Day: July 21, 2008

Accolades ObamaNation Politics TV

ObamaNation: Tavis Smiley No-Likey Barack Obama

TV talk show and radio host Tavis Smiley seems to be a bit frazzled by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

“There is no such thing in America as race transcendence, and Obama’s going to find that out real soon,” Smiley tells the AP. “There’s no such thing as ‘post-racial’ in America, because if you push the envelope too far, you’re going to hear about it.”

Smiley’s negative outlook on Obama seems to stem from Obama’s decision not to appear on Smiley’s annual State of the Black Union cablecast on C-SPAN last February, which prompted Smiley to criticize Obama on-air. Smiley’s remarks sent black bloggers into a frenzy, with Smiley at the center of their apparent rage.

“Just because Barack Obama is black, doesn’t mean he gets a pass on being held accountable on issues that matter to black people,” Smiley says. “This is what I do—asking critical questions. Now some of you regard it as keeping a brother down, holding a brother back. Because you regard it that way, you don’t understand that this is the role that I’ve always played.”

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Africa Race Matters

Report: Albinos Fear For Their Lives In Tanzania

Long ostracized for their lack of pigmentation–and believed to be bad omens–albinos are now fearing for their lives in Tanzania, according to the BBC.

Last year, 25 albinos were killed in Tanzania. Although the exact reasons for the killings have not been pinpointed, it is speculated that Albinos have become the target of sorcery and the occult. Most recently, a 7-month-old baby and an adult man were mutilated for their body parts, which are believed to be valuable for potions.

While albinism occurs 1 in every 20,000 people worldwide, Tanzania offers the highest rate with 4,000 albinos registered in the country and as much as 173,000 believed to be a more accurate count.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete is pushing for the police to offer protection for albinos, as many are moving closer to safer, urban areas.

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Fashion Ga Ga

Ga Ga: Blindie’s Fave ‘Look Book’ Besties

In its latest Look Book column, New York magazine profiles three pairs of BFFs–and their complementary style. Now, Blindie’s going ga ga for the brownest pair: stylist Mengly Hernandez and her best friend, photographer Naila Ruechel.

Recalling their first meeting five years ago, Ruechel says Hernandez “had this big hair and was so beautiful, and I said, ‘Can I photograph you?'”

Hernandez, the more reserved of the duo, says, “I don’t open myself up to people very often. You can’t, because most people are looking for an opportunity.”

But Ruechel went out on a limb, saving the opportunity for their now-five-year-friendship: “I was just like, ‘Girl, relax. It’s gonna be all right.’ She’s gotten much better, though.”

Blindie recently spotted Ms. Mengly on one of our favorite sites, LadyGunn.com, where she appeared on the cover of the online magazine’s inaugural issue.

PHOTO: Glenn Glasser for New York magazine

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Al Sharpton Says...

Al Sharpton Says: The Latest Statements From the Media-Appointed Leader of All Blacks

We must be very clear that Senator Obama, in my judgment, is running for president for all Americans, not just African Americans.

–Sharpton on his wishes that Jesse Jackson’s ‘crude’ comments about Barack Obama “had not gone public.” But since they have gone public, he’s “happy” that Jackson has apologized and is hoping “people will remember the great work he’s done in this country.”

PHOTO: AP

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Advertisements Fashion Ga Ga Movies TV

Ga Ga: JCPenney Remakes The Breakfast Club

Because we love The Breakfast Club and we love Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” we are just ga ga for JCPenney’s new back-to-school commercial–we know it’s low-rent, but hey, we can’t help that a department store’s commercial puts a smile on our face!

Saatchi & Saatchi recreated all of the best scenes from John Hughes classic ’80s film: Emilio Estevez’ sweatshirt tug; Ally Sheedy pouring a sugar straw on a sandwich; the post smoke-up dance-a-thon, including Molly Ringwald’s Carltonesque dance on the library landing; everyone running and sliding down the halls. Totally awesome!

And the best part–it’s diverse! There were actual real live black people recreating The Breakfast Club–a black girl even takes over Ringwald’s popular girl role.

Granted, it’s a rip-off of one of the all-time greatest teen angst films ever, and yeah, they could’ve at least sprung for the original recording of the song, but we’re willing to overlook all that.

Someone finally loaded the commercial on YouTube so we can watch it over and over again!

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Europe Feuds Music Race Matters

Johnny Rotten Denies Attack on Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke

Kele Okereke, of the English indie band Bloc Party, claimed he was attacked over the weekend by members of Johnny Rotten’s entourage backstage at the Summercase Festival in Barcelona.

In a statement, Okereke says he approached Rotten (real name: John Lydon) and asked about the possibility of a reunion for Public Image Ltd.–the band Rotten formed after the break up of the Sex Pistols in the late 1970s.

Rotten then became “intimidating and aggressive while his entourage responded with a racist tirade, including the statement, ‘Your problem is your black attitude.'” Rotten went on to punch Okereke in the face.

Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson and Foals’ Yannis Philippakis, who came to Okereke’s aid, were also attacked. “It’s not an issue of the physical assault, even though it was an unprovoked attack, it is the fact that race was brought into the matter so readily,” Okereke says.

Rotten denies the attack ever took place. “I feel very sorry for a man who needs to lie about what was a perfect evening,” Rotten says. “It’s a shame that the wonderful world of the media is riddled with nonsense like this.”

Rotten chalks up Okereke’s accusations to jealousy, adding, “When you have achieved as much as I have, come back and talk to me.”

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Ga Ga Music

Ga Ga: Miko Marks, The Next Big Country Singer

Following in the footsteps of Charley Pride–the first African American to achieve considerable success in the white-dominated country music industry–Miko Marks declares, “I’m going to be a big country singer.”

Hailing from Flint, Mich., the stunning country crooner has already recorded two CDs in Nashville with producer Ron Cornelius–a former guitarist for Bob Dylan–and has taken her act on the road playing at malls, nightclubs, and rodeos. She recently kicked off the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo at Rowell Ranch in Calif, where she sang the national anthem.

Miko belts out heartfelt songs with a soulful twang reminiscent of country superstars Reba McEntire and Wynonna Judd. She received considerable airplay on independent radio stations with her single “Mama” off her debut album Freeway Bound (2005).

The video even featured a cameo appearance by neo-soul artist Erykah Badu. But promoting her second album, It Feels Good, recorded on the small Mirrome label, is proving to be a challenge as she realizes there is little attention paid to independent artists on corporate radio stations.

“The major labels just suck up the airtime, so there’s very little to nothing left for the independent artists,” says Miko. “I’m gonna stick with it. I’m not gonna put this down.” Pointing out the embossed butterflies on her guitar, she adds, “These are butterflies, I’m gonna soar just as high as they do.”

We were ga ga for Miko as soon as we heard her belt out, “There’s an unfamiliar freedom callin’ out my name,” on her track “It Feels Good.” We’re even considering getting a 10-gallon hat and joining her fan club!

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