Essence’s 20th Anniversary Festival Largest Ever With 550,000 Attendees

This past weekend’s Essence Festival surpassed its record setting attendance of last year’s 543,000 attendees by 7,000. At the 20th anniversary of the famed festival, more than 550,000 people attended and saw various performances, activities, and speakers throughout the Fourth of July weekend in New Orleans.

“Through a unique combination of entertainment and empowerment programming, the ESSENCE Festival has become the place where we come together to revel in culture and connect to our community,” said ESSENCE Communications President Michelle Ebanks. “In recognition of our 20-year milestone, we are tremendously proud to have offered more curated content than ever before—live in New Orleans for our more than 550,000 festival-goers and available digitally on multiple screens for our ESSENCE community of 11.5 million.”

There were more than 80 performers including such dignitaries as Prince, Mary J. Blige, Lionel Richie, Robin Roberts, Alicia Keys, Steve Harvey and Rev. Al Sharpton.

article by Cedric “BIG CED” Thornton via blackenterprise.com

Robin Roberts to Receive Walter Cronkite Journalism Award for Excellence from ASU

Robin Roberts“Good Morning America’’ co-anchor Robin Roberts will receive the 2014 Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism from Arizona State University’s Cronkite School.

The university announced that Roberts will receive the award during an Oct. 6 luncheon in Phoenix, reports the AP. Past winners include Bernard Shaw, Tom Brokaw, Diane Sawyer, Jane Pauley, Brian Williams and Helen Thomas.

Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan says Roberts has made outstanding contributions to journalism and demonstrated great personal courage.

The Mississippi native, a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, faced public battles with breast cancer in 2007 and a bone marrow disorder in 2012. She worked for several radio and television stations and ESPN before being named co-anchor of ABC’s ‘‘Good Morning America’’ in 2005.

article via eurweb.com

First Lady Supports Robin Roberts Coming Out As Gay

Robin Roberts and Michelle Obama

LOS ANGELES — Michelle Obama (pictured) is leading an outpouring of support for Robin Roberts, after the “Good Morning America” news anchor gave her first public acknowledgement of her 10-year, same-sex relationship with massage therapist Amber Laign.

The First Lady wrote Monday on Twitter:

I am so happy for you and Amber! You continue to make us all proud.

In a Facebook post Sunday, Roberts thanked her “longtime girlfriend” for providing encouragement during Roberts’ battle with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood and bone marrow disease.  Many celebs also took to Twitter to send Roberts messages, including Ellen DeGeneres, who tweeted, “Good morning, America! Congratulations.”

Comedian Wanda Sykes wrote, “Go on with your bad self!”

Country singer Chely Wright, who came out in 2010, also expressed support through the social media site.

article via newsone.com

Robin Roberts Reaches New, Long-Term Deal With ABC

robin roberts abc deal

Good Morning America host Robin Roberts (pictured) has reached a new deal with ABC, according to the New York Post.  Per sources, the deal is worth between $13 and $14 million a year. However, another source closer to ABC says it is “less than $10 million.”  “Over a month ago, they quietly inked a new, long-term, very high seven-figure deal with Robin that will keep [her] at the company for years to come . . . it was a friendly negotiation,” commented a source with inside knowledge. “Robin’s been [at ABC News] for over 20 years . . . and will be a leader there for a very long time to come.”

The source says Roberts appreciated the network’s understanding of her recent medical issues.  In June 2012, Roberts announced on air that she had been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood disorder. After undergoing a successful bone marrow transplant in September of that year, Roberts took a six month sabbatical from GMA to convalesce. She returned to the show full time after Labor Day weekend.  “She made it clear to her reps that she wanted them to drive a fair deal but didn’t want to create any kind of bidding war,” the source revealed. Continue reading

Robin Roberts Returns To ‘Good Morning America’ Full Time

It seems like only yesterday that we bid farewell to Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America,” but it’s been a full year. The beautiful and inspiring anchor is set to make her full time comeback! Roberts came back to the show earlier this year, but is now back five days a week!  “The day after Labor Day, I’ll be back to a five-day a week schedule,” Roberts explained. “I’m looking forward to it. I want to get back to my full life.”

Roberts revealed, “I’m really at peace now. I’m not as frightened. I feel 90 percent of myself again, and that’s a great feeling.” September 20th marks a full year since Roberts’ bone marrow transplant and she’s apparently feeling closer to her old self!

Recently getting back from a Maui vacation with a close group of friends, Roberts used that time to renew and reflect and called the trip meaningful. “To be able to feel stronger and a little more active, it’s great to feel that way again,” Roberts said of her trip.  Roberts kept a photo of Maui up in her hospital room as motivation to get well. And it did the trick because we get to see her beautiful face every weekday morning.  Welcome back Robin!

article by Danielle Young via blackamericaweb.com

Juror B29 Says Zimmerman Got Away With Murder, Owes Martin’s Parents Apology

ROBIN ROBERTS, JUROR B29, ATTORNEY DAVID CHICO

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The second juror to speak publicly about George Zimmerman‘s trial tells ABC News that she feels the neighborhood watch volunteer got away with murder for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin. But she says there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him under Florida law.  

Juror B29 told Robin Roberts in an interview made public Thursday that she favored convicting Zimmerman of second-degree murder when deliberations began. But by the second day of deliberating, she realized there wasn’t enough proof to convict Zimmerman of a crime.  Juror B29 is the second juror to go public with what went on during deliberations earlier this month. She allowed her face to be seen and used her first name, Maddy, unlike JurorB37 who was interviewed on CNN last week with her face obscured.

article by via blackamericaweb.com

Robin Roberts Honored with Arthur Ashe Courage Award at ESPY Awards

Denzel Washington, Maya Angelou Among Top 10 ‘Most Trusted’ Celebs in Reader’s Digest Poll

Denzel Crushes "Fences"!Denzel Washington and Maya Angelou are ranked in the top 10 on the new Reader’s Digest Trust Poll: The 100 Most Trusted People in America, ranking third and fifth respectively.

RD, with the help of The Wagner Group, polled over 1,000 Americans to see which celebrities and “the ideals they represent have earned our confidence.”

Reader’s Digest editor-in-chief Liz Vaccariello said in a press release: “The poll results were fascinating, fun and shocking.”  Topping the list is actor Tom Hanks.

Good Morning America host Robin Roberts is America’s “Most Trusted” woman in TV, ranking at number 12.

The list also includes: First Lady Michelle Obama, former NFL coach Tony Dungy, Muhammad Ali, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, President Barack Obama, and Steve Harvey, just to name a few.

Click here to view the full list of the “100 Most Trusted People in America.”

article by Carrie Healey via thegrio.com

Bryant Gumbel, Robin Roberts and D.L. Hughley Win Peabody Awards

bryant gumbel

Bryant Gumbel on the set of “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”

Robin Roberts’ ABC special about her bone marrow transplant and “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” were among the 39 winners of this year’s Peabody Awards honoring the best in electronic media in 2012.  The honorees were announced at a ceremony on the University of Georgia campus, but the awards won’t be handed out until a luncheon event in New York City on May 20.

Also awarded, Comedy Central’s “D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List,” an hourlong special on whether black men should be on the endangered species list; and the Smithsonian Channel’s “MLK: The Assassination Tapes,” which used rare footage collected at the University of Memphis in 1968, to relive the events leading up to the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and its aftermath.

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ESPN To Give Robin Roberts ‘Espy’ Award For Courage

robin roberts espy award

NEW YORK — ESPN is staying in the family in giving its Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Robin Roberts at its annual ESPY awards this summer.  The “Good Morning America” anchor is being saluted for how she kept viewers involved in her treatments for two serious illnesses. She had breast cancer in 2007 and last year had to undergo a bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder. Roberts returned to “Good Morning America” last month.

Roberts came to sister company ABC from ESPN, where she was the network’s first black female sportscaster.  Most past awards recipients have sports connections, like former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt last year. But the ESPYs have also honored Nelson Mandela and the four men who tried to stop one of the Sept. 11 hijackings.

article by Associated Press via newsone.com