Monday, October 16, 2017

National Portrait Gallery Announces Artists Commissioned to Paint Portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced today that it has commissioned the museum’s official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Artist Kehinde Wiley—best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African Americans—will create the portrait of President Obama. Amy Sherald, first-prize winner of the Portrait Gallery’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, has been chosen to paint Mrs. Obama. The two portraits will be unveiled at the museum in early 2018 and will be added to the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.
Over the course of his career, Wiley (b. Los Angeles, 1977), whom President Obama selected, has frequently portrayed young African American men wearing the latest in hip-hop street fashion. His rich, highly saturated color palette and his use of decorative patterns complement his realistic, yet expressive, likenesses. The theatrical poses and props Wiley assigns to his subjects make references to iconic portraits of powerful figures by Western artists.
Sherald (b. Columbus, Ga., 1973), who is based in Baltimore, was selected by Mrs. Obama to paint her portrait. Sherald challenges stereotypes and probes notions of identity through her life-size paintings of African Americans. Out of more than 2,500 entries, Sherald’s oil painting “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance)” won first place in the Portrait Gallery’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Along with the exhibition that showcases all of the winning portraits, the first-place prize includes the opportunity to create a portrait of a living individual for the museum’s permanent collection.
“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former President and First Lady,” said Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”
At the end of each presidency, the museum partners with the White House to commission one official portrait of the President and one of his spouse. There are two sets of official portraits: one for the White House and one for the National Portrait Gallery. The museum began to commission Presidents’ portraits with George H.W. Bush.
The Portrait Gallery is continuing to raise private funds for the two commissioned portraits, the unveiling event, educational programs and an enhanced website. The museum is the only place outside the White House where visitors can view a complete collection of presidential portraits.
This past March, the Portrait Gallery installed a portrait diptych of President Obama by Chuck Close (2013) as part of the temporary “America’s Presidents” installation, which was on view until the updated version of the exhibition opened in September. The photographs by Close will remain on view until Obama’s official painted portrait is installed.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.
The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Connect with the museum at its website (, FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTubeand the museum’s blog.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

North Carolina Central University Awarded $16.3 Million by National Institute of Health

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) has been awarded $16.3 million by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for a new Research Center in Minority Institutions (RCMI) focusing on elevating the university’s health disparities research program. Led by Deepak Kumar, Ph.D., director of the Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute and principal investigator for the grant, the funding will support health disparities research activities across campus at NCCU.

NCCU is one of the seven minority-serving institutions that were recipients of this award. The research funding is the largest annual grant amount received for a non-Title III grant by NCCU and the largest funding for a single principal investigator on the campus.

The new RCMI Center for Health Disparities Research (RCHDR) will conduct three innovative basic biomedical and behavioral research projects, along with health disparities research pilot projects, involving robust mentoring, development of core facilities and leveraging of resources and partnerships with community-based organizations and neighboring institutions in the Research Triangle area. The center will also promote a collaborative research environment conducive to career enhancement for postdoctoral trainees and NCCU faculty at all levels.

“This major research grant will allow North Carolina Central University to engage in transformative research that examines health disparities and identifies real-world solutions that strengthen health care for minority populations throughout our state,” said University of North Carolina President Margaret Spellings. “Moreover, the establishment of the new Research Center in Minority Institutions supports our shared goal of enhancing research opportunities, which will ultimately improve the quality of life of our citizens and generate economic growth.

Johnson O. Akinleye, Ph.D., chancellor of NCCU, said, “The significant research funding provided by the National Institutes of Health elevates North Carolina Central University’s noteworthy work investigating solutions to some of the nation’s toughest health disparities that persist as challenges to communities of color. Through this grant, I am thrilled that Dr. Kumar and his team are already fulfilling three of the six strategic priorities represented in ‘The Eagle Promise’initiative, which focus on expanding research, facilitating innovative strategic partnerships with the Research Triangle Park and building new infrastructure for the university.”

The mission of NCCU’s Research Center in Minority Institutions is to develop and strengthen the research infrastructure at NCCU for conducting cutting-edge health disparities research and to foster the next generation of minority biomedical researchers. It has three main objectives: 1) enhance the research capacity at NCCU within the areas of basic, behavioral and translational biomedical research; 2) diversify the biomedical research workforce and to prepare researchers who are successful extramurally funded health disparities investigators and 3) promote a collaborative environment for interdisciplinary research and establish sustainable relationships with neighboring research and community-based organizations to advance cutting-edge health disparities research at NCCU. The core of the research center will focus on: African-American men, stress, kidney and cardiometabolic disease; breast cancer disparities and metabolic stress; diet-induced obesity and metabolic syndrome; community engagement and pilot projects and mentoring.

“NCCU demonstrated its commitment to biomedical research by creating two biotechnology research institutes, BBRI and BRITE,” stated Kumar. “We are grateful to NIH/NIMHD for providing NCCU with this unprecedented opportunity to further enhance biomedical research by developing infrastructure, preparing the next generation of minority researchers and bringing faculty together in cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research projects to advance our mission of addressing health disparities. The grant will foster collaborations and leverage resources from research and community-based organizations from the Research Triangle area and in North Carolina. This is a team effort across campus that will impact five NCCU colleges and schools, along with BBRI and BRITE. I am excited about Chancellor Akinleye’s ‘The Eagle Promise’ initiative and am grateful for his support and vision.”

In a press release announcing the award, NIMHD Director, Dr. Eliseo PĂ©rez-Stable said: “Institutions with historical commitment to diversity are essential to supporting scientific research and providing healthcare to underserved communities. These institutions are uniquely positioned to engage minority populations in research, and in the translation of research advances into culturally competent, measurable and sustained improvements in health outcomes.”

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Rep. Maxine Waters: Trump is unstable we should be moving on impeachment"

During an MSNBC interview California Rep. Maxine Waters said that there is enough evidence against Donald Trump for Congress to start "moving on impeachment,". Check out her statement below:

Florida Marlins Co-Owner Derek Jeter: It's OK if Marlins players want to take a knee

Derek Jeter wouldn’t say whether he would take a knee during the national anthem if he still were playing, but the Marlins’ new co-owner and future Hall of Famer wouldn’t have a problem if one of his players chose to protest social injustice and police brutality by doing so.

“Peaceful protest is fine,” the Miami CEO said Wednesday at the 21st annual Turn 2 Foundation Dinner at Cipriani on Wall Street. “You have a right to voice your opinion, as long as it’s a peaceful protest.”

As a player, Jeter rarely discussed social issues. But when asked his feelings about athletes taking a knee, which has become a major topic of discussion since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee last year as a form of protest and has been followed by many other NFL players, he had no problem sharing his opinion. One MLB player, Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell, has taken a knee. Growing up biracial in Michigan, Jeter faced racism, and has said it shaped his life.

“The thing that I think is probably frustrating with this whole rhetoric that’s going back and forth is people lose sight of why someone was kneeling,” Jeter said. “They’re focused so much on the fact they are kneeling, as opposed to what they are kneeling for.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

U.S. Rep. Al Green, unveils articles of impeachment against Trump

U.S. Rep. Al Green, a Houston Democrat, introduced formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on the House floor Wednesday but there was little enthusiasm for the move even among Green's Democratic colleagues.

U.S. Rep. Al Green, a Houston Democrat, introduced formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on the House floor Wednesday, then abruptly stepped back from the measure later in the day.

In his argument for impeaching the president, Green read out several of Trump's tweets, arguing that his statements on several recent national controversies had “incited bigotry” against various minority groups, including African-Americans playing in the National Football League, transgender individuals serving in the military and Puerto Ricans recovering from a natural disaster. During his long-shot impeachment pitch, Green also criticized the president’s failure to condemn an August white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and called Trump out for claiming to have won the popular vote in November’s presidential election.

Just before the first round of afternoon votes, the presiding officer of the House floor called on Green to offer his resolution to move forward, but Green did not appear on the floor.

Green later told reporters that he wanted to allow more time for his colleagues to examine the legislation. But there was also active pressure put on the congressman to stop the effort, according to a half-dozen House Democratic sources.

Read more: U.S. Rep. Al Green, Houston Democrat, unveils articles of impeachment against Trump