Mothers/Sisters/Aunts of loved ones killed in police violence say #PhilandoCastille mother Valerie “speaks for them” … “She’s our new spokesperson! And resonates with the spirit of mothers who have been suppressed all over the world!”
The Black male image has been under assault for multiple generations. Whether in the news media, movies and even music, Black men are consistently portrayed as inherently lazy, violent, overly aggressive and unintelligent. While these stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth, this kind of imagery has ultimately worked to devalue both Black men and boys.
When it comes to fatherhood, these same lazy and uninformed tropes are used to paint the picture that Black men don’t want to take responsibility for their children and have no desire to be involved in the lives of their sons and daughters. While this may be true in some cases, this is once again an overwhelmingly false notion used to paint Black men in a negative light.
It’s no secret that in today’s society, Black men have to jump through hoops, hurdles and are constantly trying to prove themselves and their value to the world. However, when it comes to those men who are fathers, these obstacles are even higher and more difficult to overcome. Still, as we continue to witness the rise in Black consciousness, particularly among men, it has become more important than ever to set a new example for young boys to not only follow, but to aspire to as well. But like the overcoming of negative stereotypes ascribed to Black men, changing the narrative and getting the future generations to follow suit, is not without its challenges.
“What we have is rising opposites. There really is no middle ground. You have Black men out there who are fathers and they get the importance of that role. But then you have those who look at Black women as an escape from their own responsibility,” Dr. Rick Wallace, noted author and founder of 100 Men of Purpose, told The Final Call.
His organization is designed to help Black men achieve their rightful positions as heads of their own households and master of their God-given destiny, told The Final Call.
“I’m a firm believer that as a leader, you own the responsibility for the behavior and the performance of everyone you’re leading. So, if the people you’re leading aren’t performing, then as a leader, that’s on you,” Dr. Wallace added.
“I think that as Black men, we’re disconnected with the struggle—the pure struggle,” said Kenneth Braswell, founder and executive director of Fathers Incorporated, an organization that helps Black men understand the importance of responsible fatherhood and its positive impact on the Black community.
“We as a people, have really forgotten who we are, where our power resonates from, and that we are one, as a family. Today, Black men are so individually driven by, ‘I gotta get mine,’ and nothing more, that we don’t even think about ourselves as a collective anymore. That’s a bad thing for our culture, that’s a bad thing for our people, and that’s a bad thing for the Black family.”
One of the difficulties as it relates to both Black manhood and fatherhood, is the constant attack that men are under. Whether it be as a result of drugs, violence or mass incarceration, these things have not only been normalized within the Black community, but embraced and accepted as the Black way of life and the behaviors that “real men” should somehow take part in.
The impact that this has had on both the community and the children in it, can only be described in one word: poisonous. Black communities are shells of what they once were, and by extension, so are the people in them because there are not more positive images of Black men in the role of fathers.
“In the mid-80s and early 90s, Bill Cosby was a display of good, quality Black fatherhood,” said Dr. Wesley Muhammad, a student minister in the Nation of Islam and author of “Understanding the Assault on the Black Man, Black Manhood and Black Masculinity.”
“He wasn’t a disempowering figure, nor was he a tyrant in the home. Bill Cosby, in his day, presented a very wholesome picture of Black fatherhood. But today, Bill Cosby is presented as a villain in society and if you ask young Black people today to name a Black father on television or in the media, they will probably name Lucious Lyons on the show Empire. But that character is hated by his children, the women in his life, and he’s not a good paternal role model at all. So, Black fatherhood has become villainized through today’s media portrayals,” said Dr. Wesley Muhammad.
Wow! Black women never cease to amaze… Congratulations to Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, on recently receiving her high school diploma twenty-one years after leaving high school as a teen mom to care for her late son. Her daughter Daysa also received her high school diploma and will be attending Tennessee State University. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 #BlackWomenRock
ST. LOUIS (FinalCall.com)—St. Louis is a city known for its famous 630-foot-tall steel monument, the Gateway Arch and as the home of Dred Scott, Maya Angelou, Miles Davis and a host of other Black greats. With a Black population of 72 percent, it is a city with a history of over 253 years of polarization, racism and White domination over the political, educational and economic status of its Black residents. Recently, a fresh-faced, energetic young man entered the political arena in hopes of influencing change in St. Louis.
John Collins-Muhammad, 25, joined the political scene and the race to occupy the vacant Aldermanic seat of former Ald. Antonio French and was a familiar face during the Ferguson unrest following the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr. Tory Russell, another Ferguson activist and front liner is Mr. Muhammad’s chief of staff and was his campaign manager.
Mr. French ran for St. Louis mayor against four other Black candidates which split the vote and Lyda Krewson who is White, won. She is the first female mayor of the city. Mr. Muhammad was elected with a strong solid campaign with limited financial resources. He won with 44 percent of the votes on the city’s North side April 5, 2017.
After his victory, Mr. Muhammad hosted an event in the park for his supporters to meet him. Hundreds of people came out to express their appreciation and prayers for the young leader.
“It was a beautiful event. Mr. John laid out his plan for moving the community in a new direction. He talked about everything; crime, jobs, education, housing. He has a vision and that’s what we need,” said Earlene Walker
“I’m proud of Alderman Muhammad because he represents the next level. A young Black man in our city who’s committed to making a difference. We must rally around him and help him in his mission which should be all of our mission; and that’s a better, more unified St. Louis,” said Pastor Darryl G. Gray. <<Read Full Story>>
(FinalCall.com) LaVar Ball, with his brashness and seemingly unfiltered remarks, has gotten people’s attention inside and outside the sports world.
With his son Lonzo spending one year at UCLA and now preparing for the upcoming NBA Draft, the elder Ball has gotten attention usually reserved for a player like his talented son.
It’s hard to recall a parent who’s taken over the spotlight from their soon-to-be professional athlete progeny in this manner, but that’s part of what makes LaVar Ball such an interesting anomaly.
Another reality is the elder Ball is defying the sports industrial complex by focusing on the business aspects of his son’s life—that included the decision for Lonzo to play at UCLA and the declaration that his son needed to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The basketball gods may have blessed the outspoken father whose son appears likely to be the second player chosen in the June 22 National Basketball Association draft and headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. The once-storied franchise has been an also-ran in recent years, missing the success and championships brought by former Hall of Fame players like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Jerry West.
A rebirth of pro basketball in the city of bright lights would boost NBA ratings in a major market and if Lonzo resurrects the franchise there is a ton of money to be made through TV deals, endorsements, products and other avenues.
LaVar Ball knows all of that and keeping his son close to home, as the family domicile is in Chino Hills, Calif., may also help Lonzo handle major fortune and fame.
The dad, who has two other highly talented sons, called for a billion dollar sneaker deal to lock up his trio of Big Ballers. He defied the “norm” of aligning athletes with a major sneaker and apparel brand. The family has its “Big Baller Brand” line which includes t-shirts, caps, hoodies and a signature shoe for Lonzo.
In meetings with companies such as Nike, Under Armour and Adidas, LaVar Ball expressed a desire to enter into a $1 billion co-branding deal instead of the typical athlete endorsement deal, even taking his son’s ZO2 signature shoe that he’d created and had manufactured himself, with him to these sit downs—an unprecedented move.
All three companies refused to work with him.
George Raveling, a Black man who is Nike’s Global Basketball Sports Marketing director, called LaVar Ball “the worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.” He was blasted by some on social media. @Y2Dre tweeted: “When you’re Black, and talk about OWNERSHIP instead of sponsorship white people start getting nervous… .” Others pointed out that NBA problems with point shaving and refs betting on games as worse than the father of basketball prodigies.
LaVar Ball started his own sports agency, Ball Sports Group, which he heads and will only represent his three sons. He also has Big Baller Media, which the family uses as a vehicle to tell their brand story.
What the Ball family has done, particularly with the recent announcement of the $495 ZO2 shoe, is create a disturbance at the point where sports and business intersect.
While former NBA superstar Stephon Marbury started his own independent sneaker and apparel company, what LaVar Ball is doing and the way he’s going about it, is something that has never been done before. It could potentially be a game changer if Big Baller Brand is able to reach the dollar valuation that Mr. Ball envisions and desires.
“They’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model,” LaVar Ball said. “But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either … . Just imagine how rich Tiger [Woods], Kobe [Bryant], Serena [Williams], [Michael] Jordan and LeBron [James] would have been if they dared to do their own thing. No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do and I have three sons, so it’s that much more valuable.”
“Professional sports is the last true bastion of White supremacy,” Craig Hodges, a member of the Chicago Bulls first two NBA Championship teams, told The Final Call. “This means being able to own a venue and being able to own a player. I think one of the great things the Balls have done is in somewhat breaking the yoke of White supremacy. Lonzo Ball is showing a young player a way they can go and do their own thing—go direct to China and get your stuff made. And if another player has the potential to do that, then it’s great.
“But this also gives them the potential to stand up and be independent and understand why they have that position, and not because it’s just a phase or a fad that they’re going through. So, if [LaVar Ball] truly does understand what consciousness is and how to work on economic development and the like, then I applaud him.”
“I get it. He’s going to launch his kids brand, but shoes are challenging,” said Daymond John, founder of the urban apparel brand FUBU. “There’s a bunch of different sizes and they’re built like cars. So, if you’re buying a shoe for $500 and you’re having a minimum of 1,000 pairs coming from overseas, these things better be well made. Now, if he doesn’t sell any of them, he doesn’t have to tell anybody. But if he sells out of all of them, that’s a proof of concept to Nike, Adidas and all those people. … It can go either way, but I’m not mad at the initiative that he’s taking.
“He definitely has to do this for six months to a year, take in pre-orders, build the best shoe he can. Put out 100, 200 or 300 [pairs], then after that, he can go to the Nike’s and whoever of the world and say, ‘this is how old my customer is, this is how many units I’ve sold, this how much they’re willing to pay, this how much they’re not willing to pay, these are the colors that work,’ do all the research for them. It’s a good gamble, but he has to be careful to not overextend himself.”
Whether you agree with him or not, dislike him or love him, Papa Ball certainly has gotten people talking and captured people’s attention.
Most in the world of basketball know Lonzo Ball as a highly-rated high school basketball recruit and McDonald’s All-American. There are certainly those who were familiar with his younger brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo, who both have full scholarship offers to play college basketball at UCLA. However, their father made “Ball” a household name.
There are those who love to see a proud Black man not only try and start a legacy for his sons and their family, but also the way he fully supports his children.
There are also those waiting for that “got’cha” moment where LaVar Ball says something he can’t come back from.
“I think that he is a marketing genius,” said Paul Pierce, who just retired from the NBA after 19 seasons. “I mean, he has created such a buzz for his son. I don’t even know what type of person Lonzo is. So, his dad is creating his brand with his personality and he is creating so much energy around it.”
“My colleagues and I believe that what he’s doing is fantastic. It’s rare,” Tiffany Boyd-Muhammad, a Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment attorney told The Final Call. “Most folks can’t do this because LaVar Ball, he has actual leverage. He has three sons and they really could be worth $1 billion, with or without the help of a corporation. And this has buckled people to their knees, otherwise, they would just laugh at him. That’s why I think the strategy of pricing the shoes at $495 is real because he has leverage.”
Farrakhan: I know what to say to modern pharaoh
CHICAGO (FinalCall.com)—Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered passionate and insightful answers during an interview with popular afternoon radio host Cliff Kelley on the city’s Black talk radio station. Min. Farrakhan covered an array of topics in the dialogue with the show host and in questions phoned in from listeners.
He covered America’s crisis and challenges the administration of President Donald Trump faces, what any possible meetings with the president might look like, the future for Black people in the United States and the final war America will face prior to her prophesized doom.
“First, I don’t know anything about an invitation to speak with Mr. Trump. I do know that in the Holy Qur’an, as well as in the Bible, God gives a directive both to Moses and Aaron. And he says to the both of them, ‘Go you both to Pharaoh. I have given you both an authority,’ ” said the Minister in response to a question from a caller. Talk of such a meeting surfaced a week earlier when Omarosa Manigault, a White House aide and Black woman, told WVON-AM morning show hosts she would be open to meeting with Min. Farrakhan. She was responding to a question from a show host.
“I think that any in your audience would know that I have never shied away from having an open and, I believe, a good relationship with Louis Farrakhan and so I would look forward to receiving that invitation and sitting down with him,” Omarosa said May 4. In the conversation, Omarosa shared her priority issues—education, economics, crime reduction and increased job opportunities—for the administration. But, she stressed, Black leaders must come to the table and dialogue with the president and advocate for what they want. Traditional civil rights leaders, she said, have been unwilling to sit-down and talk but offer criticism from afar. Outside of representatives of the Congressional Black Caucus, few Black leaders have called or requested a meeting with me or the president, said the Howard University graduate. It’s not a good strategy to be absent from the table for four years, she said.
“My history reflects that I have marched, walked, advocated and fought, even before I got into this office, for the rights of those who don’t have a voice and for those who can’t fight for themselves. I have a spiritual obligation to fight for those who Christ described as the least of these,” said the Trump White House representative, who is also an ordained minister.
As usual the Anti-Defamation League attacked and blasted the Trump aide for any words of respect or regard for the Minister.
“Yes, I am. I am so proud of that sister, Omarosa,” said Min. Farrakhan May 9 on the Cliff Kelley Show. “Well, if Ms. Omarosa is the door to Trump, well I kind of like that door. That’s a pretty door. That’s an intelligent door. That’s a spiritually rooted door. So whenever Mr. Trump is ready to hear what I have to say, he must know that when I speak I’m not just speaking for Louis Farrakhan and a few Negroes. You have to know who I represent. I represent God, Allah, who came in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, the Great Mahdi. And I represent his Messenger-Messiah, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I don’t need to say anymore. Just who I represent should let you know that you are going to have to hear from me sooner or later.”
“And if you notice the way I speak, I don’t speak like somebody that doesn’t have authority to say what I’m saying. You don’t need to send people to talk to Mr. Trump who don’t know what time it is. But if there should come a time that I would talk to the modern Pharaoh, I know exactly what to ask for and I’m not asking for Negro tidbits. I’m asking for what God wants: Land of our own and a good send off after we’ve given you 400 years of our sweat, blood and tears and received in return some of the worst treatment ever afforded to a human being,” said Min. Farrakhan.
The officer who fatally shot 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in Balch Springs, Texas, on Saturday has been fired, police said at a press conference this evening.
Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber identified that officer as Roy Oliver and said he had been a member of the police department since 2011.
The announcement of the officer’s dismissal was welcomed by the Edwards family. “We are grateful the decision has been made to terminate the office responsible for Jordan’s murder,” a family statement read. “Over the past 24 hours Chief Haber has made commendable strides toward justice. However, there remains a long road ahead.”
The incident in question took place Saturday evening as police were responding to a report of “several underage kids” who were allegedly drunk at a residence in Balch Springs. Police initially said that Edwards was in a vehicle that backed up in the direction of the responding officers “in an aggressive manner.” Oliver then opened fire, striking Edwards, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities later admitted, however, that they had misspoken in recounting what occurred and that it appeared as though the vehicle Edwards was in was driving away from the officers when shots were fired, based on body cam footage.
On behalf of Jordan Edwards’ family concerning the officer’s termination pic.twitter.com/UJeT6OM6xg
— S. Lee Merritt (@MeritLaw) May 2, 2017
There are significant questions for the Milwaukee County Jail and its Sherriff’s Department about the death of Terrill Thomas, 38, an inmate found in his cell a year ago. The cause of death was “profound dehydration” after being deprived of water for seven straight days, the medical examiner said. Family and an outraged public agree that someone should be held legally accountable for the death of Mr. Thomas.
An inquest convened by the city’s prosecutor believes someone should be punished too. The jurors came back May 1 with a recommendation that some county jail workers face charges.
The jury has recommended criminal charges against seven Milwaukee County jail staffers. The jury’s recommendation followed a six-day inquest that included testimony from jail staff and evidence from county prosecutors. The jury found probable cause to believe the staffers committed the crime of abuse of a resident of a penal facility in the death of Mr. Thomas.
They recommended charges against two jail supervisors and five correctional officers.
It’s up to prosecutors whether to file charges.
The inquest highlighted errors surrounding Mr. Thomas’ death, including the failure to log that his water had been turned off.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke oversees the jail, but the inquest did not target him.
A guard intentionally turned off the water in an isolation cell because Mr. Thomas had flooded a previous cell, according to officials. A jail supervisor insists she only ordered that water to the toilet in the cell be turned off to prevent any flooding.
The jurors recommended charges against two jail supervisors, Nancy Evans and Kashka Meadors, and five officers: James Ramsey-Guy, JorDon Johnson, Thomas Laine, Dominique Smith and John Weber.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said he had no timeline to decide, and that he could charge more people—or fewer.
The jury returned its recommendation just a few hours after morning testimony that the sheriff’s office continued using water deprivation as a form of punishment even after Mr. Thomas’ death. Prosecutors presented jurors with jail logs documenting two cases in which disobeying inmates had water to their cells turned off—both within a month of Mr. Thomas dying. One of the cases happened a week after Mr. Thomas’ death and in both subsequent instances it wasn’t clear when it was turned back on.
“This isn’t the first time this happened. This is a pattern,” Assistant District Attorney Kurt Bentley said.
Mr. Chisholm said he thought jurors were swayed by evidence that showed jail policies weren’t followed and that Mr. Thomas had been left in poor conditions.
“I think it’s just the clear lack of oversight over this entire process that really troubled them more than anything else,” he said.
Mr. Chisholm said he conducted an inquest because what happened was a “major system failure” and he wanted the public to have some input in his decision.
CHICAGO—Every day Black communities are inundated with violence. Whether it’s heinous acts committed against one another, encounters with police, or simply watching television or listening to music.
Violence has almost become a subculture that Black people not only embrace, but in many ways, openly promote.
Of course, it helps to understand the root of the problem, which in an overwhelming number of Black communities—particularly in large cities—is almost always tied to abject poverty, substandard living conditions, poor or failing schools, general lack, and feelings of hopelessness and despair.
When those conditions exist, it creates a perfect storm for crime, and ultimately violence, to manifest themselves.
In recent weeks, several incidents have played out in the media where Black people seem to just snap and commit heinous acts of violence.
Are these incidents, and many others, proof that Blacks are prone to violence as the popular narrative goes? Or is there something deeper going on? >>FULL STORY