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

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

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Predsient Obama's remarks on the SCOTUS decision on the legalization of gay marriae

buzzz worthy. . . Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities of changing times -- a never-ending quest to ensure those words ring true for every single American. Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt. This morning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love. This decision will end the patchwork system we currently have. It will end the uncertainty hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples face from not knowing whether their marriage, legitimate in the eyes of one state, will remain if they decide to move [to] or even visit another. This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land. In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision. This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It's a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come. And this ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free. My administration has been guided by that idea. It’s why we stopped defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and why we were pleased when the Court finally struck down a central provision of that discriminatory law. It’s why we ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” From extending full marital benefits to federal employees and their spouses, to expanding hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients and their loved ones, we’ve made real progress in advancing equality for LGBT Americans in ways that were unimaginable not too long ago. I know change for many of our LGBT brothers and sisters must have seemed so slow for so long. But compared to so many other issues, America’s shift has been so quick. I know that Americans of goodwill continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition in some cases has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs. All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact; recognize different viewpoints; revere our deep commitment to religious freedom. But today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple, often painfully, real change is possible. Shifts in hearts and minds is possible. And those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them. Because for all our differences, we are one people, stronger together than we could ever be alone. That’s always been our story. We are big and vast and diverse; a nation of people with different backgrounds and beliefs, different experiences and stories, but bound by our shared ideal that no matter who you are or what you look like, how you started off, or how and who you love, America is a place where you can write your own destiny. We are a people who believe that every single child is entitled to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There’s so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to every American. But today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we’ve made our union a little more perfect. That’s the consequence of a decision from the Supreme Court, but, more importantly, it is a consequence of the countless small acts of courage of millions of people across decades who stood up, who came out, who talked to parents -- parents who loved their children no matter what. Folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts, and stayed strong, and came to believe in themselves and who they were, and slowly made an entire country realize that love is love. What an extraordinary achievement. What a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. What a reminder of what Bobby Kennedy once said about how small actions can be like pebbles being thrown into a still lake, and ripples of hope cascade outwards and change the world. Those countless, often anonymous heroes -- they deserve our thanks. They should be very proud. America should be very proud.
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Findng Our Roots postponed at the conclusion of Affleck investigaion

buzzz worthy. . .
An investigation into why actor Ben Affleck was upset about a portion of his interview airing on PBS's "Finding our Roots" has ended with the show being postponed. The conclusion of the investigation was released on Wednesday.

“PBS and WNET have determined that the series co-producers violated PBS standards by failing to shield the creative and editorial process from improper influence, and by failing to inform PBS or WNET of Mr. Affleck’s efforts to affect program content.,” PBS stated.  Affleck claimed the host, Henry Louis Gates aired a portion off his family's past that he' asked to be left omitted, raising questions of censorship.  Correspondencebetween Gates and were revealed in the Sony hack.  Affleck said online that he was embarrassed to learn he had a family member who owned slaevs and did no want the information aired.  PBS opened an investigation and has not only decided to postpone airings of the show, but to remove the episode that aired online. Read more here.
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President Obama's eulogy of Rev. Clementa Pinckney

buzzz worthy. . . The Bible calls us to hope. To persevere, and have faith in things not seen. “They were still living by faith when they died,” Scripture tells us. “They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on Earth.” We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith. A man who believed in things not seen. A man who believed there were better days ahead, off in the distance. A man of service who persevered, knowing full well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed. To Jennifer, his beloved wife; to Eliana and Malana, his beautiful, wonderful daughters; to the Mother Emanuel family and the people of Charleston, the people of South Carolina. I cannot claim to have the good fortune to know Reverend Pinckney well. But I did have the pleasure of knowing him and meeting him here in South Carolina, back when we were both a little bit younger. (Laughter.) Back when I didn’t have visible grey hair. (Laughter.) The first thing I noticed was his graciousness, his smile, his reassuring baritone, his deceptive sense of humor -- all qualities that helped him wear so effortlessly a heavy burden of expectation. Friends of his remarked this week that when Clementa Pinckney entered a room, it was like the future arrived; that even from a young age, folks knew he was special. Anointed. He was the progeny of a long line of the faithful -- a family of preachers who spread God’s word, a family of protesters who sowed change to expand voting rights and desegregate the South. Clem heard their instruction, and he did not forsake their teaching. He was in the pulpit by 13, pastor by 18, public servant by 23. He did not exhibit any of the cockiness of youth, nor youth’s insecurities; instead, he set an example worthy of his position, wise beyond his years, in his speech, in his conduct, in his love, faith, and purity. As a senator, he represented a sprawling swath of the Lowcountry, a place that has long been one of the most neglected in America. A place still wracked by poverty and inadequate schools; a place where children can still go hungry and the sick can go without treatment. A place that needed somebody like Clem. (Applause.) His position in the minority party meant the odds of winning more resources for his constituents were often long. His calls for greater equity were too often unheeded, the votes he cast were sometimes lonely. But he never gave up. He stayed true to his convictions. He would not grow discouraged. After a full day at the capitol, he’d climb into his car and head to the church to draw sustenance from his family, from his ministry, from the community that loved and needed him. There he would fortify his faith, and imagine what might be. Reverend Pinckney embodied a politics that was neither mean, nor small. He conducted himself quietly, and kindly, and diligently. He encouraged progress not by pushing his ideas alone, but by seeking out your ideas, partnering with you to make things happen. He was full of empathy and fellow feeling, able to walk in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes. No wonder one of his senate colleagues remembered Senator Pinckney as “the most gentle of the 46 of us -- the best of the 46 of us.” Clem was often asked why he chose to be a pastor and a public servant. But the person who asked probably didn’t know the history of the AME church. (Applause.) As our brothers and sisters in the AME church know, we don't make those distinctions. “Our calling,” Clem once said, “is not just within the walls of the congregation, but…the life and community in which our congregation resides.” (Applause.) He embodied the idea that our Christian faith demands deeds and not just words; that the “sweet hour of prayer” actually lasts the whole week long -- (applause) -- that to put our faith in action is more than individual salvation, it's about our collective salvation; that to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and house the homeless is not just a call for isolated charity but the imperative of a just society. What a good man. Sometimes I think that's the best thing to hope for when you're eulogized -- after all the words and recitations and resumes are read, to just say someone was a good man. (Applause.) You don’t have to be of high station to be a good man. Preacher by 13. Pastor by 18. Public servant by 23. What a life Clementa Pinckney lived. What an example he set. What a model for his faith. And then to lose him at 41 -- slain in his sanctuary with eight wonderful members of his flock, each at different stages in life but bound together by a common commitment to God. Cynthia Hurd. Susie Jackson. Ethel Lance. DePayne Middleton-Doctor. Tywanza Sanders. Daniel L. Simmons. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. Myra Thompson. Good people. Decent people. God-fearing people. (Applause.) People so full of life and so full of kindness. People who ran the race, who persevered. People of great faith. To the families of the fallen, the nation shares in your grief. Our pain cuts that much deeper because it happened in a church. The church is and always has been the center of African-American life -- (applause) -- a place to call our own in a too often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships. Over the course of centuries, black churches served as “hush harbors” where slaves could worship in safety; praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah -- (applause) -- rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad; bunkers for the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. They have been, and continue to be, community centers where we organize for jobs and justice; places of scholarship and network; places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm’s way, and told that they are beautiful and smart -- (applause) -- and taught that they matter. (Applause.) That’s what happens in church. That’s what the black church means. Our beating heart. The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate. When there’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel -- (applause) -- a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founder sought to end slavery, only to rise up again, a Phoenix from these ashes. (Applause.) When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, services happened here anyway, in defiance of unjust laws. When there was a righteous movement to dismantle Jim Crow, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached from its pulpit, and marches began from its steps. A sacred place, this church. Not just for blacks, not just for Christians, but for every American who cares about the steady expansion -- (applause) -- of human rights and human dignity in this country; a foundation stone for liberty and justice for all. That’s what the church meant. (Applause.) We do not know whether the killer of Reverend Pinckney and eight others knew all of this history. But he surely sensed the meaning of his violent act. It was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress. (Applause.) An act that he imagined would incite fear and recrimination; violence and suspicion. An act that he presumed would deepen divisions that trace back to our nation’s original sin. Oh, but God works in mysterious ways. (Applause.) God has different ideas. (Applause.) He didn’t know he was being used by God. (Applause.) Blinded by hatred, the alleged killer could not see the grace surrounding Reverend Pinckney and that Bible study group -- the light of love that shone as they opened the church doors and invited a stranger to join in their prayer circle. The alleged killer could have never anticipated the way the families of the fallen would respond when they saw him in court -- in the midst of unspeakable grief, with words of forgiveness. He couldn’t imagine that. (Applause.) The alleged killer could not imagine how the city of Charleston, under the good and wise leadership of Mayor Riley -- (applause) -- how the state of South Carolina, how the United States of America would respond -- not merely with revulsion at his evil act, but with big-hearted generosity and, more importantly, with a thoughtful introspection and self-examination that we so rarely see in public life. Blinded by hatred, he failed to comprehend what Reverend Pinckney so well understood -- the power of God’s grace. (Applause.) This whole week, I’ve been reflecting on this idea of grace. (Applause.) The grace of the families who lost loved ones. The grace that Reverend Pinckney would preach about in his sermons. The grace described in one of my favorite hymnals -- the one we all know: Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. (Applause.) I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind but now I see. (Applause.) According to the Christian tradition, grace is not earned. Grace is not merited. It’s not something we deserve. Rather, grace is the free and benevolent favor of God -- (applause) -- as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. Grace. As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us, for he has allowed us to see where we’ve been blind. (Applause.) He has given us the chance, where we’ve been lost, to find our best selves. (Applause.) We may not have earned it, this grace, with our rancor and complacency, and short-sightedness and fear of each other -- but we got it all the same. He gave it to us anyway. He’s once more given us grace. But it is up to us now to make the most of it, to receive it with gratitude, and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift. For too long, we were blind to the pain that the Confederate flag stirred in too many of our citizens. (Applause.) It’s true, a flag did not cause these murders. But as people from all walks of life, Republicans and Democrats, now acknowledge -- including Governor Haley, whose recent eloquence on the subject is worthy of praise -- (applause) -- as we all have to acknowledge, the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. (Applause.) For many, black and white, that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now. Removing the flag from this state’s capitol would not be an act of political correctness; it would not be an insult to the valor of Confederate soldiers. It would simply be an acknowledgment that the cause for which they fought -- the cause of slavery -- was wrong -- (applause) -- the imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to civil rights for all people was wrong. (Applause.) It would be one step in an honest accounting of America’s history; a modest but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds. It would be an expression of the amazing changes that have transformed this state and this country for the better, because of the work of so many people of goodwill, people of all races striving to form a more perfect union. By taking down that flag, we express God’s grace. (Applause.) But I don't think God wants us to stop there. (Applause.) For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career. (Applause.) Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate. (Applause.) Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system -- (applause) -- and leads us to make sure that that system is not infected with bias; that we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure. (Applause.) Maybe we now realize the way racial bias can infect us even when we don't realize it, so that we're guarding against not just racial slurs, but we're also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal. (Applause.) So that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote. (Applause.) By recognizing our common humanity by treating every child as important, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which they were born, and to do what’s necessary to make opportunity real for every American -- by doing that, we express God’s grace. (Applause.) For too long -- AUDIENCE: For too long! THE PRESIDENT: For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation. (Applause.) Sporadically, our eyes are open: When eight of our brothers and sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an elementary school. But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short by gun violence in this country every single day; the countless more whose lives are forever changed -- the survivors crippled, the children traumatized and fearful every day as they walk to school, the husband who will never feel his wife’s warm touch, the entire communities whose grief overflows every time they have to watch what happened to them happen to some other place. The vast majority of Americans -- the majority of gun owners -- want to do something about this. We see that now. (Applause.) And I'm convinced that by acknowledging the pain and loss of others, even as we respect the traditions and ways of life that make up this beloved country -- by making the moral choice to change, we express God’s grace. (Applause.) We don’t earn grace. We're all sinners. We don't deserve it. (Applause.) But God gives it to us anyway. (Applause.) And we choose how to receive it. It's our decision how to honor it. None of us can or should expect a transformation in race relations overnight. Every time something like this happens, somebody says we have to have a conversation about race. We talk a lot about race. There’s no shortcut. And we don’t need more talk. (Applause.) None of us should believe that a handful of gun safety measures will prevent every tragedy. It will not. People of goodwill will continue to debate the merits of various policies, as our democracy requires -- this is a big, raucous place, America is. And there are good people on both sides of these debates. Whatever solutions we find will necessarily be incomplete. But it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again. (Applause.) Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual -- that’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society. (Applause.) To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change -- that’s how we lose our way again. It would be a refutation of the forgiveness expressed by those families if we merely slipped into old habits, whereby those who disagree with us are not merely wrong but bad; where we shout instead of listen; where we barricade ourselves behind preconceived notions or well-practiced cynicism. Reverend Pinckney once said, “Across the South, we have a deep appreciation of history -- we haven’t always had a deep appreciation of each other’s history.” (Applause.) What is true in the South is true for America. Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other. That my liberty depends on you being free, too. (Applause.) That history can’t be a sword to justify injustice, or a shield against progress, but must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past -- how to break the cycle. A roadway toward a better world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind -- but, more importantly, an open heart. That’s what I’ve felt this week -- an open heart. That, more than any particular policy or analysis, is what’s called upon right now, I think -- what a friend of mine, the writer Marilyn Robinson, calls “that reservoir of goodness, beyond, and of another kind, that we are able to do each other in the ordinary cause of things.” That reservoir of goodness. If we can find that grace, anything is possible. (Applause.) If we can tap that grace, everything can change. (Applause.) Amazing grace. Amazing grace. (Begins to sing) -- Amazing grace -- (applause) -- how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind but now I see. (Applause.) Clementa Pinckney found that grace. Cynthia Hurd found that grace. Susie Jackson found that grace. Ethel Lance found that grace. DePayne Middleton-Doctor found that grace. Tywanza Sanders found that grace. Daniel L. Simmons, Sr. found that grace. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton found that grace. Myra Thompson found that grace. Through the example of their lives, they’ve now passed it on to us. May we find ourselves worthy of that precious and extraordinary gift, as long as our lives endure. May grace now lead them home. May God continue to shed His grace on the United States of America. (Applause.)
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buzzz worthy. . . Dee-1’s tour dates include stops in Hawaii, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. New York, NY – June 27, 2015 – RCA Inspiration announces Hip Hop artist Dee-1’s tour dates. This is Dee-1’s second tour in 2015 and includes performances at BET Experience in Los Angeles, CA at 1pm PST on Sunday June 28 (BETx Stage: Music Matters) and Essence Festival in Dee-1’s hometown New Orleans, LA at 7pm CST on July 5 (Art of Hip-Hop Superlounge). The energetic MC toured the nation in February to promote his critically acclaimed EP, “3’s Up.” The positive rap star is known for giving jaw-dropping, crowd-surfing performances and invigorating audiences when he takes the stage. Since 2011, Dee-1 has been on four successful nationwide tours, the “Grind and Hustle Tour” with Killer Mike and Young Dro, “Too Focused to Fail Tour,” “Ridin All By Ourselves Tour” with Murs, “Heist Tour” with Macklamore, and the “Tetsou and Youth Preview Tour” with Lupe Fiasco. In addition, as a BET Music Matters artist, Dee-1 has toured with the likes of Macklemore, Lupe Fiasco and Lecrae. About Dee-1 New Orleans based rapper, Dee-1 created his own lane in hip-hop by making music that’s “real,” “righteous” and “relevant.” He is the self-proclaimed “voice of the underdog who grinds with a higher purpose.” In March 2011, Dee-1, a former schoolteacher, garnered a huge buzz in the rap game with the release of “I Hope They Hear Me Vol. 2”, a mixtape packed with 18 high energy tracks. Most historic was his single “Jay, 50, and Weezy,” that put him on the radar of major label reps. Dee-1 released, “The Focus Tape,” (hosted by legendary DJ Mannie Fresh) in 2012, followed by “Psalms of David,” (featuring the hit song “Work” ft Lecrae) creating fans worldwide. Dee-1 signed to RCA Inspiration in 2013 and released his major label debut EP, 3’S UP on February 17, 2015. Tour Dates June 28th - Los Angeles, CA - BET Experience July 5th - New Orleans, LA - Essence July 18th - Doswell, VA - Joy Festival August 7th- Bennettsville,SC August 29th - New Orleans, LA Sept 10th- Cleveland, MS - Free outside concert series Oct 17th - Laplace, LA - Andouille Festival
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A Song for Charleston: Desmond Pringle releases a heartful song for the Emanuel 9

buzzz worthy. . .

In the aftermath of the South Carolina church massacre, Charleston native Desmond Pringle has penned a prayer, "Get Us Through." a heartfelt ballad that expresses the shock an pain most Americans feel over the senseless litany that claimed 9 innocent lives at Mother Emmanuel AME Church.  For Pringle, the devastation literally hit close to home.  He lived a half a mile away from Mother Emanuel, sang and worshiped there.  As he seeks healing from the senseless acts, the new single simply pleads to heaven, "Lord Get Us Through."

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Sen. Clementa Pinckney lies in state as Confederate flag waves

buzzz worthy. . .

Today the  body of late South Carolina lawmaker Clementa Pinckney lies in state, a week  after he was murdered with 8 churchgoers at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.  Pinckney, 41 the pastor of Emanuel and one  the youngest  members to ever serve in the South Carolina Senate. The dignified and honorable farewell was bestowed Rev. Pinckney as a respected statesman.   His ebony casket was delivered the the rotunda of the capitol by horse drawn carriage with full regalia.   Yet, a black drape covered the window to hide the Confederate flag his assassin revered, unable to veil the deeply seeded darkness it symbolize.

Thousands came to pay their respect surrounded by controversy over the removal of the Confederate flag, which will continue to wave until state legislators vote to retire it.

Picnkney will be eulogized by President Obama on Friday.
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buzzz worthy. . .

The supreme court has affirmed same sex marriage is a constitutional right and no state can impede on it.  The White House is pleased with the decision, declaring on Twitter, "#lovewon." The ruling essentially redefined marriage, which was deemed a union between one man and one woman for centuries. It is an upset to traditional Christian values.  Various Republicans have expressed theor disapproval with the decision, indicating the law may not manifest easily.  However, a reent poll show over 60% of the participants acceptance gay marriage. Vice President Biden voice his support of the ruling in the following statement:

Statement by the Vice President on the Supreme Court Decision in Obergefell v. Hodges
All marriages, at their root, are about love.

Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that simple proposition—supported by a majority of Americans and a majority of our states—by recognizing that men marrying men and women marrying women are guaranteed the same civil rights and equal protection under our Constitution afforded to Jill and me, and to anyone else.

We couldn’t be prouder. Over the years—in their homes, on our staff, on the frontlines of war, and in houses of worship—Jill and I have befriended countless gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans who share a love for their partners constrained only by social stigma and discriminatory laws. But today, their love is set free with the right to marry and the recognition of that marriage throughout the country.

This day is for them, their children, and their families. And it is for generations of advocates—gay, lesbian, transgender, straight—who for decades fought a lonely and dangerous battle. People of absolute courage who risked their lives, jobs, and reputations to come forward in pursuit of the basic right recognized today, but at a time when neither the country nor the courts would protect or defend them.

And this day is for history to remember as one where, as a nation, our laws finally recognize that all people should be treated with respect and dignity—and that all marriages, at their root, are defined by unconditional love.
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Amen "Rev. President": Highlights from the Eulogy of Rev.Cementa Pinkney

buzzz worthy. . .

"What a good man," says Pres. Obama of Rev. Pinckney. "Sometimes, I think that’s the best thing to hope for when you’re eulogized — to just say somebody was a good man."

PRESIDENT OBAMA ADDRESSES REBEL FLAG CONTROVERSY AT FUNERAL OF REV. CLEMENTA PINCKNEY: "It is true that a flag did not cause these murders. . .but as we all have to acknowledge the flag has always represented more than just ancestral pride. For many black an white that flag was a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. We see that now. Removing the flag from this it would be an acknowledgement that the cause for which the fought. . .the cause of slavery was wrong. The imposition of Jim Crow after the Civil War, the resistance to Civil Rights for all people was wrong. It would be one step in an honest accounting in America's history a modest, but meaningful balm for so many unhealed wounds. . .By taking own that flag, we express God's grace. . . By making the moral choice to change we express God's grace. We don't earn grace. We are all sinners, but God gives it to us anyway. . .It is our decision how we honor it. "

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WATCH LIVE: Funeral Service of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Obama to perform eulogy

buzzz worthy. . .
Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream After a busy morning at the White House, celebrating many political victories, the day takes on an a more somber tone for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. The first couple is en route to Charleston, SC to pay respect to slain lawmaker and pastor, State Senator Clementa Pinckney. This is a personal loss for the Obamas who called Pinckney a friend. President Obama will perform the eulogy. Pinckney, 41 was murdered along with 8 people attending a bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC more thana week ago.
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jimmy Needham partners with NewReleaseToday.com to release video for Randy Travis remake

buzzz worthy. . .

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) -- Christian pop artist Jimmy Needham has partnered with NewReleaseToday.com for today's exclusive World Premiere of his "Forever and Ever, Amen" lyric video. Twenty-eight years ago this week, the Randy Travis hit, written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, was the #1 Country Single in both the USA (Billboard) and Canada (RPM). Needhams reimagined pop version is featured on his new album, Vice & Virtue (Platinum Pop Records).

Watch Jimmy Needhams "Forever and Ever, Amen" lyric video here:

"I grew up listening to old school country and thought it would be fun to cover one of my favorite childhood songs, says Needham of the Randy Travis hit that won a Grammy for Best Country & Western Song and an ACM Award for Song of the Year. "I obviously am not a country artist but I liked the challenge of getting to reimagine this song in my own way, with a little less steel guitar and a little bit more soul."

For more information, visit the official website at www.jimmyneedham.com.
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Donnie McClurkin to pay tribute to Andrae Crouch at BET Awards

buzzz worthy. . .

McClurkin will sing a tribute to Andrae Crouch at 15th Annual BET Awards June 28
And Returns as Judge on Season 8 All Star Edition of Sunday Best Premiering July 19 on BET
Los Angeles, CA  - RCA Records recording artist, Donnie McClurkin a trailblazer in the gospel music industry is set to pay tribute to gospel legend, Andrae’ Crouch at the 15th Annual  BET Awards airing Sunday, June 28 5:00pm/PDT – 8:00pm/EDT LIVE from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  An encore airing will premiere around the world on BET’s International Network on Tuesday, June 30 at 9:00pm BST/10:00pm CAT and will air live on MTV Australia for the very first time (check local listings).  Special Guests include: Janet Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Robin Thicke, Janelle Monae, Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar and others. This year’s show will be hosted by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross.
While our nation will be celebrating Independence Day on July 4th, The Donnie McClurkin Show will also be celebrating its 9th year on the air.  To kick things off TDMS will be giving away one cabin for two on the upcoming Gospel Music Cruise March 6-13, 2016.  The winner will cruise the high seas with Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp, Shirley Caesar, Take 6, Tye Tribbett, Fred Hammond and hosted by Kirk Whalum & Regina Belle. The contest was announced  on Monday, June 15 but for more details visit www.donnieradio.com.

McClurkin is also set to return as a judge on BET's "Sunday Best" special all-star edition  premiering on  Sunday, July 19 at 8P/7C on BET
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OPEN CALL: 'Loving' story casting for feature film

buzzz worthy. . .

Interacial couples have the Lovings of Virginia  to thank for fighting for the rights of couples from different races to wed. Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested  and treated as criminals in 1967 when they wed in Virginia, unknowingly violating a local statute that prohibited their union.  They fought back and won, changing the course of history for mixed marriages in America.  Their story is well documented, but will now be adapted into a major motion picture.  "Loving" centers around the interracial couple who resided in Virginia in the 1950s, and the  landmark 1967 Supreme Court case ‘Loving v. Virginia' that sealed their love and the love of diverse couples for generations to come.

An open casting call for Loving will be held in 3 areas in Virginia starting today.

"Loving" Open casting Call

Thursday, June 25, Bowling Green Town Hall, 117 Butler Street, Bowling Green, VA  22427 from 2PM-8PM. Parking is available in a lot at Town Hall.

Saturday, June 27, Artworks, 320 Hull Street, Richmond, Virginia  23224 from 12PM-4PM.  Parking is available in the adjacent paid lot or on the street.  Auditioners are asked not to call Artworks directly for directions or information about this project.

Sunday, June 28, The Black Swan, 9 W Old Street, Petersburg, VA  23803 from 12PM-6PM. Parking is available in a lot behind the building along Pike Street or on the street.

Producers a looking for residents of all ages and ethnicities for speaking and nonspeaking roles in "Loving." Bricklayers, blue-collar workers, business people, teachers, drag race hobbyists and period car mechanics are also needed.  African American and mixed ethnicity children ages 0-6, expectant mothers of all ethnicities, and African American Grandparents are encouraged to attend.  They are also seeking experienced bricklayers, blue-collar construction-worker types, politicians and business types, teachers, drag race hobbyists and period car mechanics. 

Each call  call will be focused on finding the above roles as well as people of all ethnicities with interesting, expressive faces.  Acting experience is not necessary and if selected for a speaking or a non-speaking role, compensation will be on the scale of other professional productions.

Academy Award nominated filmmakers are conducting three open calls for Richmond area citizens to be considered for speaking and non-speaking roles in Loving, a new feature film by award winning writer/director Jeff Nichols (Midnight Special, Mud, Take Shelter). 

“We are thrilled to be working on such an important story,” said casting director Erica Arvold, “Anne Chapman, Sarah Dowling and I look forward to discovering some new talent and faces at these open calls!”

Attending one (1) of the three scheduled open calls is highly encouraged for those who'd like to be considered to appear in this feature film.

What to Expect

Each open casting call will consist of a brief talk with a member of the casting team and possibly an interview on camera.  No appointment is necessary, but a positive attitude and the ability to quietly wait are good traits to put to use when attending an open casting call.  ALL PARTICIPANTS SHOULD BRING A NON-RETURNABLE PHOTO.  Candid, non-professional photos are fine.  If you do have a headshot/resume, please bring two (2) copies. Please attend one of the three calls if you're able.  If you are unable to attend the open call, or if you have other questions, please email LovingExtrasCasting@gmail.com.

Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds states, “Working with exceptional filmmakers while highlighting remarkable Virginians and their story is an honor.” And in regards to the open calls, “What a wonderful opportunity for Virginians to participate in this important film.”
The movie is based on the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the interracial couple who were plaintiffs in the landmark 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New Voting Rights Advancement Act introduced to Congress beckoning further federal protection of voting rights

buzzz worthy. . .

In preparation for the the 2016 election season, Democratic law makers are revisiting state  legislation that threatens a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013 in the case of Shelby vs. Holder the supreme court overturned a provision that effectively allowed the federal government to oversee changes states made to voting procedures.  If passed the new Voting Rights Advancement bill would restore the requirement for federal approval for voting procedure changes in some states.   Those states have historically been on record for voter disenfranchisement practices. The White House released a statement on June 24 introducing the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015.  It reads:
This August, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act. As the President has noted, ‘the Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic efforts.’ Yet 50 years later, laws are being passed across the country that make it harder to vote. As the President said at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, ‘the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, the Voting Rights Act stands weakened’ while charging Congress to ‘pledge to make it their mission to restore that law this year.’
The Administration applauds today’s efforts by Members of both the House and Senate to take up this charge to restore the promise of the Voting Rights Act to repair the damage done to this centerpiece of our democracy and honor the sacrifices made by so many who were willing to die to protect the rights it guarantees. Congress should give this bill the consideration it deserves and work together to protect that most essential right upon which our country was founded: the right to vote.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest
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Pat Houston: Bobbi Kris has been moved to hospice care

buzzz worthy. . .

Nearly five months after Bobbi Kristina Brown was found face down in the bath tub of her Atlanta town home, the prospect of her recovery has not been clear. There were reports she was making gradual progress and that she was in a vegetative state circulating at the same time. Today we learned the sad news her condition has deteriorated and the family has released her to hospice care. Brown's aunt and co-gaurdian, Pat Houston said the life of 22-year-old daughter of the late Whitney Houston and Bobbi Brown is in God's hands.

The statement reads: "Despite the great medical care at numerous facilities, Bobbi Kristina Brown's condition has continued to deteriorate.  As of today, she has been moved into hospice care.  We thank everyone for their support and prayers. She is in God's hands now."

Ms. Brown's grandmother Cissy Houston had already revealed the prognosis was dire. "I have just returned from visiting my granddaughter Bobbi Kristina in the hospital and while she is no longer in a medically induced coma she has a tracheotomy and according to the doctors she has global and irreversible brain damage and remains unresponsive," she told People magazine via a statement in April.

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buzzz worthy. . .

Kirk Franklin has given Ohio native, Christon Gay his big break inking a recording deal with FO YO SOUL/ RCA.  The 28-year-old former indie singer/songwriter/rapper/producer comes with receipts, having topped the Billboard Gospel chart in 2013 with "King In Me,"a single that was used in American Idol Superbowl  commercials. 
His new album is slated for release in the Fall of 2015.
Dallas TX – June 24, 2015 – Fo Yo Soul Recordings/RCA, a joint venture between gospel music icon Kirk Franklin and RCA Records, is proud to announce the signing of celebrated writer, singer, rapper, and producer Christon Gray.  The Columbus, Ohio-based artist moves between both singing and rapping while also playing keys and writing most of his own music.
As a member of WLAK (We Live As Kings), Christon topped the Billboard Gospel charts with their self-titled debut in 2013.  "King In Me," a single from that album, was used as the theme song for American Idol's Superbowl commercials in 2014.  His last solo album, School Of Roses, debuted in the top 5 on Billboard’s R&B albums chart upon its release in March 2014.
“Christon is one of the most exciting, young voices in urban music today,” says Kirk Franklin.  “We are thrilled to be able to partner with him to cultivate his influence in the flourishing Christian Hip Hop market and to expand his platform into the mainstream

Christon is already hard at work on his debut Fo Yo Soul Recordings album, which is slated for release this Fall.
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White House Introduction of the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 50 years aftr

buzzz worthy. . .

To curtail the actions of states known for voter disenfranchisement. Democratics intorduced the Voting Rights Advancement bill on Wednesay.

n preparation for the the 2016 election season, Democratic law makers are revisiting state  legislation that threatens the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013 in the case of Shelby vs. Holder the supreme court overturned a provision that effectively allowed the federal government to oversee changes states made to votin procedures.  if passed would restore the requirement for federal approval for voting procedure changes in some states, a provision of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court two years ago.

The White House released a statement detailing the goal of the legislation:

This August, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Voting Rights Act. As the President has noted, ‘the Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic efforts.’ Yet 50 years later, laws are being passed across the country that make it harder to vote. As the President said at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, ‘the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, the Voting Rights Act stands weakened’ while charging Congress to ‘pledge to make it their mission to restore that law this year.’
The Administration applauds today’s efforts by Members of both the House and Senate to take up this charge to restore the promise of the Voting Rights Act to repair the damage done to this centerpiece of our democracy and honor the sacrifices made by so many who were willing to die to protect the rights it guarantees. Congress should give this bill the consideration it deserves and work together to protect that most essential right upon which our country was founded: the right to vote.
 (Source: Press Secretary Josh Earnest)
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Charles Jenkins performs on "Beyond A.D."

buzzz worthy. . .

Pastor Charles Jenkins

On Sunday, June 21, GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter and Inspired People recording artist Pastor Charles Jenkins perform his latest radio hit – “War” (#2 on Billboard Magazine’s Gospel Airplay chart) on the finale episode of "Beyond A.D.," the first-ever NBC Entertainment Digital talk show companion series. The episode broadcasts 9am/8am EST on NBC.com and Pastor Jenkins will also perform his #1 2012 hit “Awesome” on the program..

Hosted by E! News co-host Jason Kennedy, "Beyond A.D." is a half-hour digital companion series serving as a discussion platform for fans, cast, producers, special celebrity and musical guests continuing the history-making impact of the NBC hit series, "A.D. : The Bible Continues" from producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.
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OWN previews top summer shows

buzzz worthy. . .

Los Angeles - OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network's hit drama "The Haves and the Have Nots," starring John Schneider and Tika Sumpter, returns for its new summer season on Tuesday, June 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.  The popular comedy series "Love Thy Neighbor" from Tyler Perry, featuring ornery but loveable Mama Hattie (Patrice Lovely) and her Love Train Diner, returns Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes.

Photo Caption: Mama Hattie and Linda on "Love Thy Neighbor"
Photo Credit: Courtesy of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

OWN's highest-rated series, "The Haves and the Have Nots" last season was prime time's #1 original cable series among African-American women and total viewers, regularly attracting more than three million viewers.  
Previously, "Love Thy Neighbor" averaged one million viewers and was the #1 original cable series in its time period for African American viewers. 

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Maryland governor announces battle with cancer

buzzz worthy. . .

Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan announced Monday in a press conference he has "aggressive" B Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Hogan said he received the cancer diagnosis a few days ago. He will be undergoing and 18 week course of chemo therapy and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will serve in his absence.
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TUNE-IN ALERT: Have and Have Nots" season premiere

buzzz worthy. . .

As season 3 of Tyler Perry's "The Haves and the Have Nots" begins, all three of the families are in crisis. A fire tears through the Harrington mansion, started by socialite Veronica Harrington in a fit of jealous rage aimed at her husband, David Harrington. Once again, Candace Young, who extorted millions from Judge Jim Cryer, finds herself in hot water—blamed by Jim and his wife, Katheryn, for the death of their daughter, Amanda. Meanwhile, the sons—Wyatt Cryer, Jeffery Harrington and Benny Young—must grapple with their own issues and the aftermath of their actions. And the Young family matriarch, Hanna, struggles to hold her family together.

Tune in Tuesday, June 30, at 9/8c as Tyler Perry's The Haves and the Have Nots returns for its summer season.
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buzzz worthy. . .

Caesar selected to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Recording
The current Queen of Gospel, legendary artist Pastor Shirley Caesar garners a new milestone, as an honoree in the Hollywood Walk of Fame’s just-announced honorees selected for the class of 2016, to receive a star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Recording, unveiled via www.walkoffame.com (date for star ceremony is pending).  The award-winning Gospel trailblazer, who’s garnered a career-high 11 GRAMMY® Awards, 18 Dove Awards, 14 Stellar Awards and induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, was also recently inducted into the inaugural Stellar Honors Club at the 2015 Stellar Awards.  Pastor Caesar will also celebrate another milestone in 2016, marking 50 years in her internationally-renowned career as a solo artist.  With over 40 albums including her most recent hit album Good God, Pastor Caesar will soon be releasing more new music, and remains a beloved community leader in her native North Carolina, continuing to pastor at the Mt. Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh, NC and serve the community through her Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministries.      
Phil Thornton, eOne Music Vice President and General Manager of Urban Inspirational, says: “Entertainment One Music congratulates Pastor Shirley Caesar on this monumental achievement as an honoree on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for 2016! What a great blessing to be selected for this honor. Pastor Caesar’s incomparable style, personality and lifelong dedication to ministry have continued to impact and influence so many fans around the world, and we are thrilled to celebrate her upcoming 50-year anniversary and deliver new music to come.”     
Pastor Caesar also recently performed in a celebration honoring gospel music’s rich history, hosted at the White House.  Her performance will air on “The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White House,” which is scheduled to air on PBS and TV One on Friday June 26th
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Alexis Spight prepares for summer events and ‘Dear Diary’ August 28 release

buzzz worthy. . .
Spight Set for Bishop T.D. Jakes’ MEGAFest’s MEGA-YOUTH Event, the ESSENCE Festival, AIM Convention and More
(New York, NY – June 23, 2015) – Uncle G Records presents gospel recording artist Alexis Spight’s forthcoming album, Dear Diary on August 28. Dear Diary marks the first release on the label, which is distributed by eOne Music in Nashville, TN. Dear Diary is produced by Fred Jenkins, Jamar Jones, Pierre Medor, and Bruce Robinson.
Spight’s new single, “All the Glory” is #10 on Billboard’s Gospel National Airplay chart, #3 on the Gospel Indicator Songs chart and #8 Gospel Mediabase chart. The video, “All the Glory” recently debuted on Vevo (see link below).
Spight’s Dear Diary Promotional tour kicks-off at the AIM Conference in Tampa,  FL (July 1-2), followed by appearances at the South Sacramento Christian Center in Sacramento, CA (July 3), the ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, LA (July 2-5), Sheilah Belle’s Big Gospel Weekend in Richmond, VA (July 11), New Direction COGIC Annual Choir Day in Rancho Cucamonga, CA (July 12) and Bishop T.D. Jakes’ MEGAFest’s MEGA-YOUTH in Dallas, TX, which she will headline for five days (August 19-23).
“We are pleased with the progression of radio airplay on ‘All the Glory,’” says Greg “Uncle G” Lyons, CEO of Uncle G Records. “The new music is phenomenal, I believe Alexis fans will be surprised with the range and depth on her new project. This summer Alexis will be on the Dear Diary promo tour travelling all over the country and this fall; she will head to Brazil and other countries in South America, South Africa, Africa and Europe.”
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Consumer Alert: Niagara clarifies bottled water recall alert

buzzz worthy. . .

Niagara water with a date range of June 10-18, 2015has been voluntarily recalled by the water company.

Niagara Bottling Company, LLC is now clarifying a recall it issued last week  due to concerns of exposure to E.colibacteria. Yesterday the company issued a consumer notice stating  water produced at its Pennsylvania plant from June 10-18, 2015 is the only product date range in question, emphasisising water that was purchased outside of that date range is safe to drink.   The company's notice indicated bacteria was discovered at the Spring Source.

In the DMV are and other parts of the East Coast the water is sold at Wegmans, ShopRite, 7-Eleven, Acme, and Giant stores.

If you have any additional concerns, please contact our Consumer Affairs Department at (888) 943-4894.

The official notice follows. . .

Consumer Notice

UPDATED – Monday, June 22, 2015
Last week, we issued a voluntary recall of spring water produced at our two (2) Pennsylvania plants from June 10-18th, 2015 because the operator at one of our contracted springs failed to notify us that there was evidence of E. coli bacteria at the spring source.

Because there has been a great deal of misinformation reported and circulated over the last 24 hours, we felt it was necessary to issue this clarifying statement.

Niagara Bottling performs extensive testing on both incoming spring water as well as finished products.  We have confirmed there have been no issues or E. coli contamination of any kind detected in our finished products or in the spring water that was delivered to our bottling facility.

Once we were informed of the potential presence of E. coli at the spring source, we immediately shut down our operations, disinfected our bottling lines and initiated a voluntary recall in an abundance of caution and in the interests of consumer safety.

This recall only relates to spring water produced in our Pennsylvania manufacturing facilities from June 10-18th, 2015.  It does not relate to any purified water or any spring water produced outside of Pennsylvania or outside the June 10-18th, 2015 timeframe.

To determine whether your product is part of this recall, please visit the links below. If you don’t see your product on the list, it was completely unaffected by the recall and is completely safe to drink.
Niagara has been family-owned and family run for over 50 years. Nothing is more important to us than consumer safety, which is why we issued this recall.

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buzzz worthy. . .#BETX / #BETAWARDS




New York, NY (June 23, 2015)– Janet Jackson, one of the world’s most influential entertainers, will be receiving the inaugural ULTIMATE ICON: Music Dance Visual award at the 15th annual “BET Awards” 2015 on Sunday, June 28, 2015, it was announced by Stephen G. Hill, BET’s President of Programming.

Ciara, Jason Derulo and Tinashe are slated to perform a special dance tribute to the iconic entertainer, which is set to include her just released single, “No Sleeep.”  The entertainer sent her fans into social media frenzy when she recently announced her upcoming first studio album in seven years and the first leg of her highly anticipated UNBREAKABLE WORLD TOUR, a 37-date tour starting August 31st in Vancouver, BC.

“No Sleeep,” the first single from the yet untitled album, debuted on Ms. Jackson’s Twitter and website on Monday (June 22nd) and immediately reached the top spot on Billboard Trending 140.  Currently, “No Sleeep” is trending at #1 and is one of the most  highly requested singles on the radio.
“This is Janet Jackson, people!  We are excited beyond belief to present her with our inaugural ULTIMATE ICON: Music Dance Visual award and we are thrilled that she chose the BET Awards as the first step on her new road,” said Mr. Hill.  “An inspiration to many other artists, “Ms. Jackson” (‘cause I’m nasty) blends music, dance and visuals in unique and groundbreaking ways and we look forward to celebrating her storied history…as well as giving The BET Awards audience a peek into her Unbreakable future.”

Janet Jackson stands as one of the best-selling artists of all time with a string of hits that have left an indelible impression on pop culture.  She is the first African American female artist to have hit singles in each of the last four decades.  Her music has won her 6 GRAMMY® Awards, 2 Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a nomination for an Academy Award along with dozens of American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards and Billboard Music Awards. She has received accolades as an actor as well, including the NAACP Best Supporting Actor award.  Janet is a New York Times Number One Best Selling Author, choreographer, dancer, businessperson, philanthropist, and with sales of over 160 million records worldwide is one of biggest-selling artists in popular music history. Her music and artistry has opened doors through which other top artists have followed, while acknowledging her impact on their musical perceptions.

Hosted by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, the “BET Awards” will also include previously announced performances by Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj and Meek Mill. Michael Ealy, Sanaa Lathan, Laverne Cox, Michael B. Jordan and Zendaya, who were also previously announced as presenters for the 15th Anniversary of the year’s biggest night in music. In addition, Smokey Robinson has been announced to perform and receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and Tom Joyner the Humanitarian Award at this year’s ceremony. Additional names to be announced.
A full list of the “BET Awards” 2015 nominations is now available at http://www.bet.com/awards
. Stephen G. Hill, BET’s President of Programming, Connie Orlando, BET’s Senior Vice President of Music and Specials, Lynne Harris Taylor, BET’s Vice President of Specials, will serve as Executive Producers for the “BET Awards” along with Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment.
The “BET Awards” 2015 will air LIVE on Sunday, June 28, 2015 on BET and will premiere around the world on BET’s international network on Tuesday, June 30 at 9:00pm BST / 10:00pm CAT and will air live on MTV Australia for the very first time (check local listings).

The “BET Awards” will take place along with the BET Experience at L.A. Live in Los Angeles from June 25-28, 2015.  BET.com/Awards is the official site for the “BET Awards” and will have all the latest news and updates about this year's show.  All information about the BET Experience at L.A. LIVE presented by Coca-Cola® can be found at BETExperience.com.  The BET Experience VIP Package offers the only way to purchase a “BET Awards” ticket, great seats to 3-nights of concerts at the Staples Center, and exclusive access to events at the free Fan Fest.  For more information and to purchase tickets, go to BET.com/BETX.Follow the Experience on Twitter @betexperience.
# # #
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Presidential hopefuls Clinton and Graham address Charleston, race

buzzz worthy. . .

Hillary Clinton has been "camera shy" (avoiding the media) since entering the presidential race, but today from a church in Missouri she is speaking out on Charleston, decrying the Mother Emanuel massacre as an act of racist terrorism.  "It shouldn't fly there.  It shoudn't fly anywhere."

Clinton is one of few residential hopefuls who are willing to confront what has become an unavoiable issues America faces daily--racism. 

South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham, who is also running for president has spoken out against the tragedy as well on the The View last Thurday. However, while he supported the Confederate flag previously, he had a change of heart and stood in solidarity for the removal of the flag with Gov. Nikki Haley yesterday when she called for the removal of the rebel flag in a press conference.
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'Heart of Cool' wants to be your online destination for all things cool

buzzz worthy. . .

 June, 2015 - New York, New York: Heart of Cool, the new online movement that merges fashion, art, culture, and lifestyle through innovative, luxurious and edgy content.

Heart of Cool is a fashion, art, and life movement created by celebrity style guru Tasha Boué and entertainment veteran and entrepreneur Cristen Mills in an effort to inspire a new generation through the exploration of all things cool in our diverse and ever-changing world. With monthly features like The Cool Guide, Mills and Boué take media coverage to the next level with their unique and individual style to introduce and share brands, products, and/or news impacting the lives of millennials everywhere.

From the latest fashion collaborations to the newest automotive technology, HeartofCool.com celebrates life's most cutting-edge and creative concepts. Cristen Mills is an ambitious, motivated and inspiring businesswoman, with a background in communications, economics and entertainment. She entered the industry as a personal liaison to Oscar-wining artist Common, and later went on to open her own restaurant - My Two Cents with celebrity chef Alisa Reynolds in Los Angeles.

Tasha Boué is best known for styling collaborations with Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx, and has built an impressive resume consisting of extensive work in wardrobe and film styling as well as personal image consulting for celebrities such as Lloyd and Verse Simmons. A fashion maven, Tasha is an expert in trend-spotting and high fashion forward work.

To experience Heart of Cool, check out: http://www.heartofcool.com/
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Home mixologists elevate your summer soirées with easy artisanal craft cocktails

buzzz worthy. . .

With summer soiree season underway and holiday parties to follow soon after, SweetShine premium "garden-to-glass" liqueurs offers 5 spirited  "culinary cocktail" recipes to try when  entertaining guests. When it comes to liqueurs, this woman owned distillery based in Charlestown, West Virginia, makes its "hooch" au naturale.

YellowGirl SM.jpgMix up your spirit selections and take your summer soirées to an unforgettable new level this season with libations that eradicate expectations: easy mix-and-go artisanal craft cocktails featuring Bloomery SweetShine’s award-winning line of all-natural, hand-crafted liqueurs that make premium spirits sing. No need to hit the bar for a stellar craft cocktail, as these killer farm-fresh concoctions are a snap to make at home!

Sustainably crafted with 100% natural hand-selected ingredients for a supreme garden-to-glass experience, Bloomery’s unparalleled assortment of SweetShine artisanal liqueurs are full of  farm fresh fruit, roots and nuts paired with homespun syrups and corn likker—that’s it…there are no preservatives, concentrates or artificial ingredients whatsoever.

Mastering mixology and becoming a “home bar rock star” is super-simple with SweetShine’s array of distinctive flavors that include "Moonshine Milkshake" Cremma Lemma, Black Walnut, Limoncello, Raspberry Lemon, Ginger Shine, Peach Shine, Chocolate Raspberry, Hard Lemonade and Seasonal Cranberry Clementine and Pumpkin Spice. All are ideal for pairing with the premium spirit of your choice, whether it’s vodka, bourbon, gin or champagne—just blend, chill and enjoy! Just a touch of SweetShine quickly creates a classic cocktail with a twist that’ll let you bid boring and unadventurous drinking adieu! SweetShine is also incredibly tasty as a beer topper or mixed into your coffee beverage.

“There is a growing resurgence with consumers who want to create craft beverages from high quality, fresh ingredients, but don't want to be burdened with a drink that's too complex to make,” notes Linda Losey, founder of Bloomery Plantation Distillery. “Our fans trust our brand in that arena, and are comfortable and confident that when they grab a bottle of SweetShine, they can add it to any of their current cocktails and they'll create a fresher, higher quality, premium cocktail that was a breeze to make.”

The freshness of Bloomery SweetShine’s ingredients cannot be understated, with all agricultural ingredients grown at the distillery’s own farm,  local neighboring farms or other small American farms. Each item in the brand’s portfolio proffers an exciting and unrivaled flavor profile.

  5 ‘culinary cocktail’ recipes that’ll make you a home bar rock star this season   

Home mixology is easy with these 5 three-step artisanal craft cocktail recipes that’ll make your taste buds sing this season:  
  • Ruby Red Slipper: Equal parts Raspberry Lemon SweetShine, Vodka, fresh Ruby Red Grapefruit

  • Oh my Darlin’: Equal parts Cranberry Clementine SweetShine and Gin with a heavy splash of Tonic

  • Cremmarita: 1 1//4 parts Cremma Lemma SweetShine, 1 part Tequila, ½ part Fresh Lime

  • Southern Hospitality: 1 part Peach SweetShine, 1 part Bourbon, 2 parts Tea

  • SweetShine Mule: 1 part Ginger SweetShine, 1 part Vodka, 1 part Fresh Lime
Bottles SM.jpgBloomery SweetShine, a leader in the locally sustainable craft distillery trade, is helping drive the emerging craft beverage category and “culinary cocktail” trend that’s now sweeping the globe. With more than twenty-one international awards and too many cocktail aficionado accolades to count, the company is doing its part to take the restaurant, bar and hospitality industries to tasty new heights.

When Bloomery Plantation Distillery opened its doors in September of 2011, we were the 424th craft distiller federally licensed in the U.S.—today those numbers have exploded,” adds Losey.  “The critical intersection of local sourcing combined with the handcrafting of approachable spirits like liqueurs is resonating in the marketplace. Consumers like a little bit of the unusual and appreciate our whimsical approach, but quality and taste are paramount—this is why we grow our own Italian lemons and Hawaiian ginger as well as grow and harvest our own black walnuts and pumpkins to craft distinctive, memorable and crave-worthy flavors.”

And crave-worthy they are! While entirely versatile with veritable limitless recipe possibilities, here’s an at-a-glance glimpse of SweetShine best serving practices:

  • Limoncello: Traditionally this is best served from the freezer into a chilled glass and we don't argue with this tradition. However this will surprise you as a beer topper too. Spike a nice hefeweisen with a touch for a special treat.

  • Cremma Lemma: Also great from the freezer into a chilled glass or over ice. This is our "moonshine milkshake." Remember to shake it up before serving. This is made with real milk and can often form a limoncello collar. This collar is the prize in the Cracker Jack box, better than any tequila worm. This tiny bit of lemon cheesecake has a bit of a kick and is certain to put a smile on your face. Try our "moonshine milkshake" in a little bit of bourbon and ooooh, so smooth.

  • Raspberry Lemon: Best served from the fridge or cooler. Mixes with EVERYTHING! Mixologists love it, bakers and chefs love it. Bottles are also designed to be used with a straw. Try it one to one with vodka and fresh ruby red grapefruit juice. An oh my, martini.

  • Hard Lemonade: An American favorite. "Moonshine-based" easy sipping. Low alcohol content. Just a great lemonade. Made from fresh hand-squeezed lemons with just enough spike, it's a special hard lemonade designed for hot days or hot dates. Serve from the fridge or the cooler. Depending on the etiquette of your event, you may choose to drink from the bottle or through a fancy straw. Best purchased in quantity. Refrigerate after opening.

  • Chocolate Raspberry: Chilled is best, never frozen. Please shake before serving and don't bake it in your car! Again all trades love it. Even coffee baristas! A shot in your coffee and it'll change your morning routine.

  • Peach: This is phenomenal served over ice. Try this with something bubbly too, champagne, prosecco, tonic. Whiskeys call our peach girl a great friend with benefits.

  • Ginger: Don't let the old guy on the label fool you, this is a new taste in a bottle. Never before has anyone captured ginger snap flavor and capped it. We like this best at room temperature. Try this mixed with ANY brown spirit, rye, scotch, cognac etc. also great with gin. Like the Limoncello, this is a WOW as a beer topper too. Try a bit with your favorite IPA or Pale Ale for a smoothing result.

  • Black Walnut: Like our Limoncello this is a traditional Italian digestivo, a straight from the bottle sipper after dinner finishing very smoothly. Unlike limoncello this is not as sweet and offers many spice flavors in the finish. The dark color is from all natural unripe or green black walnuts and a mix of spices creating a unique flavor for you to savor!

  • Seasonal Pumpkin Spice: Miss Seasonality with tons of personality. Crafted after Eric's grandma's pumpkin pie recipe. And, oh boy, did he nail it! The delight of pumpkin and spice in a delectable, chop-licking liqueur.

Bloomery SweetShine Gives Moonshine a Makeover

Since opening as a mini-distillery in the agri-tourism industry in September of 2011, Bloomery Plantation Distillery has been capitalizing on the craving for locally sustainable craft distilleries, the nostalgia for the prohibition-era and the explosion of fruit flavored liqueurs through its hand-crafted, award-winning SweetShine line. With a sweet spin on moonshine, the company makes moonshine drinkable through its award-winning liqueurs that are hand-crafted from farm-fresh fruits, roots and nuts. To date, more than 60,000 premium drink devotees have visited the distillery to enjoy a SweetShine artisanal cocktail of their own amid affable company.

The distillery boasts a wildly unique, imaginative and fiercely dedicated staff led by company founder, Linda Losey. For staffers, SweetShine represents far more than just a product line but rather is regarded as a foundational philosophy—an adventurous and even risk-taking way of doing things…a spirited and amusing outlook on life. This viewpoint guides everything the company creates, and Bloomery’s passionate one-of-a-kind team attracts customers from around the world who believe in, connect with and trust the SweetShine brand.

The distillery, located two miles east of Charles Town, West Virginia, is situated on a 12-acre parcel of land where they grow farm-fresh ingredients used in the elixirs, including ginger, raspberries and lemons, among others. Putting their unique spin on the process of making moonshine, Bloomery's all natural SweetShine is crafted using time-honored recipes with 190 proof 'shine, pure cane sugar and garden-grown ingredients. The entire process is hand-crafted—from the hand-zesting of every lemon, to the hand-chopping of the ginger, to the hand picking of raspberries, to the hand-making of its syrups, to the handwriting that goes on every bottle of every label. Each batch is individually proofed; the finished liqueurs range from 40° to 70°. Truly handcrafted. And it shows. Just a touch of SweetShine quickly creates a classic cocktail with a twist—goodbye to boring unadventurous drinking! Bloomery SweetShine is currently distributed to retailers, bars and restaurants in 42 states, and continues to expand distribution nationally.

Learn more about the brand and its admirable approach online at www.BloomerySweetshine.com.
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