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

Three Harvard Law School alumni recently launched The M.B.A. Series, a new collaborative mentoring and training program to support African American youth. The M.B.A. Series (M.B.A. stands for Motivated Brilliant Achievers) is a multi-platform series that provides youth, ages 8 to 18-plus, with leading edge, inspirational and motivational advice and counsel bolstered by specific hard skills and technical skills development in leadership. The M.B.A. Series is a collaborative effort between three Harvard Law School alumni and their respective nonprofit foundations: Hill Harper, founder of MANifest Your Destiny; Raye Mitchell, founder of G.U.R.L.S. Rock Global Leadership Training Program; and Lisa Jones Johnson, founder of The Micro Learning Centers of America Inc., which has launched a unique approach to elementary education targeting African American boys K-5.

District of Columbia
This year’s Democratic and Republican national conventions will feature screenings of “Won’t Back Down,” a new major studio motion picture to be released on Sept. 28. The screenings will be hosted by StudentsFirst, a bipartisan national grassroots education reform movement, and partners at both conventions. The screening at the Democratic National Convention will be co-hosted by Democrats for Education Reform and Parent Revolution. The screening at the Republican National Convention will be co-hosted by the Foundation for Excellence in Education. The film tells a story of two mothers who will stop at nothing to transform their children’s failing inner-city school. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions featuring the director and co-writer, Daniel Barnz; the film’s producer, Mark Johnson, as well as StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee.

When the Florida Coalition on Black Civic Participation (FCBCP) originally planned and hosted their 2012 Healthy, Wealthy & Wise Mini-Expo and Black Men’s Round Table (BMR) in Miami, Fla., the organizers were unsure what to expect. But the gathering of Black men that included NBA Hall of Famer, Isaiah Thomas; actor and producer, Charles S. Dutton (“Rock”); Dade County Circuit Judge Daryl Traywick; and Miami Police homicide detective and cast member of “48 Hours,” Detective Ervans Ford, proved to be so powerful that the singular occasion has spawned the announcement of the FCBCP Black Men’s Roundtable Statewide Tour. Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Orlando will be among the first stops. A springboard of the popular National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) “Black Women’s Roundtable Health Wealthy & Wise National Tour,” BMR will now address and focus on the concerns and issues of Black men. With the goal to uplift, educate and empower Black men and youth, the BMR tour will continue to provide important information related to health and wellness and stimulate honest discussions about issues relevant to Black men all in a mini-expo environment.
TV One announced that its newest reality series “R&B Divas” delivered the most watched original premiere in the history of the network. The series, airing Monday nights at 10 p.m., tells the current real-life story of five multi-talented, R&B stars–Faith Evans, Nicci Gilbert-Daniels, Monifah Carter, Syleena Johnson and Keke Wyatt– looking to reclaim their place in the musical spotlight. Nearly 900,000 total viewers tuned into “R&B Divas” during the premiere and encore airings. In addition, the show was a trending topic on Twitter, garnering support from celebrities, including actress/singer Queen Latifah, Tami Roman and R&B singers Tank and Michelle Williams, among others. The eight-episode, one-hour series is filmed primarily in Atlanta, with additional shooting in Washington, D.C., New York and New Orleans.
New York
MSNBC’s Touré Neblett has apologized for using the N-word in his discussion of Mitt Romney. The co-host of “The Cycle” alleged that Romney was trying to portray President Obama as an angry Black man and called it “ni–erization.” In his apology he stated, “In discussion about the presidential race, I used a word to make a point. In retrospect, I muddied the discussion by using the ‘N-word, I could’ve made my point without that word. I shouldn’t have used it, and for that I’m sorry.
The Harlem School of the Arts (HSA) recently announced HSA Free Class Week beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4, through Saturday, Sept. 8. Free classes will be offered in music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and musical theatre for all ages. Open to the public, an invitation for families to experience the “Best Kept Secret in New York City” and discover all HSA has to offer. Visitors can tour the 37,000-square-foot facility, meet world renowned faculty and ask questions of dedicated staff. HSA Free Class Week culminates with HSA Parent Orientation for all parents of registering students on Sept. 8. Additionally, the school will hold open auditions Sept. 11 and 12, for students Grades 3-8 who wish to participate in Disney’s “The Lion King KIDS” and “The Lion King Jr.,” being held at the school Oct. 1-March 18.

As the controversy surrounding the mysterious shooting death of 21-year-old Chavis Carter continues to build with the release of videos from police car dashboard cameras, the victim’s family announced recently that they have hired the Cochran Firm to uncover the truth regarding the untimely death of their son. The Cochran Firm’s Memphis Managing Partner Benjamin Irwin said his team will begin a relentless search for the truth. The Cochran Firm is investigating what Jonesboro Arkansas Police Chief Michael Yates admitted was a “bizarre” incident on July 28 in which officers arresting Carter searched him twice without detecting a handgun, handcuffed him and placed him in the back seat of their squad car. Carter then died of what arresting officers claim was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head suffered after he was searched, handcuffed and placed in the squad car.

The Rev. Vashti McKenzie–a former journalist and broadcaster who broke the “stained-glass ceiling” when she was elected the first female bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s 200-year history–recently spoke at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. McKenzie’s election in 2000 to serve the 18th Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church, which includes the four sub-Saharan African countries of Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique and Swaziland, was hailed as a symbol of hope and change for the oldest and one of the largest historically Black denominations. McKenzie recently became the bishop of the 10th Episcopal District of the church, which includes Texas. McKenzie said her initial focus will be “Imagine AME: God Is Able to Do More than We Think, Ask, or Imagine (Ephesians 3:20).”

Forbes recently published its 2012 annual list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Of the 100 women featured, 11 are Black, of whom three are Africans. The women who made the list were first lady Michelle Obama; media mogul Oprah Winfrey; singer Beyonce; Xerox CEO Ursula Burns; Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart stores President and CEO Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO of CARE Helene Gayle; Executive Director of the World Food Programme, United Nations, Ertharin Cousin; President of Malawi Joyce Banda, Nigerian Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; and President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Risa Lavizzo-Mourey.