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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, March 13, 2015

Jodeci returns with "Past, Present & Future"

buzzz worthy. . .
New Album From JODECI 
NEW YORK  -- JODECI has set March 31, 2015 as the release date for their highly anticipated new album and one of the biggest R&B events of the year—The Past, The Present, The Future[Sphinx Music Entertainment/Epic Records]. The digital pre-order for the group's fourth full-length LP and first for Epic Records, is now live on iTunes, and it engages an instant download of the lead single "Every Moment." You can pre-order the album on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. When you pre-order the album you receive "Every Moment" and "Checkin For You."

If you haven't heard "Every Moment," listen now!

The legendary and influential multi-platinum R&B dynamo has given fans an appetizer to savor with a tease of their music video for "Every Moment" via Complex Magazine. The music video is available to view on VEVO today.  Helmed by iconic music video director Hype Williams and creative concept by Breyon Prescott, the video's story goes down in snowy Aspen, CO. In epic fashion, it commences with a grandiose and breathtaking opening shot of DeVante Swing playing a baby grand piano on top of a mountain overlooking the world below. Donning all white and looking heavenly fly, K-Ci, DeVante, JoJo, and Mr. Dalvin take flight like never before with one of their most divine refrains yet. The video has already been added to MTV Jams, VH1 Soul and Centric revealing early indications that JODECI has yet again created another momentous visual.
The Past, The Present, The Future is exclusively executive produced by Devante Swing, Louis Burrell, Lajuanna Burrell, and Breyon Prescott with co-production by Timbaland on "Incredible" and "Those Things." Among its 12 tracks are "Every Moment," the soulfully striking "Nobody Wins" feat. B.o.B, the beautifully titled "Jennifer," and more. Full tracklisting is below.

JODECI is here for the past, present, future, and beyond.

JODECI first arrived in 1991 with their triple-platinum debut, Forever My Lady. That album became Billboard's "R&B Album of the Year" and yielded three smash #1 singles—"Stay," "Forever My Lady," and "Come and Talk to Me." JODECI's 1993 follow-up not only topped charts and went platinum, but it also introduced the world to both Timbaland and Missy Elliott. Their platinum-certified final offering, The Show, the After-Party, the Hotel debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and cemented their musical legacy. In November 2014, the group made their formal return to the stage, performing a medley of hits at the Soul Train Awards. Now, they stand poised to once again rule R&B.

The Past, The Present, The Future track listing:
  1. Too Hot 
  2. Sho Out
  3. Checkin For You
  4. Those Things
  5. Every Moment
  6. Nobody Wins feat. B.o.B
  7. Incredible
  8. Jennifer
  9. Body Parts 
  10. Stress Reliever
  11. Sho Out feat. Liana Banks
  12. Nobody Wins
Pre-Order links
iTunes: http://smarturl.it/JodeciAmazon Physical: http://smarturl.it/PastPresentFutureAmz
Amazon MP3: http://smarturl.it/PPFAmazonGoogle Play: http://smarturl.it/PastPresentFutureGP
To learn more about JODECI, please visit:
Official Website: www.jodeci.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jodecimusic
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jodeci
Instagram: www.instagram.com/jodecimusic
VEVO: www.youtube.com/user/jodeciVEVO
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Thursday, March 12, 2015


buzzz worthy. . .

Pastor Don Piper died instantly in a head on collision with an 18-wheeler that completely crushed the Ford Escort he was driving.  That was over 20 years ago. Piper was later revived after being pronounced dead.  His miraculous recovery was documented in a NY Times best seller and has been turned into a movie, "90 Minutes In Heaven." Described as a story of hope,  Giving Films' Inaugural Movie features Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth with Michael W. Smith and Dwight Yoakam.

LEARN MORE: http://www.90minutesinheaven.com/

(L to R:) Hudson Meek (Chris Piper), Bobby Baston (Joe Piper), Elizabeth Hunter (Nicole Piper), David Clyde Carr (Eva’s Dad), Kate Bosworth (Eva Piper), Hayden Christensen (Don Piper) and Catherine Carlen (Eva’s Mom), welcome Don home from his 13-month hospital stay in a scene from 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, from Giving Films, LLC. Based on the inspiring best-selling book of the same name, 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN tells Don’s incredible and true story, and opens in theaters nationwide this fall.


ATLANTA – March 12, 2015 – It’s a wrap for 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, filmed in Atlanta, starring Hayden Christensen (STAR WARS, JUMPER) and Kate Bosworth (BLUE CRUSH, SUPERMAN RETURNS), and written and directed by Michael Polish (THE ASTRONAUT FARMER, TWIN FALLS). 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN also is the first movie from Giving Films, which uses its profits to help widows and orphans.

90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN, scheduled for a fall 2015 release, is the true story of Don Piper’s death in a crushing auto accident, his experience of heaven and, spurred by the prayers of a pastor on the scene, his return to life and many months of grueling rehab.  
“The book sold 6 and a half million copies in 46 languages because it brings hope to the hardships and challenges of our lives now,” Rick Jackson, founder of Giving Films, said. “If you loved Don’s book, you’ll love how this film widens his story to also show the people around him. If you haven’t read the book, you’re in for a great evening at the movies.”

Michael W. Smith (SECOND CHANCE), famed GRAMMY and Dove-award winning singer and songwriter, appears in a leading role in 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN as family friend Cliff McArdle--Eva’s rock when the accident news reaches her. Twenty-one-time nominated and multiple GRAMMY Award-winning artist Dwight Yoakam (SLING BLADE, PANIC ROOM) makes a comedic cameo as “Lawyer Beaumont,” Don’s attorney.  Veteran actor Fred Dalton Thompson (SECRETARIAT, DIE HARD 2) is straight-talking Jay B. Perkins, who convinced Don to accept help. Don’s best friend, David Gentiles, is played by Jason Kennedy, correspondent for E! News, now host of “Beyond A.D.,” a digital talk show companion to the upcoming network series, “A.D. The Bible Continues.”

“I’m an ordinary man with an extraordinary story,” says Piper, who has told that story over the years in person before more than 3,000 audiences. “I want people to see hope in their challenges, to see that pain can come with purpose,” he said.

90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN is produced by Jackson, Randall Emmett, Dawn Olmstead, Michael Polish, and George Furla; executive producers are Wayne Marc Godfrey, Ted Fox, Trevor Drinkwater, and Jason Netter.

Giving Films began operations in 2015 to address the need for more high-quality faith and family films—entertainment that also can open doors to wider audiences. All movie profits earned by Giving Films go to charity.

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David M uses music to educate about Black leaders, Black struggles

buzzz worthy. . .

The music of modern civil rights efforts is changing. . .

Music artist David M (aka David Minott) is using music to remind us of those who fought for justice and racial equality.

In his moving world beat song, "Lest We Forget," the Jamaica-born world-music songwriter / singer invokes the names of African American leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Marcus Garvey to illustrate the contributions that black people have made to society and to encourage listeners to remember their sacrifices.

This soul-searching song which opens with excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I Have A Dream" speech, not only speaks to the Civil Rights Movement and the hard work of Dr. King, but also gives credence to the work and sacrifices made by stalwarts such as Marcus Garvey, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Steven Biko and others who have been instrumental in the struggle for equality and justice, paving the way for positive change.

"Trayvon Martin is not unlike many others in our past who have fallen victim to violence and racial injustice," he says. "His slaying and the movement that it has inspired serves as a wakeup call to all of us that there is yet much work to be done before all men, regardless of race, are indeed treated equal."

Written in 1994 on the eve of the inauguration of South African President Nelson Mandela, "Lest We Forget" is equally as relevant today as it was back then, says David M. "The feeling that I had on that day has been renewed many times over the years. From the election of President Barack Obama to the many other achievements by men and women of African descent, I am proud of our achievements and humbled by the opportunity to pay homage to them in song. I am also reminded of how far we still have to go and how many of our people are still being victimized by racism and hate crimes. The death of this defenseless, unarmed teen makes this message ring true like never before." 

David M says he plans to use the song to motivate the spirit of unity for all mankind, globally.The poignant video for "Lest We Forget" has been featured on BET's "Lift Every Voice," Music Choice, Tempo and BET-J.  The song was also the focus of a Black History Month 2011 campaign called "Our Silence Speaks Volumes."

Says David M, "It is my hope that this song will urge us to remember many of our fallen brothers and sisters, from Emmett Till and Medgar Evers to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and, of course, lest we forget -- young Trayvon Martin."

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015


buzzz worthy. . .


Nashville, Tenn. (March 11, 2015)— GRAMMY©, AMA and GMA Dove Award winning group THIRD DAY ‘s new album, LEAD US BACK: SONGS OF WORSHIP debuted at #20 on the Billboard Top 200, at #13 on the SoundScan Top Current Albums Chart, and #1 on Billboard’s Top Christian and Gospel Albums chart this week.  Coinciding with the release, the popular Contemporary Christian rock band performed to a sold-out audience at the Beacon Theatre in New York on the day of release, March 3, and appeared on the national television show Fox & Friends on March 7. 
The band’s single “Soul On Fire“ is #8 on the Christian National Audience Chart, and is currently on its national “Soul On Fire Tour” ­ through April 26th.  The seven city Canadian run of the "Soul On Fire Tour" will kickoff April 29th in Montreal, QU. In June THIRD DAY is bringing their “Third Day & Friends” event to Gwinnett Arena (June 6), which was SOLD OUT a month in advance in 2014, as well as Red Rocks on June 9.

Both standard and deluxe editions of LEAD US BACK: SONGS OF WORSHIP are available.  The deluxe version includes bonus disc of eight fan favorite live tracks, captured on the road from previous sold-out performances and two additional previously unreleased studio tracks.

THIRD DAY, comprised of members Mac Powell, David Carr, Mark Lee, and Tai Anderson, during the last two decades, has racked up 30 No. 1 radio singles.  The band has sold more than 8.5 million albums, including two RIAA 2x Multi Platinum, five Platinum and 12 Gold certifications.  A Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee (2009), THIRD DAY has garnered four GRAMMY© Awards (with 11 career nominations), an American Music Award (with four American Music Award nominations), multiple ASCAP honors (including its coveted Vanguard Award for songwriting), and 24 career GMA Dove Awards (from 42 nominations).

Long known as Christian music’s premier live band, the Atlanta-based THIRD DAY has performed for audiences reaching into the millions all around the world.  The group has been featured on “The Tonight Show,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “Fox & Friends,” “60 Minutes,” ABC’s “Nightline,” and has been written about in USA Today, the New York Times and Billboard magazine – a cover story which called THIRD DAY “one of the best rock bands, period.”

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buzzz worthy. . .

Mary Mary is the #1 Cable Telecast on Thursday Night Among All Key
African-American Demos

Network Ranks #1 Among W18-49 and #3 Among W25-54 in the Time Period

NEW YORK, NY -- Four times a charm!  Season four of WE tv’s popular original series Mary Mary.  The show delivered 1.3 million total viewers on Thursday, March 5 and reached a season debut high among the key Adults and Women 18-49 and Women 25-54 demos.  This solid performance drove WE tv to rank #1 among W18-49 and #3 among W25-54 in the time period (10-11 pm ET/PT).  Mary Mary also ranked as the #1 cable telecast on Thursday night among all key African-American demos.  The series caught fire on social media too with #MaryMary landing as a top trending topic on Twitter.

Key Highlights for Mary Mary Season 4 Premiere

·         1.3 million total viewers
·         762,000 A18-49, up +27% vs. Live+SD
·         733,000 A25-54, up +31% vs. Live+SD
·         655,000 W18-49, up +28% vs. Live+SD
·         628,000 W25-54, up +34% vs. Live+SD
·         #1 cable telecast among all key African-American demos for the night
·         WE tv ranks #1 among W18-49 and #3 among W25-54 in the time period
·         #MaryMary was a top trending topic on Twitter

“We’re thrilled with the performance of Mary Mary and excited that our viewers continue to enjoy these genuine stories,” said Marc Juris, WE tv’s president.  “This season’s growth is a testament to the personally emotional and dramatically charged stories that Erica and Tina share, and which are the hallmarks of our unscripted series centered on authentic relationships and real life drama.”

Mary Mary is produced for WE tv by Entertainment One (eOne) and executive produced by eOne’s Tara Long, John Morayniss and Eric Hoberman, WE tv’s Lauren Gellert and Kate Farrell, and Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell and Mitchell Solarek.
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Obama's 'Student Aid Bill of Rights makes student loans more manageable, affordable

buzzz worthy. . .

As part of his vision to make college more affordable, the President will sign a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department of Education and other federal agencies to work across the federal government to do more to help borrowers afford their monthly loan payments including: (1) a state-of-the-art complaint system to ensure quality service and accountability for the Department of Education, its contractors, and colleges, (2) a series of steps to help students responsibly repay their loans including help setting affordable monthly payments, and (3) new steps to analyze student debt trends and recommend legislative and regulatory changes. In addition, the Administration is releasing state by state data that shows the outstanding federal student loan balance and total number of federal student loan borrowers who stand to benefit from these actions.

  A Student Aid Bill of Rights: Taking Action to Ensure Strong Consumer Protections for Student Loan Borrowers
Higher education continues to be the single most important investment students can make in their own futures.  Five years ago this month, President Obama signed student loan reform into law, redirecting tens of billions of dollars in bank subsidies into student aid. His historic investments in college affordability include increasing the maximum Pell Grant by $1,000, creating the American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, and letting borrowers cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of income. He has also promoted innovation and competition to help colleges reduce costs and improve quality and completion, including a First in the World fund. While these investments have helped millions of students afford college, student loans continue to grow. 

A Student Aid Bill of Rights
                                                                                                       I.            Every student deserves access to a quality, affordable education at a college that’s cutting costs and increasing learning.   
                                                                                                    II.            Every student should be able to access the resources needed to pay for college. 
                                                                                                 III.            Every borrower has the right to an affordable repayment plan. 
                                                                                                  IV.            And every borrower has the right to quality customer service, reliable information, and fair treatment, even if they struggle to repay their loans. 
Today’s Actions to Promote Affordable Loan Payments
Americans are increasingly reliant on student loans to help pay for college. Today, more than 70 percent of those earning a bachelor’s degree graduate with debt, which averages $28,400 at public and non-profit colleges. Today’s actions will help borrowers responsibly manage their debt, improve federal student loan servicing, and protect taxpayers’ investments in the student aid program:
·         Create a Responsive Student Feedback System: The Secretary of Education will create a new web site by July 1, 2016, to give students and borrowers a simple and straightforward way to file complaints and provide feedback about federal student loan lenders, servicers, collections agencies, and institutions of higher education.  Students and borrowers will be able to ensure that their complaints will be directed to the right party for timely resolution, and the Department of Education will be able to more quickly respond to issues and strengthen its efforts to protect the integrity of the student financial aid programs. In addition, the President will direct the Department of Education to study how other complaints about colleges and universities, such as poor educational quality or misleading claims, should be collected and resolved and to strengthen the process for referring possible violations of laws and regulations to other enforcement agencies.  These actions will help ensure more borrowers get fair treatment throughout the federal student loan process.

·         Help Borrowers Afford Their Monthly Payments: The President will announce a series of steps to improve customer services and help borrowers repay their direct student loans, which are made with federal capital and administered by the Department of Education through performance-based contracts. High-quality, borrower-focused servicing helps more borrowers successfully repay their federal student loans.  Building on the stronger performance incentives put in place last year, the Department will now raise the bar by:
o   Requiring enhanced disclosures and stronger consumer protections throughout the repayment process, including when federal student loans are transferred from one servicer to another, when borrowers fall behind in their payments, and when borrowers begin but do not complete applications to change repayment plans. These steps will better protect borrowers from falling behind in their payments and ensure consistency across loan servicers. 
o   Ensuring that its contractors apply prepayments first to loans with the highest interest rates unless the borrower requests a different allocation.
o   Establishing a centralized point of access for all federal student loan borrowers in repayment to access account and payment processing information for all Federal student loan servicing contractors.
o   Ensuring fair treatment for struggling and distressed borrowers by raising standards for student loan debt collectors to ensure that they charge borrowers reasonable fees and help them return to good standing;  clarifying the rights of Federal student loan borrowers in bankruptcy; working with the Department of Treasury to simplify the process to verify income and keep borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans; and working with the Social Security Administration to ensure that disability insurance recipients who can discharge their student loans are not instead seeing their disability payments garnished to  repay defaulted loans.
·         Prioritize Further Steps to Meet the Needs of Student Borrowers: The federal government has a responsibility to ensure that students who borrow federal loans have every opportunity to repay those loans through fair, affordable monthly payments. To continue to improve the information and customer service offered those borrowers, the President will direct the Department of Education to:

o   Work with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to find the most innovative and effective ways to communicate with borrowers, leverage the latest research identifying key factors that influence borrower repayment and keep actual borrower behavior in mind, so they stay in repayment and avoid default. 
o   Work with the Office of Management and Budget to regularly monitor key trends in the student loan portfolio, improving loan servicing and budgeting and considering possible policy changes.
o   Invite expertise from across the government to review best practices for performance-based contracting that could further improve outcomes for borrowers. 
In addition, new requirements may be appropriate for private and federally guaranteed student loans so that all of the more than 40 million Americans with student loans have additional basic rights and protections. The President is directing his Cabinet and White House advisers, working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to study whether consumer protections recently applied to mortgages and credit cards, such as notice and grace periods after loans are transferred among lenders and a requirement that lenders confirm balances to allow borrowers to pay off the loan, should also be afforded to student loan borrowers and improve the quality of servicing for all types of student loans.  The agencies will develop recommendations for regulatory and legislative changes for all student loan borrowers, including possible changes to the treatment of loans in bankruptcy proceedings and when they were borrowed under fraudulent circumstances.

Making Progress on A Student Aid Bill of Rights
Together, we can continue our work toward ensuring that all Americans have meaningful opportunities for a high-quality, affordable postsecondary education without the threat of unmanageable debt. The President’s vision laid out in the Student Aid Bill of Rights incorporates the progress we’ve made, his existing proposals, and the new actions announced today.

I.                   Every student should have access to a quality, affordable education at a college seeking new ways to lower costs and increase learning. 
·         America’s College Promise: In January of 2015, the President released a bold new proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students, letting students earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost, benefiting nearly 9 million students, and ensuring states and community colleges do their part to help students succeed. 
·         First in the World Grants: In September, the Department of Education awarded $75 million to colleges and universities across the country under the new First in the World (FITW) grant program to encourage colleges to adopt cutting-edge innovations and proven strategies that expand college opportunity, improve student learning, and reduce costs.  This year, the President has proposed increasing FITW to $200 million.
·         Call to Action on College Opportunity: Last December, the President, Vice President, and First Lady joined college presidents, K-12 superintendents, non-profit, foundations, and businesses to announce over 600 new commitments to help more students prepare for and graduate from college.
·         College Ratings: The Department of Education continues its work to develop a college ratings system by the 2015-2016 school year that will help students and families compare the value offered by colleges and encourage colleges to improve by highlighting institutions that successfully educate students from all backgrounds; maintain affordability; and help students gain a degree or certificate of value.
II.                Every student should be able to access the resources needed to pay for college. 
·         Dramatically Increasing Investment in Pell Grants: The President raised the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,730 for the 2014-15 award year — a nearly $1,000 increase since 2008, helping more than 8 million Americans a year afford college. This year, the President has proposed new investments to ensure the maximum Pell grant keeps up with the cost of inflation.
·         Simplifying the Process to Apply for Federal Student Aid: The Department of Education has helped students and their families fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in a fraction of the time it used to take—20 minutes from over an hour—through a redesigned tool that asks less questions and helps filers get their income data directly from the Internal Revenue Service.  This year, the President has proposed eliminating more questions from the FAFSA.
·         Simplifying and Improving Education Tax Benefits: The President created the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) to provide families with up to $10,000 over four years of college. This year, the President has proposed simplifying and improving education tax benefits for more than 25 million families, including making AOTC available for up to five years and eliminating taxes on student loan debt forgiveness under income-driven repayment plans.
III.             Every borrower has the right to an affordable repayment plan. 
·         Pay-As-You-Earn Loans: Under the President’s Pay As You Earn plan, recent student borrowers can cap federal loan payments at 10 percent of their income. Last June, the President directed the Department of Education to amend its regulations to make the plan available to all direct loan borrowers, helping nearly 5 million additional borrowers by December 2015.  This year, the President has proposed reforms to the program that will streamline and better target all income-driven repayment plans to safeguard the program for the future.

IV.              And every borrower has the right to quality customer service, reliable information, and fair treatment, even if they struggle to repay their loans. 
·         Transitioning to a Student-Centered Direct Loan Program: In 2010, the Administration took action to make federal student loans more reliable and efficient by eliminating subsidies to banks and successfully transitioning all new originations to the Direct Loan program. New performance-based contracts that were created by the Department incented servicers to find new and innovative ways to best serve students and taxpayers and this June, the contracts were strengthened to improve the way servicers are compensated to help borrowers repay their loans on time and ensure high-quality servicing.
·         Simplifying Income-Driven Repayment Plans and Improving Borrower Outreach: In 2012, in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the Department of Education made it easier for borrowers to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan by creating an online application that lets borrowers get their required income information directly from IRS. Along with outreach efforts spanning targeted email campaigns, social media, and partnerships with outside organizations, more than 2.4 million borrowers are able to manage their debt through and income-driven repayment plan.  
·         Building Tools and Resources to Support Federal Student Loan Borrowers: Since 2012, the Department of Education has developed a suite of tools and resources to help federal student loan borrowers, including a financial aid counseling tool that helps borrowers make good education financing decisions, understand their options for paying back their loans, and accurately compare and select repayment options customized to their individual circumstances.
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