The Grio

UPS employee trades $160K stolen diamond for $20...

UPS employee trades $160K stolen diamond for $20 marijuana

theGRIO REPORT - Police say a one-time UPS employee allegedly stole a package containing a $160,000 diamond, and then the traded the diamond about $20 worth of marijuana...
Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell reportedly...

Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell reportedly have verbal spat on ‘The View’

theGRIO REPORT - Two weeks into the new season of ABC's 'The View,' Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg reportedly had a verbal fight in front of the show's live studio audience...
Do social media prenups make sense?

Do social media prenups make sense?

As if the discussion with your spouse-to-be around whether to have a prenuptial agreement isn’t tough enough; there’s something else that you might want to include in that conversation — a social media prenup.

Indeed, more and more young couples …

NFL: Chiefs Husain Abdullah should not have been...

NFL: Chiefs Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized

theGRIO REPORT - Kansas City safety and devote Muslim Husain Abdullah was penalized Monday night after he scored a touchdown for unsportsmanlike conduct...
Oprah’s ‘The Life You Want’ tour inspires...

Oprah’s ‘The Life You Want’ tour inspires thousands

theGRIO REPORT - Empowering. Enlightening. Magical. These three words only begin to describe this past weekend's two-day event hosted by Oprah Winfrey...
Oklahoma beheading suspect’s mom: ‘That’s...

Oklahoma beheading suspect’s mom: ‘That’s not my son’

theGRIO REPORT - The family of a Oklahoma man charged with murder and assault apologized to the victim's family via Facebook...

Black Enterprise

Twitter Reacts to Jesse Williams’ ‘Exodus:...

Twitter Reacts to Jesse Williams’ ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ Boycott

In Ridley Scott's Exodus Gods and Kings movie, the director has gone historically inaccurate. Actor…
10 Tweets Commemorating the #MikeBrownMemorial...

10 Tweets Commemorating the #MikeBrownMemorial That You Should See

Ferguson was again thrusted into the spotlight when Michael Brown's memorial was torched. Twitter responded…
President Obama Addresses Michael Brown Shooting...

President Obama Addresses Michael Brown Shooting At Congressional Black Caucus Dinner

President Obama was speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner where he addressed the Michael…
10 Best States for Black Household Wealth

10 Best States for Black Household Wealth

As we all know, African Americans are the predominate force consuming products in the country.…
WATCH: Video Shows Police Shooting at John...

WATCH: Video Shows Police Shooting at John Crawford III

Video shows more detail into the shooting death of John Crawford III.
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin: The Soldier Leading the...

Gen. Lloyd J. Austin: The Soldier Leading the Charge Against ISIS

'Invisible soldier' is a heavily decorated Army general & the first African-American CENTCOM commander.

The Root

Mumia Abu-Jamal to Give Vermont’s Goddard...

Mumia Abu-Jamal to Give Vermont’s Goddard College Commencement Speech

Pennsylvania inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal to be their commencement speaker, Reuters reports

Paging Dr. Ben Carson: Based on That Fox News...

Paging Dr. Ben Carson: Based on That Fox News Interview, You Need a Political Tune-Up— Stat

If you’re a regular The Root reader, you already know that I’m fairly skeptical about the prospects of a 2016 presidential run by current Fox News contributor and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. If not, read here, here, here, here and here.

Report: Whoopi Goldberg to Rosie O’Donnell:...

Report: Whoopi Goldberg to Rosie O’Donnell: ‘I’m Really Sick of Your S--t!’

It’s been less than a month into the new and revamped season of The View, and there’s already drama between the hosts. According to the Daily Mail, returning co-host Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg had a nasty exchange of words during a commercial break.

New Study Seeks to ‘Unlock Opportunity for...

New Study Seeks to ‘Unlock Opportunity for African-American Girls’

A new report from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Women’s Law Center seeks to explain the reasons behind the often depressing statistics that black girls and women face. It’s a response to President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, the $200 million program for boys of color that received heavy criticism from those who felt that young women should be included.

Man Accused of Beheading Co-Worker Is Charged...

Man Accused of Beheading Co-Worker Is Charged With Murder; May Face Death Penalty

Charges were filed against Oklahoma beheading suspect Alton Nolen on Tuesday, the Smoking Gun reports.

The NFL Doesn’t Know What Non-Christian Prayers...

The NFL Doesn’t Know What Non-Christian Prayers Look Like

During a football game Monday night, Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah made a 39-yard interception for a touchdown, which led to the team's 41-14 win over the New England Patriots. But it's what Abdullah did after making the touchdown that caught everyone's attention, including the NFL's.

Black Voices (Huffington Post)

Ferguson, Social Justice, and the Role of...

Ferguson, Social Justice, and the Role of Community Colleges

As institutions created "by" and "for" local communities, community colleges are often acutely affected by social, economic, and political changes taking place in homes and neighborhoods across America. Economic disparity, abuse of power, and social injustice, often will reverberate quickly on the campuses of 2-year institutions. Because community colleges are accessible to all regardless of class, academic ability, or background, student populations represent a mosaic of ethnic, racial, and religious groups, and social and economic backgrounds all looking to better themselves.

On August 9, 2014, a young black man, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson, who is white. By now, most are familiar with the details of the event. Some aspects of the occurrence are still unknown, and a grand jury is currently considering whether to bring charges against Wilson. In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation. Theories abound as to not only why the death of Brown took place, but the reasons for the intensity of the reaction in the streets. Clearly, the situation is complex and can only be remedied through legal, structural, and institutional change, as well as broad-based citizen participation and committed leadership.

Ferguson, Missouri, located in St. Louis County, is a city of about 21,000. The racial make-up of the city is 70% black and 30% white. When the unrest in Ferguson was at its peak, the local school district delayed opening as a safety precaution. Though well-meaning, this was criticized by some. Going unnoticed though was that the only institution of higher education in Ferguson, St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, sometimes referred to as Florissant Valley Community College or "Flo Valley" for short, kept its doors open. The college leadership believed it a better approach to stay open and provide students with the normalcy that was needed at the time.

In late August, I was invited to visit the college to meet with students, faculty, and leadership to listen to their concerns, and facilitate a conversation about how the college might respond to the current situation. All recognized that Brown's death, though significant, exposed deep-seated problems. To many I met, using education as a means of advancing racial equality, peaceful responses to conflict, and overall social justice had now become critical priorities.

Most of my time was spent with students. As with many community colleges, the range of student backgrounds was vast, even on campuses that are predominately African-American, as were the Forest Park and Florissant Valley campuses I visited. I had an opportunity to chat with members of the college's African American Male Initiative, a program designed to provide support and create pathways to success for black men. Some of the students I chatted with were focused on professional objectives including transferring to 4-year institutions after graduation. Others were back in school to obtain the education they had been denied earlier in life. One older student shared with me that he had been incarcerated and how the college had provided him with a new beginning. He also talked about how he had become a mentor to a number of young black men. Several had come to him during the unrest asking for advice. He had urged them to respond in nonviolent and constructive ways.

I met with members of the student newspaper who hailed from Taiwan, Nepal, and several African countries. They shared about the "home" that the college had provided them, and their desire to contribute to ways of advancing peaceful and positive outcomes. They felt they might have lessons to offer from their own native lands and experiences.

Overall, students had strong opinions about what had happened. Racism, they argued, was endemic in the St. Louis area, and now finally the rest of the world could see what they had long lived with. Students shared with me stories of their own altercations with police where they were treated poorly and at times abused because they were black. One black student shared with me that once when he was pulled over by a white police officer, the officer tried to "hit" on his white girlfriend. These are not urban myths. Notwithstanding their anger, students believed that things could change for the better. Without exception, students urged action using peaceful approaches. I felt, though, that many of these students were unfamiliar with nonviolent means and civil action. But they were willing to learn.

A number of students believed that the key to improving conditions was working with people they did not know. When I gave students a list of individuals and groups they might rely on as allies, many indicated "strangers." As one student put it: "They don't know our situation, we need to talk to folks we don't know and tell them our story." Building these new relationships is often the first step to creating opportunities for dialogue on topics such as racism, economic hardship, and abusive police action. I was struck after the end of one meeting when I saw a young black woman and young white woman who had not previously known each other engage in a deep conversation about their perceptions and desire to bridge differences.

Students shared with me their feelings of exhaustion and frustration. A number of students were just "tired of talking about it." They felt that their community was being mis-characterized in the media and that the arrival of national leaders was not necessarily a positive thing. Frustration must be dealt with constructively for it can lead to irresponsible actions including violence. Exhaustion can lead to apathy which will thwart citizen activism and the cultivation of grassroots leadership, both of which are needed right now. I stressed the need to be responsive not only to educational needs, but emotional ones as well.

Among the faculty and administrative leadership, there was a desire to provide a safe haven for students: a place free of violence and fear, but also a place where there could be a free exchange of ideas, especially uncomfortable ones. Many felt that there was a culture of avoidance present that encouraged blacks and whites to stay away from difficult issues of race, inequality, lack of opportunities, and social injustice. Through course offerings, student activities and events, and forming partnerships with the greater community, they felt that steps forward could be taken.

St. Louis Community College can continue to play its central role as a place of opportunity for students through liberal arts and career education. It can be a safe haven where students can dialogue on difficult issues. It can also tap the goodwill, expertise, and meaningful experiences of its students, faculty, and staff. In these ways, the college can be an important catalyst in advancing social justice in the region and the nation. This is a role that all community colleges can aspire to.
'Judging America' Photo Series Captures Nation's...

'Judging America' Photo Series Captures Nation's Stereotypes

Terrorist. Gangster. Stripper. Landscaper.

When people are viewed as stereotypes, they're labeled on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Photographer Joel Parés, a U.S. Marine from Puerto Rico, sought to highlight these prejudices in his new series, "Judging America."

"My inspiration for this series is the fact that America is a country that is very diverse with many ethnicities that together create the United States of America," he told photography blog Fstoppers.

Parés has observed stereotyping throughout his lifetime, like when his twin brother was bullied for being a "nerd" as a child, or when his friends from India were called "terrorists" and taunted with phony Middle Eastern accents while he was stationed in the South during his stint in the Marine Corps.

"It hurt me to see all of these things happening, so I decided that I would use my photography as my voice crying out for change," he told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. "My goal is to open the eyes of those who judge and let them see that it is wrong, and they need to get to know someone before they begin to label them under a certain category."

For the series, Parés photographed each subject twice. One photo shows the subject dressed to mimic a stereotype, and the other shows the subject as he or she really is.

"[M]any of us judge incorrectly by someone’s ethnicity, by their profession and by their sexual interest," he also told HuffPost. "The purpose of this series is to open our eyes and make us think twice before judging someone, because we all judge, even if we try not to. The first image is not necessarily what you actually see, but it is what you categorize them in your head without knowing who they truly are. The second image explains the truth about the person and how incorrect they were judged initially [all sic]."

Parés has experience in front of the camera, having worked as a model, according to Fstoppers. However, he is passionate about working behind the camera because he loves the possibility of "telling a story in a unique way, a way that can inspire the world," he told the photography blog.

Check out Parés' "Judging America" series, below. See more of his work on Facebook, Instagram and 500px.

Joel Parés Photography

Joel Parés Photography

Joel Parés Photography

Joel Parés Photography

Joel Parés Photography

Joel Parés Photography

Joel Parés Photography

h/t Bored Panda
How to Avoid the Payday Loan Debt Cycle

How to Avoid the Payday Loan Debt Cycle

By Jocelyn Baird,

Emergencies happen whether we plan for them or not -- that's why they're called emergencies. When your car breaks down or an illness lands you in the doctor's office, your financial situation can go from precarious to dire in an instant. This is especially true for low-income households, which often live paycheck-to-paycheck, but the unexpected can sneak up on anyone. What do you do when disaster strikes and you can't afford to pay the difference?

Many find themselves lured by payday loans

Payday loans are often advertised as quick fixes for dire emergencies. Those living in low-income areas and military bases are the industry's biggest target customer base. However, these loans are not only used for one-time situations. The Pew Charity Trust "Payday Lending in America" study found that more than 60 percent of payday loans are used to cover ordinary living expenses, such as groceries or utilities.

The premise is simple: borrow the amount you need plus a fee per $100 borrowed now, pay it back when your next paycheck arrives. Unfortunately, what often ends up happening is that the borrower can't pay back the amount borrowed within 14 days. The options are to default on the loan and run the risk of getting sent to collections and damaging your credit, or renew the loan (also known as "rolling over"). When the loan is renewed or rolled over, an additional fee is added on top of what you already owed. Thus begins the financially destructive payday loan debt cycle. What seems like a quick fix is actually anything but that.

Nearly 80 percent of payday loans roll over

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released the results of a study in March 2014 that shed some light on payday lending. The findings are sobering. Four out of five payday loans are rolled over or renewed in 14 days -- that's a staggering 80 percent rollover rate. In addition, only 15 percent of borrowers pay it off on time without taking out another loan during that 14-day period. This series of loans, which can be called a cycle of debt, is known in the industry as a loan sequence. The CFPB also found that most of these loan sequences end with a payment that is just as high, or sometimes higher, than the original loan payment.

How can I avoid this debt cycle?

Considering a payday loan but concerned about these statistics? We can offer some tips for keeping yourself out of this destructive debt cycle.

1. Explore your other options first

"Don't take out a payday loan" may seem like an obvious suggestion, but it is the best way you can avoid this problem. If you're strapped because of an emergency or even a miscalculation in your monthly budget, try to see if you can find a way to stretch your finances until payday. Perhaps you can borrow some money from a friend or a family member or cut out some unnecessary expenses. Afraid you can't make a bill payment? Many companies will work with you and extend your payment due date or let you make a series of smaller payments.

Another option is to adjust your tax withholdings. Do you usually receive a large refund at tax time? If so, you should take a look at how much is being withheld from your check every pay period. Making a change to this could mean more income each pay period, which will help your current financial situation far more than a large sum on a faraway date.

2. Consider another type of loan

Payday loans are attractive because they are smaller and easy to get no matter what kind of credit you have. However, the high price paid by the fees usually negates the convenience, especially when you consider that the average borrower requires five months to pay off a single-repayment loan. If you really find yourself needing money, it may be more advantageous to take out a personal loan. These loans are made through reputable financial institutions and typically come with fixed rates. This means that the interest rate you start with remains the same throughout the duration of the loan -- meaning the first payment will be the same as the last. It is not as easy to get a personal loan if you have poor credit, but some personal loan services do offer loans to those whose credit isn't that great. You might have a longer repayment period, but a fixed interest rate means you won't end up paying more than you bargained for in the end.

3. Borrow from a reputable service

So you've exhausted your resources and are still coming up dry. If you have to take a loan, be sure to make sure the source has a good reputation. This can be difficult to figure out since payday loans are predatory by nature, but there is a difference between a regular payday loan service and a payday loan scam. When it comes to recommending lenders, one of the best options is LendUp, which is designed to help borrowers learn responsible lending habits and not get caught in a never-ending debt cycle.

4. Know your rights

Laws regarding payday lending differ state-to-state. A little online research will show you what the laws are in your state. Read this information carefully before you even approach a lender. For example, of the 36 states in the country that allow payday loan services to operate, 27 allow single-repayment loans with APRs of 391 percent or higher, while the remaining nine states place more strict requirements on lenders. It is good to know what the laws are in your state so you can ensure you are not being taken advantage of illegally. Having this knowledge on your side will make interactions with lenders easier.

It is also important to read any paperwork you sign thoroughly beforehand -- this can help prevent any hidden fees from cropping up and surprising you down the road when you are trying to get out of debt.

5. Beware of overdrafting your checking account

One of the biggest downfalls for payday loan borrowers is the risk of overdrafting your bank account. Keep track of any checks you write to a payday lender and know what date the check is going to be cashed, or at least the date you wrote on the check. Should a check go through without enough money in your account to cover it, not only do you run the risk of a bounced check fee, but you also will have to pay an overdraft fee to your bank. That's a double whammy and the opposite of what you want if you're trying to get back on track financially.

There's no such thing as a quick fix

Many states are now cracking down on payday lenders and working to push through laws that will help make these loans safer for borrowers. However, whether or not you live in a state with strict regulations, the high fees and interest rates of these loans make it easy to fall into a never-ending debt cycle. It is important to remember that there is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to financial trouble. If you think a payday loan is your best option, read these payday loan reviews to learn about which lenders are available in your state and see how they compare to one another.

5 Expressions I Want to Eliminate

5 Expressions I Want to Eliminate

I'm not a formal person, but there are certain expressions that pervade our cultures that I want eliminated or at least greatly curtailed:

1. LOL. It's overused and not accurate. So unless you actually "laughed out loud" please do not use. Also, nervous laughing should not count.

2. Emoticons. Again overused, especially when punctuation is used for the emoticons. And I don't understand most of them.

3. K, O.K., Okay or any variants. Usually not responsive to a question, adds nothing to the conversation.

4. "No worries". Again, usually not responsive and I don't know what it means. It's especially annoying as a replacement for "thank you".

5. "Sup"? Too generic and difficult to respond to.

But my main issue with all of these expressions is that they do not enhance communication. So I want them eliminated, if you don't want to communicate, be silent.

Love, peace, compassion and blessings.
'Love, Lashes And Lipstick' Is The Beauty Book...

'Love, Lashes And Lipstick' Is The Beauty Book You've Been Waiting For Forever

As far as celebrity makeup artists go, Mally Roncal is the top of the top. She's the woman behind glamorous red carpet looks worn by Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum and Angelina Jolie, so she knows a thing of two.

From her stress-free travel hacks (she can work wonders with just a tube of tinted lip balm) to the "bullet-proof" products she uses to achieve her signature glow, Roncal is like your dream big sis with a kickass Caboodles makeup case and the best beauty tricks.

However, Roncal's rise to fame as a beauty maven and cosmetics creator hasn't always been pretty. In her new book, "Love, Lashes and Lipstick: My Secrets for a Gorgeous, Happy Life," she mixes in humbling life lessons -- overcoming childhood bullying in Middletown, New York and criticizing an anonymous makeup artist's work while assisting him on a music video shoot (ouch!) -- with step-by-step tutorials that make for an honest guide on remaining positive in the face of adversity.

We cuddled up with "Love, Lashes and Lipstick" and have compiled some of the best words of wisdom from Roncal -- no makeup required!

mally roncal love lashes lipstick

"Take those extra few minutes in the morning; when we breathe and enjoy the process of getting ourselves together, we honor ourselves. Creating that space can change your frequency for the rest of the day."

"If I had to choose the most important lesson my parents taught me, it was that everyone wants to be heard, deserves to be heard, and should be treated with love and respect. My parents always knew and acknowledge the inner and outer beauty in everyone, and they passed that to me."

"Listen to people. Really listen. Call people by their name. And see beauty in everyone. It's always, always there."

"Those things about yourself that you don't love -- you know, your freckles, your laugh lines, your nose -- those are the delicious, unique characteristics that make you YOU. And you, my love, are beautiful."

"Sometimes we have to learn the hard way to let something go... Knowing who you are means knowing what looks good on you and being willing to change when it doesn't work for you anymore."

"Take your time time figure out who you were before, who you are now, and who you want to be. Inside every mother is a sexy mama. She deserves to be celebrated."

"I believe that if you live with an open heart and trust that you are meant for the best in the world, you will get it. Don't ever settle."

"When the little devil on your shoulder says, 'Don't,' or 'You can't,' ignore her... We only have one life. In the end we only regret the chance we didn't take."

"No matter what, be true to who you are. Own who you are. Forget the haters. Don't let them dull your shine. What may not be right for them could be right for you. Be you, and you win every time."

"Saying thank you for the good things in your life isn't enough; we all need to pay it forward... If you've been given a gift -- time, money, talent -- share it. It's simply the right thing to do, and I've always found I get back far more than I give."

Get your copy of "Love, Lashes and Lipstick: My Secrets for a Gorgeous, Happy Life" at, or
Jaden Smith Releases 'Blue Ocean,' A Seven-Minute...

Jaden Smith Releases 'Blue Ocean,' A Seven-Minute Song About Coachella

Meet Jaden Smith, rapper. You may know him as Will Smith's 16-year-old son, Karate Kid or Twitter warlock, but now Smith has followed in his father's footsteps one more time to release "Blue Ocean." It's a seven-minute song that begins with Smith talking about finding a woman and her "blow dealer" at Coachella. He samples more than a few bars from Justin Timberlake's "Blue Ocean Floor."

Before posting the track to his sister's Soundcloud account, Smith tweeted, "I Think Im Gunna Drop Blue Ocean Tonight Since It Can't Go On The Album Anyway." This only leaves us with one question: Uh, what album?


What's Happening in Ferguson, Missouri?

What's Happening in Ferguson, Missouri?

Federal judge to decide whether 'five-second' rule is legal.
What's Happening in the Jordan Davis Case

What's Happening in the Jordan Davis Case

Neighbor says Michael Dunn seemed upbeat after killing.
Michael Strahan Joins Magic Mike Sequel

Michael Strahan Joins Magic Mike Sequel

Morning show host will play a stripper in the film.
Snoop Dogg Hosts 'No Guns Allowed: Fallout From...

Snoop Dogg Hosts 'No Guns Allowed: Fallout From Ferguson'

The Doggfather holds anti-violence discussion.
Wal-Mart Blames Tracy Morgan for Accident Injuries

Wal-Mart Blames Tracy Morgan for Accident Injuries

Claims comedian wasn't wearing seat belt at time of crash.
High Court Puts Off Start of Early Voting in Ohio

High Court Puts Off Start of Early Voting in Ohio

Supreme Court delays early voting by one week.

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