Anebsa rechecks the ‘Credentials’

Reggae singer Emmanuel Anebsa has re-issued his hard-hitting project Check Their Credentials . It was released this month on his Wont Stop Records label.

“The songs are a deep realisation that reggae is under the slave masters’ control,” he said.

“They use money to control us. We have to take control of our own music. I spoke a black/brown truth to the operator of a major European white-owned reggae platform, an observation that the white European artistes are singing culture while practising oppression. How are you going to make a white man sing about black woman to us? The white artistes want to be us, but they don’t want to feel our pain so how is that authentic? I spoke my truth innocently and with love and they banned my music from their platform,” he continued.

He is promoting the lead single, Check Their Credentials, which questions the authenticity of white artistes from Europe who are at the forefront of the industry singing reggae music.

Some of the other tracks include Mash Up Reggae Music Again and They Just Pretend.

“I do reggae music because it comes from the bloodline of his ancestors. I have not come to be famous, you cannot be famous and talk about the true message of freedom as the message of freedom will offend. Once you accept their money as a sponsor or advertiser, they control you,” Anebsa, whose real name is Negus Emmanuel Anebsa, said.

Emmanuel Anebsa is a savvy businessman, who launched Wontstop Records in his hometown, Bristol, in 1998. He has released 39 albums, including the popular St Paul’s Ghetto.

“Reggae foundation artistes set Jamaica on map from the 1960s with ska, rocksteady to reggae…it is a big massive platform. But black artistes still don’t control their destiny. My point is we are not free, all of us are looking for the Billboard chart which is controlled by white supremacy. Why don’t we make our own charts? Build our own structures? Own our own festivals. Our black nation needs to wake up or one day, we will get up and realise that we don’t even control reggae anymore,” he said.

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Biden Seeks to Define His Presidency by an Early Emphasis on Equity

WASHINGTON — In his first days in office, President Biden has devoted more attention to issues of racial equity than any new president since Lyndon B. Johnson, a focus that has cheered civil rights activists and drawn early criticism from conservatives.

In his inauguration speech, the president pledged to defeat “white supremacy,” using a burst of executive orders on Day 1 to declare that “advancing equity, civil rights, racial justice and equal opportunity is the responsibility of the whole of our government.”

He has ordered his coronavirus response team to ensure that vaccines are distributed equitably. His $1.9 trillion recovery plan targets underserved communities by calling for paid leave for women forced out of jobs, unemployment benefits that largely help Black and brown workers, and expanded tax credits for impoverished Americans who are disproportionately nonwhite.

And the new administration is preparing to take sweeping steps in the months ahead to directly address inequity in housing, criminal justice, voting rights, health care, education and economic mobility.

“Racial equity is not a silo in and of itself,” said Cecilia Rouse, Mr. Biden’s nominee to lead his Council of Economic Advisers, who would be the first Black economist to oversee the council if confirmed by the Senate. “It is woven in all of these policy efforts.”

The actions reflect the political coalition backing Mr. Biden, who was lifted by Black voters to his party’s nomination and who won the White House in part on the strength of Black turnout and support from women in the suburbs and elsewhere. They also reflect what historians see as a unique opening for Mr. Biden to directly address issues of inequality — in contrast to President Barack Obama, under whom Mr. Biden served as vice president.

Mr. Obama, the nation’s first Black president, took pains to be seen as a president for “all Americans,” as opposed to Black Americans, said Nicole Hemmer, a Columbia University historian and associate research scholar with the Obama Presidency Oral History project.

“You got less of that overt racial equity language from Barack Obama than you get from Joe Biden,” Ms. Hemmer said. “The challenge to Biden is how he makes clear the universal benefits of focusing on racial and gender equity. He is going to face real pushback on this.”

The backlash has already begun. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, told Fox News that Mr. Biden’s Inaugural Address had attacked Republicans with “thinly veiled innuendo, calling us white supremacists, calling us racists.” The columnist Andrew Sullivan, who writes a Substack newsletter, accused the president of “culture war aggression” in a recent post, saying Mr. Biden’s focus on “equity” would give “named identity groups a specific advantage in treatment by the federal government over other groups.”

“You don’t get to unite the country by dividing it along these deep and inflammatory issues of identity,” Mr. Sullivan wrote.

Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, who is leading Mr. Biden’s Domestic Policy Council, is charged with ensuring that the new administration embeds issues of racial equity into everything it does. In an interview, she rejected the idea that doing so is a “zero-sum game” that benefited some groups of Americans at the expense of others.

“Look at the Covid crisis, which disproportionately sickened and killed Black and brown people who are the frontline workers, the essential workers,” she said. “We are all poorer when those among us who are most vulnerable, most disadvantaged, are suffering.”

Ms. Rice, who is Black, has little experience in domestic policy, but has recruited a team with deep roots in civil rights and justice. She said Mr. Biden persuaded her to return to the White House with the promise that equity issues would not be ”an isolated bubble,” but rather a central mission of his administration, one focused on rolling back the legacy of President Donald J. Trump, who she said “deliberately sought to divide and degrade huge segments of our population.”

One of the fullest expressions of Mr. Trump’s views came in September when he ordered the government to stop using diversity training programs, saying they were promoting a “malign ideology” that misrepresented the country’s history.

“This ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans,” Mr. Trump wrote in his executive order.

Mr. Biden revoked the order on his first day in office. He also disbanded a presidential commission Mr. Trump had assembled that last week produced a report, widely denounced by historians, that included a reframing of the United States’ history of slavery in terms more favorable to white slaveholders.

“Many of the strides that we made during the Obama-Biden administration were not only reversed, but due to incendiary rhetoric, policies and practices, set our country back even further,” said Valerie Jarrett, who was one of Mr. Obama’s senior advisers. “Yes, it is less equitable today than it was in 2016. Therefore, the urgency to act now, and the willingness of the American people to support their president and the administration acting now, in this way, is far greater.”

Only two presidents before Mr. Biden have used their inaugural weeks to push for equality with the same force, Ms. Hemmer said. The first was Ulysses S. Grant, who called for better treatment of Native Americans and the passage of a constitutional amendment to give Black men the right to vote. Nearly a century later, Mr. Johnson, who was thrust into office after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, called for the passage of civil rights legislation that helped remove some of the barriers that held back people of color throughout American society.

Mr. Biden made racial and gender equity promises a central theme of his campaign. He nominated a cabinet that has more women and people of color than any president before him, though he drew criticism from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus for not appointing any Asian-American or Pacific-Islander secretaries.

The president’s legislative proposals to advance equity include trillions of dollars in new spending on coronavirus relief and, in an ensuing package to be announced next month, infrastructure, all of which are loaded with provisions meant to help Americans who have historically suffered discrimination.

Many of Mr. Biden’s plans are longstanding liberal priorities, but which the president and his team are now advocating with a racial emphasis. Biden aides have stressed how raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, as Mr. Biden has proposed, would help Black and Latino workers in particular, and on Friday, Mr. Biden pushed Congress to act on his call for expanded antipoverty tax credits by highlighting their effects on nonwhite families.

“Our plan would reduce poverty in the Black community by a third and in the Hispanic community by almost 40 percent,” Mr. Biden told reporters.

Mr. Biden’s aides say it is possible to make progress on those historical inequalities, including income and wealth gaps by race and gender, while also addressing the nation’s immediate economic crisis. Ms. Rouse said the focus would help all Americans, regardless of race or gender, by improving the performance of the economy.

“We maximize growth, we maximize productivity in this country when we maximize all our productive assets,” she said in an interview. “Embedded in that is a recognition that we have a lot of talented people whose skills, whose knowledge, whose innovations and creativity are not being brought to bear to help their country.”

The president and his top aides describe the broader effort to achieve equity through the government in grand and sweeping terms: a pledge to begin “embedding equity across federal policymaking and rooting out systemic racism and other barriers to opportunity from federal programs and institutions.”

In an executive order he signed in the first hours of his presidency, Mr. Biden directed top officials across the federal government to examine how they could reshape the federal work force to ensure that people of color, the poor, rural residents, the disabled, L.G.B.T.Q. people and religious minorities are not denied opportunity or government benefits.

It also establishes efforts to break down federal data, including economic indicators, “by race, ethnicity, gender, disability, income, veteran status or other key demographic variables” to measure progress on equity goals, a move praised by many economists.

“I am beyond excited,” said Rhonda V. Sharpe, an economist who leads the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race in Virginia. “When you disaggregate data, what you get to see is the nuances in outcomes. And the nuances can help you craft better policies.”

And Mr. Biden has faced pressure to also make changes to the White House organizational chart to ensure a focus on equity. In December, the N.A.A.C.P. urged him to create a civil rights envoy, and civil rights groups and other organizations sent his advisers a five-page memo asking Mr. Biden to establish a White House office dedicated to racial equity.

In recent weeks, those groups have largely applauded Mr. Biden’s efforts, including his appointment of Catherine E. Lhamon, the chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to serve as a deputy director under Ms. Rice for racial justice and equity.

Mr. Biden also won praise from a group of Latino leaders after meeting with them the week before the inauguration. “He was very articulate, very clear, about how equity needed to be at the center of all his health and economic recommendations and proposals and investments,” said Janet Murguía, the president of UnidosUS, one of the groups that sent the racial equity memo to the president’s advisers. “He’s talking about this in a very compelling way.”

The N.A.A.C.P.’s president, Derrick Johnson, said Mr. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris deserved credit for a “strong start.” But his organization, he said, would be closely watching which policies the administration prioritizes and how Mr. Biden sets his goals for equity.

“I believe that they have the right intentions,” Mr. Johnson said. “But there has to be an executive priority that any decision that they make is made with a true racial equity lens and is measured against a set of metrics so that we can all see the progress.”

Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting.

(BPRW) Hank Aaron, MLB legend, dead at 86

(Black PR Wire) Hank Aaron, who endured racist death threats while chasing down and breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and still considered by many to be baseball’s legitimate long ball king, died Friday. He was 86.

US Senate confirms Gen (retd) Lloyd Austin as country’s first Black defence secretary

The United State Senate has confirmed the nomination of General (retired) Lloyd Austin to serve as secretary of the defence department, making him the first-ever African American to occupy the top Pentagon position. The nomination was confirmed in an overwhelming 93-2 vote.

Soon he was sworn in by Tom Muir, acting director of Washington Headquarters Services. Thereafter, Austin received an intelligence briefing. Vice President Kamala Harris would administer the ceremonial oath to Austin next week. President Joe Biden thanked the senate for confirming Austin and working to get his cabinet in place.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to serve as our country’s 28th secretary of defence, and I’m especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position. Let’s get to work,” Austin tweeted.

A day earlier, the House of Representatives voted 326-78 to pass a waiver exempting Austin from the seven-year ‘cooling off period’ for retired generals taking over as defence secretary. The senate approved the waiver by 69-27 votes.

This is the third time that Congress has given such a waiver to a retired general. The previous one being of General (retired) James Matin who was appointed as defence secretary by former President Donald Trump in January 2017 and George Marshall in 1947.

Austin had retired as a four-star Army general in 2016.

“I am honoured to have this chance to serve again and to do so alongside you and your families. My wife, Charlene, and I know all too well the sacrifices you make to keep this country safe. That safety is job one, and I promise to work as hard as you do at it,” Austin said in his message to the defence forces soon thereafter.

According to new Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, the president called Austin in the afternoon, shortly after his arrival at the pentagon.

“The president congratulated the secretary on his swift confirmation and thanked the secretary for agreeing to serve the country again. Secretary Austin expressed his gratitude to the president for his trust and confidence and for his support during the confirmation process,” Kirby said.

Later in the day, Austin spoke to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg over phone.

The call was his first to a foreign leader as the defence secretary, and reinforces the importance of the NATO alliance to the US, Kirby said.

“The two leaders discussed the importance of our shared values, the current security environment including maintaining a strong NATO deterrence and defence posture, and the ongoing missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. They also briefly reviewed the upcoming NATO Defence Ministerial and agreed to discuss it again in more detail in the coming weeks,” Kirby said.

Austin said that he looked forward to developing a close working relationship with Stoltenberg and both leaders pledged to consult in the months ahead, he said.

The White House welcomed the swift confirmation of Austin.

“We applaud the senate’s strong bipartisan confirmation of Lloyd Austin, who has been breaking barriers all of his life, as the first black secretary of defence in our nation’s history,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.

“Austin’s confirmation is a major benefit to our national security, and he’s going to hit the ground running, leading the Pentagon. He will be sworn in today, but he will be — he will be sworn in more officially by the — not ‘more officially’, I should say, but he will be sworn in more ceremoniously on Monday by the vice president,” Psaki said.

In his message to the department of defence personnel, Austin said that his job as secretary of defence is to make them more effective at doing their work.

“That means ensuring you have the tools, technology, weapons, and training to deter and defeat our enemies. It means establishing sound policy and strategy and assigning you clear missions. It means putting a premium on cooperation with our allies and partners. And it means living up to our core values, the same ones our fellow citizens expect of us,” Austin said.

“Right now, of course, doing my job also means helping our country get control of the pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans. You have already come to the aid of our nation’s health care professionals. You can expect that mission to continue,” he said.

“But we must help the federal government move further and faster to eradicate the devastating effects of the coronavirus. To that end, we will also do everything we can to vaccinate and care for our workforce and to look for meaningful ways to alleviate the pressure this pandemic has exerted on you and your families,” he said.

Racist, anti-Semitic posts shared at San Francisco high school

… an isolated incident and that racism is, unfortunately, present … into racial slurs targeting African Americans, anti-Semitic comments and … thoughts following the anti-racism when somehow anti-Black … were failing to address racism at Lowell.  It appears … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

Obama leads tributes to legendary Black baseball player Hank Aaron

… Friday. Aaron, who was African American, was born in a segregated … Hall of Famer while battling racism throughout his legendary career. … Mr Obama wrote that the racism Aaron faced throughout his career … became one of the first Black Americans to hold a senior … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

Austin breaks barrier as first Black US defense secretary

WASHINGTON  – The retired Army general Lloyd Austin made history on Friday by becoming America’s first Black defense secretary, arriving at the Pentagon minutes after his Senate confirmation to a busy schedule that included a call with NATO’s secretary general.
“See you around campus,” the 67-year-old Austin said as he greeted reporters on the steps of the Pentagon.
After being sworn in, Austin received his first intelligence briefing as Pentagon chief. He later chaired a meeting on the coronavirus pandemic with top Defense Department leaders, many joining virtually, the Pentagon said.
The pandemic — and its death toll of more than 400,000 Americans — was the theme of Austin’s first message to members of the armed forces. He noted the military’s support to America’s health care professionals, and said, “You can expect that mission to continue.”
“But we must help the federal government move further and faster to eradicate the devastating effects of the coronavirus,” Austin said, without detailing additional assistance.
Austin’s first call with a foreign leader as defense secretary was with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, underscoring the importance the Biden administration places on the alliance. Former President Donald Trump strained NATO by regularly admonishing allies for not spending enough on defense and sought to punish Germany over a dispute by withdrawing US forces.
Austin and President Joe Biden have repeatedly pledged to improve diversity in the US military — America’s largest employer — which is largely white and male at the top even though the lower ranks are diverse.
Austin has been a trailblazer for much of his professional career. As a lieutenant colonel, he became the first Black soldier to be named operations officer of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Austin was the first Black soldier to command both an infantry division and Army Corps in combat; the first Black officer to become vice chief of staff of the Army; and the first to lead US Central Command, overseeing US military forces in the Middle East.
“There is kind of a sad commentary here, and that is it shouldn’t have taken us this long to get here. There should have been someone who preceded me,” Austin said in a video posted on Twitter earlier this month.
Austin’s appointment as defense secretary required approval by Congress of a waiver because Austin, who retired in 2016, had not been out of uniform for seven years — the minimum required under a law meant to ensure civilian control of the military.
After approving the waiver on Thursday, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm him on Friday in a 93-2 vote in the 100-member chamber.
Senator Tammy Duckworth, a former Army National Guard helicopter pilot who lost both legs when she was shot down in Iraq in 2004, voted in favor of confirming Austin, even after voting against the waiver over concerns about civilian control of the military.
“His confirmation is yet another historic step in his barrier-breaking career, and I look forward to working with Secretary Austin to protect our troops and safeguard our nation,” said Duckworth, who is Thai-American.