Thursday, November 30



I recently had the pleasure to cover the B.E.T. Hip-Hop Awards, which gave the opportunity to talk to some big names in the Hip-Hop game. From platinum grills, to chains that hang low, and wrist pieces, there was plenty of "bling" goin' round on the red carpet.

If BET was handing out an award for "Blinginest" rapper, there would have been several nominees, though one artist would have definitely been the winner: Busta Rhymes (see video). I just received an e-mail via Myspace that got me thinking about my conversations with the artists.

Billiam writes:

Its really f***** up whats going on over there in the Congo Region of Africa with the diamond trade.......thousands of people die everyday for this demand that debeers creates for diamonds by controlling the worlds supply and telling the world that diamonds are extremely rare, when in fact they are not as rare as you would think.

Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons landed in South Africa today (Nov. 27) on a fact-finding mission to learn how the diamond industry can positively affect the lives of black Africans living amongst high poverty, HIV and lack of quality education. Simmons will visit Botswana and South Africa during the fact-finding mission to learn more about the diamond trade.

It's something every diamond lover should think about. Slim Thug, Swizz Beats, and BG were among the rap artists I talked to, and each had their own take on bling. By the way, Black Family Channel (my employer) is about to air a special about the images in Hip-Hop, and what artists are doing to give back. It should air in December.

Here's what some of the artists had to say:

My Niggahs


RhymesWithSnitch says:

This s*** need to stop.
What's the difference between this and a Dave Chappelle skit?
Now I understand why Dave went to Africa.

You have to watch both videos below to get some perspective on this discussion, but there is no difference. It's all comedy, and it highlights the fact that the "N" has become commercialized, even on an international level. Though some black leaders are asking people to stop using it completely, it's painfully obvious that there's no way that will EVER happen.

It's a part of U.S. culture, Hip-Hop culture, black people use it casually, and white people use it many ways (some people may say it to make themselves feel superior, and I bet there are plenty of kids from the suburbs who repeat it while listening to their favorite rapper). When I lived in California, I frequently heard Pacific Islanders, and Asians using it with each other like black people do. Sure, if I'm going to be politically correct I'd say, "This is unacceptable. As a society we must understand the origins of the word, and the hate that goes along with it."

This response by AncientRoots more accurately reflects my personal feelings about it:

"It's just a stupid word! Why must we continue to give that word and it's origins so much of our power and energy? We definitely have greater fish to fry like crack being brought into our neighborhoods specifically to contribute to our extinction, THE HOAX TRAP OF AIDS, ABORTION, AND THE GOVERNMENT BEING OUR BABIES DADDY!

Now without furher delay, check out Chapelle's version:

Now, the Japanese version (it's not as funny, but I'm wondering which skit was produced first Chapelle's version, or this one).

Wednesday, November 29

Is Snoop Dogg America's Most Wanted?

Looks like the DoggFather is in trouble with the law, again. That's all I can say.
Article Link

Blog Check

Since I'm trying to share a little knowledge through the blogosphere, each week I'm going to try to point you to a few other blogs that touch on various issues.

La Shawn Barber's Corner
La Shawn Barber is a freelance writer, who blogs about various social and politital issues. She's also a member of the bloggin network Pajamas Media.

Young, Black & Fabulous (YBF)
A nice blog if you're into fashion, gossip, and want to keep up with your favorite urban celebrities.

Prometheus Six has built quite a community of bloggers. The blog covers social, and political issues, and is worth a visit.

Tuesday, November 28

Independent Black Media

Michelle Brownfield aka Isis Wisdom has been involved in the underground music scene for more than a decade, and now she's working to build a name for herself through her numerous media ventures. She started Word on Da Streetz Magazine, an e-zine that has grown into a bi-monthly magazine (it is expected to debut early next year). She also owns WODS Radio 1420 AM, Streetz TV, and she's always looking for the next opportunity.

I recently sat down to talk to Isis about what inspired her to get into the media game.

WordOnDaStreetz Myspace

Is Money the Root of All Evil?

Take moment to watch the documentary: "America: Freedom to Fascism."
Much respect to AncientRoots for giving me something to think about.

8 Florida Deputies to Face Manslaughter Charges

This is just in from the St. Petersburg Times:

Eight people will face charges of aggravated manslaughter of a person under 18 in the death of Martin Lee Anderson, a Bay County teen who died at a Panama City boot camp, according to the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office.

Those charged include seven boot camp guards and the camp's nurse, prosecutors say. The charges came Tuesday after months of investigation by Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober.

Anderson, 14, collapsed and died Jan. 5 after being roughed up by guards at a Panama City boot camp.

Here's the video:

A Case of Some Crooked Cops?

There's been an interesting twist in the fatal police shooting of Kathryn Johnston. She's the 88-year-old woman who was killed by Atlanta Police last week when a narcotics unit was serving a "no-knock" warrant. The confidential informant says police asked him to lie about the drug purchase that police say happened before officers obtained the warrant.

The Feds are now investigating this one. Atlanta's police chief says he's cooperating to the fullest.

Fox 5 in Atlanta has the exclusive interview with the informant.
Here's a link to the video.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution notes some of the discrepancies in this case:

Many questions and conflicting accounts have surfaced since police shot the woman, described by neighbors as feeble and afraid to open her door after dark. At first police said that the drug buy was made by undercover police, but later they said the purchase was made by an informant. Early on, police said narcotics were found at the house after the shooting, but on Sunday investigators said they had found only a small amount of marijuana, which police don't consider narcotics.

***Please note: Ms. Johnston's age was originally reported as being 92. Media outlets are now reporting that she was 88.

Monday, November 27

Comment About H.I.V. Fundraiser

From HonestMedicine
Thanks to Julia Schopick for sharing some knowledge on the so-called H.I.V. fundraiser that I blogged about earlier.

I can’t help but be frustrated when I read about yet another pharmaceutical company donating to “the cause” -- in this case to an AIDS organization. There has been so much written about how self-serving some pharmaceutical companies are, but people just don’t seem to “get it.”

For instance, did you know that the studies that are done on drugs are very often paid for by the pharmaceutical companies that developed the drugs? AND, when pharmaceutical companies pay for the "research," the “findings” most often “prove” that the drugs are effective.

I appreciate the free flowing informormation.

The "N" Word


Aight, so I'm watching CNN and comedian Paul Moody claims he's going to stop using the "N" word after all of the controversy surrounding Michael Richards' well publicized tirade. California Congresswoman Maxine Waters says it's time to erase the "N" word from the vocabulary.

In theory it sounds great. The word is controversial, it's tied to this country's painful past, and there are two standards: on one hand it's cool if blacks use the word with each other, but if a white person says it... Watch out!

Comedians like Richard Pryor (RIP) and most recently Dave Chapelle have used the word as part of comic relief, and saying it is almost mandatory in rap music. So while the debate continues, think if you're ready to forgive Richards for his few minutes of madness.

Light a Candle for H.I.V.


I received an e-mail that I wanted to pass along about an H.I.V. fundraiser (thanks Kelly P).

As World AIDS Day approaches (Dec. 1), we are reminded that millions of people need our help with the AIDS pandemic, but we often think, "What can I do?"

Here is one simple way you can help, and it costs you nothing but a
moment and a mouse click.

Bristol Myers Squibb will donate $1 for every person who goes to their web site and lights a candle to fight AIDS, up to a max of $100,000 (chump change for them, but we'll take it). At this point, the counter is just over 72,400... so we need many more candles lit.

Please go to this link to light a candle... and help spread the light.


Message from The Urban Reporter


I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Though this is a time for family, and good times, take a moment to think about those around the world who are suffering.

If we all put our minds to it, and work to do a little good, it will go a long way.


Sunday, November 26

A Picture of Police Brutality

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Words can't explain the thoughts that are going through my mind as I try to digest what appears to be a terrible case of police brutality. You're looking at a picture of 23-year old Sean Bell (R.I.P.) and his fiance Nicole Paultre. Bell was killed by NYPD officers on his wedding day while leaving his bachelor party. So far I haven't heard a valid reason why police felt they had to shoot 50 times. My prayers are with the victim's families.

It's not the first time something like this has happened in NY.
From African American Opinion:

"This is the same NYPD that In 1999, killed Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant who was shot 19 times in the Bronx. The four officers in that case were acquitted of criminal charges.

This is the same NYPD that in 2003, killed Ousmane Zongo was shot to death during a police raid. The 43-year-old, a native of the western African country of Burkina Faso, was hit four times, twice in the back."

They Shot 50 times At Unarmed Men

From & The Chicago Sun Times
Here's the latest info I could find on the NY strip club police shooting:
The shooting apparently involved some sort of "undercover investigation."
The victims were unarmed.
"The boys" shot at least fifty times, and aren't saying much.

Saturday, November 25

They'll Shoot

From Reuters &
I haven't researched the number of fatal police shootings in past years, but it seems like the the po pos (that's police if you're not up on your slanguage) are quick to blast these days. The latest incident involves a 23-year-old groom who was shot and killed at his bachelor party at a New York strip club. So far "the boys" haven't given a reason or rhyme why they shot, but two other men were also injured in the gunfire.

The details are limited, and there isn't a lot of information about the victims, but I'll take a wild guess, they're black. Maybe I'm wrong, but regardless, it's a tragedy. I'll be keeping an eye out for the details.

Friday, November 24

He Said Some Nasty Things

Every journalist has the responsibility, or at least should strive to be objective. The whole issue is up for debate as it relates to journalism because let's face it, every reporter has personal opinions and judgments that become part of each story, whether it's intentional or not (that however is another discussion).

Generally, objectivity means that a story is reported from a neutral perspective, or as this Wikipedia definition explains:

"An objective story is typically considered to be one that steers a middle path between two poles of political rhetoric."

That being said, it would be in the interest of journalistic objectivity for me to repost comedian Michael Kramer's explanation about his racist remarks in his own words, even though as a blogger I'm not required, nor expected to be objective.

I just found CBS' YouTube clip of the interview, and will reserve my opinion. I'll leave you to formulate your own after watching it for yourself.

A Conversation About Reparations

I recently spoke to Minister Ishmael Abdul-Salaam about reparations. He's a National Chairman with AFRE (All For Reparations and Emancipation).

The group is working to obtain reparations for people in the African diaspora who've been affected by the slave trade. Slavery was an interntional business that many countries participated in, including the U.S.

Congressman John Conyers (D) Michigan has been trying to pass a reparations bill since 1989 (H.R. 40).
Rep. Conyers outlines the challenges:

"One of the biggest challenges in discussing the issue of reparations in a political context is deciding how to have a national discussion without allowing the issue to polarize our party or our nation. The approach that I have advocated for over a decade has been for the federal government to undertake an official study of the impact of slavery on the social, political and economic life of our nation."

The U.S. Government has given reparations to other groups like Japanese-Americans who were unfairly imprisoned during World War II. Is there any debate that blacks were unfairly treated for some 400 years? Companies that exist today were built with free labor, and, regardless of your color, we all deal with the social and economic effects from the slave trade.

Here are some of Minister Abdul-Salaam's thoughts on reparations, and why he believes it's a global human rights issue. Write your local fedral representative if you think this is an important issue.

The Number 2 Man at NY Times Passes

From Journal-isms & NABJ
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Photo credit: Leah Jones/NABJ

Richard Prince reports that the highest ranking African American at the NY Times, Gerald Boyd has passed at age 56.

"Gerald M. Boyd, the only black journalist to rise to the highest newsroom ranks at the New York Times, died Thursday at his New York home after battling lung cancer."

NABJ President Bryan Monroe says:

"Gerald was a passionate, focused journalist whose tenacity and dedication were a role model for us all."

There are a couple of big holes to fill in the journalism world. First Ed Bradley, and now Boyd.

Thursday, November 23

Be Thankful

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I want to thank a moment to reflect on everything I have to be thankful for, including, my family, my health, and my creative energy. During the day-to-day pursuits, it's so easy to get distracted and to forget that many people around the world don't have the freedoms or the ability to express themselves, as we do here in the U.S. (Check out Michelle Malkin's blog for a list of why us media heads should be thankful)

I thank you for taking the time to visit My Urban Report, and I appreciate all of you who've encouraged me to keep this up. I hope I'm providing interesting, thought provoking, and entertaining information. I'm thankful that I've been able to share some light shine with you all.

Some Say Police Shoot Cuz We Let Them

From Exodus Mentality
Dwight Hunter (a former police officer) makes some interesting points in his opinion about the Atlanta police shooting that left a 92-year old woman dead.

"Unfortunately, there are fundamental flaws in law enforcement that contribute to the disturbing upward trend in police shootings. Minorities are most likely to be on the "bullet end" of police shootings, and that continues to raise the specter of racism and and discrimination in law enforcement."

The whole situation smells foul. Aren't the police supposed to know who may be inside a home before they break in? And you wonder why some brothas don't like the police.

Wednesday, November 22

O.J. Talks About "His" Book

From The Feed
TV critic Eric Deggans recently interviewed OJ Simpson about his book, "If I Did It." Simpson has been highly criticized for "writing" the book, which some have interpreted as being a confession to the murders of his wife Nicole Brown-Simpson, and Ron Goldman.

Deggans transcribes the interview on his blog. Here's a portion of OJ's response explaining how the book deal came about:

"I was approached to do a book from a company that had 12 or 13 best-sellers last year. They presented a book – I think it was Barbara Boxer the politician and Nicole Ritchie, the way they told me those books were written, is they were fiction/fact. The names were changed but you pretty much knew who they were talking about. When I first sat down with the writer I felt that was the book I was going to do. The writer on the other hand, had a different take. He felt that he was told that it was a confession book. (Publisher) Judith Regan had told him, hired him, that it was a confession book. I said confess what? I’ve got nothing to confess. That was almost the end of the deal."

Now I'm curious as to what OJ had to say in that interview that was nixed by Fox. Though he was found not guilty of the murders, some still call him a killer. Was it justice? I think money buys that.

The Power of Blogs

Here's an interesting article about a 21-year-old blogger who has become a news leader of sorts.
Click here

92-Year-Old Woman Shot to Death by Police

In the few months that I've lived in Atlanta, local law enforcement have been involved in numerous deadly shoot outs, with primarily black people. In Dekalb county, officers have been criticized for being "trigger happy," because of all of the police shootings this year.

As I'm sitting here writing this post, Atlanta's Assistant Police Chief is explaining live on TV how a 92-year-woman named Kathryn Johnston was shot, and killed last night during a so-called drug bust.

Police say they bought drugs earlier in the day from a man at the home, then obtained a "no knock" search warrant, which means they didn't knock before they busted into the home. Her family says she lived alone and kept a gun for protection, and after the plain clothes officers entered, she started bustin. She shot three officers, who will be okay. Johnston died in hail of gunfire.

An investigation is underway, but can there be any justice in this tragedy?

Pac's Life

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Tupac Shakur's latest album entitled "Pac's Life," is now in stores. Tupac influenced so many aspects of the Hip-Hop game, and on Tuesday, November 21, his loyan fans, and family gathered at The Tupac Shakur Foundation Arts Center in Atlanta Ga, to celebrate the release of his latest record.

Even in death, Pac is leaving his mark on the world, through his music, and through the foundation which provides arts training for youth. His mother Afeni, established it in 1997. Teens from ages 12-18 get training in creative writing, singing, acting, stage set design, dance, poetry & spoken word, and entertainment.

I spoke to O.G. producer Shorty B about the unsolved murder and Pac's legacy (Shorty and Pac go back to the Digital Underground days).
Check it out:

Protest Expected over Florida Boot Camp Death

Tallahassee Democrat
When Florida's new Governor Charlie Crist is sworn into office, the state's Black lawmakers, and NAACP are planning to silently protest. It's because the state hasn't concluded the investigation into the death of 14-year-old Martin Anderson. The teen died on Jan. 6, a day after he was hit and kicked by guards at a Bay County juvenile boot camp. Black leaders say answers are long overdue.

Snipes Speaks out about Tax Fraud

From EURweb
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Actor Wesley Snipes is talking about his October 17 tax faud indictment. He says he's a "scapegoat," and the federal government is unfairly targeting him. The U.S. Government accuses Snipes of not paying 12-million dollars in taxes, and alleges that he didn't file a tax return from 1999 through 2004. Snipes faces 16 years in prison if convicted. He's currently in Namibia, filming a movie.

Tuesday, November 21

Seinfeld Comedian Says "Sorry"

From CTV
Michael Richards aka "Kramer," from Seinfeld aplogized via satellite interview on the David Letterman show for his racist outburst during at a comedy show in LA. An audience member with a video phone taped the tirade, which ended up on the website "I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this" said Richards, who was apparently being heckled by two audience members.

"Not a racist?" I would say more but I'm not putting any more energy into my thoughts about that guy, because I have better things to think about. He is sorry.

Monday, November 20

Did Flavor Flav Sell Out?

Last week, I posted an interview with a brotha (see Real Talk) who was critical of Hip-Hop music's portrayal of Black women, and more specifically, spoke out about the popular reality show, "The Flavor of Love." If you haven't seen it, or don't know about the host Flavor Flav, he's the "hype man," for the once popular political Hip-Hop group "Public Enemy." He used to talk about being, "no sell-out," and was critical mainstream media, remember "She watched Channel Zero?"

On the reality show, he basically has a house full of women who compete for his attention and affection. It's ghetto-fab to say the least.

When I attended the recent BET Hip-Hop awards, another reporter asked Flavor about the reality show, and if it contradicts his rap image.

This was his response:

A couple of months ago,I interviewed "Beautiful" (Kelly Jay) about her experience on the second season of the show. I posted it earlier. Here's the link to it, in case you missed it.

UCLA Student Tazered at Library

& AfricanAmericanOpinion
Much love to contributors of the AfricanAmericanOpinion blog for relaying this story. UCLA students have apparently started a petition requesting that tazers be banned from campus, after police tazered a student when he didn't show his student I.D., and refused to leave the library.

Looks like a student with a camera kind of caught the incident on tape. Props to Skycam for posting it on YouTube. All you video rookies have to be a little more aggresive when it comes to getting the money shot, but it certainly sounds like the kid got lit up.

As a side note, I know what it feels like, and it doesn't tickle.
Click here to watch me get a dose of the volts.

Is Kramer a Racist?

Aight, this is stright up offensive and disgusting. So if you check out this video of Michael Richards aka Kramer (from the hit show Seinfeld), you've been warned. He loses it onstage hurling racial epithets that leaves the crowd stunned. You'll see people leaving the comedy show before Richards leaves the stage. has the exclusive video. Looks like someone with a camera phone or video cam was rolling on the act. Just another example of citizens getting in, where the TV cameras can't.

Click here to see the show.

Giving and Thanks

This is the time of the year when most people spent time with family to remember everything they're thankful for. Of course, it's important to be gracious everyday of the year, but it's always great to gather with family or friends for fellowship, and to eat all that good food: Greens, mac 'n cheese, stuffing, sweet potato pie, mmmmm I'm getting hungry thinking about it. Anyhow, enjoy your week and don't forget to at least think about those who are without, and even better, give a lil time, or a turkey to an organization that's trying to make the holiday special for all.

Saturday, November 18

Is There Help for Darfur?

& The Associated Press
I must pay respect to all of the U.S. military men and women who are in Iraq fighting in the so-called war on terror. I say so-called, because the President's premise for invading the country and toppling Saddam Hussein's regime proved to be groundless. There never were any weapons of mass destruction, and we all know that. Furthermore, if Osama Bin-Laden was responsible for the September 11th attacks, shouldn't the U.S. be focused on capturing him? Of course now that nearly 3,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, and there's no end in sight to the violence, a troop withdrawal would only intensify the problems.

So while the U.S. is engaged in this senseless war, very little has been done to prevent the genocide that's been occurring in Sudan since 2003. 200,000 people have been killed by the government supported Arab militias called the Janjaweed. 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes, and even though the Sudanese government and one of the rebel groups signed a peace agreement back in May, the violence is increasing. Humanitarian aid groups are crumbling because of the violence. The most recent development occurred on Thursday when the U.N., Sudanese envoys, and the AU reached an agreement for a mixed peacekeeping force to be deployed with hopes that some stability could be returned to Darfur.

The U.N.'s top humanitarian official says the militias are committing acts of "inexplicable terror" on civilians, including children. So somebody please tell me... Why hasn't a war on terror been declared against those groups?

Friday, November 17

Have you heard of Josh Wolf?

From FreedomOfThePrez
This post is a lil different from the news I normally share, but it's an important story. A freelance videographer, and blogger named Josh Wolf, is currently being detained because he's refusing to turn over unpublished footage he shot during a 2005 SF protest to the Federal Government.

SPJ President Christine Tatum writes:

Today, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear Wolf's appeal en banc (meaning that the court will let stand the ruling handed down by a panel of the appellate court's judges).

Not only did the 9th Circuit deny Josh's petition, it also ruled that he can have no bail and that "no further filings shall be accepted in this case."

For the full story, visit

Did Media Misread the Election?

From Journal-isms
Oakland's Mayor-elect says the media misread the election results according to Richard Prince, who writes:

Ronald V. Dellums wondered aloud why the news media did not relate the outcome of the midterm elections last week to the failed government response to Hurricane Katrina last year. "People went to the polls to express themselves on Katrina. It's not been talked about," according to the California Democrat who served 28 years in Congress and is preparing to take office as mayor of Oakland.

Prince, however goes on to report that,

A post-election Newsweek poll released this week did not list Katrina as one of respondents' reasons for reducing President Bush to a historic low 31 percent approval rating. But when asked about overall priorities for the Congress and the president over the next two years, 51 percent said the Iraq war and national security should be the bigger priority, while 33 percent said it should be domestic issues such as the economy and health care. Another 15 percent said national security and domestic issues should be equal priorities.

Slavery Exhibit in NY

From Topix
A new exhibit in New York examines how slavery, though outlawed in the state in the 1820s continued to be a divisive issue. It's called 'New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War," and it's a follow up to an exhibit from last year that explored the importance of the slave trade to building the city until it was made illegal.

New York business helped support Southern slave owning plantations by taking raw materials like cotton and shipping it to Europe. For every dollar made off cotton, New York City got 38 cents. In the mid-1800s New York City also became the center of the anti-slavery and abolitionist movements. Both blacks and whites worked separately and together to bring publicize slavery's immorality.

The exhibit runs from now until September 3.

Thursday, November 16

Real Talk

Sometimes, brothas just need to get a 'lil off their chest. That was the case when I sat down with this cat who didn't really want to talk on camera, so I told him I wouldn't reveal his identity (something about him being a black super hero). On the real. He has a Ph.D. in Psychology and works at a New York college as an advisor, and he's real sharp. We talked about the media and the images that are portrayed in the news and in hip-hop music.

Check it out:

Key Posts for Black Congress Members

From WashingtonPost
The Congressional Black Caucus is representing. Five members could take leadership roles in key House committees when Democrats take control of Congress. They are:
John Conyers Jr. (Mich.) of Judiciary, Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.) of intelligence, Juanita Millender-McDonald (Calif.) of House Administration, Reps. Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.) of Ways and Means, and Bennie Thompson (Miss.) of Homeland Security. Additionally Rep. James E. Clyburn (S.C.), is in line to be named majority whip, which would make him the third-ranking Democrat in the House.

O.J. Confession?

From Topix
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O.J. Simpson's publisher calls it a confession. The former NFL great, is releasing a book in which he apparently explains how he "could have" killed his wife Nicole Brown-Simpson, and Ron Goldman more than a decade ago. Simpson was acquitted of the charges in 1995. Now he has written a book entitled, "If I did It" which will go on sale in two weeks. He recently sat down with Fox News to talk about it. The interview will air in two parts on November 27, and 28.

"If" you did it O.J., how about why, or how?

Wednesday, November 15

BET Hip-Hop Awards: From the Red Carpet

On Sunday, November 12th, Atlanta was the epicenter of the Hip Hop universe, as the first ever BET Hip-Hop awards invaded the city. The show was taped, and will air on Wednesday night. This was the inaugural awards show for the network, and it mainly featured performances from current artists like Ludacris, Young Jeezy, and The Game. Hip Hop O.G. Snoop Dogg also performed.

BET has released a partial list of winners:
Producer of the Year: Jermain Dupri

Rookie of the Year:

Video of the Year:
T.I. "What You Know"

The event was dominated by male performers. Da Brat, Yo-Yo, and Remy Ma, were among the few female rappers who graced the red carpet. Hip-Hop, is of course more than just the music, it's a culture, that now has worldwide influence.

I was joined by my production assistant/intern Dana Maxwell who helped me behind the scenes, as we talked to other media, and stars on the red carpet. Enjoy the episode:

Remembering Ed Bradley and Gerald LeVert

From EURWeb
Next Tuesday, November 21st, friends and family will celebrate the life of the late newsman Ed Bradley, at New York's Riverside Church. Bradley died Thursday of leukemia, at age 65.

The service for Gerald LeVert will be at the Cleveland Convention Center - Music Hall (a date and time hasn't been announced yet). The singer died Friday morning of a heart attack.

Please pray for the families of these two men. Each was a legend, and is missed.

Monday, November 13

MLK. Memorial Groundbreaking

From CNN
5,000 people braved chilly, rainy weather to watch President George Bush break ground on the national memorial for the late, great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It's being built near the Lincoln memorial where King gave his monumental, "I Have a Dream" speech in the nation's capital. Civil rights leaders and former President Bill Clinton also attended the ceremony. Clinton signed the legislation that created the memorial during his presidency. The monument should be completed by 2008.

Did BET Discriminate?


Talk show host Reuben Armstrong was so upset with the way he was treated before BET's Hip-Hop Awards show that he didn't even stay for the main event.

"We didn't get the same access that CNN and The Atlanta Journal Constitution got," Armstrong claims. "When I complained, I was told if I didn't like it, I could pack my bags and go back to Louisiana."

That's exactly what he did. Now the headline on Armstrong's website reads, "Black journalists were treated unfair at the 2006 BET Hip-Hop Awards."

"That's unfortunate," says BET's Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Michael Lewellen. "We are the last to discriminate against Black media, because we are black media," explains Lewellen, who is reportedly planning to leave the company soon.

Armstrong, says BET didn't give him access to the red carpet, and grew frustrated when organizers didn't arrange sit down artist interviews with him. He also believes that BET supplied some outlets with the results of the winners, but didn't give the information to others. Armstrong returned home Saturday, the awards show was taped Sunday night.

"I talked to other black journalists and they told me the same thing," Armstrong says.

"That's not true," according to Lewellen. He says that media outlets had to pre-register in advance, and there was limited space available on the red carpet.
As far as releasing the results to some outlets, over others he says, "Unlike the big show which is live, the Hip Hop Awards is taped, so we we're not releasing the winners prior to Wednesday night."

Lewellen also explained said that the artists willing to be interviewed made themselves available to all media in the press room, but BET never planned to coordinate one on one interviews with specific news organizations.

As Hip-Hop moguls, and celebrities filed across the red carpet Sunday, a variety of media organizations including dozens of Black outlets interviewed celebrities and snapped pictures. During the show, BET provided a live feed in the media room where journalists could see and report the results.

"BET goes out of the way to allow not just A-list media, but B-list and C-list media as well, and most of the other awards shows don't do that," Lewellen says.

As far as telling Armstrong that he could "pack his bags," Lewellen says he told him, "You're certainly free to go back to Louisiana, but we'd like you to stay for the show."

These are my personal observations:

Local Atlanta TV news crews were inside the media center, just like everyone else. BET allowed groups of five crews at a time to tape the Saturday afternoon rehersals which included Ludacris, and Young Jeezy. Most of the organizations represented Black media, however, I met several people who work with CNN and it didn't seem like they were being treated differently. Some people complained because they weren't credentialed for the red carpet, but my associate producer, and myself had no problems with our passes, or access. There were numerous opportunities to interview artists, and celebrities on the red carpet. Once the event started, BET provided a live feed inside the media tent, and Snoop Dogg, T.I., and Flavor Flav were among these that answered questions. That evening, BET also provided a release of categories and winners not presented in the show which include:

Hip-Hop Track of the Year:
Yung Joc - "Going' Down"

Element Award: Best Hip-Hop Dance:

Best Hip-Hop Movie:
"ATL" - Chris Robinson

Hip-Hop CD of the Year
T.I. - "King"

Element Award: Vido Director of the Year:
Hype Williams

BET Mobile Hot Ringtone Award:
Young Dro f/T.I. - "Shoulder Lean"

Best UK Hip-Hop Act:

This Week

The first ever BET Hip Hop awards were taped in Atlanta on Sunday November 12th, and it was hot. Snopp Dogg, Ludacris, and Young Jeezy were among the performers. Hip Hop pioneer DJ Grandmaster Flash has honored with the I AM Hip-Hop Icon Award. The winners included Jermain Dupri, T.I., and Chamillionaire. The show airs this Wednesday. This week, I'll bring you some exclusive footage of the big event.

Saturday, November 11

YouTube Video "Hits" News

YouTube & The Associated Press
The 18 second video clip shows a L.A. police punching alleged gang member William Cardenas in the face repeatedly during an arrest. It happened back on August 11th, but it has now hit the mainstream. CNN reported it, and aired the video on Friday, and the Los Angeles Times, and the AP have reported it as well.

Is it a case of police brutality, or was the suspect resisting arrest? That will be determined in the police probe that has been launched surrounding the officer's conduct. The FBI also announced an investigation into the incident this week.

What this demonstrates, is the power of technology and citizen media. We've all seen police beatings before, dare I mention the King...Rodney? The difference now is, the public no longer needs mainstream media to take the lead in reporting a story. Anyone with a camera, and footage can webcast the information, and, if it's determined to be newsworthy, mainstream media will follow the public's lead.

Watch for yourself:

Friday, November 10


As mentioned in a previous post, the city of Atlanta is preparing for the first ever BET Hip Hop Awards, and it's expected to be a star studded event. On Friday, a couple of co-workers and I picked up our media passes for the event.

Check out our adventure below.


From Wikipedia
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Gerald LeVert has reportedly died from a heart attack. He was an R&B singer from the musical LeVert family. His father Eddie, was the lead singer for the 1970s soul group The "O'Jays." Gerald, sang with his brother, Sean, and Marc Gordon, in the R&B trio "LeVert." He also sang with Keith Sweat, and Johnny Gill, in the group "LSG." Gerald LeVert was 40.


From BET
The biggest names in rap world will be in Atlanta this weekend for the first ever BET Hip Hop Awards. Ludacris, Young Jeezy, and Snoop Dogg are among the performers, Cat Williams is hosting the event, and it should be hot. Stay tuned, I'll bring you some exclusive footage.

Coke Supplies Africa with Clean Water

From Reuters
Coke is planning to supply parts of Africa with clean water. It's part of a plan to help local communities deal with environmental issues. Coke is working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to install pumps and extend municipal water taps into outlying communities in Mali.

Thursday, November 9

R.I.P. Ed Bradley

From CBS
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Photo from John P. Filo/CBS

Please take a moment of silence for a TV news pioneer. Veteran CBS news correspondent Ed Bradley passed away at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan from leukemia complications. Bradley joined the "60 Minutes" staff 26 years ago. He won 19 Emmys, and sported a signature hoop in his left ear. Bradley was 65.

Is the News in Color?

& Journal-isms
I woke up this morning and scanned the online headlines like usual, and then it hit me: Change is in the wind. The AP reported that Democrats claimed the Senate, to go along with the already announced House victory. Donald Rumsfeld is out, President Bush looked humbled during his press conference, and Nancy Pelosi(D-California), is expected to be the Speaker of the House, and the first female to serve in that position.

The media's coverage of the election also caught my attention. Richard Prince calls it a "Seismic Shift," in his article on the results. CNN featured, former Rep. J.C. Watts (R), and Marcus Mabry of Newsweek, as commentators (both are black), as well as CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley who is a woman. In addition, Frederica Whitfield, who is black, and Rick Sanchez, a Latino, anchored for the network.

Compare that to Fox News Channel, which featured primarily white men, with one exception, Juan Williams, the lone black journalist.

For the most part though, Asian, Latino, and Native American reporters were scarce. This world is growing more diverse by the day, except, it seems, on most news networks.

Wednesday, November 8

Barbershop Talk

Biggie Smalls may have said it best when describing the plight of brothas, "Either you slang crack rock, or you gotta wicked jump shot." Unfortunately, the images are often reinforced through music, and on television. Hip Hop music often promotes the "gangsta" image, and if you ask any kid growing up in the inner city what he wants to do in the future, don't be surprized if the response is, "I wanna be a rapper," or "play football or basketball." What about being a lawywer, doctor, banker, or teacher?

Can the media be blamed for misguiding the youth? Of course not. That responsibilty rests with the parents. Sadly, families are broken, babies are having babies, and at times, men aren't taking responsibility for their actions.

Jerry White is a man who measures up to the definition of a righteous brotha. He's one of the first cats I met in tha "A". He's god fearing, responsible, and well respected. So when he asked me to bring my camera to his barbershop to tape a heartfelt discussion about ways to improve the community, I didn't hesitate.

Watch and listen to this sample, as these brothas build a little knowledge.

Journalists Reach Out

During his fifteen years working at The Atlanta Voice, veteran journalist Stan Washington has watched how technology has transformed the news business.

"We didn't have laptops, certain software, we didn't have digital recorders, digital photography, everything has gone digital, and it's constantly changing," he said.

Washington, was among a group of seasoned media professionals with the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists who spent a portion of their weekend giving back to aspiring college students from the region.

"They need some guidance because it's a giant mine field," explains Washington, who founded AABJ thirty years ago. "By the time they get to be seniors, or where we are, the business will have totally changed."

The AABJ, (a local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists), has made it a priority to reach out to journalism, public relations, and broadcast students, and for good reason. The number of minorities working for America's newspapers is declining, even though the population of minorities is increasing, according to an annual survey released by the American Society of Newspaper Professionals.

The numbers on the broadcast side aren't as discouraging. According to the RTNDA/Ball State University Annual Survey, the percentage of minorities who work at local TV stations rose to its second highest level ever last year.

Regardless, the AABJ, which is celebrating it's 30th Anniversary, wants to help guide students to success. On Saturday, November 4th, a room packed with them met on the campus of Morehouse College, to peep game from the professionals.

Watch below to see what some had to say about the meeting.

First Muslim Congressman

From BBC
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Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), has become the first Muslim to ever be elected to Congress. Ellison is a 43-year-old lawyer who wants the immediate withdrawal of U.S. Troops in Iraq. He supports the development of renewable fuels, and a universal government funded healthcare system.

Tuesday, November 7

Jay-Z's New Album

From TheFury
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Cincinnati Hosts 2008 NAACP Convention

The Queen City of Cincinnati beat out Las Vegas to host the NAACP's yearly convention in 2008. The organization's Board of Directors chose the city in a unanimous vote. The annual convention is one of the largest gatherings of African American's in the country. The 2007 Convention will be in Detroit, from July 7-10.

In Tha Dogg House

From Topix
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Snoop Dogg, aka Calvin Broadus has been booked one count of felony weapons charges. The rapper turned himself into Orange County officials Monday. Snoop is accused of trying to board a plane with a baton that authorities say was hidden in a laptop case. He's expected to post bail, but could face up to three years in prison.


I voted! Hope you did too. The political ads have been vicious, politicians threw low blows, sucker punches, and cheap shots (at least that seemed to be the case in Georgia), and now voters have the chance to have their say at the polls. A lot is on the line. The President, and Republicans want to keep control of Congress. Democrats are trying to get in the game, hoping that recent scandals and the chaos in Iraq will sway voters.

I brought my camera along on my first voting mission in Georgia, and I include some thoughts on voter participation from two candidates, Catherine Davis (House Dist. 4), Dr. Deborah Honeycutt (House Dist. 13), and NewsMakers Live moderator Maynard Eaton.

Monday, November 6

Global Warming Threatens Kenya

From Washinton Post
Kenya is asking that more be done to reduce global warning because of concerns that climate change will undo gains in the fight against poverty. Kenyan Environment Minister Kivutha Kibwana said "Climate change is rapidly emerging as one of the most serious threats that humanity may ever face." According to a U.N. report, Africa is more vulnerable to global warming than other regions.

This week

Tuesday is election day, and we'll talk to polical columnist Maynard Eaton, as well as Congressional candidates Dr.Deborah Honeycutt (R), and Catherine Davis(R), about voter particpation. We'll also see how Black media professionals are working to help the next generation, and we'll join a group of concerned brothas who are trying to impove their communities.

Saturday, November 4

It Runs in the Family

From and C.Salim
I'm no stranger to this media game. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother interviewing my brother and me. My father always had microphones and tape recorders around, and as I grew older I would usually ask the questions for the interview sessions with friends and family. My brother and I also dabbled in music, but who hasn't rapped, or at least tried.

The media tear really got started after I got my hands on a camcorder back in 1993. First, it was family moments, then episodes with the homies. It all started coming together in college. I had a collection of family and homie moments, and edited it down to a fifty minute video called "the ex-Foundation." I also volunteered at my school's radio and TV stations (my college job even though I didn't get paid).

...ahhhh memories, and many more to come. For now watch my first interview while you tune into the frequencies of Salim Channel (he's a video tape editor for a SF Bay Area TV station).

Friday, November 3

Can Citizens Report?

You found MyUrbanReport. This is a work in progress, and my first attempt at blogging, so be easy. I'm a self proclaimed media head, my passion is video production, and I'm trying to have some fun. I'll be posting news, gossip, and issues related to citizen journalism.

Money Causes Problems

and RhymeswithSnitch
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Morgan State University banned Lil' Wayne from the school, and the rapper could face criminal charges after what reportedly happened at a homecoming concert on Oct. 19. His entourage apparently tossed money to the students during the performance, and you know the kids went crazy. Two women were hurt and a third feinted in the chaos.

Thursday, November 2

H.I.V. Tests for Infants

From IOL
Botswana will start testing infants 16-months and older for H.I.V. The U.S. government is funding the program through PEPFAR (the US President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief). An estimated 38.5 percent of the adults in the African country are infected with H.I.V.

Oldest Baseball Player Passes

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Silas Simmons, the oldest living professional baseball player passed away at age 111, just two weeks after his birthday. Simmons pitched and played outfield for the Negro leagues from 1912-1929. He was born in 1895, the same year as Babe Ruth.

A Black President?

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A CNN poll indicates that Illinois Senator Barack Obama's main competition for the '08 Democratic Presidential nomination is Sen. Hillary Clinton. Senator Obama hasn't decided if he will run for President, but the bigger question is: Will American voters support a brotha?

Black Suicide Story

From &
The study about suicide rates among African Americans made headlines around the country. I'm won't rehash the information, but according to the reports, Black people attempt suicide at a higher rate than was once thought, and the lifetime suicide rate among blacks equals whites.

I compared the headlines of the various media outlets ( provides a comprehensive list). According to the Chicago Tribune, "Blacks not Less Prone to Suicide," while Detroit's WWJ Newsradio 950 reported that "More African Americans Attempting Suicide," and the headline at PsychCentral simply read "New Suicide Attempt Research." It's interesting to see how reporters, and editors interpret information and try to boil it down for the masses. Each headline certainly tells its own story.

Wednesday, November 1

Controversial Chevy Ad

A Chevy ad is stirring up controversy. It features clips of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Hurricane Katrina aftermath footage. The scenes are set to John Mellencamp's "Our Country."

"If they'd marched with us when we got fire hoses turned on us,then maybe they'd deserve to use those images."
-George W. Holmes
Congress for Racial Equality

Judge for yourself:

MegaFest is on Hiatus

From Godizzluv
& Christian Post
Bishop T.D. Jakes has decided that MegaFest won't return to Atlanta in 2007. The four day religious extravaganza attracted tens of thousands of people to the city, and last year it brought more than 90-million dollars to the local economy. The event may return in 2008, but there's no word if it will be in Atlanta.