All Articles Tagged "President Obama"
“Black Americans Have Lost Ground Under Obama”: Tavis Smiley Criticizes President Obama’s Performance
From Black Voices
Tavis Smiley’s relentless criticism aimed at President Barack Obama has made dozens of headlines throughout the commander-in-chief’s presidency. And though, some may have questioned the political commentator’s motive behind his personal analysis, he recently insisted during an interview on HuffPost Live that his commentary is rooted in holding Obama accountable as the nation’s president.
“I don’t have a monopoly on the truth. There is the truth, and then there is the way to the truth. And I’m always on that route to the truth. I don’t have a monopoly on it. I tell the truth as best as I see it, try to hold folk accountable, and do all that in love,” he admitted to host Marc Lamont Hill. “You will never find a tape anywhere of me being derisive, demeaning, derogatory, or demonizing about the president.”
“As Cornel West and I said many years ago; I respect the president, I will protect the president against white supremacist attacks or anything else he’s unfairly targeted for. So you’re respecting, you’re protecting, but you’re correcting when he’s wrong. Not because he’s Barack Obama, but because he’s the president.”
Smiley went on to add his thoughts concerning the current state of black Americans under Obama’s leadership.
Read more about Tavis Smiley’s commentary at BlackVoices.com
“These Are Your People!”: Diddy Calls Out President Obama, Tells Him To Do More To Help Ferguson, Missouri
Ever since news spread about Michael Brown being shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson, a lot of people have spoken out about the injustice. There have also been people who have criticized President Obama for his response to the riots and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri (and tried to question him for speaking on the death of Robin Williams first), and claimed that his speech last week (he spoke again yesterday on the situation there) wasn’t “enough.” Someone well-known who is expressing a similar sentiment is Diddy. In a crass manner, he tried to address the President of the United States through Instagram. The mogul posted, “WATCH DIS! DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!!! IF YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY SEND A VIDEO MESSAGE TO THE PRESIDENT #DEAROBAMA” before posting the following video:
As someone making these statements from the comfort of what seemed to be his studio and not in Ferguson, I think it’s clear that Diddy went about expressing his concerns wrong. The mogul’s followers weren’t impressed:
“Everybody expecting for Obama to handle everything that man got so much on his plate right now sometimes it takes the hood to help the hood diddy I challenge you to go out there”
“Why are you watching? You should be there too!!! Those are YOUR people as well.”
“Ughh shut up, you went to Howard..I would expect you to know about the branches of govt & how things operate..why don’t you hop on a plane & go down there”
This isn’t the first time Diddy has criticized President Obama and claimed that he isn’t doing enough for the black community:
“I love the president like most of us. I just want the president to do better. There’s a difference between us voting for somebody and us believing in somebody. He’s the person that we believed in so I pray night and day that he understands how God ordained his presidency. I feel there was a promise made to God to look after people that was less fortunate, and [many] of those people are African-American…”
But what do you think about Diddy’s message to President Obama?
We Can’t Hear You: Why Those In Hip-Hop With The Most Influence Need To Start Speaking Up About Social Injustices
Hip-hop is protest, or at least, that’s what it used to be. The beauty of its art is that on a piano-driven or drum-fueled beat, someone who isn’t a politician, teacher or authority figure can reach the masses and educate.
The lessons aren’t conventional.
The lessons aren’t sugarcoated.
The lessons aren’t often very nice.
Despite the fact that we would like to believe that in 2014, black bodies are equally valued considering that this great nation elected a black president, that is simply not the case. Instead, everytime we look up, young black men are being killed by the police, and one another, with no justice being served. Most recently, 18-year-old Michael Brown lost his life at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson, shot multiple times while unarmed, his hands in the air. At the core of hip-hop, records like N.W.A’s “F**k The Police” and Nas’ “Sly Fox” never felt more fitting.
Despite what we see now and hear on the radio, hip-hop has a conscience. It is a genre that can provide a platform for those to represent the unheard in times of great unrest. While Ferguson, Missouri transformed into a war zone earlier this week, tracks like Twista and Faith Evans’ “Hope” and Jadakiss’ “Why” fit the startling images of chaos in the city as calls for peace are heard from Brown’s parents and President Obama.
In a time where we need people with influence to speak, I’m wondering, where have records like Tupac’s “Changes” retreated to? The records that explicitly detail a struggle that is still felt today? It appears strategic brand management has made artists fall quiet until the dust completely clears before they speak out about anything, or better yet, they say nothing at all. In a social media-driven society, it takes more than a tweet in solidarity to reach the masses.
Our lyricists shouldn’t shy away from stirring the pot with records directly influenced by the harsh realities of injustice. Jay Z penned records like “Minority Report” reflecting the everyday man’s trials, but now the genre as a whole has become consumed by Shmoney dances and lavish living. There is no sense of balance when it comes to popping bottles and dealing with everyday issues of the world we live in. What has changed us from being a culture of impact?
I get it. Rappers didn’t rise to fame to become activists. But for a genre to be so fundamentally based in social commentary, the disconnect these days is discouraging. Just like Game, Prodigy and 50 Cent communicated their discontent about Trayvon Martin’s death and David Banner has been vocal with his views about the killing of Brown, there is a need for others with great influence to speak up, and to record songs that stand the test of time, speak to the people and reach beyond the Twittersphere.
J. Cole has done just that. In his video for “Crooked Smile,” he dedicated the clip to 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was killed during a police raid on her home in 2010, and the imagery is based on her life and death. And he’s done it again with the release of his song “Be Free,” sending this message about the song dedicated to Michael Brown:
“Rest in Peace to Michael Brown and to every young black man murdered in America, whether by the hands of white or black. I pray that one day the world will be filled with peace and rid of injustice. Only then will we all Be Free”
Thank you J. Cole for rising to the plate and detailing the pain felt throughout the nation at the unfortunate death of Michael Brown. All we want to do is be free, and what we need is people to speak out about these injustices in any and every way possible.
President Obama has hinted that he will have the opportunity to make another Supreme Court appointment before he leaves office in 2017.
The President, who is vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, spoke to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during a fundraiser and stressed the importance of hanging on to control of the government body. Polls show that the Republicans could snag enough votes to take control of the Senate.
“What’s preventing us from getting things done right now is you’ve got a faction within the Republican Party that thinks solely in terms of their own ideological purposes and solely in terms of how do they hang on to power,” he said during his remarks. “Not to mention the fact that we’re going to have Supreme Court appointments, and there are going to be a whole host of issues that many people here care about that are going to be determined by whether or not Democrats retain the Senate.”
President Obama wasn’t specific about who would be stepping down to make room for a new justice or when, but there has been talk suggesting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 81 years old, should retire. She has said she’s sticking around. Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy are both 78 years old. Neither of them has indicated that they’re going anywhere either. A White House official told Politico that the comments were just general statements about the importance of maintaining a majority in the Senate.
During his terms, President Obama has appointed Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Some of criticized the President for not appointing a Black justice to join Clarence Thomas on the High Court.
Justice Ginsburg has quite a following online, with people calling her the “Notorious RBG” because of her strong perspective on decisions including the Hobby Lobby case and the decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act. You can watch an interview between the justice and Katie Couric here and the Associated Press gathered a few of her thoughts here.
As we saw in both of those cases, Supreme Court choices are important. And with conservatives setting their sights on campaign finance, voting rights, abortion rights and other issues, appointments have taken on even greater importance.
A lot of people were complaining that while President Obama was quick to speak on the death of Robin Williams, he had yet to speak on unjust killing of unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.
But today the White House Press Secretary released a statement from the president. It read as follows:
“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community deserve.”
Are you glad to see President Obama spoke on the matter? What do you make of his statement?
The US-Africa Leaders Summit wrapped last week, but the effects of the landmark event is ongoing. The summit hoped to give America a much-needed push into Africa, one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
Other countries such as China, Portugal, France have long invested in the continent while the United States focused on aid. But now Obama wants American enterprises and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the business opportunities in Africa.
The Summit had many results. The most prominent result was $14 billion in U.S. corporate investments in Africa, reports The New York Daily News. And the United States will spend $7 billion in business exports and investments in Africa.
The mega investment will be in various sectors including construction, clean energy, banking, and information technology projects across Africa, according to a White House official.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We have to do better — much better,” Obama said. “I want Africans buying more American products and I want Americans buying more African products.” An infusion of money and interest in African economies will open many doors for American businesses.
The Summit attracted more than 90 U.S. companies, including Chevron Corp, Coca-Cola, Citigroup Inc, Ford Motor Co, General Electric Co, Lockheed Martin Corp, Marriott International Inc, Morgan Stanley and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. More than 50 leaders from Africa attended. Among the deals revealed: General Electric will invest $2 billion into Africa by 2018 to develop the facilities and skills training. And IBM inked a $100-million deal to handle information technology for Fidelity Bank of Ghana.
The $14 billion is just the icing on the cake. “President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that the U.S. government, World Bank and businesses will invest a combined $33 billion in Africa’s economy, showcasing America’s economic ties to a continent where trade and investment are increasingly dominated by China and Europe,” announced Politico.
On top of this, the World Bank, Sweden and private sources have vowed to give another $12 billion in funding for Obama’s Power Africa energy initiative. This brings the electrification program’s total funding to $26 billion.
The Power Africa initiative aims at helping 600 million sub-Saharan Africans gain access to electricity. As Obama pointed out during the Summit, a “new Africa [is] emerging,” with an exploding middle class, developing manufacturing and retail sectors, the fastest-growing telecommunications market and the world’s youngest population.
Sarah Palin stirred the pot a few weeks ago, calling for the President Obama’s impeachment. “His unsecured border crisis is the last straw…” the ultra-conservative squawk-box said on Breitbart.com. Though many Republicans share in Palin’s contempt for the Obama Administration, many have predicted that voting the POTUS off the island would be “politically toxic.”
And they were right on the money.
Just 24 hours after Palin made that impeachment call on July 8, the Democrats’ Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) received $500,000 in fundraising. But that’s nothing! Over the weekend, the DCCC reeled in a whopping $2.1 million.
It was “the best four-day haul of the current election cycle,” The Washington Post writes. Fear of impeachment and House Speaker John Boehner’s lawsuit against the POTUS have boosted donations for the left. And Boehner couldn’t be more peeved by the surge in support:
“This whole talk about impeachment is coming from the president’s own staff,” Boehner said, according to The Daily Caller. “And coming from Democrats on Capitol Hill. Why? Because they are trying to rally their people to give money and to show up in this year’s election.”
“We have no plans to impeach the president,” Boehner added. “…[I]t’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”
Wasn’t it the former Alaskan governor that started it, House Speaker? But the Democrats are, indeed, taking advantage of Palin’s faux pas. As the saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.”
“I think the Republican strategy of lawsuits and impeachment is fundamentally misfiring,” said Steve Israel, chairman of the DCCC. “That just ignites our base in the form of donations, and of calls wanting to volunteer, and in the form of signing pledge cards wanting to vote.”
Though Palin was once John McCain’s running mate, McCain strongly disagrees with her. Looking back at Clinton’s impeachment, McCain said, “It was not a good thing to do. The American people didn’t like it.”
The DCCC currently has $50.9 million in the vault while the NRCC has $42.5 million, Washington Times says.
Black and Latino boys have long been disadvantaged at urban school districts. To rectify this, President Obama announced “My Brother’s Keeper” in February, a $200 million five-year initiative to bridge the gap between minorities and their more fortuitous peers. My Brother’s Keeper is now expected to receive an additional $104 million in funding, The New York Times reports.
The program’s new efforts will be sponsored by private and nonprofit organizations such as the NBA, Citi Foundation, and AT&T, The Daily Beast reports — not federal spending. The expansion seeks to include 60 of America’s school districts, all of them representing about 40 percent of minorities living below the poverty line.
My Brother’s Keeper, a program dedicated to improving the lives of African-American and Hispanic boys from pre-K to high school, will increase access to quality pre-schools, keep track of Black and Latino stats in academia, boost the number of minority boys who are placed in gifted, honors, or Advanced Placement courses, cut down on the number of minorities expelled and suspended, and improve the graduation rates of young men of color.
Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools, an organization that’s coordinating the initiative’s newest endeavors, says that while a few urban school districts have taken steps towards progress, there’s still much to be done:
“We need to move these numbers and improve these futures as a collective if the nation as a whole is to make any progress on this front. It’s not enough for us to do well in a small number of cities,” Casserly said. “The 50-year anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act reminded us that those great battles of the past were not fought over access to mediocrity. They were fought over access to excellence.”
According to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to attend schools with less skilled teachers and live in school districts that offer fewer math and science classes.
“Boys in particular are at a disadvantage,” the NY Times added. African-American and Hispanic males are less likely to graduate from high school compared to their white and minority female counterparts.
“I am only here because a bunch of folks invested in me,” Obama reminded us in May, according to The Hill. “We’ve got a huge number of kids out there who have as much talent, and more talent than I had, but nobody is investing in them.”
Today, the President followed this announcement with a town hall where he took questions from the young people who would be directly impacted by this initiative.
“Today, Magic Johnson Enterprises’ Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria launched the National Convening Council (“NCC”), an independent private sector initiative bringing together leaders from business, philanthropy and the faith, youth and nonprofit communities,” reports the Office of the Press Secretary. “Over the next several months, the NCC will travel the country, lifting up examples of cross-sector efforts that are having a positive impact on boys and young men of color.”
You can read more about the different organizations participating in this initiative in the press release here.
We’ve all been paying attention to the Emmy nominations for Kerry and Crazy Eyes, but what about the nomination that President Obama got?
The President and Zach Galifianakis got the nod for Outstanding Short-Form Live-Action Entertainment Program for their interview on “Between Two Ferns.” Posted back in March, it immediately went viral, inspired a ton of laughs (seriously hilarious) and, of course, inspired backlash from the right who said that the President shouldn’t have appeared in the skit. At the time, the President was pressing for enrollment in the new healthcare program and, no doubt, saw this as a way to get the word out to millennials and Internet cool people. (Yes they do exist.)
The competition is “Children’s Hospital” on Adult Swim starring Rob Corddry; “Parks & Rec in Europe” on NBC.com; “The Soup: True Detective” on the E! Network; and the Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show Starring Bruno Mars” on FOX .
Do you think the President should take home the statue?
One West Village newspaper is under fire after publishing an op-ed piece titled, “The N****r In The White House.” The article, which was written by writer and musician James Lincoln Collier, was actually presented from a pro-Obama standpoint and argues that the deeply rooted hatred felt by those who are against the POTUS is predominately based on the fact that he’s Black.
“It’s possible to only draw one conclusion: these far right voters hate Obama because he his black,” Collier wrote a July 2014 piece for West View News. “The simple truth is that there is still in America an irreducible measure of racism. A large minority have for some six years have been quietly angry that they must have in the White House a member of an inferior class of people. Until recently, however, they have felt constrained to keep their mouths shut.”
However, as to be expected, some are having an extremely difficult hard time getting past the shocking and rather disrespectful headline to even receive what Collier is saying.
“It’s disrespectful in any context to refer to the president of the United States as the N-word,” West Village resident Eugene May told the New York Post. “If you were quoting something or referring to the historic context of the word being used, I can understand the justification… [But it] seems he’s just using it for shock value.”
“My first take is, it’s sad,” added Joe Megie, West Village resident and CFO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
What are your thoughts on all of this?
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise