• Ex-Officer Derek Chauvin, Convicted in George Floyd’s Killing, Was Stabbed in Prison, AP Source Says

    Ex-Officer Derek Chauvin, Convicted in George Floyd’s Killing, Was Stabbed in Prison, AP Source Says

    The attack happened at the Federal Correctional Institution, Tucson, a medium-security prison


    Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, was stabbed by another inmate and seriously injured Friday at a federal prison in Arizona, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

    The attack happened at the Federal Correctional Institution, Tucson, a medium-security prison that has been plagued by security lapses and staffing shortages. The person was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the attack and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.

    The Bureau of Prisons confirmed that an incarcerated person was assaulted at FCI Tucson at around 12:30 p.m. local time Friday. In a statement, the agency said responding employees contained the incident and performed “life-saving measures” before the inmate, who it did not name, was taken to a hospital for further treatment and evaluation.

    No employees were injured and the FBI was notified, the Bureau of Prisons said. Visiting at the facility, which has about 380 inmates, has been suspended.

    Messages seeking comment were left with Chauvin’s lawyers and the FBI.

    Chauvin’s stabbing is the second high-profile attack on a federal prisoner in the last five months. In July, disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar was stabbed by a fellow inmate at a federal penitentiary in Florida.

    It is also the second major incident at the Tucson federal prison in a little over a year. In November 2022, an inmate at the facility’s low-security prison camp pulled out a gun and attempted to shoot a visitor in the head. The weapon, which the inmate shouldn’t have had, misfired and no one was hurt.

    Chauvin, 47, was sent to FCI Tucson from a maximum-security Minnesota state prison in August 2022 to simultaneously serve a 21-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights and a 22½-year state sentence for second-degree murder.

    Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, had advocated for keeping him out of general population and away from other inmates, anticipating he’d be a target. In Minnesota, Chauvin was mainly kept in solitary confinement “largely for his own protection,” Nelson wrote in court papers last year.

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Chauvin’s appeal of his murder conviction. Separately, Chauvin is making a longshot bid to overturn his federal guilty plea, claiming new evidence shows he didn’t cause Floyd’s death.

    Floyd, who was Black, died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is white, pressed a knee on his neck for 9½ minutes on the street outside a convenience store where Floyd was suspected of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.

    Bystander video captured Floyd’s fading cries of “I can’t breathe.” His death touched off protests worldwide, some of which turned violent, and forced a national reckoning with police brutality and racism.

    Three other former officers who were at the scene received lesser state and federal sentences for their roles in Floyd’s death.

    Chauvin’s stabbing comes as the federal Bureau of Prisons has faced increased scrutiny in recent years following wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein’s jail suicide in 2019. It’s another example of the agency’s inability to keep even its highest profile prisoners safe after Nassar’s stabbing and “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski’s suicide at a federal medical center in June.

    An ongoing AP investigation has uncovered deep, previously unreported flaws within the Bureau of Prisons, the Justice Department’s largest law enforcement agency with more than 30,000 employees, 158,000 inmates and an annual budget of about $8 billion.

    AP reporting has revealed rampant sexual abuse and other criminal conduct by staff, dozens of escapes, chronic violence, deaths and severe staffing shortages that have hampered responses to emergencies, including inmate assaults and suicides.

    Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters was brought in last year to reform the crisis-plagued agency. She vowed to change archaic hiring practices and bring new transparency, while emphasizing that the agency’s mission is “to make good neighbors, not good inmates.”

    Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, Peters touted steps she’d taken to overhaul problematic prisons and beef up internal affairs investigations. This month, she told a House Judiciary subcommittee that hiring had improved and that new hires were outpacing retirements and other departures.

    But Peters has also irritated lawmakers who said she reneged on her promise to be candid and open with them. In September, senators scolded her for forcing them to wait more than a year for answers to written questions and for claiming that she couldn’t answer basic questions about agency operations, like how many correctional officers are on staff.

  • Cheryl Lynn Reveals She Owns Her Masters, Including Her 1983 Hit ‘Encore,’ Which Is Earning Over 30K Spotify Streams 40 Years Later

    Cheryl Lynn Reveals She Owns Her Masters, Including Her 1983 Hit ‘Encore,’ Which Is Earning Over 30K Spotify Streams 40 Years Later

    Along with sharing that she owns her masters, Lynn announced that she’s working with lawyers to bring more of her music to streaming platforms.

    NEWARK, NJ – MARCH 28: Singer Cheryl Lynn attends the BET’s ‘Black Girls Rock!’ Red Carpet at NJ Performing Arts Center on March 28, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)

    Releasing a hit song while a music genre is at its peak is the perfect recipe to create something timeless. In 1978, icon Cheryl Lynn released her first single “Got to Be Real.”

    Its success would then set the trajectory for her debut self-titled album, which became RIAA-certified Gold, per AllMusic.

    Lynn’s debut album went on to be followed up by eight more studio albums including “Preppie” in 1983, which featured “Encore,” written by the legendary Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Although the song was released 40 years ago, it’s been gaining traction on TikTok. Since then, according to Music Data, an account on X, “Encore” spiked by more than 30,000 streams on Spotify in just 24 hours on Nov. 7, 2023, and overall has seen growth of 10% in sales/streams.

    Following the news, an X user tweeted that it was unfortunate that when trends like this occur, artists aren’t likely to receive a profit. With a post on Nov. 8, Lynn responded and cleared the air on her end.

    “I own my masters so the royalties are lovely,” the soul singer tweeted. “Have been for over 35 years.”

    And from the looks of how often Lynn’s music is used in the entertainment world, the royalties being “lovely” may not come as a surprise. The initial impact of “Got to Be Real” moved people worldwide to the dance floor in the late 1970s, but the classic has yet to lose its massive appeal. 

    Over four decades later, the disco record can still be heard in TV commercials and has been featured in numerous films and TV shows such as “Scandal,” “Sex and the City,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,” “The Pink Panther,” Carlito’s Way,” and “Paris Is Burning,” according to IMDb. What’s more, “Encore” was featured in “Atlanta” and “The Photograph.” Along with sharing that she owns her masters, Lynn announced that she’s working with lawyers to bring more of her music to streaming platforms.

    Coming to streaming, lawyers are on it. You’ll have even more available. 🎼❤️ pic.twitter.com/cDwSclhj00

    — Cheryl Lynn (@_IAMCHERYLLYNN) November 9, 2023

    When it comes to the concept of ownership, musicians owning their masters is at the top of the totem pole. As previously reported, artists reclaiming their masters not only empowers them but also can create generational wealth. Check it out to learn more about other artists like Lynn who have been successful in taking back what’s theirs.

  • Kevin Hart Will Receive the Mark Twain Prize — Rumor’s Highest Honor

    Kevin Hart Will Receive the Mark Twain Prize — Rumor’s Highest Honor

    The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor honors individuals who’ve made an impact on American society 

    By Elizabeth Blair

    Kevin Hart has been named winner of the 25th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Hart will be celebrated/roasted by fellow jokesters at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in March.
    Kevin Kwan/The Kennedy Center

    Comedian, actor, writer and entrepreneur Kevin Hart is the winner of the 25th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Considered the highest honor in funny business, previous recipients have included Tina Fey, Bob Newhart, David Letterman and Jon Stewart. 

    Hart got his start telling jokes during amateur night at a local comedy club in his native Philadelphia. Today, his standup fills stadiums, cracking up audiences with stories about dating, marital strife, his daughter’s first curse word, trying to play tough while standing just over 5′, his fear of rollercoasters, his drug-addicted dad who was in and out of jail … No interaction or event seems too small for Hart’s often sidesplitting treatment. Those performances have been turned into specials.

    The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor honors individuals who’ve made an impact on American society in ways similar to the award’s namesake, the satirist and social commentator who was born Samuel Clemens. The very first recipient was Richard Pryor in 1998. 

    “I’ve been doing comedy since the inception of this award 25 years ago. To be honored in this commemorative year feels surreal,” says Hart in a statement. “Comedy is my outlet for social commentary and observations on life… I can’t wait to celebrate!”

    Hart is a box office draw. His credits include the JumanjiRide Along and Secret Life of Pet movies. While not always critical favorites, his 11 films have grossed more than $4.23 billion worldwide, according to the Kennedy Center. 

    “For over three decades, Kevin Hart has been a source of laughter across America and throughout the world with his iconic characters, inimitable physical comedy, and relatable narratives,” says Kennedy Center President, Deborah F. Rutter.

    Hart will receive the Mark Twain Prize at a gala at the Kennedy Center on March 24, 2024. The event will be broadcast at a later date.

  • Denzel Washington Reuniting with Antoine Fuqua for Ancient Warrior Epic at Netflix

    Denzel Washington Reuniting with Antoine Fuqua for Ancient Warrior Epic at Netflix

    The untitled film will center around real-life military commander Hannibal.


    Denzel Washington definitely is thinking about the Roman Empire. 

    The actor is confirmed to reunite with longtime “Training Day” and “The Equalizer” director Antoine Fuqua for an untitled Hannibal film at Netflixbased on the real-life warrior who fought against the Roman Republic during the Second Punic War. The yet-to-be-titled project is based on real-life warrior Hannibal, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in history, and will cover his pivotal battles.

    “Gladiator” scribe John Logan wrote the script. Washington and Fuqua will both produce the film, along with Erik Olsen and Adam Goldworm. Jeremy Lott and Frank Moll serve as executive producers. 

    In addition to the Hannibal movie, Washington is also starring in the Roman Empire-set “Gladiator” sequel, directed by Ridley Scott. The upcoming film co-stars Paul Mescal.

    The upcoming Hannibal film is part of Fuqua’s production company Hill District Media’s first-look partnership with Netflix, which was announced in December 2021 following the success of Jake Gyllenhaal feature “The Guilty.”

    “Working with Netflix on ‘The Guilty’ was such a rewarding experience, both from an artistic and collaborative point of view. I’m beyond excited to continue this relationship and expand our slate of films with a partner that shares our vision at Hill District Media,” Fuqua said at the time. 

    Fuqua recently told Yahoo! Entertainment that he had to stop Washington from taking over “The Equalizer 3” stunts. “There are very few actors who are on that level. He’s just one of the greats, he’s a GOAT,” Fuqua said of working with the Oscar winner. 

    Fuqua added in an IndieWire interview that working with Washington on “Training Day” changed his whole career. 

    “Our rhythm is like music. I guess the only way I could describe it, I would imagine it’s like two musicians that just pick up the instruments and go and they just start riffing and it flows,” Fuqua said. “That’s been our relationship since ‘Training Day.’ And he set that tone [on the set of ‘Training Day’], I remember he was sitting at the table with Ethan [Hawke], and I said, ‘You want to come over and take a look [at the monitor]?’ It was my first scene with him, him and Ethan, I was scared to death. And Denzel was like, ‘You’re flying this plane, buddy. Call me when you need me,’ and got up walked away, and I just thought, ‘I can’t screw this up.’ Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. But that told me he trusted me.”

  • No, It’s Not a Joke. An Andre 3000 Album Is on the Way

    No, It’s Not a Joke. An Andre 3000 Album Is on the Way

    The legendary Atlanta artist is releasing his debut solo record, New Blue Sun, on Nov. 17.

    By Noah A. McGee

    Well, I’ll be damned. I guess Killer Mike wasn’t teasing.

    After years of begging for new music from Andre 3000, he has finally granted our wish (but not in the way that you think).

    His debut solo album, New Blue Sun, is set to release on Friday, Nov. 17. On Tuesday, Dre revealed that the record will be an 87-minute, instrumental album where he will be playing the flute almost the entire time.

    That’s right. No dope world play. No double entendres. No triple entendres. No GOAT claims. Just music, in its purest form. Disappointed about the decision? Andre 3000 doesn’t care.

    In an interview with NPR, Three Stacks discussed how difficult it’s been for him to write new music, saying, “So, in these times, it just comes harder for me to do it and I don’t know why. I mean I try it all the time. It’s not like I don’t try or it’s not like I have a lot of these songs just sitting — I have songs but it’s not like rap things that I really feel happy about sharing. And really, that’s the most important part. I have to feel happy about sharing it.

    He continued, “That’s why New Blue Sun was something that I realized, whoa, I really want people to hear it. I really want to share it. That’s my only gauge. I have to like it as a person, as an artist myself, because if I don’t like it I can’t expect nobody else to like it. I can’t pretend in that way. That’s always been hard for me.”

    An instrumental may not be what we want, but it’s what Andre 3000 needs

    Although the excitement for Andre’s debut solo record is real, there are still some who are disappointed in the revelation that there will be no raps, just music. This morning, as I shared my excitement for the news on social media, a friend of mine commented on the post, writing, “He’s not rapping.”

    I responded by writing, “Lol so?”

    New music from our most celebrated and hallowed artists is not a right, it’s a privilege. Andre 3000 did not have to release new music, but he wanted to, for the health of his own spirit. Besides, if you’re a true lover of music and hip-hop, instrumental albums can be some of the most emotional, spiritual, sentimental, and passionate forms of music out there.

    In his interview with NPR, talking about his love of Jazz and instrumental music, Andre said, “But I remember when I was about 20 and I got into producing… I always liked some songs, the pop songs like “Take Five” or Chuck Mangione [”Feels So Good”] — I remember that playing on the radio as a kid and humming the melodies. So I’m getting affected by these instrumental cats. And once I started really getting into it, I’m like, hold up: Jazz was the rap of that time. These dudes, they were smoking. They were doing heroin. They were in clubs. We trade verses; they [were] trading solos. [When] you really get into it and you really understand what they were doing — and how rebellious what they were doing [was] — you’re like, man, this is the ultimate.”

    He continued, “Once I discovered and got deep into it—loving Eric Dolphy and Coltrane and Yusef Lateef, you know, Pharoah Sanders—like these are some of my favorites. And as a child, I’m like, Whoa, they can actually say something, or make me feel something, without saying something.”

    Some of the most talented and respected artists of our time create instrumental albums in the hip-hop space. Madlib, The Alchemist, Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, 9th Wonder, and Apollo Brown, just to name a few. They aren’t making pointless music. It’s music that conveys thoughts and feelings.

  • One Officer Who Arrested Elijah McClain Convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide; Second Officer Acquitted

    One Officer Who Arrested Elijah McClain Convicted of Criminally Negligent Homicide; Second Officer Acquitted

    The jury reached a verdict after deliberating for 16 hours over three days.

    Randy Roedema, one of the Aurora, Colorado, police officers who arrested Elijah McClain, an unarmed 23-year-old Black man who died after he was subdued by police and injected with ketamine by paramedics in 2019, was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and assault by a jury on Thursday. 

    At the same time, a second officer, Jason Rosenblatt, was acquitted of all charges against him, including reckless manslaughter and assault.

    The jury reached a verdict after deliberating for 16 hours over three days.

    Rosenblatt hugged both of his attorneys and wiped away tears after his verdict was announced. He also hugged members of Roedema’s family.

    Reid Elkus, an attorney for Roedema, comforted the officer’s wife after the verdict, saying, “He may not go to jail.” Roedema’s sentencing has been scheduled for January 5.

    “He’s OK. He’s OK. It’s not mandatory,” Elkus told Roedema’s wife. 

    Sheneen McClain, Elijah McClain’s mother, told CNN affiliate KUSA after the verdict, “This is not justice.” She said Roedema’s guilty verdict is “not enough,” adding the officer was not acting alone in what led to her son’s death.

    “This is not a victory for me at all. This is not a victory for the human race. This is not justice,” Sheneen McClain told KUSA. “They have an eternal judgment that they have yet to see. And no matter how they try to clean up their slate, they still have my son’s blood on their hands.”

    Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said he hopes the verdict can help the community heal.

    “Everyone in Colorado, everyone in the United States, no matter who you are, is accountable under the law. Hopefully today’s verdict can be a sign for healing for the Aurora community and for our state,” Weiser said.

    One of the ways to honor McClain’s memory is to improve policing practices and build trust between law enforcement and the community, Weiser said. 

    In closing arguments of the weekslong trial on Tuesday, prosecutors said Roedema and Rosenblatt used excessive force, failed to follow their training and misled paramedics about his health status. 

    The officers “chose force at every opportunity,” instead of trying to de-escalate the situation as they’re trained, prosecutor Duane Lyons told the court. 

    Meanwhile, defense attorneys placed blame on the paramedics and on McClain himself.

    Roedema and Rosenblatt both pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless manslaughter and assault in connection with McClain’s death. Rosenblatt was fired by the police department in 2020 and Roedema remains suspended.

    Rosenblatt’s attorney, Harvey Steinberg, painted his client as a “scapegoat” and said it’s the paramedics’ responsibility to evaluate a patient’s medical condition. Roedema’s attorney, Don Sisson, said his client’s use of force was justified because McClain resisted arrest. He said McClain had been given 34 commands to either “stop” or “stop fighting.”

    The case focused on the events of August 24, 2019, when officers responded to a call about a “suspicious person” wearing a ski mask, according to the indictment. The officers confronted McClain, a massage therapist, musician and animal lover who was walking home from a convenience store carrying a plastic bag with iced tea. 

    In an interaction captured on body camera footage, police wrestled McClain to the ground and placed him in a carotid hold, and paramedics later injected him with the powerful sedative ketamine. He suffered a heart attack on the way to a hospital and was pronounced dead three days later.

    Prosecutors initially declined to bring charges, but the case received renewed scrutiny following the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests in spring 2020. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis appointed a special prosecutor to reexamine the case, and in 2021 a grand jury indicted three officers and two paramedics in McClain’s death. 

    A third officer, Nathan Woodyard, and two paramedics who treated McClain, Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec, are set to go on trial in the coming weeks. They have also pleaded not guilty.

    In a statement following the verdicts Thursday, Aurora Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said on X, formerly known as Twitter, “We respect the verdict handed down by the jury, and thank the members of the jury for their thoughtful deliberation and service. Due to the additional pending trials, the Aurora Police Department is precluded from further comment at this time.”

    How McClain died was a key focus in the trial

    Jason Rosenblatt, left, and Randy Roedema, right, during an arraignment in court on January 20, 2023. Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

    The trial began last month and featured testimony from Aurora law enforcement officers who responded to the scene as well as from doctors who analyzed how McClain died. The defense did not call any witnesses

    The prosecution played body-camera footage of the arrest and said the footage showed officers used excessive force for no reason. McClain repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe, yet the officers did not tell that to anyone on the scene.

    “His name was Elijah McClain, and he was going home. He was somebody. He mattered,” prosecutor Lyons began his argument Tuesday afternoon.

    A key focus of the trial was analysis of how McClain died and whether the officers’ actions caused his death.

    The jury heard from a pulmonary critical care physician who testified he believed the young man would not have died if the paramedics had recognized his issues and intervened. 

    Dr. Robert Mitchell Jr., a forensic pathologist who reviewed McClain’s autopsy, testified the cause of death was “complications following acute ketamine administration during violent subdual and restraint by law enforcement, emergency response personnel.” He testified there was a “direct causal link” between the officers’ actions and McClain’s death.

    Meanwhile, defense attorneys argued there was no evidence the officers’ actions led to his death, and instead pointed to the ketamine injection.

    Though an initial autopsy report said the cause of death was undetermined, an amended report publicly released in 2022 listed “complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint” as the cause of death. The manner of death was undetermined.

    Dr. Stephen Cina, the pathologist who signed the autopsy report, wrote he saw no evidence injuries inflicted by police contributed to McClain’s death, and McClain “would most likely be alive but for the administration of ketamine.”

    In the prosecution’s rebuttal, Jason Slothouber told the court while the officers did not inject McClain with the ketamine, their failure to protect McClain’s airway allowed him to become hypoxic then acidotic, and that’s what made the ketamine so dangerous to McClain.

    Officers didn’t provide accurate information to the paramedics when they arrived on scene, and in doing so they “failed Elijah McClain,” Slothouber said.

  • Multiple people suffer non-life-threatening injuries in ‘active shooter situation’ at Morgan State University, Baltimore Police say

    Multiple people suffer non-life-threatening injuries in ‘active shooter situation’ at Morgan State University, Baltimore Police say

    The shooting came amid the historically Black institution’s homecoming week festivities leading up to a football game Saturday.

    By Dan Belson and Dillon Mullan

    Baltimore Police are encouraging people to avoid the area of Morgan State University, where multiple people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in a shooting Tuesday night, and for those in the area of the campus to shelter in place.

    Baltimore Police and federal agents are on campus after shots were fired around 9:30 p.m., striking multiple people, near a campus residential building and the home of the institution’s fine arts department. It is not yet known how many people have been shot, or what their injuries are.

    The shots were reported to have been fired on the 1700 block of Argonne Drive, near the Thurgood Marshall Apartments and the Murphy Fine Arts Center, and close to the Northeast District Police Station.Special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also on scene, the federal agency said.

    The shooting came amid the historically Black institution’s homecoming week festivities leading up to a football game Saturday. On Tuesday evening, a few hours before the gunfire broke out, the fine arts center was slated to host the coronation of Mister and Miss Morgan State. “It’s really sad actually, because this is our homecoming week,” Ray Issy, a sophomore from New Jersey, said while walking to her off-campus apartment. She was concerned the shooting would lead to the festivities being canceled. “It’s like, Bro, why can’t we ever have anything nice?”

    The Baltimore Fire Department staged behind a campus dorm after multiple people were shot at Morgan State University on Tuesday night. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

    Concerned family members are asked to avoid the campus area and instead go to the Safeway parking lot at 4401 Harford Road.

    Otis Williams was driving for Uber when his daughter, a freshman clarinet player at Morgan, called in a panic. The school’s marching band was practicing at the football stadium and locked themselves in a bathroom.

    Williams, a retired U.S. Army National Guard Specialist from Baltimore City, drove straight to campus. He was unable to reach his daughter amid the lockdown but felt comfortable she was safe. He said he did his “protective dad duties” calming her over the phone.

    “The stadium is pretty secure,” Williams said.

  • Last Living Suspect in 1996 Drive-By Shooting of Tupac Shakur Indicted on Murder Charge

    Last Living Suspect in 1996 Drive-By Shooting of Tupac Shakur Indicted on Murder Charge

    Police homicide Lt. Jason Johansson said Davis’ own public comments revived the investigation by providing police with “admissible evidence.”


    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A man who prosecutors say orchestrated the 1996 drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur was arrested and charged with murder Friday in a long-awaited breakthrough in one of hip-hop’s most enduring mysteries.

    Duane “Keffe D” Davis, 60, has long been known to investigators as one of four suspects identified early in the investigation. He isn’t the accused gunman but was described as the “shot caller” by authorities Friday at a news conference and in court. 

    Davis himself admitted in interviews and in his 2019 tell-all memoir, “Compton Street Legend,” that he provided the gun used in the drive-by shooting. Police homicide Lt. Jason Johansson said Davis’ own public comments revived the investigation by providing police with “admissible evidence.”

    Davis was arrested early Friday while on a walk near his home on the outskirts of Las Vegas, hours before prosecutors announced in court that a Nevada grand jury had indicted the self-described “gangster” on one count of murder with a deadly weapon.

    The grand jury also voted to add a sentencing enhancement to the murder charge for gang activity that if he’s convicted, could add up to 20 additional years.

    The first-ever arrest in the case came more than two months after Las Vegas police raided Davis’ home in the nearby city of Henderson for items they described at the time as “concerning the murder of Tupac Shakur.”

    It wasn’t immediately clear if Davis has an attorney who can comment on his behalf. Prosecutors said they did not know if he had a lawyer and several local attorneys said they did not know who from Las Vegas would represent him. Phone and text messages to Davis and his wife on Friday and in the months since the July 17 search weren’t returned.

    “For 27 years the family of Tupac Shakur has been waiting for justice,” Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said at a news conference Friday. “While I know there’s been many people who did not believe that the murder of Tupac Shakur was important to this police department, I’m here to tell you that is simply not the case.”

    Prosecutors said they have been in contact with the rapper’s family and that they “are pleased with this news.”

    On the night of Sept. 7, 1996, Shakur was in a BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion “Suge” Knight. They were waiting at a red light near the Las Vegas Strip when a white Cadillac pulled up next to them and gunfire erupted.

    Shakur was shot multiple times and died a week later at the age of 25.

    Davis, in his memoir, said he was in the front passenger seat of the Cadillac and had slipped a gun into the back seat, from where he said the shots were fired.

    He implicated his nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson, saying he was one of two people in the backseat. Anderson, a known rival of Shakur, had been involved in a casino brawl with the rapper shortly before the shooting.

    After the casino brawl, “Mr. Davis formulated a plan to exact revenge upon Mr. Knight and Mr. Shakur” in his nephew’s defense, Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo said.

    Anderson died two years later. He denied any involvement in Shakur’s death.

    Emails seeking comment from two lawyers who have previously represented Knight were not immediately returned. Knight was grazed by a bullet fragment in the shooting but had only minor injuries. He is serving a 28-year prison sentence in California for an unrelated voluntary manslaughter charge.

    On the night of July 17, Las Vegas police quietly surrounded the home where Davis and his wife, Paula Clemons, live in the nearby city of Henderson. Police lapel video obtained by AP showed SWAT officers detaining a man and his wife outside the home lit up by a swirl of red and blue lights after announcing their presence on a bullhorn. The couple’s faces are blurred in the videos.

    Messages left Friday for Clemons weren’t immediately returned.

    Police reported collecting multiple computers, a cellphone and hard drive, a Vibe magazine that featured Shakur, several .40-caliber bullets, two “tubs containing photographs” and a copy of Davis’ memoir.

    Greg Kading, a retired Los Angeles police detective who spent years investigating the Shakur killing and wrote a book about it, said he’s not surprised by Davis’ arrest.

    “All the other direct conspirators or participants are all dead,” Kading said. “Keffe D is the last man standing among the individuals that conspired to kill Tupac.”

    The rapper’s death came as his fourth solo album, “All Eyez on Me,” remained on the charts, with some 5 million copies sold. Nominated six times for a Grammy Award,Shakur is still largely considered one of the most influential and versatile rappers of all time.

  • What to Know About Elijah McClain’s Death and the Criminal Trial of Two Officers

    What to Know About Elijah McClain’s Death and the Criminal Trial of Two Officers

    Two police officers put McClain in a neck hold during a late-night stop in 2021, and McClain can be heard on body camera footage saying he can’t breathe correctly.

    DENVER (AP) — The trial of two Denver-area police officers charged in Elijah McClain’s death resumed Tuesday as prosecutors press their case that excessive force transformed the late-night stop of the Black man in the summer of 2019 into a fatal encounter.

    Criminal charges were brought in 2021 after a national racial reckoning over the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police galvanized criticism over law enforcement abuses against Black people and revived interest in McClain’s case.

    The officers put McClain in a neck hold during the stop, and McClain can be heard on body camera footage saying he can’t breathe correctly. Defense attorneys argue the officers were properly performing their duties before paramedics gave McClain an overdose of a powerful sedative that led to complications causing his death.

    A defense attorney suggested Tuesday that McClain’s attempts to resist the officers also could have contributed to his death by making it harder for him to breathe.

    Here’s what you need to know about McClain’s death and the monthlong trial underway in state court:

    In this June 27, 2020, file photo, demonstrators carry a giant placard during a rally and march over the death of Elijah McClain outside the police department in Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    Why did police stop Elijah McClain and how did he die?

    A 911 caller reported McClain, who was wearing earbuds and listening to music, seemed “sketchy” and was waving his arms as he walked home from a convenience store in the city of Aurora, a suburb of Denver, on the night of Aug. 24, 2019. The 23-year-old massage therapist was often cold and wore a runner’s mask and jacket despite the warm weather, according to the indictment.

    Jurors were shown surveillance video from the store of McClain wearing the mask and waiting to pay for three cans of ice tea. No one else in the store appeared concerned that he was in a mask, although the clerk’s back was to the camera.

    Three officers approached McClain after he left the store. Within 10 seconds Officer Nathan Woodyard put his hands on McClain, turning him around. As McClain tried to escape his grip, Woodyard said, “Relax, or I’m going to have to change this situation.”

    The encounter quickly escalated, with officers taking McClain to the ground and putting him in a neck hold, pressing against his carotid artery. Paramedics arrived and injected McClain with the sedative ketamine. He went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was taken off life support three days later.

    Why were the officers charged?

    A Colorado prosecutor initially decided against prosecuting McClain’s death largely because the coroner’s office could not determine exactly how he died.

    Following the protests over Floyd’s death in 2020, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis directed Colorado’s attorney general to open a new investigation. Two paramedics and three officers were indicted by a state grand jury in 2021.

    A revised coroner’s report that relied in part on grand jury information said McClain died of complications from the ketamine after being forcibly restrained.

    Former officer Jason Rosenblatt, left, and Aurora Police Officer Randy Roedema, right, attend an arraignment at the Adams County Justice Center in Brighton, Colo., Jan. 20, 2023. (Andy Cross/The Denver Post via AP)

    The officers now on trial — Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt — are charged with manslaughter, criminally negligent reckless homicide and assault, all felonies. They pleaded not guilty.

    Roedema, a former Marine who is currently suspended without pay, had been with the department for five years before McClain’s death. Rosenblatt worked for the agency for two years and was fired in 2020 for making light of other officers’ reenactment of the neck hold.

    The two officers have not talked publicly about McClain’s death and it’s unknown if they’ll take the stand to testify. Their lawyers told jurors that the officers’ actions followed police policies and weren’t responsible for McClain’s death. They’ve sought to shift any blame to the paramedics who injected the ketamine.

    Body cameras worn by the officers captured the confrontation and the footage is being used by both sides to bolster their arguments.

    Did the ketamine alone kill him?

    That’s what jurors will have to decide.

    Rosenblatt initially tried to put McClain in a neck hold but couldn’t because of his position, so Woodyard did, authorities said. The maneuver, called a carotid control hold, restricts the flow of blood to a person’s brain, rendering them temporarily unconscious. Neck restraints have been banned in many states following the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.

    McClain had been kept on the ground for 15 minutes when paramedics gave him 500 milligrams of ketamine. He weighed 140 pounds (64 kilograms) but received a higher dose of ketamine than recommended for someone of his size and overdosed, pathologist Stephen Cina found.

    Defense attorneys have brought up the overdose repeatedly since the trial started last week. But Cina also noted that the ketamine was injected after McClain was restrained.

    Sheneen McClain, mother of Elijah McClain, looks on outside the courtroom at the Adams County Justice Center for the start of a trial of two of the police officers charged in the death of McClain, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Brighton Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

    McClain threw up repeatedly and inhaled vomit into his lungs that made it hard to breathe, according to Dr. David Beuther, a pulmonologist who testified for the prosecution. Even before the ketamine was injected, McClain’s health had deteriorated to the extent that he belonged in a hospital intensive care unit, Beuther said.

    Beuther acknowledged Tuesday during cross examination by defense attorneys that he could not say whether any specific actions by the police led to McClain’s deteriorating condition before he was given the ketamine.

    Roedema’s attorney, Reid Elkus, suggested McClain’s resistance to the officers could have contributed to his own death. Elkus asked Beuther if McClain fighting against the officers could have caused his heavy breathing. “I suppose,” Beuther responded.

    “Did you rule out for purposes of causation of death, that maybe Mr. McClain’s own conduct caused him to die?” the attorney later asked. “That seems more like a law enforcement or legal expert is required for that,” Beuther responded.

    What role did excited delirium play?

    Excited delirium is a controversial condition involving erratic behavior that is associated with chronic drug abuse, mental illness or both. Some doctors question whether it’s real. Paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec concluded about two minutes after arriving on the scene that McClain was suffering from excited delirium, according the indictment. They did not talk to McClain or check his vital signs, it said.

    Colorado’s health department in 2021 said emergency workers should not use excited delirium as a reason to administer ketamine. A medical panel for the department found that excited delirium is open to interpretation and “associated with racial bias against African American men.”

    What about the other officer and paramedics?

    Woodyard’s trial is next month and paramedics Cooper and Cichuniec are scheduled to be tried in November. Judge Mark Warner ruled in January that there would be separate trials to ensure fair proceedings.

  • Shaquille O’Neal Invested In Google ‘By Accident’ Then Learned He Hit The Jackpot While Reading A Newspaper

    Shaquille O’Neal Invested In Google ‘By Accident’ Then Learned He Hit The Jackpot While Reading A Newspaper

    O’Neal’s only regret is that he hadn’t invested more in Google. Today, the tech giant is valued at $1.714 trillion

    By Samantha Dorisca

    It wasn’t until reading a newspaper that Shaquille O’Neal realized he struck a pot of gold.

    According to TechCrunch, Google was one of O’Neal’s earliest investments.

    His investment in the search engine was “by accident,” per a report by Insider. O’Neal was dining at the Four Seasons when he caught the attention of a high-profile investor, who began speaking to him about Google.

    That conversation would then elevate to a formal meeting, which convinced O’Neal to invest his dollars in the company.

    “I was at Four Seasons, I was eating lunch and there were four distinguished gentlemen sitting there playing with their kids, and the kids recognize me and they’re playing with me,” O’Neal said, according to TechCrunch. “Basically, I’m doing a babysitting job, and one gentleman says ‘I want to talk about this company called Google,’ and just talking about search engines and ‘you’ll be able to type in anything,’ and I was like, ‘That sounds good.’ We had a meeting with them and it looked good, and I put some money in and I forgot about it.”

    Although the exact amount O’Neal invested in the company was not disclosed, he made a great return. What’s more, he found out only after reading about it in a newspaper.

    “The newspaper told me how much I made and I couldn’t believe how much I made,” he said, per TechCrunch.

    O’Neal’s only regret is that he hadn’t invested more in Google. Today, the tech giant is valued at $1.714 trillion, according to Companies Market Cap.

    “It was presented to me, I knew it was gonna hit and I said, ‘Wow, I’ll try it.’ My only regret is that I wish I would have bought more,” O’Neal said, per Insider.

  • Deion Sanders Worked His Way Up To An Estimated $45M Fortune, But His 5 Children Are The Real Proof Of The ‘Prime’ Effect.

    Deion Sanders Worked His Way Up To An Estimated $45M Fortune, But His 5 Children Are The Real Proof Of The ‘Prime’ Effect.

    Sanders’ children have followed in their father’s athletic and influential footsteps in some capacity, but they are making their own waves and forging their own paths.

    By Josh Rodgers

    Throughout history, the world has been introduced to many people with the “it” factor. While it may not be possible to articulate exactly what “it” is, it’s a beautiful combination of talent, influence, likeability, and authenticity. Some of the people described this way are Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Denzel Washington, and Tina Turner.

    And when it comes to sports, one of the names sure to come up as having “it” is Deion Sanders. From his multi-sport professional career to his captivating personality, fans have admired Sanders for years. But this star power wasn’t by happenstance — it came from hard work, dedication, and faith.

    Sanders was born in Fort Myers, FL, and began his sports career early in life across several sports, eventually attending Florida State University as a decorated athlete. His collegiate career would land him a spot in the NFL and the MLB. Simultaneously playing in both professional leagues for several years, Sanders completed 270 solo tackles, five forced fumbles, and 53 interceptions as a cornerback for the NFL, mainly with the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys.

    For his MLB career, Sanders would play for four teams as a left fielder with a .263 batting average, 39 home runs and 168 RBIs. His athletic prowess would transfer off the field, with him releasing two rap albums, making guest appearances in movies and television shows, starring in his own reality TV series, and working as a sports analyst.

    With a diverse and wide-reaching career, all of Sanders’ work would earn him an estimated fortune of $45 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

    As the 56-year-old’s career evolved, he would go on to work as a football coach. His first position was at the high school level with the school he co-founded, Prime Prep Academy. Sanders then coached at the collegiate level with Mississippi-based HBCU Jackson State University (JSU).

    While his exit from JSU was met with mixed emotions and responses, his current role as head coach at the University of Colorado Boulder proves why he is known as “Coach Prime.”

    The Colorado Buffalos went from being off everyone’s radar to having sold-out games, weekly celebrity appearances, and an early winning record. Although this success is noteworthy, Sanders takes pride in his ability to coach, bond, and work with his children. Sanders’ children have followed in their father’s athletic and influential footsteps in some capacity, but they are making their own waves and forging their own paths. Here is how Coach Prime’s children are upholding the Sanders legacy.

    Deiondra Sanders

    Deiondra is Deion Sanders’ oldest child and oldest daughter. With career experience as a director of communications and time spent in client relations, her LinkedIn profile states that she has worked in the sports business and entertainment industry. According to her Instagram, she is also filming the show “Growing Forward.”
    The 31-year-old is an avid supporter of her father and a social media influencer, partnering with brands such as KFC and Meshella Rose.

    Deion Sanders Jr.

    A former Southern Methodist University football player, Deion Jr. is a social media expert. The 29-year-old is also doing “something that no other college football program is doing,” according to USA Today. He’s “building an audience” for Colorado’s football and his father’s coaching journey with behind-the-scenes access through his brand, Well Off Media.

    Shilo Sanders

    Shilo is a current defensive player for the Colorado Buffalos. He has played for his father throughout his high school and college career, including Jackson State.

    At 23 years old, Shilo is establishing a name for himself as a senior safety but tapping into the business side of the sport with NIL deals with KFC, Oikos, and Actively Black.

    Shedeur Sanders

    The 21-year-old Colorado Buffalos quarterback is the team’s current star, sparking talks about his future NFL career.

    The Tom Brady mentee has an impressive NIL roster of deals. According to a previous AFROTECH report, Shedeur has the highest NIL valuation among NCAA football athletes. Since that writing, his valuation has gone up to $5.1 million and includes his signing with Gatorade as its first HBCU player during his tenure with JSU.

    Shelomi Sanders

    Shelomi is the youngest Sanders sibling and is currently enrolled at the University of Colorado, playing for its women’s basketball team after transferring from Jackson State.

    The 19-year-old also rides the NIL train, joining Meta’s NIL Empower 3.0 program.

  • Experts Predict Shedeur Sanders Could Rake In $10M Annually From NIL Deals

    Experts Predict Shedeur Sanders Could Rake In $10M Annually From NIL Deals

    With three outstanding games under his belt, experts predict that Shedeur could earn up to $10 million annually through name, image, and likeness (NIL) money.

    By Shanique Yates

    Deion Sanders and company appear to be in good hands in Boulder, CO.

    According to a report by Outkick, University of Colorado Buffaloes star quarterback Shedeur Sanders could be well on his way to a huge payout due to the stellar performance he has exhibited thus far with the team.

    With three outstanding games under his belt, experts predict that Shedeur could earn up to $10 million annually through name, image, and likeness (NIL) money. 

    It’s why many insiders believe he isn’t necessarily in a rush to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the National Football League (NFL).

    Show Him The Money

    “I think Shedeur might be able to make $10 million,” Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt predicted during an episode of “The Herd.” “We have no idea what his ceiling is from a NIL perspective.”

    Per On3.com, Shedeur’s NIL valuation currently sits at an estimated $5.2 million, just a few digits shy of another legacy sports kid, basketball standout Bronny James, the eldest son of NBA superstar LeBron James.

    In the Sanders household, winning must be in the bloodline, because Shedeur’s father is making yet another huge name for himself, this time within leadership in the college sports industry, after previously leading Mississippi’s Jackson State University to two consecutive SWAC titles. Not to mention, Shedeur’s older brother is making his mark as well.

    The Primetime effect for the Sanders household is an understatement.

    As the head coach for the Colorado Buffaloes with his son Shedeur as the lead quarterback and older son Shilo Sanders playing safety while sporting his dad’s No. 21, the possibilities for Deion’s crew seem to be endless.

    A Family Affair

    “We believe in strength, and there’s strength in unity, so family makes us stronger,” Deion told People in a January 2023 interview. “And we don’t just talk it, we live it. We all work together, and we all incorporate into one another’s lives. So it’s all centered on sports, and everything happens around that.”

    Shilo and Shedeur make up two of Deion’s five children, whom Deion jokingly ranked via social media, noting that he isn’t the only parent who has their kids listed according to favorites — he’s just the only one who’s honest about it.

    After recently revealing that his children won’t be leaving his team anytime soon to join the NFL, it seems that in true Primetime fashion, there just may be yet another method to the madness.

  • ‘LANDO’: Star Wars Series From Donald and Stephen Glover Will Now be a Film

    ‘LANDO’: Star Wars Series From Donald and Stephen Glover Will Now be a Film

    The film could potentially be seen as a follow-up to the Han Solo prequel film Solo: A Star Wars Story

    The Lando series from Donald Glover is now becoming a new Star Wars film.

    According to Variety, Glover and his brother/writing partner Stephen Glover will now develop their proposed Lando Disney+ series into a movie, as confirmed by Lucasfilm. The film could potentially be seen as a follow-up to the Han Solo prequel film Solo: A Star Wars Story, which came to theaters in 2017 and featured Glover as a young Lando Calrissian. Right now, it isn’t entirely clear if Glover will return to star, but for now, we know he will be behind the series with his brother.

    Stephen told the audience of the Pablo Torre Finds Out podcast the news, saying, “It’s not even a show…the idea right now is to do a movie. Right now, because of the strike, it’s kind of like telephone, all of the information.” The project still sounds like it’s in the earliest stages, which means fans still have to wait.

    But even if the writers’ and actors’ strikes might be limiting further discussions about Lando‘s development, this is just the latest bump in the road for the project, with Justin Simien leaving the first iteration of the television series in 2023, after being signed on to develop the project in 2020. After Simien, the Glovers came on board.

    Shadow and Act wrote how Glover talked about his love for the character in April’s edition of GQ.

    “I would love to play Lando again. It’s a fun time, being him. It just has to be the right way to do it. Time is precious. The past couple of years, this pandemic shit, it really had people experience time,” he said. “… People realize their time is valuable. You only get so much…I’m not interested in doing anything that’s going to be a waste of my time or just a paycheck. I’d much rather spend time with people that I enjoy. It just has to be the right thing, and I think it could be. Lando is definitely somebody I like to hang out with.”

  • Air Force Gen. CQ Brown confirmed as chairman of joint chiefs, 1st time Pentagon’s 2-top post held by Black people

    Air Force Gen. CQ Brown confirmed as chairman of joint chiefs, 1st time Pentagon’s 2-top post held by Black people

    Brown, a career fighter pilot, was the Air Force’s first Black commander of the Pacific Air Forces and most recently its first Black chief of staff, making him the first African American to lead any of the military branches.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Gen. CQ Brown as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, putting him in place to succeed Gen. Mark Milley when he retires at the end of the month. Brown’s confirmation on a 83-11 vote, months after President Joe Biden nominated him for the post, comes as Democrats try to maneuver around holds placed on hundreds of nominations by Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville over the Pentagon’s abortion policy. The Senate is also expected to confirm Gen. Randy Georgeto be Army Chief of Staff and Gen. Eric Smith as commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps this week.

    Tuberville has been blocking the Senate from the routine process of approving military nominations in groups, frustrating Democrats who had said they would not go through the time-consuming process of bringing up individual nominations for a vote. More than 300 nominees are still stalled amid Tuberville’s blockade, and confirming them one-by-one would take months.

    But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., reversed course on Wednesday and moved to force votes on Brown, George and Smith.

    “Senator Tuberville is forcing us to face his obstruction head on,” Schumer said. “I want to make clear to my Republican colleagues — this cannot continue.”

    Tuberville did not object to the confirmation votes, saying he will maintain his holds but is fine with bringing up nominations individually for roll call votes. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said that Brown’s confirmation, along with expected votes on Smith and George, is positive news. But “we should have never been in this position,” he said.

    “While good for these three officers, it doesn’t fix the problem or provide a path forward for the 316 other general and flag officers that are held up by this ridiculous hold,” Kirby told reporters.

    Brown, a career fighter pilot, was the Air Force’s first Black commander of the Pacific Air Forces and most recently its first Black chief of staff, making him the first African American to lead any of the military branches. His confirmation will also mark the first time the Pentagon’s top two posts were held by African Americans, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as the top civilian leader.

    In a statement late Wednesday, Austin said Brown would be a “tremendous leader” as the new chairman.

    Brown, 60, replaces Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley, who is retiring after four decades in military service. Milley’s four-year term as chairman ends on Sept. 30.

    Tuberville said on Wednesday that he will continue to hold up the other nominations unless the Pentagon ends its policy of paying for travel when a service member has to go out of state to get an abortion or other reproductive care. The Biden administration instituted the policy after the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to an abortion and some states have limited or banned the procedure.

    “Let’s do one at a time or change the policy back,” Tuberville said after Schumer put the three nominations up for a vote. “Let’s vote on it.”

    In an effort to force Tuberville’s hand, Democrats had said they would not bring up the most senior nominees while the others were still stalled. “There’s an old saying in the military, leave no one behind,” Senate Armed Services Chairman Jack Reed said in July.

    But in a frustrated speech on the Senate floor, Schumer said Wednesday he was left with no other choice. “Senator Tuberville is using them as pawns,” Schumer said of the nominees.

    The votes come as a host of military officers have spoken out about the damage of the delays for service members. While Tuberville’s holds are focused on all general and flag officers, they carry career impacts on the military’s younger rising officers. Until each general or admiral is confirmed, it blocks an opportunity for a more junior officer to rise.

    That affects pay, retirement, lifestyle and future assignments — and in some fields where the private sector will pay more, it becomes harder to convince those highly trained young leaders to stay.

    “Senator Tuberville’s continued hold on hundreds of our nation’s military leaders endangers our national security and military readiness. It is well past time to confirm the over 300 other military nominees,” Austin said, noting he would “continue to personally engage with members of Congress in both parties until all of these well-qualified, apolitical officers are confirmed.”

    Tuberville said he has not talked to Austin since July about the holds. The blockade has frustrated members on both sides of the aisle, and it is still unclear how the larger standoff will be resolved. Schumer did not say if he will put additional nominations on the floor. The monthslong holds have devolved into a convoluted procedural back and forth in recent days. Tuberville claimed victory after Schumer’s move, even though the Pentagon policy remains unchanged. “We called them out, and they blinked,” he told reporters of Schumer.

  • For Decades No-One Even Knew His Name. This Month, James Jamerson Will Have a Street Named After Him

    For Decades No-One Even Knew His Name. This Month, James Jamerson Will Have a Street Named After Him

    How James Jamerson became a bass guitar hero: playing on 23 number one records for Motown

    By Nick Wells

    It’s been 40 years since the bass pioneer, James Jamerson, died at the age of only 47. Virtually unknown at the time of his passing, but a star at the peak of his creativity, he created a legacy that is unparalleled in the bass guitar world. So much so that you voted him number one in our poll to find the 100 greatest bass players of all time.

    As part of Motown’s house band, Jamerson was the bass player behind hundreds of hit records from Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Four Tops, and The Temptations – resulting in such masterworks as BernadetteI Was Made to Love HerYou Can’t Hurry Love, and My Girl

    Now, two years after his gravesite in Detroit was upgraded with a new headstone, a street in his hometown of Edisto Island in South Carolina is being renamed in his honor. 

    On August 19 at 4.30pm, Steamboat Landing Road was renamed James Lee Jamerson Memorial Highway. A musical tribute to Jamerson will take place at Edisto Beach Civic Center immediately afterwards.

    Over the years countless bass guitar stars have paid tribute to the indelible impact the South Carolina-born, Detroit-raised James Jamerson has had on the music world. Here’s a look back at 10 of our top picks.

    Paul McCartney

    “Jamerson was where I picked up a lot of my bass style. Because bass players normally have to follow: we follow the chords, follow the drummer, follow the vocalist, we have a following role. Suddenly the bass had power! We could dictate the direction of the music and add excitement. James Jamerson became just my hero, really.” 

    Jack Bruce

    “James Jamerson did everything, didn’t he? Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder…he’s on all those great tracks. They tried to muddy the waters a bit sometimes and say it was another bass player, but he played on 30 number ones, which is not a bad record. It’s said that he never changed his strings, which is one of two approaches to strings. I like to change mine a lot – if I’m on tour, it’s for every gig – because I like the sound and the feel of brand-new strings. But Jamerson would leave them on forever.”

    Wilton Felder

    “Jamerson’s style was unique, from the heart, and earthy. He had an innate sense of the bass’s role, but at the same time, he knew how to play freely while keeping the groove going. He could hear a song and instantly know where it was going, where he was able to stretch, and where playing less would mean more. And his basslines always went with the vocalist and melody. Whatever he played, he meant it and you felt it, yet he was able to add the nuances that gave his parts so much expression. He’s the godfather of the electric bass.” 

    James Jamerson’s 1962 Fender Precision Bass

    Chuck Rainey

    “Like all great musicians, James heard other things in his head while he played – such as polyrhythms from the drum patterns – and when he added those ideas they came through loud and clear, but they always locked with the groove and supported the song. Coming from his upright background, he plucked mainly with one finger, using all upstrokes. His heavy touch, high P-Bass action, and ‘real man’ attitude resulted in strong, singing notes. I remember showing him my back-and-forth index-finger plucking technique, and he laughed and said, ‘that’s sissy stuff right there.’ On Motown tracks his bass is the most audible element other than the singer.”  

    Suzi Quatro

    “I grew up in Detroit, so I was weaned on James Jamerson and Motown music. It’s in my DNA. He’s still the best. I took my style from him. I’m a cross between his style and boogie. He did his fancy licks, but he didn’t overplay. It’s hard to improve on what he did, because you’re talking perfection. The drums, the bass and the tambourine were what made the Motown sound. That’s hard to beat.” 

    James Jamerson Jr.

    “As for his sense of syncopation, that was his God-given gift. I couldn’t even explain that one. I put it like this: My dad liked to dance, so he just danced on the bass. He was a staunch acoustic bassist, and he made me learn the upright before I was allowed to play electric bass, but he grew to like both instruments. When he first got to the electric he told me he felt a bit more regimented and restricted by the frets, so he purposely didn’t apply the exact same approach he used with the upright, and that probably helped him develop his own electric voice. He would occasionally polish his P-Bass, but he’d never touch the gunk that had built up on the fingerboard. He told me the dirt keeps the funk.” 

    Ralphe Armstrong

    “Jamerson’s high action prevented string buzz and gave him a louder fundamental tone – just as it does on the upright. The foam mute under the bridge cover warmed up his sound, and he’d vary his tone knob between off and full on; sometimes you can hear some bite in his tone. Everything he played was pure and strong. He didn’t believe in tricks; I mean, I saw him slap once kidding around, but everything he played you could write down on paper. He always wanted the instrument to sound like a bass. He used to tease Michael Henderson about playing up high and sounding like a flute.” 

    Phil Chen

    “In Hitsville’s Studio A he recorded direct by plugging into one of five inputs in the wall. Each had a volume control, and he would boost the signal so the VU meter was slightly in the red, giving him a bit of warm overdrive from the tube console. His bass then went through a Fairchild limiter and a Pultec EQ, and he’d hear it through a Bozak monitor in the studio. In later sessions he would occasionally use his miked Ampeg B-15.” 

    Michael Henderson

    “Jamerson had a way of getting notes that weren’t on the bass. Like on the string, he’d go between the and F, but he wouldn’t get an F# – it was something else! He’d fret it just enough to get a ghosted note with some pitch to it. Live, he’d use his Ampeg B-15 or blue Kustom 200 with two 15s, and he would turn the amp almost all the way up, so he could control the volume and dynamics from his P-Bass and with his fingers. I think Jamerson had perfect pitch; at a club one night I saw him play a bass that had serious intonation problems, and he bent and pulled the strings so every note was in tune.” 

    Pino Palladino

    “James Jamerson always found a way to be so creative within the framework of a song, constantly reacting to the vocal and offering surprising note choices to support the melody, while locking in with the drums and grooving like no-one else can.” 

  • Paramount Ends Plans To Sell Its Majority Stake In BET Media Group To Bidders, Including Tyler Perry And Byron Allen

    Paramount Ends Plans To Sell Its Majority Stake In BET Media Group To Bidders, Including Tyler Perry And Byron Allen

    Along with BET, the deal would have included the cable channel VH1.

    By Jonathan Landrum Jr.

    LOS ANGELES — BET won’t be sold after all: Paramount Global decided against selling the majority stake of the network.

    Paramount notified bidders late Wednesday night about its decision to conclude the BET Media Group sale process, said a person familiar with the decision who was not authorized to speak publicly. The person said the company determined maintaining a heavy stake in BET creates more value for Paramount than any of the proposals after consulting with a couple highly-experienced financial advisors.

    Some popular suitors included actor-director Tyler Perry, music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and businessman Byron Allen. At one point, some considered Perry as a leading contender based on the two successful series, “The Oval” and “Sistas,” airing on the network. He also owns a minority stake of the BET+ streaming service.

    Along with BET, the deal would have included the cable channel VH1.

    BET was originally started by Robert and then-wife Sheila Johnson in 1980. Robert Johnson created BET from the basement of his Washington home after securing a $500,000 loan from longtime cable executive John Malone and eventually built the brand into the leading TV network for Black Americans.

    Johnson expanded BET by creating smaller digital networks geared to fans of jazz, gospel and hip-hop along with being a publishing house and event production firm. The network was initially led by popular shows like “Bobby Jones Gospel,” “Rap City,” “ComicView,” “Lift Every Voice” and “Teen Summit.”

    In the early 1990s, the network became the first Black-controlled television company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

    BET has seen a decline in subscribers and revenue over the past decade. Subscribers fell to an estimated 66.3 million in 2022 from 89.5 million in 2014, a peak year for cable television, according to S&P Global. S&P said the cable network’s annual profits have fallen from an estimated peak of $319 million in 2013 to $188 million in 2022.

    The jewel of the BET Media Group acquisition could have been BET+, which launched in 2019. BET says the streaming service has more than 3 million subscribers.

    BET beefed up its content after Johnson and his then-wife, Sheila, sold BET to Viacom in 2000 for $3 billion – which made them the nation’s first Black billionaires. He remained the CEO until 2006.

    “106 & Park” became a flagship program for BET creating opportunities for unknown personalities into household names including A.J. Calloway, Marie “Free” Wright, Terrence J and Rocsi Diaz. The weekday show — which started in 2000 and lasted more than a decade — thrived with a video countdown, interviews and performances. A year later, the network started the BET Awards to celebrate the contributions that people of color have made through the entertainment and sports realms.

    For years, BET was a platform that highlighted positive images of Black people. But in the mid-2000s, the network’s programming drew heavy criticism from several popular figures — filmmaker Spike Lee to Public Enemy’s Chuck D among them — who accused BET of depicting African Americans in a negative light.

    Many took aim at the now-defunct “BET: Uncut,” a late-night mature program that contained highly sexual content.

    Big Boi of OutKast was openly taken aback by some of the content on “Uncut” calling it “distasteful” and “soft porn.” Other political figures and activists showed their displeasure along with then-co-founder Sheila Johnson, who said she had become ashamed of the network in a 2010 interview, suggesting that no one watch including her own children.

    “Uncut” was canceled in 2006.

    As a result of the criticism, BET took a new approach. The company researched what their viewers wanted to see and created a lineup of more family-oriented shows such as “Reed Between the Lines” and “Let’s Stay Together.” It also brought back “The Game,” which set ratings records for the network, after fans petitioned for the show to return to television following its cancellation on CW.

    Some of its top-rated shows now are “Sistas,” “All the Queen’s Men,” “First Wives Club” and “Tyler Perry’s The Oval.” Other shows on the network include “American Soul,” “Tales” and “Boomerang.”

  • Binge Drinking and Substance Use Spiked Among Adults 35 to 50 in 2022 — But Not for Black Folks

    Binge Drinking and Substance Use Spiked Among Adults 35 to 50 in 2022 — But Not for Black Folks

    A new study finds that while cannabis, hallucinogens, and binge drinking have increased in recent years, racial gaps in drinking and drug use in the U.S. continue. 

    By Kay Wicker

    A recent study by the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) panel found the use of cannabis, hallucinogens, and binge drinking skyrocketed among adults 35 to 50 years old in 2022 to “historic highs.” However, the data illustrates major gaps when broken down by race.  

    The MTF study, which has been following different cohorts of 8th, 10th, and 12th-grade students since 1975 to track their lifelong use of substances, illustrates through data collected over time how substance and alcohol use has fluctuated dramatically over the past several decades across genders, age ranges, and race. According to the study, white and Hispanic respondents have historically led in all categories. In the latest set of data for 2022 for binge drinking among midlife adults, Black respondents had the lowest rate (17.1%), compared to white respondents (31.4%), and respondents solely identified as Hispanic (30.6%). 

    “Among midlife adults ages 35 to 50, there have been significant increases in binge drinking over the past one year, five years, and [ten] years among white midlife adults only,” researchers wrote in the study. 

    The results are similar among young adults. Hispanic young adults had the highest prevalence of binge drinking at 35.2%, white young adult respondents were the second highest at 32.5%, and Black young adults were much lower at 20%.

    Outside of binge drinking, in 2022, white young adult respondents had the highest prevalence of alcohol use in the past 30 days at 70.3%, followed by Hispanic young adults (66.2%) and Black young adults (60.7%).

    While the stats for Black young adult respondents remain lower, researchers highlight how there has nevertheless been a “significant” increase in alcohol use in the past 30 days over the last five years among Black young adults. In 2017, 51.7% of Black young adults reported having had a drink within the last 30 days. 

    “Differences in alcohol use have persisted over time,” the researchers noted.

    It would appear the same is true for cannabis use. In 2022, Black, white, and Hispanic young adults reported similarly high prevalences of cannabis use in both the past 12 months and past 30 days categories. According to researchers, “this ranking has shifted over time.”

    Researchers added, “From the late 1980s through 2007, white young adults consistently had significantly higher prevalence of marijuana use than Black and Hispanic young adults.” Overall, the research indicates that in that time span, young adults and midlife adults have been turning to alcohol and substances, including cannabis and hallucinogens, at increased rates. 

    Regarding substances other than cannabis, white and Hispanic respondents consistently have the highest rates across age ranges. According to MTF, Black respondents – who have been included in the survey since 1988 – have had the lowest rates of substance use outside of cannabis across age ranges. 

    In 2022, 20.7% of Hispanic respondents and 17. 8% of white respondents reported using a substance other than cannabis within the last 12 months, while 8.3% of Black respondents reported the same. Looking at this category among midlife adults, 13.1% of white respondents and 12.0% of Hispanics reported using something other than cannabis within 12 months, while only 5.2% of Black respondents reported the same.

    “Understanding these trends is a first step, and it is crucial that research continues to illuminate how substance use and related health impacts may change over time,” the National Institute of Drug Abuse director Nora Volkow said in a release. “We want to ensure that people from the earliest to the latest stages in adulthood are equipped with up-to-date knowledge to help inform decisions related to substance use.”

  • Marcus Baskerville Is Using His Weathered Souls Co. Platform To Diversify The Craft Beer Sector

    Marcus Baskerville Is Using His Weathered Souls Co. Platform To Diversify The Craft Beer Sector

    For me, it was keeping things diverse

    By Shanique Yates

    Photo Credit: Weathered Souls Brewing Co.

    Marcus Baskerville developed a love for the craft of brewing long before he entered the beer industry.

    Now, he is owner and director of brewing at Weathered Souls Brewing Co., where he is pushing the needle forward for Black people interested in the field. 

    “I think my love for craft started before my actual brewing process,” Baskerville said. “I got into craft beer pretty early on for what it was, for me anyway. I started drinking craft beer around the age of 22.”

    Fast-forward to now, Baskerville is all about keeping things diverse in the space, especially having gotten his start as an assistant at a local brewery prior to the ownership and leadership roles he holds today.

    Diversifying The Craft

    “For me, it was keeping things diverse,” he said of the biggest learning lesson along the way. “One of the main things that I really didn’t care for at the brewery that I was learning at was the lack of diversity of beers, the lack of differences in the processes that they wanted to partake in. You know, they were content. That’s something that I never wanted to bring to the Weathered Souls brand.”

    He continued: “We always want to be diverse. We always want to bring the new products; we always want to have different beers on tap and things like that. So, I think the biggest thing that kind of drove me into wanting to do my own thing was the fact that, yeah, I wanted to be able to bring diversity within beer, not just on the scale of being Black, but also on the scale of the type of products that were being produced here.”

    What’s more, although his experience as a Black man within the craft beer industry is unlike the path of anyone else’s, Baskerville admits that he will always remain committed to uplifting others who look like him in the space.

    His Personal Journey Through The Space

    “I always say that I kind of had a different path than a lot of what we hear with stories when it comes to other minorities within beer,” he explained. “I had a very solid foundation from home brewing, especially growing up in Sacramento where it’s a very prevalent craft beer scene, even the home brewing scene. So being that fact that there weren’t many of us, there were a lot of Caucasian individuals that didn’t have issues showing us the ropes.”

    Baskerville continued: “For instance, we had a club called Brothers and Beer when we first started out drinking, and this was a way for us to start communicating, bringing other Black people in beer together to kind of have that camaraderie because, again, we didn’t see anybody that looked like us.”

    Once he was able to get his foot in the door, the rest was history for Baskerville.

    “I built a name for myself within the San Antonio community, built a name for the beers that I was producing in the San Antonio community well before I became a professional brewer,” he recalled.

    He added, “I always tell people that I’m not the best example when it comes to the trials and tribulations — the growth that comes with becoming a brewer, which is why I guess I’m so vocal in the fact of wanting to build a better space for people who haven’t had the ability to get like me within the industry.”

    As a founding board member of the National Black Brewers Association, Baskerville just celebrated the second year of the Black is Beautiful Beer campaign in July 2023.

    Black Is Beautiful

    “I think the biggest accomplishment with Black is Beautiful, obviously, is the amount of revenue that it raised. You know, hitting that $6 million point of social justice reform coming from a small brewery in San Antonio is crazy. I would say that’s the biggest highlight.”

    Moving forward, the next thing on the radar for Baskerville is ensuring that Weathered Souls is 100% Black-owned.

    “Thats something that I’m currently working on,” he shared. “My business partner, he is all for it, and that was one of his original goals when he came on, to kind of build a steppingstone for me and then go about his way when he was ready to.”

    In the future, craft beer fans can expect more taprooms from Weathered Souls to pop up across the nation. They also opened the doors to one in Charlotte, NC. Plus, Baskerville says another venue is coming to the queen city in October 2023.

  • Marvin Gaye Estate Releases ‘Let’s Get It On’ 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Featuring 20 Never-Heard Tracks

    Marvin Gaye Estate Releases ‘Let’s Get It On’ 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Featuring 20 Never-Heard Tracks

    Motown has released an incredible wealth of previously unheard music from Gaye in the almost four decades since he passed away

    By Todd Gilchrist

    From the wah-wah guitar that opens the title track to the operatic closer “Just to Keep You Satisfied,” Marvin Gaye’s 1973 album “Let’s Get It On” expressed the joy — and complexity — of human sexuality like virtually none in popular music before it. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of its release, Motown/ UMe is holding an event Wednesday featuring fellow R&B luminaries Smokey Robinson and Jimmy Jam, Gaye biographer David Ritz and moderated by UMe A&R vice president Harry Weinger, in advance of a new deluxe edition of the album. The retrospective set, due out digitally Friday (and on red vinyl in October), features 20 alternate, previously unreleased tracks from the legendary recording sessions.

    This isn’t the first expanded edition of the classic album, but the team behind it feels like it deserved a fresh look into what the archives held. Weinger, who produced the original “Let’s Get It On: Deluxe Edition” back in 2001, tells Variety that more than just the occasion of its 50th birthday prompted him to revisit the album. “Frankly, I never liked the mixes that I did on the deluxe version back in the day,” he says. “I don’t think I did anything ‘wrong’… but there were quite a few of the tracks from the various sessions that I had picked at that I didn’t use that were completely valid as their own releases.”

    As Weinger returned to “Let’s Get It On,” he began to uncover more material from the Motown archives. With advice from experts like Ritz and Dr. Andy Flory, author of the Motown book “I Hear a Symphony,” he discovered that a focus on the first six months of 1973, when Gaye had moved to Los Angeles, supported more specific musical endeavors than he’d previously realized.

    “I drew a timeline,” says Weinger. “What did he do? How did he do it? What songs were recorded? What songs were left behind? And before I knew it, we had a, I wouldn’t say very different, but we had a bigger story than I thought.”

    After “What’s Going On” became an iconoclastic smash for Motown in 1971, when the label was struggling to reconcile the divide between its crowd-pleasing chart-toppers and the irrepressible sociopolitical realities of the time period, Gaye plunged into the recording of not one but two albums. When the first, the 1972 follow-up “You’re The Man,” was shelved by Motown, Gaye pivoted to the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film “Trouble Man,” one of only two albums in his career to be recorded under his full creative control (the other was his 1981 album “In Our Lifetime”). Yet throughout this time, he was also recording lyrics and developing instrumentals that would pave the way for “Let’s Get It On,” evidencing its supple musicality as well as its bracing carnality.

    Credit: Jim Britt/Motown Records Archives

    Motown has released an incredible wealth of previously unheard music from Gaye in the almost four decades since he passed away, including “You’re The Man” in 2019 as a cohesive, self-contained album after including tracks from those sessions on various re-releases or compilations. Aiming to chronicle Gaye’s creative process amidst Motown’s factorylike production of instrumentals for its stable of stars, Weinger selected recordings that showcased the singer-songwriter’s direct involvement, even if they likely were never intended for public consumption.

    “There’s a track where there’s a partial vocal, ‘Song #4’,” he says. “Throughout, Marvin was probably singing off-tune on purpose, like, ‘Don’t ever use this.’ [But] we used pieces of it to just let people know that Marvin is in the room. There are, for plenty of Motown artists, tracks that are intended for that person, but they were not anywhere near it. In this case, Marvin was there, and that’s why you hear studio chatter and slight vocal asides.”

    The result of these efforts is a more holistic portrait of the conception and assembly of “Let’s Get It On” than on the 2001 deluxe edition, as well as a curated collection of alternate versions of its iconic songs for fans to listen to and luxuriate in. “You begin to really fall for the alternates,” Weinger says. On an alternate mix of “Please Stay (Once You Go Away),” for example, Gaye’s soulful pleading begins without musical accompaniment; an alternate of “Come Get to This,” meanwhile, eliminates the tom drum keeping time in the album version.

    “You’re going to hear these alternates as a thrilling ride into someone’s creative consciousness, or unconsciousness,” says Weinger. “And then to be able to then connect the dots and still go, ‘I’m hearing A and B, but I don’t know how he got to C.’ It’s unbelievable — the mark of a genius.”

    The final 15 tracks on the deluxe edition not only include several never-before-heard instrumentals (featuring performances by Herbie Hancock and Richard Bennett alongside legendary session musicians Paul Humphrey and James Jamerson), but 1973 arrangements of songs from Gaye’s album “Vulnerable,” a collection of ballads that was officially released in 1997. Listeners who know that particular posthumous release can for the first time hear the songs in the appropriate context in which they were recorded — simultaneously stretching the boundaries of soul music with his yearning, sensuous work for “Let’s Get It On” while at the same time exercising a longtime ambition to be “the Black Frank Sinatra.”

    Fifty years later, the overall story of the slow-jam masterpiece has become Motown boilerplate and the stuff of larger pop music history. But as undeniably as Marvin Gaye took listeners to a then-unprecedented, downright sexy destination, Weinger hopes that this new edition will shed new light on the journey, and the work, that it took to get there. “The original album is brilliant, it’s a masterpiece, the biggest record of the year for Motown, and the biggest Marvin Gaye record up to that point,” says Weinger. “It’s sex, it’s love, it’s God, it’s whatever you want to call it. But within it, how did he get there?“It was just an exploration to say, ‘can we do better by Marvin and the family?’” Weinger says. “I didn’t want to have a deluxe edition where you listen a couple of times and you go, ‘That’s nice.’ I wanted people to be able to go, ‘Holy shit’.”

  • Phylicia Rashad Will Direct World Premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Purpose

    Phylicia Rashad Will Direct World Premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Purpose

    Steppenwolf Theare Company’s spring 2024 lineup will also include Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play.

    By Meg Masserson

    Steppenwolf Theatre Company has announced its spring 2024 programming. The ensemble theatre company will present the world premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Purpose and the Chicago bow of Larissa FastHorse‘s The Thanksgiving Play, which was recently seen on Broadway.

    Two-time Tony winner Phylicia Rashad will direct the world premiere of Purpose, Jacobs-Jenkins’ play about family, faith, and Black American politics. The production, which will run March 14–April 24, will feature Alana Arenas, Glenn Davis and Jon Michael Hill.

    FastHorse’s satire will open almost exactly a year after its opening night on Broadway, running April 25–June 2. Jess McLeod will direct the comedy about four white people trying to devise a traditional Thanksgiving pageant for children that honors Native Americans. Audrey Francis and Tim Hopper have signed on, with further casting information to be revealed at a later date.

    Artistic Directors Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis said in a statement, “A successful production requires an exceptional director, and we’re thrilled to have hired two incredible leaders to helm these projects next year. First, we are ecstatic to welcome the legendary Phylicia Rashad back to Steppenwolf, where she last directed 2018’s The Roommate. Phylicia is an honored friend of the theatre, and we’re looking forward to her partnership with the brilliant Branden Jacobs-Jenkins on his new play. And for our production of The Thanksgiving Play, who better than Jess McLeod, a highly skilled and thoughtful director who brings a passion for social justice and a healthy sense of humor to Larissa Fasthorse’s shrewd and biting comedy.”

    Visit Steppenwolf.org.

  • Man Waving Bladed Glove at Protesters Found Guilty of Attempted Murder

    Man Waving Bladed Glove at Protesters Found Guilty of Attempted Murder

    Frank Cavalluzzi, 57, who faces up to 25 years in prison for each of the nine attempted murder counts on which he was convicted, learns his fate in October.

    A man who threatened a group of nonviolent Black protestors with a bladed glove before driving his car into them has been found guilty of attempted murder.

    Frank Cavalluzzi, 57, was found guilty following a two-week jury trial and now faces up to 25 years in prison on each of the nine attempted murder counts, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz shared in a statement. According to The New York Times, Cavalluzzi will learn his fate in October.

    “A dangerous man is going to jail,” Katz said. “It’s a good day for New York and the First Amendment.”

    Protests against systemic racism and police brutality erupted in New York and other American cities in late May 2020 after the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, a Black man.

    Court records state that Cavalluzzi saw demonstrators holding placards supporting the Black Lives Matter movement at an intersection on June 2, 2020, one week after Floyd’s murder, as he drove his SUV through the Whitestone area of Queens.

    Cavalluzzi reportedly parked his car across the street and started yelling profanities and racial slurs at the protesters. His remarks included, “You are in the wrong neighborhood,” according to court records.

    Prosecutors said he made a U-turn and exited his SUV while wearing on his right arm a leather glove with four serrated blades, calling it a device that looked like it belonged in a horror film. They accused Cavalluzzi of swinging the bladed glove as he pursued some of the protesters.

    “I will kill you,” he shouted, before returning to his car. At that time, Cavalluzzi steered onto the sidewalk and headed straight toward the protesters, who fled to escape getting struck.

    It was an “extremely scary” incident, recalled Lorraine McShea, 22, one of the individuals Cavalluzzi attacked. She and her brother, Donald, 19, said they were satisfied with the verdict.

    McShea, who attended the protests with both her brother and sister, acknowledged that some locals in Queens opposed the demonstrators. Still, she expressed surprise that the altercation with Cavalluzzi had turned so violent.

    She recalled the worst part was not knowing if her siblings were “dead or alive” in the split second before she sprinted from Cavalluzzi’s approaching vehicle. It was Donald McShea’s first protest, and he described being “shocked” by how it played out.

    The generally peaceful protests continued for weeks, and as they did, the number of motorists plowing into demonstrators increased.

    Cavalluzzi’s attorney, Michael D. Horn, ascribed Cavalluzzi’s actions to mental illness and his client’s unease with the state of New York City.

    “The world will see this case” as “about politics,” Horn said, The Times reported. “But I see it as a single man, with mental health challenges, struggling to understand the evolving city where he lives.”

  • LeBron James Flexes Savannah James’ Upcoming Skincare Line On Instagram — ‘She Has No Idea I’m Posting This Cause She Would Actually Kill Me’

    LeBron James Flexes Savannah James’ Upcoming Skincare Line On Instagram — ‘She Has No Idea I’m Posting This Cause She Would Actually Kill Me’

    A proud husband, LeBron took to Instagram to preview what’s to come. 

    By Samantha Dorisca

    Savanah James’ empire is growing!

    From once opening her own juice shop to investing in companies such as Web3 startup Lockerverse, natural deodorant company NEZ, and LeBron James’ Lobos Tequila, the mother of three has been involved in several business moves.

    In a 2023 interview with The Cut, Savanah hinted her entrepreneurial ventures were not yet complete.

    “Definitely have some passion projects I’m working on, one of which is with a partner, one of which is on my own. And I’m super-excited about them. I think they’re going to be amazing. They’re going to be well received,” she told The Cut.

    It appears Savanah will soon be launching her very own skincare line.

    A proud husband, LeBron took to Instagram to preview what’s to come. In the clip, products displayed from the brand “SJ Skincare” include an all-day serum and day and night moisturizers.

    “UH-OH!!!!!! @mrs_savannahrj skin care line is in the works. Testing out the ingredients, products and all. Don’t hate if y’all see my face start shining and looking apart! It ain’t my fault, don’t blame me,” he said in support of his wife.

    He continued, “She has no idea I’m posting this cause she would actually kill me but I’m excited for what’s to come for when she’s ready for y’all to join her journey!”

    In response, Savanah did, however, comment under the post with an emoji.

    At the moment, it’s unclear when the line will be launched.

  • Melba Moore Thanks Katt Williams For Sponsoring Her Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame: ‘I’m Still In Shock’

    Melba Moore Thanks Katt Williams For Sponsoring Her Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame: ‘I’m Still In Shock’

    Comedian Katt Williams was also present to commemorate Moore’s achievements. 

    Award-winning performer Melba Moore was recently honored with her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    Last week, the 77-year-old singer was the 2,760th person to receive the homage. There to celebrate Moore were fellow performers Jimmy Jam, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Freda Payne and Lunell.

    Comedian Katt Williams was also present to commemorate Moore’s achievements. However, afterward, Williams would be recognized for his kindness. Moore told the crowd that Williams paid the entire $75,000 fee for her to receive her well-earned star.

    On Sunday, she posted a message addressed to the Next Friday actor on her Instagram.

    “A public thank you to KW. He is the sole sponsor of my Star 🌟………I am still in shock 😱 #2,760 August 10, 2023.”

    She ended the post by telling Williams, “Katt in me you have a Friend.”

    Prior to the ceremony, Moore announced she would be a recipient via her Instagram on August 1, 2023. Along with a clip of her giving a stirring performance of her single, “Lean On Jesus,” she expressed her pride over the star.

    “As I look back over my life Harlem / Newark NJ , I am proud. Receiving a Hollywood Star made me reflect on the goodness of God,” she wrote.

    During her acceptance speech, Moore recalled significant moments of her life and how she got her start in New York with a career leading her to Broadway. She also called Williams an “angel” whose “kindness” and “generosity” is “unmeasured and unmatched.”

    As expected, the comedian began his remarks with a joke, saying that ChatGPT gave him the “same speech as Jimmy Jam, so he’d have to “go somewhat off the cuff.”

    He then switched gears to properly honor Moore, whom he considers a “true legend.”

     “In this day and age, we call somebody a legend if they’ve been doing something for 20, 30 years, but to be at the top of your craft in stage, television, music, and film, there really has never been anything like it.”

    He continued, “I looked up who paved the way for Melba Moore. Who was the person that excelled in all of those things and I found out that that person did not exist. Melba Moore is one-of-one in our industry and that’s what we’re celebrating.”

    The First Sunday actor gave Moore her flowers for creating music “that never ages,” listing her singles, “You Stepped In My Life” and “Love’s Comin’ At Ya.”

    “As a young man with a mustache growing up in Dayton, Ohio, I thought that Melba Moore exemplified the elegance, grace, dignity, and strength of the Black woman,” he said. “This strength and her ability to turn adversity into fuel for her art is a testament to her unwavering determination… True greatness extends beyond the boundaries of talent alone.”

    Her newly placed star is not the only monument that Moore will celebrate this year. It was recently announced the city of Newark, New Jersey, will be naming a street in honor of the Grammy-nominated singer.

    In September, the intersection across from her alma mater, Arts High School, will be renamed Melba Moore Plaza.

  • Lawsuit Could Lead to More Political Representation for Black Voters in Florida

    Lawsuit Could Lead to More Political Representation for Black Voters in Florida

    In their lawsuit, voting rights groups in Florida claimed that the redrawn congressional map violated state and federal voting rights protections for Black voters.

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Voting rights groups that sued state officials over a Florida redistricting plan championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis have agreed to narrow the scope of the lawsuit to a single congressional seat that was redrawn and diminished Black voting power in north Florida.

    The agreement reached late last week opens the possibility that the seat will be restored to a district dominated by Black voters, depending on how a state judge rules and whether the judge’s decision survives rounds of appeals all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, according to court filings in Tallahassee.

    DeSantis, a candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, was criticized for essentially drawing Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, who is Black, out of office by carving up his district and dividing a large number of Black voters into conservative districts represented by white Republicans.

    The lawsuit will now focus on that one seat and will drop similar concerns for redrawn congressional districts in central Florida and the Tampa Bay area. It also will abandon two other claims.

    In their lawsuit, the voting rights groups had claimed the redrawn congressional map violated state and federal voting rights protections for Black voters.

    Florida’s population of 22.2 million is 17% Black. Under the new maps, an area stretching about 360 miles (579 kilometers) from the Alabama border to the Atlantic Ocean and south from the Georgia border to Orlando in central Florida is only represented by white members of Congress.

    In an unprecedented move, DeSantis interjected himself into the redistricting process last year by vetoing the Republican-dominated Legislature’s map that preserved Lawson’s district, calling a special session and submitting his own map and demanding lawmakers accept it.

    A federal judge originally ruled last year that the DeSantis-championed congressional map was unconstitutional, but an appellate court reinstated it before last year’s primary and general elections and sent the case back to the lower court.

    A separate lawsuit over Florida’s congressional maps is pending in federal court.

  • USDA Says It’s Investing in the Growth of 19 HBCUs

    USDA Says It’s Investing in the Growth of 19 HBCUs

    Funding provided to eligible schools will support various initiatives, such as curriculum design, materials development, and student recruitment and retention.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to invest over $33 million to assist capacity-building initiatives at 19 historically Black institutions and universities.

    The funding from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will support 82 research, extension, and educational initiatives at the HBCUs established as 1890 land-grant institutions, according to The Times and Democrat.

    “The nation’s 1890 land-grant universities are uniquely positioned to advance fundamental sciences as well as translational research and development in support of agriculture,” said NIFA Director Dr. Manjit K. Misra, “and this funding will increase their capacity to continue their invaluable work.”

    Universities that will receive funding through the program include Alabama A&M University, South Carolina State, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, and Kentucky State University.

    Funding provided to eligible schools will support various initiatives, such as curriculum design, materials development, faculty development, student recruitment and retention, and support for developing extension programs.

    Langston University, Lincoln University of Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, Southern University and A&M College, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University, and West Virginia State University will also receive funds.

    Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small said the work the colleges will undertake due to the investment will have an impact beyond the confines of their laboratories and classrooms. She noted that by making this commitment, the Biden-Harris administration is assisting in delivering practical, workable solutions to strengthen our food system while inspiring the next generation of scholars and scientists who will aid in addressing future agricultural difficulties.

    “USDA looks forward to the impact these visionary projects will have in improving the supply of affordable, safe, nutritious and accessible food and agricultural products,” added Misra, “while fostering economic development and rural prosperity in America.”

    The significant investment comes as Black farmers accuse the USDA and the Biden-Harris administration of failing to support them despite their promises.

  • CNN Sets Premiere Date For ‘Little Richard: I Am Everything’ – Update

    CNN Sets Premiere Date For ‘Little Richard: I Am Everything’ – Update

    Little Richard is the true king of rock ‘n’ roll, the alpha and omega of wild, rhythm-based music

    By Anthony D’Alessandro

    UPDATE: CNN has scheduled the premiere of Lisa Cortés’ Little Richard: I Am Everything for September 4.

    The network will premiere the documentary at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

    Cortés said in a statement, “I made this film because the story of Little Richard is the story of rock ‘n’ roll — and rock ‘n roll is the American idiom.”

    PREVIOUSLY, January 20: Magnolia Pictures has taken global rights to CNN Films and director Lisa Cortés’ Little Richard: I Am Everything following its world premiere as the opening night selection of Sundance in the US Documentary Competition section. 

    Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, and executive produced by Dee Rees, the film tells the story of the Black queer origins of rock ‘n’ roll, exploding the whitewashed canon of American pop music to reveal the innovator – the originator – Richard Penniman. Magnolia plans to release the film in April. HBO Max is an EP and has domestic and international SVOD streaming rights.

    The docu through archive and performance materials follows Little Richard’s switchbacks and contradictions.  In interviews with family, musicians, and cutting-edge Black and queer scholars, the film reveals how Richard created an art form for ultimate self-expression, yet what he gave to the world he was never able to give to himself.  Throughout his life, Richard careened like a shiny cracked pinball between God, sex and rock ‘n’ roll. 

    “Little Richard is the true king of rock ‘n’ roll, the alpha and omega of wild, rhythm-based music,” said Magnolia Pictures President Eamonn Bowles. “Lisa Cortés does the legend proud, getting the true story that celebrates this icon who shook the culture in so many ways.”

    “Rock ‘n’ roll, race, and queerness are core to our culture — and our culture wars,” observed director Lisa Cortés. “Little Richard changed America’s notions of all three. I’m thrilled that Magnolia Pictures is bringing this raucous, revolutionary icon to the world at this moment, when his journey could not be more relevant.”

    “We are delighted to partner with Magnolia Pictures to bring Lisa Cortés’ cinematic rhapsody to theaters, giving audiences around the world a front row seat to celebrate the wildly talented Little Richard and his enduring legacy,” said Amy Entelis, EVP Talent and Content Development at CNN Worldwide.

    “While people around the world grew up on Little Richard’s music, few are aware of his story in general and his influence in particular on pop culture,” said producer Robert Friedman. “This film is both an inspiring and entertaining journey through the many decades of his career, finally giving him the recognition he deserves as the “king” of rock ‘n’ roll.”

    The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP, Dori Begley, and SVP of acquisitions, John Von Thaden, with Stacey Wolf, SVP of business affairs, and Kelly MacLanahan, assistant general counsel, both of CNN Worldwide on behalf of CNN Films and the filmmakers. Magnolia head of international sales, Lorna Lee Torres, and international sales manager, Austin Kennedy, will introduce the film to buyers at EFM.

    Lisa Cortés is repped by Lowell Shapiro and Mike Dill at Blackbox Management.

  • Robert F. Smith Announces Vista Equity Partners Has Reached Over $100B In Assets Under Management

    Robert F. Smith Announces Vista Equity Partners Has Reached Over $100B In Assets Under Management

    Since Vista was founded over two decades ago, we’ve expanded to 650+ team members operating around the world, built a comprehensive library of enterprise software best practices and much more

    By Ngozi Nwanji

    Photo Credit: Paras Griffin

    Robert F. Smith’s global investment firm continues to reach new heights. 

    Back in December 2021, Vista Equity Partners had around $93 billion in assets under management, according to a press release. Now, less than two years later, the firm has hit over $100 billion. 

    On Aug. 8, Smith shared the announcement on LinkedIn to not only celebrate the milestone but also give thanks to those who have been a part of the nearly 23-year journey. Since launching, the company has built an extensive portfolio and invested in the likes of STATS, Ping Identity, Jio, and more.

    “Since Vista was founded over two decades ago, we’ve expanded to 650+ team members operating around the world, built a comprehensive library of enterprise software best practices and much more,” Smith wrote in the LinkedIn post. “We’ve also been committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, creating opportunities for individuals who have traditionally been underrepresented.”

    He continued, “As we look to the future, the values Vista has honed over the years will remain its North Star: a commitment to continuous improvement, a culture of inclusion and an unwavering belief that every role is critical for our collective success. Cheers to many more years and to all who made this possible.”

    The celebration follows one of Vista Equity Partners’ lucrative moves.

    As previously reported by Our Black Union, the firm sold Apptio, a Seattle, WA-based software company, to IBM for $4.6 billion. The sale doubled Vista Equity Partners’ revenue after acquiring Apptio back in 2019 — marking a return of 142% on the $1.9 billion investment. Additionally, it was reported that IBM shared “it will use cash on hand to fund the deal, which it expects to complete in the second half of 2023.”

  • Multi-Hyphenate Patti LaBelle Now Has One Of The Best Selling Brands At Walmart

    Multi-Hyphenate Patti LaBelle Now Has One Of The Best Selling Brands At Walmart

    People can afford to eat my food and know that they’re getting quality food

    By Ngozi Nwanji

    Multi-Hyphenate Patti LaBelle Now Has One Of The Best Selling Brands At Walmart
    Photo Credit: Paras Griffin

    Patti LaBelle has always been assured that she knows how to cook.

    Since age 10, the legendary singer has worked her way around the kitchen, according to her interview with Forbes.

    In the past, Labelle has cooked for the likes of Elton John, The Rolling Stones, and Richard Pryor. When providing the stars with meals, her only request was for her name to be written across them for people to know she was the chef behind the plates.

    She became even more known for her food when she launched her popular sweet potato pie under Patti’s Good Life in 2015. The line has been a hit in Walmart stores as one of its best-selling products. What’s more, her macaroni and cheese is also a best seller.

    The legend shared with the outlet that before releasing the pies to the public, she taste-tested them around ten times, while the macaroni and cheese took 12 attempts to get perfect. For LaBelle and her brand, being hands on and ensuring affordability are two important factors.

    “People can afford to eat my food and know that they’re getting quality food,” LaBelle told the outlet. “And you didn’t spend your last dollar for it. So that’s important to me so I could help someone have a decent meal because times are hard.”

    She continued, “Friends always loved my food and they said, ‘Why don’t you put out a line?’ I said, ‘Okay, when I put this line out it’s going to be affordable because some of my friends didn’t have much. And so when the line came out, I mean they just were loving the fact that they could afford a great meal.”

    Following the success of the sweet potato pie, LaBelle launched a frozen food breakfast line.

    She expanded her company by selling frozen mini pancakes and mini pancake sandwiches.

    And for LaBelle, things are just getting started. She revealed that wine and more frozen meals are on their way.

  • Ohio Voters Soundly Reject Proposed Amendment Linked to Abortion Rights

    Ohio Voters Soundly Reject Proposed Amendment Linked to Abortion Rights

    Voter opposition to the proposal was widespread, even spreading into traditionally Republican territory.

    A sign asking Ohioans to vote in support of Issue 1 sits above another sign advocating against abortion rights at an event hosted by Created Equal on July 20, 2023, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Orsagos, File)

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio voters on Tuesday resoundingly rejected a Republican-backed measure that would have made it more difficult to change the state’s constitution, setting up a fall campaign that will become the nation’s latest referendum on abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned nationwide protections last year.

    The defeat of Issue 1 keeps in place a simple majority threshold for passing future constitutional amendments, rather than the 60% supermajority that was proposed. Its supporters said the higher bar would protect the state’s foundational document from outside interest groups.

    Deidra Reese, statewide program manager for the Ohio Unity Coalition, celebrates the defeat of Issue 1 during a watch party Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

    Voter opposition to the proposal was widespread, even spreading into traditionally Republican territory. In fact, in early returns, support for the measure fell far short of former President Donald Trump’s performance during the 2020 election in nearly every county.

    Dennis Willard, a spokesperson for the opposition campaign One Person One Vote, called Issue 1 a “deceptive power grab” that was intended to diminish the influence of the state’s voters.

    “Tonight is a major victory for democracy in Ohio,” Willard told a jubilant crowd at the opposition campaign’s watch party. “The majority still rules in Ohio.”

    President Joe Biden hailed Tuesday’s result, releasing a statement saying: “This measure was a blatant attempt to weaken voters’ voices and further erode the freedom of women to make their own health care decisions. Ohioans spoke loud and clear, and tonight democracy won.”

    A major national group that opposes abortion rights, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, called the result “a sad day for Ohio” while criticizing the outside money that helped the opposition — even though both sides relied on national groups and individuals in their campaigns.

    Republican lawmakers who had pushed the measure — and put it before voters during the height of summer vacation season — explained away the defeat as a result of too little time to adequately explain its virtues to voters. A main backer, Republican Senate President Matt Huffman, predicted lawmakers would try again, though probably not as soon as next year.

    “Obviously, there are a lot of folks that did not want this to happen — not just because of the November issues, but for all of the other ones that are coming,” he said, expressing disappointment that Republicans didn’t stick together. In a statement, Republican House Speaker Jason Stephens advised supporters to move past Tuesday’s results to focus on trying to defeat the abortion rights measure: “The people of Ohio have spoken.”

    While abortion was not directly on the special election ballot, the result marks the latest setback for Republicans in a conservative-leaning state who favor imposing tough restrictions on the procedure. Ohio Republicans placed the question on the summer ballot in hopes of undercutting the citizen initiative that voters will decide in November that seeks to enshrine abortion rights in the state.

    Other states where voters have considered abortion rights since last year’s Supreme Court ruling have protected them, including in red states such as Kansas and Kentucky.

    Dr. Marcela Azevedo, one of the leaders of a coalition advancing the fall abortion question, said Tuesday that Issue 1’s defeat should allow the measure to pass in November.

    Interest in Tuesday’s special election was intense, even after Republicans ignored their own law that took effect earlier this year to place the question before voters in August. Voters cast nearly 700,000 early in-person and mail ballots ahead of Tuesday’s final day of voting, more than double the number of advance votes in a typical primary election. Early turnout was especially heavy in the Democratic-leaning counties surrounding Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

    One Person One Vote represented a broad, bipartisan coalition of voting rights, labor, faith and community groups. The group also had as allies four living ex-governors of the state and five former state attorneys general of both parties, who called the proposed change bad public policy.

    In place since 1912, the simple majority standard is a much more surmountable hurdle for Ohioans for Reproductive Rights, the group advancing November’s abortion rights amendment. It would establish “a fundamental right to reproductive freedom” with “reasonable limits.”

    An American flag waves in the breeze next to a sign directing Ohioans to vote inside Tharp Sixth Grade School, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023 in Hilliard, Ohio. It’s the final day that Ohio citizens can vote in a GOP-rushed special election on whether to make the state constitution harder to amend, likely having direct impact on abortion rights in the state. (AP Photo/Samantha Hendrickson)

    Voters in several states have approved ballot questions protecting access to abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, but typically have done so with less than 60% of the vote. AP VoteCast polling last year found that 59% of Ohio voters say abortion should generally be legal.

    Eric Chon, a Columbus resident who voted against the measure, said there was a clear anti-abortion agenda to the election. Noting that the GOP voted just last year to get rid of August elections entirely due to low turnout for hyperlocal issues, Chon said, “Every time something doesn’t go their way, they change the rules.”

    The election result came in the very type of August special election that Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a candidate for U.S. Senate, had previously testified against as undemocratic because of historically low turnout. Republican lawmakers just last year had voted to mostly eliminate such elections, a law they ignored for this year’s election.

    Al Daum, of Hilliard, just west of Columbus, said he didn’t feel the rules were being changed to undermine the power of his vote and said he was in favor of the special election measure. Along with increasing the threshold to 60%, it would mandate that any signatures for a constitutional amendment be gathered from all of Ohio’s 88 counties, not just 44.

    It’s a change that Daum said would give more Ohio residents a chance to make their voices heard.

    Voters’ rejection of the proposal marked a rare rebuke for Ohio Republicans, who have held power across every branch of state government for 12 years. GOP lawmakers had cited possible future amendments related to gun control, minimum wage increases and more as reasons a higher threshold should be required.

    Protect Ohio Women, the campaign working to defeat the fall abortion rights amendment, vowed to continue fighting into the fall.

    “Our pro-life, pro-parent coalition is more motivated than ever,” the group said in a statement.

  • Jay-Z’s ‘The Book of HOV’ Exhibit Leads to 4000 New Card Sign Ups in Brooklyn Public Library

    Jay-Z’s ‘The Book of HOV’ Exhibit Leads to 4000 New Card Sign Ups in Brooklyn Public Library

    We wanted to highlight Jay-Z in part because our book collection has the largest amount of Brooklyn history in the world, and you can’t tell the story of Brooklyn without telling the story of Jay-Z

    BROOKLYN– It’s safe to say Jay-Z’s new exhibit runs the town.

    Jay-Z recently made headlines after the Brooklyn Public Library made him the centerpiece of a new exhibit, called “The Book of HOV.”

    Celebrating the life and times of the 24-time Grammy Award-winning artist and media mogul, the new exhibit has drawn huge success for the library’s network.

    According to the Brooklyn Public Library, attendance at its Central Library was almost five times the average in the first week of the opening.

    If that wasn’t enough, nearly 4,000 people signed up library cards at both the Central and Marcy locations, where limited-edition Jay-Z cards are currently being offered.

    They also say the number of items checked out for the week rose up 10%.

    In what may come as no surprise, the exhibit’s opening week witnessed a surge in visitors at the Central Library, with more than 39,000 people attending between the opening day of Friday, July 14 and Thursday, July 20.

    “The Book of HOV” features a career-spanning retrospective that is presented in chapters, similar to a book, covering each era of the Brooklyn native’s life with visuals, audio stories, and physical artifacts.

    “This is a really comprehensive exhibit that covers all aspects of JAY Z’s life, from growing up here in Brooklyn in the Marcy Houses to his unparalleled success as a musician and businessperson,” said Fritzi Bodenheimer, spokesperson for the Brooklyn Public Library.

    “We wanted to highlight Jay-Z in part because our book collection has the largest amount of Brooklyn history in the world, and you can’t tell the story of Brooklyn without telling the story of Jay-Z,” said Bodenheimer.

    The honor comes just as hip-hop celebrates its 50-year anniversary.

    In light of the milestone, several events are on tap ahead of the genre’s August 11th celebration, including a star-studded concert at Yankee Stadium.

    The “Book of HOV” is free and open to the public now through October at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library.

  • Marla Gibbs Says ‘It’s Never Too Late’ To Tell Your Story; Releases Memoir at Age 92

    Marla Gibbs Says ‘It’s Never Too Late’ To Tell Your Story; Releases Memoir at Age 92


    By Jeroslyn JoVonn

    HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JULY 20: Marla Gibbs attends her Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony on July 20, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

    Marla Gibbs is 92 years young and finally ready to share her life story in an upcoming memoir, titled It’s Never Too Late.

    The Emmy-nominated actress has inked a deal with Amistad, an extension of HarperCollins Publishers dedicated to telling Black stories. Her memoir is slated for a fall 2024 released, the Associated Press reports.

    Gibbs, known for roles in hit sitcoms The Jeffersons and 227, will reflect on her life dating back to her upbringing in the South Side of Chicago to becoming a Hollywood star.

    “My hope is that my memoir will serve as an inspiration to those that continue to show me love and support,” she said in a statement.


    “I am grateful, and I am ready to reveal the challenges I overcame as a way of service to those who wish to transform their tests into testimonies,” she continued.

    With over 100 acting credits under her belt dating back to the late 1960s, Gibbs most certainly has a story to tell. She got her start in Hollywood after relocating to Los Angeles by way of a receptionist job with United Airlines, according to History Makers.

    While in L.A., Gibbs took acting classes at the Mafundi Institute and the Watts Writers’ Workshop before landing theatrical roles at the Zodiac Theater and small roles in made-for-TV movies. In 1973, Gibbs scored a major supporting role in the 1973 movie, Sweet Jesus, Preacher Man.

    Her other notable credits include films The Visit and Meteor Man and a recurring role on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives. Gibbs most recently appeared in recurring roles on shows Grey’s Anatomy and History of the World: Part II, where she starred alongside Wanda Sykes in a sketch about Shirley Chisholm.

  • Viola Davis Refrains From Resuming Work On ‘G20’ Despite SAG-AFTRA Waiver: ‘I Stand In Solidarity With Actors’

    Viola Davis Refrains From Resuming Work On ‘G20’ Despite SAG-AFTRA Waiver: ‘I Stand In Solidarity With Actors’

    “We believe the leverage created by increasing competitive pressure on the AMPTP and denying them what they want most will force them back to the table and help bring this strike to an end,”

    By Monique Jones

    Viola Davis is stepping back from working on her upcoming film G20 in a move to stay in solidarity with the SAG-AFTRA strike. This move is despite the fact that SAG-AFTRA has given G20 a waiver to MRC, the production company behind the film. The film, however, is being distributed by Amazon, which is among the studios actors are striking against.

    Davis said in a statement to Deadline, “I love this movie, but I do not feel that it would be appropriate for this production to move forward during the strike. I appreciate that the producers on the project agree with this decision. JuVee Productions and I stand in solidarity with actors, SAG/AFTRA and the WGA.”

    Deadline reports that despite G20 getting approval from SGA-AFTRA, sources have said that it isn’t clear if the film would actually continue filming during the strike because of actors’ concerns about what it would look like to others.

    SAG-AFTRA has since put out a statement regarding waivers after other actors, including Sarah Silverman, also expressed concern and confusion about working on waived projects amid the strike.

    The guild has called interim agreements a “vital part of our strategic approach to these negotiations and to the strike,” adding that the agreements create more pressure on the studios and its organizing body, AMPTP.

    “We believe the leverage created by increasing competitive pressure on the AMPTP and denying them what they want most will force them back to the table and help bring this strike to an end,” said SAG-AFTRA according to Deadline. “We understand the concern that our Interim Agreement may produce content for struck companies to distribute. We are confident that the terms of this agreement, particularly the streaming revenue share, will make distribution of these projects through AMPTP platforms unfeasible, until such time as an industrywide agreement has been reached.”

  • 5 Places You Should Not Use Your Debit Card

    5 Places You Should Not Use Your Debit Card

    You work hard for your money — so don’t let your debit card make it easy for scammers to steal your earnings and information.

    By Jennifer Streaks

    These days, everything is about ease of use — and spending your money has never been easier.  Every store takes your debit card, there are ATM kiosks everywhere, and now you can even tap your phone in a store to pay with stored financial information. However, this convenience also makes it easy for scammers to get your financial information and take your money from you.

    A debit card is a direct link to your bank account and full access to your funds. Information or identity theft can take place at anytime or any place. Knowing this, there may be instances when it may be better to leave your debit card at home.

    1) Online. We all shop online because it is super convenient and quick, but it is also an opportunity for hackers to steal your information and go on a shopping spree. While most debit cards are protected against theft after the first $50, imagine the headache of trying to get that money put back into your account and potentially not having money until the account is restored (which can take up to 30 days). It is much better to use a credit card when making online purchases.

    2) Restaurants. Consider this: your server often takes your card away to process your payment. While 90% of the time there is no problem, there is that 10% where the card is copied for their future use. So just be careful and use your common sense here.

    3) Gas stations. This happens more than you think — you use your debit card at the pump and leave it in the card reader! Should a scammer use the pump after you, they can take your card and immediately start using it. (Trust me on this; it happened to me, and it took 30 days to restore my funds.). So be careful here; sometimes we are moving so fast we can forget things, but the thief will be right there to profit from our mistake.

    4) ATMs or checkouts that look off. Identity thieves are getting more skilled with card skimmers, making them look more and more realistic. Remember, banks typically don’t check these machines until they run low on cash, so a couple of weeks can go by before anything is discovered. Before using an ATM, really look at the machine, touch it and make sure that it is legit.

    5) The airport. This is a big one because you use a card for almost everything here — checking bags, paying for parking, getting food, etc. Everything is rushed, and you are being pushed to get it done in a hurry to catch a flight or get out of the airport. Identity thieves are counting on this, so it’s best to use a credit card while in transit so your bank account is not at risk.

    Some additional quick tips:

    Block the view of others when entering your PIN.

    Don’t let anyone else enter your PIN ever, for any reason.

    Before leaving an establishment, make sure your transaction is complete and review the receipt.

    Be aware of your surroundings before using a public ATM.

  • WATCH: Cincinnati Music Festival Generates Over $100 million for Local Economy as Tens of Thousands Visit

    WATCH: Cincinnati Music Festival Generates Over $100 million for Local Economy as Tens of Thousands Visit

    Concertgoers flood Cincinnati for three nights of The Cincinnati Music Festival

    CINCINNATI — Tens of thousands of people were in town for Cincinnati Music Festival last weekend. It’s a tradition that spans 55 years here in The Queen City. Soul legend Al Green headlined Friday’s concert, while Snoop Dogg headlined Saturday’s lineup.

    Organizers said this is one of Cincinnati’s biggest tourism weekends with 90,000 people expected to fill up restaurants, hotels and Paycor Stadium. The event brings in visitors from all over the country.

    Dawnette Chess made the trip from Chicago. She said it was her first Cincinnati Music Festival experience.

    “I hear about it all the time,” Chess said. “People from Chicago come here, everybody comes.”

    Chess went to Thursday night’s concert and explored the “Vibe Marketplace” at Fountain Square on Friday. “It’s been great. The hospitality’s been great. I’ve enjoyed it,” she said.

    Over at Fountain Square, visitors can also check out “Cincy Soul: The Black Taste” featuring food and drinks from local minority-owned eateries.

    “This is what makes Cincinnati so special — when we’re on the greatest stage, when we’re hosting folks from around the country and hosting as a cultural center,” said Mayor Aftab Pureval.

    People may come for the music, but visitors said they’re excited to explore what the Queen City has to offer.

    “We plan on doing some sightseeing and of course eating, trying some local foods,” said India Queen, who is visiting from D.C.

    “I see that there’s the Underground Railroad Museum and then I just want to see some of the historical things in Ohio,” said Shavonne Shanks from Houston.

    The Cincinnati Black Music Walk of Fame also has its grand opening on Saturday. It will feature the 2023 induction ceremony, guided tours and a free concert by the Ohio players.

    According to event organizers, the music festival is expected to generate $107 million for the local economy.

    Watch Video Recap Below