“Hard to think about myself when Brittney Griner doin’ nine” — The Game, “Heart Vs. Mind”
Today marks 182 days since two-time Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia for carrying hashish oil in her luggage. Griner, who is prescribed medical cannabis stateside, was recently sentenced to nine years in prison, the potential conditions of which Insider described as “severely overcrowded,” “incubators for epidemics” and overall “notoriously brutal.”
With her Phoenix Mercury on the brink of playoff elimination, Griner will likely miss the entire WNBA season. Meanwhile, the United States and Russia are reportedly engaged in discussions on a potential prisoner swap which could involve an arms dealer nicknamed the Merchant of Death.
One month in a Russian prison is long. Six months in a Russian prison is too long. Nine years in a Russian prison is unimaginable. The point is this: bring Brittney home.
INSIDE THE 305
Ben Frazier of the Northside Coalition in Jacksonville and Community Justice Project attorney Denise Ghartey recently presented their issues with HB 1, also known as the anti-riot bill, to the U.N.’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva. With their case being heard at the international level, the activists hope that CERD will push the United States to crack down on laws seemingly aimed at Black and brown Floridians.
“HB 1, as you know we have felt, is ambiguous and, of course, nebulous,” Frazier said. “It is racial discriminatory. It targets Black community leaders and advocates and Black-led organizations.”
During one of CERD’s final meetings, the United States’ commitment to protecting the freedom of assembly was questioned.
“What measures are being taken to guarantee the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly of individuals belonging to racial and ethnic minorities?” Faith Dikeledi Pansy Tlakula, CERD country rapporteur, asked. She then listed examples, referring to HB 1 as a law “aimed at restricting and criminalizing protest activities as a response to racial justice protests and Black Lives Matter protests.”
August means that it’s Black business month and Michael Butler has been really killing it by bringing the stories about entrepreneurs of African descent to life.
One of my favorites was his sit down with Shirlene Ingraham, the owner of Jackson Soul Food. An Overtown staple since its opening in 1946, Jackson Soul Food expanded to a second site in Opa-locka in 2015. A third location, this time a collaboration with Chik-fil-A, is expected to open inside Miami International Airport in December.
The importance of Black businesses cannot be overstated, especially in Miami. Case in point: Ingraham’s commitment to hiring those “who other people don’t give a chance.”
“I’m normally employing people that other people don’t want to employ,” Ingraham told Butler. “I’ve always hired people that have been to jail, or have issues blocking them from getting hired. Most of my staff is from the community.”
OUTSIDE THE 305
Nathan Connolly, the author of “A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida,” and his wife, Shani Mott, claimed a housing appraisal significantly undervalued their Baltimore home due to their race, according to a lawsuit first reported by The New York Times.
The couple’s first appraisal, conducted by 20/20 Valuations, estimated the home to be worth $472,000, leading to mortgage lender loanDepot’s denial of their refinance loan. Months later, however, the couple would apply for another loan, this time removing any trace that a Black family lived there — family photos, children’s drawings, books by Black authors, etc. — and had a white colleague of Connolly’s stand in for them. The second appraisal estimated the home’s value at $750,000, according to The New York Times.
“We were clearly aware of appraisal discrimination,” Dr. Connolly told The New York Times. “But to be told in so many words that our presence and the life we’ve built in our home brings the property value down? It’s an absolute gut punch.”
Connolly and Mott’s lawsuit lists loanDepot, 20/20 Valuations and Shane Lanham, the appraisal company’s owner who conducted the first evaluation, as defendants.
From Baltimore let’s take a trip to South Africa to talk about what The New York Times’ John Eligon deemed a “succession soap opera.”
In short, the 2021 death of King Goodwill Zwelithini has left the Zulu royal family embroiled in a hotly contested dispute over his successor. Zwelithini died with six wives and at least 28 children. Misuzulu Sinqobile Zulu, the first child of his father’s third wife, appears to have the most support for the throne yet Zwelithini’s more than a dozen sons disagree.
“The voice of the king, to the Zulus, overrides any other voice,” said Mphumeleli Ngidi, a lecturer in the department of historical studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the province that was the historic seat of the Zulu people. “People still bow to the king.”
If you’re like me and have a very limited knowledge of the Zulus, Eligon’s story provided a rather intriguing exploration into one of Africa’s most notable monarchies.
“Rap Radar,” the preeminent hip-hop podcast, is back Thursday with a new interview of Quavo and Takeoff. Hosted by Elliott Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller, the episode touches on, among many other things, the duo’s creative process in the absence of third Migos member Offset.
“We’re bouncing off each other,” Takeoff said. “The chemistry has been there since day one.”
“The chemistry is the same, the recording is the same,” Quavo added.
Quavo and Takeoff have dropped two songs this year without Offset — “Hotel Lobby (Unc and Phew)” and “Us vs. Them” — amid rumors that the trio has broken up.
Where does “The 44 Percent” name come from? Click here to find out how Miami history influenced the newsletter’s title.