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

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    It's been nearly three years since HBO's acclaimed series, 'The Wire,' ended its fifth season and final run in 2008; and despite the fact that the urban gritty drama never won an Emmy for best drama series, many fans considered it among the best programs ever displayed on television.

    With its popularity, several actors (Idris Elba, Lance Reddick, Amy Ryan, Jamie Hector, Michael K. Williams, Tristan Wilds, Wendell Pierce, Gbenga Akinnagbe, and Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) were able to parlay their fame on to other projects, including starring roles on films and other television series, as well as work on Broadway.

    You can now add Chad Coleman to the list.

    Since 2008, Coleman has had a role in the 'Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles' TV series on Fox, and appeared in the 2009 revival of August Wilson's play 'Joe Turner's Come and Gone' on Broadway.

    He's soon to be featured opposite Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, David Harbour, Edward James Olmos, and Jamie Harris in Michel Gondry's film adaptation of 'The Green Hornet.'

    Following the death of his father, Britt Reid (played by Rogen), heir to his father's large company, teams up with his late dad's assistant Kato )played by Chou) to become a masked crime fighting team.

    Blackvoices.com caught up with Coleman as he spoke about his role in the film, and life after the 'The Wire.'

    What's your character's name, what role does he play?

    Chad Coleman: My character's name is Chili. Chili's a bad guy who's rolling with Christoph Waltz's character trying to take out the Green Hornet.

    How much do you remember about the original series?

    CC: Wow, not much. I remember watching as a kid and knowing that Bruce Lee was in it, but I don't remember the original that much at all.

    How was working with Christoph?

    CC: Christoph is the ultimate professional. He's on point, just a solid guy, and very funny! It was really cool to watch him do his thing, man. He's a consummate actor.

    Some of the scenes you were in involved a lot of special effects. How was working around that?

    CC: I think a lot of the stuff happened in post. The scene where we came out of the bar and that bar exploded was just an amazing deal. Everyone was hyped that day. Normally you do those things in post or you do it where you use long-angle lens and the actors are far away from the explosion. We did it in-camera and the actors feel the heat. (laughs) It was pretty intense, man. Normally when you have a long-angle lens it looks like you're closer to the explosion than you are, but we were right there. The scene with the bulldozer was amazing. Like, "wow!" They dropped that thing in slow motion. It was like a playground or a roller coaster ride.

    After doing numerous appearances on various TV series, you must be excited to be on the big screen?

    CC: That's right, absolutely. This is actually my first big studio film, that's part of the reason I wanted to do it. Also, I wanted to work with Michel Gondry, and Seth Rogen was a huge fan of 'The Wire,' so that kinda helped with him being one of the producers as well. That helped get my foot in that door, but again it's a big Hollywood movie so I wanted to have that experience, get some first-hand knowledge of how things work on that level should opportunities arise.

    How's life been after 'The Wire?' Have you been getting a lot of work?

    CC: Yeah. You know, the one thing about 'The Wire' is inside the industry people are huge fans of the show, so that helps when getting work. I booked a couple of pilots but they didn't go. Seth Rogen is an example of a huge fan of the show who was really excited to have me be a part of it. That's been happening quite a bit because of 'The Wire' and the work I was able to do on that show.

    What's your role in the upcoming film, 'Horrible Bosses?'

    CC: I'm the owner of this bar (laughs) and Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Charlie Day from 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' come into the bar, an all-black bar, and they're just all wrong to the point where I end up threatening them with a baseball bat to get out of my establishment. That sets it up for Jaime Foxx's character 'cause that's the scene where he's introduced in the film. He's checking out the whole thing. He hatches a scheme on them. It's very funny, these guys are insane. (laughs) White dudes come up to you saying, "My man," like they're down with the black cause. It's pretty funny.

     

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    Lawrence Taylor Pleads Guilty to Sexual MisconductFacing felony charges of third-degree rape, sexual abuse and endangering a child, Lawrence Taylor pleaded guilty this week to the lesser charges of sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute -- misdemeanor charges that carry no jail time. He will have six years probation and register as a sex offender.

    In court, Taylor admitted to having sex with a 16-year old prostitute but claimed that she said that she was 19 at the time of the incident. The prosecution accepted the plea deal, because Taylor has been helping law enforcement in human trafficking cases since he was charged last year.



    Back in May, police arrested Taylor at a New Jersey hotel, after police received word from the 16-year-old girl's uncle that she was being forced to have sex with the former NFL star by a man acting as her pimp. Police and prosecutors say that Taylor has been cooperative since day one, hence, the light sentence.


     

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    Former 'America's Next Top Model' contestant and BET entertainment correspondent Toccara is is looking for love -- and Donald Trump is helping her with the challenge.

    Last year, the TV One network teamed with the super rich real estate mogul for the reality show, 'Donald J. Trump Presents The Ultimate Merger,' starring his former 'Apprentice' vixen Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. On the show, which featured R&B singers Ray Lavender and Al B. Sure as contestants vying for her affection, Omarosa had little luck finding a mate and refused to choose a winner.

    Since Omarosa is settling down with 'Green Mile' actor Michael Clarke Duncan, there was little hope for the former 'Apprentice' star to look for love on season two of 'Ultimate Merger.'
    Instead, they've chosen the Dayton, Ohio native and former 'Celebrity Fit Club' star (nee Toccara Jones) as the bachelorette looking to find her perfect match.

    "The Ultimate Merger has been a huge success," Trump said. "Season 2 is going to be much bigger. I know great TV, and Toccara will make great TV."

    The former plus-sized beauty, who was prominently featured in a 14-page spread in Vogue Italia magazine's legendary Black Issue, was romantically linked to music industry executive Michael Kaiser.

    She has also serves a contributing style editor to Essence magazine and a spokesperson for Ashley Stewart clothing company.

    The show is slated to air on TV One in the summer of 2011.

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    Reality Bites

    Terrell Owens
    Affiliation: 'The T.O. Show' on VH1
    Side note: Alabama's very own football star simply known as "T.O." -- literally let it all hang out for the photo shoot promoting his new reality series, in July 2009. The show revolves around his life off the field as he searches for love, repair family relationships and make the move from Dallas to Buffalo.

    VH1

    Ray Cunningham
    Affiliation: 'College Hill: Virginia State University' on BET
    Side note: One of the more memorable characters from the Black Entertainment Television network reality ranks, Cunningham has become an openly gay LGBT advocate, budding actor and busy blogger, who was featured in Adam Bouska's groundbreaking NoH8 Campaign, which assembled California notables responding to the state's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. Cunningham was also cast in acclaimed filmmaker Maurice Jamal's new forthcoming TV project 'Friends and Lovers.'

    Adam Bouska

    Miss New York
    Affiliation:'Flavor of Love' and 'I Love New York' on VH1
    Side note: The upstate New York drama queen competed for hip-hop hype-man Flavor Flav's love twice and was rejected both times.

    MC Hammer
    Affiliation: 'Hammertime' on A&E
    Side note: Stanley Kirk Burrell seems to have done it all: Joined the navy; won Grammy Awards; danced for KFC popcorn chicken; fathered six children; wiggled his manhood in a Speedo bikini on a music video; went bankrupt; became a preacher; and now doing reality TV. 'Hammertime' is a look inside the family life of the man formerly known as one of the riches entertainers of his era.

    A&E

    Keyshia Cole
    Affiliation: 'The Way It Is' on BET
    Side note: In an interview, thuggish ruggish rap icon Young Jeezy claimed that the hip-hop soul songstress asked him to marry her but he turned her down.

    Mo'Nique
    Affiliation: 'Charm School' on VH1
    Side note: While promoting the movie 'Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins,' Mo'Nique told Oprah Winfrey that co-star Martin Lawrence once gave her invaluable advice about show business.

    Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth
    Affiliation: 'The Apprentice' on NBC and 'The Surreal Life' on VH1
    Side note:The former White House staffer proudly became the superbitch of reality TV.

    Tyra Banks
    Affiliation: 'America's Next Top Model' on UPN and The CW
    Side note: A supermodel of the highest degree, the Inglewood, Los Angeles native sought power behind the scenes and inked a lucrative deal to produce projects for Warner Bros. Television.

    Snoop Dogg
    Affiliation: 'Snoop Dogg's Father Hood' on E!
    Side note: In March 2008, Snoop released his ninth solo album 'Ego Trippin.'

    Harlem Heights
    Affiliation: BET's latest reality show revolving around young, black, urban professionals.
    Side note: Created by MTV industry insiders Randolph Sturrup and Kurt Williamson, the show features a diverse cast of eight young adults from various backgrounds with Harlem as its backdrop.

     

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    Former SCLC Leader Rev. Raleigh Trammell Indicted on 51 Charges


    Founded in 1957 by Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) has been continuously plagued with in-fighting, shifting leadership, accusations of blatant sexism and financial woes.

    Originating as a protest movement, it has often times been overshadowed by the NAACP, and when it does garner media coverage, it's rarely to highlight the positive aspects of the historic organization.

    Unfortunately, Reverend Raleigh Trammell's alleged criminal activities have kept that tradition alive.

    The former national chairman of the Atlanta-based civil rights organization was indicted Wednesday in Ohio on one count of grand theft and 25 counts each of forgery and tampering with government records.

    From 2005 to 2010, Trammell, as president of the local chapter, allegedly misappropriated funds allocated by Montgomery County for their Home Delivered Meals program to his own wallet.

    Raleigh Trammell indicted on 51 felony counts: wdtn.com



    According to the prosecution's spokesman Greg Flannagan, Trammell and the SCLC and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, entered into contracts with Montgomery County Job and Family Services to deliver nutritious meals to low-income senior citizens.

    And I thought stealing candy from a baby was evil.

    "This defendant abused his position of trust and hid behind his title and position in order to perpetrate these crimes," Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr. said in a statement. "Not only did he steal taxpayer money, but he denied meals as promised to elderly and frail citizens in our community."

    The state of Ohio also withdrew funding for a youth anti-violence program operated Trammell's daughter, Angela Goodwin, after the SCLC could not prove that it provided services or account for its spending.

    In all, the SCLC and IMA lost at least $418,533 in public funding last year. The two groups have received nearly $4.4 million in public funding since 1988.

    Sarah Schenck, supervisor of the consumer fraud unit of the prosecutor's office, said the grand theft charge stems from the total amount of meals not delivered, and the tampering charges allege Trammell signed off on delivery of meals that weren't delivered. The forgery charges stem from contracts signed to provide those services.

    Bishop Richard Cox, current president of the Dayton SCLC chapter, said Wednesday that he could not judge Trammell and that he and the community need to wait for the charges "to play out in court."

    "It saddens you because he did some great work at one time in the community," Cox said. "I hope that people won't judge the current SCLC by actions that may have occurred in the past."

    National SCLC Chairman Sylvia Tucker said she was not concerned that the indictment would affect SCLC's image.

    "We have always tried to do the right thing," she said, declining further comment.


    SCLC leaders work to win public trust: wdtn.com



    Following up on reports of suspicious behavior, the Dayton Daily News investigated the SCLC and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, led by Rev. Wilburt Shanklin. The findings were both extensive and disturbing:

    - The SCLC/IMA failed to provide meals to people who were supposed to be fed in a program funded by the Montgomery County Human Services Levy.

    - The groups were getting Federal Emergency Management Agency money for a battered womens' shelter and food pantry that did not exist.

    - The IMA had falsely claimed federal tax exempt status using a Columbus Baptist group's tax identification number without permission.

    - The SCLC could not document its spending for a county-funded social services program operated under subcontract with the Urban League of Greater Dayton.

    Financial issues aside, the embattled former civil rights leader has also been accused of sexual harassment by Dayton SCLC employee, DaMisha Douglas. She filed a lawsuit in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in August, and a jury trial is scheduled for September. In June, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission found probable cause that the SCLC allowed discrimination against Douglas.

    This is not the first time discrimination has been alleged within the SCLC. Both Septima Clark and Ella Baker, members of the organization, have been vocal about the sexism they faced, primarily from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Hoping to salvage the organization's reputation, Trammell was removed from leadership at both local and national after allegations that Trammell and former SCLC national treasurer Spiver Gordon had misappropriated at least $569,000 in national funds ignited contentious in-fighting. The FBI is also investigating those allegations.

    This is pathetic, embarrassing, and unethical.

    African-American people have longed looked to our leaders to be honest and productive. In the face of the systemic discrimination and subjugation we have battled in this country, we expect our trusted leaders to fight for us, not against us.

    We don't expect them to steal from our mothers and fathers.

    These Orwellian antics serve only serve to fuel the stereo-type that has haunted us since slavery: "Black people steal." It is shameful that African-Americans leaders look at the capitalist agendas and under the table dealings of the status quo, and attempt to mirror their criminal actions.

    We know better.

    We, more than most, know how it feels to be hungry. We understand the helplessness of living our entire lives providing for our children, only to realize that we didn't save enough to survive our last years. Our elderly citizens deserve to be honored and cherished, not used as a pawn to line a thief's pockets.

    I don't care that he's African American, nor that he's elderly himself. His actions are unconscionable, and he deserves to be punished.

    While it is unfortunate that our discriminatory judicial system will ensure that his penalty is harsher than a white counterpart committing the same crime, if that is the price he must pay for his actions, then so be it.

    Our leaders owe it to us to strive for a higher standard of conduct than the powers we passionately fight against, and we owe it to ourselves to demand it. If they don't, what are they fighting for?

    If we don't, we're not only just as culpable for the injustices and indignities our people face, but twice as hypocritical.


     

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    Even though Michael Vick had the best season of his entire career this year and still has to deal with a lot of people hating him, he says next year will be better. Vick became the starting quarterback during week 2 of the season and didn't have benefit of working as the starting quarterback in the offseason and training camp. He says he'll be better prepared next season.


    "I think going through a whole training camp and just being here, being with Andy, he knows a lot of things that I need to work on, that'll make me a lot better as a quarterback," Vick told the Associated Press. "It'll pay huge dividends for me, so I'll be excited about that. I'll follow the same routine I had last year, keep the same attitude and the same work ethic."


    This season, Vick set career highs in yards passing (3,018), touchdowns passing (21), touchdowns rushing (9), completion percentage (62.6) and passer rating (100.2). He was named to the Pro Bowl and was considered an NFL MVP. He says he's learned a lot football-wise since coming to the Eagles and at 30 years old, feels like he still has a lot to learn.



    Now I know how to play the game," he said. "I've been taught how to play the game, how to go through my progressions, how to be patient, how to stay balanced, how to stay down when I throw. Discipline. That's something I've been taught, it's something that I'm going to continue to improve on and it can't be taken away from me. I'm only going to get better.


    "The sky's the limit, and I know that," Vick continued. "I just know how hard I've got to work. I know what I can accomplish. I know things that I didn't do so well this year that I'm going to practice this entire offseason on. So, I'm very thankful for the opportunity. I'm very thankful to be here."


     

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    Former NBA Player Gets 6 1/2 Years in JailFor those of you who have never heard of Rumeal Robinson, he was a star college basketball player for Michigan back in the '80s. Now he's getting ready to serve time.

    Robinson was convicted of 11 charges that included bank bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and making a false statement to a financial institution, according to the Associated Press.


    Prosecutors say that Robinson borrowed more than $700,000 from a bank in Iowa, saying that it was to start a new business. Instead, he bought a condo, cars, furniture and invested in an energy company. Robinson was sentenced to six and a half years in prison and was ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution charges.

    In college, Robinson averaged 14.3 points and 5.7 assists a game is mostly known for making two free throws to seal the national title for Michigan in 1989 against Seton Hall. He was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1990 but didn't make much of an impact in the NBA. He was shipped from team to team for most of his career, including the New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers, Charlotte Hornets and the L.A. Lakers. He also spent time in the Continental Basketball League and the Euroleague.


     

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    I've always had a special admiration and appreciate for Rev. Jesse Jackson. While most of us know Rev. Jackson as a public figure and prominent Civil Rights leader, most of us don't know about the difficulties he's endured while fighting for African Americans over the past 40 years. There were days when money was tight and death threats were at his front door, but he continued to push on.

    In fact, there was a time when Rev. Jackson was listed as one of the top three human beings on earth most likely to be assassinated. This was right after the murder of Dr. King, so you can imagine the pressure one would face from loved ones to give up the struggle and instead aim for self-preservation. But that wasn't what he did, as he persevered and stood strong for his community. So, love him or hate him, you must admire anyone who is so consistent in his role as a public servant, for I assure you, the job is not easy by any stretch and the sacrifice is tremendous.

    The interview with Rev. Jackson is below, and features his detailed thoughts on the economic issues that face the black community and how they relate to our political empowerment. From black car dealership ownership, to ending the mass incarcation of black males, Rev. Jackson let's us know that he is still fighting for our empowerment and access to financial equality everyday. Learn more about how you can get involved by working with Rev. Jackson with the Rainbow PUSH Caolition.

    Enjoy!

    PRODUCTION PLAYER! DO NOT DELETE.


    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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    'Love Analytix,' a column all about approaching love with logic over emotion, reviewed the past year and saw there were a lot of lessons about love and relationships to embrace and learn. Now that we are a couple of weeks into the new year, people aren't just making, but breaking New Year's resolutions. So, including a few resolutions that help deal with love and relationships may not be a bad idea.

    Considering everyone is all about self improvement early in the year -- male or female, single or involved, searching or content -- these are the top 10 resolutions that we hope can turn into commitments regarding love in the New Year.
    10. Stop Living In the Past
    Your ex-wife cheated seven years ago, or maybe that guy left you with a baby 16 years ago - don't let the past rob you of your present. It's time to change your perception and accept the situation so you can move forward. Living in the past will always cloud the promise of a brighter future.

    9. Understand and Respect Differences
    Men and women are not the same, and never be. The things that makes us different are the same things that attract us to one another. So respect each other even when you don't understand each other. No one said love would be easy.

    8. You Are What You Attract
    If you don't' understand why you date loser after loser, or gold digger after gold digger, stop all the blaming and realize you're giving off a certain energy to have those types flock to you. When you carry yourself in a way that shows what you won't accept, the type of person you really want will begin to come your way.

    7. Take Your Time
    Finding love, falling in love, or maintaining love - all require patience. Don't rush love whether your searching for it, or if you feel you've already found it. Time was invented so everything doesn't happen all at once.

    6. Forget About Potential
    Don't concern yourself with a person who likes to tell you what they are "about to do." Look for those who are truly doing something. Loving someone because you can potentially see them as your dream guy or girl, only makes you tolerate what you hope will change. Those very same things you "tolerated," will later be the things you possibly resent, but ultimately have to accept.

    5. Learn How To Communicate
    Females have a tendency not to say what they mean, and the fellas usually don't say enough. Often, couples and daters have to learn how to fight through these barriers of communication in order to build a foundation that will last. If you want to be about it, you must talk about it.

    4. Learn When To Let Go
    When things get bad and the pros no longer outweigh the cons, don't hold on. Especially if it's just because you don't want to be by yourself, or if you feel too much time has been invested. So what?! Holding onto someone that isn't for you is imprisoning yourself, and not giving you a chance to find the love you deserve.

    3. Put In Work
    Nothing worth it comes easy, and relationships are no exception. The the things you do in the beginning of a relationship when it's sunshine and rainbows, has to be the same things you do to maintain it. If you are not willing to put in work to sustain a relationship, you will never have a fulfilling one.

    2. Love Is Never Enough
    Tina Turner said it best, "What's love gotta to do with it?" Ultimately finding and being in love isn't just about love. Respect, trust, sacrifice, compromise, timing -- the list goes on. If you're in love, or you want love, remember love is an action word, not a feeling.

    1. Love Yourself
    Whether you're in or out of a relationship, know you won't ever truly be able to love someone else until you learn how to love everything about yourself. Superficial happiness is found in someone else, real happiness is found within you.


    Shirea L. Carroll is a journalist who has written for Essence, VIBE, Washington Post's TheRoot.com, XXL's Juicy, and AOL. Reporting on everything from music and entertainment to celebrity and love, she has interviewed some of today's biggest celebrity names. Find the NJ native on her blog Invite Only, or follow her on Twitter @InviteOnly to find out "who is and isn't invited."

     

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    Aretha Franklin is making her media rounds - granting Jet magazine an exclusive interview and even calling in to 'The Wendy Williams Show.'

    Now, after months of speculation, The Queen of Soul is brushing off speculation that she is suffering from pancreatic cancer. The 'Respect' singer spoke with her friend and Access Hollywood' correspondent Shaun Robinson about her feelings on reading reports that she had cancer.

    "Well, there was just so many wild things out there and just so many things being said that weren't true," Franklin told Robinson in a phone interview this week. "I just felt I needed to address it a little."

    She continued, "I don't know where 'pancreatic cancer' came from. I was sitting there reading the newspaper and it was saying someone in my family said that. No one in my family ever said that to anybody."The 68 year-old superstar revealed that the pain "was so hard it almost brought me to my knees," and made the decision to cancel her concerts until she could determine what was wrong.

    As previously mentioned, big-names like Oprah Winfrey, Jesse Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Berry Gordy, and Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice have personally called Franklin to check on her well-being. But, she also was recently contacted by President Barack Obama, whom she performed for and at his request at his Presidential Inauguration in 2009.

    "I got a wonderful and beautiful letter from the President," Franklin revealed. "And nobody does it like him!"

    Regardless of what illness she is suffering from, the 'Respect' singer seems in good spirits and admits to losing some weight.

    "I'm down to a rockin' [size] 16 - 18," she exclaimed. "Oh, I'm comin' with it, OK?! It's getting better every day. I plan on keeping this weight that I have now - I'm so happy with it."

    Professionally, she has another reason to celebrate.

    The 20-time Grammy Award winner is nominated for a Best R&B Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocals for 'You've Got A Friend' with Ron Isley. Although she is unlikely to attend February's Grammy Award ceremony, she will resume her career schedule and promises to make up cancelled dates in Washington, DC, Virginia and Kansas City in May.


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    Ghana Suspended From Olympic Events


    Although it's not a sure thing at the moment, the African country of Ghana could lose its chance to participate in the 2012 Olympics in London. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the nation, after infighting ay its National Olympic Committee of Ghana. The IOC suspended Ghana by reason of political interference.


    "The IOC has deployed every possible effort in order to help resolve the situation that the NOC of Ghana has been facing for 18 months and find a long-term solution with all parties concerned," the IOC said in a press release.


    "However, the obvious lack of cooperation of the government authorities in Ghana and lack of respect of the Ghana public authorities' written commitment to take all necessary actions to revise the sports legislation in Ghana before the end of 2010 in a sense that would allow the NOC and the Olympic Movement in Ghana to operate in full autonomy and in accordance with the Olympic Charter have forced the IOC Executive Board to decide to suspend the NOC of Ghana in order to protect the Olympic Movement in Ghana (pursuant to the applicable rules of the Olympic Charter, in particular Rule 28.9), with all consequences provided for in the Olympic Charter."

    The suspension bars Ghana from participating in qualifying events like the 2011 All Africa Games and the 2012 All African Games along with other international competitions. They country also loses its Olympic funding. Not being able to participate in Olympic-qualifying events basically writes off their chances of being a part of the Olympic Games. Officials in Ghana said that they have yet to receive official word of their suspension.

     

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    With Oprah Winfrey ending her talk show reign this year, there's another larger-than-life personality who may be poised to take over daytime television.

    This week, Debmar-Mercury announced that it will be picking up the self-proclaimed Queen of All-Media's nationally syndicated talk show, 'The Wendy Williams Show' show for a third season.

    Right now, her show, which was praised by the New York Times as a "breakthrough in daytime" airs in over seventy percent of the country and on FOX, CBS, NBC and BET television stations in major cities. This week alone, the former radio personality nailed an exclusive interview with Aretha Franklin and a visit by the cast of BET's 'The Game.'

    Accotrding to a rep, the brash and brazen Asbury Park, New Jersey native has had a ratings boost this season in several major FOX markets including New York and Los Angeles."Wendy has reached new creative heights this season and stations have taken notice," Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein said of the New York Times Best Selling author. "It has performed exceptionally well in recent months leading out of morning newscasts on the FOX stations, with viewers rediscovering Wendy's fun, irreverent and entertaining style."

    "We will work diligently with stations to ensure this franchise's continued growth, both creatively and from a ratings standpoint, across all markets in the months and years ahead," the producers continued.

    'The Wendy Williams Show' debuted in July of 2009 when the 46 year-old shock jock was still making an effort to maintain her lucrative syndicated radio career. She later decided to quit radio to focus full-time on 'The Wendy Williams Show' - a move that proved successful. Her second season premiered in Sept. of 2010.

    BET also acquired the rights to air 'The Wendy Williams Show,' and broadcasts it in 54 countries throughout their international networks in the United Kingdom, Africa, and the Middle East.


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      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Humanitarian Award Recipient Quincy Jones poses in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Rapper Nelly poses in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

      Getty Images

      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Singer Anthony Hamilton poses in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

      Getty Images

      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Singer Ashanti poses in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Rapper Nelly (L) and singer Ashanti pose in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Rapper Nelly (L) and singer Ashanti pose in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Rapper Nelly (L) and singer Ashanti poses in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Singer Ashanti poses in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

      Getty Images

      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Singer Ashanti poses in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

      Getty Images

      LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 24: Singer Ashanti poses in the press room at the 2008 BET Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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    La MaMa Theater Founder Ellen Stewart Dead at 91

    Off-off-Broadway pioneer and founding director of the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club, Ellen Stewart, died Thursday after a long illness. She was 91 years young.


    During Stewart's 49-year tenure, La MaMa presented some 3,000 productions, hosted artists from more than 70 countries and earned countless cultural accolades. The theatrical grande dame also received the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 1985 and a Tony Honor for Excellence in Theater 11 years later.

    Stewart was beloved by countless folks in the industry for nurturing young talent and for always maintaining an open mind when colleagues presented innovative and new ways of changing things up in her artistic field.

    Stewart was born in Alexandria, La., in 1919. She was never eager to speak about her life before her move to New York City, and details about it are practically nonexistent. She was married at least once and had a son, Larry Hovell, who died in 1998.

    In 1950, Stewart ventured out and wound up in New York. She landed a job as a trimmer in the brassiere] and corset department at Saks Fifth Avenue and then became a fairly successful fashion designer for the famed chic department store. In 1961, with no training or experience in theater and performance, Stewart founded Café La MaMa in the East Village. Two years later Stewart relocated the cafe and changed its name, it became one of the most successful Off-off-Broadway theatrical companies, La MaMa Experimental Theater Club. In 1967, the theater also earned a non-profit status.

    La diva Stewart, who was the first off-off Broadway producer ever inducted into the Broadway Hall of Fame (in 1993), continued to oversee all of La MaMa's operations throughout the years from productions to directorial duties to designing and sewing costumes. Stewart was a visionary whose ideas helped to redefine New York City's downtown performance scene and whose generosity helped alternative artists explore their ideas.

    Stewart is credited with helping launch the careers of countless actors, playwrights and directors, including Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Bette Midler, Philip Glass, Harvey Fierstein, Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson and Nick Nolte, who all walked through La MaMa's doors.

    "She had a profound impact on the lives of countless artists, and she left a mark on the city of New York that will never be erased," Oskar Eustis, artistic director of The Public Theater, said in a statement.

    Stewart is survived by her adopted son, Duk Hyung Yoo, and eight grandchildren. A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday at New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral.


     

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    Four-time Grammy Award-winning R&B vocalist Etta James is currently undergoing treatment for leukaemia and has been diagnosed with dementia.

    Details of the 72-year-old singer's condition surfaced during a rocky California court case finding her husband, Artis Mills, attempting to control more than $1 million James' estate.

    According to the Associated Press, James' Beverly Hills physician, Dr. Elaine James revealed in court documents that the 'At Last' singer is unable to sign her name and needs assistance with feeding, dressing and hygiene.

    In February 2008 the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee granted power of attorney to sons Donto and Sametto James, and Donto's wife, Christ.

    While Etta's son is asking a third party to control her assets "to avoid present and future family conflict and discrepancies," a court hearing set for today (Jan. 14) in considering Mills' request to transfer James' assets to a joint account so that he can monitor her spending.



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    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    1/12/10: Boosty Collins
    Iconic Funk bassist Boosty Collins is set to release his first new studio project in five years, 'The Funk Capital of the World' on April 26. On Collins' latest effort he chose to tap into an all-star lineup of collaborators including former Parliament Funkadelic member George Clinton, rappers Snoop Dogg, Chuck D, and Ice Cube among others. "There are real messages on this album that I wanted to share," explains Collins, "whose soul-deep rhythms and layered melodies are punctuated by lyrics that range from meditations on the nature of truth and spiritual transcendence, to blissed-out joy."

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    1/12/10: Corinne Bailey Rae
    Just in time for Valentine's Day, Corinne Bailey Rae is paying homage to some of her favorite musicians with the release of 'The Love EP.' The Grammy nominee's five track opus finds Bailey Rae covering Prince's 'I Wanna Be Your Lover,' Bob Marley's 'Is This Love,' Paul McCartney's 'My Love,' Sly & The Family Stone's 'Que Sera, Sera,' and Belly's 'Low Red Moon.' Corinne Bailey Rae's 'The Love EP' hits stores Jan. 25.

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    1/10/10: Janet Jackson
    As previously reported by Black Music Notes, Janet Jackson is set to kick off her intimate 35-city 'Janet Jackson Number Ones, Up Close and Personal' international tour in Singapore on Feb. 7. In addition to Jackson's global trek, the platinum-selling singer will begin the North America leg on Mar. 7 in Chicago. During each show one lucky fan will have the chance to accompany Janet as one of her VIP guests. "I'm asking my fans and their friends, Parents, relatives, neighbors and teachers to nominate five people to qualify as one of the 20 under 20 in each place I will perform," she said in a statement. "At each concert the 20 people chosen and the person who nominated them will be VIP guests at my show. " Janet Jackson's North American tour concludes on April 23 in Las Vegas.

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    1/10/10: Rihanna
    International Pop star Rihanna recently made history in the UK by becoming the first female artist to score five #1 singles in consecutive years. Her current single 'What's My Name' landed at the number one spot on the Singles Chart last week surpassing Elvis Presley, who previously held the record for his span of #1 hits from 1957 to 1963.

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    1/7/10: Nicki Minaj
    Nicki Minaj has overcome all critics and disbelievers of her debut opus, 'Pink Friday.' The critically acclaimed album has reached platinum status within six weeks of its release, outpacing Kanye West's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' which was also released on Nov. 22. To date, 'Pink Friday' remains the #2 Rap Album and the #4 Album in the country on Billboard's 200 charts.

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    1/7/10: Cee Lo Green, Sade, Michael Jackson
    In preparation of the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards, set to take place on Feb. 13, comes the release of the 2011 Grammy Nominees album. The Jan. 25 release highlights 19 songs from various artists who are up for nominations this year including Cee Lo Green ('Forget You'), B.o.B ('Nothin On You'), Sade ('Babyfather'), and Michael Jackson ('This Is It') among others. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the album will benefit the MusiCares Foundation and the Grammy Foundation.

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    12/29/10: Janet Jackson
    Good news for Janet Jackson fans of Southeast Asia. The multi-talented Pop singer will kick off her 35-city tour in Singapore on Feb. 7. Jackson will perform tracks from her 2009 greatest hits album, 'Number Ones' and plans on dedicating a song during each tour stop, which she promises will be "more intimate and more personal" than ever before. "It's not about effects, it's not an extravaganza, it's not about being as big as in the past," she said. "This one is all about you and me. I love you Singapore. Let's go!" Tickets for Janet Jackson Number Ones, Up Close and Personal tour go on sale Jan. 7.

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    12/20/10: Gladys Knight
    Grammy Award winning R&B legend Gladys Knight has reunited with 'American Idol' judge and master producer Randy Jackson for her latest single, 'Settle,' which is being released digitally this week. The mid-tempo, guitar laden track, which is featrued on the critically-acclaimed soundtrack to the Tyler Perry movie 'For Colored Girls,' was co-written and co-produced by Shep Crawford and Montel Jordan. Knight is signed to Jackson's new DreamMerchant 21 record label and is putting up the finishing touches on an opus that should be out in 2011.

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    12/17/10: Jay-Z
    In spite of landing on the New York Times Bestseller list with his memoir, 'Decoded' and announcing future plans of bringing his 40/40 Club to major airports across America. Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter has ditched plans on launching his own New York luxury hotel. According to the New York Post, Hov and his business partners recently returned $52 million to the lenders of the J Hotel project following lack of interest from investors. Jay's group purchased the property in Dec. 2007 for $66 million.

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

    12/14/10: Lauryn Hill
    In celebration of its 30th anniversary next month, New York's premiere Jazz club, The Blue Note is preparing to feature Grammy-Award winning singer-songwriter Lauryn Hill for three special nights. Given Ms. Hill's much anticipated Blue Note debut on Jan. 3, the limited engagement sold out within minutes of its announcement. Lauryn Hill's Blue Note appearance concludes on Jan. 5

    Black Music Notes Jan. 12

     

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    Tea Party Wants Slavery Removed From Student Textbooks


    When politically correct pundits and journalists defended the censorship of Mark Twain's novel 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,' I watched in disappointed disbelief. At that moment, I predicted propaganda to entirely whitewash this country's history.

    I didn't realize it would be only a matter of days.

    After GOP members felt inspired to read the clean version of the Constitution on the House floor last week, conveniently ignoring such seismic events as slavery and prohibition, the theatrical buffoonery gave their tea-drinking stepchildren in Tennessee a brilliant idea:

    Why not erase any and all mention of slavery and genocide from United States textbooks all together?

    Envision it, America!

    Textbooks scrubbed free of slaves' blood and government-sanctioned murder, ensuring that history books are palatable for generations of bright-eyed schoolchildren for generations to come.
    After a news conference on Wednesday, about two dozen members of the Tea Party of Tennessee presented lawmakers with a list of "priorities and "demands" for the 2011 legislative session. According to the Party, it would "besmirch the image of the Founding Fathers" to be honest about this nation's history.

    Tea Party Wants Slavery Removed From Student Textbooks



    In material distributed to the legislators, they demanded that state laws governing textbook criteria ensure that "no portrayal of minority experience in the history which actually occurred shall obscure the experience or contributions of the Founding Fathers, or the majority of citizens, including those who reached positions of leadership."

    Party spokesman and Fayette County attorney Hal Rounds said the group wants to address "an awful lot of made-up criticism" about, for instance, the founders intruding on the Indians or having slaves or being hypocrites in one way or another.

    "The thing we need to focus on about the founders is that, given the social structure of their time, they were revolutionaries who brought liberty into a world where it hadn't existed, to everybody -- not all equally instantly -- and it was their progress that we need to look at."

    It was their progress we need to look at?

    Theirs.

    When Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, the "mecca of racism and bigotry," signed into law a bill that prohibits ethnic studies from being taught in public schools because it teaches "ethnic chauvinism" and leads minority students to believe they had been "oppressed," I didn't think the ignorance would be contagious, but I was wrong.

    As it stands, African Americans rarely get mentioned in any historical context at all if not that of the slave or loyal sidekick. Only the most passive of us managed to escape unscathed into the history books and now this bastion of bigotry from "the Volunteer State" wants to exclude even that so we don't "besmirch" our founding fathers' legacy?
    Tea Party Wants Slavery Removed From Student Textbooks
    If they were to get their self-serving wish, little white children would look at their black classmates in puzzlement attempting to figure out what planet they landed from, since history would make no mention of our more turbulent arrival to "the land of the free."

    When the Huck Finn controversy erupted, I was disturbed that otherwise intelligent people deemed "slave" a more child appropriate word "than n**ger." The n-word is what slave masters called their slaves, making them both sides of the same coin.

    Our children need to know their history. They deserve to understand what we've overcome, so that they know what they can become.

    That this blatant attempt at revisionism is actually being submitted as a feasible option for the education of our youth speaks volumes about the depths of desperation some conservatives have reached: They are attempting to hypnotize our children into a mindless state of groupthink in hopes of erasing what continuously exists, even if in different forms.

    If they can re-create history in a way that minimizes slavery, then it will be easier for all the subsequent inequalities to be deemed an exaggeration. Americans will perceive the judicial, educational, occupational and health care disparities facing minorities not as remnants of slavery and Jim Crow, but a testament to the laziness and apathy of African Americans.

    If that shift occurs, it will be easier to implement their radical call for the repeal of the 17th Amendment, bringing this country back to square one as it pertains to race relations.

    Some may think my assertions are far-fetched, and last week I would have agreed with them.

    Until I witnessed a resurgence of Dixiecrats joining with educated scholars to successfully change the words of a dead man.

    So to the Tea Party of Tennessee: Maybe you all should strive to genuinely erase prejudice and injustice in this country instead of perpetuating division, violence and historical myths. Then maybe your legacy won't need to be whitewashed to absolve your descendants of guilt as you're pathetically trying to do now.





     

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  • 01/14/11--02:53: 10 Hair Myths Demystified
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    We've all heard our share of old wives' tales when it comes to beauty, but what's actually fact and fiction? We asked, and you shared some of the hair secrets that you swear by. Whether you grew up brushing your locks exactly 50 times because Grandma said it would make your hair shiny, or spent hours parting and greasing, here's some truths to put the traditions to bed.

    MYTH #1: Twirling your hair will cause you to lose hair in that spot quicker.

    THE REAL DEAL: According to the American Hair Loss Association, hair loss resulting from constant twirling is called trichotillomania. The constant tug weakens the follicles resulting in patchy hair loss and broken strands. However, if you can get a grip on your hair twirling habit before it's becomes a chronic compulsion, your hair will re-grow. If not, see a therapist ASAP to get to the root of the problem.

    MYTH #2: Braids can cause the hairline to recede.

    THE REAL DEAL: It's true! If we didn't learn anything from Brandy's braid-wearing days, let's set the record straight. Continuous hair pulling for extended periods of time can in fact lead to hair loss. It can cause damage to the roots that may or may not be reversible, and you might start to see your hairline recede like your dad's. Give your hair scalp a rest by alternating braided styles with loose ones every few weeks.

    MYTH #3: Greasing your hair/scalp every night will keep it healthy.

    THE REAL DEAL: The answer is two-fold. We all need keep our mane moisturized, and grease can provide that, but using products that are too heavy will actually do more bad than good. Steer clear of products that contain mineral oil and petroleum jelly; these actually clog pores, and greasy build-up prevents hair growth. Once a week, wash out buildup with a clarifying shampoo like hair rules Aloe Grapefruit Purifying Shampoo ($9.50-$20, hairrules.com)

    MYTH #4: Dying hair will cause it to lose its texture and shine; you will also go grey faster.

    THE REAL DEAL: Hair color affects everyone differently, but when dye is applied, no matter what your hair type, the hair cuticles are being striped so that the color sticks. "Color actually thins hair because it's stripping as it colors," says celebrity hair stylist Suzette Boozer of SuLon Hair Studio in Brooklyn, NY.

    "Think of split ends - it's taking one layer off of the strand," she says. The texture is changing as we dye and if not moisturized properly after coloring, shine will disappear too. As for the grays, factors like genetics, smoking, and stress causes this, so unless you're stressing about your hue, the dye itself will not make you gray faster.

    MYTH #5: Wearing a satin or silk scarf and sleeping on a satin pillowcase prevents split ends and overdrying.

    THE REAL DEAL: It's true! Sleeping on a satin pillowcase or with a satin scarf, especially if your hair breaks easily, will help prevent snags and friction that cotton causes. Constant rubbing wreaks havoc on hair cuticles, leaving it in a tangled mess come morning. Also, try wearing a satin scarf under winter hats to avoid hair breakage.


    MYTH #6: Ripe avocado mashed and applied directly to hair will leave it manageable.

    THE REAL DEAL: It's true! Get to smashing, because the Vitamin E in avocados conditions and moisturizes hair naturally. Many store-bought conditioners include avocado oils, so why not use it in its natural form?

    MYTH #7: Using a dandruff control shampoo will make relaxers grow out faster.

    THE REAL DEAL: This is a tricky one, but the quick answer is yes, dandruff shampoos can lead to a speedy relaxer grow-out. Dandruff shampoos work double duty to clear product buildup that can cause dandruff and to moisturize dry scalp, another cause of flakiness. The clarifying ingredient keeps pores clear, which promotes hair growth.

    MYTH #8: Shaving makes hair tougher and thicker.

    THE REAL DEAL: Mayo Clinic dermatologist Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D. cleared things up: "Shaving hair doesn't change its thickness or color. The color, location, thickness and length of hair on your body mainly depend on genetics and hormones. After you shave body hair, it may feel coarse or 'stubbly' for a time as it grows out. During this phase, it may be more noticeable - and may appear darker or thicker, but it's not."

    Can't deal with rough new growth? Waxing consistently will cause the hair to grow in finer and more sparse as time progresses. For an at-home job, try Sally Hansen Naturally Bare Waxing Strips for Body ($8.49, ulta.com), which has pre-waxed strips to avoid the usual hot-wax mess.

    MYTH #9: Wrapping your hair in the same direction all the time will cause one side to grow shorter.

    THE REAL DEAL: One reader says that while she wraps her hair in the same direction out of convenience (she's right-handed, so she wraps to the right), she's noticed that her strands are shorter on the right side. Just like sleeping on one side all the time can cause your hair to break on that side, wrapping in the same direction can put a lot of stress on those strands, causing it to thin or break and become lopsided.

    To be extra careful, compare which side you regularly carry your bags/pocketbooks to which side of your hair has more broken ends. You may not even notice it, but your bag straps will pull strands out one by one over time, leaving one side of your hair to appear more damaged than the other. Switch shoulders from time to time, or at least sweep your hair to one side before hooking your bag over your arm.

    MYTH #10: Trimming your hair regularly really makes it grow.

    THE REAL DEAL: New York City salon owner John Barrett told Good Housekeeping Magazine that "hair grows a half-inch per month, whether you cut it or not." Regular trims won't make it grow faster, but split and choppy ends can cause breakage. So even if it's growing at the roots, you won't notice because the ends will constantly break. Keep those ends groomed!

     

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    If you didn't ring in the New Year donning the perfect festive frock, don't fret! With Valentine's Day just a month away, the party dress season is far from over! Shimmering embellishments and bold eye catching hues make the ideal foundation when looking for your glam garb. Actress Kerry Washington was snapped out this week at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards wearing a blue and white sequin mini-dress by designer Alberto Makali ($330, albertomakali.com). Sparkle like a star in your own sexy hip-hugging sequin mini.

    STYLE TIPS
    Sequin can be worn day or night. During the day, opt for a sequin tunic or vest-type tops that you can pair with leggings, a cardigan or boyfriend blazer. You want to shimmer subtly during business hours, so little to no jewelry is recommended.

    Check out BV's top party-perfect picks of the week.
    Cheap & Chic



    Arden B. Sequin Swirl Dress ($25, ardenb.com); ASOS Rare Sequin Maxi Dress With One Sleeve ($34.48, asos.com)


    BUDGET-CONSCIOUS BASICS

    Calvin Klein Sequin Tank Dress ($98, nordstrom.com); Single Black Sequin Padded Shoulder v-back Dress ($123, bluefly.com)


    HEY BIG SPENDER

    Aidan Mattox 'Cold Shoulder' Sequin Dress ($295, nordstrom.com); Parker Three Quarter Sleeve Sequin Mini Dress ($297, shopplanetblue.com)


    Editor's Lust List

    British-based designer Ashish Gupta has to be the supreme present day authority on sequin design. His line Ashish is defined by one single element, sequin. The attraction to sequin, explains Gupta, derives from a fascination of, "taking something really ordinary or traditional and twisting it and making it new." Gupta's designs can be described as sexy with a sense of humor and fans that include Beyoncé and rapper MIA. "I dress loads of pop stars, and sequins look really good on stage. They reflect light and add another dimension of color," says Gupta, whose garments are hand sewn by 12 to 16 dressmakers at his atelier in India. With the versatility of sequin, Ashish, as a line, is sure to remain on the forefront of fashion.

    Ashish Turquoise Sequined Silk One-shoulder Dress ($1220, net-a-porter.com) Shown here with Emilio Pucci shoes, Halston Heritage clutch, Lee Angel earrings and a Kara Ross ring; Ashish Sequined Silk High-waisted skirt ($505, net-a-porter.com). Ashish's gold sequined silk high-waisted skirt will add instant glam to any look. Take this shimmering separate downtown with a leather biker jacket and pointed booties.

     

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    90 Girls Pregnant at Memphis Middle/High School


    What in the world is going on at Frayser Middle/High School in Memphis, Tenn.? More girls are carrying babies than backpacks!

    There are a reported 90 teens who are pregnant now or who have had a baby this school year. Eleven percent of the school's female population is already in the throes of parenthood.

    Now an all-out campaign is being launched to deter teen pregnancy at the school.


    Teen pregnancy is a big problem in Memphis and Shelby County, where the population is predominantly black and poor.

    Sixteen-year-old Terrika Sutton (pictured above) is one of the Frayser students who became pregnant. Sutton, who has a 2-month-old daughter, says she was in her fifth month when she found out she was expecting a child. The teen mom surprised her parents and classmates alike when she broke the news to them about her situation:

    "They were like, 'Terrika, I never knew you would get pregnant,' and I was like well it happened."

    The young mother goes onto say, though, that teen pregnancy is nothing to be proud of and that something should be done:

    "It's a shame that all these girls at Frayser are pregnant, but it ain't nothing new. They probably planned on what they gonna do to get pregnant. Ain't no telling. They need a class where they can teach girls before they get pregnant to use protection and stuff and so they don't try to get pregnant."

    Until now, there has been very little data collected on the number of pregnant students.

    Last year, more than 2,100 girls ages 10 to 19 gave birth in Shelby County. Researchers say Shelby County's teen pregnancy rate is 25 percent higher than New Orleans and twice that of Louisville, Ky. Frayser, though, has the highest teen-pregnancy rate in all of Memphis.


    A Title 1 school, Frayser receives federal dollars based on the number of students from low-income families who qualify for free or reduced lunch. Nearly 100 percent of the students who attend the school qualify.

    Educators and researchers have come up with a new campaign that has been designed to help teens prevent pregnancy called "No Baby!"

    Memphis City School officials will set the initiative in motion on Jan. 20. The campaign will be run by Girls Inc., an organization that's been helping girls in Memphis improve their self-esteem for the past several decades.

    The "No Baby!" all-out massive effort to stomp out teen pregnancy will hopefully get the message across to teens to say no to having sex and having babies. "No Baby!" will only encourage abstinence and not provide contraceptives but will give teens the proper tools on how to protect themselves should they decide to engage in sexual relations.

    The war against teenage pregnancy is also being infused with $250,000 in advertising that will saturate all forms of social media forums such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as using other mediums, such as texts, radio, billboards and television.

    The advertising campaign's rollout will begin with Frayser, but it will expand to include other schools in Memphis where the teen pregnancy problem is rampant. In 10 Memphis zip codes, at least 20 percent of teens have a baby, which is more than double the national average.

    Teen pregnancy is a serious issue that demands our attention.

    Teen parents are almost always unprepared for the challenges of parenthood and often drop out of school, take low-paying jobs and never complete their education. Children born to teen moms are often sicker, poorer and less educated as a group.

    The scariest part of all is that they are also the group most likely to become teen parents and repeat the cycle. I don't profess to come up with any one solution to this growing problem, but I believe that morals, contraception, abstinence and keeping idle minds busy with activities after school might be a darn good start.



     

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    The "What the hayell" segment asks serious questions about events, institutions and individuals in our society who lead us to be confused about their behavior. One serious point of confusion is the NCAA, Auburn University and the treatment of star quarterback Cam Newton. Newton helped bring in a $21 million dollar payday to Auburn University with his recent NCAA championship. He also helped the school earn millions throughout the year through ticket sales, jersey sales and national television appearances. Yet, to this day, Cam and the other players on the Auburn University football team will see no piece of the multi-million dollar pie generated by their labor.

    With the recent announcement that he plans to enter the NFL draft, Newton is going to be just fine. But there are other very talented players on the Auburn University football team who played a significant role in winning the title, who will leave campus with neither an academic degree or an NCAA contract. These individuals deserve to have labor rights so they don't have to be megastars in order to get a fraction of financial return for their athletic investment. Schools like Auburn University are massive corporate athletic machines who use athletes (many of whom are black) to keep their revenues high. Simultaneously, many of these players have families who live in poverty. I believe this to be fundamentally unfair and incredibly unAmerican.

    Congress should get involved. The video is below, check it out!

    PRODUCTION PLAYER! DO NOT DELETE.


    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition and the Athlete Liberation and Academic Reform Movement (ALARM). To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

     

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    I've been obsessing -- honestly, for decades -- about my first crush from junior high school. It's quite embarrassing. I haven't told a soul, of course, but I find myself thinking about him many times a day. We still see each other -- with our spouses -- for a concert or a class reunion maybe once or twice a year. I just can't seem to let him go! The worst part of it all is that my husband's perfect. He's romantic, sweet, funny and a great dad. I'm crazy about him and I feel like I don't deserve such a terrific guy. I should be spending my time obsessing over Mr. Wonderful, not Mr. Habit. Could you help me get my thoughts back in line?
    -Margaret


    Love is an incredibly powerful force, and your first crush can leave a lasting impression because it is your first experience with infatuation. It feels amazing because the emotions are all encompassing and you are swept away in the dizzying effects of addictive love. You're not the first person, and you won't be the last to obsess and fantasize about your first crush, wondering 'what if?' The problem with this obsession is that it is rooted in infatuation and is just a fantasy. That experience was so many years ago, and those two people don't exist anymore. You have both grown up, matured, and changed, so the idea you have in your mind of who he is and what you could have had is just an emotional memory.

    The best way to get over this is to face the hard truths. What you have with your husband is love, and what you have in your mind with your first crush is infatuation. Separate them into two different categories and label them as so. The question you should be addressing is why you feel the need to escape to fantasy land so often. Fantasizing can be healthy, and fun, but if you find that it's getting in the way of developing or connecting with your real love, then there is a deeper problem at play.

    It seems that even though your husband is an amazing guy, you are running away to fantasize in your mind, which means your reality may be missing something. Maybe you don't spend enough time reconnecting with each other, and your need to be swept off your feet isn't being fulfilled. Instead of retreating to fantasy land, take a look at your relationship and work out how you and your husband can inject a little fantasy into your lives. Add a weekly date night just for the two of you, and make sure to end it in the sheets. Plan a weekend away -- without the kids -- to rekindle the flames of passion. It's easy for love to get lost in the day-to-day shuffle of kids, bills, work, stress and routine. Take the time to inject some fantasy into your reality, so you fill your day dreams with real love.

    Rebecca Brody is a relationship coach and columnist in NYC. She hosts ImprovDates.com, and works with private clients. Send your questions to Brody@TheLuvCoach.com or visit her at www.TheLuvCoach.com.

     

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    Zoe Saldana definitely worked the red carpet at the Audi Golden Globes celebration. The Dominican darling arrived wearing a nude, strapless, leather J. Mendel dress, maroon Brian Atwood 'Contessa' pumps, a matching clutch and gold Aurelie Bidermann bracelets.

    Sanaa Lathan looked cute and colorful in a stripped shift-dress and red pumps on the red carpet for the 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards.

    Kerry Washington showed up to the Film Critic's Circle Awards looking super sexy in a sequined blue mini-dress by Alberto Makali. Kerry's bright blue peeptoe booties and silver bracelets coordinated perfectly with her va-va-voom hair.

    Wendy Raquel Robinson rocked a glamourous silver sparkle dress to the LA premiere of our favorite show 'The Game.' The fabulous actress accessorized her look with a wide belt silver, black peep toe heels and sexy red lips.

    We think all four of these starlets looked lovely, but we want to know, who had the best look of the week?

     

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