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Gregg Reese

Stories by Gregg

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A funny thing happened on the way to diversity

Lasting effects of “Bakke decision”

Much like medication prescribed to cure ailments...

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A funny thing happened on the way to diversity

Lasting effects of “Bakke decision”

Much like medication prescribed to cure ailments, legal measures aimed to...

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Influence peddlers of the West and the East continue intrigue

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The end of World War II and the finish of fascism meant...

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Cold War charades begin anew as America and Russia quarrel

First of a two-part series

Autumn in America typically brings with it the arrival of football season, completion of harvest time...

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Cold War charades begin anew as America and Russia quarrel

First of a two-part series

Autumn in America typically brings with it the arrival of football season, completion of...

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NBA icon Connie Hawkins passes at 75

"...the only damaging statements about his involvement were made by Hawkins himself...

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New look at ‘Grim Sleeper’

As the 20th century wound down, the Los Angeles Police Department’s contentious relationship with its...

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‘The Work’ puts prison inmates, outsiders on an equal footing

Prison outreach programs are nothing new. While most are faith-based, other more secular groups ..

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Tuskegee Airmen awards on Saturday

The Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation on Saturday will host its annual awards ceremony providing scholarships

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‘North Pole’ takes look at a gentrified Oakland

Gentrification and progressive politics collide in the new web-based comedy, “The North Pole,”

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Susan Burton highlights the path out of modern slavery

“I've always been living under a threat.” —Susan Burton on her turbulent life in South Los Angeles.

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Showdown in ‘The Land of the Morning Calm’

The face off between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is merely the latest chapter in the saga of a divided Korea

The Land of the Morning Calm is the phrase given to Korea as a reference to it’s splendid tranquility with picturesque high mountains and clear spring waters, especially in the mornings.

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20 years after his murder, the search for Tupac Shakur's killer continues

Exploring the facts versus the myths

With this edition of Our Weekly running concurrently with the 20th anniversary rapper Tupac Shakur's death in a Las Vegas drive-by, we are astonished by the ever enduring impact of his cultural footprint, and the lingering frustration of those intent on resolving his untimely demise.

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Requiem for a diva

Whitney: ‘Can I be me?’

Central casting could not have done it better. An impeccable voice nurtured in a Baptist church in the gospel tradition. A progeny of gospel legend and Grammy winner Cissy Houston. Cousin to chart-topping singer and TV host Dionne Warwick. Goddaughter of Darlene Love of “He’s a Rebel” fame, and an “honorary niece” to the Lady of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin (“Auntie Ree”), and (a lesser known distant cousin to opera singer Leontyne Price). Whitney Houston was additionally bestowed with physical beauty, which launched a successful modeling career even before her rise as a vocalist. To top it off, she fell under the sway of record industry “Svengali,” Clive Davis, who saw in this budding Ingénue the chance to mold a mega star from the ground up.

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Dick Gregory: Home to the Ancestors

Activist, Actor, Comedian, Humanitarian

Ground breaking comedian, activist, and entrepreneur Dick Gregory has died at the age of 84 in Washington, D.C. He had been admitted to a hospital there for a bacterial infection a week prior. The cause of death was heart failure.

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The Empowered Girl

Shaun Robinson leads a conversation about the epidemic of human trafficking

Best known as the host of the televised news magazine “Access Hollywood,” entertainment personality Shaun Robinson has turned her attentions to philanthropy with the establishment of the S.H.A.U.N Foundation for girls, a nonprofit to improve the quality of life for young women. Their latest endeavor, “Alternatives for Girls,” addresses the billion-dollar crisis of human trafficking, and was launched with a panel discussion in Robinson’s hometown of Detroit. This past Aug. 12, the discussion was moved to its second leg of a three-city tour (the third being Atlanta) at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center here in Los Angeles.

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Diversity at West Point takes a momentous leap forward

Simone Askew becomes first Black woman to lead West Point Cadets

One central figure in the confrontation between Kim Jong Un and Donald J. Trump on the Korean peninsula is U.S. Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, who began his journey to global prominence decades ago by entering “the Long Grey Line” of

CAAM continues summer festivities with live sets from radio station KCRW

The California African American Museum (CAAM) continues its mash up of cultural enlightenment and social engagement as it joins forces with public radio station KCRW (89.9FM) to present Summer Nights at CAAM this Saturday, Aug. 19.

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Showdown in ‘The Land of the Morning Calm’

The face off between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is merely the latest chapter in the saga of a divided Korea

The Land of the Morning Calm is the phrase given to Korea as a reference to it’s splendid tranquility with picturesque high mountains and clear spring waters, especially in the mornings. It is derived from “Chaohsien” meaning “morning freshness,” a title bestowed upon it by an emperor of China’s Ming dynasty.

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Thug Messiah: The myth and legend of Tupac Shakur

Andy Warhol’s prediction that everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame is proven true. The explosion of the internet and social media has produced scores of celebrated nobodies, people who’ve achieved notoriety for the simple fact that they are well known. As with everything, celebrity has its own hierarchy, but true celebrity arguably has staying power. For the droves of “celebutantes” (a portmanteau of the words “celebrity” and “débutante”) like Paris Hilton or Nicole Ritchie (who are “famous for being famous”), there are the select few whose renown transcends time and the longevity of tabloid and scandal sheets. Those whose eminence (or infamy) extends past even the physical plane include Elvis (Presley), Prince, (Princess) Diana, Che (Guevara), Bob Marley, and Michael Jackson.

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Trump’s (non) Africa policy

Indifference to pivotal corner of globe, dysfunction within the diplomatic ranks threaten America’s global influence

As it passes its six-month anniversary, the Donald J. Trump administration foreign policy is, to date, dominated by lingering inquiries about the Russian interference with the presidential election and North Korean saber rattling. The obligatory state trips aside, the new chief executive has been silent about the region that has increasingly become a focal point global economy in the past few decades: Africa.

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‘Haute Couture’ hits the streets of Los Angeles

L.A. Trade Tech brings an homage to the Ebony Fashion Fair on Saturday

Since its founding in 1925, Los Angeles Trade–Technical College (LATTC) has established a reputation for providing a first- rate design education at a fraction of that charged by prestigious private institutions. Tomorrow and on Saturday, July 21 and 22, the Trade Tech campus will showcase the talents of its latest generation of fashion designers, along with established African-American stars of the industry, as it hosts FLAIR (Fashion Legacy Association for Industry Recognition) 2017.

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CAAM launch party proves culture need not be dull or conventional

The California African American Museum (CAAM) presented a unique opportunity to mingle cultural awareness with social engagement with its presentation of the “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” launch party on July 12. The evening centered on the opening of two exhibits: Artist Gary Simmon’s “Fade to Black,” and “Face to Face: Los Angeles Portraiture,” in tandem with the ongoing “Center Stage: African American Women in Silent Films,” Intersections: Caribbean and Brazilian Art from the Permanent Collection,” and “Circles and Circuits I: History and Art of the Chinese Caribbean Diaspora.” Also on view are the installations “No Justice, No Peace: LA 1992,” and “Trouble Every Day: LA 1965/1992,” continuing commentaries on the city’s contentious racial history.

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Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Nelsan Ellis die at 77 and 39, respectively

The entertainment world lost two standout performers this past week, as actors Nelsan Ellis and Ji-Tu Cumbuka died within days of each other. Cumbuka’s July 4 demise was reported by his niece, Amber Holifield on her Facebook page. He was 77 years old and had been hospitalized in Atlanta after complications related to vascular disease.

Voices from the sidelines: ordinary people weigh in on impeachment debate

Hours after the Impeachment March on July 2, a sizable group loitered around a tent set up on the grassy area south of City Hall known as Fletcher Bowron Square. The center of this activity was a contingent of activists from the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy based in the Bay Area. On this day, they were staging a series of dialogues between opposing members representing the ongoing debate nationwide about the legitimacy/viability of the presidency of Donald J. Trump.

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Artist movement changes the cultural landscape in Leimert Park

The wellspring of creativity in Leimert Park Village is about to yield another cultural blessing upon the city, with the first local installation of the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM) this Sunday, June 25. The brainchild of founder Maia “Crown” Williams (who also co-founded the Midwest Ethnic Conventions for Comics and Arts, or MECCA-Con), BSAM has been staging conventions in cities like Houston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Toronto over the past two years.

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Mental health organization marks 25 years of uplifting the Black community

Black folks love to congregate and break bread, and the Coalition of Mental Health Professional’s (CMHP) 25th Anniversary Celebration satisfied these primal urges as well as highlighting the timely issue of mental hygiene in metropolitan Los Angeles this past Sunday, June 11. Originally slated for Inglewood’s landmark “Proud Bird” restaurant (currently undergoing renovations), the gala was moved to the Sheraton Gateway Hotel near LAX.

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Voices in the crowd

Black Music Month highlights the unsung talents within our midst

With the hoopla bestowed upon the film and television industries located here, it is easy to forget that Los Angeles is a leading market for the music industry. The individuals profiled here are just three of the legions of melody makers congregated locally, representing every conceivable style, genre, or category (with possibly new ones being fashioned for the future). Two have originated in other parts of the country, while the third reminds us that homegrown talent is just as original and compelling as any in these United States, or abroad. While it is likely their offerings might not suit every taste, this town is saturated with venues sure to pique one’s interest. All you need to do is look.

‘Can we all get along?’ examines the legacy of 1992 at CAAM

As part of the California African American Museum’s (CAAM) commitment to the welfare of the community, it has expanded its programming to include events outside its primary focus on “art, history, and culture.” So it was that program manager Tyree Boyd-Pates, curator of the museum’s current exhibit “No Justice, No Peace: LA 1992 (running through August 27)”, assembled a contingent of relevant individuals on May 18 to ponder just how much things have (or haven’t) changed since the rebellion/riot/uprising of late April-early May, 1992.

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Where do we go from here?

The precarious dynamic between the LAPD and its Black constituency remains a point of contention

Now that the dust has settled in the wake of numerous documentaries, television news specials, formal studies by educational centers, think tanks and other entities in this, the 25th anniversary of the 1992 revolt/riot/uprising of Los Angeles, we may ask the burning questions: What did it mean, and where do we go from here? In light of the billions of dollars spent in well-publicized efforts to rebuild and/or revitalize the city, a few well-placed voices from differing vantage points consented to give their “take” on the passage of time, and the changes that have or have not taken place.

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‘Coming out of the Shadows’

Minority cannabis advocates meet in Culver City

The California Minority Alliance (CMA) recently held a seminar titled “Coming Out Of The Shadows In The Cannabis Industry After Proposition M” at the Veterans Memorial Complex in Culver City. They discussed how people of color can take advantage of business opportunities in the newly legal medical and recreational marijuana industry. The fact that the auditorium was filled to capacity is an indicator of the public’s interest to hear from the distinguished panelists.

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‘Bronzeville, Little Tokyo’ serves up WWII L.A.

As the 33rd iteration of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (http://festival.vconline.org/2017/) gets underway today through May 3, a special

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Documentaries look back on the events of April, 1992

The history of motion pictures, now over a century old, has spawned legions of genres and sub-genres, most of them fictional, or made up stories meant to replicate reality.

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‘Guerrilla’ revisits Black Radicalism within the United Kingdom

John Ridley is on a roll. A seasoned writer whose credits stretch back to the 1990s, his 2013 Oscar winning screenplay for “12 Years a Slave” vaulted him into the stratosphere of show biz.

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Unapologetically Black

A 35-year retrospective of painter Kerry James Marshall comes to his home town

Drawing is a staple of everyone’s childhood and is an important avenue of cognitive development. Very few of us continue this activity into adulthood, and fewer still progress to the point where it becomes a profession or life’s work. Los Angeles-bred Kerry James Marshall has transcended this and more. Today, he is internationally known for his artwork (especially paintings) commenting on the narrative of the African-American experience.

‘I called him Morgan’ revisits a Jazz tragedy

Jazz and the crime film, or more precisely “film noire” is as a perfect a fit as any in the canon of film genres. In the hands of the right musician(s), improvisation can make for an intriguing counterpoint to the moody visuals of dimly lit scenes usually shot at night, with generous amounts of shadows and smoke (preferably in black and white), mounted on a plot complete with degenerate behavior, jilted lovers, and above all, a protagonist who is doomed from the start.

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There goes the neighborhood

The colonies of Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, and View Park-Windsor Hills comprise one of the most affluent Black residential areas in the United States. Baldwin Hills specifically has been dubbed “the Black Beverly Hills” (a title it shares with View Park) given by the African American Digest, Atlanta Black Star and other news organs serving Black audiences, as well as spawning an eponymous reality show on Black Entertainment Television.

Racial tensions of 1992 revisited at CAAM

The California African American Museum (CAAM) continues its string of socially relevant offerings with a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riot/uprising, titled “No Justice, No Peace.” This multi-media exhibit utilizes archival materials including documents, newspapers and videos, curated by Tyree Boyd-Pates to revisit those turbulent times, along with the decades leading up to them. This compelling display is accompanied by four equally forceful presentations addressing the African American experience.

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Down the rabbit hole of the radical Left

A 19-year-old heiress, the product of one of America’s wealthiest families, is abducted by a left-wing revolutionary band of college-educated-suburbanites-turned-terrorists, led by an escaped convict and recent convert to Marxism. Within a couple of months, the kidnappers forward a “communiqué” via audio recording to a radio station, in which the victim proclaims her solidarity with her captors; denounces her parents; repudiates her past life of privilege leading to speculation that she’s been “brainwashed.” Two weeks later, videotape from a bank robbery features the captive wielding a military rifle, as an apparently willing participant.

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It ain’t ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner’

‘Get Out’ probes the racial boundaries of political correctness

The appeal of horror to moviegoers is not lost on the bean counters and film executives who determine what viewing fare will be offered up to the fickle masses. Determining what is scary is, of course, a subjective thing, as well before the advent of psychology, the Greek philosopher Aristotle suggested that people liked to be scared because it allowed them to purge their emotions, as a kind of catharsis.

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PAFF celebrates 25 years of ethnic imagery

This year’s iteration of the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) is especially memorable, because it marks the 25th year of this showcase for cinema by and about people of African descent. For a quarter century, the event has expanded upon its stated goal to promote racial tolerance and “reinforce positive images and help destroy negative stereotypes.”

Cashing in on ‘the green rush’

Economic opportunities abound in the wake of Proposition 64

It’s official. With the passage of Proposition 64, adults 21 and over may now possess small amounts of the (previously) controlled substance called marijuana or cannabis sativa, a privilege previously reserved for patients whose health requirements mandated a physician’s prescription for the medicinal consumption of this controversial plant.

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A perfect political storm

Political scientists attempt to explain the November election surprise

It was all but inevitable. An upstart candidate, a celebrity to be sure, but with no track record in political office or other tangible experience to speak of, up against former first lady, senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a marquee figure with international name recognition for the highest office in the land. Just a year ago, reputable media onlookers considered investment tycoon Donald J. Trump a long shot, even among the 17 challengers vying for the Republican presidential nomination, which included a cluster of distinguished senators (Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania) and numerous ex-governors (Jeb Bush of Florida, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Jim Gilmore of Virginia, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and John Kasich of Ohio.)

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A perfect political storm

Political scientists attempt to explain the November election surprise

It was all but inevitable. An upstart candidate, a celebrity to be sure, but with no track record in political office or other tangible experience to speak of, up against former first lady, senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a marquee figure with international name recognition for the highest office in the land. Just a year ago, reputable media onlookers considered investment tycoon Donald J. Trump a long shot, even among the 17 challengers vying for the Republican presidential nomination, which included a cluster of distinguished senators (Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania) and numerous ex-governors (Jeb Bush of Florida, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Jim Gilmore of Virginia, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and John Kasich of Ohio.)

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‘The Simpsons’ ventures into the realm of hip hop with ‘The Great Phatsby’

Since its inception in 1989, “The Simpsons” has gone on to become the longest running scripted primetime series in American television history. During the last three decades, it has picked up scores of accolades including 31 Emmy Awards (for excellence in primetime television programming), 30 Annie Awards (for excellence in the medium of animation), and one Peabody Award (for distinguished public service achievement in radio, television, and the World Wide Web media).

Author E.R. Braithwaite dead at 104

By any standards Guyana born E.R. Braithwaite’s accomplishments during the course of his 104 year life time were considerable. By turns an educator, diplomat, social worker and Royal Air Force pilot, his most notable accolade came with the publication of the 1959 autobiographical novel “To Sir, with Love,” which later became a major motion picture starring Sidney Poitier. The author and Cambridge University graduate died on Dec. 12, in Rockville, Md., of cardiac related disorders.

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Easy Rawlings tumbles through the mean streets of L.A. in ‘Charcoal Joe’

“… all the Black men and women I knew who woke up angry and went to bed in the same state of mind. Life was a bruise for us back then, and today too. We examine every action for potential threats, insults, and cheats. And if you look hard enough, you will find what you’re looking for—whether it’s there or not.” —From “Charcoal Joe,” 2016 by Walter Mosley.

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A scholarly chat on our racial heritage

Ibram Kendi chronicles the beginning of racism

Racism, an intricate component of the American saga since colonial times, is arguably the most contradictory element of the ideals upon which the country was founded, and a provocative rebuttal brought up whenever the United States seeks to point fingers at the human rights violations of its neighbors, in its self-appointed role as global policeman. Now, in a new millennium and well into our second century as a republic, this scar across the conscience of our nation is ever prominent as we embark upon the start of a new, polarizing Presidential administration.

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The American Film Institute presents its 30th iteration

festivals can be a welcome departure from the formula driven blockbusters that dominate the movie industry. This year’s 30th annual American Film Institute Festival, held Nov. 10-17, offers up a platform for emerging talents to showcase their wares, along with tributes to established stars and the festival’s yearly Legacy lineup of cinema classics.

Vaino Spencer, First Black female judge, dead at 96

Vaino Hassan Spencer, the first Black female judge in California, passed away in her Los Angeles home at 96 of natural causes, her family reported.

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