Lil Wayne dismissed the Black Lives Matter movement in a rare interview Tuesday night, saying America has made him the “rich motherf—-r” he is now. “I don’t feel connected to a damn thing that ain’t got nothing to do with me,” the 33-year-old rapper told ABC journalist Linsey Davis. Lil Wayne said the phrase “Black Lives… [Read more…]
Allen — who this summer purchased TheGrio — and the National Association of African-American Owned Media say Charter conspired to keep black-owned media off cable TV.
Is St. Louis-based Charter Communications, which recently merged with Time-Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to form one of the country’s largest cable companies, guilty of racial discrimination against black-owned media?
A federal judge presiding over a $10 billion racial discrimination lawsuit filed by entrepreneur Byron Allen believes a lawsuit filed by Allen making those allegations deserves full consideration.
Federal District Court Judge George Wu has rejected a bid by Charter to toss out the lawsuit filed by Allen’s company, Entertainment Studios, and the National Association of African-American Owned Media.
Allen and the organization are charging Charter has engaged in “racial discrimination in contracting for television channel carriage” — meaning Charter allegedly has conspired to keep black-owned media off its cable channels.
Skip Miller, an attorney for Allen said in a press release: “We have evidence of racial bias harbored by top level Charter executives with decision-making authority, and allege, in detail, the discriminatory treatment ESN (Entertainment Studios) suffered at the hands of these executives.”
Allen is most known for his work as a comedian and television producer, but he is also a busy executive with an affinity for black-owned media. In June, he purchased TheGrio, a leading website targeting African-American audiences. TheGrio was looking for a partner capable of helping the site grow its plans for digital video production, including possible syndication across cable networks.
“We are excited to have TheGrio join Byron Allen’s ever-expanding Entertainment Studios media empire,” David A. Wilson, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of TheGrio, said at the time. “Byron shares our vision of growing TheGrio into the leading video content creator and distribution platform for African-Americans. We look forward to developing the next iteration of TheGrio, and the fact that it will remain 100 percent African American-owned is very significant.”
With The Grio in his portfolio and the lawsuit against Charter progressing, Allen is bullish about the possibilities.
“This lawsuit was filed to provide distribution and real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media,” Allen said. “The cable industry spends $70 billion a year licensing cable networks and 100% African American-owned media receives zero. This is completely unacceptable. We will not stop until we achieve real economic inclusion for 100% African American-owned media.”
Mark DeVitre, president of the National Association of African American-Owned Media also said in the press release:
“Charter will now have to open up all their contracts which will show the world that they do not do business with 100% African American-owned media out of the billions of dollars they spend on programming every year.
“Simply put, the contracts and the numbers do not lie, and they will show racial discrimination, lack of economic inclusion for African American-owned media, and blatant racism. In my opinion, Charter’s CEO, Tom Rutledge, has done his stockholders a huge disservice by not sitting down with us, but instead pretending Reverend Al Sharpton speaks for all African Americans which in itself is racist.”
In May, Allen filed a similar suit — for $20 billion — against cable giant Comcast. A judge dismissed the case but Allen and his partners are appealing that decision.
One panelist maintains diversity should not be thought of as a color issue, but “diversity of thought” and presenting varied viewpoints.
Is Hollywood really ready to embrace diversity? The answer is yes — if you are willing to believe panelists at MIPCOM’s first-ever Diversity Summit underway in Cannes.
Citing the success of hit show Empire in the United States and successful syndication of other shows to international markets, some entertainment executives are maintaining a tipping point has been reached in developing additional shows with diverse casts and themes.
The Hollywood Reporter reported from Cannes:
The international market has changed from the time when The Wire, widely considered one of the best shows ever made, couldn’t sell abroad when it aired 2002-2008, noted A+E Networks president, international Sean Cohan.
Viacom executive vp international brand development Michael Armstrong: “I’d like to take the notion that we need to make the business case for diversity and bury that in the sand,” he said. “I’d say that making diverse content is the business case for being successful.”
In fact, “diversity is money” said All3Media senior vp international format production Nick Smith. Using U.K. numbers, Smith presented the data case for diversity in casting. The high-end dramas that define this “golden age of television” tend to underperform in minority communities, he noted, including prestige programming like The Night Manager, Mr Selfridge andCall the Midwife, which have predominantly white casts.
The drama that demographically over-performs in the U.K. is The Walking Dead, which boasts an almost incidentally diverse cast that is focused on fighting zombies.
The prevailing thought from Cannes is that people want to see images that represent their view of life.
Individuals are willing to “pay up for people who look like them,” said Tonje Bakang, CEO of Afrostream, which collates black content from around the globe. “Programming is a business opportunity, not just marketing,” he said.
“At what point do you have black stories, or trans stories or gay stories? I think that’s the next level of diversity. Those are harder,” said Sony’s Keith Le Goy.
We can only hope that these Hollywood execs are being honest and not just selling us another dose of the same old, same old.
Michael Smith and Jemele Hill are moving on up!
The two, who have co-hosted “His & Hers” on ESPN2 since June of 2013 are now moving to ESPN’s 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” on February 6, 2017, the day after the Super Bowl. Both have signed new multi-year contracts.
The switch shows ESPN continuing to try to create “SportsCenter” broadcasts tailored for the times at which they air. Last year, ESPN launched a late-night version of its flagship program, with host Scott Van Pelt offering a more spirited take on the plays and match-ups of the day, and took steps to keep the overnight version of the program steady, re-upping Stan Verrett and Neil Everett to anchor the program from Los Angeles. All daytime versions of “SportsCenter” that run through 1:30 p.m. have been tweaked, with the network launching “SportsCenter AM” last February at 7 a.m.
Sara Ramirez reveals her truth, explains intersectionality at True Colors Fund’s 40 to None Summit
Sara Ramirez has decided that its time to end her run at Grey’s Anatomy for a bit this upcoming May. And , oh yeah! She also let the world know that though she is married to Ryan DeBolt, she is bisexual. Ramirez dropped these bombshells during a speech in Los Angeles at the True Colors Fund’s… [Read more…]
It’s not surprising that Fox News is tone deaf when it comes to covering race in America. It’s even less surprising that Bill O’Reilly hasn’t a clue about covering communities and people who don’t look like him. So when O’Reilly’s Fox News show attempts to cover race and ethnicity in America – in a humorous way no less — nobody is surprised when they royally screw it up.
In trying to report on what people of Chinese descent think about the election, O’Reilly’s Jesse Watters messed up so badly that the Asian American Journalists Association came out to condemn the segment. But nobody did a better job at taking down Fox News’ discriminatory report than Comedy Central’s Ronny Chieng of The Daily Show.
Watch the video:
By revealing his own struggles, rapper Kid Cudi sparks a much-needed conversation on social media about Black men, masculinity and depression.
On Tuesday, “Day and Night” rapper Kid Cudi bravely revealed that he is currently in a rehab facility being treated for anxiety and depression. On his Facebook page:
Its been difficult for me to find the words to what Im about to share with you because I feel ashamed. Ashamed to be a leader and hero to so many while admitting I’ve been living a lie. It took me a while to get to this place of commitment, but it is something I have to do for myself, my family, my best friend/daughter and all of you, my fans.
Yesterday I checked myself into rehab for depression and suicidal urges.
I am not at peace. I haven’t been since you’ve known me. If I didn’t come here, I wouldve done something to myself. I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions everyday of my life. Theres a ragin violent storm inside of my heart at all times. Idk what peace feels like. Idk how to relax. My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember and I never leave the house because of it. I cant make new friends because of it. I dont trust anyone because of it and Im tired of being held back in my life. I deserve to have peace. I deserve to be happy and smiling. Why not me? I guess I give so much of myself to others I forgot that I need to show myself some love too. I think I never really knew how. Im scared, im sad, I feel like I let a lot of people down and again, Im sorry. Its time I fix me. Im nervous but ima get through this.
Now, the post itself went viral with more than 125,000 shares and 49,000 comments, which is par for the course when any celebrity shares their own personal struggles with the world on social media. But given the brevity of his statements and the fact that Cudi is a Black man in hip-hop, the very act of speaking up about his depression and anxiety in a culture saturated with toxic masculinity is rare and noteworthy.
And of course Black Twitter took notice. On Wednesday, @DaynaNucolls and @TheCosby created the hashtag #YouGoodMan to continue this conversation and to create a safe digital space for other Black men to open up about their mental health, the Huffington Post wrote.
— Dayna Lynn Nuckolls (@DaynaLNuckolls) October 5, 2016
— Dayna Lynn Nuckolls (@DaynaLNuckolls) October 5, 2016
Soon after, others joined in even offering up one-on-one conversations through direct message.
When mental/emotional pain goes unaddressed, people self-medicate & self-destruct. Heaven help anyone in the blast radius. #YouGoodMan
— Alfred Edmond Jr (@AlfredEdmondJr) October 6, 2016
— Joseph Stevens Jr (@jojojr125) October 5, 2016
Two weeks ago, I told the truth about my mental and emotional state. It was equally as humiliating as it was liberating. #yougoodman
— Peter Oduwole (@itsottwall) October 5, 2016
Fellas it's OK if you're 'not good.'If yr answer to "how are u" is something other than "chillin'" or "everything is everything" #YouGoodMan
— @PiaGlenn (@PiaGlenn) October 5, 2016
It's ok to say you're not ok. Self-medication and reckless behavior isn't the way out of your depression. #yougoodman
— No Relation (@TheCosby) October 5, 2016
— James Starks (@_JamesStarks) October 6, 2016
— Roger Gichuhi (@rogerinc) October 6, 2016
As Black men we've been taught not to talk about mental illness or express our emotions. Glad we're having the conversation. #YouGoodMan ?
— Dakari A. Barnes (@dk_barnes1) October 5, 2016
Black boys in particular are committing suicide at rates that outstrip their peers and we dint even discuss it. This must end #YouGoodMan
— David Johns (@MrDavidJohns) October 6, 2016
And while social media will always be a place for funny memes and celebrity clapbacks, conversations like #YouGoodMan (or #IfIDieInCustody and #VeteransForKaepernick) continue to show the power and beauty of Twitter as it continues to serve as a space for people to enlighten each other, create change and shed light on issues that are often ignored in the media. And given how influential #BlackLivesMatters was and continues to be, one can only hope that the digital dialogue that Cudi has created continues to flourish beyond our smartphones.
First, let me commend the choir for combining Sam and Dave’s hit song, “I’m a Soul Man” with that old Black gospel standard, “I’m a Soldier in the Army of the Lord” to form what is sure to become a new and unique gospel hit, “I’m a Soul Man in the Army of the Lord.”
Also, let me recognize Mother Lulla Belle Francis for her delivery of the church announcements this morning and every Sunday morning. Mother Lulla Belle, your diction and annunciation are impeccable, but you might want to work on that subject-verb agreement. Just saying. Amen? [Amen!]
Nevertheless, let us soldier on toward this morning’s message, so if you will, congregation, please turn in your Big Black Bibles with me to the book of Gil Scott-Heron where it is written:
“And then Brother Gil Scott-Heron said unto them, ‘Movies were looking better than ever, and now no one is looking, because we’re starring in a “B” movie. And we would rather had John Wayne.”
Now, let us take just a brief moment to contemplate that “B” in “B movie.”
See, brothers and sisters, that “B” in “B movie” does not stand for Black, though it could very well have, because you see that “B” label is used to designate a movie as inferior, as substandard, as something not to be taken seriously.
And what Brother Scott-Heron is trying to get us to see, in his own inimitable, uniquely poetic way, is that most Americans cannot attend to a reality that is actually real because most Americans, unbeknownst to them, are caught up in a inferior, substandard, distinctly unserious version of reality.
In other words, most Americans are living right smack in the middle of a “B movie.” Amen? [Amen!]
And since in reality, one group controls the reins of power, they—and when I say they, I think you know about whom I am speaking [Hold up hand and point to palm.]—have written themselves starring roles in this melodrama.
But, see, though this reality is inferior, substandard, and inferior, since this is the reality most Americans know, and many of us too for that matter, and this is the reality shaping their worldview, it is of the utmost importance that we are a part of that reality, that we see ourselves in that reality.
There needs to be some diversity in that reality for that reality to approach any semblance of the real. We need to tell our own stories just the way it T-I-S, ‘tis.
But they said, “No!” They said, “But I do not understand this diversity of which you speak.”
And we continued to be marginalized. We continued to be relegated to the background in supporting roles, even in our own stories. Our voices continued to be stifled.
See, we—the people of the sun, Aunt Hagar’s children—have been fighting for years just to be seen and heard, to get a spot off in that light, a light off in that spot.
How long have we been fighting to get just a decent role in their movies? [Too long!]
But you know as well as I do that they ain’t never dealt with us with any sincerity. They put us in their movies, but for some reason, we always end up being the sidekick. They put us on their stages, but for some reason we all ways end up singing and dancing.
And for some strange reason, they got the idea that they can tell our story much better than we can. If I may co-opt a verse from that great Black poetic prophet, Gil Scott-Heron, they sent a bunch of cameras down to the ‘hood to film their people eagerly gobbling up hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary as we stood in the background as supporting characters, watching and grinning, and called that diversity.
Then they look at us and say, “There’s the diversity you always wanted. You happy now?”
Well, we weren’t happy then, but we happy now ‘cause we got our “B-movie,” and we have our John Wayne. And in this “B-movie,” “B” does stand for Black. As in blue black. As in so black it appears purple in the sun. As in Black as the ace of spades. As in black as the dark side of the moon. As in black as the pit from pole to pole.
They say, “But where am ‘I’ in this movie universe you have created. But ‘I’ cannot see myself. Why am ‘I’ not at the center of this story? But this is not at all how ‘I’ would tell this story. Where is the dIversity? ‘I’ knew it! You are racist. That’s that reverse racism!”
But they can just stay mad. They would rather have John Wayne, but they got Luke Cage instead. They can’t stand it when suddenly you snatch the “I” out of dverse. It just galls them. Burns them up.
But if you ask me—and this is purely my own opinion—de verse reads much better that way.
Max Reddick is a humorist and English professor who resides in Jacksonville, Florida.
Veteran sports journalist Neal Scarborough has been named executive editor at Fox Sports, based in Los Angeles.
Scarbrough was senior director of New England Sports Network. He has held a number of high-ranking positions in sports journalism, including editor in chief and vice president of ESPN.com and general manager and editor of AOL Sports.
In a news release announcing his appointment, Fox News stated: “As Executive Editor, Scarbrough has editorial oversight of FS1’s studio programming and oversees news updates during the day while directing breaking news topics for discussion on FS1 studio programs.
The network was set to offer a comedy lineup led only by white men
Widely criticized for a lack of diversity in its fall lineup, CBS is hoping to remedy the situation, at least partly, by adding a redeveloped comedy “Superior Donuts,” starring comedian Jermaine Fowler.
CBS has eight new shows for 2016-17 but the entire comedy lineup was set to feature white men: Kevin James in “Kevin Can Wait”; Joel McHale in “The Great Indoors” and Matt LeBlanc in “Man With a Plan.”
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Superior Donuts was shot as a development project. Now, because of the the dust-up about the overall lack of diversity, CBS decided to reshoot the pilot with new actors and has ordered 13 episodes of the show.
Based on the play by Tracy Letts, the comedy follows the relationship between the owner of a donut shop (Judd Hirsch, who replaced Brian d’Arcy James), his new young employee (played by Fowler) and their patrons in a gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago.
“This show has been very high on our radar since we first put it into development last winter,” CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller told The Hollywood Reporter. “Jermaine Fowler is a rising young star, Judd Hirsch is a comedy legend and the entire cast is full of great comedic talent. We’re very excited to expand our comedy lineup with Superior Donuts.”