This is a sad day. The grand jury's decision is yet another sign that all of America's sons' lives are not yet valued equally in the eyes of our courts. All of America's fathers, mothers and children should stay outraged and in motion for progress until we are finally what we say we are: One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All. The path to these goals is focused advocacy and, where necessary, non-violent direct action. Those are the strategies that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Acts 50 years ago and the outlawing of racial profiling in New York City just two years ago. Today we are all Michael Brown. Tomorrow we must ensure each of our lives is valued equally in the eyes of our nation's laws, law enforcement officers, and courts.
We are in a state of emergency, a time of challenge and controversy, but not because of the protestors. That state of emergency will continue until we stand, become uncomfortable, and demand a justice system that addresses the manifestation of pain in protest, the further chipping away of respect, and the real state of emergency our country faces.
This is consistent with the cultural logic that makes it okay in America to use brutal force when confronted by a Black villain. Thus, how can a grand jury indict Officer Darren Wilson when he was battling The Hulk?
We now all have the chance to examine the evidence -- released last night -- in the grand jury's decision not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson, who fired multiple bullets into Michael Brown. But the verdict on America's criminal justice system is already in for many Americans: guilty, for treating young black men differently than young white men.
I can't speak. My country has scarred me once again. How can I go to work in the morning on a train full of people who care not? At a workplace of people who missed the story because of football or reality television?
Perhaps the call to examine this one case would be understandable if justice came more often, but we've seen these unjust acts in communities of more color for far too long.
On March 22, 1991, a visibly shaken and angered President George H.W. Bush said he was "sickened and outraged" by what he saw on television. That was the beating of black motorist Rodney King by a swarm of LAPD cops.
The convenient spectacle of "violence in the streets" obscures the perpetuation of "structural violence" everywhere.
The gradual ground we have gained regarding our civil rights should not be confused with the literal stalemate we have had with the U.S. justice system regarding our human rights for more than 200 years.
These things happen all the time, right? They will happen forever, right? It's nice to think they won't. It's probably best to think life won't always be like this. Optimism is good. But I know I'm going to have to tell my future children about this country. What should I tell them?
The tragedy of Michael Brown's death, unarmed and shot by a member of the Ferguson police, is now followed by the tragic failure of the local courts to force the policeman to stand trial. This cannot stand without a measure of accountability. And on that score look no further than the prosecutor's office.
Deep down, whether I want to admit or not, I know the truth. The racism that James Baldwin knew and ultimately made him leave the country isn't really gone. It's just changed its form.
To understand this moment, we have to understand that Ferguson is yet another unraveled thread in the closely woven fabric of racism that has cloaked this country for 500 years.
The world of short blogs and 140 characters is symbolic of the all too prevalent overly simplified analyses, and sensational headlines that might generation "likes" and "retweets," but do not bring us to a better understanding of people, communities or our history.
The only thing left to do is to unite and use the power of our voices to make a difference. Instead of using violence, use your voice to stand up for injustice in the world. Form collaborative partnerships within the community that can truly make a difference.
Cooking is one of my favorite pastimes, but cooking a big meal without a plan can take time away from family and friends and add stress to the season. Most of us would rather watch the Bears play the Lions from the couch, not from the kitchen. With that in mind, here are a few tips for removing stress from Thanksgiving and adding more time to focus on family.
Here is something I have learned while fighting for equality: It is not something that can be portioned out to one population and withheld from another. The definition of equality is that all populations and the individuals within them (not just a few) are equal. That does not exist in America today. If you are not equal, then neither am I.
When people do not feel seen, heard or important, when they have needs that are dismissed, ignored or denied, they will do whatever they feel is necessary to get the attention of those they perceive can give them relief. A whisper becomes a call. A call becomes a yell. When a yell does not yield a response, people may pump their fists in the air. When the fists do not get a response, something will be thrown.
EMPIRE STATE OF MIND
It's no secret that Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter is at the top of his game. Earlier this week, the 'Forever Young' rapper announced that he'd be launching a line of headphones, a la Lady Gaga, later this year. Now, comes news that Beyonce's hubby is chummy with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The two men, along with developer Bruce Ratner and New Jersey Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov, visited Gracie Mansion on May 19 to discuss their basketball team, which is headed to Jay's hometown of Brooklyn. Prokhorov, the first foreigner to own an NBA team, said he's hiring a new coach and new players in an effort to get the team to the playoffs next season and to win a championship in five years. The Brooklyn arena is going to be called the Barkley Center and is currently under construction and set to open for the 2012 season. [Rap Radar]
The boys of Pretty Ricky are continuously fighting rumors of homosexuality. Group member Spectacular was accused of being gay after he put up a striptease video on YouTube. Now one of the group's quieter members, Slickem, has a picture on the Web of him with another boy's head in his lap (while on a couch with no shirt or clothes on). The photo leaves a lot to the imagination for his fans. Slickem has yet to justify what the pic is all about. [Bossip]
HARD OUT HERE FOR A PIMP
Guess Terrence Howard was tired of his playboy lifestyle. It's hard to keep Hollywood weddings under wraps, but Howard was able to tie the knot in a small ceremony with commercial production worker Michelle Ghent-Howard this past January. Howard, who previously split from his ex-wife, Lori McComma in 2005, is busy promoting his new movie 'Winnie' in which he plays Nelson Mandela, opposite Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. Howard told CNN's Anderson Cooper during an interview at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday that he was a married man again. "To come here and be with my wife, it's the best feeling in the world," he said while promoting 'Winnie' in Cannes. His wife is of Asian descent and 33 years old. Howard has three children from his previous marriage to McComma. [US Magazine]
NOSE JOB GONE WRONG
'Real Housewives of Atlanta's' NeNe Leakes is rumored to have had a little cosmetic surgery recently. The Bravo reality television star arrived at her co-star Sheree Whitfield's 'Dance With the Stars' event sporting what looks like a new nose. The new nose is much slimmer than her first one, but already the Internet is up in arms that it isn't a good nose job. There's also talk that she's gotten some other work done. Either way, NeNe's new haircut is bangin'. That's something she can still say "BAM" about. [YBF]
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
George Pimentel, WireImage
Christopher Peterson, BuzzFoto / FilmMagic
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Bryan Bedder, Getty Images
David Livingston, Getty Images