When the comedian Tiffany Haddish was 9, her stepfather tampered with the brakes on her mother’s car, hoping to kill his partner and her four children. Rather than going out with her mom that day, Haddish asked to stay home and look after her younger siblings—sparing her from the horrific accident that left her mother mentally impaired. As the oldest child, Haddish did what she could to help for three years, from tying her mother’s shoes to paying bills, but eventually Haddish and her siblings were placed in foster care.
The crumbling walls of the GOP echo chamber were woven from a series of patently false narratives. In the real world, President Bush and the Republican Congress expanded government spending, weapons of mass destruction were never found in Iraq, President Obama was born in the United States, and there is no such thing as "legitimate rape." But that's not how the story was told in the conservative bubble. The dissonance between reality and the bubble such that Karl Rove nearly imploded on election night 2012, demanding that reporters on his own propaganda platform, Fox News, retract their call that Obama had won the state of Ohio.
The letter entitled "Thank You's" released by R&B singer Frank Ocean earlier this week will not be forgotten. In it, Ocean reveals that he has been with and cared for both men and women, and that his first love was a man. It is not the entertainment industry standard "I'm gay" or "I'm bisexual" announcement; it can't be snipped into a sound bite or contained in a headline on the front of tabloid. The letter is alive. It sucks the air out of the room when you read it. And as hip-hop journalist Dream Hampton writes, "it is about love." That focus on love—perhaps more than the revelations it contains—is why it's radical.
"What's the point of rap if you can't be yourself?"
As Drake says, "jealousy is just love and hate at the same time," and with the gaudy sales estimates of his new album, Take Care, jealousy is in the air. Haters lament Drake's brand of sing-along pop/hip-hop fusion. Lovers revel in Drake's wordplay, appreciate his self-examination, and nod their heads to the seductive beats on his new record. Several rungs below him on the hip-hop ladder, upstart Childish Gambino (aka comedian Donald Glover, who plays Troy on NBC's Community) has his own collection of supporters and detractors.
The viral political video of last week was captured at the CNN town hall for Democratic candidates. Host Anderson Cooper asked Democratic upstart Pete Buttigieg whether convicted felons should be able to vote. Buttigieg replied, “No, I don’t think so,” the crowd erupted in applause, and the camera cut to the audience. Everyone in the reaction shot was clapping except a single incredulous black woman. Her jaw dropped in shock, and she turned to the person sitting next to her, drowning in disappointment at the crowd’s support for felon disenfranchisement.
On Aug. 12, 2017, I was nauseous all day. Videos from the previous night’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., flooded television and social media. The “alt-right” crowd that gathered at the Robert E. Lee monument the evening of Aug. 11 was met by a handful of brave anti-racist protesters. But on the 12th, anti-racist protestors swarmed the demonstration, and police seemed to stand by as white supremacist mobs beat people and discharged firearms into the crowd. When I’d heard that one of the rioters drove his car into a throng of people and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer, I was not surprised, just sickened.
House Republicans are taking health services away from disabled children, women who give birth, and survivors of rape and sexual assault. They are consigning thousands of people with serious illnesses to death by making them uninsurable in an era of unaffordable treatment. Virtually every reputable medical organization in the country condemns the health care bill that passed the House Thursday, but the GOP clings to two reasons for passing it.
After Philando Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, filmed her partner’s gruesome death from the passenger seat, her 4-year-old daughter told her mother not to cry, and to stay strong. Reynolds heard her daughter pray as Castile bled to death in front of them both. She dared not disobey her child. She kept her composure, kept her video camera recording, and survived.
George Zimmerman is a disturbed and dangerous man. He is a man with a prolonged history of violence and poor judgment, who is yet to demonstrate remorse for taking the life of an innocent 17-year-old boy. The police chief who oversees Zimmerman's former Florida town agreed with a concerned citizen who wrote that Zimmerman was "a Sandy Hook [or] Aurora waiting to happen".
The New York Times
In a 1942 essay for Opportunity, the journal of the Urban League, the novelist Chester B. Himes warned his readers, “The character of this writer is vulnerable, open to attack, easy to be smeared.” Lawrence P. Jackson’s captivating biography of Himes confirms this appraisal, as Himes is far from invincible, never a hero and rarely even a sympathetic figure. Though Himes had a penchant for mistreating himself and others, he was also brilliant and courageous in his depiction of the absurdity of black American life and the violence of white supremacy.