Lynne d Johnson



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03.27.07 11:49 PM

Stop Cyberbullying Day

On his PBS blog, Andy Carvin has declared Friday as stopcynerbullying day. In light of the recent events, in which Kathy Sierra, a well known blogger and developer has reported that she received death threats on two blogs known for making fun of blogebrities and others in the marketing/technology/web sectors.

Carvin asks that you:

"Write a blog post pointing to online resources about cyberbullying. Post a podcast about personal experiences. Create your own public service announcement about the dangers of cyberbullying and post it on YouTube. Then tag it with the phrase stopcyberbullying."

Robert Scoble, formerly known as the Microsoft blogger, and now a blogebrity in his own right with a video show (ScobleShow) on podtech, has vowed to take the week off from blogging in support.

For the other side of the story in this affair, read Christopher Locke's rageboy post.

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03.26.07 07:51 PM

Video: Amy Winehouse - Back to Black

She's been my new favorite artist, even before all of the urban radio stations started playing the remix of "You Know I'm No Good," with Ghostface. I'm actually one of those rare black folks who also own a copy of the album Frank. Anyway, check out the new video for "Back to Black."

The only thing I don't know, is if that's really a Supremes or Phil Spector sample on this track.

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03.26.07 02:46 PM

Paris, Texas: A City Divided

According to the Chicago Tribune:

"To some in Paris, sinister past is back
In Texas, a white teenager burns down her family's home and receives probation. A black one shoves a hall monitor and gets 7 years in prison. The state NAACP calls it `a signal to black folks.'

The public fairgrounds in this small east Texas town look ordinary enough, like so many other well-worn county fair sites across the nation. Unless you know the history of the place.

There are no plaques or markers to denote it, but several of the most notorious public lynchings of black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries were staged at the Paris Fairgrounds, where thousands of white spectators would gather to watch and cheer as black men were dragged onto a scaffold, scalded with hot irons and finally burned to death or hanged.

Brenda Cherry, a local civil rights activist, can see the fairgrounds from the front yard of her modest home, in the heart of the "black" side of this starkly segregated town of 26,000. And lately, Cherry says, she's begun to wonder whether the racist legacy of those lynchings is rebounding in a place that calls itself "the best small town in Texas."" (More)

And from Associated Content:

"After a Chicago Tribune article by Howard Witt titled "To some in Paris, [Texas] sinister past is back," about the plight of Shaquanda Cotton was printed, outrage followed.

As a 14-year-old, Shaquanda Cotton was sent to youth prison with violent offenders for allegedly causing bodily injury to a PISD teaching assistant. After a trial in March 2006 that lasted three days, County Judge Chuck Superville sentenced Shaquanda Cotton to an undefined sentence at Texas Youth Commission.

"In Texas, a white teenager burns down her family's home and receives probation," wrote Witt. "A black one shoves a hall monitor and gets 7 years in prison. The state NAACP calls it `a signal to black folks.' "

This article indeed acted as a call to arms, and in response, bloggers across the country took up the plight of Shaquanda Cotton, urging supporters to swamp Texas Governor Rick Perry with emails and phone calls until justice is served." (More)

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03.22.07 06:06 PM

The New York Times Presents Stephanie McKay

I am so in there. We rode together in the H.S. prom limo.

Watch out Amy Winehouse, Stephanie McKay is here. Since receiving her CD a few months back, I've been waiting for an opportunity to go hear her in person. She's come a long way, from back-in-the-day with a girl group that had been put together by acclaimed recording artist and producer Kashif. She's worked with Me'Shell, Bilal, Talib, Amp Fidler, and many others.

official web site
myspace page

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03.21.07 07:31 PM

Sporadic Blogging

There's been a lot of sporadic blogging here as of late, I've even been toying with the idea of not blogging here at all. For one, thebrotherlove and I are working at reviving my other site, BlackThoughtware, a space where previously published articles related to the concept of BlackThoughtware will exist, as well as any new essays or articles I write that fall into that category.

Also, as has been mentioned in a few earlier posts, I've been traveling a bit, on a few panels, and there are two more so far this year -- later this week and in April.

Other than that, I'm busy at work, as you can often see some of my writings on the Fast Company Staff Blog, but I also have a full time editorial gig there, so it's often hard to work on so many side projects at the same time. And if I don't get these book proposals finished this year and in the hands of the agents and editors who have been asking for them, I'll tear my hair out.

So when I'm not here, there are other places you can go to find out what I'm up to (and I'm biting this from the book of the virtual Jason Toney). Some of these places I probably shouldn't even publicize, but it couldn't hurt, for the most part, I'm not saying anything there, that I wouldn't say here.

blogging @ techPresident

blogging @ vox

sharing photos @ flickr

sharing my music listening habits @

never updating my profile @ MySpace

making connections on linkedin

microblogging on twitter

I'm a few other places too, but I'll leave those off the list for now.

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03.20.07 02:20 PM

Gender + Diversity + Technology

Since the Open Source (Opening Move) Podcast with Scott Mace, I've been receiving information about Gender, Diversity, and Technology.

First, after IMing him the podcast, David Wheeler, author of the Bricolage CMS and former anthropologist, sent me a link to a paper from the Free/Libre and Open Source Software: Policy Support called the Gender: Integrated Report of Findings.

A few days later, Ylona Richardson, a female technologist, also sent me a link to that same report, as well as Gender Policy Recommendations.

She also sent me a link to a NASA video, from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where Jan Berkeley, one of the Sequence Team Lead engineers on the Cassini program shares the latest news from Saturn. Women in technology in the government, and even women of color, is not such a strange thing Richardson shares. "The US government actually does a relatively good job of filling "hard science" and engineering roles with a diverse population," she says.

I find this inspiring that my talk with Scott Mace has ignited interest in conversation, even for the people engaging in this discussion who aren't necessarily conversing with me.

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03.19.07 11:23 PM

Princeton 2007 Hip-Hop

Princeton 2007 027.jpg, originally uploaded by lynneluvah.

Just in case you thought I was making things up -- I finally got the photo from the Hip-Hop panel I took part in at Princeton.

(L to R: Larry D Lyons, David Malebranche, Lynne d Johnson, Dr. Cornel West, Shante Paradigm.)

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03.17.07 09:42 PM

LA Bound

Heading out to LA for two days to be a judge for the UCLA Loeb Awards. I'll have some hours to kill between activities on Sunday and Monday, so I'm looking for things to do in LA. Know of anything?

Hopefully I'll hook up with Jason Toney while I'm out there.

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03.12.07 06:52 PM

Diversity in open source

If open source and the architecture of participation all come down to community, where does that leave those traditionally underrepresented in IT, such as women and minorities? Listen to Scott Mace's Opening Move, with guest Lynne d Johnson of, for the discussion.

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03.08.07 12:54 AM

Austin Bound

Heading off to SXSW Interactive in Austin to speak on two panels: How to Rawk SXSW and Bridging the Online Cultural Divide.

As I most likely won't be posting here, for those interested in finding out a little bit about what happens there, check for my posts on the Fast Company blog.

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03.07.07 11:26 AM

Video: Branding the Music Artist

With A&R (artist development) increasingly becoming a lost art at record labels, music artists are stepping up and taking control of their own brands. Jorge Just (Ok Go's resident web man) and music artist John Legend, along with Musictoday CEO Nathan Hubbard, David Wolter (VP-A&R for Capitol), and Jason King (music journalist and associate chair of the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music), discuss the future of A&R.

See more videos from this panel:

Long Tail of Music
Music Marketing 2.0
The Future of Music

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03.06.07 07:01 PM

Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?

Since this is one of the topics I'm always pondering in this space, and in my speaking engagements, I thought it best that I give Felicia Pride's recent article on AOL Black Voices about an upcoming panel -- that deals with this question -- a full run in this post.

Does Hip-hop Hate Women?
By Felicia Pride
AOL BlackVoices

Does Hip-hop Hate Women?

This is the question that some of my favorite hip-hop thinkers and writers will discuss during a series of national townhall meetings. Organized by author and hip-hop activist, Bakari Kitwana (co-founder of the first ever National Hip-Hop Political Convention, former editor of The Source, and author of The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture and Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop: Wankstas, Wiggers, Wannabes and the New Reality of Race in America), in collaboration with the Community Technology Foundation of California, the national tour will focus
on popular culture's stereotypical representations of women and men in the hip-hop generation.

"For too long the hip-hop community has failed to set forth a national agenda for women," says Kitwana. "The goal of these gatherings is to jumpstart a national discussion that asks young people, the hip-hop industry and our policy makers to assume responsibility for their complicity in making hip-hop synonymous with misogyny and homophobia."

Beginning March 5, 2007 at Purdue University, Rap Sessions' interactive community dialogues will convene in ten cities across the United States. Panelists include: Mark Anthony Neal (Duke University Black popular culture professor and author of four books including New Blackman); Hip-Hop journalist Joan Morgan (author of the groundbreaking When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip-Hop Feminist); filmmaker Byron Hurt (director of Beyond Beats and Rhymes, a film about misogyny and hip-hop); Raquel Rivera (New York Ricans From the Hip-Hop Zone) and professor Tracy Sharpley-Whiting (director of African American and Diaspora Studies at
Vanderbilt University and author of the forthcoming Pimps Up, Hos Down: Hip
Hop and the New Gender Politics).

Reflecting on television programming like The Flava of Love, former Source editor-in-chief Kim Osario's sexual harassment ruling and books like the New York Times bestseller Confessions of a Video Vixen, Kitwana adds: "Throughout the last decade, from Congress to the campus center, hip-hop's troubling representation of women is the question that will not go away. This tour hopes to ensure that solutions to this debate go beyond the ivory tower to intervene in the lives of everyday people."

This is going to be a powerful panel. As a woman and a hip-hop baby who loves the culture, I cringe at some of the images presented within it. Even on the journey of writing my book, The Message, which looks at the messages in some of hip-hop's greatest songs, I wrestle with the music's portrayal of women. The issues of misogyny and homophobia aren't hip-hop's issues, they are our issues that we bring to hip-hop. Why do black men think it's okay to disrespect black women? Where does that impulse come from? Why do black women think it's okay to disrespect themselves? I'm interested in getting to the heart of the matter.

If you haven't seen Byron Hurt's documentary Beyond Beats and Rhymes, I highly recommend it. It's now available on DVD. I was recently on a panel for the Congressional Black Caucus about how hip-hop can be used for activism, and I cited this documentary as a perfect example. In Beyond Beats and Rhymes, Hurt dissects manhood by examining the violence, misogyny and homophobia in hip-hop. He shows how these three elements are tied to how society (we) define manhood.

If you're interested in the intersection of race, politics and hip hop culture, I recommend all the books by Bakari Kitwana. Both Mark Anthony Neal and Joan Morgan inspired me, a chocolate female who claims hip-hop, to exert my voice. Joan Morgan's When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost is a must-read for women of color. And I look forward to Tracy Sharpley-Whiting's new book, Pimps Up, Hos Down, which should drop this month.

To see if Rap Sessions is coming to a town near you, check out

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03.06.07 02:52 PM

Panelists Debate Hip-Hop's Effect

I was waiting to post this one until I had a photo of the panel, but no one on the panel, including myself, seems to have a copy. I've also been working hard to contain the excitement I experienced last Tuesday while sitting next to the wondrous mind and person who is Cornel West.

I'm also deeply appreciative of Larry D. Lyons reaching out to me and putting me on this panel with Professor West, Dr. David Malebranche, and performance hip-hop artist Shante Paradigm.

Panelists debate hip-hop's effect

By Lisa Bendele
Princetonian Senior Writer

Hip-hop culture may promote black power and masculinity, but it may also hurt the black community's conceptions of health and sexuality, four panelists said last night.

Speaking in McCosh Hall, the panelists debated whether hip-hop promotes homophobia and misogyny during a discussion titled "Hip-Hop and Homophobia: Exploring Bisexuality, Masculinity and 'the DL.' "

The panelists were religion professor Cornel West GS '80, senior editor Lynne Johnson, Emory assistant professor of medicine David Malebranche and Shante Paradigm, a singer, songwriter and actress.

Though they agreed that hip-hop has played an important role in shaping black culture, they were divided over whether it promotes homophobia in black communities.

Johnson, who grew up in the Bronx during the early years of hip-hop, described the movement as "a party and a revolution all at the same time." Though still devoted to the hip-hop of the past, she said she dislikes the messages of hate she sees as dominating contemporary hip-hop culture.

"I'm so invested in hip-hop," she said. "I see it as an agent for change. We just haven't gotten there yet."

Johnson has blogged about hip-hop for about five years and said that blogging has shown her the darker side of hip-hop. "I've been called the 'hip-hop feminist blogger,' " she said, "and I've had someone call me 'Lesbo-Johnson' because of the positions I take."

Malebranche said that though he has long loved hip-hop, he has gained new perspective on how the movement has hurt the black community.

"I remember sitting under my covers [as a child] with my radio with me, with the light from the flashlight, while trying to scribble down the lyrics," he said.

As a doctor, Malebranche said he now sees how hip-hop directly affects the health of the black community by promoting unsafe sex and the spread of HIV.

"I'm troubled with what [hip-hop] has turned into," he said. "I treat patients living with HIV. The impact of [hip-hop] is affecting the health of the blacks in this country."

Malebranche described the down-low, or "DL," as a term about secrecy. The "DL" is often used to describe married men cheating on their wives with other men.

The speakers also discussed hip-hop as a means for blacks to respond to white hostility toward them.

"You have this black masculinity that mimics white masculinity," Paradigm said. "[Hip-hop] is another version of white masculinity. You have all this energy toward the white, patriarchal system, and you have everyone trying to grab at all this power. It's a very destructive drive."

West explained that he considers hip-hop a means for blacks to fight back.

"[Blacks] are trying to get beyond white supremacy," he said. "Just like we had with the gospel and the rhythm and blues, we need to have courageous hip-hoppers take this risk."

The event was sponsored by the Black Graduate Caucus, the Black History Month Committee and the LGBT Center.

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03.05.07 03:49 PM

Brooklyn Takes on Manhattan

via Crain's New York Business

Residential housing is booming in Brooklyn, sale prices for apartments and family houses surged in 2006, according to a report from the Real Estate Board of New York.

Median process for one-two and three family homes rose 16% to $570,000 in 2006, according to the annual Brooklyn residential sales report. The median price per square foot rose 14% to $320.

Coop and condominium prices rose 6% to $343,000, while the median prices per square foot rose 4%.

"This report clearly shows that the strength of New York's residential real estate market is not limited to Manhattan," said Steven Spinola, president of REBNA, in a statement. (More)

* See, I knew I should have found a way to buy property in Brooklyn when I first moved there in the 90s. With today's market value, I could have mad a fortune. Well, a relative fortune. The truth is though, until hipsters, and young parents with children took over Williamsburg, Fort Green, Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy, Prospect Heights, DUMBO, and surrounding areas, nobody was thinking of living in Brooklyn, unless it was Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights. It's amazing how what used to be the Ghetto in many parts of Brooklyn, now has $1.5 million condos for sale.*

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*This is kind of related to a conversation I overheard in Harlem this weekend. I was on 136th Street on my way to the Library, when I saw a group of white folks who appeared to be on a tour. Then I heard the tour guide say: "Gentrification has become a big issue in Harlem." I should have stayed around to hear the rest, but I didn't. $1.5 million properties are becoming the norm in Harlem as well.*

*The interesting thing about all of this is that you could have a $500,000 apartment right next to a building that still rents one bedrooms for under $600/month. Go figure. Is the $500,000 apartment purchaser foreseeing a time when the entire block is bought out by development companies that will turn all buildings into co-ops and condos? Or, is the apartment owner so desperate to own something that it doesn't matter what the property value of the surrounding properties may be?*

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03.05.07 02:54 PM

Ann Coulter: Gay Slur Against John Edwards

via DiversityInc

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Coulter said: "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.'"

At that point, the audience gave out a collective "Ohhh" and then started to cheer, to which Coulture continued, "Kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards." (More)

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03.04.07 12:13 PM

Upgrade You - Beyonce ft. Jay-z (Official Video)

The video features elements of Ciara's "Like A Boy" video, in which Beyonce displays her boyish side in duality to her girlish side. The only difference is that Beyonce's boy turns into Jay-Z. Overall the video is pretty boring. Not much dancing from B. Her videos are all starting to look pretty similar, and pretty much depict an extension of photograph layouts of her that appear in the pages of the UK version of GQ and Sports Illustrated, among several other magazines.

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03.04.07 01:38 AM

Blaixploitation Movie Posters Return

I know that previously I spoke positively about the resurgence of black and black-themed films, in fact Hashim of Hip Hop Blogs even linked to the post when he wrote about the potential of an Oscar blackout. And though I still see the potential for African-American films to return to the Spike Lee/John Singleton heydays, I'm a bit wary of some studio's intentions. I'm wary because some of the movie posters for many of the new films look like posters right out of the blaixploitation 70s. Two in particular are reminiscent of that time period, and appear to sell more sex than substance.

I haven't seen Black Snake Moan, starring Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson yet, but I must confess that the poster conveys something other than the movie's premise.

(Desperate for a change himself, Lazarus holds Rae prisoner, and sets out to "cure" her of her wicked ways. But to get to the deep, dark bottom of Rae's mystery, Lazarus will first have to face the demons that reside in both their hearts, especially when Raes one true love Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), a Guardsman who was supposed to be headed for Iraq, comes looking for her.)

Jalylah Burrell points to "It's Hard Out There for a Ho: The puzzling sexual games of Black Snake Moan," By Dana Stevens at Slate.

"You only had to see the blaxploitation-style poster of Christina Ricci chained and kneeling at Samuel L. Jackson's feet to know that Black Snake Moan (Paramount Classics) was going to be a provocative rebel yell of a movie. "
Black Snake Moan movie poster

Another film that has a poster that defies the premise of what the film is about, is Pride, starring Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac. Pride releases March 23, and is a story based on true events about Jim Ellis, a charismatic schoolteacher in the 70s who changed lives forever when he founded an African-American swim team in one of Philadelphia's roughest neighborhoods. Yet, the poster's imagery conveys something entirely different.

Pride movie poster

Revisit "Independent Black Filmmakers Take On Hollywood" from my writing archives to glean the potentiality for African-American films to not only make a comeback, but to be successful and highly acclaimed as well.

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03.04.07 01:23 AM

Music Industy In Dire Straits

As per James at Masterworks, EMI's rejection of Warner's bid to buy it out because the offer was too low should definitely convince you that the music industry (outside of publishing, merchandising, licensing, & touring) is on a steady decline.

via Europe

EMI Rejects 2.1 Billion-Pound Proposal From Warner (Update3)

By Zimri Smith and Don Jeffrey

March 2 (Bloomberg) -- EMI Group Plc, the world's third- largest music company, rejected a 2.1 billion-pound ($4.1 billion) takeover bid from Warner Music Group Corp. as too low.

Warner offered 260 pence a share, London-based EMI said in a statement today. The bid was 17 percent higher than EMI's closing price Feb. 19, the day before it said it received an approach from New York-based Warner Music. EMI today called the proposal "inadequate.''

The rejection extends the maneuvering between two companies struggling with declining music sales and piracy. EMI and Warner abandoned $4.6 billion offers for each other in July on concern a combination would be blocked by European Union regulators.

"EMI's holding out for a better premium,'' said Bishop Cheen, a bond analyst with Wachovia Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. "These two companies, because of their size, do belong together. But it's going to take a long time.'' (More)

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03.01.07 07:29 PM

Timbaland - Give It To Me OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO

SHOCK VALUE in stores March 27th, features appearances by:

Nelly Furtado
Justin Timberlake
Keri Hilson
The Hives
Fall Out Boy
She Wants Revenge
Nicole Sherzinger
Elton John
& many, many more!

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