John Legend Spearheads Campaign to End America’s Outrageous Rates of Mass Incarceration

John Legend is more than just a powerful singing voice:  He’s the voice of a generation who wants real change, and he’s walking his talk. Continue reading John Legend Spearheads Campaign to End America’s Outrageous Rates of Mass Incarceration

New Jersey School Cancels Common As Commencement Speaker

Kean University, which is located in Union, New Jersey, announced earlier this week that Common will no longer be the commencement speaker at this year’s graduation because of a song he made in support of famed and at-large Black activist Assata Shakur.

The university made the announcement on Monday, but had changed its decision by announcing it via Twitter on Tuesday. University spokesperson Susan Kanye says that the school acted prematurely by making the announcement on social media.

“The students expressed interest in Common because he composed the Oscar-winning song ‘Glory’ with our prior commencement speaker John Legend. While we respect his talent, Kean is pursuing other speaker options.”

New Jersey State Police expressed concerns about the Academy Award winning entertainer because of his “Song For Assata”, which was recorded over 15 years ago. Assata Shakur, who is also known as Joanne Chesimard, was convicted in 1977 of killing Trooper Werner Foerster four years prior. Shakur escaped from prison and was granted political asylum by the communist country of Cuba where she resides today.

-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)

Billboard Honors KKK On Selma Anniversary

Today in Selma, Alabama many people gather to commemorate the march are greeted with a billboard that is causing quite a stir on the anniversary

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the violent marches in Selma, Alabama. As visitors drive past a billboard, they will see something that will not only bring back memories, but anger. A confederate group called Friends of Forrest, felt that they wanted to honor the KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest by putting up a billboard not too far from the very bridge where the protests took place 50 years ago. The picture shows Forrest on a horse with,

Keep the skeer on ’em”

On the back of the billboard, Selma Post Herald sends a welcome message to President Barack Obama

Selmapostherald.com Welcomes President Barack Obama and you to Selma.”

Is this a coincidence, or some people subliminally trying to scare away visitors from Selma?

– Ballah-moni Kollie (@Gottadream87)

Today In History: Selma, Alabama “Bloody Sunday”

Six hundred marchers assembled in Selma on Sunday, March 7, 1965 and crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge en route to Montgomery for justice

Thousands of people are gathering in Selma, Alabama to join President Barack Obama and global civil rights leaders at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the violent confrontation “Bloody Sunday”. In 1965, activists crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge were beaten by police while demonstrating for voting rights.

Selma is not just about commemorating the past, it’s about honoring the legends who helped change this country through your actions today, in the here and now.”
-President Barack Obama

bloody-selma

Tomorrow March 8th is International Women’s Day, the great Selma civil rights leader Amelia Boynton Robinson‘s legacy will be elevated on 125th in the streets of Harlem. The United Nations women’s organization Harlem Women International will join the Community Mayor of Harlem/ Goodwill Ambassador to Africa, Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, to celebrate women all over the world 50 years after “Bloody Sunday” in Selma. Dr. Blakely had the honor of marching with Civil Rights leaders and Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson, who is now 103 years of age.

http://members.tripod.com/american_almanac/amelia.jpg

To protest disenfranchisement of blacks and segregation, Amelia Boynton Robinson helped organize a march to the state capital of Montgomery, initiated by James Bevel, which took place on Sunday March 7, 1965. Led by John Lewis, Hosea Williams, Bob Mants, Rosa Parks, and other Civil Rights pioneers were among the marchers. The event became known as “Bloody Sunday” when county and state police stopped the march and beat demonstrators after they left the Edmund Pettus Bridge and crossed into the county. Boynton was beaten unconscious; the photograph of her lying on Edmund Pettus Bridge went around the world. Another short march led by Martin Luther King, Jr. took place two days later; they turned back. With federal protection and thousands of marchers joining them, a third march reached Montgomery on March 24, entering with over 25,000 people supporting.

In 1964 Boynton ran for Congress from Alabama, the first Black American female ever to do so, and the first female of any race to run for the ticket of the Democratic Party in Alabama. Hoping to encourage Blacks to register and vote, she received 10% of the vote.

The events of “Bloody Sunday” have contributed to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; Ms. Boynton was a guest of honor when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. In 1990 she was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Medal. Her memoir, Bridge Across Jordan, includes tributes from Coretta Scott King and Andrew Young. Mrs. King wrote:

In Bridge Across Jordan, Amelia Boynton Robinson has crafted an inspiring, eloquent memoir of her more than five decades on the front lines of the struggle for racial equality and social justice. This work is an important contribution to the history of the black freedom struggle, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone who cares about human rights in America.

There is an ongoing appeal to help keep Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson in her own home and fund her round-the-clock caregivers. Donations can be made to Mrs. Amelia Boynton Robinson, P.O. Box 333, Tuskegee, Ala. 36087.

Watch the original “Bloody Sunday” March from 1965 below.

-Infinite Wiz (@infinitewiz)

Vanilla Ice, Rick Ross, and Flava Flav To Perform At Selma Anniversary Concert

In 50th anniversary of the historic march on Selma, BET has organized a musical concert. The show is to be a representation of the civil rights movement. In this show features included Bill Whithers, Cicely Tyson and Harry Belafonte. In addition Hip Hop veterans Bell Biv DeVoe, Flava Flav, Doug E. Fresh, MC Lyte, D-Nice, Vanilla Ice and Rick Ross.

Controversy has risen over the past few hours when it was announced that Vanilla Ice will be apart of such the remarkable event. Parker Baxter who is the President of BET Event Production and the Executive Vice President of Centric TV is the person who was responsible for choosing Vanilla Ice defended his decision.

“Vanilla Ice was in the Soul Train Awards two years ago and he’s a really cool person. When we call him for things he likes working with us and we like working with him,” Baker recently told AL.com, an Alabama based website. “He’s one of the people we call to participate in things with us, and if he can do it he absolutely will. I sent him a text and within two minutes his response was two words: ‘I’m in.'”

The show will take place at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the same location where police attacked protestors during their march from Selma to the Alabama state capital in Montgomery. Thousands are expected to participate in a march on March 7 which is the 50th anniversary of the event, known as “Bloody Sunday.”

 

-Bri Christian(@brirezy)

MSNBC’s Politics Nation and National Action Network President Rev. Al Sharpton To Deliver Sermon In Selma, Alabama On Sunday

Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver a key sermon at Brown Chapel A.M.E. in Selma, Alabama on Sunday, March 8.

His sermon at 11 a.m will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches and the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Selma is where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders were based during the 1965 Voting Rights campaign and organized historic marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Additionally, on Friday, March 6, Rev. Sharpton will host his MSNBC show Politics Nation live from Selma as well as his nationally syndicated radio show.

On Saturday, March 7, he will join other civil rights leaders as they listen to President Obama and Bush’s speeches at the Edmund Pettus Bridge to mark the 50th anniversary of the marches from Selma to Montgomery and the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Tessa Thompson & Teyonah Parris Reflect On ‘Dear White People’

The 46th NAACP Image Awards were broadcast live from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on TV One.  Continue reading Tessa Thompson & Teyonah Parris Reflect On ‘Dear White People’

Watch John Legend’s Scarily Accurate Oscars Acceptance Speech

The Academy-Award winning “Glory” singer brought an important fact to light

John Legend and Common–as expected–won the Academy Award for “Best Original Song” for “Glory,” an impeccably inspiring segment of the Selma score, and the only thing more bone-chilling than their impactful performance may have been John Legend’s acceptance speech.

Thank you. Nina Simone said it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the voting rights, the act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you that we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on.

It was both an inspirational moment for all parties involved, and a moment of realization for everyone in the audience, and millions watching from home. Vox went a little into detail about the stats that back up John Legend’s statement.

Here are the numbers:

  • In 1850, there were 872,924 black men (16 or older) who were enslaved in the US, according to the Census.
  • As of December 31, 2013, there were about 526,000 black men in state and federal prisons in the US.
  • In 2013, there were about 877,000 black men on probation, and 280,000 black men on parole (according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics source cited by Politifact).
  • The Bureau of Justice Statistics doesn’t break down jail populations by both race and gender, but 86 percent of all 730,000 jail residents in 2013 were male, and 36 percent were black. So it seems plausible that at least a couple hundred thousand black men are in jail.

The totals: 1.68 million black men are under correctional control in the US, not counting jails. That’s over three times as many black men as were enslaved in 1850.

It’s a pretty damning statement, and while there is a large portion of Black men behind bars for absolutely valid reasons, there’s something to be said about a nation that pours more money and funding into its prison system than its education system.