In a new short video, Beyoncé explained the song’s significance in her life as well as the motivation behind the powerful performance. Beyoncé, like many of us, grew up listening to it. “I felt like this was an opportunity to show the vulnerability and the strength of Black men,” she said.
The Economic Policy Institute has just released a report by Richard Rothstein that gives some sense of how the world of Michael Brown came to be. It turns out that that world was born from the exact same forces that forged cities and suburbs across the country—racist housing policy at the local, state, and national levels. Rothstein’s report eschews talk of mindless white flight, and black-hearted individual racists, and puts the onus exactly where it belongs:
That governmental actions, not mere private prejudice, were responsible for segregating greater St. Louis was once conventional informed opinion. In 1974, a three-judge panel of the federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that “segregated housing in the St. Louis metropolitan area was … in large measure the result of deliberate racial discrimination in the housing market by the real estate industry and by agencies of the federal, state, and local governments.”
The man who armed the Black Panthers turns out to have been an FBI informant. FBI files, uncovered by journalist Seth Rosenfeld, reveal that Richard Aoki, a prominent activist in the 1960s who was the first to supply the Black Panthers with guns and weapons training, was also an undercover FBI source. A mysterious character who always sported sunglasses, even at night, Aoki was a militant leader of the Third World Strike and an activist with the Asian American Political Alliance at UC Berkeley.
The revelation about Aoki’s role as an informant emerged from FBI files obtained by Rosenfeld and an interview with the FBI agent who says he recruited Aoki. Rosenfeld has spent the last 30 years researching the history of the FBI and radicals in Berkeley for his new book, “Subversives,” published August 21st.