Prada Enlists Ava DuVernay To Help Take Steps Toward Correcting Diversity Issues

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With Katy Perry’s shoe brand becoming the latest fashion company to make a racially insensitive design misstep, it’s been announced that Prada is taking the initiative to combat such issues.

After reeling from its own design debacle last year—having to remove blackface iterations of ‘monkeyesque’ handbag accessories—the Italian luxury design label helmed by Miuccia Prada has announced that it’s enlisting ESSENCE cover girl and award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay and renowned artist and activist Theaster Gates to lead its charge toward global inclusivity and diversity, aimed particularly at the Black community.

In a statement via its Twitter page, the brand says:

“Prada announces artist and activist, Theaster Gates, and film director and producer Ava DuVernay, will co-chair the Prada Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council to elevate voices of color within the company and the fashion industry at-large.”

“In addition to amplifying voices of color within the industry, we will help ensure that the fashion world is reflective of the world in which we live, and we are thrilled to be working with longtime collaborators Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates on this important initiative,” said Miuccia Prada.

For the complete article, continue on to Essence.

World Leaders, Stars Raise $7 Billion at Event Aimed at Fighting Virus

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The Rock pictured smiling wearing a suit at a premiere event

The event included a Dwayne Johnson-hosted concert with performances by Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and Chloe x Halle

A summit that included a star-studded virtual concert hosted by Dwayne Johnson has raised nearly $7 billion in cash and loan guarantees to assist the poor around the globe whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Global Citizen said its summit with world leaders had raised $1.5 billion to help COVID-19 efforts in poor countries, along with a promise of 250 million doses of a vaccine for those nations if one is successfully developed.

The group said it had secured $5.4 billion in loans and guarantees from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to support fragile economies worldwide.

The event included a Johnson-hosted concert with performances by Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and Chloe x Halle. Cyrus performed The Beatles’ “Help!” in an empty stadium and Hudson performed “Where Peaceful Waters Flow” from a boat in Chicago.

“The $6.9 billion that was pledged today to support the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities is an incredible next step on our journey out of the COVID-19 era, but there is more still to be done, as no one is safe until everyone is safe,” Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, said after the event Saturday.

“As we fight this virus, we also need to take care of the most vulnerable people and address the challenges they’re facing right now,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the event.

Speakers also included the leaders of New Zealand, El Salvador, Sweden, South Africa and Barbados.

Organizers said the show was not just a fundraiser, but aimed to draw awareness to the disproportionate impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on marginalized communities.

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

Grammy Awards to rename controversial ‘urban’ category

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Tyler the Creator holding a grammy award

The organization behind the Grammys will cease using the term “urban” to describe music of black origin in its awards. The Recording Academy announced Wednesday that the best urban contemporary album prize will be renamed best progressive R&B album ahead of next year’s ceremony as part of the organization’s “commitment to evolve with the musical landscape.”

The rechristening — which is one of nine key changes to its awards and nominations process — is “intended to highlight albums that include the more progressive elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music,” the academy said.

Harvey Mason Jr., chairman and interim CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement that major rules and guidelines have been introduced for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards “to ensure the Grammy Awards are inclusive and reflect the current state of the music industry.”

Tyler, The Creator is among prominent industry figures to have spoken out about the Grammys’ categories, saying “urban'” was racially insensitive and belittled the innovation of black music.

“It sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending or that’s anything they always put it in a rap or urban category,” the 29-year-old producer and vocalist told reporters after winning the best rap album at January’s ceremony.

“I don’t like that ‘urban’ word — it’s just a politically correct way to say the n-word to me,” he added.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

Queer Eye Season 5 – Now on NetFlix!

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Queer Eye Season 5 promo poster with the fab five in a wooden boat

The Emmy® Award-winning Queer Eye returned ready to transform the stylistically challenged into hip and happening savants at the hands of the Fab Five.

Now in its fifth season, Queer Eye’s fearless ambassadors head east to Philadelphia, the birthplace of the nation, to bring their infectious brand of self-love, confidence and encouragement to a whole new roster of heroes.

Additionally, queer pop artist Vincint created a special song, “Be Me (for Queer Eye Season 5).” The track is featured in the trailer below and available to stream.

So grab some tissues as the all new “Fab Five” serve up hip tips, emotionally charged makeovers and heartfelt reveals that bring out all the feels.

#QueerEye

Watch the Trailer!

Watch the new season now on NetFlix.

The Original Broadway Showing of Hamilton is Coming to a TV Near You

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Lin Manuel Miranda on stage as Alexander Hamilton

By Natalie Rodgers

A fully taped production of the Broadway hit, Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is being released to Disney+ in its entirety on July 3, 2020, just in time for Independence Day.

Originally due to premiere as a theatrical release on October 21, 2021, the movie has been moved up to provide a sense of hope and comfort due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of the cultural and historical impact that Hamilton has had since its Broadway debut in 2015, Disney plans to make the experience more captivating and to include as Disney quoted, “the best elements of live theater, film, and streaming.”

Creating this kind of atmosphere will not be a difficult task, due to how the filmmakers have already produced it. The production was filmed from various camera angles from the show’s original Richard Rodgers Theatre home and filmed across three different performances in in 2016.

The production will include all of the original Broadway cast members, including Leslie Odom Jr., Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Jonathan Groff, Daveed Diggs, upcoming In the Heights star Anthony Ramos, and of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton.

 

Photo: Getty Images 

LA Pride Festival Cancels In-Person Celebration, Will Go Digital

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LA-pride-2019

On its 50th anniversary, the iconic Los Angeles Pride Festival and Parade, which normally draw hundreds of thousands of people to West Hollywood in June, will be going digital because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers recently announced that the festival will instead be held virtually on several digital platforms over a period of months and spanning into 2021.

Back in mid-March, Christopher Street West – the nonprofit group in charge of putting on the festival, announced that it would be postponed. However, it was confirmed that the festival has been canceled the in-person celebrations, and will instead return in 2021.

“Due to the evolving effects surrounding COVID-19, CSW has made the responsible decision to forgo in-person LA Pride celebrations for the remainder of the year,” the group said in a statement. “The organization will instead re-imagine how it will celebrate its 50th anniversary through new and exciting initiatives hosted on its digital platforms, with the hope of returning to a physical celebration in 2021. More details will be announced soon on how Los Angeles will celebrate its 50th Anniversary through exciting digital initiatives.”

The three-day festival is one of the largest LGBTQ celebrations in the nation.

CSW said it would roll out its digital initiatives in the coming months.

Continue on to CBS Los Angeles to read the complete article.

Unique Ways to Thank your Essential Workers

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Thank You to Essential Workers in Fight Against Covid-19

From doctors and nurses to grocery store clerks and pharmacists, our essential workers are showing up every day to keep us safe and healthy during this time.

We are so thankful for each and every one of these workers, but how can we better show our gratitude and encourage them along the way? Here are four unique ways you can thank our essential workers.

1) Make a Sign

This is a relatively easy one that can be done by the whole family. Create a sign to hang from your window, car, or front yard that can be easily seen by essential workers driving or walking by your home. This little sign of encouragement shows they are being appreciated, even when we cannot personally thank every single one of them.

2) Support Their Families

During this time, essential workers are often working longer hours, and many are unable to be fully present for their families during this time. Check up on the families of essential workers in your life, and see what you can do to help. Delivering groceries, making a meal, or simply being a good listener can help ease the stress of the families who are struggling with the new lifestyle of their essential loved one.

3) Feed the Frontlines

Especially for medical professionals working long hours, getting a proper meal may be the last thing on their mind while trying to help others. Ordering food to be delivered to local hospitals, firehouses, grocery stores, and other essential businesses will not only show them your appreciation but could also ease their especially stressful work day. Ordering food will also help restaurants stay in business!

4) Stay at Home

The best way to show respect for those who are working so hard to keep us safe is to adhere to their wishes and stay inside. Washing our hands, keeping ourselves healthy, and social distancing are just a few of the ways that we can all slow the spread of the virus and speed up the process of bringing our essential workers home sooner.

LeBron James, Bad Bunny, Jonas Brothers to throw class of 2020 a virtual graduation

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LebRon James speaking in front of large audience

The LeBron James Family Foundation recently announced that it will celebrate seniors in a special event called “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020″ at 5 p.m. Pacific on May 16 with help from superstar guests.

The Los Angeles Lakers star has drafted Bad Bunny, Pharrell Williams, the Jonas Brothers, Chika, YBN Cordae, H.E.R., Ben Platt, Megan Rapinoe, Yara Shahidi, Lena Waithe and Malala Yousafzai for the hourlong special. It will air simultaneously on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the streaming platforms Complex Networks, Facebook app, Instagram, People TV, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.

We learned early on in our work with students and families in Akron that education is so much more than academics. It’s about a shared experience, a journey we’re all on together — students, parents, educators, community members and everyone around them. With that not being possible right now, we’ve been working to find ways to help families get through this really difficult time,” James said in a release.

“These students have worked incredibly hard for this and there’s no way we can let that go unrecognized. While this won’t be the graduation experience they were supposed to get, we hope we can still give them something special because they deserve it,” the basketball great added.

The commercial-free, multimedia event — which will be curated by high school students and educators across the country with support from the American Federation of Teachers — will feature a collection of vignettes, commencement speeches and celebrity performances.

Students, families and teachers will be encouraged to submit photos and videos using #GraduateTogether for a chance to have them included in the telecast. Don’t know what to do with your senior portrait? Artist JR is inviting seniors to share them for the virtual yearbook celebrating the nation’s 2020 high school graduates. Local TV stations also will feature shout-outs to high school students in their communities.

Continue on to the LA Times to read the complete article.

BECOMING – OFFICIAL TRAILER

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MIchelle Obama book jacket cover

BECOMING is an intimate look into the life of former First Lady Michelle Obama during a moment of profound change, not only for her personally but also for the country she and her husband served over eight impactful years in the White House.

The film offers a rare and up-close look at her life, taking viewers behind the scenes as she embarks on a 34-city tour that highlights the power of community to bridge our divides and the spirit of connection that comes when we openly and honestly share our stories.

Film Release Date: May 6, 2020
Format: Original Documentary Feature

Directed by: Nadia Hallgren
Produced by: Katy Chevigny,
Marilyn Ness, & Lauren Cioffi
Co-Producer: Maureen A. Ryan
Executive Producers:
Priya Swaminathan & Tonia Davis

A NOTE FROM MICHELLE
I’m excited to let you know that on May 6, Netflix will release BECOMING, a documentary film directed by Nadia Hallgren that looks at my life and the experiences I had while touring following the release of my memoir. Those months I spent traveling—meeting and connecting with people in cities across the globe—drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can’t be messed with.

In groups large and small, young and old, unique and united, we came together and shared stories, filling those spaces with our joys, worries, and dreams.

*BECOMING is the third release from Higher Ground Productions and Netflix*

To view the documentary now available on Netflix visit, netflix.com/Becoming.

#IAmBecoming

Watchmen: An HBO Limited Series

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Watchmen movie poster

Set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, WATCHMEN, from executive producer Damon Lindelof embraces nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel, while attempting to break new ground of its own.  Regina King leads a cast that includes Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart and more.

ownhbo.com/watchmen

#WatchmenHBO

5 Tips to Keep Your Hair Zoom Meeting Ready

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Black professional woman with hands up and excited looking at computer monitor while in Zoom meeting

Linda Husser is no stranger to caring for her natural hair during challenging times. While stationed in England as Senior Airman in the Airforce, she had to learn to care for her natural hair without access to the biweekly trip to the hair salon that she was accustomed to before enlisting. 

“I would basically just put my hair into four or five cornrows because our hair had to always comply with service regulations and be above the neck,” she explains. From there, Husser began to use different products to style her hair from the limited options available for black hair at the PBX in England. As she got creative with hairstyles, others began asking her to do their hair and her new career as hairstylist was born. Thirty years later, she owns one of the most successful hair salons specializing in Black Hair in Orange County, California – Linda’s Hair Affair.  

Before the salon closures, the majority of Husser’s clients would schedule every two weeks for their hair to be washed, blow-dried, straightened and styled in a ponytail or loose curls. “A lot of them didn’t think that staying at home still meant they had to look Zoom Meeting Ready’, and have been reaching out to me for advice,” she shares.   

Here are her top tips to keep your hair healthy and Zoom ready during quarantine –  

  1. Do your hair as if you were going to the salon.  Wash and deep condition every two weeks. 
  1. Don’t worry about straightening your hair.  The new growth that’s coming in will be a different texture and your hair is more prone to breakage as a result.  Blowing it out with a blow dryer or putting it in two cornrows is best.  
  1. Moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize.  Use this time to love your hair with oils and butters and conditioners.  Use a silk or cloth scarf to seal it in on your braided hair. 
  1. Use YouTube as a resource to learn how to flat twist, corn row, or experiment with other natural hair styles.   
  1. Wigs are a stylish, easy, and quick protective hairstyle option that actually gives your hair a break if it is thinning from weaves or braids. 

Ultimately, life will go back to face to face meetings and twice a month salon visits. Until then, use these time-tested tips from a former Airman turned Hair Stylist to get by in style. 

Tracy Yassini
Black EOE Journal contributing writer

JUST MERCY

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JUST MERCY is a powerful true story that follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his battle for justice as he defends a man sentenced to death despite evidence proving his innocence.

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#JustMercy

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Truth, Lessons, & Love of all things #BLACKGIRLSROCK

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everly Bond stands in front of large Black Girls Rock red promo background Black Girls Rock

By Tracy Yasinni

Beverly Bond is a woman who takes on massive responsibility in proving that Black Girls Rock! She is a social entrepreneur, model, mentor, DJ and now an author. Gifted with the ability to know what people want, Bond has worked to reshape the narrative of the Black woman and continues to celebrate the importance of #BlackGirlMagic.

This passion comes to life in her book Black Girls Rock, Owning Our Magic & Rocking Our Truth.

Bond views the book as a continuation of the movement and the mission of Black Girls Rock!

She elaborates, “I wanted something that people could have as a takeaway they could refer to at all times. With the awards show, we could only honor so many women at a time, whereas with the book we can share the magic, survival and achievements of Black women in this one space.”

Black Girls Rock, Owning Our Magic & Rocking Our Truth is dedicated to a close friend of the author who passed away from cancer. “I wanted to show that I had her presence in the books and her mantra, her affirmation, was something that I adopted in the book. It was contagious, it was to live true and dance free.

It resonated so much with me because she stood in her truth. She stood for her art. And I think that that’s something that I do as well. I believe in a truth and a justice in us as a people.

So I think that to live true and dance free, which I’m borrowing from Marjorie, who the book is dedicated to, I would say that that would be one of my mantras,” Bond shares.

About Black Girls Rock, Owning Our Magic & Rocking Our TruthBlack Girls Rock promotional book cover
From the founder of the mentoring organization and awards show Black Girls Rock! comes an inspiring and beautifully-designed tribute to the achievements and contributions of black women around the world, featuring moving entries from icons like Kerry Washington, Angela Davis, Misty Copeland, Serena Williams, Shonda Rhimes, Erykah Badu, Tracee Ellis Ross, and more! Discover the beautiful complexity, rich cultural traditions, and bountiful contributions of some of today’s most powerful black women with this one-of-a-kind celebration of their diversity, power, fortitude, spirituality, and tenacity!

Packed with anecdotes, affirmations, and inspirational essays from women of diverse backgrounds, Black Girls Rock! will empower and inspire you to be your best self.

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Upcoming Events

  1. NOBLE’s 44th Annual Training Conference & Exhibit
    July 24, 2020 - July 29, 2020
  2. Women in Federal Law Enforcement Leadership Training
    August 3, 2020 - August 6, 2020
  3. National Society of Black Engineers 46th Annual Convention
    August 19, 2020 - August 23, 2020
  4. 2020 American Society for Health Care Human Resources Association Event
    August 22, 2020 - August 25, 2020
  5. Blacks in Government (BIG) 42nd Annual National Training Institute
    August 24, 2020 - August 27, 2020
  6. NFBPA: A Construct for Change Forum 2020
    October 8, 2020 - October 13, 2020
  7. HBCU Career Development Marketplace
    November 10, 2020 - November 12, 2020
 
*Please be sure to check event websites for latest updates on postponements or cancellations due to COVID-19 precautions.

Upcoming Events

  1. NOBLE’s 44th Annual Training Conference & Exhibit
    July 24, 2020 - July 29, 2020
  2. Women in Federal Law Enforcement Leadership Training
    August 3, 2020 - August 6, 2020
  3. National Society of Black Engineers 46th Annual Convention
    August 19, 2020 - August 23, 2020
  4. 2020 American Society for Health Care Human Resources Association Event
    August 22, 2020 - August 25, 2020
  5. Blacks in Government (BIG) 42nd Annual National Training Institute
    August 24, 2020 - August 27, 2020
  6. NFBPA: A Construct for Change Forum 2020
    October 8, 2020 - October 13, 2020
  7. HBCU Career Development Marketplace
    November 10, 2020 - November 12, 2020