Category: RTM News Reel Written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., theroot
The most commonly used phrase describing the growth of the American economy in the1830s and 1840s was "Cotton Is King." We think of this slogan today as describing the plantation economy of the slavery states in the Deep South, which led to the creation of "the second Middle Passage." But it is important to understand that this was not simply a Southern phenomenon. Cotton was one of the world's first luxury commodities, after sugar and tobacco, and was also the commodity whose production most dramatically turned millions of black human beings in the United States themselves into commodities.
Understanding both how extraordinarily profitable cotton was and how interconnected and overlapping were the economies of the cotton plantation, the Northern banking industry, New England textile factories and a huge proportion of the economy of Great Britain helps us to understand why it was something of a miracle that slavery was finally abolished in this country at all.
Let me try to break this down quickly, since it is so fascinating:
Let's start with the value of the slave population. Steven Deyle shows that in 1860, the value of the slaves was "roughly three times greater than the total amount invested in banks," and it was "equal to about seven times the total value of all currency in circulation in the country, three times the value of the entire livestock population, twelve times the value of the entire U.S. cotton crop and forty-eight times the total expenditure of the federal government that year." As mentioned here in a previous column, the invention of the cotton gin greatly increased the productivity of cotton harvesting by slaves. This resulted in dramatically higher profits for planters, which in turn led to a seemingly insatiable increase in the demand for more slaves, in a savage, brutal and vicious cycle.
Now, the value of cotton: Slave-produced cotton "brought commercial ascendancy to New York City, was the driving force for territorial expansion in the Old Southwest and fostered trade between Europe and the United States," according to Gene Dattel. In fact, cotton productivity, no doubt due to the sharecropping system that replaced slavery, remained central to the American economy for a very long time: "Cotton was the leading American export from 1803 to 1937."
Last Updated on Monday, 04 February 2013 12:13
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Zack Burgess
As Black History month begins and we take pride in the ancestors that help make this country great, it’s only fair that we ask white people to refrain from some of the things they have the nerve to say to us on a regular basis. Please give us a break for at least this month. So here it is…10 things white people cannot ask you during Black History Month.
1. You’re so articulate or you speak so well. What do you expect us to do? Believe it or not, most Blacks can speak well.
2. Is that your real hair? Here’s another one that’s crazy. More than likely, even women who make the decision to wear a weave or a wig have real hair. It’s a choice.
3. Don’t say “You” people. What does “You” people mean anyway?
4. Don’t remind us that President Barack Obama is mixed. Who cares? A little over 25 years ago, mixed, light skinned, it didn’t matter…Black was Black. So we’ll take him and his wonderful family.
5. Don’t remind us that slavery was a long time ago or about reverse racism. Last time I checked, corporations and colleges are becoming less and less integrated. And have you seen the state of Black America lately? We still have a long way to go.
6. I don’t think of you as Black. For real? Once you’re Black, you’re Black. What’s does that mean anyway?
7. You don’t sound Black on the phone. What are we supposed to sound like?
8. Some of my best friends are Black. If they were your best friends then you wouldn’t be making such a statement. I have very close white friends too…but I don’t clarify every conversation about them with their race.
9. Don’t ask a mother…is your baby bi-racial? You might get punched.
10. Finally…please don’t use the “N” word or refer to anyone or anything as ghetto.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 February 2013 11:54
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
New Orleans is a survivor, a jazzy, diverse and resilient community that knows how to get up off the mat and keep the good times rolling.
Since its founding in 1718, the city has overcome the Great Fire of 1788, smallpox and malaria epidemics, Hurricane Betsy in 1965, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but can it weather the storm that is Mardi Gras 2013.
Mardi Gras parades began on Jan. 19, but all New Orleans parade activity will pause from Jan. 28 to Feb. 5 due to Super Bowl XLVIl on Feb. 3. But with the advent of the infamous Mardi Gras celebration and Superbowl XLVII coinciding or clashing the Mardi Gras is suspended until after the Super Bowl and will pick0up after the game’s conclusion.
Who ever heard of such, but that is the case. Sources confirm that there will be a three-day moratorium on the traditional festivities for the sporting event with the historic party set to resume once a winner is determined.
But there is never, ever a moratorium on good times in New Orleans and Chronicle staff put together this list to help you navigate the festivities.
Although Fat Tuesday marks the end of Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent, when many of the faithful forgo worldly indulgences until Easter arrives, New Orleans is a place where pleasure and excess have been elevated to an art form. They are two of the essential elements in the Crescent City’s irrepressible character and inevitable comeback from the tragedy known as Hurricane Katrina. A third principle incorporated in the culture is a concept known as “lagniappe” or “a little something extra.” Lagniappe is as fundamental to the flavor of New Orleans as the French Quarter, the food, the music and the attitude. Rolling out toured the city affectionately known as the “Big Easy” to share with our readers the Best of New Orleans for lagniappe and that extraordinary lifestyle. –roz edward
When you arrive at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, it becomes immediately apparent that you are in a different land. Cart after cart of stand-alone bars lets you know that there is a different vacation experience in store.
Check into the Westin hotel on Iberville. The fine accommodations and prime location — walking distance from the French Quarter, the Riverwalk and world-class shopping — make it ideal for your stay.
The Thursday before Easter Sunday is the only day of the year Leah Chase of the eponymous Dooky Chase makes her very special Gumbo z’herbes, an authentic and unique dish which includes nine different types of greens. The iconic restaurant has been a favorite for locals and the elite since 1941, and Holy Thursday is one of its busiest days of the year.
Take the St. Charles streetcar to view some of the most desired residences in New Orleans.
The splendor of Victorian and Arcadian style homes in the ultra charming Garden District are the pedigree of the privileged and an enchanting excursion for tourists.
The French Quarter is everything that you’ve ever heard it was and more. Crowds are smaller and slightly more contained during this period before Easter,so this is the time to get in and get initiatedto the excitement and the infamy of Bourbon Street and the extravagances of Royal Street.
The sign hanging out front of Mother’s extols its claim for serving the best ham in the country. But frankly, that’s not what keeps a perpetual line outside its door. It’s the shrimp creole omelets, gumbo, and crawfish étouffée that have customers clamoring to get in.
If this is a family trip, head over to the Audubon Aquarium to submerge yourself in the underworld of sea life, or if traveling without children, you may want to take the plunge and try your luck at Harrah’s Casino. But since the two are literally across the street from each other, why not enjoy both.
While you’re sampling all that divine cuisine that is synonymous with N'awlins, take a couple of hours for a call at the New Orleans Cooking School in the French Quarter. And even if your schedule won’t allow it because you're just too anxious to get to the next treasure, pick up some Creole and Cajun spices to take home.
Dining under the canopy of trees in the outdoor courtyard of theCourt of Two Sisters is sheer magic. Here, guests can embrace the ambiance and the casual elegance of Southern living and the genteel lifestyle. Don’t miss out on the crepes, Bananas Foster, and the mouth-wateringly delicious glazed sweet potatoes.
Pat O’Brien’s the home of the Hurricane. It used to be that if you finished one of these potent drinks you got a second one free (more lagniappe). That’s not the case anymore but, since this is a walking tour, it won’t hurt to have another one anyway.
Preservation Hall lives up to its name and keeps the sound as well as the feel of the era of jazz alive. (Videotaping is not allowed, but rolling out did capture a few precious moments on tape).
It would just be wrong to leave New Orleans without enjoying a beignet and a cup of chicory coffee at Café Du Monde. It’s what you’ll need for spending the rest of your day picking up souvenirs at the open-air French Market.
Café Amelie provides much needed rest and respite from the endless activity. Get a cool cocktail and gather your energy for your next destination.
Shopping and perusing artwork at Jackson Square, followed up with a leisurely carriage ride around the Quarter is great for taking your vacation to the next level.
End your stay with an exquisite meal at one of New Orleans’ finest. The storied Commander’s Palace has aristocracy all over it, from the family who owns it to the people who patronize it. It is the quintessential upscale dining experience.
After this trip — trust and believe — you’ll know what it means to miss New Orleans.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 February 2013 14:00
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
(CNN) -- Frank Ocean says he'll "choose sanity" and let his fight with Chris Brown go.
"No criminal charges. No civil lawsuit," Ocean said on his Tumblr page Saturday night.
"As a child, I thought if someone jumped me it would result in me murdering or mutilating a man," the post said.
"But as a man i am not a killer. I'm an artist and a modern person. I'll choose sanity."
Authorities are investigating the January 27 brawl, in which Brown is accused of punching an unnamed victim on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement the following day.
Deputies responded to a call of six men fighting over a parking space at a recording studio, according to witnesses. Authorities did not name the man whom witnesses say Brown punched, but Ocean tweeted that it was him.
"(G)ot jumped by chris and a couple guys. lol. i only wish everest was there," Ocean wrote that night. "(C)ut my finger now I can't play w two hands at the grammys."
Everest is Ocean's dog.
Ocean also tweeted that he cut his finger and won't be able to play with "two hands" at the Grammys.
Ocean is nominated for six awards at the February 10 show, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Urban Contemporary Album, where his competition includes none other than Brown.
According to the sheriff's department, the fight ended after the men were separated, and Brown and his camp were gone by the time deputies arrived.
CNN reached out to Brown and Ocean for comment soon after the incident, but there was no response.
Dust-up is Brown's latest
The dust-up is the latest involving Brown, who has been in the headlines in recent years as much for his involvement in violence as for his performance on stage and in the studios. His many honors include a Grammy last year for Best R&B Album.
He was sentenced in August 2009 to serve five years probation and to spend more than 1,400 hours in "labor-oriented service" for assaulting his pop star girlfriend, Rihanna.
The same day of his sentencing, CNN obtained a probation report for Brown that says the pair were involved in at least two other domestic violence incidents before the February 2009 attack in Hollywood.
The two have recently been spending time with each other -- even recording together.
Brown and Ocean have a history, as well.
According to MTV, the two exchanged words in June 2011 on Twitter after Ocean seemed to take offense to Brown comparing him to singer/songwriters such as James Fauntleroy and Kevin Cossum.
Ocean reportedly fired back by comparing Brown to Sisqo and Ike Turner.
Ocean appears to put an end to the chapters.
He ended his Tumblr message saying, "Forgiveness, albeit difficult, is wisdom. Peace, albeit trite, is what I want in my short life."
Last Updated on Sunday, 03 February 2013 16:38
Category: RTM News Reel Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
by Nicole Cia
(CNN) Singer flawlessly belts out "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a Super Bowl press conference then asks, "Any questions?"
Basically, ya'll need to shut up now.
At the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show press conference Thursday (January 31), Beyoncé silenced critics by singing an a cappella version of the national anthem that was as powerful and acrobatic as the backing track she was lambasted for using during President Barack Obama's second inauguration ceremony on January 21. Last week, that performance kick-started an eye-rolling faux-controversy that led to a deluge of will-she-or-won't-she headlines about whether she'll lip-sync again as the Super Bowl halftime performer on Sunday (February 3). (Frankly, we're more concerned with which A-list buddies will join her onstage: her Destiny's Child co-members? Husband Jay-Z?! Stevie Nicks?!? Justin Timberlake!?!?!)
The singer, who explained she sang along with the backing track at the inauguration because she is a "perfectionist," assured reporters that she plans to sing live on game day. "I am well rehearsed. This is what I was born to do," she said.
She further explained her decision to lip-sync for Obama: "Due to no proper sound check, I did not feel comfortable taking a risk. It was about the president and the inauguration, and I wanted to make him and my country proud, so I decided to sing along with my pre-recorded track, which is very common in the music industry. And I'm very proud of my performance."
The singer said she normally practices till her "feet bleed," and in a behind-the-scenes video posted to YouTube Wednesday night, we get a glimpse of her rigorous Super Bowl halftime show rehearsals. Given all the shaking going on in that clip, Beyoncé would be forgiven for using a backing track for portions of her set. She wouldn't be the first, or the last, pop star to do so.
The Baltimore Ravens face the San Francisco 49ers when Super Bowl XLVII kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 3.
Watch footage of Beyoncé's flawless, live "Star-Spangled Banner" below.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 February 2013 14:02
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