Archives for category: rants
Marching and taking pictures with hoodies on is not the final solution to this ongoing problem…Continued activism is.

By: Taren Vaughan

Deeply saddened and completely taken back, reactions have surfaced from millions across the nation in reference to the shooting death of Florida native Trayvon Martin. Prayers have been said and numerous protests have been held in honor of the 17 year-old boy’s memory, one of the most moving protests being the “Million Hoodie March”.

The march attracted the attention of a massive amount of Americans of all races and gender. And it created a chain reaction amongst U.S. citizens all over. College campuses have been flooded with student protestors and professional athletic teams have also taken a stand in the search for justice on behalf of the Martin Family as the Miami Heat players gathered dressed in hoodies, displaying a profound team effort to honor the cause. The wearing of a hoodie is symbolic as it was what Trayvon was wearing when he was killed. And as a way to show support, hoodies have become apart of many people’s attire. The wave has stormed the Internet as well, with changing of Facebook profile pics and Twitter avatars.

Constant outpourings of emotion have been witnessed from school aged children to those of celebrity status so it is obvious the masses of us have been touched by what has happened to this young man. But after the gatherings settle down, will Trayvon’s story be placed on the back burner, not to be brought up for years to come?

His tragic passing will be fresh in our heads for awhile. But will we continue on with true activism in his name and in the name of others who have lost their lives to false accusations and stereotyping? Or to the hands of those who look exactly like them? Black on Black crime is still alive and well too did we forget?

You see, without continued activism, this strong, powerful message that we are currently trying to send becomes faint over time. People begin to forget about the cause as things begin to die down. And that just opens the door up for yet another tragic loss to occur within our community.

And what are we risking when we do that? Another young life.

We are talking about a teenager who had his whole future ahead of him. He was not a common criminal, roaming the streets looking for trouble. Minding his business was what he was doing. And because an overzealous neighbor of his decided to defy police orders and take matters into his own hands, a family has endured a painful loss.

Zimmerman’s freedom remains one of the most infuriating parts of this whole situation as the arguments that many have posed certainly don’t lean in favor of his actions. But aside from that, back to the real question of: Should we stop at the hoodie march?

The answer is quite clear. It can’t stop at a march with hoodie wearing protestors. And it can’t stop with posted pictures on social media networks. It must stem far beyond that.

We must talk to our children about the ugly truths of our society and how certain people already expect you to behave a certain way because of how you look, talk, walk or dress. We must inform them that this is the country where a woman can be detained by security for flour bombing a Kardashian within the blink of an eye but a man can have every ounce of his freedom after taking the life of his innocent, unarmed neighbor. With that being said, it is most important for them to be watchful of their surroundings.

Sadly, Trayvon’s life was not spared but with a continuous effort to inform our young Black men and women about situations like this and what they could possibly have to deal with or face in this world, hopefully this vicious cycle will be broken.

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Has Dr. King’s dream finally become a reality or do we still have a long way to go?

By: Taren Vaughan

So much can be said about the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His powerful speeches have been recited and replayed years after their deliveries, having the same impact on people that they had initially. And his extreme determination to create tranquility amongst people of all racial backgrounds, striving for equality for all mankind has never been overlooked. There is no doubt that Dr. King had a special gift that he continued to use up until his death in 1968.

Although he did not live a long life, the accomplishments of Dr. King were of such magnitude that we dedicate a day to him and what he did for our race.

MLK Day is used as a day to revisit the past and how Dr. King and other civil rights leaders came together to fight for a worthy cause, one that affected our well being tremendously.

As we celebrated MLK Day in various ways though, did you think to yourself: Can we really say that the dream that King had is now a reality?

“Dr. King was a visionary. He thought on levels that many of his peers did not, especially when it came to forming relationships with people of other races. To this day, some of us don’t necessarily believe in some of the things that he preached about but I feel as though what he was striving for was so positive and beneficial to our generation. As far as his dream actually coming true, I think we have made progress but we still have a long way to go”

Arianna B.
Age: 33
Boston, MA

“I believe that the dream is slowly becoming a reality. The election of President Obama led me to say that. What people need to keep in mind though is that his election didn’t 100% solidify progress for Black people as a whole. That’s why I used the word “slowly””

Troy W.
Age: 38
Portland, OR

“I don’t think the Dr. King’s vision has been fully brought to life for many reasons. Yes, we as African Americans have way more opportunities than we once had back in the day. We have better job opportunities now, we are able to receive higher forms of education and we are becoming president of the United States. But despite all those great things, we are still very much prejudged merely because of the color of our skin and are not granted the same things that other races are without having to work extra hard for them. As wonderful as his vision was, there will always be some things that we can’t change”

Maliyah D.
Age: 19
Milwaukee, WI

“Honestly, I think that Dr. King’s dream has been disrupted by the very ones that he was standing up for, African Americans. He wanted us all to live in peace and harmony, love one another. Are we doing that now though? Black on black crime continues to skyrocket and we don’t shy away from an opportunity to tear one another down. King spoke strongly on educational advancement for African Americans yet we are dropping out of high school left and right. Is it me or is something very wrong with this picture?”

Roderick R.
Age: 24
Atlanta, GA

Have we forgotten the struggle?

Or is King’s dream still in the process of being reached?

Are the falsehoods of celebrities’ bodies really that fascinating?

By: Taren Vaughan

Entering the world of stardom, it is a well known fact that there are a lot of things that may change about a person. A taste of the limelight can alter personalities turning a golden child into a crazed maniac or an honest, wholesome person into one of the most untrustworthy individuals that ever walked this Earth. Fame and fortune can also lead to changes in a person’s physical appearance too, sending many running straight to the “magic needle” to get those high cheekbones and full lips that they have been dying for.

Fake butts and breasts have been hot commodities for years now, even to the point where no celebrities can catch a break. It is assumed that everything about them is false. It’s gotten so bad that they are now being accused of rockin’ bulging baby bumps, just for the hell of it.

The most recent buzz has been centered on Beyonce’ Knowles and her baby bump. Rumors claimed that the singer has been rockin’ a fake bump to get us. Yeah, Bey is walking around in a hot body suit, pretending like she is expecting a child. Sensing the sarcasm in my voice I’m sure.

Now tell me why this has made more headlines than the O.J. Simpson trial?

Bey’s bump as stirred up so much chatter amongst the good, the bad and the nosey, I can only imagine what will be said when the child is actually born. The rumors will be sure to fly left and right then.

Other celebrities have been called out for falsifications of the figure too. Nicki Minaj’s butt is still under question as we speak. But really, why do we care so much?

Is whether or not Beyonce’ is faking her pregnancy news that’s worth being plastered all over the Internet and television?

Let’s get hype about the things that happen in Hollywood that are actually ground-breaking events.

A chart-topping singer breaking a record for their album sells…News worthy.

An NFL star starting a charity for kids in Africa…News worthy.

True, a lot of people read things for entertainment purposes only. I get it. But you have got to admit that some “news” takes ridiculousness to a whole different level.

“Ochocinco”….”Metta World Peace”…Is there ever a point when name changing gets out of control?

By: Taren Vaughan

As a way to show their originality, various athletes, whether they play sports on the professional level or not, find different ways to stand out amongst their teammates. Because altering of their uniforms is forbidden, some of them will go to the extent of cutting their hair or dying it a bold color. Others may add a couple unique tatts to their face or neck. As if the out of control hairstyles weren’t enough, professional athletes have gone to the extent of changing their legal names too.

Let’s flash back to one of the most controversial pro ballers of all time whose image left a lasting impression in the minds of sports fans.


Former NBA player Dennis Rodman had absolutely no problem at all dying his hair blonde or rockin’ a wig and a wedding gown just for the hell of it. He wasn’t afraid of what people thought about his “awkward” appearances both on and off the court.

A new school version of Rodman has emerged in Lakers forward Ron Artest. Unlike the former member of the “Bad Boys” dynasty, Artest went much further than the outrageous haircuts. He completed dropped his entire name and is now going by a name that many people would say describes him in the least bit: “Metta World Peace”.

So it’s understood that Artest is trying to move away from the roughneck image that has been attached to him for many years now, much as a result of the all out brawl that took place between the Pistons and the Pacers in 2004. And for anyone who saw that fight, knows exactly why this is name change comes with much irony behind it; the word “peace” and Ron Artest don’t naturally go hand in hand. But he is on the road to improvement as far as his attitude is concerned.

Yeah, we get it, Ron Artest wants to prove to the world that he has been working on his bad attitude that has gotten him in trouble one too many times. That’s obvious. But couldn’t we come to that conclusion without him changing his name to “Metta World Peace”? Why not just write a book or give a speech about his growth as a person? That would have summed it all up right?

What’s wrong with keeping the names that you were born with?

Unless you are name is a pure headache to spell out on the back of a jersey or has caused you much embarrassment growing up as a child, why do some athletes feel the need to change their birth names or in some cases, throw it out completely?

Well, it is a free country and no matter how much money you make, everyone is entitled to freedom of expression though it can be heavily frowned upon. So essentially, athletes or anybody else for that matter can do whatever the hell they want to with their names. And reasons could stem from a change in religion too. All situations are different. At the end of the day, we just have to face the fact that everyone is not going to rock a clean cut or carry on the name that their parents gave them. But for pro athletes, how does that affect those who watch them play?

Can you image a commentator or analyst talking about a play involving “Big Baby Smooth” throwing for a touchdown on national television? Or a kid walking around with a jersey on with microscopic letters on the back because their favorite player decided to create a long, drawn out last name? Come on people, really.

The name changing and outlandish hairstyles can almost serve as a distraction from the fans’ take on the athlete’s actual performance too. Spectators are too busy trying to figure out what is etched in the side of a player’s head versus how many points he or she scored in a game.

Wonder who will be next. Maybe a MLB player will have an epiphany and change their name to something “creative”.

Freedom of expression, yeah it may be, but the name changing can get a little foolish sometimes don’t you think?


Taking a closer look into the meaning behind Troy Davis’ last words.

By: Taren Vaughan

Headlines began to heavily circulate after one of the most controversial executions of this century took place. 42 year old Troy Davis was accused of the killing of a Georgia police officer Mark McPhail in 1989 and sentenced to death 1991. After serving time in prison, Davis was executed on Wednesday night at 11:08 pm in the state of Georgia. Emotions are still flaring from citizens all over the country, namely those within the Black community. From social media networks to live protests shown on television, people have gone out of their way to show their support for Davis and believe him to be innocent of this crime. Sadly, his life was still set to be taken. Even though Mr. Davis knew that his life was shortly coming to an end, he managed to deliver a few words before his execution took place:

“The incident that night was not my fault, I did not have a gun…I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent.” –Troy Davis

So the fate of this man rested in the hands of eyewitnesses’ words with no hardcore evidence to back up their claims?

The death penalty itself can be a very sensitive subject for many people to discuss. Some feel that executioners are playing God because they are determining when a person should die and only God should have the say so on that. And because it is not a reversible process, some feel that it should not even be considered in case someone is indeed found not guilty. Others feel that executions are just practices that we as Americans should allow to take place.

Mixed feelings have surfaced because of the execution of this man who professed his innocence up until the very end of his life.

It’s clear that this was an emotional event but what was the true message that Davis was trying to send in his last words?

Putting some deep thought into it, one could recognize numerous messages that this whole situation is trying to reveal:

Those who call themselves “friends” don’t always live up to the title that they give themselves.

When things are going good, everyone wants to befriend you. Being a member of your clique is the number one goal on everybody’s list. Telling you that they care about you and have your back at all times regardless of the situation, that’s what true friends are for. But what about Mr. Davis’ friends? If he was not the one who pulled the trigger, where is this mysterious person who did that he probably labeled as a “friend”? They surely were nowhere to be found at his execution. He was left to die without a “friend” in sight.

Message: From this, we see when choosing friends and hanging buddies, choose them wisely and know that when they say “through thick and thin” that they won’t leave you taking the blame for something that they did.

Guilty by association is just as crucial as being 100% guilty of a crime.

It was said that Davis verbalized his innocence on numerous occasions, including moments before his death. His claim was that he was not the one who pulled the trigger. Yes, he may not have been the gunman but being associated with the one who took Mr. MacPhail’s life is enough to make you guilty in many people’s eyes.

Message: You may not be the one who actually committed the crime but if you were apart of planning for the crime to take place, then you may be viewed as being equally as guilty.

In a nutshell, people need to understand what is truly going on here. If a man can be executed for a crime that he repeatedly claimed that he did not commit, what does that tell us? Could race have been a factor in how Troy Davis’ case was handled? Could it be that our society places more value on the lives of law enforcement officials than it does on any other American citizen that holds no badge? So many questions are still being asked in reference to this high profile case.

Less than a paragraph in length, Troy Davis’ last words were much more powerful than we think. It was more than just a man leaving the world with his final thoughts. It was a wake up call.

Are you awake now?





Readers give their thoughts on Wiz Khalifa’s excessive love for the green…Not money but weed.

By: Taren Vaughan

Rapper Wiz Khalifa topped the Rap charts with his hit single “Black and Yellow”, a hometown anthem for his stomping grounds of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And ever since, he hasn’t come down from the top spot with his album “Rolling Papers” approaching platinum status. With all the success that Khalifa was seen, he manages to keep it real with the media and his fans. So real in fact that he had no problem at all vocalizing his love for the sticky in an interview with Forbes.com and even went on to encourage his fans to well, “Roll Up”:

“When the venues are not [ok with people smoking weed], we respect it and the fans respect it. And when it is friendly, then people know. The high, I don’t think that ruins anything, it makes people chill out,”

“And then when you tell them they can’t smoke weed, they find other creative ways to get high that’s less constructive.”

He went on to say that everybody puts one in the air from time to time, even the wealthy:

“Everybody smokes weed. My music and my fan base is really built off of my lifestyle – and from older people to doctors, plenty of really successful people function off weed.”

Something tells me that he would be all for legalizing it…

Is Wiz Khalifa really responsible for the new found Hip-Hop weed heads?

“It’s not like Wiz is the first to promote weed smoking. Snoop has let it be known for years that he smokes weed and has never tried to hide the fact that he did. But I guess Wiz is catching more heat for it because he actually came out and told his fans that it was okay to light one”

-Bryan K.

Age: 23

Newark, NJ

“I am a fan of Wiz Khalifa and really like his music but I am not okay with the fact that he encourages his fans to smoke weed. It’d be nice to see a rapper promo something other than drugs, sex or money”

-Alayna H.

Age: 21

Albany, NY

“Wiz Khalifa is a one of the hottest rappers out right now but really, can we be surprised that he made such a bold statement? I mean he has managed to wife up Amber Rose. What did you expect?”

-Jaylen B.

Age: 20

Jacksonville, FL

“Some of these rappers let anything come out of their mouths. I can’t say that I am shocked that Wiz Khalifa would say something like this to his fans. I’m more so disturbed that he could have potentially started a mass of druggies with his comments”

-Charmaine L.

Age: 27

Hampton, VA

“Let’s be clear, rappers are in no shape, form or fashion God, even though some of them think they are. But the one thing about what their position in our society is that they have a lot of power. Even when they say and do outrageous things, you can almost count on a fan or two to go out and mimic their lifestyles. And because of that, they should be mindful of the messages that they are relaying to their fans”

-Kelvin G.

Age: 31

San Diego, CA

Regardless of whether or not they want to admit it, music artists have a lot more influence over their fans than they think they do.

Why do you think Nicki Minaj has a band of pink wigged “Barbies” following in her every footstep? And why do you think there are hundreds of young Black men parading around in skinny jeans? Lil’ Wayne is the only grown man that could pull that off.

Their influence can be so heavy that whatever they say goes in the minds of the brainwashed and overly loyal fanatics.

Wiz Khalifa is making much noise in the Rap game right now. His flow is undeniable hands down. But openly telling your fans to take a few hits? Not quite sure about that one.

Random questions about nip slips, naked R&B chicks, politics, and the usual propaganda from a feisty Editor-In-Chief.
By: Amanda Anderson

1. Is it just me or does it seem like just about every female artist thinks they must either have a nip slip, pose nude on a magazine cover, gyrate on stage, leak naked photos or give slutty interviews to stay relevant?

2. And am I trippin’ for noticing that men–with the exception of Chris Brown, don’t have to resort to any of those things?

3. Inquiring minds want to know, when are we going to have penis slips on stage?

4. Everyone wants to know why Fantasia is cool with having a baby by a married T-Mobile salesman named Antwan, but isn’t the real question why is an American Idol performing at the opening of some cheap apartment complex?

5. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical for Jay Z and Kanye to title their album “Watch The Throne” when neither one of them is sitting on it? So shouldn’t they be watching the throne too?

6. Is the check Jennifer gets from “Basketball Ball Wives” big enough for her to actually sell her lip gloss in real stores?

7. Erykah Badu said she’d never resort to hoe sh-t like the other singers do to sell albums. But doesn’t walking around butt naked in music videos and a possible reality show constitute as hoe sh-t?

8. Speaking of hoe sh-t, what can Amber Rose really put on her resume besides former stripper, occasional big booty model, and current rapper dater?

9. Is the infamous booty shot the only pose big booty models ever have to learn?

10. Is anyone else finding Facebook best for shoe shopping than actually social networking?

11. Is Tyrese not the perfect example of why celebrities should just deactivate their Twitter accounts?

12. Isn’t it ironic that No Child Left Behind is actually leaving children behind, academically?

13. Why aren’t any of the major news sources reporting that the black unemployment rate is in the double digits? Are we ready to say aloud that perhaps this is due to the fact that most of us don’t have high school diplomas, yet we can easily name 20 aspiring rappers and producers that we know?

14. And is anybody going to admit that the high school drop out rate is most likely due to the fact that most high school students consider rap as a possible career? Is it wrong that I’m considering rap as a possible career each time I pay my student loan bills?

15. If it’s true that Nicki Minaj’s boyfriend hit her in the face with a suitcase and she still went with him to Disneyland soon after, should she really keep pushing girl power? I mean, getting hit in the face with a suitcase and staying with the guy who did it kind of weakens your girl power credentials.

16. And for Nicki to have such an intense dislike for bums, why is she dating one? Only bums hit women–with suitcases.

17. Is anybody else sick of reading about that fake 70% of black women are single “statistic” somebody made up two years ago just because they knew most people were too lazy to do the research themselves? And since the Census Bureau says more black men are actually single than black women, when are we going to see those same pesky “start dating outside your race now articles” that we see damn near everywhere targeting black women?

18. Wasn’t Lil’ Kim cuter before the surgery?

19. Does anybody else hear “For The Love of Money” in the background every time President Obama approaches the podium for his “recession” speeches?

20. Aren’t open relationships an oxymoron?