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Pres. Obama’s Morehouse Commencement Speech Raises Eyebrows

President Obama delivered the commencement speech at Morehouse this weekend, urging the graduates to use their degrees and ambitions to give back to the community and help the less fortunate.

According to Obama, the point is never to amass fancy cars and big houses. Meaningful work is work that enriches communities and betters people’s lives.

However, the speech has recieved a great deal of criticism for its elitist and condescending tone.

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Why Did You (Really) Get Married?

Graduation season is well underway. And I applaud those who are donning caps and gowns in this unpredictable weather. We are also at the beginning of the traditional wedding seasons, wherein our time at work will be spiced up by YouTube videos of newly married couples rocking the reception or toddlers getting it in on the dancefloor. Since we are also in the midst of a larger political debate about what the powers-that-be have decided to christen “marriage equality,” this wedding season may take on additional significance for many, as it may be legal for them in their own state to get hitched. Now, plenty has been said about the ideological problems with this fight, especially as it pertains to queer folks whose lives will not be better by being able to register for linens at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I won’t rehash that argument here. Instead, I’d like to wonder aloud, yet again, about what it means to identify with those who articulate the limits of “marriage equality” as a right worthy of pursuit, to understand that marriage is an incredibly fraught institution, and to jump that broom anyway.


News Flash

Mourners Gather at Memorial Service for Malcolm Shabazz

A memorial gathering is under way for Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of Malcolm X.

Shabazz was murdered in Mexico City last week.

From the Huffington Post:

The 28-year-old grandson of the slain civil rights leader had a troubled life, from setting a blaze in his grandmother’s apartment that resulted in the death of Malcolm X’s widow, Betty Shabazz, to stints in juvenile hall and prison.

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“I Make HIV Look Soo Good”: The Politics of Disease, Stigma, and Self-Worth

This past week I became the facebook user that monotonously began searching through the lives, thoughts, and ideas of my fb friends through the convenience of my fb wall. I came upon a status update from a person that will remain nameless, that said “I make HIV look soo good.” A few thoughts cross my mind. This statement reminded me of how far we have come with a reality that has plagued the LGBTQ community for almost three decades. The simple fact that this black gay youth has the courage, power, and dignity to proclaim his positive status in a public space, says a lot about just how far we have come.

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News Flash

Scandal Finale Garners Show’s Highest Ratings Ever

The season finale of ABC’s hit Scandal, starring Kerry Washington and created by Shonda Rhimes, aired last night.

And ratings were higher than ever:

In its second season finale, ABC’s red-hot Scandal delivered the series most-watched telecast ever (up for the 3rd week in a row) and tied a series high in Adults 18-49 for the 2nd week running.

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News Flash

Standout Football Player Jay Harris Gives Up Michigan State Scholarship to Pursue Rap Career

Jay Harris, a standout wide receiver who received a scholarship to play football at Michigan State University, has decided to pursue a rap career instead.

Harris’ YouTube videos garnered over 50,000 hits and he’s already slated to release a mixtape:

[Harris] is ranked by ESPN as the state’s 17th ranked senior and second-best wideout. Harris scored 13 touchdowns last season on 54 catches for 792 yards.

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STUDY: Body Mass Index of Low-Income African Americans Linked to Proximity to Fast Food

According to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the body mass index of low-income African Americans that live in close proximity to fast food is higher than those who do not.

Often called food deserts, cheap, affordable, abundant fast food options in low-income neighborhoods is highly influential on obesity rates among the population.

According to the study, even higher-income populations displayed a higher body mass index depending on their proximity to fast food.

But income is still a very important factor.

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News Flash

Candice Glover Wins American Idol

23 year-old soul powerhouse Candice Glover was crowned the winner of American Idol last night.

Glover is the first woman – and the first black woman – to win since Jordin Sparks in 2007.

From NewsOne:

The booming 23-year-old R&B vocalist from St. Helena Island, S.C., won the Fox singing competition after auditioning a trio of times and making it to the finals this year. Glover looked stunned when “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest announced she bested soulful 22-year-old country singer Kree Harrison from Woodville, Texas.

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Father and Son to Graduate from Morehouse Together This Sunday

This Sunday, Dorian Joyner Jr. – and his Dad, Dorian Joyner Sr. – will both graduate from Morehouse College.

The father and son spent three years on campus together. Dorian Sr. attended the school in the mid-80′s, but dropped out to pursue his career.

While it was initially a shock, Dorian Jr. came to enjoy having his father around on campus.

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News Flash

Open Society Foundations Announce 2013 Soros Justice Fellows

NEW YORK – The Open Society Foundations has announced an award of $1.2 million to the 2013 cohort of Soros Justice Fellows. The fellows, a mix of emerging and established leaders, include investigative journalists, lawyers, grassroots organizers, policy advocates, and scholars. Working in 9 different states and Puerto Rico, the 14 fellows will take on a range of U.S. reform issues that relate to broader Open Society efforts to curb mass incarceration, eliminate harsh punishment, and ensure justice system accountability in the U.S.

“Given the enormous challenges posed by the current realities of the criminal justice system in the United States, the importance of new voices and re-examination of its premises remains critical. I am excited to announce the 2013 Soros Justice Fellows whose efforts are fundamental to the types of changes that are needed to produce a fair, effective, and efficient system,” said Ken Zimmerman, director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations. “We welcome their commitment, creativity, and vision.”

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