Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank Walks Back Trump Praise after Backlash from Brand’s Top Celebrity Endorsers

Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank (l); Misty Copeland, Stephen Curry, Dwayne Johnson (photos via thegrio.com)

article via thegrio.com

BALTIMORE (AP) — The CEO of Baltimore-based sports apparel company Under Armour is responding to criticism he received after calling President Donald Trump “an asset to the country.” Kevin Plank wrote an open letter to Baltimore published as a full-page advertisement in The Baltimore Sun Wednesday.

He wrote that his choice of words during an interview with CNBC last week “did not accurately reflect my intent.” Three celebrities the company sponsors — basketball star Stephen Curry, actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and ballerina Misty Copelandwere among those voicing concerns about his praise of Trump.

Plank says the company stands for equal rights and job creation and believes “immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America.” He says the company opposes the president’s travel ban.

Source: Under Armour CEO walks back Trump praise after backlash from brand’s top celebrity endorsers | theGrio

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Joins Hollywood Reporter as Contributing Editor on Pop Culture, Race and Politics

NBA legend and author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (photo via Getty Images)

article via hollywoodreporter.com

The Hollywood Reporter, one of entertainment media’s flagship outlets, announced that NBA legend, actor, activist, cultural commentator and New York Times bestselling author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has joined the publication as contributing editor. In his role, Abdul-Jabbar will pen a regular column and conduct select celebrity interviews.  Abdul-Jabbar’s first column on race and romance in La La Land will run in the Feb. 24 print issue and online at THR.com.

“With decades of experience in the media spotlight and a keen eye on the pop culture landscape, Kareem will bring a unique perspective to The Hollywood Reporter’s readers on critical issues like race, gender and the role of media in society,” said Matthew Belloni, editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter. “His voice will be an especially important one as The Hollywood Reporter continues to expand its coverage and grow its global audience.”

On his new role, Abdul-Jabbar said, “I’m excited to join The Hollywood Reporter because it allows me to continue to write about the intersection of politics and pop culture, which is where our values and beliefs are forged.”

Abdul-Jabbar has contributed a number of guest columns to The Hollywood Reporter in recent months. In November, he conducted a wide-ranging interview with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, who appeared together in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s classic 1983 play, Fences. Abdul-Jabbar also recently penned columns focusing on the issues of the day, calling on black celebrities to be “fearless” in standing up to the current president, intoning on the social and psychological effects of reality-romance series The Bachelor and comparing Trump’s refugee ban to a “bad horror movie.”

In addition to The Hollywood Reporter, Abdul-Jabbar has contributed to publications like The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time, Esquire and The Huffington Post.

To read full article, go to: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Joins Hollywood Reporter as Contributing Editor | Hollywood Reporter

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Inspiring Stories of African Americans to Air on Disney Channel this February

article via ShadowAndAct.com

To cultivate kids’ deeper interest in history and inspire them to feel their own significance in the present and future, stories about distinguished men and women including the Tuskegee Airmen Chief Civilian flight instructor Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson, the history-making commercial airline pilot Stephanie R. Grant, animator and Disney legend Floyd Norman, and physician, role model and activist Dr. Myiesha Taylor, will be presented as part of Disney|ABC Television Group’s “Be Inspired” interstitial series during Black History Month on Disney Channel, Disney 😄 and Disney Junior.

Paul DeBenedittis, senior vice president, Programming Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, “As television programmers, we work every day to better serve our kid viewers by reflecting the diverse and varied world they live in, and our ‘Be Inspired’ programming is designed to give them access to stories that can spark their deeper exploration into the rich and celebrated history of African Americans.”

The initiative begins with the story of acclaimed African-American pilot Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson Sr., known as the “Father of Black Aviation” for his brave and innovative leadership as Chief Civilian Flight Instructor for the Tuskegee Airmen. The story, hosted by Nathaniel Potvin (Disney XD’s “MECH-X4”), originates from the non-profit Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton, California, and includes the museum’s founder and executive director Robin Petgrave, Ted Lumpkin of the Tuskegee Airmen 100th Fighter Squadron, and Kimberly Anyadike, the youngest African-American female to pilot an airplane across the United States. Geared toward kids age 6-14, the interstitial began airing Weds, Feb 1, on Disney Channel and Disney XD.

For younger viewers (age 2-7), Doc McStuffins, the title character from the acclaimed animated series, introduces notable women and men in a series of interstitials to be presented on Disney Junior. They are Stephanie R. Grant, a pilot who led the first all-female African-American flight crew to operate a commercial airliner; Disney legend Floyd Norman, one of the first African-American animators at Walt Disney Studios during the 1950s; and Dr. Myiesha Taylor, an emergency doctor and founder of the Artemis Medical Society, an organization comprised of over 4700 women physicians of color from around the world. Disney Junior and Disney Channel will debut the interstitials beginning Weds, Feb, 8.

To read more, go to: Inspiring Stories of Distinguished African Americans to be Presented During Black History Month on Disney Channels – Shadow and Act

Black Television News Channel to Launch in Top 25 African American TV Markets Via Charter Communications

black television news channel, charter communications

BTNC Founder J.C. Watts, Jr. (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Billie1225 via eurweb.com

Black Television News Channel (BTNC), the nation’s only African American news network, is announcing a multi-year carriage agreement with Charter Communications, a leading broadband communications company and the second largest cable operator in the United States.

Under the agreement, Charter Communications will launch BTNC to Spectrum TV subscribers in 14 of the top 25 African American TV markets.  These markets include New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Detroit, Boston, Tampa, Orlando, Cleveland, Charlotte, Birmingham, Norfolk, Raleigh-Durham, and New Orleans. BTNC now has carriage agreements with three of the four major subscription television providers.

Black Television News Channel

BTNC’s network operations center will be located on Florida A&M University’s campus in Tallahassee, Florida. The network operation center will be the first 4K ultra HD newsgathering and production infrastructure of its kind and will include a multimillion-dollar media training center for aspiring young black journalists.

BTNC’s news programming will employ a multi-platform approach that uses traditional linear cable and satellite service for television viewing while also introducing enhanced television services, social media applications, and e-commerce features.  BTNC is expected to create more than 100 new jobs in its host city.

BTNC is the endeavor of J.C. Watts, Jr., former congressman from Oklahoma and broadcast and cable news veteran. BTNC’s programming mission is to provide intelligent programming that will inform, educate, inspire, and empower its African American audience.

To read full article, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2017/02/black-television-news-channel-announces-agreement-with-charter-communications/

Essence to Honor Issa Rae, Janelle Monae, Aja Naomi King and Yara Shahidi at Black Women in Hollywood Awards

(photo via shadowandact.com)

(Issa Rae, Aja Naomi King, Janelle Monae, Yara Shahidi (photo via shadowandact.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Essence, the nation’s preeminent brand for African-American women, will commemorate the 10th anniversary of its “Black Women in Hollywood Awards” by shifting from a daytime luncheon to an evening gala for the first time.

The Awards & Gala will honor Hollywood’s “Next Generation”— young women who are excelling and elevating their crafts—including actress/musician Janelle Monáe (Breakthrough Award); groundbreaking “Insecure” actress/writer/producer Issa Rae (Vanguard Award); “How To Get Away With Murder” Yale-educated actress Aja Naomi King (Lincoln Shining Star Award); and “Black-ish” actress Yara Shahidi (Generation Next).

Actress/Producer Gabrielle Union will serve as the program’s host and the red carpet ceremony will be held at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA, on Thursday, February 23, 2017.

“For the past decade, the “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards” have paid homage to our modern image-makers—both in front of the camera and behind the scenes,” said Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca. “This past year has been an exceptional one for diversity in film and television, and with the incredible contributions of Janelle, Issa, Aja and Yara, it is fitting that our 10th anniversary will honor the future of Hollywood and its continued steps on the path to inclusion.”

Also for the first time, internationally acclaimed visual artist and filmmaker Mickalene Thomas will be infusing the event with her elaborate imagery celebrating the power of female beauty as a facet of women’s empowerment.

To check out highlights and behind-the-scenes access to the “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards & Gala,” go to Essence.comFacebookTwitter or Instagram @essence #BlackWomeninHollywood.

“How To Be Heard” For Real: Roxane Gay Pulls Book From Simon & Schuster Over Imprint’s Deal with Alt-Righter Milo Yiannopoulos

Author Roxane Gay (photo via colorlines.com)

article by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

Culture critic and “Bad Feminist” author Roxane Gay told Buzzfeed News yesterday (January 25) that she split with her next book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, over its recent deal with infamous Breitbart journalist and banned Leslie Jones Twitter troll Milo Yiannopoulos. The Hollywood Reporter first revealed in late December that Yiannopoulos signed a $250,000 book deal with Simon & Schuster’s conservative-leaning imprint Threshold Editions.

“When the announcement about Milo’s book first came out, I was relieved because I thought I didn’t have a book with Simon & Schuster and tweeted something to that effect,” said Gay to Buzzfeed News. “Then I remembered my TED Book and that TED is an imprint of Simon & Schuster.”

TED Books slated Gay’s “How to be Heard” for publication in March 2018. It is still listed on Simon & Schuster’s website. “I was supposed to turn the book in this month and I kept thinking about how egregious it is to give someone like Milo a platform for his blunt, inelegant hate and provocation,” she continued. “I just couldn’t bring myself to turn the book in. My editor emailed me last week and I kept staring at that email in my inbox and finally over the weekend I asked my agent to pull the book.”

To read full article, go to: Roxane Gay Pulls Simon & Schuster Book Deal Over Milo Yiannopoulos’ Advance | Colorlines

Jill Scott Releases New Poetic Card Collection with Hallmark’s Mahogany Brand

Jill Scott (photo via thegrio.com)

article by via thegrio.com

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Hallmark’s Mahogany brand announced that it will be releasing the Jill Scott Collection, a line of new greeting cards with design, sounds and an editorial ‘voice’ from none other than Jill Scott herself.

“The Mahogany brand is genuine, progressive and optimistic – values that are important to me and reflected in my music and poetry, and now, through my card collection,” said Jill Scott. “I was inspired by highlights within my own life – love, marriage, motherhood – in the writing behind these cards, and I am excited to be involved in a project that will give others another way to express their love to the people that matter most to them.”

The collection features 20 cards for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as well as cards celebrating graduation, friendship, love and support.  “Ms. Scott is more than a singer, songwriter and actress – among other things, she is a busy mom and wife, like many Hallmark shoppers who cherish and celebrate the important relationships in their lives, and this card collection is a reflection of that,” said Philip Polk, Vice President of Multicultural Strategy for Hallmark Cards.

To read more, go to: Jill Scott releases new poetic card collection with Hallmark | theGrio