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March madness continues



The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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Otaak Band brings East Sudanese soul to the west bank


By Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer


It was a glimpse into a world nearly lost. But the rituals, the traditions, the passed down legacies and teachings from ancestors were still evident in his being. Ahmed Said Abuamna, from Otaak Band, sang as though the music was shooting up from the ground through him, his voice sounding transcendent of earthliness. Watching the smooth and effortless way in which movements flowed from Abuamna’s limbs and in the way songs poured seemingly unencumbered from his soul at the January 29th performance at the Cedar Cultural Center, became a reminder of the importance of keeping a people’s culture and traditions alive. Otaak Band is the collaboration of Abuamna who hails from Eastern Sudan, and Miguel Merino, a percussionist from Indiana. Continue Reading →

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The Art Cunningham Show: over two decades of Black history through Black media



By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer


There is no more effective means of communicating than the media, particularly the visual media and especially television, since every home has at least one set. How far, after all, do you think the present celebration of Black History Month would’ve got without the media? Its inception came back in 1926, founded by Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week. It is undeniable the impact media communication has had, growing from the first celebration by Black United Students at Kent State University in 1970 to America acknowledging Black History Month in 1976, President Gerald Ford making it official.  

All this is said to underscore that Art Cunningham, creator-host of The Art Cunningham Show for 23 years, put the issues-oriented program on the air as a means to get voices of the African American community expressed that otherwise went unheard. Continue Reading →

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President Obama visits St. Paul



By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

President Barack Obama, in St. Paul on Wednesday, reiterated his vow he made earlier in his State of the Union address in January that he will take action when needed if Congress won’t. “I’m just going to do what I can…” proclaimed Obama during a nearly 20-minute speech to an enthusiastic overflowing audience at the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul. Continue Reading →

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This Week’s Entertainment Spotlights


Ray Covington

Fri., Feb. 14, 9 pm

Bunker’s Music Bar & Grill, 761 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis

Go to or call 612-338-8188

The 2nd Annual Minneapolis 

One-Minute Play Festival

Sat. and Sun., Feb. 15-16, 8 pm

Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 South 4th Street, Minneapolis

Go to or call 612-338-0937

Graff on Girlz MN [Sound+Art Composition]

A night of audio/visual art with Orko Eloheim

Live graffiti bodypainting

Tue., Feb. Continue Reading →

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Richard Sherman’s post-game comments overblown by information bubbles




The information bubble-blowers are ever on the job. In case you forgot, an information bubble is produced oftentimes by the media, sending out information that confirms any misbeliefs fans already have about a certain person — and usually that person is Black. I watched Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman’s post-game comments. If you are among those who don’t know what the young man said, here is the gist of it:

“I’m the best cornerback in the game,” said Sherman. “When you try me with a sorry receiver like [San Francisco’s Michael] Crabtree, that’s the result you are going to get.”

Sherman afterwards has been called everything but a child of God. Continue Reading →

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Would a Robinson Rule be just another ruse?


The only thing I like about a proposed “Eddie Robinson Rule” for college sports hiring is that it is being named for the late Grambling football coach. Otherwise, if the proposed law is modeled after the NFL’s Rooney Rule, I’m afraid it’s a recipe for deception, false hopes and tokenism. This week’s “Another View” published in the MSR sports section briefly discusses Richard Lapchick’s latest campus leadership report, where it notes again just how White (nearly 90 percent) of the campus leadership positions are.  

Here are the latest diversity report’s “lowlights”:

Coaches of color decreased by three, from 18 in 2012 to 15 in 2013. There was a two-percent drop in Black head football coaches (now 9.6 percent) from last year even though Black football players at the same time went up nearly three percent. Continue Reading →

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Mike Tyson calls Mpls ‘the center of the boxing universe’

But only for one night

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Once known as “The Baddest Man on the Planet,” former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was in town last week. The 5’-10” Brooklyn-born Tyson turned pro at age 18 in 1984, and two years later he became the youngest boxer to hold world heavyweight championship belts,  fiercely defending them nine times before getting knocked out by Buster Douglas in 1990. After that, however, his life went into a freefall, including three years spent in jail for a rape conviction. Following his release from prison, Tyson got back in the ring and fought several times. He still was a top draw. Continue Reading →

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Few acting roles for Black females




By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

Final installment of a four-part series

12 Years a Slave made five out of nine top-10 films of 2013 lists by movie critics, and Fruitvale Station made two such lists; these two movies featured Black males as leads.  However, only two Black females — Halle Berry (The Call, Sony Pictures) and Paula Patton (Baggage Claim, Fox Searchlight) — were leads in movies released by major Hollywood studios in 2013. “Critics don’t look at a film and notice that every one of the lead roles is White,” Uptown Magazine Editor Ronda Racha Penrice said in an October article. A UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies released the “Hollywood Diversity Brief” in October and it stated that there is “a dearth of gender, racial and ethnic diversity in film and television — both in front of and behind the camera.”

Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow) and Kerry Washington (Scandal) are the only Black female leads on prime time network television this season. “I’m 5’1 and an African American woman. I just didn’t think anyone would have me to play the cop,” said Beharie of her character in an Essence magazine interview. Continue Reading →

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Metrodome farewells



The Minnesota Vikings’ final game in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome ironically ended in the same fashion as did their first-ever game there in 1982 — with a close win over division rival Detroit. After Sunday’s stadium-closing finale, the MSR obtained some final thoughts on the soon-to-be-closed Dome. “It meant a lot to me,” said KMOJ sports reporter Sam Williams after seeing his name on the big stadium “dome-o-gram” electronic message board during Sunday’s game. “I’ve covered the Vikings for about 16 years, and to have my name on the marquee for the very last time, why wouldn’t you love it? I love it,” admitted Williams. “It was great.”

Marcus Sherels set a single-season team record with the highest punt return average (15.2). Continue Reading →

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