Jay Z is tackling race in the Trump era. The rap mogul is currently working on his third docuseries, “Race With Jay Z,” with National Geographic. The project, produced by Hov and The Weinstein Company, will explore systematic injustices such as incarceration and the wealth gap, social media, activism and family, Variety reported. It will look at how race became “the most pressing issue in the nation” following the election.
The six-part docuseries, hosted by Jay Z, will include documentary, animation and archival footage. It will also feature diverse voices from immigrants, first-generation Americans and others.“National Geographic and Jay Z are the world’s foremost storytellers in their own right, and we’re thrilled to be working with them on such an evocative and meaningful project,” Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, told Variety.
“By using highly cinematic storytelling techniques along with Jay Z’s singular point of view, the series will tell a dramatic, thought-provoking story on race in America.” “Race With Jay Z” is the artist’s latest reported docuseries. His first effort following the story of a teen unjustly incarcerated at Rikers Island, “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” premiered in March. It was also recently announced that Jay Z is working on a project about the 2012 shooting and killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
For personal and political reasons, I was really hoping this morning would never come: a morning where I’d see Donald J. Trump elected to lead this nation as its 45th president. It has come, however, and as I posited in my most recent editorial, What I Want to Be Able to Tell My Children About Their Next President, I was at an initial loss for what to say.
But before I said good-bye to my children this morning, I let them know who won the Presidency. My seven year-old daughter Phoebe asked, “So it’s all boys?” I responded, “Yes. That’s how the results came in. But that doesn’t mean we stop fighting for what we believe in and what we think will be helpful for most people. And in four more years, we can go back to our polling place and use our vote to make a change.” My daughter nodded, satisfied. My nine year-old son Xavier took it in, much harder to read, but his silence was more stoic than sad. And then their father took them to school.
Like so many others, I then checked in on social media and witnessed a tide of anger, disbelief, sadness and deeply stirring, galvanized spirit pouring out of family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. Soon after, I turned on the television and watched Hillary Clinton give perhaps the greatest, most moving speechof her life. She was gracious, offering openness and healing while remaining indefatigably determined about her democratic agenda and beliefs:
Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things –- the rule of law, the principle that we’re all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too — and we must defend them.
…Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear: making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top; protecting our country and protecting our planet; and breaking down all the barriers that hold anyone back from achieving their dreams.
We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American Dream is big enough for everyone — for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will.
And then, for me, came two of her most stirring sentences:
Please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it.
Scripture tells us: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
So as of today, I am determined not only to continue to curate and write positive stories about people of color via Good Black News, but also to step it up and be a source for even more. To help provide information, ideas and maybe even forums on ways to be pro-active for justice, fairness and inclusivity on local, state and national levels. It may be loose, unpolished and grass roots-style; it may come in the form of tweets, Facebook live posts, IG snaps and super brief posts here, as our GBN squad is as small and volunteer-based as ever – but we vow to offer what we can, when we can, in whatever way we can.
It is my renewed and expanded mission to keep heart, love, be kind, be outspoken, work with whomever has good intentions, and to use any anger and rage as fuel for positive change. And most of all, to work day-by-day, moment-by-moment, step-by-step to deliver on promises for a better, more decent and humane future for our children, ourselves and our country.
“No worry yourself”, “Bigz boyz”, “E make brain”, “Any better?” These are common slangs in West Africa, particularly used by Nigerians. Slangs keep conversations fun, easy and real, one of the major reasons behind the creation of Afro Emoji. “We, as Africans, definitely have a distinctive way of communicating with one another and Afro Emoji is a fun, graphic depiction of that,” say the creators.
Afro Emojis are African-themed stickers or “modern African hieroglyph” as described by the creators, a Washington D.C based company, iManagement Consulting. This unique range of emojis was launched a day ago on google play and iOS and is available for free download. What’s more? They are customizable and can be used on any social media platform, Blackberry Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Google hangout and Skype.
With the increased conversation around inclusivity and diversity, coupled with the fact that emojis have become a standard part of social conversations especially among younger mobile consumers, major brands and social media platforms like Apple and WhatsApp have made efforts to introduce emojis with a variation of skin tones.
“Diversity is not about skin color. It’s about embracing the multiple cultures out there that have no digital representation,” – Alpesh Patel
Although these are steps in the right direction, the mere introduction of different skin tones won’t do, as people are more drawn towards characters that are relatable. In this case, iManagement Consulting is making the necessary efforts to bridge this cultural gap in digital representation by introducing characters that represent Africans, with the hope that they will become “part of Africa’s conversation currency.”
Afro Emojis are not about the characters alone, but also the language. The traditionally decked characters come with common captions including “Abeg no vex’, “My Oga at the top”, and “See Linda tinz.” Afro Emoji launched on Google Play Store and the App Store with 50 free characters, and in-app sticker purchases at $1.99 for over 300 stickers.
According to Variety.com, primetime television has never seen a ratings growth story like Fox’s smash hit drama “Empire,” which continued to defy the odds on Wednesday night by drawing a series-high audience for a sixth consecutive week.
In its 7th week of airing, “Empire” moved above the 13-million mark in total viewers for the first time (13.02 million). As a result, it gained week to week by a big 8% in the 18-49 demographic and 9% in total viewers; and vs. its premiere on Jan. 7, it’s up 37% in 18-49 and 32% in total viewers.
Since debuting with 9.9 million viewers on Jan. 7, “Empire” has grown with each week in total viewers: 10.32 million, 11.07 million, 11.35 million, 11.47 million, 11.96 million and now roughly 12.9 million. In 18-49, it has set highs with five of its six episodes following its premiere, which did a 3.8 rating/11 share: 4.0/12, 4.4/13, 4.3/13, 4.6/14, 4.8/15 and now 5.2/15.
Compared to its premiere, last night’s “Empire” was up 34% in adults 18-49, 55% in adults 18-34 and 30% in total viewers.
Additionally, in social media tracking, last night’s “Empire” episode generated a whopping 615,461 tweets on Twitter during its on-air broadcast. (By comparison, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” drew 243,986 on Sunday.
Rhonda A. Lee (pictured), the woman who was fired from her meteorologist job in Shreveport, La. after defending her natural hair on the station’s Facebook page, has just accepted a job with a national weather channel in Colorado.
Lee announced on her Twitter and Facebook pages that she has accepted a meteorology position with WeatherNation in Denver. “By all accounts, it is my dream job and I am thrilled to be a part of the WeatherNation family,” she said Thursday night on Facebook. Lee told NewsOne that she accepted the position a week ago but wanted to fine tune some particulars before making an announcement.
The offer came soon after the veteran weather woman had lost hope of ever working in television again.
“A month ago, I told my husband that I’m pretty sure I would never work in weather again,” she said. “I had completely lost faith, but in a matter of a week or so, all of a sudden, three people showed interest in me. It was an awakening is what it was. I really had given up.”
Lee had several offers in other markets, including a chief meteorologist position, but went with WeatherNation because it’s a national network that reaches millions of homes. Lee doesn’t know when she will be on-air, but says she will be on Channel 361 on DIRECTV. She, her husband, and their 10-month-old son will be moving to Denver in a few weeks.
More than a year and a half has past since Lee was fired from KTBS 3 News, an ABC affiliate in Shreveport, after she responded to users on Facebook who complained about her natural hairstyle. The station said Lee was fired for violating its social media policy. She has filed an EEOC complaint against the station and is in mediation to resolve her dismissal. Lee said she has no regrets about defending her natural hair and says her dispute with the Shreveport station hasn’t been an issue with her new employer.
Ever sent out a text you wish you could delete before OR after it’s read? Need to keep details of your business ultra-confidential? Want to make phone calls or send emails completely off the record? Entrepreneur Dez White has created a suite of applications – Invisible Text, Invisible Social, Invisible Call, and Invisible Email – that accomplish all of the above, and then some.
White, a married mother of two, came up with the idea for Invisible apps initially to address a pressing work need. “I was a journalist and I had to come up with a way to be able to receive clear and exact messages from my sources where they wouldn’t have to give up their email address or give me something tangible that could tie them to giving me the message forever,” White said in a recent interview with GBN.
Dez started mentioning her ideas to friends and one introduced her to an app developer who helped educate her on the business.
“From there I basically taught myself what I needed to know and me and him formed a partnership,” White offered. “He would do the code and show me what the code meant and I was very involved in the nuts and bolts.”
White initially focused on developing the Invisible Text app, but then expanded into developing apps for calling, emailing and social media when she realized how pervasive the need for privacy options had become on every communication format.
The apps do not infringe on any social media host’s trademarks or phone or messaging services, White added, because users directly invite their friends from social sites or their contacts to use the Invisible platform outside of Facebook, Twitter, etc.
With Invisible Call, for example, “We access your phone book. People have to know it’s important that you have to give us the right to access your phone book. Once you do, you can invite the person to download Invisible Call,” White explained. “The person can download it, and then from there you pair your devices and you can sync with them and talk with them as many times as you want to.”
No records of the conversations exist anywhere because, according to White, they bounce right off the server. The only information Invisible’s server will retain is your contact information, but never how often calls are placed or to whom they are made.
Even if the government requested that Invisible supply text, phone or email records, White says she couldn’t do it because, “I wouldn’t have anything to turn over.”
Invisible Text hit 67,000 users last Monday, and White anticipates it will hit over 70,000 next week. “Business professionals really love it, I know that celebrities really love it – they were our first user base,” White said. “Right now we’re cracking into the teen market. My pride and joy is knowing that people are using it and are loving it and their privacy is not in question.”
White also believes it’s important for African-Americans, particularly females, to consider using this technology to protect themselves.
“I don’t think we really look into how much of our privacy is at stake. We don’t really look into how we’re using social media, how it can affect us in the workplace, how it can affect us in regards to potential suitors,” White offered. “It’s important for us when we’re gauging our reputation and forging our careers. And I think we need to really get into our young African-American girls’ heads that privacy is important. Social media is not a playground and we need to just be more private [about what} we put out into the world and the universe.”
The Invisible apps are all currently free for iOS via iTunesand for Android via Google Play, or you can find more information and download directly through goinvis.com.
When N.Y.C. pastor Jordan Rice (pictured right) and marketing specialist Jessica Moreland (pictured left) married each other on June 22nd, they probably never guessed their union would spring forth from tragedy. But it was grave misfortune that brought them together. Moreland’s previous husband, Jarronn, was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2009, a mere two-and-a-half months after their wedding. “His injuries were so serious that the blood had drained out of his body,” said Jessica. “There was too much strain on his heart.”
Eventually, she began dating, unsuccessfully, for the next three years. Jordan’s previous wife, Danielle, fell ill shortly after their wedding; doctors found she had primary cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare heart cancer. An X-ray found that she had fluid around her heart that appeared to be a virus. Danielle died in 2011, barely two years after their marriage and 10 months after the horrifying diagnosis. “She started really getting worse very quickly,” said Jordan. “Within four days, she couldn’t walk anymore. Her resting heart rate was around 140 beats a minute — lying down.”
“I was miserable,” Jordan said. “I felt out of place … a 27-year-old doesn’t die of cancer. It was very unfair and challenging on every front.” Eventually, Jordan began dating again, with no results. In 2012, one of Jordan’s friends sent him a link to Jessica’s blog, One Day At A Time, where she’d posted pictures from her previous wedding and shared its tragic ending. Jordan also happened to be a blogger, and Jessica describing her former spouse reminded him of their shared experience.
“I loved how candid she was,” he told ABC News. ”She described the raw emotion that I had felt on so many occasions. … I respected her for honoring his life. How much she adored him was something very powerful to me.”
Jordan decided to “friend” Jessica through Facebook, taking special care to not appear stalkerish. ”That’s not my MO,” he said. Jessica initially ignored his request, until she noticed they had mutual friends from Morgan State, Jordan’s alma matter. ”I smiled, but I never responded,” she said.
A few days later, however, she had lunch with a couple who knew Jordan and vouched for him as a good guy. She decided to look up his blog and offered him consolation, knowing what he was going through. “I was a little further along the path — I was three years out and he was only at a year and a half — and I told him you never get over it, but you learn to live with it,” said Jessica. The two began trading text messages and eventually developed a bond. Jordan decided to visit Jessica in Washington, D.C. Their departed spouses became an emotional talking point.
Model poses for online shop African Lookbook (Image: African Lookbook)
A look book has the power to turn a fashion blogger into a spokesperson and an independent designer into a household name. But for entrepreneurs Aaron Kohn and Phil Sandick, starting African Lookbookin 2011 was just another way to share stories. “I was living in Botswana for a couple of years, and then it really hit me how powerful oral history is in bringing together underrepresented, or underreported, groups,” says Sandick, a law student at Northwestern University.
The online platform features exclusive interviews with leading African designers and creative entrepreneurs. The stories shared are a reflection of new and old design traditions, serving as a way to connect artistic narratives with leading universities and research institutions. But documenting oral histories is just one part of the site’s overall goal to expand the reach of African-made design products worldwide.
With African Lookbook, users are able to easily browse through a selection of carefully curated items such as a vintage crochet bag ora Merino wool sweater(often spotted on the streets of Johannesburg). BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the entrepreneurial duo to discuss the importance of African art, how they balance school with their venture, and how teamwork makes the dream work.
NEW YORK (AP) — Two of the most powerful women in media — Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington — have joined forces. The two on Thursday launched “HuffPost OWN,” a new section on the Huffington Post website that will feature material from the Oprah Winfrey Network and Oprah.com. The new online destination will focus on lifestyle advice and personal inspiration. Winfrey said she was “delighted to join the conversation” at the Huffington Post. In a blog post, Huffington said Winfrey is “made for the Internet,” given her qualities of engagement and authenticity. There are now nearly six dozen niche sections on the Huffington Post.