Baltimore: the wrath of American rappers

After the riots that rocked Baltimore, voices are rising in the rap world. First to be outraged at the event that triggered the violence in recent days, the burial of Freddie Gray, this young black man of 25 years who died after being arrested by the police. But also to attack, vehemently, the system that has engendered such violence.

Killer Mike, one of the rappers of the duo Run the Jewels, who we saw with the Outkast band in the 2000s and whose Twitter biography describes a “Pan-African gangster, rapper, civil rights leader and activist” let out his anger on social media:

“Repression feeds rebellion. Do you want to stop the riots? End poverty. Stop systemic racism. Stop the police. Stop the war against blacks! This is what causes the riots! Built with anger and rage! # TheWirecestmorequedelatélépourme #Lemalengendrelaviolence # Lapauvretéc c’estlemal #lapolicequiassassinecestlemal #leshommenoirssontprisenchasse #ourdroitssontenjeu »

The rapper, who said in December to Release “People are not going to allow themselves to be oppressed indefinitely by the government. It will end very badly if something does not happen ”, also posted on Instagram this sentence by the poet Langston Hughes, one of the figures of this African-American artistic movement of the interwar period, the Harlem Renaissance: “The negroes – tender and docile, gentle, humble and kind / Watch out for the day – when they will change their minds”.

He is not the only one to express himself this way. Chuck D, co-founder of Public Enemy and tutelary figure of American hip-hop, also chose to speak with virulence, also evoking the anthological television series The Wire, whose action takes place entirely in Baltimore.

“HBO embellished this one-sided view of BMORE [Baltimore, ndlr] in The Wire. It was shown and broadcast nationwide and fifteen years later, ((((BOOM)))) ”

Californian rapper and producer Bus Driver, for his part, has just published this little text on Instagram:

“It’s not a race war during Reconstruction [ce moment de l’histoire américaine juste après la guerre de Sécession, ndlr]. Nor a clash with the police during the civil rights movements. It’s a big American city, chock full of second-class citizens called blacks. The city is tearing up black bodies at its whim, and people then have the audacity to be condescending by asking these good people to respond to this CRISIS. People who are crushed and erased by the police should not be NORMALIZED (…) “

– Driver (@Busdriverr) April 28, 2015

Ice Cube, a former member of the gangsta rap group NWA, draws a parallel between these riots and those that affected Baltimore in 1968, just after the assassination of Martin Luther King.

As is often the case, American popstars remain discreet on the issue, with the exception of Rihanna, who posted on Instagram a photo of a black policeman in tears. Kendrick Lamar, whose latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly, tackles these questions head-on, has not said a word since.

Meanwhile, rapper and businessman Jay-Z is still promoting his music streaming app, Tidal.

Some of his fans reproach this rapper, whose fame has gone far beyond the borders of American rap, for his silence every time his country is rocked by race riots.

This Internet user thus notes:

“Jay Z got into a Twitter rant on Sunday about his business but is unable to make 140 signs in Baltimore on Monday?” “

Johanna Luyssen


How Illinois Abolished the Death Penalty

Anthony Porter always protested his innocence. The black man from Chicago had even volunteered to answer the suspicion of murder against him. It didn’t help: a court found him guilty of double homicide and sentenced him to death – mainly because of a single, dubious testimony.

Porter was on death row for almost 16 years. Several times he was almost executed. Eventually his sentence was overturned and he left prison a broken but free man. A guard slipped him a few subway chips when he said goodbye.

It was February 5, 1999, the beginning of the long end of the US death penalty – at least that is what their opponents hoped.

In fact, a majority of US states have since suspended or abolished the death penalty – including Illinois, after a tough political obstacle course that began with Anthony Porter. In other countries, on the other hand, it holds on defiantly.

Death sentence after three days of trial

The US Supreme Court is unlikely to change that much if it deals with this irritating issue again this Wednesday. Because the dramatic questions raised by the Porter case will remain unanswered: How infallible are criminal judgments, how fair, how morally acceptable is the death penalty for a constitutional state like the USA?

The Illinois example shows how the death penalty could be abolished nationwide – and at the same time shows why this has not yet happened. Because even Anthony Porter owed his life to no fundamental political change of heart. It was a coincidence – and a group of students.

Porter was convicted in 1983 of shooting two teenagers in Chicago. An alleged eyewitness who did not want to see anything at first had identified him as the perpetrator after 17 hours of police interrogation. The process only took three days. Porter’s lawyer fell asleep at one point.

After a long tussle, Porter was scheduled to be executed in September 1998. However, 48 hours before the appointment, the Illinois Supreme Court granted one last respite to see his mental state. It found he had an IQ of 51.

A journalism class at Northwestern University took the opportunity to investigate the case for their death penalty seminar. Under the guidance of their professor David Protess, they persuaded the main witness to retract his testimony. What’s more, they found another man who swore to the act.

So the whole machine collapsed – at least in Illinois.

They used to celebrate executions there. For example, in 1994 when serial killer John Wayne Gacy was executed. Gacy, who appeared as a clown on children’s birthday parties, had strangled 33 boys. When he got the lethal injection, around a thousand onlookers gathered in front of the detention center and chanted: “Kill the clown! ”Gacy’s agony lasted several minutes because of a broken IV line.

But there had always been failed executions: electric chairs set delinquents on fire, gas chambers became excruciating torture chambers, lethal injections were inhumanly slow.

The alternatives to lethal injection

But it was the question of guilt that ultimately fueled the greatest doubts. After Porter’s spectacular acquittal, Republican Governor George Ryan imposed a moratorium on executions. It was not until 2011 that Illinois erased the death penalty from the law.

In the meantime, 29 US states and the capital Washington have either completely abolished it or no longer practice it. One of the states that refuse to end is Oklahoma, where the excruciating execution of Clayton Derrell Lockett last year caused horror.

Not least because of this, the Supreme Court is now advising. But it is not a question of morality, but rather of the procedure – namely the toxin midazolam, which had failed with Lockett and others. In the event that the court declares the poison unconstitutional, some states have already prepared alternatives – such as firing squads or the return of the electric chair.

Morality is tricky anyway. Alstory Simon – the man who was convicted instead of Anthony Porter at the time – also turned out to be innocent in 2014 and was released. He sued Protess, the ex-journalism professor who is now head of the Chicago Innocence Project: Protess and his students had “fabricated” evidence.

Icon: The mirror

the 5 characters at the heart of the drama

The riots that have rocked Baltimore in recent days are a major blow to a city which, not without irony, calls itself “Charm City” but where years of economic crisis bring their share of daily violence, deep misery and corruption.

Barack Obama condemns the violence in Baltimore and believes that there is “no excuse” for these events, but nevertheless agrees that the United States is facing a latent crisis with the police, especially in its relations with blacks.

The drama of the Baltimore riots is played out around five characters.

# The victim: Freddie Gray

No, Freddie Gray was not an angel. At 25, his criminal record was long as an arm. In ten years, he has been arrested 22 times, mostly for drug possession or trafficking.

According to the police, he was involved in “criminal activities” at the time of his arrest. Did he deserve to be beaten to death by the police who arrested him? On April 12, he was chased by three officers, one on foot and two on a bicycle, intercepted and brutally thrown to the ground.

A video by a passerby shows him immobilized, screaming in pain, then being bluntly transported to the police van, then taken to the hospital. He died seven days later from his injuries, his spinal cord severed from the neck.

His death comes after a series of police blunders that have rekindled racial tensions in the country. Each time, it was videos of witnesses that helped establish the truth. Police said Monday’s riots, which took place after several days of peaceful protests that brought together more than 2,000 people, were premeditated and orchestrated by gangs.

# Freddie Gray’s mother

Like the parents of Michael Brown, the young black man whose death sparked violent riots in Ferguson last summer, Freddy Gray’s mother called for peace and quiet on the day of their son’s funeral, insisting that that these riots were not a suitable response to his death. In vain.

As with Michael Brown’s funeral, a huge crowd, mostly black, was there. More than 3,000 people had made the trip.

We’re not here because we know Freddy Gray, but because we know a lot of Freddy Gray, “said family lawyer Billy Murphy at the ceremony, in the presence of civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. .

“Freddie’s death will light a light, one of tremendous change,” said the Reverend Walter Thomas. “These demonstrations will serve, in a sense, as a defibrillator for change.”

All the ingredients were there to make this death a symbol that would set the city streets on fire.

The image of another woman, of another mother also made the tour of social networks last night: it is that of this woman who sticks a masterful slap to her adolescent son, who participated in the riots, the grabbing by the collar of his shirt, telling him to “bring his butt back home”.

Because there is clearly a form of exasperation also among blacks against these riots and these scenes of looting. Baltimore’s rage is definitely not Ferguson’s.

# The mayor of Baltimore: Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

After the Ferguson riots, Stephanie Rawlings Blake, the black mayor of Baltimore, multiplied communication workshops and intercommunity discussion groups to improve relations between the young people of her city and the police.

At 45, she gained the image of a dynamic elected official, in tune with the youth. She fought to bring back businesses in poor neighborhoods, these poor neighborhoods now plagued by pillage.

Elected in 2011, she embodied the African American democratic succession, at the head of a city in full economic renaissance. That didn’t stop her from seeming overwhelmed by the events shaking her city.

When 15 municipal police officers were injured, his first statements opened a boulevard for those who accused him of being lax by giving pride to the rioters. At the same time, the young people of the poor districts reproach him for having procrastinated, and too late to denounce the muscular arrest of Freddy Gray.

Many today are calling outright for his resignation.

# The chief of police: Antony Batts

Baltimore is not Ferguson, where a 95% white police force controlled a 99% black city. Here, the police chief – black – knows better than anyone the violence in difficult neighborhoods: he came from it.

Didn’t he grow up in a neighborhood south of Los Angeles, plagued by drugs, prostitution, and gang warfare? When he was 11 years old, he would have asked his mother:

Does anyone care that young people like me lose their lives on these streets? “

This is where he would have shaped his vocation. Appointed in Long Beach, California, he has forged, in 27 years, a solid reputation as a field cop: wherever he goes, he concentrates all his efforts on maintaining dialogue between young people and the police. His record in Oakland, a post deemed difficult, where he disembarked after the murder of four police officers in office is more disputed.

In 2010, he faced protests after the homicide of a disarmed black man by one of his police officers. On Monday in Baltimore, he clearly let himself be overwhelmed by the protesters. By calling on parents to “control their children”, he has fueled the anger of part of the black population of Baltimore who consider it “better to start by controlling his police” as tweeted by several young people.

Six of his men were seriously injured overnight from Monday to Tuesday.

# The journalist

Clearly, journalists who landed in Baltimore to cover the riots were not well received. They even took it in their heads.

In Ferguson, the police were involved, indiscriminately shooting – with rubber bullets – at demonstrators and reporters sprayed with tear gas. This time, it was the demonstrators who attacked the photographers and the cameramen, forbidding them to film.

Incidents have escalated, apparently without the police putting much energy into responding. A CNN reporter and several photographers were severely beaten by the rioters who also stole equipment from them. At least five journalists were injured.

A Russian journalist was robbed of her wallet by a group of young people whom she chased. A cameraman working for CCTV, a Chinese channel, posted a photo on Twitter where he can be seen bloodied. “Broken nose, broken lip, stolen phone. Everything is fine,” he tweeted.

Natacha Tatu

Natacha Tatu

VIDEOS. United States: state of emergency in Baltimore after riots

State of emergency, violence in the streets, massive deployment of soldiers, closed schools. The situation turned to chaos during the night of Monday to Tuesday in Baltimore (Maryland, Eastern United States), after riots linked to the death of a young black man, Freddie Gray, which left 15 injured among the police . And this Tuesday morning, the Baltimore police stood guard on the still smoking streets of the events of the previous day. Freddie Gray died on April 19 of a fractured cervical vertebrae, after his muscular arrest by the police, whose practices are regularly denounced, including by the mayor. The death is the latest in a series of police blunders that have rekindled tensions between the black community and law enforcement.

At the end of Freddy Gray’s funeral, gangs of young people, mainly high school students who had just left school, took the police to task by throwing bricks, pebbles, sticks, bottles …

A heavy material and human toll.

Fires of police vehicles and buildings, looted supermarkets, damage: the material balance of the riots is important. The violence, circumscribed in a district in the northwest of the city, left 15 injured among the police, 6 of whom were hit more seriously, said Anthony Batts, chief of police of Baltimore. Several journalists were also attacked and had equipment stolen. 27 people were arrested, but the police promised to study the videos of the security cameras to find the perpetrators.

VIDEO. Violent riots in Baltimore

State of emergency and curfew.

Faced with the looting of businesses, the governor of the state, Larry Hogan, decided to declare a state of emergency in Maryland. This measure allows him to legally appeal to the National Guard. “Looting and acts of violence will not be tolerated. Baltimore will be placed under curfew from this Tuesday 10 pm local time (4 am Wednesday in France). “Too many people have spent generations building this city for it to be destroyed by thugs,” said mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who decided to establish a curfew.

VIDEO. Baltimore under curfew after violent riots

The National Guard as reinforcement.

Maryland has mobilized several thousand police and National Guard soldiers (military reservists) to restore order to Baltimore. State Governor Larry Hogan said 500 police have been ordered to deploy to the port city. He asked that 5,000 additional police officers be made available to him by the region. In addition, the National Guard (which has 5,000 soldiers) will deploy massively to help the local police.

Schools closed.

City schools will be closed on Tuesday. This decision is a double-edged sword because it could put out many young people ready to confront the police. Monday’s violence also broke out after the end of high school classes. But, police said, a “partnership” between local gangs could also be the cause.

The violence of Monday evening contrasted with the calm and dignity of the ceremony in tribute to Freddie Gray. 3,000 people (family, friends and anonymous, all blacks) had paid a calm tribute, in the New Shiloh Baptist Church, to a mixed tribute of prayers and activism to the young man, who lay in an open white coffin and surrounded by wreaths white flowers.

VIDEO. Baltimore: funeral of Freddie Gray, dead after his arrest

Since the announcement of the death of Freddie Gray, demonstrations take place daily in Baltimore. That organized in the night from Saturday to Sunday had also already degenerated into violence. Similar riots broke out in Ferguson last summer after the death of an unarmed young black man killed by a white police officer.

Night of riots in Baltimore, in the United States

After Ferguson, last summer, an american town is again the scene of violent riots. Barack Obama has condemned Tuesday 28 April, the violence in Baltimore, which erupted shortly after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young Black man, died of a fracture of the cervical vertebrae inflicted during his arrest by the police.

Believing that there was “no excuse “ for these events, the us president has also agreed that the United States was facing a crisis latent with the police, including in its relations with the Blacks :

“We have seen too many examples of interactions between police and people, particularly African-Americans, who are often poor, which raise troubling questions. “

Read : In the United States, the long history of police brutality

The quiet was gradually returned to Baltimore on the night of Monday to Tuesday, although a few isolated incidents have yet been reported. These new violence, defined in a neighbourhood in the north-west of the city, were fifteen wounded among the police and led to twenty-seven arrests, according to a preliminary balance sheet.

National guard and curfew

As of Tuesday, a curfew is established between 22 hours and 5 hours in the morning, for a week, announced the mayor of the city. The general of the national guard, Linda Singh has confirmed at a press conference that the paramilitary force would be deployed “massively “ in the city. A senior police officer from Maryland has indicated that the State had required up to five thousand five hundred additional men in reinforcement.

The police equipped with shields, riot have made use of tear-gas and irritants to disperse rioters, who threw back stones and other objects, and burned police cars, looted, and then burned down a supermarket.

Anger and frustration

The violence “do not represent the Gray family, or the last seven days of peaceful protests, and it is for that reason that we ask all those who participate go home “, asked pastor Jamal Bryant, who was celebrating a few hours before the funeral of a young Freddie Gray.

Some three thousand people, family, friends and anonymous, all black, were made in a quiet homage, mingled with prayers and activism to the young man in the baptist church New Shiloh.

Saturday, April 25, more than a thousand people had already manifested itself in Baltimore to mark their anger and frustration after the death of Freddie Gray, 25 years old, died of a fracture of the cervical vertebrae, a week after he was arrested unceremoniously, and placed in custody for possession of a knife.

Several investigations have been open for do the light on the drama, which a federal survey conducted by the ministry of justice. On Friday, police in Baltimore, acknowledged that Freddie Gray would have had to receive medical assistance immediately after his arrest and not nearly an hour after. Six police officers were suspended with pay after the death of the young man.

See also : Night of looting and riots in Baltimore

The World

a dress of Scarlett sold 137.000 dollars

The precious outfit worn by Vivien Leigh in the adaptation of the novel by Margaret Mitchell, had purchased the 20 dollars at the time of filming… She has just been awarded to gold prices.

A dress of Scarlett O’hara worn by Vivien Leigh in the famous film Gone with the wind has been auctioned Saturday 137.000 dollars in the United States, says the auction house Heritage Auction. It is the grey black embroideries worn by Scarlett in his assault on the cabriolet. It was a reward of $ 60,000.

It was part of the approximately 150 lots related to film and sold to Beverly Hills (California) or online on the website of Heritage Auction. The lots came from the collection of James Tumblin, the former make-up artist and hair stylist Universal studios, which had started to gather memories of the film to the 10 oscars in the 1960’s.

The straw hat with green ribbons worn by Scarlett in the scene of the picnic that opens the film was, to him, sold of 52,500 dollars, and one of her blouses, in pink, of 32,500 dollars. Among the other pieces of the sale was a gray suit worn by Rhett Butler played by Clark Gable, he is gone at $ 55,000. A soldier’s uniform confederate worn by Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) has sold less than its estimate has 16,200 dollars. The blue suit worn by Bonnie Blue, the daughter of heroes, the day of his accident of horse, is gone to 15,000.

The script of Hattie McDaniel (who played Mamma) was sold for 29.000 dollars while a waistcoat in grey and red Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) has been taken away to 19,000 dollars.


the parents of the youngest victim against the death penalty

Will Bill and Denise Richards’ heartbreaking appeal have an impact on the court ruling? In a letter published in the American daily The Boston Globe, the parents of the youngest victim of the Boston attacks ask prosecutors “to abandon the death penalty” that they demand against the accused, Djokhar Tsarnaeïv.

This Chechen-born Muslim faces capital punishment for the attacks that left 3 dead and 264 injured on April 15, 2013, when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the city’s marathon. He was already convicted on April 8 of the thirty charges brought against him. He is also found guilty of fatally injuring a policeman during the manhunt during which his older brother and accomplice Tamerlan Tsarnayev was killed.

“As long as the accused is in the spotlight, we have no choice but to relive the story on his own terms.

Martin Richard’s parents

In their letter, the parents of Martin Richard, killed at the age of eight, explain that the last two years have been the most “trying of their life”. “Our family mourned, buried our young son, fought wounds and endured numerous surgeries – all while trying to rebuild lives that will never be the same again,” they say. During the first phase of the trial, the father had to say that he saw immediately that Martin could not be saved, and had chosen to go to the hospital with his sister Jane, who was also injured on strike. She was saved, but one leg amputated.

Bill and Denise Martin say they are in favor of an agreement that would see Djokhar Tsarnayev, 21, end his days in prison, without the possibility of release, if he waives all his rights to appeal. “The accused murdered our 8 year old son, mutilated our 7 year old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know the government has its reasons for asking for the death penalty, but the continuation of this punishment could lead to years of appeals, and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives. We hope that our two other children will not have to grow up haunted by the reminder of what the accused took from them, which will undoubtedly be the case if there are years of appeal, ”they write. , before adding: “As long as the accused is in the spotlight, we have no choice but to relive the story on his own terms, not ours”.

Other relatives of victims call for capital punishment

Federal prosecutor Carmen Ortiz reacted to this letter by indicating that she could not comment on its contents. “But I’ve already assured both Bill and Denise, I care deeply about their perspective and that of other victims and survivors,” she said in a statement. However, other parents of victims have spoken out for the death penalty, such as Liz Norden, mother of two boys who lost their legs in the explosions.

Theoretically, the death penalty has not existed since 1984 in the state of Massachusetts, of which Boston is the capital. But as it is an “act of terrorism with the use of a weapon of mass destruction”, the Tsarnayev case falls under federal justice. The second phase of the trial, during which the jurors will have to choose between the death penalty and life imprisonment, is to start next Tuesday and last at least four weeks. Normally, Bill and Denise Martin’s letter should not influence jurors, as they are prohibited from reading articles related to the case. They have even been asked not to attend the Boston Marathon which takes place on Monday.

(With AFP)


Michael Jackson harassed Russell Crowe on the phone

The actor of Gladiator confessed that the interpreter of Thriller had pursued him for several years by making jokes on the phone.

Through Guillaume Facon

Michael Jackson and his victim
Michael Jackson and his victim “Mister Wall”. ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP

Michael Jackson has always kept the soul of a child, to the point of having his own amusement park, but he was also used to phone jokes. In the early 2000s, he had targeted Russell Crowe, just crowned with the success of Gladiator. The New Zealand actor told this most surprising anecdote to the English daily The Guardian.

Russell Crowe confessed that for “two or three years” he had to put up with the singer’s hoaxes. “I had never met him, I had never shaken his hand, but he found the alias I used when I was staying at the hotel. So no matter where I was, he would call me to make that kind of joke you make when you’re ten ”.

The actor registered under the pseudonym of Mr. Wall, “Monsieur Mur” in French. Apparently exasperated, he unveiled one of the jokes of the King of Pop, who died in June 2009: “Is Mr. Mur there? And Madame Mur? Are there only walls here? So what is supporting the ceiling? Ha ha ”. Russell Crowe still wonders today: “Aren’t you supposed to stop doing this stuff growing up?”

The actor never understood why Michael Jackson had targeted him, or why he had stopped. Russell Crowe is currently promoting the film. The Water Diviner (The promise of a lifetime) which will be released in France on April 15th.


Michael Jackson – The biography of Michael Jackson with

The undisputed “King of Pop” and a hugely successful artist, Michael Jackson has left an unforgettable mark on the music industry.

American author, composer and performer, dancer and choreographer Michael Joseph Jackson was born August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana. Also an actor and director, he died on June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California (USA). At the age of 6, the star began his career in music with the group Jackson 5, which he formed with his big brothers. In 1971, MJ went solo and a decade later became a pop music icon and one of the audience’s favorite twentieth century stars. His albums “Off the Wall”, “Thriller”, the best-selling opus in the world (between 65 and 105M copies), “Bad”, “Dangerous” or “Invincible”, as well as his dance step, the “ Moonwalk ”, certainly mark the spirits. In 1983, the star revolutionized the recording industry by designing video clips similar to short films for the cinema. Sacred by many awards and artist of all superlatives, Jackson however saw his image tarnished because of the eccentricities he has shown in his private life, his love for cosmetic surgery as well as accusations of touching minors. The star has three children: Prince Michael Jr (1997) and Paris (1998), born of his union with Deborah Rowe, and Prince Michael II, said Blanket, born in 2002 by artificial insemination and use of a surrogate mother. On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson died accidentally following an overdose of drugs.