i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Friday, April 19, 2013

2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

the 28th annual rock & roll hall of fame induction ceremony took place thursday at the nokia theatre in los angeles, california. this year was the first time since 1993 the esteemed institution - based in cleveland, ohio - held its event on the west coast.

listed below are the individuals & groups who will be honored: 

lou adler - producer.
heart - rock group.
quincy jones - arranger, composer, musician & producer.
albert king - blues guitarist.
randy newman - singer/songwriter.
public enemy - hip hop group.
rush - rock group.
donna summer - pop/r&b singer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Scottsboro Boys Pardoned by Alabama Legislature 80 Years Later

alabama lawmakers voted unanimously to give posthumous pardons to the scottsboro boys monday. nine black teens were wrongly convicted of raping two white women in 1931. the state house voted 103-0 & the senate voted 29-0. governor robert bentley signed the bill, which amended one of america's greatest racial injustices.

"this is great for alabama, it was long overdue," said democratic state rep. laura hall of hunstville, who sponsored the bill in the house. the state sponsor, republican arthur orr, said it's unfortunate the pardons came after all the scottsboro boys have died - but the bill lets alabama write "a better chapter." orr said, "their lives were ruined by the convictions. by doing this it sends a very positive message nationally & internationally that this is a different state than we were many years ago." 

all but the youngest member of the group, whose ages ranged from 13 to 19, were imprisoned on death row after convictions by all-white juries. all were eventually freed without executions, although several suffered for many years in prison. the last of the men died in 1989. 

the scottsboro boys' case has been memorialized in books, films, museums, songs & a 2010 broadway play. their oppressive legal saga set important precedents, including supreme court decisions outlawing the practice of systematically excluding black people from juries & guaranteeing the right to effective counsel.

house speaker mike hubbard, a republican, said, "you can't change history, but you can take steps to right the wrongs of the past. the fact that this passed unanimously shows that today's 21st century alabama is far removed from the one that caused such pain for so many so long ago."

benjamin todd jealous, president & ceo of the naacp, applauded the correction of "an historic miscarriage of justice." but he also noted alabama is involved in a supreme court case over the voting rights act & the state has passed laws critics say discriminate against immigrants in the country illegally. 

jealous said, "like so many communities that have tried to move beyond their ugliest chapters, alabama has learned you can only move forward if you are honest about your past. it's heartening that this was a unanimous vote. unfortunately, alabama still needs to confront its present."

susan glisson, executive director of the institute for racial reconciliation at the university of mississippi, was grateful for the measure. glisson said, "it is an opportunity for us to understand that period, especially the ways in which blacks were deemed inferior & therefore not worthy of equal treatment before the law."

the scottsboro boys' tragic episode began on a freight train traveling through alabama during the great depression - many people would sneak aboard for free rides between cities. there was a fight between blacks & whites on the train. the two women made false rape accusations in hopes of avoiding arrest. 

lynch mobs gathered outside the jail, but were warned off by the white sheriff & rebuffed by national guardsmen called in by the governor. after the conviction, the communist party seized the case as an opportunity to appease black people & liberals. the party got one of its lawyers named as defense counsel & also secured the services of famed defense attorney samuel liebowitz. there were years of appeal, some successful, as one of the women recanted & said their claim was dishonest.

decades later, when the idea of pardons was raised, the governor & parole board said they didn't have the legal authority to pardon the deceased. but sheila washington, founder of the Scottsboro boys museum, which opened in 2010, pursued the legislation. washington said the pardons would finally shine a light on "this dark injustice."  


Louisville & UConn Win NCAA Titles

louisville defeated michigan 82-76 to win the 2013 ncaa championship game monday night. luke hancock came off the bench for the cardinals & scored 22 points. he hit four consecutive three-pointers to offset a 12-point lead for the wolverines with less than four minutes to go in the first half. hancock was named the tournament's most outstanding player - the first sub to ever win the award.

rick pitino becomes the first coach in ncaa history to win championships with two different teams. in 1996, he coached kentucky to a national title. louisville (35-5) emerged victorious the same day pitino was announced as one of the 2013 hall of fame members. two days prior, his horse won the santa anita & will run in the kentucky derby. a few days ago his son, richard, was named coach of the university of minnesota.  

guard peyton siva finished with 18 points, six assists & four steals. forward chane behanan had 15 points & 12 rebounds. but their team & the nation was inspired by guard kevin ware. he suffered a grueling injury against wichita state in the final four, leaving him on crutches & unable to play for at least nine months. undaunted, ware put on a championship hat & cut a strand of the net when they lowered the basket. he said, "these are my brothers. they got the job done. i'm so proud of them. i'm so proud of them."

the university of connecticut won their record-setting eighth national title with a 93-60 victory over louisville. it was the most lopsided victory in ncaa women's championship history. huskies freshman breanna stewart scored 18 of her 23 points in a dazzling first half. she finished the tournament with 105 points & was named most outstanding player.

coach geno auriemma & connecticut (35-4) is now tied with pat summit & tennessee for the most titles in women's basketball history. said auriemma, "the fact that i tied pat summit's record puts you in the category of the greatest women's basketball coach that ever lived. i'm just thrilled for our seniors. this team accomplished an amazing feat this month."

with the huskies victory, the big east conference won a ninth national championship. the conference, which will split apart after this season, was the most dominant in women's basketball over the past decade. both teams vying for a title was a fitting end to its current configuration. neither team will be in the new big east next season as both will be in the american athletic conference. lousiville will play in the acc the year after.          

Monday, April 08, 2013

2013 NBA Hall of Fame Inductees

last wednesday, john doleva, the president of the naismith memorial hall of fame, called seven people to tell them they were inducted into the class of 2013. university of louisville head coach rick pitino was one of the lucky seven. louisville will play michigan for the national championship monday.

said pitino, "when i got the call I was trying to call my wife over so she could hear it & i'm trying to put it on speaker phone & a text keeps beeping as i'm getting this special call. i saw the text. go gophers. i got the job." it was his son richard, who had just found out he was chosen to be the head coach at minnesota.

overall, 12 people are being given the nba's most precious & prestigious award. the announcement came during a ceremony held in atlanta: the site of this year's final four. among those honored are former nba stars bernard king & gary payton, former university of virginia star dawn staley, college coaches sylvia hatchell of north carolina, guy lewis of houston & jerry tarkanian of unlv.

others announced previously are roger brown, indiana pacers guard; russ granik, longtime assistant commissioner of the nba; richie guerin, new york knicks star in the 1950's; edwin e.b. henderson, a direct elect by the early african pioneer committee, & oscar schmidt of brazil, the leading scorer in olympic history. the inductions will take place in springfield, massachusetts on september 8.

as a young assistant with the knicks from 1983-85, pitino forged a relationship with king, who was one of the most feared scorers in the game. said king, "i remember rick as a very young coach, a coach starting his career, a coach who knew the game." king averaged 22 points in his 15-year nba career, including 34.8 points in the 1984 nba playoffs.

king said, "i remember rick came with me to the nba all-star game & we were flying from denver to san antonio. we talked a lot about that even though we had some injuries we had to get off to a good start. that first game in san antonio i scored 50 points. the next night in dallas i had a milk shake & a turkey sandwich & scored 50 points again. i guess you can say this is the culmination of my life in basketball."            

payton was known as "the glove" for his defensive prowess in his years with the seattle supersonics. he was a two-time olympic gold medalist. said payton, "i was an offensive-minded guy when i went to oregon state & coach ralph miller pulled me to the side & said 'you'll be one of the greatest defensive point guards ever' & i said to myself, yeah right. i'm shooting every time i get the ball. i got really good at it & started liking it & took it from there."

lewis led houston to five final fours in his 30 years with the cougars. his teams featured three future hall of famers: clyde drexler, elvin hayes & hakeem olajuwon. tarkanian took three different schools to the ncaa tournament, but he will always be known for biting his towel & his teams at unlv - they made four final four appearances, including their title in 1990.

hatchell joins tar heels men's coaches dean smith & roy williams as hall of famers. one of three women's coaches to win 900 games, she won championships on three levels - aiaw, naia & ncaa. staley was a three-time olympic gold medalist, five-time wnba all-star & two-time national college player of the year with virginia. she's the only women's college basketball player with 2,000 points, 700 assists & 400 steals.