Quotable Quote of the Month

What does it take for Republicans to take off the flag pin and say, 'I am just too embarrassed to be on this team'?".- Bill Maher

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The History of Slavery in the U.S., Courtesy of Michele Bachmann

During a recent speech she gave in Iowa, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) attempted to rewrite American history by proclaiming that our founding fathers ended slavery.  Minnesota Tea Partyer who wants to be President of the U.S. but never will be say what?!  Come on man!  You can find a 3rd grader who's failing history and they'd know that the founding fathers didn't end slavery!  The antics of people like Michele Bachmann are just one reason why I and many others are leery of Republicans/the Tea Party movement.  Not to mention the fact that they put up with the antics of the Michele Bachmann's of the world. 

Below is a segment from the January 25th edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews, with Tea Party Express founder Sal Russo and Salon.com managing editor Joan Walsh.  The segment contains footage of Michele's controversial/non-factual comments about slavery.  Just watch how Russo squirms when Chris grills him on Michele's comments about slavery and slavery in general. As a fan of Chris Matthews' pressing style of interviewing, this was an instant classic for me.  It's right up there with the time  when he destroyed Michelle Malkin or when he tore talk show host Kevin James a new one.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Teena Marie: The Vanilla Child

Soul singer Teena Marie was found dead at age 54 by her daughter the morning after Christmas. The official cause of death according to her manager Mike Gardner was a heart attack, although she had suffered a grand mal seizure a month prior to her death. I am writing this piece for a couple of reasons: 1) She was one of my all time favorite singers; and 2) She is the only Caucasian singer I know of who had to cross over to the pop charts, which makes her an anomaly of sorts. I had the pleasure of attending her concerts on several occasions and the crowd was always a sea of people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Her music brought all types of people together, if only for one night, making her an example of diversity and harmony.

Teena Marie was best known for the song "Lovergirl", which peaked at #4 on the Hot 100 Chart. She had numerous R&B hits, including #1 "Ooh La La La". She began her career in the early 1960's with an appearance on "The Beverly Hillbillies" credited as Tina Marie Brockert. At the age of 10 she sang at the wedding of entertainer Jerry Lewis's son. She was signed to Motown in 1976 at the age of 20, but her career did not take off until she was paired with singer/songwriter/producer Rick James on her debut album "Wild and Peaceful" in 1979. Motown realized that her voice and singing style would appeal to an African American audience, so they purposely did not include a photo of Marie on the album. Motown albums that follow included "Lady T", "Irons in the Fire", and "It Must Be Magic".

Marie remained at Motown until 1982, when she became enthralled in a bitter legal battle with the label, which resulted in what became known as the "Brockert Initiative". The initiative made it illegal for a record label to keep an artist under contract and not release new material on the artist. Artists Luther Vandross and The Mary Jane Girls benefited from this lawsuit because they were able to void their recording contracts. She signed with Epic Records and it was there that she released her biggest selling album to date, "Starchild". By the early 90's Marie found herself without a recording contract, so she recorded independently on her Sarai label.

After a long hiatus, Marie had a resurgence with her 2004 cd entitled "La Dona" and in 2005 she was nominated for a Grammy Award. Two more albums followed, including the acclaimed 2009 "Congo Square". She maintained a level of excellence in her performances that kept her in heavy demand. She was set to go on tour in January 2011 according to those close to her. Marie inspired many of today's female artist (Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Lauryn Hill, Lisa Stansfield) and she will be sadly missed by her family, friends, and fans. Listen to the clip below and you will understand why she was so special and adored by many. Rest In Peace Teena Marie (03/05/56 - 12/26/10).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Heroes and Villains of 2010

Although 2011 has already started, I still wanted to take a moment and recognize or call out the people and organizations who I think deserve either bouquets or tomatoes tossed at them for their words and actions in 2010 regarding race issues. 

Diversity Ink's Heroes of 2010: The Young Turks

Led by host Cenk Uygur (above center), The Young Turks have set the bar high when it comes to tackling race-related stories.  In their pointed and humorous commentary, they don't hold their tongues nor do they pull any punches.  Along with calling out the usual suspects (you know who they are ), TYT has also shined an unflattering light on lesser known people/institutions such as Sen. Jake Knott (who used the term "raghead" in reference to President Obama and then gubernatorial candidate for S.C. Nikki Haley) and the Walthall County School District (which was guilty of segregating students). Because accusations of racism aren't always cut and dry, TYT will sometimes question whether or not an incident is an example of racism or not.  I also love the fact that the show has on guests that don't share their beliefs (for example, the controversial and far right Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson).

Honorable mentions for Heroes of 2010:
  • MSNBC (with a special nod to Rachel Maddow for her segments on the Southern strategy)
  • Shirley Sherrod
  • Turner Classic Movies
  • Joe Madison
  • The Phoenix Suns
 Below is a clip from "The Young Turks" in which Cenk Uygur gives his take on Rush Limbaugh's comments about the Shirley Sherrod incident:

    Diversity Ink's Villain of 2010: Fox News Channel

    The Fox News Channel (aka the video equivalent of the "Southern strategy") knows that fanning the flames of race plays right into the hands of their followers who hang on their every word.  Their overhyping of the New Black Panther Party case and the hit job they did on Shirley Sherrod are just two examples of how Fox does its part in widening the racial divide.  The efforts of Fox didn't go unnoticed in 2010.  Along with people like Howard Dean, the hosts of The Young Turks, and Shepherd Smith (one of the few hosts on Fox with any integrity)a program on one of its sister channels also got into the act of calling out Fox News for its underhanded tactics.

    Dishonorable mentions for Villains of 2010:
    • Rush Limbaugh
    • Rep. Steve King
    • Jesse Lee Peterson
    • Sharron Angle
    • Gov. Jan Brewer
    • Conservatives/Republicans who will bend over backwards to defend one of their own no matter how heinous the offense, but will pounce on a liberals/Democrats for the slightest misstep
    The clip below, in which Monica Crowley fills in for Bill O'Reilly, is classic Fox:

      Who are your heroes and villains when it comes to race matters for 2010?