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Are You Feelin’ Blackish?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The new ABC comedy, “Blackish,” starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Laurence Fishburne premiered September 24th to mixed reviews.


Now, I have a strict “third-time's-the-charm” rule when it comes to my entertainment. If I’m not feelin' a show by the third episode, that’s pretty much grounds for me to quit watching. Well, this week I saw the third episode of “Blackish” and I still can’t decide if I like it.


Apparently, I’m not alone. There are many who feel like the show perpetuates outdated stereotypes about black families. Others find it spot-on and hysterical. I’m somewhere in the middle. There have been some definite laugh out loud moments to date (See Dre walking in on his son during a very private moment, Rainbow reminding Dre of her blackness—her hair and derriere, etc.) but the chemistry is off. Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne are all great individually, but together?


The show feels like a bunch of individuals living life in the same house rather than a family interacting with each other. It doesn’t feel like Dre and Rainbow are a married couple but rather two working parents who happen to sleep under the same roof. At least Fishburne and Anderson have some chemistry as father and son. Maybe it’s just first season jitters and everyone has to grow comfortable with each other, but isn’t that what table reads and rehearsals are for?


Aside from the awkward vibes, I can’t decide if I agree with the message being told. The latest episode entitled, “The Nod” deals with the common act of acknowledging another person of color when you see them in public. African-Americans give “the nod” as a means of saying “what’s up?” or “I see you.”  Dre tries to get Junior to understand this ritual. I loved it and I agree it’s a staple to black culture but there are other things in Blackish that make me scratch my head.


Dre tries every episode to bring his kids back to what he thinks is essential black culture and yet he constantly puts his wife’s “blackness” under constant investigation. He constantly brings up the fact that’s she’s half black so she doesn’t get black culture and yet he always wants her to support him in trying to educate his family on what black culture is. Rainbow seems to fall close to the “post-racial/new black” mentality which I cannot get behind at all.


Blackish has the potential to be great, it just needs to figure out what it’s about.


What do you guys think? Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in the middle? Hit me up at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or, if you're reading this on, let me know in the comments!

President of the Black Business Expo and longtime Watts community advocate Harold Hambrick has died. He was 71. He passed during the evening of Oct. 8 and the cause of dead is not immediately known.


Hambrick was responsible for reviving the Black business Expo after a four-year hiatus.


He maintained an office suite based at the One United Bank on Crenshaw Boulevard at Rodeo Road where he was working on multiple projects.


Born in New Orleans to a family of entrepreneurs, his aunts and uncles had regular jobs, but all owned some kind of business, whether it was a grocery store, sweet shop or funeral home, Hambrick moved to L.A. at 18 to join his immediate kin.


After attending L.A. City College, Hambrick worked as a finance manager in adult education and then was recruited by IBM, before switching gears into marketing and promotions, serving as a vice president of public affairs for WATTS Health Systems, Inc.


It was his subsequent work helping to put together the Watts Health Foundation, one of the first Community Health Councils in the nation, which has been a title sponsor for the expo for 20 years.


Born Feb 17, 1943, New Orleans, LA, is married to Margaret  for more than 40 years; children: Tyra, Jeffery, Sharon. Attended Pepperdine University in 1974; studied at University of Santa Clara in 1980.


He was the Executive Director and Vice President of Watts Health Foundation from 1969-1975.

Ebola Victim Dies

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who flew to Texas, and was the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed and confirmed in the U.S., died Wednesday.


Officials from Texas Health Presbyterian, the hospital where he was treated, said he fought courageously, but was pronounced dead at 7:51am.


Duncan first came to the hospital on September 26th, complaining of symptoms of Ebola.  The visit prompted deep concern and some panic as the public watched the case unfold in Dallas. 


Ebola is transmitted primarily through direct physical contact with an ill person or their bodily fluids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Experts say Ebola patients are contagious only once they are displaying symptoms, which include fever above 101.5 degrees, severe headaches, muscle pain, diarrhea and vomiting.


The disease gained global attention last December when the outbreak occurred in West Africa. The virus has killed more than 3,400 people worldwide.


Eight people in Los Angeles County have been tested, but were not found to carry the disease.  Centinela Hospital Medical Center Emergency Department in Inglewood tested another Liberian man Tuesday after an ambulance transported him from LAX.


According to a statement from Centinela, “The patient does not have any symptoms of Ebola, however due to travel history appropriate precautions were implemented. Acute Communicable Disease Control and DPH were immediately contacted. The patient will remain fully isolated in the hospital’s ER for continued evaluation and all appropriate testing will be conducted in consultation with the CDC.”


“They acted quickly and decisively in determining the status of the patient and contacted all necessary authorities. Myself and our Chief Medical Officer, Paryus Patel, MD have been in close communication with CDPH, CDC and all appropriate public health agencies.  We are taking all steps to ensure our patients, their families, staff, and the community are protected. The hospital is fully open to seeing patients,” said CEO Linda Bradley.


All patients who might have the Ebola virus are quarantined until all tests are completed.


Elsewhere, a freelance cameraman remains hospitalized in Nebraska with the virus.  His is the second confirmed Ebola case in the U.S.  According to CBS News, the man is taking an experimental drug called brincidofovir, which is an oral medication developed to fight several other viruses. Laboratory tests suggested it may also work against Ebola.


Federal officials said that 5 U.S. airports will begin screening passengers traveling from the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea—countries hardest hit by the epidemic—as early as this weekend.  The screenings will include taking the passengers’ temperatures with a gun-like, noncontact thermometer and requiring them to fill out a questionnaire.


Airports include JFK International (New York); Washington Dulles International (Washington, DC);  O’Hare International (Chicago); Hartsfield-Jackson International (Atlanta); and and Newark Liberty International (New Jersey). 


LAX has not announced Ebola passenger screening.  However, health officials say they are ready should the virus spread to Los Angeles.


"I have very high confidence that we are prepared to respond to a case of Ebola should it occur ... and that our collective efforts would prevent spread to others," said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the county's interim health officer.


Meanwhile, family members of Thomas Eric Duncan have raised questions over his care, and have demanded a full investigation.  A major concern is why Duncan was initially sent home after showing signs of Ebola and telling the hospital he had come from Liberia.  Another issue is why it took the hospital 10 days to get the experimental drug to him when the effects of Ebola are so devastating and fast moving


Duncan’s body will be cremated, Texas health officials said.








The Price of a New City

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Hold on Inglewood, things are about to get a little crazy.  With everything starting up, seemingly at the same time, nerves may become rattled.  But it will all be fine in the end.


With the re-opened Fabulous Forum past the six-month mark, earning revenue for the City, and fast becoming a mecca for world-class entertainment (again!), there are new developments to keep our eyes on.


Century Blvd., long in need of repaving, is on its way to being fixed, although it may not look that way at first.  Streets are being torn up at Century Blvd. and Prairie Ave,, eastward to install a new water and sewer system, and new gas lines to make way for the massive Hollywood Park project.  This is the future site of new upscale housing, a new hotel, retail centers and other amenities, so traffic disruption is essential.


As soon the commotion dies down from installing underground water, sewer and gas lines (hopefully by Thanksgiving) on Century, Market Street development will take center stage.  A contractor will be selected to renovate the area early next year. 


The Market Street project, projected to become a mixed-use project of shops with upstairs residential space, will make way for yet another project—the light rail train which will come through Inglewood to and from LAX.


Get ready for more traffic with the building of the train tracks and the two stations slated to be built in Inglewood.  That project is expected to be complete in 2019.


Bottom line—there are going to be traffic disruptions and noise while this City becomes transformed.  There is just no way of getting around that.  Just remember, no pain, no gain.  New construction, new projects, and new infrastructure means millions of dollars in tax revenues, more jobs, more business opportunities, and more city services.  This adds up to an overall better quality of life for everyone.


Life is changing for people who live and work in Inglewood.  There will be more noise and more traffic detours. But as the dust begins to settle, we will be able to see how much better things are.  The streets will be smoother, the train will provide another transportation option for commuters, there will be more things to do and places to visit, and more people spending their money here. 


It’s not a bad scenario when you compare the temporary inconvenience to the big payoff.

As nerve wrecking as it may be from time to time, things will be much better in the end.  So just plan on being flexible, change your route to work, buy some ear plugs, do what you have to do.  There is an end date to this city wide renovation, and it will mark the beginning of the new Inglewood.

What Raven Really Meant

Thursday, October 09, 2014

On Sunday night (October 5) Raven-Symone was interviewed by Oprah for a special titled, "Where Are They Now?" which debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). A lot of black people are mad about a comment Raven made regarding her identity. Oprah addresses the tweet Raven wrote over a year ago in support of the gay marriage act passing through the U.S. Supreme Court. The tweet reads, "I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you." 


Oprah asks if that was Raven's way of "coming out". Raven expresses that while her tweet was a general cry of excitement for the LGBT community, she is currently In a happy and healthy relationship with a woman. Raven exclaimed, however, that she doesn't like the label of "gay" or labels in general.


Here's where it gets messy. In the list of labels she dislikes, she includes African-American. "I'm an American. I'm not African-American, I'm American."  Black Twitter went rampant with rebuttal tweets claiming Raven is adding to the list of black celebrities claiming they are the "new black". 


This new "philosophy" started with a comment by Pharell Williams earlier this year. Also in an interview with Oprah, Pharell says: the "new black" doesn't blame other races for our issues. The "new black" dreams and realizes that it's not pigmentation; it's a mentality. And it's either going to work for you or against you. And you've got to pick the side you're going to be on. People of color are upset (and I would argue rightfully so) that Pharell seems to think anyone can get ahead and your race has nothing to do with it.


However, I don't think that is what Raven is getting at. She goes on to explain that what she means is she doesn't have knowledge about her specific African roots. She's from Louisiana and her values, beliefs, and identity primarily come from America. I can't get behind a "post-racial-I-don't-see-color" mentality but I can understand what Raven was trying to say.


I grew up in America. For better or for worse, America has shaped my identity. I believe in individualism, independence, and self-sufficiency. These traits are definite American and individualistic culture ideologies. I am Black American, not African-American. I have no knowledge about African culture, ideologies or languages. If I were to go to Kenya or Sierra Leone tomorrow, I would not fit in.


We might have similar skin tones but that's about where the similarities stop. That is the point I believe Raven was trying to make


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