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

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    Best Cities for Black Employment

    Black History Month
    is a great time for African-Americans to reflect on a number of major issues of concern to our community. One of those issues is jobs. Even though the national jobless rate just dropped sharply to 9% for January 2011, the rate of unemployment among African-Americans remains stuck at a persistently high level: 15.7%. We can blame politicians, employers, outsourcing of jobs, or anything else that comes to mind. Or we can start to take action and empower ourselves by focusing on the things that are within our control.

    And when it comes to employment, there is one thing you can consider doing to improve your own personal circumstances. What's that one thing? It's going where the jobs are.

    The New York Times recently ran a very interesting piece entitled, 'A Sign of Hope for More Hiring'. Essentially, the article takes a look at job postings on the Internet to examine whether or not businesses are picking up hiring and boosting payrolls. I know a lot of you feel like that virtually no one is hiring. But indeed, there are certain industries where we are seeing quite a big surge in "help wanted" notices.

    Here's where hiring is taking place: It's everything from retail and transportation to administrative work to occupational categories like lawyers and legal support workers. Health care also has been a really strong area in recent months for those who are looking for jobs.


    Having said that, though, it's not only important to know what industries are hiring, it's also important to know where the jobs are -- geographically speaking. And this is where I think most people should really think about their own employment prospects and whether or not they're willing to move in order to get a job.

    If you're out there looking, it might seem like there are 50 or 100 people, perhaps 200 applicants or more, for every one job opening that's available. Actually, the statistics are a little better than that. In fact, according to the job search engine company Simply Hired, in some areas of the country, the ratio is 1-to-1, meaning that there's one unemployed person for every one job opening.

    Where is it that there is such a low ratio? These are the areas where you have a much better chance to find a job -- cities including:

    -Washington DC
    -West Palm Beach, Florida
    -Baltimore, Maryland
    -Boston, Massachusetts
    -Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    -Minneapolis, Minnesota
    -Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    -Denver, Colorado; and
    -The San Francisco Bay area in California


    As I looked over the list, I couldn't help but notice that only two of these cities -- Washington, DC and Baltimore -- have large black populations. The rest of the cities aren't exactly known for having a sizable number of African Americans (with perhaps the exception of San Francisco Bay area, if you include Oakland in that region).

    Obviously, that's not to suggest that African Americans don't live in places like West Palm Beach or Denver. I'm only saying that blacks aren't very highly concentrated there -- even though these are cities where the jobs are that many African Americans so desperately need.

    Again, these are areas in which there is a 1-to-1 ratio of unemployed people to job openings. So if you had been thinking about relocating, or perhaps trying to find a job elsewhere, and packing up your bags and moving from where you are currently residing, those cities probably hold out some pretty good options for you.

    Now, if you're in any of the following areas, unfortunately, these places by contrast have a higher percentage of folks who are unemployed, and a higher ratio of unemployed people to job openings:

    -In Miami and the Fort Lauderdale area, there is a 5-to-1 ratio. In other words, there are five unemployed people seeking out every single job opening that's available.

    -In Detroit, Sacramento and Los Angeles, the ratio there is 4-to-1, in terms of unemployed people versus the job openings.

    I think this is an interesting factor to explore, because a lot of people who are struggling live in areas where the jobs simply have gone away and probably aren't coming back. That's certainly true of certain manufacturing jobs that have disappeared from cities like Detroit, which also has a big black population. So, if you want to get back on your feet you might need to get stepping -- as in high-tailing it to a new city.

    Simply put: If you want your financial afterlife to look better than it does today -- after downsizing, after a business failure, after bankruptcy, after debt, after foreclosure, after divorce, or after any kind of financial calamity you might have experienced -- then it's imperative to think about where you're going to live and where you're going to work.

    Moving for better job prospects and a better life is nothing new for black people. Our ancestors migrated in droves, whether it was heading out of the South and into the North for better social and economic opportunities; or, more recently, taking part in the New Great Migration back to the South to seek greener pastures in cities like Atlanta.

    I recognize that not everyone is in a position to simply uproot him or herself and move to a new city. Family obligations may prevent such a move. Some people may need to upgrade their skills or education. And others may not even have the money to initiate a move. Still, the cities and the industries that I've cited above with greater employment prospects may give those who are unemployed some insights and options to consider -- and ultimately, some hope for the future too.



    Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, an award-winning financial news journalist and former Wall Street Journal reporter for CNBC, has been featured in the Washington Post, USA Today, and the New York Times, as well as magazines ranging from Essence and Redbook to Black Enterprise and Smart Money. Check out her New York Times best seller 'Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom.'

     

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    Last year, CNN news anchor Don Lemon made headlines when he revealed to the world that he, like countless men and women, endured childhood sexual abuse.

    Now, the 44-year-old multiple Emmy-winning journalist has penned a poignant memoir apty titled 'Transparent', which candidly details the painful abuse he endured in childhood.



    Scheduled for release in June via Farrah Gray Publishing, 'Transparent' explores the long lasting trauma abused children experience -- from feeling "different" from other children to self-isolation, to the impact that abuse has on relationships. Lemon speaks to all this as well as the colorism and racism that he has experienced.

    Through compelling narrative, Lemon digs deep to expose his painful past, and explains how those early experiences shaped the man he is today, as one of the most prominent African American men in television news.


    "To me Don Lemon has written one of the most courageously and shockingly honest memoirs ever," Dr. Farrah Gray, the book's publisher, told BlackVoices.com today. "His heartfelt candor makes this book like no other. Transparent is a searingly candid memoir that celebrates the virtues of hard work, perseverance and determination, readers will view daily life in a new light that enables them to overcome any obstacle with no fear."

    Lemon's memoir also brings the reader behind the scenes of such tragedies as the September 11 attacks in 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as the monumental election of President Barack Obama. Readers get more than a glimpse into Lemon's personal experiences with Barack and Michelle Obama prior to the Presidential campaign, and his conversations with the Jackson family following the death of Michael Jackson.

    Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lemon, who has a degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College, has accumulated numerous awards including Emmys and the Edward R. Murrow award for his work on the Washington, D.C. snipers case. In 2006, Lemon joined CNN and in that same year was named as one of the most influential blacks in America by Ebony Magazine.

    Aiming to be an inspirational endeavor, 'Transparent' speaks to the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel no matter what one endures.

     

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    Rebecca and Mason talk about the dirty stuff.

     

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    Blacks Steered Into Low-Paying Health Care Jobs By For-Profit Colleges

    While the health care industry experiences a workforce shortage, concern is growing over the country's capacity to produce enough new entrants. A recent report by The Center for American Progress (CAP) addresses this issue, looking at the role of for-profit colleges in training the health care workforce -- an area of particular interest to the black community, since African Americans account for a large percentage of most for-profit colleges' student populations. With their pattern of recruiting under-served demographics of students, for-profit colleges are a significant point of access into the health care field for students of color. At the same time, there are issues:

    For-profit colleges concentrate on educating students primarily in lower-paying, lower-skilled health support fields. With so many students of color in their student bodies, that means many minority students will end up in support positions such as medical assistants rather than as registered nurses.

    Still, for-profit institutions are training a large percentage of students of color for health care jobs. About 25 percent of the health care degrees and certificates awarded at for-profit colleges in 2009 went to African Americans, compared to only 11 percent at not-for-profit institutions. And 24 percent of for-profit health care credentials went to Latino students compared to only 8 percent at not-for-profits. The upshot: For-profit institutions play a substantial role in training students of color for a career in health care...

    Even so, for-profit colleges are educating more students of color relative to their size, and not-for-profits are educating more white students.



    Many have noticed this discrepancy, and what it leads to: Minorities losing out on better paying health care jobs, even though the for-profit schools they are attending are being funded with loans and government monies that could be parlayed into better careers. In a separate article, The Center for American Progress explains the result of this phenomenon:

    For-profit colleges came under scrutiny from the press, student advocacy groups,
    and the federal government in the past year for their steep enrollment growth,
    high profit margins, and dependence on federal dollars. Reports reveal extraordinary
    enrollment rates contrasted with low graduation rates and high student loan
    defaults. This is a significant issue for the individual students who carry high debt
    burdens without the benefit of a college degree as well as for the federal government, who provides the grants and loans that make up 90 percent of these companies' revenues in some cases.


    Read more about the lack of minority non-profit college enrollment and the subsequent lack of high-paid black health care professionals on The Center for American Progress web site. This study is enlightening, but personal experience is enough to see why this trend is occurring.

    You've seen their commercials, and heard their testimonials: "Now my mommy works with doctors!" says one of the cutest little brown girls you've ever seen in one ad, just before a voice-over urges you to pick up the phone right now and make the call for a better life. Another ad shows a woman of color in scrubs talking about liking her paycheck so much better, now that she has this degree that she earned in almost no time. The thing to remember is that, unlike their not-for-profit counterparts (e.g. community colleges), which offer a wider variety of health care education programs (as in, often way more profitable options like nursing degrees), for-profit colleges focus on educating students mostly in lower-paying, less-skilled health support fields. Those same government grants could be supporting more women of color becoming nurses rather than medical office assistants -- but these women are not being funneled into the non-for-profit health care education system, which is not prone towards heavy advertising.

    Without discounting the opportunities available at for-profit colleges, I would urge anyone interested in entering the health care workforce who is tempted by a for-profit institution's commercial to seek all the information possible about their desired field before making a decision about where to study. Look beyond commercials, which are not engineered with your best interest in mind. Ads seldom are.

    This diligent research could mean the difference between starting your new health care career earning a salary of approximately $60,000 a year as a nurse, or earning half as much as a medical assistant -- for a similar cost of education.

     

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    Anthony Mackie, who will next appear with Matt Damon in the sci-fi film 'The Adjustment Bureau,' is close to joining Benjamin Walker in 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.'

    Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the script is wriiten by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote the novel on which the film is based, stated Variety.

    Grahame-Smith's novel re-imagines Lincoln's life as an axe-throwing, skilled killer of bloodsuckers, an obsession that dates back to the death of his mother as the hands of vampires. Lincoln vents his wrath on the vampires and their slave-owning protectors.

    Walker will play Lincoln, while Mackie will play the role of Will, Lincoln's best friend.

    Dominic Cooper is also in final negotiations to play 'Henry.'

    Both Mackie and Walker are also theater actors having done 'A Behanding in Spokane' and 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,' respectively.

     

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    Every girl loves a great pair of boots, and the curvy girl is no exception. The problem is, with a fuller calf, it's not always easy for her to find the perfect fit. But great style exists at every size, and there is a wider selection of boots with larger calves on the market now than ever before. It's all about knowing which looks work best on lusher gams.



    Here are a few styles that are sure to make for just the right pair:


    OVER-THE-KNEE: Over-the-knee boots are not reserved for narrow legs. They are usually wider at the top, giving the thigh room to breathe, and a stretchier fabric will make a boot snug, not constricting. These Ros Hommerson wide-width leather boots (above) are super sexy and right on-trend. $270, widewidths.com.

    STRETCHY: Boots with at least a bit of elastic on the calf will offer more room in the leg than full leather ones. The beauty in this style is that you won't need to search for special sizes. Also, there are a number of stretchy styles that have leather in front, so you can get the comfort you need and a luxe look. Take an example from Jennifer Hudson, below.
    SLOUCHY: Even boots that are not necessarily designed to slouch can be pushed down below the calf if the fabric or leather is supple enough. Allowing the boot to scrunch just under of the widest part of your calf also creates volume below the knee, visually balancing broad thighs. these slouch boots from Avenue ($40, avenue.com) have just the right heel to look great both day and night.
    LACE-UP: Styles that lace up the leg, and even over the knee, are really hot right now. These are great because you can pull off posh, designer looks no matter your leg size, tying them as tightly or as loosely as you need. These black patent Silhouettes lace-up boots ($79, silhouettes.com) offer tons of sex appeal, but are flat, which is great for tramping around the city.

    EQUESTRIAN: Riding boots are big right now. The fabric on this style by Silhouettes ($149, silhouettes.com) is stiff enough that it won't lose its shape.
    MUKLUKS: Mukluks have been around for centuries and never seem to go out of style. If you live in a colder climate, they are great for keeping your feet warm yet fashionable this season. This boot by Manitobah ($252, shoebuy.com) comes in a wide calf version.
    Other Tips:

    1) Avoid any type of knee boot that is made entirely of soft, non-stretch fabric. They tend to lose their shape and will begin to sag around the ankles.

    2) If you want to ensure a proper fit, measure around your calf where it's the widest. You can take this measurement with you when you shop, and some online stores provide calf width information on a boot's item description page.

    3) Know that you can get most leather boots stretched, usually up to one inch, at a good shoe repair shop - for those boots that you really love that are too snug in the calf.

    See how the celebs do it here!

     

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    President Barack Obama promoted plans Thursday to bring high-speed wireless to nearly all U.S. households, pushing his domestic agenda in a small, snowy city in Michigan's Upper Peninsula on a day of dramatic developments in Egypt.
    Obama kept in touch with his security team throughout the trip and opened his remarks at Northern Michigan University with brief comments on the events overseas, where President Hosni Mubarak appeared close to resigning. "We are witnessing history unfold," Obama said.


    Read the complete story here.

     

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    Tony Phillip Reeves

    Case Type: Endangered
    Date of Birth: November 27, 1972
    Missing Date: December 22, 2010
    Age Now: 38
    Missing City: Capitol Heights
    Missing State: Maryland
    Gender: Male
    Race: Black
    Complexion: Light
    Height: 5-9
    Weight: 185
    Hair Color: Black
    Hair Length: Short
    Eye Color: Brown
    Wear Glasses or Contacts: Yes

    Location Last Seen: Tony was last seen at approximately 10:36 a.m. on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 in the 2800 block of Langston Place, SE.

    Circumstances of Disappearance: Unknown.

    Last Seen Wearing: Brown eyeglasses.

    Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Light Brown eyes. He wears eyeglasses.

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

     

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    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Says Cancer Is At a 'Minimum'Back in 2008, Hall of Fame basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. He's been on a drug called Gleevec that's helped doctors monitor the cancer closer and made his chances for recovery better. This week, Abdul-Jabbar tweeted that he was "cancer-free," but wanted to clarify that his battle isn't totally over yet.

    "You're never really cancer free and I should have known that," Abdul-Jabbar told the Associated Press. "My cancer right now is at an absolute minimum. It's not life-threatening at this point in my life."

    At 63 years old, when Kareem was diagnosed, he wasn't sure what to think. One of his close friends, actor Bruno Kirby, was diagnosed with leukemia and 30 days later he died. He thought his life was over.

    "Medical science has made great strides over the last 20 years," he said. "People in my position are able to live their lives to the fullest. I'm very grateful for that. I'm lucky that they caught it in enough time, and I've responded well to the medication. If not for the success that medicine has made, I might be part of a much different story right now."

    Lately, the former L.A. Laker is promoting his book and documentary about the Harlem Renaissance Big Five, also known as the Harlem Rens, called On the Shoulders of Giants.




     

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    Nicki Minaj

    Over at Business Insider, a somewhat conservative Wall Street-oriented site, they're talking about bootylicious rapper Nicki Minaj. Yes that's right. Why, do you ask?

    Because the 26-year-old rap phenomenon's debut CD, 'Pink Friday,' has done an unlikely thing by climbing up to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts. In today's music business, a rise like that for a newbie is a rarity, which calls attention to what is happening under all those wigs: Nicki Minaj's brain is a business savvy thing.

    The article lists six keys to Minaj's explosive rise that all brand-conscious individuals should put to use, suggesting that you:

    1. "Light up the Twitterverse" (because Lindsay Lohan was talking to over a million people when she tweeted about Nicki),
    2. "Work that 'SNL' appearance for all its worth" (and work it she did), and
    3. Utilize "Enemies in high places" for self-promotion (because Lil' Kim has reportedly been on the attack, and plans to keep talking about her).

    Read the other three tips based on Nicki Minaj's success on Business Insider.

    Yes, it is true. All of these actions have increased Nicki's brand virally, thus exponentially. But, they wouldn't have been wrong to have added: "Work hard, for a long time" (because Nicki Minaj didn't spontaneously start rapping a couple of weeks ago), or "Form strategic business partnerships" (which she did with MAC cosmetics to promote her album). But, perhaps those items might have made Nicki look too savvy for a black rapper.


    Now, Nicki Minaj might not be the first example of a successful black person that comes to most minds on the subject of business, but she is a huge music business sucess. I give her props for that.

    What do you think? And how do you feel about seeing her on a mainstream news site in a business light? Should Business Insider have chosen a more traditional black female leader to profile like Xerox CEO Ursula Burns? Or is it good to see any black female earn recognition in the business world?

    Leave your comments below!

     

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    20th Century Fox has released the official trailer to 'X-Men: First Class,' which will hit theaters this summer on June 3.

    Directed by Matthew Vaughn, the film stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, Jones, Kevin Bacon, Edi Gathegi, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Till, Bill Bilner, Jason Flemyng, Oliver Platt, Morgan Lily, and Zoe Kravitz.

    'X-Men First Class' charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon. In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men.

     

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    It's official, Ray Allen is now in the record books for being the person most of us suspected him of being long ago: the greatest 3-point shooter in the history of the NBA. Allen broke the record by hitting his 2,561st three-pointer on a pass from teammate Rajon Rondo. Kobe Bryant was guarding him at the time, making the moment that much more meaningful.

    Also in the crowd was Reggie Miller, the man who is now number two on the all-time list. Miller congratulated Allen, as most champions would, and Allen let Miller know before the game that he modeled his shooting style after him.

    What I love about Ray Allen is his amazing and legendary work ethic. He is reportedly the first guy in the building every morning and the last one to leave. I suspected as much, since you can't possess that kind of shooting ability without working your butt into the ground.

    One thing that young players can learn from guys like Allen is that being great at sports or anything else is far deeper than simply having the most talent (lots of players have that). Beyond raw athletic ability, there must be a deep and consistent commitment to giving extraordinary effort during each and every practice. Allen didn't become a great shooter by cocking his arms back at every turn and trying to look pretty on the court. He became a great player by shooting thousands of shots every single day before, during and after practice. I was once a pretty good shooter myself (not as good as Ray of course), and it was the 500 three-pointers I took every morning that allowed me to drain them with ease.

    Otherwise, I should congratulate Ray on his outstanding achievement. He has represented his sport quite well and pursued a what appears to be a good family life, full of productivity and intelligence, all of which seems to have been without significant scandal. In the chaotic world of NBA life, that is a feat worth recognizing.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To follow Dr. Boyce on Facebook, please click here.

     

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  • 02/11/11--09:48: House Republicans in Turmoil
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    House Republicans in Turmoil, Speaker of the House John Boehner
    After a lot of jabbering from the sidelines, House Republicans are discovering that playing in the game is a lot harder than it looks.

    Following the resignation of Republican Rep. Christopher Lee for trying to get his groove on with a woman who was not his wife over Craigslist and some embarrassing hiccups on the House floor, Republicans are struggling with their upstart conservative ranks.

    The New York Times writes:

    For the second consecutive day, House Republicans on Wednesday lost a floor vote due to a mini-revolt, this time over a plan to demand a repayment from the United Nations. Earlier in the day, members of the party's conservative bloc used a closed-door party meeting to push the leadership to go well beyond its plans to trim about $40 billion from domestic spending and foreign aid this year, demanding $100 billion or more.

    The spending rebellion came after the House on Tuesday rejected what was expected to be a routine temporary extension of anti-terrorism Patriot Act provisions when Democrats and about two dozen conservative Republicans balked at a fast-track procedure. Republicans, still searching for their footing after assuming control in January, were also forced to pull a trade assistance bill from the floor after conservatives raised objections. They found themselves mediating other internal fights as well.


    "We have been in the majority four weeks," said House Speaker John Boehner. "We are not going to be perfect every day."

    And you aren't going to have peace until some members of your party realize that rhetoric and legislating are two different things. For example, for all the Republican talk about just slashing the budget, I hope they see that is not as easy as it sounds.

    Cutting $100 billion in domestic spending sounds good but try accomplishing it without eliminating important programs that affect the people that voted for you. The "cut, cut, cut" mantra of this new crop of ultra-conservative Republicans is just not practical in real life.




    Check out the crop of important programs that are already on the chopping block. According to the the New York Times:

    Among 60 programs in line for elimination were the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AmeriCorps and a $298 million Clinton-era program for hiring local police officers. Other planned cutbacks included nearly $900 million in energy conservation and efficiency programs; $1.8 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency; and $75 million from legal aid programs. In a swipe at the administration, the bill would eliminate $5 billion in high-speed rail money.

    Some of these programs will probably save money in the long run. It doesn't make sense that our national rail system is behind the times and continues to crumble. Improving the rails can provide much-needed jobs as well as help clean the environment by taking more cars off the road. And $900 million in energy conservation and $1.8 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency will certainly have an effect on making sure we take the necessary steps to save the environment.

    We should look at things such as our defense budget, tax breaks for the wealthy and Congress' own budget when it comes to paring down our deficit.

    And new economic numbers out of Britain are leading many to question whether fiscal austerity helps the economy. Despite Britain's focus on austerity, the economy is 4 percent below pre-recession levels. In times of financial difficulty, the government can serve as a bridge and a stimulator. No one wants the government interfering in every aspect of their lives but it's clear that cutting the government to the bone is also not the answer.

     

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    America's Top 10 Black-Owned Businesses

    From TheRoot.com

    The latest U.S. Census report on black-owned businesses shows a growth rate three times the national average. The 10 black-owned companies listed here are excellent models for those who aspire to economic independence.

    See the entire list of America's Top 10 Black-Owned Businesses on TheRoot.com.

     

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    Tyra Banks Getting an MBA

    From Clutch Magazine:

    Former Victoria Secret Angel and supermodel Tyra Banks is heading off to school-at Harvard University.

    The 37 year-old model turned entrepreneur is enrolled in the Harvard Business School and is taking an executive education course geared towards entrepreneurs. According to reports from The Boston Herald, Banks has been seen all around Boston with her Wall Street investment baker boyfriend, John Utendahl.


    Read the more about Tyra Banks Getting an MBA on Clutch Magazine.

     

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    Approximately one year ago, it was great to be a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The team finished the season with a very strong 61 - 21 record and they were the champions of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference. In fact, they had the best record of all teams in the entire Eastern Conference, making them formidable foes for nearly anyone.

    Obviously, things have changed dramatically in just one year's time. Since LeBron James bolted for the Miami Heat, you could feel the shift of Eastern Conference power like a massive snow storm flowing slowly to the east coast and shutting down every city in its path. Right now, the Miami Heat are on top of an eight game winning streak, while the Cleveland Cavaliers just set an all-time NBA record with 25 straight losses. Fortunately for the Cavs, loss number 26 was barely averted, but you can feel the collective snarl from fans who know that the next losing streak will probably start in about two days.

    Obviously, everyone expected that LeBron's exit would hurt the Cavs. Many consider him to be the best player in the NBA and one of the greatest players of all time. Some even expected that the Cavs would become a below average squad without LeBron. But no one expected that they would sink to become arguably the worst team in the history of the NBA.

    The fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers have become such a horrifically bad NBA team after LeBron's departure makes a very clear and impressive point: This man was able to nearly single-handedly turn one of the worst teams in the history of the NBA into a serious title contender. He took the worst of the worst and put them up among the very best. That's nothing short of awesome.

    This new revelation may also explain why LeBron felt that he had to leave Cleveland. James was highly determined to bring a title to his home state, no matter what the cost. He elevated his game to mind-numbing levels, all in hopes that he could do what many considered to be the impossible. I saw James do the same thing in high school, as his lowly group of mediocre teammates were able to beat the heck out of the number one ranked team in the nation, Oak Hill Academy (a school whose entire existence seems to be built around basketball). It was during that game eight years ago that I knew LeBron James was not your ordinary superstar.

    Cavs owner Dan Gilbert had good reason to chastise and attack James in public, in large part because he knew that, deep down, he'd never be able to replace LeBron. In fact, the NBA may never see another player like him. To remove a team from the basement of NBA history and give them a chance to put them within striking distance of an NBA title is nothing short of legendary. Nothing sends that signal clearer than the amazing losing streak that just came to an end.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To follow Dr. Boyce on Facebook, please click here.

     

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    You may have noticed that this has been a very cold winter and it's fairly certain that we will have climate disruptions going forward. And you may have also noticed that there is a little problem with the economy and that a lot of people are in financial trouble. So this makes perfect sense to those who believe that middle class and poor Americans need their characters built with some more sacrifice. (The wealthy, remember, must be reassured that they will not have to spend even one more penny in taxes or they will feel "uncertain" which is completely unacceptable.)

    President Obama's proposed 2012 budget will cut several billion dollars from the government's energy assistance fund for poor people, officials briefed on the subject told National Journal.

    It's the biggest domestic spending cut disclosed so far, and one that will likely generate the most heat from the president's traditional political allies. That would satisfy the White House, which has a vested interest in convincing Americans that it is serious about budget discipline.

    The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, would see funding drop by about $3 billion from an authorized 2009 total of $5.1 billion. The proposed cut will not touch the program's emergency reserve fund, about $590 million, which can be used during particularly harsh cold snaps or extended heat spells, three officials told National Journal.


    Source: Alternet


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

     

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    This month marks the second "anniversary" of the Chris Brown/ Rihanna love match, one of the most highly publicized celebrity domestic violence cases this country has witnessed.

    Without recapping the already over-exhausted details, the Chrihanna scandal, with all the court cases, exclusive interviews, snot-filled performances, and diss songs, the big question still remains - what really did happen in that car to make Chris Brown snap?

    Still one of the most buzzed-about topics in entertainment, the answer will probably remain a mystery. All we can say is that in love and relationships, an individual gradually learns what pushes the other person's buttons and, truth be told, women usually know how to push the buttons with even more expertise than men. This isn't to imply anything Rihanna may have (or have not) done or said justifies how violently Brown reacted, but to be clear, women do need to watch how often and how relentless they are when it when it comes to pushing a man's buttons. Any respectful, sound man would never lay their hands on a female, but let's be real - almost all men, especially those in love, at one point may have thought about it.

    Before you go into an uproar, understand that love is a powerful emotion that at times can cloud logic and judgment. And, when it comes to women, we not only know how to keep an argument going, but we purposely won't let it end. Women are attentive and observant, and can be experts knowing just how and how long to push a man buttons.

    And as funny as comedians like Chris Rock have made it sound, "If you never contemplated murder, you ain't been in love," Rock once said in his stand up "Never Scared," a man seeing red is no laughing matter. It would benefit many relationships to understand how to communicate when anger is present. Women need to know when enough is enough, and when it's time to regroup so that there's no irreversible damage done to the relationship.

    It doesn't have to get there, if women in particular are made aware of the 12 buttons women that they should never-ever, ever, ever, push in a relationship - or even while ending one.
    The Privacy Button
    Don't nudge and prod where it's not any of your business. If a man wants to open up he will, but forcing it may just make him snap.

    The Pregnancy Button
    Run for cover if you tell a man you're pregnant... and that it's not his. Get ready to get him doubly mad to find out you lied about being pregnant as some diabolical plan to bring him closer or get money. Chile...

    The STD Button
    Ask yourself how you would react if Tyrone pulled you the side and said, "I'm sorry, but the doctor said I might have an STD, but you know I love you baby." Yea, exactly...unclinch those fists.

    The Mama Button
    Your mom acts like bi..Whoa! Calling a man's mother anything out her name, is a sure way to get a man's nostrils flaring. As a matter fact, good rule of thumb for any man that's close to his family, is to not add any family member in any of your arguments-period.

    The _____Ass N***a Button
    Diddy already let us know that "bitchassness" isn't cool, but filling in the blank with b*tch, bum, or gay will have a strong man breathing and counting to ten.

    The Vulnerable Button
    He opened up to you about how he peed in the bed until he was 15 and you used that against him when he forgot to put the toliet seat down? Sooooo not cool.

    The Hypocrite Button
    You tell him how much he needs to change his life and stop going to bars and clubs, yet every weekend you're out with your girls? Stop the games. A man hates being told what to do, so don't add insult to injury by being a hypocrite.

    The EX Button
    Men have a very ego driven nature, hearing I wish you were as ________as my ex, will get their blood boiling just to know you still think about your ex.

    The Cheating Button
    Catching you in the act, sleeping with a close friend/family member, or having your man find out you cheated more than once are severe violations in a man's eyes. Pushing this button is a cardinal sin, and don't think because you 'fessed up or said that you love him will keep him from practicing his albi.

    The Inferior Button
    Treating a man like a child, belittling, or always emasculating a man are sure fire ways to get him on TV - A&E's "The First 48."

    The Penis Button
    Women love to talk about how inadequate the size of a man's member is once sh^t hits the fan. "Third leg? Please, that's barely a third toe," let's not insult his manhood, especially if a makeup session is the relationships future.

    Do you push a man's buttons? Have you ever had your buttons pushed?





    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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    After spoofing other films such as 'The Godfather,' 'Black Swan,' True Grit,' and 'The King's Speech,' writer-director Tyler Perry finally released the official poster to 'Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family,' which hits theaters on April 22.

    Madea (Tyler Perry), everyone's favorite wise-cracking, take-no-prisoners grandma, jumps into action when her niece, Shirley (Loretta Devine), 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 (Natalie Desselle), Kimberly (Shannon Kane) and Byron (Bow Wow) 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 (Cassi Davis), 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.

    Also starring in the comedy are Lauren London, Isaiah Mustafa, Rodney Perry, Teyana Taylor and others.

     

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    In Qasim Basir's poignant and dramatic debut film, 'Mooz-lum,' Evan Ross shines as he leads a cast of acting vets (Nia Long, Roger Guenveur Smith, Danny Glover, and Dorian Missick) in a film concerning the Muslim community post 9/11.

    Released in limited theaters thru AMC Independent, the film is worth seeing simply because of the phenomenal acting by the ensemble and a plot that will generate debate and interest once audience members leave the theater.

    As the film flashes back and forth from the past and present, we are introduced to Tariq (played by Jonathan Smith initially, followed by Evan Ross), the son of faithful Islamic follower Hassan Mahdi (played by Smith), and Safiyah (played by Long).

    The household is filled with lots of tension as the Hasson's strict rules and codes puts a strain of the marriage as Safiyah wants Tariq, and his sister, Taqua (played by Kimberley Drummond) to lead a normal life but reluctantly follows Hasson's lead and allows Tariq to grow up in a Muslim environment.

    Away from his father's law and adjusting to school, Tariq's life is changed when his friendship with a nearby white girl (played by Molly Paddock) is discovered by one of his teachers and is punished for defying school rules when he leaves the premises.

    When he finally enters college, Tariq isn't keen on having another Muslim (played by Kunal Sharma) be his roommate as he tries to hide his background from his peers. Having his sister come for a visit to re-connect doesn't help out his situation either.

    Tension at the school escalates when the college dean (played by Glover) has issues with one of his professors (played by Missick), who happens to be a Muslim. When 9/11 occurs, emotions run high as Tariq has to decide who he wants to be in public.

    Partly based on his own life, Basir injected a lot of issues that many can probably relate when it comes to race relations. As Tariq, both Jonathan Smith and Evan Ross strongly carry the film, with Ross demonstrating that he can be a leading actor when given the right project and direction.

    The only flaw is that Basir threw in one too many subplots with Glover and Missick's storyline in third act. While it's noble attempt to add another point of view, it doesn't help that Glover's character is very one note.

    Nevertheless, everything from the acting and the subject matter are worth exploring and puts Basir as a director to watch in the future.

     

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