Mystery surrounds the killing of a witness in the Amber Guyger trial. Here’s what we know


Two weeks ago, most of the country had never heard of Joshua Brown.The 28-year-old catapulted into the spotlight when he reluctantly testified in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who was convicted of killing her neighbor, Botham Jean.Ten days after he testified, Brown was shot & killed, a victim of the gun violence he had always feared. Here’s what we know and don’t know about the case:

What we know:

Brown was visibly shaken after the murder of Botham Jean, who lived directly across the hall from him last year at Dallas’ South Side Lofts. The two men met hours before Guyger allegedly mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, walked in and killed Jean, thinking he was an intruder.On the night of September 6, 2018, Brown returned home at nearly the same time Guyger walked into Jean’s apartment.Brown said he was down the hall when he heard the voices of two people who sounded like they were meeting by “surprise.”Gunshots followed “right after,” Brown said.Later, Brown said, he saw Guyger leave Jean’s apartment and enter the hallway. The officer was on the phone.She was “crying, explaining what happened, what she thought happened, saying she came in to the wrong apartment,” Brown testified. Through his peep hole, Brown said he saw the former officer “going back, back and forth on the phone.”Brown testified he did not hear anyone say anything like, “Stop! Police!” But he said it was difficult to make out the brief and frantic words between Guyger and Jean. About three months after Jean’s death, Brown moved out of South Side Flats.He tried to keep a “low profile intentionally,” said attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents both the Jean and Brown families.Brown moved to the Atera Apartments in Dallas, about five miles from his former complex.On Friday night, an assailant shot and killed Brown in the parking lot of the Atera Apartments.Witnesses told police they saw a silver, four-door sedan speeding out of the parking lot right after the shooting.

What we don’t know:

Who killed Brown, and why So far, police have made no arrests in Brown’s death.Investigators also don’t know what the motive was, DALLAS POILCE CHEIF U. RENEE HALL said. Authorities haven’t said whether Brown’s death has any connection to his testimony in the Guyger trial. Whether the killing was connected to the last time Brown was shot Brown had survived a shooting almost a year before his death, Merritt said. He was shot near a strip club in Dallas in November 2018, Merritt said. Brown and his family believed he was targeted in that shooting by someone he knew and had grown up with. Another man, Nicholas Shaquan Diggs, was killed in the shooting, Merritt said.After Brown was shot last year, “he was concerned that that person might try to come back and finish the job,” Merritt said.The gunman in that shooting has not yet been arrested.

Ship seized in $1.3 billion cocaine bust is owned by JP Morgan Chase


A cargo ship that was seized last month with nearly 20 tons of cocaine on board — with an estimated street value of $1.3 billion — belongs to JP Morgan Chase, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to CBS News. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said this was the largest vessel ever seized in the agency’s 230-year history. 

The ship, the MSC Gayane, is owned by JP Morgan Asset Management clients through a transportation fund managed by the bank, a source said. JP Morgan leased the ship to Mediterranean Shipping Co., a Switzerland-based shipping company, which is solely responsible for the vessel’s crews and operations.

JP Morgan Chase declined to comment on the record. Mediterranean Shipping Co. said in a statement, “Unfortunately, shipping and logistics companies are from time to time affected by trafficking problems.” The shipping company said it is cooperating with U.S. law enforcement on the investigation. Neither JP Morgan Chase nor MSC are targets of the criminal investigation.

The U.S. Justice Department said agents boarded the ship on June 17 after it arrived at the Packer Marine Terminal in Philadelphia, and seized 19.76 tons of cocaine. On the Fourth on July, CBP seized the ship itself for possible forfeiture to the U.S.

“A seizure of a vessel this massive is complicated and unprecedented — but it is appropriate because the circumstances here are also unprecedented,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said in a statement. 

The ship, which was built in 2018 and flew under the flag of Liberia, had traveled through South America and the Bahamas before arriving in Philadelphia, according to Marine Traffic.

Several crew members on the ship have been charged with knowingly and intentionally conspiring with each other and others to possess cocaine, the Justice Department said. A federal criminal investigation is ongoing. 

Why dark-skinned black girls like me aren’t getting married


Black women in the US marry less than others – and the numbers are even lower for darker skinned black women. Is colorism – favoring lighter skin – to blame?

I take a deep breath and ready my fingers. I admonish myself for being theatrical about something so mundane. Another deep breath.

“Here we go,” I mutter, pressing enter.

My profile has been created. It seems simple enough: swipe left to dismiss, swipe right to express interest.

The first eligible bachelor appears – not my type, I swipe left. Then another follows – too young, I swipe left again. Ten swipes in, and I find myself texting my eldest sister this was a bad idea. A feeling of vexation settles over me.

I didn’t think I would ever have to use a dating app, but men don’t talk to me any other way.

I’ve spent so much time trying to understand what is so unattractive about me that men shun me. At first, I thought it was because I was intimidating – a word I’ve heard used to describe me. For a while, I concluded I was “not that interesting,” a line I subsequently used as my biography on social media. But those explanations won’t do.

The real issue is staring me right in the face: my deep mahogany skin.

Colorism – the prejudice based on skin tone – has stunted the romantic lives of millions of dark-skinned black women, including me. We are not as valued as our lighter-skinned counterparts when seeking romantic partners, our dating pool constricted because of something as arbitrary as shoe size.

Like other systems of racial inequality, American colorism was born out of slavery. As slave masters raped enslaved women, their lighter-skinned illegitimate offspring were given preferential treatment over their darker counterparts, often working in the house as opposed to the fields. This order has since been perpetuated by systemic racism and internalized by black people. It remains alive even now, insidiously snaking into my life.

I have many memories of being degraded because of my complexion, the most piercing is from middle school: two girls giggled in my Georgia history class during the showing of a documentary about slavery. As the film explained the origins of skin tone prejudice, one girl – biracial, hazel-eyed and the only other black girl in class – whispered that she would have been a house slave, but that I would have been a field slave. As the famous image of whipped Peter played on screen, I sank down in my chair, silently greeting the weight of oppression on my 12-year-old shoulders.

In many ways, nothing has changed since that day. Dark skin still not only comes with the expectation of lower class but lessened beauty, not to mention uncleanliness, lesser intelligence and a diminished attractiveness. Meanwhile, everywhere we look, women like me see successful black men coupled with fair-skinned female partners who pass the paper bag test – a remnant of the Reconstruction era, where the only black people worthy of attention had to be lighter than a paper bag. This “test” was even instituted in places such as historically black colleges and universities as an informal part of the admissions process.

Today, this gradation discrimination remains. “It’s typical to see light-skinned black women as representing beauty in the black community and therefore being highly desirable for high-status spouses,” says Dr Margaret Hunter, who teaches sociology at Oakland’s Mills College and has studied the relationship between marriage and colorism for over two decades. Hunter sums it up like this: “Black women in general marry less than other races but darker-skinned black women marry men of lower social status than the lightest-skinned black women.”

The lighter the shade, the higher the probability of marriage

Jasmine Turner, owner of BlackMatchMade, a Chicago-based matchmaking company, agrees this affects all black women. “Honestly, I think black women tend to lower their standards because they’re finding challenges in dating. Now I’m finding that black women are like ‘You know what, as long as he has a good job and he’s a good person …’ No matter how successful they are, they’re open to dating him.”

I’ve never been one to settle. I’ve taken this attitude to the app, only searching for men who are gainfully employed and fairly decent-looking. But I definitely understand what she means. Previously, dating has made me feel like I must drop some of my must-have criteria – a college education, a steady job, and able and willing to pay for the first date – in order to find a match. My mother has even scolded me for it, telling me to raise my standards: “I’ve been on a lot of dates, and no girl should ever pay for a first date!”

But my feelings of a necessary drop in standards have been validated by research from Dr Darrick Hamilton, a professor of economics and sociology at Ohio State University. Hamilton aggregated information from the 2003 Multi-City Study of Urban Equality to identify why so many dark-skinned women who date men remain bachelorettes. His assessment was designed to show how the imbalance of eligible black males – taking into account high incarceration rates and a limited labor market – affects the marriage market.

His research shows that a scarcity in available “high-status” husbands (defined as higher levels of education, not growing up on public assistance, coming from neighborhoods that had less crime), effectively leave black men in control of the dating selection process. His data concluded 55% of light-skinned women were married while only 23% of dark-skinned women had jumped the broom.

“[Black men] have unnatural power within marriage markets that enables them to bid up cursory characteristics like skin shade,” Hamilton told me over the phone. In other words, the lighter the female, the higher the probability of marriage. “One of the results that we found was that [darker-complexioned] black women who have ‘higher status’ faced a greater penalty in marriage markets than those with a lower socioeconomic status.”

According to his research, I am the epitome of the “high-status” option. College educated, familial middle class background, age 16-30, able-bodied. But according to the equation, I haven’t the “social capital” (read: skin tone) to seek a quality match.

But before even entertaining thoughts of marriage, I have to get past the dating stage. Turner says she often sees black men pass up perfectly eligible dark-skinned women. “Black men will say, ‘complexion doesn’t matter’, but they might give that lighter complexion woman who is very comparable to a darker-complexion woman a chance, when they wouldn’t give that darker-skinned woman a chance.

The effects play out in the lives of women like me and my friend Larissa. We usually like to talk about sci-fi books and traveling, but today I ask her if she’s ever felt diminished by men due to her complexion. “Sometimes, I can kinda feel their eyes sliding off of me to go the pretty white girl next to me, or even the fairer-skinned Yara Shahidi type,” she says, a twinge of sadness in her voice. While she sees herself getting married, she doesn’t know if she will end up with a black man. “I don’t necessarily see myself walking down the aisle with a black guy. Not because I’ve written them off or because I don’t want to, but just realistically, based on how the dating life has been treating me and how I’ve been approached.”

Julie Wadley of North Carolina’s matchmaking service EliSimone, which caters to a mostly black clientele, has observed this dynamic in her field. “I’ve had colleagues who were like, ‘Hey, I have a black client and he’s open to any race’. I’m like ‘Oh, OK, great! I’ll send you a couple of matches who fit what he’s looking for. Then they’ll come back and say, ‘She’s too ethnic looking’.”

I know exactly what she means, but I ask anyway: “What would ‘too ethnic’ mean, in terms of look?”

“Dark skin. Someone who is probably brown to dark skin. Someone with natural hair. Someone who is over the size of six,” she answers. “I would bet $5,000 every single one of my black colleagues have had that happen. Where they’ll come back and say, ‘Uh, well, he’s only looking for someone who is very fair’; or, ‘He’s looking for someone who is light-skinned’.”

Still, Wadley tells me, she hoped I’m not writing a “woe is me, nobody wants dark-skinned girls” article. I wince hearing it, hoping for the same, deep down. But this topic doesn’t lend itself to optimism.

‘It made me feel like I would never be wanted

Writing this piece, a memory I had long forgotten resurfaces. At university, on the line for the security check-in for dorms, I bumped into a friend of my former roommate. I inquired about something someone had said. Immediately, his face changed from joy to anger. “You’re too dark to be talking to me like this, Dream,” he sneered. Hurt to the point of rage, I bristled and walked away. We never had a conversation again.

I aimlessly skim the app late one night, swiping left, right, right, left. I’ve only made a few matches since downloading it the week before. Then, I come across a profile. “I only date light-skinned women…” reads his bio, even though his skin tone matches mine. I wasn’t going to swipe right in the first place – he was not cute – but I still feel the bristle of my sophomore year. I roll my eyes, and swipe to the next one.

I would like to think I’ve grown up since that 19-year-old who was insulted at the gate of my dorm. My dark skin is not something to be ashamed of, even if past lovers made it clear they were ashamed to be associated with me because of it. I’ve been all of it before – I’m dating someone but there’s a secrecy to our relationship: hands that only hold yours in private, a reluctance to present you to family and friends, kisses that only meet your lips when no one else can see.

I hate that I’ve had to beg for legitimacy in my intimate relationships. I hate that my friends have had to do so too. I want love, but my self-esteem is too high a price to pay.

Sharlene and I met at a Kendrick Lamar concert during our freshman year of college and we’ve stayed in contact ever since. Knowing she’s shared similar sentiments about dating in the past, I get in touch, hoping to round out my perspective on the matter. “I feel like dark-skinned women were just the women that men had behind closed doors. They weren’t trophy wives enough for you to show to the world. Somebody wouldn’t want to show me off but, next thing you know, they’ve got somebody lighter and they’re showing them off … It made me feel like I would never be wanted.”

Deflated, I talk to Elizabeth, my former sophomore-year roommate, who is now in her third year of law school. I ask if a partner has said anything rude to her because of her skin tone. She names a man I know, to my dismay. “There was just a comment that he made one time. [He said] ‘I want a white family’.” She laughs: “It was just so weird to me because you’re telling me you want a white family. I can’t give you that! Like, why are you talking to me?”

“I want a white family.” The words stick with me for the rest of the day, weighing me down like a bale of cotton. It brings tears to my eyes. I wonder: are dark-skinned women just the placeholders until they meet their desired match? Do all these men really just want white families?

A few nights into the app, another guy pops up on my screen – decent looking and seemingly gainfully employed. I’m mildly interested. His profile bio is just one line: “The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice.”

My immediate thoughts warn me of a possible fetish. Dating with dark skin often comes with a double-edged sword: we are unwanted, except by men who want to create an experience out of us, leaving our personhood out of the equation altogether. We become empty objects, vehicles for pleasure, rather than multi-dimensional beings.

Hunter vocalizes this sentiment. “At the same time, there’s also a kind of fetishization of darker skin. So sometimes you’ll hear people say ‘I only like dark-skinned women’ or that ‘dark skin is sexy’ or something like that,” she tells me. “Not that those things aren’t true or good, but they also kind of objectifying or sexualizing in a way that isn’t necessarily the solution to the discrimination. It’s an inversion, basically.”

The bachelor on my screen shares my mahogany skin tone. But I’m wary he, like other black men, may fall victim to this form of objectification. I remember how Sharlene expressed her frustrations with her beauty being seen as skin deep. “We can’t get just get a regular compliment,” she laments. “I know that people think that calling me chocolate all the time, or talking about ‘your skin is beautiful’ is a compliment. But why can’t I just be beautiful?”

I hear what she and Dr Hunter are saying, but my choices are few. I feel limited; I was made to feel this way. In the end, I swipe right. My screen darkens, proclaiming a match has been made. We chat, but the spark isn’t there.

But three weeks after joining the app, I finally hit a stride and start having more fun. I’ve matched with someone who seems promising. He’s smart, we work in the same industry, and our conversations online have been pleasant. I ask him to meet, and he agrees.

We are meeting at a food hall; for me, it’s a short walk and a train across town but feels like a world away. A slew of hopes run through me on the way over. I hope I’ll be just as attracted to him in person as I am online. I hope he won’t murder me.

I approach the hall, take a deep breath, and ready my fingers to pull the door open. “Here we go,” I whisper to myself.

Uncle Luke Calls JAY-Z “Token Black Guy” Over Super Bowl LIV Halftime Performance


Uncle Luke of the infamous 2 Live Crew is the latest of JAY-Z’s peers to speak out against his alliance with the National Football League.

During an interview with TMZ, the veteran Hip Hop artist referred to the Roc Nation head honcho as the “token black guy” and explained how it’s possible Hov being used

“[The NFL is] basically showing that, ‘Aye look, let me go get a token black guy, throw him out there, say we’re dealing with systemic racism and say we’re having him involved with the entertainment,” Luke says in the clip. “It specifically said that JAY-Z would be involved with the systemic racism and the entertainment. Right now, that’s an F.”

He later added, “If they did this and you were at the table… then JAY-Z should have put in his resignation at that point. If he does not resign or they don’t make this right then [the NFL] is actually using him.”

Last month, Luke penned an op-ed for the Miami New Times criticizing Jay and the NFL’s selections of Shakira and Jennifer Lopez for the Super Bowl halftime show. He’s adamant local Miami artists such as Rick Ross, Pitbull, Trick Daddy, Flo Rida or DJ Khaled should’ve been chosen for the gig instead.

“Pitbull, AKA Mr. Worldwide, along with Flo Rida and Rick Ross, should really be the headliners of this halftime show,” he wrote in part. “J. Lo and Shakira should be Pitbull’s invited guests since he did songs with them.

“And Flo Rida should be inviting Trick Daddy, Trina, and other Miami superstars to share the spotlight. The NFL is going about this ass-backward.”

Several special guests are expected to be added to the roster — it may or may not include Pitbull.

LL Cool J Reportedly Returns Home To Def Jam Recordings


 LL Cool J signed his first record contract with Def Jam Recordings in the 1980s as the imprint’s first artist.

His debut album, 1985’s Radio, featured iconic singles such as “Rock The Bells” and “I Can’t Live Without My Radio.” With the exception of the Jazzy Jay-assisted “I Need A Beat (Remix),” all songs were produced by Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin.

According to AllHiphop Ladies Love Cool James has returned home to Def Jam. Sources at the label reportedly couldn’t divulge when he’d be putting out new music but said it “could be” soon.

After 13 albums with Def Jam — including 1990’s Mama Said Knock You Out — LL left the label in 2008. Over the course of his career, he’s been nominated five times for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame yet to be inducted.

He currently hosts his own SiriumXM show called Rock The Bells and is still playing NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna in the CBS crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles. 

In 2017, he became the first MC to receive Kennedy Center Honors.

Def Jam has also reportedly struck a deal with DMX to rejoin their roster. Swizz Beatz confirmed the news during a recent interview with The Breakfast Club.

Michael Jackson’s Estate Reportedly Made Nearly $2B Since His Death


The MICHAEL JACKSON ESTATE has raked in massive profits since he passed away, making him one of the most lucrative artists in the entertainment industry.

According to The Blast, the late singer’s legal team revealed the King of Pop’s estate has earned $1.7 billion in profits since his 2009 death in a document submitted to the Los Angeles Count

The Jackson estate’s executor and lawyers reportedly are working to balance his finances and redevelop his brand.

“With the assistance of their counsel, the Executors have successfully rebuilt and enhanced Michael Jackson’s image, solidified the MJJ business as a significant entity in the entertainment industry, entered into and continue to enter into unprecedented business deals that have produced, and will in the future produce, significant revenues for the Estate,” his team said in the document.

Jackson died in June 2009. He left his fortune to his three children Blanket, Paris and Prince.

Nas Mourns Death Of “Belly” Actor Louie Rankin


Nas and actor Louie “Original Don Dada” Rankin appeared together in the 1998 cult classic Belly. In 2016, they reunited for DJ Khaled’s “Nas Album Done” video and were able to spend some quality time together getting reacquainted.

On Monday (September 30), Rankin was involved in a fatal car accident in Ontario, Canada. As the news spread, Nas took to Instagram to memorialize his late friend with two photos of them together on Khaled’s video set

“Louie Rankin,” he wrote in the caption. “Great working with this man. A legend. In Belly you stole the show. “ You Wana Rump with bombaclot me??!” In @djkhaled video Nas Album Done, your presence was super live wire much needed. RIP Don Dada.”

Rankin played Jamaican drug kingpin “Ox” in the Hype Williams-directed film while Nas was cast in the role of “Sincere.” DMX, Method Man and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins of TLC also starred in the movie.

Nas’ character begins to question his life of crime but reluctantly agrees to help DMX’s character “Tommy” sell a new batch of heroin. Subsequently, they begin transporting the drug from Queens, New York to Omaha, Nebraska.

Rankin also acted in other films such as 2002’s Shottas and 2014’s We Run These Streets. 

Details surrounding the crash are scare but are expected to be released soon.

Hip Hop Pioneer Jimmy “Super Rhymes” Spicer Passes Away @ 61


Hip Hop pioneer “Jimmy Super Rhymes Spicer” has lost his battle with cancer. According to veteran New York City promoter Van Silk, he passed away on Friday (September 27) afternoon.

The tributes have started to roll in on social media. Van shared his sentiments via Facebook.

“Jimmy was supposed to perform at the 46th Anniversary Of Hip Hip this past Saturday (September 21),” he wrote. “The last time we talked was in August, but I got a call from his daughter Angelina that her father will not be able to perform. Jimmy asked me to do him a favor.

“Please make sure  that the rights to his song ‘Dollar Bill Y’all’ revert back to his family and I told him I will make the connection and put your family in touch!! We were able to have an award for him which will be presented to his family from last week event. EVEN THOUGH HE DIDN’T MAKE IT TO PERFORM, HE WAS THERE ANYWAY. MAY YOU SLEEP WELL MY BROTHER.”

Spicer was diagnosed with advanced brain and lung cancer last year. Despite putting up a valiant fight, his condition took a drastic turn earlier this month. Kurtis Blow said Spicer had recently been moved to hospice care.

Subsequently, his daughter Janel launched a GoFundMe to help with medical and funeral costs.

Spicer was 61.

Many of his Hip Hop peers have expressed their condolences on social media, including Russell Simmons, Snoop Dogg, Questlove, MC Debbie D and Cozmo D from Newcleus

Remembering: Cutty Cartel Of Atlanta Rap Group Jim Crow


Singer, Rapper, Dancer, Photographer, Businessman, Son, Father, Brother, Uncle, Nephew, Friend & Homie! Decatur G.A’s Own will be missed.

Cutty, whose real name was Ricardo Lewis, was a member of the trio Jim Crow alongside Mr. Mo and multi-platinum selling producer Polow Da Don. The late artist and his group were part of the Attic Crew, an Atlanta-based collective that included notable artists such as YoungBloodz, Shawty Putt and Playboy

Jim Crow released two LPs, 1999’s Crow’s Nest and 2001’s Right Quick, during their run and became best known for their single “Holla At A Playa.” The Attic Crew also released an album together, 2002’s Finally, featuring the T.I. assisted track “Dope Boi Fresh.”

Outside of his work in Jim Crow and Attic Crew, Cutty made an impact through his guest appearances on multiple noteworthy singles.

During his career, the ATLien contributed hooks to songs such as YoungBloodZ’s “85” and “Cadillac Pimpin,” Trillville’s “Some Cut” and Big Boi’s “Shutterbug.”

Cutty’s death has sparked an outpouring of tributes and mourning on social media, particularly within the Atlanta Hip Hop community. Rest In Peace Ricardo Lewis & Heather Lewis.