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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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Friday, December 19, 2014


By Mona Austin

Bill Cosby
 Having finally broken his silence this week after a two month media circus around rape and drugging allegations,  Cosby said the African American media in particular should be impartial in an interview with New York Post reporter Stacy Brown this week. "I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that, you have to go in with a neutral mind." Cosby did not get into the allegations he said er his attorney's advisement.   Bill Cosby's lawyers are now trying to clarify remarks their client made about the Black press. Both Camille Cosby, his wife and their daughter defended Mr. Cosby, alluding to the failure of media to report fairly. But his attorneys say Cosby's comment about Black media are being misconstrued by MSNBC Contributor Michael Eric Dyson.  Dyson said Cosby's views about Black America are "hurtful" and "unjust." “The very kind of man who would rape women, allegedly, is the same kind of man who will rape an entire black community, poor black people who are vulnerable before him, using his powerful foot to
Michael Eric Dyson
clump down on their necks,” Dyson Said.  Attorney John P. Schmitt called Dyson’s comments “mean-spirited” and “reckless”in a statement that calls on journalists to challenge Dyson's rhetoric. Brown said

Statement for Attorney John P. Schmitt:

Mr. Cosby’s comments to Stacy Brown which were reported in the New York Post on December 14 continue to be misconstrued in a way that can only call into question the fair-mindedness of certain commentators. As previously noted, Mr. Brown identified himself to Mr. Cosby as a free-lance reporter for a number of African-American media. 

To be clear, Mr. Cosby did not ask for special treatment from the African-American media. To the contrary, he asked that they adhere to journalistic standards and approach the story in a neutral manner – without a predisposition on either side of the story. It is of course what we would expect of all media. Those words, which are clear on their face and with which any fair-minded person would have to agree, have now been the source of even greater criticism of Mr. Cosby.
In perhaps the most egregious example, Michael Eric Dyson, who has been a persistent critic of Mr. Cosby’s call for responsibility in the African-American community, has stated that Mr. Cosby’s request for neutrality is part of what he calls Mr. Cosby’s “rape [of the ] entire black community.” Mr. Cosby understands that Mr. Dyson does not agree with Mr. Cosby’s views, but such mean-spirited and reckless rhetoric cannot go unchallenged by responsible people and journalists.

Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2014/12/bill-cosbys-lawyer-via-statement-goes-in-on-michael-eric-dyson/#l6RxkU5jbkyMUZzM.99

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gerald Alston reflects on the passing of the Manhattans' Blue Lovett

buzzz worthy. . .

(Jersey City, NJ) – Thursday, December 18, 2014  It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of  Winfred ‘Blue’ Lovett, one of the founding members of the legendary group, “The Manhattans.”
Winfred ‘Blue’ Lovett  (photo provided courtesy of Gerald Alston)

 “Blue Lovett passed away Tuesday, December 9th from cancer. Lovett, admired by all and known for his deep bass voice, big personality, and smooth stage demeanor penned what became a signature song for the Manhattans “Kiss and Say Goodbye.”  

 “Blue was the notable bass voice of our group and one of my closest friends. He was like a brother and I will miss him dearly,” says Gerald Alston, lead singer of “The Manhattans.”
We also mourn the loss of our dear brother and member of “The Manhattans,” Edward ‘Sonny’ Bivins, who died on Wednesday, December 3rd.  “Sonny was also a founding member and added so much to the Manhattans with his silky tenor vocals. Sonny too, was like a brother. It’s difficult to put into words the loss I feel with the passing of these two talented and respected brothers in music. It’s a very emotional time and my heart is heavy” adds Alston. 

The funeral services for Edward “Sonny” Bivins were held on Dec 15th at Mt Olive Baptist Church in East Orange NJ.  
The Manhattans were formed in the early 60’s in New Jersey as a quintet led by writer/bass vocalist Winfred "Blue" Lovett, lead singer George Smith, tenor Edward "Sonny" Bivins, Richard "Ricky" Taylor and Kenneth "Wally" Kelly. With the untimely death of lead singer George Smith, the Manhattans looking to add a vocalist, met a college student with an amazing voice.  Quickly recognizing his incredible talent, the group invited Gerald Alston to join the Manhattans and Gerald soon became their lead singer. 

The Manhattans have a body of work with hits spanning four decades. They have received numerous awards including winning a GRAMMY for one of their best known songs “Shining Star”. 
A memorial service will be held for Winfred “Blue“ Lovett, Saturday January 3, 2015 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Mount Olive Baptist Church 400 Arlington Avenue Jersey City, NJ 07304. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in memory of Winfred “Blue “ Lovett to Arizona Assistance in Healthcare (AIH) via website www.arizonaassistanceinhealthcare.com/donate or by sending a check to: Arizona Assistance in Healthcare PO Box 5157 Goodyear, Arizona 85338.

Condolence cards should be sent to P.O. Box 4063 Bergen Station Jersey City, NJ 07304 Attention: Gerald Alston or website: geraldalstonmusic.com
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Sheryl Pepsii Riley stars in Tyler Perry's 'Hell Hath No Fury' and readies new CD

buzzz worthy. . .
Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley has been a regular in Tyler Perry's plays starring role in Tyler Perry's latest release, "Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned - The Play," on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and Video on Demand from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Playing a successful, single woman who has it all, then almost loses it behind a man, Riley keeps viewers riveted with an engaging performance and her soaring singing ability. Filmed in front of a live audience, Riley originally toured with the popular, sold-out show in more than 50 cities across the U.S.

Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley first burst on the music scene in the late '80's with her torching classic "Thanks for My Child." Unlike many "old school" artists however, she has remained relevant and continues to build her brand and platform. Her inclusion in over ten Tyler Perry productions, including stage plays, DVD releases, film cameos and soundtrack credits are only the tip of the iceberg.

The Brooklyn native's own homegrown vehicle, "Black Velvet Mondays," a musicians' and singers' jam session and showcase at New York's legendary Village Underground venue, has gone international as part of her "The Black Velvet Experience" agenda. The Monday night event has been going strong for almost 10 years now and streams live at http://www.TheVillageUnderground.com. Riley recently took her show on the road to Paris providing a cross-cultural music connection overseas and is in talks to go back to Paris as well as to London.

Cheryl is also enjoying additional notoriety with her inclusion on Full Force's new music project "Full Force: With Love From Our Friends." She joins industry notables Tisha Campbell-Martin, Sheila E., Regina Belle, Vivica A. Fox, Blair Underwood and Malcolm Jamal Warner, just to name a few, on the production. Dubbed a "true skool all-star album," from the group that produced her first hit, Full Force is also the pioneering group behind an endless string of genre-busting classics for the likes of James Brown, Selena and Bob Dylan, as well as Rihanna, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and The Black Eyed Peas. Riley's single, "Thank You For Leaving Me" with Meli'sa Morgan, is a debut release from the CD.

Cheryl Pepsii Riley is also releasing a new solo project in January 2015 entitled "Still Believe." She wrote and co-wrote all of the recordings as well as executive produced the project on her independent record label, SodaFace Records.
Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley ("Anita Lincoln") stars in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's "Tyler Perry's Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned The Play"
- photo from Lionsgate Home Entertainment
"I am so grateful to Tyler Perry for his continual faith and belief in me! Being a part of his journey has absolutely been a major inspiration for me on my own journey. I am incredibly and truly humbled. The opportunity to play the lead in one of his stage plays and star in a role that allows me to really stretch as an actress, gives me a forum that helps facilitate my purpose here on earth, which is to motivate and encourage others by using my God given gifts," expresses Riley.

"I am also beyond thankful for all those who lovingly support my career. It has been such a blessing to have fans that have been with me since the late 80's to now, along with a whole new generation who show so much kindness. It really is something to know that there is such diversity in the people who appreciate all my endeavors, be it musical or theatrical. I don't take that lightly or for granted. I will always push to give my absolute best of who I am because they are a huge part of why and how I get to live my dream! Because of them and so much more, I still believe!" reveals Cheryl.

Check out Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley at http://www.cherylpepsiiriley.com/.  

View the trailer for "Tyler Perry's Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned - The Play,"  at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e958V5W-05M .

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

President Obama Grants Commutations and Pardons, 2014

buzzz worthy. . .

Each year the President of the United States uses his power to grant pardons to criminals he deems are deserving of forgiveness.  The Constitution gives the president authority to exercise this judgment except in the case of impeachment.  Today President Barack Obama granted clemency to twenty individuals, consisting of eight commutations and twelve pardons.

The President granted commutations of sentence to the following eight individuals:
·         Sidney Earl Johnson, Jr. – Mobile, AL
Offense:  Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; use of a communication facility to commit a felony (Southern District of Alabama)
Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (Apr. 13, 1994)
Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on June 12, 2015.
·         Cathy Lee Jones – Portsmouth, VA
Offense:  Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute heroin and cocaine base (Eastern District of Virginia)
Sentence:  262 months’ imprisonment; five years’ supervised release (Apr. 29, 2003)
Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.
·         Rickey Marcell McCall – Birmingham, AL 
Offense:  Possession with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (two counts) (Northern District of Alabama)
Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 120 months’ supervised release (Jan. 11, 2001)
Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.
·         Larry Nailor – Memphis, TN
Offense:  Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute approximately 50 grams of cocaine base (Western District of Tennessee)
Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (Nov. 7, 1997)
Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.
·         Antonio Gromyko Reeves – Kennett, MO
Offense:  Distribution of five grams or more of cocaine base (Eastern District of Missouri)
Sentence:  188 months’ imprisonment; four years’ supervised release (May 21, 2004)
Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.
·         Jennifer Regenos – Muscatine, IA
Offense:  Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (Southern District of Iowa)
Sentence:  240 months’ imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (Mar. 25, 2002)
Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.
·         Barbara Lammsies Scrivner – Portland, OR 
Offense:  Conspiracy to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and distribute methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine (District of Oregon)
Sentence:  360 months’ imprisonment; five years’ supervised release (July 3, 1995)
Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on June 12, 2015.
·         Israel Abel Torres – Dallas, TX
Offense:  Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Eastern District of Texas)
Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release; $1,000 fine (Dec. 4, 1998)
Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.
The President granted pardons to the following twelve individuals:
·         Roy Norman Auvil – Bartonville, IL
Offense:  Possession of an unregistered distilling apparatus; working a distillery on which the required sign is not placed (District of South Carolina)
Sentence:  Five years’ probation (Nov. 16, 1964)
·         Bernard Bryan Bulcourf – McIntosh, FL
Offense:  Counterfeiting Federal Reserve notes (Southern District of Florida)
Sentence:  90 days’ confinement in a community treatment center, followed by three years’ probation (Nov. 18, 1988)
·         Steve Charlie Calamars – San Antonio, TX
Offense:  Possession of phenyl-2-propanone with intent to manufacture a quantity of methamphetamine (Western District of Texas)
Sentence:  57 months’ imprisonment; three years’ supervised release (May 31, 1989; as amended Apr. 8, 1994)
·         Diane Mary DeBarri, fka Diane Mary Wilhelm – Fairless Hills, PA
Offense:  Conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine; distribution of methamphetamine (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
Sentence:  90 days’ imprisonment; five years’ probation conditioned on performance of community service as directed by the court (June 15, 1984)
·         Donnie Keith Ellison – London, KY
Offense:  Manufacture of marijuana (Eastern District of Kentucky)
Sentence:  Five months’ imprisonment; three years’ supervised release (Sept. 1, 1995)
·         John Marshall French – Clovis, CA
Offense:  Conspiracy to transport a stolen motor vehicle in interstate commerce (District of South Carolina)
Sentence:  Three years’ probation conditioned on performance of 100 hours of community service and payment of $2,337 restitution (Mar. 2, 1993)
·         Ricardo Marcial Lomedico, Sr. – Point Roberts, WA
Offense:  Misappropriation of bank funds by an employee (Western District of Washington)
Sentence:  Five years’ imprisonment (Nov. 21, 1969)
·         David Raymond Mannix – Lafayette, OR
Offense:  Conspiracy to commit larceny; theft of military property (U.S. Marine Corps general court-martial convened at Camp Pendleton, CA)
Sentence:  75 days’ confinement; forfeiture of $350 pay per month for three months; reduction to Private First Class, pay grade E-2 (Oct. 18, 1989, as approved Mar. 2, 1990)
·         David Neil Mercer – Grand Junction, CO
Offense:  Archaeological Resources Protection Act violation (District of Utah)
Sentence:  36 months’ probation; $2,500 fine; $1,437.72 joint and several restitution (Apr. 9, 1997)
·         Claire Holbrook Mulford, fka Claire Audrey Holbrook – Flint, TX
Offense:  Using a residence to distribute methamphetamine; carrying a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime (Eastern District of Texas)
Sentence:  70 months’ imprisonment; two years’ supervised release (Dec. 3, 1993)
·         Brian Edward Sledz – Naperville, IL
Offense:  Wire fraud; violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (Northern District of Illinois)
Sentence:  One year of probation conditioned on payment of $1,318 costs of supervision and $8,297.91 restitution (Apr. 29, 1993)
·         Albert Byron Stork – Delta, CO
Offense:  Filing a false tax return (District of Colorado)
Sentence:  Six months’ confinement in a jail-type or treatment institution; three years’ probation (May 8, 1987)
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TIPS: Teach your child the real meaning of Christmas with ease

buzzz worthy. . .

Getting children to understand that Christmas is about giving rather than receiving can be daunting.  It's especially hard to teach the value of giving when messages about possessing  the latest and greatest toys, gadgets, games, etc. are coming form every direction well before Christmas time, making parent's voices hard to compete with the noise of media and advertisements. No worries this holiday season.  Professional advice on this very topic from parenting expert Jennifer Chung will help you teach your little ones the importance of giving in the following article.

By Jennifer Chung

Santa, reindeer and elves. Lights, decorations and presents. It’s easy for children to get wrapped up in the hype of Christmas. Sometimes even us parents do. And it’s hard not to as the holiday continues to become more and more commercialized. We can’t even finish Thanksgiving before it all starts, after all.

But it’s important that children know this really isn’t what Christmas is about. Yes, it's fun getting into the activities and memorable family time. As a parent, there’s something special about seeing the joy on your child’s face as they open the toy they were begging for; but that’s not what Christmas is about. It’s not just about receiving presents.

Christmas is about having the spirit of helping and being kind to others. It’s about being selfless and thinking of others who may be less fortunate or simply having a bad day. You could say it’s about all of us acting like Santa Claus.
So how do we teach our children about the spirit of Christmas without dampening their spirit?

In various ways we are taught to help one another and to love our neighbors. While we should help others throughout the year, during Christmas there’s even more need. As a family you could pick one or multiple days to volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. You could also participate in or start your own food, clothing or supplies drive. Far too many people – children included – go hungry, cold or without basic necessities. By serving others together as a family you will teach your children to be grateful for what they have, because so many others are less fortunate.

While we all want to spoil our children and give them everything they asked for, minimize the number of gifts you give them. If you’re a big giver of gifts you may consider gradually cutting back to ease both of you into the new tradition. Consider giving them something they want (which can be from Santa Claus), something they need (which is likely something they didn’t ask for), something practical (maybe something for school or sports) and an educational gift (something they can learn from, either with current school studies or an item they can use with a hobby or potential hobby). You could also ask them to give up receiving a gift and donate that money to a charity of their choice, or taking some of their allowance and buying a gift to donate to Toys for Tots. Cutting back on the number of gifts you give and making them purposeful will slowly but surely teach them that Christmas is not all about the presents.

To spread the idea of giving throughout the year, you could ask your children to put aside a portion of their allowance and pick a charity to donate it to at the end of the year or to use it to do something nice for someone else who is less fortunate. Not only will this teach them the concept of helping and giving to others, this will also show them that they don’t have to spend every dime they have.

The spirit of the season also includes simple but meaningful intangibles such as kind gestures towards strangers. Encourage them to open and hold the door for others, to pick up something from the floor when someone has dropped something, letting someone go ahead of them in line somewhere, helping someone reach or carry something, and simply smiling and saying hello to someone when you pass by.

By no means am I suggesting doing away with the lights, decorations, treats and believing in reindeer that can fly. It’s all good fun and makes for fantastic family memories. Just remember at the end of the day that the true spirit of the season comes from the heart and is based on the idea of helping and giving to others.

About Jennifer Chung & Kinsights:
Jennifer Chung is a parenting expert and co-founder of Kinsights.com: part parenting community, part online health record. Kinsights provides parents with a safe place to seek answers to their questions while also helping them track their child’s health information. Organize your child’s growth and developmental milestones, immunizations, medications, allergies, and more.  Connect with Kinsights at https://kinsights.com to learn more and sign-up! You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@kinsights).
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014


buzzz worthy. . .

Featuring Hit Single “I Am,” Album Available For Pre-Order Now
New York, NY Talented gospel singer/songwriter and musician Jason Nelson, will release his much-anticipated new album, JESUS REVEALED, on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.  Featuring the Top 2 hit gospel single “I Am,” the album is available for pre-order now on iTunes and Amazon.com.  Pre-order JESUS REVEALED now and receive the Instant Grat track, “Can’t Stop Calling.” 
A worshipper at heart, Jason Nelson recorded 14 live tracks earlier this year before a packed audience in his native Baltimore.  Nelson teamed up with long-time songwriting partner, Dana Sorey to co-write most of the tracks, along with his twin brother and fellow gospel artist Jonathan Nelson contributing writing on “Can’t Stop Calling,” while, Tasha Page-Lockhart lends her voice to join Nelson on “I See The Lord.”  
Following his hit solo releases I SHALL LIVE, PLACE OF WORSHIP, and the Stellar Award-winning SHIFTING THE ATMOSPHERE, Jason Nelson brings listeners together in worship with his powerful performances on JESUS REVEALED.  From the hit single “I Am,” to standout tracks such as “God Is Great,”The Lamb,” “So In Love,” and more, Nelson sets out to reintroduce listeners to the bible Jesus on the new project.  “This album is about showcasing God’s heart, His love and His grace,” explains Nelson.    
Visit Vevo to see The Making of Jesus Revealed: http://smarturl.it/BTSJesusRevealed?IQid=press
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Black Greeks unite to get VH1's 'Sorority Sisters' off air

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

Unlike the image that was portrayed on the first episode of VH1's "Sorority Sisters," where grown women ganged up and verbally bashed each other, nearly coming to blows in the name of sisterhood,  members of Black Greek organizations are uniting to get the show cancelled.  They feel the show is an affront to Black Greek life at large. 

During its Monday night premiere, social media was heavy with criticism about how negatively Black women (and the one white soror, a member of Delta Sigma Theta) were depicted on the show.

The name "Sorority Girls" may give the impression the is  about  college girls.  The catty cast members featured on the show are full grown, post-college, and at various level of their lives and careers.  The fact that the show is focusing on women who are not college aged makes sense because as the intro of the show indicates, Black sororities make the commitment for a lifetime. 

What doesn't make sense is the level of animosity exchanged among the stars of the show.  Some of the characters can not get along with members of the same organization or rival sororities so the notion of sisterhood is a complete farce.

Months before "Sorority Girls" hit TV, some people saw the drama coming and tried to get it  banned before one episode aired, receiving 40,000 signatures on a petition.

That apparently was not enough.

Judging from the promo for episode two, the storyline will only go down hill as an AKA shop owner calls the police on her DST nemesis. 

This time around, Black Greek critics of the show  quickly sprung into action launching another cancellation petition to demonstrate they are not having the controversial show make Black Greeks organizations look bad aimed at advertisers.

A person using the Twitter handle @alpha1906 (likely a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.) has taken the lead in an all out social media strike asking other Black Greeks to respond by not getting mad, but getting even.  His devised a strategy targeting specific advertisers to place pressure on VH1 to remove the show from the air.

He wrote:

"So you hate 'Sorority Sisters' and want to do something effective? Good. But you have to know how it all operates.
1. These shows are in the can, so if you are simply telling VH1 that you’re mad, they don’t care. They’ll keep playing them.
2. If you say that you won’t watch, they won’t care. Plenty of people will watch, and enough to be a success.
2a. Advertisers purchase time on VH1 without picking a particular show. Instead, they simply say, “Put me on a show at a certain time, that targets a certain demographic. So guess what, they’re JUST as surprised as you that they’re on ‪#‎SororitySisters‬…
So how do you win? Glad you asked…
3. Every television advertiser is very cognizant of their social media presence, and as a result, their reputation in social media. They spend a LOT of money to get people thinking about their product on Twitter (in particular) in the way they’ve plotted it for months. What is their nightmare?
When a bunch of people drive their social media message to the negative, and when I mean negative, I mean to where you make it trend negatively. Don’t believe that all publicity is good publicity. That’s a lie. It may bring awareness, but not good publicity. So what do you do to get VH1 to pull their programming.
4. Watch. Yes, watch. But as you watch, WATCH THE COMMERCIALS. Identify the advertisers QUICKLY, and then send negative tweets with the following:
a. The advertisers official twitter address
b. #SororitySisters hashtag so that it trends to people who don’t know about what you’re doing.
c. ‪#‎boycott‬(insert advertiser name)

 Also, if you’re VERY specific about what product you’re NOT going to buy because of their support of #SororitySisters, then you win even more. So here’s a typical effective tweet:
'#SororitySisters is offensive to black women. @nissan, I’m not buying your XYZ car because you support it. ‪#‎boycottnissan‬'
Most major brands have a war room where they look at a real time screen and can see where their name comes up, both positive and negatively. If it’s negatively, a big ole red circle starts to build. By making that circle really red, it gets put in a report, and folks start investigating. And when folks start investigating, they start weighing: Do I want to piss off one million potential buyers of my product, or do I simply call VH1 and tell them to put me on something else, and get rid of the problem? When that happens enough, guess what? Other advertisers hear about it and, “Hell NAW!” is what they say when THEIR product is next to “Sorority Sisters.” And boom, no more “Sorority Sisters.”
So, the choice is yours…get mad…or get even.
BTW…the KEY is to NEVER let up. Even after the show is over, KEEP TWEETING."
 No advertising dollars, no show is the logical conclusion. Other shows like the "Preachers of L.A" were heavily petitioned before they aired, but survived.  We will keep an eye on the outcome of the effort to cancel "Sorority Sisters" and post updated.
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