Apr 10, 2014

Academy award winner, Lupita Nyong'o is on fire.  The stunning beauty rocked the latest cover of Marie Claire magazine.


Single Ladies," the romantic comedy series about three female best friends working in the fashion, music and celebrity world that was just canceled by VH1 after three seasons, is coming back.

Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Entertainment company, which produces "Single Ladies," is developing an all-new fourth season as part of a new exclusive programming partnership with BET Networks' Centric, which is being positioned as the first network aimed at black females.

Under the deal, Flavor Unit, which is owned by Latifah and her partner Shakim Compere, will produce new shows in addition to "Single Ladies" for the network.

Casting for the new season is still up in the air. The VH1 show starred LisaRaye McCoy, Charity Shea and Denise Vasi, but it is unclear if any of the cast members would return. The third-season finale aired last month.

As part of the deal, Centric also will start airing episodes of Queen Latifah's syndicated daytime talk show, which premiered last year to solid ratings, in prime time.

The entertainer's production company also produces BET's comedy series "Let's Stay Together."

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — An autopsy determined that a body found in an Indiana lake is that of a Michigan doctor who had been missing since December, authorities said Wednesday.

The coroner in Porter County, Ind., said in a news release that it was Teleka Patrick’s body that was pulled Sunday from Lake Charles in the northwest part of the state. The site is about 15 miles east of Gary and near where a car belonging to the 30-year-old doctor was abandoned Dec. 5 along Interstate 94.

Investigation continues to determine the cause of death, the release said. Toxicology results were pending.

Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said at a news conference in Kalamazoo Wednesday morning that there were no signs of trauma or foul play found on the body. He said an initial cause of death appeared to be drowning.

Michigan authorities say Patrick behaved strangely and erratically with colleagues and others in the hours before her disappearance.

She was last seen trying to get a room at a Kalamazoo hotel. She didn’t stay there and got a ride back to her car at Borgess Medical Center. Patrick had been in Michigan since last summer when she started a medical residency at Borgess.

Grammy-nominated gospel singer Marvin Sapp had secured a personal protection order against Patrick in September. Sapp, pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in Grand Rapids, alleged that Patrick claimed to be his wife, contacted his teenage children and had been to his home. He said she had joined his church after moving from California.

Fuller previously said he believes Sapp was “an innocent victim of an apparent stalking” and has no evidence they ever met or had personal contact.

Patrick was raised in New York and graduated with a medical degree and a doctorate in biochemistry from Loma Linda University in California.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield has signed on to recur on BET’s hit drama series Being Mary Jane, reports Deadline.com. The series stars Gabrielle Union as a successful TV news anchor with a not-so-successful love life.
Richardson-Whitfield will appear in at least five episodes as Mary Jane’s (Union) longtime friend.
The wife of actor Dondre Whitfield currently recurs on Lifetime’s The Lottery. Other TV credits include Castle, House Of Lies, NCIS and The Newsroom.

Apr 8, 2014

My fellow Floridians,

It has come to my attention that there has been a “behind the scenes effort” to divide the joint engineering program shared by both Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University and Florida State University.

This backhanded decision by the Florida legislature to move forward with a plan of action without first jointly consulting with the administrations of Florida A&M University and Florida State University is both unprofessional and not the type of leadership you expect from your elected officials.  

During my ten year tenure in the Florida House of Representatives, which started in 1982, it was the policy of state lawmakers to reduce duplication of high cost academic programming in the state university system. Our goal was to be good stewards of the tax dollars paid by hardworking Floridians like you, and find a reasonable - bi-partisan solution to paying twice for some of the higher cost academic programs such as medical schools, law schools, and engineering schools. As a result, the joint school of engineering for FAMU and FSU was formed. Since the inception of this collaborative effort, the schools have been able to garner millions of dollars in sponsored research via its multi-year contract, graduate a bevy of talented young people who have gone on to do incredible things in the field of engineering and manufacturing, and attract bright minds from all across the country.

As a long serving elected official from the State of Florida who has a vivid memory of previous attempts by the Florida Legislature to weaken the academic standing at FAMU by defunding the university’s law school, nursing program, and several other programs throughout the years. I believe that tax dollars used to create a new school of engineering for Florida State University, when there is already a successful partnership in place with Florida A&M University is counterproductive to increasing engineering graduates.

Instead of using scarce tax dollars to duplicate another scholastic program within the city of Tallahassee, there should be an effort to allocate that funding to issues that are of greater need and priority. Issues such as expanding Medicaid in Florida to the thousands of uninsured people who make too much to qualify for the program, yet not enough to purchase insurance of their own, investing in education so that students currently in school have the resources and funding to receive the quality education they deserve, and among other things, appropriating the necessary funds to improve our states infrastructure and invest in projects such as SunRail and improving our ports.

There is no reason this plan should move forward without additional dialogue. The short and long term implications of this plan are unknown. As an alumnus and lifelong advocate of FAMU, I recommend that proponents of this measure withdraw their support and give all stakeholders an opportunity to discuss a better way forward. With the long-term future of Florida A&M University at stake, we can no longer sit idly by as there are continuous attempts to weaken and dismantle the nation’s largest Historically Black College. As the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court case has shown us, separate is not always equal. The notion that future legislatures will equally protect the funding for both institutions is na├»ve and credulous.  At a time when we need cooperation and increased partnership, this hasty resolution to a problem that does not exist, will only plant the seed of division and discord. Join me in urging the Florida Legislature to do what is best for Florida A&M University and Florida State University by opposing this measure and defeating this legislation  today. 


Corrine Brown
Member of Congress

(Fox8) -- He’s one of the best basketball players in the country, and he’s preparing for Monday night’s NCAA championship game, yet the University of Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier recently told reporters he sometimes goes to bed “starving” because he can’t afford food.

The remark got the attention of state lawmakers in Connecticut, who are now exploring legislative ways to allow athletes at UConn, a state institution, to unionize — much like athletes are attempting at Northwestern University.

State Rep. Matthew Lesser and other state lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow athletes at the University of Connecticut to unionize, Lesser said. Unlike at Northwestern, a private institution governed by the National Labor Relations Board, Connecticut law governs whether employees at a public institution can unionize.

“He says he’s going to bed hungry at a time when millions of dollars are being made off of him. It’s obscene,” Lesser said. “This isn’t a Connecticut problem. This is an NCAA problem, and I want to make sure we’re putting pressure on them to treat athletes well.”

In a recent interview with reporters, Napier called the Northwestern union ruling “kind of great” and said that while he appreciates his basketball scholarship, it doesn’t cover all of his expenses.

“I don’t feel student-athletes should get hundreds of thousands of dollars, but like I said, there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I’m starving,” he said.

Asked if he felt like an employee — a key distinction cited in the NLRB’s Northwestern ruling — the Huskies point guard responded, “I just feel like a student-athlete, and sometimes, like I said, there’s hungry nights and I’m not able to eat and I still got to play up to my capabilities. … When you see your jersey getting sold — it may not have your last name on it — but when you see your jersey getting sold and things like that, you feel like you want something in return.”

Click here to read the entire article.
He's had the titles of civil rights activist, presidential candidate and TV host.

But for a time, the FBI secretly called the Rev. Al Sharpton something else: “CI-7” — a confidential informant who taped mobsters with a bugged briefcase, helping the feds bring down members of the Genovese crime family, it was revealed Monday.

For four years in the 1980s, Sharpton secretly assisted a joint FBI-NYPD task force known as the “Genovese squad,” The Smoking Gun website disclosed.

Sharpton’s role as an FBI informant was first disclosed in 1988 — but The Smoking Gun obtained hundreds of pages of secret court filings and FBI memos that provide stunning new details of his cooperation. The documents depict Sharpton operating easily in an underworld of violence and corruption, helping the feds collect essential information.

“Sharpton’s cooperation was fraught with danger since the FBI’s principal targets were leaders of the Genovese crime family, the country’s largest and most feared Mafia outfit,” said the report by writer William Bastone.

In an interview Monday with the Daily News, Sharpton acknowledged assisting the FBI beginning in 1983, but he denied he was an informant and disputed much of The Smoking Gun’s report.

The revelations come as Sharpton’s National Action Network holds a convention in New York this week that will feature speeches by Mayor de Blasio on Wednesday and President Obama on Friday. The White House had no immediate comment on The Smoking Gun report.

Sharpton allegedly became an FBI informant after he was caught on tape with a drug kingpin discussing cocaine deals. The feds reportedly threatened him with charges — although it’s unlikely any case would have held up — and successfully flipped him to snitch on Mafia acquaintances.

They saw Sharpton as an asset because he had “established relationships with (boxing) promoter Don King, various elected officials and several powerful New York hoodlums involved in concert promotion, record distribution and talent management,” The Smoking Gun said.

Agents gave Sharpton a customized Hartmann briefcase he used to record conversations touching on mob hits, extortion schemes and the activities of Genovese crime boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante, the cagey mobster who tried to outfox the feds by claiming he was mentally incompetent, The Smoking Gun disclosed.

Sharpton had 10 face-to-face meetings, all recorded, with Joseph (Joe Bana) Buonanno, a Gambino family member. FBI agent John Pritchard, one of the heads of the squad, paid Sharpton in small amounts, the report said.

The information Sharpton gathered was used to get wiretaps to bug two Genovese family social clubs, three cars used by mobsters and many of their phones, according to the court records obtained by the website.


Apr 7, 2014

Abuja (AFP) - Nigeria on Sunday became Africa's biggest economy, leap-frogging South Africa, after the government announced a long-overdue rebasing of the country's gross domestic product.

The new calculations take into account changes in production and consumption since the last time the exercise was carried out in 1990, including an added focus on communications and the movie industry.

The data indicated that the economy grew to $453 billion in 2012, instead of $264 billion as measured by the World Bank for that year.

South Africa's economy was at $384 billion in 2012, according to the World Bank.

Estimates for 2013 indicated further expansion to $510 billion, Nigeria's chief statistician, Yemi Kale, told a news conference in the capital, Abuja.

"Nigeria has moved to be the largest economy by GDP size in Africa and has moved to be the 26th largest economy in the world," finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

"On a per capita basis, Nigeria is number 121 in the world. So, we have a total GDP size where we have moved up to 26th," the former World Bank managing director added.

Nollywood, for example, was now worth 853.9 billion naira ($5.1 billion, 3.7 billion euros) or 1.2 percent of GDP.

"The rebased GDP numbers imply that the level of economic activity is much higher than previously reported," the finance ministry said in a statement, adding that the economy was becoming more driven by the service sector.

"It indicates a clearer picture of Nigeria’s economic landscape, and the significant opportunity for growth and wealth creation in the Nigerian economy."

South African economists pointed out that their country remains the most important economy in the continent despite being overtaken by Nigeria as Africa's biggest.

"South Africa will remain one of the important economies of the continent, though this rebasing will be a significant step in establishing Nigeria as a true African powerhouse," said Investec portfolio manager, Roelof Horne.

Economist Dennis Dykes, at South Africa’s Nedbank said Nigeria's new position as Africa's largest economy should be "viewed positively".

"It's important that economies were measured accurately...it gives potential investors a good picture of activity," he said.

"The news figures should help South African investors identify new opportunities in Nigeria, especially in areas that were previously not factored in."

Dykes said South Africa's $7,508 GDP per capita, higher than Nigeria's $2,688 was still the most important measure of the economy.

"Being Africa's number one is definitely a great confidence booster for Nigeria, but it won't change much," he added.

With 170 million people, Nigeria is about three times the size of South Africa and has enjoyed high rates of growth, notwithstanding widespread corruption, poor governance, rampant oil theft and a raging Islamist insurgency in the north.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Nigeria averaged 6.8 percent annual growth from 2005 to 2013 and was projected to grow this year at a rate of 7.4 percent.

That compares to a little over five percent between 2005 and 2008-9 in South Africa, which has struggled to go beyond 3.5 percent since.

Global investors have been eyeing Nigeria as a potential boom market, along the lines of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) 10 years ago.

But economists have warned not to take the new figures at face value, given that South Africa -- the continent's only G20 member -- has fewer people and is streets ahead in areas such as infrastructure and governance.

Okonjo-Iweala said GDP per capita in Nigeria was now $2,688 -- up from $1,555 in 2012 -- taking the country from 135th position in the world to 121st.

GDP per capita in South Africa in comparison was $7,508.

Kale for his part said the figures should not be seen as an end in themselves but should be used to help the government shape policy for the future.

The next rebasing was planned for 2015, with the results out in 2016, he added.

For ordinary Nigerians -- most of whom still live on less than $2 a day -- the rebasing is likely to have little effect, but it will improve the country's balance sheet and its credit rating and promote it from being a low-income economy.

Nevertheless, Nigeria still faces an immense challenge in terms of infrastructure deficits. Slow ports, bad roads and a lack of electricity are some of the major factors hampering business activity.

Bismarck Rewane, the head of the Lagos-based Financial Derivatives Company said the exercise could only be meaningful "if it impacts positively on the living standards of the people".

"Nigerians will still buy petrol at the same price, they will still have the same amount in their pockets, electricity is not going to improve on Monday morning," he said.

"So, the exercise is a journey from reality to vanity," he added.

South Africa will continue to remain the most competitive economy, despite Nigeria's new status, he added.

The Wall St. Journal recently posted an article about the 7 wealthiest NFL players of all time and the entire list was made up of white players with the overwhelming majority being that of former quarterbacks. 

Here is the list of the top 7:

1.  Roger Staubach
2.  John Madden
3.  Peyton Manning
4.  John Elway
5.  Tom Brady
6.  Brett Farve
7.  Joe Montana

The fact that the NFL is made of majority African Americans, this list gave me a lot to think about.

Is the fact that African American players not invest their money properly one of the reasons why we didn't see one in the top seven.  It's very curious for me because if there was a list of the wealthiest NBA players of all time, surely plenty of African Americans would appear in the top 7.  So what is so different about the NFL as opposed to the NBA.

Are the quarterbacks the only ones receiving the good endorsement deals when it comes to the NFL?  What is really going on? 

I'm pretty sure had Michael Vick never gotten into trouble he would have made the list, but what about some of the other great black NFL players.

Are they not doing what they need to do to acquire the big endorsement deals or is there something more nefarious going on?  Are our athletes being negatively affected by the Need for Bling syndrome that they're spending their money on unnecessary things and not properly investing it?

I would love to hear what you guys think about this subject.
Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been moved from the federal prison in North Carolina to a minimum security prison camp in Montgomery.

A longtime friend of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Democratic state Rep. Alvin Holmes of Montgomery, said the Jackson family contacted him Friday night about the 49-year-old former congressman being moved to the federal prison camp at Maxwell Air Force Base. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons' website now lists Jackson as a Montgomery inmate.

The former Chicago congressman had been advising other inmates in North Carolina about their rights in prison, according to the source, who said a guard took exception to that.

As a result, the longtime South Side politician was placed in solitary confinement for four or five days more than a month ago, the source said.

A hearing was held, the source said, and Jackson was cleared of any wrongdoing and asked for a transfer to another prison.

The source said family members were concerned about Jackson’s welfare after the incident and went to visit him in prison.

It took about a month for the transfer to go through, the source said.

Jackson is serving a 2 1/2 -year sentence after admitting to illegally using campaign money. The Bureau of Prisons lists his release date as Dec. 31, 2015.

Apr 4, 2014

Every time I get paid, my alma mater (Florida A&M University) gets paid.  I don't say that to brag, but I say it to let you know I put my money where my mouth is.

Many of us familiar with the contentious history between FAMU and Florida State are not the least bit surprise by the shocking move the Florida state senate took to break up the joint engineering college shared by FAMU and FSU.  This move ,that was crafted by Sen. John Thrasher (R), was very reminiscent of how FAMU lost its law school in 1965.  It just goes to show the more things change the more they stay the same.

I want this to serve as a wake-up call for all the alumni out there that attended an HBCU.  We need to understand why its important that we continue to give back and support our alma maters on a continuous basis.  You don't have to give great sums of money (trust me, any little bit will help), but you need to make it a conscious effort to support the institution that allowed you to be where you are today.

We love to brag about how much we love our schools, but how many of us show that love through financial gifts?

We have to do better people.

Many are saying that the break up of this merger means the end of the engineering program for FAMU.  FAMU shouldn't have to be reliant upon FSU in order to maintain its engineering college.  There is enough successful alumni out in the world that should be able to sustain the school.  At what point will we begin to understand this?


Apr 3, 2014

Editor's Note: As a product of the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering, this issue is very personal for me.

TALLAHASSEE -- A behind-the-scenes effort to divide an engineering program shared by Florida State University and Florida A&M University is igniting a lingering debate about racial inequality and how state resources are allocated in higher education.

State Sen. Joe Negron says the plan will allow the universities’ “good” joint College of Engineering to morph into “great” individual programs. FAMU would keep the existing building on a remote part of FSU’s campus and current state funding; FSU would get $13 million to begin the multi-year process of creating a new program in a new building.

“The important thing for FAMU is there is no reduction whatsoever for the College of Engineering at FAMU, they will continue to be funded at the current level,” Negron, R-Stuart, said.

According to the Board of Governors, FAMU had 369 engineering students in undergraduate and graduate programs in 2013 and FSU had 2,142.

FAMU opposes the measure and so does Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, who believes the historically black university and its supporters are being forced to fight the same battles they lost nearly 50 years ago.

Joyner was part of the last class at FAMU’s law school in 1968 before the Legislature transferred its funding to a new FSU law school. It took FAMU more than 30 years to get funding to re-establish the program — in Orlando.

“I thought that we were beyond this,” said an exasperated Joyner, describing the plan as “catastrophic” for FAMU. “I’ve lived this once.”

She believes the state is trying to fix something that isn’t broken. The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is thriving, Joyner said, and this plan would create a “two-tier system” with competition for funding and resources.

“Somebody’s going to suffer, and it’s going to be FAMU,” Joyner said.

The split is being pushed by FSU advocates, who believe the university should have a standalone engineering school as it pursues a top 25 ranking. Although the university’s partnership with FAMU has been steady recently, FAMU’s administrative and financial issues have at times caused strain.

Sen. John Thrasher, arguably FSU’s highest profile supporter in the Legislature and a rumored candidate for the school’s presidency, is championing the plan and has filed an amendment to the budget that would increase FSU’s allocation for the new engineering school from $10 million to $13 million.

The Senate is scheduled to debate the budget Thursday. Specific language about how the separation would occur has not been crafted.

Click here to read the entire story.

Super Bowl champion Richard Sherman took to Sport's Illustrated The Monday Morning Quarterback to write a very thought provoking article on what he perceives to be media persecution of DeSean Jackson. 

Here's a snippet of what he wrote:

I grew up in Watts, and I played baseball with DeSean in elementary school on a team coached by his father near Inglewood. His father, Bill, picked me up from elementary school 30 minutes away from his home for practice and games because my parents both worked and didn’t finish until later, and I wanted to play baseball with some childhood friends. Bill was a great coach, and a great man. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2009, the summer after his son’s rookie season. DeSean and I didn’t hang out then like we did as kids.

Those men with DeSean in the social pictures and the police reports weren’t his closest friends in childhood, but when his father died and few people were there for him, they were there. When a tragic event like that happens, the people who are around are the people who are around, and they were there for him.

Was DeSean supposed to then say, “Thanks guys, but now that I’m a millionaire, please leave me alone”? Even if he wanted to, he wouldn’t have. In desperate times for people who come from desperate communities, your friends become your family. I wouldn’t expect DeSean to “distance himself” from anybody, as so many people suggest pro athletes ought to do despite having no understanding of what that means. Going to college and playing in the NFL creates a natural distance, but we can’t push people away just because they’re not as successful as us. I can’t change who I grew up with, but what I can do is try to educate them on the right way of doing things, help them when they need it, and try to keep them out of trouble.

There is, of course, a tipping point. There have been times when I realized that someone can’t be helped, because they continue doing the wrong things. Typically, the only time I cut someone off is when they’re in jail, because I can’t help them there.

And if they’re accused of a crime, as DeSean’s friends have been, should that reflect poorly on me? Consider that for every several guys I try to help who end up dead or in jail, there’s another person I was able to rescue from a similar end. Should I give up on everybody out of fear of being dirtied by the media?

Sorry, but I was born in this dirt.

This offseason they re-signed a player who was caught on video screaming, “I will fight every n—– here.” He was representing the Philadelphia Eagles when he said it, because, of course, everything we do is reflective of the organization. But what did they do to Riley Cooper, who, if he’s not a racist, at least has “ties” to racist activity? They fined him and sent him to counseling. No suspension necessary for Cooper and no punishment from the NFL, despite its new interest in policing our use of the N-word on the field. Riley instead got a few days off from training camp and a nice contract in the offseason, too.

Commit certain crimes in this league and be a certain color, and you get help, not scorn. Look at the way many in the media wrote about Jim Irsay after his DUI arrest. Nobody suggested the Colts owner had “ties” to drug trafficking, even though he was caught driving with controlled substances (prescription pills) and $29,000 in cash to do who-knows-what with. Instead, poor millionaire Mr. Irsay needs help, some wrote.

But DeSean Jackson is the menace, right? He’s just as bad as those guys he parties with because he threw up a Crip sign in a picture and he owns a gangsta rap record label. If only all record label owners were held to this standard, somebody might realize that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg weren’t the bosses behind NWA. Jim Irsay lookalikes in suits were.

Click here to read the entire article.

Maybe it's just me, but I wish more professional athletes would speak out about what's really going on in the NFL.  I realize that everyone isn't as eloquent as Richard Sherman, but it would be nice if more established players took a stand and discussed some of the obvious differential treatment that is meted out in the League.  I realize this could affect some people's money, but someone like Terrell Suggs has never let that stop him from speaking out. 

Apr 2, 2014

(FOX 11 - Los Angeles) A Los Angeles woman says she's tired of Hollywood's obsession with perfection.  So, she's doing something drastic right in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard to show other women that it's perfectly fine to be large and have good self esteem.

While you may or may not agree with Amani Terrell's method, no one can argue with her message of loving yourself at any size.  Amani weighs 260 pounds. She knows she has to lose weight. In the meantime, she refuses to be down on herself.  She says, "You can not seek validation from other people. This world is very cruel. You must seek validation within yourself and be kind to yourself."

Amani decided to strip down to her bikini in the very busy Hollywood Boulevard to show the world that women are beautiful at any size.   While most people had a positive reaction...some, not so much. One guy yelled that he lost his appetite. Another sarcastically called her "Precious".

Amani responded like this, "That was very unkind but that's cool because I love myself."  You can follow Amani's Twitter account at @FATINLOSANGELES.

While in Detroit, Dwyane Wade was asked about Kobe Bryant's interview with the New Yorker in which he criticized the Miami Heat's support of Trayvon Martin.  Wade quickly dismissed the notion that race---which was implied by Bryant---had anything to do with the team's support of Martin.

Here is what he had to say:

"It was our backyard, and being in our backyard, being something that a lot of guys on this team—not only growing up in the kind of environment that Trayvon was in—but also having young boys," Wade told Bleacher Report. "Knowing that he is a big fan of the Miami Heat. That is something that we got behind. As a team. I can't even say the organization. It was as a team. We got behind it. And it was more so that than the color of his skin."

What do you think about Wade's response?