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Scrap Papers: Black Excellence

Photo courtesy of Book for Keeps

By Karima E. Rustin

Malcolm Mitchell, a 24-year-old rookie wide receiver for the New England Patriots, assisted New England in coming back from a 28-3 deficit to win the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons, and take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. While his teammates are reveling in their shared victory, Malcolm achieved another victory most people don’t know about. A victory he is more proud of than a Super Bowl ring.


The Pickaninnies March on Washington

By Lydia Holt



Perhaps it was a subconscious act of self preservation, but in the months and weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election, I had convinced myself that America would elect Hillary Clinton as our 45th president--that we had no other viable option. If her opponent were elected it would be disastrous and to maintain my sanity, I firmly believed that we would come through the election with a capable and sane president. When I woke up to the reality of our now 45th, I damn near had a panic attack. Continue reading...

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Music that is “...for all the world to see.”

By Nichole Rustin-Paschal
To watch “A Band Called Death,” followed by “Sound City,” and ending with “NY 77: The Coolest Year In Hell,” is to be draped in sheets of sound that sometimes suffocate with their relentless, frenetic energy and sometimes comfort with the nostalgic evocation of time and place. From Detroit to Vermont, from Seattle to Los Angeles, from the Bronx to SoHo, these documentaries depict the emergence of punk rock, disco, and hip hop as reflecting particular socioeconomic, geographic, and racial experiences of late twentieth century youth culture. “We are here, we are here, we are here.”

Scrap Papers: No Justice for Trayvon Martin

We may write something more thoughtful later but for right now, this is how we feel:


Scrap Papers: Standing Strong for Reproductive Rights

By Sheryl Wright

AP PhotoFor those of us who believe in a woman’s right to obtain a safe and legal abortion, the push by state legislatures throughout the country to restrict women’s reproductive rights is disturbing to say the least. But in a welcome turn of events last night, those legislative efforts hit a wall in the great state of Texas. At close to midnight (CDT), Texas state Senator Wendy Davis (D) ended an 11-hour filibuster which made it possible to halt the Republicans attempt to pass Texas Senate Bill 5 (SB5)—legislation that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and close 37 of the 42 clinics in the state. Read more...


People All Over the World

By Lydia Holt

June is Black Music Month or alternately The World’s Most Popular Popular Music Month and the Pickaninnies are music lovers. We love gospel, funk, Afrobeat, house, R&B, rock, jazz, blues, merengue, jungle, pop, Afro Cuban, hip-hop, salsa and on and on and on and on. What all of these genres have in common are their roots in West African music. A musicologist I ain’t so I can’t break it down with precision but basically, the parts of these musics, the “here comes the good part” parts, the parts that can send you into the ugly cry and then have you making faces on the dance floor and shaking it extra hard, come courtesy of West African music. In those moments, in the music, you are Jerry Maguire and you are loving, not just black people but, the souls of black folk (shout out to W. E. B. DuBois!). Read more...


Does “Personal Responsibility” Have to Be a Dirty Phrase?

By Lucinda Holt

A couple of weeks ago, Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic and Aura Bogado in The Nation took the first couple to task for “stressing individual responsibility” and trotting out old stereotypes during graduation speeches they gave at Morehouse College and Bowie State University, both historically black institutions. Maybe the president and first lady did trot out some old stereotypes, but why does “personal responsibility” have to be a dirty phrase? We need good policies that support those who are struggling, but there is no reason weas people with a long tradition of taking personal responsibility in spite of all that would limit uscan't embrace and reclaim personal responsibility from social conservatives. Read more...

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