All Articles Tagged "News"

Woman Starts Fundraiser To Help 16-Year-Old Charged With Killing Mother’s Abusive Boyfriend

July 28th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Earlier this month police responded to a domestic violence call to an apartment in Charlotte, North Carolina. When they got there, they found 36-year-old Omar Dunbar dead.

After an investigation authorities announced that Deanna Denise Watson, a 16 year old girl was being charged with his murder.

Dunbar was Watson’s mother’s boyfriend and according to neighbors and police records, the two didn’t have a good relationship.

According to the Charlotte Observer, Watson and her siblings often clashed with her mother’s boyfriend.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police had responded to three separate domestic violence complaints at Watson’s home in the week prior to his death. Neighbors spoke to the Observer saying that Watson and her siblings often said Dunbar, who had been dating their mother for three years, attempted to punish the children by hitting them or kicking them out of the house.

A family friend, Kamela Friday said that Dunbar and Deanna had the most tumultuous relationship/ She said when he was around, Deanna would often knock on neighbors’ doors asking if she could stay with them since Dunbar had put her out.

The day Dunbar was killed neighbors say they saw police outside of Watson’s home again. Friday said she later learned that they were there because Dunbar had hit one of the younger boys.

Friday, who spoke with Deanna’s siblings later, told the Observer later that night, Watson’s mother went to work at a nearby Target. Once she was gone, the sounds of Dunbar confronting one of her siblings woke Deanna out of her sleep.

“He grabbed (him) by the legs and pulled him out of the bed and pulled him down the stairs,” Friday said. “Deanna was like ‘Leave my brother alone. Leave him alone. Just leave.’ And he spat in her face.”

The two got into a fight of their own after that and during that time Dunbar was stabbed and killed.

Early on Wednesday, two friends called Friday and asked her to go check on Deanna and her siblings. She said once she got in the apartment, “I see blood because he’s dead in the kitchen. It was all over the floor.”

Turns out, Dunbar, in addition to dating Deanna’s mother, was also married.

His wife Ashonda declined to speak in detail to the Observer but she said, “What’s being portrayed is not him. That’s all I’m going to say.”

…I’m sure.

Obviously, none of us were there or know what happened; but from the details from the neighbor and the not one, not two, but three reported domestic violence incidents, in a single week, it would seem that Watson got tired of her mother’s trifling boyfriend abusing she and her siblings and she took action.

Sadly, Dunbar ended up dead as a result.

When Watson appeared before the District Court, she was wearing shackles and a judge set her bail at $1 million.

From the outside looking in, the situation seems like the victim was being punished for protecting herself.

This didn’t sit too well with Joann Thompson.

Though she’d never met Deanna, she, being a former domestic violence survivor, was touched by her story and decided to do something about it.

Thompson told People, “The system failed those kids. I just had to do something to help her. With this paper trail of domestic abuse that’s been going on for years, you want to lock this child up? That’s a little harsh, isn’t it?”

She was particularly infuriated by Watson’s $1 million bond. And in response she set up a Fundly account in Deanna’s name and started researching lawyers on her behalf.

“She’s just a child. This is very traumatizing for her. She doesn’t have an attorney at all, and we don’t want to see her sign something she doesn’t understand. That’s another reason why I want to help her. She doesn’t have a voice. She has to have a voice.”

Thompson is not the only one. Neighbors were passing out fliers, attempting to raise money for her defense.

Now, Deanna is being held in the juvenile section of an adult correctional facility in North Carolina. Thompson hopes she will be released before her 17th birthday next month.

At the time of publication, it seems that Fundly is not loading properly. But if you’re interested in contributing to Deanna, please keep checking back.

 

Payoffs And Pills: The Most Shocking Details From The Leaked Cosby Deposition

July 27th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

The shocking details of Bill Cosby’s 10-year-old confessions from a deposition have left a lot of us confused and disturbed. Maybe if supporters had known all this information, they would have abandoned the cause months ago.

Which Side Are You On? Pop Culture Debates No One Can Seem To Agree On

July 22nd, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Instagram

Image Source: Instagram

Is it okay to look at yourself as just an American, rather than an African American? And are cornrows on White folks always a form of appropriation? Pop culture news has been full of so many debatable topics lately that we had to make a list and ask you to share your thoughts.

#JusticeForSandy: What Happened To Sandra Bland?

July 16th, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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Sandra Bland

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Her name was Sandra Bland, and the information that has been released surrounding her death has broken my heart, yet again. I wept last night because another Black life has been taken too soon. I wept for Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and countless others, but Sandra Bland’s story has somehow hit even closer to home for me. She was a young Black woman who was an advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement with evidence of her support running up and down her social media pages. Her Facebook profile image was too much for me to handle—a simple phrase: Now Legalize Being Black in America. Then I saw this video, and I wept some more.

 

As usual, I received this news and video from Twitter. Most major media outlets take their sweet time to provide coverage of yet another Black life lost, another hashtag, another notch in the belt of discrimination, intolerance, and hate.

According to the Root, Sandra Bland was a 28-year-old woman who had just driven from Naperville, Ill. to Texas on July 9 to start a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M. She was slated to get to work this week, but instead of celebrating this occasion, she’s going to be laid to rest. The details are scant but what we know as of this point is that she was pulled over last Friday for failing to use a signal during a lane change in Waller County, Texas. Soon after, she was arrested and charged with assaulting the arresting officer who claimed that Bland was “combative” during the routine traffic stop. She stayed in jail over the weekend. Fast-forward to Monday morning, the day Bland was going to be released on $5,000 bail. A guard found the young woman dead in her cell, and after conducting an autopsy, the sheriff’s office claimed the cause of death was “self-inflicted asphyxiation.”

Elton Mathis, the Waller County DA, is calling for an investigation and even admits the details surrounding Bland’s death are peculiar:

“I will admit it is strange someone who had everything going for her would have taken her own life. That’s why it’s very important a thorough investigation is done and that we get a good picture of what Ms. Bland was going through the last four or five days of her life.”

To me, this seems like a case of 1+1= Jello. Things are not adding up. A woman gets what has been described by her family and friends as her dream job and travels to Texas to start work. She gets pulled over for a minor infraction, has an altercation with the arresting officer, and then hangs herself in her cell two days later?

There is a video circulating online that allegedly shows Bland’s arrest. The video is caught from a distance but you can hear a woman screaming in the background: “Ya’ll are so full of sh*t! I swear to God ya’ll are so full of sh*t…You just slammed my head into the ground, do you not even care about that? I can’t even hear!”

She thanks the person recording the video as an officer vehemently asks the person to stop doing so. She is then put into the police car, and the video ends.

My first thought: It’s a cover-up. It’s really not that big of a leap given the current racial climate in America. Where is her mugshot? The mugshot is usually made public immediately. It’s been well over five days and not one image of Bland has been processed. The lack of a mugshot adds fuel to the flames of suspicion. Are we not seeing it because the officers did indeed use unnecessary force and Bland’s head was bludgeoned against the ground, leaving marks?

Bland’s family and friends are adamantly stating that the young woman did not share any suicidal thoughts or state that she dealt with such feelings in the past. In fact, they say she made copious plans for the future, was greatly motivated, and was excited to begin her new job as a college outreach officer.

“The Waller County Jail is trying to rule her death a suicide and Sandy would not have taken her own life,” a friend, LaNitra Dean, told ABC 7. “Sandy was strong. Strong mentally and spiritually.”

While it is a fact that suicidal people do not always display the tendencies, it is also a fact that Waller County, Texas, has a long, troubled history of racial turmoil. Back in 2008, the New York Times even wrote a piece on the county’s segregated cemeteries. It’s hard to turn a blind eye to that when a woman of color dies in the custody of law enforcement under suspicious circumstances.

Speculation, anger, hurt, and numbness aside, the truth will come to light about what happened to Sandra Bland. If it is determined that this was indeed a death due to foul play, the all-too-familiar cycle will continue. People will protest. People will demand change. Some people, hiding behind keyboards, will blame Bland for her death. The media will do its absolute best to dig up any dirt to taint the character of the victim. There will be a probe, some magical distraction will attempt to take attention away from the crime. The officers, if found to be involved, will fade into the background with bank accounts full of early pension and funds from a GoFundMe account filled to the brim with hate money. Maybe the victim’s family will receive a settlement that is supposed to make it all better. Once the cycle ends, it will continue again when the next life is taken.

I hope to God that this is not our forever plight.

If it is determined that she hung herself, then it could open up a much-needed conversation about mental health and the stigmas surrounding it. Video cameras are often found in county jail cells, so if she took her own life, there should be footage to prove it.

I am devastated for the Bland family regardless of the outcome. If Bland did take her life or if it was taken in a cover-up of some sort, another mother has to bury her child, and that will never be right. We have lost a promising young Black woman who was hoping for change in our community, and I hope that the Bland family receives all the answers to the questions at hand.

In the meantime, I continue to thank God for cellphone cameras, protestors, social media, and the strength of our tired but forever sturdy community. May we one day receive the justice we need and deserve. May we one day break this cycle.

“Elsa Isn’t Black” 3-Year-Old Racially Abused While Wearing “Frozen” Costume

June 24th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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It’s no surprise that America doesn’t have a monopoly on racism. People of color, particularly Black people, all throughout the the world, are often on the receiving end of racism and discrimination. And unfortunately, it starts early. Three-year-old Samara Muir, an Aboriginal girl in Melbourne, Australia, learned that the hard way at a recent Disney event.

According to the Daily Mail, little Samara was waiting in line for entry to the event and was dressed as her favorite Disney Princess Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. 

Though Samara and her mother Rachel Muir were standing in line minding their business, another woman, a parent, turned around and said,

“I don’t know why you’re dressed up for because Queen Elsa isn’t black.” 

Rachel asked the woman what she meant by the comment but before the mother could respond, one of her two daughters, obviously reciting what she had been taught, chimed in saying:

“You’re Black and Black is ugly.”

Muir said she was shocked by the comments, particularly since Melbourne is one of the most multicultural places in the world.

“I couldn’t believe it.”

Muir said she decided in that moment to ignore the comments as a means of teaching her daughter to take the high road in those types of situations. She did tell Samara that they would talk about the incident later, when they got home.

And she did.

But that wasn’t the end of the ordeal. The next day, when Samara was set to go to her Aboriginal dance class, she told her mother that she didn’t want to go. When her mother asked why she said, “Because I’m Black.”

Rachel Muir was naturally mortified by the effect the racist comments had on her daughter and she took to Facebook to express her frustrations. It wasn’t long before the post went viral.

And though this story started off as a tragedy, like most Disney Princesses, Samara’s story has a happy ending.

People sent in messages of support for both Samara and Rachel.

Eventually, the people at Disney heard about the story. And the real-life Queen Elsa, the one who lives in Orlando, Florida, sent Samara a video message telling her to always be herself.

Rachel Muir recalled the event for The Age saying, “Her mouth just dropped to the ground,” Ms Muir said. “She kept saying over and over ‘she’s talking to me.’ We were in tears. It was so overwhelming.”

Disney on Ice Dare to Dream also took action. Not only did they invite Samara to attend the show, they would like for her to appear in it.

Nick Cannon and Aboriginal rapper Adam Briggs have voiced their support for Samara, with Briggs featuring her in one of his film clips.

The artist and activist said Samara was a “bright, beautiful little girl who can be any princess she wants to be.”

Boop!

So happy for this little one.

While Samara can be any Disney princess she wants, this also highlights the very real issue of inclusion and representation in media, especially for children. It’s no secret that Disney needs more princesses of color so girls of color around the world can see themselves as heroes and heroines on the big screen. It’s so important.

You can watch Samara’s story in the video below.

This Is Not Really Diddy Assaulting The UCLA Coach, What He Did Was Much Worse

June 23rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: CBS.com

Source: CBS.com

Yesterday, after news broke that Sean “Diddy” Combs had been arrested for putting his hands on the UCLA strength training coach, the image above started to spread around the internet.

But that’s not a photo of the incident.

It’s a picture from a movie Diddy had a role in  “Hawaii Five-0″

And though the picture is a farce, the attack is more serious than we initially reported.

According to several sources, including the Los Angeles Times, Diddy was attending one of Justin Combs’ practices yesterday at the Acosta Athletic Training Complex.

Sources told TMZ that Diddy became upset when he saw the way the coach was yelling at his son. Earlier we reported that Diddy grabbed the coach. But the assault was far more severe.

The mogul went after the coach with a kettlebell, a piece of weightlifting equipment made of cast iron.

Fortunately, for everyone involved the kettlebell didn’t make contact; if it had it would have likely killed the man. All parties walked away from the incident with no injuries.

Diddy was arrested initially on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

Later, on Monday night the charges were updated to include:

 

Whoa.

Diddy was arrested by campus police and then transferred to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Inmate Reception Center, a little after 7:30 p.m. Sheriff’s Department officials told The Times it was set at $50,000 in their system.

According to The Wall Street Journalhe was released on bail late Monday night.

Justin is a red shirt junior defensive back for UCLA’s football team.

At this time, authorities have not released the name of the coach.

Well, that certainly escalated quickly. At first, I was a bit empathetic to Diddy, understanding that some coaches are a bit too aggressive. But the fact that he was at practice seems that he was the one who was infringing on the routine and then took it to another level when he didn’t like what he saw.

There was one person who had some interesting commentary about the situation. See what he had to say in the video below.

What do you make of this story? Are you surprised?

“I Will Be Just Fine” Taraji P. Henson Posts Picture From Hospital Bed

June 19th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Taraji P. Henson

WENN

Taraji P. Henson has been everywhere lately. Ever since the success of “Empire,” the longtime actress has been making moves. She’s done talks shows, magazine covers, and hosted “SNL.” At one point, I even heard her doing a voiceover for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. From the looks of things Taraji has been saying yes a lot lately.

And while yes might be the best short term answer professionally; health wise, it’s not so great.

Today the star posted this picture of an IV in her arm on Instagram. What she shared in the caption was particularly important.

Well, that’s a little scary. But also a lesson some of us could stand to learn. While we love seeing Taraji out and about, getting the shine she’s deserved for so long, we’re going to need her to chill.

We have a feeling that there is so much more she can contribute to the world and we want her healthy to be able to do so.

Get well soon!

“I Was Going To Buy A Piece Of Burger”: The 15 Funniest News Interviews Ever

June 17th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Twitter

Image Source: Twitter

As Courtney Barnes proved last week, bystander interviews can be the best part of the news. And these witnesses were so hilarious, they immediately went viral as the funniest news interviews ever.

But Wait…Lark Voorhies’ New Husband Wanted By Police

June 12th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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We really wanted to be happy for Lark Voorhies (aka Lisa Turtle from “Saved By The Bell”) in her new marriage. But there may be trouble on the horizon.

TMZ, the same outlet that broke the news about the couple’s recent nuptials did some digging on Mr. Jimmy Green.

And unfortunately, they discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest.

All of this is the result of a 2012 incident. In Tucson, Arizona, Green allegedly attempted to return a cell phone. But the owner of the store refused to take it back. Police report that after that, Green became enraged. He threw the phone at the wall in the story and then said, “I’m going to break the store and kill (you).”

Green was charged with making criminal threats and disorderly conduct. He became a wanted man when he failed to show up for his court hearing.

Crazy how he was able to dodge the police for three years.

Hopefully, these two are able to work this out.

Imitation Of Life: NAACP Leader Rachel Dolezal Pretends To Be Black

June 12th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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We’ve all heard about Black people pretending to be White for financial, professional or social gain. But rarely do we hear about White people attempting to be Black. And I don’t mean adopting a Blaccent, wearing stereotypically urban clothes and trying to use the n-word. I mean making a concerted, long term effort to convince people that you’re genetically African American.

Family members of Rachel Dolezal and other civil rights activists have outed the leader of the Spokane, Washington NAACP chapter as falsely portraying herself as Black for several years.

When the news of her deception broke, Dolezal, 37, completely skirted questions from reporters, saying “I feel like I owe my executive committee a conversation” before discussing the situation with the media.

In addition to Dolezal’s work in the NAACP, she’s also a part-time Africana Studies professor at Eastern Washington University, teaching a class called “The Black Woman’s Struggle.” When questioned further about her racial identity by KXLY, Dolezal said, “There’s a lot of complexities…and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.” Then she concluded by saying, “We’re all from the African continent.”

Despite her dishonesty, Dolezal has done significant work benefitting the Black community. She’s credited with re-energizing the Spokane NAACP chapter and also serves as a chairwoman for the city’s Office of Police Ombudman Commission. On her volunteer application she identified herself as White, Black and American Indian.

Reporters for The Spokesman Review reached out to Dolezal’s parents. Her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, of Montana, said that she has had no contact with her daughter in years. She explained that her daughter has wanted to be Black for some time but she began to disguise herself after she married and divorced a Black man in 2004.

“It’s very sad that Rachel has not just been herself. Her effectiveness in the causes of the African-American community would have been so much more viable, and she would have been more effective if she had just been honest with everybody.”

Dolezal has dismissed her family’s claims, chalking it up to bitterness about old allegations of abuse.

Meanwhile, Ruthanne maintains that the family is of Czech, Swedish and German descent. She said there are also “faint traces” of Native American heritage.

Now that the news has broken and the story is garnering coverage all over the nation, Presidents of the organizations with which she is affiliated are thinking about next steps when it comes to Dolezal.

The Mayor and Council President Ben Stuckart are gathering information to determine if volunteer boards and commissions have been violated.

Stuckart said he didn’t want to speak prematurely about the matter but offered, “…if this is true I’ll be very disappointed.”

Eastern Washington University President Mary Cullinan said Dolezal has been “an inspiring role model for EWU students” and a university spokesman said it was inappropriate for them to comment on this personal issue.

The former Spokane NAACP president, James Wilburn, who was replaced by Dolezal, said that he had often had private discussions about her background but kept them relegated to a few members of the group.

Others questioned the hate crimes Dolezal reported and particularly whether or not she placed a dangerous package in the NAACP’s mailbox. Dolezal vehemently denied the claims, calling them, “bullshit.”

Though they’ve been disconnected for years, Ruthanne Dolezal had a message for her daughter, “I would say, ‘I love you, and honesty is the best policy. I firmly believe that the truth is in everyone’s best interest.”

You can check out the level and depths of Dolezal’s disguise in the images on the following pages.