Thursday, 2 June 2011

Muslim movements

During the first half of the 20th century, a small number of African Americans established groups based on Islamic and Black supremacist teachings. The first of such groups created was the Moorish Science Temple of America, founded by Timothy Drew (Drew Ali) in 1913. Drew taught that Black people were of Moorish origin but their Muslim identity was taken away through slavery and racial segregation, advocating the return to Islam of their Moorish ancestry.
The Nation of Islam (NOI) was the largest organization, created in 1930 by Wallace Fard Muhammad. It however taught a different form of Islam, promoting Black supremacy and labeling white people as "devils". Fard drew inspiration for NOI doctrines from those of Noble Drew Ali's Moorish Science Temple of America. He provided three main principles which serve as the foundation of the NOI: "Allah is God, the white man is the devil and the so called Negroes are the Asiatic Black People, the cream of the planet earth". In 1934 Elijah Muhammad became the leader of the NOI, he deified Wallace Fard, saying that he was an incarnation of God, and taught that he was a prophet who had been taught directly by God in the form of Wallace Fard. Although Elijah's message caused great concern among White Americans, it was effective among Blacks attracting mainly poor people including students and professionals. One of the famous people to join the NOI was Malcolm X, who was the face of the NOI in the media. Also boxing world champion, Muhammad Ali. Malcolm X was one of the most influential leaders of the NOI, he advocated complete separation of blacks between whites. He left the NOI after being silenced for 90 days, he then formed his own black nationalist movement, and made the pilgrimage to Mecca, converting to Sunni Islam. He is viewed as the first person to start the movement among African Americans towards Sunni Islam.

After the death of Elijah Muhammad, he was succeeded by his son, Warith Deen Mohammed. Mohammed rejected many teachings of his father, such as the divinity of Fard Muhammad and saw a white person as also a worshipper. As he took control of the organization, he quickly brought in new reforms. He renamed it as the World Community of al-Islam in the West, later it became the American Society of Muslims. It was estimated that there were 200,000 followers of WD Mohammed at the time.
WD Mohammed introduced teachings which were based on orthodox Sunni Islam. He removed the chairs in temples, with mosques, teaching how to pray the salah, to observe the fasting of Ramadan, and to attend the pilgrimage to Mecca. It was the largest mass religious conversion in the 21st century, with thousands who had converted to orthodox Islam.
A small number of Black Muslims however rejected these new reforms brought by Imam Mohammed, Louis Farrakhan who broke away from the organization, re-established the Nation of Islam under the original Fardian doctrines, and remains its leader. As of today it is estimated there are at least 20,000 members. However, today the group has a wide influence in the African American community. The first Million Man March took place in Washington, D.C. 1995 and was followed later by another one in 2000 which was smaller in size but more inclusive welcoming individuals other than just African American men. The group sponsors cultural and academic education, economic independence, and personal and social responsibility. The Nation of Islam has received a great deal of criticism for its anti-white, anti-Christian, and anti-semitic teachings, and is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Post–Civil Rights Era African-American history

Politically and economically, blacks have made substantial strides in the post–civil rights era. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, brought unprecedented support and leverage to blacks in politics.

On January 19, 1970, G. Harrold Carswell's nomination to the was Supreme Court rejected. On May 27, 1970, the film Watermelon Man is released, directed by Melvin Van Peebles and starring Godfrey Cambridge. The first blaxploitation films were released.
On April 20 1971, the Supreme Court, in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, upheld desegregation busing of students to achieve integration. In December 1971, Jesse Jackson organized Operation PUSH.
In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first major-party African-American candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. In 1976, Black History Month was founded by Professor Carter Woodson's Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. The novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley was also published in 1976.
President Jimmy Carter appointed Andrew Young to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations in 1977, the first African-American to serve in the position. Regents of the University of California v. Bakke bars racial quota systems in college admissions in 1978, but affirms the constitutionality of affirmative action programs giving equal access to minorities.

In 1980, Michael Jackson released Thriller, which became the best-selling album of all time. In 1983, Guion Bluford became the first African-American to go into space. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in 1983 to create a federal holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King.
Alice Walker received the Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Color Purple in 1983. The Cosby Show begins in 1984, and is regarded as one of the defining television shows of the decade. Established by legislation in 1983, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was first celebrated as a national holiday on January 20, 1986.
Ron Brown was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1989, becoming the first African American to lead a major United States political party. Colin Powell became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989.

Douglas Wilder became the first elected African American governor in 1990, in Richmond, Virginia. Four white police officers were videotaped beating African-American Rodney King in Los Angeles, on March 3, 1991. Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 1991.
The 1992 Los Angeles riots erupt after officers accused of beating Rodney King are acquitted. In 1992 Mae Carol Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space when she goes into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Carol Moseley Braun became the first African American woman to be elected to the United States Senate on November 3, 1992.
Director Spike Lee's film Malcolm X was released in 1992.  Cornel West's text Race Matters was published in 1994.
The Million Man March was held on October 16 1995, in Washington, D.C., co-initiated by Louis Farrakhan and James Bevel. The Million Woman March was held on October 25, 1997 in Philadelphia.

Colin Powell becomes Secretary of State on January 20th, 2001. Supreme Court in Grutter v. Bollinger upheld the University of Michigan Law School's admission policy on June 23, 2003. However, in the simultaneously-heard Gratz v. Bollinger the university is required to change a policy.
The Millions More Movement held a march in Washington D.C on October 15, 2005. Rosa Parks died at the age of 92 on October 25, 2005 She was famous for starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. Her body lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. before her funeral.
On June 28 2007,Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 decided along with Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education prohibits assigning students to public schools solely for the purpose of achieving racial integration and declines to recognize racial balancing as a compelling state interest.
On June 3 2008, Barack Obama receives enough delegates by the end of state primaries to be the presumptive Democratic Party of the United States nominee. On August 28 2008, at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, in a stadium filled with supporters, Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.Barack Obama was elected 44th President of the United States of America on November 4 2008, opening his victory speech with, "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, the first African-American to become president. Former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele becomes Chairman of the Republican National Committee on January 30, 2009.
The U.S. Postal Service issues a commemorative six-stamp set portraying twelve civil rights pioneers in 2010. Barack Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on October 9, 2009.
On July 19 2010, Shirley Sherrod first is pressured to resign from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and immediately thereafter receives its apology after she is inaccurately accused of being racist towards white Americans.

Political representation
In 1989, Douglas Wilder became the first African-American elected governor in U.S. history. In 1992 Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate. There were 8,936 black officeholders in the United States in 2000, showing a net increase of 7,467 since 1970. In 2001 there were 484 black mayors.
The 38 African-American members of Congress form the Congressional Black Caucus, which serves as a political bloc for issues relating to African Americans. The appointment of blacks to high federal offices—including General Colin Powell, Chairman of the U.S. Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989–1993, United States Secretary of State, 2001–2005; Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, 2001–2004, Secretary of State in, 2005–2009; Ron Brown, United States Secretary of Commerce, 1993–1996, Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, 2009-present; and Supreme Court justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas—also demonstrates the increasing visibility of blacks in the political arena.
In 2009 Michael S. Steele was elected the first African-American chairman of the national Republican Party.

The first African-American President of the United States, Barack Obama
In 2008, Illinois senator Barack Obama became the first black presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, making him the first African-American presidential candidate from a major political party. He was elected as the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and inaugurated on January 20, 2009.
At least 95 percent of African-American voters voted for Obama. He also received overwhelming support from whites, a majority of Asians, Americans of Hispanic origin, and Native Americans picking up a number of new states in the Democratic electoral column. Obama lost the overall white vote, although he won a larger proportion of white votes than any previous nonincumbent Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter.

Economic situation
It is not at all clear that the African American population as a whole has made economic progress over the last several decades. Nearly 25% of black Americans now live below the poverty line, approximately the same percentage as in 1968. The child poverty rate has actually increased and the unemployment is disproportionately high in comparison to other ethnic groups. These facts are masked in the public opinion by the sometimes spectacular achievements of successful individuals.
Economic progress for blacks' reaching the extremes of wealth has been slow. According to Forbes richest lists, Oprah Winfrey was the richest African American of the 20th century and has been the world's only black billionaire in 2004, 2005, and 2006.  Not only was Winfrey the world's only black billionaire but she has been the only black on the Forbes 400 list nearly every year since 1995. BET founder Bob Johnson briefly joined her on the list from 2001-2003 before his ex-wife acquired part of his fortune; although he returned to the list in 2006, he did not make it in 2007. With Winfrey the only African American wealthy enough to rank among America's 400 richest people, blacks currently comprise 0.25% of America's economic elite and comprise 13% of the U.S. population.

Social issues
After the Civil Rights Movement gains of the 1950s-1970s, due to government neglect, unfavorable social policies, high poverty rates, changes implemented in the criminal justice system and laws, and a breakdown in traditional family units, African American communities have been suffering from extremely high incarceration rates. African Americans have the highest imprisonment rate of any major ethnic group in the world. The southern states, which historically had been involved in slavery and post-Reconstruction oppression, now produce the highest rates of incarceration and death penalty application.

African American and Latino Social Media Engagement in Causes

There are 1.9 million African-American-owned businesses in the U.S. but only 10,026 produce $1 million each year in income, according to Lorraine C. Miller, a member of the NAACP national board of directors and former clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“These are potential jobs and we need to do a much better job in recognizing that,” Miller said as she addressed the NAACP’s national leadership summit over the Memorial Day weekend in Hollywood.

A town hall session explored the job market and the political responsibilities of African-Americans in light of the growing Hispanic population.

Part of the reason there are so many small black businesses is the economic contraction the country is experiencing, said Charles Ellison, politics editor of The Loop 21.

“There is a very high unemployment rate… more than 30 percent for African- Americans. And a lot of us are having trouble securing jobs and have become entrepreneurs. And that speaks to our heritage, our tradition of survival,” Ellison said.

The topic of the May 28 event was “Town Hall Meeting 2012: What’s the Next Step?” Miller and Ellison were among the panelists for the event which formed part of the four-day NAACP Annual Leadership 500 Summit, now in its seventh year, which was held at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.

Also on the panel were Hilary O. Shelton, senior vice president for advocacy and policy and director of the NAACP's Washington Bureau and the Rev. Leah Daughtry, Democratic strategist and pastor of The House of the Lord Church in Washington, DC.

For instance, the study reveals that there are significant differences in how the ethnicities perceive social media. African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely to believe that they can help get the word out about a social issue or cause through online social networks (58% and 51%, respectively, vs. 34% of Caucasians). They also subscribe more readily to the belief that social networking sites like Facebook make it easier to support causes today, and that these sites help increase visibility for causes.

Traditional media, however, remains the primary way in which Americans learn about causes, but social media is getting stronger and stronger. Americans are still preferring offline methods to support causes, including donations, but joining a cause group on Facebook, posting a logo to a social profile, and contributing to blogs seem to gain popularity. Among these, the Facebook causes, which require nothing more than the push of a “join” button, are the most popular.

African-American and Hispanic users of social media are significantly more likely to learn about and become involved in social issues, according to a Georgetown study.

Conducted in 2010, the study examined the roles of a variety of activities in fostering engagement with social issues among adults.

The study found that African Americans and Hispanics are significantly more likely than Caucasians to be involved in several key issues, including diabetes, domestic violence, bullying, childhood obesity, Haiti relief and HIV/AIDS.

African American maternal Health Care Crisis Look Like

Amnesty International recently released a maternal health graphic, bringing attention to the country’s maternal health care crisis, as well as legislative developments in the last year that could signal some progress on the issue.

It shows that despite spending more money per capita on healthcare than any other country, we rank 50th in the world for our maternal mortality ratios. To make matter worse, while care for childbearing women and newborns is the number one reason for hospitalization in the U.S., preventable deaths of both newborns and mothers in relation to childbirth are alarmingly high, especially for women of color.

Amnesty International found that African American women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes than white women. Maternal mortality ratios are especially high for black, American Indian/Alaska Native and Asian/Pacific Islander mothers. However, no racial or ethnic group met the government’s Healthy People 2010 goal for reducing maternal mortality - in fact, the ratios were all 2 and a half times higher.

Miriam Zoila Pérez previously reported for Colorlines on the industry-driven shift over the years to American women giving birth almost exclusively in hospitals, and the cost, health, safety, and access concerns this system has engendered, especially for women of color and those without resources. Pérez outlined the benefits of the alternative of home birth, and legislation that would make the option of home birth more accessible for those covered by Medicaid.

So why are moms of color dying in such high numbers in the U.S.? The reasons are varied: Aside from the issues of high costs and insurance coverage, lack of access also makes women of color more likely to die from pregnancy related causes. A shortage of health care professionals in the U.S., particularly specialists for women, creates a serious obstacle to timely and adequate maternal healthcare, especially for those in rural areas and in inner cities. Gaps in family planning is also a major factor. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, and rates are significantly higher for low-income and communities of color. Such pregnancies are more likely to develop complications and face worse outcomes for both mother and child.

Obesity and hypertension are the major contributors to the African-American maternal mortality rate, leading to death from strokes, renal failure and other complications associated with obesity, Lewis says.

“We have to look at the reality of where we practice,” he says. “Obesity is much greater among African Americans. I deal with a gamut of high-risk problems, but complications from obesity are an underlying problem in all of them.

“Even young patients when they come in for prenatal visits have very elevated rates of high blood pressure. It really starts with obesity, so when they become pregnant, it places them at a higher risk for infections and other complications.” To a lesser extent, sickle-cell disease, a genetic disorder more common in people of color, also causes complications, he says.

Lewis, who also chairs the District of Columbia section of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, says the increase in C-sections has compounded the problem because they can lead to hemorrhage, infections and pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots in the lungs. One-third of births in the United States are now by C-section compared with 20 percent a decade ago.

“Women who have C-sections have higher rates of complications and maternal mortality than with vaginal deliveries,” Lewis says.

The CDC issued a report in 2001 calling for comprehensive, broad-based public health surveillance of pregnancy-related deaths to identify factors, from pre-pregnancy through six weeks after birth, that affect a woman’s chance of survival and that place minority and older women at increased risk of death. The report said surveillance must include reviewing the causes of deaths, analyzing the findings and coordinating action among public health agencies.

“Too often, surveillance stops after identifying and counting deaths,” the report states. “With the resources available today, we should be able to eliminate this gap in such an important health outcome.”

North Carolina city honors black Civil War soldiers

Mayor Bill Saffo and area Civil War re-enactors formally unveiled Wilmington's newest highway historical marker on Thursday – a salute to African-American soldiers who died in the Civil War.

The marker on the 2100 block of Market Street commemorates members of the "United States Colored Troops" buried in the nearby Wilmington National Cemetery. About 500 African-American soldiers and their white officers are believed to be buried there, many in unmarked graves.

"They gave everything they had for national unity and for personal freedom," said Jim Steele, manager of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site. "Their service and their sacrifice will not be forgotten again."

In a ceremony organized by the city's Commission on African-American History, Mayor Saffo presented a special certificate of appreciation to Fred Johnson, a local Civil War re-enactor who had researched the story of the black soldiers buried in Wilmington.

The dedication Thursday also honored Fred Johnson, a local Civil War re-enactor who has researched the story of the black soldiers buried in Wilmington and pushed for them to be recognized.

A Philadelphia native and an Army Sergeant during the Korean War who retired to Wilmington in the 1990s, Johnson became interested in the Civil War through studying his family history.

Johnson said his great-great grandfather, Peter Quomony, served in the U.S. Colored Troops from 1863 to 1865. Another ancestor who died in the war is buried in an unmarked grave at the New Bern National Cemetery.

Civil War historian Chris Fonvielle said the historical marker deserved to be erected, pointing out some 3,300 African-American soldiers in two brigades served in the Cape Fear region.

He said many of the Colored Troops were North Carolinians and ex-slaves, and one of their regiments, the 37th, included men from the Wilmington area.

The troops served as occupation forces in the area after the war, and many stayed on after their discharges.
Oh, what a morning!" shouted Johnson, wearing the uniform of a Civil War-era artillery sergeant.

He thanked Chris Fonvielle, a historian with the University of North Carolina Wilmington who serves on the state committee that approves new highway markers. Fonvielle had been a strong advocate for the project, Johnson said.

Spectators included both re-enactors of U.S. Colored Troops in Union blue and members of Cape Fear Chapter No. 3 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, many of whom dressed in black as hoop-skirted Civil War widows.

Kanye West

Kanye Omari West, ˈkɑːnjeɪ/; born June 8, 1977  is an American rapper, singer, and record producer. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and Janet Jackson. His style of production originally used pitched-up vocal samples from soul songs incorporated with his own drums and instruments. However, subsequent productions saw him broadening his musical palette and expressing influences encompassing '70s R&B, baroque pop, trip hop, arena rock, folk, alternative, electronica, synth-pop, and classical music.
West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004, his second album Late Registration in 2005, his third album Graduation in 2007, his fourth album 808s & Heartbreak in 2008, and his fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010. His five albums, all of which have gone platinum, have received numerous awards and critical acclaim. As of 2011, West is the most honored rapper in Grammy history with a total of fourteen awards. All albums have been very commercially successful, with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy becoming his fourth consecutive #1 album in the U.S. upon release. As of May 2011, West currently has 4 songs above the 3 million mark with "Gold Digger" selling 3,086,000, "Stronger" selling 4,363,000, "Heartless" selling 3,742,000 and "E.T." selling 3,157,000 making him the top selling male digital artist of all time.
West also runs his own record label GOOD Music, home to artists such as John Legend, Common and Kid Cudi. West's mascot and trademark is "Dropout Bear," a teddy bear which has appeared on the covers of three of his five albums as well as various single covers and music videos. ranked Kanye West #8 on their "Top 50 Hip-Hop Producers" list. On May 16, 2008, Kanye West was crowned by MTV as the year's #1 "Hottest MC in the Game." On December 17, 2010, Kanye West was voted as the MTV Man of the Year by MTV. Billboard ranked Kanye West #3 on their list of Top 10 Producers of the decade.

Award shows
Later in 2006, West had his first of a number of incidents involving music award events. After the 2006 Grammy nominations were released, West said he would "really have a problem" if he did not win the Album of the Year, saying, "I don't care what I do, I don't care how much I stunt — you can never take away from the amount of work I put into it. I don't want to hear all of that politically correct stuff. On November 2, 2006, when his "Touch the Sky" failed to win Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards, West went onto the stage as the award was being presented to Justice and Simian for "We Are Your Friends" and argued that he should have won the award instead. Hundreds of news outlets worldwide criticized the outburst. On November 7, 2006, West apologized for this outburst publicly during his performance as support act for U2 for their Vertigo concert in Brisbane. He later spoofed the incident in the season premiere of Saturday Night Live.

2009 VMAs incident
On September 13, 2009, during the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards while Taylor Swift was accepting her award for Best Female Video for "You Belong with Me", West went on stage and grabbed the microphone to proclaim that Beyoncé's video for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", nominated for the same award, was "one of the best videos of all time". He was subsequently removed from the remainder of the show for his actions. When Beyoncé later won the award for Best Video of the Year for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", she called Swift up on stage so that she could finish her acceptance speech. West was criticized by various celebrities for the outburst, and by President Barack Obama, who called West a "jackass" in an off the record comment. In addition, West's VMA disruption sparked a large influx of Internet photo memes with blogs, forums and "tweets" with the "Let you finish" photo-jokes.
Subsequently, West posted two apologies for the outburst on his personal blog; one on the night of the incident and the other the same day he appeared on The Jay Leno Show, on September 14, 2009, where he apologized again. After Swift appeared on The View two days after the outburst, partly to discuss the matter, West called her to apologize personally. Swift said she accepted his apology. In September 2010, West wrote a series of apologetic tweets addressed to Swift including "Beyonce didn't need that. MTV didn't need that and Taylor and her family friends and fans definitely didn't want or need that" and concluding with "I'm sorry Taylor." West also revealed he had written a song for Swift and if she did not accept the song, he would perform it himself. However, on November 8, 2010, in an interview with a Minnesota radio station, West seemed to recant a bit of his past apologies by attempting to describe the act at the 2009 awards show as "selfless" and downgrade the perception of disrespect it created.

Early life
Kanye West was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lived with his parents. When he was three years old, his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to Chicago, Illinois. His father was Ray West, a former Black Panther who was one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and is now a Christian counselor. West's mother, Dr. Donda 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 West's manager. He was raised in a middle-class background, attending Polaris High School in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois after living in Chicago. When asked about his grades in high school, West replied, "I got A's and B's. And I'm not even frontin'".
West attended art classes at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and also enrolled at Chicago State University, but dropped out to focus on his music career. While attending school, West produced for local artists. He later gained fame by producing hit singles for major hip hop/R&B artists, including Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Cam'ron, Paul Wall, Common, Mobb Deep, Jermaine Dupri, Scarface, The Game, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, John Legend among others. He also "ghost-produced" for his mentor Deric Angelettie, according to his song "Last Call" and the credits of Nas' "Poppa Was a Playa".

Graduation and 808s & Heartbreak
In 2007, it was announced that West would be starring in a series directed by Larry Charles. He has been working on the pilot episode for the past two years with Larry Charles and Rick Rubin. He also had this to say on January 14: "I wouldn't do something as cliché as a reality show. At least give me the credit for being more creative than that. It's a situational half-hour comedy. It's fictional, and loosely based on my life. " West also collaborated with Japanese hip-hop group Teriyaki Boyz to produce the single "I Still Love H.E.R.," a reference to Common's 1994 single "I Used to Love H.E.R.". Further to this, during a radio appearance in early 2007, West, like many of his peers, recorded an impromptu freestyle to the popular song "Throw Some D's." The song that to all other rappers was about automobile rims, was used by West to comically refer to D-cup breasts. Because of the unexpected success of the song, West went on to make a video for the freestyle, in which he is seen playing his 'Old Ass Cousin'.

West performing at a concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
West was also featured in a new song called "Classic (Better Than I've Ever Been)". It was believed to be a single for, Graduation, because he is featured on the track, but Nike quickly explained that it was for the Nike Air Force 1's anniversary. It was meant only to be an exclusive track for the company.
On March 25, 2007, he and his father Ray West supported World Water Day by having a "Walk for Water" rally. After a two-year break, West has returned to being a fashion columnist in lifestyle magazine Complex. On July 7, 2007, West performed with The Police and John Mayer at the American leg of Live Earth. West hosted the August 17 edition of British comedy- variety show The Friday Night Project.

In July 2007, West changed the release date of Graduation, his third album, from September 18, 2007, to the same release date as 50 Cent's album Curtis, September 11, 2007. 50 Cent later claimed that if Graduation were to sell more records than Curtis, he would stop releasing solo albums. However, 50 Cent would later dispel his comments. The album has been certified double platinum. Guest appearances included T-Pain, Mos Def, and Lil Wayne.
“ When I heard that thing about the debate, I thought that was the stupidest thing. When my albums drops and 50's album drops, you're gonna get a lot of good music at the same time.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and upcoming projects
In May 2010, West made an animated television guest appearance on Fox's animated television series The Cleveland Show (a spin-off of Family Guy) as the voice behind "Kenny West", a rival of Cleveland Brown's son. In his first episode he performed in a rap battle with Cleveland's son. The producers stated working with West was a very good experience and a reason they chose him was because they knew he was a fan of Family Guy. Kenny West re-appeared in the season 2 premiere of The Cleveland Show.
West spent the first half of 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii, working on his new album with the working title "Good Ass Job", later named My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, released on November 22, 2010. West has cited Maya Angelou, Gil Scott-Heron and Nina Simone as his musical inspirations for this album. Outside production is said to come from RZA, Q-Tip, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier. West also had Justin Vernon flown into his studio on Oahu after seemingly expressing interest in sampling one of Bon Iver's songs; Vernon proceeded to feature on a number of new tracks, including "Lost In The World," which features Vernon's vocal line from Woods.
On May 28, the Dwele-assisted first single from the album, entitled "Power", leaked to the Internet. On June 30, the track was officially released via iTunes. The upcoming music video was quoted as being "apocalyptic, in a very personal way" by the director Marco Brambilla.
On September 12, 2010, West performed a new song, "Runaway" featuring Pusha T, at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. Shortly after the performance, Kanye revealed he was working on a 35 minute short film based around the song. The movie is said to be influenced by film noir and concerns a fallen phoenix whom Kanye falls in love with. On 15 October 2010, Kanye West was ranked 3rd in BET's "Top Ten Rappers of the 21st Century" list.

Personal life
Kanye West and designer Alexis Phifer ended their 18-month engagement in 2008. The couple had been dating on and off since 2002, with West eventually proposing in August 2006. According to a friend, the couple's relationship had been straining, significantly influenced by the sheer amount of time and attention West was dedicating to his current concert tour. "It's always sad when things like this end, and we remain friends," Phifer told People.
West was also in a high profile on/off relationship with Amber Rose from 2008 until the summer of 2010.

Mother's death
On November 10, 2007, West's mother, Donda West, died of complications from cosmetic surgery involving abdominoplasty and breast augmentation. TMZ reported that Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Andre Aboolian refused to do the surgery because Donda West had a health condition that placed her at risk for a heart attack. Aboolian referred her to an internist to investigate her cardiac issue. Donda never met with the doctor recommended by Aboolian and had the procedures performed by a third doctor, Jan Adams.
Adams sent condolences to Donda West's family but declined to publicly discuss the procedure because of confidentiality. He had previously been under scrutiny by the medical board. Adams appeared on Larry King Live on November 20, 2007 but left before speaking. Two days later, he appeared again, with his attorney, stating he was there to "defend himself." He said that the recently released autopsy results "spoke for themselves".The final coroner's report January 10, 2008 concluded that Donda West died of "coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty.

Power (Kanye West song)

"Power" (stylized as "POWER") is a single by American hip hop recording artist Kanye West, released as the first single from his fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The song features additional vocals by Dwele and is co-produced by Kanye West and Symbolyc One. The song features a sample of "21st Century Schizoid Man" by English progressive rock band King Crimson, "Afromerica" by American funk band Continent Number 6, and "It's Your Thing" by funk band Cold Grits. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 53rd Grammy Awards.

Music video
The New York Times previewed a clip of the music video directed by artist Marco Brambilla, featuring Irina Shayk, Jessica White and African-American albino fashion model Diandra Forrest. The Power video commences with a portrait-view headshot of Kanye West staring intensely into the camera with illuminated eyes and wearing a large, low-hanging gold chain necklace with an equally large pendant of Horus. As the music begins, the camera slowly pans out in one continuous take to reveal West standing at the end of a hallway of black columns, and surrounded by partially-dressed female characters. Some kneel before him; some embrace; four figures wear ibex-like horns; and some are inverted, pouring water that flows upward. Two horned, staff-bearing figures, loosely resembling interpretations of Isis and Hathor, stand on either side of West; each slowly strikes the ground with their staff, in time to the music. The Sword of Damocles hangs over the rapper’s head, while other slowly-moving figures appear ready to strike West with blades. The various figures within the painting are presented in poses similar to the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana of the Etteilla occult tarot deck, including: The Devil; Judgement; The Lovers; The World; Freemasonry; The Hanged Man; The Ace of Swords/Sword of Damocles; The Page of Swords; The Seven of Wands; and The Queen of Cups.

Live performances
Kanye West performed this song at the 2010 BET Awards atop a mountain-like prop, with a video compilation of footage shot on top of a mountain playing in the back. West performed it on Saturday Night Live on October 2. While, on the original record, the rapper says "Fuck SNL and the whole cast", these verses were dropped in favor of new lyrics. For the first time in the show's history the signature black, instrument filled stage gave place to an all-white, backlit canvas. This performance was heavily publicized and received some rave reviews. Gregory Ellwood wrote "Note to Lorne Michaels: Whatever West had to do to let you break form and come up with such a visually stunning and impressive performance was well, well worth it. This is memorable television. Hands down." "West's SNL performance proved once again that no matter what's going on in his personal life, he is an artist and will continue to take chances in the music industry—ultimately breaking new ground," wrote Megan Masters, adding "Kanye West is a comeback king." Kevin O'Donnell wrote "West delivered one of the show's most unique performances of all-time." On October 4 West tweeted "Here's the tweet you all knew was coming... Love to SNL and the whole cast! West also performed this song live at the EMAs 2010, in Madrid, during 30 Seconds To Mars's performance of their song "Hurricane", which features the singer in a second version.

Media usage
"Power" was used in a Hip-Hop routine on the hit dance show So You Think You Can Dance in its seventh season. The song was heavily featured in promotional trailers for David Fincher's film The Social Network. It was also featured in season 4, episode 5 of Gossip Girl entitled "Goodbye, Columbia", as well as in the trailer for the 2011 Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro film, Limitless. Fox's The Chicago Code uses the song in its TV spots as the rapper is from Chicago. Also, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers uses the song as one of his at-bat songs.

Originally this song was produced by Symbolyc One. The beat to the song was initially given to Rhymefest, only having West to listen to the song and express interest in it. The song was recorded in Hawaii. The song was supposed to be released for digital download in early June, but for an unexplained reason it was canceled. On May 28, 2010, an unfinished version of the speculative first single was leaked onto the internet. "Power" samples "21st Century Schizoid Man" by the British rock band King Crimson and Afromerica by Continent Number 6. Kanye West stated in his first Ustream broadcast that the single included elements from his previous songs "Amazing" and "Jesus Walks". On June 30, 2010, the single was released on iTunes for digital download with a different album cover, also designed by the same artist that drew the last album cover. The cover art for the song "Power" was produced by American visual artist George Condo.

"Power (Remix)" was released as a free single through Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Fridays program.
In an interview with Hot 97, West said the official remix was to feature Jay-Z and would be released on August 13, 2010, but was premiered on August 20, 2010 on Hot 97 by Funkmaster Flex. The song which features Jay-Z also feature vocals and production from Swizz Beatz. Swizz Beatz produced the second half of the song sampling Snap!'s hip house hit, "The Power."

Chart performance
During the week entereing 8 July 2010, "Power" charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 22; named as the week's Hot Shot Debut. On 4 September 2010, the single also debuted on the UK Singles Chart and UK R&B Chart at number 36 and 10 respectively, before falling to number 42 on its second week in the chart. On 18 September 2010, the single fell 38 places to number 80; marking its third week within the Top 100. Following the release of the album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the single re-entered the chart at number 57 and as of 23 October 2010 has spent a total of five weeks within the Top 100.

First Ever African American Digital Story Book Now Available in the AppStore

African-American presence in the technology space has been enhanced with the recent release of the first digital storybook for kids, “A Song for Miles.” Written by Dr. Tiffany S. Russell, “A Song for Miles” uses black musical history to teach children important life lessons. Launched to coincide with the start of Black Music Month, “A Song for Miles” was conceived and produced by a 100% African-American team. Here’s more:

A Song for Miles by Dr. Tiffany S. Russell takes children on a colorful and interactive musical journey. Through the lyrics of soul songs by artists like Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind, and Fire and Marvin Gaye, children learn the meaning of determination, kindness, and love. The digital book nurtures children’s inquisitive nature and love of music and sounds, all while teaching valuable lessons and the importance of having good character.
A Song for Miles links with a school-based character education curriculum. The story creatively aligns with character traits such as initiative, compassion, civility, respect, empathy, responsibility, and perseverance. Character development is an integral part of raising respectful and happy children and A Song for Miles appeals to parents as it creates a platform for values discussions. Children enjoy the colorful pages while parents and music lovers appreciate the musical content and paying tribute to their favorite soul music artists. [...]
A Song for Miles represents a watershed moment in “new media.” It is the first digital storybook on the AppStore that was written (Dr. Russell), illustrated (Raheli Scarborough), scored (c’beyohn), narrated (Jamal Ahmad), and developed (Diverse Mobile) by African Americans.

Character development is an integral part of raising respectful and happy children and A Song for Miles appeals to parents as it creates a platform for values discussions. Children enjoy the colorful pages while parents and music lovers appreciate the musical content and paying tribute to their favorite soul music artists.

"Music has a way of uniting people and can teach important lessons," says Dr. Russell. "I have a 3-year old son who will come of age at a time that is digitally oriented and musically creative. It is important to me that I meaningfully contribute to the media that he and other children consume and A Song for Miles is the beginning of this contribution."

Dr. Russell hopes readers will discover how growth, love, and personal responsibility can emerge from soul songs. She believes that this book has a unique appeal to broad audiences as it is told from the perspective of a young father and seen through the eyes of little boy.

A Song for Miles represents a watershed moment in "new media." It is the first digital storybook on the AppStore that was written (Dr. Russell), illustrated (Raheli Scarborough), scored (c'beyohn), narrated (Jamal Ahmad), and developed (Diverse Mobile) by African Americans.

A Song for Miles is available for sale online on the Apple AppStore on June 1st, 2011 for download on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch to honor the start of Black Music Month. A Song for Miles can be found by searching for "Song for Miles" in the AppStore or by visiting

United States Chamber of Commerce

United States Chamber of Commerce (USCC) is an American lobbying group representing the interests of many businesses and trade associations. It is not an agency of the United States government.
The Chamber is staffed with policy specialists, lobbyists and lawyers. Politically, the Chamber is generally considered to be a conservative organization. The Chamber is one of the largest lobbying groups in the U.S., spending more money than any other lobbying organization on a yearly basis.

Electoral activities
In the 2008 election cycle, aggressive ads paid for by the USCC attacked a number of Democratic congressional candidates (such as Minnesota's DFL Senate candidate Al Franken) and supported a number of Republican candidates including John Sununu, Gordon Smith, Roger Wicker, Saxby Chambliss and Elizabeth Dole.
During the 2010 campaign cycle, the Chamber spent $32 million, 93 percent of which was to help Republican candidates. The Chamber's spending out of its general funds was criticized as illegal under campaign finance laws. In a front-page article titled "Large Donations Aid U.S. Chamber in Election Drive", The New York Times reported that the Chamber used contributions in campaigns without separating foreign and domestic contributions. This is illegal because foreign nations and groups are not allowed to monetarily lobby in the U.S. In question was the Chamber's international branches, “AmChams”, whose funds are unaccounted for and perhaps mix into the general collection.  All branches, corporations, and members of the Chamber pay dues; the question is how they divide the money for expenses in national campaigns.
The truth of these allegations is unknown, as neither the Chamber nor its detractors can provide any concrete evidence to support or refute the allegations.  In reference to the matter, Tom Donohue wrote his council and members on October 12, 2010. He stated, “Let me be clear. The Chamber does not use any foreign money to fund voter education activities—period. We have strict financial controls in place to ensure this. The funds we receive from American Chambers of Commerce abroad, bilateral business councils, and non-U.S. based global companies represent a small fraction of our more than $200 million annual revenues. Under our accounting system, these revenues are never used to support any political activities. We are in full compliance with all laws and regulations.”Organizations, Think Progress, and People for the American Way rallied against the Chamber at the Justice Department to start an injunction for a criminal investigation. As of yet, the Justice Department has not taken any inquiries as a serious legal threat. The Chamber is not required to produce records of its coffers or fundraising.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's own history of itself describes it as originating from an April 12, 1912 meeting of delegates. The Chamber was created by President Taft as a counterbalance to the labor movement of the time.

The Chamber generally leans toward Republican causes, but tries to maintain amicable relationships with both parties. For instance, the Chamber supported both Ronald Reagan's tax cuts and Bill Clinton's NAFTA efforts. In 1993 the Chamber lost several members over its support for Clinton's healthcare reform efforts. The Chamber had chosen to support healthcare reform at that time due to the spiraling healthcare costs experienced by its members. However, House Republicans retaliated by urging boycotts of the organization. The Chamber operated its own cable television station, Biz-Net until 1997 in order to promote its policies. The Chamber shifted somewhat more to the rightward when Tom Donahue became head of the organization in 1997. By the time health care reform became a major issue again in 2010, the organization opposed such efforts.

On the Issues
The Chamber's positions include:
Supports corporate globalization/free trade and outsourcing
Opposes financial regulation
Opposes the DISCLOSE Act 
Opposes healthcare reform and the Affordable Health Care for America Act
Opposes action on climate change
Supported the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 
Neutral on social questions such as abortion and gay marriage
The Chamber campaigned against portions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Argued a case all the way to the supreme court opposing mandatory immigration status checks by employers in Arizona 

The Chamber has emerged as the largest lobbying organization in America. It spent $91.7 million on lobbying in 2008, and $144.5 million in 2009, up from $18.7 million in 2000. The Chamber's lobbying expenditures in 2009 were five times as high as the next highest spender: Exxon Mobil, at $27.4 million. The Chamber had more than 150 lobbyists from 25 different firms working on its behalf in 2009. The major issues that it advocated on were in the categories of torts, government issues, finance, banking and taxes.

International network
As of October 2010, the Chamber had a worldwide network of 115 American Chamber of Commerce affiliates located in 108 countries. The US Chamber says that a “relative handful” of the Chamber’s 300,000 members are “non-U.S.-based (foreign) companies.” It adds that, “No foreign money is used to fund political activities.” A US Chamber executive has said that the organization has had “foreign multinationals” (foreign companies) as members for “over a century, many for decades.” The US Chamber states that it receives approximately $100,000 annually in membership dues from its foreign affiliates.

In April 2009, the Chamber began an ad campaign against the proposed Employee Free Choice Act.Critics such as the National Association of Manufacturers have contended that additional use of card check elections will lead to overt coercion on the part of union organizers. Opponents of the Employee Free Choice Act also claim, referring to perceived lack of access to a secret ballot, that the measure would not protect employee privacy. Hence they claim the act will reduce workers' rights.
The Chamber is opposed to action on climate change, The Chamber threatened to sue the Environmental Protection Agency in order to have a hearing on climate science hearing before any federal climate regulation is passed in October 2009. In response to this position, several companies quit the Chamber, including Exelon Corp, PG&E Corp, PNM Resources, and Apple Inc. Nike, Inc has decided to resign from their board of directors position but to continue their membership. Nike stated that they believe they can better influence the policy by being part of the conversation. In response to an online campaign of Prius owners organized by, Toyota has stated that it is not leaving the Chamber.

National Black Chamber of Commerce

National Black Chamber of Commerce was incorporated in 1993 by Harry Alford and Kay DeBow, who in 2011 continue as President/CEO and Executive Vice President, respectively. Harry Alford is also a Board member of the United States Chamber of Commerce. It is organized as a 501(c)3 corporation and claims at least 190 chapters within the United States. The National Black Chamber of Commerce also has chapters in Africa, Brazil and Europe.

Chris Koster

Chris Koster, born August 31, 1964 is an American politician from the U.S. state of Missouri and is the current Attorney General of Missouri. Prior to his election as Attorney General, he had served in the Missouri Senate since 2005 representing the 31st Senatorial District as a Republican until August 1, 2007 when he switched to the Democratic Party.

Political career
Koster was first elected to the Missouri State Senate in 2004 as a Republican. He represented Missouri's 31st Senatorial District which consists of Cass, Johnson, Bates and Vernon counties. During his time in the Missouri General Assembly, Koster played key roles in the debates over stem cell research, tort reform, and the elimination of Medicaid fraud. Additionally, in 2006 Chris successfully carried legislation in the Senate to dramatically over-haul Missouri’s eminent domain laws. He served on the following committees in the Senate:
Economic Development, Tourism, and Local Government
Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence
Pensions, Veterans' Affairs and General Laws
Commerce, Energy and the Environment
Agriculture, Conservation, Parks and Natural Resources
Koster champions legislation for Truth in the Missouri Court System. Currently, Koster has a bill pending (SB55) for the elimination of paternity fraud.
On August 1, 2007, Koster made Missouri political history when he announced that he was leaving the Missouri Republican Party and becoming a Democrat. Citing his longstanding differences with the Republican Party on issues like stem cell research, workers’ rights, and the non-partisan court plan, Koster said that the Missouri Republican Party had become too beholden to the extreme right-wing to lead the state of Missouri forward. He commented, "Today, Republican moderates are all but extinct. He is the first high-profile elected official in Missouri ever to have taken such a leap.
Before his change of parties, Koster was Chairman of the Republican Caucus, the majority party's fourth-ranking position in the Missouri State Senate.

Early life and career
Koster was born and raised in St. Louis, where he attended Saint Louis University High School. He went on to study at the University of Missouri in Columbia where he received his bachelor of arts degree in 1987. Four years later, he received his juris doctor degree from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1991. Additionally, he earned his masters in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis in 2002.
Prior to becoming a county prosecuting attorney, Koster practiced law with the Kansas City law firm of Blackwell Sanders from 1993 to 1994. He also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Missouri Attorney General from 1991 to 1993.
Before his election to the Missouri Senate in 2004, Koster served as Prosecuting Attorney of Cass County for ten years. He was first elected prosecutor in 1994 and was subsequently reelected in 1998 and 2002 by wide margins. As prosecutor, he supervised a staff of 20 individuals dedicated to enforcing Missouri’s criminal laws in Cass County. Additionally, his office served as the civil counsel for all non-criminal matters before the county government. During his tenure, Koster supervised litigation in approximately 20,000 cases. He led investigations into many of Kansas City’s most notorious criminal cases, including the investigation against serial killer John E. Robinson. He has developed extensive trial experience and has argued and won cases before the Missouri Supreme Court.

Another Report of Blacks Being Stopped by Police

Attorney General Chris Koster today released the 11th Annual Report on Vehicle Stops. The 2010 report contains analysis on more than 1.6 million stops by 630 law enforcement agencies, including racial and ethnic information about drivers who were stopped.

Koster said Missourians can visit his website at to compare the 2010 report to vehicle stops data going back to 2000, when data collection was first required by Missouri law.

"One of the best uses of these reports is as a springboard for dialogue and communication between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve," Koster said. "It is vital that Missouri law enforcement agencies continue to review the rates of stops and searches and to continue their outreach efforts."

The Attorney General reiterated that the disparity index for any community is not conclusive evidence of racial profiling. The "disparity indexes" compare the proportion of stops for drivers of a particular race or ethnicity to the proportion of state or local population of that racial or ethnic group. A value of "1" represents no disparity; values over "1" indicate over-representation, while values under "1" indicate under-representation.

Koster said in 2010 the statewide African-American disparity index was 1.61, down slightly from the 2009 rate of 1.62. This is the second time since data collection began that the disparity index for African-American drivers has decreased - the other being a decrease from 1.36 in 2003 to 1.34 in 2004.

One of the best uses of these reports is as a springboard for dialogue and communication between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve,” he said in a statement.

A Democrat who represents a large number of African-Americans in the east side of Kansas City, Sen. Kiki Curls, told a Kansas City newspaper that for a long while she has heard concerns that defend the findings in the report.

Missouri is not alone in the disparity of Blacks being pulled over more frequently than other races however. A few weeks ago a report out of Houston stated that Blacks in the city were stopped by police vehicles more than any other racial ethnic group in 2010. They were 33 percent of all people stopped by the Houston police, but only made up 23 percent of the city’s population.

Black businesses need support

Greater Dayton African American Chamber of Commerce wants the city’s black community to do more to support local black-owned businesses.
The chamber on Thursday kicked off its Think Before You Buy campaign. The chamber’s goal is to educate the community about the strength of their purchasing power and develop interest in the community about “directing dollars to small African-American businesses,” said Eleanor Stocks, chamber president.
The chamber also wants to help people who have businesses in West Dayton stay in business, Stocks said.
“Right now we would like for the black community to keep that economic dollar here in the black community,” Young said. “This is the only way that we see that we can start to revitalize the west side of Dayton. Right now, we have more and more businesses leaving this community. We don’t have a bunch of them coming in.”
Young said the black community must take action that will help create a “viable business climate within the community.”
“Since the 1980s, there has been a consistent decline in businesses owned and operated by black business owners in the west and northern sectors of Dayton,” said Young, a chamber committee member. “Within the West Dayton area, the majority of operated businesses are owned by nonblack business owners.”

The chamber is encouraging those who already own businesses to mentor or offer financial assistance to those seeking to own businesses.
“We need to start doing things together to move our businesses forward,” Young said.
The chamber plans to prepare an updated list of black-owned businesses to provide to the public. The chamber also plans on hosting regular town hall meetings and give status reports on the businesses that provide quality products. The first of the town hall meetings was to be held last night.
For more information about the chamber and its initiatives, call (937) 222-8406 or write the chamber at P.O. Box 289, Dayton, OH 45409.