Happy 67th Birthday, Stevie Wonder! Here’s 15 Stories About The Music Legend Worth Reading 

Stevie Wonder (photo via okayplayer.com)

by Kevito via okayplayer.com

What can be said that hasn’t already been shared about Stevland Hardaway Morris? Better known around six galaxies as Stevie Wonder, the man, former child prodigy and one of the most successful musicians of the late 20th century turns 67-years-old today (May 13). For those not old enough to know the story of the “Lil’ Stevie Wonder,” here it goes: Signed to Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11, he performed, wrote, sung and produced records for them all the way into the 2010s.

With iconic singles such as “Sir Duke,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Isn’t She Lovely,” “Superstition,” and albums such as Talking BookInnervisions and Songs in the Key of Life — Stevie has more than 30 U.S. top ten hits, won 25 Grammy Awards, helped to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s birthday into a national holiday. He is an official “Messenger of Peace” for the United Nations and one of the all-time top artists for the Billboard Hot 100.

To us, he is simply a man who has been in touch with the divine spirit of the Creator, and has illuminated our worlds with his songs and legacy. From playing on street corners with his friend back in the days to throwing down at President Barack Obama‘s last White House party — Stevie Wonder’s impact on pop culture, politics, activism and music are the stuff of legends. For that, we celebrate his life and continuing revolution around the sun by championing these 15 stories that you should read to get more familiar with the architect behind so many classic jams.

Brayton Bowman Puts A Valentine’s Day Twist On This Stevie Wonder Classic [Premiere]

Stevie Wonder Talks God, Race + A Nickname From The Temptations On PBS’ ‘Blank On Blank’

Charlie Murphy Claims Stevie Wonder Was A Boxer In A New ‘True Hollywood Story’

“I Encourage You To Choose Love Over Hate” – Stevie Wonder Pleads For #BlackLiveMatter In London

Stevie Wonder: “Prince’s music was so picturesque that even I could see it.”

Watch Outtakes From Stevie Wonder’s Karaoke Session w/ James Corden

Snoop Dogg Tells The Tale Of Collaborating With Stevie Wonder On New LP ‘Bush’

Watch An Animated Peanut Butter Wolf Introduce Stevie Wonder To Madlib

Stevie Wonder Takes Us Behind The Creation Of “Love’s In Need Of Love Today”

Stevie Wonder Lists The Top Ten Advantages Of Being Blind On The Late Show With David Letterman

Throwback Thursday: When Bob Marley Met Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder & Michael Jackson

MLK Day Was 20 Years In The Making And Stevie Wonder Was There Every Step Of The Way

Stevie Wonder Weighs In On Ferguson & Eric Garner’s Death Mid-Show In Seattle

Unreleased Stevie Wonder Track “So Much In Love” Surfaces

Stevie Wonder Boycotts Florida Following Zimmerman Verdict

Source: Happy Birthday, Stevie Wonder: Here’s 15 Stories About The Music Icon You Should Read Okayplayer

White House Correspondent April Ryan Named NABJ Journalist of the Year

April Ryan (photo via huffpost.com)

by Lilly Workneh via huffpost.com

Journalist April Ryan’s impressive body of work and cutting analysis has landed her a top honor in her field. The National Association of Black Journalists announced Tuesday that Ryan has been named the organization’s 2017 Journalist of the Year, an annual award given to a black journalist with a distinguished resume including in-depth work that is of importance to people of the African diaspora.

Ryan, who has been a White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks since 1997, is the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House, NABJ reported. With over 30 years of experience, Ryan has helped to provide media coverage of the nation’s last three presidents and also just recently signed with CNN as a political analyst.

“April Ryan is a true trailblazer and truth seeker. She’s dogged and unapologetic about her pursuit of the story,” NABJ President Sarah Glover said in a statement on Tuesday. “In the White House press corps circle, where too few black women have been given an opportunity to report, April has excelled and persevered in spite of the many obstacles she has confronted. Her work has risen to the top.”

Ryan has been heavily praised in past months for the professionalism she has shown during press briefings with White House press secretary Sean Spicer as well as news conferences with President Donald Trump. One encounter she had with Spicer in April sparked widespread criticism after he told Ryan to stop shaking her head as he spoke. The hashtag #BlackWomenAtWork immediately went viral as women of color everywhere shared similar experiences of disrespect in the workplace.

“We all have a job to do and some of the stories we are doing wouldn’t be told if it weren’t for us,” Ryan said of her responsibility as a journalist in a statement Tuesday. “We all need to keep pressing because the First Amendment is under attack.”

To read full article, go to: April Ryan Named NABJ Journalist Of The Year, Honored As A ‘True Trailblazer’ | HuffPost

Farewell FLOTUS: Watch Michelle Obama’s Final White House Speech (VIDEO)

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Michelle Obama (photo via npr.org)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

According to cnn.com, First Lady Michelle Obama gave her final White House remarks in an emotional speech today, thanking her supporters and saying, “being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life and I hope I’ve made you proud.”

She included these powerful, encouraging thoughts in her last words to the public as FLOTUS:

I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong,” Obama said, her voice breaking several times near the end of her remarks. “So don’t be afraid. You hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of you boundless promise. Lead by example with hope; never fear.

Watch her moving speech about education in its entirety below:

Trevor Noah to Interview President Barack Obama on “Daily Show” Dec. 12

Trevor Noah (l); President Barack Obama (r) [photo via vibe.com]

article by J’na Jefferson via vibe.com

“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah will sit-down with President Barack Obama, and their “in-depth” discussion will air on Monday, Dec. 12 on multiple channels such as Comedy Central, MTV and BET.

The interview, which will take place in the White House, will not be the President’s first time on the Comedy Central show. He was interviewed by former host Jon Stewart on the program seven times. He’s also no stranger to the late-night circuit, as he’s appeared on “The Tonight Show” with both Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon, “The Colbert Report,” “The Late Show With David Letterman” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Noah has interviewed former President Bill Clinton and the former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, John Podesta. This will be the first time Noah has interviewed President Obama.

To read more, go to: Trevor Noah To Interview President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama Shortens Prison Sentences for 61 Drug Offenders

Obama Prison Drug Offenders

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House on March 30, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

article by Josh Lederman, AP via thegrio.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday commuted the prison sentences of 61 drug offenders, including more than a third serving life sentences, giving new energy to calls for overhauling the U.S. criminal justice system.

All of the inmates are serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or related crimes. Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few were also charged with firearms violations. Obama’s commutation shortens their sentences, with most of the inmates set to be released on July 28.

Obama has long called for getting rid of strict sentences for drug offenses that critics say lead to excessive punishment and sky-high incarceration rates. With Obama’s support, the Justice Department in recent years has directed prosecutors to rein in the use of harsh mandatory minimums and expanded the criteria for inmates applying for clemency.

Though there’s wide bipartisan support in Congress for overhauling the criminal justice system, momentum has slowed as the chaotic presidential campaign has made cooperation between Republicans and Democrats increasingly difficult.

Obama, in a letter to the inmates, said the presidential power to grant commutations and pardons “embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws.”

Obama met for lunch Wednesday with people whose sentences were previously commuted to hear about the challenges of re-entering society.

The latest commutations bring to 248 the total number of inmates whose sentences Obama has commuted, more than the past six presidents combined, the White House said. The pace of commutations and the rarer use of pardons are expected to increase as the end of Obama’s presidency nears.

To read more, go to: http://thegrio.com/2016/03/30/obama-prison-sentences-drug-offenders-clemency/

Little Girl Crying Over Obama’s Last Days in Office Gets to Meet the President

President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama with Kameria and her family (photo via FACEBOOK)

article by Yesha Callahan via theroot.com

Seven-year-old Kameria had an Easter she’ll never forget.

Imagine being a kid and a fan of President Barack Obama. Then you find out Obama’s term is ending later this year, all while your grandmother is filming you crying with her cellphone. Of course, that’s what viral videos are made of; but in the end, it was all worth it for 7-year-old Kameria. First-grader Kameria got the opportunity to meet the first family at this week’s Easter Egg Roll at the White House, and you can bet she’ll never forget that moment.

Source: Little Girl Crying Over President Obama’s Last Days in Office Met the President – The Root

President Obama to Meet With Leaders of the Black Lives Matter Movement At The White House

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President Barack Obama (Source: SAUL LOEB / Getty)

article by Zon D’Amour via hellobeautiful.com

The Obamas are adding to their epic legacy by powerfully celebrating Black History Month. First, Michelle Obama held African dance classes at The White House and now President Obama is set to meet with leaders of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The President and The First Lady will host a Black History Month reception with two generations of activists as leaders from the Civil Rights Movement will also be present.

In this space, there will be an open dialogue, “…to discuss a range of issues including the Administration’s efforts on criminal justice reform, building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve and the president’s priorities during his final year in office” according to an email from a senior administration official obtained by Buzzfeed.

Here is a list of the attendees, per the White House:

• Aislinn Pulley, Co-Founder and Lead Organizer with Black Lives Matter Chicago

• Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network

• Ben Crump, President of the National Bar Association

• Brittany Packnett, Member of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Co-Founder of We The Protestors and Campaign Zero

• C.T. Vivian, Civil Rights Leader and Author

• Carlos Clanton, President of the National Urban League Young Professionals

• Cornell Brooks, President of the NAACP

• Deray Mckesson, Co-Founder of We the Protestors and Campaign Zero

• Deshaunya Ware, Student Leader of Concerned Student 1950 at University of Missouri

• John Lewis, United States Representative (D-GA)

• Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League

• Mary Patricia Hector, National Youth Director of the National Action Network

• Melanie Campbell, President of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

• Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change

• Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

• Stephen Green, National Director of the NAACP Youth and College Division

• Wade Henderson, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

To read more, go to: http://hellobeautiful.com/2016/02/18/president-obama-black-lives-matter-black-history-month/