Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Hope you have a great day.
Back in July I blogged about a Washington Post article relating to a new Bravo series that takes place in Potomac, Maryland. This series would be about a group of black women in the Jack and Jill organization and the real Jack and Jill folks were not happy about this. And now the word is out. The Real Housewives of Potomac will premiere on Bravo on January 17, 2016.
The Real Housewives of Potomac include Gizelle Bryant, Katie Rost, Karen Huger, Charrisse Jackson-Jordan, Robyn Dixon, and Ashley Darby.
I’m somewhat surprised they’re doing this show because they already had a Real Housewives of D.C. a few years ago but it only lasted one season. Now they have an all black cast for the Potomac housewives show. This will be interesting.
This January, pack your bags and prepare to head to Potomac, Maryland for the latest addition to the Housewives family, The Real Housewives of Potomac. Located just up the river from our nation’s capital of Washington, D.C., Potomac is a cozy, upscale enclave with gated mansions, rolling hills, and exclusive country clubs. Viewers will be introduced to the wealthy African-American families who have broken racial barriers and now reside in the sophisticated community. The Real Housewives of Potomac will follow socialite and single mom Gizelle Bryant, international model and TV personality Katie Rost, grand dame Karen Huger, social butterfly Charrisse Jackson-Jordan, publicist and single mom Robyn Dixon, as well as restaurateur Ashley Darby.
The Real Housewives of Dallas is set to premiere later next year and there’s also a Real Housewives of Cheshire (England) which premieres on Saturday November 14, 2015.
Thought I would drop this little gem of an article from the New York Times in here. A heroin crisis is hitting middle class white families. But instead of sending the drug users to jail like they did to crack cocaine users during the 1980’s and 90’s white families want their children’s drug use to be treated as a disease, not a crime. Folks are now having a change of heart about jailing drug users since it’s hitting white folks.
NEWTON, N.H. — When Courtney Griffin was using heroin, she lied, disappeared, and stole from her parents to support her $400-a-day habit. Her family paid her debts, never filed a police report and kept her addiction secret — until she was found dead last year of an overdose.
At Courtney’s funeral, they decided to acknowledge the reality that redefined their lives: Their bright, beautiful daughter, just 20, who played the French horn in high school and dreamed of living in Hawaii, had been kicked out of the Marines for drugs. Eventually, she overdosed at her boyfriend’s grandmother’s house, where she died alone.
“When I was a kid, junkies were the worst,” Doug Griffin, 63, Courtney’s father, recalled in their comfortable home here in southeastern New Hampshire. “I used to have an office in New York City. I saw them.”
Noting that “junkies” is a word he would never use now, he said that these days, “they’re working right next to you and you don’t even know it. They’re in my daughter’s bedroom — they are my daughter.”
When the nation’s long-running war against drugs was defined by the crack epidemic and based in poor, predominantly black urban areas, the public response was defined by zero tolerance and stiff prison sentences. But today’s heroin crisis is different. While heroin use has climbed among all demographic groups, it has skyrocketed among whites; nearly 90 percent of those who tried heroin for the first time in the last decade were white.
And the growing army of families of those lost to heroin — many of them in the suburbs and small towns — are now using their influence, anger and grief to cushion the country’s approach to drugs, from altering the language around addiction to prodding government to treat it not as a crime, but as a disease.
“Because the demographic of people affected are more white, more middle class, these are parents who are empowered,” said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, better known as the nation’s drug czar. “They know how to call a legislator, they know how to get angry with their insurance company, they know how to advocate. They have been so instrumental in changing the conversation.”
Mr. Botticelli, a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 26 years, speaks to some of these parents regularly.
Their efforts also include lobbying statehouses, holding rallies and starting nonprofit organizations, making these mothers and fathers part of a growing backlash against the harsh tactics of traditional drug enforcement. These days, in rare bipartisan or even nonpartisan agreement, punishment is out and compassion is in.
The presidential candidates of both parties are now talking about the drug epidemic, with Hillary Rodham Clinton hosting forums on the issue as Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina tell their own stories of loss while calling for more care and empathy.
I swear my blood pressure went up while reading this article and I did a lot of eye rolling. You don’t use the word junkies anymore cause your daughter was one? It’s not just those other people anymore.
Some black scholars said they welcomed the shift, while expressing frustration that earlier calls by African-Americans for a more empathetic approach were largely ignored.
“This new turn to a more compassionate view of those addicted to heroin is welcome,” said Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, who specializes in racial issues at Columbia and U.C.L.A. law schools. “But,” she added, “one cannot help notice that had this compassion existed for African-Americans caught up in addiction and the behaviors it produces, the devastating impact of mass incarceration upon entire communities would never have happened.”
You can read the entire article at the New York Times. The Washington Post has a similar article about softening the current drug laws and features a story about a teen overdose on heroin.
This has to be one of the saddest stories I have ever read. Eleven month old Isaac Harrison who is battling a rare form of brain cancer is now fighting for his life after receiving an overdose of chemotherapy.
Isaac was given 10 times the dose of chemotherapy he was supposed to receive while undergoing treatment at the St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. After first being diagnosed with cancer in August he was only given one month to live.
“It’s like a nightmare,” Kwamane Harrison said, adding his son’s cancer is so rare, doctors told him no one else in the city has it.
Since there have only been six known cases in medical history, doctors said they would have to come up with their own formula for treatment, according to Harrison.
One doctor told the family Isaac may only live a week after being diagnosed.
That was in late August.
Isaac began chemotherapy at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, where Harrison said his son was given 10 times the dose of chemotherapy he was supposed to get. That went on for five days, according to Harrison.
“They said this was one of the biggest medical mistakes in 35 years,” said Harrison, whose son is now fighting under the care of doctors at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “He goes through all of these pains, losing hair, crying excessively from all the pain he’s going through.”
My prayers go out to the Harrison family and especially baby Isaac.
As you know I love the Caracal cd by Disclosure.
The more I listen to it the more I’m finding myself loving every single song. Of course I had my favorites in the beginning like Holding On, Omen, Willing and Able, Superego, Nocturnal and Magnet. But one song that has really grown on me is Moving Mountains. Brendan Reilly sings the vocals on this song. What a voice. I never heard of this guy. Never heard of Sam Smith either until he was featured on Latch and now look where he is. Moving Mountains was on repeat on my ipod during my commute home from work this week. I love this song.
Check out the video.
I read a very good article at Slate.com about the lack of diversity in the Hollywood writing room. The article talks about how Hollywood is progressing when it comes to hiring actors of color in front of the screen. But apparently when it comes to the writers room it’s a different story.
On screen, things are looking up for people of color in the television industry. Thank the “Shonda Effect,” a term inspired by Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes’ commitment to casting people of color in lead roles in all of her hit shows. Hollywood has taken note of Rhimes’ ascendance, as well as her outspoken insistence on diversity in her work. The success of Scandal in particular—when it premiered in 2012, it was the first network drama with a black woman as its lead in nearly four decades—seems to have prompted a call for more stories centered around people of color. It’s safe to say that if it weren’t for Rhimes and her eclectic casts (and writers’ rooms), we would never have gotten so many shows rich with people of color on screen and off.
But the view behind the scenes is less encouraging. Setting aside the impressively diverse staffs of those few Rhimes and Rhimes-adjacent series, writers’ rooms, like the one Gray was in on Dog With a Blog, are still overwhelmingly white and male, as are the high-powered positions of showrunner and executive producer. A Writers’ Guild of America report released earlier this year noted that staff employment for people of color actually decreased between the 2011–12 season and 2013–14 season, from a peak of 15.6 percent to 13.7 percent. The number of executive producers of color also decreased in those seasons, from 7.8 percent to 5.5 percent. While the 2014–15 season may have seen those numbers increase thanks to the addition of a few shows with diverse casts, such sharp declines demonstrate how tenuous progress in Hollywood can be.
The article also mentions the struggles that different black writers have experienced in Hollywood, the different writing diversity programs available and the advantages of having writers of color on shows featuring a large number of minority actors and actresses.
I decided to go back to the 1980’s for this gem. Who Do You Love by Bernard Wright was released in 1985. This song is from his Mr. Wright album.
I didn’t know Roberta Flack is his mom.
Empire’s Jussie Smollett was recently nominated for the Soul Train Awards Best New Artist. Congrats to Jussie.
The Soul Train Awards will air on Centric and BET November 29, 2015.
NEW YORK (October 16, 2015) – CENTRIC today announced the nominees for SOUL TRAIN AWARDS 2015, which will celebrate and honor R&B’s finest and most soulful artists on November 6, 2015 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. This year’s fete will take Vegas by storm with not-to-be missed moments including unforgettable performances, iconic tributes, and appearances by today’s leading musicians. SOUL TRAIN AWARDS 2015 will air on Centric and BET Sunday, November 29th at 8PM ET.
Check out his latest song Battle Cry from the Poor Yorick episode. My favorite song so far this season.
On March 18th of this year 20 year old University of Virginia student Martese Johnson was arrested outside a bar in Charlottesville.
Videos on social media showed Martese being pinned to the ground by Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) officers. Many students who witnessed the arrest said the officers were using unnecessary force against Martese and the arrest sparked widespread outrage. A few months ago charges against Martese were dropped. There were also no charges warranted against the ABC officers.
Today Martese is a fourth year student at UVA and he recently wrote a column in Vanity Fair Magazine about his experience in dealing with law enforcement and how police reform is necessary.
On the night of March 18, 2015, three white Alcoholic Beverage Control officers asked me for identification outside of a bar adjacent to the University of Virginia’s grounds. I showed them my I.D., which they wrongly assumed was a fake I.D. After a brief interaction with these officers, I was slammed to the ground violently, detained with handcuffs and leg shackles, and arrested without justification. As the officers pinned me to the ground with their knees, blood flowed freely from my face and my friends and classmates surrounded the scene, screaming with indignation and anger. They watched helplessly as I yelled, “How did this happen? I go to U.Va.!” When I was picked up and dragged away by these officers, glimpses of my ancestors’ history flashed before my eyes. Although it could never compare to a life of slavery, for those hours, I had no freedom, no autonomy, and no say in what was happening to me. I cried for a long time that night—not because of my physical wounds (though there were many) or possible jail time (I was charged with two misdemeanors that were eventually dropped), but because my lifelong vision of sanctuary in success was destroyed in seconds.
The next morning, a video of my encounter with law enforcement went viral, and #JusticeForMartese became a nationally trending hashtag. Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Tanisha Anderson, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose. My name is now mentioned alongside theirs. These victims’ hashtags will probably exist forever, signifying a new historic era of social-media activism.
Most of those famous hashtags came at the cost of a precious human life. I am lucky to say this was not the case for me, but the list will continue to grow. According to The Guardian, as of the time of this writing, 880 people have died at the hands of “police and other law enforcement agencies in the United States” since the start of 2015. Of those 880 killings, 217 of the victims were black. Making up about 25 percent of deaths by law enforcement, African-American lives are lost at a higher rate than any other racial demographic in the United States.
You can read Martese’s entire column at VanityFair.com.