Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
"When I fell in love with Barack more than 20 years ago ... I knew he shared my determination to make a difference in other people's lives. But I never dreamed that he'd one day be president," Michelle Obama writes in an open letter in the November issue of Elle magazine.
The First Lady goes on to outline five reasons why those reading (presumably mostly women) should vote for her husband, Barack Obama, in the upcoming presidential election. Among her reasons, many of which we've heard both Michelle and Barack touch upon during previous speeches and the debates, are:
1. "He's is fighting for equal pay for women" by passing legislation like the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
2. "He'll fight for [women's] rights to make [their] own health-care decisions." (Shout out to Obamacare here.)
3. "He's putting affordable education within reach" by decreasing student loan interest and increasing funding for Pell grants.
To read the First Lady's other reasons, click over to Elle.com.
Michelle Obama's open letter is just one of many appearances that she and Ann Romney, the spouse of Republican nominee Mitt Romney, have made in various women's magazines over the past few months. The New York Times even declared that the presidential candidates' wives "are waging their own campaigns in women’s and celebrity magazines to show voters their spouses’ softer sides." And though Michelle's letter in Elle focuses largely on policy, she also mentions Obama being a "devoted father" and "loving husband," alluding to his more relatable, human qualities.
In a recent interview with Good Housekeeping, Ann Romney took roughly the same approach. She discussed falling in love with Mitt ("He was just so engaging, fun-loving and goofy ... I couldn't imagine living without him") and shared that she believes that her husband is a bit misunderstood in the press ("He is so warm and approachable, very spontaneous and funny in his private life -- which is not what you see in his public life"). Michelle Obama also tried to lighten the public image of her husband In her Good Housekeeping interview: "There's Barack Obama the President, who's out in the Rose Garden at a press conference, and then there's my guy."
In addition to Good Housekeeping, both women have appeared in Woman's Day, O, People and Parade (the latter two alongside their spouses). Michelle Obama also was featured in Redbook, Latina magazine, People en Español, Women's Health and Us Weekly, reported the New York Times.
Both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney have gone to bat for their husbands, trying to make women see these candidates not just as politicians, but as human beings. Come election day, we'll see what impact, if any, this sort of press has on female voters.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 12:00
Category: Breaking News Written by Universal Sports
(L-R) Olympic gymnasts Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, and Anastasia “Nastia” Liukin attend the 33rd Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on October 17, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 17, 2012—2012 Olympic all-around champion Gabrielle Douglas of Virginia Beach, Va./Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute, was named the Women’s Sports Foundation’s 2012 Sportswoman of the Year Award, which is given to an individual sport athlete who exhibits exceptional performances during a 12-month span. Douglas accepted the award tonight at the 33rd Annual Salute to Women in Sports banquet in New York City.
After helping the United States to team gold at the 2011 World Championships, Douglas won the gold medal on the uneven bars in March at the 2012 Pacific Rim Championships, where she also helped the USA to the team title. She won the gold medal on the uneven bars, the silver medal in the all-around and the bronze medal for the floor exercise at the 2012 Visa Championships in June. Just a few weeks later, Douglas won the all-around title at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials–Gymnastics. Following that stellar performance, Douglas quickly became a household name during the 2012 Olympic Games. Douglas was an integral part of the women’s effort to win the team gold medal at the London Olympic Games, where the USA easily won the team title and became known as The Fierce FiveSM. The 16-year-old Douglas then went on to become just the fourth U.S. woman and the first African-American to win the coveted Olympic all-around title.
The field of nominees was made up of five Olympic and two Paralympic athletes. The winner is determined by votes from the general public and the Women’s Sports Foundation Awards Committee.
Olympic all-around champions Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Nastia Liukin (2008) previously won this award.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 11:51
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
LANSING (WWJ) - In a time where many officers are being laid off across the state — there is some good news on the law enforcement front.
Seventy-eight new Michigan State Police recruits will be graduating this Friday and many of them will cover posts in cities facing high crime rates.
“We’re definitely glad to have them. Anytime that you can get new troopers into the field it adds some … vigor to some of our older troopers that can get out there,” Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw. “These young men and women come out there — they’re definitely fired up and ready to help out the state and help out the cities that they’re assigned.”
The high crime rate cities are Flint, Pontiac, Detroit and Saginaw — which are being targeted by Gov. Rick Snyder’s public safety efforts. (Read more about Snyder’s plan here).
“A lot of crime deterrent is by having visible officers out there, and the way that we help out is this frees up a lot of the resources that these cities have to handle their calls for service, where we handle more of the directed patrol routes,” Shaw said.
Shaw said about 120 troopers will graduate from the next school which begins in early November.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:35
Category: Breaking News Written by The Grio
Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Mitt Romney’s oldest son had a strong reaction to Tuesday’s presidential debate: he felt like rushing down to the stage and “taking a swing” at President Barack Obama.
Or at least that’s what the son of the Republican presidential candidate told a local radio host, Bill LuMaye, who hosts a show in Wisconsin.
“I wanna ask something I know a lot of people want to know. What is it like for you to hear the President of the United States call your Dad a liar?” LuMaye asked Romney at the top of the interview.
“You know, ah, rush down to the debate stage and take a swing at him,” Romney joked. “But you know you can’t do that because, well, first there’s a lot of secret service agents between you and him…”
The exchange quickly hit the Internet, and was posted by several liberal websites, including the Political Carnival and The Daily Kos, and shared via Twitter.
You can hear the entire interview here. Romney went on to describe what his father is really like off the campaign trail, and whether he and his brothers give their father campaign advice.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:24
Category: Breaking News Written by thegrio
From EURWeb: Since the Johnsons sold BET [...] the network has taken on a new look, new theme, and a new direction. And neither side seems very happy about it.
Sheila Johnson, co-founder of the black network, gave BET a piece of her mind before, and she did it again, recently.
She was the speaker at the “Conversations and Encounters” program at the Carmel Art and Film Festival in Monterey County, Calif. this weekend.
She shared her story about the successes and life achievements both she and her husband built together over the years, expressing that she is most proud of BET’s Teen Summit, which ran from 1989 to 2002.
But her moment of admitted accomplishments quickly turned to what appeared to be disappointment and built up anger; claiming that her product now ”reinforces negative stereotypes of young people, African Americans in particular.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:19
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) They waited patiently for 90 minutes while officials decided how to react to the ominous weather front on radar, then they were left disappointed when game four of the ALCS was postponed until 4:07 p.m. Thursday.
Everyone’s reaction was different.
A crestfallen Grand Rapids resident said Wednesday was his only shot to see the game.
“We spent a lot of money and there’s no way we can go back there,” the man said at Comerica Park late Wednesday. “That long ride, we can’t go back there. We had good seats, I spend over $100-something dollars.”
The Tigers announced tickets to Wednesday’s game four would be honored Thursday. But that didn’t work for another man got his grandfather out of the nursing home for Wednesday’s game and said because of the facilities’ rules, he couldn’t do it again Thursday.
“I paid $10 to park, I bought food, I think that was really rotten,” he said.
On the other side, a man who was rained out took it in stride, agreeing with the officials who chose not to begin a game that would have been disrupted by rain midway through.
“I was at the game last night and I understand what Major League Baseball had to do,” he said. “Those fans that don’t understand the process of last night, I’m afraid you’re not a true baseball fan.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:12
Category: Breaking News Written by Lori L. Tharps, The grio
It’s 2012. Why are we still talking about blackface? It’s true there has never been an official ban on blackface put forth by our national government, but as Americans we’ve pretty much agreed that when white people smear their face with black make-up and paint their lips a cherry red in imitation of black people, it’s offensive. In fact, since the 1960s, blackface has officially been placed on the list of taboo topics most people know to avoid like the plague. Of course, not everyone read the memo. Like Ted Danson in that infamous Friars Club fiasco back in 1993 or the boys in upstate New York last week — yes last week — who though donning blackface would make for a funny skit at their high school while a re-enacting the Chris Brown-Rihanna domestic violence incident.
And then of course, there’s the rest of the world. Outside of the United States, blackface and sambo imagery is still all the rage.
From Mexico to South Africa, in Sweden and in Germany, it is not uncommon to find what we in the United States would consider racist images of black people being used on product labels and in advertising for everything from popsicles to chocolate candies. And then there are the countries where donning blackface is actually a regular part of the cultural experience.
In the Netherlands, for example, blackface is on fervent display during one special time of year — Christmas. And that’s not just Christmas day, but rather the entire Christmas season, which runs from late November through December 6. During that time, Sinterklaas, Santa’s skinnier and more religious cousin, comes to town with his sidekick Zwarte Piet, aka, Black Peter. Some say Black Peter is black only because he slides down the chimney and gets full of ashes, but others claim he is Sinterklaas‘s Spanish/Moorish/African slave.
Regardless of Piet’s true ethnic origins, blackface is used when White Dutch people want to portray him in the countless Christmas pageants and parades during the holiday season. And the black faces are augmented with bright red lipstick and matted Afro wigs. For all intents and purposes, these modern-day Black Peters look like they came straight out of a Southern minstrel act circa 1848.
Dana Saxon, a black American graduate student at the University of Amsterdam who specializes in Ethnic studies, was horrified the first time she saw Zwarte Piet on display and is adamant in her belief that the practice is racist and hurtful. “This is an issue for anyone who is able and willing to see the tradition as a remnant of a Dutch past of colonialism and slavery,” Saxon told theGrio. Even though many Dutch citizens want to cling to the tradition and ignore the cries of racism, Saxon is seeing progress. “In addition to a number of writers and social activists that have raised resistance for years, an artist campaign promoting ‘Zwarte Piet is Racisme’ gained a lot of momentum in 2011,” Saxon pointed out. “They currently have a popular Tumblr page and almost 2,000 followers on Facebook.”
The Netherlands isn’t the only country where blackface is part of the Christmas tradition. Spain can claim that custom as well. But the Spanish use of blackface has nothing to do with Santa. Their reasons are biblical. While Santa Claus has become a more recent addition to the Christmas season in Spain, traditionally the three Wise Men or the Three Kings gave out gifts on January 6. These are the same three guys who brought gifts to the baby Jesus upon his birth. That makes sense. What doesn’t make as much sense is why white Spaniards feel the need to paint their faces black in order to ‘realistically’ portray Balthazar in parades and in church festivals. Besides the fact that the Bible never explicitly mentions what race Balthazar was, one can only wonder why it seems so necessary to paint one’s face black at all. Could it possibly be that Spaniards just enjoy blackface and this opportunity to employ it?
This might be a paranoid assumption, but for the fact that in Spain blackface is still a popular tradition during the raucous carnaval celebrations held in the spring. “Being black” is a super-easy costume to create for Halloween; plus, blackface is the perfect way to mock black athletes competing in Spain as well. Yet, Professor Jaime Durán, a native Spaniard and professor of Spanish language and culture at Temple University, tells theGrio that there is no malice behind this culture’s love of “playing” black.
“There is no offense implied,” Durán insisted. “Most people in Spain still do not see anything wrong in painting one’s face black, or sense it as racial or racist.”
However, given that Spain’s formerly homogenous population is now 10 percent of color due to immigration, it is slowly beginning to seep in that blackface isn’t a benign and innocent practice. “For the last decade there were fewer and fewer painted Balthazars in Kings Day parades, and more and more genuinely black African folks [playing the parts],” Durán said. He sees this as a sign of evolution. “By being exposed to new realities, Spaniards are slowly but steadily learning how to deal with [a more diverse society].”
Japan is another country where the lack of diversity in the population means the use of blackface is hardly challenged. In this nation, blackface and black sambo images are a part of every day life. You don’t even need a holiday. On television shows, YouTube videos and even on the streets, Japanese people have been known to both celebrate and mock African-Americans by using blackface.
But, says, Dr. Fabienne Darling-Wolf, a professor at Temple University with a specialty in Japanese popular culture, Japanese people also don white make-up and wear tape on their eyelids to make fun of white people. So are the Japanese equal-opportunity racists?
“It’s complicated,” Darling-Wolf told theGrio. “It is an accepted practice in Japan for Japanese celebrities or models to take on the identity of a black person, just like it is an accepted practice for them to take on any racial or ethnic identity.” But as it relates to the usage of derogatory images of black people either with blackface or sambo figures, once again it’s hard to point a finger — especially when America itself may be the source of the international community’s prejudiced ideas about African-Americans.
“These images are completely divorced from any historical or cultural context,” Darling-Wolf said. “And because what most people know about African-Americans come from the U.S. media, there are a lot of stereotypes about African-Americans — both positive and negative — circulating in Japan.”
So, what does this mean for black Americans? Should we be up in arms over the fact that an offensive practice we fought hard to abolish is still acceptable, and dare we say popular, in other parts of the world? Or refuse to visit countries where blackface still reigns supreme? Is it even fair to view blackface through the lens of political correctness in countries where black people make up only a small fraction of the population?
Perhaps if black people traveled more internationally, people in other countries would be transformed by the recognition that real black faces are gateways to living, breathing individuals unlike their painted versions.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:12
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffingtonpost
Though they started out blank, the 44 busts of President Barack Obama in the gallery of a Detroit museum are now a wild array of color, pattern and style.
"Visions of our 44th President," a show at Detroit's Charles H Wright Museum of African American History, represents a cross-section of contemporary art with 44 African-American artists from across the country, including several from Detroit. But while they work in a range of media and styles, the artists -- Faith Ringold, Allie McGhee, Mildred Howard, Tyree Guyton, Hebru Brantley and many more -- all had the same canvas. It's a blank bust of the president, modeled after an original by Matthew Gonzales, an artist included in the exhibition.
"I was very impressed with the way some artists that don't usually work in three dimensions have managed to somehow alter their practice to accommodate this bust," said guest curator Ashley Whitfield. "They really came alive in a way that was almost kind of eerie … all of a sudden I'm sitting in this space ... surrounded by 44 busts of President Obama."
Whitfield said the exhibition was not meant to be political, and it was actually supposed to go up earlier but was pushed to election season after several delays.
"This exhibition is about marking a moment in history and not about supporting a campaign," she said. "What makes it possible for there to be an African-American president … something that was at one point was completely unimaginable is now happening."
But those who walk into the Wright's exhibition and are confronted by a six-foot-tall reproduction of Obama's birth certificate might have trouble disassociating the exhibit from the presidential race.
"The birther attack is also part of this historical moment," Whitfield said. "Being the first African-American president has not come without questions and criticisms that go beyond what some of our presidents have experienced."
Whitfield said she saw the birth certificate as a way to show a portrait of an individual in an exhibit where she purposely excluded images of Obama as a political figure.
"Museum are great at historicizing moments, but here we're able to be both part of this moment and reflect on it at the same time," she said. "Contemporary art … creates a platform for discussion, debate, disagreement, excitement, disgust and everything else that comes out."
Artists have taken on Obama's likeness before. Shepard Fairey's "HOPE" poster became a ubiquitous image for the 2008 campaign, a work that has ended up giving the artist some trouble -- he was recently sentenced to two years of probation in a legal battle with the Associated Press, who owned the rights to the photograph he used as inspiration for the work.
On the other side of the political spectrum, conservative Jon McNaughton is asking six figures for his anti-Obama paintings, one of which he sold to Fox News host Sean Hannity, according to BuzzFeed.
And there's always the Bad Paintings of Barack Obama blog.
"Visions of Our 44th President" is a joint effort of the Wright Museum and Peter Kaplan of Our World, LLC, who developed the idea for the show. The exhibit runs at the Wright on 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit through August 2013 and will then travel to other museums.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 October 2012 13:49
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) So, what do you eatto celebrate the Detroit Tigers impending trip to the World Series (fingers crossed, of course)?
Make it sweet for a sweet season ending.
With buttercream frosting tinted blue and orange, Just Baked is selling Tigers-themed cupcakes for $2.50 each at all its area locations.
Available in chocolate, vanilla and red velvet, they’re decorated with Olde English Ds and baseballs.
Pam Turkin, the company’s chief cupcake officer said Wednesday they were selling as fast as they arrived in stores.
“We actually have four full-time wonderful regular cake decorators that have been working on these all week — gotta do it right, right?” Turkin said.
Some would call them bakers, others would call them all-stars.
Fan reaction was immediate, with hundreds of “likes” and comments on the Michigan-based company’s Facebook page praising the Tigers-themed goodies.
Fan Melissa Bowen Allure wrote: “I bought one of these on Friday and took it to my son at school for his lunch! He loved it!”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 16:06
Category: Breaking News Written by Kirsten West Savali, The Root
"We spend too much time rocking pink ribbons already and not enough money on actual prevention and treatment," Kirsten West Savali writes at Clutch magazine.
... With African-American women being the victims of the most aggressive form of breast cancer, and higher mortality rates than their counterparts, we can not afford to get caught up in the hype. We owe it to ourselves to research our options beyond the pink ribbon. We owe it to ourselves to donate our time, money and resources to organizations that directly benefit black women, not gives us the change that's left over after big salaries are paid.
When my older sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, my world tilted on its axis. The disease became real for me when I thought I would lose the woman closest to me in this world. Our family was helpless as she underwent chemotherapy, and heroically battled nausea and fear. This summer marked her 5th year cancer-free and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how truly blessed we are that she is still here, because so many of our sisters do not make it.
This is not an attack on SGK and early detection has, and will continue to save lives. I am simply stating that the breast cancer fight did not begin, nor does it end with them. Awareness is the first step, but for African-American women in particular, it is by far not the last one. Breast cancer is more than just a pretty cause, and it's time that we look beyond the ribbon to help fund grassroots organizations around the country more interested in a cure than a paycheck.
Our sisters' lives may very well depend on it.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 October 2012 13:25
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