has only appointed a handful of ambassadors to the continent during his nine months in office. Outside of inventing an African country, deflecting criticisms on Niger, and praising the continent for its business potential, he hasn’t said much on Africa, despite humanitarian crises, rising instability, and growing terrorism threats. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, traveled to hot spots in Africa this week, but any diplomatic momentum she generates on her trip could sputter with no envoys on the ground to see her ideas through.

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U.S. Troops Are on the Ground in Africa, but Diplomacy Is…

Nikki Haley's trip to the continent won't solve the problem.





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Only five ambassadors have been confirmed and deployed to Africa during the Trump administration. Ten others have been nominated but are either awaiting Senate confirmation or haven’t assumed their posts, leaving many of the 54 African countries without senior U.S. representation. This includes strategically important countries like South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Trump also hasn’t appointed an assistant secretary of state for African affairs, a key position that leads U.S. diplomacy on Africa from Washington (the top pick for that post is being held up by a lone Republican senator, as FP previously reported).

The empty chairs in Washington and Africa have already set back the United States diplomatically. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson botched meetings with senior African leaders, and Chad, a key anti-terrorism partner, was thrown on the U.S. travel ban over office supply glitches — diplomatic snafus that could have been avoided with senior officials in place.

But the lack of appointees also undercuts the U.S. military’s work in Africa and could put troops’ lives at further risk, current and former diplomats say.

“The empty positions are a very serious problem,” said Princeton Lyman, a retired U.S. career diplomat with decades of experience in Africa, including as special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan and ambassador to Nigeria and South Africa. “When you have military operations going on in a country, the relationship between an ambassador and the relevant military command is absolutely critical.”

Ambassadors negotiate with host governments on the terms of American engagement, manage the fallout of U.S. military presence (often a politically touchy subject), and liaise between the military and host government on military operations. U.S. Africa Command, which oversees all U.S. military operations on the continent, is based in Germany, so it relies heavily on diplomats on the ground to facilitate its missions.

Some lower-level career officials have stepped in to fill the void in the interim as acting ambassadors, a common practice as one administration transitions to the next. But without the president’s nomination and Senate approval, they don’t have the same clout. “If you’re going to carry some tough messages and work on sensitive security matters, having a respected ambassador there matters,” said Lyman, now a senior advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

The diplomatic morass extends to the lower levels as well. The State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs faces “profound” difficulties filling all its overseas posts, according to a new inspector general report. The report found that at most, only one foreign service officer bid on 37 percent of the open slots in Africa over the summer, “leaving 143 of 385 total positions potentially unfilled.”

And some experts criticize where and how U.S. diplomats are deployed on the continent. Small countries, like Lesotho and Swaziland, could have more than a dozen foreign service officers, whereas there’s no permanent U.S. diplomatic presence in Nigeria north of Abuja. That means there is no one to represent U.S. interests in a region with some 90 million people — primarily Muslim — that’s the epicenter of the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Haley traveled to Congo on Thursday to wrap up her tour of the continent, which included visits to Ethiopia and South Sudan. Humanitarian organizations widely praised her sharp rebuke of South Sudanese leader Salva Kiir, as the country roils in violent conflict and famine. She’s also expected to reproach Congolese President Joseph Kabila for refusing to step down after his term ended last year.

The attention of a senior U.S. diplomat is sorely needed, but some are skeptical of what gains the United States can make in Africa following her trip with so many empty posts abroad.

“She can do a great deal on this trip,” Lyman said, “but if there’s no one there to implement her ideas, they will simply be lost in the fray.”

Correction, Oct. 27, 2017: The ambassador to Nigeria is W. Stuart Symington, who was appointed in 2016. A previous version of this article erroneously said there was no appointed ambassador to Nigeria.

Vox Populi / Congressman Al Green vs. Dr. Ben Carson
« on: October 25, 2017, 12:12:28 pm »

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In The News / cub scout grills GOP state senator at meeting
« on: October 22, 2017, 04:37:48 pm »
pretty wild--

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One young Cub Scout got an up close and personal lesson on just what a sensitive issue gun control is in the country when a hard-hitting question to a state senator appears to have gotten him kicked out of his group. Ames Mayfield, 11, was told not to return to his den in Broomfield, Colo. after the group met with State Senator Vicki Marble, according to his mother, Lori Mayfield. The Cub Scout also asked Marble about previous comments she had made about African Americans that sparked controversy.

“I was shocked that you co-sponsored a bill to allow domestic violence offenders to continue to own a gun,” Ames said as part of the long question he posed on Oct. 9 that his mother filmed and posted on YouTube. “Why on earth would you want somebody who beats their wife to have access to a gun?” The 11-year-old also brought up the recent Las Vegas shooting and questioned why some seemed to place so much importance on gun rights. “There is something wrong in our country where Republicans believe it’s a right to own a gun but a privilege to have health care. None of that makes sense to me,” he said. Marble responds to the long question by emphasizing the need for “crime control” and pointed out that several shootings took place in “gun free zones.”

At another point, the 11-year-old said he “was astonished that you blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat.” The state senator said that “was made up by the media,” adding, “You want to believe it? You believe it. But that’s not how it went down.” That caused local news outlet to once again relive the 2013 controversy. The Denver Post recalled what Marble had said then:

“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race. Sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup, and you just can’t help it.

“Although I’ve got to say,” she continued at the time. “I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down South and you, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it.”

Five days after the event, Mayfield was asked to meet with the leader of the Cub Scout pack in the area who told her Ames couldn’t return to his den. “He let me know in so many words that the den leader was upset about the topic of gun control,” Mayfield told the New York Times. “It was too politically charged.”

Marble said she didn’t “blame the boy for asking the questions” because she believes “there was an element of manipulation involved.” Mayfield denies she coached her son to ask the question, insisting she only told him to be respectful. A television reporter who talked to the 11-year-old said it was clear he was very passionate about the issue.

Latest Flicks / Colin Powell Film
« on: October 22, 2017, 05:10:31 am »

kudos, Mr. Reggie!

I'm looking forward to checking this out.  Morgan Freeman is top notch, of course.  I wonder who will play the other roles in the film.  Dr. Rice?  George W.?  Mr. Cheney?  Mr. Rumsfeld?  Hmmm.

It is intriguing that this will focus on his tenure as the Secretary of State, and the lead-up to the Iraq War.

I hope part of General Powell's memoirs are incorporated into the film's narrative, and his take on those events at that time.

"Episodic" biographical films ("Selma", "Lincoln", "Marshall", etc.) are sure continuing to be a trend, a welcome creative angle to explore for sure.

(And I hope that the black blogosphere doesn't start nitpicking on skin tone!!! lol...  ;) )

Other Comics / New "Pan-African" D&D Campaign Setting is Disappointing
« on: October 18, 2017, 09:17:27 pm »
I'm sure folks here at HEF probably have a take on this sort of fantasy publishing-- obviously Dungeons & Dragons is the granddaddy of RPG culture.. I haven't paid explicit attention since I was a kid, so whatever all the various published official manuals over the years, I'm not especially hip to-- 

Seems like Wizards of the Coast/TSR could start by hiring some black talent for once.  Hey, Supreme, Ezyo..?

Anybody know of indie published Afro-fantasy RPG settings?

Dungeons & Dragons Stumbles With Its Revision Of The Game's Major Black Culture

Cecilia D'Anastasio
Today 2:30pm
•Filed to: Dungeons & Dragons

Tomb of Annihilation

For nearly a decade, there hasn’t been more than a vestige of a black society in the official world of Dungeons & Dragons. There have been black people, but no black civilizations except for a relatively small group of survivors of a catastrophe and locals living under colonists’ control. Back in 2008, D&D’s traditional African-analogue tribal society hailed from a “savage,” disease-ridden jungle. It sunk into the ocean. That changed this year with D&D’s latest adventure, which now describes that society as a lively mercantile people based in that former colony. But the newly-released adventure has left me and other D&D players disappointed. This is a fantasy role-playing game—anyone can be anything—so why did the way D&D designed 5th edition’s first black culture feel so lazy?
I’ve been exploring my reaction and that of other D&D players since I first read D&D’s latest adventure, Tomb of Annihilation, a month ago. I’d cracked open the 256-page tome eagerly, excited not only to study the maps, monsters and storylines laid out in its pages, but also to see what next steps D&D was taking to acknowledge the demographic breadth of its players in its tabletop fantasies. Flipping through Tomb of Annihilation, I found enchanting dungeons and gorgeous art and impressive puzzles and traps. I was also surprised to read about a black culture—5th edition’s first—that seemed to trade in dated stereotypes of African cultures.

It wasn’t something that jumped out at me. It was a slow sinking-in—not outrage, but a series of questions spurred by what I saw, read, researched and talked about with other D&D players: Why did publisher Wizards of the Coast choose to resurrect their fraught pan-Africa campaign setting in 2017? Considering that the average D&D city is an amalgamation of European cultures, why is it rubbing me, and others, that Chult is an amalgamation of African cultures? What would it be like for me as a non-black Dungeon Master to replicate the “tongue clicks” of the black tribal cultures players encounter? Did any people of color work on this? And, most importantly—this is a fantasy role-playing game, so why didn’t D&D’s stewards at Wizards of the Coast exercise a little more creativity here?

“What this says to me is that D&D is not interested in continuing to be at the forefront of what RPG sourcebooks can be,” said D&D player and editor Leslie Light. “I’m not impressed by their level of effort—to go back and recycle something old and come up with: It is dark and hot and they all live in one city and wear skins.”

Inclusivity isn’t just a buzzword. When it comes to gaming, it’s shorthand for game-makers’ design decisions that accommodate everyone’s escapist fantasies. That means that anyone can be anything, unfettered from reality and the crude biases that have taken root here. Over the years, there has been a slow build of progressive values in D&D’s rulebooks. The thin, seductive and bare-breasted female monsters of D&D’s first few monster manuals have been phased out in favor of terrifying lady beasts. Since then, Wizards of the Coast has silently acknowledged its queer fanbase by adding a LGBT characters to Curse of Strahd, Storm King’s Thunder and, now, Tomb of Annihilation, in part at the behest of the game’s lead rules designer, Jeremy Crawford. The lead image for the human race in the current Player’s Handbook is a black woman.
Tomb of Annihilation felt a little off in comparison. Its point of inspiration is a campaign setting that, for years, has been written off as tone-deaf. The new adventure draws on D&D co-creator Gary Gygax’s adventure Tomb of Horrors and combines that with source material detailing Chult, a jungle peninsula first conceived of in a 1992 novel called The Ring of Winter, in which an adventurer travels to Chult’s dinosaur-filled wilderness seeking the eponymous artifact. The Chult setting took more cues from a 1993 issue of Dragon Magazine’s “Warriors & Wizards from Afar” feature, the purpose of which was to flesh out or inspire homebrew D&D campaigns. The feature included the articles “Arms & Armor of Africa” and “The Dark Continent,” a template for “a generic Africa-like continent.” Its human inhabitants, described as “natives,” are dark-skinned with tightly curled hair, while its other races include pygmies and “bushmen.” In this setting, slaver caravans raid tribal villages, which survive on subsistence agriculture and hunting. A minutely-researched six pages detailing African weaponry followed, citing eight anthropological or historical texts.
The canonical Chultan peninsula finally congealed in a 1993 campaign setting as a dinosaur-infested jungle where heat wiped out even the strongest adventurers and insects carried fatal diseases. Reptilian races and undead skeletons dominate the land and humans live in tribal clusters and clans. Its major city, Mezro, “rivals some of the most ‘civilized’ population centers in Faerun,” the setting reads. Slavery is mentioned about 40 times. In D&D’s 3rd edition, it’s written that Chultan priest-kings worship “strange deities” in the city of Mezro. In D&D’s 4th edition, Chult is located on what’s called the “Savage Coast.” It’s said there that the city of Port Nyanzaru is controlled by foreign traders who often must defend against pirates. Mezro has collapsed. It just sank into the abyss. What remains is this: “Human civilization is virtually nonexistent here, though an Amnian colony and a port sponsored by Baldur’s Gate cling to the northern coasts, and a few tribes—some noble savages, others depraved cannibals—roam the interior.”
Graeme Barber runs POC Gamer, a blog where he gives his takes on fantasy and sci-fi games from the perspective of a black man. In 2013, he described how Mezro’s collapse in D&D’s 4th edition was “the last straw for me” and “one of the catalysts that brought this blog into being.” He was angered by black cultures’ omission from years’ worth of D&D books, and Mezro’s destruction felt to him like D&D saying they didn’t care about him. It struck him as weird that, in the D&D lore, there was no narrative describing how Mezro’s former citizens were struggling to bring it back. In his blog post, he wrote:

“It’s not unfair or hostile to say that the genre of fantasy is riddled with racism. Sometimes intentional, sometimes not, it is mostly achieved through the aggressive use of stereotypes and writing tropes, racism by omission, and through substitution (of monsters for human ethnicities). For all intents and purposes, it happens to further the immersion in and to carefully maintain the comfort zone and status quo enjoyed by the main audience and producers of the product, namely, a White audience. . . It has also lead to game companies like Wizards of the Coast (WotC), to (hopefully unintentionally) commit some fairly racist actions that make it hard for [people of color] to invest themselves in their product.”
He concluded that “WotC has effectively told me, as a POC, that I’m no longer welcome to play in a game world I’ve known and loved for years as a POC player character.” Barber now plays in a diverse D&D group with a homebrew setting. There, his dungeon master has architected an infrastructure for black cultures to exist. Recently, though, curiosity led him to pick up Tomb of Annihilation. After being pleasantly surprised by several of 5th edition’s motions toward inclusivity, he felt after reading the new adventure that D&D’s brand had taken “two steps forward, one step back.”
The Jungles of Chult

Set on this peninsula of Chult, 2017’s Tomb of Annihilation updates the 1993 campaign setting, cutting out several aspects that D&D lead designer Chris Perkins told me weren’t strong from a storytelling perspective. Gone are the foreign colonists who made Chultans second-class citizens in their own land and a strong emphasis on Chultans’ “warring, tribal” culture. Now, Mezro is absent in favor of the bustling, wealthy city of Port Nyanzaru, which was recently freed from foreign rule with the help of seven rich merchant princes. It is, the adventure reads, “a bastion of civilization and commerce in a savage land.” There, dinosaur races cut through the city streets which are lined by stone temples, warehouses storing ivory and jewels, markets and even a public bathhouse. Its culture is mercantile, rich in natural resources. Outside of the city is a dangerous jungle bustling with undead, reptilian beasts and tribal peoples. “Mad monkey feature” is a disease adventurers can pick up. Things have changed, but the thought processes that generated Chult version one are still there.
Why has Chult changed over the last two decades? When I asked Perkins, he said that “We didn’t want to create a city that felt backward...It’s a tale of Chultans reclaiming their own city and land and redefining who they are and moving way from the idea of warring tribes to a more business-minded culture.” Perkins explained that the D&D team made a great effort not to depict the Chultans in a regressive way, but added that “The land that they live in is a savage land. That’s just part of what Chult is. It’s a place of monsters. It was our intention to show the Chultans have not only survived it, but have risen above it—that they have dispelled the warring tribal nature that previously defined them and are now actually thriving.” When I asked, Perkins said that no black writers or consultants worked on Tomb of Annihilation.

Here’s the rub: While many players I talked to enjoyed how the history and political structures of Chult were expanded in Tomb of Annihilation (and enjoyed the adventure’s plot generally), they were still unimpressed by its execution. Its setting is an amalgamation of African cultures, a trope frequent in 20th century media that flattens the dimensionality of human experiences on the continent, which contains hundreds of ethnic groups. There are nods to West African voodoo, Southern African click-based Khoisan languages, East African attire (like Kenyan kofia hats) and the jungle climate of Central Africa. Its fantasy setting dissolves “Africa” into an all-in-one cultural stew that comes off as a little detached, sources I interviewed said.
“I’m gonna ignore for a moment the fact that they described [Chult] as a wild, untamed land—how much of Africa was thought of for a long time,” Dace, who runs the Black Role-Players Organization, told me. He had bigger fish to fry: “Their speaking patterns are described right down to having clicks. This creates a problem if white gamers were wanting to do an accent and do serious clicks and clucks based on what they’ve seen on TV about African languages.” Dace noted that Africa has upwards of 2,000 languages and only three language groups use clicks. It is one of the most stereotyped aspects of Africa.” Dace suggested using Swahili as another point of inspiration.

Another eyebrow-raising feature for Dace was the narrative arc of Chult’s escape from foreign rule, which he says “smacks of colonialism. It borrows from this rich African tradition of kings and queens and then reduces it down to them now being tradesmen, a path they learned not from their own but from their neighbors. This mirrors the historic way in which Africa’s empires were broken by European powers and then colonized.”
He was unimpressed by “mad monkey fever,” especially, he said, considering the long history of “likening blacks to monkeys.”

Light, the writer from BlackNerdProblems, told me that, “To me, it did not feel offensive. It felt lazy.” She wished that Wizards of the Coast innovated more instead of falling back on well-trodden tropes about what a unified “African” culture would look like.

“There’s so much more to be done. There are huge bodies of work in African fantasy.” She added, “If you’re gonna invest in me as a player, give me something I’d never thought of.”

I wish D&D had made a black Atlantis. I’d be thrilled to crack open 2017’s official adventure and learn of the bleeding-edge technologist culture that architects magical machinery, who are black, or an ethnography of the cloud-dwelling black merchant princes who deliver their wares via airships. Every black D&D player I spoke with said they had some suggestions for Wizards of the Coast—and they knew lots of others who’d love to share their ideas, too.

[Update—3:30 p.m. est]: An earlier version of this piece quoted a source saying that there are three languages in Africa that are click-based, when in fact, there are three language groups in Africa that are click-based. We have updated the piece accordingly.
Cecilia D'Anastasio
Senior reporter at Kotaku

Kids & Family / Spare the Kids: Corporal Punishment & Black Families
« on: September 19, 2017, 04:56:25 pm »
Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won't Save Black America
Dr. Stacy Patton

A challenge to the cultural tradition of corporal punishment in Black homes and its connections to racial violence in America

Why do so many African Americans have such a special attachment to whupping children? Studies show that nearly 80 percent of black parents see spanking, popping, pinching, and beating as reasonable, effective ways to teach respect and to protect black children from the streets, incarceration, encounters with racism, or worse. However, the consequences of this widely accepted approach to child-rearing are far-reaching and seldom discussed. Dr. Stacey Patton’s extensive research suggests that corporal punishment is a crucial factor in explaining why black folks are subject to disproportionately higher rates of school suspensions and expulsions, criminal prosecutions, improper mental health diagnoses, child abuse cases, and foster care placements, which too often funnel abused and traumatized children into the prison system.

Weaving together race, religion, history, popular culture, science, policing, psychology, and personal testimonies, Dr. Patton connects what happens at home to what happens in the streets in a way that is thought-provoking, unforgettable, and deeply sobering. Spare the Kids is not just a book. It is part of a growing national movement to provide positive, nonviolent discipline practices to those rearing, teaching, and caring for children of color.

EBONY Magazine
by Sylvia Snowden, January 19, 2017

We’ve all seen it. The 2-year old who has fallen out, kicking and screaming in the middle of a store, or the mouthy, defiant teenager who’s rolling her eyes and her neck at everything.  It’s easy to look at kids like that and think, “That kid needs is a good, butt whupping!”

According to a 2015 Pew Research survey, Black parents are more than twice as likely as White parents and nearly twice as likely as Hispanic parents to use corporal punishment to discipline their children on a regular basis.  Black parents are also far less likely than White or Hispanic parents to never spank their children. And that’s the sort of parenting pathology that Dr. Stacey Patton hopes to combat.

Patton, who holds a Ph.D. in African-American History, and is the author of a new book, Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America, urges Black parents to look at the history and the impact of the practice and reconsider. sat down with Dr. Patton for an in-depth look at her findings.

EBONY: Why do you think we hit our children?

Dr. Stacey Patton: People think that hitting a child is a form of teaching. We think it will protect them.  And people grow up to invert the violence they experience as children as something that was good, particularly in African-American culture.  As a people, we attribute our success to having had our bodies processed through violence and quite frankly what it does is confirm a long-standing racist narrative about Black bodies. The only way to control us, the only way to make us “good,” law-abiding, moral people is with a good whupping. It seems that we unconsciously agree with that narrative.

EBONY: You said in your book that Black people are “the most locked up, unhealthy, stressed out, demonized group of people in America. Whupping children hasn’t saved us from any of this!”  So why do you think we believe it has?

Dr. Stacey Patton: We don’t make the connection between the historical traumas, the science that talks about the psychological damage that hitting children has, the chronic illnesses that get produced by hitting children, the domestic violence between Black men and women or the shootings in the streets.  We don’t take a moment to stop and look and say, “How much of that is attributed to what’s happened to us in the foundational moment of our lives (which is childhood)?” We don’t make those connections.

EBONY: You also explore the Black church in your book. You say the church has always urged parents to use “the rod of correction,” but then you point out that the phrase, “Spare the rod, spoil the child” isn’t actually in the Bible & Jesus was a gentle person who liked children. Would Jesus spank? Where did we get that from?

Dr. Stacey Patton: Firstly, I should say that I’m not a Christian, though I was raised in the Black church.  In the New Testament there’s no evidence whatsoever, that Jesus hit children. Based on Jesus’ principals of empathy, love, and his directives to adults on how to treat children, I don’t think he would have whupped a child.  The whole, “Spare the rod, spoil the child” misinterpretation is Old Testament. I pushed this conversation a little further to say, “Listen, first of all, African-Americans have only been Christians for about 200 years.” And we came to Christianity through our brutal, horrible and dark mistreatment during slavery.  There’s absolutely no evidence that Black people in West Africa treated their children with this kind of ritualistic violence prior to contact with European missionaries. We need to interrogate this theology.

EBONY: Talk about the specific damage we do to our male and female children when we hit them.

Dr. Stacey Patton: I interviewed Black men to learn if there was any connection between mothers beating their sons as boys and how they grew up to treat women later in life.  I found that many of their stories confirmed what the psychological literature had been saying for decades. These men grow up to have some really ugly attitudes towards women. I also found it striking that we don’t live in a society that believes that Black males experience pain.  Far too many mothers look at their boys, particularly as their bodies grow—just as the larger, racist society does—and see their potential criminality.  I’ve talked to mothers who say, “If I don’t beat my son, he’s going to knock me down some day.” And so anti-Blackness is filled into the ways that some Black mothers rear their sons.

EBONY: What should parents with a 3-year-old whose mind hasn’t developed enough to understand reason or a 16-year-old who’s rebelling? 

Dr. Stacey Patton: We have to deconstruct our thinking about Black children.  That’s half the battle right there.  We have to throw away the fear, we have to throw away the cultural conditioning, and the racist ideas about Blackness.  Parents must educate themselves in child development.  What’s happening in your child’s brain at 2 years old? We need a public health program that teaches parents why their child is hitting, why a child fights and why a teenager may begin to suck her teeth.  We are too inclined to think of a child as being intentionally willful when they’re actually not.  Parents also have to reconnect with their own humanity.  There’s this sort of intuitive response to beat out of their children the same things that were beaten out of them.

For more on Dr. Stacey Patton, visit

Keep up with Sylvia Snowden at

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In The News / Chicago Moors minister convicted of tax fraud
« on: September 13, 2017, 06:18:38 pm »
Nowadays you have splinter sects of splinter sects, so I have no idea what the "center" of the Moorish movement is currently, but anyway...

a self-described Moorish “Grand Sheik,” who led a sovereign-citizen-style fraud scheme seeking more than $100 million in tax refunds, has been sentenced to 68 months in federal prison.

Marcel A. Walton, 47, of Chicago, received the sentence last Friday in U.S. District Court where he earlier pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in the scheme that actually “stole” $2 million in bogus refunds from the U.S. Treasury.

The case is one of the largest successful tax-fraud prosecutions brought against a leader in the Moorish movement — an offshoot of the sovereign citizen movement that primarily attracts African-Americas.

“The defendant identified [a] vulnerability in the IRS’s trust tax return processing system and orchestrated a massive tax scheme to exploit that vulnerability by filing numerous false returns,” court documents say.

Seven of his followers previously were sentenced to relatively short prison terms.

“It is also noteworthy that, while the government is the direct victim of the crime, all citizens and residents of the United States ultimately suffer the consequences of this type of criminal conduct,” federal prosecutors said in court filings.

Walton headed the Moorish Science Temple of America, based in Chicago, and worked for the city’s parks department since 2004.  He told his followers that if they became members of his temple, they could claim money purportedly owed to the Moors by the U.S. government.

Walton claimed his Moorish ancestors discovered America and that Moorish prophet “Noble Drew Ali” was given the deed to all lands making up North America, court documents say.

Further, he contended that modern-day Moors, such as himself, were entitled to back pay, tax refunds or reparations from the federal government for its “use of Moorish lands.” The next step, Walton said, entitled his followers  to file retro-active tax returns seeking refunds of  as much $900,000 each.

At least 17 of Walton’s followers filed an estimated 50 returns seeking more than $16.4 million dollars in refunds and obtained $3.3 million in refunds before federal investigators detected the fraud scheme and recovered $852,221, the court documents say.

The government limited its loss calculations to instances where Walton’s  role was corroborated by interviews with his temple members.

“However, it is likely that this calculation under represents the harm intended to be caused by defendant as defendant can otherwise be linked through various public filings to individuals who filed fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds exceeding $100 million,” the court documents say.   

For his assistance, Walton urged his followers to “tithe” 10 percent of the tax returns they received to him. Walton also personally participated in the fraud scheme.

In 2010, the documents say he filed fraudulent IRS returns, using the name “Marcel Antonio Walton Trust,” seeking approximately $300,000 for each of the years 2007 through 2009.

In early 2011, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued a $310,162 refund check to the  “Marcel Antonio Walton  Trust,” and mailed it to the defendant’s home address in Chicago.

“Over the course of the next several months, defendant converted all of the money to his own personal use,” the court documents say.

Walton “preyed upon” his “unsophisticated” followers and their vulnerabilities in the same manner that he preyed upon the United States and the vulnerabilities of the IRS’s tax filing system, the documents say.

Directing / Colin Trevorrow exits Star Wars pt. 9
« on: September 05, 2017, 03:33:52 pm »
Director Colin Trevorrow has exited Star Wars: Episode IX.

Lucasfilm and Disney released an official statement on the subject, which originally appeared on

Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on Star Wars: Episode IX. Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process but we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ. We wish Colin the best and will be sharing more information about the film soon.

RELATED: Star Wars: Leia Was Going to be at the Forefront of Episode IX

Just last month, British screenwriter Jack Thorne boarded the film, which was originally penned by Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson and later by Trevorrow and his writing partner
Derek Connolly. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “script issues have continued to be the continuing sore spot with Episode IX’s development,” as Trevorrow attempted several drafts for the
film. Additionally, the working relationship between Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Trevorrow reportedly became “unmanageable.”

Trevorrow’s departure follows the behind-the-scenes turbulence on the Han Solo anthology film. In June, directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were removed from the Star Wars anthology movie in the middle of filming. Director Ron Howard was later hired to complete the project.

Trevorrow was tapped as director for Episode IX in 2015 after his success on Jurassic World. Though Jurassic World was a resounding success at the box office, earning a whopping $1.6 billion, his followup film The Book of Henry was considered a flop both critically and financially.

Scheduled to hit theaters on May 24, 2019, Star Wars: Episode IX is a production of Lucasfilm and likely starring Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac.


new director needed: Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Antoine Fuqua, John Singleton, Reggie Hudlin, make it happen Disney!

Other Comics / Comics and Fascism
« on: September 04, 2017, 07:26:01 pm »

Superheroes And The F-Word: Grappling With The Ugly Truth Under The Capes


November 16, 2016·9:39 AM ET 

 Glen Weldon 
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Superheroes preserve the status quo, employ symbolic visual imagery, have flawless bodies and use their powers to place themselves above the law. Are they just fascists in tights?

yogysic/Getty Images

Superheroes preserve the status quo, employ symbolic visual imagery, have flawless bodies and use their powers to place themselves above the law. Are they just fascists in tights?

Superheroes are democratic ideals.

They exist to express what's noblest about us: selflessness, sacrifice, a commitment to protect those who need protection, and to empower the powerless.

Superheroes are fascist ideals.

They exist to symbolize the notion that might equals right, that a select few should dictate the fate of the world, and that the status quo is to be protected at all costs.

Both of these things are true, and inextricably bound up with one another — but they weren't always.

Truth, Jawlines And The American Way: The Changing Face Of Superman

Monkey See

 Truth, Jawlines And The American Way: The Changing Face Of Superman
When he debuted in 1938, Superman was, briefly, a progressive icon. He sprang, after all, from the minds of two Jewish kids in Cleveland warily watching the rise of Hitler in Europe. In his first year of life, they sent their "Champion of the Oppressed" (his very first nickname, years before "Man of Steel") after corrupt Senators, war-mongering foreign leaders, weapons merchants, and crooked stockbrokers. He purposefully razed a slum to force the city government to provide better low-income housing. (He also launched one-man crusades against slot machines, reckless drivers, and cheating college football teams, which ... yeah. Guy kept busy.)

Both Captain America and Wonder Woman were created expressly to fight the Nazi threat. Literally, to fight it — to punch it right in its dumb Ratzi face.

Batman, on the other hand, spent much of his first year protecting only his city's wealthy elite from murder plots, jewel thieves and extortion. (Also werewolves and madmen with Napoleon complexes piloting death-blimps. Comics, guys!) It took him a while to turn his attention to the kind of petty crime that afflicted the common citizen — the arrival of Robin the Boy Wonder helped him focus.

But with the advent of World War II, Superman, Batman and other costumed heroes found themselves conscripted alongside Captain America. Not to fight the Axis themselves, mind you, but to root out stateside saboteurs and urge readers to plant Victory gardens and buy war bonds.

In the process, the visual iconography of superheroes — which, comics being comics, is 50% of the formula, remember — melded with that of patriotic imagery. This continued for decades after the war, as once-progressive heroes like Superman came to symbolize bedrock Eisenhower-era American values — the American Way — in addition to notions of Truth and Justice.

The Wertham Era

'Caped Crusade' Peeks Under Batman's Iconic Cowl

Book Reviews

 'Caped Crusade' Peeks Under Batman's Iconic Cowl
Yet there was always something about superheroes, and Superman in particular. He'd helped inspire the country to defeat fascism, but he looked like he did — the kind of idealized male musculature the Nazis fetishized — and he possessed "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men." What's more, he used said powers and abilities against those comparatively weak and frail mortal men, if they stepped out of line. He also came from an advanced planet peopled by a — and here's a pesky phrase that kept cropping up in Superman comics — "super-race."

It wasn't intended, but it was there. People noticed.

One person in particular: Dr. Fredric Wertham, who in his 1954 anti-comics screed Seduction of the Innocent, noted that Superman's whole schtick was hurting criminals without getting hurt himself, and dubbed him an "un-American fascist" symbol. It hit a nerve.

Wertham's crusade changed the industry completely, effectively ending crime and horror comics and shuttering many comics publishers, but the changes to superhero comics — and their fascist overtones — proved more subtle. Suddenly Superman's powers didn't derive from his "super-race" genetics, but from science: the rays of Earth's yellow sun, to be specific. But Batman, who'd been deputized by Gotham's Police Department as early as 1941, grew even chummier with the cops; most stories now began with an urgent plea for help from a worrisomely hapless Commissioner Gordon.

The Marvel Era

Wertham's concerns about the fascistic elements in superhero comics were about themes and implications, not actual text. Because at the time, kids were the primary audience for comics, which presented stark, simple morality plays — light versus darkness, good versus evil. More abstract qualities like characterization, psychology and any overtly political context simply never showed up in a given comic.

That changed when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the Fantastic Four in 1961 and, especially, when Lee and Ditko created Spider-Man in 1962. The men recognized that a demographic shift was underway — older teenagers and adults were now buying comics. So Lee, Ditko and Kirby created a roster of heroes whose troubled lives reflected those of their readership: conflicted, quarrelsome and deeply insecure.

Comic book creator Stan Lee in the Marvel Super Heroes Science Exhibition at the California Science Center in Los Angeles in 2006.   
 Damian Dovarganes/AP
And with the words "With great power comes great responsibility" (Amazing Fantasy #15, August 1962), Lee introduced a concept that greatly mitigated, for Spider-Man at any rate, the fascism baked-in to the superhero genre: sacrifice.

Previously, superheroes had paid lip-service to the notion of selflessness. The altruism they exhibited was reflexive and unquestioned, a part of the narrative infrastructure as essential to the genre as colored underpants. This was because that altruism hadn't needed to be questioned, as superhero stories were still simple stories to reassure children that good always triumphed over evil.

The fact that their tremendous powers and abilities shielded superheroes — often literally — from experiencing any lasting harm also served to undermine their status as truly heroic.

Lee and his co-creators cut against that tendency by showing Peter Parker really suffering — before, during and after his decision to be Spider-Man. Soon, Marvel comics teemed with mopey, hot-headed, angst-ridden heroes whose powers and abilities only served to complicate their lives, and deepen their baseline misery.

It took DC heroes like Superman and Batman a while to catch on to this trend, but when they did, they doubled down on it. Superman entered an era in which he lost and gained his powers with metronomic regularity, and Batman became a tortured obsessive.

Super-Fascism As Plot Point

In the 1980s and afterward, as superhero comics shed their child readership and turned in on themselves to cater exclusively to teens and adults, the dawning of the "grim-and-gritty" era meant that the fascism latent in the superhero genre became one of its chief storylines. In books like Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, Empire, Civil War and many others, creators explicitly grappled with how heroes exert their will when their penchant for benign intervention becomes ... less-than-benign. In monthly comics and one-shot tales set in alternative universes, scores of superheroes became dictators (often for "the greater good") and crushed any insurrection that would upset their status quo.

'Steel' Trap: Snyder's Superman, Between Worlds

Movie Reviews

 'Steel' Trap: Snyder's Superman, Between Worlds
Both this year's Batman v. Superman and Captain America: Civil War revolve around a non-powered billionaire attempting to rein in a rogue superhuman, and both engage in the by-now inevitable chin-stroking about freedom and government control.

Today, fascism has more potential tools in its arsenal than ever, and the cinematic superhero glut we now find ourselves in reflects that: again and again, these movies offer symbolic, dark-mirror reflections of the surveillance state.

A Changing Superhero Landscape

Although conceived in a progressive spirit, the superhero genre's central narrative has always been one of defending the status quo through overpowering might; in the vast majority of those cases, the one doing all that defending and overpowering is a straight white male. (This is just one of the reasons that the superhero genre, which has a knack for distilling American culture to its essence, can get a little on-the-nose, sometimes.)

More often than not, the straight white male in question has a square jaw and killer abs and holds vast amount of power but chooses not to use it to subjugate others, simply because he's a Good Person.

Which is to say: historically, the genre's organizing principle is that the only thing keeping fascism from happening is that straight white dudes are chill.

But slowly, incrementally, as comics (and movies, and tv shows, and games, t-shirts and coffee mugs) start to fill up with more characters like Ms. Marvel (a Pakistani-American teenage girl from Jersey City), the visual iconography of superheroes, and what those superheroes mean to the culture, will force the genre to do something it has historically resisted.

It will change.

And once superheroes look different, and once the world on the comics page more closely resembles the world off of it, you will still be able to discern the low but steady drumbeat of fascism that the genre has never been able to escape.

But it will grow lower, and less steady.

Feel The Funk / Rural Rap: Hick-Hop in the Trump Era
« on: September 02, 2017, 06:13:25 pm »
West Coast rapper Murs explores the presence of "hick-hop" in the midst of a rise in controversies over the Confederate flag and seething red-state resentments in the Trump era--

From a journalistic standpoint it’s intriguing. Much like the Detroit-grown Insane Clown Posse/ICP, the so-called “hick-hop” groups and solo acts are Caucasian rap music performers who have cultivated careers that manage to thrive without seemingly much, if any, of a relationship with the minority demographics that created and nurtured hip-hop in its earliest years (e.g. black, Latino). Most of them operate on independent labels, which in this era of Itunes, YouTube and streaming-platform-based promotion (Spotify, etc.), would seem to be an advantage and a balancing force compared to the resources afforded to the music acts signed to major corporate labels. I guess we'll see how this sub-genre evolves-- if at all-- are some of them doing trap-style records?


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Locally, Kid Rock continues to tease his theoretical bid for the GOP senate seat in 2018-- but in the meanwhile, he's scheduled to perform for six nights in a row at the newly constructed Little Caesar's Arena in downtown Detroit.  The stadium was largely subsidized with roughly $324 million in city money, against an estimated $800+ million overall cost for Olympia Entertainment (Aside from owning the Little Caesar's pizza corporation, the Ilitch Family owns the Red Wings hockey team and the Tigers baseball team).

There will be a Kid Rock- themed restaurant (!!!) in the arena that will be open for business throughout the year, apart from any sports games.
Kid Rock 2017, "Podunk"

Editorial from the Detroit Free Press

When the Ilitch family's Olympia Entertainment division chose divisive performer Kid Rock to christen Little Caesars Arena with six shows and a new restaurant, it sent a message to the Detroiters who made the project possible and who have yet to see the benefits promised. It's a message that's not too far off those Jim Crow-era signs warning that blacks weren't welcome.

Negro, go home.

That's what it feels like, at least. And for weeks, I've been struggling to come up with an alternative, less wounding interpretation. But how can I?

More: Little Caesars Arena, District Detroit: A look at what's planned
Henderson: How to rebuild Detroit? One block at a time

This is a musician who got rich off crass cultural appropriation of black music, who used to wrap his brand in the Confederate flag — a symbol inextricably linked to racism, no matter what its defenders say — and who has repeatedly issued profane denouncements of the very idea of African Americans pushing back against American inequality. Just last week, he trashed Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who's jobless right now because he dared challenge the nation's racism with a silent, kneeling protest during the pre-football game singing of the national anthem.

Having Kid Rock open this arena is erecting a sturdy middle finger to Detroiters — nothing less. And the Ilitches, who've done so much for this city and also taken so much from it, should be the last to embrace that kind of signaling.

This isn't about music and whether Kid Rock is any good. Lots of people can argue, legitimately, about that.


Sam Riddle calls out 'hypocritical' Detroit Red Wings for hosting Kid Rock

It's about culture — our culture, in our city. This is a place of incredible, rich diversity, of immigrants and native peoples and the descendants of slaves, all hardened by our history but resilient and powerful in our determination for a bright future.

"I love America, I love Detroit and I love black people!" Kid Rock said in 2011, when the local NAACP gave him an award — he gave $50,000 to Detroit-based organizations —purportedly in the hopes that he'd change some of his antics. He did, while the positive publicity lasted.

But Kid Rock’s actions, the symbols he chooses and the stances he favors — the dog whistle racism about Kaepernick, the twisted nods to the Confederate flag as a symbol of American pride — are incompatible with the pro-Detroit platitudes he sometimes mouths.

This is a man who is exploitative and resentful of the city’s population, not a man who is for Detroit and Detroiters.

It's hurtful. It's disrespectful. And in the context of the current national racial strife, born of racist torch marches, of presidential equivocations, and of a prolonged debate about the presence of racist history in our midst, I think the Kid Rock extravaganza at a new Detroit arena is absolutely nuts.

I can admit to having just come to this position on this issue lately. Back when Kid Rock was announced as the arena's opening act, it bugged me, but didn't register as much more than an annoyance.

Henderson: What's the source for white anger on display in Charlottesville?
Nancy Kaffer: A call to action after 1967 Detroit riot goes largely unheard

Then Charlottesville happened. And then the president of the United States tried to muddy the national conversation on race by indulging false equivalencies between violent white supremacists and those who fight back against them.

And through all that, Kid Rock's top billing at the arena opening began to chafe even more. Then he opened his mouth.

At a concert a few weeks ago, while performing the song "Born Free," he broke into the lyrics to declare, "F-ck Colin Kaepernick," something he has done pretty consistently, it turns out, since Kaepernick first started kneeling in the fall of 2016.

There are certainly reasonable people who object to Kaepernick's chosen vehicle for protest — the flag, and the anthem.

But Kid Rock's reaction is not a reasoned objection. It's just an ignorant and racist sentiment couched in awww-shucks patriotism, precisely the kind of thing that has characterized so much of his career.

Back when he used to incorporate the Confederate flag into his performances, he said he "never flew that flag with hate in my heart."

That doesn't even make sense. But it speaks to the power of his commercial cynicism. Play to the bigots who'll cheer the explicit signaling. Pretend to the rest of the world that it's just about feeling good about America — as if you can invoke the most racist parts of American culture without being stained by them.

That hypocrisy also echoes in Kid Rock's musical evolution, from a wanna-be hip-hop artist, eager to capitalize on the genre's commercial success, to a bold celebrant of what might politely be called the culture of white resentment. He follows the money — and the message can be tailored to preserve the cash flow.

And this is the note on which Olympia and the Ilitches want to open our new arena?

I say "our" quite purposefully there, because Detroiters — of all hues and beliefs and economic class — have leveraged our financial future, pledging some $324.1 million in future tax dollars — including proceeds from a tax meant to support public schools — to help pay for this $863-million stadium.

We've also put our faith in the Ilitch family — again — to come through on the big promises they've made about what we would get in return.

That's not turning out the way we imagined, either.

The Ilitches pledged to ensure that 50% of the work done to construct this arena would go to Detroiters, a modestly fair proffer for all the tax dollars that went in.

But that target was missed by almost half, for many reasons, and $2.9 million in fines were levied against the companies who landed arena contracts.

The Ilitches also promised that this arena would be built simultaneously with the other developments that would make up the new District Detroit neighborhood.

This echoed their promise back in the early 1990s surrounding Comerica Park, pitched as a catalyst that would ignite development akin to Wrigleyville on the north side of Chicago.

That never happened, of course, and as the new arena prepares to open, nearly all of the promised development outside of the Ilitch investments — the new Little Caesars headquarters on Woodward, the new Wayne State Business School next to the arena and a slew of parking lots — are still if-come. 

And that makes Kid Rock's opening appearances even more insulting.

Detroit has given artistic birth to so many performers whose work appeals across racial, class and musical barriers. Stevie Wonder, Jack White, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger — any one of them could have been the kind of choice that made all of Detroit proud.

Kid Rock could — and probably should — draw significant protests, launched from a community that has grown tired of being told its concerns don't matter, even when our money is used for something built in our own backyard.

It will be an inauspicious start, to say the least.

And the signal it sends won't be appreciated — or easily forgotten.

Correction: The original version of this column said Kid Rock gave $100,000 to the NAACP. He made those donations to other Detroit-based organizations and to the American Red Cross.

Hudlin TV / Anna Diop cast ast Starfire in Teen Titans TV show!
« on: August 24, 2017, 06:09:53 am »

Legacy alumna Anna Diop has landed one of the leads, the series-regular role of Starfire, in the new live-action series Titans, from Greg Berlanti, Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, Sarah Schechter and Warner Bros TV. She joins Australian newcomer Teagan Croft, who was cast as another lead, Raven, in the series that’s slated to premiere in 2018 as part of the inaugural slate of a new DC-branded direct-to-consumer digital service.


'Titans': Teagan Croft Cast As Raven In Live-Action Series For DC Digital Service

Written by Goldsman, DC Entertainment’s Johns and Berlanti, Titans follows a group of young soon-to-be superheroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. In the action-adventure series, Dick Grayson emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes that includes Starfire, Raven and others.

Diop’s Starfire (aka Koriand’r) is an alien princess from a warrior planet who seeks asylum on Earth. A no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners stranger on our world, she has the ability to shoot energy bolts and fly. Searching for her place on Earth, she’ll come into contact with the Titans.

Goldsman, Johns and Berlanti Prods’ Berlanti and Schechter executive produce Titans, from Weed Road Pictures and Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros Television.

Diop, repped by Abrams Artists Agency, co-starred on Fox’s 24: Legacy and was a series regular on the CW’s The Messengers. She also recurred on ABC’s Quantico and OWN’s Greenleaf.

Vox Populi / Die Hard Trump Supporters Still Die Hard
« on: August 19, 2017, 06:38:07 pm »
Oh, good lord.. somebody would find a black woman to represent for the Trumptonian demographic-- sheesh, beloved.. way to turn off your brain.. (yeah, I went there.. I don't care..).  You can be "conservative" all you want, you can be Republican, but dammit...  ::)

Parson Hicks, 35, a strong supporter of President Trump, dismissed the moral outrage at his remarks about violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the past week.

For Parson Hicks, a health care finance executive who supports President Trump, this past week has felt a little like déjà vu. Mr. Trump says something. His opponents howl and then predict, with certainty, a point of no return.

The last time this happened, she said, was in October with the notorious “Access Hollywood” recording of Mr. Trump talking lewdly about women. His opponents were sure he was finished. His supporters knew better.

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“Let’s be honest, the people who are currently outraged are the same people who have always been outraged,” said Ms. Hicks, 35, a lifelong Republican who lives in Boston. “The media makes it seem like something has changed, when in reality nothing has.”

It was a week of incessant tumult, when Mr. Trump tumbled into open warfare with some in his own party over his statements on the violence in Charlottesville, Va.; business executives abandoned his advisory councils; top military leaders pointedly made statements denouncing racism in a way he did not; and his embattled chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, stepped down. But around the country, Mr. Trump’s supporters — and, according to many polls, Republicans more broadly — agreed with his interpretation of a swirl of racially charged events and stood with him amid still more clatter and churn.

Sixty-seven percent of Republicans said they approved of the president’s response to the violence in Charlottesville last weekend, compared with just 10 percent of Democrats, according to a CBS News survey conducted over the past week.

It’s an indication of what now seems an almost immutable law of the Trump presidency. There are signs that Mr. Trump’s support among Republican leaders and some Republican voters is weakening. But in an increasingly tribal America, with people on the left and the right getting information from different sources and seeing the same facts in different ways, it reflects the way Mr. Trump has become in many ways both symbol and chief agitator of a divided nation.

Moral outrage at Mr. Trump’s response to Charlottesville continues to glow white hot, but it has a largely partisan tinge.

From Ms. Hicks’s perspective, the president simply pointed out a fact: Leftists bore some responsibility for the violence, too. Of course, Nazis and white supremacists are bad, she said. But she does not believe Mr. Trump has any affinity for them. He said so himself. But she is exasperated that a significant part of the country seems to think otherwise. The week’s frenzied headlines read to her like bulletins from another planet.

“I feel like I am in a bizarro universe where no one but me is thinking logically,” she said. “We have gone so off the rails of what this conversation is about.”

Ms. Hicks, who is black and grew up in Charlotte, N.C., welcomes the public soul-searching on the meaning of Confederate monuments. She believes that the statues were erected to intimidate black people and that they should be taken down. But instead of focusing on that, she sees opponents of Mr. Trump focusing on Mr. Trump.

“This is not about me as a black person, and my history,” she said. “This is about this president and wanting to take him down because you don’t like him.”

Mr. Bannon’s departure was more noise that didn’t mean much, she said. “The show is going to go on.”

Much of what powers the love for Mr. Trump among his core supporters is his boxer’s approach to the political class in Washington and to the news media, a group that in their eyes has approached them with a double standard and a sneering sense of superiority for years.

Larry Laughlin, a retired businessman from a Minneapolis suburb, compares Mr. Trump to a high school senior who could “walk up to the table with the jocks and the cheerleaders and put them in their place.” That is something that the “nerds and the losers, whose dads are unemployed and moms are working in the cafeteria,” could never do. Mr. Trump may be rich, he said, but actually belonged at the nerd table.

“The guys who wouldn’t like me wouldn’t like Trump,” he said. “The guys who were condescending to him were condescending to me.

“I feel like I’m watching my uncle up there. Where me and Chuck Schumer — that’s like going to the dentist,” he added, referring to the Democratic leader in the Senate.

Gregory Kline, 46, a lawyer in Severna Park, Md., who is a Republican, said he did not vote for Mr. Trump but understands that part of the president’s support comes from fury at the left, particularly the media. When there is an attack by Muslim terrorists, for example, the media reaches for pundits who say most Muslims are good. But when it is a white supremacist, “every conservative is lumped in with him,” he said.

“It’s not that people are deaf and dumb and don’t see it,” he said of Mr. Trump’s sometimes erratic behavior. “It’s that they don’t care. I’ve heard rational people I really respect make the craziest apologies for this president because they are sick of getting beat on and they are happy he’s fighting back.”

Is there anything Mr. Trump could do that would change the minds of his supporters? For the most loyal, probably not. A recent Monmouth University poll found that, of the current 41 percent of Americans who approve of the job he is doing, 61 percent say they cannot see Mr. Trump doing anything that would make them disapprove of him. (A similar share of the other side says there is nothing Mr. Trump could do — other than resigning — to get them to like him.)

But for many others, support is conditional. (Mr. Trump’s poll numbers have dropped considerably since he took office in January.) Michael Dye, a 52-year-old engineer who is the treasurer for the Republican Party in Annapolis, Md., said he was “a bit stunned” that Mr. Trump had not focused more on condemning what was a large neo-Nazi march through the middle of the University of Virginia, Mr. Dye’s alma mater.

“At best it is naïve to think that the people showing up for the original protest were there simply because they were upset that this statue was being taken down,” said Mr. Dye, who said he voted reluctantly for Mr. Trump.

Of the chant “Jews will not replace us,” he said: “You can argue that it was 10 percent of the crowd. But there are those types in there and I’ve got a problem with that and I wish he’d specified that.”

Even with his reservations, Mr. Dye said he would still vote for Mr. Trump. He wants his party to hold the reins and steer policy, and if Mr. Trump is the only route to that, he will take it.

Partisanship is now so deep that what we see depends entirely on who is looking. So when Mr. Trump said there had been “violence on both sides,” Democrats — and some Republicans — heard a dangerous moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and the people who opposed them. But for many Trump supporters, his words appealed to a basic sense of fairness.

“Anyone who was fair-minded could see that there was violence on both sides,” said John McIntosh, 76, who lives in New Bern, N.C., and voted for Mr. Trump. He said that did not excuse the driver of the car that killed a counterprotester and injured many others.

When those who were horrified tried to convince those who were not, it did not go well.

“Everybody is like, how can you not see it, he’s a total white supremacist, a total Nazi,” said Debra Skoog, a retired executive in Minneapolis and a lifelong Democrat who voted for Mr. Trump. “I just don’t see it that way. I don’t find his language as incriminating as some people do.”

Yascha Mounk, a political scientist at Harvard University who writes about democracy, said partisanship in the United States today is dangerously deep.

“It’s now at a stage where a lot of Americans have such a loyalty to their political tribe that they are willing to go along with deeply undemocratic behavior,” he said. “If their guy says, ‘I think we should push back the election for a few years because of a possible terrorist attack,’ I fear that a significant part of the population would go along with it.”

And in a polarized nation, many see a moment, full of passion on both sides, in which actions like taking down statues in the dead of night — as happened in Baltimore on Wednesday — are just bound to lead to more division.

“People who see this stuff going down the memory hole as quickly as it is happening feel unsettled by it,” Mr. Kline said. “The left doesn’t realize that the reaction a lot of people would have is to sit back and say, ‘Wait a minute, what’s going on here?’ ”

Vox Populi / Trump to visit Phoenix AZ for rally
« on: August 16, 2017, 09:55:54 am »
@Supreme, let us know how folks in Phoenix respond to this-- hopefully there will be some protests, people letting 45 know that he's a horrible human being   >:( >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump plans to rally supporters in Phoenix next week.

Trump's campaign announced the event Wednesday — a day after the president blamed "both sides" for weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and counter-demonstrators.

The campaign says the Aug. 22 rally will take place at the Phoenix Convention Center.

The president has been holding campaign-style events in Trump-friendly areas since he took office. Next week's rally will be Trump's first in the West.

Trump told Fox News in an interview this week that he may pardon Joe Arpaio (ahr-PY'-oh), the former Phoenix-area sheriff who recently was convicted in federal court.

A federal judge ruled in 2013 that Arpaio's officers had racially profiled Latinos. Critics say a pardon would amount to an endorsement of racism.

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