Friday, January 31, 2014

Dis ma haïr! Man killed over girlfriend's weave

Fight over hair weave leaves Brooklyn peacemaker dead, prosecutor says

Shawn Williams was shot twice in the back in August 2011 after he tried breaking up a row involving several women and his girlfriend, who mistakenly thought the others were making fun of her extensions, prosecutors said in court Thursday. Another woman’s boyfriend, Dennzel Holder, is on trial for second-degree murder.

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Hair Weave   USE THIS ONE

Hair weaves, like the ones shown, inexplicably led to the murder of Shawn Williams after he tried to stop an argument between a group of women and his girlfriend that stemmed from talk about bad extensions, prosecutors say. Williams was allegedly shot in the back by Dennzel Holder, boyfriend of one of the fighting women.

He was shot to death during a senseless clash over a hair weave.
It started when a young Brooklyn man was locked in a furious street brawl in August 2011 in which five women threw punches and a bottle, a prosecutor charged Thursday.
“If it was not such a tragic incident, we would probably laugh about it because it’s so pathetic,” Assistant District Attorney Edward Purce told the jury in his opening argument.
Shawn Williams, the boyfriend of one combatant, was shot in the back “because two groups of young women were fighting about a hair weave,” the prosecutor said in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Dennzel Holder, 21, is accused of second-degree murder and faces 25 years to life if convicted. Williams, 27, was gunned down as he turned away from the shooter.
Dennzel Holder, left, is facing murder charges for allegedly shooting Shawn Williams in 2011 after their girlfriends got into a physical fight over hair weaves.


Dennzel Holder, left, is facing murder charges for allegedly shooting Shawn Williams in 2011 after their girlfriends got into a physical fight over hair weaves.

The senseless shooting on a sunny summer day began as three teens walked along a shopping strip on Nostrand Ave. in Crown Heights, authorities charged.
Things took a turn for the worse when the conversation turned to hair extensions, according to the dead man’s sister.
Tiara Haynes recalled one of the trio making a catty crack, “My boyfriend wouldn’t let me walk out of the house looking like that.”
Sheniqua Cunningham, who was walking a few steps ahead of the trio with boyfriend Williams, believed the slight was aimed at her — and took offense.
Dierdra Haynes holds a photo of son Shawn Williams, who was shot to death two years ago trying to diffuse a fight over his girlfriend's hair extensions. Accused killer Dennzel Holder's trial started Thursday.


Dierdra Haynes holds a photo of son Shawn Williams, who was shot to death two years ago trying to diffuse a fight over his girlfriend's hair extensions. Accused killer Dennzel Holder's trial started Thursday.

“She didn’t look as glamorous, I guess, so she thought they were making fun of her,” Haynes said outside court.
All hell quickly broke loose, with the five women swapping punches. At one point, a bottle was thrown.
“You have approximately five young ladies in combat,” said defense lawyer Gregory Watts, who insisted his client was not the shooter.
Williams stepped in as the peacemaker, and things calmed down until Shatasia Meggett summoned her boyfriend, Holder, lawyers said.
This memorial pays tribute to Shawn Williams, shot to death in 2011 while trying to stop an argument over his girlfriend's hair weave.


This memorial pays tribute to Shawn Williams, shot to death in 2011 while trying to stop an argument over his girlfriend's hair weave.

He arrived about the same time as another girl’s cousin, sparking a second round of violence that left Williams dying at the corner of Nostrand Ave. and Carroll St., authorities said.
“It could have been over, as something stupid people were talking about,” Purce said.
But Holder “took this to another level,” the prosecutor argued. “He took it to a place where it was no longer something to joke about.”
Leonard Saunders, 51, says he is confident prosecutors will get a conviction — some justice for his slain son.
“I’ve seen some of the videotape of what transpired,” he told the Daily News. “I was wondering how the hell at around 3:40 in the afternoon somebody would come out with a gun in broad daylight with little kids running down the street, walking with their parents.”
The victim’s mother, Diedra Haynes, 51, laid eyes on the accused killer in the courtroom.
“He’s emotionless,” she said. “No remorse. No nothing.”

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New York City ends Stop and Frisk, well, sort of......"the overuse"....

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

De Blasio to Settle Stop-and-Frisk Suit

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city had reached an agreement with civil rights lawyers who argued that the Police Department’s policy violated minorities’ rights.
New York City will settle its long-running legal battle over the Police Department’s practice of stopping, questioning and often frisking people on the street — a divisive issue at the heart of the mayoral race last year — by agreeing to reforms that a judge ordered in August, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.
In making the announcement, which he said he hoped would end a turbulent chapter in the city’s racial history, Mr. de Blasio offered a sweeping repudiation of the aggressive policing practices that had been a hallmark of his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg, but that had stoked anger and resentment in many black and Latino neighborhoods. He essentially reversed the course set by Mr. Bloomberg, whose administration had appealed the judge’s ruling.
“We’re here today to turn the page on one of the most divisive problems in our city,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference. “We believe in ending the overuse of stop-and-frisk that has unfairly targeted young African-American and Latino men.”
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Mayor Bill de Blasio with members of the Explorers youth program Thursday after announcing the stop-and-frisk case settlement. Joshua Bright for The New York Times
The judge, Shira A. Scheindlin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, found that the department’s stop-and-frisk tactics were unconstitutional, and that it had resorted to “a policy of indirect racial profiling.” At the height of the program, in the first quarter of 2012, the police stopped people — mostly black and Latino men — on more than 200,000 occasions. A vast majority of those stopped were found to have done nothing wrong.
Judge Scheindlin had ordered the appointment of a monitor to develop, in consultation with the parties, widespread reforms of the department’s “policies, training, supervision, monitoring and discipline regarding stop-and-frisk.” That process will go forward as part of the agreement.
The remarkable shift that has occurred in the city’s policing tactics was sharply underscored by those present when Mr. de Blasio made the announcement. Among those standing beside him were some of the Police Department’s harshest critics, namely the directors of the civil rights legal groups that had pursued the two lawsuits that were covered by the agreement.
Mr. de Blasio, in seeking to fulfill a campaign pledge that had helped propel him to his landslide victory, said on Thursday that if the court approved the agreement the city would withdraw its appeal.
The mayor appeared with Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and the city’s corporation counsel, Zachary W. Carter, and chose a symbolic location to make his announcement: the Brownsville Recreation Center in a neighborhood of Brooklyn where the stop-and-frisk tactics had been widely applied.
A 2010 report in The New York Times found that the highest concentration of police stops in the city had occurred in a roughly eight-block area of Brownsville that is predominantly black.
“We will not break the law to enforce the law,” Mr. Bratton said in a statement. “That’s my solemn promise to every New Yorker, regardless of where they were born, where they live, or what they look like. Those values aren’t at odds with keeping New Yorkers safe — they are essential to long-term public safety.”
In discussing the agreement, Mr. de Blasio was generous in his welcome to the city’s former adversaries, who seemed delighted if not disbelieving at the turn of events in a legal battle that began in the late 1990s.
Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which helped to handle one of the lawsuits, Floyd v. City of New York, said: “This is where the real work begins. Nobody standing here is pretending this is ‘Mission Accomplished.’ ”
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which handled the other suit, said the agreement “brings us closer to closing the book on that tale of two cities.”

Bloomberg officials had credited the stop-and-frisk practice for the sharp reduction in murders and the removal of illegal guns from the streets. But while Mr. Bloomberg had characterized Judge Scheindlin’s ruling as dangerous and said it undermined public safety, Mr. de Blasio described the city’s decision to move toward reform as a moment “of profound progress.”
The mayor’s announcement comes amid a steep decline in the number of police stops, to about 21,000, in the third quarter of 2013, when Judge Scheindlin issued her opinion.
Mr. de Blasio said the stop-and-frisk practice was “broken and misused” and cited a “collective commitment to fix the fundamental problems that enabled stop-and-frisk to grow out of control and violate the rights of innocent New Yorkers.”
Indeed, the mayor not only agreed to accept the judge’s findings, but also embraced them. “This is what the democratic process is supposed to do,” he said, “and that includes the judicial process. It’s supposed to bring up the truth of what’s happening in our society, and oftentimes truths that are being ignored.”
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From left: Zachary W. Carter; Nicholas Peart, whom the police stopped several times; Commissioner William J. Bratton; and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Joshua Bright for The New York Times
In her ruling appointing the monitor, Peter L. Zimroth, a former corporation counsel, Judge Scheindlin did not address how long he would serve. Mr. de Blasio said that as part of the new agreement, the monitor’s role would be limited to three years, “contingent upon us meeting our obligations.”
Mr. de Blasio said he wanted to emphasize that a three-year oversight period was “a shorter window of monitoring than is customary, and that is in part because of our administration’s explicit commitment to reform, including the installation of an independent N.Y.P.D. inspector general.”
Jonathan C. Moore, co-counsel in the Floyd case, said later that the plaintiffs believed the reforms could be achieved within the three-year period.
“And if they drag their feet or they don’t comply, we have the right to ask for more time,” Mr. Moore said. She also ordered a pilot program to outfit a limited number of officers with tiny video cameras that would record while the officers were out on patrol.Among the remedies the judge had ordered were for “erroneous or misleading” police training materials to be corrected, and for the department to revise policies and training regarding racial profiling.
Judge Scheindlin also called for additional reforms, to be developed after members of the community, including the police, were given the chance to be heard at town-hall-style meetings and other forums.
As the deal was described on Thursday, the city formally asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to return the matter to the District Court.
The appeals panel that had blocked Judge Scheindlin’s ruling from going into effect had also removed her from overseeing the case, saying some of her actions could have led “a reasonable observer” to conclude that the appearance of impartiality had been compromised. (The panel found no “misconduct, actual bias or actual partiality” on her part.)
A new judge, Analisa Torres, will be asked to approve the agreement; once it is ratified, Mr. de Blasio said, “we will drop the appeal, and also with the court’s approval, we will settle the case.” The process of developing reforms would then begin.
It appears, though, that the city’s request to send the case to Judge Torres will not be decided immediately.
The appeals court on Thursday gave the police unions that had sought to intervene in the case until Feb. 7 to respond to the city’s request. Patrick J. Lynch, president of one of those unions, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said his group continued to have serious concerns about how the court-ordered remedies “will impact our members and the ability to do their jobs.”
“Right now we’re in this kind of no-man’s land,” he said. “I need to, as police commissioner, be in a position to say to my officers: ‘This is how you police constitutionally. This is how you police respectfully. This is how you police compassionately. And that these are the guardrails that you have to stay within.’ ”Mr. Bratton made it clear that he hoped the process would now move quickly.
“Police need that guidance,” he added, saying the settlement would provide that. “The quicker we move down this road, the better for all concerned.”
Correction: January 30, 2014 
An earlier version of this article gave an outdated title for Eric Adams. Mr. Adams is the Brooklyn borough president; he is no longer a state senator.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The "other white people" in South Africa and Nigeria

People in many parts of the world like to look lighter


Dear Editor,
One gets the impression that Frederick Kissoon is bored, has run out of things to say, wants continuous attention, is cheating journalistically, or getting old and rusty – or all of the above!  His KN 10-13-13 column, “Sex and skin colour: India confronts its white-skin obsession” is a case in point.
Mr. Kissoon browses the internet and looks for topics that put India and Indians in bad light, and brings these to the fore in the Guyana newspapers to create a furor and irk the sensitivities of Indians.  The only problem about that is that poor Mr. Kissoon moves too slowly for comfort.
The hue and sex colour is not a recent phenomenon; the debate has been raging for years in India.  And Mr. Kissoon should know that the biggest criticisms of the outrageous practices in India come from Indians themselves – through various forms in the media.  So when Mr. Kissoon claims that the thing (Indian’s obsession with white skin) “is now wide open, thanks to Al Jazeera”, it evokes another chuckle from this journalist researcher.
I quote verbatim from my KN letter of 11-02-13, “Freddie’s sensationalist column was typically partial and unbalanced”.
In that letter, I stated, “Mr. Kissoon is angry that almost all of the ads have light skinned persons, and has repeatedly expressed his disgust that Indians in India have been partial to those with lighter complexion in the Bollywood arena. (I share this sense of disgust, as it is true not only to actors, for also those in certain employment, for those looking for a spouse, etc.). But does he know that Africans, from Jamaica to South Africa, use lightening creams to look lighter and non-black?
A University of Cape Town study showed that one in three women in South Africa try hard to whiten their skin to look white, including local musician Nomasonto ‘Mshoza’ Mnisi,  who is now several shades lighter.  The situation in Nigeria is worse, where approximately 77% of the women use skin lighteners.  And many African women in the continent and in the Diaspora, including Guyana, have used hair straighteners, thereby departing from the traditional appearance.
In Jamaica, the most public proponent of bleaching is singing star Vybz Kartel , whose own complexion has dramatically lightened in recent years. His ‘Look Pon Me’ contains the lines: “Di girl dem love off mi brown cute face, di girl dem love off mi bleach-out face.”  And residents of Denham Town, in west Kingston, say the introduction of a ‘new type’ of skin lightening cream has sparked fist fights and a rift among women in a section of their community. The women are reportedly accusing each other of spitefully purchasing too much of the commodity to get the other jealous.
On 13-01-13, the Stabroek News carried an article, “Fly Jamaica inaugural flight delayed”, and showed a photo of the attendant crew.  There were eight women shown in the photo; except for one, all of them were light skinned, most with dyed hair! The bottom line is people in many parts of the world like to look lighter, and advertisers hone in on that axiom.
It is obvious that Mr. Kissoon browses the internet in search of material to insert in his daily column.  There is nothing original about this cheap form of journalism. (If Mr. Kissoon wants some really juicy journalistic stuff, all he has to do is to check out the Indian media websites!).
It is baffling why Mr. Kissoon would mention the Al Jazeera news item on the obsession of white skin colour of Indians, and ignore this dark side (pardon the pun) of the Africans.  In a prominent article by that media house a few months ago (, Al Jazeera stated that almost 8 out of 10 women are involved in “bleaching” – a term used for whitening one’s skin – to look and feel more beautiful – far more than the Indians!
Mr. Kissoon laments that the BBC has not carried the issue of India’s obsession with being “fair”.  They did – on June 5, 2012, when Rajini Vaidyanathan wrote, “Has skin whitening in India gone too far?”
Try again, Fred.
Devanand Bhagwan

White Supremacy Type II or Color Me White--Inside the growing skin-bleaching epidemic in Jamaica

Skin-lightening is now considered an epidemic in Jamaica, reaching disturbing levels within recent months.
Even with the ubiquity of public health campaigns listing the risks and damages of the process, an alarming number of Jamaican residents still insist on bleaching their skin for what they perceive to be a more attractive appearance. While some Jamaicans believe that lighter skin will lead to a better life, others consider it a modern fashion statement and a way to appear attractive and favorable to the opposite sex.
The island’s obsession with skin-lightening gained national attention when reggae artist, Vybz Kartel debuted a startling and unsettling image of his new lighter look. His pride in the face of critics underscored the mindset of color prejudice within the Jamaican community that says that lighter is better.
That endless pursuit of lighter skin is causing Jamaicans to put themselves and even their family members at risk. In one particularly disturbing incident, a dermatologist in Jamaica encountered a patient who was bleaching her baby’s skin. Once the dermatologist told her to stop immediately, she became irritated and walked out of his office.
The effects of skin-bleaching are indeed highly dangerous. Harmful chemicals like hydroquinone and toxins like mercury can cause serious damage to the skin which cannot be reversed. The former is linked to ochronosis, a condition that leads to unsightly dark splotching. Doctors also blame skin bleaching for bunches of stretch marks across several Jamaicans’ faces.
Yet the threat of damage has not deterred many from bleaching their skin. In fact, some of the poorer people on the island have even resorted to using toothpaste or curry powder to give their skin a more yellow tint.
Health officials and some reggae artists are taking a public stand against skin-bleaching with radio advertisements, posters in schools and literature warning about the dangers of this process. In 2007, there was a similar anti-bleaching campaign called “Don’t Kill The Skin” which obviously wasn’t successful.
To be sure, the skin-bleaching obsession and color prejudice is not specific to Jamaica. Studies show that skin-lightening is prominent in India and Africa, where Jamaicans are said to get bleaching products on the black market.
In an allegedly post-racial society, it’s telling that light skin is still put on a pedestal in darker-skinned communities. This phenomenon shows that the roots of self-hate and idolization of whiter skin still run deep.
As a Brooklyn-born American with a Jamaican father, I was always taught to celebrate Jamaica’s rich culture and to honor our African ancestry. This cultural sense of pride clashes so violently with a desire to embrace European standards of beauty that it makes you wonder: are we prideful when compared to other blacks and islanders while still harboring an inferiority complex when it comes to whites?
No matter the underlying cause, the only way to tackle this problem is to address the color prejudice that’s alive and well in the black community. From rappers in pop culture who rap about preferring a “redbone” to even the exclusive usage of light-skinned models in videos and advertisements, there needs to be a collective dismantling of limited notions of beauty and a universal, renewed appreciation for darker skin tones.
With Jamaica’s new aggressive campaign to warn of the hazards of skin-bleaching, I can only hope this time around more people get the message on why skin-bleaching is dangerous—and the deeper message that they’re beautiful as they are.
-Tunisia Z. Wilson