What Had Happened Was Trending stories on the intersections of race, sports & culture

Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother detained in Florida airport over immigration issue

Family attorney says they may sue over the matter

12:30 PMOver the weekend, Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother Khalilah Camacho-Ali were detained in a Florida airport, for reasons that have yet to be made clear by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. According to the Ali Jr.’s lawyer, the two were traveling back from a speaking engagement in Jamaica when the incident occurred. Attorney Chris Mancini says the son of the late legendary boxer and civil rights activist Muhammad Ali was asked questions like, “Are you Muslim?” and “Where did you get that name?”

While the agency doesn’t officially comment on its interrogation policies due to the Privacy Act, the fact that Camacho-Ali was reportedly released after showing a photo of her with her ex-husband is telling. Ali Jr. was kept after for extra questioning.

Mancini, a former assistant U.S. attorney, says that the family is considering suing over the matter. He directly blamed President Donald Trump’s attempt to enforce an executive order regarding banning people from entering the country. On MSNBC on Monday, Ali Jr. described the event in detail. After he was pulled aside and asked his religion, the whole process taking nearly two hours to complete, Ali Jr. says he was not informed of his mother’s whereabouts during the ordeal.

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“It was outrageous,” Camacho-Ali said. “This has never happened to me, ever. Being in the United States, I felt very uncomfortable.”

The entire discussion is an interesting look at how the simple process of returning home can be an ordeal for many because of this new administration. Many just don’t have the resources to say anything aloud.

Jimmy Kimmel was out of pocket at the Oscars

Making fun of names is so outdated, and ‘La La Land’ doesn’t need more awards

2:40 PMLong before he was playing damage control at the Dolby Theater on Sunday night, Jimmy Kimmel was doing his best to keep the crowd engaged during the 89th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. By the time the mess unfolded onstage and eventually the best picture award went to Moonlight, Kimmel had already told enough jokes to make a certain amount of people believe he might be responsible for the egregious error.

But while PricewaterhouseCoopers’ incompetence, which led to an embarrassing moment for all around, was one thing, another thing stood out from the performance: Kimmel making fun of people’s names. In a year in which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was making what appeared to be a genuinely concerted effort to highlight diversity and inclusion, there was the host, openly taking steps backward.

“Tonight is proof that art has no borders, no single language and does not belong to a single faith,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy, said onstage. “The power of art is that it transcends all these things.”

Well, if that’s the case, what’s so funny about the name Mahershala or Yulerie? Let’s be clear: This is Hollywood. The relationship between portrayal and power is effectively the reason for its existence. We’re talking about an industry in which people create stage names, for the exact purpose of placating themselves to the Anglo-Saxon norms that long ruled the credits of films. Names matter.

There was also the extremely awkward matter of Kimmel running an odd bit with 8-year-old actor Sunny Pawar in which he held him up in the air with the Lion King’s “Circle of Life” playing in the background, like when Rafiki did the same with Simba. Again, it’s not always about overt racism. There are plenty of things that thematically are just not culturally appropriate, such as using a young Indian boy to recreate a scene basically on a fictional African pride of lions, simply because he was in a movie of a similar title. Luckily, Pawar saved it because he’s awesome, but the point was made.

Meanwhile, Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim to win an award. A couple of movies that didn’t feature black folks as just the paid or unpaid help made it into the winners circle. As important, movies about black people were nominated as documentaries, and a film about the civil war in Syria actually took away an award.


This is all to say that by the time we got around to the end, it was an important moment. And for whatever reason, after marginalizing an Oscar winner and an unwilling prank member over what people call them, suddenly Kimmel felt bad for the entire cast and crew of La La Land, because they were apparently humiliated. And he managed to blame a black person, while he was at it.

“I think you guys should keep it anyway. Guys, this is very unfortunate what happened. Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this,” he said, referring to the December 2015 incident in which Harvey botched the winner’s announcement in a live show. “I would like to see you get an Oscar, anyway,” he said. “Why can’t we just give out a whole bunch of them?”

Uh, WHAT? Now that the oh-so-vaunted system of envelopes and reveals has embarrassed the very people who made an entire film about how awesome the industry is, suddenly, we’re going to joke about how we should make it a participation award? God forbid we kick anyone offstage to make way for an all-black cast that rocked the establishment with a movie that had a budget of less than $2 million.

Kimmel is a comedian and his bits in general provide a level of levity that the obviously stuffy Academy Awards need. Making fun of the president is one thing, but blindsiding people on national TV and/or mocking the biggest moment of their lives is just pointless. But, he learned a pretty valuable lesson Sunday, which is that it’s not as much fun when the joke’s on you.

Then again, who knows. It may have been his idea all along. Which definitely isn’t funny either.

Daily Dose: 2/27/17

All Oscars, all the time

11:21 AMThe Morning Roast was a fun one this week, even though your boy was low on energy. Here’s Sunday’s show and, remember, if you subscribe and leave a review, you’ll be in on the ground floor of awesome. Or something.

Steve Harvey wins the day. After the scene that was at the end of the Oscars on Sunday night, he’s 100 percent vindicated for whatever happened at that Miss Universe contest. But more importantly: HOW. DOES. THIS. HAPPEN!?! So many things had to go wrong. But that final part, where Warren Beatty didn’t feel compelled to speak up and Faye Dunaway just read the big words on the card? That’s how institutionalized power works. Neither one of them had the wits to do the right thing and just say: Hey, there’s a mistake. Total debacle all around, alas.

Moonlight, however, won the night. Mahershala Ali took home the award for best supporting actor and was extremely eloquent and gracious in his speech. His wife just had a baby, so he got up there and commended her on how well she’s handled everything, considering she was pregnant during awards season. Also, the pictures that came out of the red carpet and the weekend were great. The kids from the movie were having a blast the entire time, which they deserved. Ali was the first Muslim actor to win that award.

As for the rest of the night, there was a lot. Let’s run down the list. People Magazine‘s editorial director actually said “Hidden Fences” and caught insta-shade from Robin Roberts. Halle Berry broke out a new wig and it was promptly snatched by Twitter. Taraji P. Henson was slaying, too. Host Jimmy Kimmel tried to trick a bunch of people into making fools of themselves, then they stole the show. Viola Davis gave us the best acceptance speech we’ve seen since her last one. Oh, and the Oscars put up a picture of someone who is very much alive during the “In Memoriam” segment.

Ezra Edelman is now an Oscar winner. I say that with much joy, because I was lucky enough to meet him and talk with him after his documentary O.J.: Made In America aired on national television. It deservedly won the best documentary feature award and when Ezra got on stage, he made it clear why he made the film at all. I’ve said this before, but what’s wild is that O.J. Simpson still might get out of prison and live his life on the outside for some time. I wonder what this third chapter will bring.

Free Food

Coffee Break: The film that won for best documentary short is one called The White Helmets, which is about the Syria Civil Defense, a group that works to rescue people from rubble following air strikes. One sad development is that the cinematographer of the film never made it to Hollywood. The Syrian government interfered.

Snack Time: Another really awkward moment came when Jimmy Kimmel picked up Sunny Pawar from Lion in some attempt to recreate something out of The Lion King. Luckily, Pawar saved it. And his shoes were super dope.

Dessert: You know it was lit when The New York Times aired an actual TV ad during the show. Here it is.

Clemson Ph.D. candidate seeks a doctorate with dopeness

A.D. Carson defends 34-track album dissertation

1:19 PM

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When I was in high school, I really thought I was doing something by writing my extended essay about the correlation between art and crime with graffiti. Since then, the link between scholarship and the hip-hop community has expanded exponentially.

In 2017, rap and hip-hop culture in the classroom as legitimate academic disciplines have moved past the gimmick or easy electorate phase. We’ve gone from the general, such as celebrity professors like the legendary Bun B teaching class on hip-hop and religion at Rice University in Houston, to the more specific, such as Georgetown University’s Michael Eric Dyson devoting an entire semester to Jay Z alone. These days at Georgia Tech, you can take a class that explores the links between Outkast, trap music and social justice.

But Ph.D. candidate A.D. Carson is taking the next step. Rap music is his academic work, not just a subject he studies. On Friday, he defended his dissertation “Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes and Revolutions,” at Clemson University. Not only is he the first student at the school to forgo that traditional written word for such an assignment, it’s coming at a school with a history that isn’t exactly the most progressive. You might remember Carson’s video “See The Stripes” from 2014.

This also happens to be the school where Dabo Swinney, the head coach of the 2017 College Football Playoff national champions, decided to invoke Martin Luther King Jr. in order to tell people that kneeling for the national anthem was wrong. He’s the same guy, who while making more than $5 million a year to coach unpaid labor, called out players for wanting some actual remuneration for their efforts. Clemson has issues.

His approach was straightforward. He built a studio, asked his friends for help and banged out the album. It’s not like it was his first rodeo. As Aydee The Great, he’s been creating work as an artist for some time. Doing it as a student in the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design doctoral program is the new part.

Carson has already accomplished a ton. But we’re also rooting for him, just so that if someone ever asks him how he got his doctorate, he can just flip them a mixtape.

Daily Dose: 2/24/17

Remy Ma is a national treasure

1:00 PMThe week’s coming to a close, but don’t forget, The Morning Roast airs Sundays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. EST. If you’re cool, you’ll subscribe and leave a review. And if you’re even better, you’ll check out this week’s All Day Podcast.

Bill Cosby caught a break today. The comedian whose life has been put under the microscope due to his past as someone who routinely used drugs to incapacitate women is currently in court over an accusation from 2005. Essentially, after one woman came out, many others did, further buttressing the point that this was not remotely an isolated incident. But it was in question as to whether or not all those people would be allowed to testify in court. Today, a judge said only one other woman would be.

Remy Ma might not be the most famous rapper alive, but she is one of the most important. All these jokers you listen to that rap about the life they’re living regarding jail time and gunplay are likely lying, which ultimately is a good thing. But Remy has dealt with the actual realities of what going to prison can do to your life, career and family. It’s truly inspirational that she’s made it all the way back to where she is. She’s like a real-life Cookie Lyons. This interview with her is a must-read.

This beef with JaVale McGee and Shaquille O’Neal has gotten out of hand. I’ve written about this before, but at this point, it’s almost impossible to understand. What O’Neal’s obsession with JaVale is, who knows, but Young Pierre is really tired of it. What was once a television beef on “Shaqtin’ A Fool” has now moved its way over to Twitter, which means the next logical step is obvious: celebrity boxing. Shaq might be big, but he’s old. I feel like McGee could stick him from long range. Either way, this is a mess, overall.

The Philadelphia 76ers have no hope. They traded Nerlens Noel, and the whole “trust the process” situation blew up in fans’ faces at the trade deadline Thursday. Now, they’re shutting down Ben Simmons, because his foot is not healing correctly, which is a whole other problem, to be quite honest. They’ve won 21 games this season, which is somehow a major improvement. Reminder: The Nets have nine wins. The official news from the Sixers is that Simmons doesn’t have enough time to recondition himself.

Free Food

Coffee Break: Horror films freak me out. Like, at this stage of my life, I’m not really into watching situations that are legitimately scary to me, for fun. But this new flick from Jordan Peele called Get Out has piqued my interest because people won’t stop talking about it.

Snack Time: Important update for your spring home movie viewing schedule. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is out on Blu-ray on April 4. This is certainly one for the collection.

Dessert: Hold my calls. I’ll be listening to Future, Oddisee and Thundercat all weekend. Plus Rhiannon Giddens.

Daily Dose: 2/23/17

Going to the bathroom just got harder for some students

2:00 PMNBA trade deadline day is really fun. It’s the biggest of “wild speculation” days on the sports calendar. Can’t wait.

If you’re a transgender kid, things just got worse for you. In a move that no one can explain, the White House decided to reverse an Obama-era guidance that let schoolkids use whatever bathroom they want. It was clearly a move designed to make students feel more comfortable. Perhaps ironically, Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s new secretary of education, was the one trying to prevent the president from making this move. Needless to say, a lot of people are upset over the decision, which ultimately makes everyone less safe.

Remember when Bree Newsome removed a Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse? That was dope. Now, in a far lower stakes move, she has a bit of a counterpart. She was scheduled to speak at the College of Charleston on Wednesday night, a scenario that brought out quite a few protestors. One man went viral, after he decided to jump a barricade and take out a guy who was carrying a Confederate flag on the street. Let’s break it down. Excellent approach, decent tackle, good motor, bad getaway plan. Dude is a hero, though.

The 89th Annual Academy Awards take place Sunday. It’s the biggest deal in the world, so you better be prepared. Just kidding. But if we’re to believe that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is really that concerned about an equitable awarding of Oscars, this year will be very telling. There are quite a few movies either about or by black folks that have gotten not only a bunch of recognition, but have also won plenty awards already. Mahershala Ali looks to be a big winner, but you never know until it happens. If you don’t know how the whole process actually works, check out this video to see how one goes from movie screen to Oscar stage.

I’ve tried to give Jameis Winston some credit, but it’s hard. The whole situation that stained his college career and ran a girl out of school regarding a sexual assault accusation is still not one that sits well with me. Then, he goes to an elementary school and talks to kids like he’s some hotep preacher straight off the internet, telling boys to stand up and be proud, while telling girls to be quiet. Like how on earth does that happen? He apologized for “poor wording,” but I’m not particularly sure he gets why this isn’t okay.

Free Food

Coffee Break: If you’re wondering where the old Dipset gang is, we have another update. We know that Jim Jones was spilling his heart out on the radio. We also know that Cam’ron is dancing with his lady in the living room. What’s Juelz Santana doing? Sneaker shopping in Harlem, New York.

Snack Time: Lego is in a big moment right now. The Lego Batman Movie has people needlessly freaking out and they’re dropping a new video game, Lego City Undercover, in April, too. This is going to be a must cop.

Dessert: New Thundercat & Kendrick, my g. Perfect for a warm, climate-changed February day.