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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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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Erica Campbell receives backlash over "sexy" dress

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

Gospel artist  Erica Campbell recently received backlash for wearing a fitted dress in a promo pic she released online.  She is not the first and won't be the last Christian woman in the public's eye to show off some curves as seen in the above photo (Campbell is pictured last on the right.)  As I read numerous posts online the common theme was that she was dressed inappropriately as a gospel artist and she looked too sexy which begs the question, "Can Saints Be Too Sexy to Save Souls?"  There is a line of decency that should not be crossed, but if you leave it up tot the fashion police there will never be a standard of modesty.

Erica Campbell was tastefully sexy, a sentiment that many echoed throughout the online debate about her attire. But opinions vary.  In comparison to Meagan Good's attire at the BET Awards earlier this year, the "Little More Jesus" singer looked modest.  By the majority opinion of posters online, the actress who crossed the line when she presented the Gospel Award wearing a dress that reveled more than enough cleavage and parts of her mid section. Good responded to the criticism by saying she has a relationship with God and did not feel convicted.  

There just does not seem to be an easy answer to what is modest attire in a modern nation of liberated women.

But, it's about time for Christians to stop throwing stones at any sign that we are sexual beings.  I address the coexistence of Christianity and sexuality  in an article over at Essence.com.  Check it out!
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Morgan Freeman confused with Nelson Mandela on Indian Billboard

buzzz worthy. . .
Above: The late Nelson Mandela

Above: Actor Morgan Freeman's image mistakenly placed on a billboard  honoring Mandela in India
after the African leader's death.

In a town in Southern India a good deed in honor of the late Nelson Mandela went terribly wrong. According to a  Twitter post, a billboard was erected in Southern India in honor of the fallen South African leader, but it mistakenly displayed the face of actor Morgan Freeman.  Unfortunatley, Freeman's image was also mistakenly passed around on the Internet as Mandela prior to this billboard error.  This flub is likely due to the fact that the American born actor played the freedom fighter rather convincingly in "Invictus," but other than that Freeman bears no resemblance to Mandela.  The cloth maker from the city of Coimbactore who ordered to billboard said he did not see the final product, but  it will be corrected according to an AFP report.
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Wayne Brady to host 2014 BET Honors

buzzz worthy. . .

NEW YORK, NY – BET Networks has confirmed  that actor and comedian Wayne Brady will host the 2014 “BET HONORS,” a star studded unforgettable night celebrating distinguished Africans Americans performing at exceptional levels in the areas of music, literature, entertainment, media, service and education. Just in time for Black History Month, the show taping scheduled for Saturday, February 8, 2014 promises to inspire, electrify and educate. “BET HONORS” will air on BET Networks on Monday, February 24 at 9PM ET.
“We are excited to have Wayne Brady host BET Honors this year. He made the most of his moment on the show last year and we knew pretty much immediately after that he was the multi-hyphenate talent we wanted leading this year’s festivities.” said Stephen Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials for BET Networks. “Wayne will dazzle and amaze and we can’t wait.”
For over a decade, Brady has been entertaining audiences with his acting, improv, singing and dancing on television, film and the stage. He can be seen weekdays on CBS as the host of the daytime classic “Let’s Make A Deal”, for which he’s been nominated three years in a row for a Daytime Emmy for Best Game Show Host. He stars on fan favorite “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” on the CW and is also the voice of Clover the rabbit on Disney Jr’s number one animated series, “Sofia The First.”
“Being able to host the BET Honors in our nation's capital is definitely "Bucket List" material for me. Not too often do you get to pay homage to the industry icons you look up to, in front of your peers. I'm honored to be part of the legacy BET has built with this award show.” said Wayne Brady.
“BET HONORS” has become a staple in BET history by celebrating extraordinary African-Americans including Cicely Tyson, Jamie Foxx, Iman, Herbie Hancock, Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, Sean "Diddy" Combs along with memorable past performances by Trey Songz, Ne-Yo, Yolanda Adams, Keyshia Cole, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige and Patti LaBelle.
Stephen Hill, President of Music Programming and Specials, BET Networks, and Lynne Harris Taylor, Vice President of Specials, BET Networks are executive producers, along with Jesse Collins of Jesse Collins Productions.
For more information on “BET HONORS,” visit http://www.bet.com/bethonors Also, join the conversation about the special on Twitter by using hashtags: #BETHonors; follow the show for all updates & special surprises @BET.
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Friday, December 20, 2013

President Obama' s 2013 pardons

buzzz worthy. . .

WASHINGTON, DC - Before heading off to his native Hawaii for Christmas break, President Obama today granted clemency to twenty-one individuals, consisting of eight commutations and thirteen pardons.

The President granted commutations to the following eight individuals:

·         Clarence Aaron - Mobile, Ala.
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; attempt to possess cocaine with intent to distribute (Southern District of Alabama)
Sentence:  Life imprisonment, five years' supervised release (Dec. 10, 1993)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 17, 2014

·         Stephanie Yvette George - Pensacola, Fla.
Offense: Conspiracy to possess cocaine base with intent to distribute (Northern District of Florida)
Sentence:  Life imprisonment, ten years' supervised release (May 5, 1997)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 17, 2014

·         Ezell Gilbert - Tampa, Fla.
Offense: Possession with intent to deliver cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute marijuana (Middle District of Florida)
Sentence:  292 months' imprisonment, five years' supervised release (Mar. 25, 1997)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to time already served

·         Helen R. Alexander Gray - Ty Ty, Ga.
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (Middle District of Georgia)
Sentence:  240 months' imprisonment (Oct. 8, 1996)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 17, 2014

·         Jason Hernandez - McKinney, Tex.
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute and distribute crack cocaine and methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute a mixture of methamphetamine and cocaine hydrochloride; distribution of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a protected property; establishing a place for manufacture and distribution of controlled substances (Eastern District of Texas)
Sentence:  Life imprisonment; eight years' supervised release; $5,000 fine (Oct. 2, 1998)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to 240 months (20 years)

·         Ricky Eugene Patterson - Fort Pierce, Fla.
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Southern District of Florida)
Sentence: Life imprisonment, 10 years' supervised release (Aug. 3, 1995)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 17, 2014

·         Billy Ray Wheelock - Belton, Tex.
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine; possession with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school; possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine (Western District of Texas)
Sentence: Life imprisonment, 10 years' supervised release, $3,000 fine (Jun. 9, 1993)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 17, 2014

·         Reynolds Allen Wintersmith, Jr. - Rockford, Ill.
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute cocaine and cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute crack (Northern District of Illinois)
Sentence: Life imprisonment, five years' supervised release, $1,000 fine (Nov. 23, 1994)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 17, 2014

The President granted pardons to the following thirteen individuals:
·         William Ricardo Alvarez - Marietta, Ga.
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin ; conspiracy to import heroin (District of Puerto Rico)
Sentence:  Time served after nine months' imprisonment, four years' supervised release (Apr. 30, 1997; amended Jul. 31, 1997)

·         Charlie Lee Davis, Jr. - Wetumpka, Ala.
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; use of a minor to distribute cocaine base (Middle District of Alabama)
Sentence: 87 months' imprisonment, five years' supervised release (Mar. 21, 1995)

·         Ronald Eugene Greenwood - Crane, Mo.
Offense: Conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act  (District of South Dakota)
Sentence: Three years' probation, conditioned on six months' home confinement, 100 hours community service, $5,000 restitution, $1,000 fine (Nov. 18, 1996)

·         Little Joe Hatch, aka Joe Hatch Sr. - Lake Placid, Fla.
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute marijuana  (Southern District of Florida)
Sentence: 60 months' imprisonment, four years' supervised release (May 15, 1990)

·         Martin Alan Hatcher. - Foley, Ala.
Offense: Distribution and possession with intent to distribute marijuana (Southern District of Alabama)
Sentence: Five years' probation (Nov. 9, 1992)

·         Derek James Laliberte - Auburn, Me.
Offense: Money laundering (District of Maine)
Sentence: 18 months' imprisonment, 2 years' supervised release (Oct. 2, 1992; amended May 21, 1993)

·         Alfred J. Mack - Manassas, Va.
Offense: Unlawful distribution of heroin  (District of Columbia Superior Court)
Sentence: 18 to 54 months' imprisonment (Apr. 5, 1982)

·         Robert Andrew Schindler - Goshen, Va.
Offense: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud (District of Utah)
Sentence: Three years' probation, four months' home confinement, $10,000 restitution (May 14, 1996)

·         Willie Shaw, Jr. - Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Offense: Armed bank robbery (District of South Carolina)
Sentence: Fifteen years' imprisonment (Aug. 7, 1974)

·         Kimberly Lynn Stout, formerly known as Kimberly Lynn Cooley - Bassett, Va.
Offense: Bank embezzlement; false entries in the books of a lending institution (Western District of Virginia)
Sentence: One day imprisonment, three years' supervised release (including five months home confinement) (Nov. 9, 1993)

·         Bernard Anthony Sutton, Jr. - Norfolk, Va.
Offense: Theft of personal property (Eastern District of Virginia)
Sentence: Three years' probation, $825 restitution, $500 fine (Apr. 4, 1989)

·         Chris Deann Switzer - Omaha, Neb.
Offense: Conspiracy to violate narcotics laws (methamphetamine) (District of Nebraska)
Sentence: Four years' probation, conditioned on six months home confinement, 200 hours' community service (Jun. 25, 1996)

·         Miles Thomas Wilson - Williamsburg, Ohio.
Offense: Mail fraud (Southern District of Ohio)
Sentence: Three years' probation (Jul. 15, 1981)


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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

STATEMENT: President Obama calls House and Senate passage of budget a "good first step"

buzzz worthy. . .

Statement by the President

I’m pleased that with tonight’s vote in the Senate, for the first time in years, both parties in both houses of Congress have come together to pass a budget.  It’s a budget that unwinds some of the damaging sequester cuts that have harmed students and seniors and acted as headwinds our businesses had to fight.  It clears a path for critical investments in things like education and research that have always grown our economy and strengthened the middle class.  And it will continue to reduce our deficits at a time when we’ve seen four of the fastest years of deficit reduction since the end of World War II. 

All told, it’s a good first step away from the shortsighted, crisis-driven decision-making that has only served to act as a drag on our economy.  It helps chart our economic course for the next two years, which means that the American people won’t be exposed to another painful and unwise government shutdown.  But there is much more work to do to ensure our economy works for every working American.  For one, Congress should pass an extension of unemployment insurance so more than a million Americans don’t lose a vital lifeline as they fight to find a job.  Today, Senators Reed and Heller introduced a bipartisan solution that would prevent a lapse in benefits that would hurt these families and deal an unnecessary blow to our economy, and I urge Congress to act.  

I thank Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate who have worked hard to get this budget done and look forward to the Congress sending me bills that fund our government and refrain from fighting old ideological battles.  And I hope this spirit of cooperation will continue into the New Year as we work to restore opportunity and broad-based growth for every American.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Gospel Superfest to be held in Chicago in 2014

buzzz worthy. . .
The Allstate Gospel Superfest marks its 15th year with a celebration and tv taping in the Gospel Music Capital of the world, Chicago, Illinois at the House of Hope.
Unity Media Limited, the creators of the Allstate Gospel Superfest, unveiled the market and venue for its annual national TV production: The Allstate Gospel Superfest XV “Live in Chicago”.  The producers have chosen Chicago’s House of Hope Arena on the city’s south side to host the fifteenth recording session and music festival slated for 2014.  The event will take place Saturday, March 22, 2014, at 6:00 P.M.CT at the 10,000 seat House of Hope Arena located at 752 E. 114th Street, Chicago, IL 60628.
Many of America’s top inspirational gospel, jazz and mainstream recording artists are being scheduled to take part in the national recording session, which has become highly acclaimed and recognized as an industry leading TV production and live event.  Since 2009, the event has been sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company, and has become noted for its Hollywood styled presentations that are carefully woven into seasonally themed television specials and Cable TV series.
This year will commemorate 15 years in television production and national syndication for The Allstate Gospel Superfest live event and TV series.  Past shows have been recorded in New York City, Baltimore, MD, Atlanta, GA, Cincinnati, OH and other major U.S. cities. This year’s live recording will be directed by Ryan Polito (Los Angeles, CA) and co-produced by Tiffany Price (Atlanta, GA) and Debbie May (Chicago).
“We are truly excited and ready for this new chapter in our show’s history.  Chicago has a very rich gospel music heritage that we are honored to celebrate. We are planning to recognize many of Chicago’s pioneers during the event,” stated show founder and executive producer Bobby Cartwright, Jr. “We are also extremely elated by this great opportunity for the City of Chicago’s faith-based community, the performers and the thousands of fans who’ll get an opportunity to take part in our live TV recording session.”
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Chrisette Michelle and Leela James join R&B Divas L.A. Cast

buzzz worthy. . .

 R&B Divas: LA - season two is under way!  The wildly popular reality series R&B Divas: LA will begin production on-location in Los Angeles very shorty.  Season two for this show also means two new divas!   In addition to returning cast members Chanté Moore, Lil’ Mo, Michel’le and Claudette Ortiz, the second season will feature new divas Chrisette Michele and Leela James
You don't have to wait until the season premiere to see the two new divas in action!  Tune in Tuesday, December 17 to TV One's News One Now at 9/8c AM to get the scoop straight from the ladies about the show and their latest music endeavors.  

Chrisette Michele is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter with four solo albums and a series of featured credits under her belt. She gained initial industry traction in 2006 for her contributions to a series of hip hop singles, including “Lost One” on  Jay-Z’s album Kingdom Come,  and “Can’t Forget About You,” “Still Dreaming,” and “Hope” on Nas’ album Hip Hop is Dead. In 2007, she released her debut album I Am  and was featured on Ghostface Killah’s album The Big Doe Rehab on the bonus track “Slow Down.”  In 2008, Michele was featured on the single “Let Us Live” on The Game’s album LAX, and “Rising Up” on The Roots’ album Rising Down. Chrisette released her second album Epiphany in 2009, and won a 2009 Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance for her single “Be OK.”  In 2010, she released her third album, Let Freedom Reign, and additionally was featured on rapper Rick Ross’ album Teflon Don on the track “Aston Martin Music” (along with Ross and Drake). Her fourth album, Better, was released in June and has received a 56th Annual Grammy Awards nomination for  Best R&B Album. She is currently on tour performing in select U.S. cities.

Leela James burst onto the scene with her 2006 debut album A Change is Gonna Come, introducing audiences to her considerable vocal chops and garnering nominations for Outstanding New Artist at the NAACP Image Awards and Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist of 2008 at the Soul Train Music Awards. She has gone on to record three subsequent albums including My Soul, which reached #7 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart and #37 on the Billboard 200 chart, and earned acclaim from critics for her songwriting skills.  Nicknamed Baby Etta as a little girl, James paid homage to her idol in 2012 by recording her album Loving You More…In the Spirit of Etta James.  The acclaimed recording artist appreciates the eternal qualities of an undeniable star — raw talent, musical substance and an authentic voice that’s timeless — all of which are embodied on Leela James’ upcoming fourth studio album, to be released in 2014, and new single “Say That,” a sultry duet with Anthony Hamilton. 
Don't miss the new divas Chrisette Michelle and Leela James on TV One's News One Now,Tuesday, December 17 at 9/8c AM where the ladies dish on R&B Divas: LA and their music.

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