The New Racial Segregation at Public Schools

The New Racial Segregation at Public Schools

In 1990 over 40 percent of black students in the South attended majority-white schools. Now less than 30 percent of students do — 1960s numbers.

February 4, 2010  |  
Overview: America’s schools are more segregated now than they were in the late 1960s. More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education, we need to radically rethink the meaning of “school choice.”

So much depends on a yellow bus, winding its way across the North Carolina landscape.

For decades, this was how Wake County integrated its schools. Buses would pick up public school students in largely minority communities along the Raleigh Beltline; in affluent Cary, a Raleigh suburb; in dozens of small towns and unincorporated communities around this fast growing state capital.

Most of the students would travel to schools not far from home. But every year, a few would cross the county to a new school, in a neighborhood very different from their own.

The system won Wake County praise from many integration advocates — but locally, people were less enchanted. In late 2008, a wave of anti-busing sentiment swept in new school board members who promised to support neighborhood schools and keep kids closer to home.

Cathy Truitt worries about what will happen next.

“If we end busing abruptly, we’ll be taking a rapid step back to resegregation,” said Truitt, a retired teacher who was defeated in her bid for a school board seat.

While Truitt worries about the effects of an end to busing, she says voters were exasperated with a system that seemed to randomly reassign their children to schools far from home.

“A child could be reassigned for three out of four years, while another family would go untouched, “ Truitt said. “While people embraced diversity, they were absolutely tired of losing their choices.”

The New Segregation
Stories like that are bound to get a reaction from Amy Stuart Wells.

A professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, Wells has spent much of her career studying the resegregation of American schools — writing the history of the steady march back to separateness that has left our educational system more racially segregated now than it was in 1968.

“We don’t have to accept this juxtaposition that puts school choice on one side and a civil rights approach to integration on the other,” Wells said. “Our approaches to school choice over the past 20 years have been pretty unimaginative — and children are paying for our lack of imagination.”

For Wells and other experts on school integration, the Wake County school board election is just another phase in a long-term, city-by-city struggle over how to integrate our schools. It’s a struggle that the entire country has been losing for the better part of two decades.

Today, one-third of black students attend school in places where the black population is more than 90 percent. A little less than half of white students attend schools that are more than 90 percent white. One-third of all black and Latino students attend high-poverty schools (where more than 75 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch); only 4 percent of white children do.

Things have been better, and not so long ago. In 1990 more than 40 percent of black students in the South were attending majority-white schools. Today, fewer than 30 percent of students do — roughly the same percentage as in the late 1960s, when many districts were still refusing to implement 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education.

That trend isn’t limited just to the South, according to Gary Orfield, director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. According to Orfield, some of the deepest racial divisions in America today are in the Midwest, where old patterns of “white flight” have shaped the suburban landscape, and a new generation of immigrants is settling into communities that were never under orders to desegregate.

Most of the decades-old obstacles to integration still remain. Wake County’s debate over active integration measures is a rarity these days: Most busing programs were killed by white backlash in the 1970s. Our schools are still governed by a hodgepodge of districts, some giant and some tiny, many of which were created as enclaves of white privilege. And Americans still are choosing — or being steered toward — home ownership in communities where everyone looks like them.

And there are new challenges. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively gutted Brown by declaring that school districts can’t consider racial diversity as a factor in school assignments. (Where busing still exists, it’s done on the basis of family income.) And as the suburbs have spread, we’ve seen residential segregation on steroids. “The old paradigm of black cities and white suburbs is no longer true,” said Orfield. “Black and Latino communities are expanding into the suburbs — but they’re concentrated in specific areas. We’re seeing a suburbia that is divided by ethnicity.”

Separate is Still Unequal
Depending on where you stand, the drift back to segregation may be obvious, or it may be entirely invisible. “Many white students attend schools that are overwhelmingly white, and those schools are actually seeing an increase in diversity,” Orfield said. “We have the irony that white students can feel that their educational experience is more integrated, when in fact the level of segregation nationwide has increased.”

In the mid-1960s, 80 percent of American students were white. Today, due to immigration and other factors, children of color make up almost 40 percent of the student body. While the student body as a whole has grown more much more diverse, many majority-white schools have seen only a slight bump in their minority enrollment.

Meanwhile, growing numbers of black, Latino and Asian American students are finding themselves in what Orfield calls “intensely segregated” schools — schools where students of color make up more than 90 percent of the student body. Typically these schools have high concentrations of students in poverty — what Orfield calls “double segregation.” And increasingly there is “triple segregation” as English language learners in poverty find themselves concentrated in certain schools.

“These schools are just fundamentally different from other schools,” said Erica Frankenberg, a scholar on the Civil Rights Project. “In terms of AP classes available, number of veteran teachers, graduation rates — on almost every measure you see an indication of a school in severe stress.”

Students in these intensely segregated environments are far less likely to graduate, or to go on to college. It’s a problem that is well known to many people of color. Frankenberg says its time for the entire country to realize that this is a crisis for each of us.

“If we don’t start educating black and Latino students better than we are doing now, we are going to see an intergenerational decline in the percentage of high school graduates in the adult population for the first time ever,” she noted.

There’s strong evidence that integration could help us eliminate the “achievement gap.” Frankenberg and Orfield both note that the gap was lowest during the late 1980s and early 1990s — the period in history when our schools were at their most integrated.

“We have never been able to implement Plessy v. Ferguson,” Frankenberg said. “Separate schools have never been equal. Yet we keep trying to make a segregated system work.”

A Hidden History of Choice
How do we reverse a 40-year trend, one that is embedded in our residential landscape? And how do we integrate schools when the Supreme Court has ruled that race and diversity can’t be a factors in school assignments?

The solution might be as simple as changing the way we think — particularly the way we think about school choice.

“We need to rethink what choice means, and we need to realize that it isn’t inimical to the ‘civil rights’ approach to integration,” Wells said.

Experts such as Wells and Orfield point out that many fundamentals of school segregation haven’t changed all that much since 1990. There was residential segregation then, and many racially homogenous districts date back to the 1970s.

What did change was a paradigm shift. Court rulings weakened local integration plans, and Americans increasingly began looking for solutions that appealed to their free-market instincts. Charter schools and vouchers began to look like the best way to liberate students from intensely segregated schools — and the best way to create innovative, effective schools.

By and large, it hasn’t worked, Orfield contends.

“Charter schools are the most segregated segment of the school system,” he said. “They often appear in highly segregated areas, and they tend to increase segregation.”

Again, so much depends on a yellow bus. By not providing transportation and other services commonly found in traditional public schools, charters were limiting their student body to kids who lived nearby — and to parents who had the right social networks.

“With charters, recruitment is largely word-of-mouth, and, as a result, these schools aren’t as accessible as they could be,” Wells said.

Orfield notes that charters aren’t bound by civil rights mandates, the way magnet schools are. But even magnet schools — with their implied mission of providing alternatives — don’t have enough capacity to provide parents with a true choice. With waiting lists at every magnet, it’s the schools that are doing the selecting.

“The laissez-faire, market-based approaches of the past 20 years have done a really good job of providing schools with a choice of students,” Wells said. “But they haven’t done a good job of providing students with a choice of schools.”

It didn’t have to be that way, Wells said.

“The problem is that there’s a whole history of school choice that has been hidden and forgotten,” she said. Wells recently co-authored a major study on school systems that still have voluntary busing. Eight major cities — including Indianapolis, St. Louis, Palo Alto and others — still have voluntary busing systems that allow students from intensely segregated schools to choose to attend other schools — even across district lines.

“These programs aren’t thriving — in fact, they’re struggling, politically, to survive — but they’re hanging on in large part because of support from parents,” Wells said.

That includes parents in white, affluent suburbs who want students from other districts to be brought into their schools.

“A lot of white parents in the suburbs bemoan the fact that they’re raising kids in an all-white, privileged context,” Wells said. “Even the kids realize they’re in this bubble.”

For Wells, the voluntary busing programs represent an approach to school choice that once was well known — one most parents have forgotten, or believe to be a failure. And that’s a shame, she said, because for students in these programs, the achievement gap has shrunk.

“Not only do these programs provide meaningful choices, they provide the intangibles — high expectations, higher academic aspirations, exposure to more ways of seeing the world,” she said.

Rethinking Districts
Wells is quick to point out that these are programs that bus students from one district to another. School district boundaries, she says, are “the new Jim Crow,” separating poverty from wealth and white from black and brown.

Frankenberg agrees. She notes that the most segregated states today are the ones with the greatest profusion of districts — a legacy of a post-Brown movement to establish white and affluent enclaves in the shadow of major cities.

Frankenberg, who grew up in Mobile, uses her home state as an example. Alabama has 67 counties and 167 school districts. Neighboring Florida also has 67 counties — and 69 districts (one for each county and two special districts for university laboratory schools.) According to Frankenberg, Alabama is the most segregated state in the South — the only Southern state that consistently shows up in the top 10 of most segregated states.

Consolidating districts in highly segregated areas might be a difficult political battle, but complete consolidation isn’t the only option.

“We need to rethink our attitude toward districts,” Wells says. “The boundaries can be more permeable than they are now.”

In an age of economic hardship, that approach may be more welcome than ever before. Well points to Long Island, New York, which has 125 individual school districts.

“People are starting to understand that this system is wasteful,” she said. “Districts are starting to talk about saving money by consolidating back-office operations. There’s even talk about consolidating certain employment functions, though I’m not sure the union will approve of that.

“If districts can share these services, why can’t we find ways to allow students to attend school across district lines?” she said. “Why can’t we create interdistrict magnet programs?”

A Paradigm Shift
Wells, Orfield and Frankenberg all say they’re hopeful things will change now that America has its first black president. So far, though, the signals from the Obama Administration have been mixed.

Wells says she hopes a new generation of research on the benefits of a diverse education will help “put integration and civil rights back on the public radar.” She cites the work of Scott E. Page, a mathematician who has used computer models to show that diverse groups of thinkers come up with better solutions than homogenous groups.

But the testimony of teachers and parents is just as important. If debates like the one in Wake County reach an unhappy ending, it may be because we’re losing sight of the perspectives that only educators can provide.

“We need to be politically active in seeking a change,” she said. “And teachers need to be prepared share what they know — to explain why diversity is important.”

Tim Lockette is a freelance writer in Montgomery, AL, and former editor of Teaching Tolerance.

Wyclef’s Foundation Comes Underfire-He Responds & Puts Critics on Notice

Wyclef‘s press conference where he again addresses the issues at hand..Below is an excerpt of the press conference.. You can and should see full conference which includes Q&A.. at


I’m glad Wyclef spoke to this, because it was pretty disheartening to see people jump on the hate bandwagon when we let so much slide. Tax write-offs and filing are not the last or even the first word in corruption.. You want corruption.. ask your bank about the bailout money and the late fees they charge? Ask about Haliburton and Blackwater contracts paid for with your tax dollars? Ask about the way things DIDN’T run after Katrina.. Hell let’s be real ask why is George Bush and Bill Clinton on the case when you look at their shabby track records with Haiti..

-Davey D-

Below is a blog that someone wrote in defense of Wyclef.. Its pretty thorough

Word to Yele-I Write the Wrong

by LaKeisha

I will never claim to be an expert in economics, my credit report alone would betray me. Nor can I profess to have gained any insight to the inner-workings of volunteer/humanitarian agencies.

Having been fortunate, I count my blessings that I have never had to lean on any such entity. My family in one way, shape or form has always provided whatever assistance any of us needed, be it shelter, food, clothing or simply bus fare. So again I must admit my lack of intimacy with such institutions.

However, I am not aware of any one who looks like me who does not remember the ravaging flood effects of Katrina and the flood of money that poured into one of the most popular volunteer relief organizations, the American Red Cross. Just about every high-profile philanthropist, bad boy thug-turned legit rapper, religious leader to media outlets and major companies, combined millions of dollars were donated to the relief efforts promised by the American Red Cross.

Let me note here, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) an agency of the U.S. government, and yes even under the executive orders of our beloved Barack Obama, directs charitable donations to the American Red Cross. The American Red also receives various grants from FEMA including

Now on its own website FEMA acknowledges “The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Grant Programs Directorate (GPD) is fiscally responsible for approximately 17,000 open grants and is programmatically responsible for more than two-thirds of those grants.

The following preparedness grants are programmatically managed by the Grant Development & Administration Division of GPD.”

According to policies set forth in its directorates on the site, these grants can cover everything down to staffing expenses of a volunteer/relief organization. So, in my estimation, the American Red Cross can be qualified as a money-laundering service for our government. It pays itself to do the work. Well I know it isn’t that cut and dry, but where I come from in the hood that’s what it looks like. You are an agency charged with overseeing a particular task, you then identify a group to perform such task for you, utilizing your dollars, training, directive, etc. ultimately reporting to you any funds raised which you in turn manage and act as fiscal agent over.

So that is the base understanding I’ve come to in trying to figure out why in God’s name, as we sit helplessly here on American soil watching as the poorest neighboring country is completely devastated beyond human capacity, would various entities attempt to discredit a movement to bring relief to the people of Haiti.

Wyclef Jean, for those who have not been attuned to hip hop prior to Cash Money or Young Jeezy, is a grammy-winning, international hip- hop artist who single handedly put Haiti on the map. Through his artistry and advocacy, it brought to light history of Haiti for many who were just too young or simply never cared enough to realize Haiti’s rich history. It was the first country that freed itself from slavery and not only overthrew that heinous institution, but defeated the whole lot of French rule.

Wyclef in his music has always paid homage to his homeland, and shared the culture and pain of his countrymen unashamedly. He did this at a time when many Black Americans shunned any relationship to Haiti. At the height of his career as a member of the Fugees, (group first named ‘Refugee Camp’ for the conditions many Haitians find them selves when arriving on American soil) the group went back to Haiti and took several media outlets to document the plight there. Subsequently, that trip garnered Haiti prime shine in various magazine articles. During his solo career, Wyclef went back further still to his roots, releasing a full CD in creole titled, Welcome to Haiti Creole 101. And then in 2007, pledging a more substantive allegiance to his native land, Wyclef became a Haitian ambassador for the government.

Times photos: John Pendygraf
Wyclef Jean refused United Nations protection for a trip through Cite Soleil, Haiti’s most notorious, gang-infested slum, relying on his popularity to keep his group safe. “I am putting myself in the front line because I want that change to happen.” Jean said.

This to me, speaks volumes of his love and honor of his country. But greater than that it speaks of the mutual respect and pride the country has for him.

So why is it when a native son of Haiti yells out for relief from the devastation that has demolished his beloved land, why would there be questions of his intentions? What force would rally against his efforts and bring questionable allegations regarding his foundation

Smoking Gun posts IRS returns for the year 2009. Listing the foundation as being in operation for “12 years,” they say accounting has not been so transparent. Maybe it hasn’t. But check the records of many and you’d be hard-pressed to find squeaky clean accounting, even among the most financially prudent. But they continue to try and smear this guy by pointing out he “paid” himself for rent and performances.

Check it… just on some real plain and simple hood logic: if you open a business/not-for-profit, foundation, carity, church, etc. you have to keep the lights on. Most times, that money is coming out of your very own pocket. You do what you must to hold yourself afloat until things start rolling. In the grand scheme of things, if you have an accountant savvy enough, you’l wind up writing a large amount off. Isn’t that what every tax paying American seeks out like a leprechaun searching for a pot of gold, that tax-incentive? I’d like every politician to disclose personal or affiliated returns for the public. Of course I know they have to go through the motions of making them public, but when is the last time your elected official directed you to his/her returns and they were in plain view? Uh, huh.

For me, I just can’t see what the deal is. For one, yes he may have performed at a charity event, yes yes I know his foundation gave it. But who said the band played for free? Did the production company who handled stage, lighting, hotel, travel, catering, security, attorney fees, and on and on the list could go. Did those entities get tossed in for free. Come on. In America? I doubt it. He probably had to pay them folks and somewhere down the line he figured he’d get his scratch back.

Hell, you wanna steer me away from giving to something? Show me an organization that has ties to assisting in wars, paid by war monies. Show me an organization that since its inception has had ties to government. Show me an organization that has claimed to be a relief and rescue agency for all victims of disaster, that existed pre-post slavery but has no record of providing relief to the families of the thousands of blacks who were lynched. Surely they knew of this hideous “devastation” since Ida B. Wells was traveling the same circles of the UN and such with her message of anti-lynching. Surely those families needed “relief.”

Well, I don’t have to look any further to see it. It is the Red Cross and I for one, if not for any other proof than the shenanigans of the Katrina debacle, won’t be giving my money anytime soon to its efforts.

But that’s just little ole me who does not have much insight when it comes to these matters.

BTW, if you’d like to know how much money RC has made in the last two days, check out the article below. Now where are their tax returns? Hhow are they accounting for all the donations?

Yet, it took them longer to get on the ground than it took Yele.

I am signing off. And if you’re looking for me, I’ll be tweeting away, reminding you to text yele to 501501.

BTW, peep the video Wyclef did speaking about the work of his foundation long before the earthquake rocked Haiti.


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DEA Recruits Lil wayne to Use up all the Drugs in Mexico

Copenhagen in Texas: An Interview w/ Environmentalist Robin Schneider

Robin Schneider

This week the United Nations is holding it’s big conference in Copenhagen, Denmark called COP15. This is where the important issue of Climate change is being discussed. Thus far over 34 thousand delegates and press have descended to a convention that only seats 15 thousand. So many people are there that a lottery has been set up to allow people in. Many in attendance feel this is the last opportunity for the world to come together and reverse the lifestyle and business practices that spawn pollution and has led to severe Global Warming.

At the same time there is an alternative climate conference called Klimaforum2009. This bills itself as the forum devoid of the political mischief-making and political controversy that has plagued Cop15. Author Naomi Klein will be speaking at the opening of Klimaforum. President Obama will be touching down in Copenhagen next week toward the close of the conference.

While we focus on COP15 , we at Southern Shift wanted to bring attention to environmental and global issues closer to home. This week we will kick things off with a two-part interview with Robin Schneider who heads up Texas Campaign for the Environment. In pt1 she speaks to us about the challenge Texans face in recycling. What was suprising for us was to learn that many landfill companies have successfully lobbied the state and federal legislatures to allow them to fill their landfills with organic materials as oppose to composting and recycling it. These landfills giants claim that the organic material produces methane gas which is a renewable source of energy. Schneider vehemently disagrees. She points out that such claims are vastly exaggerated.

In pt2 of our interview, Schneider talks to us about the recent appointment of Dr Al Armendariz to Region 6 of the EPA which is located in Dallas. Armendariz who has a rich history in the environmental justice movement was the preferred choice over lobbyist John Hall who had pushed hard for that job. This was a big victory for environmentalist. Schneider explains what we need to do to make this an even better situation.

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The Power of Tejano Music-Home Grown and Full of Soul

Press Breakdown FM logo to hear Tejano Mix podcast

The Power of Tejano Music: Home Grown and Full of Soul

by Erika Gonzalez

“Texas” comes from the Hasinai word táysha, meaning “friend.”  The Hasinai Confederation is part of the Caddo Nation Native American tribe from East Texas.  The Caddo were one of the hundreds of different tribes that first inhabited the Texas – Mexico region.   

Today, many Tejanos trace their roots to the indigenous Native American, Mexican, Spanish, and African cultures.  A Tejano is more commonly known as a Texan of Mexican heritage with a history that goes back even to a time where Texas land was Mexican land.  Mexican musicians in the Texas region used music as storytelling during the Mexican Revolution.  Their music spoke of resistance and highlighted heroes such as Emiliano Zapata and Adelita, two freedom fighters along the Texas-Mexico borderlands.   

When Texas became a state, many Mexicanos were forced to give up land, move to Mexico, or assimilate as a “Mexican – American.”  With this came the birth of Tejano music – a music genre that helped Mexican-Americans living in Texas find their own artistic identity at a time where racial tensions were still very much a presence in every region in Texas.   

South Texas, having the closest proximity to Mexico became the birthplace of Tejano Music with Alice, Texas being the first Texas city to ever record a Tejano album in the mid 1940’s.   

Tejano music has evolved from stories told during the Mexican Revolution, to polkas and waltzes, to songs highlighting the Chicano Movement of the 1960’s, to love ballads and mixtures of rock, traditional Mexican music, country, jazz and R&B. 

In this playlist, you will find classic Tejano songs from the industry’s most recognized Tejano artists such as Little Joe, Laura Canales, Selena, and Ruben Ramos 

The mix starts off with Little Joe’s song “Las Nubes,” in English meaning “The Clouds,” which is considered the official Tejano National Anthem.  This song is about the struggle of the Tejano farm worker earning little pay for hard labor and at the point of giving up.  Little Joe sings about the Tejano farm worker feeling that crying can turn into laughter and laughter can turn into singing.  The singing then brings on the clouds that start producing rain.  In the song, Little Joe sings about the struggle of the Tejano farm worker resorting to drinking when it seems like the world is falling apart.  He sends a message to all Tejanos saying not to let drinking alcohol become a vice because the clouds bring rain from the ocean that cleanses the spirit.  

Later in the mix, we hear the fusion of jazz and R&B from the legendary Latin Breed and two songs from David Lee Garza y Los MusicalesDavid Lee Garza’s “Ojo de Vidrio” features Eagle Pass singer, Oscar G. and “Poquito a Poco” features San Antonio native Jay Perez.  It is important to note that David Lee Garza y Los Musicales’s five lead singers in the past twenty years have all created their own successful solo careers as Tejano artists including Oscar G, Jay Perez, Emilio Navairra, Ram Herrera, and Marcos Orozco. 

A Tejano music mix cannot be complete without including music from el grupo Mazz. We highlight two of Mazz’s famous songs, “Calla” and “Prieta Linda” – two romantic ballads that resonate in all Tejano music lover’s heartbeats. 

The late Selena Quintanilla, known as the young Queen of Tejano music, next to the late elder Lydia Mendoza, is featured in this mix with her songs “Amor Prohibido” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”  Selena Quintanilla is a historical figure in Tejano music industry.  She paved the way for the future of female Tejana artists, the mixture of the English language, hip hop beats, and female fashion.   

We hope you enjoy this first feature of Tejano music.  Let the music remind you that Texas is a state whose history comes from people native to the land, who resisted by documenting their stories of survival and hardship through music – a music genre that is still very much alive and well all over Texas, Mexico, and many US States. 

Today’s 25 Joints to Get U Thru The Day is brought to by Austin based DJ Mixtzin (www.djmixtzin) with assitance from Edie Rodriguez who does the incredible website and Erika Gonzalez of PODER

The link to the podcast is here..

01-Little Joe Y La Familia ‘Las Nubes’

02-Laura Canales ‘Dile a Tu Esposa’

03-Laura Canales ‘Cuatra Caminos’

04-Latin Breed ‘Reunion Medley’

05-David Lee Garza ‘Ojo De Vidrio’

06-David Lee Garza ‘Poquito a Poco’

07-Jay Perez ‘Lo Que Yo Tengo’

08-Mazz ‘Calla’

09-Mazz ‘Prieta Linda’

10-Ruben Ramos ‘Tejano’

11-Ruben Ramos Y Alfonso Ramos ‘Puno De Tierra’

12-Sunny and the Sunliners ‘Reyna De Mi Amor’

13-Agustin Ramirez ‘Sangre De Indio’

14-Agustin Ramirez ‘Que Chulita Estas’

15-Selena ‘Amor Prohibido’

16-Selena ‘Bidi Bidi Bom Bom’

17-Jay Perez ‘Eres Tu’

18-Emilio Navaira ‘Camo Le Hare’

19-Ramiro ‘Ram’ Herrera ‘Rosas Para Uno Rosa’

20-Intocable ‘No Te Vayas’

21-Gary Hobbs ‘Las Miradas’

22-La Movida ‘Te Quiero Mucho’

23-La Sombra ‘Eres Tu’

24-La Fiebra ‘Si Manana Viene O No

25-Roberto Puildo ‘Flecha Envenenada

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Who Should be Houston’s Next Mayor?

With early voting in full swing and the election day less than a week away… people are still up in the air as to who they should vote for when it comes to Mayor of Houston.  Who ever sits in that chair will be yielding a lot of power and will set a tone for one of the nation’s most exciting and rapidly growing cities. Houston is on the move and it needs a mayor who will set the pace. It needs a mayor who can make an increasing young population feel like he or she is in touch and understands the pressing issues impacting young adults. They range from job opportunities to education to affordable housing. Houston needs a mayor that will make a city that has large African-American, Latino, Asian and Gay & Lesbian population feel like their respective needs are being met. Below you will find some links to articles and videos that can hopefully lend some insight.. We wish everyone look in the making an informed decision.

 Peter Brown 

Gene Locke

visit gene Locke’s website:

Gene Locke is quick to laugh and make quips, but has a dignified presence when asked why he wants to be mayor of Houston.

“I love this city. It has been a place of opportunity for me. I came here to go to the University of Houston in the 1960s with basically no idea how I would even financially get through college. And now years later, I sit in an interview with you talking about the possibility of running for the mayor of the city of Houston. That means that Houston clearly has been a place of opportunity to me and I want to keep Houston as a place of opportunity.”

continue reading….

Roy Morales

Anise Parker

Visit Annise Parker’s website  

Annise Parker has been in city politics for a long time. She knows the players, the challenges and the negotiations it takes to get results in city government.  

Parker says Houstonians are looking for someone with the leadership skills and experience to manage the city through tough economic times. And she says she has those qualifications.  

“I’ve managed the city’s $2 billion budget. I’ve managed the city’s $12 billion debt portfolio. I have conducted audits of city programs and departments. I know how the budget flows, I know what works and what doesn’t and I’ve made a number of reccommendations to improve city processes and city finances.”  

In the past, Parker says city leaders made short-sighted decisions and Houston paid the consequences….  

continue reading article…  


Goldman Sachs Is Set to Give 23 Billion Dollars in Bonuses-Why are the Tea Party Protesters Silent?


So last night I’m sitting here watching the news and I hear this crazy report about how all these companies that we helped bail out, first under former President George Bush and then later under President Obama, are on pace to make huge profits and give out record bonuses to their management teams. Note I said management, not your average Joe Schmoe worker who pushes papers or pushes a mop. While most of us can barely pay car fare to go to work (tolls are rising to 5 bucks here in the Bay Area), Goldman Sach’s management will be receiving a whooping 23 BILLION dollars in bonuses. 23 Billion dollars…I want everyone to sit there and think about that for a minute.

Think about that as I did and wonder why all these people I know who never paid a bill late in their lives suddenly had their line of credit decreased. My boy’s business had to let a few people go because one of the banks we helped bail out suddenly couldn’t give him and his business credit in spite of his stellar record and A credit rating..This scenario is playing out all over the country.

Meanwhile back at the Wall Street ranch-23 billion dollars for Goldman Sachs? 23 billion for a company that was failing and needed us to come to the rescue?

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. The cynical folks that I tend to come across day in and day out have predicted this for months. They’ve said all along its not the President or the people who have final say so in this country, it’s the people who control the financial institutions..23 Billion dollars in bonus–keep repeating this to yourself as you find yourself putting in extra hours and avoiding taking vacations for fear of losing your own meager paying job.

23 Billion dollars-I’m sitting here listening to this crap and looking at a medical bill for 1400 bucks I have no way of paying anytime soon. I couldn’t afford it when I got severely sick a couple of months ago and had no choice but to visit an emergency room. My ‘great’ insurance-(privately owned and not government run) wouldn’t cover me for an emergency out-of-state. It was on me they told me. But hey thats another story. The point is I couldn’t afford to pay it in August and I can’t afford to pay it now. I needed a stimulus package and couldn’t get it. My job needed one-None was given. I needed some credit mine was cut. Thank you Wells Fargo. Meanwhile back at the Wall Street ranch- Goldman Sachs management are getting 23 Billion dollars..

Where are all the Tea Party protestors? Why aren't they in front of Goldman Sachs?

Where are all the Tea Party protestors? Why aren't they in front of Goldman Sachs?

I guess the thing that really eats at me most was hearing about Goldman Sachs and thinking about all these ‘orchestrated’ Tea Party gatherings. I say orchestrated because when you went you heard the a lot of talk about greed and corruption and tax dollars being wasted. You saw all sorts of posters with demonic pictures of President Obama denouncing him. And I’ll be honest, if Goldman Sachs are his people and he has people from that firm all up in his inner circle and administration, some hard hitting criticism is due. You’ll get no defense from me about Obama and his relationship to Goldman Sachs… With that being said, based upon the supposed outrage and call to action to get this country back on track as underlined by the Tea Party folks, my question is ‘Where art thou?’ When’s the next Tea Party?

Where’s the tea party that’s gonna be kicked off in front of Goldman Sachs Headquarters on 85 Broad Street in Lower Manhattan? Since its been said that President Obama really doesn’t run the country and he’s controlled by rich, powerful wall street bankers, where are all my shotgun carrying, ultra patriotic Tea Party folks now? Where’s the September 12th Protestors? Remember them? Didn’t they show up with “millions’) in front of the white house’? (Note: It really wasn’t millions it was more like ten thousand, but we’ll say millions to make them happy…Please keep in mind it would be real expensive for those drug industry marketing firms that were organizing the September 12th Protest along with the Townhalls and Tea Party gatherings to hire millions to come out to a protest-but lets not digress). Obviously we don’t see these people confronting the ‘real beast’ and the real criminals…

Where are the few hundred few hundred angry, god-fearing, ‘I Hate Obama’-Tea Party folks that showed at Texas A&M at College Station, Tx to moan and groan and make a lot of noise to the President about his ‘so called ‘socialist ways’. But why haven’t those same protestors showed up to 100 Crescent Drive in Dallas or  1000 Louisiana Street in Houston to protest Goldman Sachs.  To hear some of the rhetoric from protesters, Barack Obama is controlled by Goldman Sachs. If thats the case why not raise hell to them directly? Doesn’t it make sense to track down and hound Obama’s rich Wall street friends since they are the cause of this country going to hell in a hand basket? That’s the 64 thousand dollar question.

Where’s our governor Rick Perry? Didn’t he turn down Stimulus package money because he felt it was wasteful? Where’s his outrage over these bonuses? 23 Billion dollars. Shouldn’t he be beating his chest about this? And what about  his rival Kay Bailey Hutchison shouldn’t she be outraged or will the fact that Goldman Sachs is a top campaign contributer get in the way of things?

Memo to Glenn Beck: Goldman Sach's CEO Lloyd Craig Blankfein has done more harm to us than Van Jones ever did or could

Memo to Glenn Beck: Goldman Sach's CEO Lloyd Craig Blankfein has done more harm to us than Van Jones ever did or could

Where’s Sean Hannity? Lou Dobbs? Rush Limbaugh? Has anyone seen them? Are they directing their viewers and listeners to show and protest? Are they getting the tens of thousands of ‘honest, poor, hard working citizens who carried posters with Obama looking like Adolph Hitler to show up in front of Goldman Sach’s headquarters carrying Hitler-isque pictures of CEO Lloyd Craig Blankfein? Do their listeners even know who he is? Where’s the Fox News ambush team to jump in the face of a bonus receiving Goldman Sach’s manager demanding they give back tax payer money? Isn’t Goldman Sachs who we should be confronting? Where’s the outrage?

Are there any ‘Joker-like pictures of David A. Viniar the Chief Financial Officer of Goldman Sachs being posted around town? Weren’t well known conspiracy pundits like Alex Jones (The Obama Deception) just two months ago offering 50 thousand dollars to people who could post up Obama the Joker flyers? Is he offering anything similar for us to confront the ‘evil folks’ at Goldman Sachs who pull the economic purse strings not just for Obama but for many of us as well?

Where’s Glenn Beck‘s hunt for wrongdoers of this magnitude? Where’s the weeks worth of expose to take down those who are really doing ‘treasonous’ and treacherous things that harm the working class America? Does anyone think that Glenn Beck targets like; Van Jones, Mark Lloyd or Yosi Sergent are the ones disrupting American life or is it the nitwits giving out billions of dollars in bonuses to their management teams after we bailed them out? Will any of those billions be stimulating your economy anytime soon? 23 billion dollars in bonuses folks..23 Billion.

The Tea Party bunch and their contradictory  and selective protests aren’t the only ones we need to call to task. Let’s take issue with the average run in the mill hoodlum. Its time for you guys to get your priorities straight.

Memo to Thugs: Stop robbing poor people in the hood-try Wall Street

Memo to Thugs: Stop robbing poor people in the hood-try Wall Street

Memo to Wannabe Gangstas & Thugs: Stop robbing people in the hood. You wanna rob somebody? Find a one of these Goldman Sachs bonus babies. They have billions. Stop robbing and terrorizing poor folks in the community who can barely afford a pot to piss in and bring the drama to the folks who have more money than our entire community combined.

When these Wall Street barons get their bonus checks tell them to ‘Ante up’. Tell them to ‘run’ their loot and don’t feel bad. After all, that’s what these bankers did to us. Late last year they strong armed tax payers and told the American people they better give them stimulus money or the economy would tank.

If folks recall, when Congress took their initial vote on giving a bailout the answer was ‘Hell Naw’. That’s when these Wall Street crooks ran around and threatened to destroy the economy. Film maker Michael Moore outlines this in his movie ‘Capitalism a Love Story’ The end result was Congress reversed its vote and we wound up giving away trillions. We gave away all that money and the economy is still tanking for far too many of us…

23 Billion.. do you know how many people can have their basic needs met with that money? It’ll be interesting to see how millionaire broadcasters in the media suddenly get quiet and won’t cajole the people into action. Expect more balloonboy coverage and beauty Queen breast plant stories. This is what they are talking about today on local TV news stations in NY home to Goldman Sachs this morning as I write this.. Expect outlandish excuses used to defend the bonuses received by these Goldman Sach numbskulls-23 Billion

Something to ponder..

-Davey D-

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Glenn Beck’s Crazy Lies About Van Jones Get Refuted

Say what you will about Van Jones, one thing you can’t say is that he’s all the crazy things that Glenn Beck has accused him of..What’s taking place is fear mongering at its worse and is ultimately connected to a larger agenda which hasn’t fully revealed himself. My guess is if you publicly scandalize Van Jones and de-legitimize him in the eyes of the general public, then you can easily malign all those grassroots movements and organizations that he’s associated with, including the Green Jobs My good friend Eva Paterson sheds some light on things with her article below… Also keep in mind that while Van is probably one of the better known names, he’s not alone in being attacked. The Fox News team has also gone after Mark Lloyd who is working with the FCC. This brother has been around for along time and is sharp on the issues…Who’s next and does it really matter if they are attacked?

-Davey D-

Glenn Beck’s Crazy Lies About Van Jones

By Eva Paterson, Equal Justice Society. Posted August 31, 2009.

Eva paterson

Eva paterson

Glenn Beck spent last week smearing Van Jones with misinformation and outright lies. Here’s setting the record straight.

After smearing White House special advisor Van Jones for days on his show, Glenn Beck said on August 27, 2009: “I want to point out the silence; no one has challenged these facts — they just attack me personally.”

Well, the White House is wise to stay above the fray but someone has to set the record straight. And as the person who first hired Van Jones, initially as a legal intern and later as a legal fellow, I am in a unique position to know the truth.

And the truth is: Beck is fabricating his facts.

For instance: several times on his show, Beck has said or implied that Van went to prison for taking part in the Rodney King riots.

No Criminal Convictions

Van has never served time in any prison. He has never been convicted of any crime. And just to be clear: Van was not even in Los Angeles during those tumultuous days.

I know because he was working for me — in San Francisco — when the four Los Angeles police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King. I was the Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area when Van was an intern.

The verdicts came down on April 29, 1992. I remember Van (who was then a legal intern working with me from Yale Law School) coming into my office in San Francisco. Many of us, including Van, sat there together, listening to the news and weeping. We were all in a state of shock. That night, TV showed the tragic images of LA burning.

The next day, when an initially peaceful march in downtown San Francisco devolved into chaos, Van left the area in tears. He was not involved in any destructive activity. He even penned an essay despairing of the violence and the state of the country.

So how can Beck make such unsubstantiated claims?

The True Story (From Someone Who Was There)

Van Jones

Van Jones

This is what really happened. On May 8, 1992, the week AFTER the Rodney King disturbances, I sent a staff attorney and Van out to be legal monitors at a peaceful march in San Francisco. The local police, perhaps understandably nervous, stopped the march and arrested hundreds of people — including all the legal monitors.

The matter was quickly sorted out; Van and my staff attorney were released within a few hours. All charges against them were dropped. Van was part of a successful class action lawsuit later; the City of San Francisco ultimately compensated him financially for his unjust arrest (a rare outcome).

So the unwarranted arrest at a peaceful march — for which the charges were dropped and for which Van was financially compensated — is the sole basis for the smear that he is some kind of dangerous criminal.

Van has spoken often about that difficult period 17 years ago — and its impact on him, as a young law student. But to imply that he was somehow a rioter who went to prison is absurd. Beck also bizarrely claims that Van was arrested in the Seattle WTO protests. That is just a flat-out falsehood.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Arrests and convictions are all a matter of public record. Beck is at best relying on Internet rumors or even inventing claims to boost his ratings.

Beck is no more accurate with present facts than he is with past ones.

Not a Mysterious ‘Czar”

Beck has said repeatedly that Van is some kind of a mysterious “czar,” accountable to no one but the President. A simple Internet search shows that this claim is false. A March 10, 2009, press release announced that Van was hired by the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality – to work on her staff as a “special advisor.”

In other words, Van is within the normal White House chain of command, reporting to an office confirmed by the United States Senate, just like most White House staffers. Media outlets sometimes use the “czar” shorthand. But the facts show that Van has no mysterious role or extra-constitutional powers.

Beck has implied on two occasions that Van Jones and other Obama appointees were not vetted by the FBI. False. I was interviewed in my own office by an FBI agent, dutifully vetting Van. Yet another fabrication on the part of Mr. Beck.

Beck also claims that Van has somehow gained control over $500 million in Green Jobs Act funding and can hand out millions of dollars at his whim. Again, that is patently ridiculous.

No Authority to Hand out Billions

The law is clear that the Department of Labor has authority over the program, with normal rules governing the funds. Anybody who thinks that a lone government official can pass out money, arbitrarily and without oversight, knows nothing about our legal system. A blizzard of lawsuits would stop any such scheme in its tracks, if one were ever put in place.

Perhaps more importantly: final authority at the Department of Labor lies with the Secretary of Labor. Anyone who thinks that a Senate-confirmed, Cabinet-level Secretary would cede control of a $500 million program to some mid-level White House staffer knows nothing about our political system. It is ridiculous.

Promoting Business-Based Solutions

But I have to take on the worst one: Beck repeatedly and mistakenly asserts that Van is presently a communist.

Once again, this charge is easily refuted – most obviously by the pro-business, market-based ideas Van has promoted for years, including in his best-selling book, The Green Collar Economy. Van’s book is a veritable song of praise to capitalism, especially the socially responsible and eco-friendly kind.

Yes, for a while, Van and his student-aged friends ran around spouting 1960s rhetoric and romanticizing revolutionary icons. But that was years ago. Way back then, I counseled him to rethink his tactics and to work for change in wiser ways.

In time, he jettisoned his youthful notions and moved on to seek more effective and attainable solutions.

Fortunately for all of us, it looks like he has found some. Over the past several years, Van has emerged as the perhaps the nation’s chief proponent of using business-based solutions to create jobs and clean up the environment. In his book and his speeches, he highlights the key role of entrepreneurship in solving our nation’s problems.

The ‘Green’ Jack Kemp?

Van believes in government clearing the way for private-sector innovation. In a YouTube clip, he said recently that progressives and conservatives should work together to find common ground and create a clean energy economy.

Van said: “We are not promoting welfare. We are promoting work. … We are not expanding entitlements. We are expanding enterprise and investment. … We are not trying to redistribute existing wealth. We are trying to reinvent an existing sector, so that we can create NEW wealth – by unleashing innovation and entrepreneurship. This should be common ground.”

He has been preaching that gospel, in various forms, for years and years. Van Jones is the nation’s “Green” Jack Kemp — using business-based solutions to attack poverty.

I found it interesting that Bill O’Reilly in his interview repeatedly asked Glenn Beck whether Van Jones’ youthful views had changed over time. Beck never answers those inquiries and instead keeps insisting that Van has championed these ideas recently. Again, that is simply not true.

Quotes Taken Out of Context

Upon investigation, it turns out that Beck is quoting (out of context) an article that in fact makes the OPPOSITE point.

The 2005 profile that Beck is flogging actually makes it crystal clear — even in the headline — that Jones has “renounced” his earlier views, matured and moved on. Van’s transformation is the entire point of the piece, and it is impossible that Beck does not know this.

Fortunately, O’Reilly seemed to sense the truth. I remember seeing O’Reilly interview Van Jones some time ago and was struck by how much respect O’Reilly showed for Jones. Perhaps O’Reilly’s knowing queries were prompted by that encounter.

When Van worked for me, he did exhibit that “know it all” quality that so many of us – myself included — have when we are young. Over the years, I have enjoyed watching him grow and blossom into a loving father and husband — and a creative, effective leader.

Van Jones: A True Patriot

Mr. Beck’s unfounded attacks are misleading and false. All of us who know Van are so very proud of him and the work he is doing to improve the lives of ALL Americans. He has touched and improved thousands of lives in the course of his career. Now he is in a position to help millions.

He will do well because Van is a true patriot, who loves his country. He has dedicated his life to trying to make it better — especially trying to uplift the poor, the left-out and the left-behind.

In his book, Van draws a distinction between “cheap patriotism” and “deep patriotism.” I highly recommend that chapter to Mr. Beck.

I do hope Van is keeping his head up, walking tall and continuing to fight for green businesses and green jobs. Our country needs more of them – and more people like Van.

Return to The Southern Shift

A History of Black-Brown, Unity, Tensions & Struggle in Texas

Former SNCC member and Professor Mario Salas

Former SNCC member and Professor Mario Salas

We sat down with Professor Mario Salas of San Antonio’s NW Vista College and talked with him about the history of Black-Brown unity here in the United States and in Mexico.

Salas who is mixed Black and Mexican and a former member of SNCC gave us a serious lesson that touched upon slavery, colonialism and the back drop behind some of the famous wars along the border of Mexico and Texas.

Salas started out by talking about the history between the Black Panthers and Brown Berets who are still active in San Antonio. He talked about how recently the Berets came to the aid of the African American community and helped them get a community radio station. he explained that the two groups were always able to work together because the Panthers didn’t employ cultural nationalist politics. Both groups had a revolutionary philosophy which allowed for coalitions to form.

Salas talked about the original Rainbow Coalition which was conceived by Chairman Fred Hampton who headed up the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers. This was years before Jesse Jackson came along. The basic premise was for groups to unite around principles. One could and should have cultural pride but not at the expense of dissing or excluding other groups.

In our conversation we talked at length about immigration and how that issue has been framed and narrow-casted to only have a Brown face. Today when we say immigration we think of Mexicans trying to come to the United States and forget that there are dozens of African ethnic groups facing similar challenges in other parts of the country. Most notable are Haitians.

Salas gives us an insightful history into immigration history along the border which includes shedding light on Pancho Villa who he explained was half Black and commanded a Black army. Salas talked about how Buffalo soldiers deserted their position in the US Army and went to fight for Poncho Villa. He also talked about an army of made up of African women who came from Mexico. Salas also talked about the Afro-Mexican population in Vera Cruz. He also talked about the African influence on ‘mexican’ culture including the song La Bamba which was made famous by singer Richie Valens. He explained the song and word are African in origin.

During our interview we talked about language and how both Africans and Mexicans who were originally indigenous. Professor Salas talked about how the Spaniards literally beat the native languages out of Indigenous peoples and forced them to speak Spanish. he talked about how people were beaten in the streets of Mexico City until they spoke Spanish. This was similar to what happened with African slaves brought over to the US were beaten until they stopped using their native tongue and spoke English. With regards to Mexicans people crossing the border were beaten until they stopped speaking Spanish and started speaking English. I’m not sure people realize the level of brutality that was imposed upon slaves and native peoples by those who colonized these lands. Salas went on to add in great detail about the origins of Mexican identity and how this led to the erasing the history of indigenous people’s tribes and cultural heritage.

We spoke about the Battle of Alamo where Professor Salas explained that it was essentially a ‘slave owner rebellion’ that centered around Mexico’s President at the time whowas Afro-Mexican banning slavery. He gives the full history of this and talks about  who is immortalized in the break beat song ‘The Mexican’ by Babe Ruth

We talked at length about the caste system in Mexico which was imposed by the Spaniards who brought over 300 thousand African slaves and forced to breed and marry to lighten up the race. Salas explained that certain last names were given to people to indicate that they were African vs Native. Names like Moreno and Grito are two of the many.

blackandbrownunity-225We concluded into our conversation by talking about the challenge both Blacks and Browns have in the US. They include buying into White Supremacy, Sharing Power and avoiding Divide and Conquer tactics. Salas said it was important that we support those who share the same goals and principles and not just a Brown or Black face. he talked about the miscalculation it was for some Black organizations to support Clarence Thomas and for some Mexican organizations to support Alberto Gonzalez. Salas noted that we should all strive to have a global perspective, be fully engaged and aware of policies we have toward Latin America and to connect the dots where ever possible.

We also talked about the opportunity and role that President Obamahas in enhancing Black-Brown unity. We talked about regional differences and how Black Brown unity has different faces and challenges in various parts of the country. Texas has a unique history which is different then what takes place in California which is different than what takes place in New York or Miami. He noted in Texas the history may even be different in various parts of the state. For example, in east texas, the culture is more Southern. In other parts Texas is much more Southwestern.

Professor Salas suggested we read books like ‘Black and Brown’ by Gerald Horne which is filled with historical facts and highlights points of unity. He said we should also read Texis Devils by Michael Collardwhich focuses on the history of ther Texas Rangers who were essentially a Ku Klux Klan force that terroized the Mexican population in Texas.

Below is a video which gives a short exceprt of our conversation.. T o hear the entire entire peep our Breakdown FM podcast



Breakdown FM Podcast: Black and Brown Unity-The History


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Woman Beaten at 50 Cent’s Mansion for Refusing Oral Sex-Men What’s Our Stance on this?


DaveyD-leather-225This is a bad look for Hip Hop on a number of fronts. First this comes on the heels of Chris Brown being sentenced to 5 years probation for viciously beating Rihannalast February who was then his girlfriend at the time. We are now learning that court documents reveal the Brown had laid hands on Rihanna on 3 other occasions. One would think that all of us within Hip Hop would be above and beyond reproach with such incidents. All eyes will be on 50 Cent to see how he addresses this scenario even though he wasn’t cited for any wrong doing. This took place in his house and will undoubtly cast him in a bad light. Many women will be looking to see if he speaks out about this violence.

On another note this incident comes on the heels of an explosive essay written by feminist Jennifer McLune Make Her Say (Poke Her Face): Un-conscious Hip Hop, Oral Rape and the Silencing of Women . Here McLune lambasting a popular song called Poke Her Face which features Kanye West, Kid Cudi and Common.

While McLune’s essay was embraced by many, she also got a lot of push back, from mainly men who were upset about her analysis. Some said she was reaching and that she was using the song to show a deep seated hatred toward brothers. Others said the song was about an activity that is mutually enjoyed by men and women and that she was somehow being prudish in her objections.

Even though 50 Cent is not being accused of any wrong doing a vicious beating of a woman who refused oral sex took place at his house-Should he be speaking out about this?

Even though 50 Cent is not being accused of any wrong doing a vicious beating of a woman who refused oral sex took place at his house-Should he be speaking out about this?

The author Jennifer McLune took issue with song depicting violent oral sex. She argued that repeatedly hearing such songs will actually normalize and may even encourage violence toward women. She wasn’t naive enough to believe that someone listening to a song would suddenly go out and commit violence, but these songs come to underscore a culture that seems to scoff at and dismiss violence toward women far too often.

I guess its fair to ask the question, will those men speak up and roundly condemn the beating that took place at 50 Cent’s mansion? Will they speak up if for any reason just to show that this was not indicative of the behavior McLune feared was manifesting itself?

Violence over refusal to have oral sex at the home of a popular rap star? This is not a good look. How will we as men make this a teachable and hopeful preventable moment or should we?

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

 Woman Beaten at 50 cents Mansion for Refusing Oral Sex

By Roman Wolfe

A man employed by 50 Cent’s G-Unit Records is accused of attacking a woman last Sunday (August 16), after she refused his requests for oral sex.

News broke last week that Dwayne McKenzie, 28, and Michelle Krzykowski, 21, were accused of assaulting a woman on 50 Cent’s sprawling mansion in Farmington, Connecticut.

The incident began after McKenzie made the request, which resulted in an argument between McKenzie and one of the woman’s friends.

When the two women and their friends attempted to leave, Krzykowski attacked one of the women, striking her in the head with a hard object, as McKenzie held the woman down.

The unknown woman, who had danced in music videos in the past, managed to pepper spray McKenzie, Krzykowski, flee the scene and call 911.

According to the Hartford Courtant, the woman’s head wound was serious, requiring a total of 9 staples to close the gash.

Krzykowski has told police that she was intoxicated during the assault and only remembers that the women had called her a “cracker.”


Police: Spurned Request For Sex Led To Beating At 50 Cent’s Mansion

By CHRISTINE DEMPSEY The Hartford Courant,0,722161.story

FARMINGTON — – A request for oral sex led to an attack on a woman at rapper 50 Cent‘s mansion, according to court documents obtained Monday.

Police said the woman, who was not identified, had cuts and a gash on the back of her head after the early morning incident on Aug. 16.

Dwayne McKenzie — who works for 50 Cent and lives in a building at the rapper’s sprawling estate at 50 Poplar Hill Drive — is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Hartford today.

McKenzie, 28, and Michelle Krzykowski of New Britain, who turns 21 today, were charged with second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and breach of peace, police said. McKenzie, who has arrest records in Farmington and Hartford, also was charged with first-degree unlawful restraint.

McKenzie was arrested Thursday after he was stopped by New Britain police on suspicion of violating seat belt laws, and Krzykowski turned herself in on a warrant the same day, said Farmington Lt. William Tyler. Krzykowski is due in court Sept. 1.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson III, was not involved in the assault, Tyler said.

According to the warrant for McKenzie’s arrest, McKenzie asked a woman for oral sex. The woman had danced in a music video for another man who also was at the mansion that night.

One of the woman’s friends took offense and argued with McKenzie, police said. The two women and their friends decided to leave and were in the driveway when Krzykowski ran at the group and grabbed one of the women, witnesses said.

McKenzie yelled that she was attacking the wrong person, and Krzykowski turned her attention to the victim, hitting her in the head with a hard object, the warrant states. The resulting gash required nine staples to close.

Witnesses told police that McKenzie pinned the victim to the ground while Krzykowski hit her. Krzykowski had been doing anything McKenzie told her to do that night, one witness told police.

The victim was able to get away after blasting her attackers with pepper spray, police said. She got into a friend’s car and they left, calling 911 from a cellphone about 3:50 a.m.

Krzykowski told police she was very drunk and didn’t remember talking to the other women at the house, although she recalled they had called her “cracker” — a derogatory name for white people — and that one of the women hit her.

McKenzie told police two women were involved in a fight, and that he broke it up and escorted them off the property.

In a different Farmington case from May, McKenzie faces charges including assault and strangulation. He also was found guilty in 2007 of illegal possession of a firearm, for which he received a suspended, five-year prison sentence, according to court documents.

McKenzie is part of 50 Cent’s business known as “G-Unit,” said his lawyer, Gerald Klein.

•Courant Staff Writer Hilda Munoz contributed to this story.

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