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Showing posts with label Blavity News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blavity News. Show all posts

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Tory Lanez Faces Two Felony Charges And Up To 23 Years In Prison In Connection To Meg Thee Stallion Shooting

Tory Lanez is facing two felony charges for allegedly shooting rapper Meg The Stallion during an argument they had in July, according to the Associated Press. 

The singer was charged by Los Angeles prosecutors on Thursday on the counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm along with the possession of a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. He is accused of shooting at Megan's feet as well as hitting her as the complaint states Lanez “inflicted great bodily injury” against her. 


The Canadian transplant, whose real name is Daystar Peterson, faces a maximum sentence of 23 years if convicted at his arraignment on Tuesday, October 13.

As Blavity previously reported, the alleged shooting occurred earlier this year after the musical pair and Megan's best friend left a gathering that took place at Kylie Jenner’s home. The incident, which resulted in both of Megan's feet being lodged with bullets, came soon after a verbal spat. According to TMZ, Lanez offered an apology via text citing his intoxication as the cause of his behavior.


These charges come on the heels of Lanez' latest musical project that seemingly addresses the explosive situation and allegations in a 17-track album. DAYSTAR, the eponymous album in question, was released one day after the announcement that Breonna Taylor’s murderers would be reprieved of any consequences surrounding her death. 

Details are forthcoming. 



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Monday, October 5, 2020

Blavity Partners With Google To Support Black-Owned Businesses in October

Time check, it’s October y’all. Yes, 2020 is still placing a heavy burden on all of us. But our resiliency and strength has helped us continue to celebrate ourselves through social media, our culture and especially by showing some love to our favorite Black-owned businesses.

Black-owned businesses celebrate our uniqueness and they are in need of our support now more than ever. In partnership with Google, Blavity is proud to launch #IntheBlack, a campaign highlighting the many ways customers can support local Black-owned businesses near them. 

Over each of the next four weeks, we’ll highlight one Black-owned business within four major cities in the U.S. #InTheBlack is coming to Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, and the Bronx in New York City (virtually, of course)! Tune in throughout the month of October to learn how actions like ordering online, picking up takeout, purchasing gift cards or making donations to your favorite small businesses can help stimulate the Black economy and keep these businesses #IntheBlack.

It’s not only about the dolla dolla bill, we can show support by leaving an awesome rating on a Google business profile or writing a positive review for the world to see. 


Here is a sneak peak at the four businesses that we will be featuring:

             Atlanta -- Project: Body

             Houston -- Lucille's 

             Detroit -- ILERA Apothecary

             New York -- The Lit. Bar

Join us every week for our live conversations and interviews to learn more about these small businesses and how Google tools can help people discover and support places near them. 

Are you rooting for everything Black? Make sure you continue to support small businesses in your community by leaving reviews, sharing images, and discovering new places. To learn more about how to keep our businesses #InTheBlack stay glued to our site as we continue to share stories from Black business owners.  

This editorial was brought to you in partnership with Google.

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Meet, Discover & Support Project: Body in Atlanta

This October, Blavity is partnering with Google to put a spotlight on Black-owned businesses and show how customers can support them with the #InTheBlack campaign. This week, our #InTheBlack business feature is Claudia Fitzwater, owner of Project: Body, a boutique fitness studio that creates an inclusive, safe space for women to reach fitness goals, while remaining accessible and culturally sensitive. 

Project: Body is all about empowering Black and Brown women through fitness and exercise by incorporating versatile fitness disciplines to help them become their own #bodygoals. 

We talked to the fitness expert about the importance of creating a culturally conscious environment for women of all shapes and sizes, the support received from the community amid the COVID crisis and how her team pivoted to meet their customers’ needs virtually this year.

Tell us the story of how your business got started.

Fitzwater: I started teaching 10 years ago for different fitness studios in the city of Atlanta. I was also an avid visitor at different gyms and fitness studios. I started to think about a place that could welcome everyone and expose them to different disciplines that offer boutique private services in other parts of the city. I wanted to expose people to yoga, pilates barre and strength training and mix them up. I also wanted my friends and people in my community to come and work out instead of telling me “Black people don't do pilates” or “Black people do not do yoga” and things like that.

Project: Body is an independent fitness studio that welcomes all types of females and empowers them through fitness and physical exercise. Project: Body is a place where women are encouraged to love their bodies. We work hard to make our instruction culturally sensitive and respectful of women’s bodies. As a female and minority owner, I am aware that BIPOC [Black and Indigenous people of color] need to be represented and included in the fitness and wellness industry. That’s why my trainers are mostly Black and brown women. 

How has your city influenced you as an entrepreneur?

Fitzwater: I owe everything I have to Atlanta, it has really been a city that has welcomed me and given me excellent experiences. It is also a city with a lot of pain. I think the city has given me the confidence I need to pursue my dreams. I know a lot of Black people come to Atlanta for different opportunities. But I am also aware that despite the city being considered a mecca for Black people to thrive, it is a city with a lot of disparities, especially for Black communities. I think both sides give me fuel to continue with my journey and inspire me. 

How have you been able to connect with customers and drum up support for your business?

Fitzwater: One of the most valuable things from Google is how easy it is for my clients to leave reviews and share their experiences about our business, they provide feedback that is useful for people before they come to see us. Also, my Google business profile makes it easy for customers to search for our location, information about our services and policies, and updates or changes. My profile also allows me to feature our products and allows people to see and schedule classes.

Can you talk about the resiliency of your business and how you were able to successfully pivot despite the impact from COVID-19?  

Fitzwater: Before COVID-19, we were an independent boutique gym providing in-studio fitness classes at our brick and mortar location. We had between five and seven classes per day, seven days a week, with a rate occupancy of 14 - 16 clients per class. We closed our doors on March 11, due to a stay at home order and mandated closure of nonessential businesses. In May, we started offering outdoor classes in two different parks. We faced new challenges. There was a lack of appropriate equipment and our clients were really not interested in bringing their own or they just did not have access to any to bring. So we made an investment to purchase resistance kits for our outdoor classes. The response to this new feature has been really positive and has allowed us to replicate the in-studio experience outdoors.

The pandemic and temporary closure of our business had an impact in terms of sales, but also brought with it the opportunity to create a digital extension of our brick and mortar location. It also transformed the way we reach our customers by allowing us to offer our services to a broader community and motivated us to sell our branded equipment to make the in-studio experience right to the homes of our customers. It’s definitely not an easy time to be a Black-owned business. The way I see it, I could allow this reality to overwhelm me and stop me, or use it to explore new paths with my business. I know COVID-19 will hit Black-owned businesses harder, but I refuse to be a business that fails my customers. I will continue to strive as a business owner and citizen to support initiatives that help Black communities and give back. 

How has your business benefited from the surge in customers seeking ways to support Black-owned businesses?

Fitzwater: I would say that I am pleased to see that the current events and pandemic have really further exposed the disadvantages that small businesses and especially Black women faced in the US. But, these events have also helped our customers understand that the reality [of the situation for Black businesses is] access to capital and the path [that] Black and minority business owners go through is completely different. So, by putting our stories out there, by telling people that the entrepreneur path, of course, is not easy for everybody, but has more challenges for Black, minority and women-owned businesses is really important.

Make no mistake, we are Black but people don’t just support us because we are Black. Beyond being Black-owned, Black businesses provide quality and essential services, and despite all the issues we thrive. Yes, we have benefited from the supporting Black resurgence, but I also would like to see long-term policies, resources, and local support for our businesses.

Moving forward, how can customers best support your business by engaging with your Google Business profile? 

Fitzwater: Reviews and purchasing our products help. Also, posting about our business or adding their own pictures to reviews would be great. You can find out everything about our business by going to our Google business profile and now with stay and home orders lifted, you can see us in person in our studio on 1 Moreland Avenue SE Atlanta, GA 30316. 

___

Black-owned businesses are vital and it’s important that we show support in every way possible. So whether you’re searching for restaurants, salons, bookstores, gyms, boutiques, or any other business near you, show your support by ordering takeout, writing a review, buying a gift card, or making a donation, all with a little help from Google. Want to know more about Project: Body, specifically? Visit their Google profile and show your support in helping businesses near you stay #InTheBlack." 

This editorial was brought to you in partnership with Google.



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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Nextdoor Brings Neighbors Together: Tamika Mallory, John Hope Bryant and Lorraine Cochran-Johnson Talk COVID, Community & Building Better Bridges

There was a time when you knew to be home before the streetlights came on, especially if you grew up in a neighborhood where everyone knew your name. Some things have changed, yet technology has enabled us to become even more connected than ever.

September was Neighborhood Month, and with the theme of “Together for Better Neighborhoods,” Nextdoor, partnered with Atlanta’s own 11Alive for a conversation that brought community leaders together to discuss ways to rally around neighborhood businesses, elevating one another and more. 

The event highlighted topics ranging from how COVID has impacted society at large to understanding how to partner with police officers and enact community-led initiatives. The panelists touched on engaging in the political process, why economic and political power go hand in hand, and more.
  • Tamika Mallory, activist and Co-Founder of Until Freedom
  • John Hope Bryant, Founder of Operation HOPE
  • Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, Dekalb County Commissioner District 7

Watch “Together for Better Neighborhoods” in full here.

What role do neighborhoods play in building better bridges between community and civil service organizations?


Tamika Mallory, Co-Founder of Until Freedom

The question really has to be, what are our organizations, elected officials, civil service outlets going to do to be closer to the community? How can we create light, rather than darkness in communities where people feel that they want to be part of the process.

I try to tell people when I’m organizing all the time, that we can protest and show up at the local city council meetings. The local police accountability meetings. We can still run for the local seats, whether it be the school board, district leader in our communities and protest when we see issues where we feel that our people have been treated unjustly. 

Know thy neighbor -- how can neighborhoods thrive when bridges are built instead of walls?

John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, Inc.

Nextdoor is the one place where you get to talk to the Republican next to you, the Democrat next to you. The white person next to you, the liberal down the street, the police officer. In other words, everyone is siloed these days, if all you want to get is a certain kind of news, then social media or whoever is happy to feed it to you. So now you’re getting an echo chamber of what you already believe. So now you’re angrier, you’re more frustrated, you’re more removed from your neighbor as it relates to a resolution. But through this network, you have through the very nature of community, a way to have a real conversation. 

What are the biggest challenges that you envision in a post-COVID Atlanta?

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, Dekalb County Commissioner District 7

Currently across the United States, 66 percent of Americans are now working remotely. In terms of the economic shift that COVID has caused, we were already seeing a trend towards online sales, but currently because of COVID-19 we’re finding that more and more people are purchasing online and we’re rethinking brick and mortar and how we move forward - as not only consumers - but as communities. So many business models will be restructured as we move forward.

Recently, I held a town hall and we had over 700 people that participated, both Zoom as well as streaming, and we looked at how to start an online business. How to source products globally, because as the marketplace shifts, if we are going to remain competitive it is time that we rethink traditional models as well as service delivery. Because we will never be the same. 

5 Ways to Help Grow and Strengthen Your Own Community

  • Building stronger communities requires people to be educated on elected positions in their communities or even running themselves.
  • When given opportunities and access to the political process, Black America has excelled.
  • Wealth creation, home ownership and more are all important for economic empowerment.
  • Jobs and affordable housing create safer, and more engaged communities.
  • Local communities can be the catalyst for change on a larger scale.

Known as a place where you can “get the most out of your neighborhood,” more and more people are turning to Nextdoor to learn about their communities, get recommendations, and support local businesses. Download the Nextdoor app and tap into your neighborhood today. 

Watch “Together for Better Neighborhoods” in full here.



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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

4 Moments From The Breonna Taylor Announcement That Have Us Still Side-Eyeing Daniel Cameron

No one is being charged for shooting and killing Breonna Taylor.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron took the stage Wednesday afternoon shortly after charges were announced against Det. Brett Hankison. As Blavity previously reported, a grand jury indicted Hankinson on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree in relation to the March 13 police shooting that left Taylor dead.  These charges are based on shots fired by Hankison that entered into a neighboring apartment. No charges were announced against Det. Myles Cosgrove or Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, the other two officers who were present and fired the bullets that actually hit and killed Taylor.

The shuttering of government buildings and boarding up of other storefronts in Louisville on Monday made it apparent the city knew Wednesday's announcement would be exacerbated. Cameron's presser solidified this when he played his Black card and made reference to a political "narrative" driving public upset around Taylor's death. 

The Attorney General faced a barrage of criticism since Taylor's killing as he seemingly dragged his feet in the investigation while appearing to leverage the high-profile case to raise his star within the Republican Party. With all this pressure, Cameron tried to balance explaining the grand jury and his own conclusions with showing respect and empathy for those who angrily disagree with those conclusions.

In the end, Cameron’s press conference failed. Here’s why:



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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Let's Be Honest About Honest Abe: Lincoln Didn’t Believe In Black Equality

September 22 is the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, first issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1962 to go into effect on New Year’s Day 1963.  The order, made during the middle of the Civil War, proclaimed that all slaves held in the Confederate states were free.

Contrary to what you probably learned in high school history class or the “patriotic education” that President Trump wants to impose on America, Lincoln did not start the Civil War or issue the Emancipation Proclamation in order to end slavery. It turns out that Lincoln wasn’t really a fan of having free Black Americans, at least not until towards the end of the war and his own life.

To be fair, Lincoln didn’t like slavery. As a matter of fact, he spent many years telling people how much he hated slavery and saw it as unjust -- including in the 1853 speech where he declared:

I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world -- enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites -- causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty -- criticising [sic] the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

Let’s break that down. Lincoln said: sure, slavery was bad for slaves -- but it was really terrible because it made America look bad and because it hurt the white people who had to try justifying it. 

As Nikole Hannah-Jones notes in her Pulitzer Prize-winning opening essay for the 1619 Project, Lincoln made it clear that he didn’t think Black people were equal with white people in America. During the war, President Lincoln told his critics that If he could preserve the Union by freeing all slaves, some slaves, or no slaves, he would do whichever best helped him win the war. When Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, he told a group of abolitionist pastors that he did so as a "practical war measure" for "the suppression of the rebellion," not because he was trying to end slavery. 

Lincoln later said he was willing to reconsider his views, and he moved in the right direction over time. Of course, this was partially because Black people weren’t afraid to get in his face. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation let Black folks serve in the Union army in significant numbers, they were paid less and treated very poorly compared to their white fellow soldiers. Frederick Douglass, one of American history’s original emancipators, came straight-up uninvited to the White House to complain about it to Lincoln.  

Douglass put Lincoln in his place and urged the president to make sure Black soldiers were treated right if he wanted Douglass to keep on helping to recruit Black men for the army, and probably insisted that Lincoln be a good host and fix him a plate to take with him before he left. Douglass became one of the few Black people that Lincoln listened to directly, and he helped shape Lincoln’s evolving views on racial equality towards the end of Lincoln's life.

Lincoln had previously been against granting Black people the right to vote. But in a speech on April 11, 1865, Lincoln indicated to his audience that he was rethinking his ideas. He was now open to granting voting rights to "the very intelligent, and...those who serve our cause as soldiers." Even though this was basically an “I guess there are some good ones” approach to Black America, it was move in the right direction.

This minor move by Lincoln towards seeing some Black people as equal was dangerous to white supremacy. One of the people in the audience that night responded to the speech by saying that it would be “the last speech [Lincoln] would ever make.” That man was John Wilkes Booth, who shot and killed President Lincoln three days later.

None of these truths negate the achievements of President Lincoln or his importance in ending slavery and setting America on the path towards greater racial equality. And the recognition of these realities by Hannah-Jones and others has not "warped, distorted, and defiled the American story" as President Trump has accused the 1619 Project of doing. But to properly understand the American story, we need to know and speak the whole truth, and that includes being honest even about Honest Abe.



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Monday, September 14, 2020

HuffPost Reporters Call Out Platform For Not Hiring, Promoting Or Paying Journalists Of Color: 'This Is Shameful'

Members of HuffPost's union have called out the news outlet as well as its parent company Verizon for failing to hire, promote and pay people of color, according to a website created by the union. 

According to Tweets from current HuffPost workers and the union website, the national news outlet -- known for its liberal-leaning coverage -- has failed to prioritize diversity and inclusion internally.  

"The HuffPost Union demands that HuffPost and Verizon Media make real commitments to hiring and promoting people of color in our newsroom," the union wrote, including a list of demands that they hope to see enacted.

"We demand that Verizon Media leaders release pay equity data to ensure, as the company claims, that they are paying our staff of color as much as their majority white peers," one demand stated. HuffPost CEO Guru Gowrappan said there is pay equity on the basis of race but the company has refused to release the data backing up their claim.



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Saturday, September 12, 2020

Naya Rivera Saved Her Son And Yelled For Help Before Drowning, Investigation Concludes

An autopsy report released on Friday revealed new details about the death of Glee actress Naya Rivera, who drowned in July while boating with her 4-year-old son on a California lake.

The investigation from Ventura County Medical Examiner determined that the 33-year-old raised her arm and called for help when she accidentally drowned at Lake Piru northwest of Los Angeles, The Associated Press reported. 

According to the report, Rivera first helped her son, Josey, get back on the boat. The boy then “noticed the decedent put her arm up in the air and yelled ‘help,’” the autopsy stated. The actress "knew how to swim well," but she "disappeared into the water,” investigators concluded.

The man who rented the pontoon boat to Rivera said he put a life vest aboard even though she declined the safety gear.

Medical examiners said Rivera struggled with vertigo and a recent sinus infection. Drugs weren't found to be factors in her death. However, the toxicology report found a small amount of prescribed amphetamines in her system, as well as minimal amounts of an anti-anxiety drug and an appetite suppressant.

Josey, who was found sleeping alone on the boat later that day, was taken to his father. 

As Blavity previously reported, the body of Rivera was found in the lake on July 13, less than a week after she was reported missing. 

"I can't make any sense of what happened," Ventura County Deputy Chris Dyer said after the body was found. "We just know that we found a 4-year-old on a boat, and he said that his mother never got back in."

During the search, officials released surveillance video from the lake's parking lot. The footage showed Rivera and her son walking toward the water on July 8. With use of sonar equipment, as well as help from divers, investigators conducted the search for the missing mother.

After presuming her to be dead on July 9, the search continued until four days later when her body was found floating on the surface of the lake.  

Sgt. Kevin Donoghue said Josey "gave enough information to investigators to conclude that his mother never made it out of the water."

Investigators added that the conditions of the lake posed a challenge.

 “There’s a lot of challenges in a reservoir this size, at times with visibility,” Capt. Eric Buschow told CBS Los Angeles.

According to CNN, the northeast area of the lake, where Rivera's body was found, is 35- 60 feet deep.

The Glee cast member posted a picture of herself and her son a day before she went missing.

"Just the two of us," she wrote. 

View this post on Instagram

just the two of us

A post shared by Naya Rivera (@nayarivera) on




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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

These Lawmakers Introduced A Bill Declaring Racism A Public Health Crisis

A team of Democrats has introduced legislation to declare racism as a national public health crisis.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Barbara Lee collaborated on Thursday to announce a bill titled “The Anti-Racism in Public Health Act of 2020.” The anti-racism bill is an unprecedented act that would convene and create national centers to research health disparities related to bigotry, according to ABC affiliate WCVB.

The trio cited the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the swell of social justice protests as reasons to consider approving the motion.

In August, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared racism a public health issue and announced a state advisory committee to address issues affecting the Black community, as Blavity previously reported.

Michigan joined 18 other states that has at least one county that has made a similar declaration. King County in Washington has committed to an Anti-Racism Crisis Response Bill of Rights that support communities of color and aims to end the legacy of racism. While in Burlington, Vermont, a public health equity manager has been consulted to help the city in its fight against the issue. 

“It is time we start treating structural racism like we would treat any other public health problem or disease: investing in research into its symptoms and causes and finding ways to mitigate its effects,” Warren said. “My bill with Representatives Lee and Pressley is a first step to create anti-racist federal health policy that studies and addresses disparities in health outcomes at their roots.”

The politicians said the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted racial disparities that need to be addressed. Nationwide, communities of color are being hit the hardest, according to NPR. In Boston, Black and Latinx communities make up 65% of the COVID-19 cases but account for just 40% of the population.

“COVID-19 has exposed the injustices in health outcomes for Black and Brown people, and it’s no coincidence,” Lee told the Root. “In addition to addressing the lasting impacts of systemic racism in criminal justice, economic inequality and the like, we must also commit resources to understanding racially unjust health outcomes.”

A motivating factor behind the bill is the federal government's inefficiency in collecting data related to race for COVID-19 cases, the Democrats said.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic unveiling and exacerbating racial disparities in health outcomes, it is time we recognize and treat structural racism and police brutality as the public health crises that they are," Pressley said in a statement.

If it is accepted as law, the act would create two new initiatives within the CDC.

The bill would be instituted to declare racism a public health concern while leading research on the issue. Another priority of the center would be educating the public on the "health impacts of structural racism and anti-racist public health interventions.”

A Law Enforcement Violence Prevention Program would also be created within the CDC to combat police brutality and institutional racism with law enforcement agencies. It would work to eliminate “deaths, injury, trauma, and negative mental health effects from police presence and interactions.”

“We must have a coordinated public health response to structural racism, and this bill would do just that,” Pressley said.



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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Louisiana Congressman Shamelessly Threatens To Shoot BLM Protesters At Peaceful Event: 'I'd Drop Any 10 Of You'

Louisiana Republican Congressman Clay Higgins lashed out at Facebook after the social media site took down a post of him threatening to kill peaceful, unarmed Black protesters in the state. 

Higgins, the U.S. representative for Louisiana's 3rd congressional district, has a long history of making offensive, racist comments, according to BBC News. But on Tuesday he caused further outrage when he posted a lengthy Facebook message about a protest held by a local Black Lives Matter group.

The Acadiana Advocate reported that the event was peaceful and included a barbecue. Members of the Louisiana Cajun Militia eventually showed up heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests.

The Black Lives Matter protesters, however, gave the heavily armed white men some food as they watched the peaceful event.

Despite video of the event, in his post, Higgins included an old photo of a Breonna Taylor demonstration in Louisville, Kentucky, from July, implying that he would shoot the protesters if they threatened his city. 

"If this shows up, we'll consider the armed presence a real threat. We being, We, the people of Louisiana, one way. ticket fellas. Have your affairs in order. Me? I wouldn't even spill my beer. I'd drop any 10 of you where you stand. Because some of We, like me..We are SWAT. Nothing personal. We just eliminate the threat. If you show up like this, if we recognize threat," Higgins wrote.

"You won't walk away. That's not a challenge, fellas, its a promise. We don't want to see your worthless ass nor do we want to make your mothers cry. You're the ones threatening. If you show yourselves, aggressively natured and armed in my presence, in my neighborhood, where I work, anywhere close enough to put my family or my fellow citizens in danger. That is where your journey will end. fast. How fast? 1,450 FPS fast," he added.

Facebook confirmed that the post violated its policy on “violence and incitement” and was taken down. 

Higgins confirmed that he didn't take the post down himself in his own Facebook post. 

None of the Black Lives Matter demonstrators at Tuesday's protest were armed, even though Louisiana is an open-carry state. Higgins himself has made an entire career out of being a pro-gun advocate and is well-known for carrying a gun, according to his official government site. 

People online noted the hypocrisy of Higgins' post, considering his stance on guns and his very public dispute with his ex-wife, who said he had abandoned his family and refused to pay child support. 

Black Lives Matter protests have been ongoing since police shot and killed Trayford Pellerin in Lafayette, Louisiana last month. 

The protests even made their way into the Lafayette Parish Council, where dozens of people chanted for justice, according to local news outlet KLFY.

“Say his name. Trayford Pellerin. Say his name. Trayford Pellerin. Say his name,” the protesters said.

Protester Morgan Prejean criticized a callous statement from Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory that said officers did everything they could before killing Pellerin. Video of the incident has sparked outrage nationwide. 


“It should have been de-escalated. You mean to tell me all those cops between one person with a knife couldn’t disarm him? That’s embarrassing,” Prejean said.

Family members and Parish Council District 5 Representative AB Rubin criticized the local police for their actions before the shooting. Pellerin's cousin, Jai Pellerin called for Guillory to step down and said he did not understand how the community could be treated the way they are.

“Maybe I’m missing something because this isn’t what I signed up for. This isn’t what I signed up to protect this country for," Jai Pellerin, a veteran, told the city council meeting. 



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Thursday, August 27, 2020

NY Post Tries To Make Alleged Killer Kyle Rittenhouse Look Like A Decent Person, Simultaneously Vilifies Jacob Blake

It was only a matter of days before police shooting victim Jacob Blake, shot seven times on Sunday night, would be criminalized by mainstream media. So the New York Post's midweek headline saying Blake had a knife in his car was perfectly in tandem with the media's criminalization of Black victims.

Amid a nation in peril, Blake's shooting wasn't the only devastation we'd see this week. Just three days after Blake's shooting, a white teen, Kyle Rittenhouse, fatally shot two people protesting Blake's killing and injured another as Blavity previously reported. This offered no greater time for outlets like The Post to showcase their flare for racial bias. 

Rittenhouse is a Trump supporter who showed up to a Tuesday night Wisconsin protest over the shooting of Blake, a Black 29-year-old father.

He said he'd shown up to the demonstration to "protect" businesses and wildly enough, people. After shooting three protesters, he ran down the street, passing police officers, exclaiming what he'd done.

Within hours of each other, the Post ran two stories on Wednesday evening: one alleging Blake, a victim, had a knife in his car when he was shot in the back by police and the other showcasing Rittenhouse, a perpetrator, cleaning up graffiti before killing people. Screenshots of the stories intended to illustrate the clear bias went viral on Twitter. 



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Monday, August 24, 2020

Bun B Says What Rappers Should’ve Been Saying About Megan Thee Stallion. Plus, ‘F**k Tory Lanez.’

For more than a week, people have heavily criticized the hip-hop industry, particularly the leading men of the music genre, for staying silent about the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion.

The rapper took to social media last week to say Tory Lanez shot her in the foot as she walked away from his car last month. Despite the high-profile nature of the shooting, notable rap stars have been silent on the topic, as Blavity previously reported

On Monday, some hip-hop legends finally spoke out in support of the 25-year-old rapper whose real name is Megan Pete.

In an hour-long Instagram video, Houston native Bun B addressed the situation and said Pete needed support especially from those who hail from the southern city. 





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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Black Scientists And Doctors Break Down The Science Of 'WAP' And Remind Why Women Need To Ask For What They Want

While Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "WAP" has been deemed a bop by many, the tune has also ignited a debate about whether it's healthy to have a "Wet Ass Pussy," which is the meaning behind the now famous acronym.

While some debate whether the song is appropriate for airwaves, doctors attempted to break down the innuendos in the song, arguing whether your lubricated privates are signs of a healthy sexual drive.

Blavity spoke with Black scientist and podcaster Elissia Franklin, a woman who turned her passion for wellness into a podcast in which she educates Black women about the power of their bodies.  Franklin admits she immediately sprang into creative mode upon hearing the song and wanted to dedicate her podcast's 40th episode to the meaning behind the song's lyrics. She was on lunch break when she first heard the bop. 

It all started with one particular "WAP" line: 

"When Cardi said 'I want you to touch that lil' dangly thing that swing in the back of my throat,' I thought what is that dangly thing called (it’s the uvula) cause I most definitely had forgotten since taking biology," the rapper said. "Then, I started wondering how else does this song relate to science."

While conservatives and hoteps alike condoned the song for its sexual overtness, Franklin opted to go the direction of body positivity, soliciting fellow Black women in medicine who are ob/gyn's and/or sex positivity educators. The episode, titled "The Science of Wet A** Pu$%y" or "SWAP" begins with a warning for those who may be uncomfortable with the p-word before Franklin goes on to discuss her intent to "normalize all pussy types." 

She then pivots to gynecologist Dr. Ruth Arumala who shares who says the varying nature of vaginal discharge is dependent upon age, arousal, birth control and life stressors. 

"So essentially sis, what is coming out of you is normal AF," Franklin concludes after the clip.

Sex educator Portia Brown and international behavioral research scientist Dr. Jasmine Abrams also joined Franklin, a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University, on the episode. 

Abrams said things like diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, menstruation and mental health conditions like depression can also play a part in the vagina's ability to produce lubrication.

Abrams then dives into why there's such an emphasis on vaginal lubrication in American culture. She summed it up with the three P's: pleasure, patriarchy and the "please disease."

"Patriarchy has such a huge role in how women see their bodies, what they think their bodies should do," Abrams continued. "I love Cardi B, I love Megan Thee Stallion and a host of other female entertainers but when women rap about or sing about how wet their vaginas can be, think about the context they're saying that in. More often than not, a wet vagina is described as something that is able to attract male partners. It's something that is able to keep a male partner around." 

She goes on to reference the "WAP" lyric in which Cardi B raps, "I don't cook, I don't clean but let me tell you, I got this ring." 

"In the context of a song called wet ass pussy, it means that's why she got the ring," Abrams said. "That our value and our ability to get partners or resources is hinged on our ability to please a male partner or a penis, in particular."

Abrams then shares that through research, she's found that women are half as likely to orgasm than their male partners during sex. 

The episode also touches on how women in cultures where lubricated vaginas aren't preferred take extreme measures to please their partners, how confidence can affect sexual experiences, the evolutionary purpose of pre-ejaculation and why, as Abrams says, "most women don't want you playing DJ on their clitoris." 

Franklin even shared with Blavity some efforts women can make outside of the podcast to get more in touch with their sexuality. She references Dr. Donna Oriowo, a guest on a prior podcast, who discussed how white supremacy can influence our views of sexuality as well. Brown suggests the book Pussy Prayers Black Girl Bliss.

Most importantly, she suggests women talk more about their sexuality. 

"Do not be afraid of having uncomfortable conversations about sexuality. Go into these conversation understanding that you may something wrong and open to corrections," Franklin said. "Do you know what is the difference between sex and gender? Ask and listen. Like the guests said on the episode, you should have conversations with your partner about sex and your needs outside of the bedroom."

The Research Her aims to help Black women "make better health and lifestyle choices" through discussions of mental health, stereotypes, relationships, education and other forms of wellness in addition to WAP. 

Listen to the full "SWAP" episode here



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Monday, August 17, 2020

Police Arrest Black Journalist Recording Altercation During Michigan Proud Boys Rally

A Black reporter in Michigan has been released from police custody after he was arrested while covering a white nationalist group’s rally on Saturday.

According to CNN, Kalamazoo officials have apologized after MLive reporter Samuel Robinson was wrongly arrested in the downtown area as he recorded physical altercations between the alt-right group Proud Boys and counterprotesters this weekend.

With violence escalating between the groups, Robinson tweeted at 12:49 p.m. on Saturday that he barely saw any police intervention. Moments later, police clad in riot gear caught up with the procession and detained the reporter. Robinson, wearing MLive credentials, can be heard pleading with detaining officers that he was a member of the press.

"I'm being arrested now," Robinson said while recording his own arrest. "I'm media, dude. I'm media. I'm with MLive. I'm with MLive.”



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Two Men Charged In 2002 Killing Of Jam Master Jay

For almost two decades, the killing of celebrated hip-hop disc jockey Jam Master Jay has remained one of the country’s most notorious unsolved slayings.

On Monday, federal prosecutors announced indictments on two suspects long believed to be involved in the 2002 killing of the former member of 1980s rap group Run-DMC, The New York Times reports. New York City officials charged Ronald Washington, 56, and Karl Jordan, Jr., 36, with murder while drug trafficking and nine other counts.

Court filings say the two suspects worked “together with others” to premeditate and plan the murder of Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay. According to The Times, U.S. attorney Seth D. DuCharme said Mizell’s killers walked up and killed him in “cold blood.”

“This is a case about a murder that for nearly two decades has gone unanswered,” he said. “Today we begin to answer that question of who killed Jason Mizell and why.”

In new court documents detailing Mizell’s death, prosecutors claimed Washington and Jordan killed Mizell on October 30, 2002 after he tried to exclude them from a “multistate” drug deal. According to the documents, that July, Mizell received nearly 10 kilos of cocaine on loan from a supplier in Maryland. Following a dispute, Mizell threatened to cut both Jordan and Washington as partners in the deal, according to The Times. The two men broke into Mizell’s studio that day, forced a person inside on the ground and shot Mizell in the back of the head akin to an execution-style slaying.

Washington was an associate of Mizell’s who had been living on a couch at the slain DJ’s home days prior to the death, according to CBS News. In 2007, Washington was first named a possible suspect after prosecutors alleged he waved a handgun around and ordered people in Mizell’s recording studio on the ground. With the guests contained, a separate man wearing a mask shot and killed Mizell.

Both Washington and Jordan were implicated in a plot to distribute five kilograms of cocaine during the time Mizell was killed, The Associated Press reports. DuCharme and other law officials did not say if the former DJ had any role in the conspiracy and refused to take questions.

An anonymous law enforcement official said two witnesses were now cooperating in the case, per The Times. Following Mizell’s death, the city and his family offered $60,000 in reward money, but witnesses refused to come to the light and the case stalled. Marvin Thompson, Mizell’s older brother, believed that people close to his sibling were responsible for his death. Prior to his death in 2018, Thompson told The New York Daily News he was still seeking answers and hoped someone did the right thing.

"There's still so many unanswered questions. I pray that someone will step up and close this case and give us some peace," Thompson said in 2012, 10 years after Mizell’s killing.

If convicted, Washington and Jordan would each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. They could also face a death penalty, but CNN reports Attorney General William Barr has yet to determine whether to enforce capitol punishment.

Jordan has a virtual arraignment scheduled for Monday. Washington, currently serving a federal prison sentence for a string of robberies, has his hearing scheduled later this week in Kentucky, according to The Associated Press.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Because I Thought Someone Said Something About 'WAP' Being Too Sexual

Although Megan thee Stallion and Cardi B released their song "WAP" on Friday, the lyrics are still causing a frenzy among fans and critics. While the song samples Frank Ski's "Whores in This House," the two rappers embrace their sexuality, leaving many people to expose their misogynistic opinions and double standards for women.

Despite the song being released at the beginning of a new decade, the sexually empowering lyrics are nothing new under this sun. 

In the midst of being in quarantine, "WAP" has somehow forged amnesia in the minds of critics who grew up with music from Lil' Kim, Foxy Brown, Adina Howard and Salt N Peppa.

If you happen to be among the forgetful, here are a few songs to kick start your memory. 



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Monday, August 10, 2020

Riley Curry Put Our Dance Moves To Shame With Her Choreography To Beyoncé's 'Already'

Riley Curry has been a fan-favorite since she took over her father Steph Curry's postgame press conference six years ago.

The 8-year-old has stolen people's heart since then, and brought the house down on Saturday when her mother, Ayesha Curry, posted a video to Instagram of her dancing to Beyoncé's hit song "Already."

Riley is already well-known for her dance moves but got a lot of love for her latest video. 



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Monday, August 3, 2020

Black Congressman Tells Barr To 'Keep The Name Of The Honorable John Lewis Out Of The Department Of Justice’s Mouth'

Black members of Congress did not hold back in criticizing Attorney General William Barr during his testimony last week and a number of people were particularly incensed when he spoke about recently-deceased congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. 

“On behalf of the Department of Justice, I want to pay my respects to your colleague John Lewis, an indomitable champion of civil rights and the rule of law,” Barr told the House Judiciary Committee last Tuesday. 

Senator Kamala Harris tweeted out a clip of Barr's statement and said it was insulting that he would mention Lewis while enforcing policies he spent his life protesting. 

Barr repeatedly harped on the fact that Lewis believed in "peaceful" protest and "rule of law," tacit references to more recent protests that he later said are not peaceful and warrant violent responses from the government.  

Rep. Cedric Richmond and Rep. Karen Bass all took aim at Barr for his comments throughout the hearing and his references to Lewis. When asked about systemic racism, Barr openly said he does not believe there is “systemic racism in police departments generally in this country.” 

“When you all came here and brought your top staff, you brought no Black people. That, sir, is systematic racism. You really should keep the name of the Honorable John Lewis out of the Department of Justice’s mouth,” Richmond said. 


Barr's testimony was his first time testifying before the House Judiciary Committee after dodging the group since he was appointed more than a year ago. He did not budge on any issue, defending the heavy-handed government response to the protests and promoting conspiracy theories that the protests were “hijacked” by “violent rioters and anarchists.”

Like many Republican politicians who spent years dismantling Lewis' work and efforts to make voting as easy as possible, Barr commended the civil rights leader for his “unwavering commitment to nonviolence.” 

Lewis passed away on July 18 at 80 years old after decades of fighting for civil and voting rights.  

The hearing included fiery speeches from Democrats but few tangible responses from Barr, who mostly defended the president and denied any wrong doing. 

When asked whether the recent police violence against protesters was a ruse to cover for the White House's mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, Barr openly admitted that the Cabinet did discuss President Trump's reelection during official government business meetings. 

"I’m a member of the Cabinet, and there’s an election going on. Obviously the topic comes up. I’m not going to discuss what I discussed with the president,” Barr said.

Bass, who is in the running to be the vice presidential candidate for Democratic nominee Joe Biden, hammered Barr for his responses about police brutality. She cited the opposing cases of Elijah McClain, a Black therapist killed after an altercation with police, and James Holmes, a mass shooter.

“Consider James Holmes, who murdered 12 people and injured 70 others in a movie theater. James wore body armor, had a knife, semi-automatic weapons and an AR-15. Yet he was calmly arrested by the same police department as Elijah McLean without a chokehold or injection of ketamine,” Bass said. 



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Video Of K-9 Dogs Attacking Man Wearing Colin Kaepernick Jersey Sparks Navy Investigation

The U.S. Navy has announced that it is investigating an event held by the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida, last year where a man was seen wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey while being attacked by dogs and arrested by soldiers as part of a demonstration.

A video of the January 2019 fundraiser was posted to Instagram last year and deleted, but it racked up nearly 6 million views when it was reposted on Twitter this weekend by filmmaker Billy Corben.




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Friday, July 31, 2020

Thousands Sign Petition To Deport Tory Lanez After Meghan Thee Stallion Shooting

Thousands of people have signed a Change.org petition calling for rapper Tory Lanez to be deported back to Canada for his alleged involvement in the shooting of Megan Thee Stallion

As of Friday afternoon, the petition has more than 18,000 signatures and asks for the Department Of Homeland Security to deport Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson. Although Lanez's involvement in the shooting has not been confirmed, the petition calls for his deportation for promoting "violence against women" and for "intentionally trying to harm Megan the Stallion."

It also demands that the rapper be banned from the United States forever. 

According to TMZ, Peterson is facing a felony gun charge for a concealed weapon that was found in his vehicle.

Peterson was with the "Savage" rapper, whose real name is Megan Pete, and another woman when police were called to a home in Hollywood Hills around 4:30 a.m. TMZ reported that witnesses heard gunshots in the SUV and then saw the car drive off.

Officers were eventually filmed on video stopping the car and having all three occupants slowly exit the vehicle. 

A source told Page Six that “Tory fired the shots from within the vehicle while Megan was outside trying to leave."

"This is a case of a man physically harming and abusing a woman,” the source said.

Pete later shared statements on social media saying she had been shot.

 On Monday, Pete discussed the situation at length on Instagram Live, breaking down in tears as she described the trauma of being shot and dealing with the rumors around the situation, as Blavity previously reported.

"I was shot in both of my feet and I had to get surgery to get the bullets taken out. It was super scary and the worst experience of my life. It's not funny. There is nothing to joke about. It was nothing for y'all to start going and making fake stories about. I didn't put my hands on nobody. I didn't deserve to get shot," she said.

In addition to addressing the situation, she spoke about the distasteful jokes that people were making about the situation. Rapper 50 Cent has since come out and apologized for making light of the shooting. 

Other stars have offered their support to Pete. Rihanna sent the rapper Savage X Fenty gear as well as flowers. Lizzo also sent her a sweet gift and positive vibes. 



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