From the Chicago Sun Times:

The family of Derrion Albert, the 16-year-old fatally beaten Thursday in an after-school mob melee in Roseland, struggled Friday to understand how their honor roll student’s life could have ended in such violence.

Derrion has never been in a fight in his life,” said Joe Walker, Derrion’s grandfather who raised him. “He never raised his voice. Not in 16 years have I had one day of trouble.”

Walker broke down several times speaking about his grandson, proudly showing off the awards he received at Christian Fenger Academy High School for excellent attendance and being on the honor roll. Derrion had just started his junior year.

“We were crazy about him,” Walker said. “He was the type of grandson everybody wished for.”

Monique Bond, Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman, said Derrion “basically was walking along unprovoked, and unbeknownst to him he was about to walk into this conflict. I don’t think he even saw them coming.”

T-Awannda Piper, a youth worker at the Agape Community Center in the 300 block of West 111th Street, witnessed the brawl. She said the fight started with about a dozen high school students, then quickly escalated to about 100, about 3 p.m. Thursday.

“They had sticks; they were fighting with their hands; they were taking off their shirts and throwing them on the ground,” she said. “I saw [Derrion] get hit twice with a stick.”

She said Derrion fell to his knees, then was hit again in the head. He was unconscious but alive when she dragged him into the building with the help of a man driving through a nearby alley who abandoned his truck to assist.

Derrion was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said.

He died of cerebral injuries and blunt head trauma from assault, the medical examiner’s office said.

While the family did not believe Derrion was involved with a gang, several people have been victims of gang violence in the far South Side neighborhood over the summer.

Go here for the rest of the story.

From WTOP.com:

Actor Blair Underwood cut the ribbon Thursday on an HIV/AIDS clinic bearing his name.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation opened the AHF Blair Underwood Clinic on K Street in Northwest D.C.

“It’s not about having your name on a building — it’s very flattering and I am truly honored — but it is about the work that needs to be done,” Underwood says.

He says it’s important because D.C. “has the highest rate of HIV in the nation.”

The actor, who has had great success in movies and on television, is the face of American Healthcare Foundation’s “Man Up” campaign, which encourages everyone to know their HIV status.

Underwood says he wants to go to college campuses and discuss AIDS with men “who are out there dating women and think this doesn’t concern them.”

“It concerns them — we are dying,” he says.

Underwood, a longtime AIDS advocate, has previously been featured in AHF media campaigns.

I love Outkast, but on an individual level, I’ve always been more partial to Andre 3000. I just luv him so much. Speaking of which, just where is this new music you’re supposed to be coming out with Dre?!! But, anyway, “For Your Sorrows,” a new song Big Boi has featuring George Clinton and Too Short pulled me in after I first heard it today. “For Your Sorrows” is something different, and I like it. Give it a listen:

Melanie Fiona Releases New Video

Here’s Melanie Fiona’s new music video “It Kills Me.”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I’m a big fan of Ms. Fiona because I like her sound, and she has talent. Her debut album, “The Bridge” has already been released internationally, but its U.S. release has been pushed back yet again to November.

Check Out ‘Bronx Princess’

Update: You can read my review of the documentary for Clutch magazine here.

“Bronx Princess” is a new documentary on PBS following the life of a young teen, Rocky Otoo. Below is a synopsis of the documentary and a short preview. You can watch the entire film online here until October 23rd.

Rocky Otoo is the Bronx-bred teenage daughter of Ghanaian parents, and she’s no pushover. She is a sassy high-achiever bound for college. With freedom in sight, Rocky rebels against her mother’s rules. When their relationship reaches a breaking point, Rocky flees to her father, a chief in Ghana. What follows is captured in Bronx Princess, a tumultuous coming-of-age story set in a homeland both familiar and strange. Her precocious — and very American — ideas of a successful, independent life conflict with her father’s traditional African values. Reconciling her dual legacies becomes an unexpected chapter in this unforgettable young woman’s education.

I was watching the interview above with female rapper Nicki Minaj for Honey Magazine – one of my fellow J school alumnae edited the video by the way (random shout out over) – and I noticed that Ms. Nicki looked different somehow. I haven’t heard her music, but I’ve seen pictures of her looking like this on various Web sites:

Um, yeah, so my first reaction was that she looked a little ho-ish to say the least. I didn’t really want to know what she was rapping about.

So when I checked out the photos and video interview with Honey, I thought, is that the same girl? She looks so different.


But then I realized she looked prettier. Just sitting there in the video wearing a black hoodie and her hair up in a pony she looked so much better to me than when she was all spread out in that other picture. So lesson of the day for those young women who think that in order to look sexy or attractive women have to wear fewer clothes – you really don’t.

I’m sure some of the guys will disagree with me on this one. What’s your view? Do you think she looks better toned down?