YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
WEDDINGS PP 17 - 27
WEEK ONE MADNESS LYNCH, P 10
HISTORY IN SCHOOL
SCHAEFER, P 13
A PERFECT COUPLE STORMBENDER, P 42
Vol. 9 | No. 18 // January 12-18, 2011
January 12 - 18, 2011
LUNCH BUNCH AFTER DARK (Please note: Lunch Bunch will not be lunch on Wednesday as usual, but we will have a special presentation in collaboration with Jackson 2000 on the evening of Thursday, January 13th)
Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm MS Department of Education Auditorium Call to Action: Beyond the Bricks Produced by Washington Koen Media and supported by The Ford Foundation (NY), Beyond the Bricks is a documentary film project and national community engagement campaign created to promote solutions for one of Americaâ€™s critical problems in education: the consistently low performance of black males in school. This 30-minute film explores the stories of two young black students who are both struggling in public schools. The film also features commentary from nationally renowned education voices such as Dr. Pedro Noguera, urban sociologist, and John Jackson, president of the Schott Foundation. The film will be followed by a panel and audience discussion about the issues we face in our city and state, but we will focus on the solutions we have at hand.
Contact Linda Cockrell at 601-969-6015 ext 320 or e-mail email@example.com
Founding Chapter, Parents for Public Schools, 1989 200 N. Congress, Suite 500, Jackson, MS 39201
*ACKSONS 4HALIA -ARA (ALL
January 12 - 18, 2011
Januar y 12 - 18, 2011
9 NO. 18
Riding the Bus Who’s riding the buses on the list of JATRAN routes the city is proposing to cut?
Cover photo of Chris and Shalon Wansley by Acorn Studio
AMILE WILSON; COURTESY TULIP FLORAL STUDIO; COURTESY MOMENTUM PICTURES AND YELLOW BIRD; B.I.G.F.A.C.E. / ENTERTAINMENT ONE MUSIC
31 33 34 36 36 37 37 42
The annual JFP Hitched issue shows the trends and more for brides-to-be and their grooms.
.............. Editor’s Note ............................. Talk ...................... Editorial ........................ Stiggers ............................ Zuga ...................... Opinion ...................... Opinion ...................... Hitched ......................... 8 Days .................. JFP Events .......................... Music ........... Music Listings ............................. Slate .......................... Sports ............................ Astro ......................... Puzzles .................. Body/Soul
beth hamilton Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.’s vision for the capital city is what keeps Beth Hamilton in Jackson. “I am 100 percent in love with this city, even though I have only been a Jacksonian for about two years,” she says. As Johnson’s policy coordinator, the New Albany, Miss., native spends the majority of her time on three responsibilities: overseeing the city’s legislative agenda, Jobs for Jacksonians and the Community Garden Initiative. Hamilton, 32, is frequently at the state Capitol meeting with legislators about bills that affect the city of Jackson, now that the state Legislature is back in session. Currently, Hamilton is lobbying legislators to pass a bill to remove a state commission that has approval authority over how the city spends a proposed sales-tax hike on safety and infrastructure repairs. “We can get a lot accomplished if we can get this passed,” Hamilton says. “It would bring in $200 million to the city (per year).” When she talks about her involvement with the Mayor’s Community Garden Initiative, Hamilton’s passion is amplified. “In one of my first conversations with Mayor Johnson, he was describing all of his visions for the city,” Hamilton says. “I was listening, and when he mentioned the community gardens, it just really interested me, even though I have never really been a gardener. Something about the idea just turned me on to it.” The initiative consists of community and city leaders planting seven community
gardens throughout the city, one in each ward. On most Thursdays and Saturdays you will find Hamilton working in one of the three community gardens that have been already been planted (wards 3, 4 and 7). Last month, children involved in the program sold produce from the gardens at the Mississippi Farmer’s Market. “[T]he gardens are open to anyone, but it is preferred for people to put in sweat equity and enjoy the fruits of their labor,” she says. Those “fruits” include tomatoes, squash, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, all types of greens, cabbage and broccoli. The city’s Jobs for Jacksonians Initiative targets low-income citizens to help them find employment opportunities. “It is a partnership between the city and the WIN Job Center that specifically meets the needs of these Jacksonians who are in the job market,” she says. Hamilton volunteers to help raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. She is the chairwoman of “Blondes vs. Brunettes,” a powder-puff football game in which women of opposing hair colors will battle each other to raise money for the National Alzheimer’s Foundation. The game is at Millsaps College, May 14, and she encourages anyone interested in participating to attend the Jan. 20 kick-off event at 6 p.m. at the Viking Cooking School in Ridgeland. For more information, visit bvbms.com. —Langston Moore
29 Roll ‘Em Pssst. Have you heard? Jackson has a new venue for independent films. Here’s the lineup.
33 Banner’s Back Mississippi rapper David Banner puts out a much-anticipated new album with 9th Wonder.
7 8 14 14 14 15 15 17 30
Madison’s Beautiful Reception Venue!
January 12 - 18, 2011
:HGGLQJV5HFHSWLRQV6RFLDO&RUSRUDWH0HHWLQJV Photo by Michael Barrett Photography
by ShaWanda Jacome, Assistant to the Editor
The Color of Love
ou don’t know who you are, holding that cracker’s hand!” I heard a woman say as my husband and I walked down the street in San Diego. At first I didn’t register what she said, and I didn’t know if the words were directed at us. But as the middle-aged black woman got closer, it became clear she was talking to us. She was shaking her head at me with judgment on her face. The only response I could think of was, “He’s not white; he’s Mexican.” Prior to moving here from California, I was a little scared of what it would be like living in the South as an interracial couple. Would people say ugly things? Would people stare? Would our mixed-race son have a hard time making friends and fitting in? One in seven new U.S. marriages are interracial or interethnic, according to a 2010 Pew Research Center report entitled “Marrying Out,” based on 2008 U.S. Census data. Pew is a nonpartisan group that studies the behaviors and attitudes of Americans through public-opinion surveys and data analysis. A 2009 survey conducted by the center found that one in six or 63 percent of Americans “would be fine” if a family member told them they planned to marry outside their race. The survey also found that younger Americans (ages 18 to 29) are generally more accepting of the trend than older Americans (ages 30 to 49.) The findings stand in stark contrast to a 1958 Gallup poll that showed only 4 percent of Americans approved of marriages between “white and non-whites.” Yet, in 2010, a Louisiana justice of the peace refused to marry a mixed-race couple. And in 2007 former Boise State running back Ian Johnson said he and his bride, Chrissy, received phone calls, letters and personal threats
after he proposed to her during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. Johnson is black, and Chrissy is white. It appears things are looking up, but underlying tensions still exist surrounding this topic. When it comes down to it all, it shouldn’t matter. My husband has known me since I was 15. That’s a long time, and our relationship hasn’t always been harmonious. We’ve teetered between blissful highs and, at times, seemingly insurmountable lows. Like all relationships, we are two distinct individuals with our own ideas of how to do things. We entered into this union with our respective goals, dreams, issues and baggage—the majority of which has little to do with skin color. In the late 17th century, North America passed anti-miscegenation laws that made it a crime to marry or have an intimate relationship outside your race. It wasn’t until the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia that anti-miscegenation laws were overturned. The case involved a white man and black woman, Richard and Mildred Loving, who married in 1958 in Washington, D.C., because it was illegal to do so in their home state of Virginia. They were arrested in the middle of the night after they returned home. A judge sentenced them to a year in prison or exile from Virginia for 25 years. “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents,” he said. “… The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” Wow. That’s all I can say to that. On the 40th anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decision, Mildred Loving said: “I am still not a political person, but I
am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.” Mike is my partner in every sense of the word. He is a fierce protector of my honor and my heart. He has held me up during my darkest moments of depression and debilitating illness. He has taken on several jobs at a time, or jobs far below his education and skills, to provide for our family. I have watched him mature in rearing our son to be a good man of character and integrity. He’s grown in his relationship with God—daily surrendering his life, pride and shortcomings to be a better man for our family. Mike is open with his feelings and sensitive to mine. And if that isn’t enough, he moved across the country so I could be close to my ailing mother. That alone deserves a standing ovation. When I look at my husband, I don’t see color as the sum total of who he is. I see a man who continually loves me “for better and for worst.” As we move into our eighth year of marriage, I know it’s time for me to step up my game. Although I’d had quite a bit of life experience before I got married, I was still fairly young. At 25, I was still getting to know myself. Because of this, or perhaps in spite of this, I have not always treated my husband fairly. I have been selfish in some of my decisions and have not always trusted his judgment. I have not always given him my best. It’s said that behind every great man, there is a strong woman. As black women, we are expected to be strong. Our strength has been forged on the backs of our ancestors as they endured the atrocities of slavery and segregation. In marriage, it’s imperative that we take that strength and not just hoard it for ourselves, but also pour it into the lives of the men we love. Use it to hold them up during the times life is trying to knock them down. Stand in his corner, cheering him on as he strives to accomplish his goals. I will do better to guard my husband’s heart, because men can be just as vulnerable as women. They have fears and insecurities, too. I will hold my tongue, and not allow my frustration to fling unkind and insensitive words that serve no purpose and produce nothing good. Instead, I will sow words and acts of kindness and gentleness into his spirit. I will exhibit understanding when he makes a mistake or fails, because I’d want him to do the same for me. Despite his flaws (and we all have them), my husband is trustworthy, patient with my foolishness and loyal. If I could go back to that day in San Diego I’d answer, “Actually, I do know who I am. I am a woman who chose this man, and in this man I’ve found an enduring love that I can only hope everyone else has in their lives.”
Holly Perkins Editorial intern Holly Perkins is originally from the Jackson area. Holly loves the arts—acting, painting, photography, writing and music. She is a freshman at Belhaven University and hopes to travel the world after she graduates. She wrote for Hitched.
Jesse Crow Former editorial intern Jesse Crow, a Pensacola, Fla., native, is a junior at Millsaps College. She enjoys playing with puppies, summer camp and going on long drives in her station wagon named Herman. She wrote for Hitched.
Natalie Collier Associate Editor Natalie A. Collier is originally from Starkville and a graduate of Millsaps. She lived in Chicago for a while, but is now back in Jackson. She’s not easy to impress. Try. She wrote for Hitched.
Ward Schaefer JFP reporter Ward Schaefer came to Mississippi to teach middle school, and is now a journalist. His hometown of Chevy Chase, Md., was not named for the actor. He is slowly learning to play banjo. He wrote Talks.
Langston Moore Langston Moore lives in Fondren with his new bride Lisa. He enjoys flea marketing, exploring historic downtowns and photography. He is employed by a statewide, non-profit agency. Follow him on twitter @lstonmo22. He wrote the Jacksonian.
Tom Ramsey Tom Ramsey is a lobbyist who teaches private cooking lessons, writes poetry and short fiction, runs with the bulls and has been known to produce an album or two. He owns Ivy & Devine Culinary Group (www.ivyanddevine. com). He wrote a food piece.
Bryan Flynn Bryan Flynn is a lifelong Mississippi native who resides in Richland. When not working for the JFP, he writes a national blog, playtowinthegame.com. He lives with his wife and their four cats. He wrote a sports piece.
Kimberly Griffin Advertising director Kimberly Griffin is a Jackson native who likes yoga, supporting locally owned businesses and traveling. In her spare time she plots how she can become Michelle Obama’s water holder.
news, culture & irreverence
Thursday, Jan. 6 A protester who claimed President Obama wasn’t born in the United States is arrested for disrupting the reading of the Constitution in the U.S. House. … Republican Max Phillips announces he will run for Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner. Friday, Jan. 7 The Mississippi Department of Corrections release sisters Jamie and Gladys Scott after Gov. Haley Barbour suspended their life sentences for committing armed robbery. … The Centers for Disease Control reports that fluoride in water causes spots on children’s teeth, prompting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to propose lowering its recommended fluoride level in drinking water. Saturday, Jan. 8 Anti-government gunman Jared Loughner opens fire at a campaign event in Tucson, Ariz., killing six and wounding several including U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords. … Peter Kemboi of Kenya wins the Mississippi Blues Marathon finishing in two hours, 19 minutes, 47 seconds. Sunday, Jan. 9 A winter storm blankets the South with freezing rain, ice and snow, causing delays and power outages. Thousands of flights are canceled throughout the area, stranding travelers.
January 12 - 18, 2011
Monday, Jan. 10 Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Afghanistan to assess progress in handing over security to Afghan forces. … A Texas judge sentences former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Republican, to serve three years for money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Tuesday, Jan. 11 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warns that North Korea is within five years of being able to strike the continental United States with an intercontinental ballistic missile. … Jackson State University officials announce they will not extend football coach Rick Comegy’s contract.
JATRAN’s Convenience Factor
by Natalie A. Collier
on’t let it be gone already,” I repeated to myself, like a mantra, whizzing down State Street to meet photographer Amile Wilson. I’d spent a little more time than I’m willing to admit trying to figure the schedule out. “This seemed a lot easier in Chicago,” I mumbled. Amile and I had agreed to meet at Union Station downtown at 2:45 p.m. to ride one of the JATRAN routes Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. had proposed cutting. I’d heard time and again that the city buses sometimes run behind schedule, and I was kind of embarrassed that I hoped what I’d heard was true. I immediately chastised myself: “You’re driving a car to the bus station. The people who depend on the bus don’t have cars.” By the time I pulled into the lot across from Union Station, it was 3 p.m. I hurried across Mill Street into the transportation depot and spotted my bus-riding companion. He walked around, taking pictures; I mentioned to someone waiting on the bus that I wanted to catch the #10. “Did it leave already?” The woman looked at me curiously, as if she knew something I didn’t and responded with, “Why y’all taking pictures?” I explained to her who we worked for, and that because I’d been following what had been happening and gone to a couple of town-hall meetings, I thought it only made sense that I ride the bus, even if just for a bit.
Wednesday, Jan. 5 A presidential panel investigating the BP oil spill announces that a similar disaster could happen again if the government and oil-drilling industry aren’t reformed. … President Barack Obama resubmitted his nomination of Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James E. Graves Jr. for a seat on the federal appeals court.
In 2009, 14,480 Mississippians tied the knot, and 12,210 untied it, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Fewer people are getting married every year in Mississippi and across the nation, according to a Pew Research study.
Quentin Whitwell matches the Republican demographic of Ward 1. p 11
JATRAN driver Dominic Marshall says the city needs a public-transit system that is not only reliable but has more routes and runs more often to draw more customers.
Apparently, my answer was sufficient because she then responded, “Hey!” to the bus driver. “She’s asking about the #10. Tell her.” He told me the #10 hadn’t run for about a year. I was confused. I thought that was one of the routes they had proposed cutting. “Oh yeah. It’s cut,” he said. An average daily ridership chart provided by JATRAN shows passengers take 19 total trips in a week on the #10, compared to Route #1, which averages about 1,836 total trips.
things like that
“There aren’t enough hours in the day for a teacher to teach civil rights and sex-education and things like that. The emphasis needs to be on mathematics, reading, writing and science.” —Mississippi Rep. John Moore, R-Brandon, regarding his proposed bill to repeal a law to teach Mississippi’s civil-rights history to schoolchildren.
Amile and I stepped on the #6 bus with driver Dominic Marshall, who was hesitant to give his name at first. I explained to him what we were doing, and he started to loosen up. As we waited until the exact time to pull off, Marshall talked about some of the things he believed would help the bus system. “Nobody in this city knows about transportation or federal grants. There are all types of new grants; JPD officers ride around in new cars,” he said, before he JATRAN, see page 9
olks are usually pretty good at choosing good places and times to pop the question, but for those in doubt, the JFP staff has compiled a short list of locations and situations guaranteed to raise questions about your sincerity.
In a public restroom By e-mail By Post-It note By Twitter At last call In Vegas When asking to borrow money Before your divorce is final At the Dixie National Rodeo While operating heavy machinery Under anesthesia (or when your beloved is under anesthesia) At a tea-party rally At your prom At a 2 Live Crew concert during “Big Booty Hoes Get Wit It” On the Senate floor
news, culture & irreverence
JATRAN, from page 8
Gluten free pizza available by request
@BrianAldridge Rep. Brian Aldridge, R-Tupelo @Snowlaw Rep. Greg Snowden, RMeridian @StaceyPickering Republican State Auditor Stacey Pickering, running for re-election @Brandoncjones Rep. Brandon Jones, D-Pascagoula @HaleyBarbour Gov. Haley Barbour @Toby_Barker Rep. Toby Barker, RHattiesburg @BillyHewes Sen. Billy Hewes, R-Gulport, running for lieutenant governor. @WarnerMcBride Rep. Warner McBride, D-Courtland. @MississippiAGO Attorney General Jim Hood Tweet others to @jxnfreepress.
good way to get information about what is going on at the state Legislature is to follow lawmakers who are using social media to reach their constituents and sending updates in real time. Here are a few lawmakers on our Twitter news feed: @PhilBryantMS Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, who is running for governor in the 2011 elections @SenatorYancey Sen. Lee Yancey, RMadison @DelbertHosemann Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann @SenDavidBlount Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson @Dbaria Sen. David Baria, D-St. Louis @Terrycburton Sen. Terry Burton, RNewton
Mellow Mushroom pizza bakers 9 9 2-
the issue, Marshall said. “They come down to survey people in the afternoon—when it’s convenient for them,” he said. “That’s not when you get the real sense of who’s riding the bus. Come down (and) take a survey in the morning. Most people have to be at work at the same time. … But everybody doesn’t get off at the same time. Huh? They need to take that into consideration.” Those making decisions need to be less concerned with their convenience, according to Marshall. The general public needs to be educated, too, the mayor said after a Jan. 10 work session. “Finding $1.3 million is not a painless process. … I think the mode we ought to go into now is education mode. I think we need to let people know precisely what it means to them exactly. … Some of them—it might mean I have to walk an extra block to pick up the bus,” Johnson said. With Mayor Johnson’s declaration that he doesn’t know from where the $1.3 million will come to satisfy the debt JATRAN has accrued, for now passengers can rest their minds about routes being cut and JATRAN employees about losing their jobs. As Amile and I hopped off the bus, Marshall said, “I like that y’all want to know what you’re talking about when you write it. They need to pay attention about this bus thing.” We got off the bus, walked across the street and parted ways. I hopped back in my car and sped down the street, headed back to work. I was running behind for my next appointment. Comment at www.jfp.ms. AMILE WILSON
stopped himself. “How much are you going to say I said? Some stuff ain’t for everybody to know I said. Know what I mean?” Shaking my head in the affirmative, I said, “OK.” “If the buses ran more regularly, we’d have more passengers,” said Marshall, a middle-aged dark-brownskinned man with low-cut, thick hair that peaked from his cap and a gold tooth that flashed every now and then when he spoke. He reminded me of someone’s uncle. The eight-year JATRAN employee went on to explain how city officials don’t understand how important the bus system is in the city and how important his and his peers’ jobs are. “We have people’s lives in our hands. If you’re stressing about what’s going to happen to your job, you’ve got other things on your mind. You’re not paying attention to what you’re doing. That’s a problem. Huh?” he asked for affirmation. “Now you sure y’all want to ride with me today?” Marshall asked. “I’m going through the ’hood.” We assured him we’d be fine. We rode the entire route and picked up two riders: Alton Hutton and his 2-year-old son. Hutton doesn’t ride the bus regularly but knows people who do. “My car is down, but my neighbor rides all the time,” he said. “I asked her which bus I needed to catch.” Wilson and Marshall talked, and I played with Hutton’s son, as we continued our short trek on the west side of the city. If officials cut routes based on what I’d seen that day, their proposed cuts in routes and jobs would make sense. But that’s a part of
Legislature: Week 1
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he first week of the legislative session, which started Jan. 4, brought the beginning of bill submissions seeking to beat the Legislature’s Jan. 17 deadline for general bills and constitutional amendments. Leading the pack on new sources of revenue is Cleveland Democrat Sen. Willie Simmons’ bill to create a state lottery that dedicates its funding to the state’s universities and junior colleges, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, and the Departments of Public Safety, Transportation and Revenue. Lottery bills generally die in committee, despite difficult state-tax revenue shortfalls for the last five years. Gov. Haley Barbour’ stated last year that he did not favor a lottery for moral reasons. “I am comfortable licensing gaming, but I don’t like the idea of the state actually being in the game,” Barbour told the Associated Press during the 2010 legislative session. Seeking to claim a moral victory of a different nature, Sens. David Jordan, D-Greenwood, and John Horhn, D-Jackson, are both submitting bills creating a sex-education pilot program for the state. Look for Republicans to kill Horhn’s SB 2135 and Jordan’s SB 2222 bill, if events pan out like last year. Republicans have typically smashed proposals to create a sex-education program, arguing that sex education should be up to parents. Program advocates argue that many parents aren’t performing this role, which contributes to Mississippi’s high teen-pregnancy rate. Both await votes in the Senate Education Committee. Clean energy is a topic again this year, as it has been in past sessions. Sen. Gray Tollison, D-Oxford, is looking to create the state’s first electricity net-metering buy-back program, where residents with solar- or wind-based electricity generators can sell the excess energy they generate back to power companies at a rate that will offset their renewable energy investment. Tollison’s SB 2201 is headed for the Senate Public Utilities Committee. Sen. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, is looking to pass a resolution, SCR 504, pressing the U.S. Congress to get with a nationwide energy program to promote the development
of renewable energy. Baria’s argument is that the U.S. spends $1 billion a day to import oil, and that renewable-energy programs will promote national and local job growth. The issue of crime-fighting is on the table this year. The state currently has a weak law against attempted crimes, specifically murder—an issue that makes prosecutors furious File Photo
K ET I N JAC
by Adam Lynch
A bill proposed by Rep. John Mayo would ban smoking in most public places but faces stiff opposition from the casino lobby.
and occasionally hobbles them when they try to work plea deals with suspects. Rep. Bennett Malone, D-Carthage, is chairman of the House Corrections Committee, and submitted HB 410 to the Judiciary A Committee. Malone’s bill creates an attempted-murder charge with a minimum penalty of 30 years imprisonment on conviction. Rankin County Assistant District Attorney Dan Duggan told the JFP last Friday that the 30-year prison penalty would add another tool in the prosecutorial arsenal and offer power to district attorneys in their push for plea bargains. Duggan said the closest charge prosecutors have to attempted murder is an aggravated-assault charge that carries only a 10-year maximum prison sentence. The voter-identification issue will be back in committee this year, as it has many times before. Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson, is submitting two bills that, if passed, would require voters to present state-issued photo identification at the polling booth. Denny’s bill, HB 237, allows voters to substitute a U.S. passport, student identification card or employee identification
card in lieu of a state-issued driver’s license or non-driver’s identification card. Denny also wants photo identification to be a factor in absentee voting. His HB 233, would require mail-in absentee ballots to contain a copy of a valid government-issued identification—the same photo-identification cards referenced in HB 237. “If after opening the envelope, no copy of a current, valid government-issued photo identification for which proof of citizenship is required, is found, the commissioner or executive committee shall write across the face of the envelope ‘rejected’ giving the reason therefore, and the registrar shall promptly notify the voter of its rejection,” Denny’s bill states. Groups such as the NAACP and the ACLU may fight voter ID bills should they survive the House Apportionment and Elections Committee. Both groups claim that African Americans and senior citizens frequently own no state-issued ID and that voter ID presents another hurdle in the election process. The House Apportionment and Election Committee, of which African Americans hold considerable influence, rarely allows such bills to pass, however. Other bills likely to die this year include one by Rep. John Mayo, D-Clarksdale, to prohibit smoking in most public places, from bingo houses to retail stores. House Bill 131, which is based upon the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke,” also prohibits smoking in the state’s more historically smoke-friendly environments, including casinos and bars. The powerful casino lobby, among others, will likely target the bill should it pass the Public Health and Human Services Committee. Another bill sure to stir argument is Picayune Republican Rep. Mark Formby’s HB 405. The bill allows churchgoers to carry their firearms into church, if the church so allows. The measure excludes the permit expansion to people who have a history of drug abuse or mental problems, among other issues. Comment at www.jfp.ms. 2003 • 2006 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010
“Best Barbecue in Jackson” 2003 • 2006 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010
January 12 - 18, 2011
- Jackson Free Press
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by Adam Lynch
Ward 1 candidate Quentin Whitwellâ€™s conservative chops will please Ward 1â€™s Republican voters.
obbyist Quentin Whitwellâ€™s Republican background fits in well with Jacksonâ€™s historically conservative Ward 1. Candidates in a municipal special election do not declare political party affiliation, but Whitwell, who last year announced his run for the Ward 1 council seat in the upcoming Feb. 15 special election, has a background that makes clear his red-state status. Whitwell is the managing partner of Meadowbrook Strategies, which lobbies for issues favored by Senate Republicans and Republican Gov. Haley Barbour. Previously, he co-founded The Talon Group in 2004 with partner Chip Reno and other associates. In 2008, Talon merged with Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, which represents Gov. Haley Barbour and other Republicans. For one, Whitwellâ€™ lobbied for legislation allowing power companies to buck the stateâ€™s years-old process for funding new energy development. For decades, power companies could only charge ratepayers for the cost of building new energy plants after the plants were up and running. Whitwellâ€™s company served Entergy Mississippiâ€™s interest in passing legislation that would allow utility companies to charge ratepayers for new power plants, even before the plants broke ground. In 2008, they succeeded in convincing legislators to pass SB 2793, a bill that empowered the Mississippi Public Service Commission to allow power companies to charge
customers before construction commences on new plants, â€œwhether or not the construction of any generating facility is ever commenced or completed, or the generating facility is placed into commercial operation.â€? Meadowbrook Strategies said the law â€œoffers protection to customers from future rate shock associated with new nuclear or coal plant construction,â€? and â€œensures â€Ś clean, affordable power for the future,â€? from â€œmore diverse and stable fuel sources.â€? Whitwellâ€™s firm also says it is one of the leading proponents of a new bill to create a taxpayer-funded charter school in the state. The company effectively sold the idea of a charter-school system to Mississippi legislators and set up a website (mseducationoptions.org) that contains a petition to push legislators and Barbour to support a new charter-school law. The result last year was the passage of SB 2293: The New Start Conversion Charter School Act of 2010. The law allows the Mississippi Recovery School District to act as a state body in taking over habitually failing schools. The district can then turn the failing school into a school sharing some charter characteristic, such as a hiring and firing policy independent of that mandated by the state Department of Education, and more freedom when building the curriculum. Under SB 2293, more than 50 percent of parents or guardians of students attending the school must approve the decision to adopt a charter format. Critics such as the NAACP claim charter schools undermine public education by siphoning limited public-school funds into new schools, leaving existing schools with new shortfalls. Senate Bill 2293 imposes more restrictions upon any charter schools created under the law. Many charter schools, such as the Knowledge is Power Program, known nationwide as KIPP, follow an open enrollment policy, but have the option of sending the child back to his former school if he or she violates the schoolâ€™s contract. Senate Bill 2293, however, forces any new charter school arising from a failed school to enroll the same student body from the original school. Whitwell said the final look of the bill
was not to his liking. â€œIâ€™ve worked with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in the past. ... I am unsure whether they will continue the fight in Mississippi due to the fact that they were disappointed in the final bill last year, and are concerned that the legislation will not work for public charter schools.â€? Whitwell said he still believes â€œvery much in the need for charter schools.â€? â€œIn the public-school arena, they instill competition, and they allow for families that are dissatisfied with their current status to have options. Thatâ€™s important, because at the end of the day, schools are not about administrators but its students,â€? Whitwell said. Barbour championed another Meadowbrook Strategies project in 2006, approving a bill allowing Hurricane Katrina-devastated casinos to leave coastal waters and move 800 square feet ashore into a presumed storm buffer zone. Whitwell said the new law was a careful balance between the interests of the casino industry, which hoped to expand further, and those who wanted no casino expansion to areas not inextricably tied to water. Native American-owned casinos such as the Choctaw-owned Golden Moon casino, in Philadelphia, were already exempt from the law. â€œWe wanted to be sensitive to both sides, but (the Talon Group was) hired basically to fall in line with the governorâ€™s position in the legislation,â€? Whitwell said, adding later, â€œIâ€™d like to think that most of the issues we take a stand with are reasonable.â€? No other candidate has officially declared his or her intention to run for the Ward 1 position vacated by Jeff Weill, who took his new Hinds County Circuit judge seat this month. Would-be contenders, which include Marcus Ward, chief of staff under former Mayor Frank Melton, have until Jan. 26 to qualify. Monday, Jan. 17, is the last day for voters to register to be eligible to vote in the special election. The city of Jackson will extend the hours of city clerkâ€™s office between Jan. 10 and Jan. 14 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for voter registration, and will be open Saturday, Jan. 15, from 8 a.m. until noon. Watch jfpdaily.com for updates.
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Whitwell: A True Conservative
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erry Young is a 68-year-old grandfather, homeowner, taxpayer, and freelance legal writer and investigator. He’s also an ex-felon, and that means that he has been unable to vote in state or federal elections for the 11 law-abiding years he’s spent out of prison. In the 1960s, Young was briefly on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for a string of bank robberies, including one in Olive Branch. He spent time in federal prison for that crime and then, in 1980, he was convicted of another armed bank robbery. Young served 19 years in state prison for that crime. Released in 1999, he remained on probation until 2003. Mississippi is one of 11 states that does not automatically restore voting rights to people convicted of felony crimes. State law enumerates 21 crimes for which a felon will lose his right to vote, including armed robbery, arson, bigamy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, larceny, murder and rape. Bizarrely, the state Constitution expressly allows those convicted of felonies to vote in presidential elections; however, because felons cannot register only for the presidential election, they are effectively barred from voting at all. Ex-felons must petition the state Legislature on an individual basis to restore their voting rights, and any restoration bill must pass both houses of the Legislature by a two-thirds margin. Young petitioned representatives from Lee County to sponsor a bill restoring his rights, but none would take his case. He suspects that they were put off by his notoriety. The Mississippi ACLU has pushed for across-the-board re-enfranchisement of exfelons in the past four legislative sessions. In 2007, the organization supported House Bill 1440, which would re-instate voting rights for disenfranchised felons two years after the completion of their sentence. With the ACLU’s help, Young wrote four state legislators pleading with them to pass the bill, noting that he owned two houses and had developed a respectable profession. “There are so many others, who, like me, have left prison behind with no desire to ever return—who own land, pay taxes, drive cars, pay insurance and work and abide by the laws set by our legislators—but they always know in the back of their minds that the legislators are not their legislators,” Young wrote. “You are not my legislators because I played absolutely no role in the process whereby (you) gained (your) positions.” The bill failed, dying on the House calendar after being tabled. Similar bills have failed since, but the ACLU plans to lobby for a reenfranchisement measure again this year. The ACLU then filed a lawsuit on behalf of Young and another felon, Christy Colly, in 2008, arguing that Mississippi’s prohibition on felon voting violates ex-felons’ constitutional right to vote. A U.S. district judge dismissed the ACLU’s complaint and, in February 2010, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal. Legal challenges to felon disenfranchise-
Courtesy Jerry young
THURS. JAN 13
BEER BUCKET SPECIAL
Making Room in the Voting Booth
WED. JAN 12 LADIES NIGHT
NO COVER CHARGE
by Ward Schaefer
Once on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, Jerry Lynn Young has been out of prison for 11 years and wants to vote. State law and a federal court won’t let him.
ment have met with limited success elsewhere, too. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund has challenged Washington state’s policy based on the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition against racial discrimination. A federal appeals court struck down that suit last October. Increasingly, though, Mississippi’s restriction on felony voting is out of step with the rest of the country. Since 1997, 23 states have amended their voting policies to expand voter eligibility to former convicts. Seven states have made those changes since 2006. The prospect of any legislative change to the current law remains dim in large part due to demographics. Ex-felons tend to come from lower-income and non-white backgrounds, populations associated with voting Democratic. But support for extending voting rights to ex-felons has some bipartisan support. In an August 2009 blog post, Republican Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, argued that the state should bar all convicted felons from voting while they serve their sentence. After a twoyear waiting period, however, the state should restore voting rights to ex-felons. “When a man (or woman) has paid their debt to society (including all restitution, probation and whatever), we expect that person to live among us as a law abiding citizen,” Snowden wrote. “Even an ex-con has the citizen’s obligation to contribute to society, and voting for the candidate of his or her choice, in my view, is the very essence of positive civic participation.” Young believes a proposal like Snowden’s that requires a law-abiding waiting period would be fair. “I don’t see that it makes any difference how bad I was in my 20s and 30s,” Young said. “What should matter is what I’ve been for the last 11 years. I’ve never even been stopped for a traffic violation (in that time).” Comment at www.jfp.ms.
Courtesy “BreaCh of PeaCe”
by Ward Schaefer
Teaching The Truth
ext year, for the first time, Mississippi will require all social-studies teachers to teach the history of civil rights in the state. The requirement will come more than five years after state lawmakers initially approved the curriculum change. Passed in a fit of enthusiasm following the prosecution of Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 killings of three civil-rights workers, Senate Bill 2718 provided for the Mississippi Department of Education to add a civil-rights and human-rights component to its social-studies curriculum. The clamoring for a fuller and truer account of history ran into obstacles almost immediately, though, says Susan Glisson, director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. Glisson, who chaired the Civil Rights Education Commission that advised MDE on the new curriculum, notes that legislators in committee stripped stronger language from the original bill. Where the measure, as introduced, stated that MDE “shall” establish a new civil-rights component, the Senate Education Committee changed the bill’s wording to the more ambivalent “may.” Still, MDE enlisted the new commission’s help in drafting language for the new curriculum. The reform ran into further difficulty, however, in the structure of Mississippi’s school system. MDE exerts relatively little
control over the actual curricula that teachers use in their classrooms. Local school boards set specific curricula, and teachers write their lesson plans based on the curriculum and a set of state-ordained objectives, which MDE details in a “framework” for each of the subject areas. “It’s very much a local control, but that means it’s difficult to ensure learning,” Glisson said. MDE fast-tracked changes to the state social-studies framework for U.S. History, which most students take in 11th grade, and the state Board of Education approved the new curriculum in 2008. Changes to the framework for the other 12 grades only became final at the board’s November 2010 meeting, however. For the past two years, roughly 25 school districts have voluntarily employed the civilrights-boosted framework in their U.S. History classes. Glisson says that the new standards are aimed at giving students a richer, more nuanced and more historically accurate understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. The new standards are “not about ‘Dr. King stood up, Rosa Parks sat down, and now everybody’s free,’” she said. “That whole simplified, inaccurate narrative—that’s not the way this is getting taught. It’s getting taught to understand the institutional, structural nature of racism, the role of women and young peo-
ple in the movement, the role of religion (and) the effects of the Civil Rights Movement (on) other kinds of movements for human rights.” Indeed, the framework demands that students “analyze the response of federal and state governments to the goals (including but not limited to ending de jure and de facto segregation and economic inequality) of the Civil Rights Movement,” a process that would ideally touch on state institutions, like the State Sovereignty Commission, that worked to resist integration. For Mississippi Studies, a onesemester history course most students take in their freshman year, the state framework specifically mentions institutions like the Sovereignty Commission and groups like the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. It also asks students to assess the impact of specific figures like Gov. Ross Barnett, Sen. James Eastland, Fannie Lou Hamer and James Meredith. The additions to state social-studies standards extend all the way to kindergarten, where the new framework asks students to distinguish “rights” and “responsibility” and to “name figures of authority and their position in upholding human and civil rights.” This year, as he has every year since the bill’s passage, Republican Rep. John Moore of Brandon has introduced a bill to repeal the civil-rights history provision. Moore told the
The role of young people like Freedom Rider Jean Thompson is a part of U.S. history curriculum in about 25 Mississippi school districts.Thompson was featured in the freedom-rider compilation “Breach of Peace” by Eric Etheridge.
Jackson Free Press that he opposes the curriculum for two reasons. Teachers in the state are already overwhelmed with curriculum requirements and should focus on core content areas like reading and math, he argued. Moore said that he was also wary of “the radical positions” of Teaching for Change, an organization that the Winter Institute enlisted to provide optional training for history teachers in the new curriculum, which aims to bring social-justice principles into education. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
PA I D A DV E RT I S E M E N T
ooking for authentic Indian cuisines from different kitchens of India? Well, you only have to travel but a few miles to Bombay Bistro at 3716 I-55 North in Jackson. The newly opened restaurant promises a happening experience, one in which you can experience India -- its food, clothing and culture. Bombay Bistro has been a well laid-out plan and dream that Owner and Manager Praveen Kapoor has had for the past three years. He started in the hospitality industry at the ripe age of 19 in India with Sheraton Hotels, where he worked for 10 years, followed by 13 years of restaurant management experience in Tokyo, Japan. Jeependr Anand, Executive Chef He decided to move to the United States with his lifelong passion and dream to open his very own Indian restaurant. Today it’s a reality visible through the beautifully decorated and authentic cuisine found at Bombay Bistro. Executive Chef Jeependr Anand says that he and Kapoor make a great team and hope that patrons always experience the passion about Indian cuisine that they bring to Bombay Bistro. “We love Indian cuisine, and are a great team because there is a great balance between service and cuisine,” says Anand. “I developed my passion for Indian cuisine at a young age helping my mom cook various meals. You will see our passion in both the ﬂavor and presentation of the cuisine. Everything is ﬁnely done to compliment one another.” Executive Chef Anand went to culinary school in Hyderabad, India for ﬁve years and then worked for the ﬁve-star hotel Ramada Group in India, followed by professional culinary experiences with Carnival Cruise Line and the well-known Flavor of India in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, and then Amber India in San Jose, California, before moving to Mississippi. He uses a very unique clay oven, the Tandoor, used in making Indian cuisine specialties. For example, naan, a ﬂatbread special to Indian cuisine, is cooked in the Tandoor. Naan or Garlic Naan can be ordered with any entree, and both Executive Chef Anand and Kapoor encourage trying it to savour true Indian cuisine. The Bombay Bistro menu does not fall short in providing the true Indian culinary experience with the plethora of traditional cuisine dishes. For starters, try the Vegetable Samosa, a cripsy pastry stuffed with potatoes and green peas, served with mint and tamarind sauce. For entrees and specialties, the Tandoor Chicken, the King of Kebabs, is chicken marinated in yogurt, mint, garlic, ginger and barbequed in the clay oven, the Tandoor. Chicken Curry is another house specialty with on-the-bone chicken dipped in curry, and ﬂavored with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and coconut (they also have Curry in Goat, Lamb and Fish). And the Butter Chicken is boneless tender chicken cooked in tomato and butterﬂavored sauce, a dish that Executive Chef Anand says is a culinary delight. Honestly, the menu is so expansive that ﬁnding a true Indian cuisine experience will not be a challenge. Each day offers daily specials, which vary, and with dinner and lunch, you can order specialty Indian beer. Soon to come will be liquor and cocktails native to India, yet another cultural experience for patrons. Visit Bombay Bistro 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Catering and carry out are available, as well as a banquet area in the restaurant that can entertain 150 people (call 24 hours in advance to reserve). For more information on Bombay Bistro, call them at 601-487-8370.
opining, grousing & pontificating
Politicians: Tone Down the Rhetoric
he United States changed Saturday morning, Jan. 8, when an apparently mentally disturbed man took out his anti-government venom by trying to assassinate a U.S. congresswoman, and killing a little girl, a judge and other people’s loved ones in the process. Or the country should have changed. Many people had one of two responses to this incident: Many said politicians and their supporters need to tone down the vitriolic, hateful, violent rhetoric, or call it out in others. Others who supposedly never use violent rhetoric started defending those who do, even implying that it’s their First Amendment right to threaten or incite violence. Whoa. Arizona has, for the moment, become ground zero for a conversation our country needs to have. Long lists of threats against mostly Democratic lawmakers—many because they supported health-insurance reform—have emerged since Saturday. We are face-to-face with a disturbingly nasty discourse that seemed to take hold when Sarah Palin frothed up the crowds at her vice presidential campaign spots (thanks, John McCain) and have grown worse since, with more and more references to gun violence thrown in. Perhaps the most jolting are tapes of Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle talking about how people might need to resort to “Second Amendment remedies” if she didn’t defeat that ole radical Sen. Harry Reid. (Thankfully, she didn’t.) In our state, we know (or should know) how rhetoric like the Citizens Council used to use, in turn, leads to the violent crazies (like the Ku Klux Klan) committing unspeakable violence to take care of the “problem.” We also know that the people behind the rhetoric never want to take responsibility for the seeds their words planted and what they sprout. Now, in Mississippi, we are entering a new legislative session and an election year. We reported last year about all the anti-immigration bills that conservative legislators are putting forward—some much like the hateful law in Arizona, which both law enforcement and real constitutionalists hate equally, and that the apparent target of Saturday’s shooting, Rep. Gabby Giffords, a centrist Democrat who supports gun rights, wisely opposed. We are already hearing evil venom from politicians, radio talkers and bloggers who want to demonize immigrants (even the “legal” ones) and use them for wedge-issue bait. This can lead that one lonely crazy guy, or a group of disgruntled bigots a la Kluckers, to join together to commit violence to solve the overblown demagoguery espoused by politicians and their media lapdogs. Mississippians need to take note: This kind of rhetoric has no place in a democratic society, and it can result in bloodshed. Be part of the solution, not an instigator, if you don’t want blood on your conscience.
Random Stuff Happens
January 12 - 18, 2011
ongressman Smokey “Robinson” McBride: “We celebrate the redemption of a homeless man with a golden voice, and then witness how mainstream media exploits his rise to fame. One moment, we sing lyrics from the song, ‘Lovely Day.’ The next moment, a nation grieves over a senseless and violent shooting of a congresswoman, judge, staff members and a young child. “The best thing we can do is to endure those good, bad and indifferent moments. “The random occurrences of living remind me of Jack Trice, the first black athlete at Ames College in Iowa. Before playing in his first collegiate football game as an offensive lineman against the University of Minnesota on Oct. 5, 1923, Trice experienced the excitement of athletic competition, the shame of racial discrimination and the pain of physical sacrifice. Trice played the entire football game with a broken collar bone. “After the game, a severely injured and bleeding Jack Trice was sent back to Ames, Iowa, in the boxcar of a train because hospitals in Minnesota refused to treat blacks. He was found dead the next day. “The night before his first football game, Trice wrote a letter to himself promising to maintain the honor of his race and family. Aware of the challenges ahead, he ended his letter with this: ‘Be on your toes every minute, if you expect to make good, Jack.’ My advice to my fellow constituents is to stay ready and be secure, because random stuff happens in desperate times.”
YOUR TURN by Carl Gibson
Put Up or Shut Up, Progressives
011 is already promising to be a tumultuous year, particularly in Mississippi. Legislators have numerous crises to confront in this year, most of them rising from not having enough revenue to keep up with the rising operating costs of effective government. Mississippians have similar fiscal crises to confront, most of which stem from everything rising except our own wages. After this session is over, lawmakers will have lots of campaigning to do back home, most of which will start by defending any unpopular decisions they made in Jackson. And whoever becomes the next governor of Mississippi will have a lot of troubles to bear, most of which are rooted in Mississippi ranking last out of all the states in just about every social welfare category. But there’s good news. With so much at stake this year, our elected officials are especially vulnerable to the will of the people. We have the power to either put them back in office for four more years or give them all the boot and start over from scratch. This can either be a good or a bad thing, depending on who has the loudest voice. Mississippi’s neo-conservative base is already preparing for the fight. The far right will storm the state capitol this session with a list of draconian demands, according to e-mails from Mississippi Tea Party Secretary Donna Knezevich. They will actively petition lawmakers to eliminate welfare and repeal vital sources of revenue like property taxes. They’ll also chomp at the bit for laws infringing on the civil rights of Latino citizens and for legislation that would make certain federal laws null and void in Mississippi.
While they made Jan. 6 their day for a rally, Mississippi tea partiers have made it clear what their demands are, and that they’ll show up every day and fight hard to get what they want. So-called “progressives” in Mississippi need to be ready to represent themselves accordingly at the state capitol this year, or else the voice of the radical fringe right will be heard the loudest by our state lawmakers. If we truly value necessary government infrastructure, help for single moms and the impoverished, and landmark civil rights for ethnic minorities, we need to be heard this year. If we want a government that makes essential investments in the care and empowerment of its people rather than walk on them, we need to be heard this year. Democracy is all about citizen participation in government. If the government that represents you isn’t living up to your expectations or is hurting others, then theoretically, we have the power to make those changes. We all love to sit around a cozy room with friends and talk about how we would each change the government if given the chance, right? What better time to be heard and sow the seeds for change than when all of our state lawmakers are living in our city and up for re-election? Carl Gibson is a 23-year-old Methodist preacher’s son from Kentucky. Formerly the state capitol reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Carl is a regular participant and spectator in the Jackson community theater, spoken word and blues scenes. His most recent venture is the Gibson Group, a lobbying firm.
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or much of 2010, it seemed everyone from ABC to CNN to RT (formerly Russia Today, a worldwide Englishspeaking channel) were concerned about my single dating status. Well, not me, specifically, but black women in general. The last time I wrote about the single life was almost a year ago. A few things have changed for me since then, but not really. One thing that kept the media’s interest through last year was why so many black women are single. Let’s revisit a couple of the most devastating—says the media— statistics before we get started: Forty-two percent of African American women have yet to be married, compared to 23 percent of white women, according to a Yale study. The 2000 U.S. Census reported that there were 1.8 million more black women than men. By spring, I began to feel a bit freakish about my black singleness. It seemed everyone who’d never paid attention to me otherwise (the Russians, for example) was concerned about who I was going to date. In their attempt to figure it all out, they sought out comedian-turned-radio-host and “Think Like a Man Act Like a Woman” author Steve Harvey who became the go-to guy about all things relationship. This is when I knew for sure America’s interest in my life was nothing short of people not having anything else to talk about at the time. You’re seeking answers to questions about black folks from a comedian—not a sociologist, marriage and family therapist or a psychologist, but a man who wrote a common-sense manual about dating? Harvey admonishes women to not lower their standards for a man’s sake and warns that men are aware that women are desperate and nervous because they think there’s a man shortage. It all makes sense, but it’s not enough. I don’t have an issue with Steve Harvey. Many people I’ve heard complain about him have said things like: “He’s been married three times. What can he tell me about having a healthy relationship?” A lot, I think. We learn as much from failures, if not more, than from our and others’ successes. That’s not the issue. Without any academic or research background, Steve Harvey, just like actorturned-“relationship expert” Hill Harper, or anyone else who offers common sense advice as relationship gospel, is ill-equipped to answer the “why” question. And if someone is looking to help, isn’t that one question, among others, we need to figure out the answer to? One of the “whys” is because we’re emotionally unintelligent, relationally retarded and self ignorant. And that’s not just black women. That’s our society as a whole. Numbers say it’s those women who look like me who are having the most trouble, but I don’t know of too many people having an easy go of relationships. The prob-
lem seems universal: We want the other person to change, because taking personal responsibility isn’t fun. Critics of “For Colored Girls,” Tyler Perry’s recent cinematic adaptation of Ntzoke Shange’s 1975 choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” screamed that the movie was a poor reflection on black men, not painting them in a positive light. “It’s man bashing,” they say. (There was similar bemoaning about Terry McMillan’s “Waiting to Exhale” and Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple.”) Most of the men in the film were less than desirable characters. They lied, cheated, and abused their loved ones and substances, but the women chose to be with them. Their desire for companionship overrode their selfvalue. They chose partners out of their lack, and chose to stay with men who weren’t committed to them or a better life because they’d convinced themselves they weren’t strong enough to stand alone. While the men may be trifling, it’s a much sadder commentary on the women. Two unhealthy people will never a healthy relationship make; it’s impossible. No matter the sappy sentimental line in “Jerry Maguire,” it’s bull: No one can complete you. That’s lone work. So 42 percent of black women are single and have never been married, that doesn’t have necessarily have to be a cause for alarm. Some of them may not want to be married. Maybe some of these women have chosen to remain single until they’re ready to be in a long-term committed relationship. Instead of searching for validation and affirmation strictly from outside sources, perhaps the women have decided to concentrate on filling themselves. Even if all 42 percent of them desire marital relationships, though, maybe it’s just not time. They say God protects children and fools. Conceivably, the women are a bit more foolish than they’d ever care to admit, and someone, something is watching over them. There are certainly plenty examples of women—black, white and in between—who’ve married the wrong person, or the right person at the wrong time, and found themselves as part of another statistic: the divorced crowd. Am I still a single, black female? Yep, I am. Do I regret majoring in political science and philosophy at Millsaps instead of working diligently toward acquiring an Mrs. degree? Nope. I am confident that by the time I get married, I will be a woman so full of herself (not in that cocky sense, mind you) my husband will be proud and honored to call me his partner. And should I never marry—I’m keenly aware this is a likelihood— what a wonderful gift to offer my family, friends and the people in the world around me: a woman who isn’t looking to others to satisfy her.
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Bridal 2011:The Trends COURTESY COTIN SPOSA
If you’re looking for a dress that stands out from the traditional white and ivory, you’ll find dresses in soft colors of blush pinks, pale peaches and muted grays. If you’re not quite that daring, you’ll find many with accents of those colors in the trains, waist sashes or floral details.
COURTESY MODERN TROUSSEAU
by ShaWanda Jacome
ashion is an organic entity that changes from season to season and, sometimes, moment to moment. Bridal trends for 2011 will see lots of interesting and unique features. Here are the top looks you’ll see.
If you’re looking for a dress that is girly and flirty, choose ones with lace overlays or detailing. Today’s lace is a far cry from the traditional type of years gone by. Expect to find elegant and luxurious designs.
The trumpet gown hugs you in all the right places. The shape offers an instant glamorous look.
COURTESY BASIL SODA COURTESY NICOLE MILLER
COURTESY MELISSA SWEET
You’ll find dresses with floral accents ranging from delicate floral appliqués to oversized blooms. If you need a little sparkle, look for dresses with glitter accents.
Most probably think of tulle as being used under princess-style gowns to give them that dramatic poufy look. However, this season you’ll see dresses with delicate tulle overlays for an airy and “fairy-like” effect.
COURTESY JLM COUTURE
COURTESY TERRY FOX
Terry Fox blush pink gown
Modern Trousseau lace and trumpet gown
Cotin Sposa blush pink and floral accent gown
JLM Couture ivory tulle over satin/ taffeta baby doll gown Nicole Miller asymmetric mini
Melissa Sweet floral accented gown Basil Soda glitter gown
If you’re a sassy bride or have great legs that you want to show off, going short (above the knee) might be the way to go.
Look for these and other bridal gown options at these local bridal vendors: Alfred Angelo Bridal (1230 E. County Line Road, Suite D, Ridgeland, 601-956-1806, www.alfredangelo.com); A Southern Affair (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 160, 601-487-6218, www.asouthernaffair.net); Bridal Path (4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 104, 601-982-8267, www.bridalpathinc.com); Finishing Touch Alterations (4551 Office Park Drive, 601-362-5288); Jaki’s Costumes & Party World (5404 Interstate 55 N., 601-957-2999); Bridal Boutique (300 E College St., Clinton, 601-924-8345); Bella Bridesmaid (118 W. Jackson St., Ridgeland, 601-898-0303); Silver Gallery (6380-B Ridgewood Court Drive, 601-952-0525 and 378 Ridge Way, Flowood, 601-919-3008, www.silvergallery.biz)
by Natalie A. Collier
ne of my personal style philosophies is “Let your shoes do the talking.” When I go shoe shopping, it really doesn’t matter much to me if I have anything to go with the shoe or not. Wedding day is no different, in my opinion. Sure, it’s about the dress, but every woman thinks about her dress. And then what happens? They end up running out a few days before, picking up some God-awful white satin pump that looks like a bridesmaid pump from 1988 that hasn’t been dyed that curious shade of teal, yet. Your feet deserve more! For your wedding day, take things up a notch. Spoil yourself, or do something unexpected. If you’re not a stiletto kind of girl, don’t choose your “I do” day to practice; go for something that says your name but has a little bedazzle on it. For others, no matter what, don’t shy away from color. If your dress is a shade of white, go for a punch of color. And if your dress isn’t white, honey, you’re a nontraditional girl who doesn’t need these tips anyway! Don’t forget your feet, guys. Be they sleek or casual (bedazzlement is up to you), do right by your feet for matrimony day. It’s your wedding, too. You deserve it.
Badgley Mischka gold glitter pump, $187, Coattails
Kenneth Cole ankle zip boot, $108, Red August Badgley Mischka red ruffle sandal, $198, Coattails
Jessica Simpson suede and animal print platform, $98, Belk
Belk, 150 Dogwood Festival Blvd., Flowood, 601-9195000 or 1200 E. County Line Road, #300, 601-9770101; Coattails, 111 W. Jackson St., Ridgeland, 601853-1313; Red August, shopredaugust.com
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601-853-3299 â€˘ 398 Hwy. 51 â€˘ Ridgeland
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Danâ€™s Tuxedo Tips COURTESY TUXEDO JUNCTION
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You canâ€™t go wrong with a black tuxedo and a white or ivory shirt.
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Outdoor wedding Go for a lighter tuxedo, particularly in the heat of the summer. Garforth says that out of 10 renters, probably six or seven choose black tuxedos, with two or three choosing ivory. Brown or chocolate tuxedos have also been popular in the last two or three years. Trendy/non-traditional wedding Back in the old days, Garforth only had about five or six tuxedo styles. Today, he has a wide range of colors and fabrics. Colors include medium grays, dark grays, browns and blacks. Black is still number one, but people are in to matching the colors of the vests to coordi-
COURTESY TUXEDO JUNCTION
on Garforth is an expert when it comes to outfitting men for their weddings. The Pennsylvania native came to Jackson in 1978 and is the owner of two Tuxedo Junction stores in the Jackson area. â€œI opened up when Metrocenter Mall opened in 1978,â€? he says. â€œâ€Ś Weâ€™ve been here for (more than) 32 years.â€? Garforth, who attended Furman University in South Carolina majoring in business and finance says, jokingly, â€œWhat a coinky-dink that Iâ€™d be in business. I just love retail; I just enjoy serving people.â€? Tuxedo Junction has done more than 25,000 weddings since opening. â€œWeâ€™re actually doing second-generation weddings and we have second-generation employees working in our stores,â€? Garforth says. Garforth started off in business with his dad in South Carolina. When his father retired he started looking for a new location to call home. â€œWe looked at a lot of different locationsâ€”Augusta, Ga.; El Paso, Texas; Jacksonâ€”and it just looked like a perfect size market for what we wanted to do. â€Ś [I]t was probably one of the best decisions we ever made. I have fallen in love with the people of Jackson,â€? he says.
by Holly Perkins
Groomsmen frequently match their vests to coordinate with bridesmaidsâ€™ dresses.
nate with the bridesmaids dresses more than they are with the actual tuxedo. They come in looking for the vest colors before they even look at the tuxedo, which is a complete reversal of how it was 10 or 15 years ago. Black tie/formal wedding If itâ€™s an ultra-formal nighttime wedding, your only option is black, full-dress tails with the white pique shirt, vest, tie, white studs, cufflinks and white gloves. Thirty years ago, one out of 10 weddings Garforth did were at night. Now, itâ€™s probably four or five a year. For an older groom Most grooms will probably lean a little bit more toward a black tuxedo. It can be a regular sport-coat length or a little bit longer length, and one and two button coats are coming back. Classic fit great on everyone Garforth says because heâ€™s an â€œold timer,â€? you canâ€™t really go wrong with just a basic black tuxedo with either a white or an ivory shirt, depending on what color the brideâ€™s dress is. The brideâ€™s dress and wedding should be the number one focal point, and if the gentleman wears a black tuxedo, her dress stands out in pictures. Best general advice Find a store like The Tuxedo Junction that actually stocks its tuxedos in the store. There are so many people, particularly for weddings, that come in from out of town, and the measurements they bring with them are a little bit off. When the tuxedo is in the store, 99.9 percent of all problems are handled right there. Tuxedo Junction has two locations in the Jackson area: Metrocenter Mall (1279 Metrocenter, 601-969-1728) and Northpark Mall (1200 E. County Line Road, Suite 237, Ridgeland, 601-957-1233).
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