All Articles Tagged "News"

No News Is Good News: How Avoiding Sad Stories Protects My Mental Health

June 15th, 2016 - By Tracey Lloyd
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I barely watch the news. Sometimes it makes me feel guilty, like I’m an uninformed rube or something, but I don’t avoid the news because I don’t like to keep up with current events. I do it because news stories, like those about the Orlando mass shooting, make me very anxious and very depressed.

The Orlando shooting happened overnight, so I had a brief respite from the breaking story while watching “CBS Sunday Morning,” the kind of news program that fills my need for information. That was until the “Breaking News” graphic covered the screen and I was filled with dread; no TV station ever breaks into programming for a positive story. That’s when I learned what had happened and I was sad, for the families of the victims, for my gay and lesbian friends who lost a sense of security, for the country.

My sadness isn’t clinical, like my depression. You can’t treat it with medication. But it activates the constant thrum of melancholy that I feel every day, even under the best circumstances. It triggers a litany of negative thoughts about when the violence will be turned against a group of Black women like me, and how much worse it has to get before our laws are changed. The thinking and the over-thinking — plus the positive affirmations I need to help move my mind in a good direction — are exhausting. Actually, it’s exhausting to go through the process on a regular day. Add in a national tragedy and the chatter in my brain becomes unbearable.

Added to the story about the Orlando shooting — as happens with all public violence — is the topic of mental illness. The shooter always has a mental illness, or has seen a therapist, or maybe had a behavioral problem as a child. This layer of the story is something that I always ignore. There are millions of people with mental illnesses who aren’t violent. Who don’t buy guns or knives or weapons of any kind. Who are more of a danger to ourselves than we could ever be to others. But the general public will learn, again, that people with mental illness are dangerous killers to be feared and possibly locked up. This makes me just as angry as anything else, ready to don a t-shirt saying “I Have Bipolar and I’m Not Violent.” Not that the rabid news media would pay attention to a bit of truth.

So what do I do to maintain my sanity? Mostly, I ignore the daily drips of information. I never watch TV news, shielding myself from stories that aren’t intended to be useful but are meant to boost ratings. I don’t click on Facebook or Twitter posts about the Orlando shooting; I read the headlines and move along. I refuse to engage in conversations about the violence. Anger isn’t my best emotion, and I choose to avoid i,  lest it turn into anxiety and depression, which it usually does. I look at pictures of puppies and kittens and babies as a palate cleanser and a therapeutic tool to reset my mind.

You might think I’m a baby who can’t handle the real world, but I disagree. Mass killings aren’t normal, and I refuse to treat them as such. And I’m adult enough to know what I need to do in order to keep myself happy and healthy. So bring on the kitties and just let me watch.

Have You Heard Of Airfordable? The “Layaway For Airline Tickets”

April 13th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

A Chicago startup named Airfordable might just be the go-to for booking your next trip abroad. Priding itself as a “layaway for airline tickets,” Airfordable allows travelers to pay just one-third of their flight price upfront when using their website and then pay off the remaining balance in bi-weekly or monthly installments. And the maximum airfare, which can be purchased 11 months in advance, is a generous $2,000 per person.

Co-founder of Airfordable, Ama Marfo, developed the Airfordable business model after wanting to visit her family in Ghana but not being able to because flights were too expensive and she didn’t have a credit card. In an interview with Condé Nast Traveler, Marfo said “although many people pay for flights on credit cards and then pay off the cards, Airfordable could stand out by not charging interest.”

There is, however, a 20 percent service fee (that can be paid off along with your payments) for using the site, but if you’re a part of Airfordable’s target demo which is people who have poor credit, expats, visitors and residents who cannot obtain a U.S. credit card, that fee may not matter.

Although there are many who criticize Marfo’s Airfordable business technique because they believe you shouldn’t travel if you can’t afford it, she notes that it will teach people to budget their fiances and give them access to travel. Also, if travelers cannot make their payments or must change their travel plans, the money they already paid will be credited to their Airfordable account and can be used within a year towards a different flight.

Will you be booking with Airfordable?

Teacher Tells A Georgia Student Her Purpose Will Be To “Have Sex And Make Children”

March 8th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: WSBTV

Teachers are supposed to be the people who inspire, encourage and educate us. But far too often they are the same ones who degrade, discourage and belittle. That’s what happened to Shaniaya Hunter, a junior at Greene County High School in Georgia.

When Hunter raised her hand to ask her teacher a question, instead of answering her, he proceeded to insult her intelligence as well as her personhood , calling her, among other things, “the dumbest girl I have ever met.”

The incident happened in December when Hunter, who has an eye condition which causes her to occasionally miss school, was trying to catch up right before a test.

There is a recording of the teacher allegedly saying, “I have been around for 37 years and clearly, you are the dumbest girl that I have ever met.”

Hunter just so happened to be recording the lesson on a school-issued iPad when the teacher said those very hurtful things to her. But he didn’t stop there. He said, “You know what your purpose going to be? To have sex and have children, because you ain’t gonna never be smart.”

Later, in an interview with WSBTV, Hunter said, “It really hurt me inside.” She was trying to say more but began crying. Hunter’s mother and aunt took over the interview from there, telling her that it was going to be ok, that they were going to fight until it was over, assuring her that it wasn’t over yet.

Hunter’s aunt, Christie Lockhart said, “This is about a school system that is failing our children and allowing these acts to go on.”

Attorney Ben Windham agreed to take the case pro bono after Hunter’s mother said she was dissatisfied with the way the school district handled the situation. As of now, the teacher has kept his position.

When the news station asked if the teacher had been disciplined, the district said, there are limits to what they can publicly say.

Windham said, “This man does not need to be teaching young children. It’s not a gray area. End of story.”

Hunter said that, unfortunately, she’s not the only student he berates, she’s just the only one who’s speaking about it publicly.

She said, “I don’t think it’s OK. I don’t think he should be here.”

You can watch her interview with WSBTV and listen to the alleged audio in the video below.

To Go HAM Or Not To Go HAM: What Would You Do If These Headlines Happened To You?

February 4th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

These days, it seems like the news is full of headlines worthy of exclamation marks: Cheaters getting caught in the act, restaurants with surprises (rodents, fingers, etc.) in the food, and even teachers behaving badly with students just as bad. But what would you do if these headlines happened to you? Go HAM (hard as a mother…) or keep your cool?

We’ve compiled a few crazy stories of customers getting revenge, cheaters putting their exes in their place and parents standing up for their kids. Do you think they were right to take matters into their own hands or was there another route that would have been better to choose?

When the tables are turned, would you follow in their footsteps? Read on and just be glad that these moments didn’t happen to you. But if you’ve got stories that are just as crazy to tell, feel free to include them in the comment section down below.

Pop Mom: The 13-Year-Old Who Impregnated Mary Kay Letourneau, His 35-Year-Old Teacher. Where Are They Today?

January 4th, 2016 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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ABC News

It was a scandal that rocked the nation. A 35-year-old teacher was dating her 13 year-old student. I remember it like it was yesterday though it was nearly 20 years ago. So when I heard that Barbara Walters was doing a follow-up special on TV I had to break out the homemade popcorn with extra cheese. What? To think that they’re still together, and after all these years! It got me wondering if maybe the bulk of us got it wrong and instead of this kid being a victim who lost his childhood to this deranged teacher, it’s actually a love story in disguise…

First of all, I discover some interesting facts that I never really knew, or had forgotten. Like the fact that Mary Kay Letourneau was already married with four kids when she got pregnant by 13-year-old Vili Fualaau. It was then that the scandal broke, her marriage ended, and she was sent to prison for a few months under the condition that she would stop seeing Vili. However, not a month after her release, she was arrested a second time. Mama just couldn’t stay away from the kid. This time, the judge was infuriated and sentenced her to the full seven years that she should have gotten the first time around. But it didn’t end there, she was already pregnant with Vili’s second child, which she gave birth to in prison. By the time she was released in 2004, Vili was over 18-years-old so they were able to resume their relationship and married in 2005. Today, they live in the same Seattle town with their two daughters who are now 16 and 17 years old. Talk about drama!

I’m listening to this re-cap and it’s hard for me not to think, poor kid. He came from a broken home, and here’s this beautiful teacher–he said she looked like a movie star–who is showing him more attention than he’s probably used to. Of course, he fell hard. Next thing you know he’s a father with two kids and she’s in prison. Of course, he waited for her to get out. Where was he going to go as a high school dropout with two kids? Plus, whenever people try to keep two lovers apart they become that much more determined to be together. Forbidden love tastes that much sweeter.

What pissed me off more than Mary Kay’s refusal to avoid this kid’s advances was her refusal to acknowledge that she’d done anything wrong. From lying to her former husband to dating a minor. She even admitted that she never expected jail time. I’m looking at this woman, like, Seriously? Did you think this was a romance novel?! Then I realize that it’s her sense of entitlement that’s freaking me out. Why shouldn’t she be able to have this broken Somoan kid if she wanted? It’s interesting because her story is eerily similar to that of her father who was a Congressman and college professor who had two children with his mistress, who just happened to be a former student? Mary Kay talks about her parent’s break up and ultimate reconciliation as if it’s the greatest love story told to man. So I’m looking at Vili like he never had a chance.

And then Barbara turns her attention to Vili. She wants to know how he’s dealt with dropping out of school, his brushes with the law, alcoholism and depression.

He says for years the situation left him traumatized. “If you’re going to call someone a victim make sure that that victim is getting all the help they want and need. There was no real guidance or help on how to figure this out.”

There was also a feeling of hopelessness around wanting to express himself and be understood, but not being able to do that because of his lack of education. Today, when he starts feeling sad about this part of his life he chooses to focus on the beauty that came from it and where he can take that.

When asked how he’d feel if one of his own daughters wanted to date a teacher he says he wouldn’t encourage it because you don’t know what you want at that age.

I start rethinking this idea of Vili as a victim. Yes, his life hasn’t been easy, but he seems incredibly self-aware and appears to be a solid father and husband. His daughters know how their parents met and appear to be very well adjusted. He’s a DJ and Mary Kay is a legal assistant. They’re still together when half of all marriages end in divorce. They still live in the same Seattle town so nobody ran or is hiding. Is he a victim? He doesn’t see himself that way. Perhaps he never bought into that label or shunned it once he realized that victims really don’t get no help.

He told Barbara he was able to deal with his depression when he decided that his problems weren’t going to go away by sitting around.

It got me thinking, why am I seeing him as a victim? Does it make me feel good to have someone else to pity? Poor Vili, stuck with the woman he fell in love with at 12-years-old. Even he says he feels ‘happy’ and ‘safe.’ Obviously, it’s enough for him so it’s got to be enough for me. Given everything, I’m going to mind my own business and wish him and his family a nice life.

Check out Erickka Sy Savané’s column, Pop Mom, right here on Madamenoire. Before Erickka became a writer/editor, she was a model, actress, and MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Don Lemon Talks Future Endeavors: “I Will Probably Get Out Of Traditional News”

December 27th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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CNN anchor Don Lemon, who is known for ruffling quite a few feathers says he wants to transition from the traditional news format to a talk show of his own where he can drop “F” bombs at his liking. Shocking, much?

In a video interview with TVNewser on Saturday (Dec. 26), the TV journalist shared his plans for the future. “I think at some point, I will probably get out of traditional news and become either someone like a Bill Maher, with a show that has a point of view … (though) I don’t necessarily mean liberal. “Like a Jon Stewart or Trevor Noah,” he continued. “But not so focused on the comedic part of it.”

Lemon, who has also held guest posts on the Wendy Williams Show, also shared that he enjoyed and is most inspired by the outspoken panel setup that Chelsea Handler had on her E! show. “Where I could actually drop the F bomb, or where I could actually give my opinion without everyone screaming, ‘you can’t do that as a journalist!'”

As someone that has recently taken an interest in the “Black anchor who seems to piss everyone off more or less,” I actually think that his interest in a more open formatted show is ideal. Lemon is a correspondent that loves to take on controversial topics and voice his outspoken opinion. In this instance, a buttoned-up aesthetic that CNN usually offers, may not be his true beat or audience. Whether you love or hate Lemon, he too deserves to voice his opinion. So, if I happen to see Lemon with his own show soon, kudos!

As always, we’re interested in what you have to say. Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

$9 Million On Her Boyfriend’s Bail? The Worst Things People Used Their Lottery Winnings For

August 11th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

What would you do if you hit it big? Hopefully your “If I won the lotto” list doesn’t include any of the things these people acquired or paid for with their lottery winnings.

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.