Black Women are gaining control of their own narrative through Hair.

By Raven Tyler

Hair.

For many women this word is bigger than its four letters, especially for black women. For some, hair can create an identity, confidence or swagger that one has never witnessed before. While for others, hair exists as a canvas to be able to express creativity. Long hair, short hair ,braided hair, weave, bleached, natural, or even relaxed, black women can rock it all.

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As Black women we have always had the unique ability to alter our hair whenever we choose. As little girls, we were forced to sit between our mother’s legs with tears in our eyes from the pain of our mother’s comb raking through our hair as she combed the knots and naps out of our heads. From our youth, we were taught that our hair must be laid and slayed at all times, and that it is important to keep it maintained.

However, the ascension of the natural hair movement is starting to put to rest these old ideals of what is “presentable” black hair.

The natural hair movement originated in the 2000s, and has inspired women of African descent to keep their natural curls and Afro-textured hair regardless of the European standards that are portrayed as, “beautiful,” by traditional media stereotypes.

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For many black women with naturally curly hair, going natural and embracing our curls is unequivocally more of a political statement than an aesthetic one. We grow up being told that our hair is, “unprofessional,” and are constantly brainwashed to believe that we must relax or straighten our hair to obtain a desired career or to attend an important event.

This perpetual social stress on black women not only forced them to assimilate their hair into a society that deemed it unworthy but it also had damaging effects on the strength of black hair.

As a result of societal pressures, relaxer creams that contain alkali, ammonium, and lye were commonly used for black people with curly or coily hair to help straighten it. From young ages, mothers relaxed their daughters hair to “manage” it better. Since relaxers contain lye, they can potentially damage hair and scalp, and cause hair loss. The process also leaves the hair weak, brittle and liable to breakage. Relaxers may even burn skin and lead to permanent hair loss. With all these pejorative consequences that are arise from continuing to take part in this social norm, as black women must now ask ourselves why even consider this as a method to obtain beauty?

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“I wanted healthier hair and to see what my curl pattern looked like, because I had been getting relaxers since I was in the second grade, “ said naturalista Kayla Diallo,a junior multimedia student at North Carolina A&T State University. “I was definitely influenced by Youtubers because when I went natural, it was not quite as popular as it is now. It changed my life by making me more conscious of what I was putting in and on my body. It also taught me resilience because I was teased when I first began wearing my natural hair out, but now that my hair is flourishing naturally, the people that had something to say back then can barely make a ponytail without struggling,”

Other ways that some women try to achieve healthier hair is through transition or the “big chop.” Transitioning is simply growing the relaxer out of one’s hair by getting regular trims until it is all grown out. The big chop is completely cutting off all of the relaxed hair, which could mean shaving one’s head for some people.

While it may seem rudimentary, whether it is transitioning, or getting the big chop, changing your hair path can be a hard and emotional journey for women who are accustomed to their hair being straight.

Over the Summer, I got my second big chop. My hair was damaged from too many trips to the Dominican hair salons along with overdoing it with braids without letting my hair breathe. It was a taxing decision because my hair had so much length that people started to know me for my afro. This feeling that i experienced this summer is not uncommon for many black girls with unconventional hair journeys. I found myself worrying about how others viewed me instead of focusing on what I needed to do for myself.

After chopping my hair off again, fortunately, I began to like the short cut and decided to keep it for awhile. Now, I have decided to let my hair grow back completely so that it will be healthier and stronger when it does.

Being natural is unique and special because everyone has a different hair texture and curl pattern. The Natural Hair Movement has also encouraged and inspired younger girls of color to wear their natural hair and be proud of it. This is the first generation in decades where the public perception of natural hair seems to be more positive. Girls are actively wearing their natural hair, regardless of the curl pattern in higher numbers than recently reported.

“I think it is great that women are deciding to embrace the natural hair that they were born with and deciding to make healthier choices for their body,” .stated Ali’ce Batten, a junior Social work student at North Carolina A&T State University. “ It shines a light of positivity on the African American community, our women specifically, and I think that this can only boost young black girl’s self esteem and confidence. My only concern is that this seems to have started out as a trend, and I do not want it to die out like other trends have.”

“I went natural because I wanted an Afro. I always wanted one but my mother did not want to have to deal with my natural hair. By the 7th grade, she started letting me do my own hair, and I was free to make some decisions, so I decided to cut out the perm,” Batten further states on her journey to becoming a naturalista.

The power in hair seems to inescapable for Black Women. In 2016, 13 year old, South African student, Zulaikha Patel, led a protest against her school for banning “natural, untamed” hair being worn at school. Obviously, this is a form of discrimination. Patel and her classmates held a fierce demonstration that led to not only a change in the school policy, but an inquiry into allegations of racism at the school and still in society, as well.

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While some black women still purchase and use relaxers, the sales are down for them and millions of women across the nation and world have embraced their natural hair. Many natural hair products are flourishing and bringing money into black owned businesses, such as, Carol’s Daughter and Creme of Nature. Natural hair is something everyone should embrace as a way to take pride in the uniqueness that we all possess.

2018 NBA Mock Draft

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by Jarod Hamilton

On Thursday Night, the 2018 NBA Draft will capture the attention of millions of people across the world. NBA teams will be looking to to catch up to the Golden State Warriors who have now won their third championship in four years. With that being said this draft class looks strong with plenty of marquee talent throughout the lottery (picks 1-15). These are my projections for the first 14 picks and how they can help these lottery teams take the next step.

1. Phoenix Suns – C Deandre Ayton (Arizona)
The 7’1” big man won’t have to relocate far when he suits up in the fall. Phoenix clearly needs a big man, veteran Tyson Chandler is on an overpaid contract entering his 17th year, the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft Alex Len has not panned out, and neither has former top five pick Dragan Bender. Ayton has an NBA ready body, he has soft hands, and converted 34% of his three pointers and shot over 73% from the free throw line. Despite putting up 20 points per game, he struggles in double teams, does not really understand his true strength down low, and defensively he is an average defender despite his athleticism. But Ayton projects to be the second coming of David Robinson.

2. Sacramento Kings – PF Marvin Bagley (Duke)
Due to team need the Kings should go with Bagley. Bagley led the ACC in points
per game and rebounds per game, the first player to do that since Tyler Hansbrough a decade ago. The left-handed forward has a sound offensive game with soft hands, polished footwork, and an excellent mid-range game. Not to mention his effort on the glass on both of ends of the court is exceptional. Bagley could be the second coming of Chris Bosh, he just needs to add some weight and become more active on defense.

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3. Atlanta Hawks – C Mo Bamba (Texas)
Bamba is a physical specimen. Standing at 7’1” with a 7’9” wingspan he averaged nearly four blocks per game. While the Hawks could go a few routes with this pick, it makes sense to get solidify your defense and frontcourt with John Collins. Bamba could be the Eastern Conference Rudy Gobert. High motor, a little more polished offensively than Gobert, and has a good handle for a big. He needs to fill out his weight more because he only weighs 225 pounds.

4. Memphis Grizzlies – SF Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri)
The Grizzlies need help across the board. While Marc Gasol is the franchise centerpiece he is 33 years old and Michael Conley is often injured. While Porter is coming off an injury that only allowed him to play less than 55 minutes the entire season. He was also the number one player coming out of high school a year ago. At 6’10” he’s excellent from mid-range, he has excellent court vision, and he’s a good shot blocker. What Porter does lack is an extensive offensive repertoire. He tries to only shoot over the defense and does not have another method for getting go-to buckets. If Porter’s injury proves to be a fluke then the Grizzlies could end up getting a steal in the top five.

5. Dallas Mavericks – PF Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan St.)
Jackson will be the big man the Mavs have been longing over since DeAndre Jordan reneged on a deal with the team a few seasons ago. Jackson can finish with either hand and is mobile and athletic enough to switch off pick and rolls. He’s fairly young as he will not turn 19 until September and they will have ample time to develop him. He’s not as aggressive as he could be and commits turnovers when in traffic. Jackson did convert 39 % of his three pointers and 79% of his free throws. When Jackson feels out his frame he should be an above average starter for the next decade.

6. Orlando Magic – G Luka Doncic (Slovenia)
Before the draft lottery I had Doncic going number two overall but because of draft needs I see him slipping to sixth. The Magic desperately need a playmaker and with the loss of Elfrid Payton they have no passer. Doncic has an array of offensive moves that he could go to for a bucket and has an NBA ready body now at 6’7” and 225 pounds. He lacks speed and quickness which limits his ability to defend and or attack the basket. If the Magic are lucky, Doncic could turn into the European sensation they hoped Mario Hezonja would be when they drafted him years ago.

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7. Chicago Bulls – PF Wendell Carter (Duke)
While Bagley was the headliner at Duke Carter was a star in his own right during his lone season with the Blue Devils. Carter plays with high energy and is a good finisher around the rim. He’s good at getting post position and is great at making plays out of the post and not forcing a shot he does not have. He can read passing lanes and is good at contesting shots in the paint. He could use more finesse moves since he will not always have a size advantage over bigger NBA players. However, He could fit nicely with this young Bulls team and form a nice one-two punch with Lauri Markkanen.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers – PG Collin Sexton (Alabama)
The Cavaliers will be killing two birds with one stone at this point, with LeBron’s impending free agency decision in the air the Cavaliers can draft for the future if LeBron leaves or they’d be drafting help for LeBron. They’d also be replacing Kyrie, something Isaiah Thomas, George Hill, and Jose Calderon could not do. Sexton has good court vision, has an innate ability to attack the rim, and has a solid mid range game. He loves the bright lights so playing with LeBron or playing following his departure gives him a chance to shine regardless. He will need to learn to pass the ball more since he’s known as more of a scoring guard than a true passing point guard. The Cavaliers could be getting an Eric Bledsoe in a younger form.

9. New York Knicks – PG Trae Young (Oklahoma)
The Knicks will try to rewrite their wrong from the 2009 Draft when they did not take Steph Curry. The Knicks should select Trae Young if he is there at nine. Young, like Curry can shoot when given even the tiniest bit of air space. He has great handle and can shoot from Curry’s range as well. He averaged over 27 points and 8 assists per game. He’s not lanky or big as he only weighs 180 pounds and he is a liability on defense. He’s not fast enough to slow someone like a De’Aaron Fox down and he’s not big enough to stop a Kyle Lowry.

10. Philadelphia 76ers – G/F Mikal Bridges (Villanova)
An integral part of playoff team’s playoff push is having a 3-and-D player, a player who can knock down open three pointers and lock down the other teams best perimeter threat. Bridges fits that role nicely. Bridges is a two time National Champion and has a more polished game than most players getting drafted in the top ten. Bridges shot over 50% from the field, over 40 %, from three, and over 84% from the charity stripe. He’s not very physical, limited to catching and shooting as opposed to creating his own shot, and is not known as a playmaker for others.

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11. Charlotte Hornets – SF Kevin Knox (Kentucky)
For the second year in a row I believe the Hornets will take another one and done player from John Calipari. Knox is a 6’9” forward who could play a small ball power forward position. He is a matchup nightmare with the length he possesses and can create his own shot. He doesn’t turn 19 until August and you are banking on developing him and capitalizing on his potential. He can be a streaky shooter at times, when he’s hot he’s hot, when he’s cold, he’s freezing and that can affect other factors of his game.

12. Los Angeles Clippers – SF Miles Bridges ( Michigan St.)
Bridges can be the Clippers Draymond Green (another Michigan State alum). He is 6’6” and 230 pounds, with quick feet, power, and defensive prowess. He can guard both forward spots and he can switch on to guards no problem in pick and roll situations. He has a silky smooth left handed jumper and is excellent from the line. He is undersized and his wingspan won’t blow you away and he will never be the focal point on offense.

13. Los Angeles Clippers – SG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky)
Barring any trades the Clippers only two picks of the draft will take place consecutively in the lottery. With their second selection they should take Gilgeous-Alexander who is a good scorer and can pick up the scoring load for the second unit. He’s a great defender and he forces turnovers at the perimeter. He is quite frail, standing at 6’6” and 180 pounds and he forces too many turnovers trying to make the spectacular play.

14. Denver Nuggets – C Robert Williams (Texas A&M)
The Nuggets have a good guard rotation and they already have a franchise cornerstone in Nikola Jokic, what they could use is another high energy defender and rim runner. Williams would be perfect for this role, He has the size at 6’9” and 240 pounds to guard bigger forwards and some centers and he moves light on his feet for alley oops and put back dunks. He’s a shot blocker and an aggressive rebounder, he could easily replace Kenneth Faried. On the flipside he is raw talent and just uses his athleticism to win matchups. He can get lazy when he’s not getting touches offensively and he needs to develop a faceup game or postgame that he can go to repeatedly when in need of a bucket.

Raynard might be the next NCAT NFL Hopeful

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by Cameron Rivers

North Carolina A&T’s Quarterback Lamar Raynard may be one of the most underrated FCS prospects going into the 2018 Football season. With his combination of arm talent, leadership, and ability to make clutch plays. The High Point, North Carolina native is arguably the best Quarterback to ever rock the blue and gold.

I look at Raynard the same way I look at Thanos, Raynard’s skillset might be equivalent to the Infinity Gauntlet. At the snap of his fingers, he can alter the whole universe or at least the game at hand.

Coming out of high school Raynard seemed to have been overlooked. He was not ranked nationally or even in the state. This could have hurt some young players confidence, but not Raynard’s.

“It really didn’t matter to me. I just knew I was going to ball wherever I went.”

And oh did he ball. After red shirting his freshman season, Raynard got his first taste of playing time during the 2015 college football season, getting his first start on Sept. 5 at home against Shaw University. Raynard threw for 188 yards on 14 completions and 3 Touchdowns in the game. Raynard also showed his dual threat ability by running in a touchdown en route to the 61-7 win over the Shaw University Bears.

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The next season the 2016 Aggies were loaded with talent. After 9 games and 8 starts Raynard and the Aggies started off the season hot; with Raynard winning all of games as starter. Raynard was on a tear throwing for career highs in passing yardage, touchdowns and completions. Raynard was so accurate that season that he broke the single season passing percentage record by completing 64.6% of his passes.

Unfortunately, a chest injury ended Raynard’s 2016 season prematurely.

” It felt good winning those first games, but when I injured myself I was hurt inside””

“Lamar just continues to get better,” former Aggies head coach Rod Broadway said at the time .”The four games prior to him getting hurt (last season) he
was playing at a really high level. He started this season right where he ended last season, and we expect great things out of him.”

And great things did come, Raynard would take that experience from the 2016 season and turn it into a unbelievable 2017 campaign. The Quarterback helped lead the Aggies to an undefeated season by throwing 31 total touchdowns and completing 63.7 of his passes with a QBR of 161.7.

While his numbers may seem gaudy, Raynard’s ability to shine in the biggest moments might be his most impressive quality.

In the 2017 Celebration Bowl, the score was tied 14-14 in the 4th quarter against Grambling State. After a great defensive play from the A&T defense forcing Grambling into a 3 and out; Raynard and the Aggies gets the ball back late with a chance to win the game.

With just over 1:31 on the clock. Raynard finds Marquell Cartwright over the middle for a 19 yard gain to get the Aggies within Grambling’s 20 yard line as the clock continues to tick.

The next play Raynard drops back and connects with standout Wide Receiver Elijah Bell as Bell makes an amazing contested catch on the left sideline to get A&T to the 5 yard line. After a short run on 1st & Goal by Cartwright there is only 46 seconds left on the clock. Now It is now or never for Raynard and the Aggies. As the ball snaps, Raynard lowers his head bulldozing into his offensive line.

At first the play looks bleak like Raynard will fall short of the end zone, but that good ole reality stone Thanos done came in handy, because with a lot of determination and a push by his offensive line, Raynard made it into the promise land for the game winning touchdown, capping off an undefeated 12-0 season with a 2017 Celebration Bowl Championship.

“I told the D if you give me the ball back I’ll lead the troops down to score, you know that’s what I did. Man I want to shout out my offensive line, shout out my receivers, running backs everybody man [because] this is a team effort, they deserve this as well as me. The fans. Everybody man”

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Humbling words from a leader who just cemented his legacy in HBCU football lore.
When asked why a NFL franchise should draft him, Raynard responded saying, “I’m a winner and I’m a competitor.”

When asked if he ever reminisces about how he and the Aggies made history this past season by being the only MEAC football to finish a season undefeated, Raynard simply replied “ Sometimes I do but it’ll be better if we do it again.”

As Raynard enters the 2018 season, expect big things both out of him and the whole A&T football team.

The Aggies open their 2018 football season against one of the best teams in FCS football against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at a neutral site in Montgomery, Alabama.

Top 10 discounts for College students to finesse

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by Patsy Douglass

College students all over the world are investing and gearing up for their future occupations. However the journey to get that dream job is getting more expensive by the day. Tuition is rising and those refund checks are getting lower. So while you are in school and carrying your student ID, you have to make sure you take advantage of every little discount there is to offer. And thanks to me, I have given you the ten best student discounts that will help increase your ability to finesse while you’re still enjoying your college experience.

1.Amazon Prime: With an .edu email address, you can get Amazon Prime Student free for six months, with a $10 referral bonus for each friend you can get to sign up. After your six months are up, Amazon Prime costs only $49 per year instead of $99.

2.Victoria Secret: Enjoy a 15% Student Discount when you shop with PINK online or in store.

3.Spotify: offers a student discount of $4.99/m for a premium subscription compared to the regular price of $9.99/m

4.Apple Music: Apple offers education pricing for students, with up to $200 off a new Mac. Even students who have been accepted to college are eligible. Apple Music is also available for a discounted rate of $4.99 per month, and the Apple Store for Education offers deals on new Macs and iPads.

5.Chick-fil-la: At many Chick-fil-A locations, you can get a free drink with your valid student ID.

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6.Buffalo Wild Wings: 10% off your total Buffalo Wild Wings purchase with a valid student ID.

7.AMC Theaters: Make Thursday your movie night at an AMC Theatres location. It’s the only day you can get discounted tickets with a student ID.

8.Adobe: If you’re pursuing a career in graphic design or just want to know your way around Photoshop, Adobe is making it easier to get your hands on their Creative Cloud. Students and teachers can get 60% creative cloud.

9.Cinemark: If you show your student ID at the box office you can get a special student discount at cinemark theaters.

10. Uber: Students can save 50% on rides to or from their campus. Promotion is available on select universities and depends on the time of the day.

Drake and Pusha T’s beef could bring back old hip hop.

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by Tucker Toole

Drake has yet again found himself at the head of another rap beef, only this time it’s with G.O.O.D. Music artist, Pusha-T.

For those who don’t remember, Drizzy engaged in a beef with rapper Meek Mill a couple years ago. This beef began when Meek Mill went to Twitter to call out Drake for not writing his own raps and relying on a ghostwriter.

Mill then took his thoughts to Twitter and stated “He ain’t even write that verse on my album and if I woulda knew I would have took it off my album….. I don’t trick my fans! Lol”. Mill was referring to the song R.I.C.O. that Drake was featured on with him in 2015. Drake then released his famous “Back to Back” Freestyle in response to Mill.

While Drake seemed to have squashed the Beef with Meek Mill, Ghostwriting rumors put him directly into another prominent rap battle with Pusha-T.

The beef between these two is nothing new. Pusha and Drizzy have said things about each other on various tracks in the past. Before Pusha-T went solo, he was still apart of the rap group Clipse when shots were fired at Drake’s mentor Lil-Wayne for wearing Bape on the cover of Vibe in 2006 after he had seen Pharrell Williams wear the shirt. In the song “Mr. Me Too” by Clipse featuring Pharrell Williams the two said: “N*gga bite the style from the shoes to the watches”, which is how the beef began.

As we fast forward to 2017, we see that after each of the two continued to take blows at each other Drake continued the beef by producing the song “two birds one stone” on his album More Life where he continued to throw shots at Pusha by saying:

“But really it’s you with all the drug dealer stories / That’s gotta stop, though /You made a couple chops and now you think you Chapo /If you ask me though, you ain’t lining the trunk with kilos / You bagging weed watching Pacino with all your n*gga / Like, ‘This what we need to be on,’ but you never went live / You middle-man in this shit, boy, you was never them guys / I can tell, ’cause I look most of you dead in your eyes / And you’ll be tryna sell that story for the rest of your lives.”

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Pusha didn’t forget what Drake said and brought the beef back to life in his newly released album DAYTONA. He replied on the track “Infared” with: “The lyric pennin’ equal the Trumps winnin’ / The bigger question is how the Russians did it / It was written like Nas, but it came from Quentin.” which refers to how Quentin Miller was Drake’s ghostwriter, and was the reason for drake and Meek Mills beef.

Drake responded within less than 24 hours of the newly released album with a response, and freestyle of his own called “Duppy Freestyle”. In the freestyle he admits how he was a fan of Pusha, and said that him and Kanye west owe him money for the promotion of his album: “I told Weezy and Baby “I’ma done him for you” / Tell ‘Ye we got a invoice coming to you / Considering that we just sold another 20 for you.”

Pusha took to twitter and asked Drake to send him the 20

Drake responded with an invoice for $100,000 for “promotional assistance and career-reviving”.

View this post on Instagram

You’re welcome. 🦉

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On may 29th, 2018 Pusha responded with the “Story of Adidon” which was sampled to the “Story of OJ” beat by Jay-Z from the album 4:44. The cover art for the song was a picture of Drake in “blackface”. In the song, Pusha went on to talk about Drake’s baby mother Sophie Brussaux, a former French pornstar and claims he’s a deadbeat dad to his son Adonis.

The following morning on The Breakfast Club, Pusha-T explains why the freestyle was titled story of Adidon, and it was because drakes new Adidas line which is about to drop is named after his son, he went on to say “Adonis is your son, and he deserves more than an Adidas press run”

Drake responded to the “blackface” photo in a statement that he published on his Instagram account. He has yet to confirm or deny the alleged baby or baby mother.

Drake’s album “Scorpion” is set to release sometime in June and we can be sure there will be a few more slugs, or shots thrown once it drops. Ultimately this beef has restored some sort of entertainment amongst hip-hop followers on social media as each rapper has been mocked or made fun of with memes, or clever tweets. This rap beef serves as more than entertainment though, it restores some hope that real rap is on its way back.

NFL players should continue to fight for their voice.

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by Roderick Mclean

Antonio Brown is arguably the best Wide Receiver in the NFL because of his ability to be an immediate game changer. However, yesterday Brown took to his social media account to try to make an impact off the field.

Brown posted a picture on his Instagram account that encouraged his fellow NFL players too take a knee on Instagram in response to the controversial Anthem Protest rule that the NFL passed that forces players to stay in the Locker room if they wish to protest during games.

For many players, the meaning of the protests have been overshadowed by the narrative of “disrespecting the Anthem” or “disrespecting the Flag”. Yet, the original intent of the protest was to highlight the marginalization of Black people in America, especially by the police.

For that past few years, we have seen incidents of police brutality and even fatality that doesn’t seem to be dissipating. Recently, a video surfaced that illuminated the assault of NBA player, Sterling Brown by police. Brown was wrestled to the ground, handcuffed, tased, and arrested for parking in handicap spots.

“My experience with the Milwaukee Police Department was wrong and shouldn’t happen to anybody,” Brown said.

Eight officers have been disciplined and three officers will receive unpaid suspensions.

“I will take legal action against the Milwaukee Police Department to continue forcing change in our community,” Brown said in a statement.

Police force towards African Americans is already out of hand. If this can happen to a professional athlete. Who knows what can happen next. This is why Antonio Brown and other NFL players are fighting for their voice to be heard.

The NFL should let their players protest. Police injustice seems to be increasing every day and these players should be able to use their status of power to express what they believe. What they do has a strong impact on people’s lives and they can help change the world.

LeBron’s Greatness continues to outshine his Critics.

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by Bradford Brooks

“What’s it like to be LeBron? They are calling you the savior, so much pressure but you deal with it, the weight of the world on your shoulders but you still lift it.”

This is a lyric from the 2009 mixtape “The Warm Up” by recording artist J.Cole, and this famous lyric has become a living embodiment of LeBron James’ greatness.

The kid from Akron, Ohio, who was drafted at the age of 18, is now 33 years old, in his 15th NBA season and is still exceeding expectations that were placed on him since being proclaimed the Chosen One. James is heading to his 8th straight NBA Finals after defeating the Boston Celtics on the road in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

In the victory,James put up 35 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists in the win, adding another excellent performance in a high pressure game to his already illustrious career.

Whether you agree or disagree that propelling this team to the NBA Finals is LeBron’s greatest accomplishment ever, you have to admit that we are all witnessing history.

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James has had the Eastern Conference in a chokehold for nearly a decade now and this 8th consecutive trip shouldn’t just be shrugged off as just another example LeBron being LeBron.

Love him or hate him it would be erroneous to diminish this moment.James’ performance has earned the respect to silence all his critics.

If you are still doubting his greatness you should take a look at some of these statistics.

James was playing in his 100th consecutive game of the season last night and his third game in five days. He recieved around-the-clock treatment on his right leg after playing 46 minutes to stave off elimination 48 hours earlier in game 6. He played all 48 minutes in a playoff game for the first time since 2006, when he was only 21 years old. In the fourth quarter he made 4 of 6 shots, had three rebounds and four assists after he’d played 3,757 minutes this season, more than anyone else in the entire league. His second leading scorer in Kevin Love didn’t suit up for this game 7. James leads the NBA in minutes played in the postseason, and that no active teammate James played with in Game 7 was averaging more than 10 points or 2.2 assists per game in the playoffs.

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Throughout the dysfunction and chaos this season, from departing ways with Kyrie Irving, to trying to make the Isiah Thomas experiment work, and even the inconsistent play from all the trade deadline players they acquired, LeBron made it work.

And we shouldn’t even be surprised, James has won six straight Game 7s over the past 10 years, two of them on the road. He has won seven of the past eight elimination games he’s been in, including three this postseason. And he has now come from down 2-0 to win a series three times in his career.

Respect is due for James. The trials of this season, including the weakening of his present roster and the weekly challenges that he had to navigate while shouldering an incredible burden brought him to a preposterous position. Yet, he still delivered.

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No matter who the Cavs play, James will go into the NBA Finals as an underdog, for the seventh time in his nine trips. Some will mention that Michael Jordan won six titles, Kobe Bryant won five, and that Bill Russell won 11. James has only won has three. But i believe the words of J. Cole say it best, “you’ll never play me like LeBron vs. Jordan. Twenty years, wonder who they are going to say was more important. Both changed the game, came through and made a lane, who’s to say that who’s greater, all we know, they ain’t the same.” Every superstar player has their decade, and right now it’s no question we are witnessing LeBron’s.