i am

My photo
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.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Li Na and Stanislaw Wawrinka Win 2014 Australian Open Singles Titles

li na of china beat dominika cibulkova of slovakia, 7-6, 6-0 on saturday to win the 2014 australian open women's singles title. she turns 32 next month, and became the oldest female champion down under in the open era. this was her third australian open final in four years, losing to kim clisters in 2011 and victoria azarenka last year.

li never faced a top 20 opponent en route to the final. she defeated the two youngest players in the tournament, and saved a match point in the third round against lucie safarova. in the semifinals she beat the upstart canadian, 19 year-old eugenie bouchard. afterwards, she immediately went into the stands to thank her coach, carlos rodriguez. "finally i got her...last two times was very close," she said, upon lifting the daphne akhurst trophy with joy.

cibulkova, at 5'3, is the first slovakian female to reach a major final. she beat four seeded players, including former champion maria sharapova in the third round and defending champion azarenka in the quarterfinals. the 20th seeded cibulkova was a crowd favorite with her energy, grit and smile. she will jump 11 places from #24 to #13 in the wta rankings on monday. li na will move up to #3.

stanislaw wawrinka of switzerland upset world #1 rafael nadal of spain 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on sunday to win the 2014 australian open men's singles title. wawrinka claimed his first ever major singles win in his first ever major final. the 28 year-old wawrinka had never taken a set off the charismatic nadal in their 12 previous meetings.

wawrinka became the first man in 21 years to beat the #1 and #2 players en route to a major title. he beat novak djokovic of serbia in five sets in four hours in the quarterfinals, ending a run of 14 consecutive losses to him. wawrinka moves from #8 to #3 in the new rankings, surpassing - for the first time in his career - his countryman, doubles partner and good friend roger federer, who lost to nadal in the semifinals. 

nadal became visibly injured early in the second set and fought gallantly until wawrinka delivered a blistering forehand winner on match point. during the trophy ceremony, wawrinka said, "rafa, i'm really sorry for you, i hope your back is going to be fine, you're a really great guy, good friend and amazing champion." 34 of the last 35 majors went to federer, nadal, djokovic and andy murray.

16 Year-old Black Male sexually assaulted by Philadelphia Police

darrin manning, a 16 year-old black male in philadelphia, was stopped by police while going to a high school basketball game with his friends. he claims a female officer handled him aggressively and his genitals were injured. manning was forced to have emergency surgery - and faces the prospect of being infertile.

manning's brutal assault, mistreatment and trauma on January 7 is shameful. yet the philadelphia district attorney r. seth williams intends to press charges against him. the group of friends started running away, but manning said he stopped running and tried to comply with police orders because he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

after he was arrested, manning said an officer violently patted him down and "grabbed and squeezed and pulled my private parts and i felt something pop." despite a court order to reduce it, philadelphia continues to utilize the polarizing stop and frisk policy at a very high rate. black and brown youth are disproportionately targeted by a department with a history of racial oppression.

manning is a straight a student and star athlete with no criminal history. like trayvon martin, he was unarmed, posing no thereat to society. despite being victimized, he faces three misdemeanor charges: reckless endangerment to of another person, resisting arrest, and simple assault. his attorney called the charges outrageous. 

lewis small, manning's attorney, said, "it's horrible. it's sexual assault, as far as i'm concerned. national outrage has unified efforts to demand the charges are dropped immediately, and the officers involved held accountable by law. one of the officers visible in the security footage has been placed on desk duty. it's unclear if that officer searched manning.

police commissioner charles h. ramsey said internal affairs investigators would like to speak with manning. but his attorney will not let manning speak with police until his charges are dropped. small said, "i'm not going to allow my client to sit down and give a written statement. that's in effect malpractice by any attorney while criminal charges are outstanding." 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Indian Village Court orders gang rape of woman as punishment for her boyfriend

village elders in india ordered the gang rape of a 20 year-old woman after they found out she was in a relationship with a man from a different community, police said on thursday. 13 people were arrested in a rural part of west bengal in connection with the alleged offense which left the woman in critical condition in the hospital.

birbhum police chief c. sudhakar told the bbc, "the relationship was going on for almost five years. when the man visited the woman's home on monday with the proposal of marriage, villagers spotted him and organized a kangaroo court. during the proceedings, the couple were made to sit with hands tied."

sudhakar said the elders took action because the woman was from their tribal community and her boyfriend was from a non-tribal community nearby. kangaroo courts, made up of village elders, do not have an official capacity but are not uncommon, especially in the rural areas in india.

the woman said she was assaulted at night on january 20 in the district of birbhum. sudhakar said the lead elder, who is among those arrested, initially ordered the woman's family to pay 25,000 rupees ($400). but they were too poor to pay the fine - and he told the alleged gang rapists "go enjoy the girl and have fun," according to a complaint filed by the family.

according to a report by reuters, the men appeared in court and are now remanded in jail. the issue of sexual violence against women and girls in india became a national and international concern last year after a 23 year-old student was killed in a brutal gang rape in delhi in 2012. the case shocked the world, which led to nationwide protests and a toughening of the laws covering sex crimes.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin equates homosexualitty with pedophilia

russian president vladimir putin has offered new assurances for gay athletes, fans and progressive folks attending the 2014 sochi winter olympics next month. yet he defended russia's anti-gay law by equating gays with pedophiles. he said russia needs to "cleanse" itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birthrate.

putin's views aired in an interview broadcast on sunday with russian and foreign television stations. a russian law passed last year banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" among minors has caused an international outcry. he refused to answer a question from the bbc on whether he believes people are born gay or become gay.

russian law suggests information about homosexuality can somehow influence a child's orientation. the polarizing law has contributed to growing animosity towards gays in russian society. activists have reported a rise in abuse, harassment and intolerance.

global fears about how gays will be treated in sochi are being diffused by olympic organizers and russian officials who said no discrimination will take place in sochi. during the televised interview, putin reiterated their stance by stating, "there are no fears for people with this nontraditional orientation who plan to come to sochi as guests or participants."

putin said the law was aimed at banning propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia, suggesting  gays are more likely to sexually abuse children. he noted with pride how russian law saw more births than deaths last year for the first time in two decades. population growth is vital for russia's development and, he said, "anything that gets in the way of that we should clean up."

the russian president, in the interview, accused the united states of double standards in its criticism of russian law. putin noted there are currently laws on the books, in some u.s. states, classifying gay sex as a crime. the u.s. supreme court, however, ruled in 2003 such laws are unconstitutional. homosexuality was a crime in the entire former soviet union, which collapsed in 1991. it was decriminalized in russia two years later.

the sochi winter olympics will be held february 7 through february 23.        


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Nigerian man whipped 20 times in court for sodomy conviction

a young man convicted of sodomy was whipped 20 times thursday in a northern nigerian shariah court. though mubarak ibrahim was found guilty under shariah law, it's the first conviction of a gay man in nigeria since president goodluck jonathan signed a bill which furthers the criminalization of homosexuality under the west african nation's westernized penal code.

activists believe the new law promotes homophobia and endangers gay people in a country where lynchings and mob justice are common. but the muslim rights concern group on thursday said it was "the other way round as the practice of homosexualism and lesbianism is most capable of instigating widespread hatred and turning society upside down."

the group praised jonathan for resisting pressures from western powers who've condemned the law and urged them to stop what it called meddling in nigerian internal affairs. they said, "most reprehensible is the attempt by foreign powers to intimidate and coerce nigeria into absorbing their despicable culture by threatening to withhold foreign aid."

ibrahim, a 28 year-old unemployed artisan in the city of bauchi, pleaded guilty to committing one act of sodomy seven years ago. he said he was misled into the act by the principle of the high school he was attending. he also said he hasn't committed a homosexual act since. judge nuhu mohammed said he'd spare ibrahim the sentence of death by stoning because the crime occurred so many years ago, and the young man had shown "great remorse."

the 20 lashes were administered in the public court. ibrahim was also ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 naira ($30). it wasn't immediately clear if he'd been able to pay and go free. ibrahim was among 12 men - 11 muslims and one christian - arrested by police since christmas for belonging to a gay club. dorothy aken'ova, a human rights activist whose organization is helping with lawyers, said police lured four of the men, and tortured them into providing a list of 168 wanted gay men.         

shariah commission chairman mustapha baba llela has denied any of those arrested were tortured.  additionally, the police, he told the associated press, were hunting for other members of a gay club, but would not say how many. 

the same sex marriage prohibition act jonathan signed into law january 7 brought widespread condemnation from abroad - including the united states, britain, canada, the european union and the united nations. the unaids agency says the law could criminalize people in programs to fight hiv/aids. the u.s. says it violates the rights of all nigerians to free speech and association. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Alex Rodriguez ruled ineligible by a federal arbitrator for the 2014 MLB season

new york yankees third baseman alex rodriguez has been ruled ineligible for the entire 2014 major league baseball season. he was originally given an unprecedented 211-game suspension for his involvement in the biogenesis scandal, but it was reduced on saturday by a federal arbitrator.

according to the ruling, by arbitrator fredric horowitz, rodriguez will also not be able to play in any postseason games, should the yankees qualify this year. the ruling brings to a close a months-long process in which rodriguez challenged major league baseball's initial suspension.

said rodriguez, "the number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. this is one man's decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the joint drug agreement and the basic agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the united states because they are false and wholly unreliable."

rodriguez vowed to contest the decision in federal court. he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs while a member of the texas rangers from 2001-2003. but he says he's been clean as a member of the new york yankees. although he will not be paid for 2014, he's slated to earn $25 million in 2013 and $61 million total from 2015-17.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Amiri Baraka Makes Transition at 79

on thursday newark, new jersey lost a son, father, husband, uncle, friend and leader. the world lost a poet, activist, revolutionary, author, historian, professor, scholar, freedom fighter, pan-africanist, and critical thinker. baraka was, in his own words, describing james baldwin during his home going service at riverside church in harlem, 'god's black revolutionary mouth.'

baraka was one of the leading organizers of the black and puerto rican convention in newark in 1969. he supported the political careers of ken gibson, sharpe james and others. the convention - a grassroots effort to put folks in office - led to the election of newark's first black mayor, ken gibson.

newark's first latino mayor, louis quintana, said "we're going to remember him always for his contributions to newark, new jersey and america." baraka's political leadership empowered blacks and puerto ricans to organize collaboratively in order to achieve equal representation in newark city government.

baraka was a keynote speaker and organizer at the 1972 gary convention. the convention, a black political convention, was hosted by gary mayor richard hatcher, one of the first black mayors of a major city. the gary convention was considered controversial, by some, for many reasons.

the gary convention excluded whites. the convention worked deliberately to establish a national black political agenda. this agenda included community control of schools, national health insurance and proper political representation. it was a progressive political movement specifically designed to put black candidates in office, unlike the occupy movement, for example.    

baraka was a literary virtuoso. he was a poet, playwright, essayist and novelist. his acclaimed writings included blues people, dutchman, preface to a twenty volume suicide note, the system of dante's hell, the slave and somebody blew up america. baraka always challenged poets and artists to engage in political activism with their work.

baraka was a leader in the black arts movement, establishing the celebration of kwanzaa in newark. he was the architect of the black arts repertory theatre/school in harlem. he believed artists had to be engaged in the community, and he wanted art to "help with the liberation of black people."

still, his work also invited controversy and criticism. he distanced himself from some of his more provocative comments made about rev. dr. martin luther kin, jr., his anti-homosexual attitudes concerning gays, as well as his verbal assaults of whites, in general. admittedly, baraka caused harm, made amends, evolved politically and grew spiritually. 

in 2004, the 70 year-old baraka spoke at the malcolm x shabazz high school. the auditorium was filled with black art, black kids and black love. he eloquently read lines from "wise why's, y'z." he told them, " at the bottom of the atlantic ocean there's a railroad made of human bones - black ivory."

imamu amiri baraka made transition at the age of 79.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Father in New Zealand disowns anti-homosexual daughter by letter

a trusted friend recently forwarded me a letter from a father in new zealand to his daughter. in the letter, the father responds to his daughter, who disowned his grandson because he's gay. the letter was written october 2, 2013, and has gone viral. here is the letter in it's entirety:

"dear christine. i'm disappointed in you as a daughter. you're correct that we have a "shame in the family," but mistaken about what it is. kicking chad out of your home simply because he told you he was gay is the real "abomination" here. a parent disowning her child is what goes "against nature."

the only intelligent thing i heard you saying in all this was that "you didn't raise your son to be gay." of course you didn't. he was born this way and didn't choose it any more than he being left-handed. you however, have made a choice of being hurtful, narrow-minded and backward.        

so, while we are in the business of disowning our children, i think i'll take this moment to say goodbye to you. i now have a fabulous (as they gays put it) grandson to raise, and i don't have time for heart-less b word of a daughter. if you find your heart, give us a call." - dad.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Overweight and Overhelmed: A Perspective

the last time I went to visit my primary care physician I was struggling with anxiety, insecurity and self-pity. when the nurse asked me to step on the scale and weigh myself I wanted to run home and eat some buffalo wings and french fries. why? because I knew I'd gained weight during the holidays and didn't want to face the reality of my growing stomach...

physically, i felt bloated. emotionally, i was disappointed with myself for lacking discipline and over indulging in foods i'd worked hard to steadfastly remove from my regular diet. spiritually, i'd lost the motivation to engage god with my ongoing dilemma, as it relates to my sense of undesirability.

even though i don't celebrate holidays, i attended a spiritual gathering in brooklyn. the first thing i noticed were two long tables of food: chicken, turkey, lasagna, ziti, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, spinach, mixed vegetables, cranberry sauce, salad and candied yams. the assortment of cakes, cookies and pies helped me empathize with the winner of the biggest loser.   

my mind and my body were now in spiritual warfare. i have a weight problem: i can't wait to eat. i tried to embody james dean, but i was in deep shit. my relationship with food is co-dependent - like me and mrs. jones, we got a thing going on, and we both know that its wrong, but its much too strong, to let it go now. 

i proceeded to eat like there was no tomorrow. i rationalized my extra full plate because i was told people were still bringing in dishes and there would be more than enough to go around. i was also encouraged to take a plate home, which i did. its hard for me to say no to free food. it was on and popping.

damn. i quickly reverted back to my old ways. i was ordering fried foods on the down-low. i was buying ice cream, on sale, and devouring it at three o'clock in the morning. i was drinking soda, again. the compulsion was driving my sanity away. i would look in the mirror and pretend someone else was there. i stopped going to the gym and blamed my apathy on the weather. damn... 

before I got on the scale, i asked the nurse to keep in mind the brand new timberlands i sported would add three to five pounds to my weight. she was pleasant, yet seemed more concerned with doing her job and not getting involved with my bulging waistline - and need to be right.

the scale read 202 pounds. omg. i wanted a second opinion, but realized i was being weighed, not prepped for surgery. last summer, when i peaked at 207, my doctor told me to lose 15 pounds, and I did. my weight tends to fluctuate 10-15 pounds every few months or so. and, it's easier to take it off than keep it off.

i began to reminisce how i felt when my doctor, obviously stunned, looked into her computer screen, and realized the 15 pounds she asked me to lose was my latest accomplishment. she proudly gave me a high five and praised me for healthy living. i want that feeling back. or, as nene on the real housewives of atlanta says, "i want my happy back." 

this week, i decided to re-commit myself to healthy living. for the next five days, i will only eat one salad. i bought mixed nuts to snack on. but let me confess my obsession with chocolate. almost every night i eat a large cadbury roast almond with milk chocolate bar. this will continue during my five day rehab. ideally, chocolate with 60% cacao is healthier, but fuck it, i want what i want when i want it.

and in that order :-)