Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hip-Hop Love Project

We ran into our friend Lonnae at NABJ and she told us about this Hip-Hop Love Project in Prince George's County, Maryland. It seems like its right on time. If you will be in the D.C. area please support! Below is the text of the letter being circulated via email:

Dear Friends:

We're off to a wonderful start with the Prince George's County Women's Collective.Our purpose, to begin to change the most corrosive aspects of the popular culture by empowering local girls and young women to promote anti-violence messages, encourage educational achievement,encourage respect for women and girls
is well underway with the planning of our inaugural event, the Hip-Hop Love

To recap, we intend to let young women know that they have a voice and the power to counter some of the negative messages and degrading images in commercial hip-hop music. We believe that by speaking out and using that power, young women can be most effective in influencing the behavior of young men because much of the misogyny, posturing and violence in the culture wouldn't happen if our young women were not silently complicit.

The Hip-Hop Love Project is an initiative to wear and distribute free (cute) tee-shirts at the Shops at the Capital Centre in Largo in late September. The shirts have already been designed and trademarked and will include the following slogans:

***You look better without the bullet holes. Put the guns down
***I auditioned for the video, but my MIND was too big
***You want this? Graduate!
***Record Label Gangsters are wack-so are real ones
***Smarts-show me yours and I'll show you mine

The back of each tee will say "Bring Back the Love. The Hip-Hop Love
Project." If you are interested in participating in this project, please consider donating to the effort to purchase the tee-shirts and/or volunteering to wear the shirts and show your support at the Boulevard at the Capital Centre on the designated date.

For our friends in distant places, please feel free to use this model to begin your own women's collective and possibly your own free tee shirt distributions. We are asking for a minimum donation of $75, but more is welcomed. The more support, the more tee-shirts, the more love. To be a part of this effort, please make checks payable to: Masai Design and send to the attention of Lynda Green at PO Box 6795 Largo, MD 20792. Because of the time constraints involved the printing process, checks must be received no later than Friday, Sept. 1 to be part of this initiative.

We hope you heed this call to activism--this chance for black women to step into our light and begin to reclaim our culture, and our children. In the names of black women who have always struggled to better their communities, their nation and this world, please help us Bring Back the Love! Please feel free to forward to your friends and family.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Natalie Moore speech in Chicago

Below is the text of the memorial speech that Natalie Moore gave yesterday at South Shore Cultural Center in honor of her late uncle, Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. who was president of Alcorn State University and passed away unexpectedly at age 57:

Uncle Clinton is the first person whom I realized had a Ph.D. As a child, I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it sounded important and really cool. But it didn’t take long to learn that he was an advocate of education in his personal and professional life. We were all able to absorb that energy.

Uncle Clinton was very supportive of his nieces and nephews. My brother Joey was able to call Alcorn home, even though he never attended the university. He worked there some summers and to this day everyone from the cooks to the police knows who he is. When we were kids, Joey was obsessed with channeling Popeye’s persona, muscles and all, so Uncle Clinton would buy him cans of spinach. Joey actually ate them. My sister Megan just received her master’s in public administration last month, and per usual, Uncle Clinton sent her a congratulatory note – and a few transitional dollars, of course.

He wrote me an undergrad recommendation letter to attend Northwestern University, his alma mater. He used the word unequivocally in the letter. I had no idea what the word meant and had to look it up. It was an awesome letter, but I decided to attend Howard University instead. When I was applying to Northwestern for grad school, I was too embarrassed to ask him for another recommendation, but he quickly allayed my worries. And I got in.

You could count on him to take you to dinner if he happened to be in town in the city you lived in. After turning 21, you could order a martini, too. He had a sincere interest in your endeavors. It left you feeling good that he thought you were someone important. He also had a knack for remembering the most minute details about people.

I last saw Uncle Clinton at the N’Digo gala in June. He asked me if I had ever heard of an erotic writer named Zane. I laughed, and said, oh, Uncle Clinton, I don’t know if you want to read her. He said many Alcorn students were fans and the bookstore sold copies, and naturally, as an avid reader, he wanted to investigate the hype. We jokingly concluded that he better not buy erotic titles on the university’s dime.

I know that everyone in this room can agree that Uncle Clinton had a way of making each of you feel special. And I’m hard pressed to think of anyone more committed to higher education.

In Mississippi, Maya implored the Alcorn student body to continue her father’s legacy. In Chicago, we can do the same by mentoring a youth, writing a recommendation letter or merely giving a child encouraging words. I can’t think of a better way to remember Uncle Clinton.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bristow Funeral

More coverage of the funeral. The Clarion-Ledger published this photo of Maya Bristow, the 25-year-old PhD student (and Nat Moore's cousin) pictured here in black next to her mother Joyce in white, and his life partner Lezli Baskerville in yellow. The funeral was a loving tribute to the scholar, leader, and visionary black man that lived vigorously, but died suddenly of heart failure at age 57 while jogging on campus. During the funeral Maya told the crowd that her dad gave of himself freely."I shared my daddy with you all," she said, "and in return I insist you all live out his legacy."

A scholarship fund honoring Dr. Bristow has been created by radio personality Tom Joyner for Alcorn students in need during the 2006-07 academic year.
Donations must be made payable to the Tom Joyner Foundation and can be sent to the Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o Tom Joyner Foundation, 13760 Noel Road, Ste. 750, Dallas TX 75240. Online donations can be made through blackamerica
Natalie Moore has returned to Chicago, where more memorial services will be held.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Ajabu saga continues

We had some interesting DT-related events happen to us last week at the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Indianapolis. We tried to visit one of the subjects of one of the chapters, Kofi "Debo" Ajabu, who is currently serving an 180-year prison sentence in Indiana. But it was not to be. In July we had a piece of mail addressed to Debo at Pendleton Correctional Facility returned to us by prison censors. Then, our request for media access to Debo while we were in town for the NABJ was denied because of what prison officials called a "rule violation" on Debo's part, but they refused to give us details.
The Ajabu family have told me that the electronic monitoring system will show that Debo was playing chess in another part of the prison when the alleged "rule violation" took place, so the charge was some "trumped up crap."
I (Natalie H.) drove to Pendleton Correctional facility to try to get access as a regular visitor on Wednesday (8/16) and a prison guard looked him up on the computer then told me Debo had been transported to Westville Correctional facility on Monday, 8/14. When I asked if it was permanent, he said. "Nothing is permanent in the Department of Corrections. They do what they want, when they want."
The next day I received a second letter from prison officials saying Debo was at Wabash Valley prison. So which is it Wabash or Westville? And why the discrepency in their records? I am concerned about the lack of transparency about what decisions are being made. I plan to continue to try to get answers through the Freedom of Information Act.

Monday, August 21, 2006

R.I.P. Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr.

Alcorn State University President Clinton Bristow Jr. passed away over the weekend and is being remembered across Mississippi and Chicago as a brilliant lawyer, a passionate leader and a "role model for African American men" by many.
He was also Natalie Y. Moore's dear uncle who died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 57 while jogging on campus. He was an early DT supporter and he will be missed dearly.

We got word from Natalie's brother Joey while we were in Indianapolis attending the National Association of Black Journalists Convention.

We'd love to hear comments from those of you who knew him. Watch this space for more information about the funeral from Natalie M. who is travelling to Mississippi this week.