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Black Entertainment, Money, Style and Beauty Blogs - Black Voices

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    Café Mocha: Debuts In NYC & Partners With Dr. Oz
    Syndicated radio show Cafe Mocha is just approaching its one-year anniversary and is already being called "one of the fastest growing shows on radio."

    The weekly weekend show, hosted by Grammy-nominated hip-hop star MC Lyte, comedienne Loni Love ('Chelsea Lately') and radio veteran Angelique Perrin, just added New York City to its expanding list of markets.

    The show now airs every Saturday on WBLS 107.5 FM, which is a homecoming for co-host Lyte.

    "This is a lifelong dream come true. Not only do I get to connect to my hometown of New York and the surrounding Tri-State area, but I'm working with two of the funniest and intelligent women in the business, Angelique and Loni. Cafe Mocha is an amazing show and I'm excited and proud to be involved," the rap star and voiceover talent told BlackVoices.com.

    New York City is the seventeenth market for Cafe Mocha, which can also be heard in cities like Washington, DC, Chicago, Pittsburg, Milwaukee and GreensboLoni Lovero, among others.

    The Super Radio-distributed program, which is geared towards African-American women ages 18 to 49, has also partnered with the 'Dr. Oz Show' to promote his New Year's resolution revolution 11-week diet plan 'Move It and Lose It.'

    "Lyte, Loni and I all watch the 'Dr. Oz Show' and when he announced his 11-week 'Move It and Lose It' campaign, we decided it was time for us to go from watching the show to living it, while engaging our listeners along the way," said Perrin. "He's making the challenge so easy that there's no reason not to do it. His commitment is so compassionate and enlightening that it blew our minds. We're so proud to be able to use our show to push this program as your health is so affected by being overweight."

    The ladies of Cafe Mocha will be checking in with the Dr. Mehmet Oz weekly to track both the listener participation and their own pursuits towards better living.

    "It's an amazing program that deals with diet, exercise and literally haSheila Eldridges personal trainers put together customized workouts for you on the web for free," Perrin added. "As Dr. Oz says, 'No more excuses!' All you have to do is go to DoctorOz.com sign up and show up. When he checks in with us each week, he'll also be checking on the listeners."

    Cafe Mocha launched in March 2010 and is the mastermind of award-winning media mogul Sheila Eldridge.

    In addition to the trio of principal hosts, the show also features an assortment of expert contributors including motivational speaker Michelle Hammond, licensed MD and clinically approved sexologist Dr. Rachael Ross, entertainment and lifestyle reporter Sandra Varner, and psychologist Dr. Alduan Tartt.

    For learn more about Cafe Mocha and find out where to listen, visit them online at www.CafeMocharadio.com.


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    Black Music Notes Mar. 19

      3/19/09: Rihanna / Chris Brown
      Contrary to previous claims that Rihanna and Chris Brown reunited in the studio last month to record a new duet, record producer Polow Da Don recently confirmed that the couple recorded the newly surfaced track last year. "The reports are inaccurate," Polow's publicist, Laura Wright, told US magazine. "The duet was recorded long before the incident." According to People, the track, reportedly titled 'Bad Girl,' was intended to be on the soundtrack for 'Confessions of a Shopaholic,' but the song was eventually recorded by the Pussycat Dolls.

      Frank Micelotta, Getty Images

      3/19/09: Kanye West / The Dream
      Seven years ago this month, music heavyweights R. Kelly and Jay-Z released their highly anticipated collaborative album 'The Best of Both Worlds.' Now it appears Kanye West and The Dream are vying to work on a similar project. "Everybody is trying to talk us into it," Dream told 'MTV News' of his and West's friends and business associates. "It was first thought of by me. I was in Miami at the time, and I gave Kanye a call and said, 'The best thing would be for me and you to do an album.'... Let's take the best of both worlds and put it on a CD and try to make something we can sell to the consumers. He says he's with it. We're gonna try to make it happen." For now, you can catch Kanye on Dream's potential third single 'Walking on the Moon,' which is featured on his newly released album 'Love vs. Money.'

      Getty Images

      3/19/09: The Miracles
      Legendary Motown group The Miracles is the latest musical act to receive a Hollywood star on the world-renowned Walk of Fame. The 'Ooo Baby, Baby' singers were presented with the 2,381st star on March 20 by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO Leron Gubler. Motown founder Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder were also on hand as guest speakers for the ceremony.

      Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

      3/19/09: Chester Gregory
      After several years of blowing audiences away on the 'Great White Way,' Broadway Star and R&B soul recording artist Chester Gregory is preparing the release of his debut album 'In Search of High Love.' The March 31 release finds the multitalented singer introducing himself as a thoughtful and sensitive songwriter blessed with a voice that captivates and demands attention. "While I've thoroughly enjoyed performing on Broadway -- eight shows a week and telling other people's amazing stories -- now it's time for me to share my own," explained Gregory. Highlights of 'In Search of High Love' include the poetic 'Clouds to the Ground,' the crossover-bound 'Say it's Over' and Jackie Wilson's soaring 1967 chart-topper 'Higher and Higher.'

      Jemal Countess, WireImage

      3/19/09: Sammy Davis Jr.
      Altovise Davis, the widow of Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr. , recently died at the age of 65. Two days prior to her death, she was admitted to Los Angeles'Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after suffering a stroke. The couple, who met in 1967 on the set of the musical 'Golden Boy,' married in 1970 and remained together until Davis' untimely death of throat cancer in 1990.

      Evening Standard / Getty Images

      3/19/09: Earth, Wind & Fire
      Iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group Earth, Wind & Fire is set to hit the road this summer for a 30-city tour beginning June 5 in Orange Beach, AL. In addition to Maurice White and company gracing the stage will be pop-rock band Chicago, which will perform a full show before joining for a final set together, according to Billboard. The tour will conclude on Aug. 1 in Lake Tahoe, NV.

      Santiago Llanquin / AP

      3/19/09: Kim Burrell
      Gospel vocalist Kim Burrell is on deck to release her first new album in nine years titled 'No Ways Tired.' The project's title is inspired by gospel pioneer James Cleveland's classic of the same name. In addition to covering Cleveland's hit, Burrell also tapped other timeless classics including 'My Faith Looks Up to Thee,' 'What a Friend We Have in Jesus,' 'O Lamb of God,' and 'I Surrender All.' There are also a few originals. 'No Ways Tired' is set to hit stores April 7 via Shanachie Records.

      Zomba

      3/19/09: Mike Jones
      Despite being on hiatus since the release of his debut album 'Who Is Mike Jones?' Houston's own Mike Jones is ready to make his mark on the charts once again with the release of 'The Voice.' Jones' sophomore effort is packed with some of the industry's most talented artist including, Lil' Wayne, T-Pain, Devin the Dude, Hurricane Chris and Twista. He's had recent success with his latest single 'Next To You,' which is currently number 16 on Radio and Records Rhythmic charts. "For the past four years, I have been doing a lot of restructuring, getting this record right, making sure my business is right and more," Jones said of his hiatus. "Now, I am ready to finish what I started. I'm hoping my fans will feel 'The Voice' was worth the wait." Mike Jones 'The Voice' is due in stores April 28.

      Gilbert Carrasquillo, FilmMagic

      3/19/09: Prince
      With the recent announcement that Michael Jackson will return to the stage this summer, another influential artist is also planning to make his return. Beginning March 25, Prince will be performing on the 'Tonight Show with Jay Leno' for three consecutive nights. In addition, the 'Little Red Corvette' singer is also readying the Mar. 29 release of his two new albums 'LOtUSFLOW3R' and 'MPLSoUND.' Prince is the latest artist to promote a release through multiple late-night talk show performances. U2 also recently performed five nights in a row on the 'Late Show with David Letterman' in support of its new album 'No Line on the Horizon.'

      Kevin Winter, NCLR / Getty Images

     

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    No one character from the former CW sitcom 'The Game' has been more endearing than tell-it-like-it-is momager Tasha Mack. Now, the dramedy about football players -- and the women in their lives -- is getting a second shot after being canceled two years ago.

    BET has picked up the show and is giving it a major marketing push -- something that veteran television actress Wendy Raquel Robinson, who plays Mack, says is a dream come true.

    On the eve of the season 4 premiere, BlackVoices.com caught up with the NAACP Image Award nominee and proud Howard University alum to discuss the state of black television, why she loves her 'Game' cast mates and all of the things she's learned from playing her lovable character.

    BlackVoices.com: Take us back to when you heard the news that the CW was canceling 'The Game.' What were your thoughts?
    Wendy Raquel Robinson:
    You know it was bittersweet because we knew at the end of filming season 3 that the CW was no longer going to have a half-hour format so that was their way of saying, "You're canceled but not officially canceled." We were in the kitchen of Jason and Kelly's house, and the director had the crew and cast and Champagne and toasted everyone for their hard work. It was bittersweet; we went out with our heads up and there were rumors of BET. It cushioned the blow.

    BV: How do you feel knowing that the CW has no black shows anymore?
    WRR:
    When the CW introduced its new lineup in February of '08, there was no one in that lineup that looked like us. That was a big slap in the face. That hurt a lot because it wasn't about the ratings or the quality of the show, they just had no where to put us. I feel like for whatever reason it doesn't depict the true diversity as us as a nation when you look at television and you don't see anybody that look like us.

    BV: All the while, there were rumors [show creator] Mara Brock Akil was meeting with BET executives and other networks. Did you think that it ever had a shot at being picked up by someone else?
    WRR:
    I was with Mara Brock Akil and Tia Mowry having a spa day, and this is back in 2008, and Mara said, "It's going to happen. It's going to happen...probably in 2010." But it seemed like it was so far away. I said, "By 2010, the fans will have forgotten all about us." But now BET has been rerunning the show, and there is a resurgence. It speaks to the power of media and the Internet. I don't really know anything that has happened like this.

    BV: Talk about being on BET now. How's that been?
    WRR:
    I'm really excited about BET taking a risk and stepping outside of the box and doing something so different and so new and bringing us back to the screen. They are very family-oriented, and I feel like this is some of the best treatment that I have had in all of the years of working with networks. I have a personal relationship with Loretha [Jones], who is charge of development and [BET President] Debra Lee, so I feel like I really know all these people. It feels like this is where I'm supposed to be.

    BV: Why do you think that fans of 'The Game' are so into the show?
    WRR
    : I think that the one time that our voice was heard in terms of fans speaking out and bringing it back. I'm in a state of disbelief, too, because with the urgings of the fans and BET, everything worked together and clicked.

    BV: How was filming in Atlanta?
    WRR
    : It was hard being away from home, but in Atlanta I felt like we were rock stars. In L.A. everybody is an actor, singer or dancer, but when we were in Atlanta, it was like, "Hey Tasha Mack!" and a lot more excitement. It was where we needed to be. They didn't spare any expense in terms of giving us the love that we didn't get on the CW or in L.A. It was a new crew, but the cast and writers were the same.

    BV: How is it playing Tasha Mack?
    WRR:
    I call her my alter ego. She says the things that Wendy is too fearful to say and does the things that I would not normally do. She's so politically incorrect. I love her flaws and imperfections, and I love that she's a strong African American woman and unafraid to speak her mind. She is who she is and has really changed my life. The role she was born to play. It's rare to play a character that you just mesh with. From the moment I auditioned, I said, "I just knew her."

    BV: What are the big difference between being on BET and now being on the CW?
    WRR
    : The biggest difference is the CW execs were hovering over us but BET gave us the freedom to play and have fun and explore more things within your character. I've never played a character that came so innately to me. It's so much fun. It's been a ball and a blast.

    BV: What have you learned about yourself as an actress by playing her?
    WRR:
    Because I play life very safe, what I'm pulling from her is the ability to take risks and if something is bothering me to speak out. She has given me the permission not to be a people-pleaser all the time, and I need that in business dealings. She's given me business savvy and the ability to be more direct. Sometimes you do need to make waves or people will ride all over you. She's given me more inner strength and permission to have fun. I'm a fool anyway, but she's a fool to a whole other level.

    BV: How is your off-screen relationship with actor Hosea Chanchez, who plays your son Malik on the series?
    WRR:
    I don't have any kids, but me and Hosea are the best of friends. We spend Christmas and New Year's together. We've really become family. I'm close with his mom. ['The Game'] has really given me some really wonderful relationships. It has changed my life tremendously -- to come back two years later in the lives of these characters and jump in. We didn't miss a beat.

    BV: When the season finale ended what your character was going through?
    WRR
    : At the season finale, I blew it with Rick Fox. In my mind, I thought we broke up, but he made a cameo and showed up at the wedding and so it lent itself to "Are they going to get back together?" I was also such a backstabber and introducing Kelly's ex husband to Stacy Dash's character and they had a relationship so Kelly punched me out for that and we weren't speaking.

    BV: Now, it's two years later, right? Where is Tasha Mack now?
    WRR:
    I'm looking for love in all the wrong places. I'm really doing me and get into a relationship. Tasha is getting her groove back and with her comes a lot of baggage. I am with a wonderful young man who is a boy toy, and I am just having fun. But he isn't having fun; he's getting more serious. It's going to be very interesting to see how I sabotage that relationship, but it's going to take me to another relationship. At the end of the season, Tasha is learning to love herself.

    BV: Without giving too much away? What can fans look forward to in season 4?
    WRR: I think a discovery. We're all discovering who we are and what we want. If I can look at all six of us -- we're all in search of something but don't know what it is. Mine is love and acceptance even though my career is going great. Kelly is in search of a new identity. Malik is in search of sobriety. Everyone is in search of something. We got all this money but what's our purpose in our life?

    BV: What do you think about Melanie and Derwin's relationship?
    WRR:
    It's so real with the baby mama drama and insecurities that come with that. Being the wife but knowing his heart is with the child and asking yourself, "Is his heart with the baby mama too?" She's really insecure, but I love it because I think the audience can identify with it so well. How much do I trust and love my man and can I accept his son? I love their relationship.

    BV: Do you think Rick Fox will resurface?
    WRR
    : I think there's an open door for Rick Fox, but I don't know. He did 'Dancing With the Stars' and is doing other things, so there's no telling. Ultimately there's a place in Tasha's heart for him to always come back.

    BV: Are you and Kelly going to be friends again?
    WRR
    : I love her, and this season it's good, it's bad, it gets a little sad because we're all dealing with life and friends drifting apart and coming together. I don't ever think it will be the same way that it was. She's on a journey to reinvent herself and the things she does its not repairable.

    BV: Tasha Mack hit the big time and is also managing Derwin. Are you still managing your son, Malik?
    WRR
    : It's been brought to my attention my son and I don't even interact in the premiere. He fired me again, and he has animosity because now Derwin is the baller. My client Derwin is at the top of his game, and unfortunately my son and I are not as close. There's some personal animosity, and you'll see it as it progresses. It's the perfect set up for season five.

    BV: What are your thoughts on professional football players in general and the women in their lives?
    WRR:
    I have no comment as I said years ago (laughs). It's a very interesting world. It's a very interesting world. It was a lot for me. You need to have thick skin and know your man and also have an open spirit about complaining about what he did or how he did it. It's really about being authentic to who you are. I've been watching football wives and know the lead lady Dawn, and she's very sweet and breaks the stereotype of that world. She's a lawyer and has her head on straight and is very different from some of the other women, but in that world you have to have your life and know who you are.

    BV: Do you feel that the show has given you a different perspective on how fame isn't all that it's cracked up to be?
    WRR:
    It's like having everything and nothing. To me, without love and knowing yourself, money and the paparazzi mean nothing. Some of the loneliest people I know are the ones with everything. Look at Michael Jackson getting caught up in a world where everyone says yes and no one keeps it real. It's hard to be grounded in this world, and that's what I love about Tasha. She is definitely grounded.

    BV: How long do you see 'The Game' being on the air?
    WRR:
    I want it to go another five years. It could go in so many different directions. My character is finding love and purpose in life. I want it to keep going.

    BV: Do you have a passion project that you want to do? One role that you think you were born to play?
    WRR:
    I've been working with kids in the performing arts over the past 14 years with my nonprofit, Amazing Grace Conservatory in South Central Los Angeles. I've worked with amazing people who are in movies, TV and getting record deals and to see that and other young people's dreams come true that fulfills me so much. We're doing a docu-drama about it following the lives of some of the artists.

    Season 4 of 'The Game' premieres on BET on Jan. 11 at 10 p.m. EST.

     

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    I was shaking my head over and over again in preparation for a conversation we are going to have on NPR tomorrow about President Obama. The show is called "Talk of the Nation," and I had the esteemed honor of being the resident black guy, as the other two guests are set to discuss various elements of foreign and domestic policy. I'm just joking about the "black guy" thing, since I'm just happy they didn't choose someone like Juan Williams.

    At any rate, my brain started spinning on how President Obama can best use the remainder of his first term as it pertains to people of color. I thought carefully about what he's done, what he's doing, what he's up against and what matters to us. In my course of thought, I came to a few conclusions.

    First, African Americans are probably the most politically-polite people in the history of the world. Our collective self-esteem problem leads us to sit quietly on the sidelines, hoping that if we are silent enough, people won't realize that Obama is black like the rest of us. We get excited about the Obama family pictures in Ebony Magazine, as women quietly fantasize about what it would be like to have Obama as a husband. All the while, there is very little conversation about how to deal with Barack Obama as a political figure that must be addressed as it pertains to the needs of our community. In politics, nice guys finish last. It is for that reason that we haven't heard anyone in the Obama Administration utter the words "black man," "black woman," or "poor people" in the past 24 months.

    Secondly, the president can't get away from the problem of economic inequality. While the Obama Administration may be making efforts to manage racial disparities in economic opportunity, those efforts clearly haven't worked. As of last month, the gap in black and white unemployment has continued to grow, as African Americans are feeling a much smaller piece of the overall recovery. In addition, we were not only hit the hardest by the recession, we were the least prepared for it. African American families have wealth levels that are only one-tenth of those of white Americans, meaning that we have less financial cushion to protect us from a downturn. Addressing economic problems in America is not the same as addressing economic inequality. Black unemployment rates being nearly double those of white Americans means that when the recession is over for everyone else, we'll still be in a downturn.

    Third, the president and his attorney general must find a way to address the mass incarceration problem in America, particularly it's dramatic impact on minorities. President Obama deserves credit for negotiating a less draconian version of the crack-powder sentencing disparity (instead of getting a sentence for crack possession that is 100 times longer than powder, it is now 18 times longer, but black people are accustomed to not expecting real equality). All the while, we still have a criminal justice system that cripples black families at holocaust levels. The prison industrial complex has created a social landscape through which money is being made by incarceration, allowing the beast of capitalism to feed on itself and destroy human beings. As it stands, black men are seven times more likely than white men to go to prison, slave labor still exists behind bars, and nearly all meaningful employment opportunities of fathers and mothers are ruined when they are labeled as felons. This is not acceptable.

    Finally, President Obama must continue his work on educational reform. Fundamental shifts in how schools are funded must be made so that the school-to-prison pipeline ceases to exist. Intelligent black boys are far more likely to be placed in special education, they are suspended at higher rates, and even inner city kids who follow the rules and show up every day are walking away from high school without sufficient reading ability. It's one thing if parents are choosing not to educate their children, but another if they are trying to get education that is being denied. That's what's happening in far too many schools across America.

    If we continue to attack the problems of economic inequality, educational access and mass incarceration, we will go a long way toward making America the nation that it's meant to be. The job doesn't just belong to President Obama, it belongs to us all. We must push our politicians to be righteous.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action Resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    The Nets are closing in on a deal to bring Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey.
    Talks on a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons continued Monday, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press.

    The trade would reunite Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton in New Jersey along with Anthony, the person said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the talks.

    The three teams negotiated over the weekend and the source said the deal was ''advancing.''

    However, there are potential roadblocks.

    The deal would fall apart if Anthony refused to sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension with the Nets. Billups also has said he would be reluctant to leave Denver.

    Anthony refused to discuss a potential deal before the Nuggets played New Orleans in Denver on Sunday night. He said afterward he didn't think a 96-87 loss was his last game in a Nuggets uniform.

    ''Uh-uh, not at all,'' he said, repeating the phrase ''not at all'' four times.
    Asked if that was an indication he wouldn't sign the extension so the trade with the Nets could be consummated, Anthony demurred, saying: ''I haven't heard anything. Only, that it's just been speculation as of right now.''

    Source: Fox Sports


    Kevin Eason is a freelance editorial cartoonist and Illustrator from New Jersey. His brand of satire covers news events in politics, entertainment, sports and much more. Follow him on Facebook.

     

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    1) What is your name and what do you do?

    My name is Cheryl Wills and I am an author and television anchor for Time Warner Cable's flagship cable news network called New York 1 News.

    2) Tell us about your book? What do readers gain from reading it?

    My book is called "Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale." It is about my great-great-great grandfather, Sandy Wills, who was a runaway slave in Haywood County, Tennessee. Sandy joined the United States Colored Troops in 1863 and fought for the Union Army until the end of the Civil War in 1865. Readers gain a wealth of information about that critical era that freed ALL Americans - not just Africans. The institution of slavery was devastating for Africans but also for Whites because they were violating codes of humanity by suppressing the freedom of their fellow human beings. Imagine being the first in your family to uncover such a heroic story in some 150 years.

    Readers learn about the Civil War from the perspective of an African soldier based on documents I obtained from the National Archives. Unlike the movie "Glory" which was told through a Harvard-educated officer's perspective, "Die Free" is told from the African American soldier's vantage point. It reveals the heroism of my great-great-great grandfather who rounded up five of his enslaved 'brothers-in-bondage' as I call them. Mack Wills, James Wills, Richard Wills, Dick Wills and Andy Wills (all of whom were 'owned' by Edmund Wills) and I interpret their lives from their responses on their enlistment forms and their pension documents.

    And the entire family story is told through the experience of my father, Clarence Wills, a Vietnam-era paratrooper and New York City Fireman who began his life walking the straight and narrow path as a dedicated military man and church deacon and spiraled downward into a womanizing motorcyclist who was killed instantly when he crashed face first into the Williamsburg bridge while surrounded by members of his motorcycle club. This distinguished dead man was a married father with five children ( I was the oldest) - and we were left to fend for ourselves.

    3) What led you to write a book of this nature? What was the process like for you in terms of the challenges you had to overcome to get it done and what you learned from the experience?

    My father's sudden and tragic death was traumatic for me and our family on multiple levels and his spectacular fall from grace led me to write this book for personal closure and when I learned about Sandy Wills, it became an obligation to share Sandy's heroic story with the world. I firmly believe that had my father known about Sandy's heroism during the Civil War, it would have, at the very least, given my father pause before he threw his life away. And that pertains to African-Americans at large. If we had a clearer picture of how our family members struggled during slavery, it should serve as a springboard for our success. What excuse do we have after learning what our forefathers and foremothers did with *less* than nothing. My great-great-great grandfather fought under a flag that didn't even recognize him as a human being much less a citizen of the United States. How dare I not do my best in a country that my great-great-great grandfather so valiantly served and sacrificed for. That's the principle message of my book.




    4) In addition to being an author, you're also an established figure in New York media. Tell us about your storied journalistic career.

    I am so grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me during my 20+ year broadcasting career in the nation's number one media market. I began my career as a production assistant at Fox 5 News in New York where I worked for news legends like Jack Cafferty (before he joined CNN) and many more broadcasters who taught me the ropes. When Time Warner Cable decided to launch a 24 hour news network, I was among the first wave of employees hired in 1992. Prior to the launch of NY1, I signed on as a news writer, was quickly promoted to producer and within a couple of years I achieved my lifelong dream of being a reporter and anchor. As such, I have covered everything from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to moderating televised discussions about the presidency of Barack Obama. I have scored exclusive sit-down interviews with Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby, The Central Park Jogger Trisha Meili (which made international headlines) and so much more. I have tried to counter the negative sterotypes of African-Americans in inner cities by presenting positive stories (which don't get much press in other mainstream media). For example, I have done features on ex-cons who try to reform young people BEFORE they end up behind bars. I have featured rappers like Doug E. Fresh, who is reinvesting in his Harlem neighborhood by setting up restaurants and other small businesses. I also do a lot of charity work where I visit inner city schools and show them how they can overcome obstacles. I bring students to our newsroom so they can dream in 'color' - that is they can get a feel for the environment and won't feel like they don't belong.

    5) Do you have any advice for other aspiring young journalists and authors when it comes to finding success?

    The most important advice I can give aspiring young journalists is to 'stay the course and do not retreat'. Journalism can be tough to break into and sometimes young people make the critical mistake of going into another line of work to 'make money' thinking they will come back. They almost never come back. You have to devote yourself to journalism - and wade through the low paying jobs- to get to the better paying jobs. And most important, learn how to write effectively and tell a story. Many think it's easy to stand in front of a news camera and report - but all that glitters is not gold. It takes a lot of work, practice and skill. Take the time to learn how to research and write a story - don't be in a rush to sit on the anchor desk - it will come in due time.

    6) Is there anything else you'd like to share with our AOL Black Voices audience?

    I just want to thank AOL Black Voices for this wonderful opportunity. I am a loyal reader and it is an honor to meet the folks who make 'AOL Black Voices' sing! Keep on keepin on!

    P.S. My book is called "Die Free" because Frederick Douglass said in 1863 (during his appeal to recruit slaves to fight in the Civil War)

    "The day dawns; the morning star is bright upon the horizon! The iron gate of our prison stands half open. One gallant rush from the North will fling it wide open, while four millions of our brothers and sisters shall march out into liberty... He who would be let them strike the blow. Better to DIE FREE than to live slaves."

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the author of the bookBlack American Money To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To suggest a subject for a Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight, please click here.

     

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    As evident from her Sunday appearance on the popular Bravo late night talk show 'Watch What Happens: Live,' actress Regina King definitely has it going on.

    A great physique. A chic pixie 'do. Glowing skin. A thriving Hollywood career.

    Yep, to look at the 'Southland' star - who turns 40 on Saturday - you'd never guess that she is combating two health conditions that are thorns in the side of many African Americans: high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

    "I definitely know that if I was not a very active person, I would have been diagnosed with it sooner. My sisters are not as active as me and all of them had been diagnosed with high blood pressure before I was," says King, who was diagnosed in August.

    High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the force of the blood against the artery wall becomes excessively high. It's reportedly more prevalent in African Americans, with more than 40 percent affected by it, according to the American Heart Association. The medical community doesn't have a definitive explanation behind hypertension's higher occurrence in African Americans but does cite stress, obesity, alcohol overconsumption, physical inactivity, smoking and diabetes as controllable risk factors for it.

    Virtually showing no symptoms, high blood pressure is called the 'silent killer' because most people don't realize they have it until they develop another ailment like stroke or heart attack.

    But those factors weren't an issue for King. She developed high blood pressure through heredity - her parents and grandfather also had it. A higher blood pressure reading during a routine physical exam at the end of 2009 alerted King that something was amiss. Her physician monitored her blood pressure to make sure it wasn't a fluke and officially diagnosed her with hypertension after it remained high for several months.
    "So it's something that's not to be taken lightly in our community. It's important for [African Americans], when we get diagnosed with things, we've got to follow up on it and take care of ourselves and don't wait until it gets to the point where it gets out of control," says King, who has a 14-year-old son.

    And that's just exactly what the former '227' star did. King, who's always been athletic, took action by continuing her dedicated workout schedule of two hours, three times - four, if she's lucky - a week and opting for a natural approach to keep her blood pressure from surging. Every morning she downs a tasty cocktail of Açaí berry juice, CoQ10 (which improves cardiovascular health) and Vitamin C.

    "It reduced my blood pressure significantly. I personally try to avoid taking any prescribed things. If I don't have to take it, I'd rather not, so I'm happy that this is working out," King says of her daily drink.

    King knows the consequences of not addressing hypertension right away; her 61-year-old sister died last month from a high blood pressure-related illness. So in King's eyes, there's just no way around it: get regular physical exams and commit to improving your well-being.

    "It's got to be a lifestyle change. It's not going to be something simple. You've got to live a different way for the rest of your life," she insists.
    Although her hypertension diagnosis didn't force her to make major dietary modifications, her high cholesterol readings did.

    "Pretty much the majority of dairy is out of my diet. For me, dairy was the biggest culprit," says King, who made this discovery through process of elimination. She removed meat and eggs from her diet, but didn't notice a significant decrease in her cholesterol levels until she eliminated dairy. That meant out with cow milk and in with rice milk. And her beloved cheese had to go, too.

    "I took the dairy out and [my cholesterol readings] dropped tremendously. Then I added things like flaxseed oil and Omega-3 and that helped to reduce my cholesterol as well," says King, a true turophile who may have a smidgen of a cheesy dish every now and then.

    Don't know if you could commit to working out, dietary changes or taking other steps to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol levels? King has a message for you:

    "Love yourself. If you can't find that to be reason enough to stay on top of your health, then, for most of us who are in our 40s, who are mothers - you want to be here to see your grandkids and see your kids do some amazing things."

     

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    Cutting the hair was the easy part. Now, you have just a few inches of hair left and even fewer clues to keep it beautiful. Luckily, Maisha Oliver has got you covered. She's styled the short tresses of Meghan Good, Kelis and Keri Hilson, so she knows from experience how much fun it can get. With her five maintenance steps, your short 'do will look just like her famous clients':
    red-carpet ready each and every time.


    STEP ONE: Retail therapy -- sort of.

    "Your first stop should be at the beauty supply store to buy the [right] styling tools," Maisha says. Ideally, you should have a blow dryer (with a diffuser for curly styles and natural hair), a flat iron and a curling iron that's between 1/4th and 1/8th of an inch. Maisha likes the BaByliss line (varying prices, babyliss.co.uk).

    Keep in mind: Be careful with hot styling tools! You'll be using them more often than normal, which can lead to hair breakage if you're not careful. Maisha recommends Mizani Thermastrength Style Serum ($19.99, beautyofnewyork.com) to protect your strands from the heat.

    STEP TWO: Play with it.

    You can look for style inspiration in magazines and BV Hair Talk, but you'll need to get re-acquainted with your hair to make those inspirations a reality. Cutting your hair was a major styling change that will take some time getting used to. According to Maisha, the best way to do this is to whip out the styling tools and just go. "You need to take a weekend to play with your hair and experiment, just so you can really learn how to maintain the hair and create a couple of hairstyles," she says.

    Styling tip: When it comes to versatility, it's all up to you. "You can add color extensions. You can add extensions to make it longer. You can play around with the bangs... make it creative," Maisha says. For an edgy look in a hurry, use d:fi d:struct pliable molding creme ($12, amazon.com) to slick the sides, then wrap the strands in the middle of your hair with a curling iron.


    STEP THREE: Upkeep daily for best results.

    When you wake up, use a moisturizer with a light, non-greasy formula since you'll be using it daily. "You want products to keep it simple," Maisha says. For natural hair, try Carol's Daughter Healthy Hair Butter ($11, carolsdaughter.com). For relaxed hair, Maisha recommends a daily shine spray. Try PhytoSpecific Extreme Shine Spray ($26, sephora.com).

    At night, tie hair with a satin or silk scarf since tossing and turning on cotton sheets can make hair more difficult to manage in the morning. "Wrapping is good to help the hair retain the natural oils and moisture," Maisha says.

    Styling tip: Worried that wrapping will leave hair flat? Try this trick from Maisha: "Some people like the volume on the top, so they only wrap the nape area of the hair, leaving the top out to keep the volume."

    STEP FOUR: Wash weekly.

    Short hair often requires more upkeep than longer styles, and as a result, you'll need to use more styling products on your hair. "When you use a lot of styling product, it can create a lot of buildup," Maisha says. She recommends that you wash your hair once a week to prevent hair-dulling product buildup. Try Optimum Oil Therapy Ultimate Recovery Shampoo ($5, shopsoftsheen-carson.com) and Optimum Oil Therapy Ultimate Recovery Conditioner ($5, shopsoftsheen-carson.com) for both relaxed and natural hair.

    STEP FIVE: Keep your appointments.

    With less hair, your new growth and color roots will be more visible, so you may need to see your stylist more often. According to Maisha, your hair is constantly growing since you're cutting it frequently to maintain the style.

    Ideally, you should relax the entire head every 4 weeks, taking extra care to ensure that the relaxer is only applied to new growth. You'll also need to re-touch the edges to keep the hair lying flat. "For the napes and the side, it's usually every two weeks," she says.

    If your hair is relaxed and color-treated, the type of color formula will determine how often you need to re-touch your roots. According to Maisha, your stylist can relax your hair and apply semi-permanent color the same day. "For permanent color, you're going to be alternating. You're either going to get your relaxer first, and then getting your color 2-3 weeks after," she says.

    If your natural-texture hair is color-treated, you can reapply the color every 4-6 weeks.

    Styling tip: Coordinate your hair cuts and trims with your chemical treatments. You should trim your hair every 4-6 weeks on the same day that you get your relaxer or color. If your hair is completely chemical-free (no relaxer AND no color), Maisha says that it's fine to trim it every 6-8 weeks.

    What are your short-style secrets?

     

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    For Tia Mowry-Hardrict, the balance of being a career woman and a loving wife is the ultimate dream. And, these days, at 32, she's living it in real life, but not necessarily on-screen.

    The 'Sister, Sister' star, who just announced she is pregnant, is back on television in 'The Game,' which was canceled two years ago by the CW but has been resurrected and given new life with a fourth season on BET.

    In real life, she's happily married to actor Cory Hardrict, but on the dramedy her relationship with Derwin (played by Pooch Hall) has had its fair share of ups and downs - and continues to be a struggle despite their love and devotion to each other.

    "Melanie and Derwin are the same, but they are very different," she told BlackVoices.com. "Derwin is a star now. Before, he was a rookie and trying to get his name know,n and now he is a superstar and Melanie is the wife of a superstar football player."

    Her character, who was previously career-focused and set on becoming a doctor, is now the glamorous wife. It's a love story Mowry believes is similar to NBA power couple Kobe and Vanessa Bryant.

    "When you first saw Vanessa and she was engaged, she was just this girl from high school. She wasn't in designer clothing, she was just this natural, pretty girl," she explained. "Now, when you see Vanessa, she's decked out, and she's the wife of a pro-NBA basketball player. Now (on the show), Melanie is always looking fly."

    The NAACP Image Award winner continued, "Melanie is like, 'I have to be there for my man and I'm putting my studies on the back burner,' and that's one thing that I love about 'The Game.' Many women do that and lose themselves a little bit to become mothers and to become great wives."

    "She loves this man so much. Her love grows so much for Derwin. You will see a lot of their love this year. They love each other. You see that bond. I don't want her to lose herself completely, [but] I'm pretty sure there is going to be a twist. Something is going bite Melanie in the butt," she revealed.

    Yet, in real life, the German-born beauty, whose pregnancy will be documented in a Style Network reality show with twin sister, Tamera, says that her goal is to continue striving for the best in her career and also being a devoted wife.

    "I think that women should have a great balance in life. I think that we should be able to focus on our careers and also be able to be a good wife and be a good mother. I think we can do both. There are many women out there who believe that," she said.

    She added, "I want to be able to have it all. I want to say 'I'm a mother and a wife' and I want to be a businesswoman as well."

    Mowry is letting it be known that just because she is a working woman doesn't mean she isn't throwing all of her love and support behind her real-life actor husband, just like her character Melanie.

    "My husband has a movie coming out called 'Battle Los Angeles.' It's the biggest movie he's ever been in and he is a lead," she exclaimed. "Here I am, I am going to be supporting him with his career. "

    And we're sure he will be right there cheering her on, too.

    'The Game' airs on BET Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST.

    Tell us, BV readers, have you ever put your career on hold for your significant other?

     

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    First Black Female Ohio Supreme Court Justice
    History was made recently when Yvette McGee Brown was sworn in as the first black female Ohio Supreme Court Justice on January 8, 2011. In one of the most historic moment of the new year, Supreme Court Justice Brown took her oath of office, thereby showing that things are in fact moving forward towards greater inclusiveness in our society. Local news station Web site nbc4i.com has the full story:


    Nine days before Martin Luther King's birthday, a historical barrier was reached, as the Ohio Supreme Court swore in it's first black female justice at the King Arts Complex on Columbus' east side.

    "She is the American dream come true in Columbus," said Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.

    50-year-old Yvette McGee Brown, educated at segregated schools in Columbus, stood with her hand on a bible, held by her husband Tony and was administered an oath of office by Governor Strickland.

    "Raise your right hand and repeat after me," said Gov. Strickland.

    With her family behind her, McGee Brown took the oath and became the first female, African American Ohio Supreme Court Justice. She gave the credit for this monumental day to her mother.

    "She sacrificed everything for us... you are my hero," said McGee Brown.

    McGee Brown's mother was a scared, single, pregnant teenager in 1960 and she said, "the world didn't give either of us much hope."

    Throughout McGee Brown's upbringing, her mother, Sylvia Kendrick, worked in a factory and took other jobs to support her and her two younger brothers.

    "It's another barrier broken, it strengthens our democracy in a visible and demonstrative way by the diverse fabric that we create here today on our state's highest court," said McGee Brown.


    These words could not express any better the sentiment of inspiration and hope that the rise of Supreme Court Justice Yvette McGee Brown represents. It's incredible that in 2011 there are still so many "firsts" in this country for African Americans to accomplish -- and it's wonderful to see that we are still making them. Just as Justice McGee Brown was inspired by her mother to reach for a high pinnacle despite humble beginnings, future generations of black students will be lit with a fire for accomplishment by her example.

    (Via Jezebel)

     

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    Dr. Conrad Murray


    It looks like involuntary manslaughter will be the charge against Dr. Conrad Murray.

    After Michael Jackson suffered cardiac arrest in his Holmby Hills home in Los Angeles in 2009, it allegedly took his personal physician, Dr. Kevorkian Conrad 30 minutes to call the paramedics.

    They arrived in under three minutes, after being called by security, and spent another 42 minutes trying to revive him before deciding to "rush" him to the hospital.

    According to paramedics and a doctor with 50 years of experience, Jackson died in the ambulance.

    As Murray's preliminary hearing enters its second week, detective Orlando Martinez testifies that the King of Pop begged Murray to give him "his milk" or he would have to cancel his much-anticipated London tour.

    His "milk" was reportedly the powerful anesthetic propofol. Along with the mild sedatives Conrad had given Jackson the previous night, the powerful cocktail proved too much for the frail Jackson, and even though he was allegedly carrying out his patient's wishes "without malice," the prosecution contends he acted "without due caution and circumspection."

    And he will more than likely go to prison for it.


    Murray told police investigators that he had been treating Jackson for insomnia for six weeks at the time of the singer's death. He had given Jackson 50 milligrams of the sedative propofol diluted with the local anesthetic lidocaine every night via an intravenous drip. Health professionals seem suspicious of his story though:

    "An anesthesiology consultant hired by the coroner to review the findings of the investigation said that 'there are no reports of its use for insomnia relief, to my knowledge," according to the report.

    The only reports of its use in homes are cases of fatal abuse (first reported in 1992), suicide, murder and accident," Dr. Selma Calmes wrote.

    The standard of care for administering propofol was not met," she wrote.

    According to testimony, Murray bought 255 vials of propofol in the three months before Jackson died from the lethal combination:

    "Dr. Conrad Murray purchased four shipments of the anesthetic propofol between April 6 and June 10, 2009," said Tim Lopez, owner of Applied Pharmacy Services in Las Vegas, where Murray has a clinic.

    Murray bought 130 vials of propofol in 100-milliliter doses and another 125 vials in the smaller dose of 20 milliliters, Lopez said while testifying at the hearing.

    A coroner's investigator previously testified that 12 vials of propofol were found in the bedroom and closet of the singer's rented mansion after his death.

    Lopez further sank Murray's slim chance of freedom by testifying that Murray asked him to ship some of the propofol to "one of his clinics" in Santa Monica, Calif. As it turns out, the address actually belongs to the doctor's girlfriend.

    Using Murray's phone records, testimony from police and Murray's current and former girlfriends to create a detailed time line, prosecutors were able to prove that Murray was on the phone throughout the morning of Jackson's death on June 25, 2009, including after administering propofol to the singer.

    Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ruled before the hearing began Monday that the information could be introduced as evidence.

    Additional damaging testimony came from a bodyguard who said he was told by Murray to place vials of medicine in bags before calling an ambulance.

    When Murray told patients at his Las Vegas practice that he was taking a leave of absence to pursue a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," I'm sure it never entered his mind that he would ultimately be held responsible for the loss of one of the greatest entertainers of a generation.

    If all evidence is to be believed, Michael Jackson was an addict, and Murray was his enabler.

    If the evidence brought before the court turns out to be true then it appears that Murray was so enamored with the limelight and the prestige of being Jackson's personal physician that he ignored his training and any inkling of professional responsibility.

    Murray seems to have forgotten the two principals outlined in the Hippocratic Oath:

    "I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.

    "I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan."

    If Murray is found guilty, he will be an embarrassment to himself and to his profession, and will deserve every minute of the maximum four-year sentence behind bars.

     

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    Rashida Jones
    , star of hit TV comedy 'Parks and Recreation' looked like she was ready for spring when attending the Palm Springs International Festival Awards Gala. Quincy Jones' daughter paired the Stella McCartney "botanical" print top with an adorable black satin bubble skirt and Jimmy Choo's Magnum heels. For accessories, Rashida added some cute blue earrings, a gold bangle, and rocked a daring bold lip.

    If you have spring fever, its easy to look like Rashida. Just combine a sweet printed floral top with a pair of gladiator pumps and a skirt with a fun shape, like a bubble or tulip skirt. Throw in some interesting accessories and you have the complete package. Get Rashida Jones' look for less with these options:

    1.) Banana Republic Floral Shell ($69.50, bananarepublic.com) 2.) Forever 21 Teardrop Earrings ($2.80, forever21.com) 3.) Rock and Republic Gladiator Peep-Toe Pump ($225, lastcall.com) 4.) VS Matte Cream Lipstick $5.99 (victoriassecret.com) 5.) Forever 21 Tulip Skirt ($19.80, forever21.com) 6.) Forever21 Etched Bangle Set ($4.80, forever21.com)

     

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    F. Lee Bailey, O.J. Simpson


    One of O.J. Simpson's attorneys, F. Lee Bailey, says that there was strong evidence held back in the 1995 trial that would have proved Simpson's innocence in the infamous murders.

    In a new 20,000-page manuscript, Bailey talks about four individuals whose testimony would have strengthened Simpson's case had it been presented to the jury. Years after the "Trial of the Century," Bailey is opening up and sharing more perspectives on the case that put the entire nation at a standstill.



    The document is called 'The Simpson Verdict' and was written in 2007 as part of a book proposal. Bailey argues that it's time that the facts of the case be put before the American public so that others might learn more about what went on behind the scenes.

    In his manuscript, Bailey mentions four individuals who did not testify at the trial. One is a forensic scientist and the others are a battered woman's expert, a blood expert and an eye witness. The eye witness claims to have seen the individuals who killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

    The witness is believed to have seen Nicole Brown Simpson arguing with two men, with neither of them being O.J. Simpson. None of the four witnesses were called to testify by the defense primarily because they feared that more jurors would be dismissed and that a mistrial would be declared because the trial being too long already; the O.J. Simpson trial lasted eight months.

    Bailey says he believes that the killers were out to collect a drug debt and that they killed Ron and Nicole by mistake. He doesn't mention who might have actually owed the money.

    Bailey goes on to argue that racism has fueled hatred toward Simpson over the years, and that he wrote the manuscript to help clear Simpson's name in the court of public opinion.

    The O.J. Simpson trial was one of the most telling and provocative incidents in our nation's history. When the trial first began, everyone talked about it and everyone had an opinion.

    Each day was spent mulling over the new details of the case, and every new rumor was mustered up by an overzealous media. It was unbelievable.

    I remember the day I was walking across campus and someone told me that O.J. had been acquitted. As a student on a conservative campus like the University of Kentucky, one can imagine that many of my classmates were less than pleased with the verdict.

    In addition to being a virtually unprecedented media circus, the Simpson trial was a compelling reminder that racial divisions continue to plague the United States. Just three years after the L.A. riots and the beating of Rodney King, the trial told America that a black man accused of killing a beautiful white woman is going to be dealt an entirely different style of justice.

    Nearly every poll in the United States, split across racial lines, told a consistent story about how whites and blacks viewed O.J.'s guilt in completely different ways. Many of those racial divisions continue until this day, and we can only pray that we're making progress.


    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and a Scholarship in Action resident of the Institute for Black Public Policy. To have Dr. Boyce's commentary delivered to your e-mail, please click here.

     

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    Ted Williams, Golden Voice



    "Please Don't Disappoint Me."

    That's what the 92-year-old mom of Ted Williams, the golden-voiced homeless guy with the feel-good story of the year, said to her son at the emotional televised reunion.

    And that has stayed with me.



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    Will we look back in six months or a year and consider Williams' discovery and new-found celebrity status a success?

    I know people (even family members, if you want to be honest) who have become productive citizens after flirting with petty crime, drug use and general stupidity for too many years.


    But there was something about how after years of not seeing each other, Julia Williams was reminded of unhappy memories after being reunited with the her clean, lemon-scented son.

    Watch the reunion here:


    The kind of bitter memories (just think of those wild arrest photos of Williams that have been released) that would lead a mother to beg, "Please don't disappoint me."

    If I were a betting man, I would lay down a few bucks on Williams' name being on a police docket in the not-too-distant future.

    [EDITORS NOTE: Amazingly, about an hour after I sent this blog to my editor, a story crossed the wires that Williams had been briefly detained by Los Angeles police Monday evening, after getting into a yelling match with one of his daughters.

    I am sorry to have been right about Williams' run-in with the authorities.

    However, I will give double-or-nothing it won't be his last
    .]

    Share

    There was something about how his mother publicly pleaded with him, though, that reveals dozens of attempts of Williams to clean up -- and dozens of failures.

    If Williams, 53, blows this chance, he may as well give it up for good, because it seems the entire world is reaching out to make him a success.

    Aside from the many news media appearances, Williams was hired to do voice-overs for Kraft products. It's ironic the first ad voiced by a guy who was homeless just a week ago appeared during the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Sunday evening.

    Williams has also fielded job offers from the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team, NFL Films and has even been offered free work from a dentist offering to fix up his jacked-up grill.

    It would be wrong to begrudge Williams his good fortune, wouldn't it?

    But is it fair that other deep-throated announcers who haven't fathered nine kids, gotten addicted to cocaine and alcohol and been involved in crimes -- guys who basically have been doing the right thing for all their lives -- aren't getting sweet offers from food companies, basketball teams and professional sports leagues?

    Nope, it's not fair, but who ever said life was going to be fair?

    Either way, I hope Ted Williams keeps his nose clean ... and heeds the words of his mother.



     

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    Haitian 'Miracle Girl' Continues Recovery, Darlene Etienne



    One of the few positive stories to come out of Haiti in the aftermath of the January earthquake is the story of Darlene Etienne (pictured).

    The 17-year-old was discovered in the twisted rubble of a Port-au-Prince building 15 days after the quake destroyed the country and killed more than a quarter of a million people.

    Somehow, Etienne emerged from the dust and debris and is now living with her family in Artibonite Valley, where the cholera outbreak hit late last year.




    As the one-year anniversary of the earthquake looms, Etienne's rescue and recovery stand as the shining moment of a nation desperately in need of hope.

    Haitian 'Miracle Girl' Continues Recovery, Darlene Etienne

    Her rescue by French aid workers sent hundreds into the streets dancing and singing in celebration. Some even questioned the veracity of her story, wondering how someone could survive in rubble for so long. Haitian 'Miracle Girl' Continues Recovery, Darlene Etienne

    Researchers believe Etienne had access to water since she was trapped in the bathroom, and access to even small amounts of water means the difference between life and death.

    In an interview with the Associated Press, Etienne said she is back in school but hopes to leave the island nation for a chance at a better life outside of rural Haiti.

    Coming through her ordeal with no broken bones, no visible physical scars, no outward signs of the horror she faced while being trapped under a fallen building, it seems that Etienne should leave Haiti.

    After she made it this far, I'm certain she is destined for great things.







     

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    Would you like to know how to become a millionaire by using Twitter?

    Try asking rapper-turned-mogul Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, who made a cool $8.7 million yesterday from a series of weekend tweets stemming from his appearance at this year's annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. During his visit, Jackson shared knowledge about his latest business venture with H&H Imports (HNHI), which serves as the distributor of his forthcoming line of wireless headphones.

    The no-name company's stock was up by 240 percent on Monday, raising its stock to 39 cents per share and netting the business $50 million, according to the New York Post.

    "You can double your money right now. Just get what you can afford," the 35-year-old tweeted to his 3.8 million followers about H&H Imports, which also owns the Kevin Harrington-founded marketing firm TV Goods. Adding, "They are no joke get in now...Check out TVGoods.com official site of Kevin Harrington."

    According to various reports, last October during a private placement, Jackson received 30 million shares of H&H, including options granting him the opportunity to cash in as the company's stock increases.

    Not bad for a weekend gig, considering the company closed yesterday at 39 cents raising his 30 million share stake by $8.7 million.

    Sleek by 50 Cent Platinum headphones are set to arrive in stores in April.

     

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    Last seen hosting the 37th annual People's Choice Awards (her fourth time) and in the romantic drama, 'Just Wright' with Common, Queen Latifah is back on the big screen this week in Ron Howard's new film, 'The Dilemma.'

    Ron Howard directs a comedy about a man who finds out that what you don't say to a friend is just as important as what you do. Since college, confirmed bachelor Ronny (played by Vince Vaughn) and happily married Nick (played by Kevin James) have been through thick and thin. Now partners in an auto design firm, the two pals are vying to land a dream project that would launch their company. With Ronny's girlfriend, Beth (played by Jennifer Connelly), and Nick's wife, Geneva (played by Winona Ryder), by their sides, they're unbeatable. But Ronny's world is turned upside down when he inadvertently sees Geneva out with another man and makes it his mission to get answers. As the amateur investigation dissolves his world into comic mayhem, he learns that Nick has a few secrets of his own. Now, with the clock ticking and pressure mounting on the biggest presentation of their careers, Ronny must decide how and when he will reveal the truth to his best friend.

    Latifah plays a car executive, named Dana, who takes to partners of an auto design firm played by James and Vaughn.

    In speaking with Parade Magazine , director Ron Howard had nothing but praises for Latifah's performance and work attitude.

    "Queen works hard and makes it fun. People love her. She's spinning a lot of plates, and she's fascinated with them all," he adds. "She gives off this casual vibe, yet there's all this productivity coming out of her world."

    The magazine also states that, at 40, Latifah has made her mark in almost every medium: as an award-winning rapper, singer, Oscar-nominated actress, producer, author of two memoirs, and the driving force behind the Queen Collection, her own line of CoverGirl cosmetics. As she puts it, "My mom raised me not to put all of my eggs in one basket."

     

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    Kidnappings Increase as Terror Spreads in Africa


    Unfortunately, European visitors getting kidnapped in Africa isn't a new phenomenon.

    But the recent brazen kidnapping Friday and subsequent murder of two Frenchmen in Niger's capital of Niamey has raised concerns among authorities who now are wondering whether the world of safe places is shrinking.

    The men were dragged out of an open-air restaurant by gunmen believed to be with al-Qaeda's North African sector.

    The kidnappings took place in an area believed to have been safe for foreign visitors. Turns out it isn't. And it shows that the bad guys are becoming increasingly free to to do their mess where ever they want, according to Jeremy Keenan, a researcher at London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

    Like a disease, the number of al-Qaeda fighters is believed to be spreading.

    More than 1,000 French live in Niger as ex-patriots, and Niamey was once a safe zone for Europeans. But those days appear to be gone, said Keenan.

    French aid workers Antoine de Leocour and Vincent Delory, both 25, were eating at a popular restaurant, Le Toulousain (pictured above), when four armed men wearing turbans busted in and dragged the men out.

    The men were killed after a gun battle between the kidnappers and Niger police and French troops.

    How the French and other Western nations will combat this new wave of violence is anyone's guess. The lack of a stable government in areas of north and central Africa, combined with poverty and religious extremism, are making once-safe areas dangerous and decent people very fearful.




     

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    The war over Walmart heated up Monday as Public Advocate Bill de Blasio blasted it as a job killer, and the company launched a massive ad campaign for a city store.

    A report by de Blasio and Hunter College researchers concluded that Walmart store openings kill three jobs for every two they create.

    "There's a lot of evidence here that we're going to lose jobs in the end because of Walmart," de Blasio said. "This report proves just how consistent that trend has been around the country."

    The report claims Walmart cuts into sales at local stores by up to 40%, and costs taxpayers big bucks when its employees have to apply for public insurance and other benefits.

    "The more New Yorkers learn about Walmart, the angrier they're going to be," said de Blasio, who wants zoning laws changed so big-box chains need special approval.

    Walmart is eying the planned Gateway II shopping center in East New York, Brooklyn, for its first city store.

    Its executives have refused to attend Wednesday's City Council hearing on the chain's plans, but they aren't staying quiet. They launched a major ad blitz and a website Monday in support of a move to the city.

    Newspaper, radio and direct mail ads - including one in the Daily News - tout low prices and new jobs and blast "special interests" for trying to block the store.

    Source: NY Daily News




    Kevin Eason is a freelance editorial cartoonist and Illustrator from New Jersey. His brand of satire covers news events in politics, entertainment, sports and much more. Follow him on Facebook.

     

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    Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Arraigned

    Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end of Detroit's relationship with former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

    Kilpatrick was arraigned on charges of running a criminal enterprise that used his positions of public trust to rig contracts.

    Kilpatrick, sitting next to his father Bernard Kilpatrick, entered a plea of not guilty.

    Unfortunately, the judge in the case said the criminal proceedings will not be fast-tracked because the case is "unusual and complex."

    That's an apt description for Kwame Kilpatrick's relationship with Detroit. It's a relationship that needs to be severed forever if the city is going to begin the process of recovery.

    The indictment charges that Kilpatrick -- dating back to his time in the Michigan state legislature -- used his influence to rig contracts. One contractor, Bobby Ferguson, was allegedly given tens of millions of dollars for work that he never performed or for contracts that were awarded through extortion.

    Kilpatrick allegedly deposited $500,000 in unexplained cash deposits to his account while his father allegedly deposited $600,000.


    Of course Kilpatrick is innocent until proven guilty. His attorney said Kilpatrick will vigorously defend the charges.

    Given Kilpatrick's past history of problems, the new charges are not a good sign.

    First, Kilpatrick resigned from office after lying under oath about an extramarital affair with his aide. He also allegedly settled an $8 million lawsuit to avoid the accusations about the affair becoming public.

    After serving a few months in jail, Kilpatrick was ordered to repay $1 million in restitution to the city of Detroit. He landed a job at a computer company and moved to Dallas. Prosecutors there say Kilpatrick began receiving gifts and loans that he should have used to repay his debt. After ignoring warnings by a judge, Kilpatrick was sent back to jail for one and half to five years for violating his parole.

    All of this has weighed on the city of Detroit as they try to pull themselves out of a tailspin. To deal with its shrinking population and falling revenue, Detroit is actually abandoning some areas of the city. Bus service is being cut and major downtown hotels are closing and in limbo.

    Now Kilpatrick is further maligning the city's reputation with these charges. When he is on trial, efforts to help Detroit rebound will not be reported, but he scurrilous details of the accusations against Kilpatrick will.

    A city that once ranked as one of America's greatest deserves better. Maybe once Kilpatrick falls from view forever they will get it.


     

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