Archives for : Black America

Pharrell paid tribute to Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Eric Garner (etc!) at the Grammys….and almost all of us missed it.

Pharrell performed “Happy” last night at the Grammys and made a powerful statement…that you probably missed.

Personally, I was caught up on the arrangement (which I happened to like!) and the dancers.  There was a lot going on!

But what I DIDN’T catch, was this….

Media preview

Yes. The “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture that all (who have been paying attention) are familiar with by now as part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement associated with Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

And notice the hoodies? Trayvon Martin? Remember?

Yes. Pharrell did that. And I appreciate him for it.

In case you missed the performance:

The arrangement and performance makes so much more sense to me now. It was a mix of light and dark, happy and…unhappy.  And notice where the unhappy parts come in (piano soloist, etc).  Notice the words. The movements.

This is brilliant. And important.

Now. Some people are still mad at Pharrell because of some previous comments made about Mike Brown.

In a cover story interview for the November issue of Ebony magazine — conducted weeks before the decision — Williams broached the topic of Ferguson, telling the publication’s Kenya Hunt: “I don’t talk about race since it takes a very open mind to hear my view, because my view is the sky view. But I’m very troubled by what happened in Ferguson, Mo.”

In the interview, published on Ebony’s website Nov. 13, Hunt asked if the singer had seen the surveillance video allegedly showing Brown stealing cigarillos from a local convenience story and pushing a store employee.

“It looked very bully-ish; that in itself I had a problem with,” he said. “Not with the kid, but with whatever happened in his life for him to arrive at a place where that behavior is OK. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

{Huffington Post}

Those comments were made before the grand jury decision.  Here are his comments after:

Pharrell Williams said that ‘everyone is heartbroken’ there was no grand jury indictment of a white cop over the fatal shooting of a black, unarmed teenager Michael Brown, a week after the musician sparked a heated debate by calling the victim’s behavior ‘bully-ish’.

The singer said in an interview late on Monday that his perspective on the case hasn’t changed since the shooting in August.

‘My feelings have been the same since that boy was murdered,’ Williams said backstage at The Voice in Los Angeles, where he’s a coach. ‘Everyone is heartbroken. It’s another teen, unarmed teen gunned down.’

{Daily Mail}

Here’s my thing. Pharrell said Mike Brown was acting like a bully in the convenience store.

AND HE WAS. His behavior was OUT OF LINE. Yes, I said it. It was wrong. So are y’all mad at me now too?

Where I think Pharrell went astray was asking about why we weren’t talking more about THAT. And I ONLY think he went astray because he didn’t really articulate what he was really (I think) asking. Most people interpreted him as saying that we (1) shouldn’t focus on the murder, and/or (2) that Mike Brown deserved what he got.

I disagree with that interpretation. From his later comments, I honestly believe he was simply bringing to light the circumstances behind black men and criminal behavior. Because, let’s be honest, Mike Brown was exhibiting criminal behavior. Does that have ANY bearing on what happened later on that day? NOT. AT. ALL.  And I think that’s what Pharrell should’ve gone on to say.

Pharrell used his performance at the Grammys, “music’s biggest night,” to send a message. And instead of appreciating that, so many are criticizing him for what he said in November 2014.

Is it not possible for people to have one view and then be educated? Is it not possible for people to have a change of heart? Are we going to be mad and upset forever and ever at artists/etc., even if they come around and do something like this? Is it not possible to grow and evolve?

Now, as I am typing this, I am reflecting on my feelings on Young Thug. I’m not here for him, and it’s mainly due to his comments on Ferguson (go to the 1:43 mark).

Personally, I think this was ignorant. And I’m not here for people who don’t even have a CLUE about what’s going on in black America, artist or not (seriously, how do you miss this?).

BUT. Even with this. If Young Thug were to seek out some type of understanding/education/enlightenment and then come back and express his feelings about what’s going on, I couldn’t be mad at him anymore.

Bottom line: Pharrell did something important here. And again, I’m pretty sure more of us missed it. But look what’s happening now. It’s being talked about and recognized.

He has played a major part in keeping the movement going. And for that, I’m not mad at him.

Department of Justice to clear Darren Wilson of Civil Rights Charges

It’s almost the perfectly written script, right?

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has begun work on a legal memo recommending no civil rights charges against a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., who killed an unarmed black teenager in August, law enforcement officials said.

That would close the politically charged case in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The investigation by the F.B.I., which is complete, found no evidence to support civil rights charges against the officer, Darren Wilson, the officials said.

A broader civil rights investigation into allegations of discriminatory traffic stops and excessive force by the Ferguson Police Department remains open, however. That investigation could lead to significant changes at the department, which is overwhelmingly white despite serving a city that is mostly black.

The state authorities concluded their investigation into Mr. Brown’s death in November and similarly recommended no charges.

There is a high legal bar for bringing federal civil rights charges, and federal investigators had for months signaled that they were unlikely to do so. The Justice Department plans to release a report explaining its decision, though it is not clear when.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., has said that he plans to have it done before leaving office, probably in the next month or two if his successor is confirmed.

{New York Times}

Zero consequences for Darren Wilson. None.  And to be honest, I’m less concerned with the lack of these charges (I think we all could see that coming) than with the grand jury’s decision to not indict.

All of this is a sickening mishandling of justice. It’s both heartbreaking and enraging at the same time.

Hopefully, something (ANYTHING) good will come out of the investigation of the department. A blind man can see something isn’t right there.

North Miami Beach Police Officers use mugshots of black men for target practice.

You read it right. I don’t even know how to lead into this mess, other than to say these people are SICK.

It was an ordinary Saturday morning last month when Sgt. Valerie Deant arrived at the shooting range in Medley, or so she thought.

Deant, who plays clarinet with the Florida Army National Guard’s 13th Army Band, and her fellow soldiers were at the shooting range for their annual weapons qualifications training.

What the soldiers discovered when they entered the range made them angry: mug shots of African American men apparently used as targets by North Miami Beach Police snipers, who had used the range before the Guardsmen.

Even more startling for Deant, one of the images was her brother. It was Woody Deant’s mug shot that taken 15 years ago, after he was arrested in connection to a drag race in 2000 that left two people dead. His mug shot was among the pictures of five minorities used as targets by North Miami Beach police, all of them riddled by bullets.

“I was like why is my brother being used for target practice?” Deant asked.

Deant’s fellow guardsmen were angry too, but they tried to console Deant, who was devastated.

“There were like gunshots there,” Deant said. “And I cried a couple of times.”

She immediately called her brother, Woody Deant, who was 18-years old when the picture was taken.

“The picture actually has like bullet holes,” Woody Deant said. “One in my forehead and one in my eye. …I was speechless,” she added.


I can’t really explain how I’m feeling, to be honest. Tired of saying I’m heartbroken and angry…but a mix of that is probably still accurate. With a bit of hopelessness in there too. I honestly don’t even know why I’m shocked anymore.

And to make matters worse, the police chief calls this a lack of judgment, however, denies it’s racial profiling.

North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis admitted that his officers could have used better judgment, but denies any racial profiling.

He noted that that the sniper team includes minority officers. Dennis defended the department’s use of actual photographs and says the technique is widely used and the pictures are vital for facial recognition drills. But the Deant family questions why officers were firing targets with images of real people, in this case African-Americans, especially at a time when relations between minority communities and law enforcement are so tense.

“Our policies were not violated,” Dennis said. “There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.”

An insult to the intelligence of ANYBODY who can see what’s really going on here. Blatant lies.

And if you agree with this police chief then you are willfully ignorant and blind and there’s no country for you.

I’m serious.

“The use of those targets doesn’t seem correct,” Alex Vasquez, a retired FBI agent, said. “The police have different options for targets. I think the police have to be extra careful and sensitive to some issues that might be raised.”

Dennis said the police department uses an array of pictures including that of whites, and Hispanic males. What concerns his police department, he said, is that the picture was from someone that happened to be arrested by his agency.

“That individual would be someone that was on the streets of North Miami Beach,” Dennis said.

The police chief said his department will resume use of human image targets after it expands the number of images in its inventory. His officers, Dennis said, will not use any booking photos from suspects they have arrested and he’ll direct his officers to remove the targets after they use the shooting range.

But Woody Deant, who did four years in prison after his 2000 arrest, expressed outrage.

“Now I’m being used as a target?” said Woody Deant. “I’m not even living that life according to how they portrayed me as. I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a career man. I work 9-to-5.”

Now let’s say one of those officers just so happened to see Woody Deant out and about. They already have an image in their heads of shooting this man. Their perception of him is already seen as being dangerous and a criminal, even though that was over 10 years ago.

It’s not okay. And telling people, “Oh well we’ll start using pictures of whites and Hispanicstoo, okay?” doesn’t mean a damn thing.  You know why? Because had you not been caught, you’d still be doing this same thing.

Embedded image permalink

via Twitter (@WillardNBC6)

These are the people who are “trained” to protect. This is how they are “trained.”  This is how they are sent out into the world to do “police work.”

It’s disturbing and disgusting.

But police officers don’t have a predisposed negative image of black men, right?


Does Oprah Winfrey deserve the backlash for her comments about black leadership?

In promoting “Selma,” Oprah made a statement to People about leadership with the protests that are happening around the nation against police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men:

Oprah Winfrey has been watching the protests in Ferguson and New York like everyone else.

“I think it’s wonderful to march and to protest and it’s wonderful to see all across the country, people doing it,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively.

But it’s not enough to march, says Winfrey.

“What I’m looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, ‘This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we’re willing to do to get it.’ “

Protesters are not happy. They feel as if Oprah has disrespected those who have risen to be leaders throughout this movement.

I know this is just one person, however, he articulates how many are feeling about Oprah’s comments.

Here’s more.

I completely understand his position, as well as the position of other protesters and those who have emerged as leaders.  I empathize with them feeling disrespected, ignored, and being frustrated with Oprah’s words.  Furthermore, I get not really wanting to hear anything but words of support from those who aren’t on the ground, especially those who have resources like Oprah does.

But then there’s the other side. The movement that is taking place today is a new one.  It is a young one, a growing one.  Those who are leaders are under 30 years old (for the most part, I think). This young movement is connecting and appealing to those of use who are young.  And I am pretty sure any of them could tell you that A LOT can be attributed to Twitter.  Personally, that is how I get my information and how I keep up with everything. I then try to put it on here to keep people up to date, however, the movement is very fluid and is constantly changing and evolving.

Everybody doesn’t have Twitter. My parents are over 60 years old. Most of us who are connected to the current movement have parents who are around that age. While our struggle is something they dealt with as well, I think we all have to admit that it looked differently back then.  They had national leaders. That is how the movement looked back then. That is how things got done. National communication. And I believe that is what some are desiring now.

Does my mom know who those leaders are that are mentioned in the above tweets? No, she doesn’t. But if there were some on the national stage, no, not politicians….no, not rich individuals who are looking out for themselves, but leaders who have no other interest than to further the movement and connect EVERYBODY, no matter the age, then that would be helpful (in my opinion).

I am in complete awe of those leaders who have emerged during this movement. I feel nothing less than admiration toward them and am grateful for their efforts and sacrifice. And yes, I also desire a way to connect people to this movement who aren’t on Twitter. One who is sincere and unapologetically voices the desires of the people.  And that is not to say that this person or these people won’t emerge out of the leaders who are already leading! They deserve a national stage and resources to get the job done. Those leaders have put their lives on hold for this movement. They are to be acknowledged.

While I believe that Oprah should’ve given credit to those who ARE leading, I don’t find her comments to be those that were intended to slander and disrespect the current leaders. Poor choice of words? Absolutely. But disrespectful, harmful, divisive, etc.? I don’t see it that way. Yes, Oprah is rich. Yes, she has resources that most of us can only dream about. But she is also a 60 year old woman who grew up seeing the movement manifest itself in a completely different way (and she wasn’t always the billionaire that we see before us today). I don’t think we should hold that against her. Maybe she should be educated about what the leaders are doing. Maybe she needs to be more connected to what’s going on. I just don’t think that jumping all down her throat for these particular comments is helping anything either (I’m not necessarily talking about the above comments from Charles Wade).

Her saying that marches alone aren’t going to get the job done is accurate. And that is something that we all know. Protests, boycotts, making those who support police brutality and the injustice of the justice system feel a financial hit? That’s what has to happen. And it has to happen nationally. Not to put words in Oprah’s mouth, but I think THAT is what she was saying. She’s looking for mass organization. Again, not taking away from what has already been done, but just a desire to see MORE and on a BIGGER platform.

What do you all think? Are you offended by Oprah’s thoughts?

Updated: January 3, 2014 @ 2:20pm

Just wanted to come back and show this:

In other words, demands HAVE been made and articulated.

And this last tweet? I completely agree with it. The young leaders don’t have the platform and resources needed, but those of you who do, why not give them said platform?





Cleveland police demand apology after Browns player protests the shooting OF A 12 YEAR OLD BOY.

Cleveland Browns’ Andrew Hawkins protested against the murders (by cops) of John Crawford and Tamir Rice yesterday (12/14/14).

And JUST when I thought it couldn’t get more ridiculous and ignorant, I come across something like this:

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins became the latest player to join on-field protests against recent police shootings of black men on Sunday, when he walked onto the field with a t-shirt that read “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” over his jersey.

Now, the Cleveland police union is demanding an apology from Hawkins and the Browns, saying that players like Hawkins don’t understand the law enough to take a stand.

“It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,” Jeff Follman, the president of the Police Patrolman Union in Cleveland, said in a statement to Cleveland news station newsnet5. “They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology.”

“He’s an athlete. He’s someone with no facts of the case whatsoever,” Follmer said later,according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. “He’s disrespecting the police on a job that we had to do and make a split-second decision.”


I’m sorry, but what? Because he plays football, he can’t focus on other issues as well? He should JUST be a football player? That’s ALL he gets to speak on? And what do you mean it’s pathetic when athletes “think they know the law”???? It doesn’t take a genius to decipher what happened on the tape. It doesn’t take a high level of critical thinking to see that the cops murdered 12 year old Tamir Rice.

And saying that they “had” to make a split-second decision? That is an absolute lie.  That cop CHOSE to kill Tamir in under 2 seconds. CHOSE. There were MANY ways to handle that situation. One of which was to park further away and get on the speaker and tell Tamir to put his hands in the air (if they really felt like he had a gun).  PLEASE miss me with this.

The Cleveland Browns have responded:

“We have great respect for the Cleveland Police Department and the work that they do to protect and serve our city. We also respect our players’ rights to project their support and bring awareness to issues that are important to them if done so in a responsible manner.”


Oh they are SO MAD that they can’t silence us. SO MAD.  Get used to it, EVERYBODY.

An apology!?


Nah. Not happening, Bruh.

Deal with it.