All Articles Tagged "News"

“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.

Charges Dropped Against Cheering Family Members

June 9th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

 

Last week we told you about the ridiculous charges that had been filed against family members of Northwest Mississippi Community College graduates because they cheered during the commencement ceremony.

WREG, the Memphis CBS affiliate has reported that Superintendent Jay Foster has decided to drop the disturbing the peace charges, which could have resulted in a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

Foster was set to appear in court along with the students’ relatives the next day.

Still, the family members think the action has come a bit too late.

Henry Walker, who called out his sister’s name during commencement, says that he was taunted and harassed at work and on the internet.

“It gave me a bad name like I’m a hoodlum or like I’m a delinquent or something,” Walker said.

He was just one of four people who had a warrant issued for their arrest.

Though Foster said that he didn’t believe the charges were ridiculous at all, he has yet to issue as statement as to why he dropped the charges.

Walker can’t understand why all of this took so long in the first place.

Ursula Miller says the worse part of the whole ordeal, in addition to being attacked on Facebook is that a day that should have been a cause for celebration will forever be tarnished.

13-Year-Old Commits Suicide After Father Publicly Shames Her

June 4th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

With the advent of social media, children have been using it to misbehave and adults have been using it as a form of punishment. The logic is that if you “stunt” on social media or in real life, for the benefit of your friends, it can also be the same place where you are disciplined, by public embarrassment. We’ve sen it with the “old-man haircuts,” the beatings uploaded to Worldstar, the children wearing barrettes and clothes announcing their real age, and most recently the mother who made her daughter say the most embarrassing things, like “I don’t even know how to wash my own ass.” as a consequence for lying about her age on social media.

Discipline by public shaming is everywhere.

But it doesn’t always produce the desired result.

Izabel Lazamana, a 13-year-old girl in Tacoma, Washington committed suicide by jumping off a highway overpass on May 29. Lazamana took her life days after her father uploaded a video of him punishing her for “getting messed up” by cutting her hair off to YouTube.

Now, Laxamana’s friends and family members are wondering if the video contributed to her taking her life.

News Tribune reports that Laxamana got out of a car a jumped off a bridge onto Interstate 5. She was taken to Seattle hospital where she died the next day.

Friends of the family are now raising money for the funeral costs on a GoFundMe site.

The original video, filmed by Izabel’s father, has been removed. But one of her friends shared it by taping the original on a cell phone.

In it, you can hear a man, presumably her father, saying:

“The consequences of getting messed up…Man, you lost all that beautiful hair. Was it worth it?”

She responds: “No.”

How many times did I warn you?

“A lot.”

After one blog blamed the video and subsequent public shaming as a catalyst for Laxamana’s suicide, others are asking that her father be criminally prosecuted or publicly shamed himself.

I think we can all agree that the more public shaming is not the correct course of action. Not only is the family mourning the loss of their child; at this point, we don’t know if other factors might have contributed to her decision. People are upset right now; but with a loss this great, I find it hard to fathom the father needing any additional punishment.

Jezebel reported that in a Google Plus post from last year, Laxamana shared a link to a song and said that it helped get her through challenging times, particularly at school.

I feel hated most of the time im in school i feel looked down on and i get judged alot…. But what keeps me going is people like kian who have gone through the same thing as me… In a school with so many people its weird to say “i feel alone” but the truth is that you really do feel alone. So thanks for everything kian…. “

A tragic story all the way around. And we’re keeping Izabel, her family and her friends in our prayers.

Arrest Warrants Issued For Cheering Parents At Graduation

June 3rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

We have conversations about the mass and overtly aggressive incarceration of Black and Brown people in this country, but this incident here takes the cake.

According to WREG, a CBS affiliate, four people were served with arrest warrants after they cheered at a high school graduation.

Linda Walker said her 18-year-old daughter Lanarcia Walker graduated from Senatobia High and one of her family members, Henry Walker said “You did it baby!” and walked out of the graduation ceremony.

Another family member, Ursula Miller, says when her niece walked across the stage, she called out her name as well.

Both Miller and Walker were asked to leave the ceremony for cheering.

But that didn’t take issue with being asked to leave. They do have a problem, however, with being served papers for their cheering.

Police at Northwest Mississippi Community College, where the ceremony was held, said Senatobia Municipal School District Superintendent Jay Foster, asked attendees to hold their applause until the end.

And since he is, as he puts it, “determined to have order at graduation ceremonies,” he issued warrants, citing ‘disturbing the peace’ charges against the people who called out. Officers issued warrants with a possible $500 bond.

Henry Walker, told WREG what he thinks about the charges.

“It’s crazy. The fact that I might have to bond of out jail, pay court costs, or a $500 fine for expressing my love, it’s ridiculous man. It’s ridiculous.”

Miller, the woman who cheered for her niece said, “I can understand they can escort me out of the graduation, but to say they going to put me in jail for it. What else are they allowed to do?”

The four people charged are expected to appear in court on Monday, June 9.

In addition to this superintendent’s pettiness, what a gross waste of time and resources for the city of Senatobia. An arrest warrant for cheering? I know there has to be more to do there than harass people like this. A judge with any type of sense at all will throw this case out.

This story irritates the hell out of me. Graduation is a time for celebration. And I don’t know too many celebrations that take place quietly. Furthermore, as long as Black people were denied education and are still being access to proper education in this country, we should be able to make some noise about earning a degree.

But apparently, Superintendent Foster, now that education is required, is attempting to stifle and suppress Black people in another way.

I understand graduation ceremonies can be long and tedious but is a half-a-second outburst really worth the loss of someone’s freedom? That’s a rhetorical question, but let me help you out with that: Hell no!

These racist, patriarchal feelings White folks are still harboring over Black folks are hard to shake I guess…

Mother Graduates In Son’s Place After He’s Killed In A Car Crash

May 22nd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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mom graduates in her son's place feat

Aaron Dunigan was the star quarterback, Thornton Fractional North High School’s prom king and expected to enroll in Southern Illinois University in the fall.

But all of those plans were derailed when Dunigan was killed in a car crash on the night of his senior prom, days before the 18-year-old’s high school graduation.

Dunigan and his friend Mike Crowter were getting a ride from another teen, who was under the influence of marijuana, on the night of the incident. The teen crossed a median and crashed into another car, killing 56-year-old Juan Rivera, a Metra employee, who was on his way to work.

Mike Crowter survived the crash but with injuries. He graduated in a wheelchair.

To honor her son, his mother, Katherine Jackson, donned Aaron’s cap and gown and walked across the stage in her son’s place.

Jackson told NBC 5, “[My son] knows his mom walked the stage. I’m going to be his legs and he’s going to be my wings and we’re going to go up there and get our diploma.”

The teen driver has been charged with DUI causing death and reckless homicide with a motor vehicle.

Jackson found the act of attending her son’s graduation and interacting with his classmates to be therapeutic in dealing with the loss of her son.

“My son has left a piece of him inside of all of them and every time I hug one of them, I get a little piece of my baby back.”