Gospel Legend Shirley Caesar’s Viral #UNameItChallenge Leads to New Fame, More Charity

Shirley Caesar (photo via defendernetwork.com)

Shirley Caesar (photo via defendernetwork.com)

article by Bil Carpenter via blackenterprise.com

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of DJ Suede, also known as “the Remix God,” sent him a video clip of traditional gospel music legend Pastor Shirley Caesar’s 2007 remake of her 1988 classic “Hold My Mule.” Suede, an Atlanta-based mixer with an Instagram following of almost 100K,  has said that he’ll remix anything. Since his mom was also a big fan of the 11 time Grammy Award-winning artist, he just remixed the song for fun, posting it online with the tag, “Grandma, what are you cooking for Thanksgiving?”

That intoxicating hip-hop music mashup has now become the viral success story of the season. It was even referenced during this year’s American Music Awards telecast, and pushed “Hold My Mule,” a song recorded long before Billboard started compiling gospel song charts, into the No. 1 spot on this week’s Gospel Streaming Songs chart, thanks to over 800,000 streams within the last week. It’s the song’s first time on any national chart.

In the original song, Caesar tells the story of an 86-year-old man named Shouting John, who joined a church that didn’t believe in dancing and speaking in tongues. John was kicked put out of the church for shouting too loudly during the sermon.

He countered his ouster with a testimony that God had blessed him as a farmer.”Look!” he shouted. “I got beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, lambs, rams, hogs, dogs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits … you name it!” (See the 5:45 mark in the YouTube video above.) That line became the foundation for Suede’s “You Name It! ” remix.

“It was just a song,” Suede told Big Tigger, on Atlanta’s V103 radio station. Then, on November 13, R&B star Chris Brown reposted the song with his signature choreography with the hastag #UNameItChallenge on his Instagram page. It has since racked up over 2.3 million views on Brown’s page, motivating thousands of people to share it and to answer the challenge with their own video dance responses.

Initially, some observers wondered if the 78-year-old Caesar, who was a hardliner in her younger days about the separation of gospel and mainstream music, would object to the viral video. However, she’s in nearly full support of this new incarnation of it. Continue reading

Civil Rights Pioneer Pauli Murray’s Home in NC Slated to Become National Historic Landmark

Civil Rights Pioneer Pauli Murray (Photo via thegrio.com)

Civil Rights Pioneer Pauli Murray (Photo via thegrio.com)

article via jbhe.com

The Pauli Murray Project at the Human Rights Center at Duke University has been working for many years to obtain landmark status for the civil rights activist’s home in Durham, NC. Those efforts have finally reached fruition.

Recently the Landmarks Committee of the National Park Service unanimously voted to recommend that the home at 906 Carroll Street become a National Historic Landmark. The final decision on the matter rests with the Secretary of the Interior and the decision can be made before the change in presidential administrations. The Pauli Murray Project has fully restored the home and it is expected that it will be made into a museum and social justice center.

A native of Baltimore, Pauli Murray was orphaned at age 13. She went to Durham, North Carolina to live with an aunt. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she enrolled in Hunter College in New York City. She was forced to drop out of school at the onset of the Great Depression. In 1938, she mounted an unsuccessful legal effort to gain admission to the all-white University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1940, 15 years earlier than Rosa Parks, Murray was arrested for refusing to sit in the back of a bus in Virginia.

pm-house-side-by-side-smaller

Pauli Murray’s home before and after restoration

Murray enrolled at the Howard University in 1941 and earned her degree in 1944. She later graduated from the Boalt Hall Law School at the University of California at Berkeley. She became a leader of the civil rights movement and was critical of its leadership for not including more women in their ranks. In 1977, Murray, at the age of 66, was ordained a priest of the Episcopal Church. She died in Pittsburgh in 1985 after suffering from cancer.

Donations Pour in for Tyran Bell, 10-Year-Old Boy Who Asked to Mow Lawns to Pay for School Supplies

Tyran Bell (photo via abc13.com)

Tyran Bell (photo via abc13.com)

article by Breanna Edwards via theroot.com

Earlier this month, 10-year-old Tyran Bell, a boy from North Carolina, used his mother’s Facebook page to seek jobs mowing lawns because his mother could not afford to buy his school supplies for the school year.

According to an earlier news report by WECT, Tyran’s mom had missed a lot of work recently because his uncle was hospitalized. Tyran’s request was met with an overwhelming response from local businesses, community members, neighbors and friends. One local business, A1 Security Services LLC, started a donation drive for Tyran, WECT reports.  “He’s 10 years old. And for a 10-year-old to take that initiative and want to help his mom because she was struggling, I just thought that was amazing,” A1 Security Services President Theresa Babb told the news station.

Tyran is now more than covered for his school supplies, but the precocious 10-year-old is passing on his fortune and giving back to the community that helped him out. “I’m gonna put them in bags and go around the community and pass them out to whoever needs school supplies,” he told the news station. Babb is also looking for ways to give away the extra donations from the drive, telling WECT that her company is speaking with social workers to see which local schools need the supplies.

Source: Donations Pour In for 10-Year-Old Boy Who Asked to Mow Lawns to Pay for School Supplies

U.S. Court of Appeals Rejects Strict North Carolina Voting Law Targeting African Americans

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 1.02.04 PM

(Screenshot via nbcnews.com)

article by Zachary Roth via nbcnews.com

A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the heart of a North Carolina voting law seen as the strictest in the nation, finding that Republican lawmakers intentionally discriminated against African-Americans when they passed it.

A divided 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the measure’s provisions “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

The ruling is just the latest court win for voting rights advocates. A different federal appeals court ruled this month that Texas’s voter ID law is racially discriminatory and must be softened. And a district court softened Wisconsin’s ID law, too, though that decision is being appealed.

North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore said of the ruling, “we can only wonder if the intent is to reopen the door for voter fraud, potentially allowing fellow Democrat politicians like Hillary Clinton and Roy Cooper to steal the election. We will obviously be appealing this politically motivated decision to the Supreme Court.”

The voting law imposed a voter ID requirement, cut early voting opportunities, eliminated same-day voter registration and banned out-of-precinct voting, among other provisions.

The court found that by 2013, African-American registration and turnout rates had reached near parity with those of whites. But weeks after the Supreme Court weakened the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, Republicans said they planned to enact an “omnibus” voting law.

The court’s ruling continued: “Before enacting that law, the legislature requested data on the use, by race, of a number of voting practices. Upon receipt of the race data, the General Assembly enacted legislation that restricted voting and registration in five different ways, all of which disproportionately affected African-Americans.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch praised the appeals court’s decision.

“I am pleased that the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has struck down a law that the court described in its ruling as ‘one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history,'” she said. “The ability of Americans to have a voice in the direction of their country — to have a fair and free opportunity to help write the story of this nation – is fundamental to who we are and who we aspire to be.”

To read full article, go to: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/appeals-court-strikes-down-strict-north-carolina-voting-law-n619836

N.B.A. to Move All-Star Game from North Carolina Over Discriminatory Bathroom Law

This year’s N.B.A. All-Star Game in Toronto. The league is set to announce a new site for next year’s game in the next few weeks. (Credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

article by via nytimes.com

The National Basketball Association on Thursday dealt a blow to the economy and prestige of North Carolina by pulling next February’s All-Star Game from Charlotte to protest a state law that eliminated anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The move was among the most prominent consequences since the law, which bars transgender people from using bathrooms in public buildings that do not correspond with their birth gender, was passed in March.

The league, which has become increasingly involved in social issues, said that both it and the Hornets, the N.B.A. team based in Charlotte, had been talking to state officials about changing the law but that time had run out because of the long lead time needed to stage the game. The N.B.A. said it hoped the game could be played in Charlotte in 2019, with the clear inference that the law would have to be changed before then.

“While we recognize that the N.B.A. cannot choose the law in every city, state and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by the current law,” a statement by the league said.

Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina issued a blistering statement soon after the announcement by the N.B.A., in which he said “the sports and entertainment elite,” among others, had “misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present.”

Mr. McCrory did not specifically refer to the N.B.A. in his statement, but he said that “American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”

Others weighed in with support for the N.B.A.’s move, including two of its broadcast partners — Turner Sports and ESPN.

In taking the action it did, the N.B.A. is following the path already taken by others. A number of musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Itzhak Perlman, canceled concerts in North Carolina to protest the law, and there have been calls for repeal of the legislation by a number of businesses, some of which have canceled plans to create new jobs in the state.

All-Star weekend is one of the most dazzling and lucrative events on the league’s annual schedule. In addition to the game, the league arranges three days full of activities for fans. There is a separate game for the league’s rising stars, a dunk contest and a 3-point contest.

Now all of that will be held elsewhere next February, with the N.B.A. to announce a new site for the game in the next few weeks.

To read full article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/sports/basketball/nba-all-star-game-moves-charlotte-transgender-bathroom-law.html

U.S. Justice Department Sues North Carolina over State’s Discriminatory “Bathroom Law”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch  (photo: nytimes.com)

Attorney General Loretta Lynch (photo: nytimes.com)

article by Del Quentin Wilber  via latimes.com

The Justice Department sued North Carolina on Monday to stop what it called discrimination against transgender individuals, raising the stakes in a cultural and legal battle that has ramifications for other states and the 2016 election.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch personally announced the lawsuit, which argues that North Carolina’s so-called bathroom law violates parts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal laws, and that the state is engaging in a “pattern or practice of sex discrimination.”

Lynch stepped in hours after North Carolina’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, had sued the Justice Department to prevent it from blocking implementation of the state law, which requires public agencies to deny transgender people access to multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing rooms consistent with their gender identity.

At a news conference, Lynch linked the dispute to past civil rights struggles over equal access to housing, water fountains and other facilities.  “This action is about a great deal more than just bathrooms,” she said. This is “about the respect we accord our fellow citizens and the laws that we … have enacted to protect them.”

She added, “This is not the first time we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation.”

The federal lawsuit names the state of North Carolina, McCrory, the state’s Department of Public Safety, the University of North Carolina system and its Board of Governors as defendants.

Continue reading

North Carolina Pastor Larry Wright Disarms Gunman During Sermon on Violence

Reverend Larry H. Wright at Heal The Land Outreach Ministries in Fayetteville (photo by Andrew Craft)

Reverend Larry Wright at Heal The Land Outreach Ministries in Fayetteville (photo by Andrew Craft)

A pastor’s swift thinking led to a gunman being disarmed during a New Year’s Eve prayer service at a small eastern North Carolina congregation, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

No one was injured during the shocking event that came about as Larry Wright, pastor of the Heal the Land Outreach Ministries in Fayetteville, North Carolina, was praying with about 60 parishioners as they rang in the New Year and spoke about the senseless deaths affecting our country. Suddenly, a man armed with a rifle walked into his church, writes the news outlet.

The gun was in “one hand and an ammo magazine with shiny rounds in the other,” Wright told CNN.

From CNN:

The glint made the retired Army sergeant first class recognize the weapon was real. Still, he was worried the man had one round in the gun.

“I’m the first person to see him and when I saw him, I thought it was a dummy gun, but then I saw the bullet clip in his hand and the bullets were shining,” he said.

Instead of an altercation, the man asked the church to pray for him. Then a deacon and three others hugged the man, the site reports.  He then apologized to them, saying “he intended to do something terrible that night. But the Lord spoke to him,” writes the news outlet.

Via the Observer:

Wright stepped down quickly from the pulpit when he saw the man, who appeared to be in his late 20s.  The man continued moving toward the front of the church, pointing the rifle into the air.  The two met, near the front of the sanctuary.  “Can I help you?’’ the pastor asked the man.

Wright, who is a 57-year-old retired soldier, said the man’s answer determined his next action.  “If he was belligerent, I was going to tackle him,” said Wright, who is 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds.

But the stranger was calm, and Wright took the weapon from him. He then patted him down, and the pastor summoned four strong deacons to embrace the disarmed man, in an effort to make him feel welcome.

Wright then prayed for the man, who fell to his knees and began crying.

The man was then invited to sit on the front pew, and Wright resumed the Watch Night service. During the altar call at the conclusion, the man came forward and asked for salvation.

Someone had called 911, and before the service had ended, police had arrived. But Wright said he asked the police to remain outside.  “I didn’t want to interrupt the service,” said the two-term councilman, whose church members call him Bishop Wright.

Police Department spokesman Lt. David McLaurin said the incident was noted as a “Call for Service.’’ Notes regarding the call, McLaurin said, indicated the man was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center at his request as a voluntary commitment.

This was truly a holiday miracle. Who could forget what happened over the summer at Emanuel AME in Charleston, South Carolina when a stranger asked to join a prayer group?

Wright said he never got the man’s last name before he was escorted away, but he hopes to contact him again.  “I want to follow up with him and see that he’s getting the help and resources he needs,” Wright said.

article by Andrew Barksdale via fayobserver.com; additions from newsone.com