Insight News

Sep 03rd

The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America

The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  and Race, Class and Crime in America “This book is about more than the arrest of one man. It is abut how we need to examine our criminal justice system to ensure that fairness, not power, is the currency of our system. When we move from a presumption of innocence to a presumption of guilt, we diminish our sense of community and undermine our democratic ideals.

I examine the race and class dimensions of the Gates arrest by looking at how other successful, prosperous and noteworthy African-American men have grappled with a wide range of encounters not only with the police but with countless everyday citizens and have found themselves being judged by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character… Ultimately, if we are to move forward as a nation, we must… develop a justice system that is truly committed to the presumption of innocence.”
-- Excerpted from the Introduction (pg. 13)

When Dr. Henry Louis Gates was arrested for breaking into his own home last summer, black and white America’s diametrically-opposed response to the alleged misunderstanding was reminiscent of the two groups’ similarly contradictory reactions to the Rodney King beating, the Amadou Diallo shooting and the OJ verdict. But what made the Gates case more intriguing was the fact that here was a revered Harvard Professor who relies on a cane being carted off in handcuffs like a common criminal, and even after the cops knew full well that they had made a mistake.

In an Introspective Mood

In an Introspective MoodTavis Smiley - The “Been in the Storm Too Long” Interview

From his celebrated conversations with world figures, to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, as a broadcaster, author, advocate and philanthropist, Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. He is currently the host of the late night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show on Public Radio International (PRI).

Time Magazine honored Mr. Smiley in 2009 as one of "The World’s 100 Most Influential People." The Smiley Group, Inc. (TSG) is a communications corporation established in support of human rights and related empowerment issues. TSG serves as the holding company for various enterprises encompassing broadcast and print media, lectures, symposiums and the Internet.

Here, Tavis talks about Been in the Storm Too Long, a special report on the City of New Orleans airing on PBS on July 21st ET/PT. He also speaks about the On Your Side Tour with Tavis Smiley, a series of free financial empowerment workshops he’s staging in various cities around the country between now and the end of 2010.

Neo-soul artist Tiffany Carter says 'You ain't seen nothing yet' to Minnesota!

Neo-soul artist Tiffany Carter says 'You ain't seen nothing yet' to Minnesota!The room was awestruck, catatonic; lost in the haze of trying to exist inside a memory on the night of “Chantel SinGs Presents Diva’s on the Rise Part 2: A Celebration of Women and Empowerment,” as R&B and NEO-SOUL artist Tiffany Carter exited the stage after wowing crowds with her vocal instrument at the Lounge Night Club.

It’s rare when a guest act becomes the main attraction, but not for Tiffany Carter whose musical gift, in front of and apart the microphone, make every second feel like a melodic journey to the forefront of an ear sensation.

Igniting excitement in her audience, and fulfilling an inherent need never met when prior artists have braved the microphone, Carter, who was fresh off the steam of opening up for National R&B artist Case, a few weeks prior, commanded the stage at “Divas on the Rise” like a headliner, giving us a quaint visual of what’s to come when she’s the exclusive answer to every musical question.

How pets can help you heal

How pets can help you healPet owner recalls how her dog’s companionship assisted her recovery from surgery

Man’s best really can do a lot more than fetch.

Studies have shown for years how pets can help us emotionally as well as physically. They can give us a sense of purpose; help ease loneliness and isolation, while helping us to keep our blood pressure and cholesterol levels low, as well.

Just ask Sara Krill, author of the book My Pal Lou: The Story of Me (, who recalled how her faithful beagle Louie eased her pain when she was recovering from a painful hysterectomy brought on by endometriosis.

“I can’t describe the heartache of the decision I finally had to make to have the surgery,” she said. “I had always wanted children, but the pain of the endometriosis became too much to bear, often bringing me literally to my knees. I knew that once I had the surgery, there would be no chance whatsoever that I could have a child of my own. That being said, perhaps I transferred those maternal feelings to the way I treated Lou, but the truth is that my relationship with him helped to heal me, and kept me whole during one of the most difficult periods of my life.”

The Last Airbender

The Last AirbenderLike clockwork, every two years during the summer Indian born writer/director M. Night Shyamalan comes to the cinematic table with a film of intrigue and suspense that proposes to raise eyebrows and ignite questions from its audience.

But since the late summer release of his 1999 chilling mega hit “The Six Sense,” he’s often failed to pull in Hollywood’s beloved box office numbers. These numbers don’t necessarily speak to one’s ingenuity, but they mark the difference between being known for the ability to draw viewers to the box office, versus suffering from the seething point of view of Hollywood’s finest film critics who can make or break the success of a film in one short review.


EssentialThe Coca-Cola Polar Bear (center) is joined by (left to right) ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks; New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Coca-Cola Company Senior Vice-President, and Chair, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Ingrid Saunders Jones; and ESSENCE Editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray during the kick-off press conference for the 16th annual 2010 ESSENCE Music Festival. This year’s annual three-day event—held over the Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans—also celebrated ESSENCE magazine’s 40th anniversary. The ESSENCE Music Festival is the largest annual gathering of African-American music and culture and featured headliner performances by Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige at the Louisiana Superdome. Attendees were also inspired during the ESSENCE Empowerment Seminars held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center which featured Jada Pinkett Smith, Bill Cosby, Steve Harvey, Bishop T.D. Jakes and many more. The presenting sponsor for the 2010 Essence Music Festival is Coca-Cola. Other 2010 ESSENCE Music Festival sponsors include Coors Light, CoverGirl Queen, Ford, McDonald's, Olay, Pantene, Tide, U.S. Army; Wal-Mart; AARP, CNN, HBO, My Black is Beautiful, TBS, TVOne and Visa.

Actor Amiri Starr, launches online campaign in bid for role as Tupac Shakur

Actor Amiri Starr, launches online campaign in bid for role as Tupac ShakurSan Diego, CA- If Amiri Starr has his way, he'll realize his dream of starring as the late, legendary rap artist Tupac Shakur on the big screen in Antoine Fuqua's upcoming cinematic version of his life.

Shakur's upcoming biopic was last reported to begin shooting in September, and will be directed by Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day," "Tears of the Sun," "Brooklyn's Finest" ). In a recent interview, Fuqua stated he is looking to find a new face to fill the role. "I want to discover someone new. I want to go to the streets and find him anywhere he might be in the world," stated Fuqua.
Amiri Starr wants to take advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity, and has launched a grassroots, online campaign to attract Fuqua's attention. In a riveting and realistic YouTube video performance, posted on his Facebook page, he passionately portrays the famous rap star.
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