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    maya rudolph rachel dolezal impression

    The Rachel Dolezal jokes have been coming fast and furious. And now comedienne Maya Rudolph is adding to the mix her impression of the former NAACP leader who deceived her colleagues and peers into thinking she was a Black woman.

    On Late Night with Seth Meyers, Rudolph admitted that since the story broke, she’s been getting daily requests to ‘be’ Dolezal from friends and fans who remember the impressions she nailed as a Saturday Night Live cast member from 200-2007.

    So to give the people what they want, Rudolph donned a curly wig and went Dolezal-style clueless, with some egging on by host Seth Meyers.  Watch Maya Rudolph’s Rachel Dolezal impression below.

     


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    UPTOWN_rick_ross

    Rick Ross has been arrested for the second time this month, and this time the charges are far more serious than cannabis possession.

    The U.S. Marshals Service arrested Ross Wednesday morning in Fayette County, GA for an incident that happened about two weeks ago. Marshals say Ross had a confrontation with a man who was doing work at his mansion (which was previously owned by boxing legend Evander Holyfield). Law enforcement alleges that Ross pistol-whipped the man and prevented him from leaving the house.

    As a result, police charged Ross with kidnapping, aggravated assault, and aggravated battery. The rapper and his bodyguard were picked up and arrested without incident at Ross’ primary residence.

    The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department contacted the Marshals to assist in the arrest because it was high-profile and/or dangerous. After a couple of days of investigation, the Marshals decided Wednesday would be the safest opportunity to bring in the two men.

    Source


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    In the words of Lucious: It’s game time bitches! Production is officially underway on #Empire season 2!

    A photo posted by Empire (@empirefox) on

    Lee Daniels and the Empire cast and guest stars are hard at work filming season two of the hit FOX show. And thanks to social media, we’ve learned a little bit about the role one guest will take on.

    Daniels shared on Instagram a few photos from day one of filming. The images show Chris Rock and Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) behind bars and playing chess.

    1st day incredible #empireseason2 #chrisrock #terrencehoward #FOX #thankful 🙏🏾

    A video posted by Lee Daniels (@theoriginalbigdaddy) on

    Rock isn’t the only Hollywood heavyweight expected to step on the Empire set for season two. Alicia Keys‘ and Lenny Kravitz‘s roles have been confirmed. There’s also rumor of Daniels tapping Oprah Winfrey and Diana Ross also.


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    Freddie-Gray-hospital

    The Maryland medical examiner’s office has ruled the death of Freddie Gray a homicide, as a result of injuries to his neck and spine sustained while in police custody during a wild ride to the police precinct.  Specifically, a copy of the autopsy report obtained by The Baltimore Sun indicates Gray experienced a “high-energy injury,” caused when the van suddenly slowed down and Gray was unable to avoid being thrown about since he wasn’t belted in and was being restrained by arm and ankle shackles.

    The van transporting Gray made six stops between the time he was picked up and the time it arrived at the police precinct. The examiner believes that Gray, who was loaded into the van head first on his stomach, was able to get to his feet. Between the second and fourth stops made by the vehicle, it’s thought that Gray fell and and sustained significant injury to the lower left part of his head.

    Up until the second stop, Gray was both verbally and physically active.  However, by the fourth stop, the autopsy report says officers found Gray “lying belly down on the floor with his head facing the cabin compartment, and reportedly he was asking for help, saying he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t get up, and needed a medic. The officer assisted Mr. Gray to the bench and the van continued on its way.”

    At the fifth stop, “Mr. Gray was found kneeling on the floor, facing the front of the van and slumped over to his right against the bench, and reportedly appeared lethargic with minimal responses to direct questions,” the report states.  Gray was arrested on April 12 and died a week later from his injuries – which sparked nationwide protests on the heels of growing unrest about police brutality.

    Gray’s death wasn’t ruled an accident because the officers involved in transporting the young man failed to follow safety procedures.  In his report, Assistant Medical Examiner Carol H. Allan wrote: “not an unforeseen event that a vulnerable individual was injured during operation of the vehicle, and that without prompt medical attention, the injury would prove fatal.”  Gray’s injuries were compared to  injuries that occur during shallow-water diving accidents.

    State Attorney Marilyn Mosby has tried to keep case evidence private and had strong words for whomever leaked the autopsy report. “I strongly condemn anyone with access to trial evidence who has leaked information prior to the resolution of this case,” Mosby said in a statement.

    The officers’ defense team hasn’t received the Freddie Gray autopsy yet, which is due to be handed over to them by Friday. The six officers being charged – Ceasar Goodson Jr., Alicia D. White, William F. Porter, Brian W. Rice, Edward M. Nero, and Garrett E. Miller –  will go to trial in October.

     

    Colby C.


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    Bobbi Kristina Brown

    After months with no positive progress, the family of Bobbi Kristina Brown has opted to remove her from life support.  Now that she’s in hospice care, she is also being taken off all medications so that she can die naturally.

    Her father, Bobby Brown, vehemently declared in the past he would never take her off life support.  However, according to TMZ, the family met with Chicago brain specialists last week who confirmed there was no hope for Bobbi Kristina’s recovery, a development which changed his mind.

    Bobby Brown and Pat Houston, Bobbi Kristina’s aunt, have joint guardianship over the incapacitated 22 year old.  The Houston family released a statement today about her condition.

    “Despite the great medical care at numerous facilities, Bobbi Kristina Brown’s condition has continued to deteriorate,” the statement read. “As of today, she has been moved into hospice care.”

    “We thank everyone for their support and prayers. She is in God’s hands now,” the statement concludes.

    Bobbi Kristina has been in a medically induced coma since February, after she was found unconscious and unresponsive in a bathtub at her Georgia home.  Her mother, legendary singer Whitney Houston, died in a similarly tragic manner in 2012.  Houston’s lifeless body was found in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton in Room 434.  The cause of death was accidental drowning and the autopsy report found cocaine and prescription drugs in her system.

    Colby C.

     


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    UPTOWN_nick_gordon_bobbi_kristina_brown

    Bobbi Kristina Brown‘s court-appointed conservator is suing her boyfriend Nick Gordon on behalf of Brown, claiming he abused her on multiple occasions and stole from her while she was in a coma.

    Bedelia Hargrove, the conservator, claims in the lawsuit that Brown was going to meet a friend to discuss how Gordon wasn’t the man for her, around the same time she was found face down and unresponsive in a bathtub on January 31st at her home in Atlanta.

    The suit states:

    “Just prior to January 31, 2015, Brown had confided to someone that [Gordon] was not the man she thought he was and set up a time on January 31, 2015 to meet with this person to further discuss this revelation.

    “Brown, however, never made it to the meeting. Instead, on the morning of January 31, 2015, Brown became embroiled in a loud argument with [Gordon] at her townhome.

    “The loud argument ended and Brown was later found unresponsive and unconscious, face down in a bathtub, with her mouth swollen and another tooth knocked out.”

    The lawsuit also alleges that Gordon physically abused Brown multiple times, “punching her in the face, knocking out a front tooth, and dragging her upstairs by the hair.”

    The lawsuit also alleges that Gordon accessed Brown’s bank accounts while she was in a coma and stole in excess of $11,000.

    Gordon is also accused of falsely representing himself as Brown’s husband in order to gain access to her accounts and trust.

    The lawsuit is seeking at least $10 million in punitive damages for these assaults.

    But, wait, Gordon allegedly did even more wrong to Brown …

    UPTOWN_nick_gordon

    There are also claims of battery in the lawsuit. Gordon allegedly “engaged in and caused unwanted, harmful and offensive bodily contact to Brown.” More specifically, the suit claims Gordon inflicted injuries on Brown that caused “loss of teeth, pain and suffering, and trauma that has required medical treatment as a direct consequence of [Gordon’s] physical abuse.”

    On the claim of battery, Hargrove, on behalf of Brown, is seeking $10 million in punitive damages from Gordon.

    The suit also accuses Gordon of inflicting emotional distress on Brown, claiming he “committed domestic abuse against Brown without provocation and/or justification, which resulted in substantial bodily injury” and caused “visible life altering bodily harm” on Brown, which caused her to suffer “severe emotional distress.”

    The lawsuit is seeking $10 million from Gordon for allegedly causing Brown emotional distress.

    Now on to the claims Gordon allegedly stole from Brown while she was in a coma.

    “While Brown was in a medically-induced coma, [Gordon] intentionally and without consent or authorization transferred money from brown’s bank account(s) to his own bank account,” according to the lawsuit.

    Although Brown is unable to ask for the return of her assets given her medical state, the lawsuit says Gordon having them is “an exercise of wrongful dominion or control … and is detrimental to Brown’s rights as the owner.”

    For the damages Brown has suffered as a result of the alleged theft, the lawsuit requests a minimum of $10 million in punitive damages.

    This makes the total amount of Gordon’s possible restitution $40 million — an amount the unemployed man who just completed a stint in rehab definitely doesn’t have.

    The lawsuit asks that the matter be tried by a jury.

    RELATED: Bobbi Kristina Brown Moved to Hospice, “In God’s Hands Now”

    Source


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    UPTOWN_briar_creek_road_baptist_church_main

    An arsonist set a Black church in North Carolina on fire Wednesday morning, and cops are investigating the blaze as a possible hate crime.

    It took 75 firefighters an hour to get the fire at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church, in East Charlotte, under control.

    “When I got here I was even amazed to see that the flames were so high,” said Pastor Mannix Kinsey to WBTV. “I am thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, this church is going to be destroyed.’”

    Kinsey was correct. The church building was mostly destroyed and the damages are estimated at $250,000.

    Officials don’t think anyone was in the church while it was burning, but two firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries.

    [Image: Davie Hinshaw/AP]

    UPTOWN_briar_creek_road_baptist_church

    The church was founded in 1951 and was predominantly white decades ago.

    Police don’t have any suspects for the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church fire, but are investigating it as a possible hate crime, following the fatal shooting at a historically Black church in Charleston, SC a week ago.

    If it is a hate crime, Kinsey is already ready to forgive. “Honestly I can speak for this church that we’ve already forgiven them and we want to move forward,” Kinsey told WBTV. “And we are hoping this is an opportunity for Christ to show himself in their hearts.”

    Source

    [Image: Davie Hinshaw/AP]


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    President Barack Obama scolds heckler

    During his tenure, President Barack Obama has gotten used to hecklers testing him.  While he usually ignores their rude interruptions, he went a different route yesterday while giving a speech for LGBT Pride Month at the White House.  This heckler, transgender Mexican immigrant Jennicet Gutiérrez, will think twice about ever harassing him again.

    Jennicet Gutiérrez

    Gutiérrez kept taunting President Obama as he spoke, in protest of deportation of LGBT immigrants.  Obama first shook his head and wagged his finger, saying “No, no, no, no, no. Look, you’re in my house,” to which the audience erupted in cheers.

    The heckler wouldn’t let up and kept interrupting. The President continued, “It’s not respectful.” As the harassment escalated, President Obama – fed up – finally just had her put out of the East Room.

    “As a general rule I am just fine with a few hecklers. But not when I’m up here in the house,” he  later said, noting proper decorum when someone is invited to the White House and freely partakes of the appetizers and drinks, s/he should have the decency to listen respectfully.

     Image: Getty

    Colby C.


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    Finding-your-Roots-350x260

    Because of the decision to omit Ben Affleck‘s slave owning history from his episode of Finding Your Roots, production on the genealogical investigation series has been paused indefinitely. PBS determined that series co-producers violated company standards by “failing to shield the creative and editorial process from improper influence.”

    The question of whether or not to leave out that part of Affleck’s history was brought to light in April, as part of a leaked email between show host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Sony USA chief Michael Lynton.  Part of the note read:

    “One of our guests has asked us to edit out something about one of his ancestors–the fact that he owned slaves. Now, four or five of our guests this season descend from slave owners, including Ken Burns. We’ve never had anyone ever try to censor or edit what we found. He’s a megastar. What do we do?”

    TV-Finding Your Roots_ChamAffleck640

    Lynton’s affirmative response indicated it was fine to edit out the information, though it would violate PBS rules: “I would take it out if no one knows, but if it gets out that you are editing the material based on this kind of sensitivity then it gets tricky.”

    Because of the controversy, Affleck’s episode of Finding Your Roots has been removed from PBS online archives and will no longer be distributed in any form.

    Production on a fourth season of the series has been suspended until PBS is “satisfied that the editorial standards of the series have been successfully raised to a level in which we can have confidence.”

    Colby C.


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    UPTOWN_bill_owens

    Rev. Bill Owens, president and founder of The Coalition of African-American Pastors

    As the Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision on whether states can ban same-sex marriage, a group of conservative Black pastors is promising to raise a civil disobedience uprising in response to a ruling that could lead to marriage equality nationwide.

    “If they rule for same-sex marriage, then we’re going to do the same thing we did for the civil rights movement,” said the Rev. Bill Owens, president and founder of The Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), at a press conference. “We will not obey an unjust law.”

    CAAP and other Christian ministers announced at a press conference their plans to engage in civil disobedience across the nation, according to the Christian Post.

    CAAP has been an opponent of same-sex marriage for years, even going as far as rebuking President Barack Obama and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for their stance on the issue. “The man holding the most powerful position in the world is stooping to lead the country down an immoral path,” Owens told U.S. News & World Report.

    The pastor group even promoted impeaching Holder and chastised the NAACP for being in favor of same-sex marriage.

    CAAP has plans to stand in solidarity with their white counterparts in protest of same-sex marriage, if necessary. “If they want to fill jails with pastors across the nation, of every color, denomination and every size who will stand for the laws of God and His truths,” said Rev. David Welch, president of the Pastor’s Council in Houston, Texas, who is white.

    Source

    [Homepage image: Shutterstock]

    [Main image: Facebook/Bill Owens]


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    UPTOWN_lgbt_flag

    Today marks a major win for the marriage equality movement. The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry.

    The 5-4 ruling in Obergefell vs. Hodge declares that the 14th Amendment requires states to perform same-sex marriages and recognize those marriages performed in other states.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.”

    The ruling continues:

    “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

    Now, the 14 remaining states where same-sex marriage was illegal are required to extend marriage rights to gay couples. The ruling also upholds the lower court rulings in 20 states where federal judges struck down bans on same-sex marriage.

    RELATED: Black Pastors Promise Uprising If SCOTUS Approves Same-Sex Marriage

    Source

    [Image: Nata Sha/Shutterstock]


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    UPTOWN_fresh_dressed_poster

    Hip Hop is more than just music and rapping. It’s a culture whose fashion is reflective of the Black experience in America. Through the documentary FRESH DRESSED, director Sacha Jenkins explores how Hip Hop fashion made it from the gritty streets of the South Bronx to Paris Fashion Week, all while the wearers were using fresh clothing to convey their identity and their worth.

    The film draws from a mix of archival footage and candid interviews with Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Nas, Pusha T, Swizz Beatz, Damon Dash, André Leon Talley, A$AP Rocky, Marc Ecko, Dapper Dan, Big Daddy Kane, Riccardo Tisci, and many more.

    UPTOWN sat down with Jenkins to discuss the purpose of Hip Hop fashion, the evolution of urban fashion, and the motive behind the film that was released on in theaters and on OnDemand today.

    UPTOWN_sacha_jenkins

    FRESH DRESSED director Sacha Jenkins

    UPTOWN: What was the driving force behind the film? Why is this moment in time significant?
    Sacha Jenkins: It takes a while for Black people to get films made. I grew up in New York. It’s a reflection of my childhood and what I remember, so the stars aligned and it came together when it did. It’s interesting it’s coming together at a time where there are films like Dope, the Nas film Time is Illmatic, and there’s another film called Rubble Kings that’s really amazing and it’s about Hip Hop. It just happened that it all went down when it did, how it did.

    UPTOWN: You said it took a long time to make FRESH DRESSED. How long were you working on it?
    Jenkins: From beginning to end, close to two years, which in the scheme of documentaries isn’t a long time.

    UPTOWN: Coming up in New York in the 1970s and ‘80s, what did “fresh” mean to you and how has that definition changed for the man you are today?
    Jenkins: Fresh back then meant superior, excellent, good, competitive, strong. On a superficial level, brand new, fresh out the box. So in the inner-city growing up back then where people didn’t have much, the one thing we could control, the one thing that could announce to the world that we had something, for whatever reason, was how we were dressed. So if people could see that you had a new pair of Shell Toe Adidas with a new pair of Lee jeans and a Le Tigre shirt, that looked like you just walked out of the store, that communicated something to your peers. Fresh was also language. It was the amplification of the idea that you are going places and doing things and that you’re somebody, and your clothing is a reflection of that.

    That mentality … I think I’m a bit more sophisticated now and I think I understand and that’s what the film is really about — the psychology of Hip Hop and why we do certain things. I still can connect with the idea ‘I want those kicks because they’re fresh.’ And that aesthetic is sometimes still applied but I’m not addicted to being fresh. I don’t have to have the newest, latest shit all the time. I’m just a grown-ass man. I don’t keep them in the box like a lot of young people do. I wear my shit. I’m not going to stand on line for two days to be fresh.

    UPTOWN: That’s interesting because there’s a point in Fresh Dressed in which Mayor, who says he can wear a new pair of sneakers everyday for seven years, discussed kids getting killed over sneakers, and he’s just surrounded by them. Priorities do change.
    Jenkins: Well, not for some grown-ass men.

    UPTOWN_fresh_dressed_graffiti_jackets

    B boys on the street, Brooklyn circa 1983 [Image: Jamel Shabazz]

    UPTOWN: Did you make this film for people who are already immersed in Hip Hop, who grew up with it, or was it for people who are looking from the outside in?

    Jenkins: It was both. It was produced with CNN Films and it’s eventually going to air on CNN proper. So CNN’s audience is not your core Hip Hop folk. So I wanted to do something for the core people who get it, who might not know some of this stuff. They can appreciate it and enjoy it. People who know nothing about it can walk away saying I learned something. I screened the film at Sundance and this older white lady came up to me and said “You know, I’m not fresh,” and she was just looking down at her clothes. “You know, I just wear stuff. And I never thought of any of this. I didn’t understand how important clothing was to these people.” So reaching a broad audience and educating people was also very important to me.

    UPTOWN: One of the things I learned from watching the film was the term “Sunday best” came from slavery times. I grew up experiencing Hip Hop, but we don’t always know what the roots are.
    Jenkins: Most people don’t know. If you ask anyone “Sunday best.” They’ll say “Yeah, it means looking good for church.” Yeah, you’re half right, but did you know this? And they’re like “No.” So when you think, growing up in New York, Easter was important back in the days because when you’d come back from Easter break you had to be fresh. If you weren’t fresh, you were going to ridiculed by all your friends. And I knew a lot of people who couldn’t get fresh, so they sold crack and they were making in 1987 $1200 a day. Selling crack, you could buy your whole building sneakers.

    Then you think: Black people, new world that they’re in, a whole new belief system, a whole new way to dress, all these things that are imposed on them. And then years later, here we are it’s Easter and Jesus is back. So you gotta come back to school looking fresh, but you can’t afford it. So we go from slavery to the South Bronx which looks like World War II Poland and what’s changed? You have gang members in 1971 on a television show and host is like “You guys are dressed like warriors. Why are you dressed like this? Who’s your enemy?” “The enemy is the police. They’re very racist.” What’s changed? That’s why the film itself says fashion is a way to touch on these bigger picture issues that are still affecting us now.

    UPTOWN: Hip Hop fashion began organically. It was what kids were wearing in the streets. But then in the late-‘90s urban fashion grew into big business. Why was it important for the film to focus on that progression?
    Jenkins: Well, I wanted people to see the innovation and kind of understand the climate that created Hip Hop. New York in the ‘70s was on the verge of bankruptcy, the education system, especially in New York City, was horrible, and people were coming off the ‘60s and were looking for their identities. You have a strong Puerto Rican movement of folks wanting liberty for Puerto Rico. And the Black Power movement. All these movements coming up. So identity was really important at a time when America really wasn’t that great for people of color and not much has changed.

    So they created these organizations, these gangs. And the gangs wanted to be like the Hells Angels but they couldn’t because they were Black and Latino, so they make their own Hells Angels. Then there’s a gang truce. Someone dies. Someone who actually out to make peace is senselessly murdered and that leads to a truce. The climate on the street changes so you see the letters going from the jackets to the sweatshirts. The iron-on letters. The battling is not killing each other now, it’s dance. You see this social, cultural, political transformation and clothing is broadcasting all of that. Then people use what they have around them.

    Hip Hop is a metaphor for the Black experience. What are chitterlings? Stuff that nobody else wanted. And we turned it into a delicacy. What is Hip Hop? Taking all these different things that we don’t see ourselves in. We don’t see ourselves in classical music, and blah, blah, blah. We put all the stuff together and make the song and then we splash the attitude on top. What’s that? That’s the rap. That’s the energy. That’s the attitude. So all this stuff is happening, were mixing and matching, and working with what we have. Chitterlings. Lee Jeans. The stuff that’s around us.

    And then someone says “How come we’re not making money from the stuff explicitly for us?” And then that starts to happen. You have Dapper Dan. You know Gucci and Louis wouldn’t sell to him in his Harlem Shop, so he said “You know, fuck that. I know what we want. I’m going to Blackenize it!” So he pioneers this thing. And then the rappers who were wearing Dapper Dan all of a sudden are like “Nah, let’s get our own clothing brands.” Then they make all this money. And then there’s this collapse. There’s this sense that “Rocawear don’t make me feel good. I wanna wear Margiela.” I wanted folks to see the kind of evolution and how fashion was  mid-wife. Fashion was there the whole time. Fashion was a reflection of where Hip Hop. Just look at Kanye and Jay Z now. The way they dress is a reflection of where they’ve gone.

    UPTOWN: Since Fresh Dressed tackles how Hip Hop fashion helped Black people define their identity, what are your thoughts on Rachel Dolezal claiming to identify as Black?
    Jenkins: Rachel is cray! You’re denying that these people are your parents. You’re saying you’re living in a teepee. You went to Howard [University] as a white woman and you sued as a white woman because they said supposedly that you’re white and you should be able to be on the come-up through your family, but then you’re a Black woman and sort of taking that perspective too. If she were that Black woman at Howard, she wouldn’t have gone against the other white Rachel. Man, she cray!


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    UPTOWN_bet_awards_2015

    Last night, BET brought together the best in Black entertainment for the 2015 BET Awards in Los Angeles. Here are the most notable looks, whether good or bad, from the red carpet.

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_brandy

    Brandy Norwood

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_janelle_monae

    Janelle Monae

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_zendaya

    Zendaya Coleman

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_lala_anthony

    LaLa Anthony

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_angela_simmons

    Angela Simmons

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_tracee_ellis_ross

    Tracee Ellis Ross

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_gabrielle_union

    Gabrielle Union

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_ciara

    Ciara

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_blac_chyna_amber_rose

    Blac Chyna & Amber Rose

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_quevenzhane_wallis

    Quvenzhane Wallis

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_christina_milian

    Christina Milian

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_michelle_williams

    Michelle Williams

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_laverne_cox

    Laverne Cox

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_kelly_rowland

    Kelly Rowland

    UPTOWN_bet_awards_nicki_minaj

    Nicki Minaj


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    UPTOWN_bill_cosby

    The fallout from the sexual assault allegations brought against Bill Cosby just won’t go away, much to the embattled entertainer’s chagrin … we’re assuming.

    Now Cosby’s lawyer is fighting the Associated Press‘ efforts to unseal motions filed in a sex-assault lawsuit by a Temple University employee in 2005. George M. Gowen III, Cosby’s lawyer, argued June 26 that it would be “terribly embarrassing” for the comedian if documents were unsealed, reports the AP.

    Andrea Constand, the former director of operations for the Temple women’s basketball program, accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her at his Main Line, PA mansion in 2004. In 2005, she sued Cosby after reporting the assault to police. Cosby reached a confidential settlement with Constand out of court.

    Gowen argued that his client’s unsealed deposition in the confidential settlement could disclose embarrassing details about Cosby’s private life, specifically his marriage, sex life, and prescription drug use, according to the AP.

    “It would be terribly embarrassing for this material to come out,” Gowen argued, adding the public shouldn’t have access to Cosby’s revelations while under oath and answering questions from his accuser’s attorney. “Frankly, … it would embarrass him, [and] it would also prejudice him in eyes of the jury pool in Massachusetts,” Gowen said.

    U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno countered Gowen by saying the accusations in Constand’s lawsuit are already known by the public, so “Why would he be embarrassed by his own version of the facts?”

    An attorney for the AP argued that Cosby is a public figure and is therefore entitled to a lesser degree of privacy, according to the report. The lawyer called him an “icon” especially in Philadelphia, who “held himself out as someone who would guide the public in ways of morality,” the report says.

    Three of more than a dozen of Cosby’s accusers have filed a defamation lawsuit in Massachusetts against the comedian. They claim Cosby’s agents defamed them by publicly saying their accusations were false. Cosby, of course, is seeking to have the suit thrown out. He has never been charged with any crime related to the dozens of drugging and sexual assault allegations brought against him.


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    College Heights Baptist Church fire

    In the last week, seven black churches have been obliterated or moderately damaged by fire.  The FBI and ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) are investigating whether the black church fires were racially motivated and if there is a link between them.  Three of the church fires have been ruled arson. The seven fires happened in Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida.

    It’s not lost on observers that the fires started the week after Dylan Roof murdered nine black members of Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church because they were black and he wanted to start a race war. Church fires are an especially sensitive subject in the black community because of the wave of fires that swept black churches during the Civil Rights Movement.

    Richard Cohen,  president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told NPR that the recent burnings of black churches throughout the South are “very, very suspicious.”

    Here is a timeline of the fires:

    June 21: Bales of hay and a church van were set afire outside of College Hill Seventh Day Adventist in Knoxville, Tennessee.  There was minor damage to the church. It is being investigated as arson but not a hate crime.

    June 23: God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia was set afire and the doors were wired shut. It was ruled arson, but not a hate crime.

    June 24: In Charlotte, North Carolina Briar Creek Road Baptist Church was set ablaze, resulting in $250,000 worth of damage.  Cause of the fire was arson.

    June 24: Fruitland Presbyterian Church, which dates back to the 1800’s, was destroyed in a fire that officials claim was caused by a lightening strike to the roof.  The church is located in Gibson County, Tennessee.

    June 26:  Hours before Clementa Pickney, one of the nine members massacred at Emanuel AME Church was laid to rest,  Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina burned to the ground.

    June 26: A fire caused more than $700,000 in damage to Greater Miracle Temple in Tallahassee, Florida. Officials say the blaze was caused when a tree limb fell, exposing live electrical wires.

    June 27: Early in the morning, flames engulfed College Heights Baptist Church in Elyria, Ohio. The church was destroyed.  The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined.

    In a statement to BuzzFeed, FBI spokesperson Paul Bresson says of the fires in Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, “They’re being investigated to determine who is responsible and what motives are behind them. I’m not sure there is any reason to link them together at this point.”

    Cohen however, thinks otherwise. He adds, “It’s not unreasonable to suspect that what we’re seeing [now] is a backlash to the taking down of the Confederate flag, the determination of our country to face its racial problems.”

     

    Colby C.

     

    Source, Source, Source


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    nene leakes june 2015

    After seven seasons on the Real Housewives of Atlanta, NeNe Leakes is glad to be leaving the wildly popular Bravo series.  Leakes made the announcement today, calling it quits because since her contract is up, the timing feels right.

    The reality star turned actress told People, “Me and my husband [Gregg Leakes] have been going back and forth on it for weeks now. But my contract is up and I just think this is the right time. This is my opportunity to spread my wings and do different things.”

    Leakes dropped hints that those different things mean a return to television, in primetime.  She didn’t drop names, only revealing that she’s starring alongside a ‘big legend’ in a series that begins filming this week. Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen tweeted his well wishes for the Georgia peach.

    As if she would ever, Leakes didn’t pass up an opportunity to throw shade at certain RHOA cast mates. “I think some of the girls will be happy,” she states. “They always felt like I was the star, and they were never able to really shine with me there, so here’s their opportunity to shine.”

    Will you miss NeNe Leakes on Real Housewives of Atlanta?

    Photo credit: Instagram

    Colby C.

     


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    UPTOWN_donald_trump

    NBC is cutting ties with Donald Trump completely.

    Yesterday, it was announced that NBC would follow Univision and wouldn’t air the Miss USA pageant, which was scheduled to air July 12th, or the Miss Universe pageant, which was scheduled to air in 2016. Both pageants were jointly owned by NBC and Trump.

    Now, there’s a very likely chance the next time you tune in for Celebrity Apprentice a minority host will be at the helm, instead of Trump.

    According to TMZ, the network is seriously considering a minority host, most logically a Mexican or Mexican American. This would be a slap in Trump’s comb-over head given his racist statements on Mexicans and illegal immigration.

    When Trump learned that NBC wouldn’t air the jointly-owned pageants, he called the network “weak.”

    “If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court,” Trump said.

    Yes, NBC fired Trump and now he’s threatening to sue — which is not exactly acceptable Celebrity Apprentice boardroom etiquette.


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    UPTOWN_jetblue_baggage_fees

    There were three reasons JetBlue was my favorite airline, even though they don’t fly to Atlanta, which is where most of my family resides. One, the airline gives passengers a choice of a full-size snack. Two, the flight crew on JetBlue flights are actually pleasant, if not friendly. And finally, the airline allowed for one free checked bag. Sadly, JetBlue recently announced how it will implement the checked baggage change.

    For years, JetBlue championed itself as a holdout on baggage fees, but now it’s going to charge passengers $25 to check one bag.

    However, passengers will pay less if they plan ahead. Those who use a kiosk or check-in online will only pay $20 to check an item of luggage. If they go to the counter, then they’ll have to fork over $25. JetBlue has also added a new fare class that raises the fare for a round-trip ticket to about $15 each way, but the ticket price includes one free checked bag.

    Here’s a bonus (I guess): Fees for a second checked bag and reservation changes are being lowered.

    Travelers with existing JetBlue reservations will be able to check one bag for free. New reservations will be subject to the new baggage fee.

    A spokesperson said JetBlue plans to spend the millions of dollars it will collect from the baggage fees on new seats and TVs.

    “Some of these changes are going to help pay for what’s the biggest product upgrade JetBlue has had in the history of the company,” Marty St. George, JetBlue’s executive vice president of commercial products and planning, told The Associated Press in advance of the announcement.

    So who do we have to blame for JetBlue’s new baggage fee? Wall Street.

    JetBlue was under pressure from investors and Wall Street analysts to adopt practices most airlines began implementing in 2008, according to the New York Daily News. JetBlue previously added a first class called Mint. It reduced legroom, which was a major selling point initially, to allow for more passengers. And now it’s charging $20 or more for one checked bag.

    Source


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    ferguson_5

    A Department of Justice report investigating last year’s protests in Ferguson, Missouri over the shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown puts the local police in an even more unfavorable light.  Report findings indicate that officials failed to properly communicate vital information to the public, used police dogs and tear gas unnecessarily and that officers repeatedly engaged in behaviors that escalated tensions instead of diffusing them.

    A summary obtained by the St. Louis dispatch found that Ferguson police “violated citizens’ right to assembly and free speech, as determined by a U.S. federal court injunction.”  The DOJ also found fault with officers’ use of tear gas against protesters without warning and in areas from which they were trapped and could not retreat, as well as officers who removed badges and other personally identifying information from uniforms to avoid accountability.

    From the St. Louis Dispatch:

    From the beginning, the summary finds, the use of a “highly elevated tactical response,” essentially set a tone that “limited options for a measured, strategic approach.”

    For example, positioning an officer atop an armored vehicle to monitor the crowd through rifle sights was “inappropriate” and only served to “exacerbate tensions between protesters and the police,” it says.

    It acknowledges that a tactical response was warranted at times, but an “elevated daytime response was not justified and served to escalate rather than de-escalate the overall situation.”

    The summary faults as “ineffective” the control of officers with various levels of training from departments with differing police philosophies.

    It says failures in traffic control resulted in “tactical advantages to the protesters and activists and safety hazards to the deployed officers.”

    And it highlights several breakdowns in internal communications, suggesting that intelligence obtained about the protests was not well-used and that some departments had incompatible radios.

    The four departments “underestimated the impact social media had on the incident and the speed at which both facts and rumors were spread and failed to have a social media strategy,” the summary finds.

    The departments also were unprepared for the use of technology and hacks into personal computers which led to identity theft for some officers. The threats led some officers to remove name tags from their uniforms, which the report says “defeated an essential level of on-scene accountability that is fundamental to the perception of procedural justice and legitimacy.”

    A statement issued by Ferguson officials indicated they would be ““reviewing these latest findings and will act accordingly.”

    This report is number three of four surrounding the Michael Brown case.  One report found that it couldn’t be disproved that officer Darren Wilson feared for his safety and so shooting Brown was “objectively unreasonable.” As a result, Wilson avoided facing civil charges.  A second report found fault with how the police department targeted black citizens using excessive force against them and issuing tickets for infractions specifically designed to add to the city’s coffers.  The final report analyzing St. Louis County Police Department’s tactics and practices is due next month.

    Colby C.


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    misty copeland abt

    Next time you want proof of the power of speaking things into existence, look to Misty Copeland.  In a 2014 interview with the New Yorker, the most famous black ballerina of them all, spoke of her intent to become “the first African-American principal dancer” with the American Ballet Theater.  And the 14-year ABT veteran was promoted to that position today.

    The news was announced this morning at a company gathering at the Metropolitan Opera House. ABT dancer Julie Kent posted the emotional moment and Copeland’s reaction on Instagram.

    Exciting promotions at ABT this morning!! Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer!!! ❤️ #MistyCopeland #ballerina #weloveyou

    A video posted by Julie Kent (@juliekentofficial) on

    With the announcement, Copeland becomes the first black principal in ABT’s 75 year history.  She was one of only two black soloists up until this point.   A movie based on Life in Motionthe memoir which chronicles Copeland’s obstacle-ridden rise to greatness is in development with New Line Cinema. This news will certainly make for a very satisfying ending, I’d say.

    Images: Instagram, Instagram

    Colby C.


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