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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.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “relaxes” position of protesters wearing letters

It is no secret that Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. put out a statement telling protesters to not wear their letters while protesting (although wearing the colors were okay).

This directive was condemned by members and nonmembers alike, even with those who were on the front line in Ferguson speaking out against it. As a member, this was very sad for me to witness, and yes, I was disappointed.

It seems as if Alpha Kappa Alpha heard the outcry, and responded.

Today, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated has revised their guidelines and changed their stance on wearing letters while protesting. In a letter to members, the sorority’s National President Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson stated the following:

“We expect our members to be actively involved in solving the social justice issues raised by those cases. The immediate response throughout the country has been to protest, march, and/or rally. We strongly support and encourage our members’ peaceful and lawful participation in these activities and as such, we issued guidelines for participation in these events.

We do not want to be distracted from our mission of fighting for justice and equality for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Dontre Hamilton, and the countless other young black men across the country victimized by a criminal justice system that places little value in their lives. However, it appears the request to refrain from wearing the sorority’s letters has become a distraction and a distortion of the sorority’s position on these issues that is diverting attention and effort away from the broader fight to secure social justice and reform.

We are therefore relaxing our original position on the wearing of Alpha Kappa Alpha paraphernalia and attire.”

{source}

Shoutout to my soror for pointing this out to me!

And let me say this. Before any of you accuse me of leaking some sorority email meant for private members’ eyes only, please know that this was published on a very public magazine website, Ebony.com.

Don’t come for me.

Anyway.

Sometimes, family disappoints/hurts you. But then they recognize and acknowledge said disappointment and hurt, and work to make things right.

That’s what happened here.

And now, we move forward, for there is more work to be done.

John Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, bought out food trucks to feed protesters + New Music: “Glory” – John Legend & Common

In case you missed it, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton expects the protests to kind of just die out.  Apparently, he thinks marching around “aimlessly” is going to get boring.

The morning after 10,000 people descended on Manhattan for to protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, resulting in gridlock and more than 200 arrests, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the department’s strategy would remain the same.

“These things to tend to peter out on their own, people get tired of marching around aimlessly,” Mr. Bratton told the Observer when he stopped to talk with a group of reporters as he left City Hall. “And we’re gonna have a lot of rain tomorrow, and the history of these things is that they don’t go on forever, they tend to peter out on their own.”

{source}

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen apparently have a different idea. I absolutely love this.

Despite New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s prediction that public demonstrations over the Eric Garner and Ferguson Grand Jury decisions would “peter out,” the protests are still going strong thanks, in part, to a generous contribution from musician John Legend and his wife model and food bloggerChrissy Teigen. The couple purchased a fleet of food trucks to serve up free food to hungry protesters in New York’s Lincoln Square.

{source}

WORD.

This is what we need. People with resources to help and assist in a major way? YES.

Also, check out this new music, “Glory” – by John Legend feat. Common

This is beautiful.

And….heartbreaking.

MUCH respect to Mr. and Mrs. John Legend!

{featured image Michael Gobo/BFAnyc.com}

Pediatric dentist, Dr. Misee Harris, forced to resign after showing support for Michael Brown

This story is as ridiculous as the title of it suggests.

On Thursday, September 4th, Dr. Misee Harris (the Black Bachelorette) was called into an unannounced meeting at the dental practice where she has worked as a Pediatric Dentist and was recently offered a partnership in the practice. Dr. Harris, the sole African American dentist in the practice, has worked tirelessly with underprivileged young patients on Medicaid to ensure their smiles remain healthy, and the quality of Dr. Harris’s work has never been called into question. Once in the meeting, Dr. Harris was ambushed and presented with screenshots from her private Facebook page. Being that Misee had blocked work colleagues from accessing her account, it was explained to Misee that a doctor who is a partner at the office, and who led the meeting, had been having a friend spy on Misee’s Facebook page. Screenshots were taken of Misee’s Facebook posts and were sent to the doctor who led the meeting. Misee was then told that some of her Facebook posts about recent racial issues in America were “unprofessional.” The biggest bone of contention to the partners was a cartoon (see graphic below) related to the recent police murders of several innocent African-Americans across the nation. The partner held up the picture and asked Misee “Do you think we (meaning Misee’s white colleagues) are all like this?”

{source}

misee2

Dr. Misee Harris composed herself and asked the partner if she had any idea what was going on in black America, namely regarding the murder of Michael Brown. The partner did not know the name Mike Brown, nor did she seem to understand Misee’s outrage at being attacked for her personal views. Dr. Harris’s racial discrimination concerns voiced on her personal and private Facebook page was meant solely for the eyes of her friends and family whom Misee thought she could trust. Misee was then told flat out that she would have to choose between her “style of social media communication” and her job as a pediatric dentist in their practice.

Obviously, Dr. Harris chose to resign. And GOOD. FOR. HER.

Look, FIRST of all, having a “friend” spy on my page to purposely look for something that you can use against me? THAT is what’s unprofessional.  And they did it for that specific intention because they were blocked!

This disgusts me.

To think that (some) blacks’ reactions to racists events then causes (some) whites to feel threatened (EVEN THOUGH THEY AREN’T AWARE OF THE EVENTS THAT LED TO SAID POSTS) to the point of demanding you to not have that view? The entitlement and ignorance is running rampant.

“It is as though the partners at my former dental practice believe that a black person who has made it to success in a white-dominated field like dentistry is expected to show gratitude and humility, and to ‘act white.’” – Dr. Harris.

Oh. But check this out…

2014-09-15_6-49-00{source}

BOOM.

Look. When you stand up for what’s right, God will have your back, okay?

Sorry, but you don’t get to tell me what I can and can’t write on my PERSONAL social media sites (of course there are exceptions, but y’all get it (I hope)).

NOPE.

{featured image via liberalamerica.org}