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Paket Umroh 2015

Biro Travel Umroh Jakarta Melayani Biaya Harga Paket Umroh Murah Promo Hemat dan Plus Turki Desember 2015 - Januari | Februari | Maret | April 2016. Paket Umroh 2015

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Masjidil Haram adalah sebuah masjid di kota Mekkah, yang ditengah-tengahnya terdapat bangunan Kakbah. Masjidil Haram adalah tempat tersuci di Bumi bagi umat Islam.

Masjid ini juga merupakan tujuan utama bagi umat Islam dalam ibadah haji. Masjid ini pula merupakan kiblat shalat umat Islam dari seluruh dunia.

Sebelum anda pergi ada baiknya mempelajari denah Masjidil Haram agar tidak tersesat saat beribadah di Masjidil Haram.

Menjelang hari wukuf, jutaan umat Muslim dari penjuru dunia memadati pelataran masjidil haram terutama saat Shalat Jumat, untuk itu diperlukan kesabaran bagi calon jamaah haji.

Kepadatan di Masjidil Haram juga terjadi setelah jamaah haji melempar Jumrah Aqabah ribuan jamaah haji akan melakukan Tawaf Ifadah di Masjidil Haram  yang merupakan rukun haji terakhir


Sumber : http://www.jurnalhaji.com/rukun-haji/masjidil-haram/#sthash.9glweGz8.dpuf

Baca Artikel Lainnya : TINGGALKAN WAJIB HAJI, BOLEH DIGANTI DAM?

MASJIDIL HARAM

Haji dan umrah adalah ritual keagamaan yang sejak lama sudah dikenal oleh manusia. Meski ibadah tersebut kini identik dengan umat Islam, namun sebenarnya umat nabi-nabi terdahulu sudah lebih dulu melaksanakannya.

Ibadah haji sudah dikenal sejak zaman Nabi Adam AS, namun pelaksanaannya masih sangat sederhana dan jauh berbeda dibandingkan dengan ibadah haji yang dilakukan oleh umat Islam saat ini. Menurut Ibnu Abbas RA, setelah membangun Kabah, Adam AS berputar mengelilinginya hingga tujuh kali putaran.

Menurut Abdullah Ibnu Abi Sulaiman, setelah merampungkan tawaf tujuh kali, Adam mengerjakan shalat dua rakaat di depan pintu Kabah dan kemudian berdoa di pintu Multazam. Dalam berbagai riwayat, doa-doa yang dipanjatkan oleh Nabi Adam AS sangat beragam, namun intinya sama, yaitu permohonan kepada Allah SWT agar bersedia mengampuni dosa-dosanya.

Di samping itu ia juga meminta agar anak-cucunya didatangkan untuk berhaji ke Baitullah, dipenuhi segala kebutuhan hidupnya, diteguhkan imannya, dan dibimbing agar senantiasa ridha menerima cobaan atau musibah yang menimpanya.

Beberapa utusan Allah yang hidup pasca Nabi Adam AS seperti Nuh AS, Hud AS, dan Shaleh AS juga mengerjakan ibadah haji ke Baitullah namun dengan tata cara yang tidak sama. Perbedaan tata cara itu disebabkan oleh latar belakang waktu dan tempat di mana nabi-nabi itu diutus berbeda-beda.

Syariat yang dibawa oleh nabi-nabi terus berkembang menuju titik kesempurnaan, dan di tangan Nabi Muhammad SAW kesempurnaan itu akhirnya terwujud. Meski ritual haji di antara para nabi berbeda-beda, akidah atau keyakinan mereka tetap sama, yaitu beriman kepada Tuhan Yang Mahaesa.

Sumber : Republika.co.id

Baca Artikel Lainnya : TANAH SUCI YNG DAMAI

SYARIAT IBADAH HAJI DARI NABI-NABI

saco-indonesia.com,

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don't like your girlfriend
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I know that you like me
No way! No way!
You know it's not a secret
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to be your girlfriend

You're so fine, I want you mine, You're so delicious
I think about you all the time, You're so addictive
Don't you know what I can do to make you feel all right?

Don't pretend, I think you know I'm damn precious
And hell yeah, I'm the mother fucking princess
I can tell you like me too, and you know I'm right

She's like, so whatever
You can do so much better
I think we should get together now
And that's what everyone's talking about

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don't like your girlfriend
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I know that you like me
No way! No way!
You know it's not a secret
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to be your girlfriend

I can see the way, I see the way you look at me
And even when you look away, I know you think of me
I know you talk about me all the time again and again (and again, and again, and again)

So come over here and tell me what I wanna hear
Or better, yet, make your girlfriend disappear
I don't wanna hear you say her name ever again (and again, and again, and again)

Because...
[- From: http://www.elyrics.net -]

She's like so whatever
You can do so much better
I think we should get together now
And that's what everyone's talking about

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don't like your girlfriend
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I know that you like me
No way! No way!
You know it's not a secret
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to be your girlfriend

In a second you'll be wrapped around my finger
'Cause I can, 'cause I can do it better
There's no other, so when's it gonna sink in
She's so stupid, what the hell were you thinking?

In a second you'll be wrapped around my finger
'Cause I can, 'cause I can do it better
There's no other, so when's it gonna sink in
She's so stupid, what the hell were you thinking?

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don't like your girlfriend
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I know that you like me
No way! No way!
You know it's not a secret
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to be your girlfriend

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don't like your girlfriend
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I know that you like me
No way! No way!
You know it's not a secret
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I want to be your girlfriend

Hey Hey!

Editor : dian sukmawati 

AVRIL LAVIGNE GRIL FRIEND

TANGERANG, Saco- Indonesia.com — Dua orang rampok bersenjata pistol dan pisau merampok Mini Market di Jalan Pembangunan 3, Kelurahan Karang Sari, Kecamatan Neglasari, Kota Tangerang, Selasa kemarin. Penjahat itu mengambil uang tunai dari mesin kasir Rp 2,7 juta.

Perampokan terjadi pada Selasa (4/6/2013) petang, sekitar pukul 18.00. Setelah itu, Imas (25), karyawan minimarket itu, melaporkan perampokan tersebut ke Polsek Neglasari.

Menurut Imas, ketika dia sendirian menjaga toko, karena dua temannya sedang istirahat di mes karyawan, datang dua laki-laki yang tidak dikenalnya. Salah seorang dari mereka langsung menghampiri Imas dengan menodongkan pistol, sementara yang membawa pisau, berjaga di pintu masuk toko.

Perampok yang berpistol langsung meminta Imas menyerahkan uang yang ada di laci kasirnya. Imas yang ketakutan, langsung memberi. Namun, karena jumlah uang itu hanya beberapa puluh ribu saja, penodong minta lagi. Perampok menyuruh Imas membuka laci kasir lagi sehingga total uang yang diambil rampok mencapai Rp 2,7 juta.

Setelah mendapat uang tersebut, kedua rampok kabur dengan berboncengan motor. Imas lalu memberi tahu dua karyawan temannya, yang kemudian bergegas ke luar toko untuk mengejar. Namun, perampok sudah tidak terkejar.

 

Editor :Liwon Maulana

Sumber:Kompas.com

Ditodong Pistol, Pegawai Mini Market Serahkan Uang Rp 2,7 Juta

HAJI

Ibadah Haji mengikut kebiasaan sebutan orang adalah ‘haji besar’ dan ibadah Umrah pula disebut ‘haji kecil’. Musim Haji bermula daripada 1 Syawal hingga 10 Zulhijjah (hari raya puasa hingga hari raya haji), manakala Umrah boleh dilakukan pada bila-bila masa termasuk di luar musim haji. Dari segi syarak pula ianya adalah mengunjungi Baitullahil Haram di Mekah untuk mengerjakan ibadat-ibadat yang tertentu di sana.

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Menunaikan Haji

Menunaikan haji adalah rukun Islam kelima dan ia dikerjakan hanya di sekitar tanah suci Mekah serta masanya hanya dari 9 hingga 13 Zulhijah. Haji menurut syarak adalah mengunjungi Baitullah (Rumah Allah) di Mekah untuk beribadat ‘manasik’ (tawaf, saie, bergunting) dan wukuf pada waktu serta syarat-syarat tertentu dalam bulan Zulhijah.

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Firman Allah SWT: “Dan Allah mewajibkan ke atas manusia mengerjakan ibadat haji dengan mengunjungi Baitullah iaitu sesiapa yang mampu dan berkuasa untuk sampai ke sana. Dan sesiapa yang kufur (ingkar kewajipan haji itu), maka sesungguhnya Allah Maha Kaya (tidak berhajatkan sesuatu pun) dari sekalian makhluk.” (Surah Al-Imran, ayat 97)

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Ibadat haji hanya diwajibkan kepada Muslim yang berkemampuan dari segi kewangan, kesihatan fizikal dan juga mental. Allah membuka ruang dan memudahkan semua hamba-Nya menziarahi, mendekatkan diri dan bermunajat kepada-Nya serta memohon limpah Rahmat-Nya dan Hidayah-Nya. Ibadat haji adalah satu-satunya peluang keemasan untuk kita mengadap Allah secara lebih dekat.

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Firman Allah dalam surah al-Hajj: “Dan serulah manusia untuk mengerjakan haji, nescaya mereka akan datang kepada-Mu dengan berjalan kaki, atau mengenderai setiap unta yang kurus, mereka datang dari segenap penjuru yang jauh agar mereka menyaksikan berbagai-bagai manfaat untuk mereka dan agar mereka menyebut nama Allah pada beberapa hari (hari raya haji dan tasyrik) yang telah ditentukan.”

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Pemergian ke kota Makkah atau Arafah bukan semata-mata perjalanan jasad, tetapi perjalanan ‘rabbani’ iaitu perjalanan berserta ketulusan hati dan rohani ke arah menemui Allah SWT serta mengeratkan jalinan hubungan antara Allah sebagai Khalik (Pencipta) yang menjadikan alam sebagai makhluk-Nya dan manusia sebagai khalifah-Nya.

Firman Allah SWT.: “Dan sempurnakanlah ibadat haji dan umrah kerana Allah.” (Surah al-Baqarah, ayat 196).

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Haji dan Umrah, kedua-duanya hanya wajib sekali saja seumur hidup dan sunat dikerjakan berulang-ulang kali. Perbezaan jelas antara kedua-duanya ialah haji hanya boleh dikerjakan dalam bulan haji iaitu mulai 1 Syawal hingga naik fajar hari 10 Zulhijah.

.

Allah menyediakan ganjaran cukup besar bagi sesiapa yang mengerjakan umrah dan haji pada bulan ini. Rasulullah SAW bersabda: “Daripada satu umrah ke umrah berikutnya adalah penghapus semua kesalahan serta dosa yang berlaku antara keduanya. Haji yang mabrur (yang dilakukan dengan ikhlas dan sempurna) itu tidak ada ganjarannya yang setimpal melainkan syurga.” (Hadis riwayat Bukhari dan Muslim).

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Niat Haji dan Umrah

1.  Niat mengerjakan Haji:
نَوَيْتُ الْحَجَّ وَأَحْرَمْتُ بِهِ لِلَّهِ تَعَاَلَى

Daku mengerjakan Haji dan berihram dengannya kerana Allah Ta’ala.

2.  Niat mengerjakan Umrah:
نَوَيْتُ الْعُمْرَةَ وَأَحْرَمْتُ بِهَا لِلَّهِ تَعَاَلَى

Daku mengerjakan Umrah dan berihram dengannya, kerana Allah Ta’ala.

3.  Niat mengerjakan Haji dan Umrah serentak (Haji Qiran):
نَوَيْتُ الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ وَأَحْرَمْتُ بِـهِمَا لِلَّهِ تَعَاَلَى

Daku mengerjakan Haji dan Umrah serta berihram dengan kedua-duanya, kerana Allah Ta’ala.

.

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FADILAT HAJI

Antara hadis Rasulullah SAW yang menghuraikan mengenai kelebihan ibadat haji, umrah dan tanah suci Makkah ialah:

    Ibadat haji itu dapat menghilangkan dosa sebagaimana air dapat menghilangkan segala daki.
    Setiap hari Allah menurunkan 120 rahmat untuk orang yang mengerjakan haji di Baitullah; 60 rahmat untuk orang yang bertawaf, 40 rahmat untuk orang yang bersolat dan 20 rahmat untuk yang memandang kepada Kaabah.
    Haji yang mabrur ialah pekerjaan haji yang tidak bercampur dengan dosa sejak ihram hingga Tahalul.
    Sesiapa yang mengerjakan haji kerana Allah dan dia tidak merosakkannya dengan sebab bersetubuh dan tidak membuat sebarang maksiat, maka pulangnya kelak seperti bayi yang baru dilahirkan oleh ibunya.
    Iringilah hajimu dengan melakukan umrah, kerana kedua-duanya akan menghapuskan kemiskinan dan dosa, laksana relau yang membakar hangus segala kotoran besi, emas dan perak.
    Tiadalah ganjaran lain bagi haji yang mabrur melainkan Syurga.
    Hujjaj dan Ummar  (Jemaah Haji dan Umrah) semuanya tetamu Allah, jika mereka berdoa kepada-Nya akan diperkenankan, jika mereka pohonkan keampunan akan diampunkan.
    Dari umrah ke umrah adalah penghapus dosa antara keduanya. Haji yang mabrur tiadalah lain ganjarannya melainkan syurga.
    Sesiapa yang sabar menanggung sakit sehari di Makkah, maka Allah tulis pahala amal soleh yang dikerjakan olehnya di luar Makkah sebanyak 60 tahun.
    Sesiapa yang bersabar menanggung satu saat panas siang hari di Makkah, Allah akan menjauhkan dia 100 tahun lamanya di neraka Jahanam.
    Sesiapa yang meninggal dalam pelayaran ke Tanah Suci Makkah sama ada waktu pergi atau balik, segala dosanya tidak akan dipamerkan dan tidak akan dikira pada hari kiamat (diampunkan).
    Siapa yang meninggal di Makkah seolah-olah dia telah meninggal di langit dunia.
    Baitullah ini adalah tunjang Islam, siapa yang keluar kerana mengunjunginya untuk mengerjakan haji atau umrah, dia dijamin Allah, jika dia meninggal ia akan dimasukkan ke syurga-Nya, jika dia pulang, pulang dengan ganjaran dan harta.
    Perbelanjaan yang dikeluarkan untuk ibadat haji adalah seperti perbelanjaan untuk fisabilillah, satu dirham digandakan dengan 700 X.
    Satu dari tanda-tanda haji yang diterima ialah; Apabila ia melakukan kebaikan dan amalan melebihi dari sebelum pemergian ke Makkah dan tidak lagi terdorong ke arah perkara-perkara maksiat.

SYARAT WAJIB SAH HAJI

Haji diwajibkan sekali sahaja seumur hidup, apabila memenuhi syarat:

    Islam
    Baligh dan berakal (Mukallaf).
    Merdeka
    Berkemampuan dan berkuasa.
    Wanita mesti mendapat izin suami atau wali, dan ditemani oleh suami, mahram atau wanita yang dipercayai.

 .

 .
RUKUN HAJI

1.  Niat ihram
2.  Berwukuf di Arafah.
3.  Tawaf  Ifadah.
4.  Saie di antara Shafa dan Marwah.
5.  Bercukur atau bergunting rambut (Tahalul).
6.  Tertib pada kebanyakan rukun.

Jika tertinggal salah satu rukun atau tidak mengikut syaratnya maka Haji / Umrahnya TIDAK SAH (BATAL) dan terpaksa mengqadakannya semula dengan segera kerana masih di dalam ihram (pantang larang).

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BATAL HAJI

    Tidak melakukan semua rukun haji dengan sempurna mengikut syarat-syaratnya.
    Tidak melakukan dan hadir sendiri di tempat ibadat dan dalam masa yang ditetapkan, walaupun boleh dengan bantuan orang lain.
    Melakukan persetubuhan semasa ihram kecuali sesudah tahallul awal.
    Hilang akal atau pengsan sepanjang menunaikan haji.
    Membatalkan niat ibadat oleh sesuatu keadaan.
    Murtad.

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SYARAT WAJIB MENGERJAKAN HAJI

    Niat ihram di Miqat.
    Menjaga larangan dalam ihram.
    Bermalam di Mudzalifah.
    Melontar Jamrah Al-Aqabah.
    Bermalam di Mina.
    Melontar ketiga-tiga jamrah pada hari-hari Tasyriq.

Sekiranya tertinggal salah satu daripadanya HAJI / UMRAHNYA SAH tetapi diwajibkan dam

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SIMBOLIK RUKUN DAN WAJIB HAJI (Klik Di Sini)

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Slide Haji Dan Umrah
Ibadat Haji & Umrah Jenis Haji & Umrah

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Artikel Seterusnya Klik Tajuk-Tajuk Di Bawah…

JENIS-JENIS HAJI  (Klik Di Sini)

IHRAM  (Klik Di Sini)

MIQAT   (Klik Di Sini)

TAHALUL  (Klik Di Sini)

TAWAF  (Klik Di Sini)

SAIE  (Klik Di Sini)

WUKUF DI ARAFAH   (Klik Di Sini)

DOA MALAM ARAFAH   (Klik Di Sini)

MABIT DI MUDZALIFAH   (Klik Di Sini)

MELONTAR   (Klik Di Sini)

DAM   (Klik Di Sini)

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HIKMAH HAJI

    Menghapuskan dosa dan membersihkan jiwa.
    Mendapat keampunan dan ganjaran daripada Allah.
    Meningkatkan keimanan dan ketakwaan kepada Allah SWT.
    Memahami dan mengayati sejarah kecemerlangan Islam dengan mendalam.
    Melahirkan rasa syukur atas nikmat harta dan kesihatan yang diberikan Allah.
    Menimbulkan rasa keinsafan di dalam hati kerana ketika mengerjakan haji, kerana semua hamba Allah itu sama saja keadaannya dan tanggungan beban sama ada yang kaya, miskin, raja atau rakyat biasa.

Sumber : http://shafiqolbu.wordpress.com

Baca Artikel Lainnya : PERBEDAAN HAJI DAN UMRAH

FADILAH HAJI DAN UMRAH

Mr. Mankiewicz, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for “I Want to Live!,” also wrote episodes of television shows such as “Star Trek” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

Don Mankiewicz, Screenwriter in a Family Film Tradition, Dies at 93

Even as a high school student, Dave Goldberg was urging female classmates to speak up. As a young dot-com executive, he had one girlfriend after another, but fell hard for a driven friend named Sheryl Sandberg, pining after her for years. After they wed, Mr. Goldberg pushed her to negotiate hard for high compensation and arranged his schedule so that he could be home with their children when she was traveling for work.

Mr. Goldberg, who died unexpectedly on Friday, was a genial, 47-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur who built his latest company, SurveyMonkey, from a modest enterprise to one recently valued by investors at $2 billion. But he was also perhaps the signature male feminist of his era: the first major chief executive in memory to spur his wife to become as successful in business as he was, and an essential figure in “Lean In,” Ms. Sandberg’s blockbuster guide to female achievement.

Over the weekend, even strangers were shocked at his death, both because of his relatively young age and because they knew of him as the living, breathing, car-pooling center of a new philosophy of two-career marriage.

“They were very much the role models for what this next generation wants to grapple with,” said Debora L. Spar, the president of Barnard College. In a 2011 commencement speech there, Ms. Sandberg told the graduates that whom they married would be their most important career decision.

In the play “The Heidi Chronicles,” revived on Broadway this spring, a male character who is the founder of a media company says that “I don’t want to come home to an A-plus,” explaining that his ambitions require him to marry an unthreatening helpmeet. Mr. Goldberg grew up to hold the opposite view, starting with his upbringing in progressive Minneapolis circles where “there was woman power in every aspect of our lives,” Jeffrey Dachis, a childhood friend, said in an interview.

The Goldberg parents read “The Feminine Mystique” together — in fact, Mr. Goldberg’s father introduced it to his wife, according to Ms. Sandberg’s book. In 1976, Paula Goldberg helped found a nonprofit to aid children with disabilities. Her husband, Mel, a law professor who taught at night, made the family breakfast at home.

Later, when Dave Goldberg was in high school and his prom date, Jill Chessen, stayed silent in a politics class, he chastised her afterward. He said, “You need to speak up,” Ms. Chessen recalled in an interview. “They need to hear your voice.”

Years later, when Karin Gilford, an early employee at Launch Media, Mr. Goldberg’s digital music company, became a mother, he knew exactly what to do. He kept giving her challenging assignments, she recalled, but also let her work from home one day a week. After Yahoo acquired Launch, Mr. Goldberg became known for distributing roses to all the women in the office on Valentine’s Day.

Ms. Sandberg, who often describes herself as bossy-in-a-good-way, enchanted him when they became friendly in the mid-1990s. He “was smitten with her,” Ms. Chessen remembered. Ms. Sandberg was dating someone else, but Mr. Goldberg still hung around, even helping her and her then-boyfriend move, recalled Bob Roback, a friend and co-founder of Launch. When they finally married in 2004, friends remember thinking how similar the two were, and that the qualities that might have made Ms. Sandberg intimidating to some men drew Mr. Goldberg to her even more.

Over the next decade, Mr. Goldberg and Ms. Sandberg pioneered new ways of capturing information online, had a son and then a daughter, became immensely wealthy, and hashed out their who-does-what-in-this-marriage issues. Mr. Goldberg’s commute from the Bay Area to Los Angeles became a strain, so he relocated, later joking that he “lost the coin flip” of where they would live. He paid the bills, she planned the birthday parties, and both often left their offices at 5:30 so they could eat dinner with their children before resuming work afterward.

Friends in Silicon Valley say they were careful to conduct their careers separately, politely refusing when outsiders would ask one about the other’s work: Ms. Sandberg’s role building Facebook into an information and advertising powerhouse, and Mr. Goldberg at SurveyMonkey, which made polling faster and cheaper. But privately, their work was intertwined. He often began statements to his team with the phrase “Well, Sheryl said” sharing her business advice. He counseled her, too, starting with her salary negotiations with Mark Zuckerberg.

“I wanted Mark to really feel he stretched to get Sheryl, because she was worth it,” Mr. Goldberg explained in a 2013 “60 Minutes” interview, his Minnesota accent and his smile intact as he offered a rare peek of the intersection of marriage and money at the top of corporate life.

 

 

While his wife grew increasingly outspoken about women’s advancement, Mr. Goldberg quietly advised the men in the office on family and partnership matters, an associate said. Six out of 16 members of SurveyMonkey’s management team are female, an almost unheard-of ratio among Silicon Valley “unicorns,” or companies valued at over $1 billion.

When Mellody Hobson, a friend and finance executive, wrote a chapter of “Lean In” about women of color for the college edition of the book, Mr. Goldberg gave her feedback on the draft, a clue to his deep involvement. He joked with Ms. Hobson that she was too long-winded, like Ms. Sandberg, but aside from that, he said he loved the chapter, she said in an interview.

By then, Mr. Goldberg was a figure of fascination who inspired a “where can I get one of those?” reaction among many of the women who had read the best seller “Lean In.” Some lamented that Ms. Sandberg’s advice hinged too much on marrying a Dave Goldberg, who was humble enough to plan around his wife, attentive enough to worry about which shoes his young daughter would wear, and rich enough to help pay for the help that made the family’s balancing act manageable.

Now that he is gone, and Ms. Sandberg goes from being half of a celebrated partnership to perhaps the business world’s most prominent single mother, the pages of “Lean In” carry a new sting of loss.

“We are never at 50-50 at any given moment — perfect equality is hard to define or sustain — but we allow the pendulum to swing back and forth between us,” she wrote in 2013, adding that they were looking forward to raising teenagers together.

“Fortunately, I have Dave to figure it out with me,” she wrote.

Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate

Public perceptions of race relations in America have grown substantially more negative in the aftermath of the death of a young black man who was injured while in police custody in Baltimore and the subsequent unrest, far eclipsing the sentiment recorded in the wake of turmoil in Ferguson, Mo., last summer.

Americans are also increasingly likely to say that the police are more apt to use deadly force against a black person, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds.

The poll findings highlight the challenges for local leaders and police officials in trying to maintain order while sustaining faith in the criminal justice system in a racially polarized nation.

Sixty-one percent of Americans now say race relations in this country are generally bad. That figure is up sharply from 44 percent after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown and the unrest that followed in Ferguson in August, and 43 percent in December. In a CBS News poll just two months ago, 38 percent said race relations were generally bad. Current views are by far the worst of Barack Obama’s presidency.

The negative sentiment is echoed by broad majorities of blacks and whites alike, a stark change from earlier this year, when 58 percent of blacks thought race relations were bad, but just 35 percent of whites agreed. In August, 48 percent of blacks and 41 percent of whites said they felt that way.

Looking ahead, 44 percent of Americans think race relations are worsening, up from 36 percent in December. Forty-one percent of blacks and 46 percent of whites think so. Pessimism among whites has increased 10 points since December.

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Do you think race relations in the United States are generally good or generally bad?
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White
Black
May '14
May '15
Generally bad
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Do you think race relations in the United States are getting better, getting worse or staying about the same?
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The poll finds that profound racial divisions in views of how the police use deadly force remain. Blacks are more than twice as likely to say police in most communities are more apt to use deadly force against a black person — 79 percent of blacks say so compared with 37 percent of whites. A slim majority of whites say race is not a factor in a police officer’s decision to use deadly force.

Overall, 44 percent of Americans say deadly force is more likely to be used against a black person, up from 37 percent in August and 40 percent in December.

Blacks also remain far more likely than whites to say they feel mostly anxious about the police in their community. Forty-two percent say so, while 51 percent feel mostly safe. Among whites, 8 in 10 feel mostly safe.

One proposal to address the matter — having on-duty police officers wear body cameras — receives overwhelming support. More than 9 in 10 whites and blacks alike favor it.

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How would you describe your feelings about the police in your community? Would you say they make you feel mostly safe or mostly anxious?
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Mostly anxious
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Blacks
75%
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3
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In general, do you think the police in most communities are more likely to use deadly force against a black person, or more likely to use it against a white person, or don’t you think race affects police use of deadly force?
Police more likely to use deadly force against a black person
Police more likely to use deadly force against a white person
Race DOES NOT affect police use of deadly force
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Do you favor or oppose on-duty police officers wearing video cameras that would record events and actions as they occur?
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Asked specifically about the situation in Baltimore, most Americans expressed at least some confidence that the investigation by local authorities would be conducted fairly. But while nearly two-thirds of whites think so, fewer than half of blacks agree. Still, more blacks are confident now than were in August regarding the investigation in Ferguson. On Friday, six members of the police force involved in the arrest of Mr. Gray were charged with serious offenses, including manslaughter. The poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday; results from before charges were announced are similar to those from after.

Reaction to the recent turmoil in Baltimore, however, is similar among blacks and whites. Most Americans, 61 percent, say the unrest after Mr. Gray’s death was not justified. That includes 64 percent of whites and 57 percent of blacks.

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As you may know, a Baltimore man, Freddie Gray, recently died after being in the custody of the Baltimore police. How much confidence do you have that the investigation by local authorities into this matter will be conducted fairly?
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In general, do you think the unrest in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray was justified, or do you think the unrest was not justified?
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28%
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37
57
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Negative View of U.S. Race Relations Grows, Poll Finds

Late in April, after Native American actors walked off in disgust from the set of Adam Sandler’s latest film, a western sendup that its distributor, Netflix, has defended as being equally offensive to all, a glow of pride spread through several Native American communities.

Tantoo Cardinal, a Canadian indigenous actress who played Black Shawl in “Dances With Wolves,” recalled thinking to herself, “It’s come.” Larry Sellers, who starred as Cloud Dancing in the 1990s television show “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” thought, “It’s about time.” Jesse Wente, who is Ojibwe and directs film programming at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, found himself encouraged and surprised. There are so few film roles for indigenous actors, he said, that walking off the set of a major production showed real mettle.

But what didn’t surprise Mr. Wente was the content of the script. According to the actors who walked off the set, the film, titled “The Ridiculous Six,” included a Native American woman who passes out and is revived after white men douse her with alcohol, and another woman squatting to urinate while lighting a peace pipe. “There’s enough history at this point to have set some expectations around these sort of Hollywood depictions,” Mr. Wente said.

The walkout prompted a rhetorical “What do you expect from an Adam Sandler film?,” and a Netflix spokesman said that in the movie, blacks, Mexicans and whites were lampooned as well. But Native American actors and critics said a broader issue was at stake. While mainstream portrayals of native peoples have, Mr. Wente said, become “incrementally better” over the decades, he and others say, they remain far from accurate and reflect a lack of opportunities for Native American performers. What’s more, as Native Americans hunger for representation on screen, critics say the absence of three-dimensional portrayals has very real off-screen consequences.

“Our people are still healing from historical trauma,” said Loren Anthony, one of the actors who walked out. “Our youth are still trying to figure out who they are, where they fit in this society. Kids are killing themselves. They’re not proud of who they are.” They also don’t, he added, see themselves on prime time television or the big screen. Netflix noted while about five people walked off the “The Ridiculous Six” set, 100 or so Native American actors and extras stayed.

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But in interviews, nearly a dozen Native American actors and film industry experts said that Mr. Sandler’s humor perpetuated decades-old negative stereotypes. Mr. Anthony said such depictions helped feed the despondency many Native Americans feel, with deadly results: Native Americans have the highest suicide rate out of all the country’s ethnicities.

The on-screen problem is twofold, Mr. Anthony and others said: There’s a paucity of roles for Native Americans — according to the Screen Actors Guild in 2008 they accounted for 0.3 percent of all on-screen parts (those figures have yet to be updated), compared to about 2 percent of the general population — and Native American actors are often perceived in a narrow way.

In his Peabody Award-winning documentary “Reel Injun,” the Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond explored Hollywood depictions of Native Americans over the years, and found they fell into a few stereotypical categories: the Noble Savage, the Drunk Indian, the Mystic, the Indian Princess, the backward tribal people futilely fighting John Wayne and manifest destiny. While the 1990 film “Dances With Wolves” won praise for depicting Native Americans as fully fleshed out human beings, not all indigenous people embraced it. It was still told, critics said, from the colonialists’ point of view. In an interview, John Trudell, a Santee Sioux writer, actor (“Thunderheart”) and the former chairman of the American Indian Movement, described the film as “a story of two white people.”

“God bless ‘Dances with Wolves,’ ” Michael Horse, who played Deputy Hawk in “Twin Peaks,” said sarcastically. “Even ‘Avatar.’ Someone’s got to come save the tribal people.”

Dan Spilo, a partner at Industry Entertainment who represents Adam Beach, one of today’s most prominent Native American actors, said while typecasting dogs many minorities, it is especially intractable when it comes to Native Americans. Casting directors, he said, rarely cast them as police officers, doctors or lawyers. “There’s the belief that the Native American character should be on reservations or riding a horse,” he said.

“We don’t see ourselves,” Mr. Horse said. “We’re still an antiquated culture to them, and to the rest of the world.”

Ms. Cardinal said she was once turned down for the role of the wife of a child-abusing cop because the filmmakers felt that casting her would somehow be “too political.”

Another sore point is the long run of white actors playing American Indians, among them Burt Lancaster, Rock Hudson, Audrey Hepburn and, more recently, Johnny Depp, whose depiction of Tonto in the 2013 film “Lone Ranger,” was viewed as racist by detractors. There are, of course, exceptions. The former A&E series “Longmire,” which, as it happens, will now be on Netflix, was roundly praised for its depiction of life on a Northern Cheyenne reservation, with Lou Diamond Phillips, who is of Cherokee descent, playing a Northern Cheyenne man.

Others also point to the success of Mr. Beach, who played a Mohawk detective in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and landed a starring role in the forthcoming D C Comics picture “Suicide Squad.” Mr. Beach said he had come across insulting scripts backed by people who don’t see anything wrong with them.

“I’d rather starve than do something that is offensive to my ancestral roots,” Mr. Beach said. “But I think there will always be attempts to drawn on the weakness of native people’s struggles. The savage Indian will always be the savage Indian. The white man will always be smarter and more cunning. The cavalry will always win.”

The solution, Mr. Wente, Mr. Trudell and others said, lies in getting more stories written by and starring Native Americans. But Mr. Wente noted that while independent indigenous film has blossomed in the last two decades, mainstream depictions have yet to catch up. “You have to stop expecting for Hollywood to correct it, because there seems to be no ability or desire to correct it,” Mr. Wente said.

There have been calls to boycott Netflix but, writing for Indian Country Today Media Network, which first broke news of the walk off, the filmmaker Brian Young noted that the distributor also offered a number of films by or about Native Americans.

The furor around “The Ridiculous Six” may drive more people to see it. Then one of the questions that Mr. Trudell, echoing others, had about the film will be answered: “Who the hell laughs at this stuff?”

Native American Actors Work to Overcome a Long-Documented Bias

Mr. Haroche was a founder of Liberty Travel, which grew from a two-man operation to the largest leisure travel operation in the United States.

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Ms. Rendell was a prolific writer of intricately plotted mystery novels that combined psychological insight, social conscience and teeth-chattering terror.

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GREENWICH, Conn. — Mago is in the bedroom. You can go in.

The big man lies on a hospital bed with his bare feet scraping its bottom rail. His head is propped on a scarlet pillow, the left temple dented, the right side paralyzed. His dark hair is kept just long enough to conceal the scars.

The occasional sounds he makes are understood only by his wife, but he still has that punctuating left hand. In slow motion, the fingers curl and close. A thumbs-up greeting.

Hello, Mago.

This is Magomed Abdusalamov, 34, also known as the Russian Tyson, also known as Mago. He is a former heavyweight boxer who scored four knockouts and 14 technical knockouts in his first 18 professional fights. He preferred to stand between rounds. Sitting conveyed weakness.

But Mago lost his 19th fight, his big chance, at the packed Theater at Madison Square Garden in November 2013. His 19th decision, and his last.

Now here he is, in a small bedroom in a working-class neighborhood in Greenwich, in a modest house his family rents cheap from a devoted friend. The air-pressure machine for his mattress hums like an expectant crowd.

 

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Mike Perez, left, and Magomed Abdusalamov during the fight in which Abdusalamov was injured. Credit Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

 

Today is like any other day, except for those days when he is hurried in crisis to the hospital. Every three hours during the night, his slight wife, Bakanay, 28, has risen to turn his 6-foot-3 body — 210 pounds of dead weight. It has to be done. Infections of the gaping bedsore above his tailbone have nearly killed him.

Then, with the help of a young caretaker, Baka has gotten two of their daughters off to elementary school and settled down the toddler. Yes, Mago and Baka are blessed with all girls, but they had also hoped for a son someday.

They feed Mago as they clean him; it’s easier that way. For breakfast, which comes with a side of crushed antiseizure pills, he likes oatmeal with a squirt of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. But even oatmeal must be puréed and fed to him by spoon.

He opens his mouth to indicate more, the way a baby does. But his paralysis has made everything a choking hazard. His water needs a stirring of powdered food thickener, and still he chokes — eh-eh-eh — as he tries to cough up what will not go down.

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Mago used to drink only water. No alcohol. Not even soda. A sip of juice would be as far as he dared. Now even water betrays him.

With the caretaker’s help, Baka uses a washcloth and soap to clean his body and shampoo his hair. How handsome still, she has thought. Sometimes, in the night, she leaves the bedroom to watch old videos, just to hear again his voice in the fullness of life. She cries, wipes her eyes and returns, feigning happiness. Mago must never see her sad.

 

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 Abdusalamov's hand being massaged. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

When Baka finishes, Mago is cleanshaven and fresh down to his trimmed and filed toenails. “I want him to look good,” she says.

Theirs was an arranged Muslim marriage in Makhachkala, in the Russian republic of Dagestan. He was 23, she was 18 and their future hinged on boxing. Sometimes they would shadowbox in love, her David to his Goliath. You are so strong, he would tell her.

His father once told him he could either be a bandit or an athlete, but if he chose banditry, “I will kill you.” This paternal advice, Mago later told The Ventura County Reporter, “made it a very easy decision for me.”

Mago won against mediocre competition, in Moscow and Hollywood, Fla., in Las Vegas and Johnstown, Pa. He was knocked down only once, and even then, it surprised more than hurt. He scored a technical knockout in the next round.

It all led up to this: the undercard at the Garden, Mike Perez vs. Magomed Abdusalamov, 10 rounds, on HBO. A win, he believed, would improve his chances of taking on the heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who sat in the crowd of 4,600 with his fiancée, the actress Hayden Panettiere, watching.

Wearing black-and-red trunks and a green mouth guard, Mago went to work. But in the first round, a hard forearm to his left cheek rocked him. At the bell, he returned to his corner, and this time, he sat down. “I think it’s broken,” he repeatedly said in Russian.

 

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Bakanay Abdusalamova, Abdusalamov's wife, and her injured husband and a masseur in the background. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

Maybe at that point, somebody — the referee, the ringside doctors, his handlers — should have stopped the fight, under a guiding principle: better one punch too early than one punch too late. But the bloody trade of blows continued into the seventh, eighth, ninth, a hand and orbital bone broken, his face transforming.

Meanwhile, in the family’s apartment in Miami, Baka forced herself to watch the broadcast. She could see it in his swollen eyes. Something was off.

After the final round, Perez raised his tattooed arms in victory, and Mago wandered off in a fog. He had taken 312 punches in about 40 minutes, for a purse of $40,000.

 

 

In the locker room, doctors sutured a cut above Mago’s left eye and tested his cognitive abilities. He did not do well. The ambulance that waits in expectation at every fight was not summoned by boxing officials.

Blood was pooling in Mago’s cranial cavity as he left the Garden. He vomited on the pavement while his handlers flagged a taxi to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. There, doctors induced a coma and removed part of his skull to drain fluids and ease the swelling.

Then came the stroke.

 

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A championship belt belonging to Abdusalamov and a card from one of his daughters. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

 

It is lunchtime now, and the aroma of puréed beef and potatoes lingers. So do the questions.

How will Mago and Baka pay the $2 million in medical bills they owe? What if their friend can no longer offer them this home? Will they win their lawsuits against the five ringside doctors, the referee, and a New York State boxing inspector? What about Mago’s future care?

Most of all: Is this it?

A napkin rests on Mago’s chest. As another spoonful of mush approaches, he opens his mouth, half-swallows, chokes, and coughs until it clears. Eh-eh-eh. Sometimes he turns bluish, but Baka never shows fear. Always happy for Mago.

Some days he is wheeled out for physical therapy or speech therapy. Today, two massage therapists come to knead his half-limp body like a pair of skilled corner men.

Soon, Mago will doze. Then his three daughters, ages 2, 6 and 9, will descend upon him to talk of their day. Not long ago, the oldest lugged his championship belt to school for a proud show-and-tell moment. Her classmates were amazed at the weight of it.

Then, tonight, there will be more puréed food and pulverized medication, more coughing, and more tender care from his wife, before sleep comes.

Goodbye, Mago.

He half-smiles, raises his one good hand, and forms a fist.

Meet Mago, Former Heavyweight

At the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Suzman’s signature accomplishment was the central role he played in creating a global network of surveys on aging.

Richard Suzman, 72, Dies; Researcher Influenced Global Surveys on Aging

The 2015 Met Gala has only officially begun, but there's a clear leader in the race for best couple, no small feat at an event that threatens to sap Hollywood of every celebrity it has for the duration of an East Coast evening.

That would be Marc Jacobs and his surprise guest (who, by some miracle, remained under wraps until their red carpet debut), Cher.

“This has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time,” Mr. Jacobs said.

It is Cher's first appearance at the Met Gala since 1997, when she arrived on the arm of Donatella Versace.

– MATTHEW SCHNEIER

Cher and Marc Jacobs
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Many bodies prepared for cremation last week in Kathmandu were of young men from Gongabu, a common stopover for Nepali migrant workers headed overseas. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

KATHMANDU, Nepal — When the dense pillar of smoke from cremations by the Bagmati River was thinning late last week, the bodies were all coming from Gongabu, a common stopover for Nepali migrant workers headed overseas, and they were all of young men.

Hindu custom dictates that funeral pyres should be lighted by the oldest son of the deceased, but these men were too young to have sons, so they were burned by their brothers or fathers. Sukla Lal, a maize farmer, made a 14-hour journey by bus to retrieve the body of his 19-year-old son, who had been on his way to the Persian Gulf to work as a laborer.

“He wanted to live in the countryside, but he was compelled to leave by poverty,” Mr. Lal said, gazing ahead steadily as his son’s remains smoldered. “He told me, ‘You can live on your land, and I will come up with money, and we will have a happy family.’ ”

Weeks will pass before the authorities can give a complete accounting of who died in the April 25 earthquake, but it is already clear that Nepal cannot afford the losses. The countryside was largely stripped of its healthy young men even before the quake, as they migrated in great waves — 1,500 a day by some estimates — to work as laborers in India, Malaysia or one of the gulf nations, leaving many small communities populated only by elderly parents, women and children. Economists say that at some times of the year, one-quarter of Nepal’s population is working outside the country.

Nepal’s Young Men, Lost to Migration, Then a Quake

THE WRITERS ASHLEY AND JAQUAVIS COLEMAN know the value of a good curtain-raiser. The couple have co-authored dozens of novels, and they like to start them with a bang: a headlong action sequence, a blast of violence or sex that rocks readers back on their heels. But the Colemans concede they would be hard-pressed to dream up anything more gripping than their own real-life opening scene.

In the summer of 2001, JaQuavis Coleman was a 16-year-old foster child in Flint, Mich., the former auto-manufacturing mecca that had devolved, in the wake of General Motors’ plant closures, into one of the country’s most dangerous cities, with a decimated economy and a violent crime rate more than three times the national average. When JaQuavis was 8, social services had removed him from his mother’s home. He spent years bouncing between foster families. At 16, JaQuavis was also a businessman: a crack dealer with a network of street-corner peddlers in his employ.

One day that summer, JaQuavis met a fellow dealer in a parking lot on Flint’s west side. He was there to make a bulk sale of a quarter-brick, or “nine-piece” — a nine-ounce parcel of cocaine, with a street value of about $11,000. In the middle of the transaction, JaQuavis heard the telltale chirp of a walkie-talkie. His customer, he now realized, was an undercover policeman. JaQuavis jumped into his car and spun out onto the road, with two unmarked police cars in pursuit. He didn’t want to get into a high-speed chase, so he whipped his car into a church parking lot and made a run for it, darting into an alleyway behind a row of small houses, where he tossed the quarter-brick into some bushes. When JaQuavis reached the small residential street on the other side of the houses, he was greeted by the police, who handcuffed him and went to search behind the houses where, they told him, they were certain he had ditched the drugs. JaQuavis had been dealing since he was 12, had amassed more than $100,000 and had never been arrested. Now, he thought: It’s over.

But when the police looked in the bushes, they couldn’t find any cocaine. They interrogated JaQuavis, who denied having ever possessed or sold drugs. They combed the backyard alley some more. After an hour of fruitless efforts, the police were forced to unlock the handcuffs and release their suspect.

JaQuavis was baffled by the turn of events until the next day, when he received a phone call. The previous afternoon, a 15-year-old girl had been sitting in her home on the west side of Flint when she heard sirens. She looked out of the window of her bedroom, and watched a young man throw a package in the bushes behind her house. She recognized him. He was a high school classmate — a handsome, charismatic boy whom she had admired from afar. The girl crept outside and grabbed the bundle, which she hid in her basement. “I have something that belongs to you,” Ashley Snell told JaQuavis Coleman when she reached him by phone. “You wanna come over here and pick it up?”

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Three of the nearly 50 works of urban fiction published by the Colemans over the last decade, often featuring drug deals, violence, sex and a brash kind of feminism.Credit Marko Metzinger

In the Colemans’ first novel, “Dirty Money” (2005), they told a version of this story. The outline was the same: the drug deal gone bad, the dope chucked in the bushes, the fateful phone call. To the extent that the authors took poetic license, it was to tone down the meet-cute improbability of the true-life events. In “Dirty Money,” the girl, Anari, and the crack dealer, Maurice, circle each other warily for a year or so before coupling up. But the facts of Ashley and JaQuavis’s romance outstripped pulp fiction. They fell in love more or less at first sight, moved into their own apartment while still in high school and were married in 2008. “We were together from the day we met,” Ashley says. “I don’t think we’ve spent more than a week apart in total over the past 14 years.”

That partnership turned out to be creative and entrepreneurial as well as romantic. Over the past decade, the Colemans have published nearly 50 books, sometimes as solo writers, sometimes under pseudonyms, but usually as collaborators with a byline that has become a trusted brand: “Ashley & JaQuavis.” They are marquee stars of urban fiction, or street lit, a genre whose inner-city settings and lurid mix of crime, sex and sensationalism have earned it comparisons to gangsta rap. The emergence of street lit is one of the big stories in recent American publishing, a juggernaut that has generated huge sales by catering to a readership — young, black and, for the most part, female — that historically has been ill-served by the book business. But the genre is also widely maligned. Street lit is subject to a kind of triple snobbery: scorned by literati who look down on genre fiction generally, ignored by a white publishing establishment that remains largely indifferent to black books and disparaged by African-American intellectuals for poor writing, coarse values and trafficking in racial stereotypes.

But if a certain kind of cultural prestige is shut off to the Colemans, they have reaped other rewards. They’ve built a large and loyal fan base, which gobbles up the new Ashley & JaQuavis titles that arrive every few months. Many of those books are sold at street-corner stands and other off-the-grid venues in African-American neighborhoods, a literary gray market that doesn’t register a blip on best-seller tallies. Yet the Colemans’ most popular series now regularly crack the trade fiction best-seller lists of The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. For years, the pair had no literary agent; they sold hundreds of thousands of books without banking a penny in royalties. Still, they have earned millions of dollars, almost exclusively from cash-for-manuscript deals negotiated directly with independent publishing houses. In short, though little known outside of the world of urban fiction, the Colemans are one of America’s most successful literary couples, a distinction they’ve achieved, they insist, because of their work’s gritty authenticity and their devotion to a primal literary virtue: the power of the ripping yarn.

“When you read our books, you’re gonna realize: ‘Ashley & JaQuavis are storytellers,’ ” says Ashley. “Our tales will get your heart pounding.”

THE COLEMANS’ HOME BASE — the cottage from which they operate their cottage industry — is a spacious four-bedroom house in a genteel suburb about 35 miles north of downtown Detroit. The house is plush, but when I visited this past winter, it was sparsely appointed. The couple had just recently moved in, and had only had time to fully furnish the bedroom of their 4-year-old son, Quaye.

In conversation, Ashley and JaQuavis exude both modesty and bravado: gratitude for their good fortune and bootstrappers’ pride in having made their own luck. They talk a lot about their time in the trenches, the years they spent as a drug dealer and “ride-or-die girl” tandem. In Flint they learned to “grind hard.” Writing, they say, is merely a more elevated kind of grind.

“Instead of hitting the block like we used to, we hit the laptops,” says Ashley. “I know what every word is worth. So while I’m writing, I’m like: ‘Okay, there’s a hundred dollars. There’s a thousand dollars. There’s five thousand dollars.’ ”

They maintain a rigorous regimen. They each try to write 5,000 words per day, five days a week. The writers stagger their shifts: JaQuavis goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up early, around 3 or 4 in the morning, to work while his wife and child sleep. Ashley writes during the day, often in libraries or at Starbucks.

They divide the labor in other ways. Chapters are divvied up more or less equally, with tasks assigned according to individual strengths. (JaQuavis typically handles character development. Ashley loves writing murder scenes.) The results are stitched together, with no editorial interference from one author in the other’s text. The real work, they contend, is the brainstorming. The Colemans spend weeks mapping out their plot-driven books — long conversations that turn into elaborate diagrams on dry-erase boards. “JaQuavis and I are so close, it makes the process real easy,” says Ashley. “Sometimes when I’m thinking of something, a plot point, he’ll say it out loud, and I’m like: ‘Wait — did I say that?’ ”

Their collaboration developed by accident, and on the fly. Both were bookish teenagers. Ashley read lots of Judy Blume and John Grisham; JaQuavis liked Shakespeare, Richard Wright and “Atlas Shrugged.” (Their first official date was at a Borders bookstore, where Ashley bought “The Coldest Winter Ever,” the Sister Souljah novel often credited with kick-starting the contemporary street-lit movement.) In 2003, Ashley, then 17, was forced to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. She was bedridden for three weeks, and to provide distraction and boost her spirits, JaQuavis challenged his girlfriend to a writing contest. “She just wasn’t talking. She was laying in bed. I said, ‘You know what? I bet you I could write a better book than you.’ My wife is real competitive. So I said, ‘Yo, all right, $500 bet.’ And I saw her eyes spark, like, ‘What?! You can’t write no better book than me!’ So I wrote about three chapters. She wrote about three chapters. Two days later, we switched.”

The result, hammered out in a few days, would become “Dirty Money.” Two years later, when Ashley and JaQuavis were students at Ferris State University in Western Michigan, they sold the manuscript to Urban Books, a street-lit imprint founded by the best-selling author Carl Weber. At the time, JaQuavis was still making his living selling drugs. When Ashley got the phone call informing her that their book had been bought, she assumed they’d hit it big, and flushed more than $10,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet. Their advance was a mere $4,000.

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The roots of street lit, found in the midcentury detective novels of Chester Himes and the ‘60s and ‘70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.Credit Marko Metzinger

Those advances would soon increase, eventually reaching five and six figures. The Colemans built their career, JaQuavis says, in a manner that made sense to him as a veteran dope peddler: by flooding the street with product. From the start, they were prolific, churning out books at a rate of four or five a year. Their novels made their way into stores; the now-defunct chain Waldenbooks, which had stores in urban areas typically bypassed by booksellers, was a major engine of the street-lit market. But Ashley and JaQuavis took advantage of distribution channels established by pioneering urban fiction authors such as Teri Woods and Vickie Stringer, and a network of street-corner tables, magazine stands, corner shops and bodegas. Like rappers who establish their bona fides with gray-market mixtapes, street-lit authors use this system to circumnavigate industry gatekeepers, bringing their work straight to the genre’s core readership. But urban fiction has other aficionados, in less likely places. “Our books are so popular in the prison system,” JaQuavis says. “We’re banned in certain penitentiaries. Inmates fight over the books — there are incidents, you know? I have loved ones in jail, and they’re like: ‘Yo, your books can’t come in here. It’s against the rules.’ ”

The appeal of the Colemans’ work is not hard to fathom. The books are formulaic and taut; they deliver the expected goods efficiently and exuberantly. The titles telegraph the contents: “Diary of a Street Diva,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” “Murderville.” The novels serve up a stream of explicit sex and violence in a slangy, tangy, profane voice. In Ashley & JaQuavis’s books people don’t get killed: they get “popped,” “laid out,” get their “cap twisted back.” The smut is constant, with emphasis on the earthy, sticky, olfactory particulars. Romance novel clichés — shuddering orgasms, heroic carnal feats, superlative sexual skill sets — are rendered in the Colemans’ punchy patois.

Subtlety, in other words, isn’t Ashley & JaQuavis’s forte. But their books do have a grainy specificity. In “The Cartel” (2008), the first novel in the Colemans’ best-selling saga of a Miami drug syndicate, they catch the sights and smells of a crack workshop in a housing project: the nostril-stinging scent of cocaine and baking soda bubbling on stovetops; the teams of women, stripped naked except for hospital masks so they can’t pilfer the merchandise, “cutting up the cooked coke on the round wood table.” The subject matter is dark, but the Colemans’ tone is not quite noir. Even in the grimmest scenes, the mood is high-spirited, with the writers palpably relishing the lewd and gory details: the bodies writhing in boudoirs and crumpling under volleys of bullets, the geysers of blood and other bodily fluids.

The luridness of street lit has made it a flashpoint, inciting controversy reminiscent of the hip-hop culture wars of the 1980s and ’90s. But the street-lit debate touches deeper historical roots, reviving decades-old arguments in black literary circles about the mandate to uplift the race and present wholesome images of African-Americans. In 1928, W. E. B. Du Bois slammed the “licentiousness” of “Home to Harlem,” Claude McKay’s rollicking novel of Harlem nightlife. McKay’s book, Du Bois wrote, “for the most part nauseates me, and after the dirtier parts of its filth I feel distinctly like taking a bath.” Similar sentiments have greeted 21st-century street lit. In a 2006 New York Times Op-Ed essay, the journalist and author Nick Chiles decried “the sexualization and degradation of black fiction.” African-American bookstores, Chiles complained, are “overrun with novels that . . . appeal exclusively to our most prurient natures — as if these nasty books were pairing off back in the stockrooms like little paperback rabbits and churning out even more graphic offspring that make Ralph Ellison books cringe into a dusty corner.”

Copulating paperbacks aside, it’s clear that the street-lit debate is about more than literature, touching on questions of paternalism versus populism, and on middle-class anxieties about the black underclass. “It’s part and parcel of black elites’ efforts to define not only a literary tradition, but a racial politics,” said Kinohi Nishikawa, an assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University. “There has always been a sense that because African-Americans’ opportunities to represent themselves are so limited in the first place, any hint of criminality or salaciousness would necessarily be a knock on the entire racial politics. One of the pressing debates about African-American literature today is: If we can’t include writers like Ashley & JaQuavis, to what extent is the foundation of our thinking about black literature faulty? Is it just a literature for elites? Or can it be inclusive, bringing urban fiction under the purview of our umbrella term ‘African-American literature’?”

Defenders of street lit note that the genre has a pedigree: a tradition of black pulp fiction that stretches from Chester Himes, the midcentury author of hardboiled Harlem detective stories, to the 1960s and ’70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, to the current wave of urban fiction authors. Others argue for street lit as a social good, noting that it attracts a large audience that might otherwise never read at all. Scholars like Nishikawa link street lit to recent studies showing increased reading among African-Americans. A 2014 Pew Research Center report found that a greater percentage of black Americans are book readers than whites or Latinos.

For their part, the Colemans place their work in the broader black literary tradition. “You have Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, James Baldwin — all of these traditional black writers, who wrote about the struggles of racism, injustice, inequality,” says Ashley. “We’re writing about the struggle as it happens now. It’s just a different struggle. I’m telling my story. I’m telling the struggle of a black girl from Flint, Michigan, who grew up on welfare.”

Photo
The Colemans in their new four-bedroom house in the northern suburbs of Detroit.Credit Courtesy of Ashley and JaQuavis Coleman

Perhaps there is a high-minded case to be made for street lit. But the virtues of Ashley & JaQuavis’s work are more basic. Their novels do lack literary polish. The writing is not graceful; there are passages of clunky exposition and sex scenes that induce guffaws and eye rolls. But the pleasure quotient is high. The books flaunt a garish brand of feminism, with women characters cast not just as vixens, but also as gangsters — cold-blooded killers, “murder mamas.” The stories are exceptionally well-plotted. “The Cartel” opens by introducing its hero, the crime boss Carter Diamond; on page 9, a gunshot spatters Diamond’s brain across the interior of a police cruiser. The book then flashes back seven years and begins to hurtle forward again — a bullet train, whizzing readers through shifting alliances, romantic entanglements and betrayals, kidnappings, shootouts with Haitian and Dominican gangsters, and a cliffhanger closing scene that leaves the novel’s heroine tied to a chair in a basement, gruesomely tortured to the edge of death. Ashley & JaQuavis’s books are not Ralph Ellison, certainly, but they build up quite a head of steam. They move.

The Colemans are moving themselves these days. They recently signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press, which will bring out the next installment in the “Cartel” series as well as new solo series by both writers. The St. Martin’s deal is both lucrative and legitimizing — a validation of Ashley and JaQuavis’s work by one of publishing’s most venerable houses. The Colemans’ ambitions have grown, as well. A recent trilogy, “Murderville,” tackles human trafficking and the blood-diamond industry in West Africa, with storylines that sweep from Sierra Leone to Mexico to Los Angeles. Increasingly, Ashley & JaQuavis are leaning on research — traveling to far-flung settings and hitting the books in the libraries — and spending less time mining their own rough-and-tumble past.

But Flint remains a source of inspiration. One evening not long ago, JaQuavis led me on a tour of his hometown: a popular roadside bar; the parking lot where he met the undercover cop for the ill-fated drug deal; Ashley’s old house, the site of his almost-arrest. He took me to a ramshackle vehicle repair shop on Flint’s west side, where he worked as a kid, washing cars. He showed me a bathroom at the rear of the garage, where, at age 12, he sneaked away to inspect the first “boulder” of crack that he ever sold. A spray-painted sign on the garage wall, which JaQuavis remembered from his time at the car wash, offered words of warning:

WHAT EVERY YOUNG MAN SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT USING A GUN:
MURDER . . . 30 Years
ARMED ROBBERY . . . 15 Years
ASSAULT . . . 15 Years
RAPE . . . 20 Years
POSSESSION . . . 5 Years
JACKING . . . 20 YEARS

“We still love Flint, Michigan,” JaQuavis says. “It’s so seedy, so treacherous. But there’s some heart in this city. This is where it all started, selling books out the box. In the days when we would get those little $40,000 advances, they’d send us a couple boxes of books for free. We would hit the streets to sell our books, right out of the car trunk. It was a hustle. It still is.”

One old neighborhood asset that the Colemans have not shaken off is swagger. “My wife is the best female writer in the game,” JaQuavis told me. “I believe I’m the best male writer in the game. I’m sleeping next to the best writer in the world. And she’s doing the same.”

 
From T Magazine: Street Lit’s Power Couple

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BALTIMORE — In the afternoons, the streets of Locust Point are clean and nearly silent. In front of the rowhouses, potted plants rest next to steps of brick or concrete. There is a shopping center nearby with restaurants, and a grocery store filled with fresh foods.

And the National Guard and the police are largely absent. So, too, residents say, are worries about what happened a few miles away on April 27 when, in a space of hours, parts of this city became riot zones.

“They’re not our reality,” Ashley Fowler, 30, said on Monday at the restaurant where she works. “They’re not what we’re living right now. We live in, not to be racist, white America.”

As Baltimore considers its way forward after the violent unrest brought by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of injuries he suffered while in police custody, residents in its predominantly white neighborhoods acknowledge that they are sometimes struggling to understand what beyond Mr. Gray’s death spurred the turmoil here. For many, the poverty and troubled schools of gritty West Baltimore are distant troubles, glimpsed only when they pass through the area on their way somewhere else.

Photo
 
Officers blocked traffic at Pennsylvania and West North Avenues after reports that a gun was discharged in the area. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

And so neighborhoods of Baltimore are facing altogether different reckonings after Mr. Gray’s death. In mostly black communities like Sandtown-Winchester, where some of the most destructive rioting played out last week, residents are hoping businesses will reopen and that the police will change their strategies. But in mostly white areas like Canton and Locust Point, some residents wonder what role, if any, they should play in reimagining stretches of Baltimore where they do not live.

“Most of the people are kind of at a loss as to what they’re supposed to do,” said Dr. Richard Lamb, a dentist who has practiced in the same Locust Point office for nearly 39 years. “I listen to the news reports. I listen to the clergymen. I listen to the facts of the rampant unemployment and the lack of opportunities in the area. Listen, I pay my taxes. Exactly what can I do?”

And in Canton, where the restaurants have clever names like Nacho Mama’s and Holy Crepe Bakery and Café, Sara Bahr said solutions seemed out of reach for a proudly liberal city.

“I can only imagine how frustrated they must be,” said Ms. Bahr, 36, a nurse who was out with her 3-year-old daughter, Sally. “I just wish I knew how to solve poverty. I don’t know what to do to make it better.”

The day of unrest and the overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations that followed led to hundreds of arrests, often for violations of the curfew imposed on the city for five consecutive nights while National Guard soldiers patrolled the streets. Although there were isolated instances of trouble in Canton, the neighborhood association said on its website, many parts of southeast Baltimore were physically untouched by the tumult.

Tensions in the city bubbled anew on Monday after reports that the police had wounded a black man in Northwest Baltimore. The authorities denied those reports and sent officers to talk with the crowds that gathered while other officers clutching shields blocked traffic at Pennsylvania and West North Avenues.

Lt. Col. Melvin Russell, a community police officer, said officers had stopped a man suspected of carrying a handgun and that “one of those rounds was spent.”

Colonel Russell said officers had not opened fire, “so we couldn’t have shot him.”

Photo
 
Lambi Vasilakopoulos, right, who runs a casual restaurant in Canton, said he was incensed by last week's looting and predicted tensions would worsen. Credit Drew Angerer for The New York Times

The colonel said the man had not been injured but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. Nearby, many people stood in disbelief, despite the efforts by the authorities to quash reports they described as “unfounded.”

Monday’s episode was a brief moment in a larger drama that has yielded anger and confusion. Although many people said they were familiar with accounts of the police harassing or intimidating residents, many in Canton and Locust Point said they had never experienced it themselves. When they watched the unrest, which many protesters said was fueled by feelings that they lived only on Baltimore’s margins, even those like Ms. Bahr who were pained by what they saw said they could scarcely comprehend the emotions associated with it.

But others, like Lambi Vasilakopoulos, who runs a casual restaurant in Canton, said they were incensed by what unfolded last week.

“What happened wasn’t called for. Protests are one thing; looting is another thing,” he said, adding, “We’re very frustrated because we’re the ones who are going to pay for this.”

There were pockets of optimism, though, that Baltimore would enter a period of reconciliation.

“I’m just hoping for peace,” Natalie Boies, 53, said in front of the Locust Point home where she has lived for 50 years. “Learn to love each other; be patient with each other; find justice; and care.”

A skeptical Mr. Vasilakopoulos predicted tensions would worsen.

“It cannot be fixed,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. Why? Because people don’t obey the laws. They don’t want to obey them.”

But there were few fears that the violence that plagued West Baltimore last week would play out on these relaxed streets. The authorities, Ms. Fowler said, would make sure of that.

“They kept us safe here,” she said. “I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I was in my house three blocks away from here. I knew I was going to be O.K. because I knew they weren’t going to let anyone come and loot our properties or our businesses or burn our cars.”

Baltimore Residents Away From Turmoil Consider Their Role
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