Jose Antonio Vargas at the Washington Post filed a story about “diversity” at the YearlyKos convention titled “A Diversity of Opinion, if Not Opinionators.”

I wish there were more time for the story to get into some of the deeper stuff, but it’s a good start. Jose met with several of us at the convention, and we got into a wide-ranging discussion about how uncomfortable the subject of YearlyKos’s “whiteness” is to many of its white attendees, the mob popularity inherent in linking (top of the long tail, if you will) which prioritizes more “mainstream” issues over those of concern to people of color and the ways in which the “blackroots” may not have been widely represented at the conference but has grown tremendously in the past year online.

Vargas writes:

Everyone agrees it’s a problem, yet no one is sure how to address it. Historically, the progressive movement has included a myriad of special-interest and single-issue groups, and the challenge has always been to find common ground. The same is true on the Internet, but with an added twist. The Internet, after all, is not a “push” medium like television, where information flows out, but a “pull” medium, where people are drawn in.

This is not quite true. “Everyone” didn’t agree it was a problem. Jane Hamsher, who was among those of us interviewed, pointedly remarked that she didn’t see a large problem. I’d characterize her position as “if you write it, they will come.” Her point seemed to be that all will be included in the discussion if they write, write, write. In fact, her interview in a recent Mother Jones article makes her viewpoint quite clear:

MJ: Do you think that women are adequately represented in the blogosphere?

JH: On the whole, it is men who read blogs. But I think it’s a meritocracy. My blog has a much higher percentage of women readers than any other major blog, and I’ve never found this to be a problem for myself. If your writing is good, they will come. You have to put in the time to figure out how the blogosphere works. If you’re willing to do that, I don’t think being female is any barrier. In fact, I think it’s an advantage at this point. The A-list bloggers are hungry and looking to give exposure to women who write really well. Most of those criticisms of male A-list bloggers shutting out women-I really don’t have any other word to call it except just “bullshit.”

The most interesting quote in Vargas’s article to me is the last one, by Matt Stoller, about the pioneering role folks of color have played in alternative media.

“It’s important to remember that African American and Latinos already had their alternative media before white progressive bloggers like me organized on the Web,” says Stoller late Saturday morning. “It’s also important to remember that this movement is still young. It’s still not that advanced, it’s still building coalitions, it’s still maturing.”

Black and brown folks may not play by exactly the same rules as those established by the mainstream netroots. Liza Sabater, for example, continually raises the point that we access the web differently (primarily via mobile phones). Stoller’s point is on point as well. Publications like The Afro-American, Ebony, Essence, Jet, etc. were revolutionary, and it seems to me that we’re building in the same spirit online from our Afro-Netizens to our Crunk and Disorderlies.

Definitely check out the rest of the story, and comment back!

Technorati Tags: ,

Continuing with the series of YearlyKos video interviews, we’ve got Bruce Dixon, managing editor of Black Agenda Report. Bruce sat on a panel titled, “The Changing Dynamics of Diversity in Progressive Politics” which was moderated by Cheryl Contee and Tanya Tarr, and included Eric Byler and Adam Luna.

During the panel, Bruce made the comment that “diversity is a ho” explaining that anyone who wants to put a black face in a rare place can do so in the name of diversity without necessarily supporting the represented communities (e.g. Colin Powell or Condi Rice). In this first part of a three-part interview, Bruce expands on his statement and challenges the netroots focus on getting candidates elected because, as he put it, “Electing candidates does not necessarily advance the agenda of black communities… [for example] since the candidates won’t talk about the incarceration rate, it’s hard to think that electing candidates is going to make a difference.”

Here’s the interview segment (2 minutes)

What do you think of the netroots focus on fundraising and other election-focused activities and its potential impact on the “black agenda?”

Should our next steps be an “Act Black” version of “Act Blue” to get the right folks elected?

Could we be more creative and raise funds for grassroots organizations like the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, Calif (which deals with youth imprisonment) or a legal defense fund for the Jena Six (an idea proposed in the YearlyKos black caucus meeting) or New Orleans activism?


Note: there are two additional parts to this interview including a discussion of immigration dynamics between black and brown folks and more about Black Agenda Report, CBC Monitor and the upcoming CBC Week.

(cross posted to goodCRIMETHINK)

Technorati Tags: , ,

Folks, we have a Jack & Jill Politics special video report. I’ve been here at YearlyKos in Chicago and am trying to post video every day on something. At a panel titled “Outfoxing Fox” people discussed some of the recent victories we’ve had in de-legitimizing this Republican propaganda outlet. One of the best examples, as we know, is the effort to call attention to and cancel the jointly sponsored Fox “News” / Congressional Black Caucus Democratic debate set to go down in Detroit this fall.

Most of the major Democratic candidates have withdrawn, and that was thanks in major part to the work of Robert Greenwald, creator of FoxAttacks,.com, and our own James Rucker at Color of Change. Color of Change provided a rallying point for many of us political black bloggers, black newspapers and others, crossing class and technological boundaries to put a stop to the CBC’s absurdity. In this interview, I talk to James about the current status of the debates, Color of Change’s mission and a new opportunity correct the injustice involving the Jena 6 (pronounced JEE-na, BTW)

For some coverage of the CBC issue, our own archives at Jack & Jill provide plenty, but so does the work of Afro-Netizen, Prometheus 6, and others.

(cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK)

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

I love this video. Bill O’Reilly is not only a racist and sexual harassing loofah-fixated perv, he’s just an out and out liar in his characterization of the DailyKos web community. It’s not a “hate site” and it’s not the Ku Klux Klan. That’s his audience! He sounds desperate and out of control compared to Dodd. Nice work. The Senator is a model for all those who want to see O’Reilly exposed for what he is and taken off the air.

Southwick approved by Judiciary Committee

With the help of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), appellate court nominee Leslie Southwick won approval Thursday from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

He was passed out of the committee on a 10-9 vote, giving Republicans a victory in what had become an increasingly bitter struggle over the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals seat in Mississippi.

In case you don’t remember Southwick, here’s a part of his judicial past:

The current nominee, Leslie Southwick, in his former capacity as a Court of Appeals Judge, affirmed the judgment of the state employee appeals board to re-instate a white female state employee who called a black female co-worker a “good ole nigger.” The racist rationale is that this behavior is somehow not serious enough to warrant immediate termination.

What good are Democrats when they vote like this?

Another post for reference:

Stop Judge Leslie Southwick

I remember diamonds used to be girl’s best friend
Enslaving Black children with them third world gems
I don’t care about your rims,
kids ride Big Wheels up until they learn balance
and it’s obvious you haven’t
With way more ego than you have true talent


One of Hip-hop’s most tragic moments was Kanye West’s socially conscious acceptance of where conflict diamonds come from, and the way his obsession with ice causes suffering in parts of the world where such minerals act was war currency for African nations embroiled in civil war. Kanye shamefully tried to rationalize his desire to publicize his social status by essentialist, arguing that black people need diamonds like we need fried chicken. Cooning for The Man: that shit isn’t Hip-hop. That shit is minstrelsy.

See, a part of me sayin‘ keep shinin‘,
How? when I know of the blood diamonds
Though it’s thousands of miles away
Sierra Leone connect to what we go through today
Over here, its a drug trade, we die from drugs
Over there, they die from what we buy from drugs
The diamonds, the chains, the bracelets, the charmses
I thought my Jesus Piece was so harmless
’til I seen a picture of a shorty armless
And here’s the conflict
It’s in a black person’s soul to rock that gold
Spend ya whole life tryna get that ice
On a polo rugby it look so nice
How could somethin‘ so wrong make me feel so right, right?
‘fore I beat myself up like Ike
You could still throw ya Rocafella diamond tonight, ’cause

I doubt that Hip-hop Journalist Raquel Cepeda’s new documentary, Bling: Planet Rock, on the devastation and suffering the conflict diamond trade brings to Sierra Leone will change the minds of many rappers. But hopefully, it’ll make their fans see them in a new light, and see all that ice for what it is. Blood money. Cepeda brought Wu-Tang’s Raekwon, Tego Calderon, and overcompensating ice grillmaster Paul Wall (The White people’s champ) to Sierra Leone in an effort to put things in perspective.

To better understand what happened in Sierra Leone, how the diamond trade funded the war and how to connect with the people there, filmmaker Raquel Cepeda assembled Raekwon, formerly of the influential Wu-Tang Clan, Tego Calderón, a Spanish-language Puerto Rican rap star, and Paul Wall, who originally entered the hip hop world as a jewelry designer. They are introduced to Ishmael Beah, who tells them about his experiences as a child soldier during the war. They fly together to Sierra Leone to see where the bling comes from and what “blood” and “conflict” diamonds really are. Bling: A Planet Rock brings the viewers along on this life-changing journey.

You might wonder how the artists responded to their African education, since returning. “I’m sure they’re still processing,” says Cepeda. “Going to Africa for these artists, especially Raekwon and Tego, was a sojourn. It was connecting to their heritage, where they come from. So it’s much more than just an act of what you’re going to do with jewels. For them, it was more of a personal growth.” For Tego Calderón, “it changed the way he looks at everything,” Cepeda says. “He’s decided not to wear diamonds and that’s his choice.” And according to his website, Paul Wall’s jewelry designs are now made with “conflict-free” diamonds.

In the subsequent interview, Cepeda elaborates on the making of Bling: Planet Rock.

What first got you interested in blood or conflict diamonds?
I thought blood diamonds was the best parallel about the war in Sierra Leone and the anomaly of what was going on there. The atrocities really took me aback, and to see the parallels between African American culture and hip hop culture, and what was going on in Sierra Leone was just bewildering. I thought it would make for a better documentary than article. I started writing the treatment at the end of 2001. It was a creative impulse, my desire to do something in the wake of 9/11 that would change the way Americans think, at least people in my community, about the global community and their counterparts in different countries.

Given that goal, how have people responded to the film so far, especially in the hip hop community?
The hip hop community has given me a very positive response. So has every other community that’s seen it. It’s interesting, this film is crossing over to many different kinds of demographics. People are responding so much better to the theatrical version and with much more emotional resonance than they did the [abridged VH1] television version. We’re trying to screen it and enter festivals. I would like it to have a theatrical release, even if it’s limited. And we are supposed to be coming out on DVD in the fall.

Hip-hop has always been a method of negotiating the pain and uncertainty of life in urban spaces. I have always hoped that the contradiction between Hip-hop’s ability to help people cope and our obsession with diamonds would at some point come into conflict.

There seems to be a clear advocacy side to this documentary, you want to educate people. What do you want people to do or think about when they leave the theater?
I would want them to think about the global community and know we are not insulated, America’s not the only country on the planet. There are other countries we should be taking care of and treating as if they were our family. Because hip hop is the voice of youth culture all over the world, I also want people, especially the artists in the hip hop community, to come away with a sense of empowerment. Maybe it will inspire some people to get involved in different kinds of causes, and not think that if you get involved, you have to trade in your brand of hip hop for a kufi, if you will. I wanted to bring hip hop artists like Paul Wall, Raekwon and Tego, who have their ear to the streets.

As far as the whole conflict diamond situation, I definitely wanted people to come away with the sense that it’s way bigger than just whether a diamond is conflict-free or not. It’s about the way these workers are being exploited, and hopefully the international spotlight will shine on Sierra Leone. Maybe people will become motivated into making change and pressuring the global community to improve the conditions in which these miners work.

Cepeda is not the first. Hip-hop is developing a rich and varied documentary tradition, further cementing its status as the most important and influential artistic movement of our generation. People like Raqel Cepeda give me hope that this can be done independent of corporate forces, whose only concern is creating a bankable product, rather than a dynamic piece of art. The irony of course being that VH1 is a sponsor of Planet Rock. So perhaps I’m overemphasizing the negative aspects of corporate sponsorship, and there is a great deal of potential for good there, properly harnessed.

Last but not least, Cepeda discusses being a woman in an art form that, due to corporate forces, is largely dominated by men. Peep the subtle diss against the hyper-masculinity of certain mainstream artists. ::cough:: 50 Cent ::cough::

Hip hop is stereotypically a very male-centered artistry and culture, as is war, obviously. How was it being a female film director, documenting such a testosterone-infused universe?
Well, I have been in the hip hop community for a pretty long time. When I first came into the industry, before I even had any kind of jobs, I was down with folks like De La Soul, and later The Roots—they’re more confident in their masculinity and don’t have to throw their testosterone around—they don’t have to be hyper-masculine and homo-erotic and homophobic at the same time. They’re very grounded in who they are.

But yes, of course, working in the community as a journalist, as an editor, doing a pilot for an international hip hop travel show, in production, I always had to deal with threats and bullshit, and a lot of misogyny. But the community that I come from, Uptown, I always had to fight my way through. I thank god for every challenge these rappers put me through over the years because it definitely helped me arm myself for some of the bullshit I went through in the production side [of making Bling]. It helped me develop my sixth sense. Rappers have a sixth sense, a street sense. And having that street sense, having your instinct and your wits about you, really helps you maneuver in other countries, and in dealing with people. And it definitely helped me weed out the shit.

Bling: Planet Rock screenings began yesterday. Look here to find out more.

I felt cooler after receiving a press release from Vibe about their new cover starring Barack Obama. They say:

“For the first time in VIBE’s 14-year history, a political figure graces our cover,” says editor-in-chief Danyel Smith in her Editor’s Letter. “It’s time.” In the exclusive interview — by American Book Award-winning author Jeff Chang — Obama and those closest to him open up about personal sacrifice, his teen years in Hawai’i, the Don Imus backlash against hip hop, and being “black enough.” The two cover images were photographed exclusively for VIBE by renowned lensman Terry Richardson.

So Obama is sharing the same space that usually features people like Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Akon, P.Diddy, Rihanna and Mary J. Blige. Like him or hate him, he’s got an unusual populism happening around him. A cool factor. Can you imagine Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson on the cover of Vibe?

I am intrigued by this issue. Can’t say hip hop is sleepin’. Here’s what else they’ve got, if you’re interested.

From environmentalists to actors to rappers to singers to bloggers, VIBE celebrates those who are continually raising the bar. Including: Friday Night Lights’ Gaius Charles, The Daily Show’s Larry Wilmore, Dior artistic director Kris Van Assche, Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, environmental activist Majora Carter, Rescue Me’s Daniel Sunjata, and Survivor champion/CNN correspondent Yul Kwon.

VIBE presents an exclusive excerpt from THE VIBE Q: RAW AND UNCUT (Vibe Books/Kensington), a collection of classic interviews, during which Oprah reveals her favorite songs and true thoughts on rap music.

ELSEWHERE IN THE ISSUE: American Idol’s Simon Cowell on his new protégé Leona Lewis. Russell Simmons on why he never should have gone on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Conservative African-American thinker James McWhorter on why hip hop is “lazy.” Also, the rapper Eve’s excellent new album. Rappers on reality TV, the hot trend that might be bad for hip hop. Plus: L.A. Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa on the presidential election, Minister Louis Farrakhan on the plight of black America, Pulitzer Prize-winner Cynthia Tucker on election reform, and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on the importance of education in the next election.

Crip Walking In Baghdad

31 Jul 2007

The Army is dealing with a growing problem of gang affiliations maintained by some of its recruits.

Evidence of gang culture and gang activity in the military is increasing so much an FBI report calls it “a threat to law enforcement and national security.” The signs are chilling: Marines in gang attire on Parris Island; paratroopers flashing gang hand signs at a nightclub near Ft. Bragg; infantrymen showing-off gang tattoos at Ft. Hood.

“It’s obvious that many of these people do not give up their gang affiliations,” said Hunter Glass, a retired police detective in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the home of Ft. Bragg and the 82nd Airborne. He monitors gang activity at the base and across the military.

“If we weren’t in the middle of fighting a war, yes, I think the military would have a lot more control over this issue,” Glass said. “But with a war going on, I think it’s very difficult to do.”

Gang activity clues are appearing in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. Gang graffiti is sprayed on blast walls – even on Humvees. Kilroy – the doodle made famous by U.S. soldiers in World War II – is here, but so is the star emblem of the Gangster Disciples.

My first encounter with gangs was in middle school. I was the only kid on my soccer team who wasn’t in the same gang as everyone else on the team. Even then, something was clear to me, that most people who become gang members don’t ever consider, or even have the opportunity, to leave. It’s not really an option. They know who your family is, where they live, what they look like and how to find them. If you had to choose between crossing people who know the intimate details of your life and family, and the government, who ideally would focus their efforts on you personally, who would you choose? That’s why folks maintain their ties even after they join the Army. Because in the Army, you can be discharged. Once a Crip, you are forever a Crip.

While street gangs are normally seen as a black or Latino issue, white supremacist hate groups have also infiltrated the military. While the CBS article notes that the Army screens for members of hate groups, a New York Times article from a year ago points to a Southern Poverty Law Center study concluding that there has been a large scale infiltration of the Army by white supremacist groups.

A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed “large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists” to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.

“We’ve got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad,” the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, “That’s a problem.”


The groups are being abetted, the report said, by pressure on recruiters, particularly for the Army, to meet quotas that are more difficult to reach because of the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq.

The report quotes Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator, saying, “Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don’t remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members.”

The Army knows that it should have been screening for gang affiliations and ties to hate groups. The problem is they are so desperate for recruits that they will take almost anyone. The Army has begun taking people with criminal records, sub-par academic scores, and even problems with obesity.

So the Army is accepting a growing number of new recruits with everything from health and weight issues to lower academic test scores to criminal records.

The number of incoming soldiers with prior felony arrests or convictions has more than tripled in the past five years. This year alone, the Army accepted an estimated 8,000 recruits with rap sheets, reports CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier.

Most are guilty of misdemeanors, but around 100 in the past year had felony convictions.

Everyone deserves a chance, and I have seen no evidence yet that accepting recruits with misdemeanor or felony convictions has had an adverse affect on the Army’s ability to fulfill its assignments. Those problems originate among the civilian leadership of the United States. But if you were an Iraqi, how would you feel about an occupying force enlisting convicted criminals to “protect” you?

Who are the Jena 6, you ask? 6 young men in Louisiana who are being railroaded as we speak. Why? Because of a corrupted criminal justice system that allows those charged with upholding the law to interpret the law differently depending on your race.

It’s a long story and here’s some background. From the too-brief wikipedia entry on Jena, LA on this:

The six accused of attempted second-degree murder are black and were fighting a white student after a week of intimidation by white students, including the one who was assaulted.[6] Intimidation cited includes an incident where a white man brandished a gun on school property. Students allegedly wrestled away the gun and were then held in custody.[7] The white man was later fined and the students charged. There are also claims of intimidation from the DA during the alleged week of intimidation.[8]

On June 26, 2007 the first day of trial for Mychal Bell, one of the defendants, the prosecutor agreed to reduce the charges for Bell to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery.[9] Bell was found guilty by an all-white july, and will face the possibility of up to 22 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 31, 2007.[7] However, the case is currently in dispute, as the court-appointed public defender did not call a single witness in his attempt to defend Bell.[10] As of June 26, 2007 there is no word as to whether the charges of the other 5 (for which the trial date is later) will be reduced.

The town has gained international notoriety as an example of the alleged “new ‘stealth’ racism” that lives on in America[11] with national attention drawn to the events by a National Public Radio prime time story on July 30, 2007

dnA over at Too Sense has been doing an excellent job covering this story here and here, for example. (Good luck on the move to NYC, bruh)

Suffice it to say, it’s outrageous on a number of different fronts. For one thing, what we are seeing with Shaquanda Cotton, Genarlow Wilson and the Jena 6 is lynching, 21st century style. It’s updated for the modern era and conveniently bloodless. Why bother with the messy illegality of violent bloodshed from the Jim Crow era when you can now use the law to destroy lives and set a chilling example that the rest of the local African-American community will heed?

It’s Legal Lynching. Where is the NAACP in all this? Well, check out their home page. They are using the outrage over this case as an opportunity to fundraise — but for whom, you ask? How much of that money exactly is going to help the families of these teenagers and for the boys’ legal team? As opposed to the salaries of the complacent bureaucrats working there?

Where is the NAACP Legal Defense Fund when you need them and believe me, sounds like the Jena 6 need them. I would be interested to know: The NLDF’s most recent press releases are from October 2006 and there is no mention of the Jena 6 on their website. From Democracy Now’s interview with recently convicted Mychal Bell’s father:

AMY GOODMAN: Why did Mychal choose not to plea bargain?

MARCUS JONES: ’Cause he wanted Mychal to take a plea. Well, see, you’ve got to remember, any time a plea bargain be thrown on the table for any man here in LaSalle Parish, that person is innocent. Here in LaSalle Parish, whenever a black man is offered a plea bargain, he is innocent. That’s a dead giveaway here in the South. So he was putting pressure on Mychal, threatening him, you know, about the time he gonna get and, oh, he ain’t going to be able to play no football no more, and his life is over with, you know, just that old Jim Crow intimidation method that he was using for to try to get my son to take a plea bargain. So he lowered the charges down on my son from a lesser charge, but it was still — all of it was still felonies. But he wanted Mychal to give away information for the plea bargain, give away information about who all else was involved in there. Well, why you gonna try to trick him and lie to him for to do something that he’s innocent of? If you have all this hardcore information about who was involved in it, you shouldn’t even be trying to manipulate no young man’s mind like that. And, I mean, the court-appointed lawyer, I mean, he was just playing right along, right along with the DA.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you able to get another lawyer?

MARCUS JONES: No, not at this moment.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you, Marcus Jones, father of Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena 6 to be convicted. His son on July 31st faces up to twenty-two years at his sentencing.

The NAACP has received more attention for comments accusing people of “piling on” regarding Michael Vick’s indictment on dogfighting than on any visible efforts to help the Jena 6. I am just calling it as I see it. I’d love to hear that I am mistaken and that the NAACP and NLDF are in the trenches fighting hard for these boys’ justice. Wouldn’t you?

Lynching remains a haunting scar on America’s past. From a post on BlackProf Feb 27 2007 that attracted 164 comments:

Last Saturday over 150 people gathered in Harlem to talk about lynching. The occasion was a reading by Blackprof’s Sherrilyn Ifill of her new book “On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century.” The conversation felt as contemporary and as urgent as a discussion of an exit strategy in Iraq.

When you talk about racial profiling and the threat it poses daily in the lives of African-Americans…when you talk about a well-publicized injustice like Genarlow Wilson or the Jena 6 that persists even under public scrutiny — then yes, isn’t this contemporary and urgent?

This time, it’s bloggers. Honestly, this video is shocking in showing clearly the systematic attack on free speech of Bill “O’Racist” O’Reilly and his fellow Faux News hacks. To compare progressive bloggers to Nazis is irresponsible in the extreme and highlights how very fearful these conservatives are. Fearful in particular of those progressives who have successfully challenged and begun to beat back Fox News’ reign of misinformation.

Watching this, I shuddered a little to think — wow, if Fox is willing to spew what is essentially hate speech and completely mischaracterize the netroots, currently seen as mostly white, in a desperate attempt to protect themselves, how will they react to a growing list of black bloggers willing to push back? Will they compare us to the Ku Klux Klan too?

We’ll just have to wait and see. Check out the video. Jack and Jill Politics has signed on with a bunch of other bloggers to fight fox and attack back. If you are a blogger, please join the coalition.

If you would like to add your voice to ask Fox’s advertisers to reconsider supporting Fox, click here. First, though, check out the video…

Black blogging in an organized rather than individual fashion is still nascent yet I agree with Gina McCauley over at What About Our Daughters. We have shown that we can work together to achieve attention for issues that are important to us. Getting the mainstream media and ultimately Viacom to pay attention to Hot Ghetto Mess (That Show) is just the beginning.

Here’s Gina:

We’ve seen it before with the CBC-Fox Debates, Shaquanda Cotton, and cases of African American women whose kidnappings and murders have been overlooked ( Stepha Henry) by “mainstream media,” Black bloggers are beginning to leverage their online power to obtain off line results.

THAT SHOW on a certain network will be a mere footnote in history, the real story, overlooked by the “mainstream media” in all of this is that OUR generation is coming into its own as activists. We don’t do things the way that our parent’s and grandparents did . We shouldn’t have to. They sacrificed so that we could have access all of the tools you have seen during this brouhaha over THAT SHOW. You saw us getting our message out to the news media. You saw us go toe to toe with one of the largest media conglomerates in the world and we did it with a cellphone and a desktop computer. That is all.

It is important that we continue to nurture this emerging activism so that our efforts related to THAT SHOW are not just a flash in the pan. That is why Blogging While Brown is so important. Next year is an election year and whatever party you support, bloggers are going to play, perhaps, a much larger role in the electoral process than ever before. Black bloggers MUST be a part of that. Also, this is an opportunity for those who want to start a blog or expand their skills to get access to the technical experience to help them get their point across.

I agree. Given the South Carolina primary and the perception of a potential split vote among African-Americans between Clinton and Obama — combined with a sense of a lack of strong black political leadership — there is an opportunity for younger and new media-savvy African-Americans to unite. We CAN move issues and minds. I also believe in this cycle, we can begin to have an impact using techniques such as fundraising for candidates, coalition building and coordinated action-based campaigns to provide a valuable step forward for not only blacks, but other Americans, too, on kitchen table issues.

I am proud of Gina McCauley’s work. That is a sister with a program! I am looking forward to hearing more about Blogging While Brown and talking more about how we can get the real needs and real concerns of African-Americans (and other Americans) a little higher on the agendas of the mainstream media, Congress and the White House.

Almost twelve of them, to be exact. While the content of this article may have some value, it is incidental to the data on which it bases its observations. The article assumes that there is a great deal of doubt among black Democrats in South Carolina, based on its sample size of “almost a dozen.” The challenge is enumerated in an AP article reprinted on the WaPo website entitled “Obama Faces Challenges Among S.C. Blacks”.

The candidacy of the 45-year-old Obama elicits genuine excitement in a state where blacks comprise about half of the primary electorate. Yet coupled with that emotion is a strong degree of skepticism about the freshman senator’s experience and whether he can win.

Obama also is up against the formidable Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner who enjoys strong support in the black community and is married to former President Clinton, who is wildly popular in the community.

The Associated Press interviewed Democratic voters across the state, including about a dozen blacks, and found evidence of excitement and doubts.

I don’t know what social scientist would find that kind of a sample size reflective of anything. The number of people they interviewed barely broke double digits, but since they’re black, and the conventional wisdom is that all black people think alike, some hapless editor at the Associated Press let this through. What is equally unbelievable is that the Post decided to re-print it. And what is about a dozen? did they interview a few of my mixed brothers and sisters and decide to count them based on a DNA swab?

Here’s a better question, since we’ve heard so much about how important black voters are to the primary in South Carolina, why could the AP only find twelve of them to speak to?

But, I’ve never seen a Wrongly Accused Black Man get paid like this, have you?

Read on:

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) — A federal judge Thursday ordered the government to pay more than $101 million in the case of four men who spent decades in prison for a 1965 murder they didn’t commit after the FBI withheld evidence of their innocence.

The FBI encouraged perjury, helped frame the four men and withheld for more than three decades information that could have cleared them, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner said in issuing her ruling Thursday.

The rest of the story is here.

I know what happened to these men is horrible. Being framed for a crime you didn’t commit ranks right up there on the list of truly horrible things that can happen to you. I’m just saying that I look out for these stories, and I’ve never seen a mistreated Black man get THIS kind of restitution from the government.

Once again we see that ALL Injustice isn’t ‘ equal’.

Take a look at the videos that people did and the comments of viewers that center on whether or not we should consider boycotting BET. The mess around “Hot Ghetto Mess” seems to have struck a raw nerve among African-Americans not dissimilar to the Don Imus controversy. Here’s one of the videos:

The conversation quickly gets into the portrayal of African-Americans in the media and African-American individual responsibility to respond actively to ameliorate negative images. Although the video above was first placed May 10, 2007, comments are still coming in. Here are a few, some from just hours ago:

B.E.T doesnt have to be replaced, it just has to be improved so that black men aren;t seen as pimps and black women aren’t seen as prostitutes, taht’s all.


I see where you are coming from…as a black woman im not happy withthe protrayal of black women in media..theres the stereotypical baby mama whose always trying to get more money..the domineering very opinionated black woman..the chicken head..hoe all that..its like we do need to do better…im glad our community has decided to address some of these issues


BET is a disgrace! The only outlet Black people have for cultural shows, and all it plays is stereotypical bullshit! Why not show old black movies. Every time you turn it on, it’s movies with brothers in prison or selling drugs. What a waste! Damn sell outs!

Y’all know how I feel
about the coon shows Flavor of Love and New York, which may all by themselves set the entire race back by 10 or 20 years. The pressure on BET seems to have paid off in sponsors withdrawing. Here’s Electronic Village again:

It also seems obvious that BET struggled to sell advertising time on the show. 80% of the commercial time was filled with promos of other BET shows.
It is time for us to turn our consumer buying potential into action. I urge you to pick up your cell phone and make three phone calls right now … before you do anything else … let these fools know that we simply won’t accept this nonsense any longer. State Farm and Home Depot did the right thing.

EV suggests that folks should contact the sponsors of the show formerly known as Hot Ghetto Mess and let them what we think. I plan to and hope you’ll join me…

* Promos for Film “Who’s Your Caddy“. (why Lord, why? — jill)
phone (310.288-4600), email (, fax (310.288-4601) or mail (9350 Civic Center Drive, Suite 110; Beverly Hills, CA 90210)
* Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
Angela Gillis at (313) 202-1973 or you can email her at
* The Original Mattress Factory located at 4930 State Road; Cleveland OH 44134
President: Ron Trzcinski. email, phone (216.661-8388) or send him a fax (216.661-2337).

P.S. Crackin’ me up is the comment on IMDB’s “Who’s Your Caddy?” website. Go ‘head. y’all. I might have to consider a Fist in the Air Award for this. It’s amazing that even before this no doubt buffoonish “entertainment” is released to the public, people like you and me can weigh in on it. I love the internets:

10 out of 11 people found the following comment useful:-
I hope it gets buried in the middle of nowhere, 23 July 2007

This is Norbit, Soul Plane, and The Cookout in a bucket, thrown up on. There is no reason to make such a movie. It will win no awards and it’s only purpose is to fill the 7 dollar DVD bin at Wal-Mart. Why not do something productive, like making good movies? I wonder when it will stop. I hope someday that the culture it represents will die out. Bring a bunch of black actors together with some musicians, embarrass them with demeaning dialog, and throw in some white actors to look awkward and poke fun at. It’s a routine that needs to go away as soon as possible. There’s no creativity, and some people will actually bother to complain that racism is the reason that it isn’t award winning. OH NOES, GUESS IT WAS RACISM!

Re-organized and split into 2 posts for your reading and activism pleasure…

I didn’t watch this. Forgot to Tivo it. But a bunch of other people did, including Nekesa Mumbi Moody of the Associated Press who says:

If you truly want to see the definition of a hot ghetto mess, turn on VH1 on any given Sunday and watch one of the endless reruns of “Flavor of Love” or any of its other spinoffs and variations. Chances are, you’ll be thoroughly educated and offended (and, shamefully, entertained).

But if you thought you’d get that kind of knowledge watching Wednesday’s premiere of BET’s revamped “Hot Ghetto Mess” show _ now simply titled, “We Got to Do Better,” hosted by Charlie Murphy _ you were shortchanged. While there were examples of trifling behavior and crazy antics, for the most part, the show seemed like a reject reel from “America’s Funniest Videos.”

What About Our Daughters said:

The irony is that this should have been BET’s shining hour, millions of people who normally don’t watch were watching and when their moment came, they put on a really bad show. Its not original programming if it is made up of YouTube Clips we have already seen.

That’s BET’s M.O. though — scooping up what someone else has already done and delivering low-quality entertainment tailored for the lowest common denominator. Moody makes explicit reference to BET’s sordid history of coon entertainment:

After all, the Black Entertainment Network has provided a seemingly endless platform for hip-hop thuggery, booty-shaking video girls, lowbrow comedy shows, and Toccara.

Perhaps the creators of “We Got to Do Better,” which is based on the Web site, were leery of being another example of offensive BET programming: The show hardly had any examples of the outrageous behavior the Web site deems “ghetto. There were no images of pimp-my-ride coffins, 5-foot-high lacquered hairdos, infants posing with 40-ounce bottles of beer, or pink-spandex outfits on a Mo’Nique-sized frame.

Was there a bit of last minute editing, possibly, to de-ghetto the show formerly known as Hot Ghetto Mess? Here’s a clip that purports to be from the show (only one I could find). If this is an example, doesn’t look like I missed much.

Electronic Village

I watched the pilot show of Hot Ghetto Mess (by any other name) on BET. It was funny to see the new logo and show name. Obviously, it was too late to change the narration from Charlie Murphy as he repeatedly referred to the show as ‘Hot Ghetto Mess’.

Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats


Advertise here!

Obamacare – Get Some


Peep ‘Em

I Am A Community Organizer (300x243)

Community Activity

Black Behind Coverage/Disclaimer

This is a personal weblog which does not represent the views of the authors' employers, clients nor vendors.

Ain’t Like All The Rest

Jack and Jill Politics is not affiliated with Jack and Jill of America, Jack and Jill Magazine, "Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill to Fetch a Pail of Water" nor any of the other Jack and Jills out there on the Google. Just so's you know.