Jay Connor

Jay's Latest for LAist: "Where To Eat Soul Food In LA Right Now"

Delicious ass fried chicken and waffles at Matthew's Homestyle Cooking in Gardena. (Photo by Jay Connor for LAist)

Delicious ass fried chicken and waffles at Matthew's Homestyle Cooking in Gardena. (Photo by Jay Connor for LAist)

What exactly is "soul food"? It has become a blanket term to describe African-American cuisine although its origins pre-date slavery. It's culled from European, indigenous and African influences but many of its key ingredients are rooted in the inhumane rations provided to African slaves by their masters. From the undesirable parts of pigs came neckbones, chitterlings and other mainstays, while meager amounts of cornbread were used to bread and fry catfish and other meats.

These cooking techniques stretched thin rations to their max and supplied slaves with the calories they needed to survive their brutal working conditions. Over time, the traditions evolved into the foundation of Southern cuisine as slaves who were adept in the kitchen became chefs for their oppressors.

As such, soul food is much more than a cuisine. It's a Southern-fried story of terror, triumph and taste. It captures the adversity of the oppressed and the undying will of the African-American spirit. Here's where you can get your fix.

Read the rest at LAist.

Why Are We Tip-Toeing Around Kodak Black?


To many denizens within the Republic of Hip Hop—particularly from its younger sect—he’s an antagonist. An Oakland-bred, New York-based curmudgeon who exists only to terrorize rap’s current crop of would-be auto-tuned superstars. But to hip hop’s more seasoned occupants, Ebro Darden is a sentry—a warden of sorts who protects hip-hop from itself by ruthlessly vetting its deluge of solicitors.

From his base of operations—the cultural cornerstone and radio station Hot 97—his gavel is his microphone, his bench is a Hudson Square neighborhood studio, and his robe has been replaced with his trademark salt-and-pepper beard. And from this makeshift courtroom, landmark rulings are delivered daily—all courtesy of his popular “Ebro in the Morning” show that’s broadcast to millions of listeners every morning.

But instead of a jury of their peers, to the chagrin of the Republic’s inhabitants, the fate of many a rap career rests in the hands of Darden’s deputies—radio personalities Peter Rosenberg and Laura Styles, who collectively dismantle the pleas and testimonies of almost every Lil Yachty or Post Malone brave enough to take the witness stand.

As such, the latest to do so was Pompano Beach upstart Kodak Black. His forthcoming album, Dying to Live, summoned him into the lion’s den to receive either Darden’s blessing or banishment. And as you can probably guess, the final verdict was anything but favorable.

Read the rest at Playboy.

Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Proves White Male Privilege is Invincible


On Friday, Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine), the last undecided Republican vote on embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, revealed that she’d vote in favor of his eventual confirmation.

During her historic 40-minute monologue on the Senate floor, she outlined her reasoning for doing so, citing her comprehensive review of his 12-year tenure as a federal judge, her belief that his election wouldn’t imperil the Affordable Care Act, as well as her decision to meet with the thousands of proponents and detractors of Kavanaugh within her constituency.

But as the world watched with bated breath, the coup de grâce came when she addressed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations directly: "I do not believe these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from fairly serving on the court," she said. “It is when passions are most inflamed, when fairness is most in jeopardy. I worry that departing from this presumption could lead to a lack of public faith in the judiciary and would be hugely damaging to the confirmation process moving forward."

It was in that exact moment that Judge Brett Kavanaugh became the latest bastion of blindingly white male privilege and hypocrisy. Otherwise known as a long-standing precept in which black men are married to our pasts, even if unrelated to our own victimhood, while our white counterparts are routinely afforded the luxury of dissociating themselves from their own, despite their role as a perpetrator. This is best exemplified in the deluge of prominent support that Kavanaugh received prior to his confirmation, in which his behavior was either minimized or outright dismissed as youthful folly.  

45Committee, a political action committee linked to the Ricketts family – majority owners of the Chicago Cubs – funded a TV ad campaign lauding Kavanaugh’s “honor, integrity, and strong moral character.” And in its attempt to paint Kavanaugh as incapable of such reprehensible behavior, every participant in the $650,000 ad is a woman. Each of whom takes turns extolling his “compassion” and “moral compass” despite accusations to the contrary.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, herself a victim of sexual assault, unsurprisingly echoed a similar sentiment. She asserted on CBS This Morning that "This may be the first time we've heard allegations against someone as a teenager who did not prey upon women thusly as he became powerful." A blatant insinuation that Kavanaugh’s sins of the past should remain in the dark and have no bearing on his integrity as a Supreme Court justice.  

Minnesota Senator Scott Newman further proved the “boys will be boys” train is never late, tweeting: “Even if true, teenagers!” While New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss came under fire for her own remarks: “Let’s say he did this exactly as she said. Should the fact that a 17-year-old, presumably very drunk kid did this, should this be disqualifying?”

Also of note, evangelist Franklin Graham openly challenged the relevancy of Ford’s allegations. “It's just a shame that […] somebody can bring something up that he did as a teenager close to 40 years ago. That's not relevant,” he told CBN News. “We've got to look at a person's life and what they've done as an adult and are they qualified for this position, so this is just an attempt to smear him.”

But while many sought to divorce Kavanaugh from his past, it was our Commander-in-Chief who tapped into uncharted depths of hypocrisy. President Donald Trump, the same man who once spent $85,000 on full-page ads advocating for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, weaponized male victimhood in his latest “woe is men” spiel: "My whole life, I've heard you're innocent until proven guilty. But now you're guilty until proven innocent. […] I say that it's a very scary time for young men in America.”

As is typical of hypocrisy, it’s ironic to hear Trump contradict himself in touting due process. An irony that isn’t lost on Raymond Santana – more commonly known as one of the Central Park Five – who was falsely implicated of rape and assault in one of the most heavily publicized crimes of the 1980’s.  “When I saw what he said, the first thing that came to my mind was he didn’t have that same energy for us,” Santana told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We didn’t get that type of benefit. We 14-15-year old kids and you calling for the death penalty?”

But Trump has always proven himself to be preoccupied with his own agenda than that of the American people. “Think of your husband,” he pled later at a campaign rally in Mississippi. “Think of your sons.”

Yes, let’s.

In his crusade to make America great again, how soon we forget that doing so often comes at the expense of black lives. And while the sons Trump has in mind likely resemble his own, others bear the brunt of police brutality and systemic oppression, as well as incurring the carnivorous wrath of a prison industrial complex that feeds off the flesh of black bodies.

However, it’s in the immediate aftermath of police shootings and other tragedies in which it’s unveiled just how closely Black men are conjoined to their pasts are. Regardless of how remote or irrelevant this information is to the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

On September 6th, 2018, off-duty Dallas patrol officer Amber Guyger entered the unlocked apartment of Botham Jean and gunned him down. In the immediate aftermath of Jean’s murder, despite his obvious standing as the victim, his reputation was deliberately tarnished on the day of his funeral. As the discovery of marijuana and related paraphernalia within his apartment was publicized by the media.

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“I think it’s unfortunate that law enforcement begins to immediately criminalize the victim — in this case, someone who clearly was the victim that has absolutely no bearing on the fact that he was shot in his home,” said attorney Lee Merritt, who represents Jean’s family. “For it to be on this day, the day that we remember and celebrate him. […] to see the common assassination attempt on the victim that we often see in law enforcement involved shootings.”

Eric Garner suffered a similar in fate. After losing his life to an illegal chokehold at the hands of New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo, former New York Post editor Bob McManus attributed Garner’s death to a culmination of criminal activity: “Eric Garner was a career petty criminal who’d experienced dozens of arrests, but had learned nothing from them. He was on the street July 17, selling untaxed cigarettes one at a time — which, as inconsequential as it seems, happens to be a crime.”

In the case of 66-year-old Timothy Caughman, according to police reports he was stabbed repeatedly in the chest with a 26-inch katana. The culprit, white supremacist James Harris Jackson, drove to New York City with the explicit intent of murdering black men.  However, in the wake of Caughman’s murder, a shadow was cast on his character after his unrelated past was dredged up by multiple media outlets.

After describing his executioner as “dapper”, the New York Daily News reported: “[Caughman] has 11 prior arrests, including for marijuana, assault, resisting arrest and menacing.” The New York Post deployed a similar strategy in its reporting: “Caughman, who has 11 prior arrests, walked for about a block after the stabbing and staggered into the Midtown South Precinct, looking for help. Police sources said the career criminal was refusing to talk to police about the incident and acting combative before his death."

In each instance, censure takes precedence over humanity. Which reinforces – and is a direct byproduct of – an environment in which black men are routinely pigeonholed as “thugs” despite our inclinations to the contrary. No matter how high we climb, our accomplishments and agency are immediately rendered obsolete should we ever falter or fall victim to a bullet or a badge. And while the Brett Kavanaugh of today is radically different from the Brett Kavanaugh of yesteryear, his ability to compartmentalize the two in the face of sexual assault allegations is a super power reserved for white men and the privilege they wield.

For every Brett Kavanaugh there’s a Trayvon Martin, whose attire and school suspensions become international news instead of the circumstances surrounding their deaths. It’s also a double standard that allows unscrupulous individuals to contaminate our highest offices. “The right wants Brett Kavanaugh to get another chance because, hey, he was just a teenager, but they also believe teenagers like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown got what they deserved,” journalist Touré tweeted.

So while Kavanaugh’s confirmation might come as a shock to some, for many of us it was a foregone conclusion. Because in a world in which a mass shooter is eulogized as an introvert who “enjoyed gambling and country music”, a would-be domestic terrorist is celebrated as a “straight-A student”, and a convicted rapist is humanized as an “all-American swimmer”, privilege comes at the expense of parity. And black lives will always be charged the remaining balance.

Under The Influence: The Media's Silent War Against Black America

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(Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2014 as an installment of our popular "Across the Aisle" collaborative series. But as you'll soon find out, this subject is still very much relevant today.)

In the ensuing days since Michael Brown’s execution, his hometown of Ferguson, Mo., descended into chaos. More so as a byproduct of overreaction from a militarized police force than from any destructive provocation from its citizens, but how did it get to this point in the first place?

Some would point to the disproportionate ratio in Ferguson’s racial demographic, which is 63% Black, yet somehow responsible for 86% of its police stops, versus those who constitute its police force (95% White), a disparity that has manifested into some disturbing results. Others have taken it upon themselves to lament their role, intentional or otherwise, in the escalation of racial tensions and ubiquitous implications that “Black victims are to blame for their own deaths”. Their words, not mine.

So with media outlets publicly taking themselves and their methodologies to task, one can’t help but to inquire: What if the roles were reversedWhat if Black suspects and victims were portrayed in the same light as their White counterparts? And what if White suspects and victims had their perceptions manipulated in the same manner that befalls their Black contemporaries?

So sponsored in part by Huffington Post’s sobering glance at the mirror, what you are about to read is an exercise in that exact scenario. EVERYTHING YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ IS 100% FACTUAL, excerpts culled from their original news sources and related material, but repurposed to demonstrate the alarming stranglehold the media has on public perception.

Homicidal Biology Professor Murdered Brother, Then Colleagues

HUNTSVILLE, AL. – Three members of the University of Alabama in Huntsville faculty were gunned down early this morning in what the Huntsville Police Department is describing as “calculated carnage”.

The sole suspect, Biology professor Amy Bishop, has been taken into custody while three other faculty members remained hospitalized as a result of her rampage on campus.

Criminal records indicate that this was not her first brush with the law, nor with gun violence, as Bishop had previously shot and killed her younger brother Seth with a 12-gauge pump action shotgun in 1986. Subsequent charges include assault plus disorderly conduct in 2002, in addition to suspicions concerning her involvement in a pair of pipe bombs mailed to a children’s hospital.

Criminal records indicate that this was not her first brush with the law, nor with gun violence, as Bishop had previously shot and killed her younger brother Seth with a 12-gauge pump action shotgun in 1986. Subsequent charges include assault plus disorderly conduct in 2002, in addition to suspicions concerning her involvement in a pair of pipe bombs mailed to a children’s hospital.

Original article: “Ala. suspect brilliant, but social misfit”

‘Deeply Religious’ Marine gunned down in front of daughters for ‘acting oddly’

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ORANGE COUNTY, CA. – Decorated Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Jr., was executed by an unnamed sheriff’s deputy who deemed his behavior odd before fatally shooting the father of two as his daughters, nine and fourteen, looked on from his SUV’s backseat. 

When not reading the bible with his wife and children on their predawn “prayer walks,” Loggins volunteered at nursing homes and a Big Brother’s group. He was looking forward to earning his bachelor’s degree in nursing. 

Loggins’ supervisor, Major Christopher Cox told the LA Times, "He was a mentor, somewhat of a father figure, to a number of the Marines. He was very soft-spoken, very nonconfrontational — very, very respectful. He was just the epitome of respect."

Original article: “Deputy killed Marine out of fear for children’s safety, officials say”

Racist, Misogynist Virgin Murders Six, Wounds 13 in Shooting Rampage

SANTA BARBARA, CA. – After years of unrequited affection and sexual advances, a deranged 22-year-old, Elliot Rodger, embarked on a murderous joy ride near the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

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The self-hating bastion of privilege cooked up a dastardly plan to punish those who had rebuffed his cries for acceptance and sexual satisfaction. Fueled by “loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires,” Rodger announced via a chilling Youtube rant his plans to seek revenge on those unimpressed by his privilege, cheekbones, or BMW. 

“All those girls that I've desired so much, they would have all rejected me and looked down on me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them,” he ranted. “I'll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am, in truth, the superior one. The true alpha male.” 

The sex-obsessed monster began his killing spree by stabbing his three roommates to death. He then calmly drove to the Alpha Phi sorority house and used three semi-automatic handguns to brutally murder six innocent people and wound 13 others before ending his own life with a gunshot wound to the head when confronted by sheriff’s deputies.

Original article: “Santa Barbara shooting: Suspect was ‘soft-spoken, polite, a gentleman’, ex-principal says”

South Omaha Devastated by Slaying of Popular Benson High School Graduate

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SOUTH OMAHA, NE. – Police have identified South Omaha resident Julius B. Vaughn, 19, as the victim in a homicide that has both startled and crippled his community. 

His body was discovered in a parked car Friday night at approximately 9:40pm, next to an apartment building at 23rd and Vinton Street. 

Popular amongst his peers, he will be remembered by his grieving community as “the life of the party” with the charming smile. 


Original article: “Shooting victim had many run-ins with law”

Teenage gun nut slaughters classmate, kills self with parents’ assault rifle

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TROUTDALE, OR. – If only Jared Michael Padgett’s love of church had stopped him from smuggling an assault rifle and a handgun into Reynolds High School and opening fire.

That’s what friends, family, and classmates are left to ponder in the wake of a murder-suicide that left a popular classmate dead and a teacher injured at the hands of this gun-loving hothead.

Padgett, who supported pages such as Conservative American Military Veterans Against Barack Obama on Facebook, was known by peers to have an unpredictable temper. The week before the shooting, he became enraged in class while giving a presentation on a book about Adolf Hitler. This destructive affection for destruction was cultivated at home with his family in a household where the teen obtained the weapons used in the shooting.

The National Rifle Association has yet to comment on the loss of its future member.

Original article: "Oregon school shooting suspect fascinated with guns, but was a devout Mormon, friends say"

Single mother, drug abuser robs three banks in two days to pay rent

BRIDGEWATER, MA. – An area single mother with a drug history admitted to police that after months of skirting financial responsibility, she robbed a total of three local banks in two days in order to pay her landlord $1,950 in owed rent. 

Failed athlete Kerri Ann Heffernan, short on cash, entered two Brocktons grocery stores and maniacally demanded that the Citizens Bank tellers pass her the hard-earned money of hardworking Americans, casualties in her reign of terror. 

The following week, the desperate Heffernan stormed a third Citizens Bank branch in a flurry of gangsterly pistol waving and note passing. Thankfully, no bank customers were harmed during Hefferman’s thuggish ruggish crime spree. 

Officials have been mum on which drugs were present in Hefferman’s system at the time of the robberies. 

Original article: “Bank robbery suspect was outstanding Blue Hills student” 

Police: Motive behind Thwarted High School Bombing Plot? 'Hatred for Humankind'

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FLORENCE, S.C. – After 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate was delivered to their home, Ryan Schallenberger, 18, was arrested Saturday after his parents notified the authorities. As Schallenberger was apprehended, Police Chief Randall Lear revealed that a suspicious journal was recovered as well.“He seemed to hate the world,” Lear said, “He hated people different from him.”This journal, kept for more than a year, contained explicit details of not only intricate maps and layouts of his high school, but lauded the valor of those who enacted the Columbine attacks and detailed his own desire to accomplish a similar suicide massacre. 

Original article: “Straight-A student plots to bomb high school”

Overzealous Vigilante Infiltrates Neighborhood Watch, Murders Promising Aviation Student in Cold Blood

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SANFORD, FL. – Sanford residents are overcome with outrage and anguish after learning that Trayvon Martin, 17, was murdered in the housing community of Twin Lakes. 

The suspected shooter, George Michael Zimmerman, 28, is currently in police custody according to Police Chief Bill Lee of the Sanford Police Department.

Celebrated among his teachers and classmates, Martin was a standout football player at Forzano Park in Miramar, where he played for the Wolverines, a team he would later volunteer for at their concession stand after his ambition led him to pursue a future career in aviation. Adept at repairing and assembling dirt bikes, Martin enrolled in a seven week “Experience Aviation” program in Opa-Iocka before attending George T. Baker Aviation School.

Original article: “Trayvon Martin was suspended three times from school”

Alex: As this war unfolds in Ferguson, Missouri, the callous assassination of Michael Brown’s character shouldn’t be a surprise after almost 30 years of Blackness. Unrelated details are extracted from unclear circumstances to string together unfavorable narratives of the lives of people not here to defend themselves. Every time. At this point, it’s a matter of when and how bizarrely rather than if a Black victim will be defamed in the press. The headlines from this homegrown war will continue to generate the very same ignorance and fear mongering that keep our media outlets afloat. This smearing of the voiceless underscores just how far from the mythical Land of Post-Racial Living we truly are.

Republished from "Across The Aisle" on The Colored Boy.

CALLING ALL WOMEN: During the entire month of March, we will be honoring Women's History Month by accepting submissions/pitches related to women. If you have something to say about being a woman, how you embrace women (even when they're different from you), the impact you see women having in the world, or anything else related to womanhood, we want to hear from you!

Please send all pitches/submissions to submissions@theextraordinarynegroes.com.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Jay's latest for The Root in tribute to podcast pioneer Combat Jack

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The world lost a legend this week. Lawyer turned podcast icon Regge Ossé, host of The Combat Jack Show passed away this week due to colon cancer. As one of the primary inspirations for our show The Extraordinary Negroes and a hero to Jay, Reggie was responsible for countless hip-hop careers and influencing a generation of podcasters and content creators. Jay put his thoughts into words for Very Smart Brothas. And you should check it out.

"One of my heroes died yesterday.

Yes, losing Prince hurt. As did the death of luminaries such as Dick Gregory and Maurice White. But for all their contributions in moving black culture forward, their statuses as legends were solidified prior to their passing. My fear is that Regginald Ossé, better known as Combat Jack, who at 48 years young succumbed to colon cancer months after announcing his diagnosis, was denied a similar fate."

Read the rest over at VSB.