Angela Bassett (77674)

California

Award-winning actress Angela Bassett is set for her directorial debut with an original movie based on the life and career of Whitney Houston, but not without controversy. The Lifetime movie is set for release in 2015 and will cover Houston’s rise and fall. Bassett comments, “I have such regard for both Whitney’s and Bobby’s amazing talents and accomplishments; and I feel a responsibility in the telling of their story. Their humanity and bond fascinates us all. I’m beyond excited to have this opportunity to go behind the camera and into their world.” Actress Yaya DaCosta, best known for her debut on “America’s Next Top Model,” has been cast to play Whitney Houston. The late singer’s family is reportedly not happy with the production and is said to be considering a lawsuit to stop it. In fact, the family, according to TMZ, is planning its own film.


Bobby Brown,

the former husband of Whitney Houston, has switched gears and created his own brand of food, Bobby Brown Foods. The line is scheduled for release in June with three barbecue sauces, all made from scratch. The sauces will be manufactured in Los Angeles. According to his publicist, Brown loves to cook and will be developing a line of foods that will be healthy and eco-friendly. “It’s soul food with a clean way to eat,” Brown declared. A cookbook is forthcoming and the barbecue sauce is set to be available in stores this fall.

Florida

The Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) will participate in the 100 Black Men National Convention in Hollywood, Fla., today through June 15. The theme of the conference is “Education in an Era of Change: Ensuring Excellence for African American Youth.” The 100 Black Men of America, Inc. was established in 1986 and focuses on creating educational opportunities, promoting economic empowerment, addressing health disparities and developing positive mentoring relationships within the African American community. Members of the organization stand as remarkable examples to youth who aspire to excel as multifaceted leaders. The Marine Corps participation will provide 100 Black Men members with an opportunity to learn about multiple career opportunities that can propel prospects forward in education, leadership and goal achievement throughout their lifetime.

Georgia

Atlanta’s historic Spelman College recognized the impact and influence of Black women as international leaders during its 10th annual Spelman Women of Color Conference. Several exceptional African American women were honored: Johnson Publishing Chairman Linda Johnson Rice, retiring Spelman College professor Dr. Christine King Farris and global women’s leadership advocate Hiroko Tatebe. “Access Hollywood” host Shaun Robinson, a Spelman alumnus, hosted the event. Game Changer Awards were also presented to several other remarkable women of color, including Rep. Stacey Abrams, U.S. Army Reserve Major General Marcia Anderson, social advocate Analisa Balares, Navajo Times Editor Candace Begody, CW network executive Traci Lynn Blackwell, Francisca Brown of American Family Insurance, Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. Bush, publishing executive Kimberly Casiano, strategic marketing expert Anna C. Catalano, KeyCorp executive Margot Copeland, JPMorgan Chase diversity executive Patricia David, Teneo Holdings’ Kimberly Davis, Coca-Cola’s Dr. Shelly Huang, communications expert Sachi Koto, media mogul Paula Madison, public policy public relations leader Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO Tisha Tallman and Bank of America diversity executive Geri Thomas.


During its recent 130th commencement ceremony, 430 Black men graduated from Morehouse College. Among those graduates was Kwame Morris, the son of music legend Stevie Wonder, who was also in attendance. From the class of 1979, the Honorable Jeh C. Johnson, who is the fourth U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, delivered the commencement address. Johnson later joined other members of the class of 1979—including President John Silvanus Wilson Jr.—in celebrating their 35th reunion.

Illinois

Chicago Democrat and former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will get out of federal prison earlier than expected. His projected release, according to the Chicago Tribune, is now Sept. 20, 2015, instead of Dec. 31, 2015. Although prison officials claim it is unrelated, Jackson has reportedly just paid $550,000 of the $750,000 he was fined by the U.S. government for misuse of campaign funds. He had paid $200,000 earlier. The son of Rev. Jesse Jackson is currently being held in a federal prison near Montgomery, Ala.

New Hampshire

The first African American to run for Congress in New Hampshire’s history announced his candidacy this week. Jim Lawrence, of Hudson, N.H., is no stranger to politics. For the past 12 years, he has served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. A Republican, Lawrence will face off against his opponents in the state’s primary on Sept. 9.

New York

African American singer/actress Audra McDonald made history this past Sunday night when she won a record-setting sixth Tony Award. No female on Broadway has won more. Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris each won five. McDonald won her latest Tony for her role as Lady Day (Billie Holiday) in the show “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. She has also appeared in “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Porgy and Bess” and “Ragtime,” as well as others.

Pennsylvania

Author Harvey Smith Sr. has released a book called “The Second American Revolution: Closing the Four Basic Gaps of African-Americans.” Smith said he wrote the book to provide a “fresh look at the history of slavery in America.” There are four gaps that hinder Blacks from achieving in this country, Smith contends, and they will continue to exist unless there is a dramatic shift of thought. Smith has an MBA in business from the University of Pittsburgh and is a professor. More info is available at www.harveysmithsr.com

Tennessee

It’s not the Jim Crow era, but you’d think so if you heard a tape obtained by CNN of a White supremacist in Memphis threatening to hang a Black man for drinking from a “White people” fountain. According to CNN, Untonia Harris used his phone to record his boss after he felt he was the victim of discrimination for months while working at the Atkinson Cotton Warehouse in Memphis. Harris recorded several instances where his boss denied him access to things such as the office microwave. When Harris asked on the recording what would happen if he got caught, the voice on the tape replies, “That’s when we hang you.” Since the recording was released, the supervisor has been fired but no further action has been taken.


A 43-year-old Nashville woman is being charged with assault after she allegedly made racially-charged threats to passengers and crew on a United Airlines flight when told to turn off her phone. According to court records, Lashonda Lee Williams was asked to turn off her phone after takeoff on a flight from Nashville to Houston. Williams reportedly responded by saying, “I kill White people like you.” According to the Smoking Gun, she also told a female passenger that she would follow her home when the flight landed to find out where the passenger lived. The United flight returned to Nashville and Williams was arrested and charged with assault. She is scheduled for a court appearance on June 25.

Texas

Kung Fu Lounge, a popular Dallas nightclub, is under investigation by the city over allegations that the club’s managers racially discriminated against minorities. According to a former event coordinator for the venue, managers ordered staff to deny reservations to callers who “sounded ghetto or too Asian,” says Stephanie Guidy, the former staffer. She told Dallas TV station News 8 that managers also told employees to deny entrance to minorities that dressed a certain way. The city council is investigating the charges. The Dallas nightclub could lose its liquor license if the charges are found to be true.

Washington, D.C.

Rashema Melson, a young woman who currently lives in a homeless shelter, graduated from her high school as valedictorian. According to Fox News, the Anacostia High School senior is set to attend prestigious Georgetown University on a full scholarship this fall. Melson managed this while living at the shelter with her family. “It’s pushing me to be better, to know what I want in life,” the 18-year-old told Fox.