• Roller-Skating, an Old-School Refuge for Black Americans, is Getting a Revival

    Roller-Skating, an Old-School Refuge for Black Americans, is Getting a Revival

    Roller-skating is part of the fabric of what it means to be a Black American. One man works to make sure the pastime endures for another generation.

    By Maya Eaglin and Nicolle Majette

    The mastermind behind The Roller Wave, a traveling roller disco pop-up, is trying to revive an activity that was once a cornerstone of leisure and kinship in Black communities across the U.S. 

    Harry Martin, its 33-year-old founder, describes roller disco as “a party on wheels.” His latest project, The Roller Wave House BK, is a long-term installation set up in Brooklyn, New York, that pays homage to “old-school” roller-skating rinks with modern amenities, like a live podcast space and art installations.

    But before Black Americans could explore their love of roller-skating, their mere presence in roller rinks was barred in those segregated spaces, even after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. In the 1960s, only one night a week was set aside for Black skaters in the rink, and it was typically dubbed “Soul Night” or “Martin Luther King Jr. Night,” Martin said.

    “This is Black culture, Latino, Latina culture going to these skating rinks,” Martin said. “We’re the ones that brought the vibe to roller-skating. Back in the 1940s it was just, like, ballroom, ice-skating-looking dancing. But once you had that African American touch to it, we added that disco dance, that feeling to it.” 

    Without access to rinks, Black skaters took to the streets, where they met fewer restrictions. Places such as Central Park in New York City and Venice Beach in Los Angeles became hot spots for Black skaters. They were sanctuaries, places where people could simply express themselves and have fun. Starting around the early 1970s, with the help of legal integration, roller-skating became synonymous with disco, especially among young Black people coming of age in the wake of the core Civil Rights Movement. 

    As skating became more popular across the country, different cities adopted distinctive styles of skating. At some skating sessions, the DJ announces a “roll call” in which those styles can be put on display. 

    New York and New Jersey are known for partner skating, as well as trains and trios. JB style, named after musician James Brown, originated in Chicago. Fast backward is a style used by Philadelphia skaters. In the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, “snapping” is a popular style. Other cities, such as Detroit, St. Louis and Los Angeles, also have distinct styles. 

    Starting at age 6, Martin grew up skating at the infamous Empire Roller Rink in Brooklyn. The rink opened in 1941 and later became known as the birthplace of roller disco. Empire brought joy to generations of skaters, but, as the scene flourished, it also became a breeding place for violence. Rinks like Empire and Skate Key in the Bronx dealt with fatal shootings

    “Growing up in the late ’90s, early 2000s, Brooklyn was notorious for violence. So going to the roller-skating rink, like even just going there, you had to protect yourself in the streets,” Martin said. 

    The violence was one reason several rinks closed their doors for good in New York City. Not long before Empire closed in 2007, Skate Key shut down in 2006 amid allegations that it was responsible for the increase in violence. Another popular destination in New York City’s West Village, The Roxy, closed the following year, leaving Martin and many other skaters with limited indoor options.  

    “Closing these spaces is not giving us an outlet to let go and release,” he said. 

    Martin wanted to change that. He’s helping to revive the roller-skating scene in New York City, and he said thousands of people have visited Roller Wave House BK, bringing together past and present generations of skaters. 

    The pop-up is scheduled to end in June. Lynna “Moving Star” Davis is a frequent visitor of Roller Wave House BK and sometimes comes to skate several times a week. 

    “I really want this to be a permanent rink, you know? We need a place that we can come to, that feels like home, that feels safe,” she said. 

    For now, Roller Wave House BK will continue to shine a light on a cultural pastime that has made its way back into the mainstream.

  • Gayle King, Charles Barkley Near Deal to Host CNN Primetime Show

    Gayle King, Charles Barkley Near Deal to Host CNN Primetime Show

    By Brian Steinberg

    Gayle King Charles Barkley

    A news King and Sir Charles are getting ready to mix it up in an unorthodox way.

    Gayle King and Charles Barkley are finalizing a deal that would have them jointly lead a primetime hour each week on CNN, according to people familiar with the matter. The pact is not complete and there is always the risk it may not come to fruition, one of these people says. CNN declined to make executives available for comment.

    The Wall Street Journal previously reported that a deal involving King was nearing completion, but it has been an open secret in TV-news circles that CNN has been courting both personalities — and others like them — for some time. Puck reported on negotiations with both King and Barkley earlier this year.

    CBS News declined to offer immediate comment on expectations it had for King, who is also the center of its “CBS Mornings” on weekdays — a critical generator of ad dolls for the Paramount Global news-and-stations division. A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, which has relied on Barkley for years as a host of its popular “Inside the NBA,” could not be reached for immediate comment. Warner Bros. Discovery also owns CNN.

    The move, if completed, would come as CNN grapples with a severe downturn in viewership as well as a massive overhaul that has in recent months included layoffs and a significant recalibration of its programming. Under CEO Chris Licht, CNN has devoted its 9 p.m. hour to a rotating array of topics and anchors, sometimes presented in the form of town halls, and on other days, in one-on-one interviews with celebrities.

    Enlisting King and Barkley could give CNN something approximating one of its best-known success stories: “Larry King Live.” That program, which ran on CNN at 9 p.m. from 1985 to 2010, featured the titular host holding forth in an interview every night with a newsmaker or celebrity, often in less rigorous fashion than a hard-charging traditional journalist. At its height, the show could generate viewership of around one million.

    The new CNN program with King and Barkley appears to be coming together just weeks before the TV industry’s annual “upfront” sales session, when U.S. media companies try to sell billions of dollars in advertising ahead of their next cycle of new programming. A King and Barkley duo would certainly give CNN and its corporate parent something to talk about with Madison Avenue.

  • 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Celebrates 50 Years Of Hip Hop With Headliners Ms. Lauryn Hill And Megan Thee Stallion

    2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture Celebrates 50 Years Of Hip Hop With Headliners Ms. Lauryn Hill And Megan Thee Stallion


    The 2023 ESSENCE Festival of Culture, presented by Coca-Cola™, is bringing the ultimate hip-hop celebration to New Orleans June 29 – July 3!

    This year, the festival celebrates 50 years of Hip-Hop with in-person and virtual experiences showcasing how the genre has impacted every aspect of the culture – from fashion to food, and of course, music. To bring in Hip-Hop’s milestone anniversary properly, some of the most legendary women emcees to grace a mic over the last 50 years will hit the stage for unforgettable live performances.

    Headliner Ms. Lauryn Hill will give a special, can’t-miss performance of the 5x Grammy-winning album that placed her in the essential fabric of Hip-Hop forever, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in recognition of its 25th anniversary. Other headliners include multi-Grammy award-winning artist and head hot girl in charge herself, Megan Thee Stallion.

    The four-day event will be a multi-generational experience entrenched in culture, equity, and celebration that extends ESSENCE’s long-standing commitment to creating opportunities that will economically benefit and contribute to local Black-owned businesses.

    “As we gear up to celebrate the ‘50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop’, we couldn’t think of a better way to honor the contributions that genre has made on global culture and the impressions that these artists and their deep musical catalogs, which we all know so well, have been ingrained into the fibers of our day to day lives,” said Hakeem Holmes, newly appointed Vice President of ESSENCE Festival of Culture. “This year, we are excited to have everyone join us in celebrating 50 years of musical excellence, experiencing our diverse daytime and nighttime offerings, and in highlighting the importance of Black economic inclusion.”

    Through a suite of experiences like partner activations, meaningful conversations, powerful performances, and thought-provoking art installations, attendees will embark on a celebration of hip-hop’s rich history that proudly shows how hip-hop has been the nucleus for every corner of culture. Fans can also look forward to laughs every night with evening hosts Deon Cole, Affion Crockett, and Spice Adams.

  • Bronny James NIL Value at $7.2M; LeBron’s Son No. 1 from McDonald’s All-American Game

    Bronny James NIL Value at $7.2M; LeBron’s Son No. 1 from McDonald’s All-American Game

    On3 estimates James could earn $7.2 million from his name, image and likeness.


    Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

    Bronny James is still a high schooler, yet he has a valuation that rivals what a number of professional athletes are earning.

    On3 estimates James could earn $7.2 million from his name, image and likeness. Pete Nakos of On3 noted that was far and away the biggest NIL valuation among the players who competed in this year’s McDonald’s All-American Game, an annual showcase of the best prep talent in the country.

    Jared McCain, who signed with Duke in November, was second on the list and the only other player with a seven-figure NIL valuation ($1.2 million).

    Being the son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James certainly gives Bronny a leg up in terms of potential endorsements. He was only 15 when he joined the esports organization FaZe Clan.

    The 6’3″ combo guard has developed his skills on the court to match his profile off it. He’s the No. 33 overall player in 247Sports’ composite rankings for the 2023 recruiting class.

    James has yet to commit to a school. The Los Angeles Times‘ Luca Evans reported in January that Ohio State, Oregon and USC have emerged as his favorites, with a final decision coming after the season ends.

  • Carl Lewis Feature Doc In The Works From LeBron James And Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted

    Carl Lewis Feature Doc In The Works From LeBron James And Maverick Carter’s Uninterrupted

    The film will be co-directed by award-winning filmmaker and Noah Media Group’s co-founder, Gabriel Clarke and Chris Hay.

    Carl Lewis at the Save The World Awards show 2009

    A feature documentary on the former track and field champion Carl Lewis is in the works.

    LeBron James and Maverick Carter will executive produce the documentary alongside Jamal Henderson and Philip Byron under Uninterrupted. 

    The as-of-yet untitled documentary will explore Lewis’ life beyond the Olympic arena, giving viewers exclusive access to his family and close friends.

    “We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Carl to tell his timely and important story,” Gabriel Clarke said. “The aim has always been to capture the true scale of his sporting and cultural impact, making LeBron, Maverick and the brilliant Uninterrupted team the ideal production team-mates.

    The film will be co-directed by award-winning filmmaker and Noah Media Group’s co-founder, Gabriel Clarke and Chris Hay.

    The Carl Lewis feature documentary is just the first of many to be financed, developed and produced under Noah Media Group. The production, distribution and technology company are also developing a documentary on British boxing champion   Ricky   Hatton and Villeneuve Pironi, which details chronicles the friendship and tragic rivalry between   Formula   One legend,   Gilles   Villeneuve and  Didier   Piron.

  • California Cop Partially Blinds Elderly Woman with Beanbag Round and Gets Promoted to Sergeant. Now, the City Must Pay Her $10M.

    California Cop Partially Blinds Elderly Woman with Beanbag Round and Gets Promoted to Sergeant. Now, the City Must Pay Her $10M.

    The lawsuit alleged Furcron’s First Amendment right to protest was violated by La Mesa police detective Eric Knudson.  

    By Nicole Duncan-Smith

    Leslie Furcron was hit in the face with a beanbag round on May 30, 2022.

    The city of La Mesa settled a civil lawsuit with a 61-year-old woman left partially blind by an officer shooting beanbag rounds during a 2020 protest of the killing of George Floyd.

    Despite receiving an eight-figure award, the woman says her life has been severely altered, and no amount of money can replace what she’s lost.

    The city of La Mesa settled a complaint filed on behalf of Leslie Furcron by Dante Pride in the San Diego Superior Court (and later forwarded to federal court) for $10 million, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    The lawyer said in a statement, “Ms. Leslie Furcron suffered horrific, life-changing injuries at the hands of the LMPD, under circumstances that were criminal at worst and grossly negligent at best.”

    The lawsuit alleged Furcron’s First Amendment right to protest was violated by La Mesa police detective Eric Knudson.  

    The officer shot Furcron during a protest on May 30, 2020, outside La Mesa Police Department headquarters with bean bag ammunition. He open fire on Furcron because he believed she was throwing rocks at other police.

    According to the lawsuit, the officer not only impeded her right to protest but violated standard law enforcement practices. An investigation into the incident proved that the woman did not throw rocks but an empty can of Red Bull.

    The settlement was actually reached in December 2022; however, it is scheduled to be approved by the La Mesa City Council in April.

    The woman’s lawyer says this is one of the largest known settlements for an officer’s non-death excessive use of force case in the history of San Diego County. City officials said they were “glad” to come to a “resolution to this very unfortunate incident.”

    Even though the city settled with Furcron, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the La Mesa Police Department absolved Knudson of wrongdoing in 2021 when criminal charges were not filed.

    District Attorney Summer Stephan wrote in a letter to law enforcement the officer’s actions were a reasonable use of self-defense.

    “Detective Knudson believed Ms. Furcron had thrown a rock. He was incorrect. Ms. Furcron threw a can, but his belief was not unreasonable given the totality of circumstances the officers were dealing with over several hours of protesting and rioting where they were subject to rocks being thrown at them continuously,” Stephan wrote, before adding, there was “no evidence Detective Knudson intended to aim at Ms. Furcron’s head.”

    The La Mesa Police Department also added their officer did not violate department policy.

    “From an administrative standpoint, it is determined that Detective Knudson reacted reasonably within California law and Department policy when he discharged the less lethal shotgun in order to prevent injury to other law enforcement officers,” a report from the department officials said.

    Ironically, reports show Knudson was never properly trained to shoot the firearm that injured Furcron. The gun in question actually belonged to the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and not LMPD. Furthermore, the beanbag gun also went missing during the investigation into the case. Years after the inquiry into criminal charges, the weapon has not been found.

    Facing no discipline from the force, Knudson was eligible and has been promoted to the rank of sergeant.

    With no criminal proceedings, a civil case was the only way Pride saw his client receiving justice.

    Key evidence was a video documenting the time between when Furcron threw the can and when Knudson shot her. The incident hospitalized the protester, where she was taken from the ICU and placed in a medically induced coma, according to CBS 8.

    This, Pride believes, was their proverbial “Hail Mary,” moving the city to settle.

    “This big number tells me that they appreciate the gravity of the situation. They appreciate the damage that was caused to Ms. Furcron. But they are still behind as far as accountability for the officer,” the attorney said.

    While pleased with the award, Furcron said her life has been changed in ways the millions won’t satisfy.

    She can no longer see out of her left eye and has extremely bad headaches. As a result, Furcron dropped out of college. Much worse, she will have to undergo reconstructive surgery to seal the hole left in her skull from the shooting.

    Pride added in a statement, “Upon first blush, the $10 million dollar settlement seems like something significant … But in the context of the real harm done to Ms. Furcron – the gruesomeness of which played out on Facebook Live for the entire community to witness – $10 million feels pyrrhic.”

    “I wish that it had never happened,” the woman said. “I thank God that I’m living, right? I thank God that I’m living, but not every day is a good day for me.”

    The woman said she would not change how she chose to protest Floyd’s death.

    “I’d do it again,” Furcron said. “Because I’m not OK with police brutality. I have a voice. I have a First Amendment right.”

    According to the city, Furcron’s claim was handled by the Public Entity Risk Management Authority, the City of La Mesa’s insurance claim provider.

  • New York to Pay $5.5M to Man Falsely Accused, Exonerated in Alice Sebold Rape Case

    New York to Pay $5.5M to Man Falsely Accused, Exonerated in Alice Sebold Rape Case

    Anthony Broadwater spent 16 years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted of raping author Alice Sebold, who recounted the attack in her 1999 memoir, “Lucky.”

    SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A man who spent 16 years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted of raping writer Alice Sebold when she was a Syracuse University student has settled a lawsuit against New York state for $5.5 million, his lawyers said Monday.

    The settlement comes after Anthony Broadwater’s conviction for raping Sebold in 1981 was overturned in 2021. It was signed last week by lawyers for Broadwater and New York Attorney General Letitia James, David Hammond, one of Broadwater’s attorneys, said.

    Broadwater, 62, said in a statement relayed by Hammond, “I appreciate what Attorney General James has done, and I hope and pray that others in my situation can achieve the same measure of justice. We all suffer from destroyed lives.”

    “Obviously no amount of money can erase the injustices Mr. Broadwater suffered, but the settlement now officially acknowledges them,” Sebold said in a statement released through a spokesperson.

    Sebold was an 18-year-old first-year student at Syracuse when she was raped in a park near campus in May 1981. She described the attack and the ensuing prosecution in a memoir, “Lucky,” published in 1999.

    Sebold went on to win acclaim for her 2002 novel “The Lovely Bones,” which recounts the aftermath of a teenage girl’s rape and murder and was made into a movie starring Saoirse Ronan, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci.

    Sebold, who is white, wrote in “Lucky” that she spotted a Black man in the street months after being raped and was sure that he was her attacker.

    “He was smiling as he approached. He recognized me. It was a stroll in the park to him; he had met an acquaintance on the street,” Sebold wrote. “ ‘Hey, girl,’ he said. ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ ”

    Police arrested Broadwater, who was given the pseudonym Gregory Madison in “Lucky.” But Sebold failed to identify him in a police lineup, picking a different man as her attacker.

    Broadwater was nonetheless tried and convicted in 1982 after Sebold identified him as her rapist on the witness stand and an expert said microscopic hair analysis had tied Broadwater to the crime. That type of analysis has since been deemed junk science by the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Broadwater was released from prison in 1999. But he still had to register as a sex offender until his conviction was vacated in November 2021.

    William J. Fitzpatrick, the current district attorney for Onondaga County, the central New York county that includes Syracuse, joined the motion to vacate the conviction, noting that witness identifications, particularly across racial lines, are often unreliable.

    Broadwater’s settlement with the state must be approved by a judge before it becomes final.

    “Anthony Broadwater was convicted for a crime he never committed, and was incarcerated despite his innocence. While we cannot undo the wrongs from more than four decades ago, this settlement agreement is a critical step to deliver some semblance of justice to Mr. Broadwater,” James said in an emailed statement.

    Broadwater has also filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Onondaga County, the city of Syracuse and an assistant district attorney and a police officer who were involved in prosecuting him. That case is pending.

    Sebold apologized to Broadwater in a 2021 statement released to The Associated Press and later posted on Medium.

    She wrote that “as a traumatized 18-year-old rape victim, I chose to put my faith in the American legal system. My goal in 1982 was justice — not to perpetuate injustice. And certainly not to forever, and irreparably, alter a young man’s life by the very crime that had altered mine.”

  • Police Killed His Friend and Blamed Him. He Got 65 Years in Prison. He Was 15

    Police Killed His Friend and Blamed Him. He Got 65 Years in Prison. He Was 15

    OPINION: LaKeith Smith was 15 years old when police shot and killed his friend during a botched burglary. But a legal doctrine led to Smith being tried and convicted of murder in the death of his friend.

    By Daniel K. Forkkio 

    A few weekends ago, I took a trip to Selma, Ala., on Bloody Sunday to show my support for the “Justice for LaKeith Smith” coalition and the Smith family. The trip was to raise awareness for the resentencing of LaKeith Smith, a young Black man who, in 2018, was sentenced to 65 years in prison (which was reduced to 55 years in 2019) after a police officer shot and killed his friend during a botched burglary in Elmore County, Ala. I was meeting with LaKeith’s mother, Tina, to pass out information about her son’s devastating case and to participate in a Bloody Sunday remembrance march.

    In 2015, LaKeith — who was 15 years old at the time — and a group of friends were involved in the break-ins of two unoccupied homes in Millbrook, Ala., where they were seeking Xbox games and tablet computers. When local police officers arrived at the scene, LaKeith’s 16-year-old friend, A’Donte Washington, was shot by one of the officers. A’Donte died at the scene. Although he was the youngest in the group, LaKeith was denied being tried as a juvenile and was charged as an adult. He was convicted of theft, burglary, and felony murder — a legal doctrine that led to him being charged in the death of his friend. LaKeith has remained imprisoned in St. Clair Correctional Facility since then. On Tuesday, he was resentenced to 30 years by the same judge he faced nearly five years ago, ignoring the victim’s family, the child psychologist and even going further than the recommendation of the district attorney of 25 years. This same judge had announced his retirement back in December but essentially came out of retirement to handle this case.

    As I traveled the hour from Montgomery to Selma for the first time, along the same road that thousands of Black activists and nonviolent demonstrators marched on 58 years ago, I was struck by the lack of historical markers along the road. For such an important moment in our nation’s history, I had expected to see something, anything honoring how in an act of frustration and resolve, our civil rights ancestors walked 54 miles to demand the right to vote and confront the brutalities of an unjust, segregationist system. But the road was eerily quiet — there was little traffic, even on such a momentous occasion.

    It wasn’t until I entered Selma that I was greeted by a spectacle. Entire motorcades of journalists, photographers and officials were taking up space and blocking the streets, both physically and metaphorically placed above the community. I felt angry at the idea that the community was being left behind when they should have been front and center on a day of commemoration. The idea that those like Tina Smith are living injustice and have to watch the motorcades of those with the power go by. The idea that LaKeith is expected to continue to patiently wait behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit while the powers that be go about business as usual. The revolting display of power, leaving behind the people that need it most made me physically ill and discouraged. 

    It wasn’t until I stopped and took a few deep breaths that I realized what I was feeling. It was grief. I was grieving. For LaKeith and so many others who have been victimized by an unjust system. The history of our people, the resolve, the courage and the pain that they went through in this very place shook me to my core, almost suffocating me. 

    I found relief in the incredible warmth of the community, a crowd of people local to Alabama as well as those who had traveled to Selma in an act of remembrance and solitude. With every small smile from an elderly couple and every family conversation, I was able to build myself back to a place of gratitude and remember that the work wasn’t over and that I had a reason for being here. I wasn’t just marching in remembrance, I was marching for justice.

    For LaKeith. For Tina and the family. For the future of our community.

    Tina and I marched across the bridge together, both of us for the first time, not speaking a word outside of the occasional chants of freedom and justice that echoed. All of us were connected — the signs, the shirts, the stories, grieving and fighting, fortifying our resolve by sharing our stories together. 

    This week, on March 21, 58 years since Bloody Sunday and 54 miles away from the Selma march to Montgomery, LaKeith Smith, now 24, was resentenced to 30 years in prison after witnessing his friend be murdered by a police officer eight years ago. 

    It’s time to face down a brutal system and show the Alabama courts that we are watching. To remind the Smith family that they are not alone. And to seek justice.

    Petition · Free LaKeith Smith!

  • Sly Stone Announces Memoir Via Questlove’s New Publishing Imprint

    Sly Stone Announces Memoir Via Questlove’s New Publishing Imprint

    Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) will ‘cover all aspects’ of the musician’s life, including his battles with drug use, and is set for release this September

    Headshot of American singer and songwriter Sly Stone performing with his band Sly and the Family Stone on the television series ‘Midnight Special, ‘ circa 1974. (Photo by Fotos International/NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images)

    Sly Stone, the indefatigable frontman, songwriter and producer of funk progenitors Sly and the Family Stone, has announced that his memoir, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) will be released this October via White Rabbit.

    Written with Ben Greenman, who has co-written celebrity memoirs for Gene Simmons, Brian Wilson and George Clinton among others, Thank You will also include a foreword from Questlove, whose new publishing imprint AUWA Books, part of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, will release the book in the US.

    “For as long as I can remember folks have been asking me to tell my story, [but] I wasn’t ready,” Stone said in a statement. “I had to be in a new frame of mind to become Sylvester Stewart again to tell the true story of Sly Stone. It’s been a wild ride and hopefully my fans enjoy it too.”

    Lee Brackstone, publisher of White Rabbit, said in a statement: “[Thank You] covers all aspects of Sly’s creative life (which, contrary to conventional wisdom, never ended) and his personal life; his childhood in a church-going musical family in northern California, the golden years of hits and psychedelic funk with the Family Stone, his battles with drug use over five decades and eventually getting clean three years ago. It is a revealing portrait of one of the defining musical geniuses of the 20th century, inspiring but also melancholy of course.”

    Brackstone said that Greenman had spent years trying to track Stone down to ask if he would write a memoir, and that the project started life a decade ago when they were connected via George Clinton. “There was start-and-stop progress for many years,” he said. “Most of the credit should go to [manager] Arlene Hirschkowitz, who persuaded him to write the book when he got clean.”

    Stone is one of the key figures in the development of funk music, along with James Brown and Funkadelic’s George Clinton. With the Family Stone, he had hits throughout the 60s and 70s, including Family Affair, Everyday People, I Want to Take You Higher and Dance to the Music. The band’s success began to decline later in the 70s, as Stone and his bandmates became more and more reliant on hard drugs. After failing to reinvigorate his career throughout the 80s, Stone essentially retired after being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, rarely making public appearances throughout the 90s and 2000s.

    In 2011, it was revealed that Stone was homeless and living in a van. He alleged that unfair contracts he had signed in the 80s – including one with his manager Jerry Goldstein – were to blame for his financial situation. In 2015, Stone won a lawsuit against Goldstein, awarding him $5m, although Stone was still unable to collect the royalties due to his having assigned them to a production company in 1989.

    According to his publisher, Stone is now clean and living in Los Angeles. Earlier this year, it was announced that Questlove would direct a new documentary about Stone, which “tells the story behind the rise, reign and fadeout of one of pop music’s most influential artists and, in doing so, tells a very human story about the cost of genius”.

    Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) will be released on 17 October 2023.

  • WATCH: Tupac and His Mother, Afeni Shakur, Tell Their Story in the “Dear Mama” Docuseries Trailer

    WATCH: Tupac and His Mother, Afeni Shakur, Tell Their Story in the “Dear Mama” Docuseries Trailer

    “Dear Mama” will be released on Hulu on April 21.


    It’s Tupac and Afeni Shakur like you’ve never seen them before. FX released the trailer for its new five-part docuseries “Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni & Tupac Shakur” on March 22, and it’s an emotional and reflective look at the bond between Tupac, the legendary rapper who died at just 25 years old in 1996, and his mother, Afeni. As Tupac notes in an archival interview in the trailer, his mother was a Black Panther and political activist who instilled her values of freedom, power, and revolution into her son, whom she gave birth to in 1971 when she was 24.

    Tupac notes in the interview, which he gave when he was 17, that he and his mom had a complicated relationship. While he cherished many of the lessons she taught him, she was also often unavailable because of her life in activism. And as Tupac detailed in his song “Dear Mama,” from which the FX series takes its name, his mother eventually became addicted to crack cocaine, putting a further strain on their relationship. Afeni died in 2016 at age 69.

    The documentary series is directed by Allen Hughes, who previously directed the 2017 HBO music docuseries “The Defiant Ones” about Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Allen and his brother Albert, who have also directed together as the Hughes Brothers, have a long history with Tupac. The rapper was originally cast in their 1993 film “Menace II Society.” They eventually fired him from the film and claim that he attacked them. Tupac was charged with assault and battery and served 15 days in jail.

    FX says that the new docuseries “defies the conventions of traditional documentary storytelling to share an illuminating saga of mother and son.” The network adds, “Their story chronicles the possibilities and contradictions of the U.S. from a time of revolutionary fervor to Hip Hop culture’s most ostentatious decade.”

    Director Hughes talked about Tupac in a 2022 interview with the YouTube channel “The Art of Dialogue.” Hughes reflected on the difference between Tupac and Snoop Dogg, saying of the latter that he was “a real street guy out of all these guys,” per Okayplayer. “Tupac, on the other hand, while he came up in the inner city or the urban f*cked-up ghetto, he’s not a street kid. He’s an artist and an activist,” he said, according to the outlet. “He’s a performance-arts kid and he’s delusional. He’s just delusional in a positive way. You have to be delusional to be a great artist.” He added that “to be a great artist,” one must have delusions. “If you’re fortunate, maybe a third of your delusions become art,” he said.

    Watch the trailer for “Dear Mama” ahead.

    “Dear Mama” Trailer

    “Dear Mama” Release Date

    “Dear Mama” will be released on Hulu on April 21.

  • Watch: Michael Irvin Releases Surveillance Video, Refiles Lawsuit vs. Marriott in Arizona

    Watch: Michael Irvin Releases Surveillance Video, Refiles Lawsuit vs. Marriott in Arizona

    Irvin’s legal team in his $100 million suit against the hotel chain showed the video on Tuesday.

    By Michael Gehlken

    Former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin and his legal team released what they hope will be illuminating video from a February encounter the Hall of Famer had with a female Marriott employee that launched accusations against the player and a $100 million lawsuit against the hotel chain.

    A prepared presentation Tuesday highlighted 20 bullet points before the video was shown, raising questions about the incident that led to Irvin’s eventual removal from the hotel and cancellation of his Super Bowl-week appearances.

    The employee accused Irvin of making unwanted advances during a hotel lobby conversation, including a lewd comment and statement that he would find her later. The specifics weren’t released until last Friday.

    Irvin countered shortly after the Feb. 5 encounter by suing Marriott for defamation and tortious interference in a business relationship. He moved the $100 million lawsuit Monday from a federal court in Texas to an Arizona state court ahead of Tuesday’s news conference.

    Marriott’s first publicly disclosed information about the incident painted a picture of a drunken Irvin trying to pick up the woman at Renaissance Phoenix Downtown while the pair were speaking near the hotel lobby bar.

    Watch video of the Michael Irvin Marriott hotel incident

    “Irvin also reached out and touched the Victim’s arm during this conversation without her consent, causing her to step back, becoming visibly uncomfortable,” Marriott attorney Nathan Chapman wrote in the document. “Irvin then asked the Victim whether she knew anything about having a ‘big Black man inside of [her].’ Taken aback by Irvin’s comments, the Victim responded that his comments were inappropriate, and she did not wish to discuss it further.

    “Irvin then attempted to grab the Victim’s hand again and said he was ‘sorry if he brought up bad memories’ for her.’ The Victim pulled her hand away and tried to back away from Irvin as he continued to move towards her.”

    Irvin’s lead attorney, Levi McCathern, disputed the details from Marriott. “Total hogwash,” McCathern said Friday in a statement to The News. “Marriott’s recently-created account goes against all the eyewitnesses and Michael’s own testimony as well as common sense.”

    Michael Irvin (center) looks to his lead attorney Levi McCathern (right) alongside Irvin’s agent Steve Mandell (left) as McCathern points out portions of a video of Irvin and a female staffer from the Phoenix Renaissance Hotel at a press conference at the Regency Plaza in Dallas on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.(Liesbeth Powers / Staff Photographer)

    Before Tuesday’s video viewing, McCathern questioned the women’s motivation to speak to the wide receiver, describing her as trying to intercept the former Cowboys player and catch his attention.

    The 3 minute, 10-second video, which has no sound, shows the employee and Irvin standing off to the side of a hotel bar, having a conversation. The video was narrated by Irvin’s legal team during the initial viewing, offering a different interpretation of the body language shown. The conversation appears to last about 1 minute, 45 seconds.

    In the video, the employee appears to be engaged by Irvin when she walks into the bar area at the 31-second mark of the video. The pair shake hands, then move about two feet from the bar while they speak. Irvin touches her left arm with his right hand at the 1:44 mark, and the woman steps back as they continue to speak, about two feet away from each other. They then appear to share a laugh, shaking hands at the 2:20 mark as another employee approaches, standing off and then approaching seconds later when the conversation ends. Irvin looks back toward the bar, appears to jokingly slap himself three times and then the employee takes a selfie with Irvin at the 2:48 mark near an exterior door.

    Irvin and the second employee head back toward the lobby chatting, and they go their separate ways at the 3:08 mark.

    Last week, after multiple court orders, Irvin acquired the tape.

    U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant chided Marriott for the delay in producing the video. As recourse, Irvin not only received a nonmodified version of the footage Friday, without the woman’s face being blurred, but he also was allowed to release the video to the public.

    A day before the video release, Irvin filed paperwork Monday for the lawsuit’s voluntary dismissal from Eastern District federal court. But the lawsuit is still alive, and no settlement has been reached between the sides. The case moved because Irvin and his legal team have collected more information on the incident and parties involved, influencing the case’s jurisdiction, McCathern told The News on Tuesday.

  • Boost Mobile Ransomware Outages Strike Many Across the Nation With No End In Sight

    Boost Mobile Ransomware Outages Strike Many Across the Nation With No End In Sight

    The attack started on February 23rd, forcing the company to shut down portions of its IT systems, causing widespread outages among its services.

    By Sergiu Gatlan

    Satellite broadcast provider and TV giant Dish Network has finally confirmed that a ransomware attack was the cause of a multi-day network and service outage that started on Friday.

    As BleepingComputer reported, this widespread outage hit Dish.com, the Dish Anywhere app, Boost Mobile (a subsidiary owned by Dish Wireless), and other websites and networks owned and operated by Dish Network. Customers have also reported that the company’s call center phone numbers were unreachable.

    Dish Network first blamed the network and service outage on VPN issues, according to The Verge. However, as first reported by BleepingComputer, an internal memo sent to Dish employees and seen by us stated that the outage “was caused by an outside bad actor, a known threat agent.”

    February 28th, in an 8-K form filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dish Network said it “determined that the outage was due to a cyber-security incident and notified appropriate law enforcement authorities.”

    The company added that the filed information relates to its “expectations regarding its ability to contain, assess and remediate the ransomware attack and the impact of the ransomware attack on the Corporation’s employees, customers, business, operations or financial results.”

    Dish Network also confirmed that the threat actors stole data from its compromised systems (potentially containing personal information) but failed to mention if it belonged to its employees, customers, or both.

    “On February 27, 2023, the Corporation became aware that certain data was extracted from the Corporation’s IT systems as part of this incident. It is possible the investigation will reveal that the extracted data includes personal information,” the company added.

    Dish Network’s website is still affected by the outage and is only partially functional, with the company prominently displaying a “We are experiencing a system issue that our teams are working hard to resolve” message at the top of the homepage.

    Unfortunately, Dish Network’s employees have told BleepingComputer that they have been kept in the dark, with the company sharing little information about what is happening.

    While this might be due to the ongoing investigation into the ransomware attack, Dish Network has yet to share further details besides hiring “the services of cyber-security experts and outside advisors’ and notifying the relevant law enforcement authorities about the attack.

    Attack allegedly targeted VMware ESXi servers

    Even though Dish Network didn’t name the ransomware gang behind the incident, sources have told BleepingComputer that the Black Basta ransomware operation is behind the attack, first breaching Boost Mobile and then the Dish corporate network.

    Additionally, multiple sources told BleepingComputer that the attack occurred in the early morning of February 23, with the attackers compromising the company’s Windows domain controllers and then encrypting VMware ESXi servers and backups.

    BleepingComputer has not been able to independently confirm this information and no ransomware gang has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Dish Network has yet to reply to multiple emails requesting more details regarding the outage and the ransomware attack behind it.

  • Ruth E. Carter is the First Black Woman to Win Two Oscars

    Ruth E. Carter is the First Black Woman to Win Two Oscars

    Both of Carter’s Best Costume Design Oscar wins come from her work in Marvel’s “Black Panther” films. 

    By Jazz Tangcay

    Ruth E. Carter has become the first Black woman to win two Oscars.

    Carter, who in 2019 became the first Black person to win the Oscar for costume design for her work on Marvel’s “Black Panther,” was recognized for the film’s sequel, “Wakanda Forever.” In her speech, she thanked director Ryan Coogler and asked late “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman to look after her own mother, who recently died at 101.

    “Nice to see you again,” Carter said as she took the stage. “Thank you to the Academy for recognizing the superhero that is a Black woman. She endure, she loves, she overcomes, she is every woman in this film. She is my mother. This past week, Mable Carter became an ancestor. This film prepared me for this moment. Chadwick, please take care of Mom. Ryan Coogler, Nate Moore, thank you both for your vision. Together, we are reshaping how culture is represented. The Marvel family, Kevin Feige, Victoria Alonso, Louis D’Esposito and their arsenal of genius, thank you. I share this with many dedicated artists whose hands and hearts helped manifest the costumes of Wakanda and Talokan. This is for my mother. She was 101.”

    Carter beat out Catherine Martin, who won the BAFTA and Costume Designers Guild awards for her work on Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.” She also beat Mary Zophres for “Babylon,” Jenny Beaven for “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” and Shirley Kurata for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which was the surprise winner of the Sci-Fi Fantasy award at the CDGA.

    Denzel Washington made history in 2002 when he won his second Oscar for “Training Day,” the first Black person to do so in an acting category. He first won in 1990 for “Glory.” Mahershala Ali is the only other Black actor with two Oscars, for 2016’s “Moonlight” and 2018’s “Green Book.” While newly minted EGOT Viola Davis has four Oscar nominations, she has only won once, for 2016’s “Fences.”

    Sound mixer Russell Williams II was the first Black person to win two Oscars, sharing the best sound award for both “Dances With Wolves” and “Glory.”

    Carter has a total of four career Oscar nominations, including for 1992’s “Malcolm X” and 1997’s “Amistad.” Her credits also include “Selma” and the Tina Turner biopic “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” for which Carter recreated Tina Turner’s most iconic looks from the ’70s and ’80s, including the famous gold metallic fringe dress and high-waisted miniskirts.

    In building the costumes of Wakanda, which Carter called one of the biggest challenges of her career, she had to account for the physical immersion of her designs in water. “We put it underwater, and everything just went up. I had to remake things that were tested. I had to weigh them down, and sometimes they were too light, other times they were too heavy,” she told Variety.

    Carter, who is Spike Lee’s go-to costume designer, credits the director as being instrumental in changing the way she looks at Hollywood: “‘You walk through Hollywood with your own voice. You walk through there with your portfolio,’ he would say. He gave us that charge.”

  • ‘Black Panther’ Fans Rally Behind Angela Bassett After Saying She Was “Robbed” at the 2023 Oscars

    ‘Black Panther’ Fans Rally Behind Angela Bassett After Saying She Was “Robbed” at the 2023 Oscars

    Fans Defend Angela Bassett’s ‘disappointment’ Over Jamie Lee Curtis’ Oscars Snub


    Out of all the losses at the 95th Annual Academy Awards, fans are handling Angela Bassett‘s the hardest.

    Earlier on in the evening, Best Supporting Actress was awarded to Jamie Lee Curtis. Angela was up for the title thanks to her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, along with fellow nominees Stephanie HsuHong Chau and Kerry Condon.

    The camera panned to all of the Oscar nominees as Jamie Lee was announced as the winner for her portrayal in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Viewers from home couldn’t help but take in Angela’s crestfallen reaction.

    One fan reposted the moment on Twitter and added: “Angela’s face … oh I’d be angry too if I got robbed of this award.” It inspired a flux of support toward the actress as the term “ROBBED” trended on the platform. “They really robbed Angela Bassett out of another #Oscar,” a different user added.

    Another missed moment that flew under the radar involved Black Panther co-star Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors who later took the stage. Before the two presented, they took a beat to acknowledge Angela: “Hey Auntie, we love you.”

    A Twitter user shared the clip and interpreted it as the pair sending a supporting message amidst her loss. “They know Angela Bassett got robbed. #Oscars,” the user wrote.

    This content is imported from twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors give a shoutout to Angela Bassett: “Hey Auntie, we love you.” #Oscars pic.twitter.com/xIQlVq8AOZ— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 13, 2023

    Though she didn’t take home the trophy, she’s already made history as her nomination marks the only time a performance from the Marvel Cinematic Universe has appeared in any of the Oscars’ four acting categories.

    During the red carpet, the 9-1-1 star looked regal in her purple Moschino gown and told Entertainment Tonight that she was “feeling pretty good.” She was flanked by her husband, Courtney B. Vance, and their twins, Bronwyn and Slater.

    “I think it’s long overdue, and I really want to see her be honored the way that I know she should be,” Slater told the outlet. “And so this will mean a lot to me, and I know it’ll mean even more to her, so, I’m waiting I’m waiting and I’m ready for it.”

  • ‘Embarrassing’: New York City Officials Misspell Jackie Robinson’s Name on Expressway Named After the Hall of Famer

    ‘Embarrassing’: New York City Officials Misspell Jackie Robinson’s Name on Expressway Named After the Hall of Famer

    The road sign read “Jakie Robinson Parkway,” leaving the “c” out of the Baseball Hall of Famer’s tribute.

    By Nicole Duncan-Smith

    The New York City Department of Transportation ended Black History Month with a huge blunder.

    The municipal agency misspelled the name of the first African-American to play Major League Baseball in the modern era, Jackie Robinson, on one of its signs for the 5-mile thoroughfare that runs from Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn through to the Grand Central Parkway in Kew Gardens. 

    The road sign read “Jakie Robinson Parkway,” leaving the “c” out of the Baseball Hall of Famer’s tribute. On Sunday, Feb. 26, people started to notice the error. The botched sign features a picture of Robinson in a classic batter’s pose above the text and is located at Myrtle Avenue and Forest Park Drive, according to the NY Post.

    Queens Councilman Robert Holden blasted the DOT for misspelling the Brooklyn Dodgers name.

    “Not only can’t the central planners at NYC DOT move traffic smoothly and safely, but they can’t even spell. The DOT needs a major overhaul. They’re a mess,” he tweeted.

    Not only can’t the central planners at NYC DOT move traffic smoothly and safely, but they can’t even spell.

    The DOT needs a major overhaul. They’re a mess. https://t.co/GnoBkBC9kZ— Robert Holden (@BobHoldenNYC) February 27, 2023

    The politician also said to the press “This spelling mistake is absurd. You don’t have a few eyes looking at these signs? DOT is a mess.” 

    Adding, “This is a slap in the face. Jackie Robinson means a lot to me. I was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan!”

    Many others were outraged.

    “It does not make sense that a sign on the Jackie Robinson Parkway in Queens spells his first name Jakie,” another tweeted.

    It does not make sense that a sign on the Jackie Robinson Parkway in Queens spells his first name Jakie.— Nate Weiser (@nweiser09) February 28, 2023

    Glendale native Kira Incantalupo called the sign “embarrassing.”

    “It’s embarrassing,” Incantalupo said. “Poor Jackie Robinson. That shouldn’t have happened. I mean, nobody wants to have that. It’s a memorial for somebody. It should be corrected.”

    Quana Martin, a local Queens resident, said, “I just feel it’s a little odd because how do you not know how to spell his name? He’s a well-known figure.”

    JP Ward, a teen from the area, said the mistake was “f##king stupid.”

    “I wouldn’t say it’s disrespectful, but it’s definitely stupid,” the 17-year-old concluded.

    The next day, according to CBS News, Department of Transportation spokesperson Scott Gastel said the sign was replaced.

    Before it was renamed in 1997, the Jackie Robinson Parkway was known as the Interboro Parkway. The city renamed the strip to honor the 50th anniversary of his historic rookie season when he broke the color-line barrier in 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers team.

    The same year of the renaming MLB commissioner Bud Selig permanently retired Robinson’s number 42. No player after Mariano Rivera, who had already had the number before the late 1990s, will ever play wearing the number.

    In 1947, when Robinson joined the MLB, he was named the MLB Rookie of the Year after batting .297, hitting 12 home runs, and stealing 29 bases. Two years later in 1949, Robinson became the MLB’s Most Valuable Player, batting .342.

    During his career, he made the All-Star team six times. Over those 10 years he played professionally in the MLB, he hit.313.

    Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, ten years before his death in 1972.

  • Sen. Cory Booker Aims to Make Prisons Safer, Add Livable Wage for Inmates

    Sen. Cory Booker Aims to Make Prisons Safer, Add Livable Wage for Inmates

    Booker has introduced a package of bills that would end cruel labor practices in U.S. prisons, plus tackle fair pay and workplace discrimination on behalf of incarcerated individuals.

    By Ashlee Banks 

    Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has introduced a package of bills that would end cruel labor practices in U.S. prisons and tackle fair pay and workplace discrimination on behalf of incarcerated individuals. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has introduced a package of bills that would end cruel labor practices in U.S. prisons and tackle fair pay and workplace discrimination on behalf of incarcerated individuals.

    In a statement obtained by theGrio, Booker proposed that the four bills — the Fair Wages for Incarcerated Workers Act of 2023, Correctional Facilities Occupational Safety and Health Act, Ensuring Work Opportunities in Correctional Facilities Act and Combating Workplace Discrimination in Correctional Facilities Act — would address “inhumane and unacceptable” prison labor conditions in America’s correctional facilities. The Democratic senator believes these bills would end unfair and abusive labor policies.

    “The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery ‘except as a punishment for crime,’ but this language has enabled and expanded the exploitation of incarcerated people in our country’s prisons,” he said.

    Booker’s prison reform legislation would ensure that incarcerated individuals are deemed employees and would require correctional facilities to routinely report workplace safety and labor conditions to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.

    Beth Schwartzapfel, a reporter for the Marshall Project, told theGrio that being an incarcerated individual is a “dehumanizing experience” and that Booker’s legislation would be “life-changing.”

    “People don’t have access to basic human needs,” she contended. “People don’t have access to their loved ones in any regular way. People don’t have access to their humanity in a way. The culture of prison is such a machismo sort of posturing, violent place that is all about survival.”

    Other parts of Booker’s effort would ensure that incarcerated individuals are paid a livable wage and would provide resources for inmates to seek employment and educational opportunities while behind bars. He said that more than half of incarcerated people work while carrying out their sentences.

    “Because fair labor standards are virtually nonexistent in U.S. prisons, incarcerated people are often compelled to work in abusive and unsafe conditions,” said Booker. “They work for little to no pay, on average making between 13 and 52 cents per hour in most jobs.”

    Schwartzapfel told theGrio that if incarcerated individuals are paid a livable wage, it could prevent recidivism and would benefit the nation’s economy.

    “If you have enough money in hand that you can put a down payment on an apartment or that you can buy a car so that you can actually drive to job interviews or that you can actually take a job that you can get to without public transportation … it just creates a better circumstance for people to do better,” she said.

    “When people are desperate, that’s when laws get broken,” Schwartzapfel said, “[but] when you release people from prison with enough money like a cushion to settle back into society, you eliminate the incentive to continue to break the law.”

    Booker’s proposals also aim to protect incarcerated individuals’ civil rights and prevent them from falling victim to discriminatory practices. For instance, the senator advocated for having the phrase “refusing to work” removed from the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate behaviors list, which is often used to justify why a prisoner should face harsh consequences.

    “If they refuse to work,” he said, “they face retaliation by correctional officers and have limited avenues under federal law to fight for their civil rights.”

    The senator’s package of bills is backed by several organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Brennan Center for Justice and the National Employment Law Project.

  • Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Michigan Cops Who Held Realtor, Clients at Gunpoint – Judge Says Reports of Prior Break-Ins Were Enough Probable Cause 

    Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Michigan Cops Who Held Realtor, Clients at Gunpoint – Judge Says Reports of Prior Break-Ins Were Enough Probable Cause 

    Judge said that the five officers who responded to the break-in call had qualified immunity and probable cause to detain the three due to the 911 call.

    By Niko Mann

    Eric Brown (left) and Roy Thorne (right) were held at gunpoint by the police in Wyoming, Michigan, back in 2021. (Photo: WOODTV8 News / YouTube)

    A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Black real estate agent who was held at gunpoint with his client and 15-year-old son by the police in Wyoming, Michigan, in 2021.

    According to MLive, the judge also dismissed claims against the city of Wyoming and police Chief Kimberly Koster.

    U.S. District Judge Hala Jarbou issued an opinion on Feb. 28 in Lansing dismissing the lawsuit. Brown, who is Black, was meeting with his client, Roy Thorne, who is also Black, in August 2021 to show him a vacant house he was selling on Sharon Avenue SW.

    One week earlier, a Black squatter had illegally entered the house and been arrested. A neighbor called the police after seeing Brown, Thorne and his teenage son enter the home and said the squatter was back and that “two other males showed up and all three individuals had now entered the house.”

    Brown gave his client and his son, Samuel, a tour of the home before Thorne noticed Wyoming police officers outside surrounding the home with their guns drawn. The realtor and Thorne shared their story with WOODTV 8 News just after the incident.

    Roy Thorne, left, is seen with his 15-year-old son Samuel, middle, and realtor Eric Brown. All three were handcuffed by Wyoming, Michigan, police officers while touring a home.

    “Roy looked outside and noticed there were officers there and were pointing guns toward the property,” said Brown. “The level of the response and the aggressiveness of the response was definitely a takeback, it really threw me back.”

    The two men and the teenager were instructed to exit the home single file with their hands up and were held at gunpoint until they were all handcuffed.

    “They keep their guns drawn on us until all of us were in cuffs,” added Thorne. “So, that was a little traumatizing I guess because, under the current climate of things, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

    Samuel said that he was afraid during the incident, which he said went from zero to 100 very quickly.

    “I had no idea why they were all down there at that time,” said Samuel. “It went from, ‘Dad, there’s cops outside,’ to ‘come outside with your hands up.’ That was kind of like, just from zero to 100.”

    The two men and the teenager were let go after Brown showed his credentials to the police, who then apologized. Brown and Thorne filed a lawsuit in October of 2021 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan claiming their civil rights were violated. The lawsuit also claimed that the police detained them unlawfully, used excessive force and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

    Jarbou said that the five officers who responded to the break-in call had qualified immunity and probable cause to detain the three due to the 911 call.

    “This is not a rare and obvious case where the unlawfulness of the individual Defendants’ conduct is sufficiently clear,” said Jarbou. The judge added that because one of the police officers who responded to the call, Logan Wieber, had eyewitness information that “the Plaintiffs” were breaking and entering the house, probable cause had been established.

    “Probable cause in this case stems not only from a reasonably trustworthy eyewitness but also from the corroboration of the eyewitness’s assertions by the individual officers on the scene,” wrote Jarbou. “The fact that Wieber did not recognize Plaintiffs once they exited the home weakens but does not defeat the existence of probable cause.”

    Thorne had previously noted that the handcuffs used on him were too tight, but Jarbou said that the police did not use excessive force because the police officers with their guns drawn did not know if the plaintiffs had weapons, and the plaintiffs could not prove they were treated differently than any individuals of another race in a similar situation.

  • ‘Restore Garvey’s Legacy’: New York and Georgia Lawmakers Urge Biden to Exonerate Marcus Garvey of 1923 Conviction

    ‘Restore Garvey’s Legacy’: New York and Georgia Lawmakers Urge Biden to Exonerate Marcus Garvey of 1923 Conviction

    “The utter lack of merit to the charges on which he was originally convicted combined with his profound legacy and contributions to Black history in our country – it’s time to right this fundamental wrong,”

    By Kavontae Smalls

    A pair of Black lawmakers want President Joe Biden to exonerate Black nationalist and leader of the Pan-Africanism movement, Marcus Garvey.

    Democratic representatives Yvette Clarke of New York and Hank Johnson of Georgia are the latest in a growing chorus of Garvey supporters asking for the government to right a wrong for one of the nation’s most influential social justice activists. Their resolution was introduced on Feb. 17 and sits with the House Judiciary Committee.

    “America must right these wrongs and restore Garvey’s legacy,” Rep. Clarke told the Jamaica Observer.

    Garvey, born on Aug. 17, 1887, in St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica was a Black nationalist leader and was world-renowned for the “Back to Africa” movement, which sought to establish a self-governing Black nation.

    The campaign to exonerate Garvey of mail fraud charges to which he was ultimately convicted in 1923 has been ongoing for years.

    “The utter lack of merit to the charges on which he was originally convicted combined with his profound legacy and contributions to Black history in our country – it’s time to right this fundamental wrong,” Rep. Johnson said.

    Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) introduced legislation asking President Biden to exonerate Marcus Garvey. (Photo: Twitter/RepYvetteClark, RepHankJohnson)

    One of the leading voices behind the effort to exonerate Garvey has been his son, Dr. Julius Garvey, 89. Julius Garvey is a cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon in New York. He often gives lectures on his father’s life and legacy.

    “President Biden has an understanding of what we as a people have gone through,” Julius Garvey told The Washington Post.

    “I think he owes something of his presidency to African-Americans. It is time for this to be righted with someone whose only crime was to help his people,” Julius Garvey added.

    “Garvey’s life and contributions to the United States should be recognized and appropriate steps taken to restore his name and reputation in this country,” the resolution says.

    “The world deserves to know the truth about Marcus Mosiah Garvey and the truth about Black history,” Clarke said.

    Marcus Garvey was born to a father who worked as a stonemason and a mother who was a domestic servant. He traveled and worked in different parts of Latin America before studying law and philosophy at the University of London’s Birkbeck College.

    Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in July 1914. The organization was created to achieve Black nationalism through the celebration of African history and culture. Garvey was known for promoting Black economic independence. He launched several businesses, including restaurants and shopping centers, and founded the Negro World newspaper.

    It was also around this time that Garvey’s ideology clashed with other prominent Black thought leaders, most notably W.E.B. DuBois. Garvey’s Black nationalist ideology promoted Black separatism, which opposed beliefs from the likes of W.E.B. DuBois, who shared his philosophy of integration.

    Marcus Garvey and W.E.B. DuBois possessed differing philosophies on how Black Americans should live; Garvey promoted separatism while DuBois promoted integration. (Photo: Twitter/sanffrank1929)

    Among Garvey’s business ventures supporting Black independence, he created the Black Star Line to promote his “Back to Africa” movement. The Black Star Line was a Black-owned passenger line involving a ship named S.S. Phyllis Wheatley that carried people to and from Africa.

    It was Garvey’s Black Star Line that caused him to fall into the crosshairs of the federal government. Barbara Bair, a Duke University historian, said Garvey’s mail fraud charge by government officials was really about opposition to UNIA and what it stands for: Black independence.

    “The mail fraud charge they actually settled on stemmed from the purchase of Black Star Line stock through the U.S. mail in response to the advertisement in UNIA brochures and in the pages of the “Negro World” newspaper,” Bair said to PBS.

    The Black Star Line did not legally own the ship it intended to use to transport people to Africa, despite ongoing advertisements.

    “It was a catch-22 situation for the UNIA; the sale of stock was needed to raise the funds necessary to fully complete the transaction that would legally transfer the ownership and operation of the ship to the Black Star Line, but at the same time, the UNIA did not officially own the ship in question for which it was issuing stock,” Bair added.

    As Garvey’s business dealings become more publicly known, his watchful nemesis DuBois grew “suspicious of Garvey’s methods, ideas and motives and published his own damning exposé of Black Star Line finances in “The Crisis,” a competitor of Garvey’s “Negro World” newspaper according to PBS.   

    In 1921, Garvey’s company announced to stockholders it would buy two more ships. The announcement motivated “a competitor of Garvey’s “Negro World” newspaper to publish an investigation claiming the U.S. Department of Commerce “had no record of those ships,” The Washington Post reported.

    This exposé led to Garvey and three business associates being indicted on charges of “conspiracy to use the mails in furtherance of a scheme to defraud,” according to Congressional records obtained by The Washington Post.

    The federal trial lasted five weeks. During the trial, the testimony of a purchaser of the Black Star Line stock, Benny Dancy, proved crucial to the alleged mail fraud charge.

    The government presented an “empty envelope addressed to Dancy, claiming that a letter promoting the stock purchase had been mailed inside of it,” according to The Washington Post. Dancy admitted receiving the envelope and furthering the envelope to “government agents.” He also reportedly testified that the FBI coached him on his impending testimony. 

    At the conclusion of the trial on June 21, 1923, Garvey was convicted of mail fraud and sentenced to five years in prison at Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. The three other defendants were acquitted of the charges.

    Garvey’s prison sentence was commuted on Nov. 18, 1927, by President Calvin Coolidge, although Garvey’s supporters wanted a presidential pardon at the time. A pardon would have deleted the conviction while a commutation keeps the conviction but reduces the punishment.

    “The real transparency comes from looking at the records of J. Edgar Hoover and looking at his history and past with respect to the Black community,” Clarke said.

    Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) was an activist known for promoting Black independence as part of his Black nationalist movement.

    After Garvey’s release from prison, he was deported back to Jamaica where he continued his political activism, according to The Jamaica Observer.

    In 1935, Garvey moved to London where he lived out the rest of his life until his death on June 10, 1940, after multiple strokes, according to The National Archives.

    After Garvey’s death, his conviction still haunted his supporters.

    “When it comes to Marcus Garvey, not just an individual was harmed, not just a family was harmed, but millions of people around the world are harmed by the destruction of the social justice movement. The U.S. government played a role in the false conviction of Marcus Garvey,” Howard University professor Justin Hansford told The Washington Post.

    The effort to exonerate Marcus Garvey has led to petitions, books and campaigns all aimed at clearing Garvey’s record of the conviction his supporters felt had no merit and was prompted by his Black nationalist stance. “The campaign to exonerate Marcus Garvey has been steadily growing, it’s time to correct this injustice,” Johnson said.

    “As a student of Garvey’s teaching. I felt if I were ever in a position to bring sunlight to the way in which he was railroaded, I would take that opportunity,” Clarke said.

    The White House did not immediately respond to Atlanta Black Star’s requests for comment regarding the resolution to exonerate Garvey.

    Representatives Clarke and Johnson admit the uphill battle their resolution faces but remain hopeful.

    “This resolution is part of the growing movement to exonerate Garvey and correct the injustices of the past. Given the nature of the Republican-controlled House — it’s a long shot. But that won’t deter us from continuing to restore the legacy of Marcus Garvey,” Clarke said. 

  • Persistent Mother Hires Lawyer to Fight Suspension After 13yr-Old Daughter Punished for Reporting School Shooting Threat

    Persistent Mother Hires Lawyer to Fight Suspension After 13yr-Old Daughter Punished for Reporting School Shooting Threat

    After a Lewisville ISD student overheard a boy say, “Don’t come to school tomorrow,” she ended up threatened with suspension.

    By Niko Mann

    Lisa Youngblood photographed with her daughter on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023, in Frisco.(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

    A 13-year-old Texas student was suspended after she overheard a classmate talking to another student and became concerned about school shootings. The eighth grader currently attends Lakeview Middle School in Lewisville.

    According to The Dallas Morning News, the student overheard another classmate telling another student in gym class, “Don’t come to school tomorrow” and didn’t think much about it. However, as time passed, she became concerned, wondering if the comment was a threat due to the number of mass school shootings in the country. She messaged several friends in a group chat and noted her fear.

    She wrote, “this is genuinely scaring the s–t out of me.” Another text followed that read, “lets see if I can tell my mom without crying.”

    After she got home from school, the student told her mother, Lisa Youngblood, about the comment she overheard. As the student told her mother what happened, they received a phone call from the assistant principal. The parents of the student’s friends on the group chat had called the school to inquire. The assistant principal told Youngblood that an investigation was conducted on Jan. 26 and found that the boy who made the comments had no access to a gun and there was no threat.

    Youngblood said that her daughter was relieved to return to school the next day but was called into the office during the first period and told she was being suspended for three days. She was also told that she would spend the remaining 73 days of the school year in an alternative school, despite never having gotten into trouble at school and taking honors classes.

    The student cried as the school administrator called Youngblood, who refused to put her daughter into the alternative school and home-schooled her as she appealed the school administration’s decision.

    “One thing I’m not going to do is send my child to the prison pipeline,” she said.

    As the appeal dragged on, the eighth-grader suffered from panic attacks and nightmares, as she was kept from her classmates for weeks. “There’s no part of me that thinks this whole situation is rational,” the student said. She also added that her school’s response made her feel like a criminal.

    Lewisville Independent School District spokeswoman Amanda Brim called the 13-year-old’s message to her friends “a threat” and said the district “cannot treat a threat to a campus with anything less than the full weight of a police response and code of conduct consequences. It is not OK for students — intentionally or not — to cause a disruption to the educational environment of hundreds of their classmates by spreading rumors.”

    During an appeal hearing on Feb. 8, the student said she was just trying to warn her friends in case something happened. “I just wanted to make sure all of my friends knew, and that they were safe.”

    After the Feb. 8 appeal hearing, Youngblood received a letter saying that her daughter’s punishment would be lessened to 30 days in the alternative school. Youngblood hired a lawyer and appealed the decision a second time. She also began researching racial disparities in the school system and learned that despite Black students only making up 12 percent of the student population in Lewisville, almost one-third of students put into alternative schools in the last school year were Black. Of the 557 students sent to alternative schools in Lewisville, 245 were sent because of decisions by school administrators.

    “I thought, I have a good kid. Kids that are going to DAEP, they must be bad kids,” said Youngblood. “How many other kids, who are there, have parents who are just so busy trying to keep the lights on and food on the table, that they just say, ‘Johnny, go, mom can’t take off to deal with this.’ I could take off and deal with it.”

    Since Youngblood refused to send her daughter to an alternative school, she was sent a truancy letter warning her that unexcused absences could lead to fines and court action. On Feb. 17, she received a letter noting that her daughter could finally go back to school. It read in part that administrators had found, “the student did not intend to cause the disruption that resulted.”

    The eighth-grader missed three weeks of school over the ordeal. The boy who made the comment was also punished and received in-school suspension as well as time at the alternative school. His mother said that she didn’t know enough about the appeal process to appeal, while noting that the ordeal has been a target on her son’s back. Youngblood’s daughter noted that if she ever heard something that could be considered a threat again at school, she would not tell anyone.

  • MLK’s Daughter Bernice King, Other Black Investors Make History Buying White-Owned Bank

    MLK’s Daughter Bernice King, Other Black Investors Make History Buying White-Owned Bank

    They plan to rename the institution Redemption Bank, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).

    By Abu Mubarik

    Dr. Bernice A. King is part of a Black investor group seeking to acquire the $68 million-asset Holladay Bank & Trust in Utah. Photo credit: DANIEL ACKER/BLOOMBERG NEWS

    A group of Black investors based in Atlanta has agreed to buy a white-owned bank, Holladay Bank & Trust, and convert it into a Black-owned one. The investors include Dr. Bernice A. King, a daughter of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr; Ashley D. Bell, a former White House policy adviser, and former NFL player Dhani Jones.

    They plan to rename the institution Redemption Bank, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). What is more, the investors want to target financial services to Black communities historically underserved by financial institutions, providing online banking services and small business loans.

    The deal, which is awaiting regulatory approval, will mark the first time Black investors purchased a non-Black bank. It will also be the first time in American history that an existing commercial bank would become a Black-owned Minority Depository Institution (“MDI”) through acquisition, a statement by Redemption Holding Company said.

    “There’s never been a Black bank created through the acquisition of a non-Black bank,” Bell told Americanbanker. The platform adds that the investors plan to build the $68 million-asset institution into a national Small Business Administration 7(a) lender.

    Bernice King – Ashley D Bell – via Businesswire

    Bell will act as the executive chairman and CEO of Redemption Holding Co. while King will serve as the bank’s senior vice president for corporate strategy and alliances and sit on its advisory board.

    Bell and King previously co-founded the National Black Bank Foundation, which has steered $600 million of deal flow into Black banks since 2020, according to the statement. Data cited by AJC shows that in 2001, there were 48 Black-owned banks insured by the FDIC, however, that number has reduced to about 20 now.

    Bell told AJC that more Black banks are critical for financial inclusion and wealth generation. He explained that the U.S. system has historically denied Blacks the opportunity to build wealth.

    “This system has offered no grace and no mercy for Black people in our country,” Bell said. “We think that having a bank called Redemption, where grace and mercy will be bountiful for people who need it, is important.”

    Holladay currently has only one branch and according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp records, it currently has only 10 employees and ended 2022 with $68 million in loans and other assets under management. Holladay’s current management and staff will remain until the conclusion of the deal. They will be complemented by an experienced management team.

  • Minnesota House Passes Measure to Create Nation’s First Office of Missing and Murdered African American Women

    Minnesota House Passes Measure to Create Nation’s First Office of Missing and Murdered African American Women

    Despite making up only 13 percent of the female population in the U.S., studies have shown that Black women account for 35 percent of the country’s missing women.

    By Daja E. Henry

    Supporters raise their fists while standing at the State Capitol during a National Mother’s March in St. Paul, Minnesota in July 2020. (AMANDA SABGA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

    Minnesota’s House of Representatives passed a bill last month that would create an Office of Missing and Murdered African American Women to address disparities in missing persons cases. If the bill makes it through the Senate and is signed by the governor, it would create the first office of its kind focused on Black women in the nation. 

    The office stems from the findings of a 12-member task force, which was created through legislation by Democratic state Rep. Ruth Richardson to investigate the causes of violence against Black women and girls, and to report on measures that could be taken to reduce this violence. 

    A December 2022 report by the task force stated that despite Black women making up only 7 percent of the state’s population, they make up 40 percent of domestic violence victims. Experts say domestic violence, human trafficking and systemic poverty are all factors contributing to missing persons cases. 

    Black women are also three times more likely to be murdered than White women in Minnesota. Following the task force’s findings, Richardson introduced a bill to create the office, which she hopes will provide a framework for legislators across the country to address this crisis nationwide.

    “I think that the blueprints that we have, including the report with the recommendations, and with this office as well, it gives us the opportunity to encourage other states to act and also the nation,” Richardson told The 19th.

    Not only are Black women and girls disproportionately likely to be harmed, when they are, their cases are largely met with silence from law enforcement and media outlets. Nationally, cases involving Black girls and women remain open longer, experts said. An audit of missing persons data in Chicago showed that missing Black people appeared among the older cases in their database four times as much as White or Hispanic people. 

    According to National Crime Information Center statistics, 268,884 women in the country were reported missing in 2020. Nearly 100,000 of those were Black. While Black people account for less than 14 percent of the U.S. population, Black women made up more than one-third of all missing women reported in 2020.

    With a $1.24 million annual allocation, the office would offer assistance with cold cases and provide grants to community organizations to ensure prevention programs are in place for issues including domestic violence and human trafficking, which often contribute to the reasons women go missing. It would also engage in public awareness campaigns, operate a missing persons alert system and issue further recommendations in addition to those provided by the task force. 

    “What has occurred in Minnesota is historic,” said Derrica Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation. Wilson, a former police officer, teamed up with her sister-in-law, a public relations expert, to found the group to bring awareness to missing persons of color. Together, she said, they have reunited or brought answers to more than 400 families.

    “I think that [Richardson] has laid out the blueprint that other states across this country can adopt to protect our Black women and our Black girls because they are not protected. The resources are not allocated in the same manner,” Wilson said. 

    Richardson’s legislation is years in the making. She first introduced the idea of a task force in 2019, but it gained little traction. Then, the murder of George Floyd in her state in 2020 created a watershed moment for acknowledgment of racial injustice against Black people.

    Natalie and Derrica Wilson, the co-founders of the Black and Missing Foundation speak during a presentation at Baltimore City Hall in this still image from the HBO documentary “Black and Missing.” (COURTESY OF HBO)

    “The really sad reality of this is that it took another person dying and being murdered in order to get some traction for this to finally get heard and to put us in a space to be able to create the task force,” Richardson said.

    She passed a resolution that year declaring racism a public health crisis, setting the stage to reintroduce legislation for Black women and girls. This time around, the task force legislation passed with bipartisan support. 

    Democrats currently have a trifecta in Minnesota, controlling the governor’s office and both chambers of the legislature. 

    Task force co-chair Lakeisha Lee is one of several family members of women who have fallen victim to this crisis. She and others have been recounting some of the worst moments of their lives to legislators for years, hoping for a change. 

    Lee’s 18-year-old sister Brittany Clardy went missing in 2013. When her family went to the police, Lee said they were told that 18-year-olds go missing all the time and that she had probably just run away. Clardy was later found murdered. 

    Situations like Clardy’s are all too common. Wilson said that people of color who go missing are often labeled runaways, which does not trigger an AMBER Alert. These alerts were developed in 1996 to provide early warnings of disappearances after the abduction and murder of a 9-year-old White girl named Amber Hagerman. Fewer police resources are dedicated, and there is no urgency in finding a runaway, according to Wilson. She said she noticed this while working as a law enforcement officer. 

    “You have to see that law enforcement doesn’t really view our community the same,” she said. “It appears that White women and girls are always viewed as the victims. And there’s this perception that when it’s a Black woman or a Black girl, they’re promiscuous or they’re fast, and that is so far from the truth.” 

    Both Richardson and Wilson mentioned how the crisis is a direct result of the lack of value placed on the lives of Black women and girls in this country. 

    In a 2014 report by the Urban Institute, people who self-identified as pimps stated that they believed the race of women they were trafficking played a factor in the likelihood of their arrests and the lengths of their sentences. 

    “They were only White females that I was charged with because that’s all they care about. If these females weren’t White I wouldn’t be facing all this time right now,” one interviewee said. 

    Another noted the disparity between his sentencing and that of his friend, who was caught at the same time for committing the same crime. The interviewee, who was trafficking a 15-year-old Black girl, was sentenced to three years in prison. His friend, who was trafficking a White girl, was sentenced to 15 years to life. 

    Along with law enforcement, mainstream media outlets are complicit in this crisis, advocates say. Late PBS anchor Gwen Ifill famously called this phenomenon “missing White woman syndrome.” White women and girls who go missing can be seen in the media on an endless loop, while Black women and girls rarely get that type of attention. 

    The Columbia Journalism Review released an analysis last year of media coverage of missing people, finding that young White women who are residents of big cities receive vastly disproportionate amounts of attention. 

    “We’re not asking to get something more than any other community,” Richardson said. “We’re asking for the same attention. We’re asking for the same coverage. We’re asking for the ability to have our lives honored in the same ways, and just reiterating that we are also worthy of protection.”

  • 85yr Old Pitmaster Becomes The First Black Woman Inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame

    85yr Old Pitmaster Becomes The First Black Woman Inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame

    By Stacy Jackson

    This woman is still barbecuing it up at 85.

    Desiree Robinson is the matriarch of the long-standing family-owned restaurant Cozy Corner in North Memphis, and has become the first Black woman to be inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame.

    According to Fox13, Robinson also marked a historic recognition as the first living Black person to receive the honor, as the other three inductees were deceased.

    “I wish I could describe it to you,” Robinson said. “You just can’t imagine how good it makes me feel. I’m blessed because I know it’s all about how it got started and maintained.”

    Robinson co-founded Cozy Corner with her late husband, Raymond, who she acknowledged as the mastermind behind the success of the restaurant.

    “My husband was an awesome cook, and I’m good, but not nearly as good as he was,” Robinson said. “I’m telling you it blew my mind. It started with him. He built it for us.”

    “He never met a person that didn’t fall in love with him. He was the most likeable person I have ever met in my life. And, he had the personality. Oh my goodness, everybody loved him. People just liked him and he liked people,” she added.

    The couple opened the doors for business back in 1977, and Robinson took on the mantle after Raymond passed in 2001, becoming pitmaster of Cozy Corner in 2020. The restaurant, which is now four generations in, is run with the help of the entire family, including the children, who Robinson says picks up any age appropriate duties.

    Cozy Corner stands by its tradition of greeting every customer that walks through the Cozy Corner doors.

    “If you work there, you better greet whoever walks through that door,” Robinson said.

    “Because I want them to know that they are at home. I want them to know that they are welcomed and I want them to know that I want them to come back. So they’re going to eat good and they’re going to be treated right,” she added.

    According to sources, Cozy Corner is listed as one of the top 10 barbecue restaurants in Memphis.

    “I’m blessed,” Robinson said. “I’ve got a wonderful family, I really do. Four generations of family. We work together in harmony and I just thank God for that.”

  • Brittney Griner Re-Signs With The Phoenix Mercury For a 1-yr Deal

    Brittney Griner Re-Signs With The Phoenix Mercury For a 1-yr Deal

    She will be making a return to the WNBA after spending 10 months in a Russian penal colony after being convicted of possessing vape canisters with cannabis oil. 

    By Cedric ‘BIG CED’ Thornton

    On Tuesday, the Phoenix Mercury announced that Griner, who missed last season, has officially signed a one-year deal with the team.

    She will be making a return to the WNBA after spending 10 months in a Russian penal colony after being convicted of possessing vape canisters with cannabis oil. She was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport last year in February as Russia began its war with Ukraine.

    In a written statement, Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman said: “It’s a great day for all of us to announce that Brittney Griner has officially signed to play for the Mercury in 2023. We missed BG every day that she was gone and, while basketball was not our primary concern, her presence on the floor, in our locker room, around our organization, and within our community was greatly missed. We will continue to use the resources of our organization to support her, on and off the floor, and we are thrilled for her that she gets to return to basketball, which she loves so dearly. This is a special signing and today is a special day for all of us.”

    Before becoming a political prisoner, Griner was one of the top players in the league still making noise on the basketball court.

    In the last full season she played, she led the league in efficiency rating (26.0), while coming in second place in the scoring category by averaging 20.5 points per game. She was No. 1in blocks with an average of 1.9 per game. Second in field-goal percentage (57.5), while she averaged a franchise-record and career-high 9.5 rebounds, which was good enough for sixth place during the 2021 season. She also had a single-season franchise-record 16 double-doubles, which increased her franchise-record 57 career double-doubles.

    The Phoenix Mercury, who have won the WNBA championship three times, will make a return to Footprint Center this summer. The upcoming season will start on Sunday, May 21 against the Chicago Sky in the Fry’s Food Stores Welcome Home Opener.

  • Berlin Review: ‘Love To Love You, Donna Summer’ Offers Moving Portrait Of Brilliant Singer Who Struggled With Fame And Faith

    Berlin Review: ‘Love To Love You, Donna Summer’ Offers Moving Portrait Of Brilliant Singer Who Struggled With Fame And Faith

    In the documentary Love to Love You, Donna Summer, making its world premiere today at the Berlin Film Festival, we get to revel in that voice. 

    CIRCA 1978: ‘Queen of Disco’ Donna Summer performs onstage in a shimmering blue dress in circa 1979. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

    Donna Summer could hit notes more thrillingly beautiful than any other pop singer of her time, or since. I’m not sure even Whitney Houston, as great as she was, quite reached the glistening heights that culminate “Last Dance” (though she comes very close in “I Will Always Love You”). Mariah Carey (no relation to me) performs impressive vocal acrobatics, yet to my ear she can’t match the bell-like shimmer of Donna in the higher registers. And Donna in the lower registers – well, the voice thrums with visceral resonance.

    In the documentary Love to Love You, Donna Summer, making its world premiere today at the Berlin Film Festival, we get to revel in that voice. But directors Roger Ross Williams and Brooklyn Sudano – Donna’s daughter – don’t aim for a jukebox music experience, content to press play on one hit after another. Rather, they create a portrait of a woman and artist far more complex – and talented – than has been appreciated. Summer possessed not only a stunning vocal gift, but she wrote or co-wrote some of her most famous songs, and impacted the course of pop music more profoundly than many realize. Yet, she struggled with the mantle of fame and felt deeply conflict between her artistic impulses and the strictures of a deeply religious upbringing. She never quite resolved the tension between the exuberance inherent in her performative abilities and the constricting and shaming imperative to serve the Lord according to what her faith, as she interpreted it, demanded.

    Disco singer Donna Summer singing on stage around 1975.

    The documentary begins with the isolated vocals – or rather orgasmic moans – of Summer recording her first international hit, 1975’s “Love to Love You Baby” (written by Summer, Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte). It made her famous and kicked off the disco era, but the singer would always struggle with feeling defined by the song’s unprecedently frank expression of female sexual pleasure. In archive footage in the film, Summer’s grandmother comments after the song’s release, “I’m never gonna be able to go to church again.” Her mother says, “She knew that I was gonna be shocked. To say the least, I was shocked.”

    The film makes the interesting observation that Summer “thought in theater” and recorded songs as though she were embodying a character. “I approach it as an actress,” she explains. “I’m not trying to be me.” In other words, just because Donna Summer recorded “Love to Love You Baby” didn’t mean she was a one-woman orgasmatron.

    The music industry, however (as well as music journalists and perhaps the public too) preferred to conflate Donna the person with the song, tagging her as an icon of “sex rock” and “The First Lady of Love.” The film says, “She wasn’t having it.”

    It took some years, but Summer eventually was able to display much more of her vocal range in songs like her cover of “MacArthur Park” (she makes you feel the exquisite agony of someone leaving “the cake out in the rain”). She co-wrote (with Moroder and Bellotte) the single “I Feel Love,” coming up with the rhythmic drum track that she described as creating a “floaty feeling.” The song inaugurated electronic dance music. As Elton John reflects in a new interview in the film, “I Feel Love” became a sensation at New York’s Studio 54. He says, “It changed the way people thought about music.”

     Love to Love You, Donna Summer, is entirely covered by visuals of Summer and other vintage footage, with the exception of some vérité moments of Sudano going through her mother’s archive and enlisting her aunts, uncles and siblings in an effort to understand her mom. We learn of Donna growing up in racist Boston of the 1950s and ‘60s, and being chased as a kid by anti-Black white youths, an encounter that left her with a permanent scar on her face. At 19, she got a part in an international touring production of the musical Hair and settled in Germany, where she met her first husband, Helmuth Sommer (she would adopt his last name, altering the spelling slightly for her music career). 

    In Germany she felt free – released from family and their binding religious dictates, free from America’s intense racism, and free, to some extent, from the tortuous memory of sexual abuse she had been subjected to as a girl by a church pastor. She would have continued to live abroad in all likelihood had Casablanca Records, which helped turn “Love to Love You Baby” into a hit, not called her back across the Atlantic.

    Like another pop icon who grew up in the church – Little Richard – she could never truly escape feelings of guilt around her musical calling. She says in the film, “I felt God could never forgive me because I had failed Him. I was decadent, I was stupid, I was a fool. I just decided that my life had no meaning.” 

    Harry Langdon/Getty Images.

    The documentary reveals she almost committed suicide by leaping from a hotel window, but a housekeeper’s unexpected entrance interrupted her plan. Much later in her life, after recording many hits, she married the songwriter Bruce Sudano and settled into a more tranquil life in Thousand Oaks, California, raising daughters Brooklyn, Amanda – her kids with Sudano – and her youngest daughter Mimi, fathered by Helmuth. She became a born-again Christian, and shared her newfound faith with concert audiences. That went over like a lead balloon.

    One of her musicians says of the audience response, “People wanted to dance and party” rather than hear about Summer’s religious reawakening. 

    That fraught dance with faith led to the biggest controversy of Summer’s career, which in many respects still colors perceptions of the singer to this day. At one concert gig, she made a stray comment to the effect that “God didn’t make Adam and Steve, he made Adam and Eve,” possibly in an ill-conceived attempt at humor. The remark offended Donna’s legion of LGBT fans, who naturally perceived it as anti-gay. She was also quoted – or rather wrongly quoted, the filmmakers insist – as having said AIDS was God’s judgment on gays.

    The AIDS activist group ACT UP picketed an exhibition of Summer’s artwork – just one example of the backlash over the alleged hurtful comments. Summer and her husband Bruce initially decided the best course of action was not to respond. Big mistake. Eventually, Summer held a press conference to deny having made the “God’s judgment” remark and to express her love for people of every background. But the controversy never quite went away, shadowing Summer until her death in 2012, at the age of 63, from lung cancer.

    “It’s something I don’t think she ever got over,” her widower, Bruce Sudano, observes.

    It’s significant that Love to Love You, Donna Summer is co-directed by Williams, the Oscar-winning filmmaker who is an openly gay African American man. He and Brooklyn Sudano by no means paper over the furor that erupted after Summer’s remarks. They don’t try to “resolve” the issue, but the film leaves one with the feeling that Summer truly was a loving and giving person who didn’t harbor animus toward people, even if – again – the dubious influence of conservative Christianity may have led her to wound her fans. 

    After Berlin, the documentary will premiere on HBO sometime in the spring. It’s a nuanced exploration of an artist of enormous talent and lasting influence, plagued by inner conflict. 

  • Lizzo on Buying a $15 Million Mansion After Sleeping in Her Car for Years, Look Inside!

    Lizzo on Buying a $15 Million Mansion After Sleeping in Her Car for Years, Look Inside!

    She debuted the house in a post on Instagram with the caption “new background unlocked

    By Abu Mubarik

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 02: Lizzo attends The 2022 Met Gala Celebrating “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

    Grammy award-winning musician Lizzo was forced to sleep in her car for years. Then in 2022, she bought a new home in Beverly Hills for $15 million. According to Dirt, the property was previously owned by her pal Harry Styles.

    She debuted the house in a post on Instagram with the caption “new background unlocked”, showing the treehouse-inspired structure designed by Sam Gnatovich and Alexi Rennalls of SIMO design. 

    According to Dirt, the house was completed in 2019 and sold for $11 million to music executive and the current CEO of Warner Records, Aaron Bay-Schuck. After living in the facility for less than three years, he flipped it to Lizzo.

    The mansion has three bedrooms, three full bathrooms and powder rooms. “A pivoting front door opens into a double-height foyer, and there’s also a fig tree ensconced in an open-air atrium that pierces the middle of the home,” Dirt describes the property. “From there, natural light seeps into most of the main floor spaces, including the minimalist formal dining and living rooms.”

    The platform continues that the nearly 1,000-square-foot master suite offers a lavish bedroom and bathroom divided by a floor-to-ceiling marble slab wall.

    Speaking for the first time about the luxurious mansion, Lizzo said to “CBS Sunday Morning” that owning the property was a milestone.

    “Just ten years ago, you were sleeping in your car,” host Tracy Smith asked her. “Yeah, yeah. And, like, whoo!, staying in, like, people’s rooms and sleeping on their couches,” Lizzo responded. 

    “And now, on this past tour, which I was blessed to, you know, stay in really nice places, but I was like, ‘I miss my house. Like, I can’t wait to come back to my own home and to my bed.’ And I was like, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever said this.’” “It’s a milestone for me.” 

    Lizzo came to prominence only three years ago. Since then, she has become a global sensation with die-hard fans. She even had a song and album reach #1 on the Billboard charts.

  • Howard University Student Who Asked for Financial Help Gets $22K from Kyrie Irving

    Howard University Student Who Asked for Financial Help Gets $22K from Kyrie Irving

    Irving’s donation adds up to several other acts of generosity that he has performed.

    By Francis Akhalbey

    Kyrie Irving donated $22,000 to Howard University student Destiny Thompson — Left Photo Credit: Erik Drost | Right Photo via GoFundMe

    Dallas Mavericks’ star Kyrie Irving once again performed a kind and generous act after he donated $22,000 to help a young Howard University student continue her education at the historically Black school. According to New York Post, Irving, 30, donated the money without any publicity whatsoever.

    The student who appealed for financial help was identified as Destiny Thompson. The Civil Engineering and Mathematics student initially set up a GoFundMe to help raise $6,000 for her tuition at the school. But Irving’s huge donation meant his fellow New Jersey native received even more than she initially wanted. 

    After she became aware of the money raised, Thompson shared an emotional Facebook post expressing gratitude to everyone who donated. “I cried just a lot of tears,” the Howard University student said in the video. “I’m at work, y’all. I don’t understand, like, I can’t really wrap my head around how like generous people can be. I am so thankful for everybody that shared it, everybody that had liked, commented and gave me encouraging words, and just kind of helped me keep going and essentially.

    “I’m just so, so happy, and I’m so thankful. I never thought in a million years that anybody would give me anything, and I’m so super grateful. And I want to say thank you 1,000 times for blessing me like this Mr. Kyrie Irving. I really don’t know. I’m in shock still. I’m at work wiping down registers.”

    Irving’s donation adds up to several other acts of generosity that he has performed. As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, the 30-year-old NBA champion bought a home for George Floyd’s family in the wake of the Black man’s murder. The news of the home purchase was shared by former NBA star and Floyd’s friend, Stephen Jackson.

    The Dallas Mavericks’ superstar also donated $65,000 to the family of Shanquella Robinson – the Black woman who died while vacationing with her friends in Mexico. Irving also made another $50,000 GoFundMe donation to the family of Devin Chandler. The University of Virginia football player was among three student-athletes who were fatally shot by Christopher Darnell Jones Jr.

  • Exonerated ‘Central Park Five’ Member Dr. Yusef Salaam Announces Candidacy for NYC Council Seat

    Exonerated ‘Central Park Five’ Member Dr. Yusef Salaam Announces Candidacy for NYC Council Seat

    Salaam is vying for the Council District 9 seat. The area encompasses parts of Harlem, Morningside Heights, and the Upper West Side

    Dr. Yusef Salaam is running for NYC Council seat — Photo via Wisconsin Muslim Journal

    Dr. Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated “Central Park Five” members, has announced his candidacy for New York City Council seat, CBS News reported. Now known as the “Exonerated Five”, Salaam, together with Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, served between seven and 13 years in prison after they were convicted of brutally assaulting and raping a white female jogger in Central Park in 1989. 

    The five men were later exonerated in 2002 when rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the attack, with DNA evidence supporting his claim. Salaam, who is now an author, criminal justice advocate, activist, and motivational speaker, served almost seven years in prison. 

    Salaam is vying for the Council District 9 seat. The area encompasses parts of Harlem, Morningside Heights, and the Upper West Side, ABC7 New York reported. The other candidates running for the district include incumbent Kristin Richardson Jordan and Assembly members Inez Dickens and Al Taylor.

    During an interview with CBS News, Salaam touched on the policies he’s going to champion or support if he wins the seat. “We’re definitely looking at housing, and affordable housing, at that,” he said. “We’re looking at safety. We’re looking at mental health. We’re looking at education.”

    Salaam also touched on Tyre Nichols’ killing. When he was asked about his reaction to the fatal encounter, Salaam said, “Here, yet again, is a young man crying out for his mother, crying out for help.”

    “I am Tyre Nichols,” he said when he was asked if he relates to the answer he gave. “Now he’s yet another example of why we need to look at policing and say, how do we fix this system?”

    Salaam then went ahead to share some ideas on what can be done with regard to police reform. “You have to have components of training,” he said when he was asked what can be done. “I think part of the challenge is if police officers are protecting the communities that they live in, that’s a whole different spectrum.”

    The interviewer then asked Salaam if he was going to propose that kind of reform. “You’ve got to live, say in Harlem, if you’re a Harlem cop?” the interviewer asked.

    Salaam replied: “You have to live in Harlem if you’re a Harlem cop. Why? Because you offer a certain level of protection, and because you are also one of the members of our community, you also expect a certain level of protection.”

    Asked about the lesson of his life story, Salaam said “you have to hold on, that every single one of us were born on purpose, and born with a purpose.”

    He added: “And the beauty of that is that we know this because we made it. And we were chosen, we survived. And here we are. And in Harlem, I see people surviving. I want us to thrive.”

  • How Informant William O’Neal Infiltrated the Black Panthers and Set Up Fred Hampton for $300

    How Informant William O’Neal Infiltrated the Black Panthers and Set Up Fred Hampton for $300

    His journey to becoming an FBI informant began in 1966 when he was tracked by FBI Agent Roy Martin Mitchell after stealing a car and driving it across state lines to Michigan.

    By Mildred Europa Taylor

    William O’Neal. Photo: Chicago Tribune

    In Illinois, where Fred Hampton had been born to parents who had come from Louisiana, the police constantly harassed people who looked like him. Access to social goods too was made difficult, if not curtailed, in the areas with heavy black populations. The Black Panther Party was consequently for Hampton, a natural home.

    The party, a creation of Huey Newton and fellow student Bobby Seale, insisted on black nationalist response to racial discrimination. The party’s Illinois chapter was opened in 1967 and Hampton joined in 1968, aged just 20. At the time, he was also a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and even became the youth leader at the West Suburban branch in Chicago.

    For the Black Panthers, Hampton’s charisma, leadership skills and intelligence began to show. So when Stokely Carmichael’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) split from the Panthers in 1969, Hampton headed the Illinois chapter of the Panthers. Students of the history of the time believe Hampton could have moved further into national prominence from the state of Illinois had he not been killed largely thanks to William O’Neal.

    Then a petty criminal, O’Neal was coerced by the FBI into helping them silence Hampton and the Black Panther Party. And he did just that when he infiltrated the party and provided the FBI with a floor plan of the Chicago apartment where Hampton was assassinated in 1969.

    For the rest of his life, O’Neal was hated by some and commended by others as his role in the 1969 raid that killed Hampton and another Black Panther leader became known. And many believe that his guilt over his role as an FBI informant led to his death in 1990. O’Neal apparently walked in front of a speeding car which struck and killed him. His death was ruled a suicide.

    But before his death, the mysterious O’Neal, who could play all the roles the FBI needed, seemed to say he had no choice but to take up such roles.

    His journey to becoming an FBI informant began in 1966 when he was tracked by FBI Agent Roy Martin Mitchell after stealing a car and driving it across state lines to Michigan. Then in his teens, Mitchell told him he would forget about the stolen car charge if he agreed to work for the FBI and infiltrate the Panthers.

    The Panther Party had then become infamous for brandishing guns, challenging the authority of police officers, and embracing violence as a necessary by-product of revolution. O’Neal agreed to infiltrate the party and when he got accepted, he served as the group’s chief of security. Reports said he even became in charge of security for Hampton and had keys to Panther headquarters and safe houses.

    Unbeknownst to Panther leaders, O’Neal was at the same time serving as an informant for the FBI, feeding it with information. He eventually provided the floor plan of Hampton’s west-side apartment that was used to plan the raid that killed Hampton and his fellow Panther.

    “I think he was sorry he did what he did. He thought the FBI was only going to raid the house,” Ben Heard, O’Neal’s uncle, said in 1990. When news about O’Neal’s work with the FBI spread, he entered the federal witness protection program before later assuming the alias William Hart.

    O’Neal hardly spoke of his undercover years but in a 1984 interview with the Tribune, one of his last public interviews, he mentioned that he “thrived” on his work with law enforcement though in the end, he realized he had been ”just a pawn in a very big game.”

    His undercover role did leave him “restless, but without remorse,” he said. ”If you ask me if the gains outweigh the loses, I think so.”

    ”I think if I look back at myself . . . I say, if I had never met Mitchell I would probably be in jail or dead.

    ”If you ask me if I`m a happy man-I`m not happy; no, I`m not even content.”

    So how much was he paid for his work?

    Generally, I was paid, paid in cash, and normal amounts would have ranged from three to five hundred dollars depending on my needs. If I requested a specific amount, I knew that I could get it,” O’Neal said in a 1989 interview.

    “But the payments were very infrequent, I mean, Mitchell determined, even Mitchell determined very early on in the game that spending money was the quickest way to blow your cover. Also, I was living in the Panther environment, I was living in a Panther house, which they called a crib, I was eating with them and sleeping with them, and I was with them 24 hours a day, so I had very little need for money, so I was always assured that my money was being held in trust, and that I could draw from it, draw down on it any time I got ready, or any time I had a legitimate need that wouldn’t compromise my security. I suppose at any point if I needed a thousand dollars or two thousand dollars from the FBI, I couldn’t have gotten it.”

    Before his death, O’Neal worked for an attorney in downtown Chicago after secretly returning to the area in 1984 from California. He had then parted with his first wife and remarried with a five-month-old son but he kept to himself and hardly made friends.

    The day before his death — a Saturday — O’Neal went to his uncle’s residence in Maywood to spend some time with him. On Sunday night, ”he kept going to the wash room,” his uncle Heard recalled. ”He stayed in there for a long time. The last time he came out he tried to go out the window. I pulled him back, but he broke loose and ran toward the expressway.”

    “I just had my house shoes and pants on,” Heard said. “I couldn’t run after him like that. I couldn’t have caught him anyway. There was a woman standing in front of the house and she said, ‘Lord, it sounds like somebody got hit on the expressway!’”

    And that was how a 40-year-old O’Neal breathed his last. Police said, “he ran down the embankment near 5th Avenue, crossed the eastbound lanes, and was struck by a car in the westbound lanes.”

    That was the second time O’Neal had done that; he got injured the first time he did – in September 1989. ”The act (of being an informant) he committed was unjust and ignorant,” Bill Hampton, a brother of Fred Hampton, said in 1990. ”It’s something he tried to live with and couldn’t.”

  • After 2 Super Bowl Wins, Why Can’t Eric Bieniemy Get a Shot at Head Coach?

    After 2 Super Bowl Wins, Why Can’t Eric Bieniemy Get a Shot at Head Coach?

    OPINION: After the defensive and offensive coordinators for the losing team in Sunday’s Super Bowl took the last two open head coaching slots, one has to wonder how dedicated the NFL is in hiring Black coaches.

    By Deron Snyder

    Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes listens to offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, right, as he warms up before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    For all we know, Eric Bieniemy could be the all-time sorriest hire as an NFL head coach. 

    If the Kansas City offensive coordinator ever got a chance, his tenure could stink worse than Nathaniel Hackett’s 4-11 with Denver or Kliff Kingsbury’s 28-37-1 with Arizona. He could do a lousier job than Adam Gase’s 9-23 with the New York Jets, or Joe Judge’s 10-23 with the New York Giants. 

    All of those coaches have been hired and fired since Bieniemy won his first Super Bowl as Kansas City’s offensive coordinator in 2019. He interviewed for several of those head coach jobs while waiting for his ring. Hell, he’s interviewed for 15 head coach jobs with 14 teams over the last four hiring cycles, but there he was Sunday, still in place winning another Super Bowl with the Chiefs.

    Bieniemy absolutely might’ve been as terrible in Carolina if he’d beaten out Matt Rhule (fired at 11-27). But he also might’ve enjoyed success like Matt LaFleur (47-19 with Green Bay) or Zac Taylor (22-11 the last two seasons with Cincinnati). All secured their gigs since 2019; Bieniemy sipped champagne that season.

    By now, Bieniemy could’ve been a big hit or a big miss at calling the shots. We don’t know. No team has given him a shot. His prospects at a head coaching job for next season ended Tuesday when the defensive and offensive coordinators from Sunday’s losing team got the final jobs. That possibly sets up a lateral move away from coach Andy Reid’s shadow.

    That’s not how the process typically works for Reid’s top lieutenants. Two of Bieniemy’s predecessors — Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson — went from being under Reid’s wing to running their own shops in Chicago and Philly, respectively. They sat at the guru’s feet and their credibility rose. Bieniemy has excelled, too.

    But his validity has been questioned. 

    Previous coordinators in Kansas City and other places get credit while working under so-called masterminds. But Bieniemy is cast as riding on Reid’s coattails, which the head coach disputes. “He’s been tremendous for us and I think tremendous for the National Football League,” Reid told reporters after the Super Bowl win. “I’m hoping he has an opportunity to go somewhere and do his thing where he can run the show and be Eric Bieniemy.”

    The NFL and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes said Bieniemy has earned a shot at one of the 32 head coaching gigs. “He’s done everything the right way,” Mahomes said. “He’s been a part of this offense and this team for so long, holds everybody accountable, is creative in making up plays for us, and I don’t know why he hasn’t been hired.”

    Is it because he’s not the primary play caller? Chiefs backup QB Chad Henne said Bieniemy was directly responsible for the two wide-open touchdowns Kansas City scored Sunday in their comeback against Philly. Reid has always called plays but his OC provides plenty of input.

    Is it because Bieniemy has been passed over so many times? Chiefs owner Clark Hunt worries that “it’s almost become a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy that he’s not getting the opportunity.”

    Is it that he does poorly in interviews as alleged? Is it ancient history like the license suspension in 1991, the harassment allegations in 1993 or the DUI arrest in 2001 that some folks inexplicably bring up? Who’s spreading whispers and questionable concerns? Nothing on the surface suggests Bieniemy is an unworthy candidate. 

    Then again, his surface doesn’t reflect the wave of “whiz kids” and “offensive geniuses” hired recently, most of them white and under the age of 40.

    Now 53, Bieniemy should remain a hot candidate but owners have been cold to him. If winning two out of three Super Bowls since 2019 isn’t good enough to merit a chance, only God knows what is. “When it comes to hiring, I can’t control what goes on in the owner’s head,” he told USA Today in 2020, when the Browns, Giants and Panthers interviewed him and passed. 

    “I can’t force them to make the decision. My job is to make sure that when I’m in there giving that interview, I’m being my most authentic self,” he said. “They get to see me, feel me for who I am and what I’m about.”

    Meanwhile, we see and feel what these owners are about. 

    Brian Flores is suing the league after concluding that race is the holdup in hiring Black coaches. Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, seems to concur. “We’re still dealing with America’s original sin — slavery — and the misconception of who Black men are,” Vincent told the Washington Post. “So, we’re just trying different things.”

    Again, Bieniemy might suck as a head coach. He wouldn’t be the first excellent coordinator who failed in the big office. Any list of worst coaching hires is filled with capable assistants who couldn’t cut it with more responsibility. Some are simply better suited as leaders just beneath the top rung. They usually get to show and prove. 

    But like too many coaches with a similar complexion, Bieniemy hasn’t gotten the protection for those opportunities. 

    It makes as much sense as denying Black quarterbacks a chance, and we know what that was about.

  • The Cincinnati Music Festival 2023 Line Up Announced!

    The Cincinnati Music Festival 2023 Line Up Announced!

    The Cincinnati Music Festival Presented by P&G Returns July 20.21.22, 2023



    July 20,21,22-2023 Cincinnati Ohio Music Festival at Paycor Stadium,

    Thursday Night: Hip-Hop 50 Tribute w/Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Rakim & Big Daddy Kane

    Friday Night:
    Al Green, Jill Scott, Jodeci, Midnight Star and Gerald Albright

    Saturday Night:
    Snoop Dogg, Baby Face,
    P’Funk Connection , Avery Sunshine, Norman Brown.

    CINCINNATI (February 15, 2023) – The Cincinnati Music Festival presented by P&G (CMF) returns to Paycor Stadium in downtown Cincinnati from July 20-22, 2023, with an exciting lineup of R&B music featuring Al Green, Snoop Dogg, Jill Scott, Babyface and more headlining the event over the three days. The Thursday night concert, which will celebrate 50 Years of Hip Hop, will be held at The Andrew J. Brady Center at The Banks.

    The 2023 lineup includes:

    • Thursday, July 20 (Andrew J. Brady Center): A Tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop w/ Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Rakim, and Big Daddy Kane
    • Friday, July 21 (Paycor Stadium): Al Green, Jill Scott, Jodeci, Midnight Star, Gerald Albright 
    • Saturday, July 22 (Paycor Stadium): Snoop Dogg, Babyface, P-Funk Connection, Avery Sunshine, Norman Brown

    Tickets are on sale now through the Festival office at (513) 924-0900 or through Ticketmaster beginning on February 18, 10 a.m.

    Additionally, the Opening Festival Press Conference will be held on Thursday, July 20 at the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati. The Official Ceremony and musical performances to unveil the Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame at The Banks will be held on Saturday, July 22. 

    Official sponsors of the Cincinnati Music Festival are P&G, Visit Cincy/Meet NKY, Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati, Fifth Third Bank, Central State University, Johnson & Johnson and Metro.

    “We are thrilled with this year’s lineup for the Cincinnati Music Festival presented by P&G,” said Joe Santangelo, producer of the Festival. “It’s the first time for Snoop Dogg to perform at the Festival and Al Green last performed in 1974. We know they will both be huge draws for our fans. It’s also an honor for us to plan a Thursday performance to pay tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop.”

    Cincinnati Music Festival: $107 million annual economic impact

    The most recent study conducted by the UC Economics Center and commissioned by the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau shows the Cincinnati Music Festival presented by P&G provides a $107.4 million economic impact to the region. 

    “P&G is a long-time sponsor of Cincinnati Music Festival as a keystone cultural moment for our city and for music fans nationwide,” said Monica Turner, P&G President – North America. “We look forward to coming together to celebrate R&B and Hip Hop Music, and to fuel small businesses in our community.”


    Originally called the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival when it was first held in 1962, the Cincinnati Music Festival has grown and evolved into a spectacular three-day event on Cincinnati’s riverfront. Starting out as an all-jazz concert, over the years it has grown into a three-day festival featuring great music from the hottest stars in R&B, jazz, soul, and hip-hop, as well as up and coming artists. Past performers include Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Gerald Levert, Patti Labelle, New Edition, Earth Wind and Fire, Lakeside, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Janet Jackson and many others.

    By the year 2000, the festival was the largest of its kind in the United States, drawing more than 50,000 people annually from all across the country. The festival has been held at various sites through its nearly 60 year history, including French Lick Indiana, the Carthage Fairgrounds, and the Hamilton County Fairgrounds before landing at its current home in Paycor Stadium on Cincinnati’s river front. Accompanied by a street festival dubbed Festival 513, the Cincinnati Music Festival Presented by P&G has an estimated annual economic output of $107 million, according to the Greater Cincinnati Center for Economic Education at the University of Cincinnati. 2015 marked the first of many years in partnership with Cincinnati based global company P&G. 

    The Cincinnati Music Festival Presented by P&G is co-promoted by The Santangelo Group and Ohio Valley Entertainment.  2023 represents The Festival’s 59th year of bringing top R&B talent to Cincinnati.  

    About The Santangelo Group:

    The Santangelo Group, led by Owner Joe Santangelo, has promoted or co-promoted the Cincinnati Music Festival at Paul Brown Stadium since 2005.  Prior to that, they promoted the Festival as the Coors Light Music Festival, the Kool Jazz Festival and the Ohio Valley Music Festival stretching back to 1962.  In addition to the Cincinnati Festival in Cincinnati, The Santangelo Group promotes the Hampton Jazz Festival in Hampton, VA.

    About Ohio Valley Entertainment (OVE):

    OVE is an entertainment company created to co-promote the Macy’s Festival in 2006.  In addition to its involvement in the Cincinnati Festival, OVE has promoted other events at Paul Brown Stadium including the 2012 Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw “Brothers of the Sun” tour.

  • At 82yrs Old Dionne Warwick is Still Putting In Work on Her Upcoming Musical “Hits! The Music”

    At 82yrs Old Dionne Warwick is Still Putting In Work on Her Upcoming Musical “Hits! The Music”

    Warwick has been hard at work preparing for her upcoming 50-city tour dubbed, Hits! The Music 

    (Images: Wikimedia Commons/Fotograaf Onbekend; Anefo and Neil Grabowsky/Montclair Film)

    Having a career that spans decades is a testament to ones’ passion for their respective craft, and acting with the mindset of being a lifelong student. Dionne Warwick at 82-years-old continues to work and record music as if she’s a baby-faced and wide-eyed student.

    Warwick has been hard at work preparing for her upcoming 50-city tour dubbed, Hits! The Music alongside her son, Damon Elliott.

    The East Orange, NJ. native spoke with AP News, about her career, working with her son and their upcoming tour, which she also serves as executive producer.

    “Anything that deals with children is an automatic yes for me,” Warwick said to AP news. “These babies are amazing. They’ve proven what music can do, bring joy, happiness, inspiration, ability — just life, you know?”

    Proving to be a student of music, the Grammy-winning artist was inspired to do Hits! The Music after watching the group of kids perform songs like Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca;”   “Where Is The Love?” by the Black-Eyed Peas; Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep;” and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars.

    Warwick added: “I’m really at a loss for words and I’m never at a loss for words. To see this kind of brilliance.”

    Fifteen- year- old cast-member, Matthew Jost said he’s excited to work with Warwick.

    It’s just music that means a lot to me. For this year, we’re all over the place,” Jost said, to AP news. “Just gets that we’re kids, we’re here, and music brings people together.”

    Damon Elliott, Warwick’s son, was nominated for an Academy Award along with songwriter Diane Warren for the song “Applause” from the film Tell It Like A Woman. The duo also joined forces on a song called “Gonna Be You” in the upcoming 80 For Brady movie.

    “Mom and I, we don’t take on anything, we don’t endorse pretty much anything,” Elliott said to AP News.  “But when it involves kids, as long as they are truly up to par and they work hard and bring that energy, I’ll be behind it.”

    Warwick added: “I’ll keep going as long as the people want me to be there and they fill the seats. That’s all I can tell you.”

    Earlier this year, Warwick announced that she and Dolly Parton were working on a record. However, the song has yet to be released.

  • White Female Burbank Cop Stops a Black Man Walking Down the Street, Because of His Visible Tattoos [VIDEO]

    White Female Burbank Cop Stops a Black Man Walking Down the Street, Because of His Visible Tattoos [VIDEO]

    She told him “people who normally walk this area don’t have tattooing like that

    Times are trying and they haven’t just gotten this way. Currently, much of the focus is on what’s taking place in Memphis. Everybody has an opinion on that and rightfully so. However, situations like that happen every day. The good news is that a large number of people who end up in those kinds of situations get to walk away from them alive. However, that doesn’t stop it from being wrong. Case and point, a man walking in Burbank, California, who is confronted by cops over his tattoo sleeve.

    The United States are supposed to be the land of the free. While that is what is often said, in theory, it is rarely that way in practice. In practice, this means a person can’t be harassed, simply because they look different. At the same time, the limits to this rule come when a person is causing harm, or some kind of disturbance. Bottom line is that the nation is supposed to protect the freedoms of all of its residents. This is supposed to extend even to people who have a lot of tattooing on their bodies.

    Recently, a man was confronted by two officers in Burbank, California. When he asked the female officer why he was stopped, the woman said it was because of the tattoo sleeve on his arm. She told him people who normally walk this area don’t have tattooing like that. After that, the woman offered an apology when he complained about her reasoning. However, this didn’t stop her from continuing to question him, and she told him she would not keep answering his questions.

  • Oregon Woman Nets $1 million After Discrimination by Gas Station Attendant

    Oregon Woman Nets $1 million After Discrimination by Gas Station Attendant

    Rose Wakefield tried to get Nigel Powers’ attention several times, but he kept dismissing her, so she went inside the station’s store to ask for help, according to surveillance camera footage.

    A jury awarded $1 million to a Portland, Oregon, woman who experienced racial discrimination from a gas station attendant who refused to fill up her vehicle because she was Black.

    According to The Guardian, Rose Wakefield alleged that Washington County gas station employee Nigel Powers refused to service her because of her race when he continued passing her over to serve other customers, even those who arrived after her, in March of 2020. He allegedly even told her, “I don’t serve Black people,” and laughed.

    “I was like, ‘What world am I living in?’” Wakefield recalled of the encounter at the Jacksons gas station, The Guardian reported. “This is not supposed to go down like that. It was a terrible, terrible confrontation between me and this guy.”

    Wakefield tried to acquire Powers’ attention several times, but he kept dismissing her, so she went inside the store to ask for service, according to footage from a surveillance camera. Another station staffer came from inside to pump Wakefield’s gas for her.

    Wakefield’s attorney, Gregory Kafoury, claimed she initially considered letting the incident go. She admitted to her friends that she couldn’t bear to think about it.

    Kafoury claimed that after a while, his client understood she had to do something to prevent this from happening to anyone else.

    The week following the incident, Wakefield made two attempts to complain to the managers, but officials at Jacksons Food Stores paid her little attention, the attorney maintained. Someone deleted a message she left for the regional manager, he said.

    Jacksons Food Stores — who was sued by Wakefield, as was PacWest Energy — said in a statement that it disagreed with the jury’s decision because it felt that its “knowledge does not align with the verdict” after carefully analyzing all the evidence.

    The $1 million also included a $550,000 punitive damage fee.

    “It’s a system not designed to find the truth, but a system designed to control information and to minimize a complaint and complaint as serious as this one,” Kafoury said, KGW News reported. “They tried to boil it down to she wasn’t served in the order in which she arrived. It is pretty cynical, and it’s pretty ugly.”

  • Michael Jackson’s Nephew Jaafar to Star in Biopic ‘Michael’

    Michael Jackson’s Nephew Jaafar to Star in Biopic ‘Michael’

    “Michael” is expected to depict the complicated legacy of the man who became known as the King of Pop

    Jaafar Jackson is portraying his uncle Michael Jackson in Lionsgate’s upcoming biopic “Michael,” directed by Antoine Fuqua.

    “Michael” is expected to depict the complicated legacy of the man who became known as the King of Pop. According to the studio, the film will explore all aspects of his life, “including his most iconic performances that led him to become the greatest entertainer of all time.”

    The film is being made with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson estate, which may influence the way “Michael” depicts the multiple allegations of child sexual abuse that were brought against Jackson during his career and following his death. Jackson has denied allegations of child sexual abuse and he was tried, and found not guilty, of child molestation in 2003. Jackson died in 2009 at the age of 50 and always maintained his innocence, but the claims continue to cloud his legacy.

    “Michael” will be the first major film role for Jaafar Jackson, the second-youngest son to songwriter, producer and Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson, whose brother was Michael Jackson.

    “Jaafar embodies my son. It’s so wonderful to see him carry on the Jackson legacy of entertainers and performers,” said the singer’s mother Katherine Jackson.

    Producer Graham King, whose credits include “Bohemian Rhapsody,” says the team administered a worldwide casting search before finding the actor who would portray Jackson.

    “I met Jaafar over two years ago and was blown away by the way he organically personifies the spirit and personality of Michael,” said King. “It was something so powerful that even after conducting a worldwide search, it was clear that he is the only person to take on this role. I am beyond thrilled that he has come on board to portray his uncle and cannot wait for the world to see him on the big screen as Michael Jackson.”

    “It’s incredibly exciting to watch Jaafar bring Michael to life,” said Fuqua. “There was such a spiritual connection when I first met Jaafar, who has a natural ability to emulate Michael and such a great chemistry with the camera.” 

    “Michael” will begin principal photography in 2023. John Logan, who wrote “Gladiator,” “Skyfall” and “Spectre,” is penning the screenplay.

  • Damar Hamlin Thanks Family, Doctors, Supporters in First Video Following Cardiac Arrest

    Damar Hamlin Thanks Family, Doctors, Supporters in First Video Following Cardiac Arrest

    “I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of all the love, all the support, and everything that’s just been coming in my way,” Hamlin said.

    Damar Hamlin expressed gratitude for his family, doctors, teammates, and supporters during his first public address since collapsing from cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football earlier in January.

    The second-year Buffalo Bills safety, 24, shared a five-minute video across social media platforms on Saturday. He said he’d been waiting for the right time to post the video, captioned “From the Heart,” amid his recovery.

    “As I continue to make so much progress recovering, I think it’s finally a good time to share a few things,” Hamlin said. “I think it was important for me to wait and speak publicly at the right time, as it was just a lot to process within my own self. Mentally, physically, even spiritually.”

    He continued: “I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of all the love, all the support, and everything that’s just been coming in my way.”

    In a nationally televised game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 2, Hamlin’s heart suddenly stopped beating on the field, a condition known as cardiac arrest, after what appeared to be a routine tackle.

    Medical professionals performed nearly 10 minutes of CPR on the field, before Hamlin was rushed to the University of Cincinnati medical center, where he remained in critical condition for several days before being released on Jan. 11. 

    “What happened to me on Monday Night Football I feel is a direct example of God using me as a vessel to share my passion and my love directly from my heart with the entire world,” Hamlin said.

    He added that it had always been his dream to inspire “kids and communities around the world who need it the most.” 

    The defensive standout’s Chasing M’s Foundation, which has received millions in donations since his injury, funds school supplies, toys and camps for children.

    Hamlin thanked a long list of people who helped save his life and support him through his recovery journey, beginning with several members of the Bills training, athletic and medical staff, as well as staff at the University of Cincinnati Medical center and Buffalo General Hospital.

    He then thanked family and loved ones, including his mom and dad, who he called “my anchors and my everything, who never left my side the entire time,” and his younger brother, who he said is “my why, my reason why I strive to be my best self everyday.” 

    Hamlin shouted out the Bills fanbase, known as “Bills Mafia,” for their “genuine love and support,” sharing that “it really encouraged me, and helped me to get through the toughest moments.”

    “To the entire Bills organization and my brothers who made it a priority to lift me up spiritually, mentally, and every way possible. Reaching out every day, seeing how I was doing, calling, texting…I’m proud to be a part of this team. I’m proud to be able to call you guys my brothers,” he added.

    Hamlin was sure to thank the city of Cincinnati for its outpouring of concern for his well-being despite him playing for the opposing team.

    “Just to put team allegiance aside, to root for one kid’s life and just the humanity of a player that’s wearing Buffalo blue, to put humanity above team loyalty, you showed the world unity over division,” Hamlin said.

    He additionally thanked all the children who sent him letters and “heartwarming” gifts, and everyone who donated to the Chasing M’s Foundation, adding that it’s always been important to him to be a role model.

    “This is just the beginning of the impact that I wanted to have on the world,” Hamlin said. “And with God’s guidance, I will continue to do wonderful and great things.”

    “I couldn’t do this without any of the support and the love and I can’t wait to continue to take y’all on this journey with me,” he concluded, before flashing his signature heart sign.

  • A GOP Dinner featuring Ex- Officer Jonathan Mattingly, Airs Footage of Breonna Taylor’s Death

    A GOP Dinner featuring Ex- Officer Jonathan Mattingly, Airs Footage of Breonna Taylor’s Death

    OPINION: It isn’t enough that cops can kill Black people with little to no consequences, but now Republicans are using our trauma to luxuriate in their pro-cop narrative.

    By Touré 

    Breonna Taylor, here in December, would have turned 27 on Friday. Her friends and family remember Taylor as a caring person who loved her job in health care and enjoyed playing cards with her aunts.

    Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own.

    Bowling Green, Kentucky is less than two hours from Louisville, the city where 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was killed by police officers while in her home in 2020. Her death was one of the more shocking deaths by police in recent years, and so her name rings out in the Black community with a special power. The Justice Department has charged four officers with falsifying the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant in violation of federal civil rights laws; one officer pleaded guiltyBreonna’s family received a $12 million settlement, but her death continues to be traumatizing for Black people, and the traumatizing happened again last week in Bowling Green.

    There’s a restaurant there that hosted a Republican group — I’m not going to name them — which came together to listen to Jonathan Mattingly speak. Mattingly was one of the three officers who fired shots at Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker during the raid of her home. During the raid, Mattingly was shot by Walker, who thought the cops were intruders. Mattingly, now a retired officer, is the author of a book about the shooting, which I will not name, but in it, he whines about “the woke mob,” so, you know who he is. He also thinks he and Breonna are somehow equal. In his book, he says, “I want my story to make a difference. I want society to stop insisting on someone to blame for every crisis and tragedy. I don’t want another Breonna Taylor or another John Mattingly.” Gross. I don’t know how he became one of the victims here, but white victimhood is so powerful it can leap a locomotive in a single bound. 

    Mattingly has told his story many times — in the book and in various interviews — but for some reason, this Republican group needed him to come to its event and tell his story again. This is part of the right’s bizarre fetish of lionizing people who kill Black people and their allies. You see the way they have made Kyle Rittenhouse into a hero because he killed people at a BLM rally — right-wing star slash lunatic Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said Rittenhouse is a hero who deserves a Congressional Gold Medal. Wow.

    The Republican group who hosted Mattingly said he “has the right to share his experience” and I mean, yeah, sure, Mattingly does have the right to share his experience, but of all the people in the world, why are they so interested in hearing his widely available story again? They also said “Other individuals with firsthand experience relating to this case are welcome to request an opportunity to speak to our organization as well,” but there’s one living individual who was there who tells a different story — Kenneth Walker. I am sure they are not interested in hearing his firsthand experience. If we’re being real, we know this was not a genuine “let’s just hear what he has to say” situation. We know they weren’t there to get down to the truth. They wanted another chance to luxuriate in their pro-cop narrative.

    But there’s more. The night that Mattingly spoke, most of the restaurant was still open to guests and, at some point, they all were forced to be part of the show. According to some of the guests, the lights in the restaurant dimmed, and both audio and police bodycam footage were broadcast in the restaurant. Can you imagine sitting in some mid-level restaurant trying to get through a meal when someone starts blasting footage of a Black person getting killed by police? That’s traumatizing. 

    It’s already traumatizing that we are bombarded by these images via traditional media and social media, constantly coming up against these little snuff films where Black lives are ended. We are shown these images so often, and they are so searing and painful that I know that most Black people have about 20 or 25 Black killings in their memory that they can call up at any time. We can see, in our mind’s eye, so many killings. If I just call out the names of Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Tamir Rice … we see the footage in our minds. We carry that around with us all the time, and it’s some heavy emotional baggage. I don’t know what impact that’s having on all of us, but it’s surely corrosive. 

    Those poor diners had the images and the sound of Breonna’s death played while they ate. It’s cruel and unusual, but it also reminds me of the way white people in this country would take photographs of lynching and turn them into postcards as a way of celebrating the destruction of a Black body and the perpetuation of white power.

    The president of the Bowling Green-Warren County NAACP chapter, Ryan Dearbone, said, “It is beyond reprehensible to subject anyone, let alone children and customers of African-American descent, to such indecent exposure, graphic and upsetting images while they were attempting to enjoy their meal. Such disturbing occurrences must not be tolerated especially in places of public accommodation. At a minimum, these acts are devoid of humanity and violate the most fundamental principles of human decency.” 

  • Angela Bassett Becomes Marvel’s First Actor Nominated for an Oscar

    Angela Bassett Becomes Marvel’s First Actor Nominated for an Oscar

    After being nominated in the best supporting actress category, Bassett paid tribute to the character she portrayed.

    By Danielle Broadway

    LOS ANGELES, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Angela Bassett made history on Tuesday as the first Marvel Cinematic Universe star to be nominated for an acting Oscar for her “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” role as Queen Ramonda.

    After being nominated in the best supporting actress category, Bassett paid tribute to the character she portrayed.

    “Wakanda Forever’s Queen Ramonda is a character that touched my spirit because she is a mother and a leader who must care for her grieving nation as much as she cares for her family in mourning,” Bassett said in a statement.

    Bassett is a favorite to win at the Oscar ceremony on March 12, having already secured a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice award for the role. The film secured four other nominations, including for visual effects and costume design.

    Bassett was previously nominated for a best actress Academy Award for her portrayal as Tina Turner in the biopic “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”

    Disney’s “Black Panther” sequel sold around $330 million in tickets and set a November record in the United States and Canada.

    In the sequel, the character King T’Challa dies at the opening, a script change made after actor Chadwick Boseman passed away from cancer in 2020 just before filming started.

    Marvel decided not to recast T’Challa. Instead, writer and director Ryan Coogler crafted a script that put female characters at the forefront.

    “Ramonda is a love letter that reflects and acknowledges what we women do everyday,” Bassett said.

    Her nomination challenges a long-held belief by many big names in Hollywood, including directors Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, that Marvel films are not real cinema.

    “They seem to me to be closer to theme parks than they are to movies as I’ve known and loved them throughout my life, and that in the end, I don’t think they’re cinema,” Scorsese wrote in the New York Times in 2019, igniting backlash.

    Despite that kind of criticism, the first “Black Panther” won three Academy Awards after garnering seven Oscar nominations in 2019, including the first Best Picture nomination for a super hero movie.

    Bassett is joined in the category by fellow nominees Hong Chau from “The Whale,” Kerry Condon from “The Banshees of Inisherin,” and Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu from “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

  • FBI Arrests Two Arkansas Deputies Filmed Violently Beating Man on Ground Outside Gas Station

    FBI Arrests Two Arkansas Deputies Filmed Violently Beating Man on Ground Outside Gas Station

    US Marshals arrested both Levi White and Zachary King on Tuesday morning and transported them to the federal courthouse in Fort Smith 

    US Marshals arrested both Levi White and Zachary King on Tuesday morning and transported them to the federal courthouse in Fort Smith — the conclusion of a months-long investigation into the August incident in which Mr White, Mr King, and Mulberry police officer Thell Riddle were seen beating Randal Worcester while he was on the ground.

    A federal grand jury indicted both Mr White and Mr King, who were fired from their positions with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office in October. The two officers have denied the allegation.

    In the video, Mr Worcester is seen pinned to the ground by three officers who take turns beating and kicking him. Police claimed that Mr Worcester had threatened an employee of the convenience store before riding his bicycle over to Mulberry and attacking a sheriff’s deputy.

    But the FBI investigating the case and the grand jury ultimately impaneled felt that Mr White and Mr King had crossed a legal red line. They now stand charged for infringing on Mr Worcester’s constitutional right to be “free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer.”

    Mr White and Mr King’s lawyer Randal Wood rejected the charges on behalf of his clients.

    “The allegations claimed in the indictment are not true,” Mr Wood said in a statement reported by 5News. “I look forward to our opportunity to tell what happened. We will have an opportunity to do this at the jury trial.”

    Among the Arkansans they will be hoping to convince is the former governor Asa Hutchinson, who called the officers’ conduct “reprehensible” last year.

    “Officers have to be able to follow that training and put it into practice,” Mr Hutchinson said.

    Mr Worcester also filed a civil lawsuit against the officers, who now face a sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Both deputies are currently free on $5,000 bonds while awaiting trial, which will take place at the Fort Smith Federal Court beginning on April 3.

  • The Notorious B.I.G. Is Getting His Own Air Jordan

    The Notorious B.I.G. Is Getting His Own Air Jordan

    Staying close to the Jordan Year theme, only 23 pairs of the Christopher Wallace x Air Jordan 13 collaboration will be available on an online auction via Sotheby’s.


    Photo Credit: Sotheby’s

    Dedicated to The Notorious B.I.G., the Christopher Wallace x Air Jordan 13 will be limited to 23 pairs that will be auctioned.

    Jordan Brand is commemorating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with an exclusive Air Jordan dedicated to The Notorious B.I.G. The company is partnering with the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation for a special sneaker auction of Christopher Wallace x Air Jordan 13. Originally made in 2017 to celebrate what would’ve been the 45th birthday of the late Brooklyn emcee, Jordan’s namesake brand made the sneaker available this year to celebrate the Jordan Year (’23) and 50 years of hip-hop.

    In a moment to champion self-belief, @Jumpman23 , The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation and @Sothebys collaborated on a limited release of the Christopher Wallace Air Jordan XIII in honor of the #JORDANYEAR (2023), and the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop. pic.twitter.com/SVphOKFRgo

    — Notorious B.I.G (@thenotoriousbig) January 23, 2023

    “We are thrilled that the Jordan Brand and the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation have entrusted Sotheby’s with these exclusive pairs of sneakers honoring the legacy of The Notorious B.I.G. as part of the Jordan Year 2023 celebration,” Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and modern collectibles at Sotheby’s, said. “The auction marks the only opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts alike to acquire these special limited-edition sneakers that bring together the legacies of the greatest athlete of all time with the greatest rapper ever.”

    Photo Credit: Sotheby’s

    Staying close to the Jordan Year theme, only 23 pairs of the Christopher Wallace x Air Jordan 13 collaboration will be available on an online auction via Sotheby’s. Live today (January 23) until February 3, each pair are estimated to sell between $2,300 to $5,200. Proceeds from the auction will go towards the Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation, established to equip inner-city youth with educational instruments, sponsorships, grants, and community-based mentorship programs. Last year was a massive celebration for the 50th birthday of Biggie, including a weekend-long festivities in New York City, VR concert and a nine-foot-tall statue erected near the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • An Unconquered Legacy: How Ethiopia’s Mindset and History Led to Africa’s Longest Independence Streak

    An Unconquered Legacy: How Ethiopia’s Mindset and History Led to Africa’s Longest Independence Streak

    OPINION: Protected from outsiders by majestically rugged mountain ranges, and desert borders, Ethiopia was shielded from colonization, creating its own unique written alphabet, food, architecture, music and art.

    By Samson Mulugeta

    As the debate on critical race theory rages in the United States, one piece of Black history remains relatively unexamined in the canon of global Black history — the improbable success of the East African nation of Ethiopia to never bend the knee to Western colonialism. 

    It is a rich, fascinating subject, doubly so for me as an Ethiopian-American journalist whose personal and family history is intertwined with these two countries and cultures.

    But somehow, citing the basic, remarkable details of how Ethiopia managed for centuries to avoid the bloodthirsty imperialism that saw the continent brutalized during “the Scramble for Africa” did not feel like the most accessible way to start. 

    Instead, I wanted to begin with how the minds of most Ethiopians are largely untainted by white supremacy, and how some of those who emigrate to Western countries often achieve success and assimilation because they’re simply not comprehending the naked racism and just simply shrug it off and deal with everyone like the world was truly color-blind — a ridiculous concept in the face of it. 

    But it works! It takes a seriously virulent racist to be able to overcome someone who couldn’t understand their racism and just casually treated them like everyone else. Mind you, this uncomprehending attitude toward racism wouldn’t have worked during slavery or Jim Crow or apartheid.

    Ethiopia is one of the few nations in Africa or Asia that has escaped what philosopher Franz Fanon calls racial identity as a product of the colonial experience that is shaped by the power dynamics between colonizers and colonized people.

    Fanon argued that colonialism creates a system of oppression that leads to internalized racism and self-hatred among colonized people and that the process of decolonization is necessary for the psychological liberation of colonized individuals and communities.

    Another psychological damage that Ethiopians have also escaped is W.E.B Du Bois’ concept of the “white gaze.” He was referring to the way in which Black people are seen and understood through the perspective of white people. 

    Du Bois argued that this white gaze creates a “double consciousness” for Black people, where they are forced to view themselves through the eyes of white society and to constantly navigate the expectations imposed on them. 

    He believed that this double consciousness prevented Black people from fully realizing their own humanity and from achieving true equality in society. Du Bois also argued that the white gaze is a tool of oppression, used to justify and maintain the marginalization of Black people.

    When I dug deep into my memory of strange race-related incidents after I arrived in Astoria, Queens, as a teenager, one finally emerged. There was one white kid named J.P. at my school who discovered I was from Africa and ran after me shouting “Buga, buga, buga!” whenever we passed in the corridors. I was so amused by his antics, I would laugh uproariously and high-fived him. 

    I assume now “buga buga” was what young J.P. thought the natives shouted as they danced around their African huts. 

    Clueless about African-American cultural markers, I fell in love with the New York Islanders hockey team and celebrated the glory days of Mike Bossy, Brian Trottier and Dennis Potvin, like most of the other kids at Long Island City High School. 

    Rocking to WNEW instead of R&B on WBLS, I obviously had not received the memo on “how to be a Black teenager” in New York City. 

    My only encounters with white people growing up in Addis Ababa were wonderful ones. There were Sisters Lutgarda and Ambrosia, the Maltese nuns of my elementary school, and Brother Michael Kennedy of the Catholic La Salle Brothers from Upstate New York from my Addis high school who taught us to swim, hike and love reading. 

    Of course, it should be self-evident that even if individuals within a society do not hold racist beliefs or engage in racist behavior, a society can still be systematically racist if its institutions and structures are designed in a way that disproportionately benefits one racial group over others.

    At no point in my trajectory from a local reporter in New York to a foreign correspondent arriving in Baghdad to cover the Iraq war did it occur to me that my race was a barrier. I knew my chances of settling in Berlin or Moscow and reinventing myself as a German or Russian journalist were virtually nil, while in America, well, I did it.

    But back to my former homeland and its unlikely history. For Ethiopia, location or geography was destiny. It sat at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and especially the Middle East, and had the good fortune of being one of the first nations in the world to adopt Christianity in 300 A.D., way before nations such as Britain became Christian. 

    Strangely enough, Ethiopia was a unique darling of the Muslim world without being one by offering sanctuary to the Prophet Muhammad’s family when he was being hunted across Arabia around 600 A.D. by his pagan enemies. 

    The Prophet’s edict that Ethiopia was the land of the just and not to make jihad on it kept Ethiopia an island of Christianity in a sea of Islam even as some Ethiopians such as Bilal rose to become the iconic first muezzin, or the voice that calls the faithful to prayer in Islam. 

    Protected from outsiders by majestically rugged mountain ranges, and desert borders such as the Danakil Depression, Ethiopia was shielded for millennia, creating its own unique written alphabet, food, architecture, music and art. 

    Ethiopia thrived as a distinct culture, usually with one ruler, but just as often with many kings battling for supremacy for the mantle of emperor, interrupted occasionally by encounters with small groups or solo Europeans from Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Britain. 

    The Ethiopians played the foreigners against each other to acquire weapons, sending delegations to Europe starting in the 13th century to cement relations as sovereign nations.

    The Europeans’ attitude toward the Ethiopians was complex and contradictory considering that in other parts of Africa and Asia, they were treating the locals as inferiors to be used and brutalized to meet their colonial ambitions. 

    They recognized Ethiopia as a “civilized” nation, as opposed to the “uncivilized” nations that they sought to colonize.

    Landscape in the environs of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

    For Black people in the diaspora in the centuries starting from the 1800s, Ethiopia remained a beacon of hope that showed Black people had a history and culture to be proud of and could defend themselves against European armies, as Ethiopia demonstrated in 1896 when it defeated Italy’s army at the Battle of Adwa

    The Battle of Adwa shattered the notion of European invincibility and superiority, and it demonstrated that Africa could defend itself against colonial powers. It remains an important symbol of resistance and pride for Ethiopia and the African continent. 

    It marked the only time in history that an African nation defeated a European colonial power in a full-scale battle in modern times. It continues to be celebrated as a symbol of resistance against colonialism and a demonstration of the strength and resilience of the Ethiopian people, with a lasting impact on Ethiopia’s sovereignty.

    South Africa’s African National Congress, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa movement and the Rastafarians of the Caribbean all lifted their eyes to Ethiopia as a symbol of a proud Black nation.

    Emperor Haile Selassie, last of the Solomonic rulers, became an iconic figure on the world stage when he spoke at the League of Nations in the 1930s, urging fellow members to come to his nation’s aid as Italy led by fascist Benito Mussolini tried to occupy Ethiopia. 

    Bob Marley’s song “War” decades later was inspired by the emperor’s words. Marley was a Rastafarian, and he considered Haile Selassie, whose name before ascending the throne was Ras Teferi, as a spiritual leader and a symbol of resistance against oppression. 

    As Haile Selassie aged, he had become problematic for some educated Ethiopians as a symbol of an archaic monarchy and a feudal system that delayed Ethiopia’s modernization, leading to coup attempts to oust him, the first of which my own father participated in as a lieutenant in the Imperial Guard. 

    Though Haile Selasie’s reputation suffered after he was finally ousted in a 1974 army coup, he is now being rehabilitated by many Ethiopians as the symbol of the country’s glorious past.

    At the height of his power, Britain and Queen Elizabeth II had hosted Haile Selassie with full honors, President Kennedy greeted the emperor at the White House after he addressed a joint session of Congress. New Yorkers lined the streets to give him a ticker tape parade at a time of Jim Crow America. 

    Emperor Haile Selassie also met with civil rights leaders and members of the African-American community, which was significant as the civil rights movement was ongoing during that time.

    Haile Selassie shepherded the creation of the Addis-based Organization of the African Unity, the precursor to the current African Union, of newly independent African states as they joined the family of nations starting in 1959 after centuries under the yoke of colonialism. 

  • FIU Professor’s ‘Teach the Truth’ Tours Defy DeSantis Law on Black History Lessons

    FIU Professor’s ‘Teach the Truth’ Tours Defy DeSantis Law on Black History Lessons

    Florida’s Department of Education rejected the College Board’s AP African American studies course this month after finding it “significantly lacks educational value.”

    By TheGrio Staff 

    A Black professor emeritus at Florida International University is defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ prohibition on Advanced Placement African American studies by spotlighting the sites of some of the worst racial atrocities in the state’s history.

    The Florida Department of Education rejected the College Board’s AP African American studies course earlier this month after finding it “significantly lacks educational value,” a decision the White House called “incomprehensible” Friday, The Washington Post reported.

    Marvin Dunn, 82, one of eight plaintiffs in a complaint concerning DeSantis’ Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, has been leading high school students on his “Teach the Truth” tour since Florida’s Republican governor began his mission to devalue Black studies.

    Florida International University professor emeritus Marvin Dunn, Ph.D., has been leading Florida high school students on a “Teach the Truth” tour, stopping at the sites of some of the worst racial violence events in the state’s history. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com/West Volusia Historical Society)

    A Miami charity Dunn runs to preserve Black history sponsors the tours to places where consequential historical events occurred. The professor intends to take another group during the upcoming legislative session in the spring.

    “We’re going to keep on teaching it,” Dunn said, according to The Post. “This is the antidote to the DeSantis-izing of history.”

    Following the governor’s signing of the Stop Woke Act in April of last year, Dunn took to Twitter to ask DeSantis what portions of history would be allowed for teaching and whether he could share his personal experiences growing up facing racial injustice. DeSantis didn’t respond.

    DeSantis, widely anticipated to run for president in 2024, has established “anti-wokeism” as a cornerstone of his governing style over the past two years. According to his team, the governor does not subscribe to systemic inequities in American society.

    So far, Dunn has led more than two dozen Miami high school students and their families to the museum where Harry T. Moore and Harriette V.S. Moore, married Black civil rights activists, were murdered on Christmas Day 1951 when a planted bomb exploded under their home.

    Dunn also discussed the Newberry Six, a terrible episode in Florida’s past that involved the Rev. Josh J. Baskin and five other Black Floridians hanged by a White mob in 1916 following a theft accusation that sparked two terror-filled days.

    “These are things that nobody knew, it’s like it was swept under the rug. I feel very strongly that this history needs to be told,” said Shanika Marshall, who took her teenage son on the “Teach the Truth” tour, The Post reported. “There’s no shame, it just is what it is, but it needs to be put at the forefront so we can all try to get past it.”

    For another of the tour’s stops, Dunn took the group to the town of Rosewood, which was once primarily populated by Black residents who built houses, a church, a Masonic lodge and a schoolroom, among other community buildings. In January 1923, a White mob set it on fire, killing at least six Black people and two whites.

    Florida state Sen. Geraldine Thompson, a Democrat from Orlando who served on its African American History Task Force, said Dunn’s work is more crucial than ever, given the DeSantis administration’s most recent actions.

    “We need to teach authentic history,” Thompson said, The Post reported, “and not whitewash history.”

  • DeSantis Administration Rejects Inclusion of AP African American Studies Class in Florida High Schools

    DeSantis Administration Rejects Inclusion of AP African American Studies Class in Florida High Schools

    The state used Ron DeSantis’ “Stop WOKE Act” to block the proposed program from its schools

    By Steve Contorno

    CNN — The administration of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is blocking a new Advanced Placement course for high school students on African American studies.

    In a January 12 letter to the College Board, the nonprofit organization that oversees AP coursework, the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Articulation said the course is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”

    The letter did not elaborate on what the agency found objectionable in the course content. A spokeswoman for the department did not immediately respond to a CNN inquiry.

    “In the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion,” the letter stated.

    In a statement to CNN, the College Board declined to directly address the decision in Florida but said, “We look forward to bringing this rich and inspiring exploration of African-American history and culture to students across the country.”

    The rejection of an Advanced Placement African American Studies course follows efforts by DeSantis to overhaul Florida’s educational curriculum to limit teaching about critical race theory. In 2021, the state enacted a law that banned teaching the concept, which explores the history of systemic racism in the United States and its continued impacts. The law also banned material from The 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning project by The New York Times to reframe American history around the arrival of slave ships on American shores. Last year, DeSantis also signed a bill restricting how schools can talk about race with students.

    The College Board unveiled plans to offer an African American studies class for the first time last year. The course is being offered as a pilot in 60 schools across the country during the 2022-23 school year, with the goal of making the course available to all schools in the 2024-25 school year. The first AP African American Studies exam would be administered in the Spring of 2025, according to the College Board website.

    It was not immediately clear if Florida had any schools currently participating in the pilot program. The College Board said the Advanced Placement Program has been working with higher education institutions to develop an African American Studies program for a decade.

    “Like all new AP courses, AP African American Studies is undergoing a rigorous, multi-year pilot phase, collecting feedback from teachers, students, scholars and policymakers,” the statement said. “The process of piloting and revising course frameworks is a standard part of any new AP course, and frameworks often change significantly as a result. We will publicly release the updated course framework when it is completed and well before this class is widely available in American high schools.”

    In a Twitter post Wednesday, Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones, who is Black, noted that Florida offers other cultural AP courses.

    “This political extremism and its attack of Black History and Black people, is going to create an entire generation of Black children who won’t be able to see themselves reflected at all within their own education or in their own state,” Jones said.

    DeSantis’ move comes as his standing among conservatives has soared nationwide following his public stances on hot-button cultural issues and against public health officials and bureaucrats during the Covid-19 pandemic. He is said to be weighing a potential 2024 presidential bid.

    A group of Republican state legislators in Michigan seeking to draft him for the 2024 contest signed on to a letter that was hand-delivered to the Florida governor last month, asking that he “seek the presidential nomination of our Republican Party.”

    The letter was signed by 18 GOP members of the Michigan Senate and House, who wrote that DeSantis is “uniquely and exceptionally qualified to provide the leadership and competence that is, unfortunately, missing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” In closing, they said they “stand ready and willing to help you win Michigan in 2024.”

    Details of the letter were first reported by Politico.

  • Ed Reed: ‘Prime Was Not Wrong’ and HBCU Administrators Have ‘Broken Mentalities’

    Ed Reed: ‘Prime Was Not Wrong’ and HBCU Administrators Have ‘Broken Mentalities’

    Reed expressed frustration with the state of HBCUs and their athletic departments in a recent video 


    Ed Reed says it’s only been a “week and a half” since he agreed to accept the job as head football coach at Bethune-Cookman,” according the Hall of Famer’s Tik Tok video.  Reed is displaying a great amount of frustration — which is not a good sign.

    “Prime [Deion Sanders] was not wrong about what he was saying,” Reed said. “All y’all out there with y’all opinions full of crap, I don’t know [expletive], but needless to say.”

    Former NFL teammate Deion Sanders, who recently coached at Jackson State, had similar complaints about the lack of financial support and administrative support for HBCU athletic departments.

    In interviews and videos, Sanders was highly vocal regarding the HBCUs’ problems and the failed transparency regarding financial solvency. Perhaps, he shared these concerns with Reed which influenced his decision to turn down Jackson State’s offer, according to a source.

    The coach also hinted that he has been trying to offer his assistance and resources.  Rumors had Reed requesting resources like a new turf and enhanced facilities.

    “I just pulled up the work. We’re going to try to help y’all too man. Because I know a lot of HBCUs need help. I’m just here to help here first. I see it all too clearly. All of our HBCUs need help. And they need help because of the people who’s running it. Broken mentalities out here. I’m going to leave you with that. I gotta get in the office.”

    Ed Reed Apologizes

    Ed Reed, the recently appointed head football coach of Bethune-Cookman and Pro Football Hall of Famer, took to social media to apologize for two Tik Tok videos he posted that were critical of Bethune-Cookman and HBCU leadership.

    In his apology, Reed seemed to realize the importance of understanding HBCUs and their challenges. He focused on solutions rather than criticisms and his commitment to helping Bethune-Cookman succeed. 

    “In regards to my social media and comments about the University, staff, and other institutions, I would like to sincerely apologize to all BCU staff, students, and alumni for my lack of professionalism. My language and tone were unacceptable as a father, coach, and leader. My passion for our culture, betterment, and bringing our foundation up got the best of me, and I fell victim while engaging with antagonists on social media as well. I am fully aware of the hard-working folks at our school who are also fighting to make things better and more financially sound. I am encouraged from my communication with my AD [Reggie Theus] and our administration, and I understand it’s a work in progress. My passion is about getting and doing better, and that goes for me too.”  Ed Reed

    Reed’s apology did address his tone, speech, and actions. Yet, there are two compelling elements of the apology — “I fell victim while engaging with antagonists on social media” and “I am encouraged from my communication with my AD and our administration.”

    Bethune-Cookman’s athletic director Reggie Theus and the administration communicated with Reed regarding the two videos. Reed verified on both that he and the institution still need to finalize his contract to become the head coach. To that point, this may have been a contributing factor to his frustrations.   

    Still, in the first posting, Reed said “Prime was not wrong” about HBCUs served as an indictment on Bethune-Cookman and other black colleges. The second video shows him riding an open vehicle while clearing off the football field with debris and trash. His post quickly devolved from simple angst into a profanity-laced tirade from Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.  

    Clearly, Bethune-Cookman and Reed have “damage repair” to become the focus this week.  

    After his recent apology, you can only wonder whether the administrators have decided to move forward with Reed’s contract.

    At this point, it’s up to Bethune-Cookman and Ed Reed to present a positive and productive alliance. It will be incumbent on both parties to work together as they navigate these unprecedented waters in the era of social media.  

  • California Latest to Sue Drug Companies Over Insulin Prices

    California Latest to Sue Drug Companies Over Insulin Prices

    Insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi were named in the suit, as well as providers CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and Optum Rx

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California on Thursday announced it will sue the companies that make and promote most of the nation’s insulin, accusing them of scheming to illegally increase the price of the drug and demanding they return millions of dollars to some diabetics who state officials say were overcharged for the medicine they must have to survive.

    The lawsuit, to be filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Attorney General Rob Bonta, is the latest in a parade of legal actions against these companies from states across the political spectrum — all who have accused the corporate giants of abusing their power to quash competition and boost their profits by keeping the price of insulin high.

    2021 study by the RAND Corporation comparing the insulin prices of nearly three dozen countries found prices in the United States were about 10 times higher than everywhere else. The average price of a vial of insulin in the United States was $98, while in nearby Canada it was $12.

    Attorneys general in Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Minnesota and Kentucky have all filed similar lawsuits in recent years.

    “It is not a partisan issue,” said Bonta, a Democrat who was elected to his first full term in November. Bonta said state attorneys general from both major political parties “all say the same thing: That the status quo is unacceptable and problematic and awful.”

    Bonta sued three companies who make insulin — Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi — and three companies who manage prescription drug programs that provide insulin — CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and Optum Rx.

    Bonta said the manufacturers raise the price of insulin “in lockstep with each other.” The prescription drug managers then negotiate with the manufacturers to get a percentage of that price in exchange for prominently promoting their high-price insulin over cheaper alternatives.

    “People are losing their lives because they can’t afford the drug,” Bonta said.

    Daphne Dorsey, associate director for media relations for Eli Lilly, said the company is “disappointed by the California Attorney General’s false accusations.” She said the average monthly-out-of-pocket cost for Lilly insulin is $21.80, a 44% decrease over the past five years. She urged anyone paying more than $35 a month for Lilly insulin to contact the company.

    A representative for Novo Nordisk declined to comment on the lawsuit. But the company provided background information saying the net prices for its insulin products — the list price minus rebates and discounts — have fallen in each of the past five years “in large part to the significant rebates and discounts manufacturers pay to ensure access for patients.”

    Mike DeAngelis, executive director of corporate communications for CVS Health, said the manufacturers alone set the list price for their products.

    “Nothing in our agreements prevents drug manufacturers from lowering the prices of their insulin products and we would welcome such action,” he said. “Allegations that we play any role in determining the prices charged by manufacturers are false. We plan to vigorously defend against this complaint.”

    A statement from Optum Rx said the company “welcomes the opportunity to show the California Office of the Attorney General, just as it has with other States Attorneys General, how we work every day to provide people with access to affordable drugs, including insulin.”

    Insulin is made by the pancreas and is used by the human body to convert the food we eat into energy. People who have diabetes don’t produce enough insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to survive.

    A team of Canadian scientists discovered insulin a century ago. They sold the patent to the University of Toronto for just $1, hoping to avoid a monopoly that could cause high prices. But eventually, the market came to be dominated by just three companies.

    Kevin Wren, an activist associated with the California chapter of #Insulin4All, said he must take insulin every day to survive. Around 2009, Wren said he was working two jobs and did not have health insurance. He had to ration his insulin, taking less than the recommended dosage to make it last longer — a dangerous practice that he said ended up putting him in the hospital with ketoacidosis, a serious complication of diabetes.

    Today, Wren says he has good health insurance and doesn’t have to ration his supply of insulin. He said he skirts the law each month by providing people insulin from someone else’s prescription “all so that they don’t have to ration.”

    The big insulin manufacturing companies have assistance programs to help people purchase insulin. Novo Nordisk said in 2021 that more than a million people used some form of the company’s assistance when purchasing its insulin.

    California’s state government is considering making its own insulin and selling it at a much cheaper price. Last year, the state Legislature approved $100 million for the project, with $50 million set aside for developing three types of insulin and the rest going to a potential manufacturing facility.

    State officials hope a California brand of generic insulin could disrupt the market and bring all insulin prices down. Bonta said he hopes his lawsuit does the same thing.

    “California can drive markets,” Bonta said, citing the state’s size and economic power. “Change emanates and starts here.”

  • Ms. Holla, Beloved Internet Sensation, Passes At Age 97

    Ms. Holla, Beloved Internet Sensation, Passes At Age 97

    Her granddaughter confirmed the news in a live video on social media on Saturday.

    Ms. Holla, the woman who delighted internet users with her enchanting personality and hilarious viral videos, has passed away at age 97. Her granddaughter confirmed the tragic news in a live video on social media on Saturday.

    “I wanna thank y’all so much for the smiles y’all put on her face,” Grandma Holla’s loved one said. “She passed away in her sleep. She went out peacefully . . . what’s really keeping together y’all is she’s not in pain anymore, no more cancer, no more morphine.”

    @queenpri86 Ms Holla passed today! 💔 #queenholla #grandmaholla #grandmasoftiktok #rip ♬ Missing You – Brandy & Tamia & Gladys Knight & Chaka Khan

    Social media users responded with love and prayers for the family after hearing about the passing of the beloved internet star who spent part of her life working as a special education teacher.

    Grandma Holla was a popular social media star who went by the username lotteryfrappeandlaughs on TikTok. She garnered over 800,000 followers since posting her first video on the short-form app in August 2021.

    She was known for her honest and hilarious responses to any question that she was asked, and her reactions and enchanting personality delighted millions of viewers. The beloved grandmother also had a YouTube channel with over 270,000 subscribers.

    Over the weekend, her granddaughter confirmed the news of Grandma Holla’s death in a YouTube Live. She revealed that her grandmother passed peacefully at 5pm on January 15.

    Fans pay tribute to Grandma Holla

    Fans were heartbroken after the news of Grandma Holla’s death was confirmed, and took to her TikTok page to pay their tributes. “Tell me it ain’t true… Rest In Peace beautiful angel thank you for the laughs,” one fan wrote in the comments of her last video.

    “We’re going to miss you Grandma Holla. You are one of a kind and so funny,” another added.

    “She has blessed so many people with how to live a full happy life. She was a bundle of joy, she made my day everyday l watch her. Thank you for sharing her with us,” a third said.

  • Lawsuit Claims BMG ‘Refused’ to Pay ‘Uptown Funk’ Royalties to Gap Band Heirs

    Lawsuit Claims BMG ‘Refused’ to Pay ‘Uptown Funk’ Royalties to Gap Band Heirs

    The Gap Band’s Robert, Ronnie and Charlie Wilson were added as “Uptown Funk” songwriters alongside Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson thanks to a 2015 agreement


    CIRCA 1980: (L-R) Charlie Wilson, Ronnie Wilson and Robert Wilson of the funk group “Gap Band” pose for a portrait in circa 1980. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

    Publishing giant BMG has “failed and refused” to pay “Uptown Funk” royalties to the heirs of Gap Band members Robert and Ronnie Wilson after the brothers were credited as co-songwriters of the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars mega-hit in a 2015 agreement, a new lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan claims.

    The complaint filed Thursday by Ronnie’s widow Linda Wilson and Robert’s daughters Robin and LaTina Wilson, among other heirs, alleges BMG has either “retained all funds due to plaintiffs for its own benefit and enjoyment” or “wrongfully diverted” the money elsewhere.

    BMG did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent Thursday night. Third brother and former Gap Band lead vocalist Charlie Wilson is not a party to the new lawsuit.

    Robert and Ronnie Wilson were among the five songwriters behind the 1979 Gap Band song “Oops Upside Your Head” that was later determined to be a basis for 2014’s “Uptown Funk.” The brothers were each assigned 3.4% of the copyright and music publishing rights to “Uptown Funk” under the 2015 deal that was reportedly brokered to avert a lawsuit and trial in the wake of the notorious “Blurred Lines” $7.4 million jury verdict.

    According to the new complaint filed Thursday, Ronnie Wilson and his brother Robert assigned their
    music publishing rights for “Oops Upside Your Head” to a third party in 1978 but then terminated the grants of copyright in September 2016. The company that held the rights prior to termination was acquired by BMG in 2015. (Ronnie later died in November 2021.) After the terminations, the brothers’ two separate 3.4% shares of “Uptown Funk” are now owned entirely by their heirs, the lawsuit alleges.

    The complaint claims BMG has “has failed and refused to pay plaintiffs or account to them for royalties they are obligated to pay plaintiffs pursuant to a written contract as co-writers of ‘Uptown Funk.’”

    “Despite its obligations to account for and pay to plaintiffs their share of all income received from the ‘Uptown Funk’ musical composition, BMG has refused and failed to provide either the funds due to plaintiffs or an accounting, despite plaintiffs’ repeated demands therefor,” the lawsuit alleges.

    The filing claims BMG also has refused to provide “sufficient documentation for plaintiffs to calculate the sum due them.” The lawsuit asks the court to order an accounting of money received by defendants pursuant to the 2015 settlement so the heirs can determine their alleged damages. It also seeks a trial to determine compensatory damages for the alleged breach of contract and wants the court to order defendants to pay that amount along with interest, costs and attorney’s fees.

    “Uptown Funk,” the subject of multiple copyright controversies, was an international sensation, ruling the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks.

  • ‘Abbott Elementary’ Scores Season 3 Renewal At ABC

    ‘Abbott Elementary’ Scores Season 3 Renewal At ABC

    The Emmy winning series is currently in its second season, which returned on January 4. 

    By Katie Campione

    Abbott Elementary is getting another go at ABC. The comedy series has been renewed for a third season.

    The news comes during ABC’s Television Critics Association panel, just a day after Season 1 scored three Golden Globe wins at Tuesday night’s ceremony, including acting honors for Quinta Brunson and Tyler James Williams.

    The Emmy winning series is currently in its second season, which returned on January 4. Season 2 has averaged a 3.58 rating in the advertiser-targeted 18-49 demographic after 35 days of multi-platform viewing, which is a 31% increase from Season 1, according to ABC. It’s also up 13% in viewership, delivering an average of 9.1M viewers per episode in MP35.

    “This renewal is a richly deserved feather in the cap of Quinta Brunson, Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Randall Einhorn, as well as the rest of the cast and crew of Abbott Elementary. Each week, this talented group of artists celebrates true unsung heroes — public school teachers. And for some extra icing on the renewal cake, our favorite group of teachers was honored this morning with two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations and last night with three Golden Globe Awards. Abbott Elementary is the gift that keeps on giving, and I look forward to many more magnificent episodes of this brilliant, authentic, and just plain funny series,” said Channing Dungey, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Television Group.


    Abbott Elementary is a co-production with Warner Bros Television Group and 20th Television.

    The series follows a group of dedicated, passionate teachers — and a slightly tone-deaf principal — are brought together in a Philadelphia public school where, despite the odds stacked against them, they are determined to help their students succeed in life. Though these incredible public servants may be outnumbered and underfunded, they love what they do — even if they don’t love the school district’s less-than-stellar attitude toward educating children.

    Brunson created the series and stars as Janine Teagues, alongside Williams,

    Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, Chris Perfetti, William Stanford Davis, and Sheryl Lee Ralph.

    Brunson also executive produces the series. Additional executive producers are Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker of Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions, and Randall Einhorn.

    In a new episode airing Wednesday, the Abbott Elementary faculty find themselves learning lessons in teamwork during a day of touchdowns and missed plays. Two of Janine’s students aren’t getting along in class, leading her to seek advice from her colleagues on how to help repair their friendship. Meanwhile, Melissa and Ava plot to bring down Mr. Johnson in fantasy football.

  • Naomi Osaka Announces She is Pregnant: ‘Every day is a new blessing and adventure’

    Naomi Osaka Announces She is Pregnant: ‘Every day is a new blessing and adventure’

    The tennis star says she plans to return to the court in 2024.

    By Kait Hanson

    Congratulations are in order for Naomi Osaka, who is pregnant with her first child with rapper Cordea.

    The tennis superstar, 25, announced the news across her social media channels Jan. 11, 2023.

    “Can’t wait to get back on the court but here’s a little life update for 2023,” Osaka captioned three screenshots, including one photo of a sonogram and two others detailing her exciting life update.

    “The past few years have been interesting to say the least, but I find that it’s the most challenging times in life that may be the most fun. These few months away from the sport has really given me a new love and appreciation for the game I’ve dedicated my life to,” she wrote.

    Osaka continued, “I realize that life is so short and I don’t take any moments for granted, everyday is a new blessing and adventure. I know that I have so much to look forward to in the future, one thing I’m looking forward to is for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, ‘that’s my mom,’ haha. 2023 will be a year that’ll be full of lessons for me and I hope I’ll see you guys in the start of the next one cause I’ll be at August 2024. Love you all infinitely.”

  • Target Stacks Shelves with new Kitchen, Vegan Foods Collection by Tabitha Brown

    Target Stacks Shelves with new Kitchen, Vegan Foods Collection by Tabitha Brown

    Vegan foodie Tabitha Brown announced the launch of her new collection of kitchen supplies and vegan foods found on the shelves of Target stores.

    By Stacy Jackson

    It’s a new year, and customers are seeing healthier options on the food aisles of their favorite stores.

    Vegan foodie Tabitha Brown announced the launch of her new collection of kitchen supplies and vegan foods found on the shelves of Target stores.

    Brown announced in a teaser video she shared with her Instagram followers on Jan. 4. “Food is love, and how I love myself,” Brown said in the video. “Honey, I have already did the work, so you ain’t gotta worry about it.”

    “Family look at what the Lord has done,” she wrote in the caption.

    “Y’all know that food changed my entire life!! When I went vegan 5 years ago I had no idea what I was doing, but every day I tried to make it easy and fun! I know how tough it can be to figure out what to eat when you first try a plant based lifestyle, so I wanted to help make the transition easier for you,” she told her foodie followers.

    “I am so excited to announce my limited time vegan Food and kitchen collection @target ,” the caption continued.

    She shared a few product options for Target customers, adding, “Honey we got burgers, pasta, potato salad, popcorn, and even pickled okra to just name a few!! I can’t wait for you all to experience it all!!

    According to Eating Well, Brown’s kitchen collection includes various cookware essentials such as tableware, food storage, botanical dip serving bowls, spatulas, and a cast-iron grill pan.

    Shoppers can also pick up some vegan food choices, such as Brown’s planted-based sausages, garlicky veggie burgers, vegan popcorn, seasoned nuts, and other snacks. The collection also provides a selection of dips, including lemon-garlic-dill hummus, truffle-garlic spread, and a caramelized onion cream cheese-style spread.

    Brown followed up the new endeavor with a post where she appeared at Target for a tasting.

    Brown’s collection launched in Target stores on Jan. 8.

  • UPDATE: Damar Hamlin is Awake and Holding Hands with Family

    UPDATE: Damar Hamlin is Awake and Holding Hands with Family

    His agent tells CNN, days after his cardiac arrest during NFL game

    By David Close, Elizabeth Wolfe and Jason Hanna

    Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin is awake in a Cincinnati hospital, his agent and a teammate said Thursday morning, eliciting immediate relief and joy from supporters across the nation three days after the 24-year-old’s in-game cardiac arrest.

    Hamlin, who had been sedated during his hospitalization, is awake and has been holding hands with family in the hospital, his agent Ron Butler told CNN.

    “Our boy is doing better, awake and showing more signs of improvement. Thank you God,” one of Hamlin’s teammates, Bills cornerback Kaiir Elam, tweeted Thursday morning.

    Hamlin has shown “remarkable improvement” in the last day and appears to be “neurologically intact,” the Bills said separately Thursday morning.

    “Per the physicians caring for Damar Hamlin at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Damar has shown remarkable improvement over the past 24 hours,” the Bills tweeted. “While still critically ill, he has demonstrated that he appears to be neurologically intact. His lungs continue to heal and he is making steady progress.

    “We are grateful for the love and support we have received.”

    Further details about Hamlin’s condition and how he demonstrated he was neurologically intact were not immediately released by the team, as supporters across the country hang on updates of his condition and NFL players contemplate an emotional return to the field this weekend.

    Hamlin collapsed in the first quarter of Monday night’s Bills game against the host Cincinnati Bengals, stunning the packed stadium and leading to the contest’s postponement – a rare move in a league where inherently violent play usually resumes after on-field injuries. The NFL has yet to announce whether it will make up that contest – halted with the Bengals leading 7-3 – even as all 32 teams prepare for their final scheduled regular-season games this Saturday and Sunday.

    Players from around the NFL sent tweets of celebration Thursday as news spread that Hamlin was alert. Before that, fellow NFL player and childhood friend of Hamlin’s had said there is “no doubt in my mind” Hamlin will recover.

    Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas II drove directly to the Cincinnati hospital where his 24-year-old friend lay sedated following his on-field collapse early in Monday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. “I know he could hear me,” Thomas told reporters Wednesday, adding he held Hamlin’s hand. “Even if he couldn’t hear me, it didn’t matter. I said what I had to say.”

    “Just basically (I said) that I love him, and I’ve got his back, and I’ll see him in a little bit,” Thomas added Thursday to “CNN This Morning,” before news that Hamlin was awake was released.

    After seeing what happened to Hamlin, some players have openly assessed their readiness to play this weekend. It is still unclear what caused Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, and the league will investigate what could have led to it, NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills said Wednesday.

    Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow “probably wants to play” Sunday’s Bengals-Ravens game, but there may be others who don’t, he told reporters Wednesday.

    “I’m sure if you polled the locker room, there’d be mixed votes on that,” Burrow said. “Personally, I think playing is going to be tough … I think getting back to as normal as you can as fast as you can is personally how I kind of deal with these kinds of things. But … everyone has a different way of dealing with it.”

    The Bills, scheduled to host the Patriots on Sunday, returned to work Wednesday with meetings and are set to hold their first practice of the week Thursday. Players felt encouraged and emotional when Hamlin’s father, Mario Hamlin, did a Zoom call with the team Wednesday and said his son is making progress, a source in the Bills organization told CNN on Thursday.

    Thomas, whose Colts host the Texans on Sunday, said each team needs to “trust that everybody would just make the best decision moving forward, whether that’s playing, whether that’s not playing.”

    “Player-wise … just the world in general, we’re all just one heartbeat right now … all waiting for Damar just to get healthy,” Thomas told CNN Thursday.

    Hamlin and Thomas, who became close friends as high school teammates in Pittsburgh, spoke daily and had talked Monday before Hamlin’s collapse. Seeing his friend soon after the in-game incident “calmed me way down,” Thomas said Wednesday. “It made the trip home a lot easier. I could go home and know he’s gonna be straight. I got him. We all got him. Everybody’s behind him.”

    Since his hospitalization, Hamlin has gotten a nationwide outpouring of support from fans and players across pro sports, including more than $7 million donated to his foundation’s toy drive GoFundMe as of Thursday morning. Several athletes have donned Hamlin’s No. 3 or his jersey while teams have honored him through Jumbotron messages and light displays at their stadiums.

    Teams around the league honored Damar Hamlin at their stadiums. ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/WyMLTqLjJY— NFL (@NFL) January 4, 2023

    NFL medical chief talks commotio cordis theories

    Hamlin collapsed shortly after a collision in which a Bengals receiver tried to power past Hamlin, who’d approached for a tackle, with about six minutes remaining in the first quarter of Monday’s game. Hamlin still twisted the receiver to the ground and stood up – but within seconds fell and lay motionless.

    His heartbeat was restored on the field, the Bills have said, before he was ferried from the stadium in an ambulance while stunned and visibly emotional players and fans looked on. Hamlin was on a ventilator and was “flipped over on his stomach” in the hospital to help relieve some of the strain on his lungs, his uncle Dorrian Glenn told CNN on Tuesday.

    Any time a player is evacuated from the field, the NFL and its medical experts perform a detailed review of what happened, Sills explained on a call Wednesday with reporters. They also examine the role protective equipment may have played, he said.

    In some cases, the medical team will not be able to determine what caused the problem, Sills said.

    The doctor addressed theories that the cardiac arrest could have been caused by commotio cordis, which occurs when severe trauma to the chest disrupts the heart’s electrical charge, causing dangerous fibrillations.

    “You have to have the right type of blow hitting at the right spot on the chest with the right amount of force at just the right time in that cardiac cycle. So, a lot of things have to line up for that to happen,” he said, emphasizing that while it is possible, investigators will consider all options.

    Sills attributed the “transformational response” of medical personnel when Hamlin collapsed to the “60-minute meeting” that is held among medical teams and NFL officials before every game. During the meeting, teams identify the location of medical equipment and nearby medical centers, and establish a chain of command in case of an emergency, including cardiac arrest, among other things.

    Shock still weighing heavily on the Bills

    Hamlin’s collapse is the latest in a string of recent tragedies to have struck the community of Buffalo and its beloved football team, including a racist mass shooting and a historic blizzard that left