April 10, 2014

By Kam Williams

Contributing Writer

 

“From today’s perspective in a media-soaked world all too familiar with the genomic footprints of human DNA and the tracings of the double-helix back to an African origin, it has become considerably easier to accept the notion that, like nations, ‘races’ are what Benedict Anderson calls ‘imagined communities’—social constructs, fabrications made in history by historical forces, and which acquire meaning only in relation to identifiable others.

“But it is also easy to forget that just 20 years ago, the explanatory power of race had not yet been deconstructed thoroughly enough to prevent the best-selling publication of… Charles Murray’s ‘The Bell Curve,’ wherein the ancient logics of racial inferiority and domination were reconfigured in full display, with all the illusory trappings of authoritative social science.”

— From the Introduction by Professor John S. Wright (page 2)

The Genome Project has proven scientifically that there’s only one race, the human race. But despite definitive proof that race is purely a fabrication of man’s imagination, racism continues to persist.

That confounding conundrum is the subject of The Myth of Race, The Reality of Racism, a collection of enlightening essays by Mahmoud El-Kati.

Professor El-Kati, a distinguished lecturer in History at Macalester University, makes the most of this opportunity to trace the derivation of the word “race” back to 1570 before chronicling the subsequent evolution of racism into an oppressive political and cultural ideology employed by Europeans to rationalize the exploitation and marginalization of so-called “inferior races.”

Defining racism as “prejudice plus power,” the author sees it as “largely an institutional phenomenon” based on “aggression, domination and greed.” However, he warns that it can also be observed on the individual level in a variety of everyday social “habits, nuances and traits,” like in a condescending look or a halfhearted handshake.      

Nevertheless determined to eradicate the false notion of “race,” Professor El-Kati assails it as a superstition no less ridiculous than the belief in witches that once led to innocent women being burned at the stake. For, he would argue that it is patently farcical to associate a host of negative stereotypes with black skin ranging from criminality to laziness.

The book comes equipped with viable solutions for the problem, too, as it suggests we not only create a new vocabulary, but condemn racist institutions and become actively involved in overhauling society. After all, as in Ralph Ginsburg’s encyclopedic study “!00 Years of Lynchings,” until relatively recently, “no white person had ever received the death sentence for taking the life of a black person in the whole history of capital punishment in the United States.”

An insightful tome repositioning America in the Age of Obama as less a post-racial utopia than a work in progress in terms of dignity for all and the demise of white supremacy.

To order a copy of The Myth of Race, The Reality of Racism, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0988288338/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Or: https://www.paypal.com/ us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=andjfwpMLbm_Zt416hF9i_iVc-3kxowm_kLKQS8tJaPYUIyBWm2dIVvVULW&dispatch=50a222a57771920b6a3d7b606239e4d529b525e0b7e69bf0224adecfb0124e9b61f737ba21b081982546798d23b9808f90be4e2dc1450b56.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

April 10, 2014

City News Service

 

Organizers of the annual ESSENCE Festival, said they are excited to announce the all-star night-by-night line-up of performers for its 20th anniversary celebration in New Orleans, LA, from July 3-6.

 

 

The A-list nighttime concerts will take place across 5 stages in the Superdome throughout the weekend — on the Festival’s legendary Mainstage and within the intimate Superlounges.

 

 

 

This year, ESSENCE plans to kick off the festivities on its Mainstage with an electrifying performance by renowned musician and international superstar Prince along with special guest performers (Friday, July 4); followed by celebrated artists Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, The Roots Presents Hip Hop, Ledisi and Tank (Saturday, July 5); and will close the celebration with a special performance by music icon Lionel Richie, who will share the stage with powerhouse performer Charlie Wilson, and fan favorites Erykah Badu and Tamar Braxton (Sunday, July 6th). Nephew Tommy from The Steve Harvey Morning Show, will return as the Mainstage host.   

The 2014 ESSENCE Festival night-by-night musical line-up is as follows:

• Friday, July 4 – Mainstage: Prince along with special guest performers Superlounges: Eve, King, Stephanie Mills, Leela James, Naughty By Nature, Kevin Ross, Estelle and Greta Prince.

• Saturday, July 5 – Mainstage: Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, The Roots, Ledisi, Tank. Superlounges: 112, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Michelle Williams, Tevin Campbell, Liv Warfield, Marsha Ambrosius, PJ Morton, Doug E. Fresh and Kourtney Heart.

 

• Sunday, July 6 – Mainstage: Lionel Richie, Charlie Wilson, Erykah Badu, Tamar Braxton Superlounges: Robert Glasper, Amel Larrieux, K. Michelle, Sebastian Mikael, Raheem DaVaughn, Sevyn Streeter, Elle Varner, August Alsina and The Original Pinettes.

Single day tickets start at  $58 per person per night. For information about ticket sales, accommodations and the latest news about the ESSENCE FESTIVAL, visit ESSENCE Festival www.essencefestival.com, join the Festival community: on Twitter @essencefest #EssenceFest and become a fan of 2014 ESSENCE Festival on Facebook.

 

6-PHOTOS:

 

 

 

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Prince

 

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Tank

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

April 10, 2014

City News Service

 

Grammy-nominated rapper 2 Chainz pleaded not guilty on Tuesday April 8 to felony drug possession. The 36-year-old entertainer, born Tauheed Epps, was arrested last June at Los Angeles International Airport after police allegedly found marijuana in his possession as he was attempting to board a flight. Codeine, a sedative found in “sizzurp,” was subsequently found in his checked luggage, according to authorities.  Sizzurp —also known as “purple drank” — is a drink containing prescription cough syrup that is popular in segments of the hip hop community and has been the subject of rap songs.

A May 5 pretrial hearing at the Airport Branch courthouse is scheduled for Epps, who is from College Park, Ga.

 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

April 10, 2014

 

Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19

An unexpected visit from someone who lives far away is likely to throw your schedule off kilter, Aries. Even though you'll be glad to see your friend, the visit could require a lot of calls to break appointments and postpone meetings. Once that's done, however, you'll have a good visit. You and your friend should each have a lot to report. You'll talk for hours. Relax and have some fun!

 

Taurus Apr 20 – May 20

An unexpected financial setback could have you reeling at first, Taurus. Perhaps an emergency, such as a toothache or car breakdown, requires a substantial expenditure that you hadn't planned for. You can probably find a way to deal with the crisis. You may have resources to draw upon that you aren't aware of now. Go over all your finances and you could be pleasantly surprised. Hang in there!

 

Gemini May 21 - Jun 20

You could be feeling restless and frustrated due to a temporary separation from a partner, Gemini, perhaps a business partner but more likely a romantic one. Phone contact could be difficult as well, because you could both be busy and keep missing each other. Find something fascinating to do that will take your mind off the situation. Get together with friends and have some fun. The time will pass more quickly.

 

Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22

A rather disconcerting rumor about your job could reach your ears, Cancer. Perhaps you'll hear that the company is being sold or undergoing a shakeup in the hierarchy. You might get caught up in a frenzy of worry about whether or not you'll stay on. Before jumping to any conclusions, phone someone who knows what's going on and find out the truth. What you've heard is probably just gossip.

 

Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22

A number of great ideas either for new creative projects or enhancing ongoing ones could pop into your head during the day, Leo. If you don't write them down immediately, they could just as easily pop right out again, never to return! With all your responsibilities, you could have a rather frantic day as your mind constantly shifts from one focus to another. Stay with it. You can handle it.

 

Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22

A person with whom you work, probably a woman, could leave suddenly without notice or stated reason, Virgo. This could be confusing, and you might find yourself wondering if there are changes within the company that you know nothing about. Try to learn exactly why this person left. If you can't ask him or her directly, discreetly ask someone who might know. It's important, if nothing else, for relieving your anxiety.

 

Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22

Someone you've wanted to hear from for a long time, perhaps an old friend who lives far away, could ring you up today while you're out, Libra. You'll be happy to get the message, but it could result in a frustrating game of phone tag throughout the day. Don't get so irritated you give up. Keep trying. You'll eventually touch base, and you'll be glad you did!

 

Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21

A rather upsetting dream could disturb your sleep tonight, Scorpio. When you wake up and focus on the real world, it could seem so bizarre as to not be worthy of serious consideration. Nonetheless, write it down. After some time has passed, go over the symbols and see what they suggest to you. The dream is trying to tell you something about a specific situation in your life, albeit in a weird way!

 

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21

A colleague or possibly a romantic partner could be in a rather touchy mood today, Sagittarius. Therefore, you might find this person difficult to deal with. You could get a bit irritated and wonder if this person is worth the aggravation he or she is causing you. Don't do anything foolish. This mood will pass. Try to stay out of your friend's way, if possible. All should be back to normal by tomorrow.

 

Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19

You tend to be very intuitive, Capricorn, but today you could find your psychic abilities short-circuit. If you give readings, don't schedule any for today. This isn't to say your abilities are blocked, but they aren't as dependable as they usually are. Likewise, your imagination isn't as reliable either. Don't worry. This is just typical writer's or artist's block. You'll be back to normal by tomorrow.

 

Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18

Some rather upsetting news about a friend could come to you today, Aquarius, probably over the phone. This could be the truth, but more likely the facts have been distorted in the retelling. In fact, what you're hearing may actually be nothing more than gossip. Phone someone who might know what's really going on, preferably the friend you heard about, and check the facts before driving yourself crazy.

 

Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20

Your health is making life weird today -- though there may not be anything you can put your finger on. Try to get a check-up or, better, take a positive step toward better living. Your ability to communicate skillfully will be prized now, and you may be working on a book or major magazine feature, or filming a pilot on a TV show, as some examples.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

April 03, 2014

 

Aries  

March 21 – April 19

Change, change, and more change! How much can you take? One thing's for sure, you could be put through your paces this week. All things considered, you might welcome a radical decision that helps liberate you from too much routine. Yet you need those daily tasks and responsibilities to keep you grounded and solvent. Just as you feel you're about to reach the breaking point, Venus moves into Pisces to act as a balm to the soul, drawing out answers from your intuitive sixth sense.

 

Taurus

May 21 - Jun 20

Maybe you should pay attention to any restless feelings within. Subterranean rumblings within your psyche suggest that something might be about to happen. If a key relationship seems to reach a critical point this week, you might need to scramble for answers. Perhaps you're trying to avoid the obvious here. The cosmos hints that it's no longer possible for things to go on as they are. This doesn't mean it's the end - just the end of routines and conversations that no longer serve you.

 

Gemini

May 21 - Jun 20

The kind of people you're mixing with lately could be partly responsible for your thoughts. Some of them could seem quite wild and wacky and act as a catalyst for further developments. You may be questioning your values and all that you hold dear at this critical time. If you feel you're being held back by inherited beliefs, you'll be willing to relinquish them for something more liberating. However, no matter how urgent the matter, try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

 

Cancer

 Jun 21 - Jul 22

Future potential and career status could seem to be on shaky ground. Perhaps you've already experienced unexpected changes in this area and gotten used to a job or contract being around one day and gone the next. A desire to take matters into your own hands could spur you on to greater things. Perhaps you're fed up with dancing to someone else's tune and would like to set off alone. That's not a problem if you're willing to do it in baby steps!

 

Leo

Jul 23 - Aug 22

Those expansive horizons seem to be calling out to you more than ever. You can almost hear the rustle of the wind and feel the ground rising up to meet you as you explore new places and potentials. The week ahead has "change" as its watchword. Although you might want to hurry things along so you can celebrate your liberty, it might not be as easy as you think. For now you'll still need to touch base with tasks and responsibilities that could seem tedious. Perhaps you can create a workable compromise.

 

Virgo

 Aug 23 - Sep 22

Perhaps just the idea of getting a loan or refinancing a project will give you all you need to forge ahead. While this may be true, you might need to tread with care. You could overextend yourself and suffer further down the line. What might be more helpful is looking at ways to reduce your expenses by researching your options. The more innovative you can be, the less likely you'll need to borrow, which might instantly relieve some anxiety and the associated stress.

 

Libra

Sep 23 - Oct 22

Relationships could be a disruptive force in your life, and you could be tiring of them. Mars retrograde in your sign could make you appear feistier and less compromising, which could be a good thing. If you're tired of having someone's unthinking actions wreck your best-laid plans, step up to the plate and have that conversation. It could be the best thing you do this week. You'll realize why this was so necessary when Venus enters Pisces on Saturday.

 

Scorpio

Oct 23 - Nov 21

Daily deep relaxation may help keep your nervous system in good working order. The current lineup hints that the less you worry, the better your health and overall mood. Immersing yourself in routines that actively help you release tension from vulnerable body areas could free you up to have a great week. Daily cardio exercise that helps you pound the stress out of your system may be another way to feel good and keep smiling.

 

Sagittarius

Nov 22 - Dec 21

Love and creativity can serve an interesting purpose this week. A brilliant idea or budding romance could take you outside your comfort zone just enough to sharpen you up. If you've been feeling complacent lately, this shot of adrenaline might prepare the way for exciting changes. However, you'll still need to stay in touch with your responsibilities and routines, as these can enhance your integrity and inner strength. Later, the presence of Venus in your home zone could bring you an aura of pea

 

Capricorn

Dec 22 - Jan 19

This is one week when you may benefit from having a backup plan. You might find it hard to avoid interruptions that seem to take the wind out of your sails. Although there may be nothing you can do about this, having deadlines, meetings, and everyday practical activities to attend to can help you feel grounded amid the winds of change. You may appreciate the support of good friends you can chat to about anything. Doing so could bring a great sense of relief.

 

Aquarius

 Jan 20 - Feb 18

Even though you may be hoping for a quiet week, you might not get it. Powerful aspect patterns could escalate tension, leaving you with the feeling that you "have" to do something. The need to find out exactly what it is could make you antsy or nervous. To avoid this it might help to practice some kind of calming and relaxing meditation. Releasing those inner stresses and strains may be crucial to helping you make the right decisions, including the ones that are best for you!

 

Pisces

Feb 19 - Mar 20

This may be a week of decisions, especially where finances are concerned. Perhaps you can no longer escape the need to take timely action where an overdue bill, debt, or a lack of funds is concerned. The thing to avoid is making things worse by spending and hoping you'll feel better. Your best course of action may be to get a plan together that enables you take care of immediate issues and eases any stress you feel. You might find it easier to make peace with yourself when Venus glides into your sign.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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