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At the beginning of the year, a video of an uncle spanking his nephew for his gang involvement went viral on the internet. But just last week, the teen in the video, Michael Taylor, the recipient of his uncle’s lashes was found dead, not far from the apartment complex where he lived in with his mother.
The Times-Picayune reported that Taylor, 16, was found dead at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
Michael’s mom, Kimberly Ward, told the newspaper that Michael received a text message from one of his friends and stepped outside the house at around 8 p.m. to talk.
Ward, concerned that her son was outside too long, called him back inside. Michael told her he was just talking and stepped back outside. Later, Ward’s daughter received a text message saying that her brother had been shot and then another saying that he was dead.
Ward said she rushed from the house, driving around the neighborhood looking for her son, but didn’t find him until she was coming back to her apartment complex. That’s when she saw his body on the cold sidewalk clad in the red sweatshirt she’d noticed when he left the house.
“I came home and saw my son on the ground,” Ward said.
The Picayune reported that Ward was trying to figure out where she went wrong in raising her child.
Losing a son at 16 is an unfathomably devastating loss. She said that her son was “guilty by association” because of his involvement with gang members. Naturally, we didn’t know Michael’s life or what factors contributed to his death; but, I’m inclined to think the video of his uncle spanking him may have had something to do it.
When that video hit the web, people applauded his uncle, claiming that Michael needed that physical intervention. I understood the sentiment behind the uncle’s actions. He was trying to save his nephew’s life. Scare him straight.
But Stacey Patton, founder of the web site SparetheKids.com told Black America Web that after that video, she’s not surprised that Michael’s life ended violently.
When I saw the video, I kept thinking that by beating this youth, the uncle was setting him up for some kind of tragedy, either prison or an early grave.
I, too felt like Michael’s uncle was setting him up but not because of the spanking itself. Many of us have caught a spanking, beating or whooping or two in our lives and it didn’t cause us to turn to violence. The difference between us and Michael though, is the fact that his spanking was broadcast for the whole world to see.
If you’ve ever experienced corporal punishment at the hand of a parent, you know that there is a feeling of embarrassment afterward. Sometimes it’s because you recognize that you’ve acted a fool; but most of the time, it’s because being hit, by anyone, especially someone you can’t hit back, is a very…humbling experience, an experience that should remain private.
When I first saw the video I thought, ‘ok, you’re trying to teach your nephew a lesson but what is the point of uploading such a humiliating video onto the internet? Are you the one trying to be seen?’
You remember how hard it was being a teenager, how image was everything, how we spent excessive time and energy trying to appear cool. What do you think a video of you getting your behind tore up would do for your image?
Now, consider the fact that Michael was a young, black male already involved with gangs! For the better part of this year he was defined by a video so detrimental to his image and self confidence. If anything this downright embarrassing video probably propelled him even deeper into a life of crime, trying to prove his strength and street credibility.
WTF was his uncle thinking about?
With new technological advances comes greater responsibility. If you want or need to discipline your child or your family member, fine. But keep that in your house. We strangers don’t need to be a part of that. I can’t help but think that Michael’s uncle was trying to get a little shine from this whole incident. Clearly, this is not the way to do it. Becoming a You Tube/ World Star Hip Hop sensation is cool, but at what cost?
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The family and friends of Kalisha Madden are attempting to spread the word about her disappearance on the morning of November 28th. Madden, 26, was last seen at 3 am on Monday morning leaving her job at the Sting Gentlemen’s Club in southwest Detroit.
Black America Web is reporting that her cousin, Nikia Scott of Washington D.C., has served as a spokesperson of the family in addition to handing out fliers and requesting that people post information about the case on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Kalisha’s case is being covered by local Detroit media but national news outlets have yet to cover the disappearance as Scott feels they should.
“It’s very disheartening and frustrating because large media outlets can get everybody looking. Those first few days are the most important time in situations like this,” Scott said.
The family’s frustrations are further exacerbated by the fact that Michelle Parker, a 33 year old white woman who was last seen on November 17, has received significant national media attention in the last month.
Derrica Wilson, co-founder of Black and Missing Foundation, Inc., says there are several reasons why Kalisha’s case is not receiving the attention it deserves, one of them being Kalisha’s occupation as an exotic dancer and the fact that she’s the mother of six children.
“When there’s a missing person of color, they associate the person with negative information. It just seems like our lives are less valued,” Wilson said.
To make a bad situation worse the “stop snitching” sentiment in many black communities and a lack of diversity in larger newsrooms also contribute to the lack of national media coverage for people of color.
According to the FBI, 40 percent of missing persons are people of color, but that percentage is not accurately represented in mainstream media.
Kalisha was last seen getting into a black SUV with three men on November 28th.
You can get more information about Kalisha’s story at BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Anyone with information on Kalisha Madden’s whereabouts should contact Detroit police at (313) 596-1000 or Crime Stoppers at (800) SPEAK UP. People can also leave anonymous tips at Black and Missing Foundation Inc.’s website, www.bamfi.org.
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Black America’s favorite morning show host Tom Joyner had a few…or more than a few choice words for his former colleague Tavis Smiley and scholar Cornel West.
Joyner wrote that he’s wanted to express something to Smiley for some time now; and ironically, it was Time Magazine’s editor-at-large, Mark Halperin, calling President Obama a “package” on MSNBC that provided the ammunition Joyner needed. He took to Blackamericaweb.com to express his frustrations.
Joyner mentioned that he wanted to be harsh in this post and he didn’t disappoint. He began by referring to Cornel West as Smiley’s “side piece.” And while the rest of the post left Smiley’s sexuality out of it, it was still pretty brutal.
Joyner wrote that not only did Smiley and West “set the tone” for people like Halperin to blatantly disrespect President Obama, they “must take the blame for creating a climate that would make a white professional journalist feel comfortable verbally and vulgarly attacking the first black president of the United States.”
Joyner wrote that while he was appalled by Halperin’s statements, he had no expectations for him like he did for Smiley and West. He once considered both men to be of strong character but wrote that Smiley’s “primary goal became selling books, and later selling out.”
Joyner ended the post by saying that “There’s nothing either can ever do for me or with me again.”
Whew! Strong words, right? And that’s not all. You can read the entire blog post at Blackamericaweb.com. When you’re done come back and let us know what you think about Joyner’s comments.
Did Smiley and West’s comments make it possible for the Halperins of this country to disrespect the president or is he trying to stifle black people from speaking out against President Obama simply because he’s black too?
Let us know what you think.