Lanier Middle School is closing due to low enrollment in June.
Upon hearing about the final decision to close what was known as Lanier Jr. High School in the 1980's, alumni Keithon Robinson ('85), Greg Price ('86), Pamela Campbell-Lott ('85), Nate Turner ('83) and Jocelin Keglar ('84) organized a Farewell to the Lion's Den Party and Group Picture Day to reunite all alumni.
As the word spread through Facebook, middle school friends were excited about seeing some of the people with whom they had shared an important transition.
Evidently it's the "list" time of year, and so far black girls are winning. On Tuesday, People magazine debuted its 50 Most Beautiful issue, starring none other than media (and fan) darling Lupita Nyong'o on the cover. Not to be outdone, Thursday morning, Time released its annual 100 Most Influential People issue, featuring singer Beyoncé on its cover. Nyong'o's issue went over pretty well (at least in my circles). Beyoncé's, though? Um ... not so much.
In her Time bio, 'Yoncé is lauded by "Lean In" author and Facebook honcho Sheryl Sandberg, who effusively praises the singer-actress-performer turned wife-mother-feminist. Sandberg makes a brief but solid argument that plays off Sandberg's lean-in catchphrase: "Beyoncé doesn't just sit at the table. She builds a better one."
Sandberg describes how Bey's last album – the self-titled audiovisual gem she dropped with zero notice or promotion last December – "shattered music industry rules and sales records." (That's not just fan hype. Beyoncé holds the record for fastest-selling album in iTunes history and has sold more than 3 million copies.) Sandberg goes on to mention Bey's sold-out world tour and notes the singer's (somewhat shaky) track record of raising "her voice both on- and offstage to urge women to be independent and lead." (Admittedly, she's getting better.)
Once again, the mother of a black teenage boy is crying that there won't be justice for her dead son. This time, it's because prosecutors have dropped charges against the white Little Rock, Ark., police officer who was set to go on trial next month on charges he shot and killed 15-year-old Bobby Moore III two years ago.
The state first brought charges after a police investigation showed that the officer's story didn't match the evidence at the scene of the shooting and that the use of deadly force was not justified.
Now prosecutors say that even though they still believe the officer is guilty of a homicide, it's apparent that a jury would never convict the officer. How can they be so sure? Because they've tried the case twice already. Both trials ended in hung juries. In the first, an all-white jury voted 10-2 for a conviction. In the second, a jury that included two African Americans voted 11-1 to acquit the officer.
The historic shift in marijuana policy happening around the United States and the world begs a couple of questions concerning African-Americans.
First, will this change in policy benefit or somehow hurt our community? Second, is no longer having the underground marijuana economy that has, like it or not, been a supplemental source for income for our young adults and the unemployed or underemployed good in the long run?
The drug war is more effective at continuing the disenfranchisement of the poor and people of color than it is at preventing drug use, and we argue about whether this was the intended goal in the first place: to reinforce racism. The results have been undeniably tragic for the African-American community no matter the intent.
Taraji P. Henson talks about her new film, "From The Rough," an inspirational biopic where she portrays Catana Starks, the African-American trailblazer who became the first female to coach an NCAA Division-1 men's team when she accepted the reins of the golf squad at Tennessee State University.
Kam Williams: Hi Taraji, thanks for the interview.
Taraji P. Henson: Oh, no worries, Kam.
KW: What interested you in this film?
TPH: Well, first of all, I'd never seen a movie about a female coach before, outside of that Goldie Hawn comedy from years ago, "Wildcats." And I had certainly never seen an African-American woman portrayed this way in a drama. That was the first thing that interested me. Then, when I read the script, I went, "Wow! What an amazing story!" She had all the odds stacked against her, yet she and her team won. And it was all because of the tenacity and belief and passion that she instilled in her players.
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