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Happy Birthday to Soul Icon Marvin Gaye!

Today – April 2nd – would have been the legendary Marvin Gaye’s 74th birthday.

Marvin Gaye is responsible for some of the most important music of the 20th century; art that combined technical daring and inventiveness, with an intoxicating conceptual mixture of sensuality, spirituality, and politics.

His landmark album What’s Goin’ On still stands as the greatest soul album ever made, and later LPs like Let’s Get It On, I Want You, and Here, My Dear aren’t far behind.

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NY Senator: NYPD Commissioner Wanted to ‘Instill Fear’ in Young Men of Color w/ Stop and Frisk

New York State Senator Eric Adams testified in federal court that NYPD police commissioner Ray Kelly wanted the Stop and Frisk program to “instill fear” in young black and Latino men.

Adams pointed to a conversation in 2010, in which he expressed to Kelly that the program disproportionately targeted young men of color.

Kelly essentially responded that that was precisely the point.

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Magic Johnson’s Son Goes Public With Boyfriend; Parents ‘Very Proud’

EJ Johnson, the son of basketball great Magic Johnson and his wife, Cookie, was recently spotted walking about with his boyfriend.

It marks the first time EJ, a student at NYU, has been seen publicly with his boyfriend.

EJ not only answered the cameraperson’s questions, but his father told TMZ that both he and his wife were very supportive of his son.

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Fox News Contributor: Welfare and Food Stamps Make Poverty Feel ‘A Little Comfortable’

During an appearance on Fox News’ “Cavuto on Business,” contributor Charles Payne asserted that programs like welfare and food stamps can make poverty feel “a little comfortable.”

Adding that he speaks from personal experience, Payne elaborated:

From the Huffington Post:

“There’s this idea that between the food stamps and the welfare and the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit and the local programs, you know, it gets a little comfortable to be in poverty,” Payne said during a discussion on food stamp usage.

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Tennessee Considers Bill Tying Welfare Benefits to Children’s Grades

Not to be outdone by a Kansas bill that would allow those who are HIV positive to be separated from those who don’t, the state of Tennessee is considering a bill that would tie welfare support to a child’s progress in school.

The legislation would allow a family to lose up to 30% of its assistance if their child(ren) are not performing well in school:

Under the legislation brought by two Republicans, a student who doesn’t not make “satisfactory progress” in school would cost his or her family up to 30 percent of its welfare assistance, the Knoxville News and Sentinel reported:

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Rick Ross is a Product of America’s Culture of Rape and Misogyny

Rick Ross needs to clearly and definitively apologize for describing a scenario in which he rapes a women in the song “U.O.E.N.O. (You Ain’T Even Know It)“. His half hearted attempt to deflect the legitimate criticism of the song at a New Orleans radio station, while being cheered on by the DJ, actually made the situation worse.

His justification for this “misunderstanding” was that he didn’t use the word rape, so we shouldn’t be offended by what he said. This could actually lead his fans to believe that drugging a women and having sex with her, without consent, isn’t rape. Ross also said, “I would never use the term rape”, but  my brother and mentor Paradise Gray, pointed me to a song  by Rick Ross called, “Gun Play“, where Ross brags about, “getting niggas wives tied up and raped”.

Until Rick Ross apologizes pressure should be put on not only his record company Def Jam, but also Warner Brothers, home of his Maybach Music group, Reebok and Diddy’s Ciroc which have endoresment deals with “The Boss”. But trust and believe this is bigger than Rick Ross, much bigger.

This country was founded on the genocide, murder and rape of the indigenous people. Christopher Columbus, and founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson, made slaves of and raped women, and they are honored in this country every day with hardly a mention of the atrocities they committed. To this day huge corporations sell products that enforce “rape culture” like this recent ad by Ford.

One positive that came out of this is that we’re now having conversations around the impact of negative lyrics and images on our culture. Even rappers like Talib Kweli, who is the first and most established artist I saw call on Rick Ross to apologize, and Lupe Fiasco had a spirited debate on twitter over rap lyrics. I thank Rosa Clemente for standing up and leading the charge, and I hope America finally realizes and admits, and atones for her rape problem.



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Free Kindle Book: “UNASHAMED: The Process of Reconstruction”"

UNASHAMED: The Process of Reconstruction by Richard L. Taylor Jr. Is available free on Amazon.com Until Thursday 12am PST, to Kindle & Kindle App Users!

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Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA Uses Hip Hop to Teach Science in NYC Public Schools

The Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA has aligned himself with an amazing pilot program in New York City that uses Hip Hop to help young people learn about science.

The program is currently running in 10 NYC public schools.

From COLORLINES:

The program was started by Dr. Chris Emdin of Columbia University’s Teachers College.

“The goal is just to awaken the children, make them more aware and embrace science and everything connected to it,” GZA told CBS News.

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Moms Start Petition Demanding Mattel Make Barbie Accessories for People of Color

Karen Braithwaite, Harlem resident and mother to a four-year-old daughter, has started started a petition requesting that Barbie maker, Mattel do a better job of providing accessories and products for people of color.

Braithwaite was inspired to start the petition after she tried to give her daughter, Georgia, a black Barbie-themed party.

Although Mattel has an entire line of black Barbies, it seems that the doll featured on their party favors are all blonde and blue-eyed:

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Twirl: In Defense of Kenya Moore

Last night, Bravo aired the finale episode of Ms. Kenya Moore’s inaugural twirl as a real housewife of Atlanta. And it, of course, was histrionically wonderful. Now, Moore has been at the center of several dramatic conflicts this season, serving beef to Kandi, my beloved Phaedra Parks, esq., and fellow rookie castmate, Porsha. Many have expressed their disdain for Ms. Moore’s antics, calling her mad dramatic and extra. I beg to differ, though.

Kenya Moore is not simply good television, she is and should be the latest black woman in the public eye who deserves a community of support. We should speak Kenya’s name both as a mantra and as a reminder of her history-making. If we are to declare ourselves lovers and supporters of black women, we must not only embrace and console Porsha as she frees herself from the talons of a situation wherein she was controlled, but work to understand Kenya’s struggles and triumphs as they were shown each Sunday night. Consider this blog a call to black feminist arms. I make this declaration not simply because Ms. Moore honored iconic black women in film–without making anyone show up as Mo’Nique or Viola Davis–but also for the following compelling reasons:

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