Arts & Entertainment

Hollywood Comes to TMM, More on 'Stop and Frisk'

Gabrielle Union. Hector Mata/AFP/Getty Images

Gabrielle Union Getty Images hide caption

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Lee, here.

So today was a big day for the show. Four of Hollywood's most beloved stopped by and hung out for a bit — Queen Latifah, Morris Chestnut, Gabrielle Union and Faizon Love. They sat with us to talk about their new movie, The Perfect Holiday. ALL of them were pleasant and, genuinely, seemed like good people to shoot the breeze with ... and ask a few tough questions.

But, folks, they almost had to call EMS when the lovely Gabrielle Union greeted me with such a beautiful smile. She's so gracious ... and (gotta say this) so, breathtakingly, gorgeous. In this business, it's not uncommon for us to see and talk to "big names" quite often. But I have yet to meet the likes of Ms. Union.

OK, enough of that. But I'm just saying...

(Standby. The actual interview, complete with video and photos from the casts' visit, is on its way.)

Moving on...

I want to address a blog comment we received in response to our story (and blog post) yesterday on one reporter's allegations of being treated unfairly by the New York City Police Department. Here's a comment from dirtyblues:

Is the depth of most usa black adult males so shallow — that a legal request for information from police officer (of color) is consider[ed] a de-humanizing experience — requiring a federal civil rights case? This incident shows just how 'razor-thin' the self-esteem is of the usa black male professional class at all levels...

Let me share my story. Spring 2003, I was in New Orleans on business — pre-Katrina, of course. I'd just had dinner with some colleagues and was walking (not stumbling ... I'd not had any alcohol) back to my hotel, alone, from the French Quarter. It was late evening, but before 10 p.m.

...So I'm walking down the street, minding my own business when a squad car stops alongside me, two cops hop out and begin to question me asking, "Where are you coming from?"

I answered.

They asked, "What are you doing out here?"

Answered that, too.

Adding to the drama, about two minutes later, another squad car pulls up. Two more cops join in the questioning. (You can imagine where this is going...) Long-short: they made me put my "hands on the car" and frisked me — went through my pockets, wallet, etc... After learning that I live in Washington (and work in the media), they let me go ... almost immediately.

So, dirtyblues, is it really a matter of being shallow? I must say, I found the experience very dehumanizing. I, probably much like Leonardo Blair of the New York Post, can't help but wonder ... What if I was a "local," or had no professional affiliation that could be perceived as a threat to whatever their motives might have been that night? I certainly didn't leave their presence affirmed by what I learned as a child — "policemen are your friends..."

And, did race play a factor?...

Can't tell you for sure. While I wasn't referenced (in that situation) with a racial slur, it was difficult for me not to notice that there were four white cops questioning me, a black male, sternly. (They said they were looking for someone who fit my "description" in connection with a reported robbery.) Given the context of such occurences in a country that has a known history of racial grievances ... Shallow? I might beg to differ on that one.

And, dirtyblues, I'd argue that it is possible for a member of a particular ethnic group to be discriminatory against another member of that same group. Many suggest that race played a factor in the killing of Sean Bell last year in New York after 50 bullets were fired by police. Three NYPD officers have since been charged in connection with Bell's death and now await trial. Two of them — Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora — are black. Something to think about...

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