Super Bowl Sunday is famous for more than just football. This time of year sees a spike in human trafficking, and a spike in awareness to go with it. Trafficking involves selling, buying, and transporting human beings to be exploited in some capacity. It often involves forced prostitution, and victims are controlled through bribery or force. Lots of experts assert that Super Bowl weekend has the highest volume of human trafficking than any other event in the United States. In fact, it’s been a favorite phrase of newscasters and talk show hosts over the past several years. Others say that statistic is untrue, but drawing attention to the issue means more lives saved, so it’s hardly worth disputing. The fact of the matter is that thousands of people are exploited and trapped into this form of modern day slavery each year, and fewer people are aware of that than you’d imagine. Keep reading »
it has taken me a few days but i have been thinking and feeling very intensely and i would like to say i am sincerely sorry. it is obvious to me now that you were right; all those who said we can’t in good conscience go to that place and support it or look past for one moment what it deeply represents. i needed a wake up call and you gave it to me.
it was a great oversight on my part to not request a change of venue immediately from the promoter. you tried to tell me about that oversight and i wasn’t available to you. i’m sorry for that too.
know that i am digging deeper.
Oh thank goodness. Ani DiFranco has followed up her no-pology from last week — regarding her now-canceled feminist songwriting retreat at a former slave plantation — with a real and genuine actual apology today. This is the Ani DiFranco worthy of having her lyrics scrawled on Jessica’s wall. [Facebook]
Singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco has officially canceled her four-day “righteous feminist songwriting retreat” after fans and non-fans alike rightfully took issue with the event’s location — the Nottoway Plantation, one of the largest former slave plantations in the South. DiFranco posted a lengthy message on her Facebook page announcing the cancelation and offered a pretty weak explanation for why the retreat was ever scheduled at such a historically problematic location in the first place. (There is no explanation offered for why DiFranco refuses to use capital letters, but I digress.)
when i found out it was to be held at a resort on a former plantation, I thought to myself, “whoa”, but i did not imagine or understand that the setting of a plantation would trigger such collective outrage or result in so much high velocity bitterness. i imagined instead that the setting would become a participant in the event.
I’m confused. Is this an apology? Where are the words “I’m sorry”? Where’s the accountability? And what the fuck is up with the tone-policing of very real and valid concerns about hosting a feminist songwriting retreat at a location that currently describes the human beings it enslaved as “a willing workforce”? I mean, ”high velocity bitterness”? GTFO. Keep reading »
Ani DiFranco is perhaps one of the best known “feminist” singer-songwriters of the last twenty years. Her music, which I’m not personally a big listener of, has been long been anti-sexist and anti-racist. So, at first, it was cool to hear that DiFranco was hosting what she calls a “feminist songwriting retreat” from June 25-29, 2014. Oh but there’s one problem — the “Righteous Retreat in the Big Easy” will be held at the Nottoway Plantation in White Castle, Louisiana, a former slave plantation. Say WHAT?! Keep reading »
If you’ve been on Twitter in the last 24 hours, you might have noticed something interesting — “Harriet Tubman” is trending. Why? The famous abolitionist, who escaped from slavery and then helped over 300 other slaves escape using the Underground Railroad, was the subject of a “spoof” video that was posted to Russell Simmons’ new All Def Digital YouTube channel yesterday. “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” features YouTube actress Shanna Malcolm, as Tubman, having sex with her white “Massa” (master) while a fellow slave records the encounter to use as blackmail, so that Tubman can run the Underground Railroad.
“This our only chance to getting freedoms,” Malcolm, as Tubman, tells her fellow slave.
Yesterday, Simmons promoted the video on Twitter, describing it as “the funniest thing I’ve ever seen,” but the backlash was swift and fierce, and Tubman’s name started to trend as critics expressed their outrage that the video desecrated the abolitionist’s memory, and made light of the rampant rape and sexual abuse that went on during slavery. Eventually Simmons pulled the video from YouTube and posted an apology of sorts to his website Global Grind. Critics, including the NAACP, said the video Keep reading »
When we think of slavery, most Americans likely consider the slave history of our own country. We relegate slavery to the past, believing that such a barbaric concept couldn’t ever exist in our current world.
We were wrong.
Slavery is alive and well, and happening in more places than you think. There are 27 million slaves in the world today, involved in a variety of industries and in a multitude of countries. There’s the forced prostitution and trafficking of women around the world; the men forced to work in the copper, diamond and coltan mines in the Congo; and the trafficked migrant workers of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
But that’s just a fraction of the slave and indentured labor that happens all over the world, employed to create products and services we use every day. Keep reading »
Slavery is alive and well and happening in upstate New York, if the story of Annie George (pictured) and Valsamma Mathai is to be believed. Mathai, who worked for George in her 30,000 square foot Rexford, New York, mansion for 6-1/2 years, says she was forced to work 12-hour days and was not allowed to leave. George, she claims, kept her passport and visa, and forced her to sleep in the walk-in closet of a room inhabited by some of George’s five children.
And you’ll never guess who ratted George out… Keep reading »
Tactics used by anti-abortion groups just keep getting uglier. The latest “ugh!” is courtesy of the Radiance Foundation, whose new billboards target black women and read “The 13th Amendment freed us. Abortion enslaved us” and “Abortion makes three-fifths human seem overly generous.” The billboards purposefully appeared on June 19, or Juneteenth, which is the anniversary of the end of slavery in America. Said Ryan Scott Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation:
“When you look at what abortion has brought to the black community, it can’t be typified to anything other than present-day slavery. It’s just like slavery, because you have a class of people who are considered less than human, and therefore they can be treated like property.”
Why, yes, having reproductive rights is just like slavery. Keep reading »