Byron Pitts to Replace Dan Abrams on “Nightline” Anchor Team

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ABC News has tapped chief national correspondent Byron Pitts to replace Dan Abrams as one of “Nightline’s” three co-anchors.

Abrams will remain the Alphabet’s chief legal analyst, but ABC News president James Goldston said in a memo issued Thursday that Abrams intends to return to full-time work on his Abrams Media Network digital business. Pitts has been chief national correspondent since 2013.

“Byron is a truly passionate storyteller and deep thinker about the critical issues of our time, as his work from Soweto to Ferguson makes clear,” Goldston wrote.

article by Cynthia Littleton via Variety.com

Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Andrew Hawkins Offers Thoughtful Rebuke After Police Union Slams T-Shirt Protest

Cleveland Browns player Andrew Hawkins on Dec. 14, 2014

Cleveland Browns player Andrew Hawkins on Dec. 14, 2014

After police unions slammed his decision to wear a T-shirt protesting the police shootings of two black people in Ohio, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins gathered the media to explain himself more fully.

“I understood there was going to be backlash, and that scared me, honestly. But deep down I felt like it was the right thing to do,” Hawkins said. “If I was to run away from what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do, that would make me a coward, and I can’t live with that.”

Below is his statement in full:

“I was taught that justice is a right that every American should have. Also justice should be the goal of every American. I think that’s what makes this country. To me, justice means the innocent should be found innocent. It means that those who do wrong should get their due punishment. Ultimately, it means fair treatment. So a call for justice shouldn’t offend or disrespect anybody. A call for justice shouldn’t warrant an apology.“To clarify, I utterly respect and appreciate every police officer that protects and serves all of us with honesty, integrity and the right way. And I don’t think those kind of officers should be offended by what I did. My mom taught me my entire life to respect law enforcement. I have family, close friends that are incredible police officers and I tell them all the time how they are much braver than me for it. So my wearing a T-shirt wasn’t a stance against every police officer or every police department. My wearing the T-shirt was a stance against wrong individuals doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons to innocent people.

“Unfortunately, my mom also taught me just as there are good police officers, there are some not-so-good police officers that would assume the worst of me without knowing anything about me for reasons I can’t control. She taught me to be careful and be on the lookout for those not-so-good police officers because they could potentially do me harm and most times without consequences. Those are the police officers that should be offended.

“Being a police officer takes bravery. And I understand that they’re put in difficult positions and have to make those snap decisions. As a football player, I know a little bit about snap decisions, obviously on an extremely lesser and non-comparative scale, because when a police officer makes a snap decision, it’s literally a matter of life and death. That’s hard a situation to be in. But if the wrong decision is made, based on pre-conceived notions or the wrong motives, I believe there should be consequence. Because without consequence, naturally the magnitude of the snap decisions is lessened, whether consciously or unconsciously.

“I’m not an activist, in any way, shape or form. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred I keep my opinions to myself on most matters. I worked extremely hard to build and keep my reputation especially here in Ohio, and by most accounts I’ve done a solid job of decently building a good name. Before I made the decision to wear the T-shirt, I understood I was putting that reputation in jeopardy to some of those people who wouldn’t necessarily agree with my perspective. I understood there was going to be backlash, and that scared me, honestly. But deep down I felt like it was the right thing to do. If I was to run away from what I felt in my soul was the right thing to do, that would make me a coward, and I can’t live with that. God wouldn’t be able to put me where I am today, as far as I’ve come in life, if I was a coward.

“As you well know, and it’s well documented, I have a 2-year-old little boy. The same 2-year-old little boy that everyone said was cute when I jokingly threw him out of the house earlier this year. That little boy is my entire world. And the No. 1 reason for me wearing the T-shirt was the thought of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my little Austin scares the living hell out of me. And my heart was broken for the parents of Tamir and John Crawford knowing they had to live that nightmare of a reality.

“So, like I said, I made the conscious decision to wear the T-shirt. I felt like my heart was in the right place. I’m at peace with it and those that disagree with me, this is America, everyone has the right to their first amendment rights. Those who support me, I appreciate your support. But at the same time, support the causes and the people and the injustices that you feel strongly about. Stand up for them. Speak up for them. No matter what it is because that’s what America’s about and that’s what this country was founded on.”

article by Dylan Scott via talkingpointsmemo.com

Jahvaris Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s Brother, Celebrates Graduating From College

Jahvaris Fulton and Tracy Martin

Jahvaris Fulton and Tracy Martin (Source: Twitter)

According to blackenterprise.com, Jahvaris Fulton, the older brother of slain Sanford, Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, recently graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology.

Fulton, 22, has made the best of his opportunities since losing his little brother to violence. Prior to graduating, Jahvaris served as a congressional intern for Florida Representative Frederica Wilson.

Wilson, a founder of 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, also counts Fulton as a member who helped to encourage at-risk in Miami-Dade schools to stay in school.

Recently, Jahvaris and Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, spoke on CNN’s Anderson Cooper show to highlight the wide breadth of miscommunication that exists between persons of color and white America. “It’s not happening to them, so they don’t quite get it,” she told Cooper in an interview that aired Friday. “They don’t quite understand. They think that it’s a small group of African Americans that’s complaining: ‘Oh, what are they complaining about now?’”

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Tracy Martin, Jahvaris Fulton and Sybrina Fulton (Source: Twitter)

 

This week, however, was all about celebrating Jahvaris’ success in higher academia. The exciting news was confirmed via Twitter, with many attendees tweeting their congrats.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Philadelphia Museum of Art to Open “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art” Exhibit in January 2015

The Annunciation, (1898), Henry Ossawa Tanner. (Courtesy the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1899)

The Annunciation, (1898), Henry Ossawa Tanner. (Courtesy the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1899)

In January, the Philadelphia Museum will open “Represent: 200 Years of African American Art,” a sprawling survey of its holdings of works by black artists. Featuring 75 artworks by over 50 artists, the show’s earliest pieces include silhouettes by Moses Williams that date to 1802, pre-Civil War decorative arts by free and enslaved artists, and potter David Drake’s bible-inscribed storage jar sculpture.

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Birds in Flight (1927) by Aaron Douglas (Courtesy the Philadelphia Museum of Art, © Heirs of Aaron Douglas/Licensed by VAGA, New York)

“Presenting these works together now, we are mindful of the many anniversaries of the civil rights movement that have recently passed or are soon to come, and are thinking equally about the way race remains a key topic of conversation in the United States today—in politics, society, popular culture, and, of course, the arts,” said Philadelphia Museum of Art director Timothy Rub said in a statement. “This is an important moment in which to explore the historic development and continuing growth of the Museum’s collections of African American art.”

A centerpiece of the exhibition is undoubtedly Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1898 painting titled The Annunciationreports the Wall Street Journal. Acquired by the museum in 1899, it was the first piece by an African American artist added to its collection. The show traces black artists through many of the major movements in American art history, from Cubism with Aaron Douglas’s Birds in Flight (1927) to Modernism with works by William Henry Johnson and Elizabeth Catlett. A combination of both can be seen in the figurative painting of Harlem Renaissance artist Jacob Lawrence.

Other, more contemporary, highlights include Barbara Chase-Riboud’s large-scale bronze and fiber sculpture Malcolm X #3, as well as pieces by Carrie Mae Weems, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, and Kara Walker.

“Represent: 200 Years of African American Art” will be on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art January 10, 2015 though April 5, 2015. (Preview a selection of artworks from the exhibition below.) Continue reading

Los Angeles to Buy 7,000 Body Cameras for Police Officers

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Tuesday that the city would purchase 7,000 body cameras for police officers in an effort to increase transparency.

Body cameras for officers have become a major issue in the wake of the shooting of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Mo., police officer and the conflicting accounts of what happened.

At a news conference, Garcetti said the cameras “are not a panacea, but they are a critical part of the formula. They’re a great step forward.”

“The trust between a community and its police department can be eroded in a single moment,” Garcetti said. “Trust is built on transparency.”

Advocates say the cameras will be a valuable tool for the department. The ability to record audio and video of police encounters with the public, they say, could help guard against officer misconduct and clear cops falsely accused of wrongdoing.

Steve Soboroff, president of the Police Commission, has spent months raising private money to outfit officers with on-body cameras. He said the mayor’s plan would supplement the contract the LAPD was already negotiating with the camera vendor, eventually bringing more cameras to officers on the streets.

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 8.29.06 PMMore than $1 million raised through private donations will help pay for the cameras, thus avoiding City Hall budget constraints.

Soboroff called the mayor’s plan a “very big deal,” saying the LAPD’s use of the cameras could set a precedent for law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Earlier this year, the LAPD began a pilot program, testing different types of body cameras. Officers spent 90 days trying out camera equipment while department officials gathered input from the inspector general, the American Civil Liberties Union and other law enforcement agencies that have implemented the technology.

article by Richard Winton and Kate Mather via latimes.com

Samuel L. Jackson Calls For The #ICantBreatheChallenge (VIDEO)

Samuel L. JacksonSamuel L. Jackson has challenged us all to the #ICantBreatheChallenge in honor of Eric GarnerMike BrownFerguson and the current fight against police brutality:

Will you follow Jackson’s lead and help make this movement viral?

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

David Oyelowo to Star With Lupita Nyong’o in “Americanah”

David Oyelowo Americanah Lupita Nyongo

David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o (GETTY IMAGES)r

Having already secured a Golden Globe nomination for his work in “Selma,” David Oyelowo is looking to set up his future slate.

According to Variety.com, Oyelowo is set to co-star with Lupita Nyong’o in the indie drama “Americanah.”  Based on the Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie novel, the story follows a pair of young Nigerian immigrants who face a lifetime of struggle while their relationship endures.  The film is now looking to attach a writer and director, with no production start date set yet.

Brad Pitt is producing through his Plan B production banner along with Nyong’o and Andrea Calderwood. Plan B also produced “Selma,” and after having such a good experience working with them, Oyelowo jumped at the opportunity to board another project they were producing.

Oyelowo has a busy end of the year, with “Interstellar,” “Selma” and “A Most Violent Year” all bowing in the last month.  He is expected to be in the Oscars conversation for his performance in “Selma,” and he can be seen next in the indie “Captive” opposite Kate Mara.  Nyong’o is slated to appear in the new version of “Star Wars” helmed by J.J. Abrams in 2015.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

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