United Nations Panel Issues Report Stating U.S. Owes Black People Reparations

Verene Shepherd (right), a member of the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, in 2014

Verene Shepherd (right), a member of the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, in 2014. (EVERT ELZINGA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

article by Monique Judge via theroot.com

Colonial history, a legacy of enslavement and segregation are among the chief reasons reparations are owed to African Americans, according to a report put out by a United Nations group (pdf).

The U.N.’s Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, which reports to the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, presented its findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday, the Washington Post reports.

The panel, which visited the U.S. on a fact-finding mission in January, wrote in a statement that it was “extremely concerned about the human rights situation of African Americans,” stating that there has been no real commitment to reparations, truth and reconciliation for people of African descent.

Despite substantial changes since the end of the enforcement of Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights, ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another, continues to negatively impact the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today. The dangerous ideology of white supremacy inhibits social cohesion amongst the US population.

The panel likened the pattern of police officers killing unarmed black men to lynching, which it referred to as a form of “racial terrorism that has contributed to a legacy of racial inequality that the US must address.”

“Contemporary police killings and the trauma it creates are reminiscent of the racial terror lynching of the past. Impunity for state violence has resulted in the current human rights crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency,” the panel wrote.

The panel also noted that African Americans are disproportionately affected by “tough on crime policies,” mass incarceration, and racial bias and disparities in the criminal-justice system.

During this country visit, the experts observed the excessive control and supervision targeting all levels of their life. This control since September 2001, has been reinforced by the introduction of the Patriot Act. We heard testimonies from African Americans based on their experience that people of African descent are treated by the State as a dangerous criminal group and face a presumption of guilt rather than innocence.

The panel laid out recommendations for the U.S. to assist in “its efforts to combat all forms of racism, racial discrimination, Afrophobia, and related intolerance,” which included the “profound need to acknowledge that the transatlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity.”

“Past injustices and crimes against African Americans need to be addressed with reparatory justice,” the panel wrote.

To read more, go to: http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/09/u-n-panel-says-the-u-s-owes-black-people-reparations/

U.S. to Pay 17 Native Tribes $492 Million to Settle Long-Standing Disputes

 via washingtonpost.com

The Obama administration has settled lawsuits with 17 Native American tribes that accused the federal government of long mismanaging their funds and natural resources.

With these settlements, the administration will have resolved the majority of outstanding claims, some dating back a century, with more than 100 tribes and totaling more than $3.3 billion, according to the Justice and Interior departments.

“This is an important achievement that will end, honorably and fairly, decades of contention that not only sapped valuable resources but also strained relationships,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates.

The settlements announced Monday, totaling $492.8 million, come at the same time that thousands of Native Americans representing tribes from across the country have joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota to protest the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, which they say threatens their water supply and traverses sacred Indian burial grounds.

To read full article, go to: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-to-pay-17-indian-tribes-492-million-to-settle-long-standing-disputes/2016/09/26/61d55e02-83fc-11e6-92c2-14b64f3d453f_story.html?tid=a_inl

Albert Woolum, White Navy Veteran, Kneels in a Black Lives Matter Shirt During National Anthem to Support Girls’ Volleyball Team

Navy veteran Albert Woolum supports girls’ volleyball team in their protest against police brutality during the National Anthem (photo via thegrio.com)

article via thegrio.com

On Friday night, cheerleaders for the DeSoto and Cedar Hill high schools’ football teams in Texas knelt during the national anthem before the game between their two schools to protest the treatment of people of color in the United States. What’s more, on Tuesday, the DeSoto girls’ volleyball team took a knee during the national anthem at one of their games as well.

Their actions, and the backlash that followed, didn’t go unnoticed, and Albert Woolum, a white Navy veteran, saw not only the protest but the abuse that the girls suffered and knew he had to act.  He found out when the next volleyball game would be and made sure he was there, not only to show his support but also to participate in their protest. During the national anthem, he took a knee, and he spent the entire game in a Black Lives Matter t-shirt.

Woolum later explained his decision to support the girls and their protest: “The decision they made to kneel at their last game, they caught a lot of flak for that. I saw that on the news. I looked when their next game was, and I came to support them to let them know somebody in the white community cares.”

Check out one Twitter reaction, below, and more in the original article:

 

To read more, go to: White Navy vet kneels in a Black Lives Matter shirt during national anthem | theGrio

Wiz Khalifa to Headline “Pencils of Promise” Benefit Concert for Children’s Education in October

Hip-hop artist Wiz Khalifa (photo via

Hip-hop artist Wiz Khalifa (photo via hypebeast.com)

article via blackamericaweb.com

Pencils of Promise, a global education nonprofit, has tapped Grammy-nominated rapper Wiz Khalifa to headline its 2016 PoP Gala, joining fellow performers Nico & Vinz, reports Billboard.

Khalifa will close the event — set for Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Cipriani Wall Street — with a special performance in support of the millions of children around the globe who don’t have access to quality education.

“Kids should be able to chase their dream. Pencils of Promise is allowing them to do that,” Khalifa said in a press release announcing his involvement.

This year marks the sixth annual Pencils of Promise Gala to raise funds for children’s education in developing countries. Previous honorees and performers have included Justin Bieber, John Legend, Usher, Gary Vaynerchuk, Malala Yousafzai and Scooter Braun.

Honorary event chair Grace Raymond and creative director Luam Keflezgy are leading the effort to transform the annual event.

The 2016 gala will feature an awards portion, highlighting the partnership with footwear brand Stuart Weitzman, which has supported Pencils of Promise with their Shoes for Schools campaign, through which they funded the construction of three schools: one each in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos. The night will also recognize the Womble Family/Collis Foundation.

To read more, go to: http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/09/27/wiz-khalifa-to-headline-benefit-concert/

Denzel Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua’s Remake of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ Hits Box-Office Bullseye With $35 Million Debut

Magnificent Seven

Denzel Washington in “Magnificent Seven” (COURTESY OF MGM)

article by Brent Lang via Variety.com

Denzel Washington hits the bullseye again. “The Magnificent Seven,” the Oscar-winner’s first Western, topped the box office this weekend, picking up a solid $35 million.

Hollywood’s star system has shriveled in the past decade, with few new talents emerging to reanimate the ranks and stand alongside Leo and Julia and Johnny and George and Brad. Some of those stars have dimmed as the years tick by, but Washington’s still shines brightly.  “He’s one of the last great action heroes,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “He’s so believable in those roles and he has a ferocity that works cinematically.”

Indeed, Washington hasn’t had a film open to less than $20 million since 2007’s “The Great Debaters,” a remarkable display of consistency. He’ll be back on screens at the end of the year in “Fences,” an adaptation of August Wilson’s play, that he directs and stars in alongside Viola Davis. It is expected to be an Oscar contender.

“The Magnificent Seven” easily snagged the crown from “Sully,” the retelling of the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing that topped the box office for two weeks. The drama slid to third place with $13.8 million, bringing its stateside total to a healthy $92.4 million. Like “The Magnificent Seven,” it is benefiting from the popularity of a veteran movie star. In this case, Tom Hanks, who plays the hero pilot.

“The Magnificent Seven’s” success is welcome news for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which was body checked this summer after “Ben-Hur,” its $100 million-plus Biblical epic, collapsed at the box office, resulting in at least $70 million in losses for the studio and its production co-financiers. Earlier this month, MGM reduced its annual profit projections by roughly $50 million because of “Ben-Hur’s” failure.

But “The Magnificent Seven” counts as a win for the company. It also proves the viability of remaking older films, provided there is some novel spin to apply. In this case, Washington and director Antoine Fuqua were able to stage balletic shootouts that rivaled those in John Sturges’ original 1960 film. They also played up the diversity of their cast, rounding out the band of mercenaries with South Korean actor Byung-hun Lee, Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Native American actor Martin Sensmeier. That multi-cultural aspect seemed to resonate in a post-#OscarsSoWhite era, and at a time when Hollywood blockbusters are faulted for offering few roles to people of color.

Sony Pictures distributed “The Magnificent Seven” and teamed with MGM, LStar Capital, and Village Roadshow to finance the $90 million production. “It’s a fun film that’s going to be around for awhile,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s distribution chief. “Antoine Fuqua delivered an action-packed visceral ride with a great ensemble cast.”

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/denzel-washington-magnificent-seven-1201869863/

R.I.P. Actor Bill Nunn, 62, Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s ‘Do the Right Thing’

Bill Nunn Dead, Dies at 62

Actor Bill Nunn (REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Seth Kelley via Variety.com

Bill Nunn, the actor best known for playing Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing” and Robbie Robertson in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, has died. He was 62.

Lee, who worked with Nunn on “He Got Game,” “School Daze” and “Mo’ Better Blues” in addition to “Do The Right Thing,” posted on Instagram Saturday to confirm the actor’s death. Lee wrote that Nunn passed away earlier that morning in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa.

“Radio Raheem is now resting in power,” the director wrote. “Radio Raheem will always be fighting da powers dat be. May God watch over Bill Nunn.”

The director followed up soon after with a second tribute:

“Radio Raheem. Let me tell you the story of Right Hand, Left Hand. It’s a tale of good and evil. Hate! It was with this hand that Cane iced his brother. Love! These five fingers, they go straight to the soul of man. The right hand: the hand of love. The story of life is this: static. One hand is always fighting the other hand, and the left hand is kicking much ass. I mean, it looks like the right hand, Love is finished. But hold on, stop the presses the right hand is coming back. Yeah, he got the left hand on the ropes, now, that’s right. Yea, Boom, it’s a devastating right and Hate is hurt, he’s down. Ooh! Ooh! Left-Hand Hate KOed by Love. If I love you, I love you. But if I hate you…Mookie: there it is, Love and Hate. Raheem I love you bruh…”

The actor made his film debut in Lee’s 1988 film “School Daze.” He also gained recognition for his role as Nino Brown’s bodyguard Duh Duh Duh Man in Mario Van Peebles’ film “New Jack City.” In “Regarding Henry,” he played Bradley, a physical therapist who helps the titular Henry (Harrison Ford).

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/people-news/bill-nunn-dead-spike-lee-radio-raheem-do-the-right-thing-spider-man-dies-1201869741/

Claudia Rankine, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Kellie Jones and Joyce J. Scott Among 2016 MacArthur “Genius” Grant Recipients

2016 MacArthur Grant Fellows Claudia Rankine (top l); Kellie Jones (top r); Brandon Jeknins (bottom l); Sharon Scott (bottom r) [Photos courtesy macfound.org)

2016 MacArthur Grant Fellows Claudia Rankine (top l); Kellie Jones (top r); Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (bottom l); Joyce J. Scott (bottom r) [Photos courtesy macfound.org)

article by Jennifer Schuessler via nytimes.com

Getting a phone call from an unidentified number in Chicago in late summer is a fantasy many artists, scientists and other creative people have entertained. But that doesn’t mean it seems real when it actually happens.

“I thought I was having a psychotic breakdown,” the playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins said of his reaction to learning several weeks ago that he was among the 23 people selected as 2016 fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

“I went out on the street, and ran into a friend,” Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins continued. “I had him look at my cellphone, just to confirm that the call had been real.”

This year’s winners of the MacArthur fellowships, awarded for exceptional “originality, insight and potential,” and publicly announced on Thursday, include writers, visual artists, scientists, nonprofit organization leaders and others, who are chosen at a moment when the recognition and money — a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000 distributed over five years — will make a difference.

“We want to give people new wind against their sails,” said Cecilia A. Conrad, a managing director of the foundation and the leader of the fellows program.

The honorees include relatively well-known figures in the arts like the poet Claudia Rankine, 53, whose book “Citizen,” (2014) which explored racism in everyday life, won numerous awards and made the New York Times best-seller list; the essayist Maggie Nelson, 43, who won the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism for “The Argonauts,” a hard-to-classify exploration of gender, motherhood and identity; and Gene Luen Yang, 43, who in January became the first graphic novelist named national ambassador for children’s literature by the Library of Congress.

The youngest fellow is Mr. Jacobs-Jenkins, 31, known for plays, like “An Octoroon” and “Neighbors,” that address race, class and history, sometimes through the remixing of charged stereotypes. The oldest is Joyce J. Scott, 67, a Baltimore-based artist whose work includes performance art and large-scale sculptural pieces that incorporate traditional beadwork into pointed commentaries on American culture, the black female body and other subjects.

To read full article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/22/arts/macarthur-foundation-announces-2016-genius-grant-winners.html