09 Apr 2013
- Written by Dion Rabioun/Real Times News Service
William Leonard Roberts II is a clown.
He's a clown who has made a very good living pretending to be a notorious international drug dealer surrounded by guns, henchmen, champagne and women. He is the prime example of just how unreal hip hop has become.
The stories Roberts tells under his rap moniker Rick Ross are likely true stories about Rick Ross. They are not, however, stories about William Leonard Roberts. Roberts is a fake, a phony, an imposter. He began his career rapping in the first person about hustling, murder and a multi-million dollar, crime-fueled lifestyle that he saw on television.
09 Apr 2013
- Written by CNN
If you have never had the pleasure of working in a restaurant, you may not be familiar with the term, "in the weeds." First off, allow me to congratulate you on never having worked in a restaurant.
"In the weeds" is what we restaurant folk (we're similar to "circus folk" except we smell like fajitas and honey mustard instead of cotton candy and clown tears) say when we are very behind in getting everything done that needs to be done.
One is thrown "in the weeds" for a variety of reasons: the dish guy hasn't run the silverware through the machine when tables need to be reset, the hostess is extremely adept at seating multiple parties at once, or maybe the restaurant is short-staffed because two servers called out sick to go to an audition.
09 Apr 2013
- Written by Lee A. Daniels/NNPA
You can call it the "bandwagon effect," or "political opportunism," or, the "wake-up-call effect," or, less cynically, an old American tradition. Whatever you call it, in the last month it seems everybody and their momma in the political arena has been expressing support for gay rights and same-sex marriage.
The support has come from opposite ends of the political spectrum: from Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, who also revealed that his son is gay, to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said she was free to speak her mind now that she has left office. Even the Republican National Committee seemed in its white paper exploring the causes and implications of the Party's decisive defeat last November to call for a softening of the GOP's hard line on gay rights and same-sex marriage lest it find itself in "an ideological cul-de-sac."
Martin Luther King, Jr., whose commitment to justice for all got him killed 45 years ago this month, would be pleased. We do know which side this man, who was becoming ever more "militant" in his willingness to challenge the country's fierce dynamic of exclusion, would be on today.
08 Apr 2013
- Written by CNN
by Anne York
Special to CNN
(CNN) – Equal Pay Day was established in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay
Equity as a way to bring attention to the gender wage gap. Since women earn about
three-quarters of what men earn on average, it is set to be commemorated Tuesday to
symbolize that women have to work one year and a bit more than three months to earn
the equivalent salary that a man earns in one year.
There are a variety of causes of the gender pay gap, including differences in occupational
distribution, with women tending to congregate in lower-paying occupations; differences
in the accumulation of human capital; and intentional and unintentional discrimination
But even if we are able to magically fix the employment prospects between men and
women such that none of these economic issues is a factor, we would still have one
cultural issue that greatly affects the gender pay gap.
Women spend a greater number of hours doing household and caregiving duties, which
decreases the number of hours they can work for pay. Even for full-time workers, men
worked on average 8.3 hours per day while women worked 7.8 hours per day in 2011.
The differences in the daily activities that men and women perform are captured by the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey. The survey has 12 major
categories of how we use our time, and women dominate eight of the 12 categories.
In 2011, the latest year available, we see the expected gender division in time use with
women spending an average of two more hours per day than men doing the activities of
personal care; household chores; purchasing goods and services; caring for and helping
household and nonhousehold members; organizational, civic or religious activities;
telephone calls, mail and email; and other activities not classified elsewhere in the
How did men allocate their time? They spent an average of an additional 40 minutes per
day on sports and leisure compared with women, four additional minutes on eating and
drinking, two additional minutes on educational activities, and 1 hour and 16 minutes
additional time working and performing work-related activities.
The two of the areas with the largest deficits for men were 47 fewer minutes per day
on household activities and 22 fewer minutes on caring for and helping household and
There is also a large difference in the share of men and women who are engaged in these
activities per day: 82.5 percent of women versus 65 percent of men were engaged in
household activities and 41.6 percent of women versus 30.4 percent of men were engaged
in caring for and helping household and nonhousehold members.
When women are not working for pay, these statistics show that they are spending
relatively more time on the so-called “second shift” of household and caregiving
activities while men are enjoying relatively more leisure time. Other than breastfeeding
and lifting heavy objects, there are no household and caregiving activities that have to be
defined by one’s gender.
It is only our cultural norm that is defining who does which task.
We all only have 24 hours per day to divide amongst our various activities. To achieve
greater equity, men will need to reallocate their time toward housework and caregiving
activities so that women can gain more time for working for pay and leisure. However,
by doing some household activities together for greater efficiency, they both can gain
more time for other pursuits.
Our choices for how we use our time need to be evaluated to ensure we are being
equitable. Are brothers spending as much time caring for elderly parents as their sisters
do? Are husbands washing and folding the clothes while their wives stay at work late
to finish a project? Are fathers giving the children their baths while wives watch their
favorite TV show? Do sons and daughters take turns doing certain chores so they both
learn to be proficient in all household activities?
Fortunately, the time use trend has been moving in the direction of more equality. In
2003, the first year of the America Time Use Survey, women spent an extra 1.42 hours
performing activities in the household and caregiving categories versus 1.17 hours in
Just as Equal Pay Day brings attention to the disparity in pay for men and women, it
could be useful to also establish an Equal Housework Day to benchmark the progress
men are making performing household and caregiving tasks.
Those 1.17 more hours per day that women spend on household and caregiving activities
translates to 18 days per year. So we could set January 18 as Equal Housework Day to
show that it takes men over 12.5 months to do what women do in 12 months.
As we achieve a cultural transformation regarding household and caregiving activities,
then Equal Housework Day will eventually occur on December 31. And we would no
longer need to commemorate Equal Pay Day as late as April.
Anne York is an associate professor of economics at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.
08 Apr 2013
- Written by Rozanne Jones
by Roxanne Jones
Special to CNN
“Thank you, Mr. President, you’re not such a bad-looking guy yourself.”
That would have been my response if I were California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who finds herself in the middle of a media dustup after President Obama introduced her as: “by far the best-looking attorney general in the country,” at a fundraiser last week.
Harris is a beautiful woman. She’s also super intelligent and accomplished, which the president also noted. In fact, he lauded her professional merits first. So, I say take the compliment and move on. Or, if you’re slightly embarrassed by the comment, give it back and move on.
05 Apr 2013
- Written by by Karanja A. Ajanaku
Martin Luther King III, AFSCME International President Lee Saunders and thousands of others marched in commemoration of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 45 years ago in Memphis. (Photo: Warren Roseborough)
A contingent of firefighters had a strong presence in the march that ended at the sight where Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. (Photo: Warren Roseborough)
Various causes were represented by the marchers who were undaunted by the rain that fell as they observed the 45th commemoration of Dr. King’s Death. (Photo: Warren Roseborough)
by Karanja A. Ajanaku
Across America, people are coming together to form “a new coalition of consciousness,” said Martin Luther King III, speaking at the kickoff of a Memphis march commemorating the death of his father, the iconic Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King died in Memphis on April 4, 1968 and the 45th commemoration of that fateful anniversary has given the annual observation significantly more pop.
Marchers – heavy with union members – assembled early on Beale St., outside the Memphis headquarters of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, Local 1733. The union has long represented Memphis sanitation workers, including those that Dr. King was in town to support when he was fatally shot on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel.
“When women and men of good will stand up, justice occurs,” said King, who made references to challenges being faced today by Memphis sanitation department workers and other labor groups.
Soon after, King, AFSCME officials (local and national), rank-and-file union members, and hundreds of others observed the renaming of the street in front of the local union’s headquarters. With the history of the 1968 Sanitation Strike brought present, the street became 1968 Strikers Lane.
Then it was time to march. A drizzle triggered the popping of few umbrellas, as the marchers made their way west on historic Beale Street before turning south on their way to the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM), which now encompasses the old Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was killed.
“We shall not, we shall not be moved,” was the shared refrain as the march lurched onward, many carrying signs that bore what became the unofficial battle cry of the 1968 Strike – “I am a man.”
The march ended in the courtyard of the NCRM, giving way to an AFSCME Labor Union Rally. The roster of speakers included the union’s international president, Lee Saunders, the first African American to lead the union.
King shared his vision of what he is convinced must come next.
“We must create a new non-violent – that’s the key phrase, non-violent – movement to bring about the changes that are being sought in this city and across America,” said King.
During a noon-hour panel discussion entitled, “Labor Unions: Then and Now,” union officials were joined by Alvin Turner, one of the surviving 1968 sanitation workers. And that evening, about half an hour before the observation of the 6:01 time when Dr. King was killed, the Museum kicked off its commemorative program.
New Memphis Branch NAACP President, the Rev. Keith Norman, set the tone. Members of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., Dr. King’s fraternity, followed up with the group’s pledge, song, and then the somber placement of a memorial wreath.
To read more visit kajanaku@tri-state defender.com
(Karanja A. Ajanaku is executive editor of The New Tri-State Defender in Memphis.)
05 Apr 2013
- Written by Raynard Jackson
by Raynard Jackson
Several of my readers of have questioned why I am writing positive articles about my Republican Party. The simple answer is that they deserve it. In the past, I have been very critical of my party because they have ignored the black community, disrespected our current president with incendiary language, and strayed away from our core principles and values.
Since last November’s elections, my party has seemed to have reflected on what happened during last year’s elections and have been open to positive criticism on how to best learn from the past. So, it’s not so much that my writing has changed as the facts have changed.
Current party chair Reince Priebus has begun to change the makeup of the party by beginning to hire minorities throughout the Republican National Committee (RNC). My writings have reflected my support for some of these changes and a continued willingness to work with the party to help it get back on track.
People need to remember that Priebus and the RNC are not policymaking entities. Rather, they are responsible for the execution of the principles advocated by the members of the RNC board and GOP members of Congress. The Congressional side of this equation leaves a lot to be desired, but one person on the Congressional side who really understands this issue is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
02 Apr 2013
- Written by Dr. Timothy Moore
Have you ever wondered what would be the best cooking oil to use considering that there are several brands to choose from on the store shelves? Whatever the brand, most of the cooking oils are loaded with fats. The problem is there is a misunderstanding about what is considered good fat verses bad fat.
The proof is in the mirror. When you eat unhealthy fats, you can expect a change in your appearance. The pounds will begin to add up and your body – if you over indulge to the point of becoming a glutton – will increase in size and your waistline will expand.
Certain fats can cause health problems. There are monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, trans fats, and saturated fats. To the layperson, it's hard to distinguish between good fats and bad fats. Even butter, which some believe has no fat in it at all, is in fact 100 percent fat.
28 Mar 2013
- Written by Cynthia Tucker/Special to CNN
Like giddy teenagers, Republican activists have fallen for another charming, personable and accomplished black conservative. Dr. Ben Carson is the newest object of their crush, which was born of a desperate need to attract more black men and women as high-profile standard-bearers.
You can't blame Republican loyalists for swooning over the doc, a renowned surgeon who rose from poverty to head pediatric neurosurgery at Baltimore's famed Johns Hopkins Hospital. If wooing voters of color were simply a matter of finding an attractive black face with an inspiring personal story and an impressive resume, Carson would be hard to beat.
But black voters tend to be more discerning than that. They have shown an unerring instinct for rejecting condescension and dismissing tokenism. There are many black Americans who admire Carson for his professional accomplishments (I'm one of them), but that admiration is unlikely to translate into votes.
28 Mar 2013
- Written by Wiley Henry
The Memphis Branch of the NAACP's Freedom Fund Gala drew a crowd of supporters to the Grand Ball Room of the Memphis Cook Convention Center (March 20) for an annual event that brings out the best in Memphis.
Each year a keynote speaker tops off the evening with a poignant message that undergirds the message and mission of the NAACP. For the 37th gala, however, the keynote speaker graced the stage with poise, enthusiasm and zeal, and urged the audience to consider mentoring African-American children.
"We're only asking for an hour a week of your time. We're not asking you to become parents. We just need a little of your time," said Susan L. Taylor, a celebrated magazine columnist who rose through the ranks as a fashion and beauty editor, editorial director, and finally the editor in chief emeritus of Essence magazine.
28 Mar 2013
- Written by George Curry
In five months, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. In 1963, the March was jointly called by the Civil Rights Movement's "Big Six" – A. Philip Randolph, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, Whitney Young, James Farmer and John Lewis.
At this point, it is unclear whether today's leaders will come together and rally around the theme of jobs and justice as leaders did on August 28, 1963.
Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III are planning a march in Washington. Bernice King has announced a commemoration of the "I Have a Dream" speech at the King Center in Atlanta to observe the 50th anniversary. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Dr. King's old organization, will be holding its annual convention in the nation's capital the week of the anniversary and is considering holding an activity.
28 Mar 2013
- Written by Dr. Timothy Moore
The winter months were relatively mild – not too frigid for Southerners like myself. Surprisingly, the birds are chirping, the pollen count is sure to rise, and the icky bugs are surfacing again.
Winter, it seems, is relative. The common denominator for us all is that being cooped up inside during a long winter without the sun's warm glow bathing our skin can lead to emotional discomfort and depression.
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health described this problem in 1984 as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It is a syndrome that causes people in cooler climates – where the nights are long and the days are short – to lapse into a state of depression until the return of spring and summer.
25 Mar 2013
- Written by Bob Greene/CNN Contributor
Whether you're a three-pack-a-day smoker who doesn't like being lectured to about the health risks, or you're a person who doesn't touch cigarettes and wouldn't smoke one if you were offered a Ferrari in exchange, picture this:
Imagine, for a moment, that cigarettes had never been invented. And that in 2013 an eager entrepreneur went to the Food and Drug Administration seeking approval for a new product – cigarettes – that he wanted to sell to the American people.
Imagine that the Food and Drug Administration, taking its time and doing its homework, came up with all the currently available medical evidence about the dangers of smoking.