Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.
President Barack Obama’s top Hollywood fundraiser has reportedly resigned as U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas and returned to Los Angeles in the hopes of patching up the president’s battered relationship with the entertainment industry. Nicole Avant, the daughter of music executive and Democratic activist Clarence Avant, was one of Obama’s earliest Hollywood supporters, raising millions for the president’s 2008 campaign. She was rewarded with a diplomatic post, which she has now put aside to support the president’s reelection, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Sources have characterized the relationship between the Obama administration and Hollywood as tense because some of Obama’s top money-givers have apparently felt ignored and disregarded except when the president needed campaign contributions. To that end, Avant and her husband, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, will host a major fundraiser attended by first lady Michelle Obama at their Beverly Hills home on Jan. 31, to rekindle Hollywood’s support.
Bounce TV will launch its first major on-air promotional campaign later this month. “TV Our Way” will feature Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union and Regina Hall, who star in the upcoming Screen Gems/Rainforest Films motion picture, “Think Like a Man.” The film is an adaptation of Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” and is the story of four friends who conspire to turn the tables on their women when they discover the ladies have been using Harvey’s relationship advice against them. The movie will be released March 9. All three stars taped promotional pieces for the “TV Our Way” campaign, as well as the Bounce TV’s upcoming tribute to Black History Month in February. Hart also taped promos for Bounce TV’s new “Brown Sugar Saturday Night” weekly primie-time franchise, which launched this week. “Brown Sugar Saturday Night” will showcase urban cinema featuring some of the most popular African American movies of all time—“Shaft,” “Cleopatra Jones,” “The Mack,” and “Super Fly.”
Tavis Smiley was set to deliver the keynote address at an MLK luncheon hosted by the Peoria Civic Center next week in central Illinois until a group of Obama supporters demanded that he be replaced or face a boycott, Politico reported. One of Obama’s most consistent critics, Smiley has often accused the President of not doing enough for the poor and the millions of African Americans who helped put him into the Oval Office. Smiley, the PBS talk show host, says he was ousted as the speaker because he was trying to hold the president accountable. Smiley’s replacement will be Hip Hop intellectual and Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson. Smiley was set to earn $37,000, but will be given a smaller cancellation fee instead.