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Uncle Phil was a fresh take on black fatherhood

Uncle Phil was a fresh take on black fatherhood

When James Avery died on New Year's Day, he had not only amassed an enviable career of television and stage appearances, including a performance as the legendary Howard University Law Professor Charles Hamilton Houston in a 1993 PBS dramatization of the Brown vs. the Board of Education case. His lasting legacy though is as one on the most endearing black father figures in American television history. Twenty-three years after Avery introduced audiences to Judge Phillip Banks, the character still resonates as a counter to the myths of the absentee and irresponsible black father.

Debuting in January of 1990, the "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" revolved around a working class cousin Will (Will Smith), who was being taken in by his wealthy kin. The series, which ran six seasons, was based on the real life experience of producer Benny Medina. Avery quickly established himself as the typical television patriarch, but as the character developed many folk began to think of "Uncle Phil," as Avery will forever be remembered, along the lines of classic father figures such as James Evans Sr. (John Amos), Heathcliffe Huxtable (Bill Cosby). And indeed, as the traditional black family has largely disappeared from network television, Uncle Phil's characters resonates even more.

Though Uncle Phil was often uptight and overly formal – echoing Avery's own desire to see more well-spoken, middle-class black men on television – Uncle Phil's backstory was that of a 1960s-era black activist, who entered the legal profession to continue the good fight.

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  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

Let’s hope hip-hop steps up in 2014

Let’s hope hip-hop steps up in 2014

Around the family dinner table over Christmas, the conversation turned to the recently announced Outkast performance at Coachella 2014 – the event that pretty much all hip-hop heads are looking forward to – and the overall state of hip-hop going into 2014, which has decidedly more mixed reviews.

Was 2013 a good year for the music we love, or does it need a new blueprint? Will 2014 bring an as-yet-undiscovered breakthrough artist or album, or will hip-hop continue to be a marginalized art form consumed by many and controlled by a few?

Expect the same group of regulars to put out more of the same material: Rick Ross will still rap about cars, clothes and hos. Weezy will figure out new metaphors for oral sex. Future will kill us with Auto-Tuned hood raps and Drake will keep "srapping" (singing-rapping). He did say on "All Me" that he's "the light-skinned Keith Sweat" and he "gon' make it last forever." I believe him.

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  • Written by Joycelyn A. Wilson/The Root

‘Top 10 Black Christian Bestsellers List’

‘Top 10 Black Christian Bestsellers List’

Bestselling authors, Michelle McKinney Hammond ("Joseph: Waiting on God's Timing, Living in God's Plan" – Nonfiction) and Victoria Christopher Murray ("Never Say Never" – Fiction) lead the bestsellers list of Black Christian authors on the December 2013 edition of the Black Christian News/Black Christian Book Company National Bestsellers List.

 

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  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

Forget ‘Duck Dynasty’

Forget ‘Duck Dynasty’

When the PR director of a digital-media company tweeted a racist remark about AIDS in Africa before boarding a flight from the United States to South Africa, thousands of Twitter followers tracked her flight.

Thousands pressured cable channel A&E to suspend reality star Phil Robertson from his popular show, "Duck Dynasty," after the publication of an interview in GQ magazine in which he made homophobic remarks and insisted that black people were happy under Jim Crow.

The previous week, Fox News host Megyn Kelly drew outrage when she insisted that both Santa and Jesus are white, and comedian Steve Martin pulled an off-color joke from his Twitter account and offered an apology.

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  • Written by by Sherrilyn A. Ifill/The Root

Robin Roberts thanks longtime girlfriend on Facebook

Robin Roberts thanks longtime girlfriend on Facebook


Robin Roberts spent the last Sunday of the year reflecting on how far she has come and revealing to the rest of us something her friends and family have known for sometime: that Roberts is gay.

"I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together. I am grateful for the many prayers and well wishes for my recovery.we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together," the co-host of "Good Morning America," who has publicly faced several health scares, wrote on her Facebook page.

Roberts posted a photo of her and her dog KJ sharing a loving moment when she reached a milestone in her recovery after receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), CNN reports.

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  • Written by Stephen A. Crockett Jr./The Root

Which gifting consumer were you this year?

Which gifting consumer were you this year?


We know that African-Americans are powerful consumers; and, that consumers across-the-board fall into very specific categories. Even though we may not have consciously thought about it while making our lists and checking them twice in the stores or online, chances are we automatically classified our gift recipients into consumer groups, as was encouraged by consumer insights from research for Nielsen.

Now, this might seem a little "after the fact," but, these insights are not only fun, but studying our trends as consumers helps businesses craft the messages and outreach strategies to engage us and better meet our needs (and their bottom line) down the road. This year's gift guide survey, focused on five consumer categories: working moms, sports fans, arts enthusiasts, connected consumers and status seekers.

According to the survey, the working moms in your life typically buy and appreciate anything that helps to keep their lives organized and moving forward. For instance, working moms are more likely to thrive on all varieties of coffee, and enjoy specialty coffee packages. Working moms are 23 percent more likely than other consumer groups to visit the local pizza place, so it makes sense that a pizza stone and ingredients would have been a good gift. Other great presents would have been a tablet PC or any kind of home décor or decorative storage pieces.

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  • Written by Cheryl Pearson-McNeil/NNPA Columnist

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