JBSA-Randolph celebrates, honors the Tuskegee Airmen

The release of the film “Red Tails” this year introduced many movie-goers to the story of a group of American fighter pilots and support personnel who waged a double battle against fascism in Europe and racism in their own country nearly 70 years ago.

Last week at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, aviators from the 99th Flying Training Squadron and other members of the base community celebrated the contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black fighter group that distinguished itself with a series of successful missions during World War II, by paying tribute to four of the surviving members of that elite unit and the double victory they achieved.

“These gentlemen are the reason we’re here this morning,” Lt. Col. Jay Fisher, 99th FTS commander, said during the fourth annual Tuskegee Heritage Breakfast at the Taj Mahal. “The sacrifices they made on behalf of all of us are truly inspirational. They are true American heroes.”

Fisher, whose squadron traces its lineage back to the Tuskegee Airmen’s 99th Pursuit Squadron and 99th Fighter Squadron, said the honorees’ accomplishments didn’t end with the war.

“They have some amazing stories of not only what happened back then, but what is happening to them today,” he said. “They are still blazing trails in their respective fields and are still really doing great work for our country.”

The breakfast included a showing of the film “Double Victory,” a documentary companion to “Red Tails,” the brainchild of George Lucas, who created the “Star Wars” and Indiana Jones franchises.

“Double Victory” offers a more true-to-life contrast to the fictionalized account of the Tuskegee Airmen depicted in “Red Tails,” telling their story largely through the anecdotes of some of its surviving members, including retired Lt. Cols. Lee Archer and Leo Gray.

Marv Abrams, president of the San Antonio Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Association, told the audience the story of the Tuskegee Airmen “has been one that has been ignored for far too long.”

He said a 1995 HBO movie, which starred Laurence Fishburne, “was the first mention of the Tuskegee Airmen and their extremely outstanding service,” but it was Lucas who was determined to bring their story to the big screen with “Red Tails.”

Abrams said “Red Tails” only told “a piece of the story.”

“There were 15,000 men and women involved in the Tuskegee program,” he said. “The story of the Tuskegee Airmen is not just a story of the fighter pilots, it’s also the story of every man and woman who helped make that program a success … and has opened up so many doors for all Americans.

“It’s not just a piece of black history, or black American history, it’s a piece of American history overall.”

President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the creation of the flight training program, which was based at the all-black college Tuskegee Institute and Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama.

Its ranks soon swelled into the 332nd Fighter Group, which comprised four squadrons that took part in more than 15,500 sorties and more than 1,500 missions in Europe and North Africa.

The pilots excelled in their primary mission, escorting bombers in their red-tailed P-40s and P-51s, and played a crucial role in successes in the European theater, but they also had to fight racism and segregation on the home front.

Dr. Granville Coggs, a retired radiologist who was honored at the breakfast along with fellow Tuskegee Airmen Dr. Eugene Derricotte, Thomas Ellis and Warren Eusan, said “Red Tails” and “Double Victory” are a “fantastic documentation” of the trials and triumphs of the black aviators.

“I’m just gratified and appreciative that the story is being told so the younger generations can appreciate what’s been done to pave the way for others,” he said.

Coggs called the 99th FTS’ tribute “heart-warming, unexpected and so appreciated.

Robert Goetz is a writer in the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs office.

Money Management for Black Women

black_women_and_moneyBlack Women and Money Management

Since many years black women have planned to prepare a budget based on their necessity as they have learnt budgeting after knowing that it is the key factor for one’s survival. Every black woman is watchful about her finance as being a home provider or a working mom to meet her needs or a stay home mom. In the recent years there has been a lot of change in the people’s standard of living and their monthly expenses. Hence black women have recognized the importance of budgeting and take an active part to compensate with the rising cost of daily necessities and cautiously avoid financial crisis in the form of debts.  This article provides few tips to black women to plan and manage money carefully as per their needs.

Find your resources

If you are incurring financial crisis due to debts, then it is important for you to figure out a solution to get out of debt. Majority of black women are busy spending their paycheck and they hardly track out their unwanted expenses that will make them land up with huge debts. It is very important for you to understand and calculate your net pay prior to listing out your expenses. This gives an idea about the amount of money you are spending for not so important items.

Keep track of your expenses

Initially, you must plan to list out all your expenditures by noting every single detail with the pen and paper.  Prior to preparing a list just write down your monthly net pay. Make sure that you include all your personal expenses that you spent from day one such as rent, utility bills, credit card bills, insurance, car loans, personal loans, movie tickets, shopping, grocery fee, books, car fuel, etc. After noting down every item that you have spent on, you must calculate the total listed items. It is a warning signal if your expenses are more than your monthly income. Most of the people often spend more than they earn and it is important to cut-off unwanted spending in order to overcome debts.

Obtain a credit and Fico report

Every citizen has a right to know his or her credit score in order to determine their credit score status and you own an authority to contact them in case of credit score discrepancies. In fact, you can receive a credit report yearly that is free of cost and it is important for you to understand your credit scores in order to rule out commonly occurring credit score errors.

You must obtain a Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) score report as it plays a significant role in obtaining or sanctioning finance for your basic individual profile. FICO analyzes the interest rate for your loans, credit cards, mortgages and so on. Majority of the employers hire you based on your FICO score in order to deliver salary to their employers in a hassle free manner.

In summary, today’s black women are cautious and intelligent in planning their monthly budget by saving money in a savings fund. Hence she can effectively manage her hard earned money with her well-planned money managing ideas.

Ward back in dramatic black for Kym Ellery

Gemma Ward continues her modelling comeback, this time for WA designer Kym Ellery at Sydney fashion week. Pictures: Getty Images

Gemma Ward continued her modelling comeback last night, opening for Sorrento-based designer Kym Ellery in flowing black.

Ellery was the first to send her collection down the runway when Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week opened in Sydney, with all black and all white ensembles, greys and silver a focus, including ballet dancers in black tutus performing on the runway.

Gemma’s a model mum

The collection featured Ellery’s signature flared pants and bell blouses.

Perth red-carpet designer Betty Tran is to show her collection on Thursday. It will pay homage to fearless females, sending caped superwomen down the runway.

Tran, 27, said her show would be an ode to warrior women that was inspired by her “inspirational” mum, former tailor Cherry Nguyen.

She has collaborated with celebrity stylist Jules Sebastian on the show, which will open with a voice over from Hillary Clinton – “the epitome of a Betty Tran woman”.

One Fell Swoop duo Nina Ergic and Dan Romanin, who recently won WA Designers of the Year at the WA Fashion Awards, will make their solo debut with a show that will pay homage to WA talent.

Subiaco-based family jeweller Linneys will also make its Fashion Week debut, matching pieces to the designs of Sydney bridal couturier Steven Khalil.

Zhivago and Dyspnea will also have solo shows. Gypsea and Zingiber will make their debuts as part of the swimwear showcase.


The West Australian

New Multi-Year Women-in-Sport Strategy Launched Today

Minister Raitt, a Host of Canada’s Most-Celebrated Women Athletes, Women’s National Teams, and Leading Sports Organizations Join Canada’s Dairy Farmers in Fuelling Women Champions

TORONTO, April 7, 2015 /CNW/ – Canada’s dairy farmers hosted a national launch event today where they, together with the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, a host of celebrated medal-winning athletes and sports organizations, introduced a new multi-year women-in-sport strategy entitled, Fuelling Women Champions.

“The mandate of Fuelling Women Champions is to see that no hurdle exists that might hinder passion for the game, and in our inaugural year, we are focusing on shining a spotlight on women in sport,” said Wally Smith, a proud Canadian dairy farmer and president of Dairy Farmers of Canada. “We’re working with some of Canada’s top athletes and thought-leaders within the women and sports arena to enable more women and girls to get involved in sports and to create more fans.”

The need for this kind of program is great. According to data reported by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), young girls are simply not receiving the same opportunities to develop fundamental movement skills. Only four per cent of Canadian girls achieve their recommended levels of daily physical activity. The drop-off rates for teenage girls in sports compared to boys stands at an alarming six to one ratio. Even in adulthood, only 19 per cent of Canadian women participate in sports.

“Girls play sports for different reasons than boys, and they have a unique sports culture all their own,” explained Leanne Nicolle, board member at CAAWS. “They place greater emphasis on the social aspect of sports, and their aspirations are not about making it to the big leagues, because often, they don’t exist – as a result, more women play purely for the love of sport.”

Fuelling Women Champions is partnering with CAAWS and a host of top Canadian athletes this year, including bobsleigh champion, Kaillie Humphries; curling champion, Jennifer Jones; wheelchair-racing champion; Chantal Petitclerc; soccer champion, Desiree Scott; and hockey champion, Natalie Spooner. These athletes provide inspiration for the next generation of young women, are role models, and encourage them to dream big both in sport and in life.

“I want to show the next generation of females that you can compete in sport, have your own life and family, similar to any male professional athlete,” said Jennifer Jones, top curling champion, lawyer and motivational speaker. “Through this program, I hope women and girls will be inspired to fuel their own inner champions.”

Fuelling Women Champions has also developed partnerships with select sports organizations to understand and directly tackle the challenges that women and girls face every day, when it comes to pursuing sports. These organizations include the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), Swimming Canada and Rugby Canada.

“We don’t want to see this as our program only – we are hoping that women and men from across the country will join us to support their mothers, daughters, nieces, aunts, friends, colleagues, and their communities,” said Smith. “Together, we can help women’s sports become more watched, more appreciated and more financially stable.”

To help make this happen in 2015, Fuelling Women Champions will:

  • Introduce thousands of young girls to Canada’s top female athletes through sports clinics, meet and greet events, and social media community development.
  • Support local women’s sports teams and leagues across the country through direct sponsorships, promotions and grassroots volunteerism.
  • Increase exposure by securing event broadcasts for women’s sports both online and on television.
  • Build “home field advantage” by filling seats in the stands at women’s sports games through promotions and ticket giveaways.
  • Create passionate fandom for women in sports by sharing inspirational stories and experiences.
  • Gather information on the unique culture and state of women in sports by supporting research in partnership with CAAWS.

“This movement is for women and girls from all walks of life, at all skill levels,” added Smith. “We want to see more goals met, more greatness realized, and the benefits of sport universally enjoyed.”

About Fuelling Women Champions
Fuelling Women Champions is a new national, multi-year initiative spearheaded by Canada’s dairy farmers and it is dedicated to the advancement of women in sport. This program’s focus is to see that no hurdle exists that might hinder passion for the game, and in our inaugural year, to shine a spotlight on women in sport. Canada’s dairy farmers are personally committing their time, energy and resources to this cause, and have partnered with several thought-leaders, celebrated athletes, and sports organizations. Join our Fuelling Women Champions movement via @WomenChampions and #ChampionHer on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and at www.womenchampions.ca.

 

SOURCE Dairy Farmers of Canada (Corporate)

Image with caption: “Shining the Spotlight on Women’s Sports: Minister of Transport, Hon. Lisa Raitt and Dairy Farmers of Canada president, Wally Smith, join young female athletes as they take direction from curling champion Jennifer Jones during the unveiling of the new Fuelling Women Champions program from Canada’s dairy farmers. (CNW Group/Dairy Farmers of Canada (Corporate))”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150407_C7693_PHOTO_EN_13995.jpg

Image with caption: “Shining the Spotlight on Women’s Sports: Minister of Transport, Hon. Lisa Raitt and Dairy Farmers of Canada president, Wally Smith, join top Canadian athletes and young fans to launch the new Fuelling Women Champions program from Canada’s dairy farmers. (CNW Group/Dairy Farmers of Canada (Corporate))”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150407_C7693_PHOTO_EN_13997.jpg

Michelle Obama Wows And Inspires At Black Girls Rock Event, Reveals ‘We Rock’ Diet And Exercise

First Lady Michelle Obama earned wows of admiration when she stepped out dressed for inspirational success at BET’s 2015 Black Girls Rock! event. Attired in sparkling Jimmy Choo shoes and a slinky Zac Posen dress, the First Lady earned a standing ovation, reported In Style.

“To all the young women here tonight, and all across the country, let me say those words again: Black girls rock!” emphasized the First Lady.

And she included President Obama in her message of empowerment to the world.

“We rock! We rock! No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful, you are powerful, you are brilliant, you are funny! Let me tell you, I’m so proud of you. My husband, your president, is so proud of you. And we have such big hopes and dreams for every single one of you.”

Although her message was directed at young black girls, designer Zac was thrilled as well, taking to Instagram to exclaim over his excitement at finding a dress he designed on the First Lady.

“Such an thrill and honor to wake up to the #FirstLady #MichelleObama #FLOTUS wearing #ZacPosen”

How does the First Lady stay in such great shape at 51? An dedicated diet and exercise program, according to Time.

When it comes to that ability to show her shoulders, Obama does weight-lifting exercises to tone her body and yoga for flexibility and balance. Famed for her “Let’s Move” program, the First Lady literally walks her talk by taking her message to schools and doing everything from dancing to hula-hooping with the kids.

As for diet, the First Lady emphasizes healthy eating as part of her program to improve school lunches and reverse childhood obesity. But she confesses that she has her own challenges when it comes to diet, naming French fries as one of those much-craved cheat foods in which she occasionally indulges.

To help her stay on the right track, Obama works with a personal trainer, Cornell McClellan. Among the movements that the two do are kick-boxing and jumping rope. For extra variety, she plays tennis.

In terms of dance, Obama chose celebrities ranging from Jimmy Fallon to Beyonce to join her to persuade children that moving and grooving to music could be fun as well as healthy. As the Inquisitr reported, Beyonce accepted the First Lady’s “Gimme Five” challenge.

Obama kickstarted her campaign by asking celebrities to join her #GimmeFive movement. She sent out tweets asking them to reveal five reasons to get fit, and shared Queen Bey’s video.

“Retweet if you’re ready to work out with @Beyonce! #GimmeFive of your workout drills (or you’ll disappoint the Beygency),” posted the First Lady.

[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

Mother Launches First Book, “Finally in Love With Myself,” to Support Victims and Survivors of Abuse

-– Just In Time For Women’s International Day Celebrations –

angela_lee_finally_in_love_with_myself

Angela Lee Rahman

London, UK (BlackNews.com) – Mother of four, Angela Lee Rahman, launches her first book, Finally In Love With Myself, in support of victims and survivors of abuse at the start of commemorations for Women’s International Day. The launch hosted by former EastEnders actress, Judith Jacob will be held on Saturday 7th March, between 2:00 – 4:00 pm at the Black Cultural Archives, Windrush Square, Brixton SW2 1EF (in England).

Finally In Love With Myself, published by Angela’s own publishing company, Nubia Publishing (Nubia Ltd), is based on a true story. Each chapter delves deep into each respective journey and is specifically geared towards providing tools on how one can overcome the traumas of abuse.

“Traditionally, the focus has been on physical abuse, it has only been since last year that the Government with its amendments to the Health and Social Care Act 1985, has recognized other forms of abuse in order to ensure that victims have the necessary support to protect themselves,” said first time author, Angela Lee.

The event will be empowered by women authors and inspirational speakers and held at the newly opened Black Cultural Archives, that provides historical cultural heritage of Black people in Britain.

Here’s what others are saying:

“A book powered by determination and rewarded with success. Many congratulations,” said Dawn Hill, Chair Black Cultural Archives.

“Women empowering women. We hold the key to our happiness and these books help those women who cannot see the light to unlock the door. Let’s use them,” said host and actress, Judith Jacob.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world,” said Sonia Meggie, Diversity Award winner and Founder of Inspirational YOU.

Carol Cato – CEO NOIR International said, “Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”

“Set peace of mind as your goal and work towards achieving that on a daily basis,” said BEFFTA Award winner, Maureen Worrell author, The Journey of I and I.

“It is absolutely possible to break those negative and abusive cycles that keeps reoccurring in your life. But it just takes courage and the willingness to learn how to create self-love to combat fear,” said Malakh Zebulun, author, “No More Secrets”.

 

The book can be purchased online at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or www.NubiaMagazine.com

 

About the Author

Angela is the editor and CEO of Nubia Limited, a creative media organization that she started as a result experiencing discriminatory practices whilst teaching within FE. Renowned for her community work, Angela is a philanthropist and cultural broker who utilize her creative media project writing, event management and business skills to engage and communicate with her wide audiences on a range of social issues.  She often comments on BBC radio, press and media with respect to race and cultural issues.

Nubia Ltd is a creative media business that provides employability training and opportunities through its educational programs, that supports and provides a platform for authors, entrepreneurs and SME businesses, including charities and community organizations.   It offers prospect writers and media interns, the opportunity to gain work experience through their online global internship program that will see their work published via its website at www.NubiaMagazine.com

PRESS CONTACT:
Angela Rahman
Nubia Magazine
+44 07985 173741/ +44 07901 337621 (UK)
angela@nubia.ltd.uk

Rethinking the Black Power Movement

For anyone with a memory or interest in the 1960s and 1970s, the words “black power” immediately bring to mind a host of faces and images.

Powerful, imposing figures like Eldridge Cleaver, H. Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis, pictured with their fists raised. Young African-American revolutionaries in shades and military garb, toting rifles.

“Really, when we think about black power in the popular imagination,” says Peniel Joseph, “it’s usually couched as the evil twin that wrecked the civil rights movement.”

But it’s also a good deal more, says Joseph, Tufts scholar and author of Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama, who will be giving a free public lecture this Friday at Zion Baptist Church.

“I think now as we’ve gotten more distant and more archival historical evidence, we really see the way in which black power tried to transform American democracy, and it wasn’t just about violence or anti-white rhetoric. For the most past, it’s really about radical, social, political, cultural self-determination.”

The legacy, he says, goes far and wide, leading to black student unions, black studies departments and programs in major universities — and, ultimately, the election of a whole generation of black officials.

While the media images of the movement in the predominantly white media were largely negative, Joseph says, black America saw things differently. There was a new pride thanks to the Black Power movement, a new sense of consciousness, self-determination and worth; “Black is beautiful” became a lasting cultural meme of the 1960s.

“Certainly, there were revolutionaries like the Black Panthers, who have a very self-defensive posture and in certain instances, around 1970 to 1971, were talking about a political revolution,” he says, but the real revolution was cultural.

Joseph says the legacy of the Black Power movement can be seen in huge social protests that have emerged in the years since: Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, the anti-apartheid protests of the 1980s, the Million Man March of the 1990s, and the recent Black Lives Matter protests — which grew out of the killings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown — on the street and in social media.

“Last year, in the aftermath of Ferguson and [the killing of Eric] Garner, we saw the most civil unrest in the country that we’ve seen really probably since 1970 and the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State,” Joseph says. “Most people don’t remember, in the spring of 1970, many, many hundreds of college campuses were on strike that spring. The largest antiwar protest in American history against the Vietnam War happened that spring, as well. The Black Lives Matter protest really reinvigorated the kind of protest we used to see in the civil rights, anti-war heyday in the 1960s.”

Not only that, he said, Black Power also had a considerable impact on feminism.

“That whole notion of triple jeopardy — race, class, gender,” he said, “is connected to the writings of Black Power activists, especially women in the movement.”

He cites writers like Toni Cade Bambara, who edited a key anthology, The Black Woman, and playwright Ntozake Shange’s award-winning play for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.

These and so many others were “voices coming out of that Black Power period that are deeply invested in an idea of black self-determination, and they’re deeply critical of some of the sexism and the deep misogyny of both American society, but certainly black folks, too.”

Joseph says his own students at Tufts have become much more interested in the history of Black Power as racial unrest has played a role in recent events.

“Even as much of these events have been tragic,” he says, “some of them have been inspirational” in what they can teach about how people respond to violent events.

Peniel Joseph will deliver a free public lecture at 7 p.m. Friday, April 3, at Zion Baptist Church, 801 Washington St. in Columbia. The presentation is sponsored by the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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Beverly Bond: The ‘Black Girls Rock!’ Interview with Kam Williams

beverly bond

Beverly Bond

*A dynamo in true form, Beverly Bond, has blazed trails in the music, entertainment and social entrepreneurship industries. Her body of work, across sectors, has made her one of the most celebrated DJs and social innovators of our time.

A true music connoisseur, Beverly’s passion for music and her uncanny ability to read the crowd has solidified her as one of the premier DJs in the world. Over the last decade, the former Wilhelmina model has brought her versatile talents to the most highly exclusive events and to a myriad of celebrity clients including Prince, Alicia Keys, Sarah Jessica Parker, Erykah Badu, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Derrick Jeter, Jessica and Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Z, Martha Stewart and others.

In 2006, she founded BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, a youth empowerment mentoring organization. Bond simultaneously created the annual BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards to celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional women of color who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and stand as inspirational and positive role models in the community.

In 2010, Beverly first partnered with BET to air BLACK GIRLS ROCK! On network television. The Awards show went on to receive an NAACP Image Award for outstanding Variety Series or Special.

Beverly’s work as a businesswoman, mentor, philanthropist and community leader has earned her a number of prestigious recognitions. EBONY magazine listed Bond on its Power 100 list for five consecutive years. She was also recognized by Ebony as one of the “Most Influential Blacks in America.” And she was recognized as one of ESSENCE magazine’s “40 Fierce and Fabulous Women Who are Changing the World.”

Here, she talks about this year’s BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Awards which is set to air on BET on Sunday, April 5th at 7 pm ET/PT. Among the many luminaries appearing on the show is First Lady Michelle Obama.

black girls rock (including michelle obama)

Kam Williams: Hi Beverly, thanks for the interview.

Beverly Bond: Thank you, Kam.

KW: I’ll be mixing my questions in with some sent in by readers. You just taped the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! awards show last night. Are you still on a high from the event?

BB: Omigosh! I’m still taking it in and trying to process it all.

KW: Environmental activist Grace Sinden asks: What was your strongest or most surprising impression of First Lady Michelle Obama?

BB: I think I always knew this about her, although I’d never met her in person until now, but she’s so authentic and genuine. And she’s so sincere and committed to making a difference in the lives of others. She’s a real humanitarian.

KW: Were First Daughters Malia and Sasha in attendance?

BB: No, unfortunately, they couldn’t be there.

KW: How did you come to pick this year’s honorees: director Ava DuVernay, actresses Jada Pinkett Smith and Cicely Tyson, singer Erykah Badu, CARE CEO Dr. Helene D. Gayle and middle school principal Nadia Lopez?

BB: Well, there’s never a shortage of incredible black women who have made major contributions each year. So, we’re constantly monitoring what’s happening in Black Girls’ World, so to speak, and we’re aware that there’s always an abundance of worthy individuals to choose from. It’s a matter of each person’s accomplishments and how current they are. Part of the process has to do with production, and part of it just comes down to who is available and how things fall in place based on the time period you’re looking at. So, yes, there’s a process, but the truth is there are so many amazing black women who have contributed to society who don’t always get a chance to shine. Our mission is to make sure we acknowledge them on our stages.

KW: Well, Ava DuVernay certainly did a phenomenal job shooting Selma, and I thought it was a shame the way she was snubbed by the Oscars, since, in my opinion, she deserved to be the first African-American female nominated in the Best Director category.

BB:  Absolutely! In addition there’s all the other tremendous work she does to support up-and-coming filmmakers.

KW: Grace also asks: How difficult and over how many years did it take you to create BLACK GIRLS ROCK! and make it into a social force?

BB: I founded it in 2006, and it was an instant success. I was so driven and so passionate about the necessity of this message that I worked 24 hours a day to make it happen. But it doesn’t feel difficult when it’s your mission and your vision. It’s been a lot of work, but I knew that many people would be into it. Honestly, by 2007, we had the media’s attention already, BET, VH-1 and others, so I knew it was going to be televised. If you believe in something enough, you’re going to make it work. And to me, this was so important because it was about the message to the girls, especially the young girls.

KW: How were you able to sell the idea to BET, given its history of often appealing to the lowest common denominator, as reflected in reality-TV shows and misogynistic music videos?

BB: It wasn’t difficult, because BET obviously needed something like this. It was almost a perfect storm, because we came along at a time when BET was trying to change that image and that message.

KW: How do you respond to the Twitter trend #WhiteGirlsRock which claimed that BLACK GIRLS ROCK! is racist?

BB: I think that when you tune into Black Entertainment Television and you are complaining about black people lifting up black women and celebrating their wonderful accomplishments, your racism is showing all over your face. Did they call in when the images were less than stellar? It is fascinating to me how there’s an uproar whenever it comes to black people celebrating themselves. So, I pay them no attention, although I did respond once by writing a little article making the point that just because we say that black girls rock doesn’t mean that you don’t rock, too. But I wonder whether this was really just an attempt to punish us for having the audacity to celebrate ourselves. Everyone’s so used to putting us at the bottom of the barrel that they feel entitled to find our simply saying “We rock!” offensive. I don’t give it too much attention, because it’s really silly, but it does show the privilege and the racism that exists in some circles.

KW: What do you want viewers to take away from BLACK GIRLS ROCK!?

BB: BLACK GIRLS ROCK! really focuses on helping to raise the bar for our kids, because we’ve got to change our culture and make black excellence important again. Literacy should not be a problem for us in 2015. The education gap continues to widen for black kids, and that’s telling. So, we have to figure out how to help our kids to survive and thrive and become trailblazers themselves.

KW: What types of programs do you have at the BLACK GIRLS ROCK! summer camp?

BB: We have a very strong arts education program, plus media literacy, coding, robotics, college prep, empowerment circles, financial literacy and cultural immersion. They start every morning with African dance or yoga, and end their day with Brazilian capoeira, with all that other material in between. It’s a very well-rounded and intensive, two-week experience.

KW: What motivated you to make the move from modeling to music DJ?

BB: I never really left modeling. When I became a DJ, that career took over. I just evolved.

KW: AALBC.com Editor Troy Johnson says: According to government statistics, 72% of African-American children are born to unwed mothers. Why do you think this is the case?

BB: Why do I think it’s the case? I think we have a lot of issues in our community, but I can’t say why. I believe there are a lot of pressures that pull us apart as a people, and as families. I think there need to be more messages of black love. And if we don’t start educating our kids early in life about the ways in which they develop relationships with each other, they’re doomed by the time they reach adulthood. When I started BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, I primarily focused on music messages, because I felt so insulted by many of them. I also felt they were sending a dangerous message about how boys should look at girls, about how girls should look at themselves and each other, and about how boys should relate to other boys. I felt like the music was very degrading and violent and scary. And if someone 5 years-old is raised on so much violence and explicit sex, and the suggestion that girls are just there to be used for their bodies, it will warp what they will be like when they grow up and how they will end up treating each other.

KW: Troy also says: African-Americans were able to gain victories 50 to 60 years ago during the Civil Rights Movement, such as the marches in Selma and the successful bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Do you think that this type of activism is still possible today?

BB: Yes, but we have to do it in many different ways. I think Black Girls Rock is revolutionary. And there are other ways to achieve changes in this technological age. For instance, without Twitter, there probably wouldn’t have been such an outcry about Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and so many others. But it’s important to use our voices to speak out and make a difference since, if we don’t do it, no one’s going to do it for us.

KW: Finally, Troy would like to know, what was the last book you read?

BB: Right now, I’m reading “Conversations with God.” http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0399142789/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What was the last song you listened to?

BB: “The Blacker the Berry” by Kendrick Lamar. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00TL0Q34M/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

KW: Larry Greenberg asks: Is it still fashionable to use the term ‘girl’?

BB: It is for BLACK GIRLS ROCK! [Laughs]

KW: Larry also says: I shot a popular video of 10 year-old competitive shooter Shyanne Roberts, and followed it up with a video of Shyanne teaching my 7 year-old daughter to shoot a rifle. How do you feel about training young women on the use and safety of firearms?

BB: I can’t answer that question. I’m not a firearms person. Never touched one. I don’t believe in weapons of destruction. I’m not saying whether they’re appropriate for anyone else. That’s just me.

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?

BB: Probably, but I can’t think of one off the top of my head.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

BB: [LOL] I only cook once a year for Thanksgiving. I get it all out of my system at one time. [Laughs some more]

KW: The Uduak Oduok question: Who is your favorite clothes designer?

BB: I don’t have a favorite, although there’s one woman, Barbara Bui that I really, really love, because her clothes are structured in a way that I like. They’re really strong.

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

BB: Ooh, let me think… [Chuckles] Gosh… I remember when my mother took me to my grandmother’s to stay there and they put me on top of what I though was a really high bed, because from my perspective my feet seemed so far from the floor. I must have been 2-ish, since I was still pick up-able.

KW: Was there a meaningful spiritual component to your childhood?

BB: Yeah, I’ve always had this feeling that I’m not here alone. I remember after being taught as a young child that God is everywhere, how I would always sleep in the corner of my bed to leave room for God

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

BB: Somebody who needs some more rest. [Laughs] Someone who is growing into her better self.

KW: The Melissa Harris-Perry question: How did your first big heartbreak impact who you are as a person?

BB: It was actually more of a blessing than a heartbreak, because I got free.

KW: The Viola Davis question: What’s the biggest difference between who you are at home as opposed to the person we see on the red carpet?

BB: There’s a huge difference because you guys probably think I’m glamorous, but I’m not. I’m the most low-key person in the world. I just stay focused on having fun and doing what I’m here to do. It’s always fascinating to me how people think I have this glamorous life. People who know me, know I’m the same person.

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?

BB: An ability to tap into their passion.

KW: What’s in your wallet?

BB: [LOL] A picture of my cousin Nikki who passed away, and some credit cards.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Beverly, and best of luck with Black Girls Rock.

BB: Thanks, Kam, and I must say this has been an awesome interview. Thank you so much.

To see a TV spot for Black Girls Rock!, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJ_idJp9V2U


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Michelle Obama Offers Inspirational Words at 2015 Black Girls Rock!—Find Out What She Said!

Michelle Obama, Black Girls Rock!BET

Michelle Obama received a standing ovation on Saturday at BET’s 2015 Black Girls Rock! event, where she gave a powerful, inspirational speech.

Looking chic, as usual, in a white, off-the-shoulder, knee-length dress, the First Lady declared into the mic, “to all the young women here tonight, and all across the country, let me say those words again: Black girls rock!”

“We rock! We rock!” she said. “No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you are beautiful, you are powerful, you are brilliant, you are funny!”

“Let me tell you, I’m so proud of you,” she said. “My husband, your president, is so proud of you. And we have such big hopes and dreams for every single one of you.”

NEWS: Will Smith kisses Jada Pinkett Smith (and touches her butt) at Black Girls Rock!, talks marriage rumor—see pics!

She said she knows there are “voices that tell you you’re not good enough, that you have to look a certain way, act a certain way, that if you speak up, you’re too loud. If you step up to lead, you’re being bossy.” She spoke about overcoming fears in her own life.

“Each of those doubts were challenges. I could shrink away from, or rise up to meet,” Obama said.

She also stressed the importance of education, saying she tried her best and worked hard when she was in school. She also praised three young ladies who were brought on stage for excelling in their studies and helping their communities.

“Live life on your own terms,” Obama said. “Anyone who has achieved anything in life, knows challenges and failures are components of success.”

The event also saw fellow presenter Will Smith showcase sweet PDA with wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who won the Star Power Award. Other honorees included singer Erykah Badu,  Selma director Ava DuVernay and actress Cicely Tyson.

The First Lady started a standing ovation for Tyson, who had sat next to her in the audience, and the two embraced warmly. Obama was also seen dancing in the crowd. Sheila E, Kelly Rowland and Jennifer Hudson were among the performers.

Onstage, Will paid tribute to Jada and presented her with her award. He also spoke about a rumor regarding their marriage.

Backstage, the actor had a little Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion!

Black Girls Rock! is the name of a non-profit youth organization that aims to help and empower young black girls. The ceremony will air on BET on April 5.

PHOTOS: 2015 Black Girls Rock!: Star sightings

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BET Networks and BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Inc. Are Proud to Announce First Lady Michelle Obama’s First Appearance on the …

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

BET Networks and BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Inc. are honored to welcome First Lady Michelle Obama to her first “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™” Show at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center as we honor Cicely Tyson (Living Legend Award), Ava DuVernay (Shot Caller Award), Dr. Helene D. Gayle (Social Humanitarian Award), Erykah Badu (Rock Star Award), Nadia Lopez (Change Agent Award) and Jada Pinkett Smith (Star Power Award). As part of the First Lady’s “Reach Higher” initiative, she will deliver remarks about the value of education. The televised special celebrates its fifth year honoring the triumphs of inspirational African-American women who are trailblazers in the areas of art, philanthropy, sports, and community service. Tune in to watch “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™” on Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015 at 7 pm/ET.

Beverly Bond, the Founder/Creator/CEO of BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ says, “I’m thrilled that Mrs. Michelle Obama will be able to join us in celebrating this year’s honorees and our M.A.D. GIRL celebrants – three audacious teenagers who are using their talent and ingenuity to become pioneers in education. “BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™” works fervently year round to develop the leaders of tomorrow through arts education, cultural literacy, technology, and group mentoring programs. I am so excited to welcome First Lady Michelle Obama, whose Reach Higher initiative encourages young people to pursue and complete their education past high school, to join us here for the first time!”

For updates or more information about “BLACK GIRLS ROCK! ™” visit http://www.BET.com/blackgirlsrock and www.blackgirlsrock.org

Join the conversation on social media by logging on to BET’s multiple social media platforms:

• On Twitter by using hashtag: follow us @BET and @BLACKGIRLSROCK

• On Facebook by liking the fan pages at facebook.com/BET and facebook.com/BLACKGIRLSROCK

• On Instagram @betnetworks and @BLACKGIRLSROCK

ABOUT BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™:

Founded by celebrity DJ and philanthropist, Beverly Bond, BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ is a multifaceted movement dedicated to shifting the culture of media images and empowering women and girls. BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, that has been committed to enriching girls through leadership, education, and positive identity development programs since 2006. BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™ Inc. builds the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons and providing tools for self-empowerment and efficacy. For additional information on BLACK GIRLS ROCK!™, visit http://www.blackgirlsrock.org

ABOUT BET NETWORKS:

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks – BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.

ABOUT NEW JERSEY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER:

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States. It is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey — where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists, while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted over seven million visitors (including more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit http://www.njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.

Follow us @BET_PR

Sue Ryder Women of Achievement awards honor inspirational Berkshire women

Sue Ryder held its eighth annual Women of Achievement Awards on March 19, recognising incredible women from across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Around 170 people attended the glamorous event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Marlow, which raised more than £8,000 for the charity.

A number of local women were honoured from categories covering business, arts, community work and sport, including Paddington rail crash survivor Pam Warren, who was a joint winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pam Warren, from Whitchurch-on-Thames, said the award was a ‘delightful shock’ as she did not realise she was nominated.

Pam Warren when she was nominated for a Pride of Reading award last year

She said: “I was totally suprised. I hold the Sue Ryder charity in great esteem and was bowled over.”

Pam revealed she has a personal link to a charity through her grandmother, who was cared for by Sue Ryder Nettlebed before her death.

She said: “I am aware of and appreciate all the hard work they put into helping others. Though myself, and I am sure the other nominees, do what we do without expecting any thanks or notice it is so nice to have it recognised by such an inspiring organisation.”

Pam added she still had work to do accomplish even after receiving a lifetime achievement award. “I haven’t finished yet,” she said.

Marian Lee from Wallingford was also a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award. Marian was recognised for 20 years of service as a director at the Chiltern Centre for Disabled Centre in Henley.

Music teacher Emma Stevenson from Maidenhead received the Creative Woman of the Year title. Emma said: “It is fantastic to be recognised for doing something that you love when you can help other people, raise some money and actually get people singing. That’s my passion.”

Sue Beales and Karen D’Arcy from Nettlebed won Businesswoman of the Year for their interiors shop Life at Nettelbed. The Henley Hawks women’s rugby team were honored as Sportswoman of the year.

Sarah Roberts, from Henley-on-Thames was honoured as Community Champion of the Year for Young People. Sarah is founder of new charity Millie’s Dream, which installs defibrillators in schools and sports clubs in the Henley area. She said: “I was thrilled to accept my wonderful award on behalf of all the fantastic people who have made these donations/installations – our dream – come true.”

Kathryn Rickman from Cookham was recognised as Community Champion of the Year. Kathryn said she was honoured to be part of such as vibrant community as Cookham.

Trishna Bharadia from Marlow was Volunteer of the Year for her support for people suffering with multiple sclerosis.

The Oscar themed black tie gala featured a pop up operatic show by Opera Anywhere and entertainment from The Lacettes, who generously donated their time to support Sue Ryder.

Tracey Hancock, head of fundraising at Sue Ryder’s Duchess of Kent and Nettlebed hospices, said: “It was a wonderful evening and we warmly congratulate all the nominees and winners. It is so nice to be able to recognise the contribution so many women make so selflessly within the community whilst also celebrating the incredible care Sue Ryder provides for people living with life limiting conditions.”

Internet gaffe by US government as UK extremist's sharia law photo used in free speech ad

  • US government posted a British Muslim extremist’s photograph online 
  • Picture showed veiled women calling for sharia law during London protest
  • State Department used photo as an inspirational example of free speech
  • But the banner was also used in an extremist campaign for strict sharia law

Martin Beckford

and
Abul Taher for The Mail on Sunday

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The US government has made a bizarre internet gaffe by posting a British Muslim extremist’s photograph of veiled women calling for sharia law, citing it as an inspirational example of free speech in the West.

The American State Department’s ‘Think Again Turn Away’ campaign is designed to dissuade Muslims from joining IS – also known as ISIS – and other extreme groups.

The campaign posted the picture on its Twitter account last week, adding: ‘In open societies, all faiths enjoy freedom of speech; under ISIS rule, no such thing as freedom of expression.’

Scroll down for video 

The photograph shows Muslim women, all in black burkas, running a campaign stall in Dalston, East London

The photograph shows Muslim women, all in black burkas, running a campaign stall in Dalston, East London

The photograph shows Muslim women, all in black burkas, running a stall in Dalston, East London. They are standing behind a trestle table covered in leaflets and a banner reading: ‘Shariah law or man made law. Which is better for mankind?’ 

An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found the banner was used in an extremist campaign called Stay Muslim, Don’t Vote, which calls for strict sharia law to be imposed on Britain, as well as urging Muslims not to vote in elections.

The photo was given the caption ‘Muslims coming out inviting society to Islam’ – which was copied by the US State Department – by a man calling himself Abdulrahman Muhajir, whose Twitter account is suspended.

Blunder: Moshiur Rahman, who posted the image online, was one of 12 Islamists given Asbos banning them from taking part in demonstrations

Blunder: Moshiur Rahman, who posted the image online, was one of 12 Islamists given Asbos banning them from taking part in demonstrations

The Mail on Sunday can reveal he is Moshiur Rahman, a 33-year-old from Luton, who last year was one of 12 Islamists given Asbos banning them from taking part in demonstrations over a violent protest rally on Oxford Street. At least two of the gang are believed to be fighting for IS in Syria.

Anjem Choudary – the hate preacher who has repeatedly blamed British foreign policy for terrorist attacks and whose al-Muhajiroun group was banned by the Government – was present at the event in Dalston on March 7. He has also given talks in Walthamstow and East Ham at demonstrations where the sign was used.

The photo appropriated by the US State Department was first placed on Twitter last week by a woman calling herself Umm Usmaan, who is a leading figure in the anti-democracy campaign.

She described it as an ‘Islamic roadshow’ and included the slogan ‘stay Muslim, don’t vote’ when she put the photo on Twitter.

Yesterday she posted a picture of another sign with the message: ‘The right of legislation belongs to none but Allah!’

Last night, terror expert Douglas Murray, associate director of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said: ‘It’s an incredibly weak “fail”,’ he said. ‘They should be putting a bit more thought into their sourcing. With all of our resources, it’s not even as accomplished as the crudest IS propaganda.’

US Twitter users were also quick to ridicule the State Department, with one calling it an ‘epic fail’. Conservative US commentator Mark Steyn added: ‘Why is the State Department promoting sharia for the United Kingdom? Aren’t they supposed to uphold the Constitution of the United States? Sharia’s incompatible with that constitution, as it is with the legal inheritance of Western civilisation.’ 

The State Department did not respond to requests to comment yesterday.


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