Friday, February 26, 2010

French Pair Set to Create Olympic History

Urban Chameleon news

VANCOUVER รข€” French pairs skaters Yannick Bonheur and Vanessa James are set to create history on Sunday when they become the first black couple to compete in figure skating at the Olympic Games.

Getting to Vancouver has been a long journey for the duo who teamed up just over two years ago after Bonheur put an advert on the internet after splitting with previous partner Marylin Pla.

Canadian-born James' aunt saw it and convinced her niece,
who has lived in England since she was a child, to reply.

James, 22, arrived in France for a trial run and never left with the duo teaming up in December 2007.
"It's destiny and I'm very happy about it," said 27-year-old Bonheur.

"There's the grace and beauty of Vanessa and then my athleticism. And the fact that we're both black brings a pleasing visual harmony."

James previously competed internationally for Britain as a single's skater. She was the 2006 British national champion and 2007 silver medallist.

The pair moved to Indianapolis in the United States in August 2009 to train with Russian coach Sergei Zaitsev.

And last December they booked their ticket to Vancouver by winning the French nationals, a victory which enabled James to receive French citizenship.
Bonheur said they were determined that their Olympic experience will lay the groundwork for future successes, after they finished seventh at Europeans.

"This is just
the beginning. We want to make a name for ourselves so that they'll remember us for next season," he said.

Being tagged the first black pairs skaters is not a disadvantage, they insist.
"It's often been remarked that we look different on the ice. So we want to highlight that," said Bonheur.

"We want to climb the ladder to show that black skaters can stand on the podium."

Didier Gailhaguet, president of the French skating federation, added: "They have a really exceptional look about them."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

White Sorority Wins Sprite Step Competition

Urban Chameleon news

A huge controversy is brewing in the YouTube comment section about whether or not a group of white girls deserved to win the annual Sprite Step-Off . After watching the video below, I honestly believe, if these girls were Black we wouldn't have been impressed. Having seen a good amount of step shows, their moves aren't original, and the only unique part of this presentation is that the girls are white. Not something we normally see. The question then becomes: Is them being white what earned them the prize? Maybe. Can't say for sure as we did not see the other competitors in this show, but we can say that great entertainment is giving the audience something they haven't experienced before and these white girls sho 'nough did!

On a different note, I find it interesting that Black people, upon entering a predominantly white field, have to be extra-ordinary, stellar, unimaginable, uncommon, inconceivable, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Barrack Obama. Using this standard of remarkable in reverse, the question becomes: Were these girls all dat?

Black Women Killing Their Babies?

Urban Chameleon news

by Funnel Cake

Yesterday I was in my car listening to a discussion on the radio about the controversial billboards in Atlanta related to the high percentage of Black women having abortions. They reported that about 27,000 Black women had abortions last year vs. white women who had 8,000. I was very bothered by this report not just because of the numbers but rather that there was no context provided for these statistics. I absolutely hate when people provide statistics with NO CONTEXT! It's the same as making a false report. For instance some things to consider:

What is the socioeconomic group of these women that may be impacting these numbers?

Age range?

What is the reason for these unwanted pregnancies? Rape? Contraceptive failure? Irresponsibleness?

Furthermore there are some statistics where Black women and white women shouldn't even be compared. The history of our family structures are very different and still effect today.

If there is anyone who can shed some light on this issue please do so.

Ant-Abortion Ads Split Atlanta


The groups responsible insist that they are not exaggerating, despite contrary federal data. The billboards, which show a close-up of a worried-looking African-American boy, are an effort to highlight data showing that black women get a disproportionate number of abortions, especially in Georgia, and that the number in Georgia is increasing.

“The impact of abortion has become so great that it has begun to impact our fertility rate,” said Catherine Davis, the minority outreach coordinator for Georgia Right to Life, the state’s main anti-abortion group, which has sponsored the billboards in partnership with the Radiance Foundation, a group based in Atlanta that encourages adoption.

The billboards — there are 65 now and will eventually be 80, Ms. Davis said — were created in conjunction with a new Web site,, which says that all of Georgia’s abortion clinics are in “urban areas where blacks reside.” The Web site connects abortion to segregation, saying that after the civil rights era, racists went “underground,” and that today “abortion is the tool they use to stealthily target blacks for extermination.”

It also says that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, wanted to reduce the population of blacks, an assertion that Planned Parenthood has disputed.

Ms. Davis said Georgia Right to Life would also support state legislation that would make it a crime for abortion providers to solicit business based on the race or sex of the fetus.

In 2006, 57.4 percent of the abortions in Georgia were performed on black women, even though blacks make up about 30 percent of the population, according to the most recent figures from the federal Centers for Disease Control. Of the 37 states that reported abortion data by race, Georgia was second only to New York and Texas in the number of abortions performed on black women. Only Mississippi and Maryland reported a higher percentage of abortions going to black women than Georgia.

But there was little evidence that abortions had made black children unusually endangered. The fertility rate, or births per 1,000 women of childbearing age, among black women remains higher than the national average and has inched up in recent years, according to C.D.C. data.

The advertising campaign has drawn fire from supporters of abortion rights. Loretta Ross, the executive director of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective in Atlanta, said the billboards painted black women as either monsters intent on destroying their own race or victims of whites who control abortion clinics.

“The reason we have so many Planned Parenthoods in the black community is because leaders in the black community in the ’20s and ’30s went to Margaret Sanger and asked for them,” Ms. Ross said. “Controlling our fertility was part of our uplift out of poverty strategy, and it still works.”

Ryan Bomberger, who left his job in advertising to found the Radiance Foundation and who designed the billboard, argued that it was not intended to induce shame.

“This is not a campaign that targets black women,” Mr. Bomberger said. “It’s a campaign that exposes an industry that we believe targets African-Americans.”

source from

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Russian's Aboriginal Ice Skating Routine Offends

Urban Chameleon news

Can't tell you the first thing about the Winter Olympics but this story (and picture!) caught our eye. Russians portraying the Aborigines on ice?

Russian ice dancers stage folk dancing cover-up

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Russians Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin added a few leaves to their infamous aboriginal themed costumes on Sunday but nothing could cover up the fact that folk dances could never be totally authentic on ice.

The world champions were accused by Australian Aboriginal elders last month of "cultural theft" in a routine where they wore dark body suits with white swirling patterns and performed ceremonial steps.

They dumped the patterns in favor of strokes of white paint, wore lighter suits, added some more eucalyptus leaves and did not paint their faces when they performed the original dance at the Olympics on Sunday after consulting experts.

"We did it more authentic and less theatrical. There are more leaves and fewer pictures," Shabalin, still sporting a red loin cloth, told reporters.

"It can't be 100 percent authentic because it's the ice and we have a lot of restriction in our costumes. I understand that they don't dance in pants ... but we are skating on the ice."

It remains to be seen how their costumes will be received by those who complained but there were plenty of other outfits on show that could get into trouble with the fashion police.

Below are the outfits they first wore before "toning it down." As you can see the man's outfit was darker and that apparently was REALLY inappropriate.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New African Discoveries

Urban Chameleon moment of the Day

by Funnel Cake

Today I wore a pair of jeans that a friend of mine lent me. When I went to reach into the back pocket to pull out the Metrocard I had earlier shoved down there out came something that appeared to be strangling my means of transportation. It was a piece of hairweave. I immediately knew how the piece of hairweave had gotten there with out ever having had a conversation with anyone about this subject matter.

I could already image the scenario now from the last time my girlfriend wore these jeans:

Friend out at a social event and goes to adjust her hair only to realize that apiece is loose. She quickly yanks it out before anyone can notice and stuffs it into the back of her jean pocket where I have now come to discover it.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

KKK in the 'hood?

Watching this video really got us thinking what would we do if a person dressed as a Klu Klux Klan member asked for a favor.

What would you do?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Is the recession a reason or an excuse to hit the stripper pole?

Urban Chameleon news

Hard times push more women to strip clubs

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

She slips out of her sweats and half-jokingly mumbles something about getting geared up to work the room.

It’s an about-face from a few years ago when money rained down on dancers at this and other Atlanta adult-entertainment clubs like free-flowing Dom Perignon. Like the rest of the economy, adult dance clubs feel the pinch. The sluggish economy and closer police scrutiny have put about a dozen out of business in the past decade. And the regular patrons aren’t so regular anymore.

But that hasn’t slowed the would-be dancers lining up to apply for the $350 permit to work in the city’s 19 clubs, Atlanta police say. Among the usual aspiring actresses and dancers, there are more college students, single mothers trailing toddlers, health and office professionals and even a few age-defying grandmothers — all looking for well-paid work in a city with unemployment above 10 percent.

“We have them coming in daily looking for work,” says Michael “Lil Magic” Barney Jr., the 28-year-old general manager of Magic City, a downtown Atlanta fixture founded by his father.

While there are no hard numbers, Atlanta police say they’ve seen a spike in applications for adult-entertainment permits in the past year or so due to the recession and the recent change in Georgia law that allows nude dancers to be as young as 18.

“We’re seeing younger applicants,” said Detective Kamau Chinyelu, an investigator with the Atlanta Police license and permit unit. “We’re seeing quite a few that have lost their jobs and are now making career changes.”

hose who do wind up working in the business soon learn that even nude dancers have to work harder these days, as patrons spend less and don’t return as often. The cyber-savvy dancers have turned to social media to hold customers’ interest.

And for good reason. Even in this tough economy, a dancer can clear about $50,000 a year, and that beats working in a dentist’s office or selling homes right now.

Like it or not, sex sells in Atlanta, where there are still more exotic and nude dance clubs in and around the city than anywhere else in the country, according to the Association of Club Executives, an industry trade group. Club work can be a strong draw in an economy that has shed 8 million jobs nationwide and propelled more women into the role of chief breadwinner.

“Women who may not have ever thought about working in the industry are rethinking” the idea, said Angelina Spencer, manager of the Washington, D.C.-based trade group. “Unfortunately, mortgages, car payments and groceries don’t go away in a bad economy.”

While city and development officials prefer not to talk about it publicly, Atlanta’s erotic economy has long been a major financial force in the city, helping draw conventioneers and high-rolling celebrities alike.

Spencer, a former stripper turned lobbyist who has been tracking the adult-entertainment industry for seven years, estimates metro Atlanta’s exotic and nude clubs generate $240 million annually, more than the city’s three major sports teams combined.

Read full article on

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When White People Cross the Line (episode 1 "Finding a non Black friend")

by today's Urban Chameleon contributor

Citra Marks

As an Urban Chameleon you always have to be mindful of how you engage in cultural conversations with someone that is not from the same culture…

Recently my friend and I had taken on two new white friends. This was quite the accomplishment for us being that one day we realized we had none and decided we needed to expand the racial pool of our friends. We’d been spending way too much time uptown in the Black Mecca with Harlem’s finest sipping watermelon martini’s and noshing on chicken sataay discussing the next the political agenda for Black America. It wasn’t always like this…

In college our every day crew was comprised of someone Turkish, Lebanese, Portuguese, Polish, Sri Lankan, Nigerian and Nepalese. But a couple of weeks ago when my friend and I were trying to help out another friend who was looking to cast a couple of non Black females for a film project neither of us could think of anyone. How could we possibly call ourselves Urban Chameleons? So we made a goal for 2010: find non Black friends.

We had been taking this Hip-Hop Yoga class for several months, which is where we met our two new white friends. The relationship began like most gym relationships, you know with the casual after workout conversations, “I saw you doing your thing today, you were working it out!” which eventually leads to someone initiating a hang out.

A couple of Sundays ago they invited us over to another friend of theirs place who lives around the corner from Hip-Hop yoga to watch the football game. It turned out to be an amazing penthouse apartment. Elevators that open right up to the foyer, 40ft ceilings with 30ft windows, in door and out door fireplaces, a wrap around balcony with a view overlooking the city. The drinks started flowing and the friend who owned the apartment made the best hot wings we had ever tasted. They were so off the hook that my friend who doesn’t even eat chicken off the bone was going back for more, and I who usually tries to curtail my enthusiasm about chicken around white people was animated over the wings; our guards were down.

As the night progressed and the more one of the white girls drank the more tell-it-like-it-is she became. She was definitely a down white girl but the golden mistake of the night is when my friend actually told her this, “Ohmigod you are hilarious, I feel like you’re secretly a Black woman inside!”

Rule #1 for Black people: Never ever ever ever tell a white person they are like a Black person. Once white people receive this level of approval it’s as if you’ve enabled them to cross all kinds of inappropriate cultural lines.

The white girl responds, I know right! I sometimes feel like that! We should totally name the Black girl inside of me.

At this point my friend who is way too drunk to realize that she has detonated a bomb on the Black race continues by partaking in the ceremony of naming the white girl’s inner Black girl. The other white girl says how about Shaniqua ?

“Yes!” My friend responds meanwhile I have plastered the fake smile across my face. I mean what to do at this point? Begin reciting the Martin Luther King, “I have a Dream,” speech? Or was this Martin’s dream? He did say something about little Black girls and white girls being able to play together but damn.

They then ask us if we’ve seen the Youtube video about the 60 top Black names, which neither of us had. They tell us how hilarious it is and promise to send it to us to check out and they do…

After watching this video the friendship ended and we stopped attending Hip Hop Yoga. You just can’t bounce back from that kind of cultural line crossing- I mean Fried Chicken-e-Qua? Seriously? I don’t think so. However, we both learned our lesson and will hopefully have better success at this Dim Sum party we’re attending tonight. Ch'eng seems very nice.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

NBC Serves Fried Chicken In Honor of Black History Month

Urban Chameleon news

This poor woman who works as part of the cooking staff at NBC was just trying to bring some culture to the networks lunch hour only to be shut down. However you cannot post a menu in a white establishment that begins with "fried chicken" in honor of Black history month and not expect people to feel some kind of way about it. How many times do we have to say it... Black people are very sensitive about their public image with chicken!

The other problem is that Black History month is suppose to recognize the African Diaspora so it would behoove the chef next time (as if there will be a next time- you know those NBC execs are like damnit Wanita (we totally just made up that name for this woman) this is why we do nothing) to think about including foods from other parts of the Diaspora. We're just sayin' tho'

In honor of Black History Month, the NBC cafeteria served fried chicken, collard greens, and jalapeno cornbread today for lunch. The picture below was snapped by Questlove, the drummer for the Roots--Jimmy Fallon's house band. He was also the musician that pointed out via Twitter that Conan spent half a million dollars on a walk-out song for Tom Hanks during his last episode.

Someone tweeting under the name @nbcu (which, as of now, only has 8 followers) is claiming to and be NBC's VP of Communications, Kevin Goldman. The first and only tweet says: "The sign in the NBCU cafeteria has been removed. We apologize for anyone who was offended by it."'

UPDATE: Questlove just tweeted: "i think i need a twitter break. i done started something. and now i must put out fire." Apparently, NBC is not thrilled with this attention.

UPDATE II: NBC has removed the sign from the cafeteria and apologized if it offended anyone.

The chef, Leslie Calhoun -- who is black -- said she has been trying to institute a special Black History Month menu for years and was allowed to do so for the first time this year. She said doesn't understand the controversy.

"I don't understand at all," she told NBC partner site TheGrio. "It's not trying to offend anybody and it's not trying to suggest that that's all that African-Americans eat. It's just a good meal. I thought it would go over well."

click here to see full article and watch interview of the chef on

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