Fearing for your life every time you walk outside, every time you get behind the wheel, every time you see a police officer, every time you breathe, is exhausting. Living in a world in which your blackness and woman-ness makes you less than human -- a hypersexual, angry or subservient caricature, the constant target of catcalling, rape and assault -- is exhausting.
In order to truly make our communities safer, we must make sure that people who have served their time are able to fully and productively engage in our society -- whether through education or employment or some other constructive means.
My professor's perception was rooted in a common false meme that has followed black America since slavery -- the idea that we lack financial acumen, don't know how to build businesses, need to be told what to do with our finances, and are overly reliant on government handouts.
Wouldn't it be great to celebrate black people, just for being black? Nothing is more positive than flipping the script. Where there is oppression, we will uplift. And where there is hate, we'll inject love.
"He that is greatest among you shall be your servant." The late Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, modeled servant leadership in action. His leadership focused on the importance of community-building and empowering others to lead social change.
America has always relied on black forgiveness to absolve itself of white guilt. The Charleston massacre was no different. By choosing to highlight the forgiveness of the black faith community, they shifted the burden of responsibility onto the oppressed in a classic display of deflection.
When I visited Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington, N.J. on July 19 and heard Johnson speak, six years after her son's death, it wasn't a dramatization of events it was real life. A mother poured her heart out to a congregation, which understood her pain.
While access to culturally diverse providers is low, the cost of mental health treatment remains high, which serves as an additional impediment to bridging the gap between the onset of symptoms and accessing professional care.
When I went to South Africa in 2010 to lead a creative writing club for teenage girls, I made sure to emphasize that word: club. I had never taught writing before, didn't have a teaching assistantship as I earned an MFA in nonfiction. I would not be correcting their grammar, nor assigning homework. Besides, how could I persuade girls to spend their Saturday afternoons in a writing class?
I am sorry for having even an ounce of doubt because I did not want the legacy of America's dad being black to deteriorate. I apologize for being so obsessed with that legacy that it blinded me to any wrongdoing.
Getting behind the wheel, Bland had three strikes against her. She was black, female and fearless, a combination that is antithetical to all the vaunted white-centered narratives of driving and freedom in the U.S.
While police brutality affects people of all races and backgrounds in the U.S., it's important to note that black citizens face a unique experience within America's criminal justice system, just as they've faced a unique state of affairs for centuries in the United States.
Since seeing the Sandra Bland video, I've been asking myself what I would've done if I were in her shoes. In my mind, I hear my momma telling me, "That's why I always tell you not to talk back to authority."
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The tour, which will feature such additional hip-hop heavyweights as MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Kool Moe Dee, Slick Rick, Naughty by Nature, Biz Markie, Rob Base, Whodini, and Kurtis Blow, will kick-off Feb. 4 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Wolstein Center.
Salt-N-Pepa, which consists of Cheryl "Salt" James, Sandy "Pepa" Denton,and Deidre "Dee Dee" Roper (DJ Spinderella) broke barriers in rap as an all-women rap crew, who opened doors for other women in the male-dominated hip-hop industry. With such hit songs as 'Push It,' 'Shoop,' and 'Whatta Man,' Salt-N-Pepa intertwined such themes as safe sex and female empowerment in their songs. As a testament to their talent, the trio have held their own for a quarter century in an industry that has seen many acts come and go.
The group, which officially reunited in large part because of the VH1 reality show 'The Salt-N-Pepa Show,' realized that their fans have been itching for a reunion, and decided to put aside their differences and make the tour and other ventures materialize.
"We encounter so many people who said they long to hear and see us again in concert," Salt said. "People really miss seeing us out there. They come up to us and mention that our music touched them, brings back so many great memories for them and helped them just see life differently."
Speaking to the unprecedented success of a smaller version of the tour in 2010, Pepa added, "Last year, the response was incredible. From Atlanta to DC, we sold out each date. People really want to see us and we really wanted to make this happen for our fans. Also, the timing was just right and it just all came together perfectly."
This year's 'Legends of Hip-Hop Tour' aims to bring together hip-hop lovers to celebrate this milestone for Salt-N-Pepa and enjoy a night of non-stop music and nostalgia.
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