Category: Awards/Honors

Oprah Winfrey Receives Cecil B. DeMille Award at 75th Golden Globes, Gives Speech of a Lifetime (WATCH)

Oprah Winfrey, Winner, Cecil B. Demille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2018 — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Other stuff happened at the 75th Annual Golden Globes tonight, sure, and we are definitely proud of Sterling K. Brown for that Best Actor TV Drama win for “This is Us.”

But what REALLY happened was Oprah. And THAT SPEECH. I could write more about what you’re about to watch, go on about how inspirational, erudite, and phenomenal Oprah and her message is, but really… JUST WATCH. This is The Video You Need To See.

Grammy Award Winner Mary J. Blige to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Mary J. Blige (Source: TARA ZIEMBA / Getty)

by Rebecca Rubin via variety.com

Mary J. Blige will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the recording category.

The ceremony will take place on Jan. 11 at 6201 Hollywood Blvd. in front of Eastown. Sean “Diddy” Combs will join Hollywood Chamber president and CEO Leron Gubler to unveil the star.

“Mary J. Blige is one of the most popular singers of our generation. Fans will be thrilled to see her star on the Boulevard as her career milestones are celebrated on this very famous sidewalk,” said Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies.

The Grammy Award-winning artist has recently been recognized for her acting work. Blige received Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, and Critics’ Choice Award nominations for her role in Dee Rees’ period drama “Mudbound,” as well as a Golden Globe nom for best original song for “Mighty River.”

Born in the Bronx, N.Y., Blige got her start in music by signing with Uptown Records in 1989. At 18 years old, she was the label’s youngest and first female artist. Her debut album, “What’s the 411?,” was executive produced by Combs and spun off hits including, “You Remind Me” and “Real Love.” Since then, she’s released 12 additional albums that have garnered nine Grammy Award wins from her 31 nominations.

Among her most popular songs are “Family Affair,” “No More Drama,” “Be Without You,” “Not Gon’ Cry,” “Love Is All We Need,” and “Seven Days.”

Her film debut was in 2001’s “Prison Song,” followed by Tyler Perry’s “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.” She also starred alongside Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, and Russell Brand in 2012’s “Rock of Ages,” and appeared in 2013’s musical drama “Black Nativity.”

On the TV front, Blige has guest starred on “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Empire,” and “30 Rock.” She also played Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, on NBC’s musical “The Wiz Live!”

Source: http://variety.com/2018/music/news/mary-j-blige-hollywood-walk-of-fame-star-1202653233/

Author Jacqueline Woodson Named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress

Author Jacqueline Woodson, whose professional accolades include a National Book Award (Brown Girl Dreaming), four Newbery Honors (Brown Girl DreamingAfter Tupac and D Foster, Feathers and Show Way) and a stint as the Young People’s Poet Laureate, has been named the sixth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, for 2018–2019. Her appointment will become official at an inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, January 9 at the Library of Congress, presided over by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. And Woodson will accept the proverbial torch, passed from author-illustrator Gene Luen Yang, who has just completed his two-year term as Ambassador and played a key role in recruiting her.

The National Ambassador for Young People program is sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and CBC’s charitable arm, Every Child a Reader. The Librarian of Congress selects the Ambassador based on the recommendations of an independent committee comprised of various children’s literature experts including educators, librarians, and booksellers. Among the criteria for the Ambassador post are: contributions to young people’s literature, the ability to relate to kids and teens, and dedication to fostering literacy in all forms.

In a statement, Hayden shared her enthusiasm for Woodson’s selection. “We are delighted that Jacqueline Woodson has agreed to be the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature,” she said. “I have admired Jacqueline Woodson’s work for years, especially her dedication to children and young-adult literature. The Library of Congress looks forward to Jacqueline’s tenure of encouraging young readers to embrace reading as a means to improve the world.”

Woodson says she never saw herself as Ambassador. In fact, she had contacted Yang, a friend, about a year ago to put forward the name of someone else (who she declines to name) she thought would be a great choice. “I had called Gene to put a name in the hat,” she said from her Brooklyn home during a telephone interview. “He told me, ‘Well, we have someone else in mind.’ I figured he was blowing me off.” And even when talk of the honor came up in passing, years ago, Woodson wasn’t sure she would ever be a good fit. “Earlier on, when the position was first starting to get some traction, and Jon Scieszka was the Ambassador,” she recalled, “people were asking me if I would ever do it, and I said, ‘Heck, no! There’s no way I could do that.’” She was busy with her writing and had just welcomed a new baby at that time. Over time, “I kind of had the sense that I had put the kibosh on it,” she added.

But more recently, Yang called and asked if Woodson would consider taking on the appointment. She continued to champion another author (“someone younger!” she joked), but Yang persisted. “He went through all the ways in which he thought I would bring something to the Ambassadorship that was needed at this time,” Woodson said. “I thought about it, I talked to my partner about it, and I was still a bit reluctant. But then Gene said that Dr. Hayden was really into me taking this position. And I love Dr. Hayden.” Woodson explained that one of the rules in her life has always been, “When it comes to Enoch Pratt Library [Hayden’s former library, in Baltimore], I can never say no to them. I did my first reading there way back when Last Summer with Maizon came out, and I have loved everyone there. I thought, OK, if Carla Hayden is asking me to do this, I’m not saying no to it.” On a more philosophical note, she continued, “I think you are often called to do the work you’re not quite ready to do, or willing to do. And for me that’s a sign that I need to push through and do the work that’s needed.”

Woodson has chosen the phrase “Reading = Hope x Change,” as her platform as Ambassador. “I definitely believe that reading can change us and shape us in so many ways, and through it we can be exposed to people and places and ideas that we might not otherwise come across or confront in real life,” she said. “A platform about the importance of reading and having conversations across the lines of books is really important to me.”

Woodson says she will use her message to address something she has been noticing. “Young people are getting labeled ‘reluctant reader,’ or ‘advanced reader,’ and the labels in front of their names begin to try to tell them who they are,” she lamented. “I would like to see less of that and more of just kids who read.” What they read shouldn’t matter and how they read it shouldn’t matter, she said, “just so long as they can have conversations and have a deep understanding of and a deep love for what they’re reading.”

One of Woodson’s foremost goals as Ambassador is to reach young people in areas of the country that are traditionally underserved. “My family and I are going to the opening of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice [acknowledging victims of lynchings] in Alabama this spring. I’m going to stay and try to visit some schools in Alabama and Mississippi in some of the places where they don’t get to meet writers or ambassadors every day,” she said. Additionally, she says she’s looking forward to going into juvenile detention centers and other places “where the underserved can begin to tell their stories.”

Though she’s not exactly sure how kids will relate to her in a new role, she’s excited to find out. “The thing that always brings me the greatest joy is meeting the young people,” she said. “I’m always surprised when a kid’s in awe of me as an author—I think ‘I’m just Jacqueline Woodson and I wrote a few books.’ But they’ve been studying you so long and you walk into the classroom and you’re like this superstar to them. Then you work yourself back to connecting to them so that they see you as a human being and they see themselves as young people who can do what you do. In this position it’s the same. I would love for young people to see themselves as national ambassadors of many things, today and always.” She cites the example of her own family. “I always tell my kids when we go to other countries, ‘You are ambassadors for this family. When you walk out there people are going to have ideas about this family, and how you represent yourself is going to make a difference in how they think.’ ”

The opportunity to talk about reading is another high point she’s anticipating. “I am excited for the young people’s reactions and the interactions that we’ll have around literature, and really talking about reading,” she said. “In the past mostly I’ve talked about my books and my writing process. Now I can talk much more about my reading process and the reading process, and the conversations that can be had where there isn’t a right or wrong. Did you infer from the book? Who cares? I want to know what you loved about the book and what made you mad and I want you guys to agree and disagree and have real true conversations and make amazing text-to-life connections about the book.”

Asked if there’s anything that might be scary or daunting about her new position, Woodson is reflective. “It is a very scary time to be alive,” she said. “And given that, I think of [poet and activist] Audre Lorde saying ‘we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles and we will still be no less afraid.’ I do believe this is all I have—my words, I have the words that I write down, I have the words that I speak out, I have the words that I take into classrooms.” Woodson says she accepts that there will be hatred in general, and hatred online questioning why she would be chosen as Ambassador. “Risk of backlash and people not being kind, but that’s been the risk my whole life,” she said. “It’s not going to keep me from what I’ve been called to do.”

To read more, go to: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/75729-jacqueline-woodson-named-national-ambassador-for-young-people-s-literature.html

University of Georgia Defensive Back and Scholar Aaron Davis Named to 2017 SEC Football Community Service Team

Starting defensive back Aaron Davis has started 40 games at Georgia after coming to UGA as a walk-on.
(A.J. REYNOLDS/SPECIAL)

via sicemdawgs.com

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – University of Georgia graduate student and defensive back Aaron Davis has been named to the 2017 SEC Football Community Service Team.

Each year the Southeastern Conference highlights one player from each school in all 21-league sponsored sports who shows exemplary community service.

The Locust Grove, Ga. native has been recognized for his effort in the community already this year. Davis was among 11 FBS players named to the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team in September. The finance graduate was also on the preseason watch list for the Wuerffel Tropy, an award given a college football player, “who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.”

Davis has had his hand in numerous activities while in Athens. Specifically he has been involved in: UGA Athletic Association’s Leadership Academy (LEAD), Spokesperson for “No More,” which is a public service announcement against domestic violence and sexual assault… Visitation at Camp Sunshine, which is a camp that provides support programs for children with cancer and their families…Worked with individuals involved who are part of Extra Special People (ESP), which is an organization that assists with individuals with developmental disabilities … Speaker at the UGA Athletic Association’s “Learn, Play, Excel” program, which has UGA coaches and student-athletes visit and talk with elementary and middle school students on topics such as education, leadership, anti-bullying, respect for authority and the value of participation in athletics.

In the classroom, Davis picked up his second CoSIDA Academic All-District award in November. He has been named to the Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll each of the last three years.

The six-foot-one defensive back has started every game this season to bring his total to 42 starts in 50 games played at Georgia. The former walk-on has 40 total tackles, 2.5 for a loss, one sack, and two quarterback pressures this season. In coverage, he has four pass break ups and one interception.

To read more, go to: https://www.sicemdawgs.com/2017/11/aaron-davis-2017-sec-football-community-service-team/

Air Force Maj. Robert Lawrence Jr., America’s 1st Black Astronaut, Honored by Kennedy Space Center

First Black Astronaut Honored by the Kennedy Space Center
Air Force Maj. Robert Lawrence Jr. (Image: Wikipedia Commons)
by Selena Hill via blackenterprise.com

America’s first Black astronaut received a long overdue honor earlier this month, 50 years after his tragic death.

Air Force Maj. Robert Lawrence Jr., a trailblazer who opened a door for people of color in STEM, was honored on Dec. 8 for his contributions to space exploration at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Los Angeles Times reported. Hundreds of people gathered at the center to commemorate him, including NASA dignitaries, astronauts, Omega Psi Phi fraternity members, and schoolchildren.

After graduating high school at the age of 16, Lawrence earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Bradley University at just 20 years old. Later, he obtained a doctoral degree in physical chemistry in 1965. In the ’60s, he was part of a classified military space program created to spy on the Soviet Union. Had he not died in a plane crash on Dec. 8, 1967, at the age of 32, he would have certainly gone on to fly NASA shuttles to space. However, his life was cut short when his F-104 Starfighter crashed at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

“He had a great future ahead of him if he had not been lost 50 years ago today,” said Robert Crippen, who participated in the military space program with Lawrence, according to ABC News.

Although his career was short-lived, Lawrence paved the way for other black astronauts like Guy Bluford, who became the first African American in space in 1983, and Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel to space in 1992.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lawrence’s family members have been fighting to get Lawrence the recognition that he deserves for decades. The Air Force would not immediately acknowledge that he was an astronaut since he did not have the opportunity to fly as high as the 1960s-required altitude of 50 miles. It also took 30 years after his death before his name was added to the Astronauts Memorial Foundation’s Space Mirror.

Source: http://www.blackenterprise.com/first-black-astronaut-honored/

Oprah Winfrey to Receive 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at 75th Annual Golden Globes

Oprah Winfrey (CREDIT: VARIETY)

by  via Variety.com

Oprah Winfrey will be honored with the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globes.

Each year the recipient of the prestigious award is selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) board of directors and must be someone who has made “an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.” HFPA president Meher Tatna said Winfrey embodies this qualification for the generations she has “celebrated strong female characters on and off screen, and has been a role model for women and young girls for decades.”

“As a global media leader, philanthropist, producer and actress, she has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired figures today,” Tatna said in a statement. “Holding titles such as Chairman, CEO and Founder, Oprah is one of the most influential women of our time, and this honor is well deserved especially in this 75th anniversary year of the Golden Globe Awards.”

Chairman and CEO of her own cable network — OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network — Winfrey is currently an executive producer on series such as “Greenleaf,” “Queen Sugar” and “Oprah’s Master Class.” In 2017 she executive produced and starred in the Emmy nominated HBO original movie “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” and in 2018 she will appear in “A Wrinkle in Time” from Ava DuVernay. She is also the founder of O, The Oprah Magazine, and oversees Harpo Films.

Perhaps best known as the host of her multi-award-winning talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which came to an end in 2011, Winfrey is also the founder of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, which provides education for “academically gifted” girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and celebrating the school’s seventh graduating class.

Winfrey has been celebrated by the HFPA before, with a Golden Globe Award nomination for her role in “The Color Purple” in 1986.

Morgan Freeman, who received the same award in 2012, announced Winfrey’s honoree status during the airing of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s (HFPA) “Golden Globe 75th Anniversary Special,” which aired on NBC.

In addition to Freeman, recent honorees include Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Lucille Ball, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Sidney Poitier, Sophia Loren and Steven Spielberg.

The 75th Annual Golden Globes will be hosted by Seth Meyers and air live coast-to-coast on Jan. 7, 2018 starting at 8pm ET/5pm PT on NBC.

Watch Freeman announce Winfrey as the 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient below:

Source: http://variety.com/2017/tv/awards/2018-cecil-b-demille-award-recipient-oprah-winfrey-1202640271/

Colin Kaepernick Receives 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

Colin Kaepernick (GETTY IMAGES)

by Michael Rosenberg via si.com

“If I was walking down the highway with a quarter in my pocket and a briefcase full of truth, I’d be so happy.” – Muhammad Ali, Sports Illustrated, Feb. 19, 1968

Colin Kaepernick made his truth known when he first decided not to stand for the national anthem. He had a lot of football left to play and a lot more money to make when he made his decision. It was late August, 2016. People who were anonymous in life had become famous in death. Philando Castile. Eric Garner​. Alton Sterling. Freddie Gray. They were tragic symbols of a society that had taken a terribly wrong turn. As the anthem played ahead of the 49ers’ preseason game against the Texans, Kaepernick, San Francisco’s 28-year-old quarterback at the time, quietly took a seat on the bench.

It took two weeks for anyone from the media to ask him about it. Kaepernick explained that he was making a statement about inequality and social justice, about the ways this country “oppresses black people and people of color.”

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” he added. “There are bodies in the street,” he said then, “and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

In the last 16 months, Kaepernick’s truth has been twisted, distorted and used for political gain. It has cost him at least a year of his NFL career and the income that should have come with it. But still, it is his truth. He has not wavered from it. He does not regret speaking it. He has caused millions of people to examine it. And, quietly, he has donated nearly a million dollars to support it.

For all those reasons—for his steadfastness in the fight for social justice, for his adherence to his beliefs no matter the cost—Colin Kaepernick is the recipient of the 2017 Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award. Each year SI and the Ali family honor a figure who embodies the ideals of sportsmanship, leadership and philanthropy and has used sports as a platform for changing the world. “I am proud to be able to present this to Colin for his passionate defense of social justice and civil rights for all people,” says Lonnie Ali, Muhammad’s widow. “Like Muhammad, Colin is a man who stands on his convictions with confidence and courage, undaunted by the personal sacrifices he has had to make to have his message heard. And he has used his celebrity and philanthropy to the benefit of some of our most vulnerable community members.”

Previous Legacy winners—including Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Jack Nicklaus and Magic Johnson—were deserving. But no winner has been more fitting than Kaepernick. Ali lost more than three years of his career for his refusal to serve in the military in opposition to the Vietnam War. Kaepernick has lost one year, so far, for his pursuit of social justice.

When Kaepernick first protested during the national anthem, he could not have envisioned the size and duration of the ensuing firestorm. But he knew there would be fallout. So much has changed in America since the summer of 2016, and so many words have been used to describe Kaepernick. But his words from his first explanation remain his truth:

“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

Kaepernick kept his job for a season before being blackballed by the NFL—and yes, he has been blackballed. This should be obvious by now. Scott Tolzien, Cody Kessler, Tom Savage and Matt Cassel have thrown passes in the league this year, yet nobody has tried to sign Kaepernick, who is fifth in NFL history in touchdown-to-interception ratio. Kaepernick has been called a distraction, which is laughable— his coach last year, Chip Kelly, says there was “zero distraction,” and his 49ers teammates said the same. Most NFL players would rather be “distracted” by Kaepernick than try to tackle the guy who just intercepted Brock Osweiler.

Kaepernick has paid a price beyond missing games and losing paychecks. He has been battered by critics who don’t want to understand him. Some say Kaepernick hates America; he says he is trying to make it better. Others say he hates the military, but on Sept. 1, 2016, as the then-San Diego Chargers played a tribute to the military on the stadium videoboard, Kaepernick applauded.

Nobody claims Kaepernick is perfect. Reasonable, woke people can be upset that he did not vote in the 2016 election. But the Ali Legacy Award does not honor perfection, and the criticisms of Kaepernick are misguided in one fundamental way: They make this story a referendum on Kaepernick. It was never supposed to be about him. It is about Tamir Rice and the world’s highest incarceration rate and a country that devalues education and slides too easily into violence.

When Ali was drafted into the military in 1967 and refused to report, much of the country disapproved. Ali explained his refusal by saying: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam after so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”

Time ultimately shined a softer light on Ali. For the last 40 years of his life, Ali was arguably the most popular athlete in American history. But in the late 1960s, he was deeply unpopular and his future was uncertain.

Ali was 25 when he was banned from boxing and 28 when he returned to the sport. Boxing historians sometimes wonder what he would have done in those prime years. But Ali did not look at it that way. Instead of focusing on the piece of his career that he lost, he talked about what he had gained: a sense of self, and of purpose, greater than he could ever find in the ring. He risked prison time. He did not know if he would ever be allowed to fight again. But he knew he was clinging to his truth. As Ali later told SI’s George Plimpton: “Every man wonders what he is going to do when he is put on the chopping block, when he’s going to be tested.”

Someday, America may well be a better place because of Colin Kaepernick. This is hard to see now— history is not meant to be analyzed in real time. But we are having conversations we need to have, and this should eventually lead to changes we need to make. Police officers, politicians and citizens can work together to create a safer, fairer, more civil society. Kaepernick did not want to sacrifice his football career for this. But he did it anyway. It is a rare person who gives up what he loves in exchange for what he believes.

To read full article, go to: https://www.si.com/sportsperson/2017/11/30/colin-kaepernick-muhammad-ali-legacy-award