Breaking News

When the past is present…

“…The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” James Baldwin


Google Launches ‘Lynching In America’ Project Exploring Country’s Violent Racial History

By Zeba Blay,

GOOGLE/EJI. “Confronting the legacy of racial terror.”

The history of lynching and racial terror in America is the focus of an ambitious new project launched Tuesday by Google, in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative.

Google has helped create a new interactive site titled “Lynching in America,” which is based on an 80-page publication by the EJI. Its research has been adapted into a powerful visual narrative about the horror and brutality that generations of black Americans have faced.

The site consists of audio stories from the descendants of lynching victims, and a documentary short called “Uprooted,” which chronicles the impact of lynching on black families. The project also includes an interactive map that details locations of racial terror lynchings, complete with profiles of the victims and the stories behind their deaths….

“Google has been able to take what we know about lynching, and what we have heard from the families, and what we have seen in the spaces and the communities where these acts of terror took place, and make that knowledge accessible to a lot more people,” said Bryan Stevenson, founder of EJI, in a press release. “To create a platform for hearing and understanding and seeing this world that we’ve lived through.”

To read the full article click here.

To learn more about this project click here.

To read more Breaking news click here.


‘Genocide Project’–Study Shows Shocking Stats of Blacks Murdered In Brazil

By Tanasia Kenney,

An overwhelming majority of murder victims in Brazil are of African descent, statistics showed. (Photo by Fabio Teixeira /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The killings of African descendants in Brazil has gotten so bad that a researcher has dubbed the South American nation a “genocide project” of Black people.

A recent study by the Institute for Applied Economic Research and the Brazilian Forum of Public Safety, released Monday, June 5, found that Afro-Brazilians are 23.5 percent more likely to be killed than any other ethnic group in the country. Researchers’ appropriately titled “2017 Violence Atlas” also revealed that for every 100 murders in Brazil, 71 are of Black Brazilians.

“It’s not by chance that most people who die are Black, [and] that the majority of those incarcerated are Black people,” said lawyer, researcher and actress Dina Alves, who studies race, gender and class in Brazil. “It’s the state that kills when police kill.”

“We die because of our color,” says lawyer, researcher and actress Dina Alves. In an interview, she explains how just being black in Brazil is seen as a crime in the criminal law system.

Alves, an outspoken supporter of the rights of Afro-Brazilians, said the staggering numbers are proof that Brazil is virtually exterminating its Black population. In a sit-down interview with Black Women of Brazil last year, she discussed how simply being Black is often viewed as a crime in Brazil’s criminal law system.

“For us, Black women and men and indigenous, we are still in the fight for reaffirmation of our humanity and political existence,” Alves said….

Data complied by the atlas was based on information obtained by the Mortality Information System of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, TeleSUR reported. The statistics indicated that in 2007, Brazil’s homicide rate was 48,000 people per year. By 2015, the number of Brazilians murdered each year had jumped to 59,080. A large majority of the victims were young, uneducated Afro-Brazilians who lived on the outskirts of large cities….

In just the first five months of 2017, “the total number of murders in the country surpassed the number of people killed in all of the terrorist attacks in the world,” researchers wrote.

Read the full article here.

Read the full interview with Dina Alves here.









Black hair restrictions in schools are a return to the Black Codes

By David A. Love,

…As kids throughout the country get out of school for the summer, it is a perfect time to reflect on all of the Black children who, over the course of the past semester, have been punished, disciplined or otherwise called out and singled out for wearing braids, locks, natural hair or any other culturally expressive hairstyle. Studying while Black, apparently, is a thing.

The Cook sisters at Fenway Park.

Consider some of the outrageous incidents that have taken place. In the Boston area, 15-year-old twin sisters faced detention and suspension for wearing braids, which their charter school claimed was a violation of the dress code. Mya and Deanna Cook, sophomores at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, Mass., were banned from the prom and stripped of their extracurricular activities and sports team privileges for violating the school’s prohibition on wearing extensions.

…[In] 2009, a white Milwaukee teacher cut off the braid of Lamya Cannon, 7, because the girl was playing with her hair. After cutting off Lamya’s hair in front of the class, the teacher sent the girl back to her desk. Would this ever happen to a white girl with pigtails? And could we ever envision a Black teacher doing this to said white girl?…

Tiona Norris, a self-described “unapologetically black mom” of a young schoolgirl, tweeted this note from her daughter’s teacher and commented, factually,  that coconut oil has no stinky smell.

These days, when some in white America claim they are taking their country back, all the way up to the White House, it is no accident that Black children are punished for their Blackness. We know the studies about the disproportionate discipline against Black children, and black girls in particular. This is part of the school-to-prison pipeline, a regime of punishment following kids through adulthood. Most of all, it is an effort to monitor their bodies, not unlike the Black Codes established during Jim Crow to restrict the activities and labor of Black people and maintain white supremacy….

These codes, like the so-called dress codes in place at some schools today, serve the same purpose–to normalize whiteness and criminalize Blackness. When schools tell Black children the hair God gave them is an issue of bad hygiene and grooming, what they mean is they think Black people and their hair are less desirable. Some things never change. Institutional racism, not the hair, must change.

Read David A. Love’s article for in its entirety here.

Read about how Black people are disproportionately punished in other institutions here.

Read about the Five Pillars of Jim Crow here.

Read about the education of Black children in the Jim Crow South here.

Read more Breaking News here.


The Bookish Magic Of Black Women Is Getting A Literary Festival

By Claire Fallon,

The Well-Read Black Girl has come a long way in just a couple of years.

Pictured: Glory Edim. By Sandra Hong.

Founded by creative strategist Glory Edim, the digital book club started as a way for her to talk about books with her friends. She took the name from a custom T-shirt her boyfriend gave her ― a nod to her bookishness ― and began posting book recommendations on Instagram. Now it’s an online community of more than 20,000, and Edim has begun regularly hosting in-person meetings as well.

Next up: A conference and festival held in Brooklyn, New York, which will be all about celebrating black women authors and creating a space for black women to share their literary passions and experiences….

More important, the book world still frequently fails to make its spaces welcoming and inclusive of people of color, especially black women, or relegates them to token events addressing diversity or race in literature. Preceding the established festival with an event for black women provides a counterbalance to the whiteness of most shared literary spaces, an opportunity for black girls and women to celebrate their nerdy sides in a sisterly atmosphere….

The festival addresses a long-neglected group of book readers, so it should be no surprise that Well-Read Black Girls has seen a surge of demand. Edim launched a Kickstarter on June 3 to support the event, and as of Tuesday morning had been funded to $17,000, exceeding its $15,000 goal.

Read the full article here.

Read more breaking news here.


#SaveUnderground: Aisha Hinds on Freedom Dreams and Revolutionary Art

Treva B. Lindsey, Ph.D.,

Aisha Hinds (Manny Carabel/Getty Images)

Last week, WGN America announced that it had canceled the critically acclaimed and riveting historical drama Underground. Allegedly moving in a more conservative, programming direction, the network is leaving behind a show that introduced millions of viewers to the relatively unknown network….

The push to find a new home for this show is largely due to its dynamism. The show is singular and remarkable in its approach to telling the stories about enslaved and freed black people in the 19th century. From its complex characters, stellar performances, breathtaking soundtrack and rich storytelling, each episode feels like a multitextured journey.

The liberties taken with historical accuracy do not compromise the integrity of truth telling and historical precision as it pertains to slavery and resistance. Pitting the notorious Patty Cannon against the Black Rose and one of the greatest heroines in American history, Harriet Tubman, was an incredible fictionalized remix of true stories of fugitive, formerly enslaved people and the inhumanity of slave catchers and owners. It’s hard to imagine Wednesday nights without the resistive spirit and depths of ancestral pain that Underground has provided….

“She’s come back to sort of give us the playbook on how to strategize, on how to pray, on how to be guided and how to prioritize what’s necessary, and how to eventually take those selfless acts and be willing to die for the causes that are important to moving us forward,” she continued.

Worth dying for, yes. Tubman believed that black lives, black bodies and black souls were worth fighting for—worth dying for and worth living for. “The General’s” actual practice was #BlackLivesMatter, generations before the radical black women at the core of this movement would proclaim the same.

Underground is clear in its purpose: to expose the reality that when it comes to white supremacy—and the ways in which black people have always resisted oppression—past is often prologue. In many ways, Underground reminds us that the past is not even past. It encourages us to fight unrelentingly for radical black futures….

#SaveUnderground matters because the show’s cast and crew were and are unapologetically committed to telling our stories. From an artistic standpoint, Underground is phenomenal. The show’s commitment to a radical, black, freedom-fighting imagination, though, is what makes it invaluable.

Underground is the show, the freedom-dreaming experience, the ancestral battle cry, that we didn’t know we needed.

Read the full article here.

Read more Breaking News here.


Nominate Your Picks for a List of the Most Influential African Americans

The Root Staff,

2016 honorees for The Root 100 (Derrick Davis/The Root)

Every year The Root pays tribute to black innovators, leaders and world changers with The Root 100, our annual list of the most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45. And now it’s time for you, the public, to help shape this list by nominating the people you think represent the best and brightest in the fields of social justice, politics, entertainment, sports, media, the arts, science/technology and business who caught your attention this year….

The Root 100 has always had its share of celebrities, superstar athletes and well-known political figures….But we’re also looking for those figures who work tirelessly in the community to speak truth to power….

From now until June 20, please take a moment to tell [] about those extraordinary individuals who exemplify excellence while also elevating the causes of the black community. Over the next few months, The Root staff will collect your nominations and put them through a unique algorithm that will generate a score for substance and reach that will determine each person’s rankings. We will announce the complete list later this year.

Please take a moment to fill out the nomination form.

Read the full article here.

Read more Breaking News here.


Michael Bennett Has Earned Our Respect. It’s Time We Show It.

By Jordan Schultz, HuffPost Black Voices

Michael Bennett is one of the NFL’s good guys, explains columnist Jordan Schultz in his article for the Huffington Post.

Michael Zagaris via Getty Images

This is why it’s surprising to see how Bennett has drawn the ire of prominent sports journalists, including ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, as well as a local sports columnist. It’s unfair that his name was dragged through the mud. Bennett is a unique person and by all accounts a great person ― and he has done nothing wrong.

In an article published two weeks ago in The Seattle Times, Matt Calkins heavily criticized the Seattle Seahawks star defensive end for lashing out at a local TV reporter who was questioning him after a game. Calkins didn’t contact the TV reporter before publishing his column. If he had, he would have found out Bennett had privately apologized to him. Calkins penned an apology when he realized his mistake ― but the damage was done.

Bennett, who plays one of the league’s most violent positions, is one of its most gentle and caring people. The former undrafted free agent is a highly dedicated member of the community and one of the team’s most respected members.

In March, the 31-year-old Bennett announced that he would donate 100 percent of his endorsements to helping minority communities and empowering women of color. Additionally, he will also donate half of his jersey sales to inner-city garden projects.

Bennett’s honesty and conviction might scare people, but sports fans ― even those who disagree with his opinions ― should be promoting it. What matters is that Bennett doesn’t merely have an opinion, but he believes in it strongly enough to stand up for himself.

For more on Michael Bennett and his work within the community, read the full article here.

To learn about how race can negatively impact perception, and why its important for news media (including sports) to start supporting outspoken black influencers like Michael Bennett here.

Read about the crucial role that Black press has in our society here.

Read more Breaking News here.


College Student Who Missed His Graduation Because of NYC Train Delays Gets Impromptu Ceremony From Commuters

Breanna Edwards,

Jerich Alcantara (Fox 5 NY screenshot)

When the New York City subway system fails, New Yorkers come through. More specifically, commuters came through for a Hunter College student who missed his commencement Tuesday morning because of train delays: They gave him his own impromptu ceremony in the train car so he wouldn’t miss out.

According to Fox 5 NY, Jerich Alcantara was on the E train traveling from the borough of Queens to his graduation, which was scheduled for 10 a.m. at Hunter’s Brookdale campus in Manhattan, all decked out in his purple cap and gown. However, as luck would have it, at around 9 a.m. the train got stuck in the tunnel, where it would sit for more than three hours….

“I announced to the whole train—I said, ‘Hey, guy, thanks for coming out today to see me walk and graduate,’” he said….

“We got my buddy to hand me the diploma that he drew up on his phone, and he handed it to me, shook my hand like he was the dean; it was great,” Alcantara said….


By the time he and his family made it to the venue, the ceremony was long over, but a few of his close friends from the nursing program told him to meet them in the auditorium.

“And they played some music for me there as well,” he said. “They had me walk down the center aisle, walk across the stage just as if I was doing graduation with them.”

As for his diploma, the president of Hunter College told the news station that she was looking forward to handing it to Alcantara personally.

Read the full story here.

Read more breaking news here.


Gina Prince-Bythewood Will Be The First Black Woman To Direct A Super Hero Film

By Marquita Harris,


It’s only May, but 2017 has already been a major year for director Gina Prince-Bythewood. The Shots Fired creator is now confirmed to direct the Spider-Man spinoff, Silver & Black, according to Deadline. The feature film is based on the characters Silver Sable and Black Cat (a.k.a. Felicia Hardy).

Not many women have been granted the opportunity to be the front woman of a major superhero film, let alone a woman of color. Prince-Bythewood will be the first Black woman to do so, as noted by The Root….

According to Deadline, the first order for the 47-year-old will be to rewrite the Silver & Black script which was originally written by Christopher Yost, the man behind 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. As for what we can expect from Prince-Bythewood is anyone’s guess.

In addition to her recent series, Shots Fired (which just ended with a banger of a season finale last week), she also directed the pilot for Marvel’s forthcoming Cloak & Dagger series which will soon air on Freeform in 2018. Prince-Bythewood is the woman responsible for such heartstring-tugging features like Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights. It’ll be interesting to see her approach to tackling romance in the testosterone-filled world of the superhero genre…

Not to mention, last year director Ava DuVernay also made headlines when it was announced that she was the first African-American woman to direct a film with a $100 million budget.

Read the full article here.

Read more breaking news here.


Afro-Feminist Festival Calls Out Mayor For Accusing Them Of Racism

By: Zahara Hill, HuffPost Black Voices

Zahara Hill reports backlash of a black feminist event— the Nyansapo Festival— scheduled to commence July 28 in Paris by the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo.

Organized by the Mwasi Collective, the festival was “to be a safe space for black feminists to curate sociopolitical strategies to overcome marginalization and oppression.” Unfortunately, the event caused controversy with “far right and anti-racism organizations calling foul after it came out that most of the event’s activities would occur in racially exclusive spaces.”

Hill quotes an interpretation of the mayor’s tweet:

“A translated tweet from Hidalgo on Sunday revealed she took issue with the festival being “forbidden to whites” and that she would even consider prosecuting the event organizers for discrimination.”

However, after a discussion with the Mwasi Collective the mayor came to a solution, as revealed in a later tweet:

“The festival organized in a public place will be open to all. Non-mixed workshops will be held elsewhere, in a strictly private setting…”

PC: Mwasi Collective

Controversy ensued when the Mwasi Collective claimed that the “set-up didn’t change as a result of a conversation with Hidalgo; they’d already intended for the “non-mixed” workshops to take place on private property…”

According to Hill, the Nyansapo festival will proceed, and so will the continuation of white fragility in the City of Lights.

Read the full article here
Read more Breaking News here