Spike Lee to Receive Governors Award from Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Spike Lee (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

Spike Lee (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

Spike Lee, Gena Rowlands and Debbie Reynolds will be honored Nov. 14 at the seventh annual Governors Awards.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted the awards at their Aug. 25 meeting. Following tradition, AMPAS representatives withheld the announcement until they could notify the recipients.

In 2009, the Academy broke out the Governors Awards into a separate, untelevised ceremony; the Oscarcast time constraints limited the number of honorees and the time devoted to each. So the separate ceremony was an experiment, but an immediate success. There was no pressure to select ratings-friendly individuals, and the board has often gone for people who are well-known in the industry but unfamiliar to the public.

The Academy can salute up to six people each year: four honorary Oscars, and one apiece for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Thalberg Award, which goes to a film producer for their body of work. It’s generally been four honorees, except for 2011, when there were three.

Lee and Rowlands will receive the annual honorary Oscars and Reynolds will receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Continue reading

John Ridley Options Atlanta Child Murders Memoir “No Place Safe” for ABC Studios

John Ridley ABC Deal

John Ridley (SUZI PRATT/FILMMAGIC)

John Ridley is making the most of his producing deal with ABC.

The Oscar-winning producer has optioned Kim Reid’s “No Place Safe: A Family Memoir” for ABC Signature Studios, along with Michael McDonald.

Ridley has also lined up a top-secret Marvel project as well as the second season of the Emmy-nominated “American Crime.” He also recently sold a new detective drama pilot, “Presence,” to the Alphabet.

Ridley and McDonald will produce the limited series via their companies International Famous Players Radio Picture Corporation and Stearns Castle, respectively.

Part mystery thriller, part coming-of-age story and part civil-rights history, “No Place Safe” is a memoir set in 1979 at the time of the Atlanta child murders and told through the eyes of a young African-American teenager. Reid’s mother, an investigator in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office who was on the task force searching for the serial killer, told her in detail about the quest for the murderer of 29 victims, mostly young black boys.

Ridley signed an overall deal with ABC in 2014.

article by Debra Birnbaum via variety.com

Natalie E. Hudson Named Associate Justice to Minnesota Supreme Court

Judge Natalie Hudson (photo via insight news.com)

Judge Natalie Hudson (photo via insight news.com)

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced his appointment of the Honorable Natalie Hudson as associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Hudson will replace Associate Justice Alan Page, who will be retiring at the end of August.

“Judge Natalie Hudson has served our state admirably as a member of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and as assistant attorney general,” said Dayton. “During her distinguished 13-year tenure on the Court of Appeals, Judge Hudson has authored more than 1,100 written opinions, demonstrating clearly her unique aptitude for ruling on some of the most challenging legal issues facing our state today.”

Dayton said Hudson was the perfect person to replace Page on the bench.  “Judge Hudson will be an outstanding new member of the Minnesota Supreme Court. I have great confidence that she will bring a valuable perspective to the court, and continue the high standards of excellence, hard work, and fair-mindedness that Justice Page has embodied these last two decades,” said Dayton.

Hudson is the second African-American woman named to the Minnesota Supreme Court, following Wilhelmina Wright, whom Dayton appointed in 2012.

Dayton is also preparing to name Wright’s successor, because President Obama has nominated her to serve on the U.S. District Court for Minnesota. Wright will leave the Minnesota Supreme Court once she’s confirmed by the Senate.
2015 08 18 supreme court appointment“I am honored and humbled that the Governor has selected me to serve as the next Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court,” said Hudson. “I am excited about the opportunity, and it is indeed a privilege to continue to serve the people of Minnesota in this capacity.”

Hudson has served as an at-large judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals since her appointment by Gov. Jesse Ventura in 2002. Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeals, Hudson served as an assistant attorney general for Minnesota in the Criminal Appeals and Health Licensing divisions.

Hudson earned her B.A. from Arizona State University and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she also served as the editor-in-chief for the school’s newspaper.

After completing law school, Hudson was an attorney for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc. and Robins, Zelle, Larson & Kaplan. She then spent three years as the assistant dean of Student Affairs at Hamline University School of Law, and was later appointed as the city attorney for St. Paul.

article via insightnews.com; additions from mprnews.org

Nas To Fund Tech Scholarships for African-Americans and Latinos at General Assembly in NYC

nas instagram

Nasir Jones aka Nas (photo via allhiphop.com)

Nas is partnering up with General Assembly to sponsor scholarships for African-American and Latino students, according to reports.

General Assembly, a vocational school for engineering and programming in New York City, is opening the “Opportunity Fund” to help bring diversity into technology.  Microsoft, Google and Hirepurpose will also provide monies for the project. Each company will sponsor different populations. While Nas will give scholarships to African-Americans and Latinos, Microsoft and Hirepurpose will provide funding for veterans and Google will give scholarships to women.“This is the start of what hopefully will be a contribution to what will be a more diverse and accessible community worldwide,” General Assembly CEO Jake Schwartz told the Observer.

This is not the first time Nas has had his name attached to an educational opportunity – in 2013 Harvard University created the Nasir Jones Fellowship in his honor.  It’s wonderful that he is continuing to foster higher education, this time in his hometown.

original article by Tanay Hudson via allhiphop.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

The New York Times Magazine Features Claudia Rankine Article “The Meaning of Serena Williams: On Tennis and Black Excellence”

Serena Williams cover

Serena Williams (CHRISTOPHER GRIFFITH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Editor-in-Chief

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, Editor-in-Chief

Award-winning poet, playwright and professor Claudia Rankine has authored a cover article for the New York Times Magazine on tennis great Serena Williams.  “The Meaning of Serena Williams: On Tennis and Black Excellence” was digitally published yesterday, a week before the start of the U.S. Open and Williams’ opportunity to not only achieve a Grand Slam (winning all four major tennis tournaments in one calendar year) but also tie Steffi Graf‘s record of most Grand Slam titles won in the modern era (22) by a female.

It seems with this article the New York Times is accomplishing two things – finally hiring a black female writer to write about a prominent black female (remember the Shonda Rhimes “Angry Black Woman” debacle authored by Alessandra Stanley last September?) and attempting to make up for the poorly-received article written in July of this year by Ben Rothberg that was considered to be “body shaming” of muscular female athletes and Serena Williams specifically.

But whatever the intentions, we are happy for the existence of Rankine’s piece, the thoughtful analysis of racism, black excellence, and Serena’s career that it makes, and mostly, because we are rooting HARD for Serena to take the title and make even more history.  Check out an excerpt from the article below:

“The Meaning of Serena Williams” by Claudia Rankine

There is a belief among some African-Americans that to defeat racism, they have to work harder, be smarter, be better. Only after they give 150 percent will white Americans recognize black excellence for what it is. But of course, once recognized, black excellence is then supposed to perform with good manners and forgiveness in the face of any racist slights or attacks. Black excellence is not supposed to be emotional as it pulls itself together to win after questionable calls. And in winning, it’s not supposed to swagger, to leap and pump its fist, to state boldly, in the words of Kanye West, ‘‘That’s what it is, black excellence, baby.’’

Imagine you have won 21 Grand Slam singles titles, with only four losses in your 25 appearances in the finals. Imagine that you’ve achieved two ‘‘Serena Slams’’ (four consecutive Slams in a row), the first more than 10 years ago and the second this year. A win at this year’s U.S. Open would be your fifth and your first calendar-year Grand Slam — a feat last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988, when you were just 6 years old. This win would also break your tie for the most U.S. Open titles in the Open era, surpassing the legendary Chris Evert, who herself has called you ‘‘a phenomenon that once every hundred years comes around.’’ Imagine that you’re the player John McEnroe recently described as ‘‘the greatest player, I think, that ever lived.’’ Imagine that, despite all this, there were so many bad calls against you, you were given as one reason video replay needed to be used on the courts. Imagine that you have to contend with critiques of your body that perpetuate racist notions that black women are hypermasculine and unattractive. Imagine being asked to comment at a news conference before a tournament because the president of the Russian Tennis Federation, Shamil Tarpischev, has described you and your sister as ‘‘brothers’’ who are ‘‘scary’’ to look at. Imagine.

The word ‘‘win’’ finds its roots in both joy and grace. Serena’s grace comes because she won’t be forced into stillness; she won’t accept those racist projections onto her body without speaking back; she won’t go gently into the white light of victory. Her excellence doesn’t mask the struggle it takes to achieve each win. For black people, there is an unspoken script that demands the humble absorption of racist assaults, no matter the scale, because whites need to believe that it’s no big deal. But Serena refuses to keep to that script. Somehow, along the way, she made a decision to be excellent while still being Serena. She would feel what she feels in front of everyone, in response to anyone. At Wimbledon this year, for example, in a match against the home favorite Heather Watson, Serena, interrupted during play by the deafening support of Watson, wagged her index finger at the crowd and said, ‘‘Don’t try me.’’ She will tell an audience or an official that they are disrespectful or unjust, whether she says, simply, ‘‘No, no, no’’ or something much more forceful, as happened at the U.S. Open in 2009, when she told the lineswoman, ‘‘I swear to God I am [expletive] going to take this [expletive] ball and shove it down your [expletive] throat.’’ And in doing so, we actually see her. She shows us her joy, her humor and, yes, her rage. She gives us the whole range of what it is to be human, and there are those who can’t bear it, who can’t tolerate the humanity of an ordinary extraordinary person.

In the essay ‘‘Everybody’s Protest Novel,’’ James Baldwin wrote, ‘‘our humanity is our burden, our life; we need not battle for it; we need only to do what is infinitely more difficult — that is, accept it.’’ To accept the self, its humanity, is to discard the white racist gaze. Serena has freed herself from it. But that doesn’t mean she won’t be emotional or hurt by challenges to her humanity. It doesn’t mean she won’t battle for the right to be excellent. There is nothing wrong with Serena, but surely there is something wrong with the expectation that she be ‘‘good’’ while she is achieving greatness. Why should Serena not respond to racism? In whose world should it be answered with good manners? The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine.

To read the rest of Rankine’s feature on Williams, click nytimes.com.

Maurice Osborne Rescues Woman Being Attacked on Subway Platform in Brooklyn

Photo published for Man Apprehends Sex Assault Suspect On No. 3 Train Platform In Brooklyn

Subway Hero Maurice Osbourne (photo via thefeelsnews.wordpress.com)

A subway hero recently rescued a woman being sexually assaulted and collared the suspect.  “As soon as she said that he was trying to rape her, I just reacted,” Maurice Osborne told CBS2’s Matt Kozar on Friday.

Despite getting six stitches above his left eye and a swollen right hand that looked more like a water balloon, Osborne said he’d do it all again.  Asked if anyone else was going to help the woman, Osborne said, “Nope. I wish someone else did. I wish the conductor stayed. The conductor didn’t even stay. The train left.”

While riding the No. 3 train Wednesday morning at the Bergen Street station in Park Slope, Osborne said he heard screams from a woman, who investigators said was being sexually assaulted by 40-year-old Alvaro Dennica.

Dennica had been allegedly fondling himself in the last subway car before chasing the victim onto the platform and jumping on top of her, Kozar reported.  Osborne, a fit 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, leaped into action and grabbed Dennica by the collar, as he demonstrated on Kozar during the interview.

“He said he did didn’t do anything,” Osborne said, when asked what the alleged assailant’s reaction was.

Osborne said he continued grabbing the man by his shirt, pulling him all the way up the subway station’s steps and across Flatbush Avenue to the 78th Precinct, where he turned him in to police.

The 28-year-old victim was following close behind and told investigators what had happened, Kozar reported.  The 37-year-old Osborne, who’s living in a shelter in the Bed Stuy section of Brooklyn while studying to become a medical assistant, told Kozar “I like helping people. It makes me feel useful.”

He said he hopes New Yorkers will follow his lead and help one another the next time help is needed.  Dennica was charged with assault and attempted sexual abuse and was being held in lieu of $150,000 bond.

Video of the story at: CBS Local

article via thefeelsnews.wordpress.com

Napa Valley Wine Train CEO Anthony Giaccio Apologizes to Women Escorted Away For #LaughingWhileBlack

Women from Book Club who were escorted off Napa Valley Wine Train for laughing (Photo via media.nbcbayarea.com)

Women from Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club who were escorted off Napa Valley Wine Train (Photo via media.nbcbayarea.com)

Remember that group of women whose story went viral a few days ago because they were kicked off of a Napa Valley Train wine tour for laughing? They’re now getting the apology they deserve from the train’s CEO, Anthony “Tony” Giaccio.

The full statement Giaccio wrote to the members of the Sistahs on the Reading Edge Book Club reads as follows:

The Napa Valley Wine Train was 100 percent wrong in its handling of this issue. We accept full responsibility for our failures and for the chain of events that led to this regrettable treatment of our guests.

Clearly, we knew in advance when we booked your party that you would be loud, fun-loving and boisterous—because you told us during the booking process that you wanted a place where your Club could enjoy each other’s company. Somehow that vital information never made it to the appropriate channels and we failed to seat your group where you could enjoy yourself properly and alert our train’s staff that they should expect a particularly vibrant group.

We were insensitive when we asked you to depart our train by marching you down the aisle past all the other passengers. While that was the safest route for disembarking, it showed a lack of sensitivity on our part that I did not fully conceive of until you explained the humiliation of the experience and how it impacted you and your fellow Book Club members.

We also erred by placing an inaccurate post on our Facebook site that was not reflective of what actually occurred. In the haste to respond to criticism and news inquires, we made a bad situation worse by rushing to answer questions on social media. We quickly removed the inaccurate post, but the harm was done by our erroneous post.

In summary, we were acutely insensitive to you and the members of the Book Club. Please accept my apologies for our many mistakes and failures. We pride ourselves on our hospitality and our desire to please our guests on the Napa Valley Wine Train. In this instance, we failed in every measure of the meaning of good service, respect and hospitality.

I appreciate your recommendation that our staff, which I believe to be among the best, could use additional cultural diversity and sensitivity training. I pledge to make sure that occurs and I plan to participate myself.

As I offered in my conversation with you today, please accept my personal apologies for your experience and the experience of the Book Club members. I would like to invite you and other members to return plus 39 other guests (you can fill an entire car of 50) as my personal guests in a reserved car where you can enjoy yourselves as loudly as you desire.

I want to conclude again by offering my apologies for your terrible experience.

The story caught attention online when Lisa Johnson, a book club member that was one of the women escorted off of the train on Saturday, shared videos and social media posts documenting the incident. Johnson and her friends in the club were highly embarrassed by the incident. Not only were they escorted off by being forced to walk through six train cars, but they were also greeted by police once they got onto the platform.

Despite this apology, Lisa Johnson told MSNBC‘s Thomas Roberts that she will not patronize the Napa Valley Wine Train again.

“No, we don’t accept the apology… In the course of my conversation with Anthony, he was apologizing. And during the course of that apology he said to me, ‘You know it’s really troubling for us that we’re being painted in the media to be something that we are not. And I had to take that in a moment because I said, ‘That’s exactly what you did to us.’ was paint a picture of us in the media of something that we are not…I will never forget my first and last experience on the Napa Wine Train.”

You can watch Johnson’s full interview in the video by clicking here.

original article by Monique John via hellobeautiful.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 21,933 other followers

%d bloggers like this: