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January 2008

The Invisible [Black] Man

The photo above is from the cover of a calendar distributed in my area and probably yours also. Inarguably the photo captures the intergenerational beauty of these females. Perhaps they are supposed to be related, who knows? What is apparent is the lack of a positive male image. The calendar, on which this is the cover, is for the community and the subtle message is that the black male does not exist in our community relationships.

How many times have you seen images of black families in the media with no father present? Black women with children and no husband present? It's almost made acceptable.

Sure, there are far too many single parent households headed by black women. There are also numbers of responsible black fathers and husbands who are intentionally or unintentionally ignored. Let's correct this in images of our community, especially those seen by young black children. You are what you think you are.

20 Questions with Marenda Hughes Taylor

Her name means wonderful and admirable; those are accurate descriptions of this week's Blogger in the Spotlight. She is definitely an actionist, whether it is through one blog promoting self-development or the other promoting her independent record label.

One of my favorite pearls of wisdom from her "There is more to life than just existing. There is more to life than just getting by. Life is about living…not ordinary living…but living life abundantly by living up to our maximum potential."

Get to know a little more about Marenda Hughes Taylor…

Marenda Hughes Taylor

Blogs: Living Life Abundantly , 1st Love Records

1. When did you start blogging?

I joined MySpace in November of 2004 which was my first introduction to blogging. I started my own blog on my own domain in December 2006.

2. Why did you become a blogger?

I needed a creative outlet for self expression.

3. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?

My mission is to entertain, educate, empower, stimulate minds, provoke thought, push buttons, bridge gaps, inspire, motivate, encourage, engage, and make a difference.

4. Which blogging platform do you use?


5. Mac or PC?

I actually use both but my Mac is what I use most and what I prefer. It's true, once you go Mac...(smile)

6. How many hours per day do you spend on your blog?

Wow, thats hard to say, it varies. There are days that I spend 30 min-1 hour, and there are days when I spend 8 or more hours.

7. How frequently do you post to your blog?

at least 3-4 times per week

8. How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs?

2 hours and on the weekends more

9. What's your best blogging experience?

Having someone like you recognize and take interest in what I do...When people leave a comment about something I've posted. Getting an unexpected check from Google (smile).

10. What's your worst blogging experience?

Moving my blog from one host to another...That was a nightmare!

11. Why do you think there are not more black bloggers?

I think there are several reasons... a lack of interest, procrastination, not knowing how or where to begin, computer/internet access limitations, and not understanding how important and relevant Black bloggers are... But I believe that we will see more Black bloggers.

12. How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers?

Funny you would ask that question. I'm working on a project aimed at understanding blogs and learning how to blog. I hope to use this project to increase the number of Black bloggers.

13. What's your favorite color?

Deep Maroon

14. What's the last book that you read?

100 Things You're Not Suppose To Know by Russ Kick

15. Who's your favorite author?

I'm an avid reader but I don't have a favorite author.

16. What's your favorite type of music?

Hip Hop

17. What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with?

Frederick Douglass

18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers?

Field Negro

Vanessa Byers

Coach TC of Inspired by Action

19. What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers?

Be patient, stay focused, and network.

20. What don't we know about you that we should know?

I'm Co-Founder of 1st Love Records (an indie grass roots label) and we're preparing to put out our 1st album(CD) called The Agenda by Tommy Lockhart

Thank you, Marenda!

Davey D, tell us how you really feel about Bob Johnson

The Hypocrisy of BET's Bob Johnson's Obama Smears

By Davey D, Davey D's Hip-Hop Corner. Posted January 24, 2008.


Bob Johnson should leave politics to someone else.

Former BET president and founder Bob Johnson is an asshole and hypocrite. Lemme not pull punches, be politically correct, beat around the bush or try to impress high-brow readers who feel I should be less crass and gentler with my words so I can appeal to their sensibilities. It's 2008 and unfortunately being nice and proper doesn't quite get the message across, especially when it comes to Bob Johnson and his recent disparaging remarks about presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, I'm referring to Johnson getting onstage to introduce Sen. Hillary Clinton at a rally and expressing outrage about Obama's past. He said, "Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood. I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book."

It was a cheap shot -- referencing Obama's drug use when he was a young man. This was an activity that Obama freely admitted to in his memoirs Dreams From My Father, and on some level I can see it being fair game, but coming from a guy like Johnson, that's like former President Bill Clinton giving marital advice to Halle Berry's former husband and admitted sex addict Eric Bonet. I heard Johnson make these remarks, and I was like, "Negro, go back into your cave; please sit down and leave the politics to someone else." [More…]

Howard Witt and the Black Blogosphere

The Maynard Institute published an excellent interview of one of my favorite journalists, Howard Witt. Witt was the only mainstream media journalist who consistently covered several civil rights issues picked up later by his peers. In previous blog posts, I've written about my admiration and respect for his work so I won't go there again. If you don't know him, you will get an idea of his journalistic accomplishments, consistent objective reporting and influence in several key civil rights cases through the interview.

After you read Howard's interview, do check out the rest of the site, it's a gem.

Tavis Smiley Invites Submissions for Inspiring Volume of 'Unconditional Love Stories'

January 23, 2008

Richelle Zizian
Sr. Publicist
800-654-5126 x119 


"Love Wins," Edited By Smiley, to be Released in Fall 2008 

New York, NY ( - SmileyBooks, the publishing company founded by Tavis Smiley, has launched a national campaign to generate submissions for his next book Love Wins: True Stories of Transformation and Triumph. Smiley is the New York Times best-selling author of What I Know for Sure and The Covenant. "I believe, just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did, that love is the most powerful and transformative force in the world; the only thing capable of turning an enemy into a friend," Smiley asserts.

Smiley envisions Love Wins as a collection of inspiring real life stories that give voice to the transforming power of unconditional love. "Too often 21st century living has a way of disconnecting us from that divine power within," says Smiley. "Love Wins is an expression of faith that we can reconnect with love's power - to positively transform each other and the world we live in." Love Wins invites people to reexamine their lives through the lens of love and share the one story that most compellingly reveals how giving or receiving love changed their life.

Continue reading "Tavis Smiley Invites Submissions for Inspiring Volume of 'Unconditional Love Stories'" »

20 Questions with Francis L. Holland

"We are not simply going to lay down while they pour the wet cement of bigotry over our heads."

Thus is the byline of this week's blogger. To say that he is a genius is not an exaggeration. There's not one of his blog posts I've read that I haven't learned something from. He's involved with several blogs through the AfroSpear blogging group and has been featured in several top blogs inluding The Huffington Post.

My words don't do him justice; if you are not familiar with his work, I'm sure you will find his blogs a treat. Now, I'm only linking to his main blog here. If you want an idea of the number of blogs he's associated with, see his Blogger profile. Enjoy this week's blogger in the spotlight...


Francis L. Holland

1. When did you start blogging? A year ago.

2. Why did you become a blogger? I wanted to counteract white bloggers' attempts to determine the outcome of the 2008 presidential race. Unlike most of them, I am determined to end the 43-term white male monopoly of the American presidency.

3. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog? I am determined to end the white male monopoly of the presidency and to build the AfroSpear Black blogger movement, to promote the political, social, financial and cultural betterment of our people.

4. Which blogging platform do you use? Blogger

5. Mac or PC? PC

6. How many hours per day do you spend on your blog? 5

7. How frequently do you post to your blog? Twice daily

8. How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs? 3

9. What's your best blogging experience? My best blogging experience was being cited as one of the originators (or at least one of the clearest proponents) of the intellectual arguments against the John Edwards' 2008 candidacy.

10. What's your worst blogging experience? Being called a "monkey" at DailyKos.

11. Why do you think there are not more black bloggers? It is a myth that there aren't a lot of Black bloggers. It is a self-serving myth propagated by white megablogs that have only 2% Black participants and don't want any more than they already have. They don't want to acknowledge Black bloggers by linking to us or quoting us, and so they simply say that we don't exist. But, I have over a hundred Black bloggers on my blog list. Our organization has identified over six hundred nationally that blog about politics.

12. How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers? We have increased the prominence of Black bloggers by starting the AfroSpear with over a hundred Black blogger members, with one bloglist that includes all of us and is posted at virtually all of our blogs. By starting AfroSpear in the News (which compiles links to all mainstream news stories about AfroSpear bloggers), we document the success and prominence of AfroSpear Black bloggers. And by organizing major national events that are directed toward achieving AfroSpear goals, like organizing the Jena Six March, we work toward equal justice for Blacks in America and throughout the Diaspora.

13. What's your favorite color? Red

14. What's the last book that you read? "Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African Americans," by Alvin F. Pouissant, M.D. and Amy Alexander.

15. Who's your favorite author? E. Lynn Harris and Walter Mosely.

16. What's your favorite type of music? Jazz

17. What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? Alvin F. Pouissant, M.D.

18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers? The Field Negro, African American Political Pundit and Black Women in Europe.

19. What one piece of advice would you give to new Black bloggers? Post every day, because there's always something you can write about that affects the lives of Black people.

20. What don't we know about you that we should know? Sometimes, I feel attracted to other men.

Florida A&M University students say enough with the ignorance

Sometimes it seems as if we've lost an entire generation of blacks. Thank God some young people recognize when they are being insulted. 'My uncle's last name', yeah, right. ~V

FAMU Students Angry About Hip Hop Posters

By Matthew Richardson

Posters and CD's that promote rap duo "Big Koon & Hollywood" were plastered on trees, poles and rails all throughout the University. The name "Big Koon" caught the attention of students and caused some to have mixed feelings about the situation.

"There are so many posters around campus, it doesn't matter. They're trying to be big one day," said Cory Young, a junior criminal justice student from Palm Beach County.

While some students were OK with the name and multitude of posters, others were not.

"It's ignorance. It's like Nas' new album [that is titled a racial slur]," said Jim Gedeon, 20, a junior political science student from Palm Beach Garden. "I'm not surprised. It's freedom of speech but it should not be placed up."

Electoral Commissioner Marva Butler explained the policy to place up posters in the University.

It has to be approved by the Office of Student Union and Activities, and there must be an approval stamp, said Butler, 23, a fifth-year MBA student from Washington, D.C.

The Big Koon and Hollywood promoters did not request approval, therefore making them illegal to place on the premises, but even if requested, would the college approve?

Continue reading "Florida A&M University students say enough with the ignorance" »

White supremacist group plans protest against MLK and Jena 6 in Jena, LA

A rally is scheduled in infamous Jena, LA on Monday, the federally-recognized Martin Luther King holiday. This time the rally is planned by the Mississippi-based Nationalist Movement, a white supremacist group. The protest is against celebrating the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and the support generated for the Jena 6.

To make matters worse, the group will be armed…strapped…packing. What a lovely picture of America? The Justice for Jena march and rally will bring more negative attention to that area and again paint their residents as racists.

If there is no public denouncement of the Movement's planned protest by the town's leadership, the people in the town will be forever scarred and accurately depicted.

What say you?

Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrates 100 years

100 years ago today, nine black female students met in Miner Hall on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC. Of that meeting, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority was born. The organization's colors: salmon pink and apple green and its motto: "By culture and merit". Since that day, the organization has grown to approximately 200,000 members. I am honored to be one of those 200,000 members.

Do take a look at highlights of the organization's past by visiting the Centennial Celebration Web site, an online commemoration of the courageous achievements of a dynamic group of women. The site also includes wonderful resources that frame the sorority's accomplishments in light of the changing times in the world.

The organization's membership remains predominantly black but is comprised of women of various ethnicities. Click here for a video presentation of this organization's remarkable history.

Continue reading "Alpha Kappa Alpha celebrates 100 years" »

20 Questions with Invisible Woman

The week's blogger is my favorite when it comes to the 4-1-1 on black movies. She has a discriminating eye and her points are always spot on. Like it or not, she tells it like it is about black cinema.


I've been reading her blog for several months; probably since its inception and I love the content. But, when she went live with her current blog design, I was completely blown away. Perhaps it's because I'm such a Pam Grier fan, I don't know, but I haven't seen a blog design that tops hers. It so fits the flavor of the blog. Anyhoo, presenting this week's Blogger in the Spotlight…Invisible Woman.


Invisible Woman

Blog: Invisible Woman.....Black Cinema At LARGE


1. When did you start blogging? June 2007


2. Why did you become a blogger? I was tired of the under representation of Black Hollywood in the mainstream media, as well as the reviews I would read about Black Cinema by non-black critics. There were the same black actors and directors shown over and over again.


3. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog? I want to give exposure to black films, actors, directors, festivals, and situations the public at large wouldn't always ordinarily know about. I want people to come in and have dialogues about how they feel about the state of Black Hollywood and it's by-products.


4. Which blogging platform do you use? Blogger, tho I am currently looking at other options.


5. Mac or PC? PC....I am definitely eventually going to Mac tho, but every time I go to the Apple Store I cringe at the day I'll just bite the bullet!


6.  How many hours per day do you spend on your blog? It depends....if I'm just doing a short diss, not that long....if it requires actual thought, pictures, and research, maybe a couple hours. One time tho, I tried to do one post for 4 hours, and Blogger would mess it up over and over! One of the main reasons I'm looking for a new platform.


7.  How frequently do you post to your blog? I usually post about 5 times a week, one or two posts per day. I used to do a lot more, but it was too time consuming.


8. How many hours per day do you spend reading other blogs? Waaaaay too much time. I love reading other peoples views on things, and I am always finding information that I had no idea's very stimulating. Also, there are quite a few bloggers out there who are just 100% hilarious, and I love to laugh!


9. What's your best blogging experience? I just love knowing that there are like-minded folks out there all over the country...before I started blogging I was getting discouraged in my little part of the world. It is becoming quite an impressive community, with a lot of positivity and solidarity amongst the bloggers.


10.   What's your worst blogging experience? Ugh. I agree with what Shelia was saying a couple of weeks ago....a major, very high profile blog linked to a post I did (that I did not even write by the way, it was a repost) and it brought in some very hateful, racist people and comments. It is quite disturbing and disheartening to know there are people walking around with these horrible mindsets.


11. Why do you think there are not more black bloggers? Ya know, I think there are plenty, and more on the way....there are a ton of black blogs out there that I am aware of and haven't gotten to yet, cause I am so saturated by the ones I already read.


12. How would you go about increasing the number of black bloggers? I don't really see that as something that is a problem or an issue....but that's just my humble opinion.


13. What's your favorite color?'s the rediscovered girly in me.


14. What's the last book that you read? I'm gonna be honest and not try to be all impressive...."Lemony Snicket and A Series Of Unfortunate Events" (book 2). I had to go thru a couple of stress inducing situations recently, and I think reading that was the escapist equivalent to sucking my thumb, haha.


15. Who's your favorite author? Hmmmm....hard to choose, but if I had to choose one on a desert island I guess I would say Langston Hughes. Non-black would be David Sedaris.


16. What's your favorite type of music? I love all music, but my very favorite by far is 70's Soul.


17. What famous person, living or dead, would you like to have a conversation with? That's funny cause my girlfriends and I would do this thing about our dead boyfriends (not as morbid as it sounds) and mine was Malcolm X. Boy, would I love to hear what he had to say.


18. Who are three of your favorite bloggers? You mean besides you? lol! I have so very many, but I want to give a special shout out there to the strong, intelligent black females blogging (no disrespect, guys) that just put so much of themselves out there; it's very brave...PurpleZoe from UltravioletUnderground, MsMarvalous from Opinionated Black Woman, Chocl8t from the Chocl8t Diaries, AJ from OveranalyzeIt. Danielle from Not Your Average Citizen, Regina from Regina's Family Seasons who leaves so much goodwill on everyone's blog.....I can go on all day about so many amazing women.


I also love The Black Actor Blog; we are very much in the same mindset about Black Hollywood and it's shenanigans.


19. What one piece of advice would you give to new bloggers? Please, if you are gonna blog, please post regularly. There are several blogs that I discovered and really dug, and then they post like once every two's frustrating and kind of a turnoff. If that's what you need to do, just let your readers know...something like "Hey, I'm only gonna post 3 times bi-weekly" or something like that.


Also, the music thing blasting from the blog? Not good. Sometimes I am cruising around the internets in the middle of the night and somebody's blog music will come blasting out cause I forgot to scares the beejesus out of me! Put up a widget if you want to share your musical tastes, and let the reader decide to click on.


20.   What don't we know about you that we should know? Let's see....I'm invisible and anonymous, so I don't think there's anything! :-)



Thanks, IW!