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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, November 12, 2016


buzzz worthy. . .

The Atlanta Production for the Network's First Original Movie Inspired 

TV One's Original Series For My Man is Also Directorial Debut 

for Tasha Smith

SILVER SPRING, MD - November 10, 2016 - TV One today announced that production is underway in Atlanta, Georgia for the new film, Hit A Lick, which marks the feature-length directorial debut for Tasha Smith (For Better Or Worse, Empire) and stars Lil Mama, Lance Gross, Tami Roman, Big Freedia, Lil Zane, and Floyd Mayweather.Slated for a 3Q17 premiere, the film is the network's first original movie inspired by an episode of TV One's original series, For My Man.
Hit A Lick, tells the tragic story of Falicia Blakely, a teen mom who grows up in the fast-lane. When she becomes an exotic dancer, she attracts the attention of local pimp and predator, Dino. His empty promises of a life together turn Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games; and she's forced to prove her love for him at the expense of innocent lives.
Hit A Lick cast announced today: 
  • Lil Mama (CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story) as Falicia, a sassy 17 year-old young mom-turned-exotic dancer who falls hard for her pimp boyfriend and finds herself forced to choose between commitment to his love and a life of crime.   
  • Lance Gross (House of Payne, Temptation) as Dino, a modern day Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, who uses Falicia's weakness for his gain.  
  • Tami Roman (Basketball Wives, Belle's) as Stacey, Falicia's alcoholic mother who has jumped in and out of her daughter's life, exposing her to too much too soon. 
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr. as Punch, a loud and cocky club owner from Miami. 
  • Tiffany Black (Bring Out The Lady) as Pumpkin, Falicia's rough around the edges "road dog" who fully intends to strip her way out of poverty. 
  • Walter Fauntleroy as "Q," Falicia's regular customer-turned-friend; a good guy caught in a bad situation. 
  • Big Freedia as Tam, neighborhood friend and confidante to Falicia's mother. 
  • Lil Zane as DJ Pierre, Club DJ. 
In addition to directing and producing, Tasha Smith is a multifaceted actress whose work brings style and intensity to the subjects she plays on the big and small screens. She currently stars in the Tyler Perry television series, For Better or For Worse on OWN, for which she earned an NAACP Image Award nomination as "Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series." Additionally, Smith appears in Lee Daniels' FOX hip-hop drama series, Empire, as well as the Starz series Power in pivotal recurring roles.

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FACT SHEET: Ensuring Veterans Have the Tools to Succeed

buzzz worthy. . .

President Obama Announces New Actions to Ensure Service Members and Veterans Are Getting the Most Value out of Their Federal Education Benefits

Over the past eight years, the President has worked to ensure that we are fulfilling our promises to all those who have served and protected our country. This means providing veterans the benefits they have earned, the health care that they need, and the resources and assistance to succeed when transitioning back to civilian life.

A central tenet of this promise is to make sure that we do all we can to ensure that our service members, veterans, and their families have the protections, resources, information, and support they need to pursue the American dream. Since the beginning of the Administration, the President has made a commitment to improve education outcomes for service members, veterans, and their family members. And that begins with enabling them to maximize their federal education benefits, including benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Tuition Assistance Program, and the Department of Education’s (ED) Federal student aid programs.

The Obama Administration has delivered on that promise through actions that expand access to high-quality postsecondary opportunities for our Nation’s heroes. In 2012, President Obama announced the Principles of Excellence Executive Order, to ensure that veterans, service members, and their families have adequate information, support, and protections while using their federal education benefits. Since then, the Administration has made significant progress, with over 6,000 educational institutions signing on to provide access to information and increased oversight of programs. We have launched the GI Bill Comparison Tool, which has made it easier for over 1.3 million individuals to research educational institutions and training programs approved for the GI Bill and also compare educational institutions. The Post-9/11 GI Bill has provided nearly 1.7 million individuals with $68.9 billion in education benefits since its inception in 2009. The President signed legislation that expanded Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits eligibility criteria under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship to the surviving spouses and children of service members who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001, and legislation requiring all 50 states, Washington D.C., and U.S. Territories to provide recently transitioning veterans and dependents in-state tuition rates at public institutions of higher learning – and now all 50 states are doing just that.

But there is more work to be done. That is why, on this Veterans Day, the President is announcing new measures to ensure that service members, veterans, and their families are treated fairly when they use their Federal education benefits. Building on the Principles of Excellence issued by the President and other executive actions, the Administration is expanding on these efforts by issuing a Presidential Memorandum that outlines additional steps, including:

  • Establishing a pilot program to inform school choice: Developing and launching a pilot program and evaluation to find the best methods for counseling service members and helping them to make informed educational choices when enrolling in educational and training programs. ED, DOD, VA, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will collaborate on the design and evaluation of this pilot.

  • Improving data-sharing: Improving data sharing among Federal agencies, including the Department of Labor (DOL), DOD, ED, and VA, to increase transparency and improve access to comprehensive information on service member and veteran student outcome measures, including education attainment, career outcomes, student debt levels, and student default rates.

  • Expanding the use of online tools: Strengthening online resources, such as the GI Bill Comparison Tool and College Scorecard, through the work of VA and ED, to make it easier for prospective students to evaluate the quality of the programs they are considering.

  • Promoting military apprenticeship programs: Taking steps to promote the enhancement and implementation of military apprenticeship programs for service members and spouses through coordination by DOL, DOD, ED, and DHS. This includes developing a plan to enhance and implement military apprenticeship opportunities for service members to improve job skills and obtain industry-recognized credentials and certificates while on active duty; exploring the expansion of the current United Services  Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) to include all services; and working to further reduce barriers to employment caused by restrictive state occupational licensing requirements for military spouses and service members transitioning to civilian jobs.

  • Amending the Post-9/11 GI Bill: Developing a legislative proposal to amend the Post-9/11 GI Bill to ensure that veterans who use their benefits for credentialing and licensing tests are fairly charged.

  • Cracking down on deceptive marketing: Strengthening coordination across Federal agencies and developing standard protocols to protect veterans from deceptive and fraudulent marketing of educational services and benefits.

  • Formalizing collaboration across the government: Formalizing an interagency Working Group with representatives from DOD, DOL, ED, VA, DHS, the Department of Justice (DOJ), Small Business Administration (SBA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and other Federal agencies, offices, and initiatives, as appropriate, to coordinate policy development and implementation going forward. The working group will also initiate an enforcement subcommittee to ensure ongoing and continued coordination on strengthening oversight, enforcement, and accountability within these benefits programs and better streamlining protocols and information-sharing.

Through these steps, the President is ensuring that the good work done by this Administration will carry forward for years to come, and that veterans, service members, and their families will have the tools they need to succeed in the economy of the 21stcentury.

Building on a Record of Progress

In addition to the actions announced today to strengthen education and training programs for those that have served our country, the Administration continues to take action to address the five core priorities that the President has set out for serving our veterans:

1.                  Health Care – Making sure veterans have timely and high-quality access to care
2.                  Benefits – Tackling the backlog of claims and modernizing the appeals process
3.                  Homelessness – Working to prevent and end veteran homelessness
4.                  Economic Opportunity – Fighting to give veterans every chance to enjoy the American Dream
5.                  Resources and Transformation at the VA – Making sure VA is serving every veteran

Over the past eight years, the Administration has made significant strides across each of these five pillars, and we are not letting up.  In conjunction with Veterans Day, the Administration is announcing three additional milestones that build on this record of success:

  • Ending Veteran Homelessness in the State of Delaware – In 2010, the Administration released Opening Doors, the nation’s first-ever strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness.  Since that time, we have made remarkable progress in meeting that goal.  We have reduced veteran homelessness by 47% - nearly half – since 2010.  And the progress is even more pronounced for those veterans that had been living on the street and without a place to stay, as unsheltered veteran homelessness has declined by 56% since 2010.  More than 30 communities and 2 states have previously announced they have ended veteran homelessness.  And this week, the state of Delaware is joining that list, announcing that they have put an end to veteran homelessness statewide.  Next week, the First Lady and Dr. Biden will convene local officials, homelessness stakeholders, advocates, and others to identify strategies to ensure this critical progress continues.

  • Increasing Federal Hiring of Veterans – In 2009, the Administration embarked on a concerted effort to ensure that the Federal government was doing its part to provide veterans with the employment opportunities they deserve.  As part of this, the President signed Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government.  And the Administration has made good on that promise.  Today, OPM released the Employment of Veterans in the Federal Executive Branch Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015.  The report notes that 6,000 more veterans were hired in FY15 compared to FY14, bringing the percentage of new veterans hired across the Federal government to 32.5 percent.  All told, the Federal government has hired approximately 516,000 veterans since FY09, and veterans now represent 30.9 percent of the Federal workforce, as compared to 25.8 percent in FY 2009.

  • Increasing Data Sharing to Promote Transparency for Veterans and Students – The Department of Education (ED) will use disability data from the Department of Veterans Affairs to proactively contact disabled veterans who have student loan debt and inform them of ED’s total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge process.  Unlike other borrowers, those identified through the data match will not be required to submit documentation of their eligibility. Instead, they are eligible for a streamlined process by which they simply sign and return the completed application.  This effort will ensure that eligible borrowers with disabilities can more efficiently and  effectively apply for TPD discharge of their students loans.

These efforts build on progress made across-the-board – cutting the backlog of initial disability claims by nearly 90 percent, increasing veterans’ access to health care, increasing the overall level of funding requested for VA benefits and programs by over 85 percent, and reducing the veteran unemployment rate by more than half. 

Moving forward, the Administration is committed to making sure this work carries on far into the future, ensuring that our nation upholds the sacred covenant made with those that have served this country.

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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 transfer of power to the newly elected leader.  Obama was expected to hold the meeting with his nemesis for 10 minutes; it ran 90.  The two men had never met.  Their conversation centered on making a smooth transition into the White House and staffing needs.  Afterwards Trump said he looked forward to receiving future "council" from Obama.  They shook on it.  Trump and his wife, who also got her initial introduction into the White House,  headed to the Capitol to meet with GOP leaders where he had lunch with House Speaker Paul Ryan. And so began the political novice's foray as a Washington insider.

"I have been very encouraged by the, I think, interest in President-elect Trump's wanting to work with my team around many of the issues that this great country faces. And I believe that it is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face," remarked Obama.  

Trump was also pleased with the meeting calling Mr. President a "good man." 

No staff attended and the press was prohibited from  taking photos, other than White House press. Trump also denied a press pool from traveling with his motorcade as is customary, raising concerns about future press access to the White House.  Members of the press waited in vain for hours to get any footage or photos of Trump after the historic meeting, but neither leader emerged casting a shadow on an already gloomy mood among press and White House staff.

Monday, the day before the election Obama said Trump was uniquely unqualified to be President.   Trump for famously instigated the birther movement saying Obama was not qualified to lead the country because he was not an American, and pushed  speculation about the president's birth place until well within his candidacy. 

In a press briefing following the meeting  Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obamas views on Trump have not changed. "POTUS did not get to choose his successor, the American people did," said Earnest. They did not "re-litigate" the campaign but focused on moving forward despite those differences he offered.

Vice President Biden met with Pence separately. Frist Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden met with future First Lady Melania Trump privately over tea.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton's concession speech

buzzz worthy. . .

Hillary Clinton did not win her second bid for president on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.  Most Americans are feeling a range of emotions--sadness, anger, fear in the aftermath of the election. She conceded by phone in the early morning hours.  Protests have followed. She expected to win.  The stage was clearly set for victory at the Javits Center in New York.  Instead of cheers, there were tears as her supporters stood appearing traumatized as the reality of a potential loss set in.  By Wednesday Clinton addressed the nation with a formal concession speech printed below:

Thank you.

Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.

This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I'm sorry we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.

But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together -- this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign. You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort. This is painful, and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love -- and about building an America that's hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.

We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America -- and I always will. And if you do, too, then we must accept this result -- and then look to the future. 

Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. 

Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don't just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things -- the rule of law, the principle that we're all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too -- and we must defend them.

And let me add: Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let's do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear: making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top; protecting our country and protecting our planet; and breaking down all the barriers that hold anyone back from achieving their dreams. 

We've spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American Dream is big enough for everyone -- for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. 

Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will. 

I am so grateful to stand with all of you. 

I want to thank Tim Kaine and Anne Holton for being our partners on this journey. It gives me great hope and comfort to know that Tim will remain on the front-lines of our democracy, representing Virginia in the Senate. 

To Barack and Michelle Obama: Our country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude for your graceful, determined leadership, and so do I. 

To Bill, Chelsea, Marc, Charlotte, Aidan, our brothers, and our entire family, my love for you means more than I can ever express. 

You crisscrossed this country on my behalf and lifted me up when I needed it most -- even four-month old Aidan traveling with his mom. 

I will always be grateful to the creative, talented, dedicated men and women at our headquarters in Brooklyn and across our country who poured their hearts into this campaign. For you veterans, this was a campaign after a campaign -- for some of you, this was your first campaign ever. I want each of you to know that you were the best campaign anyone has had.

To all the volunteers, community leaders, activists, and union organizers who knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, posted on Facebook - even in secret or in private: Thank you. 

To everyone who sent in contributions as small as $5 and kept us going, thank you. 

And to all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I've spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I've had successes and I've had setbacks -- sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too. 

This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it. It's always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives. 

To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. 

I know that we still have not shattered that highest glass ceiling. But some day someone will -- hopefully sooner than we might think right now.

And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world. 

Finally, I am grateful to our country for all it has given me. 

I count my blessings every day that I am an American. And I still believe, as deeply as I ever have, that if we stand together and work together, with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation -- our best days are still ahead of us. 

You know I believe we are stronger together and will go forward together. And you should never be sorry that you fought for that. 

Scripture tells us: "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart."

My friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do. 

I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election. May God bless you and god bless the United States of America.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Prince Harry stands by his woman following racist backlash

buzzz worthy. . .

Having a real life prince fight for a woman's virtue is usually the stuff of fairytales, but it is the current reality American actress Megan Markle is facing.  The negative comments of Internet users has triggered a response from Prince Harry about his relationship with the interracial beauty who plays a secretary on "Suits" via a statement from Kensington Palace. Last week, the racist comments threatened a short relationship that he clearly does not want to jeopardize as indicated by the departure from palace convention in a royal addressing a personal issue publicly.  Most of the criticism was outright vicious and Harry isn't having it. 

In the following statement released by his communications secretary on Tuesday morning via Twitter, Harry said he is concerned about Markle's safety and feels he can not protect her. (Of course with the oceans and status between them, it's not like he can just step off the throne and move to the U.S. to be by her side).  He has spoken out hoping  the  media can reflect on the damage that has been done. Over the last week since news broke of their involvement, media outlets have dug into Markle's past and contacted others in her life fishing for a story.  A British paper's headline referred to Markle as being "straight outta Compton," implying she is somehow not good enough for him.  While the 34-year-old is from California, she does not call Compton home.

This message confirms two things about  Prince Henry of Wales.  One--he and Markle are definitely an item and two, if he wants something he will use what ever is within his reach to fight for it.

The AP report the couple met in Canada (where "Suits" is taped) while the hunky red headed bachelor was attending the Invictus games.


Since he was young, Prince Harry has been very aware of the warmth that has been extended to him by members of the public.
He feels lucky to have so many people supporting him and knows what a fortunate and privileged life he leads.
He is also aware that there is significant curiosity about his private life. He has never been comfortable with this, but he has tried to develop a thick skin about the level of media interest that comes with it.
He has rarely taken formal action on the very regular publication of fictional stories that are written about him and he has worked hard to develop a professional relationship with the media, focused on his work and the issues he cares about.

But the past week has seen a line crossed. His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment.
Some of this has been very public - the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.
Some of it has been hidden from the public - the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriend; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life.
Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.
It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.
He knows commentators will say this is "the price she has to pay" and that "this is all part of the game". He strongly disagrees. This is not a game - it is her life and his.
He has asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done.
He knows that it is unusual to issue a statement like this, but hopes that fair-minded people will understand why he has felt it necessary to speak publicly.

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buzzz worthy. . .


SILVER SPRING, MD-November 3, 2016-TV One's NewsOne Now,the first morning news program to focus on news and analysis of culture from an explicitly African American perspective, will bring the 2016 election season to a close with a special six-hour live telecast of TV One's 2016 Election Night Viewing Party on Tuesday, November 8 at 7 p.m. ET from one of Washington, D.C's top restaurants along the U Street corridor. Hosted by NewsOne Now's host and managing editor Roland S. Martin, the special primetime program will focus on the intense presidential election as well as political races affecting the African-American community nationwide. Martin will chat with political panelists about Republican Presidential NomineeDonald Trump's and Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton's election trail performances, President Barack Obama's legacy as the first African-American President, and First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama's many iconic speeches throughout this election cycle.
Political heavyweights, civil rights activists, Black Lives Matter activists, and celebrity guests confirmed to attend include the following: 
  • Congressional Black Caucus Members
  • Dr. Ben Chavis, Civil Rights Leader
  • Iyanla Vanzant, OWN's Iyanla Fix My Life
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph, Actress and Social Activist
  • Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change
  • Lauren V. Burke, Political Commentator
  • Tamika Mallory, New York Justice League
  • Dr. Greg Carr, Associate Professor, Africana Studies, and Chair, Afro-American Studies at Howard University; Adjunct Faculty, Howard School of Law
As Clinton makes monumental strides to potentially become the first-ever elected woman President of the United States, African-American women in politics also stand to make history. California Attorney General Kamala Harris is a strong prospect to become the 2nd black woman elected to the U.S. Senate and State Labor Secretary Lisa Blunt Rochestermay become the first African-American and first woman elected to Congress for the state of Delaware. Martin and panelists will discuss these races and other news of note for African Americans during the live telecast, which promises to be engaging as well as informative.
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