California

Another positive use for medical marijuana has been targeted by actress and TV personality Whoopi Goldberg, who recently launched a new cannabis line – available only in California at this time – that is specifically designed to relieve painful menstrual cramps, reports BlackNews.com. She has partnered with entrepreneur Maya Elisabeth to launch their new company called Whoopi & Maya. Elisabeth is the founder of Om Edibles, an all-female medical marijuana business located in northern California. She has won seven High Times Cannabis Cup awards, and enjoys a growing reputation as one of the best creators of medical cannabis products in California. Their products include organic tinctures, skin rubs, extracts, bath soaks and even drops that can be taken orally. All of the products are rich in magnesium, iron, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Other ingredients in addition to sun grown cannibus include organic raw cacao butter, organic raw cacao powder, organic coconut oil, organic raw agave, sea salt, olive oil, avocado seed oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, beeswax, organic elderberries and more. The idea for the product line came from Goldberg’s own experience with painful menstrual cramps. She found that cannabis was the only thing that gave her relief. So, when she met Elisabeth, the two women hit it off immediately and quickly decided launch a signature line of medical cannabis products. For now, however, there products are only available to medical marijuana prescription-carrying California residents. Learn more about their company by visiting www.whoopiandmaya.com

Florida

Graduating students booed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as she spoke May 10 at Bethune-Cookman University’s commencement, and many turned their backs to protest her appearance at the historically Black school, reports the Washington Post. The speech was part of the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to reach out to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Many students and alumni had objected to having DeVos as speaker in part because they said that outreach is an empty gesture or because they were offended by a remark she had made about historically black schools. But the university president defended DeVos’s work as a philanthropist and her commitment to education. At Bethune-Cookman, alumni and others delivered petitions last week to administrators with thousands of signatures demanding that DeVos not be allowed to speak. The state’s NAACP chapter called on the university president to resign, and a national teachers’ union amplified the opposition. Graduates came into the auditorium smiling, many with flowers and other decorations plastered on their mortarboards, and listened to the ceremony politely, until Edison Jackson, the university’s president, introduced Omarosa Manigault, an adviser to President Trump. Students started booing. Jackson stopped and said: “You don’t know her. You don’t know her story.” School leaders at the front of the room and some faculty applauded as he introduced DeVos to give her an honorary doctorate. But many students booed. When she began speaking, thanking Jackson, the room erupted with shouts. DeVos had to raise her voice as she thanked the moms attending the ceremony. About half of the 380 graduates turned their backs on her. “Choose which way you want to go,” Jackson said sternly as the disruptions continued.

Georgia

The ninth annual AAMBC Literary Awards will be held in Atlanta on Saturday, June 10. The featured highlight is the Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award, being presented to acclaimed poet Nikki Giovanni. AAMBC creator Tamika Newhouse says it is a dream to honor Giovanni and to bring her to the show’s home of Atlanta. “Honoring Nikki Giovanni is a dream come true for me. It’s great to honor legends while we have them here with us. This means a lot to AAMBC and to the African American literary community.” After previous successful years, Newhouse extended the awards show to include a full weekend, entitled the Black Writer’s Weekend. The entire weekend is filled with panels, workshops and a private movie screening with the formal awards gala positioned as the highlight of the weekend. “We have panels on breaking into screenwriting for TV and film, a relationship panel especially for women, a sci-fi writer’s workshop for high school students and author sightings and our celebratory book bash. We wanted this to be a true celebration of literary achievement in every area imaginable.” The annual AAMBC Literary Awards was launched in 2009 in San Antonio. For a complete listing of the workshops, panels and discussions scheduled for the AAMBC awards visit www.aambcaawards.com

Massachusetts

Black students at a Malden charter school who wear their hair in braids are facing detention and suspension by administrators who say the hairstyles violate the school’s dress code, reports the Boston Globe. Parents describe the crackdown as racist. Colleen Cook, whose twin 15-year-old daughters, Deanna and Mya, attend the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, said May 11 that her children have served multiple detentions since last week and could be suspended. “They teach them at a very high academic level and I appreciate that, and that’s why they go to the school,” Cook said. “But, unfortunately, they don’t have any sensitivity to diversity at all.” Two other mothers said their Black or biracial children had been subjected to discipline or questioning over their hairstyles – braids with extensions – which the parents describe as important expressions of culture. The school issued a statement defending its actions, saying that Mystic Valley Charter serves a diverse population and that many students go on to attend top colleges and universities. Cook said the school’s policy against braids that include hair extensions – additional hair that is woven in – disproportionately affects Black children. Cook and her husband adopted five Black children – all siblings – and four have attended Mystic Valley since kindergarten, she said. Cook said her two daughters who are facing discipline for their hairstyles are good students: Mya is in the National Honor Society, with a 3.79 grade point average, while Deanna has a 3.3 grade point average.

Michigan

All his life, Cleon Brown, a 47-year-old police sergeant in Hastings, had thought he was a White man with some Native American blood, reports Newser.com. That notion came from his father, who had black, curly hair and darker skin. Sergeant Brown’s father would tell him and anyone else who asked that his lineage could be traced to the Blackfeet Nation. So Sergeant Brown stuck to that story. But whenever people heard his name, Cleon, which he shared with his father, now dead, they would assume that he was a Black man. He became a little suspicious of his actual heritage when his daughter, now 18, was given a diagnosis at birth for an illness that he said was typically found in African-Americans. Ever curious about his background, he decided to take a DNA test from Ancestry.com last year. The results were surprising: He had zero Native American blood in him, but was 18 percent sub-Saharan African. Sergeant Brown said, “I was so proud of it,” in describing the moment that his wife called him at work and told him about the test result. The clarity was relieving. He proudly told his colleagues at the police department, he said. But not long after that, his elation turned into misery. “Kunta,” the Hastings police chief, Jeff Pratt, said to Sergeant Brown at the station one day, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit that the sergeant filed last month. Later, the lawsuit charges, some members of the department “started whispering ‘Black Lives Matter’ while pumping their fists as they walked” past Sergeant Brown. Even the mayor at the time, Frank Campbell, got in on the racist teasing, Sergeant Brown said, by telling him a joke in which he used the word “Negroid” at least twice. The city disputes the charges, saying that it was Sergeant Brown who started joking about race after receiving the test results.

Mississippi

It was 7 a.m. last June when six sheriff’s deputies stormed into the Manning family home in Canton, according to a new lawsuit, reports the Washington Post. They demanded that the Mannings sign witness statements for a crime in their neighborhood they claimed not to have seen. When Khadafy Manning, 35, refused, deputies allegedly handcuffed, choked and beat the man, who uses a cane because of a nerve condition. They called him “Mr. Cripple,” his wife said, and proceeded to drag him out of the house, down the stairs and into a patrol car, beating him until he wrote a witness statement. Khadafy and Quinnetta Manning are among those suing the sheriff’s department in Madison County, claiming the department used unconstitutional checkpoints, unlawful searches of homes and excessive force as part of what they call “a coordinated top-down program” to illegally target Black residents. The lawsuit, filed May 8 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, seeks a court order to stop the sheriff’s department from using such tactics. It also asks that a civilian board review complaints against the department. Ten Black residents – men and women ages 27 to 62 – are plaintiffs in the case. Some Black residents are so afraid of being pulled over or stopped at a checkpoint that they avoid leaving their homes, the lawsuit says. “In effect the policing program has placed the Black community of Madison County under a permanent state of siege,” the lawsuit states. “For decades, Black people in Madison County have been dealing with the constant barrage by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department,” ACLU Mississippi executive director Jennifer Riley-Collins said.

New Jersey

Until Lashonda Burgess saw a female police officer handle a disturbance in her grandmother’s apartment building in Newark, she didn’t know women could be cops, reports NJ.com. Burgess, now 43, said she was around 11 years old when she encountered the officer and realized female cops could be both tough and feminine. “All of a sudden, every day I said I would be a police officer,” Burgess said. Burgess, of Piscataway, was made a captain in the Hillside Police Department on April 3, marking the first time a Black person or female cop has held the force’s second-highest role. Census data from 2015 shows Hillside’s population is 58 percent Black, but most officers in the police department are white men. The force has nine female officers, six of whom are Black, and eight Black, male officers, Burgess said. Although there’s no readily available data about how common it is for a Black woman to assume the role of captain, The Star-Ledger previously reported that Atlantic City got its first Black, female captain in 2008 and the Hudson County Department of Corrections in 2011. In Burgess’s eyes, being a Black, female cop helps bridge the divide between police officers and the minority communities they serve. She said she understands both the reasons why officers might handle disturbances in certain ways and why some Black members of the public might distrust law enforcement. “I wasn’t born a police officer. I was born a Black girl,” Burgess said. “So I’m able to understand the difference and why the perception is what it is.”

New York

Jason Wang, co-owner and CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods in New York City, posted a video to Facebook showing two customers shouting at two Black employees with one throwing racial slurs. The restaurant has around a dozen locations across Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn, but this incident occurred on Sunday at the 54th Street branch, where the two men yelled racist insults at the worker who happened to be Black. Identified by Gothamist as Ellon, the employee in the video said the unidentified customers were ticked off after he told them that the eatery doesn’t accept American Express. “They basically told me that I was a representative of my race and that I make everyone look lazy,” Ellon said. The manager, who is also Black, then asked the men not to bring race into the situation. That’s when they “started screaming the n-word as they walked toward the door,” Ellon said. “There’s no reason to mention my blackness; it’s obvious if you look at me, it’s not like a burden,” he added, describing the men as tall and muscular, and one was white and the other was Asian. In a video, the duo can be heard taunting the employees, with one yelling: “Being lazy is part of your community,” and “Black is not a racial slur sweetheart,” before shouting “F-ck you, n-gger.” In a Facebook post on May 9, Wang said that he “personally would not have taken this as calmly as my staff did, and while there’s no ‘Yelp’ for me to give 1-stars to these two, I want to at least try to get some sense of justice by spreading awareness by highlighting how close racism still hits home.” The two culprits have yet to be identified, but they are permanently banned from all Xi’an Famous Foods locations. In a statement to Gothamist, the CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods said:

“I am a minority and have been subject to racist attacks growing up, but there’s no way for me to fathom the African-American experience, I can only try to relate to how painful these attacks are. Our company has no tolerance for this type of behavior. It was very shocking and painful for me to review this video and to imagine what my employees felt at this time. I cried a few times while compiling this video at midnight, which while painful to watch, I felt the need to show people that these racist behaviors are not a thing of the past, and we must stay ever so vigilant to not fall back on dark times in these recent days.”

North Carolina

The S.B. Fuller & Joe L. Dudley Sr. Foundation Inc. announces its 2nd Annual 3-Day Weekend Celebration set to take place in Winston Salem May 20-22. The theme is “Capitalism… The Only True Pathway To Freedom,” and the event is dedicated to African-American entrepreneurship. Billionaire Michael V. Roberts will serve as the gala keynote speaker to celebrate the 80th birthday of Joe L. Dudley Sr. and the unveiling of the building design of the Fuller & Dudley Museum of Entrepreneurship. For more detail about the conference, visit www.capitalismisfreedom2017.com.

National

Set for release in early 2018, independent documentary “Black White & Blue” is a critical examination of the role race and police violence played in the 2016 presidential campaign, reports BlackNews.com. Some of the hot button social topics associated with the project include: abuse of power by law enforcement, the Black Lives Matter movement and Flint, Michigan’s water crisis. Produced by Curtis Scoon (BET’s “American Gangster”) and directed by newcomer Asia Norris, “Black White & Blue” begins at the Democrat National Convention in Philly back in July 2016 and consists of one-on-one interviews of notables, juxtaposed with “man-on-the-street” interviews, along with compelling visuals from all over the country. There is no political agenda or backing for the project. It is an independently funded, unbiased critique of the issues inspired by political activism on social media—particularly that of so-called “Social Justice Warriors.” Prior to the election, a number of shooting incidents involving law enforcement officers and Black males reached a crescendo of sorts with the dramatic killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and the subsequent civil unrest it sparked.

Seemingly, the Black community became increasingly politicized as racial conflagration and polarization politics divided Americans along ideological and racial lines in the wake of the first post-Obama presidential election. “Black White & Blue” attempts to address questions through an objective, non-partisan lens. The documentary dispels any notion that Black people are a monolith by showcasing a spectrum of diverse perspectives for viewers to arrive at their own conclusions. For more information on the film, go to www.blackwhiteandbluefilm.com.