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Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Judge orders parents to change son's name from 'Messiah'

buzzz worthy. . .

A Christian judge has ordered a couple to change their son's name. A Tennessee couple went to court on a paternity matter about the  last name of their 7 month-old son Messiah. But by the time they left their son's entire name was changed.  Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the baby's first name to be changed as well because she said to news"Messiah is a title and only one persona has earned it.  That person is Jesus Christ."

The ACLU ruled the judge should not have made an order to change the child's full name based on her personal belies because the government gives everyone the right to choose names as they please. (Insert North West right here.) Ballew has since refused further comment.

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The Russell Simmons 'sex tape' apology is not enough

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

Russell Simmons, music and fashion mogul and the man behind Def Comedy Jam,  has failed royally in his latest business venture aimed at profiting off humor. 

Simmons presented the "Harriett Tubman Sex Tape" video as  the abolitionist's diary on his You Tube channel,All Def Digital, which caused a firestorm of backlash from the Black community.

The video depicts Tubman willingly having sex with her "massa," at one point sodomizing him, while a fellow male slave hid in the closet filming their intercourse, as he sang "wade in the water."  This footage her conspirator gathered was intended to be future blackmail to help Ms. Tubman emancipate the enslaved.

I was appalled at the disrespect against African Americans in general and African American women in particular that  Simmons has exhibited with a sex tape that mocks the life-risking feats of an abolitionist heroine.  The video should never have been created. Period.

The parody is an insult to the historic past of African Americans that perpetuates long-held stereotypes about Black women and sexuality that minimizes the very real slave trade market that exists in Africa today.  Yet, Simmons said on Twitter this video "is the funniest thing I've ever seen."

Hundreds of years after being repeatedly raped and objectified as incubators for the production of human cattle (i.e., "chattel slavery"), Black women are still fighting to dispel the myth that they are only good for one thing -- sex.  In the media, on the job, throughout society, Black women are constantly castigated based on false portrayals of who they are.  For a Black man, any Black man, but especially one of Simmons' socially conscious acumen, to find it laughable to perpetuate a damning attitude toward Black women through "art" is an atrocious act, not a funny one.

On his Web site, Global Grind, Simmons issued an apology at the behest  of his "buddies" from the NAACP. The post was titled "I Get It and I Respect It. . .The Harriett Tubman Video Has Been Removed."

The brief statement provides an explanation for why he felt it was acceptable to run the piece, posted here in its entirety:

“I’m a very liberal person with thick skin,” wrote Simmons. “My first impression of the Harriet Tubman piece was that it was about what one of actors said in the video, that 162 years later, there’s   still tremendous injustice. And with Harriet Tubman outwitting the slave master? I thought it was politically correct. Silly me. I can now understand why so many people are upset. I have taken down the video. Lastly, I would never condone violence against women in any form, and for all of those I offended, I am sincerely sorry.”

This apology can not be taken seriously. Russell Simmons is a 55-year-old politically involved marketing tycoon who understands the potential effect of messaging both direct and sublime. He is a Hip Hop Elder champion for the young, Black and underprivileged who just checked CNN's Don Lemon in early August for comments about the plight of young Black men. Yet in his so-called apology Simmons sarcastically purports ignorance by saying," I thought it was politically correct. Silly me." This language does not convey sincerity.

For those of you  who may not know the magnitude of the legacy "Uncle Russ" and company insulted here is a another picture of Harriet Tubman:

"Harriet Tubman is an American hero. She was born enslaved, liberated herself, and returned to the area of her birth many times to lead family, friends, and other enslaved African Americans north to freedom. Harriet Tubman fought tirelessly for the Union cause, for the rights of enslaved people, for the rights of women, and for the rights of all. She was a leader in the struggle for civil rights who was forever motivated by her love of family and community and by her deep and abiding faith."

These are the actual words President Barack Obama stated in a proclamation establishing the National Underground Railroad Monument in Tubman's honor, a first for a woman of any race.

How can anyone Black or White  have the audacity to be so disrespectful and insensitive toward a woman of patriotism and valor?

The disgraceful 3-minute (that's the length of the video) swipe at humor was wrong on so many levels. In order for comedy to work, the story must be believable or at the very least imaginable. It's doubtful that Tubman, a fugitive, who was struck by her master with an iron rod at the age of thirteen and lived with issues from the injury all her life, would have bedded her enemy.  Ms. Harriett, also known as Moses to those she rescued, was a gun-toting, warrior woman who used her head and heart, not what was between her legs to reckon the escape of over 300 men and women.  Tubman was grossly  mischaracterized in the Def Jam Digital spoof.

As it was then, it is now: Black women--Black people--want fairness and equality and to be treated with dignity. We don't want any favors or to play cunning games to get what we desire out of life.  We want to experience our inalienable rights justly.  And we want Russ and people like him who are amused by any aspect of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the  Black Holocaust that was American slavery to really "get it." 

If Simmons got it he would have never put the despicable stereotypes on display. They were all there --a sneaky slave wench, the emasculated coon and a lustful all-powerful "massa." There on the Internet where nothing ever really goes away.  There to be played over and over and over again as reminders that in 2013 people still don't get it. There as ammunition for irreverent conservatives like Rush Limbaugh to play the "they-did-it-so-why-can't-I" card.  There to tarnish the Black woman's name ad infinitum.

To make matters worse, the Def Jams Digital video was released at a time when historical revisionists are playing with details of Black America's past.  The Texas Board of Education has revised text books to identify slaves as "paid interns."  Sadly, students are either mis-educated or under-educated about the history of Black Americans in classrooms all over the country. It is quite possible that today's generation of youth may not know enough about Tubman or slavery to distinguish the truth from a lie or a joke from fact.

Ms. Tubman still has living relatives who are offended by the video.  Rita Daniels, the great-great niece of Harriet Tubman wants a personal apology from Simmons.  In an interview  with the The Grio she said,  “He has got to fix what he messed up by contacting the family, educating himself; [he has to] work on educating other people and by doing something positive to fix what he broke.”

I agree. Merely apologizing online and removing the video is not enough.

Simmons must do more to rectify the damage he has done.  Like Paula Deen, the Rush Communications, Inc. CEO won't truly get it until consumers demand respect and remove their support from a brand owner who defiles their values.  Deen's words and actions cost her. How will Russell Simmons pay?

When you have the type of power and influence  Simmons has, particularly related to the younger generation, you should use it to elevate others. That's who I thought  Simmons was--an agent for positive change in Urban America who brought out the best in Hip Hop culture.  

Silly me. 

Now I'm wondering, what happened to the Russell Simmons I once knew?

However, a more important question here is what more can be done to serve notice to Simmons (and Hollywood) that the creative assault on Black women won't be tolerated?

History will begin to vindicate African American women when falsifications about their challenges with racism and sexism that  Russell Simmons backed cease and desist.  It is imperative that Simmons is held to  a greater level of accountability today so future generations of Black women can live unaffected by tarnished images from the past.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

George Duke Memorial to stream live on Centric; Numerous stars to perform

buzzz worthy. . .
The memorial services for musical virtuoso George Duke will stream live on CentricTV.com Monday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. EST (2 p.m. PST) in honor of the industry titan known for his incomparable work that spanned the genres of jazz fusion, R&B, funk and more.

His manager Darryl Porter confirmed the news of Duke’s death last week stating that he had suffered heart complications after being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia; he was 67. He leaves behind two sons, Rashid and John.

His wife Corine died last year after her battle with cancer.

Duke’s “Celebration of Life” will take place at Lure in Los Angeles, beginning with a special viewing that will highlight the Grammy winner's life and legacy via photos and video from throughout the years. Following the service, friends of Duke will jam out to his most famous tunes as we reflect on a life well-lived.

Dianne Reeves, Jeffery Osborne, Quincy Jones and Stanley Clarke are expected to perform.
Born in 1946 in San Rafael, Calif., the natural-born talent grew up listening to gospel music and first stepped behind a piano as a young boy after his mother took him to see Duke Ellington. In the ‘60s, Duke backed jazz musicians such as Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon which eventually led to partnerships with Jean-Luc Ponty and Frank Zappa.

Duke’s career, which spanned more than five decades, constantly pushed the limits to what was expected in any specific genre and has been noted as working with greats such as Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, George Clinton, Gladys Knight and others.

Join us as we celebrate the life of this incredible musician who will not soon be forgotten.
 (Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)  Via Centric
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Did DC Mayor co-sign discrimination against Donnie McClurkin?

buzzz worthy. . .

 Donnie McClurkin  withdrew from a performance on Aug. 10 at the King Memorial due to his views on homosexuality.

The concert was entitled “Reflections on Peace: From Gandhi to King.” It’s the first in a series of events scheduled to take place in D.C. over the next two weeks to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for civil rights at which King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.

Concerned about McClurkin's presence being a "distraction" DC Mayor Vincent Gray requested that organizers  (D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities) ask the popular gospel artist not to participate.  

From the Washington Blade. . .

"McClurkin’s withdrawal from the event, which is being organized by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, came one day after local gay activist and longtime civil rights advocate Phil Pannell called the gospel singer’s public statements on homosexuality 'vile.'"

Pannell and other LGBT activists said McClurkin’s participation in the event would be at odds with King’s call for ending discrimination and injustice against all people."

President Obama will speak at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary o the March on Washington. 

McClurkin has testified that he has been changed from the gay lifestyle and has worked to help gay Christians embrace the biblical view of homosexuality.

Is rejecting McClurkin, ironically, a form of reverse discrimination? And is the mayor inadvertently co-signing the rejecting anyone who openly disagrees with the gay agenda?











10 p.m EST



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Earl Bynum and The Mount Unity Choir receive neighborhood award for Best Church Choir

buzzz worthy. . .

Chesapeake, VA -- Mount Lebanon Cathedral in Chesapeake, VA is home to a pristine and spirited choir of over 100 unified voices.  Under the ministerial leadership of Bishop K.W. Brown and the musical direction of Minister Earl Bynum, the choir released their debut CD/DVD in May which landed onBillboard's Top Gospel Sales Chart at #8.   The Mount Unity Choir has now been named THE BEST CHURCH CHOIR at Steve Harvey's 2013 Neighborhood Awards "The Hoodie Awards".   

The Hoodie Awards were handed out Saturday, August 10 in Las Vegas, NV.   Mount Lebanon (The Mount) not only took home BEST CHURCH CHOIR, but was also a finalist for BEST CHURCH along with Bishop K.W. Brown as a finalist for BEST COMMUNITY LEADER.  

The HOODIE AWARDS are the brainchild of Steve Harvey and television/radio producer Rushion McDonald.  The show honors local businesses, religious and neighborhood leaders, churches and high schools for their contributions and excellence within their own neighborhoods.  The Hoodie Awards features a diverse and ultra talented group of celebrities, actors, athletes, and recording artists who present 12 non-traditional awards to the stars of this nation's neighborhoods.
The Mount Unity Choir personifies a church choir of distinction and have sparked a sound of praise that has resounded throughout the nation with their hit single  "Bless The Name Of The Lord".   The choir's CD /DVD project f
eatures guests appearances by Dr. Judith McAllister, Evangelist Lemmie Battles, Charmaine Swimpson and is released by K.W. Brown Ministries / Habakkuk Music / INgrooves Fontana Distribution.

Earl Bynum and The Mount Unity Choir just received the Choir of the Year Award at the 2013 Gospel Blue Mic Awards in July.  They are also nominated for five DMV Music Awards which will be awarded on September 21 in Washington, DC.

Combining Praise and Worship, Traditional Gospel and Contemporary Christian music, executedwith immaculate vocal presentationEarl Bynum and The Mount Unity Choir are a dynamic example of The Best Church Choir!

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Special Report: Women leaders make significant gains in defining the new normal in the U.S. workforce

buzzz worthy. . .

Recent stats punctuate the rise of women entrepreneurs  as significant economic
drivers in business. The women's leadership summit "Sisterhood Confidential" will address ways to compete and grow from the trend in DC on October 3-5, 2013

The late James Brown sang a song that aptly contextualizes the current state of employment in America: "This is a man's world, but it wouldn't be nothin' without a woman or a girl."

Those lyrics are true 

Women are credited with having a significant impact on the economic growth of the nation as work optional households have declined.

A new report suggests that of the 46.9% of employed women in the U.S. labor force, there are 8.6 million women owned businesses that play a part in sustaining America's economy. Further it showed women entrepreneurs are currently the fastest growing subset in the country, employing 7.8 million workers (Source: American Express Open). 

At the top of the heap are lady leaders who have tapped into their own creativity to build bank-breaking brands. Playing by their own rules, Ali Webb of Dry Bar, Spanx billionairess Sara Blakely, Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter and the entrepreneurial sister tandem of Georgetown Cupcakes Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne, produce products that are associated with the skills of women, competing viciously while making noticeable contributions in the workforce. 

However, although the number has increased in recent years, women comprise only 4.2 percent of the CEO's in America, but only 16 percent serve on boards and there are no required quotas in the U.S. to affect the necessary change. (Catalyst. Catalyst Quick Take: Statistical Overview of Women% in the Workplace. New York: Catalyst, 2013.) 

Some employers have adopted mom-friendly policies and programs to retain female employees, yet the gender gap is still wide as women 
continue to fight for pay equity and against under-representation in corporate governance. 

When it comes to their contributions paying off across the board women still have plenty of work to do. 

In light of this compelling data, a Bristow, VA based woman owned business, Jireh Communications group, will host a leadership, carer advancement and personal development summit on October 3-5 in Washington, DC. At "Sisterhood Confidential"  2013 (SC 2013), women from all realms of the workforce will be valued, respected and supported.

SC 2013 will equip attendees with tools that hone a competitive edge by offering subject matter designed to help gain visibility and profitability for themselves or the companies or products they represent. 

With a focus on work and life balance, SC 2013 will champion 
career development while encouraging women to define and preserve themselves beyond their job descriptions. The event will also explore entrepreneurship, help attendees discover their personal brand and empower them to tap into the unique qualities that all women have to potentially become peak performers on their own terms.

"We have taken into consideration the challenges that confront career women on a daily basis. The topics will speak directly to the desires, concerns and needs of today's working woman and attendees will be able to leave with implementable insight," said SC 2013 visionary and JCG owner, Mona Austin (Black Belt 
Six Sigma Certified). 

Austin will speak on "Personal Branding the Six Sigma Way."

Over 3 days a talented slate of top tier women in media, marketing and business will join Austin to educate professional women on how to operate more effectively in the new normal in business. Speakers/Panelists include: Celebrity publicist, finance author, social networking guru, television producer, sponsorship and funding specialists and more. 

The event is open to women of all social, professional and ethnic persuasions. 

For more information about the "Moving Up Elevator Pitch Contest," group registration, sponsorship, or becoming a vendor contact Jireh Communications Group at (703) 986-3464 or by e-mail at info@jirehcreative.com.

For more information contact Mona Austin at mona@jirehcreative.com or call (703) 986-3464.

Register for the summit at http://www.eventbee.com/v/sisterhoodconfidentialdc
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