SOCIAL ANGST is more than just a blog, it is an invitation to aid in the building of wealth through the shared task of information distribution and discussion. It is a call to engage – engage in society, engage with your peers, engage in your political system, engage in spreading the wealth that is information, and engage in multiplying that wealth through discussion – so that collectively we may become more socially aware, more socially responsible, more socially vocal and ultimately more socially valuable.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shout It From The Rooftops:

Hey guys. Been along time. Yes, you're right, I do suck. No seriously, I missed you too.
It's not you, it's me. I'll try to do better. Yep, I promise.

Now that that's out of the way... we are just 6 short day away from the midterm elections. The President is jet-setting across the country trying to help reluctant democrat candidates make their case. New York Magazine has blasphemed by suggesting the viability of Palin running for president in 2010. John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are alive with the sound of ridicule. And Rachel Maddow is once again turning me on. (Okay, so she never really stopped).

While most people were busy gearing up for the fall/winter sports season, the nerdiest of of us were engaging in the equally competitive show of strategy, manipulation, and narcissism known as election politics (even LeBron could learn a thing or two from these guys). And while I have been getting my rocks off watching/reading/listening to political coverage 24/7 over the past few weeks, I'm still, sadly, more engaged with the national ramifications of this election season (yes, the outcome of these midterm elections will in fact set the tone for the 2012 Presidential election), than with educating myself on the my local races. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I should be ashamed...

And I would be. If it weren't for the grace of a great little political cheat-sheet site made possible by the folks over at Vote Smart has spent the last 20 years translating political rhetoric and overcomplicated legislation to the average Joe hoping to reengage the public with politics. And they do a damn good job. I should know, I'm a user - and a recent user at that. A few short hours ago, as I attempted to get in a little guilty pleasure time with Chris Matthews, it dawned on me that I didn't know who all my local candidates were this year. I promptly muted Chris (I can only take him in 15 minute doses anyway) and surfed on over to There I encountered one of the greatest voter tools I've ever seen. It's a new interactive guide that helps you find the candidate who is most aligned with your ideologies on the issues. I swoon.

It's really remarkably simple. First, choose your state. Then choose your district (don't worry - they'll help you find it). Then vote the issues - abortion, Afghanistan, crime, economy, education, guns, healthcare, immigration, social issues (read: gay marriage), social security, taxes - and voila through the magic of data collection and coding, your perfect candidate emerges from the long list of potentials. It really doesn't get much easier than that. Ten minutes to find your candidate soulmate. If only love were so simple...

If you know anyone who is at the border of becoming politically engaged but just needs a resource to get her up to speed...send them this post! There's also a great 9 minute video on the Vote Smart organization on youtube. Unfortunately, they won't let me embed. Frowners.

Peace and blessings people.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Social Commentary:
Relationship Advice From Just Any-Old-Body?

This week many excellent writers and scholars (Marc Lamont Hill, Talib KweliDemetria Lucas, Very Smart Brother The Champ) have effectively demystified the unintelligible relationship rantings of a rapper named Slim Thug (if you don't know who Slim Thug is, do not be dismayed, you are in good company - not many people do).  Other than making blog headlines this week for publicly admonishing the state of Black relationships (which, let's face it, is not unique, imaginative, or edgy at this point), I couldn't tell you one thing about the "emcee".

This post is not aimed at joining the debate regarding the merits of Slim's commentary.  The above mentioned writers/scholars have all done a good job of that.  Instead, I'd like to pose the following question:  Since when did we start taking relationship advice from just any-old-body?


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Blog Snatch: Black Snob Reviews Bitch Is The New Black

Greetings all.  Yes I know it's been a long time (but more on that later).  I'm back (for today at least) with a Blog Snatch I think you'll find interesting.

Remember a few months back when I did a rebuttal post (In The Company of Misery) to the Washington Post article on author Helena Andrews and her (then) soon to be released freshman project Bitch Is The New Black?  Well, it is time to offer Ms Andrews our congratulations because her book hit the shelves this month. :-)


Saturday, February 27, 2010

In The News:
President Obama Address the Earthquake in Chile

A collected President Obama speaks to the press about the earthquake in Chile, the potential for a tsunami, and how the White House intends to respond.


Racism? You Decide.
AZ Rep. Trent Franks: Slavery Policies Better Than Present Policies for Blacks

Open mouth.  Insert Foot.

I want to send a big Social Angst shout out to Hello Negro for shedding light on this story.  In an interview with blogger Mike Starks, Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks made the following incendiary statement:
FRANK: In this country, we had slavery for God knows how long. And now we look back on it and we say “How brave were they? What was the matter with them? You know, I can’t believe, you know, four million slaves. This is incredible.” And we’re right, we’re right. We should look back on that with criticism. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul. And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery. And I think, What does it take to get us to wake up?
Hmmm.   Now I know people are going to fault me for this, but the statement, taken in context, doesn't appear to be overtly racist.  I will readily admit that there was a more tactful, less inflammatory way to make his point.  However, I think it is disingenuous to propagate that his message implies Blacks were better off as slaves.  Instead, what I get from his commentary is that hindsight is 20/20.  Looking back at slavery everyone can see how devastatingly wrong it was.  Yet it wasn't so obvious then (in his mind anyway).  I believe that what he is saying is that in the present, we are unable to see how destructive our current political policies are to Black Americans.

Of course, I don't agree with Rep. Franks.  In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that he isn't the greatest champion of diversity. But that said, I don't think his comments were overtly racist.  I have to call them like I see them folks. 

Anyway, make sure to check out Hello Negro for a differing opinion and the video of Frank making the statement.  Then, go ahead and decide for yourself.
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We Are The World 25 For Haiti

I've been under a rock for the last several weeks and as I emerged today, I finally got a chance to check out the video for We Are The World 25.  The remake of the Jackson/Jones/Richie classic has been updated to feature some of today's most well known musicians and is quite different from the original.  Featuring a hip hop inspired rap verse and an autotunes appearance or two, the song captures the state of present day music.  Not that everyone is happy about that (Jeff Winbush over at The Daily Voice isn't much of a fan).

I, on the other hand, quite like the new rendition.  Winbush is right in his assessment that the modern day spin of the song lack the musicality of the original.  However, I find the production to be quite impressive.  To find cohesion in the juxtaposition of such a wide variety of voices and musical genres is simply amazing.

Anywho, since I'm playing catch up, I'm sure you've seen the video already.  However, for those of you who are just as late as I am, please check out the video for yourself below.  


Racism? You Decide.
University of Missouri Black Culture Center Littered with Cotton

Okay, so in the grand scheme of things there isn't really much for you to decide on this one.

The Columbia Daily Tribune is reporting a public display of racism on the University of Missouri campus.  On Friday, February 26th, students woke up to find cotton balls strewn across an area outside of the campus Black Culture Center.  Campus security is investigating the racially motivated vandalism.

Black students are not taking the situation lightly and discouraged campus police officers from cleaning the scene.  Sophomore JaNee Harrell, and graduate student Marcus Mayes, spoke with the Tribune:
The cotton should be left in public view, “so every black on campus can recognize the hate crime,” Harrell said. “Every minority on campus should be offended, just as whites should be embarrassed.”
Marcus Mayes, a graduate student who works at the center, said the majority of students walking by the building this morning were upset.
“It’s not just an African-American thing,” he said. “Everyone is pretty much in awe. It’s 2010. A lot of people can’t believe it happened.”

 In response to the incident, it is expected that the school's diversity office will host a community forum to open dialogue about race relations at the school. 

Read the full story here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Around The Web:
Barack & Curtis: Manhood, Power & Respect

I love a good stumble.  When done right, a stumble can lead you down a rabbit hole of great information.  Today, I stumbled across this great short cinematic offering by filmmaker Byron Hurt titled Barack and Curtis.  The 10 minute documentary was created as part of the National Black Programming Consortium's Black Masculinity Project, an initiative aimed at balancing mainstream media's negative distortion of the Black male image.

In his short documentary, Hurt explores the duality of Black male masculinity by comparing and contrasting two strong personalities within popular Black culture, President Barack Obama and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.  Hurt postures that male masculinity is often showcased by media as one of two extremes, either the fear inspiring hyper masculine extreme of 50 Cent or the hyper controlled non-confrontational extreme of President Obama.   From the filmmaker:

The idea for Barack & Curtis came to me the night before NBPC's deadline. I conceived the short doc just as Barack Obama was emerging as a presidential front-runner. I thought, "Why not create a short doc that discussed Barack Obama's masculinity in a way I had not yet seen." I wanted to make something that was topical, clever, fresh, unique, and off the beaten path. A political junkie, I was intrigued by Obama's rise to political rock stardom. The more I watched Obama stumping on the campaign trail, the more I found his cool presentation of manhood interesting and refreshing. On the surface, Obama's manhood appeared to be the polar opposite of the stereotypical images of black masculinity we've come to expect from hip-hop and popular culture.
When I tell people about Barack & Curtis, most people's first reaction is laughter. Or, they'll say, "I know who Barack is, but who's Curtis?" After I explain who "Curtis" is and what the piece is about, people generally say, "Wow, now that sounds interesting. I can't wait to see it!"
"Curtis" is rapper/mogul Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Why would I compare/contrast the masculinity of Barack Obama, an "upstanding" statesman-like presidential candidate, with 50 Cent, a "lowly" gangsta rapper, right? Well, because Barack Obama is THE MAN right now, who is shattering so many myths about black masculinity, and because 50 Cent, who was just named Forbes Magazine's top-earning rapper, currently embodies gangsta hip-hop masculinity like no other. Both are successful Black men. Both are rock stars. Both are admired and feared. I thought that juxtaposing the two in a short doc would make for historic level conversations. (more)
 If you're interested (which you should be...) please check out Barack & Curtis below.


Stumble Path Credit:
New Black Man --> Red Clay Scholar --> Google Search Barack & Curtis.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Social Commentary:
Black Vogue - Segregation, A step in the Right Direction?

Black History Month seems to be touching people far and wide, including the folks over at Vogue Italia.  In the name of diversity and in a generous attempt to recognize under-represented fashion demographics (yes, I'm being slightly sarcastic), Vogue Italia has launched three demographically-specific (accessory) sites - Vogue Black aimed at women of color, Vogue Curvy aimed at regular and full sized women, and Vogue Talent aimed at women interested in lesser known designers - as supplements to their main web page. My immediate reaction is mixed.

The Good.

I  sincerely applaud Vogue Italia for their attempt to widen the mainstream's narrow purview of fashion.  I recognize that Vogue is a niche magazine reporting on an industry that generally (and ironically) does not favor diversity.  The top tier of fashion, which is typically the area covered by Vogue is only slightly speckled with asthetic variety and in creating these accessory sites, Vogue has an opportunity to introduce a higher level of diversity to their mainstream audience without completely redefining their understanding of fashion.  Instead of force feeding a change in fashion status quo, Black, Curvy and Talent could be the proverbial "teaspoon of sugar to help the medicine go down". (That's a Mary Poppins reference if you didn't know...)

In the more immediate, Vogue Italia's introduction of their accessory sites substantiates the diversity of their readers.  It says we see you, we hear you, and we want to represent you.  The reality of fashion is that not all fashionistas are size-two women itching for Dior.  With the inception of these accessory sites, Vogue proves that they are in touch with the evolving face of their readers.  This is highly important to the overall evolution of the fashion industry.  The more traffic that each accessory site attracts, the  harder it becomes for labels, designers, and buyers to ignore the financial viability of these demographics.  That in turn will affect everything from the financial backing of Black designers to the increased visibility of average sized models.

The Bad
My biggest issue with Vogue Italia's new accessory sites, is that they are just that - accessory sites.  With their creation, Vogue sends a message of segregation - separate but equal coverage.   Unfortunately, with segregation comes the subtle social stigma that Black and Real Sized fashion are fringe fashion and begs questions like: Should a young Black model base her aspirations on gracing the front page of Vogue Black?  Should a young average sized-model set her dreams on being featured on Vogue Curvy?  And does a size zero model with porcelain white skin who graces the main page of Vogue Italia trump them all?

Is there a hierarchy being created?  Yeah, I think so.  I'm a realist, I know change comes one step at a time and I think this is a step in the right direction.  But don't think I'm stepping blindly.  I see  perfectly that Vogue, in providing a special place for Black and Average models to shine, subtly reinforces the idea that these groups don't (yet) really belong in mainstream...

Baby steps.  Yeah I get it.  But you know what? A spade is a spade.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Editor's Note:
Requesting a Life Pass

As usual, I'm sending my sincerest apologies for my latest absence.  I'm begging your favor and understanding - I'm in a total need of a Life Pass.  I can't go into much detail except to say that The Man was in town, the 9-5 became uncharacteristically demanding and I've been a bit under the weather.

In the interest of full disclosure, I, unfortunately, expect to be tied up at work for the next three weeks, which I imagine will impeded on my Social Angst productivity...forgive me.

It frustrates me so when we have these lulls in conversation, especially with so much is going on (we didn't even get a chance to discuss your boy John Mayer...).  I can suggest, in the meantime, that you follow me on reader...easily done by checking the Follow My Read section to your left or clicking the link in the header.  Won't be as meaty as usual Social Angst posts, but it will keep us connected.

Til my boss lets up, the doctor fills the script and we meet again...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Black History 2010:
Nelson Mandela Celebrates 20 Years of Freedom

Social Angst would like to send congratulations to Nelson Mandela as he celebrates the 20th anniversary of his release from prison today! 



Black History 2010:
The White House Hosts Civil Rights Music Workshop (Video)

The White House has posted video footage of a wonderful workshop on the music of the Civil Rights Movement on the White House Youtube Channel.  Unfortunately, the embed option for this video has been disabled, but you can check it out at here.  A brief synopsis of the nearly hour-long workshop is below.

Music That Inspired the Movement Student Workshop
From: whitehouse | February 09, 2010 | 2,420 views
High school students from across the country participate in a workshop to learn about how music influenced the Civil Rights Movement. A number of entertainers participate, including John Legend, Smokey Robinson, John Mellencamp, Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon. (February 9, 2010).

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In The News:
President Obama Meets with Black Leaders

Horrible weather did not prevent President Obama from meeting with some of America's most prominent Black leaders today.  Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, and Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP met with the President to advocate for new job legislation aimed at Black Americans.

Though the recession has rocked America as a whole, statistic show that Blacks are feeling the sting slightly more than the general population - especially in the area of unemployment.  Currently the unemployment rate nationwide is at 9.7 percent.  However, the unemployment rate among Blacks has reached 16.5 percent, way ahead of White rates that fall around 8.7 percent.

President Obama has consistently maintained that he would not support any economic/employment initiative that granted aid solely based on race.  Instead, the President would like to offer aid to those cities most in need, which, he feels, would ultimately help lift Black communities.

At the conclusion of the meeting the White House offered little detail on what was discussed.   However, participants seem cautiously optimistic about having had their case heard.

Obama, America's first Black President, is mindful of how implications of racial favoritism could negatively affect his image.  In walking the thin line of colorblindness, Obama can't be as philanthropic to minorities as some of his White predecessors have been.  Clearly freeing the slaves would have been a much more difficult task if Lincon's father had been a Black man and everyone seems to understand that.

Sources and More Info:
Obama, black leaders focus on economic hard times

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Cinema Call:
Movie Trailer: Blood Done Sing My Name

There's a new trailer buzzing around the web.  Based on the best selling book by Tim Tyson, Blood Done Sign My Name, brings the story of Henry Marrow, his murder, and its affect on his surrounding community, to the big screen. Looks like a good one and it features rising star Nate Parker (of The Great Debaters fame)!

       Movie Trailer: Blood Done Sign My Name - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.
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In The News:
Michelle Obama Speaks on Childhood Obesity

Michelle Obama has an agenda - childhood obesity - and she plans on tackling this widespread American health problem vigorously over the next few years.  Yesterday the First Lady unveiled her national "Let's Move" public awareness campaign which has lofty aims to combat childhood obesity by getting children active and healthy.

The Let's Move campaign will focus on small changes that parents and children can adapt to increase healthy living.   Childhood obesity affects one in three American children, a number that has tripled since 1980.  Obesity can cause a wide variety of health issues including risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure and is considered to be an underlying factor in billions of dollars worth of health spending annually (more stats here). Additionally, experts believe that children are on track today to have shorter life expectancy rates than their parents.

Mrs. Obama believes that "no one wants this future for our kids."  Her four part campaign calls for 1) encouraging parents to make better food choices; 2) serving healthier food options in school vending machines and cafeterias; 3) making healthy food both more affordable and more readily available; and 4) inspiring children to become more active and engage in more exercise.

The campaign is more than a public service announcement, it is a strategic plan aimed at really attacking the problem.  As is typical with the Obama administration, much of the campaign is targeted towards active participation.  Interested parties can visit to get more information on the program and find resources for joining the Let's Move movement.

Check out Mrs. Obama's Good Morning America interview with Robin Roberts regarding the Let's Move initiative and the Let's Move announcement press conference below.

       Tackling Childhood Obesity - Watch more Politics Videos at Vodpod.

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Around The Web:
Black History Month, Heineken, and Stephen Colbert

A Heineken ad featuring the line "Come and celebrate Black History Month with Heineken" sparked this hilarious response from Stephen Colbert.  "The Dutch are the reason we have African Americans.  If not for them, they'd just be...Africans." Comedy..

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Celebrate Black History Month With Heineken
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Idiots In The News:
Sarah Palin's "Hand Written" Cliff Notes

I literally cracked up at this clip!! I'm not even going to provide commentary.  Her actions are both sad and hilarious enough on their own that commentary may be deemed as unnecessary overkill...


Friday, February 05, 2010

Politics Update:
Scott Brown Sworn In

Centrist Republican Scott Brown was sworn into office as the junior senator for the state of Massachusetts yesterday.  Vice-President Biden preceded over the ceremonies that officially gave the blue state of Massachusetts its first Republican senator since 1972 and officially ending the Democrat's super-majority in Congress.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Issue:
Don't Ask Don't Tell On Track To Be Repealed

The Issue
Don't Ask Don't Tell

About the Issue
Don't Ask Don't Tell (aka DADT) is the commonly used term for the 1993 enacted U.S. Military's policy that currently bans openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons (LGBT) from actively serving in the military. (IOW: LGBT persons can serve in the military as long as they are not public about their sexual orientation.)

Recent Developments

A campaign promise made by President Obama to repeal the current DADT policy was by in large unrecognized during his first year in office.  In January 2010 Obama teamed with congressional officials to work on including a repeal of the DADT policy within the defense appropriations bill for 2011.  On January 27, 2010, during his State of the Union Address, President Obama stated explicitly his intentions to have DADT repealed:


United States Navy Admiral Michael G. Mullen, ...

In response to Obama's State of the Union Address assertions on the matter, a hearing to discuss the DADT policy was called on February 2, 2010.  During the hearing, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen offered his personal support for the nullification of the current policy, becoming the first sitting Joint Chiefs chairman to support the repeal.  In breaking news today, pro-repeal efforts got a huge endorsement by an unlikely source.  Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, perhaps DADT greatest proponent during the Clinton era, came out in support of repealing the policy.  From CNN:
Colin Powell: General (four-star) in the Unite...

Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state, has come out in favor of eventually repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gay and lesbian service members.

"In the almost seventeen years since the 'don't ask, don't tell' legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed," Powell said in a statement released by his office Wednesday.
Opponents of repeal actions include former presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ).  The Arizona Senator is being chided by liberals for what they perceive as hypocritical commentary by the senator during the hearing.  (Below find Rachel Maddow's snarky breakdown of the senator's big flip flow and for you my more moderate Social Angst readers, find a less left, more objective look on the issue below courtesy of PBS.)

Many Gay activist are expressing mixed feelings about the hearing.  While they are encouraged to see real traction in the abolishment of the 16 year old biased policy, many feel that waiting a year for implementation is unreasonable.

Now that you are all caught up on The Issue, go forth, form your own opinion, engage, discuss and inform.


Sources: Wikipedia, CNN, Seattle Times.
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Social Angst Celebrates Black History:
GOP Chairman Michael Steele Recognizes Black History Month

GOP Chairman Michael Steele multitasks by making a prideful statement celebrating Black History Month and (of course) highlighting the super minority that is the Black Republican candidate.


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