Archive for the Women’s Interests Category

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.” 

Janay Rice Blames The Media for Ruining Her Life

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Sports News, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on September 9, 2014 by Gary Johnson

janay-palmer

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

September 9, 2014

Late last evening the Associated Press published video that showed what led up to the confrontation.  Prior to being knocked out, Janay and Ray Rice exchanged obscenities.  Additional video footage shows that Janay Rice spit in her husband’s face and then he punched her with a left hook rendering her unconscious.

Mrs. Rice says that the media’s reaction to the event didn’t take into account her role in creating the altercation.  Janay Rice took to social media via her Instagram account this morning and posted the following:

“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend,” she said in an Instagram post. “But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing.

“To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!”

Wow!  This is a bit much to digest.  Note to Mrs. Rice:  The media did not ruin your life.  Your husband ruined your life when he hit you in the face and knocked you unconscious.  He then treated you like a hefty trash bag and used his leg to push you out of the elevator and then dragged you into the lobby.

Janay Rice’s reaction is a sad and predictable commentary.  This is a woman who married the man the same month that he knocked her out.

The fallout from Ray Rice’s suspension from the NFL has even cut short his video game career. EA Sports will cut him out of their video game and Nike has terminated his contract. In addition, the Baltimore Ravens released details of their Ray Rice Jersey Exchange program. Fans can go to the stadium and trade in their Ray Rice jersey for a jersey worn by another Ravens player. This incident and the comments from Ray’s wife Janay sparked some very critical conversations about domestic violence in this country. This issue is not going away. It would not surprise me if some executives in the NFL front office lost their job. The entire Rice family needs some professional and quality help.

I wonder how her mother and father feel about what has happened to their daughter.  This family needs counseling and professional help and I hope they get it.

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.” 

TMZ Releases New Ray Rice Elevator Video

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Men, Black Men In America, Women's Interests with tags , , , on September 8, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Ray Rice, Janay Rice

September 8, 2014

Update:  NFL Suspends Ray Rice Indefinitely

By Gary Johnson, Black Men In America.com

The newly released video shows Ravens RB Ray Rice and his now wife Janay Palmer, getting into an elevator inside the Revel Casino on Feb. 15, and within seconds after the door closing, Palmer approaches Rice, who delivers a punch that knocks Palmer off her feet.  Palmer’s head smashes against the elevator hand rail … knocking her out cold.  Rice doesn’t appear to be phased and drags her unconscious body into the hallway, where they are met by a security guard.

After viewing the latest video, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday suspended Rice indefinitely.  Goodell reportedly had not seen the “knock out” video showing Rice cold-cocking Janay Palmer before handing down a two-game suspension that was blasted for being too soft.

On August 29th, the NFL Commissioner instituted a new domestic abuse policy, where a first-time offender would get a six-game suspension and a second offense could lead to a lifetime ban.

On May 20th, Rice was accepted into a pretrial intervention program to avoid aggravated assault charges.  Once Rice completes the one year program, the third-degree assault charge will be dropped.  I know the rules of double jeopardy say that you cannot punish a player twice for the same offense, but something has got to be done about this incident with the release of this new information in the form of this video.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this newly released video is worth tens of thousands of words.  This video is hard for me to watch.

Did the NFL do the right thing by suspending Ray Rice indefinitely?  What do you think?

Two weeks ago I collaborated with domestic violence expert Mildred Muhammad (The Ray Rice Apology: Two Points of View) on the Ray Rice incident.  Mildred sees domestic violence and abuse from a different set of lenses.  Mildred contended from the beginning that Ray Rice had a total disregard for her well-being.

Here is an excerpt of Mildred’s reaction from her Facebook page today: The force of the punch caused her to hit her head on the rail and she is out cold…He was not kind, careful or concerned with her! He did not display remorse, he didn’t care if she was coming out of her forced coma! He dragged her out of the elevator and was more concerned with his cellphone than with her…smh!  He treated her like she was worth nothing.  He is only concerned with his career.  Now, I hope he does not blame her for his actions, as most people have already began and continue to blame her (victim blaming).  He could have turned to the side.  He could have held her.  He could have done a lot of things.  However, he CHOSE to knock her out.  And these are the consequences of HIS actions!  Unacceptable behavior.  Agree with me or not…he was absolutely wrong.”

Mildred Mildred D. Muhammad is the ex-wife of John Allen Muhammad – the convicted and executed DC sniper who terrorized the Washington DC metropolitan area in late 2002. 

To read her perspective, click here to read our commentary.

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.” 

The Ray Rice Apology: Two Points of View

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Men, Black Men In America, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on August 5, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Ray Rice, Janay Rice

August 4, 2014
By Gary A. Johnson with contributions from Mildred Muhammad

In today’s 24-hour news cycle, this topic is considered to be “old news.” 4 days ago Baltimore Ravens Running Back Ray Rice, the modern day poster child for domestic violence held a press conference where he spoke for the first time since being arrested for knocking his fiancé unconscious at an Atlantic City casino in February. The NFL “punished” Rice with a two game suspension, which was widely regarded by most sports media observers as insufficient. The length of the suspension, compared with others handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell caused a firestorm of debate. The suspension was so controversial that at least one sports/media broadcaster (Keith Olberman) has called for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign his position immediately.

Most of you have probably seen the TMZ video of Ray Rice dragging his then unconscious girlfriend out of an elevator at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City on Valentine’s Day. Rice is seen holding up a motionless Palmer from behind — his arms hooked under her arms and shoulders — dragging her out of the elevator before plopping her down in front of the elevator doors and at one point kicking at her feet. I found that footage to be troubling and disturbing.

I watched the press conference live. I listened attentively in an effort to determine if this guy understands what he did and is truly sorry for his actions. Or was this Ray Rice’s attempt at damage control in an effort to keep his sponsors on-board and save his public image?

Here are two takes (opinions) on this topic. My take and the expert take or opinion of my friend and domestic violence expert Mildred Muhammad. I specifically asked Mildred to share any opinions or insights that she had about the Ray Rice apology. I want to educate myself and others about domestic violence and I want to learn from those who know more about this topic than I do.

Gary’s Take: I have never been a victim of domestic violence, but I have witnessed incidents with family and friends. After watching Ray Rice’s press conference I thought he came off as an individual who is on the right path. He is seeking counseling and it appears to get “it.” I base my assessment on the following observations:

  • Ray Rice had some prepared notes and folded them up and spoke extemporaneously from his heart.
  • He apologized to his wife, his daughter, his wife’s parents, the community, etc.
  • He consistently used the phrase “domestic violence.”
  • He said he took responsibility for his actions and noted that he is in therapy/counseling for what he described as the worst action of his life.
  • He said that when he gets right, that he will commit his life to helping victims of domestic violence.

And yet, there were aspects of that press conference that made me feel uncomfortable. At one point during his press conference Ray Rice said the following: “My actions that night were totally inexcusable. That’s not me. That’s something I have to live with the rest of my life.” That’s not me? 

Ray, that was you.  The video does not lie.  Hopefully, continued counseling will help you come to terms that that was you.

Mildred

Mildred’s Take: First off, Ray Rice has been going through counseling. It’s a positive step that he apologized to his wife, (which he forgot to do in their joint press conference a few weeks earlier). It’s good that Ray apologized for his actions and took responsibility for what he did.

However, he’s positioning himself as a victim as well. He’s connecting his pain with his wife’s’ pain and her pain with his pain when the two are not the same. He knocked her out; she didn’t do that to him. Whatever she did to him in that elevator did not warrant him knocking her out. There are ways you can defend yourself without brutal force. We are talking about a running back who is tackled by 300 or so pound men. He’s hit all the time. A man has to realize that the power behind his punch, shove or hit is so much more than a woman.

His pain is associated with the shame of being captured on tape and how he let everyone down (his mother, her parents, coaches, teammates, etc). Had this not been publicized, we would not be having this discussion.

Ray Rice said his pain is associated with his daughter and how he will have to explain what he did to her mother. He did not speak to or discuss his wife’s pain or what she must be feeling and how this has affected her. On the other hand perhaps he shouldn’t. She is the only one who can speak to this and I don’t believe we will hear from her. She is being counseled and protected during this time, as she should be. I know she is in a lot of pain and probably blaming herself.

He did speak for his wife when he promised that “when the time is right” he and his wife would become active in raising awareness about domestic violence. Everything he says, he includes her instead of just speaking for himself. He speaks like he was the one assaulted and he is going to go out and speak to the world about domestic violence. I don’t think Ray Rice understands that he will be speaking as an abuser.

He doesn’t want to talk about what happened in the elevator because, during his counseling, he was made aware that he was wrong. If he says in public what happened in that elevator, he will make his situation worse. Right now, it sounds like he feels he was wronged. He’s speaking to two different things in one interview.

I hope Ray Rice continues his counseling so he can come to accept what he did and will be able to separate his pain from his wife’s pain.

What do you think?

Mildred D. Muhammad is the ex-wife of John Allen Muhammad – the convicted and executed DC sniper who terrorized the Washington DC metropolitan area in late 2002. To learn more about Mildred and her work via her website Mildred Muhammad.com and through our main website at Black Men In America.com.

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.” 

Jody Watley Releases New Album: CD Sells Out In Less Than One Week

Posted in Black Interests, Music, Music and Video Releases, Women's Interests with tags , , , on July 28, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Jody Watley-Paradise

Los Angeles, CA – July 28, 2014: Established as one of the most prominent visionaries of her era, whose influence remains a key touchstone in contemporary pop music, Grammy Award winner, Jody Watley returns with her glamorous and funky new album, PARADISE. As executive producer at the helm of her own label, Avitone, Watley continues to convey her commitment as a savvy entrepreneur. Proving that quality rules over quantity, pre-orders for the 6 track album sold out in less than one week. PARDISE is available world-wide on iTunes, Amazon and other digital music outlets. A limited edition CD which was encouraged by her devoted fans, that includes the bonus track Everlasting, is available exclusively on Jody Watley’s online boutique (www.jodywatley.net).

The singer, songwriter, producer sighted the lack of attention spans in today’s society which prompted her to take a classic approach in recording PARADISE. She was reminded that many timeless albums were recorded in the 70’s and early 80’s that had as few as 7 songs on an album, and with Isaac Hayes’ ‘Hot Buttered Soul’ having only 4.

“It’s about quality, not quantity,” says Jody. “I think that albums with a lot of songs are out of touch with the times we live in and today’s record buyer – many artists and companies are holding on to outdated practices. Perhaps I’ll be the first to encourage other artists to make shorter albums, with better songs and a greater music impact.”

JODYWATLEY_OFFICIAL_ruiz-3

Inspired by her well documented roots in disco, soul, pop, dance and electronica music, Watley, who has mastered a career in keeping dance and R&B music relevant to today, continues her legacy on PARADISE. Jody continues to put genuine artistry and quality into everything she does, making each musical moment into a quality experience. The album incorporates live instruments meshed with the EDM direction she’s successfully delivered for more than a decade.

Former Prince NPG guitarist Levi Seacer plays on the thumper The Dawn, with live strings courtesy of the critically acclaimed Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and avant-garde dance jazz impresario, Mark DeClive-Lowe (The Dawn, Paradise, Tonight’s The Night). Other producers featured on PARADISE include Italy’s Luminodisco (Dancer), France’s Count de Money (Nightlife) and the U.K.’s hot producers, Soulpersona (Sanctuary).

Paradise Track Listing
Nightlife
Dancer
The Dawn
Tonight’s The Night
Paradise
Sanctuary

*Everlasting – bonus track available exclusively on limited edition CD.

To Connect With Jody Watley

The Hit Single “NIGHTLIFE” – ‘It’s In The Music!”
http://youtu.be/4j64kkLwerI

Official Artist Site / Style Blog:
http://www.jodywatley.net

Follow on Twitter!
http://www.twitter.com/jodywatley

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/jodywatleyofficial

For Publicity and Media Inquiries Contact
business@jodywatley.net

Nothing Essential About Essence

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Women's Interests with tags , on July 18, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Essence Logo

By Raynard Jackson
NNPA Columnist

I wrote a column three years ago titled, “Black Women No Longer Have Their Essence.” My point was that Essence, the pre-eminent magazine for Black women, had become irrelevant and an embarrassment to the Black community.  Unfortunately, Essence has continued its decent into irrelevancy.

For 20 years, Essence has sponsored an annual party during the July 4th holiday known as the Essence Music Festival (EMF). According to their website, the EMF, “known as the party with a purpose, is an annual music festival which started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Essence, a magazine aimed primarily towards African-American women. It is the largest event celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States.”

According to media accounts, “…In 2008, for the first time since its 1995 inception, the festival was not produced by the original producer team. Instead, Essence Communications, owner of the festival and the Essence magazine, contracted Rehage Entertainment Inc. A new main stage facelift was designed by production designer Stefan Beese.” Essence Communications and Essence Magazine are no longer Black-owned, they are owned by Time Inc.

Maybe this would explain why EMF contracted with Rehage Entertainment Inc. and Stefan Beese to produce the event and to build a new stage. They couldn’t find a Black firm capable of taking on these contracts? If they need some referrals, I would be glad to send them a list of Black people who could do the job, if they are truly interested in the “empowerment” of the Black community as they claim.

There was also no diversity in the programming. Of their 86 “empowerment” speakers during their various daytime panels, all were media personalities, journalist, or liberal politicians. There were maybe three people who one could argue were businessmen, but that’s a stretch. As far as I can tell, there were no Republicans invited to participate, as though Essence has no Black female Republican readers?

One panel was about the hair texture of Jay Z and Beyoncé’s baby. Yes, you heard me right; Essence had a whole panel to discuss a child’s nappy hair. One news account said, “Essence Magazine recently hosted an Empowerment Beauty of Confidence panel to comment on the backlash [over the child’s hair]. Essence asked Cynthia Bailey, Kim Kimble, Chenoa Maxwell, Tomiko Frasier Hines, Soledad O’Brien and Wendy Raquel Robinson to comment on the backlash.”

There were no empowerment panels on the women who work in the White House for Obama being paid less than their male counterparts; there were no empowerment panels on why Obama never interviewed a Black female lawyer for the two Supreme Court nominations he made to the Court; there were no empowerment panels on the number of Black kids languishing in the foster care system while Obama wants to throw billions of dollars to support children coming to this country illegally.

In essence, Essence’s continued march towards irrelevancy has nothing to do with them being White-owned. They were well down that road before they were sold. One could make the argument that the articles in Essence have become less substantive after Time Inc. assumed leadership, not that substance was ever their hallmark.

How can you talk about “empowerment” without talking about Lynn Hutchings, a State Representative in the Wyoming legislature? She is the first Black female Republican to serve in the state’s history. How can you talk about “empowerment” without talking about J’Tia Taylor, who has a Ph.D in nuclear engineering from the University of Illinois; she started college at the age of 15. How can you talk about “empowerment” without talking about Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, the State Department’s Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs? Ambassador Jenkins has a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Virginia, an LL.M. in international and comparative law from the Georgetown University Law Center, an M.P.A. from the State University of New York at Albany, a J.D. from Albany Law School; and a B.A. from Amherst College. She also attended The Hague Academy for International Law.

You have such accomplished women – Democrats and Republicans – yet Essence is talking about the texture of a child’s hair.
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, http://www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @raynard1223.

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