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Across Black America Week of Sept. 11



The 2014 annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities Fair will take place on Sept. 24 at Phoenix College. The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Delta Beta Omega Chapter, and the Phoenix Akarama Fountation are sponsoring the event, which begins at 8 a.m. More than 500 students from Phoenix-area high schools are expected to attend the day-long recruitment fair for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The fair will also feature workshops, information on financial aid and scholarships, and HBCU alumni will work with potential candidates for various HBCUs across the country. More info is at


The California Black Health Network (CBHN) hosts its 2014 Policy Conference on Thursday in Sacramento with an emphasis on how the African American community can heal itself. The theme of this year’s conference is “Building Healthy Black Families from Beginning to End.” Sessions will include: “Investing in our Black Families – Look in the Mirror: Our Aspirations and Our Assets;”  “The Paradigm Shift: Real Families – Real Stories – The CBHN Faith Based Initiative;”  “How Families and Communities Can Organize for Change;” and “The Four Agreements: The Framework for Change.” There will also be a focus on Black infant mortality. “African American babies are dying at two times the rate of babies of any other ethnicity,” says B. Darcel Harris-Lee, president and CEO of the CBHN. “This is an epidemic in our state and in this country. It is important that we not just raise awareness about the issue but that we gather together the best minds in the state to change this paradigm and work toward solutions that will result in saving our Black babies.” Harris-Lee adds that the CBHN is focusing on redefining how Black families are viewed. The event is open to students, health professionals, community organizations and “anyone that has an interest in improving the quality of life for our families.” For more information, visit

California Attorney General Kamala Harris was married last week in a private ceremony at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Harris, who is of Indian-American and Jamaican descent, married Douglas Emhoff, who is also an attorney. President Barack Obama once said about Harris, “She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated, and she’s tough . . .” Harris attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and earned her Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law. She was admitted to the California bar in 1990 and elected California attorney general in 2010.



NBA Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson said Sunday that he will sell his controlling interest of the team in part due to a controversial email he sent in an attempt “to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide.” Levenson said he regrets the email sent to the team’s co-owners and general manager Danny Ferry two years ago as “inappropriate and offensive.” According to a statement released by the Hawks, Levenson said he sent the email due to his concerns about low attendance and a need to attract suburban Whites. He admits that he later realized that the email made it look as if White fans were more important. He voluntarily reported the email to the NBA. “I have said repeatedly that the NBA should have zero tolerance for racism, and I strongly believe that to be true,” Levenson said in the statement. “That is why I voluntarily reported my inappropriate email to the NBA.” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he supported Levenson’s decision. “As Mr. Levenson acknowledged, the views he expressed are entirely unacceptable and are in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association.” In the email sent in August 2012, Levenson shared his observations of the fan experience at Hawks’ games, claiming “Southern Whites” were uncomfortable at games. “My theory is that the Black crowd scared away the Whites, and there are simply not enough affluent Black fans to build a significant season ticket base,” he said in the email released last week by the Hawks. Levenson claimed that Hawks crowds were 70 percent Black, the team’s cheerleaders were Black and Hip Hop music was played. Levenson reportedly told team executives to add White cheerleaders and music “familiar to a 40-year-old White guy.”

Added Levenson in the email: “I have even (complained) that the kiss cam is too Black.” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the comments in Levenson’s email were “reprehensible and offensive.” Although the NBA investigation of the email is ongoing, Levenson has concluded that he won’t continue in his ownership role. “If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them,” Levenson said in a released statement.


Atlanta resident CeeLo Green is feeling a lot of backlash from his recent pleas deal stemming from an alleged drugging and sexual assault incident. Since his sentencing, which mostly involves community service, probation and substance counseling, he has been dropped from the Navy’s annual Freedom Live concert as a performer, and TBS has canceled his reality show, “Good Life.”


A popular hit single from Chicago-based group the Notations, “I’m Still Here,” has been chosen for the soundtrack of a movie starring Kevin Costner. Coming out of Disney studios, “McFarland USA” is based on the true story of a high school track coach in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in California who works with the kids to overcome social and physical hurdles. The Notations, which includes Cliff Curry, Eric Bryant and Marcus Gentry, still tour frequently and currently has a single written by Gentry out called “Comin’ At You.” The song, “I’m Still Here,” was a Top 10 hit, as was  the group’s “It Only Hurts for A Little While.” It went No. 1 on disco charts. The group was signed to Mercury Records for a while, as well as Curtom-Gemico, which was Curtis Mayfield’s record label. During a career than spans almost 50 years, the Notations have performed with the Temptations, James Brown, Mayfield and the Emotions, among others. Curry says BMI reached out about the song and details were worked out for it to be an integral part of the movie. A preview of “I’m Still Here” can be heard at


A Baton Rouge police officer has resigned after some texts he wrote that were clearly racist were revealed. “They are nothing but a bunch of monkeys. The only reason they have this job is the nigger in them,” one text read. Another said, “I wish someone would pull a Ferguson on them and take them out. I hate looking at those African monkeys at work … I enjoy arresting those thugs with their saggy pants.” Former police officer Michael Elsbury was a 15-year veteran of the Baton Rouge force. Ernest Johnson, president of the Louisiana chapter of the NAACP, called for the officer’s resignation. He was put on administrative leave and by the next day, he resigned.

New York


Pharrell Williams has paired with Adidas to produce and sell an eco-friendly clothing line. Some items in the Adidas Originals x Pharrell Williams collection will use Bionic yarn from Vortex Project, which is part of the singer’s environmental textiles initiative with Parley for the Oceans. The line was released last week. Williams, a Grammy Award winning producer and artist who will be seen as a new judge on the NBC music competition “The Voice,” kicking off later this month. “It’s for two reasons: one because the planet does need help,” Williams said in a statement. “You know, our planet is sick. We people are the bloodline and there are some blockages with all the crazy things going on in the world. The second reason is that so many amazing things have happened to me. I’ve had some really generous and blessed harvesting. The least I can do is get to our global community and give back to the earth.”

Rapper and actor Ja Rule has landed his own reality show. Entertianer and talk show hostess Queen Latifah and rap mogul Irv Gotti will produce “Follow the Rules,” which will center around the Hip Hop


artist, his wife Aisha, their sons and college-aged daughter, as well as his mother and mother-in-law. Ja Rule’s real name is Jeffrey Atkins. MTV will air the series, as announced in a statement from Susanne Daniels, the channel’s president of programming. “Ja Rule is the modern-day reality rap star version of Bill Cosby’s role from ‘The Cosby Show,’” Daniels said. “He embraces a unique parenting style with his teenage kids that feels fresh and funny. We’re excited to be in business with him and his delightful family.”


In a rare decision, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Black family seeking justice from an alleged case of police brutality in Bellaire. According to USA Today, in a unanimous decision, the highest court in the land ordered the 5th U.S. District Court of Appeals to reconsider a lawsuit brought by the family of Robbie Tolan, a young Black male who was shot in front of his parents’ home by a White police officer. Tolan told the national newspaper that the ruling means that he will have a chance to argue before a jury that Sgt. Jeffrey Cotton racially profiled him and mistreated his family because of their race. Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Trayvon Martin’s parents, has just begun representing the Tolan family as well. “All this family wants is their day in court. We have to send a message to police, when they act in this outrageous conduct. The law has to protect citizens whether they are Black, White or Hispanic,” Crump said. In addition, the lawyer said that the U.S. Supreme Court decision was very historic, because the court rarely agrees to hear cases and rarely rules against police officers. Tolan is the son of former major league baseball player and Fremont High graduate Bobby Tolan. According to reports, the incident occurred in 2008 when Robbie and a cousin were approached by officers for allegedly driving a stolen vehicle. However, the car actually belonged to the family and was mistaken as stolen because the officer entered incorrect license plate info. Robbie’s parents came outside to find the two young men on their knees, and when Robbie’s mother protested, one of the officers allegedly pushed her against the garage. When Robbie protested, he was shot by Cotton three times. He lived but has continued to suffer from liver damage. According to USA Today, a new trial could be underway in less than a year.

Washington, D.C.

The International Black Women’s Public Policy Forum, in conjunction with California Congresswoman Karen Bass, will present its sixth annual Policy Forum: Building a Global Response to Local Issues on Sept. 26 at the Washington Convention Center. Featured speakers and panelists will discuss such topics as healthcare, education and economic empowerment. Dignitaries and politicians participating include Alva P. Adams, national manager of African American business strategy at Toyota; Barbara A. Perkins, president of the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute, Professor Naana Jane Opuku-Agyeman, minister of education of Ghana; Tina M. Tchen, executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls; Jan Perry, L.A. City general manager of economic development; Dr. Dana Richardson-Heron, president and CEO of YWCA; Dr. Paulette Walker, national president of Delta Sigma Theta; and Rosa Whitaker, president and CEO of The Whitaker Group, in Ghana and Washington, D.C. Those interested in attending can go to

The Prostrate Health Education Network (PHEN) will hold its 10th annual African American Prostrate Cancer Disparity Summit on Sept. 25 and 26. The two-day event includes a panel of world-renowned medical experts, such as Arthur L. Burnett II of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine. The summit will cover issues, including sexual dysfunction caused by treatment, increased prostrate cancer diagnosis among young men and more. The event is free to the public, and it is also scheduled to be streamed live from the Russell Senate Building on Capitol Hill. The summit is part of the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual legislative conference. Registration and more info is available at


According to a National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) analysis of the latest jobs data, African American women are the only demographic with an unemployment rate that has not improved over the past year. The national unemployment rate dropped from 7.2 percent to 6.1 percent between August 2013 and August 2014, while women’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.2 percent to 5.7 percent. However, during that same time, the unemployment rate for Black women remained stagnant at 10.6 percent. According to the study, unemployment for Black men fell nearly three points, from 13.4 percent to 10.8 percent. The analysis came from figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week. Joan Entmacher, vice president of family economic security at the NWLC, said that the stagnant job situation for Black women is a red flag. One possible factor keeping African American women from gaining jobs, according to Entmacher, is that they are disproportionately employed in the public sector, which has experienced cutbacks in recent years. “Public sector jobs are slower to recover because public policy has been to cut or freeze funding for all levels of government over the past few years,” she explained.

The National Hook-Up of Black Women Inc., (NHBW), a non-profit organization that works to improve the quality of life, facilitate family preservation, achieve self-empowerment, and promote economic development, has launched it 2014 membership drive. During its 40 years of existence, the organization has through 19 chapters in cities across the country worked to accomplished many notable achievements, including the establishment of 28 “Reading for Life” rooms with free access to reading material; the development of T.O.P. (Teens Overcoming Pressure), a national effort to discourage teen dating violence; and building an increased awareness of mental health issues in the minority community. “Serving that mission has been an exciting journey for us because it is rooted in the belief that empowering and highlighting women helps to make strong families. From strong empowered families come stellar communities, better schools and a much better world in which to live,” said Deborah Summers, NHBW president. The membership drive comes ahead of such upcoming special events such as an October campaign to raise awareness of violence against women in the community. Coinciding with Domestic Violence Month, NHBW’s effort will partner with a variety of organizations to carry out various educational activities. NHBW Inc. is a member of the National Black United Federation of Charities. To learn more about how to join NHBW or to start a chapter, go to or email


The upcoming season of “Dancing With the Stars” will include three African Americans as celebrity contestants. The cast includes: TV talk show host Tavis Smiley, who is paired with Sharna Burgess; Olympic track and field star LoLo Jones, who will dance with Keo Motsepe (the first person of African descent featured as a pro on the show; and the first South African to join the “Burn the Floor” World Tour.); and former co-star of “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” Alfonso Ribiero, who will dance with Witney Carson. The show airs on Mondays and begins Sept. 15.

Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya.