Hip-hop star Lil Wayne’s (pictured) endorsement deal with “Mountain Dew” could be jeopardized, after he refused to apologize to the family of slain civil rights symbol Emmett Till, MTV News reports. The family was offended after the rapper made a lewd reference to Till in a lyric during his cameo on Future’s “Karate Chop” (Remix).
Incensed, Some of Till’s family members enlisted the help of Rev. Jesse Jackson whose help forced Epic Records to remove the offensive lyric. The record company also apologized. Lil Wayne, however, has remained unapologetic to the Till family. His failure to do so has prompted the family to take up their gripe with Mountain Dew, hoping it will force an apology.
The controversial line goes, “Beat the pu**y up like Emmett Till.” Till was a 14-years-old when he was killed in a small, Mississippi town for whistling at a White woman.
Earlier this month, several of Till’s family members and the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation released a YouTube video that criticized the controversial lyric and expressed their opposition to Wayne’s endorsement deal with Mountain Dew. “We also support blocking and banning the endorsements. I’ve maintained through February, ‘Don’t do the Dew.’ His biggest endorsement is through Pepsi’s Mountain Dew. Stop buying it, stop lining his pockets. People are outraged because they feel that he should apologize to our family,” a Till representative said to camera.
In response, several radio stations throughout the country have banded together and are no longer playing “Karate Chop.”
This latest rapper vs endorsement deal play comes on the heels of another public outcry dealing with Rick Ross‘ “U.O.E.N.O.” and his endorsement deal with sneaker king, Reebok. The performer rapped about slipping ecstasy in a woman’s drink and taking her home for sex, suggesting rape. Ross later defended his use of the lyric as a misinterpretation, stating the line does not infer rape.
It didn’t work. Reebok dropped the hefty rapper like yesterday’s business!
Though, it remains to be clear whether or not Mountain Dew will do the same in regards to Lil Wayne.
King of sarcasm and Commander-in-Chief President Barack Obama (pictured) dismissed questions over his struggles to pass select components of his second-term agenda by telling a reporter at a press conference earlier today, ”Maybe I should just pack up and go home. Golly.”
Of all the people that need to leave Capitol Hill, it’s definitely not President Obama.
For starters, the petulant children on the other side of the political aisle responsible for said failures to pass key legislation should proceed to the nearest trap door. As for the journalist who asked the question, release the hounds. The same can be said of their colleagues.
The questions asked during this morning’s press conference were wide-ranging. As for how he’s feeling on future legislative goals, including comprehensive immigration reform, Obama quipped, ”Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated” — evidently, he listened to Beyoncé’s “Bow Down” before entering the room full of soundbite-seeking vultures.
On Obamacare, the President says his administration is setting up a pool for those still uninsured ”so that they can all pool together and get a better deal from insurance companies. … That’s it. … That’s all that’s left to implement.”
When the issue of Syria and the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad came up, Obama explained that “what we have now is evidence that chemical weapons have been used” though it’s still not definite “how they were used, when they were used, [or] who used them.”
As for the Boston Marathon bombing, Obama has reportedly requested a review in to “the U.S. government’s handling of intelligence information leading up to the Boston Marathon bombings.” President Obama noted that it is “standard procedure. … When an event like this happens, we want to go back and review every step that was taken.”
Additionally, the hunger strike by 100 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay was addressed, with the President saying, ”It is not a surprise to me that we’ve got problems at Guantanamo.” And after saying “I don’t want these individuals to die,” he revealed that he plans to close the detention center.
What’s the hold up? Congress: Democrats and Republicans alike.
The President was even asked about the coming out of NBA vet Jason Collins, to which the President replied, ”I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him. … The LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality.”
What wasn’t asked, though, is what makes the entire conference problematic.
Not once was President Obama asked about the jobs crisis. The job of Congress, although, was addressed, with Obama making clear: ”Members of Congress are elected in order to do what’s right for their constituencies and the American people.”
One thing they’re not doing, however, is tackling the jobs crisis.
I suppose I can’t blame the President and Congress if the people who are supposed to keep them in line aren’t bothering to bring it up either.
Last Thursday, there was a hearing on long-term unemployment held before the 19-member Joint Economic Committee. Unfortunately, as the Huffington Post reported, only a single lawmaker was in attendance. The result was panelists testifying on the problem and its potential solutions solely to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the committee’s vice-chair.
After a while, others bothered to trickle in albeit late.
The all-but-complete absence of congressional interest was first documented by National Journal reporter Niraj Chokshi, who tweeted a photo of the hearing. Shortly after the photo was posted, several other lawmakers did trickle in to participate. Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) arrived eight minutes into the hearing. Once the hearing had been under way for 35 minutes, Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) was also in attendance, according to Chokshi. Eventually Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) also joined, bringing the crowd to four.
Meanwhile, nearly 5 million Americans have been unemployed for at least week 27 weeks per the latest job figures. That’s higher than at any point since World War II and doesn’t even include the people who have stopped bothering to look for work — which makes their struggle to ultimately find a new job all the more harder.
There are some political figures discussing the problem on a local level, like, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R), who is blaming the unemployed for their own problems.
The other area is, there are many employers that say we’re looking for people but we can’t find anybody that has passed a drug test, a lot of them. And that’s a concern for me because we’re having a serious problem with that.
So not only are Republicans blocking job initiatives on a national level, they’re even being given free reign to come out with the kookiest rationale to explain their own bad behavior on the state level.
And yet, the press didn’t even bother to touch on any of this in today’s presser. Golly indeed, Mr. President.
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The NAACP (pictured above is their student chapter) is launching a campaign in North Carolina, challenging a series of government-sponsored proposals that some say would threaten the health, education, and voting rights of thousands.
The campaign is scheduled to begin with an act of civil disobedience from the pages of the 1960′s civil rights struggles: A group of NAACP-led protesters intend to get arrested after holding a “pray-in” at the state General Assembly building.
“We don’t take this action lightly,” said Rev.William Barber II (pictured below) of the North Carolina NAACP State Conference. “We do not seek to have hand cuffs put on us. It’s not easy to see the ugly comments that will be written about us in the newspapers, but we must draw the line somewhere.”
The “pray-in” at the state capitol comes on the heels of a sudden and dramatic political shift in North Carolina, which has seen a Republican majority push a wide-ranging agenda that weakens voter rights, access to healthcare, environmental laws, and even attempted to establish a state religion.
“Right-wing extremists are acting as though they want to go down in history as the George Wallaces of the 21st century,” Barber said.
Rev. Jimmy Hawkins, a Presbyterian minister in North Carolina, said, “I am appalled by the things going on in our state. If you told me years ago this would be happening, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
A recent poll by Public Policy Polling indicates widespread voter distaste for many of the Republican-led state General Assembly and controversial policies the body is advocating.
Overall, just 20 percent of those polled approved of the job the General Assembly is doing, while 56 percent disapproved.
Meanwhile, a bill to make Christianity the state official religion is opposed by 45 percent and supported by 42 percent of those polled. Called the “Defense of Religion Act,” the bill was tabled earlier this month after it was ridiculed across the nation.
Bryan Perlmutter, a student organizer in North Carolina, said a state proposal that would cut $200 million in student aid for higher education is threatening educational goals.
“We see our futures as under attack,” he said.
A bill to allow legislators to receive gifts from lobbyists is opposed by an overwhelming 88 percent of those polled and received just 6 percent support.
Another Republican bill that would allow power companies to ignore state renewable energy standards is opposed by 39 percent of those polled while drawing just 22 percent support.
It’s a bit scary how Republican lawmakers in North Carolina are attempting to overturn standards of fairness and good-government that have stood for generations.
In fact, it seems as though they all collectively fell and bumped their heads, with Republicans having woken up to a 1920′s North Carolina where minority and poor folks had few rights that those in power had to acknowledge.
It’s good that someone is waking them up from their slumber.
SANFORD, Fla. — The former neighborhood watch leader charged with fatally shooting Trayvon Martin told a judge Tuesday that he agrees with his defense attorneys’ decision not to seek an immunity hearing under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law.
RELATED: NewsOne’s Trayvon Martin Coverage
Under questioning from Circuit Judge Debra Nelson, Zimmerman repeatedly said “yes” to a series of questions asking if he was aware he was giving up the right to a hearing before his second-degree murder trial in June. A judge would have sole discretion in an immunity hearing to decide if Zimmerman is exempt from culpability in the shooting. A jury would make the determination in the murder trial.
“After consultation with my counsel, yes, your honor,” Zimmerman said.
The judge had set aside two weeks at the end of April for an immunity hearing should Zimmerman want one. Prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda had filed a motion asking that Zimmerman make clear his intentions on whether he wanted the hearing.
Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Mark O’Mara, told the judge Tuesday there was nothing in the law that required the immunity hearing to take place before Zimmerman’s trial and could be requested after prosecutors have presented their case.
“We’d much rather have the jury address the issue of criminal liability or lack thereof,” O’Mara said.
Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty, claiming self-defense. Martin was fatally shot in February 2012 during a fight with Zimmerman in a Sanford gated community.
O’Mara also wanted the court to unseal details on a civil settlement Martin’s parents received from Zimmerman’s homeowner’s association. O’Mara contended the settlement could influence the testimony of Martin’s parents, if they are called as witnesses.
The judge said defense attorneys and prosecutors could see full copies of the settlement but the public would only be able to see a version from which some information has been removed.
Juanita Bynum (pictured), the Christian evangelist and gospel artist, is responding to her shocking April 18th arrest on charges stemming from a warrant for her failure to appear in a Dallas civil proceeding against her, which involved a reported debt to a promoter for $140,000. Now Bynum wants to explain her side of the story, stating that the incident was an “unfortunate event” involving fraud perpetuated from the other party, according to the Christian Post.
RELATED: Televangelist Juanita Bynum Arrested
The 54-year-old self-proclaimed prophetess took to her website and wrote the following statement:
Until recently, it was my understanding that a resolution had been reached involving a business dispute between Mr. Al Wash, of ALW Entertainment and myself, reads Bynum’s statement on the April 18 arrest in Dallas, Texas.
I was wrongfully detained, by the Dallas Texas Sheriff’s Dept. for failing to appear in court several months ago, for a civil court appearance, of which I knew nothing, involving the prior mentioned business dispute.
Bynum, who says she was later released after a brief court appearance regarding the charges, contends, “I have not been found guilty of any fraudulent, unethical or non-integral behavior.” According Bynum’s website, Wash, the promoter named in the statement, sent her an e-mailed message the day after her arrest, which is also available for view on the site.
Oddly enough, Wash’s aforementioned e-mail supports Bynum:
I am here to help people build their career not destroy their career and I will always believe in Dr. Bynum.
The promoter also refers to Bynum as a “spectacular person” with whom he hopes to work with in the future. The monies in question that were allegedly paid to Bynum were for an event that she allegedly never honored. Wash made comments on his Twitter account indicating that Bynum owed him $125,000 but had not made any further updates to his account.
The woman whose ministry preaches God’s tenets of faith, health, wealth, and prosperity counters that she paid Wash $25,000 and that they had come to an agreement with regards to whom would be responsible for the balance due. Bynum also points out in her printed statement that Holly Carter and Releve’ Entertainment are liable for “breach of fiduciary duty” and “unjust enrichment” tied to “the fraudulent nature of her ‘representation’ of me during this business transaction.”
Meanwhile, Bynum ends her statement by celebrating the fact that she is now a goodwill ambassador for Bayelsa State in southern Nigeria and stresses that she will no longer allow character assassinations “with impunity.” Along with the statement regarding her arrest, Bynum has included a press packet of information about her newfound appointment along with photos of a ceremony toasting the event that was attended by Nigeria’s crème de la crème.
Unfortunately, the Atlanta resident has faced quite a bit of controversy in recent years. In 2008, Bynum’s then-husband, Thomas Weeks, also a minister, pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting her; they later divorced. Last year, Bynum sent shock waves throughout the gospel grapevine when she confessed during a radio interview to having had sexual relationships with women.
The 30 hours of congressional-style hearings kicked off Monday and are scheduled to run through Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Those testifying hope to prove that aliens contact Earth — and that the government is trying to keep it secret.
Kilpatrick tells The Detroit News (http://bit.ly/Y8HUMc ) she’s been researching the topic and is “looking forward to the week’s activities.”
The News says Kilpatrick, who is being paid $20,000 plus expenses, will chair the panel on Tuesday.
Kilpatrick is a Democrat who served in Congress from 1997-2011. Her son, ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, is awaiting sentencing after being convicted on two dozen counts of corruption.
SEE ALSO:Chris Broussard: Jason Collins Is ‘In Open Rebellion To God’ [VIDEO] Homeless? Fantasia Turns Mansion Over To The Bank
UPDATE 12:12 A.M. EST: Chris Broussard issued the following statement:
Today on OTL, as part of a larger, wide-ranging discussion on today’s news, I offered my personal opinion as it relates to Christianity, a point of view that I have expressed publicly before. I realize that some people disagree with my opinion and I accept and respect that. As has been the case in the past, my beliefs have not and will not impact my ability to report on the NBA. I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA.
ESPN statement on Chris Broussard’s comments on today’s Outside The Lines:
“We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today’s news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins’ announcement.”
Speaking on ESPN’s Outside The Lines, Chris Broussard declared that Jason Collins, the 34-year-old NBA center who came out as gay, is in “open rebellion to God” for living an openly homosexual “lifestyle,” reports Think Progress.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Collins becomes the first pro-athlete of any sports organization to come out as gay — something that apparently upset Broussard so much he had to gay-bash him for the world to see:
Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.
See Broussard’s full remarks below:
Here’s the thing, Broussard: This conversation is about Collins’ truth, not your bible.
No one cares about your self-righteous judgement or to whom you pray. No one cares about your scriptures or fraudulent piety. And no one cares that you’re so draped in Christian hetero-normative privilege that you can’t see straight.
Maybe, Broussard, you should have kept your Jesus in the closet. How’s that for equality?
And to Collins: Congratulations, sir.
One day manhood won’t be measured by vagina count and announcements won’t be necessary. And when that day comes, you will know you helped pave the way for a more inclusive society.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Lawrence Capener was shaking hands with his fellow churchgoers at Sunday Mass, exchanging the traditional peace offerings when some people next to him noticed something strange – his hands were quite sweaty and clammy. Then, as the choir began singing a hymn to wrap up Mass, the man bolted from his pew, ran to the choir area and started stabbing the choir leader and others.
Parishioners screamed and ran for cover and others, including the church flutist, tried to subdue him. Police said the assailant thought the choir members were members of a secret society.
The episode caused panic among church members such as 12-year-old Jordan Schalow and his mother, Valerie, who had just heard the pastor read a Gospel message about the importance of loving everyone and had the recent bombing in Boston on their mind.
Jordan had told his mom, “Thank God. I’m in church and nothing bad is going to happen here.”
Valerie Schalow said her husband, Gerald, sat next to Capener during services at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church and had noticed him acting nervously. When he shook Capener’s hand, she said her husband found them to be very sweaty. “My husband even had to go wash his hands after that,” Schalow said.
The random and violent attack by the knife-wielding Capener, 24, sparked confusion and fear in the Albuquerque Westside church as the choir started singing “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.”
According to a criminal complaint released Monday, Capener vaulted over pews and lashed out at choir director Adam Alvarez, who had his back toward him.
“I saw what was happening and I yelled at my husband,” said Schalow, who ran out of the church with her three children. “The guy had been acting strange during Mass.”
The complaint said church flutist Gerald Madrid saw Alvarez being attacked and attempted to “bear hug” Capener to try and stop him. Madrid was then stabbed five times in his back by Capener, authorities said.
“I instinctively just dropped my flute and I rushed the guy,” Madrid said. “I never saw a knife, but I just rushed him.”
At least two others were injured in the attack, police said.
Capener later told police that he was “99 percent sure Alvarez was a mason” and that he thought Alvarez was involved in a conspiracy.
He told the investigator that Masons are a group involved “in a conspiracy that is far more reaching than I could or would believe.”
Capener, whose mother is active in the church, said he stabbed the others who tried to subdue him because he thought they might be Masons, too.
Among those to subdue Capener was off-duty Albuquerque Fire Department Lt. Greg Aragon, who then helped treat patients after the attack, authorities said. He was also stabbed in the attack and was later treated at a hospital and released.
The affidavit said Capener apologized for stabbing the others after he was read his rights and agreed to speak to police.
Masons are a fraternal group involved in charity and other community activities, but many of their rituals and symbols are secret.
Capener was charged on three counts of aggravated battery and ordered held on $250,000 bail.
St. Jude Thaddeus’ pastor, the Rev. John Daniel, said Capener’s mother was “very active” in the parish and serves as a Eucharistic minister there.
“He was here occasionally but not very often,” Daniel said.
Daniel said that Capener had just graduated from a community college and appeared to be doing well after getting a job. “I think he’s been struggling for a while, maybe with some (mental) health issues,” Daniel said.
Both Alvarez and Madrid remained hospitalized Monday and their families said the men were recovering from wounds that were described as not life-threatening.
Services at the 3,000-member church resumed Monday. Parishioners stopped to leave flowers, notes and candles outside the church and at the church’s shrine dedicated to St. Jude, the church’s namesake and the Catholic Patron Saint of “lost causes.”
In Mass homilies throughout the day, Daniel said he compared St. Catherine of Siena, who worked for peace in 14th century Italy, with the power of forgiveness.
Robynn Madrid, whose husband Gerald Madrid was recovering from the attack, said despite the pain Capener caused, she’s already forgiven him. “We’re praying for his family,” she said.
Spanish choir member Richard Aragon said he, too, is trying to show compassion and forgiveness, even though he had trouble sleeping the night after the stabbing. Aragon was preparing for the upcoming Spanish services when the attack began.
“There’s nothing you can do. There’s obviously something…he’s touched or something,” Aragon said. “It already happened. It’s too late.”
SEE ALSO:Bronx Teen Allegedly Dumps Stillborn In Garbage Chute Obama Jokes: ‘I’m Not The Strapping Young Muslim Socialist That I Used To Be’ [VIDEO]
R&B songstress Fantasia Barrino (pictured), who has had her fair share of financial woes over her Charlotte, N. C., mansion is now reportedly willing to sign it over to a bank and not get a dime for it, according to TMZ.
SEE ALSO: Beyonce Bans Concert Photographers
Back in 2009, it was widely reported that Fantasia’s home was in danger of being auctioned off to pay back a $58,000 loan that she borrowed from Broward Energy Partners. It was reportedly suppose to pay delinquent taxes.
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The earnings from the sale of the home were supposed to have been used to finish paying off the loan. But a deal was reached just in the nick of time and Fantasia was able to save her home.
Last year, Fantasia placed her home on the real estate market with an asking price of $800,000, an immense reduction from the original price of $1.3 million. The home did not attract one interested buyer.
TMZ now reports that, according to court documents, the former “American Idol” winner and actress allegedly transferred the deed of the home to the bank in February. In doing so, the foreclosure process was skipped which unfortunately will leave Fantasia without a home.
Now the clock is ticking…again.
Jermaine Jackson (pictured right), the third oldest sibling of the famed R&B Jackson dynasty, is reportedly headed back to court on child support neglect charges for being $30,000 in arrears for two of his teenage children with former spouse Alejandra (pictured), according to TMZ.
The Los Angeles Child Support Services Department (CSSD) has filed court documents petitioning a judge to hold the 58-year-old Jackson in contempt for failing to pay the monthly child support payment of $3,000 for his sons Jermajesty and Jaafar over the course of a year.
Thus far, Jackson has only reportedly contributed a total of $5,621 and still owes another $30,378 in the court-enforced support for his children.
According to CSSD, Jackson is guilty of 12 months of contempt and is scheduled for a child support hearing in August, by which time, the owed monies are required to be paid. If Jackson fails to meet his court-mandated financial obligations, he could be slapped with a 60-day jail term.
The current child support situation involving his children with ex-Alejandra is one that Jackson has visited before in the not-too-distant past. In 2011, Jackson faced a whopping $90,000 child support tab but managed to settle with Alejandra for $80,000 and reportedly paid it in full.
BTW, shouldn’t we be referring to Jackson as Jacksun? Afterall, he went to court to legally change his name earlier this year for “artistic reasons.”
The “Rodney King Riots,” also known as the “Los Angeles Riots,” began this day in 1992, after four Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers were acquitted of charges in the savage beating of Rodney King (pictured below). The racially sparked riots lasted more than six days, with thousands of Angelenos taking to the streets in an especially violent display of protest. Fifty-three people were killed and more than two thousand were said to be injured.
Back in March of 1991, King and two passengers were driving west on I-210 when he was ordered by California Highway Patrol officers to stop. After leading the officers on a high-speed chase, King stopped the vehicle and was the last to exit. As officers reportedly attempted to subdue King, they beat him, and the entire act was caught on videotape by a nearby resident.
Police initially claimed King was under the influence of drugs, but that was later refuted.
The mostly White jury could not determine if the officers acted excessively, especially since a small clip of the video was allowable in court. On the seventh day of deliberation, the jury acquitted three of the four accused officers after not being able to determine the fate of the fourth.
Officer Stacey Koon had to be escorted by police detail after the verdict was publicly released outside the courtroom. That afternoon, hundreds of rioters began marauding the streets and looting stores. People were attacked and the crowds began to swell and outnumber police forces.
That same day, White trucker Reginald Denny was cornered by rioters and struck violently in the head with a brick. The event took place during live television coverage and unveiled the tension of the riots to those outside of Los Angeles. Gang banger Damian Williams was accused of throwing the brick at Denny and was later said to have attacked construction worker Fidel Lopez.
Watch news coverage of Denny’s beating here:
On the second day of the riots, actor Bill Cosby took to the airwaves on the final episode of his hit series “The Cosby Show” to tell rioters to stop and watch the program. The California National Guard was called in to help assist police but failed to reach the city in adequate time.
On the third day, King held an unplanned news conference in front of his attorney’s home and urged rioters to cease their actions. His famous quote, “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” would ring across televisions for days after the event, which had become serious after National Guard troops moved in with military vehicles and a bolstered police force.
Watch King’s comments here:
Then-President George H.W. Bush spoke on the riots in a public address, echoing the sentiment of then-Mayor Tom Bradley over the violence taking place in Los Angeles.
On the fourth day, Marine and Army troops arrived in the city, although much of the rioting had started to quiet down. That day, 30,000 people attended a rally for peace and it was formerly announced that a federal investigation of the King case would ensue. In the days after, military troops stayed in the city to make certain all of the riots had been quelled. It was reported that some soldiers remained until almost the end of May.
Relationships between the Korean and African-American community were strained after the riots, as many stores owned by Asians were severely looted and destroyed. However, many Korean store owners denounced police violence and displayed a willingness to march alongside African Americans in a bid to show a semblance of solidarity in the wake of the violence.
In April of 1993, jurors found Officers Laurence Powell and Stacey Koon guilty of the excessive beating of King while the two other officers were acquitted. King was awarded $3.8 million in damages, investing much of his funds in to a failed rap label business. King’s life was troubled; he was arrested a reported 11 times since the encounter with the LAPD.
For those who lived through the times of the King case and the riots, it was a firsthand look at how the media’s coverage of an event can both inform and inspire less desirable actions from its viewers. The constant news cycle of today has its roots in the real-time coverage of this tragic and unfortunate event. In its aftermath, we’re reminded that police brutality and a failed justice system nearly upended a city infamous for its treatment of minorities by police. The King case simply revealed what many already knew, and the reaction to the verdict was an expression of frustration years in the making.
UPDATED 4/29/13, 1:27 p.m.: The Rev. Al Sharpton released the following statement, regarding NBA player Jason Collins coming out as gay:
The announcement made by NBA center Jason Collins today about being a gay male marks the first time a professional athlete has openly confirmed his sexuality. This is a breakthrough moment in sports and another step towards tolerance and fairness in the African-American community.
I salute the courage and candor of Mr. Collins and think he has made a great contribution to this country and I call on others in the civil rights community and the African-American leadership of all fields to embrace this development. We can’t be custodians of intolerance and freedom fighters at the same time. In order to fight for anyone’s civil rights and self expression we must fight for everyone’s civil rights. God Bless Jason Collins for helping to show us the way.
NBA player Jason Collins (pictured), who is currently a free agent, has come out as a gay man in the latest Sports Illustrated issue.
In a story written with writer Franz Lidz, Collins immediately reveals that which he has kept secret for years.
“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”
According to the basketball player, the 2011 NBA lockout forced him to confront himself:
Why am I coming out now? Well, I started thinking about this in 2011 during the NBA player lockout. I’m a creature of routine. When the regular season ends I immediately dedicate myself to getting game ready for the opener of the next campaign in the fall.
But the lockout wreaked havoc on my habits and forced me to confront who I really am and what I really want. With the season delayed, I trained and worked out. But I lacked the distraction that basketball had always provided.”
As with many in the LBGTQ community, Collins says he felt the pressure to follow heterosexual norms for many years. He finally realized he needed to go public with his sexuality after Massachusetts Congressman and friend Joe Kennedy told him he’d march in the 2012 Boston Gay Pride Parade.
I was proud of him for participating but angry that as a closeted gay man I couldn’t even cheer my straight friend on as a spectator. If I’d been questioned, I would have concocted half truths. What a shame to have to lie at a celebration of pride. I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore. I want to march for tolerance, acceptance, and understanding. I want to take a stand and say, Me, too.
The Boston Marathon bombings, for example, also helped encouraged Collins to come out, because one never knows what will happen. Collins also argues that many families have gay members.
Some people insist they’ve never met a gay person. But Three Degrees of Jason Collins dictates that no NBA player can claim that anymore. Pro-basketball is a family. And pretty much every family I know has a brother, sister, or cousin who’s gay. In the brotherhood of the NBA, I just happen to be the one who’s out.
With his admission, Collins becomes the first pro-athlete of any sports organization to come out as gay.
Read the rest of his story here.
LAGOS, Nigeria — The traffic is there, grinding life to a halt as the middle class pound out messages on BlackBerry mobile phones and worry about Facebook. The heat, the sweat, and the daily tragedy of unclaimed bodies lying alongside roadways, passers-by hurrying past for fear of someone else’s misfortune becoming entangled in their own.
This is modern life in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, which becomes almost a character of its own in novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s (pictured) new book, “Americanah” (pictured at right). And within its pages, one catches self-acknowledged glimpses of the writer herself, who shot to fame with her previous love story set during Nigeria’s civil war called “Half of a Yellow Sun.”
As that book is being made into a movie, more international attention will focus on Adichie, part of a raft of new Nigerian writers finding acclaim after years of military-induced slumber in a nation with a rich literary history. Yet Adichie, like her new book’s heroine, finds herself straddled between a life in the United States and one in Nigeria, where even seemingly innocuous comments on hair care and wigs can stir resentment.
“I’m writing about where I care about and I deeply, deeply care about Nigeria,” Adichie told the Associated Press. “Nigeria is the country that most infuriates me and it is the country I love the most. I think when you’re emotionally invested in a place as a storyteller, it becomes organic.”
That sense of place runs throughout “Americanah,” — make sure to stress the fourth syllable, says the daughter of a university professor and a university registrar. It’s a term people use to describe the accents carried by some of the Nigerians now returning in droves to the country after it embraced an uneasy democracy after years of military rule. While oil and gas money continues to flow and other business opportunities abound, the nation’s universities now sit in shambles, graduating more unqualified students than can be offered jobs.
That intellectual dulling has been challenged by a host of new writers, many of whom like Adichie live almost double lives abroad.
“She is part of the pack of novelists who have, after what you might call the two decades of silence, who have helped to tell Nigerian stories to the whole world again,” writer Tolu Ogunlesi said. “It was the dictatorships and all that’s associated with them. … The ’80s and ’90s were dark ages of sorts for Nigeria.”
It’s that period where “Americanah” finds its beginning. Though dismissing the idea of being a “dutiful daughter of literary conventions,” Adichie’s new novel takes root in the vagaries and murmured promises of a love story like much of her other work. It also focuses largely on the slim percentage of Nigerians able to afford diesel generators in a country largely without electricity and who look at the poor through the chilled air and tinted-glass windows of luxury SUVs.
Despite that, her writing hits a nerve with Nigerian readers who identify with the descriptions of church worship services focused on getting foreign visas and the nervous wives of rich men in a nation notorious for philandering. Adichie describes herself as looking “at the world through Nigerian eyes,” but she doesn’t hold back on criticizing its culture that fosters widespread government corruption. Or what she perceives as the excessive, neutered politeness of “political-correct language” in the United States.
“Nigeria wasn’t set up to succeed, but the extent of its failure is ours. It’s our responsibility,” she said. “This country is full of so many intelligent people, so much energy, so much potential, so why are we here?”
That kind of truth telling isn’t exactly welcome, even in a democratic Nigeria. Speaking Saturday night at a book signing, Adichie drew laughter and a few nervous looks from organizers by describing President Goodluck Jonathan as “not a bad guy, he just seems like he’s floundering and has no clue.”
It also leads to comparisons some make between Adichie and late author Chinua Achebe, who died in March at age 82. Both come from the Igbo people of Nigeria’s southeast and Achebe’s own praise of Adichie graces the cover of her new novel in Nigeria. Adichie said the rise of new writers served as a testament to the power of Achebe’s writings and the works of others.
“I think there’s just this wonderful flowering that’s happening,” she said.
Even more controversial, it seems, have been Adichie’s comments on natural hair in Nigeria, where many spend huge sums of money on straight-banged wigs and weaves known as Indian hair. An online commenter on Twitter asserted that Adichie, whose natural hair sits in buns atop her head, said that those wearing weaves were insecure, sparking controversy. Adichie herself ended up responding to the criticism and gave a recent audience advice on finding hair conditioners with no sulfates.
“It’s only Black women for whom an entire industry exists, which is geared toward specifically making sure that the hair that grows on their head looks different,” she said. “I want natural black hair to be an equally valid option, not something interesting, not something you do when you’re a jazz musician, but something you can do when you’re a lawyer in a fancy firm in New York City or if you’re a politician in Abuja,” Nigeria’s capital.
That, however, still remains a challenge. Adichie acknowledged it herself by pausing, and then adding: “My mother doesn’t like my hair like that. She is still praying.”
Authorities have charged 19-year-old Ariel Devonish-Francis (pictured) of the Bronx with unlawful disposal of a cadaver for allegedly throwing her newborn down a garbage chute, according to the N.Y. Daily News.
On Saturday, Devonish-Francis reportedly gave birth to a baby boy in her bathroom at the West Farms Road Rehabs projects. Her brother was reportedly home at the time but wasn’t aware that she was pregnant.
“She kept constantly going back and forth to the bathroom — I thought it was maybe something she ate,” Clifton Jones told the Daily News. “If I would have known, things would have been different.”After reportedly delivering her stillborn, Francis visited the Albert Einstein University Hospital for medical treatment. There, she reportedly told hospital staff that she dumped the baby down her building’s garbage chute. Acting off of her information, officers located the fetus in the building’s basement shortly before 6 p.m. Devonish-Francis was arrested shortly thereafter. And on Sunday, the medical examiner’s officer ruled the fetus a stillborn once they conducted an autopsy. Neighbors organized a candlelight vigil outside the building Sunday, complete with teddy bear, a candle and flowers. SEE ALSO: ATL Anchor Amanda Davis Retires After 26 Years
In what may be coined one of the most-scandalous songs of 2013, singer and reality star Ray J‘s newest song, “I Hit It First,”and music video is sure to make him enemy No. 1 with baby daddy and rap star Kanye West. Why? Because the song reminds past love interest Kim Kardashian and the public that no matter where she goes or whom she moves on to, Ray J “hit it first.”
Clearly looking to stir up controversy, Ray J opens his new song with the following hook:
She might move on to rappers and ball players
But we all know I hit it first
I hop in the club and bop and show love
And I don’t even put in work
I hit, I hit, I hit, I hit, I hit, I hit it first
I hit, I hit, I hit, I hit, I hit, I hit it first
To drive his point home — just in case you missed it — Ray J features a Kim-Kardashian-lookalike who seems to pine for past days.
Toward the end of the song, Ray J finally gets to the point that Kim is always welcome to come back to him, and if she does…they’ll “make another movie”:
And if you were to come back to me,
Girl I’d know how you do me
And if you were to come back to me,
Girl I know just how you choose me
And if you were to come back to me,
Girl I’d give you a jacuzzi
And if you were to come back to me,
Girl we’ll make another movie
Watch Ray J’s “I Hit It First” here:
In 2007, Ray J and Kim Kardashian’s 2003 sex tape became public, with Kardashian initially suing Vivid Entertainment for the leak. Eventually, she settled for $5 million, but the tape would propel Kardashian in to the public eye. Afterward, Kardashian dated high-profile NFLer Reggie Bush from 2007 to 2011 then she would later marry NBAer Kris Humphries in August 2011.
Kardashian would begin dating rapper West while she was still married to Humphries. She would later make headlines for becoming pregnant with West’s child while still married to Humphries; Kardashian finally divorced Humpries just last week.
Kardashian is currently six-months pregnant.
As for Ray J, he officially released “I Hit It First” on April 6th, with the single debuting at No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Ray J’s last album, “All I Feel,” came out in 2008, with the hit single “Sexy, Can I” peaking at No. 3 on the Top Singles charts. “I Hit It First” is the first single off of his upcoming album “Raydiation.”
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LOS ANGELES — Millions, and possibly billions, of dollars are at stake in a civil trial starting Monday over allegations from Michael Jackson’s mother that the company promoting his comeback failed to properly investigate the doctor convicted in his death.
Jurors will listen to remarks from attorneys who hope to frame the issues before testimony begins in the months-long trial.
Lawyers for concert giant AEG Live contend the company did nothing wrong and could not have foreseen the circumstances that led to Jackson’s death in June 2009 at age 50.
The case will focus on the last few months of Jackson’s life and his overall health and financial history. Jurors will also hear evidence throughout the case about Conrad Murray, the former cardiologist convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter after giving Jackson doses of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.
Any award in the case will be determined by a jury of six men and six women who have agreed to hear the case, which may last 90 days.
Lawyers for Katherine Jackson (pictured) and the singer’s three children have said AEG failed to spot red flags about Murray’s finances and created a conflict of interest for him between a major payday and maintaining the superstar’s health.
Murray agreed to serve as Jackson’s doctor for the planned series of “This Is It” comeback shows in London for $150,000 per month, but Jackson died before the superstar and AEG officials signed the agreement.
AEG contends it did not hire Murray, who had previously treated Jackson and who the singer requested serve as his physician.
Murray remains jailed and is appealing his conviction.
The trial will address issues about Jackson’s health and finances that were not factors in Murray’s criminal trial, and may also feature testimony from the singer’s two oldest children. Stars such as Diana Ross, Spike Lee, and Quincy Jones are also listed as potential witnesses, and several top AEG executives are expected to testify.
The Oakland Unified School District is getting some unwanted attention after a video surfaced of a fight between a 7th grade female student and a male substitute teacher at the Alliance Academy, a middle school known for its horrible reputation, reports CBS affiliate KPIX5.
With 360 students, and an extraordinarily high teacher turnover rate, 5 students have been expelled from Alliance this school year and several of the teachers aren’t planning to come back next year.
So far this school year, police have visited the campus 13 times, but the fight between the female 7th grader and male substitute teacher, caught on a cellphone camera before Winter break, has gotten national attention.
“They destroyed the whole classroom. They broke the desk. They threw the computers on the floor,” said Jose Barajas, an eighth grader. Barajas told KPIX5 that he had to hide “under a desk, when other students tossed desks and other items across the room.”
See video below of fight below (NSFW)
Teachers at Alliance said that they become burnt out quickly at the school and Barajas claims that teachers are disrespected by some students because they’re “new.”
So where does that leave the future of the school?
“You get in a cycle where you’re constantly placing new teachers, those teachers leave after a couple of years,” said district spokesperson Troy Flint. “And it creates a lack of stability at the school. And I think that is something that undermines academic progress to a certain extent.”
Read more at CBS San Francisco.
The department could be found in contempt if they continue to refuse to return a small amount of marijuana seized from a man after a traffic stop. Municipal Court Judge Jack Emery repeated an order to police Thursday to return the drug to Joseph L. Robertson within seven days or they could be found in contempt.
“Appeal or comply,” Emery told assistant city attorney John Walker. “Or next week, show up, and I would advise you to bring counsel.”
The judge first ordered police to return the drug on Feb. 28, but they have refused, The News Tribune reported Friday ( http://bit.ly/10hwiD9 ).
It was seized in May of last year when an officer pulled over the Tacoma man for speeding. He was cited for driving without a license and misdemeanor marijuana possession. Prosecutors dismissed the drug charge in December, after state voters decided to legalize small amounts of the drug.
Robertson then asked for his pot back, and provided proof of medical marijuana authorization. The city refused, which led to Emery’s Feb. 28 order. If the matter is not settled by the May 2 hearing, it could go to higher courts.
The pot is now in the possession of the Pierce County sheriff’s department, which operates the property room for seized evidence. Deputies won’t give it to Robertson.
“It’s Tacoma’s case,” said sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer. “If they want it, they can come and get it.”
Although the judge said he thinks “there’s contemptuous behavior here,” Emery added that the case was “a quagmire,” due to the conflicting provisions of state and federal law.
His Royal Airness, Michael Jordan, 50, married his model girlfriend Yvette Prieto, 35, in a star-studded Florida wedding that included such guests as Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen and Tiger Woods, reports Hollywood Life.
Over 500 guests gathered at Bethesda-by-the Sea, an Episcopal church in Palm Beach, to see Jordan wed his long-time love. And after the nuptials, a lavish reception for over 2,000 guests took place at the Bears Club, a Jack Nicklaus designed golf community in Jupiter, Florida, where the basketball legend just build a 38,000 square foot home.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Jordan, met Prieto at a Miami nightclub in 2008 and proposed during the Christmas holiday in 2011. The couple applied for a marriage license last month.
This is the first marriage for Prieto and the second for Jordan, who was married to Juanita Vanoy for 17 years before divorcing amid rumored infidelities in 2006.
They have three children.
Even though the wedding went off without a hitch, there was plenty drama before the couple made it down the aisle.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Pamela Smith, Jordan’s ’90s ex-fling and allegedly the mother of his child, was suing for child support. She claimed that her son, Grant Pierce Jay Jordan ‘Taj’ Reynolds, begged her to file suit so that Jordan would be forced to publicly acknowledge him.
According to Smith, she and Jordan have a “good” relationship and she didn’t want to embarrass him, but Taj no longer wanted to keep his paternity secret. Even though Jordan gave them money and gifts over the years, the boy could never tell anyone that he was his father.
Jordan asked that the paternity suit be dismissed and Smith eventually dropped it.
As previously reported by NewsOne, Jordan had Prieto sign a prenup to protect his reported $650-million fortune.
SEE ALSO:Michigan Democrat Caught On Tape Calling Town Official An ‘Arrogant N***er’ Lauryn Hill Pens Open Letter About Tax Trouble, Confirms Record Deal
Obama poked fun at himself as well as some of his political adversaries during the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner attended by politicians, members of the media and Hollywood celebrities.
Entering to the rap track “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled, Obama joked about how re-election would allow him to unleash a radical agenda. But then he showed a picture of himself golfing on a mock magazine cover of “Senior Leisure.”
“I’m not the strapping young Muslim Socialist that I used to be,” the president remarked, and then recounted his recent 2-for-22 basketball shooting performance at the White House Easter Egg hunt.
See clip from White House Correspondents’ Dinner below:
But Obama’s most dramatic shift for the next four years appeared to be aesthetic. He presented a montage of shots featuring him with bangs similar to those sometimes sported by his wife.
“So we borrowed one of Michelle’s tricks,” Obama said. “I thought this looked pretty good, but no bounce.”
Obama closed by noting the nation’s recent tragedies in Massachusetts and Texas, praising Americans of all stripes from first responders to local journalists for serving the public good.
Saturday night’s banquet not far from the White House attracted the usual assortment of stars from Hollywood and beyond. Actors Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Claire Danes, who play government characters on series, were among the attendees, as was Korean entertainer Psy. Several Cabinet members, governors and members of Congress were present.
See Steven Spielberg’s ‘Obama’ movie promo below:
And despite coming at a somber time, nearly two weeks after the deadly Boston Marathon bombing and 10 days after a devastating fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, the president and political allies and rivals alike took the opportunity to enjoy some humor. Late-night talk-show host Conan O’Brien headlined the event.
Some of Obama’s jokes came at his Republican rivals’ expense. He asked that the GOP’s minority outreach begin with him as a “trial run” and said he’d take his recent charm offensive with Republicans on the road, including events with conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Michele Bachmann.
“In fact, I’m taking my charm offensive on the road — a Texas barbeque with Ted Cruz, a Kentucky bluegrass concert with Rand Paul, and a book-burning with Michele Bachmann,” Obama joked.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson would have had better success getting Obama out of office if he simply offered the president $100 million to drop out of last year’s race, Obama quipped.
And on the 2016 election, the president noted in self-referential irony that potential Republican candidate Sen. Marco Rubio wasn’t qualified because he hasn’t even served a full term in the Senate. Obama served less than four years of his six-year Senate term before he was elected president in 2008.
“I mean, the guy has not even finished a single term in the Senate and he thinks he’s ready to be President,” Obama joked.
The gala also was an opportunity for six journalists, including Associated Press White House Correspondent Julie Pace, to be honored for their coverage of the presidency and national issues.
The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza won the Aldo Beckman Award, which recognizes excellence in the coverage of the presidency.
Pace won the Merriman Smith Award for a print journalist for coverage on deadline.
ABC’s Terry Moran was the winner of the broadcast Merriman Smith Award for deadline reporting.
Reporters Jim Morris, Chris Hamby and Ronnie Greene of the Center for Public Integrity won the Edgar A. Poe Award for coverage of issues of national significance.