So I just went over to Cosmo Girl to put in a last vote for my girl Kiri, and I found this mysterious statement instead:

CG!’s film contest CosmoGIRL! and Take Action Hollywood announce our Film Contest finalists.

We have determined that the online voting has been corrupted as a result of one or more instances of tampering with the voting process by users. As a result, none of the online votes will be counted, and we will submit all three of the semi-finalists to our panel of experts for final judging and selection of a winner. The winner will be featured in the August 2007 issue of CosmoGIRL!

Hmmmm. How bizarre, how bizarre.
I don’t want to be a conspiracy theorist by any means, but could this be because Kiri was actually – gasp – winning? Is encouraging black women who identify with her film’s message to vote for Kiri somehow against competition rules? I don’t know what to make of this one. And I don’t want to speculate.

In the meantime, if you want to hear Kiri speak out on her film’s issues herself, click here to watch a really well done local television news story about the young and talented filmmaker. I’d like to think that the dream she expresses in her interview, that someday there won’t be a “good” or “bad” doll, that little afrobellas can pretend to be princesses without risk of being ridiculed, is almost reality. At least, there are some positive steps in the right direction.

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BronzeTrinity says:
April 13, 2007, 1:14 am
Well I've already emailed the company to get to the bottom of this. I didn't accuse them of anything but I asked for an explanation of what happened, why they didn't take precautions before, and who they intend to use as judges. I posted the letter and contact info on my blog.
Liz says:
April 13, 2007, 1:15 am
Hey Bella! My good friend went to high school (Urban Academy in Manhattan) with Kiri and greatly admires her work. I hope there really isn't some sort of conspiracy against her. That would be absolutely ridiculous. On the other hand, it would be nice if Cosmo has articles geared more towards a Black and Latina demographic. I have a very light caramel complexion and can't really relate to most of the makeup tips in the magazine!
BLESS says:
April 13, 2007, 1:58 am
Hmm I wonder how it could have been tainted at all seeing as how you can only vote once from a specific computer and each PC has its own IP address. Yes something is definitely fishy with that. Perhaps they didn't want her to win. Further proof that CosmoGirl isn't for our girls.
Brunsli says:
April 13, 2007, 2:30 am
CosmoGirl, part of a huge company, should just give all three students scholarships. It would avoid some drama, bring positive PR, and the additional 20K is nothing for them.
E-Fresh says:
April 13, 2007, 4:02 am
Hey B, You don't want to speculate : ) But you are! Another bella raised voting concerns in an earlier post. This kind of thing is definitely open to tampering. I agree with Brunsli... just give them all scholarships. I didn't see the other films, but they seemed to be about important personal issues too.
Monica says:
April 13, 2007, 8:15 am
This is what they determined. The black young lady won. And they didn't expect that! They wanted at least one of us to be a finalist too appear fair. However, they didn't want us to win. So, of course they're going to change the rules. Hypocrits.
Danielle says:
April 13, 2007, 8:47 am
*sigh* Trying to think positive thoughts.
Queen says:
April 13, 2007, 9:03 am
Well I'm conspiracy theorists and I just do not believe them! Oh Cosmo...... I just do not have anything to never fails...
sunsailblogger says:
April 13, 2007, 9:06 am
You're kidding me. You're frakkin' kidding me. I got to work, all happy, ready to cast my last vote (well, I'm also happy cuz it's Friday, and payday), and I'm faced with this ish. I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but this definitely makes me wonder. Should I dare hope that Kiri might actually be named the winner in August? Hmmm.
Yesha says:
April 13, 2007, 10:39 am
Funny, as of yesterday Kiri was in first place! She came back from being in third place all last week! It's a shame & there's no way there could have been any tainting of the votes, b/c you can only vote once from an individual PC!
sonniday says:
April 13, 2007, 11:45 am
I just learned about this story and just to be fair I did some research to see all the videos and I must say that for me, Kiri's was the most thought provoking so she would definately get my vote. I've known from the first issue of Cosmogirl that I ever saw that it was catered specifically for cacausian teen girls. I wish their was a teen magazine for ou girls too.
Katrina says:
April 13, 2007, 12:07 pm
This makes me feel very uneasy! I will have faith that she still wins.
Toya says:
April 13, 2007, 12:34 pm
Heh. Why am I not surprised?
haitiangurL says:
April 13, 2007, 1:27 pm
I just got a call back from Karen @ CosmoGirl... She says that late yesterday they determined and have concrete evidence that the voting system had been tampered with and that it was not voting related (she wouldn't say what it was except that it had corrupt the whole process and its their legal right to shut down the voting)... I asked if it was in favor of one particular person she quickly said no but I get the feeling that was not the complete truth... I expressed how disheartening this was because there's a ground swell of support for Kiri within the black community and especially among black women and that my perception was that shutting down the site was because she had come from behind in such a short period, she quickly said "no no this is not pertaining to her at all" sigh "we've received a lot of calls on her behave today"... She stated that a panel of three celebrity guest was going to do the judging, she could not reveal who they are but on July 3rd we can check the website for their decision.. I asked if the panel was diverse and she wouldn't answer that and I reiterated that they would not stray from where the voting outcome was headed... I thank her for calling me back so promptly and told her we would be following this closely... I give Karen credit for calling me back and speaking to me but she didn't say anything to relieve my nagging feeling of foul play... What you think bellas????
April 13, 2007, 1:30 pm
When i tried to vote for the last time the same thing happened to me....and i was excited to see the other day that Kiri came from the bottom to the top with her video. Being an 18 year old transitioning female i really connected with the film ..and have been thru most of what was shown in her film. It hurts me now to know that they have taken the voting off, but i guess we can only help for the best. CG isnt a mag. geared toward young black women anyway...I wish there was one...Idk she'll defintely get what she deserves if she doesnt win though....and i mean that in the best way possible.
jerseybred says:
April 13, 2007, 1:51 pm
@ haitiangurL, I'm glad you spoke with Karen @ Cosmo and I hope Comso reveals the reason behind the decision to have judges decide the outcome. This could quickly become a "Don Imus" thing-given the nature of Kiri's video.
carlagirl says:
April 13, 2007, 2:06 pm does seem fishy--maybe it's just the timing--but how disappointing! I know after I saw it posted here I added it to my blog and then saw it posted everywhere I went, friends sent it to friends and listservs, and yesterday she was in the lead...thanks, Afrobella, for keeping up with the story.
edw says:
April 13, 2007, 2:10 pm
I've read through every single post on the blog--it's my new addiction! However, this conspiracy theory may ring correct--I'm just thinking back to this post regarding Ms. Dillenger (an afrobella of the week a couple of weeks back). Some girls were called out there for posting negative comments from the same computer and were called out for it. This whole "vote for Kiri" campaign for sure caused some of us to over vote, or vote twice in one day from the same computer. In all fairness, they should get down to the bottom of this to see how many ip addresses were the same, what was the frequency--yada yada yada. You never know, Kiri might win afterall. As for giving them all scholarships? Seriously? If I were Kiri, I would want to win fair and square--especially due to the fact that she worked damn hard on the concept and execution. I would NOT settle for some "can't we all just get along" scholarship. I'd want to win because I struck a chord with the judges--a chord that sets me above all the rest.
edw says:
April 13, 2007, 2:14 pm
My point is just because cosmo does not cater to us (thank god) does not mean it's a conspiracy that Kiri did not win. Who knows, maybe some white folks started panicking when they found out kiri was ahead? Another possibility is that the volume of votes could have caused a crash of some sorts. We should just chill out and wait. Kiri could have won.
KGreen says:
April 13, 2007, 2:32 pm
This makes me so very ANGRY! I am sad to say that if it had not been for this site I would have never heard of Keri and I would have never watched what turned out to be a well done, heart warming, tear-jerking, look at what is going on in our girl's minds. I would have never known to vote had it not been for this website. There is no tampering...they just did not like the fact that so much support was drummed up for this talented young woman. Maybe the web votes were high based on her TV interview. Who knows!? I am hoping that she wins this contest anyway. In the words of my first graders "Na Nanny Boo Boo! That'll show 'em"!
BellaAnais says:
April 13, 2007, 2:41 pm
How disheartening... I agree that perhaps some people were voting twice a day from two computers but it didn't seem to be an issue until Kiri pulled ahead. When the video on eating disorders has an absurd amount of votes there was no issue. I subscribe to conspricacy theory for sure and would have to say that no doubt this should set off some red flags. I'm more than upset at this.
E-Fresh says:
April 13, 2007, 4:33 pm
Wow, I can't believe a lot you are hopping on the conspiracy bandwagon. I understand that you indentify with the video, but come on! I voted for Kiri every day, too. We just have really no idea as to what really happened and the motives of the decision makers. That said, I love the Nirvana quote "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you" So maybe everything was pulled because Kiri is Black, I just think it's unlikely.
ExpatJane says:
April 13, 2007, 5:22 pm
I'm not sure it's fair to say "conspiracy bandwagon". I was following the votes too. I blogged about it too. I also noticed that there seemed to be tampering earlier in the week. I took screen shots and mailed them to the webmaster and editor of CosmoGirl. The voting continued, so I'm thinking "okay, they're fine with sudden shifts". However, at the end the votes shifted in Kiri's favor and only then was the contest declared "corrupted". I'm all for giving them the benefit of the doubt too. It's just the timing is suspicious because they switched gears only when Kiri was in the lead. I can see how that might smack of a conspiracy because the other two videos skyrocketed early in the week and nothing happened as a result. FYI. Here are links to the screen shots I took on Monday (Korea Standard Time, so Sunday in the States.) Monday at 11:46am Monday at 4:05pm This is a text of the email I wrote to CosmoGirl on it: "I'm just writing because I'm voting in the CosmoGirl film contest. Granted, I'm sure all three of the girls have fans. I'm voting for "A Girl Like Me", but it seems that the votes for the other two simply skyrocketed a 1000+ votes each in a matter of hours. Just in case I took screen shots. I'm in Seoul, South Korea (just so you understand the time difference). I voted this morning in one spot and voted again from another... Here are the shots taken from two separate computers: Monday, April 9th, at almost 12noon Monday, April 9th at just after 4pm As you can see Choices spiked from 3225 to 5073. The other video jumped from 2608 to 4398. It just seems to be a little odd." I'm glad that haitiangurL is in contact with the folks at CosmoGirl. It was good to hear that account of what had happened. However, they have to realize the timing is bad and it might be worth their while to reveal more details without implicating the contestants simply because a lot of folks are suspicious.
Susan says:
April 13, 2007, 8:07 pm
To everyone who has posted comments, please let me address what has been going on today. As you can imagine, I've gotten lots of calls and emails so I'm going to use this post to try to set the record straight and hopefully get the word out as quickly as I can. I just need to tell you how distressed I am that it's been suggested that CosmoGIRL! would try to rig a contest to prevent an African-American reader from winning. I loved Kiri’s film and the others as well, which is why they got as far as they did in the contest. This whole thing is especially upsetting to me because in the event that the celebrity judges determine Kiri to be the winner, her triumph will be tainted by this scandal. That is the real tragedy here. She is truly talented and I know that whatever the outcome of this contest, her talent is sure to shine through. All girls deserve to be recognized for their talent and vision, and all of the contests that we do at CosmoGIRL! are meant to give girls opportunities to be celebrated. I hope that after all of this is over, the talent of the filmmakers will be what is remembered. Thank you.
Hadasah says:
April 14, 2007, 3:37 pm
If the voting was rigged, then Cosmogirl could have ended the voting right then and there, not right before the black girl was going to win. Why isn't anyone from Cosmogirl explaining the timing?
kesha says:
April 14, 2007, 7:05 pm
i was under the impression that you could vote once per day. that is what it said clearly on the website. let's be real. they're being asshats about it and we know this. if they didn't want people to vote more than once they would not have allowed the option on the website's flash programming. what a bunch of bastards. that was the only time i went to cosmogirl's site and that will be the last.
swissmiss261 says:
April 14, 2007, 7:07 pm
I have no doubt in my mind that this is a conspiracy. I too was began voting for Kiri after watching the documentary. I also watched how fast she was beginning to beat out the other two contestants. In seeing this I knew that my efforts were not in a vain. But now I am convinced that this who thing is centered around the fact that she was beginning to way and take the lead in this competition. I definitely intend to follow-up with this matter and express my discontent around the functioning of this contest. Whatever CosmoGirl decides to put out about this matter, I believe it all will be lies. Something to appease the millions of people who were putting forth efforts for Kiri's victory. I encourage everyone who was moved by Kiri's film to speak out about this matter.
edw says:
April 15, 2007, 12:17 am
Can we get some of this outrage and use it towards one of the following--better yet, can we mobilize in a fashion similar to what happened when we all voted for Kiri's video and help solve some of the following: 1. Drop out rates in inner city high schools 2. A decline in matriculation rates among african americans enrolled in 4 year colleges 3. The almost exponential increase in the number of newly diagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes in African Americans 4. The startling rate of African American men being incarcerated 5. Staggering poverty among African Americans You want to talk about conspiracies......
ExpatJane says:
April 15, 2007, 2:39 am
to Susan, Thanks for a response, but a general response to specific questions isn't sufficient. People are questioning why only after Kiri's video surged to the lead was the process declared "corrupted". Granted, there can and are probably many things have impacted CosmoGirl's decision to stop the voting but the timing of stopping the votes when her video was in the lead a day before the contest was set to end is suspicious. This is particularly so because people who were following the votes noticed that when the videos of the other two contestants surged exponentially NOTHING happened. Shifting the issue to whether Kiri wins or not isn't really going to get much of a response. She WAS winning based on the last vote tally that I saw, and that was stopped. People want to know why the voting was stopped because a lot of people had involved themselves in trying to help her win. They voted daily. They told their friends and family to vote daily. They blogged it and sent it out on MySpace and Facebook. Basically, people had invested themselves and their efforts in this contest, so to see it be so close but then see it suddenly ceased was disappointing. How you can expect there NOT to be theories about why is simply naïve. So what gives? My advice is either address the point or cease releasing statements until you CAN address the issue.
BronzeTrinity says:
April 15, 2007, 7:40 pm
Yeah whatever. If they have computers then the company should be able to show us daily tracking records of where they think tampering occured. They need to show us proof that it occured and find a computer person to explain to us how it could have happened and why they didn't make sure it couldn't have happened in the first place. They need to appologize for wasting our time and tell us who the judges are.
kia says:
April 16, 2007, 2:22 am
When I last visited your site, I saw the wedding post and got caught up in the site for beautiful natural and locked styles that I didn't realize that I missed these other posts. This is my comment on, where the author posted about this post: "omigosh! i swear... i just posted about this, as I was shocked when I went back to check for the winning contestant also. previously, i joined afrobella and other [bloggers] encouraging them to vote and a reminder post for people to go back and vote again since you were able to vote once a day. how ridiculous! since my sentiments mirrored your post, i tried to check my train of thought and asked myself... why is everything racial?? whereas, i recently left an online discussion about how african americans usually bring racially charged or 'ethnic' perspectives, if you will, to convos, situations, etc. but goddamit if i'm not alone in this sentiment! it's just something our culture has evolved into from our history. despite our progress in this nation, we still always have to keep one eye open! let me go visit afrobella's site!" ha man oh man =(
tayari says:
April 16, 2007, 8:47 am
I loved Kiri's film. I think of her as the Anti-Imus. What's really important here is not even whether Cosmo is deliverately undermining Kiri's chances. What is more significant is that we are living in a world where the possibility seems perfectly plausible. Cosmo ideally should run the sort of magazine where people would say, "Cosmo would never do that!". A good reputation and track record are the best protection from such accusations.
futurebird says:
April 19, 2007, 7:40 pm
She may not win the cosmo contest, but who cares? She has reached so many people who have stepped up to support her work. We should keep sharing this video with everyone we know. Also, over the past few years Black bloggers have become a real force on the web. I was amazed to se our networking work so well. I think we can all be proud of that. I remember when we started using the net I was often the only black person and the only woman around. Now we have the power to start a real movement. Let's keep the ball rolling!
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April 20, 2007, 8:59 am
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