"The iconography of blind justice is ubiquitous. Expressionless Greco-Roman goddesses stridently clutching scales adorn courtrooms all across our country. At this point, the imagery is hardly eye-catching, but its familiarity helps numb our doubts about the nature of judicial objectivity. Sightlessness, after all, is the supreme analogue of impartiality."
"Can I start this essay by asking a rhetorical question? Have you heard of black cool? It used to be something ineffable but indisputable. Certain African-American cultural figures — in music, in movies, in sports — rose above what was manifestly a divided, unjust society and in the process managed to seem singularly unruffled. They kept themselves together by holding themselves slightly apart, maintaining an air of inscrutability, of not quite being known. They were cool."
"After being a staple in black American households for 63 years, Jet magazine will no longer publish a regular print edition — it's making the move to digital. Johnson Publishing chairwoman Linda Johnson Rice says, "We are not saying goodbye to Jet, we are embracing the future as my father did in 1951.""
"My first hint that a recent column on diversity in late-night TV had made an impact came when I saw a tweet from an old acquaintance.
He runs a website and blog devoted to covering television and had decided to write a post based on my audio story on late-night TV. He then sent out a Twitter message with the headline:
"Critic argues there are too many white guys in late night TV.""
"As a Black man and an African historian, I have found that one of the most inspiring aspects in the annals of humankind is the outstanding role of African women and their contributions to history. In this brief article, we highlight and pay tribute to some of the greatest of these women."
"While sports fan in the U.S. have been focused this week on the Donald Sterling scandal, European soccer fans have been talking about another racial incident. At a match between FC Barcelona (popularly known as Barça) and Villareal CF in Spain this past weekend, Brazilian player Dani Alves was setting up to take a corner kick when a banana, thrown by a fan, landed in front of him on the pitch. (You know, because racist taunts are never subtle.)"
"The Los Angeles Clippers, bound to be for sale on the open market once the NBA owners officially vote out disgraced team owner Donald Sterling, have become a draw for celebrities with significant resources. Once the worst franchise in the league, most everyone wants in on it now. Start with Magic Johnson, the Lakers great who has become a business mogul. He seems a logical fit: He has deep NBA ties, a viable group of business partners and a record of success. He surely would appear to be the front-runner."
"In August, Paulette Brown will be come The American Bar Association’s first black female to be appointed president. Brown will become president-elect for one year before taking the helm in 2015. A native of Baltimore, Brown attended Howard University with aspirations of becoming a social worker, but decided on a legal profession."
"The on-air feud between trans activist Janet Mock and former CNN host Piers Morgan made many of us in media reconsider our perceptions and approaches to stories about and relating to the trans community."
Be sure to click on this article and watch the video on Fusion.net.
"Sahro is a Somali immigrant, one of thousands who immigrated to the United States to escape the violence back home in Somalia.
Like many Muslim women, Sahro wears a hijab, a traditional headscarf, to cover her hair. But her hijab is bright orange and sparkly.
“I wouldn't go Lady Gaga extreme, but I like something that people look at it and think, oh my god, that's interesting. Like, what is she wearing,” Sahro says."
"They might be loathe to admit it, but good cheer likely wasn’t the only reason so many people connected to the NBA were so quick to declare Tuesday morning the final chapter in Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s relationship with the league. The problem is, the league’s own mechanics all but ensure that won’t be the case. And that’s just on paper."
"What do people think of when they think about hip-hop? I don’t mean the technique of the music so much as its meaning. Technique is a limited part of any art form, really: how well Rapper X raps is important but not central. How devious or wonderful Producer X’s beats are can get you on your feet more quickly, but hip-hop isn’t an abstract sonic art form. It’s a narrative one. And what that means is that matter matters more than art. Or rather: what matters to art is its matter, what it’s about, the ideas it communicates to its audience. The other aspects serve it, but perfect performance and production of empty ideas can’t fake the fill. I hope this isn’t a controversial view. It shouldn’t be."
"A group of black students at Washington and Lee University is urging administrators to atone for its Confederate heritage and what they call the “dishonorable conduct” of namesake Robert E. Lee. Washington and Lee University is located in Lexington, Va., and the black students make up about 3.5 percent of the total student population."
"MCs aren’t known for being quiet, but there’s a moment in the new documentary “Time is Illmatic” that leaves New York City’s Nas speechless. The film celebrates the 20th anniversary of the rapper’s debut project, “Illmatic,” and this moment finds Nas sitting on a modernist sofa in a Los Angeles recording studio. He’s talking about the photo shoot for the album package, which featured a then-18-year-old Nas walking around the Queensbridge housing project where he was raised. In one photo he’s giving dap to his dudes on the corner. But in another (pictured below), he’s standing at a bench surrounded by his friends who have since disappeared."
"The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a Michigan ban on affirmative action in higher education. The 6-to-2 decision is likely to set the stage for further battles over affirmative action in the political arena, as well as the courts.
In 2006, Michigan voters, by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent, passed a referendum to amend the state Constitution and ban any consideration of race in college and university admissions. A federal appeals court invalidated the ban, citing earlier Supreme Court decisions that prevented restructuring government to disadvantage minorities."
"Rap and hip-hop have been around for decades and have become one of America's most successful cultural exports.
But when the Library of Congress added new recordings to its national registry this year, none of them were hip-hop.
Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee discusses that with William Boone, professor in the English and African-American studies department at Winston-Salem State University. He says that hip-hop artists are used to being overlooked by the powers that be."
"Prince fans are accustomed to not getting what they want. That's one reason Friday's news came as a shock — that Prince has re-signed, for the first time in 18 years, with Warner Bros. Records, and that an expanded edition of Purple Rain, in time for its 30th anniversary, as well as a new album and unnamed "other planned projects" to come, are all on the way (including a new song, released late last night). Oh — and Prince now owns the master recordings of his iconic '80s recordings, the bone of contention behind his very public, very acrimonious split with the label in the mid-'90s."
"I get it, Pharrell Williams is happy. He’s happy his “Happy” song eventually topped the charts. He’s happy that people embrace his “singing.” And he’s so happy he cried tears of joy during a recent Oprah Winfrey interview when he saw other people sing his song.
Everyone loved that segment.
Pharrell, Oprah, and tears–ratings gold.
But outside of the clip, Pharrell had some interesting thoughts on what he refers to as the “new Black:”"
"WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s long-awaited revisions to the Justice Department’s racial profiling rules would allow the F.B.I. to continue many, if not all, of the tactics opposed by civil rights groups, such as mapping ethnic populations and using that data to recruit informants and open investigations.
The new rules, which are in draft form, expand the definition of prohibited profiling to include not just race, but religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation. And they increase the standards that agents must meet before considering those factors. But they do not change the way the F.B.I. uses nationality to map neighborhoods, recruit informants, or look for foreign spies, according to several current and former United States officials either involved in the policy revisions or briefed on them."
""How do we enter the poem?" That's the first question poets are asked to consider for their readers. When reworking and formatting, before the line breaks or last word, the poet must find a way into the poem, first, to show the reader how to get there for herself.
We are taught to use language in a way that reinvigorates language. We are taught to squeeze out the multiple meanings of a word in a single poem, sometimes in a single line. Our turns of phrase, our colloquial speak, the embedded meanings and code-switching are all what makes the poem rich in the multiple meanings of what it ultimately conveys: the poet's history, the poet's geography, the poet's first language, the poet's purpose in showing up to the page. And the page itself, full of splendor and the pastoral, hauntings and merriment, means something new and different to each reader who graces it."