W E E K E N D E R
L.A. Watts Times Vol. XXX, No. 1231
Thursday, May 12, 2011
ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID G . BROWN / BJ SAMUELS
| PAGES 8-9
Thursday, May 12, 2011
MAY 12 - 18
RIES ~ You have more of a flair for communication this week than usual. Keep your words diplomatic but effective if your opinion is called for. A relative seeking advice will be glad they asked you. AURUS ~ Don’t sweat the small stuff this week. You have a keen eye for the big picture, and you’ll be most productive if you ignore the petty this week. Your home is very happy tonight! Count your blessings! EMINI ~ Your energy level remains high; be careful not to overdo it but enjoy the wonderful feeling of your physical self as much as possible. A phone call from a friend who lives far away will brighten your week and inspire you with travel plans. ANCER ~ Things are busy this right now, and you love it! You feel very much as if you are at the center of life. Children will be a topic of conversation. Make plans to enjoy a special week with your honey. EO ~ You can fly through the week if you keep your level of cooperation high. By this week’s end, you’ll have many plans, romantic and otherwise for the time period. Be patient at the workplace and things will go fine. IRGO ~ You may feel as if you’ll never get everything done that’s asked of you, but stay steady and on course, take things one step at time, and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish. Celebrate with a special friend.
IBRA ~ It’s a great week for catching up on chores and leftover tasks from last week. You’ll also have the opportunity to spend some time thinking about the direction you want your life to flow toward. CORPIO ~ Communication vibes are highlighted, and you are in your element. Many ideas will be presented, and everyone will be very receptive and agreeable to what you say. Romantic interests are easily pursued this week. Smile on! AGITTARIUS ~ Love and romance vibes are all around you this week! They will soothe your spirit and uncoil your tensions resulting from having too much work to do. Delegate some of the minor tasks so that you can do your best at the big stuff. Have a loving, lovely week. APRICORN ~ Financial matters are highlighted during working hours. Everything to do with your money, or money under your care, goes smoothly. Another party invitation arrives … say YES! QUARIUS ~ If you are finding it hard to concentrate on a project at work, begin imagining it successfully completed. Work steady and stay calm this week. This week is a good time for personal inventory. ISCES ~ Mental fog lifts and you are sharp as a tack once again. You’ll be making decisions about partnerships and joint finances. A very happy week is in store.
L.A. Watts Times WEEKENDER
Blast From The Past...
(Left) A young Maulana Karenga, now a professor in the Africana Studies department at California State University, Long Beach. Karenga is also known as the founder of Kwanzaa.
This photo was taken by Harry Adams. They were provided courtesy of Kent Kirkton, curator and director of the Institute for Arts and Media at California State University, Northridge.
ANSWERS FROM 5-5-11 Published Weekly – Updates 3800 S. Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90008 Administration – Sales – Graphics – Editorial 323.299.3800 - office 323.291.6804 - fax Beverly Cook – Publisher, Managing Editor 1976 – 1993 Charles Cook – Publisher, 1976 – 1998 Melanie Polk – Publisher 1998 – 2010
Inside this Edition
WWW.LAWATTSTIMES.COM Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. ..........Executive Publisher & Executive Editor Brenda Marsh Mitchell ................................Executive Vice President Tracy Mitchell........................................................................Controller Brandon I. Brooks ............................................Co – Managing Editor Yussuf J. Simmonds..........................................Co – Managing Editor Samuel Richard..........................................................Associate Editor Bernard Lloyd....................................................Director of Advertising Benjamin Samuels ..............................................Production Designer Chris Martin ........................................................Production Designer EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation ................................................................................50,000 The opinions expressed by contributing writers are not necessarily those of the L.A. Watts Times.
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Thursday, May 12, 2011
Blast From The Past...
(Left) Former California Supreme Court Justice Loren Miller stands for a photograph as he holds a newspaper. With a bar association named after him (the Loren Miller Bar Association), the African American is known, in part, for fighting against housing discrimination. He was born Jan. 20, 1903 and died July 14, 1967. In the other photo, a shot is taken of an evangelist at the Shrine Auditorium, circa 1960.
These photos were taken by Harry Adams. They were provided courtesy of Kent Kirkton, curator and director of the Institute for Arts and Media at California State University, Northridge.
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Thursday, May 12, 2011
Redistricting Commission meets in SoCal Member of commission says the independent body is ‘on a fast track’ to make new legislative and congressional maps. BY SAMUEL RICHARD ASSOCIATE EDITOR With plans to finalize new legislative and congressional maps by Aug. 15, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission is holding meetings in Southern California to get input from residents. The independent 14-member body came to SoCal recently and held a meeting in Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles. The commission started meeting in January and is working on creating new maps for 80 state Assembly districts, 40 California Senate districts, and four Board of Equalization districts, as well as 53 congressional districts. Using 2010 Census data as a basis, the commission is aiming to have certain amounts of people in the districts, according to media reports. The commission was formed as a result of the 2008 passage of Proposition 11, which took the power to redraw boundaries from lawmakers and handed them to citizens.
Congressional districts can also be redrawn due to the passage of Proposition 20 in 2010. “We’re having public input hearings where we’re asking the public to get engaged in the process of participating with this effort,” M. Andre Parvenu, one of the commissioners, recently told the L.A. Sentinel. “… The effort is to assist us in defining communities of interest.” Commission members are scheduled to have other meetings in Southern California, including one in Palm Springs on the 12th. Draft maps are expected to be released June 10, and final maps are supposed to be turned in to the secretary of state by Aug. 15. “We’re on a fast track to get this job done, and we’re depending on the public to attend these input hearings so they can assist us in determining where these boundaries are going to be drawn,” Parvenu said. Paul McKaskle, who has significant knowledge about redistricting, talked about why redistricting is
important to the average person: “It has a lot of impact ultimately on the kinds of laws that are passed, because the Legislature is supposed to represent the people.” “But I think one the slogans
used was that the Legislature was choosing the constituents rather than the constituents choosing the Legislature,” said McKaskle, a retired professor from the University of San Francisco who addressed redistricting issues as a staff member at the California Supreme Court. This is the first time in California’s history that citizens have been responsible for creating congressional and legislative districts. “This is history … We have an opportunity to create a process that the rest of the nation may want to copy or duplicate at some point,” Parvenu said. Parvenu talked about what this means for African Americans. “It’s an opportunity to speak up and be represented and to be a part of this historic process,” he said. “This is an opportunity to take control or … take a proactive role in determining where your community of interest is.” This is the opportunity to express one united opinion about an issue that affects you directly in your neighborhood, he said. He later added: “This is an opportunity to make certain that you’re affiliated with your neighbors so that, when the time comes, you have one representative to voice what your concerns are as opposed to having scattered representatives where you have an assembly person here, a senator there, a congressman there … This is an opportunity to make certain that your community has one unified and solid voice.” Congresswoman Karen Bass shared her thoughts about redistricting. “I think it (redistricting) has the potential to negatively affect the African-American community because there is the delusion that African Americans no longer live in the greater Los Angeles area. But in
Laura Richardson fact, if you compare the AfricanAmerican population in the state of California 10 years ago to now, there has not been a dramatic reduction in their numbers. African Americans might live in different places now, but, she repeated, there is not a dramatic reduction. “So I think it’s critical that we maintain African-American representation,” Bass said. She noted that on the congressional level, there are 53 members in the California delegation. “There are only four African Americans (Reps. Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Laura Richardson and Bass) … four out of 53. I think it would be very problematic and very negative to lose any of the representation that we have currently.” L.A. Watts Times co-managing editor Yussuf Simmonds contributed to this report.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Why Blacks didn’t celebrate bin Laden’s killing BY STACEY PATTON SPECIAL TO THE NNPA FROM THEDEFENDERSONLINE.COM Understandably, the killing of Osama bin Laden unleashed strong emotions among Americans — relief, satisfaction, fears of retribution, denial, and even exuberance. But, there was something distasteful about the raucous celebrations that took place outside the White House, in Times Square and at Ground Zero. The late night news coverage gave us a one-night affair of fists pumping in the air, jubilant cries of “USA! USA!,” and demonstrators singing that famous postgame victory song “Na Na Na, Hey, Hey, Hey, Good-bye!” The next morning, a Muslim Community Center in Portland, Maine reported that it had been attacked by graffiti artists overnight. Scrawled across the base of the building, which serves mainly Somali Muslims, were the words: “Osama Today, Islam Tomorrow” and “Long live the West.” Those hateful words underscore the fact the war on terror is not over. And, neither is the war on ignorance and hate. A week later, American Muslims have been given a chance to respond with a mix of relief, anxiety, and perhaps naïve hope that anti-Muslim sentiment will let up. There has also been a great deal of media buzz about whether or not the public celebrations among a small minority of people were appropriate. One obvious point that has been missed in the commentary is that those celebrations were mostly devoid of Black people. The fact is that in Harlem and the Black sections of Brooklyn there were no spontaneous gatherings full of chanting, cussing, flag waving, chest bumping, carousing, and singing
Osama bin Laden with strangers. There was no loud collective orgy of national pride and triumphalism in any other Black public squares across America. Now, why is that? It’s not that Black Americans, whose patriotism is often undervalued, do not feel some of the same emotions as those who took to the streets last Sunday night. Our quiet response speaks to our long-held understanding of what struggle is — our domestic struggle as a marginalized community is ongoing. We know that the war is not over and that neutralizing Osama bin Laden was a goal but only as part of a war that is not over. Perhaps Black America took its cue from President Obama’s coolness about the ordeal. He did not,
WAVEFEST Turns 15 BY JOY CHILDS CONTRIBUTING WRITER It was a cool, crisp night under the stars at the Greek that brought out 94.7 WAVE fans for the 15th Annual WAVEFEST concert. With a diverse group of acts slated to perform — Sheila E. and her family, Macy Gray, Kem and Roberta Flack — there was something for every smooth-jazz taste. This lady, it seems, can do it all. Recently Sheila E. could be seen jumping on stage to party with Cuba Gooding Jr. and a whole bunch of other people at one of her mentor Prince’s recent Forum concerts. Here, she led her brothers Juan and Peter Michael, sister and percussionist papa Pete Escovedo in a celebration of Latin salsa, jazz and funk. Nowhere else will you see practically an entire family perform with such gusto. Singing songs from their new “Now and Forever” album, like “Do What It Do” and “All Around,” they totally inspired a party atmosphere. There was dynamic lead singer Juan and guitar lead Peter Michael, creator of several sterling solos this night. And in the midst of all that, there was
the small, toned body and arms of Sheila E., beating and funking on the drums like one of the guys. Next up was a beautifully adorned Macy Gray. Accompanied by two plus-sized backup girls, who danced and pranced their way all over the stage and provided amazing support roles, Gray sang some audience favorites in that uniquely raspy voice of hers, songs like “G-H-E-T-T-O Love” and “I’m So Glad You’re Here.” With an organ solo, Gray gave a long introductory explanation for her set’s finale, a song, she explained, that she wrote about relationships: “I Try.” Hands down, Kem and his sevenpiece band and three backup singers, all dressed in white, were the biggest hits of the night. When Kem sashayed singing “You’re On My Mind,” female audience members were screaming and swooning. Then, true to his past performances, he began sermonizing about his days as a homeless addict and how, as he has said, his career “didn’t take off until I connected with my spirituality. That’s why I take time on stage … to
See WAVEFEST, page 10
unlike his predecessor, descend atop a naval ship and declare “Mission Accomplished.” Thursday’s ceremony and quiet conversations with those directly affected by the 9-11 attacks speak to this fact. In fact, Black America’s rather solemn
response is actually congruent not only to the President, but of most White Americans. I have to give the majority of White America its due. Those frat party celebrations overwhelming do not represent the norm reaction among most Americans, many of whom have been vocally critical of those spectacles. A plethora of outspoken liberal voices have aptly described what those scenes really represent — opportunistic pockets of America that see bin Laden’s death as a reason to boost American exceptionalism and to reclaim hegemony on the world stage at a time of domestic instability and uncertainty. Yet some pundits have that the raucous celebrations aren’t a bad thing and that their triumphant nationalism is somehow healthy for our national psyche.
Garrett Quinn, a writer for the Boston Globe, illustrates my point: “As Americans we’ve been down and out for a few years. The economy is in the tank, we’re involved in three wars, we’re in a severe budget crisis, and for the first time we are uncertain about our future as the world’s lone superpower. This victory over our national enemy gave us a moment, however brief, to thump our chests, wave our flags, and shoot off fireworks. It gave us a moment to carouse with strangers and sing songs in crowded public spaces. Public Enemy Number One was vanquished and it was time to celebrate and feel good about ourselves. And there isn’t a damn thing wrong with that.” Thankfully, our President, Black America and most of White America see it differently. The “triumphant nationalism” and arrogance is coming mostly from armchair pundits who haven’t set foot on the battlefield or near a uniform. For the rest of us, we are resolute in our understanding that the struggle continues. We will have to battle the terrorists and those who wrongfully want to set us up as masters of the universe and thereby hated targets. Stacey Patton is a writer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
50 years later, students retrace 1961 Freedom Ride BY ZINIE CHEN SAMPSON, ASSOCIATED PRESS Charles Reed Jr. is skipping his college graduation ceremony to do something much more significant to him: retracing the original 1961 Freedom Ride and paying tribute to those who helped win the civil rights that his generation enjoys. Reed says missing Friday’s graduation doesn’t compare to the sacrifices the original Freedom Riders made when they challenged the South’s segregation laws: quitting jobs, dropping out of college and, ultimately, risking their lives. “What the Freedom Rides did 50 years ago paved the way for what I have today as an African American,” said Reed, a 21-year-old business administration major at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. Reed is one of 40 college students chosen from nearly 1,000 applicants who will join a handful of the original Freedom Riders on an eight-day journey from Washington, D.C., through the South. The students pulled up in their bus Friday night to greet more than a dozen original Freedom Riders at the Newseum in Washington for the premiere of a new PBS documentary on the rides based on a book by Raymond Arsenault. They sang “Oh, Freedom” and other tunes together before viewing the film, which premieres May 16 on public broadcast stations. The documentary recounts the rides state by state and how they pushed President John F. Kennedy to advocate for civil rights. As a young rider, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said he “felt like a soldier in a nonviolent army,” though the rides were more confrontational than Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders
AP Photo/Peter Cihelka
In this Feb. 7, 2011, file photo former Freedom Rider Rev. Reginald Green speaks during the launch of a semester-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders in Fredericksburg, Va., at the University of Mary Washington. Forty college students will join a handful of the original Freedom Riders on a 10-day journey from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans. Along the way they will stop in a number of cities, including those where the riders were harassed, physically attacked and arrested. would have preferred. Congress of Racial Equality head James Farmer, six other black people and six white people participated in the first Freedom Ride,
African Black Mamba
which left Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961. The trip was to test whether southern states were implementing Boynton v. Virginia, a U.S. Supreme Court decision that barred segregation
Black Widow Spider
in public-transportation facilities. The trip carried riders through Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. The group faced violent attacks in the Deep South from white mobs who opposed integration. One of the buses was firebombed in Anniston, Ala., and the riders were beaten. A Ku Klux Klan mob attack in Birmingham, Ala., drew national headlines and international embarrassment for the Kennedy administration. The first rides ended with a federally escorted flight to New Orleans. Lewis helped organize a subsequent ride that month that began in Nashville. But Lewis and others were beaten at a bus terminal in Montgomery, Ala., and federal marshals were called in after riders and supporters were surrounded by a mob at the First Baptist Church. Riders were later arrested in Mississippi. As news of the violence spread, hundreds joined the Freedom Rides. Hundreds were jailed that summer in Jackson, Miss., and transferred to the infamous Parchman state penitentiary after the local jail ran out of space. The demonstrations became a defining point in U.S. civil rights history. Lewis, who was knocked unconscious during the Montgomery attack and later jailed in Mississippi, said it's important for students to learn that the Freedom Riders were willing to die to confront the “whites only” and “colored only” signs at transit stations to end segregation. “We never gave in,” Lewis said. “We kept the faith, and it's important for the stories to be told over and over again so future generations and especially these young people that are traveling will learn that in a matter of a short time, we brought down those signs.” Diane Nash, who organized a wave of
See FREEDOM RIDERS, page 7
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Thursday, May 12, 2011
America’s got ‘flava’ that tastes like pure power BY CHERYL PEARSON-MCNEIL The world has changed considerably since the “Leave It to Beaver” days, when the Cleaver family represented the model of the American family. My employer, the Nielsen Co., measures and analyzes consumer trends and behaviors across the globe, and recently released a comprehensive new study — “The New Digital American Family,” which details America’s ever-evolving society of many “flavas” (officially known as diversity) and the marketing impact of that diversity. In a nutshell, our society is more ethnically “flavaful” than at any other point in history. According to the report, no single cultural, social, demographic, economic or political point of view dominates the American landscape. How cool is that? The data projects that households with children under age 18 will be predominantly multicultural (Hispanic, African American and Asian American) by 2020. That’s just a short nine years away. And if that’s too far out for some of ya’ll to envision, consider the fact that a whopping 40 percent of the population is already multicultural today due in large part to immigration. You know what this means, right? Advertisers are going to be forced more and more to focus their marketing lenses on us — all of us! This means adapting and adopting new technologies for communicating with consumers who look like you and me. The smartphone, for example, has emerged as an equalizing agent across households of every ethnic demographic and income level. Whereas before there was a “digital
Cheryl Pearson-McNeil divide” as it related to African Americans having access to the internet, these nifty devices provide low cost, easy access Web connectivity to households of all income levels and ethnicities. Two out of three of us who are U.S. mobile subscribers use text messaging. We live in the age of anytime, anywhere, affordable access. This too is a game changer for marketers who now must learn to leverage the unique attributes of “mobile” into their campaign strategies. Here are some specific advertising technology realities, according to “The New Digital American Family” report: • When surfing the net, as a group, African Americans tend to gravitate to music sites, while Hispanics tend to visit Latin-influenced sites like Univision and MSN
FREEDOM RIDERS Continued from page 6
riders from Nashville, Tenn., said she got involved because it was humiliating to be segregated and many in Nashville were fed up. “I think we should consider how long it would have taken to desegregate ... if we had left it to public officials,” she said. The lesson from the Freedom Rides is to take the country’s future into your own hands, Nash said. “My colleagues had you in mind,” she told the student riders. “We had not met you, but we loved you.” After events in Washington, the bus heads south on Sunday. Along the way they’ll stop in a number of cities, including those where the 1961 riders were harassed, physically attacked and arrested. The students plan to use social media to share their experiences during the trip, which will end May 16 in New Orleans. Freedom Rider Joan Trumpauer Mulholland plans to share her scrap-
book from 1961 with student riders on the bus trip. The 69-year-old Arlington, Va., resident says she wants to pass on her ideas to the college students because her generation is “fading into a sunset, so to speak.” Mulholland joined one of the 60 demonstrations after a colleague was arrested on the initial ride. She was arrested June 8, 1961, in Jackson, Miss., and spent about two weeks in the local jail, then the rest of the summer at Parchman. Prison warden Fred Jones wrote a letter to Mulholland’s mother, telling her that she could send medicine to her daughter. He also made a point to criticize her parenting skills. “What I cannot understand is why as a mother you permitted a minor white girl to gang up with a bunch of negro bucks and white hoodlums to ramble over this country with the express purpose of violating the laws of certain states and attempting
See FREEDOM RIDERS, page 15
Latino and Asians prefer technology sites. • A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n media habits are TV- and mobile-centric. As I have shared in previous columns, we own four or more sets per household and spend almost 40 percent more time watching TV, especially premium cable channels, than the average American viewer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if television manufacturers, advertisers and programmers of these mediums take note of our over indexing and model more content, commercials and programs after us. • As a group, we also apparently love to talk more than the U.S. average, running up more mobile voice minutes per month — 1,261 — than any other group. Again, when the mobile companies realize they can improve their market share with such a brand loyal demographic group perhaps they’ll increase the number of ads that feature people who look like those of us who use their products the most. And if they really want to be cutting edge, they might even increase their advertising buys on stations and in publications Blacks frequent the most. Now there’s a novel idea, right? Education and affluence are consistent behavior markers, regardless of ethnicity. Do you recognize any of your behavior below? • Higher-income families across the board buy fewer cell phones than the average, most likely because lower income consumers are more likely to bypass a landline in exchange for a cell phone. • Higher-income households use digital video recorders (DVRs) four times more often; purchase more video games and more DVDs than the average household. They also are huge devotees of time-shifting, which allows them to watch more with their children. • Higher-income families also spend less time on sites like Facebook and YouTube but more time educational options like Teacherweb.com and ClassZone. com. So let’s not get it twisted: as African Americans we have power and influence through our choices of purchasing, listening, talking, surfing and viewing. If someone tries to make you feel bad because you do “too much of this or watch too much of that,” please know that for every one of your actions — there is a “ching ching” cash register reaction for some business or company. So choose and act wisely and — Viva la difference! Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is the senior vice president of Public Affairs and Government Relations for The Nielsen Co. For more information and studies, go to www.nielsenwire.com.
The class of 2011 – more debt, more chances BY JULIANNE MALVEAUX NNPA COLUMNIST Shortly after I began my tenure at Bennett College for Women, the class of 2011 arrived on campus. And on Saturday, May 7, Bennett’s first class to spend their entire four years with me as their president graduated. Our graduation, like graduations around the nation (many HBCUs have graduations over the Mother’s Day weekend, perhaps in tribute to all the sacrifices mothers and fathers make for their graduates), was poignant, moving and reflective. Elaine Jones was our commencement speaker; she challenged students to commit themselves to lifelong learning, and to giving to their alma mater. Indeed, she described our students as LAMBA Belles, with LAMBA an acronym for lifelong learning, ambition, managing resources, belief systems, and alma mater. In her inimitable fashion, the first woman to lead the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund challenged students to continue to grow, to give, to be discerning, and to believe. Her managing resources point was especially provocative, as she described resources as health, reputation, and energy, not just money. Bennett’s Class of 2011 joins other graduates in experiencing an improved labor market. A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers say that 53 percent of all employers expect to hire new college graduates; in the fall, fewer than half said they would hire from the class of 2011. While the labor market has still not recovered from the recession, and the class of 2011 won’t have as many opportunities as the class of 2007 did, they are entering a labor market that looks better than it did in the past three years. It’s a good thing the Class of 2011 will have more chances at employment, since they’ll need everything they earn to deal with the mounting student debt they face. This class is graduating with more debt than any of their predecessors — an average debt of $22,900. This is eight percent more than last year and in inflation-adjusted terms, 47 percent more than a decade ago. To be sure, an investment in education is the best investment that one can make. At the same time, the realities of debt repayment shape the life choices of the Class of 2011, causing many to delay homeownership, graduate school, car purchase, or even nonprofit sector employment. Indeed, while the federal government offers some loan forgiveness for those who accept public service jobs, including classroom teaching, many graduates feel challenged to earn as much as they can so that they can pay off their loans and get on with their lives. African-American college graduates, more likely to be first generation and working class than others, carry more debt than others. HBCU
Julianne Malveaux graduates, those who attended colleges with lower endowments than other colleges, are also more likely to have a higher level of indebtedness. HBCUs are a vital part of our nation’s higher education landscape, doing more with less than many other institutions. The current recession has posed challenges to us, as to others in higher education, and yet we may be less able to deal with the financial challenges because we come to them without the strong financial foundations that other colleges have. And yet we are buoyed and supported by the energy and spirit of our alumnae. At Bennett, the glorious Class of 1961, the women who were an integral part of the sit-in movement in Greensboro, returned for their Golden class reunion with a recordbreaking gift to Bennett. Two of the special members of that class, Roslyn Smith, a retired social worker from New York, and Esther Terry, Bennett’s provost, worked indefatigably. Their classmate, Linda Beatrice Brown, a Bennett professor and niece of Bennett’s first woman President Willa B. Player, is writing a history of the Bennett women in the Civil Rights Movement. I have to believe that all HBCU graduates of the Class of 1961 are reflecting on their experiences, on the way the world has changed since their graduation 50 years ago, on the importance of HBCUs then and now, and supporting their alma maters with energy and enthusiasm. We need the Class of 1961 to reach back to embrace the Class of 2011, the young people who have more challenges, chances, and choices, who enter a labor market improved but not yet vibrant, shackled by debt and, at the same time, armed with a rich HBCU experience that will shape and direct their lives and careers. Congratulations, HBCU Classes of 2011! And thank you, Class of 1961. Your activist spirit is the foundation for our work. Julianne Malveaux is president of Bennett College for Women. Her most recent book is “Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History” (www.lastwordprod.com).
L.A. Watts Times WEEKENDER
Thursday, May 12, 2011
By Samuel Richard Associate Editor
SHE’S GHETTO. SHE’S ANGRY AND AGGRESSIVE. SHE’S HYPERSEXUAL. “She” is the many portrayals people see of Black women on the big and small screens … in some respects, at least. Since the inception of movies and television, Black females have been portrayed in a variety of ways: as intelligent, undereducated, strong, loud, and “bougie,” as well as the mammy, a superwoman, nurse, lawyer, cop — and the list goes on. Some Black women have decided to help try to create other portrayals of Black women that are complex and positive. The L.A. Watts Times spoke with several people who gave their opinions about the image portrayals of Black women. BLACK WOMEN ABOVE THE NORM IN TOPǧGROSSǧ ING FILMS Compared to other females, Black women appeared in more speaking roles in the 100 top-grossing 2008 ﬁlms released in U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to a recent University of Southern California report titled “Black Characters in Popular Film: Is the Key to Diversifying Cinematic Content held in the Hand of the Black Director?” In the 100 topgrossing ﬁlms of 2008, the latest year USC has released data for, the report notes that Blacks occupied 13.2 percent of all speaking roles. “The gender distribution of Black characters is notable: 37.7% are female and 62.3% are male,” the report continued. “The percentage of Black females is almost ﬁve percentage points above the industry-wide norm, as females accounted for only 32.8% of all speaking
characters across the 100 top-grossing ﬁlms in 2008.” Although there was a higher-than-usual number of Black women, there’s something the report also shows: Black women are still sexualized. “Our ﬁndings show Black female characters are more likely than their Black male counterparts to be shown in a sexy and attractive light,” the report concluded. “Repeated viewing of these types of portrayals may reinforce males and females’ beliefs that Black girls/women are to be valued for how they look rather than who they are. “However, across three separate measures (attractiveness, sexy clothes, partial nudity), the percentage of hypersexualized females seems to have decreased from 2007 to 2008.” More data from USC is expected to be released in June or July for movies released in 2009, and 2010 data could be released in August or December, according to professor Stacy Smith, Ph.D., a co-author of the report. PORTRAYALS, WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING AND DOING One perhaps wellknown portrayal of Black women is the portrayal of “video girls,” the scantily clad women often seen in hiphop music videos. In a study that involved more than 520 single African-American females who watched several hours of rap videos, the American Journal of Public Health reported that, “… Greater exposure to rap music videos was independently associated with a broad spectrum of health outcomes.” The study, titled “A Prospective Study of Exposure to Rap Music Videos and African American Female
Adolescents’ Health,” reported in the journal’s March 2003 issue that: “Compared with adolescents who had less exposure to rap music videos, adolescents who had greater exposure to rap music videos were 3 times more likely to have hit a teacher; more than 2.5 times as likely to have been arrested; 2 times as likely to have had multiple sexual partners; and more than 1.5 times as likely to have acquired a new sexually transmitted disease, used drugs, and used alcohol over the 12-month follow-up period.” The study did note that, “Because potential mediating factors were not assessed, it is diƥcult to determine whether the relation between exposure to rap music videos and adolescents’ health status was causal.” Shaunelle Curry, executive director of Mother’s Day Radio (MDR), is making eơorts with her organization to help ﬁght against negative portrayals of women in media. Women in media, particularly women of color, are portrayed in a limited and degrading way, she said, adding they’re treated like objects in some songs. Curry helped create a campaign in which 24 hours are dedicated to honoring women on Mother’s Day weekend. Her organization’s tasks have expanded: MDR launched the Women of Color Media Justice Initiative. MDR has a media literacy and social action peer mentorship component designed in part to help teenagers make healthy, conscious decisions in media consumption, its website states. The site also notes that the component is designed to help teens “learn to engage in service learning initiatives that could impact media reform at local and national levels.” Curry holds to the view that negative and positive portrayals of Black women in media aơects how others view them and how Black women view themselves. “Depending on how much exposure that you … actually have to African-American and to Black women, if you don’t have very much then those might be your only cues as to what it is to be a Black woman or what Black women are like,” Curry said. “If you are a Black woman or if you, you know, have more exposure to it, then you have other opportunities to see other people in your community, in your churches, in your families, in your diơerent environments as well. So that does play a part as well.”
At least one current portrayal people are seeing of Black women on television is that of the angry female. A recent piece for The Daily Beast points out that the Angry Black Woman is being portrayed in reality TV. There’s been a “cat ﬁght” going on between Star Jones and NeNe Leakes on “Celebrity Apprentice,” Newsweek’s Allison Samuels reports. The two have been trading insults, and Samuels writes that the mud-slinging “highlights an unsettling new formula for the reality-TV genre: put two or more headstrong African-American women in the same room, and let the ﬁreworks begin. From Oxygen’s Bad Girls to Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, the small screen is awash with black females who roll their eyes, bob their heads, snap their ﬁngers, talk trash, and otherwise reinforce the ugly stereotype of the ‘angry black woman.’ ” Diahann Carroll was quoted as saying what she sees on TV now is a disgrace. The portrayal of Black women in “reality” TV hasn’t only got Samuels’ attention. In a recent piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Melody T. McCloud has a piece headlined “TV portrayals bad for black women.” “Some say the negative imagery is no big deal and doesn’t affect them in a personal way, but many see a bigger picture,” McCloud writes. “Many people — especially men — are visual creatures. If black women are rarely or never portrayed as beautiful, sexy, neat, classy, appealing, loving and desirable, how are they ever going to be perceived as such? Are these images innocent and superﬁcial or does it go deeper?” There is a need for more stories that ﬁt African Americans and African-American women in a light that tells all of their stories, not just the downtrodden and shattered woman, actress Victoria Rowell told the L.A. Watts Times. Rowell acted on “The Young and the Restless” for many years and has also played in several movies. “Why haven’t we done the Janet Collins movie, the
Thursday, May 12, 2011
ﬁrst Black prima ballerina?” she asked. “Where’s the Marian Anderson movie?” Rowell said Black women often play the role of the heavy-set or oversexualized Black woman. Not all is bad, however: There have been many powerful movies with powerful Black female images, Rowell said. For Vaun Monroe, president of the National Association of Black Screenwriters, addressing how Black women could be portrayed in another light is a multivalent problem and has to be dealt with on multiple levels. Screenwriters can endeavor to make better, richer, more complex portrayals for Black women to play, he said. “Black actresses can take their life experience and put it into an underwritten, underdeveloped role and add layers to it to make that person more of a human being.” Monroe, however, said that he’s known actresses who have attempted to do that but weren’t successful because their scenes were deleted. Directors, he said, can also ﬁnd a role that is underwritten and underdeveloped and ask for changes. “We gotta put that stuơ out for the audience and our audience has to get better about that as well,” he said. “They have to stop being satisﬁed with cinematic mcnuggets and start saying … ‘I wanna eat ﬁve-star-restaurant cinema and cinema that’s much more nutritious.’ ” Ava DuVernay, an African-American who directed the movie “I Will Follow,” said she is not really interested in what Hollywood can do. DuVernay founded the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM).
“Obviously there’s a dearth of imagery in cinema that … has quality portrayals of African Americans — diverse, multilayered, full-bodied characters, multidimensional,” she said. “The studio system has found what works for them and that’s broad comedy and shoot-’em-ups as it relates to African-American cinematic images.” The idea for AFFRM is to come up with a way to distribute quality African-American ﬁlms, nationally and simultaneously, that deal with dramatic imagery and full-bodied characters. AFFRM is designed to have Black ﬁlm festivals come together and release a ﬁlm on the same day, DuVernay said, adding it’s not a tour or ﬁlm festival. THE BLACK DIRECTOR Black directors seem to have inﬂuence on at least the amount of African Americans on the screen. The USC report notes that, “A higher percentage of Black speaking characters is found in films with a Black director … than in films with a non Black director… Put another way, out of all the characters a Black director casts, 62.6 percent are Black, the report notes, adding that in the films with a non-Black director, only 10.9 percent of all speaking characters are Black. The figures apply to the 100 top-grossing 2008 films. 2007 figures also showed a link between a higher number of Black speaking characters and Black directors. In a recent e-mail, Stacy Smith, one of the USC coauthors of the report, told the L.A. Watts Times that the relationship between director race and female hypersexualization hasn’t been looked at. Others have said they feel Black directors have an influence on how Blacks are portrayed. Lisa Cortes, who executive produced the movie “Precious,” agreed that directors influence who’s in front of the lens. It’s very important to have a wide representation of all peoples, she said. Cortes also said she’s seen positive portrayals of Black women in film. “We are superheroes, we are mothers,” she said. “We make you laugh, we make you cry, we’re revolutionaries…”
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Lakersâ€™ Bynum suspended 5 games for Barea foul
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Los Angeles Lakersâ€™ Andrew Bynum commits a flagrant foul against Dallas Mavericksâ€™ Jose Juan Barea during the second half of Game 4 of a secondround NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. Bynum was ejected. The Mavericks won 122-86, sweeping the series. BY GREG BEACHAM AP SPORTS WRITER EL SEGUNDO, Calif. â€” Lakers center Andrew Bynum has been suspended for five games next season for his flagrant foul on Dallas guard J.J. Barea in Los Angelesâ€™ final playoff game. The NBA announced the suspension Tuesday, two days after Bynum was ejected for the foul late in the two-time defending championsâ€™ 36-point loss to the Mavericks in Game 4. The league also fined Bynum $25,000 for ripping off his jersey while heading to the locker room, which means the suspension will cost Bynum more than $700,000. Bynum expressed contrition for the episode after his exit interview at the Lakersâ€™ training complex earlier Tuesday, saying the foul was â€œterribleâ€? and â€œunacceptable.â€? Bynum said his actions â€œdonâ€™t represent me, my upbringing, this franchise or any of the Laker fans out there that want to watch us and want us to succeed,â€? Bynum said. â€œI want to actually apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. Iâ€™m just glad that he wasnâ€™t seriously injured in the event. All I can say is, Iâ€™ve looked at (a replay), itâ€™s terrible, and it definitely wonâ€™t be happening again.â€? Bynum hit Barea with a flying elbow in the ribs while the Dallas guard drove to the basket for a layup
in the fourth quarter. Barea wasnâ€™t seriously hurt, but he stayed down for an extended time while Bynum left the court. Bynum was suspended for two games in March for a hard foul on Minnesotaâ€™s Michael Beasley under the basket, although that foul didnâ€™t have the same element of pure malice that even Bynum acknowledged in his foul on Barea. Bynum said he was frustrated by the Lakersâ€™ awful performance in an elimination game, falling far behind in the first half and never contending. He was less apologetic about the foul immediately after it happened, saying he was frustrated by the Mavericks guards repeatedly driving the lane for baskets. Bynum said he has tried to get in contact with Barea to apologize personally, but hasnâ€™t been able to reach him yet. Forward Ron Artest was suspended for Game 3 of the series after a hard foul on Barea late in Game 2. Artest said Tuesday that he disagreed with his suspension. â€œWhat are you going to do? Youâ€™ve got a guy whoâ€™s 5-2,â€? Artest jokingly said of the 6-foot Barea. â€œI extend, and heâ€™s straight up, like a broomstick, and his face was in my palm. When it happened, I was like, â€˜Oh boy. Are you all right, young fella?â€™ And then I was ejected. ... It was unfortunate, the ejection and suspension. It wasnâ€™t right. It wasnâ€™t right. It shouldnâ€™t have happened.â€?
SPORTS BEAT B Just call the Miami Heat the almost sweepers (4-1) against the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks (4-0) the real sweepers against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakersâ€™ escape plans for preventing an early playoff exit was put on hold until next season or longer. Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum lost their cool late in the fourth quarter and were ejected in the 122-86 blowout that made an end to the Lakersâ€™ attempt to win three championships in a row. A Los Angeles native named Tyson Chandler (of Comptonâ€™s Dominguez High) can be considered a major culprit in destroying the Lakersâ€™ dreams of a â€œthree-peat.â€? Chandler has been called the neutralizer of the Lakersâ€™ 7-footer Bynum. After the Mavericks took a 3-0 lead in the playoffs semi-finals Kobe Bryant declared: â€œIâ€™m upset, because I feel like we let a couple games get away, but Iâ€™m not discouraged â€” at all.â€? He should have been as the Mavericks went on to blow out the Lakers by 36 points in Game 4. Wait on, Lakers; your time has come and gone for now. The Celticsâ€™ time has also come and gone for now. Paul Pierce and his teammates were eliminated Wednesday night in Miami: The Heat beat the Celtics, 97-87. Did you know that the family of Paula Madison, the retiring executive at KNBC-TV, owns the Williams Group Holdings? This group owns the majority interest in the L.A. Sparks WNBA team, according to a KNBCTV press release, and is the largest investor in the Africa Channel. Some of the head coaches of color still in the NBA Playoffs are the Memphis Grizzlesâ€™ Lionel Hollins and the Atlanta Hawksâ€™ Larry Drew. Celtics head coach Doc Riversâ€™ son, Austin Rivers, of Winter Park, Fla., is the 2011 All-USA Player of the Year. Austin is headed to Duke. University. The Chicago Bullsâ€™ Derrick Rose is the 2011 NBA MVP? Did winning the MVP award two straight years hurt LeBron Jamesâ€™ chances for a â€œthreepeatâ€?? Rose, 22, was the youngest player ever to win the NBA MVP honor. And the beat continuesâ€Ś Sprinter Allyson Felix, who went to USC but didnâ€™t compete for the Trojans, continues to dominate in races around the world. Felix (of L.A. Baptist High) helped the U.S. Womenâ€™s team wins both the 400 and the 1,600 relays for fifth year in a row.
Y BRAD PYE JR. Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) celebrates in front of Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett (5) near the end of overtime in Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series in Boston on Monday, May 9, 2011. The Heat won 98-90. AP Photo/Elise Amendola
Felix ran the second leg in both races. And the beat continuesâ€Ś USA Today columnist Reid Cherner recently wrote this: â€œA tip of the cap (ordered small so it would fly off when we ran) to Willie Mays, who turns 80 ... I may have been the only person at my Hebrew school whose prayers included ones to get Mays to park a couple each night. Had the â€˜Say Hey Kid,â€™ the greatest five-tool player ever, played anywhere but Candlestick Park, he would have had 800 home runs and the whole Barry Bonds affair would be moot.â€? Mays is Bondsâ€™ godfather. And the beat continuesâ€Ś Wouldnâ€™t it be something special and historic if the Carolina Panthersâ€™ overall No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, Cam Newton, and his brother, Cecil Newton Jr., wind up on the same team some time in the future? You see, Cecil Newton Jr. is a center out of Tennessee State and was on the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad in 2009 â€” but never played in an NFL game. Heâ€™s playing in the United Football League. Some people still probably havenâ€™t forgiven Philadelphia Eagles super quarterback Michael Vick for his involvement in dogfighting, gambling or both. Possible example: Vick was upset by Cleveland Brownsâ€™ tailback Peyton Hillis in fan voting to choose the player to grace the cover of John Madden NFL game. Hillis defated Vick with 66 percent to 34 percent of the votes. Have you ever heard of Peyton Hollis? And the beat continuesâ€Ś Former MLB Detroit Tigers first baseman Rico Brogna supports Barry
WAVEFEST Continued from page 5
administer spirituality to people.â€? All the while a video about homelessness was showing on the Greekâ€™s JumboTrons. As he sang one of his bigger hits, â€œTrue Love,â€? he gave the ladies a cheap thrill when he took a camera from an audience member and shot a picture of himself for her enjoyment. Itâ€™s really a shame that Roberta Flack appeared last â€” a shame since about one third of the audience had left by that time. But she didnâ€™t disappoint those true fans whoâ€™d come to the festival just to see her. The 70-plus-year-old songstress from Black Mountain, N.C. â€” looking and sounding very much like she did when she first burst on the
scene in the 1960s and â€™70s â€” played the piano and sang perennial hits â€œThe First Time Ever I Saw Your Faceâ€? and â€œKilling Me Softly,â€? on the latter encouraging folks to â€œimagine weâ€™re in Brazil â€Ś all these gorgeous bodies â€Śâ€? as they sang backup with her. She threw in a personal favorite with â€œSweet Georgia Brown.â€? Thankfully, WAVEFEST, which was scheduled to end at 11 p.m., didnâ€™t so as to afford Flack to put the icing on this yearâ€™s WAVEFEST cake on a â€œFeel Like Makinâ€™ Love/You Sure Love to Ballâ€? (Marvin Gaye) medley, and the song that she announced was passed over by Diana Ross and Julio Iglesias, â€œTonight I Celebrate My Love.â€?
Bonds. He told The Sporting News that Barry is arguably one of the three greatest players to ever play baseball. He also said it didnâ€™t matter to him at all what Bonds did or didnâ€™t take or do. In case you forgot, Bonds hit 756 home runs. No one should have to have any rent parties for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheimâ€™s Torii Hunter when he retires. Reason: Hunterâ€™s bi-monthly gross income is 1.5 million of those pretty little green ones, the L.A. Times says. And the beat endsâ€Ś Brad Pye Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.
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