Monday, June 29, 2009

Dr. Icilma Fergus on Your Black Health

Dr Icilma Fergus

Dr Icilma Fergus


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Black Gospel: Getting to Know Dr Jeremiah Wright

Rather than letting Fox News sound bites define Jeremiah Wright for you, take a look at his bio.

Life, Love and Legacy

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. is a man of faith, a homiletic genius, a theological scholar and a pastor’s pastor. He is a family man who enjoys spending quality time with his wife, children, grandchildren, extended family and friends.

Steeped in Family Tradition and Educational Achievements

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dr. Wright is a son of the parsonage and hails from a family steeped in educational achievements. A third generation family member to matriculate at Virginia Union University, Dr. Wright followed in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, Dr. Hamilton Martin Henderson who graduated from Virginia Union with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the late 1800s and finished seminary at Virginia Union in 1902. His father, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Sr., also graduated from Virginia Union with two undergraduate degrees and from the seminary with a Master of Divinity degree in 1938. The senior Wright also received a Master of Sacred Theology degree (S.T.M.) from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

Dr. Wright’s mother, Dr. Mary Henderson Wright, also graduated from Virginia Union and earned her first master’s degree before age 19 from the University of Chicago. She also earned a second master’s degree and her doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Foundational Strengths

With four earned degrees, a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Howard University, a Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from the United Theological Seminary, Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. grew up in a home where reading books was a daily way of life. Wright read a wide range of sources from the Greek philosophers and Shakespeare to African American authors such as Carter G. Woodson (the Father of African American History) to Sterling Brown (one of the Harlem Renaissance artists), as well as one of Dr. Wright’s college professors.

Click to read more about Jeremiah Wright

Fraternity and Sorority Accountability

by Lester Spence

Since Alpha Phi Alpha was founded in 1906 the nine major black fraternities (Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Phi Beta Sigma, Iota Phi Theta, Omega Psi Phi) and sororities (Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta. Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho) have been trailblazers, at the forefront of the fight against racism and at the forefront of the fight for African American empowerment. But over 100 years after their founding, are these organizations still doing the work that they set out to do?

To the extent that individuals have criticized these organizations from without they've attacked their membership practices--more specifically the practice of hazing. Almost all of the "Divine Nine" have had to deal with not only hazing allegations, but hazing related deaths over the past few decades.

But more recently members have severely criticized their organizations for their financial practices.

Most recently a case filed by a member is wending its way through the Nebraska courts alleging that the executive board of Alpha Kappa Alpha gave its International President an illegal stipend in the amount of $250,000, in violation of its Constitution and Bylaws, and without consulting the membership.

The case has not been decided, and the sorority is countersuing the plaintiff. However, this is not the first time in recent years that allegations of financial impropriety have been made against one of the "Divine Nine".


Click to read.

Why Wendy Will Dominate on TV

by Dr Boyce Watkins


The first time I appeared on "The Wendy Williams Experience," I was admittedly a wee bit concerned. I didn't know as much as I should have about Wendy, but I did know that she was ferocious. I was being invited on her show to talk about Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, 50 Cent and Ice Cube. There was a beef between hip hop and the Oprah crowd, and Wendy seemed to feel that I could be a good referee.

I didn't mind standing in the middle of this conversation, because I have respect for both sides of the fence. Hip hop is one of the most powerful creative art forms in the history of the world, but it also possesses tremendous problems, primarily due to the impact of selective commercialization within the context of socially irresponsible corporate models. Oprah, on the other hand, is one of the most amazing and prolific public figures I've ever seen. But she is also not without her issues as it pertains to dealing with black men. I respect all sides, but I am not afraid to critique all sides when necessary.

In my first appearance on Wendy's show, I met her incredibly efficient producer,Nicole Spence. I was sad to see Wendy and Nicole fall out, because I honestly feel that they needed each other. But I digress. Before the show, Nicole told me, point blank: "The interview is going to last for at least 20 minutes. It will only be longer if Wendy likes you."

Okey-dokey then. Either we would hit it off nicely or she would put the hook around my neck like the Apollo Theatre. Wendy is not polite enough to care if she hurts your feelings, so I knew she would only keep talking to me if I could give her good commentary. In front of 11 million listeners, we were going to be feeling each other out. The pressure was on, but I respond well to pressure and confront all challenges head on. In fact, I almost always win.

Click to read.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson’s Death a Mystery

One day after Michael Jackson's sudden death, speculation was already turning to what killed the 50-year-old "King of Pop" just weeks before a long-awaited series of comeback concerts.

A family attorney said on Friday he had been concerned that Jackson's use of prescription drugs for dancing-related injuries would eventually prove fatal and that the entertainer's inner circle had ignored his warnings.

Authorities scheduled an autopsy for Friday. But they cautioned it could take weeks to determine a cause of death, which will likely have to wait for the return of toxicology tests. Those tests will determine if Jackson had any drugs, alcohol or prescription medications in his system.


Click to read.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Black Fathers are Being Disrespected

by Santita Jackson

To paraphrase Caesar, as he stood over the gallant Marc Antony, I come not to bury our Fathers, but to praise them, on this "Father's Day." Now, more than ever before, it is time to tell the truth about African American fathers.

I think of my own my father, who in my worst moments always made me feel as if I were the best thing that ever happened to him. He said it. I felt it.

I arrived in my parents' lives when they were college coeds and, although little more than children themselves, they made the very adult sacrifice and decision to marry and have me as well as my two brothers who arrived less than two years later. Still a student our father waited tables, stood in the food line at our church---in short, he did all that he could to provide for his growing family. And he and Mother took us everywhere.
I can recall one morning, before my father stepped into the pulpit to preach, being beckoned from my seat to sit with him and, as he scribbled the final touches on his sermon, he leaned over and said, "I love you, Sandy Boogie." I smiled as he kissed me and waited for...well, something else. I could not wait to get back to my seat as I was mortified to be before the entire congregation. I looked at him and said, rather quizzically, "Daddy, is that all you wanted to tell me?" His reply, as he smiled was, "Baby, saying 'I love you' says an awful lot." I nearly cried, having felt ashamed of my own insensitivity, and he simply smiled, kissed me again and had the usher lead me back to my seat.

His expression, even in that most public of venues was no surprise---it was a given in my life. My experience, though, is not unique. It has been replicated countless times in the African American community. Yet, every day we are fed a laundry list of the shortcomings of African American men; rarely, however, do we tell the society, or each other, of their triumphs.

We are told from the loftiest perches and the lowliest assignations that they must "Step up!" and "take up their responsibilities as men." All the while these critics ignore the myriad ways in which they must and do swim upstream against the strongest of currents. Currents which threaten and, too often, do sweep them into the undertow of our society. By ignoring their reality we turn our backs on a history, which has treated them with contempt. They are incarcerated more frequently, fight longer odds and live shorter lives; and yet and still, they remain strong, willing to love, survive and thrive. And so, on this "Father's Day", I'd like to expound upon their triumphs and contextualize their struggles. Any discussion which does neither, fails us all.


Click to read.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Legal Issues in the Salon Beat Down

by Dr Boyce Watkins

OK, don't lie. You know that when you heard about the woman being beaten in the beauty salon in Oakland, you clicked on the link faster than Eminem's neck snapped when he had Bruno's behind in his face. You were curious, yet disturbed by the incident, as was nearly everyone else in America.

But one thing that black attorneys such as Christopher Metzler noticed during this incident were the legal implications of attacking someone in public, in broad daylight, videotaping the incident and then bragging about it on the radio. Now that the Oakland Police Department has taken notice, the women responsible for the attack are going to have some serious problems.

Click to read.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, and The True "Haters"

Although I realize that we live in the internet-age, which means even the simplest of criticisms can be blown out of proportion, I am disappointed to see how some Black people are unable to intelligently respond to constructive criticism, even when it is not directed at them.

The person who is the latest target of the "He's just a hater" orchestra is none other than renowned filmmaker Spike Lee. In a recent interview that he did with Ed Gordon, Spike dared to criticize some of Tyler Perry's work(specifically Meet the Browns and House of Pain) and made references to the shows as "coonery" and "buffoonery" and compared them to Amos n' Andy.

For the record, let me say that I agree with a lot of what Spike Lee said. Although I liked a couple of the Madea plays that I saw years back(even though I generally have issue with Black men parading around in dresses, even for comedy-but that's another topic), these two shows don't do anything for me. That's just me, and I do realize that comedy is subjective; what's funny to one person is not funny to another. However, any person familiar with the historical 'coonery' and 'buffoonery' that Spike Lee was referring to(reference Bamboozled if you haven't seen it) would be hard pressed to argue his point that some of Tyler Perry's characters do harken back to that era. If "Mr. Brown" isn't the prototypical coon-type character, then what is? This is not to single Tyler Perry out, because there are other examples, and some of them aren't actors(Flavor Flav).

And for those who make the simple-minded argument "well, if you don't like it, don't watch it", then I respectully say to you to study up on propaganda and media manipulation, and realize that the images that we are bombarded with via television and internet DO have an impact(especially on more impressionable minds, i.e. children), and can greatly impact our self-image and the image that others have of us. This is especially true if that impressionable mind does not have an intelligent adult there to offset the negative images, as is the case in too many Black homes. I am as far from a WWWPT(What Would White People Think?) person as you can be, but perception does matter and can have an impact in our everyday lives.

The bigger issue that this situation brought to my mind was the way in which some Black people(bloggers and others) reacted to the comments. I am all for intelligent disagreement, no problem with that whatsoever. However, a disturbing trend seems to have taken over in the past few years. Actually, the 'trend' can be summed up in one word: Hater(or 'hata'..'hataz'-plural). If I had to give a new definition for 'hater' as it is used in the present, it would be "A term commonly used by individuals either unwilling or unable to intelligently and non-emotionally acknowledge and respond to criticism(constructive or otherwise)".

The most disturbing thing is that it is not only children and teenagers who find it acceptable to respond to anyone who says or does something they dislike by saying "You're just a hater", or "Don't hate, appreciate", or some other form of this dumbness. Adults, some supposedly educated, do it as well. Now don't be me wrong, I still use slang myself in certain settings; I am not a grammar snob or stickler for 'proper' English by any stretch. My issue is not that it's slang. It's that the word(and the various phrases formed around it) has (for many) replaced intelligent, thought-out responses when faced with criticism or disagreement.

It seems that many of us have forgotten that criticism(and our mature response to it) is how we grow as a person. If someone is truly "hating" on you, meaning they are just being degrading or attacking you with no constructive intent, by all means, respond with as many ridiculous phrases from the hater manual as you like ("don't hate, ice skate", wtf). Otherwise, to avoid acknowledging the constructive critique being made(whether you like it or not...and it's kind of the point of criticism that you may not like it), is to remain mentally stagnant(dead).

I have no doubts that Spike's statements were made out of love and concern, and "hate" was the furthest thing from his mind. How backwards have some of us become that we praise and accept those who encourage and enable failure and ignorance, and "hate" those who attempt to strengthen us as a people, often by bringing things to our attention that many supposed friends and supporters refuse to?

It takes far more courage (and often, love) to criticize someone. The true "haters" are those who accept anything from anyone; who have no standards or respect, for themselves or others...not suprisingly, these are the main people hiding behind "hate".

Meet Troy Davis: An Example of What’s Wrong with Our Prison System

by Elliot Milner, JD.

" I have faced execution and the torment of saying goodbye to my family three times in the last two years and I may experience that trauma yet again; I would not wish this on my worst enemy and to know I am innocent only compounds the injustice I am facing."- Troy Davis, from Georgia's death row, on facing a fourth possible execution date.

For those who are unaware, Troy Davis has been on Georgia's death row for about 18 years, after being convicted of murdering police officer Mark McPhail(Mr. Davis has maintained his innocence from the very beginning).

It would take pages to give all of the details of Troy Davis' case, however I will say that there was no physical evidence found(including a murder weapon) connecting Troy Davis to the killing of Officer McPhail; he was convicted largely on the basis of inconsistent and often contradictory eyewitness testimony. The vast majority of those prosecution eyewitnesses have since recanted or changed their testimony implicating Mr. Davis, and one of those who hasn't is Sylvester Coles, the main alternative suspect presented by the defense during Troy Davis' trial. In addition, there have been multiple allegations of police coercion and the usage of unethical interrogation techniques.

(For additional information on Troy Davis' case, or to get information on how to act, check out and


Click to read more on YourBlackAttorneys.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Can you handcuff a woman while giving birth?

Former Chicago inmates Simone Jackson and Danielle Bryant are seeking to file a class action lawsuit against the Cook County Sheriff's Department. Both claim they were forced to give birth while shackled and handcuffed to the hospital bed.

Jackson said, "It's dehumanizing. It's degrading. It's immoral." Jackson and three other former Cook County inmates described how they felt when they gave birth while imprisoned.

"I couldn't have family there," Bryant said. "Nobody to support me, help me. The nurses were in and out. All I had was the police officer."

Jackson and Bryant were being held on theft charges when they went into labor and were transferred to Chicago's Stroger Hospital to give birth.

Bryant's restraints were removed right before the actual birth. But Jackson says her restraints never came off.

"It is not even feasible to run when you are actually going to have a baby," Jackson said. "There is no way to do that."

Click to read.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Boyce Watkins Talks about America’s Financial and Retirement Crisis

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Finance Professor at Syracuse University

I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But then again, it must not bother me very much, since I am going to give you a big pile of bad news right now. Given that I earned a Masters Degree in the "morbid science" of statistics, I figured I would start the day by fulfilling my occupational expectation.

The first piece of bad news is that you are going to die. One day, your heart will stop beating and the 2.5 billion breaths you'll take during your lifetime will come to an end. Hopefully, it won't be painful, but I can't guarantee that. The truth is, however, that death might not be the worst part of it all.

The toughest news is that before you die, you are likely going to experience a long, slow period of physical and psychological decline called "old age". In conjunction with this decline, you are going to see your financial resources dwindle as quickly as the muscles in your body. Not only will the scale of your resources decline, but your expenses will likely mount as you go to one doctor's visit after another, all with the hope of delaying the inevitable. That period of life is called "retirement", and most Americans are not financially prepared for it.

Now that you are sufficiently depressed (there's no point in lying to you, I'm not very good at that), I will give you some facts to chew on. I also hope that in light of these realities, you will engage in something that the rest of America is not doing: preparing for retirement. While retirement planning has always been important in the past, it has never been more important than it is for you right now. The Perfect Economic Storm is coming, one in which all the scary clouds merge together into one big ball of fiscal devastation that can only be created by God himself. When your financial meteorologist (me) gives you that information, it's your decision to get your family prepared. Let's break down the components of the storm, shall we?


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Can we fix health care?

Despite spending more money than any other country on health care, the United States does not lead the world in life expectancy, a long-known fact that some experts say could raise more questions in the health-care reform debate.

A study found that better-educated doctors increase the growth rate of life expectancy.

The United States ranks 50th out of 224 nations in life expectancy, with an average life span of 78.1 years, according to 2009 estimates from the CIA World Factbook.

Some argue part of the problem stems from the privatized nature of the U.S. health care system, whose reform is being vigorously debated on Capitol Hill.

"What we are able to find in the industrialized world is that life expectancy will be influenced in a beneficial manner to the extent that health care expenditure is publicly financed," said Harvey Brenner, professor of public health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and Johns Hopkins University. "The higher the government expenditure on health care, the lower will be the mortality rate."

In countries where individuals pay for their own care, people often don't get treatment until their symptoms have become serious, Brenner said. There is also less emphasis on preventative care in those countries, he said.

Click to read more on Your Black Health

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Monique’s Open Marriage

"We're saying that if by some chance that you hear scandal and you hear that Mo'Nique slept with another man, it won't be a need for a press conference because I'm going to say, 'Why are y'all tripping off that? Because that's what she did. Did she sleep with that man in you?' That's not a deal breaker for myself ... We are logical enough to understand that things like this do happen."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Job Losses Decline a little bit

NEW YORK ( -- The number of Americans filing for initial unemployment insurance fell more than expected last week, but ongoing claims ticked higher, according to government data released Thursday.

There were 601,000 initial jobless claims filed in the week ended June 6, down 24,000 from 625,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said.

Economists expected 615,000 new claims, according to a consensus survey by

Click to read more on African American Money.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Your Black News: Black Women’s Health is Terrible

Black women in the District suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and generally poor health in alarmingly high numbers, and white women do not.

That is the finding of a study released early today by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The study said there is a large disparity in the incidence of certain chronic diseases between black and white women.

Kaiser's study was based on data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal Current Population Survey from 2004 to 2006. The study reflected health statistics in the states and the District.

Click to read.


10 Questions You need to ask before getting married

As wedding season rears it's lovely head once again, brides and grooms everywhere are struggling to fit the wedding of their dreams into their recession budgets. Wedding and event planner Khadijia Mayo Morrow, owner of the Washington, D.C.-based Avant Garde Event Boutique, has all the answers.
Check out her responses to 10 questions everyone should ask before planning a wedding.

Click to read.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Getting Sleep for your children helps avoid depression


Teens whose parents let them stay up after midnight on weeknights have a much higher chance of being depressed or suicidal than teens whose parents enforce an earlier bedtime, says research being presented today at a national sleep conference.

The findings are the first to examine bedtimes' effects on kids' mental health — and the results are noteworthy. Middle- and high-schoolers whose parents don't require them to be in bed before midnight on school nights are 42% more likely to be depressed than teens whose parents require a 10 p.m. or earlier bedtime. And teens who are allowed to stay up late are 30% more likely to have had suicidal thoughts in the past year.

Click to read.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Man has 21 kids, 11 baby mamas

Desmond Hatchett is 29 years old and has 21 children with 11 different women. The Knoxville, TN native also works for minimum wage and can't support all of his kids. The state is only allowed to take 50% of his paycheck, which doesn't amount to very much for each child.

What do we make of Hatchett's decision? This is clearly a question for Financial Lovemaking.

In this episode of Financial Lovemaking with Dr. Boyce, we discuss Hatchett's choice within the context of non-judgmental analysis. Should a person without resources be allowed to have this many children? If the man has the resources, is it acceptable for him to have this many kids with this many women? What about being able to provide the time and love for each child?

What if Hatchett were a wealthy man who had 21 children by just 1 or 2 women? Would that be acceptable? What if he chose not to get married?

Click to read.