Wednesday, April 10, 2013

NAACP Drops "Superstar-Studded" from War on Drugs Headline

    A group of 175 "artists, actors, athletes, elected officials and advocates" presented an open letter to President Obama this week urging him to end the "war on drugs."  The NAACP promoted the cause with a blog post and the letter on its website:
Today, a coalition of over 175 artists, actors, athletes, elected officials and advocates, brought together by hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons and Dr. Boyce Watkins, presented an open letter to President Obama, urging him to double down on his efforts to change the United States’ criminal justice policy from that of a punitive, suppression-based model to one that favors evidence-based prevention and rehabilitation. 
This coalition included: Russell Simmons, Dr. Boyce Watkins, Sir Richard Branson, Will Smith, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Scarlett Johansson, Ron Howard, Jennifer Hudson, Demi Moore, Eva Longoria, Michael Moore, Mark Wahlberg, Harry Belafonte, Jada Pinkett Smith, Cameron Diaz, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Chris Rock, Russell Brand, John Legend, DJ Pauly D, Mike Tyson, Rick Ross, Jon Hamm, Natalie Maines, Ludacris, to name a few.
Although the full list of supporters includes civil right advocates, business leaders, and "academic & thought leaders," the list above consists almost entirely of movie, TV, and music stars. This emphasis on pop culture figures appears intentional, particularly given the original headline of the blog post.  Here is a screencap of the current post:

    However, the original post (the link is now broken, but the cached page is available here) looked like this, but was revised within hours:

    The NAACP blog post was drawn from a press release from sponsors of the effort, the Global Grind.  On its website, the Global Grind frames the letter rather immodestly:
A list of the most powerful people in the world have written a letter to Obama.
    Perhaps the less visible most powerful people in the world (the non-"superstars") objected to the headline, prompting the change.  In any case, the Global Grind seems the recognize the value of face recognition.  Let's just say there aren't a whole lot of "civil rights advocates" and "thought leaders" in the group photos:

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