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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners: Radical Change in Radical Times


Imagine your picture adorning the walls of police headquarters, post offices, and worst of all the FBI's top wanted list and underneath the picture, the caption reads: [YOUR NAME] is WANTED by the FBI for the heinous crime of being an educated, strong, phenomenal Black (Wo)man that is much to knowledgeable, assertive, inquisitive, proud and real. She/He has more education than the law allows with opinions and beliefs that are infectious amongst the people. Report this Political Prisoner IMMEDIATELY.... Seems ridiculous doesn't it? As farfetched as it seems this phenomenon is very real. Free Angela and All Political Prisoners is an amazing film that hones in on the existence of political prisoners, the causes and the effects it has on minority groups of people.

According to the Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, prior to September 11, 2001, there were nearly 100 political prisoners and prisoners of war incarcerated in the United States. Political prisoners are men and women who have been incarcerated for their political views and actions. They have consciously fought against social injustice, colonialism, and/or imperialism and have been incarcerated as a result of their political commitments. Even while in prison, these men and women continue to adhere to their principles. This defnition of the term “political prisoner” is accepted throughout the international community (Vol. 18, 2002).  Many of today's political prisoners were victims of an FBI Counter intelligence program called COINTELPRO, which was created by then FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover. The program consisted of series of covert actions directed against domestic dissident groups, targeting five perceived threats to "domestic tranquility". The five perceived threats included the White Hate Groups (1964-71), Black Nationalist/Extremist Hate Groups (1967-71) The Communist Party (1956-71), the Socialist Workers Party (1961-69), and the New Left (1968-71).  These groups were believed to be a threat to US policies and general way of life because they simply had an opinion different from the masses and voiced it proudly and publicly. Furthermore, this oppression greatly affected the treatment of blacks who refused to be "good niggers". Here is an edited copy of the FBI COINTELPRO regarding Black Extremist,  a 23 part report, which supports this ideation.


Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, is an intimate walk in the life of Angela Davis, an American political activist, scholar and author. As a former leader of the Communist Party and close relationship with the Black Panther Party, Davis was once on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist List. Of course those weren't the reasons listed on the notice...she was wanted and later arrested for her alleged involvement in the attempted jail break of , Black Panther Member and SOLEDAD BROTHER, George Jackson who was serving an 11 year sentence (7 of which was spent in solitary confinement) for the petty theft of $70 in which he died claiming his innocence. George's young brother, Johnathan Jackson, joined Angela and Black Panther members in their fight for Freedom and Equality for all and to hold on to the only real family he had....his brother. Because of Angela's voice and belief in reform and equality she quickly became a target.
Her affiliation with the Black Panther Party and leadership with the Communist party was to combat socialism that grows from capitalism. She felt that as an individual she couldn't accomplish much radical reform, but felt as a Black Community standing unified we could demand and obtain fairness in all things. Based on this notion and the obvious conspiracy to wipe out the Black community, defending our right to exist equally became Angela's life work...in which she was unjustly jailed for. In the summer of 1970, Johnathan, who at the time was 17 years old entered a Marin County Courtroom and took a Judge, the prosecutor and three female jurors hostage after he armed two black defendants and they all walked out of the courtroom and quickly to a van. Before the van was completely off of court grounds, the police opened fire on the vehicle. Everyone in the van was murdered except for two of the three jurors taken hostage. Johnathan, was heavily armed with guns purchased just a few days before by none other than...Angela Davis. This implicated Angela and the hunt for her head was on. Angela was captured after a short stint on the run. She later served 18 months in prison before her trial but not before the prosecution wanted her to get the death penalty for all three murders (the judge, the prosecutor and the juror). Angela was later found not guilty of all charges and released from prison. Her real crime: Being the embodiment of Black Liberation, the government's imaginary enemy.

Here is this educated woman, who had lost her job and became America's target for her belief in freedom and equality and having the audacity to say so and stand with others that share the vision. In the film, it was disclosed that Angela had an affair with George Jackson during both of their imprisonments. This affair was the prosecution's argument for her involvement in this case.   His opening argument stated that Ms. Davis had uncontrollable passion because she is a woman and she too wanted her "man" to be free and this is why the Marin County Court massacre occurred. The question of the hour then is who was responsible for shootings? Angela Davis wasn't at the scene of the crime and the only reports of shots were those that came from the police. If the "Illuminati" was in existence then, I guess it would be safe to say that the murdered judge, prosecutor and jurors were sacrificial casualties in the war of knowledge and control. Aside from that, Angela Davis and other noted free thinkers/prisoner's of war such as Assata Shakur, Elaine Brown, and George Jackson endured the most extreme counts of legal, racial and political bullying and force. In the midst of this monstrosity, how is it then that "We" are free? Is freedom of speech and the pursuit of happiness limited to law makers and those that enforce them? Which leads more inquiry into the concept of democracy...the very principle that America wanted to protect...the very one that led to the unfair targeting and arrests of those that identified and disagreed with its practices.

The oppression in which we live continues to thrive. Lets begin with what it took to get the film screened in theaters. This film, directecd by Shola Lynch , endorsed by Jada Pinkett-Smith, hasn't received any distribution. Aside from that, movie theaters across America are forcing organizations that wish to show the film to buy out theaters just for screening. America doesn't like the sounds its skeletons make and will stop at no end to make sure no one else is aware of their existence. Non-whites are given harsher punishments for the same crimes committed as whites. Assata Shakur is still on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List and women are still the subjected to chauvinistic thought processes in the system of misogyny. Davis argues that the FBI’s latest move, much like its initial targeting of Shakur and other Black Panthers four decades ago, is politically motivated. "It seems to me that this act incorporates or reflects the very logic of terrorism," Davis says. "I can’t help but think that it’s designed to frighten people who are involved in struggles today. Forty years ago seems like it was a long time ago. In the beginning of the 21st century, we’re still fighting around the very same issues — police violence, healthcare, education, people in prison" (Goodman et al., 2013). It is in fact disdaining and terrifying to those involved with struggle and could be part of the reason for so much voluntary ignorance. As a people we have been divided and conquered. How dare we have an opinion, let alone try to be the change that we want to see....!  How can her "fight" be more radical that the times in which we live...amongst the elements that are stuck in time. Desperate time calls for desperate measures. Is it ok that the American government can use force to protect domestic tranquility as long as the "domesticate" stay in their place? America has taught us that its fair to justify crimes of violent force when the face in front of the smoking barrel is white. Protecting the republic's reputation takes precedence over protecting the people the make up the republic. How democratic is that?

"I think the importance of doing activist work is precisely because it allows you to give back and to consider yourself not as a single individual who may have achieved whatever but to be a part of an ongoing historical movement....As a black woman, my politics and political affiliation are bound up with and flow from participation in my people's struggle for liberation, and with the fight of oppressed people all over the world against American imperialism."-Angela Davis

"Knowledge can transform the practical, after truth forms the radical"- MsNightLyfe.

Sources:
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/3/angela_davis_and_assata_shakurs_lawyer
http://www.biography.com/people/angela-davis-9267589
http://feministstudies.ucsc.edu/faculty/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=aydavis
http://vault.fbi.gov/cointel-pro
www3.law.harvard.edu/journals/hjrej-articles/archive/.../soffiyah.pdf
by JS Elijah - 2002



"Buzzworthy Cravings, Creatively Satisfied!"

Friday, May 17, 2013

Getting "Down" on the Low: An "Out" in the Open Discussion About Homosexuality in the African American Community

We are all familiar with the term "Down Low" brother thanks to J.L. King who took us on a "Journey of In the Lives of Straight Black Men, Who Sleep With Men" back in 2005 on the Oprah Winfrey Show. And while it has been some 8 years since light was shed on a phenomenon that is said to aid in the demise of the black community and the declining health of African-American women due to HIV/AIDS, the concept of "Down Low" is still very prevalent and just as much a taboo subject within the black community now as it was then. Over the years the term "Down Low" has been attached to a negative connotation...much like most things used to classify, stereotype, and place African-Americans in a box. Executive Producer of the web series, No More Down Low TV, Earnest Willborn states that the term "Down Low" vilifies black men who aren't given an "Out" to be who they are. While, I agree that being "Down Low" is a coping mechanism to being in barless prisons, to say that sometimes we help with making these moniker's stick by exhibiting behaviors associated with the definitive would be an entirely different discussion and will be saved for another blog.


Reality TV is on the rise to being a game changer in the issues discussed and how those issues are being portrayed. It has provided a platform to address serious, well deserving issues that plague the black community and this nation. MTV's next documentary series True Life Presents: Living On The Down Low: Secrets, Lies, and Sex will introduce to us two young, black men and detail their struggles with their sexuality because of fear of loosing the very system that they will need for support. According to an exclusive interview provided to The Advocate Tarrodd is a vivacious, pansexual 23-year-old club promoter living in Akron, Ohio who recently got engaged to his girlfriend of six years. I presume that you will find it strange that his long time girl friend has never been to his home because he share his home with his boyfriend. The interview reveals that both found out about the other during the shows filming and thus has given Tarrodd a feeling of relief. "By mainstream standards, Tarrodd had very much lived life “on the down low.” He’s a young, urban black man terrified that coming out will separate him from his family, his friends, and everyone he holds dear. That fear led Tarrodd to hide his sexuality and pursue multiple partners of different genders without telling his fiancee. And while the so-called down low reached the height of public attention years ago, it hasn’t just faded away." (The Advocate)
The first show in the series is the story of a young man that goes by the name Coke. While Tarrod and Coke both share similar stories, Coke's story is far more heart tugging. The soon to be father was living with his mother at the beginning of filming. The documentary will show the intensified shame that Coke endures after coming out to his mother and girlfiriend who did exactly what he expected them to do: ostracize him.

The beautiful part of this documentary is that again, it forces our community, our nation to have conversations about forbidden issues that we all have or had. AIDS/HIV continue to spread in our community. Families are being destroyed and lives are being lost because noone is talking. To have your life placed inside of a box is suffocating when all you want to do is live. It is my hope that the concept of LGBTQ because synomymous with humans in the eyes of mainstream America and its conservatives. The MTV Series airs Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Check your local listings for show times.





"Buzzworthy Cravings, Creatively Satisfied!"

Friday, May 3, 2013

Reign: A Splash of Class Powered by Des Torres and Co. and Women of Plenty Press Release

Women of Plenty/Des Torres and Co.


Women of Plenty and Des Torres and Co. Presents Reign: A Splash of Class



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Houston, TXWomen of Plenty and Des Torres and Co.will present Reign: A Splash of Class, taking place at Club Isis located at 1010 Prairie St. on May 10, 2013 and featuring Jurni Rayne, Melotree, Temper Taking Over, Deontazz of Xstudcee, Look-Alive hosted by Video Vixen Tish.

Women of Plenty and Des Torres and Co is proud to bring Reign: A Splash of Class to Houston, TX for the renowned LGBT Pride, Houston Splash. Reign: A Splash of Class will bring you the most sophisticated affair for the fashion forward LGBT professionals during Houston's most sought after event in the community. Guests will be provided an eloquently posh experience with a red carpet flair. Entertained by talents such as Temper who hails from Chicago destined to be the hottest female rapper in the game, Jurni Rayne all the way from DallasTX, along with her band will have attendees melting over their sultry sound. Deontazz of XSTUDCEE will be  sure to live out their motto and make the panties wetta, and last but certainly not least Look Alive whose name sets the standard as the most talented Hip-Hop/Poet artist in the game will be gracing the stage. Hosted by  the Sexy Video Vixen Tish, Reign: A Splash of Class will be an event to remember. Promotional sponsorship has been provided by Sweet Tooth Media, Xstudcee, N2J Media, Teko the Model, Yellastud, Studs are In, LLC, The Artists The SeriesDJ TnT, BF, and RI.  

To experience this mature, class, and upscale affair for women that loves women and has an appreciation for all things lovely tickets can be purchased:
 Presale until May 5, 2013 $15.00, At the Door - $20.00, VIP(Skip the Line, Appetizers, Red Carpet Photo and Mix and Mingle with Celebrities) - $25.00
A Limited amount of Tables and Sections are available
A Limited amount of Tables and Sections are availableVisit http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6132485429/efbevent  or contact Des @ destorresandcompany@gmail.com to purchase tickets.
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Check Out the KPFT 90.1 Queer Voices Radio Interview about Reign: A Splash of Class with MsNightLyfe and the Reign:- A Splash of Class Promo Video  


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"Buzzworthy Cravings, Creatively Satisfied!"