Cape Town bells to ring daily to honor Desmond Tutu

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Bells at the cathedral where Archbishop Desmond Tutu led marches and campaigns against South Africa’s apartheid will ring on five consecutive days to mourn his death.

Thabo Makgoba, the archbishop of Cape Town, announced that the bells of St. George’s Anglican Cathedral will ring for 10 minutes at midday for five days to mark Tutu’s death.

Tutu, the first Black archbishop of South Africa and a leader in the anti-apartheid movement, died on Sunday in Cape Town at the age of 90. His death was due to complications from cancer, which he had been diagnosed with in 1997.

“We ask all who hear the bells to pause their busy schedules for a moment in tribute to Archbishop Tutu,” Makgoba said, according to The Associated Press.

Tutu will lie in state at St. George’s Cathedral where the public will be allowed to walk past his coffin, reflecting the “simplicity with which he asked to be buried,” the Anglican Church of Southern Africa said.

Tutu’s funeral Mass will take place on Jan. 1 at 10 a.m. local time. The funeral will be led by Bishop Michael Nuttall, who served as the dean of the Anglican Church during Tutu’s time and was often referred to as “Number Two to Tutu.”

On Sunday, Cape Town’s city hall as well as Table Mountain, which overlooks the city, were lit up in purple, the color of Tutu’s clerical robes, in honor of the late Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Numerous churches and cities across South Africa are planning events to commemorate Tutu and his work. Cape Town will be holding an interfaith memorial service on Wednesday and several dioceses across the country will be holding ecumenical services.

Read the complete article posted on The Hill.

André Leon Talley, “One of the Last Great fashion Editors,” has died at 73

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André Leon Talley headshot

Posted on TMZ
A source with direct knowledge tells us Vogue’s former creative director and one-time editor-at-large passed away Tuesday at a hospital in White Plains, NY. It’s currently unclear exactly what he was battling in the hospital.

Talley was instrumental to Vogue’s vision and direction in the ’80s and ’90s, when he worked his way up the magazine ranks to eventually become the news director — which he helmed from ’83 to ’87 — and then ascended to Vogue’s creative director in ’88.

He held that post for a good 7 or so years, and before long … he was heading up all of Vogue as the EAL — with a slight break in between — until 2013, when he left the company. Even after his official departure, however, he continued to contribute to Vogue in varying capacities … including podcast appearances.

He will perhaps be best remembered as a trailblazer in the fashion world — not just for his stylish flair, but for his push to include more POC on the runway … specifically, Black models.

His work and career speak for themselves … and so has his consulting work elsewhere, including being a stylist for the Obamas at one point during Barack’s presidency, and even serving as a judge on ‘America’s Next Top Model’ … among many other notable achievements, like his ‘SATC’ cameo and frequent Wendy Williams chats.

Read the complete original article posted on TMZ.

Sidney Poitier, Oscar-winning actor and Hollywood’s first Black movie star, dies at 94

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Sidney Poitier

Sidney Poitier, whose elegant bearing and principled onscreen characters made him Hollywood’s first Black movie star and the first Black man to win the best actor Oscar, has died. He was 94.

Clint Watson, press secretary for the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, confirmed to CNN that Poitier died Thursday evening.

Poitier overcame an impoverished background in the Bahamas and a thick island accent to rise to the top of his profession at a time when prominent roles for Black actors were rare. He won the Oscar for 1963’s “Lilies of the Field,” in which he played an itinerant laborer who helps a group of White nuns build a chapel.

Many of his best-known films explored racial tensions as Americans were grappling with social changes wrought by the civil rights movement. In 1967 alone, he appeared as a Philadelphia detective fighting bigotry in small-town Mississippi in “In the Heat of the Night” and a doctor who wins over his White fiancée’s skeptical parents in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

Poitier’s movies struggled for distribution in the South, and his choice of roles was limited to what White-run studios would produce. Racial taboos, for example, precluded him from most romantic parts. But his dignified roles helped audiences of the 1950s and 1960s envision Black people not just as servants but as doctors, teachers and detectives.

At the same time, as the lone Black leading man in 1960s Hollywood, he came under tremendous scrutiny. He was too often hailed as a noble symbol of his race and endured criticism from some Black people who said he had betrayed them by taking sanitized roles and pandering to Whites.

Read the complete article posted on CNN.

Michael Jordan and His Son Jeffrey Jordan Launch Heir Inc., an Entertainment and Tech Venture Geared Around Athletes

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Heir-Inc-Jeffrey-Jordan-Daniel-George-Jeron-Smith

By Todd Spangler, Variety

Michael Jordan and his son Jeffrey Jordan are looking to drive the six-time NBA champ’s legacy into the world of NFTs and next-generation entertainment.

The Jordans have launched Heir Inc., a new holding company that plans to build a consumer-facing community platform for athletes to connect with fans — as well as other lines of business, including an entertainment studio and consumer products. (“Heir,” of course, is a play on the Air Jordan brand at Nike.)

The company was co-founded by Jeffrey Jordan (above left) along with marketing exec Daniel George (above middle), founder of agency Limitless Creative, and Jeron Smith (above right), former CEO/co-founder of Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media.

Heir Inc.’s first tech product, called “Heir” (heir.app), is envisioned as a Web3 personalized community platform for athletes. For the Heir product, the startup closed a $10.6 million seed funding round led by Thrive Capital, marking the venture-capital firm’s foray into NFTs (and its largest seed investment ever). Investments also came from Solana Ventures, the investment arm of public blockchain platform Solana, along with angel investors including tech entrepreneur and investor Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit), New York Knicks EVP and senior basketball adviser William Wesley and Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball.

Here’s how the founders say the Heir platform will work: Athletes will sell a limited number of membership-based “seats” to fans, who will get access to digital assets and first-person NFT drops, using an exclusive Heir token built on Solana’s energy-efficient blockchain network. (NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, are used to verify ownership of unique digital content.) Supporters will have the opportunity to purchase one-time digital assets or join an athlete’s “huddle” for exclusive drops, digital goods, immersive experiences, and other perks.

“The Heir platform reimagines the creator-fan experience, to empower athletes to engage with their fans,” Jeffrey Jordan told Variety.

For now, the founders are mum on which athletes may be on board for the initial launch of Heir, slated for 2022. “We’re being very deliberate with our early-adopter athletes,” Jordan said, adding that Heir is aiming for “tier one” NBA and WNBA players and the next generation of rising stars in the NCAA.

Will MJ be on the Heir platform? It’s unclear. According to Jeffrey, “My dad is a strategic adviser and partner. We meet with him regularly, and he provides guidance and insightful ideas… When he was playing, he didn’t have the same tools to connect with his fanbase or monetize that.”

Alongside the three founders, Heir Inc.’s executive team includes VP of operations Briana Richardson, formerly business manager at Robinhood and consultant with Bain & Co.

The focus for Heir is on young stars like Lonzo Ball who appeal to Gen Z and millennial fans, according to Smith. “Individuals his age have grown up with social platforms,” he said. “This is the first step for athletes building their meta-brands in the metaverse/Web3 world.”

Heir will generate revenue from consumers purchasing memberships in an athlete’s “huddle.” Athletes will get an 80% cut of primary sales of NFTs and Heir Inc. will keep 20%; on subsequent sales the split is 50-50.

The idea is keep the Heir memberships scarce: The number of seats in a given “huddle” will be capped at about 0.5%-1% of an athlete’s existing social following, according to George. Once you hit the cap, “the only way to get in is if somebody sells you their seat,” he said. “The value of the huddle seat appreciates over time.”

Digital content from athletes on Heir will encompass multiple formats, ranging from exclusive behind-the-scenes videos to what they’ve watched on Netflix. Athletes also will be able to host live Q&As with their huddle members and post polls and quizzes. Fans who are highly engaged on the platform will be rewarded by unlocking digital goods.

Click here to read the full article on Variety.

Colin Powell, military leader and first Black US secretary of state, dies after complications from Covid-19

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Colin Powell, military leader and first Black US secretary of state

By Devan Cole, CNN

Colin Powell, the first Black US secretary of state whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape American foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, has died from complications from Covid-19, his family said on Facebook.

He was 84.

“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19,” the Powell family wrote on Facebook, noting he was fully vaccinated.
A source familiar with the matter said Powell had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body’s immune response. Even if fully vaccinated against Covid-19, those who are immunocompromised are at greater risk from the virus.
“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said.

Powell was a distinguished and trailblazing professional soldier whose career took him from combat duty in Vietnam to becoming the first Black national security adviser during the end of Ronald Reagan’s presidency and the youngest and first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush. His national popularity soared in the aftermath of the US-led coalition victory during the Gulf War, and for a time in the mid-90s, he was considered a leading contender to become the first Black President of the United States. But his reputation would be forever stained when, as George W. Bush’s first secretary of state, he pushed faulty intelligence before the United Nations to advocate for the Iraq War, which he would later call a “blot” on his record.

Click here to read the full article on CNN.

Boardwalk Empire’s Michael K. Williams Dead at 54

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Michael K. Williams in ‘Boardwalk Empire.’ Hbo/Kobal/Shutterstock

By , US Weekly

Michael K. Williams has died at age 54, Us Weekly confirms. The late actor was found by a relative in his Brooklyn apartment on Monday, September 6.

“It is with deep sorrow that the family announces the passing of Emmy nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams,” his rep told The Hollywood Reporter. “They ask for your privacy while grieving this unsurmountable loss.” The New York native was best known for playing Omar in The Wire from 2002 to 2008, as well as Chalky White in Boardwalk Empire from 2010 to 2014. Williams also starred in 12 Years a Slave and When They See Us.

Most recently, the Emmy nominee acted in Lovecraft Country. He told Deadline in July that filming the HBO show got him “in touch with [his] deeper trauma.”

He explained at the time: “I know that I have trauma with my past experiences of life – things that have happened to me, things that I have done, bad choices. I live that and I’m working through it. Montrose as well as the other members of his family, they are the epitome of the Black experience. As Black Americans we live such levels of trauma and oppression from the outside world and from each other. For Montrose’s experiences, his storylines to be recognized, it makes me as a Black man feel seen.”

Williams hoped for “healing” to come out of the experience “in some weird way,” adding, “It makes me feel like someone is acknowledging the fact that there is a lot of pain in my community and in the experience of just being Black.”

While Lovecraft Country received 18 Emmy nominations for its 1st season, the show was not renewed.

Williams did not “know why” that choice was made, telling Deadline, “I just believe that Lovecraft Country did what it came to do, which was start the conversation of changing the narrative.”

Click here to read the full article on US Weekly.

Bob Moses, Civil Rights Leader And Longtime Educator, Dies At 86

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Civil Rights leader Bob Moses sits at podium table speaking in to microphone

Civil rights leader Robert “Bob” Moses, a soft-spoken and self-effacing grassroots organizer who championed Black voting rights, died on Sunday at age 86.

Born and raised in Harlem, N.Y., Moses went to the South to join the nascent fight for civil rights in the early 1960s, ultimately becoming a central figure in the movement.

As a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in deeply segregated Mississippi, Moses worked to hand political power to Black people through voting education and voter registration drives. He continued to push education to the forefront of the civil rights agenda when in the ’80s he founded the Algebra Project, a math training program focused on empowering students from underfunded public schools and poor communities.

“Throughout his life, Bob Moses bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice,” said Derrick Johnson, head of the NAACP. “He was a strategist at the core of the voting rights movement and beyond. He was a giant. May his light continue to guide us as we face another wave of Jim Crow laws.”

In 1964, Moses orchestrated the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project, which drew hundreds of students from Northern colleges to Mississippi to help register voters across the state.

His enfranchisement efforts were often met with violence and threats from white residents and law enforcement officials and local officials. According to the National Archives and Records Administration, it’s estimated that more than 1,000 people were arrested — many of whom were beaten — and 67 black owned businesses, churches and homes were bombed or set ablaze for their participation in that summer’s movement; additionally, four civil rights workers were killed and at least three Black Mississippians were murdered.

The Freedom Summer initiative drew national awareness to the inequalities faced by Black Mississippians, helping to persuade President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act that summer and, the following year, the Voting Rights Act.

Moses didn’t stop there.

From 1969 to 1976, he taught mathematics in Tanzania in East Africa, the Algebra Project said. Upon returning to the United States, he went on to get his doctorate in philosophy from Harvard University, where he’d also earned his master’s degree in the same field before heading to Mississippi.

Believing in math literacy as a critical part of a child’s education, he started the Algebra Project in 1982 with funding from a MacArthur Fellowship. Moses worked to ensure students were able to graduate high school and go onto study math at the college level. It was his latest civil rights crusade, this time against the inequalities baked into the public education system.

“Education is still basically Jim Crow as far as the kids who are in the bottom economic strata of the country,” Moses told NPR in 2013. “No one knows about them, no one cares about them.”

Read the original full article at NPR.

Vernon Jordan, civil rights leader and close ally of Bill Clinton, dies

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Vernon Jordan civil rights leader close up

By Jamie Gangel and Dan Merica, CNN

Vernon Jordan, a civil rights leader and close adviser to former President Bill Clinton, has died, multiple sources close to the family tell CNN. He was 85.

The former president of the National Urban League rose to prominence as a civil rights activist with close connections in all corners of American politics, working with presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama.

Jordan, born on August 15, 1935, studied law at Howard University and began his career fighting segregation, beginning with a lawsuit against University of Georgia’s integration policy in 1961. He worked as a field director for the NAACP and as a director of the Southern Regional Council for the Voter Education Project before he became president of the president of the National Urban League.

Jordan’s closest political friendship was with Bill and Hillary Clinton, advising the former president during his 1992 presidential campaign and acting as an outside adviser to his friend. He remained close to the Clintons for the next decades, endorsing both of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns.

Continue on to the original article on CNN  here.

Mary Wilson, an Original Member of the Supremes, Dies at 76

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Mary Wilson wearing a black dress, red lipstick and a necklace

Ms. Wilson joined with Florence Ballard and Diana Ross — who later emerged as the lead singer — to form one of the biggest musical acts of the 1960s.

Mary Wilson, a founding member of the Supremes, the trailblazing vocal group that had a dozen No. 1 singles on the pop charts in the 1960s and was a key to the success of Motown Records, died on Monday at her home in Henderson, Nev. She was 76.

The death was confirmed by her publicist, Jay Schwartz. No cause was given.

Formed in Detroit as the Primettes in 1959, the Supremes, whose other two original members were Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, made their mark with hits like “Baby Love” and “Stop! In the Name of Love” whose smooth blend of R&B and pop helped define the Motown sound.

Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown, said in a statement that the Supremes had opened doors for other Motown acts. “I was always proud of Mary,” he said. “She was quite a star in her own right, and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of the Supremes.”

She was the only original member still with the Supremes when the group broke up in 1977.

Ms. Wilson was born on March 6, 1944, in Greenville, Miss., to Sam and Johnnie Mae Wilson. She grew up in the Brewster-Douglass Projects in Detroit and began singing as a child. When Milton Jenkins, who in 1959 was the manager of the Primes, a male singing group (two of whose members would later be in the original lineup of the Temptations), decided to form a female version of the act, the original members were Betty McGlown, Ms. Ballard, Ms. Wilson and Ms. Ross.

To get Mr. Gordy’s attention, the group, then known as the Primettes, frequented Motown’s Hitsville USA recording studio after school. They were eventually signed, changed their name to the Supremes and became a trio in 1962.

The Supremes did not fare well early in their career, but they achieved success after they began working with the songwriting and producing team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland — and after Mr. Gordy made Ms. Ross the lead singer. (Before then, Ms. Wilson and Ms. Ballard had shared most of the lead vocals.)

Read the full article at The New York Times. 

Leon Spinks, Who Defeated Muhammad Ali To Win The Heavyweight Title, Dead At 67

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Mohamed Ali and Leon Spinks boxing fight in black and white

By Huffpost

Leon Spinks, who won Olympic gold and then shocked the boxing world by beating Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in only his eighth pro fight, has died. He was 67.

Spinks, who lived his later years in Las Vegas, died Friday night, according to a release from a public relations firm. He had been battling prostate and other cancers.

His wife, Brenda Glur Spinks, and a few close friends and other family members were by his side when he died.

A lovable heavyweight with a drinking problem, Spinks beat Ali by decision in a 15-round fight in 1978 to win the title. He was unranked at the time, and picked as an opponent because Ali was looking for an easy fight.

He got anything but that, with an unorthodox Spinks swarming over Ali throughout the fight on his way to a stunning win by split decision. The two met seven months later at the Superdome in New Orleans, with Ali taking the decision this time before a record indoor boxing crowd of 72,000 and a national television audience estimated at 90 million people.

“It was one of the most unbelievable things when Ali agreed to fight him because you look at the fights he had up to then and he was not only not a top contender but shouldn’t have been a contender at all,’’ promoter Bob Arum said Saturday. ”He was just an opponent but somehow he found a way to win that fight.”

Spinks would lose the rematch to Ali in New Orleans and fought for the title only once after that, when he was stopped in the third round in 1981 by Larry Holmes. He continued fighting on and off into the mid-1990s, finishing with a record of 26-17-3.

Spinks, with a big grin that often showed off his missing front teeth, was popular among boxing fans for both his win over Ali and his easygoing personality. But he burned through his earnings quickly, and at one point after retiring was working as a custodian at a YMCA in Nebraska, cleaning locker rooms.

He later was part of a group of ex-fighters who had their brains studied by the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. Spinks was found to have brain damage caused by a combination of taking punches to the head and heavy drinking, though he functioned well enough to do autograph sessions and other events late in his life.

Continue to the full article at Huffpost.

 

Cicely Tyson, Pioneering Hollywood Icon, Dies at 96

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Cicely Tyson close up with her smiling

By Carmel Dragan– Variety

Emmy- and Tony-winning actress Cicely Tyson, who distinguished herself in theater, film and television, died on Thursday afternoon. She was 96.

“I have managed Miss Tyson’s career for over 40 years, and each year was a privilege and blessing,” her manager, Larry Thompson, said in a statement. “Cicely thought of her new memoir as a Christmas tree decorated with all the ornaments of her personal and professional life. Today she placed the last ornament, a Star, on top of the tree.”

Photo Credit: Harpo, Inc.

Her memoir “Just As I Am” was published on Tuesday.

Tyson made her film debut with a small role in 1957’s “Twelve Angry Men” and her formal debut in the 1959 Sidney Poitier film “Odds Against Tomorrow,” followed by “The Comedians,” “The Last Angry Man,” “A Man Called Adam” and “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.” Refusing to participate in the blaxploitation movies that became popular in the late ’60s, she waited until 1972 to return to the screen in the drama “Sounder,” which captured several Oscar nominations including one for Tyson as best actress.

Tyson received an Oscar nomination in 1973 for Martin Ritt’s drama “Sounder” and an Honorary Oscar in 2018.

Variety reviewer A.D. Murphy enthused that the film was “outstanding” and added, “The performances of Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson, as the devoted though impoverished parents, are milestones in their own careers.”

Despite her achievements onstage and in films, however, much of the actress’s best work was done for television. In addition to “Miss Jane Pittman,” she did outstanding work in “Roots,” “The Wilma Rudolph Story,” “King: The Martin Luther King Story,” “When No One Would Listen,” “A Woman Called Moses,” “The Marva Collins Story,” “The Women of Brewster Place,” “The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All” and the TV adaptation of “Trip to Bountiful.”

Throughout her career Tyson refused to play drug addicts, prostitutes or maids, roles she thought demeaning to Black women. But when a good part came along she grabbed hold of it with tenacity.

Onstage she was in the original 1961 Off Broadway production of Jean Genet’s “The Blacks” and, decades later, she won a Tony for her starring role in a revival of “The Trip to Bountiful.”

In television she nabbed the first recurring role for an Black woman in a drama series, “East Side/West Side,” and the actress later won two much-deserved Emmys for 1974’s memorable “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” She was nominated a total of 16 times in her career, also winning for supporting actress, in 1994 for an adaptation of “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All”; she was nominated five times for guest actress in a drama for “How to Get Away With Murder.”

The actress became a household name thanks to her starring role in “Miss Jane Pittman.” The TV movie, in which a 110-year-old woman recalls her life, required her to portray the heroine over a nine-decade period. Writing about Tyson’s performance, Pauline Kael compared her “to the highest, because that’s the comparison she invites and has earned.”

She remained an occasional presence on the big screen as well in films including “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich,” Richard Pryor comedy “Bustin’ Loose,” “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Hoodlum.”

Tyson returned to Broadway in 1983 to star in a brief revival of “The Corn Is Green.”

On television she also appeared in the title role of “Ms. Scrooge,” a gender-reversed adaptation of Charles Dickens, as well as telepics including “Benny’s Place,” “Playing With Fire,” “Acceptable Risks,” “Heat Wave,” “Duplicates,” “A Lesson Before Dying” and “The Rosa Parks Story.”

In 1994-95 she played a Southern attorney in NBC’s brief, civil rights-themed legal drama “Sweet Justice,” and she appeared in a 2009 episode of “Law and Order: SVU.”

In her 70s, Tyson worked more in film than at any other time in her career, thanks in part to Tyler Perry: She appeared in his films “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” (2005), “Madea’s Family Reunion (2006) and “Why Did I Get Married Too?” (2010) as well as in the 2012 Perry starrer “Alex Cross,” which he did not direct. The actress also had supporting roles in “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Fat Rose and Squeaky,” “Idlewild” and 2011’s “The Help.”

And capping an already-impressive career, Tyson won the Tony for best actress for her role as Carrie Watts in the 2013 revival of “A Trip to Bountiful,” then repeated the performance in a 2014 Lifetime TV adaptation.

Born in East Harlem to West Indian immigrant parents, Tyson rose from humble beginnings. After graduating from high school she worked as a secretary for the American Red Cross before becoming a model; at the top of her game she appeared in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She studied at the Actors Studio and with Lloyd Richards and Vinnette Carroll, who featured Tyson as Barbara Allen in a 1959 Off Broadway revival of the musical “The Dark of the Moon.” She segued into the variety show “Talent ’59” on Broadway and appeared in a production of “Jolly’s Progress” in which she also understudied Eartha Kitt, before a role in “The Blacks” ignited her stage career.

In 1961 Tyson was one of the original cast members in “The Blacks,” which ran for two years at the St. Mark’s Playhouse. Her co-stars included Roscoe Lee Browne, James Earl Jones, Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques. The role of Virtue won her the Vernon Rice Award, a feat she repeated for the 1962 production of “Moon on a Rainbow Shawl.” She starred with Diana Sands in the 1963 Broadway production of “Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright,” which closed during a newspaper strike, and later that year appeared Off Broadway in “The Blue Boy in Black” with Billy Dee Williams. She moved on to Carroll’s musical “Trumpets of the Lord” (she also appeared in the 1968 Broadway staging) as well as the 1966 production of “A Hand Is at the Gate,” the 1968 play “Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights” and the 1969 program of Lorraine Hansberry readings “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.”

Tyson was also one of the founding members of the Dance Theater of Harlem in 1969.

Interspersed with her stage gigs, Tyson appeared in a number of television shows, including a dramatic presentation of “Brown Girl, Brown Stones” in 1960 and “Between Yesterday and Today.” “East Side/West Side” star George C. Scott, having been impressed by her performance in “The Blacks,” asked for her to play his assistant in the 1963 CBS series. Though the show lasted only 26 episodes, it increased her visibility, and she followed it with appearances on shows including “Naked City,” “The Nurses,” “I Spy,” “Slattery’s People” and “The Bill Cosby Show.”

Tyson was active in charity and arts organizations including Urban Gateways, the Human Family Institute and the American Film Institute. She received awards from the National Council of Negro Women and the NAACP as well as the Capitol Press Award.

The actress was one of 25 Black women honored for their contributions to art, entertainment and civil rights as part of Oprah Winfrey’s 2005 Legends Ball.

Read the complete article on Variety.

Actress Natalie Desselle-Reid, Known for Cinderella and B.A.P.S., Dies at 53

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Natalie Desselle-Reid pictured at a Hollywood event gala

Actress Natalie Desselle-Reid has died at 53 after a private battle with colon cancer.

Desselle-Reid’s death was announced on her Instagram page Monday afternoon.

She was best known for roles on the UPN series Eve (2003-2006) and the Robert Townsend-directed 1997 comedy B.A.P.S., in which she played a waitress in Georgia who ends up caring for a Beverly Hills millionaire and living the life of “Black American Princesses.” The cult classic famously co-starred Halle Berry.

Desselle-Reid also appeared in the racially diverse 1997 retelling of Cinderella, starring Brandy and Whitney Houston, and Madea’s Big Happy Family (2001).

She is survived by her husband, Leonard, and children Sereno, Summer and Sasha.

“It is with extremely heavy hearts that we share the loss of our beautiful Natalie this morning from colon cancer. She was a bright light in this world. A queen. An extraordinary mother and wife. Her diverse career touched so many and she will be loved forever. Naturally, we are grieving and processing this profound loss and we thank you in advance for respecting our privacy at this extremely difficult time,” the post read.

Desselle-Reid was also remembered by her manager Dolores Robinson on Twitter, as well as Robinson’s daughter, actress Holly Robinson Peete.

“Natalie was a bright light. She was an amazing actress and comedienne but also an awesome mother & wife,” wrote Robinson.

“Just absolutely decimated by this news…Actress Natalie Desselle, a bright shining star passed away this morning. I got to know her when my mom was managing her. She will be so missed…sending out prayers to her children and husband. Rest In Peace, Sweet Girl,” wrote Robinson Peete.

The day before her death, Desselle-Reid posted an inspirational message on Instagram. The graphic image read, “Sunday is the perfect day to refuel your soul and to be grateful for each and every one of your blessings.”

Next to it, Desselle-Reid added her own words: “Remember, you are Blessed!💛 Refuel your Soul.”

The actress also mourned the death of Chadwick Boseman, who died in August from his own battle with colon cancer.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Photo Credit: People

Remembering Supplier Diversity Pioneer Gwen Moore

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Gwen Moore

By Laurie Dowling, National Utilities Diversity Council

The world of diversity is dimmed by the passing of former California Assemblymember Gwen Moore, CA-49, on August 19, 2020.

She was a tireless fighter for her constituents and for California and served as the powerful Majority Whip during her tenure, representing parts of Los Angeles and Orange Counties in the California Assembly from 1978 to 1994. However, it is in the area of diversity and supplier diversity that she is most well known in California and nationally.

Assemblymember Moore’s positive impact on diversity in the utilities and communications industries cannot be overstated. In 1988, she was the author of the groundbreaking California General Order 156, which required the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to establish a procedure through which utilities and communication companies would report on their supplier diversity and which allowed the CPUC to set targets for this procurement. This was a game-changer for diverse enterprises and for the utilities and communication companies doing business in California, and its success helped influence supplier diversity engagement by state utility commissions around the country.

With prescience ahead of her time, Assemblymember Moore and her colleagues included not only women- and minority-owned enterprises but also service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. In 2015, GO-156 was expanded to include LGBT business enterprises.
Assemblymember Moore’s legacy in diversity continues robustly today.

On September 1, 2020, the CPUC reported that participating utilities and communications companies – including California American Water, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Sempra Energy, Southern California Edison, Suburban Water Systems, among others – spent $12.7 billion with diverse suppliers in 2019, representing 33.2 percent of the reporting companies’ total procurement dollars.

A highlight of this 2019 report was the work of SouthWest Gas, which spent 70.2 percent of its total spend with diverse business enterprises (DBEs). The report states that GO 156 sets the framework for the CPUC Utility Supplier Diversity Program and encourages each utility and telecommunications company to purchase, at a minimum, 15 percent from MBEs, 5 percent from WBEs, and 1.5 percent from DVBEs, for a total of 21.5 percent. GO 156 has made a lasting impact on diverse businesses in California and on the DNA of corporations in the Golden State and beyond.

Former CPUC President, Michael R. Peevey worked with Assemblymember Moore to bring an increased spotlight on supplier diversity in utilities and communications in California and nationally. He had this to say about her: “Assemblywoman Gwen Moore’s leadership on supplier diversity made all the difference. Before her dramatic efforts, the California Public Utilities Commission did relatively little. Her championing of supplier diversity in the State Legislature gave some of us the heft and muscle to get the utilities to lead the nation in fostering, promoting and achieving the most successful programs in the nation. We all owe her a great debt of gratitude. In former Congressman John Lewis’ memorable words, she caused ‘Good Trouble.’”

Assemblymember Moore was not only concerned with supplier diversity. Her public service record included over 400 bills signed into law to help Californians, especially women, children, and families. Her work for the community was known by her legislative counterparts nationally, and included the Moore Universal Telephone Service Act, which required the provision of affordable telephone service to low-income households, and legislation of special importance to the parents of small children, a bill requiring supermarkets to have a publicly accessible restroom.

Following her time in public service, she was founder and CEO of GeM Communications Group, a woman-owned enterprise designing public affairs, legislative strategies and community outreach programs for corporate and nonprofit clients. Gwen Moore also served on the state and national boards of the NAACP, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the California Black Business Association, among others. She is in the California NAACP Hall of Fame. Assemblymember Moore was a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Gwen Moore was a fearless champion of diversity and opportunity and a beacon to so many. Her loss diminishes our community, but we are all so much better for her time here,” said The Honorable Timothy Alan Simon, President, TAS Strategies, Commissioner Emeritus, California Public Utilities Commission, Chair, California Black Chamber of Commerce.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. From Day One
    February 9, 2022
  3. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  4. From Day One
    February 22, 2022
  5. From Day One
    February 22, 2022
  6. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022
  7. NOBLE 2022 William R. Bracey Winter CEO Symposium
    March 17, 2022 - March 19, 2022
  8. From Day One
    March 29, 2022
  9. From Day One
    April 12, 2022
  10. From Day One
    May 10, 2022