Essence Magazine Makes Sure That #BlackLivesMatter With February 2015 Issue

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Essence Magazine continues the charge toward racial equality and the fight against police brutality.

On the publication’s Twitter account, they unveiled their February 2015 cover– an entire issue dedicated to the rallying cry of protesters across the nation.

The issue sports an all-black cover with hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter, #handsupdontshoot #heisnotasuspect along with others. The content focuses on many of the women of the #blacklivesmatter movement with commentary from Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander and Isabel Wilkerson, just to name a few.

Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa K. DeLuca wrote a heartfelt letter to readers hoping to help find a “constructive path” to answers.

“It is the first time in our 45-year history that we have not featured a cover image. Pictures are powerful, but so are words. That’s why we’ve invited some of our greatest thought leaders—you included—to help us answer the question on our minds at the moment: Where do we go from here? Beginning this month, inspired by you, we are launching Civil Rights Watch, a new series across our platforms in which we will be chronicling—and calling out—significant gains, losses and solutions in this evolving movement as we all try to find a constructive path forward.

The protests, die-ins, marches and social media campaigns that have been born out of our collective grief have given you an opportunity to express your outrage, show your support for the victims and their families whose lives have been forever changed, and forge alliances with like-minded individuals who also believe that it is time for a change. It gives me hope that so many young people are leading the way, people like Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, the brave and beautiful women behind the BlackLivesMatter movement. When we asked Patrisse for their permission to use their poignant battle cry as the centerpiece for our story, she graciously agreed.”

Read the essay from Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of #blacklivesmatter here.

The #Blacklivesmatter issue of Essence Magazine is on newsstands now!

 

Judge to Decide If Documents from Eric Garner Trial Become Public

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More than a month after a grand jury decided against indicting Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who choked Eric Garner to death, advocates are requesting that jury records from the trial be made public. According to the New York Times, a date has been set to hear the case.

Garner’s  death last July sparked a wave of protests across the nation, raising questions of racial inequality and shining light on issues of police brutality. Now folks are questioning the fairness of the tesimony. The Legal Aid Society; the New York Civil Liberties Union; Letitia James, the city’s public advocate; and The New York Post  have asked  that transcripts from the trail be unsealed.

On January 29, Justice William E. Garnett, of State Supreme Court, will hear the case that Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr hopes will provide answers regarding the lack of justice for her son’s death. “At least we’ll have some transparency and see what they were ruling on,” she told the Times.

However, Staten Island district attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr is decidedly opposed to the records being released, citing potential “adverse consequences” that Pantaleo could suffer “merely on the basis of an accusation.”

What about the consequences that Eric Garner suffered after being accused of selling cigarettes? We’re hoping that his family gets the transparency they’re looking for .

Jourdan Dunn Is Vogue UK’s First Black Cover Model in 12 Years

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February 2015 magazine covers are about to hit shelves. Lucky for us Jourdan Dunn is serving us gorgeous life on the cover of British Vogue.

The  24-year-old beauty, who looks stunning with her blonde bob and rocking that Prada dress, made the announcement via Instagram last week. She’s dubbed 2015 “the year of the Dunn.” We support that.

What we can’t support is the fact that British Vogue is all about flaunting their lack of diversity last year.  All 12 covers of 2014 featured white models. Fellow Victoria Secret angel, Cara Delevingne got two covers. Kate Moss has been a staple cover model for the publication since her career started.

Happy New Year! As we begin 2015, look back at 2014's Vogue covers

A post shared by British Vogue (@britishvogue) on

Perhaps the most significant point to all this is that not only is she the first black model on the cover of the publication in the last 12 month, she is the first black model to appear solo on the cover in 12 years. A decade and then some. Prior to this, Naomi Campbell was the last one to do it in 2002.

According to Stylelist, Harper’s Bazaar U.S. and U.K., Vogue U.K., Vogue Netherlands, Vogue Paris, Vogue Ukraine, Vogue Russia, Teen Vogue, Numéro, Love and Porter magazines all had a diversity dry spell last year. They didn’t employ anyone of color on their covers.

Jourdan has spoken out on the fashion industry’s racism before, saying:
” …There was a season where ethnic models were being represented and then it went back to the same routine of just using one or none at all. It seems like [non-white models] are only cast when it’s hot for one season and everyone jumps on board. It’s a look.”

With some of the backlash that Vogue UK received on the above post, maybe it might trigger a change for the editors to listen to their readers. We’ll see.

Grand Juror in Michael Brown Trial Sues St. Louis Prosecutor for Right to Speak Out on Case

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A grand jury member from the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson trial is seeking permission to speak out against comments made by the prosecuting attorney on the case, Robert McCulloch.

Grand Juror Doe has filed a lawsuit in St. Louis federal court requesting “freedom to challenge McCulloch’s comments, “especially the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges.”

According to the lawsuit, documents released by McCulloch on Nov. 24 “do not fully portray the proceedings before the grand jury.” The comments that he made about the case that night “characterizes the views of the grand jurors collectively toward the evidence, witnesses, and the law, in a manner that does not comport with Plaintiff’s own opinions.”  In other words, he insinuated that all the jurors believed Darren Wilson was not guilty. The juror wants the opportunity to correct that opinion.

Missouri law requires 9 of 12 jurors to agree to return an indictment. It also prohibits grand jurors from speaking about certain aspects of cases, particularly deliberations. “Grand Juror Doe” believes this to be unconstitutional, particularly in the instance when they feel that the case was handled differently than other cases that the jury saw during their term, with a stronger focus on Michael Brown than Darren Wilson as the perpetrator. The juror also claims that the presentation of the laws applicable to the case were not presented clearly, calling them “muddled” and presented “in an untimely manner.”

The juror is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

 

Rita Ora Recreates Beyoncé’s 7/11 Video on a Boat

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Rita Ora decided to pull a Beyoncé and recreate the mega-star’s I-phone shot “7/11” video.

Shot on a yacht with Tommy Hilfiger and his daughter Elizabeth, Rita cuts up and does her best Bey moves with her friends making goofy appearances.

The “Black Widow” hook singer’s next appearance in front of a more professional camera will be as she makes her film debut in the screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.  She will play Christian Grey’s sister, Mia. Her yet-to-be-released 2nd album is also said to be getting a second single to be released in March. Maybe this means the album will see the light of day soon, since the delay was due to her break-up with producer Calvin Harris. Word is he got upset and took back all the tracks he did for the album. For now, this will have to do.

What did you think

 

Shade or Nah: Chrissy Teigen Tweets about Tamera Mowry-Housley’s Pregnancy Announcement

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Good news kicks off the year for Tamera Mowry Housley  and the ladies of The Real… there’s a “Real Baby” on the way.

One-fourth of the co-hosting team made the announcement on Instagram while holding a pregnancy test…

“We are thrilled to announce we are #ClearblueConfirmed! Can’t wait to meet baby #2! Love Clearblue’s pregnancy test with Smart Countdown. It helped me get through the wait to get my result by counting down with me. #spon”

and Tamar Braxton, Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai and Loni Love couldn’t have been more excited as she made the announcement backstage before the show.

This makes baby #2 for Tamera and her husband Adam Housely, who are proud parents to 2-year-old Aden.

So here comes Chrissy Teigen.

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John Legend’s wife, who is known for saying things that can be a bit out of pocket on Twitter, was on time for this one tweeting:

“How much money does clearblue pay celebs to instagram their piss sticks this seems lucrative”

I’d like to believe that 9/10 times these comments are just a case of not being able to denote sarcasm or emotion through text.

What do you think? Is she being shady or just joking around?

Pretty sure that Tamera already had a deal with ClearBlue when she was pregnant the first time. I’m also pretty sure that “#spon” was short code for sponsored, so it wasn’t like she was trying to sneak a plug in somewhere. Even still, can’t be mad at her for getting money, right?

Congratulations to the happy couple!

 

More Minorities and Women Than Ever Are in U.S. Congressional Seats

mia loveSurely no one thought 114 years ago that women would hold 101 seats in Congress. Yet, as the 2015 congressional year starts, this is the largest number of women on the board in history. There is also an increase of minority lawmakers all around, for along with the 84 women, there are 34 Latino-decent, 10 Asian Americans and two Native Americans with hands in making America’s policies.

Notable names include:

Mia Love-  The first black woman Republican in Congress. Also the first black woman from Utah in the position

Elise Stefanik- At the age of 30, she is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

Mazie Hirono (D)- First elected female senator from Hawaii and first Asian American elected Senate, She is currently the only Asian American in the Senate.

Will Hurd- Texas’ first black Republican

Tim Scott- (R) Appointed to South Carolina Senate seat in 2013, also served in the House of Representatives.

Cory Booker (D)- Former mayor of Newark, NJ. First black elected senator for New Jersey.

Marco Rubio (R) Former Speaker of the House for Florida House of Representatives, one of three Latinos in Senate

Ted Cruz (R)- First Latino Senator from Texas

Robert Menendez (D) Latino Senator from New Jersey, serving with Corey Booker

While the numbers are still low, considering that there are 435 members of Congress, this is still an improvement. We look forward to the work that these officials do on behalf of their constituents.