D. Watkins

Here's what happens when police raid your home without knocking first

It was 1995, and we were scheduled to leave the east side of Baltimore for Kings Dominion the next morning. I had big plans: to ride all the rides, eat funnel cake, crack jokes on the three-hour bus ride with my classmates to the theme park, and sleep on the ride home. And to debut my new Nikes on this school trip — the Air Max 95s — with the top strings undone, like my boy JT from West Baltimore showed me. "I don't know why, but the girls love when I don't tie my shoes alla way up!" he'd say. "Wear them string loose, D!"

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Comedian Eric Andre: 'This country's got a s**tty history'

During a time when our nation is exploding in protest and uprising in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, comedian Eric Andre is offering a simple remedy to America's problems with policing: legalize everything. The message comes in the form of his wild and crazy Netflix stand-up special, "Eric Andre: Legalize Everything," which is centered on, as Andre told me on "Salon Talks" this week, "getting punished for the things that bring us pleasure." Turns out, there is a ton of truth in his hilarious commentaries.

If the failed War on Drugs was ended and narcotics were legal, then Breonna Taylor would have never been gunned down in a BS, botched drug bust that should have never happened. Add that to fact that millions of African Americans have been on the wrong side of the drug war since President Richard Nixon launched it the 1970s and worked at getting the public to associate "the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin," according to his domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman. Nixon's plan to criminalize both heavily and disrupt those communities has worked like a charm and has created a new American tradition for Black men: the tradition of prison.

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Here's what happens when the protests stop

When the cameras leave and the idea of black people "mattering" falls back to the bottom of everyone's priority list­­, the real work starts.

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Reporter April Ryan breaks down the real reason Trump is obsessed with re-opening America

What do celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson, Suze Orman, Valerie Jarret and Iyanla Vanzant have in common? Well, they're stuck at home like the rest of us, and they've all been featured on April Ryan's new Instagram Live show, "Covid Conversations." Many know Ryan from her work as a CNN political analyst and her role as a White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks. While she's stuck at home and unable to go to the White House, she started her own show Monday through Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on her Instagram. No lights and no stage — just Ryan at her desk with her phone.

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'The Plot Against America' creator David Simon: The 2020 election is going to be a sh*tshow

Imagine venturing off to a foreign country with hopes and dreams of prosperity, economic opportunity and a new way of life — only to get a small glimpse of what that dream feels like before having it all snatched away. Philip Roth brilliantly told this story through the eyes of Jewish-American immigrants in his acclaimed novel, "The Plot Against America," and now David Simon and HBO are bringing his book to the screen in a six-part miniseries. Simon, the Emmy Award winner and creator behind "The Wire," "The Deuce," and "The Corner," sat down with me on "Salon Talks" to discuss the making of the show and the message behind it.

Over the past five years, I've leaned on Simon for advice as a mentor and friend –– and now I have the opportunity to write for one of his television shows currently in development.

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'Just Mercy': Freeing an innocent man shouldn't be this hard

Destin Daniel Cretton's film "Just Mercy" gives a rare glimpse into how messed up our criminal justice system really is.Michael B. Jordan, "Black Panther" and "Creed" star, plays Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard lawyer from Delaware who relocates to Monroeville, Alabama to form the Equal Justice Initiative, a government-funded firm that provides Death Row inmates with fair legal representation.

Stevenson brilliantly documents this journey in his bestselling book of the same name, which many fans, including myself, feel should have been adapted to film a long time ago. But that is Stevenson; s you get to know him in the film or book, you'll notice that he's fully committed to the work and makes almost no reference to his personal life. You begin to feel that his work is his life: It's extremely demanding, couldn't be more urgent, and leaves little time for many of the extras that most of us deem relevant. Like a doctor, Stevenson's work saves lives.

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Trump releases a tremendous, totally real favorite books list

The former and currently most missed president in American history, Barack Obama recently shared his picks for his favorite books of 2019 on social media.

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Actor Kal Penn explains why Democrats keep losing

Is there any point of apologizing in this era of cancel culture? Redemption is dead, right? Cancel culture thrives on deleting people from our current ecosystem of perfect human beings, who are all preset with the same rules. These types of beliefs and standards work great online, but the internet doesn’t mirror real life. People have flaws. They make mistakes. Sometimes they make the same mistake 10 times before they learn their lesson, and that’s okay because we are human.

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The Biden 'wokeness' paradox: Can black voters support him and also hold him accountable?

On Sunday, former Vice President and current Democratic presidential primary frontrunner Joe Biden delivered a speech to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The 1963 act of terror took years — in the case of two of the KKK members who were convicted in 2001 and 2002, decades — to prosecute. It also marked a turning point in the Civil Rights movement, making this event a significant stop on the campaign trail for Biden, who, as the New York Times points out today, needs to demonstrate whether he "can translate his longstanding connection to black voters into votes next year."

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Felicity Huffman will likely get a lenient sentence in a cheating scandal. But a black mom who sent her kid to the wrong school got 5 years.

Most people with basic common sense understand the race problem that exists in this country. They know that many black people don’t get a fair shake. But frequently I encounter honestly confused white people at book events who have little to no proximity to black people, other than authors swinging through their town to promote their race books — the single black dude who luckily made it out because of some rare opportunity, which leads them to believe everyone can, even those without the same opportunities — and who simply think that racism ended with slavery, and that systemic or structural racism doesn’t exist. So here’s a clear example for those who don’t get it.

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