Google (and the world) celebrates Michael Jackson’s birthday

Todays Google logo is a tribute to Michael Jackson
Today's Google logo is a tribute to Michael Jackson

The King of Pop is again remembered by what is decidedly the most well known search engine on the world wide web: Google.com! Google changed the double-Os in it’s name to an image of Michael Jackson’s feet with his famous sparkling white socks and black penny loafers

On a side note…Yesterday I had the chance to meet choreographer and director Kenny Ortega who was directing Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” concert, but is now directing the film with the same title as a tribute to the work and legacy of the King of Pop. I’ve heard there will also be some moments here and there in the film that show the softer, human side of Michael Jackson. (I hope I will get to see it in theatres!) Yesterday I also met Michael Jackson’s old personal assistant and assistant to Ortega since 2007, James Phares, who shared with me some very touching memories of Michael Jackson. He told me how thoughtful, sensitive, and loving he was with all those he came in contact with.
Read more about Kenny Ortega and his work at his website.

While I was never lucky enough to meet Michael Jackson, I have been a huge fan of his since I was a little girl. I used to dress up in this weird color-block outfit that was black on one side and white on the other and match my shoes and socks (and hairbands even!) and perform “Black or White” for my family in our living room. I loved that video because it was the only pop video I knew of that blended so many scenes from cultures from around the world (not just those representing “black” or “white”), including my own. Seeing Native Americans dancing in a music video (not to mention Michael Jackson’s music video!) made me feel as the only-Indian-girl-at-her-school-practically-her-whole-life, like my culture and I mattered. My people were not just worthy of respect, but we were cool, too! Michael Jackson has meant a lot to me throughout my life not just because he is the best performer to ever live, but because of where he stood with the human rights movement, bridging the gaps between so many different peoples, and continually poking holes through the racial glass ceiling. He will always be my hero and my inspiration to dare to dream the impossible. I love and miss you Michael…Happy Birthday!

Check out Michael Jackson’s website here.

I’ll leave you with what I think is one of Michael Jackson’s best videos!

President Clinton speaking at the opening of Netroots Nation asked about DADT and DOMA

Check out this video of President Clinton speaking at the opening of Netroots Nation. He was interrupted by attendee Lane Hudson with questions about his signing of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) legislation. This video shows why he was one of the greatest presidents we’ve ever had. Whether you agree with DOMA or DADT or not, it’s pretty impressive that he not only knew his stuff back when he was in office, but can still recall that information now!

-NativeJournalist

Chris Rock’s new doc “Good Hair”

Chris Rock has come back on the creative scene with a poignant documentary–full of comedic moments (naturally)–that examines cultural pressures and identity issues that come with having “black hair.” Check out the trailer below:

“Good Hair” won the Special Jury Prize for U.S. Documentary at this year’s Sundance Festival in January. To read more about the film go here. Below is a description of the film from Sundance’s website:

When Chris Rock’s daughter, Lola, came up to him crying and asked, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?” the bewildered comic committed himself to search the ends of the earth and the depths of black culture to find out who had put that question into his little girl’s head! Director Jeff Stilson’s camera followed the funnyman, and the result is Good Hair, a wonderfully insightful and entertaining, yet remarkably serious, documentary about African American hair culture. An exposé of comic proportions that only Chris Rock could pull off, Good Hair visits hair salons and styling battles, scientific laboratories, and Indian temples to explore the way black hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks, sexual relationships, and self-esteem of black people. Celebrities such as Ice-T, Kerry Washington, Nia Long, Paul Mooney, Raven Symoné, Maya Angelou, and Reverend Al Sharpton all candidly offer their stories and observations to Rock while he struggles with the task of figuring out how to respond to his daughter’s question. What he discovers is that black hair is a big business that doesn’t always benefit the black community and little Lola’s question might well be bigger than his ability to convince her that the stuff on top of her head is nowhere near as important as what is inside.

This film looks great…A conversation on this topic is long overdue! Way to go, Chris Rock! I can’t wait to see it.

-NativeJournalist

UPDATE: Parole Hearing to Be Held Tuesday for Imprisoned Native American Activist Leonard Peltier

Directly from the Democracy Now website:

The sixty-four-year-old activist has been in prison for thirty-three years and is now being held at the Lewisburg prison in Pennsylvania. Peltier who is Anishinabe-Lakota was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. At his last hearing, the Parole Commission originally denied Peltier parole in 1993 based on their finding that he “participated in the premeditated and cold blooded execution of those two officers.” However, the Parole Commission has since said it “recognizes that the prosecution has conceded the lack of any direct evidence that [Peltier] personally participated in the executions of the two FBI agents.” Peltier has long maintained his innocence and is widely considered a political prisoner who was not granted a fair trial.

Read more about this at Democracy Now’s website.

-nativejournalist

Native American Indian Dog(?!) controversy…

Have you ever heard of a “Native American Indian” dog? If you haven’t, you are not alone. This breed of dog (which is not recognized by the AKC) is said to be part wolf, yet some say they make great house pets. I would assume this is similar to having a farrell cat, no? Anyway, you can read an article about what recently happened when a family’s house pet behaved like the animal it is, but almost killed the family’s newborn in the process here. Why would the parents think it wise to keep a dog like that (or any dog for that matter) in their home with their brand new baby?! I love animals just as much (or more) than the next person, but I would never let my pet get anywhere near my infant! It’s sort of a matter of principal…it just doesn’t sound like a good idea!

What’s more is due to the name of this (unrecognized) breed, many are offended. Here is another article which describes the offensive nature of the name. It does seem a bit problematic that a dog is named after a group of people. But, is it the use of the terms “Native American” or “Indian” to describe the breed that is offensive? Or, is the problem that the dog is part wolf and therefore potentially dangerous that makes the name offensive? Personally, the reason why the name doesn’t sit well with me is because it makes it seem like the dog is half human-half animal. (That’s what I thought when I first read the headline at least!) Whether you find it offensive or not, the name will most likely stay. The majority of Americans seem to think naming sports mascots after a living, breathing people is okay, so why isn’t naming a dog that is part beast (okay, not “beast” but wolf) okay? Right. Well, I’m an equal opportunist…So, where are the Jewish Israeli American dogs, Latino Mexican Hispanic Chicano American dogs, Black African American dogs, Chinese Thai Japanese Korean Asian American dogs, and the White European American dogs? Okay, I admit…that was a little silly…but really, why call a wolf-dog a “Native American Indian?” It just sounds ridiculous!

-nativejournalist