Arizona State University officials have reversed their stance on an incident where a police officer body slammed Professor Dr. Ersula Ore to the ground for jaywalking. Initially, ASU supported the officer until officials saw a video of the incident. The University has now released an official statement showing more support for the professor. An ASU statement indicates that the situation will be investigated more thoroughly. Wrote Rob Page, a university Provost, “I am sure that those of you who observed the video and audio recordings of the incident were equally shocked and disappointed that this took place in our community. We ended up with an outcome no one wanted and should never have happened. Professor Ore is a valued faculty member at ASU. She is an outstanding teacher and mentor. The university remains supportive of her. The entire matter is being reviewed and a further statement from ASU is forthcoming.” Video of the incident can be seen at www.azfamily.com
Black Entertainment Television Networks (BET) has released its highly anticipated original movie, “Gun Hill,” featuring Larenz Tate, which has the potential to become a TV series. Tate (“Love Jones,” “Dead Presidents,” “Menace II Society,” “Crash,” etc.), plays a con turned cop in the Bronx section of New York City. Executive Producer Reggie Rock Bythewood penned the two-hour BET action-drama, which features new music from Antonique Smith (Notorius), Lonny Bereal, Gene Noble and Yummy Bingham. The music score for Gun Hill was supervised by Jabari Ali (“Biker Boyz,” “Waist Deep,” “Brooklyn Finest”) and composed by renowned Jazz musician Terence Blanchard, a five-time Grammy-award winning artist. The movie airs this month on BET. Visit http://www.pickettpr.com/#!bets-gun-hill-music/c1ys0 to hear snippets of the soundtrack.
The new VH1 series, “Atlanta Exes,” will premiere on Monday, August 18. The reality show follows in the footsteps of “Hollywood Exes.” Atlanta provides the backdrop for group of ex-wives and includes wives and former girlfriends of an A-List of men. The “Atlanta Exes” cast includes former wife of Usher, Tameka Raymond; interior designer Christina Johnson, (ex-wife of Cee-Lo Green); and author and businesswoman Monyetta Shaw, ex-fiancé of Ne-Yo, who is busy penning a children’s book series based on the personality of her toddler. Other cast members include entrepreneur Sheree Buchanan, ex-wife of former Atlanta Falcons player Ray Buchanan, who co-owns a dessert catering company and also has a business that specializes in creating custom bedazzled hookah pipes; and actress, comedian and producer Torrei Hart, ex-wife of Kevin Hart.
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday in a bribery scandal. U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan also ordered that Nagin pay $84,264 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. In February, a jury found him guilty of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and other favors from businessmen looking for a break from his administration. Of the 21 counts against him, he was convicted of 20. Prosecutors argued that Nagin was at the center of a kickback scheme in which he received checks, cash, wire transfers, personal services and free travel from businessmen seeking contracts and favorable treatment from the city. A January 2013 indictment detailed more than $200,000 in bribes to the mayor and his family, and in exchange, participating businesses won more than $5 million in city contracts.
Entrepreneur Russell Simmons and Danny Simmons will host the 15th Annual Art For Life benefit Saturday, July 26, in Bridgehampton. Renowned news reporter Soledad O’Brien will emcee the evening, which will honor Michael R. Bloomberg, Valentino D. Carlotti, Jason Flom, Kimora Lee Simmons and artist Carrie Mae Weems for their career achievements and philanthropic work. The event’s honorary chair is Star Jones. The program will honor exemplary individuals who have supported the foundation’s mission throughout the years. In addition there will be an Art For Life art auction on Charitybuzz starting running Aug. 27 through Sept. 17. The art auction includes works from 2014 AFL Carrie Mae Weems, as well as past featured artists, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Yoko Ono, Sante D’Orazio, and others. Proceeds from Art For Life benefit the foundation’s signature arts education and gallery programs, which directly serve more than 3,000 inner city youth each year. Founded in 1995 by brothers Russell, Danny and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is dedicated to providing inner-city youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, as well as providing exhibition opportunities to under-represented and emerging young artists.
Celebrated director, writer, producer Alton Glass was once again in the winner’s circle at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). At the 18th annual ABFF held in New York City, Glass and ensemble won awards for his drama, “CRU,” making history by winning all nominated categories. The award-winning film “CRU” tells the story of four high school best friends whose lives are dramatically changed after a near fatal accident, and when they reunite 18 years later, they discover a set of past and present secrets that threaten to alter the course of their future. The drama won awards in each nominated category, including the Grand Jury prizes for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Narrative feature, and the audience award for Best Film. Actor Keith Robinson won Best Actor for his role in the film.
Michael Jordan, who recently was declared a billionaire by Forbes magazine, has released a new book with some startling revelations about his attitudes growing up. “Michael Jordan: The Life,” is a new biography about the six-time NBA champion by sportswriter Roland Lazenby. Per an excerpt from the book, Jordan told Lazenby that he was suspended from school in 1977 after throwing a soda at a girl who called him the N-word.
“So I threw a soda at her,” Jordan’s quoted as saying. “I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all White people.” According to Lazenby, the root of Jordan’s animosity came from growing up in an area of North Carolina where the Ku Klux Klan once had such a strong presence, it was like a chamber of commerce to the area. “Jordan’s story is an economic story, Lazenby says. “It’s a Black power story. It doesn’t come from politics or protests, it comes right off the coastal plain of North Carolina and out of the African American experience.”
A Chevron grant is being used to train African Americans to work in the oil and gas industry. The program is called the Mentors Community Wealth Building Initiative, which was launched to certify “urban oil and gas thought leaders.” The program began two years ago and has proven beneficial, as former students of the six-week course started sending letters to instructors such as Kris Kirk, informing her that they had been hired in the oil industry. Before the classes began, a survey within the regional shale industry showed that most of the work force—80 percent—was White. But supporters of the program say that those numbers are changing. Chevron, which is the lead sponsor of the classes, has hired some of the program’s graduates and continues to be involved. Since its beginnings in 2012, 44 people have gone through the classes and 39 have been hired within the industry. Average starting salaries are $60,000.
Comic and actress Cocoa Brown will co-host a self-esteem workshop at the fifth annual “Loving The Me I See” girls’ self-esteem workshop on Saturday, July 26, in Dallas. Angela Clay, the author and creator of “Loving The Me I See” (LTMIS), says she is delighted that Brown, of Tyler Perry’s “The Single Moms Club,’ will co-host the empowering self-esteem workshop for pre-teen and adolescent girls at the Richardson Civic Center.
“Brown has a heart of compassion, an energetic personality and a genuine desire to help young girls to connect to who they are.” Clay commented. “We are simply honored that she will grace us with her presence at the workshop as we embark on celebrating five years of empowering the minds of young girls at the workshop.”
Clays says that the LTMIS workshop attracts many young girls from all walks-of-life, backgrounds, and nationalities who will participate in group activities and one-on-one exercises to enhance their self-esteem.
Officials from Northwestern University are urging the National Labor Relations Board to overturn a regional ruling that would allow its scholarship football players to unionize, holding up the football program as exemplifying the university’s integration of athletics and education. In a 60-page brief filed with the labor board in Washington, the university laid out its opposition to student athletes forming a union and asked to argue its case before the board. The regional director’s decision “transforms what has always been a cooperative educational relationship between university and student into an adversarial employer-employee relationship,” the university said in the brief.
Northwestern’s brief was one of several filed last week by organizations on both sides of a March 26 ruling by a regional director of the labor board that could revolutionize college sports. The director ruled that football players who receive full scholarships to the Big Ten school qualify as employees under federal law and therefore can unionize.
In asking the board to overturn the ruling, Northwestern University said that its Chicago-region director “overlooked or ignored key evidence that Northwestern presented showing that its student-athletes are primarily students, not employees.”
In its own brief, the newly formed College Athletes Players Association argued that Northwestern football is a commercial enterprise from which the university derives substantial financial benefits. “They are entitled to representation… the regional director’s decision should be affirmed,” the union said in a statement. The full labor board is weighing the case but has no deadline for a ruling.
Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya