4 Golden Moments of President Obama Being So Trill Lately

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From Cuba to Bill Cosby, and then the criminal-justice system, Obama’s on something, and we’re loving it.

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This article was published at The Root on July 20, 2015.

For a while there, I was concerned that President Barack Obama wouldn’t do enough to earn a think piece describing all the ways he’s kept it “completely 100″—similar to the way we commended former Attorney General Eric Holder for keeping it “eight more than 92” last year. 

Let me tell you, I fretted over this, had sleepless nights and bit my nails. I knew that the guy had it in him and shared many of the frustrations that black Americans have been hashtagging and protesting these past several months. But there’s the idea that Obama’s status as POTUS prevents him lashing out at the ridiculous ideas proposed by the GOP or speaking up about blatant injustices. Stuff like unarmed black kids getting shot in the street.

I even argued that Holder would fare better in discussions about which guy—him or Obama—was more demonstrative when it came to speaking up for black Americans. 

And then, bit by bit, almost out of nowhere, this new Obama started to appear. He’s not mincing his words or holding back, and when he does speak about controversial “race” topics, he’s forceful and speaks in a matter-of-fact way. 

Is it because he’s on his way out of office and doesn’t have as much to lose? Probably. But so what? We’re here for it, and the bottom line is this: Obama’s getting a boatload of stuff done, so it’s not as if he’s just blowing hot air. Just take a look at some of the ways he’s waved his middle finger furiously at all his haters these past several months:

Two fist pumps in the air for that blunt NAACP speech he gave on Tuesday slamming the U.S. prison-industrial complex.

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He did two things very well in his recent speech at the NAACP conference: He reminded folks about the “structural inequalities” that make it harder for black and Hispanic Americans to get ahead (and I mean, he spelled them out, describing how qualified black Americans don’t get called back for job interviews or approved for housing in good neighborhoods, and how we get suspended from school at higher rates when committing transgressions similar to whites’). Plus, no one likes to talk about it, but he spoke about how slavery and Jim Crow rigged the system and put black and brown Americans at a disadvantage.

Second, he drove a needle through the prison-industrial complex by calling foul on how a lot of people are serving hefty prison sentences for soft crimes. Obama said, “We’ve also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before.

“And that is the real reason our prison population is so high. In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime,” he argued.

This item appeared on Holder’s “trill” list, so it supports the argument that Holder was a mouthpiece for a lot of the things that Obama himself believed but presumably couldn’t yet say. 

He basically said, “To hell with ignoring Cuba, when’s the next shuttle boat to Havana?” 

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What was great about this moment is that Obama used the ol’ “What’s the definition of insanity?” argument to justify why he felt it was high time we restored diplomatic ties with Cuba. Our policy of treating Cuba as if it didn’t exist wasn’t working, so instead of relying on our failed “embargo” strategy, he brought Cuban officials to the table to hatch a plan for the future. 

Naysayers argued that Cuban officials hadn’t done enough to garner the U.S.’ friendship, since they hadn’t moved the ball on improving human rights on the island. (As if women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia—but I digress.) Meanwhile, as more and more of Cuba’s history comes to the forefront, we’ll see that it was the United States that in the early part of the 20th century introduced Cubans to the racist and segregationist thinking that made life hell for black Cubans. Black Cubans were left to contend with colorism and inequality, and it was those inequaliities that made the environment ripe for Castro’s administration to come into power to attempt to undo those injustices. 

He defined “rape” in layman’s terms for those who forgot its definition just because Bill Cosby is the alleged perpetrator. 

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It seemed that a few people were trying to downplay or sugarcoat what Cosby is accused of doing: giving sedatives to women he planned to sleep with. They were questioning whether his accusers consented to being drugged, and couldn’t believe that Cosby could commit such crimes.

But when court documents revealed that Cosby did have a penchant for including Quaaludes in his sexual repertoire, that made the allegations that much more substantive. Obama laid it out plain and simple for those who still weren’t convinced that this kind of behavior constitutes “rape.”

“If you give a woman, or a man, for that matter, without his or her knowledge, a drug, and then have sex with that person without consent, that’s rape. And I think this country, any civilized country, should have no tolerance for rape,” Obama said. 

He practically did the Shmoney dance in the Oval Office after hearing that his health care plan would remain intact.

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Gloating is not bad all the time. Especially when you’re a guy who’s known for being level-headed and not bragging about your wins or kicking your opponents when they’re down. Then you’re allowed to gloat and boast about your accomplishments every now and then.

That’s what makes these photos of Obama reacting to how the Supreme Court voted not to gut the Affordable Care Act—known colloquially as Obamacare—that much more riveting.  

I mean, look at him giving dap to his chief of staff, Denis McDonough.

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And tell me this doesn’t look like he and Vice President Joe Biden are about to start Shmoney dancing.

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Here’s to many more moments of Obama speaking his mind and hopefully becoming more and more raw during his last 19 months in office. 

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Root TV: He’s Black, “Illegal” & Torn Over Obama’s New Immigration Actions

Jonathan Jayes-Green bravely came forward to weigh in on how the president’s recent executive actions on immigration will affect his life, and why it is imperative that we connect the dots between the distrust that black citizens and black undocumented immigrants have for law enforcement.

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This article and Root TV segment was published at The Root on December 15, 2014.

Jonathan Jayes-Green immigrated to the U.S. from Panama when he was 13, but it wasn’t until his senior year in high school, when he began to fill out college applications and financial-aid forms, that he realized how much of an impact his status as an undocumented immigrant would have on his ability to attend college and climb the ladder in America.

But for Jayes-Green, the college process was just the tip of the iceberg as he considered how differently and cautiously some undocumented immigrants have to go about living their lives in the United States. Jayes-Green is Panamanian, but in America he’s a black man first and foremost. And even though Americans tend to think of immigration reform as an issue that largely affects Hispanics, there is a sizable population of black undocumented immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa who are now living, learning and working in the U.S., just like Jayes-Green. They, too, will be affected by President Obama’s recent executive actions that will shield nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

In The Root TV segment above, Jayes-Green speaks with The Root’s Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele about his experiences and sheds light on the similar concerns that black citizens and undocumented communities have about being unfairly targeted by law enforcement.

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Root TV: What Nigerians Thought About #BringBackOurGirls & Americans Wanting to Help

The fervor for the #BringBackOurGirls campaign has dwindled and Diana explores what Nigerians made of the world’s fascination with the abduction crisis and whether foreign help was welcomed.

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This article and Root TV segment was published at The Root on November 28, 2014.

From the vantage point of Nigerians, it must have been an incredibly overwhelming experience to go from being a nation with a decent amount of obscurity, to being at the center of a worldwide social media campaign in just a matter of days.

That’s what happened seven months ago in April, when insurgents from the Boko Haram terrorist group stormed into a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, in the middle of the night and abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls. The subsequent #BringBackOurGirls Twitter hashtag was born soon thereafter and went viral. People from all over the world held protests, tweeted and crafted Facebook posts expressing outrage and remorse for the families that were experiencing the unthinkable.

But like most humanitarian causes that spark international outrage, the fervor for the movement has since died down and Nigerians are still contending with the conflict, but with fewer outside voices holding their officials accountable and demanding results.

In the Root TV segment above, The Root’s Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele speaks with Chika Oduah—an independent journalist working in Nigeria—about what this entire experience has been like for Nigerians, especially their being at the forefront of the philanthropic cause that was “en vogue” for the better part of 2014. In May, President Obama sent 80 military personnel to the region to assist Nigerian officials with the search—but what did Nigerians think of all the foreign interest and help? Watch and see.

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WATCH: Diana Discusses Raven-Symoné’s Contradictory Comments On ‘What Is American’

Raven spoke as if all Americans are mixed-race or perhaps not clear about their ancestry.

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This segment was published at The Root TV on Oct. 7, 2014.

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WATCH: Diana Debates ‘Black Female Privilege’

The Root staffers unpack reactions to the use of this phrase in a recent piece. What can this conversation teach us about the sensitivities that surround discussions of race, gender, fear and power?

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This article was published at The Root on August 28, 2014.

It struck some people as an oxymoron. They couldn’t wrap their minds around how the words “black women” and “privilege” were being used in the same sentence in this article, let alone how they were being used to describe anything having to do with the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. That I said Brown’s death made me more aware of the privileges I hold as a black woman seemed “ahistorical” to some readers and treasonous to others.

They—understandably—wanted me to make mention of how we black women, too, are subjected to police brutality, and how we are often on the receiving end of senseless acts of violence inflicted upon us by ordinary civilians. Take Renisha McBride’s death in Detroit, Marissa Alexander’s ordeal down in Florida, or Marlene Pinnock, the middle-aged woman who was pummeled on the side of a California highway by a white cop. Josie Pickens, writing at The Root, summed up these sentiments here, asserting that the degree to which black people protest about injustices committed against black men is often much more heightened, visible and impassioned than it is when the victims are women.This disparity, she argued, created a false sense of security among black women and could even put us in danger.

Taking into consideration all of the responses—and recognizing the many harms suffered by black women in this country because of racism, sexism and, while we’re at it, sexual orientation—I still maintain that I enjoy certain benefits as a woman that evade black men. One commentator contributed to the discussion in an interesting way, tweeting, “While many [black females] would have [black men] admit to patriarchy, they rarely consider the privilege of being alive.” Another woman who shared my point of view said, “I think my black female privilege has allowed me to challenge authority with zero fear of execution.”

I’m curious about what is behind what felt like a gag order issued by some commenters on any reference to the advantages I believe I enjoy as a black woman. I reject the presumption that black women are somehow negating the trials and tribulations we experience when we speak about, and acknowledge, the advantages that our gender affords us. Does black culture even allow us the space and agency to explore the upsides of our black womanhood?

In The Root TV video above, I discuss some of these ideas with editorial fellow Diamond Sharp:

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New Rules: Hillary, Cut It Out; Ebola for Guantanamo; and More Perks for Black Women at Work

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Allow me to get my ‘Bill Maher’ on for a moment.

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

The ‘Hillary Clinton’ portion of this article was published at The Root on August 15, 2014.

They say much truth is said in jest. Plus, Bill Maher’s on vacation, so allow me.

It’s time for new rules:

1. New Rule: If we ban Ebola patients from the U.S., then we have to shut down Guantanamo and rid Cuba of our detainees.

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Since we’re getting all particular about each nation keeping their cooties to themselves, it’s only fair that we put our Guantanamo prisoners on the first red-eye out of Cuba.

Surely Donald Trump—who tweeted that we should “stop Ebola patients from entering the U.S.”—and all those people sending nasty e-mails to the Atlanta hospital treating America’s two Ebola patients, would understand if Cubans decided to take a page out of their book, and developed a new sensitivity for how they’re a stone’s throw away from the world’s most accomplished terrorists?

And it’s not even that the Donald Trump’s and Ann Coulter’s of the nation have all of a sudden become hypochondriacs. It’s pretty clear that implicit in their concerns is the xenophobic idea that the Ebola virus is a West African disease that ought to be dealt with over there, and not here. Hell, Donald Trump said as much when he caught himself trying to cloak his disgust in compassion, suggesting that the patients ought to be treated “at the highest level,” but, of course, “over there.” Some people just can’t fathom the idea that a foreign pathogen is brewing in our midst. It’s as if the Ebola virus is messing up America’s feng shui, and folks are worried that we don’t have the appropriate device thingy to zap those negative particles away.

I mean let’s not act like America doesn’t have a few “harmful” exports that intrude on foreign lands on a habitual basis. I mean there’s McDonald’s, that horrible twerking sensation and the Kardashian clan’s family vacations.

Plus, with regard to the Guantanamo trade-off, the Cubans were never really fond of us housing our most dangerous criminal minds in the southeastern pocket of their beautiful island. This Ebola crisis gives their argument new ammunition. If we ban our Ebola patients from U.S. shores because Ebola is somehow un-American, then we should exercise a little quid pro quo and show the world that we’re ready to act on our principles by ridding Cuba of our detainees.

So, America, send Donald Trump a huge gift basket for this honor, and make way for the likes of Khaled Sheik Muhammed and Abdul Haq Wasiq because they’re coming to a correctional facility near you.

No more subjecting Cuba to our prison virus.

2. New Rule: Your black female colleagues get to have the big piece of chicken during company outings.

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And that’s just one of the quick-fix remedies to correct for the travesty that black women make 64 cents for every dollar a white man makes for doing the exact same job—this according to a new study released by the National Women’s Law Center.

Others remedies can include a 4-day work week, her own shelf in the refrigerator, extended vacation time and her own personal assistant.

It’s ironic that these finding have come in light of how some black women have been in the spotlight lately for the ways in which they’re trying to balance being a mother and being a career woman. There’s the South Carolina mom who was arrested for leaving her nine-year-old in the park while she went to work and the Arizona mother who was arrested for leaving her children in her car while she went on a job interview. These women are trying to make a dollar out of the 64 measly cents that they are given, and so it’s no surprise that some of them don’t have enough money to afford adequate child care.

So the next time you see your black female colleague taking a half-day, don’t cry foul or furrow your eyebrows, offer to buy her some lunch, thank her gratuitously for her contributions to the company’s bottom line and bow down.

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Pssst! Here’s a Cheat Sheet for the US-Africa Leaders Summit

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Need some talking points? Make reference to China’s influence, the unrest in South Sudan and Libya, and be sure to throw in, “Did you hear what Hillary said?!” and you’ll be all right.

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This article was published at The Root on August 4, 2014.

Africa’s coming to town.

And in a big way. Africa’s movers and shakers are in Washington, D.C., this week to chop it up with President Barack Obama about trade and investment opportunities, politics and the U.S.’s interests in the region’s stability. The 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is the largest gathering of African presidents and leaders ever to meet with a U.S. president.

If you’ve got your eyes on the international stage, then this initiative should be of no surprise. China has been making a killing in Africa. The Chinese had the insight to take Africa seriously as an economic partner when a lot of nations saw the continent more as a humanitarian charity case. Now that Africa’s influence is becoming increasingly important to a lot of countries’ bottom lines and GDPs, Western nations are looking at the Motherland through a new lens.

The festivities start on Monday. Here are some topics to keep in mind when gabbing about the summit at the watercooler or during happy hour as you take in the news reports that’ll trickle out of this three-day affair:

1.) South Sudan’s civil war is ongoing.

United Nations peacekeepers patrol a road in Malakal, South Sudan, as internally displaced South Sudanese people go about their daily routines.

United Nations peacekeepers patrol a road in Malakal, South Sudan, as internally displaced South Sudanese people go about their daily routines.

The civil war in South Sudan is not looking like it’s getting any better. The 2013 fallout between its warring ethnic groups—those loyal to the current president, Salva Kiir of the Dinka tribe, and those loyal to a deposed vice president, Riek Machar of the Nuer tribe—is picking up steam again since the meetings that were supposed to take place last week to drum up solutions were delayed. Apparently both sides are still engaged in off-the-record conversations about the state of the transitional government. South Sudan is a fairly new country—it split from Sudan in 2011 and has been embroiled in ethnic fighting stemming from that succession ever since. That there’s still fighting going on in one of its northern states is not helping move things along.

The United States and Europe threw down the gauntlet by freezing important assets in the country and told both sides that they have until mid-August to form an interim government that has a clear plan for maintaining the peace.

2.) Ebola is refueling Africa’s “image” problem.

Members of Doctors Without Borders put on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated.

Members of Doctors Without Borders put on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, primarily Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have people on edge. In fact the leaders of Liberia and Sierra Leone will be skipping the summit in order to tend to the Ebola outbreaks in their countries. Within the past two weeks, more than 100 new cases were reported in these countries, and two American health care workers who were working in Liberia contracted the virus. Besides the obvious health concerns, one point that is not being discussed, which ought to be, is how this recent outbreak is unraveling the years of work it took to undo the perception that Africa is a diseased continent and that travelers going there should beware.

Unfortunately, for many parts of West Africa, that perception is now a reality.

3.) Libya’s power vacuum has taken a turn for the worse.

Libyans take part in a demonstration in the capital, Tripoli, on July 31, 2014, calling for international intervention to protect civilians.

Libyans take part in a demonstration in the capital, Tripoli, on July 31, 2014, calling for international intervention to protect civilians.

The summit, like most initiatives about Africa, will likely focus on the continent’s sub-Saharan countries, but Libya, an African country that is typically brought up during discussions relating to the Middle East, ought to be on everyone’s minds as well.

Getting rid of a dictator is typically a good thing but the power vacuums that emerge often create bigger problems. It’s been nearly three years since Libya’s former leader Moammar Gadhafi was disposed. But in that time, the interim government has not been able to reign in the various law-enforcement groups that have vied to fill that slot and provide security. The situation has gotten so bad on the ground that several embassies were evacuated—including that of the U.S.—and the United Nations no longer has a strong presence in the region.

There’s been chatter that this is the West’s problem, since Gadhafi’s ousting was heavily influenced and backed by Great Britain and France. Some say the enthusiasm to hold Libya’s hand as it transitions to a sound democracy hasn’t been there, and that lack of support is causing a lot of violence, unrest and confusion on the ground.

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All the Times Eric Holder Kept It Completely 100

Attorney General Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder

Here’s proof that our attorney general is as real as they come.

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This article was published at The Root on July 24, 2014.

It was nothing for Attorney General Eric Holder to tell ABC News that Sarah Palin “wasn’t a particularly good vice presidential candidate” and for him to suggest, in his own way, that she ought to read the Constitution before proposing that President Barack Obama be impeached—seeing as how there would be no legal basis for such an act. Lest we forget, Holder has been speaking his mind since he got the job, and lucky for us—that is, people who love it when politicians let loose and tell us what they’re really thinking—he won’t stop.

As attorney general, Eric Holder is America’s chief law-enforcement officer. And judging by this roundup of times that he has spoken candidly and uninhibitedly about hot-button topics and controversial issues, I think it’s safe to say that Holder is the type of counsel who will give it to you straight—no chaser.

1. That time he said most of the hate and vitriol that he and the president receive stems from racism.

President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder

President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder

Holder is not saying anything that black folk and liberals haven’t been saying among themselves for years in barbershops and hair salons, at the kitchen table and on MSNBC. Let’s face it: President Barack Obama could bring unemployment down to 3 percent, get the Dow to 20,000, make peace in the Middle East, solve the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, find that Malaysian plane, have a caramel latte once a week with Rush Limbaugh, curse Al Sharpton’s name, and he would still be hated on by some individuals who can’t stand to see an African-American president in the White House.

During an interview with ABC, Holder basically articulated that there is nothing—I repeat, nothing—that the president could do to win over those people who can’t wrap their minds around there being a black president. These bigots hide behind their half-baked political arguments and trot out played-out talking points from the 1980s to mask their utter disgust of what Obama represents: an H-N-I-C.

2. That time he begged David Simon to bring back The Wire.

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Attorney General Eric Holder; Idris Elba and Wood Harris in The Wire

We knew that Obama’s presidency was going to be a truly special experience when he gushed about how much he loved The Wire—the critically acclaimed HBO show. We black people practically stomped our feet, cupped our mouths and mouthed “Yooooo!” when Obama said that Omar, the gay stickup bandit played by Michael K. Williams, was his favorite character.

But Holder one-upped his boss during a panel discussion when he pleaded for David Simon, the show’s creator and lead writer, to bring back the series for a sixth season. The attorney general, like the rest of the show’s cultlike following, knew how authentic the series was in communicating the complexities of inner-city life: There are no good or bad characters in the hood. Nearly everyone—the cops included—is shades of gray.

3. That time he told those Republicans who were hell-bent on perpetuating the Fast and Furious scandal to get a life.

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Attorney General Eric Holder

It was a well-intentioned strategy of follow-the-gun-trail. Federal agencies looked the other way while American guns were being sold up the ladder to high-level drug-cartel leaders in Mexico. The plan was that U.S. law-enforcement officials would monitor the gun sales to eventually catch all of the big-time criminals wreaking havoc in and around the border.

That was until some of the guns were found at the murder site of a U.S. border-patrol agent. Somebody needed to take the fall for Operation Fast and Furious, and the GOP picked Eric Holder. He became the only Cabinet member in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress. The attorney general didn’t take too kindly to what he perceived was election-year shucking and jiving by Republicans, and described the entire ordeal as “truly absurd conspiracy theories” that were “unnecessary and unwarranted.”

It’s his politically correct way of saying, “This is bulls–t.”

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1994 Harvard Student: Nigeria’s Democratic President Was Overthrown. He Was My Dad.

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Moshood Abiola

A new documentary explores an underdiscussed idea: that a democratically elected president in Nigeria didn’t receive adequate assistance from America in 1993 when he was overthrown by the military. The possible reason? Oil.

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This article was published at The Root on June 26, 2014.

Hafsat Abiola was walking on campus one day in 1994 as a student at Harvard University when she was summoned by a group of students who were collecting signatures for a petition.

“There’s an elected president in jail in Nigeria and we’re gathering signatures to demand his release,” one of them said to her.

It brought Hafsat Abiola to tears.

The man they were advocating for was her father, Moshood Abiola, a Nigerian businessman and politician. Moshood Abiola was the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential elections in Nigeria, a historic election that was supposed to put an end to the country’s 23-year on-again, off-again, bout with military dictatorships. U.S. President Bill Clinton reportedly called Abiola’s win the “biggest demonstration of democracy since the ending of apartheid.”

Moshood Abiola votes for himself in Nigeria’s 1993 presidential elections.

Moshood Abiola votes for himself in Nigeria’s 1993 presidential elections.

The celebrations, however, were short-lived. Nigeria’s military challenged the election results, overthrew Moshood Abiola’s pending administration and threatened anyone who opposed the new military regime.

But it was too late. Nigerians had already gotten a taste of democracy. That their new democracy was being yanked from them so recklessly ignited a firestorm. People took to the streets to protest the military coup. Moshood Abiola traveled the world to bring attention to the political crisis. He made it all the way to the White House to encourage the international community to put pressure on the Nigerian military so that it would step down and allow his civilian administration to take hold.

He returned to Nigeria and was soon captured by military soldiers and jailed. Civil rights activists in Nigeria and abroad—much like those students at Harvard—demanded that he be released and reinstated as president.

This watershed moment in Nigeria’s history is fleshed out in a new documentary called The Supreme Price. It’s a fascinating history lesson about the country and gives a compelling account of how Moshood Abiola’s senior wife, Kudirat Abiola, and their daughter, Hafsat Abiola, risked their lives to reinstate Abiola and fight for the pro-democracy movement in modern-day Nigeria.

One of the film’s most poignant themes is an idea that’s underdiscussed: that Nigeria did not receive adequate assistance from the United States when its democratically elected leader was being toppled by the military. In the documentary, Hafsat Abiola is still reeling from that as she describes how the U.S. government did little to support her dad’s efforts during Nigeria’s political crisis. The reason she says the U.S. didn’t support her father still annoys her, too: Nigeria is one of America’s top oil suppliers, and the military controlled the country’s oil patches at that time.

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Can Attorney General Eric Holder Summon New Season of ‘The Wire’?

Attorney General Eric Holder; Screenshot from 'The Wire'

Attorney General Eric Holder; Screenshot from ‘The Wire’

Series creator David Simon asked for ‘drug war’ reforms. Eric Holder delivered. Enough for a season 6?

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele

This article was published at The Root on August 30, 2013.

David Simon, the creator and lead writer of the HBO drama series The Wire, may owe viewers a sixth season of the critically acclaimed show in order to make good on an offer he extended to Attorney General Eric Holder a few years back. 

As many may know, Holder, like President Barack Obama, is a huge fan of The Wire. The series’ five seasons showed a grassroots view of Baltimore’s drug epidemic and the institutions influenced by it. During a 2011 panel discussion on drug abuse, Holder described how he hoped Simon and his writing partner Ed Burns would put pen to paper to drum up another chapter of the Baltimore tale.

“I want to speak directly to Burns and Mr. Simon, the attorney general said. “Do another season of The Wire.”

“That’s actually at a minimum. If you don’t do a season, do a movie,” Holder joked.

Simon—a former crime reporter—realized that he had the ear of the nation’s top law-enforcer and wasted no time delineating what he wanted the attorney general to do in return: 86 the nation’s war on drugs.

“The Attorney General’s kind remarks are noted and appreciated,” Simon wrote in a published email, before going in for the jugular and issuing his counter-offer: 

“We are prepared to go to work on season six of ‘The Wire’ if the Department of Justice is equally ready to reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive and dehumanizing drug prohibition,” Simon wrote.

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