Friday, March 30, 2012

Mitt Romney: NOM Donor

Perhaps this is what NOM was referring to when they mentioned "glamorous noncognitive elites?" Or at the very least rich noncognitives. And Mitt definitely falls into the latter, seeing that he's got enough coins for a four-car garage with its own elevator. Can we say ballin?

"HRC posted a copy of a Federal Election Commission filing from the Alabama-based Free and Strong America PAC, run by the Romney campaign in 2008. It shows a $10,000 donation to NOM that could be the very same contribution that a campaign spokesman once bragged would help fund the Proposition 8 battle that was happening at the time.

As a donor and presumably a member of NOM, since a portion of all donations automatically goes toward membership dues, it's possible that the Romney campaign saw the "confidential" memo in which NOM outlines its strategy to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks -- two key Democratic constituencies."

Read the rest HERE.

From Russia With Hate...

Brett Edward Stout has written a highly informative piece over at The Advocate about the draconian anti-gay law passed  in St. Petersburg that bans any public mention of gay issues or "public displays of homosexual conduct."

In the article Stout traces the roots of Russia's anti-gay polices to those of America's religious right, particularly American evangelist Scott Lively--also known as the backer of the notorious Uganda "Kill The Gays" bill--who aligned himself with the Russian Orthodox church and gave them strategies to guard themselves from "gay propaganda".

"In his letter, Lively elaborated that, “The purpose of my visit was to bring a warning about the homosexual political movement which has done much damage to my country and which has now taken root in Russia. This is a very fast-growing social cancer that will destroy the family foundations of your society if you do not take immediate, effective action to stop it.” 

Of the several steps he lays out, the third is this: “Criminalize the public advocacy of homosexuality. My philosophy is to leave homosexuals alone if they keep their lifestyle private, and not to force them into therapy if they don’t want it. However, homosexuality is destructive to individuals and to society and it should never [be] publicly promoted. The easiest way to discourage 'gay pride' parades and other homosexual advocacy is to make such activity illegal in the interest of public health and morality.” Play by play, the Russian Orthodoxy has taken Lively’s blueprint and is acting swiftly on his urging “to protect their country from the gay movement.”

Read the rest HERE.

WATCH: Black Gay Filmmakers On Trayvon Martin, Patrick-Ian Polk Gets Honored

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NOM Needs A Few Noncognitive Celebrities

The tea just keeps on spilling. Along with the revelation that NOM intended pit gays against blacks (I guess we black gays don't exist), the anti-gay organization's strategy document also reveals that celebrity recruitment was part of their agenda.

"We are looking for a new set of messengers," the document declares. But it doesn't seem to think too highly of whoever volunteers, calling them "glamorous noncognitive elites." 

"Here's the bottom line: Hollywood with its cultural biases is far bigger than we can hope to be. We recognize this," the strategy states. "But we also recognize the opportunity - the disproportionate potential impact of proactively seeking to gather and connect a community of artists, athletes, writers, beauty queens and other glamorous noncognitive elites across national boundaries."

GLAAD points out that NOM succeeded on two fronts with that goals, recruiting beauty queen Carrie Prejean and football player David Tyree, who said gay marriage would lead to a nationwide anarchy. Read the rest over at The Advocate.

WATCH: Rep.Bobby Rush Kicked Off House Floor for Wearing A Hoodie

Rep. Bobby Rush was reprimanded and escorted off the House floor for wearing a hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin. Watch below.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Justice" For Trayvon Martin...

No need to even rant about this. The picture speaks for itself. Fortunately, this tsunami of epic foolishness has been canceled. Read HERE. Unfortunately, the coonery pictured below went off without a hitch:

Whoopi Goldberg To Make Guest Appearance On Glee

Whoopi will be a guest star in a multi-episode arc on Glee's new season, set to start on April 10.

"Among a long line of big-named guest stars that has included Gwyneth Paltrow, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, Goldberg joins Glee as Carmen Tibideaux, theater veteran and professor at The New York Academy of Dramatic Arts (NYADA), where Rachel (Lea Michele) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) are desperately hoping to be accepted. 

Goldberg’s professorial thespian will travel to Ohio to oversee Rachel's and Kurt's auditions and could be the person who informs them of their fate regarding acceptance to NYADA."

Hmmm. It seems like Ms. Celie will be playing the inspirational teacher/mentor role, which, if you watched a certain Cosby Show spin off back in the day or caught the reruns, you know she's no stranger to (hint: "I'm a voice in this world dammit and I deserve to be heard." Ten points to whoever can name the actress Whoopi said that to:). I like Whoopi and all, but I love for them to bring Ricky back for another go around, m'kay? Chile that man is just...anyway, Whoopi will make her first appearance on the show on May 1.

Fear Kills, Love Heals

I saw this over at Sir Toddy English's blogspot and had to post it. In tribute to Trayvon Martin, Chaka Khan, along with a who's who of famous friends (Boris Kodjoe, Angela Bassett, Terry Crews, Kelly Price etc.), recorded the song/PSA "Super Life: Fear Kills, Love Heals." It's really great.

I don't know about you, but I'm really feeling all this solidarity. From celebs, to community leaders/activists to everyday people, everyone seems to be banding together for a larger purpose: not only to see justice served (or at least begin the process) for Trayvon and his family, but to create real change out of a tragic event.  Watch below.

WATCH: True Blood Season 5 Teasers

Monday, March 26, 2012

Supreme Court Won't Consider Wisconsin Anti-Transgender Law

The Supreme Court will not hear a case against the state of Wisconsin after a lower deemed the state's ban on medically necessary treatment for incarcerated transgender people unconstitutional.

"The state passed the Inmate Sex-Change Prevention Act in 2005, prohibiting doctors in state-run prisons from providing transition-related care such as hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery, according to Lambda Legal. 

The organization, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of several transgender inmates. The women were experiencing physical and psychological harm after their medical treatment was suddenly cut off because of the law."

The federal district court sided with the transgender prisoners, with a court of appeals holding up the ruling. The Supreme Court's smackdown probably had something to do with the Federal Bureau of Prisons' policy change to allow treatment for transgender inmates. Now if they could just seem the wisdom in condom distribution.

Read the rest HERE.

'Bully' Documentary To Be Released Unrated

Bully, Lee Hirsh's controversial documentary about bullying and its effect in American schools, will air unrated when it hits theaters March 30.

The film, which follows five bullied young people over the course of a year, has been criticized for its realistic, and at time brutal, portrayal of bullying, offering a viewers a window (or in some cases, a reminder) into the daily torture its victims go through.

“The kids and families in this film are true heroes, and we believe theater owners everywhere will step up and do what’s right for the benefit of all of the children out there who have been bullied or may have otherwise become bullies themselves,” said TWC president of marketing Stephen Bruno, according to EW. “We’re working to do everything we can to make this film available to as many parents, teachers and students across the country.”

Bully is scheduled for release at the Angelika Film Center and AMC Lincoln Square in New York City, The Landmark, Arclight in Hollywood and AMC Century City in Los Angeles. Watch the trailer below.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Vid Pick: Madonna "Girl Gone Wild"

I know I'm a day or two late on this (forgive me--my new schedule at work has had my body clock all out of whack), but Madonna has unleashed her latest clip for "Girl Gone Wild" on the world. It clear from the first shot of homoerotic man candy to the tights and stilettos that Madge is ratcheting up the gayness-and I LOVE it! It's like "Vogue," "Erotica" and "Justify My Love" had a threesome, and let's just say everyone's enjoying their post-coital cigarettes, m'kay? Like the best music videos, it's made me like the song (which I'll concede won't give "Express Yourself," "Get Together" or "Deeper and Deeper" a run for their money, but is definitely one of her catchiest) even more.

While the clip clearly references her past work, it doesn't feel like a retread, and has plenty of new visuals--the trippy, gravity-defying yoga poses, the musclebound man in a crown of thorns, the arresting last shot that is sure to crop up on avatars and blog posts (like this one) across the land--to keep viewers' interest. Also, it's great to see Madonna doing straightforward choreography again, which in this case is a modern twist on"Vogue's" ballroom scene queens in the form of all-male Ukrainian dance troupe Kazaky. But there are still few dry-humping-the-wall scenes thrown in there....Madge and those walls chile.

But the best thing about the clip is that, like the cheerleader epic "Give Me All Your Luvin" she looks like she's having a blast. Her whole aura seems reinvigorated. I mean, the look she serves at 3:01 when she coos "forgive me"'s pure sex, period. Divorce must do a body good. Watch the uncensored version below.

WATCH: Wrath James White On Atheism In Black America

If you have some time to spare today, take a look at horror writer/blogger Wrath James White's excellent take on atheism in black America. In the lecture, part of The Austin Community of Atheists weekly lecture series, White talks about his childhood, how he can to be an atheist, dealing with religious family members, and much more. Watch below.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thousands Expected To Rally For Trayvon Martin

In the tragic case of Trayvon Martin, it seems like everyone collective sense of "Hell to the naw" is in sync, rightfully keeping this story front and center instead under the rug where it could have easily been swept. Today thousands of protesters are expected to rally for the late 17-year-old, who was killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman (who STILL hasn't been arrested) while walking back to his father's home on February 26.

"Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, believe the shooter, 28-year-old George Zimmerman, should have been arrested. They claim Zimmerman was profiling their son and acted like a vigilante.

Zimmerman has claimed self-defense, and Sanford Police Department officials say there is no evidence that contradicts Zimmerman's claim. Some neighbors in the gated community where Martin was shot have praised Zimmerman for taking a stand against crime in the neighborhood.

The lack of an arrest has outraged residents who claim the Sanford Police Department has a history of ignoring the black community's concerns. City commissioners gave the police chief a vote of no confidence on Wednesday. The commission can't fire the chief because he reports to the city manager. The city manager said he will take the 3-2 vote under consideration."

The rally, scheduled to start at 7 p.m., was originally supposed to be held at the 400-seat church before being moved to Fort Mellon Park to accommodate the larger crowd. Rev. Al Sharpton, who recently lost his mother, will attend the rally, tweeting ""My mom would have wanted me to."

Read the full story, as well as get live updates on the rally, over at The Grio.

Happy Endings' Adam Pally To Co-Star in Comedy With Jane Lynch

Adam Pally, a.k.a Max from the uber hilarious show Happy Endings, is set to co-star with Glee's Jane Lynch and Amy Poehler in the big-screen comedy A.C.O.D. 

Pally will act alongside Lynch, Poehler, Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, and Jessica Alba in the film about adult children of divorce, hence the title.“They asked me and I was like, ‘Yeah, I will do whatever you guys want! I will show up as a key grip,” Pally said to EW about the film.

Sue Sylvester, Max and Amy Poehler (I can't think of her character's name in Parks and Recreation-sorry:) in  same the flick? This may be worth checking out.

Read the rest HERE.

X'Men's Northstar To Marry Boyfriend?

Superheroes need love (and marriage) too. X-Men Northstar is rumored to be walking down the aisle with his longtime boyfriend.

"Earlier this month Marvel Comics released a “Save the Date” notice for Astonishing X-Men issue 51, available in June. It offered no details, but several comic bloggers are reporting that the issue will feature the wedding of French-Canadian X-Man Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier) and his lover, Kyle. Citing “a source inside of Marvel,” tells readers to expect the first same-sex wedding in the comics company’s history. Northstar came out as gay in a 1992 issue of Alpha Flight; he was a member of the team of that name before joining the X-Men."

Read the rest HERE.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Michelle Obama Talks Supreme Court and Marriage Equality

The First Lady made an important point about the role of the Supreme Court in marriage equality while campaigning for her husband. Yesterday at a TriBeca fundraiser hosted by Robert Deniro and his wife, Mrs. Obama said "...Let us not forget what [the Supreme Court's] decisions — the impact those decisions will have on our lives for decades to come — on our privacy and security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly, and, yes, love whomever we choose."

She made a similar statement at a fundraiser in Chelsea earlier that day this time citing how today's court decisions can affect future generations. "Let's not forget the impact [the Supreme Court's] decisions will have on our children's lives for decades to come — on their privacy and security; on whether they can speak freely, worship openly, and love whomever they choose."

Personally, I think President Obama holds the same position as his wife on gay marriage, but can't say so out loud because it would likely cost him votes and/or the Republicans would try to pull a 2004 and make it a wedge issue. Especially with their current quest for a "true conservative." But I have a feeling if he gets a second term he'll "evolve" in the right direction.

WATCH: Drag Queens Spoof Chick-fil-A

Willam Belli, currently a contestant on Rupaul's Drag Race, along with fellow drag queens Detox and Vicky Vox, have created a hilarious spoof titled "Chow Down (at Chick-fil-A)." Set to Wilson Phillips "Hold On" (and a LMAO-worthy "Waterfalls" rap), the song draws attention to the chicken chain's anti-gay activities.

Belli told The Advocate "If Jeffrey Dahmer wanted to endorse a slap-chop, it would be bad. No one would want his endorsement. Drag queens are not the target endorsement market for a chicken eatery. It’s kind of like a “Ha ha, you want to come for us? Let me come for you!” from three of the cutest drag queens in the world."

Watch below.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why We Should Care About Trayvon Martin

As if you didn't know why already. But if you need a reminder of why what happened  Trayvon Martin could happen to any of us, Melissa Harris-Perry breaks it down. I still can't believe they haven't even taken the bastard who shot him--an unarmed child holding a bag of Skittles and a can of tea--into custody. Watch below.

Friday, March 16, 2012

New Book Details Bayard Rustin's Life In Personal Letters

To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Bayard Rustin, the openly gay and oft-looked over civil rights leader who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped organize events like the iconic 1963 March On Washington, author Michael Long has released a new book entitled I Must Resist: The Life and Letters of Bayard Rustin.

Rustin, like King was targeted by the federal government for his involvement in the movement. The book includes a telegraph written in 1965. In it, Rustin urges New York Mayor Robert Wagner to take immediate action, such as creating a civilian police review board to avoid what he calls a "long hot summer." Read it below, and read J. Edgar Hoover's letter to Attorney General Robert Kennedy urging he take action against Rustin HERE.

May 19, 1965

 You will recall that almost a year ago Dr. Martin Luther King and I placed before you the demands that had been drawn up by New York's Negro leaders, and outlined a specific program designed to deal with the fundamental problems underlying the violence then raging in the ghettos of New York.

Paramount among those problems we stated were police brutality and economic hardship, particularly as manifest in unemployment of Negro and Puerto Rican youth. The proposals we laid before you have not been implemented.

Yet before us stretches a summer of even greater youth unemployment and summering discontent provoked by continuing examples of reported police brutality and discrimination, as in the Whitmore and Sideratos cases. Having failed to move to eliminate the causes of social discord, you and your administration cannot escape major responsibility should last summer's tragedy be repeated.

The choice before you is clear; either you creatively meet the causes of discontent in spring, or negatively face another long, hot summer. The prompt establishment of a genuine civilian police review board independent of the city administration, the creation of a municipal job program for youth, and the appointment of a qualified Puerto Rican to the school board are three among many steps that must now be taken.

Many of us who went in the streets last summer to help establish peace know that nothing short of a bold social and economic program can counteract the frustration in the city's ghettos. For social peace cannot exist in a vacuum; it is a byproduct of justice obtained.

I therefore call upon you to meet with the representatives of the Negro and Puerto Rican communities to present now your concrete proposals for implementing the programs that Negro and Puerto Rican leaders urged upon you since last summer—-the same proposals that Dr. King and I emphasized in three days of discussion with you and your aides. I repeat: better to have a well planned spring than a long, hot summer once again.

Bayard Rustin

God Is Going To Rapture Christian Pilots And Let Everyone Else Die

You know, I've always wished someone would make a song about this occasion and dag nabbit, it's finally here! Seriously though, I don't if this is tragically funny or just plain 'ol tragic. It's definitely a searing inferno of hot mess (peep the lines about "astonished liberal clergy." Also, doesn't the piano in the beginning sound suspiciously like the hook for Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow?" I'm just sayin'). Watch below.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

College Student Allegedly Threatened With Expulsion From Campus Housing After Coming Out On Facebook

Nineteen year-old Rochester, Michigan college student Kiah Zabel says since she came out as a lesbian on Facebook, she has threatened with being kicked out of on-campus housing if she doesn't remove the postings from her page. According to the Huffington Post:

"19-year-old Rochester College student Kiah Zabel says she came out as a lesbian on Facebook, posting a photo with the title, "Out...Proud...Lesbian." Shortly after the photo was posted, Zabel says she received a letter from Rochester College's Dean of Students, asking her to remove the photo and caption. "I appreciate your move towards honesty and being the real you, but I'm going to have to insist that you change your Facebook banner picture," Brian Cole is quoted as having written in the letter. "

'Out...Proud...Lesbian' is not really consistent with the heritage of Rochester College and has proven to already be disruptive among fellow students who are really bothered by it." Cole also reportedly went on to note that if Zabel refused to remove the image, she could be kicked out of on-campus housing. 

"I have to hide [my sexual orientation] and I can't talk about it or anything, and I have to conform to everything the school says," Zabel explained to ABC 57. “I just told [the Dean of Students] it wasn't fair and I told him it was discrimination." 

Watch Fox Detroit's report below.


WATCH: Mother Learns To Accept Her Transgender Son

I saw this over at Wonder Man's blog and had to post it. It's so simple, yet touching and honest.

Roland Martin Returns To CNN

CNN contributor Roland Martin, who was suspended by the network after a series of homophobic Superbowl tweets, is set to return, according to Fishbowl DC.

"CNN staff was alerted today on the 10 am conference call that Roland Martin‘s suspension has been lifted. Martin, who hosts “Washington Watch” and is a CNN Contributor, was suspended shortly after Super Bowl Sunday when he wrote tweets that were construed by some to be homophobic. He apologized, but CNN held fast to the suspension until today."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Viola Davis To Play Barbara Jordan In Biopic?

Viola may have found her Oscar-winning role. According to Rod 2.0 and Indie Wire, the actress is reportedly in talks to play Barbara Jordan, the first black woman to be elected to Congress from the South. Jordan was also a lesbian.

This time Viola Davis will tackle the life story of Barbara Jordan to be based on the 2000 biography Barbara Jordan: American Hero, written by Mary Beth Rogers. Paris Barclay will direct from a script adapted by Emmy-nominated writer Paris Qualles (primarily written for TV). 

 A little about Barbara Jordan... she was the first African American to serve in the Texas Senate since Reconstruction, the first black woman elected to Congress from the South, and the first to deliver the keynote address at a national party convention. 

 But, given how private a life she led, Jordan was considered something of a mystery, even to her close friends - friends who didn't know about the illness that would eventually kill her at just 59 years old.

Hopefully Viola, who would act as a producing partner along with her husband, will not shy away from Jordan's sexuality and her 30-year relationship with educational psychologist Nancy Earl. It's not often black women, gay or straight, get the big screen biopic treatment (which I'm assuming hoping this will be), so it's paramount that all of the story be told.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kirk Cameron Says Gay Friends Support Piers Morgan Comments

Hot damn here we go again. After spouting his view that homosexuality is unnatural, detrimental and destruction to the foundation of society on Piers Morgan last week and rightly receiving an avalanche of criticism for it, Kirk Cameron has responded with a statement.

"I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community,” Cameron says. “That is not true. I can assuredly say that it’s my life’s mission to love all people. I should be able to express moral views on social issues, especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years — without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach ‘tolerance’ that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I’m in the public square.” Cameron adds, “I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect. I’ve been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally).”

Let's break this BS down bit by bit, shall we? First of all, Kirk just because you say being gay is unnatural with a smile on your face like you've just had a lobotomy doesn't mean it's any less anti-gay than the Crypt Keeper (a.k.a Fred Phelps) and his pitiful crew shouting "God Hates Fags" and picketing funerals. True, the latter may be more offensive and in your face, but calling my and other LGBT people's sexuality detrimental and destructive to very foundations of society isn't exactly a pat on the back.

Secondly, why is it every time a public figure, usually a religious leader or conservative politician/activists, says something and is criticized for it, they automatically pull the "I'm being persecuted" card? Why do they expect to just cough up word vomit in a vacuum with no consequences? Freedom of speech goes both ways. But back to Kirk. Hon, this is not 1960, (or 1970 or 1980 for that matter). If you spew unfounded crap about the gays and your only justification is a book written by desert nomads who thought the world was flat and who endorse stoning disobedient children, stoning rape victims who didn't scream loud enough, slavery and other assorted atrocities, people are going to call you out on it.   You exercised your First Amendment right and now others are doing the same. So cut the martyr crap, m'kay? Save that for tithing time.

Also, debate?  Modern psychology has pretty much come to the conclusion that while sexuality is not 100 percent understood, people do not choose their orientation, and attempts to change it do more harm than good. And science, which you seem allergic to (this is the same man who wanted to put an argument for intelligent design in Origin of Species so readers "could be get both sides") acknowledged that homosexuality is widespread in the animal kingdom, of which we are a part. Sorry to burst that bubble. Of course, I'm not saying we should pattern all of our behavior from animals--they sometimes eat their young, rape and kill as well--but only to make the point that homosexuality, far being from unnatural, actually occurs in nature, with neither the act nor attractions having any tangible negative consequences unique to it. The keyword being tangible. So unless you've got some concrete evidence outside of scriptures or bad, debunked ex-gay research, there is no debate. The show is over, say goodbye.

Finally, you just had to whip out the gay friends (notice how they always come from the shadows after a backlash) didn't you? Not that I'm calling you a liar. I'm sure you've got loads of gay friends--queens who sashay up the church aisle like they're in Milan or a few macho man deacons. Maybe a couple of lesbians that teach Sunday school. You know, the kind who've been brainwashed to feel who they are is a sin, but with enough prayer and throwing themselves at the altar for "forgiveness" they can find that magical vagina or enchanted penis that will make them hetero. Or at the very least they can squeak on by into heaven despite their abominable nature, if Joel Osteen's to be believed. No tea or shade to those friends, if they exist. I've been there, done that, got the fab fitted tee. But there's a hell of difference the gay "friends" you sight and the gals I know.

Or even the ones you may know. Like Oral Robert's grandson Randy Roberts Potts, who said, " Kirk may feel that he is defending the ‘underpinning of Western civilization’ through his words, but in reality they are harming those whom he claims to love. I hope that he will continue to study and pray on how he can demonstrate true Christian love toward gay and lesbian people."

I'm sure all of this like talking (or typing) to a brick wall. I get it: you've got your mind made up, you're souled out and all that jazz. But don't pretend your faith in what's most likely an imaginary Sky Daddy automatically gives you credibility and immunity from any criticism. Lastly, a word of advice: if you're going to pull some gay friends out of thin air, how about letting them speak? I mean if they support you they should have no problem being quoted. Unless of course, they're imaginary too.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mamma Mia!

For those in the mood for a little man candy, I figured Mario Borelli would be the perfect evening treat. For those who don't know who he is, I have two things to say: 1)You may or may not be a newcomer to the blog; otherwise you'd know my fondness for Mario's,,,,assets. If you're the latter, welcome:). 2) Sit back and behold Mr. Borelli's beautiful physique in a few NSFW vids after the jump.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fourth Man Charged In Atlanta Gay Bashing

Via Rod 2.0:

A fourth man has been charged in the brutal beating of Brandon White, the 20-year-old gay man whose assaulted outside a grocery store was captured and broadcast across the Internet.

"A Fulton County grand jury indicted Javaris Bradford, 24, along with Dorian Moragne, Darael Demare Williams and Christopher Deon Cain for attacking 20-year-old Brandon White on Feb. 4.

The four men were indicted on Feb. 24, and are charged with two counts of aggravated assault, one count of robbery and one count of participation in criminal street gang activity.

Bradford currently is not in police custody, according to Atlanta Police.

Moragne was granted $40,000 bond Friday, but was on probation at the time of the alleged attack and is now awaiting a probation revocation hearing, according to his attorney, Jay Abt."

Watch AJC's report below.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thandie Newton and Viola Davis: Natural Hair and Black Beauty

Hmmm, maybe Viola's started something. Thandie Newton has decided to cast aside the Motions/Dark N' Lovely/TCB box in favor of rocking her own natural hair. Newton's motivation comes from wanting to set an example for her daughters Ripley and Nico. "I don't want my daughters to judge their beautiful curls," she said. According to The Daily Mail:

"The British star, 39, said she stopped using chemical relaxers typically used by black women to straighten their locks after seeing comic Chris Rock's documentary film Good Hair. The movie enlightened her to the fact that the products contain enough of the corrosive substance Lye - more commonly known as caustic soda - to dissolve a Coke can. She added: 'The stigma with some black women seems to be that "nappy hair" (natural afro hair) is almost as bad as loo roll trailing from your shoe."

Although she was inspired by Chris Rock's film, Viola's stunning turn at the Oscars probably had a lil' something to do with this as well. At least that's my guess. Although I was slightly disappointed with the Oscar fashion overall, Voila's do', along with that fantastic dress, she wore, was one of the highlights of evening. Seriously, when's the last time you've seen a major black female celebrity walk a red carpet sans anything adorning her head, save for the hair she was born with?  Don't worry I'll wait....exactly. It was a great moment that could inspire black girls and women, both famous and non-famous, to do the same. And it's great Thandie wants to make her children feel comfortable in their own skin, or in this case with their own hair. Too many times I think parents, or mothers, rush their little girls into the salon for that first perm and press before they've even learned how to tie their shoes. I hope Thandie and Viola's decision to wear their hair in a natural style will help people recognize that a black woman doesn't have to sew in a mound of extensions or plop on a lace front to be gorgeous.  But this did leave me pondering a few things.

Personally, I don't care if anyone, be it a man or woman, wants to weave it up, slap on a wig, chemically straighten or color their hair. No one should feel like they have to conform or repress their aesthetic preferences in fear of being viewed as less authentically black by "holier than thou" uber-Afrocentric types.

Ya'll know who I'm talking about--the ones who smell like a bodega, extol the virtues of alien dome-shaped head wraps or foot long Predator dreads while sucking their teeth at the rest of us, swear off fried food but will devour a two piece and a biscuit with dirty rice like it's their last meal, and spout Malcom X, Huey Newton and Marcus Garvey quotes before they'll tell you what time it is. All while often engaging in the same homophobic, racist, misogynistic, misandrous or other morally questionable  behavior they criticize the "niggas with golds" (five points to whomever can guess where that comes from; a hint: ATLiens:) and girls with "hair weaves by Europeans and fake nails done by Koreans" (no points--that's too easy:)" for. But I digress.

To me using relaxers, weaves, wigs and such only become an issue when the individual in question feels that they aren't or cannot beautiful without them. That something is "wrong" or "ugly" about their natural hair. Then the issue becomes not about looks or fashion, but about self-esteem and self-image. Of course, this problem would probably be helped if more black folks, black women in particular (since they're usually the ones straightening their hair), chose to put down the lye cream and wore their natural, kinky hair as is. So it's a catch-22.

To sum it up: I'm happy that Viola (if only for one appearance--hopefully not) and Thandie have decided to go au natural. It sends a good message and adds another splash of much needed diversity into images of black female beauty.  But where do we draw the line between being proud of and reveling in the glory of our natural, African hair and restricting others' freedom (through judgement, side-eyes and so on) to do whatever they want with their locs? Discuss.

Putting Holes In Happiness (My Debut AAH Article!)

Check out my first (hopefully of many) article for African Americans for Humanism's blog page, entitled "Puttng Holes in Happiness," which talks about why many of us feel compelled to plaster a smile on our face even when we're feeling anything but cheery . Here's a sneak peak:

"Why should I be expected to feel like kissing the sky every second of every minute of every hour of every day? Why should any of us? Like anything else, this put-on-a-happy-face mentality is ingrained in us because of the culture we grew up in. In America, we are raised to believe the picture of happiness is someone practically skipping down the street, grinning from ear to ear and greeting everyone they meet with a bear hug, and that walking into a room with a wave and solemn nod indicates that something is wrong. There is little or no middle ground. 

In my view, religion exacerbates this way of thinking ... How many of us have sat in church services and heard a minister rail against "spirits" of depression, worry, fear, and so on? Believing that allowing yourself to experience said emotions is sinful adds guilt on top of whatever else you are feeling at the moment, and cannot be good for one's mental health, in either the long term or short term. Those who do suffer from genuine mental disabilities suffer even more from this line of thinking, as they are often encouraged to pray or trust in God rather than get the proper medication or psychological treatment, the latter still carrying the stigma of "something white folks do." 

 Read the rest HERE.
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