Famous rappers urge Supreme Court to take First Amendment case

Chance the Rapper

CNN — Killer Mike, Chance the Rapper, Meek Mill, Yo Gotti, Fat Joe and 21 Savage were among the group of artists and scholars named in a legal brief filed on March 6. The briefing urges the Supreme Court to hear a case involving Pittsburgh rapper Jamal Knox and determine whether his song lyrics are protected under the First Amendment.

Knox was found guilty of “terroristic threats and witness intimidation” and sentenced to two years in prison partially due to lyrics from a song that he wrote entitled “F*ck the Police.”

The artists and scholars urging Supreme Court involvement say that Knox’s song is a “political statement … that no reasonable person familiar with rap music would have interpreted as a true threat of violence.”

Read the full article here >>

Black senator refuses to back down to proposed ‘stand your ground’ bill


USA TODAY — Arkansas State Senator Stephanie Flowers refused to be silenced during a recent debate surrounding the state’s proposed “stand your ground” bill. Sen. Flowers’ outrage was sparked when one of her white counterparts requested to impose a ten-minute time limit on debating the bill’s passage.

Sen. Flowers urged her fellow lawmakers to consider her perspective as the only person of color on the state Judiciary Committee — and that of her black constituents — in the decision to pass a bill that gives everyday citizens the license to kill.

The bill was struck down, and Sen. Flowers’ response has since gone viral.

Watch it for yourself here >>

Sacramento police reveal officers’ account of Stephon Clark’s death

Stephon Clark and family











CNN — Officers’ accounts of what happened on the night that Stephon Clark was shot down in his grandmother’s backyard have been released to the public in a nearly 800-page report by the Sacramento Police Department.

In the report, officers claim that a reflection of light from Clark’s cell phone looked to them like gunfire. According to the document, officers thought that they were returning fire when they shot the unarmed victim eight times.

Prosecutors have decided not to pursue criminal charges against the officers.

Read the full article here >> 

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Alabama newspaper editor calls for KKK “to night ride again”

Photo of a portion of Sutton's editorial published on Feb. 14.

Photo: Montgomery Advertiser

NBC News — Goodloe Sutton, publisher of the Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Alabama, confirmed on Monday that he was the author of an editorial calling for the Klu Klux Klan to night ride against “Democrats in the Republican party and Democrats [who] are plotting to raise taxes.”

The editorial titled, “Klan needs to ride again,” ran in a printed edition of the Democrat-Reporter on February 14. When reporters with the Montgomery Advertiser asked Sutton to elaborate on his statements, he responded:

“We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”

In response to the editorial, Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. tweeted “I have seen what happens when we stand by while people – especially those with influence – publish racist, hateful views. Words matter. Actions matter. Resign now!”

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Three NY teachers on leave after displaying noose images in the classroom

The classroom display created by three Long Island middle school teacher.

Photo: Authur L. Mackey, Jr. via NBC News

NBC News — Three teachers at a Long Island middle school are on paid administrative leave for displaying a collage in the classroom that included an image of two nooses labeled “back to school necklaces.”

According to data from New York State Education Department, during the 2017-2018 school year, Roosevelt Middle School’s student body was 46.6 percent Black, 55 percent Hispanic or Latino, and 0.4 percent multiracial. All three teachers involved were white, and the school claims to have taken “appropriate action” against the teachers for using “racially offensive images.”

The tricky part is that half of the community is outraged, and the other half sees the incident as a misunderstood joke. What do you think?

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California police shower bullets on rapper sleeping in car

Willie McCoy, 20

Photo: David Harrison via NBC News

NBC News — Witnesses say police fired at least 20 rounds at 20-year-old Willie McCoy in a Taco Bell parking lot Saturday night. Though it is unclear how many bullets struck him, McCoy (whose stage name is Willie Bo) was pronounced dead on the scene. His family wants to see bodycam footage. 

Employees at a Bay Area Taco Bell called the police to report that a man was slumped over in his car in the drive-thru. In a statement released on Tuesday, Vallejo police said that they saw a handgun in the driver’s lap and called for backup. While police positioned cruisers in front of and behind the vehicle, McCoy awakened. A few seconds later, he was dead.

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Gucci sweater resembling racist blackface, $890

Gucci's $890 Sweater

Photo: Gucci via CNN

NBC News — In recent years, clothing brands around the globe have been caught in the public’s moral crosshairs following accusations of using racist imagery in marketing. Fashion powerhouse Gucci is in the hot seat this week after they released an $890 sweater that bears an uncanny resemblance to blackface, a derogatory characterization of black people that was used by white actors in the early 19th century.

The jet black sweater featured a pull-up turtleneck with bright red lips for a mouth cutout. Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, released a statement on Wednesday saying that the sweater was not intended to be received as a semblance of racism.

Read the full article here >>

⚖️ #ThrowbackThursday ⚖️

Cathay Williams (1842-c.1893)



Cathay Williams was the first African-American woman to enlist in the United States Army. Williams was born into slavery and was an army cook before enlisting in 1866. Williams was sworn in under the pseudonym “William Cathay” making her the only documented U.S. soldier to serve while posing as a man.

Learn more about Cathay Williams >>

21 Savage’s legal team says he’s not a convicted felon, ICE gave incorrect information

21 Savage

THE ROOT — Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage has a legal dream team, and they say that information released to the press by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was incorrect.

Savage’s dream team — which consists of attorneys from LaPolt Law, P.C., Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC, The Steel Law Firm, P.C., Daniels & Smith, LLC, Law Firm Of Abbi S. Taylor, LLC, and Icon Business Management, Inc. — released a statement on Thursday clearing up some of the questions that arose after Savage’s arrest.

Here’s a summary: Savage has lived in the U.S. since he was in the first grade, he is not a convicted felon, and the Department of Homeland Security has known his whereabouts since at least 2017 when the rapper applied for a U visa.

Read the full statement here >>