Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Oscar Grant, Jonathan Ferrell.
The news seems saturated with stories of young black men and boys whose lives were cut short — often because they were perceived as a threat.
Moved to action by the trend, one director has set out to investigate the images and myths around black males that feed those negative perceptions.
With "Afraid of Dark," documentary filmmaker Mya B. says she hopes to make real the lives of everyday black men onscreen in hopes it could, "make them harder to kill."
Tiffany Austin was just hoping to get back into shape after a car accident and, like so many others, went to her local Richmond, Calif., Planet Fitness in hopes of working it out ... only to be told by an employee that she was "intimidating" others, according to KTVU.
That's right. Austin was allegedly told by one of the branch's staff members that her toned body was intimidating other gymgoers and was asked to put on a baggier gym-issued shirt over her more flattering workout gear.
"We've had some complaints you're intimidating people with your toned body. So can you put on a shirt?" the staffer said, according to the news station. Shrugging it off – although she didn't see the issue with her crop top – Austin amicably agreed to put on a shirt.
In November 2005 the Cartoon Network debuted "The Boondocks" during its late-night Adult Swim programming and gave us a glimpse into the fictitious Freeman family, who had just moved from the South Side of Chicago to the mostly white, made-up suburb of Woodcrest. In the premiere, viewers heard 10-year-old Huey Freeman proclaim that "Jesus was black, Ronald Reagan was the devil and the government is lying about 9/11."
They got to see the penis of Robert Jebediah Freeman – aka Granddad – during an in-home, butt-naked infomercial workout, and they were treated to a stirring rendition of Uncle Ruckus' "Don't Trust Those New Niggers Over There!"
The show was edgy and racy and all the adjectives that can describe supremely well-done black satire. And then, after only three seasons and 45 episodes, it was gone. Fans took to the Internet wondering if the controversial cartoon had been canceled. There was speculation about the creator Aaron McGruder's schedule and how long it took to craft each episode. There was speculation about the liberal use of the word "nigger," and Tyler Perry's alleged anger over his depiction in the "Pause" episode in season 3, as reasons for its sudden disappearance.
Sometimes, a sister has to kiss a lot of frogs before finding her soul mate. In Dr. Nazaree Hines-Starr's case, she had to date a lot of "scumbags," as she puts it.
As a black woman, she had trouble meeting single guys who were at her level "emotionally, academically or professionally. Unfortunately, most of the available African-American men she met "had managed to waste years that should have been spent in college or developing a career, chasing skirts, getting arrested, or playing video games."
Moreover, many had "accumulated baggage" such as "rap sheets" and "baby-mama drama." And even the rare brother who had his act together was never serious about settling down and starting a family.
Reflections on the historic U.S. civil rights era often conjure up images of the grandeur-scale marches during the 60's era, restaurant sit-ins and civic uprising that played its role in advancing black America and cultivating support. Today, experts say the temperament of black activism is comparable, but takes place in digital spaces where young African-Americans share stories and invoke conversation about their struggles with friends and strangers.
Social media has become the tool of choice for African Americans who are rallying support and a newfound understanding to their causes by spreading messages through their networks and watching them go viral. Twitter, YouTube, and most recently Tumblr, have become a popular springboard for young "activists," even though some reject the label.
Several black students at Harvard University became the most recent topic in the national spotlight with their "I, Too, Am Harvard" campaign. On Tumblr, the students can be seen in photos individually holding boards with various quotes and statements to draw awareness.
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