Saturday, September 22, 2018

It's not a blue wave that's coming in the midterm elections — it's a black wave

But besides the blue wave roiling America, there is a very real black wave. And both political parties need to pay attention.

In one of the most historic election years in memory — besides the year a young U.S. senator from Chicago became the first African-American president and the year a pompous reality TV star and coddled businessman became the 45th — the American political landscape may drastically change.

Democrat Ayanna Pressley could become the first black female elected to Congress from Massachusetts.

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams could become the first black female governor America has ever had.

Democrat Andrew Gillum could become the first black governor of Florida.

Democrat Ben Jealous could become the first black governor of Maryland by besting a popular Republican opponent. It’s a long shot, but most voters in Maryland are Democrats.

So while much has been made of the blue wave making its way across America, we better pay attention to the black wave.

But besides the blue wave roiling America, there is a very real black wave. And both the Democratic and Republican parties, which have been tone-deaf to the disdain many Americans feel for traditional politics, better wake up.



On Sept. 21, a sculpture of Alice Allison Dunnigan, the first African American woman to receive press credentials to cover the White House and Congress, will go on display at the Newseum. The museum will unveil the Dunnigan sculpture in a short ceremony at 1 p.m. at the “Make Some Noise” exhibit on Level 4. Following the unveiling, the Newseum will host a program at 2 p.m. entitled, “Remembering Alice Allison Dunnigan” in the Knight TV Studio. The program will feature Carol Booker, who edited an autobiography of Dunnigan, artist Amanda Matthews, who created the statue and Dunnigan’s granddaughter Soraya Dunnigan Brandon. This program is free with Newseum admission.
Dunnigan, who began her journalism career in Kentucky before moving to Washington, D.C., was a pioneering journalist who rose to the top of her profession despite racist policies that segregated black journalists and sexist attitudes that severely limited opportunities for women in a male-dominated workplace. The life-sized bronze sculpture was created by Kentucky sculptor Amanda Matthews and is being cast at the Prometheus Foundry in Lexington, Ky.
During World War II, Dunnigan moved to Washington, D. C. to work at the War Labor Board. After the war ended, Dunnigan went to work for the Associated Negro Press and became the head of that organization’s Washington Bureau on Jan. 1, 1947, a job she held for 14 years supplying stories to 112 African American newspapers across the United States.
Dunnigan was the first African American woman accredited to report on the White House, covering presidential press conferences. She also became the first African American woman to gain press credentials to report on Congress, the State Department and the Supreme Court. She also made history by being the first African American woman on a presidential tour when she went on the whistle-stop tour with President Truman.
Throughout Dunnigan’s career, she battled the rampant racism and sexism that dominated the mostly white and male professions of journalism and politics. She once famously stated, “Race and sex were twin strikes against me. I’m not sure which was the hardest to break down.”
In 2015, the Newseum hosted a program about Dunnigan, “Inside Media: Alice Dunnigan, Pioneer of the National Black Press.”The program featured Carol McCabe Booker, who edited and annotated a new edition of Dunnigan’s autobiography, “Alone Atop the Hill.”
The sculpture will be on display at the Newseum through Dec. 16, 2018. It will then be taken to Dunnigan’s hometown of Russellville, Ky., and installed on the grounds of the West Kentucky African American Heritage Center as part of a park dedicated to the civil rights movement.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Report: A third of Ben Carson’s appointees have no housing experience

A third of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson’s appointees at the highest levels of the department have no experience with housing policy, according to an analysis by The Washington Post.

Twenty-four of the 70 people hired to the top positions at HUD under Carson apparently have no housing policy experience, according to the Post's analysis of their résumés and LinkedIn profiles.

However, 16 of them appear to have worked on Carson’s or President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaigns or maintain close personal connections to their families, the Post reported.

In a statement to The Hill, Caroline Vanvick, a spokeswoman for HUD, wrote that the department's senior appointees "have well over 100 years of housing and mortgage policy experience combined."

Vanvick listed 10 officials who have a background in housing policy, including Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude, who has led national housing initiatives.

HUD spokesman Raffi Williams in a statement to the Post wrote that hiring people with "varying experiences to government is not unusual" and pointed out the majority of the top appointees do have housing experience.

The Post found that five of those appointees without housing experience received promotions and significant pay increases within their first months on the job. All of the five appointees now make between $98,000 and $155,000 per year and worked on either Carson's or Trump's presidential campaign.

American Oversight, a watchdog organization formed to scrutinize the Trump administration, obtained the documents cited in the Post's analysis through the Freedom of Information Act.

Read more: Report: A third of Ben Carson’s appointees have no housing experience

BET Announces Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign BET GOES PINK

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women and the statistics further reveal that African American women are disproportionately affected by breast cancer. According to Susan G. Komen Foundation, African-American women are almost 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women in the U.S. and in some cities, that number is as high as 74 percent*. Today, BET Networks announces its national, multi-platform call-to-action campaign, BET GOES PINK, dedicated to raising awareness, encouraging early detection and initiating dialogue about the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the black community. The Network's integrated approach includes BET Her's first original film "HER ONLY CHOICE", the second annual "BET HER FIGHTS BREAST CANCER" hosted by comedian and talk show host Loni Love, original PSAs and more.

"BET Networks is dedicated to reducing breast cancer health disparities among African American women and ensuring that Black women are included in the conversation about this disease, said Nneka Norville, Director of CORPORATE Social Responsibility, BET Networks. "Although we make a concerted effort in October, breast cancer prevention and education is part of BET's larger year-round commitment to women's empowerment. By leveraging our platforms and content offerings, we are able to educate and empower our audience as they navigate this important aspect of their health."

This year's activations include:


Kicking off BET Her's original movie franchise "Her Only Choice," tells the story of a woman who after years of infertility becomes pregnant only to be diagnosed with a life-altering disease. She must make a choice to either fight for her life or sacrifice her child's. The film stars Denise Boutte, Timon Kyle Durett, Leon Robinson, Tiffany Snow, Tamara Tunie and Vanessa Bell Calloway. Christel Gibson serves as the film's director and Brett Dismuke, Rob Johnson and Nikki Love serve as Executive Producers for SoChi Entertainment.


In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, BET Her will premiere the second annual "BET HER FIGHTS: BREAST CANCER" special, hosted by comedian and "The Real" co-host Loni Love. The one-hour special looks to raise awareness, and encourage more people to take action to prevent, diagnose, treat, & end breast cancer.

This year's honorees include Bershan Shaw and Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green. Shaw, a transformational coach, motivational speaker, author, and founder of URAWARRIOR.COM, is a two-time breast cancer survivor. Initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, it returned as stage 4 in 2009, she ultimately beat the odds is now nine years' cancer free. Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, one of the first 100 African American women to earn a Ph.D. in Physics, is a physicist who specializes in targeted cancer therapeutics using nanotechnology and lasers. She founded the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation in memory of her aunt, Ora Lee "Auntee" Smith, whose tragic experience with cancer inspired her to develop a cancer treatment without side effects.

The concert will feature inspirational surprise performances and special guests. Last year's performers included Xscape, Keyshia Cole, Sevyn Streeter and Alice Smith. Viewers will have an opportunity to get involved during the program through a dedicated line provided by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which will provide free, professional support services to anyone with breast cancer questions or concerns, including men diagnosed with breast cancer and their families.

"BET HER FIGHTS: BREAST CANCER" will tape Thursday, September 20, 2018, at the Riverside EpiCenter in Atlanta, GA. The broadcast will premiere on Sunday, October 7, 2018 at 7:00 P.M. ET/PT on BET & BET Her.


On Air: For the month of October all of BET Networks' brand bugs will go Pink to bring visual awareness to viewers on all of our platforms. BET Goes Pink's online portal - features articles, video vignettes and resources to ensure our audience is armed with the information needed to stay informed and healthy. For more information on "BET Goes Pink" and resources on breast cancer, please log onto
BET Social: Follow @BET on Twitter and Instagram for updates and health news. Use the hashtag #BETGoesPink to join the conversation with patients, survivors, friends and family.
*Source: American Cancer Society & Susan G. Komen


BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA) (NASDAQ: VIA.B), is the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in nearly 85 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa, France and South Korea. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER (formerly CENTRIC), a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American woman; BET Music Networks - BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET's growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET Networks around the globe.

Harvard black culture awards to honor Colin Kaepernick & David Chappelle

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and comedian Dave Chappelle are among eight people being honored by Harvard University for their contributions to black history and culture, the university announced Thursday.
All eight recipients of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal will be honored Oct. 11 by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard.
“The medal honors those who have made significant contributions to African and African-American history and culture, and more broadly, individuals who advocate for intercultural understanding and human rights in an increasingly global and interconnected world,” the Hutchins Center said.
Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, created a firestorm when he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and social injustice. He has more recently been the centerpiece of an advertising campaign by Nike.
He has donated and helped raise millions of dollars for organizations fighting social injustice, and founded the Know Your Rights Camp.
Chappelle is a writer and producer who has appeared in several movies, hosted his own show on Comedy Central and earned a Grammy and two Emmys.
The other honorees are Kenneth Chenault, chairman and a managing director of General Catalyst; Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Pamela Joyner, founder of Avid Partners, LLC; psychologist and author Florence Ladd; Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; and artist Kehinde Wiley.
“Emerging from a variety of backgrounds and professions, each represents the quest for knowledge, freedom of expression, and pursuit of truth that are foundational to black history and culture, and that were foundational to Du Bois as a thinker and activist,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the Hutchins Center.