Tuesday, July 26, 2011

COP 24/7  Special

Hip-Hop is Gay: Seeing Mr. Cee

by James Braxton Peterson | special to NewBlackMan

Hip Hop is gay. Not in the colloquial/vernacular sense of ‘gay’ as something negative or deplorable, but gay as in actually gay. I am gay too – about the possibility of actually having a real conversation about human sexuality, human resources and Hip Hop culture. It’s high time that Hip Hop had some real discourse about the homophobia that plagues us socially and I think at this point any other front(ing) is simply a thin veneer for the Hip Hop community’s inability to embrace the sexual reality of this culture that we know, love, and sometimes hate.
Recently, HOT97’s Mr. Cee (ne Calvin LeBrun) was arrested for public lewdness when police allegedly saw him receiving oral sex from another man in his car. According to the New York Daily News this is the third time that (in less than a year) Mr. Cee has been caught/detained for solicitation, loitering and now public lewdness. Even more recently, Mr. Cee pled guilty to lewd conduct in public. As J. Desmond Harris reported on The Root.com, the online response to Mr. Cee’s predicament was typically homophobic and at times downright ignorant. To my mind this is simply more evidence that Hip Hop is gay.

In his award-winning documentary, Beyond Beats and Rhymes, filmmaker Byron Hurt unveils hypermasculinity and homosocialism as foundational pillars in the construction and performance of black masculinity in Hip Hop culture. The film also suggests that some of the rampant hypermasculinity, misogyny, and violent themes are ways in which men attempt to over compensate for their own homoerotic and homosocial desires. As more and more narratives like Mr. Cee’s emerge, the response to the alleged activities/crimes seem to be more indicative of Hip Hop culture than the actual alleged acts in question.

For his part, Mr. Cee originally denied these allegations, shielding himself in a playlist of oddly defensive rap tracks, and ramping up a twitter account so that he can defend himself against the perceived ‘plague’ of being gay in the homophobic world of Hip Hop. There are several situations in the not so distant past that have unraveled similarly in the public sphere. Eddie Murphy was arrested for a rendezvous with a transgendered person and rumors of him being gay have pretty much dogged him ever since. In a more honest discourse we might be able to consider that Eddie is more bi-sexual than gay, or better still, he, like many folk, have sexual preferences that can not simply be defined by hetero/homo terms.

You might also remember that New Jersey governor (McGreevey) who frequented Turnpike truck stops in order to satiate his socially repressed desires to be with other men. Or you might likewise recall Ted Haggert’s scandalous meth-drenched affair with a ‘personal trainer’, or former Senator Larry “wide stance” Craig’s arrest for lewd conduct. Maybe you haven’t seen the self-photograph of a svelte Bishop Eddie Long, in full pose – making a virtual/visual gift for his young targets of seduction. Bishop Long also, very recently settled his case. Mr. Cee is not the first and certainly won’t be the last public figure to be “guilty of” engaging in gay sexual activity.

Yet his recent plea, the responses, defenses and protests tell a powerful story of repression and utter fear of severe social rebuke. For the ministers and senators, their professional anti-gay rhetoric belied their personal gay desires. If we situate Mr. Cee’s alleged activity within the context of a long history of homophobia in Hip Hop – and here I am thinking specifically of the ways in which Wendy Williams stoked the flames of hatred and fear in the very first gay-rapper witch-hunt-like scandal. Nothing really came out of it except for the violent verbal attacks on Wendy Williams and the vehement denials of any rapper ever even having a gay thought.

Seriously, we cannot at this point in time as adult constituents of Hip Hop culture believe that no rapper (or DJ/producer) has or will ever be gay. It just doesn’t add up and this is not to weigh in on how/why you think people are gay – whether you think they are born that way or they somehow ‘choose’ their sexual preferences. Somebody in Hip Hop must be gay, but for me, our exceeding willful denials of this fact simply belies our culture’s repressed gay identity. We’re much like those ministers and senators who protest gay sexuality/marriage just a little too much – or just enough to signal the repression of deep-seeded gay sexual desires.

In Hip Hop this repressive denial often takes the shape of hypermasculine narratives with a no-homo brand of homophobia functioning as the frosting on the cake. Check out Funkmaster Flex’s seething defense of his homie Mr. Cee delivered in response to a rival station’s bit about Mr. Cee’s alleged public fellatio scenario. Flex goes on for at least five minutes straight, berating the entire station, defending Mr. Cee, and intimating that (gasp) there may be some folk at that other station who are actually gay, not (as Flex suggests re: Cee) framed by the NYC Hip Hop police.

But let’s pretend for minute that Mr. Cee is gay. Does that mean that his show, “Throwback at Noon” isn’t hot like fire? Does it diminish his pivotal role as Big Daddy Kane’s DJ? Is Ready to Die any less dope to you now than it was before you thought about the possibility that Mr. Cee was gay? I hope that you answered NO to all of these rhetorical questions and I hope that starting now the Hip Hop community can at last be persuaded to confront its irrational fear of the full range of our community’s human sexuality.


James Braxton Peterson is Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University and the founder of Hip Hop Scholars, LLC. Follow him on Twitter @JBP2.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Breaking it down Monday

Is it really the last week of July 2011 already? Well heck yeah, plus the summer heat is still kicking without relief and we just got to grin and bear it. So as the weather goes, so does this forum by keeping the sizzling hot issues of day front and center. Are you ready, let's hope so because here we go.....

African Advocate Brings Message to Arkansas

The Rev. Mark Kiyimba fled Uganda in March, fearing for his safety after becoming an outspoken opponent of the proposed anti-homosexuality legislation in that East African country.
Rev. Kiyimba is now in America, attempting to alert this country to the persecution of gay and lesbian Ugandans, including lawmakers’ efforts to lengthen jail terms and expand the death penalty for gay “crimes.”
COP 24/7 has posted about the dastardly legislation that has been promoted by David Bahati as well as his well heeled connections to the U.S based organization, The Family and it's murky "K" Street operations in the shadows of Washington D.C.
The Worship and Faith in Action Teams of UUCLR will co-sponsor a potluck supper, interfaith celebration, and talk by the Rev. Mark Kiyimba from Uganda. This event takes place in Thomson Hall on Sunday evening, August 7, 2011, from 6:00 pm until 8:30 pm. The potluck supper begins at 6:00, and the service and presentation at 7:00. Lasagna, bread, and beverages will be served at supper, so please bring salads, fruit, and desserts. Children are welcome for the entire event, and childcare is offered from 6:00 to 8:30. There is no charge to attend, but donations will be accepted. This forum applauds UUCLR for stepping to the plate to educate their members and the local community on this plight of the Ugandan GLBTQ community. As a side note, those wanting to "kill all the right people" doesn't stop in Uganda, but other African countries such as Ghana and Eastern Europe's Croatia. If you can attend this worthy event do so, if not send a contribution to show your support of this mission.

Going to the Chapel

As the clock struck midnight Sunday, those gay folks who made the cut in the marriage lotto rushed to alter to get their nuptial's on. It's reported that some 600 plus couples were ready to get hitched including a couple that did it Gracie Mansion style with Governor Bloomberg officiating. Wow! That's lots of wedding cakes, flowers, limos and all the trappings that it takes to make this celebration special. I'm sure that wedding planners, caterers and everyone connected within that industry are clicking their heels saying "there's no place like New York!" Of course, the marriage shuffle was met with a protest march from locals who believed that it should have come down to a vote from the people. However, this political maneuver was engineered by many factions raging from local gay power brokers to those seasoned politico's sitting in Albany. In case you didn't know and many don't, that their was some significant Benjamin's on the table, supposedly a Million Dollars plus, to assist with campaign donations and other interesting caveats all tied up in nice pink bow. And so, it's on in New York with champagne flowing and marriage decrees being printed faster that you can say "get me to the church on time!"

Black Pride in the City

Black Pride 2011 has come and gone. Did you know? Well, if not, COP 24/7 was on the scene taking it all in and we are still trying to wrap our minds as well as find the words to describe the who, why and the "WTF" of the weekend event. So, stay locked and loaded to this forum as we prepare to report this Wednesday. You will not want to miss it.

Regional Meeting in Little Rock

Don't Forget to save the date for the Welcome to Little Rock Mixer, October 14, 2011 as apart of the Midland Regional meeting of The National Association of Black and White Men Together in Little Rock. The event will be held at the La Quinta Inn & Suites, Clinton Room, 7 p.m.- until.  $5.00 suggested Donation to support local community based organization, The Living Affected Corporation, Inc. which promotes positive sexual health for all.  For more information contact nealix101@comcast.net  In-kind contributions, financial donations and volunteer possibilities available. $35 Early Bird registrations can be obtained at www.regonline.com/fmrock2011  as well as other weekend highlights. More information about NABWMT can be found their website at http://www.nabwmt.org/

Friday, July 22, 2011

Living Out Loud and in Living Color 2011

In case this is your first visit to COP 24/7 welcome. If not, welcome back!  It is our pleasure to continue to offer Arkansas' GLBTQ communities a window into a variety of topics, issues, insights, observations and news that impact our lives. Our goal is to empower, entertain and sometimes enrage you to action. If you are not a follower, then become one and don't forget to share COP 24/7 with your friends and extended familiy. If you are thinking about it, most likely CorneliusOnpoint will be talking about it. Get on board today!

As a special to COP 24/7, certain articles that fall into our inbox catch our attention and they speak for themselves without anything added from this forum. We are glad to present such items for your reading pleasure. It is unedited and content acknowledged from http://www.healthyblackmen.org/

Tweet Me, Sex me, Know Me
by Dr. James Wadley

We go to the internet for everything from news, job searches, and gifts to sexual partners. The pervasiveness of social media has created new skills among people using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like to enhance their professional and personal lives. Social media and internet “chat rooms” offer individuals an opportunity to network with scores of people who have similar interests to develop friendships and relationships. There seems to be a website or social media outlet for everyone and it has impacted the way that individuals express intimacy to one another. For example, I recently had a client who felt comfortable with sharing naked pictures by phone text messaging but was “afraid” to have a discussion with his potential partner about safe sex. I had another client who felt comfortable talking about her likes/dislikes sexually by chatting on the internet but thought it to be “unromantic” to talk about sex history and sexually transmitted infections with her partner in person.

It’s true the internet has created various forums for people to have personal exchanges, yet it hasn’t perfected a space for meaningful and healthy dialogue about sexuality and relational expectations. That is why it’s important to ask questions and not make assumptions based on profile pages that may or may not be totally accurate, especially when it comes to health status. Too many people are quick to get relative information (e.g., email or phone number), and become intimate with someone they may not really. If hooking up and having sex with you only takes a few tweets, text messages, emails, or picture exchanges, what does that say about the value that you place on yourself and your sexuality? SLOW DOWN!!!

Slowing down and taking time out to get to know someone across contexts can save you a lot of money, angst and trepidation at the health clinic, and possibly save your life. Anyone can present anything using social media and the internet. It typically takes weeks/months/years to really get to know someone and how they behave around various people (e.g., around your family, friends, co-workers, etc.), time periods, (e.g., weekends, holidays, leisure, work hours, etc.) and situations (e.g., when you/him/her are bored, angry, silly, etc. around each other).

Here are a six important items you may want to include in getting to know someone:

1.Have you ever had a sexually transmitted infection? If so, which one and how was it treated?

2.When was the last time you had unprotected vaginal, oral, anal sex?

3.When is the last time you got tested for a sexually transmitted infection including HIV?

4.How many partners do you currently have?

5.What happens if I/you get pregnant?

6.What do you consider “cheating” to be?

Also consider an in-person discussion (in a safe space) with your potential/current mate as opposed to Twitter or Facebook because you will want to see the person’s body language when having a sensitive talk. Give yourself a chance to truly learn about who your partner really is and is not. That deserves more than 140 characters.
Dr. James Wadley is an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Human Services Program at Lincoln University. He is a licensed professional counselor and marriage, family, and sexuality therapist in the States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is also a Contributor to healthyblackmen.org. Need free HIV testing or info on having a healthy sexual life? Contact http://www.livingaffected.org/  or infor@lacorponline.org

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Roustabout Rainbows

Hold on, its fast and furious as COP 24/7 bust a move this Thursday as our in-box runneth over with more than could make the cut for this outing. So, without any further blah, blah, blah, let's go get em....

Stonewall Speaks

After some mumbling and grumbling from various sections of the community concerning a response to Gov. Beebe's visit last month, the Stonewall Democrats have been "talking out loud" to whoever will listen. In a Arkansas Democrat Op-Ed item (7.18.11), SDC President Eric McDaniel speaks to what he cites as compelling and critical aspects to Arkansas' and America's "progress" in the struggle for GLTBQ equality. He triumphs the visit as "historic" which from the onset it is considering most likely no other sitting Governor probably has never ever been asked but as a term limited official what really did Beebe have to loose by not showing up. Bad PR, maybe? I'm sure his folks like Matt Decample decided that it was a safe move for him  to be seen and heard in front of GLBTQ people even though he had nothing to say to us in his first term except "get lost and take your gay cash with you!" Mc Daniel states that this meeting demonstrated that "we have a seat at the table," and I'd like to know where's that table so I can see who is occupying the seats in lieu of our reported item from CAR's Randi Romo who is seeking to gather forces for an impending strategy meeting of the minds. Anyway, McDaniel is correct when he outlines that there has been change from a Democratic President that was rebuffed and almost dismissed by much of the GLBTQ community because they felt that he was not progressing on lavender topics. However, as time would have it, President Obama has roared through with repealing DADT, trouncing on DOMA and has openly gay administration staff members including transgendered appointee, Amanda Simpson at DOC's Bureau of Industry and Security. Even more important that McDaniel left off his list was the fact the Obama pushed forth the first National AIDS Strategy that charts a groundbreaking course of action to address this health dilemma. Can you name any other American President to consistently and openly speak to and about GLBTQ issues either on our turf or from the bully pulpit of the White House. I think not. Does this make him perfect, not hardly but he's made bold steps during his term. 
Meanwhile, "legitimate opportunities exist for change in Arkansas," muses McDaniel and I have no qualms with that observations, however, let's be real about it. We've heard more from Stonewall Democrats in the last few weeks than we've heard from them anytime soon. Also, if Romo is now asking for folks to come together to forge pathways for the future, then where has the Stonewall Democrats been with its crafted professional messages as they state. Case in point, I don't recall any public blather in defense of Jay Barth from those gay baiting slurs from his competitor Linda Poindexter Chester or any chit-chat on the murder of local personality and transgendered Alexis Fairchild, and I haven't heard much from them in this forum which has been in place for say the last 5 years? Alright enough already. The bottom line is that we all got some work to do and it's gonna take you, you and you damn it you too! Mc Daniel's article gets a COP 24/7 Shout OUT! Otherwise, may I suggest to readers of this forum and beyond to discover a organization that you believe that you can feel passionate about and get busy!  Needs to groups to check out, hit us up in our comment section. We'd love to share a few....

FOOD Inc.: What Are U and I Eating???

When I need to break off from reality, I go into a darken room, get comfortable, prepare myself and then click on my favorite guilty pleasure, a movie of my choice. Its my best therapy without getting dressed to go the office. This week I watched Food Inc. a great documentary that probably many of you would not bother with or desire to see. After all, nothing blew up, no body got blowed and the message was simple, "we need to be concerned with what is going into bodies and where is it coming from." This film was filled complete with alarming statistics and images that vividly illustrated that we are taking our consumption for granted. When was the last time you read a food label not just for the calorie count but what ingredient's are making tasty or substantial for storing. As a foodie and Caterer, I probably pay attention to this more than many of you for various reasons. Yet, its imperative that as consumers we become keenly aware of that many food stuffs travel thousand of miles to reach us, not to mention that the film made the point that our supermarkets are basically "seasonaless" and we have fresh this or that all the time. How can their be fresh fruit all year round or what may appear to be summer vegetables in mid-fall. Its because they come from numerous places around the globe due to marketplace demands. It seems that we will pay almost at any cost to have it when we wanted no matter the impact on our environment or the carbon footprint it leaves. I'm really working on that carbon footprint  Most disturbingly and eye-opening is the ongoing battle with genetically modified foods" that are creeping into the pipeline and now for unsuspecting shoppers to know the country of origin of some foods. I think twice about buying "catfish from Vietnam or Thailand" versus homegrown products. The film also emphasized that each of us take charge of our pantries by considering herb gardens, vegetable gardens and shopping with local farmer markets. As a basically healthy eater, I've come to understand as well as realized that the old adage of "you are what you eat," is very true and it affects you throughout your life span. So when you are invited to my next dinner party or event occasion expect to see some healthy choices along side those sinful indulges.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Wednesday Rubbernecking

Yes it's still hot outside and so is the "big chair" where COP 24/7 clicks out the latest updates, breaking news, observations, opinions and a few "two snaps in a circle." come backs for your reading pleasure. Its all here and ain't no stopping us now...

Pride in the City Continues

I know that many of you thought that Pride 2011 was back in June, right? Well, you wouldn't be exactly wrong, but in case you didn't know and most likely most don't know, there was more pride to come. Enter Black Pride 2011 part 1.0 that took place July 15-17 at Club Goodtimes as proclaimed by the banner still hanging outside the haunt. I don't know about you, but for some reason my ideas of "pride" and obviously other folks idea of pride vary wildly. First up you have to understand the origins of this concept and come to terms with why they exist. To fast track that understanding you can check out the International Federation of Black Prides website (http://www.ifbprides.org/) where you can get a more background than the quickie over view that I'm offering in this forum. These prides were developed to fill a perceived void that other established "prides" were not addressing or what we now call "culturally competent" activities that were relevant to people of color communities. Now with that said, according to IFBP their intent was to act as a conduit for the purpose of developing sponsorship strategies, providing technical assistance, networking, mentoring, and supporting one another. I have met IFBP founder, Earl Folkes and through our conversation I could see his vision and mission. However in my opinion, his vision of "empowerment and capacity building opportunities" have somewhat faltered here in Little Rock. Especially since somehow there are dueling "black prides" such as the Club Goodtimes mash up that has featured a Miss/Mr. Black Pride, guest artist and pole dancers as well as other late night activities which is privately promoted. On the flip side, there's Little Rock Black Pride with this year's theme of "Sex In the City," with a line-up of meet and greets, theme parties and a expo which rounds out its schedule, July 22-24. Let me be clear and for the record, I've attempted to work with this outfit in the past but it seemed to me that this event suffers from a lack of structural and operational vision meanwhile falling short of what Mr. Folkes envisioned for IFBP affiliates. What exactly do I mean? I love a great party just as anyone would, but the total "purpose" of this event appears muddled and fuzzy at best. Is this a "BET-Walk the Runway knock off, a low wattage circuit party wannabee or a chance to connect the SGL community with other community based organizations including HIV/AIDS testing?  I'm not sure and for the most part I can't tell if anyone else actually knows either. What's even more interesting and perhaps a bit troubling is the fact this group has been utilizing valuable subsidized resources that may not be justifiable if this local CBO can't be all they can be. In the meantime, I'll be checking out this years activities and will report back on what I found. Come out and check it out, then let's talk.  Here's the tentative schedule: ( it's unedited from the Facebook listing)

JULY 22-24, 2011
FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2011; 5:00 - 8:00PM: MEET AND GREET
8:00 - 11:00PM PRE PARTY (FREE)



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Leaning Forward

Swoosh and away we go into the third week of July 2011. Talk about fast and furious, its been just that throughout the entire year and we are ready to shift gears into an Indian summer shortly. In the meantime, the keyboards are ready to tap the latest from COP 24/7!!  Here we go!

Beebe Talk Talk: Take 3

This forum several post back, addressed Arkansas Stonewall Democrats first ever community talk with Gov. Beebe held last month and the subsequent murmuring about the groups lukewarm response to his positions and observations of the GLBTQ community. Although I agree that he has the right to his opinion, what bothers me is the fact that since that revelation of how he really feels took place, there's not much that has been said overall by the community in letters to the Editor, no Op-Eds, and not to mention I got no comments whatsoever in this forum. However, I did get a copy of the open letter that was apart of the CAR Notes media piece to which I found stimulating and deserving of an "Amen" from the amen corner. This well written and thought out item penned by Executive Director Randi Romo echo's what I've believed every since I approached being apart of social justice activity some 30 years ago. Wow, I'm dating myself but believe me, I'm proud to still be around telling it like it I see it. The letter speaks of Gov. Beebee's lack of cultural competency, "that's just the way is folks" attitude and don't rock the boat viewpoint eloquently while openly chiding local factions concerning what I've termed as a fractured community. Romo cites "finger pointing" and the lack of trust as barriers to gaining equality. She touts that organizing and advocating in a strategic manner is a viable direction to affect change to which I must agree. For the most part, I agree with the tone and sentiments expressed in their entirety concerning the local situation. I've been apart of meetings of this nature many, many, many time previous where we have a groundswell of "light bulb" moments, a grand start off with surefire plans that usually go into the tank just shortly afterwards. Can you say Capitol Pride, Positive Voices, The League, and groupo XYZ. Oops I said I wouldn't name names, but it just had to be said. They came, they saw and they went to organization trash heap. Now to be fair, Romo is exactly right with her observations especially to what appears to strained relationships and perceptions that may not be honest assessments of individuals or organizations. By no means do I feel that taking another stab at this process is futile, but rather I endorse the notion with the caveat that those folks who come to the table be prepared to stay at the table when there's a food fight or what have you. If no body is in it to win it, then why bother with another exercise in pretending to want social change with a series of meetings, big ideas and no money to support the effort. Romo gets a COP 24/7 high-five for at least trying. Best of luck and I'll be watching. 

To Sag or NOT to Sag is the question

I'm really showing  my age with this outing because of an item that was forwarded to me to clarify some questions I had about an incident that occurred to Dershon Marman aboard a US Airways flight from San Francisco a minute or so ago. I had seen the issue of his "sag look" and the subsequent action of the aircraft pilot with police in tow when they removed him from the flight in handcuffs. Stories abound about what exactly happed, of course he said he told the flight attendant that he would "pull his pants up" when he got to his seat, which I not sure exactly means that he was complying with the request when he first attracted attention. Then, supposedly the exchange between the Captain and Mr. Marman somehow went awry and who knows exactly how that went down. All that seemed down was Dershon's pants and I've had a problem with this look for sometime. According to Colorofchange.org they are framing the situation from a viewpoint that Mr. Marman was "profiled" and subject to a civil rights double standard because this gent was demonstrating this "cultural trend." Wow is that what all these underwear exposed penguin walking fashion victims have been doing? They are "culturally trending" down the streets in front of my house, in the malls, supermarket, parks and restaurants with apparently no modesty or respect for anyone but themselves. In full disclosure I use to shed my shirt at the local Tea Dance, participated in Under gear parties privately and I am a slave to fashion, but I can't get with this look culturally or otherwise. I have learned that some gay bars have new policies barring the look and I was totally surprised at local eatery Khalil's signage which listed that the "sag" look would not be tolerated in their facility. So what is all this? Is it a discriminatory practice? Can sagging be a beacon for a system that is seen as "criminalizing and penalizing" Black youth for what Colorof change states is "no difference of behavior," to which I say exactly what the hell does that mean. I fully understand that Black youth certainly live in challenging times with a mind field of possibilities that could land them in jail. But, in  my opinion the true crime that being overlooked is allowing these youth to present themselves with pants riding underneath their buttock while displaying color drawers of all sorts. As for Mr. Marman, I wonder why would anyone show up at the Airport is such a disarray to begin with especially if he's so smart and considerate as he's being portrayed. For that matter, why are any of these boys and yes believe it or not, Ladies seem to think that this cultural trend is so appealing. Hey note to this folks, It's just plain ole silly and messy. It ain't cute nor pretty folks no matter what ethnic group you belong too.  

Got Back Talk? Yeah we read all of it and don't edit nothing that's said except stuff that gets totally out of line. But bring it and we'll put it all out there. Hit the comment box to share.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Out of the Gate Monday

As we play catch up to all that falls in our e-box and otherwise, COP 24/7 does it's ever lovin best to stay current, as well as "on point." It can  be daunting in the scheme of everything that a producer must check out while being dutiful to every other aspect of their lives, especially when you have one such as myself that seems like it just won't quit. But, I digress. Anyway, we are here, hot, live and otherwise ready to keep giving it to you like you wanted us to. It's COP 24/7 coming out of the gate again!

30 Years and Counting
The Intersection of HIV and Poverty

Even as we move through another milestone year of the health dilemma and crisis of HIV/AIDS we continue to be reminded of the reverberations of this disease throughout an individuals life. We've learned of the need to access care through treatment, additional prevention messages have been developed, social services assessed and housing assistance sought, but the underlying impact of poverty has been demonstrated by researchers from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and reported by USA Today (7/11/11). According to the article, "Southern counties that have the greatest rates of HIV infection are among the poorest in the nation," USA TODAY's analysis shows. "Elsewhere in the USA, counties with the highest rates of HIV-infected people had, on average, one in seven people living in poverty, earning roughly $22,350 for a family of four. In the South's most HIV-stricken counties, about one of every five people live below the federal poverty line."
Jonathan Mermin, director of HIV/AIDS prevention at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the agency's research supports the link between HIV and poverty. "People with household incomes of less than $10,000 a year were 10 times more likely to have HIV than people whose household incomes are greater than $50,000." For the record, Arkansas fall squarely in this reality and these stats correlate to spikes of all sexually transmitted diseases as well as other co-morbidity issues such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Even more glaring is the fact that Arkansas lawmakers and policymakers have given lip service to this issue. Just for the record, even with the recent 94 Million dollar surplus announced, Arkansas has no line item in its budget directly addressing HIV/AIDS. All funding for this health dilemma is sourced from federal funding from the CDC. This funding has been flat lined for some time with no increases to deal with the increasing need for services from lab results to transportation. Local community group Arkansas HIV/AIDS Community Advocates has surmised that reported numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health should be considered a snapshot of the situation and not a full factual picture of what's really happening in Arkansas. If this is the case, then they assume that many within the true "pool " of possible individuals will include many not in care, not accessing services for numerous reasons and ultimately many who do not know that they are infected. AHCA, concluded that a "crisis fund" may need to be developed to assist those who fall outside of Federal Poverty guidelines and other barriers that affect those who are dealing with the disease. The USA today article also speaks to the shame attached to HIV which contributes to its spread by discouraging people — especially young black gay men, who are at especially high risk of infection — from getting tested or seeking treatment, he says. "People don't want to get into care because they're afraid their families will find out" and reject them said, AIDS activist Cedric Sturdevant, 46, of Jackson, Miss., who was diagnosed with HIV in 2006. Here in  Little Rock, The Living Affected Corporation will be launching an initiative to further address the plight of African American MSM utilizing their new offices in North Little Rock's Argenta area. The issue of outreaching to 18-24 population has been an ongoing project with the group and will be prioritize throughout 2011 into 2012 with the proposed project supported by grant sources. LACorp will be announcing their office hours and the entire range of services available within the coming weeks. As a 501c (3) all gifts and contributions are tax deductible and encouraged as the group continues to promote holistic, positive sexual & reproductive health for all. In conclusion the South's HIV-infection rates were statistically higher than the rest of the nation, and the epidemic disproportionately affects minorities, especially blacks. In Mississippi, blacks account for 37% of the population but 76% of new cases of HIV. For more info on Arkansas check out the interactive tool at http://www.aidsvu.org/  To contact The Living Affected Corporation: info@lacorponline.org or send donations to P.O. Box 46558, Little Rock, Arkansas 72214-6558

BWMT Midland Meeting and Greeting in Little Rock

The National Association of Black and White Men Together's Midland Regional meeting, Ocotber 14-16, 2011 will be a first for the city. The meeting will consist of reviewing budgets, projects and other internal working of the regional group affiliated with the national entity NABWMT. To kick off the weekend, Friday, October 14 a Welcome to Little Rock mixer will be held in the Clinton Room at the host hotel, LaQuinta Inn & Suites 617 South Broadway. 7pm until  $5.00 donation. Proceeds from the mixer will support services of LA Corp the official chairty of the event. $35 Early bird registration is now underway on the online registration portal at www.regonline.com/fmrock2011  For more info contact nealix101@comcast.net

Another One Bites the Dust

Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative announced that they are outta here in Sunday's Democrat Gazzette. According to Executive Director Chad McGriff, there were many issues that caused the 10 year old NPO's demise including the holy trinity of surviving the Non Profit game of membership, board members with committment, networks and giving pocket books and above all accessing active revenue streams. It's that power mix that I've talked about until I'm hearing echos of "people power, visions, missions and MONEY. Doesn't it sound so simple. But it's not. I've learned over and over again, that gathering like minded folks who are willing to do more than put "lip service" to their interest is vital to any organization. Board Members are cultivated and educated as to what they "should" be doing for the entity. These "bell ringers" and I don't mean the Salvation Army type are charged with not only making financial committment to the organization from themselves, but should be determined to get that same support from their networks while sharing the "mission, values and vision" of the organization. ACAC mirrors what has happened to local GLBTQ groups that I've named oh so many times that I just won't even do it anymore. Yet, I keep hearing from many of you about why we don't have this or have that in this city like they do in other cities! Really? Sure we can have whatever is needed but when the rubber hits the road who will get on board, stay for the long haul while making it happen when times get tough. It's been my experience that many gay folks "pick up their "ball and jacks" and go to the house. ACAC cited that other venues with same pursuits such as the Argenta Community Theater had become a big shot caller on the arts scene which affected their appeal. Well that may be what they would like to think but it's not quite factual. The problems for that group and others that may be facing the same fate, is the lack of structure and financial base to support their mission. I attended a few of their functions, I bought art from an artist showing, got reminder cards of events, but it's the personal touch that I didn't get from anyone connected from the onset. NO one called me and said those magical words "you've been to our events in the past but we've not seen you in some time. We were concerned enough to personally invite you to event X." It's called "cultivating a prospect" and "making a personal connection" between both. Postcards, Form letters and Invites are not cutting the mustard in the effort to get new stakeholders or members. As for board members, if they are not totally committed then you've got nothing more than a name on the books. I'm a two term board member for The National Association of Black and White Men Together and I took that charge seriously. Especially my time and treasure that would be needed to be apart of the organization. To date, I've committed in-kind gifts, personal contributions and voluteer time to the tune of over $5,000. This doesn't count my efforts elsewhere where I have secured drug donations of $10,000 while offering my support and expertise across the board. This is what board members do daily as they guide "organization A, B or C" to full fill its mission and serve its constituients or stakeholders. Note to GLBTQ community and beyond: Got anybody interested in being a board member for whatever it is that's needed? Well do we? If so, here's your call to action, if you dare.
Got some back talk?...We're ready and willing to hear it! Hit our comment box to share. Do it TODAY!


Friday, July 15, 2011

This and That Friday Round-up

Another Friday, another fast breaking weekend in the city and here in the hot box of COP 24/7. The topic possibilities are almost overwhelming as we end out the week with the world appearing to be going to hell in a handbasket. You name it and its popping off like a tub of hot buttered Orval Reddenbacker! The debit ceiling melt down continues to go unresloved, political rhetoric is at a pitch fever and well it's still damn hot in the heartland to boot. But never you mind, this forum is still in it to bring you our special take on what's really going on and then some....

The Big O Bounces

Media Mogul and "queen of all things" Oprah Winfrey has decided she needs to step the plate and run thangs over at the OWN network. In case you haven't been watching and by all account that's a lot of folks who have all but said "WTF" about channel, Winfrey is not amused at the performance of the network which debut in January 2011. Of course I don't know personally how she feels since she didn't phone in her concerns to me, but from what I've seen of the network, it's a take it or forget about it proposition for myself. I'm not sure who thought that we really needed to hear or no more about "Finding Sarah" featuring defrocked duchess Sarah Ferguson who drones on about her spiraling royalty life and now "finding" redemption through reflection. Alright Sarah, enough of that. Then there's The O Neal's, that's Tatum and daddy Ryan O'Neal whom display dysfunctional from A to Z, Including papa O'Neal who recently stated that he believed that his daughter was a primary reason for his lifetime lover, Farrah Fawcett death. Really Mr, O Neal? Even though it was well documented that Ms. Fawcett had cancer which she publicly discussed many times. Of course O'Neal has been in the news most recently over copies of Andy Warhol artworks of Fawcett as he's in a face off with her old Alma manta. Enough Already. Shall we go on? We must. In this hodge podge mash up of programming you've got Shania Twain spilling about her marriage breakdown, The Judds displaying their tri-fecta of human relationship between mother and daughters Wynonna and Ashley, add a dash of cooking from Christina Ferrare and a dose of Carson Kressely's Queer Eye "Carson Nation" make over show will make you grateful that you've got 300 other channels to choose from. Even though it's not all pretty at OWN, there are some glimmers of hope such as Our America with Lisa Ling, Serving Life which chronicles prison life in the infamous Angola prison of Louisiana and Master Class do offer good TV watching. But I can't believe that with all the Oprah power that surrounds Winfrey, why there isn't more compelling choices especially since the Discovery Channel had many ground breaking programs and was one of my favorite channels. Former CEO Christina Norman an MTV verteran was given the boot despite her expertise, she somehow just didn't make the cut. I was amazed that this African American women took on the challenge but perhaps the odds were against her from the onset.  I know that it takes much to produce content because I do it daily, and surely when Ms,. Winfrey takes the CEO and Chief Creative Director helm not only will my expectations will be enhanced but undoubtedly so will everyone else's. On her Facebook page, Miss O stated that she was in pursuit of finding programming that resonates with viewers which it is now reported at about a third of 266,000, down from Million eyeballs earlier this year. Why all the concern you ask, well it's all about the advertisers such as Target, General Motors and Proctor and Gamble who believed that the "O" magic will sell product. They've put up some big bucks and the Discovery suits have rolled the dice with Winfrey to make this outing a success. However, what OWN needs is shows that someone cares about while feeling good about them as Oprah keeps talking about. Alright here's some ideas, how about more of The Number One Ladies Detective Agency featuring Jill Scott. It was a great series with a built in audience and certainly made me feel good, plus it was stopped mid seasons for reasons unknown. Or how about a revisited Frank's Place produced by Tim and Daphene Reid which was offbeat but with many "feel good" messages. Here's another, "Any Day Now" about changing race relations in the south beautifully portrayed by Lorraine Toussiant and Annie Potts could be updated and retro-fitted for the 21st Century. Hey, Big O! Call me I got some ideas for the network that just might be a winner while the rest offer those ho-hum and tired concepts. I'll be waiting...  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tune up Thursday

What's trending today? You name it and it's caught this forums attention ranging from that raging deficit/debt ceiling debate, crazy folk gone wild to Harry Potter mania. It's all golden material, ripe for use and we are not going waste a minute diving in into the fray. It's Bastille Day and let's roll with it...

Obama Bounces from the Hip

"Enough is Enough!" No that 80's Streisand and Donna Summer anthem, but rather President Obama putting his foot down about this debit ceiling mash-up that I imagine he's just sick about it. Sick about it enough to state that this shot-caller, big- baller is prepared to roll snake eyes on table in the West Wing of the White House. Obama not only has put the holy trinity of "medicare, social security and medicaid" in his hip pocket as a power play, he now states that he's ready to play the "Big Joker" of his presidency to get this shit done and hopefully by this Friday. News accounts vary, but I can just imagine Brother O making the case, stating the facts, hearing more BS and giving the GOP obstructionist the "hand" and pimping back to the oval office. You go Mr. O. because by all appearances you're not having it and we the American people have just about had enough as well. The ideology promoted by GOP supporters that because the upper echelon of business types have done well, they don't deserve or are not capable of paying their fair share or more from those bank accounts busting at the seams. It's not secret that many CEO's are raking in the loot including stock options and bonuses to boot. It's a proven fact that there are tax havens such as the Cayman Island is where lots of Benjamin's are hiding in plain sight and untouchable by Uncle Sam. This "cash shuffle" includes numerous corporations who move their profits through a network of shell companies and digital monetary networks. Hedge funds, tax loopholes, subsidies and the three Card Monte that is the U.S. tax code all have played into this "kicking the can down the road" mentally that has plagued our government for decades. So now, here we are with the battle of the Titans playing out as the clock ticks away. I'm sure we have some reserves to continue to pay out but the whole "default" mess makes us look like a country in disarray to say the least. Note to power players: Obama know when to hold them and when to fold em. Keep your game face on and let the chips fall where they may. Call em out and then dare em to default.  

News Diva Rachel Maddow Rocks

What's there not to like about MSNBC's self proclaimed "political geek," Rachel Maddow. In my opinion, nothing. She's a aptly educated, thoroughly interesting although sometimes quirky broadcaster that brings it nightly. Hey folks, Maddow is no joke when it comes to knowing what's really going on and drilling down on those folks who step to her with a lot "talk-talk" and no substance. Usually I never miss Maddow's broadcast and often time watch it a second time later in the evening to make sure that I didn't miss anything. Recently, she did a segment on what I term "those crazy folks gone amuck among us," featuring a cast of characters that announced that proclaimed that TV icon, Oprah Winfrey as a "anti-Christ entity posing as good person," that the black birds that fell from the skies in Beebe Arkansas was somehow connected to a divine intervention channeling through the Governor who also shares the name Beebe concerning the "don't ask" action from former president Clinton, then there's the profit who believes that Barrack Obama governance is conflicted because he's only "part black" unlike Herman Cain who is black all the way to the bone! Maddow distinctively wanted to point out to the audience that "wacko fringe" needs monitoring and by all means watching. Can you imagine that many of these folks have platforms to share this madness not to mention that they actually have followers. I should be so lucky to get such devoted followers who who send me a donation to keep this platform up to par. Ms. Maddow doesn't blink when putting these types including Ugandan nut wing David Bahati who wanted to somehow cleanse Uganda of homosexuals by "killing all the right people." This guy told Maddow that he had bona fide proof that homosexuals were using "thousands" of dollars to produce video's to teach the countries youth on how to be gay. Maddow pressed this lawmaker to the fullest and left an open invite for him to present his proof, which to date he has not. Each night I sit waiting for Maddow, to put it all out on front street for me to gaze and be amazed. She never fails me with her quick witted journalistic style, when she comes out swinging on those who want to play her for a fool or those who take the low road with references to her sexuality to which she has no shame. All hail the Maddow and tune in if you want to hear about topics that no one else is talking about.

StoneWall Talking Out Loud

There's been a bit of grumbling and murmuring about the tepid response from the Stonewall Democrat Caucus in response to their Gov. Beebe programming a few weeks back. From best I can tell, it seems that SDC sort of "soft balled" their response and it was not the pointed bravado that one would expect from such an organization. This was the tone that I got from the various circulated e-mails and FB posting from locals who wanted to "feel some fiery verbiage" from McDaniel and crew. Phil Martin and John Brummet have chimed in with thoughtful responses and forward thinking commentary supportive of the GLBTQ community and critical of the good Gov. Apparently all of this "talk-talk" has prompted the group to call for discussions on how the organization can keep matters moving forward. Now, this forum has not only raise certain issues that have impacted this community but openly inquired about what the "agenda" will look like and what is prioritized. Let me throw out few for consideration: 1. Cultural Competency training  2. Political 101??  3. HIV/AIDS crisis funding? The list could be endless or shortsighted depending who is enlisted to make the determination. Alright, SDC, we'll await your future announcement and see just where you are coming from. In the meantime, as with all organizations you charitable contributions are welcomed and highly suggested if we are to make any en roads for this effort. 

NABMWT Regional Midland Meeting

The Midland Regional Meeting of NABWMT, October 14-16, 2011, is seeking volunteers, contributors and in-kind gifts to support the weekend event. Online registration is now underway at www.regonline.com/fmrock2011 and additional details can be found on the platform. The weekend will feature a Friday Welcome to Little Rock Mixer, Saturday sightseeing tour and evening reception, closing with a Sunday Grand Brunch. The Board of Director will be meeting on Saturday morning to discuss future projects and development.This is the first visit of NABWMT to the city of Little Rock, check out the groups website at www.nabwmt.org  For more info contact: nealix101@comcast.net  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mid-Week Hump and Bounce

Recently I had a question about how do we choose the content for COP 24/7?  I had not given much thought to the process except that we are determined to one, keep it funky fresh, secondly watch for trending items and most importantly, keeping it on point!  Ultimately, our main purpose is to follow our mission pillars of empowering, educating and entertaining our readership and the community at large. I never know what will "make the cut," however, what I do know it that it will fall in line with our special brand of updates, links, commentary, podcast and video for which this forum is becoming known. With all that said, let's go to work.

Zuna Institue Announces 2011 Conference Line Up
The Zuna Institue has announced it's keynote speaker, Linda Villarosa, author, jouranlist and public speaker and C.C. Carter, writer, poet and performance artist as the event host of it's 2011 National Black Lesbian Conference, August 25-28, 2011 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Under the theme, "Black Lesbians Matter," the conference will have workshops and forums that focus on the education and advocacy within the Black lesbian Diaspora as well as offer a national voice on gay and lesbians issues. Zuna released in 2010 a ground breaking report also entitled "Black Lesbians Matter," which was a comprehensive look a the lives of Black lesbians in America. The report can be accessed on their website. It's worth reading to gain understanding into the unique prespecitves, experiences and priorities that instersects and connects within the GLBTQ community.
Ms. Villarosa penned "Coming Out," an article featured in Essence Magzine (1991) which set a precednet on articles concerning Black Lesbians in a mainstream publication. Recently Villarosa wrote "Passing for Black," about a "quest for identity - being black, female and gay."  Ms. CC. Carter won the 5th Annual Guild Open Mic Competition, as well as, several local and national slams and she hails from Chicago. According to Francine Ramsey, Zuna Institute's Executive Director, "having Linda Villarosa means so much to the community, we have come full circle since 1991 when we read the words fo a Black lesbian, Linda Villarosa, coming out in Essence magazine. The Zuna Institute is a national advocacy organization for Black Lesbians that addresses such issues such as economic development, health, education and public policy. While striving to eliminate barriers that are deeply rooted in public policies that encourage homophobia, economic injustices and other forms of social discrimination. For more info contact: nblc@zunainstitue.org

Meetings A-Go-Go in the City

In case you didn't know and for some reason I believe that you don't. There are lot's of meetings going on in the city concerning various topics and subjects revelant to the GLBTQ community and beyond. I know that you don't care for meetings and as many that I have to attend, would like to attend or either just can't get to, they are happening all around you and if you are not engaged then may I encourage you to do so. So you ask, what meetings...I never hear about any meetings.?" Well, as I have stated before, you will have to "pull your head off it or out of it," to become more aware such things. If you are interested in the HIV/AIDS area, there's the Community Planning Group which meets monthly at the Arkansas Department of Health. This entity is designed to assist with planning prevention approaches and directions to the disease utiltizing the imput of both those infected or affected. Contact Mark.Moorehad@arkansas.gov or Courtney.Hampton@arkansas.gov for more information. Also, there's Arkansas Community HIV Advocates which meets on the second Wednesday of each month at the Cox Building in downtown Little Rock. This group is a collaborating incubator that assess practices, operating issues and loopholes within the services offered by contracted HIV/AIDS providers and the impact on clients. The group was created from an initiative entitled the SHARP (State Healthcare Access Research Project) report that cited the both disparities and postive outcomes in Arkansas. The group hopes to outreach to policy makers as well as lawmakers to clarify the issues surrounding those who are living with HIV/AIDS statewide.For schedule information contact: info@lacorponline.org  The Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) holds it's monthly meeting by teleconference as a means of connecting interested parties from each sector to the state. Each meeting is hosted by a quadrant leader featuring varying agendas on topics directly related to endusers or consumers. The meetings allow participants to openly share their concerns, questions and difficulty in accessing services in their respective areas.This meeting is supported by ADH.  For more info contact Kellye at 1.888.499.6544  Don't forget that area CBO's (community based organizations) have regularly schedule meetings and always in search of committed volunteers and energetic board members. Don't know how to engage? It's quite simple, call, e-mail, text or stop by any of the agencies that we highlight in this forum to share your interest. Each of these groups need "people power" to full fill their missions and visions for the GLBTQ community. Bring your time or treasure and get involved TODAY!

Maximizing the EITC: Did U Know???

In an effort to offer helpful resources to stretching your dollar or putting more dollars in your purse. COP 24/7 will post a series of "Did you Know" items for your consideration. I believe that knowledge is power and it's worked for me for the last 5 decades and hopefully until we reach shangrala. The EITC, "earned income tax credit" is one such tool that everyone should at least take a look at and see if they qualify. The program is an income based module and through a computation the credit can be claimed. So how does it work?  Here we go...

The Earned Income Tax Credit or the EITC is a refundable federal income tax credit for low to moderate income working individuals and families. When the EITC exceeds the amount of taxes owed, it results in a tax refund to those who claim and qualify for the credit.

To qualify, taxpayers must meet certain requirements and file a federal (IRS-NOT State of Arkansas) tax return, even if they did not earn enough money to be obligated to file a tax return. Details on EITC can be found on the Ark. Department of Finance and Administration website: http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/offices/incomeTax/individual/Pages/eitc.aspx.

Only 296,416 people claimed EITC in 2008 out of an estimated projection of 787,628 eligible. As the table below shows 491,212 Arkansans who qualify for EITC failed to take advantage of the credits. This is money that they qualify for and entitled to claim from the federal government. It is their tax refund. It is estimated that if only 10% of the 491,212 had filed for the EIT credits, a total of $107,575,428 would have come in to the state for these individuals.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Tuesday Voices Carry

The Body is a online resource for HIV/AIDS information and links to other supportive services.Earlier this year the site, updated it's African American sub-section in an effort to continue to outreach to MSM community that has continued to impacted by this health dilemma. Various studies including one initiated by the Kaiser Foundation, found that more information on transmission, access to care and testing seemed to be needed. Although many practitioner's have scoffed at this finding, the growing incidences of positive results are still spiking in the people of color communities. Included in that updated section is a host of blogs and video blogs from a host of activist, advocates and those living affected or infected by the disease. One such contributor is Justin B. Terry who may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own blog and Web site, and he's even on YouTube. And who can blame him? Only 30, he already has an incredible story to tell. Justin admits he used to live "a very dangerous life," but since his diagnosis three years ago, the former heavy drinker and drug user has turned his life around. Hear his words and share your thoughts with this forum as we forge ahead with the latest breakthroughs, links, updates and resources for both the local and statewide HIV/AIDS community. For more info check out: www.livingaffected.org

Monday, July 11, 2011

Busting a Blazzing Monday Move 2.0

A threat of a double dip recession and triple digit temperatures has everything heated up and then some. This posting arrives as breaking news, updates, links and much more that will make the cut this time. Let's not waste a moment!

Til Debt Do We Part: Act 2

In an earlier posting, I came out swinging about the deficit/debt ceiling mess that is now coming to ahead as the days continue to tick away until that cited August 2 doomsday date. Of course, I don't and most likely most of you don't either, believe that lawmakers will actually allow this happen. However, as the political drama and theatre rolls on, President Obama has come to his bully pulpit and started to call folks out about the whole affair meanwhile trying to frame this issue in a simplistic and educational manner for the American people. Again, how did we get to this place, you ask? There are numerous factors that has caused this mash up such as tax cuts that can't be sustained from the Bush era, 1, 2 and if you count that non aggressive intervention in Lybia, it's been our global war engagement that is still ringing up hundreds of dollars a second and a host of other culprits such as a changing daily tax code, government spending, entitlement programs and Ta Dah! corporate loopholes that are too many to count. Ladies and Gentlemen, so here we are again, with ideology attempting to trump common sense with all the "sacred cows" at stake while we wait on these professionals to make it happen. Stay tuned....

Black and Gay Topic for Enterprise

Black Enterprise magazine has come out, sort of. It's July 19, 2011 issue will feature a cover story on Black and Gay in Corporate America. The article highlights cases where employees are breaking through isolation and fear in the workplace. It's that workplace that our good Governor Beebe believes is such a safe harbor for those in the GLBTQ community and of course we know better. Black Enterprise both the magazine and TV show happens to be one of my favorites. It's pages are filled with many thought provoking articles and many "how to and don'ts" for those looking to get ahead in life, love and loot. BE's Editor at Large C.M Brown stated that the magazine encounter some difficulty producing the issue due to the fact that subjects were hard to find and those who agreed to participate did so with some reservations. The issue attempts to explore who is the Black professional, what barriers do they face in their careers and the impact of homophobia within the black community. At the intersection of this discussion also comes perceptions and images of successful minorities which have often been skewed with characters ranging from over the top hair stylist to those of the fashion set. However, within my own circles I've connected with top flight professionals ranging from judges to  CEO's who do not fit the stereotypical gay image while leading successful lives. Black Enterprise gets a Big High Five and shout out from COP 24/7 for this item and further coverage on diversity issues in the LGBTQ community and beyond. Get a copy on the 19th and check out their website site at http://www.blackenterprise.com/     

Board Member Sought For LACorp

The Living Affected Corporation has announced a statewide search for it's next slate of board members. The organization is restructuring while utilizing capacity building tools to assist in supporting board development and additional strategic planning. If you are interested in enhancing the organizations vision of promoting positive sexual and reproductive health in marginalized communities, forward your resume to The Living Affected Corporation, P.O. Box 46558, Little Rock, AR 72214-6558   Check out the website at http://www.livingaffected.org/  

Friday, July 08, 2011

Spin Down Friday

Yeah it's another TGIF and it's still hot in the city not to mention here at COP:24/7. Keeping two computers busting out content for this forum as well as other matters that inhabit my busy world takes a great multi-tasker at best. How do we do it? Why do we do it? Should we be doing it? Why hell yes of course. We value your readership and always welcoming your input and exchanges. We know that you are out their in Star City, Cabot, Mena, Pine Bluff and many points beyond. Come follow us, put your picture or image in the following COP 24/7 banner. We are here to bring you more of what you have been asking for! Now let's go get em....

Here Comes that Sound!!

Are you getting ready for it? Because it's coming and about to blow up all around us. What is it you ask? The deficit budget hatchet. That whacking sound that takes place when lawmakers and President Obama go at it this weekend to try to get er done and make the deal. Apparently, everything is on the table, including the infamous third rail of entitlement spending. You know the holy trinity of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that seems to be in the cross hairs of Republicans and the "no they won't try it issue" of Democrats. My goodness, the parsing of words, oh the political double-speak and the mish-mash of those talking heads who can't seem to get this matter worked out for the betterment of the country. So, those who own corporate jets, hedge funds and all manner of tax loopholes don't embrace the thought that "to whom much is given, much is expected." If there's going to "pain" felt then that pain factor needs to touch all nerves and pocketbooks, if the Washington shot-callers are serious about this exercise. And While we at it let's deal with some of those pesky subsidies and many of the still money wasting earmarks. Yes, my friends the earmarks still live and breathe hidden throughout the budget. Same game with a different frame.  If we are going after the fat then let's go after both of those pork barrels!  The American people are not fools. We know that you lawmakers know what needs to be done but the blame game as well as the tired "gotcha Obama" tactic is going nowhere fast. Let's face it, we got issues and the "tit for tat" BS is serving no one absolutely no one. If I can whack my own budget by limiting my eating out, buying only essential items, streamlining my cable bill to rid myself of all those ESPN 1,2, 3 channels that I don't watch and use coupons for everything possible, then certainly you folks can figure out where to cut and how deep. Note to Lawmakers: Get real and get busy!

Beebe Still Talking

I didn't give a big high five to the Stonewall Democrats for bringing Gov. Beebe to the lavender set about a week back. Even though I missed it, I listened to the full ATEN playback as well as read additional commentary otherwise. Of what Beebe said, I believe is truly what he feels and also believes. He stance that we can "agree to disagree" is sound, but even as a more direct rebuttal was sought from the Stonewall Democrats, it appears that they being Eric McDaniel and company are still trying to find the right verbiage to do so. I checked the website in search of a observation but I have to assume they are still working on that one. Here's a starting point... this is the same guy who didn't want your 2010 "gay donation" because the group represented Gays and Lesbians in this state. Not to mention that he hasn't ever proclaimed a Gay Pride Week, named any openly gay person to his cabinet or considered grasping cultural compentency in his administration. So there's some ammo for use. Also in lieu of that speech,  I was surprised that entire calendar for the rest of 2011 for this entity seems "blank." Really? No workshops to teach advocacy? No forums on public policy? No Request for Proposals? No conferences? No fundraising? Nothing?  Excuse me isn't their a Presidential election cycle already started and shouldn't someone, perhaps anyone be mentoring possible delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a former 2008 delegate seeker, I navigated the system as best I could while learning on the fly. I got no assistance from this group in that process and this speaks volumes to why our political effectiveness is marginal and will continue if there's no learning stream to drink from. Furthermore, if those who witnessed the Beebe mash-up and had such heartfelt disappointment with his blunt positions, then where's the letters to the Editor or Op-Ed's? I got nothing here in the comment section. Where's the protest at the Gov's Mansion? With all that said,  if you didn't get enough from that SDC programming or perhaps feel that Beebe is going to "evolve" on something, then you can get another chance to submit a question to Roby Brock's interview by leaving a comments on his Facebook page or by tweeting @robybrock and use hashtag #TalkPolitics or emailing roby@talkbusiness.net  Submit your question today and tune into the live stream at http://bit.ly/TPshow or here on our Facebook Page on Wed, July 12 at 10am. 


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Periscope Up in a 360

What can we say. We do our best to, our damn best mind you, to stay on top of the latest breaking news, updates, links, opinions and our special brand of "hot topics." But, it's a daunting task in case you don't know and we're facing the challenge head on without changing course. We appreciate the support that has been coming our way and we look forward to ramping up our return with a special event in the near future. COP 24/7 has always been about community whether its the good, bad or the ugly that we have to put on front street for discussion. In the past a few folks have attempted to pigeon hold this forum as some type of "internal hate" platform while doing what we have become known for, by asking the questions that no one else will. We've made it our business to call out policy makers, local point persons who promise much but deliver little and have chided our community for its uneven and often lackluster engagement of issues or support to area agencies. This forum has noted on numerous occasion's why their is no actual tabloid or newspaper functioning in this city and what it would take to make such a venture take place. But until then, this forum has stood in the gap to as the only daily updating portal for LGBTQ Arkansans and we know that you are out their checking in on us as your "go to" site for what's really going on. Come follow us here, subscribe, RSS feed or bookmark us. We are exploring more ways to connect to you either digitally or by mobile mode. COP 24/7 smart, savvy and staying on point in 2011.

Til Debt Do Us Part

In an earlier post, the debt ceiling issue and the overall deficit problem was touched on by a CBS News video that offered a snapshot on the dilemma. It seems that many Americans and probably many of you reading this, are not exactly clear to how this could possibly affect you. If not you, maybe some one you know. So what's at stake here?  It's all about whether the U.S. Government will be able to meet its debt obligations, in which that report stated that only about 57% of those obligations could be met. Meanwhile government funded efforts such as possible national park services, military checks, social services payments such as medicaid or medicare could go unpaid, or bonds, 401K accounts and other financial matters could be affected. How did we get here? You have to go back several administrations to determine that the formulation of "tax cuts, loopholes, corporate mish-mash add in two wars and viola you get today's economic meltdown." In a nutshell, what's needed in our opinion is two big spoon's full of spending cuts, several dashes of no loopholes and a eliminating cup of tax cuts would be a good start. Note to the Beltway: Let's Get it Done people, stop wasting time with the BS. We're on to you all and theirs gonna be hell to pay come election time.

Little Rock Black Pride Announces Events

It fell into my e-box and when I opened it, I didn't know what to think. Then I thought alright, let's read this for clarity before we make any pronouncements. And here we go. Little Rock Black Pride will host a July 22-23 event themed," Sex and the City". According to at least two versions of the fliers that I've seen, there will be a Friday "Top & Bottom party with guest host Meko, FlavaMen models and other invited guest. Then Saturday's "A-List" party will feature logos' Noah Arc star, Rodney Alex Chester and more FlavaMen models. Supposedly there are to be other activities such a Meet & Greet Mixer and pool party which I seen on flier but not on others, if you're really interested check the contact info listed below. Now, I'm all about a party, and certainly will be promoting our Swirl: Diversity in Motion event set for October 14, but I'm also about partying with a purpose. The Swirl event will announce it's charity choice in the coming weeks along with more details, however, with there being so many social issues that need addressing among people of color, surely the organizers could have programmed some substance to this line up. In the past, I've approached this entity about possibles, only to be deflected with curt attitudes and indifference. Believe it or not, It was mentioned to me personally that some of my suggestion were "too white" for consideration. I've heard this many times among my SGL folk, who for some reason take the position that "bouncing butts and boxes," somehow make up for "brains" which is what it will take to deal with spikes in sexually transmitted diseases, access to treatment, short circuited policy makers and more testing resulting in more positive cases in this city. Its find and dandy to party like a rock star, but lets not forget that it would certainly be good to find time for empowerment, self efficacy and personal responsibility while doing so. For more info: lrblackpride@yahoo.com  or 501.398.0307 It's going down at the Clear Channel Complex, 1020 Colonel Glen Road. Hopefully some one will tell me all about it since I will be on the road networking and moving about the social justice set that week. Esepcially in case I run into Mr. Earl Fowlkes, President of the International Federation of Black Prides while I'm again on the road in D.C keeping this neck of the woods connected nationally and globally. 

First Youth Center Opens

Congrats to the Center for Artistic Revolution on opening the LMH Youth Center, 800 Scott Street which will serve as a drop in "hub" for youth and their peers where they can access peers, watch videos, use the cyber center or LGBTQ centric library space. Dedicated last Friday, the center will also be used by CAR's  DYSC program which consist of an agency developed curriculum based on organizing, advocacy, and cultural education. The center has launched a "wish list" seeking donations from computers to used furniture to complete furnishing needs. COP 24/7 applauds projects such as this and encourages those in the community who have resources to share to do so. These efforts just don't happen people, some one makes it happen. This is the rally cry for any and all things that we believe that we deserve in this city.  If you would like to donate or get more info you can contact them at www.artisticrevolution.org or tell them we told ya at 501.244.9690

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Windmills, Rainbows and Transformations

The fireworks have burst over the skies and the celebration of independence have come and gone. Now it's on to enduring the soaring 90 degree heat and more of what summer brings each year. Meanwhile, the world continues to whirl on it's axis and the challenges keep on coming and this forum will keep our eyes open wide  on what's really going on and then some.

Lady Justice Doesn't Blink

The case of Casey Anthony again caused the nation to stop and listen. I waited with baited breathe, exhausted as the defendant and ready as those in that court room to hear the verdict. Throughout the trial I was puzzled, conflicted and as observant as the judge to the"facts, just the facts." It all seemed hazy, circumstantial, convoluted, media hyped by Nancy Grace and now the moment arrived. After 11 hours of deliberation, Anthony was found not guilty by a court of her peers and we got to hear it and watch it in living color. Instead she was convicted of misdemeanors of offering false information and most likely will not serve a day for this entire event. It's over for Ms. Anthony from this point even if she did this deed,  Not moments later observers and locals decried a blood curdling backlash that justice had not been done. Even tagging the decision as "OJ 2," despite that her defense team claimed that there was "reasonable doubt" to be considered. It's that doubt that many cases hinge and can often turn. Including the Strauss K. debacle which now is approaching the same cross hairs. Ladies and Gentlemen, the American judicial system takes us all on a wild ride of justice when such high profile cases appear. You never know what those folks sitting in the box are really thinking and if the evidence, prosecutors, defense attorney's or any witness will bring to the process. Often the process can be flawed, especially as we've learned that DNA test have bee utilized to acquit individuals or release long suffering prisoners who should have never been sentenced. Our rugged Constitution guides us on this situation and much of how our nation works. Yet, even with that document in place, we find that there is still room for error. Especially with cases of the death penalty which Ms. Anthony could have received and not to mention the staggering numbers of African American men serving time in the countries prisons. About 10.4% of the entire African-American male population in the United States aged 25 to 29 was incarcerated, by far the largest racial or ethnic group—by comparison, 2.4% of Hispanic men and 1.2% of white men in that same age group were incarcerated. According to a report by the Justice Policy Institute in 2002, the number of black men in prison has grown to five times the rate it was twenty years ago. Today, more African-American men are in jail than in college. In 2000 there were 791,600 black men in prison and 603,032 enrolled in college. In 1980, there were 143,000 black men in prison and 463,700 enrolled in college. So there we have it, another case closed, tempers flaring, a young girl still dead while her mother impacted for life, a media circus moves to the next attraction and Lady Justice stands silent, waiting for the next case.

Findings from HIV/AIDS at 30: A Public Opinion Perspective

Rakesh Singh
(650) 854-9400
Craig Palosky
(202) 347-5270

As the HIV/AIDS epidemic marks its thirtieth year, the Kaiser Family Foundation is releasing its eighth large-scale national survey of Americans on HIV/AIDS. The report, HIV/AIDS at 30: A Public Opinion Perspective, is available online.
Key findings include:
  • Black Americans, and particularly young blacks, express much higher levels of concern about HIV infection than whites. Blacks are four times as likely as whites to say they are "very concerned" about becoming infected with HIV (40 % vs. 11%). Black adults under 30 are even more likely to be worried, with half saying they are very concerned. Blacks are also more than twice as likely as whites to say a close friend or family member is living with HIV or has died from AIDS (41% vs. 17%), and almost three times as likely to see HIV/AIDS as an increasingly urgent problem for their community (35% vs. 12%). Still, at a time when the HIV epidemic continues to place a disproportionate burden on the black community, many key measures of concern and visibility are not increasing for blacks, and are in fact flat or trending downward over time. For example, the share of blacks saying HIV/AIDS is a more urgent problem for their community than it was a few years ago fell from 49 percent in 2006 to 35 percent today.
  • Reported HIV testing rates are flat since 1997, including among some key groups at higher risk.
  • Thirty years into the epidemic, there is a declining sense of national urgency and visibility of HIV/AIDS. In 1987, two-thirds of Americans named HIV/AIDS as the most urgent health problem facing the country, a share that has declined steadily over the years, and sits at just 7 percent today. More recently, there has been a decline in the share who report having seen, heard, or read about the epidemic in the past year, from seven in ten in 2004 to four in ten today.
  • At the same time, after nearly a decade of decline, the share of Americans who say they are personally "very concerned" about becoming infected ticked up for the first time in this year’s survey. The change was driven by young adults, among whom personal concern increased from 17 percent in 2009 to 24 percent in 2011.
  • Many Americans still hold attitudes that may stigmatize people with HIV/AIDS, but such reported attitudes have declined in recent years. Substantial shares say they they’d be uncomfortable having food prepared by someone who is HIV-positive (45%); having an HIV-positive roommate (36%); having their child in a class with an HIV-positive teacher (29%); and working with someone with HIV (18%). Still, the trend on these questions generally has been in the other direction; for instance, the share of Americans saying they would be "very comfortable" working with someone who has HIV increased from about a third in 1997 to roughly half in 2011. There have also been real declines since the early years of the epidemic in the share expressing the view that AIDS is a punishment (from 43% in 1987 to 16% today) or that it’s people’s own fault if they contract the disease (from 51% to 29%).
  • Despite continuing economic problems, more than half of Americans support increased funding for HIV/AIDS, and fewer than one in ten say the federal government spends too much in this area. Younger adults express even higher levels of support and a majority of them are optimistic that more spending on prevention and treatment will lead to meaningful progress. The public overall, however, is split on whether more funding in those areas will lead to progress.
  • Media, which includes radio, television, newspapers and online sources, is the top information source on HIV across racial/ethnic groups and for younger and older adults alike. Six in ten Americans say most of what they know about HIV/AIDS comes from the media, putting it ahead of other sources like school, their doctors, friends and family, and the church. Substantial shares of the public -- and majorities of blacks and Latinos -- say they’d like to have more information on HIV-related topics, including prevention and testing.
  • Three-quarters of Americans could not name an individual who stands out as a national leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and no person who was mentioned makes it into double digits. And most Americans say there has not been enough action on HIV from a variety of groups and institutions including Congress; their state and local governments; the media; corporate, religious, and community leaders; pharmaceutical companies; and the Obama administration.