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Season of Giving, part 1: Whose Money Runs Nonprofits That Serve Our Community?

I was listening to a Pandora station the other day (I know, I might as well log into MySpace too), when I happened to look at the screen. What I saw threw me for a loop: an advertisement for the United Negro College Fund’s Koch Scholars Program. “Koch? As in the Koch brothers?” I surfed…

Kanye West: More than Meets the Eye

One year ago, I published my first piece on this platform, which was about Atlanta-based rapper Lil Jon financing a primary school in Ghana. He’s added another school to his philanthropic efforts since then. Today, I want to finally talk about another rapper who recently made news with his own journey to the motherland: Kanye…

After 400 Years of American Oppression, Get Ready for the “Year of Return”

Long before being “woke” became a social media trend, 400 years was a round figure used to tally how long we and our ancestors have been toiling in America, first as slaves, then as a segregated, oppressed and disrespected group of people. Even Bob Marley and the Wailers released a song titled 400 years way…

The 2018 Prison Strike: Do Black Lives Matter Behind Bars?

Over the past 30 days, we have been fed lots of information about current events affecting Black America: Kaepernick’s Nike ad and the MAGA backlash, the brother in Texas who was killed in his home by an off-duty police officer who allegedly mistook his apartment for hers, Cardi B’s fight with a member of Nicki…

Black August, BlacKkKlansman, and 9 Must-See Movies about Law Enforcement and Black Liberation

It’s August 12, and the KKK is holding its own bastardized version of the “march on Washington” across the street from the White House. One year after White Power/Alt-Right supporters descended on Charlottesville, Va., bringing turmoil and death in their wake. Two years and eleven days after police officers outside Baltimore, Md., gunned down Korryn…

These Dance Challenges Are Making America Great Again!

“Hard times require furious dancing. Each of us is proof.” –Alice Walker The title of this post started off as a joke I made a few weeks ago, after I stumbled upon a video of the Keke Challenge by New Orleans bounce artist Magnolia Rhome. Truth be told, I’m not deep off into pop culture…

rePLAY: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill is back on tour this year celebrating the 20th anniversary of her solo debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.  Upon first hearing the news, I realized that I haven’t actually listened to the entire album once in the past 10 years.  The thought of that alone caused me to feel anxiety.  I…

Reclaiming Our #BlackJoy

Can we as black people prioritize ourselves and our joy enough to just focus on it for 144 days? What happens when we hold our own joy close to our hearts where we can see it? These are the questions that inspired Seattle-based conceptual artist and cultural organizer Natasha Marin to launch “144 Days of…

The ESSENCE of Music…

Picture it: 1997, a summer’s night in New Orleans.  I was 16 years old, and my best friend had scored free tickets to the Essence Festival.  At the time, the festival was in its toddler stages, but it quickly became known as the music event of the summer in the city.  That magical night ended…

Does Black Music Month Still Matter?

For nearly 40 years now, we have been celebrating Black Music Month in June.  In recent years, it has seemed to go by with little fanfare outside the black community and even then, we don’t always hear much about it.  This year, we waited to see if Donald Trump would give a formal proclamation or…