Gay Marriage Debate: Black Church vs. NAACP & President Obama


The NAACP has announced it’s backing of same-sex marriage following President Obama’s announcement supporting gay marriage.

The announcement comes in the midst of backlash and speculation of whether President Obama’s expressed support will hurt his campaign among black voters in the church.

“The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people,” Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP’s board of directors, said in a statement.

“Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP’s support for marriage quality is deeply rooted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and equal protection of all people,” NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said.

Rev. Anthony Evans of the National Black Church Initiative opposed President Obama’s and the NAACP’s endorsements, warning that Obama and the NAACP will lose support among black churches for their stand. The National Black Church Initiative is a faith-based coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino churches comprised of 15 denominations.

“We love our gay brothers and sisters, but the black church will never support gay marriage,” Evans said in a statement. “It is and always will be against the ethics and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Pastor Derek McCoy, executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, told the media that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s “unfortunate” stance on the issue will contribute to the “further demise of the family.”

“We who marched with Rev. King did not march one inch or one mile to promote same-sex marriage,” Rev. William Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, told the Catholic News Agency.

Jay-Z, rapper and friend of the Obamas, made a similar announcement expressing his support of gay marriage shortly after the president.

This support of gay marriage in the black community is part of an upward trend. In an ABC News/Washington Post poll following President Obama’s announcement, 54 percent of African-Americans agreed with him. But in similar polls in 2011 and 2012, just 41 percent of African-Americans supported gay marriage.

Some see President Obama’s recent announcement as flip-flopping on the issue, as he hasn’t always fully supported gay marriage.

What say you family? Do you agree with the church or with the president on this issue?

Michelle Obama: “I Would Be Beyonce”

Our first lady Michelle Obama, who has showed a display of class and elegance in and out of the White House, recently told People Magazine that if she could be anyone else, she would choose to be R&B diva Beyonce. Out of all the black men and women who have been pioneers, leaders, and fighters in this society–including herself– Michelle Obama said she would be Beyonce. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, why would she want to trade it in to be a singer?

“Gosh, if I had some gift, I’d be Beyoncé. I’d be some great singer,” Mrs. Obama told People magazine in an interview released on newsstands last week. “The power of music, being able to play an instrument. … It looks like musicians just have the most fun.”

Because fun is an important factor to look for when choosing a role model for your kids. I thought we were past the “all black kids want to be singer, rappers, and athletes” stereotype.

Look, I’m not hating on Bey, I’m actually a huge fan of her music and her performances are always full of art and energy. She has it all–Grammy’s, a beautiful baby, a famous rapper husband, and a reported net worth of over $300 million.

But what work has she done outside of the entertainment world, primarily work that helps our communities and children? And please don’t give me a list of charities she tossed a few dollars to over the years, or tell me how she and Jay got soooooo many gifts for baby Blue Ivy, they had to give a lot of them away to charity. Even Brad and Angelina do work in Africa.

I guess I expected my first lady to name someone who has directly influenced changes in the world we live in. Notice when Mrs. Obama explained why she would be Beyonce, she highlighted Beyonce’s ability to “play an instrument.” There are so many philanthropists, writers, and even other artists to choose from who have given their time and put in physical work to causes worldwide. R&B singer Alicia Keys, just to name one, is a well-known ambassador for Keep A Child Alive, traveling to Africa and speaking to children and teens who have lost their parents to AIDS. She’s also a spokesperson for Frum Tha Ground Up, a charity focused on encouraging and motivated our young people to be successful.

Our first lady is blessed to be in a position where she can constantly influence young people in our nation. So many people look at the Obamas and say, “If they can do it, I can do it too,” to whatever dreams and goals they may have. I’m not saying Beyonce isn’t a positive icon, I was just hoping for more in the answer to this question. Why not name someone outside of the entertainment business as role models for our children? Name someone they may not have heard of, so they can learn more about their history and contributions to our country? Someone who can inspire them to learn more about causes they can contribute to in their community? Or is that too cliche?

It should be noted that Beyonce is as big of a fan of Michelle also. Beyonce contributes to Michelle’s “Let’s Move” campaign, targeted at childhood obesity. In an open letter that Beyonce posted on her website, she praised the Obama as the ultimate example of a strong African-American woman.

To each its own I suppose.

This answer is better than naming Tami Roman or Evelyn Lozada for sure.

Follow me on Twitter @srenae89

Wife of Black Enterprise founder dies

via BET News

Barbara Graves, wife of Black Enterprise magazine publisher and founder Earl Graves Sr., passed away early Friday morning at age 74 from gallbladder cancer.

Ms. Graves was instrumental in helping her husband launch Black Enterprise magazine in 1970, and held every major position at the company, including editorial director, circulation director and chief financial officer. Since its founding, Black Enterprise has grown to become a trusted source of business, investing and wealth-building information for African-Americans with a paid circulation of 500,000 and a readership of approximately four million.

“My mother was a steadfast and loving partner and counselor to my father; his quiet source of strength and inspiration,” said her son, Earl Graves Jr., the president and CEO of Black Enterprise, in a statement. “She served as mentor and guide to several generations of employees, managers and professionals. Above all, she genuinely cared for every member of the Black Enterprise family, and held a special passion for children and young people in particular.”

Also among Ms. Graves’ contributions to the Black Enterprise legacy is the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, the premier networking event and conference for women executives of color, which she co-founded.

“We are all simply heartbroken by the passing of Barbara Graves. She was a longtime friend of mine and supporter of not only Black Enterprise but black media in general. The consummate mother and wife, Barbara raised an incredible family of businessmen as well as supported her husband, Earl, in growing an important multimedia brand that elevated African-American business, wealth and entrepreneurship. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family. She will be missed,” Debra L. Lee, Chairman & CEO of BET Networks said.

Mrs. Graves is survived by her husband of over fifty years, her three sons and eight grandchildren.

The New Sisterhood: Teenage Pregnancy Pacts

Our teens are fighting in a war that they can’t handle themselves.

This is just one of the many “pregnancy pacts” that teenage girls in communities and schools across the country are participating in. The girls create these pacts to form a sisterhood. They want to feel apart of something and have an image they can all identify with. Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to be young, single parents, birthing these children into an environment of instability and poverty, instead of aspiring to be lawyers, doctors, writers, engineers and scientists. Instead of game parties and movie nights, our teen girls are a apart of a group effort to get pregnant and give birth together.

The first suspected pregnancy pact to make news was in 2008 at a Massachusetts high school where 17 girls were pregnant at the same time. Local officials had said that many of the alleged fathers were in their 20’s, including one man who appeared to be homeless. Others were boys at the school.

Television shows like “Teen Mom” on MTV glorify the culture of teen pregnancies on a national stage, showing season after season of young women who are barely adults struggling to raise a child. These families are paid to live dysfunctional and destructive lives with no true emphasis on the result of being a teen parent, but screaming matches and custody battles instead. No one considers the affect this will have on the innocent infants as they grow up. The first few shows attempted to have a “teen pregnancy is bad” theme, but quickly changed as the teen mothers began to grace magazine covers and cable television interviews. Now, teen girls across the nation are reportedly trying to get pregnant just to be on the show and get a taste of fame.

Teen Mom 2’s Leah Masser, who already has a set of twins with her ex-husband, announced she was pregnant once again in January of this year. The 19-year-old nursing student told In Touch Magazine she was struggling financially and was hoping to get a spin-off show with this pregnancy.  A few weeks after that interview, she had a miscarriage.

The copycat factor definitely influences the audience of impressionable teenagers. It’s no secret that social media has fueled this behavior as well. But there is a deeper issue within our own community relating to teen pregnancy that needs to be identified and addressed. Our girls should not have to feel that the only way they can have a strong bond or sisterhood with others is through a pregnancy pact.

These smiles should be on the faces of young women who just took got a college acceptance letter or are getting ready to graduate from high school. But instead they are on the faces of young girls who are misguided and uneducated on the realities of being a teenage parent. Perhaps schools should start inviting adult women who were teenage mothers in for motivational talks to let the girls know this is not a path that one willingly chooses to take. Our girls have to know there is more to life and better goals to reach than being a teen parent. If they have the motivation to plan and carry this out, imagine the things they can accomplish if they knew what types of positive paths were within their reach.

Another topic that many feel is taboo is allowing schools to give out condoms to students. Is this something that should be considered? Or do we continue to say “Let their parents teach them”? With the growing number of teacher-student sexual harassment and assault cases, it’s hard to say which authoritative figure-parent or teacher-should handle the responsibility of teaching teenagers about safe sex. I’m not encouraging teens having sex, but being realistic about the fact that they are already doing it and being aware of the fact that teen pregnancy rates are clearly a factor in our society.

Not only do we need to be concerned about pregnancy, but STD’s as well. HIV/AIDS is REAL and on a skyrocketing trend in the black community among young men and women.

Our teenagers are on a runaway train to destruction. What can we do to save them?

TMD’s Shakara interviews Mikel Holt

Hello again family,

I hope you were able to check out the first episode of the UWM campus TV show I founded, The U-View.

On the second episode, I interviewed Mikel Holt of the the Milwaukee Community Journal. You will learn A LOT from Mr. Holt about the history of black journalism here in Milwaukee.

Check it out at Once you get to the home page, it’s the first video on the left labeled ” U-View looks at the history of African American journalism in Milwaukee”.


TMD’s Shakara & Wonder Woman on TV!

Hey family,

I invite you all to take a moment out of your day to watch The U-View, a TV show I founded on UWM campus television.

My guests last week were The Milwaukee Drum’s very own Wonder Woman and Milwaukee conservative blogger Aaron Rodriguez (The Hispanic Conservative, El Conquistador). You can watch this episode online. Watch to learn more about these talented writers, their history, and to get their take on the governor recall election along with some other local issues.

Watch the episode now at:

Once you get to the site, the show is on the home page. Click on the first video on the left that says “New this week: Watch a new program produced   in conjunction with the Minority Media Association at UWM”

My guest tomorrow will be Mikel Holt of The Community Journal. I’ll upload it once it’s edited.



Black History Month: Famous Firsts By African-Americans

African-American Firsts: Government

  • Local elected official: John Mercer Langston, 1855, town clerk of Brownhelm Township, Ohio.
  • State elected official: Alexander Lucius Twilight, 1836, the Vermont legislature.
  • Mayor of major city: Carl Stokes, Cleveland, Ohio, 1967–1971. The first black woman to serve as a mayor of a major U.S. city was Sharon Pratt Dixon Kelly, Washington, DC, 1991–1995.
  • Governor (appointed): P.B.S. Pinchback served as governor of Louisiana from Dec. 9, 1872–Jan. 13, 1873, during impeachment proceedings against the elected governor.
  • Governor (elected): L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia, 1990–1994. The only other elected black governor has been Deval Patrick, Massachusetts, 2007–
  • U.S. Representative: Joseph Rainey became a Congressman from South Carolina in 1870 and was reelected four more times. The first black female U.S. Representative was Shirley Chisholm, Congresswoman from New York, 1969–1983.
  • U.S. Senator: Hiram Revels became Senator from Mississippi from Feb. 25, 1870, to March 4, 1871, during Reconstruction. Edward Brooke became the first African-American Senator since Reconstruction, 1966–1979. Carol Mosely Braun became the first black woman Senator serving from 1992–1998 for the state of Illinois. (There have only been a total of five black senators in U.S. history: the remaining two are Blanche K. Bruce [1875–1881] and Barack Obama (2005–2008).
  • U.S. cabinet member: Robert C. Weaver, 1966–1968, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Lyndon Johnson; the first black female cabinet minister wasPatricia Harris, 1977, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Jimmy Carter.
  • U.S. Secretary of State: Gen. Colin Powell, 2001–2004. The first black female Secretary of State was Condoleezza Rice, 2005–2009.
  • Major Party Nominee for President: Sen. Barack Obama, 2008. The Democratic Party selected him as its presidential nominee.
  • U.S. President: Sen. Barack Obama. Obama defeated Sen. John McCain in the general election on November 4, 2008, and was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States on January 20, 2009.

African-American Firsts: Science and Medicine

  • First patent holder: Thomas L. Jennings, 1821, for a dry-cleaning process. Sarah E. Goode, 1885, became the first African-American woman to receive a patent, for a bed that folded up into a cabinet.
  • M.D. degree: James McCune Smith, 1837, University of Glasgow; Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first black woman to receive an M.D. degree. She graduated from the New England Female Medical College in 1864.
  • Inventor of the blood bank: Dr. Charles Drew, 1940.
  • Heart surgery pioneer: Daniel Hale Williams, 1893.
  • First astronaut: Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., 1967, was the first black astronaut, but he died in a plane crash during a training flight and never made it into space. Guion Bluford, 1983, became the first black astronaut to travel in space; Mae Jemison, 1992, became the first black female astronaut. Frederick D. Gregory, 1998, was the first African-American shuttle commander.

African-American Firsts: Scholarship

  • College graduate (B.A.): Alexander Lucius Twilight, 1823, Middlebury College; first black woman to receive a B.A. degree: Mary Jane Patterson, 1862, Oberlin College.
  • Ph.D.: Edward A. Bouchet, 1876, received a Ph.D. from Yale University. In 1921, three individuals became the first U.S. black women to earn Ph.D.s: Georgiana Simpson, University of Chicago; Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, University of Pennsylvania; and Eva Beatrice Dykes, Radcliffe College.
  • Rhodes Scholar: Alain L. Locke, 1907.
  • College president: Daniel A. Payne, 1856, Wilberforce University, Ohio.
  • Ivy League president: Ruth Simmons, 2001, Brown UniversityAfrican-American Firsts: Literature
  • Novelist: Harriet Wilson, Our Nig (1859).
  • Poet: Lucy Terry, 1746, “Bar’s Fight.” It is her only surviving poem.
  • Poet (published): Phillis Wheatley, 1773, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. Considered the founder of African-American literature.
  • Pulitzer Prize winner: Gwendolyn Brooks, 1950, won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.
  • Pulitzer Prize winner in Drama: Charles Gordone, 1970, for his play No Place To Be Somebody.
  • Nobel Prize for Literature winner: Toni Morrison, 1993.
  • Poet Laureate: Robert Hayden, 1976–1978; first black woman Poet Laureate: Rita Dove, 1993–1995.

African-American Firsts: Music and Dance

African-American Firsts: Film

  • First Oscar: Hattie McDaniel, 1940, supporting actress, Gone with the Wind.
  • Oscar, Best Actor/Actress: Sidney Poitier, 1963, Lilies of the FieldHalle Berry, 2001, Monster’s Ball.
  • Oscar, Best Actress Nominee: Dorothy Dandridge, 1954, Carmen Jones.
  • Film director: Oscar Micheaux, 1919, wrote, directed, and produced The Homesteader, a feature film.
  • Hollywood director: Gordon Parks directed and wrote The Learning Tree for Warner Brothers in 1969.

Other African-American Firsts

  • Licensed Pilot: Bessie Coleman, 1921.
  • Millionaire: Madame C. J. Walker.
  • Billionaire: Robert Johnson, 2001, owner of Black Entertainment Television; Oprah Winfrey, 2003.
  • Portrayal on a postage stamp: Booker T. Washington, 1940 (and also 1956).
  • Miss America: Vanessa Williams, 1984, representing New York. When controversial photos surfaced and Williams resigned, Suzette Charles, the runner-up and also an African American, assumed the title. She represented New Jersey. Three additional African Americans have been Miss Americas: Debbye Turner (1990), Marjorie Vincent (1991), and Kimberly Aiken (1994).
  • Explorer, North Pole: Matthew A. Henson, 1909, accompanied Robert E. Peary on the first successful U.S. expedition to the North Pole.
  • Explorer, South Pole: George Gibbs, 1939–1941 accompanied Richard Byrd.
  • Flight around the world: Barrington Irving, 2007, from Miami Gardens, Florida, flew a Columbia 400 plane named Inspirationaround the world in 96 days, 150 hours (March 23-June 27).

Courtesy of