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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, April 17, 2015

Rue on Race: Young actress sums up the issue of misappropriation of Black culture with one question in a viral video

buzzz worthy. . .

Amandla Stenberg, a 16-year-old who played Rue in "Hunger Games" is fed up with the misappropriation of Black culture in the entertainment industry and it impact in the real world.  She sums up the issue of racial/cultural appropriation with one question in a video titled "Don't Cash Crop My Corn Rows" that has  gone viral.  She asks,  "What if America loved Black people as much as it loves Black culture?"  Key to her argument, she explains the upkeep  of black hair is a necessity for Blacks not a commodity while she eloquently calls out entertainers from Madonna and Katy Perry to Macklemore and Ryan for banking on "blackness."  Stenberg and a friend addressed the toipc for a history project and since being posted online earlier this week, it has prompted social media discourse.

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Singer Billy Joel raises his voice in campaign to save African elephants

buzzz worthy. . .

Africa's elephants have just gotten a powerful new supporter -- music legend, Billy Joel.
Joel's voice is heard in a series of new ads supporting the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) 96 Elephants campaign -- so named for the number of elephants slaughtered each day by poachers.
With the backdrop of computer-animated elephants coming to life from shards of ivory, Joel's voiceover warns: "We can't turn back time, but we can reverse this trend. Don't be the generation that allowed elephants to go extinct."

The "Take a Stand for Elephants" campaign was conceived and developed for 96 Elephants by pro bono partner, Steve Harper, founder of ThisisBonaFide.com. Harper is an independent creative director, designer, and animator based in New York. The campaign will appear across television, radio, print, digital, and OOH channels and media will be activated by Horizon Media, working on behalf of 96 Elephants. Additionally, Quinn will continue to serve as the public relations partner for the 96 Elephants effort.

Last year, Joel wrote a passionate, open letter published on his website: "I am a piano player. And I realize that ivory piano keys are preferred by some pianists…but a preference for ivory keys does not justify the slaughter of 96 elephants every day. There are other materials which can be substituted for piano keys. But magnificent creatures like these can never be replaced. Music must never be used as an excuse to destroy an endangered species. Music should be a celebration of life -- not an instrument of death."

Said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants campaign: "Through his timeless music, Billy Joel has become a cultural icon and has spoken out for many important causes. Now, Billy Joel has taken a stand for elephants, and for that we are extremely grateful."

Said Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO, and founder of Horizon Media. "Since partnering with The Wildlife Conservation Society last year, 96 Elephants have seen incredible momentum to protect elephants by securing effective US moratorium laws, bolstering elephant protection with additional funding, and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis. We have come a long way but more needs to be done and we are excited to have Billy Joel lend his star power to the 96 Elephants movement."

96 Elephants brings together world citizens, partners, thought leaders, and change makers to leverage collective influence to stop the killing of elephants, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand for ivory. Working with campaign members, which includes 195 partners including 125 zoos across 45 states, 96 Elephants has helped banned ivory sales in New York and New Jersey and is currently supporting proposed bans in California -- the largest ivory market after New York -- and across the United States.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world's oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia Follow: @thewcs.

96 ElephantsWCS is leading global efforts to save Africa's elephants and end the current poaching and ivory trafficking crisis. In September 2013, WCS launched its 96 Elephants campaign to amplify and support the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) "Partnership to Save Africa's Elephants" by stopping the killing, stopping the trafficking, and stopping the demand. The WCS campaign focuses on: securing effective moratoria on sales of ivory; bolstering elephant protection; and educating the public about the link between ivory consumption and the elephant poaching crisis. www.96elephants.org
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Stage Play, "What God Joined Together" to run at Atlanta's FoxTheatre

buzzz worthy. . .


Atlanta, GA — Writer, director, producer, and actor, Edward Fernandez’s stage play What God Joined Together is slated for a run at the historic Fox Theatre on April 25th at 8pm. After a successful run at the Ferst Center For The Arts during Valentines weekend, the New Orleans native is showing no signs of slowing down and every indication of following in the footsteps of his admitted role model, Tyler Perry. 

Being the youngest African American male to ever book the Fox’s main stage, (which seats almost 5,000 people) what the advantageous 26-year old Edward Fernandez does here can definitely catapult him to the place that has taken others many years to get to.

“For years, I struggled with promoting and providing a platform for what others perceived as million dollar talent on what I knew was a welfare budget… and to now have a show at the Fox Theatre, after failing many, many-many times, is no small thing and I’m beyond grateful,” he emotionally admits.

Adorned with a stellar line-up of show-stopping theater, film, and recording artist’ including Christian Keyes (Note to Self & HBO Zane’s Sex Chronicles) Shirley Murdock (actress & platinum R&B singer of the hit song “As We Lay”) D’Atra Hicks (Madea’s Family Reunion & Laugh to Keep From Crying), Christopher Williams (New Jack City, A Good Man is Hard to Find & hit song “I’m Dreamin'”), Tammy Rivera (from VH1’s Love and Hip Hop Atlanta), Quan Howell (Madea’s Family Reunion & BET’s Sunday Best), YouTube sensation Phillip Hudson and R&B recording artist Dondria Nicole – who all take to the stage to bring this contemporary play to life.

“How can it be the best of times and the worst of times at the same time?” is the oxymoron Edward addresses in this “titillating tale” (what one theatre goer called the show) about marriage. Skillfully, he enjoins 21st century concepts, contemporary solutions and faith-based values to tackle the challenges in having both success and a successful marriage in today’s society.

With an 8-piece live band providing the catchy tunes to 5 original songs by Edward that had show goers at the Ferst requesting the soundtrack, and theater’s newest fictional character Daddy G’ (played by Edward Fernandez himself); What God Joined Together seems to come pretty close to matching the formula of a great show and history in the making!

For tickets and more information, please visit www.foxtheatre.org or call the box office at (855) 285-8499.

Follow the stageplay on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/What-God-Joined-Together/473193639470322
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

“50TH ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS” ANNOUNCES MORE THAN 20 PRESENTERS FOR COUNTRY MUSIC’S PARTY OF THE YEAR®, BROADCAST LIVE FROM AT&T STADIUM IN ARLINGTON, TEXAS SUNDAY, APRIL 19 ON THE CBS

buzzz worthy. . .



NFL Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, “2 Broke Girls” Star Beth Behrs,
Clint Black, Lee Brice, Kelly Clarkson, Brett Eldredge,
Brantley Gilbert, Mickey Guyton, Hunter Hayes, Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev,
Taya Kyle, Dr. Phil McGraw, Justin Moore, “Entertainment Tonight” Host Nancy O’Dell,
Thomas Rhett, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo, Darius Rucker, Steven Tyler,
Keith Urban, Sofia Vergara, Reese Witherspoon, Dallas Cowboys All-Pro Jason Witten,
Trisha Yearwood, Dwight Yoakam, Alabama and Big & Rich To Present

Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, 2 Broke Girls star Beth Behrs, Clint Black, Lee Brice, Kelly Clarkson, Brett Eldredge, Brantley Gilbert, Mickey Guyton, Hunter Hayes, Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev, Taya Kyle, Dr. Phil McGraw, Justin Moore, “Entertainment Tonight” host Nancy O’Dell, Thomas Rhett, Dallas Cowboys All-Pro quarterback Tony Romo, Darius Rucker, Steven Tyler, Keith Urban, Sofia Vergara, Reese Witherspoon, Dallas Cowboys All-Pro tight end Jason Witten, Trisha Yearwood, Dwight Yoakam, Alabama and Big & Rich will be presenters for the 50th ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS.  The ceremony, co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, will be broadcast LIVE from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, April 19 (8:00-11:30 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network.  

Previously announced performers for the star-studded event include Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Reba, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, special duets by Christina Aguilera with surprise artists as well as Nick Jonas with Dan + Shay, plus performances by Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell, the nominees for New Artist of the Year Presented by Kohl’s.
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Mann & Wife Viewership Grows in Week Two, Second Episode Becomes Most-Watched Original in Bounce TV’s History

buzzz worthy. . .


                                                                               
ATLANTA (April 16, 2015) –  Joining Empire in the rare company of television series that increased ratings from week one to week two, the second episode of the new Bounce TV Original Series Mann & Wife increased viewership over its series premiere episode to become Bounce TV’s most-watched original to date.

The second episode premiere telecast of Mann & Wife on Tues. April 14 at 9:00 p.m. (ET) delivered: 268K Households (+3% vs. series premiere*), 168K Adults 25-54 (+35%) and 127K Women 25-54 (+35%).  Mann & Wife has reached 1.3 Million Total Viewers P2+ across its two timeslots to date.

As impressive is Mann & Wife’s growth with its targeted audience of African Americans, as the second episode grew:
·        +15% in African American HHs (241K)
·        +55% in AA Adults 25-54 (163K)
·        +50% AA Women 25-54 (123K)

Mann & Wife’s success is helping to fuel strong primetime gains for Bounce TV.  When compared to ad-supported cable networks, Bounce TV was the #8 network in prime time** delivery of African Americans (220K) on Tues. April 14, beating TBS, FX, E!, TV1 and 95 other networks.

Real-life husband and wife team David Mann (House of Payne, Meet the Browns) and Tamela Mann (Madea’s Big Happy Family, Sparkle) star and serve as executive producers of Mann & Wife. The series follows the newlywed, second-chance sweethearts as they laugh anAd love their way through the ups and downs of life as a blended family, each with two children from previous marriages.  In addition to the show's popular stars, Mann & Wife features a vibrant supporting cast: Vivica A. Fox, portraying Daniel's ex-wife; Tony Rock, playing Daniel's new partner on the police force; JoMarie Payton as Lorraine, Daniel's overbearing mother and Tiny Lister as Daniel's Lieutenant and boss.

New episodes of Mann & Wife premiere Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT on Bounce TV.

Bounce TV is the nation’s first-ever and fastest-growing broadcast television network designed for African-American audiences.  It airs on the digital signals of local television stations and features a programming mix of original and off-network series, theatrical motion pictures, documentaries, specials, live sports and more. (Click here to find local channel location.)  The rapidly-expanding Bounce TV is the number two most-watched African-American network on television. It continued its ratings surge in the just-completed first quarter of 2015, setting network records for viewership and the delivery of key targeted demographics audiences.

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The CW Network premieres new mid-season Friday night programming tonight, April 17

buzzz worthy. . .

MESSENGERS, CEDRIC'S BARBER BATTLE AND WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY BEGIN TONIGHT ON THE CW

The CW will premiere three all new show tonight showcasing variety of comedy, competition and drama.

The reality competition series CEDCRIC’S BARBER BATTLE airs tonight (8:00-8:30 pm ET), followed by a new cycle of the improv series WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? (8:30-9:00 pm ET), and the night caps off with the network’s apocalyptic new drama THE MESSENGERS (9:00-10:00 pm ET).  

Check out the description of each show below and tune in or set your Tevo:



On Friday, April 17, The CW presents the series premiere of its apocalyptic new drama THE MESSENGERS (9:00-10:00 pm ET). When a mysterious object plummets to Earth, the blinding explosion it causes sends out a shock wave that instantly connects five strangers who awaken after the pulse are transfored into Angels of the Apocalypse with extraordinary gifts they can barely believe. Most mysterious of all is a figure known only as The Man, who brings death and suffering wherever he appears. The wheels of Revelation have begun to turn, and these five messengers may be the only hope for preventing the impending Rapture.




CEDRIC’S BARBER BATTLE, an all-new reality competition series hosted by actor and comedian Cedric The Entertainer, sets out to capture the unique culture that exists in barbering communities across the country.  Blending craft with comedy, CEDRIC’S BARBER BATTLE will visit different barbershops in communities, including Los Angeles, Queens, Harlem and Austin, where the best barbers will go head-to-head in a hilariously unfiltered, no-holds-barred arena.  Creating hair sculptures that feature elaborate designs, ranging from images of a person’s face to grand cityscapes, the barbers will use nothing more than their clippers and a few coloring tools to create intricate works of art that are both imaginative and location-centric.  Episodes will contain two challenges: a “buzz cut” challenge, set inside an iconic barbershop, and an outdoor “cut down” challenge, located at a regional landmark in each city.  At the end of each episode, a champion will be crowned.

The panel of judges, also known as “The Cutting Board,” is made up of renowned celebrity barbers including Curtis Smith, Rich the Barber, Bashan “B.G. Cutta” Gibbs and famed instructor Lena Piccininni.  The clipper wars go down in Brooklyn, L.A. and Austin, TX.



Hosted by comedian Aisha Tyler, WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? features cast members Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie, who helped make the original U.S. version of this comedy improv series such a hit.  Along with a special guest comedian in each episode, the cast members must put their comedic skills to the test through a series of spontaneous improv games.

Prompted only by random ideas supplied by the studio audience and host Aisha Tyler, our four performers must use the little information they have and their wild imaginations to depict different characters and an array of scenes, as well as perform songs.  After each round of improvisation, Aisha will dole out points to our four performers and declare a winner at the end of every episode. 
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The CW Network premieres new mid-season Friday night programming tonight, April 17

buzzz worthy. . .

MESSENGERS, CEDRIC'S BARBER BATTLE AND WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY BEGIN TONIGHT ON THE CW

The CW will premiere three all new show tonight showcasing variety of comedy, competition and drama.

The reality competition series CEDCRIC’S BARBER BATTLE airs tonight (8:00-8:30 pm ET), followed by a new cycle of the improv series WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? (8:30-9:00 pm ET), and the night caps off with the network’s apocalyptic new drama THE MESSENGERS (9:00-10:00 pm ET).  

Check out the description of each show below and tune in or set your Tevo:



On Friday, April 17, The CW presents the series premiere of its apocalyptic new drama THE MESSENGERS (9:00-10:00 pm ET). When a mysterious object plummets to Earth, the blinding explosion it causes sends out a shock wave that instantly connects five strangers who awaken after the pulse are transfored into Angels of the Apocalypse with extraordinary gifts they can barely believe. Most mysterious of all is a figure known only as The Man, who brings death and suffering wherever he appears. The wheels of Revelation have begun to turn, and these five messengers may be the only hope for preventing the impending Rapture.




CEDRIC’S BARBER BATTLE, an all-new reality competition series hosted by actor and comedian Cedric The Entertainer, sets out to capture the unique culture that exists in barbering communities across the country.  Blending craft with comedy, CEDRIC’S BARBER BATTLE will visit different barbershops in communities, including Los Angeles, Queens, Harlem and Austin, where the best barbers will go head-to-head in a hilariously unfiltered, no-holds-barred arena.  Creating hair sculptures that feature elaborate designs, ranging from images of a person’s face to grand cityscapes, the barbers will use nothing more than their clippers and a few coloring tools to create intricate works of art that are both imaginative and location-centric.  Episodes will contain two challenges: a “buzz cut” challenge, set inside an iconic barbershop, and an outdoor “cut down” challenge, located at a regional landmark in each city.  At the end of each episode, a champion will be crowned.

The panel of judges, also known as “The Cutting Board,” is made up of renowned celebrity barbers including Curtis Smith, Rich the Barber, Bashan “B.G. Cutta” Gibbs and famed instructor Lena Piccininni.  The clipper wars go down in Brooklyn, L.A. and Austin, TX.



Hosted by comedian Aisha Tyler, WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? features cast members Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie, who helped make the original U.S. version of this comedy improv series such a hit.  Along with a special guest comedian in each episode, the cast members must put their comedic skills to the test through a series of spontaneous improv games.

Prompted only by random ideas supplied by the studio audience and host Aisha Tyler, our four performers must use the little information they have and their wild imaginations to depict different characters and an array of scenes, as well as perform songs.  After each round of improvisation, Aisha will dole out points to our four performers and declare a winner at the end of every episode. 
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CECE'S MASS APPEAL REACHES YOUNG & OLD; Plus, Winans encourages Whitney and Bobbi Kristina

buzzz worthy. . .
 By Mona Austin

In 2008, I had the privilege of tapping into the wisdom of  CeCe Winans. Mrs. Winans will be releasing new music this year, so I thought it fitting to reprint our "conversation" as there are tie-ins to current events, such as a comment about the late Whitey Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown.

So much has changed since this interview. Winans' close friend Whitney passed away and her daughter is currently fighting for her life in an Atlanta hospital.   The interview preceded Winans performance at an AARP event. Really, the article is about her mass appeal, but the reader will glean so much more.  Each time I am in the presence of greatness, I try to ask a question that will enrich all our lives.  For me, the greatest piece of food for thought Winans shared was the idea of living a full life to  "die empty," which she learned from the teachings of the late Dr. Myles Munroe.

I'm sure you'll find  points that will enrich your life too.  Enjoy!
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LET THE PRAISE BEGIN! ROCK MY SOUL: GOSPEL MUSIC CELEBRATION PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE LEGACY OF PASTOR ANDRAE CROUCH

buzzz worthy. . .


Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans and Marvin Winans Honor Their Friend and Mentor in a Musical Tribute during Cleveland Rock Week
 
 
Los Angeles, CA (April 16, 2015) - Recently, the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and Museum rolled out the red carpet for gospel legend Andrae’ Crouch during the Rock My Soul: Gospel Music Celebration. Once the tickets were made available to the public they were gone in 12 minutes!  Some of Crouch’s long-time friends were on hand for the special occasion and everyone who turned out was there to remember all that he contributed to the music industry.  Crouch’s influence reached beyond the walls of the church and was woven throughout mainstream entertainment.  Crouch’s legacy lives on as his music is still being sung in churches around the world.
 
The seven-time Grammy winner was honored by musical greats Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans and Marvin Winans who all acknowledge Crouch as the person who paved the way for them.  “He set the standard so high for us and we’re still trying to reach that level,” says CeCe Winans. What was billed as a tribute concert turned into touching moments filled with stories of humble beginnings, laced with laughter and tears as God’s presence settled into the atmosphere. 
 
“Andrae’ Couch has an indelible impression on the way we write, the way we do harmonies, chords and structure,” says Marvin Winans.
 
Where would Donnie McClurkin be today had a man named Andrae Crouch not stopped to pray for an eleven year old boy after a concert simply asking, “God give to him what you gave to me?”  McClurklin says, “After he prayed for me God gave me the gift to play the piano and that’s how I learned to sing.”
 
 Take a look at the highlight clips!





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White House announces Deesha Dyer as Social Secretary

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

The promotion of Deesha Dyer, who holds an Associates Degree  in Women’s Studies from the Community College of Philadelphia underscores the White House's message that attaining some level of higher education can pay off big dividends. Where Washingtonian politics, cronism and name brand degrees are king, the Obamas have rewarded a low key former intern with a track record  passion and reliability on the job.

The White House today announced Thursday Dyer has been promoted to Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary.   

The White House indicated "Deesha was selected from among an abundance of well-qualified candidates for her passion and dedication to opening the doors of the White House, most notably engaging students from communities across the country."  Prior to this role, Dyer worked as Deputy Director and Hotel Program Director in the White House Office of Scheduling and Advance, the same office where she originally came to the White House as an intern in 2009. The Social Secretary was vaceted earluer this month.  

President Obama praised Dyer for welcoming everyone and making the White House feel like "the people's house."
 
“Deesha shares our commitment to a White House that reflects America’s history, highlights our culture, and celebrates all Americans. Michelle and I look forward to working with her in this new role as we welcome visitors from across the country and around the world to the People’s House,” the President said.

First Lady Obama also gave Dyer a rousing endorsement.
"From the day Deesha started in the Social Office nearly two years ago, she impressed me with her passion, creativity, public-mindedness and relentless competence,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.  “Since then, whether helping flawlessly execute state dinners, or going the extra mile to open the White House to people who never dreamed they would walk through these doors, Deesha has worked tirelessly to truly make the White House the "People's House."  I am thrilled that she has agreed to continue her service as our Social Secretary."

Said Dyer about hernew role: “I am incredibly honored to continue serving the President and First Lady in my new role as White House Social SecretaryI am constantly inspired by the openness, diversity, and traditions of this Administration and I look forward to leading the talented Social Office team as we further the goals and priorities of the President and First Lady throughout these last two exciting years in office.”
 
Biography of Deesha Dyer
 
AS the appointment of Loretta Lynch tis prolonged, the White House did not hesitate to fill the social Secretary post vacated earlier this month Deesha Dyer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in both Philadelphia and Hershey, where she attended the Milton Hershey School. Dyer currently serves as Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary of the White House, a role which she has held for nearly 2 years. She started at the White House in 2009, at the age of 31, as an intern in the Office of Scheduling and Advance.  She was hired full-time in 2010 as Associate Director for Scheduling Correspondence and was promoted to Deputy Director and Hotel Program Director.  In her role, Deesha traveled with the President and First Lady working on press, lodging and site logistics. In 2013, she was promoted into her current position as Deputy Director and Deputy Social Secretary.
 
Before starting her career in government, Dyer concurrently held several private sector positions.  She was an assistant at Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust from 2001 to 2010 where she served on the PREIT Charitable Board.  From 2003 to 2010, Dyer was a freelance journalist covering East Coast hip-hop culture for several media outlets, including The Philadelphia Citypaper.  Dyer has also maintained a long-standing commitment to community advocacy in several roles, including her role working with young adults at the Youth Health Empowerment Project, as creator of a hip-hop AIDS program based in Philadelphia, as a CARE advocacy volunteer and as a board member at Action AIDS.
 
In addition to her role at the White House, Deesha currently volunteers with the homeless community in Washington, DC, and serves as a mentor for a global empowerment program for young girls in Philadelphia. She also serves as a mentor in the First Lady’s mentee program.  At the age of 29, Dyer returned to college to obtain her associates degree in Women’s Studies from the Community College of Philadelphia.
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The Persuasions Jerry Lawson Receives Lifetime Achievement Award, Readies for Solo Debut April 28

buzzz worthy. . .


At 71, The Original Lead Singer of The Persuasions Is Honored by
The Contemporary A Capella Society During Boston Sings! Festival

Photo Credit: Kristine Slipson


New York, NY -- With just a few weeks to go for the release of his solo debut 'Just A Mortal Man,' Jerry Lawson -- the original lead singer and arranger of The Persuasions -- was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Contemporary A Capella Society during the Boston Sings! Festival (BOSS), April 11th. The annual awards show is called the Contemporary A Capella Recording Awards (CARAs), and the Lifetime Achievement CARA goes to artists "whose work over the course of a career has been singularly important and influential." 

Jerry's story is truly miraculous -- he was at death's door just last August, having suffered from complications due to a double knee-replacement surgery. Now, he is fully recovered and ready to take his soulful voice, often compared to that of Sam Cooke, on tour. 

Born January 23, 1944, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Jerry grew up in the small town of Apopka, where he began singing at age five with the church choir. In his teens he listened at night to WLAC out of Nashville. It was that station's legendary R&B broadcasters that first introduced Lawson to the likes of Lloyd Price, Chuck Berry, Charles Brown, the Coasters, the Del-Vikings, and many more. "I knew every song," says Lawson.

During the summers, Lawson would stay with family in Philadelphia, and he gradually felt the gravitational pull of New York City. He formed The Persuasions, five friends who quickly became well known in Brooklyn. After being introduced through a record storeowner, Frank Zappa convinced Lawson and The Persuasions to record with his label, Straight Records. 

Zappa launched The Persuasions on a spectacular career. They made album after album over the next few decades, blending R&B, soul, pop, psychedelic rock, standards, doo-wop, jazz, and folk with just their voices. They sang with Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Chuck Berry, Rod Stewart, and dozens more stars in the firmament of popular music - helping keep a cappella singing alive, while setting a new standard for the genre. They paid tribute to artists as diverse as Zappa, the Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan, on albums brilliantly arranged by Lawson. Chirpin', their 1977 release, was hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the top 100 LPs of the 1970s. Through almost 40 years, 22 albums, and thousands of performances around the globe, Lawson's sweet and smoky lead baritone and his electrifying stage charisma defined the group's sound.

Following his departure from The Persuasions in 2003, Lawson connected with another vocal group, Talk of the Town. Together they recorded an album, Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town, as well as appeared on NBC's "The Sing-Off," reminding a new generation of music fans that Lawson should be on everyone's list of all-time greats.

Now, at age 71, Lawson is releasing an album of music under his own name: a solo debut, titled 'Just a Mortal Man,' via East Nashville's Red Beet Records label. With the help of Grammy-nominated producer Eric Brace, Lawson transforms a selection of new and classic songs with his astonishingly rich voice. On 'Just A Mortal Man,' Lawson covers songs recorded by soul greats David Ruffin and Bobby "Blue" Bland, as well as songs by Brace, Peter Cooper, Phil Lee, Ayo, and Paul Simon.
The record features The McCrary Sisters and Jim Lauderdale as special guests and will be in stores April 28, 2015.
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Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery speaks out on the sentencing of Atlanta teachers (Official Statement)

ATLANTA, GA - Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery issued the following statement regarding the sentencing of the Atlanta school teachers found guilty of racketeering earlier this month:

 
"A Pound of Flesh"
By Rev. Joseph E. Lowery

In Shakespeare's  "Merchant of Venice" a prosecutorial team demanded a pound of flesh from a man who owed a debt he seemed unable to pay.  But, before they could secure the 'pound of flesh', a lawyer named Portia came forward and in beautiful and eloquent words, proclaimed,

"The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptered sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute of God himself;
And earthly power doth then show like God's
When mercy seasons justice."

My heart is broken at this sad state of affairs. I beg Judge Baxter, as I did in conversation with District Attorney Howard, to listen to Attorney Portia and set aside 'the pound of flesh'.

The teacher's behavior was unacceptable without a doubt.  But, "racketeering" had no business in this equation.  When we think of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, we think of gangsters, mobsters, gamblers, and hardcore criminals.  We do not think of teachers.  We do not think of the Atlanta Public School system.  And we shouldn't. Teachers and the APS are and have always been the bedrock of our community.  They are our mothers and fathers, our wives and husbands, our caretakers and providers.  We let them down.  We are all at fault.

In the name of mercy I urge the judge to require all the educators as part of their probation to teach, mentor and serve the children who have been wounded by this debacle toward recovery and healing.  All of us must share some of the blame.

On this fateful day of sentencing, eight people were condemned to a total of 33 years in prison, 57 years probation, 12,000 hours of community service and almost $100,000 in fines.  These numbers are ridiculous.  What statement have we made?  What point have we proven?  

 
Each and every one of us is a victim of a crime much greater than any of us can fathom.  It is a crime buried deep in the legacy of our struggle, borne on the backs of those brought here in chains that today still shackle too many of us entrusted to do far better than what we have done.  We choose not to remember that legacy, and instead be blinded by our own ambitions and self-righteous causes.  This prosecution and condemnation may not have been of racial motivation, but the greatest victim in this process is most assuredly the Black community.  Never before have I known such a punishment.  In my near century on this earth, I have seen far worse crimes given far less punishment.  I only hope that we understand that it is not just those who were sentenced today who must consider the consequences of their actions.  We are all at fault.  We should all share the blame.  Each of us must take some responsibility.

 ###


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ALICIA KEYS, BOB GOODLATTE AND JERROLD NADLER HONORED AT GRAMMYS ON THE HILL DAY

buzzz worthy. . .#GRAMMYAdvocacy #GRAMMYDC #GRAMMYAlliance @GRAMMYAdvocacy @aliciakeys @RepGoodlatte @RepJerryNadle @HunterHayes #FairPlayFairPay

Advocacy Day for Music Makers Will Take Place on Capitol Hill April 16

 
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow and First Lady Michelle Obama present GRAMMY-winning artist, songwriter, and producer Alicia Keys with with the Recording Artists' Coalition Award during the 2015 GRAMMYs ON THE HILL AWARDS at The Hamilton on April 15, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage for NARAS)
Music and politics unite at The Recording Academy®'s 2015 GRAMMYs on the Hill® Awards where GRAMMY®-winning artist/songwriter/producer Alicia Keys was presented with the Recording Artists' Coalition® Award (named for the artists' rights program founded by Don Henley and Sheryl Crow), while House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) was also honored for their support and understanding of music creators' unique role in American life.

"Tonight, let's pledge to use magnificent music to bring about healing among us,"said Alicia Keys while being recognized for her contribution to music at the Grammys on The Hill event held  in Washington DC on April 15, 2015 at the Hamilton Hotel. The Recording Academy announced The Grammys Creators Alliance and its intent to lobby for music rights on the Grammy broadcast earlier this year. Keys is a founding member of the Grammy Creators Alliance, whose mission is to support songwriters, recording artists, and studio professionals.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New book addresses the culture of comparison, "I'm Happy for You (Sort of . . .Not Really)

buzzz worthy. . .
DALLAS –– Contrast this: Facebook in 2013 reports 1.23 billion monthly active users. Berlin’s Humbolt University research, meanwhile, shows how many of those users run into “envy, leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry.” Take a deep breath and slowly set down that smartphone, says Kay Wills Wyma, author of the new I’m Happy for You (Sort Of . . . Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison (WaterBrook Press, May 5, 2015). When virtually every moment is spun into an online milestone, cropped and filtered to perfection, it’s easy to fall headfirst into the comparison trap. Now the popular blogger, speaker and author asks the timely and thought-provoking question: “Is it possible to have peace in the midst of relentless pressures to compare?” And her answer comes in candid and often humorous accounts from her life as a mother of five. Kay witnesses firsthand how comparison, whether in a business meeting or the carpool lane, can steal joy and replace it with a spirit of competition and discontent.

With wit and sincerity, Wyma – alongside fellow sojourners honestly sharing their own stories in a fishbowl world – reminds us that contentment can come when we do things like:

- Accept, embrace, and do our best rather than fighting to be the best.
 - Choose to see the beauty in every human being . . . including ourselves.
 - Shift our focus from what could be to what is – opening a door to extraordinary joy in our ordinary days.

Ultimately the contentment key is learning to celebrate someone else’s success. That’s as simple—or as difficult—as saying, “I’m happy for you,” Wyma says, and really meaning it.  

I’m Happy for You (Sort Of…Not Really) is a breath of fresh air for every person who feels stifled by the fog of life’s constant worries that they just aren’t measuring up. Readers love Wyma’s laugh-out-loud, straightforward writing style as she shows that contentment comes when we “peel our thoughts away from self-absorption to see those with whom we share life. And not simply see them but fully embrace our life with instead of against each other.”

 Praise for I’m Happy for You (Sort Of . . . Not Really)

“Kay Wyma hit a home run on the Focus on the Family radio program when she talked about ways moms can combat the entitlement mentality in their kids. In her new book, she scores another hit with an insightful discussion on the pitfalls of comparing your life to others, especially through social media. Her advice is timely and relevant.” —Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family

“The pursuit of bigger, better, newer, and more never stops. With a compelling lilt, Kay Wills Wyma’s pen pulls us along only to expose and confront our comparison battle. From one co-struggler to another, Kay brings us perspective and relief.” —Dr. Michael Easley, former president of Moody Bible Institute; teaching pastor; host of Michael Easley in Context

 “Kay Wills Wyma once again champions a much-needed culture shift—with heartfelt insight she challenges us to choose contentment over comparison. I’m Happy for You gently exposes the growing obsession with self-promotion and one-upmanship that’s wearing us all out and, thankfully, offers wise solutions.” —Tracey Eyster, author of Be the Mom and Beautiful Mess

“With both cultural relevance and biblical foundation, Kay Wills Wyma accurately defines the comparison problem and offers a solution. I’m Happy for You is a must-read for anyone caught in the comparison trap.”—Joshua Becker, founder of Becoming Minimalist  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kay Wills Wyma, author, blogger and speaker, has five kids, ages 7 to 18, and one SUV with a lot of carpool miles. Before transitioning to stay-at-home mom, she held positions at the White House, The Staubach Company and Bank of America. In 2012, Wyma courageously tackled youth entitlement in her first book, Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement (WaterBrook Press, May 8, 2012). She has been featured on The TODAY Show, CNN-HLN, the Glenn Beck Show, and Focus on the Family, among many others. Kay attended Baylor University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. She and her husband, Jon, live in Dallas.
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NEW MUSIC: Monifah takes "One Moment" to blow us away

buzzz worthy. . .

MONIFAH “Mo” Carter deleivers a pleasant surprise with her latest single "One Moment." With a steady, convincing tone, Monifah, who we typically have seen as an around the way girl, releases a sensitive feline side that is understanding and encouraging. The lyrics of "One Moment"she reveal the hidden concerns and stresses of many women's hearts who are simply drained from being there for everyone but themselves. Via her label: Long before TV One’s docudrama, “R&B DIVAS”, reignited her career, there was already more to her than meets the eye. Born and raised in East Harlem – NY, the big-voiced girl with the West African name has been in the spotlight since she was seven years old. With that talent behind her, MONIFAH burst onto the R&B music scene underneath the wings of the late “Heavy D”. In 1996 she was signed to Uptown/MCA records who released her debut album that contained the double-platinum single “I Miss You” plus other hit tracks that were certified gold. Back on the music scene, following her T.V. success, she is shortly releasing “One Moment” and “Blueprint” worldwide via Famous Records.
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2015 Billboard Awards nominees are in

buzzz worthy. . . Read below for the nominations announced today and tune into the Billboard Music Awards on May 17, 2015, on ABC.  

Top Female Artist Iggy Azalea
Ariana Grande
Katy Perry
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor  

Top Male Artist
Drake
 Pharrell Williams
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Justin Timberlake  

Top Artist
Ariana Grande
One Direction
Katy Perry
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift  

Top Billboard 200 Album
Maroon 5, “V”
Pentatonix, “That’s Christmas to Me”
Ed Sheeran, “x”
Sam Smith, “In the Lonely Hour”
Taylor Swift, “1989”  

Top 100 Hot Song
Iggy Azalea Feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
John Legend, “All of Me”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”  

Top Artist: Ariana Grande One Direction Katy Perry Sam Smith Taylor Swift Top New Artist: 5 Seconds of Summer Iggy Azalea Hozier Sam Smith Meghan Trainor  

Top Male Artist: Drake
Pharrell
Williams Ed Sheeran Sam Smith Justin Timberlake  

Top Female Artist: Iggy Azalea Ariana Grande Katy Perry Taylor Swift Meghan Trainor

Top Duo/Group: 5 Seconds of Summer Florida Georgia Line Magic! Maroon 5 One Direction

Top Billboard 200 Artist: One Direction Pentatonix Ed Sheeran Sam Smith Taylor Swift  

Top Hot 100 Artist: Iggy Azalea Ariana Grande Sam Smith Taylor Swift Meghan Trainor  

Top Digital Songs Artist:
Iggy Azalea
 Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

Top Radio Songs Artist:
John Legend
Maroon 5
Ed Sheeran
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift Top

Touring Artist: 
Lady Gaga
One Direction
 Katy Perry
The Rolling Stones
Justin Timberlake

Top Social Artist: 
Justin Bieber
Miley Cyrus
Selena Gomez
Ariana Grande
Taylor Swift

Top Streaming Artist: 
Iggy Azalea
Ariana Grande
Nicki Minaj
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

Top R&B Artist: 
 Beyoncé
Chris Brown
John Legend
Trey Songz
Pharrell Williams

Top Rap Artist: Iggy Azalea J. Cole Drake Nicki Minaj Rae Sremmurd Top Country Artist: Jason Aldean Luke Bryan Florida Georgia Line Brantley Gilbert Blake Shelton Top Rock Artist: Bastille Coldplay Fall Out Boy Hozier Lorde Top Latin Artist: J Balvin Juan Gabriel Enrique Iglesias Prince Royce Romeo Santos Top Dance/Electronic Artist: Avicii Clean Bandit Disclosure Calvin Harris Lindsey Stirling Top Christian Artist: Casting Crowns Hillsong United Lecrae MercyMe Newsboys Top Billboard 200 Album: Maroon 5 “V” Pentatonix “That’s Christmas to Me” Ed Sheeran “x” Sam Smith “In the Lonely Hour” Taylor Swift “1989” Top Soundtrack: “The Fault in Our Stars” “Fifty Shades of Grey” “Frozen” “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix: Vol. 1” “Into the Woods” Top R&B Album Beyoncé “Beyoncé” Chris Brown “X” Michael Jackson “Xscape” John Legend “Love in the Future” Pharrell Williams “G I R L”
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CASTING CROWNS GARNERS TWO BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARD NOMINATIONS

buzzz worthy. . .
Los Angeles, Calif. (April 15, 2015) — Reunion/Beach Street Records artist Casting Crowns receives recognition by Billboard magazine with two distinguished “2015 Billboard Music Award” nominations. The group appears in the Top Christian Artist and Top Christian Album categories for its latest album THRIVE, which was named the best-selling record of 2014 according the Christian/Gospel Nielsen SoundScan chart. The band also still currently holds the position as Billboard’s top-selling act in Christian music since 2007. With the addition of these new nominations, Casting Crowns has now garnered eight career Billboard Music Award nods with two wins in 2012. The recent nominations build on a landmark year for one of Contemporary Christian music’s most successful artists. Earlier this year, the group added another RIAA Platinum album to its list of accolades with Until The Whole World Hears, making this the band’s fourth studio recording to hit Platinum status. To date, Casting Crowns has one RIAA 2x Platinum record (CASTING CROWNS), three RIAA Platinum albums (UNTIL THE WHOLE WORLD HEARS, THE ALTAR AND THE DOOR, LIFESONG) and two RIAA Gold albums (COME TO THE WELL and PEACE ON EARTH). Having also released two RIAA Certified Platinum DVDs and two RIAA Certified Gold DVDs and four RIAA Gold certified digital singles, the record-breaking group also recently performed at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall as part of a special weekend with fans. The GRAMMY Award-winning group features Mark Hall, Melodee DeVevo, Brian Scoggin, Megan Garrett, Juan DeVevo, Chris Huffman and Josh Mix, who have been recording and touring for more than 10 years -- since they heard their first single on the radio in 2003. Casting Crowns has been honored with three American Music Awards (seven nominations), a GRAMMY Award for its 2005 album LIFESONG (six nominations), 17 GMA Dove Awards and two Billboard Music Awards (eight nominations). The Billboard Awards recognize chart-topping artists, albums, and singles from a wide variety of genres including Pop, R&B, Rock, Christian, Alternative, Latin and EDM. Award finalists are based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital singles sales, radio airplay, touring, streaming and social interactions on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, VEVO, Spotify and other popular online destinations for music. Winners will be announced at the “2015 Billboard Music Awards” which airs live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 17, 8/7c on the ABC Television Network.
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2015 VAIL INTERNATIONAL DANCE FESTIVAL SEASON ANNOUNCED: JULY 27-AUGUST 10

buzzz worthy. . .
Festival To Include Artist-in-Residence Ballerina Carla Körbes, Tony Award-Winning Tap Legend Savion Glover, Five World Premieres, UpClose: Apollo, and a Balanchine Celebration VAIL, CO – The Vail International Dance Festival announces its 2015 schedule to be held July 27 through August 10, marking its 27th season with world premieres, exceptional debuts, and captivating collaborations. Located in the pristine alpine community of Vail, Colorado, the Festival features many of the world’s greatest artists from all genres of dance. Under the direction of former New York City Ballet star Damian Woetzel, the Festival’s 2015 season includes Artist-in-Residence ballerina Carla Körbes, Savion Glover, Wendy Whelan, American Ballet Theatre’s Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland, and Herman Cornejo, New York City Ballet’s Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck, Lauren Lovette, Jared Angle, Chase Finlay, Zachary Catazaro, and Joseph Gordon, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Linda Celeste Sims and Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Boston Ballet’s Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Angelica Generosa, and Memphis Jookers Lil Buck and Prime Tyme. Companies appearing at the Festival will include National Ballet of Mexico, Dance Heginbotham, BalletCollective, Rashaun Mitchell & Silas Reiner, BalletX, and Colorado Ballet. Musicians appearing this season include the acclaimed string quartet Brooklyn Rider, jazz phenomenon Jon Batiste, Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato, pianist Cameron Grant, and guitarist Gyan Riley. In a new extension for the Festival, a second Artist-in-Residence for 2015 will be illustrator Andrea Selby, who will be in Vail throughout the Festival to uniquely chronicle the performances, rehearsals, and community events. The 2015 program highlights include more unique-to-Vail programs than ever before, with a series of mixed bills combining repertory in new arrangements and dancers in new roles and partnerships. Dance House will feature a main performance with artists from the worlds of ballroom, ballet, street dance, and the variety of dance on television, followed by special site-specific performances throughout the house of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, all creating an immersive, one-night-only “house of dance” with artists ranging from Chicago “Footworker” King Charles to ballerina Tiler Peck. Ballet Blast brings ballet from around the world with a selection of artists and companies, including the National Ballet of Mexico making its Vail debut, and repertory ranging from contemporary choreography to Balanchine masterpieces to classics from the 19th century. In what has become an awaited yearly performance, NOW: Premieres features world premieres by some of today’s most dynamic choreographers, including John Heginbotham, Pam Tanowitz, Silas Riener & Rashaun Mitchell, Matthew Neenan, and Lil Buck, with dancers from Dance Heginbotham, BalletX, artists from New York City Ballet, and several of the choreographers themselves. The Festival’s UpClose series of rehearsal-style performances continues for 2015, this year focusing on George Balanchine’s seminal masterpiece Apollo to the music of Igor Stravinsky. This landmark ballet premiered as Apollon Musagète in 1928 as part of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes season, and over the course of his lifetime, Balanchine made changes to the ballet, adjusting and cutting décor, simplifying costumes, and ultimately eliminating the opening scene depicting Apollo’s birth with his 1979 revival. Guided by Festival Director Damian Woetzel, this UpClose performance will examine the ballet from its original incarnation to what Balanchine last staged before his death in 1983. Apollo will also be featured on the Balanchine Celebration performance later in the season, which will bring together ballet stars from New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre to showcase works by the 20th century’s greatest ballet choreographer. This program will feature the debut of Herman Cornejo in Apollo. The International Evenings of Dance, which have been a cornerstone of the Festival for over 25 years, will again feature stars from around the world joining in unique programs surveying the depth and variety of dance, with this year bringing Festival debuts from artists including New York City Ballet ballerina Sara Mearns. The season will also include the Festival’s first full-length evening ballet, as Philadelphia’s contemporary ballet powerhouse BalletX performs the critically-acclaimed Sunset, o639 Hours, based on a true story, with original music by award-winning New Zealand composer Rosie Langabeer. The Festival will close with Dance for $20.15; this annual popularly priced performance will feature a selection of Festival stars along with the home state troupe Colorado Ballet, with every seat in the house selling for $20.15. In addition to its theater-based performances, the Festival continues to expand on its numerous in-town, free Dancing in the Streets events, master classes with visiting artists, and the Celebrate the Beat dance and music education program free to local children. “It is primary for me to bring together a dynamic range of dancers and musicians to Vail to share collaborative performances on our stages,” said Festival Artistic Director Damian Woetzel. “Presenting new works, new role debuts and new partnerships has become the creative essence of the Vail International Dance Festival, and I look forward to what the coming 2015 season will bring. ” Vail International Dance Festival 2015 Season:• Monday, July 27 - Savion Glover & the Otherz: 7:30pm; Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater The Tony Award-winning legend of tap, Savion Glover returns to Vail to kick off the Festival with an electrifying performance, accompanied by his jazz quartet, The Otherz. “Virtuosity [is] his vehicle — extreme virtuosity.” –The New York Times • Tuesday, July 28 - Dance House: Ballroom/Dance TV Remix: 7:30pm; Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater A new take on Vail favorites, Dance TV and Ballroom Spectacular. Featuring a star-filled stage presentation, followed by special performances all around the amphitheater. With artists including World Champion Rhythm dancers Liana Churilova and Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine, ballerina Tiler Peck, Chicago “Footwork” trailblazer King Charles, and Memphis Jookin star Lil Buck. • Saturday, August 1 - Sunset, o639 Hours with BalletX: 7:30pm; Vilar Performing Arts Center With live musical accompaniment, the Festival’s first full-length evening ballet takes the stage at the Vilar Center. Sunset, o639 Hours is inspired by a true story, and in this acclaimed ballet we discover a world described by The New York Times as “…beautifully elegiac, taking us into the hearts of people who lived decades ago…” • Sunday, August 2 - Ballet Blast: National Ballet of Mexico, American Ballet Stars, BalletX, BalletCollective and Colorado Ballet: 7:30pm; Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater The Vail International Dance Festival welcomes the National Ballet of Mexico for the first time, joined by Colorado Ballet, BalletX, a selection of international ballet stars, and another Festival newcomer, New York’s nascent BalletCollective – all brought together for a diverse evening of ballet, from classic to contemporary, with music by the cutting edge string quartet, Brooklyn Rider. • Tuesday, August 4 - NOW: Premieres: 7:30pm; Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater A collection of world premieres commissioned by the Festival from celebrated choreographers, with a magnificent cast of artists from ballet, modern, and contemporary dance, all sharing the stage in this signature Festival performance. Choreographers include Pam Tanowitz, Silas Riener & Rashaun Mitchell, Lil Buck, John Heginbotham, and Matthew Neenan. “A Whirl of Premieres, From Jookin to Jetés.” –The New York Times• Wednesday, August 5 - UpClose: Apollo: 6:30pm; Vilar Performing Arts Center The UpClose series of rehearsal-style performances continues for 2015, this year focusing on George Balanchine’s seminal masterpiece Apollo* to the music of Igor Stravinsky. This landmark ballet premiered as Apollon Musagète in 1928 as part of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes season, and over the course of his lifetime, Balanchine made changes to the ballet, adjusting and cutting décor, simplifying costumes, and ultimately eliminating the opening scene depicting Apollo’s birth with his 1979 revival. Guided by Festival Director Damian Woetzel, this UpClose performance will examine the ballet from its original incarnation to what Balanchine last staged before his death in 1983. Featuring Festival stars including Carla Körbes, Tiler Peck, Herman Cornejo, and Chase Finlay. *Choreography by George Balanchine ©The George Balanchine Trust• Friday, August 7 & Saturday, August 8 - International Evenings of Dance: 7:30pm; Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater A magnificent cast of stellar dance artists from around the world takes the stage in these signature Festival performances. “…new partnerships and debuts that would please the hearts of fans thousands of miles away.” –The New York Times • Sunday, August 9 - Balanchine Celebration: 7:30pm; Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater Celebrating George Balanchine, one the 20th century’s greatest artists and founder of New York City Ballet, this performance features a selection of the world’s finest dancers in a unique evening of Balanchine ballets, including the debut of American Ballet Theatre superstar Herman Cornejo in Balanchine’s seminal masterpiece, Apollo*.*Choreography by George Balanchine ©The George Balanchine Trust• Monday, August 10 - Dance for $20.15: 7:30pm; Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater For closing night of Festival 2015, an evening for everyone with specially priced tickets for every seat in the house. Dance for $20.15 features Colorado Ballet and guest artists from the 2015 Festival. The Vail International Dance Festival performances take place at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. About the Vail International Dance Festival: The outdoor splendor of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is the perfect backdrop to artistic brilliance, and each summer the unique mountain town of Vail plays host to the world’s finest dancers. Now in its twenty-seventh year, the Vail International Dance Festival has developed into a treasured celebration of dance, renowned for its artistic excellence and unparalleled programming. Nearly twenty thousand people from around the world descend on Vail, a vibrant cultural destination, for the Festival’s two-week residence. The event’s spirited atmosphere transforms the village into a culturally-rich environment that is inviting to dance aficionados and newcomers alike. For more information, visit www.vaildance.org, like us on Facebook: Vail International Dance Festival, follow us on Twitter: @VailDance and Instagram: @VailDanceFest.
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Michigan woman, now the world's oldest person at 115

buzzz worthy. . .

Jeralean Talley, 115 years old, is now the world's oldest person. Jeralean is now the leader of the "supercentenarians" -- people more than 111 years old. Learn more about Mrs. Talley in the article below.


One of the last peope to be born in the U.S.. in the 1800's, Jearalean Talley has been documented as the world's oldest person.

Inkster, Mich. (AP) – A 115-year-old Detroit-area woman now listed as the world’s oldest living person still makes plans for a fishing trip each year and credits God for her longevity. Jeralean Talley of Inkster tops a list maintained by the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group, which tracks the world’s longest-living people. Gertrude Weaver, a 116-year-old Arkansas woman who was the oldest documented person for a few days, died on Monday. Talley was born May 23, 1899. 

Asked for her key to longevity, the Detroit Free Press reports that she echoed previous answers on the topic. “It’s coming from above,” she told the newspaper. “That’s the best advice I can give you. It’s not in my hands or your hands.” Michael Kinloch, 56, of Wayne County’s Canton Township, is a General Motors engineer and longtime family friend of Talley’s through their church. He said Talley’s mental state is “is very sharp.” “It’s unfortunate that other people passed away, but this has certainly elevated her. She’s feeling no pain. She just can’t get around like she used to,” Kinloch said. 

Talley’s husband died in 1988 and five generations of her family have lived in the Detroit area. In 2013, her 114th birthday drew the attention of President Barack Obama, who said in a personal note that she’s “part of an extraordinary generation.” Kinloch said he’s looking forward to taking Talley, despite her advanced age, on their annual fishing trip. “We go to a trout pond in Dexter,” a community about 40 miles west of Detroit, Kinloch said. “She really likes that.” 


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Experts say racism and sexism are eroding Black women's health

buzzz worthy. . .

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – The effects of living in a patriarchal, racist society measurably erode Black women’s physical and mental wellbeing, an emerging body of research finds. Over time, this steady drip of double-discrimination can lead to higher maternal mortality and lower birth weight rates, hypertension and heart disease, aggressive cancers, and psychological issues, to name a few effects. “Although the evidence is somewhat mixed, the consensus is that self-reported racial discrimination is associated with a variety of health outcomes—most prevalent being birth outcomes, cardio health concerns…also depression and psychological stress,” says Amani Nuru-Jeter, associate professor of public health at University of California. Nuru-Jeter, an epidemiologist who has contributed research on these issues, adds that there are lab-based, literature-based, and anecdotal studies to show the link between discrimination and poor mental and physical health. 

While discrimination touches most people at one time or another for varying reasons, Black women experience the double-whammy of racism and sexism—and even the triple burden of homophobia for gay, bisexual, or gender non-conforming Black women. “In general, we know that African Americans report experiencing [racial] discrimination more than Whites. But with Black women, issues of gender come into play,” Nuru-Jeter says. Women are much more likely than men to experience “network stress,” she explains—when people close to them express their pains and frustrations, they feel that stress indirectly. 

Men, on the other hand, are more likely than women to only experience the stress that happens to them. This is likely due to the way boys and girls are raised to fit gender norms, with girls being steered toward empathetic nurturing, even at the expense of their own emotional and mental wellness. Black women report an overwhelming sense of obligation to those around them, in addition to living at the intersection of societal racial discrimination, and gender discrimination even within their community. Nuru-Jeter says that this sense of obligation leaves little room for Black women to express and deal with the stress of everyday slights against their worth as people. 

“One of the ways in which chronic discrimination gets into the body and becomes anxiety, depressive episodes, or low birth weights, is in the ways we cope,” Nuru-Jeter says. “We know from psychological [research] that suppressing emotions is bad for your health.” When Black women do seek acknowledgement and fair resolutions regarding the racist and sexist jabs they meet, they often run into roadblocks. “This area of research is met with a lot of criticism because some people…don’t think [race discrimination] exists in this day and age,” Nuru-Jeter explains. 

“One question might be, how do we known it’s racial discrimination, and not other stress, because we all experience chronic stress. We have experimental data; we go into a lab and we…manipulate only one thing. Then we can measure cortisol [a hormone triggered by stress], heart health, and so on.” Fatima Goss Graves, vice president for education and employment for the National Women’s Law Center, sees similar misunderstandings in legal situations. When the layered discrimination Black women face is acknowledged, it is often met with disdain. “For African American girls in particular, there have been a number of cases…that really highlight the harassment and violence and inappropriate response by schools. So a [Black girl] speaks up about violence in her school, and the school takes disciplinary action against her,” Graves says. “That sends a message that we don’t; believe Black girls’ experiences.” 

Black women often decide that the best option is to endure in silence. “People don’t want to risk retaliation. The retaliation is a big deal—people risk their jobs, they risk losing their educational status, there’s retaliation that comes in the form of harassment—so there’s a lot at stake,” says Graves. “What ends up happening is, a lot of people never come forward at all. These are the stressors of discrimination…that people end up holding on to.” To prevent the slow damage of these stressors, Graves says people who are experiencing discrimination should document what happens to them, and tell others—even friends—about incidents when they happen. This documentation and multiple sources can corroborate patterns and serve as evidence to have issues properly addressed. Nuru-Jeter advocates practicing self-care as the primary priority, and seeking a listening ear when needed. “Research is ongoing, but we’re trying to come up with ideas [for prevention],” Nuru-Jeter says. “African Americans in general should not have to experience discrimination at all…. [But] that’s not going to happen tomorrow.” 

- See more at: http://www.blackpressusa.com/sexism-and-racism-take-toll-on-black-womens-health/#sthash.wuSvPrqt.GpoqYqpY.dpuf
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