The annual Kent Lecture was established by the Organization of Black Students at the University of Chicago in 1984, and was named after the late Dr. George E. Kent, who was one of the earliest tenured African-American professors at the University of Chicago, and its first African-American professor of English.
The prestigious honor was “designed to serve as a platform for community exposure to African-American luminaries” and since its inception, speakers who have given the lecture are names you would expect, such as Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Michelle Alexander.
This year, the OBS pulled off a real coup and got, for the first time, a film director. Not only just a film director, but the director of “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed,” Ryan Coogler himself, to give this year’s Kent Lecture.
According to OBS, Coogler will be discussing “blackness in mixed forms of media, specifically film, the importance of representation, and why stories such as these are so important to tell.” After his opening remarks, there will be a moderated Q&A with Coogler (no doubt there are going to be a lot of audience questions about the Oscars and “Black Panther”).
The event will take place at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago campus (1175 E. 57th); starting at 7PM and yes it’s free and open to the public. But get there early to secure a seat because they will likely be going fast.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tracy Martin, the father of Trayvon Martin has joined an effort by members of Congress to focus more attention on issues disproportionately affecting black men and boys. Martin was appearing Wednesday before a forum convened by black lawmakers to discuss high unemployment, incarceration, racial profiling and other challenges faced by black men and boys.
Martin was scheduled to give opening remarks in an informal hearing before the Congressional Black Men and Boys Caucus. Congressional caucuses such as this one are made up of members of the House who share interest in a given issue and want to focus attention on it while suggesting possible legislative responses. Caucuses range from the party of the Democrats and Republicans to special group caucuses such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Martin’s appearance comes a few days after President Barack Obama made remarks identifying himself with the plight of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was shot and killed last year during a confrontation with neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.
MSNBC yesterday reported a huge increase in their overall ratings, a 20% increase, in 2012, no doubt due to the 2012 Presidential campaign, but also due to a another major factor – Black viewership. The network announced an incredible increase in their already large number of Black viewers – a whopping 60.5% increase during the past year.
That’s compared to CNN, whose Black audience increased last year by 23.7%, while Fox News’ Black audience decreased by the same amount.
No doubt MSNBC’s more progressive leaning approach to the news and their wide array of black hosts and pundits such as Toure, Melissa Harris-Perry, Tamron Hall, Joy-Ann Reid (pictured above and who I predict is headed for her own MSNBC show soon) Karen Finney, Michael Steele, Al Sharpton, Eugene Robinson, Jonathan Capehart, Goldie Taylor and if I’ve forgotten anyone, I’m sorry, have played a large part in the increase in black viewers.
When recently asked about this remarkable development, MSNBC president Phil Griffith said: “I think we made a commitment, we decided, that in order for this channel to succeed, that we had to reflect the country. This meant that we had to be part of the country in ways that the other channels weren’t.”