President Obama Pens 55-Page Article on Criminal Justice Reform in Harvard Law Review

(photo via theroot.com)

article via theroot.com

President Barack Obama returned to his Harvard Law Review roots (he was the first black president of hundred-plus year old journal in his last year at the school) as he penned a 55-page-article on criminal justice reform, how his administration has moved the needle, and how far we have to go.

Entitled “The President’s Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform,” the piece appeared in the January 2017 edition of the illustrious book, and according to Harvard magazine, “largely restates the bipartisan case for criminal-justice reform, with an emphasis on mass incarceration’s financial cost.”

Obama did touch on the racial bias in our criminal justice policymaking in the article, writing:

A large body of research finds that, for similar offenses, members of the African American and Hispanic communities are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted, and sentenced to harsher penalties. Rates of parental incarceration are two to seven times higher for African American and Hispanic children. Over the past thirty years, the share of African American adults with a past felony conviction—and who have paid their debt to society—has more than tripled, and one in four African American men outside the correctional system now has a felony record. This number is in addition to the one in twenty African American men under correctional supervision…The system of mass incarceration has endured for as long as it has in part because of the school-to-prison pipeline and political opposition to reform that insisted on ‘a stern dose of discipline—more policy, more prisons, more personal responsibility, and an end to welfare.’ Today, however, much of that opposition has receded, replaced by broad agreement that policies put in place in that era are not a good match for the challenges of today.

To read full article, go to: President Obama Pens 55-Page Article on Criminal Justice

30 of the Most Important Articles by People Of Color in 2016 | The Huffington Post

(photo via huffingtonpost.com)

article by Zeba Blay via huffingtonpost.com

Between the deaths of greats like Prince and Mohammed Ali, the destruction in Aleppo and the circus that was the U.S. presidential election, 2016 was the year of one awful thing after another.

But despite the awfulness, stellar writing by people of color provided clarity, comfort and insight in even the darkest moments this year.

For the second year in a row, we’ve curated a list of essays and articles that defined conversations about race, pop culture, politics and identity in 2016. They cover a wide array of topics, from reactions to the election of Donald Trump, to the huge role young black people play in internet culture, to the genius of James Baldwin. The criteria is simple: all pieces on this list were written by a person of color and published within the last year online.

As a look back, this year-end list is by no means fully comprehensive of all the stellar work written by writers of color in 2016. Feel there’s a glaring omission? Nominate your favorite pieces in the comments. In the meantime, check out these powerful, thought-provoking and entertaining reads from this year:

How Journalists Of Color Plan To Survive Trump’s America
Wilfred Chan, Fusion 
What will it mean to be a journalist in the age of Trump? How will journalists of color get through the next four years? Wilfred Chan writes about the “psychological tax” many journalists of color are forced to pay in order to do the work, and the ways in which continuing to write is not only a form of self-care but also a form of survival.

Black Life And Death In A Familiar America
Eve L. Ewing, Fader
Published in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, Ewing explores the deep racial divides in America by way of Chicago. Using the shooting death of Joshua Beal as a connective thread, Ewing deftly explores the correlations between black death in America and the so-called “rise” of hate.

I Will Never Underestimate White People’s Need To Preserve Whiteness Again
Damon Young, Very Smart Brothas
For many black people in America, the election of Donald Trump felt like a rude awakening, a harsh reminder that the racist wounds of this country go far deeper than any of us wanted to admit to ourselves. The ever-brilliant Damon Young perfectly captured that feeling in this essay for Very Smart Brothas, where he bluntly explains how white supremacy works on a systemic level.

Mourning For Whiteness
Toni Morrison, The New Yorker
Toni Morrison breaks it all the way down in this post-election essay where she quite matter-of-factly calls out the reason that Donald Trump won the presidential election: the fear of losing white privilege. “So scary are the consequences of a collapse of white privilege that many Americans have flocked to a political platform that supports and translates violence against the defenseless as strength,”Morrison writes. “These people are not so much angry as terrified.”

What I Said When My White Friend Asked For My Black Opinion On White Privilege
Lori Lakin Hutcherson, The Huffington Post
The concept of “white privilege” is constantly debated, challenged, and questioned, particularly by white people. What is it? Is it even real? And what about “black privilege?” HuffPost contributor Lori Lakin Hutcherson shares her own candid views on the topic of white privilege, and the realities of being black in America today.

Interview With A Woman Who Recently Had An Abortion At 32 Weeks
Jia Tolentino, Jezebel
This brilliant conversation conducted by Jia Tolentino delivers a powerful glimpse into the mind and motivations of one woman after a recent late-term abortion. Thanks to mostly Republican legislators who use rhetoric that implies women who get late-term abortions are just flippantly changing their mind about pregnancy, late-term abortion continues to be widely misunderstood. In a year when there were a myriad of threats against reproductive rights in America, hearing one woman’s very personal story about a complicated pregnancy provides the kind of context we desperately need more of.

My Father’s House
Reggie Ugwu, Buzzfeed
After the death of his brother and the deteriorating health of his father, writer Reggie Ugwu made an important journey of discovery and self-reflection, returning to his ancestral home in Nigeria and helping to take care of his ailing father. Ugwu delves into the Igbo-American identity and experience, capturing the visceral feelings of obligation and grief. On his brother’s death he writes, powerfully: “In the weeks and months after Chidi died, still engulfed in darkness, I felt ready to die, too; by which I mean that losing the person I loved most in the world seemed equivalent to losing the world itself.”

What I Pledge Allegiance To 
Kiese Laymon, The Fader
In the year that Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem, and Donald Trump threatened jail-time to flag burners, Kiese Laymon wrote about the concept of pledging allegiance to a country that he doesn’t feel is allegiant to him. One of the most powerful sentences: “I pledge to perpetually reckon with the possibility that there will never be any liberty, peace, and justice for all unless we accept that America, like Mississippi, is not clean.”

Now Is The Time To Talk About What We Are Actually Talking About
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The New Yorker
Celebrated as much for her work as a novelist as she is for her work as an outspoken feminist and activist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie unsurprisingly had one of the best post-election responses this year. Her reaction: in the wake of Trump’s election, we must become even more determined to fight bigotry, rather than to bend in order to accommodate and coddle racist ideology. “Now is the time to confront the weak core at the heart of America’s addiction to optimism,” Adichie writes. “It allows too little room for resilience, and too much for fragility.”

To see complete list, go to: 30 Of The Most Important Articles By People Of Color In 2016 | The Huffington Post

Rashida Jones’ Nail Salon Series ‘Claws’ Starring Niecy Nash Gets Greenlight from TNT

‘Claws’ TNT

“Claws” cast (photo courtesy of TURNER)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

TNT has given the greenlight to “Claws,” a nail salon-set dramedy hailing from executive producer Rashida JonesVariety has learned.

“Claws” follows the rise of five diverse and treacherous manicurists working at the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon in South Florida, where there is a lot more going on than silk wraps and pedicures.

The hourlong series stars Niecy Nash, Carrie Preston, Harold Perrineau, Jenn Lyon, Judy Reyes, Jack Kesy, Karrueche Tran, Kevin Rankin and Jason Antoon. TNT has ordered 10 episodes for the first season.

Rashida Jones Claws TNT

“Claws” Executive Producer Rashida Jones

At the center is salon owner Desna (Nash), who lives with and cares for her mentally ill twin brother, Dean (Perrineau). Desna’s staff includes best friend Jennifer (Lyon), a tenuously sober ex-party girl raising two children from previous relationships; Quiet Ann (Reyes), Desna’s enigmatic driver who also provides security for the salon; Polly (Preston), a mild-mannered preppy who recently served time in prison for identity theft; and Virginia (Tran), who makes no effort to hide her boredom and impatience with her job. Adding chaos to the Nail Artisan mix is Roller (Kesy), a gangstered-out redneck who runs a barely legal pain clinic and uses Desna’s nail salon to launder the obscene profits; Bryce (Rankin), Jennifer’s husband who is also newly sober and trying to stay legit by working as an abundance coach; and Dr. Ken Brickman (Antoon), a bona fide doctor at a decidedly un-bona fide and illegal drug clinic.

The series hails from Le Train Train, Jones’ production company with Will McCormack. The duo will serve as executive producers, along with Janine Sherman Barrois who will also serve as showrunner. The pilot was written by Eliot Laurence, who will serve as co-executive producer, and was directed by Nicole Kassell. Warner Horizon Television and Turner’s Studio T are behind the project with Le Train Train.

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/claws-tnt-greenlit-nail-salon-series-niecy-nash-rashida-jones-1201941136/

Antoine Fuqua and LeBron James Make Deal with HBO for Multi-Part Muhammad Ali Documentary

Muhammad Ali Documentary Coming to HBO

Muhammad Ali (PETER BROOKER/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Debra Birnbaum via Variety.com

The “Greatest of All Time” is getting the HBO treatment.  The cabler is partnering with director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) and LeBron James for a multi-part documentary about the life of Muhammad Ali.

The as yet-untitled documentary, which will explore Ali’s greatest triumphs and comebacks, has started production. It hails from James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment and Fuqua’s Fuqua Films. No air date has been set.

“Muhammad Ali is indisputably one of the most iconic and distinctive figures in the history of world sports,” said Kary Antholis, president of HBO miniseries and Cinemax. “His impact resonates far beyond the boxing ring and is woven deep into the cultural and social tapestry of the second half of the 20th century. From the moment LeBron James told us of his deep visceral connection to Ali’s life and legacy, we were committed to helping him realize this film, and our enthusiasm has only grown as Antoine Fuqua has developed his compelling cinematic vision for telling one man’s incredible journey.”

Said Fuqua, “Muhammad Ali meant many things to many people, and he is someone who had a deep impact on me from an early age. Being given the opportunity to tell his story, both inside and outside of the ring, is a privilege, and a dream come true.”

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/hbo-muhammad-ali-documentary-hbo-lebron-james-antoine-fuqua-1201939411/

Trevor Noah to Interview President Barack Obama on “Daily Show” Dec. 12

Trevor Noah (l); President Barack Obama (r) [photo via vibe.com]

article by J’na Jefferson via vibe.com

“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah will sit-down with President Barack Obama, and their “in-depth” discussion will air on Monday, Dec. 12 on multiple channels such as Comedy Central, MTV and BET.

The interview, which will take place in the White House, will not be the President’s first time on the Comedy Central show. He was interviewed by former host Jon Stewart on the program seven times. He’s also no stranger to the late-night circuit, as he’s appeared on “The Tonight Show” with both Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon, “The Colbert Report,” “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Noah has interviewed former President Bill Clinton and the former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, John Podesta. This will be the first time Noah has interviewed President Obama.

To read more, go to: Trevor Noah To Interview President Barack Obama

‘Loving’ Star Ruth Negga Lands Vogue Cover, Talks Being ‘Irish-Ethiopian’

Ruth Negga of "Loving" on January 2017 cover of Vogue (photo via vogue.com)

Ruth Negga of “Loving” on January 2017 cover of Vogue (photo via vogue.com)

article by Danielle James via blackamericaweb.com

Ruth Negga is the January 2017 cover model for Vogue Magazine. The Irish-Ethiopian actress is starring in Loving, a film directed by Jeff Nichols, about an interracial couple who desire to be married in 1958 Virginia. Loving is the first full-length film to be screened at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Ruth delved to Vogue about growing up with interracial parents and losing her father at a young age. Ruth and her mother went to Ireland and was waiting for her father, but he died in Ethiopia in a car crash. She found out via a letter. “This was 1988. There wasn’t any grief counseling for kids.” Ruth admits to going to therapy in her early 30’s to deal with the loss of her father.

Ruth identifies as Irish-Ethiopian, adding, “I become very territorial about my identity because it’s been hijacked by so many people, with their own projections.” Deep and a struggle, many racially ambiguous women must address. Ruth explains, “I’m always very careful to say I’m Irish-Ethiopian because I feel Ethiopian and I look Ethiopian and I am Ethiopian. But there are 81 languages in Ethiopia, and I don’t know any of them.

To read more, go to: http://blackamericaweb.com/2016/12/09/loving-star-ruth-negga-covers-vogue-talks-being-irish-ethiopian/

Gayle King Agrees to $16.5 Million Deal to Stay as Host on CBS

20100909-oradio-gayle-king-2-220x312

article via thegrio.com

Gayle King has agreed to stay on as host of “CBS This Morning” after signing a 3-year deal for $16.5 million.  The deal would see King making $5.5 million per year, as “CBS This Morning” has been the only morning new broadcast to gain viewers this year.

“Gayle is a huge asset to the show, and her chemistry with Charlie [Rose] is great. She’s here for the long term,” a source told PageSix of the deal.

While CBS would not confirm the terms of the deal, they did confirm: “We have a long-term deal with Gayle.”