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

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    Whether you hated it or loved it, there's no doubt you have an opinion about Halle Berry's Golden Globes dress. While most women on the red carpet go for the latest, greatest gown available, Halle decided to keep it real, opting for a black, 2009 Nina Ricci dress with a chiffon train. She accessorized with bold diamond bangles on each arm, simple strappy sandals, and her signature short 'do.

    In May 2009, the dress made a fashionable appearance on Bee Shaffer, the daughter of the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour. Bee sported the navy version to the MET Costume Institute Gala, pairing it with black peep-toe pumps and diamond drop earrings. While we think both women looked sexy and stylish, we want to know what you think. Who wore Nina Ricci best?

     

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    Score Board: 'The Game' & 'Let's Stay Together' Land Big Second Week Numbers

    BET's re-launch of 'The Game' continues to bring in lots of viewers.

    The second episode of the dramedy was viewed by 5.9 million viewers, just down 1.9 million viewers from its record-breaking hour-long debut last week.

    (Read: 'Big Ratings Win for BET's 'The Game,' Premiere Episode Draws 7.7 Million Viewers')

    Airing at 10pm EST, 'The Game' became the number one ad-supported sitcom telecast in cable TV history with its 7.7 million debut. According to the Nielsen Company, the show was also the number one telecast on broadcast and cable ever.

    'The Game' also ranks as the number two telecast in BET history among viewers, just behind the 2009 'BET Awards.'

    Cast of 'Let's Stay Together'

    New sitcom 'Let's Stay Together,' which airs at 10:30pm, also continues to land strong numbers.

    The Queen Latifah-produced show, which stars Erica Hubbard, Bert Belasco, Joyful Drake, RonReaco Lee and Nadine Ellis, delivered 3.5 million viewers with its second episode, just down 0.9 viewers.
    Debra L. Lee
    'Let's Stay Together's' debut with 4.4 million viewers made it the number two series In BET history.

    "We are thrilled to see our audience respond so well to 'The Game' and 'Let's Stay Together,'" said Debra L. Lee, Chairman and CEO of BET Networks. "It is clear these two shows are real game changers for the Network and the proven success of last night tells us that our viewers are not only passionate about the types of programming that we offer, but continue to crave on-air programming that reflects and respects our voices."


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    BETs The Game Premiere

    (L-R) Castmembers Tia Mowry and Pooch Hall attend BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City.

    BETs The Game Premiere

    (L-R) Castmembers Hosea Chanchez, Tia Mowry, Terrence J., Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Pooch Hall attend BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City.

    BETs The Game Premiere

    (L-R) BET executive Steven Hill and actor Coby Bell attend BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City.

    BETs The Game Premiere

    President and CEO of BET Debra Lee attends BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City

    BETs The Game Premiere

    (L-R) Castmembers Tia Mowry, Terrence J., and Pooch Hall attend BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City.

    BETs The Game Premiere

    Promoter Tali Gore (R) attends BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City.

    BETs The Game Premiere

    (L-R) Castmembers Wendy Raquel Robinson and Tia Mowry attend BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City.

    BETs The Game Premiere

    Actress Tia Mowry attends BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City.

    BETs The Game Premiere

    (L-R) Castmembers Terrence J. and Wendy Raquel Robinson attend BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City.

    BETs The Game Premiere

    (L-R) Castmembers Hosea Chanchez, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Tia Mowry attend BET's "The Game" launch event at Butter on January 11, 2011 in New York City.

    BETs The Game Premiere

     

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    After taking a break from the spotlight for a few weeks, First Lady Michelle Obama finally emerged tonight looking better than ever. Michelle turned heads around the world when she arrived to the White House's state dinner in honor of China, in a stunning, red and black silk-printed gown by the late Alexander McQueen. Many believe Michelle may have worn red as a gesture to her Chinese guests, as red is the color of honor, loyalty, and success in Chinese culture.

    But it wasn't just the dress that made Michelle look fabulous, she added lovely ruby and gold earrings by KimberlyMcDonald that highlighted her gorgeous updo and soft makeup. She topped it all off with a fringed shawl, which added flair. With President Obama at her side, Michelle is proving that she just might be history's most fashion-forward First Lady!

     

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    Let the political games begin. In their first move as freshly appointed captains of the Congressional ship, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to repeal the health reform law as a statement of protest against President Obama's most important legislative victory.

    All 242 Republicans voted in lockstep to repeal the law, and nearly every Democrat voted against the repeal. The Republicans have chosen to define the Obama healthcare law as a "job killer," in an effort to tie their attacks on Obama to the economy.

    "If we agree that this law needs improving, why would we keep it on the books?" House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. "This is what we said we would do. When you look at the facts and when you listen to the people, this is a promise worth keeping."

    The Republican effort to repeal the law isn't going to go anywhere, since Senate Democrats have made it clear that they are not going to consider the bill. The Republicans have continued to try to get the Senate to vote on the measure and claim that Senators are insulting the American people with their behavior.

    Democrats have begun working to defend the law, citing one story after another of constituents who've benefited from Obama's work. They've been especially quick to mention the children who are required to be covered under the law. Democrats argue that a repeal could lead to five million Americans with preexisting conditions being denied insurance coverage. They also claim that it would add $230 billion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

    To counter the Republican offensive, Democrats put forth an amendment that would require members of Congress to give up their health coverage, which is provided by the government. The measure was defeated, with nearly all Republicans being the reason for the defeat. The point of putting the measure forward was to show that while Republicans are not in favor of the idea of all Americans getting access to government-provided health coverage, they are always willing to take their own coverage from the government.

    It appears that after the assassination attempt of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, the Republicans have switched from incendiary rhetoric to hypocritical crusades. Their attacks on the president's health care law were not likely to succeed, and repeal efforts were mostly symbolic. The notion that the plan is a job killer is only a weak effort to control the minds of those who are concerned about the economy. So, rather than spending time dealing with real issues that affect the plight of the jobless in America, Republicans would rather have us presume that attacking Obama is going to help them to find jobs. The reality, however, is that just last month, Republicans turned down the chance to help jobless Americans by threatening to cut their unemployment benefits if Obama didn't allow for tax cuts for the wealthy. Given their unwillingness to provide health care to the poor and unemployed across America, Republicans continue to make their case as the party that best represents the rich.

    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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    Lionsgate has release the poster to 'Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family,' starring Shad "Bow Wow" Moss, Loretta Devine, Cassi Davis, Lauren London, David Mann, Tamela Brown Mann, Isaiah Mustafa, Rodney Perry, Shannon Kane, Natalie Desselle Reid, and Teyana Taylor.

    Tyler Perry serves as director and two-time star (as Madea and her brother, Joe).


    Madea, everyone's favorite wise-cracking, take-no-prisoners grandma, jumps into action when her niece, Shirley, receives distressing news about her health. All Shirley wants is to gather her three adult children around her and share the news as a family. But Tammy, Kimberly and Byron are too distracted by their own problems: Tammy can't manage her unruly children or her broken marriage; Kimberly is gripped with anger and takes it out on her husband; and Byron, after spending two years in jail, is under pressure to deal drugs again. It's up to Madea, with the help of the equally rambunctious Aunt Bam, to gather the clan together and make things right the only way she knows how: with a lot of tough love, laughter...and the revelation of a long-buried family secret.

    The film will be in theaters April 22, 2011.

     

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    Looking to create another box office hit like he did with son Jaden, Will Smith is considering doing a remake of the musical 'Annie' with daughter Willow as the star.

    While it's still in the development stage, Variety states that through his film company Overbrook, Smith would produce the film with megastar rapper Jay-Z collaborating on the music.


    Details haven't confirmed whether the film would be a contemporary version and whether it will include any original songs.

    Will Smith hit paydirt when he remade 'The Karate Kid' with Jaden as the star. The film made more than $350 million worldwide.

    Willow made her acting debut in her dad's film, 'I Am Legend,' and later appeared in 'Kit Kittredge: An American Girl' alongside Abigail Breslin.

    In 2010, she launched her music career with the release of her single 'Whip My Hair' and signed on to Jay-Z's record label Roc Nation. The single peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Smith one of the youngest solo artists in history to do so.

    In 2009, Jay-Z and Will Smith, along with Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith helped produced the acclaimed musical 'Fela!.'

    The Broadway production won the Tony Award for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design of a Musical, and Best Sound Design of a Musical.

    In 1998, when Jay-Z released his third album, 'Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life', he scored a hit with the song, 'Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),' which samples the song 'It's the Hard Knock Life' from the Broadway musical 'Annie.'

    'Hard Knock Life' was Jay-Z's first single to achieve success outside the US, reaching the top 10 in several countries.

     

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    Woman Kidnapped Over 23 Years Ago Is Reunited with Birth Parents, Carlina White

    More than two decades ago, an infant was snatched from her crib in a New York City Harlem hospital. Her kidnapper was never found ... until now.



    In August 1987, Carlina White (pictured above and as a baby below) was only 19 days old, burning up with a 103 degree temperature, when she was abducted from Harlem Hospital in New York City.

    Woman Kidnapped Over 23 Years Ago Is Reunited with Birth Parents, Carlina White


    The child's teen mom, Joy White (pictured above), brought the infant to the hospital and left her in the pediatric ward so she could be seen by a physician. A mysterious looking woman, who police later discovered had been lingering around the hospital many times before, dressed in a nurse's uniform consoled the distraught 16-year-old mother.

    New York City Police Department (NYPD) chief spokesperson Paul J. Browne told reporters:

    "We had a description, back then, of a woman who picked up the baby who acted as if she belonged there, or worked there. Obviously, it has been an open investigation; some leads did not work out, and obviously had not resulted in her being found."

    White, who would later claim was mistreated by her abductor, was raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and given the alias of Nejdra Nance.

    Woman Kidnapped Over 23 Years Ago Is Reunited with Birth Parents, Carlina White


    White told police that the woman whom she believed to be her mother was a scam artist who used phoney social security numbers and IDs. White also went on to state that the abductor was also a drug user who oftentimes abused her physically.

    As White grew up, she had a nagging feeling that she did not belong and felt like a stranger among her "relatives."

    There was no birth certificate to verify her birth, and the fact that she resembled no one in her "family" kept bringing up unsettling doubts about her familial ties. At age 16, White made the decision to delve further in to her background.

    White stumbled upon the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website, and it was there that she found a photo of an infant that she felt resembled her. Telephone numbers accompanied the photo, and White decided to make the bold move and call her birth mother Joy.

    The phone call from White prompted Joy to call the police to investigate further.

    The phone call to the NYPD was eventually routed to Detective Martin A. Brown, who concluded that White's story was very dramatic and unusual. Instead of passing the call to yet another area of law enforcement, Brown decided to assist in verifying all suspicions by overseeing the DNA match ups. Even though White's parents separated and even went on to raise new families with other spouses, the pair's DNA was checked against White's:

    "The daughter's natural instincts were confirmed with DNA swabs," Browne told the New York Times.

    White and her parents, Joy and Carl Tyson, felt so positive that the DNAs would match, that they did not even wait for the results before they reunited and celebrated last Friday:

    "I already knew in my heart that this was my daughter," Tyson said. "All I could do is shed tears."

    As far as the abductor is concerned, there is no statute of limitation, so she could still face federal prosecution. Reportedly, a Bridgeport woman named Mary Pettway admitted that her daughter, Cassandra, who lives in Georgia, had raised White but provided no further information.

    Joy always had a feeling that her daughter was alive; the Mom even used the name Carlina in her e-mail address.

    Meanwhile, White wrote on her Twitter account that she planned to move to New York City and was looking forward "to Sunday dinner" with her newfound family.



    Watch Carlina White's story here:

     

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    LeBron James Gets Animated for 'The LeBrons'Despite a lot of basketball fans still hating on LeBron James for his "Decision" debacle last summer and his new team's current struggle, he's still in great spirits and excited about his new animated series.

    Called, "The LeBrons," the show will be based on his Nike commercials that featured him playing different versions of himself.

    The show will debut this spring on YouTube as well as his website. Expect to see young LeBron, old LeBron, athletic LeBron and business LeBron on the series.


    "I'm mostly a kid at heart," James told the New York Times, "and I'm the athlete, of course, that everyone sees, but I also have a business side, a cool side and I love antique stuff and classical music. I guess that's the old man side of me."

    The show will have 10 five-minute episodes and have a positive message directed toward his younger fans.

    The show is sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and Intel, with some of the proceeds going toward the Boys & Girls Club of America. Check out the promo trailer:





     

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    Detroit Serial Rapist Suspect in Custody, Detroit Serial Rapes


    A man has been arrested in connection to a series of rapes that took place earlier this month on Detroit's east side. On Wednesday afternoon, police picked up a 31-year-old man just blocks from where one of the seven attacks took place.

    Montia Tyus, the suspect's live-in girlfriend, said she was shocked to see police pull up, begin raiding their home and then take her boyfriend away:

    "It's crazy," Tyus said. "I can't believe he did it -- if he did do it."

    She said he would often disappear at night, telling her that he was going to a nightclub. Family members and neighbors alike are just as surprised, many in disbelief.

    Apparently, forensic evidence and more than 200 tips led police to the suspect, who is on parole after serving 14 years for an assault crime with intent to murder.

    Beginning Jan. 1, seven rapes -- all located in close proximity -- were reported to Detroit police. The assaults took place between the hours of 7:40 p.m. and 6:15 a.m. The women ranged in ages from 17 to 33 years of age and were usually abducted near bus stops, then taken to an abandoned home where they were raped at gunpoint.

    The Detroit community has been on high alert as organizations, police and the media have been on a manhunt to catch the criminal behind this rape spree. For now, there is an air of relief as police determine whether the alleged suspect is indeed the true assailant.

     

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    With stories of Haitian orphans who left the misery of their earthquake-torn country to find happiness after moving to the United States, its nearly impossible to argue against the policy of bringing these desperate little ones here, right?

    Well, let me try.

    Everyone knows the orphans, ranging from 11 months to 16 years of age who are part of what's known as the "Pennsylvania Airlift" will do better with a full refrigerator, cable television and the greater physical safety they would receive in Pittsburgh compared to Port-au-Prince.

    But reports that some of the children were taken without getting the permission of their families are credible.

    Through the years, we have seen that people with the missionary zeal of the All Blessings International adoption agency, which coordinated the airlift, sometimes neglect to dot all the i's and cross all the t's when it comes to getting proper approvals for taking the children.

    When a group of Haitian orphans landed in Pittsburgh on Jan. 19, 12 children didn't go through proper adoption channels and didn't even have new homes in the ready for them.

    What would happen to those kids. Would they become wards of the state? Would they be shipped back to Haiti after getting a teasing taste of American life? Would they be sent to the highest-bidding American family?

    I have no reason to question the motives of the adoption agency. But even with the purest of intentions, the business of shipping poor children across international borders is a questionable practice.

    I have a very good friend who sends money to poor children in Central America and Africa. She even used her vacation time to visit the family of one of the children -- leaving behind gifts for her "child" and their family.

    That is a much better way to show your concern for the poor and struggling children of Haiti. If you really want to help, visit the families, help rebuild the broken cities, leave behind money and materials to facilitate the rebuilding that will help the entire society -- not just a lucky child or two.

    Simply grabbing up a few children for new lives here does little to help Haiti at large.

     

     

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    New Census Data Shows More Same-Sex Couples Are Minorities Who Raise Children In South



    Who would have thought that gay and lesbian citizens would flock to the South for any semblance of acceptance?

    Certainly not me, but data recently released from the Census Bureau proves me wrong.

    According to Gary Gates, a demographer at the University of California, Los Angeles, gay couples below the Mason Dixon Line are more likely to be raising children than their counterparts on the West Coast, in New York and in New England.

    Jacksonville, Fla., a city that excoriated gays in the '80s, so much so that a "gay" church was bombed, now has eight churches that openly accepts lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) members, and one of them even caters to their children.

    As recently as September 2010, Florida was the only state that completely banned adoption by gay couples.

    The study also smashes mainstream stereotypes that all gay people are white, urban and affluent, revealing that the majority of same-sex families living in this region are minorities.


    Using data from the American Community survey, Gates determined that black or Latino gay couples are twice as likely as whites to be raising children:

    "We're starting to see that the gay community is very diverse," said Bob Witeck, chief executive of Witeck-Combs Communications, which helped market the census to gay people. "We're not all rich white guys."

    Experts threw around many theories for the findings, including that with the stigma attached to homosexuality in Southern, minority communities, many same-sex couples bring children from previous heterosexual relationships to form their current families.

    "People grew up in church, so a lot of us lived in shame," said Darlene Maffett, 43, an African American Jacksonville resident who had two children in eight years of marriage before coming out in 2002. "What did we do? We wandered around lost. We married men, and then couldn't understand why every night we had a headache."

    While Maffett felt welcomed by the predominately white, gay community in Jacksonville, it was not until she met Valerie Williams that she truly felt she had found a safe haven for her children.

    "People were looking to do stuff with their kids, and they had no place to go," she said.

    To combat this issue, Williams, pastor of St. Luke's Community Church, founded a program called the Youth Power Hour for children of gay parents. Within a few months, the membership of the predominately African American church more than tripled.

    "All of a sudden you started seeing all of these women coming out," Maffett said. "All of them had children."

    Around 20 children meet on a consistent basis to discuss their families and the unique challenges they face among their peers. Among them, a 9-year-old girl, who lives with her mothers Cynthia and Monique, expresses her relief to be surrounded by others who understand her situation:

    "It feels good to be around people who don't just have moms and dads," she said. "I like it because I'm not alone anymore."

    Unfortunately, while she may not be alone, she is more likely to suffer through economic hardships. Though Florida recognizes domestic partnerships, it still does not recognize marriages between gay or lesbian couples as binding, leaving their families lacking financial security.

    Since the federal government does not recognize their status, health coverage is considered income and is taxable.

    While the ramifications of legalizing same-sex marriage are debated from water coolers to Congress, the vulnerability of the children in these unions is rarely discussed. This year will be the first time that these families are even counted.

    "We don't know a lot about this group," Gates said. "Their story has not been told."

    In this country, at least the last time I checked, it is illegal to discriminate based on race, religion, sex or creed. Why is same-sex marriage an exception?

    It is one thing for personal religious beliefs (or homophobia disguised as religious beliefs) to condemn gay marriage; it's another situation to entirely deny a civil liberty based on those beliefs and endanger children in the process.

    Rape, murder and slavery all occur and are accepted in the Bible, while in today's society they are considered the height of atrocities. This proves that some people select which biblical teachings to follow based on societal mores and their own harbored prejudices.

    I find it highly hypocritical that socially conservative politicians with enough divorces and affairs under their belts to start a harem would dare attempt to define the sanctity of marriage.

    When we place our hands over our hearts, and proudly speak these words, "...with liberty, and justice for all," we shouldn't silently add, "Unless you're black," "unless you're a woman," "unless you're gay" ... and "unless you're different."

    That is not equality. That is not America.

    Jacksonville stands as a model of adaptability and acceptance, characteristics I hope this nation learns to emulate. Though, President Barack Obama continues to "wrestle" with his stance against same-sex marriages, we cannot afford the luxury of denying any citizens basic rights due to something as intensely personal as sexual preference.

    The data released by the Census Bureau provides us with a snapshot of the future of this nation, and a picture is worth a thousand words. It reveals that people are either tired of living in secret or finally feel accepted enough to live openly. Whatever the case, progress in the struggle for civil rights for all is within our grasp.

     

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    It's been confirmed, R&B singer Monica Arnold has tied the knot with LA Laker Shannon Brown in a secret ceremony that possibly took place months ago. Rumors swirled that the pair had already jumped the broom this past November, when earlier this week Brown, 25, was captured on video discussing the Lakers win over the Knicks, wearing a ring on his wedding finger that appeared to be a wedding band. All the buzz and secrecy led Brown to finally admit on video to hiphoponstoptv.com that Monica, 30, is indeed his wife.

    When asked had he already married the songstress he responded, "Yes that' true, and I really don't know what else to say about it." He continued, "You know that's my wife, I'm her husband, and we're going to continue to make positive things happen."

    Arnold and Brown who met on the set of her video, 'Love All Over Me,' faced intense scrutiny last October when rumors of their engagement surfaced after twit pics on Monica's 'Shannon' tattoo and 10-carat diamond ring were taken only four months after they began dating. The engagement drama was nothing compared to the scandal Monica had to endure months before when she was accused of coming in between a romantic relationship Brown allegedly still had with his 1-year-old son's mother.

    Monica, who has had publicly turbulent relationships in the past; incarcerated rapper C-Murder, G-Unit rapper Young Buck, and her most recent break up with the southern rapper Rocko, father of her two sons. The songstress now joins the ranks with Khloe Kardashian and LaLa Vasquez, as celebrities turned official NBA wives. However, it seems Monica could care less about the basketball lifestyle. She once tweeted, "I am the type of woman who will forever put my kids & family first. I thank God for placing Shannon in my life. He does all that and more ;-)." Well alright Monica, we guess all is well that ends well.

    Do you think Monica rushed into this marriage?

     

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    Who's Got Next: Could Someone Black Succeed Regis Philbin?

    Regis Philbin has made a lasting mark on television having hosted the long-running daytime talk show 'Live with Regis and Kelly' (formerly 'Live with Regis' and 'Live with Regis and Kathie Lee') for 28 years.

    The 79 year-old Philbin, whose star took a greater turn in 1999 when he hosted the U.S. debut of 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,' announced on Jan. 18, 2011 that he will vacate his morning chat show.

    Since the Emmy Award-winning TV veteran is moving away from his daytime talk show and Kelly Ripa will be searching for a new co-host, BlackVoices.com has assembled a list of seven worthy contenders who we think deserve a shot at filling Reeg's seat.

    Arsenio Hall - One of the most successful hosts in the late night television Arsenio Hallrealm, Arsenio Hall changed the game with his syndicated 'The Arsenio Hall Show.' Hall interviewed everyone from Paula Abdul to President Bill Clinton on his late night show, though he came under scrutiny when he devoted an entire hour to Minister Louis Farrakhan. After five and a half years the show ended and Hall went on to host a revamped version of 'Star Search;' starred in a short-lived sitcom called, 'Arsenio;' was featured on the series 'Martial Law,' and hosted a show called 'The World's Funniest Moments.' The 54-year-old comic did confess recently on Twitter he misses being on TV and Philbin's exit could be perfect timing.

    TJ Holmes - He's the CNN talent who anchors the weekend morning edition of 'CNN Newsroom,' where he's worked since Oct. 2006. The 33-year-old has reported hard-hitting TJ Holmesnews stories like the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India to the Virginia Tech shooting from location in Blacksburg, Virginia. On the lighter side, he's also interviewed everyone from Dolly Parton to Kirk Franklin, and even got a full physical - treadmill run and all - for Tom Joyner's 'Take a Love One to the Doctor Day' on TV. Holmes came to CNN from NBC11 in the San Francisco Bay Area. While at NBC, he traveled to Athens, Greece to cover the 2004 Olympics, the first Summer Games held since the September 11th terrorist attacks. Though there are reports that Holmes will take over as permanent host of CNN's 'American Morning,' the charismatic anchor is definitely worthy of consideration for the seat opposite Ripa.

    George Wallace - This Atlanta-bred comic is called 'The New Mr. Las Vegas' because of his best-selling headlining show at The Flamingo Hotel & ResGeorge Wallaceort in Las Vegas. Named Best Male Standup Comedian at the 1995 American Comedy Awards, Wallace has starred in a bevy of films including 'The Ladykillers,' 'Batman Forever,' 'A Rage in Harlem,' 'The Wash,' and 'Things Are Tough All Over.' The 58-year-old funnyman has also worked in radio, appearing regularly on the nationally syndicated 'Tom Joyner Morning Show' and co-hosting local shows with the late Isaac Hayes (New York City) and motivational speaker Les Brown (Washington, DC). Wallace, who was named as one of Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time, was the best man at the wedding of Jerry Seinfeld. Being funny and informed is just the thing that makes Wallace a contender for Philbin's seat on 'Live.'

    Wayne Brady - The 38-year-old Orlando-native is an actor, singer, dancer and comedian. He rose to stardom on ABC's 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?,' which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award. His short-lived talk show, 'Wayne BradyThe Wayne Brady Show,' landed him two Daytime Emmy Awards for 'Outstanding Talk Show Host.' A variety of gigs followed - everything from a run on Broadway as Billy Flynn in 'Chicago;' a guest-starring stint on the UPN sitcom 'Girlfriends;' hosting the Fox reality show 'Celebrity Duets;' and writing and singing the theme song for Disney's animated series 'The Weekenders.' Brady performs in Las Vegas where he headlines the variety show, 'Making It Up' at The Venetian Hotel. He was nominated for a Grammy Awards for his debut CD, 'A Long Time Coming' (Peak Records/Concord Music Group) in 2008. Brady currently hosts the game show, 'Let's Make a Deal' and is one of the many names already being tossed around to replace Philbin.

    Kevin Frazier - He's a lead correspondent for 'Entertainment Tonight' aKevin Fraziers well as the show's fill-in host. On the news magazine show, Frazier has covered everything from President Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington, D.C.; the death of Michael Jackson; and the Tiger Woods mistress scandal. The 45-year-old talent worked as an anchor at Fox Sports Net before joining 'Entertainment Tonight.' He also worked at ESPN, where he hosted 'SportsCenter' and several NBA-themed programs including 'NBA Shootaround,' 'NBA Fastbreak' and 'NBA Fastbreak Tuesday.' Frazier, who also hosts 'The T.Ocho Show' with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, recently launched a website called HipHollywood.com. The balance of sports and entertainment makes him a man after Philbin's own heart and a strong contender for the gig on 'Live.'

    Steve Harvey - He's currently one of the hottest talents in entertainment, hosting a syndicated radio show, a game show, a reality series and reguSteve Harveylarly contributing to a morning news show. Steve Harvey has taken the industry by storm since the he released his New York Times best-selling book, 'Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man' (Amistad). His syndicated radio program, 'Steve Harvey Morning Show' is one of the top urban radio shows and can now be seen on TV on BET's sister network, Centric. Harvey is also now a contributor on ABC's 'Good Morning America' and is the newest host of the syndicated game show, 'Family Feud.' The 54-year-old 'Original Kings of Comedy' also hosts an annual enrichment program for inner city kids called 'Disney Dreamers Academy.' His equity in entertainment definitely makes him an obvious candidate to be considered a replacement for Philbin.

    Stephen A. Smith - Gayle King declared on her OWN show that Stephen A. Smith is her pick to replace Philbin. Smith started out as a sportswriter anStephen A. Smithd has since become a staple in the sports entertainment with a presence on television and radio. Smith's career at ESPN began when he was hired him away from Fox SportsNet's 'Best Damn Sports Show, Period!' to become an analyst/insider on, 'NBA Shootaround.' He has also contributed his in-your-face approach to sports commentaries on ESPN's 'SportsCenter' and 'ESPNews.' Smith hosted his own talk show, 'Quite Frankly from Aug. 2005 to Jan. 2007. On radio, the 43-year-old Smith hosted his own weekday radio show on 1050 ESPN in New York and due to its success, the show was picked up nationwide. Smith was a guest host on 'The View' several times in 2010. His ability to talk sports and expound on everything from entertainment to relationships makes him a strong candidate for consideration by 'Live.'


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    First

    President and First Lady Obama just finished hosting a lavish state dinner for the president of China, Hu Jintao. In attendance were luminaries ranging from music sensation Herbie Hancock, to the CEO of Coca-Cola. Also hovering in the background of this star-studded fête was... former president Bill Clinton. While he was probably glad to be there as the companion of his Secretary of State wife, Hillary -- in a delicious reversal of traditional political spouse roles -- you have to wonder if Bill did not feel a little jealous and out of sorts.

    Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama

    After all, Bill used to be the big shot, running the free world, saving the economy from a meltdown, and all that. Clinton has had his two terms. Now it's Obama's turn. He surely is aware of that. But seeing Clinton in his old haunt of power, cheesing at the current president while biting his lower lip makes you feel a bit sorry for him. It can't be easy giving up that kind of prestige.

    And let's face it. Unless our president can create an economic miracle and generate millions of jobs in less than two years, Obama might face the same plight in 2012.

    It's clear that the top priorities for most Americans are jobs and the economy. As the GOP fights to repeal health care reform, one of Obama's most sweeping accomplishments, the president might have even less to show for himself if the Republicans suceed. The president has done a lot to help Americans in other areas -- but his many great social improvements are not related to jobs and jobs alone, so most people just don't care. Unless he can convince the public to let him keep trying on jobs for four more years, there is a serious chance President Obama will not win.


    And if he does not, is it hanging around cocktail parties of the super-powerful for him, the poor fate of former president Bill Clinton? No. We know Barack Obama better than that by now. According to The Atlanta Post, President Obama already has a book deal in the can, and is poised to rake in millions from it should he lose the election in 2012. Plus, Obama has perfectly positioned himself for a post-presidency career that will be lucrative and long. Here's more:

    Though several years off, President Obama's next gig is already shaping up to be a sweet deal.

    He may be deep in the groove of his Presidency. But we do know he has given thought to what happens next. Before he even sat at the Resolute Desk, he inked a deal to deliver a post-presidency book, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Millions will follow, no doubt, because after you've pulled the nation back from the brink of economic disaster, and perhaps even a second Great Depression, what you do for an encore will be worth paying for.

    He'll rack up on the speakers' circuit. He's one of the world's most gift orators. So, money won't be an issue.

    Neither will his age. When he leaves the White House - in either 2013, or 2017, at the age of 52 or 56, depending on the outcome of the next election - he will still have a dangerous jump-shot and a bop in his walk, and his children will still be youngsters. (The Atlanta Post)

    So even if Obama doesn't win in 2012, he will remain an important and influential leader for years to come as a speaker, writer and most likely a private influencer behind the scenes. The American people might give him the pink slip, but the president still has many skills that he can parlay into multiple income streams making him financially indepedent of his employer -- us. That is a career lesson many Americans still need to learn.

     

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    Model Jessica White New TV Show

    Move over Tyra Banks -- or at least make some room. Model Jessica White, known for getting herself into tabloid headlines through public mayhem, has made a major foray into the fashion-related reality TV field. The intense beauty has just finalized a deal with the Oxygen network for her own show, which will allow her to capitalize on her ability to grab attention. White's show will bring viewers into the real world of modeling, with just the right touch of insider naughtiness -- a perfect complement to Tyra's offering. More from the New York Post:

    Sometimes getting into trouble does pay. Model Jessica White -- arrested in October after a catfight outside a Chelsea club -- has landed a reality show on the Oxygen Network. Cameras will start filming the beauty, who split with Sean Penn last year, as early as Friday and through Fashion Week.Her lawyer, Mark Jay Heller,said, "The show is based on her life and some of her colorful friends, almost like 'Entourage.' " Oxygen didn't get back to us, but sources said White's arrest hasn't hurt her modeling career -- "in fact, she seems to be getting more work," one said. White claims she's not guilty and was provoked.


    Yes, that's what all dangerously sexy women say. And it's the doubly smart ones that profit from it. Similar to the antics of Roxie Hart in "Chicago," Jessica White is turning her little bit of infamy into a major stepping stone for her career.

    It's wonderful to see more black models making money in areas other than the fashion business, which is notorious for giving leggy goddesses of African descent fewer job opportunities. Like Tyra before her, Jessica has bravely taken matters into her own hands, ensuring that her professional life is not limited to the constraints of modeling -- which will also come in handy as she gets older. White could also learn a lesson from Iman, who has expanded her brand to include cosmetics and clothing, in addition to a popular show. But there will be time for all that, if Jessica continues to make the right moves.

    It's great to see all these black women really shining! Now if there was only a way for Naomi to turn controversy into cash. She'd be a billionaire.

    (Via Beauty is Diverse)

     

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    Leonardo MorningLeonardo Morning, Black and Missing

    Case Type: Endangered
    Date of Birth: April 6, 1991
    Missing Date: June 24, 2008
    Age Now: 19
    Missing City: Bessemer
    Missing State: Alabama
    Gender: Male
    Race: Black
    Complexion: Medium
    Height: 5'8"
    Weight: 160
    Hair Color: Black
    Hair Length: Short
    Eye Color: Brown
    Wear Glasses or Contacts: No

    Location Last Seen: Morning disappeared from Bessemer, Ala., on June 24, 2008. Authorities believe he left on his own accord. Morning may still be in the local area. Few details are available in his case.

    Circumstances of Disappearance: Unknown

    Last Seen Wearing: Unknown

    Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Morning's ears are pierced.

    If you have information, regarding the whereabouts of Leonardo Morning, please contact the Black and Missing Foundation's tip line.

     

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    How to manage debit cards

    We have all experienced unpleasant surprises when using our debit cards. From fees being charged by both our banks and ATM machines on one withdrawl, to unforseen penalties for overdrafts, there are many reasons why the world needs a step-by-step guide to the best use of these complex instruments.

    The incredibly helpful site LifeHacker has created just that. Writer Adam Dachis expains: "Debit cards come with more risk than most payment methods, but we tend to use them because they're convenient. While they can be handy, they can also cause you a lot of trouble. Here's how to stay safe." Greater financial safety through understanding debit cards, something most of us use daily, is critical as our economy continues to flounder.

    Please read the post on LifeHacker for great tips on managing debit cards, and leave your comments below.Please read the post on LifeHacker for great tips on managing debit cards, and leave your comments below.

     

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    'Baby Doc' Duvalier


    In the 1970s and '80s, Michele Montas and her husband, Jean Dominique, ran a small radio station called Radio Haiti-Inter, which was vocal about the injustices taking place under the regime of dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier (pictured with blue tie).

    The couple lived under constant threat and their station was attacked on several occasions by Duvalier's brutal Tonton Macoute militia, twice forcing them in to exile. The couple persisted in their resolve, though, even after Duvalier was himself forced in to exile in 1986 and Dominique was assassinated in 2000.

    A quarter century after Baby Doc left Haiti, just as destitute as he found it when his despotic father, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, died, Montas has returned to Haiti to seek justice against the man who terrified her and hundreds of thousands of other Haitians.

    Why?

    Because Jean-Claude had the arrogant gall to show his despised face on the western end of Hispaniola this past week.
    It's no secret that Baby Doc tortured and maimed whole populations of Haitians and chased many more away from the island to other points in the Caribbean, Florida and New York - the same way his father had.

    But his exit was so long ago that many, including many young Haitians which make up half of the nation's population, are too young to remember how brutal the man and his father were.

    To be blunt, the Duvaliers were the Western Hemisphere's own version of Pol Pot, the Cambodian genocidist, during the '70s.

    Baby Doc did allow a few things to thrive, such as press freedoms and a better relationship with the United States, during his tenure. But as it is now, Haiti was then the hemisphere's poorest nation: Literacy was about 5 percent, infant mortality was 50 percent and the per capita income was $150 a year.

    All this took place while Baby Doc paid more attention to his penchance for fast cars and faster women. Haiti's situation got even worse when he won favor from the Reagan Administration, because of the anti-communist stance of the Duvaliers.

    Baby Doc's regime took control of the country's tobacco wealth and funneled it in to foreign accounts that are untouchable. Meanwhile, underground media, such as the aforementioned Radio-Inter Haiti who dared to report the corruption, began to also tell about political murders all over the country - the disappearances, random arrests and graft held the nation under a dark cloud for years.

    In 1986, the world turned a blind eye when Baby Doc took a totalitarian grip on the government, going as far as torturing and killing opposers, which spelled the beginning of the end for the ruler. He was deposed by Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1986, who was himself forced in to exile in 1994.

    So now after all that, Baby Doc wants back in to Haiti to "help his country" a year after a devastating earthquake levels Port-au-Prince and sends the nation in to further turmoil. He wasn't there three whole days before he wound up in front of a judge and now might face criminal charges.

    Montas, who became spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and three other Haitians, are suing Duvalier over his crimes.

    But the question is, does Haiti need one more headache in a Duvalier trial?

    Suprisingly, Baby Doc still has supporters in Haiti. One man made the point that even after he was deposed, nothing really changed:

    "Under him, we ate well, we were safe."

    The problem is that there are probably a few hundred thousand of your countrymen who are disagreeing from their shallow graves, and ask those Haitian residents of Flatbush, Brooklyn, who are old enough to remember why their families are in the United States in the first place, and they won't paint a pretty picture.

    There are still bodies being recovered from the rubble that sits in Port-au-Prince. The aftermath of the 2010 earthquake is still developing. The elections held in Haiti last November still have no clear winner. It is a nation, like far too many black countries, dependent on foriegn aid, which mires it in poverty.

    After all that, a man whose very name is synonymous with despair has come back to "help."

    He's already helped himself to wealth inconceivable to most Haitians. He's helped himself to an infamy reserved for the worst humanity has ever produced, including Adolf Hitler and Rasputin. He's helped a nation that has spent 200 years in turmoil remain vulnerable to civil unrest and the aftereffects of natural disaster.

    Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier has "helped" enough.

    Because he is a Haitian citizen, he is said to have the right to return there, and there is no law that says he can be forcefully returned to France. As Amnesty International says, though, he does deserve to face trial for his crimes.

    But with the country's parliamentary house still lying in ruin and the capital's fragile infrastructure basically being an emergency Red Cross setup, who could mount the extraordinary effort it would take to prosecute Duvalier?

    No one is saying to forgive the man.

    But the nation must first focus on recovery, on creating an economic system that is based on trade and market investment rather than charity. It has to build an educational system that is dedicated to eliminating illiteracy and refurbish its badly deforested and overfarmed lands. Right now, too much of the millions donated to helping Haiti still sits in the bank waiting to be spent.

    That is a more immediate decision to be made rather than focusing rightful anger on a despot.

    Yes, Duvalier deserves justice, but Haitians deserve to eat.


     

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    By Gina McCauley, Black Voices Blogger

    Tiger Mother Amy Chua

    Amy Chua may be a terrible mother, but she's a marketing maven. For the past two weeks the world has been obsessed with Chua's new book, 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother' and her accompanying essay in the Wall Street Journal. Chua argues that Western ways of childrearing are inferior to those of Chinese parents (or rather the "Chinese style" -- which other smart ethnicities emulate!). Chua's recipe for success includes no sleepovers, no play dates, no TV, accepting only A's on her children's report cards and forcing her kids to spend hours each day practicing the piano or violin. She has thrown hand-made birthday cards back into her daughters' faces when they were small children.

    To date, her Wall Street Journal essay has garnered 7,000 comments and a slew of editorials in response. The key to Chua's attention-grabbing success hs been tapping into the neurotic insecurity among mothers that they will single-handedly doom their children to failure -- in this case, if they are not strict enough. And then there are all the haters who find her child-rearing ideas crazy. She's covered all angles and marketing bases. And of course it has different groups of mothers thinking.



    Since people are dabbling in gross generalizations about motherhood, children, parenting, and race, I thought I'd compare the 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother' to that of Black Mamas... or at least my Mama.

    Chua defines her children's success as their ability to get good grades and play musical instruments. My mother defined her children's success by their behavior. . . and securing their eternal salvation through regular church attendance, but that's another post.

    That's not to say that my parents didn't value education -- they did. But it was made clear at an early stage that I could get away with bringing home a B, while I had better not bring home a "needs improvement" or "unsatisfactory" in the conduct portion of my report card. After all, it didn't take a genius to exhibit "good home training." And failure to exhibit this good training would be worth a whipping. Sounds very "tiger mother" to me.

    I'm not alone in noting the similarity. Culture writer Danielle Deadwyler did her own comparison between Chua's Tiger Mother and "Southern Black Mothers," showing they have a great deal in common:

    No wuss nurturers are allowed below the Mason Dixon line; Southern black women have been hardcore disciplinarians for generations. Results have been varied... However, there seems to be a 'get it done' through line in black parenting that echoes Malcolm's 'by any means necessary'. (Danielle Deadwyler)

    Danielle goes on to tell a familiar tale about the time her classmate's mother came to school and whipped him "in front of the whole school" -- something we have all seen, heard about, or worse, experienced. Her friend wasn't alone. We all know many black parents tend to favor corporal punishment, also known as spanking, as a preferred form of behavior modification. In addition, many people of other groups are horrified by this. Yet just as Chua bragged to her peers over dinner about her harsh mothering methods, the black mother is not ashamed to administer punishment in broad daylight.

    I too was spanked as a child, but eventually my parents figured out that I was actively weighing the cost benefit analysis of bad behavior vs. spanking so they had to get more creative. I was a little black girl raised in the black Baptist church where children were to be seen and not heard. Unfortunately, I felt the good Lord gave me plenty to say. I thought the adults were generally wrong and they ought to know the extent of their many faults. In the end, I frustrated the heck out of my teachers, but they could never come up with anything concrete to pin on me other than my questioning their authority and their intelligence... in the most polite way possible.

    My string of annual conferences in the principal's office ended in high school when my exhausted mother finally conceded that I was right. Well it was about time she realized that! Oh, how long I had waited for her to tell me what I already knew! But then she went on to add "but you lack prudence and tact!"

    Why this focus on behaviour and not grades to the point of public beating -- or berating? It makes sense to me now. My parents were born and raised in the segregated south. Back then even the smartest black folks could find themselves hanging from trees or tied to train tracks for a small misstep. Being right wasn't enough.

    As Karen Grigsby Bates explained:

    During slavery, a black person's pout or backtalk to the wrong person could not only get him whipped, it could get him sold -- or, if the transgression was deemed bad enough, maimed or killed. Swift physical retribution for even minute transgressions tended to reinforce the rules, and adhering to the rules meant you were able to live to raise another generation. (Karen Grigsby Bate)

    Having the correct answer wasn't nearly as important knowing how to navigate yourself in a world where your "backtalk" would result in death. So frequent beatings were not only the lesser of two evils; a beating was also a lesson that could save your life. Much higher stakes than what Chua is dealing with. But the intensity of her methods is something that black mothers can understand.

    So who is better at cranking out successful children -- Tiger Mothers or Black Mamas? Doesn't matter. As for me, I turned out okay. I went to law school and passed the bar exam to get paid to question authority.

    In the end, this is all hype that plays upon on of the most natural inclinations in the world: A mother's desire for her children to do well. No group of mothers have a monopoly on rearing successful children. No one group has a monopoly on defining success for their children. Every child is different. A mother's role is to prepare her children to navigate the world and I suspect that most are doing the best they know how -- including African American moms.

     

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    From Jan. 20 to 30 in Park City, Utah, the 2011 Sundance Film Festival will showcase a number of films hoping to land distribution deals for theatrical release.

    While films featuring Don Cheadle, Terrence Howard, Mekhi Phifer, Tracy Morgan and A Tribe Called Quest will be on display, there are some filmmakers and talent hoping to get their careers launched or reignited at the festival.

    It was at Sundance where the Lee Daniels film 'Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire' first gained recognition, having won the grand jury prize for best film. Everyone from Mo'Nique, Gabourey Sidibe, Mariah Carey and Paula Patton watched as their film careers ignited following their performances in the film. Sidibe landed an Oscar nod, while Mo'Nique won the award for best supporting actress.


    Before starring in NBC's 'Law & Order: Los Angeles' and co-starring in the first 'Iron Man' film, Terrence Howard's career was reignited in 2005 for 'Hustle and Flow,' which premiered at Sundance and landed a distribution deal. Howard would later receive an Academy Award nomination for his performance.

    Here's a list of films showing at Sundance that has black talent in front of and behind the camera. (Synopsis provided by Sundance Film Festival Guide.)

    'The Guard' -- Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle star in this film about a small-town cop in Ireland who has a confrontational personality, a subversive sense of humor, a fondness for prostitutes and absolutely no interest whatsoever in the international drug-smuggling ring that has brought a straight-laced FBI agent to his door. However, a surreal chain of events pulls him into the action. Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham, David Wilmot and Dominique McElligot also star in the film.

    'Gun Hill Road' -- Written and directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green, the film stars Esai Morales, Judy Reyes, Harmony Santana and Vanessa Aspillaga. After three years in prison, Enrique is back in his beloved Bronx, back in the arms of an estranged wife and back in the life of his teenage son, who is stumbling toward a transformation that will put the bonds of their embattled family to the test.

    'Pariah' -- Written and directed by Dee Rees, the film stars Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell and Aasha Davis. When forced to choose between losing her best friend or destroying her family, a Bronx teenager juggles conflicting identities and endures heartbreak in a desperate search for sexual expression.

    'Beats, Rhymes and Life' -- Actor Michael Rapaport directs the story of the rise and influence of one of the most innovative and influential hip-hop bands of all time, the collective known as A Tribe Called Quest.

    'The Ledge' -- Perched on a ledge, a man says he must jump by noon, while a cop races against time to get to the bottom of it. Written and directed by Matthew Chapman, the cast includes Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard and Christopher Gorham.

    'Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey' -- Meet the unlikely man behind the heart and soul of Elmo: Kevin Clash. Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the world.

    'The Son of No One' -- Written and directed by Dito Montiel. Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Tracy Morgan, Ray Liotta and Juliette Binoche star in this tale of two men in post-9/11 New York who are forced to relive two murders they committed as young boys. Their lives start to unravel by the threat of the revelation of these shocking and personal secrets. Morgan will play Vinnie, a friend of Tatum's and Binoche will play a reporter.


    'Flypaper' -- Mekhi Phifer joins a cast that includes Patrick Dempsey, Ashley Judd, Jeffrey Tambor, Octavia Spencer, Tim Blake Nelson and Pruitt Taylor Vince. The film follows a man caught in the midst of two simultaneous robberies. He finds himself trying to protect a teller with whom he is secretly in love. The film is being directed by Rob Minkoff ('Stuart Little') and was written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore of 'The Hangover.'

    'The Blackpower Mixtape 1967-1975' - From 1967 to 1975, Swedish journalists chronicled the Black Power movement in America. Combining that 16mm footage, undiscovered until now, with contemporary audio interviews, this film illuminates the people and culture that fueled change and brings the movement to life anew.

    'Family Portrait in Black and White' - In a small Ukrainian town, Olga Nenya, raises 16 black orphans amidst a population of Slavic blue-eyed blonds. Their stories expose the harsh realities of growing up as a biracial child in Eastern Europe.

    'An African Election' - The 2008 presidential elections in Ghana, West Africa, serve as a backdrop for this feature documentary, which looks behind the scenes at the complex political machinery of a third-world democracy struggling to avoid civil war and establish stability for good.

    'Kinyarwanda' - Written and directed by Alrick Brown and based on accounts from survivors, 'Kinyarwanda' tells the story of Rwandans who crossed the lines of hatred during the 1994 genocide, turning mosques into places of refuge for Muslims and Christians, Hutus and Tutsis.

    'Submarine' -- Directed by Richard Ayoade and adapted from the novel by Joe Dunthorne, 'Submarine' is the story of 15-year-old Oliver Tate, who has two big ambitions: to save his parents' marriage and to lose his virginity before his next birthday.

    'Restless City' -- An African immigrant survives on the fringes of New York City. Music is his passion, life is a hustle and falling in love is his greatest risk. The cast includes Danai Gurira, Anthony Okungbowa and Babs Olusanmokun.

    'The Interrupters' -- From the Academy Award-winning director of 'Hoop Dreams' (Steve James) comes a story of ex-gang members who are now protecting their communities from the violence they themselves once employed.

    'The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement' -- Gail Dolgin and Robin Fryday direct this short film about 85-year-old Mr. Armstrong, an African American barber in Birmingham, Ala., who experiences the manifestation of an unimaginable dream: the election of the first African American president.


    'Close' -- One night after a casual "visit," Angela is all but ready to leave Derek's apartment. Derek, however, is determined not to let her go without a fight. The short was written and directed by Tahir Jetter.

    'Cedar Rapids' -- A wholesome and naive small-town Wisconsin man travels to big-city Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to represent his company at a regional insurance conference. The cast includes Ed Helms, John C Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Alia Shawkat and Sigourney Weaver.

     

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