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Natural curly hair: please don’t touch

So..I’ve been natural for about three years now and the journey has been filled with challenges. I can’t say that I will never go back to the creamy crack, but I don’t see it in my future. I’m quite satisfied with the way that I can style my hair in it’s natural state, and to my surprise, it’s more manageable. Now that I’ve prefaced my love for my hair, time to get down to business in terms of a particular issue that I’ve been encountering lately.

Even before I went natural, people have always wanted to touch my hair. My college roommate from Booneville, Missouri. The lady at the gas station in Hammond, Indiana. Even the little Indian lady who I sat next to for two hours on a flight to Baltimore. When I receive the “can I touch your hair question,” I’m usually very polite. Most of the time it’s from white people and I understand the curiosity. It’s important to note that these folks, the polite people who ask, is not the reason why I’m writing about this.

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News Flash

College fakes diversity by photoshopping black head onto white body?


In 2000, Diallo Shabazz sued the University of Wisconsin-Madison for photo-shopping him into their marketing materials. In his suit, Shabazz did not ask for money, but for “budgetary money” to actually make the campus more diverse.

Now, another example of doctored diversity has surfaced. This time at the University of Alabama.

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News Flash

Al Sharpton’s National Action Network seeks to meet with Barney’s CEO amid racial profiling allegations


NEW YORK — NEW YORK (AP) — A civil rights group said Thursday it was seeking a meeting with the CEO of Barneys New York in the wake of racial profiling claims by two shoppers at the high-end department store.

The Brooklyn chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network said the group also plans to picket Barneys if the alleged pattern of racial profiling does not stop, its president, Kirsten John Foy, said in a statement.

Two black shoppers this week accused Barneys of detaining them after they made expensive purchases at the store in Manhattan. One of them has filed a discrimination lawsuit against Barneys, the city and its police department.

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News Flash

2 soldiers shot at Tennessee naval base


A gunman who opened fire at a Millington, Tn. naval base is in custody after shooting the entrance of the armory Thursday.

Two soldiers were wounded before the gunman was subdued and disarmed.

The two guardmen are being treated for non-life threatening wounds and are expected to be released soon.

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News Flash

Meet Kellogg’s new CEO: La June Montgomery Tabron


The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has selected La June Montgomery Tabron to be the foundation’s next president and CEO. Montgomery Tabron is currently the executive vice president of operations and treasurer.

She will become the 12th leader of the 83-year-old foundation, and will replace Sterling Speirn.

From WKKF:

“After an extensive search that included outstanding candidates from both the United States and abroad, La June emerged as our new leader because of her strengths in so many areas of the foundation, and her deep and unwavering commitment to the foundation’s mission, vision and values,” said Rod Gillum, chair of the WKKF board.

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News Flash

Police officer who shot mentally ill man fired, charged with felony aggravated assault


The Dallas police officer who shot a mentally ill man has been fired. In a police report, Officer Cardan Spencer wrote that he shot Bobby Gerald Bennett last week after he lunged at him and another officer with a knife.

A video captured by a neighbor’s surveillance camera contradicts his story.

Spencer has also been charged with felony aggravated assault.

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News Flash

Jay Z’s deal with Barney’s: should he drop it?

jay z

Should Jay Z discontinue his partnership with Barney’s? Some folks think so.

Ever since news broke of 19-year-old Trayon Christian’s lawsuit against the department store, Jay Z has been feeling the heat.

Christian filed a lawsuit against both Barney’s and the NYPD after he was wrongfully arrested in April while purchasing a belt from the store.

A second woman, Kayla Phillips has also come forward, alleging that she was unfairly profiled by Barney’s staff and NYPD police.

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[photo of Aaron]
By Aaron
All posts by Aaron »

12 Years A Slave and the Power of Owning Our Own Narratives

With the recent release and acclaim of Oscar-favorite 12 Years A Slave, I found myself mentally revisiting Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino. Not because I think there are any worthwhile parallels to draw between the two films, but rather because the brilliance and scope of 12 Years actually exposed Django for what it truly was, a base and reductive spectacle of the horror that was slavery. Django was nothing short of a post-racial caricature of slavery that could only be brought forth by a white male imagination. Proof being that many of the characters remained one-dimensional, the torture was over-the-top, and horrid elements of our racial past like the KKK were presented lightly as jokes, and I could go on. Point blank, the film revealed the true limited racial complexity of Tarantino’s imagination, and showed what little understanding he probably has of himself as a white man in a privileged position, and subsequently how under-qualified he was to even breach the subject of slavery on the national stage.

I say all this to espouse the importance of us marginalized individuals taking command of our own stories.

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News Flash

Majority female crew to referee college football game


It’s an autumn Thursday, which means of course, that there will be football played somewhere. This evening, Miles College and Lane College will square off in a Division II football game.

And get this: this will be the first college football game officiated by a majority women crew.

The crew, headed by Yvonda Lewis, is comprised of Krystle Apellaniz, Sabrina Brunson and Tangela Mitchell who will serve as line judge, back judge and field judge respectively.

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Featured Post

Graduation Part III: Rocky Lane

Harper High School. Darryl Green, age 16, 2013. Cedric Bell, age 16, 2012. Shakaki Asphy, age 16, 2012. Marcus Nunn, age 17, 2011. Terrance Green, age 16, 2009. Starkesia Reed, age 14, 2006.

My goal is to graduate…go to school for business and management…try to own my own bakery in the near future, try to come back to Englewood and just help out some kids. My goal while I’m still young is to start a cycle with one person, teach that person to teach the next person…”  Rocky, age 18. 

This Spring I met with several remarkable students at Harper High School to learn how violence affects them and their peers and discuss their goals and aspirations. The students I met greatly impacted my life and I am honored to have heard their powerful stories. One young man, Rocky Lane, shared a beautiful oral history of his life; he discussed growing up without parents, being surrounded by violence, and his growth into the focused and mature young man he is today. What I loved about Rocky was his cool, calm and reserved nature, yet underneath it, behind his youthful eyes was a young man who had been through a lot. Rocky has the voice of so many young men of color who are working to create a positive life for themselves. He breaks a negative stereotype that has been placed on young black males. His goal is to become a pastry chef and own his own bakery. He is a leader, wanting to pass down knowledge and guidance to his peers as you’ll hear in his audio.

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