The Newark Murders Reveal Possible Gay/Race Bias

OK. One of my readers just tried to get me together for not writing about the update on the Newark slayings. But Keith Boykin and Rod 2.0 already did. But I have alot more to say on the criticism, so stick with it:

Keith writes:

When I first heard about the murders of three college students in Newark, New Jersey last month, I was immediately suspicious. The crime itself seemed so senseless. On August 4, four young adults were hanging out in a school playground when a group of males came up to them, lined them up against a wall and shot them execution-style. Three of the young people were killed on the spot, while the fourth was seriously wounded.

After reviewing the myspace pages of several of the victims, I wondered if they might be gay and wondered if police were pursuing that angle. But that never came up in the public discussion. The police immediately ruled out the possibility of a hate crime, and the media never brought it up either. Until yesterday. That’s when black gay activist James Credle released a letter he sent to Newark Mayor Cory Booker asking the city to investigate the murders as a possible anti-gay hate crime.

Rod writes:

Godinez’ half-brother is one of two 16-year-old suspects arrested in connection with the case. New reports at Blue Jersey—which has been monitoring the gay angle in the triple murders—say the juvenile suspect attended the same high school as one of the victims. “The were friends from high school, and like all high school kids, hung out in a certain clique. Some of the kids who hung with that clique were gay, some weren’t, but it was widely known as “the gay clique.” And at least one of the killers went to West Side High, knew the victims as belonging to that clique, and would likely have perceived them all as gay.”

Keep in mind that New Jersey’s hate crimes law is written to cover “not only crimes perpetrated because of a victim’s sexual orientation, but also of their perceived orientation.” Mayor Cory Booker says these shootings were not a hate crime motivated by race. That may be true, but, the sexuality of at least one of the victims—or perception of them all—may change that finding.

Now…If you were like the reader who wondered why I hadn’t blogged about this here goes my response to that reader:

First, I knew several of those folks murdered in Newark were probably gay A DAY OR SO after it happened. I was called by a friend who knew one of them.

I emailed and made personal calls to all the LGBT/POC community organizing projects that I knew needed to know: Audre Lorde Project, Queers for Economic Justice, Critical Resistance, FIERCE!, Anti-Violence Project, The LGBT Center (NYC), Human Rights Watch, The Center for Homicide Research and the Liberation in Truth Church in Newark NJ. I even tipped off a New York Times reporter (who was covering the story) to pursue that angle, though he blew me off as if I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.

So I am glad that the story eventually got out, but i didn’t feel the need to blog about it, because others did. Keith and Rod have bigger readerships than I do, and there is some overlap so I didn’t feel the need to do so, nor was I interested in taking credit–which is why I showed some restraint in writing my original piece “A Cry for Newark” about it.

So please don’t leave messages or comments as if to suggest I didn’t do anything, or didn’t give a shit. You don’t know the half of it, obviously. Despite what I am understanding that some people take me to be a spotlight hog, there are lots of things I do that I don’t put on blast and take credit for.

If you seem so concerned about my lack of covering issues you feel are important, start your own blog. It’s really that simple.

Former ‘Top Model’ Winner Adrian Curry To Boycott BET…

This is the hottest mess of the week. The winner of the first season of America’s Next Top Model, Adrienne Curry (also of the VH1 reality show My Fair Brady) decided she is going to do her part to end racism…by boycotting BET. And Black History Month.

Ummm…yeah.

I wish this were a joke. But she blogged on her myspace page a long and drawn out piece about how we need to get over separating the races and whatnot…

This is gonna be hard guys. I LOVE the comedians on BET. I also LOVE the fact that they play my favorite show of all time, In Living Color. However, I do not believe in seperating ANY RACE in America. WE ARE AMERICANS! How dare we have Black History Month! In my eyes, the Native Americans deserve it MUCH more, seeing how we destroyed their ENTIRE SOCIETY. There are hardly any of them left! They also have been proven to have the WORST living conditions on their reservations. I want AN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH. One where we learn about EVERY race, ALL OF OUR LEADERS, EVERYONE! I think by having a month dedicated to one race, and not one for any other, is RACIST. Every fund set up to only help people of one race is SICK and RACIST.

Yes, I get it. Black people were slaves here once. You know what? That does suck some major balls, however, it is time to move the fuck on. Do we hear the Jews crying that they were made slaves for thousands of years? Do we hear them whine that they should OWN the pyramids in Egypt because THEY broke their backs making them? Do we hear them bitch and moan about Hitler, etc? (my hubby is a Jew)Nope, we dont. It’s time for us to UNITE AS ONE. I do not think that singling out one race, giving one race opportunities to go to college (I know a TON of poor white.asian, indian, american indian, etc etc that could use that too!), giving one race the EXCUSE to blame things on others for being whatever nationality they are, is a good way at making sure we NEVER kill racism.

I am over this shit. WE ALL CAME FROM ONE BLACK WOMAN FROM AFRICA, THAT is our EVE! It has been proven by science, and I stand by it. If any other race had a chanel dedicated to just them, we would think it was racist. If any other race demanded a month be set aside for ONLY them, they would be considered racist. I am NOT living by this double standard any longer.

Think I am racist? I am not. I know what racism is. I dated a guy named “Justin” in Junior high. Nothing serious, but I really liked him. He was the blackest of black…BEAUTIFUL skin, kinda like Alex Wek’s. He was handsome, and athletic, etc. I was called a nigger lover. But you know what? I was called that by a whole 2 people out of a school with HUNDREDS of students. THAT is why I am NOT buying this racist shit anymore. Let us teach or children that there is NO DIFFERENCE! We are all human. I hope one day aliens land and try to kill us. Maybe THEN we would finally realize that WE are ONE.

Now, I can think of many reasons to boycott BET (as I write this I am watching Hell Date. That’s reason to start the Civil Rights Movement all over, let alone anything else) but because black people are being racist? REALLY?

Now with the Jena 6 case and Megan Williams being beaten and raped in WV, she can’t think of any other racial cause to champion other than boycotting BET and Black History Month? Chile, please!

Check out Pop Gumbo’s response…

New Jill Scott, Meshell Ndegeocello, Rahsaan Patterson, Chaka Khan Today!

Today should be declared official National Neo-soul day! Why? Because all the kids are releasing records today–Chaka Khan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Rahsaan Patterson, & Jill Scott. I haven’t heard any of them in their entirety, but as soon as all my consulting gigs that owe me money pay up, I’ll be able to hit the record stores, and pay some bills too! But in the meantime, I thought I’d hip you to some of the latest music out today by 5 of my favorite artists…

Chaka Khan, FUNK THIS. I think this is going to be interesting. Chaka signed to the new Sony label Burgundy Records for older artists who aren’t gonna compete with the Rihanna’s of the world. But the album is straight funk.

“The album may remind people of my early Rufus albums because I’m in a similar ‘soul space.’ I’ve been on a little journey in the last few years, finding Yvette again.” (Referring to her birth name) “I went through a period of being insecure. I’m walking a different path now. I’ve changed. This album is different from any other album I’ve recorded because it reflects what I’m about, who I am now. The album is called, ‘Funk This!’ because it’s funky!”

The collection includes fresh renditions of Prince’s “Sign ‘O’ the Times”; a duet with Michael McDonald on “You Belong To Me,” a song he co-wrote with Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell’s “Ladies’ Man,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Castle Made Of Sand,” the soul classic “Foolish Fool” and Rufus medley of “Pack’d My Bags,” and “You Got The Love.”

FUNK THIS original’s include “Disrespectful,” the tour-de-force duet with powerhouse Mary J. Blige, a poignant poetic ballad, “Angel,” the acoustic “One For All Time” penned by Chaka and Terry Lewis, the deeply beautiful and soulful “Will You Love Me?” and self affirming “Super Life” among others.

I think this CD is gonna be great from the four singles on the Chaka Myspace page, so I suggest you pick it up!

Meshell Ndegeocello, The World Has Made Me the Man Of My Dreams. You gotta love this one for the title. It’s my new theme as of late. The album is Meshell’s first vocal record since 2003’s Comfort Woman, and it has that type of feel to it (from the track sample’s I’ve heard), with some more punk rock influences. It sounds like a typical Me’shell, boundary-breaking, luscious, sad, music to get nasty to.

Canadian Free Press says:

Meshell Ndegeocello’s “The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams” sounds like the soundtrack to a dream, a poem with a punk aesthetic, coated with thick as honey sensuality and dripping with religious, social and political imagery.

She harnesses her magic like a master, gently coaxing the listener to trip out as she pulls you deeper inside her mind. The power is in both what she says, and how she makes you feel as she says it.

Rahsaan Patterson, Wines & Spirits. Listening to the sample tracks on Amazon, I am certain this to be my favorite Rahsaan Patterson album. It’s his fourth studio recording (though he has another project with Australian musicians called Sugar Rush Beat Company) and it is his most inspired, most interesting on the porduction tip, and takes his brand of soul (I consider him a male Chaka Khan vocally) to a whole new level. This one is a keeper.

Eurweb says:

Easily his most eclectic and diverse album to date, only a pioneering talent like Rahsaan could pull off a CD that’s all over the map both musically and vocally. “Wines & Spirits” begins with “Cloud 9,” a super funky tune with uncharacteristically minimal vocals, and ends with a brilliant, masterful cover of the Janis Ian classic “Stars.”

In between, there are a couple futuristic dance tracks (“Delirium (Comes and Goes)” and “Deliver Me”), a Prince-esque, ultramodern rock cut called “Pitch Black,” a hip-hop track complete with emcee, the retro-gospel song “Oh Lord (Take Me Back),” and a few “vintage Rahsaan” midtempo grooves (“Feels Good,” “Higher Love,” “Stop Breakin’ My Heart,” and “No Danger”) included for good measure.

Jill Scott, The Real Thing, Vol. 3. The newly divorced Jill Scott is coming full force on her new record, which she calls her most honest. I love the first single “Hate On Me” and the new single “My Love.” So far, I think I am also gonna dig the new one. I am having trouble locating a review of it yet, so I can’t really give you more. Lucky for you, Jill has video about the making of this album on You Tube that’s definitely worth every minute.

Go get em ALL!!!

Emmy’s Censoring for Political Content?

Last night I watched the Annual Emmy Awards–the highest award for television, this year it aired on FOX. This is the Emmy’s 59th year, and this one show felt as long. The only interesting things were a split-second tribute to the 30th anniversary of Roots–and I was pissed that Queen Latifah didn’t win for her role in Life Support, which I think was her strongest performance since Set It Off.

The only other thing was that there were several people whose speeches were bleeped for what appeared to be more political reasons than for “offensive language.”

Most notably was Sally Field, who accepted an award, and towards the end of her speech said “…And if mothers ruled the wars, there wouldn’t be…” Not only was the sound cut out, but they actually cut away to the an aerial shot so you couldn’t even see her. Apparently she said, according to the Associated Press, “And, let’s face it, if the mothers ruled the war, there would be no (expletive) wars in the first place,” Field said. The word missing, according to CNN this morning, was goddam. Last I checked, that word was not on the FCC’s list of words you can’t use on television. Was this really about the word, or about the sentiment of her statement? There were a couple other people who were bleeped–Ray Romano and Katherine Heigl.

Watch it now! You know FOX is going to yank this faster than Prince will sue somebody for copyright infringement! 

Fields’ response after learning her speech was bleeped? “Oh well!”

Award shows, even pre-Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction, have begun to censor artists’ political statements. The Grammy’s a few years ago demanded that artists not make any anti-war statements during their telecast. If these so-called artists had any backbone, they would have boycotted the show.

In any case, just another way in which the moral majority get to decide what we watch on TV.

OJ Arrested!: Damn DAMN DAYUM!

OJ Simpson was arrested today in connection with a hotel room robbery in Las Vegas. He apparently is denying the alegations, saying he went to the room to retrieve some things that belonged to him. It is still unclear what he as been charged with, but according to the New York Times, “another person connected to Simpson was accused of storming the room at the Palace Station Hotel-Casino was charged with two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary with a deadly weapon, Lt. Clint Nichols said.”

Really OJ? I hope he’s not guilty of this. Either way, I wish he would just stay out of the press. It has been 15 years of OJ embarrassment for Black people, and we really just don’t need anymore! We already have hip-hop, Ward Connerly and BET to contend with. Can we catch a break?

All Black people know what I am talking about. Not only with OJ, but anytime you watch the news and hear about a crime committed by somebody Black. We tend to have the following collective response:

Black West Virginian Woman Raped and Tortured by White Mob

There’s really not too much to say about this. It’s really disturbing and between this and the Jena situation, I don’t know what the hell has gotten into white folks again (I don’t why I am acting lke it ever went anywhere, but stay with me), but we simply cannot be having this shit any more.

In any case, in West Virginia, a 20 year-old black woman was abducted, raped, beaten and tortured for a week, but 3 white men and three white women–two of the men the sons (!) of two of the women. The latest revelation is that this woman had apparently had some relationship with one of the guys involved in the attack, which the media is suggesting was “romantic” (in the loosest way that word can possibly be used) and that was why she went to his home in the first place. That may be true –violence is most likely to happent to any of us by people we know–but who gives a damn? I think it just exposes the myth that white people who have sexual or romantic relationships with Black people can’t at the same time be racists, and  can’t be capable of committing violence against an intimate partner who is Black.

I know people want to make this a story about West Virginia, the state that is probably the but of most jokes about “backwards” parts of this country–usually by people who have never been. But I have been to West Virginia many times, and while it is an extremely poor state, and the Black people who live there are very, very marginalized, it in some ways is no different than the rest of the country–the fact that Black folks are moving back down south in record numbers should tell you that many of us see the South as, well, at least there’s no pretense.

West Virginia, and Appalachia in general, is a very beautiful part of the country. And but for the racism that Black people no doubt endure there, outnumbered and outgunned, it is still ultimately a part of the same country as much as the East and Left Coast like to pretend it’s not. But I’ll tell you, but for the accents and the mountains, Charleston could just as well be Chelsea, Manhattan, where I have been told to “go back to Africa,” or have heard Black and Latino youth referred to as “pier trash.”