Beyoncé Criticized by Has-Been Piers Morgan
Morgan writes Beyoncé is now a "born again Black woman" who plays the "race card"; Twitter erupts.
Piers Morgan, British journalist and former CNN talk show host, wrote an essay published Monday in the U.K.'s Daily Mail titled "Jay-Z's not the only one who needs to be nervous about Beyoncé, the born-again-Black woman with a political mission," criticizing multi-platinum artist Beyoncé Knowles' "Lemonade," a visual album.
The hour-long visual album or short film debuted Saturday night on HBO and features videos for 12 of the songs on her sixth solo album of the same title. Morgan, the U.S. editor-at-large for the publication, begins his essay with fond memories of Beyoncé when he interviewed her in 2008 on his CNN show "Piers Morgan Live," which was cancelled in 2014.
Back then, he said, she was "at pains to be seen as an entertainer and musician and not as a Black woman who sings."
"Lemonade" has created conflicting feelings for Morgan. He writes:
I have to be honest, I preferred the old Beyoncé. The less inflammatory, agitating one. The one who didn't use grieving mothers to shift records and further fill her already massively enriched purse. The one who didn't play the race card so deliberately and to my mind, unnecessarily. The one who wanted to be judged on her stupendous talent not her skin color, and wanted us all to do the same.
It seems he prefers the "Bootylicious" Beyoncé years to her new "Formation," one of the singles on "Lemonade."
Piers Morgan Whitemansplains the World: Coming to you at 8PM EST / 9PM CST on Thursdays
— nana addae esq. (@shrekfacedkilla) April 25, 2016
my issue w/ @piersmorgan is he, like many straight white men, thinks his opinion (good or bad) of Bey/#LEMONADE is needed/important–it's not
— Mark Sundstrom (@106th) April 25, 2016
I don't know what @piersmorgan said about LEMONADE but I don't wanna hear anything a white man gotta say about it. IT WASN'T FOR YOU.
— Awesomely Luvvie (@Luvvie) April 25, 2016
Morgan tweeted on Tuesday:
To clarify, I love @Beyonce & Lemonade's a great album.
I just didn't like the politically/racially charged video that went with it.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 26, 2016
Actor Matt McGorry of ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder," also joined the conversation:
— Matt McGorry (@MattMcGorry) April 26, 2016
The visual album features Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, who succumbed to an illegal chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo; and Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, fatally shot by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, each holding a photograph of their son. Other artists have also been supportive of the mothers. For example, Prince, who died unexpectedly on Thursday, donated money to Martin's family.
Morgan said Beyoncé is using "grieving mothers to shift records," but she and her husband, Shawn "Jay Z" Carter, have donated substantially to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The video for "Formation" caused a stir when it was released on Feb. 6. Beyoncé's anti-police brutality message is reflected in scenes including "Stop Shooting Us" spray painted in black against a white brick wall and a sinking New Orleans cop car at the video's conclusion.
That message didn't sit well with law enforcement unions across the country, which called for a police boycott of her tour. And she received backlash after performing the single during the Super Bowl 50 halftime on Feb. 7.
But, the "Formation" video also makes reference to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. And the lyrics to the song also celebrate her southern roots and being a Black woman:
My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana
You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama
I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils
Earned all this money but they never take the country out me
I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag …
Morgan said his issues with Beyoncé's visual album aren't about race. He takes issue with entertainers getting political. However, politics and music have a long history of intertwining.
For example, in the 1960s artists such as Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul & Mary, Odetta and Pete Seeger supported the Civil Rights Movement with their music. U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is an intentionally political song. For the past 30 years, Bruce Springsteen has been a political singer who endorses presidential candidates.
Morgan was also annoyed by a sample used in "Lemonade" in which Malcolm X says, "The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman."
"Lemonade" prominently features Black women including Serena Williams; actresses Amandla Stenberg, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Zendaya; singers Ibeyi and Chloe x Halle; and model Winnie Harlow.
The short film includes the poetry of 27-year-old Somali-British poet Warsan Shire. Also incorporated are nods to the literary styles of Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston, and the music of Nina Simone.
"Lemonade" is "based on every woman's journey of self-knowledge and healing," Tidal, the music streaming service owned by Jay Z, said in an announcement. The mix of spoken word, imagery and lyrics on love, betrayal, infidelity and anger also has social media wondering if Beyoncé's newest release is directed toward her husband.
Oracle's "suppression of pay for its non-white, non-male employees is so extreme that it persists and gets worse over long careers," according to a federal filing.
The U.S. Department of Labor, in a federal filing on Tuesday, accused Oracle of underpaying thousands of people of color and women employees by more than $400 million. Employees with years of experience are paid as much as 25 percent less than their white male peers.
"I did pull out my gun, but I never pointed it at them," Mark Allen Bartlett said. Video footage shows otherwise.
Mark Allen Bartlett of Hollywood Beach, Fla., pulled a gun on several Black teens, repeatedly calling them the n-word, as they were taking part in a "Bikes Up Guns Down" event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Brickell.
"Let's do this together," said the Howard University alum and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Update: Student Wearing MAGA Hat Standing Face-to-Face With Native American Veteran Releases Statement
"I was not intentionally making faces at the [protester]," said Nick Sandmann.
UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 at 7 a.m.
Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School Junior who stands in front of Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, in a viral video that has sparked outrage, made a statement through a lawyer and spokesman on Sunday night.
Sandmann said the students decided to raise their voices to drown out the comments against them by four protesters who identify themselves as Black Hebrew Israelites. A video has been released of the incident.
"A student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group," Sandmann said in his statement. "The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school," he said.
Phillips walked up to the students and said he started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.
"There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey,'' Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. "These young men were beastly and these old Black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.''
But said at one point, he claims the teenagers started saying "Go back to the reservation'' and broke into chants of "Build that wall.'' He also questioned why chaperones did not get involved.
"I was scared," Phillips told CNN. "I don't like the word 'hate.' I don't like even saying it, but it was hate unbridled. It was like a storm."
Sandmann claims he was "not intentionally making faces at the [protester]. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation."
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Kentucky is currently investigating the incident.
ORIGINAL STORY Published Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
Students wearing "Make America Great Again" hats, who attend Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, K.Y., were in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the anti-abortion March for Life rally. In a video, it appears that Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, was being mocked by the students at the Lincoln Memorial.
The incident occurred as the Indigenous Peoples March was ending. Videos showing their behavior went viral on social media on Saturday.
One of the students, standing less than a foot away, appears to be trying to intimidate Phillips by staring him down with a mocking smirk on his face. Phillips was in the midst of drumming and singing a song of unity:
I've seen that look before — on the MAGA boy's face as he taunts a participant from the Indigenous Peoples March. Fueled by ideology and a desire to dehumanize, it frightens me and reminds me of other cruel youth groups from history.
(anyone know original source of video?) pic.twitter.com/Ka6t5HKmCz
— Melissa Chan (@melissakchan) January 19, 2019
Kaya Taitano, who shot the video, told CNN that MAGA hat-wearing-students and four Black teens, who'd been preaching about the Bible nearby, started yelling and calling each other names. That's why Phillips started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.
President Trump, whom the students apparently idolize, posted a tweet last week to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who plans to run for president in the 2020 election.
Trump made fun of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre in response to a video Warren posted on Instagram.
If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash! pic.twitter.com/D5KWr8EPan
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
Phillips, a Vietnam Era veteran who said he served between 1972 and 1976, is in tears as he explains in a video how the incident on Friday made him feel:
"I heard them saying, 'Build that wall, build that wall.' This in indigenous land. You know, we're not supposed to have walls here. We never did …"
He continued, "Before anybody else came here, we never had walls. We never had a prison. We always took care of our elders. We took care of our children. We always provided for them. We taught them right from wrong."
He said he wishes the young men who taunted him would use "that energy to make this country really great."
Thank you to @VinceSchilling of @IndianCountry and many others who identified the proud Native man who is being harassed. He is Mr. Nathan Phillips. I'm reposting this video from “ka_ya11" on IG. This man's words pierce my heart. The grace. The wisdom. The hope. pic.twitter.com/BKOA40SVq5
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 19, 2019
Robert "Bob" Rowe is the principal of Covington Catholic High School (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
An investigation is now taking place, and the MAGA teens could be expelled. The Diocese of Covington and the high school issued the following statement on Saturday:
"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.
"The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.
"We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement."
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org demanding changes at the high school.
Many are saying on social media that the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students mimics how whites tried to intimidate Blacks during the civil rights movement:
The MAGA-hat wearing Covington Catholic High School students mocking Elder Nathan Phillips at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington are direct descendants of the white privilege that empowered white kids to mock Elizabeth Eckford at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. pic.twitter.com/tQroBf6aPb
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) January 19, 2019
The dance team's choreographer told Camille Sturdivant that her skin was "too dark" to perform because she "clashed" with uniforms.
Camille Sturdivant has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Blue Valley School District for the abuse she was subjected to as a member of the high school dance team.
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