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

The Urban Victory Online Film Festival (UVOFF) opened this week at It will be the first ever online festival to focus on films by or about African Americans and people of African descent. The festival will run from Aug. 15 to Sept. 30, and will feature more than 30 short films–dramas, comedies, and documentaries from a diverse group of filmmakers. See the list of films at film_makers. Viewers can watch any or all films for free upon registration at If they view, rate, or comment on the films, they will be automatically registered in a drawing to win a pair of theater passes to one of the top regional Black film festivals in the U.S. Three viewer/advocates will win two passes each. In addition, awards will be given to filmmakers for best narrative short, best documentary and best international film.
Visual icon Bernard Stanley Hoyes wowed an enthusiastic house recently with his “Seven Paintings, a Story in Performance” at the Ford Amphitheatre. Presented by Bernard Hoyes’ Caribbean Fine Arts Publishing and the Jamaica Cultural Alliance, “Seven Paintings” served as a tribute commemorating the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence. “Seven Paintings” serialized a story of ambition and redemption, featuring art selections from Hoyes’ popular Revival Series, the choreography of Pat Taylor with her Jazzantiqua Dance Ensemble, drumming in the Yoruba/Nyabengi tradition from the Kabasa Drum Ensemble and the “Tambourine Chorus.”
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan recently presented actress Brély Evans, star of the recently opened film “Sparkle,” with the key to the city for her charitable contributions to the bay area community and the Sharon Randolph Foundation. Evans also hosted a private screening of “Sparkle” at Jack London Cinemas in Jack London Square. The event was part of the Sparkle for a Cause fundraiser that also featured an All-White Party Affair at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Proceeds from the screening and white party benefited the Sharon Randolph Foundation.
District of Columbia
The National Archives will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with a free special display of the original document from Dec. 30, 2012, through Jan. 1, 2013. The Emancipation Proclamation is displayed only for a limited time each year because of its fragility, which can be made worse by exposure to light, and the need to preserve it for future generations. The document will be on display in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives building, which is located on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Information on public programs and family activities surrounding the display will be announced closer to the anniversary.

Filmmaker Shandra McDonald-Bradford has developed a web series that promotes an awareness of sex trafficking. “The Internet is ground zero for this epidemic, and we want girls, we want pimps, we want people to come across it in a television format,” she says. “Hands Off This Girl” is a new web series that broadcasts the voice of victims in the sex-trafficking system. Jada Pinkett-Smith has been a voice for the issue. Bradford is trying to raise awareness about the epidemic and is asking for donations to help produce the series. To contribute, visit and scroll down to the donate button.
Former Dodger pitcher Don Newcombe, one of only two players in baseball history to win the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards, was given Major League Baseball’s Beacon of Hope award last weekend at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta as part of the Delta Civil Rights Game. He was honored along with the founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire (Beacon of Change award) and Congressman John Lewis (Beacon of Life award). The awards luncheon is one of the many events held as part of the Delta Civil Rights game weekend.

Coors Light kicks off the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Football Classic season with the Super Cold Drumline and the “Experience a Classic Sweepstakes.” Football fans ages 21 and older can enter daily at for a chance to win an all-access, VIP fly-away trip to a HBCU Football Classic game. Grand prize trips include airfare and hotel accommodations for two, prime game seating, VIP access to a Coors Light Tailgate party, featuring a special appearance with a celebrity HBCU legend.
New Jersey
Randal Pinkett, season four winner of NBC’s “The Apprentice” and chairman and chief executive officer, BCT Partners, a national consulting firm delivering a full-range of program management, research and evaluation, technical assistance and information technology services to the U.S. Government, has been awarded two contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH). BCT Partners will provide a broad range services to SAMHSA as well as mission critical IT requirements across the entire federal government. The SAMHSA Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract has total ceiling of $900 million during the next five years. The NIH Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 3 (CIO-SP3) IDIQ Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) has a total ceiling of $20 billion for the next ten years.
New York
On view from Sept. 14, 2012-Jan. 6, 2013, at the International Center of Photography’s “Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life” offers a comprehensive historical overview of the pictorial response to apartheid that has never been undertaken by any other museum. Through its images, this exhibition explores the significance of the 50-year civil rights struggle, from how apartheid defined and marked South Africa’s identity from 1948 to 1994, to the rise of Nelson Mandela and, finally, its lasting impact on society. Curated by Okwui Enwezor with Rory Bester and based on more than six years of research, the exhibition examines the aesthetic power of the documentary form–from the photo essay to reportage, social documentary to photojournalism and art–in recording, analyzing, articulating, and confronting the legacy of apartheid and its effect on everyday life in South Africa.
Every year, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program selects 1,000 talented students to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. The program provides scholars with personal and professional development through leadership programs, along with academic support throughout their college career. Administered by the United Negro College Fund, the program was initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program aims to reduce financial barriers for minority students with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need and increase the representation of these target groups in the disciplines where they are severely underrepresented. The deadline for submission is Jan. 16, 2013.

A four-star general and former head of the U.S. Africa Command is under investigation for allegedly misspending hundreds of thousands of dollars on hotels, travel, and a host of lavish amenities. Gen. William “Kip” Ward, who has been under investigation for about 17 months, retired but was retained on active duty in Virginia to serve as an assistant to the vice chief of the Army. Disciplinary action hasn’t yet been determined, and it is unclear whether Ward will face criminal charges.