Mississippi’s Asya Branch Wins Miss USA 2020

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Miss USA pageant winner Asya Branch smilign with sash on and clasping hands

Better late than never! Months after the competition was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Miss Mississippi USA Asya Branch has been crowned Miss USA 2020.

Branch, 22, was awarded the coveted title on Monday in a competition that aired live from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. She was crowned by her predecessor, Miss USA 2019 Chelsie Kryst.

Placing second runner-up was Miss Oklahoma USA Mariah Jane Davis, and just ahead of her was first runner-up, Miss Idaho USA Kim Layne.

Branch was the first African American to be named Miss Mississippi USA and comes from Booneville.

Prior to her win on Monday night, Branch shared her take on gun laws in her final statement.

“We should require people to pass training and safety classes” before attaining guns, she said.

This year’s winner was chosen by a selection committee that included Fox Nation host Abby Hornacek, entrepreneur Gloria Mayfield Banks, sports reporter and Miss USA 1999 Kimberly Pressler, businesswoman Susan Yara, Miss USA 2000 Lynnette Cole and Carolyn Aronson, CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare and Be A 10 Cosmetics.

The night’s festivities — which were originally slated for spring, but got postponed due to COVID-19 — were hosted by sports reporter and Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce and American Ninja Warrior co-host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a former professional football player.

The competition also included a virtual performance by American Idol alum Haley Reinhart.

With the crown now sitting pretty atop her head, Branch will move to New York City to represent the Miss USA brand and various philanthropic organizations, just as Kryst did before her.

“Being Miss USA has afforded me the opportunity to be an advocate for issues that deserve attention, including criminal justice reform and racial inequality,” Kryst said in a statement. “I am proud to continue the legacy of national titleholders who speak up and encourage change, and I look forward to supporting the next Miss USA and Miss Teen USA in doing the same.”

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: People

Target says it will spend more than $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by 2025

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People stand in line at Target in Kips Bay during the coronavirus pandemic on April 14, 2020 in New York City.

By Melissa Repko, CNBC

Target said it will hire more Black-owned companies, launch a program to identify and support promising minority entrepreneurs and add products from more than 500 Black-owned brands to its shelves or website.

Altogether, the discounter said Wednesday, it will spend more than $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by 2025.

“We have a rich history of working with diverse businesses, but there’s more we can do to spark change across the retail industry, support the Black community and ensure Black guests feel welcomed and represented when they shop at Target,” chief growth officer Christina Hennington said in a news release.

The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and protests across the country have ratcheted up pressure on corporate leaders to advance racial equity and do more than simply cut a check — or risk losing business. The uneven death toll of the coronavirus pandemic and financial toll of the recession also spotlighted the country’s sharp racial disparities with health care and economic opportunity.

Floyd was killed in Target’s hometown of Minneapolis, now the site of the murder trial for the police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck. One Target store, located near the site of Floyd’s death, had to be completely rebuilt and some of its other stores were damaged during rioting.

Companies have spoken out about diversity and inclusion as consumers pay attention and some direct their dollars toward businesses that align with their values. Generation Z — the group of teens and early 20-somethings who are aging into shopping and establishing relationships with brands — care more about social justice compared with former generations, according to an annual survey of teens by Piper Sandler released Wednesday. Teens surveyed by the firm ranked racial equity as their most important political and social issue, followed by the environment and Black Lives Matter.

Over the past year, major retailers like Nike, Walmart and Ulta Beauty have rolled out their own pledges, such as devoting more shelf space to Black-owned products, evaluating how they hire and promote employees, featuring more Black people in their ads and reducing the number of police or security in stores to prevent racial profiling. A growing number of retailers, including Macy’s, Sephora and Gap, have signed on to the 15 Percent Pledge, which aims to make Black-owned products on store shelves proportional to the country’s Black population.

Among Target’s changes, the retailer said it will more actively seek out advertising firms, suppliers, construction companies and other kinds of businesses that are Black-owned. It said it will create a program called Forward Founders for early-stage start-ups led by Black entrepreneurs to help them develop, test and scale products to sell at mass retailers like Target. It will be modeled off of Target Accelerators, a program for start-ups that the retailer uses to foster up-and-coming brands and ultimately, to sell fresh and exclusive products that attract customers and help it differentiate from competitors.

In some categories, such as beauty, Target said it already has 50 Black-owned and Black-founded brands — but would like to add more for other kinds of merchandise.

Click here to read the full article on CNBC.

Just 3% of L.A. landmarks are linked to Black history. One project aims to change that

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St. Elmo Village, an artists’ enclave occupying a compound of 10 Craftsman bungalows, was founded in 1969 by artists Roderick and Rozzell Sykes as a place where children and adults could explore their creativity. The site is one of L.A.'s few designated landmarks linked to Black heritage.

MAKEDA EASTER, Los Angeles Times

Getty and the city of Los Angeles are expected to announce Tuesday the launch of the African American Historic Places Project, a three-year initiative to identify and preserve landmarks that represent Black heritage across L.A.

Led by the Getty Conservation Institute and the Office of Historic Resources within L.A.’s Department of City Planning, the project will address a disparity in local landmark designations: Only about 3% are connected to African American heritage. The goal of the project is to more accurately reflect the history of the city.

The Office of Historic Resources knows that its landmark designation programs do not yet reflect “the diversity and richness of the African American experience in Los Angeles,” said Ken Bernstein, principal city planner and manager of the office. “There’s much work to be done to rectify that disparity and ensure that the heritage of African Americans in Los Angeles is fully woven into our historic designation, and recognition of historic places in Los Angeles.”

The project is a continuation of a nearly 20-year partnership between the Getty Conservation Institute and the city on local heritage projects.

In 2005, a city-matched grant of $2.5 million from the GCI launched a program to identify and map places of social importance, including historic districts, bridges, parks and streetscapes.

Data from surveys conducted between 2010 and 2017 led to the creation of HistoricPlacesLA, a digital portal designed to inventory, map and contextualize the city’s cultural heritage sites. In 2018, the Office of Historic Resources developed a model to guide preservation work in Black communities, using themes including civil rights, religion and spirituality and visual arts.

Click here to read the full article on Los Angeles Times.

Venus Williams Pens Powerful Essay on Gender Equality, Announces Campaign to Advocate for Equal Pay

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Venus williams wearing a gray suit jacket smiling at the camera

By Katie Campione, People

Venus Williams is once again lending her voice to the movement for gender equality.

The five-time Wimbledon champion penned a moving essay for British Vogue on Monday about using her platform to advocate for equal pay.

In 2007, Williams became the first woman to receive equal prize money to her male counterparts. While men and women now get equal prize money at the majors and combined events, Williams said there is still a long way to go in the sport and across all industries to make sure women are valued in their fields.

“There is still a mindset that women’s tennis isn’t as valuable as men’s,” she wrote. As four-time Olympic gold medalist, Williams said “we must not allow [that mindset] to dictate society’s progress.”

“I firmly believe that sport mirrors life and life mirrors sport,” Williams wrote. “The lack of equality and equal opportunities in tennis is a symptom of the obstacles women face around the world.”

The tennis player added that, in the United States, women made 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019. Inspired by that “shocking” statistic, Williams said she is initiating a campaign called #PrivilegeTax.

Ahead of Equal Pay Day on March 24, customers at participating brands can donate 19 cents at checkout to benefit the Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles organization. Brands partnering with Williams for the campaign include Nordstrom, Tracy Anderson, Tom Brady’s TB12, Carbon38, Credo Beauty and Happy Viking.

Click here to read the full article on People.

Power: LaKeisha star LaLa Anthony reunites with 50 Cent for huge new Starz project

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LaLa Anthony as LaKeisha on the set of Power seated next to co star.

By LISA WEHRSTEDT, Express UK

After her amazing performance as LaKeisha on the Starz show Power, LaLa Anthony has now landed a major new role alongside Power producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, on an upcoming drama. Inspired by true events, Black Mafia Family will tell the story of two brothers from 1980’s Detroit who started one of the most influential crime family in the country.

LaLa Anthony will plat Markaisha Taylor, the wife to flamboyant drug dealer and head of the family Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory.

She is also best friend to her husband’s brother and fellow boss Terry “Southwest T” Flenory, which will make for some interesting dynamics as family loyalty is called into question.

The brothers’ vision is to take their business beyond the drug trade and into the world of hip-hop to become global icons.

Meanwhile, Markaisha has her own plan to harness Terry’s seriousness and sense of purpose to make herself rich.

As the two grow closer and ultimately intimate, their relationship will mean the demise of Markaisha’s marriage as well as Terry’s reputation on the streets.

Snoop Dogg has also joined the cast as Pastor Swift, the Flenory family’s spiritual advisor.

His character description reads: “He’s a man of The Word, with the aura of an ex-con.”

“The Pastor believes in the power of the Lord, and does his best to keep Meech and Terry in good graces.”

He will eventually make his way into the family and become a close confidant, although “Meech and Terry’s father resents all the attention the Pastor showers over the Flenory’s family, but no one can deny all the good the Pastor does for them.”

Joining the show is also Serayah, who will play Demetrius’s girlfriend, Lori Walker.

She is a smart, driven, yet naive college athlete who fell for Meech’s bad boy charm when the couple was younger.

After having a daughter with him, Lori is now more mature and clear-eyed.

Her world centres more around her daughter, and she expects less out of Meech, which makes him want her more.

Click here to read the full article on Express UK.

Viola Davis on the Prospect of Becoming the Most Nominated Black Actress in Oscars History

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Viola Davis holding her award from the Oscars while wearing a red off the shoulder dress smiling

By Angelique Jackson, Variety

With her critically acclaimed performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Viola Davis is primed to become the most nominated Black actress in Oscars history.

Though Davis’ name (and her rousing acceptance speeches) has become synonymous with the very notion of awards season, the celebrated actor is quick to point out the reality that this record is one that should’ve been set long ago.

“For me, it’s a reflection of the lack of opportunities and access to opportunities people of color have had in this business,” she says. “If me, going back to the Oscars four times in 2021, makes me the most nominated Black actress in history, that’s a testament to the sheer lack of material there has been out there for artists of color.”

Davis currently shares the record for the most nominated Black actress in the history of the Academy Awards, tied with close friend Octavia Spencer with three nods apiece. Both women have a supporting actress trophy at home (Davis won in 2017 for “Fences,” while Spencer won in 2012 for “The Help”).

The only other Black actress with multiple Oscar nods is Whoopi Goldberg, who has been recognized twice, nominated for best actress in 1986 for “The Color Purple” and winning the best supporting actress prize in 1991 for “Ghost.” The late Cicely Tyson earned an Oscar nod in 1972 for “Sounder” and an honorary Oscar in 2018.

Of the awards season maelstrom, Davis says, “I have to make it mean something. I do. If I just saw it as a moment for me to sort of puff up my own ego, I think that that would last for 10 seconds or less. It’s a platform. It’s another microphone. It’s another opportunity to open my mouth and speak a really fundamental truth about Hollywood and this business, and, really, America.”

Of course, this year’s ceremonies will inevitably be different, as they unfold amid the ongoing pandemic. There are logistical questions about what sort of hybrid virtual and in person broadcasts might take shape, but Davis is hopeful that the award season landscape will change in a more significant way.

“It’s always great to have the escapism of friendly competition, but at the end of the day, there are a lot deeper issues going on than whether we’re going to have the Oscars, or the Golden Globes, or the SAG Awards in person or virtually,” she says. “My fantasy is that people, that artists, understand that there is no separation with what we do, and what’s going on in the world. I’m actually really excited to see how that takes shape — how people speak their truths, even in their acceptance speeches, how they deal with getting golden statues and what they do with their power now.”

Click here to read the full article on Variety.

Grammys: Read Trevor Noah’s Opening Monologue

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Trevor Noah poses with his head resting on his hand with a Grammy award in a tuxedo

By Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter

The host kept his jokes to a minimum while introducing a very different version of music’s biggest night amid the pandemic era of awards shows.

Trevor Noah kicked off a very intimate Grammy Awards show on Sunday, using his opening monologue to tour viewers around the CBS telecast’s COVID-safe, indoor-outdoor set.

Opening the night outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, Noah explained that the nominees were seated in a tented limited audience outside the venue, while the artists would be taking the stage for the night’s performances inside the nearly empty convention center. While he quipped about hot-button topics like COVID-19, the U.S. Capitol insurrection and the royals, his opener was intended to set-up the different-seeming and yet hopeful night.

“Tonight’s about bringing us all together as only music can. I mean — music and vaccines,” said the Daily Show host in an introduction fit for the pandemic-era of awards shows.

Good evening, everyone. And welcome to the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. My name is Trevor Noah and I’ll be your host tonight as we celebrate the last 10 years of music that got us through the last 10 years of coronavirus. I know it’s been one year, but it feels like 10.

As you can see, this year, people, we have made the decision to socially distance from the Staples Center, but we’re still broadcasting to you from the heart of downtown Los Angeles. This is not a Zoom background, alright? This is real. My uncle isn’t going to walk behind me naked even though I told him I was having an important meeting. That’s not going to happen tonight.

Tonight, we’re going to celebrate some of the fantastic music that has touched our lives and saved our souls over this unprecedented year. And as you can see, we are outside. Meaning, we get to enjoy the great Los Angeles air — which I know maybe as dangerous as COVID, but we’re willing to take the risk.

Tonight is going to be the biggest outdoor event this year besides the storming of the Capitol. Because, you see, right here in this elegant, open-air tent, we will be presenting the most prestigious, sought-after, peer-voted trophies in music, giving out shiny new Grammy awards live throughout the evening. But we have to do it quickly because tomorrow this tent is reserved for an outdoor wedding in Malibu and I do not want to lose my security deposit.

Click here to read Trevor Noah’s full monologue transcript on The Hollywood Reporter

Beyoncé Says She’s “Inspired” by Meghan Markle Following Her Oprah Interview

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Beyonce and Jay Z meet Meghan Markle at the Lion King movie premiere

BY , Harper Bazaar.

You can count Beyoncé as one of the 17 million people who tuned in to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s highly anticipated sit-down with Oprah Winfrey last Sunday, as now, the superstar is showing her support for the Duchess of Sussex.

But rather than post a comment on social media following the bombshell interview, Beyoncé took to her personal website to share her sweet message.

“Thank you Meghan for your courage and leadership,” wrote Beyoncé alongside an image of the two meeting for the first time at the U.K. premiere of The Lion King. “We are all strengthened and inspired by you.”

During the two-hour interview, Meghan revealed how adjusting to royal life took a toll on her mental health. In one of the televised special’s most heartbreaking moments, the Duchess of Sussex revealed that there was a point where she had considered suicide and turned to her husband, Harry, for support.

“I was ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry. But I knew that if I didn’t say it—then I would do it,” said Meghan to Winfrey during the interview. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”

Beyoncé isn’t the only high-profile figure to speak out in support of Meghan in recent days. Tennis icon Serena Williams, the duchess’s dear friend, also shared a moving message praising her friend’s bravery in speaking her truth.

Click here to read the full article on Harper Bazaar

Stephen Curry And The Women’s National Basketball Players Association To Receive Jackie Robinson Sports Awards During 52nd Naacp Image Awards

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NAACP 52nd image awards promo poster

BEVERLY HILLS, CA (March 18, 2021) – Today, in a historical first, the NAACP announced that it will be awarding two recipients, NBA superstar Stephen Curry and The Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA), with the Jackie Robinson Sports Awards.

Additionally, Misty Copeland will be honored with the prestigious Spingarn Medal in addition to Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony who will receive the Activist of the Year award and Madison Potts who will receive the Youth Activist of the Year award. The awards will be presented during the 52nd NAACP Image Awards Virtual Experience presented by Wells Fargo taking place March 22nd – 27th.

The week-long Virtual Experience, which will stream naacpimageawards.net will invite fans to join the Image Awards in a celebration of “Black Excellence”–including virtual red carpet, curated conversation series, a theatre featuring past performances and speeches and an after party celebration following the LIVE show airing on BET and simulcast across ViacomCBS Networks including CBS, BET Her, VH1, MTV, MTV2, and LOGO on Saturday, March 27th, 2021 at 8/7c.

The NAACP Jackie Robinson Sports Awards will be presented to both Stephen Curry and The WNBA Players Association for their high achievements in athletics in addition to their contributions in the pursuit of social justice, civil rights and community involvement. Previous recipients include Michael Jordan, Jim Brown, The Harlem Globetrotters, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Sugar Ray Leonard, Eddie Robinson, among others.

Over his 11-year career in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, Stephen Curry has become one of the most influential stars both on and off the basketball court. He has won three NBA championships, two MVP awards, and holds seven NBA all-star selections. Off the court, he is a youth advocate recently launching Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation with his wife Ayesha Curry which seeks to unlock the potential of every child by providing underprivileged children with the fundamental resources they need to thrive in life.  In addition, he collaborated with Under Armour to launch Curry Brand, a purpose-led performance brand with a mission to ensure every young person has equitable access to sport.The award will be presented to Curry by Stacey Abrams, during the virtual awards show Friday, March 26th.

Created in 1998, The Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA), is the first labor union for professional women athletes. Over the years, the WNBPA has additionally been at the forefront of helping players advocate for social justice, most recently working with the WNBA to launch a new platform called, The Justice Movement, which amplifies the voices and leadership of WNBA players and creating a Social Justice Council whose mission is to be a driving force of necessary and continuing conversations about race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and gun control amongst other important societal issues. The award will be presented by Jemele Hill and accepted on WNBPA’s behalf by WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike, during the virtual awards show Thursday, March 25th.

Ballet dancer Misty Copeland will receive the prestigious Spingarn Medal, which is presented annually in recognition of the highest or noblest achievement by a living African American during the preceding year or years. Copeland made history by becoming the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. Throughout her career, she has worked with many charitable organizations and is dedicated to giving of her time to work with and mentor young girls and boys. In 2014, President Obama appointed Misty to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Previous recipients of this award include: Mrs. Daisy Bates (Little Rock Nine), Jesse L. Jackson, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Earl G. Graves Sr., Oprah Winfrey, Cecily Tyson, Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier. The Spingarn medal will be presented to Copelandby Susan Fales Hill, during the virtual awards show on Tuesday, March 23rd.

In a year that was marked by a surging movement of activism and activists of all ages using their voices to create change, the NAACP will recognize Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony with Activist of the Year award and Madison Potts with the Youth Activist of the Year award. Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, NAACP president of the Detroit branch, will be recognized for his tireless work over the past year helping community members in Detroit combat the COVID-19 crisis, protect their voting rights, and fight for social justice. Madison Potts will be recognized for her exemplary work in Georgia, as an organizer with voter education and registration in the primary election, general election, and 2020 GA Senate runoff election.

The NAACP Image Awards additionally announced the full line-up of events taking place virtually from March 22nd-27th. In the week leading up to the LIVE broadcast of the show, the NAACP Image Awards will launch a Virtual Experience presented by Wells Fargo, which will invite fans into a curated “Black Excellence” experience right from the comfort of their own home. The experience will include:

  • The non-televised awards program which will include a pre-awards show hosted by Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner and celebrity presenters Nicole Beharie, the cast of BET’s Bigger, Tamar Braxton, Damson Idris, Daymond John, Leslie Jones, Javicia Leslie, Madalen Mills, , Method Man, Retta & Reno Wilson (from Good Girls), Marcus ScribnerJB Smoove, Terrence Terrell, Susan Kelechi Watson and CeCe Winans.
  • Virtual red carpet hosted by Tanika Ray.
  • A conversation and panel series with the NAACP Hollywood Bureau  featuring Miles Brown and President Derrick Johnson.
  • The Our Stories, Our Culture program including “A Conversation With…” presented by Ford Motor Company which will salute to Essential Workers as well as a web series called Fashion Pull-Up hosted by celebrity wardrobe stylists, GooGoo Atkins and Apuje Kalu which will explore the most-notable fashion moments from the NAACP Image Awards’ red carpet.
  • The NAACP Theatre which will showcase past Image Awards’ performances and speeches. Additionally all content that airs in the Virtual Experience throughout the week will be made available on demand the next day in the theatre.
  • A virtual photo booth and selfie station, where fans can take a photo with their personal device and post to their social media platforms.
  • Post-gala Afterparty immediately following the live broadcast on BET which will feature classic cuts by DJ Questlove, current cuts by DJ Kiss, and a Jazz Lounge performance by Robert Glasper and Lalah Hathaway.

Attendees can RSVP/pre-register for the 52nd NAACP Image Awards Virtual Experience at naacpimageawards.net.

The 52nd NAACP Image Awards is presented by Wells Fargo, and sponsored by AT&T, FedEx, Nike, Bank of America, American Airlines, Airbnb, Ford, and Alaska Airlines.

The NAACP Image Awards honors the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature, and film and also recognizes individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

For all information and the latest news, please follow NAACP Image Awards on Instagram @NAACPImageAwards.

NAACP

Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.

About BET:

BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), 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 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, 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 around the globe.

How to Watch ‘Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special’

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Meghan and Harry standing on veranda smiling with Prince William and Princess Kate in the foreground laughing

By 

It’s almost time to watch Oprah Winfrey‘s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleOprah With Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special promises to be an intimate, wide-ranging conversation with the couple in their first televised sit-down since their engagement, airing on Sunday, March 7.

“There is no subject that’s off limits,” Oprah said in the trailer for the upcoming special, released on Sunday, which previewed some of the topics, from their decision to step down as senior members of the royal family, to their marriage, to how they’ve handled life under intense public pressure.

When and what time is Oprah With Meghan and HarryThe 90-minute interview airs on CBS on Sunday, March 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT.

How to watch without cable: The interview will air on CBS, but if you need a way to stream, there are a number of services where you can do so. You can watch CBS on Paramount+ — currently called CBS All Access, but will have relaunched by the time of the special — which costs as little as $5 per month. You can sign up for CBS All Access now, and be all set for Sunday.

Alternatively, several live TV streaming services offer CBS, including Hulu with Live TVfuboTVAT&T TV Now and YouTube TV. Usually, most of these services have specials offering free trials for first-time subscribers.

Where can I see the trailer for Oprah’s interview with Harry and Meghan? Right here! Watch below for a first look.

Read the full article at ET Online.

Black Dancer Calls Out Racism in ‘Elitist’ European Ballet World

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dancer chloe lopes gomes performing wearing a black dress ballet

“Our skin color should not be a criteria, only talent should matter,” ballerina Chloé Lopes Gomes told NBC News”

By Adela Suliman for NBC News

Other dancers, including in the United States, have voiced their support for Lopes Gomes, saying that it is high time for the ballet world to address racism and bigotry.

She said that in rehearsals at Berlin’s prestigious Staatsballett, which she joined in 2018, she was told her mistakes stood out because she is Black. In another incident, she said she was mocked when offered a white-colored veil for a show.

For some performances of “Swan Lake” she also said she was made to wear white makeup, despite the school formally dropping this requirement for people of color in the 2018-19 season. Though she acknowledged this was a “tradition” of the show, it was one she deemed outdated.

“Asking not only a Black person but a ballerina to color their skin to look whiter, I don’t think it’s right — I felt very humiliated and very alone,” she told NBC News.

“The harassment kept going, I was very depressed,” she added. During time-off for an injury in 2019, she said the combination of the injury and harassment led to her being prescribed antidepressant drugs. Almost a year after she returned to work, she learned her contract, which is scheduled to end in July, would not be renewed.

Lopes Gomes, whose father is from Cape Verde and mother is French and Algerian, said she made complaints to the company before learning that her contract would not be extended. She added that she felt compelled to go public with her experiences in order to improve the situation for future generations of Black dancers.

Read the full article at NBC News.

How to Celebrate Martin Luther King’s Birthday in 2021

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Martin Luther King JR day sign illustration

Here are ways to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy, whether you want to commit to a day of service or learn about the history of the civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King’s Birthday, a federal holiday observed on the third Monday in January, is a time to reflect on the legacy of the influential civil rights leader. It is also a federal holiday dedicated to a day of service, when Americans are encouraged to heed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words: “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”

This year, the holiday falls on Jan. 18. While coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns disrupted plans for many in-person celebrations and volunteering efforts, there are plenty of safe activities you can take part in. The website of AmeriCorps, the federal public-service organization, has a directory where you can search for volunteer opportunities, while President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inaugural committee suggests creating cards for Covid-19 patients, knitting blankets for the homeless or hosting an online fund-raiser for a nonprofit organization.

Here are other resources for ways to commemorate Dr. King this week, whether you’re looking to do some good or engage in thoughtful conversation.

Hunger Free America, a national research and advocacy organization, will have an “M.L.K. Serve-a-Thon” on Jan. 18 and 19. In a series of virtual workshops, its partner agencies will discuss how food insecurity intersects with other social issues. They will also lead volunteering projects that can be done from home, like phone banking and raising awareness on social media.

Hands on Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes civic engagement efforts, lists in-person activities across Atlanta — Dr. King’s hometown — on its website. It also offers virtual suggestions, such as Civic Dinners, a community engagement platform where people can host or attend virtual conversations under topics like “bridging the racial divide” and “grief and gratitude.

Where: handsonatlanta.org


L.A. Works creates community service projects in the greater Los Angeles area. On Jan. 18, its website will host family-friendly virtual exhibitions of the 1963 March on Washington — created through the video game Minecraft. It’s also hosting online workshops and volunteering events focusing on how race affects homelessness, food insecurity and criminal justice.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington is hosting a social justice-themed virtual concert by the jazz bassist and composer Christian McBride and students from the Juilliard School. Watch on Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. Eastern. Tickets are free, but registration is recommended.

Where: nmaahc.si.edu

The King Center in Atlanta wraps up its weeklong observance of the holiday on Jan. 18 with the Beloved Community Commemorative Service, featuring Bishop T.D. Jakes. Stream it at 10:30 a.m. Eastern on the center’s website or on Facebook Watch, or tune in on Fox 5 Atlanta.

Where: thekingcenter.org

Continue on to The New York Times to read the complete article.

 

UPS Ends Ban on Beards and Natural Black Hairstyles

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UPS Black hair ban
The shipping company is lifting several of its longstanding strict rules on the personal appearance of its employees who interact with the public — mostly its army of delivery drivers.

The changes loosen the previous strict limits on facial hair (no beards for most employees, and mustaches limited to above the crease of the lip), how long men could wear their hair (nothing longer than collar length), and hairstyles (no Afros or braids). While styles still must be business-appropriate and not pose a safety concern, those specific limits have been eliminated.
Photo credit – Benjamin Norman for The New York Times
Wednesday’s announcement also includes the lifting of gender-specific regulations, including rules like the length of the uniform’s shorts. The new rules, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, were posted on an internal company web site for employees.
“These changes reflect our values and desire to have all UPS employees feel comfortable, genuine and authentic while providing service to our customers and interacting with the general public,” UPS said in a statement, adding that the company is “determined to continue to make UPS a great place to work for all of our more than 500,000 employees around the world.”
UPS is also surely motivated by its scrambling to add the staff needed to handle the increased crush of packages associated with the surge in online shopping brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Read the full article at CNN.

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