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

Actors Hill Harper and Nate Parker have partnered to host the 5th annual Manifest Your Destiny Toy Drive. Originally created by Harper’s nonprofit foundation of the same name, the charity event will be held in conjunction with the USMC Toys for Tots Program on the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Playhouse Nightclub in Hollywood. Last year, the Manifest Your Destiny Toy Drive yielded the most donations of any event of its kind in Southern California. More than 1,000 toys were collected; a record the foundation is determined to break this holiday season. This year’s event will feature a celebrity host committee, including Gabrielle Union, Isaiah Washington and Nicole Scherzinger, along with food, beverages, entertainment, toys and guest gift bags made possible by CBS, Ogo Sport, Miss Jessie’s, Popchips, Chambord Black Raspberry Flavored Vodka, 1iota, Cupcake Cuties Cupcakery, Diabolo Beverages, DJ B. Hen and GoodWoodNYC. Harper and Parker’s intentions are to utilize the toy drive as a vehicle to raise awareness for less fortunate youth in Los Angeles.

District of Columbia
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will announce the 2012 National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week award winners. This year’s awards recognize the outstanding contributions of 12 private sector, nonprofit entities and leaders in the categories of lifetime achievement, leadership, access to capital, exporting and manufacturing that have had a major impact on the growth of minority business enterprises. The winners will be honored during the 30th Anniversary MED Week Conference. “Through effective advocacy, entrepreneurial success and economic impact, the individuals and firms selected for these honors have shown exemplary commitment to the minority business sector,” said David A. Hinson, MBDA national director. “They are pillars in their communities who help to create jobs and keep our nation competitive in the global economy. MBDA and the U.S. Department of Commerce are pleased to pay tribute to these outstanding leaders and firms and the entrepreneurial spirit they embody and promote.”

Bubbly, creative and kind-hearted accurately describes 11-year old Myah J. Davie of Orlando. Myah loves to draw and design clothing as a hobby so when her parents’ college friends, Sheri and Corey Crawley, started Pretty Brown Girl, LLC, Myah was eager to help. The company’s flagship product, “Laila” the Pretty Brown Girl doll, was inspired by the couple watching the reenactment of the 1940s doll test that aired on CNN 360 with Anderson Cooper. The study showed that when given a choice, children at a very early age have biases toward brown skin tones. At the same time, the couples’ eldest daughter Laila, was in kindergarten where she was the only African American student in her class and her self-esteem was affected. Myah was center stage when it came to the dolls’ outfit, offering her creativity and sketches. One of her designs, a light pink and fuchsia tunic with embroidered butterflies and brown leggings was chosen and is now proudly featured on “Laila.”
The Urban League of Greater Atlanta recently honored NBA legend and business entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson with the “EOD Business Champion of the Year” award at its 51st annual Equal Opportunity Day Dinner and Gala. This year’s theme was “Celebrating Champions of Job Creation.” “I am deeply honored to receive the Business Champion of the Year Award from the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, an organization that I have always respected and admired for the work it does to empower communities and support families to achieve economic empowerment,” Johnson said.

The Hurston/Wright Foundation, which supports the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the first national award presented to published writers of African descent, has extended the award deadline for its 2013 submissions to Dec. 10. The award honors the highest quality writing in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. For additional information, email The telephone number is (301) 459-2108. The legacy award and the foundation are named in honor of novelists Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright. The foundation is based in Bowie, Md.

The Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color (COSEBOC) has launched a new website to make it more informative, useful to practitioners and easy to navigate. The website,, will provide access to the online community of members, facilitate interaction, including discussion of postings, current topics, questions and concerns. In addition, the website will post new resources, promising practices, current research and professional development opportunities. also will schedule free webinars for members. In addition, the website will be updated regularly with blog posts, member profiles, current topics in the member online community, announcements about the annual gathering of leaders and other vital news.

U.S. gymnast and two-time Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas believes that her own success is directly proportional to the immense support of her family, friends, and faith in God. This theme is at the heart of her debut memoir, “Grace, Gold & Glory: My Leap of Faith,” now available at bookstores nationwide through the Zondervan division of HarperCollins. The 16-year-old, who captivated the country at the 2012 London Olympics as she flew high as the All-Around Gold Medal winner, tells her story of faith, perseverance, and determination, demonstrating you can reach your dreams if you let yourself soar.

New York
Earl “Speedo” Carroll, the lead singer for 1950s group the Cadillacs and a member of the Coasters, died Nov. 25 from diabetes and a recent stroke in Manhattan. He was 75. His most-famous song was “Speedo,” which was released in 1955.

More than 3,500 administrators, teachers, and students from independent schools around the world will meet in Houston on Dec. 6-8 to attend the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC) and Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC). The conferences will take place at the Hilton Americas Houston Convention Center and the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. In addition to keynote and featured speakers, PoCC attendees will participate in affinity group discussions and attend workshop sessions such as: Pursuing a Career in Leadership: Secrets for Success for Candidates of Color; Black Students, Teacher Expectations, Racial Congruence, and Stereotype Threat; Culturally Relevant Teaching: Educational Equity for Ethnically Diverse Students; and Establishing Credibility: Teaching Marginalization in Settings of Privilege. For more details about the NAIS People of Color Conference, visit
GMC TV, Light Records and Roland Corp. will participate in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s fourth annual Most Powerful Voices Gospel competition. The online Gospel singing competition helps the association to educate people about stroke, the No. 4 cause of death and the leading preventable cause of disability in America. The contest is open to independent artists, groups and choirs who sing Gospel, holy Hip Hop, praise and worship music. Participants, who must be 18 years or older, may sign up at and upload a video or MP3 file by Jan. 31. Family, friends, and fans, have until April 5 to vote for their favorite artists. Those who register to compete or vote will receive lifesaving stroke information from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The top 10 finalists will be judged by Gospel music industry leaders, including singer and songwriter Michelle Williams (formerly of Destiny’s Child), James Robinson, president of A&R at Light Records, and holy Hip Hop artist Flame.
Singer and actress Beyoncé Knowles will star in and direct a documentary about her life, according a several news reports. The documentary will include a mix of music, personal study as well concert footage. So far 29 minutes of film footage have been shown to movie distributors. HBO will air the documentary on Feb. 16, 2013.