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THE RATCHET FILES!

THE RATCHET FILES!

Cops: Man freed after 15 years robs same store

(Newser) – Christopher Miller robbed the Stride Rite shoe store in Toms River, NJ, in 1999, got caught, and served 15 years in state prison. Police say he became a free man on Friday and celebrated by catching a bus to Toms River and, yes, robbing the same Stride Rite shoe store, reports the Star-Ledger. Though he had 15 years to stew over what went wrong the first time, authorities say this robbery didn't go so well, either. Two employees were so slow in handing over cash that the "agitated" robber grabbed the register drawer himself and fled on foot, reports the Ocean County Signal. (The employees refused to hand over their keys, scotching any hopes for a getaway vehicle.)

They called the cops—the apparent plan was to tie them up in a storage room, as happened in the 1999 robbery, but the employees refused to go—and within minutes, a police K-9 unit tracked down Williams and recovered the stolen $389, reports the Daily Record. Miller is charged with robbery and is being held on $100,000 bond. The 40-year-old is from Tulsa, Okla., and police aren't sure what his connection is to Toms River, besides maybe nostalgia.

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  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

‘Stokely: A Life’

‘Stokely: A Life’

"It was Thursday, June 16, 1966... Less than a year before, President Lyndon Johnson had signed the Voting Rights Act... Stokely Carmichael was now in Mississippi to ensure that the federal laws... would apply to black sharecroppers living in plantation communities...

"(Just) released from his latest stay in jail... Stokely's voice broke through the humid Mississippi night... 'This is the 27th time that I've been arrested,' he shouted, 'and I ain't going to jail no more... We want black power!'

"Carmichael made a case for political revolution. 'We have begged the president. We've begged the federal government... Every courthouse in Mississippi ought to be burned down tomorrow!'

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The duo at LiveTone Studios

The duo at LiveTone Studios

It was close to midnight when I finally made it to LiveTone studios located in what Urban Memphis calls "Blackhaven." The term of endearment echoes the rich pride of the people who live in this part of town and would love nothing less than you knowing that they do.

I came in with a puzzled look on my face after passing by a couple of Memphis famous strip clubs in full swing. Kevin "Sleepy" Plunkett and Tazz Fields were inside taking a break from stirring up music magic and were awaiting my arrival. I kicked back on a couch, ink pen and paper in hand ready to do an interview. I quickly intertwined in a discussion about the state of the music world.

"I like a lot of things about music right now," said Sleepy. "I like the different techniques used now. You can really tell that the people making the beats are giving them a lot of thought. I really do like a lot of the songs that come out. I don't like them all, but I do like some.

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  • Written by Kelvin Cowans/Special to the New Tri-State Defender

Did ‘Scandal’ success propel Alfre Woodard into presidential role on ‘State of Affairs?’

Did ‘Scandal’ success propel Alfre Woodard into presidential role on ‘State of Affairs?’

Numerous black actors have played the president of the United States over the years on film and television, including Morgan Freeman, Dennis Haysbert, Richard Pryor and Jamie Foxx. But with a new pilot called "State of Affairs," NBC is offering up the first black woman POTUS.

Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actress Alfre Woodward will play President Roberta Payton in the drama that is being billed as a cross between "Scandal" and "The West Wing." Woodard is joined by Katherine Heigl, whose character is a CIA operative who does daily debriefings with the president. Heigl's character is also the ex-girlfriend of President Payton's late son.

No further details about the pilot are available, but just the fact that a major network's drama will star a black woman as the leader of the free world is a significant milestone in how black women are depicted in pop culture.

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  • Written by Demetria Irwin/theGrio

Study: Violent video games with black characters fuel racism

Study: Violent video games with black characters fuel racism

You start your favorite video game, go to character select, pick a black avatar—be it a fighter or gangster—and start playing. As a white person, what effect, if any, does this have on you?

According to a new study, the effect is significant: White players who adopt black characters are more likely to exhibit aggression and express strongly negative attitudes toward blacks, even after ending the game.

"The media have the power to perpetuate the stereotype that blacks are violent, and this is certainly seen in video games," said Brad Bushman, an Ohio State University communications professor and psychologist who co-authored the study. "This violent stereotype may be more prevalent in video games than in any other form of media because being a black character in a video game is almost synonymous with being a violent character."

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  • Written by Breanna Edwards/The Root

Black theater success is reshaping one of America’s whitest fields

Black theater success is reshaping one of America’s whitest fields

The theater world has long been considered one of the most elite—and least diverse—in American culture. And as I've previously covered for The Root, at present there are only a handful of African-American Broadway producers, despite the fact that 46 new shows opened last season.

Over the years, though, there have been occasional African-American playwriting successes. Lorraine Hansberry was the first black female writer to have a show—the classic "A Raisin in the Sun," produced on Broadway—and it recently returned to Broadway, 55 years after its debut, with Denzel Washington now as the star.

August Wilson became the first black playwright to win a Tony Award for best play in 1987. But when Playbill, the publication best known for publishing Broadway programs, attempted to compile a list of influential black playwrights in the late '90s, the number of those with actual Broadway productions or mainstream crossover success of any kind was uncomfortably small.

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  • Written by Keli Goff/The Root

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