Common Brings Message of Redemption and Hope to Inmates at Folsom State Prison

Common (photo via bet.com)

by Kai Miller via bet.com

Fresh on the heels of kicking off his Hope & Redemption TourCommon is bringing his social activism to center stage. The “Glory” rapper recently paid a visit to the Folsom State Prison in California, where he treated the inmates to a concert in part with his Imagine Justice initiative.

Imagine Justice took to social media to share the photos of Common’s inspiring trip through its “Faces of Mass Incarceration” photo series. The photos capture the men captivated by the MC, smiling with raised fists as the Chi-Town native performed. Other photos show Common heading down to the crowd of inmates to greet them.

“I’m blessed to have the opportunity to connect with my brothers inside Folsom State Prison and perform for them to inspire them and spread a message of hope, redemption, justice, love and compassion,” the rapper wrote in an Instagram post.

The multi-hyphenate star recently documented his four-day prison tour visits in a YouTube web series titled The Hope & Redemption Tour, giving viewers the opportunity to hear the heartfelt stories of the women and men facing lengthy prison sentences and what their lives are like behind the prison walls.

To see first in series, click below:

To read more, go to: Common Visits Inmates At Folsom State Prison

UPDATE: Hurricane Harvey Telethon on Sept. 12 to Include Beyoncé, Oprah, Kelly Rowland, Michael Strahan and More

Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, and Oprah Winfrey (photo via oprah.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, the telethon announced last Thursday on Instagram by Jamie Foxx will now also include appearances by Beyoncé, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Barbra Streisand, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah Winfrey, among others, that on Sept. 12 will raise money for Hurricane Harvey relief.

“Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief” will air live at 8 p.m. ET across ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and basic cable channel CMT. Country superstar George Strait will appear on the telecast in concert from the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Texas. The telecast will originate from the Universal Studios lot, Times Square and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.

Money raised from the event will be distributed to a range of charities aiding recovery efforts in Houston, which was devastated last week by the storm and widespread flooding left in Harvey’s wake. The organizations include the United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Feeding Texas and the Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief.

The death toll from Harvey has hit 63, according to CBS News. Tens of thousands of people in the southeast Texas region have been displaced from homes that were damaged or destroyed after days of torrential rain and winds.

Other celebrities set to appear in live or taped segments include Karlie Kloss, Rob Lowe, Matthew McConaughey, Dennis Quaid, Adam Sandler, Ryan Seacrest, and Blake Shelton.

“Hand in Hand” was the brainchild of music manager and producer Scooter Braun’s SB Projects. Braun and Allison Kaye will serve as executive producers along with Den of Thieves’ Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager and Houston-based rapper Bernard ‘Bun B’ Freeman.

Venus Williams, Sloan Stevens and Madison Keys All Advance to U.S. Open Quarterfinals

Venus Williams; Sloane Stephens; Madison Keys (@rantoddj via Twitter screenshot)

by Angela Helm via thegrapevine.theroot.com

For the first time in U.S. Open history, three black women have advanced to the quarterfinal round; and, in this case, they all happen to be American. As of Monday, Venus Williams, 37, Sloane Stephens, 24, and Madison Keys, 22, are all vying for the Tiffany-engraved trophy. Oh, and it’s all going down at a stadium named for African-American tennis legend, Arthur Ashe.

Williams and Stephens earned quarterfinal spots Sunday night, by defeating Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and Julia Gorges of Germany respectively, while Keys snagged her place by defeating Elina Svitolina from the Ukraine Monday night. Keys, ranked No. 15 in the world, is the youngest of the bunch, and was visibly excited after her win, and spoke about the prospect of the Americans squaring off against one another.

“It’s just really exciting. I’m really happy that none of us are playing each other in the quarterfinals,” Keys said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “If there’s some all-American matchups in the rest of the tournament, I think that says really good things about women’s tennis.”

To read more, go to: https://thegrapevine.theroot.com/three-black-women-advance-to-u-s-open-semifinals-1799943507

U.S. Coast Guard Pilot Jason Brownlee Rescued More People in Hurricane Harvey than in Rest of His Career Combined

Coast Guard pilot Jason Brownlee, at right, is seen with commander John Egan, left, and flight mechanic Eric Cybulski, center. (MELISSA JELTSEN/HUFFPOST)

by Melissa Jeltsen, Andy Campbell via huffingtonpost.com

ELLINGTON FIELD JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas ― At 3 a.m. on Sunday, Jason Brownlee, a pilot with the U.S. Coast Guard, woke with a start. His phone was ringing. While he was asleep, Hurricane Harvey had slammed into the greater Houston area, bringing extreme winds and heavy rainfall. His bosses wanted him back at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Houston ― ASAP. There was one problem, though. Brownlee, 34, was already flooded in.

“Every road that I could take to get in was impassable,” he said. So his team pulled the maneuver they knew best: They scrambled a rescue aircraft and picked him up in an elementary school parking lot near his house.“I came in, put my uniform on, grabbed my gear, a crew, a helicopter,” and took off, he said, flying the first of what would be many rescue missions in the days to come.

Flying over Port Arthur and Beaumont revealed widespread flooding and devastation from Hurricane Harvey. (MELISSA JELTSEN/HUFFPOST)

Coast Guard rescue workers had been working nonstop since the hurricane made landfall. Many of them left families behind. One serviceman’s wife was in labor as he worked to aid his community. Several Guardsmen at Ellington Field lost homes and vehicles of their own, while others, such as Eric Cybulski, were initially unable to get to the air base to help because of severe flooding.

“This one caught a lot of people off guard,” Cybulski said. “I don’t think the Houston area was expecting something of this magnitude ― this much rain.”

Brownlee said he was humbled after flying over Houston early on in the storm. He didn’t see any damage, and although he was ready to act at a moment’s notice, he figured the worst was over. Hours later, he’d wake up to a call demanding that he get back to his chopper.

“My famous last words were, ‘Hurricane Harvey is going to be nothing,’” he said.

He would save 20 lives over the course of the next few days ― three times as many people as he’d rescued since he became a pilot three years ago.

To read full article, go to: This Pilot Rescued More People In Harvey Than In The Rest Of His Career Combined | HuffPost

‘Black Love’ is a Ratings Winner for OWN Network; Debuts in Regular Timeslot Tonight

Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin (photo via blackamericaweb.com)

via blackamericaweb.com

‘Black Love’ is winning. The four-episode documentary featuring a host of celebrity couples talking honestly about marriage’s ups and down debuted to the highest ratings ever for unscripted shows on OWN. The network has ordered more episodes of the hit docu-series which debuted Tuesday with 1.2 million total viewers. Additionally, the premiere of “Black Love” was the #2 most social primetime episode on national cable.

The series will debut in its regular timeslot, Saturdays ‪at 9 p.m. ET/PT, ‪beginning this Saturday, September 2. The new episodes for 2018 will feature Emmy-nominated actor Sterling K. Brown and wife Ryan Michelle Bathe, Tina Knowles-Lawson and husband Richard Lawson, NBA All-Star Grant Hill and Grammy-nominated recording artist ‪Tamia, Hip Hop influencer Rev Run and wife Justine Simmons, Grammy-winning gospel recording artist ‪Kirk Franklin and wife Tammy, comedian D.L. Hughley and wife LaDonna, former NFL-running back Eddie George and wife Taj, and more.

‘Black Love,’ from married filmmakers Codie Elaine Oliver and Tommy Oliver (‘The Perfect Guy’) and Confluential Films, highlights love stories from the Black community to answer the burning question, “What does it take to make a marriage work? ” The docu-series shares honest, emotional and sometimes cringe-worthy always-true love stories.

Featured couples for the current four-episode season include Oscar-winner Viola Davis and husband Julius Tennon, Hollywood power couple Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, NAACP Image Award-winner Tia Mowry and husband/actor Cory Hardrict, NAACP Image Award-nominee Flex Alexander and Grammy-nominated recording artist Shanice, Grammy award-winners ‪Erica Campbell and ‪Warryn Campbell, and many additional couples from around the country.

Source: Black Love’ Is A Winner For OWN Network | Black America Web

HISTORY: Rosa Parks House in Berlin Returns Home to America

Ryan Mendoza, an American artist, in front of the exhibit he made in Berlin of the Rosa Parks house. (photo: Gordon Welters/NY TIMES)

by Yonette Joseph via nytimes.com

LONDON — In a backyard in Berlin, a ramshackle house that was once a haven for the civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks is preparing for its third life — back in the United States. It had almost been lost to history, falling into blight, abuse and foreclosure, in Detroit. But in 2016, the American artist Ryan Mendoza shipped the dismantled facade in two containers to his home in Germany. There, it was restored as an art exhibit in his garden in the Wedding neighborhood.

Then the strange and itinerant journey of the wood-frame house took another turn recently, when a member of the Nash Family Foundation, based in Manitowoc, Wis., formally agreed to pay for its passage back.“I never wanted to rebuild it in my backyard,” Mr. Mendoza said by phone from Berlin. “But I wanted to protect it.”“ It’s time for the house to return home,” he added. “It’s needed for people to have another major point of reference for how to treat each other with dignity. This will be a marker on the ground.”

While the house has a ticket back to America, the question of where it would find a permanent home remains unanswered. The hurdles seem huge, the logistics daunting, but calls and emails have gone out for help to institutions including Brown University in Rhode Island, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and the Brooklyn Museum, among others, Mr. Mendoza said. At least two institutions — Brown and Wright — said they were seriously considering the project. “The house has a symbolic importance — it’s important in the narrative of her life,” said James Nash, a board member and the driving force behind the foundation’s pledge. “She suffered for a huge act of courage. It should be here, not in Berlin.”

To read full article, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/world/europe/rosa-parks-house-berlin.html?_r=0

Academy Award Winner Mahershala Ali to Star in HBO’s ‘True Detective’ Season 3

Mahershala Ali (photo via popsugar.com)

by Debra Birnbaum via Variety.com

“True Detective” is back on the case. HBO’s limited series will officially return for a third season, this time starring Oscar winner Mahershala Ali. Showrunner and creator Nic Pizzolatto is set to direct, along with Jeremy Saulnier (“Green Room,” “Blue Ruin”). The next installment tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.

Ali will play the lead role of Wayne Hays, a state police detective from Northwest Arkansas. It does not currently have an air date, nor is there a set date for the start of production.“Nic has written truly remarkable scripts,” said Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming. “With his ambitious vision and Mahershala Ali and Jeremy Saulnier aboard, we are excited to embark on the next installment of ‘True Detective.’”

To read full article, go to: ‘True Detective’ Season 3 Set at HBO Starring Mahershala Ali | Variety