The Grio

Obama is now winning the Obamacare debate

Obama is now winning the Obamacare debate

ANALYSIS - It will be harder for Republicans, even if they disagree with Obamacare, to suggest the law will collapse, as many of them did last fall...
Basil Paterson, NYC political leader and father...

Basil Paterson, NYC political leader and father of ex-governor David Paterson, dead at 87

NEW YORK (AP) — Basil Paterson, a longtime New York political powerhouse and the father of former Gov. David Paterson, has died, his family said Thursday. He was 87...
President Obama: 8 million signed up for health...

President Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eight million people have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, President Barack Obama said Thursday, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead of the midterm elections...
‘Scandal’ just got real for Columbus Short:...

‘Scandal’ just got real for Columbus Short: Why he can’t pull off a Charlie Sheen-style career

OPINION - I am incredibly disappointed because, if these allegations are proven true, this pretty much means he’s a terrible person and I can no longer root for him...
Karyn Washington death puts suicide, mental...

Karyn Washington death puts suicide, mental health back in spotlight

OPINION - I believe we need to understand that there is a more compassionate way to address the topic of one’s decision to take their own life...
Aretha Franklin to sue over fake report of fight...

Aretha Franklin to sue over fake report of fight with Patti LaBelle

theGRIO REPORT - Aretha Franklin didn't find anything funny about a fake report claiming she was in a backstage fight with her fellow soul legend Patti LaBelle...

Black Enterprise

Political Powerhouse, Basil Paterson, Dead at 87

Political Powerhouse, Basil Paterson, Dead at 87

Basil served in the state Senate in the ’60s, and was appointed by Mayor Ed…
America’s Highest Paid CEOs Average Salary...

America’s Highest Paid CEOs Average Salary Earnings Over $10 Million

The media compensation of CEOs of the top 100 U.S. corporations last year was $13.9…
Naughty by Nature Rapper Treach Released from NJ...

Naughty by Nature Rapper Treach Released from NJ Jail

The Naughty by Nature front man led the cops on a 10 block car chase
Want to Intern at Black Enterprise in Social...

Want to Intern at Black Enterprise in Social Media, Marketing or Editorial? Apply Here

Come join us!
Drake is Slated to Host the 2014 ESPY Awards

Drake is Slated to Host the 2014 ESPY Awards

Drake is an avid sports fan
UMass Guard Derrick Gordon Comes Out as First...

UMass Guard Derrick Gordon Comes Out as First Openly Gay D-1 Player

This makes Gordon the first openly gay Division I basketball player

The Root

NYPD Disbands Muslim-Spying Unit

NYPD Disbands Muslim-Spying Unit

Wisconsin: Worst State in Nation for Black...

Wisconsin: Worst State in Nation for Black Children

If you are raising a black child, think twice before moving to Wisconsin.

Think of Beyoncé as a Contemporary Mami...

Think of Beyoncé as a Contemporary Mami Wata

Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal sits down to talk with Ali Colleen Neff about her work with Senegalese praise poets, Mami Wata and sea punk. Neff is a visiting assistant professor at the College of William & Mary in the departments of anthropology and African-American studies.

PETA Goes After Michelle Obama on Easter Egg Roll

PETA Goes After Michelle Obama on Easter Egg Roll

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, more fondly known as PETA, is targeting first lady Michelle Obama in a new YouTube video, pleading with her to end the tradition of using real eggs in the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

B. Scott Loses Discrimination Lawsuit Against BET

B. Scott Loses Discrimination Lawsuit Against BET

Everyone who knows about B. Scott knows that he has a flair for dressing in glamorous, usually more-feminine, attire.

Long Island High School Students Indefinitely...

Long Island High School Students Indefinitely Suspended for Wearing Confederate Flag

Two seniors at a private Catholic high school in South Huntington, N.Y., were indefinitely suspended for wearing a Confederate flag draped around their shoulders, CBS New York reports. The students, who brought the flag to an after-hours sports event at the Long Island school, have prompted outrage, according to the report.

Black Voices (Huffington Post)

University Of Mississippi Frat Shut Down After...

University Of Mississippi Frat Shut Down After Members Tied Noose To Desegregation Statue

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A national fraternity group has closed its University of Mississippi chapter after three members were accused of tying a noose around the neck of a statue of the first black student to enroll in the Southern college that was all-white at the time.

The university announced Thursday that the national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon, based in Richmond, Va., had closed its Ole Miss chapter. Besides the noose, someone draped a pre-2003 Georgia state flag with a Confederate battle emblem in its design on the face of the James Meredith statue in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 16. Meredith's enrollment in 1962 set off a violent attack by anti-integration protesters on federal authorities, leaving two people dead and scores injured.

The names of the three students from Georgia haven't been released. They were kicked out of the chapter, which itself had been suspended pending the review.

Ole Miss spokesman Tom Eppes said university disciplinary proceedings against the three students are ongoing. He also said the FBI is still investigating.

The Lafayette County district attorney has said state charges won't be brought because no state laws were broken. Mississippi's hate crime law requires an underlying crime for those additional charges. Because the statute itself wasn't marred or broken, prosecutors say typical vandalism charges don't apply.

After the noose was found, the university asked the national headquarters to review the 130-member chapter, which had been on campus since 1987.

"The closure is not a result of what happened with the Meredith statue, but the Meredith statue precipitated the intensive review of how they conduct business," Blanton said.

Ole Miss and fraternity officials said they found a pattern of underage drinking and hazing which broke both university and Sigma Phi Epsilon rules. University officials said the national office had previously intervened in 2010 to fix similar problems.

"We are disappointed that a pattern of bad behavior and serious, inexcusable hazing occurred within the chapter," Dean of Students Sparky Reardon said in a statement. "Periodic reports from and meetings with local alumni and national headquarters led us to believe that the chapter was improving."

Sigma Phi Epsilon CEO Brian Warren said the group had "no choice" but to close the unit.

"Though it's always painful to close a chapter, these students' actions clearly illustrate a determination to perpetuate an experience based on risky and unconstructive behavior," he said in a statement.

Blanton said students currently living in the Sigma Phi Epsilon house on campus would be allowed to stay and eat meals there through the end of the semester, but would not be allowed to have any social activities. After that, he said the university, which owns the land under the house, and the fraternity would discuss uses for the structure.

Sigma Phi officials said they would discuss a return to campus with the university. It's not clear how long that might take. Blanton said that several years ago, the university did not reinstate the closed chapter of another fraternity until all the members at the time of the closure had graduated.

Administrators have fought against the university's Old South image, banning Confederate battle flags from football games in 2003 and ditching its Colonel Reb mascot for a black bear in 2010. But those efforts have been undermined by unflattering incidents, such as an election night disturbance in November 2012 when some students used racial slurs and profanity to protest President Barack Obama's re-election, or an October 2013 performance of "The Laramie Project" where football players and other students used gay slurs to heckle the play about the 1998 murder of University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepherd, who was gay.


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I Guess I Should Stop Letting People Call Me...

I Guess I Should Stop Letting People Call Me 'Tranny'

There's a tendency among my friends and others who see me in my element to refer to me as a "tranny," one of the words that have recently been banished from the gay lexicon (the others being "she-male," "he-she," and "ladyboy"). For some background, I don't identify as transgender but as a cisgender gay man. That said, I happen to be most comfortable while sporting a pair of 5-inch heels, makeup, and some sort of gender-neutral outfit. I've often enjoyed my male identity, but from a young age I've reveled in my femininity, quietly enjoying any time I'm referred to as "she," either by accident or on purpose.

Personally, I've always regarded being called a "tranny" not as a slur but as a term of endearment. Growing up in Philadelphia, close to the origin of the ball and house scenes, it wasn't that strange to hear words like "tranny," "she-male," and "he-she" being used in that way within the queer community of color. It was especially popular with the predominantly black and Latino kids at the Attic Youth Center. You could also hear it from the older trans matrons who worked the community tables at Outfest and Pridefest, and even occasionally from the trans sex workers you'd pass while walking home from the Gayborhood. Out of all the lingo, it's "tranny" that I remember most vividly. It wasn't just a word but a cultural moniker celebrating a certain type of effeminacy. Though I never sought it, I wore it as a badge of pride. It was coded speech between queer people of color that few white LGBT people noticed or even understood at the time. It was part of an underground language that also included words like "shade" and "reading," which have since gone mainstream.

Even then, "tranny" was a bit special. Like "she-male," it felt like a word that belonged specifically to my community, much like "nigga" for the black community. All three are contentious words that are policed heavily and breed confusion about who is and isn't allowed to use them. It's probably easier to look at "tranny" and "she-male" next to words like "queer" and "faggot." All four have been used by bigots and hatemongers to dehumanize LGBT people. But over time, the adjective form of "queer" has been embraced by academia (as in "queer studies," a major academic field) and from there our larger culture (as in ""), to the point that "queer community" may eventually replace "LGBT community" as the preferred umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities. It still has a lingering sting, but the gradual reclaiming process has made it more bearable.

Meanwhile, "faggot" hasn't had the same luck. For many, it's still too raw and triggering for political, let alone casual, use. And over the past several weeks, many people have expressed similar sentiments about "tranny" and "she-male," culminating in last week's decision by the producers of RuPaul's Drag Race to eliminate the use of these words on the show. I'm not sure I completely agree with their decision, but I can understand it. I can empathize with the hurt and frustration that viewers might have felt seeing the show casually use words that many consider to be anti-transgender slurs. It must be like the unsettling feeling I experienced when I saw Madonna use the word "nigga" -- and then when I saw white gay men coming to her defense. (The larger gay community, including GLAAD, was silent on that controversy, by the way. I guess they thought it was outside their wheelhouse.)

The queer community is its very own cultural melting pot, a hodgepodge of people of different races, classes, sexual orientations and gender identities. And we're expected to all just get along? That's absurd. This nearly endless diversity can make our community fantastic, but it can also make it dangerous to try to take a one-size-fits-all approach to anything. Over the last couple of weeks, I couldn't help but notice that the dialogue around Drag Race and "tranny" has been dominated by a few very specific voices, voices coming from people who don't look like me or any of the trans people I grew up with. Now, that doesn't make their voices wrong, just different. But if we're going to have a conversation about the queer community, let's have everyone at the table.

Moving forward, there's plenty to examine and consider when it comes to the recent Drag Race decision, including the fact that after six years, the show has truly gone from underground to mainstream, and there might be a host of business incentives that we aren't privy to that encourage the producers to want to avoid offending anyone. This decision is a reminder that as queer culture continues to be integrated into the larger culture (largely as a result of the growing acceptance of gay marriage), it will inevitably lose some of the more subversive idiosyncrasies that have made it so unique.

Moreover, it's important to be conscious of when we are cherry-picking issues and avoiding larger initiatives in favor of small, hollow victories -- like toppling a Mozilla CEO. There are loud voices in our community that say that these campaigns against the more "unseemly" or "unconventional" facets of our community are a way toward broader social acceptance. It's not. It's the way toward even more infighting, fragmentation and ultimately dissolution. It empowers those who truly demean and threaten our community. I believe that when we're faced with those kinds of threats, there are smarter battles to be fought than a media campaign against a word that has given many disenfranchised trans people a way to create community and show solidarity. #Tranny
Salli Richardson-Whitfield's Quest To Play Lena...

Salli Richardson-Whitfield's Quest To Play Lena Horne On Broadway

With five-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald (Porgy & Bess) currently captivating audiences on Broadway in her portrayal of legendary singer Billie Holliday in ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill,’ in time, audiences will hopefully get a chance to see the story of another legend on the Great White Way.
Michael Rapaport Blasts Spike Lee: He Made Money...

Michael Rapaport Blasts Spike Lee: He Made Money On Brooklyn Getting Better

Actor and native New Yorker Michael Rapaport joined HuffPost Live on Thursday to talk about his new documentary "When The Garden Was Eden," which chronicles the glory days of the New York Knicks and their arena Madison Square Garden and opened the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.

Host Josh Zepps asked Rapaport about Spike Lee's recent rant against the gentrification of Brooklyn, in which Lee said, speaking to the gentrifiers: "You can’t just come in when people have a culture that’s been laid down for generations and you come in and now shit gotta change because you’re here? Get the fuck outta here."

Rapaport, who appeared in Lee's 2000 film "Bamboozled," had some choice words for the director.

"I mean, Spike lives on the Upper East Side. If the people that donated money to Spike Lee's last film saw the apartment that he lives in, they'd bug out. So I don't know what he's talking about," the actor told HuffPost Live.

Rapaport, who attended Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush, went on to say that the gentrified Brooklyn neighborhoods are better off for the changes, and that people like Spike Lee have benefitted from the improvement.

"Brooklyn got better. And he's making money off the fact that it got better," Rapaport said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here:

Dartmouth President Vows To Tackle Drinking,...

Dartmouth President Vows To Tackle Drinking, Sexual Violence, Racism On Campus

Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon got candid about the issues facing the Ivy League school Wednesday, saying the institution was being "hijacked by extreme behavior."

"Dangerous drinking has become the rule and not the exception," Hanlon said in a speech to a group of faculty, students and staff, before going on to cite sexual violence and a "general disregard for human dignity, as exemplified by hazing, parties with racist and sexist undertones, [and] disgusting and sometimes threatening insults hurled on the Internet."

Before Wednesday, Dartmouth had always insisted these issues could be found at every college, and that it was a leader in addressing such concerns. However, Dartmouth currently faces a federal investigation for its alleged mishandling of sexual misconduct complaints, the university's applications have dropped 14 percent, and in an apparent reference to critical articles in the media, Hanlon declared that "external scrutiny of our campus life has never been higher."

In what was also likely a swipe at the Greek system, Hanlon said Dartmouth's social scene was often "at odds with the practices of inclusion that students are right to expect on a college campus in 2014."

"The actions I have detailed are antithetical to everything that we stand for and hope for our students to be," Hanlon said. "There is a grave disconnect between our culture in the classroom and the behaviors outside of it -- behaviors which too often seek not to elevate the human spirit, but debase it."

Hanlon announced the formation of a presidential steering committee consisting of students, faculty, administration and alumni who will be tasked with researching possible reforms and presenting them to the Board of Trustees in the fall.

Hanlon's speech came less than two weeks after a group of students staged a two-day protest in his office, demanding a point-by-point response to a 72-item "Freedom Budget." The student-written document called upon the university to make detailed reforms to become more inclusive, and to address problems like sexual violence.

The school has been at the center of a number of controversies in recent years. Then-student Andrew Lohse's revelations about Greek hazing in 2012 gave way, a year later, to a student group calling itself Real Talk Dartmouth demonstrating during an event for prospective students. The Real Talk members later received rape and death threats online, prompting the college to cancel classes for a day. In the past year, sorority leaders have boycotted rush, citing concerns about Greek system costs and sexual violence as a student was targeted in a "rape guide" at a popular Dartmouth website.

Yet as Hanlon acknowledged, many of these concerns are not new at Dartmouth.

Authors of the Freedom Budget claimed Hispanics, Native Americans and the black community are not adequately represented on campus. The same concerns led the college to cancel classes in 1979. At the time, James deFrantz, then president of the school's Afro-American Association, declared: "Racism is woven into the fabric of the Dartmouth community. It is a living hell for black students and minority students. A strong message is conveyed to all black students: You are not wanted here."

The Freedom Budget demanded swift and strict punishment for Greeks holding offensive, racially-themed parties, something that happened in both 2013 and 1998.

The biggest effort to reform the Greek system, which ultimately failed, came in 1999, when then-President James Wright launched the Student Life Initiative. Wright's reforms would have forced all Greeks to go co­educational and to end hazing. For good measure, the initiative also called for a ban on kegs.

Students overwhelmingly objected, and alumni of Greek organizations met with trustees and administrators, successfully lobbying to stop some of the major reforms -- like forcing houses to go co-ed -- dead in their tracks.

After Wright left in 2008, his successor, Jim Yong Kim, declared he wouldn't even try to change the culture at Dartmouth. Kim promised to let alumni have a say in how the college was run, and said of the Greek system, "If you're against it, you're against two­-thirds of your students."

"Given Dartmouth's history of failure to address campus issues through internal committees, we have hope but little faith," read a statement issued by Dartmouth Change, a group of alumni and faculty working to improve the campus climate, in response to Hanlon's comments this week. "Committees have been formed many times before, and recommendations are made and ignored."

Between 2009 and 2013 -- during Kim's tenure, and through Carol Folt's time as an interim president -- the college created several committees that produced recommendations, but no dramatic overhaul.

"Much has changed since I left in the spring of 1977," Hanlon said Wednesday night, referring to the year he graduated from Dartmouth. "But more has remained the same."

A Timeline Of Aggressions At Dartmouth:

7 Lies We Need To Stop Telling About Young...

7 Lies We Need To Stop Telling About Young African-American Men

Last week Long Island teenager Kwasi Enin captured national headlines after becoming part of an impressive club: high school seniors who have been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools. However, while many celebrated Enin's achievement, a bitter minority griped that the teenager had somehow gamed the system. The racial subtext was obvious: Enin couldn't have actually have gotten into all those schools by himself. Why? Well, because he's black.

This type of harmful and wholly inaccurate narrative has been constructed around African-American male student achievement for years. Enin is just the latest high-profile example of how it hurts all young men, high school high achievers or not, by implying that the majority of African-American boys are hopelessly behind and may never be able to narrow the achievement gap.


Raekwon: I'm on Strike From Wu-Tang

Raekwon: I'm on Strike From Wu-Tang

The Chef claims RZA is making "mediocre music."
8 Million Signed Up For Health Care

8 Million Signed Up For Health Care

President Obama says the Affordable Care Act is working.
Jourdan Dunn Tapped as New Face of Maybelline

Jourdan Dunn Tapped as New Face of Maybelline

The model says her new gig is “a dream come true.”
Commentary: Diddy's Long Overdue Howard Degree

Commentary: Diddy's Long Overdue Howard Degree

Why we can't ignore the contributions of college dropouts.
On Newsstands Now: Serena Williams, Beyoncé and...

On Newsstands Now: Serena Williams, Beyoncé and More

Get a closer look at May’s gorgeous cover girls.
Should College Athletes Get Paid?

Should College Athletes Get Paid?

New Yorkers weigh in on the debate.

Black America Web - State of Black America

H. Hartford Brookins Dies

H. Hartford Brookins Dies

Romney Faces Tough Questions from Black Leaders

Romney Faces Tough Questions from Black Leaders

2010 Census Missed More Than 1.5 Million...

2010 Census Missed More Than 1.5 Million Minorities

Toxins Poison Florida Community

Toxins Poison Florida Community

VIDEO: Man Puts Child in Washer Machine,...

VIDEO: Man Puts Child in Washer Machine, Babysitter Watches

UCLA Medical Center Stung by Lawsuit

UCLA Medical Center Stung by Lawsuit