Florida charges 13 in death of FAMU drum major
Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion died in November after a hazing ritual on a band bus.
May 2nd, 2012
02:34 PM ET

Florida charges 13 in death of FAMU drum major

By Rich Phillips, CNN

(CNN)–Florida authorities have brought charges against 13 people in what they called the hazing death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.

"Robert Champion died as a result of being beaten," State Attorney Lawson Lamar told reporters. "His death is not linked to one sole strike, but is attributed to multiple blows."

Champion died after collapsing on a bus that was carrying members of FAMU's Marching 100 back from a football game. Medical examiners ruled his death a homicide, saying he died "within an hour of a hazing incident during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body."

Opinion: What I learned from the FAMU marching band

Some university band members have said the 26-year-old died after taking part in an annual rite of passage called "Crossing Bus C," an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members.

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Filed under: Black in America • Bullying • Education • How we live
Engage: How Mexican food got American citizenship
A new book, “Taco USA,” explains how some foods shifted from Mexican dinners to American menus.
May 2nd, 2012
01:38 PM ET

Engage: How Mexican food got American citizenship

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

How Mexican food joined the American fast-food mainstream - The New York Times

Opinion: With few Native American voices in American discourse, vetting them is especially important - Racialicious

Landmark documentary about poor, gay and transgendered Latinos and African-Americans comes to Netflix, iTunes - National Public Radio

Community rallies behind Native American elder allegedly abused at hospital - Indian Country Today

All-girl prom at Michigan high school lets students live it up while respecting cultural boundaries - The New York Times


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Filed under: Engage
What does your name say about who you are?
Jessica Simpson recently named her daughter Maxwell Drew -- names traditionally given to boys.
May 2nd, 2012
12:04 PM ET

What does your name say about who you are?

Editor's note: What does your name say about you? Tell us on iReport how you think people see you based on your name and upload a photo of yourself. The best responses could be featured on CNN.com.

By Sarah Springer, CNN

(CNN) - Francine Rosemarie Davis comes from a family filled with traditional names. Her grandparents, Richard and Evelyn, named her mother Jill, who later named her children James and Francine. Her father? Charles.

But for years, she got strange looks from kids and adults when she was introduced. She went to school with girls named Star, Diamond and Magnificent – “perfectly acceptable names for black children,” in a way Francine or even Emily and Sarah weren’t, said Davis, who is black. When Davis moved to suburban Cleveland school, the comments kept coming.

“‘That’s an old lady’s name!’” she remembers her peers and their parents saying. “‘The only people left with that name are older ladies.’"

Perceptions about her based on her name followed her into adulthood, too - she’s  30, but people often assume she's older, and maybe white, she said.

“Now that we’re older and looking to get a career, you’ll send out a resume and when you walk through the door you’ll get a strange look because you’re not the person they expected to see,” said Davis, who works as a chemical engineer.

Researchers say our names have long affected how people perceive us, but trends and traditions around names - and what they say about our gender, age, race and ethnicity - are changing.

Jessica Simpson announced yesterday the birth of her new little one, Maxwell Drew – a 9 pound 13 ounce girl. She’s not the first to grab headlines with a nontraditional name: Tom Cruise and Kate Holmes have a daughter, Suri, Jay Z and Beyonce have their Blue Ivy bundle of joy and there’s no forgetting Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter, Apple. Celeb chef Jamie Oliver has four little ones: Poppy Honey Rosie, Daisy Boo Pamela, Petal Blossom Rainbow and Buddy Bear Maurice.


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Filed under: Family • Gender • History • Race • Who we are
May 2nd, 2012
10:01 AM ET

House candidate and rising GOP star is black, female – and Mormon

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – To call Mia Love a minority is an understatement. She’s a black woman who won an upset primary race to become the Republican candidate in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. If elected, she’d be the first black Republican congresswoman in the House of Representatives.

Love, who has attracted lots of national Republican support, also stands out because of her religion: She’s a Mormon. The politician is a poster child for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ campaign to present a more diverse face to a historically very white church.

“There are a lot of people who have tried to define me as a person,” Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, told CNN’s Kyra Phillips in an interview Tuesday. “I’m not a victim, and I don’t allow anybody to put me in a box.”

Speaking from Salt Lake City, she said, “There may be some challenges. But ... I love this place and love the people that are here, and I represent their beliefs and values.”

Read the full post on CNN's Belief blog

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Filed under: Black in America • Politics • Race • Religion • Who we are
'Uprising' documents role of hip-hop in L.A. riots
In the VH1 film "Uprising," Rodney King revisits the site where Los Angeles police officers beat him up in 1991.
May 2nd, 2012
05:09 AM ET

'Uprising' documents role of hip-hop in L.A. riots

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

(CNN)- In 1988, the West Coast hip-hop group N.W.A released a provocative song called "F**k tha Police," which stirred controversy and marked it as one of the most high-profile examples of tension between the black community in Los Angeles and authorities.

A few years later tensions erupted into rioting and violence in that city following the acquittal of Los Angeles police officers in the videotaped beating of motorist Rodney King.

Those two incidents, and whether the former helped spark the latter, is just one of the topics explored in the VH1 documentary "Uprising: Hip Hop and the L.A. Riots."

The project was the brainchild of director Mark Ford and executive producer Brad Abramson, both of whose professional credits include stints at CNN. The pair told CNN earlier this year at the South by Southwest music, film and technology festival that the documentary was an idea they had long thought of bringing to the small screen.

"We had worked together on a documentary about N.W.A. a few years ago," Ford said. "That was always in my mind, the song 'F**K Tha Police' and how powerful it was, and was there a connection between that song and what happened years later?"

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