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News Blurbs Archive
mother helps her children

Black ‘Cosby’ Families Can’t Find Black Nannies

As a fresh young teenager making his way across the river to go to school and work in the big city, I’d often see black women pushing strollers with white babies in them. Rosy cheeks, chewing on their feet, and there is this black woman. Interracial marriages weren’t an oddity to me, but these kids didn’t look mixed. They were like Michael Jackson’s kids, blonde hair and blue eyes. It couldn’t be their kid… could it?

I later found out that 99.9% of them were working as nannies.

Many of them leave their own children at home to take care of other people’s kids, some work as au pairs, some work as nannies by default.. maybe it’s in their blood.

For the most part white families have looked for nanny help.

Here in the 06’ there are black families in need of care for their children. Having scored well-paying jobs they have the money to pay for it, but have difficulty finding people who will take the jobs. Black/Caribbean nanny or White/European, caring for black children is seen as undesirable and they will refuse a job solely on the basis of race.

A NY Times article titled “Nanny Hunt Can Be a ‘Slap in the Face’ for Blacks” dug into this problem yesterday.

Tanisha Jackson, an African-American mother of three lives in a Washington suburb. She searched on and off for five years before hiring a nanny. She commented, “We’ve attained whatever level society says is successful, we’re included at work, but when we need the support for our children and we can afford it, why do we get treated this way?”

It’s not just a problem in Washington, nannies from African-American and Caribbean backgrounds were interviewed in Atlanta, Chicago, NY and Houston, they all said they avoid working for black families reasoning that they demand more work and pay less.

I’m betting the work is the same they’d hear from a white family, but they can’t bear to take instructions from someone that looks like themselves.. but I’ll go on timeout.

Tomasina Boone of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn works as an advertising beauty director at Essence magazine, her husband Eric is a lawyer at Milbank Tweed. A Caribbean woman interviewed for the job asked them about the colored people in the neighborhood. Which completely turned them off.. “To have someone refer to other black people as ‘colored,’ what does that teach your child about race?”

Another Russian nanny told them she doesn’t usually care for black children but because their son was light-skinned she’d make an exception.

The Boones have placed their son in daycare, doing The Pursuit of Happyness thing, running from the city before the center closes and back to work, they say it’s inconvenient but necessary.

Getting a white nanny is even tougher, but they do exist.

Viola Waszkiewicz a nanny working in Chicago said she cares for black children but many of her Eastern European homies won’t.. “We come here, and we watch TV and the news, and all we see is black people who got hurt, got murdered.” Most of the nannies she knows ‘think all black people are bad.’ She said, “They’re afraid to go to black neighborhoods.”

Margaret Kop, a Polish nanny was at the park with a black child, a nanny asked her, “Where did you find that monkey?”

Kop said she loves the kid and cried on the way home

It’s not all on the nannies though. Some, what did I say?.. ‘Cosby’ families *joke* said they turn down Caribbean nannies because of their accents, fearing their kids will pick up on it themselves.

Mommy comes home and the kid is laid back, one leg over the arm of the couch, “Wha go on, sister!”

Another preferred black nannies because they would know little details, like how to do her daughter’s hair. That’s reasonable.

It’s just pathetic that a black nanny would turn down one of their own, especially when the reason is they feel the family would look down on them. Yet there they are in the streets of Manhattan pushing a stroller with a white baby. Everyone is looking at them, either curiously or knowing outright what they do for a living.

How is that a better situation?

Taking that job isn’t wrong, just preferring it over any black job

There really is no answer to this.. we’re talking decades old race/class problems within the black community.

Maybe the Cosbys want to hire Mexicans for this job too? *more jokes*

harry allen

Ask Harry Allen: James Brown’s Impact

Quotes o’ plenty from artists about James Brown’s death. This morning Harry Allen, a hip-hop journalist, Public Enemy’s “media assassin” was interviewed on Democracy Now!

He chopped it up with the host, Amy Goodman. Coming from the hip-hop side of the table he gives a good look at James Brown’s influence on the music.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about how he really helped create funk, how he influenced hip-hop?

HARRY ALLEN: Well, hip-hop is a music that relies to a great extent on using preexisting musical ideas expressed through recordings. And James Brown put together some of the densest ideas in black music ever made. And so, in hip-hop it’s almost like, when you go to a James Brown recording, it’s like you?_Tre finding a piece of ore, something you can take apart and use in endless numbers of ways, because there’s so many ideas per fraction of a second in any one of his recordings. If you listen to James Brown’s catalog, you’re pretty much going to be hearing little bits and pieces of hip-hop, of the hip-hop idea, repeated endlessly throughout it.

AMY GOODMAN: What gave him his strength, his power early on, and then branching out the way he did?

HARRY ALLEN: I think—my impression is that his hardships in life—James Brown was born in Barnwell, South Carolina in 1928, and then went on to live in Augusta, Georgia. And he had an upbringing and a life that can only be summarized as typical of ghetto youth, and by that, I mean people who are poor, who often don’t have both parents in the home, who are often uneducated and mistreated, and as black people living under the cloud and conditions of white supremacy having to find a way. And James Brown found his way through life on the street and then through prison, but he was saved by music.

And it was, I think, all of those experiences and the fact that he never lost his connection, as Al Sharpton said, to the common man, that throughout his life, James Brown was not the guy who went to Beverly Hills and married a white woman, although I think he ultimately did, but that he stayed with the people. You could always imagine James Brown as being the kind of guy who, you know, would saddle up to a plate of collard greens and mashed potatoes and chicken and, you know, not have any airs. And so, he kept his common touch.

continued there.. *scroll down to “rush transcript”*

al sharpton

Why The Tears in Al Sharpton’s Eyes?

Last night when reporting on James Brown’s death, one of the news reporters gave a little smirk when he mentioned that Al Sharpton thought of James brown as his father.

In his thought bubble you could see the words.. “There he goes again, jumping on the hot ‘black’ event.”

The thing is, Al Sharpton is very closely connected to James Brown. He knew James Brown before anyone knew Al Sharpton existed.

Yesterday outside of the National Action Network’s House of Justice Sharpton explained that he was close friends with James Brown’s son, Teddy. Teddy introduced Sharpton to his father. Teddy was killed in a car accident. From that time on Sharpton said, “I kind of replaced Teddy for him and he became the father I never had.”

James Brown was also responsible for helping Sharpton become a civil rights activist. Though he had formed a civil rights group early on, Brown always encouraged him to continue with the work. Recently he called Sharpton to tell him he was proud of the work he was doing in the Sean Bell case.

That famous Sharpton doo? Brown took Sharpton with him on his trip to the White House to meet President Ronald Reagan. Before heading off, Brown had his personal stylist give Sharpton’s hair some fluff. Sharpton said, “When we got on the plane headed for Washington, he said, ‘Don’t change your hair like that until I die.’”

Whether he was joking or not.. Sharpton did just that. Although he has slicked it back a little, leftovers from his run for the democratic presidential nomination in 04’. Don’t be surprised to see some new puff going on for the funeral.

Sharpton said James Brown gave out turkeys every year in Augusta, GA. “Three years ago he asked me to stand in his place,” said Sharpton. “It wouldn’t have been right not to feed people in his name. And every Christmas we will feed people in the name of James Brown, because he cared about people.”

“James Brown was not just a guy who made a lot of hits. He changed culture for us. he made the common man matter.”

Sharpton is in Augusta, GA to assist with James Brown’s funeral.

James Brown

The Godfather of Soul: Death of a Legend

With any and everybody proclaiming themselves the leader of this, the best at that, chest-thumping and ball hugging, when you state that a man is the Godfather of Soul the weight of those words just don’t have the impact desired, sounds like just another tag line.

Father Time is also a factor; as an artist’s prime years pass, the spirit of their creations and performances lose impact to those who didn’t witness or experience the music on a first hand basis. Not a BET Award Show appearance, it’s those who were in the small packed clubs and theatres, sweaty house parties, picked up the needle on the scratched groove of a vinyl record, heard “Say it Loud/ I’m Black I’m Proud” in the revolutionary and pride pumping way that it was intended.

They hold the true definition.

James Brown was the Godfather of Soul because he kept it real and raw at all times. There was no gimp in his limp.

No disrespect to Motown, they have history making artists *insert Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Supremes.. on and on* At the same time the label itself was considered the shiny suit operation of the era: carefully packaged and marketed to appeal to the widest possible audience.

There no records like James Brown’s “Blues and Pants” on Motown: too raw and definitely too gritty. James Brown refused to change his sound to cater to a crossover audience or to sell records. He lived to entertain, but always did what he felt was the right thing to do for himself, putting emotion and truth ahead of a potential chart position.

Ironically that truth to self is what made his music popular.

Back in the day, my Grandmother would walk around the house singing at the top of her lungs.. “Tryyyyy Meee…!!!!”

It helped that one hand held an icy, alcoholic beverage, but she was definitely dialed into the song in a way that spoke to her personally.

What annoyed me was Grandma seemed to only love the real bluesy stuff in James Brown catalog. Stuff from the 60’s. Mentioning first-hand experience, my JB connection came from sneaking in her record collection in search of breakbeats.. records to sample.. the stuff hip-hop is built on.

She had none of his mid 70’s albums.. my Pops had that…key word being had.

In the mid 80’s, early 90’s, James Brown was THE man to sample. His records were 40% groove, 40% funk, 20% un-unintelligible grunts and noises. It was as simple as pressing record on the keyboard or spinning back a record to make the backdrop to a rap complete.

The most prominent was “Funky Drummer”...

Most known to this era of hip-hop is Total’s “Can’t You See” which sampled “The Payback” and Biggie’s “Dreamin” which sampled “Blues and Pants.”

The mainstream always talks of his fun loving “I Feel Good” records and they are the songs he performed most often in his later years. If I had to pick one favorite James Brown record it would be.. “The Payback.”

Lines like..  “I don’t know karate.. but I know Ka-razy”

.. “I can do wheelin.. I can do dealin..  But I don’t do no damn squealin.”

Gangsta before it was spelled with an A.

It’s funny how 34-year-old rappers are ‘old’ in the eyes of teenagers; it’s not even considered a possibility someone could rap into their fourties, but if it’s the music a rapper grew up with, lived with, there is no age barrier. Here was James Brown, still performing the music he knew, had a New Years Eve show scheduled and he’s 73-years-old.

James Brown’s death would have been big news on any day of the week, but Christmas Day made it all the more, dare I say.. special.

A big day, for a big man, Godfather of Soul, Rest in Peace.

duke accuser

Rape Charges Dropped in Duke Case

The district attorney dropped charges against three Duke lacrosse players after the accuser changed her story for what the defense said is the 12th time. From day one she’s given conflicting versions of the account, the number of attackers and the way it happened. Her companion that night has even changed her story - first supporting her, then telling the late Ed Bradley something else. (Realvideo link) and the full 60 Minutes coverage.

Last week DNA testing came back that identified male genetic tissue in the accusers panties, but none of it matched the accused lacrosse players.

Yesterday she testified that she isn’t sure if she was actually penetrated that night. This after talking about anal penetration, oral, etc.

Strangely she also gave birth a few weeks ago, exactly nine months and a day after the incident.

Isn’t there a blood test that can confirm if the genetic material found in her panties matches the baby’s?

Is the baby caramel latte? Silky hair?

Given the new testimony rape charges in the case were dropped, kidnapping and sex offense charges still stand.

The lawyers for the lacrosse players held a press conference today to discuss this http://video.msn.com/

It’s an MSNBC link, they warn that graphic language is used, sadly that’s enough to make me want to see it.

Instead of the soundbite you’ll see on the news tonight, take a few extra minutes to hear dude out.

You notice that Al Sharpton stayed away from this one?