Atlanta Journal

2

Ava Le'Ray Barrin, 17-year-old transgender girl, killed in Georgia

  • Seventeen-year-old Ava Le'Ray Barrin, a black transgender girl, was killed on Sunday morning in Athens, Georgia, transgender news blog TransGriot reported. 
  • Barrin died after an altercation with Jalen Brown, an acquaintance.
  • TransGriot pointed to stories in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Athens Herald, both of which initially misgendered Barrin.
  • According to the Constitution, Brown shot Barrin in the chest during an argument. Brown is being held in Athens-Clarke County jail on charges of murder and aggravated assault. Read more (6/28/17)
10

Couple sent to prison for harassing black child’s party with Confederate flags, guns

  • On Monday, a couple who waved Confederate flags, yelled racial slurs and pointed a gun at a group of children gathered for an 8-year-old’s birthday party were sentenced to prison by a Georgia judge, CNN reported.
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the defendants “wept” as their sentences were handed down.
  • On July 25, 2015, Jose “Joe” Torres and Kayla Norton were part of a group of people who went on a “drunken rampage,” riding around in pickup trucks adorned with Confederate battle flags, the Journal-Constitution reported. 
  • And when they came upon a black child’s birthday party, they yelled racial slurs as they drove by, according to CNN’s witnesses. 
  • They parked and got out of their trucks — with weapons. They approached the kids’ party, where people were grilling, and children were playing in a bouncy castle and eating snow cones, according to the DA
  • Torres was reportedly part of a “smaller group” that threatened to kill people at the party — including the children, CNN reported.
  • Judge William McClain sentenced Torres to 20 years, 13 of them to be served in prison. Norton got 15 years, to serve six in prison. 
  • Upon their respective releases, both are to be permanently banned from Douglas County. Read more (2/28/17 11:32 AM)

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Elections watchdog group seeks answers after Georgia drops 590,000 from voter rolls

  • A watchdog group is pushing the state of Georgia to explain why more than 591,000 people were struck from the voter rolls.
  • “Each of the 591,548 voters affected by the move had already been on the state’s ‘inactive’ registration list,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week. That means those voters had not cast a ballot, updated their registration or address or responded to efforts to contact them for at least three years.
  • Let America Vote, an advocacy group run by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, wrote in a Wednesday letter to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp that federal law doesn’t permit the purge of voters simply for not voting.
  • In the letter signed by Let America Vote’s senior policy adviser, Leigh Chapman, the group requested specifics on the people removed from the rolls and documents related to the purge. Read more. (8/3/2017 10:33 AM)
ibtimes.co.uk
Small plane with Nazi designs lands on road in Gwinnett County, Georgia
Police said the aircraft had 'landed safely' on a local highway.

Small plane with Nazi designs lands on road in Gwinnett County, Georgia - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the plane appeared to be designed to look similar to a Nazi Messerschmitt BF 109 and added that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records show the plane registered with a man in Buford.

The FAA told IBTimes UK that the plane is a Sonex - a company that makes kits so people can build their own small aircraft. The Sonex website estimates that their planes cost at least $28,000 (£21,000) to build.

2

Two ICE detainees have died in Georgia in the span of two days

  • Two people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have died in Georgia in the span of two days, the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionreported.
  • Atulkumar Babubhai Patel, a 58-year-old Indian national, died Tuesday of complications from congestive heart failure. He was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.
  • On Monday, a Panamanian national named Jean Jimenez-Joseph, 27, was found unresponsive with a sheet wrapped around his neck at the Stewart Detention Center, a private correctional facility in Stewart County, Georgia, WRBL reported
  • Jimenez-Joseph was in solitary confinement when he died by apparent suicide. He’d been in isolation for 19 days. Read more (5/18/17)

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On this day in 1937, Margaret Mitchell wins Pulitzer Prize for “Gone With the Wind”.

Margaret Mitchell was born on November 8, 1900, in Atlanta, Georgia, into an Irish-Catholic family. At an early age, even before she could write, Mitchell loved to make up stories, and she would later write her own adventure books, crafting their covers out of cardboard. She wrote hundreds of books as a child, but her literary endeavors weren’t limited to novels and stories: At the private Woodberry School, Mitchell took her creativity in new directions, directing and acting in plays she wrote.

In 1918, Mitchell enrolled at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Four months later, tragedy would strike when Mitchell’s mother died of influenza. Mitchell finished out her freshman year at Smith and then returned to Atlanta to prepare for the upcoming debutante season, during which she met Berrien Kinnard Upshaw. The couple was married in 1922, but it ended abruptly four months later when Upshaw left for the Midwest and never returned.

The same year she was married, Mitchell landed a job with the Atlanta Journal Sunday magazine, where she ended up writing nearly 130 articles. Mitchell would get married a second time during this period, wedding John Robert Marsh in 1925. As seemed to be the case in Mitchell’s life, though, yet another good thing was to come to an end too quickly, as her journalist career ended in 1926 due to complications from a broken ankle. With her broken ankle keeping Mitchell off her feet, however, in 1926 she began writing Gone With the Wind. Perched at an old sewing table, and writing the last chapter first and the other chapters randomly, she finished most of the book by 1929. A romantic novel about the Civil War and Reconstruction, Gone With the Wind is told from a Southern point of view, informed by Mitchell’s family and steeped in the history of the South and the tragedy of the war.

In July 1935, New York publisher Macmillan offered her a $500 advance and 10 percent royalty payments. Mitchell set to finalizing the manuscript, changing characters names (Scarlett was Pansy in earlier drafts), cutting and rearranging chapters and finally naming the book Gone With the Wind, a phrase from “Cynara!, a favorite Ernest Dowson poem. Gone With the Wind was published in 1936 to huge success and took home the 1937 Pulitzer. Mitchell became an overnight celebrity, and the landmark film based on her novel came out just three years later and went on to become a classic (winning eight Oscars and two special Oscars ).

During World War II (1941-45), Mitchell had no time to write, as she worked for the American Red Cross. And on August 11, 1949, she was struck by a car while crossing a street and died five days later. Mitchell was inducted into Georgia Women of Achievement in 1994 and into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2000. Gone With the Wind was her only novel.

Sources: onthisday.com and biography.com
2

Atlanta reporter resigns after saying “nigga” to get scoop on a police brutality video

  • Valerie Hoff, a reporter for Atlanta’s 11Alive news, resigned on Saturday after using the racial slur in a direct message, hoping it would get her the scoop on a video of two white officers punching a black man.
  • On April 13, Curtis Rivers, who tweets as @CurtFromDaBlock, shared the video footage. 
  • According to the Root, Hoff contacted Rivers shortly after he tweeted that “news niggas” were trying to get hold of his video footage. 
  • Naturally, Hoff slid into his DMs and wrote, “please call this news nigga” — referring to herself as a “nigga.”
  • Hoff then got straight to business asking Rivers where he got the footage (he got it from a group chat). 
  • After an initial “LMFAO” response, Rivers called out Hoff for using the slur as a white woman. “I just looked through your photos and realized you aren’t black, but you called me a nigga.”
  • Hoff immediately attempted to apologize, citing that her main concern was giving the video justice. But in reply, Rivers asked, “How would I be able to contact your manager or lawyer?”
  • Hoff later told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that she has, and will continue to, apologize for her extremely offensive remark. Read more (5/1/17 12:15 PM)

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Col. Bruce Hampton Dead at 70

Col. Bruce Hampton - the celebrated Granddaddy of the Jam Scene - collapsed on stage Monday at the end of his all-star, 70th-birthday concert celebration at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre.

Hampton, who turned 70 on April 30, died early Tuesday morning at a hospital, his family said.

“After collapsing on stage surrounded by his friends, family, fans and the people he loved, Col. Bruce Hampton has passed away,” said an online statement. “The family is asking for respect and privacy at this difficult time.”

Hampton was stricken near the end of a four-hour concert that brought more than 30 musicians - including former Allman Brothers Warren Haynes, Chuck Leavell and Derek Trucks; Widespread Panic’s Duane Trucks, John Bell, Dave Schools and Jimmy Herring, who played in Hampton’s Aquarium Rescue Unit along with Jeff Sipe, Karl Denson and Drew Emmitt, who were also on hand; Susan Tedeschi; Todd Snider; and Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon, among others - to Atlanta to celebrate his birthday and career.

Hampton appeared to pass out as the musicians performed “Turn on Your Lovelight.” According to reports, the concert came to an abrupt end and concertgoers were unclear if Hampton was actually ill.

“The low lighting, crowded stage and configuration of the musicians probably kept people from realizing immediately what had happened,” the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported.

Allman Brothers biographer Alan Paul described himself as “stunned and deeply saddened” by the news of Hampton’s death, while taking “some comfort that he died theatrically … Just as he would have written it.

“But what a sad day for so many of us.”

Hampton’s career spanned more than 45 years, beginning with the 1971 release of the Hampton Grease Band’s Music to Eat. He founded ARU and the Code Talkers, helped launch the H.O.R.D.E. music festival and recorded with Frank Zappa, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Widespread Panic and others.

In a 2017 story in the Atlanta Journal -Constitution, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’’s Kevn Kinney called Hampton a legendary presence in the music world.

“People don’t understand how far back he goes,” Kinney said. “He’s just the ultimate showman. He’s our P.T. Barnam. You never know when he’s going to pop out of the jack-in-the-box.”

5/2/17

primalvolcanic  asked:

" Ɯнαт ιѕ α 'Ƙαηує'? "

                                                            Inhale.

[ ☠ ] — “Kanye Omari West  is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago, West briefly attended art school before becoming known as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s, producing hit singles for artists such as Jay Z and Alicia Keys. Intent on pursuing a solo career as a rapper, West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004 to widespread critical and commercial success, and founded the record label GOOD Music. He went on to pursue a variety of different styles on subsequent albums Late Registration (2005), Graduation (2007), and 808s & Heartbreak (2008). In 2010, he released his fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to rave reviews from critics, and the following year he collaborated with Jay Z on the joint LP Watch the Throne (2011). West released his abrasive sixth album, Yeezus, to further critical praise in 2013. His seventh album, The Life of Pablo, was released in 2016.

West’s outspoken views and life outside of music have received significant mainstream attention. He has been a frequent source of controversy for his conduct at award shows, on social media, and in other public settings. His more scrutinized comments include his off-script denunciation of President George W. Bush during a live 2005 television broadcast for Hurricane Katrina relief and his interruption of singer Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. West’s efforts as a fashion designer include collaborations with Nike, Louis Vuitton, and A.P.C. on both clothing and footwear, and have most prominently resulted in the YEEZY collaboration with Adidas beginning in 2013. He is the founder and head of the creative content company DONDA. His 2014 marriage to television personality Kim Kardashian has also been subject to widespread media coverage.

West is among the most acclaimed musicians of the 21st century,and is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 32 million albums and 100 million digital downloads worldwideHe has won a total of 21 Grammy Awards, making him one of the most awarded artists of all time and the most Grammy-awarded artist to have debuted in the 21st century. Three of his albums have been included and ranked on Rolling Stone’s 2012 update of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. He has also been included in a number of Forbes annual lists. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005 and 2015.

West was born on June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents divorced when he was three years old. After the divorce, he and his mother moved to Chicago, Illinois. His father, Ray West, is a former Black Panther and was one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ray West was later a Christian counselor, and in 2006, opened the Good Water Store and Café in Lexington Park, Maryland with startup capital from his son. West’s mother, Dr. Donda C. (Williams) West, was a professor of English at Clark Atlanta University, and the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as his manager. West was raised in a middle-class background, attending Polaris High School in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois after living in Chicago.

At the age of 10, West moved with his mother to Nanjing, China, where she was teaching at Nanjing University as part of an exchange program. According to his mother, West was the only foreigner in his class, but settled in well and quickly picked up the language, although he has since forgotten most of it. When asked about his grades in high school, West replied, “I got A’s and B’s. And I’m not even frontin’.”

West demonstrated an affinity for the arts at an early age; he began writing poetry when he was five years old. His mother recalled that she first took notice of West’s passion for drawing and music when he was in the third grade.[21] Growing up in Chicago, West became deeply involved in its hip hop scene. He started rapping in the third grade and began making musical compositions in the seventh grade, eventually selling them to other artists. At age thirteen, West wrote a rap song called “Green Eggs and Ham” and began to persuade his mother to pay $25 an hour for time in a recording studio. It was a small, crude basement studio where a microphone hung from the ceiling by a wire clothes hanger. Although this wasn’t what West’s mother wanted, she nonetheless supported him. West crossed paths with producer/DJ No I.D., with whom he quickly formed a close friendship. No I.D. soon became West’s mentor, and it was from him that West learned how to sample and program beats after he received his first sampler at age 15.”

After graduating from high school, West received a scholarship to attend Chicago’s American Academy of Art in 1997 and began taking painting classes, but shortly after transferred to Chicago State University to study English. He soon realized that his busy class schedule was detrimental to his musical work, and at 20 he dropped out of college to pursue his musical dreams. This action greatly displeased his mother, who was also a professor at the university. She later commented, “It was drummed into my head that college is the ticket to a good life… but some career goals don’t require college. For Kanye to make an album called College Dropout it was more about having the guts to embrace who you are, rather than following the path society has carved out for you.”

West’s musical career has been defined by frequent stylistic shifts and different musical approaches. Asked about his early musical inspirations, he named artists such as A Tribe Called Quest, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, George Michael, LL Cool J, Phil Collins and Madonna.Other music figures West has invoked as inspirations include Puff Daddy, David Bowie,Miles Davis and Gil-Scott Heron.West was formatively mentored by Chicago producer No I.D., who introduced him to hip hop production in the early 1990s, allowing a teenage West to sit in on recording sessions.Early in his career, West pioneered a style of production dubbed “chipmunk soul” which utilized pitched-up vocal samples, usually from soul and R&B songs, along with his own drums and instrumentation.His first major release featuring his trademark soulful vocal sampling style was “This Can’t Be Life”, a track from Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. West has noted Wu-Tang Clan producer RZA as an influence on his style.

West further developed his style on his 2004 debut album, The College Dropout. After a rough version was leaked, West meticulously refined the production, adding string arrangements, gospel choirs, and improved drum programming. The album saw West diverge from the then-dominant gangster persona in hip hop in favor of more diverse, topical lyrical subjectsincluding higher education, materialism, self-consciousness, minimum-wage labor, institutional prejudice, family, sexuality, and his personal struggles in the music industry.For his second album, Late Registration (2005), he collaborated with film score composer Jon Brion and drew influence from non-rap influences such as English trip hop group Portishead. Blending West’s primary soulful hip hop production with Brion’s elaborate chamber pop orchestration, the album experimentally incorporated a wide array of different genres and prominent orchestral elements, including string arrangements, piano chords, brass flecks, and horn riffs,amid a myriad of foreign and vintage instrumentsCritic Robert Christgau wrote that “there’s never been hip-hop so complex and subtle musically.” With his third album, Graduation (2007), West moved away from the soulful sound of his previous releases and towards a more atmospheric, rock-tinged, electronic-influenced style,drawing on European Britpop and Euro-disco, American alternative and indie-rock, and his native Chicago house.West retracted much of the live instrumentation that characterized his previous album and replaced it with distorted, gothic synthesizers, rave stabs, house beats, electro-disco rhythms, and a wide array of modulated electronic noises and digital audio-effects. In addition, West drew musical inspiration from arena rock bands such as The Rolling Stones, U2, and Led Zeppelin. In comparison to previous albums, Graduation is more introspective, exploring West’s own fame and personal issues.”

                                                     Exhale.

“That answer ya question?”

My first studyblr post! Applying for fall internships at the cutest coffee shop in Inman park. My essentials? My MacBook Air, planner, bullet journal, staedtler fineliners, and a dirty chai.

Is it weird that I use both a planner and a bullet journal? I just can’t break the habit of needing to write things way in advance.

3

While you were debating #TeacherBae, here are the issues really plaguing Atlanta schools

Patrice Brown is a 4th grade teacher in Atlanta whose curvy physique and  wardrobe has gone viral and sparked #TeacherBae, an ongoing non-debate over what is and isn’t appropriate for women educators to wear at work.

It’s a non-debate because Brown’s wardrobe isn’t actually the problem. Her clothes cover her body and seem meet Atlanta Public Schools employee dress code. 

The real problem is people’s apparent inability to see Brown’s body in clothing that fits and not think about sex. 

Brown has become “overwhelmed” by he national attention and closed her Instagram account. "I just wish they would respect me and focus on the positive and what truly matters — which is educating the children of the future generations and providing and caring for them,“ Brown told the Daily Dot. She might be thinking about some of these issues:

1. Georgia’s proposed “Opportunity School District” is threatening local control of schools.

In November, Georgians will vote on Amendment 1 which would create one state-wide school district under control of an “education czar.” Critics say it will wrest control of schooling away from local communities and silence parents and teachers.

2. Starting salaries for Atlanta public school teachers aren’t exactly enticing.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the average starting salary for a public school teacher in the metro Atlanta area is $44,312. In a city where a fairly-priced two-bedroom apartment costs almost $1,000 a month, that’s technically affordable, but doesn’t leave a lot of breathing room — especially if said teacher needs wants to start, and house, a family.

3. The school-to-prison pipeline affects students across Georgia.

Across the state of Georgia, black children comprise 37% of public school students but 67% of those suspended and 64% of those expelled. In Atlanta, black children are slightly less than 80% of enrolled students, but 94% of those who are suspended.

4. We desperately need teachers exactly like Brown, now more than ever.

2

Ursula: When I was eight years old I was shot up with cocaine and raped by my father. 

BW: What? With a needle?

Ursula: Yes, He shot me up and raped me. That was the first and last time I seen my father. 

BW: You didn’t know him before that?

Ursula: No, he was sent to jail because he was trying to hurt my mom when she was pregnant with me. He got out of jail when I was eight. The night before it happened, he came over  and they were arguing about him coming back into my mom’s life and stuff.

My mom was at work the next day and my brother and I were at home by ourselves. My brother had snuck out of the house, while I was taking my nap. When I woke up, my father was sitting there in my room. He had a rope. He tied me to my bed. I remember specifically thinking “this is not no kids game”.

BW: Did you know he was your dad at the time?

Ursula: Yes, my mom had shown me pictures of the bastard when I was growing up. 

It changed my life. I really still can’t let it go. I try my best not to think about it. I try to put it deep in my head.  The only people that know that it happened, until now, is my family. 

BW: I can’t imagine. 

Ursula: *nods*… Right after that, my brother’s father started molesting me. He molested me from the time I was eight until I was sixteen. My brother found out about it when I was sixteen and shot his father twice. 

BW: Damn… What happened after that?

Ursula: I’m gonna tell you what happened after that. He [brother’s father] went to rehab to try to change his life, right. And then tried to come to me and apologize for what he did… 

I know I’m out here doing crack. When I saw that it took my memory away, I really took advantage of it. There are too many things that I don’t want to remember. 

BW: If you could do anything, what would you do?

Ursula: I would sit here and thank God for his grace. Seriously… I’ve been through it out here for six and a half years. I been hit four times by a car. I done been gang raped three times. I’ve been shot, stabbed, burnt. 

BW: How can you thank God for his grace when your life has been so hard? To be honest, I’d be pissed. 

Ursula: Believe me, through all that I have been through, I should be shot out and crazy. I let go and let God and put everything in his hands. 

BW: Thanks for telling me your story. You’re like a little walking miracle.

Ursula: *smile* Woah, man, I can’t believe that just came out of your mouth! That’s so cool that you said that! 

Shaun King And Why We’re So Quick To Believe White Folks

As I write this, activist Shaun King’s name is trending on Twitter…nationwide. If you are unfamiliar, with all the incidents of police brutality plaguing our nation, King has been a voice within the Black Lives Matter movement. And he doesn’t just have swift Twitter fingers, he’s about that work in real life as well.

King was also set to launch a new organization called the Justice Coalition, which seeks to end police brutality in this country by forming policy teams and launching an additional website to tell the true stories of how police brutality effects its victims.

But he’s not trending because of these new initiatives. He’s trending because people want to know if he’s really Black like he claims to be. They want to know if he’s “the next Rachel Dolezal.” And we all know how she dominated the news cycle for a good two weeks.

Breitbart, a right-winged, conservative news aggregation site named after its founder, Andrew Breitbart, alleged that King, who has said  he has a White mother and a Black father, lied about being bi-racial. They believe he lied about his ethnicity to get a scholarship to Morehouse from Oprah Winfrey. They also claim he lied about being in a car accident and being attacked by racists during his high school years in rural Kentucky.

Breitbart said he obtained a copy of his birth certificate that seems to list a White man as his father.

The story blew up from there. You know folks love to have the tea. And in their quest to join the hashtag or unearth a scandal, many never even took the time to consider the source.

As a journalism major we were taught to question everything. When I was interning for a copywriter at MSNBC, she told me, “If your mother tells you she loves you, get a second opinion.” That’s the mindset we were trained to adopt when attempting to process new information.

Today, when I heard that it was Breitbart that was trying to call Shaun King a liar, I immediately doubted the notion. Not so much because I question everything I hear and read. Admittedly, I’ve become more and more lax on that front, but because I know the recent history of the publication.

For those who were paying attention to the news during the summer of 2010, you may remember Breitbart was the same publication that infamously cost Shirley Sherrod her job with the Department of Agriculture.

Breitbart obtained excerpts from a speech Sherrod gave at an NAACP event. The site chopped and screwed the video and painted Sherrod as a racist. When in actuality, her speech warned people not to let their personal prejudices stand in the way of helping someone and developing quality friendships.

But everyone trusted Breitbart. Instead of watching the whole video for themselves, the story spread like wildfire. FoxNews led the way and then a New York CBS affiliate picked it up and then the Atlanta Journal Constitution. By that afternoon, Sherrod received numerous emails from government officials asking her to submit her resignation. The NAACP stepped forward saying they condemned her remarks. And her superiors told her The White House requested that she resign immediately.

And it was all a lie, for nothing. A conservative, White publication said something was true, put up a few video clips and a Black woman, who wasn’t even given the opportunity to tell her side of the story, lost her job because of it.

In all honesty, the Shaun King receipts seem plausible, just like the Sherrod receipts did five years ago. A White man on your birth certificate is pretty convincing.

But Breitbart is something like a MediaTakeout for conservative White folks. The story looks good on the surface, but when you do your own investigation, it’s bullshit. And for whatever reason, their rumors don’t just stir up drama and kick up mess, they cause emotional and psychological damage. Sherrod lost her job and was publicly shamed by her people and the government. At the end of the day everybody looked like fools, had to issue apologies, including The White House, and Breitbart, the site and the man, likely reveled in the exposure and visits to their website.

Judging by the way the story about Shaun King took off, their credibility didn’t even suffer.

And that is the very problem King is fighting against. We talk about Black Lives mattering and having value. But when it’s our word against a White man’s we discover we’re still less credible, inferior.  It’s devastating when people, particularly Black people, are so ready and willing to believe something just because a White man said it.

I know I’ve referenced this before, but the same thing happened when Barack Obama was running for President. Black folks wanted to vote for him but didn’t think he stood a chance of winning. But when he took Iowa, when they saw that White folks were cosigning him, then all of a sudden we felt comfortable to support our own.

Y’all we don’t need the White man’s cosign anymore.

And we need to question the coverage of Black people on all media platforms, particularly when the only time Black people are mentioned is when someone is attempting to discredit us.

By now you might be wondering did Shaun address his racial makeup. He did, via his Twitter page.

Later, another Twitter user posted this picture as a response.

Boom.

If you can’t tell that that’s a Black man, then I’m going to need you to just click out and have a nice day.

It was a friend of King’s who offered a bit more explanation about his background on Facebook. You can read the whole thing here; and you should, but this part seems to be of particular importance.

And to question his race? Since the third grade, Shaun has had to deal with whispers as to his racial make-up. Whispers that no adult helped him deal with or process. Yes, that includes his mother. Shaun got called “Nigger” just as much, if not more, than myself or any of my black friends and family while growing up in Versailles. Do you think an 8 year old would volunteer for that type of treatment? A funny colored, wavy haired child just trying to navigate life? To have anything from racial slurs to cups full of dip-spit (chewing tobacco) hurled at you from confederate flag covered pick-up trucks? And then 20 years later have some right wing assholes question whether it ever happened and go as far as to call you a fraud and try to de-bunk years of social justice work that you’ve put under your belt? We grew up in a town where white mothers were constantly dis-owned by their families for having relationships and making children with black fathers. Where even into the 2000’s, the racial identities of mix-raced children were a taboo topic. Shaun was a direct victim of that. 20 years later, much progress has been made in my town of Versailles, but we are proving we have much further to go if people from my home town don’t speak the fuck up.

Honestly, at first I was wondering why he didn’t just explain explicitly. But this made it clear for me. He doesn’t owe us his story. He’s not another Rachel Dolezal trying to get shine by identifying with an oppression she willingly adopted. He’s about this life.

And it’s a shame that instead of riding for Shaun like he’s been riding for us, we were quick to start making memes, questioning his work and retweeting a story that was meant to undermine and distract from the very issues that are killing us.

I don’t believe in supporting unscrupulous people simply because they’re Black, but when White folks start going hard against Black revolutionaries, we should question the source, the motives and make sure the receipts check out.

Published on MadameNoire.com

In the million years I’ve been alive, I never thought I’d be able to add ‘Muppet taxidermy’ to my resume. I’m just over a year deep in it with a couple more ahead of me. Now that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has published some images (this one included) from the Jim Henson legacy conservation project, I’m finally allowed to talk about it. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to post any pictures, however, if you wanna chat about it or want me to create sketches or perhaps perform some interpretive dance related to my experiences in the project, holla.

Weekly, I open old busted road cases to find some of the most iconic TV and film characters in entertainment history. I typically don’t have a clue what’s in the box when I get it but it’s consistently gold. Most of it is metaphoric gold, however, much is simply gold-colored airborne particles what used to be various types of foam. The stuff breaks down and that’s simply what happens. I’ve both figuratively and literally been breathing in the essence Henson’s work over the past year. Tiny floating bits of Sam and Friends, Sesame Street, Tales from Muppetland, The Muppet Show, Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, Fraggle Rock, Storyteller, Dog City, Dinosaurs, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and the list goes on for quite a while. I only hope my future lung tumors resemble Muppets.

In case you don’t recognize the critter in this pic, it’s Fizzgig (”Fizgig” according to the Henson Organization production label), pet companion to the ever-so-enchanting Kira from Henson’s The Dark Crystal. When Fizzgig 1st appeared on my workbench he was just a loose mess of patch-worked animal fur, barely held together by a loosely woven fabric. This fabric was mostly, and accidentally, adhered to the fur by tiny mummified fists of dried, brittle, cast foam latex that once made up his inner structure. That’s just the nature of foam latex. He had no mouth at all when I received him, it completely disintegrated, taking along some of the fur around the set of lips that also used to be there. It appeared seamless from someone’s previous attempt at simply pinning together the fur around the mouth. Those pins eventually rusted in place, taking a few strands of fur hostage when removed. Orange crumbles of dead foam were left behind and the nose and eyelids were well on their way out. The bulk of him was a small pile in the box he had been stored in for so many years. I sifted through the debris and found some slightly bigger chunks which ultimately proved to be a very small portion of the roof of his mouth. I also eventually came across his shriveled little tongue, only ½ the size of it’s original cast form. I performed some re-hydration/suspension voodoo of the dead foam using a “magical,” archival potion. Then I fixed the new mouth plate to the body. I restructured the nose from the inside, building up small layers from within, then filling any tiny fault lines left on the surface of the original foam nose. I removed some inconspicuous fur from his performer sleeve to surround the new set of lips, matching the original design.

After a little match-painting, voila! Certainly not perfection but I’m only allowed to do so much to be considered conservation work. I should mention that since all of Jim’s work is bound for a museum retirement, I can only use a very small library of archival-safe materials to mimic the stuff I would typically build a puppet from, that awesome toxic stuff. This has been the major crux of the entire project. Lots of trial by fire. Lots.

Though never to function again, I have to mention the mechanism in this Fizzgig fella. It is unbelievably tiny and clever. Fizzgig had side-to-side eye movement as well as eye-blinkers and a nose-twitching mech. The tiny 4 mm pulleys mounted to his fiberglass skull fed the even tinier polyester cord through 1 mm plastic tubes embedded in cast foam between the skull and fur skin. The 4 tubes (2 eyes, 2 eyelids), along with a 35mm camera whip (triggering the nose) ran to a second, remote puppeteer who controlled all the facial nuance through the mighty powers of analog action. All the tiny brass and steel mech hardware was soldered with a jeweler’s precision. It is now all seized by heavy corrosion. The mouth was simply hand puppeteered.

Concluding for the moment I want to leave you with some final insight. There is one major destructive force what is the ultimate enemy of all puppetdom in every form; it’s atmosphere + time. This mix has singularly and universally affected every last piece of the Henson collection. Soon, much of Henson’s early engineering magic will be permanently sealed away, if not destroyed by this evil sum. *sighs*  There is just sooo much mechanical genius within the entire collection which should be made publicly visible before it’s too late. I only hope the powers that be will someday allow me to share even just a few of my thousands of images with you. There is an absolute treasure trove in every piece from this collection. I can only suggest that you check in from time to time because just maybe, one day, perhaps…?