Category: New Media/Internet

American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to Join Facebook, 1st African-American to Sit on FB’s Board of Directors

NEW YORK, NY: Kenneth I. Chenault speaks onstage at The New York Times 2017 DealBook Conference at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)

by , via usatoday.com

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook has named one of the nation’s most prominent black corporate leaders, American ExpressKenneth Chenault, to its board of directors.

The appointment, which gives the social media giant the guidance of a highly regarded finance executive and the first black director on its all-white board, was the culmination of years of recruitment efforts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “I’ve been trying to recruit Ken for years. He has unique expertise in areas I believe Facebook needs to learn and improve — customer service, direct commerce, and building a trusted brand,”  Zuckerberg said in a statement. “Ken also has a strong sense of social mission and the perspective that comes from running an important public company for decades.”

Chenault announced in October that he would retire as chairman and CEO of American Express on Feb. 1, capping a 16-year run.

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told the Congressional Black Caucus in October that the social media giant was in talks to bring aboard its first black board member but she did not disclose the person’s identity.

The striking lack of people of color in the executive suite and on the boards of Silicon Valley companies won’t come as a culture shock to Chenault, one of the longest-serving black CEOs of a major U.S. corporation and a veteran of an industry dominated by white men in its top management ranks. The appointment to the Facebook board, effective Feb. 5, comes after years of lobbying by civil rights leader Jesse Jackson to add people of color to the company’s directors.

Diversity remains a top challenge for Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies that are mostly staffed by white and Asian men. Top universities turn out black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that leading technology companies hire them, USA TODAY research showed.

Minorities are also sharply underrepresented in non-technical jobs such as sales and administration, with African Americans faring noticeably worse than Hispanics, according to USA TODAY analysis of the employment records of Facebook, Google and Yahoo in 2014.

Women now make up 35% of Facebook’s global workforce, up from 33%, and hold 19% of technical roles, up from 17%, the Menlo Park, Calif. company said last year.

In the U.S., Facebook has brought aboard more people of color. Three percent of Facebook workers are African American, up from 2%, and 5% of them are Hispanic, up from 4%.

But Facebook fell short where the lack of diversity is most acute, in the proportion of African-American and Hispanic workers in technical roles, which has stayed flat at 1% and 3% respectively since 2014. The percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in senior leadership positions at Facebook has also remained largely unchanged.

Chenault was the second black Fortune 500 CEO to announce plans to step down in 2017, along with Xerox Corp.’s Ursula Burns. Less than 5% of the 200 largest U.S. companies are led by African Americans, according to a 2016 report from recruitment firm Spencer Stuart.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Chenault, 66, has been with American Express since 1981. He serves on the boards of IBM, Procter & Gamble and non-profit groups including the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. He’s also a philanthropist who took a lead role in raising money for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

When Chenault announced he was stepping down from American Express, Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the largest AmEx shareholder, said in a statement that he was the “gold standard for corporate leadership and the benchmark that I measure others against.”

To read full article, go to: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/01/18/facebook-names-american-express-ceo-kenneth-chenault-first-african-american-all-white-board/1043015001/

Hoda Kotb Named Permanent Co-Anchor of “Today” Show on NBC

by Brian Steinberg via Variety.com

Hoda Kotb was named co-anchor of the first two hours of NBC’s venerable “Today” morning show, launching the program into a new era after the ouster of longtime co-host Matt Lauer for inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

Kotb will sit alongside Savannah Guthrie, making the NBC program at present the only national A.M. program officially anchored solely by a female team. And she will continue to co-host the 10 a.m. hour of “Today” opposite Kathie Lee Gifford, a role she has held since 2007, when she co-anchored the hour with Ann Curry and Natalie Morales. Gifford, long known for co-hosting the syndicated “Live” with Regis Philbin, joined her at “Today” in 2008, and the two have led an unorthodox morning hour that involves drinking wine, interviewing celebrities and finishing each other’s sentences. The program has proven popular enough that NBC for a time offered repeats of it during overnight hours.

Kotb took up her new duties under difficult circumstances. Lauer was fired by NBC News, part of a wave of prominent media personalities who have been accused of sexual harassment. But during her time alongside Guthrie, the show’s ratings have surged. “Today” has won more viewers overall and among the 25-to-54 crowd than “GMA” or CBS’s “CBS This Morning” for four weeks. Its lead over “GMA,” however, has slipped and it is not clear whether the NBC show can maintain its new dominance.

“Over the past several weeks, Hoda has seamlessly stepped into the co-anchor role alongside Savannah, and the two have quickly hit the ground running. They have an undeniable connection with each other and most importantly, with viewers, a hallmark of ‘Today,’ said Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News Group, in a statement Monday morning. “Hoda is, in a word, remarkable. She has the rare ability to share authentic and heartfelt moments in even the most difficult news circumstances. It’s a tribute to her wide range and her innate curiosity.”

Kotb is likely to continue doing what she has always done at “Today.” Whether trading lines with the outspoken Gifford or lending a hand during the show’s first two hours (Kotb has for months had a presence during that time), she tends to bring a sense of calm to the proceedings.

“This has to be the most popular decision NBC News have ever made and I’m so thrilled,” said Guthrie in the opening moments of Monday’s program.

NBC News makes Kotb’s new role official at an important time for the show. NBCUniversal in February will launch its usual mammoth coverage of the Olympics, an event that often lends “Today” a ratings boost.

Kotb has been with NBC News since 1998, when she joined “Dateline” as a correspondent. She had previously worked at various local stations in places such as New Orleans and Fort Myers, Florida. Kotb began her broadcast career with CBS News as a news assistant in Cairo, Egypt in 1986. She has reported on everything from war in Iraq to health issues.

But viewers have followed her personal life as well as her career achievements. They have watched as she detailed a battle with breast cancer in 2007 and they recently followed earlier this year when she adopted a daughter at age 52. They will no doubt continue to track the host in her new position.

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2018/tv/news/hoda-kotb-co-anchor-nbc-today-show-1202650709/

Jay-Z’s ‘Family Feud’ Video Directed by Ava DuVernay Enlists A-List Cast

Jay Z released his video for his single “Family Feud” last night exclusively on Tidal, although it was more than a standard music video premiere. Much like anything else he and Beyoncé create, it was a cultural event to punctuate 2017 with the most inclusive, woke A-list cast you will ever see in a music video.

Helmed by Ava DuVernay, the seven-minute-plus video is a short film, serves up some sci-fi, futuristic realness that can very well be a taste of what’s to come in the celebrated director’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Joining JayZ, Beyoncé and the heiress to their throne, Blue Ivy, includes an inspiring roster of actors from every part of the color spectrum: Michael B. Jordan, Trevante Rhodes, Thandie Newton, Jessica Chastain, Irene Bedard, Omari Hardwick, David Oyelowo, Emayatzy Corinealdi, America Ferrera, Aisha Hinds, Henry G. Sanders, and Storm Reid — who is the star of Wrinkle in Time. Rounding out the cast is the “founding mothers”, which feature Mindy Kaling, Rashida Jones, Rosario Dawson, Janet Mock, Brie Larson, Constance Wu, Niecy Nash, and Susan Kelechi Watson, who, as the video shows, are different women from all walks of life who are enlisted to change the country’s constitution.

Even though there is a cinematic scope to the video, which was co-written by Jay-Z and DuVernay, it is highly personal for the Grammy-nominated rapper, who uses the track from his critically acclaimed 4:44 album to confess his sins to his wife and all-around queen of everything, Beyoncé. Where Beyoncé used her visual album, Lemonade as a platform for working through her personal issues with Jay-Z, he used 4:44 to respond and tell his side of the story. In other words, it’s an artistic way of saying, “Yea, I messed up.”

Jay’s track serves as an atonement and one key lyric sets the tone for the short film: “nobody wins when the family feuds.” Of course, he is referring to his familial relationships, but it goes beyond that and applies it to feuding within the country and the world. There’s layers of meaning in the short that starts off with a poignant James Baldwin quote and goes into a Godfather-meets-Game of Thrones scene, moments of war, moments reflecting today’s volatile political climate, and a group of empowering females looking to build a utopian rather than dystopian future.

DuVernay took to Twitter to share her thoughts, inspiration and behind-the-scenes photos from the video.

To read more, go to:  Jay-Z’s ‘Family Feud’ Directed By Ava DuVernay Enlists A-List Cast | Deadline

Obamas Are Still Two Of America’s Most Admired People According to Gallup Poll

Michelle and Barack Obama (photo via tvguide.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to vibe.com, although Barack Obama is nearly a year out from his two-term Presidency, Gallup reports he’s still the country’s “Most Admired” man.

The numerical proof of Obama’s popularity came Wednesday (Dec. 27) when Gallup released the results of their yearly “Most Admired Man and Woman” poll. In the survey, the publication, known for statistics, asked Americans who is the public figure they admire the most, and for the fifth time since 2013, Obama topped the list.

Obama edged out the current president – gaining 17 percent of the votes to Donald Trump’s 14 – making this year one of the few times in the poll’s history where the sitting president did not acquire the title.

That paired with Obama’s status as the most admired man and the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, being named Gallup’s second most admired woman (behind Hillary Clinton by 2 percent), makes them the nation’s most admired couple.

To read more on this, go to: The Obamas Are Still Two Of America’s Most Admired People

New Study Shows News Outlets Skew Towards Negative Portrayals of Black Families, Contrary to Government Data

Photo: ABC
Photo: ABC

via blavity.com

According to the Washington Post, a recent Color of Change and Family Story study found that the news media has had a significant hand in negatively skewing the perceptions of black families.

The study’s researchers reviewed over 800 local and national news pieces published or aired between January 2015 and December 2016, sampling major networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC as well as major print publications such as The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

The study — conducted by  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign communications professor Travis L. Dixon — found that national news outlets were more likely to show black families as broken and dysfunctional while white families were depicted as possessing social stability.

These images are not only distorted, but contradict government data.

Dixon found that black families represented 59 percent of poor people portrayed in media, but actually only make up of 27 percent of Americans living in poverty. In contrast, white families only make up 17 percent of the poor representated in media, but make up 66 percent in reality. As far as criminal depictions go, black criminals represented 37 percent of the media’s criminals while only 26 percent of those arrested on criminal charges are black in real life. White criminals represented 28 percent the criminals portrayed in the media, but make up 77 percent of real life’s crime suspects.

The report argues that constant depictions of black people living in poor, welfare-dependent and broken homes due to absentee fathers has created a negative image of black families in general.

“This leaves people with the opinion that black people are plagued with self-imposed dysfunction that creates family instability and therefore, all their problems,” said Dixon.

Further, these depictions can affect black families on a systematic level. Dixon noted that the images can spark political rhetoric and the powerful buying into these narratives are what causes Congress to “gut social safety net programs,” bosses to implement harsher work and drug testing requirements and general disdain for welfare programs.

The study also notes that during the Great Depression, white families suffering from poverty were presented in the media as having run into “hard luck,” and that there were campaigns to “help them through tough times.”

However, over time, the media and political leaders have “worked to pathologize black families in the American imagination to justify slavery, Jim Crow, mass incarceration, widespread economic inequity and urban disinvestment — as well as to gain and maintain political and social power,” argues Nicole Rodgers, founder of Family Story.

And this effort has borne terrible fruit, according to Color of Change’s executive director, Rashad Robinson, who said, “There are dire consequences for black people when these outlandish archetypes rule the day: abusive treatment by police, less attention from doctors, harsher sentences from judges.”

Overall, the report concluded that in order to make real change in the news industry, stricter sourcing requirements will have to be implemented, journalists must be encouraged to provide social and historical context and the editorial standards process should include people of color.

Source: https://blavity.com/color-change-study-news-outlets-promote-false-negative-portrayals-black-families-reality

Morehouse Student Julien Turner Goes Viral With “XY Cell Life,” Extra Credit Rap Video for Biology Class (VIDEO)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

(image via YouTube screenshot)

Enterprising Morehouse College student and filmmaker Julien Turner went viral this week when he posted his extra credit assignment for biology class on Twitter and YouTube. “XY Cell Life” is a rap video explaining the different phases cells go through, what they are comprised up and how they operate. For those (like me) who grew up on Schoolhouse Rock or for those who love hip hop – or both – watch the above because you most definitely will enjoy.

On YouTube, Julien credits Dreadhead Films, LLC, a film production company he co-owns with 15-yr. old teenage brother Justen Turner, and their mission is to “entertain, inspire, and uplift” with their original content. You can check out other projects of the Turner Brothers at www.dreadheadfilms.com, or Vimeo at Dreadhead Films. Twitter: JuicyJu11 Instagram: K1ngJu

Not sure what his professor gave him, but on the internet? A+! Go Julien!

 

Netflix Orders Black Superhero Family Drama ‘Raising Dion,’ from Michael B. Jordan and MACRO

Michael B. Jordan to Executive Produce and appear in “Raising Dion” for Netflix (via shadowandact.com)

by Trey Magnum via shadowandact.com

A black superhero family drama from Michael B. Jordan and Charles D. King’s MACRO is coming to Netflix. The streaming giant has greenlit Raising Dion for a 10-episode, straight-to-series order. It is based on Dennis Liu‘s viral short film of the same name, which revolves around a black mother who discovers her young son has multiple and constantly changing abilities.

Jordan will executive produce and also appear in the series in a supporting capacity. Veteran showrunner Carol Barbee is on board and wrote the Netflix adaptation and will serve as showrunner and will executive produce. Liu will direct and executive produce MACRO’s Charles D. King, Kim Roth and Poppy Hanks are also executive producing along with Kenny Goodman and Michael Green. This is the first TV series order for MACRO.

The Netflix series will follow a woman named Nicole Reese, who raises her son Dion after the death of her husband Mark (Jordan). The normal dramas of raising a son as a single mom are amplified when Dion starts to manifest several magical, superhero-like abilities. Nicole must now keep her son’s gifts secret with the help of Mark’s best friend Pat, and protect Dion from antagonists out to exploit him while figuring out the origin of his abilities.

According to THR, the show, which first began development in 2016, was retooled and tapped a new showrunner in Barbee after the success of Eleven on Netflix’s Stranger Things, so the shows would not overlap. At the end of 2016 it got back on track and Jordan joined the project in early 2017. Casting started in February, but as of now, Jordan is the only one attached to appear.

The original Raising Dion short film is below. A comic book companion was also released.

To read full article, go to: Netflix orders black superhero family drama ‘Raising Dion,’ from Michael B. Jordan and MACRO

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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