Criminalizing Black Me For The Way They Dress: 3 Years In Prison For Sagging Your Pants???

Boston Hip-Hop Youth Targeted in Anti-Sagging TV Campaign

by Jake Crates

(AllHipHop News) Urban youth in the Boston area are the target of a new ad campaign aimed at putting an end to sagging pants.

Today (January 25) the Black Mental Health Alliance of Massachusetts’ (BMHAM) campaign hits televisions throughout the region to encourage the youth to pull up their pants.

The campaign goes as far as to outline the ramifications of sagging your pants in Massachusetts, stating that wearing pants that sag could result in fines of $300 and even prison, for up to three years.

“So you think you look pretty good wearing your pants like that, don’t you? Underwear exposed, Hip-Hop style,” a police officer says in the video warning.

The video, targeted to young urban dwellers in Massachusetts, is the brainchild of Dr. Omar Reid.

Dr. Reid, President and Founder of BMHAM, said the video’s purpose was to address the growing issue of young men walking in the streets, without regard and respect for themselves and their community.

“This is just the beginning of our public strategy to encourage parents, schools, police, social service agencies, housing agencies, faith-based organizations along with men and women in our community to take a collective stand and tell our young men and boys to pull those pants up,” said Reid.

Take a look at the video below that details the potential for criminal charges.


Young Black Men Can’t Live With Each Other?

A spate of violence plagues young black men in Norristown

January 26, 2013|By Carolyn Davis, Inquirer Staff Writer

Paul Brown spent part of Christmas dying.

Shortly after 4:40 p.m. that day, Norristown police found Brown in the driver’s seat of a 1997 Buick sedan. The 24-year-old had been shot multiple times.

The killing was part of an uptick in violence in Norristown beginning around October, according to local and state statistics.

It’s not outsiders, Norristown and county officials say, or Norristown’s Mexican gangs causing these troubles in the Montgomery County seat. Rather, those in a subculture of African American men in their 20s are shooting one another in a demonstration of bravado. Sometimes it is in pursuit of money, sometimes not.

Story continues below.

Either way, Brown’s brother Byron, 26, no angel himself, claims to be fed up.

“I know a lot of people in Norristown will read this and know I have gotten in trouble for a long time, been in the streets for a long time,” Brown says as he takes a break from a job he just got doing work around a church. “But I’m finished, I’m truly finished.”

The only thing – and it’s a very big thing – that could lure him back to “the negative life,” he says, “is if I knew who killed my brother and I killed that person.”

Which, he says, he would do.

“At the end of the day, that was my brother. I wouldn’t even feel bad about sitting in jail.

“And that’s why the cycle continues.”

The recent shootings began Oct. 20, when someone fatally shot Ryan Ladson-Singleton, 21, in the head and torso. Two nonfatal shootings took place in November and one on Dec. 21. Then came Paul Brown’s killing.

Brown’s and Ladson-Singleton’s deaths are two of the four homicides last year in Norristown. There were four killings in 2011, six in 2010, and 10 in 2009, according to the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System.

“It seems like they’re happening more frequently, but our crime rate has constantly been coming down for the last five years,” says Police Chief Russell J. Bono.

Still, Singleton’s death seems pivotal, Bono says, with that shooting and the ones that followed involving men who “all seem to know one another.”

Byron L. Craig, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, says intense socio-economic pressures – the majority of subsidized housing in Montgomery County is in Norristown – was one factor.

“When you begin to put people into a close proximity, and when you talk about poverty, when you talk about lack of education,” he says, “that becomes the powder keg for an explosion.”


Cornel West Disappointed in President Obama’s Use of MLK’s Bible

Dr. Cornel West speaks out against President Obama being sworn in using Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s bible.

by Amber McKynzie Posted: January 24, 2013

Cornel West sat on a panel, titled Poverty in America, at George Washington University in Washington D.C. last week, and readily expressed his upset and disappointment that President Obama would be sworn in during the 57th Inauguration using Martin Luther King Jr.’s bible. Mr. West was clear in stating that using Dr. King Jr.’s bible brought in “political calculation,” and “made his blood boil.”

“I got upset because you don’t play with Martin Luther King Jr. and you don’t play with his people,” said West. “By his people I mean, people of good conscious, fundamentally committed to peace and truth and justice, and especially the Black tradition that produced it.”

Known for his activism in racial, religious and political issues, the current Princeton professor feels that the use of the late Dr. King’s bible diminishes everything King stood for and shows a blatant disrespect for his work. According to Cornel West, “using Martin’s bible is personal to me … it’s a tradition that is connected to my grandmother’s prayers and my mother’s tears and my father’s smile.”

See his thoughts in their entirety below.


Man Arrested for Throwing Woman onto SEPTA Tracks

PHILADELPHIA – January 17, 2013 (WPVI) — Police have identified the man charged with attacking a woman in a SEPTA subway – throwing her onto the tracks.

The suspect is identified as 36-year-old William Clark, whose last known address is along the 1300 block of Fitzwater Street. Clark is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, robbery, theft and receiving stolen property.

Clark was arraigned overnight and is currently being held on $2-million bail.

Police say at approximately 3:20 p.m. Tuesday, a 23-year-old woman walked down to the Broad-Ridge Spur Line subway platform at 8th and Race streets, where she observed a man sitting on a bench.

Surveillance cameras were rolling as the woman walked past the man, later identified as Clark, and sat on a set of benches next to him. He then got up and approached the woman, asking if she knew what time the train was coming, and if she had a lighter.

The woman provided Clark with a lighter. He then handed the lighter back to her, and it was when she went to place the lighter in her jacket pocket that Clark lunged at the woman.

He grabbed the victim by the neck and began punching her in the face and head. The suspect then grabbed the woman by both legs, dragged her across the platform and threw her onto the train tracks.

Clark then picked up the cell phone that the victim had dropped in the struggle, and casually walked away.

“Thank God she wasn’t knocked unconscious in that track area,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel said.

Nestel says, amazingly, the woman climbed off the tracks and suffered only bumps and bruises to her head and face.

Police tell Action News they quickly distributed the suspect’s surveillance photo to hundreds of local law enforcement officers and increased manpower on the platforms, but did not tell the public about the violent man roaming the streets.

The chief says he made the risky decision to withhold the information because the suspect was wearing a very distinct jacket and he did not want to jeopardize the case.

It took just about 48 hours until police caught the suspect at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the area of 15th Street and JFK Boulevard wearing the same unique jacket.

SEPTA police say it was in the West Plaza Station where officers observed a man who fit the description of the suspect wanted for the assault. They stopped the male, who officers say would only give his name, William Clark, but provided no further information.

Police say the yellow hooded sweatshirt Clark was wearing was covering a multi colored leather jacket with the words ‘TRUMP TAJ MAHAL CASINO RESORTS’ – the same jacket worn by the suspect wanted for the assault.

Clark resisted arrest, but was ultimately taken into custody.

Officers discovered Clark had a white Cricket cell phone in his possession, which was identified as the same phone taken in the assault.

“I really wanted to catch this guy and I truly felt that the best way to do that was to hold onto information about his jacket and put as many officers as I could to catch him and it worked. It worked,” Nestel said.

Police are still looking into the suspect’s motive, but believe this to be mental health related.

(Copyright ©2013 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

The War on Kids


Are public schools becoming more and more like prisons?

That’s what the documentary “The War on Kids” says.


Based on interviews with educators, medical professionals, students and sociologists, the documentary, paints the picture of an increasingly authoritarian and paranoid school system that is failing its students, stripping them of their civil liberties and constitutional rights.

“Kids have no voice. Everyone pretends to care, but it is never true, and it’s the children who are being blamed for all the failings in the education system,” filmmaker Cevin Soling told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “People do not learn when they are in such an autocratic environment.”

The film points the finger at the public school system’s “zero tolerance” guidelines designed to keep weapons off campus. Spurred in large part by the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, many school districts have since adopted policies that strictly prohibit the possession of weapons on school grounds. And while each district has its own code of conduct, the film says some have broad definitions of what constitutes a weapon.

“The War on Kids” points out an alarming number of incidents in which children were suspended, expelled and even arrested for possessing food knives, nail clippers, key chains, aspirin, candy – even chicken strips.

In one incident, kindergarten kids were suspended for playing cops and robbers using their fingers as guns. Another student was suspended for drawing a picture of an armed soldier. In another, a six-year-old boy was suspended for waving around his breaded chicken lunch and saying “pow.”

Soling says some children considered problems are put on psychiatric medications in an effort to control them.

One student, Dan Rachlitz, says in the film that he was told he had ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and was “put on drugs that made (him) high,” but found out later he didn’t have a medical disorder, he just acts a “little crazy” by nature.

Public school teacher Morgan Emrich noted that in his experience, the children treated with prescription drugs never seem to learn better, and lose their energy much faster.

“These are kids that used to be energetic and vivacious, bouncing off the walls and have a ton of opinions. Now they sit there and stare at the floor,” he said.

For Soling, the film is more about civil rights than anything else.

“Children have no voice and childhood has become pathologized. Kids in America are horrendously oppressed and we have systems or propaganda which obscure the fact,” he explained. “The complaints people have about kids – they don’t want to read, they watch too much TV, they have no respect for authority, etc. – are all a reaction to repression.”

Not everyone agrees with Soling’s conclusions.

“The anecdotal information, which enlivens any documentary, can be attacked as not the whole picture. ‘The War on Kids’ presents no coherent remedy for the various problems, but some may conclude that the solution is the abolition of public schools,” stated one writer for the Political Film Society.

A review on children’s book publisher Scholastic’s blog noted that “the movie seems pretty over the top, juxtaposing interviews with (mostly white) parents angry about how kids are being treated and footage of (mostly black and brown) kids getting arrested or searched for drugs in school.”

The Village Voice’s Ella Taylor wrote that the documentary is missing is “a dissenting voice to point out that some kids (and their families) do benefit from medication, that some schools are located in such high-crime areas that no security at all would be pure folly, and that some safety-obsessed parents refuse to allow their children to walk to school by themselves, yet drive them up to the front gates dressed like hookers.”

The U.S. Department of Education was not able to provide comment from a rep that had seen the film. However press secretary Daren Briscoe told us that the department believes that “students learn best in class” and not when suspended.

“We are obviously very engaged and concerned with making sure students receive equitable education,” Briscoe said.


Philadelphia Police Searching For Missing Teen With Autism


(Credit: Southwest Detectives)


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia police are reaching out to the public for help finding a missing girl.

Chelsea Ramsey-Jones, a 14-year-old, was reported missing from the 100 block of N 60th Street on Jan. 14, 2013 when she failed to return home from Barry Elementary School.

On Jan. 17th, police were informed that Ramsey-Jones is autistic and is cognitively impaired.

The missing girl is approximately 5’6” and was wearing a brown jacket with a fur collar, a red shirt, a black skirt and black tights.

If you have any information, please call Southwest Detectives at 215-686-3183 or dial 911.


Is that Breakdance Fighting?

Is that Breakdance Fighting?: My Take on Capoeira [Kindle Edition]

Dan Tres OMi (Travado) (Author), Yetunde Rodriguez (Illustrator)

Is that Breakdance Fighting?: My Take on Capoeira
What is Capoeira? Is it a dance? Is it a fight? Is it a game? Is it really a Martial Art? Why do people refer to it as ‘break dance fighting?’ Why is Capoeira the butt of jokes? Where is Capoeira going? Will Capoeira go mainstream? Is Capoeira an effective Martial Art? I pondered these thoughts as I lay on my back after the 50th takedown I was a victim of. As I looked up trying to figure out how I was going to get up while looking at the musty ceiling, the answers to these questions swirled in my head. Who would have thought that being slammed onto the mat so many times would bring so much clarity? While laying on that floor, I had to ask myself a series of other questions. Why was I paying so much money and traveling so many miles to train? At 39 years of age, why am I training in a martial art that is overflowing with young people with beautiful tattooed bodies that moved faster than I did at their age? As my back ached, I realized how much I love Capoeira and why I should write a book about it.

If anything, Travado, a self proclaimed Capoeira evangelist asks more questions. He poses questions for regular practitioners to debate. His goal is to not just spread the “gospel” of Capoeira, but to further the debate and expand the practitioners approach to Capoeira.

Peoples Rodriguez

Negative Portrayals Of African Americans On Reality TV

Are African American households participating in the most racist media propaganda campaign in television history by watching reality TV?

black viewers reality tv

In a recent article on theGrio, Sil Lai Abrams argued that the proliferation of Black performers in reality television programming is doing nothing to help create a positive reality of the African American experience. In fact, Abrams says that our increased participation–which should be a good thing–is creating the opposite effect; it is perpetuating negative stereotypes that create false perceptions of Black people for the nation to consume.

The most recent candidate aspiring to make its way to primetime coonery is “All My Babies’ Mamas, starring Atlanta-based rapper Shawty Lo and his ten babies’ mothers.

The trailer sparked so much controversy that the NAACP reportedly sent a letter to Oxygen’s President Jason Klarman expressing its outrage over the proposed show’s negative portrayal of Black families. And a petition demanding that the show not air has gotten more than 35,000 signatures. The reality series is reportedly in “early development” and is not green-lighted to air as of yet.

Though other reality TV shows that are enjoying successful runs, like “Love and Hip Hop” And “Basketball Wives,” are not any better.

“The underlying message most of these shows send about blacks is that we’re shallow, impulsive creatures lacking in self-control without any vision of life that doesn’t include vacations (or funerals) they can’t afford, slanging rhymes, having too many children, and shopping oneself into bankruptcy,” Abrams said.

Below Abrams outlines how portrayals of Black people on television have devolved over the years:

In the decades since the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, the imagery of black people in media, particularly on television, has changed considerably. Now, I’m not a sociologist, but it is my guess that the materialism and “success at any cost” mindset that pervades modern popular culture today is likely a reaction to the economic uncertainty and hopelessness that is the true reality for many black people.

As a single mother who has struggled against many of the same systemic issues that affect our community (should I list the issues? I think we know them…) I understand the need for escape. Let’s face it:  life is hard. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise deserves a serious double side eye. This entertainment is a form of escape.

The “overnight success” stories of individuals who are as a whole largely without any real discernible talent are the driving force behind the most popular shows such as Love & Hip Hop and Basketball Wives. Reality show “stars” present what appears to be an attainable, glamorous lifestyle to a group of women who may not have the wherewithal or resources needed to carve out a financially stable life for themselves realistically.

But, in the process of enjoying this escape, we are ignoring the emotionally abusive and disrespectful behavior of male cast members such as L&HH’s Stevie J that reinforces the idea that a black man’s power is best expressed through unbridled and unprincipled sexual behavior, as just one example of these show’s many horrible messages.

Does Abrams have a point?

Are African-Americans aiding and abetting in the White media’s creation of these shows, which benefit of their bottom lines but degenerate our image as a whole? While many of us are assail the Black people who are “acting” on these shows, should we refocus that disdain on ourselves?


How NOT To Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Civil rights revolutionary, inspirational speaker, national treasure, martyr, leader… and the face of 2 for 1 drink specials!

What’s wrong with this picture?

Now it’s true, Black people have never shied away from the chance to blame it on the boogie. In fact, I’d submit that between the music and the moves, brown people in general are natural innovators when it comes to that club life. And there’s no disputing the fact that we will get together to celebrate being broke on a Tuesday and still sing; “Just got paid, Friday night…” Know it, got it, guilty as charged. Ok, we’re all in agreement, everybody on board and on the same page? Good!

Now what in the blue hell is wrong with some of us??

Why are we using the image of MLK to promote ish the man wouldn’t show up to with an invite and presidential endorsement? Didn’t you watch “Roots” on TV? Nobody showed you “Eyes On The Prize” on PBS or a movie by Spike Lee? Any episode of “The Cosby Show” or every other episode of “The Boondocks”?! When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said he wanted we as a people to get to the promise land, he wasn’t talking about that new club downtown.

Why not use Superman or Popeye the sailor… or even Elmo?! (too soon huh?) You know why? Because with certain symbols, showing them in this light would be inappropriate, send the wrong message and basically corrupt something unnecessarily that should be able to maintain its dignity without argument. Yeah, I’m looking at YOU graphic designers!!

But hey, we’re not all about pulling out the rug without providing a soft place to land. Here are a few guidelines on how to properly celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday in a way that he’d approve of.

DO: Family Gathering. Quite sure Martin didn’t mind moving down the old soul train line surrounded by fam and friends. Can’t you picture the kid cutting a rug with the wife to Booker T. & the M.G.’s, “Hip-Hug Her” in between plates of BBQ and collard greens? Yeah… me too.

DON’T: Do Anything Involving A Strip Club. Thongs didn’t make the mainstream media in Dr. King’s day and I doubt Coretta would approve. (Jesse Jackson might… but I digress) Rosa Parks ain’t play the back of the bus for y’all to back it up. If you really wanna salute the King, save the damn singles for the collection plate.

DO: Get Involved With Your Community. A man who scooped a Nobel Prize for peace would surely throw his thumbs up to a few man-hours logged at the local homeless shelter. Listen, February is right around the corner, you can hit Halo on Presidents day. Get off the laptop and get busy.

DON’T: Dedicate Drink Specials: I know the alcoholics are going to hate me but dammit y’all gotstah chill! If the protesters had showed up to the marches hung over they wouldn’t have made it past the nearest park. What kind of statement can they make when everybody need to sleep it off for equal rights?

DO: Talk To The KIDS So They Don’t Grow Up To Do Ratchet Stuff Like The First 2 Don’ts. Pretty self-explanatory. The man blocked bricks with his FACE for you. The least you can do is make sure the generation after you knows who earned them the license to go ratchet. They’d probably take less pride in doing so if they understood what it cost.

Boondocks – Martin Luther King Speech