It’s No Surprise We’re Seeing More Black Americans in Mainstream Media: A Lesson on the 1992 L.A. Riots


There has been a rude awakening

That I have marched until my feet have bled

And I have rioted until they called the feds

-Rap group Arrested Development, 1992, from their single “Revolution,”

On April 29, 1992, a predominately white jury acquitted LAPD officers Stacey Koon, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno of all but one of the charges associated with their brutal beating of black motorist Rodney King. The court ruled a mistrial on the lone remaining charge: a count against Powell of using excessive force. One juror remarked that King—who was clinging to life while cops viciously delivered 56 blows to his body with a bevy of kicks and nightsticks—deserved it.

If not for a bystander capturing the footage and tipping off a local news station, the intensity of the LAPD’s savage beating of King and the police department’s systemic racism may have never reached public consciousness. Heading the LAPD was its police commissioner Daryl Gates. As the founder of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams–the paramilitary units that have had a long history of disproportionately targeting communities of color—Gates once asserted in his 14-year tenure as police chief that black people were more susceptible to die from chokeholds than “normal people.”  

This practice of stripping black people of their humanity—whether finding that a man who hadn’t committed a violent crime deserved to be beaten into submission or unconsciously using whiteness as a barometer for normalcy—fueled the 6 days of unrest in Los Angeles following the acquittal. Blacks around America were unconvinced that King’s beating was merely a case of a few bad apples spoiling the bunch. His brutality appeared to be the physical manifestation of a police system and society that intrinsically detested and sought to extinguish blackness. In exchange, thousands of black Americans spilled into the streets to eliminate the symbols of their oppression.

African Americans were facing another harsh reminder that the American half of their identity was not merely outweighed by the stark reality of their unequal treatment. Rather, it was hanging precariously off the balance. In turn, a wave of black representation flooded the mainstream while Afrocentricity returned to prominence in black American culture. Instead of suffocating in the ashes of LA’s burnt out storefronts, many African-Americans gasped for the security of each other and an identity that preceded the one alternately forced upon them and denied in their tumultuous 373-year history in the United States.  Like other black American social movements that preceded the L.A. uprising, black people once again partnered political action with reaffirmations of their culture.

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September 11-13: funk and 90s parties + Fashion Week

Friday, September 11, 2015– Gee Fource and Bang the Party


$10 before midnight/ $15 after

Lower East Side

For one night only, the folks behind the deep house and funk parties “Gee Fource” and “Bang the Party” reunite. Catch the live paintings, art exhibit, and the funky, funky jams.

Saturday, September 12, 2015- Party like it’s 1999 at the Bellhouse



Every genre of music was banging in the 90s, so get your dance moves ready as Bellhouse hosts DJs who will grace your ears with everything from hip hop, rock, pop, and R&B from the best. decade. ever.

Sunday, September 13, 2015- Harlem’s Fashion Row: Shop, Brunch, and Be Social


Lower Manhattan

Your front row invite for the Givenchy show got lost in the mail? Maybe it slipped through the internet somehow. While you wait for it to materialize, come can get a taste of Fashion Week festivities at HFR’s fashion experience this weekend. Check out the womens’ and men’s threads, get your drink on, and hob nob with the multicultural designers featured at the beautiful Norwood Club.

R&B Ain’t Dead vol. IV: SZA/Miguel/Little Dragon

SZA, “HiiiJack”–  Fresh off a “showstopping” performance at AfroPunk, SZA’s latest project illustrates why she’s built a steadily growing, loyal fan base. Like she does in much of her EP, the red-haired maven blends soul, electro, and hip-hop effortlessly in the mesmerizing “HiiiJack.” Upon a closer listen, you can hear the background vocals of Toro y Moi, who lent his production on this standout track.

Miguel, “the valley”– Miguel wrangles his usual sultriness and pushes it into overdrive in “the valley.” While the soulful crooner’s latest album, Wildheart, is a subtle nod to the free love hippie culture of the late 60s and 70s–replete with electric guitar riffs and sexual themes– “the valley”drops any pretense of romance. Miguel straightforwardly lists all the places he will pleasure his partner like they’re “filming in the valley.” For the totally innocent, virgin-eared among us, that refers to California’s unofficial capital of the porn industry, San Fernando Valley.

Little Dragon, “Pretty Girls”– While they are not categorically R&B, the Swedish based electro-pop group Little Dragon does not shy away from infusing other genres into their projects. The Erykah Badu-esque vocals of lead singer Yukimi Nagano and rhythmic melodies of “Pretty Girls” warrant inclusion on this week’s list.

Shaun King is Not Rachel Dolezal: What the Media Gets Wrong About Race in America

This story, by Malaika Jabali, was originally published on

As they have in the past, the conservative truth spinners behind the online media outlet Breitbart News Network have initiated an attack against yet another person of color fighting for civil and human rights. The target this time is activist Shaun King, who has been vocal about the police abuse that has permeated our consciousness for over a year. Continue reading

Have we Reached Peak Eyebrow?

Have we Reached Peak_____? is a series, which may not be a series at all actually and could very well be this one story, in which I provide wisdom about whether we have reached the peak of any given cultural phenomenon. By wisdom, I mean Google charts.

Snatched eyebrows.

Laid eyebrows.

“Eyebrows on fleek.”

“Don’t worry about me, worry about your eyebrows.”

We have progressively grown more interested in the minuscule, dead strands of protein that decorate our foreheads. I once wrote a rather heartfelt story about them. This story even led to conversations amongst my friends about the benefits of socialized medicine and castigations of the weaknesses of America’s private-sector health care system. That’s how deep eyebrows can go.

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