Saturday, September 25, 2010

Events at dance battle didn't meet NAACP standards

By Dwayne Yates
During NAACP's second Battle of the Crews, the Kiva buzzed like a teen club filled with chatter and songs recorded by rappers whose lyrics don't advance much but bank accounts.
The audience bobbed heads idly to the music until the show began unexpectedly with event-coordinator and NAACP fundraising chair JaRel Clay and his crew sneaking through the crowd as hockey-masked slashers. After they simulated killing an innocent bystander, they made their way to the stage fusing together Baltimore beats, b-boy style, krumping, and a dip, which electrified the crowd.
After that, show host Paul Miller didn't have to do much to get the crowd hype. The dj played "MC Hammer" by Rick Ross enough to keep them satisfied for two weeks.

The group performances went like this:
Lazy grinding, pop-locking, basketball shorts underneath sagging pants.
Hip-hop-inspired cheerleading and salsa dancing.
Violence used in every act; a lot of faux beatings and shootings.
Hearing the song "Monster" for the second time in a routine, zombie booty shaking, lingerie, fake blood, doll heads, stripper moves.
More booty shaking, more fake blood blood, ripped clothes, hearing "Monster" for the third time in a routine and a major wardrobe malfunction.
Video game inspiration, vogue beats, creative costumes.

There was a tie for second place going to DFF and the Golden Reflections. Kent State's Legacy dance group claimed first place in the group competition by 11 points. Co-captain Brittany Destanik said the group adds modern hip-hop, ballet and ballroom to their routines because the members all come from different backgrounds.
Last place went to Akron's Finest, who were knocked out of the competition due to the wardrobe malfunction mentioned earlier.
One of its female members danced onstage with her breasts exposed for almost two minutes, while the crowd watched in awe. Only Amy Crawford and judge Mark Buckley bothered to stop her.
Clay and the NAACP board were not happy.
"As soon as I saw a nipple, I said, 'Nope. Disqualified,'" said Clay.
The audience-participated dance battles were as hard to watch. Some contestants did well doing the dougie, pulling off b-boy moves mostly seen on TV and pop-locking for their lives. But, others clapped their booty cheeks, jumped into splits and percolated on headstands. It was not a good look.
Clay had to get onstage, pause the show and tell audience members to get in their seats and act civilized since they were at an NAACP event, which stands for advancing people of color.
The main goal of the event was to raise school supplies for students at Davey Elementary School in Kent and Hartford Middle School in Canton. That was accomplished when NAACP filled two 16" x 16" boxes full of school supplies donated by audience members. The organization also raised money to go toward its educational programming in the future.
The board released a statement today taking responsibility for all the foolery that happened at dance battle saying:

We cannot change the instances that occurred, but we will assure you that every event sponsored by KSU-NAACP from this point on will encompass our six founding principles: Unifying, Advocating, Motivating, Leading, Educating, and Believing.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Top 5 Natural Hair Blogs

( logo)
By Michaela Write
Hello and welcome back UHURU readers! Over the summer I have noticed how more and more women are going natural. I started doing research on natural hair and how to take care of it and I realized that there are so many websites and blogs showcasing women rocking their natural hair from teeny weeny afros to bantu knots and curls! I have heard people say that natural hair is a "trend" right now, but I hope we start calling it the norm. So, in honor of the new "Natural Hair Movement," here are my top 5 natural hair blogs!

5. Afroniquely You
Afroniquely You emphasizes the idea that natural hair is a lifestyle. Everyone's hair texture is different and Afroniquely You will teach you how to care for and love your own hair. Sasha-Shae Shaw had new naturals in mind when she created this blog. For tips on maintaining healthy, natural hair or if you just want to read interesting hair stories, check out

4. Afrobella
Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik created in August 2006. "Afrobella is dedicated to product reviews, ruminations about culture, music and style and interviews with women all shades of beautiful." If you are interested in all these things and cool giveaways, you'll love

3. Curly Nikki
"If you're not feeling your hair, you're not feeling yourself," says Curly Nikki. The self-proclaimed "Dr. Phil of Natural Hair" allows you to take a seat on the red couch and examine yourself outwardly and inwardly. Society, friends and family often influence our thoughts and ideas about personality and style, so it's always refreshing to have a place where we can be ourselves...naturally! For hairstyles, ideas and discussions peep

2. Natural Chica
Mae, better known as Natural Chica, started in July 2009 when she began her transition to natural hair. This past July she celebrated one year of being natural and the website's first birthday. This blog is great because she posts videos of her hair journey on her youtube channel Nikkimae2003. She tries different styles and products to show that natural hair = versatility! She also attends many natural hair events. If you're looking for something new to try with your hair, go to now!

1. Black Girl With Long Hair
BGLH takes the #1 spot! Leila Noelliste started the blog in April 2008. BGLH is based in Chicago and most if its events are held in the Chicago area. I consider this blog one of the best sites for researching natural hair. It provides readers with product reviews, testimonials, "Now and Then" contests, giveaways, styles, ideas and plenty of information. It also has links to other fabulous blogs. BGLH takes pride in "celebrating the dopeness of natural hair" as the logo at the top of the site says. It makes women feel comfortable with their natural beauty and has encouraged many to transition to natural hair or do "the big chop." See for yourself at!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Have Your Design Displayed on the Next Uhuru T-Shirt

Put your name out there.
Create the next design to go on Uhuru’s fall T-shirt and sign your name on it.

Send designs to
Your file must be sent as PDF. We want to be able to see your work in any computer. Include your complete name, e-mail and phone number in the body of the e-mail. We must be able to reach you if you are the winner.
Use either one or two colors in your design and keep in mind it will be printed on a white T-shirt.
We are looking for good design, so avoid using too many words. It is cliche but a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Also, make sure to use appropriate language and images.
Be creative with your design and be certain you are representing Uhuru and the people who read it.
Pay attention on the deadlines. You have until the very last second of October 8 to submit your design. The winner will be announced on October 11, 2010.

Can a White Woman Tell Black Women how to be Beautiful?

Left to Right: Essence editor-in-chief Angela Burt Murray, Michaela Angela Davis, Elliana Plancas

By Akilah Porter
Readers and former employees of Essence magazine were outraged when the decision was made to promote a white woman to the position of fashion and beauty editor.
Although diversity is ideal in business, I think when it comes to this position for this particular magazine, only a woman of African dispora can tell other women in that group how to be beautiful and black. We can go to magazines like Elle, Cosmo or Lucky to get beauty tips for white women by white women, but now the magazine we once called our own is no longer ours only.
Former Essence writer Michaela Angela Davis has been speaking out against the decision since July. Hundreds of her Facebook supporters have taken her side on the issue by commenting on her page supporting her distaste in hiring Ellianna Plancas as the new fashion and beauty editor.
Davis insists that this is not reverse racism. She is concerned for the black women who will not have the opportunity to hold an editorial position because of incidences like this.

"Essence was the first magazine that says in their brand that it is for black women and their motto when I worked there was 'where black women come first,'" Davis said on CNN. "This is not about being racist, this is about wanting a place where black women can grow and flourish and go out and help diversify.”

Essence Editor-in-Chief Angela Burt Murray stands by her decision to hire Plancas and wants readers to stay loyal to the brand:
"I understand that this issue has struck an emotional chord with our audience...however I selected Ellianna, who has been contributing to the magazine on a freelance basis for the last six months, because of her creativity, vision, the positive reader response to her work and her enthusiasm and respect for the audience and our brand. We remain committed to celebrating the unique beauty and style of African-American women in Essence magazine and online at"

Plancas previously worked at O: The Oprah Magazine and US Weekly.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who you callin' a bitch? Oh, me.

By Martina Nwoga
In this day and age, young-minded, black females often are swayed by the music they listen to. According to Trina and Nicki Minaj, it’s cool for females to refer to each other as a “Bad Bitch.”

Here are some lyrics from Trina's song Killin You Hoes:
“The baddest bitch is back,
I'm back part 2, part 2
I'm reloaded and I'm killin you hoes…
You see dat outfit bitch
I'm killin you hoes”

These are lyrics from Nicki Minaj's Go Hard:
“And me, I'm that nasty son of a bitch
I still got that bitch cum on my lips”

With social media networks like Facebook and MySpace, I see too many Black females referring to themselves as the “Baddest Bitch.” But when a male calls a female a bitch, it’s a problem. I don’t see what the difference is. If you refer to yourself as a bitch, then why get mad when someone else refers to you in that same way. I, personally, can’t fathom how someone can degrade themselves.

The popular saying: actions speak louder than words may be why males refer to some females as bitches and hoes. For example, I saw a female who was dressed half-naked at a club get called a bitch by some guy after she got mad that he grabbed her arm. Now I’m not agreeing that the guy should have grabbed the female or should have called her a bitch, but it just goes to show that if a guy perceives the girl as bitch then he just may refer to her as one.

So all in all, I would like to know why females who refer to themselves as a “Bitch” become irate when a man refers to them in the same way. Is it because the B word has grown to have different connotations similar to the word “Nigga?” For example, if a Black person calls another Black person a “Nigga” then it’s okay, correct? But if a Caucasian calls a Black person a “Nigga,” it’s a problem.

Uhuru hits newsstands.

Grab your copy of the spring 2010 issue today!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Commentary: A Governmental Push to End Sagging

Photo via GQ
NY senator Eric Adams is running a campaign to end sagging. Read Dwayne Yates' commentary on sagging and more about Adams below.

By Dwayne Yates
I remember the day I started sagging my pants. I was 13, in the seventh grade and was walking home from school. It was a warm, spring day. I know so because I remember I wasn't wearing a jacket. I actually remember exactly what I was wearing. On top, I had on a blue and orange plaid Ecko shirt and a pair of jeans by the Tommy Hilfiger brand.
I only remember one thing from the day at school preceding this walk. I had a conflict with a white girl concerning my mixing Tommy and Ecko. I quickly shut her down by saying something sharp advising her not to mix Wal-Mart and KMart.
She didn't change my mind about how I dressed--I just remember that exchange too vividly to leave it out of this story. It was all my peers that prompted this change in the way I wore my pants.
If there is one thing I remember about middle school, it is how judgmental everyone was toward one another. If someone had bad hair, their hair was the day's topic of discussion. If you wore the same jeans more than one day a week, people noticed and told you they noticed. I remember people always had something to say about the clothes I wore. My mother kept me draped in turtlenecks, button ups, and khakis. People called me white because that and my vernacular. If being different was a crime, being "white" was a felony five.
I now know that people may have been jealous of me and I should have stayed true to myself, but that teenage insecurity got the best of me, and on that warm spring day in Akron, the world got its first glimpse of my butt cheeks.
By tenth grade, I was wearing tall, white tees so you couldn't see what color my underwear were no matter how low my pants were. I was also looking like less of a gentleman than ever. I dressed so thuggish I had people believing I was someone I wasn't. And, I am pleased to say that those days are over. With the help of college and adulthood, I am more of a gentleman than ever. Now, I see young men--even little cousins--with the same sagging problem that I had just two years ago and sigh.
As black men, we don't have control over many things in this world. One thing we do have control over, though, is how we dress. More importantly, we have control over how low we wear our pants.
I remember rap music was at the height of its profitability during my years in middle and high school. Rappers seemed to have it all: Money, cars, clothes and hoes. They also had a specific look to them. You could even call it a uniform: Big shirt or Jersey, baggy jeans, chain, hat cocked and a du-rag present. Take a second and look around you. If there are any brothas around, what are they wearing? If it's what I just described, they're subject to this media brainwashing rap music has left in the black community on how men should dress. They're also living in the past.
The trend of wearing huge, unflattering clothing is on the decline. This could be due to a new social climate in America. The president is black. That has already changed the attitudes of people in this country, no matter their color. President Obama is always dapper and wearing a suit.
Music has also changed. Pop music is on top, and the last super-star rapper, Jay-Z, is a business mogul who traded in his tees for tailor-made suits. The other greatest rapper alive, Lil' Wayne, wears skinny jeans and plays guitar. With these and many more black men breaking norms, black culture has changed and is changing at a rate faster than it took for America to get its first black president.
There are still some who are not progressing, though. Not all black men want to look like they have somewhere to be in twenty minutes. Some would much rather street trap and goon all day long in their jeans that touch the ground.
New York senator Eric Adams is running a campaign to end sagging. His slogan is "Raise your pants, raise your image!" It makes sense to me. If people don't see your derrière in the first thirty seconds of knowing you, they might have a little more respect for you.
Even if the political move does make sense, Russell Simmons thinks the senator buying eight billboards in Brooklyn to spread his message is a waste of time. He says kids don't want to dress like Sen. Adams.
I don't want to dress like Sen. Adams, but I like his message. Let's remember that Simmons made millions of dollars off of sagging with his popular clothing line Phat Farm. Lines like Phat Farm and Ecko aren't making money anymore, though, because their clothes had no longevity. They were static. They cashed in off the street wear trend, but now the climate has changed so Simmons is biased. It's definitely not a waste of time to encourage young, black men to take pride in their appearance. I just don't know if spending state dollars on eight billboards is smart in these economic times. It just may be a waste of money.
I feel that there is a renaissance on the horizon. In bigger cities, black men and women are taking pride in how they dress. They pay attention to detail and even include ethnic accessories and patterns in their wardrobes. I admit that sometimes my pants find their way below my ass, but I take time to pull them up. Degrading yourself to fit in with people who degrade themselves makes no sense. Don't settle for a life you weren't destined to live.

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