Previous month:
April 2006
Next month:
June 2006

May 2006

Nicholas Minucci: What hate crime?

The post below, from details the case of a white teen accused of a hate crime who brutally beat a Black teen and used the word nigger. Nicholas "Fat Nick" Minucci is facing prison time for his attack on Glenn Moore in the infamous Howard Beach section of Queens.

Minucci's attorney's defense is that is wasn't a hate crime because the word nigger was used as a term of endearment by his client. The attorney goes on to cite the frequency in which the term is used in the entertainment industry, especially by Blacks. A term of endearment and then crack your skull with an aluminum bat? I don't think so.

This case is likely (and should) initiate much debate on the subject. But, so what? Who's going to take action in the entertainment industry and in our families to stop this madness?

White N.Y. Teen Accused of Hate Crime Using ‘N-Word as Greeting’ in Defense

Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2006

By: Leonard Greene, Special to

A white teenager accused of a hate crime in last year’s baseball bat attack of a black man in New York that rekindled some of the city’s worst racial tensions is banking on a creative, yet controversial, defense.

Nicholas Minucci admits that he cracked Glenn Moore over the head with an aluminum bat in New York’s Howard Beach section on June 29, but only in self-defense. And the defendant concedes that he used the N-word before fracturing the victim’s skull. But he insists that he didn’t mean anything bad by the term.

“There's a very big difference in the hip-hop world that I come from,” Minucci, 19, told a reporter months before his trial, which began yesterday. “I was the only Italian in a school of 2,000 mostly African-American kids. We always called each other 'n----' all the time.” And, therein lies the crux of Minucci’s defense: He is the product of a culture that has embraced the N-word as a popular greeting, even across racial lines. In other words, using the N-word doesn’t necessarily make someone a racist.

Trial watchers call it the “hip-hop defense.” Critics call it a load of crap.

“A jury will listen to that, but I think they’ll see right through it,” Roy Miller, an Atlanta attorney who is urging black organizations across the country to issue resolutions discouraging use of the N-word, told

A jury of four blacks, four whites, three Hispanics and one Asian will hear that argument in a trial that is gaining just as much attention for its historic connection.

Cops said Moore, 26, was attacked in the same neighborhood where, nearly 20 years earlier, a black man was hit by a car and killed on a busy highway while fleeing a mob of white teens who had attacked him and his two black friends for wandering in their almost exclusively white neighborhood. Michael Griffith’s death in 1986 polarized much of New York, and made Howard Beach synonymous with racism.

Unlike the 1986 victims, who were stranded in Howard Beach when their car broke down, Moore and his friends admitted they were up to no good, canvassing the neighborhood in search of a car to steal.

But Minucci and his alleged accomplices knew nothing of their intent, according to police, who said the white teens shouted racial epithets at Moore and two of his friends, who escaped unharmed.

Prosecutors said Minucci and two white friends drove up to Moore and his two black friends, who fled and got away. After they caught Moore, Minucci struck him in the head with a baseball bat, and took his sneakers, officials said.

Minucci, an alleged mob wannabe who goes by the name “Fat Nick,” told investigators in a videotaped interrogation after his arrest that he said, “What up, ni----,” to Moore before they scuffled.

“The evidence will show Nicholas Minucci was using reasonable physical force to prevent a larceny,” said defense attorney Albert Gaudelli.

Gaudelli spent last week quizzing prospective jurors on the N-word, trying to determine what emotions its use would trigger. Gaudelli asked about rap music and hip-hop culture and whether or not in those contexts the N-word had lost its sting.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, reminded jurors that it is Minucci who is on trial, not a pejorative word. “This case is not about the ’N’ word, and whether its meaning has changed,” Assistant District Attorney Mariela Palomino Herring told the jury in her opening argument. “Clearly, it has not.” Randy Fisher, executive director of the Hip-Hop Summit Youth Council, a non-profit organization with ties to rapper LL Cool J and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons, said Minucci’s defense is unique.

“I do know of a lot of white people who use the word in urban white areas,” Fisher told, “but what are you going to do: start a fight with every white kid who uses the word, when we as a people are still using the word? That would be contradictory.” Minucci faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

With such widespread use, it was only a matter of time before white people used the word to their advantage, some observers said.

“It’s unfortunate that they’re using this as part of the defense,” said Jill Merritt, who launched a website to educate readers about the word’s history. “We’ve used the word so freely that it can now be a scapegoat for racists.”

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Now that Enron executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling have been found guilty of multiple charges in one of the most publicized United States business scandals, what will their sentences actually be? What’s next for corporate America and how has this scandal and others affected American business? What has happened to the Americans who not only lost their jobs after Enron’s demise, what about the pensions that were lost?

Hopefully, corporate leaders will cease and desist with deceptive practices. The truth is, they probably won’t. Have drug laws stopped illegal drugs in the United States? Exactly.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged
Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

nappiness is happiness

i am loving my nappy hair curly locks everywhere doing their own thing bouncing and behaving marching to their own tune beautifully facing the world brave new world

i am loving my nappy hair
my good hair
my strong hair
my beautiful hair

braided faded
locked twisted
no lye
i am loving my hair

speaking to and of my history
a strong black people
strong nations
i am loving my good nappy hair

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged
Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Prince on American Idol

After drama and reports in reputable electronic and print media about Prince pooh-poohing an appearance on Fox's American Idol, His Royal Badness made a surprise guest appearance on the American Idol finale just before the announcement of the winner.

Even with all the wierdness he's gone through, he is still bad. I'm sure that performance will boost the sales of his new album. It sure made me miss the Prince of old...perhaps there'll be a reunion of his old band, Morris Day and the Time...etc., etc.

Here's the video of his AI performance. enjoy.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged
Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Miami Heat comeback falls short against the Detroit Pistons

The Miami Heat almost made it 2 up in the NBA Eastern Conference finals. Almost is just not good enough. It was painful to watch the Heat by 10 even 12 points so their comeback, in Pistons territory, no less, was amazing. Well, the series will be in the Bottom on Saturday and the Heat have a strong chance of making it 3 – 1 before heading back to Detroit to seal the deal. Although Game 2 goes down as a loss for the Miami Heat, I am proud of them. If they play half as well as they did tonight, the Pistons are short-lived in this series. I have faith.

Can you feel the Heat down in your soul?
Can you feel the Heat down in your soul?
Can you feel the Heat down in your soul?
Can you feel the Heat down in your soul?

I can feel it,
I can feel it,
It’s the Miami Heat,
We can’t be beat,
The Miami Heat!!


© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged

Taylor Hicks AI 5

This year’s American Idol is Taylor Hicks. Go Soul Patrol! Now, let’s move on.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged

WTF? Prince on American Idol?

American Idol has put a lot of dough behind this year’s competition. It became even more obvious when I heard Prince on stage. I like Prince but on American Idol? That’s a step down in my book. It has been awhile since I’ve seen the Little nameless one but he was great.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged

American Idol is on. Please pass the barf bags.

American Idol is on and I think I’m going to gag. Two whole hours of this crap. If I can only find my laptop so I can get away from this computer in the room where my mom decides she wants to watch television. Please pass the barf bags.

Millions of viewers throughout the world are watching this. Mindless sheep. The noise is really disturbing my concentration but I don’t want to deprive my mom of one of her guilty pleasures. Thank god for commercials to provide relief from the madness.

Taylor “Soul Patrol” Hicks or Katherine “McFever” McPhee? I DO NOT CARE!

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged

MTV's Yo Momma is no laughing matter - Part 2

Not a Secret ---> I despise MTV's Yo Momma! The fact that it has been renewed for another season is disheartening, shameful and embarrassing. We have officially given permission to insult Blacks and their mothers while Viacom gets paid. What a shame!


Yo Momma! Viacom Lowers the Bar in Blackface

by Gumby Dammitt! of

MTV is billing it as, "RAP UNPLUGGED, DEF JAM MEETS 8 MILE". The ads asks, "Can you throw the best smack in your crew? Do you want bragging rights in a battle of words? We're looking for the best hard-core street baggers out there! Are you an expert at "Yo Momma" jokes, amazing at witty comebacks, and so you "appear" to be between the ages of 18-22? Do you have creative, clean, unique and innovative material that'll blow us away?"

Aiight, so check this out. I get a call on the phone from Bruce Banter this past Saturday afternoon and he asks me if I’m hip to this new MTV show called “Yo Momma”. Bruce called cause he knows how the green one has done and still performs live standup, so bad comedy offends me. I was hip to the idea of the show and I had even just seen Wilmer “Fez” Valderrama promoting the show on Jimmy Kimmel during the week.

Now, when I first heard the idea for the show was being floated around, I was a bit alarmed. I know how the dozens go. Some jokes don’t need to be broadcast on television like it’s alright, and I knew it would only be a very brief matter of time before “Your mama is SO BLACK...” came out.

A very brief matter of time indeed.

No sooner had I hung up the phone and turned on the program when I see a corny ass white dude utter to a black competitor, “You’re SO BLACK...” Here we go. It’s okay to use the word nigg(a/er) because it ‘takes away the sting’ or it’s a ‘term of endearment between brothers’ or some other such justification nonsense.

Now it’s okay for white kids to tell “You SO BLACK...” jokes for the sake of television “competition”. Quite simply, this shit is unacceptable. Making someone’s blackness a punch line for public broadcast is nonnegotiable. It cannot happen. Forget the fact that the program is wack, with bum-budget production value. And forget that it’s so obviously cut together to make jokes heard a million times over in neighborhoods across Black America seem like they’re new and hilarious.

The question at heart here is, ‘At what point will people be offended by being made a joke?’ The question is also, ‘How much of one’s “culture” can Viacom co-opt for it’s own profit?’ Not to mention the question of profit versus respect. If you are going to co-opt my uniqueness and voice, then the least you can do is show me SOME LEVEL OF RESPECT.

From here on in, the aforementioned jokes shall be referred to as YSB (you so black) and YMSB (your mama so black). YSB jokes are bad enough when Black folks tell them in the privacy of common company. I have never liked them and I’m not one that such a joke would be aimed at. Blackness is not a punch line in my book. Such jokes come out of personal confusion and some level of self-hatred. Someone who doesn’t understand or even care about the psychological makeup of such speech truly has no business playing with it. So when you create such a program and add to the mix the little war on “political correctness” that so many seem content on waging, you have a pretty nasty mix. Next thing you know, there’s some corny White guy on MTV telling a Black person on television, “you’re SO BLACK,” pausing for effect, “you make Wesley Snipes look White.” WTF?! Yes, you read right. And if you didn’t find that offensive, then you should go and get your head shaved right now.

You see, NOBODY ELSE in this country is the butt of such jokes. Nobody starts a joke with, ”You’re so Jewish...” or “You’re so Asian...” or “You’re so White...” No one else’s skin color is made the butt of such jokes. Yet, being dark skinned is somehow something to be mocked, laughed at, belittled because of, or made ashamed of. And now you have VIACOM giving a free pass to people to share such speech in public AND amongst themselves (as if they don’t do the latter already). I mean, do White people REALLY need to feel comfortable to participate in such speech? Were White youth somehow being shortchanged by not being allowed to participate in YSB “humor”? Were their lives somehow unfulfilled or empty because? Maybe they weren’t getting equal joke opportunity? The ignorance has got to be checked and on ALL sides. On the same program, I saw a “battle” between two Black males. Their mothers where there for the showdown. Did that stop this dude from going the YMSB route? No. I won’t repeat the ignorance, but he went that route and when they cut to the other dude’s mother, she wasn’t laughing. I wasn’t laughing either. It appears that young Black males can’t discern what kind of “humor” may or may not be made available for public consumption. Surely these cats have heard enough jokes that they can tell at least twenty Mama Jokes before hitting the YMSBs. That’s bad enough. But a white dude feeling free enough to go the YSB route is even more egregious.

I could go on for days about how there’s a certain overall laziness and malaise in this country when it comes to so many things. A president AND vice-president that need impeaching chief among them. Again, I think it speaks to the defeatist mentality that has been cleverly put upon the people of this country. No one really wants to stand up for anything. No one wants to be looked at as a troublemaker or a rabble-rouser. We’ve seen firsthand how whistle blowers are treated in this society, people who raise their voice or call out wrongdoing or injustices are rarely heralded and celebrated... if EVER. So people very often see, hear and read things that are wrong to their sensibilities, yet do nothing. YSB and YMSB “humor” is wrong to my sensibilities. Viacom will never say that these participants in this program cannot use such material. They’ll say that it’s just a television show, these are only jokes and do not reflect the ideas, thoughts or beliefs of Viacom or any of it’s networks or personnel. So just out of curiosity, I wonder how white folks might feel about making their skin color a negative, derogatory punch line. What better way than to encourage everyone within the view of my text to create their very own ‘You’re SO WHITE...’ or ‘Your Mama is SO WHITE...’ humor. Here, I’ll even get the ball rolling with a couple of my own...

Your mama is SO WHITE, she gets sunburn from a 40 watt light bulb.

Your mama is SO WHITE, she makes Wonder bread look like PUMPERNICKEL.

Your skin is SO PALE, I can see your entire circulatory system.

Your mama is SO WHITE, her liver spots make her look like bleu cheese.

Your skin is SO PALE, snowflakes leave stain marks.

I wonder how people might react to such material? On television no less.

Released: April 24th, 2006

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged
Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Getting Ready for HBCU Football...It's Showtime!

It’s almost time for football season again. Unless you attended an HBCU (historically-black college or university), you don’t really know what that means. It’s time not just for the battle on the gridiron but for the real show --- the battle of the bands. The Nick Cannon- Zoe Saldana movie, Drumline, captured the Black college experience, somewhat but there’s nothing like being there live and in color.

Now I must also admit that times have changed in that today’s college students tend to leave the football game after half-time, we stayed throughout the game back in my day. Things change so I won’t belabor that point. Anywho, the issue is that football season at a Black college is a unique experience and I love it. Celebrating with family and friends, the annual Homecoming is just that, a reunion. So, now we warm-up for the battles on and off the field…it’s Showtime!

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged
Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!