Category Archives: black history

Eric Reid Signs with Panthers Following NFL Grievance

Pro Bowl free-agent safety Eric Reid signed with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday (September 27) after he was not re-signed with the 49ers after filing a grievance with the NFL. Reid also made waves as the first player to join Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

Both Reid and Kaepernick filed grievances with the NFL, alleging that owners and the league prevented their employment because of the protests. Kaepernick, who is still unsigned, reacted to the news of Reid joining the Panthers, tweeting, “Congrats 2 my brother @e_reid35, all pro safety who should have been signed the 1st day of free agency, who has signed a football contract. He was the 1ST person 2 kneel alongside me. Eric is a social justice warrior, continues to support his family. and communities in need.”

Eric Reid Signs with Panthers Following NFL Grievance

Reid’s deal is a one-year contract worth up to $2 million with play-time and Pro Bowl incentives

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Jermaine Dupri Kicks Off So So Def Exhibit at the Grammy Museum

In 1993, producer Jermaine Dupri launched his So So Def record label to showcase southern hip-hop artists. In the quarter-century since then, the imprint has worked with a slew of big-name artists from the ’90s and 2000s, including Jagged Edge, Daz Dillinger, Da Brat, Bow Wow, Kriss Kross, and Anthony Hamilton.

Jermaine Dupri Kicks Off So So Def Exhibit at the Grammy Museum

In celebration of the record label’s achievements and cultural influence, the Grammy Museum has launched a four-month exhibit dedicated entirely to So So Def. Billboard reports this is the first time a hip-hop label has received its own show at the Los Angeles facility. The show will feature stage outfits, photos, and other memorabilia from the label’s stars.

“Considering this year marks the 45th anniversary of hip-hop, it is remarkable that So So Def is celebrating 25 years of extraordinary success in the industry,” Grammy Museum curator Nwaka Onwusa said in a statement. “It is impossible to showcase everything that Jermaine Dupri has done to elevate Atlanta hip-hop and the far-reaching influence of So So Def throughout the world. The Grammy Museum is very excited to present this look into the label’s enduring legacy.”

Jermaine Dupri Kicks Off So So Def Exhibit at the Grammy Museum

The exhibit kicked off Wednesday night with an appearance by Dupri and a number of his So So Def associates. The producer spoke about the label’s milestones, its role in the Atlanta culture, as well as his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“My first visit to the Grammy Museum was around the time it opened and they created the ‘Make a Record with Jermaine Dupri’ experience,” Dupri said. “It’s such an honor to return for this meaningful tribute to So So Def, Jermaine Dupri and the city of Atlanta.”

The exhibit, called Jermaine Dupri & So So Def: 25 Years of Elevating Culture, will run through January. You can learn more about the show, including how to cop tickets, at the Grammy website.

The So So Def family will also hit the road next month for the 25th anniversary Cultural Curren$y Tour. The trek will kick off Oct. 14 in Washington, D.C., and include performances by Xscape, Hamilton, Da Brat, and Jagged Edge.

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T.I. Curating Pop-up Museum in Atlanta

Trap music will be getting some props thanks to plans by rapper T.I. to curate a museum in Atlanta, Vibe is reporting.

T.I. Curating Pop-up Museum in Atlanta

The pop-up museum is launching 15 years from the release of the artist’s Trap Muzik, which he said he created to draw attention to all the frustrations a Black man in America might have to juggle – from co-parenting to drug addiction, and from society’s negative view to struggling relationships. Atlantic Records produced Trap Muzik in 2003.

T.I. is launching the museum in partnership with hip-hop journalist Maurice Garland, creative artist DL Warfield and others, Vibe reports. Future, 21 Savage, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Rick Ross, and Young Jeezy are some of the artists who will be featured because they helped elevate the public presence of the trap, according to Vibe.

The pop-up museum has a website and Instagram account set up. Both instruct people to “stay tuned.”

T.I. Curating Pop-up Museum in Atlanta

When he released Trap Muzik, T.I. said he wanted to create something that would be a classic.

“I knew I had to make timeless music,” Noisey quoted him as saying. “It was about showing that even if you were participating in felonious activities, there were still other things you needed to deal with: you’re not just drug dealing but also dealing with a relationship with your parents, your girlfriend, having a child too young and being looked down on by society as one thing when you’re actually more than that definition.”

He told Noisey, “You might have a homeboy who just died, but he wasn’t even in the streets like that. Trap Muzik was kind of crystallizing this Black experience into a piece of music.”

The pop-up museum will be located in West Atlanta and will open to the public on Sept. 30. Trap music evolved out of Southern hip-hop and is considered a sub-genre.

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Officer convicted in killing of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards — a rare outcome in police shootings

A former police officer in Texas has been found guilty of murder in the high-profile shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards — a rare victory for civil rights activists seeking justice for the dozens of unarmed African American men and boys who have been killed by police officers in recent years.

As Judge Brandon Birmingham read the verdict Tuesday against Roy Oliver, who worked in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs, sobs came from the gallery of the packed courtroom. The last time an on-duty police officer in Dallas County was convicted of murder was in 1973. Oliver could be sentenced to life in prison.

“I’m just so thankful,” Jordan’s father, Odell Edwards, told reporters. “Thankful, thankful.”

Daryl Washington, an attorney representing the family, said the verdict meant more than justice for Jordan.

“It’s about Tamir Rice. It’s about Walter Scott. It’s about Alton Sterling,” he said, naming victims of police shootings in recent years. “It’s about every, every African American, unarmed African American, who has been killed and who has not gotten justice.”

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a link to a news story about the conviction, saying that Jordan’s “life should never have been lost.”

On the night of April 29, 2017, Oliver fired an MC5 rifle into a Chevrolet Impala carrying Jordan and two of his brothers as it pulled away from a high school house party. Jordan, who was struck in the head, died later at a hospital.

Police initially said the vehicle had backed up toward Oliver “in an aggressive manner,” but body camera video showed the car was moving away from him and his partner. Days after the shooting, Oliver, who had served in the department for six years, was fired.

Jordan’s stepbrother, Vidal Allen, was driving the car the night of the shooting.

“I was very scared,” Allen testified. “I just wanted to get home and get everyone safe.”

Oliver, 38, has said he feared for his life and his partner’s safety.

“I had to make a decision. This car is about to hit my partner,” Oliver testified in the trial. “I had no other option.”

After a weeklong trial, it took the jury one day to reach a verdict.

Jordan’s death echoes other police shootings involving black boys and men. But no convictions were handed down in most of those cases.

In November 2014, Cleveland police got a 911 call about someone brandishing a pistol near a park — the weapon, the caller said, was “probably fake.” But in an incident captured on camera, a police cruiser pulled into the park and Officer Timothy Loehmann jumped out and opened fire. Within seconds, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who had a toy gun, was dead.

Even before Tamir’s death, the U.S. Department of Justice had been investigating the Cleveland Police Department. A month after his shooting, it released a report saying Cleveland police displayed a pattern of using unnecessary force.

A year later, a grand jury decided not to indict Loehmann in Tamir’s death, saying he had reason to fear for his life.

In September 2016, in Columbus, Ohio, police shot and killed Tyre King, 13, who was carrying a BB gun while running from police. A grand jury declined to file criminal charges against the officer who killed him.

And in May 2017, an Oklahoma jury acquitted an officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, 40, as he stood with his hands above his head along a rural highway.

Those cases and others illustrate the difficulty of convicting police officers. The law in most places gives them the benefit of the doubt.

Prosecutors usually must show that an officer knowingly and intentionally killed without justification or provocation. A fear of harm has been successfully used as the justification for many shootings, even when the victim turned out to be unarmed.

The most recent case that ended in a conviction came last year when Michael Slager, a former officer in North Charleston, S.C., was first tried on murder charges in the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man who was stopped for a driving with a broken taillight. But after those proceedings ended in a mistrial, Slager pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The last Dallas County police officer convicted for murder while on duty was Darrell Cain, who shot and killed 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez after forcing him to endure a version of Russian roulette while handcuffed inside a patrol car.

There was no immediate reaction to Thursday’s verdict from local or national police groups.

John Fullinwider, a longtime Dallas activist and co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, said Oliver’s conviction came as a surprise.

“I expected to see an angel fly over City Hall before I saw this murder conviction,” he said. “This is a victory, but we really need independent federal prosecutors in all fatal police shootings.”

Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney who represents the Edwards family, said the conviction was justice for the country.

“We’ve seen time and time again, no charges, let alone convictions, in these high-profile shootings,” he said. “It is my hope that this is a turning point in the fight against police brutality against blacks.”

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Black Women Are Dominating the Covers of 2018 September Issues

This week it was announced that eight black women would appear on the cover of several magazines’ prestigious September and fall issues, apparently marking the first time that this many black women have received the honor in the same year.

Beyoncé, Rihanna, Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Tiffany Haddish, Zendaya, Slick Woods, and Princess Nokia each graced the covers of international and local editions of Vogue, Elle, Ebony, Marie Claire, and LadyGunn, to name a few.

The individual September covers each featured a star-studded mix of black female comedians, musicians, and models. Having already graced the cover of Time magazine and Essence, comedian Tiffany Haddish made her first September cover debut with Glamour magazine. Fellow comedic actor and cover-star veteran Tracee Ellis Ross was all smiles on the cover of Elle Canada. Ahead of Insecure’s season three premiere on August 12, Issa Rae appeared on the cover of Ebony magazine’s September issue to discuss producing and writing her hit HBO show.

Beyoncé and Rihanna each graced a Vogue cover of their own: Beyoncé’s highly buzzed-about American Vogue September cover was finally revealed Monday to much acclaim. Not only did her appearance on the cover help make history for black women, but she also added to that by helping pick the first black photographer to ever shoot a cover of American Vogue. Rihanna also made quite the statement on her cover of British Vogue with a bold makeup look that consisted of a thin-lined eyebrow, light smokey eye, and dark glossy lipstick. She was also the first black woman to cover a September issue of British Vogue. Both Beyoncé and Rihanna donned a flower crown for their respective covers, in addition to rapper Princess Nokia, whose floral crown was front and center for her LadyGunn fall cover shoot.

Zendaya and model Slick Woods were the youngest out of the group to appear on September covers. Zendaya stunned on the cover of Marie Claire in a messy beehive hairstyle ahead of her upcoming Drake-produced HBO show, Euphoria. The U.K. edition of Elle tapped a currently pregnant Slick Woods to discuss her success as a Fenty Beauty model.

Despite this major fête, black women are still incredibly underrepresented inside and on the covers of major publications. Several black models have spoken up recently about facing discrimination at castings, making it hard for them to appear in fashion magazines, let alone on the cover of the most important issues of the year. However, following the clear social media success that all eight cover shoots have received, it would appear that there is a great deal of demand for black women on the cover — yet, still not enough opportunity.

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U.S. Re-Opening Emmett Till Murder Investigation Amid ‘New Information’

The U.S. Justice Department has received “new information” in the murder investigation of Emmett Till, which they have decided to re-open.

This comes nearly 63-years after the brutal and racist murder of Till, who was captured and killed after he was accused of whistling at a white woman while visiting his family in Mississippi. The woman, Carolyn Bryant, later told author Timothy Tyson that her testimony about Till grabbing her around the waist and uttering obscenities was not true.

Bryant told Tyson, “Honestly, I just don’t remember. It was fifty years ago. You tell these stories for so long that they seem true, but that part is not true.”

Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam were identified as the killers by Till’s uncle, Mose Wright. The two men were found not guilty by an all-white jury in the closely watched case that helped spur the civil rights movement in the 1950s. The filmmakers of the PBS documentary, “The Murder of Emmett Till” spoke to other witnesses who say there were other accomplices involved in the murder.

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Kendrick Lamar is a Pulitzer Prize winner

Kendrick Lamar now has a Pulitzer Prize to go with all his Grammy Awards.

Lamar’s “DAMN” was announced as the recipient of the prestigious award on Monday, a history-making first for a rap artist, as the music award is typically given to classical or jazz works.

The 2017 Pulitzer Prize for music went to “Angel’s Bone,” an opera by composer Du Yun.

“DAMN” is Lamar’s fourth studio album and was released in April 2017.


Lamar’s politically charged performance at the Grammy Awards in January won him wide praise.

“DAMN” picked up best rap album at the award show. His song “Humble” also picked up best rap performance, best rap song and best music video.

The New York Times and The New Yorker were also awarded prizes for their reporting on Harvey Weinstein that put the #MeToo movement in the national spotlight.

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