i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

WNBA 2015 Year-End Awards

the wnba year-end awards highlight the outstanding achievements of players, coaches and executives in 2015. listed below are the winners:

most valuable player - elena delle donne, chicago sky
rookie of the year - jewell loyd, seattle storm
defensive player of the year - brittney griner, phoenix mercury
sixth woman of the year - allie quigley, chicago sky
most improved player - kelsey bone, connecticut sun

coach of the year - bill laimbeer, new york liberty
kim perrot sportsmanship - delisha milton-jones, los angeles sparks 

peak performers
scoring - elena delle donne, chicago sky, 23.4 points per game
rebounds - courtney paris - tulsa shock, 9.3 rebounds per game
assists - courtney vandersloot, chicago sky, 5.8 assists per game

all-defensive team
center - brittney griner, phoenix mercury
forward - tamika catchings, indiana fever
forward - nneka ogwumike, los angeles sparks
guard - briann january, indiana fever
guard- angel mccoughtry, atlanta dream

all-rookie team 
jewell loyd, seattle storm
ramu tokashiki, seattle storm
brittany boyd, new york liberty
kiah stokes, new york liberty
natalie achonwa, indiana fever
ana dabovic, los angeles sparks

Monday, September 14, 2015

Flavia Pennetta and Novak Djokovic Win 2015 US Open Singles Titles

flavia pennetta of italy defeated (her best friend and countrywoman) roberta vinci, 7-6, 6-2, to win the 2015 us open singles championship on saturday in new york city. pennetta, seeded #26, captured the first major singles title of her 15-year career. 

pennetta recorded straight-set wins over stosur, kvitova and halep - all ranked ahead of her - to reach the final. "i just tried to play every match i can from the first, tried not to think of the draw and go match by match. i tried to focus on what i had to do when i go on court, and here i am, so i'm really happy," pennetta said afterwards.    

she received a $3.3 million paycheck for her unexpected, yet proudly successful efforts. during her acceptance speech with espn's robin roberts, in a surprising move, pennetta humbly announced her retirement from the sport. she later admitted to making the decision a month ago. pennetta said, "it's the way i'd like to say goodbye to tennis. i couldn't think to finish in a better way."

pennetta, 33, and vinci, 32, are the oldest women to play in a major singles final in the open era. pennetta is the oldest woman to become a major champion for the first time. this was also the first major singles final for each participant, and the first time since 1975 two us open finalists were out of the top 20. ironically, both women were opponents and doubles partners as kids.

world #1 novak djokovic of serbia defeated world #2 roger federer of switzerland 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 to win the 2015 us open singles championship on sunday in new york city. djokovic became the eighth man in history to hold 10 major singles crowns. 

his career record against federer is now 21-21, and they are now the only men to win three majors in one year - multiple times. djokovic reached the finals of all four majors this year, losing the french open to stan warwinka, federer's countryman and doubles partner. "it's been an incredible year. next to 2011. all those results and achievements are motivation for me to win more," djokovic said.

djokovic, 28, currently holds a 63-5 record for the year, which is the best on tour. he's been the number one player for most of the last four years. djokovic recently married and became a proud father. but the raucous, pro-federer crowd of nearly 23,000 in arthur ashe stadium clearly wanted his opponent to win his elusive 18th major title.  

but djokovic saved 19 of 23 break points during the rain-delayed and highly-competitive match. he's one major behind bjorn borg and rod laver, and only two behind roy emerson. djokovic is coached by multiple-slam winner boris becker of germany. he cites a gluten-free diet, regular meditation and yoga as keys to his success. he fluently speaks eight languages and is working on two more.   


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Michael Jordan awarded $8.9 million for unethical Dominick's ad

a federal judge on friday ordered the owners of dominick's to pay michael jordan $8.9 million for using his identity without his permission in an advertisement. 

in 2009, the now defunct supermarket chain used jordan's identity for its rancher's reserve steaks in a special issue of sports illustrated. the ad commemorated his elevation to the nba hall of fame.

lawyers for dominick's owner, safeway, argued they should pay $126, 900. but after deliberating for more than six hours at the end of a week-long trial, the jury decided on an amount closer to what jordan wanted - $10 million.

during the five-year court battle, a judge previously assigned to the case described jordan's demands as "greedy." however before the case went into trial, the court said dominick's was liable for running the ad: the jurors'  lone decision was how much should they pay.

jordan said, "it is my name, and i've worked hard for it for 30-something years, and i'm not just going to let someone take it. it's not the type of court i like to win at, but unfortunately we ended up in this court, and i'm very happy with the result."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Julian Bond Makes Transition at 75

julian bond made his transition saturday night. bond was 75 years old, and he died in fort walton, florida, after a brief illness. he was an activist, educator, humanitarian, organizer, politician and writer. 

bond was a nashville, tennessee native who attended morehouse college. while in school, bond co-founded the student non-violent coordinating committee (sncc). he became their communications director and was a prominent figure in the civil rights movement.

bond served 20 years in the georgia legislature. his anti-war protests were not supported by some of his political colleagues when america fought in vietnam. he was elected to the georgia house of representatives in 1965, but some angry white members - and seven black members - accused him of disloyalty and refused to let him take his seat. 

a unanimous u.s. supreme court ruling in favor of bond confirmed his seat in office. the court said denying him his seat would be a violation of his freedom of speech. generally well-liked and respected, he was not a polarizing figure, but the u.s. role in the war divided americans from all walks of life. 

in 1986, bond ran to represent georgia in the house of representatives. he was defeated by john lewis, a fellow activist and sncc co-founder. later, bond served as the board chairman for the 500,000 member national association for the advancement of colored people (naacp) for 10 years. bond declined to run for (another) one-year term in 2010.

bond would often appear as a commentator on various programs like nbc's today show, or the news hour with jim lehrer on pbs, and the tavis smiley show. bond was an adjunct professor at american university, and was a professor of history at the university of virginia.  

after his death, lewis said their congressional race created "a little schism for awhile" between them, but nothing could weaken their lasting friendship. lewis said bond was "a wonderful writer, a poet. he had a great sense of humor. he could make you laugh until you wanted to cry. but he worked very hard. he was just smart. just smart. brilliant."  

southern poverty law center co-founder morris dees said, "with julian's passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice. he advocated not just for african-americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all." 

president barack obama said, "julian bond was a hero and, i'm privileged to say, a friend. justice and equality was the mission that spanned his life. julian bond helped change this country for the better. and what better way to be remembered than that."

Sunday, August 09, 2015

NYC Taxi Driver Fined $25K for not picking up black family

a yellow taxi driver in new york city must pay $25,000 in fines and compensation for discrimination against a black family. the driver, baqir raza, refused to pick up cynthia jordan and her two daughters outside macy's in midtown, but let two white females into his cab instead.

raza told jordan he was off-duty, locked the doors and then drove 25 feet to pick up the white consumers. office of administrative trials and hearing (oath) judge raymond kramer ruled last week raza must pay $10,000 in compensation to jordan, and a $15,000 civil fine.

jordan, 57, a queens resident and vice president at a stock transfer firm, said, "i'm happy for the judgment. hopefully, someone will hear about this, and it will affect the way taxi drivers pick up fares in new york."

jordan says she routinely faces discrimination when trying to hail a cab. jordan said, "i'm always out with my young daughter trying to grab a cab. there is nothing threatening about us, and you should see how many people drive right past us."

on october 19, 2013, jordan's daughter, chiley holder, saw raza pull his taxi over to let a passenger exit. his on-duty light was on, but raza locked the door when holder tried to open it. raza said he was taking a break and switched his off-duty light on. but he then picked up the white females.

jordan ran up to his cab exclaiming, "are you kidding me? you picked up these two white bitches...instead of me and my family...i'm going to report you. jordan said raza wasn't fazed by her threat. "he said, yeah, go ahead and report me," she recalled.

holder works for the city's 311 system and urged her mother to file a complaint with the taxi and limousine commission (tlc), and the human rights commission. raza paid a $200 fine to the tlc in november, 2013. he plead guilty to a violation for refusing to pick up the jordan family.

however, the city's commission on human rights brought charges against raza at the oath hearing overseen by judge kramer. the commission must still approve kramer's recommendation for the $25,000 in penalties. 

jordan says she hopes the obstinate fines will teach raza a lesson. jordan said, "you don't have impunity to do whatever you do. if you drive a cab, then drive a cab and pick up all fares. that's what you're supposed to do."



Saturday, August 08, 2015

2015 NFL Football Hall of Fame Class

the 53rd class of the national football league hall-of-fame will be honored saturday night in canton, ohio. the celebrated men are jerome bettis, tim brown, charles haley, bill polian, junior seau, will shields, mick tinglehoff and ron wolf.

bettis played 13 seasons with the los angeles/st.louis rams and pittsburgh steelers. he ranks fifth all-time in rushing with 13,662 yards. a six-time pro bowl selection, bettis ("the bus") rushed for 100 yards or more 61 times. 

brown played 16 years with the los angeles/oakland raiders, and one (his final) season with the tampa bay buccaneers. he caught 1,094 career receptions for 14,934 yards and 100 touchdowns. brown also totaled 4,555 yards and four touchdowns and kickoff and punt returns.

haley is the only nfl player to win five super bowl titles. he racked up 100.5 sacks in his 12-year career with the dallas cowboys and san francisco 49ers. haley posted double-digit sack totals in six different seasons.   

polian helped build the 1990s buffalo bills, and launched the expansion carolina panthers in 1995. he led the indianapolis colts to unprecedented success in the 2000s. the colts won super bowl 41 following the 2006 season. he was nfl's executive of the year by the sporting news six times.

seau played 20 nfl seasons with the san diego chargers, miami dolphins and new england patriots. he's regarded as one of the best linebackers in history. seau made first-team all-pro eight teams, was selected to the pro bowl 12 times, and was named defensive player of the year in 1992.

shields played 224 games during his 14-year career with the kansas city chiefs. he never missed a game. shields was named to the all-decade team of the 2000s, selected first-team all-pro three tines, and played in 12 straight pro bowls.  

tinglehoff was signed as a free agent by the minnesota vikings. he earned a starting role as center - as a rookie - and never missed a game during his 17-year career. tinglehoff was a seven-time all-league selection, and was named to six consecutive pro bowls. 

wolf spent 23 years with the los angeles/oakland raiders. those gritty and rugged teams had 17 winning seasons under his budding leadership. wolf later transformed the green bay packers into super bowl champions.  
the hall currently limits the number of inductees to eight per year. they adjusted its bylaws in 2014 to give added consideration to contributors like polian and wolf. both men were architects of numerous super bowl teams during their years as general managers.

this year the hall is making an exception to its ceremonial rules, which do not allow for live speeches on behalf of deceased honorees. but sydney seau will speak about her father, who committed suicide in 2012. she and her three brothers will unveil his bust at the enshrinement ceremony.

"our goal is to maintain our policy regarding enshrinement speeches, but also show compassion and understanding," said hall of fame president david baker, in a statement. next year's hall-of-fame class will be determined in february prior to super bowl 50. brett favre and terrell owens are among those eligible in 2016.



Friday, July 17, 2015

Eric Garner Family Receives $5.9 Million Settlement from NYC

almost one year after he died at the hands of new york city police officers, the family of eric garner accepted a pretrial settlement from the city on monday. garner's estate, which filed a claim against the city in october, 2014 for damages related to his untimely demise, will be paid $5.9 million.

new york city comptroller scott springer's office is charged with settling claims against the city. springer said, "following a judicious review of the claim and facts of this case, my office was able to reach a settlement with the estate of eric garner that is in the best interest of all parties."

cell phone video of garner's death in july, 2014 emerged, fueling conflicts between the nypd and the community. garner, an unarmed 41 year-old black man, was put in an illegal chokehold by a white cop who hasn't been charged with a crime. officers alleged garner was selling loose cigarettes before his fatal encounter.  

"we are all familiar with the events that led to the death of eric garner and the extraordinary impact his passing has had on our city and our nation. it forced us to examine the state of race relations, and the relationship between our police force and the people they serve." and, while the settlement "acknowledges the tragic nature of mr. garner's death, the city has not admitted liability," said springer.

new york city mayor bill de blasio said the anniversary of his death was on his mind, as it was for many other new yorkers. but the mayor said, "i think the important thing is to stay focused on the work of the reform. i think we've come a long way, even in the last year, in terms of bringing police and community together."