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Civilian oversight of law enforcement needed more than ever in Memphis

Civilian oversight of law enforcement needed more than ever in Memphis

In 1994, the controversial shooting of Jesse Bogand – a 68 year old resident of Orange Mound – outraged the citizens of Memphis. This and other similar incidents pushed the Memphis City Council to create a Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB), which according to the City Of Memphis website would be "an independent, non-police Mayoral Agency with...the power to receive, investigate, hear cases, make findings and recommend action on complaints."

Though seemingly a positive step forward for our city, many have lamented that CLERB has insufficient power to accomplish its assigned tasks. For instance, CLERB can only hear a case after the Memphis Police Department's Internal Affairs has completed their investigation. Moreover, CLERB has no subpoena powers, and as such MPD officers' presence at a hearing is purely voluntary.

More troubling is the fact that the extent of CLERB's disciplinary power is a non-binding recommendation to MPD.

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  • Written by Brad Watkins

Memphis parent backs HB190 and the value of school choice

Memphis parent backs HB190 and the value of school choice

There are few things more important to me than the quality of my children's schools. After all, I know that a great education is crucial to their success as adults.

I also believe that parents know their kids better than anyone else, and should be able to decide what is best for them.

Fortunately for me, I happen to live in a neighborhood with schools that meet the needs of my kids. But many families across Tennessee are not as lucky. Thousands of students across the state are forced to attend schools that are failing or otherwise inadequate.

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  • Written by Colessia Porter

Simmons’ cookbook for a stress-free life

Simmons’ cookbook for a stress-free life

Russell Simmons is best known as the flamboyant playboy who co-founded Def Jam Records back in the Eighties. But the matured hip-hop mogul would like you to know that his satisfaction in life now comes less through the sort of shallow materialistic trappings celebrated in the average rap music video than through the peace of mind, body and spirit offered by the relatively-modest practice of meditation.

As he puts it, "I had to do a lot of damage before I finally accepted that I liked early-morning meditation better than late-night drinking." And all it takes him is 20 minutes twice a day to find that state of bliss.

The good news is that you can achieve it, too, provided you're willing to carve out a little quiet space from your hectic schedule to sit in a chair with your eyes closed. Yes, it's as simple as that, according to Russ, although getting novices to try meditation isn't as easy as one might think.

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Is it hip-hop homophobia over French nails and skirts?

Is it hip-hop homophobia over French nails and skirts?

Apparently, veteran gangster rapper Snoop Dogg still enjoys defying all the rules of so-called authentic black masculinity found in mainstream hip-hop culture. After reinventing himself as a devoted father and Snoop Lion – the reggae-infused advocate of black consciousness and universal love – he is now using Instagram to promote his fierce, duo-chrome French manicure, complete with marijuana leaf and dollar sign.

Do real Gs get manis?

The news has left hip-hop fans debating whether Snoop is "gay" or mind-controlled by the "Illuminati," while rapper 50 Cent has questioned Snoop's sexuality. In response to 50 and the haters, Snoop replied that he is still a gangster: "Real playas keep they nails fly fresh n dipped at the tip." A few days later, 50 Cent posted photos suggesting that P. Diddy, Steve Stoute and Rick Ross are in a gay love triangle. In the mind of a hip-hop homophobe, "something ain't right (#smsaudio)" when black men get their nails done, wear pink and/or hug each other.

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  • Written by Travis L. Gosa, Ph.D./The Root

J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise help a retired sheriff’s deputy shine on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’

J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise help a retired sheriff’s deputy shine on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’

Retired sheriff's deputy Ezra Harris of Chattanooga, Tenn. gained national headlines after a YouTube video of his mangled rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at a memorial service went viral and gained over 1.3 million views as "worst rendition of the national anthem ever."

Recently, Harris got a second chance of sorts and some backup. The vocal support came from the Stellar Award nominated urban inspirational music ensemble J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise. The group stopped by the New York studios of ABC's "Good Morning America" for a special makeover week music segment.

Producers of the No. 1 rated morning show decided to give Harris a chance to redo the anthem during its "do over" week makeovers this past week. Staffers called in J.J. Hairston and country music star Dierks Bentley to individually coach Harris on how to sing the song and to memorize the lyrics.

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  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

Nia Long: ‘The Single Moms Club’ interview

Nia Long: ‘The Single Moms Club’ interview

Stunningly-attractive leading lady Nia Long returned to the big screen last fall in the highly-anticipated sequel "The Best Man Holiday" where she reunited with original cast mates Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut and Harold Perrineau. Early last year, she joined the all-star cast of Showtime's "House of Lies" alongside Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell.

Here, Nia talks about co-starring as May in "The Single Moms Club" opposite her son Massai, as well as Amy Smart, Zulay Henao, Tyler Perry, Terry Crews, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Cocoa Brown.

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Respect begins with us

Respect begins with us

"What are we talking about? We talking about fiction or we talking about fact? You talking about fiction? Hold up pardon my back..."
– Excerpt from Jay – Z, "What We Talking About"

I've been at a lost for words lately watching all the New World Order-like advancements unravel before our eyes. From Stand your Ground to Stop and Frisk, war is being waged on those who refuse to follow the "logical" standards of our society.

And there have been a long list of murders, both old and new: Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and Ramarley Graham. Why have people lost what little respect they had for our community? Why have they turned their backs and begun to raise deadly guns again?

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  • Written by Jineea Butler

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