Monthly Archives: February 2017

Betsy DeVos releases statement on HBCUs, Twitter points out she’s clueless

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is being dragged on Twitter over a statement she released after attending a listening session with historically black college and university leaders at the White House.

In a letter issued to the public, DeVos, who’s confirmation as head of Department of Education required a historic vice presidential tie breaker in the senate, said that it is the Trump administration’s “priority” to “develop opportunities for communities that are often the most underserved.”

“We must be willing to make the tangible, structured reforms that will allow students to reach their full potential,” the statement added.

Read the full article on The Grio.

Get the Fuck Outta Here: A Dialogue on Jordan Peele’s GET OUT

Writer and educator Law Ware had the wonderful idea of he and I having a dialogue on the recently released horror film, Get Out. The film, written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele, stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington, a photographer dating a white woman named Rose (Allison Williams). Rose takes Chris home to meet her “liberal/progressive” parents in their New England home and that’s when shit, literally and figuratively, goes left.

The film is multilayered and speaks quite deftly to the terror of being black in the United States. Law and I were anxious to get the conversation started. We spoke on Sunday, the same day as the Oscars, where the specter of race hung over everything like a noose on a poplar tree. There was so much to talk about and as much as we unpacked, there was still so much left to cover (like the end scene, for example). We might need a part two.

Read the full article on Medium.

‘I Am Not Your Negro’ erased the sexuality of James Baldwin. What if it wins an Oscar?

On Sunday, the 89th Academy Awards will honor some of Hollywood’s cinematic achievements of 2016.

When I was younger, my family would gather around our living room to watch the Oscars — especially, when black actors and actresses were nominated. Usually, this meant being disappointed by the results; black narratives and white voters don’t usually go hand-in-hand. That’s because in Hollywood, black films rarely fare well under the white gaze. This year, however, viewers may receive some redemption by way of the number of black films being honored: MoonlightHidden FiguresFences, and I Am Not Your Negro are leading the pack in undeniable ways.

Read the full post on ThinkProgress.

Letting Chris Brown go will be the best thing for all of us

hris Brown’s self-titled debut album was released in late 2005, almost twelve years ago. My little sister was infatuated with him, and by extension, I had to be too.

Our love for him began to dissipate after accusations of him physically abusing his then-girlfriend, Rihanna, in 2009. The images of Rihanna’s vicious attack — her black eyes, busted lips, bloodied nose — have never escaped me. Even since then, Brown has remained in the limelight for his music and singing on every single hook in music’s history.

Let’s face it: Hollywood has never had an appropriate response to misogynists, only seeming to make them more famous following horrid allegations — Johnny Depp, Mel Gibson, Dr. Dre, R. Kelly, and the list continues. We simply refuse to let the reality of who these individuals are impact our love for them, no matter the deeply-rooted toxic nature of that love.

Read the full article on The Grio.

50 Trendsetters To Watch #15: Preston D. Mitchum, Washington, D.C.

“If you don’t work for your dreams, you’ll work for someone who worked for theirs.”

A May 2008 honors graduate from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, minor in Pan-African Studies. I am a May 2011 graduate of North Carolina Central University School of Law. In May 2012, I graduated from American University Washington College of Law with an LL.M. in Law and Government. I aspire to be a defender and protector of the constitutional rights/liberties of the LGBT community, women, impoverished individuals, and racial minority groups.

Read the full article in RizeUp Magazine.

Raise the Bar: Discrimination in Queer Safe Spaces

Over the past month, an image and a subsequent email exchange has caused quite the controversy for Washington, D.C.-based and gay-owned bar, JR’s.

In 2012, the manager of the popular bar requested their then graphic designer from the LGBTQ publication Metro Weekly to produce a flyer for an Olympic-themed happy hour. When the proof was forwarded to the manager, David Perruzza, he requested that the image be changed to a “hot white guy” instead of a black man because “[t]hat’s more of our clientele.”

The image never came out and the bar ultimately decided to remove the black model from the image and use no one. But this past week this exchange has quickly become just another piece of evidence to queer people of color in Washington, D.C, and even across the US, that LGBTQ bars continue to be a place where people of color are not welcome.

Read the full article in Out Magazine.

White lies, black bodies: Emmett Till’s accuser exposes ugly truths

In Luvvie Ajayi’s book I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, she notes “[a]t the intersection of racism and sexism is white women’s privilege, and while some feel like they’re dismantling one system, they’re often upholding another.”

The history of white women’s lies proves just how true this statement is for black people everywhere. That’s no alternative fact.

White lies have caused the death of many black people, especially boys and men. Historically, black boys and men have been accused of sexual assault by the same white women who want to escape persecution by their white friends for engaging in consensual sex with a non-white person. This has caused many to not believe survivors, even when we know real physical force (or threat of physical force) has occurred. And at times, it’s hard for me to blame people for their uncomfortable tension with this reality.

Read the full article on The Grio.

Without strategy, Democrats fighting all fires won’t help anyone

Since Jan. 20, 2017, it’s been hard not to believe we are living our last days. It’s almost as though George Orwell is playing a sick joke on us, and his book, 1984, is coming to life as the United States appears to be under a totalitarian regime.

Reality television star-turned politician Donald Trump, as an evil dictator, has taken us on quite the ride in just two short weeks, and Democrats, particularly members of Congress, are panicking with half-hearted attempts at responding to his every move, with no real strategy other than “it’s all on fire, now react!”

That’s unfortunate.

Read the full article in The Grio.