Shani Hilton

Shani Hilton is associate editor of Campus Progress. You can find her blogging here.

Recent Articles

Lilith Failure.

I was wrong . In the June issue of the Prospect , I argued that Lilith Fair 2010 could remain relevant if it promoted up-and-coming artists, increased its diversity, and offered a counterpoint to hypersexualized pop music. Unfortunately, tonight is the last stop of the fair's revival after an 11-year hiatus, and it's about as irrelevant as anyone could have dreamed. The biggest acts at tonight's D.C. show are Sarah McLachlan and the Indigo Girls. The latter have faded into relative obscurity despite a devoted fan base. McLachlan's notoriety remains, I suspect, because she organized the original run of Lilith. The New York Times notes that a dozen shows were canceled due to low ticket sales -- this perhaps fueled by the fact that the lineups themselves were not made clear early on. Let's be real here: a Dallas show with no Erykah Badu ? Badu was a major selling point of this tour, but somehow she, or Lilith's organizers, forgot that she had an album of her own to promote this summer...

Last Words on the Down Low.

On Tuesday, I wrote about President Obama's visit to The View today and suggested he bring up his new initiative to fight the HIV/AIDS in the black community. But as I predicted, Obama did not mention it, nor did he confront host Sherri Shepherd for blaming high rates of HIV/AIDS in the black community on the "down low" (DL) phenomenon -- the theory that bisexual black men get infected with HIV by other men, and then go on to infect women who are not aware that their partners are having sex with men. The theory took off in the late '90s and after several black fiction authors presented it as a common lifestyle. My tendency has been to dismiss the DL phenomenon because there is no hard data around it, while there is plenty of data showing the relationship between poverty, lack of health care, increased STDs, and HIV/AIDS. But I was pointed to a 2009 study that tackles the question from an empirical standpoint. And despite the frequently stoked fear of predatory and furtive gay black...

California's "Green" Economy.

This November, California voters will be voting on Proposition 19, which would legalize recreational marijuana use and tax it at $50 per ounce. Nate Silver homes in on the polling, noting that automated polls show greater support than person-to-person polling. Among black voters, for example, the automated call polls show a 28 to 38 point lead. But traditional polls show Prop. 19 trailing by 12 points among blacks. Silver's hypothesizes that voters may be loath to admit they're OK with legalizing marijuana to a live pollster, which could be a reversed Bradley Effect -- or as he dubs it, the Broadus Effect, named after rapper Snoop Dogg , who frequently discusses the pleasures of marijuana use. The Bradley Effect is a political phenomenon where a voters tells pollsters that they will support a black candidate but do not once they enter the voting booth. I think Silver's analysis is plausible but not likely. Marijuana use in California doesn't have much of a stigma attached to it and is...

Obama Should Debunk a Dangerous "View."

ABC News reports that President Obama will be visiting the set of the ABC talk show The View tomorrow. The ABC news brief focuses on Obama's low approval rating, and notes that he'll be in "the hot seat" with the show's five women hosts. Obama, who released a new National HIV/AIDS strategy last month, has a chance to shift the heat to the show's hosts. When comedian D.L. Hughley visited the show in late June, he and host Sherri Shepherd had a "hot topics" discussion that touched on the prevalence of HIV and AIDS among black Americans. Hughley said, "When you look at the prevalence of HIV in the African American community, it's primarily young women getting it from men on the 'down low.'" Shepherd added: "[HIV/AIDS] is so big in the black community with women because they're having unprotected sex with men who have been having sex with ... with men." But as Jorge Rivas at Colorlines magazine noted, that's simply not true . Not only has the "down low" myth been debunked time and time...

WikiLeaks Falls Prey to Old Media Problems.

Hello, my name is Shani Hilton , and I'll be guest blogging this week. I blogged for TAPPED last winter, and I've written about black women and abortion , and the Lilith Fair revival for TAP since. I'm currently the associate editor at Campus Progress , and I blog at PostBourgie . Now to business. I've pretty studiously avoided all things WikiLeaks for a while now, but with yesterday's release of thousands of classified U.S. military documents about the war in Afghanistan, it's become clear that willed ignorance is not an option. Yesterday, I watched this TED interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange : It's a good introduction to the organization and its founder's ethos. Assange thinks that legitimate secrets are related to personal information, like medical records. But information that's being protected by private and public institutions, Assange says, is often the information that would do the most good if leaked. The vast majority of the audience in the TED video seems to...

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