Former MTV News reporter and radio DJ Sway Callowayhas signed with cable channel VH1 as an on-air personality and producer. Calloway will appear in VH1’s tentpole events, executive produce specials and events and bring new programming ideas to the channel.
As a TV star and host of his own national Sirius XM/Shade 45 radio show “Sway in the Morning,” Calloway has interviewed every global hip hop and pop artist of the last 15 years as well as U.S. senators, governors, President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama – four times. And now, with a recurring role in the hit TV series “Empire,” Sway has become a pop culture icon himself. He continues to host “Sway In The Morning” and connect with fans at SwaysUniverse.com.
John Legend‘s career transcends his success as an artist. Over the past decade, he’s established several philanthropic and social justice organizations where he uses his influence to make a difference in the lives of others.
The “Glory” singer will be presented with the NAACP President’s Award at this year’s NAACP Image Awards.
“His contributions to music and artistic creativity have been recognized by peers and fans worldwide, and he is greatly admired for his humanitarian efforts” said Cornell William Brooks,President and CEO, NAACP.
“Legend remains a true inspiration through his philanthropic work and I am truly proud to honor his altruistic efforts both domestically and internationally by bestowing upon him this year’s NAACP President’s Award” added Brooks.
Previous honorees include Kerry Washington,President Bill Clinton, Soledad O’Brien, Muhammad Ali and most recently, Spike Lee.
In 2007, Legend established “The Show Me Campaign” with the mission of providing students with a quality education as well as end the school-to-prison pipeline. Similarly, he recently launched, #FREEAMERICA, a multi-year culture change campaign focused on ending mass incarceration.
The nine-time Grammy award winner, Golden Globe and Oscar winner also has a successful production company, Get Lifted Film Co. that strives to provide TV and film content that’s inclusive and inspirational.
Legend, 37 and his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, 30, are expecting their first child this summer.
Watch Legend accept the coveted honor when the NAACP Image Awards air live on TV One Friday, February 5th at 9pm.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With prayers, church bells and brass bands, residents across Mississippi and Louisiana will pay homage Saturday to those who died in Hurricane Katrina, thank those who came to rebuild and celebrate how far the region has come from that devastating day.
Ten years ago — on Aug. 29, 2005 — Katrina made landfall in what turned into one of the deadliest storms in American history. The hurricane‘s force and flooding ultimately caused more than 1,800 deaths and roughly $151 billion in damages across the region.
In New Orleans, wide scale failures of the levee system protecting the city left 80 percent of New Orleans under water.
In Mississippi, churches will ring their bells to remember when the storm made landfall. In Biloxi, clergy and community leaders were to gather at MGM Park for a memorial to Katrina’s victims. In the evening, the park will host a concert celebrating the recovery.
Katrina’s force caused a massive storm surge that scoured the Mississippi coast, pushed boats far inland and wiped houses off the map, leaving only concrete front steps to nowhere.
The city has framed the 10th anniversary as a showcase to demonstrate to the world how far New Orleans has come back. In the last week, the city has held lectures, given tours of the levee improvements and released a resiliency plan.
Many parts of this iconic city have rebounded phenomenally but many residents — particularly in the city’s black community — still struggle. Glitzy casinos and condominium towers have been rebuilt, but overgrown lots and empty slabs speak to the slow recovery in some areas.
In New Orleans officials will lay wreaths at the hurricane memorial and at the levee that ruptured in the Lower 9th Ward.
The neighborhood was one of the bastions of black homeownership in America when water burst through floodwalls, pushing houses off foundations and trapping residents on rooftops. The neighborhood still has some of the lowest rates of people who’ve returned after the storm, but it will be having a daylong celebration to mark the progress made.
Former President Bill Clinton will headline a free concert-prayer service-celebration Saturday evening at the city’s Smoothie King Center.
2015 has been a breakout year for Empire star Jussie Smollett.
Before performing at the 2015 BET Awards, Jussie was honored by the Black AIDS Institute during the annual Heroes In The Struggle (H.I.T.S) gala. H.I.T.S pays tribute to Black Americans and the Allies who have contributed in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Previous inductees of the gala include Maxine Waters, Magic Johnson and President Bill Clinton.
According to Euroweb, Smollett was overjoyed when he heard the news about the honor.
“I got the call from Phil Wilson (President and CEO, Black AIDS Institute) who’s been one of my mentors since I was sixteen. He asked if I would be honored by the organization and I said of course. I love what the Black AIDS Institute has done and all of the lives that they’ve changed. I love Phil and to be honored by him is everything.”
Jussie was presented the honor by his sister Jurnee Smollett-Bell and actor/activist Wilson Cruz. Other recipients of the 2015 award include the executive director of Empower U community health center, Vanessa Mills, Gregorio Millett, the Vice-President and Director of public policy for AMFAR and Janssen Therapeutics.
Jussie even spilled the tea about when we can expect his album to drop and what we can expect to hear from season two of Empire.
“It’s going to be fun. For ‘Empire’ season two, I’ve been recording with everybody from obviously Timbaland to Jim Beanz and also Swizz Beatz and Ne-Yo so it’s going to be dope. It’s going to be excellent!”
Deval L. Patrick, who recently concluded two terms as the 71st governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, will be the principal speaker at the Afternoon Exercises of Harvard’s 364th Commencement on May 28.
“Deval Patrick is an extraordinarily distinguished alumnus, a deeply dedicated public servant, and an inspiring embodiment of the American dream,” said Harvard University President Drew Faust. “We greatly look forward to welcoming him home to Harvard on Commencement Day.”
Raised on Chicago’s South Side, Patrick came to Massachusetts at age 14, having won a scholarship to Milton Academy through the Boston-based organization A Better Chance. He earned admission to Harvard College, as the first in his family to attend college, and spent a year in Africa after graduation on a Rockefeller Fellowship before studying for his law degree at Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau.
Early in his career, he served as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles, as a staff attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund working on voting rights and death-penalty cases, and then as a partner at the Boston law firm Hill & Barlow.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton named him assistant attorney general for civil rights, the nation’s top civil rights post. In that role, he led the Justice Department’s efforts in such areas as prosecuting hate crimes and enforcing laws on employment discrimination, fair lending, and rights for the disabled.
Spike Lee will be honored at the NAACP Image Awards this year, where the iconic filmmaker will receive the President’s Award.
NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks calls the Do the Right Thing director a “trailblazer” and a “champion for minorities.”
Brooks continues, “His expansive body of work examining race relations, colorism in the Black community, the role of media in contemporary life, urban crime and poverty, and other political issues reflect the fullness of the humanity of people of color — particularly African-Americans.”
The President’s Award is chosen by the NAACP president and recognizes special achievement and distinguished public service. Past honorees have included PresidentBill Clinton, Muhammad Ali and, most recently, Kerry Washington.
Lee has had an active career, churning out a film per year on average. His latest movie, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, is a romantic horror comedy that follows a scholar who becomes cursed after a run-in with an ancient African artifact. It was partially funded through Kickstarter.
The 46th NAACP Image Awards will be broadcast live on February 6 at 9 p.m. Check your local listings for details.
WASHINGTON (AP) —President Barack Obamais calling back a trusted counterterrorism adviser from his first term by nominating former top Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson as Secretary of Homeland Security. Obama plans to announce Johnson’s nomination Friday. He must be confirmed by the Senate before taking over the post most recently held by Janet Napolitano, who stepped down in August to become president of the University of California system.
As general counsel at the Defense Department during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Johnson oversaw the escalation of the use of unmanned drone strikes, the revamping of military commissions to try terrorism suspects rather than using civilian courts and the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members.
A senior Obama administration official on Thursday confirmed Johnson’s selection, first reported by The Daily Beast. The official was not authorized to speak about the nomination on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said Obama chose Johnson because of his experience as a national security leader. The official noted that Johnson oversaw the work of more than 10,000 lawyers and was responsible for reviewing every military operation approved by the president and defense secretary.
The poet and author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will be this year’s recipient of the Literarian Award, an honorary National Book Award for contributions to the literary community, the National Book Foundation announced today. It is the first major literary prize for the 85-year-old Angelou, who has been celebrated everywhere from the Grammy Awards to the White House. She has received three Grammys for best spoken word album, a National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.
Speaking by telephone with The Associated Press, Angelou said she couldn’t wait to be in the same room as “some very big names in the literary world” and that the Literarian prize made her feel that she was “picking in high cotton.”
“Dr. Angelou’s body of work transcends the words on the page,” the book foundation’s executive director, Harold Augenbraum, said in a statement. “She has been on the front lines of history and the fight for social justice and decade after decade remains a symbol of the redemptive power of literature in the contemporary world.”
PHILADELPHIA — Retired boxing greatMuhammad Ali (pictured) will visit Philadelphia to receive the Liberty Medal, an award recognizing his longtime role as a fighter outside the ring for humanitarian causes, civil rights, and religious freedom.
The honor will be presented on Thursday during a ceremony at the National Constitution Center by the champ’s daughter, who is also a boxer, and two U.S. Olympic athletes. It comes with a $100,000 cash prize.“ Ali embodies the spirit of the Liberty Medal by embracing the ideals of the Constitution – freedom, self-governance, equality and empowerment – and helping to spread them across the globe,” former President Bill Clinton, the center’s chairman, said in a statement. Since hanging up his gloves in 1981, Ali has traveled extensively on international charitable missions and devoted his time to philanthropy and social causes.