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News Flash

PepsiCo Ends Mountain Dew Partnership w/ Lil Wayne After Emmett Till Lyric Controversy

Apparently Lil Wayne’s “apology” letter didn’t impress Emmett Till’s family… or PepsiCo.

The rapper has been dropped as spokesperson for PepsiCo.’s Mountain Dew line.

The company decided to part ways with Weezy last Friday:

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If You Don’t Like Being Played, Change the Game

A screenshot from the music video, “We Changed the Game” directed by Khamisi Norewood, for the Game Changers Project 

Much has been made over the recent activism in Hip-Hop over the last few weeks, especially after seeing community pressure cause Rick Ross and Lil Wayne lose lucrative endorsement deals. I recently came across a very interesting debate with Grammy award winning Hip-Hop artist/activist Che “Rhymefest” Smith and Dr. Boyce Watkins, who led the charge to have Mountain Dew pull a very controversial ad produced by rap artist Tyler the Creator. Rhymefest challenged Dr. Watkins to not only demand corporations to drop rappers we don’t like, but to advocate for them to do business with conscious Hip-Hop artists with a positive message.

It seems as a community we are really good at boycotts and organizing around entertainers that we don’t agree with. But, when it comes to supporting artists that speak to the issues closest to our hearts and are found working on our behalf, we fall short. After all these successes we’ve had with boycotts, can we try a buycott?

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News Flash

LISTEN: Lauryn Hill Releases New Song “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)”

Lauryn Hill released a new song over the weekend, her first since 2010′s “Repercussions.”

The track – titled “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)” – features rapid-fire spitting and biting social commentary, over a spastic beat.

The release is apparently a part of her recent deal with Sony, allowing her to avoid jail time. Hill addressed the less-than-ideal circumstances surrounding the release in a Tumblr post:

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Featured Article

Assata Shakur Releases Open Letter: “All I have is my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth.”

In the wake of her addition to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List, Assata Shakur has released an open letter.

In it, she explains the circumstances surrounding the shooting of NJ State Trooper Werner Foerster, and the controversial 1977 conviction that followed.

She also admonishes the media for reporting false information to sway public opinion against her, and organizations with which she has been affiliated.

A must-read.

From Revolutionary Frontlines:

Like most poor and oppressed people in the United States, I do not have a voice. Black people, poor people in the U.S. have no real freedom of speech, no real freedom of expression and very little freedom of the press.

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Events

EVENT: Juvenile Injustice – The Criminalization of Youth in Palestine and Chicago

The Arab Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East invites you to attend

Juvenile Injustice:

The Criminalization of Youth in Palestine and Chicago

It takes place Saturday, May 11th at Alhambra Palace Restaurant.

The program begins at 12:30pm

Check out the event flyer for more information:

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Featured Article

Demonstrations Against Conservative Agenda Continue in North Carolina

A group of ministers, students, and activists have been engaging in civil disobedience in North Carolina, in protest of a conservative agenda that attacks voting rights, health care for the poor, and environmental laws.

A student group called the NC Student Power Union has been leading the charge, condemning this conservative agenda as a direct attack on their futures.

Many have been arrested since the demonstrations began.

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Today in Post-Race History: Fear of a Black President

I fear I’m simply going to repeat here what someone else has already said. But sometimes you have to say it, anyway.

Last week, the FBI placed Assata Shakur on its most wanted terrorist list. She’s the first woman to be added to the document, but this clearly isn’t some sort of advancement for women, as I can’t imagine equal criminalization under the law advances gender equality in any way. 40 years ago, Shakur was falsely convicted of murdering a New Jersey state trooper. She escaped from prison, and has been living in Cuba for decades. The US has made several attempts to have Shakur extradited to the US, but Cuba has right denied those requests.

Also in recent news, President Obama will be the keynote speaker at the Morehouse College graduation on May 19. There were several other graduation events scheduled for that week, including a speech by Rev. Kevin Johnson, a Philadelphia minister, who has been critical of the Obama Administration although he supported both Obama campaigns. Rev. Johnson’s chief concern is the lack of diversity in the POTUS cabinet, as well as the fact that black people continue to suffer–in ways that the government could ameliorate–despite their overwhelming support for the President and his family. Johnson had been scheduled to speak at Morehouse the day before commencement. Now. Johnson has been more or less “demoted” from his solo spot to being part of a three-member panel. And it’s very clear that this decision was made because of Johnson’s critical words about the President.

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By Aaron
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We Didn’t Create the Closet: Raising the Stakes for ‘Coming Out’

For many of us in the LGBTQ community, Jason Collins offers a grand celebratory moment. Quite simply, he announced, “I’m black. And I’m gay,” and disputably became the “the first active male athlete in a major U. S. team sport to come out of the closet.” Though he might be the first active male athlete, he joins a courageous bunch of LGBTQ athletes who have already disclosed their sexuality. Most notably the recent rising star of the WNBA, Brittney Griner, who came out with much less media attention.

Yet, while Collins’ coming out certainly deserves applause and accolades, this celebration applauds an insufficient means for improving the lives of queer individuals. Generally, I question the effectiveness of “coming out” as our society grows more progressive about LGBTQ issues. Collins opened himself up to the world right at the moment where the media began buzzing about “when” a player in a major sport would come out.We must take note of this carefully. Since essentially, as Rod McCullom writes in Ebony, the question was not a matter of “if” a player would come out, but “when.” What is supposed to make “coming out” a powerful phenomenon is the fact that it is unexpected. Coming out is meant to give visibility to the LGBTQ community in spaces where it was assumed we didn’t exist. But as our visibility increases, as “coming out” is deemed inevitable, “coming out” is increasingly becoming inadequate for addressing the problems facing the LGBTQ community.

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VIDEO: Janelle Monåe | The Return of Artistry in R&B, Soul, & Hip Hop


Janelle Monae has been on the scene for a brief minute. Clearly, she’s here to stay!

Monae’s style is equivalent to an equinoctial point. In other words, she’s distinctive in fashion, beauty, and music and there’s no one like her. If so, they too are very rare, appearing infrequently throughout a life’s cycle of entertainment, and soon to disappear.

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Tales From a Black Filled Childhood: How I Became an Upstander

 I faced history one day and found myself. I was once a 14 year old boy introduced into a program that would change my life forever. My first experience was with a Holocaust survivor named Max Edelman back when I was in 9th grade. I can still hear his voice ringing in my ear as I remember him stating that, when he was in the work camps he use to wonder “does that world care?”, arriving on the negative side of this question. Listening to him made me look within myself, realizing that I was guilty of the same feat. I use to not care. In middle school I was known as the class bully, taking my title too far at times. But I faced history one day and found myself.

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