ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Corporate Influence Again Overshadows Event
37th Annual NAACP Image Awards
By Kam Williams
When the NAACP Image Awards were held at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles last Saturday, it appeared, superficially at least, that the big winners were The Bernie Mac Show (3), Alicia Keys (3) and Crash (2) since they took home a total of eight trophies among them. But the more discerning observer might notice that the evening primarily belonged to Fox, the network which hosted the program.
For not only does the mega-media giant own the Bernie Mac series, but it has acquired the rights to run a spin-off of Crash on its FX Network. Just as curiously, recording artist Keys released all three of her CDs with J-Records, the same record label which signed Foxs American Idol winners Fantasia and Ruben Studdard to lucrative contracts. J-records is a division of Sony/BMG, the music conglomerate which has enjoyed a cozy, cross-promoting relationship with Fox since one of its executives, Simon Cowell became a judge on AI.
This might help explain why Carlos Santana was picked as this years inductee into the NAACP Hall of Fame, even though he isnt black. Afterall, he is with Arista, another division of Sony/BMG, and the honor afforded him a chance to perform on the program.
Suspiciously, the questionable corporate ethics even extended to another presumably prestigious honor, namely, the NAACPs Presidents Award, which went to Susan L. Taylor. Taylor, the long-time editor of Essence Magazine, also just happens to be an author who has written two books for HarperCollins, a wholly-owned subsidiary of, you guessed it, 20th Century Fox.
Jada Pinkett-Smith prevailed in the Outstanding Childrens Literary Work category for her book, Girls Hold Up the World, but one cant wonder whether the accolade is tainted, too, since its publisher, Scholastic/Cartwheel, is a division of Harper Collins. In the field of music, other Sony/BMG winners included Jamie Foxx (Outstanding Male Artist), Destinys Child (Outstanding Group), Chris Brown (Outstanding New Artist). In total, Fox artists took about a third of the 44 awards handed out that night.
Although the show aired on Fox, a co-sponsor was Blockbuster Video, which is a division of Viacom, the parent company of BET, Paramount, Nickelodeon, CBS, Showtime and Simon & Schuster Publishing. So, it comes as no surprise that Viacom did just as well, prevailing in 14 categories.
Maybe the letter C in NAACP should stand for Corporate. Afterall, its new President, Bruce Gordon, has a background in business, not civil rights. His resume reveals an impressive, 35-year career in the telecommunication industry with Verizon, Bell Atlantic and Tyco, on top of credentials which include a masters degree from MIT.
Dont blame Bruce entirely in this regard, since he just assumed the reigns of power last summer, and this is not the first year that the NAACP stamp of approval has seemed to be up for sale. Nor is it fair to denigrate any of the recipients, as they are all extremely talented in their own right. But are we to believe that almost all of the gifted African-Americans work for one of two companies?
The problem, here, is that the NAACP appears to be drifting far afield from its legacy of lobbying on behalf of an oppressed people, when it lets corporate interests play such a significant role in determining which African-Americans are to be commended for presenting positive images. By design, profits will always be more important than humanistic concerns to a multi-national enterprise. Thus, if they havent already, business execs cant help but turn the NAACP Image Awards into a shallow platform to sell consumer products rather than as a program to promote those exhibiting a continuing commitment to the betterment of black people.
Note: The show aired Friday, March 3 at 8 PM on Fox.
Complete List of Winners:
Outstanding Comedy Series Everybody Hates Chris (UPN)
Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series – Bernie Mac, The Bernie Mac Show (FOX)
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – Tichina Arnold, “Everybody Hates Chris” (UPN)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series – Reggie Hayes, “Girlfriends” (UPN)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in Comedy Series – Camille Winbush, “The Bernie Mac Show” (FOX)
Outstanding Drama Series – “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series – Isaiah Washington, “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – Vivica A. Fox, “Missing” (Lifetime)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Gary Dourdan, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (CBS)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series – S. Epatha Merkerson, “Law & Order” (NBC)
Outstanding TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special – Lackawanna Blues (HBO)
Outstanding Actor in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special – Terrence Howard, Lackawanna Blues (HBO)
Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special – S. Epatha Merkerson, Lackawanna Blues (HBO)
Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series Shemar Moore, “The Young and the Restless” (CBS)
Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series Victoria Rowell, “The Young and the Restless” (CBS)
Outstanding TV News, Talk or Information (Series or Special) – “Tavis Smiley” (PBS)
Outstanding Variety (Series or Special) – “BET Awards 2005” (BET)
Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children’s Program (Series or Special) Raven, “That’s So Raven” (Disney/ABC)
Outstanding Motion Picture – Crash (Lionsgate Films)
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture – Samuel L. Jackson, Coach Carter (Paramount Pictures)
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Kimberly Elise, Diary of a Mad Black Woman (Lionsgate Films)
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture – Terrence Howard, Crash (Lionsgate Films)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Cicely Tyson, Diary of a Mad Black Woman (Lionsgate Films)
Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction Breaking the Cycle, Zane (Strebor Books International/Simon and Schuster)
Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind, Michael Eric Dyson (Basic Civitas Books)
Outstanding Literary Work – Children’s Girls Hold Up This World, Jada Pinkett Smith (Scholastic/Cartwheel)
Outstanding New Artist – Chris Brown (Jive)
Outstanding Male Artist – Jamie Foxx (J Records)
Outstanding Female Artist – Alicia Keys (J Records)
Outstanding Duo or Group – Destiny’s Child (Sony Urban Music)
Outstanding Jazz Artist – Najee (Heads Up Intl)
Outstanding Gospel Artist (Traditional or Contemporary) Yolanda Adams (Atlantic/ WEA)
Outstanding Music Video Unbreakable, Alicia Keys (J Records)
Outstanding Song – “Unbreakable,” Alicia Keys (J Records)
Outstanding Album – Emancipation of Mimi Mariah Carey (Island Def Jam)
Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series – Paris Barclay, Cold Case (CBS)
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series Millicent Shelton, The Bernie Mac Show (FOX)
Outstanding Directing in a Feature Film/Television Movie John Singleton, Four Brothers (Paramount Pictures)
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For July 1st through August 31st 2011
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 12 March 2006