Tag: Las Vegas

R.I.P. Joe Jackson, 89, Patriarch of Musical, Legendary Jackson Family

Joe Jackson (photo via latimes.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Joseph Walter Jackson aka Joe Jackson, the patriarch of one of the most famous singing family acts of all time, has died, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was 89. Jackson died at 2:55 a.m. Wednesday at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas, Clark County coroner John Fudenberg told the Associated Press.

Jackson was born in the tiny town of Fountain Hill in southeast Arkansas on July 26, 1929, to Samuel and Chrystal Lee Jackson. His father was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse; she was one of his students. After the parents separated, Jackson went with his father to Oakland and later joined his mother in Indiana. An early marriage was annulled. He married Katherine Scruse in 1949.

A onetime amateur boxer, Jackson was working as a steelworker in Gary, Ind., when he began relentlessly coaching his children to be singers, plotting a record deal even before it grew clear that Michael, at the time four years old, wasn’t just another voice in the crowd, but would soon become the lead singer of the Jackson 5 on the Motown label and eventually a world-reknowned superstar solo act.

Motown founder Berry Gordy recalled seeing 9-year-old Michael try out in 1968. The boy singer crooned Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Loving You” like “a man who had been living with the blues and heartbreak his whole life,” Gordy recalled. “I couldn’t believe it.” It was a prelude to future breakout performances.

Who could have imagined what it was like to grow up a poor black man in the South, robbed of dignity, bereft of hope … working long hours in the steel mills? Is it any wonder why he pushed his sons so hard to succeed as performers? – Michael Jackson

The Jackson 5’s first three singles sold millions of copies, and their national television debut in 1969 was a sensation. As time went on, other family members, such as Jermaine and  baby sister Janet, had solo musical success. But Michael Jackson’s fame would prove stratospheric. Jackson managed his childrens’ careers until the 1980s.

Joe Jackson is survived by his wife, Katherine, and their children: Janet, Jermaine, La Toya, Rebbie, Randy, Jackie, Marlon and Tito Jackson, as well as several grandchildren. He is also survived by daughter Joh’Vonnie Jackson, his child with longtime girlfriend Cheryl Terrell.

HERO: Despite Being Shot in Neck During Las Vegas Massacre, Jonathan Smith Helped Save Many Others

Jonathan Smith (photo via thegrio.com)

via thegrio.com

A man who was shot in the neck during the deadly Las Vegas shooting on Sunday helped to save at least 30 people.

Jonathan Smith, 30, had attended the concert with nine other members of his family when the shots rang out and his older brother, Louis Rust, told them all to run. Smith was focused on getting his nieces out, according to the Washington Post, but he turned back into the crowd after becoming separated.

He noticed that several people had been paralyzed by fear and started to push them to move, saying, “Active shooter, let’s go!” “I got a few people out of there,” he told the Post. However, while he was trying to get to a group of children, he was struck by a bullet in the neck. The bullet shattered his collarbone, fracture one of his ribs, and bruised one of his lungs.

Smith credits a police officer with saving his life after the police officer saw Smith bleeding and staunched the flow of blood before he was lifted to the hospital. For now, doctors have left the bullet in place.“I might have to live with this bullet for the rest of my life,” Smith said.

While Smith has been heralded as a hero for his actions, he doesn’t see himself that way, either.“I would want someone to do the same for me,” he said.

Source: Man shot during Las Vegas massacre helped save 30 people | theGrio

“Get Out” Filmmaker Jordan Peele to Receive CinemaCon Director of the Year Award

Jordan Peele (photo via thegrio.com)

article via thegrio.com

During this year’s CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards, Jordan Peele will be presented with the CinemaCon Director of the Year Award for his 2017 blockbuster “Get Out.”

CinemaCon Managing Director, Mitch Neuhauser, announced the award on Monday saying, “With the phenomenon known as ‘Get Out,” Jordan Peele has instantaneously become a force to reckon with as a gifted and enormously talented director and filmmaker. He has audiences and critics around the globe enamored and spellbound, dare I say hypnotized, with his wildly inventive directorial debut, and we are ecstatic to be honoring him as this year’s ‘Director of the Year.’”

Peele will receive the award on March 30 at the ceremony at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, hosted by the Coca-Cola Company. The official convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) will be held on March 27-30, 2017, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Peele’s thriller has received widespread acclaim and excellent reviews since its debut, including a 99 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

To read original article, go to: Jordan Peele to receive CinemaCon Director of the Year Award | theGrio

Lauren Laray, 8, Makes Wigs for Child Cancer Patients

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8 year-old Lauren Laray (photo via You-Tube)

article by Zon D’Amour via hellobeautiful.com

Where can we make an appointment to get our hair done by 8-year-old Lauren Laray? The 3rd grader has a remarkable talent for doing hair and she’s putting her skills towards an excellent cause.

After learning that her best friend’s little sister had cancer and was losing her hair to chemotherapy, Lauren decided to make her a wig. She now wants to help even more little girls feel beautiful while they fight to overcome one of the most difficult times in their lives.

Initially, Lauren was going to make 10 wigs but by the summer, she hopes to finish 30 wigs that will be donated to the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation.

“Some of them will be blonde; some of them will be redheaded for redheaded little girls. I’ll have a whole bunch because other girls have other styles for their hair”, said Lauren.

Lauren has launched a GoFundMe page where she’s already exceeded the $900 needed to make the 30 wigs which costs $30 per head for supplies. The Las Vegas native uses a crochet needle, weave cap, two packs of hair and a bow.

“I won’t need a thank you, I’ll just see a smile on their face and I’ll be happy,” said Lauren. To see her demonstrate how to make a wig, watch below:

$29 Million-Dollar, Family-Owned Construction Firm Celebrates 30 Years of Business

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ENVIROAg Science, Inc. founders and leaders, The Lynn Family

One of the nation’s largest black-owned companies, ENVIRO AgScience, Inc., is celebrating 30 years of business. The family-owned business has grown from a mom-and-pop landscaping business into a $29 million-dollar construction management and commercial landscaping firm.

In addition to its Columbia, South Carolina, headquarters, ENVIRO has offices in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles and is looking to expand its offerings globally. The company is ranked No. 92 on the 2015 BE 100s Industrial/Services List.

ENVIRO is best known for building schools and community centers in the Columbia area, but has also been involved in military structures, jails, mess halls, warehouses, and historic, municipal and airport renovations throughout Georgia and North and South Carolina. Currently, ENVIRO is part of the team helping to build a new minor league baseball stadium, Spirit Communications Park, completing bond referendum projects with the Richland County Recreation Commission and annual grounds maintenance for Richland Two School District.

ENVIRO began as a commercial lawn care business that has grown into a full-service construction and landscape company servicing government, military, schools and universities, along with private sector firms. It was founded by Louis B. Lynn in 1985 after a successful career at one of the nation’s largest agrichemical companies.  With a legacy of business excellence and ownership, including his grandfather, who owned a grocery store and his father, who ran a butcher shop, Lynn also chose the path of entrepreneurship. Lynn has parlayed a ‘golden handshake’ from Monsanto Corporation into a multi-generational, black-owned business.

Earlier this year, ENVIRO executed its succession plan and Lynn assumed the role of chairman, leaving his children to manage daily operations and strategy of the family’s construction management and commercial landscape firm. Now it is the next generation, Lynn’s children, who are spearheading plans to make ENVIRO a multinational company. His daughters Adrienne Lynn Sienkowski, 41 and an engineer, is chief operating officer, and Krystal Conner, 38 and a pharmacist, is CEO. His son, Bryan Lynn, 30, is a facilities manager.

Continue reading “$29 Million-Dollar, Family-Owned Construction Firm Celebrates 30 Years of Business”

Former Inmate Frederick Hutson Creates Tech Company Pigeonly To Help Prisoners Stay In Touch With Families

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Frederick Hutson founded the company Pigeonly to help tailor technological products and services for underserved communities, such as the incarcerated and their families. | Pigeon.ly

Frederick Hutson was just 24 and living in St. Petersburg, Florida, when he was convicted on a drug trafficking charge. The Air Force veteran spent four years behind bars, serving out his sentence in eight different correctional facilities.

Hutson found prison life was isolating, no surprise at a time when one 15-minute interstate phone call could cost an inmate as much as $17. Isolation is an ongoing hurdle for prisoners and their families, as research has repeatedly shown that keeping inmates connected with loved ones and support structures on the outside helps reduce recidivism rates.

“[Incarcerated] people who maintain supportive relationships with family members have better outcomes — such as stable housing and employment — when they return to the community,” reads one study by the nonprofit Vera Institute. “Many corrections practitioners and policy makers intuitively understand the positive role families can play in the reentry process, but they often do not know how to help people in prison draw on these social supports.”

Such research, coupled with his own experience, gave Hutson a new idea. Today, that idea has transformed into Pigeonly, a $3 million tech company specifically tailoring products for underserved communities, particularly the incarcerated and their families.

Hutson launched Pigeonly in 2013 after receiving coaching and input from the NewME Accelerator in San Francisco, which helps support underrepresented entrepreneurs. Pigeonly’s products to date include Fotopigeon, a prison-friendly photo-mailing platform, and Telepigeon, a service that drastically reduces the often cost-prohibitive price of phone calls to and from correctional facilities.

“Most people don’t have life sentences, so the real question we have to ask ourselves is, what type of person do we want to release?” Hudson, now 31, told The Huffington Post. “Someone who’s isolated from everyone they know and lost touch with everyone who could support them who, when they’re back on the street, are way more likely to go back to the previous activity they were doing before prison? No.”

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Inside Pigeonly’s office in Las Vegas. The company recently expanded into a larger space to accommodate its growth. (Pigeon.ly)

The Las Vegas-based company says it has already had a great deal of success with its flagship products in a relatively short period of time.

Fotopigeon prints photos uploaded by a user and mails them to a prison on the user’s behalf, carefully abiding by the strident and sometimes confusing regulations that govern mail sent to prisons. The service already has a base of 80,000 customers who have uploaded over a million photos, at 50 cents apiece with free shipping, since the service began.

Hutson told HuffPost the company is currently shipping a quarter of a million photos a month.

“It’s something that has very high value when you’re isolated from everything you know,” Hutson said. “Think about how important images are in daily life on the outside. It’s crazy to think it’d be any different for the 2.3 million people in prison or the 20 million people who want to communicate with them.”

Continue reading “Former Inmate Frederick Hutson Creates Tech Company Pigeonly To Help Prisoners Stay In Touch With Families”

Diana Ross Headlines Mini-Residency at Venetian in Las Vegas This April

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Superstar singer Diana Ross has inked April dates for the first nine performances of her new mini-residency contract at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. Soon to follow in this new entertainment lineup set for the former “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” theater will be Janet Jackson, Lionel Richie and Ricky Martin.

Diana, named “Most Successful Female Vocalist of All Time,” takes the stage for her new show “The Essential Diana Ross: Some Memories Never Fade” as of April 1.  Tickets are on sale for three weekends of shows April 1, 3-4, 7-8, 10-11, 15 and 17-18.  To purchase, click here.

She will include songs from her remarkable, nearly five-decade career that made music-history milestones and a significant contribution to pop culture music of the 20th century. She’s promising Motown classics “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to pop favorites “I’m Coming Out” and hits including “Endless Love.”

Continue reading “Diana Ross Headlines Mini-Residency at Venetian in Las Vegas This April”

Black Lawyers to Challenge Police Brutality in 25 Cities

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – In an effort to combat police brutality in the Black community, the National Bar Association (NBA) recently announced plans to file open records requests in 25 cities to study allegations of police misconduct.

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National Bar Association President Pamela J. Meanes

Pamela Meanes, president of the Black lawyers and judges group, said the NBA had already been making plans for a nationwide campaign to fight police brutality when Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a White police officer following a controversial midday confrontation in a Ferguson, Mo.

Meanes called police brutality the new civil rights issue of this era, an issue that disproportionately impacts the Black community.

“If we don’t see this issue and if we don’t at the National Bar Association do the legal things that are necessary to bring this issue to the forefront, then we are not carrying out our mission, which is to protect the civil and political entities of all,” said Meanes.

The NBA, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges,” selected the 25 cities based on their African-American populations and reported incidents of police brutality.

The lawyers group will file open records requests in Birmingham, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix; Los Angeles; San Jose, Calif., Washington, D.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Miami; Atlanta; Chicago; Louisville, Ky.; Baltimore, Md.; Detroit; Mich.; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis, Mo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas, Nev.; New York City; Cleveland, Ohio; Memphis, Tenn., Philadelphia; Dallas; Houston; San Antonio, Texas, and Milwaukee, Wis.

In a press release about the open records requests, the group said it will not only seek information about “the number of individuals who have been killed, racially profiled, wrongfully arrested and/or injured while pursued or in police custody, but also comprehensive data from crime scenes, including “video and photographic evidence related to any alleged and/or proven misconduct by current or former employees,” as well as background information on officers involved in the incidents.

Not only will the NBA present their findings to the public, but the group also plans to compile its research and forward the data over to the attorney general’s office.

Meanes said the group’s ultimate goal is to have a conversation with Attorney General Eric Holder and to ask, and in some cases, demand he seize police departments or take over or run concurrent investigations.

Meanes said federal law prohibits the Justice Department from going into a police department unless a pattern or history of abuse has been identified.

“The problem is that the information needed for that action is not readily available in a comprehensive way on a consistent basis with the goal of eradicating that abuse,” said Meanes, adding that the open records request is the best way to get that information.

Meanes said that the NBA was concerned that the trust had already brrn broken between the police force and the residents of Ferguson and that the rebellion and the protests would continue.

“We don’t think St. Louis County should investigate this. We don’t think the prosecutor should investigate this. There should be an independent third-party investigating this and that is the federal government,” said Meanes.

Phillip Agnew, executive director of the Dream Defenders, a civil rights group established by young people of color in the aftermath of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager in Sanford, Fla., said law enforcement officials taunted, antagonized and disrespected peaceful protesters who took to the streets of Ferguson and at times incited the violence they attempted to stamp out in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

“An occupying force came into the community, they killed someone from the community, and instead of being transparent and doing everything they could do to make sure the community felt whole again, they brought in more police to suppress folks who were exercising their constitutional rights,” said Agnew.“If your protocol results in greater violence, greater anger, and greater disenchantment of the people, you have to chart a different course.”

On the heels of the NBA announcement, Attorney General Holder launched two initiatives designed to calm anxiety and frustration expressed by Ferguson’s Black residents towards the local police department over allegations of misconduct, harassment and discrimination.

The Justice Department also introduced a “Collaborative Reform Initiative” to tackle similar concerns with the St. Louis County Police Department and to improve the relationship between police officers and the communities they serve.

Continue reading “Black Lawyers to Challenge Police Brutality in 25 Cities”

Mike Tyson to Present Evander Holyfield with Boxing Hall of Fame Trophy

Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield

Former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield have come a long way since 1997, when Tyson bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear in the third round and was disqualified in their infamous championship rematch.  Over the years, they have put their ill feelings for each other to bed and even appeared in a recent television commercial spoofing the biting incident.

Tyson, who will hand Holyfield his Hall of Fame trophy, called the opportunity to present Holyfield a “privilege and high honor.”

Holyfield is also looking forward to it.  “That’s great,” he said of Tyson’s participation.

Rich Marotta, a longtime boxing broadcaster and president of the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame, said: “This is the kind of thing we showed is possible in boxing last year at our inaugural induction ceremony — former and even current rivals coming together under the same roof to celebrate boxing. Everyone checks those rivalries at the door. Tyson presenting Holyfield is sheer magic.”

Holyfield is being enshrined in the non-Nevada-resident category, along with George Foreman and Roberto Duran, as voted on by a 35-member panel.

Tyson was inducted in the Nevada resident category in the inaugural ceremony in 2013. Holyfield and Tyson both fought many of their biggest fights in Las Vegas.

The rest of the 18-man class of 2014, which was announced in February, includes Sonny Liston and Cornelius Boza Edwards (Nevada-resident boxers category), Jack Dempsey and Archie Moore (pioneers), Joe Louis (adoptive Nevada resident), trainer Miguel Diaz (non-boxers), Richard Steele and Kenny Bayless (officials), Col. Bob Sheridan and Kevin Iole (media), Bruce Trampler (promotions), Chuck Minker and Luther Mack (executives), and Clifford Perlman and Steve Wynn (special contributors).

article by Dan Rafael via espn.com

8th Grade Metal Band From Brooklyn Lands Sony Record Deal

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Unlocking the Truth, a heavy metal band comprised of three 8th-graders from Brooklyn, has been signed to a two-album recording contract with Sony. The deal comes with a $60,000 up-front advance and an option for four additional LPs.

The band, made up of guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 13, bassist Alec Atkins, 13, and drummer Jarad Dawkins, 12, was founded in 2007 and has been riding the lightning to metal fame thanks to a steady run of heavy-beyond-their-years busking in Times Square and Washington Square Park.  Now the Daily News reports that the boys have finalized a deal with Sony that could net them as much as $1.7 million over a possible six albums.

“What started out as play dates went to Times Square and now this. It’s been one great thing after another,” Dawkins’s mother, Tabatha, told the News. The boys competed in the Apollo Theater’s amateur night (under the name Tears of Blood, no less) and have unleashed their middle-school riffage at venues like Webster Hall and the Coachella music festival. Unlocking the Truth is currently touring the country as a part of the Vans Warped Tour and recently took time off from pre-algebra class to open for Gun N Roses in Las Vegas.

Having scored the deal as minors, the 8th graders’ Sony contract had to be approved and filed in Manhattan Supreme Court. The deal is remarkable on account of more than just the band’s age, band manager Alan Sacks affirmed. “Sacks says the boys have a chance of becoming the new face of rock because they are unique — black artists excelling in heavy metal, a genre typically dominated by white musicians,” the Post writes.

Watch Brickhouse, Atkins, and Dawkins shred Times Square below:

article via gothamist.com