Archive for June, 2009

You may recall the six young Black men in Jena, La., who were charged with attempted murder for a schoolyard fight with white schoolmate Justin Barker. After a major civil rights demonstration protesting the inappropriate severity of the charges, international media attention, and fund-raising to pay for legal representation, the charges were later reduced to second-degree […]


Bernard Madoff, the grand Ponzi schemer of all time who bilked investors out of $50 billion, is all over the headlines again after being sentenced today to 150 years behind bars, but there once was another financial adviser who stole millions from his investors, some of them former NFL players. Kirk Wright, a Harvard-educated hedge fund […]


American icon Michael Jackson, lead singer of the ’70s R&B group The Jackson 5, later renamed The Jacksons after a record-label change, and winner of 10 individual Grammys as a solo artist in the ’80s, died today of sudden cardiac arrest in Los Angeles. He was 50. The King of Pop made history with the 1982 release of […]


The U.S. Senate passed a non-binding resolution on June 18 apologizing for American slavery (1619 – 1865) and “Jim Crow” laws following slavery through the 1960s that continued to deprive Black people of basic human rights. The resolution concludes:  Whereas it is important for the people of the United States, who legally recognized slavery through the Constitution and the […]


R&B singer Chris Brown pleaded guilty Monday in a Los Angeles court to one count of felony assault involving pop diva Rihanna on February 8. Brown will be formally sentenced on August  5, but his plea deal requires him to perform 6 months of community service and serve five years of supervised probation in his home […]


The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Tanzania, convicted former interior minister Callixte Kalimanzira, 56, of two counts of genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide during the 1994 slaughter of 800,000 people–mainly Tutsis–in Rwanda. The African holocaust shocked the world. Kalimanzira, who instructed thousands of Tutsi civilians to take refuge at Kabuye Hill in Ndora commune, promising food […]


Founded in 1966, the National Organization for Women, the nation’s largest feminist advocacy organization, held national elections over the weekend to assemble a new team of leaders. Latifa Lyles (above) ran for president but lost and she will not retain her position as Vice President of Membership to which she was elected in 2005. Allendra Letsome is NOW’s […]


FOX is making a seemingly serious effort to embed diversity themes and talent at the earliest stages of program development. Ron Taylor, the TV network’s new VP of diverse programming and content, is the most recent example of this effort. Taylor will oversee script development reflective of diverse themes and/or written by writers from diverse […]


Sherri Goforth, an aide to Sen. Diane Black (R-TN), was given a “strong letter of reprimand” after embarrassing the GOP by sending a mass e-mail with a racist picture attached mocking President Barack Obama. Following racist humor related debacles originating in Tennessee such as ‘Barack the Magic Negro,’ Goforth forwarded a ‘historical keepsake photo’ of […]


Born in 1904 in Sealy, TX, jazz icon Huey Long enjoyed a long, dynamic career as a guitarist. He began his career with a banjo, playing with a Louisiana jazz band in the 1920s. By the ’30s, he had switched to a guitar, moved to Chicago, and recorded with the great Louis Armstrong. He later joined Earl […]


The New York Times calls him the “Senegalese superstar,” but most African-Americans have never heard of him. A new movie, “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love,” about his life and music, just opened in Manhattan last Friday and could change things. Combining Senegalese lyrical expressions with Egyptian arrangements, his 2004 album, Egypt, earned Youssou N’Dour, 49, […]


You must see this video. The night before President Obama addressed the Arab world in Cairo, young Israelis expressed their disdain for the first Black president, calling him a nigger, an asshole, and an idiot. Yet, in this video they don’t seem to know the name of their own prime minister. For the record, it’s Benjamin Netanyahu. […]


  AIDS health activist Thembi Ngubane was just 19 when she began documenting her battle with AIDS for a radio diary that aired on NPR, here in the U.S., in April 2006, and later aired in the UK, Canada, and Australia, touching nearly 50 million people. A mother of a four-year-old daughter, she died last […]


Stephen Tyrone Jones died heroically on Wednesday. An African-American security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, He stepped in the line of fire to prevent James W. von Brunn, an 88-year-old man linked to anti-Jewish web sites, from killing others at the museum. Jones died in an area hospital after being shot by von Brunn with […]


Two weeks after the tragic accidental death of his 4-year-old daughter, Exodus, whose mother is Sol Xochitl, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson married 32-year-old Lakiha Spicer last Saturday in Las Vegas. Check out an earlier post on this blog on the death of Tyson’s daughter at http://speakyourpeace.me/2009/05/27/mike-tysons-daughter-dies/. Some things just can’t be explained. Speak your […]


Cleveland-born Alyssa Stanton, 45, will lead a predominantly white synagogue in Greenville, NC, beginning in August. She is the first African-American woman to be ordained as a rabbi. Raised in a Pentecostal family, the single mother of a 14-year-old adopted daughter says she was surprised by the national interest in her ordination. Her new 60-family synagogue, […]


Hailed as the Queen of the Blues, legendary blues vocalist Koko Taylor died June 3, following surgery on May 19 to correct a gastrointestinal bleed. She was 80. Best known for her 1966 hit “Wang Dang Doodle,” which sold over 1 million copies, her nearly 45-year career was still going strong until just a few weeks before her […]


The BBC is reporting that Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to pay $15.5 million as an out-of-court settlement in a case brought by the families of nine Nigerian executed anti-oil activists, accusing the company of human rights abuses, including murder and torture. The activists, who were protesting the pollution caused by the oil industry and also […]


Detroit’s former FOX affiliate WJBK newsanchor and former WJLB-FM radio host Charles Pugh announced recently he will run for a seat on Detroit’s 9-member city council. He is the troubled city’s first openly gay political candidate. He shared his lifestyle with Detroiters five years ago and saw his popularity soar. Now he’s banking on his local-name […]


In his first state of the nation address, President Jacob Zuma promised to create 500,000 new jobs in South Africa before December 2009. Roughly 40% of South Africans live in poverty, so this initiative is sorely needed. However, can Zuma really pull it off during the country’s worst recession in nearly 20 years? During the […]