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The Boondocks’ Last Breath

Published on April 24, 2014 by in Columns

The fourth and final season of “The Boondocks” premiered Monday night on the Cartoon Network.  And I’m going to do what most critics have eloquently avoided; I’m pronouncing it dead-on-arrival.

What was once the finely-tuned, irreverent, satirical barometer of our nation’s uncomfortable relationship with racial dynamics has lost its guiding star.  In 1996, Aaron McGruder created the comic strip upon which the adult-themed animated show is based.  Since the show’s 2005 debut, he has been its creative genius and driving voice.  About a month ago, McGruder announced that he would not be returning for the final season, reportedly because of disputes over the show’s production schedule.

I first wrote about “The Boondocks” nearly eight years ago, in July 2006.  The show’s first season had recently concluded, and was being released on DVD.  At the time, I piled on the praise for its brilliant use of satire, its cavalier disregard for political-correctness, and its refusal to let social taboos interfere with the storytelling.  Aaron McGruder deserves all of that praise. Read more…

 
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Remembering Karyn Washington

Published on April 17, 2014 by in Columns

Karyn Washington was a visionary.  In her short life, she helped lead thousands of young girls to a sense of self-worth.  At age 19, she launched the “For Brown Girls” blog, a website designed to empower darker-complexioned girls to embrace their beauty, and to celebrate it.

Last Tuesday, April 8th, Karyn Washington passed away, reportedly by suicide.  She was only 22.  In the interceding week or so, the blogosphere has exploded with heartfelt tributes, as fans and friends struggled to come to terms with the loss.

The legacy that Washington leaves behind is a beautiful one; she empowered generation of young women, struggling to see their own beauty, in a culture with very few dark-skinned models and cultural icons.  She helped deliver an important message—a message of self-worth and self-respect. Read more…

 
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A Night Of Champions

Published on June 27, 2013 by in Columns

It was early December, and hundreds of fans had gathered at Hotel Encanto to welcome Austin Trout back from New York City, and to congratulate the Champ on his victory over Miguel Cotto.  It was Austin’s homecoming, and the energy was palpable.

I was having a conversation with Levi Martinez, an international boxing judge who lives in Las Cruces, about New Mexico’s five World Champions—Bobby Foster, the late Johnny Tapia, Danny Romero, Austin Trout, and Holly Holm.  Many of them had met one another, but had never all been together under one roof.  That night, we decided to bring together as many of them as we could for a charity banquet, a fundraiser for Las Cruces PAL Boxing. Read more…

 
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Taking The Leap

Published on June 20, 2013 by in Columns

If, next Monday, you were asked to take one major risk to pursue something you’re passionate about, what would that be?  We’re all a little risk-averse, I think.  It’s in our DNA.  But I’m asking you to really think about it—what would you do to improve your community or family, to advance your personal goals or creative endeavors?

Last year, Victor Saad set out on a journey.  He was a youth and family counselor who loved his job, but had been kicking around the idea of going to graduate school in pursuit of an MBA.  But as he studied for the GMAT and explored various university programs, he began second-guessing that decision.  An MBA would be very expensive, and he wasn’t entirely convinced it would lead him where he wanted to go in life.

One morning, he woke up with an idea.  Read more…

 
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