Saturday, December 10, 2011
Last night the NBA committed suicide.
The Owners specifically. They killed all the goodwill the fans had left after one of the most obnoxious lockouts in sports memory. I say obnoxious because at a time when we are asking everyone of the little people to take a haircut seeing owners bullying their employees whom they have frequently overpaid is difficult to stomach.
However we sports fanatics are a hardy lot. Give us enough time, in this case all of two weeks, and we are ready to fly the team colors and immerse ourselves completely into the season. Yet somehow this time it feels different. The ill will engendered by both owners and players, although for vastly different reasons, will in my opinion rear its ugly head again.
Stern and the owners are coming across as little more than patriarchs who are unable to run the "family business" in a way that acknowledges the reality that has always been present. That reality is that the fans come to the game not to watch the owners, they come to watch the players.They can curse, yell, threaten boycott all they want but when it's showtime they come out to watch the stars.
Small market teams have always been the least popular destinations for star players. It is proven in ratings, and by revenue numbers that bigger markets influence audience share for the all important tv contracts that generate revenue for the entire league. While the owners refused to enter into, what they deem necessary, revenue sharing agreement amongst themselves they gladly squeezed the players for givebacks in terms of revenue. Yet now they balked at a trade that was precipitated by exactly the very lack of revenue sharing amongst them. Not to mention a bloated league that is in dire need of contraction.
Instead of addressing the difficult issues they did the easy and cowardly thing and blamed the player(s). In doing so perhaps overshadowing a season that once looked promising, but could be tainted by one of the most selfish and defeatists moves ever made by a professional sports commissioner and the owners he serves. Stern used to be the model amongst those charged with shepherding the major sports in America. He no longer wears that crown, today he wears goat horns courtesy of his fellow owners.
Image courtesy of Awful Announcing
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Before your next ad campaign when you decide to use a black person or any minority in an ad, and you believe you have come up with a clever idea we suggest you consult them prior to going live with said advertisement. Because surely as you bounced this idea around the editorial table I cannot imagine that there was one person of color in the room and if they are I would like to speak to them and find out what they were thinking as they happily signed off on this offensive ad. It's right in line with the portrayal of Lebron James as King Kong in the pages of Vogue. Then again exoticism and what not is always a tool used to make people of color look less dignified in fashion and culture. Again next time you find it necessary to use imagery of black folks have a conversation with some of them just to see where they stand on these matters.
The Gentlemen of IVH
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Many columnists have done a fine job of stating their objections or support for Mr. James. What is disappointing is when African American writers of renown fail to articulate facts and instead fall into myopic and stilted language to justify an act that while wholly fitting the capitalist nature of our society, lacked any sort of semblance of class, dignity, and more over foresight.
We should not pillory Lebron James without first educating him and advising him how to better protect, promote, but more importantly present his global brand. A more fitting way for Mr. James to exit Cleveland would have been to call a simple press conference, state his desire, and let the Cleveland area and all of Ohio down easy. Instead Mr. Rhoden of The New York Times compares Lebron James to Muhammad Ali, and Curt Flood. It is in my opinion a most ill advised tack of reasoning and I found myself wondering whether Mr. Rhoden had truly lost the plot when he even inserted a distasteful slavery reference in his article.
Perhaps we would not be watching such ill conceived spectacle if we respected the legacy of slavery beyond utilizing it as a throwaway line in an article about a multimillionaire athlete exercising precisely the freedom so many of our forebears never experienced. Having never met Mr. Rhoden but having heard him speak on ESPN, and having read his column, this throwaway line was particularly disappointing. Mr. Rhoden makes valid points that athletes must place their interest in a primary position, however his point is lost because he fails to properly critique Mr. James for committing a major error in this age of media saturation.
Monday, July 5, 2010
IVH readers who have been looking for work within the past three years are very familiar with the ridiculous standards employers are demanding to perform the most basic of work.
Our readers who haven’t been looking have no idea how preposterous the requirements have become. Often you will find 3, 5, 7, even 10 years experience required for an entry–level position. Or a list of skills fitting of a mid-level administrator needed for an unpaid internship.
What is most absurd is when the employer demonstrates they themselves lack the “attention to detail” or “solid writing ability” they demand of applicants.
Take a look at this posting on Craigslist.com by a brokerage firm looking for a sales assistant.
Red flag number one: they want someone who might have a Series 7 with 3 to 5 years of experience in the financial field, yet cap the salary below $50,000 in New York. They want someone with experience so they don’t have to train, but do not want to pay them fair value for that experience. First fail.
Next, the first requirement listed is “you have excellent verbal and writing skills” which brings us to red flags two and three; poor grammar and spelling errors. The last sentence in the first paragraph states “If not, we will considering sponsoring you.” Oh really? Well, I would like to sponsor your purchase of Hooked on Phonics.
The very last sentence reads, “Only local and qualifid applicants need to respond.” Hmm….I think only the desperate and unskilled need to respond. Ironically, this company will likely throw out cover letters and resumes of applicants who made the very same mistakes.
Job-seekers, don’t waste your time responding to posts that show this lack of professionalism. Even if you are called for an interview, it will be likely a waste of your time and the position a waste of your talent. Unless of course you didn’t notice those errors. In that case perhaps you have found the right employer for you.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Walking through Harlem, during the am rush hour does strange things to my mind. I find myself looking at people, people who look like me, who have aspirations, dreams, bills, family, and favorite tv shows as though we have little in common. I find myself subconsciously, or consciously counting the number of men who “look” like they are on their way to work. It’s fairly easy to discern that most of the women are going to work. They stride by purposefully, mostly casting a cursory glance towards me. Some have on their game face, a mixture of hesitance, and angst. Unsure of whether I will greet them with coarse language, or whether I will trouble them for their phone number. Usually there are processions of men on the corners, any corner. They tend to overlook me, perhaps because I do my best to not be seen. I want to move unnoticed biding my time till I leave. The bigger question as we all board the express headed for wherever we are headed is where are we going? And is there a “we”? Prior to moving here I had some fairly set ideas about Harlem, and those who inhabit its many buildings. Never let it be said that black folks do not have class struggles.
We all compartamentalize and stigmatize each other on a daily basis. Either through what we would call profiling, if it was done by someone other than us, or by gathering, what we believe to be empirical evidence in support of a previously held opinion. However, as I move through the “community”, a word I would like to come back to at a later time, the dearth of men who “look” like they are heading to an “office” is startling. Yet, there are tons of women who appear to be headed to an “office”. Office, the paragon of American virtue, corporate America. The women move through this space by entering the front door, be it support staff, management, and upper management. Meanwhile the men come as messengers, UPS, FedEx, USPS, or any number of various concerns employing the muslce of the working class black man in New York. The dynamic is jarring, alienating and disconcerting. Recently I was on the train, I was dressed natily on my way to an appointment, mind you I am unemployed. As I was standing on the train, next to me two men, both black, wearing New York Housing Authority shirts with accompanying badges, were exchanged in a friendly yet passionate discussion about the recent Mayweather versus Mosely fight. Being an avid fight fan myself I was enjoying the banter back and forth, the expressing of various opinions on skill level, charisma and entertainment value. From time to time they would look over at me, as they did I found myself nodding in agreement, or expressing surprise through my facial expressions.
Next to me, another gentleman, I believe he was a construction worker as he wore a tool belt and hardhat, was also following their banter. Suddenly one of the men asked the man standing right next to me, “did you watch the fight”, startled the gentlemen replied “yes but I didn’t finish watching it I had to go to work”. It was ony after they quiried the construction worker that one of the men asked me if I had witnessed Mayweather’s virtuoso performance. I explained that I had, and I began to explain why I thought he was the superior fighter. At that moment I felt a certain communal spirit, a sense of “we”, a sense that there is something that “we” all have in common, whomever that “we” are. At the next stop I exited the train and to be honest the feeling of goodwill carried over into the rest of my day. I thought about this interaction and how rare such interaction is when I am out and about in my new neighborhood. I consider myself able to interact with many different people, yet somehow in Harlem I find many locals unwilling to allow me entry into their conversations, or their interactions. More often I interact with whites in Harlem, and on occasion with African immigrants or friends who live in the area. If the richness of New York lies in the interconnectedness of those in the respective neighborhoods that make up the five boroughs than why do I feel deprived of this richness? To the women in Harlem, at least as I perceive it, I am yet another nuisance, or another uppity brother who “looks like he dates white women” or on a good day “the college brother”, to the men I do not exist, I am foreign, someone with whom they share nothing. What if anything do we, men of color, existing in the same space, in the same time, have in common? Perhaps we are post racial and those thoughts are but figments of a proud but tumultuous past and my destiny lies not with those of like color but with those of like
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Last week Publisher's Weekly ran this cover promote African-American books. The image incited criticism and chargers of insensitivity. But is this really? What's the problem? It looks like art to me.
Predictably, PW issued an apology and their reasoning for using the photograph.
The image was a photograph taken from a new book from W.W. Norton, Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present by Deborah Willis, a collection of carefully chosen photographs intended to highlight the physical and cultural beauty of African-American life. The image (Pickin', 1999) by Lauren Kelley is a photograph of a black woman whose hair is full of Afro picks, the ubiquitous metal toothed hair-comb of the 1970s, complete with plastic handle in the form of a black power fist. The afro picks are arrayed in the woman’s hair to create a kind of giant sculptural Afro hair-do and the woman is leaning slightly forward to give the viewer a better look at the quirky artificially created hair-pick crown. The coverline for the image is: Afro Picks! New Books and Trends in African-American Publishing and it refers to the feature story “African-American Books in Today’s Marketplace,” a look at the current marketplace for black books written by Felicia Pride.
I appreciate voices speaking out when travesties are valid. There are many legitimate issues raised, especially pertaining to how people of color are depicted in media. But what's really wrong with this image?
I fear far too many are just overly sensitive and too eager to pounce on mainstream outlets, while allowing African-American publications and media sites to thrive in their ignorance. I'm standing by my taste, I think the picture is beautiful. The critics are just picky.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Newark, NJ Mayor, and Ivy Horsemen favorite, Corey Booker was recognized as one of America’s best leaders.
The list complied by U.S. News and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government highlights leaders from a variety of fields. The criteria was based on three factors, sets direction, achieves results and cultivates a culture of growth.
On Booker, they noted his efforts to revitalize the once thriving "Brick City" by taking a hands-on approach to solving problems. Booker operates as a community leader, as well as, an elected official, taking personal pride in the city's successes.
U.S. News reports:
Since Cory Booker became mayor, the murder rate in Newark, N.J., has fallen by a third. And he has personally raised $25 million in private donations for the city's charter schools. "My belief in what’s possible in Newark is far grander now than it was when I started this job,” he says.
There is a prominent politician who heralded his community organizing background as an advantage to governing. While we have yet to see said unnamed elected official incorporate that into his style of governing, Booker stands out as a true person of the people. Leading by example and garnering results.
Read the full U.S.News article here.
To learn more about Mayor Booker visit his website www.corybooker.com