Published on April 22nd 2010 by Leon Shepherd

This list features the Top 10 Black News Stories of the week ending Friday, April 22, 2010. Making the headlines this week includes a movie review, a smelly parking ticket, a dog poop case, the loss of a civil rights activist, and a bank robber who tried to be black.


10. Martin Lawrence Says ‘Bad Boys 3′ is Good to Go


                                      Not only has Will Smith’s return to the “Men in Black” franchise been confirmed by director Barry Sonnenfeld, but Martin Lawrence just told MTV News that he will definitely reteam with the actor for a third film in the “Bad Boys” series. Smith’s camp had denied reports in recent weeks that he signed on for either film. But, Martin says he and Smith have already discussed a third “Bad Boys” installment, and both actors, along with returning director Michael Bay, are just awaiting the go-ahead from producer Jerry Bruckheimer. “Any time you can get Big Willie to come out and talk about doing a third installment of a hot movie like ‘Bad Boys,’ you have to take notice. I met with [director] Michael Bay, and he said he’s onboard too — so it’s real… We’re just waiting on Jerry Bruckheimer to let us know when it’s really real,” said Lawrence. Peter Craig is reportedly writing the script but production won’t likely begin until next year when Bay has finished his commitment to the third “Transformers,” reports MTV. As previously reported, Movieline and Showbiz 411 are reporting that “Men in Black 3-D” has gotten the green light from Sony, with Smith, co-star Tommy Lee Jones and original director Sonnenfeld on board for a Memorial Day 2011 release. Source,


9. Movie Review: Death at a Funeral

Review by Kam Williams,  

Death at a Funeral sounds like a classic case of a production that probably sounded like a “can’t miss” when its assorted elements were being pitched to studio execs. First of all, it’s a remake of a recent British hit which quintupled its $9 million budget at the box office. The fact that the original was just released in 2007 wouldn’t be a problem, theoretically, because they’d be going after a different demographic, as this version would feature a predominantly African-American cast. Furthermore, not just any black actors would be asked to execute this dark comedy, but a trio of A-list comedians in Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan and Martin Lawrence, plus a bevy of accomplished thespians like Keith David, Zoe Saldana, Danny Glover and Loretta Devine.


And the icing on the cake that got it greenlighted involved attaching art house crowd darling Neil LaBute to the project, the director of such critically-acclaimed indies as In the Company of Men and Your Friends & Neighbors. Unfortunately, while all of the above must’ve looked great on the drawing board, this blackface variation on the theme adds up to far less than the sum of its parts.

Here’s why. Rather than overhaul the screenplay to appeal to an African-American sense of humor, LaBute opted to recycle one designed to tickle British fancies. Consequently, Messrs. Rock, Morgan and Lawrence seem almost shackled sticking to a script which allowed them little room to improvise or to horse around in their trademark styles. Instead, what’s served up here is a farce reminiscent of an extended episode of Benny Hill, Mr. Bean, Fawlty Towers or one of those other slapstick BBC-TV sitcoms. I know what you’re thinking: that’s pretty good company. Yeah, until you get a load of a bunch of black folks attempting to behave in identical fashion.

Anyhow, Death at a Funeral revolves around a very eventful day in the lives of an extended family gathering to mourn the passing of a beloved patriarch. Edward (Frank Minor) is survived by his wife, Cynthia (Devine), siblings, Russell (Danny Glover) and Duncan (Ron Glass), and their assorted offspring. The picture’s everything but the kitchen sink plotline wastes little time to thicken, beginning with the arrival of a gay dwarf (Peter Dinklage) who demands a share of the inheritance as the deceased’s ex-lover. Since the grieving widow had no idea her hubby was on the down-low, her protective sons (Rock and Martin) agree to try to hide the evidence from their mom. This, of course, proves easier said than done.

Then there’s niece Elaine’s (Saldana) jittery boyfriend Oscar (James Marsden) who’s accidentally slipped several tabs of LSD from a vial marked “Valium,” a running joke which is repeated with a couple of other guests. Eventually, Oscar pulls a Full Monty on the roof in front of all the open-mouthed mourners. Later, Uncle Russell pulls the same prank on the same roof under the influence of the same hallucinogen. A scene so hilarious you just had to shoot it twice, I guess. Everything comes to a head when you’ll never guess who (actually, yes you will) dies unexpectedly and is hidden in the coffin in the 69 position with his late lover’s corpse.

For me, the basic test of a comedy is how often it made me laugh out loud. This one? Not at all, not even the sight of Tracy Morgan with feces smeared all over his face. I suppose the best that can be said about this movie is that none of these terribly foulmouthed characters never resorts to the N-word, although that’s ostensibly only because they had to recite their lines verbatim.

What will creatively-bankrupt Hollywood think of next? How about a remake of Slumdog Millionaire, only set in an L.A. barrio with an all-Chicano cast? I shouldn’t give them any ideas.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for pervasive profanity, graphic nudity and drug use.
Running time: 92 Minutes
Studio: Screen Gems


8. Kobe Bryant, Maid Settle Dog Poop Case


A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit filed against Kobe and Vanessa Bryant by their former maid Maria Jimenez. Jimenez claimed she was verbally abused by the Bryants – particularly Vanessa, who allegedly called her “lazy, slow, dumb, a f***ing liar, and f***ing sh-t.” Jimenez also said Vanessa ordered her to pull the price tag from a blouse out of a trash bag filled with dog feces. Kobe and Vanessa denied the allegations by their former maid, but now the case has settled out of court. Terms are confidential. Source,


7. Six Flags Denies Jobs to 2 Women Based on Natural Hair


Two women are outraged after they say they were denied jobs at Six Flags because of their dreadlocks in Largo, Md., an area with a 93 percent African American population. Janet Bello, 23, (pictured above left) says when she applied for a part-time job at Six Flags in Largo, she was told her “locks” hairstyle disqualified her from employment.
She says a supervisor told her management is adhering strictly this year to a years-old corporate grooming policy that considers dreadlocks to be an extreme hairstyle. Bello considers the characterization to be offensive:
“I think it’s outrageous, and I really think it’s sad. … I think Six Flags can literally, excuse my French, go to hell.”
ABC 7 News obtained a copy of Six Flags’ grooming standards for employees, which states that the company does not permit “any hairstyle that detracts or takes away from Six Flags’ theme.”
Not sure what the Six Flags’ theme is or how dreadlocks could detract or not detract from that theme.
A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union believes that defining locked hair as inherently unprofessional is racially insensitive at best — and potentially discriminatory at worst.
Sixty-year-old Jackie Sherrill (pictured above right) says she worked at Six Flags last summer and received a letter earlier this year asking her to come back. She says when a supervisor saw that Sherrill had locks, though, she was told she would not be welcome back unless she changed her appearance — despite the fact that she had the same hairstyle last year.
Six Flags issued a statement to ABC News:
“Six Flags enforces a conservative grooming policy across all parks. The policy does not permit certain hairstyles such as variations in hair colors, dreadlocks, partially shaved heads, tails, and hairstyles that impair vision. Braided hair is allowed but must be in neat, even rows and without beads or other ornaments.” Even in 2010, with an African American president, Six Flags is not the first corporate company to do this, and, sadly, probably won’t be the last. In 2000, Federal Express Corporation, better known as FedEx, fired several of its New York employees who refused to cut their dreadlocks.
The employees cited religious expression, but FedEx showed them the door. In 2006, FedEx reached a settlement that included recognizing dreadlocks worn for religious reasons. In North America, it is the right of an employer to enforce grooming standards that comply with the image the company wants to portray to the public, including long hair for men, shaved heads and colorful hair. The law will typically land on the side of on an employer if the hairstyle is being worn for fashionable reasons as opposed to religious ones. Source,


6. Mo’Nique Reportedly Upset with Brother’s ‘Oprah’ Interview


Radar Online is reporting that Oscar-winner Mo’Nique is not only upset with her brother’s appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” this week, but is frustrated with the talk show host as well, claiming Oprah’s interview was not sympathetic enough to her ordeal. On Monday’s show, Gerald Imes admitted that he molested his younger sister for “a year or two,” starting when he was 13 and Mo’Nique was 7 or 8. Oprah began the broadcast by stating that she had Mo’Nique’s blessing to interview Gerald, although the star herself turned down an invitation to appear. Citing a source, Radar Online reported that Mo’Nique “was particularly upset that Gerald lied to Oprah that he molested her while she was sleeping because she was wide awake and scared of him.  “Oprah asked her to appear on her show again for another interview but at this point she has declined the invitation. If anything it has made the situation worse between Mo’Nique and her family and she doesn’t know if she will ever speak to them again now.”  A source close to Mo’Nique told “Gerald made the first move and called Oprah asking her if he could appear on the show. So, Oprah called Mo’Nique to see if she was okay about him appearing on her show to discuss the abuse and although she was not entirely happy about it she gave Oprah her blessing.” Gerald said he decided to appear on Winfrey’s show to apologize to Mo’Nique and bring their family back together. Imes said he himself was molested and he was using drugs and alcohol at age 11. He said: “I abused and betrayed the trust of another sibling, my sister, my blood sister, I’m sorry, Mo’Nique. I’m sorry.” “Hopefully somewhere, somehow as siblings we can come back together as brother and sister.” Source,


5. White Man Robs Banks Disguised as a Black Man


A white guy, disguised as a black guy, managed to rip off four banks and a CVS in Ohio before he was caught. No, we’re not kidding. Maybe Conrad Zdzierak was inspired by “Soul Man (1986),” or even Robert Downey Jr.’s performance in Tropic Thunder” (2008), but the 30-year-old, former Florida resident didn’t rely on tanning pills or surgical procedures, respectively, to darken his skin. Instead he played out his John Dillinger Chaz Williams dreams while wearing a Hollywood style mask (called The Player) that was good enough to fool bank tellers and police into thinking their suspect was an African-American.  You don’t get the feeling anyone bothered to ask, “Are you sure the culprit was black?,” though.
It wasn’t meddling kids that foiled Zdzierak’s plans, but the fact that he never bothered ditching his getaway car. While charged with six counts of aggravated robbery, bail set at $3 million, there is no word on whether or not Zdzeriak, who was born in Poland, will be craving black and white cookies while in jail. Source, Alvin Bianco, 


4. Man Wipes Himself With Parking Ticket, Mails It Back To City Officials


An Illinois man showed city officials exactly how he felt about his recent parking ticket by wiping his behind with it and mailing it back stained with human feces. Chicago Breaking News reports that 22-year-old Alexander J. Bailey of Medinah, Illinois was arrested last week and faces charges of disorderly conduct for the crime. City officials report that they received a $15 parking ticket in the mail from him that had a foul odor and brown stains with a note indicating that he’d wiped himself with it. Obviously not amused, they alerted police and he was taken into custody. After posting bail he’s due back in court for June. By Danielle Canada


3. Arizona’s Legislators Say Barack Obama Must Prove His Citizenship


 The Arizona House of Representatives recently approved a provision requiring that President Barack Obama prove that he is a natural-born citizen before being placed on the ballot to run for President of the United States in 2012. He must have his birth certificate approved by the state’s attorney general in order to run. The provision was added to a separate bill in a 31-22 vote. There is a still a formal vote that must occur for the provision to be passed. Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema says that the bill is helping to make Arizona the “laughing stock of the nation.” Republican Cecil Ash, however, argues that the bill would help to end doubt about Obama’s citizenship. The legislation bolsters the “Birther’s Movement,” which has argued that Barack Obama is not a naturally-born American citizen.
Rep. Sinema issued this statement:
“Republicans continue to take Arizona down the wrong track by wasting taxpayers time on frivolous legislation instead of working on important issues like health care for kids and seniors and education.”
“Republican Rep. Judy Burges amendment to Senate Bill 1024 today would require the Arizona secretary of state to verify a presidential candidate’s birth certificate before the candidate’s name is allowed on a ballot in Arizona. A presidential candidate already is required to prove that he or she is a naturally born citizen before they can run for that office.”
“This bill is nothing more than a waste of taxpayers time when the legislature should be working to fix more important issues like the fact that it eliminated KidsCare, which forfeits all federal health care dollars for kids and seniors in Arizona.”


2. Officer Refuses to Deploy, Claims Obama’s Presidency is Illegitimate


The Army will court martial a lieutenant colonel who refuses to deploy to Afghanistan, because he won’t accept orders from President Barack Obama, whom he considers unqualified to be commander-in-chief, military officials said last week.
Army doctor and Lt. Col. Terry Lakin believes President Obama does not meet the constitutional requirements to be president because he wasn’t born in the United States, NBC News reported. Thus, he considers orders from President Obama to be “illegal.”
Lakin refused to report to Fort Campbell, Ky., for deployment and instead showed up at the Pentagon, where he was told that he would face a court martial. His Pentagon building pass and government laptop computer were seized.
The 18-year Army veteran is under investigation for failure to report for deployment and for displaying conduct unbecoming an officer, the Associate Press reported.
Larkin is a “birther,” a person who believes Obama is not native-born, and therefore is ineligible to be president. Hawaii officials have repeatedly issued statements that Obama was born in the state, and that the Health Department holds a copy of his original birth certificate. A copy of the document has been made available on the Internet.
I offer this little nugget of wisdom to all the birthers: He’s black, he’s president, get used to it. By Jam Donaldson,


 1. Civil Rights Veteran Dorothy Height Dies at 98

Dorothy Height, former president of the National Council of Negro Women and a leading activist in the 1960s civil rights movement, died Tuesday of natural causes, according to the Associated Press. She was 98. Height, who had marched against lynching as a teen in the 1920s and assisted the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other activists in galvanizing the civil rights movement, had been at Howard University Hospital since March 18. Born on March 24, 1912 in Richmond, Va., Dorothy Irene Height and her family moved to the Pittsburgh area when she was four. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New York University and did postgraduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work. (She had been turned away by Barnard College because it already had its quota of two black women.) In 1937, while she was working at the Harlem YWCA, Height met famed educator Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of the National Council of Negro Women, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who had come to speak at a meeting of Bethune’s organization. Height eventually rose to leadership roles in both the council and the YWCA. She became president of the National Council of Negro Women in 1957 and held the post until 1997, when she was 85. She remained chairman of the group. “I hope not to work this hard all the rest of my life,” she said at the time. “But whether it is the council, whether it is somewhere else, for the rest of my life, I will be working for equality, for justice, to eliminate racism, to build a better life for our families and our children.” In 1963, Height was the only woman on the speaker’s platform when Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. But she wasn’t on the program for the March on Washington even though she was the nucleus of the meetings held by the mostly male civil rights leaders who planned it. Height received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 from President Bill Clinton. Source,

News | Comments (9)

9 Responses to “Top 10 News Stories”

  1. Lenora Dorsey Says:

    Well Leon, this is why I don’t buy the newspaper. I wait for your news stories. #8 Is most likely a true story. It appears that a lot of people who get fame and money tend to treat people lie dirt. It is very unfortunate that a lot of people lose themselves in their persona.
    #7 This story is sad that things like this exist. I remember, and I know this ages me, when people would not hire based on the afro. #6 This is a personal, private, family matter. It makes me wonder if he is remorseful or if he wants his 15 minutes of fame (eventhough, it is negative). #5 I’m not surprised, yet I’m shocked. By that I mean that I am not surprised that he would think of committing a crime and disguised himself as an African American. I am shocked that he actually thought that he could pull it off. What did he do study the mannerisms of the AA thug life portrayed in videos or does he hang around with AA’s. Either way, he has a great reward waiting for him in prison. Their should be a harsher sentence for that. #4 That’s nasty. Can you imagine how many people touched that or how many machines it went through. I hope the post office cleans their machines often.#3 What can you say. I’m waiting to hear Shack’s response to this one. #2 He should be deployed! #1 I would have loved to sit down and talk with this woman. Can you imagine the stories she could have told? Can we say history lesson. Great job!

  2. Shack Says:

    Okay, here are my responses to these stories:

    Story 10 – Glad to see them back again but I’ve not bothered to see the other two – Guess Rod will go to see since he’s a “Martin fan”

    #9 – Looks like another waste of talent like Harlem Nights, Friday After Next and Kingdom Come!

    #8 – Who cares

    #7 – How can an amusement park and a package delivery company have such ridiculous policies for people who simply want to work?

    #6 – How could you do that to a blood relative?

    #5 – On one hand must admit this was a pretty good trick but then he wasn’t smart enough to change cars.

    #4 – Now I bet he regrets sinply not paying the ticket.

    Stories 3 & 2 – So sick of this. Don’t they realize if they could have gotten B.H.O. on this they would have found something while he was a senator and well before he became PRESIDENT! Get Over It and To the 33 state reps in Arizona and Lt.Col.Dr.Lakin I have a question – WHERE WERE YOUR MOTHERS HATCHED…ah, I mean born?

    Story #1 Great Lady – Leon you should included the also great Dr. Benjamin Hooks although I believe he may have passed last week!

  3. Shonee Says:

    Great list Leon.

    #9 – Too many A-List comedians and accomplished thespians does not move me at all for this movie..I can wait until it comes on television.

    #7 – If an employee/applicant(s) hairstyle is not interferring with the position which they are applying/performing…what difference should it make?

    #6 – This is a personal, private and extemely sensitive matter that should be discussed amongst family, clergy and counselors.

    #5 – Best comment by Lenora!

    #4 – There are some really disgusting things that people do in this world.

    #’s 3 & 2 – Only in America people speak against their leader! Scriputre says that “weapons will be formed against us but it is not going to prosper”.
    I admire President Obama for his calm, cool, collect demeanor when the media is trying to slander him anyway they can.
    Just out of and/or has Arnold Schwarzen???? citizenship about being governor of California been questioned?

    #1 – A legacy and a great piece of our history right there. Unfortunately, I knew little of her but every picture I have seen, her hat always matched her outfit.

  4. Shack II Says:

    Ms. Shonee – My understanding is you don’t have to be born in the U.S. to be a govenor in California but A.S. cannot run for president.

  5. Joi :-) Says:

    Hey All! :-) Leon, great list as usual!! :-)

    10. I think B.B.3 is gonna be good. If nothing else it’ll have lots of action.
    9. I thought the movie had its funny parts. It wasn’t as funny as I thought it was going to be though.
    8. So what!
    7. Shame on you G.A.! Get to know someone with dreads, or colored hair, they may be surprised. There is a misconception about dreads anyway!!! Let a person keep some type of their identity, and they will perform better. For me, I want the waiter, or whatever that’s different, we’ll have a great time, because I’m different too. lol. :-) When it comes to my kids, I would prefer that someone had a different colored hair, or dreads, because in my experience, they are best with kids, kids see them as they should be seen and for the person working with kids, that’s the purest love ever. DO DREADS, AND COLOR THEM PURPLE!!!! :-)
    6. SHAME ON HIM TOO!!!! That is private, and should be dealt with privately. I am also surprised that Oprah would give that guy time on her show. IT WOULD BE DIFFERENT IF MO’NIQUE WAS GOING TO APPEAR ON THE SHOW AS WELL. I guess that turn about is fair play, because last week a lady came out with a book on Oprah about who her “daddy” is…. Hmmmmm….
    5. Wow!!! Clever. Next time, change your vehicle. lol. :-)
    4. YUK!!!!! I have to admit, at first glance, I had to laugh. Then I had to agree with the comment above about the germs…. YUK!!!! I also think it was super funny to me, because right before checking out the list, I was registering for traffic school. (DANG IT!!!!) I had to laugh because, out of all the things I thought about doing with my ticket(s), that was not one of them. :-) Maybe I’ll meet dude in traffic school. I’ll make sure not to shake his hand. lol. :-) He does get a “A” for originallity. Tell em’ what you really think don’t you! lol.
    3. GET OVER IT!!!!!!
    2. Hating is not a good look, and neither is pouting! And lets call it what it is. They call him a “birther”…. No, friends, there need not be a “new word”, the old one works just fine… RACIST!!!!
    Unevolved creature… Pack your stuff and either be deployed or go to jail. I’ll be interested to see how that turns out.
    1. Ms. Dorothy Height…. Job well done sista!!! Thank you for all of your contributions. God bless you and your family!!!!

    Thanks for sharing your list(s) Leon!!! You bring information that we wouldnt get anywhere else. With an unbiased opinion. I like that!!! Keep up the great work! Have a great weekend All. :-)

  6. Joi :-) Says:

    oops, I just re-read my post and I mispelled somethings. Sorry yall… Leon my “doughnuts” are up, no time to proof-read. I hope yall can follow me. Unless, Leon u can go in and correct my typo’s. If not, sorry again yall. :-)

  7. Leon Says:

    Joi… nice hearing from you. I enjoyed reading your comments, regardless of any typo’s. Your #4 comments were very funny.. lol
    Sorry to hear that you got a ticket & that you’re going to traffic school, but knowing you, I’m sure you’ll make it a fun experience. Have a blessed weekend, and thanks for your continous support.

  8. Trisha Says:

    Ok Leon here I go again….
    10. Not my type of movie but Will Smith in a tight black t-shirt mmmmmm…
    9. Didn’t go see it…
    8. Yea for the maid, I’m not a Kobie fan
    7. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover
    6. I feel for Monique but accept his appology, enjoy your life and let God deal with the rest
    5. The disguise was black but keeping the car was white
    4. ??? …a shortage of TP ????
    3. We are in a recession, maybe there is a shortage of common sence.
    2. He has accepted a paycheck since Pres. Obama has been in office but not orders to deploy, go figure.
    1. I hope the rest of us can step up and make even the smallest difference.

  9. Leon Says:

    Trisha, great comments! I especially liked #5. What an awesome response!