THE GREENSB NNEWS Black Barbers Demand OTES BY SARAH HUGHES - GUARDIAN NEWS America’s biggest new

It’s impossible to reason with the disingenuous logic that mass slaughter is just the cost of freedom, and not a consequence of NRA-owned politicians, which is why even the mildest gun reform seems impossible. Sandy Hook proved the GOP is willing to take donor dollars to look away from dead American children. The correlation between levels of gun ownership and gun deaths has similarly failed to rouse GOP political will, as have arguments that military-style killing machines should be kept off U.S. streets. While the “mental health problems” of white “lone wolf” shooters bring Republicans to crocodile tears, Trump signed a bill making it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns just a year ago. The knowledge that toddlers accidentally shoot more Americans annually than foreign terrorists do didn’t stop Iowa Republicans from proposing a bill to let “1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds [and] 4-year-olds…operate handguns,” leading one Democratic lawmaker to observe, “We do not need a militia of toddlers.” Perhaps relatedly, studies find the reflexive GOP tendency following mass killings is to make gun laws more, not less permissive, as evidenced by Florida Republicans’ attempts to loosen state gun restrictions just 24 hours after the Parkland massacre.

''We are demanding an immediate Justice Department full probe,'' said Kevon Gordon, owner of The Hair Shack since 1984.

TV show is a gaudy family saga described as a “black Dy- nasty” by its creator, featuring music by uber-producer Tim- baland and counting Michelle Obama among its numerous celebrity fans.

In the five weeks since

Gordon and other barbers allege that the raids violated their 4th Amendment right of ''probable cause'', undermined their businesses, tar- geted them based on race and threatened to fracture the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology's reputation as a career builder.

Barbers and patrons involved in the raids say a strike team of California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)/Board of Barbering and Cosmetology (BBC) inspectors, city code compliance inspectors and offi- cers from the Moreno Valley Police Department/Riverside County Sheriff burst into their establishments without search warrants under the guise of a BBC-led crackdown on business license and health and safety violators.

According to BBC officials Moreno Valley police initiated the raids ''apparently to shut down drug operations''.

its premiere on Fox, Empire – essentially a mashup be- tween The Lion in Winter and The Godfather and set in the world of hip-hop music – has pulled in 11.5 million viewers and dominated watercooler chat. The internet is awash with memes from the show, while episodes are gleefully discussed on Twitter by view- ers whose jaws appear to be in a state of permanent disloca- tion from the gloriously ripe dialogue.

Its creator, Lee Daniels, the director of films as diverse as Precious

At presstime DCA officials and Moreno Valley city leaders had not responded to formal requests for reaction to the barbers' demands.

''My phone has been ringing off the hook. People are outraged,'' said Gordon. He told the Black Voice News barbers targeted in the raids have been further humiliated by a police and city hall information blackout.

and The Paperboy, wouldn’t have it any other way. “[I wanted audiences] to sit there and go ‘No, this bitch didn’t! Oh my fucking God!’” he admit- ted in the Hollywood Reporter. Yet while Empire relishes its crazier mo- ments, whiplash plot twists and Naomi Campbell appearances, it’s also tackling issues from homophobia to abuse with the sort of uncomfortable honesty rarely seen on network TV.

“The way in which the show balances a sense of authenticity with

''When we called police and code compliance asking for an incident report - we were told ‘there isn't one'.'' Gordon said despite multiple requests for information from the three agencies, he and other barbers targeted in the raids have been ''systematically denied.''

some of the more audacious moments is key to its success,” says Ilene Chaiken, Empire’s executive producer. “Lee has really embraced the idea of it being a black Dynasty but from the beginning I’ve said to him you’re being too modest – this show is so much more than that. There’s an hon- esty to the story we’re telling and audiences have responded to that.”

Empire has increased its ratings in each of its five weeks on air, the

Adding insult to injury Gordon says several customers have expressed concern over bringing their loved ones to his shop. ''My reputation and livelihood of 24 years has been damaged. Collectively we intend to fight back.''

Gordon said the Hair Shack located in a strip mall along busy Sunnymead Boulevard has no prior history of police trouble.

first show to have done so in 20 years, and a Nielsen report suggested that it was watched in 33% of black households. Now critics are wondering if it heralds a new era for television programming. A report in New York Magazine stated that “among African-American women between 35 and 49, the show is literally the equivalent of a Super Bowl” in that the per- centages of those viewers watching “exceeded the ratings of some NFL championship games this century”.

''Incidents like this are not going to be tolerated anymore, and we're going to speak out. This was an attack not just on African-Americans, but all ethnic business establishments.''

Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), his estranged wife Cookie (a magnifi- cent Taraji P Henson) and their three sons, all jostling for control of Em- pire Records, the label Lucious built from the ground up.

It’s easy to see the appeal of this over-the-top tale of ailing mogul Need Health Care?

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For starters it’s exceedingly quotable, most notably when Henson’s

The barbers stopped short of publicizing their demands saving the details for an upcoming news conference. Gordon confirmed he has contacted civil rights and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorneys.

Gordon and barber Ron Jones were cited for what BBC inspectors call 11 The show pulls as few punches as its ferocious leading lady. A plot-

Cookie strides onto the screen. “The streets ain’t made for everybody, that’s why they made sidewalks,” she spat memorably in a recent episode, with other zingers including “Just ‘cos I asked Jesus to forgive you doesn’t mean I do” and “We don’t have time for you to be having some mental artsy block brain fart, whatever you’re having.”

336-790-9787 We Accept: Self-pay - Medical Insurance – Medicaid – Medicare Ending mass shootings might seem like a hopeless cause in light

by Chris Levister Special to the NNPA from

BY KALI HOLLOWAY, ALTERNET he only greater certainty than another mass shooting in this country

is the likelihood that it will be met with inaction. Since the 2012 massacre of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there have been a staggering 1,607 mass shootings across the U.S., nearly 240 in schools. Each has been met with useless thoughts and prayers from craven conservative politicians, all of whom insist there’s never a right time to discuss gun control. The fatigue incurred from the whole circular spectacle makes it feel like it might just be easier to start labeling lawmakers either “pro-child murder” or “anti-child murder.”

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (NNPA) - Making a point of the historical importance of the barbershop and beauty parlor in Black communities, a group of barbers, church leaders and community activists across the Inland region and the nation has demanded a federal investigation into the raids targeting six mostly Black-owned Moreno Valley business establishments early this month.

Empire: the outrageous b family drama that’s chan the look of US TV

Want to see gun control enacted? Support a movement to arm all black Americans

Audaciously honest on black issues, Lee Daniels’s family saga has won a hu had long ignored – and a big fan in the White House

Moreno underm barbers nities m

''From M Counci Berry G

mess threatens to rock

of all this, but that kind of thinking ignores the historic infallibility of racism to move American political mountains. The shift in the public face of poverty from white to black helped take us from the New Deal to the destruction of the welfare state; conversely, as drug addiction has gone from being an “inner city” (read: black) to a “suburban” (read: white) problem, the state has transformed from carceral to compassionate. A movement—both visible and vocal—to arm black Americans en masse would fire up GOP political will toward gun control, and probably at speeds currently unimaginable. Second Amendment hardliners often engage in bad-faith references to America’s racist gun control history at convenient moments, namely when trying convince wary black folks, who statistically are overwhelmingly pro-gun control, to join the chorus calling

A scene from the hit TV show Empire created by Lee Daniels. Photograph: / 20thCentFox Gun Control > page 14

The Butlers whose busi ity by taping a copy of t raids on the shops' fron

''We want our patrons to back and allow anyone asking customers if the doesn't happen again,''

Former patron James W bershop, it's not one pl is taking place in mino now is, we're speaking

the show; in a recent radio interview the presid it but his wife was “really into it”.

She’s not the only one. In addition to C

mistress, there have been appearances from C Sidibe and Gladys Knight; coming episodes a Ora, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Patti LaB Courtney Love will play a hard-living rock sta Daniels took to Instagram last week to sugg Washington for a role, fans almost expired w recognised it was probably a passing joke betw

Word of the raids sprea nation barbers activists Gordon said barbers, la neys and patrons in S Diego counties have ca College Scholarships from A-Z

Behind the screen the talent is equally

rected by John Singleton of Boyz n the Hood includes Orange prize-nominated crime writer anticipated third novel, Pleasantville, is out th how many talented people have wanted to ge and behind the camera,” says Chaiken. “I thin of a game-changer this really is. There’s a re this world on screen and taking risks, allowi badly and make mistakes.”

''As customers we have come to get my hair cu warrant check on me wi be to a civil rights attor Reginald Richard.

''Moreno Valley today barber college graduate in Atlanta and Chicago ''Brothers, what the hel

Yet, for all the excitement now, critics w

pire’s potential. Musical dramas are often a ris involvement of Timbaland meant that this ha and there was some doubt over whether audie with a predominantly black cast. The doubts sense that Empire has tapped into a market tha long ignored. In 2013 a Nielsen report sugge more TV than any other US demographic, yet supporting roles and bit parts.

Moreno Valley contra Sheriffs Department. S Black Voice News requ demand for an investig for review.

''This kind of affront se have worked hard to st mate practices. It sends

Still Gordon who says h admits the controversy brought us together. Th

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