Who We Are

In the summer of 2006, Cheryl Contee, blogging under the pseudonym “Jill Tubman”, launched Jack & Jill Politics. Shortly after meeting at the then-YearlyKos Conference (now Netroots Nation), she brought on Baratunde Thurston aka “Jack Turner.” That was the summer Jack & Jill Politics was born.

Since that summer, our team has expanded to include several regular “front page” contributors, a growing roster of guest contributors representing affiliated organizations. Jack & Jill Politics is proud to have hundreds of engaged community members. We’ve won numerous awards for our work and JJP blog posts have influenced the national narrative and global dialogue on race and how African-Americans react to the issues of the day. Our coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention is now in the U.S. Library of Congress archives. Mainstream media sources around the world such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian U.K., CNN, MSNBC, BBC Online/TV/Radio, Agence France Press, Al Jazeera and many more quote JJP contributors regularly.

Our goal at JJP is to provide a middle class African-American perspective on U.S. politics and to ameliorate the portrayal of African-Americans in the media. The majority of African-Americans are neither drug-dealing criminals nor super-elites like Oprah, Michael Jordan and Jay-Z. JJP seeks to provide the diverse viewpoints of the tax-paying, hard-working, engaged and patriotic African-American majority on current affairs and popular culture. At it’s best, JJP seeks to carry on the tradition of insightful social and political commentary in the spectrum of W.E.B. DuBois, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Wanda Sykes.

Jack and Jill Politics is not affiliated with Jack and Jill of America, Jack and Jill Magazine, “Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill to Fetch a Pail of Water” nor any of the other Jack and Jills out there on the Google. Just so you know.


Cheryl Contee writes as Jill Tubman for the award-winning & top-ranked black political blog JackAndJillPolitics.com which she co-founded in 2006. She is also the co-founder of Fission Strategy, which provides innovative social media & mobile services to nonprofits and foundations. Cheryl specializes in online advocacy, engagement, and communications.

Cheryl serves on the Board of Directors of Netroots Nation, the preeminent organization and conference for technology and progressive politics. She is on the Advisory Board of Applied Research Center, BlogHer’s International Activist Scholarship Committee and the Advisors Board of Blogging While Brown. Cheryl also chairs the board of CommonGoods.net. Cheryl has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Magazine, BBC and CNN among many other media appearances. Cheryl’s work in the interactive sphere has been recognized with over 20 awards. Cheryl is regularly invited to speak at universities, conferences and events. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter if you dare: @ch3ryl

Main Blogging Subjects On JJP: Evaluating how leaders & organizations on both the left and right impact African-Americans, mainstream media and pop culture portrayals of black & brown folks, the Obama Administration, election news, black geekery, right wing racism & white supremacism, energy & environment, healthcare & other progressive issues

See Cheryl/Jill’s posts >>

Baratunde Thurston (aka Jack Turner) is a comedian, author and vigilante pundit. He was nominated for the Bill Hicks Award for Thought Provoking Comedy, declared a Champion of the First Amendment by Iowa State, and called “someone I need to know” by Barack Obama. He has appeared throughout mainstream and new media and performs regularly in New York City, where he works by day as Web Editor and politics editor for The Onion. He hosts Popular Science’s Future Of on the Science Channel, and he lives in Twitter: @baratunde.

Main Blogging Subjects On JJP: Right wing absurdity, the Obama White House, activism, open/participatory government, climate/energy, media, and lots of primary coverage of events and interviews (often via video)

See Baratunde/Jack’s posts >>

Front Page Contributors

“rikyrah” joined the writing team after months of contributions to the community via the blog’s comment area. She has also blogged at Mirror On America

I enjoy blogging because I have loved politics ever since the 1983 Election of Harold Washington as Mayor. Living in Chicago, I grew up watching Politics as Blood Sport and it never left me. I was deflated by the selection of George W. Bush as President in 2000 – it shook my belief in what I felt were the foundations of this country. 2004 should have made me more detached, and it did, for a short time, but then the passion for politics reignited in time for the 2006 election season and it hasn’t stopped. The 2008 Election season was the most fun I’ve seen in politics since 1983.

If you need to contact me: mamahelena at aol.com

Main Blogging Subjects On JJP: Open Threads, General Outrages, Political thumbs in the eye, the First Family, Sports and culture & How to be Young, Politically Aware, Proud and Black in 2010.

See rikyrah’s posts >>

Leutisha Stills (aka “CPL” or “The Christian Progressive Liberal”) is is the chief researcher for the CBC Monitor Report Card, a monitoring and evaluative tool used to analyze and grade the legislative performances of the Congressional Black Caucus. Ms. Stills blogs for Jack and Jill Politics, as well as writes for other blogs, such as The Pesky Fly, Counterpunch and the Progressive Beacon. She is a frequent contributor to Black Agenda Report with the column “CBC Monitor Watch”. Ms. Stills is also an active member of Progressive Democrats of America – Northern Virginia chapter. A native of Oakland, California, Ms. Stills resides in the Metro Washington, DC area.

Main Blogging Subjects On JJP: Congressional Black Caucus, Tavis Smiley, Michelle & Barack Obama, Pop Culture, Society and more

See Leutisha/CPL’s posts >>

“B-Serious” joined the team in late spring, 2008. I created, and still write for another blog, Operation Reach B.L.A.C.K.

If you’ve ever seen School Daze, I can best be described as “Dap” (Laurence Fishburne with the megaphone). That’s how I roll. In college I was Mr. Black Student Union. . . the brotha with a plan, always holdin’ it down for the cause (whatever that cause may be). In law school I worked on matters from voting rights to discrimination and civil rights/civil liberties. Ask my friends about me and they’ll likely say the same thing . . .“Dang, that brotha be serious!”

Hence, the name, “B-Serious.”

I am a strong believer in the cultivation and promotion of black thought. I love the exchange of ideas, the wealth of information and honest dialogue. It’s a beautiful thing when done in the spirit of community and respect. It’s important to create an environment that promotes black intellect. . .we need more of it! We, as a people, grow together. Black is a beautiful thing.

Main Blogging Subjects On JJP: Obama’s Weekly Address, Political and social commentary.

See B-Serious’ posts>>

Casey Gane-McCalla is the assistant editor for NewsOne. He previously worked as a teacher/community organizer in the South Bronx and as a Hip Hop artist. He is half white South African and half black Jamaican and graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Political Science.

Main Blogging Subjects On JJP: Neo-Cons, Neo-Nazis & Neo-McVeighs, Hip Hop, Social & Political Commentary

See Casey’s posts >>

Jonathan Pitts-Wiley (aka “Marcus Toussaint”)

Rhode Island native. Scourge of the ridiculous. That sound you hear is his soapbox creaking. Jonathan also gets it in at The Root, Pitts Indeed and his Book of Odds blog “The Re-Education of Jon Pitts-Wiley.” Follow him on Twitter @pittswiley

Main Blogging Subjects On JJP: Coming soon…
See Jonathan/Marcus’ Posts >>

Fredric Mitchell is the former owner of the Young Black Professional Guide, a blog started in 2006, and rotational blogger at Black Web 2.0. He is an avid Drupal developer and serves on the web team at the University of Chicago while running his freelance business, Bright Plum. He is balanced in life by his beautiful wife and son (named after his father), and supports, directly and indirectly, many of the influential Black social media personalities in the Twitterverse. You can follow him @fredricmitchell

Main Blogging Subjects On JJP: Solution-oriented posts that are not as frequent, Historical relevancy to today’s issues, Financial and Technological Literacy, Light Political Commentary.

See Fredric’s posts >>

Contributors Emeritus

Adam Serwer (aka “dnA”) dnA began blogging with JJP in XXX. After contributing mightily in the comment area as well as his own blog at the time (hatian something?). Having completed his studies at Columbia School of Journalism, Adam now writes full time for The American Prospect in Washington DC. We keep an eye on him, and he maintains lifetime blogging rights at JJP. We are so proud!

Guest Contributors

As JJP has grown in maturity, reach and influence, we have sought to expand the range of ideas that are exchanged on these pages. Through online and offline connections, we have built relationships with a number of organizations whose missions are consistent with the interests of our community. So, from time to time, representatives from those groups participate in the community directly by blogging here. We are proud to work with such a diverse and distinguished set of folks all working to not just blog about the world, but also create a better one.

James Rucker is co-founder and executive director of ColorOfChange.org, a group often described as an NAACP 2.0 for the 21st century. ColorOfChange.org exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice by empowering its members—Black Americans and our allies—to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.

CoC uses the Internet to enable its members to speak in unison and keep them informed about the most pressing issues for Black people in America. Most importantly, ColorOfChange.org gives members ways to act, lobbying elected representatives or bringing attention to issues by holding coordinated events, running ads, and demanding that the news media cover our issues.

JJP and ColorOfChange.org have worked together since the spring of 2007, and the blog posts here at JJP and the conversations they generate in the comments have been a consistent source of insight and inspiration for ColorOfChange.

See James’s posts >>

Van Jones is a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean-energy economy. Van is a co-founder of three successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green For All. He is the best-selling author of the definitive book on green jobs: The Green-Collar Economy. He served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009.Van is currently a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress. Additionally, he is a senior policy advisor at Green For All.

Van also holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

See Van’s posts >>

Rinku Sen is the president and executive director of The Applied Research Center, a racial justice think tank that also publishes ColorLines magazine. ARC is built on rigorous research and creative use of new technology. Its goal is to popularize the need for racial justice and prepare people to fight for it. By telling the stories of everyday people, ARC is a voice for unity and fairness in the structures that affect our lives.

To fight structural racism, we must be able to document it, promote equity theories, stimulate discussion and highlight real solutions. We value alliances and coalitions in bringing about change, and we unify sectors of the movement that should be working cooperatively. We’re huge fans and friends of JJP because we share the goal of popularizing solutions to the racial divide and preparing people to fight for them.

See Rinku’s posts >>

Adam Luna is the political director for America’s Voice, a campaign set up to pass comprehensive immigration reform. He loves JJP and uses his soapbox here to share some musings about the irrational politics of improving the lives of people of color. As the number of hate groups and hate crimes skyrocket, fascist revolutionaries are considered “balance” on the news, and notorious racists have become crusaders for black people with bogus claims that Latinos are taking your jobs, crusading against the “illegals” has become cover for a vote against healthcare, housing, education, you name it.

Consider Adam the guy who reads Nazi blogs so you don’t have to. A Latino canary in the coalmine, watching out for opportunities to fight back or just laugh at those who are terrified of a more beautifully diverse America. He encourages you to join the effort to kick the extreme back to the fringe where it belongs.

See Adam’s posts >>

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins is the CEO of Green For All, a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean-energy economy. Her accomplishments include assembling a civil rights coalition that successfully lobbied for two significant improvements to the House version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act: securing funding for job training, and guaranteeing broad access to clean energy jobs. These are the Act’s only provisions creating opportunity for low-income people and people of color.

Phaedra offers JJP a connection to tangible action and a path to a more economically and environmentally empowered future for our community.

Past guest bloggers from Green For All include Julian Mocine-McQueen and Van Jones.
(Disclosure: As of Feb 26, 2010 Green For All is a client of Cheryl Contee’s firm Fission Strategy.)

See Phaedra’s posts >>

Kamala Harris is a criminal advocate and the current District Attorney of San Francisco. She was first elected in 2003, defeating incumbent district attorney Terence Hallinan. She was re-elected in 2007. She was also cited by the New York Times to be among the seventeen most likely women to become the first female President of the United States.[1]Harris attended the historically African American college, Howard University in Washington, D.C. and received aJuris Doctor (J.D.) from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1989. She is the daughter of anTamil Indian mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan, a breast cancer specialist, who immigrated to the United States fromChennai, Tamil Nadu, India in 1960, and a Jamaican American father, Stanford University economics professor Donald Harris.

See Kamala’s posts >>

Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats


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Ain’t Like All The Rest

Jack and Jill Politics is not affiliated with Jack and Jill of America, Jack and Jill Magazine, "Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill to Fetch a Pail of Water" nor any of the other Jack and Jills out there on the Google. Just so's you know.