I am American. Some of my ancestors were born here and knew no other land, some of my ancestors journeyed here from Europe, and some of my ancestors were brought here from Africa. I don't know the complete stories of any of their lives, but I know their stories merge to create mine. One that is very specifically American.
Later this year, at the age of 32, I plan to quit my full-time job as a software developer and don't intend to look for another one. By then, I expect my portfolio will be large enough to fund my essential expenses for at least the next 30 years, if not indefinitely, so that getting another 9-to-5 job becomes an option rather than a necessity.
When a black person is killed in America, trolls come out of the woodwork in an attempt to justify or distract from the taking of that life.
It's frustrating to watch white musicians be so ready to have legions of Black dancers/singers behind them, work with Black producers, sing about how "we" do and then be nowhere to be found when a Black tragedy takes the national stage.
Missouri is America, and like the nation itself, both racial strife and promise, are part of its enduring legacy. Long before black teenager Michael Brown, died tragically in a hail of police bullets, the dramatic epicenter of America's racial fault lines often emerged in Missouri.
Your credit score impacts a lot in your life, from buying a car to buying a house and even, sometimes, to getting a job. (Believe it or not, some employers check your credit report.) You owe it to yourself to know exactly what your credit score is, and how you can go about making it better.
There are the large moments. The ones where the Veil is lifted. These are the moments when the music stops and the dance ends. These are the moments when one can keep humming the tune and twirling like nothing has changed or stop to realize that those beyond the Veil have no cause for dancing.
How do you convince the people of Ferguson that we're one American family? How do you convince Michael Brown's grieving parents of our common values and equality under the law? Does the president even believe that what he said is actually true? Healing hasn't happened yet because old wounds were never resolved.
The events in Ferguson remind us that it important to address allegations of police brutality and to assess the underlying causes of the subsequent violence that continues to occur in that community.
Ferguson and the Middle East do have one striking commonality, but it has less to do with armored vehicles in the streets than with the way in which the media assigns culpability to black and brown bodies for the violence perpetrated against them.
I recall visits in grammar school from "Officer Friendly." He would give us tips on how to be safe when walking to and from school. Officer Friendly told us that in an emergency, we should seek out a police officer, because their job was to serve and protect. What ever happened to Officer Friendly?
Imagine: A health crisis claiming over 16,000 lives each year. Then imagine a prescription drug that could be made widely accessible to save those lives, but isn't. Except, this is not a hypothetical situation.
If you spend any time there, two things are apparent: women have a raw deal, yet they -- not the oil or the chrome or the copper, but the used and abused women of Africa -- are its future.
Over the last few weeks students have been inundated with news on the events in Ferguson, Missouri. These updates are shaping the ways that youth make sense of media, the police, their lives, and their future. For this reason it is imperative that teachers find a way to bring this issue into the classroom.
Giving up on talking about race or facts because of the Stanford study would be a sad high-jacking of criminal justice discourse in our country.
For at least the last two decades, the Democratic Party has been defined both by being the party of African-Americans and by an extraordinary timidity when it comes to speaking out about racism. In this regard, the relative silence is not surprising and is unfortunately exactly what is expected.
Scripture tells us that the weeping may last the night but joy comes in the morning. I sure hope so, because my heart is broken. Michael Brown is one of too many men and boys of color targeted and dehumanized by a system that operates as though some people are worth more than others.
There are several factors within federal law that Holder has to look at to make the final decision whether to go forward with a prosecution.
"As women we always think, 'I want this. I want that.' I don't have a checklist. You all know me. You all know my personality. I'm like, 'Come on, Trump. Come on TV One. Find me somebody,' " she laughed.
Taping will start later this month, with the show set to premiere this fall, but, don't expect the show to be too similar to last season's competition.
"I think it's just different personalities, period," the Dayton, Ohio native said. "She's Omarosa and Toccara is Toccara. I think Omarosa's season was absolutely amazing, and that's one of the reasons why I signed up for this. I think I'm fun, outgoing, loud and spontaneous," she said. "I think these guys are going to court me and love me, and I just can't wait. That's my fantasy."
Toccara's last boyfriend was Atlantic Records President of Black Music Michael Kyser, who as of late has been rumored to be dating gossip blogger Necole Bitchie.
"Is he with Necole Bitchie?" Toccara mused. "I don't think he's with her, but he just told me that on the blogs they said that he bought Necole Bitchie some breasts. Does she have fake breasts? I don't even know. These people be making up these rumors."
Regardless of his relationship status, the buxom beauty still has a great deal of love and respect for Kyser.
"I think Kyser is absolutely amazing. Our relationship is and was absolutely amazing. He supports me in everything I do. Even with me doing this show now, he's very supportive to me as a friend, and I really value his advice," she revealed.
"He's my best friend. We talk about things. Even things that we don't want to talk about. We just have a really good relationship, and I think that's why I don't have any securities or anything. There's no need to. I'm single. He's single. He can date whoever he wants to date. I can date whoever I want to date."
When probed about whether she'd consider getting back with him if she doesn't find Mr. Right on television, she added, "I haven't ruled it out."
In her personal life, Toccara still manages to keep up with Banks "as much as I can" and a few of her 'Top Model' pals.
"Tyra is so much about her business and is so focused on her brand and everything, but she gives me great advice and is a great mentor. She never leaves me hanging. I love Tyra," she shared.
But she had no clue Tyra was currently enrolled at Harvard Business School.
"She's going to Harvard right now? She's smart, duh? She knows what she's doing," she joked.
"I think that 'America's Next Top Model' was such an amazing platform and opportunity for all the girls. I think we've all turned five minutes into an hour full of fame and have been very successful. Yaya [DaCosta] is doing her thing. She was just at my birthday in New York City and Eva [Marcille] is in L.A. and me and her still stay in touch, and she's wonderful," she said.
"But I think coming from where we're from, and of all the girls who have participated in 'America's Next Top Model,' and for you to be able to say YaYa, Eva and Toccara to stand apart from the pack is just absolutely amazing."