Across Black America
Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
Comedian Roy Wood Jr. has been cast in TBS’ half-hour comedy pilot “Sullivan & Son,” starring comedian Steve Byrne and executive-produced by Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Cheers alum Rob Long. Wood will play alongside fellow comedians Ahmed Ahmed and Owen Benjamin as one of Steve Sullivan’s (Byrne’s character) best friends. Wood became a household favorite on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, where he placed in the top three finalists. Written by Byrne and Long, “Sullivan & Son” takes place in a popular and legendary neighborhood bar in a working-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh. It centers on Steve Sullivan, the son of the bar’s current owner and the grandson of its founder, who decides he wants to leave his job as a successful corporate attorney in New York and return to the neighborhood to take over Sullivan & Son.
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund held its first Awards of Excellence event in Los Angeles recently at the Getty House, the official residence of the Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The event co-hosts were Rolonda Watts and Judge Joe Brown. Presenters included heavyweight boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard. “The Thurgood Marshall College Fund is preparing the next generation of leaders,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., TMCF president and CEO. “Our organization has proudly supported Justice Marshall’s legacy and commitment to education by providing over $100 million in scholarships to deserving students. We are excited to have presented our first Los Angeles event, recognizing the outstanding achievements of our 2011 honorees, as well as our partners, who stand with us in making sure young people have access to quality education.”
District of Columbia
The Links Inc., an international nonprofit service organization of professional women of color, recently hosted its 65th anniversary in Washington, D.C. Nearly 1,200 guests from throughout the United States, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, representing the 274 Links chapters, attended the weekend celebration, which included a rededication and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newly renovated state-of-the-art national headquarters. The Marriott Wardman Park was the backdrop for a black-tie reception and gala hosted by actors Tim Reid and Daphne Maxwell Reid and featuring Grammy-award winning singer Will Downing. The evening marked the debut of the organization’s highest honor bestowed upon an organization, The Links Medal, presented to Johnson Publishing Co. Chairman Linda Johnson Rice for making a significant and positive impact in the lives and culture of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.
Interactive One, “the largest digital media company serving African Americans” and a subsidiary of Radio One, announced this week a partnership with Songza, a leading streaming music service, to launch Black Planet Radio, the digital industry’s first social radio website targeted towards African Americans. BlackPlanetRadio.com allows users to discover new music in a variety of ways, as well as create playlists from a library of more than 14.5 million songs to share with their social network communities. Targeted towards African American consumers, the new service is integrated with Facebook and BlackPlanet.com, allowing users to express themselves and help their friends discover new music. Black Planet Radio will feature digital streams from Radio One’s network of 53 radio stations, as well as playlists created by thousands of experts from across the Radio One family of brands, including radio station DJs, artists, celebrities, site editors and contributors.
“Mother of Hip Hop,” MC Sha-Rock is back with the release of her autobiography entitled “Luminary Icon” and a movie in the works. Her book depicts a true story of a young female growing up in the Bronx, during the ground-breaking years of what is now known as Hip Hop. Readers will experience the journey of the group, The Funky 4 + 1 More, the young teenagers and entrepreneurs who were coined as Gladys Knight and the Pips of Hip Hop. The group grew to become one of the most influential in paving the way for artists of today. Ced-Gee of the Ultra Magnetic MCs comments, “She had the realness. Sha-Rock made females relevant.... She set the tone so that female MCs would be taken seriously.”
The Ron Brown Scholar Program seeks to identify African American high school seniors who will make significant contributions to society. Applicants must excel academically, exhibit exceptional leadership potential, participate in community service activities and demonstrate financial need. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent resident visa card. Current college students are not eligible to apply. Each year, a minimum of 10 students will be designated Ron Brown Scholars and will receive $10,000 annually for four years, for a total of $40,000. The recipients may use the renewable scholarships to attend an accredited four-year college or university of their choice within the United States. More than 250 students have been designated Ron Brown Scholars since the inception of the program. The scholars are selected in the spring prior to entering college. In March, finalists are invited to participate in a weekend selection process in Washington, D.C., at the expense of the CAP Charitable Foundation. Finalists are interviewed by members of the selection committee and winners are selected on the basis of their applications, interviews and participation in selection weekend activities. The deadline to apply is Jan. 9, 2012. For more details, visit www.BlackStudents.com/ronbrownscholars
Haitian Hip Hop star Wyclef Jean says he’s proud of the way his charity responded after the earthquake in Haiti almost two years ago. He says his Yele Haiti Foundation rebuilt an orphanage and set up a system of outdoor toilet and shower facilities in one of the largest shanties in the Haitian capital. Jean’s comments Sunday followed reports published by the New York Post alleging that his foundation collected $16 million in 2010 but less than a third of that went to emergency efforts. The Post also says $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn’t appear to exist, and that a company called P&A Construction, which is run by Warnel Pierre, Jean’s brother-in-law, received $353,983 from the group. “Have we made mistakes before? Yes,” said a tearful Jean, a former Haitian presidential candidate. “Did I ever use Yele money for personal benefits? Absolutely not. Yele’s books are open and transparent.”
PERRY & TBS: A MARRIAGE OF MINDS
Tyler Perry’s newest sitcom, “For Better or Worse,” recently debuted on TBS, the network that has housed Perry’s other projects, including “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.” The new sitcom is based on two characters, Marcus and Angela, from Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?” and its sequel, “Why Did I Get Married, Too?” The new dramatic comedy will follow the tumultuous relationship of the couple and delve more deeply into their love life, businesses and zaniness. Above are stars of the show, Tasha Smith and Michael Jai White.
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Authorities today identified a man who was fatally shot by Inglewood police after he allegedly smashed the windows of eight squad cars with a sword in a police station parking lot.
The shooting occurred Saturday night, after the man damaged the vehicles using a sword that was thicker and heavier than a machete, police said. The dead man was identified as Charles Curl, 46, of Los Angeles, coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said.
The Crenshaw Subway Coalition is gearing up for a possible showdown over additional funding for the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, including a Leimert Park Village Station, but may have to await a May 23 decision by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board on just how bruising—or necessary—a showdown will be.
In a flier proclaiming “Reaching Higher Together at LAX,” the New Frontier Democratic Club has announced that it will hold a meeting concerning issues involving the Los Angeles International Airport.
At the end of life, Black kidney disease patients are more likely than White patients to continue intensive dialysis instead of choosing hospice care, according to a new study.
Researchers also found that racial differences in kidney disease treatments became more extreme in the highest Medicare spending regions of the U.S.
By September 2012, I had been living on the street consistently for a number of days. I called it my “vampire syndrome”—up all night, sleeping during the day and only staying in someone’s home if they invited me in.