‘I can’t breathe! I’m choking on my blood': Disturbing video of a Black soldier left to die in a Texas jail

21 May
image via youtube

image via youtube

James Brown served two tours in Iraq and was diagnosed with PTSD. In exchange for his service and sacrifice, the 26-year-old father of two died in a Texas jail, where prison guards in riot gear stormed his cell and ignored his cries that he was choking on his own blood and unable to breathe.

James Brown, who reported to an El Paso jail where he was supposed to serve a two-day sentence for driving while intoxicated, died in 2012. While his family suspected foul play, only recently was the local news station KFOX14 able to obtain video recorded by one of the prison guards. The footage, which is extremely disturbing and painful to watch, shows that Brown has started bleeding for unknown reasons. When he doesn’t respond to the prison guard, as many as five guards dressed in riot gear storm Brown’s cell, forcing him to the ground. At no point does Brown appear to be resisting the guards. He does, however, state repeatedly, “I can’t breathe” and, “I’m choking on my blood.”  He’s then taken to the infirmary, where he has a mask placed over his face and is given an injection. He continues to state he can’t breathe and, as evident in this exchange, is denied all requests to change his position or have the mask removed:

Continue reading…

Letty Cottin Pogrebin: Single Jewish Male Seeking Soul Mate

19 May

Letty-Clickthru-1_1Here is a great interview with Letty Cottin Pogrebin on her novel Jewish Single Male Seeking Soul Mate, published by the Feminist Press. Make sure you catch Letty live at one of these upcoming events. Tune in to WBAI’s Morning Show on 99.5 FM or online to hear the rest of the interview this Thursday during the 7:00 hour, probably around 7:20 or later.

Single Jewish Male Seeking Soul Mate is the story of “Zach Levy, the left-leaning son of Holocaust survivors who promises his mother that he’ll marry within the tribe. But when Zach falls for Cleo, an African American activist grappling with her own inherited trauma, he must reconcile the family he loves with the woman who might be his soul mate. A New York love story complicated by the legacies and modern tension of Jewish American and African American history, Single Jewish Male Seeking Soul Mate explores what happens when the heart runs into the reality of politics, history, and the weight of family promises.”

Watch young filmmakers take on domestic violence, sexuality, and courage

19 May
image via Scenarios Facebook

image via Scenarios Facebook

 

Three engaging and exciting  movies by young filmmakers premiered at New York City’s legendary Angelika Theater Tuesday night. I was thrilled to be there and see the films on the big screen. Luckily, even if you couldn’t be there, you can still watch the films online.

Since its founding in 1999, Scenarios USA has worked to empower young people from traditionally underserved communities. Students submit their writing to a contest and the winners are paired up with established directors with whom they create short films.

This year’s winners, all of whom who in attendance, included New York City high schooler Lani Pringle. Her film Aleahdirected by Laurie Collyer, explored domestic violence, slut-shaming, abortion, and gang violence in a story of a young pregnant woman thrown out of her house. Pringle turned to her own biography and  family history for inspiration, choosing to shoot the film  in the very Brooklyn projects where her own father was killed before her first birthday: “The story was very influenced by what I knew of my mother’s life… I intended to write a very realistic, heartbreaking story that would keep people interested,” Pringle said in an interview with Scenarios USA. You can rent the film here (explicit) or here (edited for language).

House not Home, written by Skyler Edge, 16, from Cleveland, Ohio, and directed Joshua Butler, tells the story of Terran, a gender fluid teenager who faces bullying but is also part of a supportive community. During the Q and A session, the 16-year-old writer, who is trans and white,  explained that the casting call didn’t specify any racial or ethnic background. It was only after giving the lead role of Terran to Cyle Black, who is African-American, that Edge realized how much he had to learn about the experiences of people of color. This provoked an enthusiastic applause from the audience. Watch the film here. 

Veracity, which you can watch here, examined the shared struggles and solidarity between two African American lesbian teenagers. The film, written by Janaya Greene, a 17-year-old from the South Side of Chicago, and directed by Seith Mann, displayed a subtlety, realism and understatement rarely found in college and graduate student films, let alone in student films written by high-school students. Greene, now a student at Ohio State, was inspired to write the film after a debate over marriage equality in her high school English class senior year: She was baffled that it was even an open question.

The films were reason enough to attend the screening, but adding to the excitement were the “Scenarios Influencers,” invited by Scenarios USA’s Rebecca Carroll, which included Issa Rae, who hosted the screening. Other “influencers” included Luvvie Ajayi, Thomas Page McBee, Elizabeth Plank, Alexander Chee, Franchesca Ramsey, Trymaine Lee, Bevy Smith, and Aparna Nancherla, who graced us with a hilarious standup set. Michaela Angela Davis introduced the screening with powerful words: “To the young people: You are the movement, you are the inspiration and you are the revolution.”

Support the revolution and watch all three films.

Originally posted on Feministing

Fox News explains Baltimore: A Greatest Hits video

8 May

keith

Last week, I wrote about some of the inspiring and creative Whitesplaining or Foxplaining of the causes of the so-called Baltimore Riots, which included gay marriage, Obama, Obama, Black people, Black people, single parenthood etc. Well, there are so many to keep track of, I decided to make a video including just a mere sampling of real rightwing explanations for Baltimore, starring Rand Paul, Keith Ablow, Bill O’Reilly, and Rep Bill Flores. Enjoy!

Originally posted on RawStory

Gay Marriage, Entitlements, Low Self Esteem: worst Right Wing explanations for Baltimore

2 May
image via youtube

image via youtube

Dear Raw Story readers,

I know, what you’re doing. Because I did it too. I thought that the peaceful protests and the riots in Baltimore were in response to the police murder of Freddie Gray, police brutality, the culture of police impunity, and systemic racism. It turns out, we’re off. Way off. Here’s what’s really to blame (besides Obama, but we already knew that): gay marriage, single parenting, low self-esteem, entitlements and personal behavior, whatever that means.

Continue reading…

 

Matt Drudge figures out Obama’s to blame for Baltimore riots — guess we can all go home now

1 May
image via youtube

image via youtube

To quote Voltaire, I may not agree with Matt Drudge, but I must admit the guys is astute, insightful and one hell of an intellectual.

Only Drudge has the clarity to see, and laser-like ability to pinpoint, the man behind the the tear gas and chaos of Baltimore riots; President Barack Obama. Check out his brilliant tweet:

image via twitter

image via twitter

I have nothing to add.

Originally posted on RawStory

 

Hobby Lobby Morning After Pill Baskets: The best jokes from White House Correspondents’ Dinner

1 May
image via youtube

image via youtube

Here are the best jokes from President Barack Obama and Cecily Strong during Saturday night’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. They take on Hobby Lobby, Dick Cheney, sexism, racism, police brutality, Islamophobia and Obamaphobia.

Originally posted on RawStory

 

Justin Williams and I talk Al Sharpton’s curves and Baltimore’s riot on WBAI’s The Morning Show

30 Apr

Justin Williams came into the WBAI studios today to be a guest on The Morning Show. We talk Baltimore, Newark, racists and lament the loss of Al Sharpton’s curves and medallions.

“Asking For It”: A one-woman comedy show that skewers rape culture

30 Apr

Did you hear the one about the dancer/performance-artist/comedian who did a funny one-woman show about rape? 

Though the majority of rape jokes told at comedy clubs are neither funny nor empowering, I’ve always thought that rape humor, in and of itself, is not inherently and automatically off limits. In comedy, as in all forms of art, the issue isn’t the content, but rather the perspective and framing.

image via youtube

image via youtube

Adrienne Truscott’s one-woman show, “Asking For It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy And Little Else!which I saw at Joe’s Pub, proves not only that rape jokes can be acceptable but that they can be powerful tools of protest and education.

Over the course of an hour, Truscott, a choreographer, circus acrobat, dancer, writer, and comedian, skewers rape culture, taking on Bill Cosby, Todd Akin, Daniel Tosh and more, while wearing a wig on her head, high heels on her feet, and a jean jacket/ rolled up dress/bra(s) above her waist and for almost the entire piece, absolutely nothing over the area between her waist and ankles.

Truscott describes her humor as twisted and dark, in an interview with Australia’s SBS2 The Feed (see the video below), but is careful to distinguish between humor which challenges rape culture and humor which perpetuates it: Continue reading

Three Women Walk Into a Half-Naked Comedy Show About Rape…

23 Apr
By Judy Berman , Sarah Seltzer and Katie Halper
Originally posted on Flavorwire

Adrienne Truscott’s one-woman show Asking For It: A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else! is part burlesque performance-art, part stand-up comedy act, part feminist conversation-piece. But if there’s one thing the self-described evening of rape jokes is not, it’s shy.

Clad only from the waist up and ankles down for much of the show, with a stack of blonde wigs on her head, Truscott uses her bared lower body and a cheery Southern belle persona to challenge and re-appropriate humor and cultural myths about rape in a manner that feels deeply, provocatively feminist without being preachy. She uses photographs of male comedians like Bill Cosby and Daniel Tosh as props, and her bare body becomes a screen for projections of words and songs that comment on rape culture. All the while, she’s swigging beer and behaving in a way that challenges the assumption that anyone is ever asking for it. Like feminist comedians Sarah Silverman, Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, and Amy Schumer, Truscott is doing the work to reclaim comedic territory that was once aggressively hostile to women.

To intrepidly explore the radical potential of (naked) feminist rape comedy, two Flavorwire staffers and one feminist comedian attended a sold-out midnight performance of Asking For It at Joe’s Pub in New York, where the show will return May 30. A few days later, we discussed our reactions.

Sarah Seltzer: Did either of you have a favorite joke or gag or prop? My favorite was the rape whistle by the side of the stage that Truscott kept working back into conversation. (“Does anyone feel uncomfortable? Just grab the whistle!”) This running gag reminded me constantly of the futile and pathetic ways we try to make ourselves feel better as a society by “arming” women against rape.

Judy Berman: I was super into the framed Daisy Duck picture Truscott used to illustrate the wild connection she made between Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin and ducks’ decoy vaginas, which actually do have “ways to shut that whole thing down.” To me, the show can’t really be broken down into individual jokes, but that bit is a good representation of how it managed to be intelligent, political, and funny at the same time.

Katie Halper: One of the things I loved about the entire piece was how unapologetically humorous it was. Every time it seemed like she was saying something earnest and conciliatory, she would undercut it with a joke or a cringe-worthy statement. It was incredibly funny and moving at the same time, while never feeling trivializing or manipulative. Continue reading

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