Archive for the Women’s Interests Category

‘Friends’ Desert Bill Cosby When He Needs Them Most

Posted in Black Men, Women's Interests with tags , , on November 28, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Check out this perspective on the Bill Cosby controversy by Raynard Jackson originally posted on 23 November 2014 on Black Press USA.com.

Bill Cosby 2014

By Raynard Jackson
NNPA Columnist

“Hey, hey, hey (in my best Fat Albert’s voice), please listen to what I have to say. My friend Bill Cosby is in trouble today.”

Even Fat Albert knows Bill Cosby is getting a raw deal. As a public relations/crisis management professional. I have worked with some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment, and business. So, let’s deconstruct this media frenzy engulfing the man who was once America’s favorite TV dad.

Many of these allegations have been around for more than 30 years. Cosby has never been charged with a crime and deserves the presumption of innocence. Simply because several people – okay, eight and counting – provide a similar salacious account doesn’t make it true.

Until now, Cosby and his lovely wife, Camille, have not had to defend their hard-earned good name. They have given north of $50 million to educational institutions, especially HBCUs.  Cosby has opened doors to many of the top actors and comediennes in the industry.

At the ripe old age of 77 years, at what point does one’s body of work require one to be given the benefit of the doubt?  Cosby is, and in my book, will always be “America’s Dad.”

None of the females coming forward ever went to the police when the incident in question was supposed to have happened.  There have been no corroborating witnesses.  After the initial alleged incident, each of the women continued to spend private time with Cosby.  If Cosby had done what they allege, why would they continue to spend private time with him? That makes no sense. Not even to Fat Albert.

And the media’s hands are not clean in the smear campaign.

Why would respected news organizations even give these women a platform when they offer no proof or evidence to support their allegations?

Corporate America has also taken the guilty until proven innocent approach toward Cosby, a former corporate darling.

NBC officials announced last week that that they were no longer working with Cosby to produce a new series that was supposed to launch next summer.  Mind you that Cosby made NBC billions of dollars with his hit TV series “The Cosby Show” in the 80s and the successful spinoff, “A Different World.”

Evidently, Hollywood is a different world.

Even more surprising than the reaction from Hollywood and Corporate America is the paucity of people willing to defend Bill Cosby or at least insist on a greater burden of proof from his growing list of accusers. To be blunt, true friends don’t desert friends based on unsubstantiated rumors.

That means even when defending them is unpopular. I have publicly defended former Senate Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi when I knew accusations of him being a White racist were unfounded. I also backed former Majority House Leader Tom DeLay, who stepped down in 2005 after being indicted for allegedly improperly funneling campaign donations to Texas House candidates. He was eventually exonerated but by then, his political career had been unfairly destroyed.

Doesn’t Cosby deserve that same kind of loyalty?

I am not aware of one public statement of support from any former cast member of Cosby’s shows.  I am not aware of any statement of support from any comedian on the scene today whose career took off because of Cosby.  I am not aware of any statement of support from any civil rights group or college that have gladly taken millions over the years from Cosby and his wife.

Without delving into the issues about which only Cosby and his accusers know, at minimum, those who have been recipients of his largess could at least say there’s another side of the man.

I have spoken to a few of my A-list Hollywood friends about this issue and I found their explanations repulsive. They are all afraid of being “blacklisted” by White, liberal Hollywood.  As much as I love money and success, I love my integrity more.  How can you not support someone who has been instrumental in your being the very person you are today?  How do you justify leaving someone like Cosby out to hang by himself?

Even Fat Albert doesn’t think Cosby deserves this kind of treatment.

Raynard Jackson 2013 Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site,  www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @raynard1223.

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Are We More Accepting Of Obesity In The Black Community?

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Health & Fitness, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Obese Man

By Gary A. Johnson  (This is not my waistline)

Americans are getting fatter and fatter by the year.  There’s no other way to put it.  Health and weight statistics for black Americans is even worse.

According to the publication Health, United States, 2013, 38% of black men in America are considered to be obese compared to 50.8 percent of African-American women.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, overweight or obese is defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 pounds or more.

A 2013 study from the American Psychological Association reported that about 60 percent of black women are obese compared to 32 percent white women and 41 percent Latino women.

Carrying around those extra pounds increases the likelihood of developing Type II Diabetes and High Blood Pressure – two diseases that disproportionately affect the black community.

Being overweight also increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, arthritis and certain cancers. In fact, obesity could become more dangerous for your health than smoking cigarettes.

Yet, in the black community, many folks believe or have convinced themselves that being “big boned” is more acceptable.  We need to STOP that thinking now.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you have read about my struggle to lose weight.  If you’ve ever visited my Instagram page, most of the pictures are of food that I cooked and then ate.  I’m a damn good cook.  I suffer for my food.

I am putting myself out there.  I am obese and my condition developed as a result of making a series of poor choices over the past 20 years.  I went from weighing 195 lbs to my current weight of 310 lbs.

At one point I was carrying 324 lbs on this 6′ 4″ frame.  Fortunately for me, my body has been good to me.  I never smoked, used alcohol or drugs and I don’t drink sodas.  My weakness is food.  I am an emotional eater and I love to cook and eat.

Gary J.

Here I am “walking the trail” on top of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge at National Harbor on the DC side.

Lately, I’ve been able to reverse some of these negative health effects.  Two years ago I gave up sugary fruit juice drinks.  I drink mostly water, green smoothies or a combination of Braggs Organic Vinegar and water.  If I drink tea, I don’t use sugar.  I will start my day with low-sodium vegetable juice in place of Orange juice.  These simple choices have made a difference in my health.  My last blood pressure reading was 116/78.  Not bad for a 300+ pound guy.  I started exercising (cycling, walking and weights) consistently and stopped eating at fast food restaurants.  I also started buying healthier and organic foods.  This costs more but I think it’s worth it.

Make no mistake.  I have a long way to go and need support.  I have lost over 30 lbs 4 times over the last 15 years.  The difference this time is that I am doing it sensibly (slow and steady).  No fad or crash diets. Is it easy?  No!  Is it worth the pain and effort?  Yes!

“Many African-American women view being obese as part of their culture,” says Thaddeus Bell, M.D., a family practitioner in South Carolina, in an online interview for icyou.com. It is understood within the African-American community that curvy, overweight women are considered more appealing to black men than normal- or under-weight women. There is almost a reverse distortion of body image – with thicker women fighting weight-loss and slender women wanting to gain weight in order to be accepted.

Obese Woman

This may account for the staggering statistic that 4 out of 5 African-American women are overweight or obese. It is even more alarming that some of these women are making a choice to live at an unhealthy weight. African-American women of all ages report less exercise than their white counterparts. “Many of them feel that it’s not feminine or they’re afraid to sweat because it will ruin their hairstyle,” adds Dr. Bell.

Other hindrances include not having child care, not having enough time to be physically active, and not feeling safe being active in their neighborhoods.  African-American men aren’t off the hook either.  African-American men also exercise less than white women, and have the highest prevalence of obesity among all male ethnic groups.

However, African-American men are more active than their female counterparts, which may be the reason that only 28.8 percent are obese, compared to 50.8 percent of African-American women.

There is an interesting video called “Dealing with Obesity in the Black Community” on YouTube by Walter Lee Hampton II.  This is a no non-sense video about exercise, eating and living a healthier life.

I would also recommend reading Obesity and the Black American:  Causes, Culture, Consequences, and Costs.”

GJohnson Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.To learn more about Gary click here.

Video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC As A Woman” Raises Question of Racial Bias

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Diversity, Racism, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Shoshona

By Gary A. Johnson

There’s been a lot of talk among social media the last few days about the Public Service Announcement (PSA) video featuring 24-year old actor Shoshana B. Roberts, who worked with Rob Bliss, a Washington Times Columnist, Director, and a professional speaker.  Bliss runs his own agency that specializes in viral videos connected to current topics, trends and events.

Bliss partnered with Hollaback!, an organization that wants to call attention to street harassment and intimidation, including “catcalls” directed at women.  In the video, Roberts was secretly recorded walking 10 hours through parts of New York City.

Roberts was not dressed provocatively.  In fact, she wore a T-shirt and jeans.  The video is supposed to remind viewers that many men don’t think about the consequences of invading the space of women and intimidating them by yelling, hollering, complimenting and in some cases, following them.

I don’t doubt for one second that this is the experience of many, if not all woman at some point in their lives.  The video sparks a conversation about when does one cross the line.  When you watch this video the “compliments” appear to be unwanted.

When does giving a woman a compliment cross the line into harassment?  Harassment is against the law.

Often times, “how” things are said, can be just as offensive as what was said.  You can also make an argument that not all women would have found some of the comments in the video to be unwanted or offensive.  However, many of the women that I know talk about the cumulative affect of men just hollering at them and how that behavior ranges from annoying to unwanted to offensive.  Further, many of the women that I know report that some men don’t know when to STOP, even if you acknowledge them with a polite nod, “thank you” or smile.

My concern is not the message of the video–it is the EDITING of the video.

The video notes that 100+ instances of verbal street harassment took place within 10 hours, involving people of all backgrounds.   Most of the men shown following, harassing and yelling at Roberts are Black and Latino.  Did Roberts only walk through areas heavily populated by Blacks and Latinos?  The video, which is less than 2:00 minutes long, clearly makes the point about women being harassed.

The video was viewed more than 15 million times in the first three days.  What was left on the cutting room floor?  Who decided what would be seen by the public?  When viewed through a racial prism the video shows a young white woman walking through New York City being harassed mostly by Black and Latino men.

Where were the white guys?  Did they not holla or say anything?

Several media outlets have questioned the video’s racial portrayal.  Last week, Bliss issued the following statement via a blog post that was later deleted.  “We got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera.”

Hollaback! also issued a statement about the video.  Part of the statement read:  “First, we regret the unintended racial bias in the editing of the video that over represents men of color. Although we appreciate Rob’s support, we are committed to showing the complete picture. It is our hope and intention that this video will be the start of a series to demonstrate that the type of harassment we’re concerned about is directed toward women of all races and ethnicities and conducted by an equally diverse population of men.  Hollaback! understands that harassment is a broad problem perpetuated by a diversity of individuals regardless of race. There is no one profile for a harasser and harassment comes in many different forms.”

In a telephone interview with The Washington Post, Shoshana Roberts said:  “We walked in a lot of neighborhoods. We’d hop on the subway, head to another neighborhood.  Midtown, Soho, Harlem, Brooklyn Bridge, South Ferry area. We went just a tad into Queens.  The two-minute video couldn’t show all that we did. There was a lot of ground we covered.”

I don’t think there was any sinister racial motives on the part of anyone making of this video.  The video clearly makes the case about the problem of street harassment.  As a result of the video, a secondary conversation about race is also taking place and that’s a good thing.  One of the unintended consequences of the video is that we all have “blind spots.”  The “blind spot” in this case was the racial imbalance of the men portrayed in the video.  Things like this happen at an unconscious level.  Just because it happened doesn’t mean that the video is less effective or that the people who made the video are bad people–they’re not.

Another conversation can be about the onslaught of rape and death threats directed at Shoshana B. Roberts.  According to Hollaback! Roberts has rape and death threats.

In case you haven’t seen the video, click here.  The following 2 videos, crude as they may be show the other point of view and perhaps calling into question, that much of the behavior directed toward Shoshana does not cross the line and constitute harassment.

So what can we learn about sexual harassment and racial bias as a result of this video?  Are there any additional lessons to be learned?

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.To learn more about Gary click here.

Dear White People: A Guide To Inter-Racial Harmony In “Post-Racial” America

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Book Reviews and More, Movie and DVD News, Racism, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , , on October 28, 2014 by Gary Johnson

DearWhitePeople.Spine

By Black Men In America.com Staff

Right out of college, Justin Simien wrote a screenplay about the nuanced experiences of four black students on a predominantly white college campus. The film, Dear White People, garnered a Sundance Award for “Breakthrough Talent” and has been hailed by critics everywhere. Channeling the sensibility of the film into this book, Simien will keep you laughing with his humorous observations, even if you haven’t seen the satiric film.

News Flash—the minimum number of black friends needed to not seem racist has just been raised to two. Rather than panic, readers are advised to purchase a copy of Dear White People. Whether you are a dear white person wondering why your black office mate is avoiding eye contact with you after you ran your fingers through her hair, or you’re a black nerd who has to break it to your white friends that you’ve never seen The Wire, this myth-busting, stereotype-diffusing guide to a post-Obama world has something for you!

With decision-making trees to help you decide when it’s the right time to wear Blackface (hint: probably never) and quizzes to determine whether you’ve become the Token Black Friend™, Dear White People is the ultimate silly-yet-authoritative handbook to help the curious and confused navigate racial microaggressions in their daily lives.

Based on the eponymous, award-winning film, which has been lauded as “a smart, hilarious satire,” this tongue-in-cheek guide is a must-have that anybody who is in semi-regular contact with black people can’t afford to miss!

Click here to view the official “Dear White People” trailer.

About Justin Simien

Justin Simien is the writer / director and a producer of the critically acclaimed feature, Dear White People, which won the Special Jury Award for ‘Breakthrough Talent” at the 2014 Sundance film festival. The film was also awarded with the “Audience Award” at the 2014 San Francisco International Film Festival, and also earned Justin a spot in in Variety magazine’s “10 Directors to Watch”.

Justin gained national attention after making a “concept trailer” for his then unproduced screenplay of “Dear White People” that went viral on YouTube garnering over a million views and fifty thousand dollars in donations from fans around the world. Before entering the world of content creation, Justin worked as a Publicist and Marketing specialist for film companies such as Paramount Pictures, Focus Features, and Sony Television.

Justin currently lives in Los Angeles, CA where he continues to write, direct and produce for film and television.  Click here to learn more about Justin by visiting his official website.

ON LINE REVIEWS BY MIKE RAMEY: “WELL, MY MOM SAYS” BY CLARENCE M. LEE, JR., MD

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Book Reviews and More, Women's Interests with tags , , , on September 21, 2014 by Gary Johnson

C. M. Lee Book Cover

“Remember, other people don’t have to ‘get’ your dream. It’s not theirs–it’s yours.
They aren’t supposed to get it. The dream was given to you!”
                                                                                                                                       –Dr. Clarence M. Lee, Jr.

Godly single parents have been taking it on the chin in our mainstream (and social media) for a number of years. Even many of our churches have mistakenly pushed the upright ones off to the side. Godly single parents have grown to be marginalized because they don’t fit the agenda template to wipe God from the marketplace. Enter Dr. Clarence M. Lee, Jr. with his work: “Well My Mom Says” (173 pages, 2014, WestBow Press) to set the scales of faith in God, parental love and common sense back to a right balance.

All one can say as they read this work is: “Wow!” “Well My Mom Says” sports 25 chapters, divided into four power-packed sections. It’s a book that will make a great reference book for young people, and will make many a parent ‘get their voices back’ concerning needed advice, wisdom and training for their children that many thought had been relegated to the back pages of history. Lee ‘walks’ the reader through his various ‘growing pains’ that his mother had to address, as he was navigating the often-bumpy roads of life: Difficult teachers, hard life choices and honorable dreams in a warped society. Eventually, Lee’s mother remarries–and the advice keeps on coming from his stepfather. Nevertheless, the advice is more profound and more needed by a ‘double dose’ of parental love.

Lee, a medical doctor makes no apologies for being a Christian nor a former college athlete. Chapters deal with the subjects of Trust, Faith, Perseverance and Appreciation. This book may also serve as a ‘kickstarter’ for some adults in the audience! In an interview with On Line Reviews, Lee noted that this work was ‘on time’ for a lot of young people in our present society…some of whom have been raised in a single-parent environment. He also noted that there is a good possibility that a workbook will be designed to be used along with the book in the near future.

“Well MY Mom Says” is one of those books that you can’t finish in an afternoon. In fact, it’s one of those books that would best be considered a ‘reference’ work, because you will refer to it again, and again…with pencil or highlighter in hand. It’s available through your favorite on line bookseller, or through Lee’s website at www.cmleejr.com.

Mike Ramey is a Minister, Reviewer and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. On Line Reviews brings current and lesser-known titles to public light in the quest to re-kindle a love for reading in a sea of modern technology.

New Report: Rice Spat On Palmer, NFL Had Punch Tape

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , , on September 10, 2014 by Gary Johnson

ray-rice

By Black Men In America.com Staff

Every day more information about the Ray Rice domestic violence incident is being reported and shared.  If true, these new reports spell BAD NEWS for both Rice and the NFL.  Today the Associated Press reported that the NFL was delivered a copy of the punch video back in April 2014.   In addition, additional details from the night of Ray Rice’s assault on his then-fiancee Janay Palmer have been made available in a new report from ESPN. These details include Rice spitting on Palmer two times before hitting her and that Rice knew he was going to be arrested.

According to ESPN Investigative Reporter John Barr, Ray Rice spat in the face of Janay Palmer the night he punched her in a hotel elevator.  According to media reports interviews with one current and one former security staffer at the Revel who spoke with ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” this week on the condition of anonymity, described additional details of the incident.  These staffers said there is a higher quality video that they reviewed.  In the “Outside The Lines” report, two of the men were on duty the night of the assault, while a third had full access to the security video, which he said he has watched dozens of times.

Here’s a partial account of the incident as reported by ESPN:

One former staffer said Rice spat in his then-fiancée’s face twice, “once outside the elevator and once inside,” prompting her to retaliate with movements that were ultimately countered with a knockout punch.

“The first thing he [Rice] said is, ‘She’s intoxicated. She drank too much. I’m just trying to get her to the room,'” one staffer said.

“When she regained consciousness she said, ‘How could you do this to me? I’m the mother of your kid,'” that same staffer told “Outside the Lines.”

With his fiancée still groggy, Rice dialed somebody on his cellphone and said, “I’m getting arrested tonight,” the staffer said. Police arrived in 10 to 15 minutes.

All of the staffers who spoke with “Outside the Lines” say they were not contacted by anyone from NFL security or the Ravens and they are not aware of any current or former co-workers who have been.

This situation is a mess and is getting worse every day.

 

Condoleeza Rice for NFL Commissioner

Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Sports News, Women's Interests with tags , , , on September 10, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Condi Rice

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In America.com

Let’s talk about a different person named Rice for a moment — Condoleeza Rice. 

It appears that the NFL has made mistake, after mistake, after mistake in their “investigation” of the Ray Rice situation. Every decision the league has made appears to be in reaction to the public’s outrage over the league’s inability to send the correct message to it’s players.  Perhaps it’s time for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to be removed from his job.

How about Condoleeza Rice as NFL Commissioner?  She could certainly do a better job than the current commissioner. Maybe it’s time to break up the “boy’s club” and add a different and diverse perspective.

Current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appears to be flawed and inept in his decision-making on this topic and several others.  This from a man who reportedly is paid $44 million dollars a year.  $44 million dollars a year for this kind of weak leadership?  The league’s decision-making process should be formally reviewed with regard to how the league investigated the Ray Rice situation.

About 12 years ago, Ms. Rice publicly stated that she would love to be NFL Commissioner.  I say the time is right and she is the right person at the right time for this job.

What do you think?

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.” 

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