Archive for May, 2011

Will The Real Sugar Ray Leonard …Please Stand Up

Posted in Black Men, Sports News with tags , , , , on May 28, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Black Men In

In his forthcoming autobiography, “The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring,” Hall of Fame Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard reveals that he was sexually abused by unnamed “prominent Olympic boxing coach.”  Whoops!  This revelation comes after Ray writes of his cocaine use, growing up in a home with alcohol abuse and domestic violence, luckily surviving a car wreck with his mother at the wheel, almost drowning in a creek as a child who was unable to swim, and fathering a son at 17.

In the book, Leonard describes sitting in a car in a deserted parking lot with the coach who was talking about how much a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics would mean to his future.  Filled with hope about winning a gold medal Leonard writes the following about the sexual encounter:  “Before I knew it, he had unzipped my pants and put his hand, then mouth, on an area that has haunted me for life. I didn’t scream. I didn’t look at him. I just opened the door and ran.”

Leonard also writes that when he first decided to share the incident he was not going to tell the entire story and write that the coach had stopped short of any contact.  However, after watching actor Todd Bridges tell his story of abuse on the Oprah television show about how he was sexually abused as a kid, Ray decided to tell the whole story, saying that he would never be free unless he revealed the whole truth.

As you might imagine, this revelation has generated some controversy.  A number of people were shocked to hear this story.  Modern day boxing’s original “golden boy” was Ray Leonard, not Oscar De La Hoya, who is suffering from his own addictions.

“This is the first time I’ve ever heard that, and I’ve known Ray since he was just a kid,” Dave Jacobs, who was Leonard’s first trainer as an amateur and later served as assistant trainer for many of his professional fights, said in a telephone interview.  Similar responses have come from those who claim to be in Ray’s inner circle.

This revelation also brings up dirt from Leonard’s past and increases the chances of his current image being tarnished in front of a generation fans who only know him from reality TV shows like “The Contender,” and “Dancing With The Stars.”

Leonard’s book details his travails with drugs, alcohol, infidelity and domestic violence in hi marriage.  One time Leonard pal Harold Bell has a commentary about Leonard on his web site that is over 20 years old written by Terrence Moore who wrote the article for the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper.

Photo:  Harold Bell and Sugar Ray Leonard

Bell and others are scratching their heads about some of the revelations in this book.  They see Leonard as self serving and throwing a deceased Olympic coach who is not alive to defend himself being “thrown under the bus.”

Leonard admits that his relationship with Juanita and their sons, Ray Jr. and Jarrel, suffered.  Ray re-married, started a second family and appears to be doing well.

Why do people care what Ray writes in his book?

Is Ray not telling the whole truth?  Or is an innocent man’s reputation being ruined?  Ray never mentions the coach’s name but insiders believe they know who Ray is talking about and some don’t like this revelation.

At age 55, it seems that Ray Charles Leonard is attempting to set the record straight and some folks have a problem with him doing that or perhaps they don’t like the way he’s doing it.

Click here to read Terrence Moore’s article on Ray Leonard on Harold Bell’s  HB Legends web site.

What do you think?

Gil Scott-Heron The Voice of Black Culture Dead at 62

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Music and Video Releases with tags , , , on May 28, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

Gil Scott-Heron, the poet and recording artist whose unique voice and syncopated rhythmic style and views on politics, racism and other social issues died on Friday (May 27, 2011) at St. Luke’s Hospital in Manhattan.  He was 62 years old.

Scott-Heron preferred to call himself a “bluesologist,” drawing on the traditions of blues, jazz and Harlem Renaissance poetics.  He often bristled at the notion of being known as the “Godfather of Rap.”   However, one can make a solid argument that modern day rap borrowed heavily from the stylistic inflections, intonations and tones of Gil Scott-Heron. 

Whether he wants it or not, the accolades awarded to Gil Scott-Heron by young rappers and musical artists are proof of his legacy.  When news of his death became public artist such as Diddy, Eminem, Usher, Snoop Dogg, QuestLove and Chuck D. immediately took to Twitter to pay their respects to the man who influenced them and their music.  That says a lot about the legacy of Gil Scott Heron.

The song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” made Gil Scott Heron a cult-like figure in 1971.

Gil Scott-Heron released more than 20 albums, and his work was included in more than 10 compilations.  He was also an accomplished author.  He published six novels, one of which — a mystery called “The Vulture” — came out when he was just 19.  He was one of the first acts that music executive Clive Davis signed after launching Arista Records.  By the mid-1980’s Scott-Heron started to fade from the public eye.  In recent years he’s had a very public battle with addiction, most notably cocaine.  Since 2001, Scott-Heron was convicted twice for cocaine possession, and he served a sentence at  Rikers Island prison in New York for parole violation.

Despite these challenges, Scott-Heron managed to get out and tour.  Still a cult figure to many, Gil Scott-Heron last year released an album of new material, his first in 16 years.  Gil Scott-Heron’s latest release, “I’ll Take Care Of You,” is available on his official web site located at

For an exclusive and behind-the-scenes look at Gil Scott-Heron click here to check out Jamie Byng, publisher  of Canongate Books.  Jamie was a friend of Gil Scott-Heron for more than 20 years. During 2010 they recorded this interview in London where Scott-Heron talked about his life and work, interspersed with intimate performances of his music.  A fuller version of the film is scheduled to be released later in 2011.

Here’s another popular Gil Scott-Heron song, “The Bottle.”

Sources:  Associated Press, New York Times, Washington Post,,  Huffington

Photo credit:  Mischa Richter

Black Women No Longer Have Their Essence

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Guest Columnists, Women's Interests with tags , , on May 26, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Essence Magazine used to be the preeminent magazine for Black women in the U.S.  They, like many Black publications, have lost their relevance; and in the process become an embarrassment to the very group they claim to target.

Essence was founded in 1968 by Ed Lewis, Clarence Smith, Cecil Hollingworth, Jonathan Blount and Denise Clark.  Their initial circulation began at around 50,000 per month and now is estimated to be over 1 million per month.  It is a monthly publication focusing on Black women between the ages of 18 and 49.  Essence was bought out by Time Inc. in 2005, thus no longer being a Black owned publication (similar to B.E.T.).

The impetus behind the founding of Essence was to show a side of Black women that was never portrayed in the mainstream media.  Images of Black women were controlled by white media outlets that had little to no knowledge of the Black community.  Most of these images were very stereotypical and lacking substance.

There were unique issues relevant to Black women that other publications were totally ignorant of.  Black women could not wear the same makeup that white women could—there are differences in skin type.  Black women have unique issues when it comes to styling their hair—there were no mainstream publications that dealt with these differences.

So, initially, Essence met a very real need and provided a venue for Black women to share common experiences with each other (remember, this was pre-internet days when you didn’t have all the instant communication we have today).

Essence portrayed Black women in the most positive of lights.  They made Black women feel proud to be Black and female!  That was then, this is now.

Now, Essence is just another Hollywood rag (focused on Black women), sprinkled with a few substantive, positive stories; but, that is no longer their focus!

I looked at the cover picture for the past year and each cover featured an entertainer.  Isn’t this the same stereotyping that we have accused white media of—showing Blacks as only entertainers?  There is nothing wrong with having entertainers on the cover, but is that all there is to offer Black women?

I can guarantee that most Black women have never heard of Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, Alicia Jillian Hardy, or Katie Washington.

When I went on Essence Music Festival’s website and looked at the speakers listed under “Empowerment”I was stunned and quite embarrassed!

The Essence Music Festival is the nation’s largest annual gathering of Black musical talent in the U.S.  It is a 3 day event filled with cultural celebrations, empowerment panels, and nightly entertainment by some of the biggest names in music.  It is held in New Orleans, LA every July.  The event attracts more than 200,000 people.

One of the speakers listed under “Empowerment” is “NeNe” Leakes.  She is one of the main characters of the reality TV show, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”  The show is about the private lives of women who are dating or is married to successful men in the Atlanta area.

Leakes is a foul mouth, angry, nasty person on the show and from media accounts in real life also.  She is also the founder of Twisted Hearts Foundation (which focuses on domestic violence against women).  They were forced to close down last year after being suspected of money laundering.  Leakes is also a former stripper.

One of the other speakers listed under “Empowerment” is Shaunie O’Neal, former wife of N.B.A. great Shaquille O’Neal.  She is the executive producer of “Basketball Wives.”  The women’s only claim to fame is that they either dated or were married to a pro basketball player.  They have nor had no identity outside the athletes they were involved with.

Both shows portray women in the worst light imaginable—using high profile men to get fame and fortune.  These women then try to exploit their former relationships to get their own TV show.  They are paid to tell the most intimate details of their former relationships.

Essence, could you please tell me how these two women fit into your mission of uplifting the Black woman?  What can they teach women about “empowerment?”  Is this really the image of Black women Essence wants to promote?  There are many women who could fit into your mission statement.

By the way, Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander was the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in America (1921).  Alicia Jillian Hardy is the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D from M.I.T. in mechanical engineering (2007).  Katie Washington, a 21 year old, became the first Black female valedictorian in the history of  Notre Dame University (2010).  She gave a wonderful speech (

One would think that Ms. Hardy and Washington deserved to be on the cover for their achievements; and most assuredly know a little something about empowerment!  Oh, I forgot, they are not entertainers, so they don’t qualify.

In times past, Black women used to look forward to reading Essence Magazine for upliftment.  That was then, this is now.  Black women no longer have the Essence of their mother and grandmother.

In Essence, there is no essence!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine ( & U.S. Africa Magazine ( 


Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on May 26, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Raynard Jackson

Rick Welts, “I’m gay.”  Don Lemon, “I’m gay.”  Will Sheridan, “I’m gay.” Uhhhhhhhhhh,  ENOUGH!

Who cares?  Does the public really care about their sex lives?  Who these people choose to be romantic with is of no concern to me and should be of no concern to those who know them.

Rick Welts is the president of the Phoenix Suns professional basketball team.  He is very well respected and is considered one of the best executives in all of professional sports.  Don Lemon is a weekend anchor for CNN news in Atlanta.  Will Sheridan played college basketball for Rutgers University (and is now an aspiring singer).

This week each of them, independent of each other, all admitted in the media that they were gay.  They were not caught in some compromising position and threatened with blackmail.  They just felt the public had a “right” to know.

Here is what Lemon had to say, “I think if you’re going to be in the business of news {as a reporter}, and telling people the truth, of trying to shed light in dark places, then you’ve got to be honest. You’ve got to have the same rules for yourself as you do for everyone else.”

Are you kidding me?  One of the supposed tenets of journalism is to report what happens and not become part of the story.  What does his sexual preference have to do with his reporting on a story?  So, Mr. Lemon, I want to know how much money you make, your home address, your cell and home numbers, your social security number, the name and address of your parents, etc.

Lemon is basically saying that we, the public, have a “right” to know his deepest, darkest, most private information.  This is ludicrous.

I am really having a difficult time understanding why the public needs to know this.  None of this information is relevant to the performance of their jobs.  None of this has anything to do with workplace camaraderie.  None of this is anyone’s business.

This public confessional will not make them a better executive, a better anchor, or a better singer.  As a matter of fact, if I admitted to a co-worker that I was a Christian (and they did not share my belief), it could be construed as workplace harassment.  Just ask any human resources professional.

But, from all the media accounts of these confessionals, you would have thought they just survived the Holocaust.

Here is what former Bill Clinton aide, Keith Boykin, had to say, “Don Lemon is probably the most high profile “mainstream” black gay man alive today, and his simple act of courage will help redefine not only how society sees black gay men, but how we see ourselves.”  Boykin has lost his mind.

Are gays discriminated against?  Sometimes.  But they are protected by laws, not because they are gay, but because they are humans.  That is why I am fundamentally against the “gay rights” movement.

Being gay is not and should not be a protected class, being human is.  If you are assaulted, there are laws on the books that punish the perpetrator—not for hitting a gay person, but for hitting a person.

Gays who feel the need to have these public confessionals are not so much concerned about equality; but rather acceptance.

We know that the media is very liberal, thus they are trying to make heroes out of these gays who have gone public.  They are not heroes, they are regular people.

Would the media react the same way to someone who publically admitted they had a drug problem, alcohol problem, or a stealing problem?  Should they be portrayed as heroes too?

These are all about personal choices and the fear that public knowledge of these behaviors, in their thinking, might cause them to be frowned upon by society—thus be discriminated against.

Who you choose to be intimate with is a personal and private matter.  I find it quite disturbing that gays feel the need to thrust their private proclivities upon the public.

If you choose to be gay, have at it.  But, I don’t have to be in agreement with your lifestyle choices; nor does it preclude us from going out to dinner or a ball game.  If we are friends, we are friends because you are a nice person, not because you are a nice, gay person.

Ironically, the word gay ends with the letter “y.”  As in why do gays feel the public needs to know what sex they choose to be intimate with?  Why do they attempt to force private, personal information into the public arena?  Why do they think the public even cares about their private choices?

In the end, I don’t care who they choose to be intimate with and would prefer not to be told.  I won’t ask, so please don’t tell!  Enough already.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine ( & U.S. Africa Magazine ( 

The Bridge: Blacks Souled Out Part 2, Negro Souls for Sale

Posted in Black Men, Guest Columnists with tags on May 25, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

At the center of every people is something that is, for them, innately funky.

And when they fail to hold on to that something, then they fail to protect their Soul.

            America is such a careless and cold marketplace that it is easy for anyone to lose their Soul. Regardless of the effect on the people, anyone’s Soul can be sold on the open market.

Even white people have souled their Soul.

For example, Emimen could have been funky in a Black environment as a white boy, instead of coming off as a white boy trying to dominate a Black art form by trying to come off as nearly Black.

He should have paid attention to those before him. Beastie Boys were crazy in a very white boy way. They were true to their whiteness in a Black environment and it was funky.  No one could have done that except some berserk white boys. Anyone Black with that style would have sounded goofy and would have been corny and wack, but they were funky and loved in a way Eminem can never get by being Rap music’s Elvis Presley.

Another example can be found in 1970s R&B music. Quick—did you really know Teena Marie was white in the early days of her career? Did you care that Micheal McDonald (Doobie Brothers) or Bobby Caldwell was? No. We loved them and never cared that they were white even when we found out.

But, many of us care that Justin Timberlake is white and could care less for his disingenuous attempts to be “Blacker than thou,” even going so far as to dis Prince, of all people, in order to earn some sort of ‘hood rep.

Stupid ass Justin souled out.

It’s easy to do in America, where we can see the Soul-selling in every nook and cranny of the nation.

And at the bottom of it all are the most abused, historically disenfranchised group of citizens—African Americans, pretending to be something that they no longer even discuss—relevant, empowered and enfranchised.

Sad and simple-minded African Americans believe that the presence of a few corporate leaders in Blackface will somehow affect the rest of us, and so we cheer for the heads of commerce, even as most of us languish at middle class and below.

These sad Black people even believed that the election of a Black president would instantly make good the nation’s bad promissory note written against an account with the funds ready to be disbursed on demand.

Certainly, Barack Obama’s presidency brings many good things, but it will take more than the election of one Black man to stem the tide of bloodletting that has been flowing freely for centuries.

Yet, many deluded Blacks in America believe that there is no more bloodshed and that the nation is now fair, beautiful and loving.

But why wouldn’t African Americans believe in truth, justice and the American way?

Our people are being assimilated into a soul-less society and we are becoming more and more soul-less with it.

It’s an evolution and a destruction of a people at the same time. At the end of the day, it’s like the Matrix, where the goal is to have everyone look like Agent Smith.

The Soul is being sucked out of our people. That is the ultimate goal of this system—to create mindless, shapeless consumers.

It will get to the point where whites will tell Blacks what being a Nigger is and claim to be more Nigger-like than them.

Oh snap! Wait—we’re already there.

Blackness has very little meaning and substance to most of us.  Talk to a few people across a wide age range and you will find that there is little sense of community. This is one of the prime reasons why previously demeaning behavior and activities are now celebrated, particularly if the person facilitating the demeaning of our image is in blackface and getting paid.

Tyler Perry should be chastised by all for cooning on the silver screen, but instead many Blacks defend him, touting empty “reasons” such as “he’s making money.”

Dead-brained knee-grows talk about Perry opening doors for others, but those doors are dubious and the people entering are not all that cool.

For example, where whites once thought twice about donning blackface and demeaning Black people, now jackasses like Chuck Knepp and his “Shirley Q. Liquor” character are defended, even by some dead-brained Negroes.

And why wouldn’t Knepp feel as comfortable crapping on Blacks as Michael Richards when we don’t bother to properly defend our image? Dead-brained House Nigger D.L. Hughley defended Richards and probably shines Knepp’s shoes for old chicken bones.

Few talk about how Black comedians, rappers and comedic actors are selling us out and crapping on our image on the world stage.

But let any of our great minds talk about the real problems, which are pursued mostly by the so-called haves against the have-nots, and the critical thinkers will be attacked.

It’s almost as if Black people would rather devolve at worst, or at best, stagnate, before doing the heavy lifting of thinking outside of the box and taking according action.

It’s hard work to protect the collective Soul, but as we see from the reputation and standing of the Jews, the effort is well worth it.

In order to protect and preserve our Soul, we would have to take a cold hard look at who we are and what we are doing to each other.

It’s gonna take a lot of heart and Soul to do that.

            Next Week:  “Divided Soul.”

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at

Mans Futile Indifference with Little Consciousness of Reason

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Guest Columnists with tags on May 22, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By T. Duffy

Regardless what man has done or capable of doing to help keep society moving forward, there is a darker-side they unsuspectingly mentally wrestle with, so most may not believe they should frequently assess their lives, especially since he’s often upset when he receives no measure of admiration for what’s often expected of him. Having minimum knowledge to go further with this, to me it seems to be a needed jolt to his adrenaline gland to keep the testosterone level from falling. Observing the character of many, we may see regardless of the level of education, accolades, riches, creed or even race, little about him or his demeanor differs from other men. So I can take this further by saying the same is common for men in every part of this planet. Of course there are those who express a difference, but any disagreement I could show they are few in comparison. It’s like believing if a person like Donald Trump had the same wealth as Bill Gates, his temperament would be the same. The truth is there wouldn’t be any change, because he has shown inherent in his character a mind-set that has always revealed a deeper side of contempt for anything he’s not able to control. So should we not believe [The Apprentice] isn’t a perfect platform to exercise it? Of course I could have shown others’ socially as well as economically, but the results would still be the same.

The probability of men acquiring a lasting misnomer starts soon after birth. Most are maturing in ways that often cause a significant and sometimes an almost foreseeable negative uniqueness, especially if the personality of the principal male during their growth who teaches, have no sense of balance. Example, from militia groups in this country, to terrorist’s factions in various parts of the world, young men are emerging following the perplexed psyche of older men who recruit them for fabricated warlike circumstances. But elsewhere the same are committing themselves to martyrdom with acts of violence, not realizing the principal notion is to reign over mankind to keep their sacred principles sovereign. [To further their objectives, one group use hateful rhetoric and intimidation, as the others deploy severe acts of violence that generate a more intense quandary. My views is not to say I’m a saint, better or even smarter, it’s accepting the notion to understand the probability of how this could have also affected my life. When I see or hear men sometimes using unclear rationale to convict other men for alleged offenses, I realize I must avoid the risk of being culpable. Such as when a policeman stops a car, believing the woman he see sitting in the passenger seat who seem to be crying, was  probably assaulted by the driver who’s male. The throw-back is discovering they were returning from the doctor who told them because of prior medical problems of one of them, their chance of having children was uncertain.

So it wasn’t unusual to sometimes be a little upset seeing or hearing the actions of my gender, since many situations gave me clear reasons to wonder why some almost ended up becoming volatile. Unfortunately there has to be some disapproval for this so far, if someone should believe I’m just another guy trampling on men again. But I believe to know the better-part of self, which would help to develop ones mindset, is to know what you’re capable of. A more obvious reason for some is to be able to distinguish the results of many domestic problems men have had or may experience. Most isn’t unfavorable because of what women will do or have done to them it’s what men do to other men to bring it about, since men generally fail to be the element of objectivity to administer fairness, unless their offenses cause them to recognize its necessity.    Anyway revealing some of the most shocking things men have done or capable of doing is too far-reaching to note, especially when there’s no reason to believe after reading and hearing what goes on daily, something divine will suddenly put a stop to it.  Although I’m in no position to change any of this, I sometimes feel I would rather be someone other than a man. Although that would be difficult, but not gay which I would automatically expect to be the subsequent viewpoint of a male reader? It would definitely not be someone who often asserts they are closer to the image of a God. If that was true God would seem to be as coldhearted and reckless as he, so maybe there shouldn’t be any need to censure, hearing the rising anger towards doubters feelings about a God from the most harden religious advocate today.

None of this has anything to do with elevating women above men, so I’m not someone who’s campaigning to save the sanctity of women because they to do it often and very-well. Besides I’ve always felt American women have their own cross to bear, since few would really believe narcissism is their Achilles’ heel. It’s to shine the light of hypocrisy on man’s reasoning to criticize, limit, remove and time and again penalize their gender without cause, besides adding a deeper deception how he often exert the need for morality more to other’s than self. The same things many say they detest such as being unfaithful, drugs or pornography they seem to migrate too often in scandalous situations. So my closing question is what is the forecast spiritually or otherwise for his life that set up the guide lines for his methods to determine his importance on earth? Is there really a specific distinction for men and women? What and who validates his motives that sometimes negatively affect the lives of entire societies? If the commandments is really genuine, was it written by a God only for women and children who God would understand know little about their true being? Nevertheless the better reason for my assessment is to hopefully get younger black men to look more closely at themselves with a since of logic for what they do, so they can bear in mind any reckless act using no rational, have and still can cause communities and their lives to face a sudden stalemate mirroring the dealings of impractical and overzealous men. Finally the concept that men must hold back his civility or it could show some vulnerability is just an idea created by men, yet inflamed by men regularly since most will test other men to confirm it.

The Bridge: In Honor of Malcolm X

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , on May 18, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

May 19th is the birth date of El Haaj Malik El-Shabazz, known to us as Malcolm X.

Who was Malcolm X?

Malcolm X was a number of things to a number of people.

To white racists, he was the physical manifestation of the chickens coming home to roost—the sins of the father being visited upon the sons. He was committed to the respect and protection of the Black community and unwavering in the extent to which he was willing to go and to which he was willing to influence millions to go to oppose and stamp out oppression.

His mission? In his own words, it was “to bring about the complete independence of people of African descent here in the western hemisphere…and bring about the freedom of these people by any means necessary.”

Those means included violent retaliation, of course, but those means also included economic revolution. Malcolm X advocated Black self-reliance as a means to freedom.

“If you can’t do for yourself what the white man is doing for himself, don’t say you’re equal with the white man,” Malcolm chided.” If you can’t set up a factory like he sets up a factory, don’t talk that old equality talk.”

Brother Malcolm became the universal symbol for Black Manhood as he challenged white superiority and privilege in a way that frightened America and made conscious Black people proud.

He also challenged the foundation and purpose of the Civil Rights Movement, which did not make him an enemy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as many people today believe.

It is ignorant to detract from one man to glorify the other. Brother Malcolm was as crucial and relevant as Brother Martin, but a fearful nation would not embrace him the same because he represented the fiery response to violence—a divergent option to Brother Martin, but certainly not an opposite option.

In a 2005 installment of his column for the New York Daily News, Stanley Crouch, a self-hating Negro, claimed that Malcolm X was a “heckler of the Civil Rights Movement” and a “minor figure,” calling the Nation of Islam a “cult,” and a “cartoon version of Islam.”

Boot-licking House Negro bitches like the “writer” Stanley Crouch can deride Malcolm X from the comfort of the twenty-first century, but in his weak little heart which pumps lemonade, Crouch knows damned well that he would never have had the testicular fortitude to be one tenth of what Malcolm X was to America—a proud Black man unafraid to tell the world what was wrong with this nation and unafraid to face it, sacrificing his life for the people he loved.

Crouch, a revisionist idiot, has no real concept of history, particularly where Black people are concerned. Malcolm and Martin had two different movements, which were moving closer to each other before they were assassinated. To call Malcolm a “heckler of the Civil Rights Movement,” is ignorant and demonstrates self-hatred.

Malcolm’s critical challenge of the foundation and purpose of the Civil Rights Movement is very different from being a “heckler,” which is someone who sits inactively on the sidelines tossing negativity.

Certainly, Martin was and is larger than Malcolm, but that has more to do with who he had following him and the times to come. Malcolm was about hate the way Martin was a racist—both false assumptions made only by idiots.

The reality is that Martin was safer than Malcolm—for whites and for scared Negroes who didn’t want anyone to make too much noise and piss off the white establishment they feared and revered.

But Martin also had detractors, many of whom hated him as they hated Malcolm. Some Negroes were afraid that Martin, too, would upset the apple cart and make it harder for them to kiss white people’s collective asses.

Malcolm X, much like Dr. King, was evolving from fighting a domestic fight on the home front for civil rights into waging a war on the world stage for human rights.

And they were both taking an economic revolution to the bottom of society.

At the end of the day, there is never a reason to choose and no one should be asked to.

But there is a reason to celebrate. To celebrate the birth of a beautiful, strong human being who changed the way Black men thought of themselves and frankly, the way the world thought of Black men.

The late Ossie Davis, who delivered the eulogy for Malcolm X in the Spike Lee film and in life at the funeral, said it best:  “Malcolm was our manhood. Our living Black manhood.”

(Malcolm was) “Our own Black shining prince who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so.”

And those of us who understood him, love him as well.

Happy Birthday Brother Malcolm.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opens in Los Angeles this Spring. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Black Men In America, Politics, Racism with tags , on May 14, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Janks Morton

One man cannot hold another man down in the ditch without remaining down in the ditch with him. – Booker T. Washington

For over four-hundred years, the majority white society has used many tools to reinforce a message that the peoples of African descent are less-than, not-equal-too or not-good enough. In this modern era of information, the media, government and special interests use statistics to further promote the message of Black inferiority. What troubles me most, is that we as a people have internalized the misinformation, embraced the myths, and perpetuated the stereotypes, sadly reinforcing a collective misperception of our own identities.

Travel to any Black-owned barbershop or beauty salon on a Saturday afternoon, and you will hear some of the most outlandish, unsubstantiated and unverifiable (statistical) claims about the state of today’s African-American Male. I sit in barber chairs across this country and hear “you know half of em’ been locked up, most of em’ dropped out of high school, and all of em’ are marrying white women.” I sit mostly in silence, because the truth about the great economic and educational strides of today’s Black Male usually starts an emotional and fiery debate. And mostly, the barbershop is a place where truth, statistics and evidence gets trumped by whoever shouts the loudest.

If I can give Black America one teachable lesson, it would be this “Never trust a man (or woman) who quotes a statistic that ends in either a five or a zero.” “25% of this, 50% of that, 75% of these” are usually opinion or conjecture, and seldom if ever valid. Fives and zeros are the numbers of men and are usually flawed (look at your fingers).

This “fives-and-zeros” rule is what led me to my initial research into carving out positive statistics about African-Americans in 2005. Former NPR correspondent Juan Williams in a debate with Dr. Michael Eric Dyson blurted out a statistic that 70% of African-American children were being born out-of-wedlock. Of course I cried foul, and headed to the to fact-check Mr. William’s claim.  That initial research is what has motivated me to look for positive data about Blacks, and attempt to offset the constant negative messaging etched into our minds. Be it graduation rates, enrollment rates, income or social data, I believe that in our hearts, we all need to hear more “good news” about Blacks in this country.

My research gave me insights as to how 21st century “information overload” can lead to all types of statistical confusion. Too often in our discourse we combine the economic, the educational, employment and social statistics to form a distorted perception of the modern-era African-American experience. Couple that with the constant bombardment by news outlets and entertainment media of the less-than-desirable Black behaviors; consequently you have a people who are ill equipped to stand confident in their own achievements.

Here’s a quick test of how we perceive ourselves – Excluding Athletics, Entertainment or Religion, name a positive stereotype about African Americans. I’ll wait…

Most African-Americans have a challenging, if not impossible time summarizing our collective experience into one positive statement of group-worth. Sadly if I were to ask you the same question about other racial groups, you would rattle off quickly “smart,” “hard-working,” “and “good with money.” This is a testament to how we have allowed Black identity to be twisted and maligned, while also adopting this societal defamation of character as our own belief set.

So with that, I believe that it is absolutely necessary for another message to be forwarded about what is means to be Black in America. WE can no longer depend on any organization, any government or any media outlet to shine the positive light of who WE are. WE can no longer afford to define ourselves by our shortcomings. WE have got to shout confidently, that WE are much more than the incarcerated, the uneducated, or the prime time buffoon.

My final challenge to you, as a Black American, would be this. If XYZ actor gets caught cheating on their spouse, you head right to the local internet search engine to fact-check the story. The Internet has become the great equalizer in this struggle, and your government has made most data freely accessible. The next time you hear any data or statistics about Blacks, anywhere, be just as diligent in your search to confirm or dismiss the story. Because, as I see it, the ratings, the notoriety, and the funding will always promote the negative statistics about Black Americans.

In closing, here are some verified African American Male statistics on education, economics and employment. Statistics you probably have never heard. Statistics I would challenge you to try discussing on your next visit to the local stylist, academic setting, or community activist meeting. What will sadden you most is to watch the debate, watch the resistance, and watch the denial from people who desire most to hold on to false claims about us… myths, stereotypes and misinformation that only perpetuates the denigration of us all.

·       There are more Black Males in College[1] than in Jails, Prisons, Private Corrections, Military Jails and Institutions for the Criminally Insane combined[2] (1,236,443 in College/841,000 Incarcerates – regardless of age)

·       4 to 1: The ratio of 18-24 year old Black Males in College[3] vs. Jails, Prisons, Private Corrections, Military Jails and Institutions for the Criminally Insane[4].

(674,000 in College/164,400 Incarcerates)

  • 32.3% (1 in 3) Black Males ages 18-24 are enrolled in College[5]

(674,000 in College/2,082,000 Total)

  • 1.37 to 1: The ratio of 18-24 year old Black Females enrolled in College to Black Males[6].

(930,000 Black Females Enrolled/674,000 Black Males Enrolled)

  • 6.3%: Black Males (age 18-55+) enroll in College at a higher rate by sex than White Males and Hispanic Males and are surpassed only by Asian Males[7].

(Black Males is 6.3%, White Males is 5.8%, Hispanic Males is 4.7%, and Asian Males is 9.7%)

  • 25.1% of Black Males (age 25 or over) have either an Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Professional, or Doctoral Degree[8].

(2,519,000 with Degrees/10,018,000 Total)

  • 82.1% of Black Males (age 18 or over) have at least a High School Diploma or GED[9] .

(9,897,000 with HS Diploma or GED/12,044,000 Total)

  • 12.1%:  The Black Male Dropout Rate[10] (ages 16-24) for 2008.

(301,000 Dropouts/2,583,000 Total)[11]

  • 5.1%: Percent of married Black Men who marry White Women[12]

(279,000 Black Husband-White Wife/5,654,000 Married Black Men)

  • 88.8%: Percent of Black Males earning income[13] ages 25-64 (employment)

(7,899,000 Employed/8,893,000 Total)

  • $23,738: Average Income for Black Males[14] 15 and older

$19,470 Average Income Black Females

  • 1,812,000 The number of Black Men making $50,000/year or more[15]
  • 71.6% of Black Men pay their agreed to or Court Awarded Child Support[16]

(855,000 Payers/1,194,000 Recipients)

  • $253 Billion: Total Income earned by Black Males[17] (15 and over)

($262 Billion earned by Black Females)

  • 13,104,000 Total Black Men age 15 or over[18]

(15,816,000 Total Black Females age 15 or over)

[1] National Center for Education Statistics: iPeds data set, March 2011 – reporting Scholastic Year 2009

[2] Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prison and Inmates at Midyear 2009 – June 2010)

[3] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.  Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:  October 2009

[4] Bureau of Justice Statistics: Prison and Inmates at Midyear 2009 – June 2010

[5] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.  Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:  October 2009

[6] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.  Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:  October 2009

[7] US Census Bureau: American Community Survey: Table 1.  Enrollment Status of the Population 3 Years Old and Over, by Sex, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, Foreign Born, and Foreign-Born Parentage:  October 2009

[8] U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2009 Annual Social and Economic Supplement

[9] U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2009 Annual Social and Economic Supplement

[10] National Center for Education Statistics: Table A-19-2.  Number of status dropouts and status dropout rates of 16-through 24-year-olds – American Community Survey (ACS) 2008)

[11] 2,583,000 includes individuals reporting Black A.O.I.C. US Census data are individuals reporting Black Alone

[12] U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Social and Economic Supplement: 2003 Current Population Survey, Current Population Reports, Series P20-553, “America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2003” and earlier reports.

[13] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-01. Selected Characteristics of People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Money Income in 2009, Work Experience in 2009, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[14] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-01. Selected Characteristics of People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Money Income in 2009, Work Experience in 2009, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[15] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-05. Work Experience in 2009–People 15 Years Old and Over by Total Money Earnings in 2009, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[16] U.S. Census Bureau, Child Support Payments Agreed to or Awarded Custodial Parents by Selected Characteristics and Sex: 2007

[17] U.S. Census Bureau, PINC-08. Source of Income in 2009-People 15 Years Old and Over, By Income of Specified Type in 2009, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex

[18] U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2009.

About the Author:   JANKS MORTON is the founder of iYAGO ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, LLC, a multimedia production company. He states “the company came into existence to reflect both the consciousness and the unconsciousness soul of Black America.  Janks is an award winning filmmaker who shook up the world with his movie “What Black Men Think.”  He’s also the author of the book, “Why He Hates You.”  Janks has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years

Un-“Common” Thoughts

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , on May 12, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

May 12, 2011

Last night Michelle Obama hosted an “Evening of Poetry” at the White House.  She invited an eclectic group of poets to recite their poetry.  But, Fox News and right wing radio has singled out one performer—the Grammy award winning rapper Common—to be on the receiving end of their ire.

I don’t listen to his music, but from talking with friends who know him, he seems to be a nice enough guy and is very talented!  But, he has one song about shooting a policeman, therefore conservative media objected to him being invited to the White House.

These conservatives are now making the argument, that since Common was invited to the White House, President and Ms. Obama, must agree with his lyrics.  Anyone with a brain knows this is idiotic, but welcome to the world of right wing media.

The Obama’s have a right to invite whomever they choose to the White House.

You can’t take a single or few events in a person’s life and let that be the definitive narrative of his life.  For example, Michael Vick should not have his whole life defined by his run it with the law if he continues to exemplify the level of maturity he has in the past year.  We all make mistakes.

Common, born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., hails from Chicago, IL.  He had a middle class upbringing and attended Florida A & M University where he studied business.  He has earned two Grammys (best R & B song in 2003 for “Love of My Life and best rap performance by a duo or group in 2007 for “Southside”).

Though an unabashed liberal, he has dedicated himself to trying to make a positive difference in the lives of the youth.  For this, he should be commended!

What I find amazing about right wing media is they seem to be for free speech—as long as they agree with what you are saying.

If they were consistent with their feigned outrage over Common, then I could accept their views.  But, I find their outrage very inconsistent and very selective.  They make it seem as though Obama is the only president to associate with an entertainer who have expressed some controversial things.

Where was their outrage over former president Ronald Reagan’s tribute to Bruce Springsteen?

On September 19, 1984, Reagan was at a campaign stop in Hammonton, New Jersey and he said, “America’s future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts…it rests in the message of hope in songs so many young Americans admire…New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen.”  Springsteen is best known for his monster hit song “Born in the U.S.A.”  But, on this same album is a song titled “Working On The Highway.”  The song is about a man who has sex with an underage girl and is subsequently arrested by the police and convicted in a court of law.  Here are a few of the words:

“I saved up my money and I put it all away
I went to see her daddy but we didn’t have much to say
“Son can’t you see that she’s just a little girl
She don’t know nothing about this cruel cruel world”

We lit out down to Florida we got along all right
One day her brothers came and got her and they took me in a black and white (police car)
The prosecutor kept the promise that he made on that day
And the judge got mad and he put me straight away
I wake up every morning to the work bell clang (jail)
Me and the warden go swinging on the Charlotte County road gang

Working on the highway…

President Nixon invited racist Elvis Presley to the White House.  Presley spent a lifetime letting people know how he felt about Blacks!

President Carter invited the legendary group, Crosby, Stills, & Nash to visit him in the White House.  According to their own biography, “One of us, and I will not say who, lit a joint in the Oval Office just to be able to say he’d done it, you know?”

The other irony is that a lot of these same conservatives claim very publically their friendship to entertainers whose lyrics are no different than those they criticize Common for.

Sarah Palin is a huge fan of rocker, Ted Nugent.  Here are the words to one of his songs, “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang.”

That Nadine, what a teenage queen…She lookin’ so clean, especi’lly down in between…She’s so sweet when she yanks on my meat.”  Is this the type of “family values” Palin has in mind?

Last year Elton John was reportedly paid $1 million to perform at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding reception.  John is the same person who referred to Christians as “Jesus Freaks” in his hit song “Tiny Dancer.”

When right wing media begin to show their moral outrage evenly, then and only then, can I support their feigned righteous indignation.  But, until then, they should remain quiet and focus on the more pressing issues facing our country.

They should also show some respect for the office of the president.  This should be a common courtesy!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine ( & U.S. Africa Magazine ( 

The Bridge: Blacks Souled Out, Part 1

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , , on May 10, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

James Brown was affectionately referred to as “Soul Brother Number One,” not just because he was one of the leaders of Soul Music, but because he was the physical embodiment of all things representative of the Soul of Black folks.

Brown had the rhythm, the rhymes, the cool walk, the cool talk, the cool clothing, and oh yeah, baby, the Soul Curl that only stayed in style for Cool Ass Brother James.

And he didn’t just represent Soul—he lived it.  At a time when he was at the top of his career and even white people loved him, he made a record urging people to “Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud.”

He was stone cold and had Soul to the bone.

Soul was never truly pursued by Black folks, because most of us were just born with it. Soul was as innate as our ability to absorb the rays of the sun without destruction to our skin.

But in a nation at the end of its run, where everything has been commoditized, even the Soul of Black folks as well as their literal souls are for sale on the open market, which means that our Soul is no longer natural and endemic to us.

Soul is now for sale and we are not even the purveyors of the Soul that once came from us.

In previous times, Soul came from the Black community organically and only then was it marketed and sold to the world.  Brother James Brown was ours and THEN the world claimed him.

With music and all other things cool, we created it and then the world took hold of it because we said it was cool.

Now, a watered-down, backwards version of Soul is manufactured and purveyed to us as though it is our very own.

But it is not.

The Soul that we see today on the open market has been stolen and twisted.

The stealing of our Soul should come as no surprise to anyone aware, because we were already selling it in a nation that has never treasured having a soul.

In America, both the economic and political systems are purely consumer oriented. No one does anything without a profit motive, including philanthropy.

There is no spiritual or moral component to Western democracy and there hasn’t been for a long time.

There is no longer a pure intrinsic spiritual or moral element to religion, which is why we see contrary religious zealots wanting everyone to believe as they do, instead of focusing on the doing of good works.

There has been an injection of spiritual and moral rhetoric surrounding the marketing of souls—God wants this or that—but that has taken all of the substance out of spirituality and the real thinkers realize it.

The American people are no different, with many supporting the war effort wherever it goes, because they want to make certain that their gas continues to flow freely.

These selfish assholes claim that such pursuits are part of the “American way of life,” as though being in this nation gives anyone a God-given right to a way of life that children of God in other nations don’t deserve.

And, really, most Americans aren’t even getting that so-called “American way of life” anymore.

Too many of the nation’s citizens are on the bottom with no way to reach the strata where freedom, justice and economic fluidity reign supreme.

Now, to get what used to be considered middle class trappings, you have to be upper class.

And the middle class is lying to itself while racking up debt that it cannot manage.

Taxes and blame are heaped upon the lower class in healthy portions.

Even the blaming of the poor while feigning assistance to the hopeless has become cool.

People cheered Bill Cosby when he said that the “lower economic people” were not holding up their end of the bargain, but the likes of Cosby were the first to throw the rules out of the window.

Cosby neglected his children (his daughter will tell anyone who listens), drugged women to feel on them and then released a movie (Fat Albert) rife with all of the stereotypes he claimed poor people were suffering from.

He was being cool by blaming the poor for things he was pursuing, but in this environment, he gets praise because he has money.

He sold his soul.

Eventually this nation will reveal itself for what it has truly been—a marketplace in every sense of the word.

The rest of the world already sees it, but the citizens of America refuse to look closely for fear that their “God-given lifestyle” will be in jeopardy.

Where America was once the great hope of all the world, it is now the great international scourge, serving as the bully on the world block while pretending to provide aid to needy nations. Instead of aid, America strips foreign nations of their natural resources, leaving the people with less than before the invasion.

But since American media has also souled out, reports of America’s foreign dealings portray the nation as philanthropic and as the world’s police. If there really were world police, they would have arrested America long ago for crimes against humanity.

And, anyone who understands America’s history realizes that this nation has long been in the business of being souled out and cajoling its citizens into selling or completely giving away their own souls.

NEXT WEEK:  Negro Souls For Sale

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opens in Los Angeles this Spring. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


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