Paramount Pictures Donates DVDs of “Selma” to Every High School in U.S.

Source: Paramount Pictures | 20th Century Fox

In honor of the DVD release of Selma, Paramount Pictures will be sending a copy of the film to every high school in the USA, both public and private. The DVDs will be provided free of charge and teachers will receive study guides along with it.

Director Ava DuVernay stated, “Our ‘Selma’ filmmaking journey has had many highlights, but to me, the response from students and educators has been the most magnificent part of the experience. To think that this triumphant story of dignity and justice will be available to every high school in this country is a realization of many dreams and many hopes. I applaud Paramount on this extraordinary effort, and salute the teachers who will provide classes and context on the work of Dr. King and his comrades to the young minds of our nation.”

Megan Colligan, the president of Paramount Pictures’ Worldwide Distribution and Marketing stated, “The response from students and teachers to our ‘Selma for Students’ initiative was overwhelmingly positive and we are delighted to be extending the campaign. During the film’s theatrical run more than 300,000 young people were able to see the film for free. By providing DVDs to all of the high schools in the country, we hope to reach all 18 million high school students with the film’s powerful and inspiring story. With many of these students preparing to vote for the first time in next year’s elections, it is especially fitting that they witness the bravery and fortitude of those who fought to establish the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

We love how much support Selma has been receiving countrywide. We hope more educational and inspirational films will receive the same support. 

article by Courtney Whitaker via

Watch President Obama’s White House Correspondents’ Speech (VIDEO)

Last night, President Obama hosted his final White House Correspondents’ Dinner with more comedic relied than ever before.  “Good evening, everybody. Welcome to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner…and welcome to the fourth quarter of my presidency,” he said jokingly to start off the evening.

President Barack Obama

Confessing that he feels “more relaxed than ever,” President Obama joked comfortably about everything from CNN’s extensive coverage of the U.S. Ebola scare to recently mending ties with Cuba. “The Castro brothers are here tonight. Welcome to America, amigos!… What? It’s the Castro’s from Texas? Oh. Hi Joaquin. Hi Julian,” he said.

Arguably the best moment of the evening happened when the President invited comedian Keegan-Michael Key to be his “anger translator.”

Watch and enjoy!

article by Whitney Gaspard via

Fox Searchlight’s Zola Mashariki Joins BET As Head Of Original Programming

masharikiBET Networks has named veteran Fox Searchlight production executive Zola Mashariki as Executive Vice President and Head of Original Programming. Based in Los Angeles, she will oversee scripted and unscripted programming and development as well as casting for the cable network, reporting to BET Networks President of Programming Stephen Hill.

Mashariki’s appointment completes the restructuring in BET’s top programming ranks following the September departure of president of original programming Loretha Jones. In December, BET promoted President of Music Programming & Specials Stephen Hill to President of Programming, overseeing both Original Programming and Music Programming & Specials. Hill, who remains based in New York, has extensive background in music shows and specials though a limited interaction with the Hollywood creative community. That is a void Mashariki is expected to fill. Like Jones, she will be based in Los Angeles.

Mashariki spent the last 15 years at Fox Searchlight, most recently serving as Senior Vice President of Production. During her tenure at the feature company, she worked on such movies as The Last King of Scotland and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Additionally, Mashariki, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, is the creator of the Black Film Initiative, shepherding the development of a new business plan for the African-American audience that resulted in the releases of such films as The Secret Life of Bees and Notorious.

article by Nellie Andreeva via

Director Ava DuVernay Honored by Barbie With Her Very Own “Shero” Doll to Be Auctioned for Charity

Director Ava DuVernay (l) and her "Shero" doll by Mattel (r)

Director Ava DuVernay (l) and her “Shero” doll by Mattel (r)

Barbie revealed today that the company is honoring six “Sheroes” – women heroes who inspire girls “by breaking boundaries and expanding possibilities for women everywhere,” as the press release states.

These women are being honored by Barbie at the Variety Power of Women Luncheon in New York City with a one-of-a-kind doll created in their likeness – each made to encourage girls to dream and imagine themselves as everything from a mermaid to a movie star, a fairy to a filmmaker, and a princess to a president.The Sheroes who will be honored in a way that is unique to the Barbie brand, with a one-of-a-kind doll in their likeness, are:

  • Ava DuVernay: I’m sure she needs no intro at this point… but just in case you’ve had your head in the sand… Director of 2015 Academy Award Best Picture nominee, “Selma,” and founder of African American Film Festival Releasing Movement.
  • Emmy Rossum: Golden Globe nominated actress and spokesperson for Best Friends Animal Society, the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters and a leader in the no-kill movement.
  • Eva Chen: The youngest appointed female Editor-in-Chief of a national fashion magazine, Lucky.
  • Kristin Chenoweth: Emmy and Tony Award nominee and winner, who also founded the Kristin Chenoweth Art & Education Fund.
  • Sydney “Mayhem” Keiser: Five year-old fashion designer with work appearing in Vogue and signed on with major national fashion brand, J.Crew, for the collection ‘Little Mayhem for J.Crew’ launching in June.
  • Trisha Yearwood: Award-winning Country artist, best-selling author, Food Network host and entrepreneur.

Following the awards ceremony, each Shero will auction off their doll to benefit a charity of her choice.”Barbie has always represented that girls have choices, and this Spring we are proud to honor six Sheroes who through their trade and philanthropic efforts are an inspiration to girls,” said Evelyn Mazzocco, General Manager Barbie. “Started by a female entrepreneur and mother, this brand has a responsibility to continue to honor and encourage powerful female role models who are leaving a legacy for the next generation of glass ceiling breakers.”The Shero celebration will culminate on National #Shero Day, Monday, April 27, where fans will have the opportunity to pay tribute to the Shero who has empowered them using #Shero #BeSuper and tagging @Barbie via TwitterInstagram or Facebook.Here’s what the complete doll collection looks like:

Barbie 2015 Sheroes Dolls
article by Tambay A. Benson via

Uganda Native Sanga Moses Awarded $1 Million to Boost his Innovative Energy Business, Eco-Fuel Africa

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 5.24.46 PM

Sanga Moses is a passionate social entrepreneur. Six years ago the Uganda native started a remarkable journey to launch a clean and sustainable energy initiative in his homeland.

In an audacious move, he quit his accounting job with just $500 in savings to find a solution to Uganda’s over reliance on wood-fuel for cooking, which was causing deforestation and socio-economic issues in his impoverished community.

In an interview with UrbanGeekz, he says he was inspired to take action after he witnessed his 12-year-old sister skip school to carry firewood to their family for fuel. At that moment he knew he had to do whatever he could to find an alternative source of fuel, he says.

“When my sister saw me, she started crying and told me she was tired of missing school to gather firewood,” he says. “This troubled me so much because I was paying school fees for my sister and wanted her to get an education.”

Moses spent a year researching possible solutions until he figured he could turn farm and municipal waste [sugarcane waste, coffee husks and rice husks etc.], which was abundant, into eco-friendly cooking fuel, that’s cleaner and 65 percent cheaper than wood-fuel.

By April 2010, Sanga launched Eco-­fuel Africa. “I had to sell most of my belongings, including my bed, to pay for the launch,” says Moses, who’s a Business Administration college graduate. “Even so, Eco-­fuel Africa [EFA] introduced its first products in November 2010, less than two years after I saw my sister carrying her bundle of wood.”

Eco-­fuel Africa trains farmers to turn agricultural waste into char powder, which is used as a substitute for wood-fuel. The non-profit serves more than 115,000 people on a daily basis and demand for their fuel exceeds supply. It uses its proceeds to plant trees. The target is to plant at least a quarter of a billion trees in Africa by 2020.

“Fewer forests are being depleted and there are more jobs for women and farmers since Eco-­fuel Africa began,” he adds, “ We have also seen more girls enroll and stay in school. Currently, 4,209 marginalized girls in Uganda are able to go to school consistently because of our project.”

“Now that we have found an effective formula, I am determined to expand the system and replicate it to other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa,” Moses says.

In fact, Eco-fuel Africa is the 2014 recipient of Verizon’s 2014 Powerful Answer Award, a global challenge that rewards ideas that leverage cutting-edge technology to create solutions that deliver social good.

To read the rest of this story, click through to:

Harvard University Acquires Copy of Unfinished Play “The Welcome Table” by James Baldwin

The Houghton Library at Harvard University has acquired a typed script of an unfinished James Baldwin play “The Welcome Table.” The manuscript is the 3,000 item acquired by the library archives since 1874.

James Baldwin

James Baldwin

One of the main characters in the Baldwin play, Peter Davis, is based on Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard. Another character is based on Josephine Baker. In 1973, Professor Gates, who was working as a London-based journalist at the time, drove Josephine Baker to Baldwin’s villa in France, where the three dined together.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

There are four known versions of the script that were written over the years. In one version, Professor Gates is a young man but in a later version he is a middle-aged man. Gates owns one of the other copies of the unfinished play. Another is held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. The fourth is owned by a private collector.

article via

West Virginia University Receives Donation of Artwork Depicting Racial Injustice


Harvey and Jennifer Peyton are donating a series of paintings to the Art Museum of West Virginia University that deal with racial injustice in the 1930s to the 1960s.

Among the works donated is “Confrontation at the Bridge,” a painting by Jacob Lawrence of marchers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on Bloody Sunday in March 1965. Other works include “Waiting Room, South” by Rosalee Berkowitz, ” Lynching (Self-Portrait With Rope)” by Louis Lozowick, and “Bessie Smith, Queen of the Blues” by Margaret Burroughs.

Harvey Peyton holds bachelor’s and law degrees from West Virginia University. He stated that “Jen and I have dedicated our collecting to the idea that visual art and the concept of social justice should go hand in hand. We hope these works, and other we have given and intend to give to the Art Museum of WVU, will enrich the idea of both art and community at the university long after we are gone.”

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