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BET Music Awards: Target Industry, Not Artists

Tuesday, 03 July 2012 18:04 Published in Malkia Cyril

BetAs I watched the BET Music Awards on Sunday evening, I was brought to tears by three things.

One, the rousing and emotional tribute to world renowned singer Whitney Houston by her mother Cissy Houston's whose emotional tribute of the gospel classic 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' grabbed me right in my chest. Two, Yolanda Adams gentle urging of her fellow artists to use their talent responsibly. "We need all of y'all," she said. "I'm saying the world needs everyone in this room. Please make sure that you use your gift responsibly, 'cause we're watching. Our babies are watching, and they want to be like us." Unfortunately she also read directly from the teleprompter when they asked her to "wrap it up."

Shifting Culture, Making Change

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 22:10 Published in Communications

mak-slideLast week, I had the great fortune of participating in a passionate discussion with a set of brilliant and effective leaders on what some call the "progressive project", in reference to the long-term goals and strategies of a broadly defined progressive movement. In the brightly lit meeting rooms of the Desmond Tutu Retreat Center in NY, a set of very smart people puzzled over the question many in the progressive movement have been asking for the last fifty years.

What will it take for us to win?

As we talked, a comrade of mine from the League of Young Voters announced that the more than 60 million dollars spent by Republicans on the Scott Walker campaign in Wisconsin resulted in 38% of union households voting for Walker, and therefore against their own self-interests- according to a June 5th article published in the NY Times. The big question on everyone's mind was why.

heatI love the hoodie meme.  

I love the fact that within days of the revolting shooting murder of the 17-year-old African-American teenager Trayvon Martin by the self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, thousands of unlikely individuals put on their hoodies, took pictures, and shared them through social media.  It was, to be sure, an unprecedented show of national solidarity within an often-ignored pattern, and it brought tears of pride to my eyes.  

But the wearing of hoodies alone will not overturn the vicious Stand Your Ground laws that have proliferated throughout U.S. states in the last year.  The hoodie is a meme, but it is not a movement.  And only organized pressure can change the law.

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About the Author

  • Malkia Cyril is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice (CMJ)- a national intermediary serving the media training, strategy, and organizing needs of justice movements and communities of color.  As an award-winning organizer and communications leader, Malkia has more than 15 years experience conceiving and managing grassroots communications and media organizing initiatives.

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