MCM | Michael Jordan Donates $2 Million to Highlight Racial Divide

Carmelo+Anthony+Michael+Jordan+Jordan+Brand+k5vrrHhjJyml

Michael Jordan heeded Carmelo Anthony’s call to step up and speak out against police brutality against unarmed Black men and women. Albeit it doesn’t have the unified flair as exihibited by Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James at the Espys, but given Big Mike’s vow of silence (rivaling that of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) on Black matters, this is a giant step for the iconic Chicago Bull.

Michael Jordan released a statement to The Undefeated, check it out below.

As a proud American, a father, who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

 
“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

 
“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement.

Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.
“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”

Well said.

Issa Rae Raises $500G’s for Alton Sterling’s Kids

issarae

So on a scale from one to 1000, this week ranked one millionth in terms of shittiest.

Amirite?

I’m still in a fragile state to recap what you already know. What I’m sure the whole world now knows. As if they didn’t already. Hell, the King of Pop dedicated a whole song about it in the ’90s. More recently, Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams did a whole breakdown of our beef like an MC–with bars just as insightful as Nas, Common, Mos Def and Talib Kwali–freestylin’ about our appropriation and marginalization.

Actor and Activist Jesse Williams Drops Truth Bomb During BET Awards

Yet, two weeks later and one day after Independence Day (isn’t it ironic?) Alton Sterling becomes not only a hashtag but # 505 on this year’s list–so far– of fatal shootings by police. Not even a full 24 hours later did Philando Castile land # 506.

What’s scary is not only who will be # 507, but the near certainty another Black man or woman will fill the casket. It’s a hopeless reality but no doubt one that’s been contemplated now more than ever.

It makes you wonder if Alton Sterling’s 15-year-old son will live long enough to step foot on the college campus  filmmaker Issa Rae helped foot the tuition for. The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl took to GoFundMe page this week urging supporters to finance a better future for the slain Louisana man’s five offspring by donating up to $200K.

The star/creator of HBO’s new comedy Insecure surpassed her fundraising goal in 9 hours; garnering $567,056 for the Sterling family.

“If you feel helpless, but want to play a small part in easing the burden of #AltonSterling’s family, consider donating to this scholarship fund for his 15-year-old son (and his other kids).

*ALL* funds raised will go to Alton Sterling’s family,” writes Issa.

Following Issa’s lead Los Angeles director Xavier Burgin posted a Go Fund Me page for Philando Castile, which raised $96,040. To help support the Minneapolis man’s girlfriend and daughter, who both watched him get gunned down reaching for his license. The disturbing encounter was streamed live on Facebook.

Philando’s sister also started one to pay for his funeral.

It’s good to know people care enough to give, but Beyonce put it best: “we dont need sympathy. We need everyone to respect our lives.”

We’re still waiting.

We’re done waiting.

We’re woke and it’s time to start fighting.

MCM | Jesse Williams Drops Truth Bomb During BET Awards

JesseWilliams-640x480

It’s safe to say Jesse Williams put us all in a trance last night at the BET Awards. Only it wasn’t his gorgeous green eyes that had us hypnotized, although it always helps, but his truth bombs about cultural appropriation.

The Grey’s Anatomy star lit into those who love to bottle up our slang, our dance moves and our fashion style to sell to the masses. Yet, cringe at our efforts to recognize the whole package. Black Lives Matter. The fact that a little brown boy playing in a park alone results in several holes in his body by the police. Without any arrests. Shows it doesn’t.

And that’s what J.W. is hoping to change. Through his involvement with orgs like the California Endowment Sons & Brothers that guides young Black boys to reach their potential through literacy and youth empowerment. Jesse is a boardmember. The actor turned activist is also on the board of directors for the Advancement Project; a civil-rights org seeking community based solutions to racial inequities.

r-JESSE-large

And still finds time to take part in POTUS’ “My Brother’s Keeper” program.

Between Jesse Williams’ stirring humanitarian acceptance speech (check out his full speech below) and Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar’s chain-breaking performance of “Freedom.”

We’re all woke.

Woman Crush Wednesday | Beyonce Starts Flint Kids Fund

beyonceflint

Queen Bey has officially got our attention. As if you could ignore her Black power themed Super Bowl 50 performance. Or Mrs Carter’s Flawless call for ‘Formation’ in her latest video.

The Bey swarm is in full effect this week. In between preparing for another world tour (y’all get your tickets?) and dropping another surprise album–Any day now. Any day now–she started a fund for Flint, Michigan kids affected by the water crisis.

Through Beyonce’s charity BeyGOOD, she’s partnering with the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to “create a fund that will address long-term developmental, education, nutrition and health needs of the children affected by the Flint water crisis,” Live Nation released in a statement.

The BeyGOOD initiative will also continue its support of United Way. Just laser focus it on United Way of Genesee County, in helping to distribute water filters and bottled water to those in Flint.

Last week Jay Z made headlines for donating $1.5 million to a variety of Black Lives Matter orgs and social justice groups. The money was raised through a Barclay’s Center concert in October–featuring Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Usher and Damian Marley.

Cementing their place as the power couple of the world.

 

 

Happy Birthday Trayvon! Our 21 Wishes for You

trayvon-martin-by-brian-kirhagis

Today is Trayvon Martin’s birthday. He would’ve turned 21 today. Likely to swap those Skittles and Iced Tea for a ceremonious Corona. Sadly we’ll never know because the last time he blew out his candles (at 17) a full month hadn’t passed where he could feel the full weight of them.

And with each milestone that passes we feel the anger and trauma. Yet, it can’t blind us from fulfilling the wishes Trayvon had and others just like him–Sean Bell, Akai Gurley, Freddie Gray and Mike Brown. But guide us to create our own wishlist in their honor.

1. We wish you an eternity of peace. Freedom from judgment and harassment for being who you are.

2. We wish you could see how strong your parents are coping, with you gone.

3. Our wish is that you’re an angel. A guardian angel protecting innocent lives and shielding them against evil in all its many forms.

4. We wish you have a never ending supply  of candy and Arizona Iced T wherever you are.

5. We wish you knew that you’re a history maker and tide changer. A symbol to a historic movement–not a statistic.

6. We wish your birthday, your life will never be forgotten.

7. We wish you could have made it to space, for real. But, we’ll settle with seeing you amongst the stars.

8. We wish football and snowboarding is as much fun in heaven as it is down here.

9. We wish you are roaming freely with your hoodie up.

10. We wish you are among good company.

11. We wish your life mattered more

12. We wish justice was served in your murder

13. We wish you could see the impact of your foundaton.

14. We wish you can see your brother grow into the man you should have been.

15. We wish your life mattered

16. We wish your life mattered

17. We wish your life mattered

18. We wish your life mattered

19. We wish your life mattered

20. We wish your life mattered

21. We wish you were here to keep wishing.

 

 

No Indictment from Grand Jury in Eric Garner Case

 

icantbreathe

I’m deeply disheartened (I literally gagged) that the grand jury found no cause to indict police officers that placed a choke hold on Eric Garner, which was determined his cause of death. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide. How could it not? It was the chokehold seen around the globe.

But it wasn’t enough for the jurors. I’m beginning to wonder what would be. How can lives (yes, LIVES) be so violently taken and the only outcome is a makeshift how to get away with murder fraternity among Zimmerman, Wilson, Oliver and Haste.

Yes, Mr. President, it is an American problem. A biggie that predates your existence and mine. The only thing that does change are the names. The faces and pleas for justice go unchanged.

If We Must Die (1919) by Claude McKay
If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honourus through dead!
O kinsman! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Color Chart (2013) by Guy Farmer
Certain
Lives
Are
More
Expendable
According
To
An
Outdated
Color
Chart.

Rehab for Ferguson

 A burning building in Ferguson. Image Courtesy of Jim Young Reuters

A burning building in Ferguson. Image Courtesy of Jim Young Reuters

Once again justice wasn’t served. Was I surprised? Nope, because I knew what the decision would be. We all knew. Calling in the national guard, declaring a state of emergency were huge indicators that local officials knew something we didn’t. But we all knew, even before the prosecutor matter-of-factly announced no indictment for Darren Wilson, there would be no justice for Mike Brown, so therefore no peace for Ferguson, MO.

And in the heat of that moment, when digesting that bitter pill of fact, one of Mike’s relatives yells, “burn this bitch to the ground,” into the crowd of protestors, how is that not understandable? I’m not slapping my seal of approval on violence and destruction, but I get why it’s there. It’s a quick fix. An easy way to drain the rage burning out of people’s pores and into local storefronts and car dealerships faster than the actual flames.

But, who are we (as in Black folk) really destroying?

Burning the local Family Dollar that benefits your community is like shooting your own self in the foot, or to put a poetic spin on it: it’s like you drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die. It’s not effective. It wasn’t in L.A. and it won’t be in Ferguson.

Why?

Well, other than the most obvious point that stealing a big screen TV doesn’t make up for a murdered teenager laying in the street for four hours and then being whisked away not in an ambulance, but a shady SUV. (No amount of minivans burnt in a car dealership can make up for that sad reality.)

How is it effective? How is–to borrow a quote from Rev. Al Sharpton–“burning your own stuff”–going to make things right? How is behaving like an animal, which law enforcement was banking on us doing, illustrate we aren’t to the white powers that be.

It doesn’t. It just makes us a distraction. The rioting and the looting divert attention away from the fact an unarmed–the prosecutor failed to mention that in the press conference–black teenager was shot 12 times and his murderer walks away. Unpunished.

So, yes let’s protest–peacefully–but more importantly, take back our power by letting our voices be heard. Not just in darkened streets near courthouses, but in voting booths where there’s proof our voices echo each other and demand a change.

Let’s demand body cameras for police officers around the country, elect state reps that support it, and have an honest debate (not just on Facebook) about race relations. We need to channel our frustrations towards making a change.

Otherwise we will be in this same place, next week, next month or next year mourning another young life  ruled unworthy of justice.Let’s show them our lives matter. We all matter.