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 XD 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 kick off its celebration of Black History Month, Google turns to a 19th century artist who burned so bright that her twin gifts of blazing talent and steely determination could not be denied even in the face of her era’s discrimination. Time and again, sculptor Edmonia Lewis — nicknamed “Wildfire” — faced obstacles and setbacks, yet she persevered as if her greatness were already cast.
Lewis was orphaned at age 9, when she was adopted by maternal aunts and joined their Mississauga tribe. She endured bitter racial bias at Oberlin College, which she began attending at age 15; she was falsely accused of poisoning classmates and was beaten, and was ultimately denied the chance to graduate.
She then was refused apprenticeships in Civil War-era Boston, until she encountered the well-connected sculptor Edward Brackett, whose clients included well-known abolitionists. And she would then run a small art studio in Rome (a space formerly used by neoclassicist Antonio Canova), eschewing assistants because she was often without the means of fellow expat artists in Italy.
Yet she would shine as the first woman of American Indian and African-American descent to discover international renown in the arts.
Wednesday’s Google Doodle, by artist Sophie Diao, salutes Lewis and her great work “The Death of Cleopatra,” which rests today in Washington at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. (Her work “Forever Free” resides nearby, with the Howard University Gallery of Art.) And the ribboned “Google” wording shines bright, befitting Lewis’s nickname.
The image above is a powerful one. This black power salute is embedded in our history. In 1968 Olympics athletes Tommie Smith (gold) and John Carlos (bronze) made history during the Olympic games in Mexico City. With the world watching the sprinters stood on the medal podium and raised their black-gloved fists in the air in silent protest for human rights and for black Americans to stand in solidarity.
It’s that powerful image that was the inspiration for Puma’s capsule collection honoring Tommie Smith and Black History Month. What I didn’t realize is that gold medalist Tommie Smith removed his suede Pumas right before he stepped onto the podium shoeless in black socks, to represent poverty and slavery. After that subtle statement, he then raised his fist. With that unmistakable gesture, Tommie Smith altered the course of history and dedicated his life to change. Emblazoned with Tommie Smith’s silhouette, with fist raised, the Black History Month Pack honors a legacy on the track and off. I must applaud Puma for honoring this hero.
Check out Puma’s Black History Month Collection here:
Tech giant Google announced on Friday that its philanthropic arm would be donating $1 million to Bryan Stevenson’s Alabama-based non-profit, Equal Justice Initiative.
The Harvard-educated Stevenson is a lawyer who has for decades fought the good fight—winning major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent prisoners on death row, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill and aiding children prosecuted as adults in a deeply flawed American criminal justice system.
Justin Steele, a principal with Google.org and the Bay Area and racial justice giving lead told USA Today, “I think what’s exciting about what EJI is doing is that at a national level it is really trying to tell the untold history around race in this country and help people develop a deeper understanding for the narrative around race and how we have gotten to where we are.”
Google.org made the announcement during a Black History Month celebration at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters where Stevenson gave a speech on how the Google grant will help further his work.
USA Today reports that the racial justice grants were born out of a growing consensus inside Google that it must respond to the police slayings of African Americans and the fatal shooting of nine black citizens inside a Charleston, S.C., church last summer.
In November, Google.org made its first racial justice grants, giving $2.35 million to community organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. This week, Google.org made four more grants, totaling $3 million.
Keeping in line with the activist mantra of organizing locally and thinking globally, the Equal Justice Initiative grant was the only grant gifted to a national non-profit—all other money was given to local organizations in the Bay Area working to eliminate racial disparities in education.
To see video of Bryan Stevenson’s Google talk, click here.
In celebration of #BlackHistoryMonth, Ernst and Young LLP will be hosting a Black History Month Executive Roundtable event in Los Angeles tonight that focuses on stories of cultivating and leveraging diverse teams and achievements of successful black professionals.
Ernst and Young partner Gracelyn Hodge will be moderating the panel. Panelists will be Dr. Robert Cherry, Chief Medical and Quality Officer at UCLA Health, Cookie Johnson, President of CJ by Cookie Johnson, Beverly Kuykendall, President of American Medical Depot and Guy Primus, CEO and Co-Founder of The Virtual Reality Company.
On Feb. 28, comedian Hannibal Buress, Creed director and co-writer Ryan Coogler, singer Janelle Monae, Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams, Selma director Ava DuVernay, and other entertainment notables will be joining forces onstage for a free event in Flint, Michigan, BuzzFeed News can exclusively reveal. The Buress-hosted gathering, dubbed #JUSTICEFORFLINT, is open to the public and presented by Blackout for Human Rights, an activist collective founded by Coogler which is devoted to addressing human rights violations in the U.S.
For almost two years, Flint’s residents — many of whom are black and impoverished — have been subjected to massive lead and bacterial contamination in Genesee County’s water supply, and forced to avoid tap water.
#JUSTICEFORFLINT will take place at the Whiting Auditorium (1241 E. Kearsley St.) on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET to raise both awareness and funds for those affected by the water crisis. It will also be live-streamed via revolt.tv, and donations will be collected at the event and via text. Along with all the star power, organizers have also invited members of the Flint community to share their stories with the audience.
“With the #JUSTICEFORFLINT benefit event we will give a voice to the members of the community who were the victims of the choices of people in power who are paid to protect them, as well as provide them with a night of entertainment, unity, and emotional healing,” Ryan Coogler told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “Through the live stream we will also give a chance for people around the world to participate, and to donate funds to programs for Flint’s youth.”
Though the event does coincide with the Academy Awards — which largely snubbed Creed in nominations and did the same with DuVernay’s Selma last year — Coogler said Feb. 28 was chosen because it fell on the final weekend of Black History Month, and that the date overlap was a coincidence.
The idea for #JUSTICEFORFLINT emerged at Blackout’s last event #MLKNOW held on Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 28), which took place at Riverside Church in Harlem and drew more than 2,200 attendees and nearly half a million views online.