When I first heard there was the potential that George Zimmerman could have a chance at fighting another person in a boxing ring and for profit I felt like the Geto Boys—surely my “mind’s playing tricks on me.” And to think that he could potentially be fighting DMX is even worse!
- Celebrity and celebrate have the same root word. Since when has it ever been okay to “celebrate” teen killers?
- Whatever charity George Zimmerman claims to want to do this match for is in bad shape and won’t be around this long if they need donations from a teen killer!
- If OJ Simpson could not profit from his [alleged] murders, George Zimmerman can’t either!
- George Zimmerman is a LIAR who CHEATED Trayvon Martin of a life, and he does not deserve to STEAL anymore time from society. He should KILL his remaining time in the solitary confinement by being the George Zimmerman nobody knew before he became the killer we know now.
- George Zimmerman is a misfit who would pose a deleterious influence on other wannabe and potential misfits of the world.
- Boxing is a classy sport for real athletes from which hails the likes of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, and Joe Frazier. Boxing is not a killer’s sport.
- This boxing match won’t help redeem George Zimmerman’s image. He will always be remembered as the man who killed Trayvon Martin.
- I don’t like what George Zimmerman stands for. I won’t fall for his tactics either. I say no to this madness!
- George Zimmerman has one championship in killing an unarmed teen—he does not need the shot at another championship for any reason.
- Reality TV is scripted and NOT real, just like I cannot believe that a George Zimmerman Celebrity Boxing match has the potential to become a reality. Let’s say no to this!
- If Trayvon Martin wasn’t given the chance to breathe another day, George Zimmerman should not be given another day to breathe life into a second chance at any other opportunities in life.
- Trayvon Martin’s mom can never give Trayvon another pep talk before stepping out on any other venture in life. The 911 Caller gave Zimmerman a pep talk when he told him not to follow Trayvon—Zimmerman didn’t listen. And, I don’t want to hear anything from Zimmerman now.
- Betting in favor of or against a teen killer is just plain wrong.
- As a nation, we should stand our ground and be better than George Zimmerman—say no to this boxing match.
- Trayvon Martin will never have the chance to make a profit—from anything ever again.
- When the verdict was read, George Zimmerman was supposed to disappear into obscurity like OJ Simpson.
- It is insensitive and unscrupulous for any promoter to profit from the blood on Zimmerman’s hands.
- Boxing is a violent sport, but it not a sport that supports violent offenders of teens.
- Trayvon Martin advocates will defeat Zimmerman better by not allowing him to have a day in the ring, his name in shining lights, or money in his morally inept bank of consciousness and his physically depleted bank account—say no to this shameful promotion!
George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed 17 year-old teenager, Trayvon Martin on February 26th, 2012 as he returned from a local 7Eleven carrying a bag of skittles and an Arizona brand Iced Tea. Using Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law and self-defense, George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges on July 13th, 2013.
If I read one more Op-Ed column, blog, commentary, article, Facebook post, or otherwise about how much people hate Black History Month I am going to scream…oh boy! Let the screaming begin!
Black History Month, for as long as I can remember has always been a staple in my household; whether it was February or any other month of the year, my family has always celebrated Black History Month because we are a Black family, but also because there is always so much to do and learn during this time of year.
Ever heard of the Fisk Jubilee Singers? In 1871, singers from Tennessee’s Historically Black University, Fisk University, introduced the entire world to the “field songs” sang by enslaved Blacks during the institution of slavery. In the 19th century, these immaculate singers traveled and broke racial barriers in the United States and in the world performing for kings and queens. Although these students loved to sing and had a pristine talent for it, they sang to raise money for their beloved institution, Fisk University. Below is a 1909 recording of the Fisk Jubilee singers. 1909 is also the same year in which the NAACP was established.
Speaking of maintaining the tradition of the Fisk Jubilee Singers The Irondale Ensemble Project and the American Opera Projects will perform Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom featuring Metropolitan Opera singer Ms. Janinah Burnett and other reputable opera singers in Brooklyn, NY on February 21st-22nd, the 27th, and March 1st, 2014.
Below is a list of websites that include everything from museum exhibits to historical conversations. There are Black History Month parades to musical performances. Click on any of the links below to find an event for you and your family all along the East Coast. Also, tune into PBS for great conversations featuring the incomparable Ms. Alice Walker and Black History Month themed programming. Enjoy!
No matter how we feel about Black History Month–like the complaints about it being celebrated during the shortest month of the year, or the assertions that during Black History Month the same notable Black people are celebrated year after year, we can never say nationwide and global efforts are not consistently made to pay homage to Black people and our contributions to this world. Black History Month was created by a Black man, Carter G. Woodson, that wanted the world to know that his parents’ toil and labor in slavery had not been in vain and that the spirit and life contributions of the ancestors that they inherited, long before Blacks were even introduced into slavery in America, was worth celebrating and being recognized. In addition, each of us can add to the narrative and contribution to Black History Month beyond our hate for it.
When’s the last time you ever heard someone proud to be “old at heart” or refer to the night as “mature” or “old”? Maybe never and I doubt that you ever will.
While there is a special proclivity for the wisdom and experience age brings, youth brings a fresher set of limbs, naïveté, and a dreamy hunger that allows for doubtful feats to become attainable realities. The Seattle Seahawks are a young team with an invincible drive that drove them all the way to Super Bowl victory. Whitney Houston once sang, “Tell me no, and I’ll show you I can.”
Often times young people ignore the word ‘no’. It isn’t because they mean to defy; it’s more of not wanting to betray a mind that tells them anything is possible and that they can. Because they believe they can, they often do.
According to Fox News and the National Football League’ statisticians, the average age of the Seahawks franchise is 25.4 years old. Their game winning Quarterback, Russell Wilson is the third youngest QB to win a Super Bowl Championship. The lesson is if you want victory, youth helps.
Our nation is only 50 years off of the heels of the 1963 March on Washington. Galvanizing such an enormous number of people, approximately 250,000, happened with the help of all demographics, including the youth. A very young, hopeful and determined future Congressman named John Lewis mesmerized the crowd. At 23, he seized a moment to address the nation about racist policies thwarting the youth and preventing America’s victory. Regarding the proposed Civil Rights bill that would eventually become the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in his original non-censored speech he said,
“This bill will not protect young children and old women from police dogs and fire hoses, for engaging in peaceful demonstrations”
He’s been a champion ever since. Youth groups such as the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee(SNCC), of which John Lewis was the chairman, gave young people a sense of responsibility. SNCC’s job was to help distribute information about the March on Washington, but it was also their job to be present. Even today, young people are not complacent having peripheral views of the changing world. History supports that our world has advanced only because of the spirit and the work of the youth.
There is something special about a nation that can produce Asean Johnson, the third-grade, 9 year-old, Chicago activist that spoke against school closures.
The Seattle Seahawks’ Legion of Boom (L.O.B.), its defensive line of players, and the rest of the franchise came to New Jersey’s Met Life stadium with a duty and a mission–to win a championship and take a place in the NFL record books. From the very first exchange of the game, every Seahawk player was in his proper place, every eye was on the gridiron, and every mind was focused on fulfilling the mission. From Wilson to Chancellor to Sherman to Lynch to Harvin, these young men taught America that youth matters.
And so they won. Big.
As a nation we have to learn to respect the power of our youth. We often expect that young people should do only as they are told, never of what they are capable–and, as a nation we lose big, too. Youth plays a major role in elevating nations and orchestrating movements that older, more seasoned people have grown too weary, and sometimes too disenchanted, to continue.
In an ESPN interview Monday morning following the “Big Game” Russell Wilson commended his coach, Pete Carroll, and the entire Seahawks organization for taking a chance on him and his teammates. Not by any measure of our expectations of Super Bowl champions does a team with a roster of 21 non-drafted players, a fourth-round draft pick Quarterback like Wilson, a fifth-round draft pick corner back like Sherman, and a seventh-round draft pick Superbowl MVP like Malcolm Smith, win the Superbowl. In each of their stories is the narrative that they were given a chance. Our nation of young people have to be given more chances to apply what they have learned and more chances to play in the other “Big Game” called life.
In a post game interview, Richard Sherman was asked where Super Bowl XLVIII (48) ranked in terms of other great Super Bowl victories and his response was, “It doesn’t matter what order you put us in just put us in the conversation.”
The biggest lesson learned from the Seahawks organization? Young people matter and they win Super Bowls, too!
It’s here! This Super Bowl moment is the day some fans have “waited” for “since 2006 (David Cheek on Facebook)!!!”
Heralded as the “Big Game” Super Bowl fever has been swept all over New Jersey, the state in which the game is going to be played, and New York, the state in which tourists, visitors, and diehard fans are going to spend all of their money and time.
Not much of a football fan, I sometimes don’t understand why some people would actually want to sit in a cold stadium and watch big, burly, lean, fit, strong, virile men shuffle up and down a grassy field with the objective of getting a leather ball from one end to the next. But then again, we are talking about watching beautiful men using football to serve a far greater purpose than the entertainment of the stadium spectators. These men are beautiful because most of the NFL players suit up to save their lives and the lives of others; while the armor they wear may be uniform so as to identify the teams with which they play, each player’s uniform is his own distinct Super Hero costume. When the players are in the personal huddles of their minds, they discuss the worries of their lives that include the loss of loved ones and the obligation to financially and emotionally support their family members. Some of them repeatedly, and in flashing moments, run through how they could have handled a high-profile, public situation differently. They also use the game as the one medium they can use to access incarcerated friends and family. Suddenly the “Big Game” comes with high stakes so I tune in to watch the players navigate these plays in life.
During this Black History month, I’d like to salute the NFL for hosting a profitable and accommodating space for Black players to engage in these personal life huddles, and for providing the means for them to be able to financially solve some of these issues. While money cannot fix every player’s problems as is evident in the suicide deaths of players like Paul Oliver and Javon Belcher, many of the NFL’s Black players are able to experience life completely different from what any of them ever could have imagined. They have greater access to being better people because of the notoriety that comes along with the game. I don’t doubt, however, that many of these players would do philanthropic and humanitarian gestures even if there were no paparazzi lights.
I salute these players even more for seizing the opportunity, through prayer, hard work, and talent, to use the NFL as tool to enrich their lives and the lives of others.
There will always be arguments about the treatment of Black players in institutions like the NFL and NBA like what the fantastic Mr. Bill Rhoden laid out in his book $40 Million Dollar Slaves. Generally, there is no institution without its share of setbacks and marginalization. According to USA Today, Black players
are 10 times more likely to be arrested than White players. The kryptonite that effects some of these Black players (Black players make up approximately 65% of the NFL according to reports by William Rhoden and others) are societal ills like profiling, racism, and a lack of humanity. Through it all, they persevere most times by rising above these issues and committing to the excellence of taking their teams to the Super Bowl.
In 1933, there were 2 Black players and the NFL did not have any more Black players until after World War II. Today the level of sportsmanship, athleticism and notoriety that Black players have added to the NFL makes it hard to believe that football could even have been a sport without them.
Happy Super Bowl Sunday and here’s a Super salute to the NFL’s Black players!
“No man knows what he can do until he tries.” –Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro
It’s officially Black History Month! This month we celebrate, in greater concentration, the phenomenal acknowledgement and representation of Black People in America.
I especially love this time of year because I get to experience potent lectures, panels, movie screenings, plays, performances, etc. with the common thread of showcasing Black excellence.
This is also the time of year in which I get to read commentaries on how Black History Month is racist and unnecessary since Blacks have not been the only contributors to America’s prominence, and because America has moved beyond slavery. Some of these arguments make me laugh and others just lead me to shake my head; none of these arguments ever get to the core of understanding how America gained the leverage to attract others’ continual immigration and pursuit of opportunity in America in the first place.
Black people have evolved the human race and some still insist on resisting this evolution.
“The bondage of the Negro brought captive from Africa is one of the greatest dramas in history, and the writer who merely sees in that ordeal something to approve or condemn fails to understand the evolution of the human race.” –Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro
I support that other races and ethnicities have contributed greatly to our America; Marcus Garvey’s work influenced one of America’s greatest, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X), many Chinese workers constructed the trans-continental Railroad, and Hispanics like Cesar Chavez worked tirelessly for the advancement of Hispanics as they continue to come to America. But like historian and Black History Month Founder Carter G. Woodson, I also support that Black Americans have been terribly misrepresented, underrepresented, and ignored as contributors in the greater American success story.
In 1926, the Virginia historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History which he founded, began Negro History Week to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. By 1976 (such a great year), Negro History Week had become federally recognized as Black History Month.
Carter G. Woodson was an academic who found it imperative for Black American history to serve a greater role within school curricula.
“As another has well said, to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching.” –Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro
He was a self-proclaimed radical; and, Woodson was a fearless man who was relentless in his pursuit to honor the contributions of Black America using the expertise he had gained from his education in Berea College, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University. Mr. Woodson eventually wrote his acclaimed, The Mis-Education of the Negro in 1933 which has sold over a million copies and has been in print for 81 years.
He had numerous teaching stints in places like the Philippines and the prestigious Howard University. His greatest influencers, besides the history of his own parents’ enslavement and perseverance, were the relationships he developed with other self-determined Blacks like W.E.B DuBois, Arturo Schomburg, and what he felt he had not been learned properly about Black Americans.
There are institutions and organizations worldwide that celebrate and continue his work; my very own alma mater, Virginia State University, has a Carter G. Woodson Avenue on which sits our United States Department of Agriculture supported building, named in honor of the first Black governor of Virginia and any state since Reconstruction, Mr. Douglas Wilder.
American economics and politics were created as a result of the presence and citizenship of Black Americans, since colonial times. In the midst of the state’s rights argument was the issue of how states would be represented in Congress–that argument was fixed through the passing of the Three-Fifths Compromise. From Jamestown to the Constitution, from the Black Farmers to the Prison Pipeline conundrum plaguing urban communities to President Obama, there is more to learn about Black Americans than the untruths foreigners learn and bring with them to America. There’s more to learn about Black Americans than the scornful, resentful sentiment other Americas cast in our direction.
To love America is to acknowledge Black Americans.
Through Carter G. Woodson’s efforts, he has left an enduring and persistent legacy in how I define Black Americans.
- An elite and small group of descendants of indigenous Africans (mostly of Western Africa); native people BORN in the United States of America due to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade;
- NOT immigrants; Citizens.
- Architects and maintainers of America’s infrastructure; preservers of America’s food bank; innovators of American culture; creators of America’s multitudinous opportunities.
- Inheritors of racism, discrimination, prejudice, black codes, Jim Crow, the New Jim Crow, the Prison Industrial Complex, mandatory sentencing drug laws, and all other disparate American behaviors; Stalwarts.
- Reflectors of why America is NOT a “more perfect Union.”
- Americans; Survivors;
“Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us.” ~Neil deGrasse Tyson
According to CNN, “the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards attracted 28.5 million viewers to CBS.”
At one time, in various places on Earth, the atomic energy of that many people was directed to a variety of flat screen televisions to view some our favorite artists’ finest moments as they collected golden gramophone baubles in recognition of making quality and / or well-liked music.
CNN speculated that perhaps everybody had watched to see a besotted Beyonce or the vintage Beatles or maybe even both. Once I had learned the Master Blaster, Mr. Stevie Wonder would be joining Daft Punk featuring the super talented Pharrell Williams and the legendarily funky Nile Rodgers, I knew I would be happy. I felt like I had gotten lucky to be able to see Stevie Wonder in his usual rare form join one of today’s hippest groups perform their song, but to also witness the performance of one of the best songs ever written by Mr. Wonder, “Another Star.”
In 1976, he released the quintessential Songs in the Key of Life. Featured on this double album of 17 craftily recorded songs and four bonus tracks, were many of the songs that multiple generations have been able to sing to, including “Another Star.”
On this same album, Stevie Wonder included a song “Isn’t She Lovely” that he had written for his newly born daughter, Aisha, where she is heard crying. Since Songs in the Key of Life was released in September of 1976, I like to consider it an ode to me, too.
Following the success of two albums that had already amassed Stevie Wonder star power since 1973, Innervisions and Fulfillingness’ First Finale respectively, Songs in the Key of Life catapulted him into another dimension. Stevie Wonder has consistently been nominated, made appearances, performed, and been a big-time winner at the GRAMMY Awards–he has earned 22! He is more than just another star–he is cosmic delight and humanitarian nutriment!
Most of us don’t know that Mr. Wonder’s convictions towards human rights almost led to his retiring from music; and, he was thinking of moving to Africa to work with disadvantaged youth. We may never have had Songs in the Key of Life!
But then the stars aligned.
Stevie Wonder, has contributed his artistry to everything from supporting a federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday (his song Happy Birthday is pretty much the only rendition I sing when I wish someone a happy birthday) to famine endeavors (He co-wrote, with Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, We Are the World).
From raising AIDS awareness (That’s What Friends are For) to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, from increasing awareness about Domestic Violence (How Come, How Long duet with Babyface) to announcing that he will not perform in Florida because of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws, Stevie Wonder has persevered like stars often do because he knows that through his artistry and beyond, he emits light.
I am such a music fan! Although I wasn’t moved by most of the performances outside of the amazing Hip Hop artist Kendrick Lamar and the Rock group Imagine Dragons, Daft Punk with Pharrell and Nile Rodgers and the amazing collaboration with Stevie Wonder was worth the entire show! Daft Punk, an electronic music group from France, has obviously meandered through the galaxy and landed on planet Stevie Wonder because millions watched them rock out to his genius and follow in his footsteps by winning the Album of the Year award. But then again, Stevie Wonder sends all of us into orbit.
He has always elevated artistry to a higher plateau and standard. He supports causes that will change the world and not just boost his album sales. He makes music that speaks to our intellect, not only to our carnal desires, and he showcases performances that entire families can feel proud to watch.
“For you, there might be another star, but through my eyes” the light of Mr. Stevie Wonder is all I see!
Congratulations to the GRAMMY Awards for its long-standing relationship with Stevie Wonder; he validates this awards show.
The quotes above and below are from Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an African American astrophysicist, cosmologist and author. His voice can be heard narrating Dark Universe. Just as Dr. Tyson believes there is no way to deny the magnitude and magnificence of the Creator’s design, there is equally no way to discount Stevie Wonder as one of the Creator’s best contributions to our Universe.
“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the Earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” ~Neil Degrasse Tyson