Vibe magazine, the urban-music magazine founded in 1993 by Quincy Jones, is the latest victim of the media recession. Multiple sources both within and outside the magazine confirmed that it is shutting down.
Reached for comment, chief financial officer Angela Zucconi said, "We will be making a statement by the end of the day. That's all I can say at this point." She referred further questions to CEO Steve Aaron, who was not immediately available. Messages left for editor in chief Danyel Smith and publishers Edgar Hernandez were not immediately returned.
Vibe enjoyed significant success in the late '90s and early part of this decade as hip hop and R&B became the nation's predominant forms of pop music. But in recent years the title has fallen on hard times under its new owner, the Wicks Group, which bought it in 2006. In February, it reduced its circulation and publishing frequency, cut salaries and moved employees to a four-day workweek to save money.
Jun 30, 2009
Chris Brown was a no-show at Sunday night's BET Awards because producers pulled his performance at the last minute.
According to several insiders, Brown's appearance was considered risky business on a night honoring Michael Jackson. The "No Air" singer is facing negative publicity after pleading guilty to the February assault of his ex-girlfriend Rihanna.
One source says Brown's absence came at the insistence of the Rev. Al Sharpton. "Al made such a fuss to the BET executives that they pulled Chris," says our insider, who adds that Jay-Z also had a hand in the decision. "Jay is a big name in the BET community, and he was very vocal about his displeasure with Chris attending the ceremony. He didn't want Chris anywhere near the awards so close to the court's ruling."
Brown isn't taking the public dis on the chin, either. "He's furious," a pal of the singer tells us. "BET asked him to perform and waited until the last minute to tell him it was off. He's pretty shocked and outraged right now."
Both BET publicists and Brown's camp say the singer was never confirmed for the show.
Meanwhile, Rihanna's absence from the event was just as noticeable as Brown's. But while her ex fumed, the "Umbrella" singer was busy hanging out with her crush, Orlando Magic forward Rashard Lewis, in NYC. Says a rep for the beauty, "Rihanna was never meant to attend [the BET awards]."
Also expected at the ceremony were Usher and Justin Timberlake; both bowed out of the event but agreed to take part in a later tribute to Jackson on BET.
Usher, who attended fashion shows in Paris over the weekend, sent his regrets in a prepared statement. Timberlake was also out of the country, hitting up both Wimbledon and the Hard Rock Calling concert in London.
But perhaps JT should have made the ceremony at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium, because in his absence, he was the recipient of a roast by Jeremy Piven. "Justin should be here," the "Entourage" actor joked. "If not for Michael Jackson, [Justin] would be selling curly fries in the Valley."
In 2007, New Orleans had the second-highest AIDS infection rate among metropolitan areas in the country. Although a surprisingly small percentage (32 percent) of African-Americans make up the population in Louisiana, we account for most of the new HIV cases (72 percent) and new AIDS diagnosis (70 percent) recorded in the state in 2008, according to NOLA.com.
A Kaiser Family Foundation 2009 survey showed a decline in concern about HIV infection among young African-Americans. The number of African-Americans ages 18 to 29 saying they are personally "very concerned" about becoming infected fell from 47 percent in May 2004 to 40 percent in March 2009. Risky behavior such as drug abuse and unprotected sex are cited as some of the reasons for the alarming increases as well as the cultural stigma attached to homosexuality, which is prevalent in the African-American community.
Atlanta film director Tyler Perry phoned into Q100's The Bert Show Friday morning to discuss his thoughts on Michael Jackson's passing and pleaded for fans and the media to give the Jackson family "respect and room to grieve."
Perry is set to direct Jackson's younger sister Janet Jackson here in the sequel to his 2007 hit "Why Did I Get Married?"
Perry confirmed that Jackson was on her way to Atlanta to begin production on the film Thursday when she got word of her brother's death. Her plane was immediately re-routed to Los Angeles, Perry said.
"i spoke to her yesterday," Perry said. "She's a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful girl. There's no pretense. She's a regular, beautiful human being. I just ask that people pray for her and her family."
Perry came out swinging when discussing the media coverage of Jackson's death that contains regurgitations of the singer's well-covered trial on child molestation charges.
"These are human beings, they're human beings," Perry said. "I wouldn't wish the level of fame he achieved on my worst enemy. I am so disgusted, that, with every great thing that's being said about him, there's a million negative things being said. Why can't it just be about his legacy rather than the tarnished part of what he was acquitted for? It bothers me that this is the focus."
Added Perry: "Growing up as a kid who was molested, I am never, ever going to be a defender of a molester. But the truth of the matter is, the man was acquitted. And I have seen first-hand what people will do for money."
Perry added: "I hope that people wil just send up a prayer for his family. Even though they're famous these are regular human beings. if you cut them, they bleed. Having to deal with all this negativity is hard."
The Atlanta film director and studio owner dismissed co-host Bert Weiss' theory that father Joe Jackson is solely to blame for his son's complicated life.
"I disagree with you," said Perry. "I went through a lot of things with my father. Things I did not deserve as a kid. Things that he said to me, did to me. But it didn't make me become something other than what i am right now. There comes a point in your life, that no matter who you are, you begin to find yourself."
Perry says there's no way for the general public to know what it was like to be as famous as Jackson. Perry said, even at his level of fame (in the past year, Perry himself has had to deal with a stalker) life can be complicated.
"You don't know what's true. You absolutely, one hundred percent do not know what's true. I don't think there's ever been a person that famous. Elvis and The Beatles were huge. but Michael came along at a time when there was video which made him more famous. Now, the next person who comes along with Twitter and Facebook and all that stuff, they'll be even more famous because it's instant.
Added Perry: "it's expensive to be that famous. You don't ask for the crazy people. I didn't ask for the stalker or the situation I'm dealing with now. I didn't ask for the thousands of dollars I've spent on attorneys and the hundreds of thousands of dollars I've spent on security. It's a part of the business you're in. Hear me clearly. I'm not asking for sympathy for him or anyone else because there's a great up side to it. But there's also a major, major down side to every bit of this."
Perry also disclosed that he was discussing creating some animation for Jackson's upcoming London concerts. The two were supposed to speak in the coming week about the project.
For now, Perry requested: "Respect the moment and give the family room to breathe."
Jun 29, 2009
Just in time for the Fourth of July Music Festival, Carol's Daughter will be opening its fifth annual Pop-Up Store in New Orleans. From July 1st to July 5th, Carol's Daughter fans will be able to shop their favorite store in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Designed to replicate existing Carol's Daughter boutiques, the temporary location will feature an array of celebrity appearances, in-store specials and events, product giveaways and more. Founder Lisa Price will also be at the store, where consumers will have the opportunity to hear her story and learn about how her love of fragrances helped lead her to where she is today.
Carol's Daughter is Lisa Price, a woman whose passion for fragrance led her into the kitchen to create products with good for you ingredients for her friends and family. Inspired by the delicious recipes and irresistible smells from her Nana's kitchen, Lisa's creations all begin with a beautiful fragrance and the best ingredients. The homespun line has expanded to include a full range of hair care and body care products as well as Lisa's signature fragrances.
See what's in store during the boutique's five-day run:
- July 1st: 12pm-5pm (declared "Carol's Daughter day by Mayor Nagin)
Celebrate Carol's Daughter day by meeting Mayor Nagin's wife, Seletha Nagin and founder Lisa Price, who will be on hand to share her inspiration and meet visitors one-on-one
- July 2nd: 10am-7pm
- July 3rd: 10am-7pm
Celebrate the festivities with a Happy Hour with DJ Beverly Bond from 4 – 6pm and an appearance by Melanie Fiona at 1pm where she will be signing autographs and performing.
- July 4th: 10am-7pm
Celebrate the holiday with the following special appearances:
Keri Hilson: 1pm (signing), Ryan Leslie : 3pm , Lalah Hathaway: 4pm, Teena Marie: 5pm, Happy Hour with DJ Beverly Bond : 4 – 6pm and "Cooking Class" with Founder Lisa Price
- July 5th: 10am-7pm
The final celebratory day will feature Happy Hour with DJ Beverly Bond from 4 – 6pm and a LUPUS FOUNDATION OF AMERICA "Cooking Class"
Who: Carol's Daughter
What: Pop-Up Store
When: July 1st-July 5th
Where: 523 Rue Iberville
New Orleans, LA
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.
New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said Monday in a 5-4 decision. The city said that it had acted to avoid a lawsuit from minorities.
The ruling could alter employment practices nationwide and make it harder to prove discrimination when there is no evidence it was intentional.
"Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his opinion for the court. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the white firefighters "understandably attract this court's sympathy. But they had no vested right to promotion. Nor have other persons received promotions in preference to them."
Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens signed onto Ginsburg's dissent, which she read aloud in court Monday.
Kennedy's opinion made only passing reference to the work of Sotomayor and the other two judges on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who upheld a lower court ruling in favor of New Haven.
But the appellate judges have been criticized for producing a cursory opinion that failed to deal with "indisputably complex and far from well-settled" questions, in the words of another appeals court judge, Sotomayor mentor Jose Cabranes.
"This perfunctory disposition rests uneasily with the weighty issues presented by this appeal," Cabranes said, in a dissent from the full 2nd Circuit's decision not to hear the case.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Sotomayor should not be criticized for the unsigned appeals court decision, which he asserted she did not write. "Judge Sotomayor and the lower court panel did what judges are supposed to do, they followed precedent," said the Vermont Democrat who will preside over Sotomayor's confirmation hearings next month.
Leahy also called the high court decision "cramped" and wrong.
In New Haven, Nancy Ricci, whose son, Frank, was the lead plaintiff on the lawsuit, carried a large cake decorated with red, white and blue frosting into the law office where the firefighters were celebrating their victory.
Ricci's father, Jim Ricci said the ruling is a victory for firefighters across the country. "Now we're going to get the best managers as far as firefighters go. That's really important," Ricci said.
Monday's decision has its origins in New Haven's need to fill vacancies for lieutenants and captains in its fire department. It hired an outside firm to design a test, which was given to 77 candidates for lieutenant and 41 candidates for captain.
Fifty six firefighters passed the exams, including 41 whites, 22 blacks and 18 Hispanics. But of those, only 17 whites and two Hispanics could expect promotion.
The city eventually decided not to use the exam to determine promotions. It said it acted because it might have been vulnerable to claims that the exam had a "disparate impact" on minorities in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The white firefighters said the decision violated the same law's prohibition on intentional discrimination.
Kennedy said an employer needs a "strong basis in evidence" to believe it will be held liable in a disparate impact lawsuit. New Haven had no such evidence, he said.
The city declined to validate the test after it was given, a step that could have identified flaws or determined that there were no serious problems with it. In addition, city officials could not say what was wrong with the test, other than the racially skewed results.
"The city could be liable for disparate-impact discrimination only if the examinations were not job related" or the city failed to use a less discriminatory alternative, Kennedy said. "We conclude that there is no strong basis in evidence to establish that the test was deficient in either of these respects."
But Ginsburg said the court should have assessed "the starkly disparate results" of the exams against the backdrop of historical and ongoing inequality in the New Haven fire department. As of 2003, she said, only one of the city's 21 fire captains was African-American.
Until this decision, Ginsburg said, the civil rights law's prohibitions on intentional discrimination and disparate impact were complementary, both aimed at ending workplace discrimination.
"Today's decision sets these paired directives at odds," she said.
Anyone who knows me know that I am no longer a viewer of BET. I gave up on the channel a long time ago for many different reasons, but I decided to put all of that aside last night because the death of The King warranted me to at least watch the BET Awards and see how they planned on honoring this great talent that we had been blessed with. I must say my hopes were extraordinarily high. We are talking about Michael Jackson people. How can BET possibly mess this up? Boy, was I in for an incredibly disappointing surprise. Let me begin on a positive note and talk about the highlights of the show.
"To you, Michael is an icon," a somber Janet Jackson told the crowd at the end of Sunday's show. "To us, Michael is family and he will forever live in all of our hearts."
DETROIT (AP) — City Councilwoman Monica Conyers pleaded guilty to bribery charges Friday, becoming the latest Detroit politician taken down by scandal and marking a victory for federal prosecutors in their nearly two-year investigation into city corruption.
Conyers, the wife of powerful Democratic congressman John Conyers who won her seat in 2005 largely on her popular husband's name, admitted in federal court to taking cash from a Houston-based company in exchange for her vote on a city sludge-treatment contract.
The normally fiery 44-year-old Conyers spoke quietly while entering her plea in federal court, and left the courthouse without commenting to reporters, free on bond. She faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when she's sentenced.
Her lawyer, Steve Fishman, said he will ask Judge Avern Cohn for a sentence that doesn't include prison time. Both Fishman and federal authorities say the plea deal does not include a formal cooperation agreement.
Monica Conyers' plea is the latest blow to a city beset by political scandal in recent years. Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and a top aide were jailed after admitting to lying under oath about their romantic involvement during a whistle-blowers' trial.
And a recent audit of the city's beleaguered public school system has uncovered theft and other wrongdoing by employees.
Prosecutors made clear that John Conyers, the 80-year-old chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, knew nothing of his wife's corruption. He declined to answer a reporter's questions as he walked to the House floor for a vote Friday morning, saying, "I have no comment whatever."
His office issued the following statement:
"This has been a trying time for the Conyers family. With hope and prayer, they will make it through this as a family. Public officials must expect to be held to the highest ethical and legal standards. With this in mind, Mr. Conyers wants to work towards helping his family and the city recover from this serious matter."
City Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. said city attorneys were looking into whether Monica Conyers will lose her seat on the board immediately, or whether that will happen after she's sentenced.
U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg said Monica Conyers admitted to "a pattern of conduct of accepting bribes," but the plea agreement does not specify how much money was involved.
Prosecutors said Monica Conyers accepted two payments in late 2007 from a Synagro Technologies official, Rayford Jackson, in exchange for supporting a 20-year, $47-million-a-year, contract that November to have Synagro recycle wastewater sludge and build a modern incinerator in a poor Detroit neighborhood.
The council voted 5-4 to approve the contract with Conyers' vote. It was rescinded in January amid the accusations of wrongdoing.
Monica Conyers is the most prominent person snagged in the Synagro investigation. Jackson and the company's Michigan representative, Jim Rosendall, also have pleaded guilty to bribery charges in the case. Rosendall's plea agreement described how he distributed cash and other gifts to officials.
Jun 28, 2009
Savvy Talk Radio w/ The Savvy Sista is a talk radio show that discusses the hottest issues going on in the community. Whether it's topics covering relationships, politics, economics, etc, it will be covered on Savvy Talk Radio. The show takes place every Sunday from 6-8 pm EST. You may listen to the live show by calling 718-664-6383. If you wish to ask a question or make a comment during the show just press "1" on your phone's keypad. You can also listen to the show on the internet by going to www.blogtalkradio.com/thesavvysista and participate in the live chat room.
PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE DOWNLOAD OF RHYMEFEST'S TRIBUTE ALBUM TO MICHAEL JACKSON.
Jun 27, 2009
Now. I must admit to try and find the greatest Michael Jackson performances is one of the most difficult feats I have ever ventured upon. So I am going to do my best and throw out some of my favorite performances. The man was a magical and musical genius and so to try to pick a favorite performance of his is like trying to pick a favorite song of his. Its very difficult, but I'm going to try. I dare anyone to name a greater performer or entertainer than this man. I dare you. Name another performer who had people dying at his/her show. Come one, I'll give you a minute to think about it.
Here is the first part of my list of Michael Jackson's greatest performances.
'Billie Jean' at the Motown 25 Yesterday, Today, and Forever:
Jackson 5 on the Ed Sullivan Show singing 'I Want You Back':
The Greatest NFL Superbowl Halftime Performance ever:
The Greatest Moment in BET Music Awards History:
1995 MTV Music Awards Performance
Jun 26, 2009
LONDON, England (CNN) -- How many people does it take to break the Internet? On June 25, we found out it's just one -- if that one is Michael Jackson.
The biggest showbiz story of the year saw the troubled star take a good slice of the Internet with him, as the ripples caused by the news of his death swept around the globe.
"Between approximately 2:40 p.m. PDT and 3:15 p.m. PDT today, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson," a Google spokesman told CNET, which also reported that Google News users complained that the service was inaccessible for a time. At its peak, Google Trends rated the Jackson story as "volcanic."
As sites fell, users raced to other sites: TechCrunch reported that TMZ, which broke the story, had several outages; users then switched to Perez Hilton's blog, which also struggled to deal with the requests it received.
CNN reported a fivefold rise in traffic and visitors in just over an hour, receiving 20 million page views in the hour the story broke.
Twitter crashed as users saw multiple "fail whales" -- the illustrations the site uses as error messages -- user FoieGrasie posting, "Irony: The protesters in Iran using twitter as com are unable to get online because of all the posts of 'Michael Jackson RIP.' Well done." The site's status blog said that Twitter had had to temporarily disable its search results, saved searches and trend topics.
Wikipedia saw a flurry of activity, with close to 500 edits made to Jackson's entry in less than 24 hours. CNET reported that by 3:15pm PDT, Wikipedia seemed to be "temporarily overloaded."
The LA Times, the first news organization to confirm Jackson's death, suffered outages. The site also reported that AOL's instant messenger service had been hit, quoting an AOL statement that said, "AIM was down for approximately 40 minutes this afternoon." The statement said, "Today was a seminal moment in Internet history. We've never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth."
By Friday morning, news sites seemed to be coping with traffic but Jackson fan site mjfanclub.net was still performing sluggishly. Mashable.com reported that tributes to, and remarks upon, Michael Jackson's death were responsible for 30 percent of tweets.
As with any breaking piece of news on the Web, the reports of Jackson's death sparked something of a feeding frenzy -- and with that came rumor that dragged in other celebrities completely unconnected to the King of Pop's death.
One Wikipedia prankster wrote that Jackson had been "savagely murdered" by his brother Tito, who had strangled him "with a microphone cord."
Soon rumors spread online that movie star Jeff Goldblum had fallen from the Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand while filming his latest movie. On several search engines, "Jeff Goldblum" soon became the only non-Jackson-related term to crop up in the top 10.
The rumors forced Goldblum's publicist to issue a statement to media outlets, saying: "Reports that Jeff Goldblum has passed away are completely untrue. He is fine and in Los Angeles."
At the same time Harrison Ford was also rumored to have fallen from a yacht off the south of France.
Web site snopes.com, which shoots down rumors, gossip and urban legends -- and how they originated -- said the likely culprit was a Web site which allows users to input celebrity names -- and then inserts them into fake templated stories (a further variant has stars dying in a plane crash).
In a sense the feeding frenzy was understandable -- Jackson's death, coming only hours after that of 1970s icon Farah Fawcett, left many Web users, shocked by the news of Jackson's death, asking what would happen next. In this febrile climate any rumor runs the risk of being seized on, believed and treated with more credulity than usual.
The need of the professional media to be first with the news -- many did for a short time report the Goldblum rumor as fact -- adds further veracity. And, of course, the whole process is speeded up by the Web.
There is also, of course, the old adage that celebrities die in threes, with the deaths of Gianni Versace, Princess Diana and Mother Teresa in 1997 frequently held up as an example of this.
But while Diana and Teresa passed away with seven days of each other in August and September, Versace was killed in early July. Their deaths were most keenly mourned by the same broad sections of the public -- and hence were inextricably interlinked.
The Web can link disseminate news -- but like any form of communication it can also help us create what we expect to see next.
Jun 25, 2009
Jun 24, 2009
Everyone wants to know the name of the guy that has led me to this place, but there is no ONE particular guy. It has been a culmination of things and a culmination of guys that cause me to get here. One particular guy was the straw that broke the camel's back, but he didn't place all that other straw on my back. As my friend Janeen told me, "If you keep meeting the same guys...different occupations, different heights, etc...but at the end of the day they're the same guy. You need to look at what is the common denominator." At the end of the day I am the common denominator. I can say what I want to say and try to blame whomever, but when all is said and done people can only treat me the way I allow them to treat me.
I have been doing a lot of reflection since I've started this journey and I realize that I really am emotionally unavailable thus I keep attracting emotionally unavailable men to me. In order to be emotionally available you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable and I am a person who struggles with the idea of vulnerability. To allow myself to be vulnerable is something I have always confused with weakness. I'm afraid to be vulnerable because I feel as though people will take advantage of my vulnerability and thus try to use it against me. Now don't ask me where I came up with this notion from. That is another thing I am going to have to reflect on and figure out where it derived. You see to be vulnerable means you have to expose yourself and exposure is something that I have a hard time dealing with. Trust me, I know that a person has to be in a safe place in order to allow themselves to be vulnerable, but its hard to accept that safe place when you view vulnerability as a weakness. So you can see I have a lot of work to do and I accept this challenge. This is the reason why I am taking this journey in the first place. Cutting off communication with the man I've been having dealings with has been very difficult, but I know its something I have to do and I am doing.
So to all the people sharing this journey with me, I would love to hear about some of your own reflections and how you feel you may have contributed to the problems you are having with these men. I hope you start a journal of your experiences and please come here and share them. We can be each other's support because in this economy who can afford to go to therapy anyway. Now, is the time for us to learn to be Our Sister's Keeper.
I am The Savvy Sista and I approve this message.
Washington, DC – Bag Ladies Reality Radio launches Bag Ladies Aids Project, a campaign to promote National HIV Testing Day which takes place on Saturday, June 27th, 2009. Bag Ladies is producing a weeklong special edition show series which will air from June 22nd to June 27th and cover topics ranging from managing relationships, sex and dating to prevention, safety and protection. Additionally, an exclusive event to include Washington, DC notables and Bag Ladies Reality Radio listeners, will be held on June 25th in Washington DC which has one of the fastest growing rates of new HIV/AIDS cases in the country.
"What started as just a thought turned into a full blown project," said Bag Ladies producer and host, Erin A. Martin. "When you look at the target demographic of our listeners and the fact that HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death amongst African American women ages 25 – 34, it would be a disservice not to do something. And Washington, DC is a city with one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the county. Bag Ladies is such a great vehicle to promote the importance of getting tested so how can we not. And the support of companies, listeners and organizations has validated our efforts."
The mix and mingle event will be held at Indulj Restaurant and Lounge located at 1208 U Street, NW in Washington, DC on Thursday, June 25th from 5 – 8pm and is sponsored by Trojan Brand Condoms, Spike DDB, Pampering Junkies, The Body, GiGi, Vagisil and OPI Products, Inc. to name a few and the weeklong show series will feature such nationally-known guests as Demetria L. Lucas, Will Downing and Finesse Mitchell. The event will include on-site testing, a screening of the Spike Lee produced PSA on AIDS entitled, "Stand." Additionally, goodie bags will be distributed to attendees containing materials regarding HIV/AIDS prevention as well as product provided by event sponsors. There will be treats, free manicures and more. And representatives from local health departments and organizations will be speaking regarding the importance of National HIV Testing Day.
Bag Ladies Reality Radio special edition series will be broadcast live from 7 – 8pm EST beginning Monday, June 22nd and will run through Saturday June 27th. Official details regarding the event as well as the show schedule will be revealed on Monday, June 22nd at 7:35pm on Bag Ladies Reality Radio.
Bag Ladies is an intimate, entertaining, cutting-edge, nationally broadcast reality radio show about the reality of life, living and being a woman. Bag Ladies Reality Radio is based in Washington, DC, hosted by Lady Erin (Erin A. Martin), Madame Myra (Myra Mathis), Miz Adams (Stacey Adams) and airs live every Tuesday from 7 – 9:30pm EST and can be accessed by visiting www.bagladiesradio.com or calling 347.327.9510.
FACTS: There are an estimated 200,000 individuals within the United States that are infected with HIV and not aware of it. National HIV Testing Day is an opportunity to reinforce the importance of knowing your status and for people to get tested thus empowering them to take responsibility for their lives and their health. The continuously growing rate of HIV/AIDS infections does not garner the type of media attention required to ensure that folks take the necessary precautions to ensure prevention. While the topic still remains very taboo, HIV/AIDS is growing at an alarming rate both nationally and internationally and is the leading cause of death for African American women ages 25 – 34.
Media inquiries: email@example.com or 202.487.6453
Reach the hosts directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jun 23, 2009
In 1912, a former slave named Charles Shearer opened the first summer inn in Oak Bluffs that catered specifically to black patrons. Only a few dozen blacks visited the island at the time, but over the years Oak Bluffs has become the summer meeting place for scores of what could be called the Only Ones—black professional and social elites who travel in worlds where they're often the only black person in the room. The Only Ones typically break into fields or companies that admit few blacks, move into neighborhoods where few blacks live, and send their kids to mostly white schools. They are not running from their own—they're chasing after the best they can get. They aren't assimilationist; they're ascensionist.
Senator Edward Brooke, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Ethel Waters, Paul Robeson, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. all made visits to Oak Bluffs. The novelist Dorothy West moved to the island in the forties, working for the Vineyard Gazette first as a file clerk and then, for decades, as a columnist who wrote about the prominent blacks visiting the island. Today's summer vacationers come from the worlds of academia (like Harvard professors Skip Gates, Charles Ogletree, and Lani Guinier), media (NPR correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault, former ABC News anchor Carole Simpson), film (directors Spike Lee and Reggie Hudlin), and politics (Valerie Jarrett, who hosted the Obamas in 2007). "If you're upper-middle class and black, this is your spot," Finley says. "You're going to find a way to spend a little bit of quality time here on this island." In Oak Bluffs, the Only Ones become one of many. "I went to a garden party last weekend," Simpson says, "and you would not believe the occupations of the people I met there. It's like all the African-American East Coast professionals have chosen this place to socialize with each other."
Not all blacks stay in Oak Bluffs; Vernon Jordan lives about fifteen miles away, in Chilmark. And the social scene in Oak Bluffs doesn't exclude white islanders. Craig Hockmeyer, who owns a bicycle shop in nearby Vineyard Haven, says he spent many nights at Lola's, which was, until its recent closing, a central part of the Vineyard black universe. "A bald white honky like me could go in there and feel totally comfortable and dance the night away with all the rich black folks, not a problem at all." Still, Vineyard whites understand that blacks in Oak Bluffs take their socializing seriously. "I think the African-American summer community is more active in terms of the social network," says Ron Mechur, a local real-estate appraiser. "They do more things, host more affairs, and support one another as friends. The white community doesn't do as much, and they're not as connected."
The Only Ones deal with glass ceilings at work, unfortunate misunderstandings in their neighborhoods, condescension from blacks who think their education or class makes them inauthentic, and identity crises in their kids. When they get to their Vineyard vacation homes, they want to escape that casual, institutional, and intra-black racism and be around people who help them feel less anomalous. Trey Ellis, who wrote the script for The Inkwell, the notoriously bad film about the black Vineyard experience (Ellis himself called it terrible), says, "The black part of the Vineyard is like, I would imagine, being gay and going to the Castro. It's this mecca where you can be yourself and be with people who have so much in common with you. No one has to feign some street cred when they're playing tennis." It's a source of communion and of pride. "When you see a beautiful black family with their kids, it makes you feel really good about being black," says Chrisette Hudlin, wife of Reggie and a lifelong Vineyarder who travels there every summer from L.A. "As a person who's high-achieving and striving for the best for their family, you're looking at these other black people who have the same goals, and it makes you feel good as a black person. You don't feel out of place." Several Only Ones say there's nowhere in America that makes them more proud of black people.
This is particularly true among parents, who talk about the importance of introducing their children to other black upper-class families so they can know they're not as peculiar as they might feel. "Black kids need to be around successful black families, because other blacks from humble beginnings want you to apologize for being successful," says psychiatrist Carlotta Miles. "On the Vineyard, you don't need excuses or self-consciousness or defensiveness." Drew Dixon Williams grew up in Washington, D.C., where her mother, Sharon Pratt, served as mayor, and she spent summers on the island. "It's sort of embarrassing to say this, coming from Washington," she says, "but I used to say with a straight face—because I was too young to know better—that I would get my black experience on Martha's Vineyard. I didn't have to be defensive about not being black enough or being black in the first place. We were all from The Cosby Show.
Black Vineyarders say the island is one of the most liberal, open-minded places they've ever been. "On the racial stress test, I'd put the Vineyard at Canadian," Reggie Hudlin says. Still, there are stories. Sheila Johnson, the billionaire ex-wife of Bob Johnson (together they co-founded BET), was once said to have been at a tennis tournament when a white woman asked if she would mind introducing her maid to some black people.
And while the Only Ones embrace each other, they can be dismissive of other blacks. "If you're too Southern Baptist, too dark-skinned, too street, you might not be insulted by a white person but you may be insulted by a black person," says Columbia law professor Patricia Williams. "It resembles the way in Britain race and class are inflected. If you're a Nigerian prince and you speak the queen's English, you're okay, but if you're an island hoodlum, then there are no bounds to the expression of racism."
This kind of race-inflected class conflict flared up in the early nineties, when thousands of partying black undergrads moved the traditional Fourth of July party from Virginia Beach (from which they had been ousted) to Martha's Vineyard's South Beach. There were wild bacchanals full of public drunkenness, girls strolling around wearing very little, and guys ogling them with camcorders glued to their eyes or snakes wrapped around their necks. "Those parties were loud and raucous and not the typical Martha's Vineyard crowd at all," remembers one longtime black Vineyarder. "It was a different sort of person coming—the difference between Ebony and Jet, or between Marvin Gaye and Biggie." To the Only Ones, the influx of hip-hop-blasting, beer-guzzling blacks felt like an invasion. As another person remembers it: "People had more grills in their mouth than their ride, and it blew up the island."
A series of community meetings were convened. "No one said 'Where all these loud niggers coming from?' But that was the vibe from black and white Vineyarders." In 1997, a solution was implemented that was simple and subtle enough to fix the problem while avoiding charges of racism: The ferry from Woods Hole changed its policy to eliminate standby passengers and to make reservations nontransferable. Party promoters could no longer buy tickets in bulk, and most students wouldn't think to make a reservation months ahead of time. The parties moved elsewhere, and the Vineyard went back to business as usual.
The arrival of two presidents and a secretary of State will be an invasion of another sort. Some Vineyarders are nervous about the motorcades and traffic; others are preparing for a summer stimulus package. Many blacks from Oak Bluffs are elated that the Only One–in–Chief may be joining them. "People are going to lose their minds!" Tonya Lewis Lee says. At the same time, there's also a bit of wariness among the wealthiest ones, an uncertainty whether Obama will affirm them. "Obama is more a man of the people," says a Vineyarder who's part of black high society. "He doesn't seem to identify with affluent black people. His wife definitely doesn't; she is basically a ghetto girl. That's what she says—I'm just being sociological. She grew up in the same place Jennifer Hudson did. She hasn't reached out to the social community of Washington, and people are waiting to see what they'll do about that."
It's probably unfair to expect Obama to make new friends on this vacation. "They're not trying to meet the billionaires," says one person who knows the president well. "The Vineyard's a place where everyone sheds their professional skin, and out there he does, too." In the past, Obama has spent time playing golf with Vernon Jordan, swimming off South Beach, playing basketball, sitting on Jarrett's porch while reading and watching the ferries, and taking the girls for ice cream on Circuit Avenue. "He'll be Mr. Dad, as opposed to Mr. President," Charles Ogletree has said. Surely he deserves it.
A new internet data map offers a first-of-its-kind, county-level look at HIV cases in the U.S. and finds the infection rates tend to be highest in the South.
The highest numbers of HIV cases are in population centers like New York and California. However, many of the areas with the highest rates of HIV — that is, the highest proportion of people with the AIDS-causing virus — are in the South, according to the data map, which has information for about 99 percent of the nation's counties.
HIV infection rates are higher in African-American communities, and high minority populations in the South help explain the finding. While that's not surprising, the high rates seen throughout states like Georgia and South Carolina were, said Gary Puckrein, president of the National Minority Quality Forum, the nonprofit research organization that put the map together.
Of 48 counties with the highest prevalence rates for HIV that had not yet progressed to AIDS, 25 were in Georgia, according to the map. Those were counties in which more than .7 percent of the population was infected with HIV.
Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia were heavily represented on another map of counties, which showed the highest prevalence rates for cases that had progressed to AIDS.
The map depicts reported numbers of people living with HIV and AIDS in 2006. Puckrein said the data came from state health departments and was checked against information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Different states report data in different ways, and there may be case duplication that could impact some of the findings, Puckrein said.
"But we have long been part of the effort to identify geographic differences in the HIV epidemic, and we do see the need for efforts like these to facilitate better understanding of these differences," said CDC spokeswoman Elizabeth-Ann Chandler. (Source)
Ed McMahon, who gained fame as Johnny Carson's TV sidekick and later as a pitchman and host of the "Star Search" talent show, has died. He was 86.
McMahon served as commercial spokesman for Budweiser beer and annually co-hosted the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon. He also appeared in several films, including "The Incident" (1967), "Fun With Dick and Jane" (1977), "Full Moon High" (1981) and "Butterfly" (1982).
But his greatest fame was achieved during the 30 years he served as announcer on "The Tonight Show," introducing Carson with the trademark "Heeeere's Johnny!" and guffawing at his boss' jokes — even when the audience didn't.
More recently he made headlines for falling $644,000 in arrears on a $4.8 million loan for a home in Beverly Hills.
No cause of death was immediately given, but McMahon was hospitalized in February, suffering from pneumonia and bone cancer. (Source)
Golden Brooks and D.B. Woodside are expecting a child together, the actress's rep tells PEOPLE exclusively.
The former Girlfriends star, 38, is due in September.
The actress recently wrapped the indie film Polish Bar, while Woodside, 39 – best known for his role as President Wayne Palmer on 24 – is currently appearing on HawthoRNe.
Brooks and Woodside began dating in 2008.
Gossip blogger Perez Hilton sent a flurry of Twitter messages early Monday claiming that he was beaten up by Will.i.am of the group Black Eyed Peas and his security guards in Toronto, but he later clarified that it was the group's manager that threw the punches.
Both parties were in the city attending the MuchMusic Awards when the alleged incident took place outside of an after party at a Toronto nightclub.
Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, tweeted at about 4 a.m. on Monday: "I was assaulted by Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke."
It was followed up by tweets urging followers to call the Toronto police. He would explain later Monday that he called the police before he started tweeting folks to call the precinct because the cops weren't responding quickly enough.
"I won't be talking about this any further," Hilton tweeted after cops arrived. "It is in the hands of the authorities."
The matter quickly moved from Twitter to the Internet, as will.i.am posted an early morning video on his website DipDive.com explaining his side of what happened and that Hilton was punched by a fan, not by someone in his camp
At 10:18, Perez responded with an emotional and expletive-filled videotaped statement detailing his side of the story and calling will.i.am a "f***ing liar" for pinning the punch on "a random fan."
Both Hilton and will.i.am say that Peas member Fergie first approached Hilton at the MuchMusic Awards dress rehearsal and asked him why he doesn't like their new album. Both parties also agree that Hilton reiterated his dislike for their new music.
Both sides say that Fergie ran into Hilton again on Sunday at an after party and said, "Perez, I thought we were cool." Another conversation followed and the matter was dropped.
At a second after party early Monday, Hilton came face to face with will.i.am – and in both of their accounts, Hilton, who is openly gay, called will.i.am a "faggot" after the musician told him not to blog about their band ever again. Both sides state that will.i.am responded by demanding that Hilton respect him, to which the blogger said, "No, I don't respect you, you are such a 'faggot.'"
Hilton said in his online video statement that he specifically chose that gay slur because he "knew it would set him off."
The two ended up face to face again moments later outside of the club at the valet. This is where the two stories diverge. Will.i.am claims a fan overheard their argument and punched Hilton in the face. Hilton says will.i.am's tour manager Polo Molina came up from behind and punched him three times on the side of his head.
By Monday afternoon, the police had charged BEP's tour manager Polo Molina with assault for the punch after he turned himself in.
The official account from Toronto Police Constable Tony Vella, reported by the Associated Press, had Hilton getting into an argument with Fergie and will.i.am at the Cobra nightclub early Monday morning and being punched outside by Molina.
Here is a grainy video of Perez getting punched:
Here is Will.I.Am giving his side of the story:
Now check after the jump to see Perez Hilton's explanation of what happened.
Perez Hilton gives his side of the story:
The whole thing is pretty damn comical to me. I guess we can use a little comic relief given what is going on in the world today.
Jun 22, 2009
WASHINGTON - Metro confirms two trains have collided on the Red Line between the Takoma and Fort Totten stations. It happened close to the Fort Totten station, a Metro spokesperson said.
A Metro spokesperson said one person is dead and nine others have been hurt.Train traffic has been stopped in the area. Shuttle bus service has been requested, Metro said.
D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Alan Etter said one train was on top of the other train.
This is "developing into a mass casualty event," Etter said. "We're expecting a number of injuries. We're not aware of any fatalities at this point."
ABC 7 has multiple crews en route to the scene. Check back for further updates.
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A plea deal has been reached in the assault case against Chris Brown, defense attorney Mark Geragos said in a hearing Monday.
Under terms of the agreement, Brown will serve five years of probation.
The singer was in court Monday over charges related to his argument with girlfriend Rihanna in February.
Brown, 20, entered a "not guilty" plea at an earlier hearing to felony counts of assault and making criminal threats.
Los Angeles Criminal Court Judge Patricia Schnegg decided against allowing cameras into the courtroom during Rihanna's testimony, court spokesman Allan Parachini said.
Rihanna -- whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty -- cleared her schedule so she could be in court if prosecutors call her as a witness, her lawyer, Donald Etra, said last month. Prosecutors told him they would call her, Etra said.
She has not attended any of the hearings, but she has been following the case closely, he said.
Rihanna was in a relationship with Brown for more than a year before the February 8 incident.
Her lawyer told the judge at Brown's first hearing four months ago that she did not want his bond to bar him from having contact with her.
"Rihanna requested that no such order be issued," Etra said.
Rihanna did not file a complaint against Brown, but the prosecution's case is built on what she told detectives and on physical evidence they collected from her, including photographs of her bruised and battered face.
It was not Rihanna who called police but someone who heard her screams for help, according to a sworn statement by Los Angeles Police Detective DeShon Andrews.
The statement, filed with the court to support a search warrant for cell phone records, described a brutal attack against Rihanna, allegedly by Brown.
Andrews said the incident began when Rihanna, who was riding in the sports car driven by Brown, found a text message on his cell phone from "a woman who Brown had a previous sexual relationship with."
"A verbal argument ensued and Brown pulled the vehicle over on an unknown street, reached over Robyn F. with his right hand, opened the car door and attempted to force her out. Brown was unable to force Robyn F. out of the vehicle because she was wearing a seat belt. When he could not force her to exit, he took his right hand and shoved her head against the passenger window of the vehicle, causing an approximate one-inch raised circular contusion," the statement said.
"Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.'s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle," the statement continued.
"Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, 'I'm going to beat the s--t out of you when we get home! You wait and see!' " The detective said "Robyn F." then used her cell phone to call her personal assistant Jennifer Rosales, who did not answer.
The statement continued:
"Robyn F. pretended to talk to her and stated, 'I'm on my way home. Make sure the police are there when I get there.'
"After Robyn F. faked the call, Brown looked at her and stated, 'You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I'm really going to kill you!'
"Brown resumed punching Robyn F. and she interlocked her fingers behind her head and brought her elbows forward to protect her face. She then bent over at the waist, placing her elbows and face near her lap in [an] attempt to protect her face and head from the barrage of punches being levied upon her by Brown.
"Brown continued to punch Robyn F. on her left arm and hand, causing her to suffer a contusion on her left triceps (sic) that was approximately two inches in diameter and numerous contusions on her left hand.
"Robyn F. then attempted to send a text message to her other personal assistant, Melissa Ford. Brown snatched the cellular telephone out of her hand and threw it out of the window onto an unknown street.
"Brown continued driving and Robyn F. observed his cellular telephone sitting in his lap. She picked up the cellular telephone with her left hand and before she could make a call he placed her in a head lock with his right hand and continued to drive the vehicle with his left hand.
"Brown pulled Robyn F. close to him and bit her on her left ear. She was able to feel the vehicle swerving from right to left as Brown sped away. He stopped the vehicle in front of 333 North June Street and Robyn F. turned off the car, removed the key from the ignition and sat on it.
"Brown did not know what she did with the key and began punching her in the face and arms. He then placed her in a head lock positioning the front of her throat between his bicep and forearm. Brown began applying pressure to Robyn F.'s left and right carotid arteries, causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness.
"She reached up with her left hand and began attempting to gouge his eyes in an attempt to free herself. Brown bit her left ring and middle fingers and then released her. While Brown continued to punch her, she turned around and placed her back against the passenger door. She brought her knees to her chest, placed her feet against Brown's body and began pushing him away. Brown continued to punch her on the legs and feet, causing several contusions.
"Robyn F. began screaming for help and Brown exited the vehicle and walked away. A resident in the neighborhood heard Robyn F.'s plea for help and called 911, causing a police response. An investigation was conducted and Robyn F. was issued a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order.
At the end of his statement, the detective said Brown sent a text message nine days later apologizing.
"In the text message, Brown apologized for what he had done to Robyn F. and advised [Rihanna's assistant] Ford that he was going to get help," Andrews wrote.