Thursday Open Thread | Toni Morrison Week

Hapy Thursday, Everyone! Hope you’re enjoying Toni Morrison week!


Today’s featured novel….


Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison. Set after the American Civil War (1861–1865), it is inspired by the story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who temporarily escaped slavery during 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state. A posse arrived to retrieve her and her children under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which gave slave owners the right to pursue slaves across state borders. Margaret killed her two-year-old daughter rather than allow her to be recaptured.

Beloved’s main character, Sethe, kills her daughter and tries to kill her other three children when a posse arrives in Ohio to return them to Sweet Home, the Kentucky plantation from which Sethe recently fled. A woman presumed to be her daughter, called Beloved, returns years later to haunt Sethe’s home at 124 Bluestone Road, Cincinnati. The story opens with an introduction to the ghost: “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom.”

The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 and was a finalist for the 1987 National Book Award.[3] It was adapted during 1998 into a movie of the same name starring Oprah Winfrey. A New York Times survey of writers and literary critics ranked it the best work of American fiction from 1981 to 2006.[4]

The book’s dedication reads “Sixty Million and more,” dedicated to the Africans and their descendants who died as a result of the Atlantic slave trade.[5] The book’s epigraph is Romans 9:25.

The book concerns the story of Sethe and her daughter Denver after their escape from slavery. Their home in Cincinnati is haunted by a revenant, whom they believe to be the ghost of Sethe’s daughter. Because of the haunting—which often involves objects being thrown around the room—Sethe’s youngest daughter Denver is shy, friendless, and housebound, and her sons, Howard and Buglar, have run away from home by age 13. Baby Suggs, the mother of Sethe’s husband Halle, dies in her bed soon afterward.

Paul D, one of the slaves from Sweet Home—the plantation where Baby Suggs, Sethe, Halle, and several other slaves once worked—arrives at Sethe’s home and tries to bring a sense of reality into the house. In attempting to make the family forget the past, he forces out the spirit. He seems successful at first; he even brings housebound Denver out of the house for the first time in years. But on the way back, they encounter a young woman sitting in front of the house, calling herself Beloved. Paul D is suspicious and warns Sethe, but she is charmed by the young woman and ignores him. Gradually, Paul D is forced out of Sethe’s home by a supernatural presence.

When made to sleep outside in a shed, Paul D is cornered by Beloved. While they have sex, his mind is filled with horrific memories from his past. Overwhelmed with guilt, Paul D tries to tell Sethe about it but cannot, and instead says he wants her pregnant. Sethe is elated, and Paul D resists Beloved and her influence over him. But when he tells friends at work about his plans to start a new family, they react fearfully. Stamp Paid reveals the reason for the community’s rejection of Sethe.

When Paul D asks Sethe about it, she tells him what happened: After escaping from Sweet Home and reaching her waiting children at her mother-in-law’s home, Sethe was found by her master, who attempted to reclaim her and her children. Sethe grabbed her children, ran into the tool shed, and tried to kill them all. She succeeded only in killing her eldest daughter by running a saw along her neck. Sethe claims that she was “trying to put my babies where they would be safe.” The revelation is too much for Paul D and he leaves. Without him, sense of reality and time moving forward disappears.

Sethe comes to believe that Beloved is the 2-year-old daughter she murdered, whose tombstone reads only “Beloved”. Sethe begins to spend carelessly and spoil Beloved out of guilt. Beloved becomes angry and more demanding, throwing tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. Beloved’s presence consumes Sethe’s life to the point where she becomes depleted and sacrifices her own need for eating, while Beloved grows bigger and bigger.

In the novel’s climax, youngest daughter Denver reaches out and searches for help from the black community, and some of the village women arrive at the house to exorcise Beloved. At the same time, a white man comes into view, the same man that helped Halle’s mother, Baby Suggs, by offering her the house as a place to stay after Halle bought her from their owner. He has come for Denver, who asked him for a job, but Denver has not shared this information with Sethe. Unaware of the situation, Sethe attacks the white man with an ice pick and is brought down by the village women. While Sethe is confused and has a “re-memory” of her master coming again, Beloved disappears. The novel resolves with Denver becoming a working member of the community and Paul D returning to Sethe and pledging his love.

Major themes
Mother-daughter relationships

The maternal bonds between Sethe and her children inhibit her own individuation and prevent the development of her self. Sethe develops a dangerous maternal passion that results in the murder of one daughter, her own “best self,” and the estrangement of the surviving daughter from the black community, both in an attempt to salvage her “fantasy of the future,” her children, from a life in slavery. However, Sethe fails to recognize her daughter Denver’s need for interaction with this community in order to enter into womanhood. Denver finally succeeds at the end of the novel in establishing her own self and embarking on her individuation with the help of Beloved. Contrary to Denver, Sethe only becomes individuated after Beloved’s exorcism, at which point Sethe can fully accept the first relationship that is completely “for her,” her relationship with Paul D. This relationship relieves Sethe from the ensuing destruction of herself that resulted from the maternal bonds controlling her life.[6] Beloved and Sethe are both very much emotionally impaired as a result of Sethe’s previous enslavement. Slavery creates a situation where a mother is separated from her child, which has devastating consequences for both parties. Furthermore, the earliest need a child has is related to the mother: the baby needs milk from the mother. Sethe is traumatized by the experience of having her milk stolen because it means she cannot form the symbolic bond between herself and her daughter.

Psychological impact of slavery

Because of the experiences of slavery, most slaves repressed these memories in an attempt to forget the past. This repression and dissociation from the past causes a fragmentation of the self and a loss of true identity. Sethe, Paul D. and Denver all experience this loss of self, which could only be remedied by the acceptance of the past and the memory of their original identities. Beloved serves to remind these characters of their repressed memories, eventually causing the reintegration of their selves.[7]

Slavery splits a person into a fragmented figure.[8] The identity, consisting of painful memories and unspeakable past, denied and kept at bay, becomes a “self that is no self.” To heal and humanize, one must constitute it in a language, reorganize the painful events and retell the painful memories. As a result of suffering, the “self” becomes subject to a violent practice of making and unmaking, once acknowledged by an audience becomes real. Sethe, Paul D, and Baby Suggs who all fall short of such realization, are unable to remake their selves by trying to keep their pasts at bay. The ‘self’ is located in a word, defined by others. The power lies in the audience, or more precisely, in the word – once the word changes, so does the identity. All of the characters in Beloved face the challenge of an unmade self, composed of their “rememories” and defined by perceptions and language. The barrier that keeps them from remaking of the self is the desire for an “uncomplicated past” and the fear that remembering will lead them to “a place they couldn’t get back from.”


Beloved received the Frederic G. Melcher Book Award, which is named for an editor of Publishers Weekly. In accepting the award on October 12, 1988, Morrison observed that “there is no suitable memorial or plaque or wreath or wall or park or skyscraper lobby” honoring the memory of the human beings forced into slavery and brought to the United States. “There’s no small bench by the road,” she continued. “And because such a place doesn’t exist (that I know of), the book had to.” Inspired by her remarks, the Toni Morrison Society has now begun to install benches at significant sites in the history of slavery in America. The New York Times reported July 28, 2008, that the first “bench by the road” was dedicated July 26 on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, which served as the place of entry for approximately 40 percent of the enslaved Africans brought to the United States.

It received the seventh annual Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Book Award in 1988, given to a novelist who “most faithfully and forcefully reflects Robert Kennedy’s purposes – his concern for the poor and the powerless, his struggle for honest and even-handed justice, his conviction that a decent society must assure all young people a fair chance, and his faith that a free democracy can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity.”

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49 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Toni Morrison Week

  1. It’s cold here. So I made Stew and cornbread. :)

  2. rikyrah says:

    why hasn’t the Mayor fired this woman?


    Philly school leader caught on video berating students

    School Reform Commission member Sylvia
    Simms has denied berating student protesters last month but a video that
    surfaced Wednesday shows her doing just that: Saying they’re “probably
    in failing schools.”

    The incident happened during a screening of the film Won’t Back Down that was interrupted by about 20 members of the organizing group Philadelphia Student Union.

    On Wednesday, the group released a video that shows an agitated Simms
    getting close to the students, who had sat down to disrupt the

    On the video, Simms can be heard saying the protesters are “probably in failing schools.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    Law in the Raw

    NOV. 12, 2014

    Nearly a week has gone by since the Supreme Court’s unexpected decision to enlist in the latest effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act, and the shock remains unabated. “This is Bush v. Gore all over again,” one friend said as we struggled to absorb the news last Friday afternoon. “No,” I replied. “It’s worse.”

    What I meant was this: In the inconclusive aftermath of the 2000 presidential election, a growing sense of urgency, even crisis, gave rise to a plausible argument that someone had better do something soon to find out who would be the next president. True, a federal statute on the books defined the “someone” as Congress, but the Bush forces got to the Supreme Court first with a case that fell within the court’s jurisdiction. The 5-to-4 decision to stop the Florida recount had the effect of calling the election for the governor of Texas, George W. Bush. I disagreed with the decision and considered the contorted way the majority deployed the Constitution’s equal-protection guarantee to be ludicrous. But in the years since, I’ve often felt like the last progressive willing to defend the court for getting involved when it did.

    That’s not the case here. There was no urgency. There was no crisis of governance, not even a potential one. There is, rather, a politically manufactured argument over how to interpret several sections of the Affordable Care Act that admittedly fit awkwardly together in defining how the tax credits are supposed to work for people who buy their health insurance on the exchanges set up under the law.

    Further, the case the court agreed to decide, King v. Burwell, doesn’t fit the normal criterion for Supreme Court review. There is no conflict among the federal appellate circuits. (Remember that just a month ago, the absence of a circuit conflict led the justices to decline to hear seven same-sex marriage cases?) In the King case, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., unanimously upheld the government’s position that the tax subsidy is available to those who buy insurance on the federally run exchanges that are now in operation in 36 states.

    A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-to-1 the other way, accepting the plaintiffs’ argument that the language of the statute limits the tax subsidies to those who buy insurance through the state exchanges, which only 14 states have chosen to set up. The full appeals court quickly vacated the panel’s judgment and agreed to rehear the case. The new argument was set for next month, and the briefs were already filed. The absence of a circuit conflict and an imminent rehearing by the country’s most important court of appeals would, in the past, have led the Supreme Court to refrain from getting involved.

    So no, this isn’t Bush v. Gore. This is a naked power grab by conservative justices who two years ago just missed killing the Affordable Care Act in its cradle, before it fully took effect. When the court agreed to hear the first case, there actually was a conflict in the circuits on the constitutionality of the individual insurance mandate. So the Supreme Court’s grant of review was not only unexceptional but necessary: a neutral act. The popular belief then that the court’s intervention indicated hostility to the law was, at the least, premature.
    Continue reading the main story

    Not so this time. There is simply no way to describe what the court did last Friday as a neutral act. Now that the justices have blown their own cover, I notice the hint of a slightly defensive tone creeping into the commentary of some of those who have been cheering the prospect of rendering the Affordable Care Act unworkable: that as a statutory case, without major constitutional implications, any problems for ordinary Americans that result from a ruling against the government can be fixed by Congress (where House Republicans have voted 50 times to repeal the entire law) or by the states themselves (36 of which failed to set up their own exchanges, thus requiring the federal government to step in as provided by the law).


  4. Liza says:

    I read “Beloved” a long time ago. But I remember that I could only read a few pages at a time and then I had to rest. I wondered how Toni Morrison could do that, make me feel I was there while this was happening. Shortly afterwards I saw her being interviewed and she said that in “Beloved” she wanted people to know what it felt like to be a slave. That lady is one hell of a storyteller, just an amazing talent.

    • I watched “Beloved”. Lord Have Mercy. I just sat quietly after watching. I couldn’t speak about it. I had to absorb it, like I did after watching Patsey get whipped on 12 years A Slave and then watching Solomon leave Patsey behind. Poor Patsey suffered unspeakable atrocities.

      • Liza says:

        There is really no way to comprehend or explain why people are capable of doing these things. Humans will never conquer their own brutality.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Jeremy W. Peters @jwpetersNYT
    Part of doing things differently, Reid explained, will be two new women in Democratic leadership: Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar
    12:01 PM – 13 Nov 2014

  6. rikyrah says:

    Catherine Rampell: Voter suppression laws are already deciding elections

    By Catherine Rampell Opinion writer
    November 10 

    Voter suppression efforts may have changed the outcomes of some of the closest races last week. And if the Supreme Court lets these laws stand, they will continue to distort election results going forward.

    The days of Jim Crow are officially over, but poll-tax equivalents are newly thriving, through restrictive voter registration and ID requirements, shorter poll hours and various other restrictions and red tape that cost Americans time and money if they wish to cast a ballot. As one study by a Harvard Law School researcher found, the price for obtaining a legally recognized voter identification card can range from $75 to $175, when you include the costs associated with documentation, travel and waiting time. (For context, the actual poll tax that the Supreme Court struck down in 1966 was just $1.50, or about $11 in today’s dollars.)

    Whatever the motivation behind such new laws — whether to cynically disenfranchise political enemies or to nobly slay the (largely imagined) scourge of voter fraud — their costs to voters are far from negligible.

    It’s still early to definitively quantify the effects that these laws had on national turnout or on the outcomes of individual races. Initial estimates suggesting that turnout rates sank to their lowest level since 1942 look pretty damning, but so many factors can affect turnout (weather, ballot initiatives, the perceived closeness of races, etc.) that it’s hard to isolate the effects of a single change. More data and statistical analysis expected next year will help.

    In the meantime, some ­back-of-the-envelope calculations from Wendy Weiser — director of the Democracy Program at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice — should at least give us pause: Right now, it looks like the margin of victory in some of the most competitive races around the country was as big as the likely “margin of disenfranchisement,” as Weiser puts it. That is, more people were newly denied the right to vote than actually cast deciding ballots.

    • Liza says:

      Voter suppression is the problem from hell that must be dealt with and made to go away right now. The Democrats need to get off their a$$es and represent the people who actually believe in democracy.

  7. rikyrah says:

    This is where I mean elections have consequences, and that, yes, it’s time for all those 2016 Republican Senators to take a vote on the Ryan Budget. Get that vote ON THE RECORD.

    Harry Reid saved us from a lot of crazy.

    Morning Plum: The Paul Ryan blueprint is back!

    By Greg Sargent November 13 at 9:13 AM 

    For House Republicans, their guiding fiscal and economic lodestar remains — and will forever remain — the hallowed Paul Ryan budget. In its various iterations, it would repeal Obamacare, radically restructure Medicare to the detriment of beneficiaries, block-grant Medicaid, and aim most of its draconian budget cuts at programs benefiting people with lower incomes. Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has said earlier versions would result in “the largest redistribution of income from bottom to top in modern U.S. history.”

    So it’s not surprising that House Republicans appear to be reading their big victory in the 2014 elections as a mandate to bring it back once again. The New York Times reports this morning that they plan to try to pass something akin to Ryan Budget 4.0, and leave it to the new GOP Senate majority to deal with it:

    Next year, House Republicans will try again to transform Medicare and Medicaid repeal the Affordable Care Act, shrink domestic spending and substantially cut the highest tax rates through the budget process. Then they will leave it to the new Senate Republican majority to decide how far to press the party’s small-government vision, senior House aides said this week.

    House Republican officials said the first budget blueprint of the 114th Congress will not stray far from the plans drafted by Representative Paul D. Ryan…Congressional Republicans intend to present a plan to overhaul Medicare, calling for voucherlike “premium supports” to steer people 65 and over into buying commercial health insurance, and to transform Medicaid, which would be cut and turned into block grants to state governments.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Obama Said to Plan Moves to Shield 5 Million Immigrants
    NOV. 13, 2014

    WASHINGTON — President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.

    Asserting his authority as president to enforce the nation’s laws with discretion, Mr. Obama intends to order changes that will significantly refocus the activities of the government’s 12,000 immigration agents. One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Matt Murphy @MattMurph24
    Elizabeth Warren Gets Senate Democratic Leadership Spot via @HuffPostPol
    10:06 AM – 13 Nov 2014

  10. rikyrah says:

    Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 05:18 PM PST.

    Chris Matthews got the memo.

    by Cpqemp

    There’s a reason I like Matthews. Great show today. Hardball’s main thesis tonight was the climate denying GOP. David Corn was strong combating the GOP mouthpiece on the program.

    David Corn, next time let the anti-science loon dig a nice deep hole then ask it, “where did you go to college?” Pause. If he answers, “Jesus Bible Sham U” that will be enough. Even better, it says, “Ohio State,” or “Temple,” or any legitimate university. Check Mate.

    You say, “what’s is their view on climate change?” Have the university phone number at the ready. Offer to call them. Watch the craw-fishing commence.

    To all: there is a wedge waiting to be exploited. Science. Drive a wedge between the rotten GOP mouthpieces and pols and their own universities for fucks sake.

    Drive a wedge between the gop talking points, Answer, “I’m not a scientist,” with “you’re not a economist or a gynecologist, either, yet you comment on those issues every day.” Nail them again and again.

    Talking points: Get some. At every opportunity repeat over and over, “the “ANTI-SCIENCE” Republicans deny climate change, they deny evolution, they deny math (unemployment numbers for example), they deny polls where American are for minimum wage, yada yada fucking yada!

    Rinse and repeat, over and over, no matter the topic. Force CNN and anyone else with a brain to disprove our claim, They can not!

    The GOP talking head was on his heels. When Matthews asked why Jim Inhofe used Genesis to address climate change, the idiot mumbled “I’m not playing that game…” after calling President Obama “arrogant” three times as he kept trying to change the subject.

    Make the GOP play defense FOR A CHANGE. If we don’t defeat these loons, we will regret it. Plus, reason and science will be on our side. Win win.

  11. rikyrah says:

    can I say it?


    Bish, Please

    From TOD:

    November 13, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Claire McCaskill isn’t supporting Harry Reid for Senate minority leader because he is a main cause of the gridlock of the past 6 years.

  12. rikyrah says:

    this was an awesome comment from POU:


    I was just at TPM: They seem obsessed with the Supreme Court maybe gutting the ACA. They have a post saying that it looks like a map of secession; only the south is going to find premiums increasing 500% and many small insurance companies could fold under the pressure of the Court halting subsidies in state exchanges.

    I’m sanguine.


    Fuck them all. If this court wants to try to destroy the social safety net; let them. I laughed reading Josh Marshall quote some court watcher (who I’m sure is incredible at her job) saying she is struggling not to believe that the Supreme Court justices are simply politicians in robes. He says how he has always resisted people pointing out the political affiliation of a judge; and always tried to focus on the legal issue and merits because none of that partisan stuff apparently matters in court.


    They have not been colored in America. I have two words for you: Dredd Scott. Black people have known that the Supreme Court isn’t some infallible group of prophets from on high; they’re men and women who have their own moral compass (twisted as they may be) and rule accordingly. The founders knew that; which is why the legislative branch is an ultimate check and if the majority of citizens get together they can amend the Constitution explicitly.

    But all that takes time, sometimes wars to fight internally, and was made difficult because the Founders were the corporatist of their day. They wanted to keep the power in their hands; they just didn’t completely trust each other so they divided it amongst themselves best as they could. Hence, the rise of Madison’s despised “factions.”

    I know I’m going to be okay. I know that I’ll do for those in my family that won’t the best I can; and everyone else will likely do the same.Meanwhile, the unintended consequences of ruling against the administration on the ACA could be profound. I think Justice Roberts gets that; which is why I’m confident it won’t happen.

    But if it does: FUCK THEM. I wanna see Mitch McConnell go home to all those Kynect folks who realize they have been getting Obamacare. And they just elected the motherfuckers that took away their doctors and medications.

    It’s not just black folks that will get screwed. Sooner white folks realize; the sooner this country can move forward.

    • rikyrah says:

      It is sad that it’s come to this, but I’m definitely with you.
      Phuck ’em.
      I have no more phucks to give.
      no more empathy in the least.
      You keep on voting for the SOBs that want to take away everything from you, and then, when told the truth, just live in denial.
      I feel for my Brothas and Sistas stuck in there..
      but sometimes……
      Just like, whatever the phuck happens in Kansas is on Kansas.
      You wanna live in Kochland, and voted for it
      Phuck you

  13. rikyrah says:

    Apparently, Some Are Still Surprised When a Black Film Sells Overseas… Why?

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    November 10, 2014 at 4:42PM

    Several of you sent me (and continue to send me) this article on The Hollywood Reporter’s website, titled “AFM: ‘Dear White People’ Breaks Urban Curse to Sell Globally.” Based on that title alone (“Urban Curse” though? Really?), you can probably guess what the article’s focus is. In short, the piece applauds the sale of Justin Simien’s feature debut, “Dear White People,” to multiple territories beyond the USA, including countries in Europe, South America and parts of Asia, suggesting that, the fact that it’s drawing interest from other parts of the world, dispels the claim that films about the experiences of black people in this country specifically, are “global box office poison,” as the piece states.

    I did read the article over the weekend (it was published on Sunday morning), but didn’t necessarily think it warranted any special attention, if only because, if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’ll know very well that we’ve long challenged the industry myth that black films don’t sell well internationally. We’ve even highlighted numerous examples of that, so, the fact that a film with the pedigree of “Dear White People” is indeed selling overseas, really shouldn’t be a surprise! We should expect this, in 2014, so much that when it does happen, articles like the one published on The Hollywood Reporter’s website yesterday, wouldn’t even be written. It’ll just be another expected occurrence.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Review: Gina Prince-Bythewood’s ‘Beyond The Lights’ is a Fun, Fierce, Showbiz Love Story (Opens Fri)

    By Nijla Mumin | Shadow and Act
    November 12, 2014 at 2:01PM

    Who didn’t want to be a singer when they grew up? I know I did. My friends and I would perform imaginary concerts to SWV and TLC records, using TV remotes as microphones. In a strange way, I still view music and singing as my original passion, and often wonder what my life would’ve been like if I’d pursued that passion.

    In “Beyond The Lights,” Director Gina Prince-Bythewood weaves a story of music and romance, examining how a young girl’s (Noni Jean) youthful aspirations to become a singer are later shaped by the image-obsessed pop culture landscape her music exists in. Struggling with her newfound success, she attempts suicide, but is saved by a police officer, Kaz (Nate Parker), who sees something deeper in her.

    This description runs the risk of not being compelling, but it is. That is the gift of Gina Prince Bythewood- her ability to infuse a level of meaning into subjects that are often plagued with clichés. In “Love and Basketball,” she transported us to a high school prom as fellow basketball player-BFF’s Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) intensely stared at each other while dancing with their respective dates, only to make love with one another that night to the classic Maxwell remake, “This Woman’s Work.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    AFI Fest Review: ‘Selma’ Is a Definitive Portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a Movement

    By Nijla Mumin | Shadow and Act
    November 12, 2014 at 3:07PM

    In any historical record, there’s an official narrative and a human narrative. The human narrative in Ava DuVernay’s epic film “Selma,” shows us four little girls dressed in their Sunday best, talking about hairstyles when their bodies are blown away in an explosion of fire and hate. This scene establishes the severity of white supremacist violence in America at this time, just a year before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would win the Nobel Peace Prize. The official narrative, available in many schools and media, gives us a sanitized chronology of events that are replayed every black history month. The official narrative gives us a holiday to celebrate a speech. This film gives a thorough treatment centered on a man and a movement.

    “Selma” is the definitive human portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. and a group of activists fighting for unrestricted voting rights for black people, which culminated in the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson and a successful march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. But it took lives, pain, and community to get there. This film is about those moments in between the back-room deals where the fates of lives were brokered. It documents the human struggles, doubts, tactful strategies, and persistence that rendered change.

    At a preview screening of “Selma” at the Urbanworld Film Festival, I heard David Oyelowo speak, tearfully, of being called by a higher power to play Martin Luther King Jr. After seeing this film, I understand. I understand and feel the physical and internal investment that he made to transform into this man, which involved more than a change in accent and mannerisms. In one of the best scenes, he calls Mahalia Jackson (played by singer Ledisi), and is soothed by her singing a gospel song to him over the phone. He was a person who needed this to go on.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Interview: Gina Prince-Bythewood on Empowering Girls & Women in Charge w/’Beyond The Lights’ (Opens Fri)

    By Jai Tiggett | Shadow and ActNovember 12, 2014 at 4:33PM

    In her first feature film since 2008’s “The Secret Life of Bees,” acclaimed writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood tells the story of troubled pop star Noni Jean (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and her relationship with Kaz (Nate Parker), the police officer who saves her life.
    In her recent press tour for the film, we spoke about the movie and the long road to getting it made, as well as the philosophy that’s driven her career.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Nick Cannon Will Bring Style & Panache to Reboot of ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and ActNovember 12, 2014 at 10:04PM

    The constantly-busy Nick Cannon, who already hosts at least 2 other TV shows, has signed up to host yet another one – a reboot of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” for NBC.

    A year ago, when news of a revival of the show was announced, it was set up at the Style network; it’s now heading to NBC, with Cannon taking over a position that was previously-filled by Robin Leach in the 1980s and 1990s.

    The new-look “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” will take viewers into the homes of new-money players – the dot-commers, hip-hop famers, and more.

    In addition to hosting the revived “Wild N’ Out” at MTV2, Cannon has also hosted “America’s Got Talent,” Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards, the Halo Awards and more.

    He also inked a first-look production deal with NBC, to develop scripted and unscripted programming for the network, and recently revived the 2002 drama “Drumline” with a sequel that aired on VH1 2 weeks ago.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Tasha Smith reportedly ordered to stay 2 yards away from husband for his protection

    by theGrio | November 7, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    Actress Tasha Smith and her husband Keith Douglas live in the same house, but they can’t get too close, according to a new court order.

    Tasha must reportedly stay two yards away from Douglas when they’re home together and 100 yards away when they’re not.

    Douglas claims the Why Did I Get Married star has threatened him on multiple occasions, sometimes even in front of the children. The TMZ report claims Douglas once feared falling asleep because of what Smith “might do.”

  19. rikyrah says:

    Oprah Winfrey shines in new emotional trailer for ‘Selma’

    by Chris Witherspoon | November 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    The wait is over. The official trailer for Selma has finally arrived.

    Selma is the story of a movement that changed the course of American history.

    The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.

    The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement

  20. rikyrah says:

    Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 7 premiere breaks Bravo record

    by theGrio | November 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    The seventh season premiere of the popular reality series The Real Housewives of Atlanta garnered record-breaking ratings for Bravo.

    Sunday’s Housewives premiere was the most watched premiere ever to air on the cable channel, with 3.8 million viewers tuning in.

    The episode also garnered 2.2 million viewers in the crucial 18–49 demographic, which represented a 24 percent increase from last year’s premiere episode. Bravo won the 8 PM time slot amongst cable networks with Real Housewives’ huge showing.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Wisconsin’s Walker eyes welfare drug tests
    11/12/14 11:40 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Just a couple of months ago, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was eager to move past his troubled first term by unveiling a new policy agenda. Near the top of the list: drug testing for welfare beneficiaries.

    As local reports noted at the time, the Republican’s plan would require “drug testing at an undisclosed cost for able-bodied adults receiving unemployment insurance payments or benefits under FoodShare, the successor to the food stamps program.”

    Hunter Schwarz reported yesterday that this wasn’t just campaign-season rhetoric: Walker is actually moving forward on this.
    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has said he wants recipients of food stamps and unemployment benefits to undergo drug tests, a move that could face possible legal trouble. […]

    Walker, who won reelection last week against Democratic challenger Mary Burke, has not offered details for such a plan, but spokeswoman Laurel Patrick told the Pioneer Press that Walker would work with his cabinet to “craft a specific proposal” in the next several weeks.
    If it seems like stories like these keep popping up, it’s not your imagination: conservative policymakers keep targeting welfare recipients with drug tests, and the policies keep failing rather spectacularly.

    Indeed, the policy seems to be following an odd trajectory: it’s tried in one state, where it flops, which in turn leads another state to try it, where it fails again, and so on.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Kim Kardashian doesn’t realize she’s the butt of an old racial joke


    by Blue Telusma | November 12, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    ast night, social media was flooded with images of Paper Magazine’s Winter 2014 cover featuring Kim Kardashian’s glistening posterior. The response was both explosive and polarizing. Some rolled their eyes and complained “I’m so tired of seeing her naked. She’s a mother! Put some clothes on” while others applauded her boldness and sex appeal.

    Regardless of how you felt about the spread or the Kardashians in general, one thing was very clear: Paper Magazine set out to break the internet, a fact they proudly declared from the jump. And they may have very well succeeded, but at what cost?

  23. rikyrah says:

    Conservatives confused by ‘Fortunate Son’
    11/12/14 03:21 PM—UPDATED 11/12/14 03:21 PM
    By Steve Benen
    Though pop culture isn’t my usual fare, this complaint in the Weekly Standard about last night’s “Concert for Valor” calls for a response.
    Who would have thought that that Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, and Zac Brown, accomplished musicians all, would be so, well, tone-deaf? But how else to explain their choice of song – Creedence Clearwater’s famously anti-war anthem “Fortunate Son” – at the ostensibly pro-military “Concert for Valor” this evening on the National Mall?

    The song, not to put too fine a point on it, is an anti-war screed, taking shots at “the red white and blue.” It was a particularly terrible choice given that Fortunate Son is, moreover, an anti-draft song, and this concert was largely organized to honor those who volunteered to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    The piece concludes that the Veterans Day event in front of the Capitol “was not the place” for the song.

    The Washington Post reported that plenty of other conservatives were also bothered by the performance.

    Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what “Fortunate Son” is all about.

    While most art is open to interpretation, “Fortunate Son” is not “an anti-war screed.” Rather, it’s a criticism of elites who believe in wars without cost:

    • TyrenM says:

      Hit dogs. IMO, Veterans Day at the Capitol is the perfect place to perform it. Especially as Congress dodges a vote on fighting ISIL.

  24. rikyrah says:

    GOP’s anti-Obamacare push gains new momentum in wake of Gruber video

    By Robert Costa and Jose A. DelReal November 12 at 8:47 PM
    The Republican Party’s ardent campaign against President Obama’s health-care law gained new momentum Wednesday as lawmakers reacted angrily to assertions by an architect of the policy that it was crafted in a deliberately deceptive way in order to pass Congress.

    On both sides of the Capitol, leading conservatives said they may call economist Jonathan Gruber to testify about his remarks, which were made last year and surfaced this week in a video on social media. In the video, Gruber suggests that the administration’s signature health-care legislation passed in part because of the “stupidity of the American voter” and a “lack of transparency” over its funding mechanisms.

    “The strategy was to hide the truth from the American people,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who is slated to chair the Senate Budget Committee next year. “That is a threat to the American republic.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Conservatives Threaten Immigration Showdown
    WASHINGTON — Nov 12, 2014, 4:18 PM ET
    By ANDREW TAYLOR and ERICA WERNER Associated Press

    Some conservative Republicans want to drag must-pass spending bills into their fight with President Barack Obama over his planned executive action on immigration, inviting comparisons to last year’s shutdown showdown over the health care law.

    In the Senate, Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Mike Lee of Utah are among those arguing to use an upcoming must-pass spending bill — either in December or next year — to try to block Obama from taking unilateral action to protect millions of immigrants here illegally from deportation

    “Congress appropriates the money,” Sessions told reporters Wednesday. “That’s a clear constitutional power. If Congress disapproves of the president providing ID cards for people who’ve been in the country illegally, then it should not appropriate money to fund it.”

    GOP leaders appear cool to the effort since it could lead to a confrontation with Obama that, if taken too far, could spark another government shutdown. They have given the Appropriations Committee the green light to negotiate a catch-all omnibus spending bill for the budget year that began last month. Any deal with Democrats still in control of the Senate would not include language to block Obama on immigration.

    A temporary spending measure expires Dec. 11 and a partial government shutdown would occur if Congress doesn’t act by then. Sessions said he’d rather have Congress pass another short-term spending bill so that the new Republican Senate could be in place to tackle the issue.

    Rep. Matt Salmon said he had more than 50 GOP lawmakers’ signatures on a letter to Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., urging that any spending bill include language saying nothing in it could be used to implement an executive immigration policy.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Nevada eyes voter-ID bill following Republican takeover
    11/13/14 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    The Republican takeover of Congress is probably the most notable development of the 2014 elections, but it’s GOP gains in state capitols that will have just as significant an impact on the country. In Nevada, for example, Republicans will now control the entirety of state government.

    I joked the other day that voters in GOP-dominated states can expect to see new voting restrictions soon. Zach Roth reported yesterday that this wasn’t really a joke after all.
    GOP state lawmakers in Nevada are readying ID bills for early next year, Secretary of State-Elect Barbara Cegavske told msnbc in an interview. Cegavske said she knew of two separate bills that might end up being merged together. […]

    Last week, Republicans took full control of state government for the first time since 1929, meaning a voter ID bill would likely have a strong chance of passing. Governor Brian Sandoval has said in the past he supports voter ID.
    State Republicans will have to hurry – Nevada will be a key 2016 battleground, both at the presidential level and with Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) re-election bid looming. If GOP policymakers are going to impose new restrictions, they’ll no doubt want to have those voting barriers in place before the next Election Day.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  28. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! It’s colder than a witch in a brass bra.

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