Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.

Arizona
Sisters Network Inc. has joined forces with Solis Women’s Health to provide free mammograms for women nationwide through Sisters’ Breast Cancer Assistance Program. The program provides free mammograms to all women and financial assistance for breast cancer survivors’ health-related expenses, including medical related lodging, co-payments, office visits and prosthesis. As part of the partnership, Solis will provide the mammogram screenings at their clinics located in Texas, Arizona, Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among African American women. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 26,840 new cases of breast cancer are expected to occur among African American women by the end of 2012. Sisters’ has provided more than 500 women with free mammogram screenings around the United States through the Breast Cancer Assistance Program.

California
The San Diego Music Thing (SDMT) conference is now in its fifth year drawing music industry professionals, talented musicians and aspiring professionals to San Diego. This year’s Music Thing will be held Sept. 14-15, with daytime events, including panels, mentoring, demo review sessions and an acoustic pool stage, held at the historic Lafayette Hotel in North Park. Featured speakers for the event include Chuck D from Public Enemy, Wayne Kramer (MC5) and Martin Atkins (TourSmart). The annual event is presented by the San Diego Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides experiential music programs to San Diego County schools via its Guitars for Schools Program, organizes the San Diego Music Awards show and provides professional development opportunities to the community’s musicians. Proceeds from both the San Diego Music Thing and the San Diego Music Awards benefit the Guitars for Schools Program. For more information, visit www.sandiegomusicthing.com.
District of Columbia
Norwood Holland, blogger and author of the “Drew Smith” book series, has partnered with WLVS Online Radio to produce and host Book World, a new weekly program designed to promote Black authors and their books. The show, as part of the station’s developing lifestyles programming, will feature a recap of weekly publishing developments, industry news, and discussions of issues confronting writers and independent publishers. The format will include book reviews and author interviews and offer commercial sponsorship spotlighting book trailer audios. The show debuts Sept. 2, online at WLVS Listen Vision (www.listenvision.com) at 11 a.m. EST and will be downloadable in MP3. For more information, contact Norwood at www.NorwoodHolland.com.

Georgia
UnitedHealthcare announced the winners of the third annual “Hair Fitness” competition, which seeks to promote styles that facilitate healthy and fit African American women. The company hosted the competition in partnership with the Bronner Bros. at the International Hair Show on Sunday, a trade show that draws 60,000 hairstylists from across the nation. Linette Battle of Palm Beach, Fla., won first place. Battle was among more than 50 stylists competing before a crowd of 1,500 to showcase innovative, stylish and exercise-friendly hairstyles. The goal of the Hair Fitness competition is to encourage professional hairstylists to create hairstyles that are easy to maintain and empower their clients to make exercise a part of their daily routine.

Maryland
Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of the RLJ Companies, announced an agreement with YouTube to develop a new faith-friendly channel. ALRIGHT TV is designed to appeal to the aspirational and inspirational goals of consumers of all ages with an emphasis on content that informs, entertains, and addresses personal and family-related issues in a secular and positive manner. RLJ Companies is in the process of merging two new acquisitions, Image Entertainment Inc. and Acorn Media Group, into RLJ Entertainment Inc. one of the largest global independent distributors of digital and video content.
Ohio
My Black is Beautiful’s Imagine a Future initiative continued its mission to impact the lives of 1 million Black girls through the sponsorship of the Black Girls Rock! Queens’ Camp for Leadership and Excellence. Fifty young women between the ages of 13 through 17 had the opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime residential camp experience. My Black is Beautiful launched the Imagine a Future initiative in partnership with Black Girls Rock! and United Negro College Fund. Camp participants were chosen based on a rigorous application process that included a personal video, personal and academic references and exhibition of strong leadership qualities. Black Girls Rock! Camp combined expected summer camp experiences such as swimming and horseback riding with practical and life skills workshops on personal finances, public speaking and college preparation. Through these activities the camp promotes self-confidence, leadership, sisterhood and community service among young African American girls.
Texas
Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment Inc., announced that “Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day,” starring Blair Underwood, Sharon Leal, Pam Grier and Nicoye Banks, will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on Sept. 4. The film is the second project in T.D. Jakes’ “Woman Thou Art Loosed!” franchise. “Releasing ‘Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day’ on DVD allows our TDJ Independents division to distribute its signature inspirational content to a wider audience than through box office alone,” said T.D. Jakes. Surpassing industry expectations, the Neema Barnette film earned $6,376 per screen, beating “The Hunger Games” and finishing as the No. 1 independent feature its opening weekend. “We seized the opportunity to bring faith-to-film in a way that neither shrinks back from realistic topics nor limits the expansiveness of our audience,” added Jakes. “We believe the film does that in very dynamic and powerful way.”

Virginia
While the nation awaits the imminent release of the latest numbers on poverty from the U.S. Census Bureau, broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Princeton University Professor Emeritus Cornel West, hosts of the nationally syndicated public radio program Smiley & West from Public Radio International (PRI), are once again bringing national attention to economic injustice by announcing “The Poverty Tour 2.0.” The tour will be on the road Sept. 12-15, 2012, visiting four election battleground states: Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. During the tour, Smiley and West will host free-and-open-to-the-public, solution-providing town hall meetings that will broadcast live on multiple platforms, including Ustream, radio and social media. To follow “The Poverty Tour 2.0,” please visit www.smileyandwest.com.

International
After a news report concerning gymnast Gabby Douglas’s record-breaking gold medal and how she was the first African American to win the women’s all-around title, a commercial came on featuring a monkey doing gymnastics. The spot was for NBC’s fall show “Animal Practice,” which the network has been promoting heavily throughout the Olympics. Social media immediately fired up with comments saying that the placement of the ad was bad-timing, insensitive and racist. NBC released a statement saying no offense was intended by the poorly timed promotional ad, which had already run three times, and that it was placed in that slot before the commentary on Douglas was scheduled.

COMPILED BY JULIANA NORWOOD